All Quiet on the Trade Front for the Phillies

Just like last year, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching and the Phillies are standing motionless, arms akimbo, a plethora of marketable assets to either side. GM Ruben Amaro could have gotten value out of soon-to-be free agent Carlos Ruiz, third baseman Michael Young, outfielder Delmon Young, reliever Mike Adams, and bench players John Mayberry and Kevin Frandsen. It wasn’t until the final day of August, the waiver trade deadline that Amaro finally sprung into action, swapping Young for Dodgers minor league pitcher Rob Rasmussen and utility infielder John McDonald for Red Sox minor league pitcher Nefi Ogando.

Would the Phillies likely have received any franchise-defining players if Amaro had traded all of the aforementioned players? Probably not, but you always take a lottery ticket if it’s free. Instead, the Phillies released Delmon Young on August 14 and Frandsen at the end of spring training this year, getting nothing instead of something. Ruiz was signed to a questionable three-year deal and Adams stayed around only to suffer a predictable injury. The Phillies were actually hurt by Amaro’s statuesque performance at the deadline last summer.

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The End of Things

With any luck, you weren’t paying attention.

Mid-Thursday afternoon, following the Phillies’ 2-1, sweep-avoiding victory over the Giants on the back – and left arm – of Cole Hamels, the Ryan Howard era came to an end. A few years down the road, the line of demarcation for the end of the era of reverence for one of the most prolific sluggers of his time will likely point to the end of Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, but in the wake of that loss, there was still hope. There was hope that, with time and treatment, Howard would rebound to usefulness and manage a passable latter-stage career.

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Roy Halladay Expresses His Feelings for Chase Utley on Twitter

Roy Halladay joined Twitter a few months ago and has quickly become a must-follow. Not only because it gives us access to a former Phillie, but because he’s often unintentionally hilarious and takes the time to interact with his haters. On Tuesday afternoon, while people were clamoring over the Chase Headley trade, Halladay decided to get a bit personal and express some feelings for Chase Utley.

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Cole Hamels Is on His Way to Phillies Immortality

Cole Hamels has been bandied about in trade rumors, despite having signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension with the Phillies nearly two years ago to this date. The Phillies’ future is looking bleak, and their other trade chips aren’t expected to bring in a franchise-altering haul. Hamels, on the other hand, could bring that kind of a return to help set the team up for a return to prominence several years from now.

Hamels limited the Braves to one run over seven innings on Saturday night, continuing what has been a great season for the 30-year-old lefty. Since the start of June, Hamels has posted a 1.81 ERA with a 71/23 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 innings across 10 starts. On the season overall, he’s sitting on a 2.83 ERA, which is only slightly below his FIP and XFIP, showing that his results are more or less lining up with his performance. While the shoulder tendinitis that caused him to miss the first few weeks of the season, as well as his slow start, caused some worry, Hamels has shown he is still the same dominant pitcher he has been since the start of the 2010 season. It’s easy to see why he would draw significant trade interest.

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Fait Accompli

The fatalists among us figured this was the way it was always going to end. The Phillies’ signing of Jonathan Papelbon in the waning months of 2011 – and, as I’ll never forget to remind everyone, a single week before a rule change would have kept the club from forfeiting their draft pick to do so – was going to end in one of two ways: the club would either win a World Series with Pap on the roster, or he’d become dead weight.

Actual, on-field performance barely matters here. That Papelbon is pitching well only means that he appears palatable to other teams, worth the cost of a marginal prospect or two and a heavily discounted assumption of contract. The Phillies did not claim their second World Series title since the turn of the milennium, and so this is where we stand.

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dog in uniform

A Pointer In Heat (Eww…sorry)

The image I was hoping to find was a Pointer holding a baseball. Instead I found what you see here. I’m a huge fan. And it’s only $10 on Etsy. Anyway…

Sometimes guys get hot. Sometimes it means nothing. Sometimes it means everything. Sometimes you have no way of knowing until a scout gets there and gets a look, or two or three. But there’s plenty for the rest of us to look at in the meantime.

Brian Pointer is a 22-year-old, lefty-hitting corner outfielder. He was a relatively high dollar sign in 2010, out of the 28th round of the draft. He took a $350k bonus to skip his commitment to Oregon State (and perhaps saved himself a snitching to the NCAA). Continue reading…

Chase Utley’s All-Star Performance A Rare Feat by A Phillie

Chase Utley doubled in the National League’s first run of the game in the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field on Tuesday night. Utley ripped a Jon Lester fastball that bounced high off of the fence in right-center — a home run in many other ballparks — to score Aramis Ramirez, cutting the American League’s lead to 3-1.

It was a nice sight to see, a Phillies player doing well in the All-Star Game. A Phillies hitter hadn’t reached base with a hit in the All-Star Game since Shane Victorino in 2009. Between 2009-13, Phillies All-Star hitters were a combined 1-for-12. But Utley’s feat was even rarer than that:

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Looking Ahead to Domonic Brown’s Second Half

Back on June 13, I put up a quick poll to get a feel for what fans expected of Domonic Brown in terms of weighted on-base average (wOBA) going forward. I had a bit of an ulterior motive because I expected that the responses would skew negative (though less negative than that of the general Phillies fan population).

After closing the poll results, here’s how they look (out of 306 responses):

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Kyle Kendrick Has Had Some First-Inning Issues

Jayson Werth‘s three-run home run in the first inning off of Kyle Kendrick in Sunday’s first-half finale was about the most predictable thing that could have happened. Kendrick entered the game having allowed 21 earned runs in 18 first innings. At the end of the first ion Sunday, his opening frame ERA was an ugly 11.37. Kendrick blanked the Nationals over the next four innings, then allowed one more run in the sixth before leaving with two outs. Mario Hollands later allowed one of Kendrick’s inherited runners to score, giving Kendrick a line of five earned runs allowed in 5 2/3 innings.

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