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.
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.
While finishing second in the National League Manager of the Year voting by the Baseball writers, Charlie Manuel has been voted Manager of the Year by the fans in MLB.com’s This Year in Baseball Award Voting presented by State Farm, as he beat out Joe Maddon of the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays, getting 36.3 percent of the overall total of 12 million votes cast in all categories. Maddon would receive 20.5 percent of the vote.
Pat Gillick, the recently retired General Manager of the Phillies, who help to develop the team that would win the Phils second World Championship in the team’s 126 years history, has been voted the Executive of the Year by the fans, receiving 31.8 percent of the vote, beating out Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein.
Congratulations, guys. The fans obviously knew who were the best men this year in both categories.
DeRosa may move to Phillies
Infielder could be instrumental in Cubs obtaining Peavy from Pads
By Barry M. Bloom and Marty Noble / MLB.com
Let me get this straight? The Phils will get DeRosa from the Cubbies in exchange for Happ and another player, and Happ and that prospect would then be sent over to the Padres with another player or two for Peavy? Oh, my brain hurts.
LAS VEGAS — The anticipated absence of Chase Utley for an extended period has prompted the Phillies to become involved in the Cubs’ pursuit of Jake Peavy. The Philadelphia Inquirer said as much in its Tuesday editions, reporting the Phillies seek to acquire versatile Mark DeRosa from the Cubs.
The newspaper said the Phillies were working on a complex trade that would import DeRosa, who would provide insurance for Utley at second base and fill, at least partially, the club’s vacancy in left field.
DeRosa, the one-time quarterback for Penn, would move from the Cubs to the Phillies, who would send pitcher J.A. Happ to the Cubs, possibly with another prospect. The Cubs would then move Happ, the second prospect and more to the Padres in a package for pitcher Peavy, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner.
The Inquirer reported that the Orioles might be involved in the multiclub deal. “Three teams, possible,” the paper quoted a Phillies source as having said Monday night. “Four, doubtful.”
Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phils’ new general manager, declined to comment about the possibility of being involved in a Peavy trade, although a source said there have been talks. Pat Gillick, the outgoing GM who is now a consultant with the club, said on Tuesday morning that he has no detailed knowledge of the talks.
Utley, the All-Star second baseman, underwent surgery on his hip and is expected to miss at least two months of the season. The void in left field is the result of Pat Burrell filing for free agency. Burrell is not expected to re-sign with the Phillies.
DeRosa, 34 in February, appears to be an ideal fit for the Phillies. He batted .285 with 21 home runs and 87 RBIs in 149 games for the Cubs last season, playing six positions including second base (96 games) and left field (27). He is signed for the 2009 season for $5.5 million.
Amaro said on Monday that there was a lot of general interest in infielder Jason Donald, who played for bronze medal-winning Team USA during the Summer Olympics in Beijing and was recently named to the Arizona Fall League’s All-Prospect team
The Padres have been attempting to move Peavy, their ace, who is owed $63 million over the next four seasons. The Cubs have been the main target since a deal with the Braves collapsed last month, but a match between the Padres and Cubs hasn’t been found, so San Diego GM Kevin Towers has said a third or fourth team might be needed to get a deal done.
Towers said Monday that a deal with the Cubs will most likely need to take place this week at the Winter Meetings or he expects to halt the process of trying to move Peavy, the 27-year-old who won the National League Cy Young Award and that league’s pitching Triple Crown just one year ago.
Towers wouldn’t comment on the Phillies being a possible go-between to get Peavy to the Cubs, saying only on Monday that “there’s a package there that would please us.”
Meanwhile, Amaro said he continues to talk with myriad clubs and agents about filling his club’s holes, which also includes one that could be created by the possible departure of veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer via free agency.
According to an SI.com report, the Phillies are believed to have offered Moyer a two-year deal for about $14 million. Moyer is said to be looking for $18 million over two years. At the same time, the Phillies are said to be one of several teams to make an offer to free-agent right-hander Derek Lowe.
Amaro declined to talk about players on other teams he might be talking with, but said that obtaining a starting pitcher would not necessarily preclude the re-signing of Moyer.
“You can never have enough pitching,” Amaro said.
“We’ve spent the day trying to crystallize some of the things we want to do,” Amaro said. “We’ve had some sort of discussions with each of the 29 other clubs. Our desire is trying to improve this team.”
As far as Burrell goes, Amaro said he’s had no substantive talks about bringing back the right-handed slugger, who had three homers and eight RBIs in 14 postseason games.
The Inquirer also reported that the Phillies retain interest in left-handed-hitting, free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez to play left. However, Ibanez would make the Phillies’ batting order unbalanced once Utley returns. Utley and Ryan Howard also bat left-handed, and without Burrell, the club would lack a right-handed power presence in a ballpark tailored for right-handed hitters.
Ibanez, 36, batted .305 in 187 at-bats against left-handed pitching with the Mariners last season. He batted .293 with 23 homers and 110 RBIs overall, playing in all 162 games.
But opponents would be more likely to throw left-handed pitching at the Phillies whenever possible, and that seemingly would serve to defuse Howard’s potent home run bat.
Ibanez is considered a favorite of Gillick, a one-time Mariners GM, the paper said. Gillick is in Las Vegas for the Winter Meetings.
If the Phils don’t get DeRosa or Ibanez, they may pursue free agent Juan Rivera, a right-handed hitter who played for the Angels in 2008. He could become part of a left-field platoon with left-handed-hitting Greg Dobbs.
The Phillies also have spoken with the Twins regarding outfielder Delmon Young. (H/T Phillies.com)
Even after reading this, my brain still hurts. Okay, a local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting this and not the Boston Globe. Anyway, if this does happen, I hope the Phils know what they’re doing and that DeRosa will still help the team once Utley comes back, since Utley is the regular second baseman. I just hate to see Happ go, though, after what he did for the team this year. I’m just hoping that they aren’t going to send along another player who would have helped the team in the future. Or next year for that matter. As for them and Moyer, if they’re that close, money wise, to settling the deal, then just meet half way and get it done. It isn’t rocket science, you know. Now on Lowe, if they are able to outbid the Yanks, I’ll be really surprised. Lastly, guys, either re-sign Burrell or go after another right handed power bat. I think we already have enough left handed power in Howard and Utley.
GM Amaro makes front-office moves
Looper takes on Arbuckle’s responsibilities; LaMar promoted
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Okay, gentlemen, time to start working on a repeat champion.
PHILADELPHIA — Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. replaced departed assistant GM Mike Arbuckle on Friday, naming Benny Looper as assistant general manager, player personnel.
Looper will assume Arbuckle’s responsibilities in the scouting and player development realm, and will be assisted by Chuck LaMar, who has been promoted to assistant GM, player development and scouting.
Amaro said Friday that he plans to interview candidates for an assistant general manager — essentially to replace himself — in the next few weeks. He said he has “about four or five candidates,” and that the position will be filled from outside the organization.
Looper, the uncle of free-agent pitcher Braden Looper, will oversee player personnel in his role as assistant GM. He worked closely with Pat Gillick during their years together with the Mariners.
The 60-year-old had spent the previous 23 years with Seattle in many capacities at the Major and Minor League levels, including most recently as vice president of player personnel (2006-08), VP of player development and scouting (2003-06) and VP of player development (2002-03).
LaMar will manage the player development department, working closely with Minor League director Steve Noworyta and scouting director Marti Wolever, and will also cross-check at the amateur and professional levels. The 52-year-old joined the Phillies in October 2007 and spent the past season as the director of professional scouting. Before joining the Phillies, LaMar spent a year with the Washington Nationals as special assistant to GM Jim Bowden and 10 years as the GM of the Tampa Bay Rays (1995-2006).
Dallas Green (senior advisor to the GM), Charley Kerfeld (special assistant to the GM), Gordon Lakey (director, Major League scouting), Noworyta (director, Minor League operations) and Wolever (director, scouting) are all staying with the organization in their current positions. Gillick is also remaining with the club in an advisory role. (H/T Phillies.com)
Okay, guys, here’s the deal, work to get this team to repeat as a World Champ and you’ll get the fans to love you forever after. Do not mess this up too badly like management has done in the past.
Gillick to remain with Phils as advisor
Amaro, Montgomery pleased to keep former GM on staff
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Pat Gillick, who fulfilled a three-year commitment as general manager by constructing a World Series champion, will remain on the staff in an advisory role.
The 71-year-old Gillick will advise Amaro and team president David Montgomery on baseball matters, including amateur scouting, player development and the Major League club.
“I’m very happy that Pat has opted to stay on board,” Amaro said. “His knowledge of the game is invaluable and his innumerable resources will be a tremendous asset. There are pluses to having Pat with us and draw on his expertise.”
In 51 years in professional baseball — 27 as a general manager — Gillick has brought 11 different teams to the playoffs. He previously served as GM of the Blue Jays, Orioles and Mariners and guided Toronto to back-to-back World Series championships (1992-93).
He also worked for the Astros and Yankees in scouting and player development.
“I’m going home,” Gillick said with a laugh as Amaro and others prepared to head to California for the General Manager Meetings. Gillick also joked that his wife was worried about the additional time they may spend together.
Gillick claims to have few hobbies, so he plans to get some “work done around the house” during his down time. The rest of the time, he’ll keep an eye on the Phillies Foundation.
“This is Ruben’s day, but we’re thrilled Pat has agreed to remain with us for the foreseeable future,” said Montgomery, who had tried to persuade Gillick to say on as full-time GM. “With Pat, you never know what that means, as an advisor to Ruben and myself.”
What’s his title?
“We haven’t talked about a title,” Montgomery said. “He won’t want a title, but he’s told us he’s going to remain with us. Probably by phone, but whatever. He’s there as a resource.” (H/T Phillies.com)
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.