Crash Bag, Vol. 4: Hatred, Presidents, and Survivorship

As we all sit around–eyes wide and mouths hanging open with drool making its way on to our nice shirts–watching the current state of discourse in this country what with their alternative facts, obsession with crowd size–which definitely is a metaphor for the same thing hand size was in the primaries–and multi-billion dollar walls, we need a break with talk of things that don’t remotely matter. In that spirit, I bring you the Crash Bag, where the facts are already alternative. Period.

@Matt_Winkelman: Who is your least favorite current Phillie?

In years past, this would be such an easy question to answer that it wouldn’t earn a place in the Crash Bag. Ah, who am I kidding; of course it would appear in the Bag! For the record, for the past three years or so, any answer besides Cody Asche, Jonathan Papelbon (when around), or Darin Ruf would be totally unacceptable. Continue reading…

Who Are You: Pat Neshek

This post is part of a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Previous Installments:

Howie Kendrick


Pat Neshek – RHP

Born: 9/4/1980 – entering age-36 season

Height: 6’3″ Weight: 220 lb.

2016: 47.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 23.2 K%, 6.0 BB%, 130 ERA+

MLB Career: 383.1 IP, 2.93 ERA, 24.5 K%, 7.8 BB%, 137 ERA+

Contract Status: Final year of a three-year, $18.5 million contract. Owed $6.5 million in 2017. Continue reading…

Ryan Hanigan Enters The Mix

The Phillies today signed Ryan Hanigan to a minor league contract. Stapled to that contract was a formal invitation to Spring Training, where the 36 year-old will compete with Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp, and Bryan Holaday for the coveted role of back-up catcher to Cameron Rupp. If Hanigan emerges victorious, he will earn a salary of $1.25 million, with incentives to earn an additional $375k.

Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Outfield Locks

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll look at the locks to break camp with the Major League club before turning to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Odubel Herrera (CF): After signing his extension and averaging 4.0 rWAR over his first two seasons in the major leagues, Herrera is undoubtedly the Phillies starting center fielder not only in 2017, but for years to come. Herrera showed a number of promising improvements in 2016 over his rookie season:

BB% K% HR/FB SB
2015 5.2 24.0 7.6 16
2016 9.6 20.4 10.6 25

Despite the slight backtrack toward the end of the season in his plate discipline numbers, Herrera’s 2016 season, overall, established him as much more than a Rule 5 pick with a fluky debut. This is a potentially multi-time All-Star.

Continue reading…

Phillies trade Severino Gonzalez for PTBNL or Cash

In a startlingly inconsequential move, the Phillies have traded RHP Severino Gonzalez to the Marlins for cash or a Player to be Named Later. A move seemed imminent as Gonzalez was designated for assignment following the last week’s signing of Michael Saunders. The former Phillies top ten prospect has sputtered in his two years in the Majors, posting an ERA just below 7 in 66 innings split between the rotation and the bullpen.

Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Infield Locks

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll look at the locks to break camp with the Major League club before turning to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Cameron Rupp (C): Rupp is well on his way to a long career as a backup catcher in the major leagues, but with no one in the organization ready to take the starting job from him in camp, he’ll remain as the team’s starter for a second-consecutive season. He fell off a bit in the second half, but, overall, posted a batting line almost exactly league average (99 OPS+). Ideally, Jorge Alfaro will take over this job by mid-season, but he won’t start the season there. Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Pitching Locks

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll look at the locks to break camp with the Major League club before turning to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Starting Rotation

With the return of Jeremy Hellickson and the addition of Clay Buchholz through trade, the composition of the Phillies starting rotation is more or less set.

Aaron NolaThe only question with Aaron Nola is his health. After prematurely ending his 2016 season with an elbow injury, he elected a rest and rehab approach rather than undergo surgery. He recently claimed that he feels 100%, but manager Pete Mackanin expressed some tempered skepticism on that front. At 100% health, Nola is among the best pitchers in baseball, as we saw for his first 12 starts of 2016 in which he had a 2.65 ERA with a 27.2 percent strikeout rate. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 3: Gazing into the Abyss

The Phillies did some things since our last installment of the Crash Bag–sign Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez, say Aaron Nola is healthy–but, if the questions submitted for present consideration carry a larger message it is that no one give a hoot about any of that. What follows is complete frivolity. Yes, even more so than usual.

In that spirit:

@KeithWinder: Who wins in a staring contest: Papelbon or Giles?

I like this question because both players, as “proven closers” have a reputation for being intense, focused dudes. However, the way they arrive at that reputation couldn’t be more different. Papelbon is intense in the way the ‘roided up football star with the high school locker next to yours is. Every time you are near him, you feel as if you are in extreme danger. Giles’ is more of a quiet focus than violent intensity. The bottom line is that both as professional athletes–already a mark of competitiveness in itself–have reputations of being competitive and focused even within that elite pool of competitive humans. Both would certainly not lose this contest easily. As Nietzsche put it in anticipation of this question, “when you stare for a long time into an abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” Continue reading…

Who Are You: Howie Kendrick

This is the first post in a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Howie Kendrick (OF/2B) – RHB

Born: 7/12/1983, entering age-33 season

Height: 5’11”, Weight: 220 lb.

Contract Status: Will make $10 million in 2017, the final year of his contract.

2016 Stats: 543 PA, 9.2 BB%, 17.7 K%, .301 BABIP, .255/.326/.366, 91 wRC+, 0.9 fWAR, 0.5 rWAR

Career: 5457 PA, 5.3 BB%, 17.2 K%, .337 BABIP, .289/.332/.417, 106 wRC+, 26.9 fWAR, 29.1 rWAR Continue reading…

Checking in on the Remaining 2008 Phillies

With the long-awaited expiration of Ryan Howard‘s notorious contract extension this offseason, the last remaining member of the 2008 World Series Champions departed the organization. Though none are still Phillies, some of the heroes of that age are still out there attempting to trade their baseball-playing abilities for money in the upcoming season. Let’s take a quick look at where they all stand in those efforts.

Will Play in the Majors

Cole Hamels

Hamels is the only player here who is still within the confines of the prime of his career. He has two more guarantees seasons under contract with the Rangers and, once again, figures to be one of the top pitchers in their rotation and in baseball as a whole. Steamer projects him to throw over 200 innings with a 3.91 ERA in 2017, which won’t garner him many Cy Young votes, but should inch him closer to borderline Hall of Fame candidacy. Continue reading…