Tag:Phillies
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 12:19 am
 

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?



By Matt Snyder

Well that was fun. An entire month of Homegrown teams has now been concluded. Now it's time to see how this thing would play out -- and let's avoid any "realistic" talk. Nothing about this is realistic. It's an exercise intended for fun and entertainment.

If you need to review the teams, go check out our landing page, where there's a link to the Homegrown unit from each of the 30 teams.

We'll run through this thing division by division, then the playoffs and then pick a Homegrown World Series champion. I encourage the comments section at the bottom of this post to be used for you readers to do this on your own as well, doing as much as every single divisional breakdown or as little as simply posting your World Series picks. Let's get interactive and discuss, as this is a truly subjective exercise. I also have no doubt some people will post comments telling us we're idiots for predicting the Mariners to win the AL West, for example, thinking this is predictions for the real 2012 season. When that happens, please direct them to this paragraph. Thanks in advance for your help.

[Note: I'll put our staff rankings in parentheses, but those are the average of rankings by three of us -- editor Michael Coulter and bloggers C. Trent Rosecrans and myself. The picks below are only mine, so there could be some differences.]

AL EAST
1. Blue Jays (5)
2. Rays (6)
3. Red Sox (7)
4. Yankees (16)
5. Orioles (30)

We do an exercise like this and we end up right back where reality is: With the AL East having three of the best 10 teams in baseball. Of course, the Yankees aren't included this time, so there is some variety here ... except for last place.

AL CENTRAL
1. Royals (10)
2. Indians (11)
3. Tigers (17)
4. White Sox (24)
5. Twins (27)

The division lacks elite teams and I could see arguments for either the Royals or Indians. Maybe even the Tigers. I ultimately went with the Royals because I like their lineup and getting Zack Greinke back atop the rotation gives a boost.

AL WEST
1. Mariners (1)
2. Angels (15)
3. Rangers (23)
4. A's (26)

I feel like Seattle would have this thing clinched in early September. The other three aren't even close here.

NL EAST
1. Braves (2)
2. Phillies (8)
3. Nationals/Expos (9)
4. Mets (14)
5. Marlins (20)

Very strong division here, as I wrote that the Mets Homegrown unit would challenge for the NL wild card. It's just that three teams in this division (and two more in the West) happen to very clearly be better.

NL CENTRAL
1. Cardinals (13)
2. Pirates (12)
3. Astros (21)
4. Reds (18)
5. Brewers (25)
6. Cubs (29)

Like the AL Central, this is a sub-par division. In the rankings where three of us voted, the Pirates edged out the Cardinals, but I still think the Cardinals' Homegrown team is a bit better and these are my picks. Definitely feel free to do something different in your own picks below -- and I know my boy Trent would. I do think 83-85 wins would take this thing, though, and the winner would be destroyed in the first round of the playoffs.

NL WEST
1. Diamondbacks (3)
2. Dodgers (4)
3. Rockies (19)
4. Giants (22)
5. Padres (28)

Two-horse race here, as both the D-Backs and Dodgers came out ranked in our top four overall. The other three teams in this division aren't even .500 ballclubs in this exercise.

PLAYOFFS

AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays
NL Wild Card: Los Angeles Dodgers

ALDS
Blue Jays over Royals in 3
Mariners over Rays in 5

NLDS
D-Backs over Cardinals in 3
Braves over Dodgers in 5

ALCS
Mariners over Blue Jays in 7

NLCS
Braves over D-Backs in 6

THE HOMEGROWN WORLD SERIES
Mariners over Braves in 7

Can we say it was a pitchers' duel for the ages in Game 7 with Adam Wainwright vs. Felix Hernandez? Sure, why not? This is just for fun anyway.

So those are my picks. Again, make your own below and we can compare.

CONCLUSION

I probably don't have to do this, but I felt like clarifying a few things. First of all, you know how sometimes people leave comments like "it must be a slow news day!" like it's some kind of huge insult? Yeah, it's actually true some of the time -- especially in the offseason. Aside from the whirlwind that is the Winter Meetings -- and this year's version was insane -- the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas in baseball can be a collective "slow news day." And we knew this. So we came up with the idea to run this series, as it would give us something of substance every single day for 31 days (including this recap).

Now, we didn't just do it to kill time. That would be a waste of readers' time. We wanted to do something that was a bit unique, interesting and also fun. Making fictional lineups is pretty fun for any die-hard baseball fan. Think about, is an "All-Star team of players over 30 years old" really worth anything but a fun discussion? No. It's entertainment for those of us who love talking baseball. That's what the Homegrown series was all about. If you aren't a die-hard fan or hate ever thinking about something unrealistic, it's not for you, and that's OK.

Most of the feedback we got was good. Some was really bad, but that's the way things go. No exercise is ever going to be universally accepted, especially when the Internet provides the cloak of anonymity and someone can just type "this is awful, you suck" and then move along to the next page. For everyone who weighed in, thanks for the feedback. We appreciate all comments, both good and bad -- but mostly, we were happy to see that so many did find it interesting and fun. That was the goal.

As for any "flaws" in this exercise, if one was trying to draw some broad, sweeping conclusion, there would be many flaws. The Yankees, for example, are generally always picking in the last few picks of the first round in the MLB Draft and also lose picks frequently as they sign top-shelf free agents. On the other hand, teams like the Rays, Pirates and Royals have enjoyed quite a few chances to pick toward the top of the draft and to also nab supplemental picks as free agents depart. Plus, there's a reason there are real-life trades: Because no team could possibly have enough foresight on how prospects turn out and put together a well-rounded roster from draft/international signings only.

Also, in an effort to avoid inconsistency, we only used the 40-man rosters and major-league free agents. If a player is retired or in the minors and not yet on a 40-man roster, we didn't use him. Several Giants fans, for example, really wanted prospect Gary Brown to be used as the center fielder, but he's not on the 40-man (yet). I understand that if this was a realistic scenario, the ballclub might more quickly promote a guy to fill a hole, but, again, this wasn't meant to be "realistic" in any stretch of the term. And on Brown specifically, he spent 2011 in High-A ball, so he's hardly big-league ready.

We knew all of these so-called "flaws" heading in. I cannot possibly stress enough that the object of this series was for entertainment and nothing more. There's no need to go thinking too hard about it or getting worked up about your favorite team being either over- or underrated. Who cares? This isn't reality. Take the series for what it's meant to be.

Most of all, we thank our readers for taking part in this fun little exercise and encourage each and every one of you to post your rankings or standings or simply pick a World Series champion below. The beauty of it is there's no wrong answer, as it is entirely subjective. Get the discussion going as you sit in the office with nothing to do on the last day before Christmas weekend.

We have had a few requests for possibly doing these again next year -- but instead placing the players on the team they debuted in the majors with. That's definitely something we'll look into. We take all feedback seriously here at Eye On Baseball.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Citizens Bank Park undergoing makeover

By Matt Snyder

Inspired by colleague Brian Stubits' post about the awesome mask Philadelphia Flyers' goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (and I thought Rzepczynski was hard to spell) is going to wear for the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, I decided to grab some pictures of the transformation going on at Citizens Bank Park. This is all being done in preparation for the game between the Flyers and the New York Rangers on New Year's Day.

For more on the actual Winter Classic, make sure to head on over to Eye On Hockey. We'll just stick to the stadium, as this is a baseball blog.

Here's a view from the first-base side of the stadium. The rectangle in the middle that isn't yet covered is where the actual action will happen in the Winter Classic.



This appears to be the press box view, where you can get a look at all the changes, including the temporary seating being added to center field.



An even higher view, which is pretty breathtaking. Again, that free rectangle along the upper half of the infield is where the ice will be set and the action will take place.



And the view from the right-field corner.



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Posted on: December 20, 2011 11:45 am
 

Wade re-joins Phillies, prepared for backlash

By Matt Snyder

Former Phillies and Astros general manager Ed Wade is back with the Phillies, this time in a scouting capacity. He will be a major- and minor-league scout while also helping with arbitration cases, the team announced Tuesday.

But that's not really why we're writing about it. No, this story is only interesting because of a quote from Wade.

"I'm prepared for the remarks that I only traded with the Phillies so [Phillies general manager] Ruben [Amaro, Jr.] would give me a job if I got fired," Wade said (Zachary Levine via Twitter).

Now that's funny. Does Wade listen to Houston sports talk radio or read message boards? Sure sounds like it.

Wade is close friends with Amaro -- in fact, Philly.com notes Wade is the Godfather to one of Amaro's daughters, but that hasn't been the problem for Astros fans. Wade has also traded Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence to the Phillies over the past several seasons in three different trades, making it kind of a running joke amongst many baseball fans.

Hey, at least Wade is ready to take the flack.

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Rollins, Phillies agree to 3-year deal

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jimmy Rollins will return to the Phillies, agreeing to a three-year deal with a vesting option for a fourth year, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller confirms.

Rollins was the No. 2 shortstop on the market, but saw his options dwindle after the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, the Cardinals re-sign Rafael Furcal and Milwaukee signed Alex Gonzalez.

Rollins has spent his entire career with the Phillies, who drafted him in the second round of the 1996 draft.

CBSSports.com's Free Agent Tracker

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Posted on: December 17, 2011 8:34 am
 

Yoenis Cespedes strikes back with new video

Yoenis Cespedes
By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Marlins, Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers and Cubs have all seen Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes work out -- and how do we know? Cespedes' agent has released another video on YouTube, featuring Cespedes' workouts and pictures of the 26-year-old with the likes of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager Ozzie Guillen, Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan, the Phillies' Pat Gillick and the Tigers' Willie Horton. There's also video of what the caption tells us is a private workout for the Cubs.

While the new video isn't as entertaining or outlandish as the one that introduced us to Cespedes last month, but it does show a lot more of why teams are interested in him -- as Cespedes not only shows off his impressive workout skills, but also baseball skills in nearly 10 minutes of batting practice footage, in addition to sprints and outfield drills.

Sadly, there are no cooking segments this time, even though the Star Wars-style intro remains, but there is a bonus scene after the credits, so make sure you stick around.

H/T: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:32 am
 

Dontrelle Willis signs with Phillies



By Matt Snyder


The once-relevant Dontrelle Willis has gotten another shot -- this time on a team with a great pitching staff. The 29-year-old left-hander has signed with the Phillies, CBSSports.com Jon Heyman is reporting. The signing is pending a physical.

Willis won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2003 and was the runner-up in Cy Young voting in 2005, but he regressed in 2006, fell apart in 2007 and hasn't been able to do much of anything since. He was even demoted all the way to Class A at one point. Last season, he started 13 games for the Reds, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.

With the Big Three, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick in Philly, don't expect the artist formerly known as D-Train to see the rotation anytime soon.

List of MLB free agents

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Phillies trade Ben Francisco to Blue Jays

By Matt Snyder

The Phillies have traded outfielder Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league pitcher Frank Gailey, the Phillies announced Monday.

Francisco, 30, hit .244 with 10 doubles, six home runs and a .704 OPS in 293 plate appearances, serving as a backup outfielder for the NL East champions. He came through with a huge three-run home run, which ended up being the game-winner, in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cardinals.

After having acquired Laynce Nix, the Phillies didn't have much more use for Francisco. Aside from All-Star outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, the Phillies also have John Mayberry, Nix and Domonic Brown.

As for the Blue Jays, they now have a pretty crowded outfield -- assuming no more trades are in the works. In addition to 2010-11 MVP candidate Jose Bautista, Eric Thames, Colby Rasmus, Travis Snider, Rajai Davis and Francisco could all figure in the mix.

Gailey is a 26-year-old left-hander. He went 5-6 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 61 strikeouts in 74 innings across both High-A and Double-A. At that age and in that level of the minors, he's obviously just organizational depth for the Phillies.

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Cardinals, Furcal agree to 2-year deal

Rafael Furcal

By C. Trent Rosecrans

While the Angels were welcoming Albert Pujols in a pep rally in Anaheim, the Cardinals have agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal with shortstop Rafael Furcal, pending a physical, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler confirms.

Furcal joined the Cardinals at the trade deadline along with case in return for minor-league outfielder Alex Castellanos. Furcal helped sure up the Cardinals' defense on their way to a World Series title.

The 34-year-old hit .255/.316/.418 in 50 games during the regular season with the Cardinals after hitting just .197/.272/.248 for the Dodgers in the final year of his three-year, $30 million deal with the Dodgers.

Furcal played in just a total of 87 regular-season games in 2011 and has played in more than 100 games in a season just once in the last four years..

With the Cardinals' keeping Furcal, it appears Jimmy Rollins doesn't have any more leverage with other teams and will most likely return to the Phillies. The Cardinals and Brewers were the other spots with shortstop openings and money to spend, but St. Louis went with Furcal and Milwaukee turning to Alex Gonzalez

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com