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Archive for January, 2013

Chad Durbin To Return to Phillies

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, January 28, 2013 11:28 AM Comments: 33

Reliever Chad Durbin will be returning to Philadelphia.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Phillies and Chad Durbin have agreed to $1.1 million contract.  The deal is one year, but includes an option for 2014.  The deal also could include a possible $350,000 in incentives.

Durbin, a 35-year old reliever, pitched well with the Atlanta Braves last season.  He went 4-1 with a 3.14 earned run average and a save in 76 appearances.

Durbin reunites with the Phillies three years later. From 2008-2010, Durbin had an 11-7 record and a 3.62 ERA in 194 appearances with the Phillies.

In 2012, the Phillies had one of the weakest bullpens in the league, and Ruben Amaro Jr. has tried to address that issue this offseason.  Amaro has added Mike Adams, and now Durbin, which could potentially take time away from some of the younger relievers.

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Viewing Amaro’s Offseason Moves Through A Larger Scope

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Mon, January 28, 2013 09:00 AM Comments: 73

Early last week, Ruben Amaro signed Delmon Young to a one-year contract, seemingly putting a cap on his offseason moves.

In the time that has passed since, the public has chastised Amaro for his re-structuring of the team. On social media and talk radio, people have spouted off about how he has failed to address the Phillies needs and turn them back into a contender this offseason.

To be perfectly honest, the frustration is understandable. While the Braves got the Upton brothers, the Phillies got the Youngs, who I believe are of no relation. The Nationals reeled in Dan Haren, while Amaro signed John Lannan.

The acquisition of talent hasn’t really stacked up. On paper, it seems the Phillies will once again be unable to contend with the two teams they finished behind in the standings last season. While the Braves and Nationals got better, it’s hard to argue that the Phils did the same.

So, in grading Amaro on how he has set the team up for the 2013 season, it’s fair to suggest he deserves no better than a C, and maybe an even worse grade. Continue reading Viewing Amaro’s Offseason Moves Through A Larger Scope

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Top Prospect Biddle Looking Forward to Season with Reading

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, January 27, 2013 05:15 PM Comments: 0

Widely recognized as the Phillies’ top prospect, lefty hurler Jesse Biddle can’t wait to get his 2013 season going.

In attendance for the Phillies winter charity banquet at Lakewood’s Woodlake Country Club last week, Biddle looked forward to the event for weeks, as he feels rubbing elbows with Phils brass like assistant general manager Benny Looper, director of player development Joe Jordan, and manager Charlie Manuel, as well as seeing the fans, kicks things into baseball mode after a lengthy stretch of winter weather all throughout his home region in western Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“I love coming back for events like this,” Biddle said with a smile. “This is my Lakewood family. Being around the whole environment here, everybody is just so excited to be talking baseball again right now. It’s January, so there’s not a lot of baseball stories right now and to be able to come to something like this, it just gets me ready for the season.”

Following a strong campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater in which Biddle sported a 10-6 record, a 3.22 ERA and a 9.53 K/9 mark, the 21-year-old is expected to take a step upward and pitch for Double-A Reading in 2013. Biddle made sure to increase the intensity of his routine this off-season, as he is aware the competition will only get tougher as he ascends up the developmental ladder. Continue reading Top Prospect Biddle Looking Forward to Season with Reading

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Prospect Nation 2013: #21 OF Kelly Dugan

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, January 26, 2013 12:35 PM Comments: 5

Kelly Dugan was the Phillies’ top draft pick (2nd round, 75th overall) back in 2009.  Since then, it’s been a bit of a slow progression in the pro ranks, but after a solid season with Class A Lakewood in 2012, the California native has shown that he is ready to make an impact in the organization.

Much hype surrounded Kelly upon being drafted to the Phillies, as an image of him on the set of his director father Dennis Dugan’s film Grown Ups, with many of Hollywood’s comedy elite, made the rounds.  Through his career, though, Dugan has dealt with a collection of injury concerns that have prevented the 6-foot-3-inch 195-pounder from fully establishing himself as a potential rising star.

After signing his first professional contract, Dugan, who was working on being a switch-hitter at the time, debuted with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, posting a .233 average with eight doubles, a triple and eight RBI in 45 games.   The following year, with the GCL team and short-season Class A Williamsport, Dugan batted .366 with a homer and eight RBI in 28 combined games.  He missed roughly two months of action that year after he was hit in the leg with a batted ball during batting practice in June and later developed a staph infection that required draining.

Dugan returned to Williamsport in 2011 and represented the club in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.  With the Crosscutters, in 47 games, he sported a .284 batting average along with two home runs and 21 RBI.

Last season with Lakewood, Dugan displayed improved power and steady production, as he notched a .300 batting average, 12 homers and 60 RBI in 117 games.  Additionally, his OPS, at .857, was
.127 points higher than his mark from the previous season.
Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #21 OF Kelly Dugan

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Get Tickets to PSWA Banquet with Hamels, Rollins, Trout & More!

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, January 26, 2013 10:47 AM Comments: 2

Join the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association on January 28 as they hand out awards to local athletes and teams during their 109th annual banquet.

The public is welcome at the dinner. Tickets are $95 apiece, and are available by clicking here.

Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Charlie Manuel, Larry Bowa, Mike Trout, and many more athletes will be in attendance at this amazing event!

Doors to the banquet open at 5 p.m.. with the dinner starting promptly at 6:30 p.m.

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Why I Love the Phillies – David

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, January 26, 2013 10:28 AM Comments: 8

My name is David. I’m 37 years old and blind since birth. I live in Wernersville, PA, which is ten miles west of Reading. I’ve been a season ticket holder of the Reading Fightin Phils since 1989, and have the same seat since 1994.

I attended the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, and instantly fell in love with the Phillies. Listening to baseball on the radio, if described well, I can still picture in my mind what it is like to see a great diving catch, or climbing the fence to rob a home run, or a majestic Ryan Howard home run. For 20+ years of my life, Harry, Richie, Andy and Wheels have been like extended family. I never miss listening to a game. We’ve had our share of bad years for sure, but 1993, even with the disappointing end made way for the spectacular run we just witnessed culminating with the Parade in 2008.

I can also say that I got to meet Ryan Howard in person in 2004 when he broke the Reading Phillies and Reading baseball record for homers. My family and I got to present Ryan with an award from the fans on the field. I still have the autographed picture. I was also there when Darren Ruf went on his run, and set the new home run record of his own.

Let’s hope the Phillies can return to form in 2013, and have a great season. Regardless of the outcome, I will always remain loyal because I bleed Phillies red – they’re in my heart and soul forever!

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Brian Bass Returns to Phillies Organization

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, January 25, 2013 10:15 AM Comments: 6

http://media.lehighvalleylive.com/tom-hinkel/photo/brian-bass-777856701227b02b.jpgAccording to Baseball America, the Phillies have signed RHP Brian Bass to a Minor League deal. Bass, 31, last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and spent 2012 with Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Houston organization. Bass may be familiar and remembered by some Phillies fans as he pitched with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2011. Bass is likely to return to Allentown to start 2013.

Bass is one of many players the Phillies have signed to fill out their Minor League ranks this off-season that have connections to Joe Jordan, Phillies Director of Player Development, who spent several years in the Baltimore organization. That list also includes pitcher Brandon Erbe and catcher Justin Dalles.

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PN Interview: Joe Jordan Talks Young Prospects, Catching Depth & More

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, January 25, 2013 07:00 AM Comments: 2

This week, at the Phillies’ winter charity banquet in Lakewood, NJ, I had the opportunity to speak with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan about many matters related to the Phillies developmental system. Included in the topics of discussion were the depth at the catcher position, the team’s plans for some of their youngest prospects and two former top draft picks among other things.

Prior to joining the Phils last off-season, the former pro catcher held the position of director of scouting with the Baltimore Orioles.  The University of Oklahoma product also previously worked in scouting with the Expos and Marlins.

Read ahead for that full interview.

- Looking back on last year, it seems the system underwent a bit of a refined approach since you were hired, with several players from the 2012 draft class quickly made their debuts with Class A full season Lakewood.  In previous seasons that was rather rare.  Can you speak on that a bit?

Well, I don’t know, as far as the change of approach.  But, the thing that I really tried to do last year, when I came over, was I tried to involve as many people as I could in our decision making process.  I did not make those decisions by myself.  I really leaned on Benny Looper, our assistant GM, who has done my job before and he is my boss.  But, I also leaned heavily on the managers and the rovers that see the players, really, more than I do, that knew the players.  And I think there were some instances where maybe we were being more aggressive, maybe, than the past.  But really, it was a group decision and most of them I think were good decisions.  I think a couple of them maybe the player wasn’t quite as ready as we thought, but, you know, I don’t really believe in pushing guys, but I believe in keeping them challenged and that’s what we tried to do.

- The Phillies currently have considerable catching depth in their developmental ranks.  Is that a nice luxury to have?

It is and it’s very unusual and we’re very fortunate, as an organization.  It’s a hard, hard position to find and we feel good.  We really feel good.  Obviously, we have a fine catcher in the Major Leagues, an All-Star catcher.  But, you know, when you look at Double-A and Triple-A, behind that, we’ve got Steven Lerud, who did a good job for our Major League team, when he went up last year.  And he’s a very good defensive catcher, but prospect wise, when you look at (Sebastian) Valle and (Cameron) Rupp and Tommy Joseph, obviously, you know, those guys have gotten a lot of attention and it’s warranted, because they’re, I think…they have talent, but it’s a competitive situation and that’s gonna help all of them, because they’re gonna have to come to camp ready to go and ready to perform.  We like that, down low we’ve got some guys that we like as well.
Continue reading PN Interview: Joe Jordan Talks Young Prospects, Catching Depth & More

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Manuel Full of Gusto as Spring Training Nears

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, January 24, 2013 07:00 AM Comments: 132

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel grows older each year, but you’d never know it from the gusto he exudes when talking about a new season ready to blossom. Decades of the baseball grind, thousands of miles worth of annual travel, countless ups and downs and the pressure that comes with coaching in the most demanding sports city in the nation simply don’t take a toll on the 69-year-old.

Appearing at the annual charity winter banquet held at Lakewood, NJ’s Woodlake Country Club on Wednesday, Manuel smiled and expressed considerable enthusiasm toward what’s to come. The baseball lifer, whose days in pro ball date back to 1963, beamed as though he was slated to begin his coaching career instead of heading into what some deem as potentially being his final year leading a team, as his contract is up following the season.

Manuel, who is entering his ninth season as the skipper of the Phils, is excited about many aspects of the current team, despite finishing last season with an 81-81 record, their first non-winning season in a decade, and missing the post-season for the first time since 2006.

A surplus of outfielders is where Manuel will focus plenty of his attention this spring. He has high hopes for off-season acquisitions Ben Revere and Delmon Young, but players like Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. will likely be trying to prove themselves worthy of a spot in the lineup. Manuel thinks the competition may bring out the fire in each man trying to land steady at bats. He also expressed eagerness toward getting to the preseason schedule, so he can begin figuring out the right outfield formula.

“I think we’re gonna have some fun in spring training because all six of them are gonna get to play,” Manuel proclaimed.  And there’s things I like about every one of them and if we just get some consistency in the outfield, to me it doesn’t matter who’s out there, as long as they can perform and as long as we can score some runs.  We got some talent there to do it with.  I’m excited about it.  I want to get there and get it going and watch them play and see what happens.” Continue reading Manuel Full of Gusto as Spring Training Nears

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Prospect Nation 2013: #22 RHP Tyler Cloyd

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, January 23, 2013 06:00 PM Comments: 13

Tyler Cloyd dominated in the minors last season thanks to a refined repertoire and top-level command. Running through Eastern League and International League competition, Cloyd reached the big leagues by season’s end and is in a position to potentially help the big club in the coming season.

An 18th round draft selection in 2008, Cloyd began his pro career that  year, posting a 7-4 record with a 3.91 ERA in 14 outings combined with  the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and short-season Class A Williamsport. Since then, the 6-foot-3-inch  210-pounder has had winning records every season, while alternating  between starting and relief duties.

In 2009, splitting time between Class A Lakewood and Class A  Advanced Clearwater, Cloyd went 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 games (26  starts).  In 2010, Cloyd made 31 relief appearances and four starts for Clearwater, posting a 4-3 record with a  5.32 ERA.  He also made two appearances with Double-A Reading that year,  earning a 1-1 record with a 4.00 ERA.

Whether it’s as a starter or  pitching out of the bullpen, Cloyd has become comfortable taking the  mound in any role, as evidenced by his 2011 output.  Cloyd would go on  to appear in 31 games (22 starts) for Clearwater and Reading that year, collecting a 9-4 record, a 2.77 ERA and an 8.51 K/9 mark, which  proved to be a career best.  Following the season, Cloyd pitched in the  Arizona Fall League but wasn’t as sharp in a starting role there, 4 record with a 4.35 ERA. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: #22 RHP Tyler Cloyd

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