The Phillies added another arm to their pitching staff today when they signed right-hander Chad Gaudin to a Minor League contract.
He will be in big-league camp this spring.
Gaudin, 30, went 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 30 appearances (12 starts) last season with the Giants. He opened the season in the bullpen, posting a 2.05 ERA in 18 relief appearances, before finishing the season in the rotation, where he went 5-1 with a 3.53 ERA before finishing his season on the disabled list with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Gaudin gives the Phillies more flexibility and versatility with his ability to pitch in both the bullpen and rotation.
He is 45-44 with a 4.44 ERA in 344 appearances (87 starts) in his big-league career.
Two of Comcast’s top choices said no or aren’t interested: Brad Lidge and Dan Plesac. Either would be fantastic, in my opinion. Both are incredibly smart and likeable. Lidge has been impressive on SiriusXM. Plesac is fantastic on MLB Network. But both have reasons for not joining Tom McCarthy in the booth. Lidge told the Daily News the timing isn’t right. And Plesac has a truly excellent gig at MLB Network.
Names I have heard a lot include Doug Glanville, who works with ESPN; Buck Martinez, who broadcasts with the Blue Jays; Kevin Stocker, who has received high marks for his work with the Pac-12 and CBS Sports networks; and Mickey Morandini, who is a coach with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Jamie Moyer‘s name has been mentioned, although I’m not certain of the interest either way. Ricky Bottalico and Ben Davis already work with Comcast, so they could be in the mix.
Who else is out there? Who do you want?
Bad news: Phillies pitching prospects Adam Morgan and Shane Watson are going to miss most of 2014 following shoulder surgeries.
The Phillies yesterday announced they have invited five more players to Spring Training as non-roster invitees.
The quintet includes left-hander Jesse Biddle, third baseman Maikel Franco, right-hander Ken Giles, left-hander Mario Hollands and catcher Sebastian Valle. MLB.com ranks Biddle and Franco as the top two prospects in the organization, respectively.
Biddle went 5-14 with a 3.64 ERA in 27 starts last season with Double-A Reading. Franco hit a combined .320 with 31 home runs and 103 RBIs in 134 games between Class A Clearwater and Reading. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Franco could compete with Cody Asche for a job at third base, although Asche is the favorite.
Biddle is expected to open the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Giles is a hard thrower, striking out 16 in 10 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League. He went 2-2 with a 6.31 ERA with Clearwater, although he was limited to just 24 appearances because of injury.
Hollands went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 appearances (20 starts) with Clearwater and Reading. The Phillies recently removed Valle from the 40-man roster. He had been the top catching prospect in the organization, but Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph surpassed him last season.
The Phillies have invited 16 players to camp as non-roster invitees: pitchers Biddle, Shawn Camp, Giles, Hollands, Cesar Jimenez, Jeff Manship and Sean O’Sullivan; catchers Lou Marson and Valle; infielders Andres Blanco, Reid Brignac and Franco; and outfielders Leandro Castro, Tony Gwynn Jr., Dave Sappelt and Clete Thomas.
Big changes continue with the Phillies on TV.
Last week they signed a 25-year contract with Comcast SportsNet worth a reported $2.5 billion. Then today the team announced broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews will not return to the TV booth. Multiple sources said Comcast requested the changes during contract negotiations, which Wheeler essentially confirmed in a statement.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Phillies broadcast team for 37 years,” Wheeler said. “I certainly respect the decision that was made and I look forward to my new role in the Phillies organization.”
Both Wheeler, 68, and Matthews, 63, will remain in the organization in some capacity, although what specific roles are unclear.
Tom McCarthy, who does play-by-play on TV, has four years remaining on his contract. He will return to the TV booth. Gregg Murphy will return as TV’s field reporter. Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will return and remain in the radio booth.
“That’s where I want to be,” Franzke said. “I like doing what I’m doing.”
Sources said Comcast is looking for one color commentator to replace Wheeler and Matthews. In the past, broadcasters have been Phillies employees, but the new broadcaster will be a Comcast employee.
Comcast also has final say over who it hires, but the Phillies and Comcast just entered a 25-year business partnership, so the Phillies will be consulted on the short list. If they strongly object to a candidate the network will listen.
He never mentioned the pitcher by name because he needs to pass a physical before the Phillies announce the deal. But a source said it is right-hander Roberto Hernandez, who pitched under the name Fausto Carmona before he was arrested in Jan. 2012 for using a false identity.
It is a one-year deal, which MLBTradeRumors.com reported is worth $4.5 million with $1.5 million in incentives.
Hernandez, 33, went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 32 starts (24 appearances) last season with the Rays. He made his last start Aug. 27 before Tampa Bay moved him to the bullpen.
He will join a rotation that includes Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
“It’s more of a depth guy,” Amaro said. “It’s not somebody who is going to slide into the top of the rotation. But we need some depth. We’re trying to get the best bang for our buck, and in this marketplace it’s tough because the prices have soared pretty significantly. We’re just trying to add a little bit of depth.”
The Phillies used 21 relief pitchers last season, so depth can be a serious issue.
They added another arm to their Spring Training bullpen competition today, when they selected right-hander Kevin Munson from the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 Draft. He went 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 53 appearances last season with Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, but has averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his Minor League career.
“He’s a power reliever, a two-pitch power guy,” Phillies scouting director Mike Ondo said. “A big fastball with a hard slider. He’s a guy that can create some depth in our bullpen. Get him in the mix. In the past he’s been capable of giving you a two-inning outing. He’s also a guy that can come in with that stuff and get a strikeout.”
The Phillies lost right-hander Seth Rosin to the Mets. The Phillies acquired Rosin in July 2012 in the Hunter Pence trade. They also lost shortstop Jonathan Roof to the Red Sox in the Minor League phase of the draft.
“He was a guy we thought we had a chance to lose,” Ondo said about Rosin.
But Munson at the very least creates a little more competition for a young group that includes Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, B.J. Rosenberg, Michael Stutes, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst and others. Munson’s fastball is in the 92-95 mph range, but consistently sits 93-94 mph.
“I know the ERA was high, but the walks were down in Triple-A,” Ondo said. “And his strikeouts were still there. He started getting more groundballs in Triple-A. We saw him both places this year, and we’ve seen him in the past. We’ve liked the arm in the past. The way he’s progressed we figured we take a chance on that stuff.”
Munson must remain on the 25-man roster the entire season to remain with the organization. If not, another team can claim him or he can return to the Diamondbacks.
Scott Boras is holding his annual scrum with reporters at the Winter Meetings.
He already got asked plenty of questions about Shin-Soo Choo, but I snuck in a question about Domonic Brown.
Considering the season he just had and the fact the Phillies need to get younger, is it surprising to hear Brown’s name keep coming up in trade rumors?
“Really, when you have breakout young players that teams have control over a long time, I think it’s pretty customary that teams are going to be interested in him,” Boras said. “Again, anybody with 20-plus home run power these days, we’re talking about annually, there’s like 40 of them in the league. That’s a little over one a team. So when you hit 27 home runs like Domonic did, clubs are going to pay attention and try to acquire those assets.”
Boras also was asked about the Phillies. Typically, they are in the hunt for some of the bigger names on the market, but so far they have been on the sideline.
“I think their team is in a position where they are trying to work on what’s below, but they’re trying to win now,” he said. “When you’re in that position, it’s hard to say when you look in the glass of water that it’s crystal clear. It’s a hard process. It’s a very hard process.”
That said, is it surprising to see them dangling Brown?
“I think it’s unfair to say they’re dangling him,” he said. “I think a lot of people are asking for him because he is young and he hits a lot of home runs. That’s customary. So I would expect that teams are going to ask Philadelphia about that, because they may be offering them more veteran players to help in their direction toward winning now. That’s the give and go of this. It’s like eating and brushing your teeth at the same time. You want clean teeth but then again you want to survive. So I don’t know quite how you do it.”
And what does Brown think about this?
“I think that they’ve got a direction on what they want to do, and clearly they want to win now, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “I always tell players when you’re under control of a club you just sit back and listen and I’ll let you know, but usually you’re going to end up in a good place if it happens.”
ESPN and CBSSports.com reported the Phillies have told teams they will listen to offers for Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Now why in the world would the Phillies do that? Well, it is important to note that listening is different than trading. But if some team is willing to offer premium talent for Hamels or Lee — and take their entire salary to boot — it would be foolish not to listen.
It would be foolish, however, to trade one of them for a package that does not address numerous and immediate needs. After all, what was the purpose of extending Chase Utley, signing Marlon Byrd and resigning Carlos Ruiz if the Phillies are not trying to win the next couple seasons?
The Phillies better than anybody know the risks of trading a top starting pitcher for young talent. They traded Lee to the Mariners in Dec. 2009 for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez. They also have acquired Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt for prospects that included Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Jason Knapp, Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Taylor, J.A. Happ, Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose.
Have any of those players come back to haunt the Phillies yet?
How certain can the Phillies be that the players they would get in return for Hamels or Lee would make a difference?
It also must be noted there are obstacles involved in any potential Hamels and Lee talks. First, both have limited no-trade clauses. Second, they are owed a ton of money. Hamels is owed $118.5 million over the next five years, which includes $22.5 million in salary each of the next five seasons, plus a $6 million buyout for a vesting option in 2019. Lee is owed $62.5 million over the next three years, which includes $25 million in salary each of the next two seasons, plus $12.5 million buyout for a vesting option for 2016.
If the Phillies trade either of them the other team must take their salary, which limits potential partners. The Phillies last ate money in a trade in 2005, when they shipped Jim Thome to the White Sox.
There are reasons it makes sense for the Phillies to listen. They have holes everywhere. They need to get younger. They could use the payroll relief. But there are plenty of reasons it won’t happen, too.
“Roy was one of the best. There are no shortcuts to greatness; Roy understood that, and that’s why he never took any. I wish I could’ve gotten him that ring he desired. That’s my only regret while having him on my team.”
“It’s been an honor playing along side Roy Halladay. His tenacity, attention to detail, and preparation was second to none. He is one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever played with. We will definitely miss him, as will the game of baseball.”
Ruben Amaro Jr.
“It was kind of bittersweet. I know how much he likes to compete. For him to not be able to compete at the level he’s accustomed to, I feel badly about that. The other thing people shouldn’t take for granted was what he did for us. When he stepped on the mound, there was like a 97 percent chance you were going to get a win. He was a little bit like Steve Carlton, although Steve did it for much longer with our organization. But when you get a guy like that one the mound, that’s pretty special. I was blessed. I think our fans should feel blessed they had an opportunity to witness that.”
“He was one of the best competitors who ever played this game and taught everyone around him to prepare the right way in order to be the best. For me, personally, he helped me understand the game more and gave me insight on how to become a top of the line starting pitcher.”
“Roy was probably the best influence in my career. Being able to spend the last four years with him taught me what work ethic and commitment are all about. In my eyes, the game just lost the best pitcher of the last 10 years.”
“Roy was one of the best pitchers and students of the game I’ve ever had the honor of playing with. Hands down, he was the best pitcher of this era and a first ballot Hall of Famer.”
“Roy Halladay is the ultimate competitor. He is by far the hardest worker that I’ve ever seen and treated every game as if it were his last. It was no coincidence why he was the best pitcher of his era. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to watch him pitch for four years. I’ll miss his presence and passion but, most of all, I will miss his intensity.”
“Roy was the most prepared, ferociously competitive pitcher I’ve ever been around and was the epitome of professionalism. How he conversed with people and treated his teammates was something I really admired about him. He did it all. He and Jamie Moyer are the most demanding pitchers I’ve ever had. They wanted to get better every time out and if you look at Roy’s numbers, having played in the AL East all those years, winning two Cy Youngs, pitching a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter, he should absolutely get strong consideration for the Hall of Fame.”
“Roy was one of the hardest working teammates I played with. He was a joy and pleasure to be around and brought the best out of everyone.”
“Roy Halladay is one the most dominant, consistent professional pitchers I’ve ever had the privilege of playing with. He was a great teammate, but an even better father, friend and role model. He is one of those guys who is determined and driven to be great at whatever he does. I wish him and his family all the best.”
“I know it must have been hard for Roy to make this decision to retire because I know how much he loved to play the game. Roy was, without a doubt, one of the greatest competitors I ever had the pleasure of being around.”
“I’m very sad to see Roy retire but very happy to have been his teammate. He was a special player, and it was my great fortune to be able and watch him pitch. Hopefully he enjoys retirement.”
“Roy was a great player and a very special friend. To have caught both his perfect game and playoff no-hitter is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I wish him and his family all the best in retirement.”
He will sign a one-day contract and retire a Blue Jay.
The retirement should not come as a complete surprise. Halladay, 36, had a 5.15 ERA over the past two seasons as he has battled shoulder problems, which included surgery in May. His ERA ranked 161st out of 169 pitchers with 163 1/3 or more innings the past two seasons.
He simply had not been himself.
But Halladay absolutely dominated the game for more than a decade prior. He went 175-78 with a 2.98 ERA from 2001-11. Only Johan Santana (2.94) had a better ERA among pitchers with 1,500 or more innings pitched. Only CC Sabathia (176) had more wins. Halladay had 64 complete games in that span, 30 more than Livan Hernandez. He had 19 shutouts, seven more than Chris Carpenter. Halladay ranked first in WAR (65.4), ERA+ (148), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.52) and winning percentage (.692); second in walks per nine innings (1.55) and opponents OPS (.642); third in WHIP (1.11); fourth in innings (2,300); and fifth in strikeouts (1,795),
He won the American League Cy Young in 2003 and National League Cy Young in 2010. He threw a perfect game for the Phillies in 2010, and a n0-hitter in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series.
Hall of Famer?