Friday, November 27, 2015

Checking out the Black Friday bargains on the free agent market

Sure, it would be fun to see the Phillies wade into the major free agent waters this winter.
It's the deepest class in memory, afterall. I'd love to see Jason Heyward patrol right in Philly for the next ten years, and Jordan Zimmerman suit up in red and white pinstripes.
But the Phils are taking the wait and see approach. While that's the wise move - avoiding albatross contracts - I have no doubt that when the Phillies turn things around, they'll be one or two players short of contention and those players will be more expensive to get than this group at that point. So that will hurt.
So while we avoid the biggest names on the market, let's look at some of the bargain options that could help the Phillies in 2016 by taking some pressure off the young kids and being possible trade chips in July, or in 2017. After all, everyone is looking for bargains on Black Friday.
We know the Phillies are looking for pitching, but they could also use an everyday bat. It's not likely they'd look for a corner infield bat or someone to play the middle infield since they probably want to see more from Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez. It's probably more likely that they'd grab an outfield bat.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ten prospects for the Phillies to look at in the Rule 5 draft

No one is guaranteed a star in the Rule 5 draft, but there are several players available this year who could make intriguing picks.

While I assume the Phillies will go after pitching - that's what Klentak has done all offseason - my list is heavy with position players because I think the team needs some guys to take on at-bats during the year, too. Plus, I'm not a fan of giving up walks and all of the available pitching prospects - save a very select few - have issues with the strike zone. Here are my top 10 candidates:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

WSBGMs Rule 5 Pick - TJ Rivera

One of the perks of being the lousiest team in baseball is the privilege of picking first in the Rule 5 draft, which will take place during the Winter Meetings in December.  I was looking over some of "prospects" that were left unprotected and came across one that seems like a good gamble in the form the Mets 26th ranked prospect TJ Rivera.
Photo courtesy of David Conde from Legends On Deck scouting report - The old adage goes that if you hit, you'll find a spot in the big leagues. Rivera, a non-drafted free agent from Troy University, is certainly putting that axiom to the test. Having to prove himself every step of the way, Rivera has done just that with his bat, using his ability to hit to carry him all the way to the top of the organizational ladder in the Minor Leagues. He makes consistent contact and rarely strikes out, hitting at least .289 in each pro season heading into 2015, topping .300 in 2011, 2012 and again in 2014, when he led the organization in batting average. His ability to hit for average is really his lone offensive tool, as he doesn't possess over-the-fence power, and speed isn't a big part of his game. But along with his bat, he does offer positional flexibility, showing the ability to play second, short and third base capably. All of this points to a potential big league career as a utility guy. That may not sound like much, but for a player who wasn't even drafted back in 2011, it would be plenty.

Over 5 minor league seasons, the recently turned 27 year old Rivera has hit .318/.784 in 520 games with 305 R, 116 DBL, 24 HR, 259 RBI, and 24 SB and has seen time at every position in the infield.  He's not going to hit homeruns and he's not going to steal bases.  However, he hits and gets on base, and therefore stands the chance of scoring and knocking in runs.

With JP Crawford soon ready to take over at SS, now might be the time to trade Freddy Galvis.  Galvis himself would make a good utility infielder, and that's likely his future with the Phillies, but he will never hit for average like Rivera has the capability of.  Rivera and Andres Blanco could handle SS until Crawford is ready, and Rivera could also make some starts at 2nd base and 3rd too if necessary.  Hell, maybe Rivera could be the Phillies everyday 2nd baseman.

So, if I'm playing the role of Phillies GM Matt Klentak, I'm taking TJ Rivera with the 1st overall pick on the Rule 5 draft then seeing if Freddy Galvis and/or Cesar Hernandez can be traded to bring the organization something of use, preferably high level prospects for the bullpen.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Plenty of options available for Phillies in Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft could provide the Philadelphia Phillies with an opportunity to add some talent to the system.
If history provides us any clues, it's not actually likely the team will strike gold a second consecutive season. Fans are aware the team struck gold in 2014 when it selected Odubel Herrera from the Texas Rangers. The Big O hit .297/.344/.418 with 16 stolen bases, eight home runs and 30 doubles. He also provided great, if not adventurous, defense in center field. He seems to be a solid building block for the franchise.
The Phils, of course, have had some success in the Rule 5 draft over the years. Shane Victorino and Dave Hollins earned trips to the All-Star Game and played roles on teams that went to the postseason after the Phillies selected them.
But there have also been several David Herndon's, Robert Mosebach's and Edgar Ramos. Oh, and the glorious Michael Martinez.
And having the first pick doesn't guarantee success, either. Here are the last 10 first picks of the rule five draft: Fabio Castro, Ryan Golesky, Tim Lahey, Terrell Young, Jamie Hoffman, Josh Rodriguez, Rhiner Cruz, Josh Fields, Patrick Schuster, Oscar Hernandez.
That's not a roster that brings a lot of confidence to the table. 
With all that in mind, let's look at who could be available.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What the hell, Hellickson?

Recently christened GM, Matt Klentak, hasn't wasted any time bolstering the pitching staff, which was his No. 1 objective this offseason.  He already added buy-low relief help in the form of Dan Otero and James Russell, and now he's added a veteran to the rotation to soak up innings in Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson, the former Rookie of the Year in 2011, will turn 29 years at the beginning of next season.  The righty is projected to earn $6.6M through arbitration and is set to hit the free agent market at the end of the season. Career: 49-48, 142 G, 135 GS, 786 IP, 584 K, 3.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP with the Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks.

*He only cost a low level prospect (Sam McWilliams).
*He's a decent fielder (won Gold Glove in 2012).
*10-47 as a batter (.213 average, better than most backup catchers).
*Is a trade deadline candidate if he has a bounce back season (coming off 4.62 ERA).
*Has decent control (2.9 BB/9)
*When he isn't pitching well, it will allow me to use the tagline "What the hell, Hellickson?"

*Is prone to the longball.
*4.86 ERA since 2013.
*Has averaged only 5.7 innings per start since 2011.
*5.40 ERA/1.60 WHIP in 2 playoff starts (because you know the Phillies will need him in that capacity this season).

Friday, November 13, 2015

What did the Phillies get in Dan Otero and James Russell?

It's probably not a coincidence Matt Klentak's first two moves this offseason - and as a general manager - were to acquire bullpen depth.
The Phillies selected Dan Otero off waivers from the Oakland Athletics on Nov. 3 and added James Russell on a minor league deal on Thursday.
Neither name is eye-popping of course, but both could prove valuable.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Coaching Staff Complete

Here's your 2016 Philadelphia Phillies coaching staff...

Pete Mackanin- Manager
Steve Henderson - Hitting Coach
Bob McClure - Pitching Coach
Mickey Morandini - 1st Base Coach
Juan Samuel - 3rd Base Coach
Larry Bowa - Bench Coach
Rick Kranitz - Bullpen Coach
Bob Stumpo - Bullpen Catcher
Jesus Tiamo - Bullpen Catcher
John McClaren - Catching Coach
Jorge Velandia - Assistant Coach

The newest addition is Morandini, whom some fans remember from the raucous rugrat team of 1993.  He played for the Phillies from 1990-1997 and again in 2000.  He's been coaching within the organization since 2011 and now gets the opportunity to work with high-priced "talent".  Spoiler alert - the mullet is gone.

Autum = Pumpkin Beer:
Coronado Brewing Company never ceases to impress me. They managed to make a less desirable style of beer into one that I actually enjoyed.  Unlike most Americans, I am not a fan of pumpkin beers, but I'm clearly in the minority.  Punk'in Drublic (clever name! and also a rocking NOFX album) is an outlier, I appreciate the nuances of this one compared to the masses. The honey smooths out the palate, rendering the spices not as biting or potent. Subtle pumpkin flavor along with allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg round out the flavor profile. Some caramel sweetness from the malt bill and even a bit of bittering hops for that West Coast flare.  The 8% ABV helps too, as I find most pumpkin beers entirely too thin for the amount of spices they're brewed with.

Commercial Description - Here in the land of eternal sunshine, it can be difficult to differentiate between seasons. Palm tree fronds don’t change color and fall to the sand, though the mercury does drop a few degrees, it’s still as paradisaical as Southern California lore would have you believe. So, from now on, count on this imperial pumpkin ale heralding in the fall season. Brewed with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a heaping helping of would be jack-o-lanterns, Punk’In Drublic delivers autumn’s trademark flavors along with a hint of West Coast character, whether enjoyed in a pumpkin patch or on the beach.

But wait, there's more.  Coronado decided to pour Punk'in Drublic into bourbon barrels and allow the ale to age...genius! I like the fact that the base beer is still evident in aroma and flavor, and that barrel aging only added character to it, rather than mask its integrity. Spices, oak, bourbon/booze, and pumpkin for the win!  A rare beer treat for sure, seek it out.