PN Mailbag #6: End of the Year Edition

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, December 30, 2012 11:10 AM Comments: 23

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' Here was my favorite album this year.

Welcome to the sixth Phillies Nation mailbag! Because nobody asked for it, and everybody else is doing it, here are some of my picks of my favorite things that happened this year. Just hit “Page Down” a few times to get to the baseball stuff. Or just click on “Read More” – it’s after that jump. I promise I answer Phillies’ related questions eventually.


Favorite Album of 2012: Here – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Favorite Pop Single of 2012: “Some Nights” – fun.

Hardest Pop Song to Get Out of My Head in 2012: Three-way tie – “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, and “Domino” by Jessie J.

Most Disappointing Album of 2012: Wrecking Ball – Bruce Springsteen

and finally, the coveted:

Album from 2012 That I Am Most Likely To Confuse for Something by T. Rex (and that’s a good thing) Award: Be the Void – Dr. Dog

Was it me or was this a weak year for pop and rock music or what? If not for Bruno Mars, this might have been the weakest year for music since 2006. That year, Rihanna hit the scene with “S.O.S.” and the Raconteurs put out their album but the well was pretty dry then like it is now. The big singles were easy to digest but nothing memorable musically like the subtle key change in 2007′s “Umbrella”


Movie with the Most Bootleg Looking Commercial: Life of Pi

Movie with Commercials That Set Impossibly High Expectations: The Dark Knight Rises

Worst Sequel: With apologies to The Expendables 2, Madagascar 3, Twilight Breaking Dawn 2, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Journey 2, The Bourne Legacy, Taken 2, Resident Evil: Retribution, and Paranormal Activity 4, all of which I have not, and likely will not, see, this award goes to the mailed-in Men in Black 3. It wasn’t particularly bad, it wasn’t particularly good – it was there. Sadly, it had very few funny moments and the nostalgia just wasn’t there to keep me interested the whole time.

Was this the year for sequels, though, or what?

Best Movie Where the Parents Suddenly Realize They Have a Half-Boy, Half-Plant hybrid for a Child: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Worst Execution of Digging Something Wayyyyyy Out of the Archives and Trying to Sell It To 18-49 Year Olds: The Three Stooges


The “We Can Finally Stop Talking About This” Award 2012: LeBron Wins a Championship

The “I’d Like Everyone To Talk About This More” Award 2012: The NHL Stoppage

The “Everyone Here Would Have Gotten Kicked Out of High School, College, or Both if We Did This”, Non-Steroids Award 2012: ESPN repeatedly plagiarizes

The “Everyone Here Would Have Gotten Kicked Out of High School, College, or Both if We Did This”, Steroids Award 2012: Tie: Took steroids and broke our back or Took steroids and were still super out of shape

Continue reading PN Mailbag #6: End of the Year Edition


PN Mailbag #5: Mega Powers Explode

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, December 18, 2012 07:00 AM Comments: 6

Lot of questions this week to check out, not a lot of time – let’s get to it!

From willcorr91 via Twitter: Now that Hamilton is off the market, who’s next on the short list of free agents?

Let’s address the title of this mailbag first: the Mega Powers Explode was the subtitle of Wrestlemania V, the Wrestlemania where the Mega Powers, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, reached a boiling point and fought each other over the WWF title, and more importantly, the love of Elizabeth. How it relates to this mailbag and this question? Eric Seidman and I have vastly different opinions to this question.

Eric is like Hulk Hogan when it comes to talking baseball – he’s stable, his actions are reasonable, he’s got a tremendous Twitter following, and he’s generally right on the money. I see myself as “Macho Man” Randy Savage – I sometimes have wild, reactionary opinions to Phillies news (“Get Excited About Chad Qualls“), wear sequined robes, and depending on the article, I’m either with or against Eric. Eric’s piece about Scott Hairston or Laynce Nix being a cheaper and possibly as effective solution to the Phillies’ outfield situation was way too rational for my tastes. This was the equivalent of the Macho Man being completely befuddled by Hulk Hogan’s completely rational helping the lovely Miss Elizabeth up after she was knocked to the mat by the giant Akeem on the Main Event in February 1989.

I’m not going to doctor footage like the Macho Man did and maniacally attempt to discredit Eric – I agree with him and the premise of his article, which I read as this: a combination of Hairston, Nix, and John Mayberry would likely produce the same result as the Phillies signing Cody Ross. But, that’s not the move I would make. I’d make the Macho Man move, much like he made in 1989 with his world title: I’m taking my ball and going into battle with the guys I have.

But, if you’re wondering who’s next on the Phillies list, it’s Ross, with a hint of interest in Rick Porcello per Danny Knobler of CBS Sports and Vernon Wells per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Yuck.

Continue reading PN Mailbag #5: Mega Powers Explode


How the Phillies Have Enough Money to Compete in Hamilton Sweepsteaks

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, December 10, 2012 09:56 AM Comments: 9

Many of the questions submitted for the PN Mailbag focused primarily on the likelihood or the ability of the Phillies to sign Josh Hamilton. Often times, it’s easier just to explain something like that with pictures. Keep in mind, this is not a ringing endorsement or anything of the like, just a nice flowchart showing that yes, the Phillies do have $21.5 million in AAV available for 2013. Thanks to my colleague Corey Seidman for crunching these numbers in his fantastic article from Thursday, which has even further explanation as to how the Phillies are this far under the luxury tax threshold. Click on the flowchart to make it larger.


Phillies Nation Mailbag Number Four: Get the Tables

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, December 09, 2012 11:45 AM Comments: 15


"HAMILTON NEXT?!" was the most popular question in this week's mailbag!

Only three questions this week but they are quite in depth – lots of graphics charts and tables – both of the Excel format and wooden. It will make sense after you read the questions.

@WillCorr91 asks via Twitter: What are the chances of Josh Hamilton signing with Philadelphia?

Great question, Will. A lot of folks actually asked this in some form or another, sometimes as simple as “HAMILTON NEXT?!”, but your question was the first, and most concisely written, variation I received. Thank you for that.

No doubt about it, may Phillies fans started to connect dots that may or may not exist once Michael Young was acquired. Yes, it is true that Young and Hamilton have been teammates for the last five seasons, the last three of which, the Rangers reached the playoffs. Yes, they were reportedly off-season conditioning partners. And yes, it is true: Young was a leader in the Rangers clubhouse according to outfielder Daniel Murphy. Murphy stated in an interview with SiriusXM radio yesterday: “Mike’s the glue that holds everybody together. He’s just a guy that creates a great atmosphere in our clubhouse regardless of whether you are a rookie, whether you’ve been around a long time, whether you’re a player that has just signed as a free agent or traded for. Everybody feels welcome in our clubhouse and everybody gets along.”

Young, from all accounts, had very strong ties to his teammates and is a great leader. When the Rangers told Young, instead of asking Young or discussing with him, that he would be playing third base for the 2011 season, Young asked for a trade. Adding fuel to the speculation that Young’s acquisition would help the Phillies land Hamilton was this quote from February 7, 2011, courtesy of WFAA Dallas/Fort Worth, straight from Hamilton’s mouth: “He’s been a guy that I could go to and look to as a veteran leader and somebody I could learn from. If we lose him, it’s going to be a big loss. ”

Continue reading Phillies Nation Mailbag Number Four: Get the Tables


Phillies Nation Mailbag: Third Edition

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, December 02, 2012 10:34 AM Comments: 9

This mailbag, among other things, contains references to Sid Vicious, 32nd-place MVP finishes, when Charles Rocket really wanted to know who shot him, and the time Joe Carter was traded in a salary dump in 1998.

A lot of Phillies news and rumors this week as we head into the Winter Meetings in Nashville. This week, the Phillies nearly acquired Astros’ closer Wilton Lopez for starter Tyler Cloyd and top position prospect Sebastian Valle, Chooch was suspended 25-games for unapproved adderall use, Ryan Madson signed with the Angels on an incentive-heavy deal, B.J. Upton signed with the Braves for $75.25 million, the Nats got even better with the acquisition of Denard Span, the Phils brought back Pete Orr and found a replacement-level catcher, Nate Schierholtz was not tendered a contract for 2013, the Phillies are in on Angel Pagan, and a couple of IronPigs signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. Phew, that was a mouthful.

Since our last Hot Stove update yesterday, things have gotten even more exciting: the Phillies appear to be a good match with the Cubs regarding Alfonso Soriano per Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi and Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Phillies appear to have offered the bigger contract in regards to annual value to Pagan. Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, let’s check the mail!

Continue reading Phillies Nation Mailbag: Third Edition


PN Mailbag Part Deux: Third, Utley, Upton

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 25, 2012 06:00 AM Comments: 19

Headley had a monstrous 2012 but can the Phillies acquire him? Ian answers after the jump. Photo: AP

There was a lot of Phils’ news and rumors this week: the Phils were in on Josh Hamilton before they were out on Hamilton, they were finally linked to a bullpen arm, protected some Minor Leaguers while exposing others, and just as Ryan Dinger and I offered our opinions if the Phillies should make a play for the recently designated Chone Figgins, the Phillies signed a third baseman while Charlie showed confidence in Darin Ruf.

Today, a lot of the questions ended up focusing on filling third base.

Cole O. asks on our Facebook Page: What is the plan for (Josh) Fields?

Josh Fields was the Phils’ Black Friday bargain big pick-up this November. To me the best Black Friday purchase analogy for the Fields signing is buying a movie Iron Man on DVD for $1.96: yeah, you’ve already moved on to Blu-Ray and all your friends said Iron Man 2 was better, but for $1.96, if you don’t watch it, you likely won’t regret the $1.96 purchase price and if you do, it’s decent entertainment for the price.

The Phillies are not getting the Fields of 2007, not the one who best case was on the verge of a major breakout and worst case was on track to be a better version of Mark Reynolds. Fields hit .322/.392/.488 with 13 HR for the Dodgers Triple-A  affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, in 2012 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League with below-average defense and turns 30 in December. Barring injuries to Kevin Frandsen and others, Fields will likely start the year in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

That being said, Fields could end up seeing some time with the Phillies in 2013. Best case, he may hit a few home runs and play OK defense. Worst case, he hits .200/.250/.300 for a week or two and quietly ends up in Triple-A again.

Continue reading PN Mailbag Part Deux: Third, Utley, Upton


Hot Stove: Berkman, Hamilton as Fall Back Options?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 19, 2012 06:17 PM Comments: 20

According to national beat writers, the Phillies preference is Bourn, Upton, followed by Hamilton. Photo: AP

UPDATE, 7:18 PM: Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle has reported the Phillies are in “tire-kicking” mode with Lance Berkman. The Astros were the only team known to be in contact with the Big Puma previous to today about a possible return to Houston. Berkman missed time last season with two knee surgeries but was a key contributor to the 2011 World Series Champion Cardinals. He has said recently that in order to return, he wants to be paid like a three-hole hitter and that he would give the Astros a discount. For the price of a three-hole hitter, I’d pass on Puma.


The biggest news today from the Hot Stove is that, per Jon Heyman, the Phillies view Josh Hamilton as a fall-back option in the event they don’t sign Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton. Heyman described the market for Hamilton as a “bona fide mysetery market”, with the Mariners out, the Orioles and Brewers on the periphery, and the Rangers, Braves, Phillies, and Red Sox having the strongest interest.

In an Insider-Only piece yesterday, Buster Olney believes the Phillies may start the dominoes going in the center field market. He had a pretty comprehensive piece about the Phillies’ center field targets, but if you have been following our Hot Stove coverage, including our new mailbag feature, a lot of that information would look very familiar. In short, Olney states: Bourn is good lead-off fit but is too expensive, Hamilton’s power translates well but is another lefty and has a great deal of off-the-field issues, Upton is probably the best fit but is a case of never reaching his believed potential and may be too expensive, Victorino is a really good fit but would not be seen as something new or fresh by the fan base, and Pagan would be a nice add but may be a beneficiary of teams spending early, often, and way too much this year. Additionally, Olney has a really nice piece about the current market, which is required reading for this year’s Hot Stove followers. Continue reading Hot Stove: Berkman, Hamilton as Fall Back Options?


Sunday Hot Stove Mailbag! – First Edition

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 18, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 20

November is a great month for many reasons for sports fans: basketball season is in full swing, college football’s BCS scenarios get clearer, and, most importantly, baseball’s Hot Stove gets fired up. The term Hot Stove is in reference to the practice of discussing sports in the winter, literally around a hot stove. For baseball, it’s strictly for off-season talk while our friends up north in Canada also use the term to discuss in-season hockey goings-ons.

There has been a lot of news and rumors floating about already, just a few weeks after the Giants were crowned 2012 World Series Champions. We try to follow these news and rumors by doing a daily wrap-up post but many times, our faithful readership asks follow-ups on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Yesterday, we solicited questions and we will do our best to give some answers based on the top news and rumors.

Side note: The mailbag concept has been around for quite sometime but this particular mailbag was sparked explicitly by the wonderful mailbags put together by my former Phillies Nation co-writer Michael Baumann. Big shout out to Mike.

On to the questions! We had a few duplicates so I have combined some into categories but we’ll start off with a pretty open ended question:

Continue reading Sunday Hot Stove Mailbag! – First Edition


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.


The Phillies Nation Mailbag: 03.01.09

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, March 01, 2009 08:16 PM Comments: 7

As the Phillies get their spring feet warm, we settle down for a nice, long mailbag. Let’s do it:

What’s the deal with Jayson Werth? Should we be concerned with his condition at the start of camp? It seems to me, everyone was busting their butts during the winter to stay or get in shape and Werth isn’t in shape yet. The Phillies report he is healthy, just not ready to play and he’ll miss the first three Spring games. Sure, he’ll be ready soon, but is there a chance that he could be getting “out-hustled” by some of the newbies and having to compete for his own spot because other players came to Spring training ready to play?

— Kevin B. Carobine

I’m slightly miffed by Jayson Werth, as well. Before Saturday I would’ve just told you he wasn’t in game shape, whatever that means. But now that he suffered a slight shoulder injury, it’s obvious there’s something occurring beneath the surface. It’s likely Werth had some aches and pains heading into camp, but tried to downplay them because he thought he could work through them. Instead, this happened. Now, maybe this isn’t the case, but whatever the case, I’d like Werth to start playing near 100 percent. He’s hugely important to the team’s success. That said, I don’t think his job is in jeopardy, unless Geoff Jenkins puts up some immense performances before Werth returns.

Would Mickey (Morandini, who is in camp as a special instructor) be as good as Larry Bowa with coaching?

— Mike

I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t be. Morandini wasn’t a great hitter, but he was solid, and very well-rounded middle infielder. Moreover, I think he’s a tremendously likable man with a lot of respect for and smarts of the game. Whereas Bowa likes to control the situation in everything he does, Morandini seems to be more a silent teacher — the kind of man who will give you pointers, but let you work to your best ability. So they’re very different; to me, Morandini is a positive presence to have around the clubhouse, even for a few weeks. I’d think of him as a hitting version of Jamie Moyer (who is actually four years his senior).

At this point, are you at all concerned about how the spring training games have been going so far?


This question was asked before the Phillies spanked the Rays. Still, records don’t quite matter in Spring Training. What matters is health, impression and development. It would’ve been nice to see a greater offensive output in the first three games, but the bats always come around. And the pitchers that cost the Phillies the most seemed to be guys who won’t factor much in the future of the franchise. In fact, I’d argue there were more positives out of the 0-3 start (Ibanez starting strong, Carrasco and Happ blazing forward, Moyer keeping steady) than negatives. As long as the team is healthy and prepared for April 5, that’s all I care about.

There has been a lot of talk about the 5th starter race. Personally I think it is between Happ and Park. If Park wins what do you think will happen to Kendrick and Happ? Are they now bullpen options or are they trade bait?


Fran D.

While anything can happen with these three, the Phillies would be best served to dangle one of Happ or Kendrick as trade bait while keeping the other in Lehigh Valley. I can’t see either Happ or Kendrick as bullpen options considering they’re so tailor made for starting games. Kendrick is a slow worker who doesn’t have an overpowering out pitch, while Happ seems to have too many good pitches to waste in short sessions. Auctioning one of them for another team’s younger prospect might be a good idea. Remember, after this year Carlos Carrasco joins the rotation, with other options (Drew Naylor, Kyle Drabek) not far behind.

What are the chances John Mayberry makes the opening day roster?

— Laura Nash

Going into camp I’d say the chances weren’t favorable for Mayberry, but after a few games he has improved those chances. It’s way too early to make any determinations on anybody, including Mayberry, but I like his approach at the plate, his power and his speed (and that he rakes left-handed pitching). Scott Lauber compared his tools to Dave Winfield, while Phuture Phillies threw out Mike Cameron. I could see a little of both, but I’m not sure if he’s even close to that plane. When the Phillies acquired him I argued he was Pat Burrell’s replacement at some point — I don’t know if that’s really true, but I can see him as a valuable right-handed bat off the bench, and I think the Phillies would like him to turn into that player. He is one player I truly like watching after only a few days this spring, and I hope he continues to succeed.

Wonder if you could some kind of rundown on the progress of the guys at the end of the roster battling for spots, your Majewski’s, Koplove’s and Ozuna’s and how things currently look for filling out those final spots.

Much appreciated

- NJ from the UK

So far each of the three you listed have impressed. Majewski is a solid veteran right-hander who had injury troubles and was hit around badly in Cincinnati — in his one appearance he looked good. Koplove is a local boy who has the same experience and success as Majewski, and in his appearances he has looked good. I would say they’re the frontrunners for a final bullpen spot, if it comes down to that. They’re competing with Antonio Bastardo — a prospect who already had a poor outing, and Jake Woods — who has minimal major league experience and was hit around against Tampa Bay.

Ozuna is part of a competition that could encompass more than infielders. If Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz are healthy before opening night, Ozuna, Jason Donald, Marcus Giles and Miguel Cairo might be competing with Eric Bruntlett and even John Mayberry Jr. and Jeremy Slayden for a final roster spot. However, if Utley and/or Feliz are put on the disabled list, Ozuna and his infield cohorts might be competing for a spot alone. Complicated? Sure. But so far, Ozuna went 3-for-4 with a home run against the Reds. While that looks great, Ozuna isn’t quite known for sparkling offense (three career home runs in 677 at bats). He can hit singles and doubles, so it’s possible he could give Bruntlett a run for his money. Considering Ozuna is versatile, he could break the 25-man roster. I’d say of the infielders competing (besides Bruntlett), Cairo and Ozuna have the best shot making the roster. Donald needs a solid spring to overtake them. Giles is a tougher call because he didn’t play at all in 2008.

Not exactly a question, but how about trying to organize a phillies nation pick-up baseball or even softball game? Could be fun.

— Dan Haddigan

I think when we hit Clearwater in two weeks, we have a pick-up game.

I am heading to Phoenix on Wednesday the 4th and will be returning on the 12th of March.
Spring training will be in full force but also the WBC will have taken some of my favorite players so I need to be picky when I get out there as to which teams I visit. Any suggestions?

— Richard Dreyer

Since you’re going to Phoenix, the best bet is heading to Athletics camp, which is right in the city. There you can see former Phillie prospects Gio Gonzalez, Josh Outman and Adrian Cardenas, plus noted slugger Matt Holliday. Close to you is Mesa, where the Cubs are holding camp. There you can catch the team that might be the Phillies’ biggest competition in 2009. Brewers camp is in Maryville, a half-hour drive from Phoenix. The Brewers, of course, will be challenging for National League supremacy. The Dodgers would be fun to watch, but who knows if Manny Ramirez will be signed by then. The Angels? I’d like to see Bobby Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero — luckily Vlad will be in Angels camp.

I think I read on mlb.com that Johan Santana may not be ready for opening day. Not sure how accurate the report is but thought you may want to make a post for it or something.

— Tyler

And I posted that news, thank you. Just my thought: It’s far too early to determine that Santana could be out to start the season, and if it’ll cost the Mets at all. Still, it’s a scary injury possibility for the Mets, and if they do lose their ace for an extended amount of time, that team becomes very fragile. That starting rotation is iffy as it is.

Thanks for sending your questions, and keep sending new ones to tim@philliesnation.com

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