First. yesterday, former Phil Roy Oswalt announced that he was officially retiring, as he signed a one-day contract with the Astros so that he could officially retire as an Astros. Oswalt, who is an fourteen-year veteran, ten of which was spent as an Astros, was a member of the Phils for part of the 2010 season and part of the 2011 season, during which he complied a winning record of 16-11. Oswalt would also play for the Rangers and the Rockies. Oswalt, during his career, would be the NL leader for ERA in 2006 with a 2.98 ERA, wins in 2004 with 20, games started with 35 games in both 2004 and 2005 and in WHIP in 2010 with a 1.03 WHIP. He was also a member of the 2005 Astros team that would win the NL pennant before losing to the White Sox in that year’s World Series, being swept by Chicago, 4-0. Overall, Oswalt had a career record of 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA as he pitched in 365 games, 341 of which were starts, as he completed 20 games, including 8 shutouts. He would pitch in 2245.1 innings, giving up 2199 hits and 897 runs, 838 of which were earned, as he struck out 1852 batters, while walking only 520. I wish you luck in your retirement, Roy.
Then, the Phils announced that Comcast plans to hire both Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to replace Chris Wheeler and Garry Matthews inside the TV broadcast booth, starting this season during Spring Training. Congratulations, guys. Hope you both do well in the broadcast booth.
Lastly, the Phils announced that they have just signed starter A.J. Burnett, who they have been pursuing during the off-season, to a one-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Burnett, who had pitched for the Pirates last year and in 2012, is coming off a 10-11 season, with a 3.30 ERA, as he pitched in 30 games, all starts, with a complete game, as he threw in 191 innings, giving up 165 hits and 79 runs, 70 of which were earned, as he struck out 209 batters, while walking only 67. Burnett, who has also pitched for the Marlins, the Blue Jays and the Yankees, being a member of the 2009 World Championship team, has a 147-132 record with a 3.99 ERA, as he appeared in 375 games, starting 370 of them, as he threw 23 complete games, 10 of which were shutouts. He threw a total of 2353.2 innings, giving up 2140 hits and 1142 runs, 1043 of which were earned, as he struck out 2180 batters, while walking only 955. Welcome to the team, A.J.
Burnett’ll more than likely be the number three man in the starting rotation, after Cole Hamels starts pitching after the start of the season, as the Phils announced that Cole will miss opening day as he has developed tendinitis in his left bicep, which will keep him from throwing the ball for the next eight to ten days, and slow down his participation in spring training, although Cole has said that he should be ready to pitch at some point in April. I’m just hoping that it is only a minor setback, as the Phils will need Cole to back up Cliff Lee, if they expect to get anywhere this season.
Lopez, who had pitched for the Phils once before, in 2009, before being sent back to the minors by the team when they added future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez to the ballclub during the summer, last pitched for the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in four games in 2012 for the Cubbies, going 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA and a WHIP of 2.05, as he pitched for 6.1 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 runs, four of which were earned, as he struck out only two while walking five. When he pitched for the Phils in 2009, he had a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 5.70 with a 1.77 WHIP, as he pitched in seven games, five of which were starts, as he appeared in 30 innings, giving up 42 hits and 24 runs, 19 of which were earned, as he struck out 19 batters while giving up 11 free passes.
During a 11 years career, Lopez had been with the Orioles, the Padres, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks, as well as the Phils and the Cubs, compiling a record of 81-89, with a 4.82 ERA and a WHIP of 1.42. He had appeared in 257 games, 215 of which were starts, as he pitched in 1350 and two-thirds innings, giving up a total of 1506 hits and 789 runs, 742 of which were earned, as he struck out 865 batters, while walking 416.
More than likely, Lopez will start the season with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, but he should be available if any member of the Phils’ starting rotation gets injured during the season.
Yesterday, the Nationals announced that they have signed Brad Lidge, one of the heroes of the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship team, to a one-year deal worth $1 million dollars, plus incentives. Lidge, who had joined the Phils in an off-season trade with the Houston Astros in 2007, went 48 for 48 in save opportunities during the 2008 regular and post-seasons, before striking out Eric Hinske to give the Phils the championship. Plagued by injuries during the next three seasons (2009-2011), Lidge would pitch in four seasons for the Phils, the first three as their closer, compiling a record of 100 saves in 116 save opportunities, with a win-loss record of 3-11, as he pitched in 214 games, appearing in 203 total innings. During the 2011 season, after coming back from injury, Lidge would perform in mainly middle relief, appearing in 25 games, pitching in 19.1 innings, as he compiled an 0-2 record with 1 save in 1 save opportunity, with a 1.40 ERA. He would strike out 23 batters while walking only 13.
Originally a member of the Astros from 2002-2007, including being a member of the 2005 National League Champs, Lidge would appear in 592 games, all but 1 in relief, compiling a career record of 26-31, with an ERA of 3.44, while saving 223 games in 266 attempts, as he pitched in 594 innings. During his career, he would strike out a total of 789 batters, while walking only 276.
So long, Brad, good luck with your new team, except when you’re pitching against the Phils, of course. 🙂
As expected, the National League announced that Cliff Lee was voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for the month of June. In five starts during the month, Lee went 5-0 with a 0.21 earned run average, as he gave up just an earned run in 42 innings pitched, including three consecutive complete game shutouts, as he also struck out 29 batters.
Congratulations, Cliff. Now let see if you have a better than normal month of July.
The Phils end opening day with a walk-off win via a bases-loaded ninth inning single by John Mayberry, Jr., as they defeat the Astros, 5-4.
The Phils and Astros spent the first five innings in a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter Roy Halladay and Astros’ starter Brett Myers, with Halladay giving up only three hits, while he struck out six batters, while Myers would give up just two hits. The Astros finally took the lead in the sixth as, with two men on base, and with one man out, Bill Hall hits an RBI ground out, 4-3, scoring Angel Sanchez, who had earlier singled, then went to third on Hunter Pence’s double, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead, while sending Pence, who had earlier doubled, over to third base. The Astros would increase their lead in the seventh as, with two men on, and with one man out, Michael Bourn hits a two-run triple, knocking in Brett Wallace, who had lead-off the inning with a single, moved up to second base on Humberto Quintero’s single, then went to third on Myers’ sacrifice bunt, 3-4, and Quintero, who had earlier singled, then went to third on Myer’s sac bunt, giving the Astros a 3-0 lead. The Astros then took a 4-0 lead when Sanchez hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Bourn. The Phils then started to come back in their half of the seventh as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Ryan Howard hits a sac fly, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier walked, moved up to second base on Jimmy Rollins’ single, then went to third on catcher Quintero’s passed ball, making it a 4-1 Astros’ lead, while sending Rollins, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on the pass ball, on to third base. The Phils then made it 4-2 Astros as Raul Ibanez hits an RBI ground out, 3-unassisted, knocking in Rollins. The Phils then went to work in the ninth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ben Francisco hits an RBI single, scoring Rollins, who had started the rally with a single, then went to second base on Howard’s single, before stealing third with Francisco batting, making it a 4-3 Astros’ lead, while Howard, who had earlier singled, would stop at second base. Then two batters later, after Carlos Ruiz had loaded the bases with a single, moving both Howard and Francisco up a base, and with still one man out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI single, scoring Howard, tying the game up at four-all, while sending Francisco to third, and Ruiz to second base. One batter later, with the bases still loaded and with one man out, pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr. hits a ball over the center fielder Bourn’s head for a walk-off RBI single, scoring Francisco, to give the Phils a 5-4 walk-off win.
Roy Halladay received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up a run on five hits, while he struck out six. J.C. Romero pitched to one batter, giving up a run on a hit. David Herndon pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two batters. Danys Baez received the win (1-0, 0.00) as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Brett Myers also received a no-decision as he pitched seven inning, giving up two runs, only one of which was eamed, on three hits and three walks. Wilton Lopez recorded his first save of the season as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Brandon Lyon blew his first save attempt of the season before taking the lost (0-1, 81.00) as he gave up three runs on six hits.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins (Singles), Ryan Howard (Singles, RBI (Sac Fly)) and Wilson Valdez (Single, Double, RBI) leading the team with two hits each. Ben Francisco (Single, RBI), Carlos Ruiz (Single), Pinch Hitter Ross Gload (Single) and Pinch Hitter John Mayberry, Jr. (Single, RBI) had the other four Phils’ hit. Raul Ibanez knocked in the other Phil run on a ground out.
The Phils (1-0, 1st-T NL East) will continue their opening season series with the Astros (0-1, 3-T NL Central) tomorrow with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern Daylight Time. The Phils will send to the mound Cliff Lee, who last year, with the Mariners and Rangers, went 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA. He will be trying to give the Phils a chance to start the season off with two straight wins. The Astros will counter with Wandy Rodriguez, who last year went 11-12 with a 3.60 ERA. He will be trying to give the Astros an even record.
Yesterday, the Phils signed veteran right-hander Jason Grilli to a Minor League Contract.
Grilli, in eight major league seasons, had an 18-18 record with a 4.74 ERA in 223 appearances. He has last thrown a pitch in the Majors in 2009, when he pitched for the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Rangers, with a combine record of 2-3 with an ERA of 5.32 in 52 appearances. Grilli did not pitch last year because of a knee injury.
Grilli will appear in the Phils’ minor league camp in Clearwater, and will likely start the season pitching for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
Since the last time I’d written something here, the Phils have come to terms with both Ben Francisco (January 15) for one year for $1.175 million dollars with performance bonuses and with Kyle Kendrick (January 18) for $2.45 million, also for one year, to avoid arbitration with both players, thus having all of their players signed up for at least one season. Last season, 2010, in 88 games (28 of which were starts), Francisco batted .268 (48 for 179), as he hit thirteen doubles and six home runs and knocked in 28 RBIs. He also went .282 pinch hitting (11-39), hitting three doubles and knocking in 7 RBIs. This season, Francisco will be used in a platoon with Dom Brown in right field to replace Jayson Werth, who had during the off-season signed a long term contract with the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, Kendrick last season pitched in 33 games (a career-high), 31 of which were starts, as he went 11-10 with an ERA of 4.73, as he pitched in 180.2 innings and struck out 84 batters (both career highs) while walking 49, who, depending on what the team might do, will either be their long man coming out of the bullpen, or fighting for the fifth starter spot with Vance Worley.
As the Phils prepare for the start of spring training next month in Clearwater, Florida, they are looking at their options, thanks to their present embarrassment of riches with their starting pitching staff, which at the moment consists of Roy Halladay (Ace), Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt (who at the moment are being nicknamed either the Four Aces, R2C2 or the Fantastic Four by the fans) and Joe Blanton, as they decide whether they really need to trade Kentucky Joe to another team that needs a good starter to help give them some salary flexibility, or to just keep Joe, and use him as their fifth starter, knowing that he so far have had a good track record pitching for the Phils during the two plus seasons since they’d gotten him from the Oakland A’s to help them down the stretch towards their 2008 World Series Championship. My opinion is that they should hang onto Blanton, unless he brings in a good righthanded bat that’ll help the team in the line-up. Either way, he would be helping the team, especially as the fifth starter, since he is presently seen as a good third or fourth starter on most teams.
Lastly, Charlie Manuel’s contract is coming up this season. Although it is more than likely that the Phils will give him an extension, Charlie had announced on WIP radio yesterday, when asked about it, that he would like a three year contract, and prefer that he signed the contract extension as soon as possible so that it won’t become a distraction for the ballclub during the season, although he does see himself as signing a contract at some point this season. Me, sign him up as soon as possible Ruben. Uncle Chuck seems to know what he’s doing with the players, and we all know that they like playing for him.
The Phils have announced that they have made a one-year deal, pending his passing a physical, with J.C. Romero, for an undisclosed amount of cash.
J.C. Romero, whom the Phils had let go earlier in the off-season, had spent the last three plus seasons (2007-10) with the Phils, going 6-6 with 4 saves and a 2.60 ERA, as he appeared in 213 games, pitching in 148.2 innings, giving up 99 hits and 46 runs, 41 of which were earned, and walking 105 batters, while striking out 123. Last year, in 60 games pitched, he recorded a 1-0 record with 3 saves and a 3.68 ERA, as he pitched 36.2 innings, giving up 30 hits and 17 runs, 15 of which were earned, as he walked 29 batters, while striking out 28.
If he passes the physical, its obvious that the Phils will once again use him as their situational lefty out of the bullpen, hoping that he’ll bounce back from his injuries in 2009-10. I just hope the Phils know what they’re doing.
In a move that came completely out of the blue, the Phils have just signed free agent Cliff Lee to a five-year, $120 million contract, with a vesting option for a sixth year, beating the New York Yankees, who had offered Lee a six-year deal worth $135 million, with a vesting option for a seventh year, and the Texas Rangers, who had offered him a six-year deal worth $138 million, and with a vesting option for a seventh season. With this move, Lee returns to Philadelphia, after having been traded by the Phils to the Seattle Mariners, almost a year ago, giving the Phils a starting rotation that now have four aces (Lee, NL Cy Young Award Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), that will be haunting the NL, especially the NL East, for at least a year (depending on whether Hamels will be resigned after the season, and if Oswalt decides not to retire after 2012.).
Lee, in 2010, as he pitched for first the Mariners, then the Rangers, went 12-9 with an ERA of 3.18, as he started in 28 games, pitching 212.1 innings, throwing seven complete games, including a shut out, as he struck out 185 batters, while walking only eighteen during the season. In the post-season, he helped pitched the Rangers into their first World Series appearance, before falling to the 2010 World Champions San Francisco Giants, as he went 3-2 overall for the Rangers.
The Phils will more than likely have to trade someone(s) to help them better afford their move. There is already rumors flying around that they have been trying to ship off Joe Blanton and or Raul Ibanez as a salary dump, with them willing to pay for part of Blanton’s salary to move him. I do not know if any of them is true, but, if they need to move someone, it should be Kyle Kendrick, not Blanton. After all, Blanton has been a bit more consistant, pitching wise, than has Kendrick, and he would be a lot better backup to the now Big Four than might Kendrick. Whatever does happen, I hope Ruben will know what he’s doing, although there does seem to be some method to his madness.
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.