Phillies

Longtime Phillies target shipped to Brewers

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Longtime Phillies target shipped to Brewers

MIAMI -- Miami Marlins general manager Michael Hill was traveling Thursday to participate in a series of marathons when he swung the team's latest trade, sending center fielder Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers for four prospects.

And so the Marlins' dismantling marathon continues.

Yelich became the fourth starter traded by the Marlins as they reduce payroll and rebuild their weak farm system under new CEO Derek Jeter. The Marlins earlier dealt away major league home run champion Giancarlo Stanton, stolen base champ Dee Gordon and All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna.

Hill made the trade as he began a trip to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Former Marlins executives David Samson and Jeff Conine are also taking part in the charity event.

"I'm boarding a plane for South Africa," Hill said. "The job goes with you wherever you are. When the opportunity presents itself to make our organization better, you do what you need to do."

Miami acquired highly regarded outfielder Lewis Brinson, infielder Isan Diaz, outfielder Monte Harrison and right-handed pitcher Jordan Yamamoto. Brinson, Diaz and Harrison were rated among the Brewers' top 10 prospects.

Yelich batted .282 with 18 homers and 81 RBIs last year, and he is a career .290 hitter. In the wake of Miami's earlier deals this offseason, he said he preferred to play elsewhere rather than be part of a rebuilding effort (see full story).

Mets: Reyes reportedly agrees to 1-year, $2M deal
NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes and the Mets have agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract for the infielder to remain in New York, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the agreement was subject to a successful physical. Reyes can earn an additional $500,000 in bonuses, the person said.

Now 34, Reyes was a four-time All-Star shortstop with the Mets from 2003-11 and left after winning the NL batting title to sign a $106 million, six-year contract with Miami. He was traded in November 2012 to Toronto and in July 2015 to Colorado, which released him in 2016 after Reyes served a 59-day domestic violence suspension.

He returned to New York, came up to the major leagues in July and batted .267 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 279 plate appearances.

Reyes remained with the Mets last year and was among their most versatile players, appearing in 80 games at shortstop, 36 at third base, 28 at second base, one in center field and one in left. He hit .246 with 15 homers, 58 RBIs and 24 steals in 561 plate appearances.

New York has been active in the offseason, agreeing to a $39 million, three-year contract with outfielder Jay Bruce, a $14 million, two-year deal with reliever Anthony Swarzak and a deal for a $545,000 with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

General manager Sandy Alderson said this week the team is looking at more infield options in a late-developing free agent market.

Padres: Team says social media accounts hacked
SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres say their social media accounts were hacked early Thursday and posts were made that suggested the team had either agreed to terms with free agent Eric Hosmer or that a deal was imminent.

"Messages that were inaccurate and unauthorized were posted," the team said in a statement. "MLB Cybersecurity is now investigating the matter, and we apologize for any confusion."

A photo of a smiling Hosmer in a Kansas City Royals uniform was posted on the Padres' Instagram account. It was deleted a few minutes later.

On the Padres' Twitter account, someone posted "Stay tuned ..." followed by a bulging eyes emoji, and then posted Hosmer's Twitter handle.

They also were deleted.

The Padres have offered Hosmer a seven-year deal.

An indefensible decision by Gabe Kapler in Phillies’ biggest game in years

An indefensible decision by Gabe Kapler in Phillies’ biggest game in years

There have been plenty of head-scratching moves made this season by Gabe Kapler, but most of the time, even if the decision was uncommon, the logic was easy to see. 

Kapler’s decision Thursday night — in a must-win game — to use Luis Garcia in the eighth inning with the Phils trailing the Braves by a run? Indefensible. 

In that situation, a one-run deficit has to be treated like a tie. With how shaky Atlanta’s bullpen has been lately, a one-run deficit is far from insurmountable. It’s the kind of scenario that calls for a team’s best or hottest reliever. Worry about the ninth or 10th innings if/when they arrive. 

But instead of using Seranthony Dominguez or a locked-in Hector Neris, Kapler used Garcia, who allowed three runs in his previous outing and had allowed 11 runs in his last 10 2/3 innings. 

Garcia allowed four runs in the eighth and the Phils lost handily. 

After the game, Kapler explained that the Phillies liked how Garcia profiled against the bottom of the Braves’ order, righties they believed Garcia could handle. 

But it wasn’t exactly the bottom of the order. It was the Braves’ 5-6-7 due up. And, quite frankly, it hasn’t mattered this season whether a Phillies pitcher is facing the top or bottom of Atlanta’s order. Kurt Suzuki has killed the Phillies. Ryan Flaherty has killed the Phillies. Johan Camargo has hit them. Dansby Swanson has hit them. There has been no pocket of the lineup the Phillies have handled. 

Edubray Ramos, Victor Arano and Tommy Hunter had already been used. Pat Neshek was unavailable after pitching the previous two nights. But still, Garcia is clearly behind Dominguez and Neris in terms of recent performance. Neris has a 2.57 ERA with more than two strikeouts per inning in 16 appearances since returning from the minors. Even if you burn one in the eighth, you still have the other. 

This decision from Kapler was equivalent to a manager saving his ace in Game 6 of a playoff series so he can pitch Game 7. Well, you have to get to Game 7 first. That’s the priority. Especially when said manager is treating every game like Game 7 of a playoff series, removing starting pitchers in the third or fourth inning and optimizing platoon matchups all night. 

Kapler managed Thursday night with his back against the wall ... until the bottom of the eighth. 

The Phillies’ playoff hopes are on life support. Two more losses in this series and the division goes to the Braves. 

If and when that happens, we’ll remember two instances — opening day and Thursday night — in which Kapler’s team lost an important game with one of its lesser relievers on the mound. 

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The end is near after Phillies beat themselves in most important game of the season

The end is near after Phillies beat themselves in most important game of the season

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — The Phillies’ bid to make the postseason is almost over and they have no one to blame for that but themselves.

They were in control of the National League East, up 1½ games in the division on Aug. 5 then proceeded to lose 25 of their next 40. That put them on life support when they arrived at SunTrust Park on Thursday night to take on the first-place Atlanta Braves in the first of four games.

The Phillies’ pulse is even weaker after an 8-3 loss to the Braves (see first take).

“I think disappointing is the word,” Rhys Hoskins said after the Braves reduced their magic number to four.

Hoskins went on to express hope and confidence. But the Phillies trail the Braves by 6½ games with 10 to play. There are still three games to play in this series. The Braves can close it out by winning two of them.

A consistent weakness

All season long the Phillies have beaten themselves with poor defense and it happened again in the most important game of the season.

A non-play by third baseman Carlos Santana – shifted way to his left – and a questionable decision by Hoskins at first base prevented the Phils from getting out of the first inning with a 1-0 lead. The Braves capitalized on the sloppiness and scored two runs. A wild pitch by Vince Velasquez set up another run in the third. Aaron Altherr wasn’t exactly swift in making a play on a killer double in the seventh, and everything completely fell apart in the eighth as the Braves scored four times, following a hard-hit ball that second baseman Cesar Hernandez could not handle.

The defense let the Phillies down.

“I think that's a fair assessment of the situation,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “There were a number of plays that we could have executed more successfully, for sure.”

Kapler started Altherr in left field for his defense. In the seventh, Dansby Swanson doubled to left against Tommy Hunter and scored the tie-breaking run on a double by Lucas Duda. Could Altherr have held Swanson to a single?

“I think Aaron can be more aggressive getting to that ball,” Kapler said. “It's something I want to talk to him about before I could really assess the situation. I'd like to hear what was on his mind.”

Altherr said he took a cautious route to the ball because he did not want it to get by him.

Hunter blamed no one.

“I made the pitch and he hit it,” the reliever and losing pitcher said.

Bullpen usage in question

Luis Garcia got torched for four runs in the eighth turning a one-run deficit into a five-run deficit.

Why not go to Seranthony Dominguez or Hector Neris to keep the game close in a high-leverage spot?

“We really liked that pocket of the lineup, the bottom of the lineup, for Luis,” Kapler said. “We knew we had to cover potentially more innings and probably most critically, we had planned on using Seranthony and Neris with a tie ballgame or with a lead, given how much they've worked and given how much we may be leaning on them in the next couple of days. That's not to say we weren't doing anything but trying to win tonight's game. Luis, a sinkerball pitcher with right-handed guys at the bottom of the lineup, profiled well. Coming into this year, he was the guy who was going to handle that part of the lineup. Nothing has changed as it relates to our confidence in Luis Garcia. We demonstrated that confidence and it didn't work out.”

And now it’s almost over.

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