Breaking down Phillies' reported trade talks for Paul Goldschmidt

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Breaking down Phillies' reported trade talks for Paul Goldschmidt

The Phillies and Diamondbacks discussed a Paul Goldschmidt trade and even exchanged names, according to Jayson Stark.

Stark reports that "Zach Eflin and several young players" were discussed but that talks ended when the Phils tried to include first baseman/occasional third baseman Carlos Santana.

First off, wow. Imagine a top or middle of the order including Bryce Harper, Goldschmidt and Rhys Hoskins.

Arizona is exploring many trade possibilities this offseason. Goldschmidt could go, same for Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger. 

Goldschmidt is a superstar, and he's under contract for an extremely team-friendly price of $14.5M in 2019. Then he becomes a free agent and will still command a huge salary despite being 32 headed into the market.

The Phillies have enough money to make Goldschmidt a non-rental, but you have to consider aspects other than offense. It would necessitate Hoskins' staying in left field, which makes left field defense a problem. 

It would also force their hand with Santana, which is likely why they tried to ship him to Arizona. You just cannot have a left side of the field including Santana at 3B and Hoskins in LF. The Phils' defense, with that alignment, could be even worse than it was last season.

Santana has two years and $35.5 million remaining on his contract. It is highly unlikely that the Phillies can accomplish both goals of getting his money off the books while also finding a decent return. It's one or the other.

Quite frankly, though, if Goldschmidt is gettable, the Phillies should do whatever they have to do with Santana. Trade him for next-to-no return if it saves you the money and unclogs the positional jam. Goldschmidt is worth that. He has every bit of Santana's plate selectivity, just with much more power, a much higher batting average, more speed and better glovework. 

It would take more than just Eflin, though. The Phillies will be hesitant to include Nick Pivetta, but it could cost something like Eflin, Vince Velasquez and an outfielder. The price can't become exorbitant, though, because Goldschmidt comes with just one year of team control.

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Phillies could go trade route as they look to improve starting pitching

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Phillies could go trade route as they look to improve starting pitching

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Baseball’s offseason ramps up with the start of the general managers meetings Tuesday.

Phillies GM Matt Klentak is here, looking for two more good months. The 2018 Phillies led the National League East in early August then suffered a monumental collapse en route to a sixth straight losing season.

The Phillies will be a headline-grabbing club all winter because they have shifted from rebuild mode to win mode, they have big money and they are committed to getting better — now. They are in pursuit of both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the two megastars on the free-agent market, and would like to land one of them. Signing both is unrealistic because the Phillies have future payrolls and future free-agent markets to consider and club president Andy MacPhail has said as much. Nonetheless, there has and will continue to be speculation that the Phillies will sign both, even if it won’t happen.

It is an oversimplification to say that Klentak is looking for two more good months. Obviously the Phillies need more than that to build a sustained winner. But for four months, starting pitching carried the 2018 Phillies. (Their starters ranked sixth in the majors with a 3.70 ERA through the first week of August and recorded a 5.18 ERA the rest of the way.) Starting pitching, among other things, slipped over the final two months and winning games became more difficult.

This is why improving the starting pitching is an item on Klentak’s offseason to-do list. It has just been overshadowed by Machado/Harper-Mania.

The Phillies were willing to part with young talent to acquire Machado before he went to the Dodgers in July. They are still willing to part with young talent and now it could go toward starting pitching.

Two names to watch as the GM meetings get going:

Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks.

James Paxton of the Mariners.

Both are left-handers. Both have two years of control remaining. Both are said to be available. And both would appeal to the Phillies.

Paxton, 30, has battled injuries in his career, but his stuff is electric when he’s healthy. He pitched a no-hitter in 2018. Klentak previously worked for Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto in Anaheim and the two are very close. Could that facilitate a deal? Stay tuned.

Ray, 27, is a guy the Phillies have long liked. His name was kicked around last winter.

Another name to watch is Michael Fulmer of the Tigers. The Phillies poked around on the right-hander over the summer, but it’s unclear if the Tigers will sell low on him after a disappointing 2018 and minor knee injury that required surgery. Nonetheless, Fulmer has four years of control remaining and might be a fit if the Tigers look to move him. And the Yankees are committed to trading Sonny Gray so he could be a name to watch, too.

The Phillies will also be in on the top free-agent arms, particularly Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, Dallas Keuchel and others.

So while Machado and Harper get most of the buzz, don’t forget starting pitching and the Phillies’ need for it.

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Monday night's blown lead hurts even more as Phillies drop finale in Phoenix

Monday night's blown lead hurts even more as Phillies drop finale in Phoenix


PHOENIX — Why do you need to close out those two-run leads in the ninth inning when you get eight shutout innings from your starting pitcher?

Patrick Corbin.

He is the reason.

The Phillies were manhandled by the left-hander in a 6-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday afternoon (see first take).

The Phils ended up dropping two of three in the series, and while that’s not anything to be embarrassed about — the D-backs are a good club that entered the series tied for first place in the NL West — things would have been much different if Seranthony Dominguez had been able to close out Jake Arrieta’s gem in the first game of the series Monday night. Dominguez blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning and the Phils lost in 14 innings (see story). Protect that lead Monday night and come back and win Tuesday night — as the Phils did — and taking one on the chin from a pitcher as good as Corbin becomes a lot easier to swallow because you still get out of town with a series win.

Instead, the Phillies head into an off day Thursday on a down note before opening a three-game series in San Diego on Friday. A good showing against the lowly Padres is imperative after a tough trip through the desert that left the Phils at 64-50. They entered Wednesday 1½ games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.

“This is very similar to what we always do,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We know how to turn the page. We don't let losses linger. You're going to go into a city like Phoenix against a very good team and sometimes you're going to win the series and there are going to be times where they just play better. Over the course of this series, they played better than us. It's part of baseball. But we will not carry that into San Diego. We will bring strength and enthusiasm and our brand of baseball to San Diego. I'm very confident we're going to perform well there.”

Starting pitching had been a huge strength for the Phillies recently. Their starters’ ERA was a glistening 1.46 in the previous eight games entering Wednesday. Vince Velasquez had been a big part of that success with 6 1/3 shutout innings against Miami on Friday. Velasquez’s success had extended farther back than that. Over a span of seven outings and 33 1/3 innings, he’d given up just five runs and held opposing hitters to a .168 batting average.

But it wasn’t there for Velasquez in this one. He allowed six hits, two walks and four runs over four innings. Two of the hits, a double and a two-run triple, came on sliders when he was ahead in the count and fueled a three-run third for Arizona. David Peralta, who homered twice to kill the Phillies on Monday, had the triple and four hits on the day.

“I’m kind of kicking myself in the butt because I know I can execute those pitches,” Velasquez said of the two sliders that hurt him in the third inning. “The secondary stuff wasn’t really working as much as I wanted it to. Just a terrible display of executing my secondary pitches today.”

The velocity on Velasquez’s fastball was down a little. He averaged 93, down a tick from his usual average of 94. Kapler attributed that to Velasquez throwing more two-seam fastballs.

Velasquez said he was fine physically.

“I felt great all the way through,” Velasquez said. “I wanted to go deeper, but Kap made a decision about what’s best for the team and took me out. But other than that I felt strong the whole way through.” 

With just a few runs, the Phillies might have been able to get Velasquez off the hook, but it didn’t happen. The Phils were out-hit, 13-4. They struck out 10 times and walked just once. Corbin gave up three singles and a double over 7 1/3 shutout innings. He walked none and struck out nine.

"He pitched tremendously," Kapler said. 

The Phillies will look to remedy an inconsistent offense by pursuing free agent Manny Machado in the offseason. But Corbin, who ranks ninth in the NL in ERA (3.15), seventh in opponents’ batting average (.214) and fourth in WHIP (1.04), will also be a highly coveted free agent this winter and he’s an East Coast guy from upstate New York.

Maybe he’s worth a phone call, too.

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