Source: Phillies are being 'aggressive' on Manny Machado

Source: Phillies are being 'aggressive' on Manny Machado

MIAMI — The Baltimore Orioles have scouted the Phillies’ farm system in recent days. The Phillies have interest in two of the Orioles' top players, infielder Manny Machado and closer Zach Britton.

According to a baseball source, the Phillies have been “aggressive” in pursuing Machado in recent days. National baseball writer Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday that the Phillies have increased their offer to the Orioles (see story).

The Phillies are competing with the Dodgers, Yankees and Cardinals for Machado. The Brewers and Diamondbacks have also been mentioned as being in the hunt.

"It changes day to day," a baseball executive said Friday. "The whole industry is waiting for Machado to be traded. Other things will start to happen after that."

The Phillies’ offer for Machado is not known, but a source said the Orioles were seeking some of the Phillies’ top prospects. Names mentioned by the source were pitchers Adonis Medina, Ranger Suarez and Franklyn Kilome, infielder Arquimedes Gamboa and outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz. Pitcher Enyel De Los Santos could also be on the Orioles’ wish list. On the big-league roster, the Phils could part with Maikel Franco and/or Aaron Altherr. The Phillies are reluctant to part with top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez.

Obviously, not all of these names would be involved in a trade for Machado — if one were to be consummated. But that provides an idea of what the Orioles are trying to get. If Britton were included in a deal with Machado, the Phillies would have to pay a higher price in talent. Adding Machado and Britton would greatly enhance the Phillies' chances of making the postseason. Machado would give them a big bat on the left side of the infield and Britton a dominant, late-game left-handed reliever.

The Orioles, for what it’s worth, scouted the Phillies’ Florida State League and Gulf Coast League teams this week.

The Phillies would like to add Machado. They’ve been interested in him for years. The hurdle, however, is he can be a free agent this fall and the Phillies don’t want to mortgage top prospects for a rental player. The Phillies surely would be open to negotiating a contract extension with the 26-year-old slugging infielder if he’d be interested. Short of getting an extension done with Machado this summer, the Phillies, who find themselves a surprise contender in the National League after missing the playoffs the last six years, could trade for Machado and take their chances that he would enjoy his Philadelphia experience and sign with the club in the offseason.

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Phillies 28-man roster: Kyle Garlick, Enyel De Los Santos optioned to Lehigh Valley

Phillies 28-man roster: Kyle Garlick, Enyel De Los Santos optioned to Lehigh Valley

To trim their roster from 30 to 28 ahead of Thursday's deadline, the Phillies optioned outfielder Kyle Garlick and right-handed reliever Enyel De Los Santos to their satellite site at Lehigh Valley.

MLB rosters will stay at 28 the rest of the regular season and postseason. Initially, rosters were set to be cut to 26 two weeks from now but MLB has revised that rule amid so many game postponements already related to COVID-19.

The Phillies now have 13 position players and 15 pitchers, a.k.a a four-man bench and 10-man bullpen. Garlick was the likeliest bench candidate to go given that he has options remaining. The Phillies didn't need to remove Garlick, or De Los Santos for that matter, from their 40-man roster to remove them from the active roster.

Garlick's ability to hit lefties for power was why the Phillies carried him on their opening day roster. He went 0 for 2 in the Phillies' first six games, both at-bats coming in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader started by Yankees lefty J.A. Happ. 

De Los Santos had not pitched yet this season. He pitched 30 innings for the Phillies across 2018 and 2019 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Still, there was a belief he could help in this bullpen which lacks right-handed threats beyond closer Hector Neris and right-handed velocity overall.

It appeared that Austin Davis, a fringe reliever, might be the bullpen casualty after he allowed four runs to the Yankees while recording one out, but the Phillies opted to keep the extra lefty over the extra righty.

This is their bullpen, which has a 9.18 ERA and .338 opponents' batting average this season with no magic potions in sight:

Hector Neris
Tommy Hunter
Adam Morgan (LHP)
Jose Alvarez (LHP)
Deolis Guerra
Trevor Kelley
Nick Pivetta
Ramon Rosso
Cole Irvin (LHP)
Austin Davis (LHP)

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Bryce Harper has company in the J.T. Realmuto Fan Club with Zack Wheeler

Bryce Harper has company in the J.T. Realmuto Fan Club with Zack Wheeler

If Bryce Harper is president of the J.T. Realmuto Fan Club, Zack Wheeler is vice president.

Wheeler notched his second win in as many starts with the Phillies in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Yankees on Wednesday. The right-hander pitched six innings of three-run ball and was supported by homers from Harper and Realmuto.

In recent weeks, Harper has been outspoken in his desire to see the Phillies extend Realmuto's contract.

Wheeler chimed in with his own subtle endorsement of the All-Star catcher after Wednesday's game.

"Playing against him all these years, I was wishing he was my catcher and now he is," Wheeler said. "That was part of me coming over here, and I love throwing to him."

Wheeler, a former New York Met, signed a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. The Chicago White Sox actually offered Wheeler more money but staying on the East Coast and in the National League East appealed to the pitcher. And now we know that joining Realmuto was a factor in his decision, as well.

Wheeler has pitched 13 innings and allowed just four runs over two starts with his new club, both with Realmuto behind the plate.

"Against a lineup like the Yankees, you have to make pitches," Wheeler said after Wednesday's game. "Me and J.T. were on the same page all day. He can call a game and that's what you need back there.

"And he's a great receiver, one of the best in the game at that. And when guys get on base, you don't have that thought in the back of your head about being slow to the plate because he'll make up for it with his arm. And, of course, he can swing it."

Realmuto will become a free agent at season's end. The Phillies hope to sign him to an extension. Time will tell if that happens.

In the meantime, you can bet that Realmuto's agent will save Wheeler's endorsement for his client's free-agent dossier.

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