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.
Cole Hamels pitchs his first career shutout as he holds the Chipper Jones-less Atlanta Braves to four hits in the Phils’ 5-0 victory. The victory leaves the Phillies a full game behind the Florida Marlins, whose game with the Reds in Cincinnati was postponed because of rain. The Phils would score their first run in the second inning against losing Braves’ starter Chuck James as Pedro Feliz hit a solo home run, his sixth home run of the year, making it 1-0 Phils. The Phils would increase their lead in the third with Ryan Howard hitting his ninth home run of the season, making a 2-0 Phillies lead. The Phils would make it 3-0 as Feliz knocks in his second RBI of the night, singling in Pat Burrell, who has gotten on base earlier with a walk. The Phils would then make it 5-0 in the fourth as Shane Victorino hits his first home run of the season, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier walked. That would be all the runs that Hamels would actually need as he gives up just three singles to Omar Infante, Gregor Blanco and Jeff Francoeur and a double to Brian McCann. The Braves would attempt to rally twice, both times late in the game, first with McCann on second with two outs in the seventh, and then with runners on first and second with two outs in the eighth, after giving up walks to Greg Norton and Yunel Escobar, but Hamels would pitch himself out of both situations, with a fly out (seventh), and a ground out (eighth). In the ninth, after giving up a single to Francoeur, Hamels would get Mark Teixeira to hit into a double play, on a fantastic play by Rollins. Hamels would then get McCann to end the game by striking out swinging, his sixth strike out of the night. Cole Hamels gets the win, throwing 120 pitches overall as he goes all nine inning, giving up no earned runs on four hits, striking out six and walking two. With his first career complete game shut out, Hamels record improves to 5-3 while his ERA drops to 2.89. Braves’ starter Chuck James took the lost, going only four innings, as he is beaten up by Phillies’ hitters for five earned runs on six hits. His record drops to 2-3 while his ERA rises to 8.22. Jorge Campillo would pitch three innings of relief, giving up no runs on five hits. Chris Resop would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. The Phillies offense had twelve hits over all, with Rollins, Jayson Werth, Feliz and even Hamels, as each went 2-4 on the night. In fact, all but one of the Phils’ starting nine would get at least one hit in the game, as Chase Utley took the collar, going 0 for 3 with a walk. Meanwhile, Ryan Howard appears to be getting his swing back, as he has now hit safely in seven straight games, during which time he has hit a double, a triple and three home runs. With the win, the Phils win the series 2-1, while teeing off on all three of Atlanta’s starting left handers, although Tom Glavine would survive long enough to win one of the games for Atlanta. The second place Phillies are now a full game behind the first place Marlins, who will now meet the Kansas City Royals in Miami for three games. They are a game and half ahead of the third place Mets, who will be facing the New York Yankees for three games in Yankees Stadium. The fourth place Braves now trail the Phils by two games as they face the Oakland Athletics for a three games series in Atlanta. The Phillies (23-19) will begin their first Interleague series tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays (21-22, 4th American League East) for the first of three games at Citizens Bank Park. The game starts at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils starter will be Jamie Moyer (2-3, 5.02), who is coming off of his worst outing of the season, as he got rocked by the Giants on May 10, giving up six earned runs on nine hits while going only four innings, in the Phils’ 8-2 lost. He will be looking to both redeem himself and evening his record. The Blue Jays will most likely counter with David Purcey (0-0, 2.08), who would be making his first start since April 18, when he started against the Detroit Tigers, after being called up from Triple-A Syracuse. In that game, he would get a no-decision, as he goes four and one-third innings, giving up an earned run on two hits, in the Blue Jays’ 8-4 lost. He will be looking for his first major league win. The Phillies will be looking to stay pace with the Marlins, if not regain first place, as they look to win yet another series at home.