It has been over 50 days since the end of the regular season. And finally, after 52 days of waiting, the Phillies have a pitching coach.
The first move of the offseason for the Phillies was the release of pitching coach Rich Dubee. After discussions with many coaches, including a heated negotiation with Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, the Phillies have made their decision.
According to sources, the Phillies will hire Bob McClure as pitching coach.
McClure, 61, last coached in 2012 with the Boston Red Sox. McClure was hired by the Red Sox in 2011 as a scout and development coach. He was promoted to pitching coach following the 2011 season, but fired on August 20, 2012.
Prior to his time with the Red Sox, McClure was in the Rockies minor-league system as pitching coach and served as Buddy Bell’s pitching coach in Kansas City from 2006 to 2011.
McClure also had an 18-year playing career with seven teams. Primarily a reliever, McClure posted a 68-57 record with a 3.81 ERA.
One of the areas of needed address has the quick answer Ruben Amaro Jr. was hoping for. When Carlos Ruiz was presented with a contract offer from the Colorado Rockies, it appeared the Phillies had some stiff competition to keep their catcher.
But in recent days, as the Rockies ruled themselves out of the Ruiz sweepstakes and another team emerged with an offer, it appeared a reunion with the Phillies was more and more likely.
That has now become official. Ruiz and the Phillies have agreed to a three-year, $26 million deal that will keep the 35-year-old catcher in Philadelphia through 2016 with a club option for a fourth year.
Ruiz started a contract year in 2013 with plenty of negatives. He missed 25 games due to a suspension for Adderall and struggled through July. However, Ruiz gradually improved as the season ended, finishing with a .268 average, five home runs and 37 RBI in 92 games.
2014 will mark Ruiz ninth season with the Phillies. He has a career .274 average with 57 home runs and 336 RBI.
When Marlon Byrd signed a two-year deal on Tuesday with an average annual salary of $8 million, you could see the uproar around Phillies nation.
Yes, signing Byrd as early as the Phillies did was desperate. It was a sign of what the Phillies face now that they are stuck between mediocrity and rock bottom of baseball. Was it the wrong move? Perhaps. The whole body of work for the offseason needs to be evaluated before making that judgment.
Regardless, the Phillies are already off to a poor start in the offseason that will lead to 2014. A lot of it has to do with their general manager. Ruben Amaro Jr. really doesn’t have a clue. And his words and actions confirm that.
For months, Ruben Amaro Jr’s goal has been to get Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. It was even the subject of a joke by Marlins GM Dan Jennings as he passed Amaro during an interview on the first day of the Winter Meetings.
It is clear what the Phillies need to do this offseason: they need to essentially start from scratch. The needs: at least one outfielder, relief pitching, starting pitching and catching.
Among the sub-headings in team needs was a right-handed bat. The Phillies found one on Tuesday.
Marlon Byrd, a former Phillies who spent 2013 with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, has agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with his first team.
Byrd was a member of the Phillies from 2002 until midway through the 2005 season. In 256 games with the Phillies, he posted a .271 average with 13 home runs and 79 RBI.
The now 36-year-old outfielder has since been a member of the Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Mets and Pirates. He was an all-star in 2010 with the Cubs, posting a .293 average with 12 home runs and 66 RBI.
In 2012, Byrd was suspended for 50 games as part of Major League Baseball’s PED policy. He followed up a disappointing 2012 with a career year in 2013, hitting .291 with 24 home runs and 88 RBI.
Byrd’s signing brings the Phillies outfield placement to feature Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and Byrd, however, the Phillies may not necessarily be done making moves at that position.
Another World Series is in the books and with that another baseball season. With a 6-1 win on Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox were crowned champions of baseball, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games.
The World Series this season offered many opinions and I noticed them constantly as I followed the series. It started before the first pitch.
It’s been over a month since the Phillies played their last game of 2013. Many of you come here for Phillies news and notes and comments and there hasn’t been too much to talk about in the past month, so things have been quiet. But throughout the playoffs, as the underdogs fell to the powerhouses of baseball, more and more Phillies fans and fans of other teams as well, became disinterested because it felt predictable and like watching the same series.
Sure, this was the Cardinals and Red Sox once again. Is it sometimes a tired match? Absolutely.
But this was a battle of the best two teams in baseball, and if the only reason for losing interest is that you’re jealous of their success, then you have no excuse for watching. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE (2:37 p.m.): The Phillies have agreed to a deal with Larry Bowa to become the bench coach in 2014. The Phillies have also brought back former bench coach Pete Mackanin as the third-base coach. Steve Henderson will be returning as hitting coach, however assistant Wally Joyner has declined to return.
It appears that one of the Phillies offseason wish list items will be getting crossed off sooner rather than later.
During the final days of his tryout as Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg was seen talking to Larry Bowa on the field at Citizens Bank Park. When Sandberg was officially handed the job, the speculation soared. Could Bowa find his way back to the field with the Phillies.
Sure enough, that appears to be happening. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, the Phillies and Bowa may be close to an agreement on a deal to make Bowa the team’s bench coach.
Bowa served as manager of the Phillies from 2001 to 2004 and was also a coach for the Phillies in the 1990s. He played 12 seasons with the Phillies in the 70s and 80s before being traded. That’s where Sandberg and Bowa cross paths. They were both a part of a trade with the Chicago Cubs that started Sandberg’s Hall-of-Fame career.
Now the two could be reunited as part of a coaching staff. Bowa last coached in 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since 2011, he has served as an analyst on MLB Network and also on the Phillies Post-Game Show on PHL17.
The Phillies have also already let go pitching coach Rich Dubee and catching instructor Mick Billmeyer.
The Phillies are expected to undergo wholesale changes this offseason as they try to assemble a new group for 2014 with the hopes of returning to the Postseason. That started immediately following the final game of the season.
Within 24 hours of the season’s conclusion, the Phillies announced that they would not be offering a new contract to pitching coach Rich Dubee.
Dubee spent nine seasons with the Phillies, most of them under Charlie Manuel. Dubee handled pitching staffs that featured the likes of Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Pedro Martinez, Brad Lidge, Jonathan Papelbon, Tom Gordon, Brett Myers and more.
Dubee was also a member of the 2008 World Series championship coaching staff.
The Phillies have committed to Ryne Sandberg as manager of the 2014 team. His current coaching staff consists of Juan Samuel, Steve Henderson, Wally Joyner, Mick Billmeyer, Rod Nichols and Jesus Tiamo.
Much more to come in this busy offseason for the Phillies.
The Phillies lose five of their final seven games to coast into the offseason. There was one positive that came from all of that.
For the first time since 2001, the Phillies have a Top-10 pick in the MLB Draft. With their 73-89 record, third worst in the National League, the Phillies claimed the seventh overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.
The last time the Phillies had a Top-10 pick, they selected pitcher Gavin Floyd with the fourth overall pick in 2001.
In recent history, the seventh pick has produced some sound talent that is already at the major-league level. Here are some of the players drafted seventh overall in recent seasons:
- 2002: 1B Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
- 2003: OF Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
- 2004: RHP Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
- 2005: SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
- 2006: LHP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2009: LHP Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
- 2010: RHP Matt Harvey, New York Mets
Obviously, that is some pretty good talent. Kershaw is quite possibly the best pitcher in baseball right now. Harvey is a star in the making. Minor is more than serviceable. Tulowitzki, Markakis and Fielder are all solid position players.
The Phillies formed their core of players during a championship run with high draft picks. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell and Brett Myers were all first-round picks for the Phillies. Could this pick lead to a centerpiece to the future?
That remains to be seen, but since the Phillies posted their worst season since 2000, they get a chance to bolster the system with a top-tier pick.
Sunday marked the final game of the 2013 season for the Phillies. For fans, it marked the end to a more than forgettable season.
For me, Sunday was a bittersweet day. I was not surprised by the result and yes, had grown tired of the same old same as the Phillies dropped to 73-89 to end the 162-game campaign.
Yet Sunday also started with not so much excitement, but reflection. I sat down prepared to watch. It’s what you do especially when you know there will be no more Phillies baseball for another five months.
It may have been a forgettable season, but it was still one final chance to watch.
I find it interesting how the final game brought about such emotion. This team, by record, was worse than the 2012 team. They finished with half of the minor-league roster in the starting lineup. Unless they stay healthy, the Phillies don’t have much of a chance in 2014 either, unless they make some serious moves.
Regardless, if you love the game and you love the team, you can’t help but find this day to be sad. It is not about realizing that there is nothing more for 2013. It is more about how the day has finally come where there is no tomorrow.
The start of 2014 will bring renewed optimism. Regardless of whether or not the Phillies make moves, sign new players, make a big offseason trade, whatever happens will bring excitement. It will give people a chance to hope again.
They may not have high expectations, but they give people high hopes.
So after a grueling 2013 season, here’s to a year to remember and forget. And here’s to next season, as we patiently await the start of 2014 in February.
The final game of the 2013 season for the Philadelphia Phillies was essentially a microcosm of the entire season. Forced to heavily rely on a bullpen full of minor-leaguers and a lineup full of inexperienced players, the Braves proved to be no match.
In addition to the mismatch, the game was boring and dragged on. The Phillies were out of it early, making it easy to forget there was even a game being played.
By the time it was over, the Phillies season ended with another disappointing result, as they fell to the Braves, 12-5, in the final game of the 2013 season on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field.