Philadelphia Phillies Interested in Ben Sheets, Chien-Ming Wang

January 9, 2010 by tom dougherty  
Filed under Fan News

David Murphy tweets that the Philadelphia Phillies have contacted the agents of free agent starting pitchers Ben Sheets and Chien-Ming Wang, though he says that there aren't any indications that something will happen on either front.

With Jamie Moyer's status for the start of the regular season being an unknown, Sheets may become an intriguing option as a fifth starter for the Phillies. Opting for surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow last February, Sheets decided against signing with a team last year.

Sheets, 31, has build an impressive résumé in his eight year career with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a career record of 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA, making four All-Star teams and finishing eighth in the 2004 N.L. Cy Young award voting.

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in his last season with the Brewers in 2008. He started 31 games, struckout 158 hitters while walking 46 batters in 198.1 innings. He had five complete games, three of which were shutouts.

In his last start with Milwaukee, Sheets left after two innings because of tightness in throwing forearm, which forced the Brewers to shut him down for the rest of the season.

Sheets had three straight seasons with 200 innings or more before taking a step back in his career. Between 2005 and 2007, Sheets made five trips to the disabled list with various arm injuries and an inner ear infection that led to vertigo.

Before choosing surgery last off-season, Sheets was believed to be closing in on an incentive laden contract with the Texas Rangers. At the end of the day, he decided that getting his elbow repaired was the best step for his career.

According to reports, Sheets and his agent Casey Close is asking for $12 million, a similar figure he made in his last year with the Brew Crew. It's believed that Close is playing hardball with teams, trying to get his client the best deal he can.

The Phillies are looking to add another starting pitcher to solidify the back end of the rotation, and they're looking for someone at a reasonable price. With Sheets current asking price, you can likely count the Phils out of his sweepstakes.

ESPN.com proposed the idea that Sheets could be a fit with the Phillies if they can find payroll relief. They suggested trading Joe Blanton could free up enough cash to sign Sheets, and a rotation with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Sheets can compete with any other in the game.

The question is: Do you trade Blanton, who is a known commodity, to clear up payroll space to sign Sheets, a pitcher with dominant stuff but has a scary injury history? Is it worth the risk to add a significant upgrade in Sheets, if healthy?

Well, is it?

For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.

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Jamie Moyer May Not Be Ready for Opening Day

January 6, 2010 by Adam Bernacchio  
Filed under Fan News

At 47-years old, you have to start wondering how much more Philadelphia Phillies’ LHP Jamie Moyer can put his body through.


On October 2, Moyer underwent surgery to repair three muscle tears in his groin and lower abdomen. Almost two months later, Moyer underwent another surgery after an MRI exam showed a small blood collection that could have been infected.

Now, Moyer is scheduled to undergo another surgery–this time on his right knee. Moyer will undergo the surgery on Monday.

That’s a lot of surgeries for a 27-year-old to have, let alone a 47-year-old. Thanks to all these procedures, Moyer may not be ready for opening day for the Phillies.

“I would doubt that Jamie would be ready for opening day,” Ruben Amaro said through the Philadelphia Inquirer (the Phils open April 5 in Washington). “It’s possible. If anybody can do it, Jamie can.”

Moyer signed a two-year extension for $13 million before the 2009 season, so one has to figure this will be Moyer’s final season in the major leagues. Unless he wants to say he played till he was 50, I don’t see why Moyer would continue to pitch after this season.

The Phillies’ first four spots in the rotation is set with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, JA Happ, and Joe Blanton. When Moyer comes back, he could either compete for the fifth spot in the rotation or be a long reliever out of the pen.

I think because of his ability to eat innings, Moyer will be given every chance to start for the Phillies in 2010. In the two seasons before last, Moyer threw over 190 innings.

Moyer will be entering his 24th year in the major leagues in 2010. Every time Moyer takes the mound, he is living proof that A. It pays to be born left-handed and B. You don’t have to throw 100 mph to be a successful major league pitcher.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Philadelphia Phillies Notes: Baez Signing Announced, Eyre Talks Finished

January 5, 2010 by tom dougherty  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies have announced that they have signed Danys Baez to a two-year, $5.25 million contract. He jumped the final hurdle, which was a physical examination.

Baez, 32, went 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 appearances last season with the Baltimore Orioles. He held right-handed hitters to a .197 average and opposing hitters to a .222 average in 71.2 innings.

In his 10-year career in the majors, Baez has played for six teams, including the Phillies. He broke into the league with the Cleveland Indians when Charlie Manuel managed the Tribe.

Baez will wear No. 55 in Philadelphia.

 

Eyre talks likely finished

It appears as Scott Eyre’s career with the Phillies is over as Ruben Amaro Jr. implied that talks with Eyre have been put to bed. Amaro offered him a minor league contract, but Eyre declined as he’ll play ball elsewhere in 2010.

Eyre posted a 1-2 record with a 1.50 ERA in 42 relief appearances last season with the Phillies. Taking over as the left-handed specialist since J.C. Romero missed the majority of the season due to injury and suspension, Eyre allowed only five runs in 30 innings.

Amaro said that he wants to sign another left-handed reliever for the bullpen, but there aren’t many options remaining on the open market. Ron Mahay and Will Ohman head the list of free agent lefties.

For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.

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Jayson Werth= Jason Bay?

January 4, 2010 by josh levitt  
Filed under Fan News

Jayson Werth will become a free agent after this season and MLB.com's Todd Zolecki ponders what kind of deal Werth might command. His guess: four years/$64 million (or something similar):

3. Can the Phillies sign Jayson Werth to a contract extension?

Jason Bay could sign a four-year, $64 million contract with the Mets. You've got to think Werth will be able to command a similar contract once he becomes a free agent after next season. And I'm not sure if the Phillies can match that. They've got a ton of free agents coming after the 2011 season, so they will have to determine who they can keep and for how much. The Phillies also have top prospect Domonic Brown coming through the system, but it is unclear if he will he be ready to play every day at the big league level by 2011. But Werth is a rare talent: he can hit for power, he can run, he plays good defense. He would be tough to replace, which is why it would be good to have him around for a while longer.

To date, Werth has only had one above average season (2008) and one stellar season (2009), but that doesn't necessarily mean that Werth won't be able to land a Jason Bay-esque contract. Sure, Bay has far more extensive resume than Werth right now, but as it stands right now, there are plenty of reasons why Werth should be thinking and dreaming big next winter:

1. Age
-When Werth becomes a free agent, he will only be 31 years old, which is the age Jason Bay was this winter.

2. Skill set
-As Zolecki noted, Werth is a phenomenal talent and can do just about everything well on the baseball field. While Bay got stuck with the "defensive liability" label this winter, it's nearly impossible to think that Werth will be stuck with the same label next winter because he's been a fantastic defensive player throughout his career.

At the dish, Werth can do just about everything: hit for power, get on base, steal bases, score runs, etc. In short, there is plenty to like about Werth's game and ability.

3. Market
-This offseason, there were two prominent free agent hitters on the free agent market: Matt Holliday and Jason Bay. Holliday was generally thought of as the better all around player of the two, but their similar offensive ability certainly undercut the market for both players.

The market next winter looks very promising for Werth because there are no other outfielders with his skill set that are still in their prime. Case in point:

  • Carl Crawford is a fantastic talent and is still in the prime of his career, but his skill set is totally different than Werth
  • Maggilo Ordonez is a right handed power hitter, but he is past his prime and could be declining
  • Pat Burrell cannot play defense and might be on the decline offensively
  • Other options: Adam Dunn (cannot play defense, 1b?, left handed), Jose Guillen (headcase), Eric Byrnes (is he even a starter at this point?)

4. Economy
-The wild card in this equation. Hopefully for Werth, the economy has picked up by next winter and more teams have money to spend on free agents.

So if Werth is able to put together another monster season for the Phils (.275, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 20 SB, .370 OBP), then I would expect him to command a contract that not only matches the 4 year/$64 million that Jason Bay got from the Mets, but it's possible that he could get a larger deal (both money and years).

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Philadelphia Phillies Add To Their Bullpen, Sign Danys Baez

January 1, 2010 by Adam Bernacchio  
Filed under Fan News


Before I get to my Danys Baez envy, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I also hope everyone had a safe New Year’s Eve, or as it is commonly referred to in New York City, amateur hour.

Today is the first day of the year, but I also feel one of the most underrated days of the year. There are no responsibilities, there is college football all day, the NHL Winter Classic, classic movies like Airplane on Comedy Central, and of course, Chinese food.

What’s better than that?

Though I have to admit I am a little disappointed in the MLB Network today. How do you show the same programming for 48 hours straight? Today is a perfect day for All Time Games .

Now, on to the matter at hand.

Yesterday, a couple of free agents ended 2009 with a bang. Marlon Byrd signed with the Chicago Cubs and Danys Baez signed a contract as well.

 

As Todd Zolecki of MLB.com first reported via Twitter , the Philadelphia Phillies signed Baez to a two-year contract. No terms of the deal have been disclosed yet.

Not only am I extremely envious of Baez, but I am envious of his agent as well. This guy must have the best negotiating skills on the planet.

Baez’s agent was able to negotiate a three-year, $19 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles after the 2006 season. A 2006 season, in which he had his worst statistical season of his career up to that point.

In 2006, Baez had the highest ERA of his career (4.53), highest hits/9 (9.1), and lowest K/9 (5.9). Somehow, Baez’s agent took those number and spun them into a three-year contract.

Now Baez’s agent is at it again.

Baez had three less-than-stellar years in Baltimore. It was really only two years because Baez missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Baez had a 5.02 ERA in those two seasons and his HR/9 of 1.2 was the highest of any two year stretch in Baez’s career. In 2009, Baez had the lowest K/9 of his career at 5.0.

It’s usually not a good sign when a reliever doesn’t have the ability to miss bats anymore. Baez’s agent turned two years of mediocrity into another two years of security for his client. Amazing.

The Baez signing essentially means the end of the Chan Ho Park era in Philadelphia.

I have to admit I am not too fond of the Phillies’ offseason so far. I thought they had a chance with a couple of smart moves to really put the hammer down in the National League and have failed to do so.

They gave up their best prospects in order to acquire Roy Halladay, who won’t give the Phillies that much more than what Cliff Lee would have given them, I really didn’t understand the rush to sign Placido Polanco and as it turns out now, they overpaid for him, and Baez really isn’t that much of an upgrade over Park.

It’s been a perplexing offseason for the Phillies in my opinion. They have addressed their needs, but I am not a fan of the decisions they have made to address those needs.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


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Philadelphia Phillies, Danys Baez Agree to Two-Year Contract

January 1, 2010 by tom dougherty  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed Danys Baez to a two-year contract pending his physical, which is expected to take place next week.

Baez, 32, went 4-6 with a 4.02 earned run average in 59 relief appearances with the Baltimore Orioles last year.

The addition of Baez means that the Phillies will not re-sign Chan Ho Park as the right-handed Cuban will replace Park as a late inning reliever for Philadelphia.

For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.

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