Results tagged ‘ Off-Season ’

Phillies Holiday Shopping List

‘Tis the season to buy lots of crap!  Black Friday, Cyber Monday….here we come!  The Phillies began shopping early when they signed Kevin Frandsen earlier this month to a 1-year, $850,000 deal.  If Frandsen plays the way he did last year, that small chunk of change could wind up being the bargain of the year.

But the Phillies have a much longer shopping list than that.  Unfortunately, even on Black Friday, not everything is on sale.  Even if Ruben Amaro Jr. camped out in front of All-Star Josh Hamilton’s house all night, I am pretty sure someone with more money would be camped out in front of him in line.  Fold up the tent, Ruben, and let’s work on a more realistic shopping list.

- The first item on the list should be a centerfielder.  I hear our old pal Shane Victorino may come at a descent discount.  But the Phillies seem to be more focused on B.J. Upton, who could rival Ryan Howard for strikeouts.  They both strike out around 30% of the time and neither hit for average.  Regardless, this team needs to shop for an outfielder!

- Bullpen help is needed….badly.  Maybe the Phillies need to look back at a few guys they previously tossed in the trash?  Here are some oldies, but goodies: Our old pal Chad Durbin had a 3.10 ERA for the Braves last season.  And how about Jason Grilli, who was with the Phillies minor league system until they dumped him…he went on to record a 2.91 ERA for the Pirates last season.  But my #1 oldie would be Ryan Madson.  He is coming off Tommy John surgery so the bidding for him should not get too high.

- Third base: Personally, I feel a combination of Frandsen and a drug-free Freddy Galvis can handle the hot corner.  But if you are the type who MUST buy during holiday sales whether you need to or not, here is who might deserve a look:  Kevin Youkilis will be 34 in March, but the guy can still hit for power.  At 36 years, Michael Young is not exactly young anymore….but he would be a solid veteran to keep the spot warm for a much younger Cody Asche in 2014.

- While the team is stocked with starting pitchers, maybe a few small upgrades could help?  You know…get Roy Halladay a bionic shoulder to replace the bum one.  Buy Kyle Kendrick an “All I Want For X-Mas is You” tee-shirt to keep his confidence high.  And for Cliff Lee, donate to his favorite charity and make a pledge to get him more than 6 wins this year.

- Buy baby-faced Darin Ruf a pair of big-boy pants and put him on the big-boy team.  That gamble may really pay off.  What have they got to lose?  And J.C. Penney has a great Black Friday sale on pants right now…

- And the final big purchase for the Phillies should be a stand-up comedian.  When things start to go downhill for the Phils, the comedian can jump in and tell jokes between innings to keep spirits high.  Because as a fan base in 2012, we have all lost a bit of our sense of humor.  You cannot blame us though…losing is just not funny.  Help us all remember how to laugh and smile again!  And if the wins start coming, you can trade the comedian to a more needy team.

Happy shopping, everyone!

 

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Amaro photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Analyzing Ryan Howard’s Season

The final out of the Phillies 2010 season will linger in the minds of many fans throughout the off-season.  In Game 6 of the NLCS on a pitch that was borderline, Ryan Howard stood and watched as strike three was called, officially ending the Phillies year.  Whether it was a ball or a strike does not matter; it was close enough that Howard probably should have swung to protect the plate and at least try to foul it off to stay alive.  But that is how the season went for this team – they were so close to breaking out and just never got it done.

Injuries plagued the team all year, including Howard who missed 16 games with a sprained ankle.  So while Howard’s numbers were down significantly from 2009, how much better could he have produced if he played those 16 games?

This is a chart that shows Howard’s numbers in 2009 and 2010.  The numbers in red bold are projections if 16 games, which is roughly 12% more at-bats, were added in.  Take a look:

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

TB

BB

SO

SLG

AVG

2009

616

105

172

37

4

45

141

352

75

186

.571

.279

 

616

97

170

26

6

35

121

311

66

176

.505

.276

2010

550

87

152

23

5

31

108

278

59

157

.505

.276

 

From the data, it appears that Howard had a similar season to 2009, although his power numbers are clearly declining.  Even with the adjustment, on average, Howard would still be hitting 10 fewer home runs and have 20 fewer RBI’s than in 2009. 
P2241224 Howard2.jpg
Back in 2007, the year of the MVP award, Howard hit 47 homers in only 529 at-bats.  In 2008, it was 48 homers in 610 at-bats.  So the years 2007 – 2010 show a steady and consistent decline in power.

It is also worth noting that with the power outage, Howard’s batting average has not improved.  Howard has been getting more singles and fewer extra-base hits.  So while the average remains steady, they are not paying him around $25 million dollars a year to hit singles.

The high strikeout count for Howard has also been an issue since he arrived.  He had 157 this year, an improvement over 186 in 2009.  But if you average in 12% more at-bats, that number rises to 176, only 10 fewer than 2009.  So he is striking out at about the same rate but seeing less production in extra base hits, homers, runs scored, walks and RBI’s.

One positive may be that Howard’s defense has improved, something he has worked very hard at.  While he had the same number of errors this year and last with 14, sometimes the numbers do not accurately reflect the overall performance.  Howard was able to get to balls this year that he may not have last year and seemed to put more effort into diving for balls that he may have given up on before.

All this amounts to is that Howard had a disappointing season and did not come through in clutch situations during the playoffs.  In fact, the same can be said for most of the team; many had down years.  That makes the age of the Phillies’ key players a bit more concerning overall.  But Howard, 31, should be in his prime, which is why his steady decline in power is alarming.  His numbers are not bad by any means; I just think the Phillies expected more from him when they gave him a huge extension.  Howard is signed through 2016 with an option and $10 million dollar buyout for 2017.  The Phillies will have Howard for at least 6 more years so, they had better hope he comes out of the gate swinging next year.

I will be examining other Phillies players as well throughout the next few weeks while we await word on free agency and other off-season moves. 

The World Series begins tonight (without the Phils….*SIGH*).  Who are you rooting for and what are your predications?  Please let me know in the comment section below.  My crystal ball says Rangers in 6.  The MVP will be Cliff Lee.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Amaro Discusses The Near Future

In a press conference today, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. discussed many issues including free agents, the “age” issue and the disappointing offense this year. 
c Pre Game and Intros.jpg
The hot topic of discussion centered around right fielder, Jayson Werth.  Amaro did not close the door on the issue by any means, but it certainly seems like a long shot for Werth to return.

Werth stated in a later press conference that he was “looking forward to the experience of being a free agent” and that “Philly is one of the teams in consideration.”  He also hired monster agent Scott Boras in September; the only reason to do this is if he is looking for a huge contract, which the Phillies likely cannot afford.

Amaro was quick to point out Werth’s struggles this year: “It wasn’t an extraordinary year. He had a tough time with men in scoring position. It wasn’t as productive a year as he’s had in the past.”  In fact, Werth batted only .186 in these situations which ranks 215th out of 218 qualified players.

My gut feeling is that Werth will not be back.  I predict he will be in Yankees pinstripes soon; New York is geographically in the same area plus his stepfather, Dennis Werth, played for the Yankees from 1979-1981.  Not to mention that the Yanks may be one of the few teams who can afford to pay him what he wants.

As for the aging Phils, Amaro did not seem overly concerned saying that the team’s core players are “very productive players and they’re not beyond their prime years.”  He also added that an injection of youth may be a good thing as well.  If Domonic Brown takes over for Werth, that is one step towards getting younger.

While it was not discussed today, my thought is that moving Raul Ibanez who is owed $11.5 million next year is a good way to clear up payroll space as well as get a little younger.  We love Rauuuuul…however, he has been streaky at best and will turn 39 in June.  Then again, it will not be easy to move an declining player with a hefty salary so, this may not even be possible.

Also up for discussion was the lack of offensive production which prompted many questions about a possible shake-up.  Amaro seems happy with the core of the team but did note that they “just didn’t have the right approach” at the plate.  He also stated that, “Some guys may be looking at preparing a little differently for the 2011 season as they get older.”  Amaro noted Jimmy Rollins in this category and said all the innings he has played over the years may be taking a toll.

I looked it up; among all active players, Rollins, age 31, ranks 32nd in career at-bats with 6291.  Among players 31 years of age or younger, he has the 2nd most career at-bats behind only Adrian Beltre with 6874 at-bats.  So yes, Rollins may need a different off-season routine to keep up this pace.

Mike Sweeney Needs A Hug

One of the most difficult moments after Saturday’s loss was watching veteran Mike Sweeney give a post-game interview.  He was nearly in tears as he discussed the end of the season and contemplated his future:

Prior to the interview, Sweeney could be been seen in the background of a Ryan Madson interview, standing for a long time, still in uniform, with his head resting against his locker.  After a while, he sat, clearly downtrodden, and put his head in his hands.

Sweeney after game.jpg

This was a heartbreaking scene.  Sweeney has been praised by nearly everyone for his team spirit, positive attitude and for been an amazing and kind human being.  His long, productive career aside, this is a quality guy and it was painful to see him in such agony after the loss, especially when he had only one at-bat the whole post-season.  He did make the most it though, with a pinch hit in the NLDS.

If you would like to offer a virtual HUG to Mr. Sweeney, please visit my Facebook page, “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney” and share your thoughts.  I am going to see if I can get someone to direct him to the page in the hopes that our messages of support might lift his spirits.

Thank you to all the Sweeney supporters already out there for stopping by!

 

Werth photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Burrell Not At Top Of The List

Apparently, new GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has more important things on his mind these days than left field.  With the Phillies having exclusive bargaining rights with Pat Burrell until this Friday, it is somewhat surprising that they have yet to even contact him. 
Thumbnail image for Burrell Hamels Eagles Game.jpg
However, Burrell continues to make his presence known.  Yesterday, he showed up at the Eagles game along with Cole Hamels to participate in the pre-game coin toss.  They were given a very warm ovation from the crowd.  I am guessing they needed it…Burrell looks like he is freezing!

Burrell has expressed more than a few times that he wants to remain in Philadelphia.  He was quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying, “I think it’s been very clear that I want to stay, and they know that. But at the same time, I don’t know what the direction of the organization is. Either way, I’ve got nothing but positive things and thanks to say to the organization for my time here. And obviously, this past couple weeks has been the end of it all. I want to be back, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”  The issue is rumored to be number of years as opposed to salary, although with 10 arbitration eligible players on their list, the Phillies front office has got to have dollar signs in mind as well.  Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels are both going to want hefty salaries, and that is only 2 of the 10.  Not to mention we have another 8.5 million that will be thrown away, yet again, on a useless Adam Eaton.

What is at the top of the Phillies’ wish list is left-handed pitching, more specifically re-signing both Jamie Moyer and Scott Eyre.  They will most likely get these deals done before all others.  Amaro does seem prepared to sail this ship without Burrell…he has mentioned Greg Dobbs on more than one occasion as a replacement.  He even compared the Dobbs situation to Jayson Werth’s, who really blossomed once he became a starter.  Amaro said that “sometimes all a guy needs is a chance,” when referring to starting Dobbs in left field.  So just like we were forced to part ways with Aaron Rowand last off-season, so may we be in the same boat with Burrell this year.  Hey…maybe he’ll go to the Giants to hang with Rowand?  They certainly don’t mind signing long term deals… :o)

Here’s one more photo from the Eagles game…their wives are going to LOVE this one!

Thumbnail image for Burrell Hamels Eagles cheerleaders.jpg

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Phillies Release 3rd Base Coach, Steve Smith


P5150273 Steve Smith.JPGHave to say I was very surprised to hear that Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. chose to let go the Phillies 3rd base coach of the past 2 years, Steve Smith.  The rest of the coaching staff will return.  I am not sure why Smith has been singled out.  I know he took some time to learn the position, but thought that overall this year, he did a good job.  No word on a replacement yet.

On a personal note, I have spoken directly to Smith several times in the past two years and he was always full of knowledge about the game and eager to share his experiences on the field.  He was an emotional guy with a big heart and I am very sad to hear that he will be going.  I wish him the best of luck!

Read more at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Please check out our new site and bookmark it.

And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!  All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!

Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!

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