Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


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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So, About That Cole Hamels Market

Remember during the winter and during spring training, when anonymous front office officials and national writers were calling GM Ruben Amaro “unrealistic” and claimed the work he did in the off-season was a “major fail” because he didn’t trade Cole Hamels?


Freddy Galvis Made An Amazing Play

We knew Freddy Galvis was extremely good at defense, but he managed to exceed expectations by a mile in Saturday night’s loss to the Braves. Galvis robbed Nick Markakis of a line drive single, diving for the ball and managing to make a strong and accurate throw to first base to get the final out
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Some Thoughts During Wednesday’s Loss

The Phillies lost 6-1 to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night, dropping to 5-10 on the season. Cole Hamels pitched reasonably well, scattering five hits and three walks and striking out five en route to allowing just an unearned run in a no-decision. The unearned run, however, was Hamels’ fault as he didn’t catch an
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Ruben Amaro, Jr. Put His Foot in His Mouth Again

Over the weekend at HardballTalk, I wrote about this ridiculous quote from GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. pertaining to Andy Oliver‘s decision to elect free agency rather than report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: Oliver was impressive at times during spring training, finishing with 22 strikeouts in 12 2/3 Grapefruit League innings. He was not so impressive
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Sending Ender Inciarte Back to Arizona Was No Mistake

In this era of terrible Phillies baseball, it’s easy to look back at some of the players that got away and wonder what might have been. We’ve seen this recently with reliever Jason Grilli and first baseman-slash-outfielder Brandon Moss. We’re now seeing it with Diamondbacks center fielder Ender Inciarte, most prominently in CSN Philly’s Jim
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Don’t Fret About Phillies’ RISP Woes

Even after the division rival Atlanta Braves traded away Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis, the Phillies were still projected to be the worst offensive team not just in the National League, but in baseball. Combined with the shoddy starting pitching after Cole Hamels, the Phillies were projected to put up a terrible run
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On Sportswriters and Sportswriting

This is not about the Phillies or even baseball specifically, so feel free to click out now before you get started.


Ryan Madson Still Has It

Former Phillie Ryan Madson hadn’t pitched since the end of the 2011 NLDS with the Phillies, but he made the Kansas City Royals’ 25-man roster out of spring training. Including his outing Monday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins, he’s thrown 2 2/3 scoreless innings to start the season. He struck out three of the five
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Ryan Howard Wore the Golden Sombrero on Sunday

First baseman Ryan Howard went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Sunday’s 10-inning 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. He was replaced at first base by Darin Ruf after his fourth strikeout of the game, against lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno, in the seventh inning. Howard now has only three hits (all doubles) in 20 plate appearances
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Some Thoughts on Saturday’s Win

I had the good fortune of attending Saturday night’s extra-inning win against the Washington Nationals. After eating a couple of sandwiches, I was treated to a pitcher’s duel between Cole Hamels and Doug Fister. Hamels, somehow, was able to last seven innings on 104 pitches despite throwing 27 pitches in the first inning and 20
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Phillies Prospect Jesmuel Valentin Suspended after Domestic Violence Arrest

Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported over the weekend that Phillies prospect Jesmuel Valentin was arrested on April 5 in Pinellas County, Florida for a domestic battery incident. He was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and pleaded not guilty to the charge on Wednesday. Major League Baseball has suspended Valentin indefinitely.


More Cole Hamels Trade Clamor

Over the winter, we were inundated with national baseball writers clamoring for a Cole Hamels trade. MLB Network fantasized about Hamels going to the Red Sox. Peter Gammons painted GM Ruben Amaro as a despot. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports even called the Phillies’ off-season a “major fail” just before pitchers and catchers reported in
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It’s Going to be A Long Year, Booing Isn’t Necessary

The Phillies suffered a bit of an unlucky loss on Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox. They lost by a 6-2 margin but the game was put thoroughly out of reach in the third inning when Xander Bogaerts dunked a triple down the right field line to clear the bases, making it 5-0. The
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Phillies Start 2015 Off with a Whimper

More accurately, the Phillies started the 2015 season off with a bang, several of them, which all came from the bats of Red Sox hitters. Cole Hamels, as expected, got the honor of starting on Opening Day, but it went poorly. The lefty served up a solo home run to Dustin Pedroia with one out
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2015 Predictions with the Crashburn Staff

Update: It’s been brought to my attention that the table-based formatting is messed up on smaller devices. The predictions are best viewed on as large a resolution as possible. With the regular season officially kicking off tonight in the Windy City, it’s time for the Crashburn Alley staff to reveal their 2015 season predictions. We will
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Phillies Sign Dustin McGowan

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported tonight on Twitter that the Phillies signed pitcher Dustin McGowan to a contract. Crasnick adds that the Phillies don’t plan to stretch McGowan out to start, but they’ll need a fifth starter on April 12. [Update: It’s a one-year major league contract, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call.]


DraftKings $100,000 Opening Day Contest

With regular season baseball back in town, that means DraftKings is back too with their one-day fantasy baseball contests. DraftKings is running a $100,000 Opening Day “Moonshot” contest that is $3 to enter, or you can gain a free entry with your first deposit. With a $100,000 prize pool, the first place winner will take
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Phillies Spring Training Stocks

With the end of spring training drawing near, it’s time to take stock of which players helped or hurt their own causes in Grapefruit League action. Spring training playing time constitutes a small and nearly useless sample of playing time, but teams still use it to figure out who belongs on the roster and how
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HardballTalk 2015 Phillies Preview

At HardballTalk, I previewed the Phillies for the 2015 season. Use the link above to check it out. I’ve also written previews for the other four NL East teams, which you can read below: Nationals Marlins Mets Braves


Ben Revere Moves from Center Field to Left Field

Manager Ryne Sandberg started Ben Revere in left field in Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against the Detroit Tigers. It went well, as Revere leaped over the fence to steal a solo home run away from Rajai Davis in the third inning. (Funny story about that here.) Sandberg said the position change is likely permanent, as
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Today in Disappointing Phillies News

First, via’s Todd Zolecki, top prospect and shortstop J.P. Crawford is expected to miss four to six weeks with a strained left oblique. It’s not a big deal as long as the injury doesn’t linger. Crawford will only miss a month and change, and it won’t affect the timeline of his progression to the
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Rotoworld Questionnaire

I and my colleagues at Rotoworld responded to a bunch of prompts, predicting the upcoming season. Give it a read using the link above, tell me what you think, and feel free to post your own predictions in the comments. If you haven’t already, make sure to get the Rotoworld 2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide before you
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Phillies Should Consider Jhoulys Chacin

The Colorado Rockies released starter Jhoulys Chacin today,’s Jesse Sanchez reports. The right-hander had a miserable spring, allowing seven runs in 9 2/3 innings on 16 hits and four walks while striking out five. The move comes as a bit of a surprise as Chacin was penciled in behind Jorge De La Rosa and
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Cole Hamels’ Poor Spring Showing No Cause for Alarm

Cole Hamels had an unfortunate start to Saturday afternoon’s Grapefruit League start against the Toronto Blue Jays. He served up a solo home run to Jose Reyes on the first pitch of the game, then later let Jose Bautista go yard to straightaway center field. It’s the continuation of what has been a slow spring for Hamels,
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Early Returns on Yasmany Tomas Not So Good

Early in the winter, there was a clamor for the Phillies to sign Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. On the heels of Jose Abreu‘s breakout campaign for the Chicago White Sox, the thought was the Cuban market would be a good way to infuse some star power back into the Phillies’ system during a rebuild. With
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Kyle Kendrick to Start Opening Day for the Rockies’s Thomas Harding reported yesterday that former Phillie Kyle Kendrick will start on Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies. They’ll open up the season on April 6 in Milwaukee to face the Brewers. Lefty Jorge De La Rosa, unarguably a much better pitcher than Kendrick, will be saved for the Rockies’ home opener on April
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Phillippe Aumont’s Time Likely Up with Phillies

Phillippe Aumont allowed an opposite-field solo home run to Tampa Bay Rays DH Logan Forsythe in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 5-3 loss. Aumont has logged just 4 2/3 innings this spring, but has allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out four. All three of those runs have come on
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Rule 5 Pick Andy Oliver Having A Good Spring

Pitcher Andy Oliver was one of two players taken in December’s Rule 5 draft, along with Odubel Herrera. Oliver was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the 2009 draft. He then went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a December 2012 trade for minor league catcher Ramon Cabrera. Both the Tigers and
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Let’s Talk About Bunting Some More

Recently, manager Ryne Sandberg said he’d be stressing small ball throughout spring training. He’s held true to his word, and that was quite evident in the fifth inning during Friday afternoon’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, when the Phillies were leading 2-1.


Ryne Sandberg Stressing Small Ball in Spring Training

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is stressing small ball this spring, Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal reports: Sandberg on calling for sac bunts/hit & run/bunt for hits aka small ball: “It’s something I’m stressing this spring.” #Phillies — Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) March 11, 2015


Cliff Lee’s Elbow is Barking Again

Cliff Lee started Thursday afternoon’s contest against the Houston Astros and all seemed to go well: he went two innings, gave up two hits but no runs, walked none, and struck out none. He told the media he felt “normal” after the game and that was that. The next day, he reported feeling a twinge
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Odubel Herrera Could Prove Dynamic to the Phillies

Odubel Herrera was one of two players the Phillies selected during the Rule 5 draft over the winter (from the Texas Rangers) along with pitcher Andy Oliver (Pittsburgh Pirates). The Phillies are certainly no strangers to that part of the off-season — they nabbed Shane Victorino in 2004’s Rule 5 draft from the Los Angeles
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Today in Misleading Cole Hamels Analysis

This latest salvo of Cole Hamels analysis comes from Tony Blengino at FanGraphs. Blengino is a former stat wizard with the Seattle Mariners. The analysis gives off the appearance of thoroughness but it’s a simple FIP-ERA comparison that uses the assumption that the Phillies’ outfield defense was “reasonably strong” — a laughable assertion. I don’t have
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Phillies Baseball Is Back

The Phillies will officially kick off Grapefruit League action against the Yankees at 1:05 PM ET this afternoon, ending a dreary winter and beginning what should be a dreary spring and summer. Your lineups, via Steve Gross of The Morning Call and the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff:


Pat Burrell to be Inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame

And the 37th inductee into the #Phillies Toyota WOF is… Pat Burrell! Induction ceremony on 7/31 prior to the game. — Phillies (@Phillies) February 26, 2015