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The Phillies have a pivotal offseason ahead of them, as the club is still seeking its first playoff berth since 2011 despite a concerted effort to emerge from a multi-year rebuilding process. With manager Gabe Kapler dismissed in favor of veteran Joe Girardi, the pressure on the front office is mounting to put together a winning unit.
- Bryce Harper, OF: $300MM through 2031
- Jean Segura, SS: $43.75MM through 2022 (including $1MM buyout of 2023 option)
- Andrew McCutchen, OF: $40MM through 2021 (including $3MM buyout of 2022 option)
- Aaron Nola, RHP: $39MM through 2022 (including $4.25MM buyout of 2023 option)
- Scott Kingery, INF/OF: $20.5MM through 2023 (including $1MM buyout for 2024)
- Jake Arrieta, RHP: $20MM through 2020
- Odubel Herrera, OF: $19.5MM through 2021 (including $2.5MM buyout of 2022 option)
- David Robertson, RP: $13MM through 2020 (including $2MM buyout for 2021)
- Jay Bruce, OF: $13MM through 2020 (Mariners are paying $11.625MM)
Arbitration-Eligible Players (projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)
- Cesar Hernandez – $11.8MM
- J.T. Realmuto – $10.3MM
- Jose Alvarez – $3.0MM
- Maikel Franco – $6.7MM
- Vince Velasquez – $3.9MM
- Hector Neris – $4.7MM
- Adam Morgan – $1.6MM
- Zach Eflin – $3.0MM
- Andrew Knapp – $800K
- Non-tender candidates: Hernandez, Franco
- Jason Vargas, LHP: Phillies declined $8MM option in favor of $2MM buyout
- Pat Neshek, RP: Phillies declined $7MM option in favor of $750K buyout
- Jared Hughes, RP: Phillies declined $3MM option in favor of $250K buyout
- Tommy Hunter, Juan Nicasio, Corey Dickerson, Drew Smyly, Logan Morrison, Dan Straily, Rob Brantly, Fernando Salas, Brad Miller, Sean Rodriguez, Nick Vincent, Jason Vargas, Pat Neshek, Jared Hughes
Over the past two winters, the Phils have added the likes of Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Jake Arrieta and David Robertson via free-agent deals while swinging high-profile trades to acquire J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura (among others). The directive from ownership and the front office alike has been clear: bring playoff baseball back to Philadelphia. Hard as it may be to believe, the Phillies haven’t played a postseason game since 2011, when their roster featured the dominant trio of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and the late Roy Halladay. (Roy Oswalt wasn’t exactly a shabby fourth starter, either.)
Aggressive as they’ve been, however, the Phillies simply haven’t been able to sustain a season’s worth of winning ways. The 2018 and 2019 Phillies each had clear talent, as both iterations of the team enjoyed a lengthy run in first place in the NL East. However, those two most recent versions of the Phils also faceplanted in stunning fashion late in the season and were left at or just shy of the .500 mark. Now, fourth-year GM Matt Klentak is feeling more pressure to construct a winner than ever before.
The clearest area for improvement is on the pitching staff, where Philadelphia hurlers were a nearly across-the-board disappointment — so much so that pitching coach Chris Young was jettisoned after just one year on the job. Bryan Price, who like Girardi is a seasoned dugout veteran, will step into Young’s place and work to improve upon a Phillies rotation that posted a lowly 4.64 ERA (4.91 FIP) and a bullpen that wasn’t much better (4.38 ERA, 4.84 FIP).
In the rotation, Aaron Nola is really the Phillies’ only surefire bet to be an above-average starter. The 2019 season certainly wasn’t Nola’s best, but the 26-year-old has cemented himself as a quality workhorse upon whom the club can rely. Jake Arrieta was once described similarly, but he struggled in 2019 while pitching through a bone spur in his elbow and ultimately succumbed to season-ending surgery. At 34 years of age in March, the former Cy Young winner is somewhat of a wild card in the rotation.
The 2019 Phillies opted to forgo veteran rotation additions and instead leaned heavily on Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, entrusting the balance of its Opening Day rotation spots to that young trio. Of the three, only Eflin delivered useful results — and even he briefly lost his grip on a rotation spot and found himself sojourned to the bullpen. Through 163 1/3 innings, the 25-year-old notched a 4.13 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate. Eflin’s 1.54 HR/9 mark was higher than one would like (hence his 4.85 FIP), but his bottom-line results were plenty serviceable. The same can’t be said for the 26-year-old Pivetta or the 27-year-old Velasquez. Pivetta logged a brutal 5.74 ERA as a starter, while Velasquez was only a bit better (4.96 ERA in the rotation).
It can be argued that the Phillies should have a greater sense of urgency than any other team in MLB when it comes to adding to the rotation (particularly now that Jake Odorizzi accepted a qualifying offer in Minnesota, giving the rotation-needy Twins a bit more stability). Fortunately, it’s a deep class of starting pitching headlined by a pair of bona fide, franchise-altering aces in the form of Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. But, while the Phillies have been as aggressive as anyone on the open market in recent seasons, Klentak has suddenly offered a more measured approach with regard to free agency.
“One of the things we’ve got to try to do, if we can, is to not forfeit draft picks, and that’s hard when you’re fishing in the deep end of the free-agent pond,” Klentak said in a recent appearance on the 94 WIP Midday Show. But we lost our second-round pick last year and our second and third the year before. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s where Scott Kingery comes from. That’s where Spencer Howard comes from. That’s where Connor Seabold comes from. … We’ve got to try to hang onto that as much as we can.”
Perhaps Klentak was merely doing everything in his power to avoid doubling down on owner John Middleton’s “stupid money” decree a year ago this time, but those comments don’t sound like a portent for a run at Cole or Strasburg. Middleton could, of course, take matters into his own hands, but Klentak’s recent sentiment is surely of note.
If the organizational preference is indeed to add rotation help — and Klentak did plainly state a need to address the starting staff in that same interview — then the top names on the Phillies’ radar would likely be Hyun-Jin Ryu and old friend Cole Hamels, who has already expressed interest in a return to the Phils. Other notable names lacking a qualifying offer include Dallas Keuchel, Michael Pineda, Rick Porcello, Tanner Roark, Julio Teheran and Kyle Gibson. While no one from that bunch is of the same caliber as the Cole or Strasburg — Ryu may not be far off, but his durability is a perennial question mark — the Phils do have options to round out the rotation if they prefer to hang onto their draft choices.
As always, the trade market will present innumerable alternatives. Corey Kluber, Matthew Boyd, Chris Archer, Jon Gray, Robbie Ray, Marco Gonzales and (depending on the direction the Red Sox go) Eduardo Rodriguez are all, at the very least, plausible winter trade candidates. Other, less-expected names will surely surface as well.
There’s also reason to believe the Phillies will work to improve their relief corps. The club’s relief unit — like those of the rest of the NL East teams — was not a strength in 2019. Closer Hector Neris is a solid performer at the back of the unit. Pitchers such as Jose Alvarez, Seranthony Dominguez, and Ranger Suarez showed some promise. Victor Arano could be a big asset if he can return to health. But there’s obviously room for improvement. Klentak could consider any and all remaining open-market options, though he’d need to hit the trade market if he prefers to pursue a tried-and-true closer type.
Looking at the team’s lineup, there are nearly as many questions as answers. J.T. Realmuto will once again be the team’s primary catcher in 2020 — and perhaps for years to come if the two sides can come to terms on an extension, which is another key winter priority for Klentak and his staff. Bryce Harper is now entrenched in right field, and a healthy Andrew McCutchen will return from an ACL tear to man the other outfield corner. On the infield, first baseman Rhys Hoskins will look to rebound from a terrible second half, and Jean Segura is signed through 2022. Scott Kingery will be in the mix somewhere, but his ability to play third base, second base, shortstop and the outfield gives the Phils quite a bit of flexibility.
They’ll need it, particularly with the possibility of non-tendering Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez. The latter of the two has generally been a solid second baseman but could see his arbitration price climb north of $11MM in 2020, which is an untenable financial arrangement, especially with a free agent market loaded with veteran alternatives. The former, meanwhile, has struggled immensely and never fully delivered on his once ballyhooed prospect status. And then there’s center fielder Odubel Herrera, who was suspended 85 games under MLB’s domestic violence policy and isn’t guaranteed a place in the organization moving forward. (And even before that ban, Herrera wasn’t producing at the plate.)
The Phillies, then, could explore the market for third basemen, second basemen and/or center fielders depending on how they want to play their cards. The infield offers ample possibilities, with Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas all available in free agency and a host of serviceable (but unspectacular) second basemen on the market as well. Rendon and Donaldson have qualifying offers attached to them, so if the Phillies are indeed avoiding such free agents, they’d likely look to Moustakas as the headlining free-agent option. A pursuit of Didi Gregorius may not be an immediately obvious fit, but Segura could move to either second or third base to facilitate that type of deal. (And on cue, there’s now reporting to suggest this could indeed be a consideration.)
The center field market is rather thin, with only Brett Gardner and Shogo Akiyama representing viable regulars in free agency. But the trade market offers a natural fit in Pirates center fielder Starling Marte. The Phillies could also line up with the Red Sox on a Jackie Bradley Jr. deal.
The Phillies, though, have the financial means and the urgency needed to go searching for a bigger fish. If the Red Sox truly are going to explore moving Mookie Betts, he’d look mighty fine roaming center field in Philly for the 2020 season (if not beyond). There’s been plenty of speculation about the possibility of the Cubs moving Kris Bryant this winter, and the Phils have a need at the hot corner. Francisco Lindor’s name is out there, too; clearing the way for him at short would easily be worth the trouble. The Phillies don’t have the deepest of farm systems, but there’s every reason for Klentak to push the envelope and try to bring a winner to Citizens Bank Park.
Some may question whether the Phillies can plausibly afford to spend much after last year’s free-agent bonanza, but on an annual basis, Harper’s record deal isn’t really that cumbersome. The Phillies have about $167MM on the 2020 books — if you include all of the projected arbitration salaries. Jettisoning Hernandez and Franco, for instance, would trim $18.5MM from that sum.
In terms of luxury tax considerations, the club is at a manageable $186MM (including Hernandez and Franco). At this point, it’s hard to justify drawing a hard line at that $208MM barrier. The Phillies were extremely aggressive last winter, are trying to extend Realmuto and have no designs on going back into rebuild mode at any point in the near future. Treating the luxury threshold as a salary cap would be a suddenly weak-hearted change of course to what has been an aggressive pursuit — particularly given the fact that as a first-time offender, the only real penalty they’d face would be a 20 percent overage fee on their first $20MM. That’s a $4MM slap on the wrist even if they cross the plane by as much as $20MM. And with Arrieta, Robertson and several arbitration players off the books next winter, dipping back beneath the line shouldn’t be that difficult.
The Phillies may have a tough road to contention given the strength of their division rivals, particularly those in Atlanta and D.C., but their direction remains obvious. We’re talking about a big-market, high-payroll club that hasn’t been to the playoffs in nearly a decade, has a GM entering his fifth season, and is only nine months removed from signing a player to the largest free-agent contract the sport has ever seen. The Phillies should and will aggressively add to the roster this winter.
You want Kris Bryant…..then give Theo your best offer than the garbage you offered earlier………….or sit back down and be quiet !
What did they offer before?
When did the Phillies ever try to trade for Bryant in the past? Am I missing something here?
I think he’s a cubs fan whose sore at Joel Sherman who put a trade package out today on MLB Network. The Phillies would get Bryant & take on all of Jason Heyward’s deal in exchange for Segura, Bruce, and 3 mid-level prospects. That was a package Sherman put together, no evidence that the two teams talked about anyone, let alone exchanged names.
no thank you
I don’t even want Bryant. Sign Moose to a 2 year contract and save money and prospects.
I think if healthy, they aren’t too far off from being a playoff team, but in order to get anywhere in the playoffs, they need 2 if not 3 quality starting pitching additions and bench depth. There’s a lot of work to be done, but the team has the financial flexibility to make it work. For all the “Harper is overpaid” talk, around 20 something mil per year isn’t all that bad, and gives the team plenty of wiggle room. Hopefully they can make something happen because the Braves, Nats and Mets are going to be good in 2020.
Chris Young was supposed to be this highly regarded pitching coach before last year, now he’s fired ?. This tells me either the phillies front office has no clue how to evaluate coaching. or that or they weren’t smart enough to ask question about Young from their own prospects . If their prospects swore by him then the prima donna major league pitchers wouldn’t take his teachings.
I don’t blame Young for Nola’s 2nd half collapse. I don’t blame him for an overrated Arrieta, I also don’t blame him for guy’s like Velasquez,Eflin or Pivetta, Who all three couldn’t control their own pitch location. Don’t know If Young is any good but he surely wasn’t given a very good pitching staff to work with
I mean, the pitching coach should be able to help VV, Eflin and Pivetta find their control.
Phillies fans actually still have hope in those 3?
Only Eflin as a starter. Maybe the other two in limited pen roles.
I’ve fully given up on Pivetta. Velaquez may be good in the pen. I’m happy with Eflin.
Before 2018, Young had zero coaching experience, he was a pitching scout before he was hired. Young was only promoted because the Braves wanted to interview him for their opening which led to the FO letting go of Kranitz. Young was Kapler’s guy and was more analytics driven than Krantiz.
I’m not saying analytics are bad but while Young may have an eye for talent, he didn’t show he could coach or cultivate it. With a superior upgrade at Catcher, a far better defense than in 2018, every starter regressed under Young. The issue is his one dimensional pitching scheme (high fastballs) didn’t play into the strengths of any of their pitchers (3 sinkerball pitchers (Nola, Arrieta, Eflin) and 2 pitchers who struggle with fastball control (Pivetta & VV), and just Eflin’s improvement after kicking Young’s advice to the curb shows that he wasn’t able to coach to his players’ strengths.
Each starter needs to be coached differently and coached to their strengths. Young’s one size fits all coaching philosophy bit them last year but maybe he can improve but Price I think will be a much better fit for this team.
Thanks for Kranitz.
That would be good…have 2/3 of the former Pirates outfield back together if they get Marte
Not to mention Harper is better than Polanco, Travis Snider, Marlon Byrd, Garrett Jones, Alex Presely, Matt Joyce…. did I forget anyone else that had regular time in right? I’m not really a Marte fan, but it would be a world better than Odubel.
Phillies need to sign 2 starting pitchers like Hamels and Porcello, and add Didi at short, move Segura to second and add a either Marte or Bradley in centerfield.
Go all in on (A) Gerrit Cole but fall back on (B) Wheeler or (C) Porcello. Hamels is a no-brainer, and would be a popular move from the fan base’s perspective and give us at least one lefty to slot in between Arrieta & Eflin in the #4 spot.
Enter the Rendon race but I think ultimately they settle on Moose or even Todd Frazier as a stop gap to Bohm.
Trade for a CF. Marte, Kiermaier & Buxton are all hypothetical targets that have been reported to be “available”.
The bullpen is an easy fix, in my opinion. Move VV to closer. He averages almost 18 pitches per inning and that’s not gonna change. He even has that “closer’s mentality”, wanting to come out and blow guys away. Pivetta’s stuff would play better out of the pen as well. Stretch him out in the spring and let him compete, but he’d probably be better served as a swingman. If he adjust well to the ‘pen, maybe Girardi uses him in higher leverage situations later in the summer. Add a bunch of low risk & bounceback types on 1 year or minor league incentive laden deals and let them compete with the young guys. Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle with one or two.
Bring back Brad Miller and his left handed pop and multi-position versatility to the bench. Sign Billy Hamilton and his amazing baserunning and defensive metrics as the 5th OF’er.
The Phillies and Rockies are logical trade partners. If we were willing to take on one (or even two) of those awful reliever contracts like Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw or Jake McGee; maybe we can pry away Jon Gray or even Trevor Story.
Mentioned this on another post, not to be repetitive. Just for fun, the 2019-2020 blockbuster of the off-season:
Bochys Retirement Fund
Hard to imagine a team picking up Herrera in this day and age.
In my hypothetical trade they would almost have to take Herrera to balance out the atrocious Wade Davis contract. I’m well aware nobody wants Herrera, but if he can keep his head straight and put it all together the kid could be a .280/.333/.460 hitter and is a slightly above league average defender in CF. Weren’t the Rockies running Ian Desmond out there last year?
I like the first part of this a lot. I think Hamels and Wheeler wouldn’t break the bank, yet be a huge upgrade. Same with Moustakas. He was a beast for the Brewers last year, yet won’t require the dollars of the big two at 3rd. I’m not s huge fan of Marte, but he would make sense. It’s too bad the Pirates fired Neal Huntingdon,because that guy could recognize talent to save his life. He also loved quality over quantity in his trades. Probably 3 Double-A mid range prospects would have gotten it done, and also not hurt the Phillies farm system. Even better than Brad Miller, I’d like to see the Phillies pick up Brock Holt. He very quietly was an important piece of the Red Sox winning ways for the past 5 or 6 seasons. He plays all over and won’t require much money. The bullpen does need help though. A Will Harris or Drew Pomeranz would be welcome.
It wouldn’t be wise to hope for a bounce back from Robertson. Considering he is going to miss the entire season.
I added that mistake in, whoops.
Bochys Retirement Fund
Correct me if I sound out of pocket here but this team seems so out of place. Lot’s of notable names but little to show for. We all know their pitching was below average but a quick run through on offensive stats (hits, 2B, RBIs, HR, OBP, SLG, etc) they were below average as well with plenty of star power?
I do not believe Kapler was the biggest issue. It seems they’re trying to buy a post season run.
I mean every team buys a post season run per se… but the offense wasn’t bad, it just lacked consistency since Kapler changed the lineups basically every day. I don’t expect any player to be at their best when they don’t even know if they will play or what number they’ll be in the batting order. Of course though, they were not the best offensively either.
The offense stunk.
Look at the 30 teams. Set the display for Runs Scored.
Look where the Phillies are.
The Nats scored 100 more runs last year! Disturbing stat for Philly fans.
” It seems they’re trying to buy a post season run.”
Not trying enough.
… Still, better than ‘trying’ the Astros way
Kapler was a big issue with the team due to his influence. The offense was bad for long stretches and a lot had to do with Kapler’s take as many pitches philosophy. Considering your name, you’ll probably see a lot of this with the Giants in 2020. Kapler preached taking pitches and walks. The Phillies saw more pitches and walked more than any team in the league yet we’re near the bottom in hits and runs. The Phillies were dead last in baseball with BA against the fastball, too many hitters looking to walk and not hit.
The offense was among the top 10 until McCutchen went down and then Segura went down with an injury and was mired in the worst slump of his career. Bryce Harper had the second best BA w/ RISP in baseball. But they played nearly the whole year without their starting CF, 110 games without their lead off hitter, -WAR from 3B and a slumping Rhys Hoskins. The biggest issue with Kapler and the offense last year that exposed how much he messed up. After McCutchen went down, the Phillies had almost 110, Cesar Hernandez hit leadoff in roughly 1/3 of those games, he outproduced McCutchen with a .286/.330 from the lead off spot but Kapler insisted on not having a steady lineup. He then experimented with other guys and in those games, they received .189/.219 out of the leadoff spot when he refused to play Hernandez in the spot when he performed best. A lot contributed to their offensive woes (injury, poor performance, etc.) but Kapler’s philosophies exacerbated the problems.
They must be dumb saying the bullpen wasn’t a strength. Wasn’t it top 10 or something in the year, even without the highly touted Robertson??
No, 16th with a 4.36 ERA. Not a “dumb” statement at all.
23rd in WAR
15th in ERA
23rd in FIP
11th in BB/9
21st in K/9
and they were all pretty bad outside Alvarez, Neris and Suarez
To be fair though, a lot of these numbers were accumulated by guys who aren’t going to be here in 2020. A lot of guys that they expected to have in 2019 were out (Morgan, Seranthony, Robertson, Arano, Hunter, Neshek). That’s 5/8 of their opening day bullpen they lost for the year. A lot of those scrap heap guys they picked up won’t be there, so health and 1-2 trades or converting someone to a bullpen role (VV, Jojo, etc.) will help the team out. They need a steady 8th inning guy, Neris was great closing games. Even when he had a hiccup or blew a save he’d come back strong in his next outing.
Sign them both or stay in Clearwater.
The Phillies rebuild was a total failure. Literally not one core position talent. During the Phillies rebuild the Dodgers won their division every year and went to two World Series. Yet the Dodgers farm system was rated better than the Phillies during this time. Now the Phillies again have one of the worst farm systems while the Dodgers still have one of the best.
Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are the price for this failure.
Haseley and a non Bohm or Medina top 5 prospect for Boyd?
Boyd’s trade value has significantly yanked since July. That would probably still be an overpay for a left hander who can’t pitch to a sub 4 ERA in a park like Detroit. Maybe it’ll increase once more pitchers come off the market but I feel they’ll try to keep Pivetta and see if Price can fix him before moving on to someone like that.
Cant see that happening. One or the other? Yes. I think by moving the failed starters (VV & Pivetta) to the pen, that fixes that problem as both would be very good relievers I think. If they break the bank for Cole and sign Moose or Frazier, while shedding Herrera or Segura’s salary; they could avoid the luxury tax. Klentak has hit work cut out for him but at least they have an owner that would do anything to win.
From an outsider perspective I’ve always felt like the Phillies came out of their rebuild way too quickly. They really didn’t develop any kind of quality talent outside of Nola and Hoskins. Now it seems they’re trying to buy their way back. I’m pretty sure that almost never works.
They need pitching and lots of it. I don’t think that’s any secret. But they do have a shot if McCutchen comes back strong, along with some relievers. They do need a lot of things to go right, though.
George Steinbrenner’s seven World Series trophies are scientific evidence disproving your statement.
The Yankees already had significant talent already in place when he started buying titles in the late 90s and in 09. Give me a better example if you want to change my mind.
significant “homegrown” talent, that is.
Philadelphia Phillies = FAILED REBUILD. This is why you don’t rebuild.
They made a couple of mistakes with their 1st round picks. Cornelius Randolph hasn’t developed into the hitter most expected him to be and Mickey Moniak is looking like a mistake as well. Franco didnt reach his potential after a promising rookie year and Odubel looked like another Rule 5 gem but has faded.
Perhaps we can sign Houston’s CF cameraman? Is he available?
Seriously, has there been any legit talk connecting Bryant to the Phils? Bohm & a couple lesser (much lesser) prospects seems close to reasonable.
Moose at 3rd. Sign Hamels and Wheeler. Kingery at 2nd. Try Cutch in center, Jay Bruce in left. Hopefully sign a decent back up catcher and some bullpen arms that aren’t tattered. I like the manager signing and the decision on pitching and hitting coaches.
Church in center ?
Non-tender or trade Hernandez, Franco, Morgan, Eflin, Velasquez, Knapp. Sign Moose and play him at 2B once you call-up Bohm. Sign Keuchel and Ryu due to no QO. Trade anyone outside of Bohm and Howard for a pitcher #2-3 pitcher. Invite a Smyly or Vargas to ST.
May need to move Bruce PT to 1B and Rhys PT back to LF. Clutch, Kingery, Haseley in CF. And keep Kingery in that super utility role.
Nothing happens if the rotation is trash again tho. Should have made trades last year, esp with the Mets getting Stroman. Should have inked Keuchel to a 2 year deal before the Braves got him.
At least the price of coconut oil will go back down in the Tri-State.
phillyballers…Rhys is not that good at first..putting him in left could be very ugly..I remember singles becoming doubles because he had no range out there..no comment on Bruce at first…
Speaking on Hoskins, I wonder if what we’ve seen is all we will get..if so, then I say move past him…let’s hope he stops pulling everything and starts to use the whole field..he’s strong enough that pulling isn’t necessary…
Selling very low on Rhys is a bad idea. You just hope he can become at least Pat the Bat in LF. Launch Angle may be done for too, so maybe hell go back to hitting the ball. You’re also only sticking Bruce at 1B because he’s liable to injure himself again in the OF.
Yes, of course……..I wasn’t clear..Hoskins is there this year, but if he doesn’t show marked improvement, I say move on..I happen to think if he changed his approach at the plate, he’s be a very good hitter..I hope you are correct that they forgo that stupid launch angle..
Sign either Cole or Strasburg and Cole Hamels. If you can’t get either of the big two then go for Wheeler, Hamels and either Lynn or Keuchel. Look to bring up Howard as soon as possible. He’s a year old than Soroka is a year younger and his minor league numbers were no better than Howard’s. For some reason the Phillies keep their guys in the minors too long.