11/16/22 : News and Notes
Dave Dombrowski, Sam Fuld and Rob Thomson held press conferences this morning in Philadelphia and discussed a variety of topics ranging from Bryce Harper to who will run 2023 spring training camp.
Bryce Harper :
The 30 year old slugger will have elbow surgery next Wednesday in Los Angeles performed by Dr Neal ElAttrache - he’s the head team physician for both the Dodgers and Rams. It won’t be known what the extent of the surgery will be until the doctor is operating. That leaves Harper’s return timetable also in doubt. It is know that there’s an UCL tear which has to be surgically corrected - the rest and rehab option was rule unfeasible.
That being said it seems likely that when Harper initially returns it will be as a DH rather than right fielder. The old adage time heals all wounds will apply - will take time before he can get back as the regular right fielder. Dave Dombrowski discussed options to fill in for Bryce while he’s out - those included the possibility of using Darick Hall like they did last season as well as rotating other players in and out of the lineup as DH.
I think we might be able to introduce ourselves to Bryce this coming year as most every rehab period includes working at the Complex. It’s set up and designed as the organization rehab center.
Off Season Rumblings :
Baseball Operations meetings are being held this week at CBP to review scouting reports on players - both internally and potential acquisition targets. Mr. Dombrowski stated that it’s likely an external middle infielder is added to the big league roster along with a starting pitcher and bullpen help. While he didn’t say it I can attest that Trea Turner remains the focus at shortstop if an agreement can be reached. There have be no limitations placed on staying under the luxury tax threshold. A veteran starting pitcher is also on the acquisition list.
The club will keep one of the five starting rotation spots open for internal competition in Spring Training with Bailey Falter, Christopher Sanchez, Andrew Painter, Mick Abel & Griff McGarry as the likely candidates. All of them will be in big league spring camp. Falter would seem to have the inside track given the experience he got in 2022 at the big league level - he also did a very good job which was acknowledged in the press conference today by both Thomson and Dombrowksi.
In regards to some fan rumblings that Rhys Hoskins and/or Nick Castellanos might be traded - don’t count on either. Hoskins will be tendered an updated contract and coach Kevin Long will visit with Castellanos after the holidays to continue efforts to get him back on track as a hitter. I don’t expect that other than adding a middle infielder and some veteran types to compete for bench jobs that the core construct of the position player composition is changed.
Second Base/Shortstop :
It was made clear that plans are for Bryson Stott to move to second base and play there regularly - even against left handed pitching. All three fellas stated that they have full confidence in Bryson as well as in Edmundo Sosa as either the regular shortstop or as a super sub at the key defensive infield spots. Sounds like plans are that Sosa will see quite a bit of action in either role.
The target is still to get one of the four top free agents to play shortstop - says here Trea Turner till it doesn’t 🤓.
Center Field :
Brandon Marsh was also mentioned as a player who will get expanded opportunities to play everyday. Rob Thomson stated confidence in both Marsh and Stott to hit left handed pitching.
The Bullpen :
Sam Fuld mentioned minor leaguers McKinley Moore, Andrew Schultz & Erik Miller as camp possibilities to make the big club. He emphasized that major league roster builds need to include pitchers with minor league options because during the season you must plan to run into situations where fresh arms are needed for things such as doubleheaders, a string of consecutive games, etc. As the team’s minor league savant and whisperer I’ll add the names of Andrew Baker, Brett Schulze & Francisco Morales as fellas on the verge of being big league ready.
Expect the team to add at least one or two veteran hurlers to the mix as well with the core of the bullpen being Connor Brogdon, Andrew Bellatti, Seranthony Dominguez & Jose Alvarado. Can never ever have enough pitching depth.
Spring Training :
Skipper Thomson stated he will arrive in spring camp on his customary February 1st date - bench coach Mike Calitri will take over the “paperwork” of camp coordination but the manager will work closely with him. Mr. Thomson has been running spring camps with the Yankees and Phillies since forever and is prepared to a T ( hence the nickname Topper ) - I’m sure it will be just as crisply run next year as well.
By the way - all of the coaches on the big league staff are returning for the 2023 season.
Here's a link to the press conference video : https://trib.al/6RXMApr
A Minor League Signing :
Infielder Shervyen Newton has been signed to a minor league contract, he’s 23 years old and is from the Netherlands. Newton was signed by the Mets in 2015 as an international free agent. He’s a switch hitter who’s got the physical size of former Phillie Didi Gregorius. Newton plays primarily shortstop and third base but has also seen action at first and second base.
He’s known as an aggressive hitter with power but numbers haven’t been good to date in his career for full season play. As a fielder he makes the routine plays and is noted as having a strong arm.
Will provide infield depth - played last season at high A level.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
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