Report: A.J. Burnett Likely to Return to the Phillies in 2015

Last week, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury suggested that starter A.J. Burnett was leaning towards retirement. Salisbury added that Burnett didn’t have all that much fun in Philadelphia and kept game balls from his final start of the season, the 404th of his career, which is only a noteworthy game if it marked the end of his career.

However, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that it’s looking likely that Burnett will exercise his $12.75 million player option for the 2015 season with the Phillies, citing “people close to Burnett”.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Justin De Fratus

Did you know that the Phillies had an exciting young right-handed reliever dominate the league with a slider this past season? Did you know they had another one not named Kenny Giles?

For the first time in his career, Justin De Fratus spent Opening Day on a Major League roster. Unfortunately for him, his stay in the bigs was notably short lived. He threw five innings over four games and surrendered four runs on a 2-run homer by Mark Reynolds and a 2-run homer by some guy named Giancarlo Stanton. The day after the Stanton blast, the Phillies took advantage of De Fratus’ final option year and sent him down to Lehigh Valley.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: David Buchanan

On May 21, Cliff Lee hit the disabled list for the first time. Their pitching depth in the upper minors thin, the Phillies turned to a 25-year-old rookie to fill Lee’s spot in the rotation, an unheralded seventh-round draftee who made an impression in the spring. That rookie, David Buchanan, would go on to spend the next month-and-a-half pitching frequently respectable outings. And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Carlos Ruiz

Catcher Carlos Ruiz could have signed with another team — perhaps a contender, for one last shot at a championship — but both he and the Phillies decided to continue their partnership, agreeing on a three-year, $26 million contract last November. Ruiz became one of only three catchers to ink a contract of three years or longer during the off-season, joining Brian McCann (five years, $85 million with the New York Yankees) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (three years, $21 million with the Miami Marlins).

To some, Ruiz was a microcosm of the modus operandi that has doomed the Phillies over the last five years: signing aging, injury-prone players to expensive multi-year deals. However, while the Phillies had catching depth, there was no obvious candidate with whom they felt comfortable starting five or six games a week. Cameron Rupp would have been the first choice, and the Phillies weren’t even confident in him backing up Ruiz, so they signed Wil Nieves for the back-up role in December. While Ruiz’s deal was for multiple years and relatively expensive given what other catchers received, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a contract that will affect their payroll flexibility nor does it have any sizable risk attached to it.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Jake Diekman

Here’s a pretty thing:

RP K IP K/9 G
Dellin Betances 135 90.0 13.50 70
Wade Davis 109 72.0 13.63 71
Aroldis Chapman 106 54.0 17.67 54
Brad Boxberger 104 64.2 14.58 63
Andrew Miller 103 62.1 14.93 73
Kenley Jansen 101 65.1 13.96 68
Jake Diekman 100 71.0 12.68 73
David Robertson 96 64.1 13.48 63
Craig Kimbrel 95 61.2 13.97 63
Cody Allen 91 69.2 11.84 76

That, friends, is a who’s who of the elite relief pitchers in Major League Baseball. Aroldis Chapman. Craig Kimbrel. Kenley Jansen. Wade Davis. Dellin Betances. Andrew Miller. And … Jake Diekman? The Phillies’ lefty from Nebraska, who was picked in the 30th round of the 2007 draft, finished seventh in the majors in strikeouts among qualified relief pitchers.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Tony Gwynn Jr.

When Jayson Werth went to the Nationals after the 2010 season, the Phillies not only lost their primary source of right-handed power, they also lost their back-up center fielder. From 2008 to 2010, the Phillies played 70 games with a starting center fielder not named Shane Victorino and of those, Werth played center in 60. His positional flexibility allowed the Phillies to roster corner outfielders as their 4th and 5th outfielders rather than worry about keeping a backup center fielder on the 25-man.

From 2011 to 2013, however, the most commonly used backup center fielders by games played in CF is a damning list: Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Ben Revere

I am a malcontent idiot when it comes to baseball sometimes. I watched Ben Revere last year and saw only an empty-average, speed-compensating-for-instincts center fielder and thought, “well, I can put up with that, I guess.” At some points during this season, I still found myself biting a lip at his walk totals or banging a fist at his judgment in the field. He’s not a perfect player, but he’s better than I give him credit for, and his season should be remembered more purely than its caveats would have you believe it was.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Marlon Byrd

In November, the Phillies signed Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million contract on the heels of a breakout season split between the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies had just completed a season in which they saw Delmon Young, John Mayberry, and Darin Ruf take the bulk of the playing time in right field, only to compile an aggregate .297 wOBA compared to the .325 major league average. Though Byrd was 36, the thought was that his breakout was legitimate and he would stabilize the Phillies’ outfield along with Ben Revere and Domonic Brown.

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Another Season in the Books

Another Phillies season has come to an end and, unfortunately, there will be no October baseball for a third consecutive year. On behalf of all of us here at Crashburn Alley, I’d like to thank all of you who stopped by throughout the season and made us a regular part of your web-surfing routine.

The season may be over, but we’ll still be active here throughout the off-season as usual. Shortly, we’ll be revealing our playoff predictions, and over the next six weeks starting on Wednesday, we’ll be posting report cards on individual Phillies players as we did last year. If the Phillies end up doing anything during the off-season, you can be sure that there will be coverage of it here, so don’t take us out of your bookmarks just yet.

Is An Amaro Extension On The Horizon?

Last night, the Phillies announced the firing of Marti Wolever, Assistant General Manager in charge of amateur scouting. The most recent drafts overseen by Wolever have been routinely praised and both first round picks, J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola, are off to very strong starts in the system. However, the Phillies scouting department came under a great deal of scrutiny this spring when a story broke that someone within the organization ratted out 2013 5th round pick Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent during negotiations. The story has faded and there were no apparent repercussions for the Phillies during this year’s draft, but it’s certainly plausible that the controversy played a role in the Phillies deciding to make a change in leadership within their scouting department.

Regardless of the motivations, a change is coming and Meghan Montemurro of The Delaware News Journal brings up a fantastic point about what else it could mean for the Phillies this offseason:

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