While Phillies fans jot down their wish lists of lineups, rotations and preferred firemen on the free-agent market, general manager Matt Klentak doesn’t have the luxury to go overboard because the organization can fire him.
First things first:
Last July, the Philadelphia Phillies made trades for an infielder, catcher, bench pieces and southpaw relievers. But their big offer for a superstar wasn’t enough to beat out a pennant-bound contender. The faithful’s recommendations, though, for a starter and a closer weren’t on Klentak’s radar.
IN OTHER WORDS
“Your action expresses your priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi
When you became a baseball junkie, the game was different from today because GMs and managers are always seeking even the slightest advantage. Currently, one-position players other than catchers have less value when negotiating deals. Versatility, also, cushions an injury.
Although many clubs have a ninth-inning hurler, the trend is heading in the direction of less-defined bullpen roles. Superb relieving is working in any of the last three frames and occasionally being the best option to close. Therefore, knowing each frame’s nuances can be beneficial.
For the most part, the rotation and the relief corps had kept the Phils in the hunt for over four months, but the offense scored 677 runs compared to 690 in 2017. Basically, working the count and launch angles are not a one-size-fits-all approach. But will they realize it?
As for the five-man staff, left-handed starters are available through free agency, and signing one to a three-campaign pact is second only to picking up a 30-homer bat. But if the red pinstripes add both pieces, they may not want to spend $13-14 million per season on a top-notch closer.
At a minimum per 162, Manny Machado will cost $35 million, a solid portside starter will run $18 million, and a ninth-inning “gun” will sign for $10 million: pitchers on three-summer deals. Yes, $63 million annually is in the ballpark for Machado, lefties Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel, and right-hander Jeurys Familia.
Regarding the competition, numerous franchises will bid on this trio because of their success and age: Machado, 26; Corbin, 29; and Familia, 29. And none are Scott Boras clients, but Klentak has other possibilities pitching-wise: Some are more expensive, others aren’t.