Phillies add starter John Lannan

Not long after nabbing reliever Mike Adams, the Phillies continued their offseason shopping by signing starting pitcher John Lannan to a 1-year, $2.5 million contract. The agreement comes a couple of days after reports surfaced that the team was looking for an inexpensive veteran to fill its fourth or fifth rotation spot.

Lannan is pretty much just rotational filler. There’s nothing sexy about his game; his skillset (or lack thereof) makes him a serviceable Major League starter and not much more. He doesn’t generate a lot of strikeouts (4.71 career K/9) and doesn’t make up for it with command (3.40 career BB/9). He can, however, induce ground balls at an above-average rate (53.0% career GB%, which places him 10th among active starting pitchers). Despite his pitch-to-contact style, he managed to post ERAs south of 4 in 2008, 2009, and 2011, and owns a very respectable 4.01 ERA over 6 big-league seasons. Continue reading

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Phillies sign Mike Adams

The Phillies and relief pitcher Mike Adams have agreed on a 2-year, $12 million contract with a vesting option for a third year. Adams has spent his past 5 seasons with Texas and San Diego, and figures to be Philadelphia’s primary setup man in 2013.

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Phillies trade for Michael Young

Another day, another deal for Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro. On Saturday he acquired Rangers infielder Michael Young in exchange for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla, ending the team’s search for a starting third baseman. Young will replace the departed Placido Polanco at third after playing just 25 games at the position in 2012.

From a Phillies fan’s perspective, giving up Lindblom and a minor league relief pitcher for Michael Young seems more reasonable than the Ben Revere trade. But isn’t Young, like, terrible? Continue reading

Phillies trade for Ben Revere

My internal dialogue today:

“The Phillies got Ben Revere? That’s ok, I guess…”

“They traded Vance Worley for Revere? Ugh..I don’t like this. But maybe I can deal with it.”

“Worley and Trevor May? Are you serious?”

The Phillies needed a center fielder and didn’t want to shell out the cash necessary to reel in B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, or Josh Hamilton from the free agent pond. I’m fine with that. The team’s payroll is already a little high, and there are other cheaper, more efficient options.

Trading for Ben Revere is not exactly what I’d had in mind. Continue reading

Is Dexter Fowler a fit for the Phillies?

It’s a buyer’s market for outfielders: Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, and B.J. Upton headline a star-studded 2013 free agent class. The Phillies need a center fielder, but may not have the financial flexibility — or stomach — to commit the amount of years and cash that a top-flight free agent, or even Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera, and, yes, Shane Victorino will demand.

The trade market is thin, but not completely barren; Dexter Fowler stands out as a somewhat intriguing name that could be available this winter. A 14th-round pick of the Rockies in 2004, Fowler was once one of the top prospects in baseball, hailed as a five-tool talent (although his power was questionable) and a star in the making who just needed to put it all together after a few eye-popping seasons in the minors. He hasn’t quite reached stardom — in fact, he hasn’t come anywhere close — and the shine has worn off considerably since then, but he quietly put together his most impressive campaign to date last season, notching 13 home runs, 72 runs scored, 53 RBI, 12 SB, a .300 batting average, and a stellar .389 on-base percentage. It sometimes feels like he’s been around for a decade, but Fowler will be just 27 come April 2013 (he was first called up at the tender age of 22). Continue reading

Is Chase Utley back?

Just a few weeks ago, it wouldn’t have been outlandish to wonder whether or not Chase Utley‘s career was finished. Or, at least, whether or not he would still be able to compete every day at an elite level.

Since at least 2010 — probably even 2009 — he’s been hindered by hushed-up chronic knee issues that have forced him to spend significant time on the disabled list in each of the past 3 seasons. And when he has been able to play, his knees have prevented him from generating much power from his lower body at the plate, as evidenced by the disturbing trend in his isolated power (ISO) between 2008 and 2011: .244 in ’08, .226 in ’09, .169 in ’10, and .166 in ’11. After averaging 29.2 home runs per year between 2005 and 2009, he hit just 27 in 2010 and 2011 combined. He also saw a spike in his ground ball rate in 2011, and balls simply weren’t jumping off his bat like they used to. Continue reading

On the Phillies’ 2013 draft strategy

We all know that the Phillies’ minor league system is not exactly stocked with talent. FanGraphs’ Marc Hulet ranked it 20th and BP’s Kevin Goldstein ranked it 29th (ouch) in the league during the preseason, and even with the prospects added by the trades of both Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence at this year’s deadline, it hasn’t really improved since then.
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Cliff Lee placed on waivers

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, the Phillies have placed starting pitcher Cliff Lee on waivers.

Nothing to worry about here; after a few hours, all the idiots will have found something else to tweet about, anyway.

To keep it as simple as possible: Continue reading

Appreciating Craig Kimbrel

I’ll be the first to admit it: I have a man-crush on Craig Kimbrel.

And since I’m very protective of my man-crush, I’ll say I don’t feel he gets the attention he deserves.

Yeah, he won the NL Rookie of the Year award last year. Yeah, he was an All-Star both this year and last. So people are definitely noticing him outside of Atlanta.  Maybe I just don’t feel like people appreciate him enough. Continue reading

Assessing the Phillies’ 2012 trade deadline

Yesterday was a pretty hectic day in Philadelphia. To review:

Out: OF Shane Victorino, OF Hunter Pence.

In: P Josh Lindblom, P Ethan Martin, OF Nate Schierholtz, C Tommy Joseph, P Seth Rosin, player to be named/cash. Continue reading