GM Matt Klentak says the Phillies plan to do plenty of spending “under the hood” this winter, Matt Gelb of Philly.com writes. By “under the hood,” Klentak means spending that isn’t necessarily entirely public, like on analytics, scouting, player development and infrastructure. (The Phillies currently have about $77MM committed to ten big-league players and figure to come in significantly below their usual Opening Day payroll figure of $160MM or so.) Klentak also notes that the Phillies have the first pick in the June draft and have the largest bonus pool (about $5.6MM) with which to sign international amateur talent. They are not expected to incur penalties by significantly exceeding that bonus pool amount, Gelb writes; that likely makes sense, given that the Phillies figure to have a large pool next year as well and there is skepticism about the possibility of MLB establishing an international draft by then. Here’s more out of Philadelphia.
- Phillies president Andy MacPhail says the organization will learn plenty this season about how quickly it can return to being competitive, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes. “What we’re going to find out this year more than anything is what kind of track we’re on,” says MacPhail. “That’s going to be determined by the 25 we break with. It’s also going to be determined by how some of those next-level guys progress and how many of them demonstrated they’re ready to come to the big leagues.” MacPhail adds that the team will be careful with the promotions of top prospects (like J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, Jorge Alfaro and Roman Quinn) — the Phillies don’t want to have to demote their top youngsters after they’ve been promoted for the first time, so they want to make sure they’re sure they ready before they call them up.
- After sending Ken Giles to the Astros, the Phillies have plenty of space in their bullpen, Zolecki notes. They added David Hernandez on a big-league deal this offseason and hope to use one or perhaps more of four minor league signees — Andrew Bailey, Ernesto Frieri, Edward Mujica or James Russell — as late-inning options. Of course, Bailey pitched sparingly in 2015 and the other three had rough seasons, but all except the lefty Russell have closing experience, and the Phillies aren’t counting on all four to be successful. “I can’t say they’re all going to be as impressive,” says manager Pete Mackanin. “I’d like to believe that more than a couple guys are going to make our job difficult.”