Tag Archives: Kenta Maeda

Kris Bryant to the Phillies: Would he really be worth the cost?

Buzz regarding the possibility of a trade that would send third baseman Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs to the Philadelphia Phillies has once again re-surfaced in recent days.

Some of that is simple wild speculation, fueled in part by the pending three-team trade involving the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins. That deal would send superstar outfielder Mookie Betts and veteran southpaw David Price to Los Angeles.

One thing that a big trade in Major League Baseball frequently does is spur immediate talk of the next big player that might be dealt. So, that is certainly a part of the equation here.

But another part of the equation is the building reality that, despite oddsmakers seeing the Phillies as a leading contender entering 2020 spring training, many baseball talent evaluators still place the club no better than third-best in the National League East Division.

It has also become common knowledge around the game that Chicago is shopping Bryant, who can become a free agent following the 2021 season.

Bryant could become a pivotal player in that NL East race should the Cubs really decide to actively shop him. All three of the Phillies top division rivals, the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets, could use an impactful starting third baseman.

Players are scheduled to report for spring training beginning next week. The Phillies enter their preparations for the coming season with Scott Kingery slotted in as the starting third baseman, keeping that position warm for top prospect Alec Bohm.

In a recent evaluation of the position among the NL East clubs, I generously slotted Kingery in at third in my ranking of those players currently slotted in as hot corner starters. Adding Bryant would give the Phillies the top player at the position in the division.

The scheduled starters for the defending World Series champion Nationals and two-time defending NL East champion Braves are among the biggest question marks for those teams at this point. Adding Bryant would push either club, already arguably better overall, further ahead of the Phillies.

So, when considering a deal with the Cubs that would bring Bryant to Philly, there are three questions that need answering. I’ll take a stab at asking and answering each.

What would Kris Bryant add to the Phillies?

Bryant was the first round pick of the Cubs in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego as the second player taken overall.

He reached the big-leagues in 2015 at age 23 and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award for a season in which he slammed 26 homers, 62 extra-base hits, and drove in 99 runs.

The following season, Bryant became the National League Most Valuable Player. He slashed .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs, 77 extra-base hits, 102 RBIs, and 121 runs scored. Bryant capped his season by fielding a grounder and firing to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the final out as the Cubs won the franchise’ first World Series title in nearly a century.

Bryant is a three-time NL All-Star. Over five seasons in Major League Baseball he has produced 138 homers and has a career .284/.385/.516 slash line. He has also shown some versatility defensively in handling work at both corner outfield spots, as well as playing in a few games at first base with Chicago over the last couple of seasons.

The Phillies would not be adding Bryant to play left field or first base, at least not on a regular basis. Not at this stage of his career. He would be their third baseman for years to come. While Bryant will likely never contend for a Gold Glove, neither would he hurt the club at third base.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Bryant is a long-time good friend of Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper, also a Vegas native. The two are virtually the same age, with Bryant having just turned 28 last month. They have known one another since they were children, and played both with and against one another while growing up.

Bryant would add another All-Star caliber ballplayer to the Phillies starting lineup. He and his family would bring true friends for franchise cornerstone Harper and his family to socialize with. And he would add another marquee name to help attract even more Phillies fans out to Citizens Bank Park.

What would it cost to bring Kris Bryant to the Phillies?

This is a big question for a few reasons. One of the biggest is that element of competing against both the Braves and Nationals for his services. Atlanta in particular would seem to have the prospect assets to at least match any Phillies offer.

Each of those clubs arguably has as much of a need at the position as the Phillies, if not more so. Each of those clubs is a legitimate contender already. Bryant would push either of those teams closer to making a long October run. Motivation for both to be involved in talks with the Cubs would appear to be there.

What this does is raise the price for the Phillies if they seriously want their package to win out in a bidding war for Bryant with Atlanta and Washington.

A package for Bryant would absolutely start with top hitting prospect Bohm, who could then become the third baseman of the near future in Chicago. But Bohm alone would not be enough.

The Phillies would have to send at least two more players in such a deal. One of those would need to be a pitcher with some upside. Another would have to be some other prospect with upside.

Would the Phillies ultimately have to decide on whether to part with both Bohm and top pitching prospect Spencer Howard in such a deal? Normally I would say no. That is especially the case when considering what the Dodgers had to part with to get the Betts deal done.

Los Angeles is reported to be sending 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo to Boston and veteran pitcher Kenta Maeda to Minnesota in order to get the deal done.

There was rumored to be some element of competition for Betts in this deal as well. The Dodgers up-and-coming division rivals in San Diego were also said to be interested in Betts, and the Padres have a strong minor league system from which to offer a prospect package.

What is not known is exactly how high a price the Padres were ultimately willing to pay. Also, the Dodgers are reportedly giving Boston some salary relief in the deal, taking on half of the $96 million still owed to Price over the next three seasons. So it’s a different kind of deal.

If the Phillies aren’t willing to put Howard into such a deal, and the likelihood is that they would not, then could they still offer enough to beat out the Braves or Nationals potential offers?

The Phillies could put together a package of Bohm, Kingery, and either of two other pitching prospects, Francisco Morales or Adonis Medina. Morales has a higher ceiling at this point. But by including Kingery, they might be able to get the Cubs to go for Medina instead. Chicago might prefer young infield prospect Luis Garcia, which might alleviate putting Kingery into the deal.

Is Bryant worth the price it would cost?

The Phillies would be getting a player with five years of big-league experience. A three-time All-Star, including last season during which he slammed 31 homers, slashed .282/.382/.521, and scored 108 runs. A former NL MVP who has already won a World Series championship.

While Bryant would only have two seasons of contractual control left it isn’t difficult to see him agreeing to a long-term deal. That would keep he and Harper together as the Phillies 1-2 lineup punch for at least the next seven or eight years.

There is an old baseball axiom that says prospects are prospects. While evaluators can gauge their potential, there is no way to know how a kid with no big-league experience is going to perform against the best players in the world under the glare of the largest spotlight on the biggest stage.

I believe that the Phillies need something even more than another strong offensive weapon. It has been and remains my assertion that the Phillies need another proven, talented, winning veteran starting pitcher for their rotation more than anything else. But that is a difficult piece to acquire, and should not keep general manager Matt Klentak from making his team better right now.

Bryant has proven himself to be one of the top offensive performers in baseball. He is in his prime. He is a lifelong friend of the Phillies resident superstar. He would help close the gap even further between the Phillies and the top teams in the National League. This is a deal they should find a way to get done.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

 

Dodger Stadium the scene as top two teams in the NL do battle

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Phillies are at Dodger Stadium for the weekend

The Philadelphia Phillies (33-24) continue to lead the National League East Division standings by three full games despite dropping Friday night’s opener to the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers (39-19) by a 6-3 score.

The two teams will meet once again on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, just four miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
For the Phillies it will be an attempt to get the series even, setting themselves up for an opportunity to win it on Sunday. The club has built their divisional lead on accomplishing just that – winning series. They have an 11-4-3 series record coming into this one
However, to accomplish that feat they will have to overcome the powerful Dodgers. Ranked as the top team in Major League Baseball at this stage of the season in our first MLB Power Rankings released this afternoon, the Dodgers have won the last two National League pennants and six consecutive NL West crowns. They currently lead their division by 8.5 games.
In that Friday night opener, the Dodgers spanked Phillies pitching with four home runs, one each from Max MuncyCorey SeagerJoc Pederson, and Enrique ‘Kiki’ Hernandez. It was part of a 12-hit attack. The Phillies were held to just five hits, and are going to have to somehow find more offense on Saturday night against a future Hall of Famer if they want a better result.


SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jose Alvarez P

DODGERS LINEUP

  1. David Freese 1B
  2. Max Muncy 3B
  3. Chris Taylor LF
  4. Cody Bellinger RF
  5. Enrique Hernandez 2B
  6. Corey Seager SS
  7. Alex Verdugo CF
  8. Will Smith C
  9. Clayton Kershaw P

INJURY REPORT

PHILLIES: Zach Eflin joined an IL that seems to grow by at least one new Phillies arm with every passing week. The following relievers are there as well: David RobertsonTommy HunterPat NeshekEdubray RamosAdam Morgan, and Victor Arano. The latter may miss the rest of the season, while none of the others will be back for this road trip. Center fielder Roman Quinn also remains out, not likely to return for another week or so.
DODGERS: The Dodgers are missing three starting players from their everyday lineup: third baseman Justin Turner, catcher Austin Barnes, and center fielder A.J. Pollock. Turner is not actually on the IL, but instead is nursing hamstring tightness. At least at this point his availability is considered day-to-day. Lefty reliever Tony Cingrani also is on the IL with left shoulder soreness.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jose Alvarez: 0-1, 3.92 ERA, 1.452 WHIP, 24 hits allowed over 20.2 IP with a 15/6 K:BB
  • Well, MLB Network’s Brian Kenney will be happy with this one, at least. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is going with ‘The Opener’ strategy. He will deploy Alvarez for the 1st inning, then turn the game over to someone such as 25-year-old lefty Cole Irvin. Alvarez could get a second frame if he can get through the first quickly and unscathed. Irvin would go for as long as he can keep the team in the game before having to turn it over to the rest of the bullpen. Assuming it goes off like this, it would be the first start for Alvarez since making six during his rookie campaign back in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers.
  • Clayton Kershaw: 5-0, 3.46 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 47 hits allowed over 52 IP with a 49/9 K:BB ratio.
  • Perhaps the best all-around pitcher of the last decade, the 3x Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP has built himself a Hall of Fame career over a dozen big-league seasons.
  • After spending most of the season’s first three weeks on the Injured List, Kershaw has returned as his usual excellent self. Seven of his eight outings have been of the Quality Start variety, and he has pitched at least into the 6th inning in all of his starts this year.
  • Kershaw has gone 3-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 13 starts against the Phillies, averaging 9.99 K/9 and holding Phillies batters to a .216 average against him. The southpaw last faced the Phillies almost exactly one year ago, on May 31, 2018 at Dodger Stadium. He worked five innings, allowing one run while striking out five and issuing one walk.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Dodgers are 6-0-2 over their last eight series and will continue to try and extend that winning stretch with a victory in either or both of these final two games with the Phillies. They have now won 13 of their last 16 games, and their 23-7 record at Chavez Ravine is the best home record in baseball.
  • Los Angeles has taken 11 of their last 15 games against the Phillies, and also have won 11 of the last 15 played at Dodger Stadium between the two teams.
  • Prior to this Saturday night game, the Dodgers will hold their annual ‘Alumni Game’, with the first 40,000 fans receiving a special Steve Garvey bobblehead. This commemorates his induction into the Dodgers Legends of Baseball, sort of like the Phillies Wall of Fame. Garvey, Don Newcombe, and Fernando Valenzuela are being honored this year as the initial inductees to the group.
  • The Quality Start registered on Friday night by Kenta Maeda was the 16th by a Dodgers starter in their last 18 games.
  • Muncy’s home run last night was his 24th at home in his 100th career home game. That ties Mike Piazza for the second-most long balls by a Dodgers slugger over their first 100 home games, just one behind Cody Bellinger.

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Dodgers power past Phillies by 6-3 on Friday night at Chavez Ravine

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Joc Pederson helped lead host LA past the Phils on Friday night

The Los Angeles Dodgers (39-19) showed the Philadelphia Phillies (33-24) why the National League pennant has gone through the six-time NL West champions in each of the last two seasons, and why it likely will once again in 2019, putting a 6-3 thumping on the visitors on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

In front of 54,307 fans, the largest crowd to see a game at Chavez Ravine since 2012, the Dodgers ripped Phillies starter Jake Arrieta for 10 hits and three home runs. Two of those longballs came in the home 5th inning, when the Dodgers scored three times to break open a tie ball game.
The scoring got started in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Joc Pederson led off with a base hit, which was followed immediately by a two-run homer off the bat of Max Muncy.
The Phillies answered in the top of the 4th when Andrew McCutchen took Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda out to dead center field. His 10th home run of the season cut the deficit to just a 2-1 margin.
In the top of the 5th, Arrieta got himself even. With runners at second and third and two out, the Phillies pitcher lined a base hit to left, scoring Cesar Hernandez with the run that temporarily tied the game back up at 2-2.
It was then that the Dodgers did their heaviest damage. Pederson led off the bottom of the 5th by lifting his 17th home run over the right field fence. Muncy followed with a single, and then shortstop Corey Seager blasted a two-run homer to right, upping the LA lead to a 5-2 score.
Not throwing great pitches when I’m trying to go inside deep,” Arrieta said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia after the game. “I’m just leaving them over too much of the plate, really. That’s it. I can get lefties out. You can’t miss middle-in with spin to power-hitting left-handed hitters. You just can’t do it. That’s what I did too many times tonight.
In the bottom of the 8th, Enrique Hernandez popped his 9th home run of the season out to left field, pushing the Dodgers in front by 6-2. The Phillies would get one back in the top of the 9th when Scott Kingery singled home Rhys Hoskins. But closer Kenley Jansen came on to over-match pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp, striking him out to end the ball game.
If the Phillies want to have even a shot at winning this series they are going to have to find a way to beat future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw on Saturday night. To make matters even worse, the Phillies do not have a named starter for that tilt, and could well go with a bullpen game or an opener followed by, well, who knows?

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

  • Jake Arrieta: 5 IP, 10 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. Threw 97 pitches, 63 for strikes.
  • Kenta Maeda: 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts. Threw 88 pitches, 57 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: JOC PEDERSON

This could have gone to either Pederson or Muncy. The pick was Pederson since his base hit started the 3rd inning, and then his leadoff homer in the bottom of the 5th immediately put the Dodgers back on top after the Phillies had tied it back up. Pederson went 2-4 with two runs scored and the home run on the night.

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MLB Japan Series roster will include two members of the Philadelphia Phillies

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Hoskins will likely play the outfield and first base in Japan

The roster for the team representing Major League Baseball in the 2018 Japan All-Star Series against stars from Nippon Professional Baseball was announced today.

Two Phillies players, Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana, were named as members of the MLB squad. They will take part in a series of seven games to be played between the MLB and NPB stars from November 8-15 at various ball parks across Japan.
Santana was named as an infielder, with Hoskins listed as an outfielder. Other infielders named to the MLB roster were Whit MerrifieldChris TaylorEugenio Suarez, and Amed Rosario. With none of those as natural first basemen, you could see both Santana and Hoskins man the position in a platoon.
Others listed as outfielders on the roster were Mitch HanigerKevin PillarEnrique Hernandez, and a pair of exciting young players from Phillies division rivals, Ronald Acuna of the Braves and Juan Soto of the Nationals. The catchers for the MLB squad will be Yadier MolinaRobinson Chirinos, and J.T. Realmuto.
The MLB pitching staff will feature two members of the World Series-champion Boston Red Sox, left-hander Brian Johnson and righty Hector Velazquez.
The only southpaws on the MLB staff will be Daniel Norris and Vidal Nuno.
Also on the MLB staff will be right-hander Kenta Maeda of the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Maeda hails from Senboku-gun, Japan, which is in the northern part of the main island, about 350 miles north of Tokyo.
MLB will be sending an experienced coaching staff under manager Don Mattingly. The staff will include former playing greats Edgar Martinez and Hideki Matsui, the latter of whom was the 2009 World Series MVP in the New York Yankees six-game victory over the Phillies.
This will be the 37th time that MLB stars have toured Japan dating back to 1908. MLB Network will provide live coverage of most of the games and many events. The games will take place in the Tokyo Dome, at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima, and at the Nagoya Dome in Nagoya.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Two Phillies named to MLB Japan All-Star Series roster

Seager Should Be Unanimous NL Rookie of the Year

This coming Monday evening on the MLB Network, baseball’s official National League Rookie of the Year Award winner will be announced.  
It says here that if the voters get it right, not only will they give the honor to Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, but they will give him that award with a unanimous vote.
There was a time when this award seemed to be owned by the Dodgers organization. Between 1992-96, five straight Dodgers players captured the award.

Dodgers ROY History

In that stretch, Eric Karros (’92), Mike Piazza (’93), Raul Mondesi (’94), Hideo Nomo(’95) and Todd Hollandsworth (’96) received the NL honors.
Just over a decade earlier, four straight Dodgers rookies took home the hardware. Rick Sutcliffe (’79), Steve Howe (’80), Fernando Valenzuela (’81) and Steve Sax (’82) each won the award in succession.
Going back through history, seven more Dodgers have won the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Ted Sizemore (’69), Jim Lefebvre (’65), Frank Howard (’60), Jim Gilliam (’53), Joe Black (’52) and Don Newcombe (’49) finished atop the voting.
The first-ever winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award was, in fact, a Dodgers player. Jackie Robinson took home those honors for his work in the 1947 season when he broke the MLB color barrier.

Seager Actually Broke in End of 2015

Seager actually received substantial playing time in the 2015 season. He received a September promotion, and quickly replaced Jimmy Rollins as the Dodgers’ starter at the shortstop position.
In 2015, Seager received 113 plate appearances and 98 at-bats. A player retains official rookie eligibility until reaching 130 at-bats. He received another 16 ABs during the 2015 NLDS.
This year’s stats are what he will be judged on by the voters, and he was nothing short of spectacular. Seager hit for a .308/.365/.512 slash line with 26 homers, 72 RBI, 71 extra-base hits, and 105 runs scored. He was also named to the first of what should prove to be numerous NL All-Star Game appearances.

Other 2016 NL ROY Candidates

One of the three finalists for the award is Seager’s teammate, Japanese import pitcher Kenta Maeda. The other is Washington Nationals infielder/outfielder Trea Turner.
Maeda is a worthy nominee after going 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA in tossing 175.2 innings over 32 starts. The 28-year-old was in his first MLB campaign after eight seasons in the Japanese Central League.
Turner was promoted for a couple of games in early June, then brought back for good just before the All-Star break by the Nats. He hit for a .342/.370/.567 slash line with 13 homers, 40 RBI, 53 runs, and 33 steals over 324 plate appearance while splitting time between center field and second base.

My IBWAA Ballot

On my IBWAA ballot, my selections for the NL Rookie of the Year were Seager as the winner with Maeda getting my third place vote. I chose St. Louis Cardinals reliever Seung-hwan Oh for my second place vote.
Oh is a 34-year-old from South Korea who split the last 11 years playing professionally in Korea and Japan. In his first big league season with the Cards he appeared in 76 games, registering 19 saves. He had a 1.92 ERA and 0.916 WHIP, with a 103/18 K:BB ratio while allowing just 55 hits in 79.2 innings.
In any other season, the other two official nominees and my runner-up Oh might each be the favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Certainly an argument could be made by someone who might want to toss them a first place vote on their ballot.
However, it says here that Seager was clearly the best first-year player from start to finish. In fact, he was one of the best all-around players in the game this season. He deserves a first place vote from everyone, and should be the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year.