Results tagged ‘ Carlos Carrasco ’

The Price for the Phillies Rotation

lee is back.jpg

Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week he expects Joe Blanton to remain with the Phillies this season, which means the guy the Phillies slated to be their No. 3 starter in 2010 is their No. 5 starter in 2011. It shows just how much has changed in a year. The Phillies shipped 13 prospects and committed more than $255 million in salaries to have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Blanton in the same rotation at the same time.

I know the Phillies traded away Lee in Dec. 2009, which remains a regrettable trade. But if the Phillies had not traded for Lee the first time and had he not enjoyed his experience here, he would not have taken less money to sign with the Phillies in December. He would have signed with the Yankees or Rangers instead.

Here is a look at the prospects the Phillies traded to make this rotation:

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ROY HALLADAY

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud. MLB.com ranks him as the ninth-best catching prospect in baseball. Baseball America considers him the organization’s fourth-best prospect in its rankings. He certainly has the all-around skills to be a frontline catcher. In fact, including d’Arnaud in the Halladay deal gave the Phillies pause because of the dearth of catching depth in the organization and baseball.

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Phils Have Pieces to Land Halladay


Thumbnail image for halladay 02.jpgBaseball insiders agree: the Phillies have what it takes to acquire Roy Halladay.

In an informal poll of baseball personnel this week at the Winter Meetings, folks think the Phillies have as good a chance as anybody of getting him.

“They have the pieces,” one AL executive said. “I would say the Phillies and Red Sox have the talent to make it happen more than the other teams out there.”

“They’ve got the prospects,” a National League scout said. “They didn’t give up anything for [Cliff] Lee.”

The Phillies shipped Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Lou Marson and Jason Donald to the Indians for Lee and Ben Francisco. Baseball America considered Carrasco, Knapp, Marson and Donald among the organization’s top 10 prospects. But they also were not Philadelphia’s best prospects. That designation belongs to Kyle Drabek, Domonic Brown and Michael Taylor, and the Phils still have them.

Some things to consider about a potential Halladay trade:

  • The asking price must drop. The Blue Jays originally asked for Drabek, Brown, J.A. Happ and Anthony Gose. The Phillies balked. And they still would balk, if they asked for that package. It’s simply too much to ask for a pitcher who could become a free agent after the season. “It could come down to the Phillies determining if they can significantly deplete their system for a player they may be unable to retain,” a NL executive said.
  • Can they afford him? The Phillies’ payroll seems to have a budget of around $140 million. They’re fast approaching it. Halladay’s $15.75 million salary would obliterate it. Ownership would need to make an exception for Halladay, or the Phillies would have to move salary to make him fit.
  • Talk at the Winter Meetings that Philadelphia has made Joe Blanton available might not be a coincidence. Blanton made $5.75 million in 2009, and is due a raise. Ruben Amaro Jr. declined comment when asked about reports that Blanton is being shopped, but one source said Tuesday that to get Halladay, the Phillies “would have to move Blanton. And he is on the market, by the way.”
  • But this is more than just the 2010 payroll. It’s about the future. If the Phils trade too many top prospects, they will have fewer options in their system to replace current talent. For example, Jayson Werth is a free agent after 2010. Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson will be free agents after ’11. Jimmy Rollins also will become a free agent after ’11, assuming the Phillies pick up his ’11 club option. I know what you’re thinking: prospects are no guarantee. And you’re right. But you can’t trade all of your prospects because if you trade all of your prospects then none of them will hit. And the Phillies can’t just replace Werth, Ibanez, Howard, Lidge, Madson, Rollins and others via free agency. They must have young, inexpensive talent to step in. “At some point … retaining all of their quality players will be difficult,” the NL executive said. “When you reach that point, there has to be depth in the system to cover needs. It’s tough to continuously deal your top prospects, extend payroll and have the ability to recover when the bill comes due.
  • Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said recently that he considered the Phillies and Yankees favorites to land Halladay. One reason is that Halladay lives in the Tampa area, where the Phillies and Yankees hold Spring Training. Halladay has a no-trade clause, but he would waive it for the Philies. “We’re not a Florida team,” Ash said. “I also don’t think he’s looking for a chance to win, he’s looking for a guaranteed win.” Nothing in baseball is guaranteed. But with a rotation that includes Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels, they would be as close as you can get.

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Good Signs from Lidge?


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lidge 0523.jpgBrad Lidge
threw perfect innings Friday and Sunday to pick up saves against Atlanta, and with a little more than a month to play before the postseason, the Phillies are hoping they see more of that the rest of the way.

Because the Lidge they have seen for most of 2009 could bring heartache in the playoffs.

Lidge’s struggles have been well documented, but from a historical perspective they are even more jarring. MLB.com researched and found there have been just six relief pitchers in baseball’s modern era who have seen their ERAs jump five or more earned runs in consecutive seasons with 40 or more appearances in each season.

Lidge is trying to avoid becoming the seventh:

  1. Mike Flanagan (a 5.67 ERA increase): The American League Cy Young winner with Baltimore in 1978 sported a 2.38 ERA in 64 appearances with the Orioles in 1991. He had an 8.05 ERA in 42 appearances in 1992.
  2. Mike DeJean (5.38): He carried a 3.03 ERA in 59 appearances with the Rockies in 1998, but had an 8.41 ERA in 56 appearances in 1999.
  3. Gene Nelson (5.27): Nelson, who won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, had a 1.57 ERA in 51 appearances with the A’s in 1990, but had a 6.84 ERA in 44 appearances in 1991.
  4. Vic Darensbourg (5.15): He had a 3.68 ERA in 59 appearances with Florida in 1998, but had an 8.83 ERA in 56 appearances in 1999.
  5. Derrick Turnbow (5.13): He sported a 1.74 ERA in 62 appearances as Milwaukee’s closer in 2005, but had a 6.87 ERA in 49 appearances in 2006, when he made the NL All-Star team.
  6. Ron Davis (5.11): The 1981 American League All-Star with the Yankees carried a 3.48 ERA in 57 appearances with Minnesota in 1985, but had an 8.59 ERA in 53 appearances in 1986.

Lidge is 0-6 with a 7.03 ERA and has 27 saves in 36 opportunities. His ERA is the highest of any relief pitcher in baseball. His nine blown saves and his 75 percent save completion are the worst in the Majors. Last year he went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA and 41 saves in 41 opportunities in the regular season and 0-0 with a 0.96 ERA and seven saves in seven opportunities in the playoffs.

Lidge’s turnaround could be dependent on one thing: the command of his fastball. Those who have seen him this year and those who watched him struggle in Houston say the same thing: he needs to command his fastball.

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The Phillies have recalled left-hander Jack Taschner, their first move since rosters expanded.

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The Dodgers got Jim Thome before last night’s midnight trade deadline. Thome called Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti before the trade and said, “Uh, you know I can’t play first base anymore, right?” Colletti said that is fine. The Dodgers are looking at Thome as a power bat to come off the bat in the late innings.

I think they’re still having nightmares of Matt Stairs‘ homer in Game 4 of the NLCS.

I kid, but that’s a heck of a weapon to have the rest of the season. And should the Dodgers make the World Series, they have one of the best designated hitters in baseball in their lineup in the AL park.

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Carlos Carrasco makes his big-league debut tonight for the Indians.

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A Look Back at Deadlines Past

gillick and amaro.jpgThe Phillies got Cliff Lee, the Tigers got Jarrod Washburn and the White Sox got Jake Peavy.

Roy Halladay?

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.

Doh.

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.

2009

2008

2007

  • 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.

2006

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.

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Lee, Francisco for Four Phillies Prospects

lee 01.jpgThe Phillies got their Cy Young winner.

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.

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Is Lee Close?


lee 02.jpgCarlos Carrasco
got scratched from this morning’s 11 a.m. start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson also are not in the lineup.

Signs point to Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.

“Nothing is imminent,” one source said, although there are those inside the Indians organization who feel a deal likely will happen soon.

But Lee makes sense. Sources have said in recent days that talks between the Phillies and Blue Jays regarding Roy Halladay have slowed to a near standstill. The Blue Jays haven’t budged on their asking price for Kyle Drabek, and the Phillies haven’t budged in wanting to keep him. But while a potential deal for Halladay seems to have faded, I would say a very small chance remains it could happen — only if the Blue Jays realize the Phillies are about to go in a different direction and drop their asking price.

Left-hander J.A. Happ is scheduled to start for the Phillies tonight in Arizona. If he pitches tonight, it means the Phillies could make this trade without giving up Happ or Drabek — both pitchers the Blue Jays have demanded.

Stay tuned on that.

Are Marson and Donald in the deal? Not necessarily. It should be noted that everyday catchers rarely play a day game after a night game, much less an 11 a.m. start. That potentially explains why Marson is out. And I got word out of Lehigh Valley that because Donald is returning from knee surgery, he also had been scheduled to have today off.

But Carrasco’s healthy scratch was the flashing neon sign that a deal is getting close.

A trade is near. Ken Rosenthal said Single-A Lakewood flamethrower Jason Knapp is part of the deal that includes Carrasco, Donald and Marson. It looks like it’s for Lee, but nothing is imminent.

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Phillies Shifting Focus to Lee?


cliff lee 01.jpgRoy Halladay
and Cliff Lee remain in play, but what are the chances either is traded to the Phillies before Friday’s Trade Deadline?

Halladay? Fading fast, one source said Monday.

Lee? He is turning into the better bet.

Several sources have said the team’s chances of acquiring Halladay have decreased in recent days, which puts Lee into greater focus. One source said that while the Blue Jays have asked for J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown – a National League Rookie of the Year candidate and the organization’s top pitching and position player prospects, respectively – the Phillies might be able to acquire Lee without giving up Drabek.

But without Drabek, the package for Lee would expand to include more players.

The Indians aren’t believed to be terribly motivated to move Lee, who is a Cy Young winner and who makes just $9 million next season. But clearly there are talks between the two teams. The Indians had a scout in Double-A Reading on Monday to watch Drabek. (The Blue Jays also watched Drabek pitch.)

So what happened with the Blue Jays?

The Blue Jays rejected a counteroffer from the Phillies that included Happ, Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Michael Taylor, right-hander Carlos Carrasco and shortstop Jason Donald, according to ESPN.com. There were reports Monday that talks soured between the Phillies and Blue Jays over the weekend, even turning nasty as the teams differed on fair value for Halladay.

A Phillies spokesman made a point to gather Phillies beat reporters before Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field to tell them there is no animosity between the Phillies and Blue Jays “or any other club that they’re engaged in trade discussions with from our point of view.”

Those words clearly came from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who is trying to maintain a low profile this week. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has been far more visible and vocal in recent weeks. He told foxsports.com Sunday the chances of trading Halladay are “very slim.”

That could be nothing more than posturing while others believe it is just another indication the Blue Jays are not backing off their demands for Happ, Drabek and Brown.

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How Much Is Too Much?

halladay 04.jpgThe Blue Jays want J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown.

The Phillies reportedly offered Happ, Carlos Carrasco, Michael Taylor and Jason Donald.

Is Happ, Drabek and Brown too much to give up for Roy Halladay? Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, and the Phillies would be getting him for two Octobers instead of one. We’re not talking about a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher here. We’re talking about Roy Freakin’ Halladay. Cy Young winner. Ace. Best of the best.

Two sources said Toronto’s demands are reasonable. So why won’t the Phillies pull the trigger?

They are keeping the future in mind, one source indicated. The Phillies’ rotation today includes Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Happ and Rodrigo Lopez/Pedro Martinez. If the Phillies get Halladay for Happ, Drabek and Brown, the rotation next season would include Hamels, Halladay and Moyer, who is 9-7 with a 5.65 ERA this season. Blanton, who is salary arbitration eligible, seems like a smart bet to return, although the Phillies already have $95.5 million committed to 11 players next season. Add Halladay into that mix and the payroll jumps to $110.75 million. It seems unlikely, but it is possible the Phillies could non-tender Blanton, who would get a raise from the $5.475 million he is making, if they feel they need to trim some salary to pay Halladay and the rest of the roster. So that’s one starter if Blanton is back, two if he isn’t.

The Phillies can handle one starter. Maybe even two with Halladay and Hamels atop the rotation. But the number jumps to potentially four starters in 2011. There is no guarantee Halladay re-signs with the Phillies. He could leave for the highest bidder. Moyer presumably won’t be back. Blanton will be a free agent after 2010, and he also could leave for the big payday. That leaves Hamels and four vacancies.

The Phillies are considering those things as they consider a package for Halladay. They want to keep Happ or Drabek so they’re a little better equipped next season and beyond.

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Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that the chances of trading Halladay are “very slim.” Others agree. One source believes the chances of Halladay being traded are no better than 50-50. Another said he thinks it’s “unlikely” Halladay gets traded.

But one source said the Phillies’ counter offer, which ESPN.com said the Blue Jays rejected, is fair. He considers Happ a “poor man’s Andy Pettitte” and Taylor to be better than Brown. He also pointed out that entering this season many considered Carrasco to be the organization’s top pitching prospect. He also think Donald can be a good everyday player.

Of course, it only matters what Toronto thinks.

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It also is unlikely the Cliff Lee is traded. One source said it could be easier for the Phillies to make a trade for Lee because the package would be bigger, meaning not Drabek or Brown involved.

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Been hearing a lot about how the Phillies will have more money to spend next season because the Phillies are shedding the payroll of Adam Eaton ($9 million), Geoff Jenkins ($8 million) and Jim Thome ($3 million). Not exactly. The Phillies have 11 players who are signed through next season or beyond. Those 11 players make $78.25 million this season. But because of built-in raises they will make $95.5 million next season. There goes those savings from Eaton, Jenkins and Thome. And keep in mind, that $95.5 million doesn’t the $5 million club option for Pedro Feliz and salary arbitration figures for Blanton, Shane Victorino, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, etc.

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Go For It


halladay 0724.jpgShould the Phillies go for it, Cole Hamels?

Should they go get Roy Halladay?

“It depends on if you want to try to win the World Series the next two years because that’s what he’s going to be here for,” Hamels said. “Winning the World Series or at least attempting to win the World Series the next two years will please us, please the organization and please the fans. You can’t really complain about that. I think it would be a step in a good direction.”

Two baseball sources said today that a trade between the Phillies and Blue Jays for Halladay is not imminent, although there are indications a deal is getting close. The Blue Jays are believed to be seeking Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek, Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ and Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Michael Taylor or Single-A Clearwater outfielder Dominic Brown as part of a deal.

A Blue Jays scout watched Lehigh Valley right-hander Carlos Carrasco pitch tonight in Gwinnett, Ga. As the teams work on a package, Carrasco could be included if the Phillies insist on keeping Happ or Drabek.

Jason Donald and Lou Marson also have been mentioned as possible pieces.

Drabek has been deemed The Untouchable, although there are reports the Phillies are open to moving him. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday, “There are some people we would not trade and there are some people we would, and it’s all subject to change.”

Hamels certainly would welcome Halladay. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball and he would make life a little easier for him atop the rotation.

“I think he’s the best pitcher in baseball, and I think he can help out any team,” Hamels said. “He’ll definitely help us. I think we have a tremendous team, and then you add one of the best players in baseball. He doesn’t have an ego, so I think he’d fit in really well in this picture.”

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The Tigers have a scout at tonight’s Phillies game, and the Phillies had a scout at the Tigers game yesterday. The Phillies could be taking a look at Ryan Raburn. Raburn is a right-handed hitter who can play everywhere but shortstop and catcher. The Tigers are looking for starting pitching, although I’m not sure if there is a match … unless the Phillies end up dealing Rodrigo Lopez to make room for Pedro Martinez‘s inevitable arrival.

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Has Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi really stopped talking?

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Lopez Shines


lopez 0703.jpgRodrigo Lopez
said he felt a whole bunch of butterflies as he stepped onto the mound tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

He had not pitched in the Majors since July 26, 2007.

It hardly looked like it. He allowed six hits, two runs and one walk and struck out four in six innings in a much-needed 7-2 victory over the Mets. Lopez would have pitched next week for the Phillies pretty much regardless of how he pitched tonight, but he solidified himself a few more starts with a solid effort.

Lopez spent nearly two years recovering from Tommy John surgery to get to this point. But this moment almost never came. He spoke tonight about how he almost bailed on his big-league aspirations last month.

Lopez signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies at the end of Spring Training. He had an out clause in his contract that allowed him to become a free agent if he was not on the big-league roster by June 15.

He gave up six hits and five runs in five innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a loss June 13, which dropped him to 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA.

“I was very upset about it,” Lopez said. “So I talked to (Lehigh Valley pitching coach Rod Nichols). I asked for his advice. I told him, ‘What do you think about me going to Mexico to try to get my confidence back?’ He told me, ‘The challenge is here. You can go to Mexico, but the challenge is here.’ Those were words that I’ll always remember.”

Lopez stuck with it. He went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his next three starts for the IronPigs. And once left-hander Antonio Bastardo injured his shoulder, the Phillies chose Lopez over Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Carpenter and Kyle Kendrick to take his place.

Good call.

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Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 5 with two doubles, two RBIs, a run scored and one Marco Scutaro.

Scutaro infamously took second base on a walk a couple weeks ago at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies fell asleep and nobody covered second base. Rollins pulled a similar move in the third inning when he took second after he hit a ball to center field. Nobody covered second and Rollins took advantage.

“Everybody parted the sea and there’s like this golden case sitting right in front of you,” Rollins said. “I hit the ball up the middle and I saw (Ryan) Church and he was looking to throw the ball to somebody. I never stopped running. I took three hard steps around first and I saw somebody in the middle and I said, ‘He’s not beating me to the bag,’ and I kept going. Those things happen.”

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Tonight’s victory snapped a six-game losing streak at home. … Rollins broke out “Billie Jean” and “Smooth Criminal” as his intro music tonight. Nice touch.

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