Phillies

Phillies mailbag delivers answers about Ruben Amaro and potential trades

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Phillies mailbag delivers answers about Ruben Amaro and potential trades

For the sixth straight year, October is a quiet month for the Phillies. Yes, they made news by dismissing Pete Mackanin as manager, but the bright lights and excitement of playoff baseball still feel distant.

It will be interesting this fall and winter to monitor the Phillies' managerial interview process and then to see how much money they spend. Team president Andy MacPhail certainly seemed content to lower expectations when he spoke last week.

As we await the exciting period of the offseason, let's take a look at some of the more pressing questions.

Before getting to your individual questions, I'll answer the few dozen tweets and e-mails I received about Ruben Amaro Jr. possibly being the Phillies' next manager with an absolute, unequivocal IT WILL NOT HAPPEN.

Think about this logically ... this is the same front office that replaced Amaro. GM Matt Klentak and owner John Middleton want the Phillies to be a more analytical organization. Amaro, in his tenure as GM, did not come close to fitting that description. 

There's also the perception of it, which the Phillies will not ignore. They know what it would look like to the fanbase if they brought Amaro back as manager. It would feel like more of the same, and it would alienate the fans who are just starting to come back and get excited by all of the Phillies' young players.

Amaro does seem likely to get a managerial job someday but not here, not now. If anything, the reason you might be seeing his name pop in rumors is because the Phillies want to do him a solid and help get his name out there for future managerial openings.

The Phillies need to add two starting pitchers this offseason and probably three. They just don't have enough consistency at that spot in the organization. We hear the word "depth" a lot with the Phillies, but depth doesn't mean the Phils are in good shape. 

Yes, you could start Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin ... but are you ever going to begin that game feeling confident in your starting pitcher? There are health concerns with Velasquez and Eflin, repertoire concerns with Lively and Thompson, control concerns with Pivetta, and Eickhoff took a big step back in 2017.

Alex Cobb is out there in free agency. So is Lance Lynn. So are Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, who will make substantially more.

Darvish and Arrieta will probably make too much money and the Phillies don't want to pay big for past performance. So let's cross them off.

With Cobb and Lynn, the Phillies would be wise to closely monitor the market. At this point in the fall, nobody ever predicts that a starter will linger in free agency until he has to sign a one-year, prove-it deal, and yet it happens every offseason. I'm not saying these two will have to do that, but it's a possibility if their market doesn't materialize.

I fail to see the harm in signing someone like Cobb to a three-year, $48 million deal with a fourth-year vesting or mutual option. Yes, he's had Tommy John surgery, but there are risks with literally any pitcher a team ever signs or acquires.

But also keep an eye on the trade market. The Phillies sound much more likely to trade for a starting pitcher than sign one. Names to keep in mind: Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman, Gerrit Cole, Jake Odorizzi. 

I found the phrasing of this question pretty funny. Patience certainly seems harder for older fans than younger ones. My answer is I simply did not understand MacPhail's lowering of payroll expectations for 2018. The Phillies have a bunch of exciting young players, but if they brought back this very same team next season they'd probably win about 75 games. Is that going to entice anyone in that juicy 2019 free-agent class?

You need to move the needle more next year. Why wouldn't you? The Phillies went 35-35 in their final 70 games and could push closer to .500 with a little more help next season.

I can't see it, but I think Tommy Joseph has a better chance to be on the 2018 roster than Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez. Why? Because Hernandez and Galvis will have much more trade value. Joseph at this point is basically a platoon DH, meaning only a small group of teams will have interest and a fit for him. 

If the Phillies' only option is getting a negligible return for Joseph, then why not just keep him and use him as a right-handed bench bat? He's inexpensive and could at least offer some pop off the bench.

That's a tough one. I'd keep both. But if I had to keep only one, it would be Kingery because I think he has a higher offensive ceiling, and because Crawford's reputation should result in a bigger trade return. Though, again, I don't advocate trading either player. Kingery and Crawford should be the Phillies' middle infielders for the next seven seasons.

The Twins had a season nobody would have expected. And I highly doubt they make the playoffs next season. This just seemed like a fluky, nobody-believes-in-us season that you see once every few years. 

The Brewers are closer to the Phillies. Jimmy Nelson is essentially their Aaron Nola. He had a breakout year before an unfortunate late-season shoulder injury while diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt.

Milwaukee also has a lights-out closer (Corey Knebel), and received unexpected production from Travis Shaw (31 HR, 101 RBIs) in the middle of the order. The Brewers are another team that I think regresses next year, especially since Nelson is expected to miss much of the season.

The Yankees are in a different spot. They held on to Aaron Judge, who was a better prospect than anyone the Phillies had. Gary Sanchez turned out better than expected. Brian Cashman swung some amazing trades, particularly with Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. They're just in a different situation because they had more talent in the organization during this period than the Phillies did.

He meant stats. I'll say Hoskins next season hits .275/.380/.560 with 36 homers and 110 RBIs.

There is benefit to keeping one, especially if you believe in one of them more than you believe in Maikel Franco. Let's start with Hernandez. He's been incredibly consistent the last two seasons, hitting .294 both years with OBPs of .371 and .373. He'll have trade value, but there's also value in knowing what you have. With Hernandez, the Phillies know what they have: A high-OBP leadoff hitter who unfortunately doesn't steal enough bases.

I personally think Hernandez will be a better player the next five years than Franco. So there's a reason to keep him around. Maybe it makes the most sense to keep Hernandez at second base and put Kingery at third. It really all depends on what kind of trade offers the Phillies get for Hernandez.

Rhys Hoskins puts on a show at Home Run Derby but runs into some bad luck

Rhys Hoskins puts on a show at Home Run Derby but runs into some bad luck

Kyle. Freakin'. Schwarber.

Rhys Hoskins put on a show in the Home Run Derby Monday night in Washington, D.C., but he, unfortunately, faced off against Schwarber in the second round and Schwarber went off.

Hoskins hit 20 in the semifinal round, which to that point was the most all night. Schwarber started rather slowly, but began cranking jack after jack and hit his 21st just as the four-minute clock expired.

It was a dramatic walk-off from Schwarber, but he actually had 30 more seconds to play with because he hit two homers farther than 440 feet and was awarded some extra time.

In the other semifinal, Bryce Harper beat Max Muncy 13-12. Smh. Harper went on to knock off Schwarber in the final round to claim the Home Run Derby title.

In all, Hoskins hit 37 homers in two rounds, with the deepest two going 466 and 463 feet. He homered on nearly half of his swings.

An extremely impressive first showing in the derby for Hoskins, who may want to return because of the unfinished business.

First round

Leading off the derby, Hoskins cranked 17 jacks to upset 1-seed Jesus Aguilar, who hit 11.

With 17, Hoskins tied Muncy for the most in the first round, though Muncy and Harper stopped before time expired because they had already beaten their opponent.

Hoskins just had a much quicker pace than Aguilar, who took his time between swings, as did his pitcher.

Entering the night, Hoskins was 11/2 to win the derby, per Bovada. Aguilar had the second-shortest odds at 7/2, behind only Harper.

A cool moment occurred midway through the first round when Hoskins called his one permitted timeout and fist bumped with Harper, who was expressing awe at the ease of Hoskins' homers.


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Phillies 1st-rounder Adam Haseley honored after dynamic opening week at AA

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Phillies 1st-rounder Adam Haseley honored after dynamic opening week at AA

Adam Haseley had one heck of a first week in Double A.

The Phillies' first-round pick in 2017 (eighth overall) was promoted to Double A Reading on July 11 and responded by going 5 for 13 (.385) with a double, two homers and two walks in his first four games.

As a result, Haseley was named Eastern League Player of the Week in his very first try.

Haseley has already been promoted four times over the last calendar year. Last summer, he began in the Gulf Coast League, was promoted to Low A Williamsport after three games, then made it to Class A Lakewood by season's end. 

He began this season at High A Clearwater and earned the promotion to Reading after hitting .300 in 354 plate appearances.

All told, Haseley has hit .296/.352/.423 with 27 doubles, seven triples and 10 homers in 616 plate appearances in the minors. 

The 22-year-old University of Virginia product was a more polished prospect than the previous year's No. 1 pick, Mickey Moniak

Moniak, who turned 20 on May 13, has hit .242 with a meager .268 OBP in 75 games at Clearwater this season. The power has been slow to come around, and Moniak has slashed just .247/.290/.350 in 999 plate appearances the last three seasons.

There's still plenty of time for Moniak, but he can't be satisfied with how he's hit to this point, nor can an organization that used the first overall pick in the draft on him. Some baseball people have questioned whether Moniak will grow strong enough to consistently drive the baseball as the quality of pitching he faces increases. 

Rounding out the first-round pick updates, Cornelius Randolph has struggled even more than Moniak. Randolph, drafted 10th overall in 2015, has hit .215 with one home run in 80 games at Double A this season. 

Randolph was drafted for his offense specifically but things haven't clicked yet. He's hit .252/.346/.362 with 17 homers in 1,328 plate appearances since being drafted.

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