Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year to bring hopes of another championship run for Phillies







 It's only a couple days to the New Year, 2012. With that in mind, it's going to be the Phillies 130th season in 2012 and the hope is starting early that the team can again return to the World Series. The Phillies team may not be the powerhouse that it was billed prior to the 2011 season, but nonetheless the team remains a favorite to win it all in '12.

The season will probably not be a 'Perfect Season' for sure, that in reference to Paul Kurtz's book from last year, 162-0: Imagine A Phillies Perfect Season  While not perfect, we should see a lot of great things from the Phillies again in the coming year.


We'll see Jimmy Rollins staying in a Phillies uniform, Jonathan Papelbon add his own personality to the bullpen as the Phillies closer, and of course still have a formidable starting rotation with at least 3 Aces; Halladay, Hamels, and Lee.

We've grown accustomed to great things when the Phillies are mentioned, and that is great. Gone are the days when the team couldn't finish well enough to even think about a trip to the playoffs, let alone a trip to the World Series.

The Phillies payroll is only second to the NY Yankees again this year. It's been a great time to be playing for a team that is doing well, and rewarding players with very huge salaries. This team responded last year by winning more games than any other team in baseball, 102. Their early exit from the playoffs left some disappointed and no one more disappointed than the players themselves.

On the messaging service called Twitter, many players send short messages about their training habits and quest for another chance at a championship. Shane Victorino is one of those players. He sends out his 'tweets' to be read by all who care to read them.

Here's an example of one of them:


Wake up...Motivated for a great workout for what I do now will pay off when the  begins...WS 2012!


There is a thirst to win on this team, and the Phillies fans want to experience the celebration of another World Series victory, will 2012 again be the time?





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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays and Christmas wishes from FightinPhillies.com

 

 

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I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone who reads the blog here at fightinphillies.com a wonder holiday season. May the holidays bring all of the good things to you and yours.

 

It’s Christmas Eve and all through the houses, Phillies fans are waiting for the 2012 season to take shape and get underway. It’s not too far away says the calendar on the wall, until the day when we’ll all return to the Phillies ballpark and we’ll be having a ball!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Planning for your 2012 baseball trips with Stadium Journey

 

Stadium Clip Phillies

 

Most of us are starting to get a bit itchy for the 2012 baseball season, even as the holidays are approaching rapidly. The temperatures in the area are hardly the best for baseball, but setting our sites on the Spring is about the best we can do right now.

 

Maybe you’ve never been to Citizens Bank Park, or if you’ve been there plenty of times, you may want to consider a trip to the Phillies minor league parks. To assist you in your planning, you may want to head on over to Stadium Journey to find some cool reviews and photos of the places you may be going to in 2012 if you are a passionate fan of the Phillies and it’s minor league teams.

 

Williamsport Crosscutter’s Bowman Field, Stadium Journey site

 

Reading Phillies at First Energy Stadium, Stadium Journey site

 

Phillies at Citizens Bank Park site, Stadium Journey site

 

If you’ve been to these stadiums, you can even add your own comments and tips about these places.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Phillies get their spark back with Rollins

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

It appears to be official. This time, unlike the time with the Madson announcement, it seems like the Phillies will be keeping the guy who has played with the Phils his whole career and is the spark plug of the team. Jimmy Rollins has been patient, he’s dipped his toes into the ocean of free agency and he is again landing home in Philly just in time for the holidays.

 

Rollins has been one of the players that hasn’t received all of the attention that he deserves. He’s been a NL All Star, MVP, base stealer, and a catalyst of the Phillies offense for years. Nationally, he didn’t garner the immediate appeal to other teams for whatever reason in the free agent market, or a reason that was good enough for him to leave. We’re lucky to have Rolllins on the Phillies team.

 

Rollins has had a colorful time with the press in previous years, stating “We’re the team to beat.” Was he wrong?

 

When it comes to shortstops in recent years of Phillies history, you have to think about Larry Bowa, and Bowa spent 12 years in Philly. Bowa didn’t break into the big leagues until the age of 24 but he still holds a lot of Phillies records for the position. One of the records for Phillies shortstops that Bowa holds is that he appeared in 1739 games for the Phillies, a record that Rollins is closing in on as Jimmy is currently at 1636. Rollins may even pass Richie Ashburn, who is in second place in games played with the Phillies at 1794, this season if he gets a full season in for 2012.

 

Rollins was said to be in the market for a 5 year deal, and the Phillies were offering a deal that was less. A middle ground was found and the deal was done. Making Jimmy a very rich guy, and Phillies fans everywhere a little more happy in the holiday season time that he is back.

 

Read more about what Jimmy Rollins had to say about his new contract to the MLB’s Todd Zolecki here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Phillies gamble with Willis at bargain price




Willis cuts up with Ryan Howard in this video, and doesn't look anxious at all. Now he's a teammate of Howard apparently with the report that the Phillies have signed him.




What’s a million dollars worth lately? Not much according to the Phillies who just reportedly signed Dontrelle Willis to a one year deal for just around or slightly under $1M. Yes, it is the same Dontrelle that has been going through a torture chamber that he has invented in his own mind in the past couple of years. Call it anxiety or call it whatever, but the Detroit Tigers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks both had the services of Willis during the 2010 season and neither was impressed.

In fact, both teams were so happy to see Willis go, even Dontrelle’s own agent said at the time, he wouldn’t be surprised it Willis took a long time off from baseball.

Willis ended up with Cincinnati last season in 2011, and was a dismal 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA. He obviously hasn’t solved what’s been wrong with his game and I don’t see any reason to believe he’ll be any better with the Phillies. The Reds were finished with their look at Willis after 13 games started, he had 37 BB and 57 SO during those games.

On the flip side, if Willis ever finds his groove again, this could be the bargain of a lifetime for the Phillies. Willis needs to go out and prove himself, and the Phillies could be the right venue for him to do just that.

In his first couple of seasons, it looked as if Willis would be the next superstar, he could strike out just about anyone. What happened after is a mystery. Maybe he started to believe the hype around him, or just lost his composure all together for whatever reason. He had it all as the ROY in 2003, won 22 games in 2005 and then it just seemed to go all down hill for him.

You could see it all happening in his face, he couldn’t hide it. The pressure, the sweat, the game just consumed him. Can he get back on the right track with the Phillies?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mets falling on ‘hard times’ get $40M loan, need investors

 

 

 

 

The Mets have been going in the opposite direction on the field from that of the Phillies. The Phillies have elevated themselves starting in 2007 and have never looked back at the many years that elapsed between a playoff appearance from them, and now when the have been making the playoffs and winning the NL East Division every year since 2007.

 

The New York Mets on the other hand have reeled both on the field and by extremely poor player acquisitions in the past few years courtesy of Omar Minaya, former Mets GM. Every move Minaya made seem to not produce much in terms of the Mets winning anything or were just out and out terrible deals for guys who were just about to fall apart at the seems health wise.

 

I will always remember as well, when the new Mets stadium opened and trying to look for tickets on their website to see the Mets play the Phillies. I selected ‘best available’ and was stunned and amazed to see each ticket costing in the neighborhood of $500 a piece to see a baseball game. I had to take a double take when up popped the price, can that be right I thought to myself?

 

I don’t know what happened to New York and baseball. Yes, the Mets got a new stadium and didn’t have a terribly good team, but yet thought they would raise prices as high as the sky without regard as to who might want to buy them. The Phillies on the other hand have been slowly raising ticket prices as they’ve ridden their wave of success. The Phillies ownership have steadily raised tickets to the highest prices ever seen by ticket buyers at a Philadelphia baseball crowd yet in 2012, but the ownership has been prudent with the raises and even though since 2004, the ticket prices are nearly double of what they used to be, hardly anyone is taking notice.

 

Read more about the Mets taking a new loan to add to their loan they’ve already received by the MLB, here.

 

Francisco goes north to Toronto

 

Ben Francisco will be giving the Phillies some room on the crowded bench now that he has been traded. Francisco went to the Blue Jays for minor leaguer Frank Gailey. Francisco was kind of quiet in his 3 years with the Phillies, although last year he appeared in 100 games for the Phillies in various roles. 

 

Rollins report on wrist surgery was false

 

A couple days ago, many reports were written about Jimmy Rollins undergoing a minor wrist surgery. The reports surfaced on MLB.com and local news outlets in the Philadelphia area. The only thing about it is that it was totally false. The Phillies organization somehow released information about this that was totally false. Jimmy Rollins himself used the online service, Twitter, to announce that this was ‘old news’. He went on to set the record straight that this happened over a year ago in November of 2010. You have to wonder where and who in the Phillies organization got this wrong.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Remembering Madson’s career with the Phillies



Mad Dog Madson
Madson had the Phillie mentality, didn’t get the chance to show us his best possibly


It was the end of an era for Ryan Madson and his Phillies career on Thursday as he declined the Phillies offer for arbitration that would have kept him in Philly for one more season. Madson had been patient with the Phillies his whole career, he was a brilliant set-up man for Brad Lidge when Lidge was the rock solid closer for the Phillies, and now Madson and Lidge appear to be gone from the Philadelphia Phillies landscape.

The Phillies never seemed too content with making Madson their rock solid closer. Though he has earned the right to be that closer with the Phillies by now, something just didn’t click with that happening. Last year, some closing duties were handled by younger players who did a wonderful job, when he was needed though, it was Madson who generally shined through with the experience and toughness that a closer needs.

Madson’s career in Philly started in 2003, when he pitched for a cup of coffee in 2 innings as a 22 year old. The following year saw Madson appear in 52 games and accumulate a 9-3 record. The following year in 2005, Madson had a 6-5 record in 78 appearances with the Phillies, his season era was elevated to 4.14 and the following year the Phillies tried out Madson as a starter.

In 2006, Ryan Madson started 17 games for the Phillies. The same year he also saved 2 games for the Phillies. His record ended that year at 11-9 with a 5.69 era. Not exactly what the Phillies thought of a resounding success with his re-launch as a starter.  After the 2006 season, Madson would again go to the pen and became a steady guy out of the bullpen for the Phillies.

I think what hurt the most with Madson and the Phillies having the confidence in making him their everyday closer was the fact that prior to last year, Madson really didn’t have all that many saves to his credit. In the 9 years that Madson pitched for the Phillies (including his first season of 2 IP), Madson had a grand total of 52 saves, of which he earned 32 alone last year. Is he a set-up man who can close or that closer that a team relies on to go out and earn you that save?

Not taking anything away from Madson, he was very steady most of the time and he really fit his role with the Phillies well. He may have been well to accept that arbitration year for what it was. He’s already earned $15.5M in the game of baseball already, but the lure of bigger money on the horizon is what he and his agent is now after. Is Madson the closer that most people think he can be? I kind of think he’s ready to make that step but will some team lay serious money on the line to find out? That remains an issue that is still yet to be resolved.

Madson's 9 year career numbers with the Phillies:


Year W L W-L% ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB
1998 3 3 .500 4.83 12 10 0 0 54.0 57 38 29 5 20 MTV · APPY
1999 5 5 .500 4.72 15 15 0 0 87.2 80 51 46 5 43 BAT · NYPL
2000 14 5 .737 2.59 21 21 0 0 135.2 113 50 39 5 45 KAN · SALL
2001 9 9 .500 3.90 22 21 0 0 117.2 137 68 51 4 49 CLW · FLOR
2002 16 4 .800 3.20 26 26 0 0 171.1 150 68 61 11 53 REA · EL
2003 12 8 .600 3.60 28 28 0 0 165.0 168 75 66 9 44 SWB,CLW · IL,FLOR
2003 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 2.0 0 0 0 0 0
2004 0 0 4.50 2 1 0 0 2.0 3 2 1 1 2 REA · EL
2004 9 3 .750 2.34 52 1 14 1 77.0 68 23 20 6 19
2005 6 5 .545 4.14 78 0 10 0 87.0 84 44 40 11 25
2006 11 9 .550 5.69 50 17 8 2 134.1 176 92 85 20 50
2007 0 0 0.00 2 0 1 0 3.0 3 0 0 0 0 REA · EL
2007 2 2 .500 3.05 38 0 9 1 56.0 48 19 19 5 23
2008 4 2 .667 3.05 76 0 14 1 82.2 79 29 28 6 23
2009 5 5 .500 3.26 79 0 28 10 77.1 73 29 28 7 22
2010 0 1 .000 3.18 5 0 0 0 5.2 4 2 2 1 2 CLW,REA,LHV · FLOR,EL,IL
2010 6 2 .750 2.55 55 0 21 5 53.0 42 16 15 4 13
2011 0 0 0.00 1 1 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 CLW · FLOR
2011 4 2 .667 2.37 62 0 46 32 60.2 54 16 16 2 16
9 Seasons 47 30 .610 3.59 491 18 150 52 630.0 624 268 251 61 191
162 Game Avg. 6 4 .610 3.59 66 2 20 7 84 83 36 34 8 26
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

Pujols follows $250M money trail to Los Angeles Angels

 

 

MoneyBag

 

 

Albert Pujols is no longer a free agent. He’s signed with the money and the LA Angels. That’s great news for the Phillies as we won’t have to face him very often, and it may be good news for Jimmy Rollins now that the agent that both Pujols and Rollins have, Dan Lozano, he can now get to serious work on Rollins’ contract.

 

Somehow you knew Pujols would be getting numbers like this, and this blogger this it’s just plain crazy that a team would pay any player that kind of money, especially in the poor economy that a lot of us are facing.

 

The Angels also threw $77.5M to C.J. Wilson to make it a nice holiday season for him too. Somehow I think baseball is following down the wrong trail with all of these huge contracts.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Phillies offseason 2011/2012 moves so far



Ty Wigginton hits a fan of a team he used to play for in New York, with a line drive foul ball... how do you Mets fans like him now?




The Phillies offseason moves don’t really compare to the past two seasons, when we’ve seen the greatest push for 4 legitimate aces on one team assembled by the Phillies, only to be ushered out of the playoffs in the first round last season.

Does this team have what it takes to go further into the playoffs? That’s a question that won’t be answered for some time, but with the Phillies acquisitions for the 2012 team, one can only hope that the answer is, Yes.

Let’s take a look at what the Phillies have added to the team so far:

Jonathan Papelbon – (Closer)      4 year $50M deal had some people wondering if that was too much salary for a closer, especially when he’s only pitching a limited amount of innings per season. He pushed Ryan Madson out of the spot, and now Madson seems like he is gone for good from the Phillies.

Jim Thome – (PH and 1st base)   The Phillies desperately need to get ‘younger’ but Jim Thome at 41 years old, is back to add experience and for one season, maybe some playing time at first base. He already has 21 seasons in and currently stands in with 604 HR in the 8th position all-time. Thome needs 5 more HR to tie Sammy Sosa, and 21 HR to tie Ken Griffey Jr. Can he hit 21 HR this year?

Ty Wigginton- (PH and 1st, 2nd or 3rd base)    At 34, Wigginton is a player the Phillies need to have on their team. He’s going to play a lot this year, and I think he’ll make a difference with the team in a positive way this year. He’s bounced around the majors for 10 years, but I’ve always liked the play that I’ve seen from Ty. His nickname is Wiggy.

Laynce Nix- (LF and PH)     The Phillies are adding more players that can PH, I suspect these type of players will play more than some fans realize. Like Wigginton, I like the addition of Nix, hopefully he can lower his strikeouts though, he has quite a few of those last season.

All this talk about home runs with Thome had me searching the HR total last year for the Phillies as a team. The Phillies finished in 8th place in the NL with 153, in 2010, the Phils finished 5th with 166 HR’s.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hot Stove has a few things cooking for Phillies but nothing with Rollins yet

 

 

MoneyBag

$102M plus for Reyes doesn’t mean Rollins will get the cash bag from the Phillies

 

The Winter Meetings are underway in Dallas as of today, and the hot stove is cooking away with deals and agents meeting team representatives, but so far nothing earth shattering for the Phillies.

 

Jimmy Rollins is not signed yet, and a report about Amaris Ramirez (3B) is said to be under the microscope by the Phillies as he’s just coming off a $75M contract for 5 years. Wow, Ramirez isn’t really what I’d call a blockbuster type player, but he earned $14.8M in the final year of the deal with the Cubs and hit 26 HR and 93 RBI.

 

I don’t think the Phillies want to throw big money at Ramirez, who is 33 and will be 34 in June. But stranger things have happened, and it seems that the Phillies are no longer thinking about bringing up players from the farm as they try to contend with seasoned veterans, as they have been leaning the past couple of years.

 

The Phillies added Laynce Nix as a utility player in the past couple days, and Nix is a guy who had 324 AB’s and batted .250 with 16 HR and 44 RBI for the Nationals last year. Nix also struck out 82 times in those 324 AB’s which doesn’t bode too well, he doesn’t have that much speed and stole 2 bases last year, and got caught 2 other times while trying to steal. I am not that excited with this addition to the Phillies.

 

Will they or won’t they? Rollins is said to want 5 years but I don’t think the Phillies want to go there, especially at Rollins’ age and have that commitment to Jimmy through 2017. Another team is probably going to make a decent offer to Rollins, and he may take it. Maybe Rollins should aim his sights on a shorter deal? 

 

With Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins, Rollins is the next top marquee shortstop in line. Reyes is younger, but has already played 9 full seasons in the majors as he started at 20 years old with the Mets in 2003. Rollins is an overall better player, I think he could get 4 years and $57M-$62M from the Phillies, how much more would you need? Rollins would still be able to negotiate another deal after this one, if he chooses.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Phillies Talk podcast - MLB Winter Meeting 2011

It's time for another edition of "Phillies Talk" the independent podcast that talks about the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. Join us live for the show or just listen after via iTunes, Android podcasts, or right here on the FightinPhillies.com site.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Phillies vs Pirates classic game, “The Unintentional Walk” to air this month on Comcast Sportsnet

 

 

This blog gets a lot of readers from all over the country and world that are Phillies fans. Those who live in the area will benefit from this information about a classic game that remains one of the games that I always like to call an ‘instant classic.’ That is a game that will live on for a long time in the memories of fans who saw it and those who eventually will see a game like this in replay.

 

 Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia will air a special program on an instant classic game that the Phillies were in back in 1989,  this month in December on the CSN channel and Comcast Network channel.

 

Here’s the details on the 90 minute special on ‘The Unintentional Walk’ game from CSN that will air in December on their network:

 

On June 8th, 1989, during a Pirates’ road game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium, the Pirates scored 10 runs in the top of the first inning, including three on a Barry Bonds home run.  As the Pirates' cross-state rivals came to bat in the bottom of the first, Pirates broadcaster Jim Rooker said on the air, “If we lose this game, I’ll walk home.”  Both Von Hayes and Steve Jeltz proceeded to hit two home runs (Jeltz would hit only five total during his Major League career) to trigger a Phillies comeback. The Phillies, trailing now only 11-10 in the eighth inning, scored the tying run on a wild pitch, then took the lead on Darren Daulton’s two-run single and went on to win 15-11. Rooker had to wait until after the season to make good on his “walk home” promise, conducting a 300-plus-mile charity walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

 

Air times and dates:  (subject to change, check listings)

 

  • CSN - Monday, 12/12 @ 8:30pm
  • TCN - Sunday, 12/18 @ 1:30pm
  • TCN - Thursday, 12/22 @ 6:30pm
  • CSN - Saturday, 12/24 @ 1:30pm