Phillies

Phillies acquire reliever Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins

Phillies acquire reliever Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins

Less than two weeks away from the MLB trade deadline, the Phillies on Saturday announced a trade for right-handed reliever Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash considerations.

Morin, 28, was originally drafted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Angels in the 13th round out of the University of North Carolina. In six seasons for four teams, Morin is 10-8 with a 4.48 ERA. This season, he has appeared in 23 games for the Twins and over 22 2/3 innings, he has a very respectable 3.18 ERA and 0.971 WHIP.

Something doesn’t quite add up, though.

Before we take a look at what Morin can offer the Phillies, we first have to consider why the Twins are offloading him. The upstart Twins are in first place in the AL Central and have playoff and World Series aspirations of their own. They’re 12th in the major leagues with a 4.28 bullpen ERA and good relief pitching never goes out of style, especially when you’re only getting cash considerations in return.

Morin was designated for assignment despite his decent season-long numbers because of regression toward his career stats. Morin started hot but has allowed 10 runs, seven earned, on 13 hits over his past 11 1/3 innings. That’s not exactly what you’d like to see on a contending team looking for a stable bullpen arm.

Enter the Phillies, who are in a similar spot, battling for a playoff position and looking to bolster a bullpen that has let them down considerably of late. They are 25th in the majors in bullpen ERA at 4.98.

At this point in the season, the Phillies know exactly what they have in the minors in terms of players that can come in and help the team, including shuffling Vince Velasquez into relief work for a time and now giving Nick Pivetta a shot in the bullpen. It seems clear from this move that the Phillies aren’t confident there’s any help internally, so, at a very low cost, they’re willing to give Morin a shot and hope he reverts to his early-season form that saw him allow just one earned run over his first 10 1/3 innings of the season.

Seems like it’s worth a shot, but looking beyond his current stats and more toward how he has looked recently paints a more clear and troubling picture.

To make room for Morin on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Seranthony Dominguez was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

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Phillies lineup: Alec Bohm debuts, bats 6th

Phillies lineup: Alec Bohm debuts, bats 6th

Alec Bohm bats sixth and plays third base in his MLB debut this afternoon.

The Phils promoted Bohm, their top position player prospect, ahead of Thursday's series finale against the Orioles. Adam Haseley was placed on the 10-day injured list with a wrist sprain to make room for Bohm on the 28-man roster.

Rhys Hoskins, who grounded into three double plays Wednesday and is hitting .190 with one RBI on the season, sits. So does Scott Kingery, who is 4 for 40. 

Neil Walker is at first base and Jean Segura is at second.

1. Andrew McCutchen, DH
2. Jean Segura, 2B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Alec Bohm, 3B
7. Jay Bruce, LF
8. Neil Walker, 1B
9. Roman Quinn, CF

Jake Arrieta, SP

Right-hander Tom Eshelman, the Phillies' 2017 minor-league pitcher of the year, starts for Baltimore.

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Phillies to retire slugger Dick Allen’s No. 15; Cooperstown next?

ap_dick_allen_phillies.jpg
AP

Phillies to retire slugger Dick Allen’s No. 15; Cooperstown next?

Dick Allen, the power-hitting former Phillie known for bashing baseballs over the wall, and, occasionally, the roof, at old Connie Mack Stadium, will have his uniform number raised onto the wall at Citizens Bank Park later this summer.

The team announced on Thursday that it would retire Allen's No. 15 on Sept. 3, the 57th anniversary of Allen's Phillies debut.

"Dick Allen burst onto the 1964 Phillies and immediately established himself as a superstar," Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement. "His legendary performance on the field gave millions of fans lasting memories, and he helped cement my love for baseball and the Phillies as a young boy. The Phillies organization is thrilled to give Dick and his family this honor that recognizes his Hall of Fame-worthy career and his legacy as one of the greatest Phillies of all time."

Allen will become the eighth former Phillie to have his number retired by the club, joining Richie Ashburn (1), Jim Bunning (14), Mike Schmidt (20), Steve Carlton (32), Robin Roberts (36) and Roy Halladay (34). Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein did not wear regular numbers, but their jerseys have been retired.

Allen is the only one of these players not to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, but that could change in December when he once again will be on the Hall of Fame's Golden Days ballot. The Golden Days committee considers those who played from 1950 to 1969. Allen fell one vote shy of making the Hall of Fame when the committee last voted in December 2014 and there has been considerable public support for his election this time. Schmidt has come out in support of Allen and Mark Carfagno, a former Veterans Stadium groundskeeper and close friend of Allen, has led a social media campaign.

Retiring Allen's number without his being a Hall of Famer touches on an interesting and growing debate surrounding the Phillies.

The team previously had an unwritten policy of only retiring the numbers of players who had been elected to the Hall of Fame. By retiring Allen's number at this time, the Phillies have left open the possibility of retiring the numbers worn by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. None of the three have appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot yet and their candidacies are far from being slam dunks.

But as Phillies players, Rollins, Utley and Howard were all-time greats — the best shortstop, second baseman and first baseman, respectively, in club history. Their contributions helped the Phillies win five division titles, two National League pennants and a World Series from 2007-11. Rollins is the franchise's all-time hits leader and a former NL MVP. Utley was the Phillies' most popular player and the top offensive second baseman in the game until knee injuries robbed him of some of his prime years. Howard was an NL rookie of the year, an MVP and a home run and RBI king.

If the Phillies are going to consider non-Hall of Famers for number retirement, they also could one day look at Charlie Manuel, the World Series-winning manager who presided over the most successful period in club history, and Larry Bowa, a brilliant shortstop, World Series champion, and fan favorite who has contributed to the organization for decades as a player, coach, manager, adviser and ambassador.

Allen, 68, still works for the Phillies as ambassador. A native of Wampum, Pennsylvania (northwest of Pittsburgh), he signed with the Phillies as an 18-year-old in 1960. Four years later, the young third baseman hit .318 with 38 doubles, 13 triples, 29 home runs and 91 RBIs. The seemingly pennant-bound Phillies infamously collapsed down the stretch in that 1964 season, but Allen was named NL rookie of the year, an award that was later renamed in honor of one of his heroes, Jackie Robinson.

Allen spent nine of his 15 seasons with the Phillies and represented the club three times as an All-Star. He hit 204 of his 351 career homers with the Phillies. He swung a bat so big — 40 ounces or more in some seasons — that teammates thought it was a weighted bat used for warmups. Allen finished fourth in the NL MVP race in 1966 behind Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays. He hit .317 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 40 homers, 110 RBIs and a league-leading .632 slugging percentage that season.

Allen twice led the American League in homers, slugging and OPS for the Chicago White Sox, including in 1972 when he was AL MVP.

On the all-time list, Allen ranks 43rd with a .536 slugging percentage.

In an 11-year stretch from 1964 to 1974, in an era of dominant pitchers, he was one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. He averaged 29 homers and 89 RBIs over that span while hitting .299 with a .940 OPS. Only Hall of Famer Hank Aaron's .941 OPS was better over that span. Allen slugged .554 from 1964 to 1974, second only to Aaron's .561. Only Hall of Famers Billy Williams and Aaron had more extra-base hits than Allen's 670 in that 11-year run.

Allen posted better numbers than many of his contemporaries who were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Allen, however, never received more than 18.9 percent of the necessary 75 percent for election to the Hall by the writers. He fell off the ballot in 1997.

Allen's Hall of Fame candidacy during his time on the writers' ballot was clearly impacted by some of the off-field baggage he'd accumulated as a player. As a young player, Allen was occasionally rebellious and insubordinate. He battled with teammates and managers and was a target for fans. He tried to force a trade from Philadelphia by writing messages in the dirt around first base at Connie Mack Stadium.

The passage of time has offered new and more empathetic perspectives on Allen's behavior and what he was going through at the time. He dealt with racism as a Phillies minor-leaguer in the South. The Phillies were the last team in the NL to integrate and Allen was the club's first African American star at a time of racial tension in America.

Allen is the first African American to have his number retired by the Phillies. Backup catcher Andrew Knapp had been wearing No. 15. He will switch to No. 7.

And now, with his number going up on the bricks beyond the centerfield wall at Citizens Bank Park, the only remaining question regarding Dick Allen's greatness as a player will be answered this winter when the Hall of Fame's Golden Days Committee considers his merits once again.

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