Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Players Who Did the Unexpected in 2013

September 17, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

It has been a year of ups and, more accurately, downs for the Philadelphia Phillies, but all was not lost. And even though it isn't much, late season heroics and surprises have revealed the proverbial silver lining from the 2013 season.

The surprise and, in most cases, unexpected performances—some good, some bad—have told part of the story from this season. And whether it was Chase Utley's knees holding up for the majority of the year or Domonic Brown's potential finally realized, the team has seen its fair share of surprises.

So in no particular order, here are the top five guys that each did something this season that no one really could have ever expected. But if you were one of the ones who "knew it" all along, congratulations. Take pride in being in the minority and feel free to tell the rest of the world, "I told you so," in the comments.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Predicting the 2014 Opening Day Lineup

August 26, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

In his short tenure as manager, Ryne Sandberg has used a different lineup almost every night.

For Sandberg, this is his chance to really learn the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of his players. He is learning through experience which players are best suited in which roles and this, of course, includes the order of the lineup.

And while Sandberg has been working with role players and guys who might not even be around next year, his Opening Day lineup is hopefully going to be the one he has to work with for all of the 2014 season. Ryan Howard is expected back, and his inclusion obviously shakes up the lineup.

But will Howard return to his cleanup role or has Domonic Brown locked that down? And what about leadoffis there really only one player suited for that role? Also, will Sandberg break up his lefties and have Darin Ruf hit in between Howard and Brown?

The first-year manager will have all of these questions to answer, but to help him out, here is the lineup that I expect to see take the field on Opening Day. From what the numbers show, this lineup looks to be particularly productive and has a lot of potential if all goes to form.

Based on this season and expectations for next, here is the lineup the Phillies should open the season with.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Latest Waiver Rumors on Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young

August 14, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

After standing pat at the trading deadline, which surprised most, the Philadelphia Phillies looked poised to turn to the waiver wire as a way to unload some of their aging veteran talent. Currently, the team has placed just Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young on waivers.

While both have cleared, no one has yet claimed the two veteran players.

It is unlikely Rollins and Young will be the only ones to go on waivers, however. Carlos Ruiz, a free agent at the end of the season, could be another name that joins the list. Cliff Lee, whom the LA Dodgers actually claimed off of waivers last year before the Phillies pulled him back, might also find himself back out there just to test the waters.

But currently it is just Young and Rollins, so here is a look at some of the waiver wire rumors concerning these two players.

 

The No-Trade Clause Killer

It is no secret that the Phillies would love to unload both Young and Rollins, but unfortunately it isn't as easy as that. Sure, the team could release the two players, but then it would get nothing in return and would still be forced to pay salary. It wouldn't be so bad for the free agent Young, but Philadelphia just re-inked Rollins last offseason, and he still has one year guaranteed left on his deal.

So the only option the Phillies have is to trade the former MVP, All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop.

The only problem is that Rollins has said in so many words that he isn't going anywhere.

Back in July, Rollins told David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that he has no intention of waiving his full no-trade clause, saying, "There are still a couple things I would like to be number one on the lists of in this organization, so until those things are done, I'm not going anywhere."

While people have questioned Rollins' apparent selfishness in making this decision, it doesn't change the fact that it is entirely within his rights to deny a trade. It doesn't matter what his reasons are—if Rollins wants to stay in Philly, he has the power to make that happen.

The same goes for Young, who seemed a surefire trade target back at the July trade deadline.

Young had suitors in the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but the state of his own no-trade clause was always in question. It was first reported that he was willing to waive to go to any contender, but as the deadline drew nearer, it seemed Young would only waive to go back to the Texas Rangers.

The status of Young's no-trade clause was never fully clear because at the last minute, it was reported by numerous sources that he had changed his mind and was willing to waive for Boston or New York (via MLB Trade Rumors).

But by that time, it seemed both teams have moved in another direction and maybe for the better. With Alex Rodriguez appealing his suspension, the Yankees no longer need a fill-in third baseman.

Boston perhaps still remains a possible destination for Young, and once again it is being reported by MLB Trade Rumors that he will waive to go to any contender

 

Michael Young to the Atlanta Braves?

With New York no longer a suitor and Boston possibly uninterested as well, might Young end up with the Braves?

One writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution seems to think so. With Dan Uggla going to the 15-day disabled list for eye surgery and not expected back until September, Mark Bradley thinks the Braves and Young are a perfect match.

And he isn't wrong. Young gives the Braves a much better backup option than Paul Janish, who just got his first hit in 26 at-bats this season. Young also has postseason experience, has played second base for a significant number of innings, and is hitting well enough this season.

It wasn't the most expected destination for Young, but with how things are shaking out, this is certainly going to be one to watch.

 

Is There a Market for Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz?

As of right now, there is no indication that either Papelbon or Ruiz will be moved at the waiver trade deadline. The Yankees did show interest in Ruiz according to Brian Cashman and MLB Trade Rumors, but the report says that Ruben Amaro told him Ruiz was unavailable.

Ruiz is going to be a free agent at the end of the season, but because of the recent catching situation, it looks more likely the Phillies will consider re-signing him.

Of course, the catching market will feature a pretty strong crop of guys and there are teams that could use Ruiz's defensive and game-calling abilities, but overall there seems to be no rush to move him. He hasn't even been placed on waivers.

The same goes for Papelbon. The only real suitor Papelbon had was the Detroit Tigers, but nothing materialized.

Papelbon is not having the best season, and his salary is astronomical. Even if the Phillies were to place him on waivers, which seems unlikely considering the state of their bullpen, it does not appear that any team wants to take on that kind of money for a closer.

The waiver deadline, in order for players to be eligible to be included on postseason rosters, is August 31. It will be interesting to follow the storylines of Rollins, Young, Ruiz, Papelbon and any other players the Phillies might put on the waivers.

Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on BleacherReport.com

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Trade Rumors: Last Minute Buzz Ahead of the Deadline

July 30, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

As the July 31st trade deadline is less than 48 hours away, the Philadelphia Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro have been making calls and listening to offers on just about every one of the team's top guys.

Included in this list are Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young.

Of course, some of those guys are going to be easier to move, some, as it turns out, the team doesn't want to move and some have no-trade clauses or incredible salaries that it will be near impossible to move.

Whatever the reason, the Phillies have to be considered sellers and it is only a matter of time until they finally trade away some of the veteran stars.

So as the so-called "eleventh hour" approaches, here is the latest trade chatter revolving around the Phillies.

All trade rumors are provided by MLB Trade Rumors unless otherwise stated. All rumors are updated as of Monday July 30, at 1 a.m.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Hottest and Coldest Players Heading into the Second Half

July 17, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

In the baseball season, it's not about how you start, but how you finish. And for the Philadelphia Phillies, this will be very important, as top-level performance in the second half will be required if the team hopes to complete the improbable task of earning a playoff spot.

In order to do this, the Phillies will rely on their veteran stars to provide the experience and leadership needed by a team in a playoff stretch run. Of course, they will also hope that certain players will get hot at just the right time.

Entering the All-Star break, there were a handful of players who were doing just that and heating up at the perfect time. However, there were also guys who had been cooling off.

The Phillies will need all of their players to perform at top level and to keep their momentum. They will need their hot guys to stay hot in the summer months and the cold guys to heat up quickly.

Until the second half begins though, here are four of the team's hottest players and four of the coldest players entering the grind of the second half.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Handing out 1st-Half Awards to Most Deserving Phillies

July 3, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

Obviously, it has not been the best year for the Philadelphia Phillies

Currently they have a 40-45 record, which is good enough for just third in the NL East. They are 9.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the division and 8.5 out of a playoff spot via the Wild Card. And yes, there is still time to turn it around, but it is looking more and more like the Phillies will be selling off at the July 31 trade deadline.

But before we get to that, it is time to acknowledge the fact that more than half of the season, 85 games to be exact, has been played.

Putting aside the negatives, the Phillies have had some exciting moments and some players that are worthy of being commended. It is likely very few of these players will receive recognition in the form of an end-of-the-year award or even an All-Star selection, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be acknowledged for strong first halves.

Consider this Philadelphia's very own award show, here to honor the first half of the season Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, MVP, Comeback Player of the Year, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. 

So, the envelopes please, because it is time to announce the midseason award winners for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

2013 MLB Draft: 8 Position Players Philadelphia Phillies Should Target

May 24, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

For the Philadelphia Phillies and all teams around baseball, the MLB amateur player draft, which takes place during the first week of June, is a chance for the team to really bolster what, in recent years, has been a barren and nearly decimated farm system.

The strength of the Phillies' farm system comes in the form of pitching, particularly left-handed pitching. In fact, since 2002, the Phillies have spent four of their six first-round picks on pitching, three of which, including Cy Young finalist Cole Hamels and minor league standout Jesse Biddle, were left-handers.

But while the pitching has been developed pretty well, many other areas, most notably at the corner outfield, have been neglected and sorely underdeveloped.

And for that reason, the Phillies should make the most of their four draft picks in the top 100 and their 16th overall pick, the highest since the team drafted Hamels in 2002.

While this draft has been considered a pitching-heavy one, there are plenty of good corner outfielders, as well as other positions, that are there to be had. There are also some standouts who might fall through the cracks and some guys with marginal talent who could end up being draft steals when all is said and done.

There are spaces throughout the minor league organization that need to be filled, and the Phillies will certainly have a group of talented guys to choose from.

So, in no particular order, here are eight position players the Phillies should consider drafting with some of their early picks.

  

All prospect rankings courtesy of Baseball America's Top 250 and MLB's 2013 Top 100 Draft Watch.
Scouting Grades courtesy of Jonathan Mayo (MLB's 2013 Top 100 Draft Watch).

 

Statistics courtesy of: Samford Baseball, Mississippi State Baseball, Stanford University Baseball, Fresno State Baseball

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: Handing Out First-Quarter Grades to the Players, Manager

May 15, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

After a tough first month and a half of the baseball season, filled with both ups and downs, it is time to hand out the first-quarter grades for the Philadelphia Phillies pitchers, position players and the manager.

Just like students get report cards, so too is each member of the Phillies roster. The report cards will look at what each player has done well, which areas could use improvement and some teacher comments describing why each player received the grade he did.

For position players, grades were assigned based on their offensive and defensive performance and then an overall grade was decided considering those two numbers as well as remaining factors explained in the comments section. Each of the 13 position players on the roster were given individual grades.

As for the pitchers, the bullpen was measured separately as was the starting staff. Each member of the starting staff was given a grade and it was factored in to give an overall grade for the rotation which included Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone.

The team was also graded as a whole on their offense which factored in league rankings and overall first-quarter numbers. Charlie Manuel was given a grade based on perceived managerial performance, decision making and the overall standing of the team.

Of course, like every report card you've ever gotten, it is just a measurement of where you currently stand, not where you are going. The grades represent the now, but for certain players, the expectation is improvement.

So take a look at the slides to see the grades for your favorite players. And feel free to comment on your own ideas of what the grades should be.

All stats courtesy of espn.go.com

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: 7 Prospects Who Are Tearing It Up in the Minor Leagues

May 6, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

After trading so many top talents to acquire Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence, among others, the Philadelphia Phillies may finally be starting to get back to having a serviceable farm system.

Most notably, the Phillies are stacked at the low levels of their organization with pitching talent. Most of the guys have been considered as three/four starters at best, but some arms, Jesse Biddle and Adam Morgan particularly, have distinction as No. 2's with Biddle even having the potential to be a top ace.

Then, of course, there are a handful of offensive players with skill and talent, including the young Kelly Dugan and Maikel Franco as well as Cesar Hernandez, who very well could be the heir apparent to Chase Utley if the Phillies choose not to re-sign their All-Star after this season.

The farm is not barren, and as the first month of the season has shown, there are some talented prospects making names for themselves.

And with that being said, here are seven prospects, some ranked, some not, who have really been tearing it up at their respective minor league levels. This list is not about those with the most potential but rather just looks at 2013 and the guys who have really performed well in this calendar year.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Players Who You Want Up Most with the Game on the Line

April 10, 2013 by Marilee Gallagher  
Filed under Fan News

Allow me to set the scene.

It is Game 7 of the World Series and your team, let's say the Philadelphia Phillies, is down by just one run in the bottom of the ninth. There are runners on second and third, so chances are any outfield hit is going to win the game. The problem is, the opposing team is throwing its closer and you are down to just one out, one strike remaining. This is your only chance to win the game.

And that is where the age-old, heavily debated, baseball question is asked: "With the game on the line, who do you want taking that final swing?"

Fans of every team everywhere and at every point in time have likely discussed, debated, analyzed and put some thought into who on their team they would want at the dish in a do-or-die situation.

The only problem for teams, however, is that more often than not, they really don't have a choice of who takes the final swing. In fact, unless a pinch hitter is substituted, whoever just so happens to be up is the guy who will bat.

So with that being said, there are of course reasons why you want Ryan Howard taking the final swing as opposed to Freddy Galvis, for example.

These reasons include a certain confidence factor, the all-important and hopefully ever-present "clutch gene," an overall recent body of work and of course, the ability to hit in tough situations with runners on base, an 0-2 count and an average with RISP.

Here are the five guys on the Phillies who meet most, if not all, of these requirements and really are the guys any fan would love to have at bat in the ninth inning or later with the game on the line.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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