Phillies

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

BOX SCORE

Yes, Rhys Hoskins hit another home run.
 
Moving on ... the Phillies routed the Miami Marlins for the second straight night Thursday, scoring a 10-0 win on the strength of three home runs in the second inning and a solid pitching performance from Jake Thompson.
 
The Phillies swept the reeling Marlins and outscored them, 18-1, these last two nights.
 
Miami has lost 15 of 17.
 
• Hoskins clubbed his 18th homer in 34 games and it was noteworthy because it was his first to the opposite field (see video). All of his previous 17 homers were from dead center to left field.
 
• We haven't seen a player work counts like Hoskins since Chase Utley and Jayson Werth. Ten of Hoskins' homers have come with two strikes.
 
• More Hoskins-mania: He has 130 RBIs between the minors and the majors this season, the most among all professional players. His combined total of 47 homers is second only to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton (54). Hoskins is slashing .314/.442/.805 (see story).
 
• The Marlins have been a frequent opponent of the Phillies during Hoskins' time in the majors. He already qualifies as a Marlins killer. In 10 games, he has eight homers and 19 RBIs against them.
 
• Freddy Galvis singled and belted a two-run homer. He is hitting .256 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He does not have a great on-base percentage (.308) but it is much improved from last year's mark of .274. He plays Gold Glove caliber defense. The Phillies front office wants to build a lineup around players with high on-base marks and that points to J.P. Crawford being the shortstop possibly as soon as opening day 2018 and Galvis being shopped for pitching this winter. Surely, the Phillies should be able to get value for a player like Galvis.
 
• The Phillies had 14 hits, including four homers. Every one of their starting position players collected a hit before the game was two innings old.
 
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro clubbed the first of three Phillies' homers in the second inning, a mammoth, 459-foot shot into the second deck above left field. It came off the bat at 109 mph. Alfaro's game needs work, particularly behind the plate, but he's got two big power tools in his bat and his arm. If he can ever add around those ...
 
• Marlins manager Don Mattingly started a watered-down lineup that did not include regular outfielders Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Together that group has hit 104 home runs this season. Mattingly decided to give the trio a rest after the Marlins lost, 8-1, Wednesday night. Mattingly, a longtime player, coach and manager, said that was the worst he'd ever felt after a game and he wanted to give his stud outfielders a chance to reset. Thursday night's pounding could not have made him feel any better.
 
• Mattingly also made a day-of-game change in his starting pitcher, replacing Jose Urena with Vance Worley. The change was made because the Marlins wanted to give their rotation an extra day of rest. Worley, who entered the game with a 6.58 ERA, hadn't started since Aug. 29 and had pitched just 1 1/3 innings of relief since then. It's tough to be sharp pitching that little. Predictably, Worley was not. He gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 inning. Worley surrendered 1,264 feet worth of homers in the second inning.
 
• The Phillies gave Thompson a 9-0 lead after two innings.
 
• Cameron Perkins' first big-league homer was a pinch-hit shot in the eighth. He went to the same Indianapolis high school as Phillies Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, a fact that Matt Breen does not give a hoot about because he thinks the world began on the day he graduated from high school.
 
• The Phillies entered the game with the second-worst record in the majors, percentage points ahead of San Francisco. The Phils have to win at least six of their final 16 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961.
 
• The A's return to Philadelphia on Friday night. Pitching matchups for the interleague series against Oakland:
 
Friday night — RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) vs. RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07)
 
Saturday night — RHP Ben Lively (3-6, 3.86) vs. RHP Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.48)
 
Sunday afternoon — RHP Henderson Alvarez (season debut) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65)

Phillies' ramped-up rebuild demands starting-pitching upgrade

Phillies' ramped-up rebuild demands starting-pitching upgrade

Let the record show that on a snowy Friday afternoon 10 days before Christmas 2017, the Phillies ramped up their rebuild.

Dramatically.

What other conclusion can be drawn after the club went out and signed Carlos Santana, one of the best offensive players on the free-agent market? With the signing, confirmed by multiple baseball sources, general manager Matt Klentak has attached a new level of importance to the 2018 season.

Just a couple of days ago at the winter meetings in Orlando, Klentak spoke of how 2018 was going to be a time to "find out" more about the team's young core of players. Who would continue to take a step forward? Who would fall by the wayside?

But now that Santana is here, 2018 doesn't feel like it's just a find-out season. It feels like a season in which the Phillies can continue to find out about players — separate the studs from the duds — and also start nibbling around that second National League wild-card spot.

Sure, a lot has to go right for that to happen.

And one of the things that has to go right is Klentak has to land a starting pitcher to slot in around Aaron Nola and the rest of the staff, which has the look of a bunch of No. 4 and No. 5 starters — until someone steps forward.

Santana's deal is for three years and $60 million, according to sources. Three years is a nice get — i.e., it's not cripplingly long — for a 32-year-old (in April) who hits for power, produces runs and does what Klentak likes best: controls the strike zone. (You could say that Klentak added two players who control the strike zone to his lineup Friday as the trade of Freddy Galvis to San Diego for strike-throwing pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos cleared the way for J.P. Crawford to be the regular shortstop.)

The Phillies need to do everything within reason to make sure that the first of Santana's three seasons with the club isn't about simply inching the rebuild forward. The Nationals are the class of the NL East, but the rest of the division ranges from ordinary to awful. The Phils, with an improved offense and bullpen (Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter), can play with the Braves and Mets and clean up on the Marlins, the jewelry store that became a pawnshop, in agent Scott Boras' words.

It's just up to Klentak to get more starting pitching, and he's on the case. He admitted that at the winter meetings. He is particularly fond of young starters with years of control remaining on their contracts. Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer and Michael Fulmer fit this description. It takes talent to get pitchers like that. The Phillies have enough depth of prospects to get one of these guys and their reserves of expendable talent just grew with the Santana signing.

Santana, a switch-hitter who has averaged 25 homers, 85 RBIs and a .810 OPS in eight seasons, is going to be the team's primary first baseman. Rhys Hoskins is going to be the primary leftfielder. That means the Phillies suddenly have a young outfielder that they could deal. Maybe they try to capitalize on Nick Williams' strong half-season in the majors and package him for an arm. Or maybe it's Odubel Herrera or Aaron Altherr.

However it plays out, you can be sure that Klentak will be creative. You can rule nothing out with this guy. The other day, we poo-pooed the Phillies signing Jake Arrieta, who is looking for a long-term deal approaching $200 million. But if Arrieta lingers out there until February and is looking for a two-year landing spot, hey, maybe.

We wouldn't even put it past Klentak to entertain the idea of using Santana at third base a little bit — he did play 26 games there in 2014 — and trading Maikel Franco. The Giants were sniffing around, gathering intel on Franco at the winter meetings. There has to be a reason for that. Also at the meetings, an official from a rival club said the Phillies weren't as aggressive as he expected in trying to move Cesar Hernandez. Could it be that Hernandez would get some time at third if Franco were to be moved? Hernandez is still a trade chip, but he doesn't need to be cashed in until July and by that time Scott Kingery should be here.

There are a lot of ways this thing can go. And with the signing of Carlos Santana — which won't become official until he passes a physical next week — the Phillies have guaranteed that the remainder of this offseason will be a busy one.

It has to be.

The stakes have changed for 2018. The rebuild is still in place, but it has been ramped up. Matt Klentak has improved the bullpen and the offense. Now he has to attack that starting pitching and he has the trade weapons to do it.

Source: Phillies agree to $60 million deal with Carlos Santana

Source: Phillies agree to $60 million deal with Carlos Santana

The Phillies' busy Friday continued with a pricey free-agent signing.

The Phils have agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with former Cleveland Indian Carlos Santana, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury.

It is by far the most expensive contract the Phillies have given out under the Matt Klentak-Andy MacPhail regime.

They had the money. When the offseason began, the only player the Phillies had signed to a multi-million dollar deal was Odubel Herrera.

Santana, 31, has always been a high-walk power hitter. From 2011 through 2017, he walked between 88 and 113 times each season, all while maintaining relatively low strikeout totals for a man with such power and plate selection.

In 2016, Santana set a career high with 34 home runs. Last season, he hit .259/.363/.455 with 37 doubles, 23 homers and 79 RBIs.

This addition provides the Phillies with much-needed pop to protect Rhys Hoskins and also gives the Phils added versatility. Santana is a switch-hitter who came up as a catcher, but he hasn't caught since 2014. The last three seasons, he has played primarily first base. In his eight seasons, Santana has also started 26 games at third base and seven in right field.

The move likely means Hoskins will play left field, and it could facilitate another Phillies trade of an outfielder such as Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr or Odubel Herrera.