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Small victories, large defeats.

Updated: 2017-11-20T18:47:50-05:00


Phillies news: 5 added, 3 cut to finalize 40-man roster



The Phillies made some roster moves to finalize their 40-man roster before the 8 PM EST deadline.

The Phillies have selected the contracts of RHPs Seranthony Dominguez, Franklyn Kilome and Jose Taveras and LHP Ranger Suarez to the 40-man roster. In addition, they claimed INF Engelb Vielma from the San Francisco Giants.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHPs Mark Appel and Alberto Tirado were designated for assignment and LHP Elniery Garcia was outrighted to triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Dominguez, Kilome, Taveras and Suarez were all eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft and therefore needed to be added to the 40-man roster for protection.

Vielma is a 23-year-old from Venezuela who spent all six seasons of his minor league career with the Minnesota Twins before being claimed off waivers by the Giants on September 14. In 2017, Vielma split time between Minnesota’s double-A and triple-A affiliates, batting a combined .229/.273/.280 with 17 doubles, two triples, 25 walks and 85 strikeouts in 455 plate appearances.

The injury-riddled Mark Appel experiment is over in Philadelphia. The former #1 overall selection could not reinvent himself upon being traded from the Astros to the Phillies as part of the compensation for reliever Ken Giles.

Tirado also experienced an injury in 2017, but that wasn’t the only thing that led to the Phillies designating him for assignment. Tirado struggled in the rotation when he reached high-A and was subsequently moved to the bullpen. His struggles continued there before he got injured.

Garcia will remain in the Phillies organization but can be selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. He declined this season after a nice 2016 season. We can’t buy too much into that season, however, as Garcia was suspended 50 games prior to the 2017 season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

A surprise non-addition to the 40-man roster is OF Carlos Tocci. Tocci will now be eligible for his third Rule 5 Draft, and this time there will probably be teams interested.

Why would the Phillies be interested in Carlos Santana?



The free agent slugger seems like an odd fit for the Phillies, but is he?

During the Hot Stove, crazy trade ideas and free agency rumors are everywhere, and there’s often no way of knowing which ones have some degree of truth to them and which ones are attempts by agents to generate interest in their clients.

Which brings us to one of the more interesting rumors about the Phillies that has been floating around the Googleweb over the weekend.

The Phillies and Arrieta have been a thought for months now, based on not much more than Arrieta is a front line starter, despite a poor first half to 2016, and the Phillies need fewer scarecrows in their starting rotation.

Boras was making his big pitch yesterday, and reporters gathered for sound bites as he introduced his new catch phrase for the 2017 off-season:

Rocking a bright blue sport coat, a white dress shirt and jeans, the super-agent stood outside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando on Wednesday afternoon and delivered a State of Boras Corp. address for roughly 45 minutes, dropping all sorts of metaphors about the gated community he calls “Playoffville.”

Boras might not be the gatekeeper for many of the Phillies’ targets just yet; Arrieta is just a theory for now, and the Boras client currently on everyone’s lips due to interest from the Red Sox, Eric Hosmer, probably shouldn’t be on the Phillies’ shopping list, despite their rumored search for a first baseman that confused everybody earlier in the week.

Elsewhere, Derek Jeter isn’t talking to Giancarlo Stanton, even if the Marlins slugger is waking up to headlines about himself every day, but like we’ve established, the Phillies being involved in that situation grows less likely. And the Nationals want desperately to keep the Phillies and Bryce Harper apart in 2018, but aren’t doing a good job of it thus far as contract extension talks have not yet begun. Harper’s agent [squints at notecards] Scott Boras—oh, right—says the ball is in Washington’s court.

Enjoy your coffee as the sun rises over another day in Orlando, where executives will be in a frenzy attempting to add the players they think they’re missing; except for the Braves. Turns out they’re actually just going to lose some players.

What does the perfect Phillies lineup look like?


If all the position players come back (save one), what does the optimal lineup for 2018 look like? It’s what a manager always has to ask himself on gameday. What does the perfect lineup look like? The perfect lineup is the one that is optimized to score the most runs, which is fairly obvious. If the manager set his lineup correctly, the one that he trots out there each night would be the one that would score the most runs it possibly can. However, as we have seen over time (and especially in 2017), a manager’s inherent biases can put too much influence over how the lineup probably should be made. Freddy Galvis and the need to bat him second could have been one of the factors that cost Pete Mackanin his job. There was plenty of speculation as to why Galvis was hitting second. Perhaps the coaching staff was more comfortable hitting him there because he could “handle the bat”. Maybe he had shown in the batting practice the best ability to go the opposite way, which would make him the ideal hitter if Pete wanted to implement the hit-and-run. Whatever it was, there really was no excuse to bat a batter second that had an on base percentage under .310. So, we cycle back to the original question: what does the perfect lineup look like? It’s long been a subject of debate, as different publications have different theories. When Fangraphs looked at the topic a while ago, they referenced “The Book” and found that Tom Tango believed this: The Book basically opened and shut the door on the issue: the best three hitters should bat first, second, and fourth, but even the most egregious of lineup errors won’t cost a team more than a win. The Phillies’ roster, as currently constructed, presents several problems with these concepts. First, its best hitter, Rhys Hoskins, the one with the best combined on base and slugging ability, is also their best power hitter, the classic “cleanup hitter”. Incoming manager Gabe Kapler cannot bat him in multiple positions, therefore he needs to choose the better spot in which to put him so as to maximize his talents. That leaves the other spots missing a little something. To put it more succinctly, it’s not a perfect roster and Kapler will just have to make do. So, how can we judge what the best lineup will be? There aren’t many tools around that can help us. Sure, we can put names where we think they should go, but without facts to support those ideas, they really aren’t valid. So, we go with what we can. Baseball Musings had developed a process by which they compared scoring across different eras of baseball, used the concepts mentioned by Tango above and created a website where a user can enter different averages to develop a model that predicts the number of runs a certain lineup would score. It sounds fun until you look closer. The eras they have chosen were 1989-2002 and 1959-2004. The problems with these areas can be found here in this article explaining the problems with this website. Particularly, pay attention to this part, again from Fangraphs: The first tip to how obsolete the tool is comes from the two models the user is allowed to use. One is the 1998-2002 model, which will spit out horrendously large numbers in terms of runs/game due to using data from the offense-inflated days of the steroid era. This results in ridiculous numbers like the Blue Jays scoring nearly 5 runs per game when only two teams managed that number last season. The other option uses numbers from 1959-2004, which smooths things out much more but is still difficult to transplant into the context of 2011 baseball. After all that explanation of why it’s bad, why will I use it anyway? Simply because it’s all we really have at our disposal. I’m sure that teams have each developed programs that can help a manager decide what lineup works best, but with that being common knowledge, we are left to use what we have. In order to get to where we want to go, we have to input some averages into the settings. In other words, what wou[...]