December 15th, 2017 was when it was first reported that the Phillies had signed Carlos Santana to a 3 year $60 million deal.
I was at Temple University’s movie theater watching one of the first viewings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I went into the theater around 12 o’clock. The weather featured flurries and possibly more snow. The Phillies hot stove was still cooling down from the free-agent signings of Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter.
As I came out of a well-made Star Wars film, the weather had changed. Snow was on the ground and driving home seemed like it would be a struggle. Just as the weather changed, so did the hot stove.
The career .365 On Base Percentage first baseman was the newest signee of the Phillies and for an hour and a half drive back to La Salle University visions of Wild Cards danced it my head.
“They have an extra outfielder!”, I’d internally exclaim. “They’ll flip Altherr or Williams for a pitcher!”, I dreamed.
It has been a month and a half since that moment of bliss and excitement.
Not much has happened since, but here’s what you’ve missed.
Major League Signings
None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Ab so lute ly nothing.
Glad I could keep you updated….
Minor League Signings
There are a few actually.
On January 2nd, the Phillies signed the incomparable Steve Jeltz. The 8-year veteran utility player last played with the Phillies in 1989 in which he posted a career high in OBP with .356.
The right-handed reliever has a career 4.23 in just over 100 innings. He last saw big league time with the Blue Jays during the 2016 season.
The birthday of this humble writer featured 3 minor league signees.
Matt McBride, an outfielder/first baseman, is a local from Bethlehem, PA. He is a career .201 hitter and last played in the majors with the A’s in 2016
Will Middlebrooks, a third baseman, was formerly the Red Sox #1 prospect after the 2011 season according to Baseball America. That same year he was the 51st ranked prospect in all of baseball. Since his time in Boston ended after 2014, he’s bounced around the league. Last season, he batted .211 in 38 at bats with the Rangers.
Danny Ortiz made he’s MLB debut in 2017 with the Pirates as a 27-year-old outfielder. He went 1 for 12 in his limited time in the bigs.
It took until the 27th for the biggest minor league deal to drop. Francisco “K Rod” Rodriguez has 437 career saves, which is 4th most all time behind Lee Smith’s 478. K Rod had 7 of those come last year although he gave up 22 earned runs in 25.1 innings. Time will tell if he can right his own ship and make it to the Phillies’ already tough bullpen. If he does, he’ll make $2.5 million with incentives sprinkled on top.
The last day of January brought Adam Rosales, a 34 year old utility player. He slashed .225/.260/.353 in 2017 between Oakland and Arizona. If he cracks the major league roster, he can make up to $1.75 million.
A total of 4 Phillies could have gone to arbitration if they could not come to terms with the team on a deal.
Well guess what?
The Phillies avoided arbitration with all 4 of them!
Reliever Luis Garcia signed for $1.2 million, catcher Cameron Rupp signed for $2.05 million, third baseman Maikel Franco signed for $2.95, and finally second baseman Cesar Hernandez signed for $5.1 million.
Good job Phillies on not accidently disgruntling your players!
Although the hot stove has been cold, the rumor mill keeps turning. The only rumors have only been about starting pitchers, but what a group of starters it is.
RHP, Jake Arrieta
He wants money. The Phillies have money. Boom. There it is. 2015 Cy Young winner signed.
Ok. So it’s not that simple.
The man turns 32 on March 6th and has been on a decline since 2015. He also hasn’t been good for that long. The first 4 seasons of his career he averaged a 5.23 ERA from 2010-2013. He was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA. That is 1 point lower than Aaron Nola’s 3.54 ERA in 2017. Do the Phillies actually want to pay $30 million a year for that? I mean Nick Williams thinks it’s a good idea. He’s been recruiting Arrieta all offseason.
RHP, Yu Darvish
He has a mystery team out there checking in on him. Ken Rosenthal has also confirmed that the Phillies have checked in on him.
Where there is smoke, there’s fire people.
The only seasons that Darvish hasn’t had 200 K’s are those in which were injury shortened. He’s never had an ERA over 3.86 (2017) and signing him would not lose a draft pick.
RHP’s Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman
Both are in the same boat. They’re on mediocre teams that don’t really feel like they need to trade their young controllable starters, but the Phillies have the pieces to trade if they want. It might just cost an arm or a leg or in this case a Sixto or a Kingery.
Mark Appel is done for now. The former number 1 overall pick and current Phillies minor leaguer is taking a break from baseball. He’s struggled ever since he was drafted. He open to coming back, but for now it looks like he’ll join the 1993 Yankees pick Brien Taylor and 1966 Mets choice Steven Chilcott as the only #1 overall picks to not make it to the majors.
Chase Utley has appeared in our hearts once again. This time he has appeared in a hype video for the Eagles on their quest for a Super Bowl win.
Yes, those are the characters Mac and Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Yes, they are flapping their arms like eagles. Yes, I want to marry Chase Utley. Yes, I know he’s happily married.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports