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. 🙂
After yesterday’s game in Washington, the Phils announced that they were releasing their bench coach Pete Mackanin, hitting coach Greg Gross and first base coach Sam Perlozzo, all casualties of the 2012 season. Today, the Phils announced that they were going to keep Juan Samuel, who will now be the team’s first base coach, as well as their outfield/baserunning instructor, moving over from the third base coach’s box, Mick Billmeyer, who will now be the team’s catching coach, being promoted from being their bullpen coach, and Rich Dubee, who would remain the team’s pitching coach. They also announced their three new members of the coach staff:
Ryne Sandberg, who was formerly the manager of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, would be taking over Juan Samuel’s spot as the team’s third base coach, as well as becoming the team’s infield instructor; Steve Henderson, who will become the team’s new hitting coach, taking over for Gross, while Rod Nichols would become the new bullpen coach, taking Billmeyer’s place.
Congratulations on the promotions, or moving to new positions, Juan, and Billmeyer and congrats on joining the main club as coaches, Ryne, Steve and Rod. Hopefully, you five, and Rich, will help get this team back to being a pennant contender. Sorry to see you all go, Pete, Greg and Sam. I know what happened this year wasn’t all of your faults, but, well, a shake was called for after this sucky year. Wish you all luck in finding new teams.
As the Phils get ready for their first spring training game, tomorrow, against Florida State, they have made several announcements after the arrival of all of their players to camp:
1) Charlie Manuel announced that the team was going to do some more small ball this season, which was quickly emphasised by him talking to the team’s lead-off man, and one of the leaders of the team, Jimmy Rollins last Thursday. This was followed by announcements that he was going to allow possible Hall of Famer Jim Thome to help some of the hitters improve on their hitting approach, and that he was going to have them bunt more (for base hits). Mike Schmidt, who is now in camp as a special coach, will also be helping the batters’ with their hitting approach, along with fellow Hall of Famer, and Iron Pigs coach Ryne Sandburg, while staying in camp a bit longer. While this is good news, since using small ball, as well as stealing more bases, should give the opposing defenses something to think about, I will not be convinced until the Phils leave Florida in late March with Juan Pierre as one of their players coming off the bench, since he would be a good option to use late in games because of both his speed and bat control.
2) Jose Contreras had another bullpen session, and is continuing to pitch fine with no elbow trouble, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee. This is good news, as it should give the team several good eighth innings options between him, Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls, if all three players make the team out of spring training.
3) And speaking of pitchers, starter Cliff Lee missed a bullpen session last week because of abdominal problems, and was told to skip the session. Lee said that he is feeling fine now and should be able to pitch in a bullpen session today. Hopefully, it was only a temporary problem.
4) Speaking of players’ health, Ryan Howard is right now in Baltimore, having a check-up with foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson, to check on his achilles tendon, to make sure that there’s no problem with it, since it was mentioned during the weekend that Howard was having a delayed reaction to the sutures. GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. later announced that they doubt that it was a major problem. Anyway, it should help the Phils decide how they should continue their approach on Howard’s rehab, although they don’t really expect him back until about late May at the earliest. My opinion is that they should take as much time as they can to get Howard back healthy, as they already have a few options to play first base.
and 5), Chase Utley has announced that he should be able to come back from his leg troubles last year, while it is expected that he will be given the occasional rest, to help his legs, while Placido Polanco has announced that he is ready to go.
Yesterday, in Clearwater, Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel have told reporters that he plans to use John Mayberry, Jr. more often in left field than at first base. He also said that while the presumption is that he would probably be using a platoon in left field of Mayberry and Laynce Nix, with Nix to face right handers and Mayberry to face lefties, he plans to have Mayberry also face some right handers. That sounds like a good move, as it will give Mayberry a chance to see if he can hit right handed pitching or not.
This means that while Ryan Howard continues to recover from his injury (of which he had told reporters he felt that he was 40% ready), first base would be mainly covered by Nix and Ty Wigginton, with Jim Thome starting one or two games per week. Hopefully that’ll be enough before Howard’s return at some point in May.
Other news: Rich Dubee announced that Jose Contreras threw a bullpen session off of the mound on Tuesday, and appear to have shown no signs of trouble with his right elbow, doing very well. If this is the case, and he continues showing no sign of trouble after his surgery, he should be the front runner for the role of the team’s eighth inning specialist. Let keep our fingers cross on that.
…that all of their coaches will be back for the 2012 season. This means that pitching coach Rich Dubee, hitting coach Greg Gross, bench coach Pete Mackanin, bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer, first base coach Sam Perlozzo and third base coach Juan Samuel have all signed contracts for 2012. I will be the first to admit, that I have no problem with the stability of the coaching staff. The problem, sadly, is at the top. I hate to say it, but, in spite of GM Ruben Amaro saying that he want to see changes made in the way that the Phils’ offense operates, the only way that will happen is for the manager, Charlie Manuel, to start practicing some small ball, and I can not see him doing that. I just think that he is just too set in his ways, thinking that the long ball (home runs) will get the team wins. Well, that might work during the regular season, it have not seem to work during the playoffs of the last two years, especially with the way the team is presently structured. Of course, we won’t really know what will happen until we all see what the team does during spring training of 2012. Right now, unless somethinge really bad happens, they’re the favorite to win the East next season. I just hope that they’ll find a way to win it all between now and next October.
Samuel joins Phillies as third-base coach
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Wait, I thought that he was going for Davey Lopes’ job???
PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies announced on Thursday they have hired Juan Samuel to be their third-base coach and outfield instructor.
Sam Perlozzo, who served as the team’s third-base coach the previous two seasons, will move from third to first base and handle the club’s baserunning instruction. The Phillies hired Samuel because Davey Lopes, who handled the team’s outfield and baserunning duties as first-base coach the previous four seasons, left the organization following a stalemate during contract negotiations.
Samuel and Perlozzo join pitching coach Rich Dubee, hitting coach Greg Gross, bench coach Pete Mackanin and bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer on the 2011 coaching staff.
“I feel fortunate that we were able to add someone of Juan’s stature to our coaching staff,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said in a statement. “He was a tremendous Major League player and a big part of Phillies history, and I’m looking forward to him passing on his knowledge of the game to our players. He’s a great addition to our organization.”
There were indications Samuel would return to Baltimore next season as its third-base coach, but the sides never finalized a deal, and the Phillies wooed him to Philadelphia.
Samuel, 49, was the Orioles’ third-base coach from 2007-10. He also served as interim manager this season after the Orioles dismissed Dave Trembley. Samuel also served as a first- and third-base coach with the Detroit Tigers (1999-2005).
Samuel, a three-time National League All-Star, played with the Phillies from 1983-89 and was inducted into the organization’s Wall of Fame in 2008. He hit .259 with 161 home runs, 703 RBIs and 396 stolen bases in 1,720 games for the Phillies, Mets, Dodgers, Royals, Reds, Tigers and Blue Jays.
He is the 34th man in franchise history to both play and coach for the Phillies.
Okay. Let me get this straight: Juan is joining the staff to replace Davey Lopes, but, he is going to be the team’s third-base, not first-base, coach, and will also work with the outfielders, while Sam Perlozzo will now become the team’s first-base coach and will be handling the baserunning duties?!? Anyone else besides me confused by this arrangement? Okay, guys, you better know what you’re doing since I think Juan should be the one handling the baserunning duties and vice versa. I’ll guess we’ll all see how it works out during the ’11 season.
With that said, welcome back, Juan.
The Phillies lose and then win in their last two games as three different starters appear to be going in three different directions.
Starter no. 1, Kyle Kendrick, appears headed for Triple-A Lehigh Valley as he has yet another bad outing on the mound, as he gives up five runs, four of which were earned, to the New York Yankees, this past Monday afternoon. He would pitch four innings in total, giving up eight hits and three walks while striking out two, as he takes the lost. Rich Dubee did say that the fifth spot in the rotation was Kendrick’s to lose, and sadly, it looks like he has, as he complies a spring training record of 1-2 with a 12.10 ERA. But, on the plus side, it might be best for Kendrick if he was sent down to Triple-A, as it should allow him to regain his composer against major league batters, as well as to develop a new pitch or two to help himself get out of jams, which he constantly gets into.
Kendrick was followed by Robert Mosebach who pitches an inning and a third, giving up four runs on five hits. Jake Woods follows Mosebach, pitching two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on four hits. Scott Eyre pitches an inning, giving up no runs on a hit as he strikes out three Yanks. Ryan Madson also pitches an inning, as he gives up an unearned run, the twelfth that the Yanks would score against the Phils, on two hits while striking out one.
Batting-wise, the Phils only got six hits in the 12-0 lost, with Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard, Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins, Jason Ellison and Ronny Paulino each getting a hit.
Starter no. 2, Brett Myers, pitches a strong outing yesterday afternoon against the Reds in the Phillies’ 8-1 victory, giving up no runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings of work. He would also strike out seven Reds. Dave Borkowski would follow with a third of an inning of work, walking one batter and striking out one. Chad Durbin would pitch an inning, walking a batter. Clay Condrey would also pitch an inning, giving up one hit while striking out one. Brad Lidge, pitching in his first Grapefruit League game, would give up a meaningless run on two hits and a walk in one inning of work. Myers would get the win, giving him a spring training record of 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA, putting him in position to be the Opening Night starter if Cole Hamels isn’t ready to start. More on that later.
Batting-wise, the Phillies would score eight runs in a fourteen-hit attack, with six of those runs coming in the second inning. Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry, Jr. and Carlos Ruiz would lead the attack with two hits apiece, with Ruiz also knocking in a run. Pablo Ozuna, Bruntlett, Jason Donald, Howard, Stairs, Ellison, Myers and Jayson Werth would get the other hits. Ozuna, Bruntlett, Donald, and Howard would each knock in a run, along with Ruiz, while Stairs would knock in three. The Phillies had a total of six doubles, with Ibanez, Mayberry, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Stairs and Howard each hitting one. Mayberry and Donald continue to impress.
The third pitcher, Cole Hamels, have had his left elbow examined yesterday in Philadelphia. It appears that there is nothing structurally wrong with his elbow, as team physician Michael Ciccotti checked over his elbow before administering an anti-inflammatory injection into it to help it. Although good news, the Phillies will be going slow with Hamels, meaning that more likely than not that he will not be the Opening Night pitcher after all, and might actually miss his first two starts in the rotation. But, as they say, better to be safe than sorry. And with the team’s ace, better that he is pitching healthy than to have him pitching while hurt and blowing up his arm at some point during the season.
Presently, the Phillies are playing the Blue Jays, with the game tied 4 to 4 after six innings of play.