Posted on: July 11, 2009 2:22 pm
Rumors continue to swirl about the Phillies acquiring Roy Halladay from Toronto. Blue Jays' GM JP Ricciardi said earlier this week that he would listen to offers for Halladay, whose contract expires at the end of the 2010 season. The pitching-starved Phillies are reportedly one of the favorites to land Halladay. Yes, the same pitching-starved Phillies who watched Pedro Martinez (37-years-old and last seen getting knocked around the majors) throw 2 simulated games this week. Toronto would be looking for a bunch of prospects, and the Phillies have said that the only untouchables are pitchers Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp, and OF Dominic Brown.
The most consistent rumors seem to be along the lines of Halladay for P J.A. Happ, who as pitched well in the majors this season for the Phils; and minor-leaguers among Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, and Michael Taylor.
While normally I'm opposed to giving up young talent for a veteran player, the Phillies as they are constituted at the major-league level are built to win NOW. The core players on this team are around 30, which gives them another 3-4 year window as a contender. Halladay is 32, and with the exception of a tired arm in 2004 (which he attributed to a heavy preseason program), he has been healthy throughout his career. The only time he has missed in the past few years was due to freak occurrences (appendicitis, a broken leg from a line drive off his shin, and a liner off his head). After pitching for a non-contender in Toronto his whole career, he'd probably welcome the chance to come to Philadelphia and compete for a World Series (now THERE'S a sentence I never thought I'd write). Joe Blanton has been pitching much better of late, and even Jamie Moyer has been pitching better after his rough start. Ace Cole Hamels has been uncharacteristically inconsistent, but a 1-2 punch of Halladay and Hamels, with this offense and a bullpen that looks like it's getting back into its 2008 form, would make the Phillies a strong contender to repeat as World Series champs. Halladay has been one of the best--and arguably the best--pitcher in baseball this decade, and they could do no wrong to add him to their roster.
The one thing I'd want before I'd pull the trigger on this deal is a conract extension though. I don't want to give up that much talent out of the farm system (which isn't as deep as other teams) in order to rent Halladay for a year-and-a-half.
Posted on: June 13, 2009 12:01 am
I was thinking of things to write about, and I thought that every so often I'd do a post featuring a position-by-position breakdown between the Phillies and a team they're playing in a key series. Since they're playing the Red Sox this weekend, I figured I'd start with them.
Posted on: June 9, 2009 3:27 pm
The Phillies placed closer Brad Lidge on the 15-day DL today (retroactive to June 7). Lidge who has been pitching with pain in his right (pushoff) knee all season, has been far less effective than he was in 2008 (0-3, 7.27 ERA this season). He has converted only 13 of 19 save opportunities, and opponents are hitting .306 against him. Lidge blew 2 saves this past weekend in Los Angeles (the Phillies lost both games), after telling David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that his knee was still bothering him before the series began. Presumably Ryan Madson will step into the closer's role while Lidge is out, and J.C. Romero will take over Madson's role as the setup man.
The Phillies filled Lidge's spot on the 25-man active roster by recalling 36-year-old catcher Paul Bako from Reading (AA). Bako hit .357 in 10 games at Reading, and his recall might help solidify the Phillies' bench, was has struggled this year, by giving them an extra catcher and allowing them to use Chris Coste as a pinch-hitter.
If the reports about Lidge's knee are true (no tears or serious damage, just inflammation), then hopefully a couple of weeks of rest will allow him to heal without needing more surgery. The best thing the Phillies could do would be to let him rest now and come back at 100% for the second half of the season, as I wrote three weeks ago:
Who says that CBSSports.com's team bloggers don't know what they're talking about?
Posted on: June 3, 2009 6:33 pm
It's just been announced that the Braves have released P Tom Glavine. ESPN is reporting that in a meeting with Glavine, they told him that his velocity was down, but it's viewed as primarily a financial move, as Glavine would receive a $1 million bonus if he was added to the active roster, and another $1.25 million if he was on the roster after 90 days. Between that and ace-in-waiting Tommy Hanson, the Braves sent Glavine packing. Glavine, who insists he can still pitch, and has pitched well in his last few rehab starts, is now a free agent.
So it poses this question: should the Phillies, who are in need of help in their rotation, go after Glavine? Right now, after Cole Hamels, there's no one currently in this rotation who shouldn't be considered for an upgrade, and due to Brett Myers' hip injury, the back end of the rotation is currently staffed by 2 unproven pitchers in J.A. Happ and Antonio Bastardo. Glavine, who has won 305 games in his career, also has an extensive postseason history, having started 35 postseason games, going 14-16, with a 3.30 ERA.
It makes sense for the Phillies, who are in a win-now position, to approach Glavine with an incentive-laden contract. With that type of contract, they won't pay unless he reaches certain performance standards, it won't cost them any players (especially prospects) in a trade, and his experience (especially in the postseason) makes him more appealing than the inexperienced Happ and Bastardo in September and October.
Posted on: May 31, 2009 3:20 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2009 11:00 pm
As bad as some of the Phillies hitters have started this season, the pitching has been the team's downfall so far. The entire staff ranks 27th in MLB in team ERA, and they were ranked even lower until the pitchers have turned in good performances over the past week.
Cole Hamels: The ace has gotten off to a slow start. He missed most of spring training and his Opening Day start due to an elbow injury which he attributed to going off his normal offseason throwing program. He also suffered a couple of freak, but minor, injuries. He got roughed up a little bit last night against Washington, and had one really bad start early in the season, but for the most part he's been pitching better each time out and is rounding into form. Q1 grade: B-
Brett Myers: Make no mistake, the Phillies suffered a big blow when Myers went down with a hip injury last week which will most likely sideline him for the season. The injury, which has affected him all season, could explain his ineffectiveness this season. While not a superstar, he's a solid major-league pitcher who could give you 190-200 innings a year. Q1 grade: C
Jamie Moyer: Moyer has struggled all season, and had a 7.42 ERA heading into today's game against the Nationals. He got lit up in his first 3 starts in May (2 vs. the Mets, 1 vs. the Dodgers), but he's pitched better in his last 2 starts, and is looking good so far today. You have to figure that he's going to turn it around at some point, as he wouldn't forget how to pitch overnight after 20 years in the majors, but he's gotta get it going SOON. Q1 grade: D
Joe Blanton: Blanton's been inconsistent all season. When he's been on, he's been ON. When he's off, he's getting rocked. In 9 starts this year, he's been lights out in 2, brutal in 2, and so-so in the rest. Especially now with Myers out, Blanton has to step up. Q1 grade: D+
J.A. Happ: Since Chan Ho Park pitched himself into the bullpen (where the Phillies really wanted him all along anyway), J.A. Happ was tabbed to take his spot. He's pitched well in 2 starts, but it's too early to grade him. Q1 grade: incomplete
Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson have been great so far. Scott Eyre, Jack Taschner, and Chad Durbin have pitched all right. The big problem in the bullpen has been the back end, with Brad Lidge. He's definitely not the "Lights Out Lidge" of 2008. He's had a nagging knee injury all season, but insists that it's not affecting his pitching. In the bullpen's defense, the ineffectiveness of the starters has forced them to pitch a lot of innnings, and they're without one of their key members in J.C. Romero, who will return soon from a 50-game suspension. Q1 grade: Condrey and Madson get A's; Eyre, Tashcner, and Durbin get C's; Lidge gets a D+.
Having shed the "Charlie from Mayberry" tag placed on him by one of the crappier sports radio hosts in Philly with the World Series championship last year, Charlie Manuel has managed to keep the Phils in or near first place most of the season despite slumps by players like Jimmy Rollins and pretty much the entire bench except for Matt Stairs, and the problems with the pitching staff. And in what has to be a first for ANY coach or manager in Philly, he said last week that the fans are being "too easy" on the team. That's not really a problem; if the bottom falls out, the boobirds will be back. Q1 grade: A
June will provide the first real tests for rookie GM Ruben Amaro Jr. He needs to find more pitching (especially now with Myers gone for the season), as well as more help for the bench. He'll also run his first draft, which is critical with the loss of assistant GM (and former director of scouting) Mike Arbuckle. The Fightin's farm system is pretty depleted, especially at the higher levels, and needs help. But right now, you have to give him insane props for letting Pat Burrell go and bringing in Raul Ibanez. Q1 grade: A-
Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:27 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2009 11:04 pm
We're just over a quarter of the way into the season, so let's review how the offense for the defending champion Phillies has performed out of the gate...
C: Carlos Ruiz: Ruiz has played well this season, making some key defensive plays and quietly having a steady season at the plate, hitting .280 so far. A Hall-of-Famer he's not, but the Phils could be a LOT worse off. Q1 grade: B
1B: Ryan Howard--If there were any knocks against Ryan Howard, it was that he strikes out too much, and he's weak on defense. He worked hard on his defense during the winter, and it's shown, with a .998 fielding percentage and making some nice plays in the field. The Ks are still high though, with his 54 putting him 3rd among NL hitters and 6th in the majors. His .263 average is also 15 points below his career average, but his power stroke is still there, with his 12 home runs so far. Q1 grade: A-
2B: Chase Utley: Chase has continued to prove that he is "The Man", as the late, great Harry the K would refer to him. While other 2B (namely Ian Kinsler) have become great players in their own right, Utley is still the best 2B in baseball. A slump has dropped his average to .289, but he still has 11 HR, 31 RBI, and 32 runs scored. One thing Utley needs to do, however, is learn to get out of the way. No one's going to question his toughness, or willingness to take one for the team, but the tradeoff of getting a pass to first base in exchange for possibly being injured and missing a significant amount of time is not worth it. Q1 grade: A-
3B: Pedro Feliz: Arguably one of the Fightin's 2 weakest positions (along with catcher), Feliz has been quietly been having a good season. While he has only 2 HR so far at a traditional power poistion, with the rest of the power in the lineup, he doesn't need to hit HRs. He's currently batting .307, 50 points above his career average, and has been solid defensively, committing only 2 errors so far.
Q1 grade: B+
SS: Jimmy Rollins: Rollins got off to a brutally slow start, being unable to keep his average above .200 on a consistent basis until his recent hot streak. Even now, he's only hitting .223, with an OBP of only .271, which is really low for a leadoff hitter. His failure to produce in the leadoff spot led manager Charlie Manuel to drop him in the order a couple of weeks ago, which Rollins voiced his displeasure about. Q1 grade: D
LF: Raul Ibanez: I think the only negative thing you could say about Raul Ibanez so far this season is the fact that for some reason, he's only 6th in NL All-Star voting. The stat line he's posted so far (.339/17/44/38) puts him at or near the top in all hitting categories, and he hasn't disappointed in the field either, being the defensive upgrade over Pat Burrell that everyone expected him to be. While he has gone on torrid tears like this throughout his career, and he will eventually cool down, he deserves all the praise he's earned so far. I'm giving him the top grade Buddy Ryan would give people--an A double plus. Q1 grade: A++
CF: Shane Victorino: The Flyin' Hawaiian has started to get hot after a slow start. He continues to make plays at bat and in the field, and has been one of the spark plugs for the Phillies' offense, helping them to overcome Rollins' slow start. His numbers are OK right now (.280/4/25/31), but they'll really start to improve now that he's on a tear. Q1 grade: B-
RF: Jayson Werth: A self-proclaimed "streaky" player, Werth has definitely been that this year. He's either tearing the cover off the ball, or not producing at all. He's on pace for a 30-30 season, with close to 100 RBIs thrown in, and the .255 BA will come up. Werth has also been perfect in the field, and thrown out 4 runners so far. Q1 grade: B
Bench: Could be a lot better, and GM Ruben Amaro has made it clear that upgrading the bench is one of his goals. The only one who's produced in a pinch-hitting role is Matt Stairs, who's hitting .300 with 3 pinch-hit HRs on the season. Greg Dobbs is slumping horribly, only hitting .135. Eric Bruntlett is hitting even worse (.118), meaning if Chase Utley goes down for any length of time, the Phils are in real trouble. Chris Coste is a borderline major-leaguer. Newcomer John Mayberry hit a home run in his first game last weekend at Yankee Stadium, but won't see regular playing time ahead of Ibanez, Victorino, and Werth. Q1 grade: D-
That's my review of the offense so far. Up next: pitchers, Charlie Manuel, and Amaro.
Posted on: May 21, 2009 12:45 pm
It might be too late for this to be an option, as the Padres have reportedly agreed to trade Jake Peavy to the White Sox. However, the trade has not gone through yet as Peavy has a no-trade clause, and has not approved the deal yet. He has made it clear in the past that he'd be willing to waive the no-trade so that the Padres could deal him, but he's also stated his preference to go to another National League team so that he can hit.
Posted on: May 16, 2009 3:31 pm
After watching Brad Lidge blow another save last night, you have to wonder if the "knee inflammation" he was diagnosed with a few weeks ago is more serious than reported. Going into today's DH at Washington, his numbers for the season are this: 0-1, 9.19 ERA, 5 saves, 2 blown saves. He's also allowed runs in 6 straight appearances. He's gone from "Lights-out Lidge", to "Light 'em up Lidge" as one of my buddies put it last night.
Lidge did develop a rep as a closer who was "damaged" (for lack of better words) by the home run he gave up into Albert Pujols in the playoffs a few years ago, and definitely struggled for the Astros after that, becoming a prime example of a player who needed a change of scenery. He got it with the trade to the Phillies last year, and he responded great, going 38-for-38 in save opportunities.
Watching him pitch rght now, i don't think it's mental. I think that his knee is still bothering him and affecting his ability to pitch. Lidge himself said that it's most noticable when he pushes off from the rubber. If that's the case, it's gotta be affecting the speed on his fastball, and probably him being able to locate his slider.
This is the same knee that he had surgery on twice last year. An MRI he had a few weeks ago revealed no major damage, just inflammation, but maybe a couple of weeks on the DL will give him a chance to rest and let it heal. With the way he's pitching, they might as well put him on now, but if they can hold out for a couple of more weeks, they could put Lidge on the DL, have Ryan Madson close, and make J.C. Romero (back from his supension) the setup man. I think the best thing they can do right now is put Lidge on the DL, get him healthy, and bring him back at 100% for the second half of the season.