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Welcome to Bedlam Bats

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Hi everyone and welcome to the Pilot episode of the Bedlam Bats Podcast with your host Matt Davis. We'll be talking everything Phillies and other things around the league every week.

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The Bedlam Bats podcast is focused on everything Phillies, including payroll, team news, and games. Opening day was pushed back due to potential rainout, and the Phils will be facing the Atlanta Braves. Spencer Strider has been a tough opponent for the Phillies, but they hope to come out hot. The opening day roster includes pitchers Zach Wheeler, Spencer Turnbull, Ranger Suarez, and more. Tyrone Walker is injured, and there were no talks of signing Jordan Montgomery. Zach Wheeler is the opening day starter, and Aaron Nola is number two. Ranger Suarez is known for his calm personality. Spencer Turnbull has had velocity issues. In the infield, Bryce Harper is now first baseman, and Bryson Stott is at second base. Trey Turner has potential for MVP consideration. Alec Boehm is hoping for another career-high in home runs. In the outfield, Nick Castellanos had a better year in 2023. Edmundo Sosa is a solid backup. Jake Cave What's up everybody and welcome to the pilot episode of the Bedlam Bats podcast. This is your host Matt Davis. So what we're going to be doing with this podcast in particular is focusing on everything Phillies from the payroll to the team itself to any other news that's going on within the organization along with the games throughout the rest of the season. So this is a preview kind of brief episode to give a preview for the upcoming season and also just opening day in general and after opening day got pushed back potential rainout Thursday March 28th to Friday today March 29th at 3 o 5 p.m. you're going to be taking on the Atlanta Braves. So with the Braves obviously coming in the big news is with Spencer Strider. Unfortunately with Strider he's been extremely good with the Phillies or for the Braves posting an 8-0 record with an ERA of 1.9 and 72 strikeouts and eight appearances against the Phil's. However when he plays this in the playoffs 0-3 record 5.4 ERA and only 19 strikeouts and three appearances versus the Phillies in his career in the postseason. So what we're hoping for is the Phil's come out hot. Obviously it's gonna be tough but buzz surrounding the team could definitely ignite something for opening day. So they just announced the opening day roster looks like pitchers as far as the active roster as of right now. Zach Wheeler, Spencer Turnbull, Ranger Suarez, Matt Strom, Gregory Soto, Christopher Sanchez, Luis Ortiz, Aaron Nola, Junior Marte, Jeff Hoffman, Sir Anthony Dominguez, Connor Brockton, Jose Alvarado. Obviously with the pitchers big story Tyrone Walker is going to be on the shelf for God knows how long to be determined based on that shoulder problem. It's gonna be tough considering Jordan Montgomery was still out there and free agency didn't know if the Phil's were going to sign him. There wasn't any really interesting talks. Dave Dombrowski kind of shut down any rumors that they were potentially hire him for even just a season or two because they would have to surpass the third luxury tax threshold which would have given up another draft pick which I don't really believe would be it have been worth it. But then you got the workhorse on the mound today Zach Wheeler and phenomenal even getting some Cy Young consideration this year. I think it's late by this point but now people are starting to see based on his postseason performance the last two times against the Braves and the Padres and even the Marlins that this guy's legit and the real deal and getting the nod for opening day I feel like it's very well deserved. But obviously the number two is going to be Knowles solid looking for a bounce back year. He's been kind of back and forth with his good years and kind of mediocre years so hopefully he'll be able to turn around with definitely a subpar performance in 2023 hoping to carry over what he did in the postseason. He looked a lot better a lot better command of his fastball definitely looked like he pulled the string on his curveball a lot more so well we'll see where that where it goes with that. So Ranger Suarez love him known for his cool common collected personality doesn't get frazzled hoping to obviously get another solid year out of Ranger and who knows an extension might be in his future as well so we'll see what happens with that. So number four as of right now would actually be probably Spencer Turnbull. Now he has had some velo issues especially in spring training not sure if he'll be able to turn around. They were actually hoping to give him a break this time around with opening on Thursday there be that day in between Wheeler and then Nola that way Wheeler could get another starting nod before Turnbull so he could get some more work in the bullpen beforehand but it looks like they're gonna have to do some shuffling around to see if maybe they do like a Matt Strahm opening or they can see if they can rely heavily on Christopher Sanchez which is the next one. Solid pitcher, don't have the stats in front of me but I believe it was a low 3 ERA last year. Solid lefty, didn't really get a whole lot of attention last year. I hope he's gonna be solid again. So yeah, Strider, Wheeler, couldn't ask more for an opening day especially given the environment that last postseason was against Atlanta. Those couple home runs by Castellanos in the divisional series. Can't wait for it, 3 of 5. Then for the infielders we got obviously the newly first baseman Bryce Harper after the departure of Reese Hoskins. Wishing them the best in Milwaukee. Second base Bryson Stott should have won the gold glove in my opinion. Came up just short but definitely was a lot better with the bat this year. I believe he batted 285 this year, had a 300 batting average around there most of the year. I think he's gonna have a big big year. This could be a huge step forward for him and get a lot of consideration possibly for an all-star this year as well. Then there's Trey Turner. So Trey could have been an all-star if you just look at August 4th on with a standing ovation by Jack Fritz at WIP and high hopes but I think he's gonna get some possibly MVP consideration with his people that are not even considering it because of his age and what not. But he looks like still the solid player that he did in his years at Washington. Solid bat, had some swing and miss earlier in the season before that standing ovation all of a sudden he ignited it and for a lot of home runs still solid base dealer was perfect during the regular season until he got caught in the NLCS against the Diamondbacks. But overall just great vibe and I think he's gonna do great again this year. You got Alec Boehm. Now people are saying that hopefully he got 20 home runs, another season, another career high in home runs. When he was coming up through the minors when he came up in like 2020 people were hoping that like maybe he could get 25-30 in that range when he was coming up. Kind of fizzled out early like 2021-2022 he was like flirting with like 15 or 20 and finally he hit 20 in 2023. Hopefully maybe he can push beyond that 25-30 range. Obviously it's turned on, went to a whole different level with the glove. Solid defender ever since that year. Had a miserable April showing against the Mats where he had three errors in one inning. Then he said I bleep and hate this place. Now they're sending out the t-shirts for one of the promotions saying I love this place and an interview that he had. So great vibes there. Can't wait to see Boehmer back on the Diamond as well. So that's it for the infield. Outfielders, Nick Castellanos had definitely a better year than he did in 2022. Had a bunch more home runs. Didn't swing and miss as much. Just a great vibe in the clubhouse. Never really can tell if he's kidding or not half the time. Nick's great. Obviously he's under contract for five years. So he's still got three more years including this one. So I feel like as long as he stays on the fastball, doesn't pull off any on the breaking balls too much, I think he should be alright as well. We got Edmundo Sosa back up. Solid bat. Don't need anything too crazy from him. Good backup. Solid defender. Can play all around the infield if needed. So happy for it there. I forgot Edmundo Sosa in the infield. So there we go. They did trade Jake Cave, I believe it was March 27th, for cash considerations to the Rockies. Didn't really see a spot for him to really fit on the roster too well. I know some people liked him, some people didn't like him. I personally just didn't feel like it was beneficial to have Rojas and Pache on the roster at the same time. A lot of outfielders wasn't really benefiting too much. So I think it's a good move which leads to now the outfield with Castellanos being Marsh. Solid offense. I mean he had such a better offense. He had the second best OPS on the team which people kind of forget. He had a batting average for a couple months of the season above .300. He was smashing the ball, doubles, some home runs. Ton of extra base hits though. Coming back from slight knee surgery. Seems to not be bothering him at all. He was said to be ready by opening day. He looks like he's going to be ready for opening day today so he looks perfectly fine. Doesn't look like any foreseeable problems there which is great. Then we got Pache. He's doing great. I think offensively between him and Rojas, Pache has a little bit more solid bat. A little bit more pop to his bat. Defending wise between Rojas and Pache, it's kind of can be interchangeable. Rojas might be a slight better edge as far as speed and closing time route to a ball. But they kind of go hand in hand with Rojas. Reports came out that he was going to be the starting center fielder which I don't have a problem with. The only thing is Rojas continues to struggle from last season. Still batted over .300 which is a little hard to believe based on the track record down the stretch with the postseason specifically batting well under .200. Coming up in big spots and not being able to come anywhere close to the ball. Coming up short but I think he's got time still to develop. Maybe putting him out there on opening day on the opening day roster might be too big for him but we'll see what happens with him. So that's it for the outfield. I'm going to catchers. JT obviously is you can call him the greatest best catcher in baseball. People are saying that maybe he's past that now because he's in his early 30s now. But we love JT. Solid glove. Solid offense. He's out there all the time. An iron man for the sport for the position. I think he could lead the team possibly in RBIs. That's a possibility depending on where they put him in the lineup. Not really sure yet where they're going to put him in the lineup. We'll get to the lineup in a minute. But JT is great and as long as he can he's made some adjustments in his swing as well. Looks like he's definitely making more solid contact especially in sprint training. He definitely looked like he had the pop there. We're excited to see him. I can't wait to see him. Then we have the vibes officer Garrett Stubbs as his backup. Garrett low 200s batting average usually. Nothing too crazy. Not a ton of pops. A little bit of an undersized guy but we love Garrett. Stubbs is you know he knows his role. He knows he's not going to be playing a bunch. He's appreciative when he can play but I like keeping him around. Stubbs is great. Then for utility we obviously have the newly acquired utility man Wynn Merrifield. Signed a one year $8 million deal with a club option for next year. So it's $7 million on the books today. $1 million for a buyout option for next year. Merrifield had a great spring. Batted well over 300. Solid glove. Played second base a lot of his time in Kansas City but now is an outfielder. A lot of center field, left field. Probably best suited for center field if he's going to play the outfield. But Merrifield's great. Puts the bat on the ball. I mean even just a few years ago led the league in hits. Got a late start in his career about 27 or 28. Great ball player. I think he'll fit great on the roster especially when that was kind of something they struggled with at some parts with depth when we have Rojas being the everyday outfielder and the struggles with his bat continued and couldn't really substitute him for anybody that was going to make a significant difference. I feel like Merrifield will do absolutely that without hesitation. So happy to have him on the club. I think it's going to be a huge, huge upside for us. Then we got the Schwarbarian, Kyle Schwarber. Love him. You know where he is. Batting average tends to be a little bit lower, higher in the strikeouts. But man, when he gets a hold of one, there's nothing like starting off a ball game if he's leading off that day or if he's going to be lower in the lineup which a lot of the time he is leading off. But he definitely starts everything off with a bang when he hits a home run especially in the playoff games in Red October. It's nothing like you'll ever see anywhere else. So as of right now, that's the opening day roster. Unless they make any substantial changes, don't think they will. But that's going to be the opening day roster. Then we did hit on some of the injuries but for the most part it's going to be Tyone Walker. That's the big one. One of our starters. Still not loving his position on the team. He did lead the team in wins last year with 15 but had an ERA over 4. Just wasn't getting people out. Gave up a decent amount of runs earlier into ball games but then kind of worked his way out of jams. They had a 15 day IL with a shoulder issue so we'll see what happens with that. They could be waiting for the trade deadline. It seems like they're not wanting to pull the trigger on spending anymore which is understanding. Especially with Jordan Montgomery not being signed until a couple days before opening day. But we'll see what happens. They could trade for maybe Shane Bieber from Cleveland. He looked amazing yesterday on opening day in Oakland. I believe 6 innings pitched. 11 or so strikeouts. One walk given up. Velos up a couple ticks. It'll end around 95-96. It could be trading for him. Depends on what packages they'll send to Cleveland for him. But I'll be interested to see if they will make that type of move. Also on the IL we have Dylan Covey. Another relief pitcher. Kind of had an up and down year but I think he'll be solid again. Michael Rucker we just traded for him. Don't know a whole lot about him really. But we'll see how it goes with him. Raphael Marchand, backup catcher. Doesn't really see a ton of plate appearances at all if ever. He's currently on the IL with a back issue. 15 day IL. And then we got Orion Kirkering which for most of the spring we were hearing that it was the flu. People were speculating, other media outlets were speculating that maybe it was not the flu going on weeks and weeks. Now it's coming up that he has another issue. So we'll see what happens with that. I believe it was a forearm strain that came out. Sucks to see him miss the early part of the season. He only came up for a couple relief appearances in September. Then came in the playoffs. It was kind of tough for him. Tough sliding for him. Couldn't locate his fastball or his slider I believe. Regular season through and extended. Regular season relief appearance I think would be a big go for him. So we'll see what happens with Kirkering once he comes back from the IL. Alright so on to the lineup. People are along the belief that Schwarber should stay in the leadoff spot. I kind of go back and forth with him moving down in the lineup. Especially with having 47 home runs and then over 100 RBIs last season. Can only imagine what he does lower in the batting order with runners on base. With guys like Trey Turner and Bryce Harper on the base pass in front of him. So this could be one scenario. Maybe a perfect lineup, maybe not. I have now Bryson Stott moving up in the leadoff spot playing second base. I feel like it would be time to give him the opportunity to do some leadoff. He did a little bit of that last season. I'd like to see more of that. I love Schwarber in the leadoff spot especially with the way leadoff games. I really want to see an extended period with Schwarber in the 4 hole just to see how it goes. Stott sees a ton of pitches. Very patient at the plate. When he turns on one he rips one and I feel like his season could be even better with the more plate appearances he has this year. I played a lot of in the 6 and 7 hole last year. But is able to show pop at times. I mean he had that grand slam against the Miami Marlins in the wild card round. The place was going nuts. I'd like to see him get more at bats. Obviously it's tough with a lineup this big and this dense. But I think it would be good to have him in the leadoff spot. We've got Trey Turner. Nothing really changes there. Playing shortstop. Played in the number 2 hole pretty much all season. Maybe had a couple of leadoff games at bats. Love him in the number 2 hole. Gets on base. Hits some home runs if you need them. Batting 3rd. Bryce Harper. First base. No change there either. Obviously Harper is what he is. Nasty slugger. He can hit 30-35 home runs. Maybe even more. Hopefully this year with a full healthy year. When he came back late from Tommy John surgery back in May. He went on an extended period of time without hitting a home run. He was on a homer list streak for about a month or two or so. Love him in the number 3 hole. Playing first base now with Reese departing. Seemed like he picked up first base. No problem. Love to see him there. So it should be a great year for him and maybe some more MVP consideration for him. Then batting 4th I have Kyle Schwarber batting DH. Would love to just see how he does for a commitment for an extended period of time at DH and just keep him there. The stats suggest that his batting average doesn't do as well if in the DH spot. Maybe doesn't hit as many home runs. However, I just want to see what it looks like to see if he can in fact drive a lot more runners in. Then batting 5th I have Real Muto. He batted 4th a decent amount last season. Playing catcher. But I love him in the number 5 spot. Solid, solid number 5 in the batting order. Obviously some of them are going to be slidding down because of Schwarber now moving from the lead off potentially to the number 4, the clean up spot. Would love Real Muto there. Then I have Boehm batting 6th. Playing 3rd base. Led the team in RBIs with 106. I went back and forth with interchanging him and Real Muto. But Real Muto didn't get on base. I feel like with Boehm being able to drive in runners still I like him in that number 6 spot. Then I have Castellanos playing right field batting 7th. Castellanos if he could just stay on the ball a little bit longer. Have a better eye at the plate. Not swing at balls as often. I think he's going to be fantastic again. Castellanos seems to pick up and have played right field pretty consistently for the last couple seasons. 2022 was a little bit of a mess but 2023 seemed to really pick it up. He played right field a lot before that but he seemed to really settle in without much of any issues at all. Then I have Boehm batting 8th. Marsh playing left field. Like we talked about before, solid bat. It's kind of hard with this lineup to get up any further considering but he got some base, had a decent OPS like we were talking about. I would love to see that again. I want to make sure that the knee is not going to be an issue for him. It doesn't seem to be at all which is great. So we'll see. Then number 9, I do have Rojas playing center field. Reports did come out that he is going to be the opening day center fielder. I'm okay with it. I would have maybe liked to see Pache get a crack at it. But Rojas, they seem to be sticking with him. They do have confidence in him. So we'll see what happens there. Who knows, maybe it might be too pressure for the kid and if he starts struggling again it will be interesting to see what Rob Thompson does. Going forward, they could just swap him out with Pache. It could send him down to the minors. That is the lineup that I have for opening day. To be more of a contrarian to see if they would switch Schwarber out. But again, I have Stott batting 1st playing 2nd base. Turner batting 2nd playing shortstop. Harper batting 3rd playing 1st base. Schwarber batting 4th playing DH. Real Muto batting 5th playing catcher. Boehm batting 6th playing 3rd base. Castellanos batting 7th playing right field. Then I have Marsh batting 8th playing left field. Then Rojas batting 9th playing center field. So if you were to put Schwarber in the leadoff spot, you could put him there. Then you could move Schwarber back in the leadoff spot. You could do Turner, Harper. You could put Boehm back there. I mean, he did lead the team in RBIs last season. He seemed to be pretty solid there. And then you could put Stott possibly in the 6th or 7th with Castellanos and Marsh. You can kind of mix with them and Real Muto. But if we're going in a different approach with Schwarber batting cleanup, this would be, I feel like, the ideal lineup as far as being able to use the team as beneficial as possible with the lineup they're given. Now some other possible issues that could come up regarding the team. Harper with his back issue that came up about 2 weeks before camp broke. It seemed to not be any concern to them. The team, Harper, Harper's camp. Something to definitely monitor. It could be nothing at all. It could be a substantial thing down the line now that he's getting into his 30s. But he's had issues with the back before, tightening up on a back stiffness. He would be day-to-day, maybe miss out on a game or so. Or it's just a problem that is nagging but eventually goes away. He's never been on the IL for it. It's come up a few times, but never went on the injured list for it. So that's definitely something to monitor. Now when looking at the division as a whole and the playoffs coming up, we want to get back to the playoffs. No-brainer there. Beat the Marlins in 2 games in the wild-card series at home. Thank God to face the Braves. Beat them in 4 games. Beating Strider twice. Great. Then once we got to the NLCS with the Diamondbacks. Went up 2 games to nothing after the clobbering, especially in game 2. Kimbrell blows games 3 and 4. 5, they squeak out a win. Come back up 2 games. The Citizens Bank Park first 6. And a possible game 7. They lose both. Definitely not a way you want to end the season, especially with the aspirations. The team was on notice with the fan base and people all around baseball. We're definitely looking at the Phillies as, at that point, possibly the World Series winner. Coming out of the Atlanta series and then a couple games into the Diamondbacks series for the 2023 NLCS. So we're definitely looking to get back there. They haven't made any substantial additions to the team. Mostly just kept the team intact with re-signing Nola to a 7-year $172 million contract. No trade clause, no opt-outs, nothing like that. He's here for the long haul. I'm definitely happy about it. He deserves to be a Philly for life. And that's what looks like is going to happen with this contract. Funny enough that the Braves were actually taking a look at him to see if he would sign there. Glad that he didn't, so he's here to stay. We're going to be re-signing him to an extension. He's currently living out the 5-year $118 million contract. He's going to be living out the 5-year $126 million coming down the pike. Going for $42 million a year. When they were talking about contract extensions, Wheels is obviously very, he deserves it. He's been a great pitcher for us. He's been very consistent. I've had no issues with him at all. Deserves every bit of the $42 million a year for the next 3 years after this one. So I think it's going to be great for us. Another keynote was Boris coming out. Kind of hard to envision now. Harper's got 5, he's only 5 years in to his 13 year deal. So he's still got 8 years currently on the deal. Says he wants to play until his mid-40s. Great, no problem with that. I would like to make it happen honestly though. Just to make him happy. Keep him here, but financially it's a huge risk that no team I've seen is willing to make with 8 years still remaining on a contract set to expire at the age of 39. But with the playoff picture, I want to see the Phillies. And I think they can take the division finally this year from the Braves. The Braves I think are going to regress a little bit. It's nearly impossible to see Ronald Acuna Jr. duplicate his year last year with a 40-70. Like I just said, over 40 home runs, 70 stolen bases. Pretty substantial MVP last year. Matt Olsen batting, hitting 54 home runs over 130 RBIs. Strider, over 281 strikeouts last season. 3.86 ERA last season. He could be better this season. Could be a Cy Young year for him. Same thing with Wheeler, which also makes opening day that much more sweet. It's definitely something to pay attention to, especially with Atlanta. They've been winning the division every single year now for what feels like a decade. I believe it's the last seven years in a row. Love to finally take it from them. Seems to be working with the wild card, especially with them winning the number one wild card last year. Beating Atlanta with home field advantage again in the divisional series. Second game in Atlanta and then sweeping out the next two games in Philly at the bank. But taking the division this year would definitely make it that much sweeter. Winnings-wise, they seem to be a little conservative on the wins in general. Fangraff's had the Phillies winning at 85 wins. That also puts them at 77 losses. Which I feel is way too generous to the Braves or the rest of the league. It's very conservative. Fangraff's tend to be very conservative with their predictions and projections. But 85 wins definitely feels like a regression to FUBAR.GO. 285 wins considering that the rest of Fangraff's had just about everybody else in the same mix. A lot of teams like the NL Central had people in the 500 range. The NL West is definitely loaded with the Dodgers signing Shohei Otani. Ten years, $700 million. Blake Snell for potentially a couple years might most likely just be the one year. But also Matt Chapman, Jorge Soler, and Zhang Huli from the KBO. And then the Padres. I mean, they have Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove. They also signed Matsui from Japan, I believe. So they're going to be a solid team as well. They might not take a step back as much as people thought when they traded Juan Soto to the Yankees. But they're definitely going to be in the playoff hunt as well. I'm hoping the Phillies can take the division this year. If not, I mean, it's going to be tough to down Atlanta. But definitely being the number one wild card was beneficial. But if we can knock off the Braves this year, that would finally be great. I'm going to look to see the Phillies finally push through and win that championship this year. Who could be over the AL favorites was looking like the Baltimore Orioles. Got a young core. Definitely a lot of MVP caliber players like Gunnar Henderson, Natalie Rushman. But starting with the division. Let's go get the division this year. Let's go Philz. Thanks guys, everybody, for listening. Pilot episode of the Bedlam Bats podcast. You can follow me at Matt Davis 2102. It's at Matt Davis 2102. Starting off the 2024 season. Let's go Philz, everybody.

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