While the Phillies were unable to conjure a tidal wave in the Winter Meetings this year, they did make a few smaller splashes. Free-agent left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes, 33, has been signed to a one-year, $1.25 million dollar contract, pending a physical. Reyes is a 14-year, well- traveled veteran who now joins his 11th major league club.
While the signing is relatively small in terms of impact, Reyes is anything but small. This six-foot, 3-inch 250 pound reliever goes by the nickname, “The Big Sweat.” In other words, he will add both depth and width to the bullpen.
On the other end of the size spectrum, the Phillies also picked up a five-foot, nine-inch, 145 pound infielder from the Nationals AAA system in the Rule 5 Draft. Michael Martinez, 28, had better watch himself around Reyes who is liable to mistake him for dinner.
Martinez’s small size has made him a versatile player who can handle both shortstop and second base as well as the occasional stop in centerfield. He hit a combined .272 with 21 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 56 RBI’s and a .408 slugging percentage in 522 plate appearances with Double-A Harrisburg and AAA Syracuse.
When asked about the pick-up of Martinez, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joked, “We figured with this Rule 5 Draft we would get back at the Nationals. They got Werth. We’ll take Martinez and call it even.” While the attempt at humor is admirable, Amaro should probably not quit his day job.
The Phillies picked up a few other players in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft; Colorado outfielder Chris Frey and Oakland righty Justin Friend. While these are not real impact moves, it does give the Phillies a little more depth in the minor league system.
Overall, the Phillies had a quiet week at the Winter Meetings. However, with rumors flying about a possible deal for the Royals righty Zach Greinke, the Phillies may still have a big move on the horizon.
Photo by shgmom56 on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons
The Phillies made two moves on Tuesday that may indicate a few deals are in the works at the Winter Meetings. Pitchers Jesus Sanchez and Yohan Flande were released from the 40-man roster, likely to make room for a few additions. One of those additions is rumored to be ex-Phillie Aaron Rowand.
Rowand has two more years and $24 million left on his contract with the Giants. After a down year in 2010 and losing his starting spot, the Giants have implied that Rowand is no longer in their plans going forward. If the Giants are willing to eat most of his salary, Rowand could possibly return to Philly.
Best known for smashing his face against the centerfield wall at Citizens Bank Park to make a game-saving catch in 2006, Rowand was also the leader in the clubhouse and well loved by players and coaches alike. He was never afraid to call out a teammate who was slacking. This kind of fire is what Charlie Manuel loves about Rowand. It may also be motivation to bring him back.
In 2007, Rowand had a career year with the Phillies, batting .309 with 27 homers and 89 RBI. He also made the All-Star team that year. Since departing for San Francisco, Rowand’s numbers have steadily declined. At the time, critics said the move to a larger ballpark might affect his production and that appears to be the case. On the flip side, a return to the smaller confines of Citizens Bank Park may give new life to Rowand’s bat.
In addition, Rowand will have something to prove wherever he lands. This is a guy who plays the game hard and takes pride in his performance. Losing his starting job may have been the kick in the backside he needed.
Another upside is that Rowand can play either center or right field, just as Jayson Werth was able to. Neither Domonic Brown or Ben Francisco would likely be effective in center in the event that Shane Victorino is hurt or needs a break. And right now, Victorino is the only true centerfielder on the roster. Even if it is just coming off the bench, Rowand could fill that role while Brown and Francisco patrol right field.
Whether or not the Phillies decide to work out a deal with the Giants for Rowand is still unknown. But if the price is right, Rowand could be a real asset and maybe inject new life into this Phillies team.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the first two days of the Winter Meetings, the Phillies have been seeking out bullpen help, so far to no avail. It now appears unlikely that they will be able to sign back Chan Ho Park due to differences of opinion, although he is not yet ruled out. Scott Eyre is also in limbo since his elbow surgery.
With the revelations that Brad Lidge, JC Romero and Jamie Moyer may not be ready for Spring Training after their off-season surgeries, the bullpen is becoming more and more of a concern. Moyer may go back to the starting rotation, but that remains to be seen. Either way, with these players unavailable, this leaves a big hole in the back end of the pen unless they find players to fill the gap.
The Phillies did pick up another bench piece late last night, signing former Marlins outfielder, Ross Gload to a 2-year deal. Gload hit .261 with six home runs and 30 RBIs in 230 at-bats with the Marlins. He turns 34 years old in April but the real head scratcher here is that he is a lefty. With a line-up that is loaded with lefties, it is curious to me that they would not sign a righty. But as usual, the method to the Phillies madness is not always clear.
It does seem that Baseball America understands the madness to a certain degree. They named the Phillies the Organization of the Year for 2009, which was announced at the meetings yesterday. This award is given each year to the organization that excels in both the major leagues and minor leagues with improving their teams and developing talent. Now let us see how much of that young talent the Phillies can hang onto while attempting to sign players for the 2010 season.
Starting pitcher Roy Halladay seems to still be in the rumor mill for the Phillies as well as several bullpen pitchers. But Halladay will command a huge salary for 2010 and the Phillies are quickly running out of money. That means if they choose to go after him, someone else will likely have to go.
It is more likely that any big moves will take place later in the off-season. However, with two days left of meetings, anything can happen. By the way, this is my 500th blog entry on MLBlogs! People often tell me I never shut up, but who knew? A few other associations for the number 500 are: So, I am either a totally awesome Italian race car, or just an annoying computer error. Either way, thanks for reading! :O)
The latest rumor is that Joe Blanton could be moved, but as most rumors, there is no way to know how credible the information is. My guess is that Halladay, with 1 year and $15.75 million dollars left on his current contract, is not a real possibility. The expense is too great and there is no guarantee they can sign him past that one year.
It is more likely that any big moves will take place later in the off-season. However, with two days left of meetings, anything can happen.
By the way, this is my 500th blog entry on MLBlogs! People often tell me I never shut up, but who knew?
A few other associations for the number 500 are:
So, I am either a totally awesome Italian race car, or just an annoying computer error. Either way, thanks for reading! :O)
Blanton photo: Jenn; Gload photo: Miami Herald
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
…will be written here for all to see! So much for things “staying” in Vegas. Ruben Amaro Jr. in his new GM role has all eyes on him at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, waiting for him to make his mark on the 2009 Phillies team. Rumors abound, as they usually do this during the Winter Meetings, but so far, nothing has transpired. Talks with pitcher Jamie Moyer are slowing down to a near halt…it looks like he is asking for 2 years at about 10 million a year. The Phillies simply aren’t going to pay that for a guy in his mid-forties. It is too big a risk. And as much as we all love Jamie and would like to believe that age is never a factor, it can be. He showed signs of slowing down towards the end of 2008, but still remained on the active roster all year without an injury. But if you placing bets on whether this will remain the case for one or maybe two more years, those are odds even the nuttiest Vegas gambler wouldn’t bet on.
The Phillies have been looking at options, in case Moyer decides to go elsewhere. Randy Wolf, ex-Phillie and Geoff Jenkins look-a-like, has been mentioned. It is also rumored that an offer has been made to Derek Lowe. Amaro also mentioned he’d like to add one more arm to an already outstanding bullpen. Scott Eyre has already been signed to a one-year, $2 million contract extension, so we know he’ll be back, giving us one more lefty to play with in addition to JC Romero. Ryan Madson may be signed, rather than allow him to go to arbitration, but nothing specific has been mentioned on that one. Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are also eligible for arbitration.
Arbitration is going to play a huge part in moves this offseason. With TEN Phillies eligible, including those mentioned plus Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs, Cole Hamels, Eric Bruntlett and Joe Blanton, salaries for any new additions are going to be at a premium. Amaro knows he has big money due to some of these guys and has to plan accordingly. I am hoping none of them will end up being trade bait, so as to keep the core of this team intact. But you know what sometimes happens with a new GM; they try to make changes, even if they don’t have to, just to put their own personal stamp on the team and separate themselves from the previous GM. I am really hoping Amaro does not fall into this trap. It is a mind game and one that is likely to produce bad results. He needs to do what is best for the team, not for his ego or reputation.
As for a utility infielder, there have been rumors of bringing 31 year-old Nick Punto back to Philly. With the Twins since 2004, he has played every infield position, except first base, and even some outfield. Punto has a lifetime average of .252, with a .284 average in 2008, having played in 99 games. His career fielding percentage is .976 with 49 total errors in 8 seasons. Honestly, for a guy that does not play every day, that is not so great. So, I am hoping this rumor goes away…
As for Pat Burrell, that train has come to a stop, at least for now. It appears Burrell is fielding offers from other teams and so this becomes another case of wait and see. Even manager Charlie Manuel is asking for a contract extension so he can retire as a Phillie. Nothing solid on this, other than most expect this deal to be done this week sometime. So we will wait and see. And I will keep you posted as things progress this week.
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!
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