Results tagged ‘ Ruben Amaro Jr. ’

Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 2: Anger

I can no longer deny that the season is OVER for the Phillies.  And over in the most awful way possible.  So  now, I am pissed.

Anger managementSeriously, WTF were these players thinking when they proceeded to swing at bad pitches and watch good ones fly past?  You know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”  Well, isn’t the opposite true as well?  WHY, in the name of all that is unholy, did the Phillies offense stay the course with what was NOT working and skip any attempt to FIX the problem?

There were a variety of ridiculous press conferences this week where players, manager Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. all admitted that something has to change.  They talked about players having a “better approach” at the plate and more “patience” and “discipline.”

If you ask me, this is one of the most undisciplined Phillies teams in recent memory.  Manuel’s nice guy approach is refreshing, but when things are going bad, it is also counterproductive.  Sometimes, players need a kick in the rear.  Sometimes, actual coaching is required.  And most times, discipline is a very, very good thing.

Manuel says he is a good ” hitting coach.”  But his “coaching” seems to come across to many experienced players as “suggestions” rather than  correction or direction.  But are some of these players too damn old and set in their ways to be coached?  If they are, MOVE ON.

Because what exactly is going to change next year?  Ryan Howard is still going to swing at a ball in the dirt on a 3-0 count no matter what you tell him.  That is who he is.  I am not saying dump Howard (which frankly, would be impossible now) or anyone else, but DO let these guys know they need to do as they are told or bench them!

I do not care how much money they are making.  If they cannot follow directions, teach them that there ARE consequences.  If I suck at my job, I will get fired.  If I do not follow directions or at least TRY things my boss tells me to, I am in BIG trouble.  And my paycheck is crap…these guys are making millions and still do not feel like they need to listen to their boss?  WTF!

If Manuel tells a guy to move closer to the plate, he needs to let the player know this is an ORDER, not a suggestion!  If it doesn’t work, fine, he tried.

Lee yellingabThis is probably the most disgusted I have ever been with a Phillies team in 30 years.  Even all those years when they were losing consistently, it was easier to take because they did not have a lot of talent.  This 2011 team was loaded with talent and they just plain blew it!

This season was a huge waste of time, money and superior pitching.  Heck, even the great pitching sucked in 2 out of 5 games in the NLDS.  And I love Cliff Lee, but if he was in front of right this second, I might bash him repeatedly over the head with a soft, fluffy pillow.  I saw pillow because I prefer to express my anger and disappointment without actually causing injury ;o)

For Roy Oswalt, my plan is to drop to the ground at his feet, cry hysterically and shout, “You ruined my life!  HOW could you do that?  What kind of a cruel person are you! Waaaaaaaaa!”  While none of that is really accurate, it would brighten my mood to make him feel bad for a few seconds ;o)

Ok, so I know they all feel terrible as it is, so all of that is really unnecessary, but damn, I am pissed!  Aren’t you?

And that concludes my angry and slightly insane rant during my extended period of mourning.  Stay tuned for Stage 3…

 

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 Lee photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Hunter Was The Hunted; Now, He Is A Phillie

July 29th has been a significant day in recent Phillies history.  On July 29, 2009, the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee.  That same day in 2010, they picked up Roy Oswalt.  And this year, Hunter Pence is the big prize.

A report from Phillies Beat Writer Todd Zolecki states that Pence will be sent from the Astros to the Phillies in exchange for Class A first baseman Jonathan Singleton, Class A pitcher Jarred Cosart and two yet unnamed prospects.

The best news of the night is that neither pitcher Vance Worley or outfielder Domonic Brown were included in the deal.  While the two named prospects are highly touted, the Phillies really pulled off an amazing deal without having to give up any major league talent.  This is another huge score for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Pence, 28,  is a lifetime .290 hitter and 2-time All-Star who combines both power and speed.  Pence hit 25 home runs each year from 2008-2010 and had a career high 91 RBI’s last season.  In addition, Pence cannot become a free agent until the 2014 season, putting the Phillies in control for years to come.

With the addition of Pence and also Placido Polanco returning from the DL this weekend, two moves will have to be made.  My best guess is that Brown will be sent back to Triple-A to work on his game.  The second casualty could be John Mayberry Jr.

While the playoffs and the World Series are promised to no one, the addition of Pence certainly does improve the Phillies’ chances.

And in case you missed it amidst all the excitement, there was actually a game tonight.  The Phillies beat the Pirates by a score of 10-3 with Roy Halladay pitching seven one-hit innings.  Andrew Carpenter allowed three runs in the eighth.

The offensive highlights included Chase Utley coming up just a double short of hitting for the cycle.  His 3-run homer in the second inning put the Phillies far ahead very early. 

Shane Victorino also came close to hitting for the cycle, but missed out on the home run.  Jimmy Rollins smacked a 2-run homer in the seventh, but sadly for Victorino, he was not allowed to share the homer and help out his buddy Shane.

Oddly enough, Rollins hit that home run off pitcher Jason Grilli, who until a week ago was in the Phillies minor league system.  The Pirates picked him up after the Phillies released him on July 20, 2011.

This is now set up to be a very exciting weekend for the Phillies.  When Pence will be in the line-up probably depends on how soon he can get here from Houston.  Add Polanco back into the line-up and the Phillies are set up nicely for a strong run to the playoffs.

Game two with the Pirates is Saturday night at 7:05pm; Cliff Lee will pitch.

 

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Photo by http://blogs.houstonpress.com/

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

To Boo Or Not To Boo: What Reception Will Jayson Werth Get From Phillies Fans?

Much has been made out of Jayson Werth’s offseason departure from the Phillies after accepting a huge $126 million, 7-year deal from the Nationals.  On Tuesday night, Werth will face his former team for the first time as the Phillies travel to D.C. for a three-game series.


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for P8249196N Werth.jpgSome fans have expressed their disappointment that Werth chose a big paycheck over staying with a winning team.  After all, Cliff Lee gave up more money from the Yankees to come back to Philadelphia.

But in the same circumstance, most people would take the money.  And the offer Werth got from the Nats was significantly more than the Phillies offered.  So can you really blame him?

Money aside, there may be other reasons that Phillies fans feel the need to boo Werth.  For example, this past February, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post quoted Werth as saying, “I hate the Phillies, too,” in response to a comment made by Washington GM Mike Rizzo.

Then in late March, an interview with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. by nick DiUlio of Philadelphia Magazine revealed more angry words by Werth.  Amaro stated he received a text message from Werth after the Lee signing that said, “BOOOOOOOO!” 

The next part of the same article read as follows: “That reaction from Jayson was funny,” says Amaro in his office in February, again flashing that smile. “He was pissed*off. He had just signed with Washington. He said to me, ‘You dum*bass. You could’ve had both of us.’ And I said, ‘You’re the dum*bass. You could have taken our arbitration offer.'”

While Werth is clearly sore over the deal, should fans be sore about Werth’s reaction?

Maybe.

But a few childish and angry words should not overshadow what Werth contributed to the Phillies team over four seasons.  He helped them win the 2008 World Championship, played solid defense and added some pop to the line-up.

While Werth’s choice of words could be perceived as blatant disrespect for a team and a fan base that always had his back, the words were spoken out of shock and likely, disappointment.

Games in D.C. against the Phillies have been traditionally overrun with Phillies fans in the past several years.  So, despite this being a home game for the Nats, Phillies fans will be heard.

So the question then remains, to boo or not to boo?   Booing is not really my style, but each person is free to make their own choice.  Ultimately, I hope Werth hears more cheers than boos out of appreciation for the time he was in Philadelphia.

And if you would really like Werth to feel bad about his poor choices of words this offseason, there is no better way than offering up a loud, hearty cheer to make him regret the indiscretion.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Kendrick VS. Worley, Amaro’s Contract & Utley’s Knee

The Phillies played two games today in split squad action.  Kyle Kendrick started against the Rays in Clearwater and Vance Worley took the mound against the Pirates in Bradenton.

Worley did well and allowed just one run over 3.1 innings on two hits and two walks while striking out five batters. 
Thumbnail image for KendrickKK.jpg
Kendrick, on the other hand, looked good for two innings but was then slammed with three homers from lefties in his final two innings.  The five runs Kendrick surrendered contributed to a 6-2 Phillies loss.

While it is only spring training, the question of whether or not Kendrick can get left-handed batters out still remains.  In four seasons with the Phillies, Kendrick has been consistently inconsistent.  The issues with lefties, a sinker ball that does not always sink and Kendrick’s tendency to become frustrated on the mound are concerning.

With all the experience he had gained over the years, the time for Kendrick to get it together into one complete package may be now or never.

Worley, 23, is younger and has less experience.  But in the long run, he may turn out to be the better pitcher between the two.  In 13 innings with the big club last year, Worley posted a 1.38 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.  His minor league lifetime WHIP is 1.280.

In addition, Worley has a variety of pitches including both a two-seam and four-seam fastball, slider, curve and cut fastball.

It is possible that Worley will have outpitched Kendrick by the end of spring.  If so, do the Phillies go with Worley or stick with experience in Kendrick?

There is a different possibility as well.  If another bullpen pitcher bombs, like Danys Baez for example, there could be room for both players.  This also gives the Phillies additional options in the case that a starting pitcher gets injured.  Although, having two long-men in the bullpen seems unlikely as Worley could easily be recalled from the minors if needed.

With only a few weeks left this spring, both pitchers will need to bring their A-games.

Amaro’s Contract Extension

Earlier today, Ruben Amaro Jr. signed a four-year contract extension with the Phillies.  Amaro has been with the Phillies organization for a very long time and it appears that will not end anytime soon.

Amaro played for the Phillies from 1992 to 1993 and again from 1996 to 1998.  Right after that, he moved to the Phillies front office, serving as Assistant GM until being promoted to GM at the end of the 2008 season.  Amaro grew up in Philadelphia and his father, Ruben Amaro Sr., also played for the Phillies for six seasons.

Chase Utley’s Knee

The Phillies have issued a statement that Chase Utley has made “a small improvement” in his rehab after suffering patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation this spring.

The news is underwhelming.

However, a newspaper cartoonist had another take on the subject:

 

Utley cartoon 007.jpg

It seems he feels like Utley is comparable to Humpty Dumpty.  Quick, get the Super Glue!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Cartoon from The Dover Post

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

 

Phillies Honored At The PSWA Awards Banquet

On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 107th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ.  The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area. 


P13162920201.jpgThis year, the PSWA honored Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay as the Outstanding Pro Athlete of 2010.  He was also presented with his 2010 Cy Young award.  Shane Victorino received the Humanitarian Award for his charitable efforts in the community.

A large portion of the Phillies family was in attendance as well, including President Dave Montgomory, the Phanatic, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel.  As a guest speaker, Manuel had the crowd in stitches with his southern humor. 

Manuel spoke about his home state saying, “You know they don’t have Christmas plays in West Virginia, you know that? They cut it out. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.”

The speeches from Victorino, Halladay and Manuel are in the following video:

Also present was comedian Joe Conklin who attends every year to entertain the guests.  He does amazing impersonations of a variety of Philly athletes including Manuel, Cole Hamels and Eagles coach Andy Reid.  Conklin’s routine is the highlight of the banquet:

The full Photo Album from the event includes members of the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers and Eagles, plus college and high school athletes.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network* 

Should The Phillies Trade Joe Blanton?

With the Fab Four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels already locked up in their starting rotation, do the Phillies still need Joe Blanton?  The righty has two years left on his contract which will earn him a total of $17 million dollars.


P7260632 JoeBlanton.jpgIn his two and a half years with the Phillies, Blanton has a combined record of 25-14 with an average 4.36 ERA in 72 starts.  For a fifth starter in the rotation, these are pretty good numbers.

In comparison, Kyle Kendrick has a 25-20 record with a 4.55 ERA in 63 starts since the 2008 season.  The statistics are similar, but it should also be noted that Kendrick spent a good amount of time bouncing back and forth from the majors to the minors in 2009.  And last year, Blanton spent time on the disabled list.

Another alternative for the fifth starter position is rookie Vance Worley.  In two starts with the Phillies in 2010, Worley pitched 13 innings and recorded a 1.38 ERA.  Between AA and AAA last year, Worley recorded a combined 10-7 record with a 3.36 ERA over 27 starts.  But Worley is still a big unknown.  He is young and lacks experience.

With these options, it seems that either Blanton or Kendrick would be the best fit for the role.  If the Phillies are concerned with payroll, trading Blanton may be a good idea as Kendrick is still under team control.

When asked if payroll would move him to trade Blanton, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the media, “I really don’t have to do anything.”  A lower payroll would help if Amaro has other future moves in mind, however, it does not appear to be necessary right now.

If money is not a true motivator at this times, the Phillies may be better served to keep Blanton.  Having both Blanton and Kendrick provides tremendous pitching depth.  In the event that one of the Fab Four gets injured, the decision to then move Kendrick into the rotation to fill the hole should be a no-brainer.

Blanton also has experience in eight different playoff series, including two World Series.  Kendrick pitched less than four innings in the 2007 NLDS and has not seen any playoff action since that time.

And if the Phillies start the year off with Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton, then Kendrick can fill a hole in the bullpen as a long reliever.  With Chad Durbin still unsigned, there may be a greater need for a long man.

It appears that keeping Blanton is probably a good idea.  Of course, if another team makes a good offer, the Phillies still have other options for the fifth spot in the rotation.  But until the season actually begins, anything can happen.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

The Phillies Night Before Christmas 2010

The Phillies Night Before Christmas

 


Santa Phillies elves.jpg 

Twas the night before Christmas, when all over the field,

Not a player was stirring, as the 2010 season had been sealed.

The bats were stacked in the clubhouse with care,

In hopes that a Championship soon would be there.

 

The Phillies were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of trophies danced in their heads.

And Ruben with his new HoLEEday contract tucked under his cap,

Had just settled down for a long off-season nap.

 

When out in Charlie’s house, there arose such a clatter,

He sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he stumbled, half asleep,

Having woke from a nightmare of his bullpen being taken deep.

 

The moonlight lit up the old ’08 trophy, causing it to glow

And gave the illusion of a night game on the grass down below.

When, what to his wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh filled with ballplayers in good cheer.

 

With his General Manager, ace pitchers in tow,

He knew in a moment it must be Ruben Amaro.

More rapid than the trade deadline, forward they all came,

And he grumbled, and shouted, and called them by name!

 

“Now, Utley! Now, Howard! Now, Rollins and Victorino!

On, Ruiz! On, Halladay! On, Lee and Polanco!

To the top of the National League! To the top of them all!

Now run away! Run away! And play some baseball!”

 

And then, in a twinkling, Charlie heard, “You The Man!”

From the shouting and cheering of each happy fan.

As he drew in his head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney Cliff Lee came with a bound.

 

He was dressed all in pinstripes, from his head to his foot,

Having tossed his old Rangers uniform, which was tarnished, with ashes and soot.

But he arrived with a smile and Charlie gave him a pat on his back,

Surely the return of his ace would put this team right back on track.

 

Cliff spoke many words, but getting on with his job,

He showed off his great arm, getting praise from the mob.

And in their joy, the fans clapped their hands,

With Lee, Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels together in Philly, 2011 is sure to be grand!

 

Cliff then sprang to the sleigh, and to his team gave a call,

“You guys are the best ballplayers of all!”

But Charlie heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy HoLEEday’s to all and to all a good night!”

 

Re-wording & photoshop by Jenn

5 Big Positives From The Phillies Signing Cliff Lee

December 15th is a historical date.  In 1794, the United States Bill of Rights became law.  In 1933, the 21st Amendment went into effect, legalizing alcohol.  Russians landed on Venus in 1970. And now, in the year 2010, Cliff Lee re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The signing will obviously not impact our society in such way as the Bill of Rights or the 21st Amendment once did.  And it is doubtful that December 15th will be named a national holiday.  However, this is still a historic occasion for the City of Philadelphia.

The following is a list of five ways in which the Cliff Lee deal has made a positive impact on the team, the city and the fans.

Four Aces Are Better Than Three


4 starters.jpgThe entire Phillies team just got a whole lot better.  Adding Cliff Lee to the already dominant rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels has the potential to make the opposition weep like children.

All together, that makes 3 Cy Young awards, 13 All-Star appearances plus an NLCS and a World Series MVP title.  Combining all four starter’s 2010 ERA’s comes out to an average ERA of 2.86.  If they stay healthy, this rotation will be frightening.

Statistics aside, these are four very competitive pitchers who will push each other to do better.  This type of healthy dynamic should inspire the entire team to work harder and expect more from themselves and their teammates. 

Having solid starting pitching also takes a great deal of pressure off the offense.  Players who can relax at the plate will be more productive.  After a down year in 2010, this Phillies offense should be ready to explode.

The City of Philadelphia Finally Gets Some Respect

The City of Philadelphia and their sports fans constantly get a bad rap in the media.  Focusing only on the negative, national press makes Philadelphia look like a war zone. 


240A.jpgYes, some horrible human being threw up on a little girl at a Phillies game.  The Eagles snowballs and Santa disaster begs the question, will the media ever get over it?  That was in 1968.  It is officially time to let it go.

There are idiots everywhere, not just in Philly.  Look at the Cubs fan who threw beer on Shane Victorino during a play in the outfield.  Ask the family of the poor teenager who was killed after a San Francisco Giants game in 2008.  But these are isolated incidents and by no means do they reflect the attitudes or actions of an entire fan base.

About Philadelphia fans, Cliff Lee told the press, “They get excited. They’re passionate fans. They understand what’s going on. They don’t need a teleprompter to tell them to get up and cheer, to do that.”  Lee also stated, ” Yeah, you know, the feeling of playing on the field feels different than anywhere else. I don’t know how to explain it other than you can feel the volume that’s created by the fans and their intensity.”

Lee loves Philadelphia, the team and their fans so much that he took fewer contract years and less money to play here.  Much to the dismay of the national media, Cliff Lee has finally given Philadelphia the respect it deserves.

Philadelphia Just Landed On Every Player’s Wish List

Along with the respect that Cliff Lee’s words and actions have delivered, this signing has also put the Phillies on the wish list of all major league players who are interested in winning. 

The days of JD Drew, who was drafted by the Phillies in 1997 but refused to sign, are long gone.  No more grumblings from the likes of Scott Rolen either, claiming the Phillies have no desire to win.

The Phillies were already on the minds of many players before the Cliff Lee signing.  Roy Halladay made an exception to his no-trade clause last year to come to Philadelphia.  Later in July of 2010, Roy Oswalt did the same.

But the Cliff Lee deal puts the Phillies in a whole new echelon.  They are now able to compete with the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees.  The Yankees lost out on Lee despite offering more money and additional years.  So while the Yankees payroll still far outweighs the Phillies, in terms of status, they are now nearly equals.

Jayson Who?  Losing Werth Is Not So Bad

There was a lot of groaning among Phillies fans when All-Star right fielder Jayson Werth signed a gigantic contract with the Washington Nationals.  Fans having flashbacks to Werth’s monster home runs, a steal of home plate, his rocket arm nailing runners at the plate and the 2008 World Series win, were disappointed that the Phillies did not try harder to sign him.

The facts now show that had the Phillies re-signed Werth, Cliff Lee would not be on the team.  They simply would not have had the money or resources to bring Lee back.

Pitching wins ballgames.  The impact Lee will have on this Phillies team in the long run far outweighs anything that Werth may have delivered.

Werth went where the money was and no one can fault him for that.  But that move further illuminates the magnitude of Lee’s decision to sign with the Phillies for less money.  Lee will be appreciated by Phillies fans everywhere.  Werth will simply fade away into a distant memory.

Ruben Amaro Jr. Is Now A Phillies Legend


P5140472 Amaro2.jpgA Philadelphia native, Ruben Amaro Jr. started out as a Phillies bat boy in 1980.  His father, Ruben Amaro Sr., was the first base coach at that time.  Prior to that, Amaro Sr. played short stop for the Phillies from 1960-1965.  Amaro Jr. also played for the Phillies from 1992 to 1993 and 1996 to 1998 in the outfield.  He became the Assistant GM right after his playing career ended.  Currently the Phillies General Manager, this man has literally spent almost his entire adult life, and part of his teenage years, with the Phillies.

Many were unsure of how Amaro would fare in the GM spotlight, having taken over the job right after the 2008 World Series.  Amaro was doing a pretty average job but did not score big until wrapping up Roy Halladay last offseason.  Most were thrilled with the Halladay signing.  However, the happiness quickly turned to shock when it was announced that Cliff Lee was traded in order to replenish the farm system.

The short half year that Lee spent with the Phillies in 2009 was enough to enamor him to the entire fan base.  His easy-going and unwavering demeanor on the mound combined with his ability to mow down opposing batters made Lee a fan favorite.  He was also the only Phillies pitcher to record a win in that year’s World Series, which they ultimately lost to the Yankees.

To say that trading Lee was a stunning blow to the fans is an understatement.  Even months later and well into the 2010 season, people questioned the move.  Some even went so far as to proclaim it the dumbest move Amaro would ever make.

And while those people may be correct, Amaro created an extreme reversal of fortune by re-signing Lee on December 15, 2010.  The five-year, $120 million dollar dear with a sixth year option completely redeemed Amaro. 

Amaro jumped though a number a very large hoops to make this deal happen.  The biggest of those had to be convincing team ownership, who have been notoriously stingy in the past, to cough up the dough.  This will be the highest payroll carried in Phillies team history.

Respect is not easy to come by in this business, but Amaro has now earned it.  He is a formidable opponent in the eyes of other ball clubs and to his own staff and players, he is a true leader.  More than that, Amaro has earned the trust of this organization.  They know he wants to win both now and in the future.

The Cliff Lee deal has cemented Amaro’s place in Phillies history.  All he is missing now is his very own World Series Championship. 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Cliff Lee Is Back! Christmas Comes Early For The Phillies


P8195298 CLee2.jpgMany Phillies fan’s rolled out of bed this morning and had to pinch themselves to make sure they were not dreaming.  Next, came a glance at the calendar to verify that they had not time travelled to April Fool’s Day.  And when all that was done, the reality hit like a freight train, only in a good way.  Sleepy eyes widened and fans began to jump for joy!  Cliff Lee is back!

Phillies fans were treated to the exact same mind-boggling experience last offseason, just without the happy ending.  Lee was sent to Seattle to free up prospects and acquire Roy Halladay which was a serious shock.  It takes a big man to admit he was wrong.  Not only has GM Ruben Amaro Jr. done that, he has redeemed himself completely with this signing.

And Cliff Lee has just established himself as almost God-like in the still sleepy eyes of Phillies fans everywhere.  Lee accepted less money and fewer years to come back to Philadelphia simply because he loved it here.  His wife Kristen loved it here.  And Philadelphia loved them right back.


207A.jpgThe deal is reportedly for five years and $120 million with a vesting option for a 6th year.  The Yankees offered six years, $138 million and another option to bring the total to $154 million.  The Yankees must be equally stunned as the Phillies are with this turn of events.  A player choosing happiness over money is not something you see every day.

The Yankees fans who probably feel the worst about this news are the ones who harassed and spit on Cliff Lee’s wife Kristen during the ALCS in New York this past October.  These fans may be to partly blame for sending the Lee family on this journey back to Philadelphia.  Phillies fans thank you.

As far as making room for Lee, the Phillies made an exception to their payroll to make the deal happen.  It is also rumored that they are shopping pitchers Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick plus outfielder Raul Ibanez.  Whether any teams will bite remains to be seen.

For now, Phillies fans should feel free to celebrate.  The Phils now have the best rotation in the majors with Lee, Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.  And while no one faults Jayson Werth for taking the money and going to Washington, Cliff Lee will be appreciated that much more in Philly for choosing this team over the money.  And what an amazing team it is. 

You can all take the masking tape off you HalLEEday tee-shirts now.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Phillies Make A Small Splash At The Winter Meetings


DSC04792_Dennys_Reyes.jpgWhile the Phillies were unable to conjure a tidal wave in the Winter Meetings this year, they did make a few smaller splashes.  Free-agent left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes, 33, has been signed to a one-year, $1.25 million dollar contract, pending a physical.  Reyes is a 14-year, well- traveled veteran who now joins his 11th major league club.

While the signing is relatively small in terms of impact, Reyes is anything but small.  This six-foot, 3-inch 250 pound reliever goes by the nickname, “The Big Sweat.”  In other words, he will add both depth and width to the bullpen. 

On the other end of the size spectrum, the Phillies also picked up a five-foot, nine-inch, 145 pound infielder from the Nationals AAA system in the Rule 5 Draft.  Michael Martinez, 28, had better watch himself around Reyes who is liable to mistake him for dinner.

Martinez’s small size has made him a versatile player who can handle both shortstop and second base as well as the occasional stop in centerfield.  He hit a combined .272 with 21 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 56 RBI’s and a .408 slugging percentage in 522 plate appearances with Double-A Harrisburg and AAA Syracuse.

When asked about the pick-up of Martinez, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joked, “We figured with this Rule 5 Draft we would get back at the Nationals.  They got Werth. We’ll take Martinez and call it even.”  While the attempt at humor is admirable, Amaro should probably not quit his day job.

The Phillies picked up a few other players in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft; Colorado outfielder Chris Frey and Oakland righty Justin Friend.  While these are not real impact moves, it does give the Phillies a little more depth in the minor league system.

Overall, the Phillies had a quiet week at the Winter Meetings.  However, with rumors flying about a possible deal for the Royals righty Zach Greinke, the Phillies may still have a big move on the horizon.

 

Photo by shgmom56 on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

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