Results tagged ‘ Ruben Amaro Jr. ’
Many 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.
The 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
While 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
In the digital age, rumors fly much quicker than they used to. It literally takes only seconds to post a rumor online and create a huge buzz over basically nothing. The same applies to Phillies free-agent right fielder, Jayson Werth.
Early this morning, a talk-show radio host mentioned that the Phillies had offered Werth a contract and that it was good enough for him to possibly sign. Should you give credence to this rumor? The simple answer is “No.”
Black Friday came and went and no “sale” on outfielders was ever advertised. Tomorrow is Cyber Monday; for those awaiting a holiday miracle and second-chance sale on Werth, put it out of your mind. It is not going to happen. The odds of Werth returning to Philly are about the same as the possibility of a meteor landing on your house; for the record, those adds are about 182,138,880,000,000 to 1.
Did you know there is even a web site page on eHow.com dedicated to helping people determine if rumors are true? One of the suggestions says, “Send at text to (CHA CHA) 242 242 with any rumor questions and they might be able to answer your question in just a few minutes.” Is this not the basic equivalent to shaking a Magic 8-ball?
So if you prefer logic to magic text messages, just look at the facts. The Phillies already have $143 million dollars committed to 2011 salaries. Werth is going to aim for an average of $15 million a year. Nearing the $160 million dollar mark does not leave room for improvements elsewhere, like in the bullpen. Plus, while Domonic Brown may not be ready to take over full-time in right field, he is close enough. The Phillies can find help elsewhere for the one year or so until Brown is ready.
Now think about some of the moves GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has already made. If Amaro was not willing to pay to keep Cliff Lee, $15 million a year for Werth seems even more like a huge, unsustainable amount. The Phillies are also not afraid to platoon players to fill the spot, as evidenced by previous pairings like Werth and Geoff Jenkins. While this will not improve the position at all, it is possible that the Phillies will settle for a platoon of Ben Francisco and Brown if all else fails.
Players will wait to get the best offer. Remember after the 2007 season when the Phillies gave a solid 3-4 offer to Aaron Rowand to return? The Giants came in with a 5-year deal and Rowand walked. It will be the same with Werth; even if the Phillies offer a very good deal, odds are that another team will outbid them.
And if all that has not quelled your suspicions that this weekend’s rumor might be true, take it from Werth himself. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Werth said via text message about being close to signing, “Not at all. It’s very early. I will make an informed decision in due time.” So you can choose to believe the magic CHA CHA eHow text message or the verified text message sent to Salisbury. Magic or logic; you decide.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In a press conference today, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. discussed many issues including free agents, the “age” issue and the disappointing offense this year.
The hot topic of discussion centered around right fielder, Jayson Werth. Amaro did not close the door on the issue by any means, but it certainly seems like a long shot for Werth to return.
Werth stated in a later press conference that he was “looking forward to the experience of being a free agent” and that “Philly is one of the teams in consideration.” He also hired monster agent Scott Boras in September; the only reason to do this is if he is looking for a huge contract, which the Phillies likely cannot afford.
Amaro was quick to point out Werth’s struggles this year: “It wasn’t an extraordinary year. He had a tough time with men in scoring position. It wasn’t as productive a year as he’s had in the past.” In fact, Werth batted only .186 in these situations which ranks 215th out of 218 qualified players.
My gut feeling is that Werth will not be back. I predict he will be in Yankees pinstripes soon; New York is geographically in the same area plus his stepfather, Dennis Werth, played for the Yankees from 1979-1981. Not to mention that the Yanks may be one of the few teams who can afford to pay him what he wants.
As for the aging Phils, Amaro did not seem overly concerned saying that the team’s core players are “very productive players and they’re not beyond their prime years.” He also added that an injection of youth may be a good thing as well. If Domonic Brown takes over for Werth, that is one step towards getting younger.
While it was not discussed today, my thought is that moving Raul Ibanez who is owed $11.5 million next year is a good way to clear up payroll space as well as get a little younger. We love Rauuuuul…however, he has been streaky at best and will turn 39 in June. Then again, it will not be easy to move an declining player with a hefty salary so, this may not even be possible.
Also up for discussion was the lack of offensive production which prompted many questions about a possible shake-up. Amaro seems happy with the core of the team but did note that they “just didn’t have the right approach” at the plate. He also stated that, “Some guys may be looking at preparing a little differently for the 2011 season as they get older.” Amaro noted Jimmy Rollins in this category and said all the innings he has played over the years may be taking a toll.
I looked it up; among all active players, Rollins, age 31, ranks 32nd in career at-bats with 6291. Among players 31 years of age or younger, he has the 2nd most career at-bats behind only Adrian Beltre with 6874 at-bats. So yes, Rollins may need a different off-season routine to keep up this pace.
Mike Sweeney Needs A Hug
One of the most difficult moments after Saturday’s loss was watching veteran Mike Sweeney give a post-game interview. He was nearly in tears as he discussed the end of the season and contemplated his future:
Prior to the interview, Sweeney could be been seen in the background of a Ryan Madson interview, standing for a long time, still in uniform, with his head resting against his locker. After a while, he sat, clearly downtrodden, and put his head in his hands.
This was a heartbreaking scene. Sweeney has been praised by nearly everyone for his team spirit, positive attitude and for been an amazing and kind human being. His long, productive career aside, this is a quality guy and it was painful to see him in such agony after the loss, especially when he had only one at-bat the whole post-season. He did make the most it though, with a pinch hit in the NLDS.
If you would like to offer a virtual HUG to Mr. Sweeney, please visit my Facebook page, “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney” and share your thoughts. I am going to see if I can get someone to direct him to the page in the hopes that our messages of support might lift his spirits.
Thank you to all the Sweeney supporters already out there for stopping by!
Werth photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Is it just me, or does the Phillies off-season Cliff Lee trade look worse and worse every day? The cherry on the crap sundae came today when Tyson Gillies, one of the 3 players sent to Philly in the Lee trade, was arrested for cocaine possession, according to Philly.com.
The incident allegedly took place this past June in Pinellas County, Florida.
I am guessing the Reading Phillies commercial starring Mr. Gillies will be pulled. Check it out before it is gone forever…Gillies is asked by a kid if he is “fast” and Gillies brags about his base stealing speed. Yeah, he is fast alright. Cocaine will do that.
The incident took place in Clearwater while Gillies was participating in a rehab assignment for a hamstring injury that has bothered him most of the year. He was batting only .238 in 26 games for Double-A Reading.
Another player from the Cliff Lee trade, Phillippe Aumont, has severely underperformed since coming to the Phillies organization. He pitched at a 7.43 ERA in Reading and was then demoted to Clearwater in June. Aumont has publically stated that he is feeling the immense “pressure” on him, having been traded for Lee. He seemed quite worried about living up to expectations. So, we started with a head case and now we have a coke head among the group.
The third player in the trade was righty JC Ramirez whose ERA is 5.18 in 12 games for Reading. While it is still early to tell how he or Aumont ultimately will perform, right now, things do not look promising.
And are we to believe the Mariners had no knowledge of these issues before they shipped these players over to Philly? I think they knew full well what they were doing. As a result, the Phillies have been punk’d. I will be curious to see what, if anything, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has to say about the recent events. What a mess.
Photo by MLB.com
After last night’s disappointing Roy Oswalt debut plus a serious lack of offense, the Phillies were hoping to bounce back today against the Nationals. Oswalt threw one pitch and gave up a triple.
Tonight, Joe Blanton threw 3 pitches and the singles started coming. Blanton had 2 base runners with 2 outs in the 1st inning and from there, allowed 3 runs to score with a total of 5 singles in the inning.
Settling down after the first, Blanton pitched 4 clean innings but allowed another run in the 6th. He escaped the 6th with just one run thanks to an amazing diving catch by rookie Domonic Brown and then a double play after that. So it was 6 innings and 4 runs for Blanton; not great.
The Phillies bats did little to help early on, not scoring their first run until the 4th inning on a Wilson Valdez single. Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer in the 6th and then Raul Ibanez had the big knock in the 7th. His two run homer tied the game up at 4-4. Ibanez has been the Phillies hottest hitter of late, which is nice to see after he struggled the entire first half of the season. In his last 10 games before tonight, Ibanez is hitting .438.
On the other side of the spectrum, Ryan Howard is suddenly not hitting at all. He got his very first day off of the year today as a result. Manager Charlie Manuel thought a little rest could do him some good. Howard had only 2 hits in his last 5 games. Cody Ransom got a start at first base in his place.
Things were quiet again until the 9th inning when Jayson Werth walked. Ross Gload bunted him over; Brown moved him to third on a ground ball out. But the big hero was Ruiz who, with his 3rd hit of the night, singled to score Werth, giving the Phils a 5-4 lead. It was also Ruiz’s 2nd RBI of the game.
But no lead is big enough when Brad “Heart Attack” Lidge is about to come into the game. He used to be “Light’s Out” Lidge, but I have renamed him; more appropriate, I think. The first batter Lidge faced singled and a bunt moved him to 2nd. Then he walked the next batter. Get out the nitroglycerin; I feel an episode coming on. Yes, there it is…Ryan Zimmerman + fast ball down the middle = 3 run homer + Nationals win.
Let us give Lidge a few more nicknames…why? Because it will make me feel better. How about Brad “Please go back on the DL” Lidge? Or Brad “Blown Save” Lidge. It could be “BS” for short. And then there is Brad “I Suck Big Time” Lidge.
Hey Ruben Amaro Jr., you have about an hour and a half to find us a closer. WE ARE DONE WITH LIDGE! Bring Vance Worley back up if you have to. This cannot continue to happen. This team battled their as*ses off to get back in this game and Lidge BLEW IT. We, the fans, have had ENOUGH.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The deal is done. The Phillies sent 2009 runner up for Rookie of the Year, pitcher JA Happ, minor league outfielder Anthony Gose, and short stop Jonathan Villar to Houston in exchange for Roy Oswalt and a yet-to-be-determined amount of cash. It may be around $11 million.
As I said earlier, I think Happ was too high a price to pay for Oswalt. Not to mention the depletion of the farm system that Ruben Amaro Jr. used as an excuse to send Cliff Lee packing. If he was going to rob the farm, why did he not just keep Lee? Frustrating.
How the trade pans out remains to be seen. Of course, Oswalt is a great pitcher. Just hope he stays healthy. He will pitch tomorrow in DC against the Nationals. Roy Halladay also made his debut for the Phillies against the Nats in DC. Coincidence or fate? If he pitches anything like Halladay, that would be great.
I still feel bad for Happ who I think got a raw deal here with all the Phillies have put him through the last several years. And who pitches better in the 2nd half will be interesting to see. Amaro’s legacy is now riding on the combined trades of Halladay, Oswalt and Lee, plus the severely weakened farm system. Only time will tell how it all pans out.
Call me crazy, but I am not thrilled about the impending deal which would bring Roy Oswalt to the Phillies. According to CSN Philly, Oswalt has approved the trade which sends JA Happ, OF Anthony Gose and another farm player to Houston.
Why am I not happy? Take a look:
First the stats: Last year, Oswalt was 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA. Happ was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA. Happ has only pitched 3 games this year, so I do not think it is fair to compare those stats, although he has a 1.76 ERA in those 3 games. So, as for 2009, even if you add in the dreaded “sophomore slump” for Happ, he still at least matches Oswalt.
Plus Happ is younger, cheaper, under team control, composed and, looking at the performance, has pitched as well, if not better, than Oswalt. Also, CBS Sports reported that Oswalt wants to avoid a place with “a large and aggressive media contingent.” What that says to me is, Oswalt prefers to avoid pressure. This does not inspire confidence.
What also does not inspire confidence is that Oswalt is injury-prone and has a recurring back problem that many say will require surgery very soon. Oswalt will be 33 years old in August. His age, plus the injury history make me nervous. Remember the Freddie Garcia $10 million dollar disaster? Garcia arrived injured; the Phillies failed to give him an MRI and basically got damaged goods, losing $10 million dollars in the process. Before his surgery, Garcia got ONE win for the Phillies.
Not only does this trade smell just like the Garcia deal, but it also seems to be the GM, Ruben Amaro Jr. trying to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade. Amaro can’t say he did not make a move when the criticism rolls in and bad flashbacks to the Cliff Lee deal continue to surface.
Also, didn’t Amaro say the whole reason for the Lee deal was to replenish the farm system? So, now he is going to deplete that very same farm system for a less capable pitcher than Lee? Because you know it won’t just be Happ; talent from the farm system will be going too. If he was going to trash the farm system for Oswalt, why didn’t he just keep Lee?
So call me crazy, but this deal smells very, very bad to me. Nothing is final yet, so we will all be awaiting the decision and the details. Oswalt has been a top of the line pitcher, no debate there. But would you rather have a guy nearing the final years of his career who already has back issues, or a younger pitcher with big potential for many, many years to come? There are no guarantees in life, but the odds favor youth. Of course, that is just my opinion. Feel free to disagree :O)
Before today’s game against the Cardinals, the Phillies announced that Jamie Moyer would be placed on the DL after injuring his elbow yesterday. Vance Worley, 22, was called up from AA Reading to take his roster spot. Nelson Figueroa was claimed off waivers from the Astros, which is not great news. But that was the chance the Phils took when they designated Figueroa for assignment. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched 3 innings last night, was sent back to AAA.
We may see a lot of odd moves this week as the Phillies are trying to make a trade, probably for a pitcher. Rumors have Roy Oswalt in the works, but it appears he want guaranteed money through 2012, which the Phillies probably cannot afford. Ruben Amaro Jr. is probably regretting kicking Brett Myers to the curb right about now, among other things.
The Phillies have not been playing well; perhaps this is an understatement. But what makes it even harder to swallow are things like this: With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 7th inning, the Phillies do NOT pinch hit for the pitcher, Joe Blanton. With a 1-1 tie, knowing that Blanton has not gone past 6 innings all year without running into trouble, how do you not pinch hit for him here?
So the Phillies do not score as Blanton strikes out. Then in the bottom of the 7th, Blanton threw ONE pitch and it went straight out of the ballpark. Am I really the only one who saw this coming? Really? This is just one more piece of evidence to indicate that manager Charlie Manuel has NO confidence in the bullpen.
I do not know conclusively what Blanton’s issue has been this year and I do not really care at this point. Because what I do know, with overwhelming evidence, is that he cannot be counted on past 6 innings, especially in a tight game like this one. He did not enter today’s game with a 6.21 ERA for no reason. The Phillies have to know this as well, unless they are just closing their eyes and praying instead of watching the game.
Yes, the Phillies faced a very good pitcher today. So, knowing runs would be tough to come by, the Phillies should have been ready to use the bullpen. Blanton did get out of the 7th with just the one run, but he gave up the lead and then they sent him out again for the 8th.
And without recording an out, he gave up 2 runs to cushion the lead for the Cards, 4-1. Shocked? I was not. If Manuel keeps turning a blind eye in these situations, this team may not recover.
Fans are frustrated, and with good reason. Philly fans are passionate and understand the game. So it is easy to see how bad moves like we saw tonight infuriate people. We want to see our team win and these mistakes make it seem impossible. How many times do you have to bang your head against a brick wall before you realize it hurts? Not pinch hitting for the pitcher in the 7th inning with the bases loaded is equivalent to the brick wall-head scenario. Of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)
So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-1. The only run for the Phillies was a solo homer from Ryan Howard. Tomorrow afternoon, Cole Hamels will pitch and everyone is praying he can help this team avoid a demoralizing 4-game sweep. Game time is 2:15pm; tune in if you can stomach it. Just load up on Tums first.
Cartoon by http://carablake.wordpress.com/
Before tonight’s 7-1 loss to the Cardinals, Kyle Kendrick was sent back to the minors. Yesterday, he allowed 7 runs to the Cards in 5 innings and has been inconsistent all year.
Andrew Carpenter was called up to play the long-man role in the bullpen until a new starter is announced to take Kendrick’s place. It will likely be JA Happ, but an outside trade is not out of the question either.
In fact, the Phillies have now been forced to look even harder for starting pitching help as Jamie Moyer lasted only 1 inning tonight and left with a left elbow strain. Carpenter got into a game a lot quicker than he probably anticipated. He took over for Moyer in the second and pitched 3 innings, allowing 3 runs on a 2-run homer and a wild pitch that scored a runner from third.
Given the circumstance, Carpenter did a decent job. But now the Phils are in a very, very bad spot. They need pitching help and they need it now. It is unknown right now how serious Moyer’s injury may be, but the fact that it is his elbow does not bode well.
The need for pitching help was magnified in the 5th inning by another very bad outing from reliever, Danys Baez. Without recording an out, Baez walked two batters and then gave up a 3-run homer to dig a deeper hole for his team. Many people, including manager Charlie Manuel, have defended Baez throughout the year. But there is just no excuse anymore; he is clearly not the pitcher he once was and shows no signs of improving. By the way, Ruben Amaro Jr. signed this dud to a 2-year contract. Ugh.
As for the offense, it was non-existent again. Shane Victorino hit a double for the lone RBI of the game. Jayson Werth and Placido Polanco had 2 hits each, but that was basically all that happened that was positive. The Phillies did have runners on first and third with one out on the 3rd inning, thanks to great base running from Wilson Valdez. But Jimmy Rollins blew it and hit into a double play. When the guy that makes your team “go” is now making them “stop,” things are very bad.
Before tonight’s game, Rollins expressed his displeasure with the recent media coverage of the Phillies to Todd Zolecki of the Zo Zone. He said, “It’s not over. You can write it like it’s over. But the guys with the bats and the balls they control what the pen says.” Really? Well then Jimmy, show us a different result and we will show you some more positive media coverage.
Because right now, this team looks like a sunken ship. I would not even mind the losses so much if the Phils acted like they were putting up a fight.
Instead, they look like zombies out there; the spark is gone. It is like watching the colorful fall leaves turn brown, wither and die. It is a slow, painful and depressing process. Watching the life being slowly sucked out of this once great team is about as much fun as a root canal.
The Phillies still have time, but as each day passes and they fall further behind in the standings, the less likely it becomes that they will snap out of this funk before it is too late. In short, the Phillies may wind up skipping right past Fall and move straight into Winter.
Carpenter photo by Jenn Zambri Photography