Remembering July 2006

July 2006 was really the last time the Phillies were legitimately considered a “bad” team, and even then, they were only six games under .500. Your current squad just happens to be six games under .500 after last night’s win. Like the ’06 team, the ’13 Phillies have a 34-year-old injury-prone catcher on the verge of free agency and a veteran third baseman whose best years are long behind him. Most importantly and most similarly, the ’06 team had a tough decision to make leading up to the trade deadline with a franchise superstar. Right fielder Bobby Abreu was well on his way to free agency and the Phillies were preparing to transition. They traded Abreu, along with Cory Lidle, to the Yankees for a handful of prospects and salary relief.

After the trade, then-GM Pat Gillick warned fans to temper their expectations for the foreseeable future, as the franchise healed the wounds suffered from poor free agent signings and trades dating back to the late 1990’s.

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Jonathan Papelbon Is Right

Closer Jonathan Papelbon caused a stir last night after telling the media that the Phillies need changes “from top to bottom” and that he doesn’t want to be in Philadelphia if he is “going to have to put up with this year after year”. The comments haven’t really gone over well with many Phillies fans and those who cover the team. It does seem like his reputation precedes him, which has prevented some from objectively critiquing his comments.

Here are the choice quotes in full, via Todd Zolecki:

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The Inning from Hell (.gifs)

The Phillies played their two worst games of the season to close out the weekend in Detroit. On Saturday, they were dominated by Max Scherzer and the Tiger offense, falling 10-0. Yesterday, the Phillies went out to an early 3-0 lead, but Jonathan Pettibone gave up three in the fifth before manager Charlie Manuel called upon his bullpen. The bottom of the sixth may have been not only the worst inning the Phillies have played this year, it may have been their worst of this millennium. They surrendered eight runs to the Tigers on two walks, three errors, and it was capped off by a Jhonny Peralta grand slam. Can you think of a worse inning?

If you missed it, or simply want to torture yourself by reliving the bottom of the sixth yesterday, I’ve captured the magic in .gif form. Those of you with slow computers may want to avoid clicking through.

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Quick Thoughts on the Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez Signing

As recently as Tuesday, I wrote that the Phillies “aren’t very active in attracting international talent”. GM Ruben Amaro turned that statement on its head last night when the Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez signing was announced. Gonzalez, 26, is a Cuban defector and will earn a guaranteed $48 million over six years with a seventh-year option for $11 million.

Eric Longenhagen will have some player-specific information for you soon, but I wanted to briefly address the signing with some general analysis.

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Crash Bag, Vol. 64: Truth and Reconciliation

Okay, let’s get this over with.

@BerenstainGer: “I don’t care about steroids in baseball. Am I normal?”

I care, I guess, just not very much. I think if you’re of a certain age, you don’t really remember a clean game. I was in fifth grade when they found Andro in Mark McGwire‘s locker–the baseball of jacked-up freaks is the only world I’ve ever really known. And if you’re in the same boat, I have to imagine that you’d view PEDs the way we view speeding, as an activity lots of people do, but the prohibitions against which are only sporadically enforced. That’s not the best analogy, but particularly after the hand-wringing and garment-rending and demands, simultaneously, for truthfulness and vengeance, I can absolutely understand why a fan would want to just move on and get back to baseball. I know I do. Continue reading…