On Monday, the Phils and Comcast officially announced that Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will join the broadcast team, starting with spring training games. Jamie Moyers will be in the booth, broadcasting games for Comcast, MLB.TV and WPHL-17 for 109 games, while Stairs will broadcast 108 games, with their first broadcast being today’s opening Grapefruit League game between the Phils and the Blue Jays. A day later, the Phils confirmed that Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt, will also be in the broadcast booth, broadcasting Sunday home games.
Meanwhile, the people whom Moyers and Stairs have replaced, Garry Matthews and Chris Wheeler, are still with the Phils, planning to act as goodwill ambassadors for the organization during the season, while Matthews is presently involved with the players in Clearwater acting as a guest instructor.
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. 🙂
Last week the Phils’ picked up, via waivers, infielder Carlos Rivero from the Cleveland Indians.
The team is still looking for low price free agents for their bullpen, while pondering whether to give new contracts to either Chad Durbin or Jose Contreras, or to both pitchers. In the meantime, they are in the hunt to resign Jayson Werth, but since his agent Scott Boras is asking for money in the Matt Holliday/Jason Bay range, it is more than likely that he won’t be back in red pinstripes.
It has been announced on Monday that ex-Phil Jamie Moyer has re-injured his left elbow while pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic, while trying to prove that he can still pitch. Ouch. Talk about a setback. Hope it wasn’t too bad an injury, Jamie.
It was also announced yesterday that former Phil GM Pat Gillick is on the Hall of Fame ballot that is being sent to the committee to elect those managers, executives and retired players who were not elected originally, who come from Baseball’s Expansion-era (post-1960). Congrats on getting on the Ballot, Pat, and wish you luck getting into the Hall. You deserve it.
Lastly, today, there is speculation that former Phil, ex-Orioles manager and fan favorite, Juan Samuel, is thinking of taking over Davey Lopes’ position as the team’s first base coach. If he does, that should be good news for the team, since he was a very successful base stealer during his days as a ballplayer. Is has also been announced that they are looking at Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as the new manager for their Triple-A Lehigh Valley ballclub, as he is leaving the Cubs Triple-A club after being pass over as the main club’s new manager. He might be another popular move, if the Phils do go after him. Whether the pair will actually get either post is another question.
Although the Phils have been knocked out of the playoffs last Saturday, things have been busy during the last week or so since the 2010 National League Champions San Francisco Giants celebrated their victory at Citizens Bank Park. Saturday night, Sunday and Monday the Phils cleared out their lockers before heading off to their respective homes.
On Monday, General Manager Reuben Amaro, Jr. held a press conference announcing that while he was happy that 2010 was a successful year, the fact that they had failed to get into the World Series, as everyone was expecting, have left a bitter taste in his mouth, and he was planning to make some changes as far as the offense was concerned.
During the week, the Phils bought out J.C. Romero’s contract, paying him $2500,000 for the last year of his contract, while letting go both Greg Dobbs and Jamie Moyer, allowing the three to become free agents, although willing to take Romero back if nobody else comes knocking at his doorstep, with a minor league contract. (Sorry to see you go, guys. Wish you luck.) Paul Hoover have also opted for free agency after being assigned to Lehigh Valley.
The Phils have finally contacted Jayson Werth, via his agent Scott Boras, to see if there was any way that they can keep him here. (I’m not holding my breath. Boras equals large amount of money, and I do not think that the Phils are in that particular neighborhood.)
Placido Polanco will be having surgery to fix up his left elbow at some point today, and should be ready for spring training next year.
Roy Halladay, who plans to give his hurt groin a rest, for now, have been named the National League Clutch Performer of the Year and the Players Choice for NL Outstanding Pitcher.
The Phils have just announced their 25-man roster for the National League Divisional series. They plan to take 10 pitchers with them for the short five-game series and 15 position players. Among those who were left off of the roster were Danys Baez (big surprise after what happened on Sunday), David Herndon (was somewhat expected) and Kyle Kendrick (somewhat shocked, but I can live with it), while those who were placed on the roster includes Antonio Bastardo (expected, as they need a second left hander to help J.C. Romero, and he has been pitching very well lately), Dom Brown (I just hope they’ll use him) and Greg Dobbs (Oh, I know that there’s going to be a lot of Phils fans who will think that Uncle Chuck has lost his mind letting him anywhere near the roster.)
Starters: Infield: Ryan Howard (1st Base), Chase Utley (2nd Base), Jimmy Rollins (SS), Placido Polanco (3rd Base)
Outfield: Raul Ibanez (Left), Shane Victorino (Center), Jayson Werth (Right)
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz
Bench: Brian Schneider (C), Mike Sweeney (1st Base), Wilson Valdez (Inf), Greg Dobbs (Inf), Ben Francisco (OF), Ross Gload (Inf-OF), Dom Brown (OF)
Pitchers: Starters: Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton (will be coming out of the bullpen this series)
Relief Corps: Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero, Antonio Bastardo, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge
Although not on the roster, Baez, Herndon and Kendrick will travel with the team, along with catcher Paul Hoover and pitcher Jamie Moyer, in case an injury happens to someone on the 25-man roster.
Now a game and a half out of first place in the NL East and a game behind in the Wild Card race, the Phils (62-49, 2nd East) will start a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park, facing their NLCS opponent of the last two years, the Dodgers (58-54, 4th West).
In the first game, which will start at 7:05 pm tonight, the Phils will send to the mound their fifth starter, Kyle Kendrick (7-4, 4.37), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on August 4, as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits, as he struck out five, in the Phils’ 7-2 rout of the fish. In his last three starts, his record is 2-0 with a no-decision, as he had pitched nineteen and a third innings, giving up just four runs on eighteen scatterd hits and four walks, while striking out thirteen. After being shelled by the Cardinals on July 19, he has pitched three straight good starts since coming back from Lehigh Valley to replace the injured Jamie Moyer, as he plans to make it four excellent starts in a row as he faces the Dodgers. The Dodgers will counter with former Phil Vincente Padilla (5-3, 3.09), who is coming off a complete game win against the Padres on August 4, as he gave up just two hits and two walks, while striking out nine, in the Dodgers’ 9-0 win. In his last three starts, his record is 1-1 with a no-decision, as he had pitched twenty innings, giving up three runs on twelve hits and four walks, while striking out twenty. He will trying to do his best tonight against his former teammates.
The Phils have added Antonio Bastardo, who is presently throwing a hot hand in Lehigh Valley, to the bullpen to help against the Dodgers’ lefty bats.