Tag Archives: Edwin Diaz

NL East Division position comparison: bullpens

My evaluation of the National League East Division teams has moved on from the position players to a ranking of the pitching staffs of each ball club. I began earlier today with a look at the projected starting rotations. Now, the bullpens will undergo that same evaluation and ranking.

The performance and even the make up of Major League Baseball bullpens are extremely difficult to evaluate at this time of year. Many teams enter spring training with as many as half of their projected relief pitcher spots up for grabs. Injuries will also take their toll on the relievers, both in the spring and then during the season.

As I evaluate each club, I will list the handful of arms that I feel are most likely to be impactful for that team during the season. This will include the projected closer as well as any quality setup and match-up arms.

I will give mention during the team write-up to any pitchers who could begin the season in the bullpen, but who may ultimately end up impacting the rotation as starting pitchers due to injuries. In parentheses after their names you will find a designation for whether they are left- or right-handed.

Combine the starting pitching rankings from earlier today with these bullpen rankings, add them to the examinations of each of the other positions around the diamond which took place over the previous ten days, and you will get a good idea of where each team stands entering spring training.

Early next week, I will take a look at the managers, giving them that same evaluation and ranking treatment. Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Florida on February 11, just 10 days from now, for the opening of Phillies spring training.

NL EAST – 2020 BULLPEN RANKINGS

  1. Atlanta Braves: Mark Melancon (R), Will Smith (L), Shane Greene (R), Sean Newcomb (L), Darren O’Day (R), Luke Jackson (R), Chris Martin (R), A.J. Minter (L), Touki Toussaint (R), Jacob Webb (R)

The two-time defending NL East Division champion Braves possess an embarrassment of pitching riches. That extends to their bullpen group. Smith is an especially solid addition as a southpaw, signing as  free agent back in November after two strong seasons in San Francisco, including an NL All-Star season a year ago. Right-hander Patrick Weigel could emerge from the minors this season to help out if needed. The Braves also have veteran Felix Hernandez and youngsters Kyle Wright Bryse Wilson competing for the fifth-starter job. Any or all of them could impact the bullpen if not being used in the rotation at the majors or at Triple-A. There is still more pitching depth nearly ready among their top prospect group. Atlanta appears to be well-insulated from any type of pitching injury issues.

2) New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (R), Dellin Betances (R), Seth Lugo (R), Jeurys Familia (R), Justin Wilson (L), Robert Gsellman (R), Paul Sewald (L)

It would be hard for me to believe that young closer Diaz, who turns 26 during spring training, won’t bounce back from a somewhat down season in 2019. Even during a year where his ERA ballooned to 5.59 and his WHIP to 1.379, Diaz had a 15.4 K/9 rate and a 99/22 K/BB ratio across 58 innings. If he cannot beat out Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello for a starting rotation nod, Steven Matz will contribute out of the pen as well. Betances, Lugo, and Familia all have closer stuff. Wilson is leaned on heavily as a southpaw arm. He could get help in that regard from prospect David Peterson during the season. The health of former Yankees stud Betances, who turns 29 during spring training, will go a long way towards the New York pen maintaining this ranking during the season.

3) Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris (R), Seranthony Dominguez (R), Jose Alvarez (L), Francisco Liriano (L), Adam Morgan (L), Bud Norris (R), Victor Arano (R), Ranger Suarez (L), Robert Stock (R)

The Phillies bullpen has the potential to finish anywhere from second to fourth on this list by the end of the 2020 season, which can also be said for the Mets and Nationals relief group. If I had more confidence in Dominguez being and remaining healthy for the full season, I might even have ranked them ahead of New York already. New skipper Joe Girardi has a ton of arms with which to work and to sort out during spring training. Those could ultimately include arms like Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Cole Irvin, and Enyel De Los Santos, all of whom will try to win the fifth starter job at the outset. The Phillies might have  the deepest selection of lefty relievers in the division. If only they had a strong starting southpaw for their rotation. If the team can stay in contention, they just might finally get some value out of David Robertson late in the season. They also bought a lottery ticket in former Nats closer Drew Storen this winter.

4) Washington Nationals: Sean Doolittle (L), Will Harris (R), Daniel Hudson (R), Roenis Elias (L), Wander Suero (R), Tanner Rainey (R), Hunter Strickland (R), Ryne Harper (R), Javy Guerra (R)

The bullpen was a problem, perhaps the only real problem, for Washington during much of the 2019 season. Recognizing that fact and not wishing to go down that road again they inked free agent righty Will Harris. The Nats also re-signed free agent Daniel Hudson, who was outstanding after coming over in an early-August trade from Toronto last year. Hudson is forever etched in Nationals history after recording the final out in their World Series victory. A trio of youngsters vying for the fifth starter job – Joe Ross, Erick Fedde, and Austin Voth – could also impact the bullpen. If they use Doolittle as the closer, the rest of the pen lacks an impact southpaw, where Elias is likely to be asked to handle the load, at least initially. Prospect arm Seth Romero could ultimately be the answer in that role.

5) Miami Marlins: Brandon Kintzler (R), Drew Steckenrider (R), Jose Urena (R), Jarlin Garcia (L), Ryne Stanek (R), Tayron Guerrero (R), Yimi Garcia (R), Adam Conley (L), Jose Quijada (L)

The Fish signed the 35-year-old Kintzler last week to serve as the closer, allowing a talented group of young arms more time to develop in the setup and match-up roles earlier in games. This is indeed a talented, albeit largely inexperienced, bullpen crew. When top prospect Sixto Sanchez is ready it will bump someone, likely either Elieser Hernandez or Pablo Lopez, to the pen. If enough of these pitchers take a step forward, the Miami bullpen could quickly become a legitimate strength and begin to shoot up these rankings.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

NL East Division position comparison: second base

Over the next two weeks, I will be examining the rosters of each team in the National League East Division and breaking them down with a position-by-position comparison and ranking. One position each day will be covered, a process that began with Tuesday’s evaluation of the first basemen.

Today the series continues with a look at the division’s second basemen. I’ll continue working around the infield, then behind the plate, and across the outfield. That will be followed by a piece covering each projected starting pitching rotation as a whole, separate pieces on each team’s bench and bullpen, and finally on the managers.

If it appears as though any particular position is unsettled or that a team may use a platoon situation, any potential starting players will be covered.

Once the process is complete you should have a good picture of where the Phillies, or whichever club is your personal favorite, stands entering spring training.

NL EAST – 2020 SECOND BASE RANKINGS

1) Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves: Still just 23 years of age in the 2020 season, Albies is sure to be at or near the top of this divisional positional ranking for many years to come. One of the game’s most dynamic young players, Albies slashed .295/.352/.500 a year ago with 24 homers, 43 doubles, 75 extra-base hits, 86 RBIs, 102 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. He was a 2018 NL All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2019 for what was his second full big-league season. The Braves also smartly tied him up with a long-term, team-friendly contract that pays Albies just $30 million total dollars through his age 28 campaign in 2025 and then includes a pair of team-option seasons at just $7 million each year.

2) Nationals depth: The Nats signed veteran Brian Dozier for one year in 2019 and he delivered 20 homers over 135 games. However, his below-average all-around offensive and defensive game relegated Dozier to the bench for much of their World Series-winning postseason run and he was not re-signed for 2020. As of this point, the Nationals are planning to go with a mix of NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick and fellow veterans Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera at the position. Castro, who turns 30 as spring training ends, hit .270 with 22 homers, 31 doubles, and 86 RBIs in Miami a year ago and is a three-time NL All-Star. He could prove to be a nice addition on the two-year, $12 million free agent contract signed in early January.

3) Phillies depth: Will it be Jean Segura or (finally) Scott Kingery getting most of the play in the 2020 season at the Keystone position down at Citizens Bank Park? The club also signed veteran Josh Harrison to provide further depth. All three can play all around the infield, but at this point it appears that the club will at least head to spring training with Segura at second, Kingery at third, and Harrison as a reserve infielder. Segura has been working out hard and already doing some preliminary work down in the Dominican Republic in anticipation of the switch from shortstop to second base. In fact, his 2016 season in Arizona has been the only one of Segura’s eight-year MLB career in which he has played the position. But he received MVP votes that year in what was in many ways his best all-around season, so this could prove a great move.

4) Jonathan Villar, Miami Marlins: The Fish traded with the Orioles to bring in the seven-year veteran Villar this off-season and he is likely to be the primary starter at second base in 2020. Villar had a good season last year in Baltimore, hitting .274 with 24 homers, 62 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs, 111 runs scored, and 40 stolen bases. Owed $8.2 million for just one more season, Villar will be playing for a free agent deal with some club after the 2020 campaign. This is a young organization looking to build through an improving farm system. He could prove to be a steal for Miami as a stopgap at the position. Isan Diaz, who turns 24 in May, was the starter as a rookie during August and September of last season and will be looking for another opportunity at some point.

5) Robinson Cano, New York Mets: Now age 37, this is not the Robbie Cano who helped beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees. That Robbie Cano was a an eight-time AL All-Star during nine seasons in the Bronx and another five years in Seattle. The Mets obtained him along with closer Edwin Diaz in a December 2018 trade with the Mariners for a five-player package that included outstanding prospect Jarred Kelenic and current Phillies outfielder Jay Bruce. Cano then went out and showed his age, slashing just .256/.307/.428 with 13 homers, 39 RBIs, and 46 runs scored in 107 games. To compound the problem, New York owes him $96 million in an albatross of a deal that runs through 2023, when he will be 40-years-old. It’s going to be a long four years under the weight of that contract. Jeff McNeil is an outstanding hitter who will play the position at times, but the Mets used him at three different spots a year ago, just 37 times at second base. Jed Lowrie will turn 36 in April. He signed a two-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Mets a year ago at this time, sprained his knee, and ended up playing in just nine games.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Mets fight off Phillies on wild Saturday night

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Todd Frazier got tossed after getting hit by Jake Arrieta

The New York Mets (40-49) held on for a tense 6-5 victory over the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies (46-43) on Saturday night at Citi Field. The two teams will meet in the series rubber match on Sunday afternoon in what will be the final game before the four-day MLB All-Star Game break.

In a nationally televised game delayed for 40 minutes at the outset thanks to thunderstorms in the area, neither starting pitcher looked good in this one. Jake Arrieta was simply awful on the mound for the Phillies, only getting into the 5th inning thanks to some poor Mets base running and their failure to cash in on early opportunities.
Noah Syndergaard continued to show that his 2019 version may still look like ‘Thor’, but he is not overpowering anyone with the thunder bolts from his right arm.
The two pitchers allowed 10 runs through the first five innings. Syndergaard was touched for a pair of home runs in the top of the 2nd, a blast to right by Jay Bruce and another to left off the bat of Maikel Franco.
Things got a bit testy in the bottom of the 5th, and then the Mets finally cashed in against Arrieta, who had dodged trouble a couple of times. The Phillies righty hit Mets third baseman Todd Frazier with one out. Frazier took offense, barking at Arrieta the entire way down to first base as home plate umpire Tripp Gibson warned both benches.
That brought Mets skipper Mickey Callaway out to argue, wondering why his club was being warned when it was Arrieta who had hit the only two batters during the contest. Frazier turned his barking towards the ump, and was ejected.
Dominic Smith then doubled, and Arrieta followed that by hitting Amed Rosario. Despite the previous warning, Arrieta was allowed to stay in the game, which may have been a blessing for the Mets as Tomas Nido cleared the bases with a double, pushing the Mets in front by 6-4.

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The big blow would prove to be this bases-clearing double by Mets catcher Tomas Nido in the bottom of the 5th inning.

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That was all for Arrieta, as manager Gabe Kapler finally pulled the plug and went to Edgar Garcia out of his bullpen. Over the final 3.2 innings, Garcia, Ranger Suarez, and J.D. Hammer shut the Mets down by allowing just one hit and one walk.
The Phillies got within a run in the top of the 7th when Segura was hit by a pitch with one out (again resulting in no ejection following the earlier warning) and Bryce Harper singled. That brought J.T. Realmuto to the plate, and the Phillies lone rep to the 2019 MLB All-Star Game delivered with an RBI single to make it a 6-5 ball game.
The game’s biggest moment came in the top of the 8th inning. Steven Matz allowed a leadoff single to Cesar Hernandez, prompting Callaway to bring in Seth Lugo. The righty reliever immediately surrendered a base hit to Franco, moving the tying run into scoring position with nobody out. But Lugo bore down to retire the next three batters, striking out both Scott Kingery and Jean Segura  to end the threat.
In the top of the 9th, Realmuto kept the Phillies alive by singling with two outs off Mets closer Edwin Diaz. The Phillies backstop then swiped second base to put himself into scoring position as the potential game-tying run. But Diaz blazed a fastball that got Jay Bruce swinging to end it, nailing down the victory for the home crowd and earning his 19th Save of the season.

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Arrieta postgame: “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.”

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SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Jake Arrieta: 4.1 IP, 11 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 0 walks, 3 HBP, 4 strikeouts. 75 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Mets – Noah Syndergaard: 5 IP, 7 hits (2 homers), 4 earned, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. 87 pitches, 53 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: TOMAS NIDO

Jeff McNeil continued to kill the Phillies by delivering a four-hit game. But, Nido, the Mets backup catcher playing tonight in place of starter Wilson Ramos, had two hits. His three-run double provided the winning margin in the bottom of the 5th inning.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME


The Phillies still discussing trade for Edwin Diaz with Mariners

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Diaz was baseball’s top closer and will be just 26-years-old in the 2019 season

If you’ve been outside over the last few days here in the Philadelphia area then you know it’s been pretty cold and windy. While winter doesn’t offically arrive for nearly a month (December 21), it is effectively here already.

But go inside and turn on a TV or your PC or laptop or just tap your phone. That warmth you feel isn’t just from your heater working its magic. If you’re a baseball fan, the Hot Stove is fired up, and the rumor mill is heating up the internet.
One of the hotter stories over the last few days has been the Seattle Mariners willingness to trade young stud closer Edwin Diaz. It was exactly one week ago that our Tim Kelly first reported the news that the Phillies were interested in not only Diaz, but Mariners infielder Jean Segura as well.

Just yesterday, Kelly was back into the story, hinting that Seattle might try to pursuade the Phillies to take on the enormous Robinson Cano contract obligation in any deal for Diaz.

Now as a further update, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported that the Phillies are indeed in on Diaz. However, it appears that GM Matt Klentak has no interest in eating that big Cano deal as a side dish.
Sources: 2B Jeff McNeil in play for as well as Kellenic/Dunn in potential Cano/Diaz trade with . also talking to SEA, possibly just for Diaz, as @JoelSherman1 said. NYM names would seem difficult to top, but hard to judge without knowing $, full details.

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I believe that making a move on Diaz is a good one for the Phillies in theory. The right-hander will turn just 25-years-old as spring training draws to a close in 2019, and he cannot become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign. So he fits perfectly in with the plan as the Phillies put together a long-term contender.
However, the price is going to be exorbitant. Serious rumors are floating around that the division-rival New York Mets are deep into talks with the Mariners involving Diaz and Cano, possibly with someone like Jay Bruce going to Seattle.
Those rumors have New York willing to send their #3 and #4 prospects as part of a package to Seattle. Those would be the Mets 2016 top draft pick Justin Dunn, a righty pitcher, and their 2018 top draft pick, outfielder Jarred Kelenic.
Is Diaz worth all of this? If he is going to cost the Phillies a couple of their top prospects, then the answer has to be a resounding no. There are plenty of talented relievers available via trade or as free agents this off-season, a number of them with closing experience.
The Mariners are sure to find a trading partner for Diaz. And Klentak is right in picking up the phone and seeing what Jerry Dipoto would want in return. But you might be more likely to find the Phillies working out a deal for soon-to-be 28-year-old outfielder Mitch Haniger than Diaz.
Stay tuned here at Phillies Nation. We’re sitting warm and toasty by the increasingly hot stove, and we’ll heat up your social media feed with any hot new information and breaking news.

The Phillies are being linked to numerous deals in this Hot Stove season

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The Phillies are being linked to closer Craig Kimbrel and many other free agents

This past weekend saw the annual holiday shopping season open with the mall-walking and store-hopping zaniness of Black Friday. Today has become known as ‘Cyber Monday’, where the gift-purchasing moves to the internet.

The teams of Major League Baseball are also doing some shopping of their own. New rumor logs are being tossed on the Hot Stove fires on a daily basis at this point, keeping baseball fans warm with thoughts of moves by their favorite teams to put them over the top.
To categorize things down in South Philly at the offices of the Philadelphia Phillies as “hot” might actually be an understatement. The team is being linked on a regular basis with almost every half-decent free agent name and trade candidate available.
We have already covered two big names today here at Phillies Nation with my piece on the GM Matt Klentak’s reported talks with Arizona regarding Dbacks superstar Paul Goldschmidt. And our Drew Rhoades wrote of the Phillies interest in lefty reliever Andrew Miller.
The Phillies involvement in the sweepstakes to land one or the other or both of the two biggest-ticket items this holiday season is well known. Both outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop Manny Machado are apparently at the very top of the Phillies shopping wish list.
However, as Jon Morosi at MLB.com reiterated today, the club is looking down a lengthy holiday shopping list, and they very well could start checking off some other items first, while still trying to pick-up those top prizes.

“The Phillies aren’t waiting on decisions from Harper and Machado as the team ambitiously pursues upgrades to its roster…sources said it’s possible the Phils will sign multiple free agents before Harper or Machado agree to terms.”

Morosi ticked off some names that his sources have revealed are on that Phillies shopping list including pitchers Patrick CorbinNathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ. The list also includes outfielders A.J. Pollock and Michael Brantley.
Also mentioned by Morosi was the Phillies recently reported interest in closer Edwin Diaz, who the Seattle Mariners say could be available, but for a price. Our Tim Kelly here at Phillies Nation recently wrote that the Phillies were showing interest in both Diaz and Mariners infielder Jean Segura.
Morosi mentions either of the Phillies top two pitching prospects, Sixto Sanchez or Adonis Medina, as likely having to be included in such a deal with Seattle. He also states that if they fail in that pursuit, the club could be adding closers Craig Kimbrel or Zach Britton to their list.

Suffice it to say that as you are out at the stores or at home (or work) on the internet doing your own shopping, Matt Klentak and his team down at Citizens Bank Park are doing their own.

I think it’s fair to say that if you are a Phillies fan, the GM will be stuffing something into your stocking long before Santa ever has a chance to come sliding down your chimney a month from now. Let’s hope that when all is said and done, that Klentak finds himself on our “nice” list, and not our “naughty” list.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies holiday shopping list goes well beyond biggest-ticket items