Phils Land Set Up Man Adams & Starter Lannan

Phils reach agreement with reliever Adams

Deal is for two years, $12 million, with vesting option

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies have found their setup man.

MLB.com confirmed the Phillies have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract with right-hander Mike Adams.

The deal has a vesting option for 2015. If Adams makes 120 appearances in 2013-14 — with 60 appearances in 2014 — the contract vests for $6.5 million. Or if he makes 65 appearances in 2014 it vests for $6 million. The Phillies also have a club option for $6 million, if Adams doesn’t hit those marks.

The deal is pending a physical.

Pitcher Mike Adams of the San Diego Padres

Pitcher Mike Adams

Adams, 34, went 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 61 appearances last season with the Rangers. In eight seasons with the Brewers, Padres and Rangers, Adams is 18-15 with a 2.28 ERA in 358 appearances. He has a 1.98 ERA over the past five seasons, which is third lowest of any reliever in baseball with at least 153 innings pitched.

Adams had surgery in October for thoracic outlet syndrome. It is a condition in which a rib bone presses against a nerve, causing pain and numbness in the arm. MLB.com reported in October that Adams is expected to be ready for Spring Training, although that remains to be seen.

KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Texas, first reported late Friday night the Phillies had agreed to terms with the reliever.

 

Phillies agree to one-year deal with Lannan

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies not only found their setup man this weekend, they also found their fifth starter.

Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies have agreed to terms with right-hander Mike Adams to be their setup man and left-hander John Lannan to be their fifth starter. CSNPhilly.com first reported the Lannan deal. CBS Sports reported Lannan has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

The deals are pending physicals.

Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles May ...

John Lannan

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., recently said the club was looking for a low-risk, high-reward starter to replace Vance Worley, who the Phillies shipped to Minnesota in the Ben Revere trade. Lannan seems to fit the bill.

Lannan, 28, is 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA in 134 starts in his career, which he has spent entirely with the Nationals. But Lannan, who has started twice for the Nationals on Opening Day, became expendable in a stacked Washington rotation.

Lannan is a ground-ball pitcher, which could help him at Citizens Bank Park, although he has a 6.49 ERA in eight career starts in Philadelphia.

But the Phillies wanted a veteran presence to fill out the back of the rotation, which includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick.

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

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3B, SS, 2B, OF Young Can Fill A Lot Of Holes On Any Given Day

Michael Brian Young is a Major League Baseball infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been named to Major League Baseball All-Star Game seven times. In 2005, he was the American League batting champion.

Born: October 19, 1976 (age 36), Covina
Nationality: American
Salary: 16 million USD (2012)
TeamTexas Rangers (#10 / First baseman)

Phillies’ deal for Young finally official

Veteran infielder ticketed to fill ballclub’s hole at third base

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA — It wasn’t easy, and it certainly wasn’t quick, but the long-simmering deal that made Rangers icon Michael Young the Phillies’ new third baseman finally became official on Sunday.

With that, after a cautious start to the offseason, the Phils addressed their two most pressing offseason needs within a matter of days. They had also been seeking a center fielder, and checked that off the list as the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., were wrapping up on Thursday, with the deal that brought Ben Revere from the Twins for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May.

Young, 36, the Rangers’ all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and triples, had the right to veto any trade. However, staying in Texas would likely have meant a utility role and less playing time. With the Phillies, he’ll be penciled in as the everyday third baseman. Injuries to Placido Polanco meant the team had seven different players start at least one game at the hot corner in 2012: Polanco, Kevin Frandsen, Mike Fontenot, Ty Wigginton, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and Hector Luna.

He’s a seven-time All-Star, who didn’t have his best offensive season in 2012. Young played in 156 games for the Rangers last season, batting .277 with eight homers, 67 RBIs and a .682 OPS.

“Clearly, this brings a wonderful package to what we’re trying to do here in Philadelphia,” said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “One, he’s a very, very good ballplayer. He has a tremendous track record. He has all the elements we’re looking for.

“First of all, the make-up is extraordinary. He’s the ultimate team player. He knows how to play baseball. He’s a winning baseball player. He’s had the opportunity to be in big games in the playoffs, and he just fits real well. The fact that he hits right-handed helps balance our lineup out a little bit, as well. I just think all the elements he brings to the table for us are very, very positive.

“I think [having a down year is] just part of the process of being a Major League player. You don’t have a great year every year. But at the same time, even when his numbers aren’t extraordinary — and they were still pretty darn good last year, maybe better than anybody we had on our club — the fact of the matter is, he’s a professional hitter. Even when he’s not having productive hits, I know he’s the kind of guy who makes productive outs. So there’s a lot of pluses to this guy.”

“He made an adjustment in September and bounced back some [with a .361 batting average and .897 OPS in his last 20 games],” said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. “We fully expect him to have a better offensive year than he did last year. He’ll be better in Philadelphia than he was last season. The opportunity for him to play third base in Philadelphia was more than we could promise here. As the Phillies pushed for Michael and we got comfortable with the return, we presented the option to Michael and his family for them to make the decision.”

The Phillies hope he can rebound, but are also trying to stabilize the third base — while giving Cody Asche, who played last season at Double-A Reading, more time to develop.

“This is a very tough situation,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He has always been my go-to guy in my six years here. He has always done a lot for me. He has been a leader for the organization on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community. He certainly will be missed.”

The Rangers received right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom and a Minor League pitcher, Lisalverto Bonilla in return. The guidelines of the trade were agreed to in Nashville, but it took days for Young to agree to waive his no-trade clause and for the Commissioner’s office to approve the money involved.

The Phillies will pay $5.5 million of the $16 million Young will make in the final year of his contract next season. In addition, the teams will split the additional $1.2 million that Young negotiated to accept the trade, in part to cover the difference in state income tax between Texas and Pennsylvania.

Lindblom 25, was acquired from the Dodgers along with Ethan Martin and a player to be named, which turned out to be Stefan Jarrin, for Shane Victorino at the Trade Deadline. He spent the remainder of the season with the Phillies, going 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 26 appearances.

Bonilla, 22, is an intriguing player. After being converted from starter to reliever, he pitched himself onto the Phillies’ radar this season. After starting the season at Class A Clearwater, he was promoted to Reading and was named to the Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star team. He was a combined 3-2 with a 1.55 ERA when he was picked for the Futures All-Star Game in Kansas City, and was ranked as the team’s No. 15 prospect by MLB.com.

However, he injured his right thumb while involved in what was reported as “horseplay” the night before that game and didn’t pitch again in ’12. He’s currently 1-4 with a 6.92 ERA in 15 games for the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League.

“Lindblom was one of the guys who was very important for us when we traded Shane Victorino,” Amaro said. “I think, just by virtue of the fact that we didn’t have an eighth-inning guy, we put him in a position to pitch in the eighth. He may very well do that very proficiently at some point, but he’s probably not ready to do that quite yet. He’s probably more comfortable in the sixth and seventh [innings]. That may be his bailiwick. That may change moving forward. But we had to put him in a position he probably, frankly, wasn’t ready for. He had a tough time of it at times. But he’s a very good pitcher.

Michael Young Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on August 27, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.

“As far as Bonilla goes, he has a tremendous arm. He’s still a little raw. Great [fastball-changeup] combination. He’s going to be a big league pitcher, and an effective one. There’s no question he’s going to be an effective big league pitcher. No question. Again, we feel like that’s one of the areas we’re dealing from a position of strength … so we felt like we were comfortable enough that to get this type of everyday player, this was the right thing for us.”

Now, Amaro will turn his attention to addressing other needs.

“Obviously, with the hole that was created by the move with Vance Worley to get Ben, we’re looking at the possibility of getting a little bit of depth there. [Tyler] Cloyd and [Jonathan] Pettibone will fight it out. Maybe Martin or somebody else will step up at some point. Or maybe even [Adam] Morgan.

“But we’ll probably look to add a low-risk, high-reward type of guy or somebody who’s come back from an injury or someone like that who can battle for that fifth spot. A lot of teams have had some success looking for that guy late in the season and finding that productive guy. So that’s one possibility. We’re still looking into the bullpen and trying add a veteran presence there, as well. And if we can do a little bit more for our outfield, we’ll consider that, as well.

“We’d love to add more home runs. But for me, again, it’s about production. If we can produce runs — and I know that Ben can and I know that Michael can — and we have to get production out of the middle of our lineup, the guys we’ve paid to produce those runs. If we can get complementary [contributions] from Ben and Michael and get the kind of production we expect out of Ryan [Howard] and Chase [Utley], I think we’re going to be fine.”

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

Young will feel at home with Phillies

Veteran is joining a team filled with players who are all about winning

Richard JusticeBy Richard Justice

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is going to love Michael Young — and so will Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, etc. Young will fit nicely on a team that prides itself on playing the game right, on playing hard and on competing like crazy.

If that sounds like basic stuff, it is. At least it is for the good teams. And some teams do it better than others. When the Phillies were winning five straight National League East division championships between 2007 and 2011, they played with toughness and an edge.

Young plays that way, too. There are legitimate questions about how good he still is, about his power and defense and all the rest. But he did hit .277 and have 27 doubles in 2012 in his worst season in a decade. In terms of presence and being a good teammate, the Phillies simply couldn’t have found anyone better.

Young’s legacy with the Rangers should not be underestimated. First, he’s one of the most decent people you’ll never meet. It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone disliking Young.

He led the Rangers out of the Alex Rodriguez years — back to a clubhouse environment that was about 25 guys instead of one. He helped lead them back to winning, too, as Rangers general manager Jon Daniels began accumulating talent and doing his job better than almost anyone.

Along the way, Young became the face of the franchise and its most popular player. He was one of baseball’s best players for about seven years. Between 2004 and 2010, he averaged 18 home runs and 50 walks a season, while compiling an .819 OPS. He leaves the Rangers as a seven-time All-Star who twice finished in the Top 10 of American League Most Valuable Player balloting.

His numbers can’t be measured just in his play on the field. He was the leader of the Rangers, their spokesman and the guy who set a tone. When Yu Darvish joined the Rangers last offseason, some of us wondered how comfortable he’d be, given the cultural leap from Japan to Texas.

“He’ll be fine,” Young said. “Believe me, if you can’t get along with the guys in here, you’re the one with the problem.”

Young was a large reason for that environment. Third baseman Adrian Beltre probably took on more of a leadership mantle last season as Young’s play declined. But the Rangers probably don’t win back-to-back AL championships in 2010 and ’11 without Young’s contributions, both measured and otherwise.

Daniels had toyed with trading him twice before. Young had a tough time swallowing those discussions, and also the moves from second base to third to first. He always did what the Rangers believed was best for the team, but he didn’t always agree. He twice asked to be traded, but rescinded both demands and apologized to teammates for being a distraction.

When fans would criticize his defense, Young would say, “Well, I would have liked to have spent my entire career at one position, but those aren’t my decisions.”

Because Young was the face of the franchise, because his power declined dramatically the last two seasons — from 21 home runs in 2010 to 11 and eight the last two years — Young became the No. 1 target of criticism from fans on talk radio and blogs in Dallas-Fort Worth.

It’s always odd to see fans turn on some of the guys who’ve performed the best and attempted to do everything correctly. But Young never lashed out. If he was angry — and he surely was — he never showed it.

He has agreed to be traded to the Phillies, as Daniels is attempting a dramatic reshaping of the Rangers. Part of that reshaping is moving second baseman Ian Kinsler to first and inserting highly-regarded rookie Jurickson Profar at second.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have an opening at third base. It’s a no-risk move, since the Rangers are paying most of Young’s salary. Knowing how prideful Young is, there won’t be many more motivated players next season.

He’ll love Philadelphia because the ballpark will be filled and the clubhouse has a bunch of guys — Howard, Rollins, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley — who are accustomed to winning and know how to win.

That’s what Young has always been about, too. He had a terrific 13-year run with the Rangers. Regardless of what he does in this next chapter of his career, he’ll always be a Texas Ranger, one of its most popular and productive players ever. Here’s to another great season or two or three from one of the really good guys.

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MICHAEL YOUNG STATS SUMMARY

G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG  
SEASON 156 611 79 169 226 27 3 8 67 33 70 2 2 .277 .312 .370
MLB Totals 1823 7399 1085 2230 3286 415 55 177 984 532 1152 89 30 .301 .347 .444
Minors Totals 524 2015 330 597 906 132 21 45 325 222 367 83 30 .296 .367 .450

Awards and Honors

MLB PLAYERS CHOICE MAN OF THE YEAR
2008: Texas (AL)
2011: Texas (AL)
ALL-STAR
2004: Texas (AL)
2005: Texas (AL)
2006: Texas (AL)
2007: Texas (AL)
2008: Texas (AL)
2009: Texas (AL)
2011: Texas (AL)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
6/16/2002: Texas (AL)
8/24/2009: Texas (AL)
6/27/2011: Texas (AL)
RANGERS HEART AND HUSTLE AWARD
2006: Texas (AL)
2007: Texas (AL)
2009: Texas (AL)
2010: Texas (AL)
RANGERS MVP
2004: Texas (AL)
2005: Texas (AL)
2007: Texas (AL)
2009: Texas (AL)
RAWLINGS GOLD GLOVE
2008: Texas (AL)
RANGERS HAROLD MCKINNEY GOOD GUY AWARD
2003: Texas (AL)
RANGERS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
2001: Texas (AL)

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Phils Land CF Revere At Winter Meetings

Phils new centerfielder,,,

  • Full Name: Ben Daniel Revere
  • Born: 5/3/1988 in Atlanta, GA  Bats/Throws: L/R HT: 5’9′ WT: 170 Debut: 9/7/2010 College: N/A

Phils get Revere from Twins for Worley, May
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Phillies will not leave the Winter Meetings empty handed.

They have acquired center fielder Ben Revere in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. Right-hander Vance Worley and right-handed pitching prospect Trevor May are headed to Minnesota in the deal.

“Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.

Revere hit .294 with 13 doubles, six triples, 32 RBIs, 40 stolen bases and 70 runs scored in 511 at-bats last season. He also carried a .333 on-base percentage and a .342 slugging percentage.

“Based on what’s available, [the Phillies] did all right,” one high-ranking American League executive said Thursday. “[Revere is] a solid average player. That’s how I look at him. He’s above average defensively. He can run. My biggest question, considering his size [5-foot-9, 170 pounds], is if he can play 145, 150 games. But he puts the ball in play better than I thought he would.”

CBSSports.com reported early Thursday that the Phillies had targeted Revere as an option in center field. Things clearly picked up, with Amaro and Pat Gillick holding separate conversations this morning with Twins general manager Terry Ryan.

The Phillies lose Worley, who projected to be their fourth or fifth starter. They also lost May, who was listed as their No. 2 overall prospect.

Because Revere is not yet eligible for salary arbitration, he comes relatively cheap, which would seem to allow the Phillies to continue to pursue a desperately needed corner outfielder with power. They are deep in negotiations with the Rangers for infielder Michael Young, who would play third base if he accepted a trade.

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

BEN REVERE STATS SUMMARY

G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
SEASON 124 511 70 150 175 13 6 0 32 29 0 54 40 9 .294 .333 .342
MLB Totals 254 989 127 275 319 22 11 0 64 57 1 100 74 19 .278 .319 .323
Minors Totals 403 1584 240 517 640 50 29 5 158 122 3 143 160 56 .326 .383 .404
BATTING Regular Season Career Stats

YEAR▲ TEAM LG LEVEL G AB R H TB 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG  
2010 MIN AL MLB 13 28 1 5 5 0 0 0 2 2 0 5 0 1 .179 .233 .179
2011 MIN AL MLB 117 450 56 120 139 9 5 0 30 26 1 41 34 9 .267 .310 .309
2012 MIN AL MLB 124 511 70 150 175 13 6 0 32 29 0 54 40 9 .294 .333 .342
MLB Totals MLB 254 989 127 275 319 22 11 0 64 57 1 100 74 19 .278 .319 .323
Awards and Honors
ROOKIE OF THE MONTH
  • 6/2011: Minnesota (AL)
MILB.COM ORGANIZATION ALL-STAR
  • 2010: Minnesota (AL)
AFL RISING STARS
  • 2010: Peo Saguaros (AFL)
EAS POST-SEASON ALL-STAR
  • 2010: New Britain (EAS)
EAS MID-SEASON ALL-STAR
  • 2010: New Britain (EAS)
FUTURES GAME SELECTION
  • 2010: New Britain (EAS)
EAS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
  • 5/24/2010: New Britain (EAS)
FSL POST-SEASON ALL-STAR
  • 2009: Fort Myers (FSL)
FSL MID-SEASON ALL-STAR
  • 2009: Fort Myers (FSL)
FSL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
  • 5/18/2009: Fort Myers (FSL)
BASEBALL AMERICA HIGH CLASS A ALL-STAR
  • 2008: Beloit (MID)
MID MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
  • 2008: Beloit (MID)
MID PROSPECT OF THE YEAR
  • 2008: Beloit (MID)
MID POST-SEASON ALL-STAR
  • 2008: Beloit (MID)
MID MID-SEASON ALL-STAR
  • 2008: Beloit (MID)

 

Phils Playoff Chances Heading Into Halfway Point

How Many Wins Will the Phillies Need to Make the Playoffs?

June 21, 2012, 2:10 pm
By Andrew Kulp  (email)
The700Level.com
The Daily News ran a column this morning that set out to answer that very question. David Murphy did the leg work, and based on results from previous years, he concluded the Phillies need to reach the 88-win markto qualify for the postseason.The reasoning is simple. In each full season since the Wild Card was adopted in 1995, the club that would have earned the newly invented second WC spot finished with at least 88 wins on all but two out of 16 occasions.

In practice, the path to get there is not nearly so simple. With a record of 33-37, in order for the Phils to reach 88 wins, they need to go 55-37 the rest of the way — and even that might not be enough. Nine times, or more than half, the runner-up’s win total actually eclipsed 88.

Murphy seems to be operating under the assumption the Phillies won’t win the NL East, a conclusion we’ve more or less drawn on our own. Regardless, sneaking in through the back door doesn’t diagram much easier.

The plan he sets out would require Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Vance Worley to revert to their 2011 performances, when the club combined to go 39-17 over their last 56 combined starts. So far this season, the Phils are 11-3 when Hamels starts, but 7-14 when Lee or Worley are pitching. Lee and Worley have also missed games due to injury.

That’s an optimistic projection, though clearly achievable. Plus Roy Halladaywill eventually return, which should help prop up the rest of the rotation, and actually lessen the load on the other three.Yet you can see how staggering a hole the Phillies are in when you break it down like that. A team that has been hovering around or below .500 for the majority of the year likely needs to win at close to a .600 clip for the next three months — and they’re still missing players.

Think they have it in them?

———————————————————
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Philadelphia Phillies: How Chase Utley‘s Return Impacts Team’s Playoff Chances

By

 (Featured Columnist) on June 22, 2012

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The result of Thursday night’s Philadelphia Phillies game, a 4-1 loss to theColorado Rockies, pretty much sums up how the entire season has been going.

Citizen’s Bank Park, a place that boasts loud and passionate fans, used to be a place that other teams dreaded to play in. The home-field advantage was never more obvious than when the Phils took the field at their stadium in the heart of their beloved city. In 2012, however, it has just been a place where the Phillies play their home games. Nothing much is special about it, no added advantage is obvious. The team isn’t winning any more games at home. They aren’t winning games period.

Nothing has been easy for the Phils this season. Whether it has been the injuries to key members of the team, uncharacteristic errors in the field, a lack of success against other teams’ bullpens or just an inability to score with runners on base with less than two outs, the championship formula this team has had in the past few years is not there.

Morale is down and frustration is obvious. It is on the faces of the players, the dumbfounded looks of the manager and the disappointment from the fans.

This team needs something, well a lot of things. It needs to get help in the bullpen. It needs to get its ace and sluggers off of the DL. It needs its other ace to find a way to win a game. It needs to score more runs. It needs to make less errors, both mental and on the score sheet. It needs to take action, to play inspired baseball. Most importantly, this team needs to get its swagger, its confidence, its personality back.

Most of what the Phils need, most of what I described, is embodied in the heart and soul of one player. He is someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, someone who plays with grit and passion, someone who is a leader. He may have arthritic knees but that doesn’t change the fact that when healthy, he can really smack the cover off of a baseball.

Will Chase Utley’s return make the Phils a better team?

No, one player is not enough to solve their problems.Yes, Utley will help this team make up ground in the East.It depends on how his knees are for the rest of the season.Submit Vote vote to see results

If you haven’t figured it out, the person I am referring to is All-Star second baseman Chase Utley.

Having yet to face major league pitching and the wear and tear of major league fielding, Utley is close to making his 2012 debut. In fact, according to a recent report via AOL Sporting News, Utley could be back before the calendar turns to July.

While Utley’s return has been long anticipated, at this point in the season, one has to wonder if it will be enough or if the Phils have already dug themselves a hole too deep to climb out of.

Even then, a bigger question arises. When Utley comes back, how will he be? Will he go back to how he was pre-2011? Will he be able to play back-to-back games? Will his knees hold up for the rest of the season?

With all of these questions and so far, not enough information to create the answers, it is hard to predict how Utley’s return will impact the team’s chances at a sixth consecutive playoff berth. If Utley is healthy, however, and returns to the form he has had in the best years of his career, it would not be surprising to see the Phillies once again atop the NL East.

On the field, Utley brings solid defensive skills. He has never been perfect in the field but it is something he has invested time and energy in improving. With the bat, Utley has offensive prowess. His quick swing enables him to get the barrel on the ball and helps him get around on pitches. He grinds out each at-bat and is rarely ever an easy out.

144812412_crop_340x234
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Something else that the Phillies desperately need is situational hitting and when at his best, Utley does this as well as anyone else in the game. With a runner on second, nobody out, such as in Thursday’s game when Ty Wigginton led off the inning with a double, Utley knows what he has to do and more often than not executes.

In addition to what Utley offers with his bat and his glove, depending on his knees, he can also be a threat on the bases. Although not the fastest, Utley has also had good career numbers in base stealing percentage. Just like every other aspect of his game, he works so hard at it and as a result, when he does run, he picks his moments, and more often than not, he chooses them wisely.

In the dugout, in the clubhouse, in the locker room and on the field, Chase Utley is a leader. For someone who keeps his life relatively under wraps in terms of the media, Utley has proven himself to be a vital part of who the team is. Much of the confidence, swagger and personality this team alludes comes from the way Utley plays the game. The younger players on the team imitate him and the older players respect him.

If Jimmy Rollins is the fire and Ryan Howard is the heart of the line up, Chase Utley is obviously the soul. Without its heart and soul, Rollins’ fire is just an extinguishing flame. It goes without saying that with Utley back, this team will start to get some of its morale back. Rollins’ flame, which has been starting to light up, will catch fire. Led by Rollins and Utley, the rest of this offense will catch fire too, just in time for a late playoff push in the heat of the summer months.

So even though the Chase Utley Phillies fans will see is still in question, what isn’t in question is what he means to this team. So much of Utley’s value is not measured in a box score. It is in the intangibles he exudes just when he takes the field. For the Phils, getting Utley back will impact their playoff chances and could very well make them a playoff team again.

No matter what, though, the Phillies will be an interesting story to watch as the final, pivotal months of the season are underway.

Phils Win 1st Spring Exhibition Over FSU 6-1

Phils’ first taste of game action is win over FSU

Luna homers as part of five-run seventh for Philadelphia

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. — A five-run seventh inning broke open a close game against Florida State University as the Phillies took a 6-1 victory in their opening contest of the spring.
Florida State University College of Motion Pic...

FSU Campus

The Phillies used Wednesday’s exhibition against the college team as an opportunity to get a look at some of their younger arms in camp.

Austin Hyatt is 25, but he still qualifies as young.

He started the game and struck out three in two perfect innings at Bright House Field.

“I’m one of the few starters whose first time it is in camp, I guess one of the younger guys, so I was happy to be called upon,” Hyatt said.

English: Philadelphia Phillies minor leaguer J...

Joe Savery

Hyatt went 12-6 with a 3.86 ERA at Double-A Reading last season, making the Eastern League All-Star team in the process. Hyatt needs more seasoning in the Minor Leagues, and there certainly is no need to rush him with a big league rotation that includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Vance Worley and Joe Blanton.

Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, Phillippe Aumont and B.J. Rosenberg each threw a scoreless inning, for the Phils, who were paced on offense by Hector Luna (1-for-1, HR, two RBIs, walk) and Tyson Gillies (1-for-2, two runs, RBI, stolen base).

Hunter Pence doubled in his spring debut, while Pete Orr and Tuffy Gosewisch also recorded two-base hits.

Hyatt said he plans to soak in everything possible while he is in big league camp.

“I try to sit back and listen, pick up some things here and there,” Hyatt said. “But the guys, they make you feel welcome at the same time, so it’s not as intimidating as it may seem. It’s an honor to be around them.”

Hyatt is hoping to open the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and continue the progress he made last season.

“It definitely gets more exciting when you get closer,” he said. “It’s what you kind of work your way up the Minors for, to get closer, so yeah, I realize if you pitch well for a season, you could be there. It is nice to think about.”

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

Sophomore Jinx For Vance?

Will Worley regress in sophomore season?

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There are no real reasons to expect Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels to regress in 2012. The peripherals of Lee and Hamels (walks, strikeouts, home runs allowed) fell in line with their ERAs last year, and in Halladay’s case, his supporting numbers actually outperformed his ERA. Doc finished with a 2.35 ERA that easily could have been 2.20.

English: Vance Worley, pitching for the Philad...

The Phillies know what they’ll get from Halladay, Lee and Hamels. These are three pitchers with track records as defined as their pitching identities. Halladay is the craftsman with a killer instinct that supersedes the skill-set of whoever he faces. Lee is the pinpoint lefty who, when on his game, is better than anyone in the sport. Hamels is the ever-evolving “stuff” guy who transformed from a two-pitch pitcher into one with four weapons.

The question mark is Vance Worley. We spent the majority of 2011 waiting for the other shoe to drop … and it never really did. Does that mean we can expect him to roll right along in 2012?

Not quite.

After a complete game in San Francisco in late July, Worley improved to 7-1 with a 2.02 ERA. To that point Worley had a .199 opponents’ batting average, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2-to-1 and only three home runs allowed in 11 starts.

Over his next 10 starts, Worley had a 4.18 ERA in 60 innings, allowing the opposition a .278 batting average. One looks at that and forms the opinion that Worley’s numbers regressed to his true talent level. But that isn’t exactly the case.

Worley’s K/BB ratio actually improved over those 10 starts. The 2-to-1 figure from the first 11 starts jumped up to nearly 3.5-to-1. Worley kept getting better, but we’re a results-based society so we noticed the increasing ERA rather than the 24-year-old’s developing process and prowess on the mound.

How can it be that Worley had a 2.02 ERA with mediocre command through the first 11 starts, then a 4.18 ERA with much-improved command over the next 10?

Two reasons: worse luck with fly balls and a higher line drive rate.
Through 11 starts, Worley allowed three home runs on 180 fly balls. The average home run per fly ball rate is around 10 percent, or one homer per 10 fly balls. Worley was at 1.6 percent, allowing one homer every 60 fly balls.

Worley wasn’t drinking a magic potion that made his fly balls die in the outfield. Some pitchers excel at keeping batters off-balance and jamming them, inducing weaker fly balls, but even they don’t sustain obscenely low home run per fly ball rates. Remember how good Halladay was his first year with the Phillies? His HR/FB rate that year was 11.3 percent.
Sure enough, seven of Worley’s next 60 fly balls left the yard to balance out his home run rate.

So that was reason No. 1 for Worley’s ERA increasing despite his better command. Reason No. 2 was an uptick in his line drives allowed.
Worley allowed line drives on 18 percent of balls in play through his first 11 starts. In his next 10, it was 26 percent. Line drives are the hardest balls to field because they travel and fall rapidly. Thus, line drives fall in for hits at a much greater rate than grounders or fly balls. Liners are hits, league-wide, about 73 percent of the time. Ground balls go for hits 23 percent of the time.

An eight-percent increase in line drives is significant, and was one of the root causes of Worley’s opponents’ batting average going from .199 to .278.

Despite those added homers and line drives during the second half of Worley’s season, we should be confident that he can be a successful major league pitcher moving forward. As mentioned several times, his command only got better as his 2011 season went on. His batting average on balls in play was reasonable, as was his strand rate.*

*BABIP and strand rate are usually the two telltale signs that a pitcher was lucky and/or underperformed despite his ERA. J.A. Happ is the best case in recent memory. Happ’s ERAs were always low in Philly despite every other number suggesting they should be high. Look what’s happened for Happ in Houston as things have balanced out.

Worley has shown that he can strike batters out. The league will catch up a bit to his two-seam fastball, but even when it does it is very hard for a right-handed batter to pull the trigger when it is running back across the plate. Any successful starter needs a go-to pitch. That two-seamer is a weapon.

Can we expect Worley to finish 2012 with an ERA of 3.01? No. But we shouldn’t expect him to have a 4.18 ERA, either. Something between 3.50 and 3.70 is reasonable. Any team would love that production from a cheap fourth starter.

For more statistical musings from Corey Seidman, visit Brotherly Glove and Phillies Nation.

What’s In Store For Joe Blanton This Season?

Can Blanton bounce back in 2012?

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Four of five rotation spots are set for the Phillies heading into 2012 — it’s hard to envision Vance Worley being asked to do anything but pick up from where he left off.

Joe Blanton, however, has a small chance of losing his starting job to Kyle Kendrick or one of the many depth-starters the Phillies signed this off-season.

It is unlikely, but if Blanton shows up to Spring Training out of shape or still feeling pain in his elbow, he could quickly become an unusable and untradeable asset.

Ricky Bottalico touched on this subject Tuesday on Comcast SportsNet’s “Phillies Hot Stove.”

“[Blanton’s] gotta come in there, prove that he’s healthy, make sure he’s coming into Spring Training at 100 percent,” Bottalico said. “If he does not do that, I think there could be problems for the Phillies. You’re basically in a situation where you may have to eat $8 million.”

Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton warming up before...

Trade talks surrounded Blanton from the day after the Phillies signed Cliff Lee last winter until Blanton went on the shelf for the first time with a sore elbow. At one point, Blanton’s three-year, $24 million contract looked appealing to teams in need of a middle-of-the-rotation starter. But now, he’ll have to come back and make a handful of quality starts to generate any real trade value. Without doing so, no team will be willing to take on a significant portion of Blanton’s salary or part with an attractive enough minor leaguer to make a trade worthwhile.

“If he does come back healthy, either you give him a job as a fourth starter, or you throw him out to the wolves and see what you can get for him,” Bottalico said.

Of course, it’s a bit of a catch-22, because while you can’t trade Blanton without him proving his value, if he does come back and pitch well, the Phils might not have a reason to deal him. The upcoming season is Blanton’s last under contract with the Phillies.

Bottalico thinks Blanton can bounce back, but it should be noted that Blanton wasn’t all that effective even when healthy in 2010. In that season, Blanton had a 4.82 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 176 innings. His control was very good, but his strike-throwing came at the expense of allowing 10.6 hits per nine innings, one full hit over his career mark. He was a bit unlucky, stranding two percent fewer baserunners than usual and seeing his balls in play drop for hits 32 percent of the time rather than 29 percent. But it wasn’t as if his high ERA could have been blamed solely on misfortune.

Blanton has been with the Phils since midway through the 2008 season, but he is still one of the toughest players to predict moving forward. His National League resume includes one impressive season in which he struck out five percent more batters than ever before (2009), one slightly less than mediocre year (2010) and one season riddled with injuries (2011).

What stood out during that 2009 season was Blanton’s changeup. Whether it was the result of a full season under changeup-maven Rich Dubee or just a fluke, Blanton that year saved 1.98 runs on every 100 changeups. Since the start of 2010, the pitch has cost Blanton 8.1 runs.
The Phils won’t need a ton from Blanton next season… 175 innings with a 4.40 ERA would suffice based on the context of Charlie Manuel’s team. Whether Blanton reaches those goals is dependent on the health of his elbow and the strength of a secondary pitch – if not the changeup than his slider.

For more statistical musings from Corey Seidman, visit Brotherly Glove and Phillies Nation SEIDMAN ON TWITTER

 

Comparing Every Current Philadelphia Phillie to a Former Player

By Greg Pinto (Featured Columnist)

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Rob Carr/Getty Images

We live in a very materialistic world where the focus of our daily lives is based on the here and now and very rarely on the future, and even more rarely, the past. The Philadelphia Phillies are certainly not exempt from this thought process. Over the last few seasons, the idea has been to “win now.”

Those guys are prospects for a reason, so we’ll trade them for a proven player. That pricey free agent would sure look nice in red pinstripes, but the depth on the bench is certainly going to suffer if we sign him.

That’s been the thought process for the last few seasons, and will be as long as the Phillies have a core of players intent on winning a World Series and calling any other result a failure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. First and foremost, it means the Phillies are winning.

The dangerous situation is getting caught up in the here and now and turning a blind eye towards the future. We must look at the past for information and interpret it towards the future. I thought that comparing each player on the Phillies’ roster would be an interesting way to apply that idea.

This slide show will observe a player’s career to date, take his statistics, and compare them to a past player who followed a similar career path. Just for fun, maybe that player’s career can give us some insight into what the future holds for the Phillies.

Vance Worley Compares To…

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Luis Tiant and Roy Oswalt, through age 23.

W L ERA IP SO
Vance Worley 12 4 2.86 144 131
Luis Tiant 10 4 2.83 127 105
Roy Oswalt 14 3 2.73 141 144

2011 was the first season for Vance Worley spent primarily as a starting pitcher, and because there isn’t much of a track record here, I almost decided not to compare him to other pitchers in this regard. However, the similarities are almost too striking to Luis Tiant and Roy Oswalt to ignore.

All three of these pitchers started their careers at a young age, and all three were very underrated for their talent levels. So while most people expect to see some regression from Worley in the near future, he is certainly in some good company through age 23.

Dontrelle Willis Compares To…

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…Oliver Perez*, and Bruce Hurst through age 29.

W L ERA IP SO
Dontrelle Willis 72 69 4.17 1221 896
Bruce Hurst 70 67 4.33 1242 877

The addition of Oliver Perez to this group is more of an editorial than anything, simply because when I think of the career path Dontrelle Willis took, I can’t help but to compare him to the former Pittsburgh Pirates‘ ace.

Both players were highly touted to begin their careers. Both players had phenomenal seasons with one team (Willis with the Florida Marlins, Perez with the Pirates) before moving on to new teams. Willis would flame out with the Detroit Tigers, Perez with the New York Mets.

Now, both are trying to revitalize their careers as relief pitchers, but because Willis has dominated lefties in recent years, he still has an MLB job.

Numbers wise, Willis compared much more favorably to Bruce Hurst, former left handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Texas Rangers.

Through most of his career, Hurst was a very solid, middle of the rotation starting pitcher, but he struggled mightily at the back end of his career, and after leaving the Padres, he had obviously left his best days behind him.

Ty Wigginton Compares To…

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Ed Sprague, through age 33.

H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG
Ty Wigginton 1087 232 158 548 .265 .325 .443
Ed Sprague 1010 225 152 558 .247 .318 .419

Ty Wigginton compares favorably to quite a few corner infielders who had a bit of a power strike but weren’t overly successful over the entire course of their careers, the most closely of whom is former first baseman / third baseman, Ed Sprague.

Sprague spent 11 seasons in the MLB as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox. Sprague was an every day player early in his career, but by the time he had joined the A’s, found himself playing much more of a bench role, very similar to Wigginton, who will become a reserve with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Shane Victorino Compares To…

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…Coco Crisp, through age 30.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Shane Victorino 908 166 79 354 .279 .344 .438
Coco Crisp 941 180 67 365 .277 .332 .410

This comparison surprised me a little bit. With the Philadelphia Phillies, Shane Victorino has developed into one of the game’s most well rounded players, using his speed to his advantage, but also playing well above average defense, hitting for power, and hitting for average as well.

Though on a slightly smaller scale, Coco Crisp, who recently agree to a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, has been a very similar player. Though Victorino may be heading in a different direction as he hits his prime, through age 30 the similarities are unavoidable.

What really caught my attention was each player’s respective number of stolen bases: 162 for Victorino and 169 for Crisp.

Wilson Valdez Compares To…

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…Johnny Hudson, through age 33.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Wilson Valdez 230 43 6 92 .243 .290 .330
Johnny Hudson 283 50 4 96 .242 .296 .314

As a reserve player, Wilson Valdez compares favorably to a lot of players who saw limited playing time, the most favorable of whom was former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Johnny Hudson. “Mr. Chips,” as he was called, played for seven seasons in the MLB, also spending time with Chicago Cubs and New York Giants.

Interestingly enough, Hudson finished 25th in the league’s MVP voting in 1938, something that Valdez will likely never have the chance to do.

Chase Utley Compares To…

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…Jeff Kent, through age 32.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Chase Utley 1198 258 188 694 .290 .377 .505
Jeff Kent 1228 274 194 793 .284 .348 .493

When he announced his retirement in 2009, Jeff Kent was widely considered one of the best offensive second baseman to ever play the game, so to be in his company through your age 33 season is certainly a good sign.

Though his career numbers may have stalled a bit due to injury, Chase Utley got off the same kind of start to his career that Kent did, and both had tremendous power hitters in the order with them at various points during their careers.

Kent is a borderline Hall of Fame player, and if Utley can match his career, the Philadelphia Phillies would be in good shape.

Jim Thome Compares To…

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…the careers of Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Jim Thome 2287 444 604 1674 .277 .403 .556
Sammy Sosa 2408 379 609 1667 .273 .344 .534
Frank Thomas 2468 495 521 1704 .301 .419 .555

Though Jim Thome will play at least one more season with the Philadelphia Phillies, it isn’t hard to look back on his career and recognize that he is a Hall of Fame caliber player. A member of the 600 HR club, it is important to note that Thome hit all of his home runs steroid-free.

Can the same be said for former Chicago Cubs’ great Sammy Sosa, who was listed on the infamous “Mitchell Report?” Though his numbers are the closest to Thome’s, Sosa tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

What about Frank Thomas? The “Big Hurt” never tested positive for PEDs, and his home run total does not come close to Thomes’s, though, Thomas was probably the more well-rounded hitter.

At the end of the day, the two closest comparisons to Thome’s career really put just how good the slugger has been throughout his career into perspective.

Mike Stutes Compares To…

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…former Philadelphia Phillies’ relief pitcher Toby Borland?

No statistical data here, but instead, a link to an article by fellow Bleacher Report contributor Mike Lacy, who wrote about the similarities between the Phillies’ careers of retired pitcher Toby Borland and current Phils’ reliever, Mike Stutes.

When injuries plagued the Phillies’ bullpen in 2011, it was Stutes who got the call to the MLB to step in and help out. Initially, he was assigned menial tasks pitching in the middle innings, but soon enough, manager Charlie Manuel was asking him to pitch big innings and get important outs in the later innings.

Borland was called up during the strike-shortened 1994 season, but didn’t last long. Control was his ultimate downfall, and the Phillies sent him packing. However, Borland would soon return to the MLB after working on his control, and in 1995, he became an effective reliever out of the bullpen. By 1996, he was the set-up man, but ultimately faltered.

Will Stutes follow a similar career path?

Brian Schneider Compares To…

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…the career of Pat Borders.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Brian Schneider 761 162 65 380 .247 .321 .369
Pat Borders 831 168 69 346 .253 .288 .375

There are a few catchers in the history of the game that compare favorably to the career of Brian Schneider, but Pat Borders sticks out because of how similar their careers were.

Schneider was drafted by the Montreal Expos and stayed with the club when they moved to the nation’s capital to become the Washington Nationals. Following the 2007 season, he became a back-up catcher, bounding around between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Borders had a similar career. Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Borders was the starting catcher for most of eight seasons, but following that stint, became a back-up catcher for a slew of different teams. The only clubs he spent more than one season with, however, were the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians, and all but two of his 17 seasons in the American League.

Carlos Ruiz Compares To…

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…Bo Diaz, through age 32.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Carlos Ruiz 495 121 36 231 .265 .357 393
Bo Diaz 475 99 51 271 .256 .303 .396

If Bo Diaz sounds familiar to most Phillies’ fans, he should. After all, the man was the club’s starting catcher in 1983, when the Phillies challenged the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, but ultimately came up short. Carlos Ruiz had a similar experience in 2009, when the Phillies failed to defeat the New York Yankees.

All in all, Diaz was a solid catcher. He also spent parts of his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds.

Pound for pound, Ruiz is probably the better catcher, but through their age 32 seasons, there are a few surprising similarities.

Jimmy Rollins Compares To…

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…Alan Trammell, through age 32.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Jimmy Rollins 1866 388 170 725 .272 .329 .432
Alan Trammell 1926 329 152 810 .288 .355 .420

Jimmy Rollins and Alan Trammell may not be the closest comparison on this list, but as far as the Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop is concerned, the former Detroit Tigers’ great posted the numbers closest to his own, the next best being Craig Biggio.

Being in Trammell’s company is definitely a good thing, as he spent his entire 20-season career with the Tigers, building a fringe Hall of Fame career in the process.

Rollins follows a similar path. The Phillies’ shortstop is in an excellent position to spend his entire career in Philadelphia, and at the end of the day, he has something that Trammell’s Hall of Fame resume does not: An MVP Award.

Placido Polanco Compares To…

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…Julio Franco and Tony Fernandez, through age 35.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Placido Polanco 1966 320 101 681 .301 .346 .406
Julio Franco 1922 299 120 861 .301 .363 .419
Tony Fernandez 1925 333 77 682 .282 .338 .392

Who would have thought that at some point in the future, we would be able to find a way to compare Placido Polanco to Julio Franco, former member of the Philadelphia Phillies traded to the Cleveland Indians as part of the infamous “five-for-one” deal that brought Von Hayes to Philadelphia? Well, here we go.

Franco, of course, will forever be known for the longevity of his career. He played for several different teams, his best years with the Texas Rangers, and when he retired after the 2008 season, Franco was 48-years-old.

Another player who had a similar approach at the plate to Polanco and Franco was Tony Fernandez. Fernandez spent most of his big league career with the Toronto Blue Jays, but like Franco, had a long career, jumping from team to team on one-year deals at the end.

Hunter Pence Compares To…

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…Aubrey Huff and Rondell White, through age 28.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Hunter Pence 835 157 114 412 .292 .343 .485
Aubrey Huff 805 157 120 421 .288 .342 .478
Rondell White 830 167 103 391 .294 .349 .479

For me personally, this was the most surprising comparison on the list.

Today, when we think of Hunter Pence, we think of one of the game’s best right fielders. With the ability to hit for average and power, play above average defense, and run, he is a legitimate five-tool player, and has proven so throughout his career.

When I think of Pence, Aubrey Huff isn’t exactly the first person that comes to mind. The current member of the San Francisco Giants was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and had a few nice seasons before moving on to the Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and now, the Giants.

Rondell White was drafted by the Montreal Expos and spent most of his career there before bounding around on one-year deals, though he did spend two years with the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, and Detroit Tigers, respectively.

Needless to say, the numbers are the only things that tie these three players together, and while I would like to say that Pence has the most upside, this certainly makes you stop and wonder.

Jonathan Papelbon Compares To…

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…Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Bryan Harvey, through age 30.

W L ERA SV GF SO
Jonathan Papelbon 23 19 2.33 219 334 509
Mariano Rivera 33 17 2.63 165 245 395
Trevor Hoffman 34 25 2.77 188 300 507
Bryan Harvey 17 25 2.34 171 268 438

If you want to know the real reason that the Philadelphia Phillies wanted Jonathan Papelbon to be their closer moving forward, this is it. Talk about elite company.

Papelbon closely compares to New York Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera, who has more saves than any man in the history of the game. He also compares closely with the next man on that list, Trevor Hoffman, who dominated the ninth inning with the San Diego Padres.

The fourth name on this list belongs to a lesser known closer of the California Angels, Bryan Harvey. He led all of baseball in saves in 1991, and would eventually save 40 games for the Florida Marlins after joining them in the expansion draft.

Laynce Nix Compares To…

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…Scott Hairston, through age 30.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Laynce Nix 409 96 64 226 .244 .288 .430
Scott Hairston 204 413 68 198 .245 .303 .435

The Philadelphia Phillies brought Laynce Nix aboard this winter to help out at the plate against right handed pitching, and interestingly enough, they also had some interest (and may continue to pursue) free agent outfielder Scott Hairston.

With both players being bench players at this point in their careers, these two compare favorably to a number of different players, but this is certainly this closest match. Hairston spent four years with the Arizona Diamondbacks before bouncing around to a number of teams, most recently, the New York Mets.

John Mayberry Jr. Compares To…

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…John Mayberry Sr.

Why not?

After struggling to make a name for himself prior to 2011, John Mayberry Jr. struggled with the Philadelphia Phillies to the point that there just isn’t enough of a track record to compare his stats against MLB players.

Instead, let us compare him to his father, John Mayberry Sr., who 15 seasons in the MLB and gave his son those good baseball genes to get him to the show. Mayberry Sr. spent the bulk of his career with the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros, also spend a year with the New York Yankees.

A big, powerful guy, he had a similar build to his son. Mayberry Sr. would go on to slug 255 home runs in his career—a number I’m sure the Phillies would like to see his son eclipse.

Cliff Lee Compares To…

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…Don Newcombe, through age 32.

W L ERA IP SO
Cliff Lee 119 69 3.65 1641 1323
Don Newcombe 130 73 3.54 1796 966

Any pitcher looking to succeed should be happy with the ability to compare himself to former Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Don Newcombe at any point in his career. Cliff Lee can say that, as through age 32, he has posted similar numbers to the former Dodger.

Both lefties, the numbers aren’t the only similarities. Both Lee and Newcombe won a Cy Young Award, and both were traded for underwhelming hauls during their careers.

Kyle Kendrick Compares To…

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…Joe Blanton, through age 26.

W L ERA IP SO
Kyle Kendrick 43 30 4.41 598 275
Joe Blanton 42 34 4.10 633 369

I’m really not sure whether or not this is good news for Kyle Kendrick.

First and foremost, the obvious comparison here is that both Kendrick and Joe Blanton play for the Philadelphia Phillies (and yes, Blanton will still get his own slide.) Kendrick was acquired via the draft, Blanton via trade from the Oakland Athletics.

Outside of the numbers, however, the careers of these two players have been quite different. The Phillies thought enough of Blanton to move top prospects for him in 2008 to bolster their playoff run, but didn’t think enough of Kendrick to leave him in the starting rotation in 2011, opting to spend more than $100 million on Cliff Lee in free agency.

Ryan Howard Compares To…

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…Richie Sexson, through age 31.

H 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Ryan Howard 1043 189 286 864 .275 .368 .560
Richie Sexson 1135 230 273 844 .269 .350 .526

As long as Ryan Howard’s career takes him nowhere near Safeco Field in Seattle, as Richie Sexson’s did, this may not even be a relevant comparison by the time Howard retires at some point in the future.

Outside of their handedness, there are obvious comparisons for these two first basemen. First and foremost is the raw power. By the time Sexson retired, he had hit 306 home runs, and Howard is on pace to shatter that milestone.

The real question is Howard’s health. Will that Achilles tendon be the bane of his career, in much of the same way that injuries slowed down Sexson?

Cole Hamels Compares To…

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…John Smiley, through age 27.

W L ERA IP SO
Cole Hamels 74 54 3.39 1161 1091
John Smiley 76 51 3.49 1095 697

This may not be the comparison that some people were expecting for Cole Hamels, but let’s not forget, before 2010, you would have fought tooth and nail for the right to call Hamels an “ace.”

Now that he has established himself as just that and his career is on a completely different track, comparing him to John Smiley seems a bit silly at first glance. After all, Smiley would only be in the MLB until age 32.

Through age 27, however, the two lefties had very similar careers. Smiley’s longest tenure was with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he also spent five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.

What uniform will Cole Hamels be wearing in 2013?

Roy Halladay Compares To…

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…Mike Mussina, through age 34.

W L ERA IP SO
Roy Halladay 188 92 3.23 2531 1934
Mike Mussina 199 110 3.53 2668 2126

There are a few surprising comparisons on this list, and this is one that caught me off guard. With the way he has pitched in recent seasons, I think that some Philadelphia Phillies’ fans would expect to see Roy Halladay’s name listed with an all-time great. Instead, he is listed with another workhorse: Mike Mussina. (I’ll leave whether or not Mussina is an “all-time great” or not up to your discretion.)

Mussina spent his career with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, and though he never won a Cy Young Award, “Moose” was the model of consistency. The same could be said for Halladay, who throws up similar, outstanding numbers year in and year out, and owns two Cy Young Awards.

Jose Contreras Compares To…

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…the career of Cory Lidle.

W L ERA IP SO
Jose Contreras 77 67 4.54 1154 869
Cory Lidle 82 72 4.57 1322 838

With Jose Contreras’ days as a starting pitcher well in the rear-view mirror, I think it is safe to look at the 40-year-old’s career in hindsight. Before his days with the Philadelphia Phillies, Contreras was known for his work as a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Oddly enough, his career was very similar to the one by another former Phillie and Yankee, Cory Lidle. When the Phillies were not a competitive team in the mid 2000s, the club acquired Lidle from the Cincinnati Reds for very little. He would later be sent to the Yankees in the same deal that sent Bobby Abreu to the Bronx Bombers.

Domonic Brown Compares To…

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…the build and skill-set of Darryl Strawberry.

Without much statistical evidence to go off of here, we’ll compare Domonic Brown to the player that scouts believe he can become, and then some: Former New York Mets’ outfielder Darryl Strawberry.

It is hard to ignore the similarities. Both are tall outfielders with great baseball talent. Both were left handed and both have incredible potential at the plate. Though Strawberry never had much of a batting average, he had surprising power and excellent on-base skills, including instinctive base running.

Joe Blanton Compares To…

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…Aaron Harang, through age 30.

W L ERA IP SO
Joe Blanton 73 62 4.32 1243 812
Aaron Harang 69 66 4.25 1177 981

Because Joe Blanton has never done anything overly spectacular in his career (well, on the mound anyway, because his home run in the World Series was pretty spectacular,) his career compares favorably to a number of middle of the road pitchers (including Oil Can Boyd, who has the best name of the group.)

One name that caught my eye is Aaron Harang, who signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter. Both are big right handed starters with similar repertoires. Neither relies on his fastball and neither has an excellent off-speed pitch.

Perhaps the greatest similarity is their proficiency for underwhelming results.

Antonio Bastardo Compares To…

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…Bill Bray, through age 25.

W L ERA IP SO
Antonio Bastardo 10 4 3.86 100 115
Bill Bray 8 7 3.86 112 107

This may be an outside the box comparison, but in the long run, the results speak for themselves. The greatest similarity between Antonio Bastardo and Bill Bray of the Cincinnati Reds is their handedness. Both operate as left handed specialists, though Bastardo has shown to be effective against right handed hitters as well.

It’s a small sample size, and if 2011 was any indication, Bastardo’s career may end up going in a completely different direction. The Phillies’ sure hope so. The success of their bullpen depends on it.

For up to the minute Phillies’ news, check out Greg’s blog: The Phillies Phactor.

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Phillies Baseball Cap

The Phightin' Phils

A history of professional baseball in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Philadelphia Phillies Active Roster as of January 5th 2012

Philadelphia Phillies Active Roster

#

Pitchers

B/T

Ht

Wt

DOB

Phillippe Aumont L-R 6’7″ 255 Jan 7, 1989
58 Antonio Bastardo R-L 5’11” 195 Sep 21, 1985
56 Joe Blanton R-R 6’3″ 245 Dec 11, 1980
52 Jose Contreras R-R 6’4″ 255 Dec 6, 1971
37 Justin De Fratus S-R 6’4″ 220 Oct 21, 1987
Jake Diekman L-L 6’4″ 190 Jan 21, 1987
34 Roy Halladay R-R 6’6″ 230 May 14, 1977
35 Cole Hamels L-L 6’3″ 195 Dec 27, 1983
57 David Herndon R-R 6’5″ 230 Sep 4, 1985
38 Kyle Kendrick R-R 6’3″ 210 Aug 26, 1984
33 Cliff Lee L-L 6’3″ 190 Aug 30, 1978
58 Jonathan Papelbon R-R 6’4″ 225 Nov 23, 1980
66 J.C. Ramirez R-R 6’3″ 225 Aug 16, 1988
55 Joe Savery L-L 6’3″ 215 Nov 4, 1985
39 Michael Schwimer R-R 6’8″ 240 Feb 19, 1986
40 Michael Stutes R-R 6’1″ 185 Sep 4, 1986
Dontrelle Willis L-L 6’4″ 225 Jan 12, 1982
49 Vance Worley R-R 6’2″ 230 Sep 25, 1987
# Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
31 Erik Kratz R-R 6’4″ 255 Jun 15, 1980
51 Carlos Ruiz R-R 5’10” 205 Jan 22, 1979
23 Brian Schneider L-R 6’1″ 210 Nov 26, 1976
Sebastian Valle R-R 6’1″ 170 Jul 24, 1990
# Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
71 Freddy Galvis S-R 5’10” 170 Nov 14, 1989
75 Harold Garcia S-R 5’11” 190 Oct 25, 1986
74 Cesar Hernandez S-R 5’10” 160 May 23, 1990
6 Ryan Howard L-L 6’4″ 240 Nov 19, 1979
19 Michael Martinez S-R 5’9″ 145 Sep 16, 1982
27 Placido Polanco R-R 5’10” 190 Oct 10, 1975
11 Jimmy Rollins S-R 5’8″ 170 Nov 27, 1978
Jim Thome L-R 6’3″ 250 Aug 27, 1970
26 Chase Utley L-R 6’1″ 200 Dec 17, 1978
21 Wilson Valdez R-R 5’11” 170 May 20, 1978
Ty Wigginton R-R 6’0″ 230 Oct 11, 1977
# Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
16 John Bowker L-L 6’1″ 205 Jul 8, 1983
9 Domonic Brown L-L 6’5″ 205 Sep 3, 1987
Tyson Gillies L-R 6’2″ 195 Oct 31, 1988
15 John Mayberry R-R 6’6″ 230 Dec 21, 1983
Laynce Nix L-L 6’1″ 220 Oct 30, 1980
3 Hunter Pence R-R 6’4″ 220 Apr 13, 1983
8 Shane Victorino S-R 5’9″ 190 Nov 30, 1980

Gulf Coast League Phillies