John Hoda | Phantasy Baseball "It's About A Second Chance" Thu, 08 May 2014 16:42:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Phillies are Looking Healthy Thu, 08 May 2014 16:18:23 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
John Hoda

For once, the Phillies could bask in their health this weekend while their opponents from the south were not so lucky. The nationals, coming off a 93-win pace, walked into Citizens Bank Park lacking its third baseman, leftfielder, catcher, and fourth starter.

On Friday night before the starting game of the series, Jayson Werth reunited with his former teammates behind the batting cage. This was the first time he had seen all of them healthy and he unfortunately wasn’t a Philly anymore.

“You have to start with depth,” Werth said, “and you need depth right behind that.”

For over two years, team officials lamented the roster’s deteriorating health. Still, this winter general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continued the trend of the team’s veteran core by adding 36-year-old Marlon Byrd and 37-year-old A.J. Burnett. He took a chance on the older player’s health and ability to stay on the field. That leap of faith formed a .500 record in April, most in the absence of $144 million ace Cole Hamels. A very familiar record in May with a full roster at Ryne Sandberg’s disposal could be an indictment of that talent.

The Phillies took off last week on a 30-game stretch in which 22 will be played at Citizens Bank Park. Besides the five-day stretch in July 2012, the Phillies have played their last two seasons with a member of their everyday lineup on the disabled list.

A lack of depth is what condemned the Phillies in the last two seasons; Washington endured its shortcomings in 2013. The Nationals finished the season at 34-20. That was not enough to atone for a 48-47 first half. That is why a quality start in 2014 with a depleted roster provided hope for the team.

Players are going to get hurt and are going to get injured. However with luck on their side, the Phillies may be able to have quite the May if they are able to remain healthy.

For more information read on at

Opening Day Sat, 29 Mar 2014 18:34:46 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
When I am asked to read a passage at a book signing, guess what I turn to?

Opening Day: As good as it gets

By Stew Menke

Nowhere but here has there been a longer continuous stretch of opening days for any baseball club in the same city. Before electricity and automobiles, the game of baseball was played by your favorite hometown club at ‘Recreation Park’. Four ballparks later, a lot has changed in those years, but some things are changeless. Green grass mowed to perfection, chalk lines crisp and clear map out the field. The cold rains of November followed by the harsh winter snow and sleet strip away all the smells of stale beer and grease from bleachers and life at the park begins anew. Everybody starts out at the same place and the possibilities are endless.

Even Cubs fans think they have a chance on Opening Day. For on this day, we don’t talk about free agency, multi-year, mega-million dollar contracts, steroid testing or revenue-sharing. There is a “Field of Dreams” mystique to the day where the connection goes back through over a century of players and uniform styles and odd-shaped leather gloves. That same connection runs through generations of Philadelphians that
have made the Phillies family part of their family. Radio and TV moved the game into living room parlors on Easter Sunday or in backyards during Holiday barbeques or fireworks. No decent block party would survive without scores being passed around like squares of Aunt Mae’s tomato pie.

Tell me, does a Father’s day not pass for persons of a certain age recounting where they were when Bunning was perfect against those upstart Metropolitans?

Added together, none of those days carry the significance of Opening Day. The slate is clean, The Jubilee year begins, The Phanatic hasn’t aged a day, the hot dogs are delicious (maybe even kosher) and all is right with the world. Hope springs eternal.

So we throw caution to the wind and root for our home team just as our great grandparents did one score after Lincoln’s train ride to Gettysburg. Let the season begin.

A.J. Burnett signs two year deal with Phillies Wed, 19 Feb 2014 20:21:34 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
After resurrecting his career in Pittsburgh, A.J Burnett has settled with the Phillies on a two year deal worth $22.5 million. The deciding factor for A.J. was his family. He wanted to try and remain close to his home in Maryland. Burnett thought about retiring last year, but come January he started throwing again and he wanted to give it ago. Last season Burnett won 26 games with a 3.31 ERA.

Burnett has had somewhat of a rocky career. Lifetime he is 147-132 with a 3.99 ERA in 375 major league games. Over the course of 15 seasons he has spent time with the Pirates, Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins. His last two season in New York were forgettable after he went 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA. Last year remains a huge bright spot in Burnett’s career. He helped guide the Pirates to their first playoff appearance since 1992.

Hopefully A.J. Burnett will find his way like he did with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. If he can win more than 25 games it would be a huge plus for the Phillies starting rotation. The last thing we need is for A.J. to have a rocky start; it could spell trouble for the rest of the season.

Breakout Players for the Phillies in Clearwater Wed, 19 Feb 2014 19:46:48 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
Bleacher Report put out a recent article regarding the five breakout players for the Phillies in spring training this year. The write up included Cody Asche, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Ben Revere, Jacob Diekman and Darin Ruf.

Cody Asche

Cody Asche played Triple-A ball hitting .295 with 15 home runs before he played about two months in the majors last year. During that stint he hit .235 with five home runs. Hopefully these very average numbers are just the beginning to a high ceiling. Based on the team currently, they’d definitely settle for Asche’s Triple-A numbers for the season. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

Gonzalez won’t be the opening day starter by any means, but the fifth spot in the rotation could potentially be a fit. This spring training will allow Gonzalez to prove himself. Many people are interested in whether he will have the arm strength to deliver as he did in the past. Gonzalez signed a six year $60 million contract that was later retracted to three years at $12 million due to his medical history.

Ben Revere

Ben Revere was one the biggest bright spots on the Phillies roster last year. He batted .305 with 22 stolen bases before he was injured. A broken foot sidelined Revere for part of the season last year. People are hopeful his eye and speed are still intact post injury. Philly could surely use a player with speed and batting ability. If Ben Revere can bat .300 and steal 40 bases this year it will definitely be an added benefit to the team. Whether that helps impact the win column we will have to wait and see.

Jacob Diekman

Diekman was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in June and his numbers were up and down. This is understandable for a call up of his nature. What is encouraging about Diekman was his improvement particularly in August and September. A 1.98 ERA in August and 1.08 ERA in September is phenomenal. Having these kind of numbers carry over to spring training and the regular season would be excellent for the Phillies.

Darin Ruf

Simply put, Ruf is a power hitter that will hopefully develop into the kind of batter he was expected to be last season.

The Phillies definitely have a number questions coming into spring training in Clearwater. It’ll be fun to see how this team shapes up in the coming months. It’s amazing baseball season is almost upon us. It seems like the World Series happened yesterday. Hopefully the Phillies find their way; it all starts with a great spring training.

Halladay and Lidge will be guest instructors for Phillies at spring training Thu, 23 Jan 2014 18:17:40 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
The Phillies will have two great additions at spring training this year. Former standout pitcher and two time CY Young Award winner Roy Halladay and closer Brad Lidge will be accompany manager Ryne Sandberg and his coaching staff. It’ll be great to have these two veterans instructing the team. They have a lot of experience in this league, so hopefully it will rub off well on the players.

Roy Halladay was instrumental in leading the Phillies during the 2008 World Series Championship season. Brad Lidge also filled in quite nicely. He was a perfect 48-48 in save opportunities during the 2008 season as well. Having these two great pitchers will certainly help pave the way for Phillies pitchers this season. It can’t help learning from the best.





Bobby Abreu coming back to the Phillies Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:49:44 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
According to a recent article on CBS Sports, 39-year-old Bobby Abreu will be returning to the Phillies. Abreu played with the Phillies from 1998-06 where he hit 303/.416/.513 (139 OPS+) with 195 homers and 254 stolen bases in 1,353 games.

Abreu signed a minor league contract and if he makes the team he will earn $800,000. He last played for the Angels and Dodgers back in 2012 hitting only three home runs in 100 games. The Phillies are expecting Abreu to come of the bench as a left-handed batter when needed.

We will have to wait and see if this deal pays off. From the looks of it, it seems a little bit odd that the Phillies would choose to sign Abreu who hasn’t played in nearly two years and is an older player at 39. The contract is cheap, but for that money they could have gotten a younger player with more of an upside. It’s nice to see that Abreu chose to come to the Phillies instead of other teams who were offering him more money. Maybe that’s a sign that he is ready to contribute! We will see.


Did the Phillies pass up on a great pitcher in Tanaka? Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:13:32 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
A lot of people might be upset that the Phillies didn’t make an effort to go after Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The reason why they didn’t make a run at him is because they simply don’t have the kind of money the Yankees have. The Yankees can afford to take a risk on a pitcher that went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the Japanese League last season. The Phillies can’t. If they could I’m sure they would, but shelling out $155 million over seven years seems silly.

Masahiro Tanaka might have a near perfect record in the Japanese League, but he is unproven in the MLB. He hasn’t thrown a single pitch! Not one! Of course his record shows he definitely has the potential to get it done, but you never know how his play will transfer over. The Yankees have an obscene payroll, so they have no problem bringing in what could be an ace to help shape their bullpen.

Are the Phillies stuck with Jimmy Rollins? Tue, 17 Dec 2013 20:20:38 +0000
Continue Reading]]>
John HodaAccording to an article, the Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is currently being shopped around to see if a team would be willing to make a trade. Rollins is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career where he only hit a career-low six homers, 39 RBIs in 160 games. At 35 years old, he is expected to make $11 million in 2014 as well as 2015. The only issue is a full no-trade right. Even if the Phillies were able to find a worthy trade, Jimmy would have the right to accept or refuse the trade. He has made it clear under all the speculation that he would like to remain a Philadelphia Phillies player until he retires.

The only way Jimmy might consider waiving his no-trade clause would be if he was traded to a team that is in contention to make a run for a World Series. Any team that wants Rollins will definitely have leverage over the Phillies in negotiations.

Currently there are only three teams who are contenders that fit the bill for picking up Rollins. These teams include Boston, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Boston as an option seems unlikely, but Cincinnati and Pittsburgh could be real viable possibilities.

After a disappointing season last season, the Phillies sure need some signs of resurgence in their lineup. Unfortunately Jimmy Rollins might not offer what he once had, but at the end of the day he might remain on the roster simply because the Phillies can’t shop him with that no-trade clause.

via John Hoda

Walk off Walk at CBP. Chase Utley walked in the winning run Friday night and I was there. Sun, 25 Aug 2013 21:31:27 +0000 image

Ike and Mike had me on their show Friday August 23. Will get the whole interview up shortly. Sun, 25 Aug 2013 21:28:02 +0000 image