Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


In A World Without Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels A Cy Young Candidate

It’s Clayton Kershaw‘s world; Cole Hamels is just living in it. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty seems well on his way to a third career National League Cy Young award, leading the league with 15 wins, a 1.82 ERA, six complete games, a 0.83 WHIP, a 32 percent strikeout rate, a 195 adjusted ERA, an
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Ruben Amaro Given A Vote of Confidence’s Todd Zolecki, Erik Bacharach, and Greg Johns report that Phillies president David Montgomery said that GM Ruben Amaro “is not on the hot seat” at the Baseball 101 Clinic and Luncheon for Women at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday.


Ken Giles Has Emerged As A Top-Shelf Reliever

Before Ken Giles‘ mid-June call up to the Major Leagues — after throwing all of 13 2/3 innings in his first taste of Triple-A competition — some space was devoted here to urging caution and patience with the talented right-hander. It was not misguided, as Giles was displaying control problems reminiscent of Phillippe Aumont. He
Continue reading… $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest – Week 1 Only

Football season is nearly upon us, and DraftKings is running a $100,000 fantasy football contest, but only for Week 1. You can enter for free with your first deposit. The entry fee is $2 for everyone else. The top 11,500 will be paid, with the first place winner getting $10,000. The contest will start on
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Phillies Might Bring Grady Sizemore Back in 2015

Over the weekend,’s Todd Zolecki reported that outfielder Grady Sizemore may be back in Phillies red for the 2015 season. The 32-year-old, oft-injured outfielder has performed well for the Phillies after struggling with the Boston Red Sox, with which he started the season.


Phillies Acquire Jesmuel Valentin from the Dodgers‘s Todd Zolecki with the report: The Phillies acquire Class A 2B Jesmuel Valentin as first player to be named later in Roberto Hernandez trade with LAD. — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 17, 2014


There Are 41 Games Left, and the Phillies Need Information

Tonight, the Phillies open up a three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco. With a 53-68 record and 11 games out of the second wild card, the season is realistically over and has been for quite some time. The journey that has left them 15 games under .500 hasn’t been entirely fruitless, however. The
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Adding A Bit of Character into Analysis

For a while, most Sabermetric analysis was very cold and impersonal. Lots of column-sorting in Excel, tabbing through pages in the web browser, and querying databases. The evolution of Sabermetrics has made it simple for a casual fan, a die-hard, and your cadre of baseball writers to criticize and compare your favorite (or least favorite)
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Phillies Claim Jerome Williams off of Waivers

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that the Phillies claimed pitcher Jerome Williams off of waivers from the Texas Rangers. Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Phillies are sending $20,000 to the Rangers as compensation. To make room for Williams on the roster, the club designated Sean O’Sullivan for
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Ryan Howard’s Top Five Biggest Home Runs

Last night, with the Phillies trailing the Astros 5-2, first baseman Ryan Howard hit a go-ahead grand slam off of lefty reliever Tony Sipp. The FanGraphs win expectancy chart illustrates just how important the home run was:


Antonio Bastardo Has A Point

Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News posted a column yesterday with a few rather revealing quotes from reliever Antonio Bastardo. The lefty was placed on revocable waivers by the team on Monday after failing to move him by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Bastardo said a trade would be good for him.


Phillies trade Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer with the report: Roberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers for two PTBNL. — Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 7, 2014


Report: Cole Hamels, Marlon Byrd Claimed on Waivers

It’s news, though not exactly surprising news. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Phillies ace Cole Hamels and right fielder Marlon Byrd have been claimed by separate, unidentified teams on revocable waivers. Closer Jonathan Papelbon cleared waivers.


Two Months Later, Roberto Hernandez Still Getting It Done

At the end of May, I took stock of starter Roberto Hernandez‘s performance. He had, to that point, compiled a 3.76 ERA over 12 starts. In the four starts after that, he struggled, ballooning his ERA to 4.52, but he was the least of the Phillies’ concerns at the time. Since then, in his last
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What to Watch for in the Final Two Months

The Phillies are enjoying a much-needed day off today, after having been dominated by Nationals pitching over the weekend. They were shut out in each of their last two games and haven’t scored since the sixth inning of Friday’s 2-1 win. They’re 49-63, tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the third-worst record in the National League.
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The Latest in A Sad Chapter of Phillies Baseball

There was a reason why your parents lied about sending the family dog to a farm upstate. In ignorance, a comfortable lie is always better than the cold, hard reality. Better to deal with a temporarily nonplussed child who believes his dog will play fetch into eternity than an inconsolable child who just lost an irreplaceable best
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Ruben Amaro Explains the Phillies’ Inactivity

The Phillies didn’t do anything leading up to today’s 4 PM ET trade deadline. GM Ruben Amaro blamed other general managers.


A Rundown of the Phillies’ Activity at the Trade Deadline


The Strangest Ryan Howard Development Yet

11 years into Ryan Howard‘s tenure as a major league ballplayer in Philadelphia, we sometimes think we’ve heard it all with him — the highs and the lows. Home run streaks, home run droughts; dominance and struggles against certain pitchers; success and failure against teams or in specific ballparks. But with nearly 1,300 career games
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All Quiet on the Trade Front for the Phillies

Just like last year, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching and the Phillies are standing motionless, arms akimbo, a plethora of marketable assets to either side. GM Ruben Amaro could have gotten value out of soon-to-be free agent Carlos Ruiz, third baseman Michael Young, outfielder Delmon Young, reliever Mike Adams, and bench
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Roy Halladay Expresses His Feelings for Chase Utley on Twitter

Roy Halladay joined Twitter a few months ago and has quickly become a must-follow. Not only because it gives us access to a former Phillie, but because he’s often unintentionally hilarious and takes the time to interact with his haters. On Tuesday afternoon, while people were clamoring over the Chase Headley trade, Halladay decided to
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DraftKings Is Giving You A Free Entry with Your First Deposit and a Chance to Win $100,000

Check out and make a deposit to gain a free entry for a chance to play in Tuesday’s $400,000 midsummer classic. Top places gain free entry into the contest. The winner of the midsummer classic will take home $100,000. The entry fee is normally $2, but if you’re making a first-time deposit, your entry
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Cole Hamels Is on His Way to Phillies Immortality

Cole Hamels has been bandied about in trade rumors, despite having signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies nearly two years ago to this date. The Phillies’ future is looking bleak, and their other trade chips aren’t expected to bring in a franchise-altering haul. Hamels, on the other hand, could bring that kind
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Chase Utley’s All-Star Performance A Rare Feat by A Phillie

Chase Utley doubled in the National League’s first run of the game in the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field on Tuesday night. Utley ripped a Jon Lester fastball that bounced high off of the fence in right-center — a home run in many other ballparks — to score Aramis Ramirez, cutting the American League’s
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Just How Bad Is Ryan Howard?

Lately, we have been getting feedback that we have been too lenient on Ryan Howard‘s performance over the last few years. We give him a pass far too often, they say. Sometimes, they just want to stop by the blog and see the guy torn to pieces. Your feedback has been taken into consideration. I present
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Looking Ahead to Domonic Brown’s Second Half

Back on June 13, I put up a quick poll to get a feel for what fans expected of Domonic Brown in terms of weighted on-base average (wOBA) going forward. I had a bit of an ulterior motive because I expected that the responses would skew negative (though less negative than that of the general
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Kyle Kendrick Has Had Some First-Inning Issues

Jayson Werth‘s three-run home run in the first inning off of Kyle Kendrick in Sunday’s first-half finale was about the most predictable thing that could have happened. Kendrick entered the game having allowed 21 earned runs in 18 first innings. At the end of the first ion Sunday, his opening frame ERA was an ugly
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Phillies Should Consider Bringing Randy Wolf Back

Former Phillie Randy Wolf opted out of his minor league contract with the Orioles on Sunday and will be looking to join his fifth different organization this season in an attempt to prolong his playing career. Wolf made a handful of appearances for the Marlins, his first stint back in the majors since 2012, earlier
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Phillies Call Up Grady Sizemore from Triple-A

With the All-Star break just three days away, the Phillies decided to add an extra outfielder to the roster.’s Todd Zolecki reports that Grady Sizemore has been called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies signed Sizemore to a minor league deal back on June 24 after he was let go by the Boston
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Reports of Jonathan Papelbon’s Demise Greatly Exaggerated?

Early in the season, I wrote several blog posts discussing Jonathan Papelbon‘s waning velocity and tumbling strikeout rate, but all the right-hander has done over the first half of the season is pitch lights out. Despite missing out on a nomination to the National League All-Star team, Papelbon has been among the game’s best closers. Following last
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Ben Revere Has Turned His Season Around

When the Phillies lost the final two games of a three-game set in Cincinnati and returned home on June 10, Ben Revere was not well-liked among Phillies fans. He was hitting a meager .282 and had made a number of poor defensive plays in center field, leading to the pitching staff giving up unnecessary amounts
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Offense to Blame for Phillies’ 3-13 Skid

If there was any doubt that the Phillies were out of contention before embarking on a ten-game road trip, it has been erased as the Phillies dropped two of three to the Marlins in Miami and were just swept out of Pittsburgh by the Pirates. Since sweeping the Braves in Atlanta and taking the first
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Chase Utley Is the Phillies’ Only All-Star

The All-Star rosters were unveiled this evening on ESPN. The 37-51 Phillies will have only one representative at the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota: second baseman Chase Utley, who will start for the National League. Outfielder Marlon Byrd and starter Cole Hamels were other worthy candidates to make the roster as reserves,
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Ryan Howard Isn’t Providing Many Fireworks

Billy Hamilton. Jose Reyes. Alcides Escobar. Dee Gordon. Erick Aybar. These are a few of the names that have slugging percentages similar to or better than first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard hasn’t homered since June 19, two weeks ago. At .401, Howard is one more poor game away from watching his slugging percentage dip below .400.
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Don’t Give Up On Domonic Brown

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the sentiment among some Phillies fans that the club missed on Brandon Moss, who was briefly in the organization at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. I did the same with Jason Grilli last year. It’s tough to see marginal players pass through your fingertips only to go onto major success
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Ruben Amaro Doesn’t Want to Rebuild, Either

Earlier, I discussed how president David Montgomery feared going into a full rebuild because attendance could fall, even though it’s already been falling and will continue to fall until the team gets better. The Phillies’ brass must be sending out the big guns in an attempt to sway public sentiment, as GM Ruben Amaro joined
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David Montgomery Doesn’t Want to Rebuild Because Attendance Will Fall

One of the items I wrote about over the weekend at HardballTalk involved Phillies president David Montgomery and his reluctance to rebuild. Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times reported that Montgomery worries about falling attendance when considering blowing up the team.


Phillies First-Half Report Card

With the conclusion of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies reached the halfway point of the season. They stood 36-45, good for last place in the NL East and on pace for 90 losses. If they continue on their current path, 2014 will be their first 90-loss season since 2000, when they
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Jake Diekman Should Not Be the “Eighth-Inning Guy”

Reliever Jake Diekman ran into a bit of trouble in the eighth inning of last night’s eventual 14-inning victory over the Miami Marlins. The lefty started the inning and Marlins manager Mike Redmond opted to have the right-handed Reed Johnson pinch-hit for reliever Bryan Morris. Johnson would eventually fly out to right field. The Marlins’
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Domonic Brown Has Not Had A Good Time in Left Field

Left fielder Domonic Brown made another blunder in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins. With two outs and runners on first and second, Marcell Ozuna hit a line drive to Brown in left. Brown misjudged the ball and it sailed over his head, allowing one run to score. Another two would score immediately
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Phillies Sign Grady Sizemore to a Minor League Deal

Via‘s Todd Zolecki: The Phillies have signed OF Grady Sizemore to a minor league contract. He will report to Lehigh Valley (AAA) on Thursday. — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 24, 2014


Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

After winning back a ton of good will from fans with a five-game winning streak to begin a seven-game road trip, the Phillies dropped the final two games in St. Louis against the Cardinals, then came back to begin an eight-game homestand and were promptly shut out by the Miami Marlins for the tenth time
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Report: With Deadline on Horizon, Phillies Aggressive on Scouting Front

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies have been among the “most aggressive” in scouting other teams’ minor league systems as well as their parent teams. He adds that Cole Hamels is available. His full Phillies-centric blurb in the column:


Phillies Win Fourth in a Row, Adding Intrigue to NL East Race

Behind seven and two-thirds strong innings from David Buchanan in Thursday night’s series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phillies won their fourth consecutive game, gaining ground on the first-place Washington Nationals in a packed NL East. Ryan Howard homered and drove in three runs and Jonathan Papelbon nailed down his 17th save with
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Phillies Bullpen Much Improved Lately

On Monday against the Atlanta Braves, Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save and reliever Justin De Fratus was inches away from allowing the game-winning run in the tenth inning. It’s a story we’ve seen countless times throughout the 2014 season, but it did not repeat itself — JDF was able to get an infield pop-up
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The Phillies’ Base Running Has Been Disastrous

John Mayberry, Jr. went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a three-run home run in Thursday afternoon’s series finale against the San Diego Padres. All in all, a pretty good day for him in what has been quite a productive season. Mayberry’s performance at the plate, particularly the home run which came in the seventh
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Quick Domonic Brown Poll

Domonic Brown currently has a .252 weighted on-base average, which now ranks as the third-worst among 167 qualified hitters in baseball. Jedd Gyorko is way down at .215, Brad Miller can be found at .248, and Zack Cozart has eked ahead of Brown at .253. The MLB average for non-pitchers is .318, and the MLB
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A Major League GM Can’t Tell the Difference Between Plate Appearances and At-Bats. Yep, it’s Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Over at The Good Phight, David S. Cohen wrote about something Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said while he was in the Phillies’ broadcast booth in yesterday’s series finale against the San Diego Padres. Speaking about Jimmy Rollins encroaching on Mike Schmidt‘s franchise hits record — Rollins is one hit away from tying him at
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John Mayberry, Jr. Quietly Having a Great Season

Outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. got the start at first base in place of Ryan Howard against San Diego Padres lefty Eric Stults in Thursday afternoon’s series finale. Mayberry, as he has done so often throughout his career, punished the southpaw along with his lefty mates in the bullpen. JMJ finished the day with a pair
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The Phillies Have to See Domonic Brown Through His Struggles

Domonic Brown‘s offensive futility continued last night as the outfielder went 0-for-3 with a walk against the San Diego Padres. His slash line fell to .211/.263/.312 and his weighted on-base average declined to .252. It’s the fourth-worst mark among all qualified hitters, ahead of only Jedd Gyorko (.215), Brad Miller (.242), and Zack Cozart (.251). The
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