Tag Archives: Patrick Corbin

Streaking Nationals come to Citizens Bank Park on a roll

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Red-hot Juan Soto leads the streaking Nats into South Philly

The Philadelphia Phillies (47-43) and Washington Nationals (47-42) return to play following four days off for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game break with a Friday night contest at Citizens Bank Park.

These two NL East Division rivals currently control the two National League Wildcard playoff positions in the league standings. However, for nearly two months they have been travelling in opposite directions.
On May 29, the Phillies were 33-22 and held a 3.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East standings. That same day, the Nats were 24-32 and 9.5 games behind the Phillies.
But since May 24, Washington has forged a 28-11 mark. That is the best record in all of Major League Baseball since that date.
Meanwhile, the Phillies have slumped to a 14-21 record since their May 20 high-water at 11 games over the .500 mark. That is the same record in that time frame as the last place Miami Marlins have fashioned. Only the 13-22 record of the New York Mets over that period has been worse in the division.
All of that – the Phillies hot start, the Nationals recent hot stretch – is now in the rear view mirror. The ultimate story of the 2019 season for these two division rivals is going to be written over the next two and a half months. If the Phillies want to begin to turn their season back around, it has to begin this weekend.
For more than three weeks, the Phillies have faced nothing but NL East Division rivals on the schedule. The club has gone just 9-13 in those games. That stretch ends with this three-game weekend tilt with the Nationals.
The Phillies are going to come out of the stretch with a losing record. But winning this series would still mark a big step forward. It would also move them past the Nationals in the standings heading into a very tough four-game series to open next week with the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.
Both teams have a middle-of-the-road offensive attack. The Nationals rank 14th in all of baseball with their average of 4.94 runs scored per game. The Phillies are right behind, their 4.91 runs per game ranking 15th among the 30 MLB ball clubs.
There is a big difference on the mound. Washington’s pitching staff ranks 5th in the National League with a .247 batting average against, and their .720 OPS against is 3rd in the league. Their pitchers collectively rank 4th in MLB in strikeouts.
The Phillies struggling staff is 14th in both AVG (.265) and OPS against (.799), and they have surrendered 153 home runs, far and away the highest total in the league and third-most in all of baseball. They are also just 22nd in strikeouts.
For the Phillies to actually win this series their pitching staff is going to have to begin stepping up. If the pitchers who are here and healthy right now cannot demonstrate improvement across the board, then the Nationals will keep up their winning ways and begin to pull away in the standings.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Anthony Rendon: (29) 3B – .304/.386/.611 with 20 home runs, 44 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 65 runs
Trea Turner: (26) SS – .288/.343/.491 with 7 home runs, 26 extra-base hits, 21 RBIs, 36 runs, 17 steals (missed 39 games)
Victor Robles: (22) CF – .246/.320/443 with 13 home runs, 39 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs, 47 runs, 12 steals
Howie Kendrick: (35) UT – .327/.378/.563 with 12 home runs, 25 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs, 39 runs
Adam Eaton: (30) RF – .281/.368/.383 with 6 home runs, 18 extra-base hits, 21 RBIs, 50 runs
Kurt Suzuki (35)/Yan Gomes (31): catching tandem combined for 14 homers and 58 RBIs

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Juan Soto: The 20-year-old left fielder was the runner-up to Ronald Acuna Jr.for the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year Award. After a slow start to his sophomore campaign, Soto has caught fireand helped lead the Nationals charge back to contending status.
Since May 17 when he was hitting just .228, Soto has slashed .354/.452/.628 with nine home runs, 23 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and 36 runs scored over 164 at-bats across 46 games.
The Nationals manager (see below) was quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr as this series prepares to open:
I think his overall game has gotten better. Everybody talks about his hitting, but I think his outfield play has gotten better. His baserunning’s gotten better. In that aspect, he’s become that polished player. Still young, still learning. Works incredibly in all aspects of the game. But I think we still haven’t seen what he potentially can do as he gets older.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Stephen Strasburg (30): 10-4, 3.64 ERA, 1.040 WHIP, 3.18 FIP, 92 hits over 116.1 IP across 18 starts with a 138/29 K:BB ratio. That Nationals come out of the break by throwing their three best starting pitchers against the Phillies. Strasburg has largely been dominating in what has been one of the big right-hander’s most complete seasons.
SATURDAY – Patrick Corbin (29): 7-5, 3.34 ERA, 1.112 WHIP, 3.34 FIP, 93 hits over 113.1 IP across 18 starts with a 129/33 K:BB ratio. Signed as a free agent this past off-season, Corbin has been everything the Nationals could have hoped. He provides the club a lone southpaw rotation presence, and a very good one.
SUNDAY – Anibal Sanchez (35): 5-6, 3.66 ERA, 1.327 WHIP, 4.53 FIP, 78 hits over 83.2 IP across 16 starts with a 75/33 K:BB ratio. This was supposed to be a turn for ace Max Scherzer. But ongoing back stiffness is causing the Nationals to skip him and go with 14-year veteran righty Sanchez. 

THE SKIPPER

54-year-old Dave Martinez had 16 years of playing experience in Major League Baseball with nine different organizations between 1986-2001. Four of those seasons from 1988-91 were with the Montreal Expos, the franchise from whom the Nationals are descended.
After retiring as an active player, Martinez became a spring training instructor for the Tampa Bay Rays, for whom he had played during the 1998-2000 seasons. In 2007, Martinez was hired as Joe Maddon‘s bench coach in Tampa, and was in that role as the club won their lone AL pennant and reached the 2008 World Series against the Phillies.
Martinez interviewed for a number of managerial positions over the next few years. When Maddon left following the 2014 campaign, Martinez was passed over for the Rays job and joined Maddon once again as the Chicago Cubs bench coach. In that role he helped the Cubs defeat the Nationals in a 2017 National League Division Series.
On October 30, 2017, Martinez was hired to take over as the Nationals manager. He has a contract running through next year, with a club option for the 2021 season. The Nationals overall record during his first year and a half at the helm is 129-122. His club finished 82-80 last year, good enough for second place in the NL East, but not good enough for a playoff spot.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Unless you are allergic to sunshine and warm temperatures, weather will play little role in this weekend series down in South Philadelphia. Each day is expected to include high temps right around 90 degrees, lows around 70 degrees, and very few clouds in the sky. A modest breeze each day should keep humidity levels at reasonable summertime levels.
The Nationals have won seven of the 11 meetings between the two division rivals. Bryce Harper has two home runs and eight RBIs in those first 11 games against his former ball club.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies series opposition preview: Washington Nationals

Rain takes out Phillies and Nats in opener, threatens entire series

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Rain will be a threat all week to four-game series in D.C.

The Philadelphia Phillies (39-32) and Washington Nationals (33-38) were rained out of what was originally scheduled to be the opener of a four-game series on Monday night.

The two teams will try once again to get the series underway, this time on Tuesday night at Nationals Park as the forecast once again is calling for a good chance of showers and thunderstorms in the D.C. area.
The National Weather Service as of late on Tuesday afternoon has placed the D.C. area under a severe thunderstorm watch until 10:00pm EDT, so we’ll just have to see whether they have better luck this time around in dodging those storms.
The Phillies are currently in second place in the National League East Division standings and control the second NL Wildcard playoff berth. The Nationals are in fourth place, six games behind the Phillies.
These are two teams who have been headed in opposite directions for weeks. But that direction would not be as reflected in their position in those current standings.
Washington has gone 14-7 over the last three weeks. They have begun to dig their way out of a deep hole in which the club found itself after the first two months of the schedule had been played. Meanwhile, the Phillies led the division for all but seven days until just about a week ago. But the club has dropped 10 of its last 16 games and has been unable to put together any kind of lengthy winning stretch.

TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Jean Segura SS
  2. Bryce Harper RF
  3. Scott Kingery 3B
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Sean Rodriguez LF
  6. Roman Quinn CF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Andrew Knapp C
  9. Jake Arrieta P
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is giving catcher J.T. Realmuto and left fielder Jay Bruce another day to rest from their recent injuries, which are still listed publicly as minor. Both hope to return in the coming days. Bruce was listed as available to pinch-hit on Monday night, so is likely considered same on Tuesday.

NATIONALS

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Adam Eaton RF
  3. Anthony Rendon 3B
  4. Juan Soto LF
  5. Matt Adams 1B
  6. Brian Dozier 2B
  7. Yan Gomes C
  8. Patrick Corbin P
  9. Victor Robles CF
Nationals manager Dave Martinez going with the old pitcher-hitting-eighth strategy here.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Jake Arrieta: 6-5, 4.31 ERA, 1.447 WHIP, 88 hits over 85.2 IP across 14 starts with a 70/36 K:BB
NATIONALS – Patrick Corbin: 5-5, 4.11 ERA, 1.219 WHIP, 75 hits over 85.1 IP across 14 starts with a 94/29 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Key for the Phillies, as usual, is scoring four or more runs. The club is 35-7 this season when reaching that mark, and just 4-25 when scoring three runs or fewer.
  • This will mark the 12th start of the season for both Knapp and Rodriguez, and the seventh start for Quinn.
  • Kingery is hitting .500 over his last six games. Eight of his 11 hits going for extra bases (3 doubles, a triple, 4 homers) for a 1.273 slugging percentage. He is one of just three MLB players this season with 130 plate appearances who are hitting at least .340 with a .380 OBP and a .660 SLG %. The other two are the consensus NL MVP leaders, Cody Bellingerand Christian Yelich. He is batting .385 with five doubles, two homers, and 14 RBIs with RISP this season.
  • Harper’s .917 caeer OPS at Nationals Park is tops among all players with 1,000 plate appearances, and his 93 career home runs rank second. He is hitting .385 with three doubles over 13 career at-bats vs Corbin. Harper is just four home runs shy of 200 for his big-league career.
  • Hoskins is one of only two NL hitters (Bellinger) with more than 45 RBI and 45 walks this season.
  • Arrieta will be working with six days of rest if he starts on Tuesday. The veteran righty is 19-5, 2.60 ERA in 37 career starts on six or more days rest.
  • Soto is probably the one major under-achieving Nationals hitter to this point, but he has taken Arrieta deep twice in just a half-dozen career at-bats.
  • On Friday, when the Phillies return home, Chase Utley will be honored for his illustrious career with the club on what will be Toyota Chase Utley Retirement Night. All fans will receive an Utley bobble figurine styled after his famous World Series parade speech.

INJURY REPORT

Phillies: Activated Roman Quinn and placed Jerad Eickhoff on the IL prior to Monday’s rainout. Quinn is being immediately inserted into the starting lineup, giving the club a legitimate defensive center fielder. Pat Neshek is also now back from the IL. He has walked only one of the 75 batters faced in 2019; his 1.33% walk rate is lowest among qualifying relievers, and Neshek has converted eight of his last nine save opportunities dating back to July 2018.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


National League East Report 4/22-28

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The Washington Nationals have struggled somewhat thus far

This past week began with the Philadelphia Phillies (16-12) at three games above the .500 mark in first place in the National League East Division standings. They held a one game lead over both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, with the Washington Nationals just 1.5 behind but also just a game out in the loss column.

The week began in disheartening fashion for the Phillies. They dropped their first two games on Monday and Tuesday by a combined 14-1 to the Mets. However, the Fightin’ Phils lived up to that nickname, roaring back to take four of the last five games.
That stretch lifted them four games over the .500 mark and raised their lead in the division to 1.5 over the Mets, though it remains just a game in the loss column. Atlanta has fallen 2.5 and Washington is now 3 games behind the Phillies, both 2 games out in that all-important loss column.
The Phillies will meet the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday of the current week in what is already their second inter-league series of the season. With a win on Tuesday night, the Phillies would equal their best record in the early weeks of the 2019 season by going to five games above that .500 mark. They were at 7-2 back on April 8.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION STANDINGS

EAST DIVISION

    <th aria-label="Win-Loss %" class=" poptip hide_non_quals center" data-filter="1" data-name="Win-Loss %" data-stat="win_loss_perc" data-tip="Win-Loss Percentage
    W / (W + L)
    For players, leaders need one decision for every ten team games.
    For managers, minimum to qualify for leading is 320 games.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>W-L%

    <th aria-label="Games Back" class=" poptip sort_default_asc center" data-stat="games_back" data-tip="Games Back of Division/League Leader
    Computed as games over .500 of leader (W-L) minus games over .500 of team divided by two.
    Typically computed at the end of play for a particular day.
    Blank for 1st game of DH.” scope=”col” style=”background-color: #dadcde; border-color: rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(116, 118, 120) rgb(170, 170, 170); border-image: initial; border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; float: none !important; margin: 0px; opacity: initial; padding: 0px 12.375px; text-align: center;”>GB

    East Division
    Team W L
    Philadelphia Phillies 17 13 .567
    Atlanta Braves 15 15 .500 2.0
    New York Mets 15 15 .500 2.0
    Washington Nationals 12 17 .414 4.5
    Miami Marlins 9 21 .300 8.0

    ATLANTA BRAVES (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Braves began the week by dropping two of three tight games at Great American Ballpark to the host Cincinnati Reds. Then they came back home to Atlanta and surrendered 24 runs in losing two of three to the visiting Colorado Rockies. They salvaged something by scoring three times in the bottom of the 8th to rally to an 8-7 victory on Sunday.
    Offensively the Braves continue to be led by veteran first baseman Freddie Freeman and budding young superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. Freeman has a .324/.448/.539 slash line. His five homers and 18 RBIs are both tied for second on the club. Acuna, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year, is slashing .289/.410/.526 and leads the club with six homers. He also has 18 RBIs on the year.
    Third baseman Josh Donaldson has begun to heat up, slashing .327/.453/.712 over the last 15 games. He also has five homers and leads the Braves with 13 extra-base hits. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis is slashing .333/.407/.490 with 11 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has a dozen extra-base hits and his 22 RBIs lead the team.
    The Braves two-headed catching combo has produced well for the club. Righty-hitting Tyler Flowers is slashing .367/.426/.592 with three homers in 54 plate appearances. The lefty-hitting Brian McCann is hitting .270 with a .364 OBP and has driven in eight runs over 44 plate appearances.
    For all the good that the offense has produced, the pitching has been letting the Braves down thus far. A bright spot has been 25-year-old lefty Max Fried. The southpaw is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.085 WHIP, allowing 27 hits over 31.1 innings while striking out 26 and walking seven.
    Righty reliever Luke Jackson has been strong out of the bullpen for manager Brian Snitker. The 27-year-old has allowed 11 hits over 14 innings across 13 appearances with a 15/6 K:BB ratio.
    Key injuries: That bullpen has lost four key members to the Injured List. Lefties Johnny Venters and Jesse Biddle and right-handers Darren O’Day and Arodys Vizcaino. The latter is done for the season following should surgery.
    Upcoming: Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres come to Atlanta for a four-game series beginning Monday night. The Braves will then hit the road for a 10-game road trip, one of two of that length that they will see this season. It begins next weekend with a visit to Miami for three games, then continues out west to visit the Dodgers and Diamondbacks next week.

    MIAMI MARLINS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Marlins are the least consequential and yet in some ways the most pivotal team in the division. They are going to finish in last place, barring some sort of major miracle that would need to include any of the other four teams suffering a series of major lengthy injuries.
    However, the Fish have already done some damage, taking two of three from the Nationals last weekend. They have losing records against the Phillies (2-5), Mets (0-3) and Braves (1-2) to this point. If the Marlins can find a way to win frequently against any of those teams it would be a major crippling blow.
    This past week, Miami started solidly enough, capturing two of the first three games. They split a quick two-game trip to Cleveland and won the opener against the Phillies. But then the Phils roared back to sweep the final three of their four-game series this weekend.
    The Marlins have gotten a strong start to the year from catcher Jorge Alfaro, who is slashing .297/.342/.500 and leading the club with five home runs. Veteran left fielder Curtis Granderson leads the team with 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
    And that’s about it for the Miami offense, which has pretty much been putrid on every day of the week other than Saturdays. For some odd reason the Marlins become competitive on that day. They were 4-0 over the first four Saturdays of the season including division wins over the Braves, Phillies and Nationals. The Phils finally put an end to that streak this weekend, but only after watching the Marlins roar back from a 10-1 deficit to make it a 10-9 game at one point.
    The Miami staff has received a strong season thus far from lefty starter Caleb Smith, who is 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 0.828 WHIP over his first five starts. He has allowed just 17 hits over 29 innings with a 37/7 K:BB ratio, and has tossed a pair of gems against the Phillies.
    The Marlins bullpen has received mostly strong work from a trio of right-handers in Tayron Guerrero, Nick Anderson and Tyler Kinley. Those three have combined to allow just 27 hits over 38.1 innings with a 57/21 K:BB ratio. Veteran closer Sergio Romo has four saves and was perfect in his last three opportunities.
    Key injuries: Veteran infielder Neil Walker pinch-hit in the final two games against the Phillies this past weekend. He has been battling hamstring tightness but remains available. The Marlins have otherwise been one of the healthiest teams in baseball over the first five weeks of the season.
    Upcoming: The Marlins are home in Marlins Park this week, hosting the Cleveland Indians for a pair on Tuesday and Wednesday after visiting Cleveland last week. Then they welcome in the division-rival Atlanta Braves for a three-game set next weekend.

    NEW YORK METS (3 – 3)

    Summary: The Mets pulled away from the Milwaukee Brewers late on Sunday to salvage the final game of their weekend series and get back above the .500 mark, staying within a game of the Phillies in the standings.
    New York opened the week by taking two of the three from the Phils but then dropped two of three to the Brew Crew. They are in the midst of a 10-game home stand that continues with four this week against the Cincinnati Reds.
    The Mets offense continues to be led by the National League’s leading Rookie of the Year candidate, first baseman Pete Alonso. The 24-year-old is slashing .306/.398/684 and leads the club with nine homers, 24 RBIs, 19 extra-base hits, and 20 runs scored.
    Right fielder Michael Conforto is second on the team with six home runs and 13 extra-base hits. Catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Amed Rosario are each second on the club with 16 RBIs. Left fielder Jeff McNeil is hitting .355 with a .434 OBP and nine extra-base hits.
    On the mound, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler have been the surprise leaders of the rotation. The performances of the Noah Syndergaard and Jake deGrom ace duo have been puzzling. Those two have combined to surrender 66 hits over 60 innings including 10 home runs, and they have walked 10 batters apiece.
    Closer Edwin Diaz remains perhaps the best in the game. He has eight saves over a dozen appearances with a 20/2 K:BB ratio over 10.2 innings. Right-hander Seth Lugo has also been solid, but the rest of the Mets bullpen has been a mess.
    Key injuries: Second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand by a pitch from newly signed Milwaukee pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Sunday and had to leave the game early. Initial x-rays reportedly came back negative but he will undergo an MRI today before the club decides how to proceed.
    Infielder Jed Lowrie remains out with a knee injury and hopes to return over the next week or two. Lefty reliever Justin Wilson had soreness in his pitching elbow and an MRI came back clean. He could return later this week. There remains no timetable on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who could return later this season but could also miss the year entirely.
    Upcoming: After hosing the Cincinnati Reds for four games at Citi Field to open the week, the Mets go on the road for a two-city trip that starts with three games next weekend in Milwaukee against the Brewers and then continues out in San Diego to start next week.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS (2 – 4)

    Summary: The Nationals dropped two of three to the Rockies at Coors Field to open the week, then returned home and again lost two of three games, this time to the visiting San Diego Padres.
    A big factor this past week for the Nationals was the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon to an injury that lingered. He was hit on the elbow by a pitch last weekend, sat out a few games, and then tried to return on Friday. After playing that night, the elbow flared up again.
    Bottom line, the club’s top hitter missed most of the action this past week. Rendon has slashed .356/.442/.740 over his first 86 plate appearances. His six homers are tied for the club lead, his 18 RBIs are second, and he leads the Nats with 16 extra-base hits and 21 runs scored.
    The two young outfielders who the club has hoped would step up and ease the transition away from Bryce Harper have been a mixed bag to this point. 20-year-old left fielder Juan Soto, last year’s runner-up to Acuna in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, is hitting .255 with a .376 OBP and is tied for the club lead with six homers while leading the Nats with 22 RBIs.
    22-year-old center fielder Victor Robles is hitting just .265 with four homers and 11 RBIs, though he does have a dozen extra-base hits. He is second on the club in that category and with his 19 runs scored behind only Rendon.
    Howie Kendrick has filled in well as a back-up at both third and second bases. The 35-year-old, 14-year veteran is slashing .333/.421/.667 with four homers, seven extra-base hits and 13 RBIs over 57 plate appearances. The Nationals have called up one of their top prospects, shortstop Carter Kieboom, to try and bridge the gap with the injuries to Turner and Rendon.
    On the mound, the club’s big free agent signings have been a split decision. Lefty Patrick Corbin has been the club’s most consistently strong starting pitcher. He is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.918 WHIP, allowing 24 hits over 32.2 innings with a 39/6 K:BB across his first five starts.
    However, Anibal Sanchez (0-3) has allowed 32 hits and walked 16 over his first five starts and 27 innings with the club. His rotation spot could be in jeopardy if he doesn’t straighten out and get better results quickly. Manager Dave Martinez has a number of options waiting for a shot, including Erick Fedde and Joe Ross.
    Veterans workhorses Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg have been dominant at times, but both have also struggled on a couple of occasions as well. Combining with Corbin, they give the Nationals a top three in the rotation that, assuming health, should keep them in the race all year.
    In the bullpen, closer Sean Doolittle has been strong. That’s about it. The rest of the pen group has largely been a mess. Fedde was called up from the minors to help out there, but he could end up in the rotation at some point.
    Key injuries: Getting Rendon straightened out quickly would be a huge plus for a lineup that is already missing star shortstop Trea Turner. However, Rendon may yet require an IL stint. Turner is out still after breaking a finger on a bunt attempt against the Phillies a few weeks ago. He is expected to be out anywhere from four to six more weeks.
    Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was just placed on the Injured List, presenting the lineup with another setback. He is suffering from plantar fasciatis. Relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Koda Glover are also on the IL with no return ETA.
    Upcoming: The Nats open a four-game home set with the Saint Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park on Monday night. They will then embark on a 10-game road trip beginning with a visit to Citizens Bank Park for next weekend. That tough trip will continue next week with visits to the Brewers and Dodgers.

    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?

    New rumors have shortstop Jean Segura possibly headed to Phillies

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    Could Segura be bringing his speed and shortstop play to the Phillies soon?

    The Seattle Mariners are easily the busiest team in Major League Baseball to this point in the Hot Stove season. Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto has already pulled off two deals, and is now reportedly on the verge of at least two more.

    On November 8, Dipoto sent catcher Mike Zunino and two others to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and a prospect.
    Less than two weeks later he traded away pitcher James Paxton to the New York Yankees, receiving pitching prospect Justus Sheffield as part of a three-prospect package.
    The big story over the last 24 hours has been the finalization of a deal between the Mariners and New York Mets. In that trade, reports have the Mets new GM Brodie Van Wagenen sending veteran outfielder Jay Bruce, reliever Anthony Swarzak, and a pair of recent first round draft picks in outfielder Jarred Kelenicand pitcher Justin Dunn to Seattle.
    Headed to the Big Apple in the deal would be veteran second baseman Robinson Cano along with the best relief pitcher in the game last year, Edwin Diaz.
    Numerous reports are now saying that the deal could go down this weekend at some point, but certainly by Monday at the latest. The two teams apparently have settled on the players involved. Now they are sorting out financials, such as whether and how much money would be exchanged to help alleviate contract concerns regarding Cano, as well as player physicals.
    The Mariners are also rumored to be involved with the Phillies in trade talks involving shortstop Jean Segura. In fact, a heavy Mariners follower on Twitter, Trent Hadler, tweeted early on Friday morning that a Segura to the Phillies deal could come down soon.
    Colome to the White Sox, Segura to the Phillies, and Cano/Diaz to the Mets all could be announced tomorrow, according to a insider for the Mariners

    104 people are talking about this

    How good Hadler’s information is, if at all, and who is the “insider’ providing it remains unknown. I contacted him today, and Hadler told me that he had information from someone inside the Mariners organization who had previously been reliable. That source was stating that the only holdup to the deal was the prospect(s) going back to Seattle from the Phillies in the deal.
    MLB insider Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted later this afternoon that the Phillies could still be in on Segura. If there is any credence to it, there would be major ramifications for the Phillies.
    showed interest in Jean Segura-Edwin Diaz package from , sources tell The Athletic. Might still have interest in Segura alone if Diaz-Cano to goes through.

    328 people are talking about this

    First off, who would be going to the Mariners? There has been talk in recent days that Seattle was interested in Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin. If that happens, it could be a simple straight-up deal. Same if it turns out the J.P. Crawford is the player head to the Pacific Northwest. If the Phillies move any prospect from the top of their list, it would most likely be pitcher Adonis Medina.
    Besides the player going to Seattle in return, how would the Phillies then shuffle around their other infielders? If Crawford stays, you might see the Phillies keep Segura at this natural shortstop position, put Scott Kingery back at second base, and stay with Maikel Franco at third base. That would leave Crawford as either a super-utility player or even back as the starting shortstop at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, at least to open the season.
    But…what then happens with Manny Machado? Does an acquisition of Segura mean that the Phillies are out on the superstar free agent? Maybe. Maybe not. The Phillies could still sign Machado and then play either he or Segura at third base. Or they could shuffle Segura over to second, and play Machado at short with Franco or Kingery at third.
    Phillies general manager Matt Klentak could also still jump back in on Diaz if the Mets deal somehow falls through, though that appears a longshot at this point.
    Segura will turn 29-years-old during spring training. He is signed at $14.85 million per year through 2022 when he will be 32 years of age. There is a further $17 million team option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout.

    An all-star in both the National League (2013) and American League (2018), Segura has averaged 10 homers, 50 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 27 steals over his six full big-league seasons. He comes with a career .287/.327/.404 career slash line, and has been particularly effective over the last three seasons during which he has accumulated a 13 WAR total.

    Defensively, Segura has spent most of his career at the shortstop position. However, he was the Arizona Diamondbacks starting second baseman during the 2016 campaign. Fangraphs has him at 11th in all of baseball in their shortstop defensive rankings for the 2018 season.
    In any event, the Hot Stove is roaring as the calendar flips to December at midnight. If the Phillies do anything quickly it would likely be a Segura deal with Seattle and/or a free agent signing of pitcher Patrick Corbin. The left-hander appears to be making his final decision between the Phillies, the New York Yankees, and the Washington Nationals.

    Originally published at Phillies Nation as Jean Segura from Mariners to Phillies this weekend?