John Mayberry must not be on the Phillies 40-man roster this time tomorrow. Mayberry must be traded tonight.
Why the urgency? The Phillies were given a gift last week when they earned an extra Rule 5 draft selection from the Cubs through a grievance. It gives the Phillies the 4th and 7th picks in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft. Problem is, they have two selections in the draft and only spot available on their 40-man roster. If they want to take two Rule 5 guys, someone from the current roster has to go. That player needs to be John Mayberry.
I will touch on the Rule 5 aspect in a second, but first, let's talk a little John Mayberry, Jr.
Prepare yourselves for a really depressing article.
It wasn't supposed to be that way, though.
My original intention with this post was to show you that with just a little bit of luck, the Phillies still have one of the top offenses in the National League. Give us a full year of Howard and Utley and the performances we hope and expect from Asche and Brown, the Phillies might make some noise.
Well, not so fast there, Skippy.
I wanted to see how the Phillies offense projects this season if Howard and Utley are healthy, if Domonic Brown can replicate 2013, if Asche can hold his own, and if the rest of the starters simply do their jobs. I'm not asking for 40 bombs from Howard, 100 runs from Revere, or a .300 batting average for Rollins. Just a healthy team and a little bit of good fortune.
The goal here is to set a baseline for the offense if the starters can stay on the field and perform the way they are expected.
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 December 1-7:
The Phillies gained an extra pick in next Thursday's Rule 5 Draft and the reason is mysterious.
The Phillies were awarded the Cubs' pick (4th selection overall) after winning a grievance over Chicago's handling of their selection of Lendy Castillo from the Phillies in 2012.
Players chosen in the Rule 5 Draft must be on the selecting team's active 25-man roster for the entire season, but they also must be on the 25-man roster for at least 90 days during the season. The rules are in place to prevent teams from “drafting and stashing” players on the disabled list to keep them off the active roster.
Castillo was on the Cubs' disabled list for 91 days with a groin injury in 2012 before activating him in September, when rosters expand, giving him 92 days on the active roster. It doesn't take much math sense to recognize that 92 is greater than 90, so technically the Cubs were not in violation.
Then why were the Phillies awarded the pick? With no official explanation, my answer came from "commenter" in the comments section of Todd Zolecki's article:
Captain Obvious here with an insightful observation: the Phillies are an old team. If Family Feud asked 100 people to describe the Phillies in one word, old has to be the #1 answer. Number two on that list should be expensive. Put those two together and what do you get? The Phillies are an old, expensive team.
Ruben Amaro is counting on another term for the 2014 season: talented. While it is easy to point out the high salaries, increasing age, and declining skills, let's not forget that this still is a talented team. If Amaro cashes his lottery ticket this season and somehow his core can remain on the field, the 2014 Phillies should be competitive. The problem with the Phillies situation is that they have no choice but to count on older, injury prone players who hopefully can hang onto their skills just a little longer.
Despite their huge payroll, the Phillies had very little to spend this offseason, which explains why the Phillies were never serious contenders in the Brian McCann/Jacoby Ellsbury/Shin-Soo Choo sweepstakes. Amaro pointed indicated in an interview last week with Mike Missanelli that he expected their payroll to be similar in 2014 to what it has been in the last few seasons, which is around $170 million. After signing relatively cheap deals for Byrd and Ruiz, the Phils have roughly five to ten million left to spend with glaring needs in the starting rotation and the bullpen.
The reality of the situation is that while the core names from the talented and inexpensive 2007 team are mostly the same, their value nearly seven seasons later is quite the opposite. Let's look at the transition in graph form.
In the third installment of the newest regular feature on Phils Baseball, we run through 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 November 17-23:
In the latest podcast, I go year by year and walk through Ruben Amaro's tenure from start to finish. Here are a few the things I touch on:
Major trades: Good deals like Lee and Halladay and awful trades like Oswalt and Pence.
How the Ibanez and Polanco signings hurt the Phillies.
Why Jayson Werth should have been traded.
The destruction of the Pence trade.
Comparison with Pat Gillick.
Teams who finish with 89 losses tend to have many holes to fill and the Phillies need lots of shovels and dirt. They filled two needs by signing Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz, but still need to look to free agency for at least two starting pitchers and bullpen help. So, how much do they have left to spend?
To answer that question, we begin with the guaranteed contracts. If we include Carlos Ruiz's still unofficial 3 year/$26 million deal and assume he earns $8 million in 2014, the Phillies have $138.5 million in salary obligations for ten players, roughly $135 million of which counts towards the luxury tax. That luxury tax threshold is based on the average annual value (AAV) of each contract, which is calculated by dividing the total guaranteed money by the number of years.
Cole Hamels' contract, for example, earns him $138 million over 5 years, but it also includes a $6 million buyout in the sixth year, guaranteeing him a minimum of $144 million over 6 years and an AAV of $24 million. Even though Hamels will only make $22.5 million in 2014, it counts as $24 million towards the luxury tax. On the flip side, Rollins will make $11 million in 2014, but he has a $9.5 million AAV because it is a four-year, $38 million deal.
Included in both the actual 2014 payroll and the luxury tax number is roughly $10 million in player benefits.
Where we stand with their current salary obligations is a 2014 payroll of $148.5 million. Their payroll for the last two seasons was over $170 million, so if they remain at that level in 2014, they have about $21.5 million to spend. With a luxury tax figure of $145 million, it leaves them with a maximum of $44 million to spend before reaching the luxury tax.
That realistically leaves Amaro with between $21.5 million and $44 million to spend on the rest of the players. Still with me?
Signing Carlos Ruiz to a 3 year/$26 million contract is another clear overpay, but the pile Ruben Amaro just stepped in was nearly unavoidable.
There are plenty of reasons to knock this deal.
Ruiz is 35. That is old. Corey Seidman pointed out on CSNPhilly.com that since 1965, only two catchers 35 or older have hit at least .290 in 400-plus plate appearances: Jorge Posada and Carlton Fisk. Only Fisk, Posada, Mike Piazza and A.J. Pieryznski had an .800 OPS after that age.
The contract is also significantly costlier than most predicted. MLB Trade Rumors predicted a 2 year/$14 million contract and the Rockies were only willing to offer 2 years and $15 million. The Phillies appear to be the only team willing to guarantee a third year. It also easily tops Russell Martin’s two-year, $17 contract from the Pirates last winter.
Crashburn Alley found that in the previous three seasons, only one catcher (John Buck) has earned a contract of three years or more, seven were gives two-year contracts, and everyone else received a one-year deal.
Their options were limited. The Phillies have nobody in their farm system qualified as a starting catcher, and their limited budget essentially eliminated Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as possibilities. AJ Pierzynski is a lefty the Phillies do not need who is actually older than Ruiz. Dioner Navarro would be much cheaper, but he is also a significant downgrade. That left Chooch.
This was in no way a win for the Phillies, but it wasn't a complete debacle, either. It gives the Phillies a quality defensive catcher who works well with pitchers and can hit a little. While Amaro added an older player again and overpaid again, given their options it was not the most egregious move he could have made.
Did you know a new Phillies rumor is generated every 3 seconds during the offseason? Yeah, I totally made that up, but it probably isn't that far off.
That is why I love MLB Trade Rumors because they track all rumors and have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (I swear I'm not making a dime for this plug!). Last week I decided to go a step further and put all of their Phillies rumors from the past week in one page. Most of you seemed to like the idea (you lazy bastards), so I am making it a regular feature (at least during the hot stove period). If you want the rumors in real time, make sure to visit MLB Trade Rumors Phillies page.
Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of November 10:
Let me start by saying $16 million guaranteed for a player with a link to PED's who had a career year at age 36 is a ridiculous sum of money and a move that will likely fail. That said, the Marlon Byrd signing was not quite as bad as it appears.
First of all, Marlon Byrd's 2013 season was by no means a complete aberration. His 2013 season was undoubtedly the best of his career with a .291 average, .336 OBP, .511 slugging, .847 OPS, 24 homers, 88 RBI, and 35 doubles. But, as Beerleaguer pointed out, he had plenty of success prior to 2013. From 2007-11, he hit .291/.346/.445 with a .792 OPS and full-season averages of 16 homers and 38 doubles. If Byrd can approach those numbers it would be a serious upgrade.
Secondly, $8 million per year for two guaranteed years is reasonable given the current market in baseball. Hunter Pence hit .267/.325/.483 with an .822 OPS and signed a 5 year/$90 million contract with the Giants. Slightly better numbers overall than Byrd from 2007-11 and worse than Byrd last season yielded Pence $2 million more per season for 3 additional guaranteed years.
Pence was by no means the only recent bloated contract. Pence's teammate Tim Lincecum signed for 2 years/$35 million after posting a 4.76 ERA over the last two seasons. Then there is my favorite, BJ Upton signing for 5 years/$75.25 million last season. As foolish as Ruben looked jumping on Byrd and "setting the market," we may find in the next few months that $16 million for Byrd is a bargain.
Thirdly, the Byrd deal might indicate Ruben is ignoring his instinct to sign another potentially crippling multiyear contract for outfielders like Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Nelson Cruz, or Curtis Granderson. With little room under the luxury tax and $121.5 million in salary obligations for eight players prior to the Byrd signing, the Phillies cannot afford a huge free agent spending spree and still fill their needs for a catcher, two or more starters, and bullpen help. The aforementioned names will also require forfeiting a second round pick, something the Phils can ill afford to toss away.
Phillies right fielders in 2013 ranked 27th in hitting (.243), 25th in OBP (.305), 20th in slugging (.405), and 22nd in OPS (.709), making Byrd an enormous upgrade. Byrd won't put up Jayson Werth numbers, but he upgrades right field significantly at only $8 million per year. Marlon Byrd may not solve all problems, but he gives the Phillies roughly $40 million to play with before reaching the luxury tax.
Cameron Rupp had a good go at it in his four September starts with the Phillies last season, hitting .308 with two ribbies in 13 at-bats. Nice job, but it doesn't trump a combined .258 average in 2013 combined between Reading (.245) and Lehigh Valley (.269).
With so many rumors flying in every direction now that free agency is upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to put it all in one place. So, thanks to the guys at MLB Trade Rumors who do a great job of keeping us up to date on every Phillies rumor, here is a sampling of the Phillies rumorville over the past week.
Ryan Howard has an average of 43 home runs and 132 RBI during his 10-year career. However, in the last two seasons he averaged 12.5 homers and 49.5 RBI, a drop off of over 30 homers and 82 RBI. Needless to say, the Phillies need the old Ryan Howard back.
Howard missed 173 games over those two seasons, so his averages will improve just by getting on the field. But it will take more than simply showing up for Howard to regain his old form. Howard needs to give a better effort and his new manager was not afraid to convey that message to the public.
Ryne Sandberg spoke about Howard on Sep 23 and did not mention the words slider or home run once. Instead, he referenced Howard getting in better baseball shape three times and acknowledged overall better preparation six times. Here are some of the key phrases he used:
get into baseball shape
have a good work ethic
better in-shape player
better frame of mind
he can be better prepared
To put this in simple terms, Ryne Sandberg called out Ryan Howard publicly. This was a direct challenge to Ryan Howard delivered to the entire fan base. Howard cannot possibly see it any other way.
Ryno first challenged Howard to get into better baseball shape. "Maybe, in some ways, he'll be disappointed in this season," Sandberg said. "It all adds up to a year where he'll be ready to go. It'll all start right now with the games in Florida along with his workout program the whole winter. Him being healthy will allow him to get into baseball shape. I look for him to come back and be a big guy right in the middle of the lineup. … I know I'll have a conversation with him about continuing to have a good work ethic and get the training in he needs to this winter."
Part of the reason for Howard not being in great shape, as Ryno acknowledged, is that he was not healthy enough to be in shape. But Howard cannot use that as an excuse anymore.
Sandberg also challenged Howard to be better prepared overall next season. "From what I've gathered, I think he can be better prepared to face somebody to start a baseball game," Sandberg said. "Whether it's through the hitting coaches, having conversations, going over scouting reports, we have plenty of video, whatever it might be, I think he can utilize that."
Those comments may appear innocuous at first, but they are about as harsh as you will hear from a manager. What it means is that the most expensive player and subsequently most untradeable player is not giving his best effort. Sandberg was careful to say better prepared rather than not prepared. No matter how he spins it, the message is clear.
But Ryno did not bash Howard and was not there to criticize. Sandberg's intention, it seems, is to get the most out of the most important offensive piece in the Phillies lineup.
“He has a knack of driving in runs. Cutting down on strikeouts would be a priority. All of that could come with a better in-shape player, a better frame of mind, and a healthy player.”
Sandberg took a starkly different approach than his predecessor. Charlie Manuel was indeed a players manager and with that, he rarely voiced any criticisms publicly. Ryno put it right out there for everyone to see. Whether it works, well, we have to wait for that answer.
The gauntlet has been raised. It is up to Ryan Howard to respond now.
Want a reason to hate Boston? Try this: all four major teams in the city of Boston won a championship in the last decade.
Care to guess how long it took Philadelphia to accomplish the same feat? The answer is 53 years.
And it gets worse.
Boston has a combined 8 championships in the last 13 years. That equals the number of titles in Philadelphia in 57 years. And that figure includes three Eagles championships before the Super Bowl era and two titles from the Philadelphia Warriors basketball team.
Philadelphia has three more championships (11) in 313 years than Boston earned in just 13 years. That's 8 titles in 13 years for one city and 11 titles in 313 years for the other.
One of the first things a team will do when a new player comes to Philadelphia is send them to Pat’s or Geno’s. While they sit and enjoy a delicious, greasy, cheesesteak (Whiz Wit of course), they need to explain the deal with the Cowboys. The discussion is simple. If you are a Cowboys fan, don’t tell ANYBODY EVER.
Clearly Domonic Brown did not have that conversation because he felt it was a good idea to tweet a picture of himself wearing a Cowboys jersey on the same day Dallas pounded the Eagles. Seriously? That’s about a 9 on the stupid scale there, Dom.
DoBo learned the hard way that nothing is funny when it comes to the Cowboys.
Brown was obliterated by Philadelphia fans and, of course, it wasn’t all G rated stuff. Many fans took the opportunity to send hate tweets to someone they never met for doing nothing wrong whatsoever. That’s all I have to say about that.
The bigger new story for me is how he responded. He tweeted the following to one fan:
@mindycaaat Philly doesn't love me . I get boo's almost everynight . No big deal use to it.
Hey Dom. See that red, plastic, container over there? Yeah, that one with Gasoline written on it. Go ahead and dump it on that twitter fire over there.
Here is a quick lesson about the unfairness of professional baseball.
When the Red Sox or Cardinals win the World Series in less than two weeks, it will be their 3rd title in the last decade. If the Red Sox win, it will be their 3rd in 10 years. If the Cards win, it will be their 3rd in 8 years.
Here are some numbers that prove baseball just 'aint fair.
--Three of the last five World Series winners have multiple titles within the last eight years.
--Of the last 12 World Series champions, 7 of them have multiple titles.
--Each team should win 1 championship in 30 years on average, yet in the last 30 years, 7 teams have multiple championships and 11 teams have none.
--Eight Major League teams still have zero championships in franchise history, including the following five teams who have been in existence for over 30 years without a title:
Mariners - 37 years
In the last thirty years, 7 teams have a multiple championships and a combined 18 titles, leaving 12 teams with just one title and 11 teams with none.
If the trend over the last thirty years continues, the 23 teams with one or less championships will average 1 title in 57 years. Those are not good odds.
I always find the national perspective on Philadelphia sports to be an intriguing topic. In some cases the national media provides an objective view in a way local reporters who follow one team every day for six months cannot. But what the national guys offer in objectivity they lack in the genuine knowledge that only comes with the investment of time.
Reading box scores and watching highlights does not make someone an expert. Peter Gammons may be the ultimate baseball guru of all-time, but he will never be more knowledgeable about the Philadelphia Phillies than the local reporter who watches each at-bat, attends each press conference, and patrols the locker room daily.
Andy Martino was once one of those local guys as the Phillies beat reporter for the Inquirer in 2010, but he now works for the New York Daily News as their national baseball insider. He wrote a piece recently on Ruben Amaro and here is how he opened it:
If you have covered Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., even a little bit, you know that look: Eyebrow cocked, grin parting his lips, eyes glinting with the joy of imagined trades or signings. This little devil loves to do big things.
I want you to look at that last sentence again.
I just finished putting together the Phillies 2014 schedule and I thought I would share a few (albeit not all that interesting) tidbits.
Let's start with a look at the home and road comparison. It may seem trivial, but the timing of homestands and road trips can have a genuine impact on a season. Start out with too many road games and you could be buried by May. Finish with too many road games and it could cost you the season. That's why I have always been curious about how the travel schedule plays out.
Phillies home versus road games
In 2014, the Phils have a pretty balanced schedule in April and then play 19 of their 27 games in May at home. June is a fairly even split before facing a tough stretch in July, entering the all-star break with a 10-game road trip before returning home for a series against the Nationals. The Fightins have a few more home games in August and the reverse in September. The finish to the season is brutal with a 10-game road trip which includes seven games in California before returning home for a series against the Braves.
Here is a break down of home and away games by month:
Last night was Craig Berube’s first game as a head coach in the NHL. It was a big game because it catapulted him to the status of veteran head coach in the city of Philadelphia. He already has more big league coaching experience than Brett Brown of the Sixers and is 27 games away from tying Ryne Sandberg for the most games coached. Chip Kelly and his full 5 games of head coaching experience is now the longest tenured coach in Philadelphia.
In less than 10 months, the head coaches of Philadelphia's four major sports went from a combined 50 years of head coaching experience to zero full years. It’s not surprising considering three of the four teams finished with losing records last season (the Flyers finished one game above .500) and no Philadelphia team reached the playoffs. But to lose four coaches in less than a year is quite amazing.
The change in coaching experience is dramatic.
Check this out: the previous group of coaches had a combined 50 years and 3,663 games of experience in their careers and amassed 1,966 wins, 15 division titles, 5 conference titles, and 2 World Championships.
As of today, the current coaches have combined for 0 full seasons, 47 games, 22 wins, and 0 titles.
Let's see it in table form. Here are the career coaching totals of the previous regime followed by the current coaches.
Here also is the individual breakdown by coaches.
So the dawn of a new era is upon us.
The odds of the Phillies winning the World Series next year or even achieving a winning record are not favorable. But there is always hope, and for that we need to look no further than the worst-to-first 1993 Phillies.
The 1992 Phillies finished in last place in the NL East with a 72-90 record. They ranked second in the National League with 686 runs, but their pitching finished dead last with a 4.13 ERA and far worse than the next to last team (Astros) with a 3.74 ERA.
As we all know, their fortunes completely changed the following season. The 1993 Phillies won the NL Pennant with a 97-65 record. They ranked first in runs with 877 and their much improved pitching ranked 7th with a 3.97 ERA.
How the Phillies were able to rebound is an interesting case because their top 5 starters' ERA actually increased from 3.60 to 3.86 and their bullpen ERA improved only slightly from 4.20 to 4.00.
Phils Baseball is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA), a group of 270+ baseball blogs which began in 2009. Each year, we come together at the end of the season and hand out our annual awards. Winners will be announced on November 1 and here are my selections for the National League.
Connie Mack Award (manager of the year)
Clint Hurdle (Pirates)
Willie Mays Award (rookie of the year)
Jose Fernandez (Miami Marlins)
Goose Gossage award (top reliever)
Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves)
Walter Johnson award (top pitcher)
Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Stan Musial award (top player)
Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Phillies September Storyline
The Phillies mercifully finished their first losing season since 2002 and the worst record since 2000. The month started well and an 8-3 stretch put them at 9 games under .500 and 18-13 under Sandberg. The Phils ran out of steam, though, and limped to the off season winning just one of their last five games and 2 of their last 11.
Phillies September Win/Loss Totals
Don't underestimate Ryne Sandberg's remarkable season and its impact on Phillies declining attendance
Asche, Ruf, Hernandez 162-game averages
23 homers for Asche and 36 homers for Ruf plus a .295 average for Hernandez ain't too shabby.
That’s a decent start to a career for each of these guys, but they would not be the first to perform in a pressureless September and later escape into oblivion. What matters to Phillies brass is what they will do rather than what they have done. That’s why we should dig a little deeper to find out.
Most people cringe when they hear Roy Halladay say the M-word (Moyer, of course), but not me. Jamie Moyer is one of my favorite pitchers of all-time and do you know why? Because he won with effort and smarts, not super human, God-given ability. I’m fascinated to watch Doc attempt to transform himself for the second time, because if he can keep his ERA under four with this velocity, it might be more incredible than his 2010 and 2011 seasons where he posted ERA's of 2.44 and 2.35.
“If anyone can do it, Doc can,” we are constantly reminded. Jamie Moyer had little more than good control at his arsenal, which is great news, because Halladay in his prime was a control freak, even more so than Cliff Lee. If Halladay can harness that control, with the movement on his pitches...
Easier said than done.
August was a tumultous month for the Phillies. The Phils losing ways from July spilled into August as the Phillies lost 13 of 14 games and fell to as low as 16 games below .500. They then watched Charlie Manuel get fired and replaced with Ryne Sandberg.
Home record: 8-9
Road record: 4-8
Top winning streak: 3
Top losing streak: 4
Series record: 3-4-2
Began month: 50-57, 3rd place
-- 12.5 games behind first place Braves and 1.5 games behind 2nd place Nationals
Finished month: 62-74 – 4th place
--21.5 games behind 1st place Braves & 1 game behind 3rd place Mets
When Chase Utley drove to work on August 7th, he knew he left a very important document sitting on a table somewhere waiting for his signature. This document would guarantee him $27 million and all he needed to do was go to a doctor for a physical, sign Chase Cameron Utley, and the money was his.
Somewhere in his mind behind those intense eyes, Utley drove to Citizens Bank park knowing that if he could remain upright for one game he would be $27 million richer. So what did Chase do in that game? He slammed his creaky, chronically hurting knees into a 205 pound catcher draped in plastic equipment.
With complete awareness of the new contract, Utley raced around third base with the score tied in the seventh inning and prepared to slide into home plate with the go-ahead run. Chase realized at the last minute that Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro was blocking the plate, so he changed his approach mid slide, planted his foot, and plunged his knee and shoulder into Navarro.
It didn't matter that he was less than 24 hours away from signing a multi-million dollar contract. It didn't matter that it was essentially a meaningless game for a bad baseball team. All that mattered was that Navarro was blocking his path to the go-ahead run.
That is Chase Utley.
Chase is a rare and special player whose tireless work ethic and extreme intensity could eventually make him a legend in Philadelphia.
Utley reminded us just how special he is with his recent contract extension, a hometown discount if I ever there was. Utley could have tested free agency and would have received more money - that is a fact.
Why would a player do that? Take less money on a team with aspirations for 90 losses? It might be because he doesn't want to move his family. It could be that his wife told him to stay. It could be that he loves the city of Philadelphia. Or it could be as simple as being too lazy to move. But I believe he signed this contract for us. The fans.
This contract only locks the Phillies in for an average of $13.5 million over two years. $13.5 million for one of the most productive second basemen and the opportunity, if he remains healthy, to keep him until 2018 when he will be 39.
Now don't get me wrong, people who accept 26 million dollars don't win Nobel Peace Prizes. But this was a classy move by a player who put the needs of others ahead of himself. It is not altogether unheard of, but it is a rarity in today's game. Ryan Howard would accept nothing less than top money. Jayson Werth did the same and left town. So did Aaron Rowand.
This says what we already knew about Chase. That team comes first...in everything. It is why he busts it down the line, it is why he spends countless days and hours preparing his knees throughout the entire calendar year, and it is why he gave a hometown discount. It is also why Chase Utley should be a Phillie for life.
Which stat lines represent Domonic Brown's offensive statistics since his hot streak unofficially ended on June 8 ?
a) .275 AVG, 12 HR, 48 RBI
b) .280 AVG, 5 HR, 40 RBI
c) .256 AVG, 8 HR, 33 RBI
d) .239 AVG, 4 HR, 19 RBI
The correct answer is c. Since June 8, Domonic Brown is hitting .256 with 8 HR and 33 RBI in 56 games. Here are his stats in the last 56 games.
Domonic Brown Since June 8
Work those numbers over a full season and he would have a .256 average, .310 on-base percentage, 23 home runs, and 95 RBI. His RBI total is nice but the rest of his numbers are mediocre. What we have with DoBo over the last two plus months is a player with a low batting average, fairly decent power, good production, a reasonable number of strikeouts, and an average amount of walks.
What should we make of those numbers?
As much as I feel Ruben Amaro needs to be fired, I never got the impression that his job was in any real jeopardy. I’m starting to question that now.
It is quite possible that firing Charlie Manuel cost Ruben Amaro his job. David Montgomery is extremely loyal and reluctant to fire “family members,” which made Amaro's decision to fire mid-season the winningest manager in Phillies history and a man that David Montgomery hired so surprising.
In a recent radio interview Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer said, “Well the Phillies traditionally — and this goes all the way back to the Carpenter family — they are very, very slow to change personnel, and they’re very loyal to their people."
It’s one thing if this was a group decision, but I have heard no reports that Montgomery was involved at all in the decision.
After the firing was announced Montgomery said, "Ruben Amaro let me know on Wednesday I think that he and Charlie had been visiting over this road trip and I understand that, appropriately so, that he felt it was time to let Charlie know about his decision."
Amaro made this move on his own.
Some days it is truly a wonderful thing to own a DVR and I am glad I used it last night. Anyone who lasted the entire game did not get to bed until well past 2 am in an 18-inning marathon.
The Phillies came oh-so-close to earning their 4th straight walk-off win, which would have been one shy of the record of 5 straight walk-offs by the Royals in 2000. Of course that did not happen, but there was plenty of other trivia to go around. Here are some fun facts from last night’s epic game.
2:12 am finish.
7 hours and 6 minutes in duration, a record for the Phillies and D-Backs.
44 total players used combined.
20 pitchers used, tying an MLB record.
712 total pitches – 395 for Phillies and 317 for D-Backs.
28 walks combined – 18 walks issued by Phillies set a franchise record.
Cloyd threw 91 pitches in five scoreless innings, all coming in extra innings.
Phillies used two position players as pitchers for first time in franchise history.
Casper Wells threw 40 pitches in the 18th inning. His fastball velocity was consistently between 90-91 mph and he also featured a changeup.
The Phillies were 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 17 runners, 11 in extras.
Diamondbacks had 6 players with 10 plate appearances.
Charlie Manuel lost the love of his life on Friday. Charlie arrived at Citizens Bank Park wearing a pink button down shirt instead of the familiar red pinstripes he wore for nine seasons as Phillies manager. It was not his wardrobe of choice.
The decision to remove Manuel as skipper of the Philadelphia Phillies made sense in many ways, but it is difficult to evoke pragmatism when you observe the heart ripped out from the chest of a 69-year-old man. The bumbling Charlie of Mayberry with the thick southern draw similarly pulled at the heart strings of anyone watching Friday's solemn press conference. For a man lacking the gift of oratory, it only took a few words to reveal his pain.
"I love wearing that uniform," a reflective Charlie said. "I would put it on today if I could have."
...if I could have...
Managers lose jobs when teams don't play well and Charlie understands that as much as anyone. His pain stems not as much from the firing itself as the fact that he lost the game he loves so much.
"I'm mad because they took the best seat in the house away from me," Charlie said.
He was mad because he wanted so badly to step onto that field at 10 am like he always does, stand behind the batting cage as he always does, offer a positive phrase and a handshake to his players as he always does, and watch the game he loves as he always does.
Charlie Manuel has managed his final game for the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies announced today that Manuel was fired and Ryne Sandberg will take over as interim manager.
For the first time in nearly 9 seasons the winningest manager, the man who brought Philadelphia its second World Championship and possibly the best era in Phillies history will no longer command the dugout. It was a move we all expected, but it was a move that came way too soon.
Charlie made it clear that he did not want to leave. “I did not resign and I did not quit. I want to tell you something, I never quit nothin’ and I didn’t resign.”
Expect much more on this soon, but for now here are some stats and quotes about the firing of Charlie Manuel.
Charlie Manuel is the winningest manager in Phillies history with a record of 780-636 and a .551 winning percentage. Charlie finished 144 games above .500 with a .551 winning percentage and an average of 89 wins per season.
Charlie owned the second-half with a .606 winning percentage after the all-star break, which works out to 98 wins over a full season.
Ruben Amaro also summed it up nicely: He’s won a World Series. He's won five consecutive league championships. He’s clearly one of the most decorative managers in the history of our franchise."
Here is some of what Charlie said at the press conference:
"I'm mad because they took the best seat in the house away from me."
“To tell you the truth, when I watch the game tonight I’m gonna be mad.”
Asked about what it will mean not to put on the uniform he said, "I love wearing that uniform. I would put it on today if I could."
“I can not explain to you what the last nine years, or eight and a half or whatever’s, meant to me. I’ve had some of the greatest times I’ve ever had in my life. Philadelphia has been the highlight of my career. I love everything about the fans, the city. I talk Phillie baseball everywhere I go.”
And there was one of my favorite quotes after the Phillies won the World Series:
"Listen. This is for Philadelphia."
Chase Utley will be in a Phillies uniform for at least two more years. Now that it is official, here is a breakdown of Chase Utley's truly unique Phillies contract extension.
Utley's contract is guaranteed at 2 years/$27 million. He will receive $15 million guaranteed in 2014 and $10 million guaranteed in 2015. The contract also includes a $2 million buyout and a full no-trade clause, bringing him to $27 million in guaranteed dollars over two years. He also can earn an additional $5 million in 2015 if he is not on the DL for more than 15 days with a specific knee issue.
Utley then has three vesting options based on 500 plate appearances: if he reaches 500 plate appearances in 2015 he will make a guaranteed $15 million in 2016. The following two seasons are treated the same way. If Utley hits the 500 PA's in any of those seasons and finishes the year on the disabled list, he must pass a physical that states he will be able to start the following season healthy for the option to vest.
If Utley does not reach the 500-plate appearance threshold, the Phillies can still bring him back on a club option. The options are set at $5 million, $7 million, $9 million or $11 million, based on days on the active roster. For instance, if Utley is active for 125 days he would receive $11 million the following season, and the option decreases with fewer days on the active roster.
All told, Utley can make as little as $27 million over two years and as much as $75 million over 5 years.
The contract is a great one for the Phillies. If Utley's knees fall off this season, the Phillies are only locked in for $27 million, which is just $2 million more than Lee and Howard make this year alone. If Utley is hurt, the options allow the Phillies to decide just how much they are willing to pay to keep him. If Utley is healthy, the Phillies pay $15 million per season for one of the most productive second basemen in baseball. Compare that to Robinson Cano, who stands to land a contract in the range of $20 million per year over seven years guaranteed, and you can see how reasonable a deal this becomes.
The deal is especially beneficial when considering the second-basemen who are scheduled to become free agents beyond Utley and Cano: Omar Infante is hitting .309 with 6 HRs for the Tigers and Kelly Johnson is hitting .252 with 14 HRs for the Rays. Neither players comes close to providing Utley's production.
On Chase Utley's side, as he put it, "I'm just trying to be treated fairly in the marketplace." Utley could have undoubtedly earned more in the open market, but he wanted to stay in Philadelphia and wanted to earn his money, which is an awfully strange thing to say about a ballplayer in this day and age. If he plays he gets paid, it is just that simple.
This contract speaks volumes about the character of Chase Utley. As far as I am concerned, he signed this for us. Next week, I will discuss how rare and special a signing this was from such a rare and special player.
For more on some of the quotes from Chase Utley's press conference, check out our Facebook page.
When the Phillies added outfielder Casper Wells to the roster, it was just a matter of time before Delmon Young would get a call into Ruben Amaro's office. It was a little unnerving to hear a report that Michael Martinez might be the guy to make room for Wells, but the Phillies finally announced Delmon Young had been designated for assignment. It is a move that had to be made because Young would earn an extra $150,000 bonus if he reached 300 plate appearances. Read more about why Delmon Young had to go below.
The Phillies sent Laynce Nix packing yesterday and Delmon Young might be 9 plate appearances away from becoming the next victim. The reason is simple: Young has 290 plate appearances this season and when he steps to the plate for the 300th time, he makes an extra $150,000.
So far, Young has earned $750,000 in guaranteed salary, $600,000 of a possible $2.15 million in performance and roster bonuses, and anywhere from 0 to $600,000 in weight bonuses. All told, Young has made at least $1.35 million this season. With Brown and Ruf in need of playing time on a team with no chance of making the playoffs, Delmon Young should not earn a penny more.
To learn that Antonio Bastardo was suspended for 50 games for using PED's should be devastating news considering he has a 2.32 ERA this season in a terrible bullpen. In 2013, that news is little more than a conversation starter for a team with no shot at the playoffs.
So here is the good and bad news about Bastardo's suspension.
The Phillies lose their 7th reliever of the season.
The Phils lose the only reliever outside of Papelbon with a respectable season.
The worst bullpen in the league with an NL high 4.29 ERA stands to get worse.
The Phils are 11 games under .500 and 16.5 games out in the NL East with 51 games left in the season. That means Bastardo will not hurt the Phillies playoff chances since they have none.
The Phillies will save money this year. Bastardo was set to make $1.4 million this year, and the 50 games will be prorated, in which case the Phillies will save over $191,000. I’m sure the Phillies owners fart that kind of money, but with CBP looking emptier and emptier each day, every little bit helps.
The Phillies will save money next year. Now that he Bastardo has been busted, it surely will drive his price down in arbitration next year.
Now Jake Diekman can take his rightful place as the Phillies 8th inning guy and top lefty...Kidding!
This is awful news for the few of us left who actually plan to continue watching games because it makes a dreadful bullpen even worse. But of all the times to get caught, he picked a great time considering this will be the first losing season in eleven years. And thanks to Bastardo for not fighting it (wait, did I just thank a guy who just got suspended for cheating?), he will not affect the Phils next year.
The biggest drawback of the punishment is that it wasn't given to Jonathan Papelbon.
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