Category Archives: Weekly Discussion

Open Discussion: Week of August 24th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

  • “How ’bout dem Phils!”  After Sunday’s win they are 21-12 since the All Star break.  Their “Kiddie Korps” Morgan, Eickhoff, Araujo, and Nola have collected their last four wins.
  • The Phillies have seen Colorado drop into the lead for the #1 pick in the draft.  What once was a 2 or 3 team race has become a 7 team race.  And, lets face it, with so many games against the NL East remaining, the Phillies face the weakest strength of schedule of the contenders for the top pick.  It is conceivable that they drop out of the top three.
  • Since being activated by the Nationals on July 29th, Jonathan Papelbon has made 7 appearances games.  He is 3 for 3 in save situations.  In the same span, Ken Giles has 11 appearances and is 10 for 10 in save situations.
  • Aaron Altherr.  Good start after the recall.
  • ICYMI, I saw Jorge Alfaro take some swings against a rehabbing minor league pitcher in a sim inning.  Wow!  Crushed a home run over the left field fence into the handicapped/coaches parking lot at the Complex.  Just missed Roly de Armas’ car.  And he’s big, like Kyle Schwarber big.
  • I heard that the Phillies intend to stretch out Clearwater reliever Alexis Rivero as a starter during Instructs.
  • Carlos Tocci turned 20 Sunday.  I took him out for a beer, and I drank his. jk
  • Jerad Eickhoff.  Great start.  Ditto Aaron Nola.
  • Look at all the guys we’re talking about right now.  And have been talking about for months. Who is responsible for their acquisition?  I know several readers feel that there have been “fire-able” offenses committed.  But the fact of the matter is the firing didn’t take place when the offenses were committed.  And, in a world where “What have you done lately” matters most, can you see that the firing that most wish to see, may not happen?  Hmmm.  (And, technically, I guess it would be a “non-rehiring”.)

Open Discussion: Week of August 17th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

  • The Phillies were swept in a key series by the Milwaukee Brewers.  They have re-taken the lead for the number one pick, for now.
  • Since being activated by the Nationals on July 29th, Jonathan Papelbon has made 5 appearances in 18 games.  Only two were in save situations.  The Nats are 5-13 in those 18 games.
  • Chase Utley has cleared waivers and waits for a deal that suits him before rescinding his 5-10 rights.  (As is his right.)

Finding a suitor for Utley will be difficult.  He wants a guarantee of playing time.  He wants to play next season.  He wants to play for a contender this season.  He wants to play in southern California.  That greatly limits the field of eligible teams.  Even without a guarantee regarding playing time next season, Utley’s contract provides for a $2M buyout on top whatever portion of this season’s $15M remains to be paid.

In 2013, the Phillies flipped John McDonald for Nefi Ogando.  This should establish the floor for any trade, I suppose.  With all the baggage attached to a trade the ceiling might not be for very much higher.  If Utley accepts the fact that he might not get next season guaranteed, kicking in some money (the buyout at the very least) should increase the value of the return.  But not by much if Utley becomes just a rental.

Now, I like Utley as much as the next person.  Unless the next person is one of those fanatic Utley lovers.  I’m a member of a group where the female members all LOVE Utley and can’t bear even talk of his being traded.  I’ve seen some of the bloggers I follow lose their objectivity over the subject of an Utley trade too.

Trading Utley is not some vindictive move by the team.  It’s an effort to get some value back for a guy who shouldn’t return next season.  You sugar coat the trade with the sentiment that he can play for a contender one more time, while avoiding the unpopular decision of not picking up his option next year.

I think a fair return would be a pitcher similar to several we have recently brought into the organization – Eflin, Lively, Pivetta, Eickhoff, Tirado, Windle.  Plus whatever else we could get.  If the roles were reversed, I certainly wouldn’t give up one of our top 8 prospects for a player like him.


Open Discussion: Week of August 10th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

  • The Phillies have been overtaken by the Marlins for the first pick in the draft.  The Phillies trail by one game and aren’t playing like the worst team in the league anymore.  There are several more teams who could overtake them and drive them still further down to a lower draft pick.
  • Chase Utley returned this weekend.  Mackanin was quoted as saying that Utley would play maybe four games a week.  He started Friday and Saturday, pinch hit Sunday, and is scheduled to be in the starting line up Monday.  Some things never change.
  • I haven’t seen anything on any Phillies passing through revocable waivers, but the waiver wire is one of the most difficult things to track.  I’m sure the Phillies have run a few players through.  It is likely that Chase Utley was one.  He seems to be of the utmost interest to contending teams as indicated by stories on MLB Trade Rumors and by Jim Salisbury.  The Salisbury story is also embedded in the Trade Rumors report.

Open Discussion: Week of August 3rd

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

  • Jonathan Papelbon, Colbert Hamels, and Ben Revere were traded by the Phillies for eight players.
  • CF Jordan Danks was promoted to the Phillies.
  • The Phillies keep winning.  Their lead over Miami for the first pick in the draft is down to 2.5 games.
  • Several Phillies will pass through revocable waivers for some possible August trades.  Look for the Phillies to try and sneak anyone not named Ken Giles, Maikel Franco, or Aaron Nola through waivers.

Open Discussion: Week of July 27th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

Of primary interest at his point in the season is that the Phillies haven’t moved any of their veterans, yet.  A deal for Hamels seems imminent, certainly by the end of the week.  The Cueto deal shouldn’t negatively affect the Phillies since the Royals were never in the picture and Cueto is one less attractive rental available for Hamels’ suitors.  Papelbon’s market seems to be shrinking.  But has Francoeur become a possible addition for a team looking for a right-handed bat off the bench?

The Phillies continue to struggle as they leave the All Star break in their wake.  They went into the break with a 5-game losing streak.  They had completed a 1-6 West Coast trip and 2-8 road trip.  They had gone 3-15 since reaching a 26-47 record after taking the first two games in a series against the Yankees on June 23rd.  Their 29-62 record at the break gave them a seemingly insurmountable 9.5 game lead over Milwaukee.

The Phillies 8-1 start after the break has not only allowed the streaking Marlins to pull within 5.5 games, but has allowed other teams to creep back into the race.  The #1 pick that so many fans were counting on to justify the season they are suffering through is now in doubt.





Open Discussion: Week of July 20th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

The Phillies returned from the All Star break and swept the Miami Marlins.  The Phillies lead for the #1 draft pick was whittled down from 9.5 GB to 7.0 GB, in just three games.  Let’s get Utley off the DL and back in the three-hole.

Aaron Nola makes his MLB debut Tuesday night at home against the Tampa Rays.  Might be one of the largest crowds of the season.

I’m sure expectations are high.  I would hope that we all rein in these expectations.  I found these reports on Nola –

  • MLB – FB 60, SL 50, CH 60, Control 60, Overall 55.  Nola has tremendous command of his three-pitch arsenal. He spots his low-90s fastball to both sides of the plate, and his three-quarters arm slot adds plenty of action to the pitch. His changeup is a plus offering at times, and his slider has improved to give him a third quality offering.  While Nola lacks the ideal size for a right-hander, he has all the necessary tools to succeed as a big league starter.
  • FanGraphs – FB 55/60, CU 50/60, CH 50/60, Command 45/55, FV 55.  Nola creates above average life on his fastball and changeup with the spin he puts on the ball from the low slot. One of the concerns is that his low 3/4 slinging slot allows left-handed hitters seeing the ball too clearly, but Nola’s plus changeup does the heavy lifting here; his above average command and aggressive approach also help keep hitters off balance.  55 FV translates to above average, #3/#4 starter, 2.5 WAR.
  • BA – Grade 60, Risk Medium.  No. 3 Starter (comp, Orioles Chris Tillman) needed some work, fairly polished.

While we all hope he becomes a #2 starter in the rotation, it appears that may be just slightly above his ceiling.  (Note: Cole Hamels is their comp for a #2 starter.)




Open Discussion: Week of July 13th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

In honor of the All Star break, and just for fun, here are the records (by winning percentage) of every team in the organization.

  1. GCL Phillies                                   14-4     .778   (1st place in NW)
  2. Williamsport Crosscutters      17-5     .773   (1st place in Pinckney Division)
  3. Clearwater Threshers               50-38   .568   (1st place in North Division)
  4. DSL Phillies                                   21-16   .568   (4.0 GB in 2nd place in SD North)
  5. Reading Fightin’ Phils              48-42   .533   (1.5 GB in 2nd place in Eastern Division)
  6. Lakewood BlueClaws               43-43   .500   (3.0 GB in 2nd place in Northern Division)
  7. Lehigh Valley IronPigs              40-51   .440   (9.0 GB in 4th place in North Division)
  8. VSL Phillies                                    20-28   .417   (11.0 GB in 4th place (of 4))
  9. Philadelphia Phillies                 29-62   .319   (21.0 GB in 5th place in NL East)

The major league Phillies have opened up a 9.5 game lead over Milwaukee and 10.0 game lead over Miami in the race for the #1 pick.

On Sunday, J.P. Crawford started at shortstop and batted second in the Futures Game.  When they weren’t blathering on about other stuff, the announcers actually had some nice comments about Crawford.  But they also droned on about some other topic during J.P.’s third at bat until he struck out.  Crawford played very well defensively.  By my count, he had 3 assists, 2 put outs, and started 2 double plays.  Offensively, he went 1-3 with a single in his second at bat.  It was a nice, defensive swing while behind in the count, and he poked the ball through the middle into center field.  He drove in his team’s first run to tie the game.  He scored on a double by Kyle Schwarber later in the inning.  They went on to win 10-1.  Aaron Nola did not play.


Open Discussion: Week of July 6th

Here’s an open discussion thread so the minor league posts don’t get cluttered with Phillies’ talk and other topics.

In the past week, the Phillies have –

  • Announced the hiring of Andy MacPhail to succeed Pat Gillick as club President.
  • Announced interim mgr. Pete Mackanin will be remain thru the end of the season.
  • Announced the signing of international free agents Jhailyn Ortiz & Rafael Marchan.
  • Opened up a 7.5 game lead over Miami. Colorado & Milwaukee are a half game back.
  • Released Yoel Mecias (Prospect rank: #19 MLB, #10 PP Top 30, #6 Fangraphs, #12 BA, #14 Sickels, #4 BP, #4 MinorThoughts, unranked by Law)
  • Announced the trading of Future Considerations, RHP Chris Oliver and LHP Josh Taylor to Arizona for Future Considerations.

The two pitchers represent one-third of Lakewood’s starting rotation.  Shane Watson replaced Yoel Mecias (released) who replaced Ricardo Pinto (promoted to Clearwater).  Taylor’s spot comes up tomorrow.  Oliver’s on Thursday.  Their rotation looks like this over the next 6 days – Not Taylor, Viza, Casimiro, Not Oliver, Garcia, Watson.  Fill in the blanks!

Continue reading Open Discussion: Week of July 6th