Crash Bag, Vol. 76: Moose Tracks

Starting to get the distinct impression that the Phillies are gaslighting me.

@asigal22: “why on earth would RAJ purposely resign Michael Martinez? I’ll take a contract too if he wants to sign bad players”

I want to rip off 3,500 words about how dumb a move it is to re-sign Mini-Mart. But you know what? I can’t anymore. I’m not as young as I once was, and I just don’t have the energy to do it anymore. I used to get angry about the Phillies routinely, like truly, passionately angry, but I’m like an old dog with arthritis and kidney disease and I don’t want to do anything anymore except lie down on the rug and give you the sad eyes and drool all over the place while I wait to die.

It doesn’t matter, but the ship is sinking and signing any roster filler this early in the offseason, let alone someone like Mini-Mart, is just…why? It’s moments like this when it becomes clear that one of the universe’s few mercies is that life is short.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Roger Bernadina

Roger Bernadina was one of 15 different players to see time in the outfield for the Phillies this season. He’s one amongst a crowd of underachievers and injury replacements, yet he somehow managed to be the most divisively graded player to date in this series.

Signed two days after his release from the Nationals in August, Bernadina was looked to to be a center field stop gap as it became more clear that Ben Revere would not be returning from his injury. Bernadina’s descent was steep; his 2012 was a rather excellent reserve season (.291/.372/.405 in 261 PA) but his 2013 started slowly and never recovered. He lost playing time to the younger and only slightly more effective Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore – likely mainly because of age, but with due consideration to Bernadina’s arbitration eligibility – and after collecting just two hits in only 20 PA from the start of July to mid-August, he was set free.

So the Phillies, having tired of trying to pretend that one of John Mayberry or Michael Martinez was capable of playing the position, picked up Bernadina, ostensibly as a tryout for 2014. The tryout wasn’t a great one.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Erik Kratz

The Phillies have had trouble finding and bringing up catchers since signing Carlos Ruiz as a free agent out of Panama back in 1998. Catchers to have appeared on their top prospect lists only to fizzle out — either with the Phillies or elsewhere — include Jason Jaramillo, Lou Marson, Sebastian Valle, and Tommy Joseph (at least for now). They also traded away the one catching prospect that looks promising, Travis D’Arnaud, to the Blue Jays. Even when it came to back-up catchers, the Phillies have often struck out. For instance, in three years with the Phillies back-up catcher Brian Schneider posted a .622 OPS, good for an adjusted OPS of 68, 32 points below average.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Jimmy Rollins

After the 2011 season, the Phillies signed shortstop Jimmy Rollins to a three-year $33 million contract with a fourth-year vesting option. It was a move met with enthusiasm. Though Rollins was old and had battled some lower-half injuries in previous years, he still ranked among the best shortstops in the game. The first year of his new deal was good: he posted a .322 weighted-on base average, continued to play sterling defense, and stole 30 bases in 35 attempts — a typical Jimmy Rollins year. Baseball Reference rated him at 2.4 Wins Above Replacement while FanGraphs was much more generous at 4.8 thanks to different methods of evaluting his defense. Either way, though, he was at worst slightly above-average.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Phillippe Aumont

We talk about reliever volatility on this site quite a bit and there has been no more painful microcosm of that proverb than Phillippe Aumont. Last year at this time Aumont had just finished an intriguing September in which he showed stuff we haven’t seen in Philly since Billy Wagner graced the organization with his presence. Emanating from Aumont’s fingertips were two 70-grade pitches; a mid-90s fastball that would touch 97mph with heavy sink and a ferocious two-plane curveball in the low 80s that flat out embarrassed several Major League hitters late last season. Remember this?

This year, everything went to hell. Continue reading…

2013 Phillies Report Card: Jonathan Papelbon

It’s admittedly a bit tough to see Jonathan Papelbon‘s name on the roster. The man is a fine relief pitcher, and has turned in two good seasons for the Phillies.

But the elephant in the room that won’t leave until it expires is the massive burden of a contract Papelbon was signed to prior to the 2012 season.

  • 2012: $11,000,058
  • 2013: $13,000,000
  • 2014: $13,000,000
  • 2015: $13,000,000
  • 2016: $13,000,000 vesting option, guaranteed at 55 GF in ’15 or 100 GF in ’14-’15

That doesn’t even mention the draft pick forfeiture and every other bit of the old story you’re tired of hearing by now. The contract isn’t his fault – save for the $58 appendage in 2012 that looks more obnoxious by the day – but it’s an important thing to keep in mind as his season is judged: if you’re going to be paid like a top-three reliever, you’d better perform like one.

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2013 Phillies Report Card: Kyle Kendrick

That Kyle Kendrick is only the sixth-longest-tenured Phillies player is more a testament to Cole Hamels‘ ability and the Phillies’ propensity for throwing good money after bad. That Kendrick played for the Phillies from 2007-2011 and managed to throw nearly 600 regular-season innings and make exactly one postseason appearance is reinforcement for what he is: the fifth starter, someone who can take the ball reliably and not get absolutely lit up, but for whom “not getting absolutely lit up” is the ceiling. And that’s fine–I’ve long said that playoff berths have been lost for want of someone like Kendrick, but as the time and resources the Phillies have spent on him (as opposed to seeking out or developing a better option) have piled up, so too has our frustration.

In 2011 and 2012, we glimpsed, perhaps, a new Kendrick, a better Kendrick, a Kendrick perhaps capable of striking out more than a batter every other inning. For the first time, we went into a season viewing Kyle Kendrick as an asset rather than an inconvenience. That didn’t last long.

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