Phillies

Freddy Galvis' base-running gaffe caused owner John Middleton to send an email

Freddy Galvis' base-running gaffe caused owner John Middleton to send an email

Wondering how hands-on Phillies owner John Middleton is?

Enough so that when Freddy Galvis failed to run out a pop up that Jose Reyes dropped on Tuesday night, reaching first base instead of second, Middleton fired off an email to his top two baseball men: team president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak.

"I was upset and I emailed Andy and Matt and I said, 'I'd like to understand what's happening here,'" Middleton said Thursday morning on 94 WIP's Morning Show.

The lack of hustle was a rare occurrence for Galvis, who was probably frustrated that he popped up and didn't expect the ball to veer so far back into fair territory.

"I thought Pete (Mackanin) did a really good job of explaining it," Middleton continued. "One time is one thing, two times is different, three times is different still. But I'm perfectly OK with where Pete came out on that."

There was a lot of talk about rebuilding timelines and Middleton's willingness to spend to put together a contending team when the time is right. These are comments he's made several times since stepping out as the face of ownership as the rebuild began, including in a three-part interview last fall with CSN's Jim Salisbury.

Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from Angelo Cataldi's interview with Middleton:

When did he know it was time to rebuild?
Middleton said he was ready to turn the page after the 2012 season, when the Phillies went 81-81. With Ryan Howard injured, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino traded away and Roy Halladay on the decline, Middleton was realistic about the Phillies' inability to seriously contend.

His farewell to Howard
The famous story is that after the Phillies' 2009 World Series loss to the Yankees, Middleton said to Howard, "I want my (bleeping) trophy back."

It came up again on Howard's last afternoon as a Phillie.

"Ryan, I'm still ticked off we don't have our [bleeping] trophy back," Middleton said to him.

He pays attention to Fangraphs' minor-league rankings
"I don't know if you know this but Fangraphs has rated us on their KATOH system as tied with the Yankees for the most (minor-league) players with a grade of 40 or better," Middleton said on WIP.

(A grade of 40 means refers to a projectable major-league player -- a bench bat, middle reliever, spot starter.)

Middleton is pleased with that ranking and cited advice he was once given about building quantity in the farm system -- that if one of every three of your prospects pans out you're doing your job, and if one of every two does you're ahead of the curve.

On the comparison Jimmy Rollins made of him to George Steinbrenner
"I love the comparison. ... I'm as obsessed with winning as he was."

Does Middleton ever get impatient?
"As long as I'm track and on schedule -- and I think we are -- then I can be patient. But if I don't see that progress that's when I get impatient very quickly."

Where are the Phillies in their path back to contention?
"We're in Year 3 and I think we're on track. I like to think we're on the shorter end of that spectrum -- four or five years as opposed to six or seven."

On spending big
"Whatever we can't develop internally, you have to be able to trade and sign free agents. And we have the money to do it. Look, we had the number two, three, four payroll in baseball for like four years, maybe five. We're going to be there again. Philadelphia's a big market and we're going to operate it like it's a big market.

"The way we budget in our organization isn't that we create a financial budget and say to Matt and Andy and say, 'Here's your number, do the best you can.' We look at them and say, 'Your job is to tell us what's the best team that you can put on the field at this particular time given where we are in our cycle and where you want us to be a year or two or three from now. And then you tell us how much that's going to cost us.

"The only reason professional sports teams exist -- I shouldn't say the only reason, but the most important reason -- is to win. And if you're not aiming to win then you really don't belong owning a sports team in my opinion.

"I'm intent on winning. We're going to get that trophy back somehow or I'm going to die trying."

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

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Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

Gabe Kapler on Friday added to his coaching staff by naming Jim Gott the Phillies' bullpen coach.

Gott was the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Angels the last five seasons and the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels the three years prior to that role.

He played for the Blue Jays, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers over 14 major-league seasons as a starter and reliever. Gott, now 58 years old, compiled a 3.87 ERA while making 96 starts and converting 91 saves.

Kapler and the Phillies still need to name a pitching coach and first-base coach. Last week, they named Dusty Wathan third-base coach and hired John Mallee as hitting coach, while retaining Rick Kranitz, who was the assistant pitching coach last season (see story). He could fill the main pitching coach vacancy, although his role is currently to be determined.

In 2017, Bob McClure served the Phillies as pitching coach and Mickey Morandini was first-base coach.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.