Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Phils, Halladay agree to deal

The Phillies and Roy Halladay have agreed upon a three-year deal, and Halladay will likely be announced in Philadelphia today. There are plenty of opinions flying around about the deal which will see Cliff Lee depart for Seattle.

To land Halladay, the Phillies had to give up Lee. Payroll is a significant issue, but the fact that Lee would only be in the Phillies' uniform for one more season anymore is more of a factor. The Phillies will have Halladay, who is a better pitcher with a better track record, for at least three years. They would only have been able to keep Lee for one more season, as he seemed determined to test the market in the off-season and was reportedly seeking a "C.C. Sabathia type deal."

The Phillies are surrendering top pitching prospect Kyle Drabeck in the deal as well, but will receive a few of Seattle's top prospects in return for Lee. It is a bit of a complex deal, but the Phillies will end up with a better ace at the top of the rotation for longer, and are giving up some top prospects but gaining some.

Overall, it is a good move. Remember, there was an extended stretch during the regular season which Lee struggled mightily as a Phille. Halladay has a better track record and should bode very well against the National League after dominating the American League for years. He throws complete games, reducing the number of times fans have to ride the Brad Lidge roller coaster when Halladay starts a game.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SI examines the Phillies

Check out this great article on Sports Illustrated's site, written by Tom Verducci proclaiming the Phillies as the Yankees of the NL. He complements the Phillies and Ruben Amaro Jr. and all the good he has done for this team. They truly are turning into the NL version of the Yanks, y'know without all the overspending for everyone.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Phils acquire Gload; roster taking form

The Phillies' 2010 roster is taking shape. They've acquired their final bench position, signing free agent Ross Gload to a two-year deal. The left handed hitting outfielder hit .261 with six home runs and 30 RBI in 230 games for the Marlins last season. He hit .318 as a pinch-hitter.

Gload rounds out an impressive bench with outfielder Ben Francisco, catcher Brian Schneider and infielders Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs. The bench is very well balanced. Gload bats left and Francisco bats right, while Dobbs bats left and Castro bats right; giving the team a left and right handed hitter off the bench in both the outfield and infield.

Add Placido Polanco to an already outstanding starting lineup and a much improved bench, the Phillies offensive prowess is even more potent.

The pitching will, once again, be the concern. Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton appear to be locked in as the top four in the rotation, although there are grumblings that Blanton could be dealt at the Winter Meetings. Kyle Kendrick, Jamie Moyer and prospects are likely to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, unless the team acquires another starter.

The bullpen remains the biggest problem. Ruben Amaro Jr. stated Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero may not be ready by the start of the season. It's rumored that the Phillies are looking to land a big arm in the bullpen, not necessarily just fill in vacancies. The bullpen will be the biggest concern for the team throughout the remainder of the off-season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Phillies, Polanco very close to three-year deal

The Phillies and Placido Polanco are "very close" to agreeing on a three-year, $18 million contract with a mutual option for a fourth-year, according to Todd Zolecki.

The deal is pending a physical but it appears Polanco will make his return to Philadelphia in red pinstripes. Polanco was one of the most under rated players in Phillies' history in recent memory, and will fill in very nicely on the field and in the lineup. The Phillies are making a significant upgrade to the club with Polanco. Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to do a fantastic job as GM.

Phillies, Polanco in serious talks

The Phillies are in serious talks with Placido Polanco about returning to Philadelphia, and have apparently narrowed their focus to Polanco. While they were weighing several options, the Phillies kicked up in the intensity in their pursuit for the former Phillie second baseman when Detroit failed to offer him salary arbitration. Had he been offered arbitration as a Class-A free agent, any team would have to forfeit its first round pick to sign Polanco. The Phillies can now sign Polanco without any ramifications and they could close on a deal soon.

Despite some negative opinions floating around the World Wide Web, Polanco would be a considerable upgrade from Pedro Feliz. He is a gold glove second baseman, and is comfortable manning the hot corner; but his arm is not as strong as Pedro's. Nearly every offensive category is an upgrade though. Polanco simply does not have bad at bats. You can't just look at batting average with Polanco, because as a number two hitter, he sacrifices himself to move the runner consistently. He doesn't strike out, and he'll be on base much more often than Feliz was. Also, with Feliz's declining power, Polanco hit just a few fewer home runs than Feliz last season.

Charlie Manuel would likely return Polanco to the two-hole and drop Shane Victorino to sixth or seventh. That would make a potent offense even that much more dangerous.