Jerome Williams is a man-shaped lump of pitcher. He’s a former 1999 sandwich-round pick of the San Francisco Giants, and he reached the majors very quickly for a high school draftee, and ever since then he’s bounced from team to team, willing to an honest inning’s work for an honest inning’s pay. He’s played in nine major league seasons for seven major league teams over 12 years, almost always out of the rotation. Only once has he qualified for an ERA title, though that’s not because he’s always hurt–it’s because he’s not all that good.
I anticipate that this will be an offseason to usher in some of the first obvious signs that this new era known by the mystical term “rebuild” is actually occurring. In truth, the rebuild has been slowly marinating under the surface for some time now, but we’re on the cusp of actually seeing it in Philadelphia. Maikel Franco is in line for significant playing time at the Major League level. Guys like Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, and Adam Morgan could debut this season. And, if there’s a major free agent acquisition in store, it will likely be Yasmany Tomas, who is essentially a major-league ready prospect. It’s an exciting time, but also an uneasy time. The rebuild that could bring results as early as 2017 might usher in the next run of success or it might usher in the next group of Tyler Greens and Wayne Gomeses. Whatever the end result, right now there’s the faintest flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel and that’s new and different and good.
It’s within that context that I have this to say: The Grady Sizemore signing is incredibly disappointing.
“I think where we are right now, it’s probably a couple years,” Gillick told CSN’s John Clark in a 1-on-1 interview Thursday. “I wouldn’t think  or [2016,] ’15 or ’16 I don’t think is in the cards. I think somewhere around 2017 or 2018.”Corey Seidman, CSN Philly
Jeff Manship: The Man Who Launched A Thousand Tweets
remind me to use this next time Manship pitches poorly pic.twitter.com/vhi22v2usZ
— ¯_(?)_/¯ (@ColinHumphreys) May 7, 2014
/! MANSHIP HAS CAPSIZED /!
— Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley) July 23, 2014
THIS IS A LAZY PHOTOSHOP ABOUT JEFF MANSHIP'S SILLY NAME: pic.twitter.com/t1p4YJc4N1
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 23, 2014
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) July 25, 2014
Electing free agency: Taylor Teagarden (NYM), Brian Bogusevic (MIA), John Hester (LAA), Jeff Manship (PHI), Pedro Beato (ATL)
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) October 2, 2014
There were literally dozens of Man-Ship type jokes to choose from. These were some of my favorites.
I’ll be honest with you, I would have never guessed that Jeff Manship threw 23 MLB innings this year. Continue reading…
We’ve come to know him, at times affectionately and at times derisively, as Tony No-Dad. In my glory days living in South Philly, I called him Tony Fuggin’ Bastid. For the tail end of the Phillies’ dominant years, Antonio Bastardo established himself as Charlie Manuel‘s favorite lefthanded reliever. After four full years in the bullpen, however, Bastardo could be on his way out of town due to an addiction to walks, the emergence of Jake Diekman, an arbitration case pending (after a $2 million salary in 2014), and free agency after 2015.
Bastardo’s generosity with free passes is maddening to watch, and the problem isn’t getting better for the 29-year-old Dominican lefty. Since 2011, his walk rate (BB%) has been 11.6%, 11.6%, 11.7%, and 12.6%. That’s bad. With several other left-handed relievers on the team, it doesn’t make sense for the Phillies to pay Bastardo $30,000 per appearance to walk almost five batters per nine innings. But that’s none of my business.
Did you find yourself watching one of the 16 games Cesar Jimenez appeared in this season and experiencing a certain feeling of malaise or gently lingering dread? Did a wave of resignation sweep over you as you suddenly started feeling a little more sleepy than you initially realized?
It’s not just you! Jimenez had the honor of appearing in those 16 games for the Phillies this season, only to have 14 of those result in losses. Thirteen of the 16 appearances came at a point in the game where the Phillies were already losing, and a fourteenth came with a seven-run lead. You would be correct in assuming Jimenez didn’t exactly rack up many points in the leverage department.
Separating Jimenez from things almost entirely not his fault, however, we find something a little less morose – if no more interesting or encouraging – when examining his 2014 season.
The artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona was the Phillies’ first transaction influenced by their new analytics department. Roberto Hernandez inked a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, slotting in at the back of the starting rotation. On MLB Network Radio in early March, GM Ruben Amaro said that Hernandez’s ground ball rate and relative cheapness were factors into the decision to bring him aboard, and seemed to also hint that he expected Hernandez’s home run rate — homers accounted for over 21 percent of his fly balls between 2012-13 — was due to regress as well.
The other obvious factor that likely influenced the Phillies to bring him aboard was the significant improvement in his strikeout rate in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays. The right-hander had crossed a 14.1 percent strikeout rate only once: 2007, his first full season in the major leagues, when he posted a 15.6 strikeout rate. After that, he mostly ranged between 13 and 14 percent. With the Rays, it jumped up to 17.6 percent. In May that season, DRays Bay noted that Hernandez was throwing more change-ups as well as a front-door sinker to left-handed batters.
Allow me to pull back the curtain on these report cards just a bit – a couple weeks ago Bill assigned us all six players to grade at random. I traded with Adam so I could talk about Cameron Rupp, (who I like more than anyone should), and then I was on vacation and otherwise unavailable for the first three weeks. Thursday, when I sat down to get into writing mode, I still wasn’t sure with which of the six report cards I would begin. In my search for a good hook to get me going, I was perusing our schedule and realized that my time off had left me with 6 report cards to write in 22 days.
And since I was still unsure who to start with, and since I’m both a baseball nerd and I know how to use a calculator, I figured out that 6/22 comes out to .272. (Sure, I can teach any of you how I did that if you need me to). After I got .272, I went looking for a .272 amongst my players’ stats. As it so happens, Dom Brown hit .272 in his fine 2013 campaign, the season against which his career will be judged. And so my decision was made for me.
I guess Batting Average is good for something after all. Who knew? Continue reading…