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.

Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 98: Carrying Asche Around

I was thinking about heist movies the other day. Heist movies are one of my three favorite genres of movie, along with movies about journalistic ethics and movies where a small group of guys go to do something during World War II. Now, I’ve seen bad examples of the other two, but the worst heist movie I’ve ever seen was Ocean’s 12, which wasn’t horrible in absolute terms so much as it was very clearly half-assed compared to the other two installments in the series. Have I been lucky, or is it just impossible to make a bad heist movie?

But that’s my question. What are yours?

@Living4Laughs: “As a fan of Jimmy Rollins is it best to block out the negative media attention and non fans’ feelings? It bothers me.”

I think that’s what I’m going to have to do, because I tried explaining to someone that Rollins isn’t actually conspicuously selfish and lazy and all that other specious, unfalsifiable (and I believe, racially coded) nonsense that gets thrown around, and even if he is, he’s the best shortstop in team history anyway, so how big a deal can his lack of ostentatious hustle really be? Let’s look at two other infielders: Nick Punto routinely dives into first base, which actually makes him slower to the bag, while Robinson Cano actually does routinely dog it down to first base. Like, it shows up in the numbers and everything. And I love Punto, but he’s a career utility infielder, while Cano has missed a total of 14 games since 2007. Chase Utley has missed fewer than 14 games in a season only three times in his career. And apart from Utley, Cano is the best second baseman since…Roberto Alomar? Joe Morgan? Cano’s going to the Hall of Goddamn Fame is my point, whether he busts his ass on a hard grounder to second or not.

Rollins isn’t that good, but if he has crippling intangible issues (which again, is a premise I won’t grant until and unless I see even specific accusations, let alone evidence, that he’s conspicuously and detrimentally apathetic), they don’t hurt the team unless they’re impairing the team’s ability to score runs or prevent its opponent from doing the same. Both of which he’s done better than any other shortstop in Phillies history, better than all but a handful of players in Phillies history and better than all but a handful of contemporary shortstops.

So like I said, I’m done arguing this.

Continue reading…

2014 Nationals Q&A with Harper Gordek

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers.

Harper Gordek runs the blog Nationals Baseball, which is a fellow member of ESPN’s Sweet Spot blog network. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Nationals-related questions to help preview the upcoming season in the NL East. Give him a follow on Twitter @HarperGordek.

1. The Nationals appeared to steal Doug Fister away from the Tigers over the winter, but now he’s dealing with an elbow problem. If he isn’t ready for the start of the season, how big of a blow is it for the Nationals, and who takes his place in the rotation?

Continue reading…

2014 Mets Q&A with Toby Hyde

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers.

Toby Hyde is a contributor to SNY.tv‘s Mets Minor League Blog.  He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Mets-related questions to help preview the upcoming season in the NL East. Give him a follow on Twitter @TobyHyde.

1. The Mets jumped back into free agency by signing Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million contract. Do you think this was a wise signing by GM Sandy Alderson?

Continue reading…

The Phillies Are Embarrassing Themselves

Last Thursday, I asked the Phillies to stop bothering Jimmy Rollins. That was after Rollins was benched for several games in a row, when manager Ryne Sandberg exuberantly praised Freddy Galvis then clammed up when asked if he could offer the same praise to Rollins. At the end of the article, I wrote, “I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Phillies are actively trying to sabotage Rollins, but if he were to get hurt or decide he wants out of Philadelphia, they wouldn’t exactly be upset about it.”

I may have given them too much credit. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported earlier that the Phillies want Rollins to “lead or leave”.

Continue reading…

2014 Marlins Q&A with Michael Jong

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers.

Michael Jong is a contributor to SB Nation’s Marlins blog Fish Stripes.  He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Marlins-related questions to help preview the upcoming season in the NL East. Give him a follow on Twitter @MRJManiac.

1. The Marlins’ big off-season addition was Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a three-year, $21 million deal. Was this a good signing?

Continue reading…

2014 Braves Q&A with Franklin Rabon

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers.

Franklin Rabon is a contributor to SB Nation’s Braves blog Talking Chop. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Braves-related questions to help preview the upcoming season in the NL East. Give him a follow on Twitter @fjrabon.

1. The Braves spent the off-season signing their core players to contract extensions rather than shopping for free agents. Are you happy with what the Braves accomplished over the winter?

Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 97: Jelly is Great

Tonight, on the Crash Bag: The Phillies fail to score, a man asks a record-breaking question, and I distribute breakup advice.

@asigal22: “Will the Phils be as bad in the regular season as they have been in Spring Training. I know Spring Training is stupid.”

Relax.

I mean, yes, the Phillies are going to be bad, but relax. We’ve gotten so used to the Phillies winning, or expecting to win, that we’ve lost the ability to be relaxed about them losing. The lost 89 games last year, they’ll probably lose about that many this year, and we’ll give up this ridiculous delusion of being able to compete with the Braves and Nationals by Flag Day. So what are they going to do about it? Continue reading…