Is Roy Halladay the Key to the Phillies’ 2010 Success?

October 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Regardless of the outcome of the 2009 World Series, one thing is for sure—both the Phillies and Yanks will be the favorites to return to the World Series in 2010.

Both squads will be returning with essentially the same core of players, and the Phillies get the added bonus of an entire season with Cliff Lee.

The Phillies’ main competition in the NL East next season will come from an improving Atlanta Braves team, which is going to do everything in its power to sign either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay and make one last run at a title in Bobby Cox’s last year at the helm.

The Dodgers and Rockies will once again duke it out in the West, while the Central is anybody’s guess, with a lot depending on the offseason moves—or lack thereof, in some cases—by the Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers.

What does this mean for the Phillies? It means the Phillies should consider making a serious run at Roy Halladay in the offseason and be willing to give up either Kyle Drabek or Dominic Brown (but not both) as part of a package to bolster the rotation for another run at a title.

Signing Lee to an immediate extension will certainly be a priority but may be difficult now that he has regained his 2008 Cy Young form during the postseason. The easier route may be to trade for Halladay with a new Toronto GM (Alex Anthopoulos) who is not legally insane and to play the season out.

The Phillies will certainly be able to afford to re-sign one of the two, who will both be free agents following the 2010 season, which gives them the luxury of choosing whomever they decide is the best fit.

The move would give the Phils a chance at immortality—three consecutive World Series appearances and possibly three straight World Championships.

Halladay would not only guarantee a trip back to the postseason in 2010 (assuming continued good health), but he would also provide the needed ammunition to go up against the AL’s mega-million monsters from New York, Boston, and Anaheim for a second straight year.

In my mind, Roy Halladay is the man who can help this team achieve that.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Dissatisfied Jamie Moyer Doesn’t Have Anyone To Blame But Himself For Demotion

August 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Jamie Moyer is supposed to be the ultimate team player. His recent comments on being demoted to the bullpen suggest anything but.

Moyer recently told reporters that the Phillies misled him during his offseason negotiations and that he was told by both Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and team president David Montgomery that a situation like this (being removed from the starting rotation) would not occur.

He went on to say that he deserved more respect than what he was shown by the team in making this decision.

Moyer needs to look in the mirror. The Phillies did him a favor by signing him to a guaranteed two-year deal worth $13 million this past offseason. No other team in the league would have given him as much money, let alone a second year.

The only reason Amaro did this was out of respect and loyalty for the 46-year-old relic, so Moyer needs to shut up about being misled and disrespected by the Phillies front office.

The Philadelphia Eagles are a perfect example of not letting sentimentality affect offseason decisions, something many people felt the Phillies failed to do when they re-signed Moyer.

Moyer also needs to look at his statistics. The fact that his 5.47 ERA is the worst among NL starters that qualify should be reason enough to be removed.

Yes, he does lead the team with 10 wins, but considering how many runs the team scores in those wins has masked how bad Moyer has been this year.

Moyer also leads the team in home runs allowed (22), WHIP (1.51), and averages the least amount of innings pitched per start for Phillies starters with at least 20+ starts.

The bottom line is that if the Phillies have any shot at holding onto their three-and-a-half game lead in the NL East, Moyer had to be removed.

Considering that the Phillies had no problem telling Adam Eaton to go home last season after posting one of the league’s worst ERA, I’m surprised the Phillies waited until now to finally remove him.

It will be interesting to see what Moyer has to say once he is left off the postseason roster as well. Call me unsentimental, but the Phillies should just eat Moyer’s contract in 2010 and release him or tell him to retire.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Amaro’s Pitching Moves Makes Me Sick

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

When Ruben Amaro was appointed general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies shortly after the team’s 2008 World Series victory, he knew the only way his inaugural season would be considered a success was if the Phillies managed to make it back to the World Series. Not an enviable position to be in considering the difficulties involved in repeating, let alone making it back to the World Series two consecutive years in a row.

So far, the only successful move Amaro has made is the signing of Raul Ibanez to replace Pat Burrell. But given former GM, and current Senior Advisor to the GM, Pat Gillick’s ties with the Seattle Mariners, you would have to be fooling yourself if you didn’t think Gillick played a key role in the Phillies decision to sign Ibanez.

When analyzing Amaro’s three off-season moves made to bolster the pitching staff, you would need to give him a big fat F. Amaro never should have resigned Jamie Moyer as he passed over established top of the rotation starters like Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Brad Penny in order to resign the 46-year-old lefty. The Ronnie Paulino for Jack Taschner trade is looking worse by the minute as Taschner continues to struggle, while Paulino is successfully platooning with John Baker down in Florida. And Chan Ho Park has been a colossal bust as a starter and the jury is still out on him as a relief pitcher.

Let’s take a closer look at the players involved.

Jack Taschner has given up 25 hits and 17 walks in just 23 innings. His ERA is a deceiving 4.56,  since many of the runs he has surrendered get charged to other pitchers. Other than Brad Lidge, he is the only regular relief pitcher on the team without a hold, and it’s not for a lack of opportunities.

During Friday’s loss the Orioles, there was no hold on the line. Instead, he was just plain awful to start the 9th inning, surrendering three more runs essentially eliminating any chance of a 9th inning comeback.

Ronnie Paulino was traded for Jack Taschner at the end of spring training after he failed to beat out Chris Coste for the back up catcher position. So far he has been great for the Marlins, in a L-R platoon with John Baker.

Paulino—.290, four HR, 14 RBIs in 100 at-bats

Coste—.250, two HR, seven RBIs in 84 at-bats

Defensively, it’s not even close, as Coste is well below average with three passed balls already, not to mention his penchant for calling the wrong pitch in key late inning situations.

The Chan Ho Park experiment as a starting pitcher ended quickly as he was replaced by J. A. Happ in the rotation, following a string of ineffective starts. Overall he has given up 57 hits and 24 walks in 48.1 innings with a 6.14 ERA. Despite the struggles in the rotation, the South Korean righty has shown signs of life during his few appearances out of the bullpen.

Last but not least, we have Jamie Moyer. He has given up 93 hits and 18 walks in 72.1 innings with a 6.35 ERA in 13 starts. His WHIP is 1.53, highest among the starters. Perhaps what hurts the most is his inability to pitch past the 6th inning.

The Phillies are 36-29 and two games up on the New York Mets. However, the team has lost four in a row at home, and six of their last seven to post a horrific 13-20 home record. The starting rotation is dead last in ERA and next to last in innings pitched. With Brett Myers out for the season and the bullpen on the verge of imploding from overuse, it’s time for Amaro to be proactive and not wait until the trade deadline to make a move for pitching.

The starting pitching market has been analyzed to death so we don’t need to rehash it, but how about another late inning reliever with electric stuff such as San Diego’s Heath Bell. He’s cheap, reliable and can certainly be pried away from the Padres for a top prospect or two. Even a work horse like Arizona’s John Rausch would provide a huge boost to the depleted and overworked bullpen. Despite the surprising start by Clay Condrey, now on the DL, he has shown in his past two outings that he is in way over his head pitching in crucial situations that both Bell and Rausch are better suited for.

Condrey needs to return to his role from last season as a long relief and/or 6th inning guy.

So far, Amaro has not shown the ability to make the right moves. Let’s be honest, Ibanez has turned out to be better than anyone could have imagined, but offense has never been this teams problem. The Phillies’ chance at making it back to the World Series to try to defend the crown now lies in the hands of Amaro.

Will he be as successful as his predecessor Pat Gillick, whose mid-season acquisitions of Joe Blanton, Matt Stairs, and Scott Eyre all played key roles in winning the championship last season.

Or will his moves turn out to backfire like his off-season moves of Moyer, Taschner, and Park?

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Time to Start Booing the Phillies?

June 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

What concerns you the most? The Phillies abysmal home record or the starting rotation’s inability to pitch deep into games?

The Phillies are a pathetic 13-19 at Citizens Bank Ballpark this year. Only two teams (Marlins and Nationals) have a worse home record. Of those 13 wins, four have come against the Nationals, the worst team in the majors.

Take away the five games against Washington, and the Phillies are 9-18 against the rest of the league.

The team chalked up their early season home woes to multiple distractions, including Opening Day, the ring ceremony, the unfortunate passing of Harry Kalas, and multiple rain outs.

With the All-Star break fast approaching, the Phillies have won just a single home series so far. It’s time for Philly fans to start booing at home because this team is just too complacent.

It seems like the sellout crowds, still drunk off last season’s glory, are giving them a pass on their continued lackadaisical play.

Despite a stellar string of starts during the team’s most recent road trip, the starting rotation’s problems returned home along with the team. JA Happ, Antonio Bastardo, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton all struggled to pitch deep into games, resulting in a dismal 1-5 home stand against the Red Sox and Blue Jays.

The rotation is next to last in innings pitched, and dead last in earned runs allowed in the National League.

Due to injuries and improved play by other teams, the starting pitching market has suddenly dried up, with only Boston’s Brad Penny and Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn offering any sort of affordable veteran value. Can the Phillies survive with two rookies and a 46-year-old who maxes out at six innings each time out?

The bullpen is already tired, and has blown three of the five losses against the Red Sox and Blue Jays.

It’s time for a reality check. Stats don’t lie.

The starting pitching is flat out terrible and unless Ruben Amaro makes a move now, the Mets will be in first place by the All-Star break despite their lack of fundamentals and a rash of injuries to key players.

It was this exact same stretch of interleague play last year that the Mets overtook the Phillies for the division lead. The only difference is the Mets’ vastly improved bullpen is not as prone to collapse, making a Phillies’ late-season comeback that much harder in 2009.

Today’s start by Joe Blanton is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the team’s starting rotation. Blanton had 73 pitches through just three innings, and lasted a total of five and a third. J.C Romero, Clay Condrey, and Ryan Madson all gave up leads after the Phillies either tied or went ahead on three different occasions.

It pains me to say this, but it’s time for the fans to start booing the Phillies at home. It may be the only way to light a fire under a team that has taken the term “World Series hangover” to an all new level with their inability to either win at home or pitch deep into games.


Chris Coste strikes again

Why in the world would Chris Coste call for an 0-2 fastball to Rod Barajas in the top of the ninth? If there is anything we learned about Barajas during his brief stint in Philly, it was that he can’t hit anything off-speed.

Why not throw that devastating change up, or a cutter out of the zone? No, they call for a high fastball that didn’t get high enough.

Yet another example of Chris Coste being clueless late in games when it comes to pitch selection. Anyone recall Coste’s terrible pitch selection to Alex Rodriguez in the Yankees series?

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Post-World Series Future Bright…for Once

June 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies future is brighter than ever. With one championship already under their belt, Cole Hamels wasn’t kidding when he said he expects to be able to have a parade year after year after year.

With the bulk of the current core of stars all signed through the 2011 season this team is a legitimate threat to make another run at a World Series for years to come.

But that’s not what makes the Phillies future so bright necessarily.

Just as they did with the current team of homegrown talent that includes everyday players Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz as well as pitchers Cole Hamels, JA Happ and Ryan Madson, the team looks like they have a second wave of core players emerging in the minor leagues.

With the team being involved in just about every trade rumor involving a top flight pitcher the Phillies minor league system is being analyzed as much as it’s ever been  lately. Out of nowhere, the Phillies have rapidly developed a group of top tier, blue chip prospects that scouts are labeling as potential stars at the major league level.

Outfielder Dominic Brown, 21, is currently the Phillies top prospect, followed by starting pitcher Kyle Drabek, 21, outfielder Michael Taylor, 23, catcher Travis D’Arnaud, 20, and recently promoted starter Antonio Bastardo, 22. All five have been described as having the potential to make an impact at the major league level.

That none of these players were widely known at this time last year to but only the most die-hard Phillies fans says a lot about how far the minor league system has come in such a short time.

It wasn’t too long ago when the team had virtually nothing of interest for potential trading partners when it came time to discuss possible mid-season trades. Hence the Jamie Moyers, Kyle Lohses, and Joe Blantons of the world (although they all seemed to work out).

Infielder Jason Donald, 24, catcher Lou Marson, 22, and pitcher Carlos Carrasco, 22, once the Phillies most prized minor league prospects, have all become expendable.

Last season’s emergence of D’Arnaud has given the Phils hope that Marson’s talent could be replaced. Carrasco, who is struggling mightily at Triple-A, has been surpassed by both Bastardo and Drabek.

Donald unfortunately is caught up in a numbers game. He certainly isn’t going to replace Utley or Rollins anytime soon, and with Pedro Feliz playing at such a high level this season, it seems more and more likely the team will pick up his club option for 2010.

The fact that we haven’t even mentioned outfielders John Mayberry Jr., 25, Anthony Gose, 18, Zach Collier, 18, infielder Anthony Hewitt, 20, or pitchers Joe Savery, 23, Tyler Cloyd, 22, Vance Worley, 21, and Jason Knapp, 19, is a testament to how strong the Phillies minor league system has become.

In a perfect world, the Phillies hope they can acquire a top flight pitcher with some sort of combination of Donald, Marson and Carrasco, but in reality, the team may have to part with one or more of the organization’s “new” top five prospects.

The timing of the future Phillies expected arrival in the majors also seems fortuitous.

Taylor is on schedule to be major league ready at the time Jayson Werth’s two year deal expires in 2010. Brown is on schedule when Raul Ibanez’s three year deal ends in 2011. Bastardo is already getting a chance to show what he can do, and Drabek was just promoted to Double-A Reading where he pitched seven shutout innings in his debut.

Their impending arrivals coincide with Brett Myers potentially leaving as a free agent after this season.

No Phils World Series team has been positioned so well to continue their success than this iteration.

The 1980 team was the culmination of years of strong minor league development—Mike Schmidt, Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Lonnie Smith, and Keith Moreland—but the coffers were dry by 1981.

The 1983 team was a over-the-hill gang with little help coming from the farm. The early ’80s drafts were rife with Henry Powell, Johnny Abrego, and John Russell-type talent.

The ’93 surprise was built on toughness, career years, and, lets face it, steroids. Youngsters like Tyler Green, Mike Williams, Mike Lieberthal, and Kevin Stocker were rising to the majors, but even at the time none were really considered future cornerstones.

While baseball history is replete with stories of bright prospects never panning out, the fact the Phillies are even in the position to be disappointed by bright prospects is a phenomenom we haven’t seen in this town for decades. And it gives Phils fans hope that last year’s magical season won’t our last for another 28 years.


Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Coste to Partially Blame for Philadelphia Phillies’ Ninth-Inning Collapse

May 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

OK… after reflecting on what would have been a great win for both J.A Happ and the Phillies, I’ve thought about it some more and now lay only part of the blame on Brad Lidge.

Yet again, Chris Coste shows me another reason why he doesn’t belong in the big leagues. Calling for a 3-2 fastball to Alex Rodriguez was a horrendous error in judgment to say the least. Throw another slider.

If you throw a good one and he still hits it, more power to him. If you miss in the dirt and walk him, so be it. That just means you face Robinson Cano with a possible double play in order.

You may think I’m just second guessing, but when is the last time you’ve ever seen any closer challenge Ryan Howard with a 3-2 fastball with the game on the line? Never.

You know why… because only Coste is stupid enough to think A-Rod is not going to crush the ball if it’s anywhere near the strike zone. Honestly, can anyone who was watching the game not see that home run coming?

Now back to Lidge. I don’t care how many times the Phillies management say there is nothing wrong with his health, I just don’t believe them. We’re nearly two months into the season and Lidge still can not locate his fastball.

If he’s not hurt, then something is seriously wrong with either his mechanics or psyche because he just can’t seem to throw a fastball for a strike, or throw one away when needed to get someone to chase.

I would not be surprised at all if Lidge goes on the 15-day disabled list to rest his ailing knee once J.C Romero returns. Madson is more than capable of closing in place of Lidge if he is truly scuffling due to his knee.

There were some positives in spite of the loss.

Both Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin were extremely sharp. The movement on Durbin’s pitches reminded me of the Durbin of early last season. Let’s hope he continues to pound the strike zone with movement.

J.A Happ didn’t disappoint. I truly expect this kid to win 10 games this year as a starter, and will be a primary reason why the Phillies will win the NL East, despite all of their holes.

John Mayberry Jr. homering in just his second major league at-bat would have been a great story had it not been for the ninth inning collapse. I don’t know how many at-bats this kid will see (other than inter-league games in AL parks) until September, but the 25-year old definitely has a bright future whether it’s with the Phils or someone else.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies