Tag:Phillies
Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 5:26 pm
 

Phillies decline options on Lidge, Oswalt

Oswalt

By Evan Brunell


For all news, check out the CBSSports.com free agency tracker.

Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge are hitting the market, as the Philles declined their 2012 options on Monday.

"While we will not pick up either of their options, we will remain in contact with representatives for both players about the possibility of bringing them back for the 2012 season,”GM Ruben Amaro Jr said in a news release.  “Brad and Roy both made significant contributions to the Phillies over the past several seasons.”

Oswalt (pictured), at this point, is the better known name. The 34-year-old was acquired in a deadline deal from the Astros in 2010 and was huge down the stretch, posting a Doug Fister-like 1.74 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance. Alas, the righty couldn't keep it up in 2011 as he battled back problems that left him with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts. Oswalt's option was for $16 million ($2 million buyout) and it was a no-brainer to decline. He's still plenty young enough to have several more years left in him, but has seriously considered retirement before and could choose that route.

The bet here is that he eventually signs with a team for two years on a deal worth a bit more than $20 million in total. The Phillies could elect to bring him back, but with Vance Worley's emergence, the team isn't desperate for a starting pitcher and could allocate the money elsewhere. The Astros would be an odd fit given their rebuilding, but the Rangers make sense if he's interested in returning to Texas, as the club is unlikely to bring back ace C.J. Wilson.

Lidge, meanwhile, had a 1.40 ERA in 19 1/3 innings for Philadelphia. He struck out 23 and walked 13, missing much of the year with a right-shoulder strain. His $12.5 million option was even more of a no-brainer to decline, and he'll get $1.5 million on a buyout. He had 27 saves for the Phillies in 2010, but may find the closer's market a bit frigid thanks to both a high volume of closers hitting the market, plus increased control problems since joining Philadelphia. He'll have a market as a setup man for sure, but may need to accept a make-good one-year deal to rebuild his value.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 4:21 pm
 

Jim Thome intends to play in 2012

ThomeBy Evan Brunell

Jim Thome intends to keep playing next season, MLB.com's Jordan Bastain reports.

"I want to keep playing. I'll keep playing," Thome said. "I just have to have teams that call me. I can't go play in the backyard by myself."

The 41-year-old finished the season hitting .256/.361/.467 in 324 plate appearances and shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere to play next season. And no, it won't be his backyard. With Thome's ability to hit for power, a willingness to accept a reduced role and strong leadership skills, he should be in demand. It's possible he could stay in the AL and DH part-time, but it's just as possible he accepts a position as a pinch-hitter in the NL.

The Phillies could be a fit, as Philadelphia was linked to Thome earlier this season as a potential destination before he landed with the Indians. With Ryan Howard out due to injury and unlikely to start the season on time, having Thome off the bench could prove invaluable for Philadelphia in getting by without Howard -- and having someone to slot in the lineup if Howard struggles upon returning. A return to the Indians is unlikely given Travis Hafner's presence, but returning to the Twins is possible.

In CBSSports.com's free-agent position rankings, Thome ranked fourth among all DHs.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 3:20 pm
 

Jamie Moyer, 49, hopes to pitch in 2012

MoyerBy Evan Brunell

It's easy to forget players who haven't been heard from all season, but there are some out there still lurking that could return in 2012 and make an impact after taking a year off.

Jamie Moyer, who turns 49 in November, hopes he's one of them.

“I’d like to pitch again," the veteran left-hander told CSNPhilly.com. "I’d like to have the opportunity to walk away from the game healthy and on my own terms, and I’m willing to earn it."

Moyer was last heard from in July of 2010 as a member of the Phillies rotation. He made 19 starts, posting a 4.84 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, the latter number the best mark he had posted since 2002, when he he was 39 and had a 3.32 ERA over 230 2/3 innings as a starter. Moyer sprained his elbow and required Tommy John surgery, which wiped out the second half of 2010 as well as all of 2011. But he's nearing a return.

“If this were the middle of July, I’d be at the stage where one more good bullpen session and I’d be ready to go out on a [minor-league] rehab assignment,” Moyer said. “I’ve gone through this rehab knowing that my arm and body will stop me if they have to. So far they haven’t.”

Moyer has never been known for his velocity, but has built a career out of being durable, with a rubber arm and spotless command. All this from someone who seemingly washed out at age 29, missing all of 1992 after a weak showing in his first six seasons in the bigs, spent with the Cubs, Rangers and Cardinals. But he bounced back with Baltimore in 1993, where he remained for three years before briefly passing through the Red Sox and landing with the Mariners in a trade. That's where Moyer took off and made his name, before joining Philadelphia partway through the 2006 season and earning a ring in 2008, when he made three starts in the team's postseason race to the World Series title. Now, he's looking to play in his 25th season.

“All I can do is offer a chance to come evaluate me,” Moyer said, noting he wants any opportunity to be "serious" and not a publicity stunt. “Some clubs will say, ‘He’s 49 years old,’ but some will say, ‘Let’s give it a shot. Let’s not make any assumptions until we see him throw.’ Evaluate on what you see instead of what you think.”

Moyer was able to spend three weeks with the Phillies in their spring training home of Clearwater, Fla., working with coaches and trainers despite technically being a free agency. GM Ruben Amaro allowed Moyer to spend some time in the facility but would not promise even a spring-training invitation.

“It was very gracious of the Phillies,” Moyer said. “There were no expectations. I just wanted to be overseen by people who had seen me throw before. [Athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan knows me well and was kind enough to set up a six-week protocol for me to follow. I’m just finishing that up. I appreciate what the staff and organization did for me.”

It will be difficult for Moyer to get a job, and much of his market will likely be limited to National League teams given his pitching style. He'll probably have to compromise on what type of team he signs with, as he may have to settle for a spot on a noncontending team to pitch, or agree to start the year in the minors if he can't win a spot out of spring training for whichever teams he ends up on. The Padres might be one option, as Moyer and his family live near the city and the Padres can always use low-cost options for the rotation.  It's not clear if he would accept a minor-league assignment, but Moyer realizes what he needs to do to get a spot.

"Whatever you get in this game, you have to earn. I know I need to earn it.”

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Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Free-agent position rankings: Papelbon leads RP



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

With the free agent reliever market, it always seems to be buyer-beware, but every year teams overspend for closers and setup men. While not exactly a bumper crop this year, there are some good arms available, even if the top closers would all prefer to stay with their current teams. Still, we all know those preferences can go out the window when a higher offer comes.

Jonathan Papelbon1. Jonathan Papelbon: After a disappointing 2010, Papelbon returned to form in 2011, despite recording his lowest save total (31) since becoming the Red Sox closer. Not only was his ERA (2.94) down from 2010, he had his best strikeout rate (12.2 per nine innings) since 2007 and lowest walk rate (1.40 per nine innings) since 2008. His xFIP was 2.16, the lowest of his career. At 31, he's still an elite closer and the best available on the market. The Red Sox had been said to be interested in bringing him back and they still have the payroll to absorb a high-priced closer. Still, don't expect Papelbon to take a home-town discount.
Possible teams:  Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, Phillies

Heath Bell2. Heath Bell: When the Padres decided not to trade Bell during the season, it appeared he would be staying in San Diego. However, when the season ended with Bell not getting an extension, things became less sure. Now, Jed Hoyer is off to the Cubs and Josh Byrnes is in as the new GM. With this much change, things could easily change for Bell, who has said all along he'd prefer to stay in San Diego. The Padres may prefer to spend their money elsewhere. Bell is 34, but coming off his third straight 40-save season. One thing that could be troubling for a team is his falling strikeout rate. After striking out 10.2 per nine innings in 2009 and 11.1 in 2010, he struck out a career-low 7.3 per nine innings in 2011. His strikeout-to-walk ration was a career-low 2.43, although that was due to the lower strikeout numbers instead of more walks. Any team considering spending big money on him will have to seriously think about his age and if he's worth what he may command based on gaudy save numbers. He's also been aided by pitching at spacious Petco Park. The Padres may decide they don't need an All-Star closer and their money could be better spent elsewhere. Bell has said he would accept arbitration if offered.
Possible teams: Padres, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets, Orioles

Ryan Madson3. Ryan Madson: After several attempts earlier in his career to serve as a closer, Madson finally showed the ability to close out games in 2011, finishing with 32 saves in 34 opportunities. He's said he'd prefer to stay in Philadelphia, but that's easy to say during the season. A Scott Boras client, the Nationals have to be considered in the mix for Madson, who struck out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings, while walking just 16 batters.
Possible teams: Phillies, Nationals, Red Sox

Jose Valverde4. Jose Valverde: The Tigers hold a $9 million club option on Valverde, which is pretty reasonable for a guy who led the majors with 49 saves and didn't blow a single save all season. Valverde's last outing was far from ideal, allowing four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings of Game 4 of the ALCS, but he's still an elite closer (if not exactly the most comfortable guy to watch). Valverde would command big bucks on the open market, but it seems highly unlikely he'll be there.
Possible teams: Tigers

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero: The Reds probably won't pick up his $12 million option, but he could still stay a Red. Cordero's been a stabilizing influence on the Reds bullpen in his four years in Cincinnati, but for a team like the Reds, it makes little sense to have a closer as the highest-paid player. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and Cordero have both publicly said they'd like to work out an extension for him to stay in Cincinnati. It's similar to what the Reds did with Bronson Arroyo last offseason. The team is moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, so there's no real in-house candidate to fill in for Cordero if he leaves, so it makes sense to work out a deal. That said, someone could still pop in and make a bigger offer. The Brewers thought they had a deal with Cordero before he left for the Reds, so history could repeat itself.
Possible teams: Reds, Nationals, Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays

Francisco Rodriguez6. Francisco Rodriguez: After being traded to the Brewers, Rodriguez was not used as the team's closer, and said as a free agent, he'd like the opportunity to close again. That's not going to come in Milwaukee, where John Axford has established himself as the Brewers closer. However, after the Brewers' loss in the NLCS, owner Mark Attanasio made sure to point out just how important Rodriguez was to the team's bullpen and how much the club appreciated what he brought to the team. Although he's clearly not going to be the closer in Milwaukee, money talks -- and enough money and he may decide he can set up Axford. Sure, he spoke of being frustrated about not closing in Milwaukee during the year, but seeing the market could open his mind to other propositions.
Possible teams: Brewers, Cardinals, Orioles, Nationals, Phillies

Kyle Farnsworth7. Kyle Farnsworth: Fransworth more than lived up to his one-year deal last season, rewarding the Rays for taking a chance on him with 25 saves and a 2.18 ERA. He struck out 51 in 57 2/3 inning and had a career-best 0.988 WHIP and also his lowest walk rate of his career (1.9 BB/9). He made $2.6 million last season and the Rays have a $3.3 million club option (with a $650,000 buyout). It's basically a no-brainer to pick it up. Even if he doesn't repeat his 2011 numbers, he has the type of arm some team will want at the deadline to fortify a bullpen.
Possible teams: Rays, Mets, Marlins

Joe Nathan8. Joe Nathan: It's unlikely the Twins pick up Nathan's $12.5 million option -- that's just too rich for a guy pitching in just 48 games after missing the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery. Still, both the Twins and Nathan are said to have interest in the closer returning to Minnesota. The 36-year-old has 260 of his 261 career saves in a Twins uniform and it's hard to imagine the two sides not working something out.
Possible teams: Twins

Kerry Wood9. Kerry Wood: The 34-year-old has already said he will either return to the Cubs in 2012 or retire. Count on the former. Wood was steady in the bullpen in 2011, striking out 57 in 51 innings and also showed no need to be the closer. Steady set-up men are something every team needs, and the Cubs as much as any other team. Wood took a below-market deal to return to the Cubs last season, earning just $1.5 million, and he may be open to doing it again. If so, it seems like a no-brainer to bring him back.
Possible teams: Cubs, retirement

Jeremy Affeldt10. Jeremy Affeldt: Affeldt is a left-handed reliever, but he's not just a left-handed specialist. Sure, his numbers against lefties are better (they hit just .144/.206/.200 against him), but he can also stay in and do a good job against right-handers. That versatility adds to his value on the mariet. He's been part of the very good Giants bullpen and expect him to stay there. San Francisco has a $5 million option on him after he earned $4.5 each of the past two seasons. He's earned the pay bump with his solid numbers. If the Giants don't exercise his option, they'll likely work out a multi-year deal with the team.
Possible teams: Giants

Jonathan Broxton11. Jonathan Broxton: Coming off a disappointing 2010, the hard-throwing right-hander appeared in just 14 games and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in September to remove a bone spur and loose bodies. Once an All-Star, Broxton's first year of free agency will likely end with a one-year, incentive-laden contract. Broxton is just 27, but if he's no longer throwing 99 mph, what exactly is his worth? It's unlikely he'll get a job as a closer, but will have the opportunity to prove himself in the spring. The Dodgers appear ready to wash their hands of Broxton, despite the right-hander's statements he'd like to return.
Possible teams: Anyone but the Dodgers

Arthur Rhodes12. Arthur Rhodes: Rhodes has said he wants to pitch one more season and then retire. Rhodes has pitched for nine clubs in his career, including two this season -- the Cardinals and Rangers. While disappointing in Texas, Rhodes has rebounded with the Cardinals after being designated for assignment by the Rangers. Tony La Russa loves playing matchups, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him stay in St. Louis. 
Possible teams: Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Orioles, Blue Jays

Jon Rauch13. Jon Rauch: Rauch had 11 saves for the Blue Jays, pitching in 53 games for the Blue Jays this season. Toronto has a $3.75 million option on the 6-foot-10 right-hander, which is affordable enough. Rauch gave up 11 home runs, the most he's allowed since 2008. While a former closer, he's not exactly anyone's idea of a closer going forward. 
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Twins, Braves, Nationals

Darren Oliver14. Darren Oliver: The 41-year-old left-hander has said he'd like to pitch one more year. His 2011 proves he can still do it, appearing in 61 games and putting up a 2.29 ERA. His splits against left-handers and right-handers weren't too far off, with only his strikeout rates really spiking against lefties. He had 23 strikeouts of lefties in 94 plate appearances and 21 against right-handers in 121 plate appearances. Righties had an OPS of .594 against him, lefties .587. He's spent 10 of his 18 seasons in Texas in three stints. It seems like a perfect fit for him to return.
Possible teams: Rangers, Cardinals

Jason Frasor15. Jason Frasor: The White Sox hold a $3.75 million option for 2012, but the right-hander struggled after being part of the trade that sent him to his hometown at the trade deadline. Frasor was part of the massive three-team trade that sent Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays and Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel to St. Louis. In 20 appearances for the White Sox, he had a 5.09 ERA, but did strike out more than a batter an inning (20 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings). He had a 2.98 ERA in 44 appearances for the Blue Jays. 
Possible teams: White Sox, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks

Brad Lidge16. Brad Lidge: The Phillies declined a $12.5 million option on their former closer, giving him a $1.5 million buyout. Lidge missed most of the season with a shoulder strain, but did pitch well upon his return, putting up just a 1.40 ERA in 25 appearances, striking out 23 in 19 1/3 innings. Lidge has said he's open to returning as a set-up man, but it appears his days of closing for the Phillies are done, even with Ryan Madson as a free agent. Still, Philadelphia needed several closers to get through the season and having Lidge back could be a good backup plan. Neither side has ruled out a return for Lidge at Citizen's Bank Park.
Possible teams: Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels

Dan Wheeler17. Dan Wheeler: The Red Sox hold a $3 million option on the right-hander who will be 34 next season. After coming over from the Rays, Wheeler put up a 4.38 ERA out of the Red Sox bullpen. Wheeler spent some time on the disabled list with  a calf strain and then was unavailable down the stretch with forearm stiffness. His health will be major issue Boston's decision to bring him back. If deemed healthy, it would seem he'd have a good chance of returning to the Red Sox. Wheeler had a better xFIP (3.71) than ERA, with a high BABIP (batting average on balls in play) than he did in either of the past three seasons (.272).
Possible teams: Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels

Frank Francisco18. Frank Francisco: Francisco is a Type B free agent, and the Blue Jays will likely offer him arbitration. The 32-year-old right-hander came over in the Mike Napoli trade and picked up 17 saves for the Blue Jays, putting up a 3.55 ERA in 54 games. He struck out 53 in 50 2/3 innings, walking 18. He's not exactly anyone's first choice for a closer, but he could go into a camp and compete for that job, or at least be a fill-in while some team's closer is injured.
Possible teams: Blue Jays, Nationals, Astros, Padres, Phillies

Chad Qualls19. Chad Qualls: San Diego is expected to decline the $6 million option on Qualls. Qualls appeared in 77 games for the Padres in 2011, putting up a 3.51 ERA in San Diego. The Padres are reportedly interested in bringing him back, just not at $6 million. He thrived at Petco Park, earning a 2.09 ERA at home and 5.05 on the road, so it's not a stretch to expect that he would have interest in returning to the Padres.
Possible teams: Padres, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Angels

Matt Capps20. Matt Capps: Just 28, the right-hander is a former closer for the Pirates, Nationals and Twins, but saw his strikeout rate (4.7 per nine innings) and fastball velocity (92.9 mph) drop this year and his ERA rise to 4.25, hardly the way you want to enter free agency. Capps made $7.15 million last season, earning 15 saves for Minnesota. He'll take a pay cut in 2012, likely signing another one-year deal, hoping to re-establish his worth. 
Possible teams: all of them

Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

Free-agent overall rankings: Position players | Pitchers

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Players association announces award nominees

By C. Trent Rosecrans

For those who love to debate awards selections, the players association has announced its finalist for the Players Choice Awards, voted on by the players. The winners will be announced Nov. 3 on MLB Network.

So, because you can't wait, here are your nominees:

American League
Outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox), Curtis Granderson (Yankees)
Outstanding pitcher: James Shields (Rays), Justin Verlander (Tigers), Jered Weaver (Angels)
Outstanding rookie: Jeremy Hellickson (Rays), Eric Hosmer (Royals), Mark Trumbo (Angels)
Comeback player: Bartolo Colon (Yankees), Jacony Ellsbury (Red Sox), Casey Kotchman (Rays)

National League
Outstanding player: Ryan Braun (Brewers), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks)
Outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks), Clayton Kershow (Dodgers)
Outstanding rookie: Freddie Freeman (Braves), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Vance Worley (Phillies)
Comeback player: Lance Berkman (Cardinals), Jose Reyes (Mets), Ryan Vogelsong (Giants)

Overall
Player of the Year: Gonzalez, Granderson, Verlander
Man of the Year: Paul Konerko (White Sox), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals), Michael Young (Rangers)

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 9:06 pm
 

Howard surgery complete, long road ahead

By Matt Snyder

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard had successful surgery on his left Achilles tendon Wednesday. According to a release from the team, Howard had completely torn the tendon and his surgery was completed in Baltimore by Dr. Mark Meyerson.

Howard will be immobilized for one to two weeks and in about a month he might be ready to start doing strengthening exercises.

"It's going to be five to six months from the surgery until he can play at his accustomed level," said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

More Phillies coverage
"A lot depends on how he recovers," said Amaro.  "The start of the season could be impacted, but I still hope he makes his first at-bat of the season."

That's a very "aggressive" recovery period, however, tweets Will Carroll, SI.com's injury analyst. Carroll noted that normal recovery time is nine to 12 months, so it's possible Howard could miss the entire 2012 season -- though that's obviously the worst-case scenario. And Carroll did say six months is possible. Even if Howard does battle back to the diamond six months from right now, that's April 12. So, simply, the start of his season will be impacted, whether he's on the shelf or working himself into game shape on the fly.

Howard ruptured his left Achilles' tendon while making the final out in Philadelphia's 1-0 loss to St. Louis in the deciding game of the NLDS last Friday night.

Howard, 31, hit .253/.346/.488 with 33 home runs and 116 RBI for the Phillies this season. He begins a five-year, $125 million contract next season.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 11, 2011 2:26 pm
 

Jimmy Rollins seeking five-year deal

By Matt Snyder

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is about six weeks away from turning 33 years old, and he's heading to free agency. Though he didn't mention dollars, Rollins told members of the media Tuesday he has a specific contract length in mind.

"I'm looking to get five years," Rollins said (Philly.com). "If it's going to be shorter, there would have to be a fifth-year option or something like that. My option."

More Phillies coverage
Rollins won the NL MVP in 2007, but since then his combined line is .261/.325/.412, which just isn't very good. He can still run (30 steals in 2011), hit for power on occasion (16 homers in 2011) and play good defense, but Rollins is far from an elite player. Giving him a five-year deal as he plays past his prime and into his twilight years wouldn't be very advisable.

Also contained in that Philly.com story is the fact that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said he is going to fill the closer job via free agency. It might mean bringing back Ryan Madson, but it also might mean going after someone from outside the organization. The big-name free agent closers this offseason are Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell and Francisco Rodriguez.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 9, 2011 5:40 pm
 

Francona: Philly tougher than Boston

By Matt Snyder

Terry Francona has managed in two of the tougher cities to manage baseball in the majors, in terms of the gereral reputation of the fans. And he believes the Philadelphia fans are harder to please. He spoke about it briefly during the rain delay in Saturday night's ALCS Game 1 (via Larry Brown Sports, as I didn't watch the rain delay coverage):
“Philly was tough,” Francona admitted. “We were so bad, that was tough.

“Boston, they’re emotional and they care, but they want you to do well so bad. In Philadelphia, they want you to do well, but you better throw strike one, or they’re going to get nasty in a hurry.

“Those are two tough places,” he concluded.
Make note of the fact that Francona said the Phillies were bad when he managed there. Of course, when expectations get heightened, fans in general demand more. I always avoid giving blanket generalities about fan bases, because every single fan base in every single sport has lots of great fans and lots of jerks. That's just how it is. So this isn't Francona saying every individual Philly fan is nasty, it's just him saying in general the fans are tougher on the team there.

Francona made the remarks during his broadcasting debut for Fox. And he was a great color commentator. Some of the most excruciating color men in sports try to be cute, funny, the center of attention and hog the broadcast. Francona was simply a baseball man talking baseball during the game. No gimmick, just here are my thoughts. It was solid. If he doesn't get a job managing, hopefully someone picks him up as a national commentator.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com