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. 🙂
Earlier today, the Phils have announced that they have extended General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s contract. Amaro has signed a four-year extension with the Phils a day after the team had signed manager Charlie Manuel to a two-year extension of his contract. This means that Amaro will be the Phils’ General Manager through 2015, helping to keep things stable at the top for the next few years.
Here’s to hoping that he’ll be making some more deals that’ll help the team during that time. Time to really start earning, Ruben.
It seems that several things had occurred as far as the Phils are concerned.
First, on December 2, the Phils tendered contracts to outfielder Ben Francisco and pitcher Kyle Kendrick to keep them from becoming free agents. Kyle Kendrick will likely be fighting with Vance Worley for the fifth starter’s spot during spring training, while Francisco will be involved in a platoon situation with Dom Brown, as…
on the following Sunday, December 5, it was announced that Jayson Werth had signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Although he was expected to leave, Jayson’s signing with another team within the NL East came as a complete surprise to everyone, including Phils manager Charlie Manuel, as everyone had expected him to sign with an AL team, like the Red Sox or the Tigers. Well, Jayson, congrats on the money, but be prepared for a lot of boos, after being given some respectful cheers the first time you come to town in a Nat uniform. (The Nats? I hope you know what you’re doing Jayson.) As for the Phils’ compensation in draft picks, they will get a player in the draft between the first and second rounds, and then a player from the second round, as the Nats’ first round pick did not fall among the first 15 players of the draft.
The next day, December 6, the Hall of Fame Expansion Era Committee announced that it had elected ex-Phil General Manager Pat Gillick (2005-2008) to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gillick, who was also the GM for the Blue Jays, who won World Series Championships in 1992-1993, to go along with the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship, as well as being the GM for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners, in 27 years as a GM, had 11 teams enter the post-season.
The next day, December 7, it was announced that journalist Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News (also formerly on the Philadelphia Bulletin) will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award from the BBWAA, for 50 years of meritorious contributions to baseball writing. He will be given the award during the induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, NY, on July 25, 2011.
Then, on December 8, the Phils announced that they had signed former Cardinal relief pitcher Dennys Reyes to a one year deal for $1.1 million, with a $1.35 million option for 2012. Reyes, who has pitched in the major leagues for fourteen seasons out of the bullpen, will be joining his eleventh team when he joins the Phils, as he finished 2010 with a 3-1 record with an ERA of 3.55, as he pitched in 59 games, with a save, as he struck out 25 batters, while walking 21. The Phils will likely be using him as their left handed specialist out of the bullpen, to compliment Antonio Bastardo.
On the 9th, the Phils took three players in the Rule 5 Draft, with the first one, Michael Martinez, an infielder, coming from the Nats organization, via their Syracuse Triple-A affiliate. Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. jokingly commented that picking him up was the Phils way of getting back at the Nats for taking Jayson. (I just hope the last laugh ain’t on the Phils with this one.) The Phils would also pick up Chris Frey from the Rockies organization and Justin Friend from the A’s in the minor league part of the Rule 5 Draft. I guess it’ll be a while before we see if any of these guys pan out with the Phils.
Also during the week, the Phils brought Dom Brown back from the Dominican League, as they did not think that he was getting the seasoning that they thought he would need to be ready for spring training. Instead, they plan to do it during spring training itself, to get him ready for the regular season.
Lastly, the Phils had announced on Saturday that shortstop Jimmy Rollins had on Thursday undergone minor surgery on his left wrist. They also announced that he should be able to participate in spring training next year.
During the 2 pm progress report on Chase Utley’s right hip, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro announced that the Phillies have re-signed veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer to a new two-year contract. The 22 years veteran went 16-7 for the Phils in 33 starts, with a 3.71 ERA in 2008, being the team leader in wins. In a two plus month period, from June 6 to August 21, he would give up three earned runs or less to opposing team. The soon to be 47 years old, has a record of 246-185 in 637 games (548 starts) with a 4.19 ERA, tied for 47th place on the all-time Major League wins list, while being presently third among active starters, with the recent retirement of Mike Mussina of the Yankees and Greg Maddux of the Padres/Dodgers. Since joining the Phillies in mid-2006, he has gone 35-21 with a 4.33 ERA in 74 starts, with the team going 46-28 (.622) in his starts, while pitching the divisional pennant clinchers in both 2007 and 2008, and having a good start in Game 3 of the World Series which the Phillies would win in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth.
Moyer’s re-signing means that the first four spots in the Phils’ starting rotation (Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Moyer) is now set, with the fifth and final spot now being an audition between Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, prospect Carlos Carrasco and Chan Ho Park. Whether the Phils will continue to go after free agent Derek Lowe after signing Moyer and Park is a good question, especially when they should be looking out for a right handed power bat to help counter balance their recent signing of Raul Ibanez, and the obvious departure of Pat Burrell, to counter the presently loaded left-handed power of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. But such a signing would serve notice to the rest of the National League East, after the Mets’ signing of free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez and their trade with Cleveland for J.J. Putz to be Rodriguez’s set-up man to better their weak bullpen, that the Phillies will be looking to repeat as the National League Champions with a very strong starting rotation.
Amaro Jr. takes over reins for Phillies
Longtime assistant GM, former player replaces mentor Gillick
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Speculation is over. Amaro is in. Please don’t mess up, junior, that’s all I ask.
PHILADELPHIA — Ruben Amaro Jr. stepped to the plate under a late-September Cincinnati sky in 1998, amid rumors swirling that the borderline Major Leaguer was transitioning from the field to the front office.
As Amaro dug in that cloudy afternoon, Reds catcher Eddie Taubensee asked, “Aren’t you the assistant GM?” After driving in the winning run with an 11th-inning sacrifice fly, he heard Taubensee again, though not as cordial.
“He used a couple of expletives and said, ‘I can’t believe the assistant GM just beat us,'” said Amaro.
Taubensee was right. Amaro, a former Phillies bat boy, would have seven more Major League plate appearances before finishing his career with a .235 average. Shortly after, he accepted the Phillies’ assistant GM job offered to him by Ed Wade in the spring of 1998, embracing the unique and outstanding new path.
A decade later, he stood at the podium at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, having reached an ultimate new goal, shedding the assistant label and taking over as general manager of a team that won its first World Series championship in 28 years.
“I’m ready to continue the leadership that those who have preceded me have developed in Philadelphia,” Amaro said. “While our leadership is changing, our goals will remain the same, and that’s to bring championships here to Philadelphia and to win World Series. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Amaro replaces outgoing GM Pat Gillick, who stepped down after fulfilling a three-year contract signed before the 2006 season. Gillick steps aside amid perfect circumstances for the architect of 11 playoff teams with four different organizations, including three World Series champions.
Team president David Montgomery had hoped to persuade Gillick to reconsider his decision to leave as a full-time GM, but settled for the 71-year-old remaining in an advisory role.
“Not only is he well prepared, I believe he is extremely well qualified for this opportunity,” said Montgomery, who selected Amaro over another in-house candidate, Mike Arbuckle. “That’s evidenced by the outstanding contribution he’s made to our club since he’s joined us 10 years ago.”
Amaro’s first assignment will be to represent the Phillies at the annual General Manager’s Meetings, which began Monday in Dana Point, Calif. He was set to fly out Monday afternoon. After that, he’ll have to figure out which free agents to pursue and how to manage a budget that is expected to increase from 2008’s $104 million.
He said keeping pitchers Jamie Moyer and Scott Eyre are top priorities, and he’s already spoken to representatives for both players. Retaining outfielder Pat Burrell may be more daunting and the team is prepared for life without him.
Arbuckle, the assistant general manager of scouting and player development and a part of the organization since 1992, won’t return next season. Reached by phone Sunday, Arbuckle, 58, declined to comment, but indicated that he was prepared to move on after being passed over three times for the position.
His departure is a significant loss for the organization. Under his watch, he and scouting director Marti Wolever supervised drafts that secured Burrell, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, while also signing players like Carlos Ruiz out of Panama. Arbuckle also drafted the six players who landed Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton in trades.
“Clearly his work was very instrumental in getting us to the point that we were on Broad Street last Friday,” Montgomery said. “Mike’s a first-class individual, and on behalf of everybody, we wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
“He’s a very good evaluator, and knows talent,” Gillick added. “Those people are very difficult to replace.”
Amaro believed that he would be able to find a replacement for Arbuckle quickly, and said Chuck LaMar, currently the director of professional scouting, might be “elevated,” possibly taking on Arbuckle’s player development role.
Selecting an assistant will be conducted through an interview process, and Amaro suggested that person isn’t currently in the organization. Wolever and Minor Leagues director Steve Noworyta are also staying.
“There will be some shuffling in our organization,” Amaro said. “There won’t be a whole lot of changes. We don’t need a whole lot of changes frankly. We just won a World Series.”
As assistant GM, Amaro has long been speculated as the person who would succeed Gillick, who was hired in part to mentor Amaro. The 43-year-old was a full-time bat boy for the Phillies from 1981-83 and enjoyed being around Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt, along with Pete Rose, Larry Bowa and Bob Boone.
Amaro, who played for the Phillies from 1992-93 and 1996-98, remembered when the idea of switching from a baseball uniform to a three-piece suit was first broached.
“I was in half uniform,” Amaro said. “I had just had a workout in Spring Training [of ’98] and was thinking, ‘I may not make this club, so I better go talk to Ed [Wade] and let him know that I want to continue in baseball.”
Amaro thought that meant helping as a coach.
“When I went to his office that day, he said, ‘I’ve not worked with an assistant. Would you consider being my assistant?’ My jaw dropped. At that point, I said, ‘I want to try and continue to play as long as I can.’ I made the club, [but I] had a terrible year. We had discussions during the course of the year about what my responsibilities would be. [I] talked to my family and said, ‘Let’s make the move. This door’s not going to be open very long, or maybe ever again.'”
Next to going to Stanford University, Amaro called that “probably the best decision I ever made.”
His rise to his new position bears that out. (H/T Phillies.com)
Congrat on your new job, junior. Please don’t mess this up. Mike, I wish you good fortune wherever you land, just as long as it isn’t at the Phillies expense. What, I’m a loyal fan, shoot me.