Storyline: Fingernails’ Riddle Solved for the Philadelphia Phillies

The fingernail clippings Cliff Lee received deserve clarity for the Philadelphia Phillies faithful. Hazarding nothing, the best guess here is that the received mail occurred on Saturday, and the fan sent it on Thursday.

Please, scroll down for this special edition of Nitecap Insight: Something’s Missing.

TAL'S HANDY CAPS

TAL’S HANDY CAPS

Welcome, Newcomers: 

This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Reading people is the answer to their decisions: past, present and future.

There will be a published storyline each week.

Check this out: Expanded Storyline: Stealth Arm and Early Philadelphia Phillies

 

Judging by Lee's Game-Ending Maneuver with His Gum, He Is Superstitious and He Has a Superstitious Fan.

Judging by Lee’s Game-Ending Maneuver with His Gum, He Is Superstitious and He Has a Superstitious Fan.

 

 

NITECAP INSIGHT

 

 

 

 

Something’s Missing:

Notice the 2009 uniform that Lee is wearing. It’s not ancient like a superstition that goes back to the Dead Ball Era.

Since the Philly faithful love him, it is not a giant leap to opine this was for luck. Therefore, this gesture–Thursday?–was the ultimate irony from the most superstitious baseball fan.

Consider this approximately 1890′s thinking from Superstitions.

Cut your fingernails on this day:

  • Monday for news.
  • Tuesday for shoes.
  • Wednesday for wealth.
  • Thursday for health. 
  • Friday for woe.
  • Saturday for a journey to go.
  • Sunday for evil.

If you missed it, the below review is an additional posting, and the update is at the bottom: The Answers.

Whether it’s a slider in the dirt or an unexpected rising fastball, Carlos Ruiz will coax the relief corps through the darkness after the seventh frame. But did the millions spent on AJ Burnett prevent management from now adding a primary setup man?

Ruiz Ponders How to Maximize His Battery Mate's Repertoire.

Ruiz Ponders How to Maximize His Battery Mate’s Repertoire.

Ryan Madson could be affordable, but an incentive-laden contract reaching $5 million total could exceed the competitive-balance threshold.

Without notice the claims for baseball parity are in the past. Considering the industry, the two luxury-taxed franchises are not problem-free. The Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Masahiro Tanaka and Brian McCann, lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners, and they have question marks or holes with their infield. Among their surgically repaired troops, they have Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, but second and third base are wide open for competition.

The Dodgers have three former closers, four starting outfielders and a second-base hole, which they hoped the recently retired Michael Young would plug in an emergency. While casual observers eye an extra outfielder as a valuable trade chip for a second baseman, Los Angeles rejects lowball offers. In other words, no steal equals no deal. Meanwhile, the Nationals pulled off this surprising one-sided swap for Doug Fister because the Tigers needed the dollars for a young controllable stud, a closer and Max Scherzer.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, the Phils did not make a major pen addition. That said, the long man failed his physical, a veteran joined the squad, and the setup opening is still available.

A Season-Ending Request: Papelbon's Celebratory Dance, His Wacky Irish Jig, Performed at the Bank.

A Season-Ending Request: Papelbon’s Celebratory Dance, His Wacky Irish Jig, Performed at the Bank.

After firing 94 mph heat last summer during a save in Boston, Jonathan Papelbon demonstrated he has adrenaline if the team is contending. That stated, the improved offense and rotation will need a solid hammer to seal victories.

Adam’s Apple:

Shoulder injuries are iffy, and even Mike Adams said it could finish his career. By camp’s end, Adams will know if his heater is still up to speed. Keep in mind, Roy Halladay experienced this and he retired almost a year later.

According to the reported time frame, Adams might miss part of April or more. Everything will depend on his progress following his first bullpen session on February 27.

While questions pile up, Ruben Amaro Jr. is avoiding the clarity that would alert other front offices. He doesn’t want another GM to capitalize on his situation, which would be his eighth-inning hole. On the other hand, the head honcho may have positive feedback about Adams, which could explain his actions. But the $189 million ceiling represents no obstacle.

Potential Set-up Men:

[table id=533 /]

Explosive Fireballers:

With a Four-Seam Fastball Loaded, Bastardo Has the Hitter Thinking About His Slider.

With a Four-Seam Fastball Loaded, Bastardo Has the Hitter Thinking About His Slider.

Antonio Bastardo burst onto the scene with a plus fastball that still occasionally touches 94 mph. Although he handled the eighth frame consistently, he reminds fans of past fears with just one shaky outing. Many have not forgotten his 2012 mediocrity, and most magnify every bad appearance. In other words, he’s better than people realize.

BJ Rosenberg picked up the splitfinger fastball from Papelbon, and the speed differential keeps hitters off-balance. During the final series in Atlanta, he earned an eighth-inning hold against a vicious opponent fighting for home-field advantage with St. Louis. And Ryne Sandberg often relied on him to close at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in ’12, which might give him a slight edge over Jake Diekman.

Even though his control has room for growth, Diekman is the local writers’ favorite young gun. He was also in that lone final weekend win and worked a scoreless seventh frame against the extremely determined Braves. He still amps himself up too much; however, he has improved focus-wise. If anybody can inch past Rosenberg on the depth chart, he’s the one.

Long Shots:

Justin De Fratus has the arsenal, but he hasn’t demonstrated enough consistency for a manager’s trust. With the game up for grabs, he is behind Rosenberg and Diekman. Unlike them, however, during the final cuts he will be on the bubble.

Because of too many deep counts, Ethan Martin is a one-inning hurler. He would benefit greatly by closing for Lehigh Valley and might even be ready for the show by June’s end. Until then, he is an insurance policy for the pen.

$189 Million Maximum Before the Luxury Tax Ceiling:

[table id=534 /]

Dollars and Sense:

Firstly, the organization’s penalty concerns are different than reports of tapped out finances. Getting creative, the decision-maker signed Burnett for two guaranteed AAV campaigns at $22.5 million. The AAV (Average Annual Value) is the computed amount for the luxury tax. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Amaro inked Burnett for $7.5 million (signing bonus), $7.5 million (2014 salary) and $7.5 million (2015 player option): He can earn at least $22.5 million, which is an AAV of $11.25 million per year.

The degree of Adams’ uncertainty is not publicly available. If he has a realistic chance to be the eighth-frame answer, management won’t need a backup plan. However, most setup arms are off the market.

Within the $189 million framework, the red pinstripes could ink Madson to an incentive-laden deal of $4 million.

THE ANSWERS:

After reviewing the 2014 schedule, the Phils will discover that they’ll need only four starters until April  13. Therefore, Hamels’ first adventure can be on April 12 after Burnett and before Kyle Kendrick. In other words, Hamels and Jonathan Pettibone can catch up on the Opening Day DL, Gonzalez can report to Double-A Reading or Lehigh Valley, and the team can carry an extra reliever or a reserve.

Penciling in an amped-up Papelbon requires a competitive squad, and the missing piece is the eighth-inning man. However, it only takes one success to plug that hole. For Adams, being healthy would fix things or Bastardo could mature into that role.

Rosenberg and Diekman are strong candidates if their August and September performances are the beginning of bigger things. Secondly, bottling lightning would produce De Fratus or Martin for this opening. But to sign Madson, the head honcho must overcome a high price tag and Scott Boras. However, Phillippe Aumont has returned after correcting a self-described mechanical flaw: a noteworthy wrinkle.

If one of these eight eighth-frame options works, this problem will “self destruct” immediately.

 

LINKS FOR 3 UP & 3 DOWN

LINKS FOR 3 UP & 3 DOWN

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez: Scouting Report 

Expanded Storyline: Forecast for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez’s 2014 with the Philadelphia Phillies

 

Domonic Brown:

Storyline: Controversy, Before and After, on the Philadelphia Phillies

Traded Prospects: 2 = Cleveland & Toronto      3 = Houston

Storyline 2: The Other Dom Browns of the Philadelphia Phillies

Storyline 3: The Trade Not Made by the Philadelphia Phillies

Marlon Byrd: 

Storyline Expanded: Full Circle to the Philadelphia Phillies

BJ Rosenberg & Jake Diekman:

Storyline: Trial by Fire for 2 Phillies

 

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