Phillies

Odubel Herrera has sore shoulder; Gabe Kapler says it's a non-issue

usa-odubel-herrera.jpg
USA Today Images

Odubel Herrera has sore shoulder; Gabe Kapler says it's a non-issue

TAMPA, Fla. — Odubel Herrera got his work in back in Clearwater and did not make the trip to Steinbrenner Field for Monday night’s Grapefruit League game against the Yankees.

Herrera’s only game action in four games this spring came Sunday when he served as the Phillies' designated hitter. He has not played the field.

Earlier Monday, Herrera reported some soreness in his right shoulder.

Manager Gabe Kapler called it some "natural muscle soreness" that is common early in spring training.

“He’s healthy, but we’re wanting to work his arm into baseball shape,” Kapler said.

Kapler did not have a timetable for when Herrera would play the field. He stressed that Herrera’s condition really was not unusual, that it's a long spring and Herrera would get plenty of reps.

“There is zero concern,” Kapler said. “Zero concern among our medical people, Odubel or our staff.”

Phillies are in a tricky spot with Justin Bour

usa_justin_bour_phillies.jpg
USA Today Images

Phillies are in a tricky spot with Justin Bour

It feels safe to say that two of the four veteran bats the Phillies acquired in July and August — Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Bautista — will not be back next season.

Wilson Ramos is definitely worth bringing back, as long as the price makes sense and the Phils feel somewhat confident about his health. Ramos will have more than a few suitors because he's not just the best catcher on the free-agent market (assuming the Dodgers re-sign Yasmani Grandal), he's one of the best free-agent hitters at any position.

What about Justin Bour?

The Phillies are in an interesting situation with the 30-year-old first baseman. He's arbitration eligible this offseason for the second time after making $3.4 million last season. The expectation is he will be paid something in the vicinity of $5 million next season.

Would the Phillies pay $5 million to a first baseman off the bench?

Bour provided real value as a pinch-hitter in 2018, going 8 for 25 (.320) with a double, three homers and 11 RBI. He hit just .227 overall this past season, but from 2015 through 2017, his OPS was nearly 30 percent better than the league average. Bour hit .272/.344/.498 over that three-year span with an average of 21 homers in 109 games.

The 2019 Phillies would be a better team with Bour on the bench than without. He could play the Greg Dobbs role. 

The big difference, though, is that Dobbs never made more than $1.35 million here. And Dobbs could play both infield corners and both outfield corners. Bour cannot. He is a more one-dimensional player who can play one position. That is not a knock on him, just the reality. The dimension he brings is worthwhile because every team needs left-handed power off the bench.

The Phillies have three choices with Bour this offseason:

• Keep him for about $5 million

• Try to trade him

• Non-tender him

If the Phils non-tender him, Bour will be picked up quickly by another club. And while Bour does have value for the aforementioned reasons, there does not figure to be an expansive trade market for his services because other teams will be hesitant to pay that $5 million (unless they plan to start him at 1B). 

Plus, other teams know the situation the Phillies are in. They know they could just wait it out and try to sign Bour after the Phils non-tender him.

Acquiring Bour on Aug. 10 for minor-league lefty McKenzie Mills was a solid trade by the Phillies that turned out not to matter. He could make more of a difference for them over a full season in 2019, but it would require the Phils to pay more than usual for a bench bat. They have the money to do it, but based on the projected salary, Bour would probably be among the first to go if the Phillies spend a lot of money elsewhere.

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.

More on the Phillies

What Phillies need more of from Rhys Hoskins in 2019

ap-rhys-hoskins-phillies-nationals.jpg
AP Images

What Phillies need more of from Rhys Hoskins in 2019

Throughout the offseason, we'll take a look at the best and worst aspect of each key Phillie's season and look ahead at what the goal should be for 2019.

We started last week with Jorge Alfaro.

Today: Rhys Hoskins

"35 and 100" was a popular prediction from baseball fans for Rhys Hoskins in 2018, his first full season in the majors.

Hoskins was coming off a 50-game stint in 2017 in which he hit 18 homers, drove in 48 runs and hit .259/.396/.618. Expectations were extremely high.

Hoskins came very close to reaching those two benchmarks this past season, finishing with 34 homers and 96 RBI. He also hit 38 doubles and walked 87 times. 

This is legit middle-of-the-order production and it bodes well for Hoskins' future. He will only become a wiser hitter as he gets more of a book on the pitchers he'll face. Oftentimes, things click for a player in his late-20s. If Hoskins does indeed have another gear to unlock, he could be a top-10 bat in the National League.

As always, though, still areas that require improvement.

Streakiness

You often hear with power hitters that when they homer, they homer in bunches. For Hoskins, that truth has been even more exaggerated than for most.

Hoskins had those 34 homers despite going at least a week without a home run 14 different times. There are about 25 weeks in a season.

Hoskins went crazy out of the All-Star break, hitting .357/.455/.911 with eight homers, seven doubles and 16 RBI in his first 14 games of the second half. He credited the Home Run Derby with reawakening his pull-side power and aggressiveness.

Then: 1 for 27, no extra-base hits in eight games

Then: 3 homers in the next four games

Then: Hit .188, one extra-base hit (a double) the next eight games

Then: Back-to-back games with homers

Then: 2 for 27, one extra-base hit (a double) the next eight games

Then: Three straight games with homers

This streakiness stands out, even in an age of incomplete, streaky power hitters.

The end-of-season totals are nearly where the Phillies want them to be for Hoskins, but there's no question they would have been a better offense had he been even "OK" during a few of those home run droughts. The issue was that when it wasn't a peak, it was a deep valley, especially in the second half.

The beginning of August was when the Phils' downward spiral began. And in 50 games from Aug. 4 through the end of that horrific, penultimate series at Coors Field, Hoskins hit .197 with a .302 OBP.

Consistency is what every player seeks, but it can be an empty word because a player can be consistent even when the results aren't showing. For Hoskins, it just means a couple more hits a month. Had he gotten two more hits a month this season, he'd have been just under .270 with an OBP just under .370.

If Hoskins can go from .246/.354/.496 in 2018 to .265/.370/.515 next season — a realistic goal — the Phillies will have fewer nights when you look up in the sixth inning and they have no runs on two singles.

Defensively, Hoskins isn't going to compete for Gold Gloves, even if/when he returns to first base. He's an average defender there but a liability in left field.

That said, the offense more than made up for the defense, even during an up-and-down 2018. The Phillies still have the building block they thought they had before the season. That's one question that did get answered.

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.

More on the Phillies