Thursday, November 19, 2015

Number 33 for Phils will be worn on new pitcher in 2016

As Phillies fans, we've grown accustomed to see the jersey with the number 33 on the back associated with Cliff Lee for the past 5 seasons, well 4 if you don't count last season that Lee was on the DL for the whole year.

Cliff Lee didn't throw a pitch in 2015 for the Phillies but still collected a cool $25M on his contract, and recently a $12.5M buyout of his contract if what could be an important lesson for any future GM signing a pitcher with a lot of miles on his arm already to a multi-year deal like the Phillies did with Lee.

Despite the great times with Lee, the Phils also had a tough parting with him, as he only pitched 81.1 innings in 2014 for which he also collected a big $25M payday for the year. Adding this all up and you didn't get too much from Lee for the $62.5M of the last couple years on his contract.

If Lee doesn't ever throw another game in his career, he'll end with a record of 143-91 with a 3.52 ERA over his career. Lee's career with the Phillies was pretty good, he was 48-34 with a 2.94 ERA overall.

Lee's jersey number 33 will be worn by a new pitcher that the Phillies just signed this offseason, and that pitcher is Jeremy Hellickson.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hellickson may be the high point of Phillies off-season

The Phillies are well into the off season and ho-hum, not much has changed with this team that will likely change the course of the team too much next season.

Yes, a pitcher was signed in the past week, but Jeremy Hellickson, who made $4.275M last year, isn't the type of pitcher that is going to bring a whole lot of greatness to the starting lineup. A team still needs players though, and Hellickson was the player that GM, Matt Klentak, thinks will bring a bit of experience to the rotation.

Hellickson was 9-12 last year with a bad Diamondbacks team. Jeremy did win his 8th game of the season last year against the Phillies, by a score of 13-1. That game was also the game that Maikel Franco was hit on the wrist with a pitch by the right handed pitcher Hellickson, now Jeremy will be Franco's teammate.

Hellickson had 27 starts for the D-Backs in 2015, and pitched 146.0 innings.

Here is the chart of pitches that Jeremy threw in 2015:

Hellickson relied on his fastball the most followed up with a change and curve, he rarely threw anything else. Maybe developing one more pitch may help him to keep batters a little more surprised at what he will be throwing at them.

The Boras Corporation represents Jeremy Hellickson, who also is a free agent after the 2016 season. Possibly a good time for Jeremy to prove hi,self for his next contract, as you can see even a pitcher that doesn't have a good record is pulling down multi-million dollar contracts.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Can't Lose" Klentak has plenty of supporters, now must make some decisions

A few additions to this team would be nice, with the GM meetings winding up, nothing has happened so far but continued banter 

For the past couple weeks we've been reading how Phillies newly appointed GM, Matt Klentak, has been in former roles in organizations. Glowing reports of being a great negotiator and task master have been flowing in from various sources and being reviled about in the local press.

My first though on all of this would be, if he was so good previously, why didn't some other team like his former team gobble him up as GM? There have been many opportunities for teams to do that, but it was Andy MacPhail that finally hired him a few weeks ago.

All that said, the Winter meetings are drawing to a close, and not much is happening so far with the Phillies with the few exceptions of Ken Giles name being thrown around as teams may have interest in him. Sort of the way a 'going out of business' sale at a retailer and someone wants to inquire about the clothes racks also being for sale?

The next point we've heard in the press has been how the Phils under Klentak would like to tap the international market. Matt, look at your team already, it's very international with Galvis, Hernandez, and Franco in your infield and Herrera in the outfield.

So now, onto the coming months, we've seen a ripple of activity so far, and some great talk about where this team could go, and the potential it has. Right now though the Phillies were the worst team in 2015, they've kept a coaching staff in place that has seen a couple years of dismal finishes under them. Maybe you should have started there?

How about starting with getting a good pitcher for the team?  

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Otero is first player picked up with GM Klentak's regime

Oakland reliever Dan Otero is the first player added to the Phillies roster on the Matt Klentak era of Phillies baseball. Otero was claimed off the waiver wire to see if he can make a contribution to the bullpen in 2016 possibly.

I say possibly because Otero was sent down by the Oakland A's on three occasions to Triple A last season, and he turned in his worst year as a pro last year for the Athletics as well. Otero only pitched 46.2 innings for the A's and gave up 35 ER and 7 HR over that span, his record was 2-4 with a 6.75 ERA. Otero had one really bad outing for the A's last year against the Orioles, he gave up 8 H and 8 R in only 1.1 IP (27 total pitches) in an 18-2 loss to the O's last year on 8-16-2015 that could have skewed his overall numbers for the season.

Otero had a 2015 that was very similar to Justin DeFratus, who the Phillies jettisoned from the team after a similarly bad season last year. DeFratus had pitched for 5 seasons with the Phillies, but last year was his worst, in 80 innings he gave up 49 ER and 9 HR. Looking at a comparison against Otero's record last year, that doesn't look all that bad.

Here's a chart that shows what pitches Otero has pitched over his career:

Otero is primarily a sinker pitcher and fourseam fastball pitcher, his fastball usually results in flyballs and that could be a reason why Otero gave up some many homeruns in 46 innings last year. The Phillies coaching staff will be tasked with figuring out how Otero can improve upon that.  

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Latest Phillies Talk Podcast - Klentak Talk and WS 2015 through 4 games

A few days ago we learned more about Phillies upper management with he announcement of new Phillies GM, Matt Klentak, we talk about that.

We're also recapping the World Series through 4 games, the Mets and the Royals were turning in an entertaining World Series.

All this and more on this edition of the independent Phillies Talk Podcast with Rich Baxter and Jim Mulry.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Old ties help Klentak rise to Philies GM

The face of the Phillies is changing faster than you can order a cheesesteak and whoof it down before you sit down to watch the Eagles game tonight. Expected to be announced any day now as official, the Phils are expected to announce Matt Klentak as Phillies GM.

Gone are the 'family ties' type of operation that the Phillies organization has been running over the past 40 years or so, and now we find this team being run by people who were never here for most of their baseball careers, and have no real ties to the Phillies organization.

Yes, chalk it up to the 'modern' era of the way baseball is being run. Much different for Phillies fans that it's ever been for sure. The 'old' days of rising up through the ranks of the organization here in Philly have been replaced by the hiring of new team President, Andy MacPhail and now he's brought in a former employee of his from back in his Baltimore Orioles days to join the Phillies as the new GM, named Matt Klentak.

Klentak is only 35 years old, but he's a seasoned baseball exec in that he's worked for the Orioles up to 2011 and the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels for the past 4 years. Angels GM, Jerry Dipoto resigned on July 1st from the Angels after a dispute with Angels owner, Art Moreno. Billy Eppler was named new GM for the Angels.

Maybe it will be good for the Phillies, the business of baseball is becoming more complicated as are the new rules with replay and other things. Time will tell if these moves were good for the team, but for now, these new Phillies executives are tapped to make some good things happen here.

They'll get to know Philadelphia, and we'll get to know them.

From today's twitter post, @toddzolecki says it will be announced by the team on Monday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Phillies close their book on Dom Brown

Brown's career isn't over, it's just over with the Phillies

A name that we've heard many, many times in the Phillies organization is no more with the team. Domonic Brown had a ton of chances to make this team, except from some bright spots a couple years ago, really never lived up to what people thought he could be.

Back in 2013, which was a short time ago, Brown hit 25 HR for the Phillies, and it looked as if he had found his swing. The finding was brief though, the next season Brown had lost whatever he found previously and only managed to hit 10 HR in about the same amount of games for the season.

Other than the 2013/14 seasons, Dom Brown hasn't played full major league seasons for a team. He's been used in platoon roles, sent down to the minors, and generally just got lost in the Phillies mix over the last two years.

It doesn't mean his career is over though, with a proper amount of coaching, Dom Brown may just be a good addition to a team that can put him out on the field and let his talents develop on a team. The Phillies were a chaotic mess of lineups over the Ryne Sandberg era, it seemed like there wasn't a permanent spot for anybody with all of the platooning that went on.

Brown's time in Philly may be up, but don't be surprised if you hear his name again with another team, he's only 28 years old still, so if a team that knows how to properly utilize him and helps him regain what he lost in 2013, they may find they found a diamond in the rough.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Phils need offseason pick up but where?

The Phillies got younger in 2015, but finished as the MLB's worst team. Where is the most improvement needed?

The Phillies offseason is in full swing, though it's not even Halloween, the hunt is on for a suitable GM and at least a free agent or two to compliment this young Phillies team that now all of a sudden appears to be too young.

Do the Phillies want to fit a reliable veteran into the mix and possibly take one of their prospects out of the lineup?

The Phillies need a pitcher that can step into the rotation and augment a young staff that includes Aaron Nola and Jared Eickoff. The team also needs a few reliable hands in the bullpen, an area that needed improvement all year.

Looking at the field, the possible improvement to the team can be right field, or second base. Granted, Cesar Hernandez did a good job at second, but his offense lacked for this team, only producing 1 HR and 35 RBI in 127 games. That isn't good enough to be successful in the long run.

Freddy Galvis showed a little more pop at shortstop with the bat in the last year with 7 HR and 50 RBI, that is a number that Hernandez should have strived for.

Odubel Herrera is a guy that got constant buzz from his hustle last year but looking at his season's ending numbers, he isn't a big production type of guy, with 8 HR and 41 RBI, looking at Herrera, Galvis, and Hernandez and you have a total of 126 RBI from three players. Ryan Howard had 77 RBI by himself in 129 games played last year.

This Phillies team needs to score more runs. That is obvious from the dismal finish in 2015, here is a chart that shows how the Phils did scoring runs in 2015, and the batter's average age, which is now one of the youngest in the league.

Tm #Bat BatAge R/G G AB ▾ R LOB
COL 51 28.0 4.55 162 5572 737 1016
ARI 50 26.6 4.44 162 5649 720 1153
WSN 44 28.4 4.34 162 5428 703 1114
PIT 46 28.2 4.30 162 5631 697 1166
SFG 48 28.9 4.30 162 5565 696 1130
CHC 50 26.9 4.25 162 5491 689 1165
NYM 49 28.5 4.22 162 5527 683 1098
LAD 55 29.6 4.12 162 5385 667 1121
LgAvg 48 28.2 4.11 162 5510 666 1106
MIL 49 28.1 4.04 162 5480 655 1026
SDP 46 27.7 4.01 162 5457 650 1028
STL 46 28.4 3.99 162 5484 647 1152
CIN 50 29.5 3.95 162 5571 640 1148
PHI 50 28.0 3.86 162 5529 626 1066
MIA 51 27.9 3.78 162 5463 613 1059
ATL 60 28.8 3.54 162 5420 573 1145
714 28.2 4.11 2430 82652 9996 16587
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2015.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Baseball tries to right the wrong, Utley suspension for slide

Eric Byrnes re-enacts the Utley slide, that was just about right, with Tejada out of the base path

Yes, we've heard from just about everyone in reference to the now infamous Chase Utley slide into second base or more correctly, into the NY Mets player, Ruben Tejada. Yes, this has been going on for a while in baseball, there is plenty of hard slides into second base to reference, but there are differences. All slides are not created equal.

Baseball's attempt to right the wrong late this afternoon, with the announcement of a pending suspension of Chase Utley, is an attempt to say, yes, we got this one wrong.

There is such a call as interference, it wasn't made on the field, and it wasn't made from the 'replay booth' in New York on game night when the Utley slide was fully reviewed.

But, now there is a precedent by the MLB, they don't want to see baseball turn into a game of bowling over the shortstop and second baseman in the future, if they aren't in the base path. A player should be sliding to the bag, not the player.

Appeal is the likely scenario from Utley, the MLB will make a determination, but the game is in the books, that won't be changed.  

Utley slides dirty in NLDS vs Mets

Chase Utley is a hard nosed player who plays very dirty at times. Last night Chase was breaking up a double play and went out of his way to slide body first into second baseman, Ruben Tejeda, instead of even sliding to the bag.

I wonder if we see someone like Puig take a slide into him at second base and see if he thinks that it is a legal slide.

That's what we've seen from Utley for years in Philadelphia, even when he was younger, but no one really said how dirty he is until now that he is off the team. He slid three feet off the bag and right into Tejada. If that isn't interference, I don't know what is.