Obviously the Phillies content around here has been nuts lately. It’s been driven, of course, by the fact that so many Phillies fans have migrated here in the past few months. They’re active. They shoot me links or give me ideas for posts in their comments. And of course, knowing who’s reading, I’m more likely — quality of the content being equal — to link to something Phillies-related than I may be to link to something Rockies-related, for example. Gotta serve the customers.
But why are they here? What do they want? Sure, we’ve formed some rudimentary basis of communication with these hordes, but it’s mostly just the bare minimum required for us to communicate. “I like post.” “I no like post.” “Cliff Lee sexy.” “Ryan Howard good.” “You biased hater jealous of stuff that happened 30 years ago and you use that to heap scorn upon us.” That sort of thing.
But Jonny 5 — a Phillies reader who has been around these parts long before the recent infestation — has a theory. And it’s not a bad one:
I have a theory of why so many Phillies fans have ventured to HBT daily, like moths to a porch light. They need to be kicked around. Plain and simple. For generations, fans of Philly sports teams have been brutalized by the masses (rightfully so). We had to agree with the sucktitude of Philly sports. There was never a doubt. But now, now that Baseball, football, and Hockey in the city have made an about face they still need to get their abuse. Which comes aplenty here. It’s all just a theory though. An abuse syndrome of sorts…
It’s boring to agree with everyone about how good your team is. Some people can become addicted to a certain kind of friction, however. It used to come naturally from Philly sports outlets because there was so much to complain about. Now it’s all sunshine.
So if what I think Jonny is saying is true, I’m indispensable to you cheesesteak eaters. Deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me to give you hell. You need me to give you hell. You need me to help keep you miserable in the way you have become accustomed.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.