Posts Tagged ‘Cole Hamels

15
Feb
11

PHILLIES: Week 1 Notes From Clearwater

With the national media departing finally from Clearwater and moving south to Jupiter, Florida where the whole Albert Pujols fiasco is starting to sort out, it’s time to finally time to get down to talking about some, you know, actual baseball stuff instead of the subjective discussions that have recently coincided with the hype and expectations surrounding the Phillies.

– For all those worried about Dom Brown’s winter, don’t be. Apparently, in addition to spending the last two months completely changing his stance, he also added about 10 pounds of muscle according to Phillies Daily News Writer David Murphy, transforming his arms into “pythons”.  I’m now sure how the latter translates into all-around baseball success, but the fact that their is visible proof of Brown’s hard work in the off-season leads me to believe that he’s in the mindset that the RF job is his to lose. And it’s a correct mindset at that.

– A noticeable absence from Clearwater this past week has been longtime Phillies reliever Chad Durbin. Durbin, who was one of the longest tenured Phillies before the organization failed to renew his contract after last season, is still a topic conversation in the clubhouse. For example, players such as Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson have publicly taken time this week to lobby for his return in the media. You don’t see that very often. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen right now. Those to look out for that are in contention for his 7th inning role and spot in the bullpen include Kyle Kendrick (who doesn’t quite have place in the starting rotation now with the evolution of R2C2), the much-maligned Danys Baez, and a couple relatively new names such as Vance Worley and Michael Schwimer.

– Ok, here is one thing of note surrounding all the Phillies hype. As I was peering through Twitter yesterday, I noticed that the highly-regarded FOX Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal predicted  that one of the Phillies “Fab Four” of starting pitchers would win the 2011 NL Cy Young Award. However, it wasn’t the incumbent NL Cy Young Roy Halladay. Or Cliff Lee. Or even Roy Oswalt. It was actually the Phillies projected 4th starter, 27-year old southpaw Cole Hamels. While it may not be the popular choice amongst the group, do not forget, this guy owns the most recognizable hardware out of any of the four aces. A World Series ring.

For anything else you want to know, just click on the following video.

14
Feb
11

PHILLIES: A Preview Before the Preview

As pitchers and catchers have made their way down to Clearwater and the friendly confines of Brighthouse Field, most who care about such a movement would also take that as a sign that the 2011 baseball season is finally starting to take form.

From the perspective of a certain baseball enthusiast/blogger, there isn’t much in the way of news that could be considered more of a breath of fresh air.

In fact, that could probably the best news in, give or take, three months and 13 days.

For those who are wondering and are too lazy to do some simple math or a google search, that was when the 2010 Baseball campaign officially ended as the San Francisco Giants were crowned as World Series champs.

With that said, a Spring Training preview will be up shortly, breaking down everything from..

Beautiful sight, isn't it?

1. Is Joe Blanton going to remain in the fold as the Phillies 5th starter behind R2C2?

2. Will Dominic Brown be able to beat out Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. for the everyday RF job?

3. How will the bullpen shape up without Chad Durbin?

4. Expectations, expectations, and more expectations..

5. Everything else.

Such a breakdown, however, will all come over the span of some six odd weeks before the Phillies take the field against the Houston Astros on April 1st.

In the mean time, if you want to take a look at a couple blogs that will have Spring Training coverage to a capacity much larger than this particular college senior who is roughly 700 miles from any Grapefruit League action whatsoever, a combination of Todd Zolecki’s “ZoZone“, David Murphy’s “High Cheese“, and Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover’s “Phillies Zone” should do the trick.

With that, enjoy the arrival of baseball season.

14
Oct
10

PHILLIES: 2010 NLCS Preview

As we all anxiously await the time early Sat. evening when arguably one of the best and most-anticipated playoff pitching matchups in post-season history will become a reality, it’s finally starting to set in that the Phillies have made their third consecutive National League Championship  Series with relative ease.

While it’s undeniable that the Reds didn’t hit, pitch, and especially field to the best of their ability, it was very clear who was the better team in that series, whether it play on the field or demeanor in the dugout or clubhouse. You don’t have to be a Phillies fan to realize that.

On the other side, the San Francisco Giants will come into their first NLCS since the Barry Bonds era in a similar fashion. In their 4-game series win against the Atlanta Braves, they out-performed an admirable opponent with dominating starting pitching, and while their hitting weren’t necessarily strong, the bats did capitalize when the opportunity presented itself (countless errors by a certain Braves second basemen) to put the series out of reach.

Hmmm, sounds awfully familiar.

With that said, here is the breakdown of the series between the Phillies and Giants.

SCHEDULE WITH STARTING PITCHING PROBABLES

GAME 1 (7:57 PM SATURDAY): Giants ( Tim Lincecum) at Phillies (Roy Halladay)

GAME 2 (8:19 PM SUNDAY): Giants (Jonathan Sanchez) at Phillies (Roy Oswalt)

GAME 3 (4:19 PM TUESDAY): Phillies (Cole Hamels) at Giants (Matt Cain)

GAME 4 (7:57 PM WEDNESDAY): Phillies (Joe Blanton) at Giants (Madison Bumgardner)

GAME 5 (7:57 PM THURSDAY if needed): Phillies (Roy Halladay) at Giants (Tim Lincecum)

GAME 6 (3:57 or 7:57 PM OCTOBER 23RD if needed): Giants (Jonathan Sanchez) at Phillies (Roy Oswalt)

GAME 7: (7:57 PM OCTOBER 24TH if needed: Giants (TBD) at Phillies (TBD)

STARTING PITCHING

The men on the mound will dictate the future of both teams of this series. On one side, you have the tandem now known as H20, along with a bullpen that looks to be reverting back to their ’08 form. On the other side, you have a 2-time Cy Young award winning pitcher, and 3 other bright young arms to fill out the rotation. Even Barry Zito, a past Cy Young award winner in his own right, couldn’t make the post-season roster. So, which side will win out?  Personally, I would have to go with the team who has a certain pitcher who has both a perfect game and a no-hitter under his belt this year. That’s just me.

ADVANTAGE: PHILLIES

BULLPEN

This one is a little tough. The Phillies bullpen, which for the most part has been considered their achilles heal for the entire season, has woken up as of late. A huge part of that is because of closer Brad Lidge, who had a blast from the past type of performance in the final two months of the season, only blowing one save in the 2 1/2 months of play after the all-star break. In addition to that, they also seemed to find some stability in terms of left-handed pitching out the bullpen, as both Antonio Bastardo and J.C Romero had a stellar final month or so. However, even though it may not have shown in their NLDS series against the Braves, the Giants, led by their perennial all-star of a closer Brian Wilson, may be the most consistent bullpen from top to bottom remaining out of the playoff teams.

ADVANTAGE: GIANTS

HITTING

Not even a question here. While Giants do have certain veterans on their team who are used to playoff competition (Juan Uribe, Aaron Rowand, and Edgar Renteria), they struggled mightily as a team at the plate during the Braves series and for that matter the entire season, even with the probable NL ROY Buster Posey, and a re-surging Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff in the lineup. Compare that to a Phillies lineup who, while still struggling a bit in their own right, was amongst the top offenses in all of baseball this year, and clearly is still the more explosive, experienced, and without question better offense in this matchup.

ADVANTAGE: PHILLIES

INTANGIBLES

Both teams are well-managed. Both teams have players on their team who have been in this type of playoff atmosphere before. So, what separating them? The Phillies are returning to the NLCS for the third consecutive year, while the Giants have long been on vacation during that time. In the two previous years, we all know the end result with the Phillies. Now, back in the same spot, with arguably their most talented team when comparing them to the prior two, I just don’t see that end result changing.

ADVANTAGE: PHILLIES

PREDICTION: Phillies in 6

05
Oct
10

PHILLIES: NLDS Schedule and Roster Set

While the Phillies do not need to send in their 25-man roster until 10 AM on Wed., after their most recent workout at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday afternoon, the details surrounding the divisional series against the Reds are now officially finalized. Here is the schedule and NLDS roster (information via “The Phillies Zone” writer Matt Gelb).

SCHEDULE (With Probable Starting Pitchers)

Game 1 (Wednesday at 5:07 PM at Citizens Bank Park): Phillies (Roy Halladay) vs. Reds (Edison Volquez)

Game 2 (Friday at 6:07 PM at Citizens Bank Park): Phillies (Roy Oswalt) vs. Reds (Bronson Arroyo)

Game 3: (Sunday at 7:07 PM or 8:07 PM at Great American Ballpark): Reds (Johnny Cueto) vs. Phillies (Cole Hamels)

Game 4: (Monday at 5:07 PM or 7:37 PM at Great American Ballpark if needed) Reds (TBD) vs. Phillies (Roy Halladay)

Game 5: (Wednesday at 6:07 PM or 8:07 PM at Citizens Bank Park if needed): Phillies (Roy Halladay) vs. Reds (TBD)

ROSTER

PITCHERS (10)

SP Roy Halladay, SP Roy Oswalt, SP Cole Hamels, SP/RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Jose Contreras, LHP J.C Romero, LHP Antonio Bastardo, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Brad Lidge

Those who were left off the roster: SP Kyle Kendrick, SP Vance Worley, RHP David Herndon, RHP Danys Baez, LHP Mike Zagurski

INFIELDERS (8)

1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley, SS Jimmy Rollins, 3B Placido Polanco, 1B Mike Sweeney, 1B/OF Ross Gload, UTIL Wilson Valdez, UTIL Greg Dobbs

Those who were left off the roster: SS Brian Bocock, 3B Cody Ransom

OUTFIELDERS (5)

LF Raul Ibanez, CF Shane Victorino, RF Jayson Werth, OF Ben Francisco, OF Domonic Brown

Those who were left off the roster: OF John Mayberry Jr.

CATCHERS (2)

C Carlos Ruiz, C Brian Schneider

Those who were left off the roster: C Paul Hoover, C Dane Sardinha

30
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Projecting The NLDS Roster

Now that the Phillies have not only clinched a playoff birth, but have also locked up yet another NL East crown and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, it’s time to erase the next week of meaningless baseball from our memory and actually focus on what’s important.

Yes folks, would be the Phillies fourth straight appearance in the postseason.

As I said in my last post, I would break down the potential playoff roster once everything was clinched. Well, I am a man of my word, and since the Phillies 2010 playoffopener will officially be played Wed, October 7th with an opponent that will TBD, it looks like it is about time to see how the current 33-man roster will dwindle down to 25 once the NLDS starts.

PITCHERS (11): In this breakdown, I have the Phillies keeping four starters and eight relievers. In reality, with the way the schedule looks as of right now (Games on Wed, Fri, Sun, Mon, Wed.), they will most likely use three starters, in which Doc should be ready to go if a fourth game is needed on 4-days rest. With that said, Joe Blanton will most likely be on the playoff roster as a possible 4th game starter, and if not, a middle-reliever if need be.  With Blanton on the roster, along with Danys Baez, who was signed to a deal in the off-season basically to give this team another veteran hard-throwing RHP for the month of October, that means both David Herndon and Kyle Kendrick will be left off, as their normal spot on the 25-man roster should be fulfilled by a second LHP as you will see below. I also project Cole Hamels to start game 2, so he will have the opportunity to pitch at Citizens Bank Park in front of a home crowd, something that worked quite well with him in the last two previous postseasons.

SP: Roy Halladay (Game 1 Starter)

SP: Cole Hamels (Game 2/3 Starter)

SP: Roy Oswalt (Game 2/3 Starter)

SP: Joe Blanton (Game 4 Starter/Middle Reliever)

RHP: Chad Durbin

RHP: Danys Baez

RHP: Jose Contreras

LHP: J.C Romero

LHP: Antonio Bastardo

Setup: Ryan Madson

Closer: Brad Lidge

CATCHERS (2)

This is pretty simple. In a 5-game series, barring injury concerns, there is no need to have three catchers on the roster. With Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz and primary backup Brian Schneider, fortunately, there aren’t any of those concerns. With that said, look for the Phillies to keep a veteran backstop, that being Paul Hoover, in the bullpen as a nice little security blanket close by if the injury bug bites in the NLDS.

C: Carlos Ruiz

C: Brian Schneider

INFIELDERS (7): Aside from the normal starters and Wilson Valdez, Phillies management has some tough decisions to make on this end. Do they keep an extra outfielder with speed such as Domonic Brown or John Mayberry Jr.  instead of Greg Dobbs, who would usually be a shoe-in to play in the postseason if not for his struggles this season? At this point, in a NLDS 5-game series, I think yes. Also, the mid-season addition of Mike Sweeney limits the need for Dobbs as the combination of he, Vladez, Ross Gload have proven that they are able to play the positions that Dobbs can at an even higher level.

1B: Ryan Howard

2B: Chase Utley

SS: Jimmy Rollins

3B: Placido Polanco

UTIL: Ross Gload

UTIL: Mike Sweeney

UTIL: Wilson Valdez

OUTFIELDERS (5): Another tough one here. Aside from the everyday starters and Ben Francisco, the final outfield spot comes down to three guys. Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., and yet again, Greg Dobbs. As a stated before, Dobbs’s lackluster performance this year really leaves him in a difficult position to make the postseason roster in any capacity. When it comes down to Dobbs and Mayberry, the biggest thing here is need. If the Phillies take Mayberry, that leaves only one possible LH situational hitter (Gload) on the bench. While it does depend on who they play in the NLDS, I don’t see Charlie Manuel and company feeling comfortable with that regardless of the opponent. I just don’t. Along with that rationale, taking Brown along for the postseason ride would go a long way towards giving him the proper experience that would allow him to properly implant Jayson Werth in the Phillies outfield once Werth bolts for the allure of dollar signs come the offseason.

RF: Jayson Werth

CF: Shane Victorino

LF: Raul Ibanez

OF: Ben Francisco

OF: Domonic Brown

Well, that was my stab at it. The two toughest calls here are obviously the battle of the last utility spot between Brown, Mayberry, and Dobbs and the decision of who’s going to be the 11th pitcher between Baez, Kendrick, and Durbin.

While I know the anticipation is killing all of you, the good news is that you only have to wait until next Wed. to find out.

23
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Phirst Place Phils

I wanted to wait a little bit until I wrote this post (don’t want to jinx anything), but that rationale kind of bit me in the behind once Andy Reid went back on his word and made and announcement that could possibly set back the Eagles franchise for a decade.

So, change of plans. I am now going to use this post now as a subtle reminder of what you all should really care about if you are a Philadelphia sports fan.

THE PHILLIES ARE IN FIRST PLACE!

Along those lines, if their recent play is any indication, they will finish there for their 4th consecutive season.

Phillies fans may be seeing a similar celebration in the near future.

After sweeping the Atlanta Braves in a crucial 3-game set at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies now find themselves in a position that they could have only dreamed of a few months ago. With a 6-game lead in the NL East and a magic number that is now less than a handful, the Phillies are a well-played series away from clinching another NL East crown. With a winning streak that now sits at 10 games and the best record in all of baseball during the month of September, I am going to go out there on a limb and say that it won’t be too much of a problem for the Phillies to solidify their spot in the 2010 postseason.

Unbelievable.

Think about it for a second.  This is the same team who sat in third place behind the Braves and METS of all teams two months ago. This is the same team that has seen 17 players go on the disabled list, including three players with multiple stints on the DL. And last but not least, this is the same team that almost dealt All-Star OF Jayson Werth at the trade deadline, a move which would have shown that management had ultimately given up on the season.

The fact of the matter is, even with the plethora of shortcomings the Phillies have faced, they seemed have passed every test the baseball gods have sent there way.

Sure, they may have gotten some help. The Mets and Braves showed their youth and inexperience by faltering down the stretch. That was somewhat expected. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger on one of the more lobsided deals in recent history. That, again, was somewhat expected.  However, there is no way anyone could have ever expected the Phillies to play themselves into this position once again.

But, they did.

If you look at most measures of baseball statistics, they are in fact a pretty good indicator of the Phillies prominence. With a current 10-game winning streak, a MLB-best 17-3 record in September, and a NL-best 44-15 record since the all-star break, it’s clear that consistent play at this high level is what ultimately brought the Phillies back into contention.

However, stats don’t tell the whole story. They don’t fully show how the addition of Roy Oswalt, the growth of Cole Hamels, or the stability that Roy Halladay provides has made the starting pitching, not the offense, arguably the Phillies most valuable asset. They can’t truthfully describe how important the recent resurgence closer Brad Lidge has been to the team’s championship puzzle. And lastly, there is no way a box-score and a stat-line can explain how the Phillies have been able to overcome their obstacles and overwhelming odds to virtually guarantee the fans of Philadelphia another post-season run.

Unfortunately, as most of us know all too well, there are no such things as guarantees. Especially when it it comes to baseball in September.

Or October..

30
Jul
10

PHILLIES: Reaction to Roy Oswalt

For the second year in a row, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger on the deal that will most likely define the MLB Trade Deadline.

Last year, it was former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee who was shipped to Philadelphia, a move that gained national headlines and made the defending World Series champs even more dangerous.

We all know how that worked out.

This year, it is now Roy Oswalt, a perennial ace wasting the last year or so of his prime with the Houston Astros, who will be the next one to “take his talents” to the City of Brotherly Love in an deal to help the Phillies win their 4th consecutive NL East crown.

And what a deal it was..

THE GOOD

There is so much good to talk about regarding this deal that it needs to be split up into two different categories.

WHAT WE GOT

You just have to take a look at Roy Oswalt’s career stats for about five seconds to realize the type of talent the Phillies just added to their pitching rotation. His credentials are astonishing (3 All-Star Games, Top 5 in Cy Young voting 5 different season), and with his 143-82 career record in just over 9 1/2 big league seasons, it’s easy to see why this guy has been considered an ace pitcher for the better part a decade, a distinction that Dan Haren, Fausto Carmona, and other who had been linked to the Phillies have unfortunately never had.

Roy Oswalt is the newest member of the Phillies starting rotation.

While his talent was not a question, Ruben Amaro Jr. also made the Astros address a one of his major areas of concern without involving another team. At 32 years of age, there were clearly some worries among the Phillies brass that they were getting a guy who was on the back end of his prime (which is still at an all-star level) who was being paid like a guy who was in the middle of his prime. That was proven by the Astros paying almost half of his remaining 23 million-dollar salary over the next 1 1/3 years of his contract, an incentive that gives much needed financial support to a team that now has the 4th highest payroll in baseball.

While the Astros will end up the Phillies approximately 11 million dollars for Oswalt to pitch next year and the remaining 50 games this season for the PHILLIES is good enough in itself, it is the combination of obtaining a #1 caliber starter along with that cap relief provided by the Astros organization (Phillies will only pay 12 million to Oswalt over the next 1 1/3 years, a figure that comes out to a reasonable 9.3 mil a year), is what allows all this to look like a home-run (grandslam even) in terms of the value the Phillies got in this trade.

Oh, almost forgot, the Phillies do not have to pick up Oswalt’s 16 million-dollar 2012 option that he and the Astros originally demanded either.

WHAT WE GAVE UP

I’ll be the first one to say it. Phillies fans everywhere should be grateful for what J.A Happ has given to the organization. His 12-4 season last year was pretty tremendous, and considering he was the best pitcher on the struggling staff in 2009 before Cliff Lee showed up, it’s undeniable that he played a huge part in keeping that team afloat when Hamels, Blanton and company were struggling. He really never got the appreciation his was due.

With that said, the fact that he was the centerpiece of this trade (not Domonic Brown, Jayson Werth, or Jonathan Singleton) rivals a blessing from G-D.

Phillies P J.A Happ was sent to Houston as the centerpiece of the Oswalt deal.

While Happ has a certain attraction factor because of the talent he showed as a rookie, relatively young age, and an even cheaper contract, he was truly never viewed as an asset within the Phillies organization. For instance, he wasn’t even the rotation to start the 2009 season, as he was beaten out by Chan Ho Park for the 5th starter slot out of Spring Training. CHAN HO PARK! That alone should indicate the amount of confidence that Amaro and company had with Happ.

All things considered, J.A Happ needed a change of scenery.

The Astros, by giving Happ the dubious honor of being the focal point in this deal, seem to think that he has the makings of being a stud pitcher, possibly even an ace to replace Oswalt. In contrast to this, with the way Happ was treated (especially recently), it’s possible that the Phillies viewed his 2009 year as his eventual “ceiling” or even a possible fluke.

After finishing 3rd in the NL while dealing with added pressure of being involved in the Cliff Lee trade rumors, Happ seemed to have solidified his status in the rotation coming into the new year. That was short-lived though, as a rocky start to the 2010 campaign fueled by a 3-month oblique injury was the driving force which allowed Happ to fall out of favor with management for good. The fall from grace was so drastic that when he was finally healthy enough to pitch, he was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley because of fears that he didn’t have the “stuff” that once made him so effective.

As a fan of Happ but also a Phillies diehard, I hope his career in Houston lies somewhere in between.

For the other two 19-year-old prospects involved in the deal (OF Anthony Gose and SS Jonathan Villar), the Houston Astros better pray that the baseball futures of both these teenagers will pan out. As of right now though, getting this deal done without giving away any of the top three prospects (Brown, Singleton, and P Jared Cosart) or surging pitching prospects such as Vance Worley or Brody Colvin makes it look like Ruben Amaro is getting away with felonious crime.

Or something similar to blackmail of Astros GM Ed Wade.

Don’t get me wrong, both these guys have major talent.

While the Astros won’t have the ex-Phillies and current Astros CF Michael Bourn clone in Gose (a player who stole 78 bases at the minor league level last year) in the fold, they did trade him in a corresponding deal Thursday night to acquire 3B Brett Wallace from Toronto. Wallace, who was ironically involved in a deal last year that sent former Phillies prospect Michael Taylor to Oakland, is a player who should help impact them at the big league level right away, something that could really help Houston build for the future. With Villar, the Astros get a shortstop who is projected to have three above-average MLB tools (Power, Speed, Arm Strength) when all is said and done and his is ready for the bigs.

Overall, you can’t deny that Houston did get some short-term and long-term value.

However, with the leverage Roy Oswalt was once though to have earlier this week, it’s pretty remarkable that Ed Wade could only get the Phillies to give up an OF prospect in Anthony Gose that is AT LEAST three years away from making an impact in the big leagues and the SS prospect in Jonathan Villar that has a dreadful 42 errors in Single-A this season and is not even the top prospect in the Phillies organization at his own position (that honor goes to Double-A Reading SS Freddy Galvis).

Advantage: Phillies

THE BAD

Yes, there is some bad in the trade. Well, bad is maybe the wrong word.

More like, concerned.

On paper, it shows that the Phillies traded a pitcher that was 12-4 last year and two more young prospects in addition to the 10 or so they sent in deals for Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee for a pitcher in Roy Oswalt who has a record of 6-12 this season.

Now, there is no doubt that Oswalt is a better pitcher, than what shows up in the win/loss column. His 3.42 E.RA on the season is a clear indicator of that, and even with getting awful run support by virtue of playing on one of the worst teams in baseball,  he is still among the NL leaders in K’s (13th with 120) while ranking 47th in MLB in IP with 129 (better than NL All-Star Yovanni Gallardo).

But, with Oswalt being in line for single- digit wins and the first losing season (leads MLB in losses with 12) of his career, an obvious question remains.

Can Oswalt prove that he’s still the ace that he once was?

Time will tell.

If he is not, and the chronic back issues that he has and the pressure that comes along with Philadelphia come back to affect Oswalt, then the initial excitement of this deal could go sour very quickly.

THE VERDICT

Anytime that a GM can trade for an all-star star pitcher without having to touch any other parts of his teams big league roster, give up any of his top three prospects, and get 11 million dollars in cash back from the trading partner for good measure, it has to be considered a success.

I understand, if the Phillies kept Cliff Lee, they wouldn’t have had to do this.

Have to face the facts though. GM’s make mistakes too. Ruben Amaro decided not to keep Cliff Lee. In 1997, former Yankees GM George Steinbrenner (RIP) signed an unheard of Japanese pitcher by the name Hideki Irabu to a lucrative 14 million-dollar deal. He had a career 5.15 ERA with the Bronx Bombers, and was one of the biggest busts of the Steinbrenner regime. More recently in 2006, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean inked Barry Zito to a notoriously awful 7 year, 126 million-dollar deal, something that he is still paying for today with Zito unable to produce a winning season in the three years since signing the dotted line. These things happen.

Will this deal help bring the Phillies back to glory?

By dealing Lee, Ruben Amaro thought the Phillies could be the same caliber of team and win with just the pure addition of Roy Halladay. When he realized that his intended goal may not pan out like that, he fessed up to his questionable decision and attempted to make amense for it by making a deal for Oswalt (Lee was out of the question) in an attempt to help save the season.

You can call GM Ruben Amaro many things, expletives even, but with this trade, “stubborn” no longer remains as one of those adjectives.

Can’t look into the past anymore either.

With Oswalt now in the fold, joining NL All-Star Roy Halladay and a surging Cole Hamels, you can now debate that the Phillies have the potential to have the most dominant starting pitching in the NL. While the rotations of the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants may be able to give a pretty good argument in that regard, there is no question that those opposing teams (and other contenders) will view the Phillies, with their improved rotation combined with an already explosive offense lineup, as an even greater overall threat to represent the NL, again, in the Fall Classic.

They have to get in the post-season first.

On a that note,  I’ll set the final scene for you now.

First weekend in October. Phillies have a 3-game series with the Atlanta Braves to end the season. NL East, of course, on the line.

The potential Phillies starters for those games.

“Halladay–Hamels–Oswalt”

That alone tells me enough about this deal. Well done, Ruben.




The Philly Phour

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