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Phillies Blog Articles - March 2014

Seven months later...Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is real and does exist
by Scott Butler 3/1/14

The eyes of the baseball world were on Steinbrenner Field for the Phillies/Yankees game to watch the debut of the most anticipated international signing...and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez pitched, too.

What once seemed like the highlight of the Phillies Spring schedule, Gonzalez was barely more than a curiosity on a day when the Yankees unveiled for the second time their star international signing, Masahiro Tanaka. Without having seen MAG throw one meaningful pitch, I am close to proclaiming the Gonzalez case closed. Don't expect MAG to become the next MCW or JVR or AI or TO. 

I don’t say that because his mechanics are unsound or his breaking ball doesn’t have enough bite or there isn’t enough zip on his fastball.  That all could be true, totally false, or somewhere in between – nobody knows for sure.  It’s more of a gut feel type of thing based on the way his story has developed.

So let’s recap the story of the 27-year-old Cuban defector.

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Phillies rumors week of February 23-March 1
by Scott Butler 3/2/14

In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of February 23-March 1:

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And the role of Cole Hamels will be played by...
by Scott Butler 3/9/14

If the Phillies somehow win the World Series this season (hey, stop laughing!), stories will abound of how the Phillies proved age is just a number and how the core group once again asserted their dominance and how Ryne Sandberg created a winning atmosphere, yada yada yada. But the real reason for another parade will be the names David Buchanan, Jeff Manship, or Sean O’Sullivan. One of those three pitchers will likely fill the shoes of Cole Hamels in the rotation for who knows how many starts (given the false hope created by Howard, Utley, and Halladay in Springs of Offseason's Past, I'm guessing it's for more than just a couple starts).

These depth signings can often make or break a season. Just imagine 2007 without Tadahito Iguchi or 1993 (if you're old enough) without Kevin Stocker.

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Phillies rumors week of March 2-9
by Scott Butler 3/10/14

In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of March 2-9:

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Phillies rumors week of March 10-15
by Scott Butler 3/16/14

In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of March 10-15:

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Playing Pepper 2014: Philadelphia Phillies
by Scott Butler 3/20/14

Each year, Daniel Shoptaw from C70 At the Bat asks bloggers from around baseball to do a little Q&A regarding their teams heading into the new season. As much as I truly despise the Cardinals, I didn't hold that against him and offered up my thoughts on the Phils. That's just the kind of stand up guy I am.

Here are my answers and you can click here for the rest of the responses.

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With Jimmy Rollins, it’s immaturity for everyone
by Scott Butler 3/22/14

I think I found the perfect way for a regular fan to help the Phillies win. Become a local reporter for the Braves or Nationals. Then pick out a veteran star on that team and post an article about a controversial topic from an anonymous source. Then do nothing and watch as the local media picks up the story, creates an uproar from fans, causes radio shows to discuss it, and forces the player, his teammates, and management to respond to it.  Done correctly, it can tear right through a locker room like an airborne illness.

That is exactly what occurred when Buster Olney masterfully created a mini controversy with the following line from his story last week you all have heard of by now:

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Phillies rumors week of March 16-22
by Scott Butler 3/23/14

In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of March 16-22:

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Jayson Stark wants to frighten you about the Phillies
by Scott Butler 3/23/14

If injuries to Hamels, Ruf, and Galvis don't get you down, or the team's MLB worst 7-15 record, or the abysmal hitting from nearly everyone, this is sure to put you in a bad mood.

Jayson Stark's latest post provided comments on the Phillies from several scouts, and you may want to look away because this is some scary stuff.

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Phillies roster and the many layers to outrighting Kevin Frandsen
by Scott Butler 3/26/14

One of the strangest developments of this long Phillies offseason was the announcement Sunday that Kevin Frandsen had been outrighted to Lehigh Valley. Frandsen elected not to accept the assignment and decided to become a free agent, forfeiting his previously guaranteed $900,000 salary. It was a pretty risky move for Frandsen to forgo nearly a million bucks after all teams passed on him, but the risk paid off. According to the Washington Post, the Nationals will pay him “at least $900,000 and worth up $1.2 million with bonuses, according to a person familiar with the situation.”

It was a peculiar development for several reasons.

First, the Phillies thought highly enough of Frandsen to guarantee his salary, which is not a common occurrence with arbitration eligible players. It was obviously a cost saving measure, but it also limited their options if he performed poorly or a better option came along in Spring Training.

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Cliff Lee shaves naked with rainbow T-shirt before starts
by Scott Butler 3/30/14

According to Spanish translator Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz "witnessed Cliff Lee before one of his starts. He was buck naked shaving in front of the shower with a rainbow t-shirt. He was trimming it with one of those nose hair trimmers."

That's just a little snippet of what fans heard yesterday at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce "Inside Pass to the Phillies" event at Citizens Bank Park yesterday.

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Comcast not to blame for possible surcharges
by Scott Butler 3/30/14

When your cable bill rises soon or you can no longer watch the Phillies because your cable/satellite provider dropped them due a new surcharge Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia is seeking, you might consider dialing 1-800-COMCAST to scream at somebody, anybody. Maybe you will consider sending a nasty email or letter to Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast. I certainly would not discourage you and would applaud your efforts, but your anger will be misplaced.

People and businesses are driven by greed and they will do whatever they can to earn more and more. That is human nature and, more importantly, the obligation of a publicly traded corporation.  Yes, that is right, a publicly traded corporation is legally obligated to put the needs of its stockholders above all else. It might be a scummy move when CSN drives up the cable rates for most customers and pushes providers like Direct TV to drop the network altogether, but plenty of other regional sports networks (RSN's) are doing the same thing and they are technically just fulfilling their legal obligation.

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Phillies rumors week of March 23-29
by Scott Butler 3/30/14

In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of March 23-29:

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One lineup says a lot about Ryne Sandberg
by Scott Butler 3/31/14

In case you didn’t notice, there is a new sheriff in town.  Spring Training, which was previously held at The Charlie Manuel Resort and Spa in Clearwater, moved across the street this season to the Ryne Sandberg Center, a combination boot camp/penitentiary. 

Ryne Sandberg is not Charlie Manuel.  They are about as far apart as Larry Bowa who proceeded Charlie.

When asked about the difference between his style and Charlie Manuel’s, Sandberg avoided mentioning Charlie’s name. “I don’t really need to compare myself to anybody,” Sandberg said on the WIP morning show.

When describing his approach to managing, Sandberg said, “I just have my style, I have my way of doing it and that’s the way it has to be. I have my way of doing things.”

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What does Spring Training actually mean entering Opening Day?
by Scott Butler 3/31/14

I never watched paint dry, but the task seemed preferable to watching the Phillies in 2014 Grapefruit League action. The Phillies's 9-17-3 record was the worst in baseball and they were easily the worst offense, finishing last in average (.222) and runs per game (3.52), while the team ERA (4.20) was in the middle of the pack. Should we be legitimately freaking out right now? Or should we take the advice of our former MVP and realize it is just Spring Training, so who cares?

As far as the actual record is concerned, there seems to be no direct correlation between Spring Training and the regular season. The Good Phight pointed out that prior to 2014, the Phillies have a .478 Spring Training winning percentage since 1984 (398-435) and a .499 winning percentage (2,389-2,403) in the regular season. That's a difference of 21 percentage points and the difference between a single season record of 77-85 or a nearly.500 season. The Phillies poor record this Spring clearly does not guarantee it will spill over into the regular season.

But how much of a correlation is there between spring and regular season stats?

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Phillies Opening Day history
by Scott Butler 3/31/14

Before you flip on the TV for the Philllies’ 132nd Opening Day in franchise history, here’s a little Opening Day trivia for you.

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Often overlooked, Cliff Lee deserves Opening Day start
by Scott Butler 3/31/14

Cliff Lee will make his second career Opening Day start today in Texas. If that doesn’t open your eyes wide or least cause an extra blink, it should. To put that in perspective, Brett Myers has three Opening Day starts, and Lee's second Opening Day start ties Jon Lieber, yes, John Lieber. And his former teammate Roy Halladay started three Opening Days for the Phillies and ten in his career.

Rangers starter Tanner Scheppers is making his first Opening Day start in his first MLB start, while Cliff Lee will gets the nod for only the second time with 311 Major League starts and 2,075.1 innings under his belt.

Here is a guy who won the Cy Young award in 2008, appeared in 5 All-Star games, finished in the top 6 in ERA 5 times, seventh or higher in Cy Young voting 5 times, 4th or better in WHIP four times, and led the league in walks per nine innings four times.  He’s also pretty good in the postseason with a 7-3 record and a 2.52 ERA in 11 postseason starts, while recording the only two Phillies wins in the 2009 World Series.

But only two Opening Day starts.

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