If the Braves are to repeat their 2018 division title, they’ll likely require significant contributions from some talented young players. Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examines the status of still-youthful lefty Luiz Gohara, who has shown immense ability but is now looking to reestablish himself after a difficult 2018 both on and off the field. Gohara is said not only to be in much-improved physical condition, carrying less weight and with a healthy shoulder, but also to possess a newfound focus on his craft.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- As part of an interesting look at what it’s like to sit and wait through a long stay on the open market, Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic drops a few nuggets regarding the Nationals and still-unsigned star free agent Bryce Harper. (Subscription link.) Word reached some in the organization recently that the club was “out of the running” to bring back Harper, per the report, though Ghiroli also cautions that there’s still nothing approaching certainty there. After all, Nats ownership and agent Scott Boras have a well-established knack for finding a way to line up on big contracts.
- Phillies righty Jerad Eickhoff is back on the bump in camp, making for a notable step in his comeback effort. As Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports, it was an emotional moment for the 28-year-old and others in he organization. Eickhoff still has quite a few tests ahead of him as he looks to put his finger troubles behind him. As Salisbury explains, there doesn’t seem to be a clear path right back into the Phillies rotation, but it’s also not hard to imagine Eickhoff forcing himself into the picture. There’s still some flexibility to work with as well, as Eickhoff could open the season on the DL and has an option year remaining.
- In other Phillies health news, second baseman Cesar Hernandez is coming back from a broken foot that he played through late last season, as Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Hernandez, who struggled after suffering the injury, now says that “it affected me in every single way.” The team was aware of the injury and did what it could to limit the strain; it was determined that Hernandez could play without risking further injury. Still, it’s not hard to imagine how it limited the switch-hitter, who saw his OPS fall by over 100 points from the first half of the season to the second. He was also just five-of-nine in stolen base attempts down the stretch. It’d be a nice boon for the 2019 Phils if Hernandez can get back to reaching base at the .370+ clip he carried in the two and a half seasons before his injury.
Definitely hoping gohara can flash some better stuff than he did last year. Good for him for focusing and overcoming some tough stuff at home last year.
This is the 3rd year in a row they’ve said that though
And up until last year he was steadily climbing. Im with Freddie, he looked like a future ace at the end of 2017. I’ve yet to hear reports on if the velocity has returned but the new dedication is great to hear
Gohara has a very high potential ceiling, but last year was a lost year for him. His dad died literally in Gohara’s arms. His mother ALMOST died from another health related scare. It was really too much for the young man to handle without a support system at home (from my limited understanding). I’m hoping that he rebounds back to the promise he was showing at the end of 2017. If he does the kid could surprise many with a Rookie of the Year caliber performance.
Another thing you don’t see in the numbers.
A lot for anyone to handle, let alone a 21 yr old from another continent. We forget sometimes how young some of these guys are.
He had a tough year, I think his dad died early in the season and his mom got really ill. I remember him leaving the team for a while. And he banged up his shoulder…he gets a do over.
Last year he had to deal with the death of both of his parents, something you can’t control and it’s obvious that affected him. Mentally it would be tough for anyone to dial in after that, especially someone not even 22 years old.
Gohara’s mom had a health scare (heart ailment) and she is still alive, thankfully.
They didn’t say that last year. It was quite the opposite, having lost his father and with her mother critically ill, most people wondered how ready he could be to play.
“DL”. How insensitive of you.
It’s 2019 therefore I have to be offended by this now.
I’m offended that you’re offended
I’m offended that your offended by the offense!!
The best defense is a good offense.
I’m offended that no one took the time to offend me.
Caesar Hernandez is a solid player. Good to see him healthy. Still not the smartest base runner, but sometimes speed covers that up.
Phillies have a solid group.
I’m still hopeful they get one or both of Harper or Machado.
They need that lefty bat more than a 3rd baseman. Franco doesn’t suck!
The biggest thing with him is that he and Kingery play the same position and Kingery got that extension. It’s going to be interesting to see how they handle it.
Kingery has proven that he is not major league ready. Extension or no. 3rd should be Franco’s spot unless Kingery has a magical spring training.
But see, there’s the issue right there. He’s HAD 2 magical spring trainings in a row. That’s why Phillies fans were begging for him to be called up. Hopefully he can contribute more in the regular season this year. I’m still a big supporter and I’d love to see him succeed.
Super Utility is not a term I like….I thought he’d be good..I guess one year is too little a sample..maybe in this improved lineup, he’ll flourish
Black Ace, I agree..
Gabe doesnt value SBs anyway. Hernandez is more than likely out the door by the trade deadline. Kingery moves into 2B full time, for better or worse.
If they landed Machado, would not be surprised if they kept Franco, dealt Hernandez, and push Segura to 2B as a selling point for Machados desire to play SS.
Machado’s desire to play SS is likely one of the biggest obstacles he’s facing. He’s a bad SS and pretty much among the elite at 3B.
Why should a team pay big money to a guy that’s sabermetrically going drop himself to being an All-Star player at best?
With his lack of ‘hustle’ he becomes an even less appealing SS.
The argument is more teams should be involved, but the counter is Harper is pretty good/very good year-to-year and Machado is selfish and unreasonable with his demands. Both have MVP potential, but also very risky investments.
Interesting look at an article in the WaPo the other day. Most was about the Nats upcoming season then there was this………………..
“Though few mention it, subtracting Harper, while it will cost 34 homers, a .899 career OPS and some amazing hair flips, would help any team improve its attention to fundamentals. When the most famous player on the team can’t go 10 days without failing to run out a groundball or overthrowing a cutoff man by 15 feet or throwing to the wrong base or being caught unprepared in the outfield or on the bases, it’s hard to demand total alertness from the other 24.”
‘“Write it,” one prominent Nats vet said.”
It is funny how so many of Manny’s former teammates have praised him the last few months but Harper’s are mum.
As for playing SS Machado has said it’s not a necessity in the right situation.
To be fair, Harpers personality or work ethic hasn’t really been in question like Machado’s has. And that’s also coming from an anonymous veteran. Pretty easy to call anyone out behind a writer.
His personality has, as in he is not the vocal leader you want your “face of the franchise” player to be.
For what it’s worth, he told the White Sox he would play anywhere they wanted.
Link to where he said that…
What I had heard as attributed to Machado was actually Bobby Dickerson. He has known Manny since he was 16 and is the guy who taught him to play 3rd as a coach for the O’s. He is now with the Phillies……….
“Manny’s mind-set is to be a shortstop. He really wants to play short,” But I do think for the correct team in the correct situation and the right contract, all those things, he’d be willing to play third. I don’t know this, but I believe it.”
“I think if the contract is right, he would, It may have to go an extra five million, or more, or whatever to get him out of [shortstop]. But if the contract is right, I think he would go to third.”
Cat, that is exactly what I’ve heard, and as a Yankees fan I’ve been keeping up. Though I’d rather get Harper if either was even a legitimate choice. Like Bocephus was asking for where this guy got this I am curious myself to find out.
Hi Cereal…..he, Bobby Dickerson, was just expressing his opinion. He knows Manny about as well as anyone. He has been his mentor for years.
I am the opposite of most of my Phillies brethren….I would rather have Manny than Bryce. He would solidify the infield and they really are not that far apart, talent wise. Machado is a better glove, Harper walks more. When I look at comparisons I usually don’t go back more than 5 years
Harper last 5 years bWAR 18.6 (includes his MVP year) 670 games .282/.401/.525 142 HR 620 K’s 468 BB’s
Machado last 5 years bWAR 25.5 719 games .283/.343/.502 154 HR 518 K’s 258 BB’s
Some say take Harper for his LH bat but I like Machado’s splits much better ……..
Career splits Harper vs RHP 2782 PA .288/.402/.543…vs LHP 1175 PA .258/.354/.442
Career splits Manny vs RHP 2963 PA .282/.333/.491… vs LHP 1111 PA .284/.342/.474
(I did career splits for the sake of expediency)
I just prefer Machado’s consistency
If any real Yankees fan could turn back time they would wish Cashman not make that trade for Stanton. Once they got him they deflect all criticism of the transaction, and the the impact it has made on the payroll, and future acquisitions. Harper was always the player we were told wanted to be a Yankee, and that the Yankees wanted. Though it’s true Machado has been linked to the Yankees also, but that seems to come more from his camp.
Z-A, only if Scott shows he can handle ML pitching..
I think they trade Franco, keep Hernandez and Kingery (until they reestablish value) Franco, a fringe rp, and a low level prospect could land a pretty good setup man. Franco has shown what he is I believe, and will probably finish his career with similar production, albeit with a couple good or better years out of this coming up three. Padres, White Sox, and Phillies are looking more like they could walk away with one or even both Machado and Harper. If it we’re me I’d trade the new cof’er and a catcher prospect/player, along with a pitching prospect and even sp for Price and Sale. They’d have to add some money from Boston but mainly Price lowers the price of Sale. Sign Dallas. Tatis can come up after a month or so while they let a couple infielders battle it out to see who stays and who’s dealt and could trade for Wendle off the Rays. They could try to trade Myers with a little cash and a pitching prospect, then have dead money coming off the books after 2019, some going to the cards for Gyorko.
Franco is severely underrated and was the Phillies top-bat for much of the year last year. Hoskins gets all the love, but I’d argue Franco was more valuable last year.
I would run with Franco at third. It’s the Altherr/Williams/Quinn platoon that needs an upgrade. Harper would fix that problem.
bjupton, the Phillies pen is solid…they don’t need a set up guy.. I expect that solid pen will get better because I see Vince Velasquez being moved there if Eickhoff is back..some forget how dominant he is when healthy..
Player’s Association and the players like to complain to the media and by association the fans about how unfair these free agents are being treated. But then they get upset when the fans/public don’t support their position. Explain this to me Mr. Clark?
Are we just gonna ignore the fact that Kimbrel is in Orlando “playing golf”? C’mon Craig, head over to Champion Stadium and sign a few papers and let’s get after it. 4 years / $60m and all the golf your little heart desires.
2/35 more like it.
Lol, I’d think he’d laugh at my (joke) offer of 4/60 and anything less in years. I don’t see him taking the risk of a one or two year deal.
Oh thank god, more Harper stories!
Wow, more speculation and we’re already into spring training. Every day I refresh this site thinking a major move will happen and yet here we are. At this point shouldn’t the negotiations be finished? It’s been months of this and I still don’t feel like any player is ready to commit. JD Martinez finally signed his contract one year ago today and that felt severely stretched out. I can think of lots of major free agents that are still looking for teams (Dallas, González, Harper, Kimbrel, Manny…)!
If it is another couple weeks of this I’m not sure these guys will be ready for opening day. Also, if you’re a team wouldn’t you want the guy to sign earlier in the offseason to sell season and spring training tickets? Isn’t this going to hurt your bottom line when the multi-million dollar investment doesn’t show up for camp until mid-March?
GM’s and owner’s can’t force players to sign. If any of the FA wanted to be signed in November they could have. These players care more about the money they might leave on the table by signing early than they do about the fans or the teams they play may for.
Also, why should they “care about fans or teams they play for”? They have 1 maybe 2 times in their careers to be free agents.
You want them forfeit money to sign early out of respect for fans? Woe
Needs, you get it..
Never said they should care, just stating my observation to the guy who seemed to not understand. I have no problem with players taking their time to sign. I’d do the same.
To answer your question… No it doesn’t hurt their bottom line. Do you really think teams are worried about spring training ticket sales in year 1 of a 10 year massive contract? So much so that they’d sign the player earlier for more money (which is what it would take to sign early)?
Until there is a clear cut advantage to signing early, this will continue. Why on earth would you rush that as a player of Harper or Machado ‘s status?
To all of you who commented, I believe you’re thinking I’m asking why the player would sign. I don’t think the players give a care.
I’m talking about from the team perspective.
I do think a team cares about ticket sales. If signing a Harper can get you thousands of season ticket sales for the upcoming season? Yeah, I do.
Do I think potential advertisers will sign a huge campaign for an upcoming season if Harper was planning on playing right field? Yeah, I do. Many campaigns are for the full season and take weeks to put together.
Do I think a ton of marketing business is being lost when these guys sit on the sidelines every single day? Yeah, I do.
I believe you’re allowed to buy season tickets at any time. If Harper signs today, will they sell more season tickets than if he signed next week?
I don’t know what you have a problem with in this. The teams have the power to up the offer or wait it out. The marketing angle you speak of is hilarious. I work in advertising and if you think those ads aren’t all ready made you’re nuts. It’ll be a long afternoon for Harper when he signs… Smile, kiss baby, do 5 reads… Then it’s full swing. It’s not 1975 anymore it does not take “weeks to put together”.
It was reported that when things were heating up with the Phillies, their ticket office received a major increase in sales just on the assumption he was gonna sign..just imagine the angst if it goes south…
You can’t be this obtuse. You are saying that people aren’t more susceptible to buy season tickets the earlier a player signs? You don’t think if, say, the Giants signed Harper two months ago they would have more season tickets sold than if they signed him tomorrow? Do you think they’d have 10% of the number of season tickets sold once the season starts?
I work in marketing and I have also worked in advertising and let me tell you there are these things called budgets that are planned out at least a quarter at a time. There are also things called season-long campaigns. You’re talking about doing an online advertising campaign, sure it can be turned over in a few days. but if you’re doing print, television, radio, in-stadium, around the city and with tourism boards, you’re going to want to know what you’re marketing. Is it a team going for the playoffs or a focus on the current team? Will the team charge MORE for this because they have Harper? Heck, even opposing teams want to know because they want to see if they should charge more if a Harper-led team comes to visit their town.
You don’t see to understand that the owners can’t force players to sign early. All they can do is make offers. Players aren’t going to sign an offer if they think they may be able to top it. From a player perspective it would be foolish to sign in November.
I’m not saying they can force the issue, just make up their mind what they are willing to spend and push negotiations quicker.
I just got to think if a team wants to spend $300 million they could have done this back in November instead of mid-February. I get how negotiations work, but dang, San Diego could have dangled $300 million months ago and he probably would have signed way before now.
Just reported that Manny has agreed to sign with the Pads..
You were on that one fast. I thought you were kidding and started looking everywhere and no one had it online yet.
Kudos to you!
Velasquez needs to go to the pen
Why was this called an NL East update? It’s not about the NL East, just the Phillies.
Sooooo gohara and Harper aren’t part of the nl east…?