Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:41 pm
By Matt Snyder
The 2011 Phillies sported an MLB-best 102-60 regular-season record, but then lost a heartbreaking Game 5 in the NLDS, 1-0, to the eventual World Champion Cardinals. Rubbing salt in the wound was slugger Ryan Howard tearing his Achilles tendon on the final out of Game 5. He's expected to miss around two months. With him missing time, the Phillies aging stars a year older and a much tougher division in 2012, is the window of opportunity for another World Series title starting to close with this nucleus? It's certainly not closed, but it may be headed that way.
Major additions: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, OF/IF Laynce Nix, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome
Major departures: OF Faul Ibanez, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Ben Francisco
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Jim Thome/Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, 1B
6. John Mayberry, LF
7. Placido Polanco, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
Ryan Howard will obviously man 1B and slide in the lineup at cleanup when he's ready to take the field, but it doesn't sound like that's happening until late May, if not later.
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton
Kyle Kendrick waiting in the wings if someone goes down.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up: Antonio Bastardo
Important bench players
C Brian Schneider, OF Juan Pierre and whoever isn't starting at 1B (see lineup above)
Prospect to watch
Domonic Brown isn't a prospect anymore and much of the Phillies top prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors, so it's slim pickings here -- as to be expected with an elite, veteran club. I'll go with Phillipe Aumont, a relief pitcher headed for Triple-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings once he was promoted to Triple-A last season. Control was an issue, as he walked 14 guys, leading to a 1.54 WHIP, but he certainly has the strikeout capability to contribute to the bullpen later in the season if he gets things figured out. Considering the Phillies are counting on the likes of Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis in the bullpen, the chances an injury or underperformance open up a spot in the 'pen after a few months are pretty good.
Fantasy bust: Hunter Pence
"Before you hop aboard the hype train and ride it all the way to crazy town, you might want to remind yourself that theonly aspect of his game that changed for the better last year was his batting average. He didn't gain any power. He didn't walk more or strike out less. He didn't fundamentally change as a player. He simply got better results, putting together a .361 BABIP instead of his usual .305 or so. It wouldn't be the first time. He had a .377 BABIP as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .322. But the peripherals suggested it was too good to be true then, and they do now as well. Pence is an asset in Fantasy because of his job security and 20-homer power, but he's a .280 hitter who can't take a walk." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]
Fantasy sleeper: John Mayberry
"General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made the comparison. Manager Charlie Manuel has made the comparison. It's Mayberry's identity now: the next Jayson Werth. For the Fantasy owners who have played long enough to remember when Werth rose from obscurity to put together a 20-20 season in 2008, that's cause for celebration. But is it a reasonable expectation? Hey, Mayberry is more of a certainty now than Werth was then, having hit 15 homers in 267 at-bats last year. Like Werth, he's a former first-round pick who, like Werth, didn't begin to meet his potential until his late 20s. And like Werth, he happens to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]
World Series champs. By now, anything less is a disappointment for a group with so much talent and postseason experience.
The offense badly struggles without Howard -- who falls behind in his rehab and misses three months -- with age declines limiting production from the likes of Utley, Rollins and Polanco. Worley comes back to Earth after his insane 2011 season and Blanton continues to struggle with injuries. Even with all that, the Phillies would still be good enough to be a playoff contender, even in the mighty NL East, due to the new two-wild-card playoff format. It's hard to envision enough things going wrong to have them finish below the Braves, Marlins and Nationals. Maybe two of the three -- in a worst-case scenario -- but not all three.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Antonio Bastardo, Brian Schneider, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Qualls, Chad Qualls, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Domonic Brown, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, John Mayberry, Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Contreras, Juan Pierre, Kyle Kendrick, Laynce Nix, Matt Snyder, Phillies, Phillipe Aumont, Placido Polanco, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, spring training, spring training 2012, Ty Wigginton, Vance Worley
Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:19 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
The Phillies recently doled out $50 million to Jonathan Papelbon and last year gave Cliff Lee $120 million -- make no mistake, the Phillies are a large-market club using its money to lure top free agents. They've also sent prospects to get Roy Halladay in recent years, so there's been enough talent in the system to lure other teams into making big trades. This team knows what it wants and goes and get it -- by any means necessary. In this exercise, that's not possible. The Phillies, in this hypothetical, aren't the prohibitive favorite they were for the majority of 2011, but they're hardly the Cubs.
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Jimmy Rollins, SS
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Scott Rolen, 3B
6. Marlon Byrd, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
1. Cole Hamels
2. Gavin Floyd
3. Vance Worley
4. Randy Wolf
5. Brett Myers
Closer - Ryan Madson
Set up - Antonio Bastardo, Alfredo Simon, Brad Ziegler, Michael Stutes, Kyle Kendrick
Long - J.A. Happ
Notable Bench Players
Nick Punto can play a ton of positions, but, well... There's also Pat Burrell and Jason Jaramillo, which may not be deepest bench.
The lineup -- when healthy -- is still pretty darn good. The rotation, while not exactly the historic rotation that the Phillies rolled out in 2011, is nothing to sneeze at and the bullpen is deep and talented. There's a bit to like here in all aspects of the game.
The health question, and age, are huge here. Utley, while still a very good player when he's on the field, he's had a multitude of injuries. Rolen played in just 65 games last season (for the Reds). Brown has yet to establish himself as an everyday player, but he is talented. And then there's the bench, which has Punto to play every position, but not much else.
Comparison to real 2011
This team may be in the wild card race, but there's no way it finishes 102-60. That said, there's a chance it could compete for the NL East title (even though I do love the Braves chances in this exercise). The starting pitching isn't as good, but the bullpen has enough arms to keep things close. There's also so depth that's not listed on this roster in guys like Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco and Josh Outman that aren't going to wow you, but certainly help depth-wise and could play a role as a spot starter or in the bullpen in the course of a long season. The Phillies may buy some players, but they've also developed enough to stay competitive.
Next: Chicago White Sox
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Tags: Alfredo Simon, Antonio Bastardo, Brad Ziegler, Brett Myers, Carlos Carrasco, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Domonic Brown, Gavin Floyd, Homegrown, J.A. Happ, Jason Jaramillo, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Outman, Kyle Drabek, Kyle KEndrick, Marlon Byrd, Michael Bourn, Michael Stutes, Nick Punto, NL East, Pat Burrell, Phillies, Randy Wolf, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, Scott Rolen, Vance Worley
Posted on: August 23, 2011 2:47 pm
By Evan Brunell
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation, the team announced.
Hamel's injury isn't particularly serious, but Philadelphia is already 6 1/2 games up in first place, plus second-place Atlanta is 8 1/2 up in the wild card, leaving the Phillies in virtually no danger of missing the postseason. And if, in fact, an epic collapse is on the way, it won't be because Hamel was placed on the disabled list. He will rest and recuperate until eligible to be activated on Aug. 29 for a start against the Reds, with the DL stint retroactive to Aug. 13.
Utilityman Pete Orr was recalled to take Hamels' spot on the roster. It's not yet clear who will replace Hamels in the rotation, although that figures to be Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick has assumed a long-man's role this season and has already made 12 starts on the year, coupled with 17 relief appearances, throwing up a 3.24 ERA for his efforts. While you can expect some regression from Kendrick, who has pitched over his head so far, he should function well as the No. 5 starter. The Nos. 1-3 in the rotation are still aces, and Vance Worley is no slouch out of the No. 4 spot, so while Hamels' loss is a blow, the team should weather it.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 30, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:00 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
BASEBALL FOR EVERYONE: A friend of mine has spent a good 15 years of his professional career around his great love, baseball. He's hoped to share that love with his son, named for his favorite player, Nolan Ryan. The two watch games on TV, but haven't been able to experience the game live.
Nolan hasn't been able to sit in the stands and wish for a foul ball to come his way or walk out of the concourse and see the field, hear the crowd roar as Ichiro Suzuki rounds second on his way to third or hear the pop of a Felix Hernandez fastball.
You see, two years ago, like any other toddler, Nolan ate some peanut butter. Soon, he could't breathe and broke out into hives. His parents loaded him into the car and rushed to the hospital. At one point, his mother decide they couldn't wait any longer and called 911 and they pulled over to the side as an ambulance rushed to their aid, closing the I-5. The paramedics were able to get it under control and doctors told them Nolan wouldn't have lasted much longer.
Nolan was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. Since then, they've noticed symptoms in their son if there is even peanut dust in the air. Safeco Field or any stadium was like walking into a poison trap for Nolan.
Well, that won't have to be the case -- as the Mariners are one of the teams hosting peanut-free games this season, an increasing trend according to this Reuters article. Peanut allergies have doubled over the last decade, and nobody is sure why.
Five times a season, the Tigers offer peanut-free suites at discount prices, the next is Sunday against the Giants and all 70 seats are sold, the Detroit News reports. That's a good sign and hopefully encourages more of this.
PHILLIES GOOD: OK, this is hardly breaking news, but the Phillies' rotation is really, really good -- and that's even without Roy Oswalt.
David Hale of the News-Journal does the math for us, the current five starters in the rotation -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick -- are a combined 12-3 with a 1.33 ERA in June with hitters managing just a .194 batting average against. WIth Halladay, Lee and Worley starting this month, the Phillies have gone 13-0.
BLAME BUD: While Bud Selig is 100 percent right to want Frank McCourt out as the Dodgers' owner, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan writes that it's Selig's fault McCourt is in this position to begin with. Instead of finding the best owner for the team in 2004, Selig went with someone who would be on his side.
EXTENSION FOR HARDY: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is on several team's trade wishlist, but he may not be going anywhere. The Orioles have reached out to Hardy's agent to talk about an extension. Hardy is a free agent after the season. [Baltimore Sun]
NO FIRE SALE: After the Cubs released Doug Davis, general manager Jim Hendry met with the media and assured them there would be no "fire sale." While nobody wants the bloated contracts of Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Zambrano, Hendry insinuated he wouldn't trade the likes of Carlos Marmol or Ryan Dempster. [Daily Herald]
NO FIRE SALE… YET: The Dodgers haven't started "substantive" trade talks yet, but could begin doing so after the break, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets.
ZIMMERMAN'S CHANGES: Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has struggled after rebuilding his throwing mechanics during a season, including allowing the game-winning run with a throwing error on Wednesday. But Zimmerman is convinced he's doing the right thing and it'll pay off in the end. [Washington Post]
ROENICKE, GREINKE MEET: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke met with right-hander Zack Greinke to "clear the air" after Roenicke felt some of his postgame comments were misinterpreted by the media after Greinke's two-inning start against the Yankees. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
BUCHHOLZ OUT PAST BREAK: After throwing a bullpen Tuesday, Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz said he won't make his next start and could be out until after the All-Star break. Buchholz is dealing with a muscle strain in his back. [Boston Herald]
STRASBURG'S MECHANICS: Stephen Strasburg is back throwing off a mound, but his mechanics look the same, some observers say. Does he need a change? Sports Illustrated's Will Carroll says he doesn't know (and if Will doesn't know, I certainly don't), but it would be wise for the Nationals to look into some biomechanics analysis to make sure his mechanics weren't the reason for his arm injury.
ECKSTEIN NOT RETIRED: Former Angels (among other teams) shortstop David Eckstein says he's not retired, he's just choosing not to play. There are teams that would be interested in the game's leader of grit, but isn't sure if he wants to return. He sounds like he just needs to be wined and dined in the right way and he'd return. [Los Angeles Times]
NAME GAME: Just as Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was responsible for Pete Rose's nickname, "Charlie Hustle," another Hall of Famer hung the moniker "Donnie Baseball" on Don Mattingly. Mattingly said Kirby Puckett gets credit for the nickname. [MLB.com]
NAME CHANGE: Remember the old XFL and Rod "He Hate Me" Smart? The CPBL -- the Chinese Professional Baseball League of Taiwan -- is apparently trying some sort of similar name-changing gimmick with its foreign players. One of those is former Royal Dan Reichert who is now Robert 38. [FanGraphs.com]
DODGERS DREAM TEAM: Steve Garvey has put together what he calls a "Dream Team" to buy the Dodgers, including another former Dodger, Orel Hershiser. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]
DIFFERENT DERBY: The Midwest League featured a different type of home run derby, which featured a hitting contest with more than 50 targets and prizes, including a dunk tank. Really, though, the biggest improvement over the big-league version is the absence of Chris Berman. [Benjamin Hill]
BUTCH'S TIRADE: Former big-leaguer Butch Hobson is now a manager in an Independent League, but his tirade from the other night is certainly worthy of the majors. Check him out has he does a combination of Lloyd McClendon and Terrell Owens. [h/t ItsAlwaysSunnyInDetroit.com]
MASCOT FAIL: Is that a sock or are you just happy to see me? Check out this independent league mascot in Amarillo, Texas. Yep. That's not good. [h/t Big League Stew]
BRING A PACKED LUNCH: I've always wanted to go see a game on one of the Wrigley Field rooftops, and I'd still like to -- I'm just not sure I would eat anything they have. Several rooftop businesses failed their health inspections recently. [Chicago Tribune]
CIVIL WAR-STYLE GAME: If you're in Savannah, Ga., this weekend, you have plenty of entertainment and dining options, but how about checking out some baseball at a Civil War fort? Fort Pulaski will host a game Sunday featuring rules from 1860. [Connect Savannah]For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alfonso Soriano, Brewers, Bud Selig, Butch Hobson, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Zambrano, Chone Figgins, Clay Buchholz, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Cubs, Dan Reichert, David Eckstein, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Doug Davis, Frank McCourt, J.J. Hardy, Kerry Wood, Kirby Pickett, Kyle Kendrick, Mariners, Mickey Mantle, Nationals, Nick Swisher, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orel Herschiser, Orioles, Pete Rose, Phillies, Red Sox, Ron Roenicke, Roy Halladay, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Steve Garvey, Tigers, Vance Worley, Yankees, Zack Greinke
Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 6:24 pm
By Matt Snyder
BASEBALL TODAY: There's no more tasty matchup than Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander squaring off in Fenway Park as the Tigers take on the red hot Red Sox. Also, how will CC Sabathia, Jair Jurrjens and Madison Bumgarner fare? I discuss all of these items in CBSSports.com's Baseball Today. See above.
MOST MARKETABLE: Three baseball players check in as members of the top 50 most marketable athletes in the world. Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is at the top with LeBron James second. The MLB guys are Albert Pujols (25), Joe Mauer (31) and Brian Wilson (34). (SportsMedia.com) Great, so now everyone is going to grow out a beard like that?
MORE ON PHILLIPS' VISIT: Remember the story about Brandon Phillips going to watch a 14-and-under All-Star game being played by one of his Twitter followers? Well, the Dayton Daily News has the full story. Not only did Phillips show up, but he stayed for six innings. Here's what the parents of the young Twitter follower, named Connor, had to say about Phillips: "[He was] bombarded by people. He must have signed a hundred autographs. Connor kind of wanted to invite him into the dugout to give him some relief, but it seemed like Brandon was enjoying himself. And whenever Connor got up to hit, he’d always stop and watch him." Connor ended up gathering two singles and a double in front of Phillips, as his team won 12-4. As for Phillips' comments? “I had a good time. The parents were really into the game. Everybody had a lot of fun, and it reminded me again of why I play and why I do what I do on the field ... and off. It’s about love. I just love the game.”
ACKLEY KID: Michael Pineda's done a decent job (understatement alert) in his rookie campaign, so what about the Mariners promoting their top hitting prospect, Dustin Ackley? Once Stephen Strasburg was off the board, you may have quit paying attention, but Ackley was the second overall pick in that draft. Ackley plays second base and is swinging a good bat in Triple-A -- .280 average with six home runs, 21 RBI, 27 runs, nine doubles, six stolen bases and an .844 OPS in 40 games. Thus, it's rather obvious why Mariners fans would be pining for the 23 year old. The always-thoughtful Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times discusses why Ackley hasn't gotten the call yet and when he might get it (hint: sometime in June).
NEW RIVALRY: A good discussion with the writers on StLtoday.com: Has the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry been surpassed by the Cardinals-Reds? I'll weigh in as our resident Cubs fan. I think there's a difference between historic fan rivalries and present on-field rivalries. I don't think the rivalry between Cubs and Cardinals fans would ever be surpassed by that of the Reds vs. Cardinals in terms of historic stature, but in 2011 as a stand-alone season, it's Reds-Cardinals and it's not even close. This is because those are the two best teams in the division and they seem to genuinely dislike each other. To use another midwest example, Indiana and Purdue are always top rivals in basketball, but with Indiana down the past few years, Purdue had much bigger games on the slate.
MORE ON THE CARDS-REDS: Meanwhile, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan calls remarks made by Reds announcer Marty Brennaman "classless." (StLtoday.com)
THE UNKNOWN: The first round of the MLB draft is June 6, and the Pirates are narrowing down the field for their first selection. It's interesting to say that because for the first time since 2008, it's not a foregone conclusion who the top pick is going to be. Both Strasburg and Bryce Harper were the obvious No. 1 picks in the past two drafts. On the flip-side, the Pirates are considering around five different players. Reportedly, the three favorites are UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen. (MLB.com)
POSTING CHANGE: NPB (that's Japan's professional league to those unaware) may change it's posting system for players looking to sign with Major League Baseball. The most famous posting issue is when the Red Sox ponied up just over $50 million just for the rights to exclusively negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. By the time the Red Sox signed him to a contract, they'd paid over $100 million. There are lots of other cases, obviously, that's just the most notorious. Anyway, the proposed change would be to award negotiating rights to the top three bidders. This would probably help the players make more money and be more fair to the bidding MLB teams. (NPB Tracker)
DEROSA DOWN: Giants third baseman Mark DeRosa is out "for a long time" after re-injuring his surgically repaired wrist. This may speed up a move of Aubrey Huff across the diamond with Brandon Belt taking over at first base -- at least until Pablo Sandoval is ready to come back. (SFgate.com) While we're here, I'm going to stand up for DeRosa as a man to the Giants fans (it's a minority, so let's not paint the entire fan base with one brush) celebrating his injury just because he's underperformed on the field. DeRosa is a great guy and great teammate. It takes a special kind of (bad) person to wish chronic injuries on someone else, especially when those bad wishes are upon a good person. Oh, while we're here ...
WHY THOLE QUIT TWITTER: Mets catcher Josh Thole joined Twitter to interact with fans, and instead had to close his account because he was tired of everyone taking shots at him -- including one loser who said he didn't care if Thole died. (NYDailyNews.com) It's amazing how "tough" people get under the cloak of anonymity. Actually, amazing is the wrong word. It's pathetic. There are few places where I'll ever break out the sanctimony, but this is one of them. If you use the Internet to tell people you want them dead because of how they play baseball -- or anything comparable such as political views, religious views, favorite musicians or taste in TV shows -- you are dregs of society and seriously need to get a life.
RECOVERED RINGS: Kyle Kendrick had his 2008 World Series championship ring stolen from his home on March 30, but it has been recovered by police in an unrelated investigation. There were several other items recovered by police, including Kendrick's 2009 NLCS ring. (CSNPhilly.com)
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Tags: AL Central, AL Central, AL East, AL East, AL West, Albert Pujols, Brandon Phillips, Braves, Brian Wilson, Cardinals, CC Sabathia, Dustin Ackley, Giants, Jair Jurrjens, Joe Mauer, Josh Beckett, Josh Thole, Justin Verlander, Kyle Kendrick, Madison Bumgarner, Mariners, Mark DeRosa, Mets, NL Central, NL East, NL East, NL West, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Tigers, Twins, Yankees
Posted on: May 7, 2011 11:19 am
By Evan Brunell
BEST MATCHUP: Justin Verlander (2-3, 3.75 ERA) will look to stop the Tigers' recent streak of futility when Detroit takes on Toronto, who will counter with Ricky Romero (2-3, 3.00 ERA). Both Verlander and Romero are two of the league's better pitchers in the early going. Romero had his previous start pushed back two days after straining his left oblique muscle. That injury is something to watch, given recent rash of obliques knocking players out for extended periods of time. Romero is also looking to build on the momentum of defeating the Yankees to break a personal three-game losing streak. Verlander, meanwhile, will attempt to narrow the gap between himself and Cliff Lee for baseball's lead in strikeouts. Lee has 60 on the night after a brilliant 16-K effort Friday night while Verlander is currently at 51. Tigers at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. ET
PHENOM LOOKS TO EXTEND STREAK: The Atlanta Braves withstood Lee's outburst to take out the Phillies for its sixth straight victory, which pushed Philly's edge in the NL East to 3 1/2. Atlanta still has to leapfrog the Marlins, who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves and face the Nationals Saturday. Atlanta will toss out rookie Julio Teheran, who is making his first career start in a spot start. Teheran is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the game and is not even of drinking age. The Braves' rotation is all sorts of silly deep, isn't it? Philly will counter with one of its non-aces, as Kyle Kendrick replaces Roy Oswalt in the rotation. It will be Kendrick's first start of the year after making eight relief appearances, tossing 13 innings of a 2.08 ERA but with a horrid 2/8 K/BB ratio. He's going to have his hands full with the streaking Atlanta squad. Braves at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET
CELLAR DWELLERS: Not every day you advocate a game between two of the worst teams in the NL, but hey. Houston and Pittsburgh are actually both holding their own so far, with the Bucs checking in at a 15-17 record and Houston 13-19 and playoff aspirations still firmly in hand. Teams aside, this is an intriguing pitching matchup, as Bud Norris is breaking out before our very eyes. He's improving his command the more he pitches and now has to be talked about in the same vein as Brandon Morrow and could even be better than his Jays counterpart. Opposing Norris is Charlie Morton and his new Roy Halladay pitching motion which has delivered a 3.75 ERA thus far. However, a 5.40 BB/9 means the wheels will fall off anytime now. How long can Morton continue to defeat inevitability? Astros at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET
Posted on: January 11, 2011 5:05 pm
Ever since the Phillies signed Cliff Lee, it's been assumed Joe Blanton is on his way out of Philadelphia.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tells MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that he continues to shop the right-hander, but doesn't have to deal Blanton, who will make $17 million over the next two seasons.
"I really don't have to do anything," Amaro said. "We'll see whether it makes some sense to increase some flexibility for us for later on, but at some point, as I've said, we've just got to see what we've got in Spring Training and move on from there."
Blanton, 30, was 9-6 with a 4.82 ERA last season, pitching 175 2/3 innings -- his lowest total since breaking into the majors full-time in 2005.
By holding onto Blanton, the Phillies aren't selling low on a pitcher that won 42 games in his first three full seasons and 30 in the three since. While owed a lot of money, Blanton's been a dependable innings-eater throughout his career and there seems to be little reason to doubt that trend will continue. Come spring training, injuries will always create a need for a team to go out and get a starter, right now the Phillies have little leverage.
Right now, Philly has its formidable foursome with Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, with Blanton serving as the fifth starter. The team also has Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley who could step into that position. Kendrick was 11-10 with a 4.73 ERA last season, while Worley has started one game in the big leagues.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 1:42 pm
CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler is cruising the bar area at the hotel here at the Winter Meetings (that's coffee in his cup, I swear!) and here's a little bit of what he's hearing:
• The Phillies are listening to offers for starter Kyle Kendrick (pictured), who could interest several teams. The top of their rotation is set, and they don't think they can move Joe Blanton, so that means Kendrick could bring something in return.
• The Phillies are looking for a right-handed platoon guy to split time with Domonic Brown in right, but they don't want to spend a whole lot of money. That's where Jeff Francoeur may fit in. The team doesn't have a whole lot of money left to spend, and could be looking for someone to be "the next Jayson Werth." It's a nice theory, at least.
• The Tigers would love to bring back Magglio Ordonez, but aren't sure they can afford him. They're selling pizzas for just $5, so money is getting tight in Detroit.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.