Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:18 pm
DALLAS -- The Astros may have an interim general manager (Dave Gottfried) as they work toward under new owner Jim Crane, but the mandate remains the same: Cut and chop as major rebuilding continues.
The Astros are looking to trade pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers along with outfielder Carlos Lee, and to get that task done, they're telling teams here that they'll pay half of the salaries of Myers and Lee.
Rodriguez? With pitching scarce on the free agent market, the Astros are holding out hope that they can make him their biggest score. Rodriguez is due $10 million in 2011 and $13 million in 2012, and the Astros as of now do not intend to pick up any portion of that.
Sources say the Astros will field inquiries while waiting for free agent lefty Mark Buehrle to sign. That will help establish the market and then the Astros feel like they'll have a better idea of what they can get for Rodriguez, who went 11-11 with a 3.49 ERA in 30 starts for Houston last summer.
Myers (7-14, 4.46) is due $11 million in 2012 with a club option for $10 million in 2013 with a $3 million buyout. Lee (.275/.342/.446 with 18 homers and 94 RBI in 155 games) is due $18.5 million in 2012, the final year of his contract.
Posted on: October 27, 2009 9:32 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2009 9:35 pm
NEW YORK -- Looking for any edge in what figures to be a classic and closely contested World Series, the Phillies on Tuesday made one roster change, activating pitcher Brett Myers and dropping infielder Miguel Cairo.
Myers, a hard-throwing righty, made one appearance against Colorado in the NL Division Series, but the Phillies did not include him on their NL Championship Series roster against the Dodgers. During his stint against the Rockies, two-third of an inning, he walked two batters.
"We felt like we needed another pitcher because the moves that we've been making in situations, we ran through five pitchers in one inning against the Dodgers," manager Charlie Manuel said. "And I feel like if those things happen again, we always need pitching."
Not to mention the fact that the Yankees scored the most runs in the majors this year.
"I feel like with Myers' stuff and the fact that he's in better shape and he's well and ready to pitch," Manuel said. "I feel like his talent actually belongs on our staff."
Dislikes: The Yankees can't actually allow Chad Gaudin anywhere near a World Series start, can they? ... Game 1 on Oct. 28. What a joke. ... The hoopla surrounding Michael Jackson's This Is It. I really hope it is.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Born into Nixon, I was raised in hell
-- Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown
Posted on: February 14, 2009 3:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 9:18 pm
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- You wouldn't know it by looking at their wallets -- Philadelphia's team payroll has ballooned to $131.5 million for 2009 -- but the world champion Phillies are lighter on their feet this spring.
Almost as soon as the Phillies' pitchers and catchers stepped onto the field here for their first workout, it was noticeable. Starter Brett Myers is significantly lighter from last year. Reliever Scott Eyre has dropped probably 10 pounds. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched at three different levels in the minors last year, has lost weight as he prepares to battle for a spot in 2009.
And hard at work scooping up ground balls on a different field, first baseman Ryan Howard, in early, has dropped 20 pounds, to 250 from 270.
"That's good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we showed up in good shape."
Of course, it's one thing to show up in good shape and another to stay there, figuratively speaking, and the Phillies are about to find that out. No team since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees has repeated as World Series winners. The Phillies return nearly their entire team from '08, and Manuel thinks they have every chance to be even better. He told them as much, too, during his season-opening speech before they took the field.
"It was about winning and winning again," Manuel said. "I told them that's behind us. If you're thinking about yesterday, you're not doing nothing to win again."
Manuel estimated that the speech lasted 10 or 15 minutes.
"I was trying to find an ending," he said. "I finally asked (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, 'Do I need to say anything else? And he said, 'No, Chuck, you covered it.'"
It's way too early to make any definitive assumptions, but the fact that several Phillies have reported in good shape certainly bodes well. Myers, for example, is coming off of a tough season in which he was shipped back to the minors for a time before the All-Star break. He finished 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts and helped redeem the year with his postseason work, but he still comes in with much to prove in '09.
To Manuel, Myers losing weight "means he's been thinking about the season and getting ready for it."
"He finished (last) season strong, which was really great for him," Manuel said. "Also, knowing him, he's definitely thinking about how he'll pitch this whole season. And this is the last year on his deal, and I think he's thinking about another good deal ... and staying with the Phillies."
Manuel was in midseason form already after the workout:
-- On how he views himself as a speechmaker: "Sometimes when I speak at banquets I can get on a good roll and be funny. I never have my speeches (prepared). Today's wasn't very prepared. Usually, when I do prepare it, I'll look down and I can't find where I'm at, so I have to start making it up."
-- On whether he's ready to name ace Cole Hamels as his opening day starter: "You might as well go ahead and pencil him in. There's no sense in me bulls----ing."
Oh, and no word whether the manager lost weight over the winter.
"I don't talk about the manager," Dubee said. "I like my job."
Cracked Manuel: "That's smart."
Likes: Good line from new Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just after the Phillies took the field for the first time this spring, while they were stretching in the outfield. No, it wasn't when he said that it was "like Groundhog's Day." It came when someone asked him how the Phillies were looking this spring. "They're really stretching," he quipped. "They're lifting their legs well." ... Another terrific episode of Friday Night Lights the other night. The scripts, the acting ... what a great show. Coach Taylor's character is especially strong, from the way he's in charge on the football field to the way he's a little befuddled at home sometimes by his wife and daughter. Hmm, maybe I can relate. ... Gran Torino. Another really enjoyable Clint Eastwood flick. ... The way David Letterman handled Joaquin Phoenix last week. What a dope Phoenix is. Make sure to check out the YouTube clip if you missed it. ... Daily reports from spring camps. Ah, happy new year.
Dislikes: Sad to hear of the passing of Ted Uhlaender, the former major-league outfielder and longtime coach who most recently was working as a scout for the San Francisco Giants. Uhlaender died of a heart attack on Thursday after battling cancer -- multiple myeloma -- for a couple of years. Uhlaender was a first-class guy who, among other things, was extremely proud of his daughter, Katie, who is an Olympian in the skeleton. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was exceptionally close to Uhlaender from their days together in the Minnesota organization in the 1960s, so much so that Manuel added Uhlaender to his coaching staff when Manuel managed in Cleveland a few years ago. Saturday, Manuel recalled how Uhlaender was in Double-A ball when Manuel signed professionally, and how they stayed in the same barracks in Melbourne, Fla., during spring training. "I was with him a long time," Manuel said. "I used to go fishing with him, go eat dinner with him, and we'd have cocktails together. He was a good friend." The two were so close that Manuel is considering attending Wednesday's memorial service in Colorado, though that's the day of the Phillies' first full-squad workout.
Sunblock day? Nice and warm, but very overcast much of the day.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
-- Warren Zevon, Keep Me In Your Heart
Posted on: October 24, 2008 2:49 am
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When you strand 11 runners and go 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, as Philadelphia did dropping Game 2 of the World Series to Tampa Bay on Thursday -- the final was 4-2 -- you pretty much deserve whatever fate befalls you.
But before this series heads north to Philadelphia, a quick moment here to say that Charlie Manuel's club got no breaks on Thursday.
Specifically, there were two moments involving plate umpire Kerwin Danley that could have -- should have -- gone Philadelphia's way. Neither did.
The first came in the second inning and cost the Phillies a run. With one out and a runner on first, Phillies starter Brett Myers worked a full count on Rocco Baldelli before unleashing a pitch that sure looked to be in the strike zone -- and it appeared as if, on a check swing, Baldelli went too far.
Danley raised his right arm as if to signal strike three ... then, after hesitating, pointed to first base. Ball four, and Dioner Navarro to second. He scored from there two batters later, on B.J. Upton's single.
Manuel hollered from the dugout and eventually came out to discuss the issue with Danley. From the mound, Myers hollered something else and was visibly angry. He thought it was strike three.
"He swung, for one," Myers said. "And two, I thought the pitch caught some of the plate.
"I can't understand why he didn't call it a strike. He had his hand up. ... He definitely called him out. It cost me a run. But you've got to keep pitching."
Said Manuel: "I thought he called the guy out. But he said he was pointing like that, he pointed to go to first base. But to me, when he brought his hand up, I thought he called the guy out."
The second bad break for the Phillies came in the ninth as they were trying to fight back from a 4-1 defecit.
After catcher Carlos Ruiz led off with a double, rookie David Price came inside with a pitch to shortstop Jimmy Rollins -- far enough inside that television replays showed it clearly grazed Rollins' jersey.
The shortstop pleaded his case, but Danley would not rule it a hit-by-pitch. So instead of two on, none out and the beginnings of a rally against Price, Ruiz remained at second with one out.
"He couldn’t hear it," Rollins said. "With 46,000 people screaming in your ear, it's probably tough to hear."
Rollins then added philosophically, "That's the beauty of sports. Sometimes you get a call, and sometimes you don't."
Rollins came away happy he wasn't injured on the play.
"I'm fortunate it didn't hit the bottom of my rib cage," he said. "That's where it was headed. The first thing I felt was relief. But it did get my jersey."
Posted on: October 23, 2008 12:01 am
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The first World Series game in Tampa Bay franchise history, and wouldn't it figure that in the majors' most unusual ballpark, a most unusual occurrence would result?
It did not involve catwalks, doglegs or funky artificial turf. Instead, the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays produced this bizarre tale: The Phillies went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and still won Game 1, 3-2.
Twenty-four-year-old starter Cole Hamels, in his World Series debut, did the rest. Well, most of the rest. Mixing in crisp curves, well-placed high-80s fastballs and the poise of a seasoned October man, Hamels limited Tampa Bay to two runs and five hits over seven innings.
So Philadelphia got a game it had to win.
And yes, even though it was only Game 1, you read that right.
The rotation matchup clearly favored the Phillies in Game 1 -- Hamels is that good. The rest of the way, not so much. Maybe you'd take Brett Myers over James Shields in Game 2 -- but that's iffy, and only if Myers is on top of his game. Matt Garza gets the nod over Jamie Moyer in Game 3, and Andy Sonnanstine vs. Joe Blanton is, at worst, a draw in Game 4.
None of this is to say that the Phillies can't, or won't, win with those matchups. Who knows, maybe they'll run the table and make it a short series.
If they don't win when Hamels pitches, it makes it that much more difficult, is all.
Posted on: October 10, 2008 10:13 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- I can't say for sure whether Game 2 of the National League Championship Series here was the toughest game Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel ever managed, but surely it was. The skipper mostly stayed secluded Friday after learning that his mother had passed away earlier in the day, skipping pre- and post-game news conferences, appearing only when his team was on the field.
Manuel learned that his mother, June, had passed away in Virginia at the age of 87 Friday morning following a pre-game strategy meeting with his coaches. He was in a room with his coaches when he took a phone call and learned the news. His mother had been hospitalized earlier this week.
Making for an even sadder day for the Phillies, outfielder Shane Victorino learned immediately after the game that his grandmother, Irene, had passed away.
As Manuel privately grieved and the club prepared for the Dodgers, news of his mother's death affected the entire club.
"I went up to him right before I warmed up before the game and told him, 'I want to win this for your mom today,'" Phillies starting pitcher Brett Myers said.
Myers said Manuel and his mother were on his mind for much of the game.
"I told him after the third or fourth inning that I loved him," said Myers, who notably became involved in a dugout shouting match with his manager earlier this season, an argument in which the two men had to be separated by Phillies coaches.
Manuel's response to Myers' expression of love?
"He said, 'Let's go! Pitch, kid!'" Myers said, slipping into a dead-on impression of Manuel's West Virginia accent.
"It was tough," said closer Brad Lidge, who collected his second save in as many games in this NLCS. "I think we all tried to make our rounds to him and tell him we're sorry for his loss. Even though we didn't say it verbally, I think we all wanted to win this game for him. You play baseball, but family comes first.
"I'm glad we won today. Whether people say it or not, we all have a ton of respect for him."
The Phillies did not have any information on services for June Manuel. After the game, a club spokesman said Charlie was planning to board the team charter to Los Angeles for Game 3 of the NLCS on Sunday in Dodger Stadium.
Posted on: October 7, 2008 7:57 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies will stay with what got them to this point when the National League Championship Series opens here on Thursday evening: Left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 1, followed by right-hander Brett Myers, lefty Jamie Moyer and righty Joe Blanton, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee.
No official word yet on the Dodgers, who were traveling and expected to arrive later Tuesday night. They're set up to begin with the same three starters who pitched them to a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the divisional series: Right-handers Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda.
It is expected that Dodgers manager Joe Torre will leave those three in place and go to a four-man rotation in the best-of-seven NLCS. Assuming he does, he and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt must decide on a No. 4 starter, which probably will come down to left-hander Clayton Kershaw or right-hander Greg Maddux.
Based on how the two pitched down the stretch, as well as on the chance to slot a lefty in against a potent Phillies lineup that includes MVP candidate Ryan Howard, it is expected that Kershaw will get the nod as the Game 4 starter.
As for the Phillies, who ranked fourth in the NL with a 3.88 ERA this season, the current alignment leaves them very well-balanced between right- and left-handed starters as well as relatively hard-throwers (Myers, Blanton), a change-up specialist (Hamels) and a soft-tosser (Moyer).
"We're comfortable the way it is," Dubee said. "You start flipping it around, and then somebody is going to have 10 days off (between starts), and that's not good."
Philadelphia's starting pitchers ranked fourth in innings pitched among NL rotations (966 2/3) and ranked second in quality starts (88).