First off, I would like to take the time to say, Happy New Year’s, folks. Second, sorry for the lack of posts, but, I got too busy with other things to get myself in gear to do new posts. But, I now got the time, and boy, do I have a lot to cover, as the Phils made some wheeling and dealing and small-scale free agent signings which they hope will put them into position to get back into the playoffs this upcoming October.
First, in the Rule Five Draft they picked up outfielder Ender Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom they hope will anchor centerfield in a few seasons, while drafting in the Triple-A Phase of the draft right-handed pitcher Brendan Lafferty from the Kansas City Royals organization, while not losing a player to the draft.
On the same day, December 6, they made a trade with the Minnesota Twins, getting centerfielder Paul Revere, in exchange for minor league right-handed pitching prospect Trevor May and, coming as a complete surprise to most, right-handed starter Vance Worley. Revere, who appeared in 124 games for the Twins, batted .294 (150 for 511), hitting 13 doubles and 6 triples, as he scored 70 times, while knocking in 32. He had also stole 40 bases, ranking him third in the AL for 2012, being caught just 9 times. May spent 2012 pitching for the Reading Phillies (now the Fighting Phillies). Worley, who was placed on the disabled list towards the end of the 2012 season, before having an operation to remove bone chips from his elbow, would pitch in 23 games for the Phils before being shut down, all starts, as he collected a 6-9 record, with a 4.20 ERA and a WHIP of 1.51, as he pitched in 133 innings, giving up 154 hits and 69 runs, 62 of which were earned, as he struck out 107 batters, while walking only 47. Sorry to see you go, Vance, and I wish you luck in Minnesota, as long as you don’t pitch against the Phils. And, welcome to the team, Paul. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here.
Then, on December 8, the Phils announced that they had made another trade, this one with the Texas Rangers, as they brought in Michael Young to take over duties at third base, in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and pitching prospect Lisalverto Bonilla. Michael Young, who has also played first base, second base and shortstop, appeared in 156 games for the former American League Champs (2010-11) batting .277 (169 for 611), as he hit 27 doubles, 3 triples and 8 home runs during the season, knocking in 67 runs, while scoring 79 times. He also walked 33 times. Josh Lindblom, who had started the 2012 season pitching relief for the Los Angeles before being traded to the Phils as part of a trade involving Shane Victorino, appeared in 74 games for both clubs, all in relief, posting a combined record of 3-5 with one save in four save opportunities, as he fielded an ERA of 3.55 and a WHIP of 1.35. He pitched in 71 innings, allowing 61 hits and 31 runs to score, of which 28 were earned. He walked 35 batters while striking out 70. Bonilla spent 2012 pitching for Clearwater and then Reading in the Phils’ farm system. Welcome to the team, Michael. I hope that you can help the team via both your bat and your glove, especially the later, as it looks like you may not just be covering the hot corner of third base during the season.
After the two trades, the Phils then made a pair of minor free agent signings, both pitchers, one a reliever and the other a starter. First, they signed to a two-years, $12 million dollars contract, with relief pitcher Mike Adams, formerly of the Rangers, who will be acting as the eight-inning bridge to Jonathan Papelbon, as he plans to take over an inning that was a major problem for the ballclub all season long. For the Rangers, Adams pitched in 61 games, compiling a 5-3 record with a 3.27 ERA and a WHIP of 1.39, as well as collecting a save in two save attempts. He would pitch in 52 and a third innings, giving up 56 hits and 21 runs, 19 of which were earned, as he struck out 45 batters, while walking only 17. The Phils then signed former Washington Nationals’ starter John Lannan, who is to become the Phils’ fifth starter, to replace Worley in the rotation, to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million dollars. Lannan, who had spent his entire career with the Nats, before becoming a free agent, appeared in only six games last year, all of them starts, as he compiled a record of 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA and a WHIP of 1.44, as he pitched a total of 32 and two-thirds innings, giving up 33 hits and 15 runs, all earned. He struck out 17 batters, while walking 14. During his six seasons with the Nats, Lannan had a win-lost record of 42-52, as he compiled an ERA of 4.01 and a career WHIP of 1.42, as he pitched a total of 783 and two-thirds innings, while appearing in 134 games, all starts. He would give up a total of 820 hits, as opponents scored 393 times, with 349 of those runs being earned. He would strikeout a total of 410 batters, while walking just 296. Welcome to the ballclub, guys. I hope that you two were worth the money spent.
The Phils have during the month mention that they would like to add a veteran corner outfielder, either via free agent signing or another trade, but it looks like they have the club they want before they enter spring training next month. I’m just hoping this team will improve on their third place finish last year.
And the Phils’ pitchers and catchers have started working out to get in shape for the season. The major buzz in camp on Monday was the media conference that was held with the team’s five starters (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamel and Blanton), in which the five downplayed the fact that they are suppose to be the best rotation in the major, while also reminding folks about Blanton, especially after one reporter had forgotten that two of the five (Hamels and Blanton) and not one of them presently have World Championship rings, and that, according to Lee, they are not accepting any of the nicknames that have been created about them by the fans, since none of them are taking into account all five members. (I love this, being humble, and showing their support for Blanton. Sounds like they all have their heads together.) Now they just need to show that they’re all ready to go start throwing goose eggs at the opposition.
While the pitchers and catchers are getting ready, there are at the moment two regulars also at camp, Chase Utley (Man, does he know what the word relaxing mean? Obviously not if he’s there now) and Jimmy Rollins. With Rollins, this is a surprise, but should be an indication that he wants to put the last three seasons (2008-2010) behind him, and help to prove that he deserves an extension on his contract, which is suppose to end this season. If he can stay healthy and have a comeback season, he should get his extension. Good luck, James, we’re all hoping for the best for you this year. And, since he is suppose to be the sparkplug for the offense, this should help the team a lot, especially through leading by example for the younger members (Dom Brown) of the team.