The next roster checkpoint of baseball's offseason arrives at 8 p.m. Friday. That's the deadline for offering contracts to players who are eligible for salary arbitration. Any player not tendered a contract will become a free agent.
The Phillies have 11 players on their 40-man roster who are eligible for salary arbitration.
Of the group, one player - first baseman Justin Bour - is a virtual certainty to be non-tendered. The Phillies tipped their hand on this when they ran Bour through waivers two weeks ago. The Phillies have a crowd at first base with Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana and they don't have room for Bour, who was acquired from Miami in an August trade. Santana could end up being traded in the coming weeks, opening the first-base position full time for Hoskins.
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It's likely that the Phillies tried to trade Bour, but rival clubs were reluctant to part with value because of the possibility that he would soon be available as a free agent. Bour has pop in his left-handed bat and won't have trouble finding work in a platoon situation.
Left-handed reliever Luis Avilan, another late-season trade acquisition by the Phils in 2018, is also a candidate to be non-tendered. The Phils hope to add a top lefty reliever such as Zach Britton through free agency.
There has been some speculation that right-hander Luis Garcia will be non-tendered. The hunch here is that Garcia will be offered a contract. Team officials have always liked his power arm and overall stuff. The website MLBTradeRumors.com projects Garcia's 2018 salary at an affordable $1.7 million.
Pitchers Aaron Nola (projected to make $6.6 million), Jerad Eickhoff ($1.7 million), Vince Velasquez ($2.6 million), Hector Neris ($2 million) and Adam Morgan ($1.1 million) will all be offered contracts as will outfielder Aaron Altherr ($1.6 million) and infielders Cesar Hernandez ($8.9 million) and Maikel Franco ($5.1 million).
Several of these players could still be traded as the front office constructs its 2019 roster. Franco and Hernandez are the two most likely trade candidates, depending on what the team does in the infield. It's possible that Velasquez and Altherr could also be moved as the roster evolves. The team is in pursuit of top free-agent starting pitchers such as Patrick Corbin, hitters such as Manny Machado and Bryce Harper and relievers such as Britton.
The Phillies' 40-man roster currently stands at 38.
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