NL East Notes: Phillies, Neshek, Marlins, Garcia, Straily

The Phillies remain interested in adding to their rotation before the season starts, though they’re not going to make any lengthy commitments, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes. Both general manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail (via Matt Breen of Philly.com) have indicated this week that the Phillies aren’t going to splurge on a long-term starter, in large part because they aren’t quite ready to push for a playoff spot, Zolecki notes. The team would be willing to pay more on a shorter contract, Zolecki relays, and Klentak revealed that doing so “is something we talk about frequently.” But if the Phillies aren’t able to land another starter in the coming weeks, Klentak insists they’ll be content to turn to in-house options.

  • Reliever Pat Neshek returned to the Phillies in free agency over the winter, agreeing to a two-year, $ 16.25MM pact. It turns out that the 37-year-old could have made more money elsewhere. “We didn’t really wait for other teams,” Neshek said this week (via Zolecki). “I probably left a little bit more on the table from other teams. Well, I know I did because a team called me after I agreed [with the Phillies]. Their first offer was better, but it was a comfort thing. I was really happy with the offer. I didn’t want to wait and see anything else.” Neshek was only in Philadelphia for a few months last year before the team traded him to the Rockies in July, but it’s clear both he and the Phillies enjoyed their first go-round.
  • Although left-hander Jarlin Garcia led Marlins relievers with 68 appearances as a rookie in 2017, the club plans to deploy him as a starter this season, manager Don Mattingly told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com and other reporters. “Jarlin will be a starter this year,” said Mattingly, who believes that moving the 25-year-old to the rotation is “probably the best for his development.” Assuming Miami sticks to that plan, Garcia will be part of a rotation that currently features just two locks (Dan Straily and Jose Urena).
  • Straily is one of the best players left on a rebuilding Miami team that has jettisoned several household names (Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon) since last season and could still deal catcher J.T. Realmuto. But unlike Realmuto, who’d prefer to play elsewhere, Straily’s fine with the franchise’s direction. Straily said this week that he’s “glad” certain players who didn’t want to continue as Marlins are gone, likely referring to Stanton and Yelich, per Frisaro. Regarding the Marlins’ high-profile trades, Straily added: “I really, I guess, kind of agree with what happened. All the moves they’ve made. I really feel the pieces they’ve brought in, this might flip around a little quicker.”

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