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A Phillies 2014 Forecast, Part I: “The Emperor Has No Clothes”

I certainly wish Amaro was a little more Ben Franklin and a lot less Daft Punk as 2013's Song of the Summer, "Get Lucky", coincidentally captured the embattled GM's philosophy for this year's Phillies. When the song's lyrical hook defiantly proclaims, "We've come too far to give up who we are", I can easily see Ruben's head bobbing an arrogant yes, yes, yes to the beat en route to his office at One Citizens Bank Way. Unfortunately, who the Phillies are right now under Amaro's stubborn direction are a team that is painting themselves into a corner. The current roster carries several veterans already past their prime, but with very few promising young stars in the making ready to carry the torch.

I certainly wish Amaro was a little more Ben Franklin and a lot less Daft Punk as 2013’s Song of the Summer, “Get Lucky”, coincidentally captured the embattled GM’s philosophy for this year’s Phillies. When the song’s lyrical hook defiantly proclaims, “We’ve come too far to give up who we are”, I can easily see Ruben’s head bobbing an arrogant yes, yes, yes to the beat en route to his office at One Citizens Bank Way. Unfortunately, who the Phillies are right now under Amaro’s stubborn direction are a team that is painting themselves into a corner. The current roster carries several veterans already past their prime, but with very few promising young stars in the making ready to carry the torch.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via  http://www.oldcitybaseball.com – visit the website here

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“I live on a one-way street that’s also a dead end. I’m not quite sure how I got there.” Steven Wright, Comedian

Sounds about right.

It should be obvious to most that Ruben Amaro Jr.’s ego has been waging war against his own rational sense of decision-making and his ability to consider the future of this Phillies franchise since he was handed the keys to the palace back in November 2008.

A speckled and spotty track-record ripe with big-splash acquisitions along with several transactions banking on a player’s abilities of yesteryear–each of which left the cupboard mostly bare down on the farm–is all he has to show during his tenure as the big boss man.

Even the most optimistic of Philadelphia fans (including myself) now envision the Phillies ship as a tired, rudderless old vessel drifting through uncharted waters without a compass. How did it ever come to this?

Ryan Howards Injury 2011 NLDS


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Cliff Lee Is Dealing Right Now – But Will He Be Dealt?

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Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Cliff Lee is 83 - 35 with an under 3.00 ERA since the beginning of the 2008 season (.704).  In 2009 and 2010 Lee was a Trade Deadline acquisition that then proceeded to lead that new team to a World Series Birth.  Both teams ( PHI - 2009) and TEX (2010) lost those World Series.  Maybe a 3rd crack would see him net a title.  The 34 Year Old makes $25 MIL this year, plus $25 MIL for both of 2014 and 2015, he also has a Vesting Option for 2016 worth 2016 with $27.5 MIL - if he can pitch 200 IP in 2015 or a combined mark of 400 IP In 2014 and 2015.  The deal carries for a $12.5 MIL if he reaches these.  That means he could potentially make $62.5 MIL total for 2014 and 2015

Cliff Lee is 83 – 35 -with an under 3.00 ERA since the beginning of the 2008 season (.704). In 2009 and 2010,  Lee was a Trade Deadline acquisition – that then proceeded to lead that new team to a World Series Birth 2 years in a row. Both teams ( PHI – 2009) and TEX (2010) lost those World Series. Maybe a 3rd crack would see him net a title. The 34 Year Old makes $25 MIL this year, plus $25 MIL for both of 2014 and 2015, he also has a Vesting Option for 2016 worth 2016, worth $27.5 MIL – if he can pitch 200 IP in 2015 or a combined mark of 400 IP In 2014 and 2015. The deal carries for a $12.5 MIL Buyout if he reaches these. He could potentially make $62.5 MIL total for 2014 and 2015.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

I remember how I could hardly sleep on that Thirteenth night of December 2010. Rumors were abound that something secretive was simmering on the MLB Hot Stove involving Cliff Lee, but the teams involved weren’t 100% clear.

The Rangers, Yankees and Angels were all obvious suitors with suitcases stuffed with sawbucks, but a buzz was a-buzzing. You see, a mystery team was now in the hunt and with a belly full of butterflies, somehow I knew it was the Phillies as my head hit the pillow.

Cliff Lee was about to come home and for the first time since my early childhood, I awoke the next morning at 5:00 am without the help of an alarm to read the news. Cliffmas had, indeed, come early to Philadelphia.

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Phillies Riding The Roller Coaster Of Hope

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Sunday, June.16, 2013

It took the Philles 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series in 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009 and took home the Trophy in 2008.  The Phillies have finished .500+ or better for every year since 2002.  However 2012 saw their streak of 5 straight NL East Division Titles come to an end.  Now that they have started slow at 33 - 36 - can they come back to make the playoffs and a have a shot at a World Series  in 2013?

It took the Philles 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series in 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009 – while taking home the Trophy in 2008. The Phillies have finished .500+ or better for every year since 2002. However 2012 saw their streak of 5 straight NL East Division Titles come to an end. Now that they have started slow at 33 – 36 – can they come back to make the playoffs and a have a shot at a World Series in 2013?

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

Phillies 2013 Win-Loss Chart
http://patrickschneider.photoshelter.com

I hate roller coasters. I really do. Can’t ride them and won’t miss them if they ever went away. Maybe it’s the lack of control or just too many movies I’ve seen where the ride goes straight through the railing when it’s supposed to turn. Either way, I’m happy to hold your purses, jackets, hats and any other items while sitting on a bench planted firmly on the ground. Go ahead and enjoy the ride while I take inventory of all the other manly things I can do in this world.

Enter the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies. Lately, I get that same, uneasy feeling watching our fightin’ Phils rise and fall as they bring us all from agony to ecstasy, mostly in streaky stretches leaving us to believe they’re anything from world-beaters to bottom-feeders. Yet, here I sit again, watching the ride go up and down day in, day out while I cling on to what the team leaves me to hold: hope.

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The Delmon Young Effect Is Crippling The Phils Lineup: Does it Need To Be Eradicated?

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Sunday May.19, 2013

Delmon Young has not exactly lit up for the Phillies this campaign - hitting .208/.286/.619 and just 1 HR, plus 4 RBI in 48 AB.  Despite this abysmal start, Delmon Young might just hit 5th?  Really?

Delmon Young has not exactly lit it up for the Phillies this campaign – hitting .208/.286/.619 and just 1 HR, plus 4 RBI in 48 AB. Despite this abysmal start, Delmon Young is still going to  hit 5th Today? Really?

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

Charlie Manuel is, if not anything else, loyal to his players and his gut-feelings when it comes to filling out the Phillies lineup card every day. If it’s his dedication to Jimmy Rollins batting lead-off over the years or leaving Cliff Lee in for 120+ pitches when he might be cooked, he certainly honors a hunch for better or worse.

So it should come to no surprise there exists a strong belief in his mind that Delmon Young is the right-handed bat to protect Ryan Howard in the five-spot.

While maybe later this season that could eventually be true, the Delmon Young Effect has been plaguing the lineup over the past month after his return from an ankle injury.

Any batter entering into the MLB season a month late due to injury–and slightly out-of-shapedness–is going to play a little catch-up baseball at the plate and Young is certainly not an exception to the rule.

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Forget About The Ryan Howard Contract: Philly Fans Should Respect Him

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Monday May.06, 2013

Ryan Howard will need to remain healthy and be a force in the Phillies lineup. Howard is owed a Minimum of $105 MIL over 4 years (He is paid $20 MIL in 2013, and $25 MIL from 2014 - 2016 - with a $23 MIL Team Option (or a Buyout for $10 MIL)

Ryan Howard will need to remain healthy – and be a force in the Phillies lineup for the club to make a charge in the next 5 months of the year. Howard is owed a Minimum of $105 MIL over 4 years (He is paid $20 MIL in 2013, and $25 MIL per year from 2014 – 2016 – with a $23 MIL Team Option – or a Buyout for $10 MIL).

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

On Friday night, Phillies First Baseman, Ryan Howard, honored his favorite teacher as the Phillies celebrated Teacher Appreciation Night at Citizens Bank Park.

This is nothing out of the ordinary for “The Big Piece”, a nickname he acquired for obvious reasons other than its metaphor which tells us just how important he is to this team and this city.

After all, Ryan Howard is one of the team’s most charitable athletes and most visible volunteers in the community. His dedication to his adoptive city of Philadelphia has been felt through several charities such as Ryan Howard’s Celebrity Servers, his work with the Police Athletic League, and his pride & joy,The Ryan Howard Family Foundation.

The list of donations and events this charity has raised and participated goes on and on. Athletic equipment to city schools, scholarships to student athletes,Winter coats and warm meals for the hungry and indigent during the holidays just to name a few where Howard has touched the hearts of so many in our fine city, like this sweet, young boy this past Friday.

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Fixing The Phillies Offense: All Good Things To Those Who Wait

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Friday April 19, 2013

Ryan Howard once was an extremely great OBP Player before the last couple of years  In his MVP year (2006) - he was 5th in the NL with a .425 OBP.  He went for a .392 clip in 2007, before a precipitous fall to .339 in 2008.  2009 saw a .360 mark, 2010 - .353, 2011 - .346 and finally a Career Low in 2012 for the tune of a .295 OBP.  This year he is not much better at ,303.  Howard's Career 3 Slash Line is still .271/.363/911 but plummeting.

Ryan Howard once was an extremely great OBP Player before the last couple of years In his MVP year (2006) – he was 5th in the NL with a .425 OBP. He went for a .392 clip in 2007, before a precipitous fall to .339 in 2008. 2009 saw a .360 mark, 2010 – .353, 2011 – .346 and finally a Career Low in 2012 for the tune of a .295 OBP. This year he is not much better at ,303. Howard’s Career 3 Slash Line is still .271/.363/911 but plummeting.

By Chris Creighton (Phillies Correspondent via http://www.warrroomphilly.com – visit the website here

The late, great Harmon Killebrew, author of 573 Home Runs during his Hall of Fame career, was also exceptionally talented in another skill when he stepped to the plate: drawing Walks.

Charlie Manuel knows this better than most because he played alongside “Killer” for four years as a member of the Minnesota Twins in the late 1960’s. Over dinner, in the clubhouse and on the bench they’d talk baseball quite a bit, mostly about the art of hitting. Manuel said of Killebrew:

HR Derby Between Killerbrew vs Mantle Part 1:

HR Derby Between Killerbrew vs Mantle Part 2:

“Killer used to preach to me that the most important thing was getting strikes [to swing at]. He said he didn’t like to walk, but that he had to take pitches to get good strikes.”

 MLB.com / Hal Bodley, May 17, 2011

Killer was an 11 Time All - Star and an 7 time HR King. He also hit 40+ HRs 7 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career.  The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew's patience...He Walked 1559 times  in 2435 Games Played.  His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

Killer was an 11 Time All – Star and a 6 time HR King. He also hit 40+ HRs 8 times. The man had a Hall Of Fame Career. The Phillies could take a page out of Killebrew’s patience…He Walked 1559 times in 2435 Games Played. His 3 Career Slash was .256/.376/.884.

Amen to that. Killebrew didn’t need to say much at all on the matter as his patience did all his preaching for him. He led MLB in free passes four times in his career – with a high mark of 145 drawn in the 1969 season. It’s not a coincidence that he went on to hit 49 Home Runs and drive in 140 RBI that Summer. 

And in his best seasons, Killebrew would crack the 100-Walk plateau seven times while reaching 90+ Bases on Balls in three other campaigns.

Killebrew’s 1969 MVP season totals:

Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1969 555 106 153 20 2 49 140 145 84 .276 .427 .584 1.011

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/19/2013.

Returning to present day, the Phillies are mired in a severe slump where they’re finding runs are about as hard to produce as water from a dry sponge.

Our boys of Summer have been as impatient as children at church with little to no plan or approach at the plate, swinging their bats like orchestra conductors at a dubstep concerto.

Show a pitcher you’ll offer at a ball outside the zone and they’ll pitch it outside the zone. 

Too many Phillies batsmen have been all too eager to flail away in undisciplined fashion, such as Ryan Howard (3 Walks), Ben Revere (4), and even Chase Utley (4).

Of those three, only Utley is producing with two doubles, two triples, three home runs and 13 RBI, but with a very un-Utley-esque .339 OBP (career .379). Impatience has begotten impatience among the Phillies’ brass:

“Who wants to go for a walk?”
Courtesy of DelawareOnline.com

Please take note of that quote having been tweeted about two hours before game-time last night vs. St. Louis, a one-run loss which would also see the Phillies earn a big, fat zero in the walk column.

For those keeping score, that’s zero walks in four straight games. Clearly with no change in plans at the plate, our boys have forgotten that sometimes the best things in life are free.

The translation is quite simple, really, even in today’s game. So far in 2013, three of the top four National League teams in drawing walks (Reds, Rockies and Mets) are also the top three teams in runs scored.

And while the Phillies are ranked sixth in hits as a team, they are 14th (of 15 teams) in seeing ball four which again translates to scoring runs, where they rank 11th in the National League. Combine all of this with a third place ranking in Strikeouts (126), they currently sit 13th in the NL with an OBP of just .291.

To drive the point home, this is only slightly better than the cellar-dwelling Chicago Cubs and the lowly Miami Marlins. Yuck.

It took the Philles 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series in 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009 and took home the Trophy in 2008.  The Phillies have finished .500+ or better for every year since 2002.  However 2012 saw their streak of 5 straight NL East Division Titles come to an end.  Now that they have started slow at 6 - 10 - can they come back to make the playoffs and a have a shot at a World Series  in 2013?

It took the Philles 77 years to win their first World Series in 1980, however since that time, they have been to 4 more World Series in 1983, 1993, 2008 and 2009 – and took home the Trophy in 2008. The Phillies have finished .500+ or better for every year since 2002. However 2012 saw their streak of 5 straight NL East Division Titles come to an end. Now that they have started slow at 6 – 10 – can they come back to make the playoffs and a have a shot at a World Series in 2013?

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

A big thank – you goes out to our Philadelphia Phillies Correspondent Chris Creighton for preparing today’s featured post..  Chris is a Phillies Phan, Baseball fan & player. He thinks that there is no better place for food and is a  proponent of the city of Philadelphia. Huge U2 fan. Phillies writer at  http://www.warroomphilly.com .

Chris says:  “Follow a Web Show covering everything in the Philadelphia Sports Scene. Sit back and enjoy from the hearts of two die-hard Philly guys here !  You can follow Chris Creighton on Twitter or the WarRoomPhilly

a war room chris

Please e-mail me at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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