Considering it is the offseason, this has been a busy week for the Phillies. In an unusual roster move, the Phillies have potentially signed left fielder Laynce Nix, 31, to a two-year deal, pending a physical. I say this is unusual because in a 9-year career, Nix is a .244 hitter and from 2006-2008, he spent most of his time in the minors.
Last year with the Nationals, Nix hit .250 with 16 home runs. Similarly, Raul Ibanez hit .245 with 20 homers. And this signing pretty much signals the end of Ibanez’s career with the Phillies. So they are replacing him with a guy who is similar and only a little bit younger in baseball years. The big difference here is that Ibanez had a solid career. Nix has not.
So yes, this move is just one more head scratcher this offseason for the Phillies who seem to be going back to their roots of taking out the trash and hoping it turns into treasure. Sometimes that works out; most of the time, it does not. As for Ibanez, it certainly looks like he has been “Nixed.”
In happier news, Chase Utley and his wife Jen welcomed their first child on December 2. His name is Benjamin Cooper Utley; FYI – Cooper is mom’s maiden name. There was a photo posted on Crossing Broad but the Utley’s had them remove it.
So you can either use your imagination…or, use my imagination ;o)
By the way, the market for short stops just heated up. The Miami Marlins have signed Jose Reyes for 6 years at $106 million. He is not a Met anymore, but the NL East is still not rid of the annoying, showboating Reyes.
And his price tag also means that Jimmy Rollins may expect more money than the Phillies are able to give. As a back-up plan, rumors have been flying about interest in Aramis Ramirez. However, Ramirez plays third base. Where does that leave Placido Polanco and who will play short stop?
So many questions, so few answers… I will tell you this though, the 2012 Phillies are starting to look a whole lot different than the 2011 Phillies, although it is more of a lateral-type movement so far.
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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the first game of the Phillies – Cubs series last night, it started well for the Phils with a two-run homer from Ryan Howard in the first inning. But right away, pitcher Jamie Moyer gave those runs back. By the end of 3 innings, Moyer gave up 6 runs on 5 hits and had to be pulled from the game.
The Phillies wound up using 7 different pitchers in the game. The worst of those were Jose Contreras, allowing 5 more runs and Danys Baez adding one more to the thumping. The offense did nothing after the Howard homer until the 9th inning.
By that time, the Phils were down 12-2 so the 4 runs they scored in the 9th made little difference. Although, Howard hit bookend homers in the game; the 2-run shot in the 1st and another 2-run shot in the 9th.
Coming into today’s game having lost the first, Howard tried again to spark his team. After Shane Victorino homered in the 4th, Howard hit another 2-run bomb in the 6th, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. But as was the case the day before, the starting pitcher gave those 2 runs right back again.
Joe Blanton looked like he might have a good outing until in the 5th, with the bases loaded, he walked the opposing pitcher. And then in the 6th after the Howard homer, Blanton gave up a 2-run homer to former Phillie Marlon Byrd to tie the game. And to make matters worse, all 3 of those runs scored with 2 outs in the inning.
Ryan Madson ran into the same 2-out trouble in the 8th inning. Aramis Ramirez hit a solo homer, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead. The Phillies did nothing to help themselves in the 9th. Jayson Werth struck out looking for the 3rd time in one game and he has no hits in the series so far. Ben Francisco also struck out looking 3 times. As a team, the Phillies struck out fourteen times! Disgusting.
The Phillies offense, except for Howard, looks pathetic right now and the pitching has not been good. While we are only 2 games out of the All-Star break, this is very concerning. The good news is, Cole Hamels pitches tomorrow and Roy Halladay on Sunday. But as far as the good news goes, that is it.
So let us have a little fun for a moment. Is it just me, or did anyone else think that the Cubs catching gear looks a bit like R2D2?