Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies didn’t hire a stat guy after all. They’re just renting him for a while

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The Phillies were thought to have lumbered into the 21st century when they hired Scott Freedman, a statistical analyst the other day. Turns out that they didn’t hire him. They’re just renting him for a bit. Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

Freedman, however, is not a Phillies employee, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

“He’s joined us through the commissioner’s office,” said Proefrock referring to the arrangement as an “externship.” “He’s here for a period of time,” Proefrock continued. “We were contacted by [the commissioner’s office] this summer. They proposed the arrangement, we had a need and took advantage of it. He’s a bright guy. It might become something more than [the current role].”

We are in an age where every other organization is deploying a team of analysts. Where there are extreme limits being placed on how much money one can spend on amateur talent. Where the difference between winning the World Series or not may depend on the finest distinctions between otherwise similar mid-level free agents. In short, the business of player development and talent identification is harder, more competitive and more critical than it’s ever been.

Against that backdrop, one guy full time wouldn’t be enough as it is. One temp, loaned out from the league office, is a joke.

Athletics sign Santiago Casilla to two-year, $11 million deal

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 10: Santiago Casilla #46 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.

Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system. Who has the worst?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06:  General manager Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks laughs on the field before the Opening Day MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on April 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.