Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


Phillies Acquire Jeremy Hellickson from the Diamondbacks’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies are finalizing a trade with the Diamondbacks for starter Jeremy Hellickson.‘s Steve Gilbert reports the Phillies are sending pitcher Sam McWilliams to Arizona. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury was the first to break news of the trade.


Phillies Reportedly Interested in Marcell Ozuna

Christian Moreno of ESPN Deportes reported on Thursday that the Phillies have interest in trading for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna struggled in the first half of the season before being demoted to Triple-A New Orleans in early July. There’s more to Ozuna’s demotion than performance. Team owner Jeffrey Loria didn’t want to play Ozuna
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2015 Phillies Report Cards Anthology

Since the beginning of October, we’ve been posting a report card for nearly every player to don Phillies red pinstripes in 2015. At long last, the list has been exhausted (as are we). If you missed any of them, use the convenient list below. Each author’s name is a link to his or her Twitter
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Phillies Willing to Trade Ken Giles

Yesterday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Phillies have made closer Ken Giles available in a trade. GM Matt Klentak confirmed Heyman’s report, per Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. Giles is 25 years old, under team control through 2020, and has put up back-to-back stellar seasons. That teams might be interested,
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Free Agent Pitching Targets for the Phillies

Despite having made several headlines in recent months as the front office has molted, the Phillies portend to have a relatively quiet off-season. Nearly all of their trade candidates have already been moved — Cole Hamels to Texas, Chase Utley to Los Angeles, Jonathan Papelbon to Washington. Many roster spots are now spoken for by
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2015 Phillies Report Card: Pete Mackanin

The first half of the Phillies’ season was remarkably poor, considering their intent when the schedule kicked off at home against the Red Sox was to lose as often as possible. Chase Utley suffered an ankle injury, performed poorly for two and a half months, then landed on the disabled list for a month and a
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Looking Back on the Cliff Lee Era

The Phillies officially ended the Cliff Lee era in Philadelphia on Tuesday, buying out the lefty’s contract for $12.5 million rather than picking up his club option for $27.5 million. As Justin Klugh pointed out at The Good Phight, that transaction has become something of a joke, as many have responded with a joke to
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2015 Phillies Report Card: Chase Utley

In 2014, for the first time in five years, Chase Utley was able to play a full season. The oft-injured second baseman had been diagnosed with degenerative conditions in both of his knees, then suffered a strained oblique in 2013. Though his numbers were down quite a bit compared to previous years, that Utley accrued
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Phillies Claim Dan Otero Off Waivers from the Athletics

#Phillies have claimed RHP Dan Otero off waivers from the Oakland Athletics. — Phillies (@Phillies) November 3, 2015


2015 Phillies Report Card: Ken Giles

Relievers are fickle. It’s become a truism in baseball, due mostly to the recent ubiquity of analytics. The numbers show that it’s quite tough to predict what one relief pitcher will do from one season to the next. For example, in 2012, Fernando Rodney posted a 0.60 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays. This past season, he
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Ruben Amaro, Jr. to Join the Red Sox

Not in the front office. It appears former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr will become Red Sox first base coach. — Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) October 24, 2015 Update: Not so fast… While Ruben Amaro is one of small group of finalists Red Sox talking to for first base coach, source says no final decision has
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Phillies Expected to Name Matt Klentak as New GM

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe was the first to report that the Phillies are expected to name Matt Klentak as their new general manager.‘s Todd Zolecki confirmed the report. Athletics assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz and Rays VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom were reportedly the two other finalists for the position, per Jim
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2015 Phillies Report Card: Domonic Brown

The Phillies officially closed the chapter on the Domonic Brown era, outrighting him off of the 40-man roster earlier this week. He cleared waivers and is expected to refuse his assignment, which would make him a free agent. For the first time since he was drafted in 2006, Brown will not be associated with the
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The Phillies Outright Four More Players

On Monday, the Phillies announced they outrighted four more players off of the 40-man roster. One of the names is a big one: The #Phillies have outrighted four players off their 40-man roster: OF's Brian Bogusevic, Domonic Brown and Kelly Dugan and C Tommy Joseph. — Phillies (@Phillies) October 19, 2015


2015 Phillies Report Card: Jeff Francoeur

In a strict sense, Jeff Francoeur‘s -1.1 WAR season in 2015 with the Phillies was helpful, not hurtful. The Phillies put together one of the worst rosters in franchise history in an effort to finish with the worst record in baseball. Mission accomplished. According to Baseball Reference, only Ryan Howard was worse than Francoeur in
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2015 Phillies Report Card: Jeanmar Gomez

Count Jeanmar Gomez among the Pittsburgh Pirates’ many pitcher reinventions. Pitching coach Ray Searage has aided in the career turnarounds of Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, and J.A. Happ. Even veteran A.J. Burnett enjoyed success in his 30’s only in Pittsburgh, not in New York or Philadelphia.


The Pros and Cons of Hiring Kim Ng

Last week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Phillies plan to interview Kim Ng in their search for a new general manager. Ng is one of a handful of candidates along with Larry Beinfest, Ross Atkins, Matt Klentak, J.J. Piccolo, Thad Levine, and Ben Cherington.


2015 Phillies Report Card: Cody Asche

Cody Asche wasn’t all bad for the Phillies in 2015. He held the fort at third base until Maikel Franco was called up to take over the position in mid-May, then transitioned to left field in order to make himself more useful to the team. That, irrespective of how he hit or fielded, was valuable.
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Phillies Outright Justin De Fratus

#Phillies have outrighted the following players off their 40-man roster: INF Chase d’Arnaud, OF Jordan Danks, RHP Justin De Fratus (1/2). — Phillies (@Phillies) October 7, 2015 …LHP Adam Loewen, C Erik Kratz & LHP Ken Roberts. RHP Jonathan Pettibone was also outrighted after being activated from 60-day DL (2/2). — Phillies (@Phillies) October 7,
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2015 Phillies Report Card: Chad Billingsley

The Phillies entered the 2015 season with a dearth of starting rotation depth and thus no reason not to gamble on a starting pitcher or two. And so that’s what they did in signing Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley in January. The hope was that Billingsley would be able to recover from last year’s flexor tendon surgery and
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Crashburn Alley 2015 Playoff Predictions

The MLB playoffs will kick off on Tuesday with the Yankees hosting the Astros in the American League Wild Card game. On Wednesday, the Pirates host the Cubs to determine who makes it into the Division Series. Here are the predictions from the Crashburn staff. Feel free to list your own predictions in the comments
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Phillies Finish Worst Season Since 1972

The Phillies avoided ignominy in Sunday’s season finale, beating the Miami Marlins 7-2 to finish with only 99 losses. It’s their worst record since the 1972 Phillies went 59-97.  They would have been the first Phillies team to lose 100 games in a season since the 1961 squad, which finished 47-107. The Phillies’ .389 winning
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Phillies Clinch #1 Overall Pick in 2016

After the Phillies dropped Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins, they needed the Cincinnati Reds to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates or a loss to the Marlins on Saturday or Sunday. Either result would clinch the worst record in baseball, which means they would pick first in the 2016 draft and secure themselves
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Jeremy Affeldt Pans Philly Fans in Farewell Article

San Francisco Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt announced on that he is retiring at the conclusion of the 2015 season. The 36-year-old is a veteran of 14 seasons, the last seven of which have come with the Giants, so he’s earned three World Series rings in the process. Affeldt wrote about the five things he
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Jerad Eickhoff: Hidden Gem of the Cole Hamels Trade

The Phillies ended months of conjecture at the end of July by sending ace Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers in a trade that also involved reliever Jake Diekman and brought six players back to Philadelphia. One of them, Matt Harrison, offset some of Hamels’ salary and three were highly-touted prospects — pitcher Jake Thompson, outfielder
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The Ethics of Tanking

During last night’s series opener against the New York Mets, a brief debate emerged on Twitter about the ethics of tanking. It’s no secret that the Phillies had no designs of being a winning team in 2015, and though no one involved with the team will openly admit it, every loss has been good for
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Somehow, There Are Jonathan Papelbon Defenders

At FOX Sports, former major leaguer C.J. Nitkowski wrote a most mind-numbing defense of Jonathan Papelbon for his attempt to choke teammate Bryce Harper on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. Fisking has been out of style for a while now, but that’s how I’m going to respond to Nitkowski’s points here. His quotes in bold,
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Phillies Finish Their Worst Season Since 1972

The Phillies avoided ignominy in Sunday’s season finale against the Miami Marlins, winning 7-2 finish with only 99 losses. They’ve been around for 133 seasons, dating all the way back to 1883. Their last 100-loss season came 54 years ago in 1961, when the team finished 47-107.


Jonathan Papelbon Tried to Choke Bryce Harper

The Phillies scored eight runs in the ninth inning, including five against closer Jonathan Papelbon, to break a 4-4 tie in Sunday’s win against the Washington Nationals. That wasn’t the big story during and after the game, however. Outfielder Bryce Harper flied out to start the bottom of the eighth inning and he didn’t run
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Aaron Altherr Hit An Inside-the-Park Grand Slam

Aaron Altherr gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead last night when he hit what turned out to be an inside-the-park grand slam against Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann. The outfielder hit a sinking liner in front of center fielder Michael Taylor, who made an ill-fated dive. He never touched the ball, which skipped past him towards
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Crash Bag: Season 3, Episode 1

Welcome back to the Crash Bag! It’s been a long time. Unsurprisingly, a lot of you had questions about the Phillies’ minor league system as opposed to the major league roster. Let’s jump into it.


Phillies Want Jeff Francoeur Back in 2016

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies and outfielder Jeff Francoeur have mutual interest in a reprisal role in 2016. Francoeur signed with the Phillies on a minor league deal in November and made the Opening Day roster out of spring training, earning a $950,000 salary.


The Phillies Should Explore Trading Cody Asche

Third baseman Cody Asche hit a pair of solo home runs in Tuesday night’s 6-2 win against the Miami Marlins. It’s the first multi-homer game of his three-year career. Surprisingly, it was also his first multi-hit game since August 14. Asche currently holds a subpar .303 weighted on-base average. The National League average for third
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Phillies Extend Pete Mackanin Through 2016

News from the Phillies: #Phillies have extended the contract of Pete Mackanin as manager through the 2016 season. The extension includes a club option for 2017. — Phillies (@Phillies) September 22, 2015


Pete Mackanin Won’t Use Ken Giles in a Tie Game on the Road

The Phillies, coincidentally, lost every game of their three-game weekend set in Atlanta against the Braves by a 2-1 score. The getaway game on Sunday included a late comeback to tie the game at 1-1, but it ultimately ended with the Braves walking off in the bottom of the ninth inning against Luis Garcia. Closer
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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The Phillies made a ton of progress on the field this year. They successfully completed the hardest phase of their rebuilding process, trading away Cole Hamels along with a few others while saying goodbye to GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. Incoming president Andy MacPhail emphasized the importance of utilizing analytics when the Phillies introduced him in
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Bringing Back the Crash Bag

Fans of the Crash Bag have likely noticed it has been absent from the site for a while. We’re going to try to bring it back, perhaps at a twice-monthly rate and Adam and I will share the responsibilities. That could change going forward. The Crash Bag was something I always looked forward to reading
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Together, Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf Make a Decent First Baseman

Ryan Howard‘s struggles against left-handed pitching, his 2014 season notwithstanding, are well known. The New York Yankees took advantage of this during the 2009 World Series, having lefty reliever Damaso Marte face Howard four times in four games and getting the out all four times in two fly balls and two strikeouts. It then became
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Phillies Upcoming Non-Tender Candidates

With the end of the season drawing near, the Phillies will be preparing first for a change in the front office ranks, as Andy MacPhail will be succeeding Pat Gillick as the team president. If he doesn’t assume direct control of baseball operations, he’ll be in charge of naming someone for that position, as well
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Jonathan Papelbon Threw His Former Teammates Under the Bus

Former Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon arrived with the Washington Nationals in Philadelphia yesterday to open up a three-game series. It’s his first time back in the city since he was traded in July. Papelbon, known for never biting his tongue, threw his former Phillies teammates under the bus when answering questions prior to Monday’s game.
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Philly Fans Hate Jeff Francoeur Now

CSN Philly’s Leslie Gudel posted this picture of Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur to Instagram on Monday night after the season-opening game between the Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons. Francoeur is seen smiling, wearing a Falcons jersey. Here’s a smattering of Philly fans’ responses to the picture:


Phillies Wise to Move on from Ruben Amaro, Jr.

The Phillies, after much consternation and conjecture, finally turned the page on the Ruben Amaro, Jr. era by handing him his pink slip on Thursday. With incoming president Andy MacPhail set to steer the Phillies into what we hope is a much more prosperous era, it was time to clear out what was left of
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Aaron Nola Exceeding Early Expectations

Through his first 10 major league starts, Aaron Nola has been better than former Phillies ace Cole Hamels was at the same point in his career. In fact, it’s not even close, going by ERA.  Player GS IP ERA K% BB% GB% Nola 10 60.2 3.56 20.6% 6.1% 45.8% Hamels 10 50.1 5.36 22.1% 11.0%
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Odubel Herrera Ranks Among Best Rule-5 Picks Ever

Odubel Herrera keeps on truckin’. The Phillies’ center fielder went 2-for-3 with a walk and a three-run home run, putting Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves out of reach at 5-0. Herrera bolstered his triple-slash line to .302/.340/.434 and crossed the 3-WAR threshold on the season, according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs. Matt Winkelman
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Phillies’ Run Differential Already 20th-Worst in Team History

Early in this season, much was made of the Phillies’ abysmal start, particularly in the run differential department. Here’s what was written on May 2:


Checking In with An Old Friend

Former Phillie Kyle Kendrick hasn’t had a great 2015, pitching half his games at Coors Field with the Colorado Rockies. He entered Monday’s start with a 6.29 ERA and he missed the entire month of August due to inflammation in his right shoulder. He’s had better years. Kendrick did something on Monday that he never did
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Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

A doff of the ballcap to Corinne for the inspiration: The September race I'm watching — August 7 (Utley's return): Utley .529 OPS, Cesar .714 OPS Today: Utley .657, Cesar .686 — Corinne (@Ut26) September 6, 2015


Phillies’ Youth Movement Paying Off Early

The Phillies still have a ways to go before they can legitimately be considered a threat in the NL East again, but it’s hard not to be enthused by the team’s play in the second half, especially after pawning off a handful of veterans. They’re 24-19 in the second half, though they’ve narrowly outscored opponents
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The Aaron Harang vs. Yoenis Cespedes Battle

As strange as it sounds, since they won by six runs, the Phillies held on to beat the New York Mets in Tuesday night’s game at Citi Field. The Mets scored four runs against Aaron Harang in the fifth inning to chase him from the game, and then once in each of the final four
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The Phillies Struck Gold with Rule 5 Pick Odubel Herrera

The Phillies made a couple of unheralded Rule 5 picks during the off-season, selecting pitcher Andy Oliver from the Pittsburgh Pirates and outfielder Odubel Herrera from the Rangers. Oliver showed some good swing-and-miss stuff, but faltered with his control and the Phillies wanted to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley rather than keep him on
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