Posts Tagged ‘Jake Diekman’

Deconstructing The Phillies: Relief Pitching

October 16th, 2014 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Deconstructing The Phillies: Relief Pitching | Filed in Baseball, Phillies

In part two of our ongoing series on how to potentially fix the Phillies, we’ll address the bullpen. The bullpen was actually one of the bright spots in 2014. Where Papelbon lacked off the field, he did his best to make up for it on the field, converting 39 of 43 save opportunities. Only rookie Ken Giles was able to convert a save out of the remaining pieces of the bullpen. In my opinion, when people say pitching wins championships, they most likely are referring to relief pitching. Starters, elite or mediocre, have a day in and day out ability to keep teams in games thru six innings. If you have enough quality arms in your bullpen, you shorten that game. Don’t believe me? Just look back to the 2008 squad, they were as good a pen as you could hope for and we all know how that ended. So what should the Phillies do moving forward? Click past the jump for my recommendation(s).

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Crucial Off-season Arrives For Amaro, Phils; Expect Some Major Changes for 2015

September 30th, 2014 by Jim Chesko | Comments Off on Crucial Off-season Arrives For Amaro, Phils; Expect Some Major Changes for 2015 | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

After a second-straight 73-89 season and the franchise’s first last-place finish since 2000, the Phillies now embark on a crucial off-season – for the future of the team as well as for Ruben Amaro Jr. The general manager, who has one year remaining on his contract, will need to make some drastic moves – and have those moves pay dividends – if he’s to hold onto that job beyond next year.

The good news is that Amaro finally seems to realize that it’s not 2010 or 2011 anymore and that the team’s aging core of veterans isn’t suddenly going to discover the fountain of youth. He admitted the other day that some “significant” changes are warranted, saying “I think we need it. What we have on our roster right now isn’t working.”

Who stays, and who goes? While a lot of fans would probably love to see Amaro channel his inner Sam Hinkie, blow up the roster and start over, that’s unlikely to happen. The guess is that Chase Utley will be the Opening Day second baseman in 2015 and Jimmy Rollins will once again man the fort at shortstop. Both of them will soon turn 36 years old. Utley’s production trailed off significantly in the second half of the 2014 season, but he stayed healthy the entire year and still finished with a .270 batting average. Although Rollins hit just .243, he put up some decent power numbers with 17 home runs and 55 runs batted in, and even managed 28 stolen bases. He’s still one of the top-fielding shortstops in the game. But the rest of starting eight could look quite a bit different next April.

Howard & Co. Look Mystified at the Plate

Howard & Co. Look Mystified at the Plate

The big question for many Phils’ fans: Will Ryan Howard be back at first base? The funny thing is, a lot of fans said last spring they’d be quite happy if Howard could stay healthy and hit about 25 homers with 100 RBIs. Well, he got into 153 games and he belted 23 homers and knocked in 95. Not bad, right? Well, it’s not so good when you also realize he hit just .223, he led the majors in strikeouts with 190, and his .690 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) ranked near the bottom among major-league first basemen. Amaro will try hard to trade Howard, probably to an American League team, but the Phils will have to pay a significant chunk of cash to get a deal done; Howard, who soon turns 35, is owed $50 million in salary over the next two years, along with a $10 buyout clause for 2017. Ouch.

The Phillies will also look to upgrade the outfield. Any or all of the mainstays from 2014 – Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and Marlon Byrd – could end up elsewhere next season. A 2013 All-Star, Brown was the Phils’ biggest disappointment in the just-concluded season. He hit just .235 with 10 home runs and frequently looked lost or unsure of himself in left field. Center fielder Revere hit .306 – good for fifth in the National League – and finished tied for the lead in hits with 184, and he swiped 49 bases. But his defense was average at best, and his throwing arm is among the worst in the majors. In right, Byrd was pretty solid, and he put up better numbers than almost anyone could have expected – 25 homers, 85 RBIs and a .264 average. He could be attractive for a team looking for some pop from a corner outfielder or designated hitter.

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An Early Look at Phillies Pitching

February 19th, 2014 by AmyMac | Comments Off on An Early Look at Phillies Pitching | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

 By Amy McGinnis

You’d never guess it by stepping outside here in Philadelphia, but spring is right around the corner.  Spring Training is officially underway in Clearwater, and manager Ryne Sandberg held his first team workout today.  Pitchers and catchers reported last week, and there’s a familiar guest instructor at training: Roy Halladay.  It seems like a lifetime ago that Philadelphia’s pitching rotation boasted the likes of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and Blanton, doesn’t it?

We’re still graced stuck with Jonathan Papelbon as closer, and Mike Adams (once he’s fully recovered from shoulder surgery) will be 8th inning setup man.  We’ll also most  likely see lefties Antonio Bastardo and Jake Diekman in the bullpen.  Joe Savery was claimed on waivers by the A’s; Philadelphia needed his spot on the roster for newly-acquired A.J. Burnett.  (If you’re wondering, Burnett signed a one-year, $16 million deal.)

Lefty Cole Hamels, who announced that he has had shoulder “discomfort,” is currently scheduled for his first bullpen session at Carpenter Complex next Tuesday.  Also experiencing shoulder issues is RHP Jonathan Pettibone, who is behind schedule with bullpen sessions (yes, it’s the same shoulder that landed him on the disabled list last season).

On the bright side, non-roster invitee Jesse Biddle has been working out in Clearwater.  You may remember the 22-year-old lefty’s name from the first round of the 2010 draft.  The 6’4″ lefty is a Germantown Friends School alum, and he’ll be pitching in Lehigh Valley this season.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he made an appearance or two in Philadelphia.

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Sure, We Love Chip and the Eagles … But the Phillies Are Still Worth Watching Too!

September 13th, 2013 by Jim Chesko | 2 Comments | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

rynesandberg

Yes, football season is here, and thanks to an amazing first-half offensive onslaught that carried the Eagles to a season-opening win over the host Washington Redskins, most Birds’ fans are ready to proclaim rookie head coach Chip Kelly the new Vince Lombardi.

So the question is: Are you still keeping tabs on the Phillies? (Remember them? The baseball team?) If you’re a die-hard Phils fan, there’s actually a good bit of intrigue to the final few weeks of this disappointing 2013 season. Among the key issues that may or may not become clearer between now and Sept. 29:

Is Ryne Sandberg the right manager for this team going forward? Well, that will be up to General Manager Ruben Amaro to decide, but with the team showing significantly more life since Sandberg succeeded Charlie Manuel last month and a 14-11 record (through Wednesday), the guess is that the Hall of Famer has almost certainly earned the job on a full-time basis. Of course, if the Angels fire Mike Sciosca after the season and he wants to return to his Philly-area roots, that could complicate the decision for Amaro.

Has Carlos Ruiz earned another season in Philly? Around Aug. 1, it seemed like a sure bet that “Chooch’s” days as a Phillie were numbered. But Ruiz has really picked things up over the past six weeks or so offensively (batting well over .300 in that time, with some renewed power as well), and his handling of the pitching staff has always been a major positive. So, the odds have improved greatly that he’ll be back for at least one more year. But keep an eye on that situation over the rest of September,

What will the Phillies’ bullpen look like next year? Amaro’s vow to improve the team’s 7th and 8th inning relief corps last offseason didn’t work out so well, and closer Jonathan Papelbon has been less reliable since July 1, so the performance of guys like Jake Diekman and B.J. Rosenberg here in September will go a long way to Amaro’s thought process about the Phils’ 2014 bullpen. Rosenberg looked pretty comfortable in finishing off the Braves on Sunday for his first save. Just sayin’.

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Looking Forward

August 22nd, 2012 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Looking Forward | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

Every year, Baseball America does their annual “Top 10 Prospects” reports for each team. Included in that article is a projected starting lineup and starting rotation for three years down the road. It’s really interesting when you look back on old organizational reports. For example, all but two of the Phillies top 10 prospects have been traded. In their projections, Baseball America thought that Jason Donald would be the third baseman of the future. Lou Marson would be the starting catcher, not Carlos Ruiz. Shane Victorino would be flanked by Domonic Brown and Michael Taylor. Cole Hamels would be the staff ace, but would be followed by Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek.

Since then, all the players Sans, Collier and Brown have been traded. They’ve netted Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt. Not a bad haul for a bunch of guys who are now fringe players. The only player with a good amount of upside off this list is Travis d’Arnaud.

Heading into 2012, that list was obviously a lot different. 2013 may be even more drastic of a change, but not because of trading away players, but because of prospects being added via internal and external resources. It also marks the potential changing of the guard in Phillies baseball. We’ve been told that a lot of the talent the Phillies posess were all at the lower levels of the organization, but we are finally getting to a point where that talent is reaching the upper levels.

While the Phillies have four starting pitchers locked up for 2013, Roy Halladay’s 2014 option will most likely not reach its vesting points. Now, if Halladay pitches like he did in 2010, its pretty likely that the Phillies will pick up that option, but if he continues to breakdown with age, he may be finishing his career with a different team. For the sake of argument, I’ll speculate that the Phillies brain trust picks up that option year. So that leaves one potential spot open for one of Trevor May, Tyler Cloyd, Adam Morgan, Jon Pettibone, and Jesse Biddle.

As currently constituted, only Jonathan Papelbon has a guaranteed roster spot in 2014, which possible leaves as many as five open bullpen positions. I say five because I belive Kyle Kendrick may not be resigned after 2013, but Ruben Amaro may look to sign a veteran reliever this offseason. So if there are five open spots, that means that Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, Phillipe Aumont, Jake Diekman, Michael Schwimer, Jeremy Horst, Justin De Fratus, and Justin Friend are all fighting for spots.

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Countdown To Opening Day 2012: 6 Days

March 30th, 2012 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Countdown To Opening Day 2012: 6 Days | Filed in Baseball, Phillies

One of the major flaws facing this Phillies roster is their age. 60% of the 25-man roster is on the wrong side of 30. This also leads into a bigger problem, the length in which their tenure lasts. Instead of looking at it with doom and gloom on the horizon, let’s take a different approach to this. Let’s take a look at what may come to pass as we have less than a week for the marathon to begin. (more…)

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Relief In Sight

March 29th, 2012 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Relief In Sight | Filed in Baseball, Phillies

Lost in the migration were two complientary posts about relief options for the Phillies bullpen as Spring Training starts to wind down. With Scott Elarton and Jake Diekman being reassigned to the minor league portion of camp, the Phillies are left with four candidates vying for two, possibly three spots, in the bullpen. The candidates for the remaining positions are:

  • Michael Stutes: 9.1 IP, .325 OBA, 1.61 WHIP,  11:2 K:BB ratio
  • David Herndon: 13 IP, .260 OBA, 1.15 WHIP, 4:1 K:BB ratio
  • Joe Savery: 6.1 IP, .240 OBA, 1.42 WHIP, 8:3 K:BB ratio
  • Raul Valdes: 10.2 IP, .214 OBA, .0.94 WHIP, 11:1 K:BB ratio

With the success that Valdes is having this spring and the need for a second left handed pitcher in the bullpen, he seems to pretty much be a lock. That leaves Herndon, Stutes, and Savery battling for the final spot(s). With a week to go, expect to see a lot of these three, potentially the first relievers into a game after the starter is pulled.

The pen currently consists of Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, and Kyle Kendrick. Jose Contreras is assured a spot, that is if he is healthy enough. Rumors are swirling that Contreras may be pitching in minor league games so that if he does start on the disabled list, it can be retroactive to March 25th. If he isn’t ready to go on April 5th, that will open a temporary spot for one of the remaining pitchers. It is also possible that Contreras doesn’t start the season on the DL, but just unavailable.

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