Results tagged ‘ JA Happ ’
The Phillies take to the field tonight for the first real action of Spring Training in an exhibition game against Florida State. JA Happ will be the starting pitcher followed by Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Drew Naylor, Joe Savery, Jesus Sanchez and David Herndon. All eyes will be on Aumont as he was one of the prospects the Phillies got in the Cliff Lee trade. Many are anxious to see if the risk will pay off.
Shane Victorino has been left off the starting line-up for precautionary reasons.
Victorino has been suffering from a sore shoulder and the team will likely not want to push him. It does not seem serious, but it is usually better to be safe than sorry. John Mayberry Jr. will fill in at center and Greg Dobbs gets the nod as the DH. But as is usual in Spring games, the starters will probably not play long, giving the team a chance to look at some prospects. Game time is 7:05pm.
The game everyone is waiting for though is tomorrow’s match up against the Yankees with Roy Halladay on the mound. It will be the team’s first look at their off-season prize in live game action. The talk about Halladay’s work ethic, poise and electric arm has been non-stop since he signed. Finally, it is time to see some results. Tomorrow’s game starts at 1pm and will be carried on Comcast Sportsnet and then replayed on The MLB Network at 7pm.
And now for the disturbing news of the week: Phillies fans know Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning as the man who pitched the only perfect game in Phillies history on June 24, 1964 which happened to be Father’s Day as well. Considered one of the best Phillies players in history, Bunning is also one of only six pitchers ever to throw both a perfect game and a no-hitter in his career. So as a baseball player, Bunning gets two thumbs up. As a politician, not so much…
Bunning has served in the Kentucky State Senate since 1998 and in 2006, Time magazine dubbed him one of “America’s Five Worst Senators.” He routinely misses Senate floor votes and on Christmas Eve 2009, he was the only senator to skip the vote on the historic health care reform bill. Adding more fuel to the fire this month, Bunning single-handedly blocked a 30-day extension of federal unemployment benefits when more than 200,000 unemployed Americans were set to lose benefits. The proposal of unanimous consent on any legislation like this is generally reserved for situation where no one is going to object. Essentially, the proposal is thought to be a no-brainer….that is, for everyone on the planet except Jim Bunning.
The Senate was attempting to avoid a massive hit to the economy and considered the extension an emergency. After receiving public spankings from both Democrats and Republicans, Bunning finally relented on Tuesday night and the legislation was passed, but not before Bunning made a total as*s out of himself. Wait a second, I though the “as*s” was the symbol of the Democratic party?
We still love you in Philly Jim, but please, do America a favor and get out of politics while you still have some dignity left. Let us all remember you as the guy who tossed the only Phillies perfect game and not the guy who tried to make 200,000 angry, unemployed people storm his house, tie him and up and force him to watch tape of the 1964 Phillies collapse; they dropped 10 consecutive games at the end of the season and lost the Division after being in first place with a 3-game lead. This type of torture is cruel and unusual punishment. Please, don’t make us do it…we don’t want to remember that year either.
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Photos by Jenn
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that relief pitcher Chan Ho Park wanted to remain with the Phillies in 2010. Instead, Park wound up signing with the Yankees for 1.2 million, a great deal less than the 3 million the Phillies had offered earlier in the off-season.
Park stated, “Philadelphia was the No. 1 choice. I had a tough time leaving there. I had much support from fans and community, and I had the best teammates there…”
The question then becomes, why did he and his agent, Jeff Boris, turn down the Phillies offer if he wanted to stay there? Park made 2.5 million in 2009, so the 3 million was not only a raise, but likely to be the best offer he received. In the recent past, there has been what appears to be a string of mismanaged deals by baseball agents who become greedy and over estimate their clients’ value. This certainly looks like one of them.
By the time Park and Mr. Boris realized this deal was a gift from an appreciative team who liked Park very much in 2009, it was too late. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has a no-nonsense style of dealing with contracts. If he feels a player is not committed, he moves on. Amaro was not going to wait for Park to change his mind and quickly signed Danys Baez and Jose Contreras.
And if we believe Park was sincere in wanting to return, then why would Mr. Boris not jump on the one year deal? Another agent notorious for his hard-handed tactics is agent Scott Boras who recently took outfielder Johnny Damon on a fairly stressful ride through free agency. Damon wanted to stay with the Yankees but Boras handed down a $13 million dollar ultimatum to the Yankees, which frankly, was a lot more than Damon was worth and he should have known that. The Yankees scoffed at the gesture and Damon wound up signing with the Tigers for $8 million.
Damon told the NY Daily News, “I let Scott do his work…That’s why he’s there. In the end, I think he did a great job. It’s funny, though. Every time I’m a free agent, I’m always on a new team.” He said a mouthful there. Mr. Boras has a habit of burning bridges and this latest stunt was no exception.
Another player who may or may not have been burned by his agent this off-season is former Phillie Cliff Lee. Although agent Darek Braunecker denied any wrong doing back in December, the fact that the trade happened so quickly and right after talks with Braunecker makes you wonder if he did give some sort of indication that Lee would not accept certain terms (ie: less than 2 years, a certain dollar amount, etc…). Again, this is only speculation, but knowing the Phillies GM Amaro’s straightforward style, if Braunecker said anything at all to make Amaro question Lee’s commitment to the Phillies, it is easy to see why that could have triggered a fast trade.
Obviously, the depletion of the farm system played heavily into the trade, but was that the only consideration? What happens behind closed doors, we will never know, but it does make you stop and wonder. How much input each of these players had in the conversations with teams and their agents is also unknown, but based on the players reactions, maybe these agents need to think more about their clients well-being and less about their own pockets? But again, this is just one gal’s humble opinion :O) We will miss Park and Lee and I wish them the best!
In other Phillies news, both Brad Lidge and JC Romero threw off the mound during Spring Training on Sunday. Each pitcher is taking it slow, but making descent progress. Lidge appears to be slightly ahead of Romero as far as being ready, but both are still hopeful about Opening Day.
As for the rest of the pitching crew, here is the week’s schedule for when games begin on Wednesday:
– Wednesday vs. Florida State: J.A. Happ, Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Drew Naylor, Joe Savery, Jesus Sanchez and David Herndon.
– Thursday vs. Yankees: Roy Halladay, Kyle Kendrick, Jose Contreras, Andrew Carpenter and Sergio Escalona.
– Friday at Toronto in Dunedin: Cole Hamels, J.C. Ramirez, Ryan Vogelsong and Antonio Bastardo.
– Friday at Toronto in Dunedin (B GAME): Jamie Moyer, Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and Scott Mathieson.
– Saturday at Pittsburgh in Bradenton: Joe Blanton, Danys Baez, Ehren Wasserman, Mike Zagurski, Bill White and B.J. Rosenberg.
– Sunday vs. Tampa Bay: Happ, Aumont, Naylor, Sanchez, Herndon, Flande and Savery.
Thanks to Todd Zolecki at The Zo Zone for posting the list!
Photos by Jenn
The big news out of Phillies camp this week was Roy Halladay throwing live batting practice to a few of his teammates yesterday. Although they were only tracking pitches, it did give Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez a chance to see Halladay in action. Another player who stood in was outfield prospect Dominic Brown. Brown told the media afterwards that because he was almost traded for Halladay, he felt compelled to take a few hacks off him. He did not have much success, but it may be safe to assume it was a personal victory for the young player.
It appears also that besides Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, there is one more competitor for the 5th starters spot in the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong, 32, began his big league career with the Giants in 2000 and was then traded to Pittsburgh the following year. In his 6 years floating between the majors and minors, Vogelsong’s record stood at 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA in the majors with 315 innings pitched. After leaving the Pirates in 2006, he travelled to Japan in an attempt to improve and make a few dollars. Vogelsong grew up in the Philadelphia area and played ball at Kutztown University so he is thrilled to put on the Phillies uniform. His chances of making the team are likely slim, but as in baseball and life, anything is possible.
As Spring Training progresses, a sign that games are not far away is the Phillies annual Phan Fest, which will be held tonight at Bright House field in Clearwater. If you are in the Clearwater area, be sure to check out this event. Gates will open at 5:30pm and admission is free. There will be 2 sets of players there to sign autographs. The cost is only $15 per table for three players. The first table will have pitchers Kyle Kendrick, newcomer Danys Baez and the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, JA Happ. The second table has another newcomer, catcher Brian Schneider plus outfielders Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr.
Having attended Phan Fest for the last two years, I can tell you it is well worth the trip. Aside from the autograph tables, there is a play area for kids, a photo booth which will be with Darren Daulton this year, a silent auction, opportunities to buy game-used merchandise, the Phanatic and a fireworks display to end the evening. Last year, a few of the players including Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and Brett Myers, brought their kids to the event and sat on the field to watch the fireworks. Of those three, only Chad was there for the autographs; the others came on their own to spend time with their families which was very touching to watch.
And the countdown continues…
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Photos by Jenn
With just under 3 days left until the official start of Spring Training, the Phillies are getting ready to make a push for a third consecutive National League pennant. The position players and the bench players are basically set but the pitching situation has a lot of question marks. As for the starters, will Cole Hamels bounce back after a disappointing 2009? Will JA Happ suffer from the sophomore slump? And who will fill the 5th starters spot?
The rotation currently looks like this: Roy Halladay, Hamels, Joe Blanton and Happ. The 5th spot looks to be a toss-up between Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer. Kendrick’s ups and downs plus his lack of diversity in pitch selection do not bode well. Then again, Moyer is coming off 3 surgeries, lengthy hospital stays and also has his age (47) working against him. Moyer told Comcast Sportsnet this week that his recovery is basically done and he is ready to try pitching again. How that will work out remains to be seen.
Bigger question marks loom in the bullpen. It appears that the Phillies only solid lefty, JC Romero, may not be ready to go until May after his arm surgery late last season. Two other solid pen pieces are gone this year; Scott Eyre retired and Chan Ho Park will not return, although, Park has yet to find a team willing to take him on. Youngsters Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona may fill the lefty void, but at what cost? Both were wild last year during their travels between the majors and minors and will need to really step up this Spring if they are to be counted on this season.
The closer position is also a big question; will we see the perfect Brad Lidge of 2008 or the first to worst Lidge of 2009? The injury and surgery history with Lidge do not breed confidence. However, he should at least be motivated by the thought of redeeming himself after last year. If he fails to do so, former closer and off-season pick-up Danys Baez may be able to fill the role. As for the rest of the pen, Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin will return as two of the few solid pieces left over from the last few years.
Aside from pitching, there does not seem to be much to worry about. Placido Polanco may need time to adjust to the move from 2nd to 3rd base, but he has done that before so the issue should be minimal. He has certainly added a better bat to the line-up.
Jimmy Rollins will need to get off to a fast start to boost his confidence after a forgettable 2009. Rollins has stated he will show up to camp with the pitchers and catchers on the first day to get a head start; This will be a nice contrast to his usual routine of being the last player to report in previous years. As for the Rollins crystal ball, all he would say this year is that Halladay will be a 20+ game winner. Not a huge leap for Psychic Rollins, but we’ll take it.
As for the rest of the gang, if they can stay healthy, this will be a monster line-up for opponents to deal with. But first, let’s see how Spring Training goes :O)
Photos by Jenn
The worst winter in the history of the Philadelphia area is upon us here in the North East. After getting over 2 feet of snow over the weekend, major blizzard #2 of the month is bearing down upon us right now. Another foot or more is expected and a State of Emergency in Delaware is in effect. I took a few photos earlier in my backyard:
All that and it is still coming down. The good news is, schools have been closed all week so I have not had to go to work :O) The bad news is, we may never leave the house again if this keeps up. In my boredom, I decided to invite a few of the Phillies over to my house for some snow fun before they take off for Spring Training. Raul Ibanez went sledding and JA Happ tossed snowballs:
Hard to believe in all this snow that Spring is around the corner. But still, truck day is tomorrow where the baseball supplies get sent down to Clearwater. Well, that is if the snow does not stop them. And on February 18th, pitchers and catchers will report; unless of course they prefer to keep playing in the snow here with me :O)
Spring Training starts in 8 days!!
Photos by Jenn
The rumors flying about all week in regards to Roy Halladay have been worse than a group of middle-aged women sipping coffee and debating who in their neighborhood may have slept with Tiger Woods. The non-stop barrage has included the Phillies being ready to part ways with pitchers like JA Happ, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton to clear up salary space. With as many times as each of these players has been supposed trade-bait, the imaginary frequent flyer miles are piling up.
Still, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to downplay the rumors and perpetuate the idea that they have no money to spend. This is either posturing to put people off the scent of a trade or in reality, the Phillies cannot find a way to work out a Halladay trade without breaking the minor league prospect bank. Either way, I feel bad for all these guys whose futures seem so up in the air right now. What actually happens may turn out to be a great big nothing.
The Phils have also expressed interest in John Smoltz as a possible bullpen guy. Why? Well, Smoltz is likely a future Hall of Famer with a proven track record and, at this stage of his career he may be very cheap. Oh, and also, the Phillies love senior citizens ;o) I kid…
As for the young folk, the Phillies picked up two of them in the Rule 5 draft which, for those unaware, is where players like Shane Victorino came from. Right-handed pitcher Kenneth David Herndon went 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 11 saves in 50 appearances last season with the Dodgers AA team. And right-hander Angelo Sanchez, from the Twins rookie club, went 5-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 12 starts.
For Spring Training, the Phillies have invited seven non-roster players. Infielder Andy Tracy, who has been with the Iron Pigs for some time and was a September call-up, will join the team. And you may also be familiar with catcher Paul Hoover, also from the Pigs and spent a short time with the big club this past year. The others are outfielder Chris Duffy (Milwaukee), infielder Cody Ransom (NYY), outfielder DeWayne Wise (CWS), infielder Wilson Valdez (NYM) and lefty Bill White (Texas, 2008). Interestingly, 6 out of 7 players are in their 30’s. Mr. Duffy is the youngest at 29.
Will any of these players actually make the team? Probably not. But hey, they get a free trip to Florida and can hang out with people like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I would totally take that. Seriously…please pack me in your suitcase. Thank you in advance :O)
Player photos by Jenn
To start with, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and did not lapse into a turkey coma! I also hope no one got trampled attempting to enter Wal-Mart at 3am on Friday ;o) Holidays can either be fun or hazardous to your health…I hope you went with “fun.”
Speaking of holidays and shopping, what would you like to receive this holiday season? I would like for Mike Schmidt to age backwards and play 3rd base for the Phillies again.
I would also like the Giants to release Tim Lincecum for his bad, drug induced behavior so the Phillies can have him. I also wish aliens would come down from outer space and give us back Cole Hamels: Version 2008. Clearly, he was abducted and it is time to bring him back.
By the way, 3 years ago, current GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who was assistant GM at the time, asked a room full of female fans if they could sign any pitcher in the league to the Phillies, who would it be? I shouted, “Tim Lincecum!” Ruben looked at me like I was nuts and decided that the woman who suggested Brandon Webb had a better idea. Webb went down with a shoulder injury in April 2009 and did not play the entire season. Lincecum has now won 2 Cy Young’s in a row. Hey Ruben, still think I am nuts? Just a little holiday fun for you there :O)
Ok, so clearly we cannot sign Mr. Lincecum. But the Phillies have a lot of work to do this off-season to improve the pitching staff. It looks to be a quiet market right now. Things should start to heat up when the Winter Meetings begin on December 7th.
The few moves made so far have not even made a small ripple in the atmosphere. The signing of Juan Castro to replace Eric Bruntlett on the bench seems like a lateral move, rather than an improvement. Castro hit .277 last year with the Dodgers but is a career .230 hitter. This news is not exactly knocking Phillies fans out of their boots. We hope bigger and better things will be coming soon…
In other news, Jamie Moyer was recently hospitalized and had surgery to remove an infected blood collection that may have resulted from his previous groin surgery. It should not affect his Spring Training schedule and he appears to be recovering well. I wish him luck!
From the long time veteran to the rookie, JA Happ has been named to the Topps’ 51st All-Rookie Team, which is just one of many honors he garnered this off-season. Happ is still up for the Rookie of the Year award in the This Year In Baseball awards. Voting continues until December 11th and many Phillies like Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and others are in the running.
And finally, congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino who tied the knot earlier this month in Hawaii! They are two really great people and I wish them all the best!
Lincecum & Happ photos by Jenn
Free agent signings officially kicked off today and one of the top needs for the Phillies is a third baseman. Although, do not expect them to jump too quickly; it will likely be a while before they settle on a player. The front runner appears to be Mark DeRosa (Cardinals). The Phils have courted him before and he should be within their price range. Plus, DeRosa is from the area, growing up in Passaic, New Jersey and attending the University of Pennsylvania.
The big free agent name at third appears to be Chone Figgins. However, Figgins also appears to be out of the Phillies price range. Placido Polanco is an option, but the Phillies would have to give up a 1st round draft choice to sign him. Adrian Beltre is another option, but he is defensively weaker than DeRosa. So, odds are pretty good on DeRosa, but who knows.
As for bullpen help, the pickings are slim. A few good options may be Mike Gonzalez (LHP) and Rafael Soriano (RHP), both from Atlanta. Rafael Betancourt, Jose Valverde, Octavio Dotel and Bob Howry are all good right-handers, but each is getting up there in age. Left-handed help is even scarcer, so let us hope Scott Eyre will return.
You probably know by now that Charlie Manuel came in 6th place for the Manager of the Year voting. That’s right, 6th place for taking his team to back-to-back World Series. But this is just one more revealing award that shows the idiocy of the voting process for these honors. No shock there. Jim Tracy of the Rockies took home the prize.
But if you would like to voice your opinion this awards season, log on at MLB.com and vote for the This Year in Baseball awards. Candidates include Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, JA Happ, Jayson Werth and even Emily, the cute little girl who tossed the ball her Daddy caught back towards the field. And of course, you can give props to Manuel for the TYIB manager award.
Photo by Jenn
What would have been the perfect ending to an outstanding season for rookie pitcher JA Happ went instead to Chris Coghlan of the Marlins. The Rookie of the Year award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and this year, it looks like they may have gotten it wrong.
While it is difficult to compare a hitter like Coghlan to a pitcher like Happ, perhaps the deciding factor should be which player had the greatest impact on their team? Happ filled the void left by starters Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer; without him, the Phillies would not have made the playoffs. Coghlan’s resume is impressive, but his team did not go to the post-season.
To review, Happ went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA, topping all rookies in innings pitched (166), strikeouts (119), complete game shut-outs (2) and 3 total shut-outs. Coghlan hit .321 with 9 homers, 47 RBI, 162 hits and a .390 on-base percentage. Again, difficult to compare, but clearly good pitching beats good hitting as has been demonstrated by years of baseball past.
So while myself and probably a lot of people feel that Happ was snubbed having come in 2nd place, these awards are seldom fair. But the second place finish does not diminish what was an amazing season for Happ, who has more than proved his worth to this team. As a consolation prize, I hereby dub JA Happ the “Fan Rookie of the Year“! Yes, complete with a photo montage:
In other news, the Phillies have removed the following players from the 40-man roster, making them free agents: Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Paul Hoover, Andy Tracy and John Ennis. Tracy will likely be back next year with the Iron Pigs (AAA) in Allentown as well as Ennis. Hoover may find himself serving as a back-up catcher if not one fills that spot right away. But it does look like Bruntlett and Walker will probably be gone.
Free agent signings will begin on Friday.
Photos by Jenn
2009 was an outstanding season for the Philadelphia Phillies in many ways. Not only did they return to the World Series for the second consecutive year, but when you look at everything they had to endure to do so, the feat becomes that much more impressive. Here is a look at the obstacles the team overcame in 2009 and also some of the season highlights:
The loss of our beloved Harry Kalas
The 2008 World Series hangover
Injuries to every member of the bullpen
Losing the #2 starter (Brett Myers) at the beginning of the year
Watching the #1 starter, Cole Hamels, go through weird injuries, bad luck and a very bad season
Lack of production from the bench players
The June Swoon (11-15 record)
The struggles and eventual season ending injury of Jamie Moyer
The injury to Raul Ibanez right before the All-Star break; Ibanez went from super hot to totally not afterwards.
Offensive slumps throughout the year
A down year and very slow start from the offensive engine, Jimmy Rollins
Brad Lidge going from first to worst among closers
The Ring Ceremony
Cliff Lee – a gift from Heaven (and Ruben Amaro Jr.)
Pedro Feliz had off-season back surgery, recovered well and became a real contributor offensively
JA Happ emerged as rookie sensation with 12 wins and the lowest team ERA among starters (2.93)
Jamie Moyer wins career game #250
The Phillies visit with J-Roll Smurf (more of a personal highlight, but a highlight nonetheless)
Ryan Howard becomes the fastest player ever to reach 200 career home runs
Ryan Howard knocks the most grand slams in Phillies history
The 10 game winning streak, July 8-21
The two Old Goats, Jamie Moyer & Pedro Martinez, combine to win 2 games in August that were split up by rain delays
Jayson Werth steals home against Dodgers
Franchise record set for attendance and sellout games; 3,600,693 fans and 73 sellouts in 81 home games, finishing 3rd in baseball for total and average attendance
Return to World Series
Congratulations to the 2009 National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies!
In other news:
The 2009 coaching staff have all been invited to return next year.
Cliff Lee’s 8 million dollar club option was picked up (no surprise here) for 2010.
Raul Ibanez, Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge will all be seen by team doctors this weekend to determine if surgeries will be needed. Eyre has loose bodies in his elbow and Lidge may have the same. Ibanez has a tear in his abdomen and a hip issue.
No word yet on Pedro Feliz’s club option, but it will be decided by Monday.