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Phillies hire Jim Gott for bullpen coach as staff slowly forms

Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER

Updated: Friday, November 17, 2017, 5:29 PM

New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has yet to fill his entire coaching staff.

The Phillies still need a bench coach and a pitching coach for Gabe Kapler’s first season as manager, but they have a bullpen coach: Jim Gott, who pitched for 14 years in the majors and worked for the last five seasons in the Angels’ minor-league system.

Gott, 58, will replace John McLaren as bullpen coach. Gott pitched in 554 big-league games for four different teams but has never served as a coach in the majors. With Los Angeles, he was a minor-league pitching coordinator from 2013-17. He was a rookie-league pitching coach for three seasons prior to that.

The Phillies have hired four coaches — Gott, Rick Kranitz, John Mallee, and Dusty Wathan. Kranitz could be the pitching coach, although the Phillies have continued to interview potential candidates for that job. For now, he has no title.

Roster talk

The Phillies must render some 40-man roster decisions by Monday, the deadline to protect an eligible player ahead of the Rule 5 draft. Last fall, the Phillies added 11 players in a huge overhaul. This year?

“Not nearly what we needed last year,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said.

The current 40-man roster is at 38. The Phillies will need to clear “a name or two” before Monday, Klentak said. There are three apparent locks for protection. All three are pitchers: righthanders Franklyn Kilome and Seranthony Dominguez, and lefthander Ranger Suarez.

The candidates on the protection bubble are, in no particular order: outfielder Carlos Tocci, righthander Jose Taveras, and two lefties, Austin Davis and Brandon Leibrandt.

International intrigue

The Phillies have a little under $1 million to spend in the current international signing period. One situation that bears watching: Major League Baseball is expected to issue its punishment before Thanksgiving for the Atlanta Braves’ international scandal, and the Braves risk the loss of several prospects who could be declared free agents.

A similar situation unfolded two summers ago when numerous Boston prospects had their contracts voided. The Phillies pounced on one, Simon Muzziotti, and signed him for $750,000 — $300,000 of which was paid by the Red Sox.

They could do that again, if there is a prospect that tempts them. Kevin Maitan, a shortstop from Venezuela rated as one of the top prospects in his class, is one of the players who could be granted free agency.

Extra bases

Maikel Franco qualified as a Super Two player, which means he will have four years of salary arbitration beginning this season. The Phillies have five arbitration-eligible players: Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, Luis Garcia, Cameron Rupp, and Franco. All five are expected to be offered a contract unless traded first. … The Phillies are interviewing candidates for their triple-A managerial job, vacated when Dusty Wathan joined the major-league staff. … Roman Quinn was released by his Dominican Republic winter-ball team after just two hits in 16 at-bats. Not ideal for a player who was looking to recover at-bats after missing much of the 2017 season.

Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER

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