Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


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


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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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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