Welcome to the inaugural 2017/2018 edition of Philadelphia Phillies ICYMI Monday!
Passing of a Phillies Phan favorite:
To get the sad news of the off-season out of the way, I would be remiss to not note the passing of Roy Halladay. I have little to add other than to refer you to the fine article by our Soccer guru, and all-around Philly phan Jay Davenport here. There are plenty of other remembrances out there on the interwebs that I cannot improve upon, but I will say that it is a credit to philly phans of all stripes for the positive way we memorialized a guy who was only on the team for four short years. It is obvious his impact on the team and this city go way beyond what he did on the field.
A memorial is set for tomorrow at the Spectrum Field, home of the Phillies spring training and High-A Clearwater Threshers. It is widely assumed that the Phillies and the Toronto BlueJays will wear some kind of patch for a respectful amount of time in 2018, and there will sure to be some kind of ceremony when Toronto comes to town 5/25-27.
Phillies New Face as Manager:
The Phillies went outside the organization in announcing their new manager – Gabe Kapler. Again I will refer you to this post by our Seamus Killeen for the particulars. The most important part of this hiring is what appears to be a final stamp by GM Matt Klentak and owner John Middleton to bring modern day analytics to the forefront.
“He’s a progressive thinker,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “Much has been made about this. I would advise we look at the teams that just finished competing in the World Series. Look at the teams that competed in last year’s World Series. These are among the most progressive organizations in baseball. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those are the four teams that have played in the World Series the last two years. That’s where the Phillies need to head, and Gabe Kapler is going to be a huge asset to us as we try to progress to the future.”
On his limited managerial experience, he managed only one season in the Minors in 2007:
“I think at the end of the day, what we concluded is the total package that Kap brings to the table here is the right fit for this organization at this time,” Klentak said. “You’re right, he’s limited in his Major League experience on the bench, but there are things we can do to help support him in that area.”
Soon after to bolster the analytics side of things the team hired former outfielder Sam Fuld as their Major League player information coordinator and Ben Werthan as their Minor League player information coordinator. According to the Phillies they will help “integrate the use of information in all areas of on-field performance and preparation and make recommendations regarding the most effective areas of future research and analysis.”
Werthan, 31, spent the past six years as the advance scouting coordinator with the Orioles, as well as having a semi-local connection of graduating from Dickinson College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Initial Bench Hirings:
To follow up on Klentak’s statement the Phillies announced that they have rehired Asst. Pitching Coach Rick Kranitz, though they have not finalized his position, as well as naming Dusty Wathan, putative runner-up in the managerial search, as third base coach. Wathan, who has managed or coached at every level of the Phillies organization, will be a good person to help meld the past with the future of this club.
They also announced a new Hitting Coach, John Mallee, who has worked with last two World Series winners. Mallee was the Chicago Cubs hitting coach last three seasons (15-17), after three years in the same position for the Houston Astros before that (12-14).
It is expected that more hirings will come in the next week or two as the MLB GM meetings start today.
With the aforementioned GM meetings, the Hot Stove really gets going, and I will have more on that next week as rumors get more legs. So far the most talked about involving the Phillies is Giancarlo Stanton of the cash deprived Miami Marlins. The Phils have been cited as showing interest, but the latest rumblings have him going to the St Louis Cardinals.
At this time the Phillies who are FA are:
Clay Buchholz, Andres Blanco, Daniel Nava, Hyun Soo Kim, Pedro Florimon, Jesen Therrien, Kevin Siegrist, Henderson Alvarez, Ty Kelly, Pedro Beato . The Phillies have not tendered a qualifying offer to any of them. Florimon and Therrien became FA when they were reinstated from the 60 day DL and outrighted to to AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Also off the 60 Day are Zach Eflin, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez who are expected to compete for starters jobs in the Spring.
Gold Glove Time: We Wuz Robbed
After the death of Halladay, the most disappointing news of the week for Phillies phans was that fan favorite and team leader Freddy Galvis for the second year in a row, lost out on the NL Rawlings Gold Glove Award. The San Francisco Giants Brandon Crawford was again the winner.
Freddy committed just 15 total errors over his last two seasons and had the highest fielding percentage as well, .987 and .989. He also had had more innings, putouts, assists, double plays, and less errors, than Crawford in 2017. Go figure.
Green Green Grass of Home:
Lastly the newest thing at CBP is not a player, coach or FO, but the field itself:
I will be back next week with whatever news comes out of the Winter GM meetings, and any new coaching hires. It should be another interesting off-season for your Phillies.
Also we are always looking for more Phillies writers in the off-season and going forward so we can expand our coverage to include game/and or series recaps and previews. If you think you have the write-stuff DM me on twitter @brett5355.
Meanwhile #FlyEaglesFly Go E-A-G-L-E-S-EAGLES!