Spring is upon us
By. Kevin K
Can you smell it in the air? Spring is here … well not here, but in Clearwater Florida it is.
Phillies Pitchers and Catchers have officially reported and the smell of a new season is upon us. Last year is now behind us and as Phillies fans, we can look ahead. We now look towards a new team, a team with some question marks; but also a team with a lot of hope.
There were many little changes this off-season that may go a long way for the Phils. Changes that include a better bench, a veteran lead bullpen, questions in left field, first base and third base, but hey, what’s a new year without questions?
The Phillies did make their bullpen better by adding veteran leadership, most notably Jonathon Papelbon. They made their bench a heck of a lot better by adding players like Jim Thome, Ty Wigginton, and Laynce Nix. Not mentioning the players that played well for them off the bench like Michael Martinez, John Mayberry (who may be your starting LF), and Brian Schneider.
There are position battles going into the season which include left field and who will play first base to take Ryan Howard’s place at the start of the season.
With Raul Ibanez now in New York, there is a need at left field. The Phillies are keeping an eye on their options there with Nix, Mayberry, Domonic Brown and possibly non-roster invitees Juan Pierre and Scott Podsednik. The eyes of Phillies fans, as well as management, will be on the left field position during the Spring.
Another thing to keep your eye on is at first base. With Howard out until at least May, the question remains, who will play in his place? Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Thome will play first maybe once or twice a week, but the Phillies play 5-7 times a week during the season. You have Wigginton and Mayberry to look for as a replacement for some time.
Howard was taking ground balls today, but he is still a question and most likely will not be back until May (as we said). The Phillies need a bench player to fill in and is a position to watch.
Placido Polanco’s health has been a big question for the Phillies this off-season, leading to many people unsure of how well he will be throughout the season. The Phillies do have a few bench players that can fill in for some time for him; including Wigginton and Martinez. Third base may be their biggest worry throughout the year.
But all those questions and comments will be answered down the road. Right now we are at a start. The start of the smell, the start of the feel, the start of a new season, the start of Spring.
via the Phillies Twitter: Rich Dubee watching Cole Hamels and Vance Worley pitch
Phils trade Valdez to Reds; get reliever HorstBy. John Russo
(original post is on Team To Beat
The Phillies made a trade today, sending utility infielder – and one time reliever – Wilson Valdez to the Cincinnati Reds for left-hander Jeremy Horst, according to Matt Gelb
Horst, 26, had an ERA of 2.93 in 12 games of relief for the Reds last season. Those were the first 12 games of Horst’s career with the Reds.
Horst was drafted in the 21st round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Reds.
Valdez, 33, had been one of the Phillies top utility infielders the last two years. He made a huge impact in 2010 when Jimmy Rollins missed over half the season with leg injuries, hitting a career high .258 with four home runs and 35 RBIs.
In two years with the Phils, Valdez hit .254 with five home runs and 65 RBIs in 606 at-bats. Valdez also provided the Phillies with great defense, boasting the strongest arm on the Phillies infield.
Lastly, no one will ever forget what Valdez did last May. As one of the consensus top moments of the 2011 season, Valdez pitched in the 19th inning
, earning a win against the heart of the Reds order. He hit only one batter and retired both Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.
From Gelb’s post
“We decided we were comfortable with the guys we had,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said by phone. “At the same time he had value for us. He served a pretty valuable role for us. But generally, we felt like we had coverage in that area.”
That basically means that Ruben Amaro was happy with how Michael Martinez developed last season. Martinez could be the top middle infielder on the bench this year with Valdez gone.
It could also mean that short stop prospect Freddy Galvis has a shot at being a midseason call up at some point.
“Once we signed Jimmy, we felt like we have three shortstop options in Martinez, Galvis and Valdez,” Amaro said. “So we felt OK and comfortable enough to go ahead an move Valdez.”
Wright "may be a Phillie"By Kevin KFinally it took me to come to this, but I have been saying it since Friday. On Friday I received a text from someone who has been 100% correct in the past (Schnieder signing, Rollins signing, arbitration hearings, etc.), but never in the past did I receive a text on a trade; until Friday.Friday I received a text stating, "David Wright may be playing 3B very, very shortly". Now since Friday we have been ripped by Phillies, Mets, and Braves fans like crazy .... but we also said that we wouldn't believe it until it was actually done. I just passed along the information that was given - like many reporters and bloggers. On Friday I did say we would shut down if the source is wrong, yesterday I shut down our Twitter account. As for now, the Facebook and website continue to run, we gave until January 1st - that may have all of a sudden changed. Sure I may change my mind and keep the blog going a little longer, because as a Mets fan pointed out on Twitter, "
The fact is that @ThePhillyPhans
was wrong, yet have not shut down. Typical Philadelphia fan". Yet I didn't realize that Philadelphia Phans were typical for following what they hear and post, not to mention know how to read. And yes there are Twitter accounts of other Mets, Phillies, and Braves fans counting down the days until we shut down. Consistently tweeting and writing on the Facebook wall the number of days until the shut down occurs. Then there is Matt Smith of the DelcoTimes, who ripped us and said we put the "Twit in Twitter". Mr. Matt Smith has yet to respond to my tweets attacking his story. Let's be honest, where is the actual reporting in this:http://m.delcotimes.com/delcotimes/db_/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=pGhkszkL&full=true#displayNow he has gone to Twitter and attacked supporters of ours by saying it is an editorial not a report, but once again I am waiting on a reply from him (@KevinThePhan - see I can do that too!)
.But all I would really continue to say is what I have said .... and what an unlikely aid in SBNation Philly's Geoffery Detweiler said:Newspaper Writer Gets On High Horse, Trots Out Bitter StereotypesI praise Geoffery Detweiler for actual digging into a story - like an actual reporter should do - and read what was written. Even the Philadelphia Inquirer got in it
today where Bob Brookover writes, "You cannot entirely dismiss the Wright rumors because the Mets are a financial mess and they know they need to tear things apart".You can read more from Brookover here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20111228_Inside_the_Phillies__Phillies_may_have_a_few_moves_left.htm
lBrookover (a reputable writer) and Detweiler (a "blogger") actually did some reporting and digging in this story.As I told you on Friday, time will tell. I can't tell you that what was given to me was fact, but it is definitely something that could happen. Phi
BREAKING: Rollins, Phillies agree on dealBy John Russo Original post on http://teamtobeat.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/breaking-rollins-phillies-agree-on-deal/
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick
, free agent short stop and Jimmy Rollins agree to a three-year deal with a vesting option for a fourth year.
Crasnick’s report comes via a baseball source according to the ESPN.com writer.
“Rollins didn’t have much leverage with Phillies. Brewers made an offer, but he ultimately wanted to stay home,” said Crasnick in a follow-up tweet
Kee’s Korner: Thoughts on Hamels Trade Rumors
By Kevin K This we introduce the first ever Kee’s Korner. Kee’s Korner will be a weekly blog post (due to full time teaching and part time night work) in which our own Kevin gives his thoughts on Philly Sports News that stuck out to him over the week.
A week ago we posted that the Phillies and Cole Hamels were in talks for a long term deal. Cole Hamels hopes that a deal can be made prior to the start of the regular season.
Only a day after we posted this news, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were taking trade offers for the young star. The Phillies couldn’t ask for anything better from Olney. Think of it this way, with this report the Phillies scare Hamels a little bit into the “idea” of being traded away so that Hamels can jump to sign a contract.
As Kevin Cooney
put it so perfectly the other day, “To respond to a few people thinking about Hamels deal: if that was really true, wouldn't Phils have picked up Oswalt option then?
The Phillies need offense, yes, but to get rid of starting pitching and lower their depth in that area is sound a bit crazy; especially with question marks like Joe Blanton and Vance Worley in your rotation.
I can tell you this the Buster Olney rumor was likely leaked by the Phillies so that Hamels signs the initial offer that was offered to him.
As we said last week, expect a long term deal for Hamels to be made before the season. The rumor mill my swirl with Hamels rumors, but in the end he will be a Phillie.
Madson out, Papelbon in
The Phillies made headlines on Friday when they announced that they signed star closer Jonathon Papelbon (formerly of the Red Sox) to a 4 year $50 million contract. This of course after Phillies fans were told by beat writers and those close to the situation that the Phillies were close to signing Ryan Madson to 4 years $44 million, with a 5th year option.
Of course people went crazy after hearing that it is not Madson returning, but Papelbon signing, pending a physical. As we said on our Facebook page it is actually a better move for the Phillies to add Papelbon because he is a proven closer (3 blown saves last year with under a 3.00 ERA) and one of the best closers in the game.
Then there was news that the Phillies were never close to a deal with Madson and that they never offered the money to Madson that was reported. We, however, found out differently from a source close to the situation. The source tells us that the Phillies were indeed close to signing Madson, so much so that Madson was ready to re-sign with the Phillies until at the last minute, Madson's agent, Scott Boras, rejected the deal without Madson's knowledge. Boras was likely thinking that he could get more money out of the Phillies for Madson's ability.
The Phillies and Cole Hamels are in talks for a long term deal. Both sides hope to get a deal done before the start of the season. There has been offers sent to Hamels, but no deal has been reached.
The Phillies still believe that Jimmy Rollins will be their short stop next season. We are hearing that no team has offered Rollins a 5-year contract, like he wants. Rollins asking price will go down and the Phillies will be interested.
Also, Jimmy Rollins has tweeted pictures of himself in Paris, France in the last week (the first week of free agency). We are not saying that Jimmy is not taking his Free Agency seriously, but signs seem to point right to the Phillies as it looks like he has not visited any other teams.
The Phillies have been in talks with Michael Cuddyer. They are still interested, but no contract has been offered as of yet.
Phillies should move to a 6-man rotation
By Kevin K & John Russo
There have been recent talks by fans that the Phillies should move to a 6-man rotation, and we totally agree.
On Monday the Phillies entered the last 31 days of the season, with 33 games left. Yes you heard right, the Phillies have a few double headers approaching and no rest for the everyday starters. A 6-man rotation will help give extra rest to the starters while setting up a rotation set for the double headers they have coming up.
There is also a situation in which Kyle Kendrick (who is currently in the bullpen as a long reliever) and his wife, Stephenie, are having a baby. This would give Kendrick few days off for paternity leave - he would be the third Phillies player to take it this season - but won’t affect the Phillies bullpen, as Kendrick would be the 6th starter.
The upcoming schedule allows for the Phillies to make this switch with ease. The two doubleheaders lie on September 15 and 20, five days a part from each other. Having Kendrick pitch the day after the doubleheader will allow the rest of the five starters to stay on their normal rest. By the time the two doubleheaders are finished, the Phillies will have eight games remaining and have a playoff position locked up.
If you look at the possible pitchers as the season winds down [posted at the end of the post], you see that the season ends on Roy Oswalt. Kendrick allows Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee to not finish the season, resting the two for the NLDS. It also rests Cole Hamels a little more, especially with people still a little concerned for his shoulder
You can also look at it this way. The Phillies are currently 7.5 games up in the NL East on the Braves (who are 8.5 games up in the Wild Card) and are set to clinch a Playoff position either through the NL East or Wild Card (yes I know, Phillies fans dread not winning the East). It would take a total collapse (which shouldn’t happen) for the Phillies not to be in the Playoffs, and a 6-man rotation won’t hurt that.
Plus, given that you have a 6-man rotation, it would the “big four” pitchers be rested, healthy, and ready to go in the postseason. The key thing to success in the postseason is a healthy pitching staff, and that is exactly what you want Halladay, Hamels, Lee, and Oswalt to be for the rest of the season. Going with a 6-man rotation will only help them because they will get the extra rest they would need to stay healthy.
A 6-man rotation could only help the Phillies chances of success in the Playoffs.
Here will be the Phillies schedule as the season winds down if they switch to a six-man rotation:
9/1 Vance Worley
9/2 Roy Oswalt
9/3 Cole Hamels
9/4 Roy Halladay
9/5 Cliff Lee
9/15 Lee & Worley
9/16 Kyle Kendrick
9/20 Lee & Worley
By Kevin KThe Philadelphia Phillies found a left handed bat off the bench in OF/1B John Bowker of the Pirates.
Phillies will trade away a player to be named later or cash considerations for Bowker.According to Jim Salisbury of CSN, "
Bowker, 28, has played parts of four seasons in the majors with San Francisco and Pittsburgh. He is a lifetime .237 hitter with 17 homers in 561 big-league at-bats. He spent 19 games with the Pirates this season and hit just .235. Bowker has spent the bulk of the season at Triple A Indianapolis, where he was hitting .308 with 15 homers and 76 RBIs in 105 games.
During his time in the majors, Bowker hit .301 (22 for 73) with four doubles, two triples and a homer in pinch-hitting situations."This move gives you a Left Handed bat off the bench, something the Phillies really need after not knowing how healthy Ross Gload (hip) is. Both players have the versatility to play the OF and 1B. To make room for Bowker, the Phillies sent RP Michael Schwimer to the minors.
By Kevin K
During his last start, Cole Hamels did not pitch very well. He seemed to be hurting, and he was. Hamels received a MRI yesterday which showed left shoulder inflammation. The inflammation is not severe and will only cost Hamels a start and not a stint on the DL.
Expect Kyle Kendrick to pitch in place of Hamels.
Still not a lot of information on Polanco's injury. Amaro said we will know more in 24 hours, and if Polanco gets surgery his season would be over.
Polanco doesn't think surgery is necessary and could go on the DL (retroactive 10 days - meaning he will only miss five more days).
"It's what they think," Polanco said. "They said I can manage it. I trust them. I'm going to go with that. Surgery is not an option now."
Polanco thinks that he will not need surgery until winter and anticipates coming back and playing this season.
If Polanco is not ready expect the Phillies to try waivers, although it will be very hard to claim anyone off of waivers for the Phillies.
Kendrick is having a good seasonBy Kevin KIn a team filled with aces like Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee it is hard for a Phillie pitcher to stand out. Now Vance Worley has stood out because it is his rookie season and he has been pitching like an ace, but there is one pitcher that people continue to hate on that is playing very well; that player is Kyle Kendrick.Now Kendrick's 6-5 record doesn't tell you the whole story. He has a 3.19 ERA with 39 strikeouts on the season pitching out of both the bullpen and the starting rotation. Kendrick has done everything Charlie Manuel and the Phillies have asked him to do without any complaints and has stood his own on the mound. In his last start (before moving back to the bullpen) Kendrick was dealing. He threw a career high 117 pitches while striking out a career high 7 batters leading the Phillies to their 70th victory on the season. Now Kyle continues to do what the Phillies ask him to do as he moved back to the bullpen ready to do whatever the Phillies need him to do.During Spring Training Kyle told me, "
I love starting but if they need me in the pen I’ll be ready to go! Preparing wouldn't be much different, just have to watch my workouts". He obviously has done both this year and has been consistent in both aspects. Now I know the constant Kendrick hate out there, and I know that this may not change it, but the man has given the Phillies everything he has got with little to no encouragement from the fan base or media. "
I love playing in Philly; in my mind the best place to play in MLB," Kendrick said. When asked about what he thought about the "Kendrick hate" and what his reaction was to the negative fans he said, "fans have their opinions and that’s fair". In my opinion Kendrick continues to be one of the Phillies most consistent pitchers this season, whether that is in the bullpen or as a starter, Kendrick goes out there and delivers. To read more from my Q&A with Kendrick during Spring Training, click here.