Phillies

Phillies cut veteran Cameron Rupp as roster continues to take shape

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USA Today Images

Phillies cut veteran Cameron Rupp as roster continues to take shape

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It was an emotional scene in the Phillies' clubhouse early Sunday morning as popular catcher Cameron Rupp hugged teammates, wished them luck and walked out the door for what he called “a new start.”
 
Rupp, 29, was designated for assignment as the Phillies cleared a spot on their 40-man roster for pitcher Drew Hutchison, who apparently has won a spot on the big-league pitching staff.
 
The Phillies have seven days to dispose of Rupp’s contract. He could be traded, picked up by another team on waivers or released. If he clears waivers, he could be outrighted to Triple A. Rupp’s Phillies contract calls for him to make $2.05 million in 2018, but the Phillies would only be on the hook for a quarter of that if he is released by 2 p.m. Monday.
 
Rupp’s departure means the Phillies will open the season with Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp as their catchers. The Phils will lose some organizational depth at the position if Rupp does not stay in the system. Logan Moore and Matt McBride are expected to be the catchers are Triple A. Moore, a strong defender, has been in the system since 2011. McBride, a Lehigh University product who signed with the Phils as a minor-league free agent this winter, has played in the majors with Colorado and Oakland.
 
Hutchison, 27, made 74 starts from 2012 to 2016 with the Blue Jays and Pirates. He spent all of last season with the Pirates’ Triple A club and signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies last month. The right-hander made the club by posting a 2.75 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. It’s not clear if he will pitch at the back end of the starting rotation or out of the bullpen as a long man. Roster questions are expected to be cleared up by the time the Phils leave Florida late Tuesday afternoon.
 
Rupp, a former Texas Longhorn, was the Phillies’ third-round draft pick in 2010. He got to the majors briefly in 2013 and 2014, was a teammate of World Series heroes Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard, and spent all of the last three seasons with the big club as successor to fan favorite Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies are now moving on with Alfaro, a rookie who is out of minor-league options.
 
“It's just the way the team is shaping up,” Rupp said. “There wasn't room for me. At the end of the day, you know, it's just a tough day. But that's part of it. There's a business side of it. That's the decision they chose to make. We'll see what happens now. 
 
“It's tough. I saw the end of Jimmy, Chase, Howie, Cole, all the guys who won in 2008. You see them walk out the door and you see a bunch of new faces. Then you see the guys who are really going to be good. They're really going to help this organization win. It sucks. But it's a business, too, unfortunately. This is the business side. I have to deal with it and keep moving forward.”

Can we order these Philly team hats with or without cheesesteaks on them?

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New Era

Can we order these Philly team hats with or without cheesesteaks on them?

Uh … what in the world are these?

Listen, I’m not a ‘let me speak to the manager’ kind of person … but who approved this? I’d just like to talk to them.

New Era released a new line of hats called Team Describe for select NBA and MLB  teams and I hope for everyone’s sake, they stop there.

When you look at the design for both the Sixers and Phillies, it almost seems like a parody of what the actual hat should be. And what stinks even more is the fact other teams actually have some pretty cool looking hats  — a favorite of mine being the Toronto Blue Jays.




On the site alongside the hats, it says, “The Philadelphia 76ers/Phillies Team Describe 59FIFTY Fitted Cap features an embroidered 76ers/Phillies logo at the front panels alongside the Liberty Bell with a Philly cheesesteak embroidered at the rear beside a team color NBA/MLB logo.”

The front of the hat was manageable … it’s the chili-dog looking cheesesteak on the back though that raises some concern.

I promise you, designers of the world, there is more to Philadelphia than just cheesesteaks. And even though there are most certainly fans that will purchase them, the majority are looking at this and wondering … what the heck is this?

If you want to check out the website for them, which apparently has sold out in certain sizes, you can go here for the Phillies and here for Sixers.

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MLB rule changes 2020: Phillies most affected by the new 3-batter rule

MLB rule changes 2020: Phillies most affected by the new 3-batter rule

MLB's new three-batter rule for relievers should have a fairly significant impact on the way managers manage and pitching coaches handle their bullpens.

To review, the new rule is that a pitcher entering after the starting pitcher must face at least three batters or pitch to the end of the current inning. So, for example, if Adam Morgan comes in with two on and two outs in the sixth inning and gets the third out, he does not need to come back out for the seventh.

This rule will obviously most affect relief specialists. Let's use Jose Alvarez as an example. Last season, Alvarez was one of the few Phillies pitchers who didn't take a step back from the prior year. He had a 3.36 ERA in 67 appearances. In 14 of those appearances, Alvarez faced one or two batters. It's why he amassed just 59 innings in those 67 appearances.

As best as they could, the Phillies tried to avoid having Alvarez face right-handed hitters. But it still happened frequently because there are more righties than lefties and because other teams routinely try to gain the platoon advantage by pinch-hitting.

Lefties hit just .236 with a .277 on-base percentage and .382 slugging percentage vs. Alvarez in 2019. Righties hit .328/.385/.475. 

An actual example

To find an example of the type of appearance we'll no longer see, let's go back to last June 15, a 6-5 Phillies win in Atlanta. In that game, Alvarez came on with runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the seventh to face left-handed hitting Nick Markakis. He struck him out looking to end the inning.

This season, Joe Girardi and Bryan Price may be leery of bringing in Alvarez in that spot. The next two hitters were right-handed Austin Riley and switch-hitting Ozzie Albies, who was one of the best hitters in baseball last season against lefties (.389/.414/.685). The upside of ending the inning at Markakis may not be worth having to potentially use the lefty Alvarez against Riley and Albies. 

Risk vs. reward

Managers and pitching coaches will have to constantly weigh whether the platoon advantage against a specific player (Markakis in this case) is worth the subsequent disadvantage if the inning doesn't end. You're always going to want a lefty facing Freddie Freeman, but you may be able to get away with keeping your right-handed pitcher in to face Markakis in that instance above.

Recently signed Francisco Liriano could be better equipped to deal with this rule change. While he's been much better against lefties throughout his career, he's also had some success against righties because of the effectiveness of his changeup. His career splits: .218/.296/.305 from lefties and .249/.335/.399 from righties. That follows closely with how he performed against righties last season as well.

Morgan should be relatively unaffected — when he's been successful it has been against hitters from both sides, not just lefties.

Righties could feel it, too

The rule change doesn't end with southpaws, though. While the left vs. left matchup traditionally is harder on the hitter than right vs. right, some right-handed relievers will feel this too.

Vince Velasquez, for example, could play a key relief role for the Phillies. Throughout his career, Velasquez has allowed left-handed hitters a batting average 24 points higher than righties and an OPS 67 points higher. Maybe you want Velasquez coming in to face Marcell Ozuna, who is 3 for 20 lifetime off of him, but you're going to hesitate if Markakis (9 for 22 with a double and four walks) is lingering on deck.

How 'bout the hitters?

On the flip side, this could benefit a few Phillies hitters. We don't yet know how the Phils are going to construct their lineup, but you'd think that Bryce Harper will be followed by right-handed Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto. Harper was so good against lefties last season (.283 BA, .949 OPS, 15 HR) that teams in 2020 may opt to just use a right-hander against those three hitters. Why bring in a lefty who may not retire Harper anyway just to be forced to use that lefty against Hoskins and Realmuto?

Faster pace of play

It's unclear exactly how managers will adapt to the new three-batter rule but it is clear that it will shorten games. Think about all the innings last season — particularly in September — when three or four different pitchers were used. That's about 10 minutes right there of just pitching changes, factoring in the time it takes a manager to walk to the mound and the time it takes the new reliever to get to the mound and complete his warmups.

This should also create more offense, too, since there will be fewer platoon-based matchups late in games. If MLB goes away from golf balls and goes back to actual baseballs that don't turn 50 percent of the league into 20-home-run hitters, that extra offense should be a positive as well.

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