The Phils erupt for eight runs in the third inning as they win their first Grapefruit League game by defeating the Tigers, 10-6

Philadelphia_PhilliesAn eight-run outburst in the bottom of the third leads to the Phils first Grapefruit League victory as they defeat the Tigers, 10-6.

The Tigers took the lead in the top of the first as, with the bases loaded, via a single by Andy Dirks, and walks to Jordan Lennerton and Austin Jackson, and with two men out, Nick Castellanos hits a bases clearing double to right center field, scoring Dirks, Lennerton and Jackson, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead. The Phils would get a run back in the bottom of the second as, with two men on, and with two men out, Darin Ruf hits an RBI single, knocking in Marlon Bryd, who has started the inning off with a single, then moved up to second base on Carlos Ruiz’s walk, making it a 3-1 Tigers’ lead, while sending Ruiz, who has earlier walked, up to second base. The Phils made it a 3-2 Tigers’ lead in the bottom of the third as, with the bases loaded, via a lead-off walk by Jimmy Rollins, a single by Chase Utley, moving Rollins up to second base, and a single by Byrd, moving both runners up a base, and with one man out, Rollins would score on a force attempt missed catch error by shortstop Hernan Perez on first baseman Lennerton’s throw to second base on Dom Brown’s grounder, while Utley would move up to third base, and Byrd would be safe at second base, as Brown stops at first base, leaving the bases loaded. The Phils then tied the game up at three-all as Ruiz is hit by the pitch, forcing in Utley, as Byrd and Brown both moved up a base as the bases remained loaded. The Phils then took the lead as Maikel Franco received a bases loaded walk, forcing in Byrd, giving the Phils a 4-3 lead, while moving Brown up to third base and Ruiz over to second base, with the bases staying loaded. The Phils then made it a 5-3 lead as, with Ruf battling, pitcher Jhan Marinez threw a wild pitch, allowing Brown to score from third, and Ruiz and Franco to both move up a base. Ruf then gave the Phils a 6-3 lead as he hits an RBI ground out, 5-3, knocking in Ruiz, as Franco stayed at second base. The Tigers then made a pitching change, replacing Marinez with Jose Valdez. Two batters later, after third baseman Castellanos had committed a foul pop error on a foul ball hit by Tony Gwynn, who then got on base with a walk, Rollins gives the Phils a 9-3 lead as he hits a third-run home run to right field for his first home run of the spring, scoring Franco and Gwynn. The Tigers would start a comeback in the top of the sixth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Castellanos hits an RBI double, his second double of the game, and his fourth RBI, knocking in Jackson, who had started the inning off with a single, then moved up to second base on shortstop Reid Brignac’s fielding error of Tyler Collins’ grounder, making it a 9-4 Phils’ lead, while sending Collins, who had reached base on Brignac’s error, over to third base. The Tigers then cut the Phils’ lead to 9-5 as, with runners on second and third, and with still nobody out, Trevor Crowe hits an RBI ground out, 5-3, knocking in Collins, while sending Castellanos up to third base. The Tigers then made it a 9-6 Phils’ lead as, with a man on third, and now with one man out, Luis Exposito hits a sacrifice fly to center field, knocking in Castellanos. The Phils would get a run back in the bottom of the eighth as, with a man on third, and with one man out, pinch-hitter Leandro Castro hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, knocking in Lou Marson, who had started the inning off with a double, then moved up to third base on Freddy Galvis’ fly out to right, giving the Phils a 10-6 lead. That would end up being the final score as Justin de Fratus would pitch a scoreless ninth.

Kyle Kendrick pitched two innings, giving up three runs on two hits, three walks and a wild pitch, while striking out three. Sean O’Sullivan (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he pitched two scoreless innings, hitting a batter, while striking out three. Phillippe Aumont pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Luis Garcia pitched an inning, giving up three runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits.  Cesar Jimenez received his first hold of the spring as he threw two 1-2-3 innings, striking out two. Justin De Fratus pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, while striking out three. Jose Alvarez pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, while striking out two. Jhan Martinez collected his first blown save of the spring, before taking the lost (0-1, 40.50) as he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs, three of which were earned, on two hits, two walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch, as he struck out two. Jose Valdez pitched a third of an inning, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk. Evan Reed, Melvin Mercedes and Kyle Ryan combined for four 1-2-3 innings, striking out four (Reed (1), Mercedes (2), Ryan (1)) between them. Endrys Briceno pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit, while striking out a batter.

The Phils had six hits in the game, with Marlon Byrd leading the team with two hits, both singles. Jimmy Rollins (Home Run, 3 RBIs), Chase Utley (Single), Lou Marson (Double) and Darin Ruf (Single, 2 RBIs), had the Phils’ other four hits, while Dom Brown (Error), Ruiz (HBP), Maikel Franco (Walk) and pinch-hitter Leandro Castro (Ground Out) had the other four Phils’ RBIs, while the final run came in on a wild pitch. The Phils also had five walks (Tony Gwynn, Junior, Rollins (2), Ruiz, Franco) in the game, while the defense committed an error (Reid Brignac).

The Phils (1-2) play their next Greapefruit League game tomorrow afternoon against the New York Yankees (1-2) at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. The game is to start at 1:05 pm EDT. The Phils plan to send to the mound Miguel Gonzalez who’ll be making his first spring training start. The Yankees plan to counter with C.C. Sabathia (14-13, 4.78 (2013)), who is trying to bounce back from a bad 2013 season. The Phils hope to even up their record.

The Phils had announced yesterday…

Philadelphia_PhilliesThat Ethan Martin, who had pitched to four Blue Jays in the bottom of the fifth inning in yesterday’s Grapefruit League game, was taken out of the game because of discomfort in his right shoulder, especially as his pitching velocity is down in comparison to last season. He is today seeing a doctor to find out what may be wrong with his shoulder, how serious it might be, and how long he may be out once the problem is diagnosed.

Hopefully it won’t be bad, and he’ll soon be back on the mound.

The Phils drop their second Grapefruit League game as their give up five runs in the middle innings, as they lose to the Blue Jays, 7-5.

Philadelphia_PhilliesThe Phils lose their second straight spring training game to the Blue Jays as they lose, 7-5.

The Phils took the lead in the top of the first as, with the bases loaded, via a lead-off single by Ben Revere, who then went to third base on shortstop Jose Reyes’ force attempt throwing error to second base of Bobby Abreu’s grounder, while Abreu was safe at first and a walk to Darin Ruf, moving Abreu up to second base, and with one man out, Revere would score on catcher Erik Kratz’s passed ball, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while both Abreu and Ruf would move up a base. The Blue Jays would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the first as, with a runner on second, and with one man out, Jose Bautista hits an RBI double, knocking in Moises Sierra, who had earlier doubled. The Phils retook the lead in the top of the third as, with a man on first, and with nobody out, Ruf hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the spring, knocking in Abreu, who had started the inning off with a walk, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Blue Jays would get a run back in their half of the third as, with a runner on first, and with two men out, Bautista hits an RBI double, his second double of the ballgame, scoring Sierra, who had earlier reached base on first baseman Ruf’s missed catch error of third baseman Cody Asche’s throw to first, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. The Blue Jays tied the game up again at 3-all in the bottom of the fourth as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Kenny Wilson hits an RBI single, knocking in Melky Cabrera, who was earlier safe at first base on a 6-4 force out, forcing out at second base Brett Lawrie, who had started the inning off with a single, then moved up to second base on Maicer Izturis’ single, then went to third on Kratz’s fly out to right, while Izturis, who had earlier singled, would stop at third base. The Blue Jays then took a 4-3 lead a batter later as Reyes hits an infield single to short, scoring Izturis, while sending Lawrie up to second base. The Blue Jays increased their lead in the bottom of the fifth as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Lawrie hits an RBI double, scoring pinch-runner Kevin Nolan, who was pinch-running for Bautista, who had started the inning off with a single, then went to third base on Edwin Encarnacion’s single, giving the Blue Jays a 5-3 lead, while sending pinch-runner Andy LaRouche, who was pinch-running for Encarnacion, who had just singled, on to third base. The Blue Jays then made it a 7-3 lead as Cabrera hits a two-run double, scoring LaRouche and pinch-runner Jared Goedert, who was pinch-running for Lawrie. The Phils would get a run back in the top of the sixth as, with two men out, John Mayberry, Jr. hits a solo home run,  his first home run of the spring, making it a 7-4 Blue Jays’ lead. The Phils then cut the Blue Jays’ lead down to 7-5 in the top of the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via Maikel Franco reaching first base on third baseman Goedert’s fielding error, a walk to Reid Brignac, moving Franco up to second base, and Kelly Dugan being hit by the pitch, moving both runners up a base, and with one man out, Franco would score on a force attempt throwing error by first baseman LaRoche to second base as he tried to throw out Dugan on Tommy Joseph’s ground ball, while Brignac would move up to third base on the error, as Dugan would be safe at second base and Joseph would stop at first base. That would end up being the final score as Marcus Walden would record his first save of the spring by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth.

Cliff Lee pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out three. Brad Lincoln collected his first hold of the spring as he threw an inning, giving up an unearned run on a hit, while he struck out a batter. Jake Diekman blew his first save of the spring before taking the lost (0-1, 18.00) as he pitched an inning, giving up two runs on four hits. Ethan Martin pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk. Michael Stutes, Mario Hollands and B.J. Rosenberg would combine for four 1-2-3 innings, striking out two batters (Hollands (1), Rosenberg (1)) between them. R.A. Dickey pitched two innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits, two walks and a passed ball, while striking out two. Esmil Rogers pitched an inning, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Brett Cecil (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Dustin McGowan pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Aaron Loup pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit. Jeremy Jeffress collected his first hold of the spring as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Rob Rasmussen collected his first hold of the spring as he threw an inning, giving up an unearned run on a walk and a hit batter. Marcus Walden received his first save of the spring as he threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.

The Phils had six hits in the game, with Ben Revere leading the team with three hits, all singles, followed by John Mayberry, Jr. (Single, Home Run). Darin Ruf had the other Phil hit, a two-run home run. Tommy Joseph had the other Phil RBI on a bases loaded throwing error while their final run came in on a Erik Kratz’s passed ball. The Phils also had five walks in the game (Bobby Abreu (2), Ruf, Maikel Franco, Mayberry), a stolen base (Mayberry (1)) and a hit batter (Dugan), while the defense committed two errors (Franco (2), Wil Nieves).

The Phils (0-2) will play their next game in Clearwater at Bright House Field against a Detroit Tigers (2-0) split-squad at 1:05 pm EST. Kyle Kendrick (10-13, 4.70 (2013)) is scheduled to start for the Phils, while the Tigers plan to send Jose Alvarez (1-5, 5.82 (2013)) to the mound. The Phils will try to gain their first Grapefruit League win before the start of March.

The Phils’ first game of the Grapefruit League is over…

Philadelphia_Phillies…and sadly, thanks to the game being called before the start of the bottom half of the seventh inning because of rain, the Phils lose to the Blue Jays, 4-3.

The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the first inning against Phils’ starter Roberto Hernandez as, with two men out, and with nobody on base, Jose Bautista hits a solo home run to left field, his first home run of spring training, giving the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. The Phils would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the first, as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI single off of J.A. Happ, knocking in lead-off man Ben Revere, who had started the Phils’ Grapefruit League season with a single, then moved up to second base on Happ’s wild pitch, while sending Jimmy Rollins, who had just walked, over to third base. The Phils then took a 2-1 lead as Marlon Byrd followed with an RBI single, knocking in Rollins, while moving Howard up to second base. The Blue Jays would tie the game up at two-all in the top of the second inning as, with a man on second, and with nobody out, Colby Rasmus hits an RBI double, scoring Brett Lawrie, who had started the inning off with a double. The Blue Jays would take the lead in the top of the third inning, as with two men on, and with one man out, Adam Lind hits an RBI single off of Phillippe Aumont, knocking in Melky Cabrera, who had started the inning off with a walk, then moved up to second base on Bautista’s walk, giving the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead, while moving Bautista, who had just walked, up to second base. One batter later, after Aumont’s wild pitch had moved both runners up a base, Lawrie hits into an RBI groundout, 1-3, bringing home Bautista, giving the Blue Jays a 4-2 lead, while moving Lind up to third base. The Phils would cut the Blue Jays’ lead down to 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning as, with one man on, and with one man out, Ronny Cedeno hits an RBI double off of Kyle Drabek, scoring Tony Gwynn, Jr., who had just walked. That would end up being the final score, as it started to rain in Clearwater before the Phils could bat in their half of the seventh inning, and after a while, the game was called.

Roberto Hernandez pitched two innings for the Phils, giving up two runs on four hits. Phillippe Aumont (0-1, 18.00) took the lost as he pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, two walks, and a wild pitch. Jeff Manship, Antonio Bastardo and Kevin Munson combined for four scoreless innings, giving up three hits (one hit each) and a walk (Munson), while striking out five (Manship (3), Bastardo (1), Munson (1)). J.A. Happ pitched an inning for the Blue Jays, giving up two runs on four hits, a walk and a wild pitch. Todd Redmond (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he threw two scoreless innings, striking out a batter. Kyle Drabek pitched one and two-thirds innings, giving up a run on a hit and three walks, striking out a batter. Neil Wagner pitched an inning, giving up a walk, while striking out three batters. Chad Jenkins recorded his first save of the spring as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only batter whom he would face.

The Phils would end the game with five hits, a single by Ben Revere, an RBI single by Ryan Howard, an RBI single by Marlon Byrd, a single by Dom Brown and an RBI double by Ronny Cedeno. The Phils also had five walks in the game (Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu (2), Tony Gwynn, Jr., Darin Ruf). The defense would commit an error (throwing error by third baseman Maikel Franco) and a doubleplay (6-4-3) in the game.

The Phils’ next Grapefruit League game will be tomorrow afternoon against the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida at 1:05 pm EST. The Phils’ starter is suppose to be Cliff Lee (14-8, 2.87 (2013)), while the Blue Jays’ starter is suppose to be R.A. Dickey (14-13, 4.21 (2013)). Hopefully the final outcome will be difference tomorrow.

News from the broadcast booth…

Philadelphia_PhilliesOn Monday, the Phils and Comcast officially announced that Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will join the broadcast team, starting with spring training games. Jamie Moyers will be in the booth, broadcasting games for Comcast, MLB.TV and WPHL-17 for 109 games, while Stairs will broadcast 108 games, with their first broadcast being today’s opening Grapefruit League game between the Phils and the Blue Jays.  A day later, the Phils confirmed that Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt, will also be in the broadcast booth, broadcasting Sunday home games.

Meanwhile, the people whom Moyers and Stairs have replaced, Garry Matthews and Chris Wheeler, are still with the Phils, planning to act as goodwill ambassadors for the organization during the season, while Matthews is presently involved with the players in Clearwater acting as a guest instructor.

Since my last post….

Philadelphia_PhilliesThe Phils officially started spring training on Thursday, February 13, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Clearwater, followed this week by the rest of the squad, although a large number of players had been at Clearwater during the off-season, getting ready for the 2014 season, especially first baseman Ryan Howard, who has been trying to get back into playing shape.

On Friday, February 14, former ballplayer and ex-Phil manager Jim Fregosi passed away at age 71 from multiple strokes. Fregosi, who broke into major league baseball as a shortstop in September 1961, had an 18-year career playing for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Ranger and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A six-time All-Star and a gold glove winner (1967), he would play in 1902 games, having a .265 career batting average (1726 for 6523) as he hit 264 2Bs, 78 3Bs and 151 HRs, knocking in 706 RBIs, while scoring 844 times. He would also walk 715 times. After retiring from baseball during the 1978 season, he would be hired as the manager of the team that he had begun his playing career, the Angels, starting a career that would end in 2000, during which he would be the manager of the Angels (1978-1981), the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), compiling a managerial record of 1028-1094 .484, as he managed a total of 2122 games. He would lead the Angels into the playoffs in 1979 as they won the American League West, but losing the AL Championship Series, 3-1, to the Orioles, and he would lead the Phils in 1993 to the World Series, before losing the series, 4-2, to the Blue Jays.

On the 16, the Phils finalized their one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, in which they would give the veteran pitcher $15 million dollars plus a $1 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. Burnett also has a player option for $7.5 million if he exercises his option. With the buyout options and other incentives, Burnett could end up receiving a two-year contract worth $ 33.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause, in which he would have to sign off on any possible trade involving nine other teams. In order to make room for Burnett on their roster, the Phils placed left-handed reliever Joe Savery on waviers, awaiting reassignment. On Monday the 17, the A’s picked Savery off of waivers. Selected by the Phils in the first round of the draft back in 2007, Savery has pitched for the Phils for parts of three seasons (2011-2013), appearing in 41 games, with a 3-2 record and a 3.15 ERA, as he pitched in 47.2 innings, giving up 42 hits and 28 runs, 22 of which were earned, as he struck out 32 batters, while walking 19.

As spring training continues, former Phil Roy Holladay has come to camp as a special pitching instructor, offering advice to the team’s younger players. Hopefully they’ll listen to the future Hall of Famer.

A few things had occurred since my last post…

Philadelphia_PhilliesFirst. yesterday, former Phil Roy Oswalt announced that he was officially retiring, as he signed a one-day contract with the Astros so that he could officially retire as an Astros. Oswalt, who is an fourteen-year veteran, ten of which was spent as an Astros, was a member of the Phils for part of the 2010 season and part of the 2011 season, during which he complied a winning record of 16-11. Oswalt would also play for the Rangers and the Rockies. Oswalt, during his career, would be the NL leader for ERA in 2006 with a 2.98 ERA, wins in 2004 with 20, games started with 35 games in both 2004 and 2005 and in WHIP in 2010 with a 1.03 WHIP. He was also a member of the 2005 Astros team that would win the NL pennant before losing to the White Sox in that year’s World Series, being swept by Chicago, 4-0. Overall, Oswalt had a career record of 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA as he pitched in 365 games, 341 of which were starts, as he completed 20 games, including 8 shutouts. He would pitch in 2245.1 innings, giving up 2199 hits and 897 runs, 838 of which were earned, as he struck out 1852 batters, while walking only 520. I wish you luck in your retirement, Roy.

Then, the Phils announced that Comcast plans to hire both Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to replace Chris Wheeler and Garry Matthews inside the TV broadcast booth, starting this season during Spring Training. Congratulations, guys. Hope you both do well in the broadcast booth.

Lastly, the Phils announced that they have just signed starter A.J. Burnett, who they have been pursuing during the off-season, to a one-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Burnett, who had pitched for the Pirates last year and in 2012, is coming off a 10-11 season, with a 3.30 ERA, as he pitched in 30 games, all starts, with a complete game, as he threw in 191 innings, giving up 165 hits and 79 runs, 70 of which were earned, as he struck out 209 batters, while walking only 67. Burnett, who has also pitched for the Marlins, the Blue Jays and the Yankees, being a member of the 2009 World Championship team, has a 147-132 record with a 3.99 ERA, as he appeared in 375 games, starting 370 of them, as he threw 23 complete games, 10 of which were shutouts. He threw a total of 2353.2 innings, giving up 2140 hits and 1142 runs, 1043 of which were earned, as he struck out 2180 batters, while walking only 955. Welcome to the team, A.J.

Burnett’ll more than likely be the number three man in the starting rotation, after Cole Hamels starts pitching after the start of the season, as the Phils announced that Cole will miss opening day as he has developed tendinitis in his left bicep, which will keep him from throwing the ball for the next eight to ten days, and slow down his participation in spring training, although Cole has said that he should be ready to pitch at some point in April. I’m just hoping that it is only a minor setback, as the Phils will need Cole to back up Cliff Lee, if they expect to get anywhere this season.

Moves the Phils have made during the past off-season…

Philadelphia_PhilliesAs the Phils’ 2013 season wounded down, with the club wounding up in fourth place in the five-team NL East with a 73-89, .451 record, 23 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, the Phils first post-season move was to make interim manager, Hall of Famer Ryan Sandberg, the team’s 52nd manager, by signing him to a three-year contract on September 22, 2013. The Phils’ next move was to announce on September 30 that Rich Dubee was not returning as the team’s pitching coach, ending a nine season relationship with the Phils, as the team started to look for a new pitching coach. On that same day, they announced that they were promoting from the team’s Minor League system, Paul Fournier, as the team’s new strength and conditioning coach, replacing Doug Lien, who had held that position for the previous six seasons, as the club hopes to improve the team’s overall health.

The Phils next move was to make a shake-up in their 40 men roster as they outrighted infielders Michael Martinez and Pete Orr, right-handed pitcher Zach Miner and lefthander Mauricio Robles on October 3, while, on that same day, the Indians picked up right-hander Tyler Cloyd off of the waiver-wire, while the Astros picked up leftie Raul Valdes, opening up six spots on the roster.

Two days later, on October 5, the Phils announced that they would not be renewing the contract of bullpen catcher, Mick Billmeyer, who had been with the club since 2004, first as the catching instructor, then as the bullpen coach in 2009, before becoming the bullpen catcher in 2012. The next Phils move came from out of the blue as, on October 8, former Phils’ player and one time Phils’ manager, and fan favorite, Larry Bowa, rejoined the team as the new bench coach, while another ex-Phil, Pete Mackanin, would join the team as the new third base coach. The Phils also announced that Steve Henderson would remain as the team’s hitting coach while Wally Joyner would leave as the team’s assistant hitting coach, later being hired by the Detroit Tigers as their new hitting coach, while John Mizerock would later become the new assistant hitting coach and Jesus Tiamo would become the new catcher coach, as Juan Samuel would stay on as the team’s first base coach, while Rod Nichols would remain the bullpen coach.

The next move occurred on October 17 as John Lannan decided to become a free agent after he had been outrighted by the club, after refusing assignment.

Then on November 5, the Phils announced that they were hiring Scott Freedman to help the ballclub better understand the use of analytics in the evaluation of players. Seven days later, on November 12, the Phils announced their first free agent signing, as they signed right fielder Marlon Byrd to a two-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Byrd, who is a right-handed batter, and an ex-Phil, has played in the majors from 2002, having played for the Phils (2002-05), the Nats (2005-06), the Rangers (2007-09), the Cubs (2010-12), the Red Sox (2012), the Mets (2013) and the Pirates (2013), appearing in 1250 games, hitting .280 (1222 for 4367), knocking in 533 RBIs as he scored 600 times. Among his 1222 hits were 252 doubles, 32 triples and 106 HRs, while he has also walked 307 times. The Phils plan to use him in the line-up behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the later of whom the team hopes will bounce back from several injuries plagued seasons and regain his form as the team’s RBI and home runs leader. The Phils next announced on November 15 that they have given four players minor league contracts with invites to spring training: right-hander Shawn Camp, left-hander Cesar Jimenez and outfielders Clete Thomas and Leandro Castro.

The Phils then announced on November 18 that they have resigned present catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year deal worth $26 million dollars with a team option of $4.5 million or a $500,000 buyout for 2017. The next day, the team announced that they have signed a minor league contract, with a spring training invitation, to infielder Reid Brignac, who would be competing for a utility infielder position with Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis. On November 20, the Phils announced that they were adding four minor league prospects to their 40-man roster to keep them from being picked up by other teams in December’s 5-Rule draft: outfielders Aaron Altheer and Kelly Dugan, catcher Tommy Joseph and left-hander Rob Rasmussen.

The following day, November 22, the Phils signed Bob McClure as their new pitching coach, replacing Dubee. On that same day, they announced that they have signed infielder Andres Blanco to a minor league contract, with an invite to spring training.

On December 4, the Phils made a trade with the Blue Jays, receiving right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln in exchange for catcher Erik Kratz and minor league pitcher Rasmussen. Lincoln, who has pitched for the Pirates and the Blue Jays (2010-13) has appeared in 97 games, 22 of which was as a starter, for a record of 9-11 with a 4.66 ERA. With one career save in two attempts, he has pitched in 220 games, giving up 228 hits, 123 runs, 114 of which were earned, as he struck out 167 batters while walking only 77. The Phils will likely use him in the bullpen. After the trade, the ballclub would sign catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year deal on December 5, as the team’s back-up catcher. Nieves, who has played for the Padres (2002), the Yankees (2005-2007), the Nats (2008-10), the Brewers (2011), the Diamondbacks (2012), the Rockies (2012-13) and the Diamondbacks again (2013), has appeared in 385 games, hitting .242 (249 for 1029), with 46 doubles, 2 triples and 8 home runs, as he knocked in 103 RBIs while scoring 78 times. He has also walked 59 times. On that same day, the Phils signed right-handed pitcher Jeff Manship to a minor league contract with a spring training invitation.

Then, on December 9, Roy Halladay announced his retirement from baseball, ending a 16-year career with the Blue Jays and the Phils, as he didn’t think he would be able to pitch after his most recent arm injury. Halladay, who said that he had signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays to end his career as a Jay, and had paid a full page ad in the Philly newspaper thanking the Phils fans for their support during his time as a Phils (2010-13), had appeared in 416 career games, 390 as a starter, with a career record of 203-105, with a 3.38 ERA and a career save, had completed 67 games, 20 for shutouts, as he pitched in 2749.1 total innings, striking out 2117 batters as he walked only 592, as he gave up 2646 hits and 1135 runs, only 1034 of which were earned. He also threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the post-season, both of which occurred during his first season as a Phil (2010). Thanks for being a member of the Phils, Roy, and being a class act, and wish you luck getting into the Hall.

On December 12, through the Rule 5-draft, the Phils would acquire right-hander Kevin Munson from the Diamondbacks’ Reno club, while they would lose right-hander Seth Rosin to the Mets, who would then trade him to the Dodgers for cash in the major league portion of the draft, and shortstop Jonathan Roof to the Red Sox in the Triple-A part of it, both from their Reading affiliate.

Next, on December 18, the Phils signed a one-year deal with right-hander Roberto Hernandez for $4.5 million dollars, plus performance and award bonuses. Hernandez, who has previous pitched for the Indians (2006-12) and the Blue Jays (2013), has appeared in 216 games, 177 as a starter, with a 59-82 record, with a 4.67 ERA. He will be part of the Phils’ starting rotation, along with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone.

In January, the Phils made a new TV-deal with Comcast for 25-year, which included broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews not returning to the broadcast booth. On the 14, the Phils had four players file for salary arbitration: outfielders Ben Revere and John Mayberry, Jr. and pitchers Antonio Bastardo and Kendrick. The next day, January 15, the Phils announce that former manger Charlie Manuel would be returning to the team as a consultant to general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. On the 17, the Phils announced that two of the four arbitration eligible players have signed one-year deals: Mayberry, who had agreed to a 1.587 million dollar deal, while Kendrick had agreed to one worth 7.675 million. The Phils then signed two minor league deals on the 21, one to veteran right-hander Chad Gaudin, and one to former Phil and veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, with both being given spring training invites. On that same day, the Phils and Bastardo agreed to a one-year contract worth $2 million dollars. Three days later, on the 24, Ben Revere signed a one-year deal with the Phils for $ 1.95 million dollar.

With that, the last bit of news is that the Phils might be replacing Wheeler and Matthews with former Phils Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer, both of whom have impressed the Phils in their separate interviews to join the broadcast team, and that finally, yesterday, the equipment truck has started heading south for the spring training facilities in Clearwater, Florida from Citizens Bank Park in Philly. It is now six more days before catchers and pitchers are suppose to appear in Clearwater.

Can’t wait for Spring Training to officially start. :-)

I know…

Philadelphia_PhilliesThat I’d said I would start posting here more often starting this past Monday, last week, but, as they say, the best laid plans, etc., thanks in part to this past Monday’s snow storm and yesterday’s rain and ice storm here in the Delaware Valley, (I do live in Philly, after all) along with me needing to buy some new stuff for myself earlier today.

Anyway, I plan to get to work on that post on the Phils’ off-season’s moves tomorrow afternoon, no matter what.

Lastly, Spring Training is almost here!!! YAY!!!

Okay, now this is a BIG surprise….

Philadelphia_PhilliesA few minutes ago I’d took a look at MLB.com Blogs Central to look at the top 100 list for 2013 among Fans blogs, expecting to see that my blog has fallen off the list since I knew that the number of people who have visited my blog has been down during 2013, especially after I’d stopped making posts around mid-September, as I’d decided to take a short break, as mentioned in the post that I’d uploaded yesterday. But when I’d looked at the list, I’d discovered, to my great surprise…

That my blog was still on the list, even if it was at number 90 out of 100. To say that I was surprised to see that I had made the list for the sixth straight year, especially with such a low number of views, is an understatement, as I am completely flabbergasted.

Anyway, I would like to take this time to thank all of those who last year have taken the time to look at my blog, especially when I didn’t say anything towards the end of a very rotten season for my Phils.

Now, for your viewing enjoyment, here’s the actual list of the top 100 Fan Blogs:

FANS

1. The Baseball Collector
2. Rays Renegade
3. The AustralianBaseballDigest
4. The Brewer Nation
5. A’s Farm
6. Beisbol 007
7. Cook & Sons’ Baseball Adventures
8. The Unbiased MLB Fan
9. mlbblogger
10. Pinstripe Birthdays
11. Ballparks on a Budget
12. The Baseball Haven
13. La Pagina de Tony Menendez
14. Rockpile Rant
15. Counting Baseballs
16. The Ballpark Guide
17. Three Up, Three Down
18. Dodger Blue World
19. Observing Baseball
20. Born on Third
21. Minoring In Baseball
22. 9 Inning Know It All
23. Phillies Phollowers
24. 7000 Coliseum Way
25. Where Everyone’s a Giant
26. Fish Fry
27. eltubeyero22
28. TheCutoffMan
29. Prospects2Pros
30. Blogging ‘Bout Baseball
31. Rockin’ Redlegs
32. You’re Killin’ Me, Smalls!
33. Los bigleaguers
34. Formerly Fausto: A Baseball Blog
35. baseballqueen
36. The Rays Rant
37. BrokeMets
38. Cream City Cables
39. The Yankee Dinosaur
40. Brewers Rumors
41. DYNASTY League Baseball from designer of Pursue the Pennant
42. A Piece of The Game
43. More Splash Hits
44. The Cub Den
45. The Best MLBlog
46. The Blue Jays Dugout
47. Cove Chatter
48. This is a very simple game…
49. Miami Carlins Fantasy Baseball
50. TheBaseballPHD
51. Rox Addict
52. Bjarkman’s Latino and Cuban League Baseball History Page
53. The Angels’ Ace
54. The Pittsburgh Peas
55. Unfinished Business
56. I’m Not A Headline Guy…
57. Battling Bucs
58. Brewers Farm Report
59. Collection of Baseball
60. Coco crisp’s afro
61. The Baseball Sociologist
62. Flashin’ Leather
63. Reds Country
64. The Ballhawker
65. One Strike Away…Twice!
66. Why Did My Dad Make Me a Mets Fan?
67. Talkin’ Rockies
68. Hoppers Fan
69. Major-League Obie Role-Based Projection System
70. Blue Jays Talk
71. Pinstripe State of Mind
72. Bleacher Boy
73. Balls and Strikes
74. Wrigley Regular
75. If You Write It, They Will Come
76. Plouffe’s New Hairdo
77. All Things Pirates: Breaking down the Buccos
78. Punky G. (G stands for Giants!)
79. Chasing Baseballs
80. Big Apple Baseball Blog
81. Dodgers Insider
82. steel city ballhawk
83. Royal Blues
84. Quisqueyanos en MLB
85. The Take: From 20th & Blake
86. Sarge’s Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary
87. Philadelphia Ballhawk
88. Baseball’s 28th Out
89. The ‘Stros Bros
90. Phillies Red Pinstripes
91. Dodger Familia Thoughts
92. Blue Jays Musings
93. Cubs Crossings
94. Head First Slide Productions
95. The Inherent Dangers of Watching Professional Baseball
96. It’s Always A Good Dre in L.A.
97. The Optimist Tiger
98. Pedro Beato Fan Club
99. 2r2d
100. Skood Sports

As far as I can tell, there are at least three other blogs on the list that follow the Phils. Phillies Phollowers, which has landed at the 24th spot,  Sarge’s Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary at 86 and Philadelphia Ballhawk at 87. Congratulations guys for also making the list.

Remember, please take a look at all of the Blogs among the list. I’m sure that they’ll all appreciate it. ;-)

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