Results tagged ‘ Ben Francisco ’
Word spread late tonight at the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis that the Phillies had signed free agent outfielder Ross Gload. A baseball source said it was a two-year contract.
Gload, who hits left-handed, hit .261 with six home runs and 30 RBIs in 230 at-bats last season with the Florida Marlins. He has hit .283 with a .328 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage in an eight-year career with the Cubs, Rockies, White Sox, Royals and Marlins.
Gload joins a Phillies bench that includes outfielder Ben Francisco, catcher Brian Schneider and infielders Greg Dobbs and Juan Castro.
The national pundits have spoken: the Phillies were winners at the trade deadline.
But a few teams were. The Cardinals reshaped their offense with Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Julio Lugo. The Tigers got Jarrod Washburn. The Red Sox got Victor Martinez. The Pirates … ah, nevermind. But the Phillies bolstered their rotation with Cliff Lee, who won the 2008 American League Cy Young Award. They also added a much-needed right-handed bat to their bench with Ben Francisco.
“We’re pretty happy with how it went,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
But not completely satisfied, either. The Phillies still have room to improve, and Amaro said they were close to another trade before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. Amaro wouldn’t say what it was, but a good guess is another bench player like Francisco because the Phillies seem to have a plethora of arms in the rotation and bullpen.
The Phillies can continue to try to make trades through Aug. 31 and still have those players eligible for postseason play. But players traded from the 40-man roster through the end of the season must clear waivers first.
The Phillies have had success in recent seasons in making waiver trades. There was Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre in 2008, and Jamie Moyer, Jeff Conine and Jose Hernandez in 2006.
“It’s possible,” Amaro said of a waiver trade. “But you never know which guys will get through the waiver process. But we’ll certainly keep an eye on the waiver wire and see if there are ways to improve. Our needs might change as we go through the next month.”
Looking on the bench, Francisco and Stairs solidify the outfield, Greg Dobbs is one of the team’s most potent pinch-hitters and the Phillies like Paul Bako as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup, although Bako has been playing more lately.
Eric Bruntlett has struggled. He is hitting .123 (10-for-81) with six RBIs in 55 games this season.
“Unfortunately for Brunt and fortunately for us, everybody has stayed healthy in the infield,” Amaro said. “He’s not serving the same role as he was last year when he was being used in the outfield for Pat [Burrell]. Basically, he hasn’t had a chance to be on the field as much, so it’s been very difficult to get into any type of offensive rhythm. But he still has a lot of versatility, which is probably his strong suit. He hasn’t produced offensively, and I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit that. But right now there’s nobody who can do that job in our system.”
Triple-A Lehigh Valley infielder Miguel Cairo is hitting .296 (69-for-233) with four homers and 26 RBIs, but the Phillies don’t feel he can play shortstop as well as Bruntlett.
Joe Blanton is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA (six earned runs in 36 2/3 innings) in his previous five starts, and 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA (21 earned runs in 81 innings) in 12 starts since May 21. … The Phillies are hitting .103 (6-for-58) on this road trip with runners in scoring position.
Here are a few words on his performance last night against the Giants at AT&T Park, where he allowed four hits, one run and two walks and struck out six in a complete-game 5-1 victory over the Giants. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and went 2-for-4 with a double.
“That’s pretty much vintage Cliff,” Ben Francisco said.
“I’m kind of glad I didn’t throw a no-hitter,” Lee said. “If I do that on the first try I would have to be living up to some high expectations.”
“He embarrassed us all by getting hits, throwing nine,” Cole Hamels joked. “It was fun. I think we all enjoyed how quick he works. How he gets guys out. Having a guy that really puts a lot of pressure on the other team makes it easier for our offense and for our defense because they’re always in the game. … For how he can help out (J.A.) Happ and I, it’s going to be pretty fun the rest of the year. Obviously, we’ve got him next year, too. That’s really cool. You never imagine that something like this could really be possible. He fits in really well with all of us. I think that’s even better, knowing that he’s one of us.”
“He was fun to play defense behind,” said Jayson Werth, who went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. “He gets the ball and he knows what to do. He throws strikes. He attacks the hitters. He’s good.”
“A shutout would have been nice,” bench coach Pete Mackanin joked.
The Blue Jays didn’t trade him. It appears Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi overplayed his hand before today’s non-waiver trade deadline. He would not budge from his asking price, and because he didn’t budge he will get less for Halladay in the offseason than he would have gotten today.
The Phillies seem to have done a nice job. They got one of just four starting pitchers traded before the deadline — Ian Snell also got traded — without giving up three of their top prospects: Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor. That’s not bad work.
Let’s take a look at the mid-season trades the Phillies have made since they traded Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle, Rheal Cormier, Ryan Franklin, David Bell and Sal Fasano during their 2006 fire sale. These trades include trades made before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.
- Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from the Indians for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp to the Indians.
- Joe Blanton from the Athletics for Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman and Matt Spencer.
- Scott Eyre from the Cubs for right-hander Brian Schlitter.
- Matt Stairs from the Blue Jays for left-hander Fabio Castro.
- Russell Braynan from the Indians for cash.
- Julio Mateo from the Mariners for Jesus Merchan.
- Kyle Lohse from the Reds for Matt Maloney.
- Tadahito Iguchi from the White Sox for Michael Dubee.
- Jeff Conine from the Orioles for Angel Chavez.
- Jose Hernandez from the Pirates for cash.
- Jamie Moyer from the Mariners for Andrew Baldwin and Andrew Barb.
The Phillies got Stairs, Eyre, Iguchi, Braynan, Moyer, Conine and Hernandez after the July 31 deadline. I mention that only because the Phillies still could make a move this season. If they do, I’m guessing it would be a utility player.
“Beforehand it was going to be a win-win situation for me,” Lee said of the time leading up to the trade. “I was comfortable in Cleveland. I knew I could be successful there. I was really comfortable with the whole staff. But being traded I went from a team that was struggling to a team that’s in first place and has a pretty good squad. Now I’m playing for the defending world champions. With the offense we’ve got, it’s going to be fun to watch these games and be a part of it. I just want to contribute and give this team a chance to win every time I take the mound.”
Lee mentioned the offense. He had the eighth-worst run support of any starter in the American League this season.
The Phillies have the best offense in the National League.
He should find a little more support in Philly.
Shane Victorino said the swelling is down in his bruised left knee, but not enough to allow him to play. Ben Francisco, who joined Lee in the trade, will start in center field. He is hitting sixth.
Victorino said he is day to day.
The Phillies shuffled their rotation for Lee. Here is how it looks:
- Lee on Friday.
- Joe Blanton on Saturday.
- Cole Hamels on Sunday.
- Jamie Moyer on Tuesday.
- J.A. Happ on Wednesday.
No word what happens Thursday. I can’t imagine the Phillies use a six-man rotation, which means tonight could be Lopez’s final start.
Braves right-hander Derek Lowe: “I think everybody knew they were going to get one of the two, either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. It definitely helped them. And they’ve got Pedro (Martinez) coming back soon. So it definitely made it harder on us.”
Braves catcher David Ross: ”You hate to see the team that you’re chasing get better. But if you want to make the playoffs and reach the World Series, you’re going to have to beat the Roy Halladays, Cliff Lees and Josh Becketts. In one sense, I wish the Phillies hadn’t gotten better. But in another sense, I don’t think that he’s unbeatable.”
Marlins outfielder Jeremy Hermida: “They’ve got four lefties now. It looked like a good trade for them on paper.”
Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla: “It’s a good pickup for the Phillies. A Cy Young Award winner last year. … Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Happ, Moyer. They’ve got a good rotation.”
Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad: “Good for them, I guess. Obviously, you know what he did last year, so he can dominate. He dominated the American League, which is a good league, so it’s a bit tough for us. It adds a really good arm to their rotation. But, like I said, we’ll see what happens when you play them, I guess. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez: “I saw that. Good for them. That’s a good deal. I know that Francisco kid is pretty good, too. And I know that we liked, as an organization, we liked that Lou Marson guy – the catcher that Cleveland got. Good trade for both sides, I guess.”
Mets manager Jerry Manuel had little reaction because he said the Mets just need to focus on themselves.
That’s probably a good idea.
Cardinals third baseman Mark DeRosa, who played with Lee this season in Cleveland, said he unexpectedly gave Lee the news he had been traded.
“I actually called him,” DeRosa said. “He hadn’t heard the news yet. I said, ‘It’s coming across the ticker that you got traded to the Phillies.’ And he was sitting in the clubhouse in Anaheim with Kerry Wood and said nothing had been told to him yet.
“Cliff’s a legitimate No. 1 starter. I hate the fact that he’s going to Philly, but at the same time I’m happy for him because he deserves to be pitching in some big games. He was a great teammate.”
Cliff Lee met with reporters this afternoon in Anaheim. He and Ben Francisco are expected to join the Phillies tomorrow in San Francisco.
Lee could pitch Friday or Saturday against the Giants at AT&T Park.
Here is some of what he had to say:
“Obviously, I’m going to miss all these guys here, but it’s an opportunity for me to help a team that’s in first place and is the defending world champion. As far as that goes, I’m excited. But I’ve got to figure out how to get there and meet up with them and get acclimated to their team. It’s exciting. It’s kind of neat knowing Benny’s going with me, so I don’t have to do it all by myself.
“I don’t really complicate things much. I just want to give them a chance to win every time I take the mound, put up as many zeroes as I can and go as deep in to the game as I can. I’m going to have to learn how to get a bunt down more consistently. Other than that, it’s the same game. Obviously, different players. But I don’t think it will take long for me to get used to those guys and get to know those guys. I’m anxious and excited to get started.”
After it appeared the Phillies would land Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay before Friday’s Trade Deadline, the Phillies landed Indians left-hander Cliff Lee. Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies and Indians have reached an agreement that would send Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to the Phillies for prospects Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.
The agreement is pending a review of medical records.
If it goes well, an announcement could be made later today.
The Phillies improved their rotation and added a much needed right-handed bat for their bench. The Indians get four of the top 10 prospects in Philadelphia’s system, according to Baseball America. The Blue Jays? Well, they appear to have overplayed their hand with less than 48 hours to go before the deadline.
The deal seems attractive to the Phillies for a few reasons:
- Lee bolsters a rotation that has pitched much better recently. Phillies starters had a 5.27 ERA through July 2, but have a 2.71 ERA since. Lee is the American League’s 2008 Cy Young winner. He is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA this season, and 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in his last five starts. He had the eighth-worst run support of any American League pitcher this season. That should not be a problem with the Phillies, who have the best offense in the National League.
- The Phillies got Lee without giving up the three players the Blue Jays had demanded in a deal for Halladay: Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ, Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek and Single-A Clearwater outfielder Dominic Brown. Happ is a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate and Drabek and Brown are the organization’s top pitching and player prospects, respectively. The Phillies also didn’t give up outfielder Michael Taylor, who Baseball America considers a Top 25 prospect.
- Lee has a $9 million club option for next season, while Halladay makes $15.75 million. That $6.75 million difference will impact the Phillies’ offseason, who have a $5 million club option on Pedro Feliz and expect Joe Blanton, who is salary arbitration eligible, to get a raise from the $5.475 million he makes this season.
- Francisco is hitting .250 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs this season. He is an upgrade over outfielder John Mayberry Jr., who is hitting .189 with four homers and eight RBIs.
Of course, who goes into the bullpen? The Phillies have Lee, Happ, Blanton, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez on the horizon. It’s a nice problem to have, but somebody is going to have their feelings hurt.