Phillies

Phillies cut loose first baseman Justin Bour and reliever Luis Avilan

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Phillies cut loose first baseman Justin Bour and reliever Luis Avilan

The Phillies have cut loose two players.

First baseman Justin Bour and relief pitcher Luis Avilan were not offered contracts by the club for 2019. Both are now free agents.

Bour and Avilan were two of 11 Phillies players eligible for salary arbitration. The other nine were all offered contracts by Friday night’s 8 p.m. deadline.

That group includes pitchers Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia, infielders Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco and outfielder Aaron Altherr.

Teams and players will exchange salary proposals on Jan. 11 and arbitration hearings will be held the first two weeks of February, if necessary. The two sides often reach agreement on a contract before a hearing.

The departures of Bour and Avilan leave the Phillies with four openings on their 40-man roster. Those spots will likely be filled in the coming weeks as the team looks to sign free agents and make trades.

Bour and Avilan were both acquired in late-season trades by the Phillies in 2018.

Looking for power off the bench, the Phillies acquired Bour from Miami for minor-league pitcher McKenzie Mills. Bour had 54 plate appearances with the Phils and hit .224 with a homer and five RBIs. He was hampered during part of his stay with the club by a hamstring injury that landed him on the DL.

Bour, 30, has averaged 21 homers and 66 RBIs the last four seasons and could be attractive to clubs looking for a left-handed platoon bat at first base. The Phillies are not in need of that type of player as they are committed to using Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana at first base. Santana is a strong candidate to be traded. If he were to be dealt, Hoskins would play at first base full time.

Avilan, 29, joined the Phillies from the White Sox in an August trade for minor-league pitcher Felix Paulino. The left-hander pitched in 12 games and recorded a 3.18 ERA.

The Phillies are attempting to add a frontline left-handed reliever for 2019 and have had longstanding interest in free agent Zach Britton.

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Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies' scouting director job

Philadelphia native Mike Koplove emerges as strong candidate for Phillies' scouting director job

The Phillies have two huge job openings to fill in their baseball operations department.

Obviously, they are looking for a new manager, and that process ramped up on Monday.

The team also needs to fill the important scouting director’s role. That job opened when Johnny Almarez stepped down in September.

The search for a new scouting boss is being led by assistant general manager Bryan Minniti and it is apparently well underway.

According to multiple major league sources, the Phillies have conducted a number of recent interviews for the position. Among those to interview are in-house candidates Greg Schilz, Mike Koplove and Darrell Conner.

Outside candidates, according to sources, include David Crowson of the Miami Marlins, Sam Hughes of the Chicago Cubs, Brian Barber of the New York Yankees, Dan Ontiveros of the Kansas City Royals and Scott Meaney of the Cleveland Indians. All have high-ranking scouting positions with their organizations.

It’s possible that there are other candidates or more will emerge. But these are the names being talked about in baseball circles at the moment.

Schilz ranked No. 2 in the Phillies’ amateur scouting staff behind Almaraz. He joined the club in the fall of 2016 after 12 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was elevated to assistant scouting director in the fall of 2017.

Koplove is an interesting candidate. He is a Philadelphia native who pitched at Chestnut Hill Academy and the University of Delaware before spending parts of seven seasons in the majors with Arizona and Cleveland. He earned a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001.

Koplove spent six seasons on the scouting staff of the Anaheim Angels before joining his hometown team as a special assignment scout prior to the 2018 season.

Conner is a longtime Phillies scout who has risen to the role of national scouting coordinator. He was influential in identifying Cole Hamels as having first-round potential and staying on the pitcher after he broke his left arm the summer after his sophomore year.

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At The Yard podcast: Phillies' manager search could be quick

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At The Yard podcast: Phillies' manager search could be quick

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss the Phillies' managerial search, which began in earnest Monday, on the latest At The Yard podcast.

• Phillies' busy day Monday in New York with Showalter & Girardi.

• Are inexperienced managers definitely out of the conversation?

• Why the fan preference is definitely Girardi.

• Is Phillies job better than Mets job? Better than Cubs job?

• What to make of Gabe Kapler immediately getting 2 interviews.

• Odubel Herrera's future.

• Phillies' future at 2B

• Why we might see a stop-gap third baseman in 2020.

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Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

Click here to download the 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