Phillies continue to watch quality relievers fly off the board

Phillies continue to watch quality relievers fly off the board

The Phillies are so close to the luxury tax threshold of $208 million that they, seemingly by choice, have had to sit out of the market for free-agent relievers.

Steve Cishek was the latest experienced setup man to find a new home, agreeing Tuesday to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Chicago White Sox, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

That $6 million is also the approximate distance between the Phillies' projected opening day payroll and the luxury tax threshold.

The Cishek deal came just a day after the Nationals brought Daniel Hudson back on a reported two-year, $11 million contract. Again, that AAV would have pushed the Phils right to the threshold, which they are relucant to exceed unless it's a finishing piece.

Will Harris? Also signed with the Nationals. Dellin Betances signed with the Mets. Will Smith and Chris Martin signed with the Braves. 

Between Harris, Hudson, Betances, Smith and Martin, a case could be made that the top five free-agent relievers all signed in the NL East, none with the Phillies. Blake Treinen was another intriguing reliever but he went to the Dodgers.

There is no guarantee that Cishek is effective with the White Sox, or that Hudson will continue to be as effective as he was for a few months with the Nats in 2019, or that the Dodgers will get 2018 Treinen. The Phillies just went through three straight seasons expecting more from veteran relievers than they received. That sort of volatility surely also played a role in the Phils' reluctance to add a veteran reliever they were unsure of this time around.

But even if valid reasons can be given for not adding any of the aforementioned bullpen arms, the fact remains that the Phillies' bullpen is a major question mark. The last thing they'd want is for all their stars to perform but for the bullpen to derail the season.

The trade deadline will be the next active period to add a difference-making reliever. The season is 70 percent finished by July 31, though.

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Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

A group of Phillies prospects was in town this week for the organization’s annual prospects education seminar.

One of those lessons came from a legend.

Brian Dawkins, the most motivational athlete this city has ever seen, shared with the group his thoughts on playing in Philadelphia and responding to the passionate fan base.

“Playing in Philadelphia is different,” Dawkins said. “If you get on the field, there is a 99.99 percent chance you will be booed. The thing I always knew though was that you may boo me that one time but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.”

The group included Alec Bohm, the Phillies’ top offensive prospect, and Cristopher Sanchez, a pitching prospect with a 100 mph arm profiled here by Jim Salisbury.

Check out the video here if you’re seeking some extra juice at the gym or just want to see Weapon X drop some jewels.

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Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

With all of the chaos currently consuming the league, it may have been overlooked that the Giants and Gabe Kapler have made a historic coaching hire.

Alyssa Nakken has been named one of Kapler's assistant coaches. She will be the first woman on a major-league coaching staff.

Can anyone say girl power?

Nakken is also a chairperson for the Giants' Employee Resource Group. This group promotes diversity and equality within the organization.

And as a female, with her intelligence and determination and hunger and drive to excel — I understand some of her responsibility is keeping her fingers on the pulse of the culture — it’s invaluable. She’ll broaden the scope and perspective, and I applaud Gabe for doing this.

-Kathy Strahan, Nakken's former coach in an interview for the San Francisco Chronicle

This is a moment that could change the mold of the league in the new decade.

Women belong in sports and are here to stay. And this single hire has the potential to open numerous doors in the future for both the league and anyone who wants to be a part of it.

You can read more about the hire and get to know Nakken at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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