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Inbox: Will the Phillies make any other moves?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from fans
@ToddZolecki
January 19, 2020

Is this really it for the offseason? -- @tymark10 The Phillies have decided not to exceed the $204 million Competitive Balance Tax, so their options are limited. They still hope to upgrade their pitching before camp opens next month. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported recently that the Phils are also

Is this really it for the offseason?
-- @tymark10

The Phillies have decided not to exceed the $204 million Competitive Balance Tax, so their options are limited.

They still hope to upgrade their pitching before camp opens next month. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported recently that the Phils are also interested in free-agent outfielder Kevin Pillar, but here’s the rub: The Phillies have little to offer. They hope to get these free agents to camp as non-roster invitees, except those players are not ready to settle for that. Instead, they still hope to sign Major League contracts and enter camp on a team's 40-man roster, though Philadelphia believes the closer it gets to camp, the more likely it will become that those players might make an exception.

Time will tell.

What exactly is Bryan Price gonna do to improve the struggling talent (i.e. Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez)?
-- @McelhattanJim

We wrote about Price earlier this week. He brings a wealth of experience to the role. He managed the Reds from 2014-18. He served as pitching coach for the Reds ('10-13), D-backs ('06-09) and Mariners ('00-05). He coached National League Cy Young Award-winner Brandon Webb in 2006. Jamie Moyer enjoyed two 20-win seasons and two top-five finishes in American League Cy Young Award voting with Price as his coach in Seattle.

Price brings an old-school sensibility to the clubhouse, which I think the Phillies' pitchers will welcome. He believes in building trust and relationships with his pitchers. He believes in working with a pitcher’s strengths. He does not have a strong analytics background, but Price said he is learning, because he knows he needs it.

“He’s going to be a really good fit,” Moyer said in October. “He’s a great communicator. He’s a very caring person -- caring about his staff and their well-being, not only on the field, but off the field. He’s a good mechanical guy. He works very hard at preparing himself and having his pitchers prepared to attack the hitters. I really, really enjoyed pitching for him. I just really felt that he cared. I gained his trust and he gained my trust. I really think we had a great relationship.”

Thoughts on an extension for [J.T.] Realmuto? Do you think something gets done before the season starts?
-- @bluesnowin64

I still see something happening before Opening Day. But first, the Phillies will sign Realmuto to a one-year contract. The Phils and Realmuto seem destined for a salary arbitration hearing. Philadelphia has offered $10 million, while Realmuto seeks $12.4 million. If Realmuto wins or loses, it should not affect negotiations for a multiyear deal. It certainly should not affect the Phillies’ urgency to make it happen. They need to lock up Realmuto.

How are we going to get this bullpen back to Major League caliber?
-- @leecoop44907353

Price offered some good news this week when he said right-hander Seranthony Domínguez started his throwing program. If Domínguez can stay healthy and return to form, it will be a boost to the bullpen. Of course, that’s a big if following a season-ending right elbow injury. But there is no question the Phillies will need things to break their way.

They will need Domínguez, Adam Morgan and Victor Arano to return from elbow injuries. They will need Pivetta or Velasquez (if one of them does not make the rotation) to take to a bullpen role, similar to when Brett Myers moved from the rotation to the bullpen in 2007 and helped the Phillies win the NL East. Then, they will need a couple of their top bullpen prospects to step up. They had a few of those candidates in Philadelphia this week for the annual prospects seminar: Connor Brogdon, Damon Jones, Zach Warren, Addison Russ, Ramon Rosso and Garret Cleavinger.

Is there any chance the Phillies will exceed the CBT for an impact piece at the Trade Deadline, assuming they’re competitive midseason?
-- @harpertazo

Phillies managing partner John Middleton said they would exceed the CBT for the right player, so you have to take him at his word. If the team is playing well in July, and looking like a legitimate postseason threat, then perhaps they might take the plunge.

What is the possibility of the Phils trading for Kris Bryant after the grievance issue is sorted?
-- @OrrenJaco

Call me a pessimist, but I just don’t see how the Phillies have enough talent to acquire somebody like Bryant. I still think they will open 2020 with Scott Kingery or Jean Segura at third base.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .