Archive for December, 2007

Phillies connections in the Mitchell Report

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Thu, December 13, 2007 02:32 PM Comments: 2

From the Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball by George J. Mitchell, here are the references to the Phillies:

Former Expos catcher Luis Perez said that he could obtain steroids from a clubhouse attendant for the Phillies, from page 101:

[Luis Perez] said that he knew of clubhouse employees with other teams who were similarly called upon to obtain drugs for players, including in particular a visiting clubhouse attendant in Philadelphia.

Jeff Cooper’s concern of Lenny Dykstra’s apparent steroid use, from page 68:

Philadelphia’s then-head athletic trainer Jeff Cooper told us that during this period he observed a Phillies player whose use of steroids was “obvious.” Cooper would not divulge the player’s identity to us. He told us that he approached the general manager [Lee Thomas] to report his concerns, and the general manager advised Cooper that he should raise the subject with the player directly. Cooper then did raise the issue with the player, who said it was none of Cooper’s business. The matter went no further.


The Mitchell Report Names: We Have Them

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Thu, December 13, 2007 12:00 PM Comments: 4

According to deadspin.com here is a tenative list of players to be implicated in the Mitchell Report:

Brady Anderson, Manny Alexander, Rick Ankiel, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Aaron Boone, Rafaeil Bettancourt, Bret Boone, Milton Bradley, David Bell, Dante Bichette, Albert Belle, Paul Byrd, Wil Cordero, Ken Caminiti, Mike Cameron, Ramon Castro, Jose and Ozzie Canseco, Roger Clemens, Paxton Crawford, Wilson Delgado, Lenny Dykstra, Johnny Damon, Carl Everett, Kyle Farnsoworth, Ryan Franklin, Troy Glaus, Rich Garces, Jason Grimsley, Troy Glaus, Juan Gonzalez, Eric Gagne, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Jose Guillen, Jay Gibbons, Juan Gonzalez, Clay Hensley, Jerry Hairston, Felix Heredia, Jr., Darren Holmes, Wally Joyner, Darryl Kile, Matt Lawton, Raul Mondesi, Mark McGwire, Guillermo Mota, Robert Machado, Damian Moss, Abraham Nunez, Trot Nixon, Jose Offerman, Andy Pettitte, Mark Prior, Neifi Perez, Rafael Palmiero, Albert Pujols, Brian Roberts, Juan Rincon, John Rocker, Pudge Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Scott Schoenweiis, David Segui, Alex Sanchez, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Tejada, Julian Tavarez,Fernando Tatis, Maurice Vaughn, Jason Varitek, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams and Kerry Wood.

We’ll find out for sure in under 2 hours.


Rowand Signs With Giants

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Wed, December 12, 2007 04:19 PM Comments: 11

 Update: Rowand’s deal is for 5 years and 60 million dollars, contrary to early reports of 5 years and 90 million.

The San Francisco Giants have done what the Phillies could not or would not do: sign Aaron Rowand to a 90 million dollar contract.

Maybe Pat Gillick’s face should get on the side of a milk carton and the Philadelphia Police Missing Persons department alerted because Pat Gillick is missing, absolutely non-existent, during this off-season.

While the Braves and Marlins have downgraded talent by shipping its stars out of the division, wouldn’t you want to add players who can help the club, Mr. Gillick, not detract from it? By no means do I believe that Aaron Rowand is worth 90 million dollars. After Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones were off the market, in my mind Gillick had no choice but to re-sign the only centerfield option left available.

Your starting outfield in 2008 is Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.

My confidence in an NL East title defense just dropped about 30 percent.


The Mitchell Report Looms

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Wed, December 12, 2007 11:55 AM Comments: 1

Update: For leaked names see our recent post 

In just under 27 hours, the results of the 20-month independent investigation conducted by former Senator George Mitchell will be released in full Thursday at 2 P.M. EST. Sen. Mitchell’s impending report has been hanging over the heads of MLB and Bud Selig like mistletoe over the doorway. Tomorrow afternoon, Selig and Co. are about to get a big wet one right on the kisser.

Up to 80 names are rumored, some of whom you’re already quite familiar with: Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmiero. This monumental event is hope that this will be the beginning of the end of the “steroid era” of baseball. But, what if this is just the beginning of a brand new chapter of a story that commissioner Bud Selig and baseball executives would wish to forget?

The report itself is clouded in absolute mystery. MLB have already reviewed the final submitted copy days ago to review if it will expose any confidential information on MLB operations. When the final report is presented there is no telling if the actual report is genuine or a revised “Selig version.”

Surprisingly, none of the names contained in the report have leaked out to the press. As a Phillies fan I’m eagerly awaiting to see how many Phils, past or present, have been implicated by Mitchell’s investigation. Moreover, how many players whom the commission has implicated would you never, in a million years, have thought used steroids in their careers? Remember how we all felt when it was revealed David Bell was juicing while playing third base at The Ballpark?

The report will bring all new questions for a new decade of fan suspicion of MLB athletes. I believe its naive to feel this is the beginning of the end of the “steroid era.” While the Mitchell Report is a start to implicate those who are cheaters and a disgrace to the integrity of competition, Selig must find a way for the Players Union to accept and adhere to harsher penalties for violating the steroid policy. Until that happens, teams will not shy away from signing these ‘Mitchell Men’ to long-term contracts as long as they can perform on the field.


Hot Corner Hot Stove

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, December 10, 2007 05:43 PM Comments: 11

How long has it been since the Phillies had a legitimate third baseman?  Most would say we only need to look as far back as 2002 before Ed Wade traded Scott Rolen for a bag of balls.  Does crazy Dave Hollins qualify?  Some would even go further back to the days Mike Schmidt was racking up the MVP awards.  Regardless of the answer, it is safe to say that a third baseman has been missing from this latest incarnation Phillies contenders.  For the most part, it hasn’t been much of a priority for the front office considering the MVP-quality players at the other three infield positions (Howard, Utley, Rollins).  The Phillies made due last season with a platoon of Abraham Nunez, Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, and briefly Russell Branyan.  With Nunez and Branyan departing from the roster, the Phillies 3B depth chart now reads:  Greg Dobbs, Wes Helms, Eric Bruntlett.  At first glance, this is hardly the worst predicatment. 

Dobbs makes for a decent-enough starter who makes minimal mistakes while occasionaly chipping-in at the place.  Having Dobbs start means Wes Helms is available as a pinch hitter - although his defense makes him a liability in late innings.  So  even having Helms start games and Dobbs finish them wouldn’t be the worst of scenarios; though, it would help to have some stability at the position.  There has been talk this offseason about making a move to solidify that roster spot, but so far none of these potentials have become reality.

  • The Marlins proposed trading Scott Nestor to the Phils for Wes Helms, if the Phils paid $1.8MM of the $2.9MM owed to Helms. Gillick said no.
  • The idea that Scott Rolen could return is always a fun possibility.  There had been talk that the Dodgers might go after him, but the addition of Larry Bowa to the bench in Los Angeles might preclude any such deal – making a move to Philadelphia even more possible.  I wouldn’t bet on it though.
  • There was talk last week that Tad Iguchi might be interested in returning to the team and play third base, but contractually he wouldn’t be available until May 15.  Still, some have made a good case for allowing him to return to second base and moving Utley play third.  Intriguing.
  • The Tigers are looking to trade Brandon Inge and his high strikeout tally; but Jayson Stark claims both the Dodgers and Phillies have already said no.
  • Pedro Feliz declined arbitration with the Giants over the weekend, and thus remains one of the few a viable possibilities for the Phillies to acquire a third baseman.

So with all these players falling though, we must beg the question, should the Phillies keep shopping?  As noted, Dobbs can get the job done, and so can Helms to an extent.  So in the short-term I think the Phillies should stick with what they’ve got.  Down the road though they will need to address this roster void with a sustainable option.  At the AAA-level, the Phils have Brennan King who swings a decent bat but surely isn’t a franchise player.  The Phillies first round pick in 2005, Michael Costanzo, could have been that guy but the Phils gave him up in the Lidge deal.   Therefore putting this all together, it appears as if it will be a long time before the Phils have another big name at the hot corner.


Thinking About The Marlins Deal

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, December 06, 2007 10:19 AM Comments: 9

As you may have saw, on Tuesday the Marlins and the Tigers completed a trade that sent Florida’s two star players, Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, out of the National League East.  This move has sent my brain on a roller-coaster ride of analysis and I’m still not sure how this trade will ultimately affect the Phillies.  My initial thought was, “this is a great for the Phils, now we won’t have to worry about the Marlins.”  With Willis and Cabrera out of the picture, the Marlins have created serious deficiencies on their roster; not to mention the fact that Willis has six career wins against the Phillies.

My second though, however, came as I realized that the Willis also have six career wins against the Mets and five against the Braves.  In a way, we need D-train and Miggy in the division to help keep the other teams at bay.  The Marlins have not been in serious contention the past two years (partly due to Willis’ decline towards the end of last season), yet they have still managed to play the spoiler when needed.  We need only look as far as the last game of the 2007 season and their crushing defeat of the Mets.  So I’m still conflicted as to whether this is a positive move for the Phillies or not.  My final though on the subject though was, “the Tigers are going to be really good.”

Fitting into similar parameters as the debate above, we can discuss the most recent blockbuster to come out of the Winter Meetings – Andruw Jones signing with the Dodgers.  Jones ended up inking a 2-year deal worth just over $36 million; which likely meant the Phillies were priced out of the negotiations.  The Dodgers move now means they are out of the running for Aaron Rowand.  It is looking like that race will come down between the Phillies and the White Sox.  If the Phillies want to keep Rowand, they will have to offer him more than the 3-year deal they currently have on the table.   With so many quality players already leaving the division, I would hate to see the Phillies become another victim.


Randy Wolf Signs with San Diego

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, December 02, 2007 02:19 PM Comments: 33

Randy Wolf and the Padres have agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $9 million. During the past couple weeks, the Phillies have been hotly pursuing the lefty former Phil, but alas the prodigal son’s return was not meant to be. Wolf decided to stay out on the West Coast in a pitcher-friendly park. He will be back in Philly at least once next season though – the Padres come to town the last week of April.

The signing, which is still contingent on the recouperating Wolf passing a physical, leaves the Phillies still searching for starting pitching. All winter (much like last winter) Pat Gillick and the guys have been preaching the need for pitching. Now that the player at the top of their wish list is taken, where does this leave the team? Admittedly the talent pool is thin but the team does have a few options. There are a few veteran starting pitchers still available through free agency, including Brett Tomko, Tony Armas, Jason Jennings, Matt Clement, Kip Wells, Josh Fogg, and Mark Redman. There are also some trade possibilities like Dontrelle Willis, Erik Bedard, Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, or Johan Santana to noodle with; but it’s unlikely the Phils will give up what is needed to acquire these guys. In reality, the only list of pitchers that the Phils brass will be looking at contains the names Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Kendrick, and Eaton.

Phillies Nation Update – Check out photos from our new page on Flickr.

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