Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Distractions New Phillies Must Conquer

February 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

Yes, that is indeed Jim Thome mid-split making a catch at first, circa 2005. Though he’s donned the red and white before, Thome, along with new additions Jonathan Papelbon, Laynce Nix and others, will have to adjust to a Phillies franchise that is miles apart from the days of old.

Philadelphia is a tough market to play in. The fans hold an absolute love/hate relationship with the team, and they aren’t afraid to speak their collective mind. The game itself has also changed, and new members may not be ready for the fierce competition of the NL East.

If these new faces want to be successful in Philadelphia, here are some of the distractions they must conquer. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Most Underrated Prospect at Each Position

February 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Phillies don’t have a super strong prospect farm.

Big trades, including the Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence trades, have sent the Phillies’ best prospects in recent years to other organizations.

On the other hand, there are many guys in the system who go underrated and underappreciated by scouts and fans.

Here’s a list of a player at each position who’s undervalued and how their assets could drop them onto peoples’ radars in the future. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: How Charlie Manuel Can Get His Team to Produce Runs

January 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

It’s no secret that pitching was the Phillies‘ strong suit in 2011.With Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels on the mound, it seemed almost impossible for the team to lose, and in the regular season, it was. The team—led by their aces on the hill—cruised to a 102-60 record in 2011, but struggled in the playoffs because of their lack of hitting.

If the Phillies want to have a shot at the World Series in 2012, their hitting needs to improve.

Manager Charlie Manuel, who has been with the team since 2005, needs to rally his troops to strengthen the offense. Philadelphia’s .253 team batting average and .395 slugging percentage both ranked in the lower half among MLB teams last year—an unreal fact considering the Phillies led the MLB with 102 wins.

Here are some steps that Charlie Manuel must take in 2012 to improve the team at the plate.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Roy Halladay: 10 Bold Predictions for 2012

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

It’s almost time for baseball again, so now is as good a time as any to look forward and make predictions about the upcoming year.

The biggest key to success in the last few years for the Philadelphia Phillies has been ace pitcher Roy Halladay, who has won a Cy Young Award, thrown a no-hitter and a perfect game and led his team into the playoffs in the last two years.

But just how dominant will Doc be in 2012? Here are my predictions for the ace of staff for this upcoming season.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Which Free Agent Reliever Will Set Up Papelbon?

January 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

It is no secret the Phillies are in the hunt for a relief pitcher. In the past few weeks they have been rumored to be in talks with a few pitchers, most notably Ryan Madson. After Madson’s signing of a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds, the search has been blown wide open.

Depending on the health of current set-up man Jose Contreras, who had elbow surgery last year, the Phillies may need a legitimate eighth inning guy. The team is only about five million dollars under the luxury tax threshold, so there is not much room to grab a big name.

Guys like Kerry Wood (pictured) and Brad Lidge have been named as possible options, but no one name stands out as the clear front runner. Here’s a look at some options for the Phillies’ bullpen in 2012, as well as the odds of those top options signing. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

John Bowker Released by Philadelphia Phillies, Utility Man Will Play in Japan

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

According to the Philadelphia Phillies‘ Twitter account, utility man John Bowker has been released by the club so he can “pursue an opportunity with a professional team in Japan.”

Bowker, 27, played in a total of 12 games for the Phillies in 2011, pinch-hitting and playing first base and right field. He went 0-for-12 at the plate for Philadelphia, striking out in seven of his 13 plate appearances. Bowker joins relief pitcher Scott Mathieson as the second player from the organization to be released to play in Japan. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly had previously reported that Bowker was drawing interest from the Yomiuri Giants, who signed Mathieson in December.

The most important part of this release, though, is the fact that it clears a space on the club’s 40-man roster. With speculation that the Phillies may go after another relief pitcher (Kerry Wood and Jeremy Accardo have been mentioned as options), the Phillies needed to clear a spot on the roster, and by releasing Bowker they did not have to send a player through waivers.

With third baseman Carlos Rivero already being snatched up from waivers by the Nationals (he was waived to the minor leagues after the Jimmy Rollins signing), it was obvious that the Phillies did not want to chance losing another prospect.

Will this move lead to another signing? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Free Agency 2012: Why Ryan Madson Would Be Wise to Return to Philadelphia

January 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

There have been numerous huge deals this offseason. From Heath Bell getting $27 million for three years with the Miami Marlins, to Jonathan Papelbon signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for four years, $50 million, it’s clear teams have been throwing cash around to secure closing pitchers.

In the midst of the offseason signing frenzy though, one player’s name has been mysteriously absent from the news: former Phillies closer Ryan Madson.

A client of top agent Scott Boras (whose other clients include Prince Fielder and Jayson Werth), Madson has remained unsigned after his 32 saves and 2.37 ERA in 2011. It’s not as if he’s a product of a down market, though: Of the 13 free agents considered closers by, Madson is one of only four still available (others are Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez and David Aardsma).

Joe Nathan, who only had 14 saves to match his 4.84 ERA in 44.2 innings last year, signed a 2-year, $14.75 million contract with the Texas Rangers. While $7.5 million a year might be too little to match Madson’s asking price, it is obvious that he is the better closer. Another inferior closer, Frank Francisco, who saved 17 games with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, signed with the New York Mets for 2 years, $12 million.

So what does this mean for Ryan Madson? To put it bluntly, he’s lost this offseason. There aren’t many other openings for closers now, and at $11 million per year, Madson’s asking price is just too high for teams still looking. Madson needs to realize that he isn’t going to sign a mega-deal this offseason, and if he’s smart he’ll sign a one-year deal with the Phillies and wait for next year.

Madson, who is only 31 years old and put up the best numbers of his career in 2011, would be best suited as the Phillies’ set-up man behind Jonathan Papelbon. Not only does Madson already have a life and a dedicated fanbase in Philadelphia, he knows the system and the other players on the team.

The Phillies have relief pitchers, but none of whom would be ideal in the set-up role. As it stands now, injury-prone 40-year-old Jose Contreras is the best option.

Payroll estimates for 2012 place the Phillies at about $170 million, eight million under the dreaded luxury tax. They could afford Madson at about $6-7 million, a more than fair price considering Madson’s circumstance. After 2012, Madson would be able to try his luck again in the market, and he’s more likely then to get the money he wants.

It’s last call at the MLB Hotstove bar, and Ryan Madson is desperate. He came into the night (this offseason) thinking he would do well, but now he’s scouring the bar for anyone who would take him home. It may leave a bad taste in his mouth the next morning, but the best option for him right now is to go home with Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies one last time. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Grading the Depth of Prospects at Each Position

January 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

There may only be 25 men on the active MLB roster, but the number of important players in the Phillies organization is much higher.

At each position, there are prospects in the minor leagues who can be just as impactful as the guys playing at the highest level.

The Phillies have made a handful of huge trades in the past few years—the Halladay, Lee and Pence trades are some examples—and the common theme in these trades is the movement of prospects out of the Phillies’ farm system.

In the deal that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia, for example, the Phillies had to give up top prospects Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, as well as outfielder Domingo Santana.

But that doesn’t mean that the farm system is completely depleted; at some positions the Phillies show great depth, while at others there are few players who could make the majors. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Will Domonic Brown Ever Live Up to His Huge Potential?

December 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Domonic Brown has been in the Phillies‘ organization since 2006, when he was 18 years old. He started getting major recognition as a prospect in 2009, when Baseball America ranked him the 48th best prospect in the league, and in 2010 he was named the 15th best.

His numbers in the minor leagues have been amazing, most notably his .980 OPS in 2010, when he split time between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. His numbers even earned him a MLB debut in 2010, when he was only 22.

But despite Brown’s great minor league numbers and scouting reports, he has struggled mightily in the majors. In 184 at bats last year, he hit a dismal .245, driving in just 19 RBI and five home runs. On top of this, his fielding is comparable to that of a little-leaguer: committing four errors (in 2011) and misplaying countless balls in left field.

After his disappointing year in 2011, Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr announced that Brown would spend all of 2012 in the minor leagues with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. This raises the question: will Brown ever be as good as people expect him to be, or is his previous MLB performance a sign of things to come?

The short answer is that Brown, 24, will never be a star player. Scouting reports and past hype have made it seem like Brown could do everything: hit for power, average, run with speed and gun a man down from the outfield.

The truth is that Brown is far from being a wizard in the field, and he has never had a season with more than 25 steals, even in the minors. He does seem to have hitting ability in Triple-A, but against MLB competition, he’s just not good enough.

That doesn’t mean that Brown won’t be a starter in 2013, when he’s a year older and more experienced. Another year in Lehigh Valley will help work on his hitting, and more importantly, his fielding. With Ryne Sandberg as his manager (Sandberg was named the best manager in the minor leagues by Baseball America), he’s in good hands and should progress.

What is most impeding Brown’s progress right now is his confidence. When he was considered a Top Prospect, he could do no wrong; after his failure in the MLB last year, he couldn’t do anything right.

After his demotion last July, Brown hit .227 and made four errors in just 30 games. If the Phillies keep bringing him up the MLB just to send him down again, his confidence, and consequently his numbers, will continue to drop.

The Phillies best bet for Domonic Brown is to trade him. He has been so over-hyped by the media that fans expect him to be the greatest prospect ever, and he’s not. If things go badly for him, fans have no patience and will call for his head on a platter. In an environment where the crowds aren’t as harsh and less is expected of him, he’ll do fine.

But in Philadelphia, Domonic Brown will never live up to his massive potential  

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

7 Minor-League Prospects Ready to Help the Phillies This Season

December 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

In a perfect world, the Phillies would not need to rely on replacement players in 2012. Everyone on the roster would stay healthy and perform well, and all the prospects in the minors would stay where they are.

But, seeing as how this is not a perfect world, some of the Phillies’ minor leaguers will have to step up this season. From injuries to Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco to an unsure back-end of the bullpen, the Phillies may have to call up some prospects to fill holes.

Not all prospects are ready, though. Baby Aces, like Trevor May and Jesse Biddle, touted as they may be, are nowhere near prepared for MLB action.

This list includes seven prospects who are ready and likely to help in some way in 2012.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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