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February 02, 2017

Phillies Notes: Hearings underway, but team still has time to reach deal with Hernandez

Arbitration hearings began this week throughout baseball, as teams finalize their rosters in the first few weeks of February with the start of spring training nearing.

Cesar Hernandez is the lone arbitration-eligible Phillies player unsigned. But the team still has time to come to an agreement with their starting second baseman and avoid an arbitration hearing, a sometimes-contentious process when players and agents square off with the front office in front of an independent arbiter.

According to a Phillies source, Hernandez’s arbitration hearing isn’t scheduled until “later in the process.” Translation: the two sides still have at least a couple of weeks to reach a deal.

Hernandez’s scheduled hearing isn’t set to take place until the Phillies are in Florida (pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13). The hearing would be held at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club, the same site of the last arbitration hearing the Phillies went to, with Ryan Howard on February 21, 2008.

Since Hernandez and the Phillies still have a couple of weeks, it would be somewhat surprising if the two sides are unable to reach a deal before that hearing were to take place.

While agreeing to one-year deals with Freddy Galvis and Jeanmar Gomez three weeks ago, avoiding arbitration, the Phillies and Hernandez exchanged filing numbers. Hernandez, in his first year of salary arbitration, filed for $2.8 million on Friday while the Phillies filed $2 million.

It would seem logical for the two sides to meet in the middle, coming to terms on a one-year, $2.4 million deal for the 2017 season. A Phillies source said the front office and Hernandez’s representatives have remained in contact, but couldn't say whether an agreement was imminent.

The 26-year-old Hernandez, who had a team-best .294 average and .371 OBP in 2016, earned $525,000 last year.

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In case you missed it earlier, foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal, arguably the most plugged-in national reporter in the sport, uncovered an interesting fallout from last summer’s A.J. Preller fiasco: the Phillies lost out on an agreed trade to flip Jeremy Hellickson to the Miami Marlins for power-hitting first base prospect Josh Naylor.

A brief recap of the actual trades that were made: on July 29, Padres general manager A.J. Preller sent pitchers Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea, and Tayron Guerrero to the Marlins for Jarred Cosart, Carter Capps, and prospects Josh Naylor and Luis Castillo. Rea started for the Marlins the next day but was removed from the game in the fourth inning with an elbow injury.

According to Rosenthal, MLB gave the Marlins the opportunity to nix the trade entirely, but “the Marlins were under the impression that the commissioner’s office preferred them to seek a remedy from the Padres” and so they sent the injured Rea back to San Diego and received Castillo back in return. Since that re-worked trade didn’t go down until August 1, the day after the deadline, the Marlins weren’t able to make what Rosenthal said was their “Plan B” deal: acquiring Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies in exchange for Josh Naylor.

The Phillies were hurt just as much as anyone by Preller, according to the report, since they were in a holding pattern with the Marlins, and thus, were unable to trade him to another potential suitor. Not only were the Phils stuck with Hellickson, but they made the decision to tender him a qualifying offer ($17.2 million) and he accepted, so he’s back for the 2017 season, too.

Now the Phillies can only hope Hellickson is just as effective as he was in 2016 (or better) so they have the option of acquiring a Naylor-comparable prospect before this year’s trade deadline. Naylor was an interesting name leading up to the 2015 draft: he was thought to have considerable power (he stands at 6-1, 225 pounds) but he’s also from Canada, so some wondered about the level of competition he had played against in high school.

Naylor, rated the 59th best prospect in the draft by MLB.com, went 12th overall to the Marlins … two picks after the Phillies selected prep outfielder Cornelius Randolph with the 10th pick.

Preller, meanwhile, was suspended for 30 days by MLB for failure to disclose medical information in another trade he made prior to the deadline, a deal the sent left-hander Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox.

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Roy Halladay will be inducted this summer into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 39-year-old Halladay spent the first 12 years of his 16-year career as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 148-76 with 49 complete games and 15 shutouts in those 12 seasons, winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2003 (and finishing in the top five in votes four other times during his Blue Jays career).

“Toronto has been my home away from home throughout my career and even to this day,” Halladay said in the press release announcing his induction. “My oldest son now 16 was born in Toronto and considers himself Canadian. It was a privilege to live and play in Canada for as long as I did. The people here were kind, supportive, respectful and always seemed to welcome me home even when I came to visit and sat in the wrong dugout.

“To be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is just another example of exceptional treatment I have received from Canada. I can't explain the feelings that accompanied goose bumps every time you showed me how much I was appreciated and once again after getting word of this honor Canada has given me, those same feelings to go along with the goose bumps. Thank you!”


Halladay joined the Phillies prior to the 2010 season, when he went on to win another Cy Young Award, throw a perfect game, and pitch just the second postseason no-hitter in baseball history. Halladay is eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in two years (the class of 2019).

Halladay, who has expressed interest in the past working as a sports psychologist in his post-player career, was asked on a conference call with Toronto reporters if he was still interested in getting back into baseball.

“I do have plans to get back into baseball,” Halladay told reporters, including Ben Nicholson-Smith at Sportsnet.Ca. “At this point, I don’t know what team it’ll be with or in what capacity, although I can say I have talked to the Blue Jays.”

Halladay retired after four seasons with the Phillies in December of 2013. He was listed as a Phillies' guest instructor for spring training in both 2014 and 2015 (but didn’t officially wear a uniform in camp in 2015).

Since Halladay maintains a home in Florida (near both Clearwater and Dunedin), it wouldn’t be surprising if his next MLB job comes with one of the two teams he played for during his career.

“I really do want to get back into baseball,” Halladay said Thursday. “I really do enjoy working with younger players, younger pitchers.”


Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21