Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’

Pujols to LA Adds Wrinkle for Phillies

Albert Pujols might have thrown a $250 million wrinkle into the Phillies’ plans to resign Jimmy Rollins.

The Phillies and Rollins made progress this week on a new contract, so much so that nearly everybody at the Winter Meetings said they expect Rollins to remain in Philadelphia. Rollins’ agent Dan Lozano even cancelled a meeting earlier this week with the Milwaukee Brewers, who were believed to be Rollins’ other top suitor. That seemed like a pretty good sign Lozano had narrowed his focus to Philadelphia.

But things changed this morning. Pujols is leaving the St. Louis Cardinals for the Angels, which means the Cardinals suddenly have some money to spend. They need a first baseman, second baseman and shortstop, and if they don’t jump in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes (there are rumblings at the Hilton Anatole they will not) they could take a run at Rollins to fill one of their other needs. And while their history suggests otherwise, maybe the Cardinals would be willing to give Rollins what he wants.

Rollins tweeted to teammate Shane Victorino today: “something will get done, where is the question……..”

This is not saying Rollins is headed to St. Louis, but it certainly would be in Lozano’s best interest to explore every opportunity for his client, especially if talks with St. Louis can get the Phillies to increase their offer. One source indicated yesterday the Phillies had been talking about a three-year deal worth about $13 million per season. Perhaps talks with St. Louis get the Phillies to add a fourth year or an option for a fourth year.

At the very least it seems likely to drag out the process. Thoughts the Phillies and Rollins would strike an agreement before next week seem less likely after Pujols’ departure from the National League.

Looking at the J-Roll Talks

It’s Day 3 at the Winter Meetings and Jimmy Rollins remains the Phillies’ top priority.

A few thoughts on the Rollins negotiations:

  • Most everybody roaming the Hilton Anatole lobby believes Rollins will resign with the Phillies, even the lady that sold me the $12 turkey sandwich yesterday. It’s just a matter of when.
  • Rollins has been searching for a five-year contract, but I don’t see any team giving that to him. The Brewers? Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said yesterday, “We have nothing that suits our desires at this point for the financial situation that we have.” I’ve been told they would love Rollins, but on nothing more than a three-year deal. Maybe less than that. The Cardinals? I’ve been told they’re not really interested, or they’d be interested if they lose Albert Pujols, but would not overpay for him. The Giants would like him, but apparently don’t have the money. The Mets are not looking to add salary. So, really, the Phillies appear to be the only team really pursuing Rollins. That would seem to favor the Phillies, right?
  • Here’s a question: say the Brewers offer a slightly better deal than the Phillies. Is there any way Rollins goes to Milwaukee? Listen, I’m from Milwaukee. I love it there. But some people like to call Rollins a “red light” player. He loves the limelight. He’s going to play in relative anonymity in Milwaukee. Summer and fall weekends in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are different than New York and Florida (especially if the Marlins sign Pujols). Interleague series against Boston are different than interleague series with the Twins. I’d have to think Rollins would miss that.
  • The Phillies remain one of the best — if not the best — team in baseball. Rollins has said the opportunity to win is going to be a factor in his decision. The Brewers have a good team now, but they don’t have the money to throw at problems like the Phillies.
  • Rollins lives in South Jersey. His wife is from here. He has relationships here. If he leaves he’s just a baseball player coming to a new team. He’s not J-Roll in Milwaukee or St. Louis. He’s the guy trying to make up for the losses of Prince Fielder or Pujols. It’s quite a different situation.
  • Here’s my best guess when Rollins makes a decision: Monday or Tuesday. Why? Because the last two offseasons the Phillies have finalized deals with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee the week following the winter meetings.


Need a holiday gift? We’ve got another Sports Writers Extravaganza book signing at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Barnes & Noble at the Willow Grove Mall.

The Big Piece Speaks

howard 0217 2011.jpg

Phillies position players officially report to camp today, and before the morning workout Ryan Howard talked to reporters for roughly 10 minutes.

Here are the highlights:

Q: How is your ankle?
A: Ankle is good. Ankle is really good. I’m pretty much like 98 percent. There’s a little bit of tightness, a lit bit of soreness every once in a while. But it’s good to go.

Q: What percent was the ankle during the postseason?
A: That doesn’t really matter anymore now. We’re here. I’m not going to make any excuses about my ankle or anything like that. Was it 100 percent? No. But to me that doesn’t matter. I just go out there and try to do the best I can and don’t make excuses.

Q: How much did the ankle impact you once came back from the DL?
A: I don’t know how much impact it really did or really didn’t have. Like I said, I was out there. I’m trying to play. I’m trying to give it my all, whether my ankle is 100 percent or not. If I’m out there I’m going to try to do the best I can.

Q: How did you rehab?
A: Just got some work done. Pretty much massage, just kind of get the swelling out. Just continue to ice and do normal type of recovery stuff.


Is Utley the Best Player in Baseball?

utley swings.jpg

I got an interesting e-mail last week from John Dewan‘s Stat of the Week:

Is Chase Utley baseball’s best player?

If you’re not into sabermetrics — if you think these crazy new stats are the work of the devil — then clicking the link probably is not for you. If you love sabermetrics — if you think they explain everything in baseball — then Lord knows what your reaction will be after reading Dewan’s take on Utley vs. Albert Pujols. If you’re like me and in between on sabermetrics — they’re valuable to use, but they’re not the Gospel — you should find it interesting.

Also interesting, Dewan had Jimmy Rollins as the third-best player in baseball over the last five years.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Shhhh … Albert Can Be Human

pujols.jpgIf the Phillies know something the rest of the world does not know about Albert Pujols, they’re not saying it.

Pujols went 1-for-3 with one RBI in the Phillies’ 7-2 victory over St. Louis today at Citizens Bank Park. He hit .250 (4-for-16) with one RBI in the four-game series, but is hitting just .193 (11-for-57) with one homer and four RBIs in his last 15 games against the Phillies, dating to 2008. St. Louis is 4-11 against the Phillies in that span.

The secret?

“I don’t even want to talk about that,” Charlie Manuel said. “I remember two years ago, in St. Louis, you were talking about how great our offense was. You said, ‘You’re on pace to score 1,000 or 1,100 runs.’ And I told you that night to be quiet. We went out that night to score 20 runs and then we had trouble scoring one run for about a week to 10 days. And then we went about two weeks before we started getting on track.

“I don’t want to talk about Pujols’ hitting. He’s going to hit enough.”


Phillies pitchers are 6-2 with a 3.36 ERA in their last eight games. The offense also has found some normalcy, averaging 5.6 runs per game with an .819 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Albert! Albert! Albert!

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Ryan Howard‘s teammates apparently got a kick out of the Howard-for-Albert Pujols swap story.

“Albert! Albert! Albert!’ Shane Victorino chanted as Howard spoke with reporters for a couple minutes this morning. (Thanks, Shane!)

But what did Howard think about it?

“I don’t really have anything to say about it, to be honest with you,” he said. “Really, truthfully. I can go back to all the stuff that happened when I was in Double A and all the talk about trade rumors and that kind of stuff. To be honest, I don’t know anything about anything. I’m not really focused on it. If that were the case, which I don’t know if it is or not or whatever, it is what it is. Just keep going out there and just keep doing your thing. If you do get a call saying you’re traded just say you’re traded. But until that happens, I’m still a Phillie, I’m still here. So let’s ride it out.”

Surprised to hear it?

“No, because I don’t believe anything until it’s done,” he said. “For me, I didn’t really pay attention to it.”

Would St. Louis be interesting to him?

“As far as what? Living there?” he said. “St. Louis is my home, but as far as all this other stuff, I’m a Phillie.”


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Amaro Denies Howard Trade Report

Ruben Amaro Jr. denied a report that the Phillies have discussed proposing a Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols swap. reported the Cardinals might trade Pujols if they cannot sign him to a contract extension. Howard would be a fit because he is a St. Louis native. Both players become free agents after the 2011 season.

“It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Your Phillies All-Stars Are …

howard 0609.jpgChase Utley
and Raul Ibanez officially have been named starters for the National League All-Star team.

This is Utley’s fourth consecutive All-Star appearance.

This is Ibanez’s first.

Still waiting on the reserves.

Update: Ryan Howard has been named a reserve. Charlie Manuel is bringing four first basemen to St. Louis: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez and Howard.

Shane Victorino has been named to the Final Vote ballot, which means he can make the NL All-Star team.

His challengers are Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, Giants first baseman Pablo Sandoval and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

In my opinion, it’s a two-man race between Victorino and Kemp. I just don’t see the fan support there for Guzman, Reynolds or Sandoval.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Chase Utley Is Popular

utley.jpgI had no idea, but people really seem to like Chase Utley.

MLB just released its latest voting update for the National League All-Star team. Utley, who was the most popular NL player in voting last season, has passed Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols for the most votes this season.

Utley has 2,273,355 votes.

Pujols has 2,158,036.

Raul Ibanez continues to lead NL outfielders. The top three outfielders are selected. Ibanez has a 557,206 vote lead over Cubs leftfielder Alfonso Soriano, who is in fourth place. So if Phillies fans keep stuffing the ballot boxes, Ibanez should be headed to his first All-Star Game in his 14-year career.

Jimmy Rollins has a slim 87,460-vote lead over Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Rollins will need help to go, which would be an interesting story because he obviously has been struggling this season.

Here are the other top Phillies vote getters.


Missed the debut of The Pen last night, but everybody who has seen it has been impressed.


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