Results tagged ‘ Ruben Amaro Jr. ’
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
Last night, 6-ABC Philadelphia aired a special report on the Phillies Off-Season. The report covered the weddings of Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, Jamie Moyer’s charity work, Chad Durbin’s business venture, the Phillies Cruise and Charlie Manuel’s weight loss. The Phillies Cruise coverage is about 3 minutes into the program and you can see five of my photos featured in that portion of the report with my name listed underneath:
And here are still shots of the photos as they aired in the report:
Special thanks to Scott Palmer and Scott Nickle at the Phillies and Beth Widhson at Holland America for including me in this project :O)
Earlier this week, there were a few very “minor” signings that occurred. The Phillies picked up veteran outfielder Freddy Guzman on a Minor League contract. He will not be invited to Spring Training. And veteran right-hander Oscar Villarreal was also given Minor League contract on Thursday. Villareal is coming off Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2009 season. He was with the Astros in 2008, the Braves from 2006-2007 and the D-Backs three years prior to that. With many question marks still in the bullpen, another in inexpensive, yet experienced arm hanging around is a good idea.
And if you have not seen it already, check out my report on the new Fantasy Baseball tools from Bloomberg Sports. The tools are available for pre-order now at mlb.com and will be ready to use on 2/18/10.
So the countdown to Spring Training continues…only 6 days until the truck rolls out and 13 days until pitchers and catchers report!
Photos by Jenn
On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 106th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ. The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area. The event is usually hosted by the great Harry Kalas, but sadly, he is no longer with us. This same event last year was the last time I spoke with Harry. This year, the PSWA invited his son, Todd Kalas, who spoke with great affection and admiration about his father. I have video of the speech that you can watch below.
The tone of the banquet was still very upbeat and in usual PSWA style, many great athletes and coaches from the area were honored in grand fashion. The Phillies were awarded “Team of the Year” which was accepted by Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. accepted the award for “Executive of the Year.” Former Phillie and current advisor, Dickie Noles was given the “Humanitarian” award and Von Hayes was there also as a guest.
The next set of photos are of Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr., me with broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker.
The following video shows speeches from Todd Kalas, Amaro and Manuel. Note the “jokes” about the Cliff Lee trade; Amaro playfully blamed it on Charlie. Sorry Ruben, I fail to see the humor. Ok, don’t get me started on that…here’s the video:
There were plenty of other sports icons in attendance, including the 76ers Willie Green who got the “Good Guy” award, Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Eagles player Brent Celek who was named the “Outstanding Professional Athlete” of 2009:
We also heard from Andrew Bailey who was given the “Native Son” award; Bailey grew up in the Philly area and won Rookie of the Year for the American League in 2009 as the closer for the Oakland A’s. Ruben asked who his agent was and tried to steal him away…no success I’m afraid.
The MVP of the Army Navy Game, Ricky Dobbs, was also honored as well as Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova basketball, Fran Dunphy of Temple basketball , the 1960 Eagles and many others. The full list of honorees can be seen at the PSWA web site. I also put together a Photo Album from the event which shows many of these people as well.
The highlight of the night may have been comedian Joe Conklin who does impressions of his favorite Philly sports figures. His Cole Hamels impersonation is hysterical. Take a look:
And finally, here is clip of a program that will air this Thursday at 11pm on 6-ABC Philadelphia. The show is about the Phillies Off-Season and will include some photos that I took during the 2010 Phillies Cruise last month :O)
If you live in the Philly area, set the DVR or tune in at 11pm on 2/4/10.
Photos by Jenn
Earlier this month, I showed you highlights from a 1982 Phillies Magazine. Flash forward ten years later and here are bits from a 1992 Phillies Magazine for you. Curt Schilling is on the cover and the price of the publication (seen on the bottom, left hand side) is only $2.00. In 1982, the same publication sold for $1.00. Today, the magazine / program sells for $4.99.
Inside the magazine are pages very similar to the 2009 editions; team rosters, a score sheet and several informative articles about the team and happenings around Major League Baseball. One page of interest in the 1992 edition is the player fact section, which includes the current Phillies General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr. Here he is, then and now:
And my favorite part of the old publications is being able to compare ticket prices over the years.
The chart to the left shows prices from 1982, 1992 and this coming year, 2010. The highest priced regular (non-premium seating) ticket in each year were as follows; 1982 – $7.00, 1992 – $12.00, 2010 – $60.00. Ouch!
I was in college in 1992 and remember always buying the cheapest ticket they had; then I was able to sit pretty much wherever I wanted. The Vet was huge and always had plenty of open seats. I miss those days. Now to attend a game, I need to break the bank unless I want to sit all the way up top, where players look more like ants that people. And that still costs $20.00. However, vertigo from sitting in the super high, steeply sloped seats is totally free. ;o)
By the way, I will be attending a special event this Sunday in New York City; the financial company Bloomberg has put together software in conjunction with MLB.com to provide new ways to track baseball statistics. MLBloggers were invited to preview the software and give our feedback. If any other MLBloggers will be attending, please let me know. I would love to meet you!
I will also “attempt” to do a live blog from the event, but I am unsure as to the conditions and internet connection. They said wireless will be provided, but my laptop is old and may or may not cooperate. The event will be between 12pm and 5pm on Sunday, so feel free to stop by my home page and see if I managed to pull this off ;o) Either way, I will be back with details. Wish me luck!
Amaro photo by Jenn
Today the Phillies agreed to terms with 32-year old right-handed relief pitcher Danys Baez, formerly of the Orioles. Pending the physical exam, Baez will be given a 2-year contract. He went 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 games last year, did not pitch in 2008 due to ligament surgery on his right pitching elbow and had a dismal 2007 with a 6.44 ERA in 53 games. Baez does have closing experience, which might be helpful if Brad Lidge is not ready to pitch in 2010.
However, this move is still a bit of a head scratcher. Baez had two good seasons; his rookie year in 2001 and with Tampa Bay in 2005. But his lifetime ERA is 4.04 with a record of 35-49. Charlie Manuel managed him from 2001-2001 when he played for the Indians, which we all know means that Chuck likes him a bunch, as he does most of his ex-players. It is easy to assume that played a factor in the decision.
Also, Baez is a righty, and the pen is in desperate need of lefties with only JC Romero signed and a few rookie possibilities. Scott Eyre’s future is still uncertain. So, this move tells us a few things: #1 – The Phillies are not confident that Lidge will be game-ready in April. #2 – The Phillies are willing to take their chances with the left-handed rookies, Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo. #3 – Although we do not know the contract amount yet, it is safe to assume Baez came cheap. That means, the Phillies have blown their payroll and this will be the last big move, aside from handing out a few raises.
Another pitcher whose status is uncertain is Jamie Moyer. He has had 2 surgeries already since September, 3 hospital visits, 2 blood infections, a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) and a partridge in a pear tree. Well, at least there was a little holiday cheer thrown in for him. All that and he is now scheduled for surgery #3 in January on his right knee to repair his meniscus. At 47 years of age, one has to wonder if Moyer will be able to recover from such an ordeal and come back to pitch effectively. Then again, if anyone can defy the laws of aging, it would be Moyer. I wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery!
I would also like to take this time to wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year! Be safe :O)
Photo by Jenn
The Phillies Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, when all over the field,
Not a player was stirring, as the 2009 season had been sealed.
The bats were stacked in the clubhouse with care,
In hopes that another 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 Halladay 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 National League 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 a year-old GM, ace pitcher 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, Werth! On, Ibanez 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 Roy Halladay came with a bound.
He was dressed all in pinstripes, from his head to his foot,
Having tossed his old Jays uniform, which was tarnished, with ashes and soot.
But he arrived with a smile and Charlie gave him a pat on his back,
Surely a new ace would put this team right back on track.
Roy 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 Halladay in Philly, 2010 is sure to be grand!
Roy then sprang to the sleigh, and to his new team gave a call,
“You guys are the best ballplayers of all!”
But Charlie heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Happy Halladay’s to all and to all a good night!”
***Written by: Jenn Zambri-Dickerson***
Have a safe and Happy Holiday everyone!!
With the big trades now out of the way, Phillies fans are still left wondering who will fill the voids in the bullpen for 2010. Chan Ho Park is unlikely to return as discussions with the club have not been fruitful. Scott Eyre is still a maybe and those returning from injury, like Brad Lidge and JC Romero, may not be ready to go in April. There are a number of names being tossed around like the ageless John Smoltz, Bob Howry of the Giants and Kiko Calero of the Marlins. However, it does not look like the Phils are close to a solution yet.
The two young lefties they used a bit last year who may fill some holes are Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona. Bastardo appeared in only 6 games before being put on the DL with a shoulder injury. He was very wild in the zone and oddly enough, pitched better to right-handed batters than lefties. Bastardo shows potential, but there is still a big question mark as to whether he can cut it in the Majors. Escalona pitched in 14 games and ended with a 4.61 ERA. Lefties hit only .200 off him. But at 25 years of age and lacking experience, how much he can help out as a lefty specialist is unknown.
The bottom line is, the Phillies need bullpen arms. And the ones they have need to get and stay healthy. IF GM Ruben Amaro Jr. cannot pull off a decent trade and are forced to rely on youngsters like Bastardo and Escalona, it is going to be another rocky year for the pen.
As for the rest of the team, the Phillies have guaranteed a solid infield for at least the next 2 years as they have picked up the option on Jimmy Rollins’ contract. The 8.5 million dollar option ensures Rollins will stay with the club at least through 2011.
This move was a no-brainer; Rollins is an integral part of the nucleus of this team. He is also the best dancer on the team, which in terms of sheer entertainment value, is totally worth the 8.5 million.
Photos by Jenn
During the official introduction of Roy Halladay yesterday, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. explained further why he chose to ship Cliff Lee off to Seattle. He backed off the idea of not being able to sign him past one year and moved on to replenishing the farm system. Amaro admitted this move was a risk, but one he was willing to take in order to keep the franchise winning for years to come, rather than just putting all their eggs into the 2010 basket.
As for the fans, we are all very excited to see Roy Halladay in a Phillies uniform! But many wish the ultimate pitching dream of Halladay & Lee could have been a reality. Here is a synopsis of how it all went down for the Lee fans:
5 Stages of Grief In Losing Cliff Lee:
- Denial: This cannot be happening! Lee was the only pitcher to win a game for us in the World Series!
- Anger: Noooooo! Ruben Amaro Jr., you stink!
- Bargaining: Hey Ruben, how about we keep both Halladay AND Lee? Come on….please? I’ll be your best friend :O)
- Depression: I am going to crawl in a hole; wake me in the Spring.
- Acceptance: Oh, ok. I guess it was a good business decision. I still love you Ruben :O) Thank you for a Happy Halladay!
Mr. Amaro may be the happiest person on the planet right now; he has wanted Halladay for a very long time and finally got his wish. During the press conference, Amaro referred to the acquisition of Halladay as “intoxicating.” Well, that does explain a lot about the trade I suppose. Clearly, he was drunk on Halladay Juice and made some very creative decisions. I’ll give him an A+ on getting Halladay. As for letting Lee go in exchange for the prospects, the jury is out until we see how he handles the hangover. ;o)
Well, it is the Halladay Season, so drink up Mr. Amaro! Just sober up in time for Spring Training.
By the way, the This Year In Baseball awards are in and some Phillies, plus a few of their fans, won awards. Ruben Amaro Jr. was voted Best Executive; J.A. Happ, who should have gotten the Rookie of the Year award will have to settle for the TYIB Best Rookie prize; Jayson Werth won Best Unsung Star; and the father-daughter pair who were shown all over TV after Dad caught a ball and his daughter tossed it back, were named the season’s Best Oddity.
Congrats to all!
Amaro photo by Jenn
The Phillies made it official this afternoon; Cy Young award winning pitcher Roy Halladay is now a Phillie :O) Some say he is the best pitcher in baseball. This is a huge pick up for the Phillies and an exciting day for the fans. Halladay has signed a 3-year extension, keeping him in red pinstripes through 2013 for around 20 million a year after his 1-year Jays contract is fulfilled in 2010.
So the Phillies have swapped one Cy Young winner for another and three prospects for 3 different prospects. The casualties for the Phillies include Cliff Lee, who went to Seattle plus 3 of our top 4 prospects; pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis d’Arnaud who all went to the Jays. In return, the Phillies will get 3 prospects from Seattle to restock the farm system; pitchers Phillipe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies.
The Cliff Lee trade is disappointing, but it makes sense from a business perspective as the Phillies were nearing their payroll limit and they knew for sure that Lee would be only a 1-year pitcher, testing the market after 2010. From a fan perspective, it is sad to see Lee go and one cannot help but wish we could have had both Lee and Halladay even for just the one year.
And to all the yahoo’s out there who want to shout obscenities and declare that Phillies fans do not appreciate Roy Halladay, get over yourselves. It has nothing to do with appreciating Halladay and everything to do with losing Cliff Lee. If the Yankees got Halladay and had to ship off CC Sabathia to do so, tell me Yankee fans would not be shouting from the rooftops? It is the same thing. And yes, Lee and Sabathiha have comparable stats.
We are very, very happy to have Halladay and excited to see him pitch in a Phillies uniform. But it does seem sad to lose other good players in the process, especially Lee and the three prospects. You feel like a kid at Christmas that got exactly what you always wanted, but had to give back all your other presents to do so.
I have personally spoken to Michael Taylor, as an example, and he is not only a great player, but a great person as well. One cannot help but feel disappointed to see these guys leave. And I saw Lee pitch his first game with the Phillies in San Francisco; he pitched a complete game and made it look easy. We are entitled to be upset over losing our best pitcher, as I am sure Jays fans are upset over losing theirs. Are we getting a better pitcher in return? Absolutely. But wouldn’t both be so much nicer?
That being said, Phillies fans are thrilled to finally get the big prize! Happy Halladay’s to everyone in Philly! I cannot wait until Spring Training :O)
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