Friday, December 30, 2011

Phillies are Toast

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like a Phillies toaster. That's right, you can get the patented Phillies "P" logo emblazoned onto a piece of bread. What happens when you are in the mood for rye though?

As nifty as this appliance is, it is clearly not as cool or functional as a Phillies hammer or toothbrush...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Playoff Hype Video Falls Flat

FOX 29 News out of Philadelphia decided to air a stunt prior to Game 5 of the Phillies and Cardinals this year in the NLDS. The shtick- a van painted with the St. Louis Cardinals logo gets pulverized by a Phillies backhoe. The outcome- Phillies were shutout and sent home. Boo!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Morning Bench Coach

Phillies News
Nothing. It's Christmas, what do you expect. So, on to useless stuff...

Fantasy Football
Congratulations to me for being awesome at fantasy football and winning the blog league for the third year a row. Now, if baseball would only play once a week and teams would rarely change closers, I might have a chance at the baseball title.

RA Dickey
I don't know how I missed this before, but RA Dickey is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for the "Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization that rescues and cares for women and girls in Mumbai who are at risk of being abused and exploited."

The Mets are less than thrilled. They've informed his agent that if Dickey is hurt during the climb his contract will be voided. That makes sense. There's better ways to "raise awareness," many of which don't carry the risks that come with climbing a giant mountain. Whatever. He's a Met. I could care less. What caught my eye was the "Bombay Teen Challenge."

"Bombay Teen Challenge" sounds more like a game show on Nickelodeon than an anti-child prostitution advocacy group. And why the hell does RA Dickey feel the need to "bring awareness" to this group. With all of the problems in the world, how has he singled out the Mumbai sex trade as his personal cause? Wasn't there anything "close to home" that he could help? Don't get me wrong, I'm not for child sex trafficking, but there are problems and issues in America that could use some celebrity (I think Mets count as celebrities) endorsement. He could probably raise a bunch of money for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society or another similar group. Instead, he's going to make people go, "Wow, that's a horrible thing happening to those girls in Mumbai. Glad I don't live there."

But whatever. What he's doing is still better than what 95% of professional athletes in the country contribute to society. Good luck to Dickey on his climb. I hope he gets back safely so the Phils can rough him up next summer.

"More" ATJ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WSBGMs Phinal Phantasy Phootball Standings

For the third year in a row, Corey's My Vick In A Box won the WSBGMs Phantasy Phootball League. Corey dominates the football league and I the baseball. Conspiracy?

Final Standings:
1. My Vick In A Box
2. Four TDs in 1 Game
3. Steegles
4. Child Plz Str8 Cash
5. 1-800-BooHoo
6. vicksdicks
7. QB/C Love Connection
8. Outsiders
9. Under New Management
10. Fear Boners
11. Raul Raiders
12. Eagles Bandwagon

Thanks to all that participated. Now only 3 more months until we draft for WSBGMs Phantasy League 6 for baseball.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What's up with the Pirates?

The Pittsburgh Pirates were on their way to a magical season as late as July last year. However, things quickly unraveled and they plummeted in the standings from 1st place down to 4th, finishing a lackluster 72-90 (their 19th straight losing season). The Buccos bats are what failed them the most, but the health of their starting rotation deteriorated as the season went on. What have they done to improve this offseason, and can the finally break above sea level (.500) in 2012?

Major Additions:
Erik Bedard/LHP- this man is a top of the rotation pitcher when healthy, but he's often not that. Bedard replaces Maholm, and could be a major upgrade. A strikeout pitcher (926 K in 951.1 IP) with a good ERA/WHIP combo (3.70/1.32). Transfer to the National League could really boost his numbers.

Nate McLouth/OF- good as a Pirate, bad as a Brave. Now back in Pittsburgh as a 4th outfielder, McLouth hopes to revive his career. Like Bedard, health is a big part of the equation with him, but he has a nice power/speed combo that could make him valuable trade bait come the end of July should he be playing well.

Clint Barmes/SS- many people didn't like the terms of his contract (2 yr/$10.5M), but he's a solid defender and has a decent bat. This is an upgrade over Ronny Cedeno, and the Pirates need more offense, so I don't understand what's not to like.

Rod Barajas/C- doesn't get on base worth a lick (.284 career OBP), but does have some power (63 HR in last 4 seasons). He was brought in to provide leadership with the pitching staff and play adequate defense. Despite his lone season in Philly, I can foresee this being a good fit.

Casey McGehee/3B/1B- love this trade! McGehee had a down year in 2011, but prior to that he hit .285/.801 with 23 HR, and 104 RBI with the Brewers in 2010. If he rebounds, this is a major coup for the Buccos.

Minor Additions:
Nick Evans/1B/3B/OF- this guy is a steal on a minor league contract. He'll only be 26 years old next season, can play corner infield and outfield, and has done nothing but hit at every level he's played (.278/.822 in minors, .256/.712 in majors). Not sure why the Mets let him go.

Yamaico Navarro/UTL- the 24 year old hasn't done squat at the plate in 42 MLB games with the Red Sox and Royals (.206/.515), but given his minor league success (.279/.778) and the fact that he plays all over the diamond, he could very likely become a useful utility player for the Buccos.

Jose Morales/C- .289/.709 in 4 seasons with the Twins and Rockies over 96 games. Perfect for organizational depth at catcher (.286/.724 batter in the minors).

Jake Fox/C/1B/3B/OF- possesses big time power, but does not make enough contact to play regularly. In 4 seasons with the Cubs, Athletics, and Orioles he's hit .237/.714, but that's nothing compared to his minor league numbers (.292/.882).

Brandon Boggs/OF- the outfielder is set to turn 29 years old and has suffered through failures when given a chance in the majors with the Rangers and Brewers. However, he owns a .376 on base % in the minors and that is encouraging.

Ryota Igarashi/RHP- in 2 seasons with the Mets he was largely deemed a failure, however he showed improvement during his sophomore campaign last season. If he learned to control his pitches a bit more, he could be a passable middle innings reliever.

Shairon Martis/RHP- nice addition as 7th/8th starter that's inevitably needed during the course of a 162 season. 48-40, 3.84 ERA, 1.33 WHIP in minors, and has some experience in 2 seasons with the Nationals too.

Anderson Hernandez/UTL- nothing special with the bat, but is versatile and has plenty of MLB experience (6 seasons, .241/.614).

Lineup Outlook:
1. Jose Tabata/RF
2. Neil Walker/2B
3. Andrew McCutchen/CF
4. Casey McGehee/1B
5. Pedro Alvarez/3B
6. Alex Presley/RF
7. Clint Barmes/SS
8. Rod Barajas/C

Tabata, Presley, and Alvarez should improve due to age/maturity/experience. Walker and McCutchen are already established players and are entering their primes. McGehee could bounce back, Barmes is a nice fit at the bottom of the order, and then there is some thump with Barajas in the 8-hole.

Bench: Garrett Jones/LF/1B, Nate McLouth/OF, and some combination of- Josh Harrison/UTL, Chase d'Arnaud/UTL, Jake Fox, Yamaico Navarro, Nick Evans, Anderson Hernandez, and Jose Morales.

Rotation Outlook:
1. Erik Bedard
2. Jeff Karstens
3. James McDonald
4. Kevin Correia
5. Charlie Morton

Backups: Shairon Martis, Brad Lincoln, and Jeff Locke.

Morton's ability to comeback from hip surgery determines if this rotation is a strength or question mark. Morton reinvented himself last year and became a solid option every 5th day. If not ready to go though, he leaves a gaping hole that will not be filled by a capable alternative.

Bullpen Outlook:
Closer- Joel Hanrahan, Daniel McCutchen, Chris Resop, Jason Grilli, Tony Watson, Evan Meek, and Daniel Moskos.

Overall a decent relief corps. Chris Leroux, Jared Hughes, Garrett Olson, Ryota Igarashi, and Mike Crotta will be at the ready should any of the above falter or need a DL stint.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree- Phils Rotation

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days of Christmas- Phillies Style Volume VI

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Phillies gave to me...

12 games played by John Bowker (yuck!)
11 indictments for Lenny Dykstra (loser!)
10 extra base hits from Michael Martinez
9 Ball Girls dancing
8 wild pitches by Dontrelle Willis (2012 prediction)
7 straight winning seasons with Charles Fuqua Manuel
6 shutouts twirled by Clifton Phifer Lee
5 consecutive NL East division championships
4 errors by Domonic Brown (now where the hell is he?)
3 pitchers finished in the Top 10 Cy Young voting
2 hernia surgeries for Polly
1 ruptured Ryan Howard Achilles
and no trip to the World Series...bastards!

Previous Installments:
*2006- Volume I (Scrooge McCorey)
*2007- Volume II (Santa Carson)
*2008- Volume III (Santa Carson)
*2009- Volume IV (Santa Carson)
*2010- Volume V (Santa Carson)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Minor League Reinforcements

Welcome into the fold Hector Luna and Luis Montanez, as they're the newest members of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Luna, who turns 32 in February, plays all over the baseball field, manning innings at the MLB level at every position except catcher and pitcher. In 6 seasons he is a .265/.705 hitter with his best attribute being his versatility. He last appeared in 2010 with the Marlins, and spent all of 2011 with the Red Sox AAA team. He's developed some pop over the past 3 minor league seasons, totaling 47 HR. Seeing that Polanco, Rollins, and Utley are injury prone, there's a possibility Luna could see some action with the Phillies this season if he outhits the likes of Kevin Frandsen, Michael Martinez, and Pete Orr for the Fe Hams.

Montanez is a former 1st round pick of the Cubs and has gotten at bats over the past 4 years with the Orioles and Cubbies, hitting .223/.586. The outfielder recently turned 30 and is a lifetime .287/.787 batter over 12 minor league seasons.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies 2012 Roster

Aside from some possible minor league signings or a bullpen arm, the Philadelphia Phillies 2012 roster seems to be complete.

1. Jimmy Rollins/SS
2. Shane Victorino/CF
3. Chase Utley/2B
4. Ryan Howard/1B
5. Hunter Pence/RF
6. John Mayberry/LF
7. Placido Polanco/3B
8. Carlos Ruiz/C

Brian Schneider/C, Ty Wigginton 3B/1B/OF, Laynce Nix/OF, Jim Thome/1B/PH, and Wilson Valdez/UTL.

1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton

1. Jonathan Papelbon
2. Antonio Bastardo
3. Jose Contreras
4. Michael Stutes
5. Dontrelle Willis
6. Kyle Kendrick
7. Michael Schwimer

Other Scenarios:
Pete Orr/UTL, Scott Podsednik/OF, or Michael Martinez/UTL are likely candidates to start the season on the 25-man roster should Howard be placed on the DL.

Justin DeFratus, David Herndon, Brian Sanches, and Joe Savery are relief pitchers vying for the final spot in the bullpen.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

He's Back...

Ed Wade is back with the Phillies...and just in time for Christmas. Yep, the former-GM of the Phils and recently fired one of the Astros got a job in scouting. The details are not yet clear, but it is clear that Wade is back in Philly and ready to screw something up. Let’s hope he has been attending sports management colleges during his time away.

From MLBTradeRumors-
"Longtime MLB GM Ed Wade has returned to the Phillies in a scouting position, Jim Salisbury of reports (on Twitter). Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle first reported that Wade would end up scouting for his former team (Twitter link).

The Astros dismissed Wade this fall after four years in Houston and a 56-106 showing in 2011. Wade became Philadelphia's GM in 1997 after spending years in the team's baseball operations department. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was Wade's assistant GM from 1999 until Wade's dismissal in 2005. The Phillies drafted Ryan Howard and Chase Utley while Wade was GM and selected Jimmy Rollins when he was the team's player personnel administrator."

I know, yuck!

*Update- The Phillies have announced that Wade will be a special consultant in the club's baseball operations department.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sorry, But Rollins Is Not Hall Bound

Jimmy Rollins is not currently a Hall of Fame player.

At the end of his newly signed contract, he will not be a Hall of Fame player.

His only hope of the Hall? Play eight more years and get to 3000 hits.* Here’s why.

[*His only chance based on personal achievement, that is. The Phillies could win three more World Championships he could ride the coat tails of that success into a Hall appointment.]

The Hall of Fame is for the exceptionally great players. While Jimmy Rollins has been good, and while he had one great MVP season, he’s been nowhere close to great.

Consider his awards to date. He’s made only three All Star games, won only three Gold Gloves  and won just a single Silver Slugger award. Compared to other contemporary shortstops*, he is certainly not a standout. Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada, Edgar Renteria, Omar Vizquel and Jose Reyes have made more All Star games, and Hanley Ramirez has already made three trips to the mid-Summer classic. Tejada, Ramirez, Renteria and Tory Tulowitzki have more Silver Slugger awards. Vizquel has 11 Gold Gloves and Tulowitzki already had 2.  And considering that Tulo, Ramirez and Reyes are all at least four years younger than Rollins, he’s going to fall further behind in these categories.

[* I’m not even going to bother mentioning Jeter who’s basically already in the Hall and A-Rod who, regardless of the ‘roids, hit 345 of his 600+ homers and won multiple awards as a shortstop. Those guys are in a different class.]

By the time Rollins would be eligible for the Hall, he’ll possibly be ranked in the middle to bottom half in the top ten list of contemporary shortstops. Jeter, A-Rod, Ramirez and Tulo, will be head and shoulders above the rest with Jose Reyes and Omar Vizquel  probably next, followed by Tejada, Rollins, and Renteria in the following group. Hall of Fame worthy? Not even close.

Consider recently inducted shortstops and how they compared to their peers.  Cal Ripken had 19 AS games, 8 Silver Sluggers and 2 MVPs. Barry Larkin had 12 AS games, 3 Gold Gloves, 8 Silver Sluggers and an MVP. Ozzie Smith had 15 AS games, 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP. Robin Yount won an MVP, went to 4 AS games and won 2 Silver Sluggers while playing shortstop. He then won another MVP and Silver Slugger as an outfielder.

Consider shortstops that aren’t in the Hall and how they compared to their peers. Alan Trammell had 6 AS games, 3 Silver Sluggers and 4 Gold Gloves. Dave Concepcion had 9 AS games, 5 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Sluggers, as well as 2 World Series rings.

There are 21 shortstops in the Hall of Fame.  Jimmy Rollins has a nice resume, but it’s peanuts compared to those guys.

“Yeah but if Jimmy is able to start another 4-5 years and finishes around: .270/.750, 1500 R, 2600 H, 525 DBL, 120 TRPL, 225 HR, 1000 RBI, 500 SB, then I think he's HoF material,” some may say.

Hogwash. Those are the definition of “pretty good” stats. If you don’t believe me, check out his profile and check out his Hall of Fame monitor. Not even close.

Sure, Rollins might have more hits than some, or more steals than another, but Rollins doesn’t have any one statistical category that’s Hall of Fame worthy. Also, we’ve all seen the “Steroid Era” and the inflation of statistics. 2000 hits and 400 homers in the 80’s is much more impressive than similar stats put up recently. That’s why it’s important to compare players to others in their own generation, which I’ve done above.

However, if you want to talk direct stats, here’s some for you. Rollins has lead the league in triples four times, runs once and steals once. That’s it. The only other time he’s lead the league in an offensive category is at-bats and outs made.

Jimmy Rollins spent most of his career batting leadoff. However, he’s never had 50 steals in a season. He’s never had a OBP over .350. He’s never walked more than 58 times in a year which is why despite 1800 hits, he’s never hit .300. So as a leadoff hitter, he’s average at best .

His career OPS is .761, which is less than the light hitting Jose Reyes and not even close to the premier shortstops currently in the league. He has 373 steals, 3 ahead of Reyes. It’s a nice number, top 100 of all time. But it’s certainly not Hall worthy, considering there are plenty of average players with 450+ steals.

Rollins’ only shot at the Hall is reaching 3000 hits. He needs 1134 more hits. Over his last three full seasons, Rollins has averaged 158 hits per season. At that pace, which likely won’t continue as he gets older, he would need a little over seven more full seasons to reach 3000. Since it’s unlikely he could play 7 full seasons consecutively  at his age, he’ll likely need 8-9 more years to reach 3000. It’s possible. But it’s not very likely.

Also, how many players should go into the Hall of Fame? It should be only for the greatest and there are loads of past and current players that are much better than Rollins. Griffey, Biggio and Piazza are already posing for their plaques. (Bonds is posing for a mug shot.) Recent players like Jeff Kent, Jim Edmonds, Edgar Martinez, Albert Belle, Mark McGwire, and Larry Walker have a better Hall argument. And older players like Lou Whitaker, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy and many others have good stats but sit at home and not in Cooperstown. And look at the active players with far better  career numbers – Pujols, Jeter, A-Rod, Chipper, Vlad Guerrero, Miggy Cabrera, Ichiro, Ivan Rodriguez, Thome, Man-Ram, Helton, Berkman, Beltran, Abreu, Rolen, Mauer, Utley, Teixeira, Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Ortiz. And then the players who certainly will have better numbers if they don’t already – Longoria, Holliday, Cano, Kemp, Fielder, Tulowitzki, Votto, Howard, Braun. Then there are the good, but no Hall worthy players, that have better numbers than Rollins – Aramis Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Kevin Youkilis, Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford, Michael Young, Torii Hunter, etc. I put Jimmy Rollins ahead of few, if any, of these players.

Consider the aforementioned Craig Biggio. Biggio hung around until he was 41 years old. Why? So he could get 3000 hits and get into the hall of fame. If Biggio retires at 38 and doesn't waste everyone's time with those sub-par last three years, he would have ended up 400 hits shy of 3000 and probably would not have gotten into the Hall. But Biggio went to 7 All Star games, won 4 Gold Gloves and 5 Silver Slugger Awards, all of which top Rollins. Also, he won a GG and SS at two positions, and would have had much better stats if he would not have spent three full years catching. Just look at what happened when he moved out from behind the plate. The point is, Biggio is more of a Hall of Famer than Rollins, but even he would wouldn't have made it without the 3000 hits.

In summary, Rollins has nice stats but you don't get into the Hall by having above average stats. You get in with great stats or being the dominant player are your position during your playing ear. Jimmy Rollins does not have exceptional numbers has not been dominant or elite at his position.  His only chance is via stat accumulation through longevity, ie 3000 hits. So, get back to me in 6 or 7 years and we’ll revisit this argument.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rollins Contract & Stuff

Ruben Amaro frolics in fields of money, signing players to contracts beyond market value (in both years and money) with reckless abandon. However, the shrewd bastard waited Jimmy Rollins unreasonable demand out (5 years) and walked away smug as ever. 3 years/$33M with an attainable 4th year option at $11M. Well played Rube, well played.

This will be J-Roll's last big contract, as it takes him to his age 36/37 season, and if he continues playing into his later 30's/early 40's it will be on smaller deals. This means Rollins may retire spending his entire career in a Phillies uniform. He also might retire with Hall of Fame credentials. From yesterday's comment section- "If Jimmy is able to start another 4-5 years and finishes around: .270/.750, 1500 R, 2600 H, 525 DBL, 120 TRPL, 225 HR, 1000 RBI, 500 SB, then I think he's HoF material."

Roster Bats:
C - Carlos Ruiz
1B - Ryan Howard
2B - Chase Utley
3B - Placido Polanco
SS - Jimmy Rollins
LF - John Mayberry
CF - Shane Victorino
RF - Hunter Pence

Bench - Brian Schneider/C, Laynce Nix/OF, Jim Thome/1B/PH, Ty Wigginton/UTL, Wilson Valdez/UTL.

Should Howard and/or Polly not be ready by Opening Day, it opens the door for players like Michael Martinez, Scott Podsednik, Kevin Frandsen, and Pete Orr.

Go Get 'em:
The Reds and Padres pulled off a monster trade yesterday (Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and 2 minor leaguers to San Diego, Mat Latos to Cincy). Having to clear roster space the Friars removed catcher Luis Martinez from the 40 man roster. Making his MLB debut last year, he hit .203/.614 in 22 games. The 26 year old has hit .272/.725 in 5 season in the minors, while gunning down 33% of base stealers. Seeing that the Phillies are limited at catcher, this would be a smart waiver claim and stash him at AAA with Erik Kratz and then have him take over backup duties in 2013 behind Chooch.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

WSBGMs College Bowl Pick 'em

The BCS might be a load of BS, but regardless it lends well to fantasy pick 'em. WSBGMs cordially invites you to join our free Yahoo! league. Bowl games start today, so register as soon as possible.

League Name- WSBGMs Bowl Pick 'em
Group ID#- 34432
Password- phillies

Winner gets a lovely trio of We Should Be GMs, More Hardball, and Phucco bumper stickers.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What's the Number?

A. Kent Bottenfield's ERA with the Phillies
B. Multiplied by Marlon Anderson's career triples
C. Divided by the wins from Paul Byrd's All-Star campaign
D. Plus the square root of Doug Glanville's homers with Phils
E. Minus Ryan Madson's career blown save total
What's the #?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Morning Bench Coach

D-train Baby!
During last season, I wrote this in the comment section about Dontrelle Willis:

"it's hard to believe that a pitcher that young and that good (and left handed) could fall so fast and stay down for so long. it is really quite a shame because he was a lot of fun to watch. and he could hit, too.

he was one of my favorite players to watch for a year or two. i've been rooting for him to get back. also, last year i bought a home marlins willis jersey on ebay for like $5. i haven't worn it yet. i'm saving it for twenty years from now..."

F#@& twenty years, I'm breaking that jersey out now!

I'm very excited about this signing. The crooked cap. The exaggerated delivery. The high walk rate. I want it all!

More ATJ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dontrelle Willis a Phillie

The D-Train is coming to the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia.

Dontrelle Willis has supposedly signed a 1 year $1M deal to pitch in relief for the Phillies in 2012. WHY? Willis hasn't been good since 2006. He's bounced around teams, had major control problems, and anxiety issues. You think Philly is the place to fix that? Nope. Last year he had a 5.00 ERA/1.52 WHIP in 13 starts with the Reds. That's not good. However, if the Phils do tend to use him as a LOOGY, it might just work- .200/.562 against lefties lifetime. He'll only be 30 years old too, so the transformation to lefty specialist might work. Added bonus- dude can hit (.244/.665). I'd rather him pinch hitting than John Bowker or Michael Martinez. He's also close friends with Jimmy Rollins, as they went to the same high school.

Can't wait to see his straight brimmed crooked-ass hatted head on the gangsta!

Farewell Benny Fran

Ben Francisco has been traded to the North Pole. Okay, not really, just Toronto. The Blue Jays sent a 26 year old left-handed reliever to the Phillies in exchange. Francisco batted .259/.732 in 3 seasons in Philly. If you recall, he was the "throw-in" on the Cliff Lee/Indians trade. Interesting note- his closest comparison according to Baseball-Reference is Wes Chamberlain (my favorite non-star Phillie of all-time). He was likely to be non-tendered with the signing of Laynce Nix as 4th outfielder, so getting something for him is better than nothing.

What did we get? A Philadelphia native named Frank Gailey. His minor league numbers are stellar over 5 years- 2.45 ERA/1.03 WHIP, but he only just reached Double-A last season. He does posses excellent control- 69 BB in 304.1 IP. He might never make it to Triple-A, or he might become a LOOGY in the Majors. Who knows...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Deck the Halls- Phillies Remix

Deck your walls with cards of Shane Rawley,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Next season we will be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our official Phillies Majestic apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Now help me tap a Yuengling barrel,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See Halladay's blazing fastball before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike them out and hear the "boo" chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow Manuel in merry measure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While Amaro dreams of playoff treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye Phans and smart asses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
J-Roll likes to call us "fair weather",
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Minor League Dudes

The Phillies continue to stock their farm system with marginal players. New to the party on minor league deals are Dave Bush, David Purcey, and Steve Lerud.

Bush (player not trendy alt-rock band) is an 8 year vet of the Majors. He's pitched for the Blue Jays, Brewers, and Rangers compiling a 56-69 record to go along with a 4.70 ERA/1.31 WHIP. He ended last season with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and that's likely his destination again as he awaits a chance to spot start for a fallen member of the Phillies rotation. Fun fact- he was the winning pitcher for the only game Milwaukee took from the Phils in the 2008 NLDS.

Purcey is a former 1st round pick of the Blue Jays, but he's never come close to living up to the hype. In 4 seasons he owns a 5.38 ERA/1.56 WHIP with Toronto, Oakland, and Detroit. He has strikeout type stuff, but his control is poor. He'll be 30 years old next year, so maybe he'll "figure it out" yet. Doubtful.

Lerud is a career minor league catcher, playing in the Pittsburgh and Baltimore organizations for the past 8 years. He's only 27, but has only played 9 games at Triple-A and his bat is weak (.221/.665). Hey, somebody's got to catch the pitches I suppose.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jingle Bells- Phillies Remix

Through the competition we mow
Backs of the rotation horses we slay
O'er the NL East we go
Laughing all the way
Dreams of World Series ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A slaying song tonight

Oh, Phillies go, Phillies go
Phillies go all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
Hamels, Lee, and Halladay
Phillies go, Phillies go
Phillies go all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
Hamels, Lee, and Halladay

A month or two ago
I thought we'd take a ride
And soon St. Louis Cardinals
Were seated by our side
The playoffs were ours we thunk
But misfortune seemed our lot
Bats fell into a funk and stunk
And then we got upsot

Oh shit, Cardinals go, Cardinals go
Cardinals went all the way
Oh, what hell it was to watch
On a big screen TV
Oh shit, Cardinals go, Cardinals go
Cardinals went all the way
At least they lost Pujols
Now I laugh at their tragedy.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Crazy Vizquel Rumor

Amaro's offseason agenda was to get younger and upgrade the offense. Then why on God's green earth would the Phillies be linked in a rumor involving Omar Vizquel? Unless they're hiring him to be roving infield instructor, there isn't a legitimate reaseon. MLBTradeRumors has the following- When asked if he would sign with the Phillies, Omar Vizquel told Manuel Lira of the Venezuelan newspaper Lider en Deportes (passed on by ESPN's Enrique Rojas) that "We're working on it." Vizquel turns 45 in April and would be playing his 24th Major League season in 2012. Vizquel played under Charlie Manuel when Manuel managed the Indians from 2000-02.

WTF?! Vizquel is equivalent to Michael Martinez, minus the speed and "pop". What I'm trying to say is- Michael Martinez is better than Omar Vizquel at this stage in his career. That's bad! He's the only active player from the 80's (until Moyer makes his triumphant comeback). I'm assuming that this is wishful thinking on Vizquel behalf and Amaro wants nothing to do with a no-hit utility infielder that is nearly as old as him. Don't get me wrong, I hope Viquel hooks on with a team, just not the Phils. I enjoy watching players from my childhood (says the 32 year old man).

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wednesday Morning Bench Coach

Phillies News
Only some vague reports floating around the Winter Meetings. First, the meeting with Rollins' agent Dan Lozano did "not go well." Maybe the Phils forgot to get the whores? Then, the rumor mill has the Phillies interested in former farmhand Gio Gonzalez. The theory is that getting Gonzalez, who is under team control for another three years on the cheap, would allow the Phils to trade Cole Hamels instead of giving him the big bucks. It's a nice theory, but I'd much rather see Ol' Girl Parts stay a Phillie.

Mess in Miami?
Is it a surprise to anybody that Hanley Ramirez does not want to move away from shortstop? He's the consummate "me" player, forever petulant and temperamental. Now the Marlins go out of their way to anger him then bring in Ozzie Guillen who will do his very best to throw gasoline on any flammable situation. This is not going to go well. And I'm loving every minute of it.

More ATJ...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Rumors in the Night

The Hot Stove is warm and toasty. However, with the Philadelphia Phillies 2012 squad mostly set, there aren't many rumors out there involving them and free agents. Amaro needs a SS and possibly some relief help. Jimmy Rollins is the choice at shortstop, but he wants 5 years, Phils want 3, and J-Roll ain't budging so far. Therefore Rube has set up Plan B- sign Aramis Ramirez for third base, trade Polanco, and play some combo of Valdez, Galvis, and Martinez at SS (yuck, I just threw up a little). Amaro also craves a 2nd lefty for the bullpen and Joe Savery might not be that guy, so enter George Sherrill rumor. Jayson Stark speculates that Ryan Madson may accept arbitration (don't count on it!). Other than that...not much.

Of course, maybe Amaro will work out a trade for Hanley Ramirez, the now displaced Miami Marlins SS, who is reportedly peeved about having to switch positions.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Nix Signs With Phillies

One outfielder in, one outfielder out. Hello Laynce Nix, goodbye Ben Francisco. Ruben Amaro inked himself an outfielder the day before the MLB Winter Meetings begin in Dallas, Texas (they start today), and that outfielder is Nix, who is a left-handed batter that is getting a 2 year pact from the Phillies. Merry Christmas! Dude lived off 4 straight minor league contracts, so 2 years guaranteed is like hitting the lottery. He's hit .244/.718 in 9 MLB seasons with the Rangers, Brewers, Reds, and Nationals. The 31 year old is a late bloomer, having never been much of anything until the last 3 seasons (OPS: '09- .767, '10- .805, '11- .750). Assuming he platoons in LF with John Mayberry Jr., the overall production should be better and MUCH cheaper than Raul Ibanez of last season. Added bonus- according to advanced defensive metrics, Nix plays quality outfield.

The 2012 bench now includes- Jim Thome/1B/PH, Ty Wigginton/UTL, Laynce Nix/OF, Brian Schneider/C, and Wilson Valdez/UTL or Michael Martinez/UTL. This leaves no room for Ben Francisco, meaning he is likely to be non-tendered since he'll have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $2M. I know WSBGMs readers are hoping Valdez is the choice over Mini-Mart too.

My reaction- not sure why this has to be 2 years, but depending on the money, this could be an very good deal though. 2 years $2M would be ideal, hopefully not much more than that. If the money is right, I like this move because it takes pressure off Domonic Brown to be ready, rids the Phils of Francisco's contract, and sets up a very good defensive outfield with Nix, Mayberry, Victorino, and Pence.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Name That Phillies- Barely Remembered Edition

This former collegiate stud was a 1st round pick that became a MLB dud. His time with the Phillies was generally forgettable. In fact, his entire career seems to be just that. He did nearly get some street cred by signing with the Pirates, which would have made him a Phucco, but he never did make the club to get the official title. Go ahead and rack your brain and name that Phillie...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Phlashback Phriday- Jack Taschner

This former lefty reliever began his career with the Giants and ended it with the Dodgers; in between he was a Phucco (Phillies- 2009, Buccos- 2010). In his career he compiled a 10-5 record in 222 games with a 5.14 ERA/1.65 WHIP. Amaro acquired him for catcher Ronny Paulino. His lone season in Philly was a bust, with an ERA near 5, a WHIP of almost 2, and more walks than strikeouts.

This "phlashback" is not really intended to bemoan celebrate Taschner's failures accomplishments on the mound. Rather, it is to see what he's up to these days, which is being a Wisconsin cop. Thanks to one of WSBGMs Facebook friends who supplied the link.
"I got ready this winter like I did every winter, but my velocity dropped so that the major leagues decided I was no longer needed. With baseball especially being on the mound you have to know who's on first, second, what's going on in the box. With police work it's kind of the same way. I can't honestly say I'd rather be anywhere else."
~Jack Taschner

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sanches Back in the Hizzy

For those of you not "in the know" the title means- Brian Sanches is back with the Phillies organization. Word!

Anyway, it was announced yesterday that Amaro has signed Brian Sanches, Scott Elarton, and Tuffy Gosewisch to minor league contracts. Of the 3, Sanches has the most upside. In fact, the 33 year old righty reliever owns a career 3.58 ERA/1.38 WHIP over 6 MLB seasons. He's been a cog in the Marlins bullpen the past 3 years and could easily sneak into the Phillies relief corps to work middle innings should the higher ups decide De Fratus, Schwimer, or Aumont need more minor league seasoning. Sanches was in the Phils system from 2004-2007. The only hangup on him is his spotty control (119 BB in 228.2 IP), but he surrenders less than a hit per inning (197 H). I'm surprised he wasn't able to get a guaranteed MLB contract with a team.

Elarton is a reclamation project that's probably best left in the scrap heap. The 35 year old former 1st round pick of the Astros has 10 years of MLB experience, but to the tune of a 5.29 ERA/1.43 WHIP. Um, no thanks. He didn't even pitch all of last season.

Gosewisch has been a catcher in the Phillies organization since 2005 and isn't much of a hitter (.236/.670). Doubtful he ever sees the Majors, especially considering he's already 28. Maybe he works well with the young pitchers...

Interesting Tid-Bit:
The Phillies have now signed 2 pitchers this offseason to minor league contracts that have a "s" to end their name instead of the typical "z": Brian Sanches and Raul Valdes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Morning Bench Coach

The Pirates Got F#@&3D And Other Thoughts on the CBA
Amongst little fanfare, MLB and the Players Assn. finalized a CBA last week. Yeah, no lockout! Baseball is awesome! Right?

Not so much. Baseball is still jacked up. And in this little agreement, not only have they done nothing to help baseball’s small market teams, they’ve actually made it more difficult for them to compete. Here are some of the lowlights:

1) The draft rule changes really hurt the small market teams. Here is a brief summary of the changes.

Clubs that exceed their Signing Bonus Pools will be subject to penalties as follows:
Excess of Pool Penalty - (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)
0-5% - 75% tax on overage
5-10% - 75% tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick
10-15% - 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks
15%+ - 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts

The ten Clubs with the lowest revenues, and the ten Clubs in the smallest markets, will be entered into a lottery for the six draft selections immediately following the completion of the first round of the draft. A Club’s odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage. The eligible Clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee Clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, will be entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the completion of the second round of the draft.

This a brutal. If you look at bonus expenditures from 2011, you’ll see that the top three are the Pirates, Nationals and Royals, by a hefty margin over the other teams. Part of this is due to having the highest picks but much of it is “over-paying” at certain spots to get young players to sign instead of going to college/play football/etc. They won’t be able to do this anymore. The extra ONE PICK is nice, but c’mon, one pick! That’s nothing compared to the number of good young players a team can sign by over-slotting. Instead, MLB would rather have the Pirates over-pay for mediocre major leaguers. The Pirates are going to have to acquire someone with an online accounting degree just to make sure these new rules are followed.

[More after the jump...]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Minor Leauge Depth- Misch & Frandsen

The Phillies signed Pat Misch and Kevin Frandsen to minor league contracts.

Misch is a left-handed pitcher that has seen time with the Giants and Mets over the years (2006-2011). In 6 MLB seasons he's put together an ugly 4-15 record with a 4.80 ERA/1.42 WHIP spanning 200.2 IP in 78 appearances. And before you get the idea that he might be a cheap option for second lefty in the bullpen behind Antonio Bastardo, guess again. Just like Raul Valdes, Misch has worse splits against lefties than righties. This is why he's a future Iron Pig and not a Phillie.

Frandsen was in the Phils organization last year and did get an endorsement from this blog to be promoted over in place of Michael Martinez, but that was before he was suspended 50 games for Ritalin. He's a career .243/.636 hitter over 5 MLB seasons with the Giants and Angels (2006-2010). Last year in the minors he hit .309/.791 at age 29 while playing 2nd/3rd/SS/1st. I still like him better than Martinez.

*Scott Mathieson has been released. Rumor has it that he'll be pitching for an Asian team next year. The 27 year old Canadian compiled a 1-4 record with a 6.75 ERA in 44 IP for the Phillies in parts of 3 seasons.

*Scott Podsednik is back next year on a minor league deal. The speedy 35 year old outfielder ended the year in the Phils organization (.254/.735 in a minors in 2011). Last played in the Majors in 2010, batting .297/.724 between the Royals and Dodgers. He's good depth should the Phils non-tender Ben Francisco and one of the starting outfielders gets hurt.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ed Wade Dissed and Dismissed

The Astros have finally figured out what the Phillies already knew...Ed Wade sucks. Wade has been relieved of his duties as Houston's General Manger. After trading the Phillies Lidge, Oswalt, and Pence the cupboards are bare, so I am not sad to see him go. I suspect he doesn't find an employer anytime soon, unless it's at Target or K-Mart as seasonal help.

*Jimmy Rollins turned 33 years old yesterday. Did Ponce de Leon find the Fountain of Youth yet?

*The Phils received Adam Worthington from the Diamondbacks to complete the Mike Zagurski trade. Worthington is a 24 year old right-handed relief pitcher that has a 4.34 ERA/1.35 WHIP in 3 minor league seasons, none above Single-A. In other words, he won't be heard from again unless he's suspended for PEDs or something.

*Amaro offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez with supposedly a "gentleman's agreement" that he won't accept. Is the supplemental pick really worth a $10M risk? The answer is- No. Ibanez is a good guy and by all account so is his agent, but you have to be a bit leery when dealing with that kinda money.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Name That Phillie - I Love the 80's Edition

This 80's superstar dud had a .303 batting average in 3 seasons with the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Portland, Oregon. Having near ready minor league talent the entire way across the country doesn't make sense, so it remains a head-scratcher as to why the Phils ever did it. Of course much of the 80's and 90's were one big fubar in Phillies history. Anyway, see if you can name this Phillie...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fill in the Blank - Ruben Amaro

Ruben Amaro Jr. is a(n) _______________ GM.

Thursday, November 24, 2011