December 2008

As Phillies continue contract talks with Jamie Moyer, they sign Chan Ho Park to a one-year deal.

The Phillies continue contract talks with 22 years veteran Jamie Moyer, trying to nail him in with a two-year, about $15 Million dollars deal, partly explaining why the Phillies were still in Las Vegas, beside getting ready to sign Raul Ibanez. Talks between the Phils and Moyer has in fact increased since their signing of former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ibanez has all but ended the possibility of the Phillies resigning their free agent left fielder, Pat Burrell. If Moyer does resign with the team, it would mean a starting roster consisting of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton and Moyer, with the fifth spot to be fought over between Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, minor leaguer Carlos Carrasco, and Adam Eaton.

Correction, the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation has increased by one as former Dodgers Chan Ho Park has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phillies for $2.5 Million dollars, with bonuses that could push it up to $5 Million. With Park’s signing, the Phillies have added depth to the bullpen, while also adding another possible starter in the fight for the fifth and final spot in the rotation, if Moyer resigns with the ballclub. The 15 years veteran last year went 4-4 wiith a 3.40 ERA in 54 games with the Dodgers.

Hopefully this latest move will help the Phillies as they continue to see if they can get either Moyer or free agent Derek Lowe.

Phillies inked Scott Mathieson to minor league contract, sign Bruntlett and Condrey to one year deals, and send contracts to eight other players who are up for arbitration.

During the weekend, after signing Raul Ibenez to a three-year contract, pending a physical, the Phillies went towards locking in the ten players who they would be involved with in salary arbitration talks. They have concluded one-year deals with Eric Bruntlett, thus locking in the versatile infielder, as they will need him to help cover second base during Chase Utley’s rehab from hip surgery, and with Clay Condrey, their long relief pitcher. The Phillies have also offered contracts to Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson, Cole Hamels, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, in the process avoiding, as much as they can, the need to go to salary arbitration talks with each player, thus keeping them on the ballclub, one way or the other, through 2009. This, to me, sounds like a set of smart moves on the Phillies’ part, looking like they might have finally learn their lesson from past mistakes, depending, of course, on what they have actually offered the remaining eight arbitration eligible players.

The Phillies have also signed Scott Mathieson, a 24 years old pitcher who is still rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, to a minor league contract, adding more depth to the organization, pitching wise.

Raul Ibanez has signed a three-year, $30 Million contract with Phillies.

Raul Ibanez, a left-handed free agent outfielder, has just signed a three-year, $30 Million contract with the Phillies, pending on him passing a physical. His signing, once he has passed the physical, will more than likely mean that the Phillies will no longer be persuing right-handed free agent outfielder Pat Burrell, while adding another potent left-handed bat to their lineup. Ibanez, who had spent the last five years playing for the Seattle Mariners of the American League, ended 2008 with a .293 Batting Average, 23 homers, 110 RBIs, a .358 On-Base Percentage and a .472 Slugging Percentage, would be replacing Pat Burrell’s 30 homers plus bat.

I will say this, I was not expecting Ruben Amaro Junior to actually pull off something like this, especially as he has been saying for the past month or so that pitching was the team’s number one priority, and that he works for a bunch of cheap skate owners. I don’t know, maybe the owners have decided to spend some money after all. If so, I hope this will turn out to be a good move for the team, although they should’ve gone after a rightie, to take some of the pressure off of their other lefties in the lineup, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. I’m going to give this signing the benefit of the doubt, for now. But, if it goes south in ’09, I’m going to be having a hard time not being a Phillies boo bird.

Oh, Ruben, by the way, about the pitching, are you still going after Jamie, or is Derek Lowe the one who is now in your sights? Or, is it both pitchers that you’re after now? Just checking, is all.

Peavy trade talks collapse as the Cubs decide that the price is too much; Is DeRosa trade still possible?

The three teams trade, with a possible fourth team, that may have sent Jake Peavy over to the Cubs from the Padres, which would have involved the Phillies getting second baseman Mark DeRosa from the Cubs in exchange for young pitcher J.A. Happ and a second prospect, collapses, as the Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry informs the Padres General Manager Kevin Towers that his team has changed its mind about taking Peavy in exchange for several players that they would have needed to send over to the Padres, after making a trade with the Phillies, and with a possible fourth team. To be frank, while I don’t know whether the trade would have help or hurt either the Cubs or the Padres, if it has gone through, receiving DeRosa may have helped the Phillies in the short turn, as they had someone ready to play second base as they waited for Chase Utley to come back from his post-season hip surgery, and then help the team by being involved in the team’s platoon in left field afterwards, if the second prospect that the Phillies would have been sending to the Cubbies along with Happ, wasn’t someone who may have made a major contribution to the team in the near future. But, if the second prospect was someone important to the Phils’ overall future, it might end up being a usual major mistake by the club. Since the trade instead collapsed, we may never know for sure. As for the Phillies and the Cubs and DeRosa, the two teams might still do a straight up trade between themselves, if the Phillies are really interested in DeRosa, and the trade did not hurt the Phils’ future. I guess we’ll know in the next few weeks.

Phillies trade catching prospect for catching prospect with the Pirates.

Phillies acquire Paulino from Bucs

Jaramillo goes to Pittsburgh in swap of catchers

“We just think it was a good move to give us an incremental edge,” said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “Sometimes, it’s the little moves that can help, and it gives us depth at a premium position that we needed.”

It was Amaro’s second trade since he replaced Pat Gillick only days after the Phillies defeated the Rays at the end of October to win the second World Series in franchise history. Last month, he acquired John Mayberry Jr. from Texas for Greg Golson in a swap of outfielders.

Paulino, 27, split last season between Pittsburgh, Triple-A Indianapolis and the Gulf Coast League Pirates. In 40 games (27 starts) for Pittsburgh, he hit .212 with two home runs and 18 RBIs, although those figures leapt to .387 (12-for-31) and 14 RBIs with runners in scoring position. 

Behind the plate for the Bucs, Paulino threw out 26 percent (8-for-31) of potential basestealers, and for his career, he has caught 24 percent (51-for-216).

Amaro said the deal could lead to interesting choices down the road. The Phillies are already carrying two catchers: starter Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste.

“Ruiz is our No. 1 catcher,” Amaro said. “I think he deserves that. Really, in Spring Training, it will be a competition at backup, frankly, and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that we’d carry three catchers. Chris Coste has the ability to do a variety of things and there may be room. But it creates a competition at the very least, and that’s good for our club.”

Jaramillo, 26, hit .266 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs in 115 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this past season. He was a second-round selection by the Phillies in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He was an International League All-Star in 2007 and ’08, while leading all catchers with this past season with 113 games played. (H/T Phillies.com)

Okay, the Phillies have now traded one minor league catcher to the Pirates for one of theirs. I hope that Paulino will help the ballclub in the future. Hey, Ruben, how about trading for someone who can help the team now and not the future?

More Trade Rumors: DeRosa might come to Phillies in exchange for J.A. Happ and another prospect to Cubs as part of Peavy deal.

DeRosa may move to Phillies

Infielder could be instrumental in Cubs obtaining Peavy from Pads

The newspaper said the Phillies were working on a complex trade that would import DeRosa, who would provide insurance for Utley at second base and fill, at least partially, the club’s vacancy in left field.

DeRosa, the one-time quarterback for Penn, would move from the Cubs to the Phillies, who would send pitcher J.A. Happ to the Cubs, possibly with another prospect. The Cubs would then move Happ, the second prospect and more to the Padres in a package for pitcher Peavy, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner.

The Inquirer reported that the Orioles might be involved in the multiclub deal. “Three teams, possible,” the paper quoted a Phillies source as having said Monday night. “Four, doubtful.”

Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phils’ new general manager, declined to comment about the possibility of being involved in a Peavy trade, although a source said there have been talks. Pat Gillick, the outgoing GM who is now a consultant with the club, said on Tuesday morning that he has no detailed knowledge of the talks.

Utley, the All-Star second baseman, underwent surgery on his hip and is expected to miss at least two months of the season. The void in left field is the result of Pat Burrell filing for free agency. Burrell is not expected to re-sign with the Phillies.

DeRosa, 34 in February, appears to be an ideal fit for the Phillies. He batted .285 with 21 home runs and 87 RBIs in 149 games for the Cubs last season, playing six positions including second base (96 games) and left field (27). He is signed for the 2009 season for $5.5 million.

Amaro said on Monday that there was a lot of general interest in infielder Jason Donald, who played for bronze medal-winning Team USA during the Summer Olympics in Beijing and was recently named to the Arizona Fall League’s All-Prospect team

The Padres have been attempting to move Peavy, their ace, who is owed $63 million over the next four seasons. The Cubs have been the main target since a deal with the Braves collapsed last month, but a match between the Padres and Cubs hasn’t been found, so San Diego GM Kevin Towers has said a third or fourth team might be needed to get a deal done.

Towers said Monday that a deal with the Cubs will most likely need to take place this week at the Winter Meetings or he expects to halt the process of trying to move Peavy, the 27-year-old who won the National League Cy Young Award and that league’s pitching Triple Crown just one year ago.

Towers wouldn’t comment on the Phillies being a possible go-between to get Peavy to the Cubs, saying only on Monday that “there’s a package there that would please us.”

Meanwhile, Amaro said he continues to talk with myriad clubs and agents about filling his club’s holes, which also includes one that could be created by the possible departure of veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer via free agency.

According to an SI.com report, the Phillies are believed to have offered Moyer a two-year deal for about $14 million. Moyer is said to be looking for $18 million over two years. At the same time, the Phillies are said to be one of several teams to make an offer to free-agent right-hander Derek Lowe.

Amaro declined to talk about players on other teams he might be talking with, but said that obtaining a starting pitcher would not necessarily preclude the re-signing of Moyer.

“You can never have enough pitching,” Amaro said.

“We’ve spent the day trying to crystallize some of the things we want to do,” Amaro said. “We’ve had some sort of discussions with each of the 29 other clubs. Our desire is trying to improve this team.”

As far as Burrell goes, Amaro said he’s had no substantive talks about bringing back the right-handed slugger, who had three homers and eight RBIs in 14 postseason games.

The Inquirer also reported that the Phillies retain interest in left-handed-hitting, free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez to play left. However, Ibanez would make the Phillies’ batting order unbalanced once Utley returns. Utley and Ryan Howard also bat left-handed, and without Burrell, the club would lack a right-handed power presence in a ballpark tailored for right-handed hitters.

Ibanez, 36, batted .305 in 187 at-bats against left-handed pitching with the Mariners last season. He batted .293 with 23 homers and 110 RBIs overall, playing in all 162 games.

But opponents would be more likely to throw left-handed pitching at the Phillies whenever possible, and that seemingly would serve to defuse Howard’s potent home run bat.

Ibanez is considered a favorite of Gillick, a one-time Mariners GM, the paper said. Gillick is in Las Vegas for the Winter Meetings.

If the Phils don’t get DeRosa or Ibanez, they may pursue free agent Juan Rivera, a right-handed hitter who played for the Angels in 2008. He could become part of a left-field platoon with left-handed-hitting Greg Dobbs.

The Phillies also have spoken with the Twins regarding outfielder Delmon Young. (H/T Phillies.com)

Even after reading this, my brain still hurts. Okay, a local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting this and not the Boston Globe. Anyway, if this does happen, I hope the Phils know what they’re doing and that DeRosa will still help the team once Utley comes back, since Utley is the regular second baseman. I just hate to see Happ go, though, after what he did for the team this year. I’m just hoping that they aren’t going to send along another player who would have helped the team in the future. Or next year for that matter. As for them and Moyer, if they’re that close, money wise, to settling the deal, then just meet half way and get it done. It isn’t rocket science, you know. Now on Lowe, if they are able to outbid the Yanks, I’ll be really surprised. Lastly, guys, either re-sign Burrell or go after another right handed power bat. I think we already have enough left handed power in Howard and Utley.

Charlie Manuel is given contract extension; will manage the Phillies to 2011.

Manuel to manage Phils through 2011

Club picks up 2010 option, adds another year to contract

Manuel was already under contract for the 2009 season, and in the new deal, the Phillies exercised a club option for ’10 and added an additional year in ’11.

“He’s happy, he’s pleased and he’s ready to win games,” Amaro said. “At least that’s what he told me.”

Manuel, 64, was not available to comment because he was sick with the flu on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, he had to cancel his appearance during the sessions that the 30 big league managers conduct with the media over the course of three full days of Meetings.

Manuel’s entering his fifth season as Phillies manager after three with the Indians (2000-02) and has a 354-294 regular-season record in Philadelphia, where his teams have never finished lower than second place in the National League East. He led the team to the playoffs the last two years.

This past October, he became only the second manager in the 126-season history of the Phillies to pilot them to a World Series title when they defeated the Rays in a rain-delayed five-game series. Dallas Green, still a consultant with the club, managed the Phils to their six-game victory over the Royals in the 1980 World Series.

Manuel is not only known for his baseball acumen, but for his even clubhouse temper and steady hand with players. His club was 11-3 during the postseason, including 7-0 at Citizens Bank Park.

“He’s our manager moving forward, and he’s done some great things for our organization,” said Amaro, who replaced Pat Gillick as GM only days after the World Series, following a decade as an assistant. “We’ve talked about it a lot over the last two months; his steadying influence and the way he goes about his business in our clubhouse is one of the keys to our success.

“The players know what to expect from him every single day. In this day and age, it’s important for them to know that they have support of the manager every single day. That’s what it’s all about.”

Manuel finished second in the NL Manager of the Year Award voting, which was compiled before the playoffs.

Last Saturday was “Charlie Manuel Day” in his hometown of Buena Vista, Va. At a banquet that night, the No. 32 Manuel wore at Parry McCluer High School was retired, and a new LED sign, declaring Buena Vista as the “home of Charlie Manuel, the Manager of the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies,” was unveiled. (H/T Phillies.com)

I think this is one of the few times that I believe that the Phils have actually made a good move as they extends Uncle Charlie’s contract into 2011. Sure, Charlie have made some bad managerial decisions, but he seems to have his players’ confidence, and the fact that they were recently willing to collect money which they then gave to his late mother’s church after her death is more than enough proof of that. Okay, Uncle Charlie, time to use your calmness to lead the team to another pennant and world championship.

Hall of Fame Veterans Committee only able to elect former Yank and Indian Joe Gordon to the Hall; Ex-Phil Jim Kaat ended up second among post-1943 players.

The late Joe Gordon, former second baseman for the Yankees and Indians of the 1930s and 1940s was the only one of 20 men voted on by the Veterans Committee to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as he was placed on 10 of 12 ballots for 83.3 percent of the vote of those who started their baseball careers prior to 1942, going over the required 75 percent of the vote needed to enter the hall. The ex-Yank and Indian star beat out Allie Reynolds, who received 8 votes and Wes Ferrell, who received 6 votes. The Veterans were at the same time unable to elect any of the ten players who were on the post-1943 ballot. The player with the highest amount was ex-Cub Ron Santo, who received 39 votes for 60.9 percent of the ballots. He was followed by ex-Red Sox, Senator, Twin, Phil and Cardinal Jim Kaat, who received 38 votes for 59.4 percent of the vote. Once again, the Veterans Committee, which is made up of all living hall of famers, were unable to elect someone who was among their contemporaries, being unable to do so previously in 2003, ’05 and ’07. The committee will next vote on players whose playing careers began after 1943 in 2010. Maybe by then they will be able to decide on which of their contemporaries to get behind and elect, although it looks like Santo and Kaat may be the favorites in that year.

Anyway, congratulations to Gordon, and good luck to Reynolds, Ferrell, Santo and Kaat when they are before the committee in 2013 and 2010, respectively.

Phillies might be third party in a trade to move Jake Peavy to the Cubs.

Phils may be third party in Peavy talks

World Series champions could facilitate ace’s trade to Cubs

According to a Major League source, the Phillies are exploring “every option” to try to improve their pitching staff and fill a hole in left field which could be created by the possible departure of free agent Pat Burrell.

The Padres like some of the Phillies’ young Minor League pitchers. Who the Cubs might send to the Phillies is up to question at the moment, with the name of veteran right-hander Jason Marquis consistently being floated.

Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phils’ new general manager, declined to comment about the possibility of being involved in a Peavy trade, although a source said there have been talks.

The Padres have been attempting to move their ace, who is owed $63 million over the next four seasons. The Cubs have been the main target since a deal with the Braves collapsed last month, but a match between the Padres and Cubs hasn’t been found, so San Diego GM Kevin Towers has said a third or fourth team might be needed to get a deal done.

Towers said Monday that a deal with the Cubs will most likely need to take place this week at the Winter Meetings or he expects to halt the process of trying to move Peavy, the 27-year-old ace who won the National League Cy Young Award and that league’s pitching Triple Crown just one year ago.

Towers wouldn’t comment on the Phillies being a possible go-between to get Peavy to the Cubs, saying only on Monday that “there’s a package there that would please us.”

Meanwhile, Amaro said he continues to talk with a myriad of clubs and agents about filling his club’s holes, which also includes the possible departure of veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer via free agency.

“We’ve spent the day trying to crystallize some of the things we want to do,” Amaro said. “We’ve had some sort of discussions with each of the 29 other clubs. Our desire is trying to improve this team.”

Amaro, who replaced Pat Gillick just days after the Phillies defeated the Rays in a ran-delayed five-game World Series, is in his first months as a GM after a decade with the club as an assistant.

He declined to talk about players on other teams he might be talking with, but said that obtaining a starting pitcher would not necessarily prelude the re-signing of Moyer.

“You can never have enough pitching,” Amaro said.

As far as Burrell goes, Amaro said he’s had no substantive talks about bringing back the right-handed slugger who had three homers and eight RBIs in 14 postseason games. (H/T Phillies.com)

I know that rumors are fun guys, but remember, they are just that, rumors. Unless there are any real meat behind them, they are nothing. I won’t believe that the Phils are an actual party in getting Peavy to the Cubs (who are own by an organizaton that has just declared bankruptcy, by the way), until it happens. And if it does, I just hope the Phils have not outsmarted themselves as management have done a lot of in this team’s history. 

Sources claim that the Phillies have made an offer to the Dodgers’ Derek Lowe.

Phillies make play for veteran Lowe

With Moyer talks hitting snag, club reportedly makes offer to righty

Derek Lowe’s name surfaced in a Boston Globe report, which indicated the Phillies have made an offer to the right-hander, who is represented by Scott Boras. Citing a source familiar with the club’s intentions, the report said that the Phillies have discussed the matter “pretty extensively.”

The newspaper reported another unidentified team — not the Yankees or the Red Sox, though both teams are expected to meet with Boras this week — has also submitted an offer.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. wouldn’t confirm or deny that an offer had been made, but said, “I will tell you that I’ve talked to Derek Lowe’s representatives. He’s not the only free agent that we’ve had discussions with. There have been plenty of them.”

The Phillies have also spoken with Darek Braunecker, the agent for A.J. Burnett, though it seems unlikely they’ll meet Burnett’s request for a five-year deal, though Amaro didn’t rule that out.

Philadelphia’s interest in broadening its horizons beyond Moyer has been spurred by a snag in talks with the 46-year-old, who earned $8.5 million in 2008 — $5.5 million in base salary and another $3 million in incentives. The lefty went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 196 1/3 innings in the regular season, and he won Game 3 of the World Series.

Despite his age, Moyer is an attractive middle-of-the-rotation name in a market that includes fellow southpaws Oliver Perez, Andy Pettitte, Randy Wolf and Randy Johnson.

Lowe, 35, would command more dollars than Moyer, prompting some creative contract structuring — and may shift the focus toward a more fiscally responsible replacement for free-agent left fielder Pat Burrell.

The Phillies also must prepare for 10 potential arbitration cases, all of which will result in salary increases, and that could limit the team’s spending. Philadelphia didn’t offer salary arbitration to Moyer, preferring to remaining flexible in its offseason spending, so the club will not receive two Draft picks should Moyer land elsewhere as a free agent.

Hot Stove

The Phillies would lose one if they signed Lowe or Burnett. Moyer remains the priority.

“We haven’t put any deadlines on [Moyer making a decision],” Amaro said. “He clearly wants to pitch beyond [2009]. The challenge is to try and to add pitching. With or without Jamie, we’ll try to do it.”

As for Burrell, Amaro declined to say that his time in Philadelphia has ended, despite the belief that the team has little interest in bringing him back.

“I couldn’t really put a percentage on it,” Amaro said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of substantive discussions, but that doesn’t preclude us from bringing him back. This is a slow-moving process.” (H/T Phillies.com)

My take, I think this is all just a ploy on the Phillies part to get Moyer back to the negotiating table. I mean, remember who’s Lowe’s agent is, Scott Boras. I do not trust that guy, and not just because of the J.D. Drew fiasco. This guy just yells slime to me. If the Phillies have made an offer to Lowe, I’m sure Boras is going to have him asking the Phils for a lot more than they can afford to give out. Hey, Junior, get off your lazy butt, talk with Moyer, quit being cheap and seal the blasted deal already. Sheesh!!! Oh, and if you are going for Lowe, Junior, you better freaking deliver, dude!!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.