The Philadelphia Phillies have exchanged salary arbitration figures with J.T. Realmuto and Hector Neris, per MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki. This means that the two sides didn’t reach a settlement before Friday’s 12:00 p.m. ET deadline. An arbitration hearing will be scheduled for both players.
Realmuto, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, filed at $12.4 million, slightly higher than the $10 million figure that the Phillies filed at. MLB Trade Rumors had projected that Realmuto would earn $10.3 million in arbitration.
Simply because the Phillies will have arbitration hearings scheduled with Realmuto and Neris doesn’t mean that they couldn’t still reach a long-term deal with either. Last year, the Phillies and Aaron Nola agreed to a four-year/$45 million deal a day before their scheduled arbitration hearing.
Even if the Phillies do head to arbitration with the two, it doesn’t necessarily mean either is on bad terms with the organization. Prior to the 2008 season, Ryan Howard won his arbitration hearing with the Phillies for $10 million, a record at that time. In case you forgot, the Phillies won the World Series that year. Prior to the 2009 season, the Phillies and Howard signed a three-year/$54 million deal.
The Phillies were able to avoid arbitration with five other players:
LHP Jose Alvarez: Avoided arbitration at $2.95 million , per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com
Alvarez got off to a bit of a slow start in 2019, but ultimately proved to be one of the team’s few reliable – and healthy – bullpen arms last season.
LHP Adam Morgan: $1.575 million, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia
Still just 29, the Phillies will be counting on Morgan to bring stability in a bullpen that will enter Spring Training with quite a few questions marks.
Morgan was excellent in March and April of 2019, not allowing a run in his first 15 appearances. He struggled in May and June, though, and ultimately pitched in just 10 games after the All-Star Break before finishing the season on the injured list with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow.
RHP Zach Eflin: Avoided arbitration at $2.625 million , per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com
Eflin had a very strange season in 2019, but his place in the team’s 2020 rotation appears to be set. He’s all-but certain to enter the year as Joe Girardi’s No. 4 starter.
The 25-year-old went 10-13 with a 4.13 ERA, 4.85 FIP and 1.5 fWAR in 32 games (28 of which were starts in 2019). To have a chance to reach the postseason, the Phillies will need there to be less valleys for Eflin in 2020.
In December, Knapp settled with the Phillies for less than the $800,000 total MLB Trade Rumors projected him to earn. Jonny Heller and Ty Daubert discussed the settlement on a riveting edition of The Phillies Nation Podcast.
In all seriousness, the Phillies had little to lose in tendering Knapp a contract. For whatever concerns there may be about him, he’s in good standing within the organization and is good at working the count. He also has three minor league options remaining.
It does appear, though, that he’s likely to enter the season as Realmuto’s backup. Deivy Grullon and non-roster invitee Christian Bethancourt could push him in Spring Training.
Velasquez has nine lives with the Phillies, and may enter Spring Training as the favorite to win the No. 5 starter’s job.
In parts of five major league seasons – four of which have been spent with the Phillies – Velasquez has flashed electric stuff, but struggled to put things together. 2020 is almost certainly his last chance with the Phillies.
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