Tag Archives: Zach Britton

The Phillies are being linked to numerous deals in this Hot Stove season

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The Phillies are being linked to closer Craig Kimbrel and many other free agents

This past weekend saw the annual holiday shopping season open with the mall-walking and store-hopping zaniness of Black Friday. Today has become known as ‘Cyber Monday’, where the gift-purchasing moves to the internet.

The teams of Major League Baseball are also doing some shopping of their own. New rumor logs are being tossed on the Hot Stove fires on a daily basis at this point, keeping baseball fans warm with thoughts of moves by their favorite teams to put them over the top.
To categorize things down in South Philly at the offices of the Philadelphia Phillies as “hot” might actually be an understatement. The team is being linked on a regular basis with almost every half-decent free agent name and trade candidate available.
We have already covered two big names today here at Phillies Nation with my piece on the GM Matt Klentak’s reported talks with Arizona regarding Dbacks superstar Paul Goldschmidt. And our Drew Rhoades wrote of the Phillies interest in lefty reliever Andrew Miller.
The Phillies involvement in the sweepstakes to land one or the other or both of the two biggest-ticket items this holiday season is well known. Both outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop Manny Machado are apparently at the very top of the Phillies shopping wish list.
However, as Jon Morosi at MLB.com reiterated today, the club is looking down a lengthy holiday shopping list, and they very well could start checking off some other items first, while still trying to pick-up those top prizes.

“The Phillies aren’t waiting on decisions from Harper and Machado as the team ambitiously pursues upgrades to its roster…sources said it’s possible the Phils will sign multiple free agents before Harper or Machado agree to terms.”

Morosi ticked off some names that his sources have revealed are on that Phillies shopping list including pitchers Patrick CorbinNathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ. The list also includes outfielders A.J. Pollock and Michael Brantley.
Also mentioned by Morosi was the Phillies recently reported interest in closer Edwin Diaz, who the Seattle Mariners say could be available, but for a price. Our Tim Kelly here at Phillies Nation recently wrote that the Phillies were showing interest in both Diaz and Mariners infielder Jean Segura.
Morosi mentions either of the Phillies top two pitching prospects, Sixto Sanchez or Adonis Medina, as likely having to be included in such a deal with Seattle. He also states that if they fail in that pursuit, the club could be adding closers Craig Kimbrel or Zach Britton to their list.

Suffice it to say that as you are out at the stores or at home (or work) on the internet doing your own shopping, Matt Klentak and his team down at Citizens Bank Park are doing their own.

I think it’s fair to say that if you are a Phillies fan, the GM will be stuffing something into your stocking long before Santa ever has a chance to come sliding down your chimney a month from now. Let’s hope that when all is said and done, that Klentak finds himself on our “nice” list, and not our “naughty” list.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies holiday shopping list goes well beyond biggest-ticket items

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.

Phillies targeting lefty pitching this off-season per Jim Bowden

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Former big-league GM Jim Bowden has inside info on Phillies targets

Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and his counterparts across Major League Baseball have now wrapped up the annual GM meetings, held over the last three days in Carlsbad, California.

This morning, Jim Bowden reported for The Athletic that he had reached out to sources inside the Phillies organization, along with the other 29 organizations.
The former GM and MLB Executive of the Year obtained information as to the club’s “biggest needs and priorities for the next month and the remainder of the winter“, and then gave his opinion as to which players the team might target in trades and as free agents.
Two of the needs and priorities for the Phillies would be fairly obvious to any fan who followed the team this past season: improving the offense and defense.
The Phillies ranked 29th of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball in errors committed despite ranking just eighth in total chances handled. This caused the club to also finish 29th in fielding percentage.
Offensively the club finished tied for 21st in runs scored and OPS. Despite a supposed emphasis on reaching base, the Phillies finished tied for 18th in baseball in on-base percentage. They were 15th in home runs and 23rd in stolen bases.
Among the bats that Bowden mentions as being on the Phillies radar are the two biggest free agent names, two frequently linked to the club: Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
Also mentioned as possible free agent targets for the club in the outfield are Michael BrantleyA.J. Pollock, and Andrew McCutchen. Trade targets in the outfield ranks among those rumored as available are Mitch Haniger and Kevin Kiermaier.
Infielders who Bowden believes that the Phillies will be looking at are free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Every pitcher attached to the Phillies by Bowden is a southpaw. The list includes free agent lefty starters Patrick CorbinDallas KeuchelGio Gonzalez, Hyun-jin Ryu and J.A. Happ, and left-handed reliever Zach Britton.

Also on Bowden’s list as Phillies pitching targets are Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi and Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton, rumored to be available on the trade market.
We’ve covered the Phillies interest in a number of these players already here at Phillies Nation this off-season. Continue to follow us as the days and weeks move along, and more and more of these logs are tossed onto the Hot Stove fires. We’ll have all of the most reliable Phillies rumors and reports, as well as stories on any deals that actually get done.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Lefty pitching reportedly among Phillies top priorities this off-season

Blue Jays play spoiler in walkoff win over Orioles

Richard Urena mobbed after walkoff pushes Jays past O’s
The season has long been over for the Toronto Blue Jays, as far as their own contending status. But for a second straight night the Jays played the role of spoiler perfectly.
On Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, the host Blue Jays rallied against Baltimore closer Zach Britton. Toronto scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to walkoff the Orioles by a 3-2 score.
It marked the second straight night that Toronto registered a one-run victory over Baltimore. the loss also extended Baltimore’s recent untimely swoon to six consecutive defeats. As a result, the O’s are now 4.5 games out in the race for the final American League Wildcard playoff berth.
Just as importantly, there are five teams now sitting between Baltimore and Minnesota. The Twins currently hold possession of that final postseason slot.
Tim Beckham‘s 21st home run of the season, a solo shot, had put Baltimore in front by 2-1 in the top of the 8th inning. That blast somewhat spoiled an impressive outing by Jays’ starting pitcher Joe Biagini. The righty allowed just two runs on six hits across eight innings.
Biagini had been matched by O’s starter Dylan Bundy, who lasted just six frames, but struck out eight and surrendered just one run on five hits.

JAYS RALLY OFF ORIOLES CLOSER

The Jays game-winning rally began when Britton walked Kevin Pillar leading off the bottom of the ninth. Teoscar Hernandez then singled, with Pillar rolling around to third base as the tying run.
Jays skipper John Gibbons sent Darwin Barney up to pinch-hit for Ryan Goins, but Barney grounded into a force out, keeping Pillar stranded.
Catcher Luke Maile came through, however. He drilled a first-pitch shot off O’s third baseman Manny Machado, and Pillar scored the tying run as the ball rolled into left field with Barney moving up to second base.
Richard Urena followed, and on a 1-1 offering from Britton he lined a clean single to center field. Pillar raced home with the winning run, and Toronto had their walkoff spoiler.

BOTH SKIPPERS CHIME IN

“They’re pitching well and we’re not swinging the bats well,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter per Eduardo A. Encina for The Baltimore Sun. “You don’t reach this level, either team, without having a lot of competitive spirit in you. I think both teams showed it. Two well-pitched games and we weren’t able to finish it off.”
Gibbons was quoted on his team’s big win by MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm:
“A lot of good things tonight. Urena getting the big walk-off hit. He’s been playing great. Tim Mayza getting his first. Teoscar nice piece of hitting in the ninth inning shooting the ball to right field and Maile, Lukey, with the big hit. You don’t get many balls by Machado, that’s for sure.”
The two division rivals will wrap up this series, and their 2017 season series with one another, with one final game in Toronto on Wednesday night.
The Orioles have won 11 of the 18 games this year between the two teams. But it is the Blue Jays who are gaining a measure of late-season satisfaction as they turn Baltimore’s postseason dream into a nightmare.

Cy Young Award Should Be for Starting Pitchers Only

Each year that an MLB reliever has a dominating season there are discussions as to his Cy Young Award worthiness, and baseball should finally resolve the issue.

The Cy Young Award, emblematic of the best pitchers in MLB during each season, has been awarded since the 1956 season.
For the first decade of the award’s existence, from 1956-66, there was one honoree for all of baseball. Beginning in the 1967 season, a Cy Young Award was bestowed on the top pitcher in each league.
The award has been given out in every year since its debut, including for the 1994 season that was canceled halfway through due to the strike.
The first true relief pitcher to win the award was Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974. Marshall won 15 games and saved 21 to take the NL honors that season. Three years later, Sparky Lyle of the New York Yankees became the first relief pitcher in the American League to win the honor with 13 wins and 26 saves.

Over its history there have now been five National Leaguers and four in the American League to win the Cy Young Award out of the bullpen.

Each time it happens, and in other years when a relief pitcher had a great season and came up against tough starting pitching competition, the issue is debated. Should a relief pitcher be allowed to win the Cy Young Award?
I say no.
That is nothing against relief pitchers. They have a difficult, pivotal job. But let’s face it, despite what folks like Brian Kenney with MLB Network would like, at present there are two different pitching roles in baseball: starter and reliever.
The starting pitcher has a completely different role than the relief pitcher in the vast majority of cases. Not harder, just different.
The two roles take different skill sets, make different physical demands on pitchers, require different mindsets.
For me, the Cy Young Award should go to the top starting pitcher each season. There should be an equally important and respected award for relief pitchers. Those awards actually now do exist.
Major League Baseball began presenting a Mariano Rivera Award to the best relief pitcher in the American League and a Trevor Hoffman Award to the best relief pitcher in the National League beginning in 2014.
The simple solution is to present the Rivera and Hoffman Awards at the same general time that the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and other major awards are announced.
This year, Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers and Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles were awarded the Hoffman and Rivera honors, respectively.
In my 2016 IBWAA Awards ballot, I also chose Jansen and Britton as the top reliever in each league. My Cy Young vote went to Max Scherzer in the NL, and to Corey Kluber in the AL.
That is the way it should be, with the game’s best starting pitchers battling it out for the Cy Young Award. To me, it’s simple. What do you think?