Raul Off To The Yanks

Phils get compensatory pick for Ibanez

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft because the New York Yankees signed Raul Ibanez to a contract on Monday.

Yankee Stadium on July 1, 2010

The Phillies had offered Ibanez salary arbitration last winter, with the understanding Ibanez would not accept it.

Philadelphia earlier received two draft picks as compensation when the Reds signed reliever Ryan Madson to a contract.

Howard’s recovery progressing nicely

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ryan Howard seems to be making progress.

Ryan Howard (left) and Manny Ramirez

Howard took swings in the batting cage, fielded ground balls, and jogged lightly around the diamond on Monday at Bright House Field. He is recovering from left Achilles surgery, which is expected to cost him at least the first month of the 2012 season. The Phillies are hopeful Howard could return to action sometime in May, but time will tell.

Howard will meet with reporters to discuss his recovery on Wednesday.

“He did good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Really good. … We’re definitely not going to hurry him along. The trainers and the doctors, they check him out and they correspond with him every day. It’s not like we’re pushing him to get back. I think where he’s at — go ask [head athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan or [team physician Michael] Ciccotti — they’ll tell you they think he’s ahead of [schedule]. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to take him out there and run him through strenuous practice programs, right now. We want to monitor him and work him along. To say he’s going to start the season, that would be a reach. I think there’s a good chance he’s going to miss some time. How much? I don’t think it’s going to be as much as you think, but we’ll wait and see.”

Thome arrives at camp in great condition

CLEARWATER, Fla. — General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said on Sunday that Jim Thome‘s physical looked better than the one he took with the Phillies in 2003, which was the first year of his five-year, $85 million contract.

Jim Thome with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005

Thome, staying true to character on Monday, downplayed any accolades thrown his way.

“You try to come [to] camp in good shape, sure,” Thome said. “I’m a little lighter, now. I’m excited. I’m ready.”

Thome has been asked countless times since he signed with the Phillies in November about his ability to play first base this season. His answer remains unchanged: He will not know until he actually plays. Thome is taking ground balls, but nothing can simulate playing in a game like physically playing in a game. He hopes to work into that gradually. But until Thome plays his first Grapefruit League game next month, it seems unlikely anybody will have a better idea about it.

Thome also said he isn’t sure how many at-bats he thinks he needs to stay sharp at the plate.

“That’s up to Charlie [Manuel],” Thome said. “My role is to be a bench guy, but also to be ready to go when called upon — if that’s two days a week, if that’s four days a week, whatever position he puts me in. It’s up to the player to get ready for that — it’s not about the at-bats, it’s not about home runs, it’s not about any of that. It’s about winning a World Series, and trying to be part of a team that’s been successful for quite a while.”

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jose Contreras, who is recovering from right elbow surgery, could throw off a mound on Tuesday.

• Jimmy Rollins appeared in camp in fine spirits.

• Shane Victorino, who appears on Monday’s night episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” is expected in camp on Tuesday.

Charlie Manuel

• Manuel will be supporting Special Olympics Sarasota County, when he appears at the Forum Salon from 3-6 p.m. ET on March 1 in downtown Sarasota. A $5 donation gets an autograph from Manuel.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Zo Zone. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

HOT BOARDS- RECENT Transaction Trends

RECENT Transaction Trends

 

 

 

Francisco Cordero

Francisco Cordero

 

 

(Tor – RP)No new player Notes
22 328 0
350
(Det – C,1B)New player notes
93 223 1
317
(LAD – RP)No new player Notes
7 301 0
308
(NYY – SP)No new player Notes
6 299 2
307
(Tex – SP)No new player Notes
9 252 0
261
(ChC – OF)No new player Notes
21 228 0
249
(StL – RP)No new player Notes
7 222 0
229
(NYM – 1B,2B,3B)No new player Notes
30 152 2
184
(Was – OF)Player notes
11 156 0
167
(Atl – SP)No new player Notes
133 29 2
164
(StL – SP)No new player Notes
9 154 0
163
(SF – 1B,OF)No new player Notes
141 10 0
151
(Mil – RP)No new player Notes
8 136 0
144
(LAA – OF)No new player Notes
119 22 1
142
(Was – RP)No new player Notes
15 120 1
136
(Pit – SP)No new player Notes
105 24 1
130
(Bos – RP)Player notes
88 35 0
123
(CWS – OF)No new player Notes
108 12 0
120
(Pit – OF)No new player Notes
111 7 1
119
(CWS – OF)No new player Notes
102 13 3
118
(Oak – RP)No new player Notes
65 49 2
116
(TB – 1B)No new player Notes
31 82 2
115
(Atl – 3B)Player notes
32 81 1
114
(Min – SP)No new player Notes
75 38 1
114
(Ari – OF)No new player Notes
95 16 2
113
(SF – RP)No new player Notes
88 24 1
113
(LAA – OF)Player notes
32 79 1
112
(SD – SP)No new player Notes
99 10 1
110
(Oak – OF)No new player Notes
1 109 0
110
(NYY – RP)No new player Notes
11 92 0
103
(SF – OF)No new player Notes
63 39 0
102
(Min – 3B)No new player Notes
9 92 0
101
(NYM – OF)No new player Notes
85 16 0
101
(LAD – 1B)No new player Notes
87 13 1
101
(KC – SP)No new player Notes
63 38 0
101
(Ari – 1B)No new player Notes
84 11 4
99
(CWS – OF)No new player Notes
87 10 1
98
(CWS – 1B)No new player Notes
77 18 3
98
(Det – OF)No new player Notes
49 48 0
97
(Tex – 1B,OF)No new player Notes
79 16 2
97
(SF – SP)No new player Notes
7 88 1
96
(Mia – SP)No new player Notes
73 23 0
96
(SD – 3B)No new player Notes
85 7 3
95
(Cin – RP)New player notes
45 50 0
95
(Ari – SP,RP)No new player Notes
18 74 0
92
(SD – SP)No new player Notes
78 13 0
91
(StL – OF)No new player Notes
38 53 0
91
(Col – OF)No new player Notes
82 7 1
90
(Tex – RP)No new player Notes
22 67 0
89
(Cle – 2B)No new player Notes
63 23 3
89

 

Note: Data on this page reflects transactions made in Fantasy Baseball.

 

Madson Packs Bags… Headed for Cincinnati

Reds, closer Madson agree on one-year deal

Cincinnati fills one of biggest needs in snagging free agent

Ryan Madson signing autographs before the Marc...

CINCINNATI — The Reds agreed to terms late Tuesday on a one-year, $10 million contract with free-agent closer Ryan Madson, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network had the initial report of a deal being reached. The Reds have not announced any agreement. A message was left with general manager Walt Jocketty.

Citing sources, Heyman reported earlier in the evening that talks between the two sides were heating up and in the serious stages. However, a source familiar with the situation downplayed the report to MLB.com, saying it was unlikely the Reds would get Madson unless his agent — Scott Boras — came well off the demand of a four-year, $44 million contract he had been reportedly been wanting.

And with this seeming to be a one-year deal for Madson, that certainly appears to be the case.

Francisco Cordero

Talks had been ongoing all winter with former Reds closer Francisco Cordero, who became a free agent after his $12 million club option was not exercised. Cincinnati had a one-year contract offer at an unknown figure on the table but could never reach an agreement with Cordero.

It looks as though the Reds turned their attention to the only other closer remaining on the market from a once-crowded field, though former Phillies closer Brad Lidge remains on the market.

Madson was believed close to re-signing with the Phillies earlier in the offseason before they signed Jonathan Papelbon. Last season, in his first full year as Philadelphia’s closer, the right-handed Madson was 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves in 34 chances while making $4.8 million.

The addition of a new closer further underscores the pitching makeover Cincinnati has made this offseason in an effort to go for the National League Central title in 2012. Late last month, the Reds parted with several young players in two separate trades that brought in starting pitcher Mat Latos from the Padres and left-handed reliever Sean Marshall from the Cubs.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What are the club’s plans for Brown?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers Phils fans’ questions

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
What on earth are the Phillies going to do with Domonic Brown? They have John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix in left field, Shane Victorino in center field and Hunter Pence in right field. Where’s the space for Brown? — Brett L., Broomall, Pa.
Domonic Brown

There is none, unless there is an injury or Mayberry and Nix don’t perform. Unless things change, Brown is expected to play the 2012 season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he will be looking to regain confidence and learning to play left field.

Nothing really has gone smoothly with Brown the past couple of seasons. The Phillies admittedly erred in the way they have handled him (bringing him up in 2010, only to spend most of the second half of the season sitting on the bench).

Brown performed poorly in winter ball following that season and started slowly in Spring Training 2011 before breaking his hand. He was playing great with Lehigh Valley early last season, when the Phils called him up (after saying they didn’t think he was ready). He did OK, relatively speaking, but once the Phillies acquired Pence and optioned Brown to Lehigh Valley, he struggled.

The Phils are hoping a full season in the Minors will get Brown back on track. Maybe it will, but if Mayberry and Nix perform well in left, I would think Brown could be trade bait at some point.

If Ryan Madson does not come back, where do you think he will sign and why are the Phillies disinterested in him? — Daniel S., Pinellas Park, Fla.

Ryan Madson signing autographs before the Marc...

Who said they’re disinterested in Madson? I’m sure general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would love to have Madson as his setup man, but would Madson come back to set up for Jonathan Papelbon? If I’m Madson, I’m not sure I would. But if Madson can’t get a closer job at closer money, maybe he would come back to a place he’s familiar and set up before hitting the market again next offseason. But I’m betting Madson will take his services elsewhere before Spring Training.

Is Chase Utley healthy this year? — Janet X., Harrisburg, Pa.

Chase Utley

The Phillies said late last season that Utley, who had knee issues last year, will be on a different offseason training program that should allow him to strengthen his legs without causing the tendinitis that forced him to miss the first couple of months of the 2011 season. They said that lack of strength in his lower half contributed to his lack of pop at the plate. Will he be the old Utley in 2012, one of the best offensive performers in the game? I’m not sure, but they certainly need him to play much better than he did last season.

How can you argue the Phillies can only get younger at two positions when they have an aging and oft-injured third baseman? — Bob P., Renovo, Pa.

Got lots of questions over the past week about third base, the David Wright rumors, how much they can expect to get from Polanco. Those are good questions, but some of the questions are almost like, “What’s the Phillies’ problem? Why won’t they get David Wright?” Like it were easy. Like Amaro can get Wright (or another stud third baseman) by just snapping his fingers. The Phils would love Wright at third base, but it’s not going to happen right now. The club has said Polanco should be healthy entering the season. If he is, he’s a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman than hits better than .300. That’s not exactly chopped liver.

Do you think the Phillies will hit a wall and not win the National League East? — Steven B., Cheltenham, Pa.

English: John Mayberry, Jr. of the Philadelphi...

The NL East has improved, but I still think the Phils will] win their sixth straight division title. If everybody is healthy, of course. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will win their fair share of games. The offense, which has flopped the previous two postseasons, has been productive during the season. I just don’t see how anybody could catch them.

The bench seems to have gained some much needed depth this year. What impact will this have on the 2012 Phillies? — Zack K., Clarks Summit, Pa.

Laynce Nix

It gives manager Charlie Manuel more options. If Polanco misses time, Manuel can play Ty Wigginton at third instead of Michael Martinez. When Ryan Howard is out, the Phillies can play Mayberry, Nix, Wigginton or even Jim Thome. They should be able to handle injuries a little better than they have in the past, while not sacrificing as much offense in the process.

Do you see any offensive options the Phillies could pursue at the Trade Deadline, like David Wright or a left fielder? — Jim D., Tabernacle, N.J.

Whoa. We’re already looking at the Trade Deadline? It’s a long way from July 31. Like I mentioned above, I’ve gotten lots of questions about third base, left field, etc. There were similar questions last year at this time about right field, and how the Phillies were going to replace Jayson Werth. The Phils decided they would give Ben Francisco, Brown and Mayberry a shot. If it worked, great. If not, then they could always find somebody else.

I think the same holds true this year. Why not see if Polanco can stay healthy? Why not see if Mayberry and Nix can platoon in left field? If they can’t, they can always try to find somebody else. In my opinion, it wouldn’t be smart emptying the farm system for something that might not happen (Polanco staying healthy, etc.). It would be smarter to see how they do, then reassess midseason.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Latest Headlines

Don’t expect Howard on opening day 

CSN Philly

Ryan Howard‘s recovery from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon is moving along and he could be ready for baseball activities by the time spring training opens in mid-February. Publicly, the Phillies are taking a wait-and-see approach on Howard’s readiness for opening day. Privately, the team probably has a much different mind-set. Privately, team officials may have already ruled out Howard for the April 5 season opener in Pittsburgh. Why do we believe this? Because the last couple of years, coinciding with head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan’s rise, the team has become more conservative in the time it takes getting banged-up players back on the field. Jimmy Rollins and Shane”

Phils’ Howard cleared to begin exercises

CSN Philly
“The Phillies received some encouraging news on Thursday.  Foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson cleared first basemen Ryan Howard to begin some strength and power exercises, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. The 32-year-old slugger, who had surgery to repair a ruptured left Achillies in October, will start jogging underwater and is likely to begin baseball activities within six weeks.”

Should Lidge’s number be retired?                   

CSN Philly columnist Casey Feeney
“With the calendar turned to 2012, the resignation has set in: Brad Lidge will not be a Phillie next season in all likelihood. From the club’s perspective, there are a fair number of reasons why they would be set to move in a different direction. Lidge has been injury-prone in recent seasons and his decline is evident both statistically and visually. His fastball is only occasionally effective, which renders him a 1-pitch pitcher on most nights. That’s not the point here. Nothing in that previous paragraph is a revelation. Unlike Roy Halladay, we come here, not to bury, but to praise Lidge.”

Angels ‘very unlikely’ to add closer Ryan Madson

Los Angeles Times

“There have been persistent Internet rumors linking the Angels to free-agent closer Ryan Madson, but General Manager Jerry Dipoto said it is “very, very unlikely” the team will acquire the former Philadelphia Phillies relief ace, or any closer, for that matter. “What I’ll say with some degree of certainty is that our most significant acquisitions have already been made,” Dipoto said, alluding to the signings of slugger Albert Pujols (10 years, $250 million) and pitcher C.J. Wilson (five years, $77.5 million). “We’re trying to add depth, and in a perfect world, we’d like to find another guy to join Jordan Walden, Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins to help with those last nine outs. But closer”

Cardinals downplaying interest in Oswalt                   

CSN Philly 
“According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals’ interest in Roy Oswalt is being downplayed. This is not exactly shocking news considering that the Cardinals already have Kyle Lohse, Chris Carpenter, Jamie Garcia as a their top three starters, with Jake Westbrook and Kyle McClellan available as starters too. Not to mention one huge addition to the rotation a healthy Adam Wainwright.”

Phils enter 2012 content with what they have 

CSN Philly 

“The arrival of the New Year and the end of the Eagles season has put the Phillies in the on-deck circle. Spring training is just seven weeks away, close enough for baseball junkies to begin counting down the days and still far enough off for general managers to make a few more moves. Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t planning any. At least any big ones. “We’re pretty happy with the team we have in place,” the Phillies’ general manager said Tuesday. “If there’s an area we might play around with it’s the bullpen, but I’d say there’s a pretty good chance we might be done.””

Boras clients will help shape next flurry

MLB.com 
“As the calendar flips from 2011 to 2012, baseball stirs from its holiday hibernation with a similarly notable transition. This is where the Hot Stove season morphs into the Hot Scott (Boras) season. The agent with the most influence and biggest clientele in the sport has spent the offseason’s first couple of months coiled in the grass — two-year deals for Willie Bloomquist and Bruce Chen here, one-year pacts for Andruw Jones, Gerald Laird and Andrew Brackman there — and now is ready to spring.  Boras may not have exactly cornered the free-agent market, but he definitely has a huge share of the block, going forward. Of the fewer than 100 remaining free agents — counting those”

Sources: Cubs, Phillies pursuing Kerry Wood

Sources: Cubs, Phillies pursuing Kerry Wood

The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies have shown the strongest interest in free-agent reliever Kerry Wood, major-league sources say.

Kerry Wood

Wood, 34, resides in Chicago and has previously indicated that he would like to remain with the Cubs – where he has spent 11 of his 13 big-league seasons. But more than two months have passed this off-season without an agreement between Wood’s representatives and the Cubs.

While the Cubs are a team in transition, the Phillies are carrying a hefty payroll and championship expectations into the 2012 season. Philadelphia does appear to be one reliever short; key contributors Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge were lost to free agency, while the status of Jose Contreras is unclear after he underwent arm surgery in September.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported earlier Sunday that the Phillies were considering Wood.

— Jon Paul Morosi

Related articles

Philadelphia Phillies: Power Ranking 20 Oddest Moments in Franchise History

By Greg Pinto (Featured Columnist)

Baseball can be a strange game.

Not the kind of strange that forces the casual fan to turn their head away from the action, but the kind of strange that forces the avid fan to lean back, raise an eyebrow and say, “That is something I may never see again in my lifetime.”

Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies are well aware of the meaning of “strange baseball.” Their team has helped to give those simple words a definition over the course of its history. From position players taking the mound, to waiting for an opponent to answer nature’s call, to watching their beloved mascot and a rival’s beloved manager resort to fisticuffs.

In the City of Brotherly Love, you could say that normal situations are strange, and that strange situations, are the norm.

20. The Ryan Madson Saga

127833382_display_image
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Free agency is an odd thing in and of itself.

With the market built to stay open right through the holiday season, nothing illustrates the spirit of giving better than throwing millions of dollars at baseball players to better your team, or in some cases, just keep good players away from your rivals.

Because of the nature of the market, it isn’t unusual to see player linked to a certain team for weeks at a time only to later find out that not only was a deal never close to being completed, but it was never even talked about. With the world of social media growing at a rapid pace, it can lead to a lot of rumors and a lot of hurt feelings.

Regardless of all of that, whatever was going on between the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Madson during the 2012 off-season was strange.

After emerging as the club’s closer in 2011, the Phillies looked as though they were ready to make Madson their closer for the foreseeable future, offering him a four-year, $44 million contract, which the right hander was ready to accept.

Or did they?

In spite of several respectable sources reporting that the deal was finished, the Phillies denied having any deal in place with Madson. A new rumor surfaced that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. needed the approval of team owner David Montgomery, another falsehood.

In the long run, the Phillies never did sign Madson. Instead, they inked Jonathan Papelbon to an even bigger deal, only to leave Madson in a dwindling market for closers and give him the opportunity to accept arbitration and return to the team anyway.

19. The Completely Unnecessary Hunter Pence Slide

Pence_display_image

It didn’t take long for fans to realize what an interesting character Hunter Pence is after he was acquired by the Phillies from the Houston Astros. Not only did he provide some right handed thump in the middle of the batting order, but he’s a great defensive outfielder and a lively guy.
Well, he may be a little too lively for his own good.

In a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011, Pence stood on second base with John Mayberry Jr. at the plate. Mayberry proceeded to hit a sharp single back up the middle, but Pence thought it was going to be flagged down. It wasn’t, but Pence slid into third anyway, as third base coach Juan Samuel waved him around like a mad man.

Pence popped up, scored the run, and the laughter ensued.

The Phillie Phanatic has never refused to taunt someone in the opposing dugout. Simply put, no player, manager, coach, or umpire is off limits to the Phanatic, and the Los Angeles Dodgers found that out the hard way. During a nationally televised game in 1988, the Phanatic took a life-sized dummy, wearing Lasorda’s Dodgers uniform, and beat the stuffing out of him.

Lasorda, never one to back down from a challenge in his own right, did not take kindly to this. He emerged from the visitor’s dugout and chased the Phanatic down, beating the stuffing out of the famous mascot.

After he retired, Lasorda would simply say, “I hate the Phillie Phanatic.”

17. Beer League

89764264_display_image
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Playing baseball isn’t so easy when you’re covered in a full cup of adult beverage.

Shane Victorino found that out first hand in a game against the Chicago Cubs, when the center fielder roamed back towards the ivy to catch a fly ball and instead, caught a full cup of beer right in the face. The Cubs would then proceed to throw the wrong guy out of the ballpark, only to catch the actual beer-throwing-bandit a few days later.

16. Doh! (Nut)

Pence_display_image

At some point, you have to wonder whether or not Hunter Pence has a few screws loose in that noggin of his his, but then again, don’t we all? Just three months into his Phillies’ tenure, Pence has created two of the most strangest moments in the organization’s history.

This moment came in a game against the Colorado Rockies, where Pence went to bat with his weighted, warm-up doughnut still on the barrel of his bat. After wondering why his bat was so heavy, he struggled to get the doughnut off, smashing the bat against the ground, before going back to being a strange player in general.

Photo Credit: The Fightins

15. Man Down!

Phanatic_display_image

Being the fabled Phillie Phanatic is not a simple gig, and apparently, he is safer when he is working at Citizens Bank Park than on his days off.

As the Phillies took to the road during the season, the Phanatic found himself working the crowd for the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs. While standing on his usual perch atop the home team’s dugout, a foul ball was lined into the stands, but never made contact with a fan.

That’s because it hit the Phanatic right in the neck!

Though he toppled down for a moment, the Phanatic was treated and released on the same night, ready to go back to work the next day. The man (creature-thing) is a trooper.

Photo Credit: www.egotvonline.com

14. The Flying Tarp: A Showcase of Sportsmanship

Playing baseball on the road isn’t easy. Players have to deal with rowdy fans and conditions that are less than ideal for winning a ball game. Playing baseball on the road, in Colorado, against the Colorado Rockies, during a severe thunderstorm while trying to help the Coors’ Field grounds crew pull a flying tarp onto the infield is even more difficult.

The Phillies managed to just that though in this strange moment, when they emerged from the dugout to aid the struggling grounds crew in pulling the tarp onto the field.

For some reason, however, it is Jimmy Rollins’ socks that stick out like a sore thumb to me in the video.

13. Johnny Callison Puts on Offensive Clinic, but Phillies Lose

Callison_display_image

Sometimes, when things are going bad, they’re going terrible. That was the case for the Phillies at the back end of the 1964 season. Trying desperately to help break his team out of a losing streak, Johnny Callison thought he was on to something in a game against the Milwaukee Braves. The Phillies’ outfielder hit three home runs in a single game—and off feat in and of itself.

However, even with three home runs from Callison alone, the Phillies’ pitching staff could not hold a lead! They would give up 14 runs of their own en route to a 14-8 loss in the strangest of fashions.

12. Angel Pagan Takes a Bathroom Break…Before an At-Bat

114917692_display_image Chris Trotman/Getty Images

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

It just so happens that in a game against the Phillies, New York Mets‘ outfielder Angel Pagan had to go right before an at-bat. After running in from the outfield, Pagan disappeared into the clubhouse, leaving Phillies’ starter Cliff Lee waiting on the mound as the inning progressed for Pagan to appear.

Finally, as the umpires and Lee began to get a bit impatient, Pagan emerged from the clubhouse, into the dugout, and finally, into the batter’s box, feeling much better than he had when he began his sprint towards the restroom.

11. Falling Short, Literally

128780714_display_image Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The Phillies were supposed to win it all in 2011, but ultimately, fell short of their goal—quite literally. For the second season in a row, they assembled an elite pitching staff that kept them within striking distance of a win in each postseason game they pitched in, but the bats couldn’t get them a sustainable lead. Fast-forward to an out away from playing golf, and Ryan Howard is at the plate once again, down by one.

Perfect symmetry.

After bouncing a simple ground ball, Howard crumpled to the ground to watch the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate around him—but he crumpled for good reason. On the final play of the season, Howard had tore his Achilles tendon!

10. Pedro Martinez to the Rescue

89763164_display_image Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Pedro Martinez never really seemed like the Phillies’ cup of tea.

Ever since becoming a contending franchise, the Phillies have prided themselves on employing “character guys”—players that are as effective in the clubhouse as they are on the field. Martinez had always been an interesting character, and his playing for a heated rival—the Mets—certainly didn’t improve his standing in the eyes of the fans.

So when Martinez, coming off of a couple of injury riddled seasons, decided that he wouldn’t sign with a team until mid-season, a lot of people scratched the Phillies off of their list of possible destinations right away.

Enter the mystery team!

The Phillies swooped in, signed Martinez, sent him to the Minor Leagues, and called him up to make nine starts during the regular season, all before putting him on the mound in a must-win Game 6 in the World Series against the New York Yankees amidst chants of “Who’s Your Daddy?”

It was a strange signing from day one.

9. Ed Delahanty’s Four Home Run Game…Goes for Naught

Delahanty_display_image

Ed Delahanty was one of the greatest hitters of all time, but he never really hit for power. So when a guy like Delahanty hits four home runs in a single game for your club, a rare and strange feat in and of itself, there is a pretty good chance you’re going to win the ball game, right?

Wrong.

Delahanty managed to hit four home runs against the Chicago Colts as a member of the Phillies, propelling the offense to score eight runs. The pitching staff gave up nine, and the Phillies fell to the Colts 9-8, wasting Delahanty’s four home run effort.

8. Phillies’ Security Team Defuses…Hot Dog Bomb

Phanatic2_display_image

Once upon a time, the Phillies weren’t able to fill Citizens Bank Park to the brim each night, and often times, the Phillie Phanatic’s hot dog cannon shot hog dogs into the stands that bounced around without ever reaching a target.

One night, after the Phanatic launched a hot dog into the crowd, it bounced around and found its way under a seat, where the clean-up crew missed it and left it there overnight.

The next day, when the employees arrived to open the ballpark up, someone found a “suspicious looking package,” and security was called in, followed by the bomb squad, who cautiously defused…a hot dog.

Just goes to show you, those hot dog cannons can be dangers. You’ll shoot your eye out kid!

7. Wilson Valdez—Really, Really Late Innings Closer

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There is something extraordinarily odd about looking at Wilson Valdez standing on the pitcher’s mound.

The utility man secured his place in Phillies’ lore in 2011 when the Phillies took on the Cincinnati Reds in a showdown for the ages. Well, that may be a bit over-dramatic, but it was a great game. In the simplest of terms, it was a game started by ace Roy Halladay and finished by utility closer Wilson Valdez.

In a 19-inning affair, the Phillies had stretched Danys Baez for as far as he could go before asking Valdez to ditch his infield position and take the mound. Valdez set down each of the three batters he faced, including Joey Votto, and picked up the win in the bottom half of the inning.

Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports

6. Ed Delahanty’s Mysterious Death

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There is no disputing the fact that Ed Delahanty was one of the greatest Phillies of all-time. He put up some numbers that cause chronic double-checking when his statistics are mentioned. However, the oddest part about Delahanty’s life was the way in which he passed away.

Not long after his Phillies’ career had ended and while he was still playing baseball, Delahanty was kicked off of a train by its conductor, who cited Delahanty for public drunkenness, claiming that he had stooped so far as to harassing female passengers.

The drunken Delahanty tried to cross back into the United States by himself, returning from Canada, but was swept over Niagara Falls and found days later. To this day, people question his death, wondering if it was an accident, if he committed suicide, or if Delahanty was murdered.

Honorable Mention: While researching Delahanty’s death, I came across another odd story, this one claiming that he was responsible for one of the most shameful home runs of all-time. Delahanty, an outfielder by trade, was tracking down a fly ball that would hit off of a pole and fall into an area of the mechanical scoreboard known as the “dog-house,” used to store the numbers.

The ball was ruled in play, and Delahanty had to struggle to get the ball out of the well. When he was unable to reach over, he decided to try and crawl through a small opening, but he got stuck! The runner scored and the play became known as the “inside the dog-house home run.”

5. Phillies Play the Blue Jays on the Road…at Home

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Finding a decent picture of the Phillies playing the Toronto Blue Jays on the road, at home in Citizens Bank Park was as difficult a task to find as it was to describe in this sentence, so hang with me here.

Due to the G4 Summit that was to be held in Toronto in June of 2010, the Blue Jays were forced to move their three game home series against the Phillies to Citizens Bank Park. Though the Jays would be the home team, the Phillies would actually be the home team.

It was a strange situation. Watching the Phillies bat first and wear their grey uniforms at home was an odd sight, and one you may never see again.

4. The Phold

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“The Phold” was a series of odd moments.

The 1964 Phillies were positioned to make the postseason, and once there, had the tools to win the World Series. The only problem was that manager Gene Mauch severely overworked his starting rotation leading into the stretch run, and though the Phils held a 6.5 game lead with 12 games left to play, all of that was about to change.

The Phillies were a dreadful, exhausted team entering those 12 games, and they would lose 10 of them, effectively knocking themselves out of the postseason picture. To this date, even with the current collapses of the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox fresh in our memories, “The Phold” is known as the most catastrophic baseball collapse of all-time.

3. Rain, Rain…Delays the World Series

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Leading the series three games to one against the Tampa Bay rays, the Phillies were on the verge of winning the second World Series title in franchise history. However, Mother Nature would have none of it. After the Rays managed to tie Game 5 up and everything was equal, the skies opened and commissioner Bug Selig was forced to suspend the game.

It was the first time in the history of the World Series that a game had been suspended, and because rain continued to fall in the city of Philadelphia, the teams would have to wait until Wednesday to finish a game that began on Monday.

The odd suspension of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series led to a rule change in the off-season, but in hindsight, it was well worth the wait for the Phillies, who would capture that championship.

2. Phillies Win 1980 World Series

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Viewing this as an odd moment may take a bit of creativity, but think about this for a moment.

For a long time, it seemed as though the Phillies were never going to win the World Series. After all, though they had come close in 1915 and 1950, neither of those clubs could finish the job, and they were led by Pete Alexander and Robin Roberts, respectively. After the collapse of 1964, it really looked like the Phillies just weren’t meant to be champions.

However, it was just like Tug McGraw said, “You gotta believe.”

The Phillies made believers out of the baseball world in 1980, when on the strength of guys like McGraw, Steve Carlton, and Mike Schmidt, the Phillies became World Champions. It was strange, seeing the Phils on top, especially after coming up short for so long.

1. “Mitchie Poo” Walks It Off

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As strange as it was to see Wilson Valdez pitching, it was even more of an oddity to watch Mitch Williams hit, and the baseball events of the day were even more of a spectacle.

The Phillies were set to host a double header, and the San Diego Padres took Game 1, which included a very long rain delay. The Phillies believed that they were done for the night. They were wrong. With 1am having come and gone, the Phillies and Padres took the field for Game 2—an extra-innings affair.

In a tie game, Williams pitched two scoreless innings—the ninth and tenth—and was due up fourth at the plate in the bottom half of the inning. Manager Jim Fregosi had no intention of pitching Williams should the game continue, but he was out of options on the bench.

With two men on, Darren Daulton stepped to the plate, and the Phils hoped that he could end it before Williams had to bat. That wasn’t the case, as Trevor Hoffman had other plans, striking the catcher out. Now, Williams stepped to plate, and at 4:41am, the oddest Phillies’ moment of all times ensued, as Williams; “Wild Thing;” the closer, singled over the shortstop’s head to end the game.

That walk-off hit spawned one of the most memorable Harry Kalas calls of all-time, who said excitedly, “This game is over on an RBI hit by “Mitchie Poo!”