Sunday, January 29, 2017

New - Phillies Talk Podcast - 16 Days till Pitchers and Catchers

Time for a new edition of the Phillies Talk Podcast

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Show notes:

Opening Day 2017 has the Phils trying to fill the seats with special offers

A flashback to the 1950 Phillies and some cool things they were singing about back then about the Phils

New offense to the team, will the new outfielders help this team out sufficiently?

A quick look at who may be the ace of the Phillies pitching on the mound for the upcoming season

Phils have Opening Day ticket packs to attract fans

A few short years ago, you could hardly get your hands on Opening Day tickets at Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies open up the season. It has been a long standing tradition for many people to put on their sweatshirts and hoodies (maybe even some gloves and hats too at times) and cheer the Phillies on, to welcome them home to open up their season.

The last couple years have been tough for the fans that have expected to see a great Phillies team on the field. The long sell-out streak that Citizens Bank Park had established lasted for many years. The first sellout to start the streak was on July 7, 2009 and the Phils sold out every home game from that point to the end of the streak which was August 6th, 2012.

To purchase Opening Day tickets used to be very difficult, but now the Phillies have a nice deal in place for certain sections where you can purchase 2 or 4 tickets to Opening Day and get either a $25 or $50 Phillies gift card (to be used inside the stadium) as part of the package.

Will you be there on April 7th? When the Philadelphia Phillies take on the NL East Division winning Washington Nationals?

Monday, January 23, 2017

New Phillies stadium name sounds familiar to Phil's fans

When the Phillies report to Spring Training this year, chances are when you hear the first reports on radio or television, you'll wonder if they have moved or something.

The reason is that the Phils will no longer play at Bright House Field (formerly Bright House Networks Field) in 2017 for Spring Training. Don't worry though, it's the same building and location but now has a new name, Spectrum Field.

Spectrum is a service that is offered by Charter Communications that has merged with Bright House Networks recently.

Back in 2004, Bright House Networks bid on naming rights to the Phillies Spring Training home for 10 years, and paid $1.7M for the rights to the stadium naming. The City of Clearwater benefited as well, they got 1/3 of the naming rights fee.

The Clearwater Threshers also call this stadium as their home, they are the Phillies Class A-Advanced affiliated team in the Florida State League of minor league baseball.

The Phillies played their first Spring Training game at this stadium in March of 2004, which is the same year that Citizens Bank Park opened in Philadelphia. The stadium holds 8,500 fans which is one of the larger stadiums among all the Spring Training homes in Florida for Major League baseball teams.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

.500 season would be good by Mackanin for 2017

Andy MacPhail hasn't shown a quality blueprint on a Phillies rebuild yet, how long can we wait for better things to happen with this team?

The patience has to be wearing thin from Phillies fans as yet another prediction by manager Pete Mackanin of being happy with finishing .500 this season would make him happy.

As a player, you have to been wondering, I guess management just doesn't set the goals high so I guess this team will be pretty bad this year. The years are starting to roll on where this Phillies team has been really bad for many years now.

We don't hear too much from Phillies team president, Andy MacPhail. He hasn't really been vocal at all since he's accepted the job position at the end of the 2015 season. When he was hired he said his 3 major functions on the team would be to read, to watch, and to listen. I am wondering about all those games he's been watching and what he thinks that this team has benefited from so far.

The Phillies seem like they are in a constant rebuild mode, and this year again, we have a lot of 1-year deals in place where the deck will be reshuffled again for the 2018 season, and that is a shame. The Phillies were a world class championship team, they have been cut down to a team that plays the opposite of that.

Phils fans have noticed this trend, the attendance dropped to 13th out of 15 teams in the NL for 2016 (1.9M fans still attended games last year), and if this '17 team doesn't improve from what we've seen from last year, it may reflect more fans lost at the turnstile.

The Phils signed a $2.5B TV deal back in 2014 (which kicked in for the first year in 2016) for the next 25 years, but you would never would have known it if you see how the Phillies now spend money. They have spent a lot on marginal players this year for 1-year deals which is strange, it's almost like someone in the upper management said, 'Sign a couple guys that at least make our payroll look respectable'.

I suspect the fire will be turned up on GM Matt Klentak and MacPhail this season (now going to be the 2nd full season for both in Philly), more expectations of average or below average results don't really sit well with a fan base that hungers for the success that witnessed back in 2008-09 and a couple years after. Joe Maddon seemed to turn the Cubs around over night with the help of Theo Epstein. The Phils still look like they are lost in the crowd anymore of bad baseball teams.  

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:

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 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

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.