Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why getting Cliff Lee is just as good as Halladay, if not better.

What a great day in Phillies baseball. Ruben Amaro Jr. has pulled off an amazing trade for the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner, Cliff Lee for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. Also included in the trade is Ben Francisco a much needed righty off the bench. This deal is nothing short of a steal for the Phillies. First, we landed last year's AL Cy Young; second, we landed a right handed bat to come off the bench and we did not have to give up Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ or Dominic Brown.

So Phillies Phans are disappointed that we didn't get Roy Halladay, but there is nothing to be disappointed about. Halladay was the best "available" pitcher during this trade period, but he came at a steep price. For some reason, Lee, who won the AL Cy Young last year, in the same league as Halladay. Halladay last won the Cy Young in 2003, but Halladay has been consistent for the Blue Jays. But, Halladay has been on the DL for shoulder problems in the past and spent time on the DL this past June with a groin strain. Ironically, the Blue Jays were visiting Citizens Bank Park when Halladay was put on the DL. But, that is not enough to keep me from wanting to see Roy Halladay in a Phillies uniform.

But, again the price was too high. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the team is built to win for a long time. Cliff Lee is the caliber pitcher that will get us the wins we need down the stretch and in the Postseason. Plus looking forward, next year's starting rotation could be Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, and Kyle Drabek. That is a pretty solid rotation, combined with the best 1-7 starting lineup in Major League Baseball. But, enough about the future, our rotation for the rest of the season is solid. Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Happ, Moyer, and possibly Pedro Martinez. We now have insurance should something happen to one of the starting 5. Another thing to consider, is that by keeping Happ, Amaro could deal him or another pitcher in the next day and half for more bullpen help. I don't think this will happen, but it could.

What also could happen, in a perfect world is that Amaro pulls the trigger on the Halladay deal. As a Phan, could you imagine a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Moyer or Martinez. I know, I know, I am reaching here, but a Phan who has sat through losing season after losing season can dream right?

But in all seriousness, this was an incredible trade for the Phillies. We got the ace we needed for the stretch run, we got another decent bat for the bench and we didn't have to give up our 3 best prospects to do it.

Thank you Ruben. Let's Go Phils!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

More thoughts on JP Ricciardi and a possible Roy Halladay trade

Halladay, Halladay, Halladay, that name has dominated Major League Baseball since before the All-Star break. Roy Halladay is on of the top 5 pitchers in all of baseball and he could be the difference beat making the playoffs for many teams and could be the missing piece to winning a World Championship for others. For weeks, our beloved Philadelphia Phillies have been considered the front runner in the Halladay sweepstakes. But I am not writing to further discuss the potential trade and how it would impact the Phillies if the got him or how it would hurt the Phillies should someone else land him, I am writing today to share my thoughts on J.P. Ricciardi.

Ricciardi is playing hardball with the future of the Toronto Blue Jays and many teams interested in acquiring the services of Roy Halladay. Ricciardi's price tag for Halladay is so high, that he risks not dealing the Cy Young Winner before the deadline. Halladay's trade value is at it's highest at the moment and will only decrease in value as time goes on and if the deadline comes and goes with Halladay staying in Toronto, Ricciardi will have only hurt his team.

Halladay has made it perfectly clear that he will test the market at the end of the 2010 season and he intends to sign with a team that will contend for a World Championship. Unfortunately for Ricciardi, the Blue Jays are not one of those teams that will contend in the near future. So by holding on to Halladay, yes, he keeps one of the best pitchers in baseball in a Blue Jays uniform, but he is on borrowed time. Say the deadline comes and goes, an off-season trade for Halladay will not get the caliber prospects being offered at the time being. Should Halladay not be traded in the off-season, come July 2010, a Halladay trade will get almost nothing compared to today's value. What team in their right mind will give anything of significant value to rent a player for 3 or 4 months?

Ricciardi needs to strike while the iron is hot. Ricciardi needs to do what is best for the future of the Toronto Blue Jays. Ricciardi needs to trade Halladay now before his value drops. Ricciardi needs to stop playing games and having sources "leak" things to the media. Trade discussion between teams are normally kept quiet till the deal is done, but apparently Ricciardi loves to see his name in print and hear his name on TV. As a phan, I was annoyed that Ricciardi told the press of his formal price tag for Halladay. Ricciardi is not stupid, he knows Phillie Phans believe Halladay will bring us that much closer to winning back to back championships, but little did he know that Philadelphia isn't willing to gamble on the future by selling the farm for one player. This tactic only forced the Phillies to play the media game as well and formally reject the Halladay offer. My message to Ricciardi, you can keep Halladay, we don't need him that badly. Yes, having a pitcher like Roy Halladay would be an incredible addition to the World Champion Phillies, but let's not forgot one important thing. We are the "WORLD CHAMPION" Phillies.

This championship team has hardly changed since last year's championship season. In fact, I believe we have only gotten better. Yes, some of our pitching has struggled, but things are coming together. This team has one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Just look at the caliber player we have 1-7. Jimmy Rollins is getting his swing back, Shane Victorino is having an All-Star season, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are doing their thing, we add All-Star Raul Ibanez who had been a great addition to the team, Jayson Werth is having an All-Star season, Pedro Feliz is batting around .300. This lineup is has protection all the way through. You can not pitch around anyone because the next hitter is just as good as the one before. Then we have our pitchers, who have struggled a bit, but are pitching well as of late. This rotation can get the job done without Halladay. Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, JA Happ, and a resurgent Pedro Martinez have the talent to get us back to the World Series. Our bullpen is starting to pitch well again and in August might get a huge boost with Bret Myers possibly coming off the DL. A healthy Myers gives us Ryan Madson in the 7th, Myers in the 8th, and Brad Lidge to close out the 9th.

Would I like to see us add another pitcher, sure I would. Do I feel that we are in trouble if we don't, absolutely not. This team was built to win and that is what they are doing, winning. In closing, I haven't given up hope on a Halladay trade to Philadelphia. As I mentioned either, Ricciardi is not stupid, he knows the value of Roy Halladay is at it's highest and I don't blame him for wanting the best players possible, where I do fault Ricciardi is for playing the media game, it is just not necessary. There is no reason to "leak" information to "sources" to great people riled up.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week in Review 7/26

Another exciting week in Phillies Baseball. The Phightins continued their hot streak at home taking 2 of 3 from both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals and beating the San Diego Padres in between. The Phillies bats scored an amazing 52 runs this week, while the Phillies pitching staff only gave up 27 runs. The Phillies are having an incredible July winning 17 of 22 games. This torrid streak has given the Phillies their largest division lead this late into a season since '93.

Besides the Phillies being on fire, the week was dominated by trade news revolving around the most wanted player Roy Halladay. As of the moment, Halladay is still a Blue Jay and according to sources, no one is close to landing the coveted pitcher. We saw on the Blue Jays make an official ask on the Phillies for Halladay. The Blue Jays set the price at Kyle Drabek, JA Happ, and Brown, which I believe to be to steep a price to pay to secure a pitcher for a year and half. I cover the topic in yesterday's entry: Getting Closer to a Deal? Apparently, the Phillies management too thought the price was too high and formally regretted the outrageous deal.

The brings this week's news to a close. The Phillies are on their way to Arizona for a 3 game set with the Diamondbacks and then off to San Francisco for a 4 game series with the Giants. Hopefully the Phillies will continue their hot streak on the Road. Heading into this week's road trip, the Phightin' Phils are 29-15 on the road.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Getting Closer to a deal?

With only a few days to go before the July 31 trading deadline, it appears as if the Phightin' Phillies are still the leader in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. We learned at the tail end of the week what the asking price for Halladay is: Kyle Drabeck, JA Happ and Dominic Brown. For weeks I have been hoping for the Phillies to land Halladay, for weeks I have felt that Hallaway gives us the best chance to repeat as World Champs, but now, I feel that this price is too high. Drabeck is the Phillies top pitching prospect and Brown is our best position player prospect. As a life long Phillies Phan, I do not want to sell the future for a pitcher, a GREAT pitcher that is planning to test the market at the end of next season. Sure Halladay gives us the best possible chance to repeat as World Champs and even does as far as a Phillies Dynasty, but this price tag is too steep. But some good news was traveling the MLB tradewinds in that the Blue Jays sent a scout to watch Carlos Carrasco pitch. Ideally, I would much rather see Happ or Drabeck and Carraso in a deal then Happ and Drabeck.

The only flip side to this argument of not selling the farm is that for years, the Phillies have seen their top prospects fizzle out. How many of us remember how high we were on Gavin Floyd and Brandon Duckworth and so on? Yes those guys might not have been the same caliber as Drabeck or Happ, but there is never any certainity with young developing players.

Barring an injury, we know Roy Halladay is the real deal, a proven winner and will give the Phillies the best possible chance to repeat as World Champions since the New York Yankees 3-peated in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The question the Phillies and us a loyal Phans have to ask ourselves which is more important gambling on a proven winner to help take us back to the World Series or passing on the now and gambling that our future propects will turn into great pitchers of themselves.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10 in a row!!!

Another great game for the Phightin' Phils. Jimmy Rollins got the Phillies on the board with a solo shot, with was the only run scored until the 13th. In the bottom of the 13th with Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez on 1st and 2nd, Jayson Werth belted a home run to left center field giving the Phillies their 10th win in row in walk off fashion. The highlight of the game was an incredible double play in the 9th inning when Brad Lidge heel kicked a shot to Jimmy Rollins, who stepped on second and threw to Howard at first for a double play...truly incredible. Hopefully it will appear on youtube and I will post it here.

In addition to this great win, the news of the Day was out Toronto when Blue Jays general manager, J.P. Ricciardi said:
"A deal must be in place before July 28 and "at this point, it's probably unlikely that we'll trade Doc. As you get closer and closer to the deadline, no one's really stepped up yet, and at that point, I think time starts running out on you. We've got to be highly motivated to move him, so we haven't been highly motivated yet."

I believe in Ruben Amaro and trust he will do what is best for the Phillies and by this time next week, Roy Halladay with be on the Phightin' Phillies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Week in Review 7/20

What an exciting week of Phillies Baseball, the scorching Phillies entered the break winning 9 of their last 10 games. All weekend long, news was swirling that the Phillies looking for pitching help, we looking to bring in former Cy Young Award winner, Pedro Martinez. The break arrived and it was time for the Stars to shine. Monday brought about a less than entertaining Home Run derby. Ryan Howard just made it to the second round, where he got into a grove on his 9th out, but it wasn't enough to get him to the finals this year. On a side note, I thought it was a classy move to bring in his High School coach to pitch the derby to him in his home town. This probably cost him the derby, but it didn't matter because Ryan was giving back.

Which brings us to the All-Star game. What an exciting game. I truly enjoyed watching this year's Mid Summer Classic. Ryan Howard came up short in a crucial part of the game, by striking out with men on that could have given the NL its first win since back in Philadelphia in 1996 (I was there ;-D)

As the game was ending, there was a story posted on that Wednesday, the Phillies were hosting a news conference to announce the signing of Pedro Martinez. Like most people, I had my reservations towards this signing, until I saw the terms of the one year deal, $1 million for the remainder of the year. Not a bad deal, we have wasted more than that on players like Adam Eaton. Let's face it, a health 37 year old Pedro is probably better than Rodrigo Lopez or Antonio Bastardo. I am looking forward to Pedro and you should too. Personally I can't wait for Pedro to face the Mutts and show them he's still got it.

In addition to Pedro news, trade rumors were flowing in regards to the year's trading deadline jackpot...Roy Halladay. A topic in which I cover in post: Gearing Up for Second Half. Basically, I feel the Phillies need to do whatever they can to land Halladay. Even if it includes, J.A. Happ. I like Happ, especially with the streak he is on, but is Happ another Hamels or Kendrick. I would rather trade a Happ and risk a future CY Young winner to land a proven winner in Halladay. As Pat Gillick told fans years ago, this team was being built to win for years to come. A pitcher like Roy Halladay could be the piece that starts a Phillies Dynasty. In this day and age, repeats are extremely hard to come by and dynasties are virtually impossible, but again as Gillick said this team was built to win and with Halladay our chances of repeating are greatly increased.

As the break came and went, the Phillies started a 4 game series against the 2nd place Florida Marlins. What an exciting series that was. The Phillies continuing the torrid streak and went into Florida and swept the Marlins in the rain shorten 3 game series. That sweep gave the Phightin Phils their largest division lead this late into a season since 1993. Bringing the Phillies end the week winning 12 of their last 13. Truly an exciting week in Phillies Baseball.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gearing up for the second half

Well, first we didn't we the All-Star game yet again. Ryan Howard had the chance to become the NL Hero, most definatily game M.V.P in his hometown, but couldn't deliver. Oh well, that is behind us, the road to the post season begins tomorrow.

Which leads me to the news of the day, we signed Pedro Martinez, which most people knew was only a matter of time. This has sent the Phillies Message Boards, Facebook Discussion Lists, and blogs buzzing. Phans are split on this decision. Some think this is another in a long line of stupid moves in Phillies history, others excited about having a pitcher of Pedro's caliber on the roster. I am one of the ones that sees nothing but upside to this deal. Pedro is signed for one year at $1 million with incentives of $1.5 million. What is the worst the can happen, we lose a $1 million. How many pitchers have come and gone at a much higher price tag? Adam Eaton anyone? Another plus is that Pedro has something to prove, he wants to prove that he has the stuff to help win a championship. Let's face it, a 37 year old Pedro is probably going to be more effective than Rodrigo Lopez or Antonio Bastardo.

So here we are, on the eve of the second half of our road to the post season. We have an outfield filled with All-Stars, we have an infield of incredible player who know how to deliver in the clutch. Hopefully, the rest did Jimmy Rollins some good, we need him to perform in the second half if we want to win another World Championship. This team has the best shot of repeating for the first time since the NY Yankees of 1998-2000.

Which leads to my last thought, can you imagine if the Phillies win the Roy Halladay sweepstakes? This team would be unreal. Let's for a minute look at the possibilty of landing Halladay. First from the rumors on the internet, the contenders the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers. The Blue Jays are short time away from truly contending in the East. Sending Halladay, who is 32, to the Sox or Yankees who have more than enough money to keep, would hurt there chances of contending. In my mind, that excludes them. The we have Roy Halladay's comment that he will waive the his full no trade clause to play for a contender, well that's not the Rangers. That leaves the Phillies as the front runner for Roy Halladay. But Halladay will come a cost to the organization, price that this Phan is willing to pay. In this day and age, repeats are virtually impossible and dynasties are unheard of, but this team has been built to win for years to come. A pitcher like Roy Halladay moves us that much closer to the dynasty we have been told for years we were building. Halladay doesn't guarantee another Championship, but it gives us a great shot. What a rotation we would have: Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, and Pedro Martinez...WOW. That rotation combined with All-Stars: Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth; along with guys who have been struggling but will get their act together in the second half in Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge will make this squad tough to beat. Hopefully we will be celebrating deep into the night again this October.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Phans have spoken!!!

Great job Phans! We are sending another representative to St. Louis for the All-Star. Thanks to a late voting surge by the Phans, Shane Victorino, the Flyin' Hawaiian, will be the 4th representative of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies at 80th Mid Summer Classic. Hopefully the National League will end its losing streak and finally give us home field advantage in the Fall Classic.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remembering my greatest Phillies Phan moment

For my first blog of Phillies Phan, I wanted to take a moment to reminisce about October 29, 2008. Before I get started let me preface with I have been a Phillies Phan all my life. My first game was the Phillies vs the Reds at Veterans Stadium. Mike Schmidt was still belting homers and Pete Rose was a player-manager. It wasn't easy growing up a Phan. I grew up in Central Jersey, right in the heart of NY Mets and Yankee ground, but I always defended the Phightin' Phils.

Then in 1993, my family decided to buy season tickets. What an incredible year that was to be a Phan. I was lucky enough to be a Game 6 of the NLCS and wittiness our first World Series birth in 10 years. What an incredible feeling, a feeling that would go unmatched till last October...(I was at Schilling's Game 5 masterpiece as well)

That brings me to Monday, October 27, 2008. It was cold, rainy, and flurries were in the air. But something else was in the air, confidence and excitement. The Phans through out the stadium knew that today would be the day we had been waiting for. For some it had been 28 years, for others like me who were either to young or not born yet, it had been a lifetime. But, we knew that on this night, all the pain of the last 28 years was going to come to an end. Little did we know that we would have to wait through a two day period before our moment would come. As the game started and Shane Victorino got us on the board with a 2-run based loaded single to left, the Phans had there feelings affirmed that today would be the today. As the game progressed and the rain got harder and the field became a slip and slide. Tampa Bay tied the game at 2 and the at end of the top of 6th the game went into a rain delay. We tried to keep warm in the men's room along with countless others, getting shelter from the wind and was COLD!!! Finally, Dan Baker came over the loud speaker and announced that the game was suspended till further notice and the game would resume when conditions allowed. So Phans left Citizens Bank Park cold, wet, and wondering our day would come.

2 straight days of pouring rain finally subsided and Game 5 resumed on Wednesday, October 29. I got to the stadium and the energy in the park was unbelievable. Phans were even more lively than at Game 5, part I. It was awesome, even thought we were tied at 2 with with 3 and 1/2 innings to go, we knew that by the end of the night, we would be World Champions. With all the excitement in the air, the Phightins' took to bat and Geoff Jenkins smacked a double, got the crowd even more crazy than we already were. That double lead to us scoring yet again putting us ahead in would could have been the final game. Then in the top of the 7th, Tampa Bay tied the game at 3, but no one got discouraged, we knew that this team would score again and sure enough we did. Pat the bat led of the bottom of the 7th with a double. Pat was replaced by pinch runner, Eric Bruntlett, who was brought home by a single by Pedro Feliz to give us the lead again at 4-3. What a fitting end to Pat Burrell's up and down career in Philadelphia by getting the hit that led to the winning run of the World Series.

The crowd never stopped screaming, chanting, and clapping the whole time, we were ready for our first championship since 1980 and only the 2nd title in the long history of the Phillies. Which brings us to the top of the 9th, Phillies up 4-3 and our closer, Brad Lidge enters the game. Lidge who was 41 for 41 in save situations in the regular season and a perfect 6 for 6 in the post season was in to bring home the win. In typical Phillies fashion, the 9th was not an easy one. Lidge gave up a single and a stolen base, putting the tying run on 2nd base. That brought up Eric Hinske. Lidge quickly got two strikes on Hinske, which brought us to the moment that will live in my mind and heart forever. The crowd was going nuts, we knew it was going to happen, we knew we were about to become World Champs. Then at 9:58 PM, it happened. There is only one way to described what happened next. I will let you relive the word of the late, great Harry Kalas:

One strike away, nothing-and-two to Hinske... Fans on their feet, Brad Lidge stretches... the 0–2 pitch...Swing and a miss; struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for the 2008 season, 48-for-48 in save opportunities... And let the city celebrate! Don't let the forty-eight hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment and celebration! Twenty-five years in this city that a team has enjoyed a world championship and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night! Phils winning, 4–3, Brad Lidge gets the job done once again!
- Harry Kalas calling the final out of the 2008 World Series

Watching it all unfold was the greatest sports moment I have ever been a part, right above winning the World Series in our Township's Little League in my final season of eligibility. It was unreal, it was euphoric, it AWESOME! I lost it. As you can see in my youtube video of the moment posted below. (Yes, that is me screaming OMG! OMG! OMG) I was in sports Phan Heaven. All the years of losing, all the years of having to hear how bad my team was, all comments about 10,000 losses disappearing with that strike out. We were finally WORLD CHAMPIONS and I was there to see it all unfold.

The Phillies have been a major part of my life since I was a child and they will always be a part of my life. I am going to take great pride in this blog and my website that is in construction, The site will be filled with video and pictures from the 2008 Post-Season and my other Phillies experiences, as well as other things having to do with the greatest franchise in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies. In closing, I am proud to say that I am a Phillie Phanatic and I do not need a big green suit to call myself one. Thanks for reading and come back soon for updated blogs and website status and hoping by the end of October we will be celebrating a repeat!


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