Philadelphia Phillies – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-12-19T02:16:22Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MacPhail On Harper, Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140928 2018-12-18T21:17:45Z 2018-12-18T16:00:40Z
  • Harper and Manny Machado will continue to fascinate until they sign, but with both still holding in-person meetings it could take a while for that to come together. What that may mean for the Phillies is worth pondering, as the organization has its sights set on significant improvements in multiple areas. Club president Andy MacPhail says there’s still ongoing interest in both stars, but also notes “there are a lot of different ways to improve,” as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. Citing a need to “give yourself enough latitude to deal with each offseason as it comes,” MacPhail certainly struck a somewhat different tone than owner John Middleton did recently. In part, he sought to emphasize the more restrained elements of Middleton’s comments — particularly, those indicating that the club does not feel it must land Harper and/or Machado to have had a productive offseason.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Andrew McCutchen / Michael Brantley Contracts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140929 2018-12-18T07:11:05Z 2018-12-18T05:12:57Z As the MLBTR team put together this year’s ranking of the top fifty free agents, it became clear that there were a few bunchings of multiple players in similar market positions. That’s apparent most obviously at the top, where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are both trying to push the bounds of what a 26-year-old star can earn (albeit at different positions), and in the sub-elite tier of the relief market, where there are a variety of very good pitchers who possess at least one or two obvious limitations on value.

    It may be, though, that the tightest race between any two players — at least, in terms of ink spilled in relation to the level of contract we were debating — was between Andrew McCutchen and Michael Brantley. Proof? Tim Dierkes wrote Steve Adams and me an email on October 25th entitled, “Brantley vs Cutch revisited.”

    In such situations, at some point, you’re forced to pick between the players — unless you take the easy way out (as I often do in our summer trade ranking list!) by grouping multiple players at one spot. Since Tim is made of sterner stuff than I, he was determined to put one ahead of the other — even if they ended up at the same predicted contract, as ultimately proved to be the case. I thought it’d be interesting to look back at some of our lengthy debate on the topic, and use it as a jumping-off point for a poll now that we’ve seen both players agree to deals.

    It was something of an upset that Tim decided to place Brantley first. After all, he led off that aforementioned email with a series of power arguments that’d make Cutch’s agents blush: McCutchen has more power, doesn’t have platoon issues, “is indestructible,” and is a more versatile defender. Pop, offensive balance, durability, flexibility … seemed like a closed case.

    Of course, there are counter-arguments in favor of Brantley, and Steve was happy to provide them in exhaustive detail. He summed up the main thrust of his viewpoint thusly: “Even if you look at their last three seasons, the only thing Cutch has on Brantley is volume of games played. Brantley has been a better hitter (same wRC+, but I’ll take the one that comes with a .300 average and half the strikeout rate) and a wildly better baserunner and defender.” With a slight age advantage to boot, there was quite a bit to like about Brantley.

    It was a lively debate — and one that I was glad mostly to sit out while making observations that would keep me in the good graces of both of the warring MLBTR factions. Pro-Brantley: “He doesn’t walk. But he has super-elite contact ability that has allowed him to be a steadily outstanding producer of OBP.” Pro-Cutch: “.360+ OBP the past two years and still above-average power (which might play up in a smaller park). Plate discipline is as good as ever. Durability is a very fair point as well. Lack of platoon splits is nice.”

    Ultimately, we predicted three-year, $45MM deals for both players. But that’s not how it has turned out. McCutchen secured a surprisingly hefty $50MM guarantee from the Phillies, who’ll bank on him as a steady and reliable (if not literally “indestructible”) asset for at least the next three seasons. That left us feeling optimistic about Brantley’s market, but word emerged this evening that he will not secure a third guaranteed season, reportedly agreeing to a two-year, $32MM-ish deal with the Astros. Though Houston wants to get the bat in the lineup as much as possible, it wasn’t forced to take on extra injury risk with another promised campaign in order to lure Brantley.

    All that being said … how do you view the predictions and signings? (Response order randomized; poll link for app users.)

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Weren't In On Wilson Ramos]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140833 2018-12-17T01:43:18Z 2018-12-17T01:43:18Z
  • According to Heyman, the Mets were Ramos’ first choice this winter.  The Dodgers also had interest, though only on a one-year contract, Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times tweets.  The Rays and Phillies, Ramos’ most recent teams, didn’t strongly pursue a reunion, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports.  Philadelphia has youngster Jorge Alfaro, of course, while Tampa Bay made another addition behind the plate in acquiring Mike Zunino from the Mariners.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[AL Notes: Manny, Yanks, Rangers, Rays, ChiSox, Eloy]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140783 2018-12-17T05:00:48Z 2018-12-16T18:10:52Z A date has been set for the previously reported Manny Machado-Yankees summit. He’ll head to New York to meet with the team on Wednesday, George A. King III of the New York Post relays. It’s reportedly one of four visits the superstar infielder will make around the league in the coming days. He’ll also sit down with the White Sox, Phillies and a mystery team.  [UPDATE: Machado will meet with the Phils on Thursday, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.  The White Sox meeting is likely to take place “early in the week,” as per Fancred’s Jon Heyman, which would seemingly place it on Monday or Tuesday ahead of Machado’s trip to New York.]  Machado’s meeting with the Yankees may give him an opportunity to clear the air with owner Hal Steinbrenner, who said last month it would be “essential” for the 26-year-old to explain his well-documented “Johnny Hustle” comments to GM Brian Cashman.

    Here’s more on a few other American League clubs:

    • In the event the Rangers trade left-hander Mike Minor, who has drawn interest from at least one team, they’d “likely have to add another veteran” starter in response, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Rangers don’t want to overexpose their young pitchers at the major league level in 2019, per Grant, and losing their 2018 innings leader in Minor without replacing him would make that task more difficult. Texas did sign Lance Lynn this week, but he’d be the only strong bet to eat innings on a Minor-less staff. While Drew Smyly and Edinson Volquez have done it in the past, the former hasn’t taken a major league mound since 2016, and the latter last pitched in MLB in July 2017 – a month before he underwent Tommy John surgery.
    • Likewise, the Rangers plan to acquire bullpen help prior to spring training, according to general manager Jon Daniels (via Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram). The unit just lost its innings king from last season, Alex Claudio, whom the Rangers traded to the Brewers earlier in the week. Prior to that, the Rangers did reunite with Jesse Chavez via the open market, but they also saw Tony Barnette and the non-tendered Matt Bush become free agents.
    • An experienced closer is on the Rays’ wish list, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Rays’ saves leaders from last season – Sergio Romo and Alex Colome – are no longer on the roster, with the former currently a free agent. Romo’s one of several established closers on the market, where Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Andrew Miller, Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria, Cody Allen and Bud Norris are also among those seeking deals.
    • White Sox uber-prospect Eloy Jimenez has been playing in the Dominican Winter League, but Chicago will probably shut the outfielder down until spring training because of a quad injury, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score tweets. Jimenez would have been done with winter ball in another week anyway, Levine notes, so this doesn’t seem like a particularly serious issue. As such, the 22-year-old Jimenez remains on track to make his much-anticipated big league debut sometime in 2019.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mike Moustakas Could Be Option For Phillies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140729 2018-12-16T13:09:02Z 2018-12-16T05:28:31Z
  • The belief is that the Phillies have “considered” free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas as a fallback if they’re unable to sign Manny Machado, Heyman writes. Needless to say, Moustakas is a far less exciting option than Machado. It’s also debatable whether Moustakas would serve as a substantial offensive upgrade over incumbent starting third baseman Maikel Franco, judging by the similar production the two posted in 2018. Of course, Moustakas certainly carries the more impressive track record of the two at the plate; further, unlike Franco, Moustakas hasn’t been a defensive liability over the course of his career.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Interested In Mike Minor]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140642 2018-12-15T23:32:41Z 2018-12-15T23:32:28Z SATURDAY: Texas is willing to trade Minor for “at least a couple” of Philadelphia’s top pitching prospects, TR Sullivan of MLB.com hears. If the Phillies were to acquire Minor, they’d likely use him as a starter, per Lauber.

    FRIDAY: The Phillies are “pursuing a trade” with the Rangers to land southpaw Mike Minor, according to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. It’s not yet clear how likely it is that a deal will come together.

    Left-handed pitching has been one of several areas of focus for the Philadelphia organization this winter, with the club reportedly pursuing a variety of southpaw starters and relievers. As Lauber notes, it’s not clear whether the club would view Minor as a rotation or pen piece. Certainly, it’s possible that much of the appeal lies in his ability to occupy either role.

    Minor signed on with the Texas organization last winter, wooed in part by the opportunity to return to a starting role after a nice bounceback campaign with the Royals as a reliever. He scored a $28MM deal over three seasons, with $19MM still to go over the coming two campaigns. That contract also includes limited no-trade protection, but it’s not clear if the Phillies are on his 10-team list — or, if so, whether that’d be expected to pose a barrier in talks.

    Soon to turn 31 years of age, Minor turned in 157 innings of 4.18 ERA ball last year for the Rangers. That made him a useful asset, but perhaps not one that’d represent a major upgrade to a Phillies rotation that was mostly successful in 2018. Minor was not able to maintain all of the strides he had shown in 2017 when tasked with moving through orders multiple times.

    Minor still threw harder (93.2 mph average fastball) than he did in his heyday with the Braves, but didn’t come close to matching the 95 mph heat he delivered in K.C. Meanwhile, his swinging-strike rate dropped from 11.8% in 2017 to 9.9% last year. It’s notable, too, that Minor has been much more effective against left-handed hitters.

    The Phillies, who are said to be engaged on both Zach Britton and Andrew Miller, could see Minor as a possible multi-inning reliever and/or high-leverage lefty specialist. That he could always slide into the rotation, thus buttressing the team’s depth, is an appealing aspect that also distinguishes him from those other pitchers. Plus, Minor’s contract won’t hang a big number on the payroll for a lengthy term.

    All of those concepts, of course, are also known to the Rangers and other possible suitors. It stands to reason that the Texas organization, which is presently working to re-tool its roster but has continued to invest in veteran pitching, would only be willing to move Minor if it can add truly worthwhile pieces in return.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Andrew Miller]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140577 2018-12-14T19:12:08Z 2018-12-14T19:12:08Z The Phillies are “strongly” in on free-agent lefty Andrew Miller, tweets Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Salisbury had previously reported the team to be in pursuit of both Miller and Zach Britton. Meanwhile, Fancred’s Jon Heyman suggests that Miller “is going to insist on a no-trade clause” after surprisingly being dealt a year and a half into his four-year pact with the Yankees. Heyman further reports that the White Sox were talking to Miller but now “seem to have pulled back.”

    Miller, 34 in May, had a down season in 2018 as he missed brief stints due to hamstring and shoulder issues while also spending a more substantial period on the 60-day disabled list owing to a right knee injury. The result was a 4.24 ERA with somewhat diminished K/BB numbers in just 34 innings of work.

    Of course, in the four preceding seasons, Miller was very arguably the game’s best reliever. Once a prized starting pitching prospect, he instead broke out following a move to the bullpen after several years of struggling in the rotation. From 2014-17, Miller pitched to a ridiculous 1.72 ERA with averages of 14.5 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings pitched. With the exception of the 2017 season, he’s posted at least average ground-ball tendencies on an annual basis, and dating back to the 2013 season, the only pitchers in all of baseball with a better swinging-strike rate than Miller’s 15.7 percent are Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen.

    Given his age and the fact that he missed time due to three separate injuries last season, there’s some undeniable risk when it comes to Miller. But, if the Phillies are convinced of Miller’s health, they likely view him as a potentially wipeout reliever whose 2018 struggles may have dropped his earning power a bit. He’d give the Phils a formidable one-two punch at the back of the ’pen, alongside dominant rookie Seranthony Dominguez. Veteran setup options Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, too, will be back in 2019, with other names such as Jose Alvarez, Juan Nicasio, Hector Neris and Adam Morgan among the options to round out Gabe Kapler’s relief corps.

    Should the ChiSox rekindle their pursuit, Miller would join right-handers Alex Colome and Nate Jones as the most established options at the back of what is currently an inexperienced group of relievers.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Post-Winter Meetings Rumors On Manny Machado, Bryce Harper]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140567 2018-12-14T15:13:00Z 2018-12-14T15:13:00Z Manny Machado will head to Philadelphia for an in-person visit with the Phillies next week, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, and George A. King III of the New York Post suggests that a similar visit to Yankee Stadium could be lined up for next week as well. The Yankees and Phillies are two of the reported four teams set to be aligning visits with the polarizing Machado, along with the White Sox and the ever-popular “mystery team.” For the Phillies, the acquisition of Jean Segura makes Machado a likelier fit at third base despite the infielder’s clear preference to play shortstop. Machado’s former third base coach in Baltimore, Bobby Dickerson, tells Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he believes Machado would move to third base if an offer to do so was the clear best offer he received in free agency. Perhaps more interestingly, Dickerson talks with Lauber about Machado’s personality, his preternatural defensive aptitude at third base and, in reference to Machado’s October villainy, his belief that Machado “is fine with being the bad boy.”

    With the Winter Meetings now in the rear-view mirror, here’s a bit more on Machado and the market’s other top free agent…

    • White Sox GM Rick Hahn somewhat indirectly acknowledged his interest in both Machado and Bryce Harper on Thursday, as Bruce Levine writes for 670 The Score FM“We are excited to be discussing impactful moves for the long term,” said Hahn of his team’s reported interest in the market’s top two free agents. “It’s good to have a seat at the table for some long impactful moves. This work does not mean anything is going to come together. … Even if we are able to convert on something big, there is a lot of work to do behind it to get us where we want to be (as an organization).” Levine suggests that an opt-out provision after three or four years would be a “significant draw” for Harper, though that much has been more or less expected for some time. Top free agents have increasingly gravitated toward the inclusion of such contracts, and several recent free-agent signings have included multiple opportunities to re-enter free agency (e.g. Jason Heyward, J.D. Martinez).
    • Also via Nightengale, agent Scott Boras implied in characteristically colorful fashion that he’s not concerned about early indications that some potential suitors (e.g. Yankees, Cardinals) have limited interest or trepidation when it comes to a legitimate pursuit of Harper. “When the nurse walks in the room with the thermometer, the issue is not what the thermometer says that day,” said Boras. “The issue is what’s the health of the patient when they’re ready to leave the hospital.” The Phillies and White Sox both remain in the mix on Harper, per the report, and Nightengale speculatively suggests that the Dodgers, who are reportedly trying to move Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, shouldn’t be ruled out. Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, though, tweets that the Dodgers aren’t interested in pushing talks to 10 years on Harper. Nor, for that matter, are the Angels or Giants, each of whom has been previously mentioned as a potential dark horse.
    • ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that executives from other clubs and agents throughout the industry find it increasingly possible that the Phillies, long the presumptive favorite to sign one of Harper or Machado, could instead come away with neither in hand. Olney, too, suggests that the Dodgers’ efforts to move Kemp, Puig and other notable salaries could eventually result in the capacity to submit a winning offer to Harper. While there’s doubt that the Dodgers would offer the longest-term contract, Olney suggests perhaps a front-loaded deal with a substantial annual value from a team that has appeared in consecutive World Series would prove enticing. Meanwhile, the Yankees still present a viable threat to the Phillies for Machado as they look to close ground on the World Champion Red Sox.
    • There’s no indication that anything has changed for the Cubs, per Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription required), who writes that the team is “close to maxing out” its baseball operations budget for the 2019 season. Rather than acknowledge a need for any sort of augmentation to the roster, manager Joe Maddon suggested that the greater issue for the Cubs is to extract better performance from the talent already in house. Along those same lines, GM Jed Hoyer spoke of the promising signs he’s seen in Kris Bryant as he looks to rehab from 2018 shoulder woes.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Working To Land High-End Lefty Reliever]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140410 2018-12-13T22:11:34Z 2018-12-13T15:57:14Z
  • The Phillies are “very much in pursuit” of top lefty relievers Zach Britton and Andrew Miller, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. We’ve seen that connection before, of course, but it’s of added note now with the relief market on the move and the Phils having missed on several potential rotation targets. It’s certainly possible the club views these pursuits as largely unrelated, and there are other starters to be had, but it could also redirect its focus to bolstering the pen.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Sign Andrew McCutchen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140028 2018-12-13T15:35:17Z 2018-12-13T15:11:05Z THURSDAY: McCutchen will earn $10MM in 2019, $17MM in 2020, and $20MM in 2021, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The Phillies, then, were obviously willing to tie up more of their future payroll space on this signing, though it’s hard to gauge just what that portends for the remainder of their offseason.

    WEDNESDAY: The Phillies have announced the agreement.

    TUESDAY, 6:20pm: McCutchen’s option for 2022 is worth $15MM and comes with a $3MM buyout, Heyman tweets.

    1:46pm: The Phillies have a deal in place with free agent outfielder Andrew McCutchen, according to Matt Gelb of The Athletic (Twitter link). The agreement is still pending a physical.

    McCutchen will reportedly receive a three-year, $50MM contract that includes an option for a fourth season. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly (via Twitter), who first broke the news that the sides were in serious talks, reported the years, with Jon Heyman of Fancred reporting the guarantee and option year (Twitter links).

    This contract lands above MLBTR’s predicted value for McCutchen, but falls right in line with our expectations of a three-year, $45MM pact. We had ranked Cutch just behind fellow open-market vets A.J. Pollock and Michael Brantley, each of whom remains unsigned at this stage.

    For the Phillies, this is a stage-setting move that fills one need and creates quite a few new opportunities. The organization previously dealt for Jean Segura, meaning GM Matt Klentak has now slotted in new corner outfield and shortstop pieces — without moving on top free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. That’s not to say that pursuit of one of those players is out of the question at this point, but the Phils are certainly also now positioned to look elsewhere if they so desire. Certainly, there’s also an argument to be made that these splashes only make it more reasonable for the club to go big on another free agent.

    There are innumerable possibilities, still, for the Phils. The team could conceivably deal just about any of its preexisting outfielders. Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, Dylan Cozens, and Roman Quinn would all hold some degree of appeal elsewhere. Surely some of those players will remain, but the Philadelphia organization will likely seek to rearrange some other pieces to make further moves possible. In addition to several still-youthful position players, top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez has evidently been talked about in trade chatter, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link).

    What’s clear, though, is that McCutchen will step into the Philadelphia lineup on most days in 2019. He certainly represents a quality addition, even if he’s no longer the superstar that he was when he was playing with the cross-state Pirates.

    Since wrapping up a forgettable 2016 campaign, McCutchen has turned in consecutive solid seasons with the bat. In 1,332 plate appearances over the past two season, he’s slashing a combined .267/.366/.455 with 48 long balls. McCutchen did lag in the power department in 2018, with a year-over-year isolated slugging drop from .207 to .169, but made up for it with a 13.9% walk rate that’s just shy of his career peak.

    McCutchen won’t be an option in center for the Phils, though his long experience there could come in handy at times. After a solid debut season in right field last year, he’ll be an upgrade defensively for a club that received atrocious glovework in the outfield last year from Rhys Hoskins, who is moving back to first base. If there’s one area that McCutchen slid most notably, though, it was in the baserunning department. Once a standout, he graded at a putrid -5.0 BsR in 2018. Of course, he also still swiped 14 bags, so perhaps that broader performance is more a blip than an indicator of a significant loss of athleticism.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Notes: Happ, Howard]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140251 2018-12-12T20:10:09Z 2018-12-12T20:10:09Z
  • Before the Mariners dealt Jean Segura to the Phillies for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford, Seattle also tried to obtain pitching prospect Spencer Howard in the trade, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.  The 22-year-old Howard was a second-round pick for the Phillies in the 2017 draft, and he has posted big strikeout numbers over his first two professional seasons.  Salibury figures other teams will also ask, or have already asked, about Howard’s availability, though the Phils surely aren’t too eager to part with such an intriguing young arm.  There is a fair amount of other pitching depth in Philadelphia’s system, however, to potentially make Howard somewhat expendable at the right price.  MLB.com ranks Howard a fairly modest 18th in their ranking of the top 30 Phillies prospects, with seven other pitchers ahead of Howard on the list.
    • The Phillies aren’t willing to go beyond a two-year deal for J.A. Happ and expect the left-hander to sign with another team, The Athletic’s Matt Gelb tweets.  Several teams have offered Happ two-year contracts, though the latest reports have the veteran southpaw closing in on a three-year agreement to remain with the Yankees.
    • Before the Mariners dealt Jean Segura to the Phillies for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford, Seattle also tried to obtain pitching prospect Spencer Howard in the trade, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.  The 22-year-old Howard was a second-round pick for the Phillies in the 2017 draft, and he has posted big strikeout numbers over his first two professional seasons.  Salibury figures other teams will also ask, or have already asked, about Howard’s availability, though the Phils surely aren’t too eager to part with such an intriguing young arm.  There is a fair amount of other pitching depth in Philadelphia’s system, however, to potentially make Howard somewhat expendable at the right price.  MLB.com ranks Howard a fairly modest 18th in their ranking of the top 30 Phillies prospects, with seven other pitchers ahead of Howard on the list.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Meet With Scott Boras, Aggressively Pursuing Zach Britton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140146 2018-12-12T05:50:43Z 2018-12-12T05:21:01Z
  • The Phillies met with agent Scott Boras on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, where they discussed clients Bryce Harper and Zach Britton, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Even after agreeing to sign fellow outfielder Andrew McCutchen on Tuesday, the Phillies continue to have interest in Harper, Salisbury writes. Meanwhile, the Phillies have been “very aggressive” in their pursuit of Britton as they attempt to strengthen their bullpen, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140001 2018-12-12T01:42:23Z 2018-12-12T01:41:20Z 7:41pm: Both Happ and former teammate Lance Lynn are “engaged with” the Astros, Yankees, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweets. Happ’s also continuing to draw the attention of the Phillies, while Lynn has received interest from the White Sox, according to Feinsand.

    9:53am: It has seemed for the past few days that veteran lefty J.A. Happ could be the next domino to fall in the starting pitching market, and there are signs this morning that talks are advancing. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Happ’s market is “heating up,” while Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter that Happ is sitting on multiple two-year offers.

    The key question remains whether Happ will secure a guaranteed third season. Passan says that he has yet to receive such an offer. Happ’s representatives have “indicated he’ll sign with the first” team that meets that asking price, however, so it seems possible that something could come together swiftly.

    Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Happ would indeed secure that third season in a new deal, riding his solid recent track record to a $48MM guarantee. There certainly seems to be sufficient interest to support such an outcome, though organizations are understandably hesitant to commit to Happ through his age-38 campaign.

    To this point, the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, Brewers, Reds, Angels, Astros, Twins, Blue Jays, and White Sox have all been connected to Happ. It’s certainly not impossible to imagine a few other organizations with possible interest as well, though at present it’s tough to gauge the likeliest landing spots.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies To Meet With Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140091 2018-12-12T01:36:26Z 2018-12-12T01:36:26Z
  • Speaking of the White Sox, they’re among the teams that will meet with superstar Manny Machado, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. The Yankees and Phillies, two other unsurprising suitors, will also sit down with the 26-year-old infielder, Heyman adds. In total, Machado will visit four clubs in the coming days, Buster Olney of ESPN hears.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Corner Outfield Market]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140025 2018-12-11T19:31:42Z 2018-12-11T19:31:42Z The focus of the corner outfield market remains on Bryce Harper, of course, but there are a few other significant players available. Regarding Harper, there’s not much in the way of news, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at how he could conceivably end up falling to the Dodgers, who are said to be pursuing high-end assets. Here, though, we’ll focus in on the next-best assets on the market.

    The Phillies are “showing significant interest” in Andrew McCutchen, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly, representing a new connection for the former superstar. Cutch is nowhere near the player he once was, but that easy characterization can tend to obscure how good he still is.

    Meanwhile, the Astros are said to be in on another top corner piece. Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, via Twitter, the Houston organization has interest in Michael Brantley. That’s a bit of a surprising match, if only because the team is still paying top dollar to another veteran lefty corner outfielder in Josh Reddick, but perhaps Brantley could also spend some time at first base to increase his versatility.

    Earlier in the offseason, both McCutchen and Brantley were connected to the ’Stros — though mostly as part of a group of significant free agents. The Houston plans have remained hard to figure to this point, with the team’s intentions regarding top prospect Kyle Tucker potentially weighing in their assessment of new acquisition targets.

    MLBTR predicted that both McCutchen and Brantley would secure three-year, $45MM pacts. There’s no real clarity as of yet as to whether the market will support those or greater values.

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