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Major League Baseball is looking for ways to reallocate money and sadly the Boston Red Sox may lose one of their key affiliates in the process.

Everyone is trying to find ways to save more money these days and the sports world is no different. As we all know the Red Sox are doing their best to try and shave money from the payroll to reset their CBT penalty ahead of 2020. Major League Baseball as an entity is also trying to find ways to keep more in the bank account and their new proposal will directly affect Boston.

In the new proposal put forth by the MLB, the organization will be attempting to cut ties with several minor league affiliates, 42 to be exact, in order to save money. Though they haven’t said it’s a direct way to save money, their reasoning is to restructure how the money is spent in order to improve the conditions of other minor league facilities.

As far as the Red Sox are concerned, they would be losing their ties to the Lowell Spinners. Now, there may be some of you out there that hear that name and move right past it. I fully understand that as we all know there is a ridiculous amount of layers to the minor league system. The Spinners are in the New York Penn League and actually made it to the Championship Series this past season.

Lowell has seen some of the top players in Red Sox history come through the clubhouse. Mookie Betts and Brandon Workman are a pair on the current team. While Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jacoby Ellsbury have all tasted World Series glory after spending time with the Spinners. Though they’re in the Class-A Short Season League the team has a proven track record for talent.

Losing the Spinners from the lineup may just be a blip on the radar in the grand scheme but it would hurt in the long run. Baseball is in a rare breed where there are multiple layers you must stop at before you are truly considered a professional.

I fully believe that if you’re in the minors you’re a professional and should be paid as such, but that’s not reality. Yeah, you have the guys that cruise through the systems but the case is more often than not a player gets stuck in MiLB purgatory.
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The benefit of having so many layers to the onion is that it gives players plenty of time to hone their craft and develop. We’ve all seen it where a guy is assigned to a level that he’s clearly not ready for.

Then there’s the situation where a player may be a starter but would be better as a reliever. Having the opportunity to spend time at different levels of the minors gives a player the time to work with the coaches to become a better asset to the big club.

If the proposal goes through and the 42 teams are no longer affiliated with their MLB counterparts, this can only hurt the game at the top level. Yes, we may see some improvements to higher-ranked MiLB organizations, but it’s not worth losing another layer for talent to develop within.

I attended a Greenville Drive (Red Sox Class-A affiliate) game this summer and the experience was top notch. The field, as well as the park as a whole, were in pristine condition and the game itself was fantastic.

I can only imagine what the team could do if they were given a bigger budget to work with but I’m not sure if I’m willing to find out at the cost of another team. As things are lining up right now the elimination of the teams on the MLB’s list could take effect after 2021.
Next: Free Agent Target: José Iglesias

The Red Sox have one of their strongest crops of talent in franchise history at the moment. From top to bottom the lineup is filled with guys that spent time in their minor league system. Losing one of those affiliates could only have negative ramifications as now the players will have fewer places to work on their skills.

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Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is a relatively new category from the sabermetrics universe. It is not an exact science and WAR can have varied formulas depending upon the source.

I’d like to explain WAR but can’t. I don’t understand it and can’t figure out why it carries so much weight. Guess I’m just a stubborn graduate of baseball’s old-school.

Rather than trying to educate you, I suggest you go to baseball-reference.com.

• Phillies alumni

There is WAR for position players, along with oWAR and dWAR. For pitchers, WAR. I decided to research the Phillies’ all-time leaders in basic WAR, position players only. Anyone who played for the Phillies prior to 1900 was excluded. I decided to explore those hitters who are among the team’s top 10 in several traditional, age-old offensive categories. Perhaps I missed someone. Apologies if that is the case.

Drum roll please…..

Mike Schmidt 106.8
Chase Utley 61.8
Richie Ashburn 57.7
Bobby Abreu 47.2
Jimmy Rollins 46.4
Johnny Callison 39.5
Dick Allen 35.4
Chuck Klein 34.9
Del Ennis 33.6
Gavvy Cravath 31.0
Cy Williams 30.3
Greg Luzinski 19.2
John Kruk 18.5
Pat Burrell 16.8
Ryan Howard 15.0

Observations
It is no surprise that Schmidt is the Phillies’ leader. Recognized as the greatest Phillies player ever, his WAR leadership adds fuel to this claim, I suppose.

His 106.8 WAR ranks 26th on baseball’s all-time list. His 548 home runs rank 16th.

Then there’s Howard, considered the greatest first baseman in franchise history. His 382 home runs are second only to Schmidt for the Phillies. In MLB history, that number is tied for 69th all-time. Only Schmidt has more RBIs among Phillies. Ryan’s RBI total (1,194) puts him tied for 159th in all of baseball. His 15.0 WAR doesn’t get him in the top 1,000. I don’t understand why I don’t understand that.

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The Philadelphia Phillies have ousted Gabe Kapler as their manager after just two seasons. Where did it all go wrong and where does the team go from here?
When Gabe Kapler took the reigns as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, he faced a frustrated yet hungry fanbase and inherited a young roster with plenty of potential.

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However, he failed to develop promising players like Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez. He struggled to control a clubhouse full of underachieving stars. He made endless mind-boggling managerial decisions that left him to be consumed by the Philadelphia media.

Initially, there was reason to be excited about Kapler. He was a young, fresh new face at the head of an organization that had a reputation for promoting from within.

He brought an unconventional, analytical perspective over from his time as the Director of Player Development with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After years of disappointment in Philadelphia, the Phillies front office was eager to give him the keys to the clubhouse.

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In this decade, the Philadelphia Phillies have been trying to regain the success they found in the second half of the 2000s. They won five straight NL East titles from 2007-2011, including two NL pennants and a World Series title in 2008.

Since 2011, however, they have let each of their division rivals surpass them except for the Marlins.

It looked as if the Phillies’ luck was about to change in 2018. After two unsuccessful hirings from within the organization in Ryne Sandberg and Pete Mackanin, the Phillies finally outsourced and hired Kapler as their manager in the 2017 offseason.

With high-profile free agent signings like former NL Cy Young Jake Arrieta and first baseman Carlos Santana, Kapler’s team looked to contend right away.

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When he was introduced as Philadelphia Phillies manager in 2017, Gabe Kapler said his goal was to bring a World Series title to team owner John Middleton.

After two seasons without a playoff berth, the Phillies on Thursday fired Kapler, whose team (81-81) underachieved even with the addition of big-money free agent Bryce Harper and whose nontraditional, analytical style irritated many of the franchise’s passionate fans.

“Several years ago, I promised our loyal fans that I would do everything in my power to bring a world championship team to our city,” Middleton said in a statement. “I will never waver from that commitment. … I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective. Consequently, we will replace our manager.

“I am indebted to Gabe for the steadfast effort, energy and enthusiasm that he brought to our club, and we are unquestionably a better team and organization as a result of his contributions.”

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Kapler is the third consecutive Phillies manager to be fired after no more than two full seasons, joining Pete Mackanin and Ryne Sandberg. Middleton said general manager Matt Klentak will lead the team’s search for a new manager.

The team also announced that pitching coach Chris Young, head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and assistant athletic trainer Chris Mudd will not return. Hitting coach Charlie Manuel will return to his role as a senior adviser. The new manager will inherit the remainder of the coaching staff.

The Phillies have had internal conversations about Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi, among others, as potential replacements for Kapler, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney. Some executives have speculated that former Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon could also be a candidate, according to Olney.

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Showalter used to work under Phillies president Andy MacPhail and with Klentak when all were with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Phillies are the eighth team seeking a new manager this offseason, joining the Angels, Cubs, Giants, Mets, Padres, Pirates and Royals.

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“I have tremendous respect for this organization, this franchise and this city,” Kapler said in a statement. “We came into 2019 with very high hopes. We fell short of those, and that responsibility lies with me. The next Phillies manager will inherit a team of talented, dedicated and committed players. There has been nothing more fulfilling in my professional career than the opportunity to work with the players on this team.

“… As I move on, I know that this organization is in a great spot and will see a lot of success going forward. My hope is that I helped contribute to a developing culture in the organization that flourishes in the years to come.”

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Rival executives have wondered if Kapler might emerge as a managerial candidate with the Giants because of his ties with San Francisco’s Farhan Zaidi, according to Olney. Zaidi, the Giants’ head of baseball operations, used to work with Kapler in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office.

Philly took a gamble when it made Kapler the 54th manager in team history in November 2017, hoping a former big leaguer short on managerial experience — he previously had managed only one season in the minors (2007) — could lead the Phillies back to October baseball for the first time since 2011.

But the Kapler era in Philadelphia never took off.

In his first game, the Atlanta Braves rallied from a five-run deficit, winning on a three-run homer in the ninth inning. Kapler faced immediate scrutiny for lifting starter Aaron Nola with the Phillies up 5-0 and one out in the sixth inning. When Philly returned home after a season-opening 1-4 road trip, Kapler was booed resoundingly by Phillies fans.

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The 2019 Phillies became the third team ever to commit more than $400 million to free agents in a single offseason, but they finished 81-81.

YEAR TEAM FA $
2014 Yankees* $471M
2009 Yankees $441M
2019 Phillies* $401M
2008 Yankees* $396.15M
2019 Padres* $327.4M
* Didn’t make playoffs that season
A historic contract given to Harper and big trades for catcher J.T. Realmuto and infielder Jean Segura didn’t help much in 2019. Although the Phillies spent much of April and May in first place, a seven-game losing skid in June stalled any momentum. And while they stayed in the National League wild-card race, they lost eight of nine in late September and ultimately were eliminated from the postseason by Harper’s former team, the Nationals.

Injuries were a big reason the Phillies couldn’t record their first winning record since 2011. They lost leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen for the season in June, and six of their top seven relievers missed significant time. Free-agent addition David Robertson pitched just 6⅔ innings, and Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter threw a combined 23⅓ innings. Also, starting center fielder Odubel Herrera played just 39 games before he was suspended for the rest of the season under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

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The Phillies finished fourth in the NL East — 16 games behind the first-place Braves and eight games behind Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot. In 2018, the Phillies were third at 80-82, finishing 10 games behind the Braves.

“I want to thank Kap for his tireless commitment to the Phillies over the last two years,” Klentak said in a statement. “When we hired Kap, it was our goal to develop a positive, forward-thinking and collaborative culture throughout the organization that would allow us to compete with the best teams in the league year in and year out.

“While we have fallen short in the win column for the last two years, I can confidently say that Kap’s efforts have established a strong and sustainable foundation for this organization moving forward.”

Kapler, 44, hit .268 in 12 major league seasons as an outfielder with the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and four other clubs. Before managing the Phillies, he spent several years as the Dodgers’ director of player development.

Out of the gates, Kapler and the Phillies looked like they finally found success. Kapler led his squad to a 56-44 record through 100 games. They entered August in first place in the standings. But this is when things started to go awry.

The Phillies ended the 2018 season 21-34 from August to September, leaving them with and underwhelming 80-82 record and outside of the postseason.

However, Kapler still improved the team by 16 games, so the Phillies organization prepared themselves for an aggressive offseason in 2018. They signed prized free agent Bryce Harper to a record-breaking contract and acquired other valuable pieces like Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Jean Segura, and J.T. Realmuto to solidify their rebuild.

Now, Kapler’s team looked like they could contend.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. While the Phillies started off decently in 2019, they hit a quick decline, highlighted by key injuries mixed with a lack of depth and poor managerial decision.

As a result, they finished in 4th place with 81-81 record, despite spending over $400 million in the offseason. They missed the postseason for the eighth straight season.

Thus, Kapler was ousted. The Phillies organization had no other choice than to move on from Kapler, who was the subject of widespread criticism from both the local and national media. While Kapler was certainly not the answer, the Phillies almost decade-long streak of failure has much deeper roots. Kapler was the third straight manager to be fired after only two seasons of work.

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The Philadelphia Phillies now have an expensive roster and a mess of a clubhouse. If they want to compete in 2020, it is in their best interest to completely clean out their coaching staff and start fresh with an experienced manager. Time will tell if the Phillies are ready to compete now, or if they are doomed for more failure in the near future.