A nugget from this column by Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post:
In November, Liz Roscher penned a column at The Good Phight imploring the Phillies to fix the way they operate on social media. If you aren’t big on Facebook or Twitter, it probably doesn’t register as much of a problem, but this is the new, modern way that teams engage with their fan bases. That the Phillies aren’t up-to-date on social media is not very surprising, considering how slow they were to hop on board the analytics train. As Roscher points out, they still don’t credential bloggers. Do you even Internet?
ESPN’s Buster Olney is the latest to suggest that the Phillies aren’t playing the Cole Hamels market correctly. In an Insider article, he writes that the Phillies should send money along with Hamels to the Boston Red Sox to make a trade more enticing. The Phillies don’t have to do this with Hamels; they absolutely should with Ryan Howard or Jonathan Papelbon, however, as they have problems of their own. Hamels is one of the top-ten best pitchers in baseball — that’s enticing on its own.
The truth is, the Red Sox need Hamels way, way more than the Phillies need to trade Hamels.
In his latest column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal made the argument that the Phillies needed to make more moves over the off-season, describing their winter as a “major fail”. He notes that the San Diego Padres made an aggressive offer to the Phillies for starter Cole Hamels before signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract. Rosenthal says the Phillies “need to face reality”. He went on, saying, “The Phillies refuse to accept that they might not get exactly what they want.”
Now that James Shields’ requests of his realtor are more specific than “I need a new home somewhere in North America”, the list of remaining free agents is finally looking sparse. Pitchers and catchers will report next week and the majority of major leaguers know whether they’re bound for the Grapefruit League or the Cactus League, but a few interesting players still remain unsigned. Although the self-proclaimed rebuilding Phillies have been largely quiet in the free agent market this winter, they still lack roster depth in a few areas that may be worth fortifying. Here are a few free agents still likely to be signed to major league deals that may be on their wish list:
Last week, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that GM Ruben Amaro “covets” San Diego Padres starter Andrew Cashner, a relevant piece of information as the Padres are one of the handful of clubs still actively pursuing Cole Hamels. The Padres are also one of the few teams who have the minor league talent the Phillies are looking for, including a top catching prospect in Austin Hedges.
A recurring theme in Phillies analysis over the past year or two has been that Ruben Amaro‘s unrealistic demands in trade negotiations have prevented him from making deals. I like to think his ability to move Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, and even Antonio Bastardo for well-regarded returns this winter has put a bit of a dent in that common assumption, but it may be a reputation Amaro is unable to shake as long as Cole Hamels and (if healthy) Cliff Lee remain Phillies. Never mind the fact that standard negotiating practice dictates that you start with a high asking price or that the one thing Amaro absolutely cannot do is fail to secure the best available return if he trades Hamels, his one elite trade chip.
While I find this particular criticism to be overstated and misguided, I do understand it. Patience is boring. Action is exciting. There is one topic for which the “Amaro’s asking price is too high” critique is unequivocally meaningless though: Jonathan Papelbon trade rumors.
Well, that was unexpected. At the beginning of the season, do baseball players consciously plan on playing every day? Do elementary school kids decide in September that they’re going to have 100% attendance that year? I foolishly thought I would start my own Baumann/Ripken streak and rattle off weekly Crashbags. Hey, maybe I still can. But it’s not as easy as running in the ball from the 1-yard line on second down with Marshawn Lynch.
Baseball season is currently wiping the sleep out of its eyes and deciding whether to hit snooze again, or maybe think about getting out of bed. There’s a tastefully small amount of the offseason left. The Best Shape of His Life stories are stacking up, and the stack is getting bigger each day. Before you know it, it’ll be time to hit the back fields in Clearwater. So let’s get to work.