CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies signed two free agents to two of the most lucrative contracts in baseball over the past three months.They signed Jacob Arrieta to a three-year, $75 million contract on Monday, and Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract in December. Based on the average annual
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies signed two free agents to two of the most lucrative contracts in baseball over the past three months.
They signed Jacob Arrieta to a three-year, $75 million contract on Monday, and Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract in December. Based on the average annual value of those contracts, Arrieta's is the largest deal of the offseason, and Santana's is the fifth-largest.
Could the Phillies keep it rolling before Opening Day? Hey, Alex Cobb is still available.
"My guess is this will be it for us," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Tuesday morning at Spectrum Field. "My guess is our offseason is done. The evolution of rosters is a 24/7, 365 operation. So I know John [Middleton] has talked about this, Andy [MacPhail] has talked about this. There very well could be a free agent or trade scenario that makes sense in the next few months, or the next offseason. It will continue to evolve. My guess is for right now -- between now and Opening Day -- our heavy lifting is done."
Hollins' push pays off
Klentak said a phone call from Dave Hollins helped push the Phillies over the top in their pursuit of Arrieta.
Hollins has been a special assignment scout for the Phillies since 2009. He played for the Phillies when they won the 1993 National League pennant.
"Dave reached out, and we were talking about a lot of things," Klentak said. "When we started talking about the starting pitching market and what we were going to do, his message to me was: 'Matt, don't underestimate the impact that signing a guy like Jake Arrieta will have on that clubhouse.' He was speaking from an ex-player perspective -- what he experienced as a player -- particularly as a young player and what it means to have a superstar walk through the door. He said it's hard to describe, but it takes the burden off the young guys who might be feeling extra pressure. It gives guys somebody to follow. I just want to make sure that you know that. It was very well received. I told Dave how much I appreciated that."
Ben Lively surrendered No. 49 to Arrieta, who wore the number with the Cubs. Lively took No. 54.
Arrieta said he would compensate Lively for making the change. He hinted it might be a nice watch.
"I told him whatever he wants to do, it's not a big deal to me," Lively said. "It's my first number. It's not like I came up wearing 49 throughout the system. I'll definitely let a guy like that get his number, and move forward with it."
Franco's numbers? Don't worry
Maikel Franco was 3-for-30 before he hit a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning of a 6-3 victory over the Rays. He later singled in the sixth.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said he isn't worried about Franco's spring production.
"His 3-for-30 is not an indication of the way he's swung the bat," Kapler said. "It's not an indication of the way he's approached his at-bats. He's worked deeper counts at times, and he's also hit a lot of balls on the barrel. I think if we measured his exit velocities, how often he's been on the barrel, it's been noticeable that he's been driving the baseball."
Interestingly, Franco ranked 65th out of 237 hitters last season (minimum 250 at-bats) in exit velocity (88.7 mph), but posted a .690 OPS in 623 plate appearances.
Right-hander Tom Eshelman allowed two hits and one walk in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out four. He has allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings.
Eshelman said Brad Lidge showed him the grip of his slider earlier in camp, and he has been bringing it into games. So far so good.
"Obviously, you see the same pitch on repeat for years from the 2008 World Series," Eshelman said. "We talked pitch grips and philosophies on it, when to have it go down, when to have it go side to side. The one I was throwing was a little more side to side, rather than a little bit down."
Jesmuel Valentin hit a three-run, walk-off home run with two outs in the ninth inning to beat the Rays. He is hitting .273 (6-for-22) with a .969 OPS. He has a chance to make the team as a bench player.
"It's been a very impressive camp across the board," Kapler said.
Lively will make his fourth start of the spring as the Phillies travel to take on the Braves at Champion Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET. Listen to the game via an exclusive webcast.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.