Baseball Has No Love For Truth-Tellers

Mike_Fiers_on_April_7 _2016By Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr (Original version)UCinternational (Crop) - Originally posted to Flickr as "Mike Fiers pitches vs. Yankees"Cropped by UCinternational, CC BY 2.0, Link
 
By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

Before her lame sorry, not sorry yesterday afternoon, Jessica Mendoza expressed loud and clear what pretty much everybody in baseball was saying under their breath about Mike Fiers, the former Astro who spilled the beans on his old organization to the Athletic last November: that irrespective of the truth of his allegation, it was the act of speaking out, of exposing the truth, that was the real sin.  For baseball has no love for truth-tellers.  They’re rats, turncoats, lowlifes, for violating the omerta of the clubhouse.  If baseball has a problem -- and yes, of course it does -- it’s not so much this sign-stealing incident, which will percolate through the next few months and then go the way of the steroid crisis.  Instead, it’s the persistent belief that there is something sacred about a Major League clubhouse.  That misguided assumption has been dragging baseball down for decades and shows no sign of letting up.

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Carlos Beltran is Out as Mets Manager After Being Named in Scandal

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By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA - Carlos Beltran talks to reporters at 2016 All-Star Game availability.CC BY 2.0Link

The National League East had a major shakeup on Thursday, when the cheating scandal claimed its third manager this week.  Carlos Beltran, named the manager of the New York Mets just weeks ago, is out as Mets manager.  The Mets announced that the club and Beltran "mutually agreed to part ways".

The move comes after several days of silence since MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred released the findings of an investigation that concluded the 2017 Houston Astros used cameras and other technology to steal signs from the opposing team.   The behavior occurred just weeks after a memo was sent to baseball stating that further use of technology to steal signs would lead to suspensions at the manager and general manager level.

That led to the suspension of, and ultimately the firing of manager A.J Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow; then-bench coach of the Astros, Alex Cora, also lost his position as manager of the Red Sox in the scandal.

There was just one player named in the entire report: Beltran.  It read:

Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter. Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout.

Why was only one player named in this report?

That could be because the commissioner hoped that Beltran, now a manager, would be called to task.  While players were not in direct receipt of the memo that banned technology, the level of commitment of the veteran and de facto elder statesman of the Astros demonstrated that he was questionable as a leader.   Fans were visibly upset about Beltran's involvement.

On Tuesday, the Mets Twitter account tweeted out a picture of a cat wearing a Mets shirt.  The replies to the tweet were predominantly about Beltran.  It became clear that fans would not let this go. Every road city Beltran visited with the Mets would likely let them hear about it.

Beltran publicly denied any involvement in the alleged cheating when asked by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  It is unclear if he was truthful to Mets management during the interview process.  That part we may never know.

But what we do know: Beltran is gone.  And the Mets, who passed on Joe Girardi, are left without a manager.  Pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie in less than a month.  The Mets will have to act fast to find someone to lead them.


Herrera Designated for Assignment as Phillies Claim Martini on Waivers

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The Phillies went into the offseason with seven outfielders, with five of them being primarily left-handed.  When the season ended, Odubel Herrera was on the inactive list, suspended a half season's worth of games under baseball's joint domestic violence policy.  Despite Herrera being signed through the 2021 season, he will not return.

The Phillies announced that they have designated Herrera's contract for assignment.  The move was also announced with an acquisition.  The Phillies have claimed outfielder Nick Martini off of waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.  Martini, like Herrera, bats and throws left-handed.

The 30 year-old Martini played in the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics and the San Diego Padres, batting .257 in 237 at bats.

The Phillies must be able to make clear that this move was for baseball reasons, not disciplinary reasons.  According to the rules, Herrera or anyone else subject to a suspension can be "double punished" for an action.  A release - which could be the outcome from this transaction - might be considered punishment.

However, even before the suspension, Herrera grossly unperformed.  The former 2016 All-Star was batting just .222 at the time of the suspension, which was related to an incident that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend.  In the wake of the suspension, Adam Haseley played most of the left-handed at bats in center field and performed admirably.

The Phillies will have seven days to place Herrera on waivers, assign him outright to Triple-A, or release him.  No matter what, the Phillies will be responsible for $19.5 million the next two seasons.  That makes a team claiming him unlikely.  Should the Phillies try to outright Herrera to Triple-A, he has enough service time to reject that assignment and become a free agent.


Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Four, Two Key Phillies Remain Without Deals

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Friday, the Phillies avoided arbitration with four of their players.

All four players that have agreed to deals are pitchers: Jose Alvarez, Zach Eflin, Adam Morgan and Vince Velasquez.

Closer Hector Neris and star catcher J.T. Realmuto remain without deals and are currently scheduled to go to arbitration hearings.

Continue reading "Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Four, Two Key Phillies Remain Without Deals" »


Report: Phillies Looking for Right-Handed CF

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The Phillies were put into a tough spot last season after the suspension of Odubel Herrera.  While the Phillies at one time had depth at center field in the form of Aaron Altherr and Roman Quinn, with even some help from Andrew McCutchen, the Phillies seemed to be in a position of strength.  With Altherr's placement on waivers and Quinn and McCutchen getting injured, the Phillies turned to rookie Adam Haseley, who was impressive, though arriving ahead of schedule.

Therefore the Phillies might be looking to add another center fielder in 2020.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Phillies are still seeking a right-handed complement to Haseley:

There are a few important takeaways, if this is the case.

First, the Phillies plan to keep Scott Kingery in the infield.  Kingery could have been that right-handed option in center field if they were able to add some depth in the infield.  Does this rule the Phillies out on a potential Kris Bryant trade? Maybe.  They will have Alec Bohm in the picture soon. But either way, it shows that the Phillies prefer to keep Kingery in the infield.

Second, Odubel Herrera is likely nowhere in the Phillies plans.  While it is easy to be upset over the nature of behavior that led to Herrera's suspension, Herrera was not very helpful to the Phillies on the baseball field the previous two seasons.  The Phillies may be ready to move on from Herrera for baseball reasons, completely separate from what occurred off of the field.

Third, the Phillies do not appear convinced they can count on Roman Quinn.  The very talented Quinn has repeatedly succumbed to injury.  With that the case, can they risk another situation where they find the cupboard dry if Haseley is unable to hold down the position?  Using McCutchen is probably not an option after his ACL tear.  So the Phillies seem to prefer certainty.

Of available free agents, maybe Billy Hamilton would fit this bill.  Hamilton is a switch-hitter and is known for his high speed.  But perhaps an acquisition would make more sense in the form of a trade at this point.  Who has a complementary piece they are willing to trade?  That is unclear..  But so far the Phillies seem to be trying to keep their assets.


Phillies Comings and Goings

The Phillies offseason has been rather slow since the Phillies introduced both Didi Gregorius and Zack Wheeler in December.  After seemingly taking the holiday season off, the Phillies were back in action with a handful of moves.  Meanwhile, a familiar face finds a new landing spot.

Here is a rundown of some of the minor moves made in the last few days:

Phillies add Two Coaches

With the departure of Craig Driver to the Chicago Cubs, the Phillies needed to add a second glove in the Phillies bullpen aside Bob Stumpo.   That position will go to Greg Brodzinski.  Brodzinski was most recently a coach at Short Season Williamsport.   His title will be bullpen catcher and "catching coach", though Driver was referred to as "receiving coach".  Driver and Stumpo have been given a good amount of credit for working with the Phillies catching staff.

Also joining the Phillies is a familiar face to new manager Joe GirardiBobby Meacham.   Beacham was a third base coach for Girardi both in Miami with the Florida Marlins and in New York with the Yankees.  Beacham is not being assigned a specific role; he does not displace any of the current coaches.  Beacham will help instill the culture Girardi is looking to build on a number of levels.    Most recently, Beacham was manager of Triple-A Buffalo in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Phillies Sign former Yankees Infielder Torreyes

The Phillies added another utility infielder on a minor league deal in Ronald Torreyes.  Torreyes was a utility player under Girardi with the Yankees.   Torreyes can play second base, third base, and shortstop, as he has the last several seasons with the Yankees and Minnesota Twins.  Torreyes had a decent season under Girardi in 2017, batting .292 for the Yankees over 108 games.  Torreyes played in just seven games with the Twins in 2019. 

Torreyes will compete with Phil Gosselin and Josh Harrison for a bench spot.

Edubray Ramos signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Phillies cut ties with reliever Edubray Ramos after an injury-filled and otherwise underwhelming season.  Ramos will get an opportunity to come to a major league camp.  The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Ramos was signed to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.


Eagles & Phillies All-Decade Teams & Top 5 Philly Sports Moments of the Decade

 

Lipinski & Watkins breakdown the #Eagles NFC East Division win over the #Giants.

Plus

Section 247: The Show! is live on Monday night via Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, & YouTube.  Join the conversation! 

 


10 Worst Phillies Moments of the Decade

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We are here, on the eve of 2020.  While much of the Philadelphia sports world has been reminiscing in the form of top 10 moments (check out the Top 10 sports moments of the decade on 973espn) I thought I might go in a different direction.  The 2010s started out on top for the Phillies, but for the most part have been disappointing.

Since making the playoffs in 2011 with the best record in franchise history, the Phillies have missed the eight years since.  Things are more promising moving forward, but for now, here are the 10 worst Phillies moments of the decade.

10. Phillies Sign Jonathan Papelbon to a Four-Year, $50 million contract

via GIPHY

The performance in terms of baseball was not the problem with this deal.   Papelbon became the game's top-paid closer in baseball history at the time (Mariano Rivera would soon pick up that distinction).   Papelbon never seemed to connect with the fans.

"I didn't come here for this", Papelbon notoriously said one day in 2013, as the Phillies were in the midst of a second mediocre year in a row.   The fans were not paying for mediocrity either, but the statement rubbed fans the wrong way.

Papelbon's tenure just under a year after being suspended seven games for a gesture he called an "adjustment".   Papelbon somehow was traded in 2015 to the Washington Nationals for an actual prospect (Nick Pivetta).  In Washington he infamously choked Bryce Harper in a dugout altercation. 

Continue reading "10 Worst Phillies Moments of the Decade" »


The Airing of the Grievances

 

Lipinski & Watkins were once again live on Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, & YouTube discussing the Eagles HUGE win over the Dallas Cowboys. 

Plus:

  • In honor of Festivus, the traditional airing of the grievances
  • True or False: Carson Wentz has been elite
  • True or False: Darren Sproles is a HOF'er
  • True or False: Harold Carmichael gets in the HOF
  • True or False: Home Alone is an overrated Christmas movie
  • More overrated Christmas movies & Christmas songs

Join the show LIVE every Monday! 


‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (FRUSTRATED PHILLIES FAN EDITION)

By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and throughout CBP

No one was happy, least of all Girardi

The winter meetings took place just a few days before,

Where they won a few battles but just lost the war.

 

For while Didi was fine and Wheeler some aid,

Neither portended a postseason parade.

But Klentak closed shut his laptop, content to fall short,

Saying: “I’ll deal with it later, when pitchers and catchers report.”

 

When out on Ashburn Alley there arose such a clatter,

It rose Andy McPhail and all the front office waste matter.

Away to the window they flew like a flash,

Along with the owner, who tripped over his cash.

 

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,

But two Cole’s – Hamels and Gerrit -- not elsewhere but here!

And with the two pitchers were John Boggs and Scott Boras,

Agents floating about them like heavenly auras.

 

More rapid than eagles their suitors they came,

When they last pursed their lips and whistled their name:

Now Yankees, Now Dodgers, Now DC and Atlanta,

Who will pay our fair lads; become their baseball Santa?

 

The owner sighed deeply, his face wore a frown,

For the pitchers signed elsewhere and not for his town.

Aha, not so quick! Said Boras with glee,

If you promise us more, we’ll void those deals, you’ll see!

 

The owner whipped out his checkbook, thrilled at his luck,

Even though he knew well this would cost plenty a’buck.

Not so fast! so spoke Klentak, holding high his spray chart,

This Cole’s too expensive, that one’s an old fart.

 

But Gerrit's a winner, said the owner, and Hamels touches our hearts,

They’ll at least keep fans’ interest 'till training camp starts.

Humbug! Sneered Klentak, as he did not care,

"For we’ll beat out the Marlins; we don’t need this pair."

 

"Besides, we’ve got Nola, and we’ll put Kingery at third,

We’ll figure a way to polish this turd.

And what of Pivetta, Velasquez and Eflin?

Our bunch is better than this kid and that has-been."

 

McPhail then piped up, swearing that he knew best,

Though it had been many decades since he’d known success.

Their twin Cole offer, he said, was both nutty and crazy,

"Besides, we’ve got two Adams -- both Morgan and Haseley."

 

So the owner said Pass! to Boggs and to Boras,

Who put their Coles back in their stockings and then tipped their fedoras.

"You’ll rue this cold evening when you had the chance,

To make your club better, to help it advance."

 

But the brass didn’t think so, for they were swimming in dough,

It just didn’t matter if they finished high or real low.

For fans bought Harper jerseys, bad food and their merch,

As if tithing to them, as if CBP were a church.

 

So as they sprang to their sleigh and gave their team a whistle,

The Coles and their agents saw Girardi shiver and bristle.

And to him they exclaimed as they drove out of sight:

Get out while you can -- call back MLB Tonight!