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Posts Tagged ‘Shane Victorino’

Phils Considered Frontrunners For B.J. Upton

Posted by Eric Seidman, Sat, November 03, 2012 12:15 PM Comments: 86

Early Friday morning, Jon Heyman reported that the Phillies were early frontrunners to land B.J. Upton. The former #1 pick is a first-time free agent, and is generally considered the perfect fallback plan for teams that either miss out on, or don’t want to pay the hefty price tags of, Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn.

Upton has spent his entire career with Tampa Bay and combines solid centerfield defense with athletic baserunning ability and 20+ home run power. He is the youngest centerfield free agent, at 28 years old, and is expected to sign for $11-$13 million per season over four or five years. He is a very talented and valuable baseball player in his prime. The Rays made Upton a qualifying offer late Friday afternoon, but he isn’t likely to accept it.

Given how Ruben Amaro tends to operate, if the Phillies are serious about Upton, his signing could be imminent. Amaro’s modus operandi in his brief general managership has involved identifying a target and making the deal happen quickly. He let the market play out with Jimmy Rollins last offseason, but that was an exception, far from the rule.

While I extolled the virtues of one Peter Bourjos yesterday as a legitimate trade target for the Phillies, the situation is starting to have that ‘feel’ that Upton will be our starting centerfielder for the next several seasons. He was always a prime candidate for the Phillies, who love raw athleticism, and if these early reports are any indication Amaro has found his man.

There really isn’t a wrong answer when discussing Upton, Bourjos, Angel Pagan or Shane Victorino for the centerfield post, but Upton represents the best solution among those on the free agent market. His numbers have been deflated by the Trop, he still has untapped potential, and he is worth ~$12 million/yr even without developing further.

Continue reading Phils Considered Frontrunners For B.J. Upton

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Phillies Should Trade For Peter Bourjos

Posted by Eric Seidman, Fri, November 02, 2012 01:35 PM Comments: 43

The Phillies have a few glaring holes heading into the 2013 season, the most important of which is centerfield. After trading Shane Victorino this summer, the team permanently installed John Mayberry up the middle, and the experiment didn’t work out. Mayberry proved that he was a platoon player in a corner outfield spot, not a regular centerfielder. Unfortunately, he was the closest thing to a longer-term solution on the Phillies roster.

Juan Pierre and Laynce Nix could have faked it, but the former was only signed for one season and the latter is a pinch-hitter. Neither saw any time in centerfield and for good reason. Tyson Gillies just completed his first season at Double-A and is at least a year away from seeing the big leagues. The Phillies currently lack a solution. Fortunately, this year’s free agent class and trade market are flush with competent centerfielders.

It isn’t often that a position as important as centerfield sees so much turnover — teams usually tend to lock these players up before they hit the market — but the Phillies enter the offseason with selectivity at their disposal. There are a number of players they could acquire, but Peter Bourjos of the Angels makes too much sense to not seriously pursue. He would provide the team with elite defense and baserunning, offensive potential, cost-certainty and team-control, all of which are extremely important for a team in the Phillies position.

Continue reading Phillies Should Trade For Peter Bourjos

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Phillies Player Review: Josh Lindblom

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, October 30, 2012 02:07 PM Comments: 18

Josh Lindblom has limited righties to a .191 batting average in two seasons.

The Phillies’ bullpen was a disaster in 2012, placing 21st in ERA (3.94) and 29th in eighth-inning ERA (4.89). The ‘pen blew 19 saves — 11 more than their 2011 total. And it lost 27 games after losing just 18 in 2011.

So it made sense that when the Phillies were set to unload Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence at the trade deadline, they would look for at least one young reliever who could come in to help a beleaguered unit. Victorino was dealt to the Dodgers for 25-year-old right-hander Josh Lindblom and 23-year-old starting pitching prospect Ethan Martin.

While Martin flourished at Reading, going 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA in seven starts, Lindblom didn’t have much success in a Phillies uniform. He had a 4.63 ERA for the Phillies, and while he struck out 27 batters in 23.1 innings, he also walked 17.

Lindblom has heat — his fastball ranges from 92-96 mph, but he has trouble keeping the ball in the park. He allowed 13 home runs in 71 innings this season, nine of which came on the first or second pitch of an at-bat. It’s a trend that makes you nervous going forward at Citizens Bank Park.

The 6-foot-4 Lindblom does have potential, though, and he’ll be cheap for a few more years since he has less than two years of major-league service time.

The Phils should use him as a righty specialist in 2013. Right-handed hitters are batting .191 with a .576 OPS off Lindblom in a career sample of 248 plate appearances. Lefties, though, are hitting .282/.396/.500.

Lindblom can still be a quality bullpen piece for the next two or three years if the home run trend changes, but he should not be the eighth-inning answer in 2013, whether it’s just him or a combination of he, Antonio Bastardo and possibly Phillippe Aumont. Lindblom’s propensity to hit the sweet spot of the bat and the control problems of Bastardo and Aumont would set the Phils up for another season of late meltdowns.

If the Phillies sign a veteran reliever with a track record of setup success — a Mike Adams, Ryan Madson or Brandon League — Lindblom can move into the complementary role he is better suited for at this point.

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Phillies Player Review: John Mayberry

Posted by Eric Seidman, Fri, October 26, 2012 08:15 AM Comments: 19

John Mayberry received more playing time this year, playing in 149 games with Domonic Brown in the minors, the mid-season trades of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard‘s injury. His overall production was below average. He hit for power but didn’t reach base all that much and struck out 23% of the time.

His defense was solid at first base and in the corner outfield spots, but his athleticism didn’t translate into solid routes or range in center. All told, he tallied just 0.4 WAR this year, down from the very impressive 2.5 WAR he produced in 2011.

His 2012 campaign can be viewed one of two ways: it was an overall failure or it was an experiment that cemented the notion that he is only useful as a platoon player. The two are mutually exclusive, because buying into the latter means that this season was useful in determining his future role, which prevents it from being a total outright failure.

Maybe I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, but I choose to evaluate his production the second way. This was a largely disappointing season, but his lack of production against righties means the Phillies can use him strictly against the lefties he crushes moving forward. They don’t need to waste any more time giving him work against righties and can instead eke out more outfield production through the use of platoons. All along, we said that the one benefit to this waste of a Phillies season was that the team would get to try different players in various spots and really see what it had.

While that comment was primarily directed towards the bullpen, it was also true of Mayberry. Over the last two seasons, he embodied the common expression “He’s great as an extra man but if he’s a starter you’re not a very good team.” That expression comes in many shapes and forms, but it describes Mayberry and the Phillies. As a part-time platoon player that isn’t yet arbitration-eligible, he is a perfect fit for this Phillies roster. As an everyday starter, not so much, and the 2012 season helped prove that point.

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Phillies Player Review: Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, October 14, 2012 01:52 PM Comments: 14

The outfield situation was messy in 2012. (AP)

The two outfielders spent the first half of the season with the Phillies, then both were sent packing to the west coast in separate pre-deadline deals. For that, we put Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence together as they were key cogs in an underachieving first half; not only personally, but for the entire team.

After a solid 2011 season, Victorino seemed primed for a big contract following the 2012 season as he hit free agency. The issue was that he let the contract talk follow him wherever he went. Victorino, as we’ve come to learn, moves and talks a mile a minute. There’s a lot going on in his head already, and the thoughts of millions of dollars were too much to overcome – he said so himself.

As for Pence, no one really knows what’s happening there. So much kinetic energy was not always a good thing with Pence. When he came here from Houston, it was his all-out hustle that was so endearing to the fans. That quickly got old as the dude struggled big time with runners in scoring position during the first half of the year and couldn’t slow himself down at the plate no matter the circumstance.

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Thoughts From a Lost Season: The Offense

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 08, 2012 11:15 AM Comments: 46

Ryno never recovered from this. (AP)

My quick thoughts on the 2012 offense. Phillies Nation will also have a more thorough breakdown of each player coming later this month.

THE BAD

-You must begin with what wasn’t. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were not ready for the beginning of the 2012 season, and both missed extended time nursing their injuries. Upon their return, it was Utley who looked miles ahead of Howard in terms of their bat and physical fitness. That was to be expected with Howard unable to do much cardio in the offseason while riding around on a jazzy scooter with his leg bearing no weight. It put a damper on the early part of the season, offensively speaking, and the Phillies never recovered. Would it have made a difference had they both been healthy the entire season? Perhaps.

-We can look back and positively say that the Placido Polanco signing was a failure. That’s not Polanco’s fault, either, as he was coming off a few big seasons in Detroit before coming to Philadelphia. The reason it was a terrible move was the length of the contract. Polly had one-half of a good season when he first got here in 2010, never staying healthy enough to be worth the three-year, $18 million deal Ruben Amaro gave him. Put the blame on Amaro, not Polly. He played in just 90 games this past season and now the Phillies will be searching widely for a third baseman this offseason.

Continue reading Thoughts From a Lost Season: The Offense

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Reading Drops Game 3 Despite Martin Gem

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, September 08, 2012 08:05 AM Comments: 5

Disappointed and dejected, Ethan Martin stood at his locker following Reading’s 3-1 loss in game 3 of the Eastern League division series. The defeat put the R-Phils on the brink of elimination from the postseason, as Trenton grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

The 23-year-old Martin, who was acquired by the Phillies in July, in the Shane Victorino trade, struck out 11 Thunder batters while walking none over 7 2/3 innings, although he was charged with 3 runs, only one of which was earned as he took his first loss since joining the Phillies organization. Martin had posted a 5-0 record with a 3.18 ERA in the Eastern League this seaso.

Trenton’s David Adams slapped an RBI single with two outs in the 8th inning that snapped a 1-1 tie and put the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate up for good. The inning began with a single by Tyler Austin, who was then sacrificed to second. A grounder by Adonis Garcia that was mishandled by third baseman Cody Asche put runners on first and second with one out. Ramon Flores then flied out and it seemed as though Martin, who dominated for the previous six innings, would work out of the jam. However, Adams came through with the big hit and ended Martin’s night. Continue reading Reading Drops Game 3 Despite Martin Gem

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Mayberry Should Hope for Endless Summer

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, September 06, 2012 04:49 PM Comments: 18

Call me, Mayberry? (MLB)

Heading into 2012, a lot of hope was placed on John Mayberry Jr. to fill the hole in left field. After being recalled on July 5, 2011, Junior was a very productive player, hitting .301/.358/.607 with 12 HRs in 179 PA primarily against left-handed pitching. Mayberry was the perfect compliment to an aging Raul Ibanez in left down the stretch and helped the Phillies cruise to their fifth straight division title.

In Spring Training 2012, however, Mayberry struggled. Hitting a paltry .203/.259/.304 line, Mayberry seemingly relinquished an opportunity to play everyday to Juan Pierre. Mayberry received 258 PA through July 31, hitting just .235/.275/.391 with 8 HRs. Mayberry was receiving playing time more like a super-sub than a starter, playing 16 games at two or more positions, and coming off of the bench in 35 of his 93 appearances in 101 Phillies’ games. After trades sent Shane Victorino to LA and Hunter Pence to San Francisco, Mayberry, almost by default, became the everyday center fielder. He has very quietly delivered and is a big reason the Phillies have been much improved in the second half.

Continue reading Mayberry Should Hope for Endless Summer

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Writer’s Roundtable: The Domonic Brown Situation

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sat, August 25, 2012 10:00 AM Comments: 33

Domonic Brown looks like he could become the Phillies full-time right fielder next year after trades of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino have allowed him to be up with the big club for what looks to be a permanent stay.

However, it seems like Philadelphia is split on their opinions of him. Some say he stinks, some say he’s great, and others remain patient that he will reach his ceiling one day. Here are some of the opinions of the Phillies Nation staff on the Domonic Brown situation:

Pat Gallen: There’s no doubt he should play every single day, no matter the pitching he’s facing that night. If the Phillies want this guy to be an everyday corner outfielder, then it’s time to take the diapers off and lets him grow up. It means fighting through the inevitable highs and lows.

The way he’s been handled sucks. The Hunter Pence trade sticks out because it truly stunted his growth at the major league level. He lost his focus after that happened.

But that’s all in the past now and you can see Brown becoming acclimated with the majors nicely. I’ve been promoting patience to the fan base when it comes to Dom. Let him play every single day and around the middle of next season we’ll know who Dom Brown is as a player.

Ryan Dinger: At this point, I don’t think there’s any disagreement when suggesting that the Phillies haven’t provided Domonic Brown ideal playing conditions in his quest to develop into a big league ballplayer. This pattern of inconsistent at bats, coupled with his recent streak of injuries, has made it a rocky road to the majors for Brown.

But now that he’s relatively healthy, and the Phillies have nothing to compete for, there’s no one on the 40-man roster better suited to play everyday at one of the three outfield positions than Domonic Brown. You start him everyday to close out this season, and pencil his name in as one of the starting outfielders for 2013.

Eric Seidman: The entire situation is very frustrating. The Phillies were a great team before acquiring Hunter Pence, and the best half-season of his career made them an excellent regular season squad. But the trade had its drawbacks. For starters, the Phillies traded away two premium offensive prospects in Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana. Second, it meant that Domonic Brown wouldn’t get regular playing time at the major league level. Even if Brown struggled mightily for a month, the Phillies would have played well enough as a team to make the playoffs.

Brown is a very patient hitter, which is tougher to develop at the major league level. The power will come, but his ability to take walks, avoid swinging at slop, and post a .350+ OBP is very encouraging. Realistically, the silver lining to this mess of a season is that the team is now forced to play him everyday, without platooning him, demoting him, or messing with his game.

Ian Riccaboni: I think Domonic Brown is one of the most athletic, talented, and promising young players to arrive in Phillies pinstripes since Chase Utley. A lot of the criticisms that fans pinned on Utley early on in his career are similar to those that follow Brown: good-but-not-great plate discipline, bad defense, but not ready enough right now to contribute on a team that is ready to win now.

Yet, Brown has turned the corner in 2012. Brown is now fully-healthy for the first time since October 2010 and his improved plate discipline numbers are encouraging at worst and tantalizing at best. I am certainly excited that the best option to play every day finally is playing every day.

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PN Interview: RHP Ethan Martin

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, August 17, 2012 08:30 AM Comments: 33

Ethan Martin, the 23-year-old righty hurler that was acquired along with Josh Lindblom and a player to be named later just prior to the non-waiver trading deadline from the Los Angeles Dodgers, is adapting quickly to his new home, Reading, PA. In three starts since joining the Phillies organization, Martin has posted a 3-0 record with a 2.08 ERA while striking out 13 and walking five in 17 1/3 innings.

Originally selected by Los Angeles in the 1st round (15th overall) in the 2008 amateur draft out of Stephens County High School in Georgia, Martin had not posted great numbers as a pro prior to this season. In his first three years in the minors, Martin sported a 24-29 record with a 5.42 ERA. However, this year, with Double-A Chattanooga, Martin tallied an 8-6 record with a 3.56 ERA en route to becoming a Southern League All-Star.

Prior to the 2012 season, Martin, who stands 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighs around 195 pounds, was rated as the Dodgers’ number 17 prospect by Baseball America.

Recently, I spoke with Ethan about being involved in a trade for MLB All-Star Shane Victorino, his own pitch repertoire, Phillies fans and plenty more. For the full Q&A, read ahead or check out the media player below to hear that interview. Continue reading PN Interview: RHP Ethan Martin

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