But this afternoon the Phillies announced they had signed Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a three-year, $12 million contract. The deal includes a vesting/club option for 2017, plus signing and performance bonuses. If you remember, the Phillies and Gonzalez agreed July 27 to a six-year, $48 million deal with an $11 million option for 2019. But MLB.com reported Aug. 6 the deal hit a snag and could be in jeopardy.
It is believed the Phillies had some concerns about his health following his physical. Gonzalez had bone spurs removed from his right elbow relatively recently.
That is the only reason to explain why the deal dropped from $48 million to $12 million.
But if Gonzalez is healthy and is as good as scouts think he is, he should help the 2014 rotation behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.
“We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with Miguel,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “He is someone our scouts have followed for several years and in our most recent observations of him he showed tremendous stuff. We are hopeful he will pitch out of our starting rotation for 2014 and beyond.”
Gonzalez will report to the Phillies’ Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, left-hander John Lannan has been moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Cody Asche left tonight’s game against the Mets in the seventh inning with a mildly strained/cramped right hamstring.
Asche singled to right field when he pulled up lame running to first base.
“On the ball heading to the gap, he put a little extra into the run and felt a little something,” Ryne Sandberg said. “He’s day-to-day, but it felt a lot better. He felt if he would’ve run to first base and then made an out and came back in and would’ve been able to shake it off and sit, it would’ve been fine. Cramp symptoms.”
Sandberg said Asche would not play in tomorrow’s series finale as a precaution. He called Asche day-to-day.
Utility infielder John McDonald replaced him as a pinch-runner.
Asche is hitting .256 (22-for-86) with six doubles, one triple, two home runs and 14 RBIs in 25 games. Since a 1-for-17 start to his big league career, Asche is hitting .304 (21-for-69).
Not too many people know what the future holds for Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg, but at the moment the smart bet is he will be in the dugout managing the Phillies in 2014.
He has been impressive through 12 games, although much can change.
Asked today at Citi Field if Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. provided him a timetable for a decision about his future, Sandberg said, “No, he didn’t talk about that. Nope. He told me … I’d be named interim manager and we were both on the same page. I might’ve had as much input or more to say than he did as far as these are meaningful games for evaluation of the players and all that. Fairly easy conversation but it was left at that.”
My gut simply tells me Sandberg is the guy. He has made some changes in the clubhouse. He has handled the games well. Everybody seems to be responding to him appropriately. I’ve got to think if that continues the job is his.
The Phillies are hosting ’90s night tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Above is an awesome placard they handed out to fans before the game. They also handed out a John Kruk action figurine, but this is pretty sweet.
Below are the the ’90s themed images they used for the Phillies:
Roy Halladay yesterday tried to clarify his comments from Tuesday in Class A Lakewood, where he made waves when he discussed the Phillies’ managerial change.
Halladay has said both publicly and privately how much he has enjoyed playing for Charlie Manuel. I don’t think that was BS. I think he genuinely respected the former Phillies manager. But I think Halladay also hasn’t liked what he has seen in the clubhouse lately, and he tried to express those feelings to reporters. But he perhaps garbled his intended message and instead of saying the poor attitude, work ethic, etc., in the clubhouse needed to change, it sounded like he was reburying Manuel and blaming him for everything. That isn’t Halladay’s style, at least not in my experiences with him. He will speak his mind, but he’s not the type of guy to blast a manager, especially a few days after he has been fired.
But Halladay said what he said. So what about “guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra BP and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference?”
Ryne Sandberg said yesterday, “All I can say on that is being the third-base coach and infield instructor up to last week or five days ago, players came to the ballpark, they reported, they got their work in with the coaches and all of the players were ready to play every single game.”
Now, keep in mind, if Sandberg felt differently he certainly was not going to say, “Oh, yes. I completely agree with everything Halladay said. He’s right.” But that’s OK. Sandberg already has talked about lackadaisical play and things needing to change. My very early impressions of Sandberg are he is a man with a plan and a very good sense of how he wants to do things.
I saw evidence of that early this season. He instituted infield practice at home. That is something I have not seen since I started covering the team in 2003. Every once in a blue moon you’d see the team holding infield and outfield practice before a game, but typically only after a run or sloppy games. But Sandberg wanted this to happen, whether or not the team was playing well or poorly. These 20-minute sessions typically began before 4 p.m. for a night game, so I remember asking him if everybody needed to be there. I asked because at the time players didn’t need to be in uniform and on the field until the official team stretch, which is a little after 4 p.m. Sandberg seemed completely baffled by my question. He looked stunned.
“These are mandatory,” he said sternly.
That leads me to one small, but noteworthy change he has made since he took over Friday.
Sandberg has a 3 p.m. report time to the ballpark for 7 p.m. games.
That is new.
Like I said, in the past players needed to be on the field in time for their group stretch. But Sandberg is making sure everybody is at the ballpark no later than 3 p.m. Again, it’s a small, but noteworthy change. But for me, the biggest thing for Sandberg is changing attitudes in the clubhouse. The clubhouse has not been a positive place this season. Players are unhappy (examples here, here and here). Maybe that’s just how clubhouse are when teams are losing. But things certainly haven’t been helped by the negative energy and attitudes.
If Sandberg can get everybody in the clubhouse to focus their energies on what matters on the field instead of what happens off it, then I think Sandberg will have earned his keep and deserves the full-time job. So far the early returns are good.
Most everybody took them as Halladay saying Charlie Manuel let things slip the past two seasons, and that Ryne Sandberg would get players back on track, refocused, rededicated, etc. But Halladay made a statement to reporters this afternoon, trying to clarify those comments.
Here is what he said:
“I felt like what was said necessarily wasn’t written. And I just want to make it well known that I have a lot of respect for Charlie. There were some articles put out that offended me and I’m sure offended Charlie. And I called him today and talked to him about it. We’ve been in a lot of contact. I loved playing for him. He was a great manager. Everybody here loved him. The players loved him. And he was a lot of the reason they won the World Series here. I just want to make that point clear. I was also trying to say that I feel like if there was somebody that’s going to replace a guy like that then it’s going to be a Ryne Sandberg type of person with the experience that he carries and everything else.
“But I really felt like a lot was lost in translation with respect to Charlie. I just want to make that clear. I don’t endorse any manager’s firing. The players get managers fired. Any time a manager is fired as a player you feel like you haven’t done your job.
“Really, that’s it. I just want to make sure the air is clear there. I talked to Charlie and we’re good. But I wanted him to know that I really enjoyed playing for him and as far as managers have gone, he’s the best I’ve ever been around. I really enjoyed the time with him. At the same token I look forward to working with Ryne, too. Really, that’s about it. I think I saw one title that said I endorsed the firing of Charlie Manuel. And that really bothered me, so I just wanted to make sure we were all clear.”
Roy Halladay made a rehab start last night at Class A Lakewood, but the most interesting thing might have come after the game when he spoke to reporters about the Phillies’ recent managerial change.
The Phillies fired Charlie Manuel on Friday and replaced him with interim manager Ryne Sandberg.
“I’ve exchanged tests with him (Manuel), obviously I loved him, he was great, but from what I’ve seen, Ryne came in and made some changes and addressed some issues that I think were being overlooked,” Halladay said. “From that standpoint, as much as I miss Charlie, I think that Ryne is going to a good job and yeah I think bring back a little more of the Phillies baseball style than we’ve had the last couple years. You know, we really haven’t had that whole team effort and the whole team hustle I think we had in prior years.”
So what exactly needed to be addressed?
“Ah, just different things,” he said. “I mean guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra bp and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference. I think he (Ryne) has been very good so far, but I don’t want to take anything away from Charlie. We all respected him tremendously and, you know, I think he’s going to have the choice of what he wants to do at this point in his life, so I’m happy for him.”
Interesting. It’s safe to say the chemistry in the clubhouse hasn’t been good for some time. There are some unhappy players in there. Maybe Sandberg will get the players refocused on things that truly matter. And maybe that will make a difference. We’ll see.
Diekman was working out of the stretch with runners on first and second when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado wanted to call time and made a movement out of the batter’s box, although he never left the box and time had never been called. Diekman began his delivery to the plate, but upon seeing Arenado move out of the box he believed time had been called and stopped his delivery. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce called a balk.
Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg and Joyce had three conversations about the call during the game. Sandberg’s contention: a hitter cannot induce a balk. Rule 6.02(b) states: “If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a ‘set position’ with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has stepped out of the box, it shall not be called a balk.”
Joyce spoke about the call following the game with Randy Marsh, who is Major League Baseball’s director of umpires. Marsh is in town this week.
“I implemented the balk wrong,” Joyce said before Tuesday’s game. “The rule actually states if the batter leaves the batter’s box and causes the pitcher to hesitate or stop a balk shall not be called. I got probably a little more technical on that. He didn’t leave the box, but the spirit of the rule is if you make the pitcher stop by some sort of action by the batter a balk shall not be called. I probably was a little overzealous in throwing out that balk.”
Joyce said he spoke with Sandberg and Rockies manager Walt Weiss about it before tonight’s game.
“You could have the hitter step out and if the pitcher delivers a weaker pitch they could step back in and whack it, if they’re just trying to deliver a pitch,” Sandberg said. “So for me it’s a total disadvantage for the pitcher there in all regards to the play. The rule states that and I think that’s why the rule is what it is.”
Lannan is on the disabled list with tendinosis in the knee. Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti has recommend surgery, although Lannan first will receive a second opinion from Dodgers physical Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
“I think he ruptured the tendon,” Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.
Lannan missed two months earlier this season with a strained quadriceps tendon in the knee. He said last week in Atlanta he wanted to get this recurring issue – the knee has bothered him in previous seasons – resolved.
Proefrock offered health updates on other injured Phillies:
- Ryan Howard (left knee surgery): He saw a doctor Monday and will begin baseball activities Thursday.
- Ben Revere (right ankle surgery): He is finally off crutches. “I don’t know whether Ryan or Ben will be back on the field here or in Florida, but the expectation is that they’ll be back on the field somewhere before the end of the season,” Proefrock said. “Whether it’s up here, whether they’re playing in Instructional League, I don’t know. … I think the main thing for both of them is to just get them to the point where there are no surprises in Spring Training next year.”
- Mike Adams (right shoulder surgery): He continues to rehab and as Adams said recently he expects to be ready come Spring Training.
- Mike Stutes (right biceps tendinitis): He is long tossing. “He’s making good progress,” Proefrock said. Proefrock said there is a chance Stutes could be back at some point, although it’s too early in the process to offer a timetable.
- Jeremy Horst (sprained left elbow). He visited the doctor Tuesday. He could begin a throwing program soon.
- Joe Savery (stiff left elbow). He will begin a rehab assignment later this week, most likely in Clearwater, Fla.
He joined a select group Saturday when the Phillies suffered a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Sandberg became one of just three managers in baseball history to suffer shutout losses in their first two games as manager.
Miami’s Mike Redmond suffered the same fate as Sandberg to begin this season.
Louisville’s Jack Chapman in 1876, which was the first year of the National League.