Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Phillies, Castro close to deal

The Phillies are closing in on a one year deal with infielder Juan Castro. He'd replace Eric Bruntlett at the utility infielder on the roster, and the deal would be worth less than $1 million, plus a club option for 2011. Castro hit .277 with one home run and nine RBI in 112 at-bats with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Castro, 37, spent part of his 15 seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers, Reds, Twins and Orioles. For LA last season, he played shortstop, second base, third base and left field.

The announcement will likely come next week after Castro takes his physical.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Utley takes 4th straight silver slugger, Werth robbed

Chase Utley picked up his fourth consecutive silver slugger award and was surprisingly the only Phillie to take home the award. Albert Pujols is the only person blocking Ryan Howard's path, but Jayson Werth was absolutely robbed.

Werth and Raul Ibanez are both deserving, but Werth should have won one. Ryan Braun (.320, 32 home runs, 114 RBI, 39 doubles 6 triples), Andre Ethier (.272, 31, 106, 42, 3) and Matt Kemp (.297, 26, 101, 25, 7) all beat out Werth (.268, 36, 99, 26, 1).

It's hard to argue with Braun, but either Ethier or Kemp should have won, not both. Werth hit more home runs than both, and hit ten more than Kemp. It's a shame Werth didn't win his first silver slugger, he was certainly deserving.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rollins, Victorino take home Gold Gloves

Congratulations to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino as they picked up their second consecutive Gold Glove awards today. Rollins' was the third he's earned in his career.

There were four first time winners in the National League, including former Phillie Michael Bourn. Matt Kemp, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Wainwright also picked up their first.

The silver slugger awards are next to be named, and several Phillies could take home the award. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez are all in the running.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bring Back Placido

Ruben Amaro Jr. has a chance to amend Ed bleeping Wade's mistake and bring Placido Polanco back to the Phillies. One of the most under rated players in baseball, Polanco is a gold glove fielder and the best two hole hitter in baseball. He'd make the transition back to third base easily and fit in beautifully on the team. He eared $4.6 million annually with Detriot and if the Phillies could sign him at something close to that, he'd be a major bargain and a cheaper option than Pedro Feliz.

Sure, it's a bit early for this, but that lineup would be even more ridiculous:

1. Rollins, SS
2. Polanco, 3B
3. Utley, 2B
4. Howard, 1B
5. Werth, RF
6. Victorino, CF
7. Raul Ibanez, LF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Shane and Raul could be interchangeable based on pitching match-ups, but I like Werth and Victorino batting after the two lefties.

Yeah, I'm dreaming, but there's nothing else to write or think about, in terms of baseball.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

And so it ends

Every once in a while, teams can buy a ring.

Not to completely take the accomplishment away from the Yankees' players, who simply outplayed the Phillies during the series; but it's hard to consider them a team when they add integral pieces whenever they feel like it. But their pitchers out threw ours, and their bats knocked in more runs than ours.

The Phillies had a remarkable 2009 campaign, one that I'll remember for a long time. They really had a great season and finishing just behind the Yankees shouldn't take away from that. There were several instant classics during this postseason, especially Game 4's against the Rockies and Dodgers. They proved to be the team to beat in the National League, and that last year wasn't a fluke or luck or anything else like that. The Yankees overpowered them, as they would have done to any other NL team; but the Phillies were tremendous this season and again, the nucleus will remain intact.

Cliff Lee's option was picked up by the Phillies, obviously, and he will remain in pinstripes in 2010. The team will look into signing Lee to an extension during the season.

Brett Myers, or Kenny Powers as he referred to himself, is a free agent. Ruben Amaro Jr. informed Myers that he will not return to the Phillies in 2010. By the way, Kenny Powers is a reference to a hilarious HBO show called Eastbound and Down about a retired baseball pitcher and it was produced by Will Ferrell. If you haven't seen it, the Myers to Powers reference is not quite as funny.

The team has not yet picked up the option of Pedro Feliz. They have until Monday to do so. Amaro indicated that they may be leaning in another direction. Expect the Phils to let Feliz file for free agency while the team explores their options. If they don't find an upgrade, they will likely try to resign Feliz at a reduced price.

The following eight players are potential free agents:
Paul Bako
Miguel Cairo
Pedro Feliz
Pedro Martinez
Brett Myers
Matt Stairs
Scott Eyre- Type B free agent
Chan Ho Park- Type B free agent

These seven players are eligible for salary arbitration:
Shane Victorino
Joe Blanton
Carlos Ruiz
Eric Bruntlett
Clay Condrey
Chad Durbin
Tyler Walker

Should be an interesting off-season. The Phillies may make another run at Roy Halladay; and will most definitely improve the bullpen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Phils force Game 6 behind Lee, Utley. Myers, Hamels confrontation

We're still here. We're still breathing.

Cliff Lee didn't have his best stuff last night, but he was still the man. So was Chase Utley who tied Reggie Jackson, New York's former Mr. October, for most home runs in a World Series. Sure, the bullpen made the game terrifying, but the Phillies won and forced a Game 6 in New York. Raul Ibanez showed up with a blast to right-center that eventually was a crucial run. Let's hope he stays around for two more games.

It was a big win at home to put some added pressure on the Yankees, to win in front of their home fans. Don't think 2004 isn't somewhere in the back of the Yankees' minds. These Yankees, just a few years ago, had the greatest collapse in sports history. History repeats itself. Let's home for a win in Game 6, and then in a Game 7, anything can happen.

Pedro will look to make the Yankees his daddy, and pitching on full rest against either Andy Pettite on short rest or Chad Gaudin, give the edge to the Phils. Ryan Howard has to emerge in this series and Game 6 would be a great time for him to step up and contribute.

In the clubhouse following the game, as Brett Myers walked past Cole Hamels, he mocked, "What are you doing here? I thought you quit." A team official removed Myers to defuse the situation as Hamels responded with an expletive. I've seen a few Phillies blogs criticizing Myers for the comments on an otherwise positive night. I never thought I'd say this, but good for you Brett. Cole has been terrible, he hasn't seemed to care so much and his comments were out of line and ridiculous. Hamels should be called out for his comments. The only place for him to go is up, and maybe something like Myers said can fire Hamels up to go out and prove him wrong. If not, he can't get much worse.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Phils, Hamels struggle again; trail 2-1

The Phillies may be in trouble. Sure, they are only trailing in the series 2-1, but there are so many bad signs.

Cole Hamels, dominant through three innings, lost his composure and once again failed to make it through the fifth inning. He'd be in line to start a potential Game 7 against CC Sabathia; any Philly fans feeling confident heading into that game? Hamels had not surrendered a hit entering the fourth, but didn't get the call on a close pitch to Mark Teixiera, resulting in a lead-off walk. Next, A-Roids broke out of his series slump with a drive down the right field line that was initially ruled a double, but overturned when umpires reviewed the play and determined the ball would have cleared the fence, if not for the camera that the ball hit.

How did a call get overturned based solely on judgement? This is another misuse of replay. In the NFL, the call on the field stands unless there is clear, indisputable evidence to reverse the call. The umpires made a judgement call, speculating that had the camera not been there, the ball would have cleared the fence. It could have hit the top of the fence and come back into play. There is no way to know for sure. The angle of the ball had it coming down pretty much on the top of the fence; the ball could have gone either way. It probably would have gone for a home run, but using replay to make a judgement call is contradictory. That is what the on field call should be, not if it goes to replay. Hamels completely lost it in the fifth and the bullpen was average. Most people see Hamels as a key to this series but he disappointed once again.

The offense was there, but all three home runs were solo shots. The Yankees hit with men on base and the Phillies didn't. The scary thing is, the Phillies haven't come close, in their two losses, to any late game dramatics that they've enjoyed all season and throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs. With Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Phillies haven't done anything. He is that shut down guy that Brad Lidge was last season, and if he comes into the game with the lead, he doesn't look like he's going to surrender it.

Ryan Howard looked terrible for a second straight game and Chase Utley was awful as the dish last night as well. Jayson Werth and Chooch Ruiz are the only ones producing right now; a trend that needs to end tonight for the Phillies to have a chance in this series. Here are some players' averages through the first three games:

Ryan Howard- .154
Chase Utley- .182
Jimmy Rollins- .200
Shane Victorino- .182
Raul Ibanez- .250
Pedro Feliz- .091

Meanwhile, Werth is hitting .400 and Chooch is batting .333.

The Phillies need a big night against Sabathia to stay in this series tonight. Hopefully going to Big Joe Blanton is the right move.