To start with, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and did not lapse into a turkey coma! I also hope no one got trampled attempting to enter Wal-Mart at 3am on Friday ;o) Holidays can either be fun or hazardous to your health…I hope you went with “fun.”
Speaking of holidays and shopping, what would you like to receive this holiday season? I would like for Mike Schmidt to age backwards and play 3rd base for the Phillies again.
I would also like the Giants to release Tim Lincecum for his bad, drug induced behavior so the Phillies can have him. I also wish aliens would come down from outer space and give us back Cole Hamels: Version 2008. Clearly, he was abducted and it is time to bring him back.
By the way, 3 years ago, current GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who was assistant GM at the time, asked a room full of female fans if they could sign any pitcher in the league to the Phillies, who would it be? I shouted, “Tim Lincecum!” Ruben looked at me like I was nuts and decided that the woman who suggested Brandon Webb had a better idea. Webb went down with a shoulder injury in April 2009 and did not play the entire season. Lincecum has now won 2 Cy Young’s in a row. Hey Ruben, still think I am nuts? Just a little holiday fun for you there :O)
Ok, so clearly we cannot sign Mr. Lincecum. But the Phillies have a lot of work to do this off-season to improve the pitching staff. It looks to be a quiet market right now. Things should start to heat up when the Winter Meetings begin on December 7th.
The few moves made so far have not even made a small ripple in the atmosphere. The signing of Juan Castro to replace Eric Bruntlett on the bench seems like a lateral move, rather than an improvement. Castro hit .277 last year with the Dodgers but is a career .230 hitter. This news is not exactly knocking Phillies fans out of their boots. We hope bigger and better things will be coming soon…
In other news, Jamie Moyer was recently hospitalized and had surgery to remove an infected blood collection that may have resulted from his previous groin surgery. It should not affect his Spring Training schedule and he appears to be recovering well. I wish him luck!
From the long time veteran to the rookie, JA Happ has been named to the Topps’ 51st All-Rookie Team, which is just one of many honors he garnered this off-season. Happ is still up for the Rookie of the Year award in the This Year In Baseball awards. Voting continues until December 11th and many Phillies like Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and others are in the running.
And finally, congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino who tied the knot earlier this month in Hawaii! They are two really great people and I wish them all the best!
Lincecum & Happ photos by Jenn
Free agent signings officially kicked off today and one of the top needs for the Phillies is a third baseman. Although, do not expect them to jump too quickly; it will likely be a while before they settle on a player. The front runner appears to be Mark DeRosa (Cardinals). The Phils have courted him before and he should be within their price range. Plus, DeRosa is from the area, growing up in Passaic, New Jersey and attending the University of Pennsylvania.
The big free agent name at third appears to be Chone Figgins. However, Figgins also appears to be out of the Phillies price range. Placido Polanco is an option, but the Phillies would have to give up a 1st round draft choice to sign him. Adrian Beltre is another option, but he is defensively weaker than DeRosa. So, odds are pretty good on DeRosa, but who knows.
As for bullpen help, the pickings are slim. A few good options may be Mike Gonzalez (LHP) and Rafael Soriano (RHP), both from Atlanta. Rafael Betancourt, Jose Valverde, Octavio Dotel and Bob Howry are all good right-handers, but each is getting up there in age. Left-handed help is even scarcer, so let us hope Scott Eyre will return.
You probably know by now that Charlie Manuel came in 6th place for the Manager of the Year voting. That’s right, 6th place for taking his team to back-to-back World Series. But this is just one more revealing award that shows the idiocy of the voting process for these honors. No shock there. Jim Tracy of the Rockies took home the prize.
But if you would like to voice your opinion this awards season, log on at MLB.com and vote for the This Year in Baseball awards. Candidates include Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, JA Happ, Jayson Werth and even Emily, the cute little girl who tossed the ball her Daddy caught back towards the field. And of course, you can give props to Manuel for the TYIB manager award.
Photo by Jenn
Major League Baseball has begun unveiling the winners of the This Year In Baseball Awards. For his perfect season at closer for the Phillies, Brad Lidge walked away with the Closer of the Year Award. Lidge was 41 for 41 in save opportunities during the regular season and 7 for 7 in the post-season, including the Game 5 World Series clincher. For his efforts, Lidge garnered 44% of the vote! The Yankees’ Mariano Rivera came in second place with 22.7%.
And since the baseball writers did not see fit to give Charlie Manuel manager of the year, the fans went ahead and voted him #1 in the TYIB Manager of the Year category. Manuel received 36.3% of the vote with Rays skipper, Joe Maddon getting 20.5% for second place. During his tenure in Philly, Manuel has taken the team to a 354-294 regular-season record, 2 NL East Titles and, of course, a World Championship. What else can we possibly ask of this man? Personally, I’d like to ask him if I can watch all the games this coming year from the dugout. Manuel can work magic with this team; how about spreading the love? :O)
Pat Gillick, former Phillies GM, was also recognized in the TYIB awards; Gillick won the Executive of the Year award with 31.8% of the vote. Gillick made many moves this past year that many people thought were a bit odd – like the trade for Joe Blanton, bringing in Matt Stairs, etc… – but in the end, these moves paid dividends for the Phils. Of course, Adam Eaton is still haunting us…but when you win the big one, all is forgiven :O) Ruben Amaro Jr. has taken over as GM for the 2009 season, but Gillick will remain with the Phillies in an advisory capacity.
There are still several awards to be handed out; the final announcements should be tomorrow. In the category of Best Postseason Moment, there are actually 4 Phillies nominated! With 10 nominees total, that’s a 40% shot that we’ll be discussing this again soon :O)
And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod! All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!
Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose, Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!