Phillies

Manny Machado rumors: San Diego Padres are in on Machado after all

Manny Machado rumors: San Diego Padres are in on Machado after all

The darkest of the dark horses we referenced Jan. 14 as a potential mystery team for Manny Machado is indeed after him: the San Diego Padres.

Multiple sources have told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Padres are in on Machado to play third base. This may come as a surprise, but the Padres need to do something to energize their fan base, and they showed with last year’s $144 million contract for Eric Hosmer that they are willing to spend. 

If anything, that ugly Hosmer contract gives the Padres even more of a reason to spend. Why settle for 75 wins when you’ve already somewhat committed yourself to win now? As the world of Breaking Bad taught us, half-measures rarely work. 

Plus, the NL West has been weakened significantly this offseason. The Diamondbacks traded Paul Goldschmidt, the Giants need to retool and the Dodgers do not have a better roster than they did in 2018. With a star, there would be a path to San Diego staying in the race for at least a little while. 

San Diego’s interest in Machado also helps explain why there hasn’t been much movement in a Maikel Franco trade. The Padres have long had interest in Franco and began the offseason as the Phillies’ most logical trade partner for the third baseman. 

From the Phils’ standpoint, trading Franco without knowing whether Machado is signing here would be pointless. From the Padres’ standpoint, acquiring Franco isn’t nearly as much of a needle-mover as signing Machado. 

With $300 million looking less likely by the day for Machado and Harper, it is not a shock to see other teams lingering in the periphery of negotiations. The Phillies have more than just one team to worry about. 

However, if you’re the Phillies, you’d rather have the Padres in on Machado than the Yankees. In that way, this offseason has benefitted the Phillies, with the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs all less interested in signing one of the two superstars to a huge contract than most anticipated. 

Spring training is about three weeks away. Something’s got to give soon, you’d figure over the next 10 days or so.

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Phillies reach deal with free-agent starter Drew Smyly

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USA Today Images

Phillies reach deal with free-agent starter Drew Smyly

The Phillies have reached a deal with free-agent starting pitcher Drew Smyly, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury has confirmed. 

Smyly, 30, became a free agent Thursday when he opted out of his minor-league contract with the Brewers. 

While Smyly should help, he likely won’t be a savior. After not pitching in the majors in 2017 or 2018 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, the lefty struggled with Texas earlier this season before he was released in June. In 51 1/3 innings this season, Smyly had an 8.42 ERA, 1.909 WHIP and a 50.6 hard-contact rate. 

There was a time when Smyly would have been a much bigger get. From 2012 to 2016, with the Tigers and Rays, he went 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA in 156 games (85 starts). 

Here’s what Salisbury said yesterday about the Phillies’ desperation for starting pitching: 

It is well known that the Phillies are in the market for starting pitching. They have spoken to the Texas Rangers about Mike Minor, the Detroit Tigers about Matthew Boyd and the San Francisco Giants about Madison Bumgarner. They have also investigated the possibility of trading for Zack Greinke, Arizona’s high-priced right-hander.

In addition to inquiring about and gauging what it would take to get a top starter — the price is high and the Phils don't want to give up the multiples of top prospects that other clubs are asking for — the Phils have also considered marginal upgrades like Andrew Cashner, who was traded from Baltimore to Boston, and Homer Bailey, who went from Kansas City to Oakland.

Smyly appears to be one of those marginal upgrades. 

Salisbury also pointed out that the addition of Smyly could allow the Phillies to possibly put Vince Velasquez back in the bullpen. 

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Hector Neris answers Dodgers' bombs with an F-bomb

Hector Neris answers Dodgers' bombs with an F-bomb

Phillies closer Hector Neris has been beaten up badly by the Los Angeles Dodgers in his career.

Neris has allowed eight home runs to the Dodgers in his career in just 12 2/3 innings. Most of the home runs have been spectacular shots that have cost the Phillies games, including two of them this season.

Two years ago, Neris gave up three homers in the ninth inning as the Dodgers rallied for a surreal win in Dodger Stadium.

Neris gave up another home run to the Dodgers on Thursday, but he managed to survive it and nail down the save in the Phillies’ 7-6 win.

It was an emotional victory for the Phillies — Gabe Kapler said as much afterward — and Neris’ emotions definitely got the best of him.

As Justin Turner’s game-ending fly ball nestled into right-fielder Bryce Harper’s glove, Neris turned to the Dodgers’ dugout and shouted, “F--- you!”

The Dodgers did not like it. From the dugout, several players stared down Neris. He stared back. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin could be seen inviting Neris to rendezvous in the tunnel for further discussion.

That was the extent of the drama on the field, but Dodgers slugger Max Muncy managed to get in a pretty good verbal lick on Neris during postgame clubhouse interviews.

“He looked right into our dugout, screamed at us, and yelled, ‘F--- you!’ " Muncy told reporters. "He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was just excited. He wants to act that way, good for him.”

Neris downplayed the verbal confrontation.

“It was nothing,” he said. “It's the emotion of the series, you know? It's a great win for my team. I just let my emotions get out. I'll just try to be focused on the next series. That's the only thing I have to say about that.

“Just the emotions. Just the game. I'm so happy, I'm so excited for my team to win that game. That's a good team. My team needed that win.”

Neris has given up homers in four of his last five appearances. He blew a save when he gave up a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers. (The Phils came back to win in the bottom of the ninth.) After the home run, Neris plunked David Freese and was ejected. Neris received a three-game suspension from MLB. He is appealing it.

The season series between the two teams is complete. The Dodgers took five of seven games from the Phillies and out-homered the Phils, 23-7.

That's a lot of bombs.

And one F-bomb.

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