Monday, January 28, 2013

Phillies Talk Podcast - So Close to Spring

             It's the Phillies Talk Podcast, for the 'So Close to Spring' show recorded on January 27th, 2012. Talking about some of the latest Phillies news, player profiles and more. Follow the show from, the site for interesting baseball talk, find us on iTunes, Android Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, and Download the shows to your mp3 player, iPod, iPad, or Smartphone to listen to the show on the road.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Phils start to show signs of payroll decline

The Phillies have spent a ton of money on salaries in the past few seasons, as they have signed top named pitchers, and rewarded long time players with long term deals such as Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and now Jimmy Rollins. Howard got the lion's share with the $125M extension that was signed in April of 2010 on a West coast road trip. This last year it has been Cole Hamels to receive the biggest contract of his career $144M which is the second highest of any pitcher ever, besides the Yankees contract with CC Sabathia who signed in 2008 for $161M, 7 year deal which is now heading toward the back side of that deal.

All the euphoria of the World Series win of 2008 is about gone though, as the Phillies now start to realize that this win was an incredible 5 seasons ago counting the 2013 season. The thoughts of a repeat have changed to thoughts of whether the Phillies can just compete.

With all of this, the salary spending spree appears to be over, and that was spoken very loudly with Ruben Amaro's off season moves this year. No more blockbuster announcements and jaw dropping acquisitions from the Phils this off season and maybe for more years to come.

The Phils no doubt made salary moves with  Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Joe Blanton. Those moves alone saved the Phils close to $30M. Shedding Placido Polanco also put more salary to the cutting board, as the Phillies realize that to save money as a ballclub, they have to cut the biggest middle level salaries. To just dismiss players like John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown may have been well warranted but these players aren't eating up a large part of the salary pie, and that has saved their careers so far in Philadelphia going into 2013.

Yes, the Phillies still have a big payroll starting off the 2013 season, if things don't improve with this team, we could see that drastically reduced by the All Star break in 2013 as well. The fans won't want to come to a stadium to see a team like this disintegrate. They will still be buying tickets, but like all great teams with fans that support them through the great times, you can rest assured that they will thin out very fast with losing seasons.

So let's look at what the Phillies have spent last year, and according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Phils should come in under $160 this year in this article, which is still very high but heading downward.

Here's last year's list with some of the highest paid players highlighted that aren't on the team anymore:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Phillies find a treasure in Delmon Young

Delmon Young in the Phillies locker room

He finished up in second place for Rookie of The Year in 2007, that in itself tells you something about how he plays baseball. He clubbed 46 doubles in 2010 for the Twins, and Delmon Young seemed like he was on his way to a great baseball career.

The Phillies just picked up Delmon Young yesterday for a bargain $750K, (he also can earn $2.5M in incentives) which is a bargain considering his potential. The Twins traded him to the Detroit Tigers in 2011, and young was part of the World Series team that almost won a ring, just so happened that the San Francisco Giants put an end to that dream by coming out and playing flawlessly to steal that dream from the Tigers.

How did the Phillies get Young for such a bargain? Delmon hit 18 HR and had 74 RBI last year, which is not really a big disappointment. Yes, he struck out 112 times, which he needs to work on this year, but all in all this may be the biggest bargain that the Phillies have picked up this offseason. The truth of the matter may not lie in Young's potential as a baseball player, but more so an isolated incident that should be taken more like a grain of salt, than the mountain that some people are trying to make out of it.

I just learned about what happened to draw such negative attention to Young. It was an incident in New York City that Delmon was involved with outside the team hotel. He was coming back to the hotel and watched as some tourists donated money to a homeless man just outside the gleaming 4-star hotel where the Tigers were staying. Young yelled an anti-Semetic slur at them as he passed them all by. None of them were Jewish but an altercation ensued and Young was charged with aggravated harassment and plead guilty to it in court. Drinking was a factor in this, and nobody's perfect why Young went to the comments he did is an event that only he knows. He says he's cleaned up his act, and that's good enough for this writer. We tend to want to pigeon hole anyone who does something wrong, and after they have done their service for it, it should be a clean slate and a moot point. Let's get over it, and move on.

Young will bring experience and a great potential to this team. If he plays like the Delmon Young of 2010, we have a winner. Young could be in the driver's seat for another contract with the Phillies or some other team. He's going to be out to have a career year this year, it's his own livelihood that depends on it.

Here is some of Young's career stats:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI BA Awards
2006 20 TBD 30 131 126 16 40 9 3 10 .317
2007 21 TBD 162 681 645 65 186 38 13 93 .288 RoY-2
2008 22 MIN 152 623 575 80 167 28 10 69 .290
2009 23 MIN 108 416 395 50 112 16 12 60 .284
2010 24 MIN 153 613 570 77 170 46 21 112 .298 MVP-10
2011 25 TOT 124 503 473 54 127 21 12 64 .268
2011 25 MIN 84 325 305 26 81 16 4 32 .266
2011 25 DET 40 178 168 28 46 5 8 32 .274
2012 26 DET 151 608 574 54 153 27 18 74 .267
7 Yrs 880 3575 3358 396 955 185 89 482 .284
162 Game Avg. 162 658 618 73 176 34 16 89 .284
MIN (4 yrs) 497 1977 1845 233 530 106 47 273 .287
TBD (2 yrs) 192 812 771 81 226 47 16 103 .293
DET (2 yrs) 191 786 742 82 199 32 26 106 .268
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/23/2013.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Howard in a pivotal year for 2013

A lot of people have many diverse opinions about the Phillies superstar Ryan Howard. In the early part of his career, Howard played like a man on a mission. He was smacking the ball out of the park faster than any other baseball player to play the game. In fact, he holds the record as the player to reach the 100 and 200 home runs mark, the fastest in history. These records came in 2007 and 2009 respectively, when Howard was ripping the cover off of the ball religiously.

Since the 2009 season though, Howard hasn't been the same player. Yes, injuries did catch up to him a bit, but he has made a remarkable turn from player on the rise to player on the demise. How could such a thing happen to such a great player? The record he garnered from the 2009 World Series is a dubious one, he now holds the record for the most strikeouts in a World Series by a player with 13. He's also picked up the Phillies record for most strikeouts in a season, which came in 2008 at 199.

Ryan Howard is one of the best paid players in the game, the Phillies extended his contract in 2010 for $125M dollars that runs through 2017 when Howard with be 37. He's already been collecting a huge sum making $65M in the last 4 seasons alone.

When he signed the contract extension in 2010, Ryan Howard joked that, "Hopefully there is no riots taking place back in Philly." The contract extension was done on the road by the Phillies, announced when they were on a West Coast trip, rather than at home when the team returned to Philadelphia. Usually when great news like this for a Phils player happens, it would be announced in the friendly confines on the player's home turf.

No, there were no riots, but there was whispering and innuendo. Was Ryan Howard worth all of this money?, and would he continue to produce at the pace that he was going at. The fans haven't totally given up on him, but this too can change especially with the kind of money that he is getting to play baseball.

Here's a look at the some of the career statistics of Ryan Howard so far:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA Awards
2004 24 PHI 19 42 39 5 11 5 0 2 5 2 13 .282
2005 25 PHI 88 348 312 52 90 17 2 22 63 33 100 .288 RoY-1
2006 26 PHI 159 704 581 104 182 25 1 58 149 108 181 .313 AS,MVP-1,SS
2007 27 PHI 144 648 529 94 142 26 0 47 136 107 199 .268 MVP-5
2008 28 PHI 162 700 610 105 153 26 4 48 146 81 199 .251 MVP-2
2009 29 PHI 160 703 616 105 172 37 4 45 141 75 186 .279 AS,MVP-3
2010 30 PHI 143 620 550 87 152 23 5 31 108 59 157 .276 AS,MVP-10
2011 31 PHI 152 644 557 81 141 30 1 33 116 75 172 .253 MVP-10
2012 32 PHI 71 292 260 28 57 11 0 14 56 25 99 .219
9 Yrs 1098 4701 4054 661 1100 200 17 300 920 565 1306 .271
162 Game Avg. 162 694 598 98 162 30 3 44 136 83 193 .271
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/17/2013.

There has been a steady decline across the board in every category, again the numbers are skewed due to injury, but if you follow the Phillies, you know that Howard just doesn't have that same magic that he carried just a few years ago.

This 2013 is a pivotal year for Howard, he's just moving into a stage in his career that could be either the best or a continuation of this decline we've seen in his numbers over the past couple seasons.

It's time for Howard to show the MLB and the Phillies fans some of that magic this year, they need his offense and he's got to take the reigns of the team and make some better things happen in 2013 for the team and his own career.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Phillies Talk Podcast - First show of 2013

It's the first podcast of 2013, and we can't wait for next month as it's only about 30 days until the start of Spring Training 2013. We're talking about what the season may bring for our favorite team.

The Baseball Hall of Fame vote was one that made history, a lot of great players but no one is elected? What is going on with that? We'll talk about it.

Phillies Talk Podcast is also starting up it's 7th year of talking about Phillies baseball. Who would have thought we would still be doing this, you would have thought by now, we'd be on the radio.. but we're still here on the place where our passion is shared with the listeners. Thanks for staying with us if you're a long time listener, or welcome aboard if you're just finding out about the show.

With only a month until Spring Training, are the Phils ready for '13

The Phillies Spring Training season for 2013 is around the corner, pitchers and catchers report on February 12th and the first full squad workout is on the 15th of February as the Phillies try to regrow the momentum that they carried before the disastrous 2012 campaign.

The injuries of 2012 are behind this team, and the guys who were injured are now either fully healed or playing elsewhere this upcoming season. Let's take a look at the roster from April 5th 2012, the Opening Day of the 2012 season vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, and see how the team will look this year much different.

As we see in the chart above, the Phillies opened the season with a cloud around most of the team. Here's how the team looked offensively through the All-Star Break in 2012 which is known as the '1st Half' and then the rest of the season in the '2nd Half'.

The Phillies had a lot of hits in the first half of 2012, but a lot of those hits didn't produce a lot of runs in relation to the number of hits they got in the 2nd half of the season and the runs that were produced from those hits.

Here is how the Phillies batters got their hits in relation to the balls and strikes count in 2012, it also shows you a lot about when the Phillies will be getting a lot of their hits in 2013 when the count reaches certain numbers:

Obviously, the 3-1 count is the bread and butter of the team last year, but I was surprised to see that the Phillies hit 27 home runs on the first pitch last year. If the Phils can do better this year, they will try much harder to get a hit when the count is 1-2, which they only managed to hit .146 last year.

The next and final chart of this post is an interesting one, it's Runs Created. A player who had a big impact on the team by creating runs with the hits that they got. The chart may surprise you to see who was on top in that category. Thanks also to Baseball-Reference for the data.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Baseball Writers block Hall for anyone in 2013

The Baseball Hall of Fame is a place where you can find some great players of the game of baseball. After a stellar career in the game that America loves, a player can find himself enshrined in a place that seems like it's the next best thing to the pearly gates.

The Baseball Writers Association of America does the voting for the Hall of Fame nominees and yesterday, the votes were tallied for this year, and the writers failed at nominating anyone to the Hall of Fame. All eyes were on them to see what was going to happen this year, as it was the first year that many players implicated in the steroids scandal were eligible to be elevated into the Hall of Fame.

Major League Baseball has sidestepped the issue of steroids quite well, they put in place a testing system to try to prevent what happened in the late 1980's and 1990's from happening again. What they failed to address was the players that happened to take part in all of this.

Steroids weren't just big in the MLB during this time, the 'juice' was flowing in gyms everywhere. There wasn't much known about how bad the side effects were, but people who were athletic and wanted to bulk up like some of the people you see in those weightlifting magazines, did just about anything to do so.

Barry Bonds holds the record for the most home runs in baseball, there is no asterisk next to the record. Roger Clemens had a stellar pitching career in baseball, he's got well more wins and accolades that he should have easily made it into the Hall on the first ballot, which was this year for him. Mike Piazza spent 16 seasons in baseball and is compared to other Hall of Famers in his stats, like Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra, yet he didn't get into the Hall on his first year of eligibility.

No one on the list is suitable to go into the Hall? That is more than a little bizarre and will cancel a lot of activities that Cooperstown, NY depends on in the summer season. There will be no big in flux of fans on Hall of Fame day this year, no speeches that usually get covered from coast to coast and around the world.

No, on this day, the Hall of Fame and Baseball was the ones who lost out. There were players on that ballot that could have been elected, but the writers just didn't have a common vote to put them there, where ever you side on the steroids scandal, it was the game that suffered with this vote and not just the individual players that were caught up in something that now is very much history, and history has no asterisks.

Here's how the ballot ended up, note you have to have a 75 percent margin to get into the Hall:
(thanks to Baseball-Reference for the list)

Monday, January 07, 2013

Hall of Fame 2013 vote announced Jan 9

One of the toughest years to vote if you are a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America has to be this year in reference to the ballot of players that are eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Each year the writers elect a player or players to the Hall based on the career of a certain player. This year happens to be the first year that so many of the players that were implicated in the steroids era have appeared on the ballot.

If you read the list of players, you would assume that they would sail right into the Hall of Fame based on the numbers that they put up in their careers. Not so simple though, with the allegations that a lot of those numbers have been earned by players that were reinforced with 'super human' strength often at their own peril for the substances that they used to get there.

The vote though must go on, and on Wednesday of this week we will learn just who is 'elected' to the Hall and have their names forever enshrined into the lore of baseball greatness. Players must get a 75 percent margin to get into the Hall of Fame, and there are a number of 1st year eligible players on the ballot this year. Some of the names you'll remember right away, with the home run races that they excited fans with only a few short years ago, when even baseball had to know that something was happening on the field and in the clubhouses that fueled this but they chose to turn the other cheek and let players allegations finally surface to shed light on the problem with steroids in baseball.

Who will it be? Will the baseball writers turn their cheek on the scandal and ignore it as the very game of baseball did when it was happening? Is it the baseball writers that will have to play the referee in such matters now that no policy exists for these players that have now been out of baseball for at least 5 years and virtually nothing has been done further by the Major League Baseball to govern what happens to these players? Time will tell, and on Wednesday we'll all find out.

The list of eligible players ranked from their homeruns:

Batting Stats
Rk YoB %vote Yrs WAR WAR7 JAWS Jpos G HR ▾ RBI
1 Barry Bonds 1st 22 158.1 71.1 114.6 50.7 2986 762 1996
2 Sammy Sosa 1st 18 54.8 42.2 48.5 55.4 2354 609 1667
3 Mark McGwire 7th 19.5% 16 58.7 40.1 49.4 51.5 1874 583 1414
4 Rafael Palmeiro 3rd 12.6% 20 66.1 36.6 51.3 51.5 2831 569 1835
5 Fred McGriff 4th 23.9% 19 48.2 33.2 40.7 51.5 2460 493 1550
6 Jeff Bagwell 3rd 56.0% 15 76.7 46.7 61.7 51.5 2150 449 1529
7 Mike Piazza 1st 16 56.1 40.7 48.4 40.7 1912 427 1335
8 Dale Murphy 15th 14.5% 18 42.6 39.0 40.8 54.8 2180 398 1266
9 Larry Walker 3rd 22.9% 17 69.7 43.1 56.4 55.4 1988 383 1311
10 Shawn Green 1st 15 31.4 29.5 30.4 55.4 1951 328 1070
11 Edgar Martinez 4th 36.5% 18 64.4 41.8 53.1 53.4 2055 309 1261
12 Reggie Sanders 1st 17 36.7 25.2 30.9 55.4 1777 305 983
13 Steve Finley 1st 19 40.4 30.4 35.4 54.8 2583 304 1167
14 Craig Biggio 1st 20 62.1 40.6 51.3 54.4 2850 291 1175
15 Bernie Williams 2nd 9.6% 16 45.9 35.7 40.8 54.8 2076 287 1257
16 Ryan Klesko 1st 16 24.6 20.4 22.5 51.5 1736 278 987
17 Don Mattingly 13th 17.8% 14 39.8 34.4 37.1 51.5 1785 222 1099
18 Jeff Conine 1st 17 16.2 15.2 15.7 50.7 2024 214 1071
19 Rondell White 1st 15 25.5 19.9 22.7 54.8 1474 198 768
20 Alan Trammell 12th 36.8% 20 67.1 43.3 55.2 52.1 2293 185 1003
21 Julio Franco 1st 23 39.7 29.1 34.4 54.4 2527 173 1194
22 Tim Raines 6th 48.7% 23 66.2 41.1 53.7 50.7 2502 170 980
23 Kenny Lofton 1st 17 64.9 42.0 53.5 54.8 2103 130 781
24 Sandy Alomar 1st 20 11.6 11.8 11.7 40.7 1377 112 588
25 Jeff Cirillo 1st 14 32.0 28.7 30.3 53.4 1617 112 727
26 Royce Clayton 1st 17 16.4 15.5 15.9 52.1 2108 110 723
27 Todd Walker 1st 12 8.3 8.9 8.6 54.4 1288 107 545
28 Woody Williams 1st 15 28.1 20.2 24.2 57.8 443 4 43
29 Lee Smith 11th 50.6% 18 27.6 19.7 23.7 32.3 1023 1 2
30 Jose Mesa 1st 19 9.6 12.1 10.8 32.3 1023 0 0
31 Mike Stanton 1st 19 13.3 14.3 13.8 32.3 1178 0 3
32 Roberto Hernandez 1st 17 17.2 16.7 16.9 32.3 1010 0 0
33 Aaron Sele 1st 15 17.5 17.6 17.5 57.8 404 0 1
34 David Wells 1st 21 49.2 29.0 39.1 57.8 660 0 5
35 Curt Schilling 1st 20 76.1 46.7 61.4 57.8 571 0 29
36 Roger Clemens 1st 24 133.9 64.0 99.0 57.8 709 0 12
37 Jack Morris 14th 66.7% 18 39.3 30.8 35.1 57.8 568 0 0
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/7/2013.