Vance Worley looks good, but Phillies drop series with Pirates

The theme of this season for the Phillies seems to be question marks.  There is a big question mark next to the return dates of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, question marks as to how the Phillies offense will fare this year with an aging core of players.  Question marks as to whether or not Jimmy Rollins’ contract will be worthwhile or not.  However, one of the biggest question marks coming into the 2012 season was that of fourth starter Vance Worley and if he would be able to repeat the success of his rookie season.

Worley had a fantastic rookie campaign, finishing third in NL Rookie of the Year voting after  posting an 11-3 record with a 3.01 ERA and a complete game in 21 starts.  But Worley had struggled a bit at times, especially against teams that had already seen him, bringing some to worry about his ability to play in the 2012 season. Continue reading

Pierre or Podsednik? The battle for fifth

There are going to be many story lines and players out to prove their worth in Spring Training this year, but one of the battles I’m most interested in watching will be the one between Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre for the fifth outfielder position.

photo via Yong Kim, Philly.com

There are many similarities between the two players, from their style of play to their former teams (both have played for the Chicago White Sox and LA Dodgers), and eight years ago they were both amazing speedsters.

Since then, though, they have both been a bit flawed. Podsednik, now 35, played in just 34 games, splitting time between the Phillies’ and Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate. His play was limited by an injured foot, which doesn’t seem to be a problem for him heading into the 2012 camp. Pierre, 34, did play 158 games in the MLB for Chicago (AL) last year, but he had just a .279 average and was caught stealing a league-leading 17 times. His stolen base numbers dropped to a career low 27, and his UZR (a stat that values defense better than fielding percentage) was -9.2, which is worse than Domonic Brown’s -7.0 in 2011.

So who’s the better fit for the end of the Phillies bench? After the jump we’ll take a look at each category, putting Podsednik and Pierre head-to-head in hitting, fielding and baserunning. Continue reading

Phillies Finalize Arbitration by Signing Hunter Pence

Earlier today the Phillies locked up their final player eligible for arbitration, when the team and All-Star Right fielder Hunter Pence agreed to a one-year, $10.4 million contract.  The figure is the midpoint between the $9 million offer from the organization and the $11.8 million that Pence was seeking.   Continue reading