“I’m gonna do some writing,” I said to my wife as she dozed off Thursday night. She barely managed a groggy reply.
“You could write me a love letter.”
“A love letter about Roman Quinn?”
On Twitter yesterday, Beyond the Box Score posted the top-five best and worst teams at each position as they are currently projected by the Steamer projections, which can be found at FanGraphs. In what should come as a shock to no one, the Phillies portend to be quite bad at several positions and it’ll be even worse if they end up moving a few players as expected.
Lefty Cole Hamels is drawing trade interest as expected, particularly from the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. In his latest column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal notes that the Phillies are doing background work on some of the top prospects in the Red Sox system, including Mookie Betts, Matt Barnes, and Christian Vazquez. The Cubs have a surfeit of prospects as well, obviously making them an attractive trade partner.
The Phillies are not on a clock to trade Hamels. They can bring him into the season and try to shop him at the trade deadline if they feel they can get better value then. But there’s at least a very real possibility that 2014 will have been our last time watching Hamels pitch in Phillies red pinstripes. In that case, it isn’t too early to put his Phillies career in historical context.
A tip of the ballcap to Matt Winkelman of the lovely Phillies Minor Thoughts for alerting me to a great quote from GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. at the bottom of this Bob Brookover column for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amaro talked about being patient with left fielder Domonic Brown, who had a miserable 2014 season.
Since the beginning of October, we’ve been posting a report card for nearly every player to don Phillies red pinstripes in 2014. At long last, the list has been exhausted (as are we). If you missed any of them, use the convenient list below. Each author’s name is a link to his or her Twitter account, so make sure you’re following all of us!
From way out west there was this fella I wanna tell ya about. Goes by the name of Cole Hamels. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. See, this Hamels, he called himself “Hollywood”, (does anyone still call him that?). Now, “Hollywood” – there’s a name no man would self-apply where I come from, (no politician here in DC ever wants to be labeled as “Hollywood”). But then there was a lot about Hollywood that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, (his baffling change-up, for the most part). And a lot about where he played, likewise, (their reluctance to come into the modern age of player analytics, among many, many, many other things). But then again, maybe that’s why I found the place so darned frustratin’.
See, they call Philadelphia the “City Of Brotherly Love”; but I didn’t find it to be that, exactly, (what with all the fans booin’ and battery chuckin’ and security guards tasin’ folks and closers crotch grabbin’). Continue reading…
If Opening Day isn’t my favorite day of the year, it’s second only to Thanksgiving because let’s be real, it’s darn near impossible to top all the turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie you can eat. But Opening Day is full of magic. Every team is in first place. Every player’s stat lines are wiped clean. There are new faces in new uniforms. And hope abounds; after all, it must be some team’s year, so why not us?
While teams and individual players get a magical restart button annually, the same isn’t true for returning general managers. There is no way to neatly splice up the career of a GM and gain a comprehensive look at how the GM is performing because each move he makes has a direct impact on moves in both the near and distant future. As an example, the Marlon Byrd signing by Ruben Amaro, Jr. last November occurred as a direct result of Amaro opting for Delmon Young on a one year deal in 2013 instead of a multi-year deal for someone like Nick Swisher. A GM can make a great move that is a direct result of a bad move he previously made and vice versa. This report card will only deal directly with the transactions (and non-transactions) Amaro made from the day after the end of the 2013 season through the final day of the 2014 season, so it goes without saying that this will not give a complete picture of Ruben Amaro’s GM’ing.
Grading players is easy. Every little thing a batter or pitcher does throughout the course of a season is run through a spectrometer whose readings spew statistics that traverse the visible range of objective (and subjective) evaluation. What’s left is a full color palette, hues unblended, from which an encompassing picture can be painted.
There is no such spectrometer for managers. How many of the Phillies’ 73 wins in 2014 came as a direct result of a decision made by Ryne Sandberg? Was the decision textbook or unconventional? Was it really good process, or did it just luck out? By the same token, how many of those 89 losses can be hung around Sandberg’s neck?
There is some speculation out this morning from the usual untrustworthy sources that Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and Marlon Byrd are the biggest contributors to a bad atmosphere in the Phillies’ clubhouse. I will not provide a link so as not to reward baseless rumor-mongering with page views, but a Google search should bring you what you’re looking for if curiosity persists.