November 26, 2014 |
GOOD NEWS for impatient Phillies fans seeking change, although there are still 84 days until pitchers and catchers convene in Clearwater, Fla.: Baseball's offseason Richter scale registered its first big waves when the Boston Red Sox delivered a one-two punch to teams seeking free-agent hitters. Boston swiped both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval off the open market in a 24-hour span Monday. While signing former Marlins and Dodgers All-Star Ramirez and longtime Giants fan favorite Sandoval wouldn't seem to have an effect on the Phillies, the Red Sox' Monday spending spree will ignite the hot stove's fire, by way of a domino effect.
November 14, 2014 |
PHOENIX - When teams are uncertain whether a player fits into their future plans, or have to make a decision on said player's contract status, their front office evaluates the player and his worth, both to their own team and to others, and then makes a calculated decision they feel best suits the team. Sometimes that means trading a popular pitcher who has served as the face of the franchise. "That's one of the reasons we traded [Jeff] Samardzija when we did," Cubs president Theo Epstein said yesterday.
November 13, 2014 |
PHOENIX - It was inevitable that at some point someone who covers another team was going to ask Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. about the availability of his most coveted player. A reporter from Boston broke that ice Wednesday, the final day of these general managers meetings. The question was this: How do you think teams weigh the option of going after an elite free-agent pitcher seeking a nine-figure contract, as opposed to a pitcher with a somewhat smaller contract that requires them to also give up prospects?
November 10, 2014 |
PHOENIX - Whether by striking early or by reeling in an pre-Christmas gift, the Phillies under general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. have never lacked for drama during baseball's hot-stove season. In an attempt to extend (and later, pry open) the window of contending in the National League, Amaro has often gone all-in, whether it was pulling off the Roy Halladay trade, surprising the industry by swiping Cliff Lee off the free-agent market or wasting no time awarding Jonathan Papelbon with the richest contract for a reliever in baseball history.
November 6, 2014 |
A.J. BURNETT'S decision to turn down a guaranteed $12.75 million from the Phillies - and what could have been as much as $14.5 million if he had reached incentives - was apparently due to the pitcher's preference to play for a playoff-hopeful team in 2015. Through his agent, Burnett, who turns 38 in January, said he plans to pitch next season. Burnett flirted with retirement last winter; this offseason, he wants to land on a contending team. It's worth wondering, then, if other veterans on the current Phillies roster would also rather be elsewhere come Opening Day. On the first day of free agency, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was open to all possibilities as he begins the challenging process of remaking his roster.
November 4, 2014 |
After spring training started last February and A.J. Burnett remained unemployed, the veteran righthander said he sought a deal with a contending team near his Maryland home. The Phillies offered Burnett a large sum of money. That yielded a hernia injury, 18 losses, and a league-leading 96 walks. So Burnett rejected another $12.75 million from the Phillies on Monday by electing free agency over that lucrative player option. For the Phillies, it is a blessing from the baseball overlords.
October 31, 2014 |
THE FREE-AGENT season opens for business with the conclusion of the World Series but doesn't begin to pick up until the first 2 weeks of November. Teams have until 5 days after the conclusion of the World Series - which means Monday night - to make qualifying offers to their own free agents. Those players have another week to mull over accepting those offers; players almost never accept, since the free-agent market is very often far more fruitful. The Phillies will know a little bit more about their own free-agent pursuits - their needs and their budget - when another deadline arrives on Monday.
October 23, 2014 |
WITH UNCERTAINTY on the major league staff and no one in the minor league system expected to compete for a starting job this spring, the Phillies re-signed veteran Jerome Williams last night. Williams, who joined the team in August, agreed to a 1-year, $2.5 million deal. The contract also includes performance bonuses. A native of Hawaii, Williams turns 33 in December. He would have been eligible to become a free agent after the World Series. Williams is likely to compete for one of the final slots in the Phillies' starting rotation when he reports to spring training.
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 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.