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.
After waiting for most of the season, the Phils have finally been able to sign starter Cole Hamels to a multi-year deal, which should keep him as a Phil through at least 2018. The deal, which is for six years, with a club/vesting option for 2019, and contains a limited no-trade clause, is worth $144 million dollars. This means that when the Phils retool for 2013 and the years afterwards, Hamels will still be wearing the red pinstripes.
Cole Hamels, who was the Phils’ seventeenth pick in the 2002 player draft, has been with the main club since 2006. During his seven years with the club, he has racked up a win-loss record of 85-58, which includes his present record of 11-4, in 200 games, of which all but one was a start, with a 3.38 ERA and a WHIP of 1.14. He has thrown 10 complete games, including four shutouts. He has struck out 1222 batters, while walking only 325, of which 28 were intentional. This season, in 19 starts, he has an ERA of 3.23, with a 1.12 WHIP, as he has struck out 131 batters, while walking only 33.
With Hamels now under Phils’ control, it will be interesting to see who they will now trade or keep as the trade deadline looms on the thirty-first.
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.