Tag Archives: Jorge Alfaro

Hector Neris: The other important Phillies arbitration case

There is currently some measure of concern and consternation among Phillies fans due to the contract situation involving catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Almost one year ago, the Phillies dealt away catcher Jorge Alfaro, top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, and another young pitching prospect, Will Stewart, to the Miami Marlins in order to obtain Realmuto.

It was a steep price to pay, but it put the best catcher in baseball into a Phillies uniform. Realmuto delivered a 2019 All-Star campaign in which he won both Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.

The Phillies inherited Realmuto’s contract situation, which called for him to become a free agent following the upcoming 2020 season. After paying the price they did, it was incumbent on general manager Matt Klentak to get a contract extension done with Realmuto, one  that would keep him with the team for years to come.

So far, that extension has not come to pass. The Phillies and Realmuto’s representatives instead exchanged salary figures for a one-year deal to be determined by the arbitration process in February.

Of course, the two sides could let that process play out, put a 2020 contract into place, and then still agree later on a long-term deal. They could also reach such a deal before the arbitration hearing ever takes place.

But one thing is certain. The Phillies must get a deal done with Realmuto. Two years, even two excellent years, will not be enough when considering that price paid. I have to believe a long-term deal will be in place well before the 2020 regular season opens.

Realmuto’s is not the only arbitration case looming for the Phillies, and it is not the only important one. The club also has a hearing scheduled with erstwhile closer Hector Neris.

While most Phillies fans would rightly not consider Neris at the same level of importance as Realmuto, the fact remains that the reliever is also a key piece to the club’s success moving forward.

Neris will turn 31 years of age in June. He has been a member of the Phillies bullpen for six seasons, and has been a key part of their relief mix for the last five of those years.

In 2019, Neris put up excellent overall numbers. Over 68 games he allowed just 45 hits in 67.2 innings pitched with an 89/24 K:BB ratio. The big right-hander had a 2.93 ERA, 1.020 WHIP, and recorded 28 saves.

During the course of his career with the Phillies, Neris has allowed 256 hits over 311.2 innings across 307 appearances with395 strikeouts and 67 saves. He has career 3.29 ERA and 1.161 WHIP marks with an 11.4/3.1 K/BB ratio per nine innings.

Phillies fans frequently have become frustrated with Neris over his occasional blowups, and those do exist. While 53 of Neris’ 68 appearances (78%) in the 2019 season resulted in scoreless outings, he also had three appearances in which he allowed three runs and another three in which he allowed a pair of runs to score.

The season prior, Neris had opened the year as the Phillies closer. While he had nine saves by the middle of May, Neris had also blown a number of opportunities as well. A pair of horrendous outings in June left him with a 6.90 ERA as that month ended, and resulted in a demotion to the minor leagues.

Neris regained his confidence that summer at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, striking out 31 over 19 appearances while allowing just nine hits across 18.2 innings.

When called back to the Phillies in mid-August, Neris was so dominant that he was named the National League Reliever of the Month after just a half-month or work. He allowed no runs and just three hits over nine innings with a 20/2 K:BB.

From the time of his recall on August 15 through the end of the 2018 regular season, Neris allowed 11 hits over 17.2 innings with a 2.04 ERA, a .172 batting average against, and a dominating 35/5 K:BB ratio.

The fact is that Neris is an extremely valuable, experienced relief pitcher in a bullpen that is desperate for just that type of arm.

Neris filed for a $5.2 million salary in 2020 after being paid $1.8 million a year ago. The team filed a figure of $4.25 million. No matter what happens, he will get a healthy raise this year, one that will set him and his family up for life.

With one more year of arbitration eligibility to go, the Phillies don’t have to make a long-term agreement with Neris at this time. But if the two sides can find something reasonable for a three-year deal, something that covers his age 31-33 seasons, that would be more ideal.

One thing is clear, especially when you consider the health and performance problems that the Phillies have experienced with the rest of their bullpen arms over the last couple of years. It is a near certainty that Neris will be a key pitcher over at least the next two summers as the Phillies try to put together a playoff team.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

J.T. Realmuto wins 2019 NL Gold Glove Award

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J.T. Realmuto becomes the first Phillies catcher in 20 years to win an NL Gold Glove Award

 

The winners of the 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Monday evening, with J.T. Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies earning the hardward at the National League catcher position.

Three nominees at each of the nine positions on the diamond in both the National and American Leagues had previously been announced. The Phillies had three NL nominees: Realmuto at catcher, Bryce Harper in right field, and Aaron Nola at pitcher.

The Phillies would go one-for-three as the winners were announced in a special program on ESPN2, with the 28-year-old Realmuto capturing the first Gold Glove Award of his six-year career in Major League Baseball.

After spending the first five seasons of his career with the Miami Marlins, Realmuto came to the Phillies in a February 7, 2019 trade in exchange for catcher Jorge Alfaro and pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart.

During his first year with the Phillies, Realmuto made his second consecutive National League All-Star team and enjoyed his finest all-around season as a big leaguer.

Realmuto becomes the first Phillies player to win a Gold Glove Award since Jimmy Rollins took home the honors at shortstop back in 2012. He is the third Phillies catcher to ever win the award, following Wall of Famers Bob Boone (1978-79) and Mike Lieberthal (1999).

On Thursday, winners of the Silver Slugger Award will be announced. Realmuto is the leading contender to win that award at the National League catcher position for the second year in a row.

Chase Utley, who won the Silver Slugger as an NL second baseman from 2006-09 is the most recent Phillies player to capture that award. The only Phillies catcher to ever win a Silver Slugger was the late Wall of Famer Darren Daulton all the way back in 1992.

When considering all aspects of the game, Realmuto is clearly the best all-around catcher in baseball at this time. He is in the prime of his career, and was arguably the Phillies most valuable player this past season.

The catcher was extremely inexpensive in modern baseball terms after having made just $5.9 million this past season. Eligible for salary arbitration this winter, the Phillies will certainly not allow the situation to ever get that far. Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer has speculated that a new deal could be at $110 million over five years.

Realmuto is due to become a free agent following the 2020 season. Having given up one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in Sanchez in order to obtain him, the Phillies certainly do not want to lose Realmuto on the open market.

In addition to all of the work that general manager Matt Klentak needs to get done this off-season in order to push the Phillies from their current status as a .500 team to contending status, working out a contract extension with Realmuto also needs to be high on his agenda.

NOTE: Featured Photo Courtesy of Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography (Twitter: @MarkKrajnak)

 

More on the Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Baseball:

J.T. Realmuto becomes lone Phillies player named to 2019 NL All-Star squad

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Bryce Harper jokes with J.T. Realmuto at 2018 MLB All-Star Game

When general manager Matt Klentak made a big trade back on February 7 of this year to acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins, he knew that the Philadelphia Phillies were gaining one of the most respected catchers in the game.

Klentak paid a big price to acquire the now 28-year-old from Oklahoma. Sent to Miami were the organization’s top pitching prospect, one of the most prized in the game, in right-hander Sixto Sanchez. Also going to the Marlins were catcher Jorge Alfaro and another minor league pitcher.
Realmuto was a big part of the Phillies early-season rise to the top of the NL East Division. Though his offensive production tailed off during what was a difficult month of June for the entire team, his defensive game never wavered.
The Phillies catcher remains one of the top backstops in all of Major League Baseball. This afternoon, that was recognized once again with his selection as a reserve on the National League All-Star team.
This marks a second consecutive NL All-Star nod for Realmuto. Last year as a member of the Marlins he was one of four backstops named to the NL squad. This year, at least as the initial reserves are announced, there will be three.

The starting catcher voted to the squad for a second straight year was Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. Joining Realmuto as a back-up behind the plate will be Yasmani Grandal of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Realmuto entered last year’s game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. as a defensive replacement for Contreras in the top of the 6th inning. He would make two plate appearances, walking twice and scoring a run during an 8-6 win for the American League.
The Phillies lone All-Star representative a year ago was pitcher Aaron Nola, who would go on to finish third in the NL Cy Young Award voting during a stellar 2018 campaign. Nola threw a scoreless 5th inning, allowing one hit and striking out two batters.
The most likely Phillies to also be considered were probably utility player Scott Kingery and reliever Hector Neris. Leading the Phillies in RBIs, Bryce Harper was an NL All-Star in each of the last four years and in six of his first seven season. Rhys Hoskins was a participant in last year’s Home Run Derby and is the Phillies current leader in home runs. None made the NL squad, at least in the initial announcement. It is possible that injuries and other considerations could still open an opportunity.
Realmuto is arbitration-eligible for one more season. He will become a free agent after the 2020 season if the Phillies do not sign him to a contract extension prior to that time. The 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place this year at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9.

Phillies head to South Florida seeking revenge on the Miami Marlins

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Phillies visit Marlins Park seeking revenge

The Philadephia Phillies (43-38) are down in South Florida for a weekend meeting with the host Miami Marlins (30-49) at Marlins Park.

Coming off an uplifting four-game sweep of the New York Mets, the Phillies will be looking to extend their winning streak and avenge last weekend’s home sweep at the hands of the Fish.
A week ago at Citizens Bank Park, the Marlins took all three games by holding the Phillies to just eight runs scored. By the end of that series, the Phillies had dropped seven games in a row and their season was spiraling out of control.
While the Mets series allowed the Phillies to regain their positive mojo, they cannot afford to give any of that momentum back. Just as they were last weekend, the Marlins are the owners of the worst record in the National League. They came home from Philadelphia and were promptly swept by the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins offense has generated just 3.52 runs-per-game, the worst run production in the NL and second-lowest scoring average in all of Major League Baseball. Their 60 home runs are the least in all of baseball and their .646 OPS is the lowest in the game.
That lack of power has not translated in their meetings with the Phillies. The Miami hitters have blasted 11 of their 60 home runs this season over 10 previous games between the two teams, resulting in a 5-5 split.
While they generally suffer to score, at least when playing the other 28 teams in baseball, the Marlins pitching staff has been strong. The cumulative batting average against mark of .242 is tied for the 6th best in the game. The Miami pitchers have surrendered just 94 home runs, tied for the fourth-most stingy staff in baseball.
The challenge for the Phillies this weekend will be the same as last. Find a way to score against Marlins pitching. The Phillies have scored 45 runs in the 10 meetings. That is a mediocre 4.5 runs-per-game, and it is exaggerated by two games in which the Phillies hitters produced 21 runs. That means in the other eight games, the Phillies have averaged just 4.375 runs.
Also, Phillies pitching is going to have to start holding the Marlins hitters in the park themselves, the same way those other 28 pitching staffs have been doing.

MIAMI MARLINS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Brian Anderson: The 26-year-old third baseman leads the Fish with 10 homers, 26 extra-base hits, and 34 RBIs
Garrett Cooper: 28-year-old right fielder slashing .311/.379/.490 has 7 homers, 12 extra-base hits, and 23 RBIs in just 169 plate appearances
Miguel Rojas: 30-year-old shortstop hitting .286 with a .350 OBP leads the club with 19 doubles and a half-dozen steals
Neil Walker: 33-year-old first baseman hitting .280 with a .362 OBP has 14 XBH over 177 plate appearances. Just activated this past week after spending a month on the IL
Harold Ramirez: 25-year-old rookie playing mostly LF is slashing .313/.348/.407 with 21 runs and 18 RBIs over just 158 plate appearances after being promoted on May 11
Starlin Castro: 29-year-old second baseman is second on the club with 32 RBIs and always seems to do something against the Phillies

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Jorge Alfaro: the 26-year-old catcher was traded to the Fish from the Phillies along with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and another prospect arm in exchange for J.T. Realmuto back in early February. He came to the Phillies as part of a big package received in the Cole Hamels deal with Texas at the 2015 MLB trade deadline.
Alfaro’s status for this series is currently up in the air. He is currently on the IL under the seven-day concussion protocol. In a game last Thursday against the Saint Louis Cardinals, Alfaro was hit in the mask by a back-swing of former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. He later took a foul ball off the mask as well. He is eligible to be activated as early as the series opener on Friday, and will be a day-to-day decision at this point.
Prior to his IL stint, Alfaro was one of the Marlins top run producers. Their regular starting catcher, his nine homers are second and his 24 RBIs are third among all Miami hitters.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Elieser Hernandez: 0-2, 4.34 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 18 hits over 18.2 IP across four games (three starts) with a 19/4 K:BB ratio. The 24-year-old right-hander in his second big-league season went five innings last weekend, allowing three earned on four hits including a pair of homers. He struck out six and walked two and left with the Phillies up 3-1. The Marlins rallied to win 5-3 after he was out.
SATURDAY – Jordan Yamamoto: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, seven hits over 19 IP across three starts with a 19/8 K:BB ratio. The 23-year-old righty rookie from Hawaii came to the Marlins from the Milwaukee Brewers in January 2018 as part of a four-prospect package for Christian Yelich. This will be his third big-league start. He allowed just two hits and two earned in a five-inning start last weekend at Citizens Bank Park, earning the victory in a 6-4 Marlins win. Yamamoto has won each of his three starts to this point.
SUNDAY – Trevor Richards: 3-8, 3.94 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 76 hits over 89 IP across 16 starts with an 80/38 K:BB ratio. The 26-year-old righty is in his second big-league season after signing as an undrafted free agent back in July 2016. The Phillies got to him for five earned on six hits including a pair of homers over four innings in a 12-9 victory back on April 27 in Miami.

THE SKIPPER

Don Mattingly: As a ballplayer, Mattingly was a New York Yankees legend who played his entire 14-year big-league career in the Bronx. The 1985 AL MVP and runner-up for the award the following year, he was one of the top players of the second half of the 1980’s. Mattingly made six consecutive AL All-Star teams as a first baseman from 1984-89, and won nine AL Gold Glove Awards at the position. He also won three straight Silver Sluggers 1985-87.
Mattingly served as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager for five years 2011-15, guiding the Dodgers to three straight NL West crowns in his final three seasons. Over parts of four seasons now in Miami he has fashioned a 249-314 record and been at the helm as the franchise has undergone a major personnel teardown and rebuild process.

THE BALLPARK

Marlins Park has been renovated for the 2019 season. Perhaps the most noticeable difference for fans in Philly watching this series on television will be the removal of the massive and colorful home run sculpture that adorned center field since the ballpark opened for the 2012 season.
The dimensions are 344 down the left field line and 335 to right field. A big ballpark, the right- and left-center power alleys are 392 and 386 feet away respectively. It will be a 407 foot shot to dead-center field.
Located on the site of the old Orange Bowl, Marlins Park sits in the Little Havana section of the city, just two miles west of the downtown Miami area. At a 37,442 normal seating capacity, it is the third-smallest ballpark in Major League Baseball. It is also one of six MLB parks with a retractable roof, so weather is unlikely to play any role this weekend.

Phillies hope to turn it around against last-place Miami Marlins

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Derek Jeter is trying to turn around the Marlins fortunes

The Miami Marlins (27-46) carry the worst record in the National League, third-worst in all of baseball, and the second-lowest scoring offense in Major League Baseball in to Citizens Bank Park this weekend.

On the face, the Fish would appear to be the perfect opponents for the staggering Philadelphia Phillies (39-35), who are trying to snap a four-game losing streak as the series opens.
But while the Marlins attack has indeed been anemic, ranking at or near the bottom of nearly every offensive category you could imagine, their pitching has been just the opposite.
Miami pitching has been among the best in the National League all season. Marlins pitchers have allowed the third-lowest batting average against in the league this season. They are tied for the third-fewest home runs allowed.
None of that seems welcoming to the Phillies, whose hitters have struggled to consistently produce runs for weeks now. While Citizens Bank Park is normally considered a hitter’s haven, that may not prove the case this weekend.
One thing is certain, the Phillies desperately need to get back to winning series. They could really use a series sweep. To accomplish that, those bats are going to have to wake up and begin producing runs. This weekend would be a great time to do so in front of home crowds that are beginning to grow restless.


MIAMI MARLINS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Garrett Cooper: 28-year-old who splits time between first base and right field is slashing .313/.385/.496 with six homers, 11 extra-base hits, and 21 RBIs over just 148 plate appearances.
Miguel Rojas: 30-year-old, six-year veteran shortstop is hitting .275 with 15 doubles and leads the team with five steals.
Harold Ramirez: a 24-year-old rookie who has played all across the outfield and is hitting .316 with 10 extra-base hits over the first 139 plate appearances of his big-league career.
Brian Anderson: tied with Alfaro for the club lead with nine homers, his 32 RBIs and 23 extra-base hits both lead the team.
Starlin Castro: 29-year-old second baseman is second on the club with 30 RBIs.
Jorge Alfaro: the former Phillies catcher is tied for the team lead with nine homers, and his 27 RBIs are third. However, he has just been placed on the IL under the seven-day concussion protocol and will miss the series.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER(S)

Bullpen righties: one of the primary reasons that the Marlins pitching stats are so strong has been the work of four key right-handers coming out of the bullpen. Sergio Romo, a 36-year-old veteran, has filled the closer role. He has 13 saves and has allowed 24 hits over 27.1 innings.
Romo has combined with a trio of 27-28 year-old relievers in Nick AndersonTayron Guerrero, and Austin Brice to produce the following cumulative numbers: 98 hits (14 homers) allowed over 115.2 IP with a 130/59 K:BB ratio. While those numbers may not be completely shutdown quality, they are strong enough to present a challenge to the Phillies hitters at the end of each game.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Sandy Alcantara: 23-year-old, third-year big-league right-hander is 3-6, 3.73 ERA, 1.390 WHIP, 76 hits allowed over 82 IP across 14 starts with a 58/38 K:BB
SATURDAY – Elieser Hernandez: 24-year-old, second-year big-league right-hander is 0-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 14 hits allowed over 13.2 IP across three games (two starts) with a 13/2 K:BB.
SUNDAY – Jordan Yamamoto: 23-year-old rookie right-hander from Hawaii is 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.643 WHIP, five hits over 14 IP across two starts with a 12/4 K:BB.

THE SKIPPER

Don Mattingly is a New York Yankees legend who played his entire 14-year big-league career in the Bronx. As a ballplayer he was one of the top players of the second half of the 1980’s. He was the 1985 AL MVP and runner-up for the award the following year. Mattingly made six consecutive AL All-Star teams as a first baseman from 1984-89, and won nine AL Gold Glove Awards at the position. He also won three straight Silver Sluggers 1985-87.
Mattingly is noted for having the longest tenured career as a Yankees player without ever appearing in a World Series. The club reached the Fall Classic in the year prior to his arrival (1981), and then also in 1996, the season after he retired.
After several seasons as a special instructor at Yankees spring training, Mattingly was hired as the Yankees hitting coach for the 2004 campaign and served in that role for three years. Included in that run was his first 2004 season, during which the club produced a franchise-record 242 home runs.
In 2007, Mattingly became the Yankees bench coach and was a finalist for their managerial position after that season to succeed Joe Torre. The job went instead to his former teammate, Joe Girardi.
Mattingly left the Yankees to become the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2008 season. He finally received his first managerial opportunity when he succeeded Torre as the Dodgers skipper in 2011. Mattingly’s squads in LA went a combined 446-363 over five seasons, winning the NL West in his last three years from 2013-15. When the team was eliminated in the playoffs for a third straight year, he and the club agreed to mutually part ways.
Mattingly wasn’t unemployed for long. The Marlins scooped him up quickly, and he has put together a 246-311 cumulative record in now his fourth season at the helm in Miami. He has not registered a winning campaign yet with the Fish, who suffered through the death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez at the end of his first season and then saw ownership and management trade off a number of star players including Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Hallelujah! After a horrendous weather week (among other things) in Washington, the Phillies return home to great weather for baseball. All three games this weekend will be rain-free with virtually no chance of precipitation.
On Friday night, temps will be in the low-mid-60’s. However, brisk windy conditions will make it feel cooler. It’s a jacket night, maybe even a heavier jacket night, especially after sundown at Citizens Bank Park.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons will be mostly sunny with high’s in the low-80’s, moderate humidity, and light winds. Nearly perfect baseball conditions.

Forecast from The Weather Channel