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Phillies off-season league notes: Biddle debuts, Quinn shines

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, November 02, 2014 11:50 AM Comments: 15

Throughout the autumn and winter months, we’ll be bringing you weekly roundups of how various Phillies players are performing in off-season leagues around the globe. This edition includes details on top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle‘s Puerto Rico debut, OF Roman Quinn, who shined in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game on Saturday as well as plenty more. Read ahead for all the details.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

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Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle allowed two earned runs, striking out three and walking two in three innings of work in a start for Mayaguez in his season debut on Friday. The 23-year-old was the Phils’ top draft choice in 2010. Biddle posted a 5-10 record with a 4.58 ERA in 19 starts in the minors this year.

Also with Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the Phils in the Roberto Hernandez trade this year, is hitless with a walk in two at bats in two games. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

With Zulia, outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .250 with three home runs, 12 RBI  and an .865 OPS through 17 contests. The 23-year-old righty hitter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, Altherr, who was the Phillies’ 9th round pick in 2009, posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 steals.

Freddy Galvis is batting .263 with a home run and three RBI through nine games also with Zulia. In 43 big league games this year, the switch-hitting infielder, who turns 26 years old this month, batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

First baseman/outfielder Wilmer Oberto is batting .219 with an RBI while being caught stealing twice in two attempts. Oberto, who turns 22 years old on Sunday, split time this season between Class A full season Lakewood and short-season A level Williamsport, posting a .226/.301/.355 slash line in 75 total games. Continue reading Phillies off-season league notes: Biddle debuts, Quinn shines

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Burnett, Phils both decline mutual option

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, November 01, 2014 01:05 AM Comments: 23

On Friday it was announced that A.J. Burnett and the Phillies declined their $15 million mutual option, leaving the righty hurler to decide whether to exercise his $12.75 million player option for next year.

The veteran, who turns 38 years old prior to spring training, posted an 8-18 record along with a 4.59 ERA in 34 starts this past season, his first with the team.  Burnett has until Monday, five days after the end of the World Series, to decide on his option.

Burnett led the National League in losses, walks issued and earned runs allowed in 2014.

With a salary of $16.75 million last season (including a signing bonus and performance bonuses), Burnett certainly didn’t perform up to expectations.  Even the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who are known to pay under-performing players over age 30 big money, should get a better return for their money than paying a guy more than $2 million per win.

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2014 Top Moments: #1 J-Roll Breaks Hit Record

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Wed, October 29, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 18

We are finally at our top moment of 2014. This time, we look at when Jimmy Rollins broke the franchise hits record.

We all knew it would happen. Barring injury, Jimmy Rollins was sure to break Mike Schmidt‘s franchise hits record in 2014.

And he did just that.

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PHOTO: AP

Schmidt’s record was 2,234 hits. J-Roll notched his 2,235th on Saturday, June 14. He lined a single off Edwin Jackson in the 5th inning in front of 31,524 fans at Citizens Bank Park. The game was then delayed while celebrations took place. Schmidt came out and got Jimmy’s bat and gave him a hug. The entire Phillies team also came out to celebrate with J-Roll.

Rollins has been with the club since 2000, and is a potential Hall-of-Famer. He’s been the face of the Phillies for several years, and has given us countless memories. He provides a unique combo of power and speed from the shortstop position, and is an exceptional fielder. He won an MVP in 2007, and is at or near the top in almost every offensive category in Phillies history. This moment is more of a result of what Jimmy has given us over the years, which is a ton. If we did a countdown of top moments of the last 10 years for the Phillies, this one would still be near the top.

This concludes our top moments countdown. Hope you enjoyed! Here are the others.

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2014 Top Moments: #2 The Combined No Hitter

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, October 28, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 1

We are continuing with our 2014 Top Moments countdown, this time with our #2 moment: The first combined no-hitter in franchise history.

The Phillies bullpen was a bright spot for the team in 2014. While they only held the 11th-best ERA in the NL, a lot of that had to do with the fielders behind them. Their FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching), was good for sixth in the NL, and they had the highest strikeout rate (K%) in the league as well. Their 7753 pitches were good for 8th in the NL, and, while they gave up fly balls at the highest rate (38.2%), they usually kept it in the ballpark. Only 7.5% of those fly balls reached the seats–good for sixth-lowest.

Why am I saying this? Because the bullpen was a huge part of the combined no-hitter back on September 1.

Starter Cole Hamels threw just six innings before being pulled. He had 108 pitches and it was a hot day in Atlanta. He gave up five walks and had seven strikeouts. Jake Diekman relieved him, followed by Ken Giles, and finally Jonathan Papelbon to close it out. They each threw a perfect inning, combining for five strikeouts in the process.

There have been just five combined no-hitters that used four pitchers. They allowed four stolen bases, which is the most ever for a combined no-hitter. At 190 minutes, this was the longest no-hitter in history. Carlos Ruiz has now caught three different no-hitters–two of them being Roy Halladay‘s. Read more about the stats behind the no-hitter here.

The Phillies won the game 7-0, and, for a team that was out of the playoff race and playing a division rival, the combined no-no was a huge win an amazing moment.

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Rosenberg outrighted off Phillies’ 40-man roster

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, October 27, 2014 05:00 PM Comments: 0

BJ Rosenberg-MiLB

BJ Rosenberg, image- MiLB.com

The Phillies continued to trim their 40-man roster on Monday, announcing that B.J. Rosenberg cleared waivers and had been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Rosenberg, who was a 13th round draft pick by the Phillies in 2008, appeared in 13 big league games this past season, sporting a 6.75 ERA with the Phils.  Overall, in 57 big league contests during his career, the 29-year-old has a 4-2 record with one save and a 5.72 ERA.

In 20 minor league games this year, Rosenberg posted a 2-1 record with a save and a 5.73 ERA.

Rosenberg can elect to become a free agent as a result of the move.

Following the recent move involving Andres Blanco, the team’s roster now stands at 38 players.

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Ogando, Quinn to represent Phils in AFL Fall Stars Game

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, October 27, 2014 04:15 PM Comments: 1

Nefi Ogando, image- Tug Haines

The Arizona Fall League announced rosters for it’s annual “Fall Stars Game” to be held on Saturday, November 1st.  In the showcase the Phillies will be represented on the East division squad by two players, righty reliever Nefi Ogando as well as outfielder Roman Quinn.

Ogando, 25, was acquired from Boston last year for veteran John McDonald.  Thus far in seven appearances for Scottsdale in the AFL, the six-foot-two 185 pound Dominican sports a 1-0 record with two saves and a 2.08 ERA while striking out eight and walking three in 8 2/3 innings.  With Double-A Reading this past season, Ogando, whose fastball regularly resides in the mid-90′s, posted a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 6.27 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 mark.

The 21-year Quinn, who was the Phils’ 2nd round pick in 2011, is batting .245 with a triple and 10 stolen bases in 13 games for Scottsdale.  The Florida native bounced back nicely from Achilles tendon surgery this year, posting a .257/.343/.370 slash line with 32 steals in 88 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater.  Quinn switched to the outfield from shortstop this season.

Other rising stars set to see action in the AFL’s Fall Stars Game include top Twins prospect Byron Buxton, the Pirates’ Josh Bell and Cubs hurler C.J. Edwards.

The game is slated to take place at 7pm EST and will be broadcast live on MLB Network.

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2014 Top Moments: #3 T-Mac’s Catch

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, October 27, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 0

We are continuing with our 2014 Top Moments countdown, this time with our #3 moment: When T-Mac caught a home run.

Back on June 27, the Phillies broadcast crew of Tom McCarthy, Jamie Moyer, and Matt Stairs were stationed in center field for the game’s broadcast. It was the first time in Citizens Bank Park history that the game would be called from a location other than the booth behind home plate. Their “booth” was set up just left of the “409″ sign in center field.

Kyle Kendrick was on the mound, and immediately allowed the first two runners of the game to reach base–a B.J. Upton single and an Andrelton Simmons walk. The third batter to step in the box was Freddie Freeman. He took the first pitch he saw, a 87 MPH cutter, deep to center. “Out toward our vantage point!”, said T-Mac, just before he caught the ball, to the delight of his booth partners and the fans around him. As soon as he caught it, Jamie Moyer told T-Mac he had to throw it back.

And he did.

The Phillies would go on to lose the game 4-2, but T-Mac’s catch was all over ESPN, MLB Network, and the Internet. It was an awesome moment, and certainly worthy of our #3 spot.

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Rollins Wins Clemente Award

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, October 24, 2014 07:35 PM Comments: 3

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PHOTO: Phillies Twitter

Jimmy Rollins and Paul Konerko are this year’s winners of the Roberto Clemente award, which is awarded to the player(s) that “demonstrate the values Clemente displayed in his commitment to community and understanding the value of helping others”. They are the first ever players to be co-winners of the award.

J-Roll is the third Phillie to win the award, joining Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox.

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Gillick: Phillies Wont Contend Until 2017

Posted by Pat Egan, Thu, October 23, 2014 06:32 PM Comments: 63

Phillies interim CEO Pat Gillick doesn't believe the team will contend until 2016

Phillies interim CEO Pat Gillick doesn’t believe the team will contend until 2016

Pat Gillick has always been a brutally honest man. When he traded franchise corner stone Bobby Abreu, along with starting pitcher Corey Lidle during the 2006 trade deadline Gillick stated that the Phillies wouldn’t contend for two years. Two years later they were hoisting the World Series trophy. So folks, get your lawn chairs ready for that parade in 2017!

In an exclusive interview with CSN’s John Clark, Gillick said that the Phillies won’t seriously contend until 2017. He followed that up by saying everyone on the roster is available in a trade. That includes, of course, ace Cole Hamels. Ruben Amaro Jr., not wanting to make a liar out of Gillick, inked starter Jerome Williams and outfielder Grady Sizemore to new deals this week. Both moves are an indication that a 2015 run might not be in the cards.

The Phillies are coming off a 73-89 season which saw them finish dead last in the National League East. The Phillies need a shakeup and it could come soon. We mentioned earlier today that the Phillies were the favorite to land Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. The 23-year old is a start, and he would be in his prime (26 years old) in 2017. Aaron Nola is likely another reason for Gillick’s proclamation. The right hander who the Phillies took seventh overall in the 2014 draft should be in the rotation at some point next season. He would turn 24-years old during the 2017 season.

Its no secret that the Phillies will likely look to move ace left hander Cole Hamels this winter. Hamels is coming off the best season in his career (2.46 ERA) and his value has never been higher. The Phillies, mainly GM Ruben Amaro Jr, has never had much luck trading proven players for prospects, so lets hope that trend will stop if the Phillies move Hamels. The Boston Red Sox are likely the favorite to land Hamels, and their farm system is deep.

Then of course you have the few pieces in the Phillies system that could contribute soon. Can Maikel Franco make the jump to the majors and be the guy that smashed 31 home runs in 2013? Can former first round pick Jesse Biddle rebound after his tough 2014 season? Will JP Crawford be in the majors by 2017? Can Roman Quinn, and Kelly Dugan stay healthy enough to reach the majors in three years and contribute?

Obviously no one knows just yet. But if you combine Tomas and Nola, with the package the Phillies could get for Hamels, mixed with the prospects they have in the system, then Pat Gillick might just be onto something. The Phillies could theoretically turn this old team, into a young nucleus this offseason. Give that nucleus a few seasons and who knows. Just in case, I’ll be camped out on Broad St. claiming my spot. Stop by and say hi!

 

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Phils Re-Sign Sizemore, Jimenez

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Thu, October 23, 2014 05:51 PM Comments: 9

The Phillies announced on Thursday that they have re-signed outfielder Grady Sizemore and relief pitcher Cesar Jimenez, both to one year contracts.

The Sizemore experiment was fun, but he clearly doesn’t have much left in the tank, at least from what he showed us last season. Jimenez ended up having a pretty good 2014 season, with a 1.69 ERA in 16 appearances.

Still, I’m not sure this is the best way to be allocating money this offseason. Pat Gallen sums it up perfectly.

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