Phillies: 2022’s Deliberate Approach

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While the Philadelphia Phillies faithful helplessly witnessed the spending frenzy in the majors, they now feel only their team did nothing. But the New York Yankees are applying the same method, plus the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox have had limited activity. Basically, not overpaying.    

            

 Contractual Consequences:

For many Phillies fans, they will carry disappointment through the weeks ahead. And when the campaign begins, they will point out successful players inked before the lockout. Ergo, they will only mention the highlights, but they will be blind to the poor signings and the desperation moves leading to other teams’ difficulties. 

IN OTHER WORDS:

“Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

With a deadline of Dec. 2, many franchises chose to either meet a player’s asking price or overpay to secure his services. They believe they won’t have a last-minute rush to construct their rosters if the negotiations last two months. Yes, Feb. 1 is the anticipated date leaving 2-3 weeks to be ready for spring training.        

The Fightins are in the group taking the deliberate approach. Basically, the remaining stars will compete for offers from like-minded execs, who will want to field the strongest –not the most expensive– active 26. But while there will be less available talent, there also won’t be many organizations going overboard.                  

Some expect another spending frenzy when the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) takes effect. However, anticipating franchises to ink more top-dollar stars is questionable because this time the players may be under more pressure to find a landing spot.

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Phillies Reportedly Sign Versatile Camargo, Designate Medina

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A lockout is set to hit Major League Baseball at some point on Thursday.  Even though the owners unanimously agreed to lock out players, the Phillies made one more deal on Wednesday evening.  The Phillies have reportedly come to terms with a useful offensive player that they have seen plenty the last several years.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Phillies have come to terms with Johan Camargo:

Camargo has been a National League East foe since his rookie season of 2017.

In 2018, Camargo was the starting third basemen for the Atlanta Braves and put together a nice season, batting .222 with 19 home runs and 73 runs batted in.  His OPS of .806 was impressive.  But Camargo never did replicate those numbers since.

Camargo went just 2 for 18 in limited action for the Braves in 2021.  The Braves non-tendered Camargo.

Camargo's biggest strength is that he can play many positions.  He has played third base, shortstop, second base, right field, left field, and first base in the big leagues.   With the Phillies potentially using the designated hitter spot to rest various players, they could use Camargo defensively around the diamond.

Shortly after Dierkes reported the move, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that in a corresponding move the Phillies designated for assignment the contract of Adonis Medina.  Once the top organizational pitching prospect, Medina's stock fell dramatically the last couple seasons.


Phillies Designate Quinn, Claim Reliever López

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The Phillies offseason plan very transparently included the need for a center fielder and a left fielder.  Though he was under Phillies control, it was almost as if outfielder Roman Quinn was no longer a consideration for the job.   After a season-ending Achilles injury in May, Quinn ended the season on the injured list.  And now it appears his Phillies tenure is over.

The Phillies announced that the Phillies designated Quinn for assignment, after claiming pitcher Yoan López on waivers from the Atlanta Braves.   López was designated for assignment by the Braves just a week ago and was awaiting an outcome.

López was acquired by the Braves in a May trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and never did make another Major League appearance in 2021.  Over the last four seasons, López has made 113 appearances for the Diamondbacks, going 2-8 with a 4.25 earned run average.  López has one career save, and has struck out 7.3 batters per nine innings in his career.

López's best season was 2019 when he made 70 appearances, going 2-5 with a 3.41 earned run average.

Quinn was known for his tremendous speed, but he struggled to stay healthy and to get on base.   Quinn debuted with the Phillies in 2016, and batted just .228 in only 456 big league at bats over six seasons. 


Report: Phillies Are "Linked" to Free Agent Kris Bryant

The Phillies remain active in the outfielder free agent market.  Already linked early Monday to outfielder Nick Castellanos, the Phillies have been linked to two additional All Stars.  The Phillies seek to fill both left field and center field in their outfield.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Phillies are linked to outfielder/infielder Kris Bryant:

Bryant's versatility could help the Phillies at a few positions.

Bryant is a former National League MVP, and a well-known friend of Philadelphia's own MVP, Bryce Harper.  A 2021 National League All-Star, Bryant batted .265 with 25 home runs and 73 runs batted in, while managing an .835 OPS. 

Bryant has mostly been a third baseman in his career, but is a versatile defender.  In 2021 alone Bryant played third base, left field, center field, third base, first base, and even made an appearance at shortstop after an injury forced teammate Nico Horner out of a game. 

With a designated hitter believed to be coming to the National League, Bryant would give the Phillies many options.

Since Bryant was traded during the 2021 season, the Phillies would not need to surrender a draft pick to sign Bryant.  As Dave Dombrowski works to improve the Phillies farm system, they may wish to retain as many draft picks as possible.  So Bryant would only cost money.  Would the Phillies spend what it takes?

 


Could Citizens Bank Park See a Drive Into Deep Left Field by Castellanos?

The MLB Hot Stove is particularly active on Monday morning.   Much more so than the typical November 29th.   That is because December 1 marks the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association.  So expect many more moves in the next 48 hours.

The Phillies rumor mill has been rather quiet so far.  But Monday morning, Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com was up early with this nugget about free agent outfielder Nick  Castellanos:

Of course, simple familiarity does not necessarily benefit the Phillies.

Castellanos is coming off one of his most productive seasons yet.  A 2021 All Star, Castellanos batted .309 while hitting 34 home runs and driving in 100 runs.  His OPS of .939 was good for fifth in the National League.

The Phillies were also linked on Monday morning to free agent utility player Chris Taylor: 

Taylor plays all over the diamond, and presumably the Phillies are interested in Taylor in center field.

Taylor was also a 2021 All-Star, and has been a key component of the recent success of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Dodgers lineup has been filled with moveable parts such as Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger, allowing Taylor to play all three outfield positions, third base, second base, and shortstop in 2021.    Taylor also hit 20 home runs and drove in 74 runs while batting .254 and getting on base at a .344 clip.

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Phillies, NL East: 2022’s Rivals’ Issues

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While Philadelphia Phillies and other divisional fans relive ‘22 from first to last place, others will watch impatiently with the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) looming over and distorting the upcoming 162. Now, some players and organizations are finalizing contracts not wanting to have time limits when normality returns.  

 

Greener Pastures:

With the Miami Marlins making more noise, the Phillies and their National League East foes have situations for going right or wrong especially if a negotiated CBA drags on. But their supporters will bemoan everything not working out satisfactorily, while they point to their rivals’ moves.                 

IN OTHER WORDS:

“Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.” - Satchel Paige

As the days toward the Dec. 2 deadline inch closer, execs, players and agents must decide to make or accept an offer now. Or they can wait for the uncertainty to vanish with a successive CBA, but the new deal may or may not be beneficial to some franchises and/or stars.     

Analyzing each club reveals their roster holes and financial limitations affected by the CBT (competitive-balance threshold) like an ownership-imposed budget and/or revenue-influenced spending. Yes, each team has warts and won’t fill every opening even if their faithful believe and/or vocalize otherwise.                

Speaking of fan bases, they equate no news as total inaction, but negotiations are time-consuming, and many front offices want the same star. But even if overpaying or meeting the asking price are strategies, they can affect other pickups. It’s or, not both! 

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Phillies Legends Rollins, Howard to Appear on Hall of Fame Ballot

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum released the ballots for candidates for the January, 2022 announcement.   Two Phillies that were a key part of the Phillies championship era in the late 2000s/2010s have joined the ballot.   Voters of the Baseball Writers Association of America will now have the opportunity to cast votes for former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and first baseman Ryan Howard.

Rollins(Sports Talk Philly/Kevin Durso)

Rollins was a three-time National League All-Star, has won four Gold Glove awards, and was named 2007 National League MVP.  Voters will take note of how complete a player Rollins was; he was known for speed, defense, and power, while have seasons with a strong batting average an on base percentage.  Rollins is the Phillies All-Time hits leader and could be a strong candidate.

Howard(Sports Talk Philly/Andrew Gillen)

Howard was the 2005 Rookie of the Year and the 2006 National League Most Valuable Player.   In fact, six times Howard finished among the top 10 in MVP voting.  Howard has three seasons of 140 or more RBI in his career.

Former Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is also on the Ballot.  Papelbon signed a four-year contract with the Phillies ahead of the 2012 season. Papelbon was traded from the Phillies to the Nationals during the 2015 season, but left his mark in the Phillies record books, becoming the club's all-time saves leader with 123.

Rollins, Howard, and Papelbon join many former Phillies who remain on the ballot, including ]Curt Schilling, Billy Wagner, Scott Rolen, and Bobby Abreu.  Schilling came very close to election in 2021; he received votes on 71.4% of the ballots.  Rolen and Wagner also received strong showings, with 52.4% and 46.4%, respectively.  Abreu received 8.7% in 2021.  A player must receive votes on 5% or more ballots to remain on the ballot.

Winners will be announced on January 25, 2022, with the induction ceremony taking place on Sunday, July 24.


Rumor Roundup: Phillies Reportedly Interested in Craig Kimbrel (Again)

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

It should come as no surprise that one of the Phillies main goals this offseason is to fortify the bullpen that blew 34-save opportunities in 2021.  With little options in the free agency class, the Phillies have reportedly once again turned their attention to the trade market and old nemesis Craig Kimbrel.  MLB Network's Jon Heyman was the first to report this off-seasons interest.  

Kimbrel, a former “Phillie killer” in Atlanta, was traded to the Chicago White Sox during the season and the ChiSox recently picked up his 2022 club option.  He settled into a setup role after being traded to the White Sox from the Cubs for a pair of prospects.

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Phillies: 2022’s Plan A

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Considering that money will play the main role in the Philadelphia Phillies offseason, Dave Dombrowski, POB (president of baseball operations), will have every dollar available for priorities first. Ergo, four free agents are in his immediate sights, while inexpensive players will fill out the remaining spots later.   

 

Maximizing the Dollars:

For the Phillies faithful bracing for winter, the hot stove league is lukewarm. But the execs are playing their seventh game of the World Series when they’re competing for the difference-making stars of limited supply aside from shortstops. But forget overpaying!

IN OTHER WORDS:

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” - Alan Lakein

Addressing each shortcoming individually, the Fightins can acquire a closer, a setup man, a center fielder, a leadoff hitter, a shortstop and a third baseman. Realistically, though, paying top dollar for the best available star to plug every weakness isn’t going to happen because of the prohibitive cost.

Even if the Phils plugged every hole but one, many locals would harp on it relentlessly during rough patches. However, boobirds will have Opening Day to be unhappy and May to give up on players having a slow start. But overall filling two major spots will produce victories.              

In early November, Didi Gregorius had minor surgery to remove right elbow inflammation; and, yes, it had affected his glove and bat. But releasing him isn’t the option some may believe because another franchise will take a flyer on him for only the MLB minimum. Ergo, don’t expect the red pinstripes to eat the other $13.9 million. 

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MV3: Bryce Harper Win 2021 NL MVP Award

Image 1Photo: Philadelphia Phillies/@Phillies

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper won his second NL MVP award edging out Washington’s Juan Soto and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr.  Harper previously won the award in 2015 as member of the Washington Nationals and is the first Phillie to win the award since Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins won back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.

Harper batted .309 with 35 HRs, 84 RBIs, 151 H, 101 R, 13 SB, and a .429 OBP for a Phillies team that fell just short of the postseason.  He led the league in doubles (42), slugging (.615), OPS (1.044), and OPS+ (179).  In the second half of the season, Harper hit .338 with 20 HR, 50 RBI, 28 2b, 65 BB, with a .476 OBP and 1.188 SLG.  Harper added ten outfield assists to one error in the field. 

Harper becomes the fifth Phillie to win the NL MVP award, he joins Chuck Klein (1932), Jim Konstanty (1950), Mike Schmidt (1980, 1981, 1986), Howard, and Rollins. 

This story will be updated.