PHILADELPHIA -- While the Phillies look for new leadership in baseball operations, they created some news this week when they brought back each of their seven players eligible for salary arbitration. They tendered contracts to Vince Velasquez and Rhys Hoskins and agreed to contracts with Zach Eflin, Héctor Neris, Seranthony Domínguez, David Hale and Andrew Knapp.
Velasquez’s return indicates the Phillies expect him to compete for a job in the rotation in 2021.
There were some other Phillies-related happenings and rumors this week, too:
1. Is Segura on the move?
A report surfaced Wednesday from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman that the Phillies are shopping infielder Jean Segura. Or at least teams are calling and asking about him.
Why would the Phillies trade Segura? The most logical explanation is that he is owed $29.5 million over the next two years ($14.25 million in both 2021 and 2022, plus a $1 million buyout on a $17 million club option for 2023) and a deal could provide them payroll relief. (In a trade like that, do not expect much in return.) It makes sense, if the Phillies use those savings to bring back free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius or fill other holes on the roster. Segura, 30, slashed a combined .276/.329/.421 with a 95 OPS+ the past two seasons in Philadelphia. He slashed .308/.353/.449 with a 116 OPS+ the three years prior.
They will need another infielder.
2. Is anybody out there?
Fifty-six players were non-tendered before Wednesday night’s deadline, making them free agents. There are some interesting names out there.
Archie Bradley, Matt Wisler, A.J. Cole, Ryan Tepera and Chasen Shreve immediately come to mind as potential pieces to help the Phillies’ bullpen. A slew of outfielders hit the market, too, including Kyle Schwarber and Eddie Rosario. The Phillies have Bryce Harper in right and Andrew McCutchen in left, although it is unclear if McCutchen will be limited again next season because of his knee. The Phillies probably need another outfielder to provide depth (i.e. a Jay Bruce type), unless they plan to bring back Odúbel Herrera in center field. In that scenario, Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley could be the fourth and fifth outfielders.
Both May and McWilliams were former Phillies prospects. The Phillies selected May in the fourth round of the 2008 Draft. They traded him and Vance Worley to the Twins for Ben Revere in December 2012. The Phillies selected McWilliams in the eighth round of the 2014 Draft. They traded him to Arizona in November 2015 for Jeremy Hellickson.
May could have helped the Phillies’ bullpen. Morton and Smyly could have helped the rotation. Multiple sources told MLB.com that the club never seriously engaged with any of them. May said he heard from half the teams in baseball. If the Phillies were one of those teams, they never came close to the Mets.
“The gap was huge,” May said. “There were just a lot of teams not ready to move. In terms of serious, I think the Mets were the most serious really quickly, and then it was just kind of done.”
Perhaps the Phillies were waiting to see who became available Wednesday? Time will tell.