That time of year is finally upon us. We can all regularly start talking about Phillies baseball again while the nights slowly get longer and the days slowly get warmer. It’s been a long offseason with several acquisitions and departures. And even though pitchers and catchers have already reported, the Phillies are most likely not finished in the free agent market.
Here’s what to follow in the coming weeks…
Let’s get the big one out of the way first. Opposed to popular belief, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are not both retiring to join the staff at Philly Sports Network. They will eventually both sign somewhere. And more than likely, one of them will be in Philly. Harper has the better odds to land here (according to Las Vegas). There are still some interesting teams in the hunt. Of course the White Sox are around, but also the Padres could be an interesting landing spot. (I personally don’t believe the Giants are even a possibility)
Jake Arrieta has revealed his secret to collapsing in the 2nd half of the season. He had a torn meniscus.
HE HAD A TORN MENISCUS?!?
Apparently, Arrieta didn’t let anyone know that he was dealing with an injury that he sustained in June. Even Gabe Kapler admitted that no one on the staff knew until Arrieta went under the knife in January. It was known however that he did have some level of discomfort. Seems as if someone doesn’t like sharing.
Ah, the classic storyline of all spring trainings. An experienced player is informed that he will have to compete for his job security. Just like when someone declares a jousting match at the office and you take on your boss for the right for a raise.
What do you mean no one does that?
Whatever, I’m still going to joust Liam.
Gabe Kapler has announced two potential position battles. Incumbent Maikel Franco will face up and comer Scott Kingery for the right to hold down third base. Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, and Roman Quinn will all compete for playing time in the outfielder with McCutchen as the only lock. Both battles could change with certain free agent additions.
There should also be an interesting competition for the 5th starter. Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin, Jerad Eickhoff, Enyel De Los Santos, and Ranger Suarez could all be argued as belonging in the rotation (with the first 2 as heavy favorites).
The bullpen could also have some interesting battles with the addition of 4 relievers over the offseason.
Yes. We all know Kapler pulled Aaron Nola last season early on opening day. Yes. there were questionable decisions. No, he doesn’t deserve the level of criticism that he receives. Last season was Kap’s first as a big league manager. Let’s see what he has in store for year 2. Warning, criticism will probably follow no matter what he does.
The Real Realmuto
One of the biggest talking points surrounding the acquisition of catcher J.T. Realmuto was his splits home and away at Marlins Park. He majorly succeeded away from cavernous Miami. The slash line of .245/.294/.384 at home paled in comparison to his away slash of .309/.356/.492. J.T.R. could be the man to watch coming in and out of spring training.
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports