Phillies

Phillies trade rumors: Phillies aim for Manny Machado and Jean Segura in the same infield

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Phillies trade rumors: Phillies aim for Manny Machado and Jean Segura in the same infield

The Phillies could be headed for a complete overhaul of the left side of their infield.

The team is interested in acquiring shortstop Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners, according to a baseball source.

So how does that impact the Phillies' desire to sign free agent Manny Machado?

It doesn't.

According to a source, the Phillies remain committed to pursuing Machado with the hope of playing him at third base should they be able to land Segura. Machado has played both third base and shortstop in his career. Though he enjoys playing shortstop and has said he'd like to stay there, he is a much better third baseman, elite by some standards.

Can the Phillies sell Machado on this idea? Time will tell. The winter meetings begin next weekend in Las Vegas and industry activity is expected to ramp up as they approach. Patrick Corbin, one of the top pitchers on the free-agent market, could make a decision on where he'll sign in the coming days. The Phillies, along with the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, are very much in the hunt for his services. The Phils hosted Corbin at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday.

Already in recent days, there has been an uptick in action, especially in the National League East. The Atlanta Braves signed third baseman Josh Donaldson and the New York Mets are on the verge of acquiring all-star second baseman Robinson Cano and dazzling young closer Edwin Diaz from the rebuilding Mariners.

The Phillies are keenly aware of the Mariners' current tack. They had trade discussions with the Mariners about pitcher James Paxton before he was dealt to the Yankees earlier in the offseason and, according to sources who have confirmed multiple reports, engaged the Mariners about the possibility of acquiring Segura and Diaz in a package deal before Seattle turned its focus to sending Cano and Diaz to the Mets.

The Phillies would still like to acquire Segura, possibly in a package that would include Carlos Santana as well as the young talent that Seattle seeks.

Segura, who turns 29 in March, is signed through 2022 and owed $60 million. He is an excellent hitter — he hit .308 with an .803 OPS over the last three seasons — and an above-average defender. Segura has a no-trade clause but would likely waive it to escape a rebuild.

Even if the Phillies don't land Segura, they would still pursue Machado with the possibility of playing him at shortstop before an eventual move to third base.

Machado is not the only high-profile free agent that the Phils are pursuing. They also maintain interest in outfielder Bryce Harper and their pursuit of the left-hander Corbin is clear. Adding a top lefty to the bullpen is another offseason goal and free agents Zach Britton and Andrew Miller remain targets.

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Why it was Nick Williams packing his bags to make room for Scott Kingery

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Why it was Nick Williams packing his bags to make room for Scott Kingery

It was expected that when Scott Kingery returned from a month-long stint on the injured list with a hamstring injury, one of the Phillies’ veteran utilitymen would be the roster casualty. 

But it was Nick Williams packing his bags Sunday morning to make room on the active roster for Kingery, not Phil Gosselin or Sean Rodriguez. 

Williams was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley, where he will get regular at-bats. He has not played much for the Phillies, starting just eight of their 45 games. As a pinch-hitter, he is 6 for 33 (.182) with one extra-base hit and 10 strikeouts. 

Williams knew when the Phillies signed Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper that playing time in the outfield would be hard to come by. The Phillies do not consider Williams an option in center field, so when Odubel Herrera was shelved by a hamstring strain, McCutchen shifted to center and Williams played left field. 

Kingery, in his first game back from the IL, made his first career start Sunday in center field against Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland. 

Aside from getting Williams more reps at Triple A, optioning him also prevents another team from claiming Rodriguez or Gosselin on waivers. Both are out of options and would have had to be designated for assignment before being sent to the minors. 

Gosselin is 9 for 37 (.243) on the season but has had good swings lately. Of his last 10 plate appearances, one was a rocket line drive snagged by the opposing pitcher and two were deep flyballs he just missed.

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The thoughts and sounds behind Bryce Harper's jaw-dropping home run

The thoughts and sounds behind Bryce Harper's jaw-dropping home run

Aaron Nola had no chance at seeing where the ball landed.

Not many did, unless you were a fan leisurely strolling through the center-field concourse and enjoying the amenities of Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park.

"I think it went over the stadium, from where I was sitting," Nola said. "It was a long one."

That's how powerfully Bryce Harper struck his first-inning home run in the Phillies' 2-1 win over the Rockies (see observations). The ball left his bat at 114.1 miles per hour, traveled 466 feet and cleared the brick walls in center field.

It was loud and it made the sellout crowd of 42,354 fans louder.

"I think just as a fan, you just stop and watch the distance of the ball," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I don't think we saw a ball go that far to center field all year last year and certainly not this year. That's rare territory. Pretty impressive."

Harper pounced on a first-pitch fastball from Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela. The swing consisted of everything you want to see from Harper, who is 5 for 15 (.333) over his last four games with the homer and three doubles.

He's staying back and driving the ball.

"I think he's beginning to feel it," Kapler said. "I think part of that comes from the work he's been doing with [hitting coach] John Mallee, specifically being a little bit taller on his backside and his hands being a little bit closer to his body."

Harper didn't want to make too much about the distance of his home run. He remembered some advice from a former manager and five-time All-Star.

"Matt Williams always used to tell me, 'It's not how far, it's how many you hit,'" Harper said. "I'm just trying to go about it the right way every single day, doing things out there that help this team win. Just putting the bat to the ball and trying to win games.

Harper has eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 45 games. He has a .371 on-base percentage and is second in baseball to only Mike Trout with 34 walks.

However, he's hitting .230 and was 10 for his last 70 (.143) prior to this 5-for-15 stretch. The Phillies are seeing positive signs, though, from Harper's swing.

"We all believed he was going to break out of what he was in," Nola said. "Guy works hard, works hard at what he does. We've all seen what he's done in his career. Nobody is pressing over him, we know he's the gamer that he is and he does a lot to help the team.

On Saturday, it was a walk, a double and vicious contact on the first pitch he saw.

"I think Harp is best when he's gap to gap," Kapler said. "Every once in a while, he's out in front and pulls the ball down the line. He's at his best when he's hitting high line drives into the gaps, and the ones that he gets just underneath go into the seats or in this case, over everything in center field."

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