By Sam Bush
The Phillies have avoided arbitration with five players, including second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco.
But they are headed to arb with their top player:
All-Star right-hander Aaron Nola rejected their offer of $4.5 million, and Nola is seeking $6.75 million.
He finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting last year after going 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. The 25-year-old earned $573,000 in 2018.
Hernandez gets $7.75 million under yesterday’s deal, up from $5.1 million. Franco gets $5.2 million, an increase from $2.95 million.
Hernandez had career highs in homers (15) and RBIs (60) last year but his average dropped from .294 in 2016 and 2017 to a career-low .253.
Franco had a team-high .270 average with 22 homers and 68 RBIs last year.
Right-hander Vince Velasquez, outfielder Aaron Altherr, and left-handers Adam Morgan and Jose Alvarez also agreed to deals. Former closer Hector Neris and righty Jerad Eickhoff agreed to deals Thursday.
Velasquez gets $2,249,000. He was 9-12 with a 4.85 ERA in 30 starts last year. He had 161 strikeouts in 146 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old earned $559,000 in 2018.
Altherr gets $1.35 million. He batted .181 with eight homers and 38 RBIs last year after hitting 272 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 2017. Altherr, who turns 28 Monday, made $565,000 in 2018.
Morgan gets $1.1 million. He led the team with 67 appearances, going 0-2 with a 3.83 ERA and one save. The 28-year-old made $559,000 in 2018.
Alvarez gets $1.925 million. He was 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 76 relief appearances for the Angels last year. The 29-year-old made $1.05 million in 2018 and was acquired in a trade last month.