Posts Tagged ‘Vance Worley

27
Jul
11

PHILLIES: My Phillies Trade Proposal

Needed to bring the “Philly Phour” back one last time to voice my opinions on a potential Phillies deal that can’t be summed up on Twitter in 140 characters and is way too creepy to leave on facebook as a status or note.

As most of you have heard, the Phillies have been in the market for a right-handed bat, preferably an outfielder,  since the 2o11 season began. Now, as Carlos Beltran, one of the rumored targets for the Phillies, has been traded to the defending World Series champs, it’s time to stop messing around if you are Ruben Amaro.

If you are the Phillies brass, and you are very serious about acquiring a strong RH bat and an outfielder who you can plug in the middle of your order, cut the crap and DO IT NOW.

Yes, I am well aware that Astros OF Hunter Pence and White Sox OF Carlos Quentin have been said to be off the market, or if you can pry them away from their current teams, you may have to give up an arm and a leg to get them. However, if Dominic Brown (top prospect on all of baseball who is part of the future and the present) isn’t involved, there is no reason why the Phillies shouldn’t try to do this.

Here is what I propose: P Vance Worley (middle of the rotation, pro-ready pitcher) , 1B Jonathan Singleton (top offensive prospect) , OF John Mayberry Jr. (big league, 25-man roster ready outfielder)

And here is my reasoning.

Worley: I know, I know. He’s been the biggest surprise for the Phillies so far this year. Making up for the absence of Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton by going 7-2 with a sub 3.00 ERA and stabilizing the back end of the rotation in the process. Might be the future of the Phillies pitching staff. But look at it this way. The Phillies are ultimately thinking about making a deal like this to succeed in the playoffs against the likes of the Giants, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, etc and make it to another World Series. Who would you rather on your team to help do that? As much as I like Vance Worley (and I do like him), it’s not him. Even if Worley continues to pitch this well or better, AT BEST, he makes the Phillies postseason roster as no better than the teams 4th starter. That means he likely doesn’t pitch in a starting role in the NLDS, and just one game in the NLCS or WS if you want to look that far ahead. No more than 18 innings pitched at most, and if Roy Oswalt comes off the D.L and bounces back well, it will be far fewer than that. So personally, as much as I appreciate Worley’s role on the team, I still would rather have an all-star OF in Pence or Quentin that would start virtually every single game than someone who may have a limited impact in the postseason based on the talent ahead of him and if the right people decide to get healthy.

Singleton: Best pure hitting prospect that the Phillies have and a preseason top 100 prospect in baseball. He is also the Phillies most expendable top prospect based on the depth they have in the organization. Even as a 20-year-old, the Phillies organization has already seemed to give up on an outfield experiment for Singleton, meaning he is only set to play one other position. First base. Well, if I remember correctly, Philadelphia has a guy in Ryan Howard who both talent wise and financially, is slated to play at that corner infield spot for the next half a decade. Again, I understand that the Phillies like what they see in Singleton and he may be the future of the position, but with the Big Piece in his way, you cannot overvalue a player too much if he is at least 4+ years away from making an impact at the big league level with the organization.

Mayberry: Really like what Mayberry has done this year. Can play all three OF position, and shown the ability to hit a little. Very attractive quality for a rebuilding team or a team decimated by injuries. But, in a deal to obtain a player like him who is just simply better at playing the game of baseball, I’m sorry, but John Mayberry Jr. is expendable. As well as he has been playing this year and as much as he has been improving, he will NEVER be better than Hunter Pence and Carlos Quentin. His ceiling is just not that high. It’s as simple as that.

So that’s my proposal. Worley, Singleton, Mayberry. If the Phillies can get either one of Hunter Pence and Carlos Quentin, as I said, they should just do the damn thing.

For those who say that you are ruining future of the organization, here is rebuttal. Screw the future. Seriously, screw it.  I don’t know if you have paid close attention to the last three years of trades for the Philadelphia Phillies, but it has become pretty clear that the FUTURE IS NOW. When you trade 7 of your top 15 prospects over a 2 1/2 year span, and the vast majority of the nucleus of your team is over the age of 3o, the window of opportunity to reach the ultimate goal of a World Series and parade down Broad St. is closing with ever time there is mention the word future . If there is too much thought going towards future success and World Series titles, than in my opinion, especially considering the makeup of this team, the future will never become the present.

With this team, playing 162 regular season games and the hope of playing postseason baseball is done for one reason. It’s not to be just competitive year in and year out. It’s to win World Series titles. Plain and simple.

With this blow-you-out-of-the-water proposed deal, as much as the Phillies would be giving up with their future things of that nature, their chances for winning a Fall Classic will have improved.

And that’s good enough reason to do this deal.

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

07
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Recap of September Call-Ups

Fresh off of a split with a double-header against the Florida Marlins and sitting just a half-game back of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, the Phillies made what looks like the last of their September roster moves (besides Danys Baez coming back up when he is healthy), as it appears that John Mayberry Jr. will likely join the team on Tuesday for the final month of the regular season.

Just to recap this protocol, on September 1st, the MLB rosters are able to expand from the usual 25-man roster to a maximum 40-player roster. This allows players who are currently on the Phillies organizational 40-man roster that are minor leagues for whatever reason to be brought up to major league competition until the end of the regular season without any coinciding roster move.

Including the probable addition of Mayberry and optimism surrounding the health of Baez, that will most likely bring the total to nine, that being the number additional players who will be occupying spots in the Phillies clubhouse until October 3rd (final day of the regular season).

Here is a recap of all the moves and the impact that these players may be able to make down the stretch.

RHP Danys Baez: Baez, a reliever who was once thought of as a potential closer if the Brad Lidge situation did not pan out, has been much of a disappointment since signing a 2-year, 5.5 million dollar contract at the start of the 2010 season. Inconsistent at best and borderline unbearable at worst, there is a reason that the team is not rushing to bring him back to the fold from injury. At the most, he may take up some mop-duty roles if games are out of hand to keep the likes of Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, J.C Romero, and Jose Contreras fresh for when it really matters.

OF John Mayberry Jr.: While it’s not official yet, it’s widely assumed that Mayberry will be with the Phillies come Tuesday. Say what you want about him (overrated, a 1st rd. bust, etc.) but he really does have value for this team. For one, he absolutely demolishes lefties (.350 this year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley), so pinch-hitting duties and an occasional starting nod to spare Raul Ibanez against those southpaws may be in the cards for Mayberry if he is promoted. Secondly, Mayberry’s 20 stolen bases this year should give him an opportunity to pinch-run late in games. Lastly, his ability to play the two corner OF positions at an above-average level will give manager Charlie Manuel the option of using him during double-switch situations late in games. All things considered, none of this is valid if he is not added to the big league roster.

An interesting subplot to the end of the season could be the usage of Vance Worley.

RHP Vance Worley: Now this is a bit interesting. Worley has made a meteoric jump on MLB prospect lists since going from Double-A Reading to his first ever big league on Monday in the span of 3 months (a time frame that also includes being involved in the Roy Oswalt trade rumors). Yesterday, Worley did nothing to stop his climb to the top of the organizational mountain, going 5 innings and giving up just 2 ER in a spot-start against the Marlins. Just to refresh your memories, the Phillies branch has never been thrilled with the idea of Kyle Kendrick as the teams fifth starter, and I’m going to go out there on a limb and say that Worley’s role on this team for every fifth game will show that. Catch my drift? Even if that is not the case, Worley’s two well above-average big league pitches (FB, Slider) will allow him to have some worth as a primary long reliever in the next few weeks.

LHP Mike Zagurski: This was to be expected. Zagurski spent a month with the Phillies earlier this season when J.C Romero was down, and has showed utter dominance at with Lehigh Valley this year (13 straight scoreless innings at one point). While his transition to the big leagues could be viewed by some as shaky, with the ability to expand the roster, having LHP representation in the bullpen besides Romero and Antonio Bastardo was a must, and Zagurski and the next player I am going to talk about were really the only suitable candidates who could fill that role for this team.

LHP Nate Robertson: The former Tigers/Marlins starting pitcher was signed almost two weeks ago by the Phillies for one specific reason. Flexibility. In the past two seasons, Robertson has pitched in 47 games. He’s started 24 of them. So basically, the guy has just as much experience starting games has he does coming in relief. That had to weigh heavily in the mind of GM Ruben Amaro Jr. when they he, along with other members of the front office, were discussing signing a LHP for the stretch run. Well, his 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball he pitched AGAINST the Phillies as a member of the Marlins on April 18th this season may have had an impact as well.

RHP Scott Mathieson: Probably the move that most fans wanted to see. In July, Phillies fans got a small taste of Mathieson’s near 100 MPH in one game of relief duty. That first big league appearance in three years (two Tommy John surgeries later) may not have gone as well as all those involved would have liked, but a player who can bring a fastball like that to the table when he steps up to the mound is bound to be an valuable asset to a team in the middle of a pennant race, regardless of how much he actually pitches.

1b/ OF Ross Gload: It’s not really fair to lump Gload into the Sepetember “call-up” category, but his presence back in the Phillies clubhouse after a month on the disabled list can is indeed  a welcoming addition to the roster. While a groin injury may have sidelined Gload for the better part of the Phillies recent surge up the standings, he should assume duties as the Phillies primary LH bat along with Domonic Brown off the bench when he is deemed healthy to do so.

INF/OF Greg Dobbs: Dobbs has been designated for assignment twice this season due to his ability to produce at the big league level, so his production and playing time may be limited. However, once upon a time, Dobbs was the league leader in pinch hits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Charlie Manuel, being the player’s coach that he is, gives Dobbs a couple at-bats against RHP, since he still has shown the ability to hit them even during this stretch of baseball that may mark the end of his career.

C Paul Hoover: Kind of ironic that the first of these call-ups may have been the most insignificant. Hoover, as it stands right now, is buried behind Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider on the teams depth chart at his position. This year though, with injuries being a common theme with both of those catchers, Hoover’s worth is to the team is invaluable, whether he is in the clubhouse or being used as the bullpen catcher.  Can’t say I would be comfortable seeing him behind the dish in a meaningful game though.

Notable absences from this list include both Andy Tracy and Cody Ransom.  Before you say “Why?”, take note of a possible and probable reason.

They are not on the current 40-man roster.

So, in order for them to participate in a big league contest, the Phillies would have to take two players off the 40-man roster, enabling them to be picked up on another team via waivers. As of right now, I cannot see the Phillies doing that to anyone besides Dobbs, and he would have to REALLY struggle for them to do so. Truthfully, I don’t see Dobbs getting enough opportunities to struggle any more than he has already, so it’s kind of a mute point.

For right now that is.

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.

28
Jul
10

PHILLIES: Domonic Brown Promotion (Part 2)

“FOR YOUR PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, BATTING SIXTH, STARTING IN RIGHT FIELD, NUMBER NINE, DOMONIC BROWNNNN.”

Getting chills just thinking about it.

After placing Shane Victorino on the 15-day DL because of a strained oblique, the move that has been anticipated for virtually the entire 2010 season was finally made.

” The Phillies have purchased the contract of OF Domonic Brown.”

Impact of Brown’s Promotion

OF Dom Brown's debut with the Phillies has arrived.

While I wish the move didn’t have to come at the expense of Shane Victorino, I’m never going to complain when the Phillies add a potential 5-tool player to their roster. As I said in my previous post, this may not be the best situation or timing for Brown to make his debut. The team is back in the middle of a pennant race, the pressure to produce in Philadelphia is at a all-time high, and the Phillies now have the added responsibility of figuring out Brown’s role on this team and in the clubhouse.

If they already didn’t have enough to worry about when they were just trying to acquire Roy Oswalt or another SP, a UTIL INF, or a lefty arm out of the bullpen..

But, whether we like it or not, the time has come. Calling Brown up now means he’s here for the long haul.

And by long haul, I mean more like years or decades rather than days or months.

Right now though, I’ll be the first one to admit that Brown’s promotion should be viewed as a saving grace of sorts. Until Shane Victorino comes back from his disabled list stint, it’s almost a certainty that Brown will assume the role as the everyday RF, which will give him a perfect opportunity to make his transition to the big leagues by getting regular at-bats. With Brown’s supreme talent, you won’t see much of a drop-off in production even with Victorino gone.

And that’s saying alot.

So, with Brown settled in RF, that means Jayson Werth, who barring a huge move, will remain a member of the Philadelphia Phillies for the rest of the season because of his explosive offensive ability and defensive versatility (can play all three OF positions), will move over to CF to account for the loss of the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

Once Victorino comes back though, that’s where the work begins, as it is unclear what the Phillies will do with Brown. There is no doubt that he will stay up in the big leagues, but Charlie Manuel may have to do a little shuffling to make sure that he does nothinder the growth of his beloved top prospect.

Here’s a potential proposal (Full Week, 7-Game Schedule).

Raul Ibanez (4 Games in LF), Shane Victorino (5 Games CF), Jayson Werth (4 Games RF, 2 Game CF), Domonic (3 Games RF, 1 Game LF), Ben Francisco (2 Game LF).

May not be completely accurate, but you can bet the Phillies do something like this. Keeping a 38-year old Raul Ibanez fresh and Victorino healthy as he gets off the disabled list is just as important of a process as giving Domonic Brown regular at-bats at this point.

A process that will start on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park when #9 steps onto the outfield grass as he debuts in Phillies red-pinstripes.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Oswalt + Other Trade Notes

: Since Jayson Werth will most likely stay in Philly for the remainder of the season, a deal for Roy Oswalt will have to include some combination of J.A Happ and top young prospects in order to get done. If a deal goes down though, I say it looks like this scenario.

Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia for J.A Happ and at least two of Vance Worley/Scott Mathieson/Anthony Gose/Jonathan Singleton.

: If the Phillies strike out (no pun intended) on Oswalt, here are two other names that seem hot right now as being linked to the Phillies. Chicago’s Ted Lilly and Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona.



28
Jul
10

PHILLIES: Impact of Injuries Overshadow Wins

So much for struggling.

Winners of their last six straight, the Philadelphia Phillies have cut the Atlanta Braves seven-game lead in the division last week right in half.

That’s right, 3.5 Games.

That deficit can be erased in a series, let alone two months, so to say that the Phillies are back to being contenders is an understatement.

With that said, recent injuries to SS Jimmy Rollins and OF Shane Victorino have overshadowed this recent win streak and enhanced the already strong rumors surrounding personnel changes in the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.

First off, the Rollins injury.

With a negative MRI only showing a contusion after fouling a ball off his ankle, it doesn’t look like J-Roll will be out of the fold for long. A couple games, a week at most. But, with this being Jimmy’s 3rd relatively significant injury this season, along with 2B Chase Utley being out until September, the call for infield depth is growing by the day.

As much as people should appreciate what Wilson Valdez has done throughout the entire season, the honeymoon with him and the Phillies organization is over. At some point, you can’t deny the stats. Due to the fact that he’s hit .217 since June 28th (when he assumed a regular role as Utley’s replacement) and that he grounds into a double-play once 12.9 AB (a rate that is far and away tops in MLB), he really can’t fit into the Phillies equation as anything more than a above-average defensive or pinch-running substitution off the bench.

So who do the Phillies get?

Looking through the guys who have been subject to the majority of trade rumors, it seems like Baltimore SS Miguel Tejada may be the best fit. As former perennial all-star on the back end of his career who is tucked away on the roster of one of the worst teams in baseball, he might not sound all that intriguing. The truth of the matter is, his relatively cheap 2.5 million dollar salary for the remainder of the season along with his ability to play both positions on the left side of the infield are both extremely attractive. Plus, it doesn’t seem that it would take that much (maybe two MLB ready prospects) to pry him away from the Orioles organization, which is obviously in a rebuild mode and has two solid, young prospects in SS Robert Andino and 3B Josh Bell putting up great numbers in Triple-A Norfolk, waiting for an extended opportunity in the show.

If that doesn’t pan out, other guys who have been linked to the Phillies in recent weeks are Baltimore Orioles INF Ty Wigginton, Washington Nationals INF Christian Guzman, Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Kelly Johnson, Oakland Athletics SS Mark Ellis, and Seattle Mariners INF Felipe Lopez.

If Rollins does come back in a couple days though like he said he will, this is just a secondary issue.

Now onto something more pressing.

Shane’s injury.

Victorino’s injured oblique makes the OF situation for the Phillies very confusing. While an MRI will clear up some of those complications, the calls for bringing up uber-prospect Domonic Brown still have to be approaching a near endless volume.

Has his play deserved a promotion?

In one word, yes.

Is Werth here to stay?

But, for a young guy who figures to be a cornerstone in the Citizens Bank Park outfield grass for the next decade, I’m not sure that the Phillies front office will want to make his anticipated big league arrival a temporary one. If Brown is called up to fill up a roster-spot if Victorino takes an extended trip to bench and lands on the DL or assumes a partial starting role (See my A Sudden Surge post for a platoon proposition) if Jayson Werth is traded, then okay, that’s understandable.

However, if the injury to the Flyin’ Hawaiian is mild, and Jayson Werth remains in a Phillies uniform, then don’t be surprised if the Phillies make up for Victorino’s absence without calling up Brown. Right now, a Ben Francisco/Ross Gload Platoon in RF (Francisco against LHP, Gload against RHP) with Werth moving over to CF and calling up a guy with big league experience like John Mayberry Jr.  as an extra right-handed bat who can play both corner-outfield positions may be the proper move to keep atmosphere in the Phillies clubhouse a positive one.

Along those lines, even if it means holding back his rare talent, it may be the right decision to have Brown wait to make his first big league contribution until after September 1st when the rosters expand. That may seem crazy considering Brown’s hype, and all the speculation that has surrounded Werth’s alleged departure from Philadelphia over the last couple months, but at the end of the day, the goal for this team remains the same.

As Charlie Manuel mentioned Tuesday in an interview with the 610 WIP Midday Show crew of Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano, that goal is to return to the World Series. Lofty, I know. The Phillies recent play of late though has indicated  that there is still somewhat of a possibility to return to that type of prominence, and losing a valuable offensive weapon like Werth to a trade combined with the losses to Rollins and Victorino could potentially cripple the momentum that has been built over the last week.

The trickle down effect of this.

Keeping Werth will mean a trade for Roy Oswalt is unlikely.

Yes, the Phillies could still obtain Oswalt in a package that includes something resembling J.A Happ, Vance Worley, and two top 10 prospects (Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover repports that Anthony Gose and Jonathan Singleton may be on the Astros wish list), but something tells me Ruben Amaro won’t be too keen on giving up that much.

Especially for a pitcher with chronic back issues who wants a 16 million dollar option picked up in 2012 while sporting a 6-12 record this season.

While there is little doubt that Oswalt is better than his record indicates, there is also little doubt that if he’s not healthy now, odds are that he won’t be healthy when it is time to pay him that chunk of change either.

So, even if you are still calling for pitching help (as you should), just don’t forget that.

24
Jul
10

PHILLIES: A Sudden Surge

Don’t look now, but the Phillies have shown that they can at least be a shell of the team that they were projected to be at the beginning of the season.

In the last three games that is.

In those games (two of them in particular), the Phillies finally got the superior pitching from the top half of their starting rotation with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels that they have been lacking the first 3 1/2 months. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t pitched bad, and they also haven’t gotten much help in the form of run support, but as their records have indicated (10-8 for Halladay, 7-7 for Hamels), the season so far has not gone as anticipated for two pitchers who are as highly regarded around baseball circles as they both are.

Especially for Doc.

However, for argubly the first time all season, Philadelphia fans saw Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay literally carry the Phillies to two consecutive wins when they needed it the most.

Cole Hamels may be the x-factor for the Phillies down the stretch.

Mired in three-game losing streak and in a 2-6 stretch of poor baseball, 17 combined scoreless innings from Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay brought back this Phillies team from the verge of baseball death. Although Hamels got a no-decision in his outing as the Phillies had to go to extra innings against the Cardinals to pull out the victory, to see the southpaw show signs of his 2008 form was a unbelievable sign. All things considered, with the back end of the rotation being so in-flux due an injury to Jamie Moyer, the inconsistent production from Kyle Kendrick, and the questionable status of J.A Happ, a surging Hamels along with getting the per-usual production from Halladay may deter the Phillies front office from the desperation move of depleting an already depleted farm system by dumping off more young prospects for pitching help (Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt) at the trade deadline that is just a week away.

In addition to the performances of Hamels and Halladay, the Phillies bats may have gotten the reality check they needed in the past couple of days after long-time hitting coach Milt Thompson was fired after Thursday’s game against the Cardinals. In the two games since the departure of Thompson and the return of hitting coach Greg Gross, by scoring six and ten runs respectively, the offense has finally reverted back to their 2008 and 2009 form!

Well, not quite.

However, they are starting to do things offensively that draw similarities to their prolific offensive displays of the past. Especially in the two years the Philles have gone to the World Series, the factor that has separated them from the other teams in the NL is their ability to break out at any time and take control of the game. In other words, their ability to put up a crooked number (5, 6, 7 runs in an inning) in the box score has allowed them to come back into games and put away others in a way that few other team have the ability and talent on the roster to do.

In the last two games, the Phillies ability to accomplish just that (especially sending Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez to his second loss of the season by scoring seven runs in the third inning) is just one example of how you cannot count this team out, no matter how bad they look during some stretches, whether they make a deal to get a pitcher or to trade Jayson Werth or not, until the final game of the regular season.

By my count, that is still 65 games away.

If I remember correctly, the Phillies only needed 17 games in 2007.

Other News, Notes, and Thoughts..

: Phillies have to make a move for J.A Happ to start on Sunday. The guy sent down is likely going to be Vance Worley, who pitched a scoreless inning in his big league debut on Saturday. Unfortunate.

: Even with the Cardinals the favorites to get Roy Oswalt and the Yankees the leaders to obtain Dan Haren, the Phillies are still  in the running for the services of either pitcher. In fact, the Phillies have sent out scouts to their recent starts, and the Astros have even sent scouts to recent Phillies games. However, one pitcher you can count out for the Phillies is Oakland’s Ben Sheets, who will reportedly go on the DL with a strained elbow.

: Even with a 7 IP, 1 ER start by Kyle Kendrick for his sixth win of the season, I still feel that the Phillies need to go out there and explore pitching help. Ruben Amaro can state all he wants that the Phillies are still “buyers”, but if he stands pat with a back-end of the rotation of Kendrick and a questionable J.A Happ, people may take issue with that. In the case of Kendrick, the organization has shown that they do not have confidence in him to get out big-league hitters, proved by the fact that they optioned him for Triple-A. Amaro keeping him in he rotation will only prove that he has conceded to the fact that they have no better option, a decision that will certainly allow the skeptics to question his credibility. With that said, I’m not as critical on Kendrick as most are. He’s never going to be a dominant MLB pitcher, and he has the tendency to fall victim of the big inning or even the big game, but he’s the fifth starter for crying out loud. To expect much better than a 6-4 record out of a guy in his position is unrealistic.

: SHOULD THE PHILLIES TRADE JAYSON WERTH BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE? I have gone back and forth on this million dollar question hundreds of times throughout the season, but the final conclusion is YES. Werth is in the prime of his career, and his a borderline all-star when he is right physically and mentally, but with the stagnant trade market for Raul Ibanez and the anticipation for the debut of Domonic Brown, this may be the only time where you can get appropriate value (and not dealing him, letting him walk in the off-season, and get two draft picks from the team that signs him is NOT enough) for Werth. Yes, dealing Werth and supplanting Brown in his place may cause the Phillies to be too left-handed dominant at the plate, but there are options to limit that, an example being a regular platoon.

EX: Trade Werth, Brown starts in RF vs. RHP, Francisco in RF against LHP, Brown spares Ibanez against LHP in LF at times in an effort to get regular at-bats.

Done, done, and done.





The Philly Phour

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