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PostHeaderIcon One Look Back: The Top 10 moments of 2013

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Freddy Galvis' walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman was one of the highlights of a down year for the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Phillies Network)

Freddy Galvis’ walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman was one of the highlights of a down year for the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Phillies Network)

As the Philadelphia Phillies downward spiral continues, it isn’t hard to look back on 2013 and say good riddance. There isn’t a lot to look forward to and right about now there isn’t a lot of fond memories to look back on.

2013 did provide some false hope. Even in 2012, when the Phillies five-year playoff run ended, they managed to still be somewhat in the race in September. In this case, a strong finish to the first-half of the season made it seem the Phillies still had something left. That wasn’t the case.

Here is the 2013 season: the good, the bad, the happy, the sad and everything in between. Instead of a top-10 games list, this is a top-10 moments list, in reverse order. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Byrd signing a win-win for Phillies fans

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Ruben Amaro Jr. opened the Phillies offseason signing Marlon Byrd to a two-year deal. (Sarah J. Glover/Philadelphia Daily News)

Ruben Amaro Jr. opened the Phillies offseason signing Marlon Byrd to a two-year deal. (Sarah J. Glover/Philadelphia Daily News)

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.

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PostHeaderIcon Ruben Hooks a Marlon: Byrd, Phillies agree to 2-year deal

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Marlon Byrd, a Phillie from 2002-2005, posted a .291 average with 24 home runs and 88 RBI in a career year with the Mets and Pirates in 2013. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Marlon Byrd, a Phillie from 2002-2005, posted a .291 average with 24 home runs and 88 RBI in a career year with the Mets and Pirates in 2013. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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.

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PostHeaderIcon 2013 World Series: Red Sox strong will leads to title

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With the city of Boston in their hearts, the Boston Red Sox captured a World Series crown in front of their home fans for the first time since 1918. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

With the city of Boston in their hearts, the Boston Red Sox captured a World Series crown in front of their home fans for the first time since 1918. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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 »

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PostHeaderIcon UPDATE: Bowa joins Phillies as bench coach

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Larry Bowa could be returning to be the bench coach of the Phillies according to reports. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News)

Larry Bowa could be returning to be the bench coach of the Phillies according to reports. (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News)

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.

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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.

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PostHeaderIcon First offseason move for Phillies, Dubee out as pitching coach

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Rich Dubee is seen here with Charlie Manuel during a 2012 game. Dubee was let go by the Phillies following nine seasons as pitching coach. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Rich Dubee is seen here with Charlie Manuel during a 2012 game. Dubee was let go by the Phillies following nine seasons as pitching coach. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

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.

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PostHeaderIcon Phillies claim 7th overall pick in 2014 MLB Draft

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Clayton Kershaw was the Dodgers' first-round pick and seventh overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. The Phillies are picking seventh in the 2014 Draft. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Clayton Kershaw was the Dodgers’ first-round pick and seventh overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. The Phillies are picking seventh in the 2014 Draft. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

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.

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PostHeaderIcon Final game brings bittersweet emotion

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Cody Asche struggles to handle a throw in the Phillies 12-5 loss on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Cody Asche struggles to handle a throw in the Phillies 12-5 loss on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Amis)

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.

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PostHeaderIcon Out with a Whimper: Braves rout Phillies as season ends

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Zach Miner and Erik Kratz meet on the mound during the Phillies 12-5 loss to the Braves. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Zach Miner and Erik Kratz meet on the mound during the Phillies 12-5 loss to the Braves. (AP Photo/John Amis)

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.

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PostHeaderIcon Miner gets start in Phillies final game of 2013

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Zach Miner makes the start in the Phillies final game of 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Zach Miner makes the start in the Phillies final game of 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

For one last time, the Phillies will take the field in 2013. In a season to forget, it is also a day to simply savor the fact that for another five months, the Phillies won’t take the field.

It has been a trying season for the Phillies (73-88) but even as they prepare for their final game against the Braves (95-66) there is one last chance to end the season on a good note.

Zach Miner (0-1, 3.08 ERA) gets the start for the Phillies. Miner allowed one run on four hits in four innings in his last start against the Marlins, taking a no-decision. Miner last faced the Braves on Aug. 14, pitching 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. In his career against the Braves, Miner is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two relief appearances. His last came at Turner Field.

The Phillies will face right-hander Julio Teheran (13-8, 3.09 ERA). Teheran allowed one run on four hits in six innings in his last start, getting a win against the Cubs. Teheran last faced the Phillies on Aug. 12, allowing four runs on six hits in six innings in a loss. In his career against the Phillies, Teheran is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA. At Turner Field, he is 7-4 with a 3.33 ERA.

Game notes, lineups and more are available after the jump.

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