The Phillies have levied some complaints about the division rival Nationals, but they don’t have to do with anything done during a game. Rather, they feel that they are afforded less time for on-field batting practice at Nationals Park compared to other road parks, and they’re unhappy with the music selection as well, which has included Linda Rondstadt, Patrick Swayze, and Starland Vocal Band.
Some Roberta Flack might be in order the next time the Phillies visit.
In addition to keeping quiet about a long list of trade possibilities involving veterans, Amaro also remains adamant about not rushing prospects who could replace those veterans.
“I think we’re going to be conservative,” he said (via CSNPhilly.com).
Moreover, he doesn’t care that that won’t sit well with fans who are enduring a 19-28 start after last season’s 73-89 disappointment.
“They don’t understand the game,” Amaro said. “They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they ##### and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan.”
Hamels’ average fastball velocity in May is 93.59 mph, a monthly figure he did not reach last season until August. His strikeout rate, over a full season, would rank among the best of his career.
His walk rate is dropping, and after allowing seven homers in his first three starts, his home run rate also is returning to normal. Hamels has allowed only one homer in his last seven outings, none in his last four.
According to sources, the Blue Jays inquired about Cole Hamels but were told Hamels would not waive his 20-team no-trade clause to go to Toronto, as is his right (Hamels, meantime, has handled things professionally; he hasn’t complained and generally pitched well for the non-contending Phillies). That Hamels call was a blow to the Phillies, who likely saw Toronto, with all its young pitching talent (Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, etc.) as a potential landing spot, especially considering their frustration in landing the marquee prospect they desire and these two teams’ solid trading history.
Meet Chase Utley, the unluckiest man in baseball. The Phillies second baseman is cursed with a .115 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), meaning that about a tenth of the balls he puts on the field get him safely to base. An average BABIP mark is about .300, and while there is some variation between players, it’s usually on the order of a few dozen points, not 200.
Some have argued that Utley ought to be benched. Given his age (36) and the wear and tear second basemen face, Utley could be in a steep decline. Statcast’s batted ball statistics say otherwise. Utley’s batted ball velocity is a little below average, not elite — but below average would be an incredible improvement from Utley’s .389 OPS. (Since I started writing this article, his BABIP has already increased by 12 points and his OPS by 14.)
I constantly make this point in the fantasy leagues I play in. Of course, what’s considered “fair” is often the sticking point.
“We’re not trying to make the perfect deal. In any deal we make, to put it bluntly, both sides have to be winners,” team president Pat Gillick told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “People think you make a deal to take advantage of someone else. No, that isn’t the case because you want to go back and have repeat business with that person. When you’re making a deal, you want to make a fair deal. He’s not looking to make a deal that’s going to bring the house down.”
Analytics are great. And with the revolutionary data points being logged by MLB’s new Statcast system, the gap between the teams poised to make the best use of that information and the teams still struggling to catch up could widen significantly. But even the most proficient organizations can’t fast-forward through the rebuilding process. Unless they hire Theo Epstein.
Q: Is Sandberg demoralized by the way things have been going?
A: “No. He’s very patient. I think he’s been great. Not at all.”
Q: How about you?
A: “I don’t like losing. I don’t like losing. I don’t care how you lose or what you have on the field, I don’t like losing. I’m not going to change. That’s the way I am. I was that way when I played, when I coached, managed. I was that way when I worked at MLB. I do not like not doing the best I can and when we lose I think it’s a reflection because all we can do as coaches … Now I don’t see every team but I will say this: There is not a team that does more extra work. There might be some that do as much; there’s no team that does more extra work than we do. Whether it’s bunting off the machine, taking infield, working on outfielders hitting the cutoff man, whether it’s extra BP, nobody does it more than we do. But when the umpire says, ‘Play ball,’ accountability has to set in. It’s out of our hands. That’s all I’m saying.
“To play in the big leagues, you have to be accountable for everything you do whether you’re a coach, a manager or a player. You have to be accountable. That’s all I’m saying. It’s a man’s game.”
Can’t have him take time away from Sizemore or Francoeur.
He was surprised once again Monday. Not with the fact they wanted him to play left field, but that they wanted him to learn in the Minor Leagues, where he has not played since 2013.
“I’m surprised, but I understand,” Asche said.
McCarthy: What were you going to say, Mike? That the throw was a bar of soap that Garcia threw to home plate?
Schmidt: Well, he did kind of throw it a little… I don’t know… are you allowed to say, a little bit…
Schmidt: …girlish, so to speak?
This is sexist for a very obvious reason, one which was apparent to all three members of the broadcast booth once the words left Schmidt’s mouth. In fact, Stairs seemed to know what Schmidt was going to say when he interjected “no” before Schmidt said “a little girlish”. You could cut the awkwardness in the booth with a knife.
Calling a weak throw “girlish” implies that femininity is weak. I need not list examples of strong women because women are allowed to be weak as well as strong. Weakness is not specific to any gender. This works in the opposite direction as well: when an athlete does something that exhibits strength, we’ll laud it as manly, as if strength is something only people who identify as men can display.
The comment coming from Schmidt isn’t surprising, as baseball — as with all professional sports — has deeply entrenched misogyny.
During their meeting, Edith Houghton thrust into Carpenter’s hands a scrapbook of her life in baseball, taking into account the Bobbies, the A. A.‘s, and the doomed trip overseas led by a delusional former catcher. Carpenter saw the work experience as enough to help guide his team into the future and brought her on board as one of his scouts, the first ever woman to fill the role (Bessie Largent of the White Sox had been doing so but worked as a partner of her husband’s - Edith worked alone). The papers responded to this news with their trademark aplomb.
PHILLIES HIRE GIRL AS SCOUT
The Philadelphia Phillies, who through the recent years often played like a bunch of Girl Scouts, came up with something drastic today in their efforts to get out of the cellar—they hired a girl scout. The lady ivory hunter is Edith Houghton. A 33 year-old discharged ‘Wave and she thinks she is ready to bring the Phillies a “wave of talent.”
—The Sandusky Register-Star News
A… g-g-g… girl?!
Jaws dropped, cities burned, oceans swayed with blood. But Edith stepped into the role anyway, saying she was after “big and fast” players who could hit (“You can’t steal first base,” she explained), putting natural talent ahead of sharpened skills. Skills, she believed, could be learned. For Carpenter’s part, he never publicly regretted or shamed her despite mouthy critics.
“There’s no reason why a woman shouldn’t be just as good a judge of a ballplayer as a man,” he told the press, and it was true. Plenty of male baseball scouts have led full careers of talent evaluation without a single player making a dent in a major league roster.
Billingsley went 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA in 219 games (190 starts) for the Dodgers before he went down with the elbow injuries. He’s still young enough to get his career back on track and pitch for many years — if he stays healthy.
Billingsley is healthy now and all that’s on his mind is giving the Phillies a chance to win Tuesday night. He will oppose Atlanta right-hander Shelby Miller.
“I’m not thinking about the past, just the future and being a big-league pitcher again,” he said.
The “ceremony” lasted just a minute and when it was over all the Phillies’ players laughed and applauded. Even Severino Gonzalez, the 22-year-old pitcher who will become a made man when he steps on a big-league mound for the first time Tuesday night.
Gonzalez will face the St. Louis Cardinals in his big-league debut and televisions all over Panama will be tuned to the event as it marks the first time two natives of the country will make up a major-league battery.
Jesmuel Valentin, an infield prospect in the Phillies’ minor-league system, has been placed on Major League Baseball’s restricted list following a domestic violence incident in the Clearwater area last weekend, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Saturday.
“He was arrested,” Amaro said. “Major League Baseball stepped in and suspended him indefinitely. We support the action and policies of the Commissioner’s office. As an organization we’re getting the young man some help, but we take this very seriously as does the Commissioner’s office.”
Valentin, 20, is a second baseman from Puerto Rico. The Phillies acquired him in August from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Roberto Hernandez. Valentin is the son of former major-league infielder Jose Valentin. He was a first-round pick of the Dodgers (No. 51 overall) in 2012 and was slated to open the season with the Single A Clearwater Threshers.
OK, can the Phillies stop asking the Red Sox about center fielder Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart now?
So, is it over? Will the Phillies simply turn their attention to teams other than the Red Sox when trying to move Hamels? Or might the Phils come to their senses and target the next layer of prospects in the Sox’s bountiful farm system?
I would imagine that the Sox’s view of the Phillies’ stance can be summed up in two words: “Their problem.”
Aramark and the Phillies announced Tuesday that this season they’ll be selling booze at Citizens Bank Park’s general concessions areas for the first time. Beer they already sold, but liquor and wine were only available in the fancier parts of the ballpark, like the premium seats. Not any more.
Hey, guys, you need help with that cocktail list? It seems like the Phillies roster offers plenty of inspiration, such as:
• The Ryan Howard Slammer — it’s a big ol’ drink that costs $25, but don’t worry, it won’t even get you drunk, because it’s basically useless.
• The Papelbonbon — Jagermeister, tequila, absinthe and Fireball mixed with Red Bull and Mountain Dew, served with an Irish Car Bomb chaser. It’ll probably make you grab your crotch. It may make you say dumb things. It might actually kill you.
• Amaro Island Iced Tea — nobody likes this drink, but somehow it’s still on the menu.
• Hamels Sunrise — basically, you order this, babysit it and wait for someone to scoop you up and take you to Boston.
• Cliff Lee’s Last Call — inspired by Cliff Lee’s possible last season because of a lingering elbow injury, this is a collection of whatever the bartender has left. If you’re lucky, it might taste good, but probably not.
• Utley 2600 — the finest drink on the menu, if nothing else is worth a damn (and it probably isn’t), there’s always this.
Worst Offseason Move: Signing Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal. I’m still trying to figure out what the Mets were thinking here: Cuddyer hit .332 with 30 combined homers in 2013 and 2014, but (1) he did it at Coors Field, and Citi Field sure as hell isn’t Coors Field, (2) injuries limited him to just 49 games last season, and (3) he hasn’t played in more than 130 games since his last season with the Twins in 2011. Oh, and (4) Cuddyer is 36 years old, (5) he’s one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game, and (6) the Mets gave up what would have been the no. 15 pick in the draft to sign him.
Honestly, the conspiracy theory suggesting the Mets were throwing Colorado a free compensation pick as part of a wink-wink agreement before an eventual Tulo trade still seems more plausible than New York thinking signing Cuddyer was a good idea.
Let’s start with this: If Ryne Sandberg manages with the strategic brilliance of Tony La Russa, assesses talent like Bobby Cox and grows as beloved in the clubhouse as Joe Torre, well, this year’s Phillies might win 72 games. This is a bad team Sandberg directs, and even channeling Casey Stengel won’t put them in the playoffs. But Sandberg is none of those Hall of Fame managers, and carries none of their attributes. So a poor team stands to be more wretched.
With 16 innings under his belt in the 2015 Grapefruit League, Buchanan is sporting a 1.69 ERA with a 0.75 WHIP and 11 strikeouts. But perhaps his most impressive statistical feat is this: the next walk he surrenders will be his first of the season. We preach loudly and often here at Crashburn about the irrelevance of spring training stat lines for perfectly valid reasons ranging from inconsistent quality of competition to extraordinarily small sample sizes to the emphasis on season preparation over in game results. If you’d like to write off Buchanan’s spring success as a fluke until the regular season starts, that’s your prerogative, but I do think there’s reason for tempered optimism here that extends beyond a handful of statistically impressive spring outings.