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Halladay Does Ice Bucket Challenge, Defends Amaro on Twitter

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, August 13, 2014 05:56 PM Comments: 5

Roy Halladay is quite the man. This past weekend, he was in town to help induct Charlie Manuel into/onto the Phillies Wall of Fame. He also took the time to actually go to the Zoo with “Zoo with Roy.”

Today, he’s busy raising money for ALS by taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, a new fad making its way around social media circles. With that, he challenged Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. He then wondered aloud, via tweets, why people are on Ruben’s ass all the time.

Halladay has since deleted it, but it was captured in a screen shot by our friend Matt there. Interesting look into the true feelings of a guy who knows Amaro well.


Phillies Vets to Set Games Played Record Tonight

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, August 05, 2014 05:18 PM Comments: 7

They’ve been together for a long, long time. Longer than some of you would like. But Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley are about to set a new MLB record for teammates at their respective positions.

With their starts tonight, it will be that groups 887th regular season game together in the field at first base, second base, and shortstop, respectively. That record had been held by the Los Angeles Dodgers trio of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, and Bill Russell, who played 886 games together. The stat is courtesy of Jayson Stark and Elias.

Pretty impressive. Although they’re no longer the same players they were in their prime, it’s still quite impressive they’ve been able to stick together this day and age and stay “healthy” enough to be on the field.



Stark Talks About Phillies Lack of Movement at Deadline

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, August 05, 2014 12:23 PM Comments: 13

Yesterday on 97.5 The Fanatic, Jayson Stark discussed the Phillies lack of dealing at the deadline and ripped Ruben Amaro for his inability to trade anyone.

Stark said teams were pissed at Amaro for saying they weren’t aggressive enough when dealing with the Phillies. As Stark mentioned, several teams made blockbuster moves.

It’s a must listen, and not because I co-host. But because Jayson sheds a lot of light on what the rest of the league thinks of the Phillies and their GM.

Here is the link. 


Gameday 108: Phillies vs. Mets

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, July 30, 2014 11:24 AM Comments: 39

phillies other

Philadelphia Phillies (47-60) at New York Mets (51-56)

Starting Pitchers:
NYM: Zach Wheeler (5-8, 3.64)
PHI: Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87)

Time: 12:10, Citi Field
Weather: 78, Sunny
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today:

Following last night’s superb performance from Cole, Kyle Kendrick will have to try and do the same. And he’s always getting himself into trouble in the early innings. And at this point, how much does the game mean? We’re keeping an eye on the trade deadline.

Lineup:  Revere CF / Sizermore LF / Utley 2B / Howard 1B /  Byrd RF / Asche 3B / Nieves C / Blanco SS / Kendrick P


Phillies Nation TV – Episode 17: Trade Deadline Options

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, July 29, 2014 08:38 PM Comments: 1

The trade deadline is upon us and Pat and Corey discuss moves around the league and how they affect the Phillies chances to make some trades. The also breakdown the contract situations for potential movers like Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard and why they might hamper the Phillies options.

MLB hitting instructor Kevin Wilson joins Corey at Chandler Bats in Norristown to provide hitting tips for youngsters. And Tommy Greene returns to explain why legs and balance are crucial for effective pitching.


Stark: Byrd, Burnett Tough to Move

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, July 29, 2014 08:54 AM Comments: 23

Yesterday on 97.5 the Fanatic, my prestigious co-host, Jayson Stark, spoke at length about the Phillies trade deadline options. It’s not pretty, as you should well know. You can hear the entire hour of baseball greatness here. Below are some excerpts.

-Marlon Byrd is the best bat on the market according to Stark, but his no-trade clause and 2016 option is holding up a trade. Kansas City and Seattle both had interest, and both happen to be on his ridiculous four-team NTC. For him to waive the NTC, he needs his option, two years from now, picked up. Both teams seemingly have no interest in doing so for a late-30′s power hitter.

-AJ Burnett was awful against the Mets on Monday, damaging his trade value further in the process. The Pirates have been considered a viable option in a trade, however, as Stark points out, Burnett wants his 2015 option picked up before OK’ing a deal. Pittsburgh can’t afford that and want Burnett to assure them he will retire so that the option isn’t an issue, which they cannot afford under their financial structure.

-Stark said Cole Hamels was like his friends beach house. It had a FOR SALE sign on the lawn, but when Stark asked his friend about the sign, the owner said it was “priced not to sell.” The Phillies are hoping a team blows them away with a considerable – and likely unachievable offer – or else they aren’t dealing him.


Amaro Not Contemplating Releasing Howard

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, July 25, 2014 11:43 AM Comments: 24

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com spoke with Ruben Amaro Jr. who vehemently denied that the Phillies were discussing releasing Ryan Howard.

“That is not something we are contemplating,” Amaro said Friday morning. “I don’t know where that’s coming from.

“Our goal is to try to get Ryan Howard straightened out so he can be a more productive player for us. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t expect him to be the Ryan Howard of 2006, 2007, 2008. What we expect is him to perform better than he is. I know he’s a better player than this.

“Has to keep working and it’s up to us to help facilitate that. That’s on him and on us to help him get back to being a productive player.”

That’s, of course, what a GM is paid to do; soothe the ego of the expensive first baseman while attempting to quell the rumors that will inevitably emanate from this steaming pile of a season. That’s fine. But is it true?

I do not believe outright releasing Ryan Howard is the correct move – not yet anyway. I’d give him another offseason to rework his swing and start him ONLY against right handed pitching next season in a straight platoon with a first baseman who offers solid splits against lefties. If that fails, then the Phillies will have no choice but to move after during, or after, the 2015 season.

But back up to what the GM is supposed to do.

Is it really Ruben’s job at this juncture of the season to stick up for anyone involved with a team that is underperforming in spades? If anything, Amaro should be leaving all options open, even in comments to the media and fans. Also from Salisbury’s post on CSNPhilly.com:

Amaro was asked if he expected to see Howard in Clearwater in February.

“I absolutely anticipate that to be the case, certainly,” he said.

How can that absolutely be expected? Wouldn’t Amaro be better served by saying “we’ll be looking at every angle with every single player on this roster because, frankly, no one has earned or deserves anything after the last three seasons.” That certainly sounds like something Amaro would say. And it would apply here. More from Amaro:

“It happens to the best players in the game. Guys go in funks. He’s been there a while.”

Amaro said Howard “should have no concerns” about being released.

It’s understandable that Amaro is attempting to play peacemaker between Howard and manager Ryne Sandberg, who benched Howard the last two nights, including sitting the Big Piece against Tim Hudson, a pitcher he has destroyed frequently in his career. However, everyone with two eyes knows that Ryan Howard is much more than “a funk.” He’s been in that funk for a while because his swing is broken and his body likely failing him in its lower half. There’s no more room for coach/GM-speak. Time to lay all the cards on the table and leave no stone unturned.

Howard should absolutely be concerned about being released. He should be concerned about everything involving this situation with the Phillies. As should Amaro, who is short-changing himself by 100 percent sticking up for the most expensive player on his roster outside of Cole Hamels. Amaro has the opportunity to send a message with his words to the underachievers and he failed to do so here.


Writer’s Roundtable: Who Should We Blame For This Mess?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, July 10, 2014 11:07 AM Comments: 8

As you’ve probably heard by now Ruben Amaro Jr. was on 97.5 The Fanatic a few days ago with Mike Missanelli and said of the team’s struggles –

“We’re all in this thing together. We all share our equal blame for what’s going on.”

Do you agree with Amaro? If not, who do you think deserves most of the blame for the state of the Phillies organization: Amaro, Dave Montgomery, Ryne Sandberg, Scouts/Development, the players?

Ian Riccaboni: I used to play a lot of cards, which I, thankfully, have put behind me. In gambling, however, one thing I learned was that if you are going to make a bet, put your money on the most likely scenario and avoid betting long shots. In some regards, Amaro did this well, turning prospects into Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. With the benefit of hindsight, these trades are remarkable and show a knack for knowing that prospects don’t always pan out. Amaro was able to do this while replenishing his system through the draft and making smart international signings. But where Amaro got caught was when he let the candle burn at both ends: while he bet on his prospects to not pan out and won, and won big mind you, he cleared the war chest dry and now the Astros are enjoying the fruits of his staff’s labor while simultaneously betting on long shots like Raul Ibanez remaining a productive player through age 40, giving Placido Polanco a three-year deal, and giving extensions to aging core pieces.

Really, I believe that the blood is on Amaro’s hands, even if the moves were made at the directive and with the blessing of David Montgomery. In September 2011, Chuck LaMarr quietly stepped away from the team. There is no coincidence there: all of the top-notch talent he developed had just been traded away. Who signed off on those moves? Amaro. Whether it is right to assign the blame there or not, Montgomery isn’t going anywhere.

Patrick J. Egan: I think Amaro’s statement is a cop out. You can’t blame Ryan Howard because YOU gave him the contract and his ankle/Achilles blew out. You can’t blame scouting because they found good players, you just traded them away (*cough Hunter Pence cough*). And you can’t blame anyone for the fact that when forced to trade talent like Shane Victorino, Pence, & Cliff Lee you got nothing in return. Ruben Amaro has done a masterful job of turning a once proud organization into a black hole of hope for the future. But then again he has managed to turn the Houston Astros into a “team to watch” in the next few years so what the hell do I know.

Jon Nisula: Overall, I think Amaro deserves the majority of the blame. You could argue that he was dealt a difficult hand with injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and a career ending one to Roy Halladay, along with a suspension for catcher Carlos Ruiz, and a severely underperforming Domonic Brown. But what he didn’t do was make necessary moves to compensate for these and other things. It’s like he was in denial, not seeing what was happening right in front of him. I think most of us saw the decline coming, and with the lack of moves to avoid it, RAJ simply let it happen, which is why he should take most of the blame.

Robert Cowie: I find it preposterous that Ruben Amaro Jr. surmises that the oft-injured, declining production, core group of players coming into this season are somehow performing at such a low caliber as a surprise to him. Ryan Howard will continue to be a payroll albatross whilst in Philadelphia. When Amaro decided he wanted to keep Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley in Philadelphia well past their prime playing years, the supporting cast he continually surrounds them with has been disappointing. It’s hard to argue against any player, i.e. employee, when management offers you above market value for what you’ve accomplished in the past and not what you’re capable of producing in the present and future. For Amaro, he needed to identify this and provide the aging core with player who can pick up their slack offensively. There is no other reason to explain extending Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley if that wasn’t going to be the plan to begin with. When the contributors at Phillies Nation looked at the 2014 Phillies coming home from Clearwater they predicted an average win total of 76 games. Currently, they are projected to win only 69.

Alex Lee: It’s hard to blame anyone but Ruben without knowing the inner workings of the Phillies front office. I laughed to myself on Monday when the stories were written about how disappointed he is with the offense. Really? Who has performed below expectations on offense? Domonic Brown and…? Dom’s performance has stung, but it hasn’t been close to the difference between contention and their current state. Anyone who thinks Ryan Howard has underperformed this season hasn’t been watching him the past three years. The truth is that they’ve gotten healthy and predictable seasons from most of the lineup and they still rank in the bottom five in the league in all of the meaningful categories. This all goes back to the idea that this Phillies front office has no idea what produces runs. Or wins. That is the problem in South Philadelphia.


Amaro Defends Moves on 97.5 the Fanatic

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, July 09, 2014 07:49 AM Comments: 40

(AP Photo).

(AP Photo).

On Tuesday, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Mike Missanelli on 97.5 the Fanatic to discuss the Phillies woes. Missanelli jumped to the point quickly when talking about how poorly the team has played this year and questioned Amaro on numerous issues.

Amaro and Missanelli engaged in a back and forth that involved some tense moments, including Amaro calling Missanelli “uninformed.”

Listen to the excellent interview below.

Mike Missanelli Joined By Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr | Phillies | 97.5 The Fanatic.


Gameday 89: Phillies vs. Brewers

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, July 08, 2014 07:01 PM Comments: 55

Philadelphia Phillies (38-51) at Milwaukee Brewers (52-38)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Kyle Kendrick (3-8, 4.12)
MIL: Wily Peralta (9-5, 3.35)

Time: 8:10, Miller Park
TV: Comcast Sportsnet
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight: Watch!


Lineup: Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Byrd RF / Asche 3B / Brown LF / Hill C / Kendrick P

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