Jake Arrieta Jersey

The catcher who has played more than any other in the majors this year will end his season with surgery.

J.T. Realmuto will most likely undergo a procedure Friday to repair the meniscus in his right knee, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Wednesday. Realmuto hasn’t played since Sunday night, when he felt a “pop” in the back of his knee while running out a double-play grounder in the fifth inning of a loss in Cleveland.

 

The surgery is considered to be minor and similar to a procedure that pitcher Jake Arrieta underwent in January, Kapler said. Arrieta was ready for the start of spring training.

“We don’t have any long-term concerns about this for J.T.,” Kapler said.

 

Realmuto returned to Philadelphia on Wednesday to be examined by doctors.

Acquired from the Miami Marlins in a Feb. 7 trade, Realmuto batted .275 with 25 homers and an .820 on-base plus slugging percentage and set a club record for a catcher with 36 doubles. Behind the plate, he cut down 37 baserunners attempting to steal, most in the majors and most by a Phillies catcher since Darren Daulton threw out 40 in 1993.

 

And Realmuto did it by playing almost every day. Despite missing the final week of the season, he will lead all catchers with 130 starts and 1,139 1/3 innings.

The Phillies intend to discuss a long-term contract extension with Realmuto, who is under club control through the end of next season. And, as good as Realmuto is, Kapler believes he can improve by hitting the ball in the air more often to the left side of the field.

“There’s actually some reason for optimism for J.T. to get even better,” Kapler said. “I think the area that we might see the most improvement going forward is the offensive production. I think he’s a very, very minor adjustment away from getting a lot of those crisp ground balls that we see hit to the left side becoming line drives. He had the highest slugging percentage of his career this year (.493), but I still think there’s an even-better season in there.”

In Realmuto’s absence, backup catcher Andrew Knapp was behind the plate Wednesday night at Nationals Park and is expected to play most of the remaining four games. Deivy Grullon will likely get at least one more start, after making his major-league debut in the first game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader. Kapler praised Grullon for working with seven pitchers in that game.

 

“It’s tough enough for a catcher to prepare to help one pitcher or two pitchers or three, but to have your first major-league experience be like this rotating, inning-to-inning, various relievers [game] is very difficult,” Kapler said. “We talked about him at length today, and people are really bullish on the work that he did and think that he’s more ready than we may have even thought.”
Extra bases

Kapler was planning to meet with Aaron Nola to discuss whether the ace will start Sunday in the season finale at Citizens Bank Park. Nola has already reached two personal milestones, topping the 200-inning mark and racking up a career-high 229 strikeouts. “I think a lot of it has to do with where he is currently in his season, and does he feel like [starting] will help him,” Kapler said. “Or would it just make sense for somebody else to take down that start in the best interest of getting Nola into the offseason and starting to prepare for 2020?” … Jason Vargas (7-8, 4.40 ERA) will make his last start of the season Thursday in the series finale against Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (17-6, 3.37). Vargas is one win shy of becoming the 11th active left-hander with 100 career victories.

Andrew McCutchen Jersey

This wasn’t what anyone anticipated when Bryce Harper jumped ship for $330 million.

The Phillies were supposed to be baseball’s next powerhouse after Harper left the Nationals in free agency, joining a Philadelphia squad which added J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson.

But Harper and the Phillies didn’t take the baseball world by storm as expected as they’re on the brink of a .500 season after being swept by the Nationals Tuesday in a doubleheader, the second win punching Washington’s ticket to the playoffs.

“I’ve got no hard feelings towards them at all. They’re a great team. They’re a great organization,” Harper said of the Nationals. “That’s why they’re at where they’re at right now.”

Entering Wednesday, the 26-year-old Harper — who was booed at Nationals Park throughout Tuesday’s doubleheader — had 34 home runs, 109 RBIs, 34 doubles and 95 runs with a slash line of .258/.374/.505. While the numbers are good, Harper didn’t produce the transcendent season expected of him when he inked his record-breaking 13-year contract.

Add in the season-ending injuries to McCutchen and Robertson, lackluster starting pitching aside from Aaron Nola, and this Phillies season turned out to be a bust.

Meanwhile, the Nats went on a huge run after starting 19-31 to secure a wild-card spot and reach the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

“At the end of the day they’re still doing what they’re doing,” Harper said, “and we’re going to go on a bus to go home.”

Rhys Hoskins Jersey

The Phillies 2019 season wasn’t technically a collapse — they haven’t been in first place since June 11 — but their failure to make the postseason after spending half a billion dollars this offseason is a disappointment to say the least.

On paper, a healthy Phillies roster looks like one that can contend for titles, but it would be a big under-reaction for John Middleton to decide simply to “run it back” for 2020. Some changes must be in order.

We will assume that it goes without saying that minor presences like Jose Pirela and Blake Parker are not worth pontificating over and we’ll instead take a look at the players who were impactful this season, and whether the team should — in our estimation — bring them back.
GO: Pretty much every pitcher on the roster

The Phillies saw 11 pitchers start a game in 2019. Here is the ERA and WHIP for each of those pitchers:

Some context to consider. The MLB average of all starting pitchers this season was a 4.55 ERA and 1.32 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). The Phillies had just one pitcher, Nola, exceed the averages in both categories. Think about that for a minute. Other than Nola, who pitched dreadfully down the stretch himself, the Phillies did not have a single other starting pitcher better than a replacement level arm.

From a practicality perspective, Arrieta has a $20 million option he will surely pick up next season while Vargas has a team option for $8 million that they will surely decline. Eflin, Pivetta, Velqsquez and Eickhoff are all under team control.

This is all a complicated way to say, the Phillies need to build a new pitching staff next season, except for…

STAY: Aaron Nola

In his last six starts, Nola is 0-3 with a 5.56 ERA. He still is the best pitcher on the Phillies by a wide margin. Nola is 26 and is not going anywhere, after nearly winning the 2018 Cy Young award. He is also under contract through 2023.

STAY: Hector Neris, Ranger Suarez, Seranthony Dominguez

The Phils owe David Robertson $11 million next season and hold club options for Pat Neshek and Jared Hughes. They also have rookie deal/arbitration control over Jose Alvarez, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, Edubray Ramos, Seranthony Dominguez, Ranger Suarez and Blake Parker.

That was a mouthful.

When they piece together a ‘pen for next season, going young is a smart move. Neris, Suarez and Dominguez are all good bets to be back in the pen in 2020 (assuming Dominguez doesn’t wind up getting Tommy John surgery). Aside from that trio, there is a mess to weed through as 34 different pitchers (including Roman Quinn, Rodriguez and Aaron Altherr) took the mound this past season.
STAY (times 100 million): J.T. Realmuto

Not much needs to be said about Realmuto. He’s lived up to the billing as one of the best catchers in baseball. He’s been an innings eater behind the plate while hitting for average and power. He’s also been absolutely incredible defensively, catching 43 base runners (with the next best catcher at just 27). A free agent this winter, he may become the highest paid catcher in history over the offseason and he’ll deserve it.
STAY (I guess…): Rhys Hoskins

Hoskins has been… a disappointment. He’s fallen off a cliff in the second half of the season:

The rumor mill is already churning that he may be trade bait for a pitcher this coming offseason. However, needing stability at first base, I believe he will be back for one more go of it.

He is still just 26 and with the chops he showed early in the year and in 2018, his trade value may be high under team control through 2021. It’s a toss up really.
GO: Cesar Hernandez

There is nothing particularly bad about Hernandez — he is just nothing special. And with some infield talent in the farm system, the Phillies need to open some roster slots. They also need to get Scott Kingery playing every day (more on that later). Hernandez is under contract next year, technically, with an arbitration eligible season. If Philly can find a way to move him this offseason they might get a nice return.
GO: Maikel Franco

Franco, like Hernandez, is a young infielder under arbitration control (for two years) but his time in Philly is numbered. A demotion this summer didn’t do much to improve things and he seems like he could do with a change of scenery. At the same time, in addition to Scott Kingery having a stellar season and needing a regular home, the Phillies are also soon going to need a spot for top prospect Alec Bohm. With the outfield (hopefully) set next season, moving Franco and Hernandez to create an everyday spots for Kingery and Bohm is a no brainer.

J. T. Realmuto Jersey

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto will undergo a procedure to clean up the meniscus in his right knee, manager Gabe Kapler announced Wednesday (Twitter link via Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia). With the Phillies formally eliminated from postseason contention, he’ll go under the knife now rather than play out the season’s final series. There are no long-term concerns associated with the operation, and Realmuto is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.

The surgery means that Realmuto’s season will come to a close with a strong .275/.328/.493 batting line in his first year with the Phils. Realmuto slugged 25 homers, 36 doubles and three triples over the course of 538 plate appearances while serving as something of an iron man behind the dish; no one in baseball has caught more than the 1139 innings that Realmuto did in 2019. The volume of that workload makes his output at the plate all the more impressive and heightens the value of his superlative defense. Realmuto threw out a ridiculous 47 percent of base thieves in 2019 and ranked among the best in the league in terms of pitch blocking and pitch framing.

Put simply, Realmuto is arguably the game’s best catcher. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak recently lauded Realmuto’s overall contributions and was rather candid in suggesting that an extension for the 28-year-old All-Star will be one of the organization’s priorities over the winter. The Phils control Realmuto through the 2020 season, at present, and he’ll command a sizable raise on this year’s $5.9MM salary in arbitration over the winter. Realmuto has voiced his own interest in signing a long-term pact to remain with the Phillies, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if the two sides ultimately hammer out a deal between now and Opening Day 2020.

Bryce Harper Jersey

In a sign that the universe still has a couple utterly unprecedented tricks hidden up its sleeves, an athlete announced Wednesday that he is eager to be back among Philadelphia sports fans because of how appreciative and encouraging they are, as a group, relative to another set of sports fans.

The athlete in this case—who, it should be noted, displayed no further signs of a devastating closed head wound, and is therefore presumably not a danger to himself—is Bryce Harper, who along with the sagging Phillies is playing out the dregs of a disappointing regular season and enduring a series beatdown at the hands of the Nationals. The Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention in the first game of a double-header Tuesday, then watched the Nats celebrate their own playoff berth following another loss in the night game. This is a low time for everyone in the Phillies organization.

The Nationals won again Wednesday. As you can imagine, a crowd already determined to boo Harper over his eminently reasonable decision to accept a better salary and a more firm commitment when choosing which team will employ him for virtually the entire rest of the good part of his baseball career was feeling extra bold in the late stages of a fourth consecutive win in the series. Fans in right field who’d been giving Harper the business apparently turned nasty:

Harper declined to repeat or describe with any specificity what exactly was said by these line-crossing Nationals fans, but was quick to shout out the love and support he receives from his new pals in Philadelphia, known the world over for their respectful and resolutely in-bounds treatment of professional athletes:

According to a handful of Twitter users, the offending jeers may have mentioned Bryce’s infant son, which would indeed be very lame. Harper did well to work an implied dig at Washington’s fickle, fair-weather fans into his response to the heckling, even if it meant maybe overselling the warmth and hospitality of a fanbase that will consume his actual flesh if the Phillies are the same big fat disappointment a year from now. Twelve years is a long time!

Jean Segura Jersey

After spending half of his seven-season big league career out West, Jean Segura switched coasts prior to the 2019 season. The Philadelphia Phillies landed Segura in a blockbuster deal last December.

Now, the former Seattle Mariner is tying up a loose end on the West Coast. The All-Star shortstop is selling his $5 million mansion in Bellevue, WA.

Segura joined the M’s in 2017, the year this 6,394-square-foot house was built. Sleek and modern, the exterior of this eye-catching home sets the mood before you even walk through the front door. Wood and glass dominate the facade and create a warm vibe. The interior of the home is loaded with the design flourishes and innovative touches you’d expect from a recently completed home.

It’s wired with a fully integrated smart home system that allows for one-touch control of lights, shades, and in-room sound system. The six-bedroom home also features a luxurious home theater, wine cellar, and rooftop terrace.

It sits on just under a half-acre of land in the quiet Lochleven neighborhood, and is a mere four blocks from downtown and Main Street, making it the perfect blend of private luxury and urban activity.Raised in the Dominican Republic, the 29-year-old infielder had a long road to the major leagues. Segura signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2007, but toiled in the minors for a few seasons before making his MLB debut in 2012 for the Angels.

After a single game with the Angels, Segura went on to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Mariners. He made the All-Star squad in 2013 and 2018.

The listing is being handled by Karl Lindor of Windermere Real Estate/East.

Tommy Joseph Jersey

Rhys Hoskins burst onto the scene in 2017 hitting home runs at a record pace. As he sent ball after ball into the seats, Phillies fans began to believe that the team’s next great hitter had arrived. Some even suspected that we might have the preeminent slugger of his generation on the team’s roster. When Hoskins endured a slump at the end of the season, it didn’t cause too much concern. He was likely fatigued from a long season, and some regression from a record-setting home run pace was expected.

When the 2018 season began, Hoskins resumed his hot-hitting ways. At the end of April, his OPS was a nifty .985, and he was second in the National League with a .457 on base percentage. The slump of September 2017 seemed like a distant memory, and Hoskins had re-solidified his status as the team’s next great hitter.

Unfortunately, the good times did not continue. May was a bad month for Hoskins, as he batted .161 with only two home runs. He continued to walk at a decent pace, but he was also striking out a ton, and often looked lost at the plate. The bad month ended on an especially bad note, as he broke his jaw when he fouled a ball off of his face. (Note: Ouch)The break may have turned out to be a painful blessing in disguise. When Hoskins returned to the field, he brought with him a fancy new helmet.More importantly, he seemed to have his hitting mojo back. He seemed to hold a grudge against baseballs for breaking his face, and decided to pay them back by viciously sending them flying into the seats. People started to joke that any time a Phillie endured a slump, he should try to break his face to snap out of it.Even with his magical helmet, Hoskins couldn’t sustain the greatness. His bat noticeably cooled heading into the All-Star break, so when he was chosen to participate in the Home Run Derby, many fans were concerned that the experience wasn’t going to do him any favors. (Even though the whole “The Home Run Derby ruins hitters’ swings thing has been shown to be a myth.)If you’re paying attention at home, the list of things that helped Rhys Hoskins break out of slumps includes breaking his face and participating in the Home Run Derby. Who needs hitting coaches, right?

Hoskins naturally cooled off again, and spent the final two months of the season being okay. He hit 13 homers in August, September, and October, but only batted .215 during that stretch.

 

Hoskins played first base in the minors, but when he arrived in Philadelphia, he was shifted to left field to accommodate incumbent first baseman Tommy Joseph. (That’s right: Moves were made to accommodate Tommy Joseph.) I’ll be charitable and say that he wasn’t an absolute disaster out there considering his lack of prior training. Besides, it was thought to only be a temporary situation. Everyone assumed that the team would get rid of Joseph, and move Hoskins to his natural position.

The team did indeed jettison Joseph…and then replaced him with another first baseman in Carlos Santana. They apparently saw enough out of Hoskins’ in the outfield to think that he could be passable out there. Either they were dead wrong in that assessment, or they really didn’t care about defense at all. (Based on the results of the 2018 season, I’d say the latter was more likely.)

Hoskins was not passable. He was bad.

Clay Buchholz Jersey

There’s no crying in baseball, but cheating has always been a part of the game.

MLB pitchers have always experimented with making the ball do weird things. During baseball’s Dead Ball Era, they did it to maintain their advantage over hitters. When steroids popped, teams like the Braves of the ‘90s did it for survival.

When a pitcher’s stuff starts looking too superhuman and the ball’s dancing around the plate like a firecracker Krumping — the pitcher can be accused of “doctoring” the ball.

Two Toronto Blue Jays analysts have accused Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz of throwing “spitters.”

Dirk Hayhurst tweeted that he saw Buchholz “loading the ball” with a substance during Wednesday’s broadcast. Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris also accused Buchholtz of throwing spitballs. It’s understandable why division-rival Toronto would engage in such gamesmanship. The Red Sox are pounding the AL East and the “new-look” Blue Jays are sitting at the bottom of the standings and staring at major failure. Anything they can do to slow down Buchholtz, who leads the majors in E.R.A. (1.01) and wins (6), could help.

In any event, the drama this “cheating” scandal’s created is dope to hardcore baseball dudes who constantly talk about the glory days of baseball like it’s an old friend that got clapped in a drive by.

The “spitter” was a frequently used pitch in the repertoire of the game’s post-modern hurlers. It’s also been referred to as a shineball, mudball, emeryball and scuffball.

There are different variations of the pitch and different substances are used to reach the desired effect. Whether spitting on it, filing it down, mucking it up or greasing it, the singular purpose is increased movement – making the ball harder for the batter to hit.

In the ‘50s, the Dodgers had a cat named Preacher Roe, who played with Jackie Robinson. Roe perfected the art of the spitball. He had sick control and never got caught.

Throwing a “spitter” – and most other forms of doctoring the baseball — are old school, mainly because it’s almost impossible cheat given today’s technology. Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers tried and failed in the ’06 World Series.

Morris — now obviously a full-fledged TV-suit — and hurlers like Mike Scott helped revolutionize the controversial split-fingered fastball in the ‘80s and made their living throwing a pitch that moved like a version of the Harlem Shake. So it was a bit strange that he would call Buckhholz out like that. That’s not respecting the G-Code.

One of the last pitchers to get caught for tossing a spitter was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in ‘82. In his book, “Me And The Spitter”, Perry admits to sniffing red peppers to make his nose run and putting Vaseline on the zipper of his uniform pants.

After his tweet late Wednesday night, Hayhurst told Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Thursday that Buchholz was “absolutely” cheating.

It did look as if Buchholtz was rubbing a glossy substance off the wrist and forearm area of his glove hand with his pitching fingers. It was a bit shinier than sweat. That’s classic spitter activity. Buchholz and manager John Farrell were perturbed and reasoned that Buchholtz legally loads his arm with rosin and occasionally wets his fingers to enhance his grip.

“As soon as someone pitches well or does well, they’re cheating,” Farrell told philly.com.

Well…yeah skipper John (He’s a funny dude). Baseball hasn’t exactly been the moral standard for player-ethics in pro sports lately.

Don’t get it twisted: Buchholtz is no scrub. Back in 2010, he posted a 2.33 ERA to lead the American League. Problem is, he’s coming off an 11-8 season with a 4.56 E.R.A. Now he’s dishing Koufax numbers. It’s a bit shady, but very possible for a guy with Buchholtz’s wicked stuff.

Watching players cheat — and get away with it — was always embedded in the light-hearted culture of the sport. Players don’t like it, but they adjust to it and don’t “usually” snitch about it. It took for years for Jose Canseco to run his jibs about steroids. Look at how long it took for the commissioner to take it serious.

If Buchholtz is throwing “spitters,” at the very least he’s brought new interest to an ill old school baseball practice and baseball’s forever-blurred line between cheating and playing for keeps.

Aaron Altherr Jersey

According to MLB Trade Rumors, three Phillies players may not be tendered a contract for next season by the club this offseason.

MLB Trade Rumors released their candidates to be non-tendered by their respective teams this offseason. Three Phillies were included on the list: pitcher Luis Garcia, first baseman Justin Bour, and outfielder Aaron Altherr.

Arbitration-eligible players like these three are to be tendered a contract by their team by Nov. 30. From there, the two sides can work out potential salaries or go to arbitration. If a player is non-tendered, that means they become free agents as their teams don’t see them as worth the price they have to pay.Tim Dierkes of MLBTR pointed out that some players on their list may still receive an offer, albeit much lower than their projected arbitration numbers. Also, he said they could be traded this month so their teams get some return for them.

Bour is a name most people expected to see on this list. He was acquired midseason from the Marlins to add a power bat to the bench for a playoff run that ultimately never occurred. Bour wasn’t great in his time here, hitting just .224 with a .746 OPS and 77 wRC+.

Bour, who is projected to make $5.2 million, simply is stuck in a logjam at first base. The team is already trying to clear space for Rhys Hoskins at the position by trading Carlos Santana, but there’s no guarantee that will happen. Even if it does, there isn’t a clear spot for Bour. He is a candidate for a trade between now and the Nov. 30 deadline.

2018 may have been the nail in the coffin for Garcia. After a so-so career up until 2017, he had a 2.65 ERA in 66 appearances that year. Then, he posted a 6.07 ERA in 59 outings this year. With other younger, cheaper, and better options emerging in the bullpen, Garcia simply isn’t needed anymore.

Altherr is somewhat of a surprise to see on this list. He had a strong 2017 season with 19 home runs and an .856 OPS in 107 games. He was the starting right fielder to open the year but hit just .181 while striking out in 31.9% of his plate appearances. Nick Williams took over Altherr’s spot before he was demoted midseason.Altherr will still be rather cheap next year at $1.6 million. However, after such a down year, the team may be wary of bringing him back. With Philadelphia expected to sign Bryce Harper and the late-season emergence of Roman Quinn, Altherr simply may just not have a spot. He could also be included in a trade if a team hopes to recapture his 2017 season.

Tug McGraw Jersey

I just returned home from Williamsburg and I parked in that P3 parking lot going to the Farmer’s Market. I feel that will destroy the ambience of Colonial Williamsburg. Parking is tight as it is without getting rid of the parking lot.

I always find it interesting how rules and concerns change at a whim with our Williamsburg councilmen and Colonial Williamsburg. How many times have we read about a citizen who would like to paint his house or change the type of windows in his house and the city will not allow him because his house is within 5 miles of Colonial Williamsburg and it does not fit in with the colonial atmosphere? But, a big screen TV does? Do whatever with the downtown plaza, but please don’t put up a big screen TV. It just doesn’t belong in that area and it will only cause complaints and unhappy people.

I want to add my two cents on the parking situation in Merchants Square. I recently heard the city intends to convert the P6 Parking Lot on Francis and North Henry streets to condos. This eliminates parking in that area. Parking behind Henry Street shops is now limited due to the successful leasing of two large spaces to popular restaurants. Now the supercharged real estate and marketing departments at CW want to remove parking for a dubious plan to convert it to a park and advertising venue. Where are all the people going to park to keep these businesses open? I suggest the city and CW start a dialogue on parking. I am all ears.

Have CW and the city considered that converting the parking lot at Merchants Square into a plaza with a television screen is simply going to give a place for bored teenagers to hang out? And being bored, they’re probably going to cause trouble.

Interesting to read that city goals are nearing a vote by City Council, but it’s very concerning that major changes and proposals for the Merchants Square area hadn’t surfaced when the citizen survey happened in August. A proposal by Jeff Duncan of CW staff to eliminate parking in P3, the very busy and so-important area in the middle of popular shops and restaurants, didn’t reach The Virginia Gazette until recent weeks. Yet, while the block-long section of DoG Street is car-less and bench poor, Duncan makes no mention of adding tables and benches there for mingling. Who is he and how does he suddenly become the marketing expert for the city? And apparently, the one who decides what will be done to the areas only “downtown”? No wonder Last Word is so full of agitated blurbs. It’s puzzling, but worse. Ridiculous.

Instead of converting the parking lot in Goodwin Square into a park, why not leave it alone and develop the end of Dog Street near Wren Chapel into a nice park-like area? It’s already closed to traffic and rarely used for anything.