The Phillies found a back-up catcher today when they signed Brian Schneider to a $2.75 million, 2 year deal. Schneider spent the last 2 years with the Mets and the previous 8 seasons with the Nationals/Expos. The best news here is that Schneider was notorious for being a Phillie killer; pitching to him has been a 10 year nightmare. Overall, Schneider is a .251 hitter and should fit nicely into the back-up spot vacated by Paul Bako and Chris Coste before that.
And in a very odd twist to the situation, Coste has just been signed by the Mets! Coste started the 2009 season with the Phillies before being tossed and subsequently picked up off waivers by Houston in July. The self-proclaimed 33-year old rookie is now in enemy threads which is sure to send shockwaves throughout Philadelphia. Coste was well loved in Philly and many were unhappy with his departure. Not to mention, many would rather see him retire than play in a Mets uniform. It is a sad, sad day for Coste fans. But look at the bright side; at least we will get to see him a lot next year :O)
As for the other holes in the line-up, like third base, no word yet except that midnight tonight is the deadline for all teams to offer salary arbitration to their free agents. The Phillies are likely to offer arbitration to Chan Ho Park as they have stated they want him back next year. Park may decline and decide to look around for a starting pitching spot as several teams have seemed interested in him. If he accepts, he will be with the Phillies for 2010 and probably get a raise. As for the other free agents, Bako and Eric Bruntlett are out of the picture with their replacements already signed in Brian Schneider and Juan Castro. Brett Myers has already been shown the door, as has Jack Taschner. Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Matt Stairs and Miguel Cairo are also unlikely, although Stairs and Cairo may be offered minor league deals.
So, have we all looked at our season ticket invoices yet? This is not a huge shock, but Phillies ticket prices went up again this year by $2- $4 per ticket. Not only that, but some season ticket holders received worse seat assignments. Someone I know got bumped backwards 2 rows in the same section. So, we are now paying more for less? While 2 rows is not earth shattering, traditionally, season ticket holders have been rewarded for their loyalty with better seats from year to year, not punished.
So yes, the World Series win in 2008 plus the return trip in 2009 do affect the prices, unfortunately. But that does not make it any easier to swallow. The money does not go towards improving the team or free agency; it is just more in the pockets of the owners. And with the team winning now, they do it simply because they can.
Prices over the recent years have increased tremendously. A seat that cost $42 in 2004 is now $58 for 2010. The last year of the vet for the same seat was $26. What I am wondering though is what happens when the team sucks again? Do we become the Nationals with a stadium that is only 25% full? I follow the team win or lose, but I will not pay those prices to see them lose when I can do that at home for free. Then again, maybe they will never suck again…one can dream ;o)
So, did anyone else get there ticket invoice and wonder what happened? Did you get the same seats or did you get bumped back? What do you think about the prices? Let me know in the comment section below.
Coste photo by Jenn
Oh yes, here we go again… It is only mid-November and the Roy Halladay rumor mill is already in full swing. While the Phillies were unable to strike a deal with the Blue Jays in July for the star pitcher and instead wound up with Cliff Lee (and we are all ok with that, of course), the Jays may still be looking for a chance to get Halladay off their payroll.
If the Phillies can manage a deal for Halladay, odds are they will have to pay much less for him than they would have in July since now he is only good for one potential post-season instead of two. But the Jays are probably still interested in the Phillies top prospect, Kyle Drabek, whom the Phillies are unlikely to part with. In an interesting twist however, it has also been rumored that the Jays might be willing to take Cole Hamels. Can I get a Hallelujah and an Amen to that possibility?!!
Although Hamels is six years younger than Halladay, he had a terrible season for the Phillies and most fans are sick of his emotional issues, media faux pas and lack of composure on the mound. Odds are, not many people would be sad about such a trade. Sadly, if this were rumored last season, there may have been riots in the street full of angry fans unwilling to let the World Series MVP go. But now? Not so much…
Besides upgrading the pitching staff, it appears the Phillies now need a third baseman as Pedro Feliz did not have his option picked up. The Phillies can still sign him as agree agent if they come to an agreement, but it looks more likely that the Phils will look elsewhere.
Feliz had a decent season, but I think he really screwed himself in the playoffs where he hit only .167, made unproductive outs in crucial situations and hit into double plays that killed rallies. Plus, he is 34 years old, which does not help his case.
The top prospects for third base right now are Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa and former Phillie, Placido Polanco. Figgins would be the best choice, although fans loved Polanco when he was here and many were upset when Chase Utley took his job. Hind sight, as they say, is 20/20.
Back in 2005 when Polanco went to the Tigers, many Phillies fans felt he should have been moved to 3rd base to keep him on the team, myself included. As it turns out, had the Phillies done so, Polanco would likely still be with us. Up to that point, he had moved back and forth from 2nd to 3rd base for years. But after going to the Tigers, it was 2nd base all the way. The question then with Polanco is, could he transition back to 3rd after more than 4 years steady at 2nd? That may be too big a question for the Phillies to consider taking him.
So, third base is wide open right now and several other Phillies have filed for free agency; Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, Paul Bako, Pedro Martinez and Miguel Cairo. The Phillies will not likely sign Martinez again, as he will command too hefty a salary and they need a more consistent arm. Park is a possibility, Cairo and Bako will probably not be back and Stairs I am not too sure about. My feeling was that he might retire, but since he has filed, I now do not know what is on his mind. But this leaves the Phillies with the need for a back-up catcher, a right handed bat off the bench and a variety of pitching needs.
As for our walking wounded, both Scott Eyre and Raul Ibanez had successful surgeries yesterday and are expected to make recoveries before Spring Training. Eyre may or may not decide to retire so his future is uncertain. Ibanez, we hope, will be back to 2009 first-half form. Brad Lidge will have surgery tomorrow. What exactly is wrong with him will be an interesting revelation. We should have more information in the days to come.
Feliz photo by Jenn
It is finally Thursday! Just a few short hours until the Phillies and Dodgers begin the battle for the NLCS title! The final roster decisions have been made and few were interesting; Chan Ho Park did indeed make the roster and Kyle Kendrick did not, as I thought would happen. But in a surprise move, Brett Myers was also left off and Eric Bruntlett added. So, 11 pitchers instead of 12 and 1 more bench player.
Myers was very unhappy with the news, but maybe not entirely shocked. His one outing in Game 2 of the NLDS did not go well; he walked two batters and hit another. After to injuries this year, it appears Myers is not able to find his control yet.
As for the starters, it will be Cole Hamels tonight and Pedro Martinez tomorrow…maybe. Martinez told reporters he has not gotten enough work in and that his BP session was “erratic.” Either he does not feel ready, or this is some mental game he is playing with the Dodgers. Whatever the case, it makes you a bit nervous, doesn’t it?
Some other fun notes about this series:
– The Phillies will be facing lots of old Phillies! Larry Bowa, former player and manager, is the Dodgers 3rd base coach. Pitchers Randy Wolf and Vincente Padilla are both former Phils as well as slugger, Jim Thome.
– Manny Ramirez used to play for Charlie Manuel in Cleveland and Manuel says he is “like a son” to him.
– Chan Ho Park, Pedro Martinez, Paul Bako and Jayson Werth are all former Dodgers.
– Both teams each have 8 players who were born in 1975 or earlier. LOTS of experience :O)
– This is the fifth time the Phillies and Dodgers have met in the NLCS; they are split 2-2 lifetime.
– At 21 years old, pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the youngest player on either roster and will start the game for the Dodgers tonight.
Photo by Jenn
The Phillies announced their playoff roster today and there were a few surprises. Here is how it played out (courtesy of Phillies.com):
Catchers (2): Paul Bako and Carlos Ruiz
Infielders (6): Miguel Cairo, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley
Outfielders (5): Ben Francisco, Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth
Pitchers (12): left-handers Antonio Bastardo, Scott Eyre, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Cliff Lee and right-handers Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Pedro Martinez and Brett Myers
Miguel Cairo was the right decision over Eric Bruntlett. And the rest of the bench players are what I expected.
There was one surprise with the pitchers, however. Clay Condrey and Tyler Walker were left off the roster in favor of Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo. I did say earlier that Bastardo may be picked over Walker, so that is not too shocking considering the lack of lefties in the pen. But Kendrick over Condrey, I am a bit surprised about. Kendrick did pitch well in September, but Condrey is more consistent and has a lot more experience. I think the nagging back injury did him in; the team must not be convinced that Condrey is healthy.
I also predicted that the Game 1 starter would be Cliff Lee, and that is correct. Cole Hamels will get Game 2 and Game 3 has yet to be decided. My feeling is that it should be JA Happ as the Phils want to overload the Rockies with lefties. But all Charlie Manuel would say is that Happ, Joe Blanton and even Pedro Martinez will be “available” in the pen for the first two games. I suppose then whoever does not get used will start Game 3.
This may also be a strategic move. This gives less preparation time to the Rockies since they will not know who to prepare for.
So, if you are actually home tomorrow at game time, tune in at 2:37pm for the first pitch. The game time still disgusts me. I understand all teams need air time, but how exactly is it that the reigning World Champions do not get one of the prime time slots? I’ll tell you why…because MLB cares only about the Yankees and the Red Sox. It has been and probably will always be about these teams, whether deserving or not. I root for the Yankees too, so it is not personal. It is a matter of respect.
Not to mention, normal people have jobs, kids have school and 2:37pm does not allow ANY of these people to enjoy the game, unless they call out sick or skip school. And how about the poor Rockies fans? The game time for them is 12:37pm! (Mountain time) That is just wrong. But hey, if you are a Yankees or Sox fan, I’ll bet you are happier than a pig in mud, right? Must be nice.
Well, best of luck to everyone tomorrow (except the Rockies, of course)! Go Phillies!
After sending Phillies fan everywhere into panic mode with some really bad baseball, the Phillies finally got their act together last night.
They beat the Astros 7-4 behind the pitching of rookie JA Happ and a Grand Slam from Pedro Feliz.
Happ won his 12th game of the year, which leads all rookie pitchers. He had a lot of base runners, but worked out of jams by remaining calm and throwing strikes. In 5 2/3 innings, Happ allowed 3 earned runs on 9 hits and 1 walk. An interference error by Paul Bako behind the plate gave the Astros one additional run, which was unearned. But once again, it was a Happ-Y day for the rookie.
Jamie Moyer pitched 1 1/3 after Happ left the game and did a great job. But on the last pitch of the inning, he strained a groin muscle and the extent of the injury is still unknown. Everyone is crossing their fingers that Moyer will recover quickly.
Ryan Madson pitched a 2-inning save and it looks like we have a new closer. And the offense finally came to life with 11 hits, the biggest of those being the slam by Feliz in the 4th inning. It was the Phillies 11th Grand Slam of the year. Jayson Werth also helped out with a 2-run shot in the 5th to break the game open for the Phils.
Add this win to a loss by the Braves and the Phillies need only one more win or one more Braves loss to clinch their 3rd consecutive NL East title. Bring a camera if you are headed to the game tonight because today may be the day! Pedro Martinez will pitch and, if he is healthy, it should be a good game. Go Phillies!
Photo by Jenn
The Phils got swept in 4 games against the Astros earlier this season and were looking for revenge last night. The problem is, they need to look a lot harder. In a horrible 2-8 loss, Cole Hamels allowed 6 runs in 6 2/3 innings. 5 runs were scored by Houston in the 7th inning with 2 outs and NO ONE on base. Tyler Walker gave up 2 runs of his own, plus allowed 2 for Hamels that same inning with runners he left on base.
The offense did no better. Their only 2 runs came on a sac fly and a balk call. And all this against a pitcher that they should have beat the crap out of; Yorman Bazardo was with the Phillies in Spring Training and had a 9.55 ERA coming into last night’s game. So, the Phillies knew exactly what to expect from him and still only managed 2 hits off Bazardo.
The only real highlight of the game was when Paul Bako blocked home plate as Lance Berkman tried to score. Berkman missed the plate and Bako ran him down on the dirt track behind home plate to tag him out.
Ok, I lied; 1 more highlight: JC Romero returned to the Phillies last night after a long DL stint with a torn muscle in his forearm. JC – we missed you! SO glad to see Romero healthy again. He pitched 1 inning, allowing 2 hits and no runs. Romero will need to shake some rust off, but overall, he looked great. Welcome back!
With the loss last night and a win by the Braves, the magic number is STILL at 3 and the division lead, once at 8.5 games, has dwindled down to 4. Time to panic yet? Well, do not push that button just yet…however, if the Phillies do not win tonight, go right ahead. The pitcher they will face today, Wilton Lopez, is making his first major league start. Again, the Phillies should beat the pants off this guy…”should” being the critical word.
JA Happ will start for the Phillies; Happ will need to be spectacular and show the rest of this pitching staff how it should be done! Happ and Joe Blanton are the only 2 Phillies starters to have recorded wins in the last 8 games. The rest of the staff had better step up…fast! Best of luck to JA Happ tonight!
After a disappointing series in Florida where Brad Lidge blew his 11th save, the Phillies needed a pick-me-up…quick.
The Brewers took care of that for them as the Phillies spanked them in the 4-game series opener by a score of 9-4. JA Happ took the mound and pitched 5.2 innings, allowing only 2 runs, 6 hits and he struck out 7 batters. Happ even helped himself out in the game going 1-2 at the plate with a single. The Phillies are Happ-Y to see the rookie back to form after some down time with an oblique strain; he now has the best ERA among rookie starters and is tied for the lead in wins.
Jimmy Rollins had the big blow in the game; in the 5th inning, he hit a 3-run homer which marks his 20th home run this year. Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz also collected 2 RBI a piece and only Chase Utley and Jayson Werth were shut-out at the plate. Yes folks, even back-up catcher Paul Bako had 2 hits. Bako also got creamed at the plate saving a run on a throw from Shane Victorino. Bako is doing a nice job in the absence of Carlos Ruiz who is still out with a wrist sprain.
Ben Francisco started the game in place of Raul Ibanez who sat out with the stomach flu, we assume, thanks to Victorino who was ill last week. Francisco had 2 hits in the game and scored 2 runs; he has been a great addition to this team and a very nice surprise. Francisco came over in the Cliff Lee trade and it looks like we got 2 for the price of one.
Lee will pitch tonight against the Brew Crew – game time is 8:05pm. And the magic number is now 4!
Photo by Jenn