December 13, 2014 |
With Jimmy Rollins, there were moments. There were always moments. Here was one: It was 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 22, 2009, and the carpet covering the floor of the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park was so soaked with champagne that a little puddle formed with every squishy footfall. The Phillies had just beaten the Dodgers - the team that Rollins will play for next season - in the National League Championship Series for the second straight year. Two nights earlier, he had lined a two-run, two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the series' fourth game.
November 21, 2014 |
WILL HE stay or will he go? Ryan Howard celebrated a birthday yesterday, joining Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd as Phillies regulars who are 35 years old or older. But Howard, despite being the youngest of that group and due to his massive contract and declining health and production in the last 3 years, is the face of a Phillies franchise in decline. Howard was benched briefly in July, when reports surfaced that the front office was ready to move on from the 2006 National League MVP. While a front office that's finally embraced a rebuilding mode could move anyone on this roster, Howard remains the most likely to go among the Phillies' core of former All-Star players.
November 20, 2014 |
The first major free-agent domino fell Monday when Russell Martin signed with Toronto for five years and $82 million, a contract that forces other teams to pursue their needs at catcher through a trade. No other starting catchers are available in free agency. The Pirates, Martin's former employer, traded for the Yankees' Francisco Cervelli, but both they and the Cubs are searching for a starter. They will look toward Arizona, which has reportedly made Miguel Montero available.
October 17, 2014 |
REPLACE "DODGERS" with "Phillies" and see how it feels . . . Los Angeles Times : "Dodgers' hiring of executive Andrew Friedman signals a cultural shift. " ESPN.com: "Dodgers stepping into 21st century with Andrew Friedman" Baseball Prospectus: "The Rich [Dodgers] Get Smarter" Anyway, heeeere's Johnny. (crickets) Johnny Almaraz. (crickets) You know, the Phillies' new amateur scouting director. Anyone? (crickets) Hey, he might be the best damn scouting director in the history of major league baseball.
October 15, 2014 |
THERE IS a glaring flaw in the logic that the Phillies must "get younger. " The four most productive hitters in the lineup in 2014 were also the four oldest. Marlon Byrd, who turned 37 on Aug. 30, led the team in OPS (.757), OPS+ (110), home runs (25) and slugging percentage (.445). Chase Utley, who turns 36 on Dec. 17, finished second in OPS, OPS+, on-base and slugging percentage (.746, 109, .339 and .407). Carlos Ruiz, who turns 36 on Jan. 22, finished third in OPS and OPS+ (.717 and 102)
October 10, 2014 |
BUSTER POSEY and Madison Bumgarner. Matt Adams and Trevor Rosenthal. Eric Hosmer and Yordano Ventura. Manny Machado and Zach Britton. The first two already have World Series rings with San Francisco, the second two helped lead a new wave of Cardinals into another World Series appearance 12 months ago, and the last four are all key contributors to the rousing successes in Kansas City and Baltimore this season. While 26 of baseball's 30 teams have hit the road, those eight players are still playing in the postseason.
October 3, 2014
Two Phillies underwent surgery, another had yet to schedule his, and an expensive arm passed a recent test. Cliff Lee underwent yet another MRI exam on his strained left elbow last Friday. The examination "yielded positive results as his flexor tendon is healing well," the team said Wednesday in a statement. Lee remains on target to begin a throwing program in November. He is owed $37.5 million in 2015 (including a buyout at season's end), and remains one of the team's most looming questions.
October 3, 2014 |
CLIFF LEE, arguably the most important player on the 2015 Phillies roster, given his salary and on-field impact, remains on track to be ready to return when the Phillies open camp in Clearwater in February. Lee underwent an MRI on Friday at the Rothman Institute that yielded "positive results," the Phillies said in a news release Wednesday. According to the team medical staff, Lee's flexor tendon is "healing well. " Lee will begin a full throwing program in November. Lee, 36, was limited to 13 starts this season after two separate stints on the disabled list because of an ailing left elbow.
September 30, 2014 |
COLE HAMELS left Citizens Bank Park for the final time this season with a fat lip. He took a hard one-hopper off his face earlier in the day. "Sometimes," he said, "that happens. " It was the perfect souvenir from a season that was statistically the best of his career, but also forgettable since he had little to show for it when it all mercifully came to an end yesterday afternoon in South Philly. In the midst of retiring 20 straight Braves batters - and 24 of the final 25 he faced - Hamels took a comebacker off the bat of Tommy La Stella off his face to begin the second inning.
September 26, 2014 |
MIAMI - When the Phillies summoned Kyle Kendrick from double-A Reading to replace Freddy Garcia in the rotation, the 22-year-old rookie was a stopgap and nothing more. That was 2007. Kendrick wore Curt Schilling's No. 38. "Kid" is how Charlie Manuel addressed him. "He actually did a little better than I probably thought he would," Manuel, then the manager, said after Kendrick's debut. "I said I would like five innings, and he gave us six. " For the next seven years, up until Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Marlins, the expectations were minimized.