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 link above to read it. It’s some of the best writing you’ll read all 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 Above Replacement, according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs? Who is tied for the major league lead in triples with six?
All right, cheaters, you win. It’s Ben Revere.
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 yesterday.
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’ collective streak of 48 scoreless innings compiled by starting pitching. But that’s been about the only bright spot for him thus far.
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 club’s interim manager.
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, and be excited to help,” Lester said. The Cubs are 39-32, 8.5 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. The club has been less-than-thrilled with Hector Rondon in the closer’s role despite his 2.35 ERA and 12-for-15 success rate converting saves. In the month of June, Rondon has gotten three saves while Jason Motte has two and Pedro Strop one, in what has been — more or less — a bullpen-by-committee. Needless to say, Papelbon would solve their closing issue quickly.
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 options for each of the 2016-18 seasons which vest with 500 plate appearances in the preceding season. He’s currently at 249. He’ll be eligible to come off the disabled list on July 7, which would be the Phillies’ 86th game. Using his rate of playing time prior to the injury, he would be on pace to finish the season with 469 plate appearances, leaving him 31 PA shy of achieving his vesting option.
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 Phillies while MacPhail takes over baseball operations.
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 that those qualifiers didn’t have good reason behind their application, but it tamed an optimism for Franco that could have otherwise floated into the clouds and beyond.