Out of the Batter’s Box – Phillies add Billingsley, and that’s not terrible

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The Phillies added another arm to the potential starting rotation, and it’s not really a terrible move!

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js1. Phillies sign Billingsley to Low-risk, medium reward contract

The Phillies signed pitcher Chad Billingsley to a light contract on Thursday. At $1.5 million for one year, there is minimal risk involved for the Phillies in signing a pitcher who had battled injuries the last two years. If he is healthy, Billingsley might serve well in the middle or back end of the starting rotation behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Considering the circumstances with the roster and the pitching staff, taking a chance on Billingsley is not a terrible plan and it comes with a chance for both sides to benefit. If Billingsley stays healthy and has a dependable season, it raises his stock and helps the Phillies on the mound. So why not give it a shot?

2. So what will the starting rotation look like in 2015?

It goes without saying the top two pitchers in the starting rotation will be Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. I would lean toward sending Hamels out as the opening day starter, with Lee following in the number two slot. Hamels is face of the pitching staff right now, and he is worthy of the title of number one starter. After that, I like the rotation line-up Todd Zolecki outlined, which seems to be the most popular rotation prediction going right now. Hamels, Lee, Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and young David Buchanan. If Billingsley proves capable in the spring, I could easily see him taking over the fourth spot in the rotation, pushing Williams back a spot and dropping Buchanan out of the mix for the time being. Buchanan would likely be the first call-up if needed.

3. Phillies designated Jimenez for assignment

In order to make room for Billingsley on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated Cesar Jimenez for assignment. I don’t really have any other comment to make about this. Moving on…

4. Phillies receiving mild praise in offseason 


When Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk offers even the slightest bit of praise in the direction of the Phillies, you know something is going right in the front office. It has become incredibly easy to criticize the moves made by Ruben Amaro with support from the front office over the last few years, and that may not change all that much even with some good moves. Remember, you don’t get a ton of credit for making a bad situation you created better. That said, considering the position the Phillies have been in, the moves being made this offseason are not terrible. Sure, trading Jimmy Rollins hits a sentimental spot in the heart for me, but you understand the motive and intent for the future of the franchise. It sounds as though the Phillies still have some interested from Milwaukee and Toronto over Jonathan Papelbon too.

Ryan Lawrence, who covers the Phillies for the Philadelphia Daily News and has a keen eye for plagiarists, offers this reminder to fans who may be getting a little worked up over this signing.


5.  Werth sentenced to five days in jail

Former Phillies right fielder and current Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was sentenced to five days in jail. Werth pleaded guilty to reckless driving earlier in the offseason. Earlier reports had suggested he could spend 10 days in jail. Maybe this is a minor offense compared to what some other star athletes have been accused of, but it is refreshing to see justice served.

6. Baseball Prospectus predicts 69 wins for Phillies

I missed this earlier this week, but Baseball Prospectus released their annual win projections for each team in baseball this season. The Phillies are predicted to win 69 games according to Baseball Prospectus, which would sit them last in the NL East. Worst yet, that is predicted to be the worst record in all of baseball in 2015. That 2008 World Series parade now feels much longer than seven years ago.

New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee seems to be pretty optimistic about this season too.

7. Padres bringing back brown pinstripes

As a self-proclaimed uniform critic, it is so pleasing to me to see the San Diego Padres announcing they will be bringing back the old brown pinstripes this season. It will come in a small dose though, with just five Wednesday afternoon games getting the retro uniforms. If you have not seen them, the new Mariners alternate uniforms look sharp too.

I think the Phillies uniforms are just fine, and I love the fact the Phillies do not wear a solid red jersey as an alternate, since that just makes a professional baseball team look like a Little League squad. The Phillies have the best alternate day uniform in the game for my money, but if they would go back and bring back the maroon a little more often I would be just fine with that.

8. Keith Law’s top 100 prospects includes 

J.P. Crawford is ranked No. 7 in Keith Law’s list of top 100 prospects in baseball. No real surprise there, as Crawford has been lauded the franchise’s top prospect and is likely to be the next franchise shortstop when ready. Pitcher Aaron Nola, drafted last season out of LSU, is ranked No. 57. And that’s it. The Phillies have just two of the top 100 prospects in Keith Law’s top 100. The Chicago Cubs have two of the top five. The farm system needs to be retooled in a big way it seems.

9. Super Bowl pick

You may have heard there is a big football game going on this weekend. It’s a pretty big deal. I am picking the New England Patriots to win, a two-point favorite according to Bovada this morning. I will be rooting for Seattle though, and rooting even more for Marshawn Lynch to be the Super Bowl MVP just to annoy all those holier-than-thou, self-righteous media types who have a problem with him.

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