Thursday, Dec. 8 marked the close to winter meetings, with the Phillies opting out of the Rule 5 draft.

The Phillies’ roster was at the 40-man limit, prior to the draft, which prohibited the team from making a pick.

Even though the Phillies weren’t able to make a pick, they did lose one player in the draft, as reliever, Hoby Milner was selected by the Cleveland Indians.

The 25 year old left-hander recently switched to a side-arm delivery, in addition to earning himself a 2.49 ERA in 49 games at Double A and Triple A in 2016.

Milner was not protected on the 40-man roster last month, thus making him eligible for the draft. After the Indians selected him for $50,000, it was also noted that he must stay in the big leagues all season or be offered back to the Phillies for $25,000.

Furthermore, another player which the Phillies feared losing was Andrew Pullin.

Luckily, they were able to hang on to the lefty-hitting outfielder. Pullin, 23, hit .322 with an .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016.

Unfortunately, a late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League, which ultimately led to the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

In the minor-league phase of the draft, the Phillies selected one player, infielder, Jorge Flores. Prior to being selected, Flores had been in the Toronto system.

Another player lost in the draft was 25-year-old pitcher, Jairo Munoz. The Phillies lost him to Tampa Bay in the minor-league phase. Munoz pitched in the low minors in 2016.

Now, with the winter meetings behind them, Phillies officials will head back to Citizens Bank Park to complete the construction of the 2017 roster.

So far this winter, the Phillies have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and added outfielder Howie Kendrick and relievers Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and David Rollins.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Phillies signed outfielder, and 2016 All-Star, Odubel Herrera to a 5-year extension, making Philadelphia his home through 2021.

Remaining on the Phillies’ to-do list is adding a backup infielder, and deciding whether to pursue a veteran hitter to play a corner outfield spot or give an opportunity to a young duo, such as Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr.

Phillies general manager, Matt Klentak spoke often during the week regarding the balance that he is trying to strike between improving the 2017 club, while keeping intact long-range goals.

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside – that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

In the end, only time will tell which direction the Phillies will choose to go in.

Photo: Jim Epler (via: Flickr)

Brandon Muzyka

Philadelphia Phillies writer from South Jersey. Rowan University Class of 2019.

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