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Archive for November, 2011

Oswalt’s Incomplete Year May End Tenure with Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, November 19, 2011 10:30 AM Comments: 20

(Photo: AP)

Roy Oswalt was one of the most under-appreciated pitchers on not only the Phillies, but in baseball in 2010. In 12 starts with the Phils, Oswalt posted a 1.74 ERA in 82.2 innings and struck-out 3.5 times the batters he walked. His 2011 season was a little different.

Little Roy left the team in April to tend to his family in tornado-ravaged Mississippi and was put out of action for nearly two months with a debilitating back injury in June.  Oswalt would make 23 starts for the Phils, posting an ERA (3.69) almost a half of a run over his career average (3.21). Oswalt’s peripherals remained steady as his 2.14 BB/9 in 2011 was close to his career average of 2.09 and his BABIP of .316 against a career average of .296 indicates that he was about as “lucky” as he always was.

Throughout the season, however, Oswalt experienced a noticeable drop in velocity on his fastball and became more hittable. His K/9 was more than a full K less than his career average and he saw a nose dive in K%. Oswalt BAA (.275) and WHIP (1.34) were both noticeable increases against his career averages (.249 and 1.19) as well.

Continue reading Oswalt’s Incomplete Year May End Tenure with Phillies

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Phillies Add 4 to 40-Man Roster

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, November 18, 2011 12:25 PM Comments: 12

From the Phillies:

PHOTO: Delcotimes.com

Right-hander Phillippe Aumont, left-hander Jacob Diekman, catcher Sebastian Valle and outfielder Tyson Gillies had their contracts selected to the Phillies’ 40-man roster, the club announced today.

Aumont (right), 22, posted a 2-5 record with seven saves in nine opportunities and a 2.68 ERA in 43 combined games for double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2011. Between both clubs, the 6-foot-7 reliever recorded 78 strikeouts in 53.2 innings and held opponents to a .216 batting average. The Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week for April 7-17 of this year, Aumont was acquired via trade from the Mariners in 2009. He was a first-round selection (11th overall) of Seattle in the 2007 draft.  Following the season, Aumont was named the fifth-best prospect in the Phillies minor league system by Baseball America.

Continue reading Phillies Add 4 to 40-Man Roster

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Dr. Strangeglove: Albert Camus and the Backup Catcher

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, November 18, 2011 07:00 AM Comments: 18

Mother died today.

-Opening line of Albert Camus’ The Stranger

The Phillies re-signed backup catcher Brian Schneider yesterday. I get worked up about a lot of baseball-related things that don’t matter, as you may know by now, and the Phillies overpaying for Jonathan Papelbon and sending Jonathan Singleton packing for Hunter Pence sent me into a blind homicidal rage that could only be sated by drinking the tears of a thousand Mets fans and the blood of a hundred innocent fawns. But when the Phillies re-signed their backup catcher to a one-year, $800,000 contract, I felt no greater emotional response to the transaction than Meursault did to his mother’s death in Camus’ 1942 masterwork.

Brian Schneider was a patently terrible offensive player last season. In 1962, the Mets acquired catcher Harry Chiti from Detroit for a player to be named later. In 15 games with New York, Chiti posted an OPS of .452 and, six weeks after the trade, was returned to the Tigers, making him, at the time, the only player in major league history to be traded for himself. Schneider was only marginally better than Chiti: a .502 OPS and, taken in concert with his defense (though an defensive rating based on 300 innings in the field is next to worthless, particularly for catchers) was nearly a full win below replacement.

But since $800,000 on a catcher to the Phillies is, proportionally, about what I’d spend on lunch, bringing Schneider back isn’t really an unwise expenditure of capital so much as it represents the inexorable march of time and the ultimate triumph of the absurd over humanity’s desire to find higher meaning in life. Continue reading Dr. Strangeglove: Albert Camus and the Backup Catcher

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Schneider Inks One-Year Deal with Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, November 17, 2011 03:59 PM Comments: 19

From the Phillies:

Catcher Brian Schneider has signed a one-year contract with the Phillies, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.

Schneider, 34, made 36 starts for the Phillies last season and the team went 28-8 (.777), including 27-3 (.900) in his first 30 starts.  From May 7 through September 6, the Phillies went 19-0 in Schneider’s starts.  At the plate, Schneider batted .176 with two home runs and nine RBI in 41 games.

With Schneider behind the plate in 2011, Phillies pitchers posted a 2.85 ERA and he threw out 13% (3-23) of potential basestealers.  He ranks seventh among active catchers in most runners thrown out (194), trailing Ivan Rodriguez (563), Jason Kendall (392), Jorge Posada (324), Ramon Hernandez (258), Jason Varitek (251) and Henry Blanco (237).

Throughout his major league career, Schneider has played exclusively for National League East Division teams.  He has a lifetime .247 batting average with 65 home runs and 380 RBI in 1,014 games for the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals (2000-07), New York Mets (2008-09) and Phillies (2010-11).

For more on Schneider, Corey Seidman takes a look at his 2010 season.

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Cliffmas in 2011; Lee 3rd in Cy, Doc Finishes Runner-Up

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, November 17, 2011 02:16 PM Comments: 16

(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer)

The NL Cy Young award was announced today and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is your winner, unseating the incumbent, Roy Halladay, who finished second.

Behind them in third place was the second of the Phillies aces, Cliff Lee. Cole Hamels finished a very respectable fifth. Below is the full NL Cy Young voting.

This post also doubles as the season review for Lee. Next week, we’ll take a deeper look at Halladay as our season review continues.

———————

There were a few tough stretches during the 2011 season that made some people cringe when it came to Cliff Lee. After signing a new contract at over $20 million-per-season, it’s never any fun to start with a 4.18 ERA in April. Sure, he struck out 10 or more batters three times in that first month, but don’t lie; you were holding your breath a bit.

But even so, you were still smitten that Lee took “less” to come back to Philly. He talked so highly of the city and the fans that you were willing to look past a rocky start.

Lee eased into a solid May, but something was still missing. To that point, there had only been flashes of dominance. We’re the Phillies paying for just OK? His contract stipulated he be paid like a superstar pitcher, because that’s what he’d been the previous four years. Not to worry, he’d show up in a big way.

June was one of those months you only dream about seeing as a fan and living as a pitcher. In five starts, and over 42 innings, Lee gave up one run. ONE. Let that sink in. It’s just silly.

Continue reading Cliffmas in 2011; Lee 3rd in Cy, Doc Finishes Runner-Up

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Papelbon/Lidge: Spending $12M in 2009 v. 2012

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, November 17, 2011 08:28 AM Comments: 37

Brad LidgeIn the middle of his magical 2008 season, Brad Lidge inked a three year extension instead of becoming a free agent at the end of the year from then GM Pat Gillick. While Gillick made several shrewd moves to pick up the likes of JC Romero, Matt Stairs, Chad Durbin, and Jayson Werth, Lidge’s contract is a gaffe in Gillick’s tenure only comparable to the minuscule return the Phillies received for Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle and his nearly unforgivable signing of Adam Eaton.

When discussing the Jonathan Papelbon contract, many Phillies Nation readers aptly pointed out that from 2009 through 2011, Lidge received nearly the same per year contract value that Papelbon will be paid. This is true. It is also true that even a cursory exploration of comparing the seasons leading up to both extension, Papelbon was leaps and bounds the better pitcher.

Using fWar from FanGraphs and a concept they introduced, when comparing nth best seasons, only Lidge’s stellar 2004 compares to how well Papelbon pitched in any of his first six seasons. To put things in perspective, Lidge’s stellar 2008 would only be good enough for a tie for Papelbon’s fourth best season.

Continue reading Papelbon/Lidge: Spending M in 2009 v. 2012

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Phillies Off-season League Updates

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, November 16, 2011 04:05 PM Comments: 3

Throughout the off-season, we’ll take regular looks at Phillies players participating in winter leagues around the world. Plenty of players contracted to the Phillies are still in action, despite the North American season being over for many weeks. In this post, the Caribbean and Australian baseball leagues will be covered.

-Right-handed hurler Julio Rodriguez (pictured), an 8th round draft selection in 2008, has appeared in two games as a reliever for the Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League. In his first outing, the 21-year-old threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, while he allowed 2 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning in his second appearance. Rodriguez had an outstanding regular season for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in 2011, going 16-7 with a 2.76 ERA and a .186 batting average against in 27 starts.

Continue reading Phillies Off-season League Updates

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Free Agency: Hamels, Cespedes, Backup Catchers

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, November 16, 2011 09:55 AM Comments: 46

PHOTO: AP

–Once and for all Cole Hamels IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Just felt I had to make that clear because the rumors – nay, discussions – that have surfaced over the past few days from some of our friends at ESPN.com and FoxSports.com are just ridiculous. I understand they’re just doing their job; they have to inform but also stir up a little controversy for readership. But there is just no way the Phillies could ever trade Cole Hamels. Think Ryan Howard contract extension backlash and multiply it by 100.

(I guess there is a way, they did trade Cliff Lee. But that was at a time when they believed it was a must to fit Roy Halladay. My feeling is, they realize things are different now. They can’t sign Papelbon long term and then NOT keep the guy who will bring them into the future as their ace).

You just don’t trade a lefty pitcher that throw 94 consistently and is just now entering his prime. Small market teams do it because they can’t afford it. The Phillies can only be exceeded in payroll by the Yankees at this point, so even attempting to think about the thought of trading Hamels away is just asinine.

There isn’t even one ounce of me that believes the Phillies would let him get away. How could they justify paying Cliff Lee, who is more than four years older than Hamels, $20-plus-million per season on a five year deal and not pay Hamels in the near future? In roughly two or three seasons, it’s very likely that Hamels will be the ace of the staff ahead of Lee and Roy Halladay.

Keep buying those Hamels jerseys and shirseys – he’ll be sticking around.

Continue reading Free Agency: Hamels, Cespedes, Backup Catchers

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Phils Close to Re-signing Brian Schneider

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, November 16, 2011 12:13 AM Comments: 20

The Phillies are nearing a deal to bring back backup catcher Brian Schneider.

The Phillies are nearing a deal with Brian Schneider, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

The terms are not yet clear, but one would imagine the Phillies are re-signing Schneider to a one-year deal. Schneider is coming off of a poor offensive season and, unfortunately for him, his “handling” of Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick in 2011 isn’t attention-grabbing when it comes to dollars and cents.

Ruben Amaro originally signed Schneider to a two-year, $2.75 million contract prior to 2010. In two seasons with the Phillies, Schneider hit .208/.297/.320 with six home runs in 286 plate appearances.

Schneider spent time on the disabled list both years.

The market for catchers this offseason is unexciting to say the least. The most intriguing option is Ryan Doumit, but he was never really a fit with the Phillies. Doumit is a huge defensive liability behind the plate that you wouldn’t feel comfortable starting five or six days a week if Carlos Ruiz were to get injured.

Doumit was also going to be more expensive than a guy like Schneider. I’m predicting the Schneider deal is one-year, $1.1 million. Doumit turned down an offer from the Dodgers of one-year, $3 million.

This isn’t a move that will generate excitement — Schneider will soon be 35 and over the past two seasons has been worth -0.3 WAR. But in the grand scheme of things, the Phillies needed a cheap backup catcher for 2012 and this just isn’t a front office that will trust Erik Kratz in that role.

If the Phils sign Schneider to the deal predicted above, they’ll have about $155 million committed to 21 players after the arbitration cases take place.

They still need to fill holes at shortstop, left field, in the bullpen and on the bench.

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Is Rollins Next on Amaro’s To-Do List?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, November 15, 2011 12:28 PM Comments: 75

“Obviously short stop is a position we’d like to shore up. I’ve been pretty open and public about what we’re trying to do to move forward as far as Jimmy is concerned.”

Those were the words of Ruben Amaro Jr., at the tail end of Jonathan Papelbon‘s press conference on Monday. The ink on Papelbon’s contract hadn’t even dried yet and the questions were already turning to the other holes on the roster. The most glaring, of course, is shortstop.

The Papelbon signing came quick and seemingly out of nowhere, but regardless of what you think of the deal, the Phillies have one of the best ninth-inning options in the game. There is also a need to solidify the bench and figure out what to do with the rest of the relief staff. A super-utility man in the mold of a Michael Cuddyer is a want for the team, but is it a need at what he’s looking for contractually?

Continue reading Is Rollins Next on Amaro’s To-Do List?

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