Phillies

Clay Buchholz's arm and trade value injured in Phillies' latest 'embarrassing' loss to Mets

Clay Buchholz's arm and trade value injured in Phillies' latest 'embarrassing' loss to Mets

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As it turned out, there was no need for the New York Mets to retaliate for a Phillies pitcher throwing at one of their hitters.

The merciless whooping that the Mets laid upon the Phillies on Tuesday night was retribution enough.

In a game that at times had the look of men against boys, the Mets pounded four Phillies pitchers for 20 hits, including 14 for extra bases -- seven doubles and seven homers -- in a 14-4 drubbing (see Instant Replay).

Yoenis Cespedes hit three of the Mets' homers. Lucas Duda hit two, including one that traveled 448 feet -- over the batter's eye in dead center. Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis d'Arnaud also went deep.

The Mets have hit 46 homers in their last 21 games in Philadelphia. They have won 28 of 40 games against the Phillies since the start of the 2015 season and when this one was over, manager Pete Mackanin was succinct.

"Another embarrassing game against the Mets," he said. "We just made too many bad pitches and they didn't miss them. That's all there is to it.

"The whole game, we just made a lot of bad pitches. Hanging sliders all over the place. They didn't miss them."

Starter Clay Buchholz made some of those bad pitches -- he gave up six runs -- then headed for the trainer's room after 2 1/3 innings with what Mackanin called a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow.

Buchholz will have tests -- an MRI, etc. -- on the injury Wednesday and will end up on the disabled list. He had a similar injury right before the All-Star break in 2015 and missed the remainder of that season.

Buchholz sounded like someone who expected to miss significant time.

"That's the worst thing ever, having to call your manager or trainer out in the middle of an inning," he said. "I tried to get through it. I wasn't doing the team any favors throwing what I was throwing at that point in time so I made the move.

"Nobody in a big-league clubhouse wants to be hurt. You're here for a reason. You're here to play baseball. You're here to win. Whenever you're not able to do that, it's frustrating, especially being a guy that's been hurt multiple times. I've been on the DL for an extended period of time, multiple times. It's nothing that you want to happen. For me, I've got to find out obviously what it is and then get it taken care of."

Buchholz was asked if he felt a pop or anything like that as he pitched in the third inning.

"Nope," he said. "It just hurt."

The injury comes after Buchholz made just two starts, totaling just 7 1/3 innings, with his new club. The Phillies traded for him in December. It was a pure salary dump by the Boston Red Sox, who had grown tired of his inconsistency and fragility and were looking to clear his $13.5 million salary. The Phillies took on that salary because they were looking for a veteran arm to help buy some development time for their young pitching prospects at Triple A. They also saw it as a potential opportunity to turn Buchholz into a summertime trade chip. For that to happen, Buchholz needed to stay healthy and be effective. So much for the best-laid plans of the Phillies front office.

The Phillies have several starters on their 40-man roster at Triple A and one of them will take Buchholz's spot against these same Mets on Tuesday night in New York. Among the group is Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta.

The Phils made one roster move after Tuesday night's beating. They sent reliever Adam Morgan to Triple A after he was pounded for seven hits, including four homers, in 3 2/3 innings. The Phils will announce the addition of a fresh arm before Wednesday's series finale.

Morgan, who made the switch from starter to long reliever in spring training, was called upon with no notice when Buchholz got hurt. He had to face a loaded lineup that was still a little fired up after Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos threw at Cabrera's head on Monday night. Before the game, some wondered if the Mets and their starter, Matt Harvey, would retaliate. There was no need to. They let their bats do the responding and Morgan felt much of it.

"If you’re going to be in this league you’ve got to be up for that challenge," Morgan said. "You’ve got to be ready for it. Today was just unacceptable. I made a lot of mistakes over the plate, which I shouldn’t have. But the role is the role. You’ve got to be ready for the role."

Source: Phillies finalizing 2-year deal with Tommy Hunter

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USA Today Images

Source: Phillies finalizing 2-year deal with Tommy Hunter

Matt Klentak keeps adding to his bullpen.

The Phillies are finalizing a two-year deal with reliever Tommy Hunter, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury on Tuesday night.

The experienced right-hander will join veteran righty Pat Neshek, who is on the verge of re-signing with the Phillies, multiple sources said on Monday (see story).

Hunter, 31, has played for five teams over parts of 10 seasons. In 61 games (58 2/3 innings) with the Rays in 2017, Hunter posted career bests with a 2.61 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and .202 opponents' batting average, to go with 64 strikeouts and 14 walks.

(More coming...)

Phillies seem content to wait on Manny Machado, pursue him as free agent next year

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Phillies seem content to wait on Manny Machado, pursue him as free agent next year

Updated: 9:50 p.m.

ORLANDO. Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are shopping Manny Machado for a trade.

The Phillies love Machado.

So the Phils will do the deal, right?

It's not that simple.

Machado remained a hot topic on Day 2 of the winter meetings Tuesday and the lobby buzz made it all the way to the Phillies' war room. General manager Matt Klentak would not take questions about any specific players — that would be a tampering violation — but he was posed with a scenario that would reflect Machado's situation.

Machado, 25, will be a free agent after the 2018 season. Therefore, he is under contractual control for just one more season.

So, Klentak was asked whether he would be willing to give up a slew of young talent — that's what it would take to get Machado — for a player under control only for a short period of time.

Klentak mulled the question. He covered all sides in his answer. But in the end, it sure sounded as if he would not be willing to pay the price to trade for a player like Machado. It sounded as if he'd rather roll the dice that Machado became a free agent in a year then try to get him for just money and not prospects.

"It obviously becomes more attractive to us if a player is under control for future years, plural," Klentak said. "If it’s a one-year contract before free agency, it’s less attractive. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t do it. I realize these are less notable players than what you’re suggesting, but we’ve done that with some bullpen and starting pitcher additions the past couple years to acquire a player on a one-year deal. It really depends on what the return is, what would we have to give up in exchange for that player, whether that makes sense to acquire a player on a short-term contract. The years of control matter.

"I think we have to be open-minded to those scenarios, but the scenario you outlined presents some challenges that make it less likely. But we’re open-minded to just about everything."

Any team that acquires Machado, a slugging left-side infielder, this winter would have to be granted a 72-hour window from the Commissioner's Office to hammer out a contract extension before the deal is consummated. Even then, the deal would cost a team prospects and money. Look for the Phillies to stay in touch with the Orioles and monitor their asking price throughout the winter. But clearly, the Phillies prefer to hold on to as many of their young core players and prospects as they can as they seek to acquire players who would propel them closer to the top of the National League East.

This doesn't mean the Phillies would not be willing to subtract a young player or two for the right talent. The Phillies are looking for starting pitching and sources say they've investigated the possibility of acquiring young, under-control pitchers such as Chris Archer of the Rays and Michael Fulmer of the Tigers.

The Phillies are likely to add starting pitching through a trade, possibly one that involves shortstop Freddy Galvis or second baseman Cesar Hernandez. A person with a club from a team seeking a second baseman was asked about Hernandez on Tuesday. The person said the Phillies were being more aggressive in their efforts to move Galvis than they were Hernandez. That does not mean Hernandez will not be traded. The Phillies have set an extremely high price on him because he has three more years of contractual control and that is very valuable.

The Phillies' need for starting pitching and their deep pockets have led to a connection to free-agent Jake Arrieta. The Phillies, as is winter meetings custom, met with Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, but it's highly unlikely they would sign the pitcher because he will be 32 next season and word is he is seeking a deal that could approach $200 million. The Phillies don't believe they are far enough along in their rebuild to commit those dollars and the years it would take to get Arrieta. So don't hold your breath on that one (see story). If Arrieta is still out there in February and his price tag came way down, well, check back then.

"We've spent the last day and a half meeting with most of the prominent agents in the industry — a lot of agents represent players we're targeting and players we're not targeting — and I can understand why sometimes the connection will get made that may not be perfectly accurate," Klentak said. 

"We're very cognizant of the fact that we're a large-market team that has carried large payrolls in the past and does not have a lot of future commitments. We know this about ourselves, the agents know this about us, the fans know this about us. I think it's natural to connect the Phillies to players who are going to command a lot of money. 

"I've said this before: There will come a time where those connections will be accurate and we will spend again. For where we are right now, we are very committed to giving the reps to our young players and it would take a pretty special set of circumstances for us to deviate from that."

Klentak wants to improve the Phillies' "run prevention." It would be nice to add a starting pitcher — you can pretty much bet the Phillies will — but run prevention can also be addressed in the bullpen. Klentak suggested it was likely that the team would add another veteran reliever beyond Pat Neshek in the coming days (see story), and it is as the Phillies are finalizing a two-year deal with right-hander Tommy Hunter, according to a source Tuesday (see story).