Right-handed pitcher Vance Worley was actually standing in Citizens Bank Park when he got the news that he was being shipped to Minnesota. He was as shocked as the rest of us that his time in Philadelphia was at an end. Sadly, the Vanimal is gone. Phillies’ top pitching prospect Trevor May will join him there as well.
In return, the Phillies got a young centerfielder. Ben Revere, 24, hit .294 last year for the Twins with a .333 on-base percentage. He also had 40 stolen bases and is being touted as a young Juan Pierre with excellent range in the outfield. The downsides include his lack of power, minimal walks and below-average arm. But he is under team control and therefore, very cheap.
It seems Revere’s skill set could make him the new lead-off hitter; he has speed and gets on base. While it is very sad to say bye-bye to the Vanimal and to May, this trade may pay dividends for the Phillies if they can use the money they are saving towards a bullpen piece or another outfielder.
Revere should fit in well in Philly. In fact, his name alone is a combination of two historical figures with Philadelphia ties: Ben Franklin and Paul Revere. I suppose then, it was fate that brought him here.
The Phillies are not done yet as trade talks still linger. The latest rumor has Michael Young, who is actually not so young at 36 years of age, possibly coming to Philly with half of his salary paid by the Rangers. Stayed tuned…
UPDATE: Just a few quick notes on the Ben Franklin and Paul Revere comments above. It seems we have some badly educated, wanna-be historians in the Twittersphere who question my references to the historical links of these figures in Philadelphia. First, Revere was born in Boston and made several rides to visit the Continental Congress in Philly to report on the impending revolution. Then, during the war in 1775, Revere was sent to Philadelphia to study the only powder mill in the colonies so that northern colonies could learn how to produce more gun powder. So yes, Revere does have ties to Philly. Look it up.
Even more shocking was someone questioning Ben Franklin’s relation to Philadelphia. No, he was not born there, but he lived there most of his life (around 67 years), died and was buried in Philly. Oh, and he signed that little document called the United States Constitution in Philadelphia. Anyone questioning that should be ashamed.
By the way, Ben Revere retweeted the photo I posted of him as Ben Franklin and Paul Revere. So clearly, he enjoyed it :O)
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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
‘Tis the season to buy lots of crap! Black Friday, Cyber Monday….here we come! The Phillies began shopping early when they signed Kevin Frandsen earlier this month to a 1-year, $850,000 deal. If Frandsen plays the way he did last year, that small chunk of change could wind up being the bargain of the year.
But the Phillies have a much longer shopping list than that. Unfortunately, even on Black Friday, not everything is on sale. Even if Ruben Amaro Jr. camped out in front of All-Star Josh Hamilton’s house all night, I am pretty sure someone with more money would be camped out in front of him in line. Fold up the tent, Ruben, and let’s work on a more realistic shopping list.
– The first item on the list should be a centerfielder. I hear our old pal Shane Victorino may come at a descent discount. But the Phillies seem to be more focused on B.J. Upton, who could rival Ryan Howard for strikeouts. They both strike out around 30% of the time and neither hit for average. Regardless, this team needs to shop for an outfielder!
– Bullpen help is needed….badly. Maybe the Phillies need to look back at a few guys they previously tossed in the trash? Here are some oldies, but goodies: Our old pal Chad Durbin had a 3.10 ERA for the Braves last season. And how about Jason Grilli, who was with the Phillies minor league system until they dumped him…he went on to record a 2.91 ERA for the Pirates last season. But my #1 oldie would be Ryan Madson. He is coming off Tommy John surgery so the bidding for him should not get too high.
– Third base: Personally, I feel a combination of Frandsen and a drug-free Freddy Galvis can handle the hot corner. But if you are the type who MUST buy during holiday sales whether you need to or not, here is who might deserve a look: Kevin Youkilis will be 34 in March, but the guy can still hit for power. At 36 years, Michael Young is not exactly young anymore….but he would be a solid veteran to keep the spot warm for a much younger Cody Asche in 2014.
– While the team is stocked with starting pitchers, maybe a few small upgrades could help? You know…get Roy Halladay a bionic shoulder to replace the bum one. Buy Kyle Kendrick an “All I Want For X-Mas is You” tee-shirt to keep his confidence high. And for Cliff Lee, donate to his favorite charity and make a pledge to get him more than 6 wins this year.
– Buy baby-faced Darin Ruf a pair of big-boy pants and put him on the big-boy team. That gamble may really pay off. What have they got to lose? And J.C. Penney has a great Black Friday sale on pants right now…
– And the final big purchase for the Phillies should be a stand-up comedian. When things start to go downhill for the Phils, the comedian can jump in and tell jokes between innings to keep spirits high. Because as a fan base in 2012, we have all lost a bit of our sense of humor. You cannot blame us though…losing is just not funny. Help us all remember how to laugh and smile again! And if the wins start coming, you can trade the comedian to a more needy team.
Happy shopping, everyone!
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Amaro photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
It is officially a streak – the Phillies have won 4 games in a row and all 4 came during their final at-bat. In the 3-game sweep of the Brewers, every game also ended in the exact same score, 7-6.
Tuesday’s improbable win included a 6-run rally in the 8th inning which was started by a 2-run homer from 2nd back-up catcher, Erik Kratz. To that point, Kratz had exactly 3 major league hits and all 3 were home runs.
Then today, Kratz doubled his major league hit total even while abandoning the long ball. He recorded 3 hits including an RBI and a double in extra innings to once again set the Phillies up for a late-game win. Chase Utley also had 3 hits today plus 3 RBI. Jimmy Rollins got the game-winning hit today and also in Sunday’s walk-off win.
As for the pitching, Cliff Lee was not great on Tuesday, giving up 6 runs. But the Phillies offense got all 6 back for him in that 8th inning. Then today Vance Worley had an ok outing, allowing 3 runs in 5.1 innings. Kyle Kendrick kept him from further damage with 1.2 scoreless innings.
The bullpen has, with one exception, found it’s groove in these last 4 games. Only Antonio Bastardo faltered with a 2-run homer to Ryan Braun today that almost cost them the game. But the late-inning magic bailed him out, even despite another Ty Wigginton error at third base.
But the HUGE bang for the Phillies came earlier today when the Phillies announced they finally signed ace pitcher Cole Hamels to a long-term deal. A collective sigh of relief was heard around the city.
Hamels got 6 years for $144 million, which is the second biggest contract ever behind only CC Sabathia of the Yankees who got $161 for 7 years back in 2008. It is the largest contract ever for a Phillie.
It appears then that the Phillies have not given up just yet. The Hamels signing should be a big relief for guys like Lee, Rollins and Roy Halladay who chose to come to or stay in Philly with the promise from the front office that they would continue to try to win in the long-term. And these last 4 wins which happened in the most unlikely ways should also light a fire under the entire team.
The Phillies are off tomorrow for the annual Phestival and they will then fly to Atlanta for 3 games with the Braves. Those 3 games will be very telling as to whether this team can stage an improbable comeback and make a run at a Wild Card spot.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend! Hunter Pence shared a small piece of his Thanksgiving pie via his Twitter feed:
Here is a VIDEO of Hunter with his family on Thanksgiving :O)
And just yesterday, Shane Victorino also took to Twitter to share his son Kingston’s birthday celebration with the world. And no, I did not Photoshop this picture. That really is Shane and Melissa Victorino dressed as clowns to entertain their kids.
Shane and Melissa are wonderful people and seriously super parents. How lucky are those kids?
So while their teammates were having great times with their families, 3 other Phillies players / free agents had some food for thought along with their turkey. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez were all offered arbitration before the holiday weekend.
The offers put the Phillies in a position to receive compensatory draft picks for each player who declines. However, it also puts them in the position to get slightly screwed if any of them actually accepts. Rollins will likely decline as arbitration only gives the accepting player a one year deal and a salary determined by a hearing.
However, if Madson does not get an offer to his liking, arbitration may be an easy way to big one-year pay check for him. Then again, it also positions him as the set-up man for Jonathan Papelbon, making his dreams of a huge closer contract the following season unlikely. Madson will likely decline.
The really weird one here is Ibanez. There are not too many teams, if any, in the market for an almost 40-year old left fielder with declining stats. Ibanez made $12 million last year and in a hearing, that would be taken into account. Even if he got half that amount, it is still way too much to be playing a platoon guy. With the odds of no one else signing him being pretty high, Ibanez might accept and that would be trouble for the Phillies payroll. I cannot imagine what the Phillies are thinking here.
Each player has until December 7, 2011 to decide. So continue digesting your holiday weekend feast. You have just over a week before you may feel the need to be ill. Let us hope not though :O)
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