The Phillies on Wednesday announced the signings of 10 players to minor-league contracts. All of the players received non-roster invites to big-league spring training camp, which opens on Feb. 14.
The most notable player on the list is veteran utility man Pedro Florimon, who returns to the organization after spending most of the 2017 season with the Triple A Lehigh Valley club before joining the big club in mid-August.
The Phillies actually signed Florimon early in the offseason, a sign that he's in their plans for the coming season. The 31-year-old played shortstop, second base, third base and all three outfield positions for Lehigh Valley last year, then did the same thing in 15 games with the big club. Florimon went 16 for 46 (.348) with five extra-base hits before going down with a dislocated ankle that ended his season on Sept. 2.
Florimon's versatility gives him a good chance to make the Phillies' opening day roster in the utility role once filled by Andres Blanco. Heck, he could be the opening day second baseman, keeping the position warm for prospect Scott Kingery, if the Phillies were to move Cesar Hernandez in a deal for pitching.
Florimon has also played in the majors with Baltimore, Minnesota and Pittsburgh.
In addition to Florimon, the Phillies re-signed relief pitcher Pedro Beato, infielder Mitch Walding and catcher Logan Moore. All are expected to provide depth in the upper levels of the minors.
The team announced the signing of six players who played in other organizations last season. They include pitcher Steve Geltz, infielders Will Middlebrooks and Heiker Meneses, catcher Eric Fryer, catcher/first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride and outfielder Danny Ortiz.
On opening day, the Phillies' odds to win the National League were 40/1.
A week before the trade deadline, they are 6/1, according to Bovada.
The Phils have come a long, long way since those final few days of March and the national perception of this team has changed completely.
As of Thursday, the only two teams with shorter odds to win the NL pennant were the Dodgers (3/1) and Cubs (7/2). These odds were released after the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado.
It's interesting to see the Phillies so high on the list, even though they entered Sunday's doubleheader a dozen games over .500 and with the NL's second-best record. Vegas obviously expects the Phillies to add a piece or two before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
The other reason the Phils' odds are shorter than those of the Diamondbacks (15/2) and Brewers (8/1) is that the Phillies are favored to win the NL East. So even if teams like Arizona and Milwaukee have more talent or end up with a better record than the Phillies, those clubs would most likely be participating in the wild-card game. The Dodgers and Cubs are heavily favored to hold on to win their divisions.
The Phillies are narrowly favored to win the NL East. They are +155, while the Braves are +165 and the Nationals are +200. (This means that a $100 bet on the Phillies would win you $155.)
The Braves entered Sunday a half-game behind the Phillies. They've won two in a row after losing eight of 10.
As for the Nationals, things just keep getting worse. Washington is a game under .500 at 48-49, and they've taken L's both on and off the field this weekend. There was the dugout confrontation between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg on Friday, and then the news Sunday that All-Star closer Sean Doolittle is dealing with a stress reaction in his foot that will keep him out at least another few weeks.
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Saturday night’s Phillies-San Diego Padres game has been postponed because of rain.
The game will be made up Sunday as part of a separate admission doubleheader.
The start of Sunday’s regularly scheduled game (game 50 ticket) will be moved from 1:30 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:05 a.m.
The makeup game (game 49 ticket) will start at 6:05 p.m. According to the team, fans holding tickets for Saturday night's game may use them for Sunday night’s 6:05 p.m. game. Fans unable to attend that game may exchange them for any remaining home game this season.
Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will be the Phillies’ starting pitchers in Sunday’s doubleheader. Pivetta will start Game 1 and Velasquez will take the mound for Game 2.
The Phillies returned from the All-Star break and posted an 11-5 win over the Padres on Friday night. That game began a stretch of 19 of 29 games against non-contending teams for the Phillies.
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