Results tagged ‘ bullpen ’
“No, we haven’t made any final decisions on our pitching staff or rotation.
“Yes, we’re still looking in other ways to improve our club.”
The Phillies optioned Mike Zagurski on Monday. It left the Phillies with 12 healthy pitchers in camp, a strong indication those are the 12 pitchers they will carry into the season until Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero are back. Amaro won’t say anything is official because the chance always exists they could make a deal before April 5, unlikely as it might be.
One roadblock to any deal is the Phillies appear to have exceeded their payroll budget, which is approaching $140 million. They’re simply not in position to add payroll. The second roadblock is that everybody in baseball is looking for pitching right now, so it’s not like teams are eager to trade a quality bullpen arm.
If the Phillies stand pat, there is just one roster decision: Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick for the fifth job in the rotation?
“They’ve both doing very well,” Amaro said. “Obviously, competition is a good thing. The fact that they’re pitching well, I think it can only bode well for the club.”
Kendrick has a 1.29 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances. Moyer has a 3.86 ERA in one Grapefruit League start and three B game starts. If those numbers hold – they could change dramatically before the Phillies break camp – it would appear on paper that Kendrick had outperformed Moyer, right?
“I don’t evaluate the numbers, especially in Spring Training,” Amaro said. “That’s not how we evaluate. We have to evaluate what’s going to be best overall for our club, and how they’re getting people out and those sorts of things. It’s still kind of a complicated decision to make. Hopefully we’ll make the right one.
“Look at what we did last year. Chan Ho Park probably pitched better than J.A. Happ. Ultimately, was that the right decision to start those guys in those roles? Probably not. That’s why they were flipped. We ended up being a better club as a result of it.”
Thanks to 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli for having me on his show yesterday at the Tiki Pavilion, where we talked about the Phillies and my book. Thanks as always to WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team, which had me on this morning. They even gave me a little “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” music at the end of my segment.
The Phillies announced this morning they have reassigned right-hander Ehren Wasserman and infielder Andy Tracy to Minor League camp.
That basically seals the Phillies’ bullpen, which I explained yesterday.
An update: The Phillies have just seven healthy relief pitchers in camp for seven bullpen jobs: right-handers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, David Herndon and Ryan Madson, and left-handers Antonio Bastardo and Mike Zagurski.
Zagurski has pitched just once this spring and is not scheduled to pitch in a Grapefruit League game through March 27. He is listed as a backup, meaning he will pitch if a pitcher is knocked out early or the game goes into extra innings. Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero are expected to open the season on the DL. They would not be eligible to pitch until April 10 in Houston.
The Phillies maintain they are not looking for outside help, which means the Opening Day bullpen could be Baez, Contreras, Durbin, Herndon, Madson, Bastardo and the loser for the fifth starter’s job — Kyle Kendrick or Jamie Moyer.
They optioned left-hander Sergio Escalona to the Minor Leagues, which leaves just eight healthy relief pitchers in big-league camp for the seven-man bullpen: right-handers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, David Herndon, Ryan Madson and Ehren Wasserman, and left-handers Antonio Bastardo and Mike Zagurski.
Closer Brad Lidge and left-hander J.C. Romero are expected to open the season on the disabled list. They would not be eligible to pitch until April 10 in Houston.
Baez, Contreras, Durbin and Madson are locks to make the bullpen. Bastardo and Herndon, a Rule 5 Draft pick, seem to have the inside track for two spots. Bastardo would give the Phillies at least one left-hander while Romero recovers from offseason elbow surgery. Herndon has allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings in four Grapefruit League appearances. The Phillies need to keep Herndon on the 25-man roster or offer him back to the Angels. That gives them incentive to keep him.
If Bastardo and Herndon take two vacancies the pitcher who loses the competition for the fifth starter’s job – left-hander Jamie Moyer or right-hander Kyle Kendrick - is a smart bet to take the third.
Both Moyer and Kendrick pitched effectively in the bullpen last season. The Phillies have said Kendrick must beat out Moyer for the job, and so far he has pitched well. He allowed two runs in five innings tonight against the Orioles, and has a 1.29 ERA in four spring appearances. But will it be enough to supplant Moyer, who has 258 career wins and an $8 million salary? Moyer makes his first Grapefruit League appearance Sunday against the Orioles.
One scenario has Moyer opening the season in the rotation and Kendrick opening the season in the bullpen. If Moyer pitches well he remains the starter. If he does not, Kendrick and Moyer flip roles like Chan Ho Park and J.A. Happ did last season.
Of course, Zagurski and Wasserman both remain in camp and Charlie Manuel said today that if a player is in camp he remains a candidate for a job. But the Phillies have said a few times this spring that Zagurski, who missed the entire 2008 season recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, needs more innings. Zagurski has thrown two scoreless innings in one Grapefruit League appearance. Wasserman, who is 2-3 with a 5.07 ERA in 57 appearances in his Major League career, has allowed just two hits in four scoreless innings in three Grapefruit League appearances, including a scoreless inning tonight.
If there are just 13 position players they will be catchers Carlos Ruiz and Paul Bako; infielders Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and Eric Bruntlett; and outfielders Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco and Matt Stairs.
The pitching staff is not nearly as easy to call, but Charlie Manuel dropped a few hints today.
Expect left-handers Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and right-hander Joe Blanton to be in the rotation. No surprise there. The fourth starter will be left-hander J.A. Happ or right-hander Pedro Martinez. Happ is 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA, while Martinez is 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Happ deserves to start, but the Phillies are short in the bullpen with injuries to left-handers J.C. Romero and Jamie Moyer and right-hander Chan Ho Park. Manuel said they could use Happ in the bullpen early in the NLDS, but still have him start if he only throws an inning in those first couple games.
“I’m not saying we’re going to do that, but that does enter my mind,” Manuel said.
That would leave 10 pitchers competing for seven remaining bullpen spots: Antonio Bastardo, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Sergio Escalona, Scott Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers and Tyler Walker. Bastardo got recalled today, and he’s not here for the heck of it. He could make a good enough impression today or tomorrow to work his way onto the postseason roster, despite not pitching since June 25. (That shows just how shaky the bullpen is.)
Eyre and Myers both have battled injuries this month, but Manuel sounded like if they finish the season healthy they will be on the postseason roster.
“I think Scott Eyre definitely could pitch on lefties,” Manuel said. “I think Brett Myers has all the experience in the world. If he can go, I think he can help us in the bullpen because he’s done that.”
Is the closer Madson or Lidge?
“You’ve got Madson and you’ve got Brad,” Manuel said. “I’ve heard people talk. I’ve heard people say instead of using Brad use somebody else. But who else out there would you want on the mound if you were going to win or lose a game? Who would you want? Take your pick. I always get back to Lidge. I’ve got Madson and Lidge in there. Madson probably would be the guy I would go to today to win the game. But there’s going to come a point where Lidge is going to have to pitch and do the job.”
The Phillies have clinched home-field advantage in the NLDS with St. Louis losing today to the Brewers.
OK, not reality stars like Flavor Flav or Vern Troyer(and thank God for that). But MLB Productions has been in Clearwater for the past week, shooting the debut episode of The Pen, an inside look at the Phillies’ bullpen. It is MLB Network’s first original programming, and it is scheduled to debut June 1.
There will be six episodes through the all-star break.
“I think it’ll be pretty neat,” Clay Condrey said.
You’ll probably become a star, Clay.
“I ain’t no star,” he said.
The program is expected to give fans an inside look at how a bullpen operates (i.e. how individual relief pitchers work as a team). There also will be off-the-field footage to give fans a feel for what these guys are like.