Former Phillies infielder and manager Larry Bowa was at Citizens Bank Park for a visit yesterday. CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury notes that there is a chance he could be back on a more permanent basis:
Bowa was a star player, a World Series-winning player, a coach and manager with the club. After all these years, he remains a Phillie at heart. And he has a close relationship with Sandberg, having mentored him when they were teammates in the Chicago Cubs’ infield. Could Bowa, still spry with his 68th birthday approaching in December, end up on Sandberg’s staff?
Nothing is guaranteed. But it’s possible. It has been talked about in the organization.
Bowa’s reputation is as a tough guy who pounds fundamentals and angers veterans. This was pretty bad when he was at the helm of a veteran-laden Phillies team in the early-to-mid 2000s. Guys like Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, Jim Thome and Pat Burrell were not exactly enamored with Bowa’s firm hand.
But on a Philly team in transition? With Bow not in command but, rather, as a lieutenant? If Ryne Sandberg needs a bad cop, there are many worse choices.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.