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Archive for January, 2013

Off-season Q&A: Frandsen Speaks of 2012 Success

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, January 30, 2013 02:30 PM Comments: 11

Infielder Kevin Frandsen proved to be one of the most pleasant surprises for the Phillies in 2012.  In a season that saw the infield struggle with injuries, the team called up the California native to fill a void at third base and he proved to be a worthy addition.  Frandsen, who was an International League All-Star last year for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, joined the Phillies in late July and proceed to notch a .338 average with two homers and 14 RBI in 55 contests.

The 30-year-old Frandsen, who is a .267 career big league hitter, is slated to be the key reserve for a Phils infield that projects to be at full health headed into the 2013 season.

Last week, I spoke with Kevin about his success with the Phillies, his two managers from last season, his unique foundation and more.  Read ahead to check out the full interview.

-Kevin, you had a lot of success last year at the Triple-A level and in the majors.  I just wanted to get some thoughts from you on what you would attribute the great output last year.

Just playing.  I’ve always done well in the minor leagues, ’cause I played every day and I finally got an opportunity to play every day in the big leagues and it’s taken six, seven years up there, you know, fighting and doing stuff to finally get that opportunity and, you know, that’s all it is.  You ask a basketball player how they’re gonna get a chance to shine and it’s to get minutes.  It’s the same thing, just getting innings in there and at bats and, hopefully, things go right and they did.  I felt like- I’ve always asked if I could sink or swim up there and I felt like I swam.  Hopefully, that will continue and I’ll help out the team this year and, obviously, the main goal is to get hardware and winning championships here is the number one goal. Continue reading Off-season Q&A: Frandsen Speaks of 2012 Success

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Phils Should Explore A-Rod if Available

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, January 30, 2013 01:26 PM Comments: 66

Reports from ESPN New York indicate that the Yankees have begun to explore ways to void third baseman Alex Rodriguez‘s contract in the wake of his connection to a “wellness clinic” in Miami, which reportedly supplied athletes with PEDs, including human growth hormone (HGH) and other substances banned by MLB. Rodriguez’s name appears in the records of Anthony Bosch, the nutritionist who ran the wellness clinic, sixteen times, including direct links between A-Rod and HGH. The Yankees see this is a possible route of escape from the last five years and $114 million of his contract.

If that happens, however unlikely it may be, the Phillies should call immediately.

Don’t get me wrong: there is no precedent for teams being able to void contracts for using, buying, or being connected with PEDs. But the evidence of A-Rod’s connection is pretty damning early and the Yankees plan to pursue options of voiding his contract based on everything from visiting a non-team approved doctor and the fact that he may have broken the law by purchasing banned substances. ESPN cites a source that reports that the Yankees are exploring “20 different things” to get him out of town.

Continue reading Phils Should Explore A-Rod if Available

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A Story That Shows the Good Side of Philly Sports Fans and Twitter

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, January 30, 2013 11:26 AM Comments: 0

How #Give4Mark helped to raise money for the family of a lifelong Phillies fan who died this month.

Originally published in The Philly Post by Stephen Silver on January 30, 2013

In the same week that the Manti Te’o “fake girlfriend” scandal captivated and horrified the nation, another story emerged that touched on sports, Twitter and a prominent death. The difference is this one, rather than demonstrate all the worst things about the Internet, social media and humanity in general, showcased some of the best.

Also, @MarkM625 really lived and really died.

When Mark Marinelli of Bethlehem, a lifelong Phillies fan who used that handle, passed away suddenly on January 18th, Marinelli’s many acquaintances in the Phillies fan community on Twitter gathered online to share their memories of their late friend. Soon after, the blog Phillies Nation launched a charity driveusing the hashtag #Give4Mark, meant to assist Marinelli’s family with his funeral and other expenses.

By the time the campaign, run through Phillies Nation’s Paypal account, closed on Tuesday, it had raised more than $7,500, well over the initial goal, in just 10 days. The #Give4Mark hashtag was mentioned on Twitter more than 1,000 times. Continue reading A Story That Shows the Good Side of Philly Sports Fans and Twitter

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Schneider Announces Retirement After 13 Seasons

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, January 30, 2013 07:40 AM Comments: 4

After a few season with the Phillies, and 13 overall in the majors, Brian Schneider has announced his retirement, according to the Allentown Morning Call.

It had been a trying few seasons with the Phillies as Schneider seemingly spent more time on the DL than on the bench, where he was the primary backup to Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies kept Schneider around because of his catching intuition and rapport with the pitching staff, however, it was clear his body was breaking down early on in his tenure in Philly.

Schneider, who grew up in Northampton, PA, hit just .212 in 122 games over three seasons with the Phillies.

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Writer’s Roundtable: Concerned About Doc?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, January 30, 2013 06:25 AM Comments: 21

How worried are you about Doc and his shoulder injury? (AP)

Roy Halladay had a bad year in 2012. It’s just that simple. He dealt with decreased velocity, shoulder troubles, and never got on track.

This is a huge year for Doc as he’s staring down the barrel of a $20 million team option for 2014. Whether he stays with the Phillies long-term could be contingent on what type of year he puts together – but mostly if he proves that shoulder is completely healthy.

Are you worried? The Phillies Nation writers got together to talk about it…

Question: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most) what is your level of concern with Roy Halladay heading into 2013?

—————–

Corey Seidman: 8. Not because I’m so worried about him, but because of how important he is to the success of this team. If Halladay isn’t the Roy Halladay of 2010 or 2011, there is a very small chance this team finishes higher than 3rd in the NL East.

Ryan Dinger: 3. Whenever a pitcher has shoulder issues, there is always reason to be concerned. However, if there is any pitcher in the game who can work himself back to health and make the necessary adjustments in his game to account for physical digression, it’s Halladay. His work ethic is legendary and he’s always been a cerebral pitcher. For that reason, I don’t think there’s is much reason to be overly concerned about Doc.

Don M. 3. Thanks to a rotation that includes Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the Phillies don’t especially need Halladay’s name mentioned in the discussion for “the best in baseball,” they just need him to be a solid top-of-the-rotation pitcher. The Phillies improved bullpen should help save some wear and tear on Halladay’s arm.

Continue reading Writer’s Roundtable: Concerned About Doc?

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Phils Add Unprecedented Futility?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, January 29, 2013 08:44 PM Comments: 44

http://media.philly.com/images/121812-michael-young-600.jpg

The addition of the Youngs, Betancourt, and Mather put the Phillies in unprecedented company of acquiring futility. They can hide Betancourt and Mather in Lehigh Valley, but the Youngs... Photo: AP

Some of the Phillies additions this off season have been no doubt puzzling – while much has been written lately about Delmon Young, it seems to have been forgotten that Michael Young posted the lowest fWAR (as defined here) among player eligible for the batting title last year (-1.4). Delmon Young was twice as valuable (-0.7) as Michael but his triple-slash of .267/.296/.411 with a 3.3% BB-rate leaves a lot to be desired.

There is no good way to sort this out other than by hand so I capped my research at the previous ten years: the 2013 Phillies will be the only team in the last ten years to have either signed or traded for two players who finished the previous season qualified for the batting title and contributed negative value, in this case, WAR, to their previous team.

And there is reason for optimism at Citizen’s Bank Park. Or not.

Whatever the case, it does feel particularly weird to be relieved that the Phillies’ projected starting right fielder may not be ready for Opening Day. And trying to do the math to convert what Michael Young’s WAR would be with 2012′s triple-slash at third base instead of the first base he played last season make me feel like I’m a casino junkie looking to scrounge up change for that one last bet that will finally put me in the win column.

Continue reading Phils Add Unprecedented Futility?

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Ramirez Designated For Assignment

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, January 29, 2013 04:28 PM Comments: 12

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/mlb/players/full/30433.png&w=350&h=254In order to make room on the 40-man roster for the returning Chad Durbin, J.C. Ramirez was designated for assignment. Ramirez, acquired in the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle in December 2009, turned 24 this past August. After his K/9 IP fell below seven (5.6) for the first time in his career at Double-A Reading in 2011, Ramirez’s K totals bounced back in a relief role at Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2012 (7 K/9 IP).

In 2012, Ramirez pitched 45 innings in relief, lowering his hits/9 IP and HR/9 IP, while increasing his K-rate but saw his BB/9 IP increase by .7. Ramirez seemed to have found a niche as a reliever last season, with his successes coming on his low 90′s fastball and his bread-and-butter curve. Now, with a bullpen full of young players and veterans alike, Ramirez is without a role and the most initially promising prospects the Phillies acquired in the initial Lee trade may soon end up on a new team who is willing to take a flyer.

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Prospect Nation 2013: #20 RHP Tyler Knigge

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, January 29, 2013 09:05 AM Comments: 0

Right-hander Tyler Knigge (pronounced kuh-NIG-ee) proved himself to be a fast rising pitching prospect last year, as he dominated with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers and later earned a promotion to Double-A Reading.

Selected in the 12th round of the 2010 draft out of Lewis-Clark State College, Knigge made his pro debut that year, pitching with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, sporting a 0-4 record along with a 5.28 ERA in 11 outings (four starts). He would pitch in the Florida Instructional League that year as well. The following season, Knigge was a strong performer with Class A Lakewood, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, where he looked tougher on opposing batters, tallying a 4-3 record, four saves and a 3.32 ERA.

In an effort to increase his own stamina, Knigge lost approximately 15 pounds over the 2011-2012 off-season. With improved conditioning, Knigge was amazing with Clearwater last year, posting a 0.60 ERA along with a 4-1 record and nine saves in 34 relief outings, and was recognized as a Florida State League All-Star.

In early July, the 6-foot-3-inch 225-pounder was promoted to Reading and would post strong numbers there as well, with no decisions, two saves and a 2.92 ERA in 21 appearances. If not for an oddity of an outing on July 20 in Trenton, in which he was charged with three earned runs without recording an out, Knigge’s ERA at the Double-A level would have been 1.82.

Knigge saw his batting average against go from .243 in 2011 to a much improved .204 in 2012, as he jumped two levels. Additionally, Knigge’s K/9 of 9.09 during the 2012 regular season was a nice improvement over the previous season’s 7.48 mark as well.
Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #20 RHP Tyler Knigge

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Hamels Ready for Clearwater, Says Shoulder is Fine

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, January 28, 2013 09:14 PM Comments: 2

Hamels says he's ready for Spring. (AP).

At Monday’s Philadelphia Sports Writers Association awards banquet, Cole Hamels declared his shoulder as “fine” and says he “feels good, and is ready to go” for Spring Training.

Ruben Amaro stated earlier this winter that Hamels had been shut down due to a sore shoulder, but it was not an issue. Hamels reacted to that, saying “I don’t know of anything that happened. “I’ve been healthy…I haven’t felt anything of that sort. That’s the honest truth.

“I know I feel good and I’m ready to go. That’s all I can really answer. That’s kind of where it is. Same program, ready for Spring Training and finally getting out of the cold. That will be a lot nicer. I’m very excited.”

Hamels also addressed Amaro’s comments that the Phillies were now the underdog in the division due to the Nationals and Braves taking over last year. “The other teams were ahead of us so we have a lot we have to improve on. That’s all up to the players. Ultimately we have to stay healthy and play the game we know we’re capable of doing.”

Might be easier said than done with teams in Atlanta and Washington that have seemingly improved – or at least have not regressed this offseason.

“We just have a lot to prove. We can’t take a backseat and hope that we can coast through.  We have to go at it from the very beginning and not really hope to play catch up, because these teams…are a lot better.”

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Phils Add Betancourt

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, January 28, 2013 01:03 PM Comments: 18

http://www.bommaritoperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Yuniesky-Betancourt.pngThe Phillies announced they have signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor league deal today. Betancourt, 31, is coming off a 2012 with the Royals where he hit .228/.256/.400 for the Royals in 228 PA.

Analysis: Betancourt was famously traded for something of value in 2009 despite being in the middle of one of the worst modern seasons of all-time (-2.1 fWAR) – he is the rare “no bat, no glove” infielder.

Consider this a sign that both Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez will get ample opportunity to make the Phillies out of camp as utility infielders, as the Phils are now stockpiling AAAA-level talent up the middle. Look for Betancourt to play short for the IronPigs in 2013.

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