November 2011

The Phils have announced that they have invited eight minor leaguers to spring training.

Earlier today the Phils had announced that they have invited eight players in their minor league system to try out with the main team during spring training, 2012. Four of the eight players are pitchers, two are infielders, one is an outfielder and one is a catcher.

Among the four pitchers, two are lefties and two are righties. The four are: left-handers Pat Misch and Raul Valdes and right-handers Scott Elarton and Brian Sanches. Misch made six relief appearances for the Mets in 2011, but spent most of the season at Triple-A Buffalo, making 22 starts. In 2011, Valdes went 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 13 appearances for both the Cardinals and the Yankees. Sanches, pitching for the Marlins, went 4-1 with a 3.94 ERA in 39 games. Elarton, because of injuries, last pitched professionally in 2010, and last pitched in the majors in 2008.

The two infielders are Pete Orr, who appeared in 49 games for the Phils in 2011, batting .219, and Kevin Frandsen, who played the entire year at Lehigh Valley, batting .309, with 5 home runs and 43 RBIs. The final two invitees are outfielder Scott Podsednik, who played in just 34 games, because of injuries, for the Triple-A teams of the Blue Jays and the Phils, batting .245, with six doubles and a triple for the Iron Pigs, and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who, at Double-A Reading, played in 109 games, batting .247, with 13 homers and 66 RBIs. For Gosewisch, this will be his fourth invitation to spring training.

I wish the eight the best of luck.

Phils make a trade with the Rockies, getting Ty Wigginton for player to be named later or cash.

The Phils have announced that they had just concluded a trade with the Colorado Rockies, getting Ty Wigginton for either a player to be named later or cash. Wigginton, who has played first base, third base, left and right field in his career, will most likely be the team’s main right-handed bat off of the bench, to compliment Jim Thome, whom the Phils had recently resigned.

Wigginton, who played for the Rockies in 2011, had also played for the Mets, the Pirates, the Rays, the Astros and the Orioles since 2002, appeared in 130 games, batting .242 in 401 at-bats, getting 97 hits, including 21 doubles, 2 triples and 15 home runs. He had also knocked in 47 runs while scoring 52.

It is more than likely that during Ryan Howard’s absense, as he recovers from his injuries, that Wigginton might be sharing first base duties with John Mayberry, Jr. and Jim Thome, and might also play a bit of third base to give Placido Polanco some useful time off both before and after Howard’s return to the line-up.

This might be a good move for the Phils over-all, since Wigginton can cover several bases during the upcoming season.

The Phils have added four minor-league players to their 40-man roster.

The Phils have announced that they are adding four players from their minor-league system to their 40-man roster to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 draft.

The four minor leaguers are right-handed pitcher Phillippe Aumont, left-handed pitcher Jake Diekman, catcher Sebastian Valle and outfielder Tyson Gillies. Aumont and Gillies came to the Phils as part of the Cliff Lee deal with the Mariners in late 2009, while Valle was signed as an amateur in 2006 and Diekman was drafted in the 30th round of the draft in 2007. MLB.com have Valle ranked as the Phils no. 2 prospect in the minors, and Aumont as no. 10.

With the addition of the four mentioned minor leaguers, the Phils are now a player short of a complete 40-man roster.

Phils have resigned Brian Schneider for one year.

The Phils have just announced that they have resigned catcher Brian Schneider to a one-year deal.

Schneider, who had appeared in 41 games in 2011, batted a low .176 batting average, with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 9 RBIs.

With that out of the way, the Phils now have to see if they can resign Jimmy Rollins to a multi-year deal, and sign up free agent Michael Cuddyer to the bench, as well as decide whether to sign Cole Hamels to a multi-year deal, or continue with arbitration for another year. (I prefer they tie Hamels up, but that’s just me).

Three Phils starters end up in the top five in the 2011 NL Cy Young Award Balloting.

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels ended up in 2nd, 3rd and 5th place, respectively, in the voting for the 2011 National League Cy Young Award, which was won by Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, as most people had expected.

Roy Halladay, the ace of the Phils pitching staff, and the winner of the award the previous season (2010), who in 2011 had a record of 19-6 in 32 games started, with an ERA of 2.35, and pitched in 232.2 innings, striking out 220 batters while walking only 35, ended second in the balloting with 4 first place votes, 21 second place votes and 7 third places votes, for a total of 133 points, being unable to win his second straight Cy Young Award and his third overall (2003 AL (Toronto), 2011 NL (Phils)). Cliff Lee, who during the season was twice voted the NL pitcher of the month (June, August), had a record of 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA in 32 starts, pitched in 232.2 innings, striking out 228 batters while only giving out 42 free passes, while throwing six complete game shutouts, ended up third in the balloting, with five second place votes, 17 third, 9 fourth and 1 fifth place votes for a total of 90 points. The third Phil among the top five, Cole Hamels, ended the 2011 season with a 14-9 record with a 2.79 ERA in 32 games pitched, all but one as a starter, pitching in 216 innings as he struck out 194 batters while walking only 44, ended up in fifth place among those on the ballot, with two fourth place votes and 13 fifth place votes, for a total of 17 points.

The winner, Clayton Kershaw, won the award with 27 first place votes, 3 second and 2 third places votes, as he won the NL pitching Triple Crown, as he ended up tied for most wins (21) with Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks, having the best ERA (2.28) and the most strikeouts (248).

Congratulations to Kershaw, and congrats on your placements on the ballot, guys.

Vance Worley finishes third in the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Major League Baseball had just announced who was voted the NL and AL Rookies of the Year for 2011, and the Phils’ Vance Worley had ended up in third place among NL Rookies. Worley, who pitched in 25 games for the Phils, 21 of which was as a starter, for a record of 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 131.2 innings pitched, received 40 total points (8 2nd place votes and 16 third place votes), trailing Craig Kimbrel of the Braves. who was unanimously voted the NL Rookie of the year with 32 first place votes for a total of 160 points, and Freddie Freeman, also of the Braves, who finished in second place with 70 points. During the 2011 season, Worley, along with his ERA, gave up only 46 walks, while striking out 119, a surprising large number of which were by looking, while having a WHIP of 1.23.

Congratualtions of reaching third place, Vance. Hope that 2012 will be a better season for you.

The Phils have signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year deal worth $50 Million.

According to reports yesterday, the Phils have signed former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year contract worth $50 million dollars, with a possible vetting for a fifth season that could lead to a total of $60 million, all pending on him passing a physical. If this is true, it means that the Phils are passing up on Ryan Madson, who, earlier in the week, was going to sign a four-year contract, worth $44 million, with a possible fifth season, before talks stalled. Reports are that the stalling might have been because Madson’s agent Scott Boras started playing games to push up Madson’s price. If that is so, than Madson has only Boras to blame for his being past over by the Phils, and Papelbon have Boras to thank  for the deal he has just gotten, as it is obvious that Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. refuses to play Boras’ little games.

Papelbon, who became a free agent after the 2011 season, pitched the last seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, being a member of the 2007 World Series Championship team.  During those seven seasons, he had saved 219 games in 248 chances, as he pitched in 396 games, pitching all but three games as a reliever, with a record of 23-19 and an ERA of 2.33. In 429.1 innings pitched, Papelbon struck out 509 batters, while walking just 115. Last season, as a member of the 2011 Red Sox, which had one of the worst collapses in Major League History, missing the playoffs on the last week of the season, he pitched in 63 games, saving 31 games in 34 attempts, having a 4-1 record with a 2.94 ERA, as he pitched 64.1 innings, striking out 87 batters while walking only 10.

Welcome to the Phils, Mr. Papelbon. I hope that you’ll be able to do what everyone is expecting, especially after what had happened in 2011 up in Boston. As for Ryan, sorry to see you go. Thanks for what you did while a member of the Phils, and I hope that you’ll be able to find another team, especially after what have happened this past week.

Jim Thome signs a one-year deal with the Phils.

Jim Thome, who had played first base for the Phils from 2003-2005, before being traded to the White Sox after the 2005 season, allowing Ryan Howard to become the everyday first baseman, will return to the Phils as he signed a one-year contract worth $1.25  million dollars, to become mainly the left-handed bat off the bench, although expected to play a few games at first base early in the 2012 season as Howard recovers from his Achilles tendon injury, pending a physical.

During his three seasons with the Phils, ‘Gentleman Jim’ Thome help to make the Phils a contender as he had 333 hits, including 96 home runs, 65 doubles and 4 triples, while knocking in 266 runs while scoring 234. He also walked 260 times. Last season, as he played for both the Twins and the Indians, he hit a combined .256 batting average, with 71 hits, including 15 home runs and 16 doubles, as he knocked in 50 runs, while scoring 32 runs. Breaking into the majors with the Indians in 1991, Thome has a career total of 2287 hits, which includes 604 home runs, 444 doubles and 26 triples, knocking in1674 RBIs, for a career batting average of .277.

Welcome back, Jim. Hopefully you’re the left-handed bench bat that the team presently need once Howard comes back from his injury.

Placido Polanco receives the Gold Glove Award as the best fielding third baseman in the National League.

Last night, Major League Baseball announced that Placido Polanco has won his third Rawlings Gold Glove Award, this time as a third baseman. His previous Gold Gloves were won as a second baseman of the Detroit Tigers in 2007 and 2009. With his win, he becomes the second man to win a Gold Glove at multiple positions, joining Darin Erstad.

Polanco, starting in 115 games, committed only eight errors during the season, for a fielding percentage of .977.

Congratulation on winning the honor, Polanco.

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