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You Never Sausage A Post: Phillies Snowstorm Links

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What team has foiled projections even more than the Royals? Also Phillies position battles, the future of the sport, and much much more.

Phillies

Birthday boy Carlos Ruiz exemplifies 'emotional intelligence' | Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
"Chooch was awesome," Rupp said of teammate Carlos Ruiz. "Completely unselfish. "He’s one of the best guys in our clubhouse. I can’t tell you how much he helped me." Rupp proceeded to tell how much Ruiz helped and supported him.

Bob Brookover: Phillies' 2016 dilemma - What to do with Ryan Howard?
...the relatively new manager of the Phillies talked about the dinosaur that will still be in the room when his team gathers for the start of spring training next month down in Clearwater, Fla.

DH to NL gathering steam: this could be a boon for the Phillies
The DH will make it easier for a big market team to build a productive lineup by enabling it to outbid other clubs for offense at another non-premium position in order to make up for the market-wide lack of offense at premium positions (like short stop, second base and center field).

Could the Phillies have bought a contending team for next season? - SBNation.com
(ICYMI) It was a buyer's market, and the Phillies are a large-market team spending like a small-market one. Let's give them as many free agents as possible and see if they could compete in the NL East.

Phillies History: Mike Schmidt Begins
Thanks largely to an error by Money, the Mets scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the 1st inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Owens, tired of the sloppy play, decided to make a move. When the Mets came to bat in the top of the 2nd, the manager had replaced Money with the youngster Schmidt at 3rd base.

Phillies great Mike Schmidt feared death before beating skin cancer | NJ.com
He's won the battle, but now is so concerned about being in the sun that that he opts to sit in a shaded cart between shots when golfing near his home in Jupiter, Fla.

Phillies Philography: Sherry Magee
"A man for whom it is easy to conceive a great liking or a passionate hatred," And "probably the best all-around ball player in the National League," in the early 1910s.

Hollands visits team doctor in Philly, progressing well | Phillies Nation
Hollands, who was the Phils’ 10th round draft selection in 2010 out of UC Santa Barbara, was sidelined last year during spring training, and soon underwent UCL reconstructive (Tommy John) surgery.

Another Mystery Face " Phillies Insider
1,979. That’s how many players have worn a Phillies uniform since 1883, the ball club’s first season.  Will someone be #2,000 this season?  Dennis Orlandini, an ardent Phillies follower, alerted us of that possibility.  He also said 1B Earl Torgeson became #1,000 in 1953.

Crashburn Alley – Looking Forward to the 2016 Season
Though the on-field product doesn’t portend to be great, the 2016 season may be the most entertaining and exciting season for Phillies fans since 2011.

Pete Mackanin: Phillies must compete for jobs | phillies.com
That leaves one job up for grabs. Candidates include right-handers Vincent Velasquez, David Buchanan, Alec Asher and Severino Gonzalez and left-handers Brett Oberholtzer and Adam Morgan.

Phillies Playing Time Battles: Pitchers | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
Their 5.23 ERA barely outperformed the Rockies (5.27 ERA). Of course, the Phillies didn’t have to regularly pitch at Coors Field. In any case, they’ll be better this year.

Five takeaways from the Philadelphia Phillies' Winter Banquet in Reading - The Morning Call
Phillies president Andy MacPhail says it's all about developing starting pitching. Manager Pete Mackanin said there will be no closer-by-committee. Pitcher Aaron Nola went north in the offseason. Catcher Cameron Rupp (and his favorite NFL team) went south.

Prospect Watch: Top 10 Catchers for 2016 | MLB.com
3. Jorge Alfaro, Phillies Alfaro's 2015 season was derailed by ankle surgery in June, but the injury didn't stop the Phils from acquiring him at the Trade Deadline as part of the Cole Hamels blockbuster.

NL East

Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper beware: Bastardo tough on lefties
The Mets picked up a relief pitcher with impressive history against a couple of the team's top rivals. A look at Antonio Bastardo's success.

Braves feel good about future of organization | MLB.com
The Atlanta Braves are in a good place. That's the one thing everyone in the organization can say for sure now. There's more work to be done, but there's an inner confidence about what has already been done and even more about what's ahead.

Sources: Yoenis Cespedes torn between five-year offer from Nationals and his desire to stay with Mets, who won't go beyond three years | FOX Sports
According to two sources with knowledge of his thinking, he prefers to stay with the Mets.

Mets, Cespedes Discussing Three-Year Deal With Opt-Out Clause - MLB Trade Rumors
While the Nationals are said to have made a five-year contract offer to Yoenis Cespedes, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Mets are now discussing a three-year contract which would include an opt-out provision after the first year of the deal (Twitter link).

Can the Nats be the Pats? Washington will try again for postseason success | SI.com
Four years after the Nats were poised to take baseball by storm, their instability and underachieving ways leave them looking nothing like New England. When a Washington season goes sideways, the team has no success in the vault on which to draw. The pressure to advance at least to the NLCS grows greater upon every empty year.

2016 MLB Arbitration Visualization | FanGraphs Baseball
For example, the Phillies:

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Around the League

Joe Blanton, and Other Ray Searage Success Stories | FanGraphs Baseball
For how often you hear of Ray Searage being a wizard, capable of fixing any flawed pitcher, consider this: during Searage’s time in Pittsburgh, only two relievers have posted a better ERA than Blanton’s from last season, given a low minimum of 30 innings pitched.

Video review expands to placing runners on fan interference - Yahoo Sports

Major League Baseball is making a slight expansion of instant replay this year, allowing video reviews to assist umpires in placing baserunners when balls go out of play.

MLB moves non-waiver trade deadline back to August 1 - CBSSports.com

Let's move the Major League Baseball trade deadline back to August 15
It's time baseball pushed back the non-waiver trade deadline and simply eliminated the waiver trading period altogether.

The Hidden Moves of the Offseason | FanGraphs Baseball
This is just about finding teams who can likely expect an overall bounceback from their core group of returning players, or perhaps an overall regression. It’s about reminding ourselves not to forget the hidden part of the offseason’s calculus.

I Still Don’t Understand A.J. Preller | FanGraphs Baseball

Winter Report Card: Diamondbacks go for broke in bold, risky off-season | SI.com
Still, the massive overpay in the Miller deal raises questions about what general manager Dave Stewart and head of baseball operations Tony La Russa are doing, and how much pressure Kendrick is applying in order to get results sooner rather than later.

The Royals Haven’t Been the Projections’ Biggest Miss | FanGraphs Baseball
We’ve had so many conversations about how maybe there’s something about the Royals. It’s good that we’ve had those conversations, and many of them have been enlightening, but there’s been a sort of bias, because of how far the Royals have gotten in the playoffs. Even now, we know the playoffs are pretty random, and with that in mind, we should be having the same conversations about how maybe there’s something about the Pirates. They’ve earned it just as much. I guess you could say even a little more.

One Hidden Reason for Why Velocity’s Up | FanGraphs Baseball
Velocity is up in the game for any number of reasons, and it doesn’t have to all be about the new youth. A critical piece is the hard-throwing new guys. But you also have to keep in mind the old guys. Their fastballs don’t just go away. Not always, not if they don’t let them.

Johnny Cueto’s Lost Counts | FanGraphs Baseball
Going back several seasons, Cueto’s place on the leaderboard of 0-2 counts lost to walks remains equally eye-popping.

Petco and Safeco, Three Years In | FanGraphs Baseball
...three years ago, Petco Park and Safeco Field debuted new dimensions. ... So now that we have a good amount of data, let’s see how Petco and Safeco have played more recently.

Comerica Park and Strikeouts | FanGraphs Baseball
Comerica Park isn’t going to cure Justin Upton of his strikeout problem. Strikeout-prone hitters are strikeout-prone hitters anywhere. Yet it does look like Comerica Park is as good an environment as there is just in terms of the hitter being able to see the baseball coming from the mound.

This rising crop of shortstop talent is especially rare and excellent | FOX Sports
As it turns out, even having two shortstops in the same league who are this young and provide this level of value is extremely rare in baseball history.

Are the Tigers Really Too Right-Handed? | FanGraphs Baseball
Granted, Toronto’s lineup was simply better than Detroit’s looks to be, even now, but that’s kind of the point — as long as the hitters are good enough and don’t possess drastic platoon splits, the handedness shouldn’t much be a problem.

Jonathan Lucroy Discusses Trade Possibility - MLB Trade Rumors
"I want to win and I don’t see us winning in the foreseeable future. I want to go to a World Series. That’s what all players want. Rebuilding is not a lot of fun for any veteran guy."

Jonathan Lucroy and the New Decline | FanGraphs Baseball
It was only a few years ago he ranked as one of the best, if not the best, so this is fairly astonishing.

MLB confirms probe in Darvish gambling case | The Japan Times
Texas Rangers star pitcher Yu Darvish is being investigated by Major League Baseball in the wake of his brother Sho being charged last year with running an illegal gambling ring that allegedly took bets on both MLB and NPB games, The Japan Times has learned.

Aroldis Chapman won't face charges over October domestic incident - CBSSports.com
So for the time being, it appears Chapman is legally off the hook but not necessarily professionally.

Red Sox's Pablo Sandoval has apparently lost weight again - CBSSports.com
The new Sox front office has asked more of Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez on the conditioning front, and Ramirez certainly seems to have taken the hint. Now, it's Sandoval who has responded.

The State of Analytics Within MLB | FanGraphs Baseball



The Future of the Game

MLB 2.0: Re-imagining baseball -- Time for robot umpires behind home plate
Does the idea of robot umpires calling balls and strikes sound far-fetched to you? Dan Szymborski explains why an automated strike zone is a change baseball should (and could) make right now.

MLB 2.0: Reimagining baseball -- Ban the save!
Sorry, closers. For the good of baseball, Jayson Stark says it is time to blow up the save statistic and replace it with a new way of rewarding relievers that fairly measures bullpen performance.

Revenue sharing debated among MLB owners ahead of bargaining - Yahoo Sports
Major League Baseball owners held a lengthy executive session to discuss bargaining strategy over contentious issues such as revenue sharing ahead of the start of negotiations for a new labor contract with players.

'Critical' moment arrives for Pirates, other small-market teams
"This collective bargaining agreement is going to be critically important for everyone. It’s important the way we structure the economics of the game. It’s important that smaller-market teams have the same access to talent, which is almost more important than dollars."

Thus, two major areas remain where an organization’s spending is not only unrestricted, but has the potential to provide much greater dollar-for-dollar return than elsewhere: player development and evaluative advancement.