Happy New Year to everyone, although it’s still about an hour before it occur here on the east coast of the U.S.
Got back from visiting my folks in Virginia, yesterday.
The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association announced on Wednesday that the Phils, for the fourth time in the last five years, was voted the PSWA’s Team of the Year in the acknowledgement of the 2011 Phils winning 102 games during the reason season, breaking the club’s old record of 101 wins set in 1976 and 1977, and winning the National League Eastern Division for their fifth straight season, the first time that the Phils have won five consecutive division titles in the club’s long history.
Congratulations on winning the award guys.
Merry Christmas to everyone who have read the articles that I write here.
I would also like to take this time to tell everyone that I’ll be off the net until this coming Friday, as I’ll be visiting my folks in Virginia, and, since they do not have access to the internet, I won’t be able to write anything. So, see you all Friday.
This is what I am hoping that the Phils will do in 2012:
1) That Ryan Howard, when he returned from his injury, will learn not to swing at the pitcher’s junk, and to take a walk when it is being offered to him;
2) That Chase Utley will be able to make a comeback from last year’s injury, and will be willing to take a day off, when told to;
3) That Placido Polanco will be able to recover from his previous two seasons worth of injuries;
4) That the retooled bench will be able to contribute during the season;
5) That Uncle Chuck learns to love playing small ball;
6) That at least one of the team’s top three starters (Halladay, Lee, Hamels) will end up with 20 wins, and that the other two will end up with at least 15;
7) That Vance Worley will improve over last year’s performance;
8) That the Phils will be able to sign Cole Hamels to a multi-year contract;
and lastly, 9) That the Phils will get back into the World Series, and not be the stepping stone for another National League team during the playoffs.
The Phils have signed two more players to minor league deals, offering non-roster spring training invites to both.
Yesterday, the Phils sent out a press release announcing that they have signed two more players to minor league deals, offering spring training non-roster invitations to both players.
The players that the Phils have signed are infielder Hector Luna and outfielder Luis Montanez. Luna, who spent the 2011 season playing on the Red Sox Triple-A Pawtucket team, had played 311 games on the major league level between 2004-2010, playing for the Cardinals, Indians, Blue Jays and Marlins, compiling a .265 career batting average (194 hits in 732 at-bats). During his time in the majors, he had played at least one game at all four infield positions and all three outfield positions. Last year, for Pawtucket, he played in 113 games, batting .283, hitting 14 home runs and 58 RBIs. The other signed player, Montanez, spent part of the just finished 2011 season playing for Triple-A Iowa in the Cubs minor league system, appearing in 92 games, batting .321, hitting 7 home runs, and knocking in 69 RBIs. He had also appeared in 36 games with the Cubs, batting .222 (13 for 54). In his major league career, 2008-2011, in which he spent the first three seasons playing for the Orioles, he has a career batting average of .223 (68 for 305).
In the same press release, the Phils announced that they had lost minor league infielder Carlos Rivero to the Nationals via the waiver wire. Rivero was earlier taken off of the Phils 40-man roster to make room for the just resigned Jimmy Rollins.
My guess is that both signed players will likely end up playing for the Iron Pigs when the regular season starts.
Earlier today the Phils have announced that they have brought back Ed Wade, the recently fired GM of the Houston Astros.
Wade, who used to work for the Phils in several positions, most recently as the team’s GM from 1998-2005, will be acting as a special consultant to the baseball operations department. In his new posting, according to the club, he will be assisting in salary arbitration, as well as acting as a scout at both the major and minor league levels.
While it is true that during his tenure as the team’s GM, he was the one responsible for putting in place the team’s present core, Wade had also made a few free agent deals and trades that had backfired, ticking off the fan base in the process, especially when he did not appear willing to make the big trade that would had finally gotten the ballclub back into the playoffs, when it just missed getting in in the mid-2000s, before finally being given his walking papers. And, lets not forget how he reacted when he was let go by the Phils. (I mean his little tirade at the fans.)
I am just hoping that Amaro, Montgomery, Giles and company know what they’re doing bringing him back. Only time will tell, as I’ll, for now, will give them the benefit of the doubt.
The Phils have just announced today that they have signed Jimmy Rollins to a new three-year contract, with a vesting option for a possible fourth year.
Rollins, who earlier in the post-season had announced that he was looking for a five-year deal, finally decided to take a deal with fewer years, after the Cardinals and the Brewers had last weekend signed multi-year deals with their own shortstops Rafael Furcal and Alex Gonzalez, respectively. Rollins, a former MVP (2007), and a member of the franchise since be drafted in 1996, and joining the main squad back in 2000, had, despite injuries during the last three seasons, appeared in a total of 1636 games, with a career batting average of .272 (1866 hits in 6858 at-bats) with 388 doubles, 100 triples and 170 home runs, as well as 373 stolen bases and 568 walks, scored 1080 runs while knocking in 725. During his MVP season, as he help lead the Phils to their first playoff appearance since 1993, he had a .296 batting average (212 for 716) as he appeared in all 162 regular season games, compiling 38 doubles, 20 triples and 30 home runs, as well as stealing 41 bases, as he scored 139 runs, while knocking in 94.
With the signing of Rollins, the Phils are likely done with any major moves, other than what to do with their four arbitration eliable players, especially Cole Hamels and Hunter Pence, until spring training 2012.
About time they’d locked Jimmy down. Guess his agent finally realized that J-Roll had nowhere else to go.
Let’s go Phils!!!
As the Phils tender deals to their four arbitration eligible players, reports are coming out saying that they have signed a one-year deal with pitcher Dontrelle Willis.
The Phils have tendered contracts to the four players on the team who are still arbitration eligible after they had traded Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays: Cole Hamels, Hunter Pence, Kyle Kendrick and Wilson Vladez. Although it is expected that all four will receive an increase in salary whether they accept the proffered contracts, or go through arbitration, most of the fanbase would prefer that the Phils give multi-year contracts to both Hamels and Pence, especially Hamels, to keep them with the team for a while. As for Kendrick and Valdez, the two have shown their worth as insurance policies in case somebody gets hurt (although Kendrick had also shown that he can be a very good asset in the bullpen).
While this is going on, there has been reports that the Phils have signed to a one-year contract, pending him passing a physical, left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Willis, a former Rookie of the Year (2003 with the Marlins), pitched for the Reds last season, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts. Being mostly a starter during his nine-years career with the Marlins, the Tigers, the D-backs and the Reds, Willis had complied a record of 72-69 with an ERA of 4.17, as he had appeared in 205 games, all but three as a starter. The Phils, if he passes the physical, will more than likely be using him out of the bullpen as a left-handed specialist, and a spot-starter, as a kind of compliment to Kendrick, since there is really no way that he will be able to make the rotation, especially with his issues with his control.
Hopefully, the signing of Willis will end up being a good move for the Phils for next season.
The Phils have just announced that they have traded Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays for a minor league relief pitcher.
Earlier today, the Phils have traded outfielder Ben Francisco to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league reliever Frank Gailey.
Francisco, who was part of the deal with the Indians that originally brought Cliff Lee to the Phils in late July 2009, appeared in 225 games for the Phils from 2009-2011, mainly as their fourth outfielder, although for the first couple of months of 2011 he was the team’s starting right fielder, until he was put back on the bench before the Phils eventually traded with the Astros for Hunter Pence. In those games, he batted .259, having 136 hits including 32 doubles,1 triple and 17 home runs, while knocking in 75 RBIs. He also appeared in 17 post-season games, including the 2009 World Series, where he had an overall batting average of .105, with 2 hits in 19 at-bats, which includes his dramatic three-run home run in the third game of the 2011 National League Divisional Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, which gave the Phils a temporary 2-1 series lead, before finally falling to the eventual World Series champs in five games.
Gailey, a native Philadelphian, had pitched a combine 5-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 45 appearances for Class-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire in the Blue Jays’ farm system. In his minor league career, overall, Gailey is 23-15 with a 2.45 ERA in 175 appearances.
Wish you luck with the Blue Jays, Ben, and thanks for what you did while you was here. Welcome to the organization, Frank. Hope you’ll be able to work your way to the main club.
This post-season, for the first time since 2005, the Phils decided not to make a pick in the Rule 5 draft, as the organization this year did not see anyone in the minor league farm systems that were left unprotected by the other 29 major league teams that they thought would make an immediate impact on the main club.
While they did not make any pick ups, the Phils lost four players in their minor league system, with three of them being taken in the minor league portion of the draft. The four are right-handed pitcher Lenny Castillo, who was picked up by the Cubs from the Phils’ Class A Lakewood team, where, in 2011, he went 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA. Castillo, who was selected in the Major League portion of the draft, will now have to remain on the Cubs’ roster for the 2012 season, unless the Cubs offer him back to the Phils if he doesn’t make it through spring training. In the Minor League phase, the Phils lost left-hander Andrew Loomis to the Orioles, shortstop Travis Mattair to the Reds and catcher Francisco Diaz to the Pirates.
With the Phils not picking up a player through the draft, it means that they will not have to reserve a spot on the regular season 25 man roster for 2012, and I, personally, am glad, since it means that all of the positions can only be filled by those who had either been on the team in the previous season, picked up by the team via free agency or trades during the present off-season or are already in the Phils’ minor league system.
Okay guys, lets see if we can now nail down Jimmy Rollins to a contract.