If it's 1 or 2 years, Phillies should sign Lance Lynn

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If it's 1 or 2 years, Phillies should sign Lance Lynn

It's March 1 and several prominent starting pitchers are still lingering in free agency. Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb — three guys nobody would have guessed would still be out there a handful of games into spring training.

The Phillies have been linked to Arrieta this offseason — more on that here — and on Wednesday night, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported the Phils and Lynn have been in contact "in recent weeks, although the sides are not close to a deal."

Lynn has been a mid-rotation workhorse for the Cardinals since 2012 when he made the All-Star team in his first full season in the majors. In just under 1,000 career innings, he's 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.4 walks.

Is he a fit here? [Insert obligatory sentence about there being no such thing as a bad one-year deal.]

The Phillies did not enter this offseason looking for pitchers on the other side of 30, especially those who have an injury history. Lynn missed all of 2016 after having Tommy John surgery, but he did rebound to have one of his best seasons in 2017. This past season, Lynn was 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA in a league-high 33 starts. He held his opponents to a .203 batting average and .269 on-base percentage. 

In fact, aside from 2016, Lynn has made between 29 and 33 starts each season and exceeded 175 innings in all of them.

Lynn has the classic build of a right-handed workhorse: 6-foot-5, 280 pounds. In many ways, he's the near-best-case scenario for someone like Jerad Eickhoff.

If the Phillies did add Lynn, he'd instantly slot in as their No. 2 starter, and just that one addition of a solid starting pitcher could go a long way in keeping them competitive late into 2018.

The question is obviously how many dollars and years would a team like the Phillies be willing to commit to Lynn? They're not going to give him more than three years, especially with it being a team-friendly market at this point. In terms of annual salary ... the only two starting pitchers all offseason to get a multi-year deal worth more than $10 million per season are Yu Darvish (six years, $126M) and Tyler Chatwood (three years, $38M).

Signing Lynn would cost the Phillies more than just money, though. They would forfeit their third-round draft pick and $500,000 to spend on international free agents if they sign him. They already surrendered their second-round pick to sign Carlos Santana. The reason is that both Santana and Lynn rejected qualifying offers from their former teams at the beginning of the offseason.

Something like two years, $32-36 million might get it done with Lynn. Long-term financial security is what almost all athletes seek, especially pitchers with serious injuries behind them. That's why we cannot discount a one-year deal, either, as it would allow him to maintain or build more value while hitting free agency again next year when he's nearing 32.

Whether or not the Philles end up with Lynn — or Arrieta for that matter — the market has certainly come to them.

Rhys Hoskins' home run over-under is pretty low

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Rhys Hoskins' home run over-under is pretty low

If you're a believer in Rhys Hoskins, there is some money to be made.

Gambling site Bovada released a slew of player prop bets for the 2018 MLB season and Hoskins was the lone Phillie represented.

Hoskins' over-under totals are 28.5 home runs and 90.5 RBIs.

It's safe to assume more will bet the home run over than the under. Hoskins hit 18 homers in just 50 games and 212 plate appearances last season. That's a full-season pace of 56 home runs.

Now, that doesn't mean Hoskins is going to hit 50 this season, or even 40. The league now knows about him. Pitchers will have more of a game plan than they did when Hoskins was cranking jacks at an insane rate last August and September.

It's worth noting that Hoskins did slow down in the season's final two weeks, hitting just .135 with no homers and nine RBIs in his last 16 games.

But based on his raw power and the unique ability to work deep counts and draw walks, Hoskins will get himself into many hitter-friendly counts this season and throughout his career. He's a safe bet for 25-plus homers, and if I was forced to make picks I'd go over for both homers and RBIs. 

Hoskins will have plenty of RBI opportunities with guys like Carlos Santana, Odubel Herrera, J.P. Crawford and eventually Scott Kingery batting before him.

Brushbacks, hit batsmen, ejections in Phils' spring training game

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Brushbacks, hit batsmen, ejections in Phils' spring training game


CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies bring extra pitchers over from the minor-league complex for bullpen depth every game in spring training. For the pitchers, it’s a nice little recognition of a job well done. They often don’t get in the game, but they get to put on a big-league uniform and put a day’s worth of big-league meal money in their pocket.
Parker Frazier got even more than that on Thursday. He not only got in the game. He got ejected.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a spring training game,” Frazier said with a laugh afterward. “I’ll take the first for something.”

Home plate umpire Tom Hallion gave Frazier the boot for hitting Detroit’s Derek Hill with a pitch in the eighth inning of a 6-2 loss. Frazier hit Hill with an off-speed pitch, so it clearly was not intentional. But Hallion had already issued warnings to both benches after Zach Eflin had hit Jose Iglesias and Detroit’s Matthew Boyd came in close twice against Odubel Herrera. In addition to Frazier, Hallion also ejected Phillies reliever Pedro Beato for hitting a batter in the ninth. Manager Gabe Kapler and bench coach Rob Thomson were ejected with Frazier and Beato, respectively.

It made for a crazy scene, especially in a spring training game.

Herrera believed that Boyd intentionally threw at him as retaliation for Iglesias getting hit. Boyd at first threw over Herrera’s head as Herrera tried to call timeout. He then came inside on Herrera. Herrera sidestepped the pitch and took first with a walk.

“He can’t hit me,” a defiant Herrera said afterward. “I’m too quick.”

Frazier definitely wasn’t trying to hit Hill, not with a slider.

“It was a slider that didn’t slide,” he joked.

Frazier is the 29-year-old son of former big-league pitcher George Frazier. He’s a career minor leaguer who has been in pro ball since 2007 and pitched in the Rockies, Reds, White Sox, A’s and Diamondbacks organizations. He pitched the last three seasons in independent ball and is in Phillies camp for the first time.

Frazier’s fiancee and future in-laws were in from Oklahoma for the game. They expected to see him pitch at the minor-league complex, but instead got to see him experience an eventful day in big-league camp.

After being ejected, Frazier returned to the clubhouse. A text from his fiancee awaited him.

“They wanted to know what happened,” he said. “I told them accidental hit pitch.”

Kapler wouldn't discuss what he said to Hallion after Frazier's ejection. He said he would respect the umpire's decision because those are the rules.

But Kapler made it clear that he didn’t believe his pitchers were trying to hit anyone.

“We have a minor leaguer in the game and he’s just trying to make a good impression,” Kapler said. “He threw a slider that backed up and hit somebody. Beato is also trying to make a club and make a good impression. There’s no reason to not throw strikes. Balls will get away. It’s part of the game.”