Phillies

At The Yard Podcast: Which players will be back in 2019?

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At The Yard Podcast: Which players will be back in 2019?

Introducing At The Yard 2.0! Corey Seidman and Ricky Bottalico will give you the latest on the Phillies.

On this episode, following Ryan Howard's retirement, Ricky Bo shares the process of once a pro baseball player retires.

Which position players and starting pitchers will be back in 2019? Who will be playing elsewhere? Also, the guys answer listener questions.

1:00 - How players handle retirement. 
5:00 - Which position players will be back in 2019? Starting with Wilson Ramos.
9:30 - Carlos Santana.
13:00 - Cesar Hernandez.
18:30 - Maikel Franco.
21:30 - Odubel Herrera.
24:30 - Nick Williams.
28:00 - Which starting pitchers will be back in 2019?
35:30 - Corey and Ricky Bo answer listener questions.

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Will reported extension protect Matt Klentak if Phillies underachieve?

Will reported extension protect Matt Klentak if Phillies underachieve?

Phillies GM Matt Klentak this past spring signed a contract extension through 2022, according to The Athletic

It followed an offseason in which Klentak acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins, Jean Segura from the Mariners and Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson in free agency. At Harper's introductory press conference, Phillies managing partner John Middleton went through the historic nature of Klentak's offseason. 

"I mean, seriously, Branch Rickey never had this kind of offseason. Pat Gillick never had this kind of offseason," Middleton said. "I'm not telling you [Klentak] had the greatest single offseason in the history of baseball, but you know what? If you make that statement, people might quibble with it but they can't really argue with it too hard. Because nobody's ever done what this kid did."

Middleton was referring to Klentak's adding three position players who were All-Stars the prior season.

The Phillies, at 49-46, have underachieved. Fans have called for the heads of Klentak, manager Gabe Kapler and team president Andy MacPhail. MacPhail's deal reportedly runs through 2021. 

If the Phillies disappoint in the second half, miss the playoffs and/or have a slow start next season, these contract extensions do not grant any of them immunity. They will be judged by the team's performance because they are responsible for it. A three-year extension won't save any of them if it comes to that point. We see managers, coaches and GMs let go all the time with years remaining on their deals.

The assumption here is that all three men will finish out the 2019 season and maintain their jobs into 2020. The Phillies, even if they miss the playoffs, could say that their key players underperformed, they dealt with as many crucial injuries as any team in baseball and that they want to give this core another shot.

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MLB trade rumors: Mike Minor would be ideal fit but do Phillies have realistic shot at him?

MLB trade rumors: Mike Minor would be ideal fit but do Phillies have realistic shot at him?

The Phillies continue to maintain interest in Rangers left-hander Mike Minor. At some point, though, you have to wonder whether Texas will really trade him.

The Rangers are five games over .500 at 50-45 even after losing three in a row. Trailing the Astros by 8½ games and Athletics by 4½ games, they are unlikely to win the AL West. 

But the playoffs are not out of reach for Texas. The Rangers have a big four-game series in Oakland July 25-28 and then face the Indians a week later. Those are the two teams tied for the second wild-card spot in the AL.

The Rangers are also moving into a new ballpark in 2020. Teams tend to want to be competitive in that first year of a new stadium. The Rangers would be much more competitive with Minor than without him.

Could they be blown away by an offer for the lefty? Sure. It will take a strong offer. Minor is not only one of the two or three best pitchers on the trade market, he is also under a great contract. Minor is owed about $3.2 million after Aug. 1 and $9.5 million in 2020. An acquiring team could potentially ride Minor to the playoffs twice while paying him less than $13 million total.

For those reasons — the Rangers' fringe playoff hopes, the new ballpark, Minor's production and contract — he will likely be the most expensive starting pitcher to acquire in a trade this month. He's not a rental like Madison Bumgarner or owed $70 million like Zack Greinke.

Minor has been so good for the Rangers. He's 8-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 19 starts and has averaged 6.4 innings per start. For reference, Aaron Nola has averaged 5.8 innings per start. 

The Phillies could really use Minor's left-handedness and his ability to go deep into games. Right now, the Phillies have three pitchers — Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez — who cannot be trusted to go deeper than five innings. Then there's Zach Eflin, who is only four starts away from setting a new career-high in innings. The rotation situation right now is not sustainable for a team that wants to stay in the race. Minor would be a massive upgrade.

But again, it will take a lot to acquire him. The Rangers would be wise to ask for someone like Spencer Howard — a top pitching prospect the Phillies have been uninterested in moving in previous proposals — plus more. That trade might also cost someone like Mickey Moniak or Adam Haseley, in addition to a third piece. 

It is a seller's market this month. Literally every contender except the Dodgers needs starting pitching. The Phillies' path to landing Minor will be difficult.

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