Phillies Mailbag: McCutchen, Cozens, Keuchel
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or send a text to the text board at 609-403-0973.
Why did the Phillies overpay for Andrew McCutchen?
I really do not think that the money paid to Andrew McCutchen is an issue. The Phillies signed McCutchen to a three-year, $50 million deal this offseason. There have been few deals signed at that number this offseason. But this number likely exceeded others.
The Phillies at the time of the signing were weighing signing either McCutchen or outfielder Michael Brantley. Either player at the time would have cost them around the same money. The Phillies chose McCutchen because of his veteran leadership and his overall continued good health.
Brantley, meanwhile, got two years and $32 million. The average annual value is not too far off, but the number of years was one higher. That said, I think the Phillies were wise to get the player.
McCutchen himself said last week, "Did you see what they offered me?" when asked about his new team by Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic. McCutchen remains beloved in Pittsburgh.
And if Saturday's home opener in Clearwater is any indication, he is already popular among Phillies fans. He will provide leadership to the young players on the club, and while he's not his old MVP self, he has a lot left in the tank. He's a nice addition.
But what he costs? Unless he gets in the way of another deal, the cost is irrelevant. The Phillies have the money to sign a super star player, even with McCutchen. But they have the player at the end of the day.
Does Dylan Cozens have a chance at the Phillies roster?
Outfielder Dylan Cozens has made his mark early on in the Grapefruit League action. So far Cozens is 4 for 5 (that's an .800 batting average) with a home run and two runs batted in. That small sample size amounts to a 2.657 OPS. I suspect those averages will come down some.
The problem Cozens has is the massive amount of outfielders on the Phillies roster. Among who is on the roster right now, he is likely behind Andrew McCutchen, Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Because Cozens is left-handed he is mainly behind Herrera and Williams.
Now, Herrera suffered a grade one hamstring strain so far this Spring and has yet to play. If the Phillies do not sign a free agent outfielder, Cozens is likely number six on the depth charts. The fact that Cozens has minor league options available could make him valuable as someone who can bounce back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues.
So I think that while he's not a favorite right now to be on the roster, he is someone we will see at some point since he is a bat on the 40-man roster who can be sent back and forth between the major leagues and Triple-A. If someone is traded and someone else falls flat, that could up his chances.
The good news for Cozens, though, is he will probably play a good amount this Spring.
How about signing Dallas Keuchel and putting Vince Velasquez in the bullpen?
I think the Phillies are in definite need of a left-handed starter. The problem with Dallas Keuchel is that he is still asking for a large payday and that he is represented by the same agent as Bryce Harper. Scott Boras knows that he will be able to get someone who lost out on Harper to spend money on Keuchel. I do not think he will budget.
If I'm the Phillies, I try to get Robbie Ray from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite their rebuilding/retooling/whatever they're doing, the Diamondbacks are claiming they will contend this year. The Phillies might have to wait until the trade deadline for that.
But for now, the Phillies might start with what they have on the roster if the price does not come down. If and when the price comes down for Keuchel, the Phillies will look at that. But they are not signing him until the Harper situation resolves.
As for Velasquez, the Phillies are loaded with bullpen veterans at this point. I am not sure they have room for him there unless someone is subtracted or is hurt. We will see what happens.
Do you think Harper ACTUALLY and FINALLY signs and ends up with Philly or do you see him going to LA and WHEN do you see this finally ending?
After today, I think the whole market resets. The new contract signed by Nolan Arenado sets many new standards. Check out my separate piece on the matter here on 973espn.com.