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. 🙂
Sandberg to manage Phils’ Triple-A club
Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs tab Hall of Fame second baseman
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Hmm, first Juan, and now Ryne. So far so good, especially with
reports of them trying to sign up fan favorite Mickey Morandini as
PHILADELPHIA — Nearly 29 years after the Phillies traded Ryne Sandberg to the Chicago Cubs, he is rejoining the organization.
The Phillies announced on Monday morning that they’ve hired Sandberg
as the manager for their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron
Pigs. Sandberg managed the previous four seasons in the Cubs’ Minor
League system, including last season with Triple-A Iowa. He had been a
candidate to become the Cubs’ manager following Lou Piniella’s
midseason retirement, but Chicago retained Mike Quade instead.
Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman and Cubs icon, subsequently
informed the Cubs he would seek employment elsewhere.
The Phillies had an opening and landed Sandberg.
Dallas Green said last week that Sandberg would make a great manager.
Green has a storied history with Sandberg. Green was the Cubs’
general manager when he fleeced the Phillies in one of the worst trades
in franchise history. The Jan. 27, 1982, deal sent Larry Bowa and
Sandberg to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The Phillies felt they did not
have a position to play Sandberg, and because they felt compelled to
trade Bowa following a bitter contract dispute, Green astutely demanded
the Phillies include Sandberg in the trade.
Sandberg invited Green to his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2005.
“I would think he would make a great fit for us,” Green said last
week. “We raised him. He’s been let down by Chicago a good bit. He’s a
little bit bitter about that. … When he didn’t get the job, I called
him and commiserated with him. I knew he was disappointed. I still
personally think he should be a big league guy if that’s what he really
wants to do.
“I love the guy. He’s got a great work ethic. I haven’t watched him, but I think he’s going to be a good teacher.”
Sandberg earned Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors this
past season, when he led the Iowa Cubs (82-62) to a tie for the best
record in the Northern Division.
Sandberg was a 10-time National League All-Star. He also won nine
Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards during his 16-year
career. The Phillies drafted Sandberg in 1978, and he played 13 games
for the club in ’81 before being traded.
The Phillies said the remainder of their 2011 player development
staff will be announced at a later date, but Mickey Morandini is
expected to be named to the staff in some capacity.
Welcome back, Ryne. Hope you’ll do well managing over in Lehigh Valley.
Phillies’ reliever Eyre retires
Veteran pitcher leaving game after 13 seasons in Majors
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
01/07/10 2:46 PM EST
PHILADELPHIA — Scott Eyre already has his summer plans.
He is loading the family into an RV and heading West.
“We’re just going to drive through Utah, Oregon, Yosemite, Idaho,” Eyre said. “We don’t have anything planned. It’s my wife, my two kids and four dogs in an RV.”
Eyre, 37, will not be playing baseball this summer. He said in a telephone interview Thursday with MLB.com that he is retiring after 13 seasons in the Majors. He finished his career 28-30 with a 4.23 ERA in 617 appearances with the Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Phillies.
Eyre helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series and the National League championship in ’09. He also helped the Giants win the ’02 NL pennant.
Eyre had said after Game 6 of the 2009 World Series against the New York Yankees that he would play for the Phillies in ’10 or retire. He had minor elbow surgery following the season, which indicated that he wanted to play.
Eyre asked for the same $2 million contract he had in 2009, but the Phillies offered a Minor League deal. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that they probably had finished negotiations with Eyre, but Eyre said Thursday that even if the club had offered a Major League contract he likely would have retired.
“I had most of this retirement thing planned out,” Eyre said. “I think even if he would have offered me a better contract I still don’t think I would have taken it. My family took a trip to Disney before Christmas. We stayed in the RV. We didn’t even go to the amusement parks. We fished. We hung out. It was fun. The more time I spent with the kids at home the more I realized I wanted to hang out. I’ve played long enough.
“I go out playing in back-to-back World Series. I won one of them. I lost two of them. I’ve been to three, so it’s not like I didn’t accomplish anything in my career. I pitched in a whole bunch of games and had a lot of fun doing it.”
Eyre went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 42 appearances last season with Philadelphia. He joined the Phillies in August 2008 after a trade with the Chicago Cubs. He went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 19 appearances down the stretch. Because of his performance with the Phillies the past two seasons, Eyre acknowledged that it hurt a bit not to receive a Major League offer, but he also said he understood why he did not.
“I do understand Ruben’s point of view,” he said. “I’ll be 38 in May. I’ve pitched in a lot of games. I’ve had elbow issues. I had the surgery to get it fixed, but nobody really knows if it’s going to work or not. I can’t guarantee it’s going to feel great when I’m snapping off sliders. So I really do understand why he held back. He’s trying to protect the organization in case I get hurt. It made the decision a little easier, but I don’t think it would have swayed it.”
Of course, Eyre said it will be strange to be at home in Sarasota, Fla., when Spring Training starts next month.
“Every day I think about what I’m going to miss,” he said. “I’m going to miss going to the clubhouse. Being with the Phillies, I’m going to miss seeing Chad Durbin sitting at his locker doing the crossword puzzle. I’m going to miss watching Brad [Lidge] read his biblical books in his locker after batting practice, eating the biggest sandwich I’ve ever seen anybody eat. I’ve talked to guys about it. I talked to [Jon] Lieber about it. Basically, you miss the camaraderie with the guys. And the Phillies’ clubhouse is great. That’s one of the reasons why Cliff [Lee] didn’t want to leave. It’s one of the best clubhouses you could be in. I don’t care what anybody says about theirs. I’ve been in a few of them. This is one of the best. I never once said, ‘I don’t want to go to the field today.'”
Eyre, who said he could see himself broadcasting in the future, joked that he will have to bum a few tickets off Amaro this summer.
That shouldn’t be a problem.
“I hope not,” Eyre said. “I’d like to be part of the Phillies franchise in some way, some day. But for this summer, I’m just going to hang out.”
I knew it when Eyre said that he was going to stay a Phil or simply retire he meant every word of it. I was doubly sure of it when he had to have surgery on his elbow. Anyway, thanks for being a Phil, and helping get the Phils into the World Series. Twice. I wish you luck on your future endeavours and that you have a good time in retirement with the wife and kids.
“To put everything I had into the Phillies for 13 years, it’s pretty special,” Lieberthal said. “You don’t see too many players who stay with one team in any sport for that long of a period. It’s definitely an honor to come here and finish with the Phillies. I was still a Phillie at heart, even though I was in L.A. I pretty much watched every game that was on TV in the clubhouse. I still do.
“They’re deep in my heart. I definitely have some special friends on that team, guys I played with. It was really great to see them. Some of these guys I haven’t seen in a while.”
Lieberthal, who spent his first 13 Major League seasons with the Phillies, signed a one-day Minor League contract and officially retired as a Phillie on Sunday. He signed a contract which paid him a total of $4.
“Can I buy a Bud Light with that?” Lieberthal joked.
The last Phillies player to put the finishing touches on his career in this way was Doug Glanville in 2005.
Before Sunday’s game against the Marlins, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia presented Lieberthal with a plaque to thank him for the fundraising he did on behalf of the hospital. He also threw out the ceremonial first pitch and received a loud ovation from the huge crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
“It’s a special day for me,” Lieberthal said. “To come in and retire this way is the right thing to do. [Phillies president] Dave Montgomery called me in the offseason and asked me if I wanted to do it. There was no question in my mind, because it’s something special to finish my career as a Phillie.”
Originally selected by the Phillies as the No. 3 pick in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft behind Chipper Jones (Braves) and Tony Clark (Tigers), Lieberthal became a staple behind the plate, catching 1,139 games, the most in club history.
Lieberthal made his Major League debut with the Phillies on June 20, 1994, against the Dodgers. In 13 seasons with the Phils, he hit .275 with 150 home runs and 609 RBIs in 1,174 games. He batted .234 with one RBI in 38 games with the Dodgers last season.
Despite seven career trips to the disabled list, Lieberthal had a tremendous career and was an All-Star in 1999 and 2000. Lieberthal, who won a National League Gold Glove in ’99, became the sixth catcher to hit .300 with 30 homers in a season when he accomplished the feat in ’99 (31 homers). He was the first Phillies player to achieve those lofty statistics since Mike Schmidt in ’81.
“You could count on Lieby being in there every day, and that’s tough to do when you’re catching,” said left fielder Pat Burrell, who played his first seven seasons with Lieberthal. “He was very dependable and that meant a lot. He was a great teammate.”
The 36-year-old Lieberthal grew up in Westlake Village, Calif., about 35 miles west of Los Angeles. If not for a variety of injuries, he believes his career would have been extended.
“I think I could have played another three or four years,” Lieberthal said. “I had so many issues last year. Going through the season, even though I caught only 10 or 15 games, I was hoping Russell Martin wouldn’t get hurt. I was telling my wife, ‘If I had to catch more than one or two games in a row, I don’t think I could do it.'”
Former teammate Randy Wolf, now with the Padres, said recently that he wasn’t surprised with Lieberthal’s decision to retire in Philadelphia.
“He put in a lot of time here,” Wolf said. “He was a staple of this organization for a long time. I think he always associated himself with them.”
Phillies outfielder Geoff Jenkins can understand Lieberthal’s rationale. Jenkins signed with Philadelphia as a free agent after spending his first 10 seasons with the Brewers.
“When you put so much time in somewhere and give everything you have to an organization, you feel like it means more to you,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know how it’s going to play out for me, but I’ll always have fond memories of my time in Milwaukee. Mike probably feels like he gave 13 years of his career here and it must have meant a lot to him.”
As for the future, Lieberthal isn’t exactly sure what lies ahead, but he’s playing a lot of golf right now.
“I’m going to take golf to another level, as far as I can go,” Lieberthal said. “It probably won’t be the PGA level, but it’s something occupying my time and keeping me competitive.”
He would also welcome a return to the Major Leagues as a coach, specifically as a hitting instructor.
“I think I’d be very good at it,” Lieberthal said. “I love talking about hitting. I love talking about the golf swing.” (H/T Phillies.com)
Thanks for all those years sitting behind the plate at the Vet and Citizens Bank Park, Mikey. Have a good retirement. And its also a very classy move by the organization to have him retire as a Phil.
The former catcher, who spent 13 of his 14 Major League seasons in Philadelphia and holds the franchise record for games caught, before playing his final season in 2007 with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers, will officially retire as a Phillie on June 1.
The last player to end his career in this manner was Doug Glanville in 2005.
“Philadelphia has always been a second home to me, so I’m really looking forward to this,” said Lieberthal in a statement. “I spent half my life there and still follow the team closely on television.”
That became a running joke with members of the Dodgers last season, who routinely pointed out that Lieberthal had the Phillies game on in the clubhouse, and always followed their exploits.
When the Dodgers came in last season, teammate Randy Wolf, who played with Lieberthal with the Phillies and Dodgers, said, “I follow [the Phillies] at a safe distance. He tailgates.”
Originally selected by the Phillies as the third overall pick in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft behind Chipper Jones (Braves) and Tony Clark (Tigers), Lieberthal caught 1,139 games for Philadelphia, despite seven trips to the disabled list.
In 13 seasons with the Phillies — he debuted on June 20, 1994, fitting, against the Dodgers in Los Angeles — Lieberthal hit .275 with 150 home runs and 609 RBIs in 1,174 games. He batted .234 with one RBI in 38 games.
A two-time All-Star (1999-2000), Lieberthal became the sixth catcher in to hit .300 with 30 home runs in a season, something he did in 1999. He was the first Phillies player to reach those numbers in the same season since Mike Schmidt in 1981. (HT/Phillies.com)
Now this is interesting. Nice move on the part of both the Phils and Mike. I just can’t wait to find out how they’ll do it.