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Monday, November 24, 2014

Former Major League Baseball player, Greenfield native Don Grate dies at 91

Mr. Grate was born Aug. 27, 1923 in Greenfield and was a star athlete at McClain High School and The Ohio State University.

He played Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945-46, making his MLB debut on July 6, 1945. He had a 1-1 Major League record.

R.I.P.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Phillies shouldn’t settle for a rational Cole Hamels trade - SBNation.com

The Phillies need to be looking for fair value, not an overwhelming win. Of course, determining fair value can be difficult. Ultimately it depends on the quality of a team’s talent evaluation skills, the player development people, and luck. If your scouts and metrics evaluate prospects well and your coaches help the players play to their potentials, a team can make fair deals. If the players don’t end up getting hurt once they get on your team (the luck part), everybody will talk about what a genius the GM is. Unfortunately, bad teams are genuinely poor at player evaluation and player development. This often leads to decision maker paralysis and the team just continues to sink toward the bottom. That’s the cycle the Phillies are in.

Because unless Rodriguez becomes Cole Hamels or something close to it, the real Hamels will be a lot more fun to watch over the next couple years, even if the Phillies are dreadful. That’s why the Phillies are holding out for a huge deal. That’s why they should hold out. That, and the pesky supply-and-demand that will drive the trade market once Jon Lester and Max Scherzer sign. There might be a second-place finisher for those two pitchers who will offer a lot more than just a single prospect ...

And if not? The Phillies get to keep an excellent pitcher. The fans get to watch him. That’s not a bad safety net. While whatever the Phillies decide will go horribly wrong and set the franchise back six seasons, at least we know that there’s a rational reason for the Phillies to wait around for an irrational team.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The family legal fight over Ryan Howard’s finances

It’s sad that stuff like this goes on.

In addition to his struggles on the field, Howard was engaged in a nasty legal fight with his family over control of his finances, a fight that included his twin brother and lifetime confidant suing him for more than $2.7 million - and Howard countersuing with allegations of fraud and mismanagement of the fortune that he had amassed.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 19, 2014 at 11:43 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, ryan howard

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Phillies Sign Francoeur, Seven Others To Minor-League Deals

I’d totally love to run all these signings out as a 1962-style expansion team.

The Phillies have announced the signings of eight players to minor league deals with spring training invites…

Infielder Andres Blanco
Outfielder Brian Bogusevic
Infielder/outfielder Russ Canzler
Infielder/outfielder Chase d’Arnaud
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur
Catcher John Hester
Outfielder Darin Mastroianni
Outfielder Xavier Paul…

Francoeur, of course, is a former top prospect and long-time starter who spent time both playing in the outfield and pitching last year in the Padres organization.


Deadspin: Curt Schilling Debates Evolution On Twitter

And here we thought he was just a terrible businessman.

Seriously, a seven-year-old with a rudimentary public school education is more informed about science than Curt Schilling. Below is a selection of the absolute dumbest tweets, but if you have a half hour and want to laugh/weep/hate read—or maybe all three at once—go check out his timeline, where he’s still going strong as of this posting.

eddieot Posted: November 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM | 173 comment(s)
  Beats: curt schilling, diamondbacks, dumbass, phillies, red sox

Cole Hamels wants out, but trade could be costly

I’m not sure that snacks will be enough.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: cole hamels, phillies

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mariners aim to emulate Royals; will KC land Big Piece?

Bob Nightengale’s latest.

They are intent on dumping first baseman Ryan Howard and the remaining $60 million on his contract, but after finding no takers during the season, they have surprising interest from a small-market club with one baseball’s lowest payrolls.

The Royals.

The Royals aren’t about to rip up their payroll, and David Glass suddenly isn’t about to go all Steinbrenner on us, but if the Phillies are willing to eat most of the contract, the Royals have had internal discussions about acquiring him.

They believe he just might be the perfect fit to replace Billy Butler as their everyday DH, and considering they didn’t have a single player hit 20 homers or drive in 75 runs last year, he may be the power threat the Royals need to return to the World Series.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 11, 2014 at 07:45 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mariners, phillies, red sox, royals, yankees

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Cole Hamels fuels Phillies’ hot stove | Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

So what will it take to get Hamels?

Industry sources say the Phils are looking for at least three top prospects, two that can play right now and another that isn’t far away. The Cubs and Red Sox are two known suitors and both have the farm systems to get a deal done — if they are willing to meet the Phillies’ rightfully high asking price. Amaro and interim club president Pat Gillick must play the Cubs and Red Sox (and maybe even the Dodgers) against each other as they try to maximize their return on Hamels. If they don’t get what they want, they should hang on to Hamels and float his name again in July when a pitching-thirsty contender might be more desperate to ante up.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2014 at 08:58 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cole hamels, phillies

Monday, November 03, 2014

Crawford, Nola head Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10 Phillies prospects

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2014 at 11:49 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, prospect reports

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Phils’ philospophy beginning to evolve | phillies.com

It’s about time.

“My job is to try to make the improvements,” Amaro said. “If we’ve decided we’re going to improve long term rather than short term then that’s what we’ll do. That’s what we’re championed to do. And that’s what we feel is necessary to get us back on track. Our job is to try to be a perennial contender. We made the assessment that with the group we have right now there are changes that have to be made to get there. And so that’s our job at hand. As Pat said, we are keeping all of our options open and we’re not going to limit ourselves with the options that might be out there.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2014 at 08:59 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Friday, October 24, 2014

Curt Schilling not hiding his scars - ESPN Boston

None of us are invincible.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2014 at 01:38 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: curt schilling, diamondbacks, phillies, red sox, sad

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jerome Williams re-signs with Phils

I don’t mean what I’m about to write to be a swipe at Williams or the Phils.  Here we have a pitcher with 422 IP and an 82 ERA+ from 2012-14.  Sure, the FIP is a bit better, probably close to 90.  The main thing he has going for him is MLB experience (but not any recent success), a willingness to take the mound whenever the manager wants and, after a lot of ups and downs, some durability. 

That’s worth $2.5 M it seems.  Not an obvious overpay as b-r lists his salaries the last two years as $2 M and $2.1 M.

Walt Davis Posted: October 21, 2014 at 09:19 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jerome williams, phillies, the value of a healthy pitcher

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen’s Hall of Fame induction

Welcome back,
Your dreams were to knock Bill James out.

“Bill James,” Frog said. “That’s how it all started, I think. I’d like to punch him in the face.”

The author, historian, and sabermetrician, James wrote in 1984 that Allen “did more to keep his teams from winning than anyone else who ever played major league baseball.” As far as Frog’s concerned, that single sentence, from so influential a voice, has done more to damage Allen’s chances of induction than anything else. Yet time has hardly softened James’ stance.

“What seems to me to be unarguably true is that Dick Allen was a fantastically powerful disruptive force on the teams that he played for,” James wrote in a recent e-mail interview. “For people who are too young to remember, I think you could describe it as Terrell Owens times three. . . .

“So some ignorant . . . wants to punch me in the face about something I wrote 30 years ago, that’s life in the big city.”

Allen, of course, might change that perception merely by opening up more, but he won’t do it. Frog has talked to him about it. He has gotten nowhere.

It doesn’t bother Frog. It shouldn’t bother anyone, because whether Dick Allen gets into the Hall of Fame or even cares whether he gets into the Hall of Fame, the e-mails and the phone calls and the hours Frog has spent in front of that basement computer come down to something bigger, something everlasting, something more important than an athlete’s likeness immortalized on a bronze museum plaque.

Repoz Posted: October 18, 2014 at 09:32 PM | 186 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, phillies

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Phillies continue to enjoy front row seat to the progress of everybody else

While in Philadelphia…

Jim Furtado Posted: October 15, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mets outfielder Bobby Abreu, former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, retires

I wonder what Kevin Stocker is doing now?

Bobby Abreu’s illustrious 18 year career is coming to an end. The Mets outfielder announced today that he will retire.

Over the course of his career, Abreu was one of the best hitters in baseball. He’s hit .291 in his career with a .395 on-base percentage. This season, only Victor Martinez, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Bautista have posted an OBP higher than that.

Abreu signed with the Mets in April and has had two stints with them this season—his last stop in a career that began in Houston, then seven years in Philadelphia, then the Yankees, then the Dodgers and Angels.

Abreu was an All-Star in 2004 and 2005, and won a Gold Glove in 2005 as well.

He told reporters he would eventually like to become a hitting coach.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2014 at 04:54 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, bobby abreu, dodgers, mets, phillies, rays, yankees

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Philly Sports: Chico Ruiz’s dash for home began the 1964 Phillies’ unraveling

50 years ago today, the Phillies began their 10 game losing streak to go from 6.5 up with 12 games left to 2.5 down with 2 games left (Cards had 3 left).  For my 13 year old self, it was a big of a heart break as my 7th grade girl friend breaking up with me.  I got over the Phillies’ swoon during the 2008 parade; I felt the weight of 1964 just lift away from my body.  Some of my contemporaries still suffer the torment.

This story is actually about Chico Ruiz and his sad and early demise.

Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: September 21, 2014 at 10:11 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: chico ruiz, doom, losing streak, phillies

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

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