Phillies send three to the Midsummer Classic
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH — Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has been a National League All-Star starter since 2006.
He is again in 2010, although he will not play.
Utley had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, and will miss approximately eight weeks. But the Phillies will be represented in Anaheim on July 13 without Utley. Phillies ace Roy Halladay and first baseman Ryan Howard also made the team.
Utley beat Atlanta Braves second baseman Martin Prado by a wide margin to win the fan vote. He would have become the first NL player to start in five consecutive All-Star Games since Mike Piazza started six consecutive games 1994-99.
No NL second baseman has started five consecutive All-Star Games since Ryne Sandberg started eight straight from 1986-93.
Utley’s offensive numbers are down compared to seasons past, but he still ranked amongst the best second basemen in the league. He entered the weekend ranked first in on-base percentage (.385); third in RBIs (37); fourth in home runs (11); and fifth in hitting (.278), slugging percentage (.468) and runs (49).
But there is no question Utley has been the most dominant second baseman in baseball since he became an everyday player in 2005. He leads all second basemen since that time in runs (594), home runs (154), RBIs (534), walks (369), on-base percentage (.390) and slugging percentage (.532); and second in hits (936).
Utley’s five All-Star selections are seven fewer than Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, who made 12 All-Star teams, which is the franchise record.
Halladay is 9-7 with a 2.42 ERA. The Phillies have scored just 12 runs for him in his seven losses. He ranks sixth in the league in ERA and first with six complete games. He threw a perfect game May 29 against Florida.
Howard is fourth in the league with 54 RBIs. He is 10th in homers (15), 14th in slugging percentage (.506), 18th in average (.296) and 20th in OPS (.859).
Congrats to both Howard and Halladay on making the team, and sad that while he was elected onto the team Utley won’t be able to play because of his bad thumb. Hopefully, the NL All-Stars will win it this time.
Howard signs five-year extension
Slugging Phillies first baseman guaranteed $125 million
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
04/26/10 2:29 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies took an enormous step Monday to keep the main power source in their lineup through 2016.
They announced they had signed Ryan Howard to the largest contract in franchise history. It is a five-year, $125 million contract extension, which keeps him in Phillies pinstripes through 2016. The contract also includes a sixth-year club option for 2017 that could raise the value of the deal to $138 million.
Howard, 30, currently is in the middle of a three-year, $54 million contract extension, which he signed in Feb. 2009. He will make $19 million this season and $20 million in 2011. The latest extension begins in 2012. He will make $20 million in 2012 and ’13 and $25 million from 2014-16. The option in 2017 is worth $23 million with a $10 million buyout.
The $25 million guaranteed average salary in the extension will be baseball’s second-highest behind Alex Rodriguez’s $27.5 million average under a 10-year contract with the Yankees running through 2017.
Howard’s deal includes awards bonuses and a limited no-trade provision.
Howard won the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005 and NL Most Valuable Player Award in ’06. He made the NL All-Star team in 2006 and 2009, won a Silver Slugger in 2006 and earned NL Championship Series MVP honors last season.
Since Howard replaced Jim Thome at first base July 1, 2005, he leads the Majors in home runs (222) and RBIs (650). Howard is just the fourth player in baseball history to have four consecutive seasons with at least 40 home runs and 130 RBIs. Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa are the others.
Howard also was the player fastest to hit 200 home runs, which he accomplished in 658 games. Ralph Kiner held the previous mark, hitting 200 homers in his first 706 games.
Thome and Chase Utley both signed $85 million contracts with the Phillies, which had been the biggest contracts in team history until Howard’s deal.
Originally selected by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2001 Draft, Howard enters Monday night with a career .279 batting average, 225 home runs and 656 RBI in 750 games, all with Philadelphia. He currently ranks fifth on the Phillies’ all-time home run list, behind Mike Schmidt (548), Del Ennis (259), Pat Burrell (251), and Chuck Klein (243). His .583 slugging percentage is the best in club history.
The Phils have signed Rhino to a five-year, $125…. Okay, when did the cheapsakes decide to open up their wallet? But, seriously, it is about freaking time that they did something like this. Come on, Ryan, show them that you deserve the money!!!
Doc takes home NL Player of the Week
Halladay immediately makes presence felt in Phillies uniform
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
It hasn’t taken long for Roy Halladay to become accustomed to the National League.
The right-handed ace, who came to the Phillies from the Toronto Blue Jays in an offseason trade, paid dividends right away, and in a huge way, when he was awarded the inaugural NL Player of the Week award of the 2010 season.
In his first week with Philadelphia, Halladay posted a 2-0 record with a 0.56 ERA while tying for the Major League lead with 17 strikeouts. Halladay also sits atop the Majors with 16 innings pitched and a complete game. The Colorado native surpassed 1,500 career strikeouts on Opening Day and notched his 150th career victory and 50th career complete game on April 11.
Halladay made his eighth consecutive Opening Day start at Washington, holding the Nationals to one run through seven innings of work and leading the Phillies to an 11-1 victory. The All-Star and former Cy Young Award winner also helped his own cause at the plate, going 1-for-4 with an RBI.
This is Halladay’s fourth career weekly award, and his first in the NL.
Other nominees this past week included Atlanta’s Martin Prado and rookie sensation Jason Heyward, Philadelphia’s Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard, Florida’s Jorge Cantú, Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, Arizona’s Chris Young, San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez.
Congratulations on winning the award Doc, hopefully the first of many.
Catcher Schneider signs with Phillies
New backstop to be introduced to media on Tuesday
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA — Catcher Brian Schneider signed a two-year deal with the Phillies and will be introduced later Tuesday.
Schneider will make $1.25 million in 2010 and $1.5 million in ’11, according to a source.
Schneider batted .218 last season in 59 games with the Mets, although he hit .382 (13-for-34) in his final 13 games. He missed 41 games earlier in the season with a strained back muscle.
“We feel Brian is ideal for our ballclub,” said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “He has played in the [National League] East for this entire decade, so he knows the opposing hitters in this division well and he has also proven he can handle the bat. He’s a guy that we would feel comfortable with playing for an extended period of time, if needed.”
Schneider is a career .251 hitter in 10 seasons with the Expos, Nationals and Mets.
Schneider, who hits left-handed, hails from Allentown, Pa.
Well, it looks like the Phils have signed someone who has a bat (somewhat) who can act as Ruiz’s back-up. Hopefully Schneider will be able to fill the need there. Guess we won’t know for sure until next year. Anyway, welcome to the team, Brian. Now, time to get the team a new third baseman and some bullpen help, Ruben.
Howard’s end: Slugger NLCS MVP
Two homers, eight RBIs help Phils reach World Series
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
10/22/09 12:02 AM ET
PHILADELPHIA — For the first time in nine playoff games, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard did not to get a hit or an RBI on Wednesday night.
He did pick up another trophy, though. Howard was named the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series after the Phillies wrapped up the pennant with a 10-4 victory over the Dodgers at Citizen’s Bank Park.
“It’s definitely something special,” Howard said. “To be able to go out there and just contribute, try to do my job to the best of my ability and to get recognized for it right now, it’s something special.”
Howard had a relatively quiet night on Wednesday, going 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. But he did plenty before this game, including setting a Major League record with at least one RBI in eight straight games over one postseason.
For the series, Howard was 5-for-15 with five runs scored, two home runs and eight RBIs. Only four players in League Championship Series history have driven in more than eight runs in an LCS of five games or less.
Don Baylor had 10 in five games for the Angels in 1982, Tom Brunansky had nine for the Twins in 1987 as did Graig Nettles in three for the Yankees in 1981 and Matt Williams for the Giants in 1989.
Howard also has 14 RBIs in nine games this postseason. With the World Series on the horizon, Howard has a shot at the all-time postseason record of 19, set in 1997 by Sandy Alomar Jr., for the Indians and since tied by Scott Spiezio for the Angels in 2002 and David Ortiz for the Red Sox in 2004
“It’s been a good feeling,” Howard said. “Just been up there and been relaxed and not trying to do too much, just trying to get good pitches and hit them, basically, just trying to keep everything simple.”
“The playoffs are a whole different animal. I mean, you’re one of eight teams that are left, and you’re going for the gold. It’s a completely different animal from the regular season, and you just know that in order to get to where you want to be, you’ve got to step your game up and you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game and just go out there and get things done.”
Howard did just that in crucial moments for the Phillies. He had a two-run double in Game 1, a solo home run for the Phillies only run in Game 2, a two-run triple that was the first big blow in an 11-0 win in Game 3 plus an RBI on a grounder and a two-run home run in the first inning in Game 4.
All this is coming from a guy who has led the National League in RBIs in three of the past four seasons. All he needs now is a big World Series to finish off what has been a fabulous season. Howard hit .279 with 105 runs scored, 45 home runs and 141 RBIs during the regular season.
The Phillies won the World Series in 2008 but Howard certainly didn’t sit around all winter basking in the glory. He remains the biggest bat in a lineup that led the National League in runs scored and home runs.
“Ryan Howard just from start of the season until now has gotten much better in the way … his approach at the plate,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
“My focus was, hey, we just won, and I want to do it again,” Howard said. “I just wanted to make sure I got myself in good shape coming into this year and being ready for this year and not being complacent. So I went and took the initiative and started working out with Sammy [Perlozzo] on my defense and started working out, changed my diet, tried to drop some weight and just be in good shape.”
He has stayed in good shape. Now he has another trophy and a second straight trip to the World Series coming his way. H/T Phillies.com
Congrats on winning the honor this year, big guy.
Phillies land Lee from Tribe
Defending AL Cy Young winner to join world champions
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Oh my god!! Are the Phils now the team to beat??? It sure looks that way to me!!! 🙂
Cliff Lee won the American League Cy Young Award last season. Less than a year later, he’ll join the defending world champions.
The Phillies and Indians reached agreement Wednesday that would send the left-handed Lee, along with outfielder Ben Francisco to Philadelphia for a package of four prospects — Class A right-hander Jason Knapp and Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, catcher Lou Marson and shortstop Jason Donald.
The deal is pending medical reviews and could be announced later Wednesday.
The Phillies have been searching for starting pitching help for months. Lee is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA this season. He went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA last season, after spending much of 2007 in the Minor Leagues. And Francisco fills a void for a potent right-handed bat off the bench. Francisco, who played regularly in left field, is hitting .250 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs.
On the other hand, the trade may be a signal that Cleveland — which traded the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner last year, too, in the person of CC Sabathia — is entering a rebuilding period.
Knapp appears to be the key acquisition for the Tribe. He was the Phillies’ second-round pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft, and he won’t turn 19 until Aug. 31. Listed at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Knapp has an upper-90s fastball and a large frame. He was starting for Class A Lakewood in the South Atlantic League, where he was 2-7 with a 4.01 ERA in 17 starts, striking out a ******** 111 batters while walking 39 in 85 1/3 innings.
Knapp was recently shut down with right shoulder soreness. He hasn’t pitched since July 11.
It was well-documented that the Indians were seeking impact pitching prospects in advance of Friday’s Trade Deadline, and Carrasco is the other pitching piece of the deal. He had been discussed internally by the Tribe last year, when the club was shopping Sabathia. In the end, the Tribe turned down a package featuring Carrasco and instead shipped Sabathia to the Brewers for a package highlighted by outfielder Matt LaPorta.
But the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Carrasco is now coming aboard. Carrasco, a 22-year-old native of Venezuela, was with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he was 6-9 with a 5.18 ERA in 20 starts. He had struck out 112 with 38 walks in 114 2/3 innings.
Marson is one of the game’s top catching prospects. His acquisition could signal that the Indians are on the brink of another move, possibly involving Victor Martinez.
The 23-year-old Marson has hit .294 with a homer, 13 doubles, 24 RBIs and a .751 OPS in 63 games at Lehigh Valley this season. He appeared in seven games with the Phillies, going 4-for-17 at the plate.
Donald, 24, was batting .236 with a homer, 15 doubles, one triple, 16 RBIs and a .629 OPS in 51 games at Lehigh Valley. He just recently returned to action after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.
Lee was one of three pieces acquired by Cleveland in the 2002 trade that sent Bartolo Colon to the Expos, and he’s the second of those pieces to be shipped out, joining the Reds’ Brandon Phillips. Grady Sizemore is the lone remaining player from the trade that has defined Mark Shapiro’s tenure as general manager and the rebuilding effort that got the Indians into the postseason in 2007.
Lee, however, wasn’t part of that postseason run. The Indians demoted him to Triple-A that season to get him straightened out after an ineffective, injury-plagued start to the season. And Lee certainly looked straightened out in 2008, when he became the Tribe’s first 20-game winner since Gaylord Perry in 1974. His .880 winning percentage was the second-best in franchise history.
This season, Lee has continued to put up ace-caliber performances, but his supporting cast has let him down. His 7-9 record is no indication of how well he’s pitched, but his 3.14 ERA is. With the trade rumors swirling, Lee has really heated up in the second half. He was 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his first three starts after the All-Star break.
The Indians get four of the Phillies’ top prospects. But in what certainly made the deal attractive to the Phillies, they did not have to part with any of the three players the Blue Jays had been seeking for Roy Halladay: left-hander J.A. Happ, right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Dominic Brown. (H/T Phillies.com)
Oh, my. After letting one get away, Roy Halladay, the Phils are able to hook another pitcher, Cliff Lee, and he’s bringing with him a right handed bat, Ben Francisco, to come off of our bench, two of the three parts that the Phils need to cover before the playoffs. And they did it without hurting themselves too badly among their prospects, or J.A. Happ, as it looks like, to me anyway, that Donald needed to be able to play full time elsewhere, thanks to the roadblocks of Jimmy Rollins and Pedro Feliz. As for Marson, I hate to see him go, but I wish both him and Donald luck in the Indians organization. Now, if Reuben can find the extra bullpen help we need, I think this team will be set for the playoffs. If this works out, all I can say is, Roy who? 🙂 I never thought I would be feeling so happy as July ends. 🙂 Whoo HOOOOOO!!!!!!
After big week, Ibanez takes NL honors
Phils veteran slugger ripped four homers, drove in 12 runs
Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez, who is among the Major Leagues’ home run leaders, has been named National League Player of the Week presented by Bank of America for the period ending Sunday.
The 36-year-old veteran’s 12 RBIs and nine runs topped the NL for the week, and his four homers and 13 hits were second in the league. A big factor in his first NL season for the defending World Series champions, Ibanez hit .481 with a slugging percentage of .963.
Ibanez’s week included a three-homer day in Saturday’s doubleheader in Washington, where he led the Phillies to a sweep with seven RBIs.
The productive week left him with a season average of .357, with 13 homers and 35 RBIs — on pace for a career year in his 14th season.
The weekly award, while Ibanez’s first in the NL, is the fifth overall of his career.
Others drawing consideration for the honor were Mets teammates Carlos Beltran (.393) and David Wright (.556, nine RBIs); the Nationals’ Cristian Guzman (.394, 13 hits) and Nick Johnson (.423, nine RBIs); the Astros’ Lance Berkman (.474); the Brewers’ Prince Fielder (.333, four homers, 10 RBIs) and Trevor Hoffman (four saves, 0.00 ERA); the Pirates’ Brandon Moss (.579); the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe (.476, two homers, 12 RBIs); the Dodgers’ Juan Pierre (.407); and the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez, who took over the Major League lead with five homers for a total of 15.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. (H/T Phillies.com)
Is it too early to start with the MVP chants for this guy? I think all of us Phillies fans can stop worrying about whether he was worth all of that money. He is, he is, he is!!!!!