The Phillies Are Going to be Very Bad

On Twitter yesterday, Beyond the Box Score posted the top-five best and worst teams at each position as they are currently projected by the Steamer projections, which can be found at FanGraphs. In what should come as a shock to no one, the Phillies portend to be quite bad at several positions and it’ll be even worse if they end up moving a few players as expected.

Continue reading…

Cole Hamels and the Potential Departure of a Franchise Arm

Lefty Cole Hamels is drawing trade interest as expected, particularly from the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. In his latest column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal notes that the Phillies are doing background work on some of the top prospects in the Red Sox system, including Mookie Betts, Matt Barnes, and Christian Vazquez. The Cubs have a surfeit of prospects as well, obviously making them an attractive trade partner.

The Phillies are not on a clock to trade Hamels. They can bring him into the season and try to shop him at the trade deadline if they feel they can get better value then. But there’s at least a very real possibility that 2014 will have been our last time watching Hamels pitch in Phillies red pinstripes. In that case, it isn’t too early to put his Phillies career in historical context.

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Cards Anthology

Since the beginning of October, we’ve been posting a report card for nearly every player to don Phillies red pinstripes in 2014. At long last, the list has been exhausted (as are we). If you missed any of them, use the convenient list below. Each author’s name is a link to his or her Twitter account, so make sure you’re following all of us!

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Ryan Howard

One of my fondest early memories of Ryan Howard as a major league player was a simple, one-sentence post on a sports forum I frequent:

Ryan Howard is amazing.

This was written by a Yankees fan. It was 2006, a season after the Phillies had finished one game out of the Wild Card race and fired Ed Wade, and fans of other teams were starting to notice positive things about the Phillies, which was a nice thing in the grouchy thicket one waded into to yell about sports on the internet in the mid-00s. More specifically, it was June 20th, and the Phillies were at home against Yankees. Ryan Howard had repeatedly given the Phillies the lead (he had 2 home runs already), and Phillies pitching had repeatedly handed it back to the Yankees. What prompted the above quote was Ryan Howard snatching the lead back for a third time in the 7th, with a line drive triple to right that scored Pat Burrell and Chase Utley, his 6th and 7th runs driven in on the day.

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Luis Garcia

There are 25 Luis Garcias on Wikipedia. I’m surprised there aren’t more. I wouldn’t mind talking about this one, who won the Champions League with Liverpool, a little more than the Phillies’ Luis Garcia, their minor-league pitcher of the year.

It’s not even remotely Garcia’s fault, but it’s impossible to discuss  him now without that context. You can talk about the small sample of Garcia’s major league career, how stupid good he was as Lehigh Valley’s closer last year, how plus-plus Longenhagen says his fastball is, and the extenuating circumstances surrounding the Phillies’ other top pitchers: Aaron Nola only turned pro in midseason, while Ken Giles got called up to the majors. Yoel Mecias was recovering from Tommy John surgery, and neither he nor Nefi Ogando pitched even close to as well as Garcia, despite facing lower-minors competition. Adam Morgan and Ethan Martin both hurt their shoulders, and Morgan’s re-learning how to throw hard, while Martin’s re-learning how to throw strikes. And I know I’ve said this before, but in case you were still unsure of how black the cloud surrounding the Phillies is right now, Jesse Biddle essentially lost a season to a chain of events that starting with him being hit on the head with a hailstone.

I’m so entirely aware of this–and you should be, too–and Garcia didn’t do anything except pitch very well in AAA in order to deserve this. And yet I can’t get over the fact that the Phillies’ reigning minor league pitcher of the year is a former barber who’s older than I am, who’s got a ceiling as a middle reliever even in a best-case scenario, and who’s walked more major league hitters than he’s struck out.

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Cole Hamels

From way out west there was this fella I wanna tell ya about. Goes by the name of Cole Hamels. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. See, this Hamels, he called himself “Hollywood”, (does anyone still call him that?). Now, “Hollywood” – there’s a name no man would self-apply where I come from, (no politician here in DC ever wants to be labeled as “Hollywood”). But then there was a lot about Hollywood that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, (his baffling change-up, for the most part). And a lot about where he played, likewise, (their reluctance to come into the modern age of player analytics, among many, many, many other things). But then again, maybe that’s why I found the place so darned frustratin’. 

See, they call Philadelphia the “City Of Brotherly Love”; but I didn’t find it to be that, exactly, (what with all the fans booin’ and battery chuckin’ and security guards tasin’ folks and closers crotch grabbin’). Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Ruben Amaro, Jr.

If Opening Day isn’t my favorite day of the year, it’s second only to Thanksgiving because let’s be real, it’s darn near impossible to top all the turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie you can eat. But Opening Day is full of magic. Every team is in first place. Every player’s stat lines are wiped clean. There are new faces in new uniforms. And hope abounds; after all, it must be some team’s year, so why not us?

While teams and individual players get a magical restart button annually, the same isn’t true for returning general managers. There is no way to neatly splice up the career of a GM and gain a comprehensive look at how the GM is performing because each move he makes has a direct impact on moves in both the near and distant future. As an example, the Marlon Byrd signing by Ruben Amaro, Jr. last November occurred as a direct result of Amaro opting for Delmon Young on a one year deal in 2013 instead of a multi-year deal for someone like Nick Swisher. A GM can make a great move that is a direct result of a bad move he previously made and vice versa. This report card will only deal directly with the transactions (and non-transactions) Amaro made from the day after the end of the 2013 season through the final day of the 2014 season, so it goes without saying that this will not give a complete picture of Ruben Amaro’s GM’ing.

Continue reading…