Posts Tagged ‘Matt Harrison’

Following The 40: Bullpen

November 13th, 2015 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Following The 40: Bullpen | Filed in Baseball, Phillies
Ken Giles: Will He Be In Red Pinstripes On Opening Day?

Ken Giles: Will He Be In Red Pinstripes On Opening Day?

In our previous entry, we looked at the starting rotation. So naturally, its sequel would follow the story of the bullpen. Every story has a theme. Whether it be the importance of family like in the Fast & Furious franchise or how every person has a face they show in public and a separate one shown in private like in just about every Batman film. The theme for the 2015 Phillies bullpen: Addition By Subtraction. I still don’t know how the Phillies completely bamboozled the Nationals front office into taking Papelbon.

So where does the Phillies bullpen go in 2016? One would think that the game will end with fireballer Ken Giles, but will he even make the Opening Day roster? Could the Phillies try to cash in on Giles’ ability and remaining team control? The Braves were able to turn Craig Kimbrel into a top 100 prospect in Matt Wisler and a competitive balance draft pick in addition dumping $80.35M while taking back just $24M. So could the Phillies turn a cost-effective closer into a substantial gain? It would definitely be worth considering. Ultimately, why would a team that would be fighting for a .500 record be planning on holding onto a potentially elite closer?

As addressed in the Off-season Primer, while there are a lot of candidates from the 2015 iteration, there are no real locks to return. All of the members of the bullpen on the final day of the season all have options remaining. So while there were some stand outs the final few weeks of the season, come Spring Training, it will be an all out competition for those final 6-7 roster spots on the pitching staff. With all the potential youth heading to the starting rotation, do the Phillies consider adding a starter to the bullpen as a swingman? The team currently lists Matt Harrison as the setup man on the team’s official depth chart (at time of writing).

The bullpen could easily be the biggest area of turnover heading into 2016. The Phillies have a lot of internal options, but will probably consider a couple of external ones too. Who should the Phillies considering targeting? Stay tuned to TSP for a free agent update on potential targets for the bullpen shortly.

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Following The 40: Starting Rotation

November 8th, 2015 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Following The 40: Starting Rotation | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies

phillies40In recent years, Hollywood has been all about the reboot. In 2015 alone, we saw both ends of the spectrum of how rebooting can go. Jurassic World acknowledged the original Jurassic Park, but basically disavowed all information that happened in the increasing lesser sequels. Then there was Fantastic Four, a desperate attempt to retain a franchise that needed to move on that just came off as … well, desperate. As you’re reading this, I can see a good majority of people saying, “How in the hell does this relate to the Phillies?” It has everything to do with them, and as the Phillies start to reboot the franchise, I’m gonna go step-by-step through the roster and give my thoughts on how they can end up the summer blockbuster we’re all lining up to see.

Speaking of the Fantastic Four, that was the previous regime in a nut shell. After 2008, it was just one grasp at a straw after another. Failed attempts to keep a window open instead of finding a way to open a new one. That first step in finding a new window came with a slamming of a door, the one that closed when Ruben “Mr. Fantastic” Amaro was finally given his pink slip. New GM Matt Klentak still believes in building around pitching and while the Phillies have acquired some potential, they don’t have much in the way of certainty. As of right now, the only thing close to certainties in the Phillies rotation are 2014 1st round draft pick Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff, who was acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade (sorry for the sore spot, Amy).

So what are the Phillies options? Well, Adam Morgan is working his way back and probably has one of the better shots to make the rotation. Alec Asher, David Buchanan, Severino Gonzalez, and Matt Harrison all will have shots at a spot as well. Asher, Buchanan, and Gonzalez appear to more likely start the season in AAA Lehigh Valley, but are definitely options. Harrison on the other hand, seems more likely to spend more time on the disabled list than on the active roster. Harrison is still trying to make the seemingly impossible comeback from spinal fusion surgery. A surgery that was given the prognosis of a 20% chance that he would ever pitch competitively again.

Recently, an article stated that the Phillies would definitely consider calling up top pitching prospect Jake Thompson, who was also acquired in the Texas deal. The article stated that the team would bring him up if they felt he deserved. Now while a lot of fans may see a great second half in AA Reading, there is no reason to rush him. Let him start the year in AAA and if he is just as successful, he’ll probably be up before the All-Star Break. Why any team would risk losing a year of team control on a potentially gifted player is ridiculous.

The Phillies also have the top pick in the Rule V draft at the end of the annual Winter Meetings, which is just over a month a way. The Phillies really lucked out last year with CF Odubel Herrera. Can the team repeat that success? Only time will tell and we here at TSP will be keeping track of all the possibilities as we get closer and other rumors and transactions that occur during the busiest week of the baseball offseason. While some of the key free agents that set the market come off the board that week, don’t expect to see the Phillies dive into the free agent deep end. I suspect more Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang-esque types of signings with the hopes of being able to flip them mid-season with guys like Thompson, Asher, Buchanan, and Gonzalez ready to step in.

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Following The 40: Off-season Primer

October 12th, 2015 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Following The 40: Off-season Primer | Filed in Baseball, General, MLB, Phillies

philliesband

As the Phillies off-season begins, the first order of business was to pair down the roster to 40 players including ones that would be coming off of injured status. Earlier last week, the Phillies outrighted Justin De Fratus (who recently elected free agency), Jonathan Pettibone, Adam Loewen, Ken Roberts, Erik Kratz, Jordan Danks, and Chase d’Arnaud. The roster currently stands at forty, but with a strong likelihood that Cliff Lee, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Brian Bogusevic, Jeff Francoeur, and Andres Blanco all head to free agency.

Francoeur and Blanco are expected to be asked to return, but will both certainly be given offers with other clubs. Domonic Brown may have seen his last inning as a Phillie as he has a very strong chance of being non-tendered a contract. Jesse Biddle and David Buchanan are both likely to be outrighted in the near future due to their respective injury statuses. That sets the Phillies at 30 players.

Whoever the next General Manager may be, while they have the resources, there probably won’t be any huge splashes for 2016. In fact, the Phillies acquisitions will most likely be role players and players coming off of injury looking to establish value. The rotation will most likely consist of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Adam Morgan as pitchers three thru five with Alec Asher and Severino Gonzalez given opportunities.

Matt Harrison, whom the Phillies acquired at the trade deadline in the Cole Hamels deal, could also be an option if he is healthy enough to compete. The Phillies could also add from within with Zach Eflin and Ben Lively as potential candidates. My personal targets for the Phillies to add from free agency: Mat Latos or Doug Fister.

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