Tag:Phillies
Posted on: January 27, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 3:15 pm
 

Phillie Phanatic appears in '30 Rock'

By Matt Snyder

Now that the Prince Fielder sweepstakes has ended, it's going to be a pretty slow few weeks until pitchers and catchers report to camp -- aside from when Yoenis Cespedes signs, along with a few other free agents -- so let's pass the time by giving props to the Phillie Phanatic for appearing in "30 Rock." Well done, Phanatic. The massage contracts are surely soon to be rolling in ...

The clip is below.



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Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:33 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:54 am
 

Phillies sign Pierre to minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder

Free agent outfielder Juan Pierre has signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies, the club announced Friday.

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The 34-year-old Pierre is a true pro in every sense of the word, but his on-field value at this point isn't much. He hit .279 last season, but he rarely walks and has no power, so his .657 OPS is pretty poor. Plus, he's a corner outfielder now, so the lack of power hurts his value even more. He did steal 27 bases last year, but was caught stealing 17 times.

Pierre is only going to be providing depth for the Phillies, though it's not too much a stretch to see him playing quite a bit at some point. Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence aren't going anywhere, but the left field job belongs to Laynce Nix right now, with John Mayberry the backup. You'd think Domonic Brown would get another look, but if not, Pierre is waiting in the wings.

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:22 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 5:08 pm
 

Reds trade for infielder Wilson Valdez

By Matt Snyder

The Cincinnati Reds have acquired someone capable of playing shortstop, but this news may not appease the fan base. The Reds sent left-handed pitcher Jeremy Horst to the Phillies for utility infielder Wilson Valdez.

Valdez, 33, hit .249/.294/.341 with 14 doubles, four triples and one home run last year for the Phillies in 300 plate appearances. He appeared in at least 24 games each at third base, shortstop and second base. He even pitched an inning, funnily enough against the Reds, picking up the victory in a marathon 19-inning affair on May 25.

The Reds will mark Valdez's seventh team in seven big-league seasons. He's a career .243 hitter with a pretty terrible .621 OPS. His value lies in being able to adequately back up the three aforementioned infield positions.

Of course, the Reds still face a potential hole at shortstop. Young Zack Cozart underwent Tommy John surgery in August. Since he's not a pitcher, nor was the surgery in his throwing arm, he should be ready to start the season. The Reds have him slated as the opening-day starter. If there is a setback, however, the Reds appear to have both Paul Janish and now Valdez as options. But in the most basic sense, Valdez has been acquired merely for depth.

Horst, 26, appeared in 12 games for the Reds last season, sporting a 2.93 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in his 15 1/3 innings. In Triple-A, Horst had a 2.81 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:08 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 7:50 pm
 

'Mystery Team' goes from joke to major player

Mystery Team

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Once again, the Mystery Team got its man, as Prince Fielder is headed to Detroit -- not Washington or Texas.

Last November, the idea of a "Mystery Team" was a joke -- a meme making fun of writers who dared to suggest there were things they didn't know, a team that could get by the new world order of Twitter and the 86,400 second news cycle. One blogger even called the chance of Cliff Lee signing with anyone other than the Yankees or Rangers "the invention of an agent" who was using a writer who dared to buck the status quo. That blogger even highlighted his jabs at the writer with a picture of the Mystery Machine, the vehicle of choice for Scooby Doo and pals. And it wasn't just snarky bloggers who have more jokes than information, mainstream writers got in on the meme as well.

Prince to Tigers
And then, well… Cliff Lee signed with the Mystery Team.

And so did Adrian Beltre.

But that didn't stop the barbs. After Albert Pujols went to Anaheim and now Prince Fielder to Tigers, the Mystery Team is no joke.

It's almost to the point where for the biggest of the big free agents, the Mystery Team is a favorite. And if we're not there, we're probably to the point where the Mystery Team should never be counted out of the running, and certainly to the point where it shouldn't be mocked.

The biggest reason there's more Mystery Team chatter is because there's more chatter, the people making the biggest decisions are doing so with respect to Twitter and the proliferation of outlets reporting on baseball and sports, in general. We're at the point where fans see an interviewing Theo Epstein in a Chicago Starbucks and it makes national news. The teams aren't laughing about "bloggers in their mother's basements" anymore -- it's serious stuff. If rivals learn of a team's plan, it can cost them on the field and off the field in terms of money.

In response, teams are being much more careful about where they are seen and who they are seen with. At the winter meetings, teams will use service elevators and back hallways, places unavailable to the public -- and the press -- to get around.

Also, when it comes to the highest levels of free agents, the type that could cost $100 or $200 million, you're not talking about a general manager having the final say, it's the owners who have to pull the trigger. That leads to an agent, such as Scott Boras, dealing with the money people, not the baseball people who have less of an incentive to keep quiet. The more people who know that a team is considering signing a player, the more chance it can leak out. At some point, the GM can say, "yeah, I'd love to have Albert Pujols." And that's a no-brainer. It's all up to the owner to decide if he wants to spend the money, so he meets with the agent, and maybe the player.

There are still cases like Jose Reyes, where pretty much everyone assumed he'd end up in Miami, but we're also at the point where you should never, ever count out the Mystery Team.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 10:30 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Sabathia or Lee?



By Matt Snyder


For the latest installement of this offseason series, let's match up two left-handers who used to be teammates. It's CC Sabathia of the Yankees against Cliff Lee of the Phillies. Both are north of 30 years of age yet still elite pitchers. And both are very handsomely compensated for their skills.

Each player has won one Cy Young ... for the Indians. They were together in Cleveland from 2002 until about midway through the 2007 season. The Indians ended up with the following players after trading these two aces (yes, I know Roy Halladay is technically the Phillies' ace, but Lee is ace-caliber): Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson, Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.

As an aside, I'll admit that I had a hearty chuckle in putting this one together. There aren't many things better to observe than New York and Philadelphia fans hurling insults at one another.

That being said, this is an obviously tough and very legitimate question. Let's dive in.

The case for Lee

At the age of 29, Cliff Lee turned his entire career around. He's now an elite pitcher. He was 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 2008, en route to a Cy Young award. The next two seasons he had four different zip codes, but was still far above average. In 2011, however, he finally found a home and was back as a Cy Young contender.

Would You Rather Have
For the Phillies in 2011, Lee went 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 238 strikeouts in 232 2/3 innings. Perhaps more impressive, however, were his six complete games -- all of which were shutouts, a figure that led the majors. Amazingly, his 42 walks actually marked a regression from the 18 in 2010, but it just goes to show how good Lee's control is.

And then we have the postseason. Lee is 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 89 strikeouts in 82 career playoff innings. He has owned the mighty Yankees in three career playoff starts against them. Sabathia, meanwhile, has a 4.81 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 86 career postseason innings.

Finally, we cannot discount size here. I think the people who go after Sabathia for being "fat" or "out of shape" are misguided -- he's not small, but he's as durable as anyone -- but as the two pitchers get into their mid-30s, I think it would be naive to ignore the possibility that Lee will age much better.

The case for Sabathia

Carsten Charles Sabathia has proven himself one of the biggest workhorses in baseball for the past five seasons. It would be unheard of to expect 240 innings in a season from most pitchers in the majors, but that is Sabathia's average from 2007-2011. There is no pitcher in baseball who better places the burden of carrying the entire pitching staff than Sabathia.

He gets the job done in numbers, too. He has five straight top five finishes in Cy Young voting. Last season, the big man went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 230 strikeouts in 237 1/3 innings. He was also tasked with facing the rugged AL East in one of the best hitters' parks in the majors (Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is also a hitters' park, but not near as drastic as Yankee Stadium).

The salaries -- which are gigantic -- are a wash.

Sabathia is 31 while Lee is 33, so the age tips the scale slightly in Sabathia's favor.

Our call

This is one of my toughest selections -- they had an indentical 6.9 bWAR last season -- but it's going to be Lee. While Sabathia is younger and has a longer track record of success, Lee has been a bigger shut-down pitcher, especially in the postseason. Now that he's found a long-term home, I expect that to continue.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 13, 2012 6:51 pm
 

Wood re-signs with Cubs on 1-year deal

Kerry WoodBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cubs have signed reliever Kerry Wood to a one-year deal worth $3 million with a club option for 2013, the team announced at the Cubs Convention in Chicago on Friday.

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Wood, 34, was 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 games for the Cubs last season, recording a save. He struck out 57 batters in 51 innings, walking 21. Wood was also being pursued by the Phillies, but elected to stay with the Cubs.

Since coming up with the Cubs as a starter in 1998, Wood has transitioned into a bullpen weapon, appearing in 258 games as a reliever over the last seven seasons, going 15-18 with a 3.43 ERA with 294 strikeouts in 254 2/3 innings.  He has 63 career saves, serving as the Cubs closer in 2008 and for the Indians in 2009 and 2010.

The announcement was made at the Cubs Convention and greeted with cheers by the crowd.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:10 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:45 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Halladay or Verlander?



By Matt Snyder


So, the Winter Meetings are far in the rearview, the Hall of Fame voting results have been revealed and we're just over five weeks away from the day when pitchers and catchers report to camp. With a very few free agents still lingering on the market -- I'm looking right at you, big boy -- we can't exactly start ramping up predictions, either. So let's do this instead: Argue. We'll start a series of posts where we set the table for you fans to vote in a poll and then argue below in the comments section. Who would you rather have? We'll pit two players of close value against each other and let you make the call.

Today, since it's the start of the series and we need something explosive, how about deciding if you'd rather have Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander.

The case for Halladay

Doc has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for the better part of a decade. If you didn't know much about him until he was traded to the Phillies, you either live in a very limited baseball world, don't play fantasy baseball or both. All the way back in 2002, a young Halladay was going 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA (a freaking 159 ERA-plus, people). The following year he won the Cy Young award. After injuries sidetracked him a bit for the next two seasons, Halladay went on a ridiculous run.

For the past six seasons, Halladay has averaged the following line (again, this is an average): 18-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 187 strikeouts, eight complete games, two shutouts and 236 innings. His finishes in Cy Young voting in those six years: 3, 5, 2, 5, 1, 2.

He's doing it in the playoffs, too, as Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first career postseason start and has a 2.37 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in 38 postseason innings. This is something you could use to denigrate Verlander, too, as he sports a 5.57 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in 42 career postseason innings.

The case for Verlander

Much like Halladay, Verlander keeps his bullpen well-rested. He's averaged 238 innings pitched the past three seasons with 11 complete games and three shutouts (two of those no-hitters).

Verlander is coming off a transcendent season, one in which he won the Cy Young and MVP, while leading the leads in wins, ERA, innings, strikeouts, WHIP, hits allowed per nine innings and 100-mph fastballs later than the seventh inning (among starters). Just watching this guy work leaves you in awe. How can he crank it up to 100 in the eighth or ninth after having thrown over 100 pitches in 95-degree heat in the middle of the summer? He's like a freak of nature for avoiding injury with that kind of action, too, as he's made at least 30 starts every year since being a full-time starter (when he won Rookie of the Year in 2006). And while Halladay is pretty much already guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown, it's easy to see Verlander heading that way as well.

Finally, while their salaries are a wash (both making right around $20 million per year for the next two -- Verlander for a third and Halladay has a vesting option for a third), Verlander will be 29 this season. Halladay will turn 35 in May. So if you're saying who would we want from this point forward -- which, I mean, that's pretty obvious, right? -- do you want a 29-year-old Verlander coming off the best season in recent memory or a 35-year-old Halladay?

On the other hand, Verlander's ERA hovered between 3.37 and 3.66 in his good seasons before last year -- we'll even do him the courtesy of throwing out that dreadful 2008 season. You could argue last season was his career year and he'll regress from being out-of-this-world dominant back to merely (please note sarcasm) being a stud who makes the All-Star Game and gets Cy Young votes every year.

Our call

Man, it's just such a toss up. I think I'd go with Verlander only because of age, but if he ends up being more 2009-10 again instead of the monster we saw in 2011, Halladay is better. We started off with this one because it's one of the toughest calls, pitting the current two best pitchers in baseball. There definitely isn't a wrong answer. Vote and discuss with impunity.

Fan Vote:



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Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:16 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 12:14 am
 

No extension for Hamels just yet



By Matt Snyder


The Phillies are focusing only on a one-year deal with left-handed starter Cole Hamels.

“We’ve had discussions with Cole,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said during a TV appearance Tuesday night (Philly.com). “Right now, we’re focused on a one-year deal.”

Proefrock reportedly reiterated they were only focusing on avoiding arbitration with Hamels and nothing further.

On the surface, that doesn't sound like a huge deal. Hamels is eligible for arbitration, so he's not going anywhere this year. He'll pitch for the Phillies all of the 2012 season. But he will hit free agency once the season is concluded, and that could certainly be important.

Consider that C.J. Wilson signed a five-year, $77.5 million contract in free agency this winter. Mark Buehrle signed a four-year, $58 million contract of his own. Wilson is a 31-year-old lefty. Buehrle is a 32-year-old lefty. Hamels will be 29 next winter and he's better than both Wilson and Buehrle. Six years and nine figures sounds pretty reasonable for Hamels in comparison.

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Also, Wilson and Buehrle signed in a winter where the following teams were not willing or able to spend big money on pitching: Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets and a few others. And those two still landed big offers. Look ahead to next winter and the landscape is entirely different. The Yankees have about $50 million coming off the books before next season, and the Red Sox about $30 million. The Cubs right now only have just over $33 million committed to the 2013 payroll and could blow anyone out of the water, should they choose. And what if the Dodgers and/or Mets ownership situations are finally resolved? That's a lot of teams with a lot of money that could either drive the price through the roof or steal Hamels altogether.

Simply, the Phillies will face some deadly serious competition in trying to re-sign Hamels next winter. In fact, that could very well be the reason they haven't been able to come to terms with Hamels on an extension to this point. You know Hamels' agents are looking at that list of teams and licking their chops about the possible bidding war.

One factor that might help the Phillies in retaining Hamels -- in addition to the fact that up to this point he's continually said he wants to stay in Philly -- is that the starting pitching class next free agency period is very crowded. The following hurlers could be free agents, barring extensions or options being picked up: Scott Baker, Matt Cain, Fausto Carmona, Jorge De La Rosa, Ryan Dempster, Gavin Floyd, Zack Greinke, Tim Hudson, Colby Lewis, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Ervin Santana, James Shields and several more.

Then again, is there anyone on that list you'd rather have than Hamels? Not for me.

So while this little tidbit of the Phillies only focusing on one year doesn't seem huge right now, it could very well be enormous come the 2012 Winter Meetings.

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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