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Teams showing interest in Phillies Stars
By Kevin K

Although Ruben Amaro Jr. may deny it, the Phillies sound like they are in full on sell mode come the trade deadline. The one player that could bring the Phillies a lot of value in return could be Cole Hamels. The Phillies are currently reportedly working on an offer to Hamels that is expected to be in the ballpark that they know the left-hander will want (via Buster Olney of ESPN). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reportedly on Monday that "The Phillies are said to be planning to offer at least $120 million to star lefthander Cole Hamels in an effort to keep him in Philadelphia and prevent him from becoming a free agent". If Hamels denies the Phillies offer, the thoughts are that the Phillies will trade him. You could see this going either way in the next week.

Another Phillies reportedly on the market is Phillies CF Shane Victorino. John Morosi of FOX Sports reported that Shane Victorino may be the first big name to be dealt. Victorino is due to be a Free Agent in the off-season and is looking for a 5-year deal.

The one Phillie that no one expected to see interest in is SS Jimmy Rollins. Reports from Danny Knobler are that the Dodgers are interested in Rollins. Knobler's report reads, "Rollins is part of a long list of players the Dodgers are looking at, as they try to trade for both a hitter and a starting pitcher in an effort to keep pace with the Giants in the National League West. But he may be the most intriguing.

While Rollins has been a big disappointment with the Phillies this year, he could be a help to a Dodger team that lost shortstop Dee Gordon to the disabled list. Since Gordon went down with a torn ligament in his right thumb, the Dodgers have played Luis Cruz and Juan Uribe at short."

Now if you put any thoughts onto Twitter, which we don't, Rollins (@JimmyRollins11)  did send out a tweet earlier saying, "Everytime we go to Cali I feel like I'm home....even though us Nor Cal peeps think SoCal should be a different state, lol! All Cali love tho".

Could Rollins be going home for good? Will Victorino really be the first "big name to be dealt"? Will Hamels re-sign, or be traded? All these questions and more could be answered with the trade deadline looming ahead.

You can read the CBS Reports here:

Phillies will offer Hamels at least $120 million

Dodgers wide search for help could include Jimmy Rollins

 
 
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Halladay has been his dominant this self. (Wikipedia)
My Fellow Phans,

Let’s face it. This season hasn’t started like we imagined. The Phillies have struggled to score runs at times, the bullpen has had a few, eh less than stellar performances thus far, and even the defense at times has made one scratch their head. Currently, they sit with an 9-10 record; good enough for 4th place in the division and 5.5 games back of the surging Nationals.

However, the Phillies just won their first series this week which is a definite positive and that isn’t the only positive aspect thus far this season. Let’s look at some of the good points in this Phillies season as the team looks to turn around what has been a rocky start:

1. The Rotation:

Well this was no surprise. With the likes of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels in the rotation, it is bound to be a strong point. Throw in Vance Worley and none of the Phillies big 4 have ERAs over 2.73. 
Their 2.80 ERA overall as a rotation sits 4th in the NL. 

Trust me when I say, the rotation has not been an issue this season. It's the lack of runs to support that strong pitching that has led to the Phillies mediocre record thus far. 

2. The New Guys:

 Don’t look now, but the three key off-additions are topping the Phillies offense this season. Jaun Pierre (.339), Ty Wiggington (.304), and Laynce Nix (.348) are tops on the team in batting average. The trio has hit a pair of homers and drove in 16 RBIs combined.  

3. The Bottom of the Order:

Could this be the year that Carlos Ruiz finally makes that elusive All-Star team? Could be. Chooch has been hot early hitting .302 while doing most of this batting from the 7th spot in the lineup. He has already hit a pair of homers and his .472 slugging is tops among Phillies regulars.Right behind Chooch in the order sits young star Freddy Galvis. Although he hasn’t hit that well (batting .200), he leads the Phillies in doubles (tied with Nix) and has played Gold Glove caliber defense. If there was ever a gold glove star in the making, Galvis is it. 

Now the moral to this tale:

So, while we have struggled, keep on trucking Phillies fans. This team will get back on track and when it does, we will rule the National League once again. They don’t call us the phightins for nothing!

Until we meet again Phillies Phans; Happy Readings and Go Phillies!

 
 
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.

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via the Phillies Twitter: Rich Dubee watching Cole Hamels and Vance Worley pitch
 
 
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Pat Burrell will hold a special place in the hearts of many Phillies fans. (AP)
A few days ago, the news broke that former Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell was announcing his retirement from Major League Baseball after 12 productive seasons. For me, this new brought with it some sadness for me as well as a smorgasbord of memories from the slugger affectionately known as “Pat the Bat.” I would personally like to offer my congrats to Pat on a wonderful career and thank him for everything he ever did for this city while he was here.

I still remember my first thoughts when I saw Pat for the first time wearing a Phillies uniform. “Wow, this guy is going to be a difference maker for us”… That he was indeed…

During his time in Philly, Burrell was always one of my favorite players. Granted, he had his slumps, but what player doesn’t, and I always knew that he would come out of it and murder a baseball, like he made a living doing while manning left field here.

It wasn’t always pretty, as his running motion (all movement and no forward progress) would bring a smile to my face even on the simplest of grounders. However, you could not fault him for not trying. Burrell had one of the strongest work ethics on the team and that was admirable in itself. He wasn’t the fastest player nor the best fielder, but he would always give it 100% every single time out there. At least, that’s how I perceived it.

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Pat leading the parade down Broad Street. (AP)
While the fielding at times was sketchy, there was no doubt that Burrell’s power at the plate would be there. He ended his Philly career with 251 homers, currently 4th all time in Phillies’ history, and delivered some memorable home runs. From his first career home run off of Scott Elarton down in Houston, to his walk off home run against Brian Wilson during the 2008 season punctuated by his almost homer during Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, in what turned out to be his final at-bat as a Philadelphia Phillie’ the biggest hit of his career.  

Of course, there is the memorable scene of Burrell leading the World Series Championship parade down Broad Street. He was appropriately first in line leading our boys home on the greatest day of my life and was first in my heart for all those years.

Hats off to you Pat, thanks for everything! I look forward to your Phillies Wall-Of-Fame induction. 

 
 
Phils trade Valdez to Reds; get reliever Horst
By. 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.”

 
 
My Fellow Phans, 
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It’s actually ironic that Ryan Madson signed an 1-year deal with the Reds yesterday. The deal was worth just 8.5 millions. A deal that is certainly well under the Scott-Boras quota.

 Madson signed an 1-year deal with the Reds. (AP)

Especially when a month ago the PhilliesThe deal, for around 11 million per season was nixed and the Phillies prompted went out and overpaid, eh signed, Red Soxs closer Jonathan Pappelbon.

There’s nothing to do now, but wish Ryan Madson the best the best. The Reds certainly got a steal.

Best of luck on the future, Ryan!


 
 
Wright "may be a Phillie"
By Kevin K

Finally 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#display

Now 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 Stereotypes

I 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.html

Brookover (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 deal
By 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.

 
 
My Fellow Phans,

We have a new Phillie in introduce you too! No, it is not a Michael Cuddyer, but it is another super utility player that can give us nearly everything that Michael Martinez gave us last season plus much better at-bats at the plate.

Say hello to your newest Phillies… Mr. Ty Wigginton

I’m sure you all remember the time when Wigginton was going to be a star with the Mets? Well, it turns out that he only played there for a little more than 2 seasons. Thanks to a roundabout journey from NY to Pittsburgh…Houston…Baltimore…Colorado…He now lands in Philadelphia.

Wigginton was acquired by the Phillies from the Rockies for the always mysterious, “Player to be named later”.

He’s not the star player that we were looking for, but Wigginton functions quite well as the type of player that he is; a super utility player with the ability to start a steady number of games. So, how valuable could this guy be? Well, during his career, he has played 1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF, and even some SS (albeit that was in 2009).

Offensively, he’s a hitter with solid power and an o.k. average. Last season, he hit .242 with 15 homers and 47 RBIs. For his career, he averages over 20+ homers and 70+ RBIs per season.

Plus, he’s a steal for the Phillies. They will only pay for half of his 4 million dollar salary.

Let’s get one thing straight. He’s not gonna put up blistering hot numbers, but if you look at the Phillies bench last year (Francisco, Gload, Martinez, Valdez primarily), then he is better than any of those listed. The Phillies have upgraded their bench this offseason first with Thome and now with Wigginton and I have to admit that I am a big backer of this deal.
 
 
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.