It’s been more than a year since the exciting announcement that the Phillies front office added Scott Freedman to help improve their usage of analytics was paired with the endlessly mock-able revelation that he was actually an “extern” whose salary paid not by the Phillies but by Major League Baseball. While every other MLB team accepted the value of data analysis to some degree, it appeared from the outside that the Phillies relationship with analytics was much like that of a stubborn young child with broccoli leaving MLB and parents alike with no option but to force feed their obstinate charges. It was laughable and, frankly, embarrassing for analytically-minded Phillies fans, but sometimes even the tiniest step in a positive direction can result in momentum leading to positive change and maybe, just maybe, that’s what has occurred in the Phillies front office since the extern experiment.
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 the hourglass and once it’s all gone, Hamels will turn into a pumpkin. Of course, the situation is not that dire.
I wanted to post my Top 30 Prospects list on the day pitchers and catchers report because it’s symbolic of the passing of not just one year to another, but one generation to another. Ok, I’m lying – it’s because I procrastinated for a very long time and this seemed like the latest I should let it go. So as late as I am, I thought it would be interesting to compare my list with a sample of those from around the industry. The very excellent Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) from the very excellent PhilliesMinorThoughts.com had a big list of industry lists already, so I stole that and mushed it all together to create a consensus ranking for all of these players. Good man, that Matt Winks.
Now, this ranking comparison is by no means scientific – Continue reading…
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 the Phillies aren’t up-to-date on social media is not very surprising, considering how slow they were to hop on board the analytics train. As Roscher points out, they still don’t credential bloggers. Do you even Internet?
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 Ryan Howard or Jonathan Papelbon, however, as they have problems of their own. Hamels is one of the top-ten best pitchers in baseball — that’s enticing on its own.
The truth is, the Red Sox need Hamels way, way more than the Phillies need to trade Hamels.
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, $75 million contract. Rosenthal says the Phillies “need to face reality”. He went on, saying, “The Phillies refuse to accept that they might not get exactly what they want.”
Now that James Shields’ requests of his realtor are more specific than “I need a new home somewhere in North America”, the list of remaining free agents is finally looking sparse. Pitchers and catchers will report next week and the majority of major leaguers know whether they’re bound for the Grapefruit League or the Cactus League, but a few interesting players still remain unsigned. Although the self-proclaimed rebuilding Phillies have been largely quiet in the free agent market this winter, they still lack roster depth in a few areas that may be worth fortifying. Here are a few free agents still likely to be signed to major league deals that may be on their wish list: