Phillies GM Matt Klentak: “We’re not blind … our run differential is negative by a significant margin.”

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The Phillies dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Reds 9-4, sending their run differential down to -30. The only teams with a worse run differential are the Braves (-62), Twins (-57), Athletics (-51), Reds (-50), and Brewers (-38). Their expected record is 15-23. Instead, they sit at 22-16, tied for second place in the NL East.

With last year’s trade of Cole Hamels and the recent winter trade of Ken Giles, the Phillies further committed to their rebuilding process, so their success a month and a half into the season comes as a big surprise. While GM Matt Klentak likes the culture of winning being brought to the clubhouse, he is not about to go to Party City for balloons, streamers, and noise makers.

“We’re not blind to the fact that our run differential is negative by a significant margin,” Klentak said, via Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Indeed, the Phillies have the second-worst offense in baseball, averaging 3.31 runs per game. Only the Braves (3.06) have been worse. The Phillies don’t do much of anything right offensively, with the third-lowest batting average in the majors at .231, the worst on-base percentage at .288, and the second-worst slugging percentage at .364.

Somehow, though, the Phillies are 14-3 in one-run games. Success in one-run games is typically correlated with bullpen strength, but the Phillies’ 4.03 relief ERA is higher than the major league average of 3.82. Furthermore, teams that enjoy lots of success in one-run games in one year haven’t often repeated the success in the following year. So, understandably, there are plenty of skeptics about the Phillies’ shocking start. Even Klentak doesn’t sound convinced. But you have to start somewhere, and maybe this becomes the year the Phillies finish higher than fourth place for the first time since 2012.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.