Phillies

Meet the other Luis Garcia, the Phillies prospect to keep an eye on

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Meet the other Luis Garcia, the Phillies prospect to keep an eye on

Back in July 2017, the Phillies signed a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic named Luis Garcia.

They liked him so much that they gave him a $2.5 million bonus.

“Keep an eye on this guy,” a team official said at the time.

Garcia, who turned 18 on Oct. 1, has proven to be worth the attention. He won the Gulf Coast League batting title (.369) and finished third (.433) in on-base percentage this summer. He was named to the league's postseason All-Star team.

Now comes more recognition for the 5-foot-11, 170-pound switch-hitter.

In its latest issue, Baseball America names Garcia as the top prospect — No. 1 — in the Gulf Coast League. The publication describes Garcia as “a smooth, graceful defender with quick feet, great hands and a plus arm.” It goes on to say he “makes smart decisions and plays under control.” At the plate, Garcia shows “a mature hitting approach from both sides, staying within the strike zone and spraying line drives around the field with gap power.”

Though Garcia has always been a shortstop, the Phillies played him a little bit at second base this fall in the Florida Instructional League. Garcia could be ready for Single A Lakewood in April.

Obviously, Garcia has many miles to go in the development process, but there's a lot to like and it's always fun to watch a talented kid progress.

If Garcia makes it to Philadelphia — as many believe he will — he will become the second Luis Garcia to play for the Phillies. Reliever Luis Garcia, also a native of the Dominican Republic, has been with the club since 2013.

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12 best free-agent pitchers Phillies should consider

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12 best free-agent pitchers Phillies should consider

Last week, we took a look at the 12 best free-agent position players not named Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

The idea was to present a list of contingency plans for the Phillies should they lose out to another team on either superstar.

If Harper or Machado do not come here, the Phils should instead sign one or two of those position players, along with several pitchers — perhaps two starters and a reliever.

Here's a look at the dozen best arms on the free-agent market. Again, we'll explore each player in depth in the weeks to come.

(This does not include Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner or Cole Hamels, three pitchers with options that are likely to be picked up.)

LEFT-HANDED STARTING PITCHERS

Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, J.A. Happ, Gio Gonzalez, Hyun-Jin Ryu

The best available starters this offseason are lefties, which is good because the Phillies have needed a good lefty in the rotation for four years. 

Corbin, 29, is the class of the market. He's widely expected to end up with the Yankees, whose clear top need is rotation help. 

Corbin will be a major get for whoever lands him. He had a 3.15 ERA in 33 starts this past season and struck out 246 in exactly 200 innings. He'll struggle with control every once in a while, but he has maybe the best left-handed slider of any starting pitcher in the NL.

Keuchel, soon to be 31, is not an ideal fit for the Phillies. He's a groundball pitcher who relies on soft contact, a la Jake Arrieta. Can you get away with having two of those in the same rotation, especially with a below-average infield defense? Keuchel allowed 211 hits in 2018, most in the majors.

The Yankees will likely try to keep Happ on a two-year deal. He went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts with the Yankees before getting blasted by the Red Sox in the ALDS. He's 36 years old, so he can't expect much more than two years, perhaps three years max if the market works to his advantage. 

The Phillies should absolutely consider a two-year reunion with Happ, who had by far the highest strikeout rate of his career (9.8 K's per nine innings) in 2018.

Ryu has never been able to stay consistently healthy, but he was unbelievably effective this season, posting a 1.97 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 15 starts. The Dodgers will likely try to re-sign him, but like Happ, he'd be worth a two-year offer from the Phils.

Gio Gonzalez, blah. Not the right fit in a rotation that already includes a couple of Phillies who can lose their command and find themselves at 50 pitches to start the third inning.

RIGHT-HANDED STARTING PITCHERS

Charlie Morton, Nate Eovaldi, Trevor Cahill

Morton has been so good for the Astros, who have helped him, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole all reach the highest levels of their careers these last two years.

Morton was 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 30 starts, striking out 201 in 167 innings. His Phillies career lasted all of four starts in 2016 (torn hamstring), but he'd be worth bringing back. Soon to be 35 years old, Morton is not getting a long-term deal. The Astros will try to re-sign him over Keuchel but can't keep everyone.

Eovaldi would be an upside signing. He's always possessed a high-90s fastball but it hasn't led him to consistent success until this season, really. Eovaldi had a 3.81 ERA in 21 starts with five times as many strikeouts as walks. He's also been terrific for the Red Sox in the playoffs, which will probably prompt Boston to make a push to keep him.

At 28 years old, Eovaldi is the youngest in this group.

BEST AVAILABLE RELIEVERS

Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, Jeurys Familia

All four are worth a look, in this order.

Ottavino doesn't have nearly the same name appeal as Kimbrel but, good lord, is he difficult to hit. Ottavino had a 2.43 ERA for the Rockies this past season with 112 strikeouts in 78 innings. His opponents hit .158. He has a wicked, wiffle-ball-like slider that would instantly be the best pitch in the Phillies' bullpen. 

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10 years ago today: Phillies get taste of rookie David Price in 2008 World Series Game 2 loss

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10 years ago today: Phillies get taste of rookie David Price in 2008 World Series Game 2 loss

Ten years ago this month, the Phillies won their second World Series title in franchise history. Over the next few weeks, Jim Salisbury will look back at the team's run through the NLCS and World Series.

It would be an understatement to say the Phillies entered Game 2 of the 2008 World Series on a roll. Their Game 1 win over Tampa Bay one day earlier was their 21st victory in a 26-game span, dating to mid-September.

Pretty impressive.

But after a six-day break following the NLCS, the Phillies' offense was slow getting going in this World Series. The Phils survived an 0-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position to eke out a one-run victory behind Chase Utley (two-run homer in the first inning), Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge in Game 1.

They were not so fortunate in Game 2. The bats were chilly again and the Phils suffered a 4-2 loss. They had just one hit in 15 chances with a runner in scoring position, leaving them 1 for 28 in the first two games of the series.

The loss left the series tied at a game apiece.

Tampa Bay used a small-ball approach to score four runs, three earned, against Brett Myers over seven innings. One of the runs scored on a successful squeeze bunt.

James Shields pitched 5⅔ shutout innings for the Rays and a rookie lefty named David Price closed it out.

Price, who would go on to win the American League Cy Young Award in 2012 and is now pitching for the Boston Red Sox in this year's World Series, was the No. 1 pick in the draft in 2007. The Rays brought him to the majors in September and liked enough of what they saw to include him on their postseason roster as a reliever.

Rays manager Joe Maddon threw Price into the pressure cooker in Game 7 of the ALCS against Boston. Price got four outs, three on strikeouts, to seal a 3-1 win and send the Rays to the World Series. 

The hard-throwing youngster was tested in Game 2 against the Phillies. The Rays were nursing a two-run lead with a man on base in the ninth inning when Price retired Chase Utley on a strikeout and Ryan Howard, the majors' home run champ that season, on a groundout.

The moment offered a preview of big things to come for Price, but it turned out to be the high point of the series for the Rays.

The series shifted to Philadelphia — where the Phils were 52-33 on the season — and 45-year-old Jamie Moyer for Game 3. The weather forecast was not good, but all these years later it's safe to say the Phillies handled it just fine.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device. 

Previously in this series