Popular articles by Bill Baer
Recent articles by Bill Baer
.gifs: Wil Nieves Strikes A Pose
(Since we’re all still kind of new to this design: There are arrows on both sides of the gif above. You can click that to paw through the three .gifs. Alternatively, you can click on one of the three tiny circles in the bottom left.) Wil Nieves plays it cool after making a tough grab
ESPN: The Cole Hamels Situation
At ESPN, I discussed the implications of the latest setback in Cole Hamels’ quest to return from his arm injury, and discussed a few of the internal options that the Phillies could call upon to pitch in his stead. There’s also this: Phillies now inquiring about Ervin Santana — Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) March 7, 2014
Previewing the Phillies on the Mostly Mets Podcast
I joined Toby Hyde and Rob Brender on the Mostly Mets Podcast to preview the Phillies in the upcoming season. We talked about the Phillies’ aging roster, their lack of starting pitching depth, and their payroll situation, among other topics. I join the group around the 14:35 mark.
Cole Hamels Suffers Setback, Might Not Pitch in April
Bad news. Cole Hamels suffered a setback in his recovery from tendonitis in his left shoulder. Via Chris Branch on Twitter:
Some More Information on the New Shifting Zeitgeist
Yesterday, Corinne Landrey wrote about the Phillies’ intent to utilize defensive shifting more often during the 2014 season after ranking 29th in shifts used last season. I came across two recent articles regarding shifting which may be pertinent to the Fightins.
2014 Phillies Preview at HardballTalk
Earlier today, I posted a 2014 preview of the Phillies over at HardballTalk. I’ve also posted previews for the Phillies’ four NL East opponents as well: Washington Nationals [Link] Atlanta Braves [Link] New York Mets [Link] Miami Marlins [Link]
Ruben Amaro Credits Analytics Department for Roberto Hernandez Signing
Recently, GM Ruben Amaro was on MLB Network Radio talking about the Phillies as they start spring training. Among other topics, Amaro discussed the team’s age and their starting pitching depth. In particular, he credited the team’s new analytics department for the signing of starter Roberto Hernandez. The full quote can be read after the jump:
Jesse Biddle .gifs, Notes from Sunday’s Action
Jesse Biddle .gifs after the jump:
A Quick Note on Spring Stats re: Ryan Howard
Recently, I wrote about why spring training stats can be misleading. There aren’t many reasons why one should ever need to take a player’s spring training stats with anything less than a gigantic grain of salt, even just to look at strikeout and walk rates, which stabilize faster than most other stats and the only
Grapefruit League Action Begins: Phillies vs. Blue Jays
Baseball. Phillies. Blue Jays. 1:05 PM ET. Save for a couple days in the middle of the season, we’ll have wall-to-wall baseball of some sort through October. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen.
FanGraphs: The Phillies are MLB’s second-most improved team
Note: Formatting look weird? It’s a feature of the new website design. The header above is a direct link to the article I discuss below. We’ll be trying out some different styles throughout the year, so make sure to let us know what you think. In a simple add-up-the-WARs operation, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs sought
Three Up, Three Down
It’s no secret that many wearing Phillies red last season underwhelmed with their performances on the field. Additionally, as a function of their aged roster, GM Ruben Amaro dealt with a number of his key players winding up on the disabled list at some point during the season. The Phillies finished at 73-89, their worst
Mike Schmidt to join the Phillies’ broadcast team for Sunday home games
According to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News, Mike Schmidt will be joining the Phillies’ broadcast team, calling all 13 Sunday home games. Schmidt is joining Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs as recent additions to the team, replacing Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews.
Baseball Starts Tomorrow
For the Yankees and Tigers, baseball kicks off today as they will face off against the Florida State Seminoles and the Southern Florida Moccasins, respectively. For the Phillies, baseball returns tomorrow afternoon against the Blue Jays, the first of many exhibition games between now and the beginning of the regular season on March 31 in
The Phillies Got Petty with a College Pitcher
Background for this story: the Phillies selected left-handed pitcher Ben Wetzler in the fifth round of last June’s draft. Wetzler, however, turned down the Phillies’ signing bonus of about $400,000 to return to Oregon State for his senior season. Wetzler was a first-team all-Pac-12 selection in his junior year. According to Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt,
Running Down the Phillies’ 2014 Storylines
The Phillies, perhaps more than any other team, have a slew of players with those dreaded question marks hanging over them. Because of their collective age, propensity to get injured, and — for some — recent under-performance, the Phillies aren’t exactly anyone’s favorite to win the pennant. But it is a 162-game season and stranger
Ruben Amaro Thinks the Phillies Can Make A Run at the NL East Crown in 2014
PECOTA, from Baseball Prospectus, projects the Phillies to finish at 76-86. FanGraphs puts them at 77-85. Atlantis, a sportsbook based in Reno, puts the over-under on the Phillies’ win total at 78. Ask any random baseball fan you see on the street how many games the Phillies will win in 2014, and their answer is likely
Phillies Pitching Coach Bob McClure Isn’t A Huge Fan of Stats
The Phillies appeared to be jumping into the 21st century when they promoted Scott Freedman from analytics extern to a full-time employee. At long last, we thought, the Phillies would join the other 29 Major League Baseball teams and embrace the utility of analytics. That still may be true, but new pitching coach Bob McClure
Phillies Sign A.J. Burnett to One-Year, $16 Million Deal
Two very important and related news items today: Cole Hamels will not be ready for Opening Day after experiencing shoulder discomfort during the off-season (via Jim Salisbury) Phillies sign A.J. Burnett to a one-year, $16 million deal (via Ken Rosenthal)
Report: Comcast SportsNet will hire Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to join the broadcast booth
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com is reporting that Comcast SportsNet will announce the addition of former Phillies Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to the TV broadcast team as early as tomorrow.
An Annual Reminder about Spring Training Stats
Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Clearwater tomorrow, officially kicking off spring training for the Phillies. Soon thereafter, exhibition games will start and players will fight tooth and nail for a limited amount of roster spots. Players’ success or failure in February and March will be decided, in no small part, by their
Once Again: The Phillies Should Platoon Ryan Howard
It seems like we say this every year, but it’s worth repeating frequently until the Phillies actually do it: Ryan Howard should be relegated to facing right-handed pitching only going forward. $75 million through 2016 (plus a $10 million buyout for 2017) is a lot of money to spend on a platoon player, but he
Phillies Off-Season Polling
You know what we think of the Phillies’ off-season moves, but now it’s your turn to chime in. Below are a series of polls for every move the Phillies made this off-season.
The Phillies Should Consider Picking Up Emilio Bonifacio
In order to make room on the 40-man roster for starter Bruce Chen, the Royals designated utilityman Emilio Bonifacio for assignment earlier today. Bonifacio will turn 29 years old on April 23 and has experience playing every position on the diamond except for pitcher, catcher, and first base. Over his seven-year Major League career, Bonifacio
Do the Phillies Have Payroll Space to Afford A.J. Burnett?
Yesterday, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that starter A.J. Burnett, who had been mulling retirement, decided to make his services available for at least one more season. Obviously, the Pirates are interested in bringing him back, but the Orioles and Rangers are two other teams expected to show interest. The Phillies, with a
Finding A Glimmer of Hope for the 2014 Phillies
The Phillies are old. It’s a narrative that both is true and has been repeated ad nauseam for the third straight year. The Phillies’ success in 2014 will depend largely on the health and performance of the five position players 34 years or older expected to accrue at least 400 plate appearances: Marlon Byrd (36),
A Smattering of Phillies News
Nothing too newsworthy to talk about in the days leading up to the beginning of spring training, but there are a few small news items out there. After the jump:
Phillies Avoid Arbitration with Antonio Bastardo
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies have avoided arbitration with reliever Antonio Bastardo, agreeing to a one-year, $2 million deal yesterday. That leaves Ben Revere as the only player who could still reach an arbitration hearing in February, but the Phillies will likely reach a solution within the next week.
Phillies Sign Bobby Abreu to a Minor League Deal
The depth signings continued as the Phillies and Bobby Abreu agreed on a Minor League deal earlier today, Todd Zolecki reports. Abreu, who turns 40 in March, had been on fire in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .322 with a .416 on-base percentage and a 35-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 180 at-bats.
The Phillies Have Had A Relatively Good Off-Season
Reading the reactions to every player the Phillies have been rumored to have shown interest in, you’d think GM Ruben Amaro was constructing a roster of beer league softball players. The knee-jerk negative reaction to every Phillies transaction, rumored or made official, has more to do with two, going on three, years of frustration after
Phillies Sign Chad Gaudin to a Minor League Deal
Chris Branch with the news: That was quick. Phillies announce they signed Chad Gaudin to a minor-league deal with invite to ST. — Chris Branch (@ChrisBranchTNJ) January 21, 2014
The Phillies Have Shown Interest in Vernon Wells
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Phillies have indicated some interest in current free agent outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells was released by the Yankees last week and will earn $21 million in 2014, $18.6 million of which will be paid by the Angels. The remaining $2.4 million will be picked up
Phillies Avoid Arbitration with John Mayberry
The Phillies avoided arbitration with outfielder John Mayberry prior to the deadline yesterday, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.587 million, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. It’s just shy of Matt Swartz’s projection of $1.7 million. Mayberry was eligible for arbitration for the first time and can become a free agent after the 2016 season.
Welcome to the Redesigned Crashburn Alley
At long last, we have unveiled the new and improved Crashburn Alley. Thanks to Randy Neil for all of the technical work and to Marcus Price for the logo concept. If you like what you see, check out their site at Squatch.us. Overall, the site should work just like it did before, but it should
Phillies Avoid Arbitration with Kyle Kendrick
The Phillies have avoided arbitration with Kyle Kendrick in his fourth and final year, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.675 million, per the Phillies official Twitter. The deal includes award bonuses. The two sides had previously agreed to a two-year deal worth a total of $7.5 million in February 2012. The latest deal represents
Phillies Will Have Maikel Franco Split Time Between Third and First Base
Per CSN Philly’s Corey Seidman, the Phillies plan to have top prospect Maikel Franco split time between third and first base in 2014 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Initial reports indicated that Franco would primarily play first base, but GM Ruben Amaro clarified: “Its not the case, he’s not gonna be primarily first base,” Amaro said.
Phillies Sign Ronny Cedeno; Still Interested in Adding Depth
Yesterday, the Phillies signed utility infielder Ronny Cedeno to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp. Cedeno will turn 31 on February 2 and will be entering his tenth season as a big leaguer. While he’s not much with the bat as his career .281 wOBA indicates, he has the ability
Let’s Talk About the Phillies Lineup
At Beerleaguer, Mike Wisniewski goes over some lineup options for the Phillies, including putting Chase Utley in the lead-off spot. We found that to be the best option last season as well, when we did the same exercise. Also of note from last year’s post was that Revere ends up being used in the #9
We had a bit of unexpected downtime yesterday afternoon. Apologies to those of you who were trying to kill some time on a Saturday afternoon before some playoff football. At the moment, Crashburn Alley is in the midst of a redesign, so if things end up going missing, or looking weird or out of place,
Wheels and Sarge Out on Phillies Broadcasts
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press is reporting on Twitter from both his verified personal account and his AP account that Chris Wheeler and Gary “Sarge” Matthews have been relieved of their duties as part of the Phillies broadcast team.
Are Bobby Abreu and Scott Rolen Hall of Famers?
At Baseball Nation, Grant Brisbee searched for the next Lou Whitaker — as he put it, “the player that seems like a no-doubt Hall of Famer to us nerds right now, but who will fade from the collective memory of voters during the five-year grace period, possibly dropping off the ballot in the first year.”
Phillies Should Consider Trading for Their Catcher of the Future
Back in November, the Phillies signed catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year, $26 million contract with a fourth year club option for $4.5 million. Given the recent 25-year, $2.5 billion TV deal the Phillies just signed with Comcast SportsNet, the team won’t be hurt too much even if Ruiz provides little value on the contract
Report: Phillies, Comcast SportsNet reach agreement on TV deal
David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the Phillies and Comcast SportsNet have reached an agreement on a TV deal. Details including financials and duration have not been released yet, but rumors indicate the deal is for 20 to 25 years for a “massive” amount of money. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia
Jonathan Papelbon Reiterates Clubhouse Comments in Interview
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has not been shy in voicing his opinion about the team’s clubhouse and the connection it has to their lack of success ever since he inked his four-year, $50 million deal. In February, prior to the start of the 2013 season, he said of the Phillies’ clubhouse, “I haven’t seen any
Will Pitchers Catch Up to Domonic Brown?
Domonic Brown was easily the most pleasant surprise for the Phillies throughout 2013. He finished with a .351 weighted on-base average, third-best on the team behind Chase Utley and Darin Ruf. He also finished with a .222 ISO, which left him in the top-20 among all Major League hitters. After years of fighting tooth and
Phillies Offense Will Lack Speed Once Again
If you’re like me, one of the first things you did when Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the Phillies was posted on FanGraphs, you went right to wOBA and sorted high to low. You probably also glanced at ISO, strikeout and walk rates, and plate appearances for context. Like me, you probably also skipped over
Phillies Bullpen Has the Potential to be Great in 2014
Much has been made of closer Jonathan Papelbon — his age, the negative trends, some purported clubhouse issues, and the Phillies’ desire to trade him. And with good reason; Papelbon is owed between $26 and $39 million over the next two or three years, depending on if his 2016 option vests. The rest of the
Wanna Watch A Baseball Highlight?
Christmas is over and it’s almost 2014, so there’s that. But baseball is still a long ways away. If you’re anything like me, the time between the conclusion of the World Series and the reporting of pitchers and catchers is purgatory on Earth. I don’t watch football, basketball, or hockey, so those four months or
Ruben Amaro’s Market-Changing Mistakes
When Ryan Howard signed that five-year, $125 million contract extension back in April 2010, many proponents said at the time that it would look comparatively cheap once Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder got their big contracts, plus inflation would balloon future contracts, too. And that wasn’t altogether incorrect. Pujols signed a ten-year, $240 million contract
Christmas with the Phillies
Just because they’re millionaire celebrities doesn’t mean they don’t still celebrate Christmas like most of the rest of us. That’s right, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and even Michael Martinez excitedly woke up this morning to spend the holiday exchanging gifts, eating good food, and spending time with loved ones. What they didn’t know is that