Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


How Commissioner Rob Manfred Can Make Baseball More Appealing

Rob Manfred has been commissioner of Major League Baseball for all of a day and he already has the Internet up in arms over one of his suggestions. The heir to Bud Selig’s throne wants to eliminate the widespread use of the defensive shift.


Phillies, Brewers in “Serious” Talks Involving Jonathan Papelbon

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers have had “serious discussions” about a trade involving closer Jonathan Papelbon. Specifics of the discussions, such as which players areinvolved, isn’t known. At the very least, it’s nice to hear there may be at least one potential taker when there were none
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Ryne Sandberg Thinks Ben Revere Can Hit 10 Home Runs

In describing the areas in which his center fielder can improve, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he thinks Ben Revere has the potential to hit 10 home runs. Yes, in a season. Via Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer:


Another Defense of Ruben Amaro, Jr.

One of my pet causes over the last two years or so has been to push back against the wave of overwhelmingly negative invective hurled at GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. for the Phillies’ failures since the end of the 2011 NLDS. Amaro has certainly made some mistakes, but fans and pundits have been quick to
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Nationals’ Rotation Could Rival That of 2011 Phillies

Over at HardballTalk, I argued that the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation — now with Max Scherzer in the mix — could challenge the 2011 Phillies as the best modern starting rotation. The 2011 Phillies’ (2.86) and 1992 Braves’ (2.95) rotations are the only ones to post a sub-3.00 ERA since 1990.


Phillies, Domonic Brown Avoid Arbitration with $2.5 Million Contract

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly with the report: Source says Domonic Brown will make 2.5 mill in 2015. — Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) January 16, 2015


Phillies Settle with Ben Revere, Claim Jordan Danks Off Waivers

Along with the announcement of Domonic Brown‘s 2015 salary, here are two more pieces of news from CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury: It’s official: Ben Revere will make $4.1 million in 2015. Domonic Brown will make $2.5 million. Both avoid arbitration. — Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) January 16, 2015 Phillies make a move, claim OF Jordan Danks
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A Phillies Roundtable with the Crashburn Crew

It’s the doldrums of the off-season. Pitchers and catchers don’t report for another month and the rest of the Philadelphia sports scene leaves a lot to be desired. In an effort to get the blood flowing again, we decided to peel ourselves off of our beds and couches, warm under blankets, to talk Phillies over
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There Isn’t A Market for Ryan Howard Right Now

In a column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal argues that the Phillies really shouldn’t be having much difficulty moving first baseman Ryan Howard. He quotes an American League executive, who discredit’s Howard’s ability to hit for power by citing his slugging percentage. Rosenthal counters by comparing Howard’s SLG to a selection of other players. It
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Phillies’ Deal with Wandy Rodriguez Falls Through

Update (1/13/15, 4:10 PM EST: Rodriguez failed his physical with the Phillies and has signed with the Braves, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Update (12/27/14, 5:50 PM EST): A source for CSN Philly confirms that the Phillies and Rodriguez have agreed to a minor league deal. Per Phillies Spanish play-by-play broadcaster Angel Ibo Castillo,
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Tom McCarthy Discusses the Cole Hamels Trade Market

In this video for, Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy discusses via phone the potential trade market for Cole Hamels. He provides, in my estimation, excellent analysis. McCarthy doesn’t think the Phillies will trade Hamels just to trade him and turn the page, rightly so. McCarthy also, correctly, claims that James Shields is a step below
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Taking A Look at the Early Projections

The pre-season projections at FanGraphs are always full of goodies. I was perusing them late last night and happened upon these gems:


Phillies Sign Aaron Harang

Update (1/5/15): Salisbury reports the Phillies have signed Harang to a one-year, $5 million deal. (Posted 12/31/14): After confirming the Marlon Byrd trade to the Cincinnati Reds, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury added that the Phillies were “poking around” free agent starter Aaron Harang. The Phillies’ interest in adding another starter, even after recently signing Wandy Rodriguez,
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Happy New Year from Crashburn Alley

On behalf of everyone here at Crashburn Alley, I would like to wish you all a happy new year and thank you for making this site a regular part of your daily web-surfing routine. It has been very rewarding to talk Phillies with you (or, for those of you who read and don’t comment, talk at
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Phillies Trade Marlon Byrd to the Reds

Per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports: Sources: #Phillies and #Reds have a deal involving Marlon Byrd. RHP Ben Livelyone of players headed to PHI. Announcement coming today. — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 31, 2014 Byrd owed $8M in 2015 and has $8M vesting option for ‘16. #Phillies expected to send significant cash to #Reds in
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The Latest on the Cole Hamels Trade Front

Peter Gammons provided an update on the Cole Hamels trade front over at Gammons Daily. He includes a note that created more questions than it answered:


What’s on Phillies Players’ Holiday Wishlists?

The Jimmy Rollins trade recently became official after more than a week of anticipation. Things have otherwise been quiet in Philliestown. The most newsworthy item that came out recently was their odds of winning the 2015 World Series diminishing further — now 100/1 according to 32Red Sport and Casino, compared to 15/2 for the Dodgers and
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Ruben Amaro, Jr.: Phillies Better Off Without Ryan Howard

Quoting an interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media reports that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. told first baseman Ryan Howard that the team would be better off without him. When asked about the possibility of releasing Howard, Amaro said that isn’t an option because he’s “too productive and too important”
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Phillies Kicking the Tires on Rafael Furcal

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Phillies are kicking the tires on middle infielder Rafael Furcal, currently playing in the Dominican Winter League. With Jimmy Rollins now having been officially traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Freddy Galvis is the team’s everyday shortstop. However, as Crasnick notes, some scouts see Galvis more as a utility player
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Jimmy Rollins Trade Still in Limbo (Update: Not Anymore)

Update #2 (11:26 AM EST, Dec. 19): It’s official, per the Phillies on Twitter. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Phillies will send $1 million to the Dodgers along with Rollins. Update (11:40 PM EST, Dec. 18): Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Kemp deal is officially official. Expect the Rollins
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Rollins Retrospective: Jimmy Walks the Phillies Off in 2009 NLCS Game 4

Back in 2008 and ’09, Jonathan Broxton was one of baseball’s most fearsome closers, with an emphasis on “fear”. Like Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman now, Broxton comfortably sat in the high 90’s with his fastball, even reaching triple digits at times. For some reason, though, the Phillies were his Kryptonite. They had tagged him
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Rollins Retrospective: Jimmy Joins the 20-20-20-20 Club

Over the next few days, we’ll be looking back on the most memorable moments of Jimmy Rollins‘ career with the Phillies. You can conveniently find everything that’s written about the subject under the category “Rollins Retrospective” above.


Phillies to Trade Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a trade involving shortstop Jimmy Rollins. [Update: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the players involved in the deal have not yet been agreed upon.] It was reported earlier today that Rollins would waive his no-trade rights, via 10-and-5 rights,
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Phillies Trade Antonio Bastardo to the Pirates

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a trade involving reliever Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies will receive minor league pitcher Joely Rodriguez, per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The deal was first reported by Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors.


The Latest on the Phillies from the Winter Meetings

While the Phillies won’t make headlines for signing big name free agents at the Winter Meetings there are a few orders of business on the docket. Reliever Antonio Bastardo and right fielder Marlon Byrd seem likely to be traded at some point this winter, if not in the next day or so. Here’s the latest from
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Today in Terrible Trade Proposals

I assure you that this is a real proposal from MLB Network’s John Smoltz. They even posted it on their Twitter account.


The Phillies Should Consider Signing Kyle Blanks

As the Phillies won’t jump head-first into the free agent pool once again this winter, it seems we fans are destined for a quiet December and January. We’ll unwrap our new Phillies 2015 desk calendars and count down the days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Florida. There, the Phillies will embark on yet
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Crashburn Off-Season Q&A

Over the weekend, I took some of your questions about the Phillies in an effort to relieve some of the off-season boredom. I apologize in advance as I won’t be nearly as charming as Michael Baumann was with the Crash Bag, but I’ll do my best.


Open Thread

There’s not a whole lot going on in the baseball world right now, particularly as it pertains to the Phillies. Feel free to use this thread to talk about whatever you want. Since Michael Baumann isn’t doing the Crash Bag anymore, I figure I’ll use this opportunity to offer to take any Phillies- or MLB-related questions
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Yasmany Tomas Signs with the Diamondbacks‘s Jesse Sanchez reports that Cuban free agent outfielder Yasmany Tomas has signed a six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth $68.5 million. Recently, Corinne Landrey wrote about why the Phillies likely had merit in souring on him over defensive concerns. Now that Tomas is off the market, it’s worth reading what she wrote again
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Phillies, Yankees Discussed Jimmy Rollins Trade

Via ESPN’s Jayson Stark: Multiple sources say #Yankees talked to #Phillies about trading for Jimmy Rollins. But asking price was so high, Yanks moved on…. — Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 26, 2014


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
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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
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The Phillies Signed A Bunch of Guys

Yesterday, the Phillies signed a handful of players to minor league deals and one to a major league deal. It was a busy day.


Ruben Amaro, Jr. Still Believes in Domonic Brown

A tip of the ballcap to Matt Winkelman of the lovely Phillies Minor  Thoughts for alerting me to a great quote from GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. at the bottom of this Bob Brookover column for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amaro talked about being patient with left fielder Domonic Brown, who had a miserable 2014 season.


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
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On the Rumors of a Torn Phillies Clubhouse

There is some speculation out this morning from the usual untrustworthy sources that Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and Marlon Byrd are the biggest contributors to a bad atmosphere in the Phillies’ clubhouse. I will not provide a link so as not to reward baseless rumor-mongering with page views, but a Google search should bring you what
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2014 Phillies Report Card: Jonathan Papelbon

I was wrong. Three words I don’t enjoy saying, but I have no other choice. For months and months and months, I crowed about closer Jonathan Papelbon‘s declining velocity, predicting impending doom for the right-handed veteran. When Papelbon questioned the concern about his velocity (or “velo”, as he called it), I rebuked him. To Papelbon’s
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A.J. Burnett Declines $12.75 Million Option

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports: A.J. Burnett leaves $12.75 million on the table. He has declined his option. For Phillies, a gift from baseball gods. — Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) November 4, 2014


2014 Phillies Report Card: Mike Adams

Mike Adams‘ 2014 season was the continued manifestation of the concern showed when the Phillies signed the right-handed reliever to a two-year, $12 million deal in December 2012. Adams was coming off of thoracic outlet surgery on his right shoulder but was ready for Opening Day 2013. However, things quickly deteriorated as he had surgery at
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Phillies Re-Sign Grady Sizemore’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies have signed outfielder Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $2 million deal for the 2015 season. This comes only two days after the club signed journeyman pitcher Jerome Williams to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.


Pat Gillick Says the Phillies Won’t Contend in 2015 or ’16

Pat Gillick has said what we’ve all known for quite some time: the Phillies aren’t very likely to be contenders in either of the next two seasons. His comment:


Phillies Sign Jerome Williams to One-Year, $2.5 Million Deal

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies have signed starter Jerome Williams to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News adds that the contract also includes performance bonuses.


2014 Phillies Report Card: Roberto Hernandez

The artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona was the Phillies’ first transaction influenced by their new analytics department. Roberto Hernandez inked a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, slotting in at the back of the starting rotation. On MLB Network Radio in early March, GM Ruben Amaro said that Hernandez’s ground ball rate and relative cheapness were factors
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Want to Gain An Edge? Defy Bullpen Orthodoxy

The book, and later the film, Moneyball famously championed Billy Beane‘s Oakland Athletics — a small-market team who managed to push out the big spenders by using statistics to identify market inefficiencies, like players with low batting averages but high on-base percentages. As Beane’s numbers-savvy approach contributed to the Athletics reaching the post-season four years
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The Phillies Should Keep An Eye on Michael Saunders

Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders finally had a breakout year offensively, posting a .346 weighted on-base average. Only one problem: he only took 263 trips to the plate. Saunders had one stint on the disabled list between June 11-27 due to inflammation of the A/C joint in his right shoulder. Then, on July 11, Saunders again
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Phillies at a Fork in the Road with the Starting Rotation

The Phillies could head in one of a number of directions during the off-season, depending on whether or not A.J. Burnett decides to return (it seems likely given a recent report), if Kyle Kendrick isn’t brought back, and if GM Ruben Amaro finds an irresistible trade offer for Cole Hamels. Assuming Cliff Lee makes a full
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2014 Phillies Report Card: Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee, perhaps better than anyone, adroitly summarized the Phillies’ season after a loss to the Giants in his return from the disabled list on July 21. He farted. Lee’s season wasn’t much better, as he made only 13 starts, due to two separate trips to the disabled list. The first, between May 19 and
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Report: A.J. Burnett Likely to Return to the Phillies in 2015

Last week, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury suggested that starter A.J. Burnett was leaning towards retirement. Salisbury added that Burnett didn’t have all that much fun in Philadelphia and kept game balls from his final start of the season, the 404th of his career, which is only a noteworthy game if it marked the end of
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2014 Phillies Report Card: Carlos Ruiz

Catcher Carlos Ruiz could have signed with another team — perhaps a contender, for one last shot at a championship — but both he and the Phillies decided to continue their partnership, agreeing on a three-year, $26 million contract last November. Ruiz became one of only three catchers to ink a contract of three years or
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