Results tagged ‘ Raul Ibanez ’

Spring Officially Kicks off with 3-Straight Phillies-Yankees Games

In the 1st of 3 games against the Yankees to start Spring Training, the Phillies dropped the game by a score of 8-5.  Cole Hamels started the game and tossed 2 innings, allowing 1 run.

The Yankees and their fans were salivating as Hamels pitched because Hamels could be a free agent after this year.  Hopefully, the Phillies will handle that issue before it comes down to a financial slug-fest with the Yanks.  Because we all know who wins that particular battle…

The first recorded RBI of spring came off the bat of Raul Ibanez…in a Yankees uniform.  The Phils will miss Ibanez’s personality in the clubhouse, but it was time to part and get a little younger in the outfield.  I wish Raul the best!

When watching early spring games, it can be hard to judge a players performance.  The games do not count, so wins and losses are just a meaningless statistic.  Veteran players are the most difficult to judge as they will use spring to get in shape and work on their technique.  So if a guys like Hamels, for example, gives up 5 runs, it does not mean much.  Maybe he is working on his grip, his delivery or trying out something new.  Spring is the time for veterans to  pace themselves, avoid injury and work out the kinks.

What you should really be looking at are the young guys and the players fighting for a roster spot.  This year, the Phillies have a number of battles brewing.  Both the bullpen and the bench have spots ready for the taking.

In the pen, watch for Dontrelle Willis, Justin DeFratus, Phillppe Aumont and Michael Schwimer, among others, to be vying for a spot on the big club.  Now, unlike the veterans, these are the guys who need to bring it every time they are out there.  It is all about who makes the biggest impression.

Willis pitched 1 inning yesterday and gave up a run on two hits.  Willis showed signs of the pitcher he used to be, but then also left his fastball up in the zone way too many times.  And there are plenty of younger guys standing by to try to knock him off.

As for the bench, Michael Martinez, who was here last year, now has a lot more competition to deal with.  Other utility guys like Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre will be trying to make the team as well.  Podsednik is especially intriguing as he hit .304 and .297 in 2009 and 2010.  But he missed the 2011 season with a foot injury.  If he does well this spring and stays healthy, he has a shot to make the team as an extra outfielder.

This should be a very entertaining spring.

Game 2 with the Yankees today starts at 1:05pm today where we get our first look of the year at Roy Halladay in action!

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

J-Roll Rides The D-Train Right Back to Philly

The wait is finally over and Jimmy Rollins has finally re-signed with the Phillies.  The 3-year, $33 million deal is said to have a 4th year option which should be fairly attainable.  Both Rollins and the Phillies seem pleased with the outcome.  Rollins had wanted 5 years, but that was likely just a matter of him bidding high to ensure at least a 3-year deal.

Rollins shared the joy on his twitter account today:

The signing come right on the heels of the D-Train, Dontrelle Willis, agreeing to a 1-year deal with the Phils.  Rollins and Willis are old friends who attended the same high school and whose mom’s are also friends.

A former starter and former Rookie of the Year in 2003, Willis’ career has run way off the tracks in recent years.  But he may be useful as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen for very little cash.  Philly seems like a good place for a comeback, but how that unfolds is yet to be seen.

I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall when J-Roll learned that Willis got a contract before he did.  It may have gone something like, “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?”  Only here, Willis is Gary Coleman and J-Roll is Todd Bridges.  Think of it as a 70′s reverse time warp.

Either way, both players are probably thrilled to finally be on the same side.

Earlier this off-season, I made some predictions on how the free-agent period would play out for the Phillies.  Let’s see how I did:

I said that both J-Roll and Brian Schneider would re-sign.  Check.

Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge would not have their options picked up and neither would resign.  Check.

And I predicted that Ryan Madson, Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload would also not re-sign.  Check.

That makes me 7 for 7.  Check.  Did you expect any less? ;o)

Technically, anything can happen between now and spring training, but I am fairly certain the Phillies are done making moves.  How about you?  Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments :O)

 

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Ibanez Gets Nixed & Utley Procreates

Considering it is the offseason, this has been a busy week for the Phillies.  In an unusual roster move, the Phillies have potentially signed left fielder Laynce Nix, 31, to a two-year deal, pending a physical.  I say this is unusual because in a 9-year career, Nix is a .244 hitter and from 2006-2008, he spent most of his time in the minors.

Last year with the Nationals, Nix hit .250 with 16 home runs.  Similarly, Raul Ibanez hit .245 with 20 homers.  And this signing pretty much signals the end of Ibanez’s career with the Phillies.  So they are replacing him with a guy who is similar and only a little bit younger in baseball years.  The big difference here is that Ibanez had a solid career.  Nix has not.

So yes, this move is just one more head scratcher this offseason for the Phillies who seem to be going back to their roots of taking out the trash and hoping it turns into treasure.  Sometimes that works out; most of the time, it does not.  As for Ibanez, it certainly looks like he has been “Nixed.”

In happier news, Chase Utley and his wife Jen welcomed their first child on December 2.  His name is Benjamin Cooper Utley; FYI – Cooper is mom’s maiden name.  There was a photo posted on Crossing Broad but the Utley’s had them remove it.

So you can either use your imagination…or, use my imagination ;o)

By the way, the market for short stops just heated up.  The Miami Marlins have signed Jose Reyes for 6 years at $106 million.  He is not a Met anymore, but the NL East is still not rid of the annoying, showboating Reyes.

And his price tag also means that Jimmy Rollins may expect more money than the Phillies are able to give.  As a back-up plan, rumors have been flying about interest in Aramis Ramirez.  However, Ramirez plays third base.  Where does that leave Placido Polanco and who will play short stop?

So many questions, so few answers…  I will tell you this though, the 2012 Phillies are starting to look a whole lot different than the 2011 Phillies, although it is more of a lateral-type movement so far.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Holiday Weekend Phillies Happenings

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  Hunter Pence shared a small piece of his Thanksgiving pie via his Twitter feed:

@HunterPence3: Happy Thanksgiving everyone…..Let’s Go Eat! :)
Nov 24 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Here is a VIDEO of Hunter with his family on Thanksgiving :O)

And just yesterday, Shane Victorino also took to Twitter to share his son Kingston’s birthday celebration with the world.  And no, I did not Photoshop this picture.  That really is Shane and Melissa Victorino dressed as clowns to entertain their kids.

@ShaneVictorino: #Grateful today celebrating Kingston’s bday in Hawaii http://t.co/Mol3e968
Nov 26 via Camera on iOS

Shane and Melissa are wonderful people and seriously super parents.  How lucky are those kids? 

So while their teammates were having great times with their families, 3 other Phillies players / free agents had some food for thought along with their turkey.  Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez were all offered arbitration before the holiday weekend.

The offers put the Phillies in a position to receive compensatory draft picks for each player who declines.  However, it also puts them in the position to get slightly screwed if any of them actually accepts.  Rollins will likely decline as arbitration only gives the accepting player a one year deal and a salary determined by a hearing.

However, if Madson does not get an offer to his liking, arbitration may be an easy way to big one-year pay check for him.  Then again, it also positions him as the set-up man for Jonathan Papelbon, making his dreams of a huge closer contract the following season unlikely.  Madson will likely decline.

The really weird one here is Ibanez.  There are not too many teams, if any, in the market for an almost 40-year old left fielder with declining stats.  Ibanez made $12 million last year and in a hearing, that would be taken into account.  Even if he got half that amount, it is still way too much to be playing a platoon guy.  With the odds of no one else signing him being pretty high, Ibanez might accept and that would be trouble for the Phillies payroll.  I cannot imagine what the Phillies are thinking here.

Each player has until December 7, 2011 to decide.  So continue digesting your holiday weekend feast.  You have just over a week before you may feel the need to be ill.  Let us hope not though :O)

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Award Season: Which Phillies Made the Grade So Far

Despite an early exit from the playoffs, the Phillies 102 regular season wins and stellar individual performances have earned some players much deserved honors.

Earlier this offseason, Placido Polanco was awarded a Gold Glove for his work at third base.  Polly also won the award playing second base for the Tigers in 2007 and 2009.  He and Darin Erstad are now the only two players in big league history to win a Gold Glove at multiple positions.

MLB.com also handed out awards on Monday.   Ryan Howard was named the club’s Player of the Year, while right-hander Roy Halladay was chosen the team’s Pitcher of the Year.  And rookie right-hander Vance Worley was voted the Breakout Player of the Year.

Not to be outdone, the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America put its two cents in as well.  Center-fielder Shane Victorino was the winner of the Mike Schmidt Award  for Most Valuable Player and left-hander Cliff Lee received the Steve Carlton Award for Most Valuable pitcher.

The big awards come out next week which will include Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and the Cy Young award.  It is expect that many Phillies will be considered for these top honors, but realistically, none of them will win.  Charlie Manuel is overlooked every year in the manager category; Worley will probably lose out to Freddie Freeman.  As for the Cy Young, both Halladay and Lee will probably get passed over in favor of Clayton Kershaw who had 21 wins and an almost invisible 2.28 ERA.

Of course, anything can happen.  But those are my predictions…how about you?  Leave your best guess in the comments and we will see who gets it right.

And if anyone missed it, here is my annual Phillies Photo Tribute slideshow.  Enjoy!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2011 Phillies Photo Tribute

I just finished my yearly Phillies photo tribute!  I shot all of these photos during the 2011 season which include game photos, every player who was on the big league roster (even if for only a split second), a few alumni shots and other goodies.

The “For Fun” section is my favorite.  I collect funny shots throughout the year, like players with the giggles, guys sticking out their tongues, silly faces and lots more.  Do not worry, they are all family friendly.  The really fun ones I keep to myself ;o)

Enjoy!

 

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2011 Phillies Halloween

Happy Halloween!  In keeping with my yearly tradition, I have again dressed up our favorite Phillies players for this special holiday.  Some are repeats from previous years that still crack me up.  And some are brand new and also very funny.

We begin with a new set of costumes; here as Batman, Robin and Luke Skywalker are Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pence:

Halloween 2011 b

One of my all-time favorites, it is Roy Halladay as Iron Man, Kyle Kendrick as a random super hero and Ryan Howard as the Hulk:

Halloween 2011 e

Next up are some new & old mixed together; Cliff Lee is a magician, Chase Utley is Superman (of course) and Michael Stutes is Michael Jackson.  BTW, the only thing I added to the Stutes photo is the glove.  The rest was an outfit he actually wore to Shane Victorino’s charity fashion event this year:

Halloween 2011

And here we have John Mayberry Jr. as Count Dracula, Raul Ibanez as Captain Jack Sparrow and Ryan Madson as Robin Hood:

Halloween 2011 c

Another favorite costume adventure is Jimmy Rollins in a dual role as both the Easter Bunny and Papa Smurf:

Halloween 2011 Jroll

And for the Grand Finale, Shane Victorino is “The Situation” from Jersey Shore and Placido Polanco is a matador:

Halloween 2011 d

Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 4: Depression

Has anyone been watching the World Series?  I have not been able to.  Not because my TV blew up or squirrels chewed through my cable lines, but because it is just too depressing.  The 2011 World Series without the Phillies?  *SIGH* :O(

The only thing I think about right now is that there are approximately 124 days, 2,996 hours, 179,761 minutes and 10,785,690 seconds left until players report to Spring Training.  That means I have ahead of me approximately 124 days, 2,996 hours, 179,761 minutes and 10,785,690 seconds of sheer boredom and misery.

Sad Phillies

I know, I should really get a grip.  Perhaps join a 12-step program?  But I simply cannot fathom what those 12-steps might be that would be able to lift me out of this funk.

To make matters worse, there are many impending decisions on the horizon that will greatly impact the future of this Phillies team.  There are seven free agents the Phils have to make decisions on: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, Raul Ibanez, Brian Schneider and Ross Gload.

My thoughts are that the options on Lidge and Oswalt’s contracts will not be picked up nor will either player be resigned.  Neither lived up to expectations this year and injuries were a huge problem.

Madson’s agent is Scott Boras.  That being said, the Phillies will not be able to afford to resign him.  Plus, rumor has it that Madson’s wife hates Philadelphia.  He is gone.

As for the other four, Gload and Ibanez likely will not be back.  This team needs to get younger and healthier.  The Phils will probably resign Schneider at a discount as his offensive numbers are exactly that – offensive.  And Rollins will hopefully return after some intense negotiations.

And all of that is also depressing.  This team we have all come to know and love will be broken apart with holes likely to be filled with some new faces.  Change is necessary here, especially after the final results of this season with the team ousted way earlier than expected.  But that does not make it less sad :O(

I am currently in the process of peeling myself out of this dark, hopeless abyss where I am blubbering uncontrollably while cowering in a corner.  This disappointing season has been difficult to cope with, but we must all make a commitment to try.

Although, if trying includes watching the Rangers and Cardinals, I may pass for now.  It is just too demoralizing  right now :O( 

Stay tuned for Stage 5…

 

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Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 1: Denial

I have embarked on a mission to cleanse myself of the horror and grief surrounding the untimely end to the Phillies 2011 Season.  I simply cannot continue to carry this overwhelming sense of emptiness and loss  around much longer.  It is like a funeral around here, and that is never much fun.

2006-06-30-denialHowever, I have still not gotten past the Denial stage.  Frankly, I refuse to believe this actually happened.  How did a team with such talent managed to get knocked off in the first freaking round of the playoffs?

No.  I tell you it is just not possible.

I will not cry over the death of the 2011 Phillies because I refuse to acknowledge that they are gone.  If they were actually gone, that would mean that free agents like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez could be gone for good.

That would also mean, so I have been told, that no fewer than five Phillies are headed for off-season surgery with real potential to totally screw up next season as well.  Ryan Howard needs Achilles tendon surgery, both Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence have sports hernias and Ross Gload needs hip surgery.

But maybe the biggest bombshell of them all is Cole Hamels who will have TWO surgeries back to back starting on Friday.  Hamels will have “loose bodies” removed from his elbow and then a week later, inguinal hernia surgery.

Oh please, say it ain’t so.  No one even knew Hamels was hurt!  And Howard?  He could miss the start of the season.

No, no, no….this is just NOT happening!

Ugh.

Stay tuned for Stage 2…

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

2011 Phillies Season Ends in a Total Disaster

First, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals.  They played well and deserved to win this series.  And that statement may be the only light moment in this post today…

I am angry, disappointed and thoroughly disgusted by this loss and the effort this Phillies team put forth in this NLDS series.  I apologize in advance if anyone is offended by what I am about to say, but I need a good rant to get this off my chest.

I do not want to hear, “We’ll get them next year.”  I do not want to hear, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  Because frankly, the issues on this Phillies team are not hindsight.  They are glaring problems that were obvious to me before the series even began.  If they were obvious to me, what I want to know, is why weren’t they to manager Charlie Manuel?

As my first example, take Placido Polanco.  This is a guy who normally hits at least .300 every year.  But he has been playing on a hip that will require surgery this offseason.  Manuel said after the game that Polly was in pain, but still able to play.  Just because he is ABLE to play, does not mean he should have.

Polanco batted .105 in the series and should have been benched both for his lack of production and for his health.  Putting a guy with a bum hip in the line-up every day was almost a guarantee of an 0-4 day.  Wilson Valdez played in 99 games in the regular season and came through many times in big situations.  Valdez would have at least accidentally run into a hit at some point. 

I am not saying Valdez should have played every game, but Polly certainly should not have stayed in the line-up once it was obvious that he was unable to hit with this injury.  This was a huge mistake.

Another huge mistake was Ryan Howard.  Can anyone think of a good reason for Howard to be tinkering with his stance and location in the batter’s box during a playoff series?  No?  Neither can I.  He did pretty well the 1st two games and then suddenly by Game 3, he had moved so far back in the batter’s box that he was almost in New Jersey.

100811-howard-NLDS-400 Howard messed with his approached and screwed both himself and this team, going 0 for his last 15 at-bats.  And why is a guy who is not hitting giving the 3-0 green light?  WTF.  Seriously.

So Howard made the final out of the postseason again, two years in a row, in the most pathetic manner possible.  He hurt his Achilles and went down like a sack of potatoes trying to exit the batter’s box.  He had to be helped off the field.  Fittingly, the look on his face matched the feeling of every Phillies fans in attendance and watching at home; sheer agony.

Next up, Chase Utley….you all know I love Mr. Utley.  But WHY is he taking a chance trying to steal a base in a 1-0 elimination game against Yadier Molina who throws just about everyone he faces out in that situation?

And my new favorite topic of discussion is Jimmy Rollins.  Rollins may be the only player who had a pretty good series until the final game.  He openly scolded fans about being too quiet after Game 2 and asked them to give it their all in Game 5.  Ok, fine.  The fans more than obliged and Rollins proceeded to go 0-4 in the game.  The fans brought it, why didn’t Rollins?  After the game, Rollins would not speak to reporters.  Go figure.

And then there is Raul Ibanez.  I can see letting him start most games, but when he started swinging at balls 2 feet out of the strike zone, this is a sign.  Ibanez goes hot and cold like the flip of a switch.  When he is obviously cold, take him out!  Give John Mayberry Jr. a shot.  TRY something to kick start this horrid offense!

Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz were just as bad in this series.  After ending the season with a .314 average, Pence hit only .211 in the NLDS.  Ruiz was worse, going 1-17 which equates to a .059 average.

Shane Victorino and Rollins were they only two guys who hit with any sort of consistency, but Rollins crashed and burned in the final game.

And then there is the line-up as a whole.  Manuel moved Utley to the 2-hole and Pence to the 3-hole.  This worked well for all of maybe 3 games total? – A few in at the end of the regular season and Game 1 of the NLDS?  Howard hit well before with Pence behind him.  Why mess with that once it stopped working?

Manuel is big on  what he calls playing the guys who got them to this point.  I’ve got news for Charlie…Valdez, Mayberry and sometimes Michael Martinez were a HUGE part of what got this team there, filling in for injured players and making big plays.  But he started Mayberry once and totally ignored the other guys.

And now for the pitching…Roy Halladay gave everything he had and gave up only one run.  He would have bled for this team if he thought it would help.  But the team let him down and could not score even one lousy run for the one guy who has carried them all year.  Disgusting.  After the game, Halladay said that the worst part of the loss was letting down the fans who were so supportive all year.  For me, the person I feel the worst for is Halladay.  He deserved a win; he earned it.  This team should be ashamed of letting him down like this.

And among the rest of the four aces, only Cole Hamels pitched well.  Cliff Lee blew a 4-run lead in Game 2, which was the real turning point of the series.  Once that happened, the Cards knew they had the Phils by the balls.  It was all downhill from there.

The Game 3 win was a freak accident, thanks to a Ben Francisco homer.  But the Phillies did not really earn that win.  And in Game 4, Roy Oswalt choked and gave up 5 runs.  So much for four aces.  Because the Cardinals had the royal flush.

This is possible the biggest let-down for any Phillies team in history since Black Friday on October 7, 1977 when Davey Lopes with the Dodgers was called safe and the momentum propelled the Dodgers to win the series.  So Friday October 7, 2011 (yes, the same day) may go down in history as Black Friday II.

With the pitching staff the Phillies assembled this year and the overall talent on this team, to see them lose the NLDS is a gut-wrenching tragedy.  I would not be surprised to see GM Ruben Amaro Jr. at the top of a very tall building today contemplating where it all went wrong.

I feel sorry for Ruben – he did his job, got them the players they needed and has nothing to show for it.  In fact, this Phillies team since the 2008 World Series win has taken one huge step backwards each year following: in 2009 they lost the World Series; in 2010 they lost the NLCS; and now in 2011, they lost the NLDS.  One step further back each year – if the trend continues, they will not even make the playoffs next year.

The window of opportunity for this team to win is about to close, which is the worst part of this horrible loss.  The main players are getting older, they are more injury prone and many may not even be back next year.  This may officially wind up being the worst offseason in Phillies recent history.

So I am ready to spit nails, how about you?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section. 

 

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Photo by Philly.com

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

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