Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Room At The Top - Gillick in for the long haul








Pat Gillick has been with the Phillies for a long time, and he likes it that way.

Gillick has been a GM for the Phillies from 2006 - 2008 and a senior adviser and acting President and now President of the Phillies after David Montgomery has returned to the team.

Pat seems to have a midas touch when it comes to putting together winning teams. He did that in Toronto in the AL East, guiding them to 5 division titles and World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

Gillick also did that in Baltimore, putting together a playoff run in 1996 and 1997. He's done the same magic in Seattle as well, as an award winning ways led the Mariners to 116-46 record in 2001.

Now he's back and working towards a goal of building the Phillies back into championship form. His guidance is much needed.

Check out the ZoZone's Todd Zolecki, in a story about Gillick staying on with the team.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Phillies Talk Podcast - More off-season talk











Listen in on the latest show from Phillies Talk Podcast, the longest running independent show that talks all about Phillies baseball.

Now you can be a patron of the show! Just go to Patreon.com/Phillies and you can help fund this show. We're independent and not funded or associated with any company. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nats get stronger with Scherzer, Phillies scream sell



The Phillies almost seem desperate to unload Cole Hamels now, making public comments about his trade potential  



The Phillies are in full scale sell mode. The only problem is no one is buying.


Pat Gillick went public and said that Cole Hamels is an attractive trade piece still after the Washington Nationals signed ex-Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer to a massive $210M dollar deal yesterday. The Nats quickly became front runners with that new rotation.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has went public against Ryan Howard recently after many years of standing by the player, saying the Phillies 'probably would be better off without him.' This after Howard went through a tough time last season with his own immediate family suing him. Despite that, Howard still hit almost 100 RBI for the Phillies last season.

The Phillies are very much a team that doesn't know where it's going at this point, yes, they are trying to sell off the rest of this team and somehow Amaro has escaped blame for all of this from a lame duck President in Pat Gillick who is filling in for David Montgomery, and is afraid to place Amaro in the limelight as to the reason why the Phillies are in the shape they are in.






Monday, January 19, 2015

Phillies kick off Banquets Week for 2015







Ryne Sandberg and a few Phillies players will kick off a round of banquets throughout the Greater Philadelphia areas this week as they do this every year to benefit charities.

Several players will be included on each stop of the banquet tour along with Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro.

The Phillies Winter Banquet tour will be at the Sands Casino Events Center in Bethlehem on Jan 22nd 2015, Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood, NJ on the night of January 21st and January 20, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Reading.

The Phillies avoided arbitration and signed Domonic Brown and Ben Revere to one year deals, read all about it here.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Jimmy in Dodger Blue, now he's on the other team



A photo of Jimmy Rollins from last season on April 22nd 2014 at Dodger Stadium, you have to wonder if Rollins saw something he liked out in LA



Jimmy Rollins is glad that it happened, his acceptance of his move to LA know means that he's officially on the 'other' team. Though we remember the great times, it's now down to business and when the Phils play LA, of course our thoughts will be with James Calvin Rollins but he's trying to earn a World Series ring for the 'other' team.

Blue is Jimmy's favorite color, and that's great. He seemed to like red a whole lot too, 

Rollins didn't have to leave the Phils before this season, but I guess he saw better opportunities and he decided to get out of Philly when only a few short years ago, it was some players choices to come to Philly to play, of course as well, the Phillies were handing out mega salaries as well.

If Rollins ever makes the Hall of Fame, without a doubt, he'll go in as a Phillie. For now though, he's like the many players who have left the Phils so like Jayson Werth, Scott Rolen, and many others have experienced, the fans can have a happy memory that a player was on the Phils but an equally tough approach to them when it's the other way around.

It will be interesting to see how Jimmy's attitude for the game with new manager, Donnie Baseball, and how his attitude towards giving his all with every play reacts with the fans out there if the time comes where he may revert back to the days when some Philly fans called him "J Stroll".

We'll see what happens out there on the left coast with Jimmy, and wish him the best, but we absolutely will want to beat the Dodgers handily this season!






Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Ruben's next Aged Signing: Aaron Harrang



Aaron Harang would have been a great signing about 7 years ago, but look for him to put in innings if nothing else for 2015



This has got to be one of the most frustrating times to be a Phillies fan, right on the heels of being the best time to be a Phillies fan just a few short years ago.

Ruben Amaro and the 'braintrust' have went out to the free agent market and picked up AJ Burnett's replacement. His name is Aaron Harang. And yes, he's bound to give Phillies fans a case of the fits when he takes the mound, if it happens to go that far when the new season starts up just a couple months ago.

Many years ago, Aaron Harang was a pretty good pitcher, but lately he's been just a .500 pitcher. Going 10-10 with the Dodgers in 2012 and then 12-12 with the Braves in 2014. He's been bounced around more than a rubber ball since 2010, having been with 4 teams and not working out with any one of them.

Why then would the Phillies want to take a chance with a pitcher like this?

Who knows, maybe he'll go 17-7 and surprise us all, but I doubt it.



Monday, January 05, 2015

Six weeks till Spring until Phillies pitchers and catchers report for 2015



Cole Hamels is still a Phillies pitcher as we near 6-weeks to Spring Training




While it may be a little more than 6 weeks until the real Spring starts, it's only about that amount of time until Spring Training starts for the Phillies.

Phillies pitchers and catchers report on February 18th, 2015 with the full team usually about a couple days later but as of this morning, that date hasn't been officially aanounced.

What do we expect from this year's Spring Training with the Phillies?

It's going to be Ryne Sandberg's second official Spring Training for the team, and as it was announced shortly after the season ended, the coaching staff will probably be the same.

The Phillies Winter Banquet tour which raises money for charity will be at the Sands Casino Events Center in Bethlehem on Jan 22nd 2015, Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood, NJ on the night of January 21st and January 20, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Reading.

It should be interesting to hear what Sandberg has in store for 2015 for this team.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year from FightinPhillies.com







The Phillies hope to "Shake It Off" when it comes to last season, and the season before that.

Marlon Byrd is now part of the Cincinnati Reds, so there's a big part of the Phillies offense gone before we start Spring Training.






Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hit or miss: Phillies 2015 season




Last season was a rough one for the Philadelphia Phillies. With a record that read 73-89 it did not come as too much of a surprise to find them rooted to the bottom of the National League East. Whilst that was a bad year, people are already suggesting that the one to come is going to be even worse. Bookmakers Betfair currently have the Phillies at 100/1 to win the World Series. Together with the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, we have all been written off. So can our team upset the bookies odds and have a fairly successful season, or will Citizens Bank Park again be invaded by mediocrity and disappointment?

The Squad


Phillies at the Orioles by Keith Allison / flickr

To start with let’s look at the core, the squad. The biggest talking point is naturally the departure of Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Coming in his place were Tom Windle and Zach Eflin; two young and relatively inexperienced pitchers. Rollins is very much a double-edged sword. On the one hand you have a player who has spent all his career with the Phillies, was the National League MVP in 2007, a three-time All-Star shortstop, the franchise leader in hits - at-bats and doubles - whilst his role in the victorious World Series 2008 team can never be underestimated. On the other hand there is a drastic need to modernize. Rollins has sentimental value to Philadelphia fans but does he really have a practical use at 36-years-old? If Rollins had remained with the team he would have cost them $11 million. That is money that could be used to bring in hot prospects.



Jimmy Rollins by Matthew Straubmuller / flickr


With the decision from management being to trade Rollins it did make you beg the question about Cole Hamels’ availability, although it has since been all but confirmed that the 31-year-old is available. The pitcher is one of the hottest commodities available in the MLB right now. As a three-time All-Star it is only natural that teams like the Yankees, Padres and Dodgers are sniffing around. Losing Rollins was bearable but what sort of shape is the squad going to be in without Hamels? Not a very good one. Efficiency was missing in so many Phillies players last season and only a few could truly hold their head up.



Cole Hamels by hueytaxi / flickr


One of those few was Hamels, who, despite how lacklustre the side around him could be at times, managed to finish sixth in the Cy Young voting. With their strongest component increasingly looking likely to jump ship it is imperative that the Phillies replace him with the right player. Signing Wandy Rodriguez is a gamble and one that could go either way. He is a pitcher who has proven that he can cut it in the past. He was a member of the Houston Astros 2005 World Series team and, although he hasn’t been at his best in recent years, he does still show glimpses and could be an attacking force. Unfortunately, all this talk is just theoretical baseball chatter. Hamels is a World Series-winning pitcher, although he will never do that again with us, whilst Rodriguez is someone who comes in at 36-years-old with his talent depleting by the innings.

Rodriguez is not the answer, but there is pitching talent in the younger players of the Phillies outfit. Granted, they will need to be blooded and shouldn’t be rushed, but trial by fire can be of extreme advantage. A lot of attention will be paid to Aaron Nola’s progress. The 21-year-old, who was drafted No. 7 by Philadelphia, will be expected to blitz through the minor leagues. It borders on the absurd to be thinking that Nola will be able to perform to the levels that Hamels achieves, but if the lad is given a chance in the big leagues then it would certainly speed up his improvement. Nola has the makings of a great pitcher, it’s just about making sure that he doesn’t get stuck in the minors for too long.

All in all, when it comes to the squad it is undeniably weaker. There are positives to be found, the club are looking towards younger players and expect there to be many more of them to come into the club as the older players are moved on. This season the improvements and benefits of this transfer policy will be highly unlikely to see, but the creating of a solid bedrock will be more than evident. If management bring in enough high-quality, hungry, young players then the side will grow together and before you know it will be back to performing like a cohesive unit.


Management
Ryne Sandberg was brought in in 2013 after the club’s hierarchy ended Charlie Manuel’s eight-year tenure. It was a decision that did split some fans, many of which Sandberg has failed to truly convince. There are those that believe his handling of the Rollins situation was the right thing to do and there are those that believe it to be stupid ostracizing one of your greatest assets.



Ryne Sandberg by Tom Hagerty / flickr


Regardless of his dealings with Rollins there is still one undeniable fact; Rollins is unproven at the top. Yes, his time in the lower leagues saw him take the Lehigh Valley IronPigs to their first ever playoff appearance and International League championship in 2011, a feat that saw him justly named Baseball America’s Minor League Coach of the Year.
Here is a coach who may have an impressive resume, a resume that deserves to have a shot in the big leagues. Besides his success with the IronPigs, Sandberg is a Hall of Famer and a World Series MVP. However, for all the glory he has had in his past career it counts for nothing. You cannot live off reputation, you need to bring results. Something that last year Sandberg failed to do.
However, there is a much bigger picture going on with the Phillies than just the results, and this is something that Sandberg is very much vested in. You get sick of saying it but the need for youngsters is huge, and with his wealth of minor league baseball knowledge it is safe to say that Sandberg knows how to bring the best out of young talent.
Much like the team, Sandberg needs to become part of the bedrock. No, he won’t do particularly well this year, but he will be forging the start of something. The coach and the team have to be as one, getting rid of one completely disrupts the harmony of the other. If the Phillies are to get the best out of this partnership then they have to allow it time to grow.
So management won’t be doing much this year to put a smile on the faces of Philadelphia fans, but they will hopefully be building a playoff contending team. 


Beating the Mets
The relationship we share with the New York Mets is one of the hottest in the MLB. A poor season can always be made slightly better by beating the Mets. Although the bookmakers favour the Mets over the Phillies in the World Series betting, they don’t have faith in either. In essence, we are both as bad as each other.
Last season it was the Mets who came off the better. This season let us hope that won’t re-occur. The Mets are more than beatable and the Phillies owe us one.

Conclusion
Philadelphia is very much a fixer-upper. It has all the grandeur and iconography of a lovely old home, but it also has the rotting deadwood inside. Here is a great team that just needs to be made great again. The only way to do that is to modernise. This season is not going to be particularly favourable for Phillies fans, but the project has an end goal that makes all this pain bearable.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to you





Merry Christmas to all the readers of FightinPhillies.com and listeners of the Phillies Talk Podcast, the most listened to independent internet broadcast about the Phillies.

For old time sake, let's all remember J Hustle just one more time for the holiday! Thanks for everything Jimmy!