Thursday, July 30, 2015


Cole Hamels is gone.  He departed in a fashion as dramatic and timely as any exit in Philadelphia sports history.

The question all along was not when but for whom.  The answer is troubling.  On first glance it appears to me Sam Hinkie was advising the Phils' alleged brain trust.

First of all, around these parts we are quite familiar with the whole notion of phenoms and how they turn out.  Witness Dom Brown.  So, when I read the Phils acquired the Rangers' number 3,4 and 5 most highly rated prospects I wonder about numbers 1 and 2.  Of course prospect number 99 might turn out to have the best major league career (though doubtful) but once we dig deeper we learn that at least one of these highly regarded players, a young catcher, recently suffered a season-ending ankle injury, not the short of injury you want to see in a guy who squats for a living.  Moreover, he isn't much of a hitter and some observers have noted he doesn't like to put in the work to improve.  Great.

Reading a little deeper we realize that the Phils also threw Jake Diekman into the deal and received among others a 29-year old pitcher with a history of back trouble.  The Hinkie hand is written all over these choices.

The worst part of this deal is that the Phils did not demand let alone receive either of the Rangers' top prospects.  Ruben Amaro's hand is written all over these non choices.

This is a deal whose ramifications will not be fully appreciated for another few years, but on the surface it looks like the Phils are rebuilding their farm system...but not their major league team.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inside The Beltway

The Phillies made a good move yesterday, trading a horse's ass to the Washington Nationals, where he can romp among the donkeys and elephants to his heart's delight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Aaron Nola Debuts

And quite a debut it was as the rookie hurler pitched very well but lost 1-0 as his mates managed a measly four hits, one of which was by Nola himself.

Let me be so bold as to offer you a few words of advice, Aaron.

1.  Get used to it.  This team is not going to give you much support.

2.  Continue to bring your bat the park.  You are going to need all the help you can get.

3.  You can't save this sinking ship all by yourself.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Goodbye and Hello

There has never been a better time to trade Cole Hamels than now...despite the poor outings he's suffered recently.

As I've written many times before, Hamels is simply not the kind of pitcher opposing batters start worrying about in advance.  They don't look at the schedule and figure out it will be Hamels' turn next Tuesday when they face the Phillies.  Hamels simply doesn't inspire that kind of awe.  For two years he has been up and down, mostly down.  Some, perhaps even most of his record reflects the pitiful offense behind him, but Hamels is hardly blameless.  Today was a perfect example.  After surrendering two runs to Miami to start the game he watched his teammates claw back to a 5-2 lead that Hamels couldn't hold.  In what many think will be his last appearance in Philadelphia as a Phillie, Hamels look very mortal.

So, thanks for the memories (mostly good), Cole, and here's hoping you bring plenty of top prospects. Your starts in San Francisco and today won't increase your value, but there are plenty of clubs out there with resources to trade who want you.

* * * * * * * *

If I were voting for the MVP of the Phillies this season I would be hard-pressed to give the nod to anyone but Jeff Francoeur.  Yes, the very guy I disparaged here a few months ago.  All Jeff's done is win ball games with late inning heroics.  He doesn't complain if he's not in the starting lineup.  He doesn't bristle if he thinks he's a forgotten man.  He grabs whatever opportunity comes his way and has made the most of it in an estimable professional manner.

Congratulations, Jeff.  You are a real pro.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Good Riddance

The morning after Jonathan Papelbon is traded you won't need to read his scathing comments about the atmosphere surrounding the current Phillies.  He's already been quoted on the subject on numerous occasions.

Papelbon signed with the Phils because of the outrageous amount of money they handed him.  Every other consideration was secondary.  He'd already won a World Series.  He'd been named an All Star. So let's dispense with all the BS about winning.  He was in it for the money.  Oh, sure, it's a drag to lose, especially with the frequency of these Phillies, but Papelbon's failure to see the direction the team he signed in was heading is consistent with his overall lack of insight.  Pap, as my mother-in-law used to say "isn't overburdened".

So, good riddance to you, Papelbon.  No one is going to miss you.

Monday, July 13, 2015


A suggestion for the Phillies:

When the All Star break ends, don't come back.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Class Acts Vs. Classless Acts

So, Chase Utley is done in this town.  At least that's the word from GM Ruben Amaro, the point man of the Phillies' alleged brain trust.

Typical of this regime, Amaro handled this delicate subject with all the grace of, say, Dallas Green, another member of the alleged brain trust known for leading with his foot.  Amaro responded to a legitimate question from a reporter by announcing Utley's days as a starter were over.  So much for a private meeting first.

The Phillies' alleged brain trust has gone into full besieged mode.  Everywhere they look they see irate, ignorant (according to them) fans who are quick to forget the good years of the recent past and who have no idea what it takes to rebuild a team.

Who knows, they may be right for all I know.  What I do know is this:  the poor, ignorant, intolerant, impatient fans in this town aren't quite so quick to forget what a fellow like Chase Utley accomplished here.  They see him down but they aren't about to kick him, especially since he doesn't complain and especially since his blue collar approach to the game resonated with legions of fans for so long.

Remember, this is the team that fired Charlie Manuel with a month left in a season going nowhere despite what HE had done for the alleged brain trust's team.  They didn't have the class to let him play out the string in what was after all a losing season.

Oh, sure, the Phillies will eventually honor Utley in some way, but I wouldn't be surprised if Utley declined the invitation and just walked away.  After all, he left everything he had on the field, everything that is except his dignity.  That he carries with him wherever he goes.  The alleged brain trust tried to take that away but it isn't so easy to strip of man of integrity of his pride.

Fellows like Ruben Amaro and the people who employ him never learn that lesson.