Soon-to-be free agents still in MLB playoffs Phillies fans should keep an eye on

Soon-to-be free agents still in MLB playoffs Phillies fans should keep an eye on

As Phillies fans wait out another October without playoff baseball, there are still reasons to watch. Both National League Divisional Series have been exciting and will go to winner-take-all Game Fives.

There are several players Phillies fans should keep a close eye on throughout the playoffs, soon-to-be free agents who could make a big impact or play a role.

RHP Stephen Strasburg (WSH)

Strasburg can opt out this offseason of the final three years of his contract.

Why wouldn't he? Because he's owed $45 million in the last year, 2023.

Why would he? Because he's owed only $15 million in the other two years, totaling $75 million over three years. If Strasburg hit the open market, he would absolutely earn more than $75 million over three years.

Strasburg had a tremendous 2019 season. He went 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and led the NL with 209 innings. He struck out 251 batters and allowed just 24 home runs, a low rate in the year of the juiced ball.

Strasburg has also continued to dominate in the playoffs. In 28 postseason innings, he has allowed two runs (0.64 ERA) and struck out 38. 

He could be an intriguing alternative to Gerrit Cole in free agency. Strasburg is two years and two months older than Cole and will cost less.

Strasburg is, like Cole and Anthony Rendon, a Scott Boras client.

RHP Gerrit Cole (HOU)

Cole's price tag continues to soar. After going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and striking out 326 batters in 212⅓ innings, he dazzled while the entire baseball world was watching in Game 2 of the ALDS. Cole struck out 15 Rays over 7⅔ scoreless innings.

Cole's payday should exceed the $217 million Boston committed to David Price before the 2016 season. He is a more accomplished pitcher and is a year younger than Price was at that time.

If forced to guess right now, I'd say eight years, $240 million for Cole.

3B Anthony Rendon (WSH)

Another player whose contract this offseason could approach $300 million. Nolan Arenado's extension in February cost the Rockies $260 million over eight years. Rendon's offense and defense is just as good and his baserunning is better. 

Arenado is known as a dynamic defender and still makes flashy plays, but the various defensive metrics peg Rendon as a similar gloveman the last couple years.

3B Josh Donaldson (ATL)

Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million prove-it deal with the Braves and then he proved it. 

The Bringer of Rain went deep 37 times and drove in 94 runs, coming close to his peak from 2015-17. He walked 100 times and provided solid protection for Freddie Freeman.

Donaldson turns 34 in December. He will likely be looking for three years but might not get that many. The Phillies should explore a two-year deal with a high AAV. Even with Alec Bohm almost ready to go, adding Donaldson could be a bridge-gapping move or one that potentially makes Rhys Hoskins expendable in a trade for starting pitching.

LHP Wade Miley (HOU)

Miley was the latest pitcher to find his groove in Houston. He went 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts for the Astros, and that ERA is deceiving because Miley allowed 21 earned runs in 11⅓ innings in September when Houston had a comfortable lead for home-field advantage.

Miley, though, is not as effective as most of his 2019 indicates. He doesn't go deep into games, struggles the third time through an order and needs a bit of luck with men in scoring position. The Phillies should let another team grab him this winter. They don't need another pitcher with low velocity who doesn't miss many bats.

LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD)

Ryu will be a free agent after spending his first six seasons with the Dodgers. Ryu is comfortable in L.A. and it is difficult to envision the Dodgers not bringing him back.

RHP Daniel Hudson (WSH)

A 32-year-old right-handed reliever who was brilliant in 25 post-trade-deadline innings with the Nationals, posting a 1.44 ERA. Washington will likely try to bring him back.

LHP Aroldis Chapman (NYY)

He can opt out of the remaining two years and $30 million of his contract but only if he feels he can get a better deal, which would be too rich for the Phils given their other needs.

OF Brett Gardner (NYY)

Would be an interesting veteran and extra man to add for a Phillies team that faces uncertainty in center field.

Utilityman Eric Sogard (TB)

Solid bench piece coming off his best year (.290 BA, .810 OPS). Can play second, third, short and both outfield corners.

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Sources: Phillies to interview Buck Showalter on Monday

Sources: Phillies to interview Buck Showalter on Monday

The Phillies are quickly getting into their interview process for a new manager.

According to multiple sources, Buck Showalter will interview for the position on Monday. The meeting between Showalter and Phillies officials will take place in the metropolitan New York area, where Showalter is currently working as an analyst for the YES Network.

It is believed that Phillies officials will also speak with Joe Girardi while they are in the New York area on Monday. Girardi lives in that area.

Veteran skipper Dusty Baker is also on the Phillies' list of candidates, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday. A source confirmed that and said Baker would interview with the Phillies later this week.

At a news conference on Friday, Phillies officials would not definitively say what they were looking for in their new manager, but it is believed that they would prefer to hire someone with big-league managerial experience and that has made Girardi and Showalter the presumed frontrunners.

Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017. His Yankees team beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series, prompting Phillies owner John Middleton to famously say, "I want my bleeping trophy back."

Showalter has managed the Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. He is a three-time American League manager of the year and has ties to several people in the Phillies front office, including club president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant general manager Ned Rice. MacPhail led the Orioles baseball operations during part of Showalter's time in Baltimore and Klentak and Rice both worked in the front office. Rice, in fact, worked closely with Showalter during their time in Baltimore.

The Phillies fired Gabe Kapler last week and are one of eight teams with a managerial opening.

At Friday's news conference, MacPhail said Klentak would lead the search for a new Phillies skipper. 

"I don't think there's a relationship more important in a baseball organization than the manager and GM," MacPhail said. "If those two aren't simpatico, you really have issues. I believe it's John's and my goal that Matt go out and start the search. At the end, he's going to have to have the approval of John and I, just like with Gabe. John or I could have vetoed Gabe; we chose not to. But I can't imagine us hiring somebody that Matt is not fully on board with. John and I will have some influence on the guys that fit that criteria who we think might be the best fit, but it's got to emanate from the GM."

Showalter managed the Orioles though 2018 and is eager to manage again. Sources say he is intrigued by the Phillies job and has done homework on the roster.

Girardi interviewed with the Chicago Cubs last week and the New York Mets plan to interview him this week. He will manage somewhere in 2020.

Baker has 22 years of big-league managerial experience and is a three-time NL manager of the year. He last managed the Washington Nationals in 2017 and led that club to 97 wins and the NL East title.

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Source: Phillies set to interview Dusty Baker, one of Bryce Harper's former managers

Source: Phillies set to interview Dusty Baker, one of Bryce Harper's former managers

The Phillies will interview Dusty Baker for their managerial opening later this week, a source confirmed. The news was first reported Sunday by the Chicago Tribune.

Baker, 70, is currently a special advisor to the CEO for the San Francisco Giants.

He has 22 years of managerial experience and is almost universally well-liked. He's a player's manager who is 227 games over .500 in his career. He managed Bryce Harper in 2016 and 2017; the Nationals won 95 and 97 games those years but Baker's contract was not renewed after a pair of NLDS losses. It was a surprising move.

Baker is one of several prominent veteran managers on the market. Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon and Buck Showalter are also prime candidates to claim one of the eight available jobs. Maddon has been linked heavily to the Angels, while Girardi has been linked heavily to the Mets.

The Phillies will interview Showalter Monday in the New York area, according to multiple sources.

At Friday's press conference, Phillies GM Matt Klentak spoke of the organization's desire to have its next manager believe in their core baseball principles. It will likely be a manager who utilizes more of a blend of data and gut-feel. Baker has more than two decades of big-league experience and this would be the most analytically-driven organization he's ever been a part of. The fit is still worth exploring.

It makes sense for the Phillies to cast a wide net in their search. Managing partner John Middleton referenced Craig Counsell on Friday as the kind of high-quality manager whose value can be uncovered during this sort of process.

For more on other potential Phillies managerial candidates, look here.

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