2015 Phillies Report Card: Darnell Sweeney

The 2015 Phillies are history. In a franchise with no shortage of truly awful teams, this season’s group will someday fade into its place within a beautiful tapestry of failure. The 2007-2011 years were but a dream. Yes, there’s 1980 and 1993 and many other adored teams, but the Phillies as a franchise are the worst overall in the history of baseball. The image of losing on the back of the cave wall may as well be this video.

Of course, there’s plenty to like about the 2015 version of Phillies baseball, particularly the emergence of Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, and Jerad Eickhoff. Somewhere, between high hopes for the future and a dull, dismal reminder of the pain of being a Phillies fan, is Darnell Sweeney.

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2015 Phillies Report Card: Elvis Araujo

If the firing of Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever at the end of the 2014 season left the Phillies pro scouting department all shook up this winter, it didn’t show. In December, they added Odubel Herrera through the Rule 5 Draft and he went on to have arguably the greatest season ever by a Rule 5’er. Jerad Eickhoff’s stellar debut gave them promising early returns on trade acquisitions. Additionally, in one of their more under the radar successes, they signed minor league free agent Elvis Araujo to a major league deal last November.

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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 turn in a healthy and productive season on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, which would allow the Phillies to trade him to a contending team at the July 31 trade deadline.

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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 and let us know where we went wrong.

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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 percentage is 25th worst in team history, which dates back to 1883.

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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 around $3.5 million more in slot money.

As fate would have it, the Reds won and the Phillies lost game two on Saturday night. The Reds’ game finalized first and the victory ended their 13-game losing streak, officially clinching #1 overall for the Phillies.

Maikel Franco made his first start since August 11, when he was hit on the wrist and suffered a non-displaced fracture. He hit a solo home run in the fourth inning and drove in a run with a single in the sixth inning.

Jeremy Affeldt Pans Philly Fans in Farewell Article

San Francisco Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt announced on SI.com 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 won’t miss about baseball, and the first item on his list, counting backwards to one, was “the city of ‘Brotherly Love'”.

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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 Nick Williams, and catcher Jorge Alfaro. They currently rank as the Phillies #2, 3, and 4 prospects, according to MLB.com.

Appreciated but mostly overlooked in the deal was pitcher Jerad Eickhoff, a 25-year-old who posted a 4.25 ERA in 101 2/3 innings with Triple-A Round Rock this season. His numbers throughout his minor league career are mostly unimpressive, but the Phillies — in need of rotation help at the time — called him up in August to make his major league debut. Eickhoff’s success through his first eight starts is something even the Phillies likely never saw coming.

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The Unique Free Agent Opportunity

In Miami last week, Andy MacPhail dropped hints as to how the MacPhail Era of Phillies baseball will begin. First with the announcement of his decision to retain manager Pete Mackanin and then with public comments on the team’s offseason plans which Jake Kaplan of The Inquirer laid out earlier this week. Here’s an excerpt of the key MacPhail quote on signing free agents:

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