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Writer’s Roundtable

Writer’s Roundtable: Phillies Nation’s Bold Predicitions

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, April 06, 2012 03:25 PM Comments: 16

Who picks Chooch to be an all-star? (MLB)

Let’s go out on a limb. With all of us out there together, it may snap. But it’ll be fun to see if any of our bold predictions pan out.

Each of our contributors makes one bold prediction for the 2012 season. It can be related to anything baseball, not just Phillies. This could get ugly.

Nick Staskin:  The Miami Marlins struggle after a Jose Reyes injury and are never within playoff contention despite opening the piggybank this offseason.  Hanley Ramirez and Ozzie Guillen have numerous altercations that Logan Morrison can’t help but tweet about.

Don McGettigan:  Everyone’s current favorite, the Detroit Tigers, will not make the playoffs this season.  The Tigers have a great lineup, but poor defense, and a starting rotation that leaves a lot to be desired after Justin Verlander. The AL East has four teams that can contend (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays), and the AL West has two (Rangers, Angels).  So the easily winnable AL Central seems to only have a spot for one playoff team- the division winner.  I wouldn’t be completely shocked if the Tigers fail to live up to their lofty expectations.

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Phillies Nation 2012 Playoff Projections

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, April 01, 2012 05:00 PM Comments: 17

Three Phillies Nation Staff Members Anticipate Seeing This Celebration Again in October. Photo: AP

The regular season is rapidly approaching and what good would a baseball blog be without predictions and projections? Today begins part one of the Phillies Nation projections as our staff predicts who will reach the playoffs and win the World Series. Tomorrow, we will bring our 2012 Award Predictions and Tuesday we will provide our predictions for what appears to be a wild NL East.

Some statistics of our picks: All Phillies Nation staff picked the Phils to win the NL East but that doesn’t mean we didn’t like the other teams in the NL East. Of our picks, 6 writers picked the Marlins to advance to the postseason while 3 have the Braves and 2 have the Nats advancing. Another Phillies Nation favorite are the Tigers. Every Phillies Nation staff member picked the Motown Cats to easily win their division with win totals approaching and exceeding 100.

Six Phillies Nation writers picked the Phils to win the NL Pennant in 2012 with three saying they will win the World Series. The Tigers, Rangers, Marlins, and Rays were also popular picks to reach and/or win the World Series.

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Writer’s Roundtable, Part 2: Press On

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, March 28, 2012 07:25 AM Comments: 104

Vance Worley will look to repeat his rookie season. (AP)

The grass is getting greener, the birds are retreating back to the Northeast, and my allergies are flaring up; these are, of course, the telltale signs of baseball’s return. The comments on both the blog and our Facebook page have been heating up with both optimism for the 2012 season but also some legitimate concerns for the Fightins. The Phillies Nation crew got together and put together the top reasons to panic as well as the top reasons to have faith in the Phils, or press on. Feel free to take a look at ours and add in reasons of your own! Today, we press on!

The Reasons to Press On

The Three AmigosNick Staskin, Retired Beerman

No matter what starting eight Charlie trots on the field, the trio of aces is going to keep the Phillies in games for 3/5 of the season. While some teams may have one or two shutdown stoppers, the Phillies still sport the best top three in all of baseball.

Much like last year when injuries plagued the team to start the season, I fully expect the big game pitchers to eat up innings and keep the Phils in games.

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Writer’s Roundtable, Part 1: Press Panic

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, March 27, 2012 07:50 AM Comments: 94

The Big Piece is among Phillies Nation's biggest concerns.

The grass is getting greener, the birds are retreating back to the Northeast, and my allergies are flaring up; these are, of course, the telltale signs of baseball’s return. The comments on both the blog and our Facebook page have been heating up with both optimism for the 2012 season but also some legitimate concerns for the Fightins. The Phillies Nation crew got together and put together the top reasons to panic as well as the top reasons to have faith in the Phils, or press on. Feel free to take a look at ours and add in reasons of your own!

Today, we panic!

Time to Hit the Panic Button

Who will step up offensively? – Pat Gallen, Editor-in-Chief

It’s an honest, legitimate question – and I don’t know that there is an easy answer. No Chase Utley for the foreseeable future; no Ryan Howard ’til who knows when. Who will be asked to do more than usual?

Start at the top with Jimmy Rollins – he will need to be a superior table-setter every single day. There is really no choice. Shane Victorino cannot regress; he must continue to be one the Swiss Army Knife of this lineup. And Hunter Pence will have to put the offense on his back at times. But beyond that, it is anyone’s guess as to who will be the person to step up large. If they can’t find that person, then runs will be hard to come by and the pitching staff will have to be near perfect.

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Writer’s Roundtable: Phillies New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, January 03, 2012 10:34 AM Comments: 81

Will Papelbon live up to the high standard of a $50 million deal?

In our latest Writer’s Roundtable, the Phillies Nation crew discuss our New Year’s Resolutions for the Phillies in 2012.

Nick “The Beerman” Staskin: For my New Year’s resolution, I’d like to see Charlie do a better job with his in game management.  Dontrelle Willis can be a weapon if used solely against lefties. However, theres a good chance Manuel wastes him like he did with JC Romero.  There’s no reason to let Halladay and Lee throw 120 pitches in blowouts. Save their arms for down the stretch.

I’d like to see the the team play the right players. Dom Brown got a raw deal last year, being sent down so that Raul Ibanez could decompose in left field. Brown showed some success getting on base last season and fans need to realize not all rookies start off like Ryan Braun did. Give the kid some time before we write him off.

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Writer’s Roundtable: Will Rollins Return?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 14, 2011 07:58 AM Comments: 26

It’s been a hot topic of conversation and mirrors the Jayson Werth situation of a year ago. Will Jimmy Rollins return to the Phillies next season and into the future? He plainly stated that he wants a five-year contract, but that the Phillies are clearly first on his list of teams to play for. However, he is not limiting himself to just the Phillies and is not afraid to leave.

So, we asked all of our writers to chime in on this subject.

Q: Will Jimmy Rollins be a Phillie in 2012?

Pat Gallen: Can I cop out and say I really don’t know? Last year, Jayson Werth was not coming back and I think most people knew that. But both sides in this negotiation are in their own predicaments. The Phillies need a shortstop and have backed themselves into a corner because there are not many available. Jimmy is saying he wants five years, but has been prone to injury lately and may be pushing too hard for something he can’t get from many teams.

If you’re putting a gun to my head, and I’d rather you not, I’m leaning toward Jimmy coming back. But I give it a 55% chance. A guesstimate on a contract (wherever he goes) would be three years with an option for a fourth year that would be reached by incentives for about $38 million. Just don’t see anyone going five for J-Roll.

Amanda Orr: Yes. I think he will settle for less to stay in Philly. He says he wants 5 years, but that is smart of him. He wants the offers to say five years, but I think if he gets a reasonable offer to stay, he will take it. Plus, I can’t see Amaro not trying to re-sign him. He won’t let him go easily.

The only other teams I can see really trying to get Rollins are Boston and San Francisco. Boston hasn’t really had a big name shortstop in a while, and they would be a team to throw out the money. Being from the West Coast, a contract from San Fran could be tempting for JRoll.

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Writer’s Roundtable: Domonic Brown on Playoff Roster?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, September 23, 2011 12:15 PM Comments: 28

Should Domonic Brown be on the postseason roster? (PHOTO: Lehigh Valley Live)

With the stretch run of the season coming to a close, we’ll look into a playoff-related question, and one that zeroes in on a talented Phillies player that has fallen on hard times. Today’s Writer’s Roundtable is:

QUESTION: Should Domonic Brown be on the postseason roster?

Jon Nisula: Yes, without a doubt. Brown has a ton of talent and can handle the bat well. The only thing he needs to figure out is the mental side of things. Having him on the playoff roster will not only be an asset to the Phillies as a team, but it will boost his confidence as well. He’d take it all in, feel like he deserves to be there, and who knows, he might even have a big hit or two.If anything, he deserves it way more than anyone on the current roster.

Look at the bench options they have going into the postseason: Bowker, Michael Martinez, Wilson Valdez, Brian Schneider, Ben Francisco, Ross Gload, and of course Brown.Schneider is a given–they can’t play without a backup catcher. But after that, I’d say Brown should be the #1 option out of those listed. In a late game situation with a righty on the mound, I don’t want Gload, Schneider, Martinez, or Bowker at the plate, I want Brown.

Don M.: I don’t think that Domonic Brown should be on the postseason roster.  There are faster players, there are better contact hitters, and better defenders that could be on the roster instead.

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Writers Roundtable: The Top Threat Is _______

Posted by Corey Seidman, Mon, July 25, 2011 07:00 PM Comments: 20

Jair Jurrjens and the Braves will give the Phillies a run for their money...right? (PHOTO: KFFL.com)

The whole crew got together to discuss the Phillies’ top National League challenger. There were conflicting viewpoints as to who poses the biggest threat this Fall…

Michael Baumann: The biggest worry is the Braves, for two reasons: first, because the Braves, being in the same division, are in the most direct position to knock the Phillies out of playoff contention. The second reason is that they’re the next-best team in the National League. The Braves, like the Phillies, are constructed around a couple of great hitters and a phenomenal starting rotation, which also sets them up well for the playoffs, where a single great start by Tommy Hanson or Jair Jurrjens (never mind Roy Halladay or Cole Hamels) can swing a team’s fortunes.

It’s interesting to note that both leagues are shaping up the same way: two clear frontrunners in the East, a single good team pulling away in the West, and a cesspool of mediocrity in the Central, where three or four teams are vying for the privilege of being swept out of the first round of the playoffs. Simply put, the Phillies are clear frontrunners, and are setting themselves up for an exhilarating–if low-scoring–NLCS with Atlanta.


Jay Floyd: The Brewers. Milwaukee entered the season as a favorite in the NL Central division. While they’re currently battling in the standings with the upstart Pirates, that won’t last, as Pittsburgh doesn’t have the talent to stay hot through September. Milwaukee is primed to run away with the division, especially if the Reds can’t pull their season together.

With the trio of Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the team in virtually all offensive categories and the group of Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo leading the team on the pitching side, it’s clear where the majority of the talent lies on this club.

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Writers Roundtable: Chase Utley’s Knee

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, March 04, 2011 09:33 AM Comments: 3

(Every so often we’ll throw a question out on the table for all the Phillies Nation contributors to answer. Here is our latest installment of Writer’s Roundtable.)

With all this talk about Chase Utley’s knee, we figured we’d keep it going and find out what our contributors think. The question is simple, but each person has their own line of thinking when it comes to our star second baseman.

If you would like to vote on our old Chase Utley poll, please do so here.

Q: How concerned are you about Chase Utley’s knee?

Paul Boyé: It’s definitely reasonable to be concerned, but I’m not sensing a real emergency here. Sure, this is just the latest ailment to plague the star second baseman, but the Phillies’ medical staff is widely hailed as one of the best in baseball, and I’m sure they’re on top of this. According to the Mayo Clinic, most of the treatments for patellar tendinitis involve no sort of drug or surgery, so with the proper amount of rest and physical therapy, it seems Utley should be ready to go within a couple of weeks. Hopefully – thought it will mean a likely increased reliance on Wilson Valdez or some sort of less-than-all-that-good back-up – Utley will see more rest during the season, in order to combat this issue from flaring up again. He probably needed the extra rest during this season, anyway; this occurrence is just one more incentive to give it to him, fierce competitor or not.

Amanda Orr: Not concerned too much. I mean, it’s Chase Utley. If it was some one else, I’d be concerned, but Utley’s a gamer. He’s been injured throughout his career, but has always returned quicker than expected. Even when he is hurt, he plays through it and still manages to put up decent numbers. I’d feel better if he was 100% healthy, but he still has time to heal before April 1st.

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PN Writer’s Roundtable: Chad Durbin

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 02, 2011 12:39 PM Comments: 10

There has been chatter throughout the winter that Chad Durbin was close to re-signing with the Phillies, then not, then back to close, then who the hell knows. As it stands, it appears Durbin is all but out of the plans for the 2011 Phillies. So, we asked the question in the latest Writer’s Roundtable…

Q: Will the Phillies miss Chad Durbin now that it appears he is not returning?

Jay Floyd: No, the Phillies will not miss Chad Durbin. I’ve been steadily in favor of filling any bullpen voids from within this entire off-season. The team has plenty of options and the bullpen is one of the few spots the Phils will be able to fill with inexpensive salaries.

Those who have followed my ProspectNation rankings closely will realize that the Phillies have plenty of relief options in the minors. With names like Mike Stutes and Justin De Fratus close to being ready for the bigs as well as guys with Major League experience like Antonio Bastardo, Scott Mathieson, Mike Zagurski, and more, waiting to prove themselves worthy of another opportunity, the Phils are stocked with capable arms for the upcoming season.Another name that seems to get forgotten about regularly is David Herndon, the young hurler that the Phillies liked so much that they kept him on the 25-man roster for the full season in 2010, so they did not have to risk losing him back to the Angels, from where they selected him as a Rule 5 pick. Herndon could certainly be a key contributor among the Philadelphia relief corps this year.

With Jose Contreras as the only big league reliever under contract beyond the 2011 season, it will be key for the Phillies to give a few of these guys a shot at showing what they can do at the Major League level, as oppotunities pop up, in hopes of shoring up some bullpen slots going forward.

Kieran Carobine: I really liked Chad Durbin. He was a dependable middle reliever out of the pen for the Phillies. And that’s all he was. Durbin never really caught on as a set-up guy. He wasn’t too overpowering with this stuff but he did get the job done. His ERA of 3.62 for the three years in a Phillies uniform is going to be hard to replace. Who steps in? My guess is Kyle Kendrick.

With Kendrick and the Phils agreeing on a one year deal to avoid arbitration it seems the front office feels the same way. I think the Phillies will miss Durbin. He was willing to go to the bullpen after figuring out that starting just wasn’t in the cards. But with that said, Kendrick does have a lot of up side. He is usually pretty strong in the early innings which could prove beneficial when called on to pitch two or three innings. Then again, I would not be surprised seeing Kendrick stepping in for a spot start with the work load the aces have been putting in the past couple years. This will be a big year for Kendrick. It is time for him to earn that money!

Michael Baumann: Chad Durbin is, like Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, a player who came out of nowhere to have a career year on a good Phillies team. Durbin’s 2008 (2.87 ERA, 71 appearances, and 1.4 rWAR, all career highs) was spectacular, and despite being okay since then, he’s 33 and I’d put money on his never being that good again, considering how short a shelf life middle relievers–particularly right-handed middle relievers–tend to have.

We’ll all remember Durbin fondly, but the fact of the matter is that he’s eminently replaceable. Someone like Scott Mathieson or Justin De Fratus will take his innings, and no one will ever know the difference.

Paul Boyé: Durbin gave the Phillies a whole bunch of pretty good innings in his three years in Philly. 2008 and 2010 were statistically sound years, with ’09 being a bit of a bump in the road. Durbin improved on his strikeout rates each of the three years, and showed the flexibility to be a multi-inning guy when needed. He’s certainly a useful arm, assuming he doesn’t revert to his ’09 pumpkin self next year.

But, right now, it doesn’t seem like he has a place in this Philly ‘pen. Madson, Lidge and Contreras have their jobs secured. Romero and Bastardo, too, seem to be locks. Danys Baez, for who knows what reason, also seems certain to make the team. With an apparently tapped-out budget (for real this time), it doesn’t seem prudent to drop two potential guaranteed years and up to $8 million or so for a guy who can be believably mimicked by a bunch of cheaper options. Scott Mathieson, Justin De Fratus and even Kyle Kendrick appear like possibilities for the end of the ‘pen, and while the ‘pen shouldn’t be needed too much, it would still be nice to have a reliable corps of guys spell the aces that are likely to all hit high innings totals if healthy.

So, will Durbin be missed? I think so. He contributed plenty of good in his time here, but I think he’s better served elsewhere, and the Phillies will be able to find a suitable replacement for his production – at a discount – with little trouble.

Pat Gallen: I’m with the majority. Chad Durbin had a few very good years here in Philadelphia and for that he should be compensated, if he’s lucky enough. However, the fact is, the Phillies just do not have room for another pricey veteran.

On one hand, it pains me to say that because Durbin is one of the proverbial good guys. He’s always one to speak in the clubhouse when approached and usually has a smile on his face. But Durbin would be the first to tell you, this is a business.

On the other, the Phillies have a young, talented crop of bullpen arms that need to be set free. Guys like De Fratus, Stutes, etc., are waiting in the wings and at a much friendlier price. Unfortunately, Durbin is no longer needed here. That’s not because of his own doing. It’s more of a it’s-not-you-it’s-us type deal with the Phillies.  Hopefully he ends up somewhere that will benefit him and his family because Durbin is a guy you should root for no matter where he lands. He will be missed in the sense that he’s a perfect teammate, good player, and hard worker. On the field, however, they should be able to replace him.

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