The Phillies have gone four consecutive games without drawing a walk (that streak ended tonight when Jaime Garcia walked Chase Utley), and they’re also on a four-game losing streak. Coincidence? They haven’t scored more than three runs in a game since April 10 (another streak that has ended tonight). Though season previews for the team across the print and digital media predicted the Phillies would have offensive issues, GM Ruben Amaro is shocked — shocked! — that his team isn’t drawing walks.
Via Kevin Tresolini:
“I think it’s ridiculous that we’ve had no walks in three days,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I cannot believe it. More importantly, it’s about not just walks, but producing, and we haven’t done that. We haven’t gotten hits, period. We haven’t gotten hits with runners in scoring position, we haven’t gotten hits to lead off innings.
“We need more people on base and more offensive production. You’ve got to give some credit to the pitchers, but not all of it. We just need to be better. It’s as simple as that. Right now we’re not.’’
Let’s ignore that the Phillies are actually hitting .278 with runners in scoring position, which ranks seventh out of 15 teams. On 97.5 The Fanatic back in January, Amaro famously said, “I don’t care about walks; I care about production.” As many studies have shown, however, on-base percentage is very heavily correlated with run-scoring (production). Most front offices across baseball have acknowledged this fact, but the Phillies are proudly one of the few remaining teams without a real analytics department.
If you want to know how the Phillies have squandered so many wonderful opportunities since 2009, it’s because they’re still operating under the 1960’s baseball zeitgeist.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.