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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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Philadelphia Phillies Trade Possibilities

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Monday July.29, 2013

The year started with the struggles of one of their ace pitchers, followed by injuries off and on to other key players.  With Halladay potentially coming back at the end of the year, plus talk of possibly signing him to an incentive laden contract for 2014, added with a new deal for Chase Utley, the Phils are hoping to extend their chance of a contender for one more year.  Improved play from Domonic Brown and Ben Revere (before being hurt) - has cause for optimism in 2014.  They will need to find a 3B, Catcher and 3rd OF, however that won't require the farm being spent.  Today we examine the possible moves by Ruben Amaro Jr.  at the Trade Deadline

The year started with the struggles of two of their three ace pitchers, followed by injuries off and on to other key players – including Doc Halladaay. With their former ‘CY Young Winner’ potentially coming back at the end of the year, plus talk of possibly signing him to an incentive laden contract for 2014, added with a new deal for Chase Utley, the Phils are hoping to extend their chance of a contender for at least one more year ‘next campaign’. Improved play from Domonic Brown and Ben Revere (before being hurt) – also has cause for optimism in 2014. They will need to find a 3B, a Catcher, a new Closer and a 3rd OF, however that won’t require the farm being spent. Today we examine the possible moves by Ruben Amaro Jr. at the Trade Deadline this year before we get to that point.

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

The time has come, Phillies fans. Make no mistake about what you’re seeing on the field and reading in the papers, sell mode has now become a reality.

Perhaps I may be channeling my inner Captain Obvious, but for the sake of those still holding out hope, change is a-comin’.

After the ugliest road trip in recent memory mercifully came to an end, the Philadelphia Sports Media pulled no punches welcoming several Phillies players to Seller-dome.

Carlos Ruiz Highlights 2012 – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is Advised

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Mission Impossible: Trading Chase Utley

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Sunday July.28, 2013

 Several general managers around the league will be jockeying for position over the next few days to make their pitch to Ruben Amaro Jr. for the rights to employ Utley, who is arguably Philadelphia's most beloved & admired athlete in the city's history. However, even if Don Corleone made Amaro an offer he can't refuse, I'd tend to lean towards the belief that he'd send the horse head back with his deepest regrets. In the past 48 hours, there have been encouraging signs of a contract extension brewing between the Phillies and Utley.

Several general managers around the league will be jockeying for position over the next few days to make their pitch to Ruben Amaro Jr. for the rights to employ Utley, who is arguably Philadelphia’s most beloved & admired athlete in the city’s history. However, even if Don Corleone made Amaro an offer he can’t refuse, I’d tend to lean towards the belief that he’d send the horse head back with his deepest regrets. In the past 48 hours, there have been encouraging signs of a contract extension brewing between the Phillies and Utley.

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

There are some things in life that can never be done. For example, it is impossible to move your leg in a clockwise circle and simultaneously draw the number “6”.

Now that you know this, I’ll give you time to try it, go ahead. It is impossible to run in flip-flops…for which there should probably be an Olympic event.

It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open and finally, it’s GOT to be darned near impossible for the Phillies to trade Chase Utley. Right?

2009 World Series – Chasey Utley HR Highlights

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Phillies Getting Downright Offensive

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Friday, June.07, 2013

Domonic Brown remains hotter than a pistol, and it is almost a surprise when he doesn't hit a HR these days.  In his last 13 Games Played, the man from Stone Mountain, Georgia is batting .400 (20 - 50), with 10 HRs, 1 - 3B and 1 - 2B and 19 RBI.  His Slugging Percentage is 1.060 and his OPS is 1.494 - while actually having Walked 3 times in the last week.

Domonic Brown remains hotter than a pistol, and it is almost a surprise when he doesn’t hit a HR these days. In his last 13 Games Played, the man from Stone Mountain, Georgia is batting .400 (20 – 50), with 10 HRs, 1 – 3B and 1 – 2B and 19 RBI. His Slugging Percentage is 1.060 and his OPS is 1.494 – while actually having Walked 3 times in the last week. A slight adjustment of moving closer to the plate – and inviting the inside pitch to turn on – is credited for the remarkable turnaround.  He was recently named MLB Reports Player Of The Month.

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

The Phillies arrived in Milwaukee last night having won their previous four games by scoring seven runs in each of the first three games during this streak and finished the home stand with a six-run outburst on Wednesday afternoon.

Tack on another five runs in last night’s solid win over the Brewers and we have ourselves an offense that is officially getting hot in five consecutive wins. 

But it’s not just the bats talking the talk, the Phillies are finally walking the walk to the tune of 37 free passes in their last 10 games. That’s 16 more walks drawn than in the previous 10 contests.

Setting the table for the meat of the lineup has been Jimmy Rollins, who has drawn 11 bases on balls in that same period along with Ryan Howard strolling for five.

D.Brown’s HRs  versus the Red Sox

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The Phillies Patience At The Plate Is Painfully Petulant: Brown Has Carried The Club In May With 10 HRs

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Thursday May.30, 2013

Jimmy Rollins (.309) and Ben Revere (.302) were the only regulars in the lineup last night to feature an OBP of over .300.  Despite that, plus a 1 - 8 start from Cole Hamels - and losing Roy Halladay for the season, the club is within 1 win of .500 heading into their 54th game tonight.  Otherwise know as the 1/3rd mark through the season.

Jimmy Rollins (.309) and Ben Revere (.302) were the only regulars in the lineup last night to feature an OBP of over .300. Despite that, plus a 1 – 8 start from Cole Hamels – and losing Roy Halladay for the season, the club is within 1 win of .500 heading into their 54th game tonight. Otherwise know as the 1/3rd mark through the season.  Domonic Brown has hit 5 HRs in his last 5 games – and 10 for the month of May.  The problem is that no one is on base when he is doing this damage.  The team enters play today only 5.5 Games behind NL East leading  Braves.  The club is also without Chase Utley right now.

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

We woke up today with the Phillies still flirting with our feelings by taking two steps forward, three steps back over the long weekend, unable to overtake the struggling Washington Nationals for second place while falling flat in Boston on Monday.

However, with the team driving in a division where neither of the top three teams seem to want to take the wheel and steer it to Titletown, the Phillies still remain within a decent hot streak of making some noise and maybe gaining some confidence in the process.

With the Memorial Day weekend in the rear view mirror, there’s no more room for excuses and it’s certainly getting a little too late to say “It’s early” anymore as almost a third of the season is in the history books.

Luckily for the Phillies, they are playing in a division which many might call weak with the Braves and Nationals battling their own demons. Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over the Red Sox was sweet, but in reality was largely due to Cliff Lee limiting the Boston nine to only four hits over eight innings.

The Nationals and Braves were busy yesterday polishing off their own victories plating nine and seven runs respectively.

Cliff Lee May 6th Start

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Domonic Brown Has Heated Up For The Phils: It Is Time The Rest Caught Up

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Sunday May.26, 2013

With six of his nine home runs and 16 of his 27 RBI's coming in the last 21 games, it would not surprise me to see Brown bat more often in the 5-hole behind  vs. any opposing team's right-handed pitching.

With six of his nine Home Runs and 16 of his 27 RBI coming in the last 21 games, it would not surprise me to see Brown bat more often in the 5-hole behind vs. any opposing team’s right-handed pitching. If only the rest of the Phillies could be producing like Brown has been lately, there would be another chance to win an NL East Division like shown here. The ‘Phightins’ have a chance to draw even with the Nationals today – and claim a record of .500 once again at 25 – 25.

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

Domonic Brown is starting to put it together again. Well, almost. He’s had quite a productive month of May, but with one glaring statistical anomaly: Domonic Brown hasn’t taken a walk since April 30th.

Hard to ride him on it since he’s been semi-raking, but no doubt teams will begin to notice that he’s recognizing fat pitches to drive early in the count. Over the next series or two you will see that opposing teams will be very cautious in their introductions to Brown, that is if their scouts are any good.

It will be up to Dom Brown to make the adjustment and wait them out in order to continue on his torrid pace. He may actually have to take a walk or two, but in my opinion, that will only help his cause.

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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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Phillies Back To .500 After Chase Continues Hot Streak

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Saturday April 13, 2013

Chase Utley has seen a great start to the 2013 Season - after being hurt for most of the 2012 year.  He clubbed the Game Winning RBI in yesterday's 3 - 1 decision over the Phillies.  The Second Baseman is in the last year of his contract and would stand to benefit from a season put up like his 1st 10 games.

Chase Utley has seen a great start to the 2013 Season – after being hurt for most of the 2012 year. He clubbed the Game Winning RBI in yesterday’s 3 – 1 decision over the Phillies. The Second Baseman is in the last year of his contract and would stand to benefit from a season put up like his 1st 10 games. His 2013 – 3 Slash Line is .316/372/1.004 so far – with 2 Home Runs, 2 Doubles, 2 Triples and 10 RBI.  If the club could see Ryan Howard join Utley’s production, we are talking about a vaunted Philadelphia lineup sure to impose its will on its opposition again!

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

No one has ever questioned Chase Utley‘s hands. The knees, maybe, but never the hands and he most certainly put them to good use at the most crucial time in last night’s Extra – Inning affair in Miami. Turns out, the knees are just fine, too!

Batting with one out and the score tied 1-1, the Phillies’ resident speedster, Ben Revere, smoked a 10th Inning single to right field off of the Marlins 6’11” giant, Jon Rauch. After a pop-out by Jimmy Rollins, it was Utley’s turn to slay Goliath with Revere still on first.

With the count full and Revere running on the pitch, Utley drilled a chin-high pitch over the First Baseman’s head for a laser down the line.

Revere could have moonwalked home from third as the ball rolled deep into the corner of cavernous Marlins Park. Utley hustled the hit into a sliding triple and after Ryan Howard was Intentionally Walked, Chase scored on a Michael Young single up the middle. 

Chase Utley Speaks About playing a full season in 2013:

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