The Phils officially started spring training on Thursday, February 13, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Clearwater, followed this week by the rest of the squad, although a large number of players had been at Clearwater during the off-season, getting ready for the 2014 season, especially first baseman Ryan Howard, who has been trying to get back into playing shape.
On Friday, February 14, former ballplayer and ex-Phil manager Jim Fregosi passed away at age 71 from multiple strokes. Fregosi, who broke into major league baseball as a shortstop in September 1961, had an 18-year career playing for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Ranger and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A six-time All-Star and a gold glove winner (1967), he would play in 1902 games, having a .265 career batting average (1726 for 6523) as he hit 264 2Bs, 78 3Bs and 151 HRs, knocking in 706 RBIs, while scoring 844 times. He would also walk 715 times. After retiring from baseball during the 1978 season, he would be hired as the manager of the team that he had begun his playing career, the Angels, starting a career that would end in 2000, during which he would be the manager of the Angels (1978-1981), the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), compiling a managerial record of 1028-1094 .484, as he managed a total of 2122 games. He would lead the Angels into the playoffs in 1979 as they won the American League West, but losing the AL Championship Series, 3-1, to the Orioles, and he would lead the Phils in 1993 to the World Series, before losing the series, 4-2, to the Blue Jays.
On the 16, the Phils finalized their one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, in which they would give the veteran pitcher $15 million dollars plus a $1 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. Burnett also has a player option for $7.5 million if he exercises his option. With the buyout options and other incentives, Burnett could end up receiving a two-year contract worth $ 33.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause, in which he would have to sign off on any possible trade involving nine other teams. In order to make room for Burnett on their roster, the Phils placed left-handed reliever Joe Savery on waviers, awaiting reassignment. On Monday the 17, the A’s picked Savery off of waivers. Selected by the Phils in the first round of the draft back in 2007, Savery has pitched for the Phils for parts of three seasons (2011-2013), appearing in 41 games, with a 3-2 record and a 3.15 ERA, as he pitched in 47.2 innings, giving up 42 hits and 28 runs, 22 of which were earned, as he struck out 32 batters, while walking 19.
As spring training continues, former Phil Roy Holladay has come to camp as a special pitching instructor, offering advice to the team’s younger players. Hopefully they’ll listen to the future Hall of Famer.
Well, some news occurred this weekend and today, both Phillies and non-Phillies related.
First, Phillies related news. Phillies.com has reported during the weekend that the Phillies are showing some interested in former Dodgers shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Garciaparra, who was only able to play in 55 games during the 2008 season, most of which were played in the second half of the season, after returning from an injury, batting .264 while hitting eight home runs and 28 RBIs, is a career .314 hitter after 13 seasons playing for the Red Sox, the Cubs and the Dodgers, where he has a combine total of 1702 hits for 5426 at-bats in 1369 games, knocking in 920 RBIs while scoring 910 runs. Of his 1702 hits, he has 362 2Bs, 52 3Bs and 226 HRs for a total of 2846 total bases. He also has a .525 slugging percentage and a .363 on-base percenatge. Nomar, beside playing shortstop, has also played third base and first base. If the Phillies do sign him to a deal, which will probably be for no more than one year, he would more than likely be the right handed bat that they’ll be wanting to come off the bench against lefthanded pitching to complement left hander Greg Dobbs. We’ll see if they will be able to get him. But, if they do, and he returns to his earlier form, other teams may not like to face a combo of Dobbs and Garciaparra coming off of the Phillies’ bench (depending on which of the lefties they still have (Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins) that they don’t trade).
Next, the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday afternoon knocked off the NFL Champions New York Giants, 23-11. I am sure that Giants fans are still not believing this. Hate to break it to you guys, but it actually happened. And you can all thank a certain thigh shooter for this lost. 🙂 Anyway, next stop for the Eagles, Phoenix, and a date with those other Cardinals, the ones of the football variety. Hopefully, these Cardinals won’t realize that they’re in a championship game until its over.
And lastly, the votes are in, and the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, via the Writers’ Ballots are….drum roll please ladies and gentlemen….Rickey Henderson, in his first year on the ballot, and Jim Rice, on his 15th and last year on the ballot.
Rickey Henderson, formerly of the A’s, the Yankees, the Blue Jays, the Padres, the Astros, the Mets, the Mariners, the Red Sox and the Dodgers, was elected, on his first year of eligibility, with 94.8 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, being placed on 511 of the 539 ballots cast. Henderson, who has played from 1979 to 2003, is considered the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, and is the current leader in stolen bases with 1406 and runs scored with 2995. He also has the record for the most steals in a season, stealing 130 bases in 1982, while also having the most lead-off home runs in Major League history with 81. Henderson, in 25 seasons, has a career batting average of .279, with an on-base percentage of .401 and a slugging percentage of .419, has 3,055 hits, 510 of which were 2Bs, 66 3Bs and 297 HRs. He has won the AL MVP in 1990 and has two world series rings, being a member of the 1989 A’s and the 1993 Blue Jays World Championship teams.
Jim Rice, formerly of the Red Sox, was elected to the Hall in his fifteenth, and final, year of eligibility, with 76.4 percent of the vote, being named on 411 of the ballots. A member of the 1975 American League Champions Red Sox, Rice, who spent his entire 16 years career (1974-1989) with Boston, ended his career with a .298 batting average, with a slugging percentage of .502 and an on-base percentage of .352, has 2452 career hits, knocking in 1451 RBIs, while scoring 1249 runs, hitting 373 2Bs, 79 3Bs and 382 RBIs. His career totals in hits and home runs, along with his 4129 total bases, are all Red Sox career marks for a right handed batter. He won the AL MVP in 1978, as well as being a member of eight AL All-Stars teams. Rice’s selection has been an uphill climb, with him gathering more votes each year he was on the ballot.
Congratulations to both Henderson and Rice on their election, and hoping that the third highest vote getter on the ballot, Andre Dawson, with 67 percent (361) of the votes, will get the nod next year.