Phillies

Phillies still after Zach Britton, reliever they couldn't acquire at trade deadline

Phillies still after Zach Britton, reliever they couldn't acquire at trade deadline

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Notes, quotes and observations as baseball’s annual general managers meetings come to a close and what promises to be a busy, newsy Phillies offseason heats up.

Will Carlos Santana be traded?

Do the Phillies have less competition for Bryce Harper than initially thought?

The latest on trade talks involving Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco.

The Phillies tried to acquire closer Zach Britton from Baltimore before he went to the Yankees in July. The Phillies still have interest in Britton, who is now a free agent, according to a source, and other relievers. Willingness to take a short-term deal (one or two years, preferably) would make the reliever more attractive. 

While offense (Bryce Harper or Manny Machado) and starting pitching (particularly a lefty) are priorities, Klentak is considering every possible way “we can move the needle and find an upgrade. If there’s a back-end reliever that’s a good fit for our roster and is willing to come on what we deem to be a reasonable term and contract then we’re going to explore that. I’m not committed to adding a player in any one particular area. But we’re committed to exploring everything and finding the players that make the most sense for us. So we’re going to talk to impact relievers this offseason. I don’t know if we’ll sign one, but we’re going to explore that because that might be a fit that makes sense for us.”

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Roy Halladay deserves to be a 1st-ballot Hall of Famer

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USA Today Images

Roy Halladay deserves to be a 1st-ballot Hall of Famer

Fans in Philadelphia didn’t get to enjoy Roy Halladay for very long. He had two stellar seasons, followed by two injury-plagued years that ended his playing career.

Halladay died in an aircraft accident one year ago. On Monday, Halladay was named among 35 players on the ballot for the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame (see story).

Customarily, players have to wait five years for Hall of Fame eligibility. If a player dies, they're eligible six months after their death. There has been one exception to this rule in the last 65 years: Roberto Clemente was inducted in 1973, after dying in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972.

There are a handful of worthy names on this year’s ballot. And while Roy Halladay was forced into early retirement at 36, he is a pitcher with virtually no equals during his 15-plus major league seasons.

Halladay's death last year hit the Philadelphia sports community hard. His starts with the Phillies were appointment viewing, the likes of which the city hadn’t seen since Curt Schilling dominated teams in the 1990s.

And although fans in Philadelphia only saw two seasons of Halladay's excellence on the mound, his prime lasted a decade — the 2002 through the 2011 seasons.

Here are Halladay's ranks among all MLB pitchers during that span:

Wins — 170 (1st)

Win percentage — .694 (1st)

Complete Games — 63 (1st - by 30!)

Shutouts — 18 (1st)

K/BB Ratio — 4.57 (1st)

ERA — 2.97 (2nd)

ERA+ — 148 (2nd)

Innings — 2194.2 (2nd)

He also made eight All-Star teams, won two Cy Young Awards and finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting seven times in that 10-year span.

From the years 1995 through 2017, Halladay has more complete games than any pitcher (67). Here's the thing: Halladay only pitched from 1998 through 2013.

Being the best pitcher in baseball for a season is a feat. Being the best pitcher in baseball for an entire decade is something that is truly special. Remember how great Tim Lincecum was at the start of his career? He also won two Cy Youngs. Lincecum didn't even make it to 10 full seasons in the big leagues before a degenerative hip injury derailed his career.

The end of Roy Halladay's baseball career, and his life, occurred far too soon. Voting him into the Baseball Hall of Fame next year would not be.

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James Paxton trade affects Phillies in several ways

James Paxton trade affects Phillies in several ways

The Yankees are getting James Paxton from the Mariners, as first reported by Jon Heyman of Fancred. It's a move that has a few ramifications for the Phillies.

The Mariners are acquiring pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, OF Don Thompson-Williams and RHP Erik Swanson for Paxton, who is 30 years old and perpetually hurt but so good when he's on the mound. Paxton has a 3.42 career ERA with even better earned run estimators — he limits the homers, strikes out more than a batter per inning, all that good stuff.

The move potentially crosses Patrick Corbin off of the Yankees' list, ridding the marketplace of a top bidder for the top free-agent pitcher.

That's not a certainty, though. The Yankees could still look to sign Corbin to a lucrative deal, putting together a rotation of Corbin, Paxton, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.

Paxton was a name that teammate Jim Salisbury mentioned a few weeks ago in reference to the Phillies' search for a top-of-the-rotation lefty starter (see story). Robbie Ray was the other, and with the D-backs potentially exploring Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke trades, them moving Ray is a good bet this offseason.

As for Corbin, it just doesn't seem the Phillies will be the team that outbids all others. As the top pitcher on the market, he's still in line for nine figures. While free agency has been reined in the last few years, there have still been eight starting pitchers since 2015 to get contracts of at least $100 million: Yu Darvish, David Price, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann.

Perhaps if the market comes back to the Phillies with Corbin as it did with Jake Arrieta, they'd pounce. But it's unlikely with every team always in the mix for pitching.

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