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Phillies trade rumors - Mackanin gets canned and MacPhail proves he does still exist
by Scott Butler 10/5/17

Philadelphia Phillies Trade Rumors

MLB Trade Rumors is a site which describes themselves as "a clearinghouse for relevant, legitimate baseball rumors." Each week at Phils Baseball, we grab their latest Phillies rumors and put them all together in one weekly post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors:

October 4

Henderson Alvarez, Kevin Siegrist To Elect Free Agency

The Phillies announced today that right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Kevin Siegrist and infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly have cleared outright waivers and intend to elect free agency. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that Kelly would elect free agency after clearing waivers.

It’s not terribly surprising to see the trio return to the open market after helping to round out the roster for a rebuilding Phillies organization in 2017. All three could have been kept — the former two via arbitration — but the Phils decided to keep the 40-man roster spots (and funds) open for other opportunities.

Though Alvarez made only three appearances in the majors, they were his first since early in 2015. He held opposing hitters to seven earned runs in 14 2/3 frames, but allowed 11 walks while recording just six strikeouts. Alvarez also worked only in the 91 to 92 mph range with his fastball, well off his peak, though he’s sure to get a look with some organization in Spring Training. Once a productive starter with the Marlins, Alvarez is still just 27 years of age.

Siegrist, 28, was claimed by the Phillies after being cut loose by the Cardinals and seemingly was a candidate to be tendered a contract. Upon landing in Philadelphia, he threw five frames, recording seven strikeouts against two walks while allowing two earned runs. Siegrist likely would not have commanded much more than his $1.6MM salary from 2017, and would have come with another year of arbitration control, but evidently he didn’t show enough to convince the Phillies’ front office.

As for Kelly, he still hasn’t shown much indication that he’ll do enough damage offensively to be more than a utility player in the majors. The 29-year-old now carries a .211/.297/.340 slash through 176 MLB plate appearances. He has been fairly productive over six seasons at Triple-A, earning a .382 on-base percentage by walking nearly as often as he strikes out (233 of the former and 237 of the latter through 1,612 plate appearances), though his power has lagged (.385 slugging percentage) at the highest level of the minors.

October 3

Andy MacPhail On Phillies’ Offseason, 2018 Plans

Phillies president Andy MacPhail discussed his team’s winter plans in an end-of-season press conference today at Citizens Bank Park.  Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News and Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia (two links) have the details….

October 2

Phillies Notes: Galvis, Hernandez, Bowa, Mackanin

Freddy Galvis’ pinch-hit double for the Phillies on Sunday may very well have been his final plate appearance with the team, writes CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Top prospect J.P. Crawford arrived in the Majors in September, and while he hardly set the world on fire with the bat (.214/.356/.300 in 87 plate appearances), he still could land the team’s Opening Day shortstop job next year. It’s likely that general manager Matt Klentak will shop both Galvis and second baseman Cesar Hernandez this winter, writes Salisbury, as the team will want to get a look at its potential middle infield of the future — Crawford and top second base prospect Scott Kingery — in 2018.

Galvis, 27, posted an uninspiring .255/.309/.382 batting line in 2017 but played in all 162 games and has generally received strong marks for his glovework at short. He’ll be due a raise on this year’s $4.35MM salary and is controlled through 2018. Hernandez, meanwhile, posted a .294 average that is identical to his 2016 mark with a .373 OBP (up marginally from .371) with improved power output. After slugging .393 last year, the 27-year-old slugged .421 with 26 doubles, six triples and nine homers in 2017. A solid defender himself, Hernandez is controlled through 2020 and will be arb-eligible for the first time this winter.

More on the Phils…

September 30

Matt Stairs Hopes To Stay With Phillies

The Phillies’ decision to change managers could cost them promising hitting coach Matt Stairs, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes. In Stairs’ first year on the job, the former slugger has won the favor of the Phillies’ hitters and played a key role in the development of some of their young players, details Zolecki. Thanks in part to Stairs, the Phillies’ offense has posted better numbers across the board than last year’s, including in the runs scored department (679 to 610). Stairs told Zolecki that he’d “love” to continue in Philly, but he realizes his fate rests with the team’s next manager.

September 29

Managerial Notes: Mets, Phillies, Klentak, Bochy, Guillen

In my mind, we have reached a turning point in this rebuild,” Phillies GM Matt Klentak told reporters (including PhillyVoice.com’s Ryan Lawrence) about why Pete Mackanin was moved to a front office position rather than manage the Phils next season.  “We see our roster right now is littered with young players who look to have a very, very bright future. It’s time to look forward. That’s the message today: it’s time to look forward.”  In Lawrence’s view, Klentak’s answers were somewhat indirect, especially since Mackanin was just given a contract extension in May.  Both Lawrence and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirerbelieve Klentak is now taking a larger role in the Phillies’ rebuild, given that several of the team’s top young talents were brought into the organization by previous (since fired) front office personnel.  Brookover figures the new skipper will be younger and more analytically-minded, and he cites Dusty Wathan as “the smart choice” for the job since Wathan is so familiar with Philadelphia’s young players.  Wathan has managed in the Phillies’ farm system for the last decade, including managing the Triple-A affiliate in 2017.

September 29

Pete Mackanin Moved To Phillies’ Front Office, Will Not Manage Team In 2018

The Phillies announced today that Pete Mackanin will not return to manage the club in 2018. Rather, Mackanin has agreed to a contract extension to join the front office and serve as a special assistant to general manager Matt Klentak. Mackanin will finish out the current season as the Phillies’ skipper.

The news comes as somewhat of a surprise, as it was only May 11 that the Phillies gave Mackanin a vote of confidence by extending his managerial contract through the 2018 campaign (with a club option for the 2019 season). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that a friend of Mackanin’s described him as “shocked” to receive the news that he won’t be returning to his post next season.

Beyond that, the Phillies’ play has improved substantially with the second-half arrivals of Rhys HoskinsNick Williams and Jorge Alfaro, among others. The Phillies entered the break with a record of 29-58 but have since played at a near-.500 clip. Overall, the Phillies played at a 172-237 pace under Mackanin, though he was tasked with overseeing a clearly rebuilding club that was never expected to win many games.

Mackanin, 66, spent parts of nine seasons as a Major League infielder, including two with the Phillies, and had a pair of half-season stints as a big league skipper prior to taking on that role with the Phillies. He’s served in various capacities over the life of his post-playing career, including spending time as a third base coach, a bench coach, a minor league manager and a Major League scout. The Phillies didn’t offer any specific details of what his new role will entail beyond the fact that he received a contract extension upon taking the position.

Given that, it seems clear that the Phillies still value Mackanin’s input and feel that his presence can be beneficial to the organization. However, Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail were not with the organization when Mackanin was named manager back in 2015, and they’ll now have the opportunity to bring in their own manager.

The Philadelphia vacancy creates two openings for new skippers around the league, as the Tigers have already announced that Brad Ausmus will not return as the manager in 2018. A third opening seems all but certain to emerge in the coming days, as multiple reports out of New York have indicated that Terry Collins is extremely unlikely to return as the Mets’ manager in 2018.

September 28

Mackanin: Phillies Need "Bona Fide Starting Pitching"

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin continues to lobby for the team’s front office to acquire starting pitching in the offseason. “I think it would behoove us to get a bona fide starting pitcher,” Mackanin said Wednesday, adding that “I think we need a stabilizer at the top” (via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com). The Phillies aren’t close enough to contention to vie for the absolute best soon-to-be free agent starters – Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta – notes Zolecki, who suggests that second-tier hurlers such as Alex CobbLance Lynn and Jhoulys Chacin are more realistic possibilities.

September 26

Morgan Nearly Retired Before Second-Half Breakout

CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury profiles Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan and his rise to prominence in the Philadelphia bullpen in 2017. Morgan explains to Salisbury that he nearly retired from baseball early in the year, having gone through difficulty recovering from shoulder surgery and again being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. “I’m such a simple guy that it’s the little things that make me happy,” said Morgan. “Being with my family makes me happy, cutting the grass makes me happy. I’d think to myself, ’Why am I showing up to the field and I’m not happy?” Morgan ultimately decided to finish the year. Along the way, his velocity returned, and he altered the grip on his slider to dramatically improve the pitch’s effectiveness. Over his past 24 innings, Morgan has averaged 95.2 mph on his fastball and allowed just two runs with a 28-to-4 K/BB ratio. Salisbury’s column is full of candid, thoughtful quotes from Morgan and is an excellent look at the human side of the game.

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