Bill BaerBill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


Phillies to Lead the Charge on Expanding Protective Netting

There have been a handful of incidents this season in which fans have been hurt by foul balls and broken bat shards, leading some — including Detroit Tigers players Anthony Gose, Justin Verlander, Nick Castellanos, and Alex Avila — to stump in favor of expanding protective netting at the ballpark. Major League Baseball has been
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Jeff Francoeur Enjoying A Good Season Despite Negative WAR

Recently, a little debate stirred on the ol’ Internets when ESPN’s Keith Law cited Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur‘s negative WAR in response to a piece of trivia which painted the veteran in a positive light. Law isn’t wrong about Frenchy’s poor on-field value: Baseball Reference lists him with -0.3 WAR while FanGraphs has him at
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Enter DraftKings $300,000 Fantasy Baseball Contest Tonight

DraftKings is offering Crashburn Alley readers access to a free fantasy baseball contest with $300,000 in prizes! All you have to do is pick the 10 MLB players you think will score the most fantasy points during the MLB games on Monday, August 24th. Draft 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS,
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Utley Retrospective: The Man

Over the next few days, we’ll be looking back on the most memorable moments of Chase Utley’s career with the Phillies. You can conveniently find everything that’s written about the subject under the category “Utley Retrospective” above. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me send out a tweet with the hashtag “#TheMan“. Early
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Chase Utley’s Indelible Mark on the Phillies, Baseball

As Adam Dembowitz wrote about earlier, the Phillies traded second baseman Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two as yet unnamed minor league players. He will likely be the last veteran player the Phillies trade this season and joins Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ben Revere, and Jonathan Papelbon as players to be flipped
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It’s Time to Cut Aaron Harang Loose

The Phillies made a pair of starting pitching signings in January, hoping to buy low and sell higher the way they did with Roberto Hernandez in 2014. Aaron Harang was coming off of a solid season with the Braves, but at 36-going-on-37, he only cost the Phillies $5 million on a one-year deal. Chad Billingsley
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Phillies, Giants Discussing Chase Utley Trade

Via Jon Morosi of FOX Sports: Sources: #SFGiants and #Phillies in ongoing talks about Chase Utley trade. Stage is advanced enough that prospect names have been discussed. — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 12, 2015


Time to Ease Up on Justin De Fratus

I’ve been beating this drum for months in the hope that someone might forward it to Phillies management. Alas, there has been no progress in that regard. Justin De Fratus threw 37 more pitches in Monday’s 13-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He recorded four outs and allowed three runs on four hits.


Phillies Acquire Tyler Pastornicky from the Rangers

The Phillies announced earlier today that they acquired infielder Tyler Pastornicky from the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations. He’ll report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


The Pete Mackanin-Led Phillies Are Surging

The Phillies completed a series sweep in San Diego against the Padres on Sunday afternoon, running their second-half record to 16-5, the best in baseball in that span of time. They’ve lost their stranglehold on the worst record in baseball, falling a game ahead of the division rival Miami Marlins. They’re only 2.5 games up
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Phillies Should Audition, but Not Trade, Chase Utley in August

Chase Utley is coming back soon. Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reported yesterday that the second baseman is headed back to Philadelphia to consult with the team and could potentially be activated on Friday. If not then, sometime very soon. Utley has been out since June 23 with a right ankle injury. He
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An Updated Look at the Phillies’ Minor League System

The Phillies made three trades leading up to the 4 PM EST deadline on Friday, sending closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals, starter Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers, and outfielder Ben Revere to the Toronto Blue Jays. Coupled with trades made last year to eschew Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, and Roberto Hernandez, the
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Phillies Trade Ben Revere to the Blue Jays

Ahead of the 4 PM EST trade deadline, the Phillies traded outfielder Ben Revere to the Toronto Blue Jays,’s Todd Zolecki reports. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies will get a pair of pitchers in return, Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero.


The Top 10 Starts of Cole Hamels’ Phillies Career

The Phillies traded Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers last night, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to move forward sans the ace lefty without first remembering the lefty’s 14-year career with the organization.


Is Jonathan Papelbon A Future Hall of Famer?

The Phillies traded closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals yesterday, ending the right-hander’s four-year stint in Philadelphia after signing a record four-year, $50 million contract in November, 2011. Though he’ll be remembered more for his antics and media sound bites, Papelbon more than lived up to expectations given the size of his contract, compiling
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Phillies Trade Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirms a report initially from Barry Svurluga of the Washington Post: the Phillies have agreed to trade closer Jonathan Papelton to the division rival Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Nick Pivetta (as reported by’s Todd Zolecki).


Phillies Trade Rumor Roundup

It’s July 28. Do you know where your trade chips are?


Phillies Coming Out of the Break on All Cylinders

Cole Hamels‘ no-hitter Saturday against the Chicago Cubs sent the Phillies’ record to 7-1 since the All-Star break, the best record in baseball — tied with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants — in that span of time. Their one loss was the 1-0 game against the Tampa Bay Rays in which Aaron Nola
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Cole Hamels No-Hits the Cubs at Wrigley Field

Cole Hamels came into Saturday afternoon’s start at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs the subject of intense trade speculation and with a little bit of worry considering he had been hit hard in his previous two starts. He had everything working against the Cubs, using his patented mid-90’s fastball, loopy curve, and one of
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Jonathan Papelbon’s Vesting Option Acting As Trade Deterrent

With a pair of scoreless innings pitched ahead of Wednesday’s walk-off win in the 10th inning, Jonathan Papelbon was credited with another game finished. He’s now 15 away from 100 combined games finished between 2014 and ’15. Once he reaches that threshold, his $13 million option for the 2016 season vests. With 33 through the
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Happy Aaron Nola Day!

Aaron Nola is set to make his major league debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, opposing Nate Karns. As expected, Nola progressed quickly through the Phillies’ minor league system since he was taken in the first round, seventh overall, in the 2014 draft out of Louisiana State University. It has taken the 22-year-old a little over
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Jeff Francoeur Has Become A Trade Target

With a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning yesterday against the Miami Marlins, Jeff Francoeur helped the Phillies polish off their first series sweep since May 15-17 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was Frenchy’s second big home run of the series and one of several timely hits he’s had this
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The Inevitable Cesar Hernandez Slump Has Begun

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s comments with which he pronounced Cesar Hernandez the heir to the throne of Chase Utley, sidelined with an ankle injury, at second base. Along with the plain old disrespect to Utley it showed, Amaro’s confidence in Hernandez relied a great deal on a three-week-long
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The Importance of Making Deadline Deals

With two weeks left until the July 31 trade deadline, the Phillies are expected to generate some activity as they have a handful of players who would benefit contending players. Getting rid of established veterans in return for younger players with upside is a rote part of any rebuilding process. However, the Phillies aren’t under
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Talking Phillies on the /r/baseball Podcast

I was a guest on the latest /r/baseball podcast. Tommy Cook (@TommyECook) and I discussed the Phillies’ rebuilding process, the changes in leadership, and potential trades. Check it out using the link above.


[Screams Internally]

On Friday night in San Francisco against the Giants, in the midst of an embarrassing 15-2 loss, reliever Justin De Fratus threw another two innings and amassed 54 pitches. He allowed a pair of runs on four hits and a walk with one strikeout. Regular readers of this site are familiar with this trope, as it’s
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Did Maikel Franco Make the Right Call?

The Phillies lost in embarrassing fashion on Friday night to the San Francisco Giants, 15-2. Cole Hamels allowed nine runs in 3 1/3 innings, the worst start of his career, while the Phillies weren’t able to capitalize on any of the opportunities they had against Madison Bumgarner. After getting shut out in back-to-back games by Clayton
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Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

We haven’t done one of these in a while, which I guess is why I call it an “intermittent time period”. Cole Hamels starts for the Phillies tonight in San Francisco opposite Madison Bumgarner. The Phillies are on their heels after back-to-back shutouts at the hands of Dodgers starters Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, which
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Lame Duck GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., Salting the Earth

If one takes a job as the general manager of a baseball team and performs poorly, he likely will be able to find work again. A good GM could have poor results during a tenure for any number of reasons, so no one is going to immediately close the door on someone with job experience.
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Phillies Outright Sean O’Sullivan, Designate Kevin Correia for Assignment

Sean O’Sullivan was hit around in Monday night’s loss in Los Angeles to the Dodgers, serving up seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings while throwing a career-high 123 pitches. The Phillies outrighted him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the start, per Zolecki. In 13 starts this season, O’Sullivan posted a 6.08 ERA with
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Cesar Hernandez Is on Fire, But It Won’t Last

Cesar Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 10 games and stole two more bases in a 3-for-4 performance on Sunday, helping the Phillies end a six-game losing skid in a 4-0, 10-inning victory against the Atlanta Braves. He also made a stellar defensive play in the bottom of the 10th in support of Jonathan Papelbon.
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Maikel Franco Will Have to Wait for An All-Star Nomination

Maikel Franco earned a promotion to the major leagues in mid-May and hasn’t looked back, ranking among the league’s best-hitting third baseman while playing adequate defense. He went on a particularly torrid streak to begin the month of June, hitting consecutively in 11 games while smacking four home runs. Later in the month, he knocked
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Where’s Ben Revere?

Update: Tom McCarthy said on the Phillies’ broadcast on Sunday afternoon that Revere is dealing with a hamstring injury, so there’s that. Now we just need to find out why the Phillies were so secretive about it. * Ben Revere is not in the starting lineup for a third consecutive game. He last started on
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Aaron Harang Is Regressing, But His Trade Value Isn’t

Well, yeah. That tends to happen when one ends May with a 2.02 ERA but holds a 4.18 career ERA. Through his first 11 starts, Harang had a 53/15 K/BB ratio, which is nice, but didn’t begin to explain his level of success. He allowed four home runs over 71 1/3 innings and benefited from a
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The Spirit of Ryne Sandberg Lives On

If there was one hope that came with Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation, it was that the Phillies would finally stop unnecessarily taxing the arms of their best, young relievers. It’s been a constant topic of consternation here, but because it’s an easily-preventable mistake that left unnoticed could chip into the progress the organization has made in
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Phillies Announce Hiring of Andy MacPhail, Hope Abounds

Earlier this afternoon, the Phillies invited the media to another press conference. This time, everyone was well-informed and the subject was one of positivity rather than one of loss and disappointment. With part-owner John Middleton to his right and current team president Pat Gillick to his left, Andy MacPhail faced the Philadelphia media as he
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Baumann: Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly

Crashburn alum Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) has been on the college baseball circuit lately along with his usual duties at ESPN’s Grantland, where he covers major league baseball at large. It is our privilege that he got to cover the Phillies for his latest column, a must-read titled “Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly.” Use the
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Ben Revere Quietly on His Way to a Career Year

Pretend you didn’t read the title. Who, among hitters to have come to the plate at least 170 times entering Sunday’s action, leads the Phillies in weighted on-base average? Who is the only Phillie to reach double-digits in stolen bases (and is doing so with an 82 percent success rate)? Who leads Phillies position players in Wins
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Ben Revere’s Quote about Ryne Sandberg Is Damning

Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation as manager of the Phillies yesterday took everyone by surprise, including his players. In fact, new interim manager Pete Mackanin suggested not even Sandberg’s wife knew he was considering stepping down. Needless to say, the Phillies were still processing the news when they had to speak to the media about the situation
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Things Get Worse for Domonic Brown

Things haven’t been going well for Domonic Brown since he was brought up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 14. In 11 games, he’s batting .179/.304/.256 in 46 plate appearances. He did drive in a run with a double in the seventh inning last night to break up Max Scherzer‘s shutout and end the Nationals’
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Ryne Sandberg Has Resigned as Phillies’ Manager

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg announced, sitting beside team president Pat Gillick and GM Ruben Amaro in the press room at Citizens Bank Park, announced that he is resigning as the Phillies’ manager. The Phillies hastily called a press conference at 3:30 PM EST with about a half hour of lead time. Pete Mackanin will serve as the
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Jon Lester Would Like to See Jonathan Papelbon Join the Cubs

CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports that Cubs starter Jon Lester has kept in touch with former teammate Jonathan Papelbon and certainly wouldn’t be opposed to having the closer join his team. Lester and Papelbon were teammates on the Boston Red Sox from 2006-11, winning one championship together. “I know he would be excited to come here,
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No, the Phillies Aren’t Gaming Chase Utley’s Vesting Option

Second baseman Chase Utley hit the disabled list on Wednesday due to inflammation in his right ankle. The 36-year-old was slow to start during spring training due to an ankle issue as well, so the injury doesn’t come out of left field. Riding the pine is a big deal for Utley, as he has $15 million
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Phillies to Announce Hiring of Andy MacPhail Soon

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported yesterday, confirming a report originally from Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, that the Phillies are expected to announce the hiring of baseball executive Andy MacPhail “soon”, “within a week or so”. Current team president Pat Gillick is expected to move back to a role as a consultant for the
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Rangers and Phillies Having An “Ongoing Dialogue” About Cole Hamels

Sources: #Rangers and #Phillies having ongoing dialogue about Cole Hamels, and he is willing to waive no-trade to Texas. @FOXSports — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 23, 2015


Maikel Franco’s White Hot Philadelphian Summer

Phillies third base prospect Maikel Franco has always had qualifiers attached to any praise he had garnered over the past few years. Yeah, he can hit homers, but he has trouble with off-speed stuff. He has a strong arm at third base, but he doesn’t have the instincts of a great defensive third baseman. Not
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Nick Cafardo’s Hilarious Cole Hamels Trade Proposal

It’s been a hot minute since we heard anything new pertaining to trade rumors involving starter Cole Hamels and the Boston Red Sox. No new players have been added to the Red Sox list of “untouchables” — it still includes Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Manuel Margot. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe still
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Dear Ryne Sandberg: Please Stop Abusing Justin De Fratus

It’s been written here several times already this season, but it bears repeating often: manager Ryne Sandberg needs to stop abusing reliever Justin De Fratus. The Phillies, understandably, are short on starting pitching and need their bullpen to pitch in a bit more. They had called up Phillippe Aumont from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start
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The Importance of the Phillies Achieving MLB’s Worst Record

Now on a nine-game losing streak following Wednesday’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Phillies are 22-45, maintaining their two-game “lead” over the Milwaukee Brewers for the worst record in baseball. FanGraphs projects the Phillies to continue being the worst team between now and the end of the season, going 39-56 the rest of the
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Ryne Sandberg the Goat of Tuesday’s 19-3 Drubbing

The Phillies were embarrassingly pummeled by the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, falling behind 6-0 before three outs were recorded in the first inning and ultimately losing 19-3. Phillies pitchers combined to allow eight home runs, a franchise record for the O’s. The Detroit Tigers were the last team to allow eight homers in a
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