Phillies Mailbag: A Nola Extension, Hall and Harper, Phestival
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Send a question at any time to @FrankKlose on Twitter and then tune in Tuesday afternoons at 2:40 to hear your question answered.
Any word on an Aaron Nola extension?
We are just over a week out of the start of the 2023 season. That was the (somewhat artificial) deadline given by Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola as Spring Training got underway. As of right now, there is no word on a possible extension.
A few weeks ago, Phillies Nation's Destiny Lugardo asked phillies president Dave Dombrowski about the possibility at his media availability. Dombrowski noted that while he cannot comment specifically on the negotiations, that the Phillies would love to have Nola back.
And Nola himself indicated that he too would love to remain a Philadelphia Phillies player.
So what is the hold up? I would imagine there are indeed negotiations going on. The Spring Training deadline is somewhat arbitrary. The thinking is that a player would prefer not to negotiate during the season.
Cole Hamels faced the same question in Spring Training of 2012. Would he sign an extension? Hamels ultimately signed a six-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies in July.
Nola will command a little more money 11 years later Six years seems about right based upon the six-year, $162 million deal with the New York Yankees signed by Carlos Rodon this offseason. That seems to be the number frequently mentioned in the industry.
But as of right now, there is no agreement in place. One would think that if both sides have interest in a deal, there is reason for optimism. I have a hard time thinking that the same Phillies team that spent $300 million on Trea Turner this offseason would suddenly become financially stingy.
Darick Hall seems to be having a decent spring training. When Bryce Harper comes back to DH to start, could we see Rhys Hoskins share time with Hall at 1st?
The news is looking good surrounding Bryce Harper. The start Phillies outfielder will not be placed on the 60-day Injured List, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. That means the Phillies would expect him back potentially prior to May 29, the end of the 60-day period
That news is likely bad news for Darick Hall.
With Harper, a left-handed hitter, being limited to designated hitter duty, and Hall limited to one position that is already occupied with Rhys Hoskins, I think the Phillies will struggle to carry both at the same time.
Granted, there could be a short-term injury and some space to fill and the Phillies might try to carry all three on a short-term basis.
But the Phillies will need the defensive versatility on their bench afforded to the likes of Josh Harrison, Edmundo Sosa, and potentially Scott Kingery. Hall fits among this group, but with Harper back, it might be tough.
I think the Phillies will certainly try to keep Hall in the organization and use him when they can. After all, Hoskins will be a free agent at season's end, so much could change between now and next Spring.
Is the Phillies Phestival returning this year?
There is no current word yet as to the status of the Phillies Phestival. The annual event to raise money for ALS is one of the most unique and most revered fundraising activities in MLB. The Phillies have raised over $25 million with the event, which dates back over 25 years.
The Phestival page notes that the Phestival in 2022 was "postponed". They have continually fundraised through other means, such as online auctions in its absence. But fans have come to love the experience of interacting with players and, of course, getting autographs from their favorite players.
While vaccines have made it easier to navigate through COVID, I'm sure teams are still trying to minimize opportunities for illness, particularly during the season. Other teams have typically done a "Fan Fest" each season. The Phillies have made the Phestival theirs, but dedicated to charity.
A couple teams, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, had a modified version of their Fan Fest this winter. It occurred prior to teams reporting to Spring Training, so should COVID infiltrate the event, it would not interfere with the season. Los Angeles of course has warmer weather this time of year than other places.
So it would seem to indicate that teams would like to do these events. If the Phillies are unable to pull it off just yet, I am sure they will maintain their dedication to raising money to fight ALS and have opportunities for fans to contribute, albeit not the usual way.