Tag Archives: Kelvin Herrera

Is Bryce Harper on the verge of announcing his long-term home?

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A decision on Harper’s future might be coming very soon

It has been roughly ten days since I last wrote anything regarding the Phillies pursuit of free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. I said that I wasn’t going to write something every time some new rumor popped up, and I’m sticking to that here.

What has me back writing on the topic is not some new rumor that we’re hearing. Instead, it’s what we are not hearing that has me back on the topic.
Regarding the Harper situation, I am finding that the silence is deafening.
When is the last time that you heard or read any rumors regarding Harper from any legitimate, reliable source? It’s been awhile. The usual insiders and talking heads were reporting on claims of some unnamed “source” on a regular basis. Now, those reports appear to have dried up.

Contrast that with the Machado situation, where just this past week it become public knowledge that a new team, the San Diego Padres, had aggressively jumped into the hunt for the young superstar infielder.
It was Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune who first broke the story on Friday that the Padres were the “mystery team” in on Machado, something that had been widely speculated for days prior:

“According to multiple sources aware of talks between the sides but not authorized to speak publicly, the Padres are pursuing the 26-year-old superstar with the intention of playing him at third base.”

A.J. Cassavell at MLB.com followed up on Saturday by logically presenting how the 26-year-old would slot into the San Diego present and future, stating “Machado’s fit with the Padres is probably better than it is almost anywhere else.
Dennis Lin at The Athletic tweeted on Saturday that the Padres were actively seeking a face-to-face meeting with Machado and his representatives.
Sources: The Padres have expressed interest in arranging a meeting with Manny Machado, possibly in Miami. SD would like to get some face time before becoming more involved with the free agent.

What all of this continuing pursuit of Machado tells me is that he has not yet decided. Despite much speculation that his decision was likely down to the Phillies and Chicago White Sox, that appears now to be nothing more than just that – speculation.
If Machado were that close to a decision and in a serious final decision-making process, why suddenly open up what have been months-long visits, considerations, and negotiations?
You would think that he and his reps would simply thank the Padres for their interest, but let the team know that he has been involved in deep considerations with others for weeks, if not months, and was preparing to make a final decision.
To have the process remain open, or to be re-opened, and allow San Diego to become a serious suitor this late says to me that Machado is not as far along in his decision-making process as some sources might lead you to believe.
On the other hand, there is nothing coming out on Harper. The Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs all appear to be out. The last rumors widely circulating had the process narrowed to the Phillies, White Sox, and his old team, the Washington Nationals.
However, the more you really examine the Nationals and White Sox situations closely, the more neither team appears to be a logical fit.
Washington has already spent a lot this off-season to bring in free agent pitchers Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, and Trevor Rosenthal. They have looming negotiations with third baseman Anthony Rendon, who can become a free agent next off-season. And the Nats can replace Harper internally with two of the top young outfield prospects in the game in 20-year-old Juan Soto and 21-year-old Victor Robles.

The White Sox signed Alonso, who is Machado’s brother-in-law, earlier this off-season. (BubbaFan/WikiCommons)
The White Sox want to make a splash this off-season, perhaps as much as the Phillies. To that end, they have bolstered their bullpen with the additions of closer Alex Colome and setup man Kelvin Herrera via free agency.
But a strong clue as to the South Sider’s true desires can be found in their free agent position player additions. Chicago has signed both Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay this off-season.
Alonso is Machado’s brother-in-law and Jay is his good friend. As players, both are marginal additions. But as moral support for Machado, friendly faces to make a new locker room more comfortable, they could be invaluable.
What all of this continuing activity and interest in Machado tells me is that no decision is coming soon. What the silence surrounding the Harper situation tells me is the exact opposite.
I believe that it is very possible that Harper has indeed made a final decision. In that case, the silence right now would be due to his agent, Scott Boras, and the signing team going through the “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s” contract process. With Harper, there are likely to be many details, including bonus incentives, “out” clauses, and both team and player options.

Hey, I could be wrong. But to me, it smells like we may be near an end to the Harper situation. And to me, the Phillies remain the most likely team to be slotting the 26-year-old outfielder into the middle of their lineup this coming season.
On Machado, well, no end appears to be in sight, and I wouldn’t lay money on the Phillies being involved at this point. We shall see.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Bryce Harper closer to a decision than Manny Machado?

Relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek being shopped by Phillies

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Tommy Hunter now among those reportedly being shopped by the Phillies

The MLB Hot Stove season is in full swing as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. The Philadelphia Phillies appear to be involved in a new rumor every single day, and today is no different.

Last week’s hot rumor was that the club was “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana. Now comes word that the Phillies have two more of the veteran free agents signed last off-season, relievers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, on the trade blocks.
A 38-year-old right-hander who brings a dozen years of experience in Major League Baseball with a half-dozen different organizations, Neshek first came to the Phillies in a November 2016 trade with the Houston Astros.
Neshek was flipped at the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a trio of prospects led by infielder Jose Gomez, who now ranks #16 on MLB.com’s top Phillies prospectslist. Neshek became a free agent that fall and re-signed with the Phillies on December 15, 2017.

Hunter is a 32-year-old right-hander who has also pitched with a half-dozen different MLB organizations across his 11-year big-league career. He signed with the Phillies as a free agent the same day as Neshek last December.
Neshek is owed $7.75 million for next season with a $7 million team option for 2020. There is also a $750k club buyout for that season. Hunter has $9 million owed to him next year and then he will become a free agent.
The first word that the two relievers were being shopped around came today via Jon Heyman on Twitter:
phillies not only have carlos santana on the block, as @Ken_Rosenthal said but also tommy hunter and pat neshek. the relievers had solid years, but with so many quality bullpen arms on the free agent market, timing for trades may not be easy

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The Phillies wouldn’t mind having either reliever return to the team in the 2019 season. Each had a solid year with the club in 2018 and could be expected to continue providing solid experience and results next year.
However, the free agent market is flooded with relief pitchers in this current off-season. If the Phillies could get a team or teams to take on the nearly $17 million owed to the two veterans for 2019, they would likely be able to sign a couple of new free agents at an even better price who could provide similar results.
Among the more attractive arms on the market are Craig KimbrelAndrew MillerZach BrittonAdam OttavinoKelvin Herrera, and Joakim Soria. Some of those pitchers would be expensive. But there are deals to be had among some three dozen available and experienced relief pitchers.

Of course, therein lies the rub. Any potential trade partner could also sign a more affordable free agent from among the many available options. The Phillies would likely have to either eat some of the salary or toss in a prospect to get a deal done.

The Other Team Shows Up

Omar Infante’s HR twisted dagger into Hunter Strickland

A funny thing happened last night on the way to the San Francisco Giants inevitable World Series championship. The other team showed up.

The Kansas City Royals erupted for five runs in the 6th inning, then turned the game over to their shutdown back-end bullpen. The result was a 7-2 victory and a 1-1 tie in the 2014 World Series.

That 6th inning eruption likely came as a surprise to many pundits and scribes who, particularly after San Fran’s 7-1 romp in the opener, had already begun the Giants coronation as 2014 champions.

A gentle reminder to them: it’s a best-of-seven series, not a one game elimination.

The Giants still may win this thing. They accomplished the bottom line basic of any team that opens such a series with a pair of games on the road, they won at least one. They go home now for three straight in front of their raucous fans. They hold home field advantage in what has become a best-of-five.

But they did not drive a stake into the bodies of the Kansas City team. Instead, it was the hosts who showed the visitors that they’ll never be Royals (apologies, Lorde.) Kansas City won for the 10th time in 11 postseason games this Fall. Not only did they stay alive, they made a statement.

In a tight 2-2 game in the 6th inning, longtime Royals slugger Billy “Country Breakfast” Butler, whose 1st inning single had tied it early and kept the Giants from mentally burying KC, delivered again. His 2nd rbi single put the Royals on top 3-2 and opened the flood gates.

Butler served up some Country Breakfast in the 6th to put KC on top

Many of those same scribes and pundits who had already buried the Royals have also taken frequent potshots at manager Ned Yost. But it was Yost, again, who pushed the right buttons with his team. He pinch-ran for Butler, and when Salvador Perez ripped a 2-run double to the power alley just to the left of centerfield that runner, Terrance Gore, came around to score, and the Royals had a 5-2 lead.

The damage was done by the Royals against Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland, who has been consistently crushed during this postseason. But Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, the World Series’ “genius” manager in the eyes of the scribes and pundits, continued to run him out there in key moments.

Strickland wasn’t done making Bochy, or himself, look bad. The next batter, contact hitter Omar Infante, drove a no-doubt-about-it homerun over the left field fence. It was 7-2, and Strickland lost his mind, as he has previously. His screaming tirade directed towards who-knows-who appeared aimed towards Perez, and the two jawed.

In the end, Hunter Strickland devolved from simply a young flame-thrower who got beat in a couple key moments to a young man acting the fool on the biggest stage that baseball has to offer. For Bochy, it has to go down as a “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” moment.

The overmatched (sic) Yost then turned to that shutdown back-end bullpen of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and closer Greg Holland. Herrera dominated in the 6th to get starter Yordano Ventura out of a jam, then struggled a bit when called in to also do the 7th after the long wait while KC scored their runs. But he kicked it up a gear, got out of his own jam, and the Giants were effectively done.

Kelvin Herrera did a nice job powering KC out of two jams

Over the final two innings, Davis and Holland did what Davis and Holland do: they allowed next-to-nothing, and they got touched almost as infrequently. The two allowed just one combined hit, and struck out 5 of the 6 batters they faced.

The bottom line of this affair was that the other team in this series, the Kansas City Royals, finally showed up. Maybe it was a game late, but they answered the Giants romp in the opener with one of their own, looking every bit as dominant on this night as the GMen had on Tuesday.

If there is one lesson that those many scribes and pundits learned as a result, it is that you don’t bury a good team because of one bad game. The Kansas City Royals are a very good team.

In my Power Ranking at the end of the regular season, the Royals finished as the top-ranked team in all of baseball. That team showed up last night, and now we have a series. It probably should have been expected. It was by me.