Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Grapefruit Game 3 - 2018 Topps Heritage #68 Mikie Mahtook

Phillies 8Orioles 7
Spring Training Game 3 - Monday Afternoon, February 24th in Clearwater
Record - 2-0-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies held on to beat the Orioles on a walk-off error from a ground ball hit by Luke Williams that scored Ali Castillo.

What It Means:  It's still way early, but 13 hits from the Phillies offense is a good sign as are the two scoreless innings from Vince Velasquez.

What Happened:  In his spring debut, Velasquez allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one in his efficient outing.  Pitching prospects Ramon Rosso and Zach Warren were impressive in their scoreless innings of work.  Warren struck out the side in a perfect ninth.

Mikie Mahtook, Luke Williams, Logan Forsythe and Nick Maton all homered for the Phillies. 

Featured Card:  Mahtook's three-run home run in the fourth marked the first long ball of the spring for the Phils.  Probably a long-shot to make the club, he'll most likely serve as outfield depth this season with the Triple-A IronPigs. 

Camp Head Count:  70

Monday, February 24, 2020

Grapefruit Game 2 - Phillie Phanatic Evolution

2020 Chachi Preview #10

2001 Nabisco Phillies
 
1992 Donruss Triple Play #133
 
2019 Topps Opening Day
Mascots #M-21
Phillies 4, Pirates 3 (10 Innings)
Spring Training Game 2 - Sunday Afternoon, February 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 1-0-1

One Sentence Summary:  Jay Bruce's two-run double in the first paced the offense and Aaron Nola pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut.

What It Means:  Everything stopped on Sunday afternoon as my family and I gathered around the TV and watched the first few innings of the game - the first of many games we'll watch together in 2020.

What Happened:  The Phillies enjoyed a four-run first inning and made the lead stand the rest of the game.  Jean Segura and Kyle Garlick accounted for the other two Phillies runs with RBI singles.  Nola allowed three hits and struck out a batter in his outing.

Featured Card:  It was exciting to watch the Phillies on TV again, but the big news for the club was the "evolution" of the team's mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, who debuted his new look.  For the record, I'm fine with this.  He looks strange for now, but our kids seemed to shrug off the changes and fans will get used to the new look over time.  There's a copyright lawsuit going on now between the Phillies and the original creators of the Phanatic (Harrison/Erickson) and the tweaks to the Phanatic's appearance are mostly, if not entirely, due to that.

The new look Phanatic has actual hands, some sort of scalloped wings on his arms and star shapes around his eyes.  His eyes are now surrounded by bushier blue fuzz.  He appears to be skinnier with a blue tail feather and he's wearing blue socks with red shoes.  His snout is also shorter.  Shown above are a few cards tracking the evolution of the best mascot in baseball over the years.

Camp Head Count:  70

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Grapefruit Game 1 - 2019 Bowman Heritage #53P-49 Alec Bohm

Phillies 8Tigers 8 (10 Innings)
Spring Training Game 1 - Saturday Afternoon, February 22nd in Lakeland
Record - 0-0-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies opened their spring schedule playing to a tie against the Tigers in Lakeland.

What It Means:  And here we go.

What Happened:  By the time the semi-regulars were out of this game, the Phillies were trailing 5-2 heading into the eighth inning.  The team's prospects plated six runs in the eighth, started by an Alec Bohm RBI single.  Big hits followed from Arquimedes Gamboa (RBI single), Nick Maton (2-run double), Mickey Moniak (RBI double) and Darick Hall (RBI triple).

Nick Pivetta got the start.  He looked good in the first but had a rough second inning with a couple of bloop hits falling in and a misplayed ball in the outfield contributing to his three runs allowed.

Featured Card:  Bohm, the team's top draft pick in 2018, could be up in the majors at some point this season.  A third baseman for now, Bohm had a pair of hits in the game, including the one that started the team's eighth inning rally.  He's already had his share of baseball card appearances, including this one in the Bowman Heritage set released in December.

Camp Head Count:  71 - 1 = 70 - Officially, the spring opened with 71 players on the roster but David Robertson was placed on the 60-day injured list on the first day of camp.  By comparison, there were 61 players in camp for the first spring game in 2019. 

Nick Martini was designated for assignment on February 15th and after he passed through waivers, the Phillies brought him back as a non-roster invitee on February 21st.  Here's a final (?) list of Phillies 2020 non-roster invitees, adding Martini and subtracting Tyler Gilbert who was traded to the Dodgers.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
7.  Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Pirates - 2019 Topps Update #US61 (Pirates)
8.  Bud Norris (rhp) - Blue Jays - 2018 Topps #686 (Cardinals)
9.  Drew Storen (rhp) - Royals - 2017 Topps Heritage #573 (Reds)
10.  Neil Walker (inf) - Marlins - 2019 Topps Update #US132 (Marlins)
11.  Logan Forsythe (inf) - Rangers - 2019 Topps Heritage #635 (Rangers)
12.  Blake Parker (rhp) - Twins/Phillies - 2020 Topps #286 (Phillies)
13.  Anthony Swarzak (rhp) - Mariners/Braves - 2019 Topps Total #387 (Braves)
14.  Trevor Kelley (rhp) - Red Sox - N/A
15.  Nick Martini (of) - Athletics - 2019 Topps Big League #281 (Athletics)

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
16.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
17.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
18.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
18.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
19.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
20.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
21.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
22.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
23.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
24.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
25.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
26.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
27.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
28.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
29.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23
30.  JD Hammer (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #8

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Garlick Added; Martini Dropped

2020 Chachi New Additions #12
 
2018 Grandstand Reading
Fightin Phils #13
It appears the roster tinkering isn't quite over yet, as the Phillies acquired outfielder Kyle Garlick from the Dodgers on Saturday for left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Gilbert.  Gilbert had been a non-roster invitee to spring training this season and last, and he's pitched for five seasons in the Phillies minor league system.  In 36 relief appearances last year for the IronPigs, he went 2-4 with a 2.83 ERA over 47 2/3 innings.

Garlick had been designated for assignment by the Dodgers on February 11th to make room on the 40-man roster following the Mookie Betts deal.  He appeared in 30 games last season with Los Angeles, hitting .250 with 3 home runs.  In Triple-A last season, he hit .314 with 23 home runs.

To make room for Garlick on the 40-man roster, Nick Martini was designated for assignment.  Martini had been claimed off waivers from the Reds in January.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency, signed the San Francisco Giants (1/18/20).
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals (2/12/20).
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers (1/22/20).
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (1/16/20).
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (2/9/20).
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released, signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan) (11/2/19).
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres (12/27/19).
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/31/20).
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1/8/20).
  • Mitch Walding - 3b (11/4/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/5/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/12/20).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (1/31/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (2/5/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Kyle Garlick - of (2/15/20) - Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Tyler Gilbert.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Hammer Returns; Non-Roster Invitees Up to 30

2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #8
For the sake of completeness, I wanted to post the most up to date listing of non-roster invitees currently in camp with the Phillies.  Reliever JD Hammer had been designated for assignment on February 5th to make room on the 40-man roster for free agent signing Deolis Guerra.  Hammer cleared waivers, was outrighted to Lehigh Valley and returned to the club as their 30th (!) non-roster invitee.  The 71 players currently in camp (72 if you count Odubel Herrera) has got to be a franchise record.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
7.  Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Pirates - 2019 Topps Update #US61 (Pirates)
8.  Bud Norris (rhp) - Blue Jays - 2018 Topps #686 (Cardinals)
9.  Drew Storen (rhp) - Royals - 2017 Topps Heritage #573 (Reds)
10.  Neil Walker (inf) - Marlins - 2019 Topps Update #US132 (Marlins)
11.  Logan Forsythe (inf) - Rangers - 2019 Topps Heritage #635 (Rangers)
12.  Blake Parker (rhp) - Twins/Phillies - 2020 Topps #286 (Phillies)
13.  Anthony Swarzak (rhp) - Mariners/Braves - 2019 Topps Total #387 (Braves)
14.  Trevor Kelley (rhp) - Red Sox - N/A

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
15.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
16.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
17.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
18.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
19.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
20.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
21.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
22.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
23.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
24.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
25.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
26.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
27.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
28.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
29.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23
30.  JD Hammer (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #8

Hunter Returns; Updated List of Offseason Moves

2019 Topps #619
2020 Chachi Departures #12
2020 Chachi Departures #11
2020 Chachi Departures #6
On Wednesday, the Phillies brought back reliever Tommy Hunter on a one-year deal and moved David Robertson to the 60-day disabled list.  Robertson is recovering from Tommy John surgery and at best he could be back with the team in the second half of the season.  Hunter was limited to 5 1/3 innings last season for the Phillies and missed most of the year with an elbow injury.

Listed below is a look at an updated list of comings and goings for the Phillies, and by my unofficial tally there are still a few ex-Phillies out there looking for new homes as spring training gets started:  RHP Jared Hughes, Pat Neshek and Fernando Salas, LHP Pat Neshek and third baseman Mitch Walding.  Sean Rodriguez reportedly signed with the Marlins, although that deal has yet to be officially announced.

I'm bummed that Phillies Room favorite Brad Miller won't be coming back.  He was one of the sole bright spots last year in an otherwise disappointing season.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency, signed the San Francisco Giants (1/18/20).
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals (2/12/20).
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers (1/22/20).
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (1/16/20).
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (2/9/20).
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released, signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan) (11/2/19).
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres (12/27/19).
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/31/20).
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1/8/20).
  • Mitch Walding - 3b (11/4/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/5/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/12/20).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Nick Martini - of (1/14/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (1/31/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (2/5/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Pitchers and Catchers: Report!

2019 Chachi #71
As Phillies pitchers and catchers officially report today, I wanted to cap off (or Kap off) my 2019 Chachi production with the final card in the set.  Fittingly, it's the checklist and you'll have to trust me that card numbers 59 through 71 are listed on the back.

Here's hoping to a more successful checklist in 2020, including some postseason highlight cards.

If for some reason you wanted to revisit the entire 2019 Chachi set, a complete checklist with links to each card can be found here.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Here We Go: New Uniform Numbers Galore

2020 Chachi Photo Cards #18
2020 Chachi Photo Cards #25
2020 Chachi Photo Cards #45
On Monday afternoon, the Phillies' roster page on their website updated with new uniform numbers for the 40-man roster, coaching staff and non-roster invitees.  With 69 players in camp, 7 officially retired numbers, 3 unofficially retired numbers, 13 members of the coaching staff and 3 numbers on hold for potentially returning players, there are only 4 numbers between 1 and 99 currently available.  Without keeping everyone in suspense, those numbers are:  93, 97, 98 and 99.  That's crazy.

Here's a look at new uniform numbers, number swaps and numbers currently on hold.

New Players (Non-Prospect Division)
There's a bunch here, so rather than go into any kind of detailed analysis, I'll list the number, the player and the person to have worn that number for the Phillies in 2019:
  • #7 Josh Harrison (inf) - Maikel Franco
  • #12 Neil Walker (inf) - Juan Nicasio
  • #13 Logan Forsythe (inf) - Sean Rodriguez
  • #16 Mikie Mahtook (of) - Cesar Hernandez
  • #18 Didi Gregorius (ss) - Drew Smyly
  • #23 Matt Szczur (of) - Jay Bruce (see below)
  • #28 Bud Norris (rhp) - Mike Morin
  • #29 Drew Storen (rhp) - Nick Vincent
  • #31 Nick Martini (of) - Corey Dickerson
  • #39 Anthony Swarzak (rhp) - Coach Bobby Dickerson
  • #44 Christian Bethancourt (c) - Jason Vargas
  • #45 Zack Wheeler (rhp) - Coach Chris Young
  • #48 Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Jerad Eickhoff
  • #57 Deolis Guerra (rhp) - Coach David Lundquist (see below)
  • #60 Reggie McClain (rhp) - Coach Pedro Guerrero (see below)
  • #61 Cristopher Sanchez (lhp) - Edubray Ramos
  • #89 Robert Stock (rhp) - Never worn before
New Manager/Coaches
It looks as if the coaches mostly decided to take or were assigned numbers in the 90s, given the shortage of available numbers.  Along with new coaches Castro and Meacham, two other coaches swapped out to new numbers as listed below.
  • #19 Bryan Price (pitching coach) - Manager Gabe Kapler
  • #25 Joe Girardi (manager) - Jared Hughes
  • #33 Joe Dillon (hitting coach) - Brad Miller
  • #81 Greg Brodzinski (catching coach) - Coach Craig Driver
  • #91 Juan Castro (infield coach) - Never worn before
  • #92 Bobby Meacham (coaching assistant) - Never worn before
Number Swaps
Jay Bruce switches from #23 to #9, with Phil Gosselin switching from #9 to #8.  Edgar Garcia had worn #41 last season until Charlie Manuel was hired as the hitting coach, and then Garcia switched to #66.  He'll take back #41 for 2020.
  • #8 Phil Gosselin (inf) - Logan Morrison
  • #9 Jay Bruce (of) - Phil Gosselin
  • #41 Edgar Garcia (rhp) - Coach Charlie Manuel
  • #94 David Lundquist (assistant pitching coach) - Dalier Hinojosa in 2016
  • #95 Pedro Guerrero (assistant hitting coach) - Player information coordinator Sam Fuld
Numbers on Hold
  • #37 Odubel Herrera (of) - In minor league camp
  • #65 JD Hammer (rhp) - Designated for assignment last week
  • #96 Tommy Hunter (rhp) - Reportedly signed to a minor or major league deal
Other than the 4 numbers mentioned at the top (93, 97, 98 and 99) the Phillies have unofficially retired #6, #11 and #26 for Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, respectively.

Memory Lane
2013 New Numbers
2014 New Numbers - Part One and Part Two
2015 New Numbers
2016 New Numbers - Part One and Part Two
2017 New Numbers
2018 New Numbers
2019 New Numbers - Part OnePart Two and Part Three
2020 New Numbers

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The First Phillie of 2020: A 10-Year Low


We opened our first packs of 2020 Topps on Saturday afternoon and I have one word to describe the design of this year's offering:  Messy.  While the photography used for the cards is great, the design itself is a major distraction with bars, lines and rectangles cluttering the card fronts.  Depending on the orientation of the photo, the player's name could appear on the right, left or bottom of the cards when thumbing through a stack.

My wife Jenna brought home three blaster boxes from Target, and as we opened the packs the consensus was that none of us liked the horizontal cards.  Which makes it fitting this year's First Phillie was a horizontal card - #190 Aaron Nola - as found in my son Doug's first pack of the year.  This is a set that won't look great in 9-pocket pages given that every other card is oriented in a different direction.  The backs of the cards are drab and unimpressive.

I'm also again bothered by the placement of "special" cards throughout the set, as Topps interrupts the flow of player card with Postseason cards, League Leader cards, team celebration cards or team cards.  I'd like these so much better if they were grouped together as subsets.

Ben was unimpressed
Doug just wanted the Trout card
And finally, and perhaps my final complaint, is that the Phillies primary logo has been altered by Topps here.  The bell should be blue and not white.  The correct logo was used on Phillies cards found within the 2019 Topps set, so why make the change for this year's cards?  Based on a gut reaction ranking, I'm bummed this is my least favorite design of the last ten years and I can't believe I'm already missing the imperfect design from 2019.

Also, I'm getting old.

Subjective, Unscientific Gut Reaction Topps Flagship Set Design Rankings (2011 to 2020), Best to Worst
Best - 2015 Topps #309
#2 - 2011 Topps #242
#3 - 2019 Topps #303
#4 - 2012 Topps #98
#5 - 2016 Topps #15
#6 - 2013 Topps #6
#7 - 2018 Topps #26
#8 - 2014 Topps #90
#9 - 2017 Topps #247
Worst - 2020 Topps #221

Past First Phillies

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Camp Gets More Crowded - Guerra Added

2020 Chachi New Additions #11
As of this writing, the Phillies will have a recent record 69 players in camp, 70 if you count Odubel Herrera who has been banished to minor league camp.  Five more names were added to the mix on Tuesday, including right-handed reliever Deolis Guerra who landed on the 40-man roster.  Guerra was claimed off waivers from the Brewers and fan favorite JD Hammer was designated for assignment.

Guerra has been pitching in the majors since 2015 and last season he appeared in just 1 game for the Brewers, getting shelled in the process (2/3 inning, four runs).  His sole Topps flagship card to date can be found in the 2015 Topps Update set.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency, signed the San Francisco Giants (1/18/20).
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers (1/22/20).
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (1/16/20).
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres (12/27/19).
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/31/20).
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1/8/20).
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/5/20).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Nick Martini - of (1/14/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (1/31/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (2/5/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Non-Roster Invitee List Climbs to 29

2019 Topps Heritage #635
2019 Topps Total #387
2020 Chachi New Additions #6
2019 Topps Heritage #132
In the apparently never-ending process of adding players to try-out in Clearwater beginning next week, four more non-roster invitees were added to the mix on Tuesday.

Trevor Kelley lost his 40-man roster spot to Reggie McClain last week, but he'll still come to camp as a non-roster invitee.  Blake Parker is also back, after appearing in 23 games for the Phillies late last season and pitching to a 5.04 ERA.

Righty pitcher Anthony Swarzak was added too.  Swarzak is a veteran of 10 big league seasons, and he appeared in 44 games last season for the Braves and 15 with the Mariners, pitching to a decent 4.31 ERA with the Braves.  Finally, infielder Logan Forsythe will get a chance to earn a bench spot.  Forsythe is a 9-year veteran who appeared in 101 games last season for the Rangers.  He's a career .246 hitter and he hit a career-high 20 home runs with the Rays in 2016.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
7.  Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Pirates - 2019 Topps Update #US61 (Pirates)
8.  Bud Norris (rhp) - Blue Jays - 2018 Topps #686 (Cardinals)
9.  Drew Storen (rhp) - Royals - 2017 Topps Heritage #573 (Reds)
10.  Neil Walker (inf) - Marlins - 2019 Topps Update #US132 (Marlins)
11.  Logan Forsythe (inf) - Rangers - 2019 Topps Heritage #635 (Rangers)
12.  Blake Parker (rhp) - Twins/Phillies - 2020 Topps #286 (Phillies)
13.  Anthony Swarzak (rhp) - Mariners/Braves - 2019 Topps Total #387 (Braves)
14.  Trevor Kelley (rhp) - Red Sox - N/A

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
15.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
16.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
17.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
18.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
19.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
20.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
21.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
22.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
23.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
24.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
25.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
26.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
27.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
28.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
29.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23

Monday, February 3, 2020

Stay on Target . . . Getting Closer to Baseball

2020 Chachi New Additions #10
Most of my offseason attention has been turned towards building and posting my two other blogs, covering the 1956 and 1965 Topps sets.  After the Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius signings in December, transactions and non-roster invitees have slowly trickled in and I wanted to run another catch-up post before the joy of pitchers and catchers reporting kicks in.  Phillies pitchers and catchers are set to officially report on February 11th.

A number of ex-Phillies recently found new homes, as updated below.  The Phillies also made another waiver claim, taking Reggie McClain from the Mariners.  McClain has no major baseball card appearances to his name to date.

Trevor Kelley was designated for assignment to make room for McClain on the 40-man roster, but at least Kelley has a coveted Chachi New Additions insert card to show for his time in the Phillies organization.

2020 Chachi Departures #16
2020 Chachi Departures #1
2020 Chachi Departures #20
2020 Chachi Departures #10
Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency, signed the San Francisco Giants (1/18/20).
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers (1/22/20).
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (1/16/20).
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres (12/27/19).
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/31/20).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1/8/20).
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
2020 Chachi Departures #8
2020 Chachi Departures #18
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Trevor Kelley - rhp (12/2/19) - Claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Nick Martini - of (1/14/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (1/31/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Dad's Birthday and Dick Sisler

Corson Park, Millville - February 1980
1947-1966 Exhibits #270
I'll be thinking of my Dad today, on what would have been his 76th birthday.  Not a day goes by where I don't think of him.

As pure luck would have it, one of Dad's favorite players, Dick Sisler, is the featured card over at my relatively new blog celebrating the 1965 Topps set.  My oldest son Doug and I are building that set card by card in the same manner my Dad and I built our 1956 Topps set.  Please check it out and while you're there you can browse through the other cards we've added so far.  Dad would be proud.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Non-Roster Invitee List - 25 . . . and Counting?

2014 Topps Heritage #417
2014 Topps Heritage #317
2014 Topps Heritage #73
2012 Topps Heritage #121
No sooner had I posted on Tuesday an update to the Phillies non-roster invitee list with the Post Title, "Non-Roster Invitee List - 21 and Done?" did news start coming out on Twitter on the signing of several more veteran players.  The Phillies added four fairly well-known players to the invitee list, bringing the total to 25 and the total tally of players coming to camp to 65.  I've been tracking this kind of thing since 2012 and this is the highest number of players since the 67 who were in camp in 2016.

Veteran right-handed pitchers Bud Norris and Drew Storen, along with lefty Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker will all get serious looks down in Clearwater.  Norris is a 10-year veteran who most recently pitched for the Cardinals in 2018.  He enjoyed his best years with the Orioles in the mid-2000s and was a 15-game winner in 2014.  Storen is the former Nationals closer who lost his job to Jonathan Papelbon in 2015.  He has 99 career saves and last pitched for the Reds in 2017.

Liriano is a 14-year veteran and had a decent year for the Pirates last season, appearing in 69 games and pitching to a 3.47 ERA.  And finally Walker also had his best seasons with the Pirates in the early 2000s.  He was with the Marlins last year and hit .261 in 115 games.

Walker, Liriano, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison were all teammates on the 2015 Pirates team that won the N.L. Wild Card and all four will be in camp with the Phillies in 2020.  Other former Phillies on the 2015 Pirates team include Sean Rodriguez, Pedro Florimon, A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton, J.A. Happ, Jared Hughes, Antonio Bastardo, Vance Worley and Joe Blanton.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
7.  Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Pirates - 2019 Topps Update #US61 (Pirates)
8.  Bud Norris (rhp) - Blue Jays - 2018 Topps #686 (Cardinals)
9.  Drew Storen (rhp) - Royals - 2017 Topps Heritage #573 (Reds)
10.  Neil Walker (inf) - Marlins - 2019 Topps Update #US132 (Marlins)

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
11.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
12.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
13.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
14.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
15.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
16.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
17.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
18.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
19.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
20.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
21.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
22.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
23.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
24.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
25.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Non-Roster Invitee List - 21 and Done?

2017 Topps Heritage #99
2017 Topps Heritage #694
In early January, various Twitter reports announced the signings of catcher Christian Bethancourt and infielder Ronald Torreyes to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.  As the Phillies website just recently added these two players to their official Transactions listing and the Non-Roster section of the team's roster, I wanted to give them their due here as well.

Bethancourt is a veteran of five big league seasons, having last appeared in 2017 with the Padres.  He'll be the fourth potential backup catcher in camp along with Andrew Knapp, Deivy Grullon and Henri Lartigue.  Torreyes has also played in parts of five seasons in the Majors, and he appeared in seven games last year with the Twins.  He appeared in 108 games for the Yankees in 2017, hitting .292.

With the start of spring training now 3 weeks away, and barring a trade, the Phillies' roster seems set with 61 players scheduled to suit up in Clearwater.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
7.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
8.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
9.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
10.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
11.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
12.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
13.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
14.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
15.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
16.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
17.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
18.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
19.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
20.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
21.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23