Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer

 

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 MLB.com’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, MLB.com’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

MLB.com’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. pic.twitter.com/EAkHV4lQWM — Phillies (@Phillies) February 26, 2015

 

Phillies Should Trade Cliff Lee Before Cole Hamels

This shouldn’t come as any surprise if you’ve been following the off-season news with any regularity: hear complaints amaro seeks too much for hamels. but agree here with RAJ, swihart or betts should be fair game. #phils — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 25, 2015

 

Today in Mediocre Cole Hamels Analysis

The alarmist analysis of the Phillies’ Cole Hamels situation by the national media has become something of a running gag. Throughout the off-season, we’ve been inundated with articles suggesting GM Ruben Amaro has been too greedy and unrealistic when negotiating a potential Hamels trade with other teams. We’ve heard that sand is slowly falling in
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Phillies Rank 122nd of 122 Sports Teams in Use of Analytics

A nugget from this column by Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post:

 

Shocker: The Phillies Are Bad at Social Media

In November, Liz Roscher penned a column at The Good Phight imploring the Phillies to fix the way they operate on social media. If you aren’t big on Facebook or Twitter, it probably doesn’t register as much of a problem, but this is the new, modern way that teams engage with their fan bases. That
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The Red Sox Need Cole Hamels

ESPN’s Buster Olney is the latest to suggest that the Phillies aren’t playing the Cole Hamels market correctly. In an Insider article, he writes that the Phillies should send money along with Hamels to the Boston Red Sox to make a trade more enticing. The Phillies don’t have to do this with Hamels; they absolutely should with
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Ken Rosenthal: Phillies’ Off-Season A “Major Fail”

In his latest column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal made the argument that the Phillies needed to make more moves over the off-season, describing their winter as a “major fail”. He notes that the San Diego Padres made an aggressive offer to the Phillies for starter Cole Hamels before signing James Shields to a four-year,
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An Open Letter to Justin De Fratus

Warning: This is heavily political, and is not meant to be a discussion, so I’ve turned comments off. . . .

 

Ruben Amaro “Covets” Andrew Cashner

Last week, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that GM Ruben Amaro “covets” San Diego Padres starter Andrew Cashner, a relevant piece of information as the Padres are one of the handful of clubs still actively pursuing Cole Hamels. The Padres are also one of the few teams who have the minor league talent the
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Phillies Still Talking to the Padres about Cole Hamels

Over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller is still in touch with the Phillies about a trade involving Cole Hamels. Rosenthal added that “some” think the Padres won’t put together a strong enough package to entice the Phillies.

 

Phillies Sign Chad Billingsley to a One-Year Deal

The Phillies announced on Twitter that they’ve signed pitcher Chad Billingsley to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Billingsley’s contract includes performance incentives which can bring his salary all the way up to $8 million. To make room for Billingsley on the 40-man roster, they designated Cesar Jimenez for
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Phillies Still Talking to the Brewers and Blue Jays about Jonathan Papelbon

Last week, we learned that the Phillies were in serious trade talks with the Milwaukee Brewers regarding closer Jonathan Papelbon. The conversation eventually stalled as it couldn’t be agreed upon exactly how much money the Phillies would send along with Papelbon for his 2016 vesting option in such a deal, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark. The
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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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