Phillies

As potential trade fit Andrew Cashner heads to Boston, Phillies need Jake Arrieta to conquer elbow problem

As potential trade fit Andrew Cashner heads to Boston, Phillies need Jake Arrieta to conquer elbow problem

All eyes will be on Jake Arrieta as the Phillies close out a three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Arrieta will be making his first start since revealing that he has been hampered recently by a bone spur in his right elbow. An X-ray on Friday confirmed the presence of the spur.

Arrieta intends on pitching through the issue and having it addressed surgically in the offseason.

Of course, that’s incumbent on his being able to tolerate the discomfort and pitch effectively.

“It’s not something that I can’t get through,” Arrieta said of the discomfort. “There are days that are better than others.

“The biggest thing is the effectiveness. If I’m out there and I’m costing the team a game, we’re going to address that.

“I think it’s something that I can manage, that I can work with and try to get through the rest of the season. The last thing I want to do is shut it down now and have the surgery now and miss the remainder of the season. We’re still trying to do some special things this year. I think I still have a lot to offer the team and can still help us win.”

Arrieta has some history with bone spurs in the elbow. He had one in 2011. It was removed surgically after the season.

It’s not uncommon for a pitcher to pitch with a bone spur. The problem can restrict the extension a pitcher gets upon release of the ball. That last little bit of extension, or “finish,” helps a pitcher locate his pitches with precision. It also helps with late movement. Arrieta has lacked both over the last few weeks; he has recorded a 6.63 ERA in his last seven starts. He had poor location in his last start last Saturday night at Citi Field and hit three New York Mets hitters.

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto believes Arrieta can pitch through the elbow issue.

“For me, he has been effective,” Realmuto said. “He’s shown spurts of being effective. I can tell when he gets to the 80-90 pitch mark, he really starts to feel it and he loses some control. He’s had multiple starts where he’s gone five, six innings, one run and then kind of imploded the last inning because he loses feel for the baseball a little bit.

“I’ve known his elbow has been hurting a little longer than most so it’s tough to see. He’s been effective but he can’t quite finish the way he should be able to. In his last start you could tell he had no feel for the baseball at all so I’m not sure it’s getting any better.”

The Phillies have serious issues in their starting rotation and they have shown their ugly head throughout the team’s six-week slide from first place to third place in the National League East. It goes without saying that the Phils need Arrieta to pitch better than he has recently. The team is also looking for starting pitching help. The Phils aren’t inclined to dig into a thin group of prospects to make a deal (see story), but would be willing to add a marginal upgrade at the right cost or a more noteworthy starter who might cost less in prospects because he carries a high salary. Arizona's Zack Greinke would fit that description. 

One potential upgrade went off the board Saturday when the Orioles dealt veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox. The Phillies had expressed an interest in Cashner.

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Phillies manager update: Dusty Baker has second interview, Buck Showalter on tap Friday, Joe Girardi still to come

Phillies manager update: Dusty Baker has second interview, Buck Showalter on tap Friday, Joe Girardi still to come

Interviews continued Thursday for the Phillies’ vacant manager’s job.

According to multiple sources, Dusty Baker spent a second straight day in Philadelphia meeting with club officials. Baker went through a first round of interviews on Wednesday.

Buck Showater and Joe Girardi met with Phillies officials on Monday in the New York metropolitan area, according to multiple sources.

Showalter has been working as an analyst for the YES Network in New York during the postseason. Sources say he pulled out of his scheduled assignments for Thursday and Friday nights because he will be in Philadelphia for a second round of interviews on Friday.

Girardi is expected to have a second round of interviews early next week.

Though it’s possible more candidates could emerge, the Phillies are currently focused on just these three candidates.

“They want major-league experience,” a person with knowledge of the Phillies’ thinking said earlier this week.

Baker, Showalter and Girardi have a combined 53 years of big-league managing experience and they have won a combined seven manager of the year awards and 13 division titles. Girardi led the New York Yankees to the World Series title in 2009. His club beat the Phillies in six games.

Girardi may very well be the Phillies’ preferred candidate because of his experience working with a front office that values the use of analytics in building a roster and running a game. The Yankees are one of baseball’s analytic powerhouses. Girardi, however, is a former catcher who also relies on instinct and feel in running a game. That balance would be attractive to the Phillies.

Girardi is also being pursued by the New York Mets and they have geography going for them as Girardi lives outside the city.

With the second round of interviews underway, it's possible the Phils could name a manager as early as next Thursday, between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series.



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Another sign that Joe Girardi will be hired to manage somewhere soon

Another sign that Joe Girardi will be hired to manage somewhere soon

In another sign that he's likely to return to managing in the majors in 2020, Joe Girardi stepped down as the manager of USA Baseball, the organization announced Wednesday.

Girardi, who is believed to have met with Phillies officials Monday, is a strong candidate for multiple open manager jobs. The Phillies are interested, and the Cubs and Mets appear to be hot after him as well.

Girardi is the overwhelming fan choice to manage the Phillies. It's hard not to see the appeal of his combination of experience, blend of new school and old school and track record of winning. Phillies fans seem to prefer Girardi to Buck Showalter, whose teams haven't advanced as far in the postseason.

Girardi has played things differently this year than last. He had two interviews for the Reds job last fall but pulled himself out of the process, saying it wasn't the right time.

Now, he wants to manage. And the openings this time around are more appealing — three major market clubs in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago. The Mets do not spend to their market size but the Phillies and Cubs have done so in win-now periods.

It is much more likely that the Phillies would be forced into a bidding war for Girardi than for Showalter because of the number of interested teams.



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