Archive for November, 2008

Utley’s Surgery Goes As Planned

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, November 25, 2008 03:50 PM Comments: 6

Chase Utley had successful right hip surgery yesterday. He had an arthroscopic debridement of his labrum and a bony lesion.

The timetables remain consistent with predictions. Four to six months.

It’s likely Utley will return to regular action by April.


Phillies Tattoos

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, November 25, 2008 11:49 AM Comments: 8

We all know Phillies fans are the greatest – our contest during the World Series proved that. One common example of Phillies fans showing their passion on their sleeves came in the number of people that sent in photos of their Phillies tattoos.

If you have a tattoo of your own, send us a photo and we’ll add it to the collection.


Amaro: 36-Year-Old ‘Too Old’ For Phillies

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, November 25, 2008 11:22 AM Comments: 29

According to The 700 Level, Ruben Amaro Jr., at the screening of the Phillies World Series DVD, denied any interest in Garret Anderson.

From the Level :

Attendees shouted the names of FAs as Amaro walked through the lobby, and he responded to one:

Fan: “Garret Anderson!”

RA Jr: “Too old.”

Interesting, because Anderson is 36. Other free agent outfielders who are 36 or older (and thus out of Amaro’s preferred age range): Moises Alou, Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez, Raul Ibanez, Greg Norton, Jay Payton, Manny Ramirez, So Taguchi, Jim Edmonds, Ken Griffey Jr.

The sore thumb there is Ibanez.


The Nation Minute – 11.25.08

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, November 25, 2008 06:00 AM Comments: 8

In today’s Nation Minute, I look a little closer at the second base replacement issue.


As always, e-mail me at tim@philliesnation.com. And, by the way, pick up the new albums by the Killers and Kanye West today.


Charlie Manuel: Best Manager In Phillies History?

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, November 24, 2008 02:20 PM Comments: 17


During the postseason, I remarked that Charlie Manuel might be the Phillies greatest manager ever. Haste aside, we can all agree that Manuel is one of the franchise’s best skippers. The track record solidifies that. But let’s dig deeper:

All-time managerial records (percentages above .525, minimum 100 games):
Arthur Irwin – 149-110 – .575
Dallas Green – 169-130 – .565 (1 World Series)
Pat Moran – 323-257 – .557 (1 NL pennant)
Bill Shettsline – 367-303 – .548
Charlie Manuel – 354-294 – .546 (1 World Series)
Danny Ozark – 594-510 – .538
Pat Corrales – 132-115 – .534
Harry Wright – 636-566 – .529
Billy Murray – 240-214 – .529

Irwin managed between 1894 and 1895, and the Phils lost out on the National League title both years. … Green managed the 1980 champions and the 1981 team, which coasted out to a first-half division crown. His core included Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Greg Luzinski in their primes. … Moran managed the 1915 NL champs, and had a nice run with Gavvy Cravath and the ridiculously successful Grover Cleveland Alexander. … Shettsline had two great years and two horrible years in the 1800s. … Ozark guided the young Phils through the dynasty days of the 1970s. … Corrales had the dynasty at the end, but Paul Owens took them over to win the NL in 1983. … Wright had a bunch of pretty good seasons early in franchise history, but never took first place. … Murray had two good seasons, but nothing great.

Then there’s Manuel. All four seasons have been winning seasons, doing it sometimes with pretty bad pitching, sometimes with spotty hitting. Still, he has the core of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, a core that arguably trumps the late-70s core of Schmidt, Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Larry Bowa, Carlton and Larry Christenson. So while Manuel has had to manage through troubles, he’s had the benefit of maybe the best pure team in franchise history.

I can’t break down each manager’s style, because I just don’t know. We do know Green was a bit of a rough one, especially as some members of the 1980 Phils said they won in spite of him. Conversely, the 2008 Phils in no way won in spite of Manuel — from what we saw, Manuel was like a father to the team.

As a team leader, role model and captain, Manuel might fit the bill better than any skipper in team history. As a tactician, he made more correct decisions in 2008, though he has a history of sticking a little too much to conviction. Still, the right moves he made in the postseason (completely outweighing the wrong moves) turn the case back in his favor.

Most older fans like to throw Green at the top of the heap, but I once wrote — and I’ll stand by it again — that Green is overrated. Especially if the spite admissions are true. He inherited a three-time division champ and left with a third place team. To me, Ozark was a much better manager — someone who molded the young Phils into a winner. Green just got them over the hump.

Manuel did both. He molded a young team (only Burrell, Rollins, Myers and Ryan Madson were regulars on the 2004 Phils), and got them over the hump after a few optimistic seasons. Moran — maybe the best case against Manuel — took a young team to the World Series, but couldn’t finish the job. After two more seasons of missed opportunities, his 1918 Phils couldn’t break .500. Mainly, that was because Alexander had left for Chicago.

So I’d say right now that yes, Manuel is the greatest manager in franchise history. But the next year or two will truly decide his fate. If he can guide this team — with younger players Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald possibly — to the postseason or better again, he gets my unquestioned vote. If he stumbles, I’d put Ozark at the top.


AFL Wrap: Donald Solidifies His Worth

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, November 24, 2008 12:39 PM Comments: 0

Now that the Arizona Fall League has finished, let’s take a look at the Phillies prospects involved. Nine players represented the Phils on the Mesa Solar Sox, who lost in the AFL championship to the Phoenix Desert Dogs.


Jason Donald had the best AFL season of all Phils prospects, and rivaled anyone in the league. He hit .407 with a .747 slugging percentage (2nd, AFL) and .476 on-base percentage (4th, AFL). His strikeout rates were a tad high (25, to 11 walks), but you have to be happy with his overall numbers. With Chase Utley’s surgery, it’s very possible Donald could be the opening day starter at second base.

Another top prospect, catcher Lou Marson, joined the Solar Sox late in the season and produced well. In 34 at bats, he hit .324 with a .425 on-base mark and .588 slugging mark. Six of his 11 hits were for extra bases, including three triples. He seems ready to compete for the backup catcher job in Spring Training.

25-year-old Tuffy Gosewich got some snaps as catcher, and he contributed with a .280 AVG, .296 OBP and .280 SLG. It’s about the same as his performance in Clearwater. Gosewich isn’t near Marson’s level, and at 25, don’t expect much more forward movement.

Two outfield prospects joined the club in Mesa. Quintin Berry, 24, hit .311 with a .357 OBP and .389 SLG. The speedster, who set the Clearwater career stolen base mark after 51 swipes in 2008, stole five bases in Arizona. He struck out 19 times and walked six times — not a welcomed ratio. Meanwhile, Jeremy Slayden — who isn’t protected for the Rule V draft — hit .286 with a .322 OBP and .476 SLG, knocking three homers and driving in 27. Berry projects out of the majors right now, but could be a defensive/speed replacement type, while Slayden is nothing more than a fifth outfielder.


Phils pitchers weren’t too gravy. The top prospect on the mound was Tyson Brummett, and the 24-year-old Aussie recorded a 6.23 ERA in 13 innings, but did average a strikeout per inning, with just three total walks. His top-15 prospect rating didn’t really change, as he’ll be tested in the Eastern League in 2009.

Andrew Carpenter, who became dizzy after a rollercoaster season through the system, got pounded for a 5.88 ERA in 26 innings. Still, his 21:9 K:BB ratio isn’t bad at all.

Pat Overholt and Sergio Escalona, both fringe guys at best, also got hit hard for ERAs over 6.00. But while Escalona only walked four in 14.2 innings, Overholt walked 10 in 16.1. Not that good.

What can we take away from the AFL?

For one, the AFL is a hitters league, so don’t be really worried about the high ERAs. For the most part, Phils pitching prospects remain who they are — Carpenter might crack a roster as a fifth starter; Brummett still needs a year against good hitting; Escalona and Overholt won’t amount to much, very likely.

The real results are on offense, where we saw Donald turn into a major-league-ready player. He’s on the short list for the 25-man roster. Meanwhile, Marson continues to impress with his extra-base tendencies. Berry got a nice workout, but needs to show better discipline. Hopefully he’ll do that in Reading.


Best Games of 2008

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, November 24, 2008 11:32 AM Comments: 47

We’re thinking of putting together a t-shirt listing the top games of the Phillies 2008 season.  Here is a preliminary list.  What are some other great games from this championship season?

  • May 16 – Werth slams 3 homers and drives in 8
  • May 26 – 20 runs scored against Colorado
  • June 13 – 20 runs scored against St. Louis
  • August 26 – Phils come back from 7 runs down against New York in 13 innings, take over first place.
  • September 14 – Phils complete 4 game sweep of Brewers, take over Wild Card lead.
  • September 27 – Moyer and Phils clinch second straight NL EAST division title
  • October 5 – Phils win NLDS over Milwaukee
  • October 15 – Phils win National League Pennant over the Los Angeles.
  • October 31 – Parade down Broad Street

The Nation Minute – 11.24.08

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, November 24, 2008 06:00 AM Comments: 4

In today’s Minute, I look ahead to some discussion about Charlie Manuel and top prospects.


As always, e-mail me with questions and comments at tim@philliesnation.com


Solar Sox Aim For AFL Title

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, November 22, 2008 12:02 PM Comments: 10

Hey, another championship game!

The Mesa Solar Sox — whose roster includes nine Phillies prospects and minor leaguers — will play the Phoenix Desert Dogs in today’s Arizoa Fall League championship. The game is at 2:35 p.m. and can be seen on MLB.com.

Phils infield prospect Jason Donald has led the Solar Sox all AFL season, hitting .407 with five home runs and 17 runs batted in. The roster also includes catchers Lou Marson and Tuffy Gosewich, outfielders Quintin Berry and Jeremy Slayden, and pitchers Andrew Carpenter, Tyson Brummett, Pat Overholt and Sergio Escalona.

The Solar Sox also include players from the Braves, Tigers, Cubs and Marlins.


Fan Friday – Adam

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, November 21, 2008 01:11 PM Comments: 34

Every Friday from now until Spring Training, we will be posting some of the better contestant stories from our I’m the Biggest Phillies Fan contest.  If you think you have what it takes to be featured, but did not get a submission in, you can still share your story by filling out this form.

I live in Chicago for work, but I grew up in the Philadelphia area and have been a die hard Phils fan since I was in elementary school. 3 years ago, in an effort to rally Philly fans together in Chicago, I created a Meetup group in Chicago for Philly fans to get together and watch Phillies and Birds games. It originally began with 3 members and has now grow to over 250.

AdamI negotiated with a Chicago bar to show every Phillies and Eagles game for the past three seasons (through MLB package and NFL Ticket) as well as negotiated with a distributor to import Yuengling beer on a weekly basis. I also organized Philly cheesesteaks (from Jim’s) to be sent to the bar so philly fans can have access to an authentic Philadelphia experience while watching the Phils and Birds. This bar in Chicago has a gigantic Phillies flag and Eagles flag out in front of the bar (Mad River) and we have drawn 200+ fans for each playoff game this season

Additionally, I recently reached out to Don Tollefson at Fox Sports in Philadelphia and he is considering doing a story on this Philly bar that is located 700 miles away from the Bank.

On a personal note, I have not taken off my Phils hat since losing to Colorado last season (with the exception of important work functions). As you can see, in this picture, from last year, I didn’t even take it off for my Halloween costume (the above picture is from after the Phils-Cubs game in Chicago this year in which I attended all 4).

My worst sports moment in my lifetime was Joe Carter’s home run and all I want is an opportunity to see the Fightin’s in the World Series. I’m already going to be in Philly for the weekend to be with my family and friends, so even if I don’t go to the game, I’ll be around the best Phils fans that I know.


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