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Offseason

Papelbon Positive, Healthy Headed Into 2014

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 17, 2014 09:45 PM Comments: 14

There was a lot of buzz this afternoon and early evening surrounding a somewhat odd press conference held today by Jonathan Papelbon. Chris Branch of the News Journal has all of the full quotes here, where, among other things Papelbon said he was feeling positive and healthy. Here is the Cliff’s Notes version thanks entirely to Branch:

Papelbon will try to be more positive: “This year, I’m definitely trying to be a lot more of a positive influence and be more upbeat. It starts from Ryno.”

Ryne Sandberg is a positive influence as a manger: “It’s that simple.Yeah, buying in, man. Like every morning we have a meeting with Ryno and we talk about things. If you can’t buy into your manager you’re not going to buy into anything.”

He wasn’t bothered by trade rumors: ”That goes on every year, man. I understand this game is a business. I get that, man. I don’t pay attention to it, man. I’m at home, man. I’ve got kids to watch and Dora The Explorer to watch and all that other mess.”

And Papelbon revealed that he was a bit hurt last season: “I didn’t feel like I was at my healthiest (last season)… I’m feeling great [now].”

So there you have it, folks. Papelbon was a little dinged up in 2013, spent presumably the days leading up to July 31, 2013 watching Dora the Explorer, and Ryne Sandberg has him buying into the Phillies being a success in 2014. Whether or not that helps Papelbon improve his K/9 IP (down 3.51 from 2012 to 2013) or his velocity (down 2.8 MPH comparing 2011 to 2013), remains to be seen.

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A’s Claim Savery

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 17, 2014 04:00 PM Comments: 3

The Oakland A’s announced on Twitter that they have claimed LHP Joe Savery from the Phillies. Savery, 28, was placed on waivers when the Phillies signed RHP A.J. Burnett. Savery was the Phillies first round pick in 2007 and posted an ERA of 3.15 in 20 IP in 2013.

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Phils Designate Savery, Burnett Contract Details Revealed

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, February 16, 2014 11:20 AM Comments: 4

Savery

The Phillies have designated Joe Savery for assignment to create room for the newly-signed A.J. Burnett. Savery has a career 4.15 ERA in 41 career MLB appearances and was solid in 2013, posting a 3.15 ERA in 20 IP.

Additionally, the details of Burnett’s contract have emerged. Burnett has signed for $15 million for 2014 with a $1 million buyout after the season, hence the original $16 million that was quoted by many. According to Jon Heyman of CBS, the team has a $15 million option for 2015 and, if the team declines, Burnett can trigger a $7.5 million option of his own. Burnett can earn up to $1.75 million in 2014 and 2015 each if he hits performance targets according to Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark notes that should Burnett exercise his $7.5 million option for 2015, that year could be worth a max of $12.75 million.

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Phillies Release Chad Gaudin

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, February 13, 2014 08:49 AM Comments: 11

Like Juan Cruz last year, the Phillies have released a non-roster invitee just as pitchers and catchers began reporting. Chad Gaudin, 30, has reportedly failed his physical and was released by the team this morning according to Matt Gelb of the Inquirer. Gaudin was predicted to compete for a spot in the bullpen and/or the final spot in the rotation.

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Phillies 2014 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Starters

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, February 12, 2014 10:23 PM Comments: 3

With pitchers and catchers starting tomorrow, what better time than now to preview the starting pitchers that are non-roster invitees to Phillies camp?

Ian thinks Biddle will be a Phillie some time in 2014. Photo by: Jay Floyd

The Mega Prospect

Jesse Biddle

Ranked 40th by Marc Hulet of FanGraphs, 77th by Keith Law, and 53rd by MLB.com, Germantown Friends’ left-hander Jesse Biddle will be a name on everyone’s horizon in 2014. The 2010 first round pick turns just 23 in October 2014 and is in big league camp for the very first time. In his first nine games at Double-A Reading in 2013, Biddle posted a 2.50 ERA with a .140 BAA, dominating hitters with 10.72 K/9 IP. From the tenth start on, Biddle battled injury and ineffectiveness to post a 4.20 ERA over the remaining stretch of the season. Biddle’s final line (3.59 ERA, .210 BAA) was solid but some dings and nicks had some folks worried about the end of Biddle’s 2013 season.

In 2014, Biddle, last year’s Prospect Nation’s number one prospect, will get a shot to go deep into camp, with a relatively open #5 spot open in the rotation. Biddle is a relative long shot to make the Phillies out of training camp but considering his competition, Roberto Hernandez, Jonathan Pettibone, and Miguel Gonzalez, he may be able to make a surprisingly strong case to see big league time.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: C-. At 22, Biddle is very, very young. But Biddle showed some success in Double-A Reading even through minor injuries and finished with a career-high in starts and a solid stat line. There are a few scenarios where Biddle could make the team out of Spring Training, particularly involving injuries. It’s a small shot but Biddle has a chance.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2014: B+. I think Biddle will see time with the Phillies in September if not sooner. The talent is real and the ceiling is greater than Hernandez and Pettibone. The Phillies used ten starters in 2013. Biddle right now sits at about seven or eighth on the Phillies starter depth chart. I think he will get the call in 2014, even for a cameo.

Continue reading Phillies 2014 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Starters

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2014 is Year to Play Young Talent

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Wed, February 12, 2014 08:25 AM Comments: 33

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lDB0N3Tnyok/UeLN5mhsG3I/AAAAAAAAJ74/1bBnpjg1RFY/s1600/MaikelFranco5.bmp

Martin says it is time to play the young talent. Including 21-year old Maikel Franco (pictured). Photo by: Jay Floyd

When Ruben Amaro Jr. became the Phillies general manager in November of 2008, the confetti on Broad Street was still fresh on the ground from the World Championship parade. Phillies fans were still celebrating the team’s first World Series in 28 years.

Fast forward 5 years later and those same fans have grown restless. With an aging roster filling up the starting positions and coming off the second consecutive season without a playoff appearance the moral of Phillies fans is as low as it has been in nearly 10 years.

It is clearly time to rebuild. Cody Asche should without question be the everyday third baseman this season. Maikel Franco should see major league time this season splitting first base with Ryan Howard. Darin Ruf finally deserves a full season starting in the major leagues in the outfield. Unfortunately, 35-year-old Jimmy Rollins is blocking a position that Freddy Galvis should be starting at for the majority of the 162 game season.

It is time to see what these young prospects have to offer for the future of this team. The Phillies are stuck playing in a tough division that includes last year’s division champions the Atlanta Braves, a young and hungry Washington Nationals team, and an up and coming New York Mets team filled with young talent. All those teams have previously taken their lumps and have rebuilt with young talent across the board to become contenders according to the oddsmakers at MyTopSportsbooks.com Continue reading 2014 is Year to Play Young Talent

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Report: Phillies “Very Much in Running” for Burnett

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 10, 2014 10:51 PM Comments: 19

According to a report from Todd Zolecki, the Phillies are still “very much in the running” for right-hander A.J. Burnett. Exactly one week ago, it was reported that the Phillies were in a three-team race with the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire the services of the veteran pitcher. Just a few days ago, Jim Salisbury reported that Ruben Amaro Jr. was content on going into Spring Training with what the team had, stating the team was still looking for potential bargains but would be fine going into camp with what they had. According to Zolecki, it looks like those plans have changed.

Analysis: Burnett would be an instant upgrade to a Phillies rotation full of question marks. Beyond Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the Phillies have a number of question marks, including Kyle Kendrick, Robert Hernandez, Jonathan Pettibone, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Burnett is one of the few remaining impact players left this late in the offseason.

 

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Phillies Sign SS KC Serna

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, February 09, 2014 12:13 PM Comments: 6

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Phillies have signed 24-year old shortstop KC Serna to a minor-league deal. Serna hit .304/.362/.424 in 420 PA for the Amarillo Sox of the independent American Association. Serna was drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of the University of Oregon as a 42nd round pick in 2011. Serna was tough to strikeout last year, striking out only 9.04% of the time and showed speed on the basepaths, stealing 17 bases in 23 tries.

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Phillies Ink Utility Man Bixler

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, February 07, 2014 11:34 AM Comments: 8

According to Chris Cotillo, the Phillies have signed utility man Brian Bixler to a minor league deal. Bixler, 31, has hit .189/.249/.269 across 356 MLB PA, played every position but pitcher, catcher, and first base last year at Triple-A Las Vegas, and has played every position but pitcher and catcher in the Major Leagues. Bixler has hit .276/.351/.397 in 2516 Triple-A PA.

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Phillies in Three-Team Race for Burnett?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 03, 2014 10:45 AM Comments: 0

http://l3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/SRzHvmOasQM5IwreyAIgFg--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/aj-burnett-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgAccording to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates are among three teams vying for right hander A.J. Burnett. Burnett, 37, announced that he will pitch in 2014 and makes his offseason home in Maryland. Burnett, who led the NL in ground ball % and K/9 IP in 2013, has had a career renaissance since joining the Pirates. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Burnett is 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.228 WHIP with 389 K in 393.1 IP.

Analysis: Burnett has been reborn since joining the Pirates. Since 2008, Burnett, who previously had a label as somewhat of a large injury risk, has become one of the more reliable starters in all of baseball, averaging 32 starts and 200 IP per season from 2008-2013. Burnett is the de-facto number one starting pitcher available and he would instantly upgrade the starting rotations of the teams interested.

If the price is right, this could be a wonderful pick up for the Phillies. But the Phillies have a few things working against them: Baltimore would seemingly be most appealing because it is closest to Burnett’s offseason home and the Pirates are likely the closest of the three teams to a championship.

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