*** Welcome to the 2019 Major League Baseball 'HOT STOVE' season *** updates here on the PHILLIES and all of Major League Baseball all winter long ***

Monday, January 21, 2019

Baseball Hall of Fame ready to welcome Roy Halladay

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Halladay appears to be cruising towards baseball immortality

At some point just after 6:00PM EST on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 the world will learn the names of any individuals elected for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The MLB Network will broadcast the announcement “live” with a simulcast at MLB.com also available.
Based on the latest tracking of the publicly announced Baseball Writers Association of America votes, three players appear to be shoo-ins for election.
One of those, former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, has been named on 100% of the public ballots to this point.
Since no one – not Babe RuthHank AaronWillie MaysTy Cobb – has ever been elected unanimously the odds against that holding up are great. But Rivera will be elected, that much is sure.
Also faring well on the public ballots is the greatest Designated Hitter in baseball history, Edgar Martinez. After falling just a bit short of the required 75% of the voters a year ago, it appears as if Martinez will get in now in this, his final year on the writers’ ballot.
The third man who appears to be easing into the Hall of Fame is someone near and dear to fans in Phillies Nation. That would be former Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays ace starting pitcher Roy Halladay.

‘Doc’ currently has been named on more than 92% (199) of the 210 ballots made public to Ryan Thibodaux’s (Twitter: @NotMrTibbs) “Tracker Team”, which has become perhaps the most respected compiler of such information.
Halladay was tragically killed in a crash while piloting his private plane over the Gulf of Mexico on November 7, 2017. Just months earlier he had been asked about the possibility of this honor. Matt Breen of Philly.com tweeted out the response of the big right-hander earlier today:

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Looking for veteran versatility for the bench could lead Phillies to Josh Harrison

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Harrison could help the Phillies as a versatile veteran off the bench

While all of Phillies Nation waits on verdicts in the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado cases, the team is not sleeping on other moves to improve the overall roster.
A glance around the Phillies depth chart reveals, assuming the club’s power brokers actually want to contend in 2019, that a couple of important bench pieces may be missing.
Those two pieces would be a veteran infielder with proven ability at multiple positions, and a power bat who would be comfortable coming off the bench as a late-innings pinch-hitter while seeing limited opportunities otherwise.

For fans who were around during the 2008 championship heyday, think Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs. For older fans who can harken back to the 1980 championship team, think Ramon Aviles and Del Unser.
The Phillies are reportedly looking into one such player. MLB insider Jon Heyman of Fancred sports  tweeted out the following on Sunday afternoon:
Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Phillies and Rays are among teams in on Josh Harrison, a great and versatile defender

Harrison would fit perfectly into the role of a versatile and experienced infielder who could capably handle multiple positions. Now a free agent after spending the first eight seasons of his big-league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Harrison has seen action at five different positions.
A native of Cincinnati, the now 31-years-old Harrison was the sixth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Cincinnati.
At the July 2009 non-waiver trade deadline, the Cubs shipped Harrison to the Pirates as part of a three-prospect package to acquire a pair of veteran left-handed pitchers, Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow.
Harrison broke into Major League Baseball with Pittsburgh in the 2011 season, and finally became a regular during a breakout 2014 campaign. That year, Harrison hit .315 with 58 extra-base hits, making his first NL All-Star team.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some potential nominees for the 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame honors

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Manny Trillo of the 1980 World Series champs is a legit Wall of Fame candidate

Approximately one month from now the Philadelphia Phillies will announce the 2019 honoree who will be enshrined on the franchise Wall of Fame this coming summer.
Last year for the very first time the team honored two individuals, and in a rare occurrence, Phillies fans had no say in either selection. One of those was Pat Gillick, who has served for 14 years as general manager, president, and senior advisor. Gillick was the first “executive inductee” to the Wall of Fame.
The other honored a year ago was former pitcher Roy Halladay, who had died suddenly and tragically in Florida back in November 2017 while piloting his private plane. Publicly released ballots seem to reveal that ‘Doc’ is also about to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame this coming summer.
Those two joined the manager of the 2008 World Series champions, Charlie Manuel (2014), the organization’s all-time greatest pitcher Steve Carlton (1989), and the greatest player in Phillies history, Mike Schmidt (1990) in becoming the only individuals honored without fan voting as part of the process.
The Phillies had honored no one in the prior summer of 2017. That year, Pete Rose had been scheduled to be enshrined on the Wall of Fame. In early-August, less than two weeks before that was to take place, the club cancelled the ceremony after Rose became embroiled in controversy surrounding allegations that he had sex with a minor while a player with the Cincinnati Reds back in the 1970’s.
Otherwise, the Phillies have honored one individual each year other than 1983. That year an entire “Centennial Team” was named and celebrated in honor of the 100th anniversary of the franchise.
Odds are that one individual will be honored when next month’s announcement is made, so who might that be? One thing that should be obvious is that with an increasing number of worthy individuals now retiring from the 2008 world championship team, we are going to see many of those players enshrined in the coming years.


Already on the Wall of Fame from that team, joining general manager Gillick and manager Manuel, is outfielder Pat Burrell. The Phillies already have individual ceremonies scheduled for this summer to honor Jimmy RollinsRyan Howard, and Chase Utley due to the announcement of their formal retirements as players.
If the honor goes to another member of those 2008 World Series champions this time around, the leading candidates would be Shane VictorinoCarlos RuizJayson WerthBrad Lidge, and Jamie Moyer. The favorite might be Victorino after the popular Flyin’ Hawaiian was fetted just last season at Citizens Bank Park upon his formal retirement from baseball.

But the Phillies could also take another tack, choosing to honor some other worthy individuals before beginning what should prove to become a veritable parade to the Wall of Fame for a half-dozen or more of those 2008 players during the decade of the 2020’s.

Friday, January 18, 2019

In radio interview, Manny Machado's father claims son has multiple offers

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The Machado free agency is expected to be resolved soon

Things are eerily quiet down at Citizens Bank Park here in the middle of January. But that just might actually be a sign that the Phillies are preparing to light up the ‘Hot Stove’ as the Philadelphia region prepares to enter the coldest stretch of winter.
One thing that can be said for the current regime under owner John Middleton, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, and general manager Matt Klentak is that they play it fairly close to the vest. You don’t get much, if anything, leaking out of the Phillies offices until the club is ready to announce something formal.
Manuel Machado, father of big free agent prize infielder Manny Machado, tossed a log on the hot stove during an appearance on Z Digital radio earlier today. The senior Machado stated that the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers had all made formal offers for the services of his son.

Manuel Machado, Manny’s Father:

“Manny has received offers from different teams: Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, now there’s a lot of interest from the White Sox.” @z101digital @ZDeportes

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Per Jose Luis Montilla at Z Digital, the senior Machado further stated that there is a team “which nobody is thinking at the moment” also involved in discussions for his son.
Earlier this week, Richard Justice at MLB.com speculated that the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Saint Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, or Texas Rangers could emerge as such a “mystery team” in the sweepstakes for Machado or Bryce Harper.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

With much to prove in 2019, Odubel Herrera already working out in Florida

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'El Torito' is coming off a down year and has increased competition in 2019

It is the middle of January here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was seasonably cold this morning as I took my little dog, Kiki, on her morning walk. The high is expected to possibly reach 40 degrees by later this afternoon.
Down in Clearwater, Florida, where the Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to begin gathering approximately one month from now, the weather is a little bit better. The temps are in the low-50’s this morning, expected to rise to the upper-50’s by later this afternoon.
It is expected to be milder down in Florida than here in Philly at this time of year. But it isn’t quite what it will be down south when spring training opens and unfolds, when lows are generally around 60 degrees and the average high temps get well into the 70’s.
That’s why they call it “spring” training. The weather is mostly perfect for baseball in Florida in late February and March. But again, it’s mid-January. Those spring training days are still a month off.
And yet there was Odubel Herrera, running and throwing at the club’s Carpenter Complex in Clearwater on Tuesday morning. 

Jim Peyton of FuturePhillies.com captured the Phillies outfielder as he worked out on a crisp January morning.

Odubel long tossing on Schmidt Field in 50 degree weather. That's Jose Alvarez in the background

See jim peyton's other Tweets

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Phillies third baseman of the future? Alec Bohm ready to show it is him

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Bohm was the Phillies 2018 first round draft pick out of Wichita State

Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have justifiably been distracted in recent weeks by two names. But while Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are gathering contract offers and making their final decisions, perhaps we can take some time to talk about other topics related to the ball club?
There are other possible Hot Stove situations further out on the horizon that have also received some attention from the fans. One of those could come next Fall, when third baseman Nolan Arenado is due to become a free agent if he and the Colorado Rockies cannot reach a contract extension.
Having acquired Jean Segura via trade earlier this off-season, the Phillies would like Machado to play third base for them. If that were to come to pass, then the hot corner would be filled for the foreseeable future.
However, should the club fail to land Machado this year or Arenado next, the Phillies future third baseman could already be in the organization. And I’m not talking about incumbent Maikel Franco.
Last June the Phillies made Alec Bohm of Wichita State University their choice in the first round at third overall in the MLB Amateur Draft. With an advanced bat, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of seasons before Bohm is ready for a crack at the big-leagues.

When Bohm was drafted there were many who speculated he would eventually end up at first base or an outfield corner. But as the Phillies (hopefully) learned this past season with the Rhys Hoskins left field experiment, you cannot simply stick a player in the outfield and hope that his bat makes up for defensive deficiencies.
Hoskins is not a left fielder and never will be one. Nothing about Bohm suggests that he would be a solid defender out there either. With Hoskins now apparently back and settled in at first base for years to come, that position presents more than a roadblock to Bohm.
Based on what we know at this point, Bohm is the Phillies third baseman of the future. As the RotoWire staff pointed out for CBS Sports, if the 6’5 Bohm were to make it and become a regular at the position he would be bucking the odds. Troy Glaus and Kris Bryant are the only players 6-foot-5 or taller to have ever played 200 games at the position in the majors.
Neither Glaus, who bashed 320 homers over a 13-year big-league career from 1998-2010, or Bryant who is one of today’s premier power hitters, would ever be considered a defensive whiz. Their bats were their calling cards.
There is little doubt that the bat will be what carries Bohm as well. If anyone knows hitting, it’s Charlie Manuel. The Phillies 2008 World Series-winning manager was quoted on that bat by Jim Salisbury for Baseball America back in November:

Monday, January 14, 2019

Marwin Gonzalez and others available who could still help the Phillies

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Versatile Marwin Gonzalez would make a nice addition to the Phillies

As the Hot Stove season pushes to mid-January, the Philadelphia Phillies have emerged as the favorites to land one or the other of the two biggest free agent prizes.
The club met with outfielder Bryce Harper on Saturday in his home town of Las Vegas. They have met previously with infielder Manny Machado at Citizens Bank Park.
Both meetings seemed to go well. There are some, in fact, who have speculated that the Phillies could still actually make a run at both young superstars.
But what happens if their efforts to land one of these marquee talents should fail? Where do the Phillies look to help bolster their roster if they still want to be competitive in what promises to be a tough National League East Division race in 2019?
One direction that the club could go would be to try and put together a top -tier pitching staff. For that to happen they would need to add one, possibly two more starting pitchers to the rotation.
The name that has floated out there the most and longest still remains available. That would be free agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who would slot perfectly into the Phillies rotation between Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.
The club could then also take a run at reliever Craig Kimbrel. Bringing him on board to close out games with David RobertsonHector NerisSeranthony DominguezPat Neshek and the rest of an already improved bullpen in various setup and matchup roles would make the Phillies bullpen truly elite.
A.J. Pollock remains available as an outfield option. The 31-year-old seven-year veteran is not the true impact bat that the club is hoping to add in Harper or Machado. He would make for a poor consolation prize. But on a shorter-term deal, the 2015 Gold Glove Award winner could at least upgrade the Phillies defense in center field while providing some level of offensive value.
Marwin Gonzalez will turn 30-year-old in the middle of spring training. He would not bring the speed that Pollock possesses, but would bring more lineup versatility. Gonzalez is a switch-hitter who can legitimately cover a corner outfield spot and play almost anywhere on the infield as well.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak would almost certainly continue to look around for fits in trade as well. Any of the current outfielders besides Andrew McCutchen and any of the starting pitchers beyond Nolan and Arrieta would presumably be available. The club also has a nice depth of relief pitching from which a trade partner to choose.
In a trade, the Phillies would almost certainly be looking for a corner outfielder with some proven pop. They would also be trying to land an experienced left-handed starting pitcher.