Phillies Notes: Harper, Outfield, Nola

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski not too long ago made an look on Philadelphia radio station WIP-FM, with Alex Coffey of The Athletic relaying some of his feedback good Twitter.

One key storyline for the Phillies this yr will revolve round Bryce Harper. The star outfielder was recognized with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in May of final yr, which prevented him from throwing however allowed him to function the designated hitter. His continued presence within the lineup helped the membership earn a Wild Card berth and ultimately make all of it the best way to the World Series. After that, he lastly underwent Tommy John surgical procedure in November, with the membership saying at the moment that they anticipated him to be out till across the All-Star break.

Everything with that plan nonetheless appears to be so as, with Dombrowski saying that Harper’s rehab has gone effectively up up to now. Harper is predicted to start out swinging a bat across the finish of March and may very well be again within the lineup across the time of the All-Star festivities, as initially projected.

One fallout of that Harper scenario is that the Phils could have an open designated hitter slot for the primary half however Harper will take it over as soon as he is ready. The membership may theoretically look outdoors the group to seek out one other one to fill the void, however they apparently really feel ok about their inside candidates that Dombrowski would not anticipate a “large acquisition”. He listed Alec Bohm, Rhys Hoskins and JT Realmuto as candidates to take over a while in that slot.

Bohm and Hoskins are set to man the corners in Philly simply as they’ve accomplished in earlier seasons. However, neither is taken into account an particularly robust defender. Bohm has logged 2,280 2/3 innings at third base in his profession however has collected -36 Defensive Runs Saved, -11 Outs Above Average and a -2.8 rating from Ultimate Zone Rating. Hoskins, in the meantime, has 4,195 innings at first base with -7 DRS, -12 OAA, though a optimistic 5.4 rating from UZR. Backup infielders Kody Clemens, Edmund Sosa and Dalton Guthrie may get some further time within the subject whereas Bohm and Hoskins get some DH at-bats. Clemens has performed each corners and second base within the majors to date whereas Sosa has performed the three positions to the left of first base and Guthrie has performed second and third. Realmuto is taken into account a wonderful defender however catchers cannot crouch behind the plate on daily basis. Since he is additionally an important hitter, it is smart to make use of the DH spot to get him into the lineup extra steadily.

In the outfield, the on a regular basis regulars determine to be Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and Brandon Marsh. Neither Castellanos nor Schwarber are thought-about nice defenders on the grass, which might make them DH candidates as effectively. Even if that does find yourself coming to go, Dombrowski feels good concerning the depth they’ve, mentioning Guthrie and Jake Cave. Given they be ok with their depth choices, Dombrowski says they’re “principally set” whereas including that additional depth may at all times be added through a minor league deal.

Looking to the longer term, the Phillies have an important unknown of their rotation since Aaron Nola is now within the closing yr of his contract. “It’s one thing we might love to do,” Dombrowski stated a couple of Nola extension. “We need Aaron to be within the group for a very long time, no query. We love him. We love his talents. I do know he likes it in Philadelphia. So that is one thing that can be in our thoughts… It’s by no means simple to have the ability to get accomplished however we might like to maintain Aaron within the group for a very long time.”

Nola, 30 in June, is about to start his ninth MLB season and thus far has a 3.60 ERA by way of 1,288 1/3 innings. He’s struck out 27.5% of batters confronted whereas strolling 6.5% of them, and he is stored the ball on the bottom at a 47.9% clip. Since his 2015 debut, his 29.9 fWAR is the sixth-most of any pitcher within the league. It’s no shock then that the membership want to maintain him round, since he is one of many few true aces within the league. Of course, that wonderful work additionally means he will not be low-cost. Some current free agent offers for wonderful beginning pitchers have gone effectively into nine-figure territory, with Jacob deGrom not too long ago getting $185MM and Carlos Rodón $162MM. It would not sound like something is especially shut between Nola and the Phillies, but when they really need him again for subsequent yr and past, it’ll absolutely require including one other hefty contract to their books.

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