Phillies president Andy MacPhail shared his thoughts on the status of the organization’s rebuild with MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Expressing his agreement with the offseason maneuverings of GM Matt Klentak, MacPhail emphasized that he’s expecting tangible progress, but won’t necessarily reduce his assessment to the team’s win-loss record. Notably, MacPhail suggested that the organization could be readying to further open its substantial pocketbook next winter. The organization’s fairly significant investment in short-term veterans this winter was driven by ownership’s determination to improve the on-field product, he indicated, and it seems that yet further spending is contemplated for the future. MacPhail acknowledged that the Phillies could “absolutely” boost their payroll into the top half or third of the league by the 2018 season.
Here are a few more notes from around the league:
- The Blue Jays intend to stretch out righty Joe Biagini as a starter this spring, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. A surprisingly productive Rule 5 reliever last year, the 26-year-old could even end up starting out in the Triple-A rotation when camp breaks — though GM Ross Atkins says that’s hardly a certainty. Biagini’s status may impact the composition of the bullpen, which Davidi examines further. Mike Bolsinger and Bo Schultz are two out-of-options arms who’ll be batting for the final slots with a variety of other pitchers, he notes.
- A new deal for star Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner may need to wait until at least next year, owing to luxury tax considerations, as Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes. But the already fabled, still youthful southpaw says he’s not unhappy with the lack of contract movement as camp opens. As Baggarly notes, the team has suggested that it is ready to discuss a second extension whenever Bumgarner likes, but striking accord now would drive up the team’s tax bill because future years would be averaged in determining his CBA hit.
- Marlins manager Don Mattingly says that Justin Bour will be a regular at first base, as Tim Healey of the Sun-Sentinel reports. Though Bour’s limited trips to the plate against left-handed pitching thus far haven’t been very promising, the organization seems intent on giving him a chance to show he can be more than a platoon player. “This is a guy who has an opportunity,” said Mattingly. “We think he’s getting better.”