Hamels Conveys Love and Commitment to Philly

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sat, February 21, 2015 08:28 PM Comments: 3

Everyone with an ounce of baseball knowledge knows that the Phillies will likely not compete for a shot at the postseason in 2015. Cole Hamels knows this as well, and expressed his desire to win in an interview with USA TODAY last Wednesday.

However, Hamels took a different approach earlier today and expressed his love for the “City of Brotherly Love.”

“I’ve made my home in Philadelphia since the beginning,” said Hamels. “This is where I’m fully committed.”

Hamels also knows what his job is as long as he’s in a Phillies uniform.



“My job is to be accountable for what the expectations that are put on me,” said Hamels. “I only have one direction and one position, and that’s to be able to go pitch and go win ballgames. That’s all I can really do.”

Hamels has certainly done that over the course of his nine-year career. In 274 starts, Hamels is 108-83, with a 3.27 ERA and 1,707 strikeouts in 1,801.1 innings pitched.

Those numbers have made Hamels one of the best left-handed pitchers in MLB, and has been the center of trade talks the entire offseason. By now, Hamels should have been traded, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has not found a deal to his liking. Some may argue that the Phillies’ price tag for the former World Series MVP is too high, but the Phillies need to make sure they get the right pieces in return for a deal involving Hamels.

In short, Amaro and the Phillies cannot afford to screw this up.

As long as he’s here, Hamels is fully committed to the Phillies.

“I think you guys have seen how I play, the type of character that I have when I step out onto the field,” said Hamels. “Go out there and be the best that you can, because at some point it’s all going to end. So you at least want to know that you left everything out on the field.”

With his comments from last Wednesday surely fresh in his mind, Hamels said what every athlete would say in his position; he needs to do his job, no matter the team he’s playing for.

“At this given moment, I’m a Phillie,” Hamels said. “All I can do is get ready for the season. No matter the name on my chest, I have a job to do and I have to be accountable for it.”

Hamels is well aware of the Phillies’ plans to rebuild the team in order to become a contender again. He also realizes that there is nothing he can do, but go out there every fifth day and pitch.

“An organization, they have a bigger picture that they have to worry about,” said Hamels. “As a player, we really have to take the straight-and-narrow approach. We have a job to do, people are counting on us. I’m just one piece of the puzzle, and as long as I can go out and do what they expect, then I’m fulfilling my end of the bargain.”

As things stand right now, Hamels is the Phillies’ opening day starter. Until then, he plans to approach this spring training like any other, even though the Phillies are not expected to make a run at the postseason.


Dutch Cancer Free; Davis to Broadcast Booth

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, February 19, 2015 05:45 PM Comments: 5

Amazing news! On 97.5 the Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli Show, Darren Daulton sent a text to Mike declaring he is cancer free.  Back in 2013, Dutch was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. So excited to hear that my former colleague is doing much, much better!

Also, the Phillies and Comcast Sportsnet announced that Philly area native and former first round draft pick Ben Davis will join the broadcast booth. He replaces Jamie Moyer, who left after just one year.


Should Hamels Get a Pass for Being Honest?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, February 19, 2015 08:45 AM Comments: 21

Cole Hamels stopped short of demanding a trade. However, his intentions are well known and his frustrations with the Phillies organization are easily felt through his comments to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Yesterday, Hamels said:

“I just want to win. “That’s all. That’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here.

“This isn’t what I expected. It’s not what the Phillies expected, either. But it’s reality.”

We’re all aware that’s true. Even the most bullish Phillies fans on planet earth can agree there’s little chance the team makes a strong push for the postseason this year.

Hamels knows it, too. And is that OK?

We all seem to enjoy when our favorite athletes answer questions as honestly as possible. Hamels did just that, and while many understand why he’d say it, there are other fans who don’t want to hear it.

Which side are you on?


Candid Hamels on Winning: “It’s not going to happen here”

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 18, 2015 04:43 PM Comments: 26

cole-hamelsIn recent weeks – sparked by Marshawn Lynch and his lack of communication with the media – we’ve argued about what we want from our athletes. We like them to be candid, but not too candid. We like when they let us into their lives, but not go overboard. On the whole, we don’t know what we want from our athletes. Except that they tell the truth.

Cole Hamels did just that in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

When asked about his future in Philadelphia, the longtime Phillies ace had this to say:

“I just want to win. “That’s all. That’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here.

“This isn’t what I expected. It’s not what the Phillies expected, either. But it’s reality.”

It’s to the point, it’s from the heart. And it’s true.

Hamels knows his time in Philly is nearing an end, and while he hasn’t demanded a trade, he seems to be OK with a deal to a contender. It’s hard to blame him as he looks around and sees a clubhouse full of players that he knows won’t win them a title, or a postseason game, or the division. Even the fan base knows the deal.

These quotes hit hard, however. They put an exclamation point on the rebuild we know is underway. But, at least Hamels is being honest. It’s all we can ask for.



Who Will be the Phillies’ Offensive Team Leader in….

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, February 18, 2015 12:49 PM Comments: 6

With Spring Training officially getting underway this week, let’s have some fun and predict who will be the Phillies’ team leaders in some offensive categories.

Batting Average? 

Ben Revere: Revere has been the Phillies’ team leader in batting average the last two seasons with a .305 average in 2013, and a .306 average in 2014. The assumption is that Revere will once again be the team leader in batting average, especially considering the fact that the Phillies’ roster consists of players that don’t hit for a high average. The only player who could really challenge Revere is Maikel Franco, who could benefit from pitchers’ unfamiliarity once he makes it to the Majors.

Prediction: .308 batting average.

Home Runs?

Dominic Brown: This may surprise most people, but I believe Brown will have a bounce-back season, and show more of the 2013 Brown, who hit 27 homers, than the disappointing 2014 Brown who hit only 10. Why am I choosing Brown over Ryan Howard? Well, I believe that Howard will not finish the season in a Phillies uniform. Howard will produce enough to attract a team desperate for a DH by the trade deadline, leaving Brown as the next best power option for the Phillies. Darin Ruf could also be a candidate, but I’m not confident he will get the playing time he needs to be the team leader in homers by season’s end.

Prediction: 24 home runs.

Runs Batted In? 

Dominic Brown: If you’re going to be the team leader in home runs, then chances are you’ll also be the team leader in RBIs. This prediction is not made solely on the fact that Brown will lead the team in home runs, but also because Brown has a career .280 batting average with runners in scoring position. If Brown is able to hit home runs with men on base, and get hits with RISP, then he should have no problem racking up the RBI numbers.

Prediction: 90 RBIs.

Stolen Bases? 

Ben Revere: With Jimmy Rollins gone, Revere is the only real threat on the base-paths for the Phillies. Last season, Revere established a career high of 49, and ranked fourth in MLB in stolen bases. Over the last four seasons, Revere has swiped 145 total bags, averaging about 36 per season. Also note that Revere stole 22 bases before missing significant time due to injury in 2013. This is a lock, barring another significant injury.

Prediction: 54 stolen bases. 

Average with RISP? 

Chase Utley: While Utley’s career is, sadly, on the decline, the 36-year-old is still one of the best second basemen in MLB. What makes Utley so dangerous at the plate is his ability to hit when it matters most; with runners in scoring position. For his career, Utley has posted a .293 batting average with RISP, and last season, hit .294. Hopefully there will be plenty of chances for him to drive in runs this season.

Prediction: .291 average with RISP.

On-Base Percentage?

Chase Utley: Utley is great in terms of OBP because he hits, takes his share of walks, and gets hit by pitches due to his “crowding” of the plate. In his career, Utley has a .370 OBP, and although his OBP has diminished the last two seasons (.348, .339), the Phillies don’t have many players that work the count, or have great plate discipline like Utley.

Prediction: .345 OBP

These are my predictions. Now, what are yours? Share in the comments!


Phillies Have Major Questions Heading into Spring Training

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 17, 2015 08:45 AM Comments: 27

Spring Training is about to begin; this is normally the time we wax poetic about the grass being green, a new slate, hope springing eternal, etc, etc, etc. Not to go all Debbie Downer on you, it’s just not that kinda year.

The Phillies have issues throughout their organization right now, and not just on the field. There are several questions that will need to be answered this spring. The more that can be completed, the better.

1. Will the Phillies move the rest of their veterans?

-Cole Hamels is the prized commodity, but Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon are still here, as well. Take Chase Utley out of the equation, because he’s not going anywhere. Several teams have interest in Hamels, so it comes down to whether or not it’ll be enough for Ruben Amaro to pull the trigger. My guess is he’s here through the beginning of the year and is moved at the deadline. Howard’s role is unclear, although his options outside of Philadelphia seem very, very limited. Papelbon is an interesting case. He’s still pitching effectively, yet the Phillies have made it known they want to move on. Best guess, someone steps up in the next month, and if not, definitely in July.

2. Who is running the show?

-Ruben Amaro is the GM, Pat Gillick the new team President. Who makes the final call here? It certainly seems like Gillick has always had Amaro’s ear, yet this is a different scenario with Gillick taking over for David Montgomery. Ruben is also fighting for his job, so he needs to make sound moves over the next 6-12 months. What sort of moves will the new team pull off?

3. Who will play shortstop?

-Freddy Galvis looks like the man right now. Pardon me if I’m not impressed. Galvis is nothing more than a bench player in the majors, however, the Phillies don’t have a lot else right now as they keep the seat warm for JP Crawford, who could possibly be the everyday shortstop in 2016 if all goes right this year. That’s a long ways away.

4. What’s the rotation look like?

-Cole Hamels is your ace, provided he’s here in early April. Cliff Lee, if healthy, provides a steady second option. The “if” is so huge here, because who the hell knows what he’ll give. That should be answered down in Clearwater over the next seven weeks. Beyond that, it looks like Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsly have the upper hand for spots three and four. The number five starter? That’s anyone’s guess. After a pretty strong showing at the end of last year, Jerome Williams has the lead.

5. What will Brown (and Asche and some others) do for you?

-Domonic Brown is nearing life support with the Phillies. He’ll be given plenty of time to prove that he’s still a franchise player in 2015. That all starts with a strong spring showing. He can ill-afford to decline for another year or he’ll find himself in another organization. Cody Asche looks like your starting third baseman as Maikel Franco gets tested in the minors again. Asche needs to clean up his D or learn a corner outfield spot, or he’s doomed as well. What exactly is Darin Ruf’s role? I think everyone would like to know.


Rosenthal: Injuries Will Create Market for Hamels

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, February 13, 2015 11:50 AM Comments: 4

Earlier this week, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal talked about the “parade of awkward news conferences” that could be ahead for the Phillies in relation to the their inability to move players like Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, and Cole Hamels.

Today, Rosenthal wrote a piece recognizing the reality and likelihood of injuries that could make Cole Hamels even more of a commodity.  cole-hamels

“Heck, injuries already are occurring, and most teams are a week or more away from starting formal workouts in Florida and Arizona,” wrote Rosenthal on his blog titled, Just a bit Outside.

He’s very right, in fact. Some key players that have suffered injuries since Jan. 1 include Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, Jonathan Lucroy, and Victor Martinez.

The fact of the matter is that injuries, no matter the sport, are common and can happen at any time. To see players getting hurt before spring training even begins is definitely an eye opener, and all it takes is one ace on a contending team (Wainwright, Buchholz) to feel a tweak in his throwing arm, or push-off leg to have their team rushing to the phone and aggressively inquiring about Hamels.

A situation like this will give the Phillies the leverage they need, and will make their chances of getting exactly what they want in return for their all-star left-hander even greater.


Ken Rosenthal, Awkward Press Conferences, and Why The Phillies Are Stuck In Neutral

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Thu, February 12, 2015 10:30 AM Comments: 82


“Stuck in neutral”

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal wrote about the Phillies in his column over at Fox Sports.

He started out with four hypothetical “awkward” press conferences–Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, and Ryan Howard–asking the players about potential trades when Spring Training rolls around. These are all guys that the Phillies probably should’ve parted ways with by now. They know it, reporters know it, most fans know it. Heck, even the Phillies might know it. Here’s a quote from Rosenthal following the intro:

We’re talking awkward — painfully awkward. And unless things change before the Phillies’ first workout a week from Thursday, their offseason will look like a major fail.

Now, I think I disagree that the offseason will be a major fail if they don’t move any of those four guys before Spring Training. They did manage to make deals to part ways with Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd, which was noted by Rosenthal. Those weren’t exactly blockbuster deals, but they were something.

But I agree that a failure exists with the Phillies front office. The failure, in my opinion, does not lie in the 2015 offseason. It has already happened. They should’ve moved Cliff Lee a long time ago. Ryan Howard, in my opinion, should’ve been simply released during the season last year. Jonathan Papelbon should’ve been traded for something, either at the deadline last season, or any time during this offseason. Only Cole Hamels was worth hanging on to going into 2015. The David Price trade at the deadline last year hurt Hamels’ value, and the free agent moves this offseason (Jon Lester to the Cubs, James Shields to the Padres, to be precise) didn’t help either. I think they’ll get some better offers leading up to the deadline, as contending teams realize that they need a starter.

But Rosenthal is right. Maybe the Phillies are being too stubborn, and maybe it’s doing more harm than good. Here’s what he had to say about it:

The front office’s stubbornness, though, appears to go even deeper, whether it’s Amaro or Gillick who is actually calling the shots. The Phillies refuse to accept that they might not get exactly what they want.

Can the Phillies fix their mistakes? Sure. But, as Rosenthal states, it would require the Phillies to loosen up and entertain some offers that might not be up to their standards. Unless something changes soon, things will only get worse. Here’s how he put it:

And good luck to the Phillies persuading their fans to buy tickets for a team that remains stuck in neutral.

Stuck in neutral. I like it. The car that is the Phillies is on a downward path, stuck in neutral, and Ruben Amaro Jr. is at the wheel. He still has time to turn that baby around, but time is running out. Tick, tick, tick.


Do Phillies Fans Want a Hamels Trade?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 09, 2015 01:59 PM Comments: 55

There’s been no shortage of rumors surrounding Cole Hamels this offseason. When your team is a mess and your best trade chip is an all-world pitcher, the mill will churn. Such is life with the Phillies ace.

Boston, San Diego, the Chicago Cubs and others have been linked to Hamels this offseason in one way or another. Some make sense, others are long shots.

From the Phillies perspective, there are reasons why they should and should not trade Hamels:


  • He’s pitching in his absolute prime, coming off an incredible 2014 season. If the Phillies can somehow get back into the playoff hunt in the next season or two, they’ll be set at the top of the rotation.
  • They shouldn’t not settle for a diminished return on Hamels. GM Ruben Amaro needs to stand firm on the prospects he’s willing to deal for.
  • The Phillies are running out of teams to deal with anyway, as the Cubs have reportedly kept their top prospects off the table and the Padres have just signed James Shields. They’ve likely waited to long so they won’t get what they want.


  • Hamels likely will not be as valuable as he is today. He’s in top form and a contending team could hope to ride him to a title.
  • Take on a little bit of the money remaining on Hamels’ contract and it’s likely more teams would be willing to deal their best young talent.
  • Trading Hamels clears out even more money for the Phillies to get creative in international signings (Yoan Moncada).
  • The free agent pitching class following the 2015 season is ripe with great arms, and that could hurt the Phillies chances of dealing Hamels at the trade deadline this season. Teams won’t be as willing to give up major prospects when they can jump into free agency after the season and grab a big name.

Where do you stand on the Hamels situation? There’s certainly no simple solution.

If the Red Sox come strong with an offer that nets the Phillies catcher Blake Swihart and more, are you in? What about a package headed by Wil Myers from the Padres?

Or, are you on board with keeping Hamels through this low period the Phillies are stuck in and hoping that contention is within reach sooner than later?

For me, the team needs to stay firm. Do not take less than what you believe is proper return. I’d likely set my limits at a few of another teams top prospects and taking on no more than 10 percent of his remaining salary. But its just not that simple.

The Phillies can ill afford to pawn off their most attractive chip and fall flat on their face. It needs to be a grand slam or nothing at all.


Update: Amaro Says Phillies are Interested in Moncada

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, February 06, 2015 09:59 AM Comments: 64

It appears that the Phillies are in fact interested in 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, according to Ruben Amaro Jr.

Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported yesterday that the Phillies “know [Moncada] well.”

“He’s a very good prospect. He has a chance to be a very good player. He checks off a lot of the boxes, but we’re not the only team that would be interested in Yoan Moncada. But that’s all I can say,” said Amaro.

Moncada is highly regarded in the eyes of scouts, and would be a perfect addition for a team like the Phillies who are trying to rebuild. Acquiring a player like Moncada could potentially put the Phillies back in a position to contend by 2016, which would put them a year ahead of Pat Gillick’s original notion of not contending until at least 2017.



However, pursuing a player of Moncada’s talent will not be cheap. If the Phillies were to sign Moncada, they would exceed their cap for the 2014-2015 international signing period, which would result in a dollar-for-dollar penalty. If Moncada were to sign for a $40 million deal, the Phillies would essentially be paying him $80 million.

Also, the possibility of signing a future international player, as talented or perhaps even more talented than Moncada, over the next two signing periods would be affected if the Phillies exceed their international budget by 15 percent, which would absolutely happen with Moncada. That would mean that the Phillies would not able to make a deal with another international player until July 2, 2017.

“It is clear that those penalties are significant,” Amaro said. “That is part of the process.”

Despite the expensive price tag, a potential Alex Rodriguez-type of player doesn’t come along very often, and if Moncada is as good as scouts say he is, then the worry of an even better player coming along in the next two years shouldn’t even be a concern.

“You can’t miss on a guy that may be that significant a risk,” Amaro said.

While Amaro is correct in recognizing the risk involved, the Phillies don’t have much to lose at this point. With young players such as Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford on the horizon, at least pursuing Moncada is a must if this team is serious about rebuilding.

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