Luis Avilan

Phillies cut loose first baseman Justin Bour and reliever Luis Avilan

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Phillies cut loose first baseman Justin Bour and reliever Luis Avilan

The Phillies have cut loose two players.

First baseman Justin Bour and relief pitcher Luis Avilan were not offered contracts by the club for 2019. Both are now free agents.

Bour and Avilan were two of 11 Phillies players eligible for salary arbitration. The other nine were all offered contracts by Friday night’s 8 p.m. deadline.

That group includes pitchers Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia, infielders Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco and outfielder Aaron Altherr.

Teams and players will exchange salary proposals on Jan. 11 and arbitration hearings will be held the first two weeks of February, if necessary. The two sides often reach agreement on a contract before a hearing.

The departures of Bour and Avilan leave the Phillies with four openings on their 40-man roster. Those spots will likely be filled in the coming weeks as the team looks to sign free agents and make trades.

Bour and Avilan were both acquired in late-season trades by the Phillies in 2018.

Looking for power off the bench, the Phillies acquired Bour from Miami for minor-league pitcher McKenzie Mills. Bour had 54 plate appearances with the Phils and hit .224 with a homer and five RBIs. He was hampered during part of his stay with the club by a hamstring injury that landed him on the DL.

Bour, 30, has averaged 21 homers and 66 RBIs the last four seasons and could be attractive to clubs looking for a left-handed platoon bat at first base. The Phillies are not in need of that type of player as they are committed to using Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana at first base. Santana is a strong candidate to be traded. If he were to be dealt, Hoskins would play at first base full time.

Avilan, 29, joined the Phillies from the White Sox in an August trade for minor-league pitcher Felix Paulino. The left-hander pitched in 12 games and recorded a 3.18 ERA.

The Phillies are attempting to add a frontline left-handed reliever for 2019 and have had longstanding interest in free agent Zach Britton.

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Phillies face 11 roster decisions by Friday night, with 1 player a near-lock to be let go

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Phillies face 11 roster decisions by Friday night, with 1 player a near-lock to be let go

The next roster checkpoint of baseball’s offseason arrives at 8 p.m. Friday. That’s the deadline for offering contracts to players who are eligible for salary arbitration. Any player not tendered a contract will become a free agent.

The Phillies have 11 players on their 40-man roster who are eligible for salary arbitration.

Of the group, one player — first baseman Justin Bour — is a virtual certainty to be non-tendered. The Phillies tipped their hand on this when they ran Bour through waivers two weeks ago. The Phillies have a crowd at first base with Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana and they don’t have room for Bour, who was acquired from Miami in an August trade. Santana could end up being traded in the coming weeks, opening the first-base position full time for Hoskins.

It’s likely that the Phillies tried to trade Bour, but rival clubs were reluctant to part with value because of the possibility that he would soon be available as a free agent. Bour has pop in his left-handed bat and won’t have trouble finding work in a platoon situation.

Left-handed reliever Luis Avilan, another late-season trade acquisition by the Phils in 2018, is also a candidate to be non-tendered. The Phils hope to add a top lefty reliever such as Zach Britton through free agency.

There has been some speculation that right-hander Luis Garcia will be non-tendered. The hunch here is that Garcia will be offered a contract. Team officials have always liked his power arm and overall stuff. The website MLBTradeRumors.com projects Garcia’s 2018 salary at an affordable $1.7 million.

Pitchers Aaron Nola (projected to make $6.6 million), Jerad Eickhoff ($1.7 million), Vince Velasquez ($2.6 million), Hector Neris ($2 million) and Adam Morgan ($1.1 million) will all be offered contracts as will outfielder Aaron Altherr ($1.6 million) and infielders Cesar Hernandez ($8.9 million) and Maikel Franco ($5.1 million).

Several of these players could still be traded as the front office constructs its 2019 roster. Franco and Hernandez are the two most likely trade candidates, depending on what the team does in the infield. It’s possible that Velasquez and Altherr could also be moved as the roster evolves. The team is in pursuit of top free-agent starting pitchers such as Patrick Corbin, hitters such as Manny Machado and Bryce Harper and relievers such as Britton.

The Phillies' 40-man roster currently stands at 38.

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Braves 6, Phillies 5: Blown lead puts this team on death's doorstep

Braves 6, Phillies 5: Blown lead puts this team on death's doorstep

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — The Phillies are bowing out of the National League East race in spectacular fashion.

Just when it looked like they were on their way to the kind of win that could provide a little emotional fuel and keep them alive for a few more days, they fell flat on their collective face in suffering a completely disheartening 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park Friday night.

The pertinent facts:

• The Phillies rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie.

• The Braves responded quickly and with a vengeance in scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh.

• The emotional victory reduced the Braves’ magic number for winning the NL East to two. They can wrap up the division with a win over the Phillies Saturday afternoon.

House of horrors

Back in late March, the Phillies’ season started with a couple of difficult-to-swallow losses to the Braves in Atlanta. The losing has continued right up until fall’s doorstep. The Phillies are 2-6 in SunTrust Park this season.

A gift rally

The Phillies scored three times in the top of the seventh inning to take a 4-1 lead.

The rally was aided by a misplayed ball in left field by Atlanta super-rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. The misplay, on a catchable liner by Wilson Ramos, scored two runs and Jose Bautista followed with a single for a third run.

Often it’s the Phillies giving away runs with their defense. This time they benefitted from poor defense.

Briefly, at least.

The Braves taste it

The Braves overtook the Phillies in the standings in early August and there is no holding them back now. They looked completely unfazed by the Phillies' rally in the seventh and answered back with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Four of the runs were charged to veteran reliever Pat Neshek, who opened the frame by allowing a single, a two-run homer, a walk and a single.

The Braves tied the game on a double by Ender Inciarte (remember him?) against Luis Avilan and took the lead for good with two outs on a full-count, two-run single by Johan Camargo. Those two runs were huge because the Phils made it a one-run game in the bottom of the ninth. 

Nightly wastefulness

Roman Quinn had third base swiped with one out in the top of the third, but he came off the bag on his head-first slide and was tagged out.

The Phils wasted a leadoff triple by J.P. Crawford in the sixth.

A defensive shift cost the Phils their first run in the third inning.

Arrieta for the save

Jake Arrieta will get the ball Saturday afternoon as the Phils try to stave off elimination. He will be opposed by Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz.

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