Posts Tagged ‘spring training’

Hamels Watch: Contenders, Expectations

February 20th, 2015 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Hamels Watch: Contenders, Expectations | Filed in Baseball, Phillies

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Every day that Cole Hamels remains a Phillie, is a game of Russian Roulette. The Phillies need to move what could potentially be the steal of the offseason. It’s garnering more and more national attention, especially after Hamels’ comments about wanting to play for a contender and Philly not being one. Yesterday, MLB.com’s Jim Duquette listed the Red Sox, Cardinals, Padres, and Cubs as the top contenders for acquiring Hamels. The Red Sox were still the favorite with the remaining interested but not seemingly holding him a priority.

To be perfectly honest, the worst thing that happened to Cole Hamels’ value was Billy Beane. Last summer, when Billy Beane sent Addison Russell to the Chicago Cubs as the center piece to a deal for Jeff Samardzija, Amaro immediately got his hopes up for acquiring a super elite prospect for Hamels. The truth is, basically any prospect that is in the top 30 of all players, should basically be forgotten. No on Swihart, Bryant, Russell, and possibly even Henry Owens, depending on your source material. It’s very rare that a top 30 prospect gets moved in any type of deal and for good reason. The risk is too high.

I’ve stated multiple times that with the state of the Phillies farm, they need to focus on a balance between quality and quantity. Instead of focusing on a top 25 ranked player, how about two top 100 ranked players with at least one being in the top 50? With the Red Sox, it’s apparent that Swihart and Betts are off limits, but why not start with Owens and Margot, add Vazquez and Cecchini, and if the Phillies don’t want subsidize any of Hamels’ contract, take back OF Allen Craig. That’s $26.5M guaranteed with an other $12M possible if the Phillies pick up his team option.

The Padres and Cubs seem to be out of the running, in my opinion. While Hedges is great defensively, he hasn’t proven he can be a starting major league caliber catcher. Renfroe hasn’t met a pitch he wouldn’t swing at. I understand why the Phillies balked at that offer. Asking for Bryant or Russell from the Cubs is laughable. Especially if the Phillies asked for the Cubs to pick up all of Hamels’ contract.  Soler is an attractive piece, but has yet to prove he can be healthy for an entire season.

So that leaves the Cardinals. Carlos Martinez definitely has the stuff to be in a major league rotation and St. Louis doesn’t seem to have a spot for him before trading for Hamels. However, Wacha and Wainwright are both coming off of injuries, so who’s to say Martinez doesn’t make that rotation out of necessity. I’d definitely look to center any deal with the Cardinals around Martinez and Piscotty. From there, if you could land a Reyes and/or Gonzales, I don’t see how you could say no.

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Let The Awkwardness Begin

February 19th, 2015 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Let The Awkwardness Begin | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

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The circus is rolling into town and we’re officially previewing the entertainment. Cole Hamels has all but asked to leave Philadelphia. He spoke to Bob Nightengale of USA Today and was quoted, “I want to go to a place where I can win again” and “I know it’s not going to happen here.” It truly isn’t amazing how much Amaro has been able to blunder this offseason up. From publicly announcing on sports talk radio that the Phillies would be better off without Ryan Howard to the whole Hamels debacle to just the overall inability properly rebuild initiate a rebuild. The only silver lining to all of this is further proof that the Phillies HAVE to remove Amaro from power by season’s end, if not sooner.

Peter Gammons also recently chimed in on the Red Sox-Phillies rumors, stating that short of the Red Sox pitching situation changing, the Phillies are going to have to reconsider their stance on subsidizing a part of Hamels’ contract. Which is was an expected outcome to everyone outside of the Phillies. Even back at the Winter Meetings, Ken Rosenthal was on MLB Network stating that no matter what the Phillies thought Hamels’ value is, his value is only what other teams are willing to give. As I’ve stated before, if the Phillies are content holding Hamels to the trade deadline, then they should be content in subsidizing $15M at the minimum.

The best part is, this is just the beginning. Hamels is gonna keep getting asked similar questions. Ryan Howard is going to be asked about Amaro’s comments. Jonathan Papelbon will be Jonathan Papelbon. So Spring Training is definitely going to be a three-ring circus and Ruben Amaro will be the ringmaster.

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More Bad News For The Phils

March 22nd, 2014 by AmyMac | Comments Off on More Bad News For The Phils | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies
My feelings exactly, Phanatic.

My feelings exactly, Phanatic.

By Amy McGinnis

The Philadelphia Phillies have been having a standout Spring Training in the Grapefruit League – and by “standout,” I mean that they look as though they don’t even belong in the standings at all.  Although a W-L record is somewhat meaningless in Spring Training, it’s embarrassing that we’re currently 6-14.  For those of you keeping track, that’s a .300 record.  We can blame injuries all we want, but the truth hurts: Asche, Brown, and Utley are batting .139, .171, and .190, respectively.

As if that weren’t sad enough, we’re down two more  players.  Freddy Galvis, whose wife gave birth to their first child last weekend, is currently hospitalized with MRSA.  Outfielder Darin Ruf is also out, reportedly for 4-6 weeks, thanks to a left oblique strain.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not looking good.  Throw in Jimmy Rollins’s laziness and Cole Hamels’s late start, and we’ve got ourselves a bit of a mess.

Phils take on the Pirates tomorrow at McKechnie Field at 1:05.  Both teams are set to send RHP starters (Burnett and Pimentel).  Pirates are currently 11-8 in Spring Training.

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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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Pleasant Surprises in Spring Training

March 18th, 2013 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Pleasant Surprises in Spring Training | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

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By Amy McGinnis

In light of Roy Halladay’s early exit from yesterday’s game due to “stomach virus,” I’d like to focus on the positive today.  We’ve seen a few pleasant surprises in Clearwater this month.

Domonic Brown. We all remember Brown’s debut with the Phils in July 2010.  We were all so excited to have him come up from Lehigh Valley, and some fans expected for him to be the second coming of Christ.  Since then, he has sort of bounced back and forth between the Phils and the Iron Pigs … he has certainly outgrown the minors, though, and at 25, he’s not a kid anymore.  He’s at the point now, in the 2013 season, that it’s now or never.  His performances thus far in Spring Training have been impressive to say the least.  Our outfield’s corners have been big question marks for the past several months, but I honestly think that Dom Brown has earned one of those positions (I’d put him in right field, for the record).  On Saturday, Brown hit his fourth homerun this spring – and he brought Utley and Howard home with him to help secure a 7-0 win over the Yankees.  Brown’s homeruns this spring have been bombs, and his fielding looks better.  Is he more comfortable? Does he have a more confident attitude? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure: he’s finally having his AAA game show up in the bigs.

Phillippe Aumont. If you’re wondering which pitcher in the bullpen is Aumont, look for the dude who makes Erik Kratz look … well, slightly less gigantic.  At 6’7″ and 260 lbs, Aumont’s stature alone would rattle me if I were at the plate.  This spring, he has pitched four innings in as many games, and his ERA is .225.  Our bullpen, at one point, was all RHPs … and Antonio Bastardo, Phillippe Aumont would have been easily overlooked as one of the many righty relievers.  This spring, though, it’s nice to see him show his skill when our starting rotation needs solid support.

Michael Young.  Young was an obvious addition to our lineup for the 2013 season.  That being said, I was hesitant about bringing in a third baseman who is even older than the rest of our veteran infielders.  Statistically and historically speaking, Young’s fielding percentage has consistently been the lowest at third base, compared to when he plays elsewhere in the infield.  I would have been happy with decent defense from Michael Young, and thus far in spring training, he has shown better than that.

Freddy Galvis. Allow me to preface this by saying that I am surprising myself by including Galvis in a positive article. I’m still annoyed by his PED use last season.  He made a poor decision at a bad time – Utley and Howard hadn’t returned to Philadelphia yet.  Aside from his terrible timing, he had the audacity to hit in the .220s while taking performance enhancing drugs.  When he received his 50 game suspension, I thought, “Good.  Don’t let me lay eyes on him again.” Well, it seems that Galvis has cleaned up his act … at the plate,I mean.  This spring, he has been hitting .278, including two homeruns.  Do not be mistaken; I’m still annoyed, and I’m told that I still give dirty looks when he’s at bat.  If he can maintain a solid batting average and keep his tests clean, though, I just might come around. His 2-run shot yesterday is a good start … I want to see consistently negative drug tests, too.

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Spring Training is in Full Swing

March 10th, 2013 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Spring Training is in Full Swing | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

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By Amy McGinnis

Yesterday morning, future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera made his official retirement announcement in Tampa.  Though I’m far from a Yankees fan, I don’t see how any true fan of baseball can look at Rivera and not fall in love with him and his career.  Arguably the greatest closer of all time, Mo has always allowed his work to speak for itself.  As promised, Rivera delivered his announcement before Opening Day; his wife and children were by his side as he spoke at the Yankees’ spring training complex.  Incidentally, the entire team was also present … in uniform.  “I’m a team player,” Rivera said. “If it wasn’t for my teammates, I wouldn’t have the opportunity … That’s the legacy that I want to leave — that I was there for others.” Not a surprising announcement, but a bittersweet one nontheless.  If you are a fan of Rivera’s, or of the Yankees, or of baseball, or of sports, or of human excellence – I insist that you get yourself to a Yankees game this season to see Mo pitch.  His talent is unparallelled; additionally, Mariano Rivera carries himself in such an exemplary fashion that all athletes should look to emulate.  It is possible to be a great athlete and still be respectful, classy, sportsmanlike, and humble (Bryce Harper, you should be taking notes, son).  No other player in MLB deserved to keep his #42 jersey the way Mo did.  Mr. Rivera, I wish you a healthy and memorable 2013 season.  Thank you, sir, for your invaluable contribution to baseball.  Eighteen seasons, all with New York … with 608 saves and 1119 strikeouts, Mo’s career averages thus far are fantastic.  Rivera has pitched 1219.2 innings, with a 2.21 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, and 8.3 K/9. Allow that to sink in for a minute.

Meanwhile, in Arizona … Tyson Gillies threw down for Team Canada.  I mean that literally … he physically tossed Alfredo Aceves  (Team Mexico) to the ground during a melee on the field.  The good news: it’s the World Baseball Classic, and no one really cares.

In Florida, spring training is well underway for the Phils, and there are some things worth noting.  Dom Brown has 16 hits (including 3 bombs) in 37 at bats.  The battle for the outfield is on, and I really want Dom Brown to succeed. Ryan Howard looks the way he usually does in August – four homeruns in spring training so far.  Isn’t it so nice having Howard and Utley in the lineup in March? Darin Ruf, whose spring training has been off to a shaky start, was hit in the tricep by a pitch today; he’s day-t0-day at this point.  Erik Kratz, aka the most pleasant surprise during the 2012 season, has 4 hits thus far in spring training – a triple, a homerun, and five RBIs.  That man blocks the plate like a beast and loves extra-base hits … especially in light of Carlos Ruiz’s 25-game suspension that will begin in April, I say thank God for Erik Kratz. Most importantly (to me, anyway), Cole Hamels shook off his rocky outing from last week and pitched efficiently through five innings today in a 7-1 win over Houston today.  I’m honestly not currently worried about the Phils’ pitching staff; spring training is the time and place for pitchers to get back up to speed, as it were.

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Countdown To Opening Day 2012: 3 Days

April 2nd, 2012 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Countdown To Opening Day 2012: 3 Days | Filed in Baseball, Phillies

Good bye, sunny Clearwater. So long, bus trips to sunny destinations. Welcome home to beautiful Philadelphia. It may be raining. It may be colder, but it is the last stop before this train gets rolling for the long haul.

The Phillies head home from Florida with 12 wins, 16 losses and a couple of ties sprinkled in. Outside of the Mets, the NL East was well represented within a short proximity of one another in the Grapefruit League standings, but the wins and losses were not truly the best story tellers. Just accounting for the NL East:

Hitting:

  1. Phillies: .283/.337/.419
  2. Nationals: .252/.316/.376
  3. Marlins: .246/.308/.361
  4. Braves: .244/.311/.379
  5. Mets: .228/.307/.320

The Phillies ranked second among of all National League teams, Grapefruit or Cactus league in batting average, while the other four were four of the worst five hitting National League teams.

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