Monday, January 31, 2011

Ranking NL East Shortstops

It is a long running tradition that the best athlete of the infield stakes claim to shortstop, so let's check out the Carl Lewises of the NL East.


1. Florida Marlins
Hanely Ramirez
(27)
.300/.853, 92 R, 28 2B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 32 SB, 3.5 WAR. This former Rookie of the Year and member of 3 straight All-Star squads had a down year by his standards, but remains one of MLB's elite SS. Has been accused of having an attitude problem and being immature at times. He's just one season removed from the NL batting title (.342 AVG in '09).

2. New York Mets/Jose Reyes (27)
.282/.749, 83 R, 29 2B, 10 3B, 11 HR, 54 RBI, 30 SB, 2.2 WAR. A great athlete that seemed to peak at age 23. Is a 5 tool player, but continually disappoints. Not to mention his on-field and dugout shenanigans are a disgrace. Just play the damn game!

3. Philadelphia Phillies/Jimmy Rollins (32)
.243/.694, 48 R, 16 2B, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 17 SB, 1.7 WAR. In the final year of his contract, J-Roll has a lot to prove. He has his doubters out there that think his tank is running dry and that his health issue and poor offensive output will continue. However, this fan is expecting a bounce back performance.

4. Atlanta Braves/Alex Gonzalez (33)
.250/.744, 74 R, 42 2B, 23 HR, 88 RBI, .9 WAR with Braves (split season in Toronto). Makes routine plays and has power, but not going to get much other than that.

5. Washington Nationals/Ian Desmond (25)
.269/.700, 59 R, 27 2B, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 17 SB, .6 WAR. Great range but erratic on the field, leading to 34 errors. Has 15 HR/20 SB potential.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ranking NL East Third Basemen

It's time to preview my personal favorite position on the field, the hot corner, 3rd base.

1. Washington Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman
(26)
.307/.899, 85 R, 32 2B, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 5.3 WAR. Solid defensively and great with the wooden wand (2 consecutive Silver Sluggers). His prime years are likely still ahead of him. Pay attention America, you're witnessing an upper-echelon 3rd baseman.

2. New York Mets
David Wright
(28)
.283/.856, 87 R, 36 2B, 29 HR, 103 RBI, 19 SB, 3.9 WAR. The NL East is home to 2 of the best players at the hot corner in all of baseball. Wright is a perennial All-Star (5 straight years) and is an excellent batter. His defense is overrated, but his skill set is not.

3. Atlanta Braves/Chipper Jones (38)
.265/.806, 47 R, 21 2B, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 3.2 WAR. As much as it pains me to admit this, he is one of the greatest switch hitters of all-time, and should be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. The older he gets, the more brittle he becomes, but fact remains that Larry is an on base machine even at his elderly age.

4. Philadelphia Phillies/Placido Polanco (35)
.298/.726, 76 R, 27 2B, 52 RBI, 1.8 WAR. Hampered by a busted elbow (thanks a lot Tim Hudson) for most of the season, but still managed to bat nearly .300. Very steady with the glove and is the prototypical 2-hole hitter.

5. Florida Marlins/Wes Helms (34)
.220/.646, 25 R, 12 2B, 39 RBI, -1 WAR. Really? Get the hell outta here!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Name That Phillie: Old-Head Edition

This man is a blast from the Phillies past, but not too awfully long ago, just a few decades. He had a decent career and is still active in the game today. Do it, do it, name that Phillie...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ranking NL East Second Basemen

2-sackers are the subject of today's analysis in the NL East.

1. Philadelphia Phillies
Chase Utley
(32)
.275/.832, 75 R, 20 2B, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 13 SB, 4.2 WAR. When healthy, Utley is an all-around force on both sides of the ball. However, health is a problem. Was limited to 115 game in 2010, but still managed his 5th straight All-Star appearance. Did see his streak of Silver Slugger awards snap at 4 though.

2. Atlanta Braves
Dan Uggla
(30)

.287/.877, 100 R, 31 2B, 33 HR, 105 RBI, 3.7 WAR (with Florida). The Popeye lookalike is a consistent middle of the order hitter, but a complete hack in the field. Has been a 3 time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger last year for the first time.

3. Florida Marlins/Omar Infante (29)
.321/.775, 65 R, 15 2B, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 2.9 WAR (with Atlanta). Was a surprise All-Star selection last year as a super utility fielder, but proved it was the correct decision by finishing 3rd for the NL batting crown. He's a nice player, but lacks speed and power, so all his worth is tied into his batting average.

4. Washington Nationals/Danny Espinosa (23)
.214/.723 in 112 plate appearances. Has legit power, bopping 28 round-trippers between the minors and majors last year. His defense is still suspect, but the Nats would be wise to let his bat in the lineup.

5. New York Mets/Ruben Tejeda (21)
.213/.588 in 216 plate appearances. It's difficult to get a read on the Mets plans at 2nd, as it could be Tejeda, Luis Castillo, or even Daniel Murphy there. Basically, it's going to be a hodge-podge of ugly. Tejeda has the most upside given his age and athletic ability, but his bat may not be enough to warrant playing time. Minor league line- .273/.696 in 4 seasons.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ranking NL East First Basemen

Today we delve into the power position of 1st base in the NL East.

1. Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Howard
(31)
.276/.859, 87 R, 23 2B, 5 3B, 31 HR, 108 RBI, 2.1 WAR. Was hampered by a bum ankle last season, but this slugger is always in contention for the MVP. Struggles against lefties and isn't much with the glove, but the man can sure knock the snot out of a baseball.

2. New York Mets
Ike Davis
(23)
.264/.799, 73 R, 33 2B, 19 HR, 71 RBI, 2.5 WAR. This youngster could have a breakout season in 2011. He has power, plays good D, and hit for a decent average during his brief time in the minors.

3. Washington Nationals/Adam LaRoche (31)
.261/.788, 75 R, 37 2B, 25 HR, 100 RBI, 1.2 WAR (with Arizona). Has hit 20+ homeruns and knocked in 78+ runs 6 straight seasons. Not terrific, but steady and that counts for something.

4. Florida Marlins/Gaby Sanchez (27)
.273/.788, 72 R, 37 2B, 19 HR, 85 RBI, .7 WAR. Needs to improve defensively to make more of an impact, plus hit for a higher average like his minor league stats suggest (.302 AVG).

5. Atlanta Braves/Freddie Freeman (21)
.167/.500 in 24 plate appearances. Big things are expected out of this rookie, as Atlanta is essentially handing him the job much like they did with Jason Heyward last season. Freeman owns a .301/.835 minor league line in 3 seasons (2 as a teenager), so he could easily catapult to #2 on this list if all goes as planned.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ranking NL East Catchers

Over the next few weeks I will be ranking each position of the NL East teams (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF, Bench, SP, and RP). First on the docket are the men who don the tools of ignorance, catchers.

1. Atlanta Braves
Brian McCann
(26)
.269/.828, 63 R, 25 2B, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 4.7 WAR. 5 straight All-Star selections, won Silver Slugger 4 out of last 5 seasons, and throws runners out at a 24% clip.

2. Philadelphia Phillies
Carlos Ruiz
(32)
.302/.847, 43 R, 28 2B, 8 HR, 53 RBI, 4.4 WAR. Handles the pitching staff with authority and confidence; 29% caught stealing in 2010. Chooch has been an integral part of the Phillies success over the past few years.

3. Florida Marlins/John Buck (30)
.281/.802, 53 R, 25 2B, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 3 WAR (with Toronto). Is below average defensively, but has enough pop in his bat to warrant playing time. Caught 28% of base thieves last year.

4. New York Mets/Josh Thole (24)
.277/.723, 1.4 WAR in 202 at bats. Makes good contact, but has very little power. Surprised many by gunning down 44% of would be base burglars (compared to 18% in Triple-A). Will likely split time with Ronny Paulino.

5. Washington Nationals/Ivan Rodriguez (39)
.266/.640, 32 R, 18 2B, 4 HR, 49 RBI, 1 WAR. Is on a quest for 3000 hits (183 shy of goal), but bat has gone cold and weak past few seasons. Remains a quality defender behind the dish, nabbing 34% of stolen base attempts. Expect Pudge to play less in lieu of prospect Wilson Ramos.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

WSBGMs Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s WSBGMs Hall of Fame time. As a reminder, here is how it works. Each year, Carson and I will nominate a few people (players, coaches, ballgirlz, etc.) that have had an impact on the blog. We'll put the nominations up for vote. If the person receives a certain percentage of the vote (which we will arbitrarily change every year to suit our needs), then he will be officially enshrined in the Hall of Fame, which will be less of a hall and more of a widget in the sidebar. As for the rules: 1) a person can only be nominated three times 2) a person cannot be currently playing/coaching/working for Phils to be nominated 3) a reader can vote for more than one person but we ask that you only vote once and 4) I reserve the right to make up more rules later.

In the inaugural vote, Pat Burrell was elected, Steve Jeltz, Abe Nunez and David Bell remained on the ballot, but Rick Schu only received a few votes so he is no longer eligible.

In 2010, Eric Bruntlett was elected. Bea Arthur, Adam Eaton, Steve Jeltz and Brett Myers got enough votes to stay on this year’s ballot. Unfortunately, David Bell, Abe Nunez and Ed Wade will have to hope for a Veterans Committee selection.

So without further adieu, here are this year's nominations, in alphabetical order.

Bea Arthur (29% of votes in 2010) - A long shot to get elected in 2010, the first non-baseball person nominated is back for a second go-round. She and the rest of the “Golden Girls” helped the Phils to an extended winning streak early in the 2009 season and has been mentioned repeatedly, especially when the Phils are struggling. She made such an impact on the team and this blog that she was given a place next to Bowa and Wade in the banner image. Props to Bea.

Adam Eaton (24% in 2010) - The Phillies drafted Eaton 11th overall in 1996. I wish their association with his failures ended there, but sadly he returned to the Phillies in 2007. The Phillies paid Eaton about $24 million and in turn he posted a 14-18 record with a 6.10 ERA. He became the most hated pitcher on this blog (I think Carson even fantasized about beating him up in a parking garage...) and forever will be the standard bearer for disappointing pitching performances. Of course, it also didn't help Eaton's case here that he often didn't think he was pitching that bad, denying his supreme shittyness to the end. When he mercifully left Philadelphia he had this to say, "Granted, there were a lot of horrible games in there, but there were some good ones, too." No, Adam, there weren't, that's why you're still on the ballot.

Steve Jeltz (21% in 2010) - Jeltz is not just another jheri-curled, light-hitting middle infielder, he is the embodiment of the Phillies that Carson and I grew up watching. Sure, Mike Schmidt was the face of the franchise, but Mike Schmidt was good. Hell, he was great. The Phillies were not, however. They sucked. But we loved them anyway. So when I think of the Phils of the late 80's and early 90's, I think of Juan Samuel's unorthodox throws to first, Von Hayes' batter's box spanning stance, and Rich Schu's mustache. I think of Steve Jeltz's jheri curl. So, when we decided to create an outlet for our 25 years of Phillies frustration, naturally the first player pictured was Steve Jeltz. And ever since, he's been our go-to guy. This is the last time Jeltz will be eligible for the Hall…

Brett Myers (21% in 2010) - Here is a rough timeline of Brett’s career with the Phillies - #1 draft pick who was a good starter, then he became a reliever, he got kind of fat, then he asked somebody how to spell “retard,” then he beat his wife in Boston, at some point he pitched the last inning of a playoff clinching game, then he became a starter again, he became less fat, also at some point he got a horrible tattoo on his wrist, then he hurt is hip and finally he became a free agent. I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty HoF worthy to me.

Jayson Werth (1st Nomination) – Four years with the Phillies resulted to four playoff appearances. He made one All-Star game and was top 20 in the MVP balloting twice. He may or may not have destroyed the sanctity of a teammates marriage. But more importantly, he grew a beard last spring that was very enjoyable to look at/write about/photoshop. Remember, Werth beard pics here and here. For this, and possibly this alone, he gets the nomination.

*Poll located in upper left sidebar.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hall of Famer?

Would this player be a Hall of Famer?

.290 AVG, .395 OB %, .475 SLG %, .870 OPS , 1600 R, 2635 H, 615 2B,
60 3B, 300 HR, 1475 RBI, 400 SB.

13 straight seasons of 151 or more games played, 8 100+ run seasons, 8 100+ RBI seasons, 8 100+ walk seasons, 2 30/30 seasons, and 9 20/20 seasons.

Those are modest estimations for Bobby Abreu's career totals after 3 more seasons. For some reason he left a bitter taste in many Phillies fans mouths, but for this fan he's a future Hall of Famer. What do you think?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What's the #?

Alright Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, start formulating...
A. Total amount of starting pitchers used by the Phillies in 1988
B. Multiplied by extra base hits from Chris James as a Phillie
C. Divided by number of batters Greg Harris faced as a switch pitcher
D. Plus the number of postseason appearances by the Phillies
E. Minus the sum of Howards committed by Phillies in 2010.
What's the #?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Extensions

January 21st is a memorable day in Phillies lore because it's a day in which Chase Utley was inked to 7 year extension back in 2007 and Joe Blanton to a 3 year one just a calendar flip ago.

The Utley deal was extremely team friendly considering they locked up the best 2nd baseman in the game for 70% of a decade. The contract was for $85M and wraps up in 2013, just after the Phils should be winning their 3rd straight World Series. The 15th overall selection in the 2000 draft has become a fan favorite with his gritty balls-to-the-wall style of play and is appreciated country wide. The man is an offensive force and a vastly under-appreciated defensive whiz. A career .293/.894 batting line from a 2-sacker is rare. After all, even Harry Kalas knew- "Chase Utley, you are the man."

The Blanton pact wasn't as well received, especially since the Phils now have 4 aces on their staff and GI Joe is a bit unneeded. If he's kept, he'll be the best 5th starter in the Majors, but at 3 year $24M, that's a lot of greenbacks in the final slot of the rotation. My guess is that Blanton is traded once Amaro finds someone to take him without eating money. But for now, Blanton makes this team stronger, and will always be remembered for clouting that homerun in the World Series.

As the saying goes, "Hindsight is 20/20", so if to do over the Utley deal is a no-brainer but the Blanton one is questionable. At the time though, both were decent moves and Gillick and Amaro were in their right mind to do so.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Name That Phillie- League Leader Edition

This man once lead the league in a very prestigious category, and if asked I would have never guessed he did. He also made a comeback after many years away from the majors. Go for it, take your best guess and name that Phillie...
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Congrats to A. Sherman who submitted this excellent take on the Phillies 2011 rotation. He is now the happy winner of a t-shirt courtesy of Philavania.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lineup Construction

Much is being made out of Jayson Werth's absence from the lineup/outfield next season and the debate rages on as to who should fill the void (Brown or Francisco). Taking a look at each players' stats leads me to believe that a new lineup configuration is in order (pun intended) depending on the pitching hand of the starter.

Below you will see a proposed lineup against righties and lefties. Each is unconventional in that Howard isn't batting 4th in either of them. Against RHP Howard absolutely crushes the ball, so getting him as many at bats early in the game against them is important, hence his bump to the 3-hole, which moves Utley to 2, and Polanco down in the order. Brown is batting 7th because of being a rookie. He could easily be flipped with Rollins later in the season after he builds experience and confidence. However, this does put 3 lefties in a row (Utley, Howard, Ibanez), making them highly susceptible to a LOOGY late in the game. Against LHP Howard is horrible, so he is pushed down in the order to 5, with Fracisco sitting in the cleanup spot. This also is favorable for late game matchups by splitting up Utley, Howard, and Ibanez. Obviously Manuel won't employ either of these lineups, but I think he should.

*Career splits listed, and on base % given to show Vic is better suited for leadoff over J-Roll.

Vs. Righties:
1. Shane Victorino/CF- .275/.743 (.337 OB%)
2. Chase Utley/2B- .298/.894
3. Ryan Howard/1B- .303/1.038
4. Raul Ibanez/LF- .289/.847
5. Jimmy Rollins/SS- .269/.757 (.326 OB%)
6. Placido Polanco/3B- .299/.740
7. Domonic Brown/RF- ?
8. Carlos Ruiz/C- .260/.735

Vs. Lefties:
1. Shane Victorino/CF- .295/.853 (.362 OB%)
2. Placido Polanco/2B- .313/.805
3. Chase Utley/2B- .283/.894
4. Ben Francisco/RF- .267/.806
5. Ryan Howard/1B- .232/.766
6. Jimmy Rollins/SS- .282/.782 (.336 OB%)
7. Raul Ibanez/LF- .269/.757
8. Carlos Ruiz/C- .262/.792

What would your lineup look like?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Breaking the Color Barrier

On this very special day , Martin Luther King Day, WSBGMs would like to recognize John Kennedy. No, not JFK, but John Irvin Kennedy from Jacksonville, Florida. Kennedy was the first black player in Philadelphia Phillies history, making his debut April 22, 1957, some 10 years after Jackie Robinson first broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. John was a shortstop that appeared in only 5 games and never registered a hit, but his stats aren't his legacy, his stewardship for future players of various elasticities in Philadelphia was. Before playing with the Phillies, Kennedy suited up for the Birmingham Black Barons and Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. He was originally signed by the New York Giants in 1953, but was cut loose in 1954 without ever appearing in the Majors. Thank you John Kennedy and thank you Martin Luther King Jr.; both brave men.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's the #?

Alright math geniuses, it's time to pull out the trusty calculator and formulate an answer to the following equation. (Note- follow steps in order from A-E, not order of operations).

A. Jimmy Rollins' height in inches
B. Multiplied by Roy Halladay 20+ win seasons
C. Divided by Chad Ogea's losses as a Phillie
D. Plus Kevin Stocker's career WAR
E. Minus the square root of Mike Schmidt's '74 homerun total
What's the #?

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Represent Philly with a free t-shirt. All you gotta do is submit an altered Phillies themed image for a chance to win.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Name That Phillie: 3-Faced Edition

Today's Name That Phillie is so difficult that we're providing you with 3 different minor league cards for your endeavor. Pictures are grainy, but it's the best we could do. Go ahead, have at it, name that Phillie...












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Why?
I'm a baseball geek. Love stats, collected cards, enjoy the obscure players of yesteryear, read the box scores everyday, rummage through the minor league signings of ex-Major Leaguers, but somewhere I draw the line. That line is at Matt Anderson. I'm all for signing has-beens and never-quite-weres to minor league deals (ex- Delwyn Young, Wilson Valdez, Eddie Bonine, Pete Orr, Jeff Larish), but they've all had recent MLB exposure and/or success in the minors. Matt Anderson, not so much. He last pitched in the Majors in 2005 and in the minors in 2008. What the hell is the point of putting him on a minor league roster to take up innings that a maturing "prospect" could be logging? Anyway, the 1st overall pick by the Detroit Tigers back in the draft of 1997 has a career 15-7 record over 256.2 IP with a 5.19 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. I've already spent far more time that I should on this signing. I'll leave you with a comment from someone on BeerLeaguer about it...
Before we go ridiculing this signing, let's remember a few things:
(1) Starting pitchers get injured a lot, so it's important to have a competent 6th starter at AAA;
(2) On occasion, a starting rotation can even suffer 2 or 3 injuries at a time, so it's nice to have a 7th and 8th starter you can turn to in those situations;
(3) Even 6th, 7th, and 8th starters can get injured, so it's not a bad idea to have a 9th, 10th, and 11th starter just in case; and
(4) If catastrophic injuries hit, and your 9th, 10th, and 11th starters all get called up to the majors, you need a 12th, 13th, and 14th starter to replace them on the AAA roster.
Matt Anderson' star may have dimmed, but he's still a perfectly serviceable No. 14 starter. On lesser teams, he'd even be a No. 13.

Thing is, he never started a game in the majors, just 257 relief appearances.
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Win a T-Shirt:
Don't forget to submit your Phils themed photoshop picture for a chance to win 1 of 3 t-shirts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Phlashback Phriday - January Transactions

Anderson Machado
Signed Jan 14, 1998, amateur FA
The Phillies signed Machado out of Venezuela two weeks before his 17th birthday. After five minor league seasons, Machado got a call up in September of 2003. In his only game with the Phillies, he pinch ran for Kelly Stinnett and stole second base off of Braves pitcher Kevin Gryboski. Midway through the following season, he was traded to Cincinnati with Josh Hancock for Todd Jones. Machado got in 23 more games with Cincy and Colorado but hasn’t seen major league action since 2005. In 2010 he played for the AA Huntsville Stars in the Milwaukee organization.

Glenn Murray
Received from Boston Red Sox on Jan 29, 1996 as part of the Heathcliff Slocumb trade.
Murray was a second round pick of the Expos in 1989 and was part of five major league organizations. However, he only played in majors with the Phillies, when he got 104 at-bats and hit .196 in 1996. Despite his short major league career, Murray played professionally for almost twenty years. After roaming around the independent baseball and the Mexican League, he finally retired after his 2008 season with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League.

Tyler Houston
Signed Jan 15, 2003, FA
Houston committed three errors on 32 ground balls at third base in 2003. Not good. He hit over .400 as a pinch-hitter. That’s very good. But I don’t remember any of that about Houston’s time in Philadelphia. I remember this:

Houston – "Everybody feels the same way about Bo (Bowa). He doesn't give a crap about anybody in there. He doesn't give a crap about his players. Bo only cares about himself. You see it in the negativity and disrespect that he has for his players, the way he speaks to his players. He's the first one to slam you, embarrass you, throw stuff in the dugout, throw his hands up in the air."
Bowa – “He's (Houston) a loser. He was an extra guy who causes problems. I had 15 guys [players] doing backflips when we let him go."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free T-Shirts!!!

Did the title grab your attention? Well, the t-shirts are only free if you win the contest. As you may know, and if you don't you should, WSBGMs is semi-famous for our creative Phillies-centric pictures created by GM-Carson and Corey. So, the contest is simple, submit Phillies themed photoshopped images (must be created by you, don't go snatching them off other sites) to our email. We will then post what we feel are the best on the blog and have the readers vote for their favorite. The top 3 vote getters receive the prize. The prize is seen to the right and is provided by our buddies at Philavania. Submissions will be accepted through next Wednesday (January 19th), with the vote beginning the following day. Suggestions- the "4 Aces" thing has been done, try to be inventive and less conventional like Bruntlett in a toilet, Schilling with duct tape over his mouth, or Big Ben Rivera standing on that huge clock in London. Below is some original artwork by yours truly to get your creative juices flowing. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phillies Crossword Puzzle


ACROSS
1 TBS nickname for Carlos Ruiz
5 1992 NL RBI leader
7 Best thirdbaseman of all-time
9 The man, the pimp, the machine
11 Milt Thompson's 1993 platoon partner
12 Donut-Eater

DOWN
2 A homerun, strikeout, and error in the same game
3 The enemy
4 Nickname: No-Hit ________
6 Boston's return for Jeff Bagwell
7 1995 All-Star reliever
8 World ________ Champions
10 1985 All-Star catcher

*Answers- last names only.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage Phillies Commercials

This lovely array of vintage Phillies commercials come from a time when a 27" console tv was a "big screen" and the Phillies weren't any good. Schmidty does make me wanna go purchase a Chevy though...


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Phillies Wheel of Phortune


*Pic provided from one of our Facebook friends. Thanks

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Classic Phillies License Plates


Little did this fan know World Series appearances were coming in 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008, and 2009.


Damn str8! Just as every Phan should be.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Phlashback Phriday - Wally Backman

You think Cliff is the biggest Winter signing in the last twenty years? Obviously then you forgot about Walter Backman. Big Wally was signed to a two year deal with the Phillies on January 8th of 1991.

Former first round pick Backman had some good years in New York, especially the championship year of 1986 when he hit .320 in a platoon with Tim Teufel. Unfortunately for the Phillies, when he signed a two year $1.3 million contract in 1991, his best years were behind him. He hit .292 with the Pirates (Phucco!) the year before he signed, but after hitting .249 in only 136 games over two seasons in Philadelphia, Backman lasted only 10 games and 31 at-bats with Seattle before retiring.

Backman started coaching after his playing days and won Sporting News' "Minor League Manager of the Year" in 2004. Because of his success, he was hired as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the Diamonds (apparently) were unaware of certain things in Backmans past, like multiple arrests and owing the IRS a bunch of money. Saying that Backman lied about his past, he was fired before ever coaching a game.

Backman got back into coaching through the independent leagues and last check was skipper of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The following video is from the documentary "Playing for Peanuts" which was done while Backman was coaching the South Georgia Peanuts of the now defunct South Coast League. It's funny but it is completely NSFW due to Backmans love of the "F word." If you are at work, plug in some headphones. If you are at home, earmuff your children. Then enjoy.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Delwyn Young = Possible Phucco

I know all you WSBGMs readers were deeply saddened by the news of big-headed round-bellied Dennys Reyes failing his physical and not becoming an official Phucco. Well, cheer up my chaps, because Ruben Amaro heard your cries and went out and signed Delwyn Young to a minor league contract. That's right, Delwyn, who mysteriously isn't related to the baseball brothers Delmon and Dmitri, might end up being the 25th man on the roster and therefore a Phucco. Go ahead, commence rejoicing.

Young has spent the past 2 seasons with the Pirates and the previous 3 with the Dodgers. In 5 seasons, the switch hitting 28 year old has posted a .258 average and .710 OPS while playing 2nd base and corner outfield. So, unless Manuel decides to go with an unconventional 11 man pitching staff because of the Phab Phour's ability to eat innings, then Delwyn will be competing for the final bench spot with Michael Martinez, Pete Orr, Jeff Larrish, Robb Quinlan and John Mayberry.

Pictured above is Delwyn clubbing with what seems to be Ryan Howard's sister.

Name That Phillie: Completely Random Edition

This former Phillie hails from Pennsylvania's state capital (sorta), was a big dude with a wild side, and was taken deep by the one and only Double-G Gregg Jefferies. Test your knowledge and name that Phillie...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Time to Get in Shape for Phillies 5K

I must be crazy, I just registered for the Phillies first 5K run...time to get in shape.

From Phillies.com:
Fans are invited to lace up their running shoes and take part in the inaugural Phillies 5K for Charity on Saturday, March 26, 2011, at 9 a.m.

The USATF certified 5K (3.1 mi.) run starts and ends at Citizens Bank Park with a loop through FDR Park. Following the run, there will be a cool-down lap on the field along with a photo finish at home plate (weather permitting). A post-race party and awards ceremony will also be held in Ashburn Alley, complete with music, a free raffle for Phillies items, games for kids, an appearance by the Phillie Phanatic and more.

"We're very excited to launch this new race for charity, which offers plenty of Phillies fun along the way," said Mary Ann Gettis, Phillies Race Coordinator. "We encourage fans to register early, since the race will be capped at 3,000 participants."

Notes:
*Entry fee is $30, with proceeds going towards Phillies charities...hello tax write off!

*Participants get an official Phillies 5K t-shirt and 2 tickets to the on-deck series against the Pirates in late March.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Where to Trade Joe Blanton

To New York Mets for OF Fernando Martinez
Some people might suggest that Rube would not want to trade Joe within the division. Those people are stupid. Immediately stop reading anything written by these people. Rube will trade Blanton to anybody – okay, maybe not Atlanta – to get him off this team and clear that money, especially to that shit-train in New York.

The Mets need pitching. Not only front line pitching, but guys like Blanton too. After Johan, nothing in the rotation is dependable. Pelfrey had his moments and Dickey had a good run. But this year, who knows? New York also loves to spend money and considering the salaries of some of their players, Blanton will look like a pauper. Bad news is, there’s a new GM that probably isn’t as dumb as Omar Minaya.

As for the prospect, Martinez was New York’s number one rated prospect in 2008 and 2009. This year, Baseball America has him number 8 behind three other young outfielders. The bloom is off the rose and with new management in place, they may want to deal Martinez for two reasons: 1) get maximum value and 2) as a symbolic gesture of getting rid of the old regime. He’s only 23 so there is still potential, unless he lied about his age and he’s actually 4 years younger than Miguel Tejada…


To Washington for nothing as long as they take the contract.

Again, a trade within the division. But if team will take the salary…see above.

Washington obviously doesn’t mind overspending for players so Blanton’s salary shouldn’t be a sticking point. And their pitching staff, at least the guys that will pitch this year, doesn’t look great. They need to win some games next year to generate interest within the fan base and to make the team look attractive to free agents in 2012 when the team should improve significantly when Strasburg returns.


To Kansas City plus cash for Wilson Betemit

Zach Greinke? Gone. Brett Saberhagen? Ain’t coming back. Kyle Davies? His 5+ ERA is still there. Long story short, they need pitching. Badly. Joe Blanton is better than what they have. I say that is a match made in heaven.

Betemit is useful (1B, 3B, OF, 2B/SS if needed) and cheap ($1 million this season).


To Chicago Cubs for Jeff Baker

Do you remember a year in the last 10 that the Cubs haven't needed pitching help? I don't either. Blanton could help them and they have cash to afford his salary.

Baker plays a ton of positions and has a career OPS of .908 against lefties. Unfortunately for Baker, that OPS dips to .678 against righties, which is why he'll never get significant playing time with anybody. Fortunately for the Phillies, they have plenty of lefties.


To Pittsburgh plus cash for Steve Pearce
The Pirates, like the Royals, need any sort of pitching.

As for Pearce, he doesn’t fit in well with Pirates. He’s already 28, they don’t give him many at-bats, he won’t ever be a starter there and they already have Lyle Overbay and Garret Jones at first base and many, many backup outfielders. For the Phillies though, he could be very useful. I don’t have his minor league splits but his major league splits lean heavily toward him hitting lefties…only. .929 OPS in 115 at-bats. Perfect! Give him the bench spot over Mayberry and play him once a week in right field against a lefty starter so Francisco can play left for Ibanez.


To Houston for Hunter Pence
At first glance this trade looks silly but consider this: the Astros GM is Ed Wade. See, it all makes sense now...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends- Phils/Mets

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

I seen ya in the rear view for a long, long time,
I really remember you because all you do is whine.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

I'd seen ya sulkin' at the stadium in Queens,
Your team doesn't even know what contention means.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

I pay my money for Phillies playoffs tickets,
But in October, Citi Field's only sound is crickets.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

The color of your jersey does matter to me,
Aint' no way we can live in harmony.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

I'd kinda like to be the Mets GM or president,
So I could show you how money should be spent.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

Sometimes I hear you cry at night,
But yet you brag like your team got it right.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?

I know you're jealous down deep inside,
You just won't admit it because of that foolish pride.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?