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Archive for December, 2009

Baseball Winter Meetings Updates

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, December 10, 2009 02:20 PM Comments: 402

Originally posted at 1:09 p.m., December 7, 2009

Phillies Nation will continually update this post throughout the week as the MLB Winter Meetings heat up in Indianapolis.

Day 4:

(6:03 am): The Phillies are now back into the Halladay discussion, according to Ken Rosenthal. He says the Phillies are prepared to ship J.A. Happ, Dom Brown or Michael Taylor, and another prospect to Toronto in a deal.  They would also have to trade Joe Blanton to free up money for this to happen.  My thought: is this 100% worth it? The bounty is not as high as last season, however, giving up Blanton means two very good starters would be out, plus some prospects.  Interesting scenarios are brewing out in Indy early today.

Also, late last night, the Houston Astros swooped in and landed Brandon Lyon for a reported three years, $15 million. That’s a bit more than I figured he was worth, especially for a guy who has an up and down track record.  I though the Phils might be able to get him at two years under $10 million.

(11:30am): Jason Stark mentions the Phils are seriously considering John Smoltz as a “back-of-the-bullpen weapon.”  Smoltz’s agent apparently told the Phils that the pitcher has no problem with Citizens Bank Park; although we all know that has not always been the case.  Smoltz has bashed the Phillies home field  on numerous occasions.

(2:18pm) With the 17th overall pick, the Phillies selected Kenneth David Herndon from the Angels’ AA team. Herndon is a 24 year-old right-handed pitcher who was 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 11 saves in 50 appearances last season.

They also picked up Angelo Sanchez, another right handed pitcher. The 20 year-old went 5-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 12 starts with the Twins’ AAA affiliate.

On the flip side, the Phillies lost right-hander Carlos Monasterios to the New York Mets. You may remember him as one of the guys in the Bobby Abreu trade of 2006.

Continue reading Baseball Winter Meetings Updates

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Top Moment No. 21: Happ Shuts Out Rockies

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Thu, December 10, 2009 10:24 AM Comments: 7

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

Top Moment #21: JA Happ Shuts Out Colorado, Solidifies Spot in Rotation

Going into the Phillies game against the Rockies on August 5, there were some questions surrounding the last two spots in the Phillies rotation. Jamie Moyer, JA Happ and Pedro Martinez were all vying for those two coveted spots.

So what did JA Happ do? Only threw nine shutout innings, allowed a mere four hits and struck ten batters in his second complete game shutout of the season. Throwing 127 pitches, Happ proved to Charlie Manuel he had the arm to go the distance in big games down the stretch.

Pedro went on to strike out 11 down in Reading, and it was Happ and Martinez in the rotation and Jamie Moyer off to the bullpen thanks in part to one August night.

A game that was never in doubt, was put away with a Jayson Werth three-run bomb in the fifth that ended all scoring for the night. Not that the Phillies needed it… Happ was that good.

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Top Moment No. 22: Raul Caps Off a Fun Phillies Nation Day

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, December 08, 2009 04:25 PM Comments: 3

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

Top Moment #22: Thursday, June 11 – Raul Caps Off a Fun Phillies Nation Day

Phillies Nation in the dugoutJune 11, 2009 was a great day in Phillies Nation. It day started off with a private tour of Citizens Bank Park with all the behind-the-scene sights.  We spent the evening meandering through the suite level, diamond club and dugout, then paused for photos at Chase Utley’s locker and batting cage bats before ascending to the Harry Kalas broadcast booth.  After the tour we made our way to McFadden’s to meet up with a few hundred people out to support the Arc of Philadelphia. We handed out our new Bleed Philly t-shirt out to a dozen or so lucky guests who were there to watch the game, enjoy the open bar and watch the Phils battle the Mets. The Phillies Nation crew comprised of myself, Rob, Nick and Jim made out big in the silent auction and raffles – taking home an Atlantic City trip, a Bobby Flay gift basket and a piece of the court from the old St. Joe’s Fieldhouse. (You can check out all the photos here.)

The game on TV was the rubber match of another exhilarating series with the Phillies hated rival – at least at the time. The Phils had just settled into first place two weeks prior while the Mets were at the onset of another painful collapse, albeit a much more drawn out collapse than they experienced in 2007 and 2008. Jimmy Rollins himself was facing a serious slump and returned to the leadoff spot after spending two games in the six hole.

Just before the game Tim Malcolm made his television debut on SNY live from Citi Field. Post-game, he recounted the exciting ten innings that clinched a series “worthy of documentation and conversation.”

Despite a quality start by Jamie Moyer, the Phils found themselves down 3-1 after the first five frames. Chase Utley and Matt Stairs each drove in a run in the the sixth and seventh to eventually send the game to extras. With one out in the 10th, Shane Victorino singled off Bobby Parnell (who was coming off a loss in the previous night’s game after allowing an Utley homer in the 11th). Parnell walked Utley before being relieved by Ken Takahashi who immediately struck out Ryan Howard. Thousands of blissfully stupid Mets fans rose to their feet in anticipation of a win. Instead they were greeted by a Raul Ibanez bomb over the wall in right-center, his 21st homer of the season. Phillies fans in McFadden’s and around the world rejoiced by exalting RAAAAAUUUUULLL!!! at the top of their lungs. The bottom of the ninth saw Ryan Madson record his second extra-inning save in as many nights.

The win gave the Phillies a four game lead in the division as they wrapped up a 7-3 road trip and improved to a major league-best 23-9 on the road. The game also laid the groundwork for the July 4th series with the Mets where the Phillies swept their rival away for good.  It was a great day in Phillies Nation.

McFadden's Party

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Top Moment No. 23: NLCS Game One

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, December 07, 2009 05:05 PM Comments: 4

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

Top Moment #23: Ruiz and Ibanez Back Hamels for NLCS Game One Victory

It didn’t take long for the Phillies to get their first victory in the National League Championship Series.  The pitching was shaky, but home runs from Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez proved to be the difference in the 8-6 victory.

Young Clayton Kershaw cruised through the first four innings, but it wouldn’t last.  Carlos Ruiz smacked a three-run home run to left field, giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead.  ”Choochtober” has a .303 batting average and a .905 OPS in his playoff career.

Ryan Howard started his NLCS MVP campaign with a two-run double.  Not only did Howard’s eighteenth RBI give the Phillies a 5-1 cushion, but Howard set a Phillies record for most RBIs in a postseason.

Hamels continued to struggle and the Dodgers took advantage.  The first of Chase Utley’s throwing errors led to Manny Ramirez’s two-run home run.  The lead was cut to one.  Raul Ibanez changed that with a three-run blast, and some breathing room.  Ibanez was the first left-handed hitter to homer off George Sherrill in over a year.

Chad Durbin, J.A Happ, and Chan Ho Park picked up Hamels’ pieces.  Brad Lidge closed the doors to secure the Phillies first win in the National League Championship Series.

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Jimmy Rollins BASEBowl Tournament

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, December 07, 2009 11:32 AM Comments: 1

Jimmy Rollins BASEBowl Tournament

Jimmy Rollins will be hosting his 5th annual celebrity bowling tournament featuring Phillies, sports personalities and entertainers, teamed with bowling foursomes to benefit the Pennsylvania Arthritis Foundation. Last year’s event was a crazy success with our own Pat Gallen providing play-by-play coverage of all the stars. There were over 35 celebrities in attendance including: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino as well as several Eagles and Flyers. Each bowling team is paired with one or two of Jimmy’s celebrity friends while food and an open bar is provide throughout the entire tournament.

The bowling competition, awards ceremony and auction will be held on on June 3, 2010 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in Center City Philadelphia.  For more information on attending the event through a corporate sponsorship, please see this Sponsorship Sheet, then contact us for more details.

The Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation (501c3) has the mission of bringing funds and awareness to fight against arthritis as well as provide families who are struggling financially with educational and entertainment opportunities to encourage children to stay in school.

The money raised at BASEBowl funds Camp JRA which allows children with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases to have fun, learn about their disease, and form social bonds with others who share their challenges.

Photos from last year’s event:

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Top Moment No. 24: Utley’s Corner in NY

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, December 06, 2009 05:52 PM Comments: 8

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EcBfXMyQha4/SkWQ9O7ZLuI/AAAAAAAACok/CwOMSthcPJ4/s320/chase+utley.jpgTop Moment #24: Chase Utley’s 2 HR’s down the Mets at Citi

Before we really knew the extent of the Mets woes, the Phillies locked horns with their neighbors to the northeast during a seemingly important three-game set in mid-June.  At that point, the Phillies sat just two games ahead of New York for the NL East lead.  This game would serve as a back-breaker of sorts for the Mets, who would end the month 20 days later nine-and-a-half games out of first.

For six innings, the Mets offense played small ball, giving right-hander Mike Pelfrey a 4-1 cushion to work with. Pelfrey helped his own cause in the fourth by singling in a run, the first of three to cross the plate for NY in that frame.  Names like Omir Santos and Alex Cora were doing damage with the bat, while Pelfrey held his own on the hill.

Going into the seventh inning on June 10, Pelfrey stymied the Phils, going six strong while allowing just one lone run on a Chase Utley solo jack in the fourth. In that fateful seventh, Pelfrey would get lifted after the first three Phillies reached base, all via singles. They would all touch home, locking it up a four apiece.

The bullpen’s then combined to take the game into the 11th, paving the way for a spot in right field to be adorned with a new moniker.

New York turned to Bobby Parnell in the 11th, following two shutdown innings by Francisco Rodriguez.  On the second pitch from the new reliever, Chase Utley smashed the delivery about six rows deep into the bleachers for his second shot of the game.  The homer put the Phils up 5-4 and in the process, “Utley’s Corner” was born.

Two weeks later, with the Yankees visiting Citi Field, Brett Gardner blasted a ball into the same section as the Utley home run, prompting Mets announcer Gary Cohen to say: “Gardner lifts one down the right field line, back toward Utley’s Corner, near the wall…it’s outta here!” The rest is history.

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Video: Phillies fans greet Barry Bonds

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, December 04, 2009 02:51 PM Comments: 6

Barry Bonds makes one of his final appearances in Philly and is greeted with some brotherly love.

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UPDATE: Polanco Deal Done

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, December 03, 2009 10:25 AM Comments: 262

Originally posted Dec. 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm.

Over the past few hours, things may have gotten rather hot and heavy with Placido Polanco and the Phillies.  ESPN’s Jayson Stark, along with Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, both say that the Phils may be turning their attention to Polanco on a two-year deal worth between $10-12 million.

Polanco has played mostly second base during his career, but apparently is willing to move to the other side of the diamond to play in Philadelphia once again.

UPDATE (10:25 am): In the last 15 minutes or so, Jon Heyman of SI has tweeted that a deal should be finalized today with Polanco.  The numbers: three-years, $18 million.  Polanco would bat second and Victorino would move to a run producing spot in the order.

UPDATE (10:51 am): Here is what ESPN’s Keith Law wrote about the possible signing of Polanco:

“Ruben Amaro’s fetish as a GM seems to be giving three-year contracts to hitters in decline; Raul Ibanez’ deal isn’t looking so hot after his second-half swoon, and now he’s about to give Placido Polanco three years as well. Polanco’s defense at second is already diminishing as his body slows down, but the Phillies are going to ask him to move to a position where quickness is more important than pure range. His bat is also in decline and he’s moving to a position with a higher offensive standard, although the guy he’s replacing was no great shakes with the stick himself. Six million a year isn’t much for a player who’ll probably be worth around two wins over replacement, but by the midpoint of this deal it could look very bad for the Phillies.”

UPDATE (2:00 pm): It’s official. The Phillies and Polanco agree to a three-year, $18 million deal.

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Top Moment No. 25: RAUUUL!

Posted by Amanda Orr, Thu, December 03, 2009 08:14 AM Comments: 1

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

Top Moment #25: Raul Ibanez’s Walk-Off

On April 19, a 4-6 Phillies team faced a 9-3 San Diego Padres club.  Nobody was sure what to expect from Raul Ibanez, who signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract and replaced a fan favorite. Ibanez was off to a hot start; he was batting .375 with four homers and eight runs batted in through the first ten games.  But, April 19th was the day that Phillies fans fell in love with him.  

Starter Chan Ho Park allowed four runs in five innings.  Two of those runs were at fault of Ibanez, who missed a diving catch that resulted in a two-run triple for Edgar Gonzalez.  It’s safe to see he made up for it.

Trailing 4-0 after five, Chase Utley’s two run home run and Jimmy Rollins’ solo shot put the Phillies within one, but they were still trailing headed into the ninth.  Luckily for the Phillies, they didn’t have to face an unavailable Heath Bell, who led the majors in saves at the time.

It was the perfect timing for Ibanez’s fifth home run of the year.  With a man on, Ibanez swung at Edwin Moreno’s changeup:  “Hit in the air.  Deep to right field!  Fair or foul?  Phillies win it!”  

It was only April, but it was a huge win for the Phillies and a huge day for Ibanez.  It was just the beginning of loud “RAUUUL” chants heard throughout Citizens Bank Park all season long.

With a crowd screaming his first name and a shaving cream pie to the face, I’d say this was the day that Ibanez “officially” became a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Wagner Signs with ATL; Phils look at Putz

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, December 02, 2009 01:24 PM Comments: 22

Billy Wagner came to terms on a one year, $7 million contract with the Atlanta Braves today, making this his third NL East team.  Last season, he was let go by the New York Mets and picked up by the Boston Red Sox in time for a run to the playoffs.  Does that equal $7 mil?

Wagner’s numbers have been very good to say the least over the last few seasons, not to mention this latest shortened year as he recovered from Tommy John Surgery.  His worst ERA since 2000 was 2.73 back in ’01.  He has 385 career saves and although he doesn’t throw as hard as he used to, Wagner is still deadly with his fastball/slider combo.  His fastball still reaches 95, so his repertoire appears intact.

Scratching below the surface of this signing could reveal more, however.  Firstly, that pushes Mike Gonzlaez and Rafael Soriano out of the running to be back in Atlanta next year, meaning two prized pieces are still available in free agency.  It also could mean higher prices for relief pitchers.

To me, $7 million seems a bit steep for a guy coming off of Tommy John surgery who hasn’t pitched a full season since ’07.  The Braves are taking a larger risk making him their closer, although it’s one that could pay off in spades should it work out.  I figured a one year, $5 million deal would have been appropriate given his recent injuries.

Now, this could have a snowball effect for guys like Fernando Rodney, Gonzalez, Soriano, and Jose Valverde on the open market.  If Wagner is receieving $7 mil with a vesting option for 2011 at $6.5 million (should he finish 50 games), then Valverde and the rest will surely command longer-term deals and are likely out of the Phillies price range.  That crew of relievers could be looking at three-year deals worth $7-8 million per.  Did Billy Wagner just screw things up for the rest?

Maybe I’m naive, but I honestly don’t believe Wagner is worth that much in free agency.  And after that maneuver by the Braves, the Phillies will likely have to search the bargain bin for bullpen arms.  Thanks, Billy.

One of those guys who might be affected by this is J.J. Putz.  According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Phillies are one of a handful of teams kicking the tires on the 32-year old right hander.  He was one of the best arms out of the bullpen in the entire game a few seasons ago, but he too dealt with injuries as part of the Mets last year.

His track record is not as sparkling as Wagner’s, however, he put together very good seasons in Seattle before moving east and is six years younger.  Good luck figuring out what he will command this winter, especially now that Wagner has set the precedent for job seekers.

Also, the Phillies have been named a potential suitor for Rafael Betancourt, this according to Fox Sports.  Betancourt spent 2009 with Cleveland and Colorado.

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