Monday, November 27, 2017

Miguel Gonzalez - The Phils Cuba experiment

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, born in 1983, was officially with the Phillies after it was announced that he was signed as a 26-year old right handed pitcher on August 30, 2013, this after he had defected from his homeland of Cuba. He was won with a bid of a large contract offer by the Phils of $48M for 6 years for someone who had never pitched in the Major Leagues - the Phils in fact didn't even pay him that $48M amount, but agreed to offer him a $12M, 3-year deal after his physical came back with some unanswered questions about how healthy he was.

It was recently reported that unfortunately, Miguel was killed in a car crash in his native homeland of Havana, Cuba on November 24th. 

Back in 2013, the Dodgers had signed a Cuban defector, Yasiel Puig, to a $42M contract just a month prior to the Phils signing Gonzalez for even more money. In an article by Todd Zolecki, Ruben Amaro Jr was quoted as saying:

“You hope those things work out,” Amaro said last month. “Hideki Irabu didn’t work out. [JoseContreras worked out on certain levels. [ReyOrdonez. Dice-K [Daisuke Matsuzaka]. It’s a risk.”

In a Spring Training mailbag segment, Section 215 - a Philly Sports blog - wondered what did the Phils have in store for Miguel since he didn't seem to be pitching too well for them back in 2014. The Phils eventually released Gonzalez in 2016, his full contract of $12M paid.

Ironically another baseball player named Miguel Gonzalez, who has a Baltimore Orioles prospect, also died in a car crash in his country of the Dominican Republic, reported on September 19, 2017 by ESPN.   

Here's Miguel's pitching line for the Phils, he only played in 6 games for the Phillies, and had one loss:

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G IP FIP
1 Yr1 Yr1 Yr1 Yr01.0006.7565.15.38
162 162 162 162 011.0006.756860 5.38
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/27/2017.

Friday, November 24, 2017

New Phillies assistant hitting coach is an interesting choice

The recent hiring of Pedro Guerrero  - (no relation to this former LA Dodger Pedro Guerrero) for the position of assistant hitting coach, this adds further mystery to the lineup of manager and coaches for the Philadelphia Phillies for 2018. What is so interesting about Guerrero, who was born in the Dominican Republic, is that he doesn't have major league baseball playing experience he stayed in the Dodgers minors organization for years. That part is interesting in the fact that if you never faced major league pitching, how could you be an expert on hitting at that level?

Maybe it's a novel approach though, with what has been going on with the Phillies in bringing Kapler in with no MLB managing experience. If anything, the hiring gives Guerrero an opportunity here in Philadelphia, where he may have never got a chance to do this elsewhere

Kapler and Guerrero had their association in the LA Dodgers system. During 2016-2017 seasons, Guerrero was a bench coach with the Dodgers rookie-level minors team, the Ogden Raptors. At the time of writing this article, the website had no bio information on Pedro or a photo.

Some Phillies fans aren't looking at the move too optimistically, here's a comment on an MLB thread on this article:

"I am a life long Phillie fan but this is crazy!!!! I see nothing for we fans to be happy about or look forward to but more losing. Now not only do we need pitching we need coaching also."


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The curious career path of Ruben Amaro Jr, he's with the Mets for 2018

Ruben Amaro talks about his return to the field with the Red Sox

Ruben Amaro Jr, remember him? He was a longtime member of the Phillies organization and former GM. Amaro's baseball playing career saw him drafted by the Angels in 1987.  A graduate of Stanford College in California, Ruben Amaro also went to William Penn Charter school in Philadelphia for high school.  His father was of course the Ruben Amaro Sr. played for the Phillies and other teams from 1958-1969, he passed away on March 31st.

Former Phils player Larry Bowa will move up to the front office for 2018
pic r.baxter 2015

We'll be seeing a lot of Ruben Amaro in 2018, now that he has taken a position of first base coach for the New York Mets. Amaro comes to the Mets from the Boston Red Sox, where he was a first base coach for the now ex-Manager of the Red Sox, John Farrell. Farrell was fired from the Red Sox after a successful run that saw the team win the AL East last year. It isn't often a manager is fired when they lead a team to the first place finish.

Former baseball GM's don't normally follow a route from the front office to the field all that often. Amaro has made that transition to this coach's position when he accepted a position with the Red Sox in October of 2015, he stated that he had an itch to return to the field.

Whatever his reason to return to the field, it will be good to see Amaro again, as he's a former member of the Phillies organization and was a key part of the Phillies successes in the time of the amazing World Series win in 2008.

The Mets will play the Phils next season at CBP on these dates:

May 11-13

Aug 16-19

Sep 17-19

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Baseball Talk Radio Show Podcast - Roy Halladay tragedy, MLB hot stove, and more!

It's my other podcast, but certainly as much fun! Here's the Baseball Talk Radio Show Podcast

Show 2.37

Halladay plane crash tragedy, MLB baseball awards season is underway, the GM meetings are taking place.. All this and so much more on this edition of The Baseball Talk Radio Show podcast. Email us both: rich @ gary @ Subscribe to the audio only show on iTunes, Stitcher, and

Listen at

Radio host: Halladay deserved what he got - then apolgizes days later

The TMZ video of Roy Halladay operating his plane shortly before it crashed:

Michael Felger's comments on the Halladay plane crash upon learning that the TMZ video showed Halladay operating his plane recklessly:

Boston radio show host, Michael Felger, spouted off a few days ago saying Roy Halladay "Got what he deserved"and called Halladay a "Moron" shortly after seeing video which has surfaced that points to the fact that Roy Halladay operated his plane in a reckless manner, which in turn caused his death.

Maybe Felger's comments were taken out of context, he said something that probably sounded a bit over the top. In hindsight, yes, it probably was over the top, but were his comments over the anger of seeing someone just ruin their life so recklessly as Halladay did as witnessed in the video?

 Do we have a situation with Halladay like occured in the death of Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat crash, that he in fact was found to be totally at fault for? Should fans and media take this type of feeling towards the Halladay 'accident'. The same accusatory remarks about Fernandez really didn't reach the surface of the media, there was more of an idea that it was an accident more than something that was incredibly stupid (which also caused two deaths of Fernandez's friends)

Felger's apology for sounding so crass:

Kapler and Klentak, no, they are not a law firm

It's a strange day and times for Phillies baseball.

There was perhaps one of the longest selections of managers that this team has ever seen, and we ended up with a manager who espouses numbers being produced by players that will make an impact on who ends up on this team.

Kapler can talk a good game, and that's how he got this job in Philadelphia. The new manager is a fan of sabermetrics apparently, and since he's in great shape, a champion of fitness.

With the hiring, GM Matt Klentak went to bat for Kapler and linked him with the recent Dodgers success. Kapler had been employed by the Dodgers and spoke of wanting diversity in the dugout, he stressed that he didn't want people around him that thought just like him. He values difference in people and that may be a good thing.

Kapler doesn't have much managerial experience. That may be the thing that holds him back the most. He's played the game for years though, and that is experience that you can't get unless you're an MLB player and know the ins and outs of the game.

Here's some numbers on Kapler for his playing days:

Standard Batting
12 Y12 Y12 Y110429834437991761682386.268.329
162 162 162 162438651172621257.268.329
BOS BOS BOS 3126751161823921377.270.321
TEX TEX TEX 322112316131473331155.280.342
TBR TBR TBR 15832945751911046.228.314
COL COL COL 79186225263221.280.340
DET DET DET 137441631072251849.243.310
MIL MIL MIL 962293669172838.301.340
AL (AL (AL (92925683856781531172327.264.328
NL (NL (NL (175415581212351059.292.340
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2017.

The thing that most would concern this writer would be if Kapler were to rely on numbers and sabermetrics too much. He's played the game, and his numbers would have been unimpressive in this day and age that only seems to give the impression that those are a big deal.

Imagine just a few years ago, if you asked if ball clubs would be paying out millions on data and numbers crunchers. You probably would have been called crazy. The Phillies employ a former employee of Google, Andy Galdi, and now others for sabermetrics. But where have the Phillies gone since he has been hired and others have been hired in the same capacity? Not anywhere but the bottom of the basement. So I can contest, what are the value of baseball anaylytics? Sure, the 'new age' baseball numbers fiends will find value in this newly embraced method but with the Phillies it has equalled nothing. Maybe Kapler will see this and his talk to Klentak was just to assure him he loved 'numbers' but will rely on his gut for club decisions.

Eric Valent was a scout for the Philadephia Phillies, now he works for the Marlins. His interview here  on Youtube comments on the world of sabermetrics and specifically the Phillies, and a little on Matt Klentak. This may have led to Valent leaving the Phils and going to the Marlins organization, again a signal of the change within the way the Phillies do business as Valent was with the Phils for several years.


Thursday, November 09, 2017

The baseball world still in shock over Halladay

Embed from Getty Images

Halladay getting honored at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

It's not so often that tragedies happen to good people like Roy Halladay. Comments and quotes continue to pour in after his death in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico just a short distance from Florida.

His perfect game lives on forever in the hearts and minds of Phillies fans, I listened to a lot of talk on MLB Network Radio with ex-Phillies great, Brad Lidge, and radio host Jody McDonald, aka Jody Mack, who talked with many major league players and coaching staff about the life and career of Roy Halladay and the heartfelt comments were very touching.

Here's some more quotes from players from around the league from the MLB Network:

I have been fortunate over my career, and I’ve played with some greats. I played with Randy Johnson in Arizona, Roger Clemens, Pat Hentgen, a Cy Young Award winner. [Halladay] worked as hard as any baseball player, position player and/or pitcher. He loved his craft, and when he started to relearn his craft with that lower arm angle, when he came back up, to see this different kind of guy, I remember watching his first few starts thinking, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” because you see a lot of guys try a lot of different things to create movement and create arm angles. It doesn't work all that often. … This is the only guy that I can recall – and I’ve been since 1986 involved around big league baseball - where a guy completely re-changed his throwing motion. You don't see that very often, and usually when guys do that, they revert back to the old guy because as soon as they stop having success, they starting going back to being what they were. He stuck with it. He and Mel Queen spent countless hours remaking his game, and he was a perfectionist, too. To watch him throw a bullpen and to watch him go about doing his work, there was no messing around. … When Roy Halladay pulled in to the Rogers Centre - then the SkyDome - or in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, he came for one reason: he came there to work and he came there to win. He's a throwback to guys from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980’s. Roy Halladay was the real deal.

Roy was a special man and a special player, someone that even though I faced a lot, I still wanted to see succeed. It’s hard when you’re on the opposite side and at the same time be rooting for a guy, but when you know his career, his adversities that he went through and to yet come up to the big leagues and still have success and to overcome the struggles and still be so successful, you have no choice but to root for him. I’m extremely sad for him, I know how much he loved his family and what kind of person he was. This is a hard one to swallow for all of us in baseball. My deepest condolences to his family, his beautiful wife, his two kids. I don’t have words to actually say how sad I feel about him.

He had a great sense of humor… I sent over a jersey. Sometimes you do that, you have admiration, like I did. I said, “Roy, I’d love it if you could sign a jersey.” He said “No problem, send it over.” We were friendly, we had respect for each other, we were on different teams. He sends it back over, and he obviously had found out through somebody that I was a big Chris Farley fan, and he writes "Dempster: I always enjoyed watching you pitch from my van down by the river." First of all, to know that about me and to have the sense of humor to write that down - it hangs in my house. I have six baseball jerseys hanging in my house and he’s one of them. I can't speak enough how much admiration I had. This is an incredibly sad day.

I think of Roy and I remember my last year with the Blue Jays. He was the number-one pick out of high school out of Colorado. I remember it because we had the same agent, Alan and Randy Hendricks. They bring the first round draft pick to the stadium. I remember meeting him, and it was short and then over a period of time, I never got a chance to play with Roy but certainly knew many that did and I would also say hello, the casual salutations you have on the field when you cross him. He was a heck of a teammate and he was a wonderful guy. There are a lot of players, pitchers in particular, who attributed much of their success as a result of his communication and his caring for others.

My mind wonders back to Cory Lidle, also a former Phillies pitcher, who died tragically in a plane crash in New York City on October 11, 2006. Lidle, who then wore a Yankees uniform in the last season that he played was also a very good pitcher and family guy. Another great Phils pitcher who also died tragically in a crash, a player with a passion for flying. Randy Miller has an excellent piece written here about both tragic circumstances from

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Halladay killed in plane crash - 2 ICON aircraft employees were also killed in a separate crash previously in A5 model plane

Former Phillies ace, Roy Halladay, was killed in a plane crash that was announced in Florida late this afternoon. The was the only occupant of the airplane that he recently purchased. The airplane was the Icon A5, and previously there was a crash that killed two veteran pilots from the Icon company. Watch that crash video here:

Not much is known about the crash at this point, Halladay had tweeted that flying the aircraft was like flying a 'fighter jet'. His father apparently told him, it was a fighter jet. As seen in this tweet.

Phillies official tweet this afternoon:

More on this as the story is developing. Halladay was one of the Phillies best pitchers ever. A terrible loss this afternoon for his family and fans.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Houston, we have a problem - Darvish incident overshadows WS win for Astros

Embed from Getty Images

The LA Dodgers were poised to have a chance of winning the most important game of the series last night and didn't. Yu Darvish really didn't have his best game, and just a few games ago, he was the target of a vicious racial slur that the MLB did nothing about. This is 2017 and this is Major League Baseball, I could just see if the roles were reversed and there was a black player that was made fun of, the world would have come crashing in on the player that did that, and he most assuredly would have been suspended on the spot.

The commish of baseball, Rob Manfred, made an executive decision to suspend Astros player, Yuli Gurriel, in April of 2018. What good did that do for the game, win or lose for either team. That is the problem with these types of incidents. Darvish was made to be a person who was shamed in front of 50,000 people and by a player who shouldn't have had the chance to play anymore games in the World Series after he did what he did.

Embed from Getty Images

Gurriel faced boos from the LA crowd upon his appearance to the plate. He then tipped his cap to Darvish in an attempt to say, "I'm sorry." Sorry doesn't cut it in this situation. Gurriel should have never been on the field for this Game 7.

Had the Dodgers won last night, this racial incident would have slipped quietly under the MLB's doormat of issues. They didn't though, and it was a very uncomfortable moment in this game when Darvish had to face Gurriel after what he had done. An example how incorrect decisions of the MLB top office has been changing this game, it changed the momentum of this Game 7.

Postgame, there was a Puerto Rican flag on the field for the Astros celebration. Who was that on the Astros that decided to bring that out? Puerto Rico is an island that Christopher Columbus landed at hundreds of years ago in it's discovery, and the same place that just went through a terrible Cat 5 Hurricane - but I don't see the connection of having their flag on the field. Imagine if every player carried the flag out from where they were from, we'd have a sea of flags on the field.

Houston you won the World Series, but in the terms of a quality win, you and the fans who laughed at the stupidity of Yuli Gurriel at Minute Maid Park at Yu Darvish's expense failed and lost in the most basic area of human decency.