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Archive for October, 2011

Dr. Strangeglove: On a Plan for Domonic Brown

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, October 14, 2011 03:38 PM Comments: 65

I wanted to say how nice it’s been to get along with the readership over the past few weeks, a state of affairs I’d chalk up to my being neither informative nor persuasive since the first week in September or so. Anyway, I wanted to get that out there, because I’m back to my old ways. I went into this offseason with almost no expectations. This offseason, my wish was really more that the Phillies do nothing rather than do something. I was prepared to make peace with whatever the Phillies did this offseason, provided the following things happened:

  1. The Phillies don’t offer arbitration to Raul Ibanez.
  2. The Phillies don’t sign any free agent reliever (including Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson) to any contract with a total value of more than $5 million.
  3. The Phillies commit to getting Domonic Brown 400 or more major league plate appearances in 2012, preferably as the every day left fielder, but at least in some sort of platoon arrangement with John Mayberry.

Then Ruben Amaro announced that the Phillies wanted to get Brown a full season at AAA before bringing him up to the majors. I was absolutely mystified by this decision, though, judging by Ruben Amaro’s bizarre insistence on giving anyone but Brown a chance to play at the major league level in 2011, I can’t say I was surprised. Ever since he refused to include Brown in any sort of trade for Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay back in 2009, Amaro has, like Hamlet tormenting Claudius, seemed to take some sort of perverse pleasure in treating the Phillies’ top hitting prospect since Chase Utley like a yo-yo, tossing and spinning, and otherwise screwing with Brown for no reason other than he can.

Maybe there’s some sort of plan for Brown that the public is not privy to, and this is part of it. Maybe he’s being kept in the minors because there’s a flaw in his game that the Phillies are aware of but has escaped the eye of the extremely astute talent evaluators at ESPN and Baseball America. If that’s the case, maybe he’s being hidden so as not to harm his trade value. But I find that hard to believe.

I think I actually want this more than 400 plate appearances for the Domonator: to know what, exactly, that plan is.

Continue reading Dr. Strangeglove: On a Plan for Domonic Brown

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Phillies Blue Ribbon Shirts Just $13!

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 14, 2011 02:14 PM Comments: 0

Get yourself a Phillies Blue Ribbon shirt, while supplies last, at just $13! It’s a steal for this one-of-a-kind t-shirt made from 100% cotton. And, that $13 includes shipping, so you can’t beat it with a stick. Get it for yourself, or as a Christmas gift for someone you love. But hurry, because they are running out fast!

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Writer’s Roundtable: Will Rollins Return?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 14, 2011 07:58 AM Comments: 26

It’s been a hot topic of conversation and mirrors the Jayson Werth situation of a year ago. Will Jimmy Rollins return to the Phillies next season and into the future? He plainly stated that he wants a five-year contract, but that the Phillies are clearly first on his list of teams to play for. However, he is not limiting himself to just the Phillies and is not afraid to leave.

So, we asked all of our writers to chime in on this subject.

Q: Will Jimmy Rollins be a Phillie in 2012?

Pat Gallen: Can I cop out and say I really don’t know? Last year, Jayson Werth was not coming back and I think most people knew that. But both sides in this negotiation are in their own predicaments. The Phillies need a shortstop and have backed themselves into a corner because there are not many available. Jimmy is saying he wants five years, but has been prone to injury lately and may be pushing too hard for something he can’t get from many teams.

If you’re putting a gun to my head, and I’d rather you not, I’m leaning toward Jimmy coming back. But I give it a 55% chance. A guesstimate on a contract (wherever he goes) would be three years with an option for a fourth year that would be reached by incentives for about $38 million. Just don’t see anyone going five for J-Roll.

Amanda Orr: Yes. I think he will settle for less to stay in Philly. He says he wants 5 years, but that is smart of him. He wants the offers to say five years, but I think if he gets a reasonable offer to stay, he will take it. Plus, I can’t see Amaro not trying to re-sign him. He won’t let him go easily.

The only other teams I can see really trying to get Rollins are Boston and San Francisco. Boston hasn’t really had a big name shortstop in a while, and they would be a team to throw out the money. Being from the West Coast, a contract from San Fran could be tempting for JRoll.

Continue reading Writer’s Roundtable: Will Rollins Return?

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Hewitt Already Preparing for 2012

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, October 13, 2011 04:10 PM Comments: 5

Former top Phillies draft pick Anthony Hewitt took considerable strides this past season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Selected 24th overall by Philadelphia in 2008, Hewitt struggled throughout his first few years in the developmental ranks.

The Brooklyn, NY native posted a combined .208 batting average at three different levels of his professional career from 2008-2010. However, Hewitt finally broke through and showed significant improvements in 2011, during his second consecutive season with the BlueClaws.

The 22-year-old was named to the South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star team en route to a season that saw him improve his batting average, his power numbers, his speed and his defense. Hewitt’s season average of .240 in 2011 was a 32 point jump over his career mark and a 17 point improvement over his previous season high. His 14 homeruns and 55 RBI were both career highs as well. Scouts regularly took notice of Hewitt’s range and throwing arm in right field all season long. And most noteworthy of all, Hewitt’s base stealing prowess stood out as he was successful in 36 of 41 opportunities (88% success rate).

Last winter, Hewitt arrived in Clearwater in early January to begin his 2011 campaign and was able to work closely with the likes of All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard, who offered plenty of advice to Hewitt, who feels that type of exposure helped him this year. Continue reading Hewitt Already Preparing for 2012

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Best Phillies Rant Wins a Prize

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, October 13, 2011 12:00 PM Comments: 1

Give us your best Phillies rantAttention Phillies fans – we feel your pain. The manner in which this season ended sucked – there’s no doubt about that. While some fans have moved on and are looking forward to 2012, there some still grappling with the ephemeral disappointment. So we’d like to help with the grieving process by providing you with a chance to vent, rant, rage or freak out.

Give our Reader Hotline a call at (267) 702-0097 and the best message will win a free Phillies poster.

Additional messages that are selected for our next episode of Phillies Nation TV will all win free PHILS stickers. Just be sure to leave your name and location in the message.  Please try to keep it under 30 seconds and the obscenities to a minimum.

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Can the Phillies Offense Change?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 13, 2011 09:05 AM Comments: 44

PHOTO AP

When I was a kid, I fell in love with the long ball. Like everyone else, I was enamored with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa back in 1998; the Summer of Baseball Love.

Well, the game ain’t the same, friends. More teams are manufacturing runs the old fashioned way. The Phillies are slow to change with the times.

It’s not really any fault of theirs, truthfully. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and others were all used to winning by playing a certain way. Swinging for a three-run homer was the plan four or five years ago. It’s how they made their coin. Just ask Shane Victorino; he might tell you that paydays are a little bigger when that HR number is larger. A guy who hits .280 with 17 homers might get paid more than a guy who hits .300 with 9 homers. A little pop goes a long way.

But now, the philosophy is clearly changing within the Phillies; or at least that’s what Ruben Amaro hopes will be the case. In what became a mission statement of sorts, Amaro challenged everyone in the organization to a revolution. Well, you know.

Easier said, Rube. Easier said. The question isn’t whether the Phillies need this philosophical restructuring when it comes to their offense; it’s quite apparent they do. The question is can the players be something they aren’t?

Amaro thinks that change can occur.

Continue reading Can the Phillies Offense Change?

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Howard Out 5-6 Months After Surgery

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 12, 2011 03:55 PM Comments: 18

Can Ryan Howard make a full comeback before the season begins? (PHOTO AP)

UPDATE 8:10 pm: Ruben Amaro says that Howard could miss 5-6 months after a full tear of the Achillies tendon was revealed during surgery today in Baltimore. The surgery was performed by Dr. Mark Myerson.

“It’s going to be 5 to 6 months from the surgery until he can play at his accustomed level,” Amaro said in a statement released by the team. “A lot depends on how he recovers. The start of the season could be impacted, but I still hope he makes his first at bat of the season.”

—————-

According to the team, Ryan Howard had surgery today in Baltimore to repair the ruptured Achillies tendon he suffered in Game 5 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals. There is still no timetable for his return to baseball activities, but this likely is roughly a six-month process, at least.

Yesterday, Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence both had hernia surgeries. Polanco’s was a double hernia, so you can imagine the pain he was playing through late in the season. It’s pretty clear why his numbers suffered.

Cole Hamels will have surgery on the 14th to have “loose bodies” removed from his left elbow. He’ll then have an inguinal hernia fixed after that.

—————-

The Phillies hired a new director of the minor leagues today. Joe Jordan comes to the Phillies from the Orioles and takes over for Chuck Lamar, who left the organization abruptly late in the regular season.

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How I Came to Know Incredulity

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, October 12, 2011 11:32 AM Comments: 41

It took me five days to write this post, so I want to take you back to Friday night.

I feel like I ought to explain how I came to be sitting alone in my bedroom, tears welling up in my eyes, listening to “Nearer My God to Thee” over and over on Spotify. If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely done whatever approximates, for you, sitting in your pajamas, mourning the passing of the most remarkable regular season Philadelphia has seen in a generation, all while listening to the song the band played while the Titanic went down.

If anyone has a better idea, I’m open to suggestions. The pain has hardly dulled in the interim.

What hurts is not so much that it’s over–that was likely to happen at some point, no matter the means. It’s not the possibility of not seeing Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, or Raul Ibanez put on red pinstripes ever again. Neither is it watching your franchise first baseman and cleanup hitter end this season with a weak groundout, then possibly end next season (for him at least) with a torn Achilles tendon, all on the same play. Or the pain of seeing your team lose, though as a 24-year-old, I really shouldn’t be moved to tears by a baseball tea m losing. But I am. I’m not counting down the days to next season. I’m not getting more amped up for Flyers hockey, or the Eagles, or Arsenal, or South Carolina, or any of the other teams I follow rabidly–that is to say, with about 2/3 the tenacity and emotion with which I follow the Phillies–or even looking forward to the rest of the MLB postseason.

Friday’s loss was a gut shot for two reasons: first, because this season represented a bread-and-circuses-type distraction that we all need from time to time. When your world is not a pleasant place to live in, sometimes you latch on to whatever is going right and give it undue importance–in this case, the Phillies. Now it’s over, three weeks early and without even a moment’s notice. Second, because as much as I’ve tried to be hyper-rational and prepare for the worst, it never actually occurred to me that the Phillies wouldn’t win the World SeriesContinue reading How I Came to Know Incredulity

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Rollins Straightforward in Free Agent Stipulations

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 12, 2011 08:24 AM Comments: 15

Where will Jimmy be in 2012?

Almost a year ago to the day, Jayson Werth sat on the stage in front of the hoard of media in the Phillies press conference room in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park. He gave the answers you thought he would, proclaiming he’d had a wonderful time in Philadelphia and will always love the fans. But there was always a sense that Werth would take the money and run. The Phillies were not willing to overpay for an outfielder, so it was pretty well known he wouldn’t be back.

As Jimmy Rollins took the podium on Tuesday, for what could be the final time as a Phillie, there was much more uncertainty regarding the face of the franchise than there had been with Werth in 2010. Manning shortstop since 2001 on a full-time basis, the Phillies wouldn’t feel like the Phillies without J-Roll. That infectious smile, that rocket arm, that big mouth that ruffled some feathers, but was the catalyst for a playoff berth in 2007; Rollins will have some suitors once free agency begins.

At 32, it’s clear Rollins is no longer the guy he was at 28, the age when he won the National League Most Valuable Player award and led the Phillies to the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

First off, his bat has slowed down. Rollins’ OPS took a leap this year, going from a career-low .694 in 2010 to .734 in ’11. The bad news: this year was the second lowest OPS of his career, although in fairness, numbers were down across baseball again this season.

On Tuesday, Rollins made it painfully obvious that he’ll test the waters in free agency and he won’t come out until he’s got cash the way he wants it.

Continue reading Rollins Straightforward in Free Agent Stipulations

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The Futures of Rollins, Madson, Dom Brown

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, October 11, 2011 02:12 PM Comments: 44

Ruben Amaro and Jimmy Rollins both spoke to the media Tuesday, outlining potential plans for a crucial offseason.

Rollins reiterated his desire for a five-year deal, though conceded that he would take a four-year deal with an option. The option, however, would have to be his option, not one belonging to the team. Team options often go unexercised, meaning that the player is bought out of the last year of his deal for a significantly smaller amount. Examples would be Roy Oswalt, who has a $16MM mutual option for 2012 with a buyout of $2MM, and Brad Lidge, who has a $12.5 million team option with a buyout of $1.5MM. Oswalt and Lidge will almost certainly not have their options picked up.

This is the kind of scenario Rollins wishes to avoid, and he can do so by fighting for a player option — which he’d control — or a vesting option — controlled by things like amount of plate appearances or games played in the previous year(s). Rollins acknowledged that he cannot see himself in another uniform and that there is a “good chance” he’ll strike a deal with the Phillies, but he has made clear time and again that his last contract will be all about years and money, not friendship or loyalty. He’s certainly entitled to that.

Continue reading The Futures of Rollins, Madson, Dom Brown

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