Liz Roscher: Navigating the Choppy Waters of Baseball Romance Novels, from our very own blog mistress, at the site Old Time Family Baseball. Whether you have any interest in baseball romance novels or (more likely) not, this is highly recommended.
Roy Halladay, Brad Lidge among guest spring instructors -- also included: Sarge, LA, Dave Hollins:
In all, the Phillies will have 26 coaches at this year's spring training workouts. Noticably absent is Phillies great Mike Schmidt, who served as a guest instructor for 11 springs.
What can Abreu do for you?, posted at The Hardball Times hours before it was announced he signed with the Phillies:
At this point, Abreu is probably a platoon player and shouldn't even own a glove, but if he's interested in returning to major league baseball, there's probably a team that could use his bat. Teams like the A's—or the Rays, who have a solid DH option in Matt Joyce but are always looking to be creative—have a propensity for using players in situations which fit them best and giving them the best opportunity to succeed. They could milk the final productive at-bats out of Abreu's storied career.
The Phillies Have Had A Relatively Good Off-Season from Bill Baer at Crashburn Alley:
Did Amaro’s moves this off-season make the Phillies significantly more likely to compete for the post-season? Not really. But there were no moves the Phillies could have made that would allow them to compete without punting future seasons. The Phillies were always going to be mediocre in 2014. The next-best thing is having a cautious approach. While it was Amaro who put the team in this position with some poor decisions in the past, he deserves credit for putting the team in a better position to be a consistent, long-term winner with his restrained approach to the off-season.
Masahiro Tanaka: New York Yankee - FanGraph's initial take on the signing.
Put the numbers together and it’s a commitment similar to the one the Tigers made to Justin Verlander and that the Mariners made to Felix Hernandez, and while you can’t just add the posting fee to the salary total like that, and while the opt-out clause has its own value, and while some extra time has passed, and while this is the Yankees, and while those other guys weren’t free agents, it’s clear that Tanaka isn’t expected to contribute a serviceable 33 starts. Regardless of the fact that this is Yankees money, the expectation is that Tanaka will pitch like an ace. At least, like he’ll pitch like a good No. 2.
Ubaldo Jimenez's Interesting Approach at Beyond the Box Score, looks at one of the more coveted free agent pitchers now that Tanaka is off the market:
Ubaldo Jimenez displays one of the most nuanced approaches that I've ever seen. Generally speaking, many pitchers customize their approach depending on handedness of the batter and even the count. What you don't typically see, however, is a pitcher with a repertoire like Jimenez who uses his pitches in such specific ways.
Jose Fernandez and Bryce Harper have company: the NL All-Minimum team, also at BtB. There is an all-NL East team, and the Phils have three representatives.
Determining the most well-rounded player seasons at BtB, again. This article tries to determine a Well-Rounded Index by looking for players who ranked high in hitting, fielding, and base running. In addition to the best and worst seasons in this regard, it includes this list of players with the highest career WR Index:
|Name||Average WR Index|
Not. Bad. BTW, digging into the data that's linked there shows that Mike Schmidt would be ranked 16th all time on this list.
Chooch turns 35 today (Jan 22). He had kind of a late start to his career, and so he is now looking to become only the 25th player ever (and the 6th catcher) to have less than 700 hits through age 34, and at least 300 from age 35 on.
By the way, he will be one of 9 players in Clearwater this Spring who will be 35 or older by opening day:
Ruiz, Adams, Lee, Rollins and Utley 35, Byrd and Nieves 36, Shawn Camp 38, and Abreu 40
Hawaiian Henry Kawaihoa "Prince" Oana was born on this date in 1910. He was a career minor leaguer, with the exception of a few cups of coffee in the majors. His first major league appearance was as a 24-year-old outfielder for the Phillies in 1934, appearing in just six games. Over a 23-year career in the minor leagues, he collected 2,292 hits and also won 80 games after being converted from outfielder to pitcher in his 30s by manager Rogers Hornsby.
SABR has a long bio of him:
Short of players because of World War II, the Texas League suspended operations from 1943 through 1945. At that time, the legendary promoter Bill Veeck owned the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. Veeck, who infused his hustling carny spirit into all his operations, paid Fort Worth $500 down, with $4,500 to come if Oana was not called into the armed forces.
The Prince joined in Veeck’s fan-pleasing adjunct entertainment. He played banjo in manager Charlie Grimm’s jug band, "Grimm’s Garglers."