September 24, 2015 |
MIAMI - Ryan Howard's future with the Phillies has long been a popular topic. The aging slugger is now one of only two holdovers from the 2008 World Series championship team. His decline in production and albatross of a contract have rendered him untradeable. So how does incoming team president Andy MacPhail view Howard's future? MacPhail, set to officially succeed Pat Gillick after the season, said Tuesday that he anticipates Howard will be in Clearwater, Fla., with the Phillies come spring training.
August 10, 2015 |
SAN DIEGO - The first 29 days of July were full of speculation about which team Cole Hamels would pitch for in August, September, October, and beyond. Much of this month should prove compelling in regard to another Phillies icon. Several obstacles stand in the way of a waiver trade of Chase Utley, but a real possibility exists that this is the beloved second baseman's final month in red pinstripes. Utley's return from the disabled list on Friday officially commenced what figures to be an interesting few weeks that will perhaps dictate the immediate future of a Philadelphia fixture.
July 26, 2015 |
CHICAGO - Jeff Francoeur could find himself on a new team before Friday's trade deadline, given the way he's scalded pitches since the All-Star break. With two outs in the 10th inning, Francoeur launched a two-run homer into the newly renovated leftfield bleachers at Wrigley Field to give the Phillies a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs yesterday afternoon. The Phillies have won six of seven games since the break. Francoeur has been a major factor in three of those wins: This go-ahead home run was his third pivotal homer in eight days.
July 24, 2015 |
CHASE UTLEY is not a candidate to move to a new team before Major League Baseball's trade deadline, which arrives a week from tomorrow, on July 31. He hasn't played in a game in a month while rehabbing from a right ankle injury, and he's been mired in a funk at the plate for more than a year. But during his current hiatus, Utley might have found a flaw in his swing that was related to his injury. If he returns within the next couple of weeks, and shows something offensively, Utley could potentially move to a new team before Sept.
July 20, 2015 |
One of the few benefits for a baseball organization with a long history of failure that has been interrupted only occasionally by brief fits of competence is that it is very difficult to set team records for futility. God bless the Phillies, though. They're taking a run at it. Since the team began playing, a stretch of a mere 133 years, the Phils have won two lonely championships and had only 58 winning seasons. That's a lot of losing. They lost at least 100 games 14 times, including 1941, when they set the franchise mark of 111 losses with a team that had Cy Blanton and Si Johnson in the starting rotation and nothing but sighs coming from the stands.
July 13, 2015 |
SAN FRANCISCO - When the Phillies reported for spring training in mid-February, their bullpen was viewed as their strength, and their rotation didn't look half-bad, either. It was scoring runs that would prove a big challenge. But with the Phillies ready to cap the unofficial first half of their season, it's the starting pitching that is letting them down as much as anything else. Baseball's worst team entered Saturday's game against the Giants with a major-league-worst 5.45 ERA and 580 hits allowed.
July 11, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The Phillies announced the signing of 16-year-old Dominican slugger Jhailyn Ortiz on Thursday night. Ortiz, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound first baseman/leftfielder, was set to receive a $4.2 million signing bonus, according to several reports. The Phillies, who acquired the No. 1 international signing slot from the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend, also announced the signings of Venezuelan catcher Rafael Marchan, Dominican infielder Kuedy Bocio, and Dominican lefthander Manuel Silva.
June 29, 2015 |
When the Chicago Cubs bypassed Ryne Sandberg for a managerial vacancy immediately after Sandberg had been voted the triple-A Pacific Coast League's manager of the year for that organization in 2010, the back-channel reason given was that the Cubs didn't want to be in the position of having to fire a franchise legend. What general manager Jim Hendry, a protege of former team president Andy MacPhail, didn't explain, however, was why the Cubs were so sure they would have to. Sandberg never got the opportunity to be a franchise legend with the Phillies, the team that drafted him in 1978, but it is where he did get his chance to manage a major-league team, such as it was. That tenure ended Friday, when Sandberg resigned his position 22 months after replacing Charlie Manuel.
June 26, 2015 |
NEW YORK - The most jarring thing about the Phillies' after-midnight news Tuesday night that saw Chase Utley in the manager's office, standing alongside the assistant general manager and head team athletic trainer, wasn't that the oft-injured, 36-year-old second baseman was being placed on the disabled list with a right-ankle injury. It was that the news appeared to completely blindside manager Ryne Sandberg. About 8 hours earlier, before the game, the manager was asked if he had to have a difficult conversation with Utley, who was hitting under .180 and was out of the lineup for the third time in the last five games.
June 16, 2015 |
PITTSBURGH - Domonic Brown arrived just after 10 o'clock on a sticky gray morning. He spent some time acclimating himself to his surroundings, unpacking the bags that he'd brought with him on the trip west, exchanging pleasantries with teammates that he had not seen since March. He is 27 years old now, three-and-a-half months away from the end of his final option year, two years removed from the blistering May and June that seemed to justify the scouting reports that had hailed him as one of the best prospects in baseball.