Justin Duchscherer: The Missing Piece To The Phillies’ Puzzle?

November 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

This past season, Philadelphia almost won a second consecutive World Series title. Almost.

The Phillies were a fantastic, diverse team. They had their sluggers, like Ryan James Howard, Rauuuuul, and Chase. They had their fair share of wheels, with J-Roll lighting up the base paths for 31 steals and a success rate of 80 percent.

Pitching wasn’t exactly their strength, but their starters did a pretty good job, while the bullpen did their nightly job of screwing Philadelphia over. Last but certainly not least, they had good old Charlie. Charlie Manuel did a superb job of controlling this team, and, as thanks, Philadelphia Magazine named him the sixth most powerful man in the city.

So, the question is, where does this team go now? Who will lead them back to glory?

This offseason, Phillies analysis has been entranced in the open position at the hot corner. Everyone seems to be caught up in the debate of whether the Phils should sign Beltre, Figgins, or DeRosa. Even I found myself salivating over the thought of Figgy in red pinstripes or the Penn grad coming home.

However, as I sat there arguing with myself about this topic, I looked back at this season and I remembered the games that I had watched or attended when the pitchers completely broke down.

So, I did a little research, and I found out that the Phils starting pitchers combined for only 83 quality starts through the entire regular season. Thus, I believe that I have answered my own question. The missing piece to this puzzle is remarkably simple. The way for this team to be unstoppable is to sign one more high-quality, high-consistency starter. 

In my eyes, the offseason is about two things: improving you team and saving money wherever possible.

With those two steps in mind, Ruben Amaro Jr. could go in a number of different pitching directions this winter. He could invest in a major arm, such as Lackey, Harden, or maybe the Cuban kid Chapman. Another plausible choice would be to make a big trade for names like Halladay or maybe even “King” Felix Hernandez. 

On second thought, it would make much, much more sense to take the frugal approach and sign a low-risk, high-upside guy like Andy Pettitte or Jarrod Washburn. All of these obvious choices are out there.

There is one player, however, that is causing some fans, like myself, to scratch their heads.

His name is Justin Duchscherer, also known around the baseball community as “The Duke”.

The Duke was just coming out rehab from elbow surgery when he aggressively sought help for his clinical depression. In fact, he actually put his baseball career on hold while dealing with this issue. Upon hearing this, I was shocked that someone would stop playing professional baseball while healthy. To me, it seemed unreal.

However, the truth is that many people, even athletes struggle with depression.

Just last season, a handful of players were diagnosed for anxiety-related problems. Amazingly, these players are big names around baseball, including Joey Votto, Dontrelle Willis, and even your 2009 Cy Young Award Winner, Zack Greinke.

In 2008, The Duke went 10-8 with a 2.54 earned run average and an All-Star Game invitation. In 2009 he did not step foot on a MLB diamond during a game because of elbow surgery and his depression. Justin was healthy the entire second half, but his anxiety obviously won that battle. 

The point that I am trying to emphasize is that “The Duke” is fully capable of returning to All-Star status. Plus, with not having thrown a pitch in an actual game through all of 2009, he will be unbelievably inexpensive. Win, Win.

Coming back to the Phillies, they became increasingly southpaw-heavy as the season wore on. Even after the signing of Pedro Martinez, the righty-lefty split was still 3-2. Now, Myers is gone, Pedro’s return is questionable, and Moyer is sitting in a Philadelphia hospital, struggling to stay active much less pitch in the major leagues.

So, that leaves them with Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, and Joe Blanton. That is a 3-1 righty to lefty ratio! 

The obvious gap for this team is a starting pitcher, with the main absence being a strong righty. With third base still being without an occupant, it is expected that big money will be thrown that direction.

Thus, the task is as follows: Sign a right-handed pitcher for as little money as possible. Now, you tell me. Who fits that mold better than Justin “The Duke” Duchscherer?

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Chase Utley Stands Out Among Philadelphia Phillies Stars

November 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The off-season is a funny time for baseball fans, especially when your pro football team is not setting the world on fire.

Following last year’s World Series win by the Philadelphia Phillies, one player stood out in my mind in the off-season: Chase Utley.

In their six-game loss to the New York Yankees this season, Utley again stood tall.

Crowd cheering, chest-pounding, fire-eating, kill your best starter, hide your momma, where’s Obama, we ain’t lying performance.

(Sorry, I recently interviewed Darryl Dawkins, the former 76ers nickname machine, for a B/R story).

The rest of the Phillies team simply did not respond as well in the clutch.

Utley hit five home runs against New York to tie Yankee great Reggie Jackson for the most in a single World Series

He hit two home runs off Yankee ace CC Sabathia in Game One of the Phillies 6-1 win.

Utley stands so close to the plate that he not only gets hit a lot, but he opens up on inside pitches and hits the ball a long way.

His 3/4 swing is text book.

Looking at stories, I saw David Murphy’s Daily News blog titled: “Leftovers: Props for Utley’s base-running; Looking at starters.”

Let me say that great stories often are not written from scratch, but rewritten. The key is to give proper credit.

Murphy pointed out that Utley was ranked the second-best baserunner in baseball over the past five years.

It is a belief that I’ve had for a while, but one finally made in print.

According to John Dewan’s report, Utley finished behind only Grady Sizemore among best baserunners.

Sizemore finished with a +104 Baserunning gain, while Utley was tops among infielders with a +96. To see the whole report, check out the link on Murphy’s story or google John Dewan’s baseball stat of the week.

Murphy, who covers the Phillies, pointed to this example of Utley basepath prowess in his “High Cheese” column:

“The moment that sticks in my mind occurred in early September, in a pivotal game against eventual Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. With two out in the sixth inning of a tie game, Utley stood on first base, having reached on a hit by pitch. The batter, Ryan Howard, sent a line drive screaming toward the gap in right-center field. There were two out, but Utley didn’t just start running on contact, he hit full speed on contact. He didn’t just score from first base. He scored easily.”

The baserunning play I remember was in 2008, I believe when Utley, standing on second, scored on a groundout to second base.

I saw a replay of the moment and the hit ball was a high chopper just in front of the plate, but again, Utley, realizing the situation, never stopped running and scored.

Utley was not that hot in the NLCS or NLDS this season. But, perhaps with a few days rest, was a monster in the 2009 World Series.

He hit .286 in the series with a monster 1.048 slugging average.

Utley is a .295 lifetime hitter.

He won his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger Award recently.

Players, coaches, and managers selected Utley as the best hitting second baseman in the National League.

Utley finished the year with a .282 batting average, .397 on-base percentage, and .508 slugging percentage.  Utley hit 31 home runs and drove in 93 runs.

If there is one kryptonite in Utley’s awesome, all-around game, it is his health. He had hip surgery following the 2008 season.

The lingering pain from the injury, I believe, causes him prolonged slumps during the season.

If healthy for a full season, he could easily hit .300.

As Phillies’ fans, we know we are in the last two years of a five-year baseball glory years for this town.

We have owned the Dodgers for the past two seasons. (That’s another story for another day).

The core of Utley, Rollins, Howard, and Victorino, along with Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez will help the Phillies compete until at least 2011, when some of the big contracts come due.

Until then: Thank you, Chase Utley.

**Photo courtesy of New York Post

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Phillies’ Castro Signing Could Eliminate One Third Base Candidate

November 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies are set to open its free agent signing as soon as next week with the signing of free agent utility man Juan Castro, late of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The signing appears imminent, according to his agent, who added in a Philadelphia Inquirer report that Castro is out of the country and has to pass a physical to make the signing official.

Castro, 37, is a .230 hitter, with a .270 on-base percentage, in 15 major-league seasons. In 57 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, he batted .277 while playing shortstop, second base, third base, and left field.

While not threatening the starting position of any player, Castro fills the role of Eric Bruntlett, who hit .171 last year for the Phillies.

Seeing that the Phillies let incumbent third baseman Pedro Feliz walk instead of picking up a $5.5 million option next year, the Phillies have left third base open for a new player.

Among the candidates are Chone Figgins of the Angels, Adrian Beltre of the Mariners, Mark DeRosa of the Cardinals, Placido Polanco of the Tigers, and wild card Garrett Atkins of the Colorado Rockies, who avoided arbitration by signing a one-year $7.05 million contract for 2010.

Atkins has been rumored to traded, according to a Rockies’ website.

Out of all the candidates, DeRosa should now be least likely to sign with the Phillies.

Could you imagine two multiple position utility men on the team? The Phillies would have to sell DeRosa as an every day player. I, for one, can’t buy it.

Recently, I and the Phillies wanted DeRosa. That was this past summer, when Feliz was still on the team.

Both DeRosa and Castro bat right.

And, Castro comes cheaper.

Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News today lobbied for Figgins, who would replace Jimmy Rollins at the top of the lineup in the story: “Figgins would fit nicely atop Phillies batting order.”

Figgins stole 42 bases last year and had a near .400 on-base percentage.

Some reports, however, said that the Phillies would not be able to pay the money and years that Figgins’ agent wants.

Beltre, in limited time due to an injury, hit .265 with eight home runs. He hit 25 dingers with the Mariners in 2008 and 48 in 2004 with the Dodgers.

Figgins, Atkins, or Beltre would be the only guys I would consider an upgrade on the position.

The best we can hope, as Donnellon suggested, is that Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is playing it coy and signs Figgins.

If money were an issue, however, a reasonable option would be to sign Beltre.



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Report: Phillies To Sign Juan Castro

November 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

According to several media outlets, the Philadephia Phillies have agreed to terms with free agent Juan Castro on a one-year contract with a club option for 2011 pending a physical. The signing is expected to be announced next week.

Castro is listed as a shortstop, but he’s a utility player who will replace Eric Bruntlett on the roster for the 2010 season. In 2009, Castro played 20 games at second base, eight at third, and two in left field.

The 37-year old hit .277, with one home run, and nine RBI in 112 at bats with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also had a .311 on-base percentage and scored 18 runs after signing a minor league deal with Los Angeles.

In 15 seasons paying for the Dodgers, Reds, Twins, and Orioles, Castro is a .230 career hitter with a .270 OBP. He’s a journeyman infielder, but he’s a guy who fits what the Phillies were looking for.

Philadelphia’s bench struggled all season long last year, and Bruntlett had one of the worst seasons a player could have. In 105 at bats last year, Bruntlett hit .171 with a .224 on-base percentage.

Charlie Manuel loved Bruntlett’s versatility in the field, which was the only reason Bruntlett stuck around the entire season. They Phillies hope Castro can provide a modest offensive upgrade over Bruntlett.

The Phillies are still in the market for a third baseman and bullpen help, but with the signing of Castro, they can cross the utility player off their to do list.

For more Phillies coverage, please go to my blog: Phillies Phandom

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Kane Kalas Recalls His Father’s Greatness Outside The Booth

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

There was a void at Citizens Bank Park this year. Everything was the same on the baseball field, but for any fan or member of the organization it was just not the same. Harry was gone. “We lost our voice,” as David Montgomery so eloquently put it.

Each win just wasn’t as sweet without Harry Kalas, the 38-year voice of Phillies baseball.

It’s hard to comprehend how a single man could mean so much to a city.

He was unbelievable behind a microphone. But so were many of his colleagues. His calls- legendary. But outside the booth was where Harry was at his finest. That’s what made him spectacular and a legend who will live on forever.

His son Kane is following right in his father’s footsteps, and I got the privilege and honor to speak with him the other night about his incredible father.


Send e-mail to sroddy@highhopesblog.com. For more of Shay’s work visit his Phillies blog, High Hopes.

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Halladay Will Not Re-Sign With Toronto

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

ESPN.com reports that Roy Halladay will not re-sign with the Toronto Blue Jays after his contract expires at the end of the 2010 season assuming that he is still a Blue Jay for this coming season.

Toronto went public during the summer that they would listen to offers for the right-handed pitcher, and it ultimately got to a point to no return for the Blue Jays.

Halladay wants to play for a winner, and that’s not Toronto. At this point in his career, he’s made enough money. Every player’s goal is to win a World Series, and Halladay knows that won’t happen with the Jays.

He’s not the kind of guy that would use the media to help him get out of a bad situation. Throughout the craziness that was July, Halladay never once said that he wanted to be traded, or that he wanted out of Toronto.

Instead, Halladay said all the right things, but if you can read body language, it shouted “get me out of here”. After the trade deadline past and he was still a Jay, you could see the disappointment in his face.

Toronto can no longer salvage the situation, they have to get something for the six-time All-Star and 2003 A.L. Cy Young award winner. He’s too good to let go without receiving something other than a draft pick.

Former Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi failed to find a proposal that floated his boat, and it cost him his job among other reasons like signing Vernon Wells and Alex Rios to terrible extensions.

In case you haven’t realized with the multiple rumors thus far into the off-season, Toronto is desperate to trade Halladay. Why else would they say that they would trade him to Boston or New York?

And while thinking about it, why would they call the Chicago Cubs, who have never really been linked to Halladay before, to seek their interest. The Jays are said to be talking to the Dodgers to boot.

Yesterday, I wrote that the Phillies should jump back into the Doc Halladay sweepstakes stating that they have the assets, drive, and financial flexibility to do so.

Despite having over $100-million committed to 12 players next season, the Phils have no financial restraints from the ownership. They’ll spend money if they see it as a way of making the team better.

That may surprise you depending on if you believed that a few years ago, David Montgomery was unwilling to spend money for big-name players, but that’s this new era of baseball in Philadelphia.

Winning a World Series in 2008 opened the eyes of Montgomery, showing him that spending money to go for the crown every year will lead to more money made from attendance and merchandise.

The prospective of making it to the dance three years in a row, and becoming a dynasty in the process, is something that has never been a reality with the Phillies in their history.

Acquiring Halladay will not be as hard as it was during the regular season as the asking price will not be as high, and if it is, look for Toronto to screw the pooch once again with the handling of Halladay.

At this point in time, they have to get one top prospect, or a Major League ready player in return for Doc. In July, they could have got a high return, now they could still get one, but it seems unrealistic.

Look at the Twins a few years ago, and how they handled trading Johan Santana. They didn’t ship him at the deadline when they could’ve got a big package, but waited until the winter, and got nothing.

Toronto already failed to get the most they can get for him since they didn’t trade him at the deadline, but now they have a chance to redeem themselves while getting a top prospect.

The Jays have no leverage, however, so finding a partner who is willing to give them a blue-chip prospect or a ML-ready player like J.A. Happ, who they could still realistically get if they were to trade with the Phils.

Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn’t have starting pitching as a top priority this winter as they have to find a new third baseman, restructure the bullpen, and strengthen a crappy bench.

However, if Toronto came calling offering Halladay for Happ, and two mid-level prospects, it’s hard to believe that Amaro wouldn’t pull the trigger.

Come to think of it, it’ll cost more than Happ and mid-level prospects to get Halladay. The Yankees or Red Sox will probably get him by trading Joba Chamberlin or Clay Buccholz.

For more Phillies coverage, please go to my blog: Phillies Phandom

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Philadelphia Phillies Should Get Back in on Roy Halladay

November 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

So, last week, the rumors resurfaced that the Phillies are still trying to acquire Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays, and the memories of the hours leading up to the trade deadline in July relinquished.

All throughout the middle month of the season, all the talk surrounding Major League Baseball was whether or not Toronto would stick to their word and trade Halladay.

Then general manager J.P. Ricciardi said that he would listen to offers for the right-hander at the start of the month, and Philadelphia had the need and the financial flexibility to make a blockbuster.

For a couple of weeks, Ricciardi played a game of chicken with the Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr . as everyone in Ricciardi’s position would. Toronto was asking for the farm while the Phils weren’t willing to meet the demand.

In the end, the Phillies ended up acquiring another former Cy Young winner in Cliff Lee for far less than they would have had to give up to get Halladay, who isn’t much better than Lee.

With Halladay still under contract for another season, Toronto felt that they could wait until the offseason to trade him and still get the same value they would’ve if they shipped him at the deadline.

I believe that the way that Ricciardi handled the whole ordeal ultimately cost him his job. It got to a point where they kind of needed to trade Doc because he wanted out, and mentally, he was gone.

The Blue Jays hired Alex Anthopoulos as the general manager after firing Ricciardi in October, and Anthopoulos has the responsibility to dealing a bona-fide ace before things get worse for Canada’s only baseball team.

A few weeks into the offseason, we already know that the Jays are willing to trade inside the division, and that the Yankees and Red Sox both are players in the sweepstakes.

On Friday, we learned that the Jays called the Chicago Cubs to seek their interest in adding the 32-year-old starter. And then Yahoo Sports Tim Brown tweeted that Toronto is talking to the Dodgers about Halladay.

It’s obvious that the Blue Jays want to trade Halladay this winter, and not wait until next season’s trade deadline where they would have to settle for a sub-par package instead of getting a top prospect or two.

Toronto is looking pretty desperate to get rid of Doc while getting the best possible package they can at this point in time; remember Minnesota lost value when waiting until the offseason to trade Johan Santana .

This is why I think the Phillies should re-enter the Roy Halladay sweepstakes: They have the assets to complete a trade, they have the need to acquire another top-of-the rotation guy, and it makes (some) sense.

The Jays already know who they like in the Phils farm system from the scouting they were doing when the two sides were negotiating in July, and Philadelphia can afford trading away one top prospect.

In order to land Halladay during the summer, the Phillies were going to have to part ways with top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek , a Rookie of the Year candidate J.A. Happ , and outfielder Domonic Brown .

That was entirely way too much then, and it’s way too much now. The circumstances have changed in the four months since the two teams have talked trade, and the Phils don’t need an ace anymore.

Negotiating is all about leverage, and at this point in time, the Blue Jays have none on any team because everyone knows they need to get rid of Halladay.

When someone knows that a product will eventually come down in price, they will, more often than not, wait the wave out until the price drops to within their range. It’s the same thing when trading in baseball.

Since Toronto has pretty much came out and said that they’ll trade Halladay, the rest of the league aren’t going to pay full price. The longer it goes on, the further the asking price drops.

This soap opera has been going on for a few months now so you have to think that the Jays will not be able to pony a team to give up top value for the six-time MLB All-Star.

Let’s go back in time when the Phillies were aggressively trying to acquire Halladay. Several reports indicated that the Phillies offered the same package for Lee, however included Happ in the offer.

It’s well known that Amaro didn’t want to part ways with Drabek because of his potential. Despite already having Tommy John surgery, Drabek is a blue-chip pitching prospect who has been dominating the minors.

Drabek is an untouchable to the Phillies as is Brown, who the Jays want(ed). Brown is a five-tool prospect who has the potential to become a superstar for years to come.

The package the Blue Jays asked for was the roof, and would have been the best return in any trade for Halladay; however the Phillies weren’t going to do that trade, and come to think of it, neither would anyone else.

While the Phils don’t have the prospects like they did in July since they traded Lou Marson , Jason Donald , Carlos Carrasco , and Jason Knapp for Lee, they still have the crop to get Halladay, and afford it.

Even with trading four pretty respectable prospects to get Lee, Philadelphia still has a lot of depth in the organization for once in a very long time. When was the last time the farm system was this good?

Toronto asked for the Phils top outfielder prospect in Brown, but the Phillies also have another top-tier prospect in Reggie Taylor , who seems to have been the forgotten one.

At one point last season, many people Taylor to be the better prospect than Brown. Both guys are five-tool prospects, and one day could potentially turn out to be a superstar.

Some people think that it would be wise trading Happ this offseason because of the economical concept, which applies in this scenario, of buy low, sell high.

Happ was tied for the team lead with 12 wins in 2009 with a 2.93 earned run average. He was never considered to be anything more than a back-end-of-the-rotation pitcher, but he was performing as a No. 2.

I would have traded him at the deadline, and I would trade him now for Doc. Let’s face the truth that Happ will never accomplish as much as Halladay has thus far into his career from a statistical standpoint.

The asking price for Roy will not be as lucrative as it was before, but it will still cost a team some high prospects. Offering Happ, Taylor and a mid-level prospect for Halladay would give the Jays what they want.

Of course, Anthopoulos will want a pitching prospect who has a lot of potential like Drabek, but adding Happ, who is 27-years-old, would give them an immediate impact on their rotation.

Taylor would be ready to be called up in as soon as 2011, and would give them a player to replace Vernon Wells in the outfield, and would let them dump his salary at the deadline next July.

While the need for an ace is no longer as pressing as it was before the deadline, the Phillies certainly need another reliable starting pitcher since Cole Hamels is an uncertainty after a miserable 2009 season.

Lee was able to carry the rotation into the World Series, but he will not be able to do so again throughout an entire campaign. Hamels needs to return to form that got him the W.S. MVP in 2008.

The Phillies want to win as many championships as they can with their current core because they know how special this team is. Halladay presents a great chance of getting to their third straight Fall Classic.

With that being said, I’m not saying that Halladay is the only way the Phillies make it back to October baseball, and better yet, contending for a title. They have a great chance as it stands, but Halladay would make it better.

For both sides, the move makes sense. Toronto will still get a great crop of players while the Phils get another ace that would give them as strong as a rotation than the Yankees with Halladay-Lee-Hamels.

It would be a bold statement by the Phillies to the rest of the MLB, and to their fans. We know they are trying to win the World Series, and do whatever it takes, but acquiring Halladay would just reaffirm it further.

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A Glance at What’s Going on With the Philadelphia Phillies

November 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Paul Hagen wrote a story in yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News informing fans to expect a few fireworks in free agency. Hagen tells us that he doesn’t think there will be any introductions of any new Phillies anytime soon.

Tom’s Take: It’s not really much of a surprise that he writes that; no one is really expecting the Phillies to come out of the gate to sign a top-notch free agent. They’re looking at third base, bullpen and bench, and all three positions will require some homework being done before jumping on the perceived top option.

Mike Potter reported that Omar Vizquel is no longer an option for the Phillies as he signed a one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox as the first notable free agent signing. Vizquel will be a backup in the Windy City.

Tom’s Take: Vizquel was an intriguing player that many believed that the Phils could be targeting to come off the bench, and backup Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley at shortstop and second base. Players like Jerry Hairston Jr. and Fernando Tatis as potential targets.

Hagen reports that the Phillies say that the rumors of Pat Gillick returning to the baseball front office with the team that he built his reputation, the Toronto Blue Jays, are all false .

Tom’s Take: Gillick is a god in Philadelphia for putting together the pieces that Ed Wade left him, and getting the city their first championship since 1983, and the organization’s second title in their history. He knows how to build winning baseball teams, and I hope he goes to Toronto if he does return because my god, I don’t want him anywhere close to the National League.

Yoon Chul, a staff reporter for the Korean Times, writes that free agent Chan Ho Park wants to start in 2010. Park is a free agent, and the Phillies want him back, but only as a reliever.

Tom’s Take: It’s so obvious to everyone that Park is best suited for the bullpen. The Phils know it, every MLB team knows it, and Park knows it himself. He wants to start so his friends and family in Korea can see him pitch, and I understand that, but you also want to pitch in the States so he’ll ultimately end up in the ‘pen.

Todd Zolecki relays that FOXSports.com reported that the Phillies are the favorites to land Mark DeRosa . Zolecki says that it makes sense that he signs with the Phils because he’s a Penn graduate and has been linked to the team before.

Tom’s Take: Anyone surprised? A lot of people thought that he’ll be the guy that he Phillies would be going after in free agency. They’ve liked him in the past, and he’s now available for them again. You know what they say, third time’s a charm.

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What the Doug Glanville Are the Phillies Up To?

November 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The latest out of the Philadelphia Phillies camp is that they want to feel out the market before they move in free agency.

That is better than the story the day before, where a source said that Mark DeRosa could land on the Phillies to fill the shoes of Pedro Feliz.

According to MLB.com, DeRosa hit .250 with 23 home runs and 78 RBIs last season with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. He hit .285 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs. He had wrist surgery on Oct. 26, but his representatives said Tuesday that DeRosa should resume baseball activities before Spring Training.

According to the story by Todd Zolecki, there are reasons why DeRosa would make sense.

He is from the Northeast. He grew up in New Jersey and attended Penn. He has a reputation as a hard worker and good teammate, which the Phillies consider important attributes.

Ryan Howard is from St. Louis, Mo. Chase Utley and Cole Hamels are from California.

Former Phillie Doug Glanville, shown above, went to the University of Pennsylvania, too. He had a nice career for some pretty bad Phillies teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Hard work is an attribute that Phillies fans love. That much is true.

And guess what else? DeRosa made $5.5 million last year. That is the same money the Phillies would have paid Pedro Feliz if they picked up his option.

DeRosa is a nice player, but is he that much better than Feliz?

Their fielding abilities are about even. DeRosa has a better average than Feliz in the last two years.

But DeRosa is not an impact player. There are doubts whether he is an every day player.

So while the Phillies backed off from signing anyone Friday, they left the door open for future signings in the next few weeks or months.

They are probably waiting to see what the Angels offer Chone Figgins.

Figgins could well be off the board by Friday. The Phillies are willing to take that chance.

Or are they just posturing?

If they don’t sign Figgins on Friday, then look for them to go after Adrian Beltre or DeRosa.

But don’t cry poor.

While the Phillies paid $106.75 million for 12 players, which included arbitration-eligible players like Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, and Carlos Ruiz, they need help at third base, in the bullpen, and on the bench.

The Yankees? The 2009 World Champions? Their payroll is $192.35 million.

I don’t mind if the Phillies wait, even if it mean they miss out on Figgins.

Just step up to the plate financially when the time comes, Phillies.

I don’t care what region of the country the player comes from.

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For Philadelphia Phillies, Friday Looms As Fast Break from Past

November 17, 2009 by  
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