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Repoz
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Phillies, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Sandberg Newsbeat

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Brisbee: Finding baseball’s most hopeless franchise

The included tweet should guarantee the honor just on principle.

Old teams in large markets with thin farm systems

This is where the Phillies are. This is where the Yankees are. Here be the White Sox… None of these teams will ever qualify for most-screwed status, though… their large-market status will always guarantee that there’s someone in a worse spot.

Older teams in small markets

The Reds might really be screwed… A lot of what makes the Reds a sorta-contender now, though, could still be good in the future… In about a week, the Brewers could be here… A lot of their best players are still 30 or under, though, so I’m not sure if they’re close to an “old” team just yet…

Cursed teams

the Padres… have a respected farm system, for what it’s worth, and they have young talent on the roster. Heck, they’re close to .500 right now because they’ve proven adept at developing pitchers, at least the ones who stay healthy.

They make the list, though, because they’re the Padres…

The Rockies

They get their own category because they win. What are the Rockies? Have you ever seen a team like this, a team so committed to its GM through 90-loss seasons, unless that’s not really the GM? An owner who might be something of a meddler and whose brain might be filled with gestational YouTube comments that he filters through his fingers and shares with fans?

Their franchise players are chronically hurt, and they have a long track record of breaking young pitchers, both in body and spirit. Everything about them is a mess right now, from the top down. That’s all before you get to the worst part: They already start with the biggest disadvantage in baseball, the thin air of Coors Field… It’s one of the Hilbert problems of baseball, except it’s been the same mathematicians working on the problem for the last 15 years, and most of the available evidence suggests they’re using a watch calculator with the “7” key missing.

The District Attorney Posted: September 04, 2014 at 04:27 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, mets, padres, phillies, reds, rockies, white sox, yankees

Kevin Frandsen doesn’t need ‘all the sabermetric-whatever-crap’

Frandsen lovers. Reach out of the darkness.

This came when Grant Paulsen asked how the Nats managed to drop three in Philadelphia and then go to Seattle and absolutely hammer Felix Hernandez. Is that just baseball, Paulsen asked?

“I am SO glad you said that, because it is true,” Frandsen said. “It’s baseball. It’s what the best part about it is. All the sabermetric-whatever-crap that you guys, [that] people talk about, you can throw that out the window, because it’s baseball. You get someone hot, you get someone not, whatever, it happens.

“Our team’s awesome,” Frandsen went on. “We grind it out. It says a lot about what we did, going to Philly, losing all three, going to Seattle, having a chance to lose four in a row, facing Felix and to do what we did against one of the best pitchers — if not THE best pitcher in the game. And it’s a testament to our team, just what we have going together, and how we play together. And we play for one goal, and that’s to win that day. Not win tomorrow; win today. And I feel like we’re doing that exceptionally well. So we’ve got to keep it going, and hopefully Nats fans are enjoying it.”

Repoz Posted: September 04, 2014 at 08:57 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, sabermetrics

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Passan: 10 Degrees: Cole Hamels’ trade value might be Phillies’ lone bright spot

I assume a ‘shop of Amaro looking like Derpy Hooves already exists, what with this being the Internet.

BTW, Harrison also leads the NL in Chadwick Ratio.

The latest reminder that the Philadelphia Phillies are an actual major league ballclub, as opposed to a Ruben Amaro Jr. fever dream in which he endeavors to lavish old, older and oldest ballplayers with contracts bad, worse and what were you thinking, came Monday afternoon. Four Phillies pitchers combined to no-hit the Atlanta Braves. It was a cool moment.

Particularly because it reminded the world that not only does Cole Hamels still exist amid the mountain of derp that is these Phillies, he is turning in one of his finest seasons at the perfect time for Philadelphia to cash in… Amaro told Philadelphia reporters Monday that he planned on overhauling his roster this offseason, which is all well and good in a fantasy land where opposing teams agree to pay full freight for the overpaid boondoggles with which he has saddled the Phillies….  if the Phillies want to start over – and they need to start over – they’ve got to trade Cole Hamels.

Anybody who performs so improbably well that he finds himself on an MVP ballot a year after logging fewer than 100 plate appearances deserves every bit of praise imaginable.

[Josh] Harrison’s selection into the All-Star Game this year got waylaid in this space as an overreaction to a small sample of productivity. All Harrison has done since the break is lead baseball with a .599 slugging percentage. Yes, 5-foot-8 Josh Harrison is outslugging Abreu, Big Papi, Giancarlo Stanton and every other leviathan who can punish a ball 500 feet.

In the six weeks since the break, Harrison has hit eight home runs in 167 at-bats. Over his first three seasons in the major leagues, he hit seven in 532 at-bats.

Matt Shoemaker… turns 28 at the end of September, and his major league career before this season consisted of one start at the end of last season.

He had journeyman written all over him, what with back-to-back seasons of palindromic 5.65 and 4.64 ERAs at Triple-A… Since joining the rotation June 17, Shoemaker is 11-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 13 walks. Opponents are hitting .229 against him and getting on base 26.5 percent of the time. His current scoreless-inning streak is at 23, and he should be a lock for AL pitcher of the month in August, during which he went 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA and allowed just two home runs in 41 1/3 innings.

The District Attorney Posted: September 02, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cole hamels, josh harrison, matt shoemaker, phillies, pirates

Monday, September 01, 2014

No-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves

Jesse Spector
@jessespector

Congratulations to the Phillies on filling 58 minutes of their hour-long season highlight video!

The Phillies have no-hit the Braves. It was a combined effort, with Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combining on the effort. Hamels took the first six innings and each of the relievers handled an inning. They combined to strike out 12 Braves hitters… it was the 12th no-hitter in franchise history. And the first ever combined no-no for Philly…

Cole Hamels… wasn’t a study in efficiency. H threw 108 pitches and walked five guys, but no one managed a hit off of him.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Amaro: ‘Status quo’ with Gillick as interim Phillies president

The front office’s hope is that an American League team will take a chance on [Ryan] Howard if he reaches plateaus such as 25 home runs and 100 RBIs”... yup, that does sound like Phillies status quo.

Best of luck to Carpenter.

A little more than 3 hours before last night’s first pitch, Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the players gathered in the visiting team clubhouse at Citi Field. The Phillies’ general manager reiterated the developments of Thursday, that in the wake of David Montgomery’s medical leave of absence, Pat Gillick will be interim team president…

Montgomery, the longtime team president, is recovering from May 19 jaw-cancer surgery… Gillick, the GM of the Phillies’ 2008 World Series team and a Baseball Hall of Famer, has been a senior adviser to Montgomery and Amaro. He has held the position since stepping down from his GM post after the championship season, when Amaro took over.

From a baseball operations standpoint, Amaro said “there’s no change” with Gillick at the helm. Montgomery will return and resume his role upon his full recovery.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Cuban Gonzalez thriving as reliever in Phillies system

No, his nickname is not “Cuban” Gonzalez. (Presumably, it’s something creative like “Gonzo.”)

When the Phillies signed Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez for $12 million last summer, they included performance bonuses for games started and games relieved. Ruben Amaro Jr. proclaimed his Cuban import a starter - the team negotiated a $48 million agreement before a medical examination forced amendments - although the international scouting community was divided on Gonzalez’s future role… Then Gonzalez reported to spring training and doubt permeated all projections.

“It was hard to find a lot that you liked,” said Joe Jordan, the team’s director of player development.

But Gonzalez, who turns 28 next month, has thrived for two months as a minor-league reliever… Gonzalez has a 1.93 ERA in 10 games for triple-A Lehigh Valley with 12 strikeouts and eight walks. He has a 2.36 ERA in 34 innings as a reliever across three levels… Gonzalez featured a fastball at 95-98 m.p.h. in a recent outing and threw it for strikes on both sides of the plate.

“He looked like a totally different guy than in spring training,” an American League scout said…

There will be an internal debate this fall on how to proceed with Gonzalez, his relief success notwithstanding. The situation dictates that Gonzalez be stretched into a starting role because of the organization’s lack of major-league-ready options and many rotation holes. But Gonzalez’s body could not handle such an assignment earlier this season.

A decision could hinge on whether Jonathan Papelbon remains with the Phillies next season. If Papelbon is traded, [Ken] Giles becomes closer with [Jake] Diekman and Gonzalez as the primary setup men and decent relief options like Justin De Fratus and Mario Hollands behind them… In the meantime, Gonzalez will be one of the more interesting Phillies to watch in the season’s final month.

The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel alfredo gonzalez, phillies

Friday, August 22, 2014

FG: Ben Revere and the Emptiest Batting Average Ever

Commenters point out that, if Revere’s current stats hold up, he will join only two other post-1900 players with lower wOBA than BA, and 49 others with a 2.1% or lower walk rate.

To look for players to compare to [Ben] Revere historically, I looked for other player seasons… which had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title with a batting average at least as high as Revere’s but a walk rate and isolated slugging (slugging minus batting average) below his… In fact, since 1900 (it’s not worth going earlier because seasons were much shorter then), the only player with at least 400 plate appearances that had as high of a batting average with as little other hitting value is … Ben Revere. That’s it…

If you disregard his sub-par defense (especially compared to what you would expect from a guy with his speed), Revere really isn’t a terrible offensive player. If you took away all of his steals and instead turned that many singles into doubles, he’d have a slugging percentage around the league average. The problem is, a single followed by a steal isn’t as valuable as a double because it doesn’t advance runners on base, so his value would really be something less than that of a player with league-average slugging. Even if he posts a batting average way above the mean in any given season, he never walks or gets extra-base hits, so he has to sustain that mark against all kinds of luck and defensive factors in order to give the Phillies even passable offensive value. It’s a game that the Phillies seem interested in playing, and it’s defensible because of his obviously high average and stolen base totals, but I’m just not sure if they’re going to win that way.

The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:06 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: ben revere, phillies, sabermetrics

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Phillies have decisions to make heading into ‘15

And John Mayberry Jr. isn’t even mentioned! This team’s problem is too many great options to try out!!

Phils manager Ryne Sandberg said last month he wants to see other players at first base, but Ryan Howard continues to play there almost every day. Sandberg repeatedly said the organization needs to learn more about Darin Ruf, but he has only played him sporadically… The Phillies talk about change, yet there has been little change on the field.

But sources over the past couple of weeks have helped piece together the Phils’ thinking in regards to some of these situations.

Amaro said a few weeks ago he expects Howard to be his Opening Day first baseman in 2015, which might be the case. But if the Phillies have any chance of trading him to an American League team in the offseason, they also know he must play… But what about Ruf, [Grady] Sizemore and Domonic Brown? The Phillies find themselves in a logjam with Howard playing daily at first base. Marlon Byrd could be traded in the offseason, so he will continue to play every day to keep up his value. Ben Revere is hitting well, and the Phils would like to know if the hitter they have seen since late June is the hitter they can expect to see in the future.

That leaves three players for one position.

Despite the fact Sandberg said they don’t know much about Ruf, the organization feels it does. It thinks he could be a platoon player in the future—other teams feel the same—but it also is juggling to see if it can get anything at all from Brown, who is on pace to have the lowest OPS of any qualifying left fielder since 2002, while continuing to evaluate Sizemore.

The Phillies could bring back Sizemore, but that’s far from a sure thing. There could be a situation where the Phils trade Brown and enter next season with Sizemore and Ruf in a platoon in left field. But they stand no chance of bringing back Sizemore if they bench him the rest of the season.

(h/t MLBTR)

The District Attorney Posted: August 21, 2014 at 05:58 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: darin ruf, grady sizemore, phillies, ryan howard

ESPN’s Jayson Stark: Phillies shake-up coming, Ruben Amaro not safe

this is not an onion article. 
how is this not an onion article?

Such a course of action might even pressure the Phillies to give Amaro an extension, he said.

“What would the point be of bringing him back and not extending him? Then he’d have to twist through the same sort of stuff this winter, next season,” Stark said.

 

steagles Posted: August 21, 2014 at 04:38 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brisbee: The 10 most underrated players in baseball, part 2

Part 1 here.

What is an underrated baseball player?... It’s the Supreme Court definition of obscenity: I know it when I see it. There’s a feeling of je ne sais notice that goes along with the player, good, great or otherwise. The only thing I’m pretty sure of is that players who have won the All-Star voting in recent years aren’t eligible. That’s a clear popularity contest, and the popularity eliminates players from consideration. Sorry, Josh Donaldson.

10. Old Man Jimmy Rollins
9. Kyle Lohse
8. Cody Allen
7. Lorenzo Cain
6. Austin Jackson
5. Jordan Zimmermann
4. Russell Martin
3. Corey Kluber
2. Kyle Seager
1. Ben Zobrist


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rusney Castillo rumors: Decision imminent for Cuban outfielder

With concerns about calcium, shouldn’t he think about heading to Milwaukee?

Praise has been far from faint for Rusney Castillo, who is considered to be the latest in a long string of impact players imported from Cuba. The highly regarded 27-year-old outfielder seems to be nearing a decision on where he will play, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald and ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes report that Castillo is expected to “declare his intentions any day now.”...

Castillo should be in line for an impressive payday, though it’s unlikely that he receives as much as Jose Abreu got from the White Sox last offseason. Represented by Roc Nation Sports, Castillo was said to originally be in line for a $25-$35 million deal, but it now looks like he will outdo the $42 million that Yasiel Puig got from the Dodgers a couple years ago. According to Peter Gammons, he is now looking at a deal between $40 and $70 million, while FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pegs him as receiving something around six years and ~$50 million….

There seems to be a long line of suitors for Castillo, though the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, and Cubs seem to be leading the pack. ...

Those five clubs are far from alone in their pursuit of Castillo. The Mariners, Orioles, Giants, Astros, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Braves have also all been mentioned as potential suitors, and could wind up nabbing him when his decision is announced, likely within the next few days.


Friday, August 15, 2014

The Drafts That Exceeded Expectations

The Angels hooked a good one.

he leading 2006 Rays draft managed to produce three productive major leaguers: Evan Longoria (1st Round, 3rd pick, 38.5 career rWAR, 5.81 WAR/Season), Alex Cobb (4th Round, 3rd Pick, 7.1 career rWAR, 1.94 WAR/Season), and Desmond Jennings (10th Round, 3rd Pick, 11.7 rWAR, 3.02 WAR/Season). However, the 2009 Angels drafted Mike Trout, Tyler Skaggs, and Garrett Richards, so they may be on the way to passing the 2006 Rays. In addition, the Angels’s total includes Patrick Corban and Randal Grichuk, whom they traded away. However, since the point of this exercise is identifying the teams who are getting the best value, even if it gets traded away, this is a reasonable inclusion.

On the opposite end, the 1994 Phillies drafted four players who reached the majors, all of whom had negative WAR. The 1997 White Sox failed to sign 2nd Round pick Jeff Weaver (who would go on to have 15.5 career rWAR), had six total 1st Round and Supplement 1st Round Picks, and still wound out on -1.77 WAR/Season….

Accounting for this, we can calculate the WAR/Season above the expectation that a team got in their draft, which can be looked at as a measure of value. Not surprisingly this list has several teams picking near the bottom of the round who find a star (a la Mike Trout), or teams who find a star in the later rounds (Such as Paul Goldschmidt)...

Not surprisingly, the 2009 Angels draft class comes out on top. In fact, in future years this class may look even more impressive if Skaggs, Richards, Grichuk, and Corbin continue to develop.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 15, 2014 at 02:26 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, draft, mike trout, phillies, rays

Friday, August 08, 2014

Mike Schmidt: Today’s hitters don’t want much help

One of the most telling stories was shared by George. He said when he was hitting instructor last year, there were two indoor cages, and he would be in one flipping balls and the assistant coach in the other. The young Royals hitters were lined up to hit in the cage with the assistant, and none to hit in George’s cage.

I find that hard to believe, but at the same time know why. George, one of the greatest hitters ever, was there to coach, to offer his expertise, to suggest mechanics that might make a young hitter better.

The other coach was there to coach as well, but not with a sense of urgency — rather, more by telling the hitters what they wanted to hear. George eventually quit because he felt he was wasting everyone’s time in a failing effort to connect with them.

There could have been other issues going on behind the scenes. Maybe his cage-side manner was uncomfortable, maybe he was too quick to criticize, perhaps his stature made them uncomfortable. But I got much the same report from all the HOF guys, which confirmed my personal experiences over the last 10 years that young hitters resist coaching, especially from the great ones.

They listen out of respect, but don’t hear.

Maybe they were terrified he’d tell them about the Bellagio?


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Dodgers Acquire Roberto Hernandez

The second white flag trade Hernandez has been involved in! (Wait, what?)

The Phillies announce that they have traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash considerations…

The Phillies signed Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5MM deal last winter, and he posted a 3.87 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 121 innings for them, with a strong 52.0% ground ball rate. Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has played parts of nine seasons, also spending time with the Indians and Rays.

Hernandez’s role with the Dodgers is unclear. They have a strong rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Lenny Dykstra: Out of Prison, and Still Headstrong

A BTF favorite is back… and he’s ready to take your money.

“I became addicted to money,” he conceded. “Money was my drug, and a few other ones, too. But whatever. This is a pretty entertaining interview, isn’t it?”

Guapo Posted: August 03, 2014 at 09:53 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: crime, finances, grit, idiocy, lenny dykstra, mets, phillies, prison

Saturday, August 02, 2014

TSL: The Rise and Fall of Phillies First Baseman Ryan Howard

Don’t know what’s worse…throwing the PED’s or HOF out there.

But who could have predicted that Howard’s decline would be so abrupt and precipitous? He’s obviously in the last stages of a dwindling career. A combination of injuries and age deterioration has caused Howard’s abrupt demise. The shock of it hit Philly fans like a brick and it has taken them some time to grasp the fact that Howard wasn’t dogging it. He didn’t just suck for no reason. He wasn’t trying to play bad to hurt the city or force a trade. His mythical run has come to an end. In the same manner that Don Mattingly’s back stole the last years of a potentially great career and how Sandy Koufax’s arm troubles limited him to shooting star status as an all-time pitcher.

Or did Howard juice? His career does fit the “profile” of a PED-user.

From ages 25 to 31, he was one of the best sluggers in the game; since then, he’s been plagued by injuries and just hasn’t been getting it done.

Since the start of 2012, Howard has been worth -0.7 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which is equivalent to a below-replacement-level player, and he doesn’t project to improve very much from here on out. Add in the reality that he turns 35 in November and it’s safe to say Howard’s full-time playing days are over.

...Maybe hanging on and reaching that 400-homer plateau will be enough to get Howard into the HOF one day, but that’s not likely, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Hall of Fame Monitor, on which 100 is a “Likely HOFer.” Howard is at 98, just short. On their Hall of Fame Standards, which is more weighted toward career stats, and on which 50 is the “Average HOFer,” he’s at 25, well short.

Repoz Posted: August 02, 2014 at 08:04 AM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Friday, August 01, 2014

Amaro says Phils didn’t overvalue players at Deadline | phillies.com: News

The players the Phillies have aren’t very appealing.

“Not disappointed,” Amaro said. “More surprised that there wasn’t more aggressive action from the other end. We have some pretty good baseball players here.”

But there seemed to be a clear difference of opinion there. The Phillies look at a roster with Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Antonio Bastardo and others and see players who can help contending teams. That might be true, but other teams looked at those players with age, injury or performance concerns often with high price tags attached.

“Well, I would disagree with that,” Amaro said, asked if the Phillies overvalued their own players. “In no scenario were we asking for players that were their top prospects. We were not looking for exorbitant paybacks, so to speak, we were looking for players that would help us, but I think we were very reasonable in the discussions that we had.

“I think one of the most over-coveted elements of baseball are prospects. I don’t know how many prospects that have been dealt over the last several years have really come to bite people in the [rear end].”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 01, 2014 at 08:04 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, trade deadline

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cliff Lee Re-Injures Elbow

Press on, Lee.

Cliff Lee walked off the mound during his start against the Nationals today, indicating that he was dealing with elbow discomfort. The veteran has experienced the same injury that just cost him two months — a flexor pronator strain — according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki…

Lee is owed $25MM next year and his deal includes a $27.5MM club option for 2016 (with a substantial $12.5MM buyout).

The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2014 at 08:40 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: cliff lee, injuries, phillies

Ruben Amaro Jr., on standing pat at deadline

Ruben and the Jets had more movement on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.

There was less than a half hour remaining unit Thursday’s trade deadline and Ruben Amaro Jr. remained attached to his phone. He continued to talk through scenarios with teams.

But 20 minutes later, he sat on the bench in the visiting dugout at Nationals Park and explained why, for the second straight year, he stood pat.

“Our goal all along was to try to improve the club,” Amaro said, “and there really wasn’t a deal to be made that would help us do that.”

...But wasn’t he at least mildly disappointed he could not get to the finish line in a move that could improve a team in desperate need for improvement?

“Not disappointed, more surprised that there wasn’t more aggressive action from the other end,” Amaro said. “We have some pretty good baseball players here. … This is just a deadline, as I’ve talked about before. Our goal is to try to continue to work through that to see if there’s opportunities now and through the end of the year and on through April.”

...Q: Jonathan Papelbon said he was encouraged after a recent talk with you, saying you guys aren’t rebuilding here. So that’s the plan, reloading?

Amaro: Rebuilding, reloading. I guess there are a lot of semantics involved. But our job is to try to get back to where we’re playing in important games again in September, and we’re getting to a point where we’re contenders again. We’re not playing like contenders now, we’re hopeful we’ll be playing at that level as the seasons wears on here, but up until now, we haven’t played like contenders. My job is to try to get us to that point. Whether it takes a year, three months, or two years, thats my job and i’ll continue to strive to get there.

Q: In your mind can contending happen next year?

Amaro: A lot of it depends on some of the things we can do, how healthy we can stay and… i don’t see a scenario right now where our roster is going to be the same roster in April that it is right now. It will change. It will need to change because we need to get better. But is it possible? Yes. Whether or not we can get there, we’ll see. Our job is to try to put us in a position where we’re contenders again, if we have to take a step back to move forward and get there, we’ll see how it goes.

Repoz Posted: July 31, 2014 at 06:02 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Posnanski: Hey, Rube: Phillies pay dearly for Amaro’s misguided loyalty

Ruben’s Pholly.

The Howard contract was the one that should have snapped Amaro out of whatever loyalty spell he was under. The second he offered that catastrophe of a deal, baseball writers all over the country wrote in all capital letters: “ARE THE PHILLIES OUT OF THEIR MINDS?” There was no other question.

This was way back in 2010, and it was utterly inexplicable — a $125 million deal that would not even begin for two years for a declining slugger? I believe it is the most inexplicable bad contract ever handed out. Sure, you could argue for other terrible that were more expensive and harmful — this Pujols deal could end up setting the standard — and there have been many smaller deals that are hard to explain, like the Twins giving Ricky Nolasco a four-year, $50 million deal.

But combine the situation (Howard still had TWO YEARS left on his deal), the age (he turned 32 before the contract even began) and an honest assessment of the player (a power hitter who couldn’t run, was a liability at first base, couldn’t hit lefties and was unlikely to age well) and I think you are talking about the most inexcusably bad contract in baseball history.

Then again … it was a loyalty contract. Howard was such an integral part of the Phillies rise, such an unexpected joy when, in his first full year, he hit 58 homers and led the league with 383 total bases. The Phillies wanted to keep him as a Philadelphia sports hero. Noble cause. It blinded them to the obvious: Howard’s best days were behind him….

Amaro wanted to hold on. It’s a natural instinct. And it’s a destructive one. It never fails to amaze how obtuse Major League general managers can be about things seemingly as obvious as aging.  Now, the Phillies are terrible, they are old, they have not developed a useful young player for themselves in about a decade, and Baseball America has ranked their minor league system 22nd, 23rd and 27th the last three years.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CSN: Enough is enough — time to move on from Ryan Howard

The budget Ryan plan…

At what point does this experiment end? Howard is hitting .224 with a .305 on-base percentage. He has one home run in his last 121 plate appearances. He has three doubles in his last 55 games dating back to May 22.

The Phillies are throwing away games and costing themselves wins by batting Howard fourth nearly every night. It hurts to write that about a player as gregarious, as friendly, as easy to root for as Howard, but it’s the truth. There is no longer a logical defense for him.

Howard’s backers cite his RBI total, that he’s driven in 60 runs. Well, so have 17 other major-leaguers. And Howard has had more plate appearances this season with men on base than any player in baseball.

In 224 of Howard’s plate appearances, one or more runners have been on base. He’s driven in just 14.8 percent of them. More than 175 players have a better rate of plating their baserunners.

Howard is owed $25 million next season. He’s owed $25 million the season after that. In 2017, he’s on the books for $23 million but can be bought out for $10 million. So he will be paid at least $60 million over the next three seasons, making him completely untradeable unless the Phillies pick up just about every dollar.

...Playing him everyday, batting him fourth everyday, will not turn this situation around. Howard has hit .236 with 40 home runs in his last 1,026 plate appearances. His OPS over that span is two percent below the league average. That’s a pretty indicative sample size.

At this point, Darin Ruf deserves the opportunity. Bat Marlon Byrd cleanup until/unless he’s traded. Maybe bring up Maikel Franco and give him a two-month look against major-league pitching. See what they can do with all of the RBI opportunities that have gone to waste.

Because the easy route, the loyal route, the status quo that values feelings over results ... that isn’t working.

Repoz Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:08 PM | 114 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, sabermetrics

Bucs Dugout: Manel: Pirates getting creative with defensive shifts

Both Rollins and Barmes were surprised to hear that BABIP on grounders was up, but they also said that ground ball data wasn’t the whole story when it comes to the utility of shifting.

Rollins shook his head, “Hmm, yeah, you’d expect the [ground ball] numbers to be down.” After taking a moment to consider how to explain what was going on, he asked, “What about line drives?” I didn’t have an answer because I hadn’t thought about what suddenly appeared obvious. “I’ve seen so many line drives right past the first baseman and that third or second baseman is sitting there in that hole, and you’re saying, ‘It’s not fair.’

“From what I see, looking at line drives may be the place to look [for the effectiveness of the shift]. I mean, we see it with Ryan [Howard], [Domonic] Brown a little bit, and balls that come off that bat, he’s like, ‘Yes!’ and the guy’s sitting there,” Rollins continued, jokingly adding, “And that should be illegal, it’s stacking the field.”

bobm Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:15 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: clint barmes, clint hurdle, jimmy rollins, phillies, pirates, shift

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Poll: Does Citizens Bank Park really need metal detectors at the gates?

“Phillies fans arriving at the game against the San Francisco Giants Monday night were greeted by new security measures in the form of walk-through metal detectors at the right-field gates of Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.

The metal detectors, installed earlier in the month, were rolled out for use for the first time on June 21 as part of a pilot program at the stadium….”

NattyBoh Posted: July 22, 2014 at 06:45 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb_rules, phillies, stadiums

Sunday, June 15, 2014

BLS: Jimmy Rollins’ and Mike Schmidt’s career batting averages leave Ruben Amaro confused

The Amaro Variation: Monster-Error-of-the-Week.

In said appearance, Amaro did not seem to fully grasp the basic differences between a plate appearance and at-bat and how they effect stats such as batting average and on base percentage. The confusion stemmed from Philadelphia’s broadcast team noting that Jimmy Rollins was approaching Michael Schmidt’s team record for career hits — which he ultimately surpassed in a very cool moment on Saturday — to which Amaro replied.

  “Yeah, we were checking it out. In fact Schmitty was in the booth yesterday when we were talking about it, and, um, I think it’s about a thousand difference in, ah, plate appearances. Pretty amazing. But their batting averages aren’t that different, which is kind of… weird. I don’t quite understand it.”

At a time when Phillies fans are looking for reasons to have faith in Amaro, that might just crush all hope.

At the time of the conversation, Rollins was sitting on 2,233 hits in 8,323 at-bats, which is good for a .268 career. Schmidt finished his Hall of Fame career with 2,234 hits in 8,352 at bats, which is a .267 batting average. It’s undoubtedly amazing that the averages are so close, but there’s nothing confusing about either average. In fact, the math is actually quite simple.

Where it becomes complicated for Amaro, apparently, is when he starts lumping in both players career walks, sacrifices and hit-by-pitch totals, which count toward their plate appearances and career on base percentage, but have no influence on batting average. Schmidt, one of the greatest and most respected power hitters in MLB history, walked 784 times more in his career than Rollins has to this point. That explains again, without any confusion, why Schmidt has a significantly higher on base percentage.

Repoz Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:10 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Friday, June 13, 2014

Does Ruben Amaro Know That Walks Are Valuable?

Count the ring you nerds.

Amaro is talking about Jimmy Rollins’ pursuit of the club hit record and is comparing Rollins to Mike Schmidt.  As transcribed by Scott, here’s what Amaro said:

“Yeah, we were checking it out. In fact Schmitty was in the booth yesterday when we were talking about it, and, um, I think it’s about a thousand difference in, ah, plate appearances. Pretty amazing. But their batting averages aren’t that different, which is kind of… weird. I don’t quite understand it.”

You can go to the Crossing Broad site and listen to the clip yourself if you don’t believe it.  If you don’t want to go there, trust me, this is a faithful transcription.

This is truly astounding.  Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies General Manager, in 2014, doens’t “quite understand” how Mike Schmidt and Jimmy Rollins can have the same career batting average but have about a 1000 plate appearance differential.

And don’t misunderstand - this isn’t a case of someone being prompted to talk about something without preparation.  As the quote shows, Amaro has been thinking about this for at least a day.  He was not caught off-guard here.  And he’s not saying “I don’t quite understand” as an expression of amazement.  He truly sounds bewildered on the recording.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, ruben amaro, walks

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