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Bryan Price brings tremendous experience as new Phillies pitching coach

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Price has been a pitching coach and manager in MLB for two decades

 

Just days after officially hiring Joe Girardi as their new manager, the Phillies have filled one of the key open positions on his coaching staff.

Bryan Price, who most recently served as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 2014 into the 2018 season, has been hired as the Phillies new pitching coach.

Price brings tremendous experience to the job. He previously served as pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners (2000-06), Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-09), and the Reds (2010-13) in addition to his managerial term in Cincinnati.

Girardi and Price have a recent link. Back in the summer, the Phillies new skipper was named as the manager of Team USA for the upcoming international Premier 12 tournament. Price was scheduled to be his pitching coach.

However, on taking the Phillies job, Girardi was replaced as Team USA manager by Scott Brosius. It remains unclear whether Price will remain with Team USA through the Premier 12 tourney, which kicks off the qualifying process for the 2020 Summer Olympics and runs from November 2-17, 2019.

The Mariners pitching staff led the American League in ERA in the 2001 season, earning Price the USA Today Baseball Weekly Pitching Coach of the Year Award. In 2007, his Dbacks staff finished fourth in ERA in the National League and helped the club reach the NLCS. For that performance, Price was named as the Major League Baseball Coach of the Year by Baseball America.

With the Reds, Price guided a pitching staff that twice finished among the top five in National League ERA. However, his managerial stint did not prove as successful. Cincinnati went just 279-387 in parts of five seasons, and he was ultimately fired after a 3-15 start in 2018.

Price was involved in a highly publicized and controversial incident in April of 2015 when he went on an expletive-laden rant against the Cincinnati media after a reporter published what Price felt was information regarding an injury to catcher Devin Mesoraco which put the Reds at a competitive disadvantage.

The 57-year-old Price is a native of San Francisco. He was the eighth round choice of the California Angels in the 1984 MLB Draft as a pitcher out of the University of California-Berkeley, the 190th player selected overall.

Price reached the Double-A level in the Angels organization before being released following the 2016 season. After taking a year off in 2017, Price signed with the Seattle Mariners and eventually reached Triple-A. Over a five-year minor league career he accumulated a 31-19 record with a 3.74 ERA across 90 games, 75 of those as starting assignments.

Price has other prior Phillies connections besides his brief period with Girardi in preparation for their Team USA assignment. Phillies Wall of Famer Pat Gillick hired Price as the pitching coach in Seattle when Gillick was the general manager of the Mariners.

Phillies 2008 World Series hero Jamie Moyer was a pitcher on those Mariners’ staffs under Price.

If I was looking for a pitching coach, he’d be at the top of my list.~ Jamie Moyer

“He’s a student of the game and he cares about his pitchers,” Moyer said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think first and foremost that’s what jumps out about him — how much he cares about his pitchers. He was a first-time pitching coach when he came aboard and we had a lot of veterans on that team. He quickly earned their trust with great communication and with a lot of give and take. His style was basically, ‘What do you do well and what can we do with it to make you better?’

On Monday, prior to the announcement of Price’s hiring, Girardi had commented on the pitching coach position. “Just as important is a real ability to relate to the pitchers, sometimes the struggles they’re going through, and that there’s a deep relationship there,” Girardi said per Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “The pitching coach has a tough job because there’s so many pitchers that they deal with. But he has to know each one of them really well, and they have to trust him, and that’s really important.

Based on his long history of success as a pitching coach and Moyer’s comments, it appears that Price fits that need for a strong communicator well. He looks like a perfect fit for the new Phillies coaching staff, which now seeks a similar strong addition for the hitting coach position.

Per Matt Gelb at The Athletic, Price turned down at least two offers to coach elsewhere before taking the job with the Phillies. One concern that he had was the ability to infuse the game’s new shift towards analytics with his more natural old-school style approach.

What I don’t know, I can learn,” Price said per Gelb. “But one thing I won’t forget is the fundamentals of pitching — of competitiveness and preparation and the detailed work that is really the lifeblood of being a competitive major-league pitcher. There are just essentials to it that aren’t going to be defined by a spreadsheet or technology that tells you if you’re doing it right or wrong. A reasonable mind says they both have a place. To think that one thrives without the other, it doesn’t. I can tell you, in pitching, there’s no uniformity.

Now, who exactly will be the pitchers under his tutelage during the 2020 season? The Phillies staff finished 17th in ERA, 20th in OPS against, and  22nd in batting average against among the 30 teams in Major League Baseball this past season.

Given health, the starting rotation in 2020 is almost certain to include Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. Based on the majority of his performances combined with his age and upside potential, Zach Eflin would also seem a lock. Top pitching prospect Spencer Howard is likely to make a strong push for a rotation spot as well, possibly as early as spring training.

More questionable are the fates of Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta. Each is talented, but neither has been able to establish themselves as a reliable starting pitcher for the Phillies. They both could end up as trade candidates this off-season, or end up in the bullpen if better options are found.

I don’t speak for the Phillies in any way, shape or form. I’m new to the organization,” said Price per Gelb. “We had a good talk about philosophy. We will use our analytics and technology department in a very strong and positive way. But I think the pitching coach’s job is to help extract as much talent and build as much confidence in the group as possible through relationship building. It’s through building trust. It’s through sharing experience and knowledge. We give these guys a goal of becoming something special, instead of something that’s specialized.”

Most observers believe that the Phillies are going to need to add two new, veteran arms to that rotation in free agency in order to compete against talented Washington and Atlanta teams in the NL East. At least one of those new starting pitchers needs to be ace-caliber, someone such as Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg.

That will be the primary job of general manager Matt Klentak this off-season, providing pitching talent of a caliber that can help the Phillies to become winners and return to the postseason for the first time nine years.

 

More on the Philadelphia Phillies and Major League Baseball:

Phillies begin addressing needs by acquiring Jay Bruce from Seattle

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Jay Bruce brings a needed veteran lefty power bat to Phillies mix

It is no secret that Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has been investigating ways in which to upgrade the roster of his first place ball club.

The starting rotation, bullpen, and the Phillies bench are all areas of potential concern as the team tries to reach the postseason for the first time in eight years.
Now it appears that they have begun to fill those needs. A trade originally reported as being discussed on Saturday with the Seattle Mariners has reportedly been concluded now, with the Phillies obtaining veteran outfielder Jay Bruce.
Hearing the Jay Bruce deal is complete. Not out of question he is in Dodger Stadium for series finale today. Phillies need win to avoid sweep.

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Bruce fills a Phillies need to upgrade the bench and outfield mix perfectly. The 32-year-old is now in his 12th big-league season, and though no longer performing at an All-Star level, his left-handed power bat would be an absolute upgrade.
On Saturday afternoon, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Twitter that the Phillies were “nearing a deal” to acquire veteran outfielder Jay Bruce from the Seattle Mariners. However, he immediately followed that up with a comment that “they are not far enough along that a deal is imminent.
The two bits of juicy information reportedly came from two different sources. The first source, according to Passan, was from within one of the two organizations.

The Philadelphia Phillies are nearing a deal to acquire outfielder Jay Bruce from the Seattle Mariners, a club source familiar with the talks tells ESPN. The trade is expected to be finalized within the next 24 hours.
Another source familiar with the Phillies-Mariners discussions on a Jay Bruce trade says they are not far enough along that a deal is imminent. The sides have talked about Bruce, Seattle is willing to deal him and Philadelphia needs a bench bat. No trade agreed to, however.

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He was the first round pick of the Cincinnati Reds at 12th overall back in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas. Bruce quickly became one of the top prospects in the game, and made his Major League Baseball debut in 2008, finishing 5th in that year’s NL Rookie of the Year voting.
An All-Star with the Reds in 2011, 2012, and 2016, Bruce won Silver Slugger Awards in both 2012 and 2013. He also finished 10th in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting in those two seasons.
Bruce was dealt by Cincinnati to the New York Mets for a pair of prospects on August 1, 2016. The Mets dealt him to the Cleveland Indians just over a year later. He then re-signed with New York for three years and $39 million as a free agent in January 2018, but was traded to Seattle this past December.
So far in 2019, Bruce has regained his power stroke, having slammed a dozen homers. He has also knocked in 28 runs, scored 27, and has 25 extra-base hits. However, he is also hitting just .212 with a .283 on-base percentage. The Mariners have used him for 24 games in right field, six in left field, and in 16 at first base.

We’ll provide more information on this story here at Phillies Nation as any verifiable developments come available.

James Pazos not just a throw-in in trade between Phillies and Mariners

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Pazos arrives to Phillies as part of Jean Segura trade

The Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners have completed a tradethat was anticipated for days. In the formal announcement, the Phillies have sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to Seattle in exchange for Jean SeguraJuan Nicasio, and James Pazos.

Phillies fans are very familiar with the stories of the two players who are headed out to the Pacific Northwest, so I won’t spend time regurgitating the details of their careers.
Segura is the obvious centerpiece of the deal from a Phillies perspective. He upgrades the shortstop position immediately. Nicasio is a 32-year-old veteran right-handed reliever who doesn’t beat himself with walks, and who is owed just one year at $9.25 million on his contract.
Pazos, the “third” piece in the deal coming to the Phillies, is the player in this deal with whom fans are least likely to have some familiarity. While he is not a lights-out closer-type pitcher, he is far more than a simple throw-in on the back-end of a big deal.
Pazos is a 27-year-old native of Gilbert, Arizona who was the New York Yankees 13th round selection in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego. His big-league debut came in 2015 and he would make 18 total appearances with the Yankees over two seasons.
On November 18, 2016 the Yankees dealt the southpaw to the Mariners in a straight-up deal for right-handed pitching prospect Zack Littell. New York would subsequently flip Littell to the Minnesota Twins in the July 2017 trade for veteran starting pitcher Jaime Garcia.

Over the last two seasons Pazos has become a key member of the Mariners bullpen. He has allowed just 98 hits over 103.2 innings across 119 games with a 3.39 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and a 1.322 WHIP during those two seasons.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times found the inclusion of Pazos in the deal to be “curious”, writing the following in his own story on the deal:

“Pazos’ inclusion in the deal is curious but speaks to his struggles and lost velocity at the end of last season. The big lefty’s fastball slowly deteriorated from upper 90s down to low 90s and still no ability to consistently spot what was labeled an average breaking ball. The Mariners said publicly that it was a mechanical issue that led to the decrease, but some people in the organization worried that he was dealing with an injury.” ~ Ryan Divish, Seattle Times

While Pazos isn’t the kind of power lefty that free agents Andrew Miller or Zach Britton, both of whom remain on the Phillies radar, would bring he is a steady option from that side for manager Gabe Kapler to use in the match-up game that the skipper prefers.
However, Pazos was actually much more effective in 2018 against right-handed batters than against left-handers. The righties hit just .228 against him over 125 plate appearances while lefties hit him at a .280 mark in 86 plate appearances. Per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia he was often a one-pitch hurler last season.
New Phillies lefty reliever James Pazos threw 802 pitches last season and 736 were 4-seam fastballs — 91%

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If you’re worried that his success might have been a product of the favorable pitching environment at Safeco Field, which ranked 27th of 30 MLB ballparks in runs allowed during this past season, don’t. Opposing hitters got to Pazos for just a .233 batting average against on the road while hitting him at a .263 mark in Seattle.

He also brings financial affordability for his experience level. Pazos made just over a half-million dollars for the 2018 season. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after next season, and cannot become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as In Phillies – Mariners big trade, James Pazos not just a throw-in

Mariners and Phillies have a long and at times pivotal trade history

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Jamie Moyer was an important pitcher in both Phillies and Mariners history

The Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners appear to be on the verge of a significant trade. If the rumors are true, this deal should be announced at some point later today.

In the deal, the Phillies would reportedly be sending first baseman Carlos Santana, young shortstop J.P. Crawford, and possibly a prospect to the Mariners in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and a relief pitcher.
Assuming the deal is indeed completed, this would be the 11th trade between the Phillies and Mariners. It would mark the 16th transaction overall involving the two clubs dating back to even prior to Seattle playing their first-ever game as an expansion team in the 1977 season.
In that initial Philly-Seattle transaction on November 6, 1976, the Mariners purchased the contract of pitcher John Montague from the Phillies. It would be the last transaction involving the two clubs for nearly seven years.
On July 29, 1983 the Phillies purchased a 29-year-old righty relief pitcher from Seattle, one who would help them nail down the 1983 NL East crown and National League pennant. That reliever would spend parts of the next three years with the Phillies before a trade to Houston.
He would return as a free agent to help the 1993 Phillies win their next NL pennant, and has grown to become a beloved figure as a broadcaster with the team. I’m talking about none other than ‘LA’ himself, Larry Andersen.

More than four years later the Phillies and Mariners completed their first-ever actual trade. The Phillies sent popular veteran outfielder Glenn Wilson and a reliever who would become one of baseball’s best over the next decade, Michael Jackson, to Seattle in exchange for outfielder Phil Bradley and a prospect.

Following a couple of minor deals in the early-1990’s, the next interesting Phillies-Mariners trade came at the non-waiver deadline in the 1996 season. Veteran lefty starter Terry Mulholland was dealt to the Mariners in exchange for shortstop prospect Desi Relaford.
Mulholland and another lefty obtained by Seattle from the Boston Red Sox that year, Jamie Moyer, would help a Seattle team that featured Ken Griffey Jr. Alex Rodriguez, and Edgar Martinez make a late charge before finishing in second place to the Texas Rangers in the AL West. Relaford became the Phillies starting shortstop for a couple of years before yielding the position to Jimmy Rollins.
There were a couple of minor deals between the two teams over the next few years, but it would be a decade before another impact trade. That one came down on August 19, 2006 when the Phillies obtained Moyer for a pair of inconsequential prospects.

Moyer would become a key starter with his hometown team as the Phillies won the first four of what would be five consecutive NL East crowns. The crafty veteran lefty was a member of the starting rotation with the back-to-back National League pennant winners, including the 2008 World Series champions.

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Cliff Lee was dealt to Mariners in December 2009, something for which many Phillies fans never forgave GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
A little more than three years later the two clubs swung another big deal involving a left-handed starter. This time it was the Mariners getting the better of the deal when they acquired Cliff Lee in exchange for three prospects, none of whom ever made an impact with the Phillies.
The Lee trade is considered one of the best in Mariners history. Meanwhile, for Phillies fans it was bittersweet, coming on the same day that the club had acquired Roy Halladay in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lee would ultimately return a year later as a free agent. He would finally team with Halladay and help the 2011 Phillies compile the best regular season record in franchise history as a member of the ‘Four Aces’ rotation with Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.
That Lee trade nearly a decade ago is the last significant deal between the two organizations. There has been one prior trade between the two teams during the terms of current general managers Matt Klentak and Jerry Dipoto.
On March 11, 2017, Klentak sent a minor league first baseman named Joey Curletta to Dipoto and Seattle. In exchange the Phillies GM received ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte, who is now a free agent.
Sometime on Monday we will get the details of the latest trade between the Phillies and Mariners. While the two clubs don’t make many deals, they have proven significant on occasion. Only time will tell whether this deal falls into that category or proves relatively insignificant over the long haul.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies and Mariners have a sporadic but at times significant trade history

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

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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.

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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?