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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/25/23 : Just Sayin - News and Notes

Baseball’s winter meetings are a little over a week away, this year the gathering occurs in Nashville, Tennessee.   One of these years I’m gonna attend, is on the bucket list.   There will be ongoing rumblings and rumors as the hot stove continues to cook.  My take on the Phillies continuing off-season plans are that they primarily seek to acquire a versatile role player who’s capable of playing center field and the infield along with bolstering the bullpen.   If an “opportunity” comes their way they will add starting pitching as well.

Versatility Role :

In a previous article I mentioned that free agent Kiki Hernandez is a possibility, the 32 year old is a strong defender in the outfield including center field and also can do a good job in the middle infield, he could gain AB’s by spotting multiple positions.  Spotrac estimates his market value at $4.5 to $ 5 million a year on a two year contract.  I believe there is interest.

Nick Senzel elected free agency on 11/17/23 - he’s 28 years old and has played all three outfield positions along with second and third base. His versatility and hard nosed play would be valuable in the role.  He’s likely in the $ 2 to $ 3 million a year range in regards to a contract.

Thirty four year old Whit Merifield fits the bill, he’s played all three outfield positions as well as first, second and third base in his career.  Spotrac estimates his next contract to be in the $ 6 to $ 7 million dollar range.  Maybe a bit high dollar wise for the role envisioned however he’s been on the Phillies radar for a long while.

Internal candidates include Scott Kingery and Matt Kroon.  Both have played center field extensively in the minor leagues as well as multiple other positions.  Kingery is the stronger of the two defensively with Kroon having the edge on offense. Weston Wilson played one game in center field last summer for Lehigh Valley and can handle all four infield positions plus the corner outfield roles, he’s not as skilled in the outfield as Kingery or Kroon however.

The role is envisioned to be a semi-regular in the lineup splitting time in the outfield and infield, sort of what was expected from Josh Harrison last year with the added caveat that whomever gets the job can also play center field well defensively.

Trade considerations also would be in play to fill the role.

Bullpen :

It’s my belief that free agent RHP Jordan Hicks is a primary target for the Phillies.  He consistently registers over 100 mph, past issues have been control and command along with injuries but the talent is top drawer.  The 27 year old appeared in 65 games last season between St Louis and Toronto - he threw very well for the Blue Jays in particular after being traded there at the trade deadline.  Spotrac estimates that Hicks will receive a two year deal with an average annual value of $3.5 to $4 million.

I’m sure there are other considerations, just my somewhat educated guess that he’s the primary reliever they seek.

Japanese News :

Sankei Sports (Sanspro) is a very reputable Japanese newspaper which is both detailed and thorough in their baseball coverage as per my associates and friends who have a deep understanding of Japan.  In an article dated 11/23/23 they reported “it was learned from sources in the American baseball world that the Phillies highly rate left handed pitcher Shota Imanaga (30), who is aiming to transfer to the US Major League Baseball through the posting system.  Major League Baseball's official website reports that the application process for Imanaga's posting system will be completed by the 27th (28th Japan time).”  The article went on to say that the Phillies would be in the competition to sign him.  It’s been my impression all along that Imanaga was the more realistic interest of the Phillies given the extraordinary price tag of RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto.  I’m still not convinced there’s enough wiggle room in the budget to actually sign Imanaga as he’s expected to receive around $ 15 million per year on a five year contract plus a posting fee that would be due of around $12 million.  But like I said before if there’s an “opportunity” that comes their way they will at least consider it.

Just sayin 🤓

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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