February 11, 2014 |
It has long been the winter retreat for the Phillies and their faithful, a place to get warm and to dream with the sand, surf, and palm trees serving as the perfect picturesque backdrop. And so the Phillies will gather in Clearwater, Fla., again this week for the start of another spring training. Pitchers and catchers will work out for the first time Thursday, and there are sure to be plenty of early-arriving position players, too. Hope and faith probably will not be accompanying as many snowbirds as usual this February and March.
January 11, 2014 |
The rich got richer last week and the poor/middle-income people who buy the tickets sure would like to know what the rich plan to do with all that money. What's going to happen to the Phillies payroll now that they have won baseball's version of Powerball on Steroids, which also goes by the name mega-billion-dollar deal with local regional sports network ? The short-term and long-term answers appear to be nothing, and that's not entirely a bad thing. When Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, the Phillies payroll jumped from 15th among baseball's 30 teams to fifth.
December 16, 2013 |
There is time for Ruben Amaro Jr. to make the following words trivial. Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Feb. 12, so the Phillies have a little less than two months to amend the Winter of Indifference. Chatter among the baseball world at last week's winter meetings sounded like, "What, exactly, is the Phillies' plan?" Then again, this franchise has operated rudderless since July 31, 2012. You remember that day, the day the Phillies traded two-thirds of their outfield in the name of "payroll flexibility" and "deeper inventory.
December 9, 2013 |
Bold best describes what Ruben Amaro Jr. has done so far in putting together the 2014 Phillies and it sure is appropriate that the word ends with the letters O-L-D. The construction of this team essentially started in August, when the general manager decided the proper course of action was to extend the contract of second baseman Chase Utley, a man who turns 35 this month and missed huge chunks of time in 2011 and 2012 because of a chronic condition that has invaded both of his knees.
December 7, 2013 |
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said after trading catcher Erik Kratz to Toronto earlier in the week that the Phillies were looking for an upgrade defensively at the position. The Phillies believe they improved in that area Thursday after the expected signing of 36-year-old free-agent catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year contract. Nieves, who played last season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is expected to be the backup to Carlos Ruiz. Last season Nieves threw out 5 of 18 baserunners (27.8 percent)
December 6, 2013 |
HEADING INTO the offseason, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said catching was a top priority. In the span of 3 weeks, he has signed two free-agent catchers. After re-signing starter Carlos Ruiz a week before Thanksgiving, Amaro signed a backup for the veteran in the form of Wil Nieves. The 36-year-old Nieves is a career .242 hitter in 10 big-league seasons with the Padres, Yankees, Nationals, Brewers, Rockies and Diamondbacks. The Phillies signed Nieves to a 1-year deal.
December 5, 2013 |
THE RED SOX reportedly reached a pact with A.J. Pierzynski in the morning, the Marlins with Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the afternoon and the Yankees appeared to score the greatest coup of the winter in the evening, stealing Jacoby Ellsbury from their rival Red Sox with a lucrative free-agent deal in the evening. On one of the busiest offseason days in recent memory - with several deals widely reported but not yet official - the Phillies joined yesterday's baseball hot-stove party with a smaller trade they're hoping improves their paltry pitching depth.
November 23, 2013 |
Carlos Ruiz did not understand the question. He looked at Ruben Amaro Jr., who said a few words in Spanish. How relieved was he to extend a 15-year relationship for at least three more seasons? Ruiz's face illuminated. "Happy," Ruiz said. "Real happy. " The catcher turns 35 in January. He could realize one of his stated goals of finishing his career with the Phillies - the team that signed him in 1998 for $8,000 as a second baseman - with his three-year, $26 million contract, which was made official Thursday.
November 22, 2013 |
RYAN HOWARD turned 34 this week, and Jimmy Rollins turns 35 next week. Chase Utley turns 35 next month, and Carlos Ruiz will be 35 before spring training. Marlon Byrd, the new bat added to the 2008 championship core, turns 37 in August. Less than 5 minutes into last night's press conference to officially welcome Ruiz back in a Phillies uniform, by way of a 3-year, $26 million free-agent contract, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was asked about the uncertain path he was taking in expecting an aging group of players to be a winning team in 2014.