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.
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.
As the Phils’ 2013 season wounded down, with the club wounding up in fourth place in the five-team NL East with a 73-89, .451 record, 23 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, the Phils first post-season move was to make interim manager, Hall of Famer Ryan Sandberg, the team’s 52nd manager, by signing him to a three-year contract on September 22, 2013. The Phils’ next move was to announce on September 30 that Rich Dubee was not returning as the team’s pitching coach, ending a nine season relationship with the Phils, as the team started to look for a new pitching coach. On that same day, they announced that they were promoting from the team’s Minor League system, Paul Fournier, as the team’s new strength and conditioning coach, replacing Doug Lien, who had held that position for the previous six seasons, as the club hopes to improve the team’s overall health.
The Phils next move was to make a shake-up in their 40 men roster as they outrighted infielders Michael Martinez and Pete Orr, right-handed pitcher Zach Miner and lefthander Mauricio Robles on October 3, while, on that same day, the Indians picked up right-hander Tyler Cloyd off of the waiver-wire, while the Astros picked up leftie Raul Valdes, opening up six spots on the roster.
Two days later, on October 5, the Phils announced that they would not be renewing the contract of bullpen catcher, Mick Billmeyer, who had been with the club since 2004, first as the catching instructor, then as the bullpen coach in 2009, before becoming the bullpen catcher in 2012. The next Phils move came from out of the blue as, on October 8, former Phils’ player and one time Phils’ manager, and fan favorite, Larry Bowa, rejoined the team as the new bench coach, while another ex-Phil, Pete Mackanin, would join the team as the new third base coach. The Phils also announced that Steve Henderson would remain as the team’s hitting coach while Wally Joyner would leave as the team’s assistant hitting coach, later being hired by the Detroit Tigers as their new hitting coach, while John Mizerock would later become the new assistant hitting coach and Jesus Tiamo would become the new catcher coach, as Juan Samuel would stay on as the team’s first base coach, while Rod Nichols would remain the bullpen coach.
The next move occurred on October 17 as John Lannan decided to become a free agent after he had been outrighted by the club, after refusing assignment.
Then on November 5, the Phils announced that they were hiring Scott Freedman to help the ballclub better understand the use of analytics in the evaluation of players. Seven days later, on November 12, the Phils announced their first free agent signing, as they signed right fielder Marlon Byrd to a two-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Byrd, who is a right-handed batter, and an ex-Phil, has played in the majors from 2002, having played for the Phils (2002-05), the Nats (2005-06), the Rangers (2007-09), the Cubs (2010-12), the Red Sox (2012), the Mets (2013) and the Pirates (2013), appearing in 1250 games, hitting .280 (1222 for 4367), knocking in 533 RBIs as he scored 600 times. Among his 1222 hits were 252 doubles, 32 triples and 106 HRs, while he has also walked 307 times. The Phils plan to use him in the line-up behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the later of whom the team hopes will bounce back from several injuries plagued seasons and regain his form as the team’s RBI and home runs leader. The Phils next announced on November 15 that they have given four players minor league contracts with invites to spring training: right-hander Shawn Camp, left-hander Cesar Jimenez and outfielders Clete Thomas and Leandro Castro.
The Phils then announced on November 18 that they have resigned present catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year deal worth $26 million dollars with a team option of $4.5 million or a $500,000 buyout for 2017. The next day, the team announced that they have signed a minor league contract, with a spring training invitation, to infielder Reid Brignac, who would be competing for a utility infielder position with Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis. On November 20, the Phils announced that they were adding four minor league prospects to their 40-man roster to keep them from being picked up by other teams in December’s 5-Rule draft: outfielders Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan, catcher Tommy Joseph and left-hander Rob Rasmussen.
The following day, November 22, the Phils signed Bob McClure as their new pitching coach, replacing Dubee. On that same day, they announced that they have signed infielder Andres Blanco to a minor league contract, with an invite to spring training.
On December 4, the Phils made a trade with the Blue Jays, receiving right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln in exchange for catcher Erik Kratz and minor league pitcher Rasmussen. Lincoln, who has pitched for the Pirates and the Blue Jays (2010-13) has appeared in 97 games, 22 of which was as a starter, for a record of 9-11 with a 4.66 ERA. With one career save in two attempts, he has pitched in 220 games, giving up 228 hits, 123 runs, 114 of which were earned, as he struck out 167 batters while walking only 77. The Phils will likely use him in the bullpen. After the trade, the ballclub would sign catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year deal on December 5, as the team’s back-up catcher. Nieves, who has played for the Padres (2002), the Yankees (2005-2007), the Nats (2008-10), the Brewers (2011), the Diamondbacks (2012), the Rockies (2012-13) and the Diamondbacks again (2013), has appeared in 385 games, hitting .242 (249 for 1029), with 46 doubles, 2 triples and 8 home runs, as he knocked in 103 RBIs while scoring 78 times. He has also walked 59 times. On that same day, the Phils signed right-handed pitcher Jeff Manship to a minor league contract with a spring training invitation.
Then, on December 9, Roy Halladay announced his retirement from baseball, ending a 16-year career with the Blue Jays and the Phils, as he didn’t think he would be able to pitch after his most recent arm injury. Halladay, who said that he had signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays to end his career as a Jay, and had paid a full page ad in the Philly newspaper thanking the Phils fans for their support during his time as a Phils (2010-13), had appeared in 416 career games, 390 as a starter, with a career record of 203-105, with a 3.38 ERA and a career save, had completed 67 games, 20 for shutouts, as he pitched in 2749.1 total innings, striking out 2117 batters as he walked only 592, as he gave up 2646 hits and 1135 runs, only 1034 of which were earned. He also threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the post-season, both of which occurred during his first season as a Phil (2010). Thanks for being a member of the Phils, Roy, and being a class act, and wish you luck getting into the Hall.
On December 12, through the Rule 5-draft, the Phils would acquire right-hander Kevin Munson from the Diamondbacks’ Reno club, while they would lose right-hander Seth Rosin to the Mets, who would then trade him to the Dodgers for cash in the major league portion of the draft, and shortstop Jonathan Roof to the Red Sox in the Triple-A part of it, both from their Reading affiliate.
Next, on December 18, the Phils signed a one-year deal with right-hander Roberto Hernandez for $4.5 million dollars, plus performance and award bonuses. Hernandez, who has previous pitched for the Indians (2006-12) and the Blue Jays (2013), has appeared in 216 games, 177 as a starter, with a 59-82 record, with a 4.67 ERA. He will be part of the Phils’ starting rotation, along with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone.
In January, the Phils made a new TV-deal with Comcast for 25-year, which included broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews not returning to the broadcast booth. On the 14, the Phils had four players file for salary arbitration: outfielders Ben Revere and John Mayberry, Jr. and pitchers Antonio Bastardo and Kendrick. The next day, January 15, the Phils announce that former manger Charlie Manuel would be returning to the team as a consultant to general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. On the 17, the Phils announced that two of the four arbitration eligible players have signed one-year deals: Mayberry, who had agreed to a 1.587 million dollar deal, while Kendrick had agreed to one worth 7.675 million. The Phils then signed two minor league deals on the 21, one to veteran right-hander Chad Gaudin, and one to former Phil and veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, with both being given spring training invites. On that same day, the Phils and Bastardo agreed to a one-year contract worth $2 million dollars. Three days later, on the 24, Ben Revere signed a one-year deal with the Phils for $ 1.95 million dollar.
With that, the last bit of news is that the Phils might be replacing Wheeler and Matthews with former Phils Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer, both of whom have impressed the Phils in their separate interviews to join the broadcast team, and that finally, yesterday, the equipment truck has started heading south for the spring training facilities in Clearwater, Florida from Citizens Bank Park in Philly. It is now six more days before catchers and pitchers are suppose to appear in Clearwater.
Can’t wait for Spring Training to officially start. 🙂
Today, the Phils announced that they had signed to a one-year deal, worth $1.4 million dollars, plus award bonuses, left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo, the only player on the roster who was arbitration eligible.
Bastardo, who had an awful 2012 season, would appear in 65 games, all in relief, as he pitched in 52 innings, compiling a record of 2-5, plus a save in five save opportunities, as he had an ERA of 4.33 with a WHIP of 1.27, as he allowed 40 hits and 26 runs, all but one of which was earned, as he struck out 81 batters, while walking 26. In four season with the Phils, with 2011 being his best season, so far, Bastardo has compiled a record of 12-9 with a 4.02 ERA and a WHIP of 1.20, as he appeared in 160 games, all but 5 games being in relief, as he threw in 152 and a third innings, giving up 113 hits and 70 runs, all but two of which were earned, as he struck out 196 batters, while walking only 70. He also have nine career saves in fifteen save opportunities.
Bastardo, who may be the team’s main lefty set-up man when the season starts, have held hitters to a .207 batting average in 2012, being especially tough on lefties as he held them to a .169 batting average against. He ended the season third among relievers in strikeouts per nine innings with a 14.02 mark, despite having a bad season, thanks to being hit hard by batters during the middle part of the season, before finally regaining his grove towards them season’s final weeks. Hopefully, he’ll regain his form that he had for most of 2011 this season.
Yesterday, the Phils had announced that, along with Rodrigo Lopez, they have signed right-handed pitchers Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz to minor league deals and have given them invitations to spring training, as they continue to add depth to their pitching staff.
Aaron Cook, who had spent part of 2012 pitching for the Boston Red Sox, compiling a record of 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA and a WHIP of 1.47 in 18 starts, in which he pitched in 94 innings, allowing 117 hits and 68 runs, 59 of which were earned, as he struck out 20 batters, while walking 21. Before joining the Red Sex, he had spent 10 years playing for the Colorado Rockies, compiling a career record of 76-79 with an ERA of 4.60 and a WHIP of 1.47, as he pitched in 256 games, 224 of which were starts, as he threw a total of 1406 and a third innings, giving up 1636 hits and 776 runs, of which 716 were earned, as he struck out 578 batters, while allowing 126 free passes.
Juan Cruz, who in 12 seasons have pitched in relief for the Chicago Cubs, the Atlanta Braves, the Oakland Athletics, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Kansas City Royals, and the Tampa Bay Rays, spent 2012 pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing in 43 games, going 1-1 with three saves in four save opportunities, as he compiled an ERA of 2.78 and a WHIP of 1.63, as he allowed 39 hits and 12 runs, all but one of which were earned, while he struck out 33 batters, while walking only 19. Cruz would compile a career record of 38-36, along with 6 saves in nineteen save opportunities, as he pitched in 447 games, all but 38 of which were in relief, as he appeared in 655 total innings, compiling an ERA of 4.05 and a WHIP of 1.41, as he gave up 576 hits, as 332 runners scored, 295 of which were earned, as he struck out 659 batters, while walking 346.
Both pitchers will more than likely end up pitching for the Phils’ triple-A ballclub, the Iron Pigs, unless somebody on the staff gets hurt during the season.
Lopez, who had pitched for the Phils once before, in 2009, before being sent back to the minors by the team when they added future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez to the ballclub during the summer, last pitched for the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in four games in 2012 for the Cubbies, going 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA and a WHIP of 2.05, as he pitched for 6.1 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 runs, four of which were earned, as he struck out only two while walking five. When he pitched for the Phils in 2009, he had a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 5.70 with a 1.77 WHIP, as he pitched in seven games, five of which were starts, as he appeared in 30 innings, giving up 42 hits and 24 runs, 19 of which were earned, as he struck out 19 batters while giving up 11 free passes.
During a 11 years career, Lopez had been with the Orioles, the Padres, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks, as well as the Phils and the Cubs, compiling a record of 81-89, with a 4.82 ERA and a WHIP of 1.42. He had appeared in 257 games, 215 of which were starts, as he pitched in 1350 and two-thirds innings, giving up a total of 1506 hits and 789 runs, 742 of which were earned, as he struck out 865 batters, while walking 416.
More than likely, Lopez will start the season with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, but he should be available if any member of the Phils’ starting rotation gets injured during the season.
First off, I would like to take the time to say, Happy New Year’s, folks. Second, sorry for the lack of posts, but, I got too busy with other things to get myself in gear to do new posts. But, I now got the time, and boy, do I have a lot to cover, as the Phils made some wheeling and dealing and small-scale free agent signings which they hope will put them into position to get back into the playoffs this upcoming October.
First, in the Rule Five Draft they picked up outfielder Ender Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom they hope will anchor centerfield in a few seasons, while drafting in the Triple-A Phase of the draft right-handed pitcher Brendan Lafferty from the Kansas City Royals organization, while not losing a player to the draft.
On the same day, December 6, they made a trade with the Minnesota Twins, getting centerfielder Paul Revere, in exchange for minor league right-handed pitching prospect Trevor May and, coming as a complete surprise to most, right-handed starter Vance Worley. Revere, who appeared in 124 games for the Twins, batted .294 (150 for 511), hitting 13 doubles and 6 triples, as he scored 70 times, while knocking in 32. He had also stole 40 bases, ranking him third in the AL for 2012, being caught just 9 times. May spent 2012 pitching for the Reading Phillies (now the Fighting Phillies). Worley, who was placed on the disabled list towards the end of the 2012 season, before having an operation to remove bone chips from his elbow, would pitch in 23 games for the Phils before being shut down, all starts, as he collected a 6-9 record, with a 4.20 ERA and a WHIP of 1.51, as he pitched in 133 innings, giving up 154 hits and 69 runs, 62 of which were earned, as he struck out 107 batters, while walking only 47. Sorry to see you go, Vance, and I wish you luck in Minnesota, as long as you don’t pitch against the Phils. And, welcome to the team, Paul. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here.
Then, on December 8, the Phils announced that they had made another trade, this one with the Texas Rangers, as they brought in Michael Young to take over duties at third base, in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and pitching prospect Lisalverto Bonilla. Michael Young, who has also played first base, second base and shortstop, appeared in 156 games for the former American League Champs (2010-11) batting .277 (169 for 611), as he hit 27 doubles, 3 triples and 8 home runs during the season, knocking in 67 runs, while scoring 79 times. He also walked 33 times. Josh Lindblom, who had started the 2012 season pitching relief for the Los Angeles before being traded to the Phils as part of a trade involving Shane Victorino, appeared in 74 games for both clubs, all in relief, posting a combined record of 3-5 with one save in four save opportunities, as he fielded an ERA of 3.55 and a WHIP of 1.35. He pitched in 71 innings, allowing 61 hits and 31 runs to score, of which 28 were earned. He walked 35 batters while striking out 70. Bonilla spent 2012 pitching for Clearwater and then Reading in the Phils’ farm system. Welcome to the team, Michael. I hope that you can help the team via both your bat and your glove, especially the later, as it looks like you may not just be covering the hot corner of third base during the season.
After the two trades, the Phils then made a pair of minor free agent signings, both pitchers, one a reliever and the other a starter. First, they signed to a two-years, $12 million dollars contract, with relief pitcher Mike Adams, formerly of the Rangers, who will be acting as the eight-inning bridge to Jonathan Papelbon, as he plans to take over an inning that was a major problem for the ballclub all season long. For the Rangers, Adams pitched in 61 games, compiling a 5-3 record with a 3.27 ERA and a WHIP of 1.39, as well as collecting a save in two save attempts. He would pitch in 52 and a third innings, giving up 56 hits and 21 runs, 19 of which were earned, as he struck out 45 batters, while walking only 17. The Phils then signed former Washington Nationals’ starter John Lannan, who is to become the Phils’ fifth starter, to replace Worley in the rotation, to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million dollars. Lannan, who had spent his entire career with the Nats, before becoming a free agent, appeared in only six games last year, all of them starts, as he compiled a record of 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA and a WHIP of 1.44, as he pitched a total of 32 and two-thirds innings, giving up 33 hits and 15 runs, all earned. He struck out 17 batters, while walking 14. During his six seasons with the Nats, Lannan had a win-lost record of 42-52, as he compiled an ERA of 4.01 and a career WHIP of 1.42, as he pitched a total of 783 and two-thirds innings, while appearing in 134 games, all starts. He would give up a total of 820 hits, as opponents scored 393 times, with 349 of those runs being earned. He would strikeout a total of 410 batters, while walking just 296. Welcome to the ballclub, guys. I hope that you two were worth the money spent.
The Phils have during the month mention that they would like to add a veteran corner outfielder, either via free agent signing or another trade, but it looks like they have the club they want before they enter spring training next month. I’m just hoping this team will improve on their third place finish last year.