Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


Aaron Harang Is Regressing, but His Trade Value Isn’t

Well, yeah. That tends to happen when one ends May with a 2.02 ERA but holds a 4.18 career ERA. Through his first 11 starts, Harang had a 53/15 K/BB ratio, which is nice, but didn’t begin to explain his level of success. He allowed four home runs over 71 1/3 innings and benefited from a
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The Spirit of Ryne Sandberg Lives On

If there was one hope that came with Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation, it was that the Phillies would finally stop unnecessarily taxing the arms of their best, young relievers. It’s been a constant topic of consternation here, but because it’s an easily-preventable mistake that left unnoticed could chip into the progress the organization has made in
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Phillies Announce Hiring of Andy MacPhail, Hope Abounds

Earlier this afternoon, the Phillies invited the media to another press conference. This time, everyone was well-informed and the subject was one of positivity rather than one of loss and disappointment. With part-owner John Middleton to his right and current team president Pat Gillick to his left, Andy MacPhail faced the Philadelphia media as he
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Baumann: Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly

Crashburn alum Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) has been on the college baseball circuit lately along with his usual duties at ESPN’s Grantland, where he covers major league baseball at large. It is our privilege that he got to cover the Phillies for his latest column, a must-read titled “Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly.” Use the
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Ben Revere Quietly on His Way to a Career Year

Pretend you didn’t read the title. Who, among hitters to have come to the plate at least 170 times entering Sunday’s action, leads the Phillies in weighted on-base average? Who is the only Phillie to reach double-digits in stolen bases (and is doing so with an 82 percent success rate)? Who leads Phillies position players in Wins
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Ben Revere’s Quote about Ryne Sandberg Is Damning

Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation as manager of the Phillies yesterday took everyone by surprise, including his players. In fact, new interim manager Pete Mackanin suggested not even Sandberg’s wife knew he was considering stepping down. Needless to say, the Phillies were still processing the news when they had to speak to the media about the situation
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Things Get Worse for Domonic Brown

Things haven’t been going well for Domonic Brown since he was brought up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 14. In 11 games, he’s batting .179/.304/.256 in 46 plate appearances. He did drive in a run with a double in the seventh inning last night to break up Max Scherzer‘s shutout and end the Nationals’
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Ryne Sandberg Has Resigned as Phillies’ Manager

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg announced, sitting beside team president Pat Gillick and GM Ruben Amaro in the press room at Citizens Bank Park, announced that he is resigning as the Phillies’ manager. The Phillies hastily called a press conference at 3:30 PM EST with about a half hour of lead time. Pete Mackanin will serve as the
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Jon Lester Would Like to See Jonathan Papelbon Join the Cubs

CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports that Cubs starter Jon Lester has kept in touch with former teammate Jonathan Papelbon and certainly wouldn’t be opposed to having the closer join his team. Lester and Papelbon were teammates on the Boston Red Sox from 2006-11, winning one championship together. “I know he would be excited to come here,
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No, the Phillies Aren’t Gaming Chase Utley’s Vesting Option

Second baseman Chase Utley hit the disabled list on Wednesday due to inflammation in his right ankle. The 36-year-old was slow to start during spring training due to an ankle issue as well, so the injury doesn’t come out of left field. Riding the pine is a big deal for Utley, as he has $15 million
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Phillies to Announce Hiring of Andy MacPhail Soon

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported yesterday, confirming a report originally from Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, that the Phillies are expected to announce the hiring of baseball executive Andy MacPhail “soon”, “within a week or so”. Current team president Pat Gillick is expected to move back to a role as a consultant for the
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Rangers and Phillies Having An “Ongoing Dialogue” About Cole Hamels

Sources: #Rangers and #Phillies having ongoing dialogue about Cole Hamels, and he is willing to waive no-trade to Texas. @FOXSports — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 23, 2015


Maikel Franco’s White Hot Philadelphian Summer

Phillies third base prospect Maikel Franco has always had qualifiers attached to any praise he had garnered over the past few years. Yeah, he can hit homers, but he has trouble with off-speed stuff. He has a strong arm at third base, but he doesn’t have the instincts of a great defensive third baseman. Not
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Nick Cafardo’s Hilarious Cole Hamels Trade Proposal

It’s been a hot minute since we heard anything new pertaining to trade rumors involving starter Cole Hamels and the Boston Red Sox. No new players have been added to the Red Sox list of “untouchables” — it still includes Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Manuel Margot. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe still
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Dear Ryne Sandberg: Please Stop Abusing Justin De Fratus

It’s been written here several times already this season, but it bears repeating often: manager Ryne Sandberg needs to stop abusing reliever Justin De Fratus. The Phillies, understandably, are short on starting pitching and need their bullpen to pitch in a bit more. They had called up Phillippe Aumont from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start
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The Importance of the Phillies Achieving MLB’s Worst Record

Now on a nine-game losing streak following Wednesday’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Phillies are 22-45, maintaining their two-game “lead” over the Milwaukee Brewers for the worst record in baseball. FanGraphs projects the Phillies to continue being the worst team between now and the end of the season, going 39-56 the rest of the
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Ryne Sandberg the Goat of Tuesday’s 19-3 Drubbing

The Phillies were embarrassingly pummeled by the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, falling behind 6-0 before three outs were recorded in the first inning and ultimately losing 19-3. Phillies pitchers combined to allow eight home runs, a franchise record for the O’s. The Detroit Tigers were the last team to allow eight homers in a
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Checking In on Those Awful, Awful Phillies

The Phillies dropped their seventh game in a row last night in Baltimore against the Orioles, losing 4-0. They’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games and 17 of their last 20. Game over: Phillies lose 4-0. 3rd shutout in 4 games. Haven't scored in 21 innings. Haven't homered in 69 innings on road trip.
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Mariners Have Interest in Ben Revere, Misinformation Abounds

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported yesterday that the Seattle Mariners have shown interest in potentially trading for outfielder Ben Revere. That report was confirmed by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, who added that GM Ruben Amaro reportedly asked for either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton (currently injured), two highly-regarded young pitchers. Given that
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Ryne Sandberg Continues to Misuse Cole Hamels and Justin De Fratus

I meant to write about this on Monday, but there was whole MLB Draft thing going on. The Phillies lost their series opener in Cincinnati against the Reds 6-4. Cole Hamels started and pitched poorly for the first time since May 2. Meanwhile, the offense squandered plenty of opportunities against an unsharp Mike Leake. The
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Phillies Select Shortstop Cornelius Randolph 10th Overall in the 2015 MLB Draft

With the 10th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the Phillies selected 18-year-old Cornelius Randolph, a shortstop out of Griffin High School in Georgia.


Phillies Sign Kevin Correia, J.C. Gutierrez

On Monday afternoon, the Phillies signed pitcher Kevin Correia to a major league deal. Not long after that news broke, they also signed pitcher J.C. Gutierrez to a minor league deal. Not exactly headline-grabbing news on the day of the MLB draft, in which the Phillies will pick 10th in the first round.


Maikel Franco Has Been Timely with His Hits

Maikel Franco has only logged 21 games thus far this season, but he’s made the most of it even with an ugly 2-for-27 stretch in the final week of May. He homered in three of four games to open the month of June, contributing to two comeback wins against the Cincinnati Reds. Those two contributions,
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The Phillies, Somehow, Have Been Fun to Watch

When one enters a baseball season with a #2-5 rotation that includes Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Sean O’Sullivan, and — eventually — Chad Billingsley, one can expect a lot of poor ballgames. Add in that the outfield included veteran retreads in Jeff Francoeur and Grady Sizemore, and… woof. It was going to be a rough
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Curb Your Enthusiasm on Chase Utley

Over at The Good Phight, John Stolnis looked at second baseman Chase Utley‘s recent surge, which was propelled his batting average over the Mendoza line, something that was merely an acid-induced hallucination when he was hitting .099 as recently as May 8. As High Heat Stats noted on Twitter, Utley is hitting .342/.415/.493 over his last
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Declining Pitching Market Is Benefiting the Phillies

Leading into the season, the pros and cons of the Phillies holding onto Cole Hamels were hotly debated. On the one hand, he was (and still is) the only player who can bring the Phillies the type of return to send the rebuilding mode into overdrive. On the other hand, holding onto Hamels and letting
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Ruben Amaro: Fans Don’t Understand the Game

If there’s one thing GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has not been in his tenure with the Phillies, it’s a good communicator. It didn’t take long after taking over for Pat Gillick that he was branded with the nickname “Smuggy” for the condescending way he would deal with reporters while hunching into his phone. Amaro’s gone
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What Is Domonic Brown Still Doing in Triple-A?

Outfielder Domonic Brown was supposed to be the Phillies’ starting right fielder, replacing Marlon Byrd who had been traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the off-season. Brown, however, suffered from Achilles tendinitis in mid-March and it forced him to start the regular season on the disabled list. When he was finally ready to come off
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Aaron Harang Pitching Much Better Than Expected

Making his 10th start of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Washington Nationals, Aaron Harang again delivered a quality start, holding the opposition to two runs in six innings of work in a losing effort. In nine of his starts this season, the right-hander has yielded three runs or fewer while pitching at least
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Some Fuel for the Long-Lost Rivalry with the Nationals

The Phillies aren’t happy with the division-rival Washington Nationals and it has nothing to do with in-game behavior. Rather, they’re upset because A) they feel they start on-field batting practice later at Nationals Park than at other stadiums when visiting; and, B) the Nationals have been playing “soft” music while the Phillies take batting practice.
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Ryan Howard’s Power Is Back

Ryan Howard helped the Phillies beat the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night — their seventh win in their last eight games — with a 3-for-5 performance, including a double and a solo home run. It was crushed: Your browser does not support iframes.


Draftkings Free $300,000 One-Day Fantasy Baseball Contest

DraftKings is offering Crashburn Alley readers access to a free fantasy baseball contest with $300,000 in prizes! All you have to do is pick the 10 MLB players you think will score the most fantasy points during the MLB games on Wednesday, May 20th. Draft 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS,
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The Awful Phillies Are On A Six-Game Winning Streak

Something, something, broken clock right twice a day, or something. The Phillies, who entered Monday’s series opener at Coors Field with an expected record of 13-26 based on their -54 run differential, won 4-3 over the Rockies to bring their winning streak to six games. If we take their “expected” winning percentage of .333 at face
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Chad Billingsley, David Buchanan Suffer Injuries

On Sunday, the Phillies placed starter Chad Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right shoulder. Meanwhile, at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, David Buchanan was carted off the field while fielding a ground ball.


Another Phillies Roundtable with the Crashburn Crew

We’re about a month and a half into the regular season, so it’s time for another roundtable with the contributors of Crashburn Alley. The participants in this round: Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) Paul Boye (@Paul_Boye) Brad Engler (@bxe1234) Corinne Landrey (@Ut26) Ryan Sommers (@Phylan) Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill)


Jonathan Papelbon Becomes Phillies’ All-Time Saves Leader

The save stat is completely and utterly meaningless and its implementation has been a blight upon baseball, but it was still cool to see Jonathan Papelbon earn his 113th save as a member of the Phillies on Wednesday to wrap up a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It ended in memorable fashion as well,
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Aaron Harang Drawing Some Trade Interest

Despite all the trade buzz around Cole Hamels, Aaron Harang has shockingly been the Phillies’ most reliable starting pitcher thus far in the 2015 season. The 37-year-old right-hander has a 2.38 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings. He has gone at least six innings in all seven starts and has allowed
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The 2015 Phillies, Collectively, Are 2014 Allen Craig

Allen Craig has been in the news recently as the outfielder was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket by the Boston Red Sox. The club ran out of patience with the 30-year-old as he had posted a paltry .430 OPS in 59 plate appearances, continuing his dreadful performance after coming over along with Joe Kelly in last year’s
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Chad Billingsley Hit A Home Run

Your browser does not support iframes. Starter Chad Billingsley gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run to left field off of Mets starter Bartolo Colon. It’s his third career home run and his first since June 5, 2011. He’s the fourth Phillie to homer during
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Mike Schmidt’s Casual Sexism

Phillies reliever Luis Garcia got into a pickle in the top of the eighth inning. He loaded the bases on a walk to Kevin Plawecki, a Dilson Herrera single to center field, and another walk to Ruben Tejada. Garcia was having trouble throwing strikes as usual, but his poor control may have also had something
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The Phillies’ Bullpen, Despite A 2.81 ERA, Hasn’t Been Good

The Phillies lost 9-0 to the Atlanta Braves last night and none of the blame could be placed on the bullpen. Braves starter Shelby Miller quieted the offense, throwing a three-hit shutout on 99 pitches. Chad Billingsley gave up six runs over five innings in his first major league start since April 2013. Dustin McGowan
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What’s Wrong with Cole Hamels?

Probably nothing. You can close the article now feeling rather confident that Cole Hamels will turn it around sooner rather than later. One need only remember that Hamels carried a 4.30 ERA through his first six starts last season, but finished at 2.46. Six starts is about one-sixth of a season, leaving plenty of time
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Chase Utley and His Tragically Low BABIP

If you’ve seen the acronym BABIP used this season, there’s a high chance it was in a conversation about second baseman Chase Utley. The six-time All-Star is batting .108 with an .087 batting average on balls in play, which is easily the worst mark in baseball. I’m sad to report that, in many instances, optimists
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Red Sox add Manuel Margot to List of Untouchables

Much has been written over the last six months or so about a potential Cole Hamels trade with the Boston Red Sox. As details emerged in the media, it became clear the Sox weren’t willing to part with prospects Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart.


Phillies On Pace for Historically Bad Season

After Saturday afternoon’s 7-0 loss to the Miami Marlins, the Phillies’ run differential fell to -54.  They have played 25 games, so they are getting outscored by two runs on average every game. Their run differential is by far the worst in baseball, even worse than the Milwaukee Brewers (-43).


Ryne Sandberg Did It Again

I meant to write about this on Friday, but I was in a car accident on Thursday and was busy for pretty much all day yesterday, so apologies for the belatedness. I wrote about manager Ryne Sandberg‘s strange bullpen usage and as if to prove my point, it continued hours after I posted that on
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Ryne Sandberg’s Strange Bullpen Usage

Coming into the 2015 season, reliever Justin De Fratus had thrown more than 30 pitches in an appearance six times in 130 games spanning 114 innings. This season, he has already done so three times in nine appearances spanning 10 2/3 innings. Indeed, manager Ryne Sandberg has been unusually taxing on his bullpen in the
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Enter the Draftkings $5,000 Wednesday MLB Freeroll

Draftkings is holding a freeroll for MLB action on Wednesday evening, featuring a $5,000 prize pool and a first-place prize of $500. The top 2,000 finishers will earn money. It’s a salary cap style draft. You’ll have $50,000 with which to select eight position players (one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one third
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Donate to Help Camden Yards Employees

With the protests in Baltimore, Maryland causing scheduling changes for the Orioles, employees at Camden Yards will be missing out on several days’ pay. Considering many of them find it difficult to scrape by as is, this week will likely prove quite stressful. In an effort to help alleviate some difficulties, I’ve set up a
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The Phillies Are Keeping Domonic Brown at Triple-A for Some Reason

Domonic Brown was bothered by Achilles tendinitis in his left foot during spring training, and it continued to bother him such that he spent nearly the entire first month of the season on the disabled list. Brown hit a disappointing .241/.371/.276 in 29 Grapefruit League at-bats prior to the injury. Brown began a rehab assignment with Single-A
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