Category Archives: Other Stuff

Open Discussion: Week of January 26th

Starting Pitcher Edition

I wrote this up early in the week as a lead into this week’s open discussion. Sure enough, another site posted a similar story. Oh well, here’s the list of the starting pitchers in the organization and the highest level attained in the minors during the 2014 season (except for Garcia and Pinto, whose games at Williamsport and Lakewood respectively are too small a sample). There are certainly more pitchers than there are starting spots.  But that’s a good thing.  They are listed with my best guess for opening day. What’s yours? Have at it. Continue reading Open Discussion: Week of January 26th

The BBWAA and the Hall of Fame

This has been sitting in my out box for a week or so. Now that the Hall of Fame vote is in our rear view mirror, let me just offer this overview of the Hall and my “over-the-top” solution to the process. I apologize in advance for continuing the discussion on HOF voting, a topic that I tire of each year by mid-December.

A couple weeks ago, 4 players were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, and Craig Biggio. During the weeks leading up to and the days after the announcement, baseball writers and reporters from all media outlets voiced their opinions about this year’s vote, the voting procedures, and the voting electorate. All that has calmed down, so that now we’re back to just Bill Kenny occasionally offering his opinion on the HOF worthiness of players based on analytics. Continue reading The BBWAA and the Hall of Fame

2013 ST - Asche

2015 Phillies Minor League Spring Training Schedule

I know some of you are planning to visit Clearwater during Spring Training.  Here is the schedule for the Phillies (and Yankees, Pirates, Blue Jays) minor league groups from Saturday, March 14th through Saturday, April 4th.  The schedule is accurate as of January 8th, but time and location changes are always possible.

2015 Minor League ST Schedule – Page 1

2015 Minor League ST Schedule – Page 2

2015 Minor League ST Schedule – Page 3

2015 Minor League ST Schedule – Page 4

I haven’t converted these to a Phillies specific worksheet, yet.  If you have problems viewing and printing these documents, e-mail and I’ll forward you a copy when I’ve completed the conversion.

Thoughts on potential Cole Hamels trades

Disclaimer: I wrote about 3,000 words, hit the wrong key stroke, and apparently autosave didn’t work, so it was all erased. I am going to try and type it again, but I can promise you it won’t be as detailed as what I’d written before.

Okay, so Jim Salisbury identified 4 teams that were in the running for Cole Hamels: The Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cardinals. I wanted to take a look at each of the 4 to see what the Phillies could expect to receive in return. I also wanted to make a few comments on the actual concept of trading Cole Hamels. I’ll do all of that below the fold.

Continue reading Thoughts on potential Cole Hamels trades

Open Discussion: Week of January 12th

The “Team Friendly” No Trade List

Before I turn the weekly discussion over to other topics, permit me to comment on Ryan Howard’s trade list.  Last Monday, Jeff Todd of MLBTR posted a story that contained the details of Ryan Howard’s no trade clause (link below).   Howard’s contract contains a “most favored nation” clause which gives Howard the same no trade rights as the most favorable contract negotiated by the Phillies.  If at any time during Howard’s contract a more favorable no trade clause is negotiated, Howard automatically has the same more favorable no trade clause.

Currently, Cliff Lee’s  no trade terms are the most favorable and allows Howard to block trades to nine clubs.  Of course, this only remains in force until Howard’s 10-5 rights go into effect during the first half of the 2015 season.  The list of teams that the Phillies can trade Howard without consulting him is reported to include the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angeles, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers.

From the Phillies’ point of view, this should be a favorable list.  It contains 9 teams from the American League (and the DH), 4 of the 5 teams that made the 2014 playoffs (Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, Kansas City), 2 more teams who competed for the wild card into the final weeks of the season (Seattle and New York),  and 8 of the 9 highest AL payrolls.  Low spending Tampa isn’t too much of a surprise when you consider that Tropicana Field is probably 10-15 minutes from Howard’s Gulf Coast home.

In addition to the 15 NL teams, Howard has blocked trades to Toronto, Houston, Oakland, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago are on his no trade list.  Five of these teams were among the 6 lowest opening day payrolls in the American League last season.

While few of the teams on Howard’s trade list may have a need for a left-handed batting 1B/DH right now, 7-8 of these teams are likely to be in the playoff hunt, have a history of making trades to get better for the stretch, and might just need an additional bat.  If Howard shows a pulse at the plate, maybe somebody shows an interest in a June trade. It seems to me that Ryan Howard’s no trade list might be as team friendly as it can be while taking his wishes and professional future into consideration.

Or talk about anything you want.  The link as promised.

More Ben Lively info

Thanks to Jim for putting up the post when the deal went down. Here is some more analysis and info on Lively. has already moved Lively to the Phillies section of their coverage and ranked him #8 overall. Heres what they have to say on his stuff:

None of Lively’s pitches jump off the page, but he does have four of them that he can throw for strikes. His fastball can touch 93-94 mph, and his slider shows signs of being a potential above-average pitch, as well. Lively mixes in his curve and changeup well to keep hitters guessing. All of his stuff plays up because of his unusual delivery in which his arm stays hidden, making it tough for hitters to pick up the ball.

In their league top 20s this year, Lively was ranked 16th in the Cal League and then 20th in the Southern League. Given that there are 10 teams in the CAL and 10 teams in the SOU, it means it is moderately difficult to make the list, and that he made both is promising. Here are some highlights from those BA writeups

CAL: Lively’s delivery features deception—his arm angle drops slightly and he throws across his body—helping his fastball get inon hitters. He’ll pound all quadrants of the strike zone with command of a 91-92 mph fastball that bumps 94.

SOU: Lively ranges from 88-92 mph and sits at about 90, often working up and over the plate, but batters struggle to square him up because they don’t see the ball until the last instant. He throws what one manager deemed an “invisible” fastball. Lively’s low-80s curveball can be an out pitch for him, for he executed it with more depth in 2014, and his slider and changeup grade as major league average. When scouts factor in plus control, they come away convinced Lively can be at least a durable No. 4 starter.

Here are video clips: one, two, and three.

BP ranked him #7 in the Reds system, giving him a future #3 SP profile. They also had him 88-92, with a plus slider and average change and curve. They note the biggest question mark is about his delivery and mechanics, and whether he will be able to repeat them well enough to be a consistent starting pitcher.

Nevertheless, to receive a potential MLB starter who will be worth a win or two a year at worst, for a guy who was not in the long term plans, its a nice get by the Phillies.

So, which piece is next to go?

How do you rebuild a big market team?

The headline is a tad rhetorical, because I’m going to share my opinion on how it should be done. I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the topic, so I figured this would be a good way to get myself back into writing. Thoughts are below the fold

Continue reading How do you rebuild a big market team?

Open Discussion: Week of December 29, 2014

So, under the tree we found RHP Stephen Shackleford and 2B Tyler Henson. I guess we’ve been naughty. Very naughty. But a couple days later, a gift from a favorite aunt arrived containing LHP Wandy Rodriguez.  This last present is reported to have signed a minor league contract, has to pass a physical to finalize the deal, and may be invited to spring training.

For those of us who attend games during spring training, we might have the promise of a BIG present. The scoreboard at Bright House Field has been demolished, and a new board is supposed to be installed by the start of spring training. Unfortunately, the garish billboards (for Hooters, Budweiser, Tampa Times, and Lenny’s) that offer such a stark contrast to an automated board are still intact.

Speaking of spring training, I am going to miss Jimmy Rollins in camp this year.  I’ve always felt that Jimmy was the heart and personality of the team. I have often seen him bringing team mates over to sign autographs for fans during the short breaks that occur between drills.

I’m afraid that the only other big move we may see is a deal that moves Marlon Bird. Rumors about Cole Hamels will probably continue, but I hope the asking price remains high.  I don’t want to “settle” just for the sake of making a trade.  If a trade doesn’t materialize, then there is always the trading deadline, or next off season.  And if a trade never happens, then Hamels can anchor the staff until the team competes for a playoff berth in much the same way that Steve Carlton held the staff together after his 1972 season until the rest of that team was strong enough to compete.

The floor is open.  Discuss.

Transactions: Dec. 13-23

We all know that the Phillies traded Jimmy Rollins and cash to the Dodgers for RHP Zach Eflin and LHP Tom Windle.  We ‘ve also read that they have signed minor leaguers RHP Sean O’Sullivan (re-signed), RHP Kevin Slowey and 1B Chris McGuiness.

Baseball America also reported that the Phillies have signed RHP Stephen Shackleford and 2B Tyler Henson (re-signed).  Additionally BA reported that they have released RHP Ricky Bielski, RHP Josh Warner, LHP Angelo Almonte, LHP Rivar Angulo, 1B Chris Serritella, and SS Enmanuel Serra.