Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Phils take the plunge, signing Saunders for $9M for 1 year, maybe more



Saunders joins the Phils in 2017, he had a monster ALCS last year batting .429 in 5 games but before that, not too much but he was an All-Star last year


The Phillies GM and team President must be under some sort of rule that they don't go past a one-year contract with the signing of any free agent player that they look at.

The team hired another high priced option for 1-year in Michael Saunders from the Toronto Blue Jays. Never heard of Saunders? You're not alone, he's not a household word and it completely amazes me that we'll be paying him $9M for 2017 with an option for 2018 at $11M.

In 2016, Saunders made $2.9M in Toronto, that's about right for a player of his caliber, how in the world do the Phillies think he's worth $9M for a year. Yes, the Phillies will be paying him in 2017 almost what he's made in his entire career but why us? The only explanation is that the team doesn't think Saunders year was a fluke, but his batting average has never been really good his whole career.

A few years ago, Michael Saunders had many years with the Seattle Mariners organization, it ended there after the many injuries that Saunders had piled up, left the Mariners with little to no options to set him free. Here's an excerpt from an article in the Seattle Times from 2014:

"Michael Saunders has dealt with injuries for much of his big league career. It’s not a knock, it’s a fact.  They are injuries born out of hustle and hard play. But they still keep him off the field and have hindered his progress in becoming an every day player.
Fair or unfair, the perception of a player changes when he misses extended parts of seasons on the disabled list, particularly for a manager who wants to rely on him daily.
“I think his numbers tell you that he is,” McClendon said when asked about Saunders being an every day player. “But the problem is he’s not out there every day. There’s no better joy for a manager than to be able to write a name into the lineup every day. When a guy is on the DL, it’s tough. It throws everything out of whack.”

Saunders was passed up on by many teams looking for a hitter who is left-handed in the off-season this year, he didn't have any takers almost a month left to Spring Training. Why? Because teams were afraid to take a chance on someone that has been injured so much during his career and he went into a real bad funk in the second half of the season last year batting just .178 in the 2nd half of the sesaon. 

Here's some numbers tallied by Saunders over his career:



Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SO BA OBP
2009 22 SEA 46 122 13 27 1 3 0 4 40 .221 .258
2010 23 SEA 100 289 29 61 11 2 10 33 84 .211 .295
2011 24 SEA 58 161 16 24 5 0 2 8 56 .149 .207
2012 25 SEA 139 507 71 125 31 3 19 57 132 .247 .306
2013 26 SEA 132 406 59 96 23 3 12 46 118 .236 .323
2014 27 SEA 78 231 38 63 11 3 8 34 59 .273 .341
2015 28 TOR 9 31 2 6 0 0 0 3 10 .194 .306
2016 ★ 29 TOR 140 490 70 124 32 3 24 57 157 .253 .338
8 Yrs 702 2237 298 526 114 17 75 242 656 .235 .309
162 Game Avg. 162 516 69 121 26 4 17 56 151 .235 .309
SEA (6 yrs) 553 1716 226 396 82 14 51 182 489 .231 .301
TOR (2 yrs) 149 521 72 130 32 3 24 60 167 .250 .336
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/17/2017.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hall of Fame vote announced tomorrow



Curt Schilling has my vote for the strangest ex-Phillies player ever, his twitter platform constantly reminds us of this everyday 



It's already time for the Hall of Fame vote to be announced on Wednesday. If we believe everything that's been written and talked about already from writers who have divulged their ballots and other sources, we should have 3 new members getting into the Hall.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez are the 3 names that have been circulating around in the press that they have the votes to get into the Hall. We'll have to see if the rumors are true tomorrow.

Curt Schilling is still on the ballot, he's been on twitter too much lately (as he always is) and spouting off on just about everything that comes down the pike. He insulted the baseball writers in the past week or two ago by sending this tweet out that the baseball writers are all 'scumbags'.

That doesn't sound like the language you would use to get elected into the Hall of Fame, in fact, Schilling should just forget about Twitter and sign himself off permanently because he makes himself look so silly year after year.

More about the winners after the official vote is released, who do you like for the Hall? Let me know in the comments section.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Galvis well deserving of $4.35M payday for 2017

Freddie Galvis had a big smile on his face for most of last season, it's great to see someone having fun on this team



Freddy Galvis got a very good deal from the Phillies yesterday. He was signed to a 1-year $4.35M deal to play for the Philadelphia Phillies. I probably would have tried to sign him for 2 or 3 years. He's at or near his prime, and he really excelled last year with a monster offensive showing.

Galvis hit 20 HR in 2016 and drove in 67 RBI. He looked like he was having a lot of fun too. Much talk about upcoming prospective Phillies player, JP Crawford is waiting in the wings, but Galvis answered with his bat last year and said, "Not so fast, JP."

If there was one thing that could have been better last year for Galvis was his BA, which was .243, had he been able to raise that, he may have had 75 or 85 RBI on the year and really in a position to have an even nicer contract for this year.

Will JP Crawford be taking over for Galvis? Yes, eventually, but there really isn't an all out rush to replace Galvis especially when he had such a great year last year. Freddie is out to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, and he may be writing his own ticket to either a bigger deal from the Phils next year, or somewhere else that could use his services.

Galvis was tied for 8th in most home runs by a shortstop in 2016 in the MLB, he was in the 6th spot for NL SS in HR, His RBI production was 13th of all shortstops last season in the MLB, and 6th in the NL in that catagory. We'll see if new hitting coach, Matt Stairs, can help Galvis get on base even more in 2017, and perhaps drive in more runs in the process.




Monday, January 09, 2017

Phillies Countdown to the 2017 Season





No Ryan Howard on the team this year, his 13 year run with the Phillies ended last season



Yes, I know it's only 9 degrees outside in the Philadelphia area this morning, but that fact shouldn't stop us from thinking about Spring! And the start of the 2017 baseball season for the Phillies.


Here's a countdown clock you can bookmark and check in as the days click by to the April 3rd, opener in Cincinnati with the Phillies taking on the Reds. 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Rumor: Phils still looking for a reliable bat



The Phillies are still in the hunt for a bat it appears. The team was mentioned in a post today by veteran Fox Sports MLB reporter, Ken Rosenthal. Usually when you read something from Ken, you can pretty well assume that it is accurate.

The article on Fox Sports had a picture of Jose Bautista included in the copy though, and I would be ecstatic if the Phils were actually chasing him, but I don't think they are going that high up on the food chain of hitters to sign Jose. Now on the flip side, Bautista is on the older side at 36 years old, so his time of an attractive free agent may well be past. He did have 22 HR and 69 RBI in 116 games last year.

It just wouldn't make much sense to pursue a player like Jose, unless the Phillies were thinking of moving someone at the same time. I would even encourage that to get a hitter like Bautista. But, I just don't think the Phils want to add an older hitter for a year or two unless they get a big bargain.

Other names in the article by Rosenthal didn't hardly seem that attractive. Namely a guy like Jay Bruce, I use to like him with Cincinnati, but I know a lot of Mets fans that would love to see him pack his bags especially to go to a division rival like the Phillies. Bruce has lost a lot of his punch that he used to have. Last year Bruce's numbers were 8 HR and 19 RBI with the Mets, he played in 50 games and batted .219 on the season.

The Phillies need offense desperately, last year, the team scored only 610 runs all season and that was last for the 30 teams in baseball. Even the Atlanta Braves, who finished miserably, scored more runs than the Phillies with 649 on the year. Curiously, the Rockies scored the most runs of any team (845), and the Cubs finished with the 2nd highest total (808) in runs scored.

We'll see if adding anyone like Bautista will increase the Phillies odds of making the playoffs for 2017, at this point it would even seem like a longshot for them finish 10 games above .500 or so if they don't do anything. This rebuild is a very slow process and the grooming of younger Phillies who have potential seems to take preference over the spot that this team occupied in 2008-2011 when they looked as if they would be one of the top teams in baseball for a long while.  

Monday, January 02, 2017

Welcome Adam Hayes to FightinPhillies.com





Phillies Offseason Storylines


by Adam Hayes

A 71-91 record was not the outcome in mind heading into the 2015-16 season. The Phillies finished 4th in their division, with only the Braves trailing the team. Two tough competitors remain in the National League East, the Mets and the Nationals, and their successes have come at the hands of their players. Each team features top-of-the-line pitching talents and has ridden these folks to the postseason the last few seasons.
The Phillies had this mindset when entering the off-season last year: grab some talented arms without having to sacrifice their younger studs. The team was able to accomplish this by bringing in Jeremy Hellickson from Arizona and giving up a minor league player to do so. This transaction paid dividends for the team, but a division is not won of the premise of one pitcher.
The Phillies are back at it again this offseason with their recent acquisition of pitcher Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, who is 32, had a rough go of it last year with the Red Sox. Posting a .500 win-to-loss ratio, Buchholz found tension between him and the team when it came to how he was being utilized. He was featured out of the bullpen, came in for short relief stints and even was called on to close out some contests when short-handed. His mindset is set in the starting role and he will now be able to meet that goal by joining the Phillies. Philadelphia pounced on the opportunity to obtain Buchholz and only sacrificed a former 10th round pick to do so.
Now the team gets to feature two veteran arms to help deviate between the younger guys they have either waiting in the wings or on the 40-man roster. Both Buchholz and Hellickson will provide a voice to two of the younger pitching talents the team is high on: Vincent Velasquez and Aaron Nola. Both Velasquez and Nola saw some decent run in the 2016 season and Velasquez has proven himself as one of the league's best. Bringing in the mere presence of these two veterans will bode well for communications and consistency among a rotation that could really use this boost. Jerad Eickhoff is another guy who will benefit from the addition of Buchholz. The rotation has finally taken shape and if these 5 can model consistency, they could make a run in the 2017 season.
A second area of concern is the addition of position players at places that may be lacking consistent play. There are two younger guys who have locked down their positions on the team: Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco. Odubel holds it down in the outfield and Maikel has the third base position locked up. These 20-something-year-olds still have something to prove at the plate, but their defensive premises have been as consistent as they come.
This turns the discussion to potential players that would fit well with the team. Two names that have gotten a lot of attention are Yoenis Cespedes and Ian Desmond. Desmond is a more likely candidate for the team than Cespedes, but both seem like a reach. Focusing more on players like Josh Reddick, Michael Saunders and Carlos Gomez would be more beneficial to the team. These combo outfielders and infielders provide the necessary relief the team will require to develop their younger players.
The final area of focus relies in developing younger talents. Guys like Roman Quinn, J.P. Crawford and other such top-100 talents have some pressure on them this season. These guys have been mulled around through all the classes of minor league ball and have either faced a roadblock or some adversity at each level. Responding to these adversities and overcoming them will be a necessity for the team this year. The team is still going through a rebuild, but the plan has already been set; the time for action is now. Expect the team to make some early call-ups and work with these players on hot starts.

The team has no room for failure, so if maturity is shown by these young talents, we could see other guys facing the same circumstances as Herrera and Franco come the close of the season. If the team can find their pieces and groove early, they have the pitching to carry them, and they could contend near the top of the division come the 2017 season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Phillies take on a big $13.5M salary and get Buchholz



Could a healthy Clay Buchholz jump start the Phillies rotation in 2017?


Another move that the Phillies make that has you wondering, why?


Would you like to sign a top tier pitcher for your rotation? Sure, any day of the week. But what the Phillies did in signing Clay Buchholz away from the Boston Red Sox is pickup a pitcher who is in the final year of his contract, and has disappointed the Boston Red Sox fans majorly for the past couple seasons.

Clay Buchholz has been with the Boston Red Sox for 10 years, perhaps the best years of his pitching career. Early on Buchholz looked like he was going to be the real deal. In 2010, Buchholz went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, that was the numbers that earned him a 7-year $56M deal from the Red Sox at that time. In 2013, Clay was an All-Star with a 12-1 record.

Fast forward to near the end of the contract, now there is one more year left at $13.5M and the Phillies went out and took Buchholz, rescuing the Red Sox from the 2017 Luxury Tax and adding a big salary to the Phillies rotation.

Red Sox fans took to social media, and as we know, social media can be misleading at times, but the general consensus was that many were happy to see Buchholz go.

Scott Lauber, ESPN staff writer who covers the Red Sox, wrote, "Look, Buchholz is hardly irreplaceable. He went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 2016. He got booted to the bullpen in May, went 19 days without pitching in July, and looked like a surefire candidate to be traded or, worse, designated for assignment." But Lauber summed up that it was a salary dump that the Red Sox wouldn't be better because of it, "But on Dec. 20, the only valid reason for the Red Sox to trade 10-year veteran Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies -- for a Class A infielder, no less -- is to guarantee they shed his $13.5 million salary from the 2017 payroll in order to stay below the $195 million luxury-tax threshold and avoid paying a 40-50 percent tax on their overages." Read the Lauber ESPN article here.

So, the Phillies get a guy who use to be very good, spending a whopping $13.5M to see if he can find some of that magic again. This move is like a river boat gambler who is hoping to draw a third ace in his hands in my opinion. It's hardly the type of move that is a solid foundation for a rebuild. Or it is in response to the Phillies low spending on salaries prior to getting Buchholz and Kendrick, the Phillies would have had close to the lowest payroll in the league. Going out and doing some spending at least makes the team look decent from a salary spending prospective.

Maybe Phillies GM Matt Klentak is remembering Buchholz from his  post college days at Dartmouth and this signing is like a trophy signing to him? Whatever the reason, the two acquisitions that he's made and spent a lot of money on for 2017 in Buchholz and Kendrick don't make any sense as far as the future is concerned, the signings are for one year.

Maybe being that it is a contract year, Buchholz will rebound from his last three years in Boston where is was a middle of the road type of pitcher. Boston surely couldn't unload Buchholz in the hot stove action a couple weeks ago and the Phillies didn't get him for nothing, they have to pay his full salary and traded a prospect for him.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Odubel's signing must have surprised even him



Obudel Herrera is now a multi-millionaire Phillies baseball player



The Phillies signed Odubel Herrera to a five year deal, was the headlines this past week as the Phils locked up the speedy center fielder who himself may have been surprised at the move.

The signing came at a time when the Phillies really didn't have to do it, maybe they think Odubel is going to have a breakout year in 2017, and this move will save them money in the long run.

At times it seemed like the Phillies weren't sold on Odubel, he sat the bench a few times, was called out to be more professional on the field by manager, Pete Mackanin, when it came to keeping his feelings and emotions in check.

On the field, he's shown promise, not anything that would lead you to believe that he may be a player that is voted on as an all-star, (the Phillies already named Odubel to the All-star ranks from the team last season) but a guy that will be getting on base and catching a lot of fly balls in the outfield. Anymore, that recipe will be getting you to a big payday in the MLB. A five-year deal for someone who hasn't accomplished all that much is a bit of a gamble. Will this player get better or will he just play about the same?

Fangraphs.com recently wrote an article that says that Odubel may have sold himself short. The article goes on to compare Herrera and his WAR, Wins Above Replacement player, ranking as a key point to the article. Players really aren't paid according to WAR rankings though. So, when they say he sold himself short, they don't know that Odubel would have been foolish to turn down $30.5M dollars for 5 years when he is only going to be 25 years old this season.

Fan reaction has been mixed to this news, they appreciate the hustle that Odubel puts in but a lot of fans didn't see him as the player that the Phillies (at least in December of 2016) were going to build around.

One thing is for sure though, the Phillies did have to start making some decisions for the future. This is one of the first contracts that have been finalized for a certain number of years into the future. We'll see if the saavy Dartmouth graduate, GM Matt Klentak, made the best move with this starting this season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pat 'The Bat' Burrell and Stairs on 2017's Hall of Fame eligible vote list



Pat Burrell is one of the most popular Phillies in the history of the team, his swing was legendary




Wow, it's been 5 years since Pat Burrell retired, and this year 'The Bat' is on the 2017 Hall of Fame voting list. Matt Stairs also is on the list to be voted on by the BBWAA. How did Pat and Matt get on the list?

Both players were nominated by the writers for this year's election along with 17 other players in their first year of eligibility.

Is Pat Burrell a candidate that could make it to the Hall? He's had 292 HR and 976 RBI over his career. Baseball-Reference.com has a Hall of Fame monitor that keeps a numerical score as to how worthy a player is to make it to the Hall. Burrell unfortunately doesn't add up to Hall numbers, but it is an honor to make the list.

Another ex-Phillie, Matt Stairs, had a long career in baseball (19 seasons), and this year he will be the Phillies hitting coach. Stairs career was a few years longer than Burrell's but he didn't hit as many HR's (265) or drive in as many runs (899) as Burrell did in only a 12 year career. One reason for that is that Stairs was a DH for a long time in his career.

Stairs' numbers on the Hall of Fame statistics over at Baseball-Reference.com says he is even much lower than Burrell on the measurement scale, and he is compared to Burrell among others on a 'similar batters' comparison over a career.

It's a great honor to even make the list to be voted on, players must get more than 5 percent of the vote to make it on the list next year. We'll have to see if either player can surpass that in the vote. The vote is announced on January 28th, 2017.

Here's the ballot list for the 2017 Hall of Fame:

 
Rk Name YoB % of Ballots
1 Jeff Bagwell 7th 71.6%
2 Tim Raines 10th 69.8%
3 Trevor Hoffman 2nd 67.3%
4 Curt Schilling 5th 52.3%
5 Roger Clemens 5th 45.2%
6 Barry Bonds 5th 44.3%
7 Edgar Martinez 8th 43.4%
8 Mike Mussina 4th 43.0%
9 Lee Smith 15th 34.1%
10 Fred McGriff 8th 20.9%
11 Jeff Kent 4th 16.6%
12 Larry Walker 7th 15.5%
13 Gary Sheffield 3rd 11.6%
14 Billy Wagner 2nd 10.5%
15 Sammy Sosa 5th 7.0%
16 Ivan Rodriguez 1st
17 Manny Ramirez 1st
18 Vladimir Guerrero 1st
19 Mike Cameron 1st
20 J.D. Drew 1st
21 Jorge Posada 1st
22 Magglio Ordonez 1st
23 Derrek Lee 1st
24 Tim Wakefield 1st
25 Edgar Renteria 1st
26 Melvin Mora 1st
27 Carlos Guillen 1st
28 Casey Blake 1st
29 Jason Varitek 1st
30 Orlando Cabrera 1st
31 Pat Burrell 1st
32 Freddy Sanchez 1st
33 Arthur Rhodes 1st
34 Matt Stairs 1st
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/13/2016.