The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Philadelphia Phillies

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A couple of years ago I wrote a couple posts at my old Shysterball blog running down what — in my opinion anyway — were the best and worst all-time looks for each team.  It was pretty popular as far as my old Blogspot posts were concerned, so I figure that, in the absence of any fun news, it was worth dusting off the idea and doing it again.

The only difference: attention spans have gotten way shorter since the ancient days of 2008, so I’ll be taking it team by team, rolling this baby out over the next few days.  First up: the NL East, starting with the World Series champion — er, what’s that?  Wait, they had Hallday, Hamels and Oswalt! What happened?  Wow, you just never know in this game, do ya! — N.L. East Champion Philadelphia Phillies!

The Best: Thanks to recent success, their current look — or the Whiz Kid look — is probably considered the classic.  I like it, but I like it when they mix in the blue on Sundays too. I may even like it better and if you put a gun to my head I’d say that the current alternates are their best look, even if it’s somewhat jarring, historically speaking. Along those lines, my mind hasn’t changed on these underrated 1930-40s numbers with the blue accents. It helps that Philly lost a hundred games year-in, year-out back when they wore those numbers, as everything is better about the Phillies when they’re losing.

The Worst: I never liked the big-P stuff they wore in the 1970s and 80s. The 1979 numbers — with the alternate all reds — were pretty terrible themselves.

Assessment:  The Phillies have landed on a good, classic look and will likely stick with it for a good long time.  To the extent they’ve gotten crazy over the years it’s just because they’ve had a really spotted history and, hey, why not experiment?  And at least their unfortunate 70s look — which almost every team had — was accompanied by a lot of good play on the field, and that takes the edge off of such things.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.