Phillies

Phillies scout says Adam Haseley will be 'a good Phillie for a long time'

Phillies scout says Adam Haseley will be 'a good Phillie for a long time'

Long before the regional supervisors and the national cross-checkers and the special assistants and the scouting director and the general manager put their eyeballs on Adam Haseley, there was Paul Murphy.

Murphy, a Delaware resident and former third baseman in the Baltimore Orioles' system, is a Phillies area scout responsible for covering much of the Mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia.

Murphy first started keeping a book on Haseley, an outfielder/pitcher from the University of Virginia, three years ago. Last week, the Phillies selected Haseley with the eighth overall pick in the draft.

Haseley, 21, officially became a Phillie on Wednesday when he signed his first professional contract (see story). He received a $5.1 million signing bonus and will begin his pro career at Williamsport in the New York-Penn League after a brief orientation at the Phillies' complex in Clearwater.

So, what type of player are the Phillies getting in Haseley?

No one knows him better than Murphy.

"Over three years, I'd seen him 35 to 40 times between Virginia and summer ball and, really, his trajectory was upward from his freshman year," Murphy said. "You're getting a great makeup kid from a good college baseball program. It's very exciting. I think he's going to be a good Phillie for a long time."

The left-handed hitting Haseley, 6-1, 195 pounds, is a contact machine with growing power and the ability to control the strike zone, an important quality that is being stressed by second-year Phillies general manager Matt Klentak. He walked 44 times and struck out just 21 while hitting .390 with a .491 on-base percentage for the Cavaliers in 2017. He hit 14 homers — up from six as a sophomore — and added 16 doubles in 58 games. He also went 7-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 11 starts on the mound, but will only play outfield as a professional.

"The fact that he pitches and last offseason was the first time he trained as a hitter really leads you to believe that his best days are ahead of him if he just concentrates on hitting," Murphy said. "He made a big jump this season with his power numbers. He's got some projection left to his body, a chance to get bigger and stronger."

Haseley enjoyed pitching, but he's eager to focus on being a position player.

"Just from a health perspective, it will be a lot easier to recover, especially days after pitching," he said after stroking a bunch of line drives around Citizens Bank Park during batting practice Wednesday afternoon. "I'm usually pretty sore the day after. From a strength perspective, I'll be able to do different lifts that will help my overall strength."

Murphy first started thinking of Haseley as a potential first-rounder last summer.

"I saw him at Orleans in the Cape Cod League last year," Murphy said. "I've been doing the Cape league for 12 or 13 years and I saw him hit a baseball where people don't hit it in a game. He hit it about 440 feet just right of center field and it was an eye-opener. When people do something on a baseball field that you haven't seen, as a scout you certainly wake up and pay attention. That was probably the night I started considering him more seriously."

Murphy used Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis as a loose comparison for Haseley.

"That kind of guy," Murphy said. "But I wouldn't limit him because I don't know that he's going to be the same player you see today. For a college junior he has a chance to get a lot bigger and stronger and a chance to keep improving.

"Sometimes you take a college player and that's what he is; you're not going to get anything better. But with [giving up] pitching and the body, he has a chance to keep maturing and become a better player than he is today and he's already a pretty good player for me."

Scouting director Johnny Almaraz summed up Haseley.

"Adam is a very dynamic player," Almaraz said. "He's a very exciting outfielder. He can play all three outfield positions. I believe offensively he's going to hit anywhere from 20 to 25 home runs and be somebody who's going to hit in the middle of the order."

How many of MLB's $100 million men actually lived up to the contract?

How many of MLB's $100 million men actually lived up to the contract?

What percentage of baseball players who signed a contract of at least $100 million actually lived up to it?

Take a guess and remember the number you picked.

With J.T. Realmuto's arbitration hearing in the rearview mirror, the conversation shifts to his next contract. Barring some cataclysmic development, Realmuto's next deal will exceed $100 million.

Back in September, I predicted five years, $112.5 million.

Realmuto is expected to seek in the neighborhood of $23 million per season, matching Joe Mauer’s record salary for a catcher, over a five- or six-year deal. (Five years at $23 million a pop would be $115 million.)

In general, contracts this large miss more often than they hit. We went back through all the contracts of at least $100 million that were signed through 2017 to put an actual number on it. What is the success rate?

Excluded here are players who signed their contracts in 2018, '19 or '20. Too early to judge. You won't see Bryce Harper or Zack Wheeler below for that reason. The list runs through 2017 and includes 67 players.

A lot of these deals were memorably bad. That's the reality of a gargantuan contract that, for so long in baseball's history, went to a player for past performance more than future projection.

Recall the percentage you picked.

The number is 30%. Yep, 7 out of 10 deals of at least $100 million went south. Some of you might think that sounds high, some low. Here is the full list. A few are arguable.

Yes (20)

Mike Trout (2015-20)
Albert Pujols (2004-10)
Freddie Freeman
Miguel Cabrera (2008-15)
Derek Jeter
Max Scherzer
Clayton Kershaw
Justin Verlander
Felix Hernandez
Todd Helton
Kevin Brown
Buster Posey (?)
CC Sabathia
Carlos Beltran
Matt Holliday
Cole Hamels
Zack Greinke
Jon Lester (?)
Masahiro Tanaka
Manny Ramirez

Posey and Lester underperformed during long portions of their deals but they were also pivotal players on championship teams. Hamels and Holliday are right on the fringe.

No (47)

Kyle Seager
Evan Longoria
Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Braun
Homer Bailey
Justin Upton
Jose Reyes
Yoenis Cespedes
Dustin Pedroia
Jordan Zimmermann
Ken Griffey Jr.
Cliff Lee
Elvis Andrus
Mike Hampton
CC Sabathia
Josh Hamilton
Ryan Howard
Yu Darvish
Jayson Werth
Vernon Wells
Barry Zito
Matt Cain
Johnny Cueto
Shin-Soo Choo
Alfonso Soriano
Johan Santana
David Wright
Carl Crawford
Eric Hosmer
Jacoby Ellsbury
Adrian Gonzalez
Troy Tulowitzki
Matt Kemp
Chris Davis
Mark Teixeira
Jason Heyward
Joe Mauer
Prince Fielder
David Price
Joey Votto
Jason Giambi
Robinson Cano
Albert Pujols (current deal)
Miguel Cabrera (current deal)
Alex Rodriguez
Giancarlo Stanton
Carlos Lee

Most of these deals were justifiable at the time. Some, like Chris Davis, Homer Bailey, Elvis Andrus and Vernon Wells were viewed immediately with skepticism.

A few — Votto, Teixeira — could go either way. Votto has been productive throughout his Reds career but the power has almost completely disappeared. Would the Reds have paid him $225 million if they knew that he'd miss as many All-Star games as he'd make throughout the deal and that by Year 6 he'd be a .280 singles hitter with a high OBP? He's been really good but this underscores how hard it is to live up to such a deal.

The two catchers above are Posey and Mauer. Posey, by 31, was a shell of himself offensively. This is the risk you run with elite catchers. The wear-and-tear catches up. Mauer didn't deliver either. He played well during his eight-year, $184 million contract but by Year 5, his catching days were over, and a lot of his value was tied to his position.

And as Phillies fans experienced with Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard, unpredictable injuries can ruin the party as well.

The Phillies still have to re-sign Realmuto. They traded their top prospect for him a year ago and he'd be impossible to replace during a win-now period. The Phillies did not trade for Realmuto to have him for two years. They did it to have him for closer to eight years.

Beyond that, Realmuto looks like a solid bet to deliver on his next contract because of his elite defense and an offensive skill set that is among the two or three best at his position. His well-roundedness should make the Phils feel better about the money they have to pay. It's not as if Realmuto's game is all about power, or all about defense, or all about speed, and slippage in one area would sap him of his effectiveness. He is valuable in every phase and that value is only enhanced by his intangibles.

Just don't ignore the precedent above. Three out of 10 is good enough to get you in the Hall of Fame, but it's definitely not a high hit rate when it comes to nine-figure deals.

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Phillies avoid arbitration, reach deal with Hector Neris

Phillies avoid arbitration, reach deal with Hector Neris

The Phillies have avoided a salary-arbitration hearing with Hector Neris, settling with the reliever for $4.6 million, according to a league source.

The deal includes a team option for $7 million in 2021, which would have been Neris’ final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency. The team option is a $7 million base salary but could rise with escalators.

The settlement with Neris comes days after the Phillies participated in their first arbitration hearing in 12 years, which went in their favor over J.T. Realmuto. 

Neris has a 3.29 ERA in his six seasons with the Phillies and last season set career bests in saves (28), WHIP (1.02) and opponents’ batting average (.186). 

The 30-year-old made $1.8 million in 2019. 

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