First. yesterday, former Phil Roy Oswalt announced that he was officially retiring, as he signed a one-day contract with the Astros so that he could officially retire as an Astros. Oswalt, who is an fourteen-year veteran, ten of which was spent as an Astros, was a member of the Phils for part of the 2010 season and part of the 2011 season, during which he complied a winning record of 16-11. Oswalt would also play for the Rangers and the Rockies. Oswalt, during his career, would be the NL leader for ERA in 2006 with a 2.98 ERA, wins in 2004 with 20, games started with 35 games in both 2004 and 2005 and in WHIP in 2010 with a 1.03 WHIP. He was also a member of the 2005 Astros team that would win the NL pennant before losing to the White Sox in that year’s World Series, being swept by Chicago, 4-0. Overall, Oswalt had a career record of 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA as he pitched in 365 games, 341 of which were starts, as he completed 20 games, including 8 shutouts. He would pitch in 2245.1 innings, giving up 2199 hits and 897 runs, 838 of which were earned, as he struck out 1852 batters, while walking only 520. I wish you luck in your retirement, Roy.
Then, the Phils announced that Comcast plans to hire both Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to replace Chris Wheeler and Garry Matthews inside the TV broadcast booth, starting this season during Spring Training. Congratulations, guys. Hope you both do well in the broadcast booth.
Lastly, the Phils announced that they have just signed starter A.J. Burnett, who they have been pursuing during the off-season, to a one-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Burnett, who had pitched for the Pirates last year and in 2012, is coming off a 10-11 season, with a 3.30 ERA, as he pitched in 30 games, all starts, with a complete game, as he threw in 191 innings, giving up 165 hits and 79 runs, 70 of which were earned, as he struck out 209 batters, while walking only 67. Burnett, who has also pitched for the Marlins, the Blue Jays and the Yankees, being a member of the 2009 World Championship team, has a 147-132 record with a 3.99 ERA, as he appeared in 375 games, starting 370 of them, as he threw 23 complete games, 10 of which were shutouts. He threw a total of 2353.2 innings, giving up 2140 hits and 1142 runs, 1043 of which were earned, as he struck out 2180 batters, while walking only 955. Welcome to the team, A.J.
Burnett’ll more than likely be the number three man in the starting rotation, after Cole Hamels starts pitching after the start of the season, as the Phils announced that Cole will miss opening day as he has developed tendinitis in his left bicep, which will keep him from throwing the ball for the next eight to ten days, and slow down his participation in spring training, although Cole has said that he should be ready to pitch at some point in April. I’m just hoping that it is only a minor setback, as the Phils will need Cole to back up Cliff Lee, if they expect to get anywhere this season.
Pat Burrell, who had played left field for the Phils from 2000-2008, and was a key member of the 2008 World Series Championship team, and the Phils have announced that he will officially retire as a Phil during the team’s weekend series with the Red Sox, May 18-20, after first signing a one-day contract. Burrell, the team’s no. 1 draft pick in 1998, would spend nine seasons with the ball club, playing in a total of 1306 games, with a batting average of .257 (1166 for 4535) with an OBP of .367 and an SLG of .485. As a Phil, among his 1166 hits were 253 doubles (14th), 14 triples and 251 home runs (4th) for a total of 518 extra-base hits (9th). He would also walk 785 times (5th). Burrell would knock in 827 RBIs (8th), while scoring 655 runs. Burrell’s main claim to fame as a Phil would be him hitting a double in the bottom of the seventh inning of game five of the 2008 World Series, which would lead to the game winning run. Burrell would then become a member of the 2009-10 Blue Jays, before joining the Giants later in 2010, becoming a member of their 2010 World Series Championship team, and then a member of their 2011 squad, before being released because of an aching right foot late in the season, and then announcing his retirement after the 2011 season. During his twelve years in the Major Leagues, Burrell would appear in a grand total of 1640 games, mostly as a left fielder and a DH (Rays), accumulating a career batting average of .253 (1393 for 5503), with an OBP of .361 and an SLG of .472 for an OPS of .834. He would have a total of 299 doubles, 16 triples and 292 home runs for a total of 607 extra-base hits, while he would walk a total of 932 times. Burrell would bring in a total of 976 runs, while crossing the plate 767 times.
Yesterday, the Nationals announced that they have signed Brad Lidge, one of the heroes of the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship team, to a one-year deal worth $1 million dollars, plus incentives. Lidge, who had joined the Phils in an off-season trade with the Houston Astros in 2007, went 48 for 48 in save opportunities during the 2008 regular and post-seasons, before striking out Eric Hinske to give the Phils the championship. Plagued by injuries during the next three seasons (2009-2011), Lidge would pitch in four seasons for the Phils, the first three as their closer, compiling a record of 100 saves in 116 save opportunities, with a win-loss record of 3-11, as he pitched in 214 games, appearing in 203 total innings. During the 2011 season, after coming back from injury, Lidge would perform in mainly middle relief, appearing in 25 games, pitching in 19.1 innings, as he compiled an 0-2 record with 1 save in 1 save opportunity, with a 1.40 ERA. He would strike out 23 batters while walking only 13.
Originally a member of the Astros from 2002-2007, including being a member of the 2005 National League Champs, Lidge would appear in 592 games, all but 1 in relief, compiling a career record of 26-31, with an ERA of 3.44, while saving 223 games in 266 attempts, as he pitched in 594 innings. During his career, he would strike out a total of 789 batters, while walking only 276.
So long, Brad, good luck with your new team, except when you’re pitching against the Phils, of course. 🙂
The Phils have just announced that they have traded utility infielder Wilson Valdez to the Reds for left-handed relief pitcher Jeremy Horst.
Wilson Valdez, who had spent two seasons (2010-11) with the Phils, playing second base, shortstop and third base, as well as pitch a shutout inning in an extra-innings game (19), getting the win, played in 210 games for the Phils, batting .254 (154 for 606) with a .300 on-base percentage, as he hit 30 doubles, 7 triples and 5 HRs, while knocking in 65 RBIs. During last season, he batted .249 (68 for 273) as he appeared in 99 games, hitting 14 doubles, 4 triples and a home run, while knocking in 30 RBIs, while scoring 39 runs. Valdez, a career .243 hitter, has also played for the White Sox, the Mariners, the Padres, the Dodgers and the Mets from 2004-05, 2007-09, before joining the Phils.
Jeremy Horst, who the Phils are getting in return, is a 2007 Reds draft pitch, who made his major league debut last season. Coming out of the bullpen, he pitched in 12 games, compiling a record of 0-0 with a 2.93 ERA, as he pitched in 15.1 innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, as he gave up 18 hits. He also struck out nine players, while walking only six. He will come to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Horst, who is a left-hander, will likely be trying to become the late-innings left-handed specialist the Phils want to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
With the move, it is most likely that former Rule 5 pick, Michael Martinez, will be taking Valdez’s place as the Phils’ utility infielder. The less I’ll say about that, the better I’ll feel. Prove us all wrong, Mini-Mart!!!
Sorry to see you go, Wilson, and welcome to the club, Jeremy.
Jim Thome, who had played first base for the Phils from 2003-2005, before being traded to the White Sox after the 2005 season, allowing Ryan Howard to become the everyday first baseman, will return to the Phils as he signed a one-year contract worth $1.25 million dollars, to become mainly the left-handed bat off the bench, although expected to play a few games at first base early in the 2012 season as Howard recovers from his Achilles tendon injury, pending a physical.
During his three seasons with the Phils, ‘Gentleman Jim’ Thome help to make the Phils a contender as he had 333 hits, including 96 home runs, 65 doubles and 4 triples, while knocking in 266 runs while scoring 234. He also walked 260 times. Last season, as he played for both the Twins and the Indians, he hit a combined .256 batting average, with 71 hits, including 15 home runs and 16 doubles, as he knocked in 50 runs, while scoring 32 runs. Breaking into the majors with the Indians in 1991, Thome has a career total of 2287 hits, which includes 604 home runs, 444 doubles and 26 triples, knocking in1674 RBIs, for a career batting average of .277.
Welcome back, Jim. Hopefully you’re the left-handed bench bat that the team presently need once Howard comes back from his injury.
In the Phillies’ 128-year history as a member of the National League, they have spent most of that time being either a cellar dweller or as a member of the second division. But, the team has spent some time in the first division, winning two World Series Championship, seven National League pennants, with two in consecutive seasons (2008-2009) and ten National League Eastern Division flags, including winning the last four (2007-2010). The team has also finished in second place in either the National League (1883-1968) or in the National League Eastern Division (1969 to the present) a grand total of thirteen time.
The first time they would end up in second place would be in 1887, the fifth year of the team’s existence, as they would finish the season behind the first place Detroit Wolverines with a record of 75-48 for a winning percentage of .610, finishing 3.5 games behind the Wolverines in a league of eight teams, before the expansion to twelve teams in 1892. For the Phils, who were also called the Quakers at the time, this would be their only second place finish in the 19th Century. The next time the Phils would finish in second place, and the first time in the 20th Century, would occur in 1901, as they fell behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were at the beginning of winning three straight NL pennants (1901-1903), as they finish the season with a record of 83-57, with a .593 winning percentage, finishing 7.5 games behind the Bucos. The next time that the Phils would end up in second place would occur in 1913, as they finished behind the New York Giants, who had won their third straight NL pennant (1911-1913), ending the year with a record of 88-63 for a winning percentage of .583, ending up 12.5 games behind the Giants. The Phils would then finished second for the two seasons after they had won their first NL pennant in 1915. The first time, for the fourth time overall, would occur in 1916, when they would finish behind the Brooklyn Robins, now Dodgers, with a 91-62 record, winning one game more than they did the year that they won the pennant, with a winning percentage of .595, finishing 2.5 games behind the Robins. The following season, 1917, they would finish in second place again, this time behind the Giants, with a record of 87-65, with a .572 winning percentage, trailing the Giants by 10 games. The Phils would then spend most of the next 47 years in the second division before once again finishing second. The Phils would then end up tied for second place with the Cincinnati Reds in 1964, after collapsing in September, finishing behind the St. Louis Cardinals with a record of 92-70, with a winning percentage of .568, a game out of first. This would be the sixth and final time that they would finish in second place in the National League before the two major leagues split into divisions in 1969, with the Phils becoming a member of the NL East. The first time the Phils would end up in second place in the NL East would occur in 1975, when they finished second to the Pirates, finishing the year with a record of 86-76, with a .531 winning percentage, finishing 6.5 games before the Pirates. The second time they would end up in second place in the NL East would happen in 1982, as they trail the Cardinals, ending up with a record of 89-73, with a winning percentage of .549, finishing 3 games behind the redbirds. The third time they would finish second in the NL East would be in 1986, as they finished behind the New York Mets with a record of 86-75, with a .534 winning percentage, trailing by 21.5 games. The fourth time they would finish the season in second place in the NL East would not occur until 2001, when they finished behind the Atlanta Braves with an 86-76 record, a winning percentage of .531, ending up 2 games out of first. The Phils will then end up in second place in the East, missing being the wild card winner each season, in 2004, 2005, and 2006, finishing behind the Braves in 2004 and 2005 and then behind the Mets in 2006. In 2004, they finished the season with an 86-76 record, a .531 winning percentage, as they finished 10 games behind the Braves. In 2005, they finished the year with a record of 88-74, with a winning percentage of .543, 2 games behind the Braves. In 2006, they would end the baseball season with a record of 85-77, a winning percentage of .525, 12 games in back of the Mets.
Of their thirteen finishes in second place, six occurred as a member of the NL, and the other seven as a member of the NL East. They would finish in second place once in the 19th Century, eight times in the 20th Century (5 (NL), 3 (NL East)), and four, so far, in the 21st Century as a member of the NL East. Their best record in second place was when they finished second in 1964, when they finished with a record of 91-70. Their worst second place finish was in 1887, the first time they would finish second, as they had a record of 75-48. Their highest winning percentage would be the .610 of 1887, while the worst would be the .525 of 2006. Their best game behind finish was when they ended a game behind (with the Reds) in 1964, while their worst was when they fell 21.5 games behind (the Mets in the East) in 1986.
With the way the Phils are presently structured, they could remain as either a first or a second place team in the NL East for several more seasons.
During the sixty-three years that the Rookie of the Year has been voted on by the Baseball Writers Associations of America (BBWAA), only four Phils have won the NL version of the award.
The first Phil to win the award was pitcher Jack Sanford in 1957 who in 33 starts complied a win-lost record of 19-8 with a 3.08 ERA, as he struck out 188 batters. The second Phil to win the award was third baseman Dick Allen in 1964, who in that year batted .318, hitting 29 home runs, 19 triples, leading the league in that category, and knocking in 91 RBIs, while scoring 125, the league leader in that category. It would be thirty-three years before another Phil would be voted the NL Rookie of the Year. Third baseman Scott Rolen would win the award in 1997, with a .283 batting average, as he hit 21 home runs, while knocking in 92 RBIs. The fourth, and presently final, Phil to win the award would be first baseman Ryan Howard in 2005, who that year batted .288, as he hit 22 home runs, while knocking in 63 RBIs.
Of the four awards won by a Phil, three were won in the 20th Century and one, so far, in the 21st. Three have been won by position players and one by a pitcher. So far, none of the award has been won by a member of the Hall of Fame, since both Rolen and Howard are still active players, although Allen is presently under consideration by the Hall of Fame Veterans’ Committee.
Who will be the next Phil to win the Award? Considering the Phils’ farm system, that is a good question, since the Phils just missed having a fifth award as J.A. Happ ended up second place in 2009.