Phillies Alter Fate with New Clubhouse Signs‘s Todd Zolecki just tweeted this:

Beats optimizing roster construction through the development of a healthy Minor League system, the prudent use of team resources, and taking advantage of the latest and greatest advances in technology and data collection. Because, really, what good is a 95-win team with a new World Series trophy if each player can’t look himself in the mirror and say, “I respected the game, was the ultimate teammate, and played the game the right way”?

Crash Bag, Vol. 99: Baby’s First Democratic System

Gregg Easterbrook once wrote (and I’m paraphrasing, because if I have to sift through a billion TMQ columns to find the exact wording, I will end my life, so help me God): “Writing a book is like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer: it feels so good when you stop.”

I’m writing a book, set to come out in November, ranking the 20 greatest athletes in Philadelphia sports history, and for the next month or so, I’ll be concentrating on finishing that, to the peril of any sort of writing I do for fun, including Crashburn. After 99 weeks of uninterrupted service, I toyed with the idea of just lining up five or six guest columns to fill the space, but what comes back in May will be more purposeful than what you’re reading now, which has largely been the product of inertia. So for the last time, at least for a while, I’ll take your questions.

@Hegelbon: “if the Phillies had to be run like a social political system, which would you choose? I’d pick oligarchy.”

That’s kind of how they’re run right now, isn’t it? One person, or group of people, has all the power and delegates it to a bureaucracy that includes the baseball ops people, the PR people, event planners…it’s not a terrible way to run an organization, and a big reason I’m such a fan of career civil service in actual government: we elect the politicians, who (in theory) reflect our goals as an electorate and translate those goals (national security, economic prosperity, and so on) into achievable policy objectives, then turn to the army of wonks they employ to actually carry out those objectives. Because politicians don’t know dick about how things actually work–wonks do, because they do this for a living.

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Phillies Starting Pitching Depth Receives A Much Needed Boost

There were two decidedly positive developments in Clearwater today. Of the eight starting pitchers atop of the Phillies depth chart to begin camp, four have succumbed to injuries over the past six weeks: Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, and Ethan Martin. Today, two of those pitchers exhibited signs that they may be returning sooner rather than later.

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Win Some Cash with on Opening Day

The regular season is upon us and that means it’s time to win some more cash with On March 31, you can enter into their Opening Day contest with a $20,000 prize pool with an $11 buy-in. It’s a salary cap-style draft with the top 300 places earning cash, and with first place walking away with $3,000. Use this link to enter.

Have fun and let us know how you do!

The Best and Worst of Phillies Spring Training

The Phillies have had a miserable spring, all things considered. They’re tied with the Red Sox for the worst record across both the Grapefruit League and the Cactus League. The Phillies have posted the second-worst batting average (.232), the third-worst on-base percentage (.306), and the worst slugging percentage (.348). Injuries have decimated the starting rotation and the bench, leaving the Phillies to rely on a handful of non-roster invitees. Already projected to have a mediocre year with a win total somewhere in the 70′s, spring training hasn’t done a whole lot to generate excitement for the regular season.

The Phillies will wrap up spring training in Florida after Thursday afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays. They’ll travel back to Philadelphia for two “on deck” games on Friday and Saturday, then travel to Texas for the regular season opener against the Rangers. Cliff Lee will oppose Tanner Scheppers, filling in for the injured Yu Darvish.

With spring training almost over, let’s look back at the five best and worst performances.

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Phillies Outright Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A

Yesterday,’s Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies outrighted back-up infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Frandsen has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. If he accepts, he’ll still earn the $900,000 from the guaranteed contract he signed in December. If he rejects the assignment and becomes a free agent, he’ll lose that $900,000 and could earn less if and when he signs with another team.

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Should the Phillies Have Interest in Reuniting with Vance Worley?

Vance Worley. Remember him? The begoggled right-hander who racked up the backwards K’s with reckless abandoned in his 277 2/3 innings with the Phillies from 2010-12? The Phillies sent him to the Minnesota Twins in the Ben Revere trade in December 2012, but the Twins recently outrighted him to Triple-A after he went unclaimed on waivers.

Worley’s star has fallen fast. He posted a 3.01 ERA in 2011 with the Phillies and was the Twins’ Opening Day starter last year, and now he might be starting Opening Day in Rochester of all places. With the Phillies in need of starting pitching — they’re dangerously close to calling on Jeff Manship to join the rotation — Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests that a Worley reunion would not be out of the question. Would it make sense for the Phillies?

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Phillies Suffering from Injury Plague Again

Spring training started off with a whimper when we learned that Cole Hamels suffered from shoulder tendinitis over the off-season and was likely to miss his first start or two in the regular season. It was made worse when Hamels experienced a setback, making it likely he’d miss all of April. Of the Phillies expected to suffer from injuries during the season, Hamels was one of the few with youth and a clean bill of health on his side.

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