Phillies

The smile says is all — Gabe Kapler's thrilled with Jake Arrieta news

The smile says is all — Gabe Kapler's thrilled with Jake Arrieta news

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SARASOTA, Fla. — Gabe Kapler approached Carlos Santana during batting practice. Santana knew Kapler was the bearer of good news.

“It felt like he was very happy,” Santana said. “He was smiling.”

You’d be smiling, too, if you were a first-year manager of an improving ballclub and your team just landed a former Cy Young winner to lead the starting rotation.
 
The Phillies’ offseason is now complete. General manager Matt Klentak signed Santana to bolster the offense and Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter to upgrade the bullpen. On Sunday, the club agreed to a three-year deal with former National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta. The deal is contingent on a physical.

Santana was thrilled to hear the news before the Phillies-Orioles Grapefruit League game.

“I feel great, I feel happy for him, happy for me and my team,” Santana said. “I think it's great. He'll help a lot so I'm happy that we have a very good player. We got better with him signing here. Everybody is surprised here, but we’re happy.”

Arrieta won the NL Cy Young in 2015 when he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA for the Chicago Cubs. A year later, he helped the Cubs beat Santana’s Cleveland Indians in the World Series. Santana went hitless in six at-bats and struck out twice against Arrieta in the Series.

At 32, Arrieta will be the elder statesman of the Phillies rotation. He will be counted on to guide some of the young pitchers such as Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta.

“A guy like that, he’s really good for an up and coming team like ours with a lot of young pitchers,” Pivetta said after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Orioles Sunday night. “I think he can have a lot of impact on our young pitchers, whatever the rotation is going to be. I think a guy like that is going to be good. I think it’s a smart move.”

It was not immediately clear when Arrieta would arrive in Clearwater or where he is in his preparation for the regular season, which begins in less than three weeks. He is a conditioning freak who has been working out and throwing. Kapler has already anointed Nola as his opening day starter. It’s unlikely Kapler would alter that 18 days before the opener.

But Kapler is no doubt enthused about having Arrieta.

“If Jake Arrieta is a Phillie, of course, I’m going to be exceptionally excited," he said. "I love everything about the guy. The crossfire delivery creates all kinds of deception. We all know about the success he had in Chicago. It would be awesome if Jake ends up a Phillie.

“Speaking hypothetically, he’s a tremendous leader and obviously the track record of success – I don’t want to curb any enthusiasm here, he would be an incredible boost to our rotation here and a great leader in the clubhouse.”

Back at the start of spring training, Kapler said he thought the Phillies were putting together a team that could shock people. With Arrieta, expectations will be heightened.

“I think it would make us a better team and I thought we were a really good team before,” Kapler said. “I think it will create a tremendous amount of excitement in the clubhouse, I think it would make us better between the lines, and I think the city of Philadelphia would be exceptionally excited, as well.”

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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Manny Machado just wants a trade to be made already

Manny Machado just wants a trade to be made already

Manny Machado heard the "We want Manny" chants from Phillies fans when the Orioles came to town the first week of July, and he was asked about it on Monday during his media session several hours before the Home Run Derby. 

“Philly. I did hear that nice ovation when I was there," he told reporters. "That was pretty awesome.”

Machado was asked all of the usual questions. What's your priority in free agency? Where would you want to go ideally? Are you eager for a deal to be done?

"Definitely, 100 percent," he responded to that last one. "Get it over with already and not answer these questions anymore."

The widespread perception is that, wherever he lands this month, Machado will receive multiple humongous offers in free agency. Offers nearing or exceeding $300 million.

Most athletes would say this, but for Machado, it's about more than dolla-dolla bills.

"Money doesn't bring happiness," he said. "What's gonna make me happy? Being happy. As long as everything comes together for my wife and my family."

And not that it needed any reinforcement, but it's abundantly clear that Machado wants to play shortstop. That will likely play a large role in where he signs this winter.

"I'm the player I am today because of [the Orioles]," he said. "They gave me the opportunity to go back to shortstop, where my heart was. I will forever be grateful."