Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’

Lee Puts Up Zeroes

Cliff Lee threw his fifth shutout of the season last night at AT&T Park. If that seems like a lot, it is. He is one of just four pitchers since 1998 to throw five or more shutouts in a season:

  • A.J. Burnett: five in 2002.
  • Dontrelle Willis: five in 2005.
  • CC Sabathia: five in 2008.

If Lee can throw one more shutout before the end of the season, he would be just the 12th pitcher in the last 30 seasons to throw six or more shutouts:

  • John Tudor: 10 in 1985.
  • Tim Belcher: eight in 1989.
  • Roger Clemens: eight in 1988.
  • Dwight Gooden: eight in 1985.
  • Orel Hershiser: eight in 1988.
  • Roger Clemens: seven in 1987.
  • Steve Carlton: six in 1982.
  • Danny Jackson: six in 1988.
  • Randy Johnson: six in 1998.
  • Tim Leary: six in 1988.
  • Jack Morris: six in 1986.

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Giants and Yankees Talk Phillies Rotation

lee 0214 2011.jpg

CC Sabathia, Joe Girardi and Bruce Bochy had Cliff Lee and the Phillies on their minds today.

Here is what they said:

Bochy, on the Phillies’ rotation: “Because of track record, I think you have to look at their staff as the best staff in baseball.”

Bochy, on Giants fans bristling at that statement: “That’s because of track record. … We’re certainly proud of our staff. I still don’t think they ever quite got the credit they deserved.”

Sabathia, on Lee’s decision to sign with the Phillies: “Cliff’s decision didn’t surprise me, because I had talked to him a couple days before. It was something he was familiar with in Philly. He loved it there, his family loved it there, and it’s always easier to go back to a place where you’ve had success and you’re familiar. You can’t blame him for that.”

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The Need for Pitching

moyer 0715 2010.jpgRuben Amaro Jr. has said a few times this week that Cliff Lee and Jarrod Washburn were the only two starting pitchers traded before last year’s trade deadline. (Amaro forgot Jake Peavy, although the guy was traded when he was hurt so I’m not sure he counts anyway.)

And last year Amaro said CC Sabathia and Joe Blanton were the only two starting pitchers traded before the 2008 trade deadline.

His point: Trading for pitching is hard.

I mentioned earlier this week that Phillies starting pitchers had a respectable 3.95 ERA before the All-Star break. They have a 4.02 ERA after Jamie Moyer‘s poor showing last night at Wrigley Field.

And that is why Amaro and Charlie Manuel would love to find starting pitching before July 31: Remove Roy Halladay from the equation and the rotation has a 4.68 ERA. Remove Halladay and Cole Hamels from the equation and the rotation has a 4.99 ERA. Now, I know you can’t just throw out Halladay’s and Hamels’ numbers. But Amaro and Manuel see the other three spots and wonder how they’re going to catch the Braves in the NL East with so much inconsistency.

The Braves are on pace to win 97 games, but let’s say they stumble a bit in the second half and finish with 92. The Phillies would need to go 45-29 (.608) the rest of the way just to tie them.

The Rockies are on pace to win the NL wild card with 90 wins. Even then the Phillies would need to go 43-31 (.581) the rest of the way to tie.

Here is a look at the Phillies’ winning percentages following the All-Star break under Manuel and the starting pitcher they acquired before or just after the July 31 trade deadline:

  • 2005: .589 (None)
  • 2006: .600 (Jamie Moyer)
  • 2007: .608 (Kyle Lohse)
  • 2008: .606 (Joe Blanton)
  • 2009: .592 (Cliff Lee)
  • 2010: TBD (TBD)

Do the Phillies have the pitching for another strong finish, especially with the offense struggling compared to seasons past? No doubt that is why Amaro and Manuel keep saying they would prefer pitching help over infield help before the trade deadline.

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March 4 – Phillies 3, Yankees 2

halladay grapefruit opener.jpg

Roy Halladay looked like Roy Halladay in today’s 3-2 victory over the Yankees at Bright House Field.

He threw 24 pitches, 21 for strikes. He allowed no hits, no walks and no runs and struck out three in two innings. He looked good. Here is what Yankees ace CC Sabathia had to say about it:

“I think it will be a pretty easy transition for him,” Sabathia said. “He’ll like facing the 7-8-9 guys in the National League. The type of pitcher he is, I expect him to go out and be even better than he was with the Blue Jays.”

But are the Phillies better with Halladay instead of Cliff Lee?

“It’s kind of a wash, I feel like,” he said. “If they would have kept the two of them, they’re definitely the team to beat. If Cliff was over here, he’d say the same thing. They’re still a good team and the team to beat in the National League. I don’t think they’ve really lost anything.”

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It’s the first spring without Harry Kalas. … Kyle Kendrick and Placido Polanco make their Grapefruit League debuts. … SI.com ranked baseball’s GMs.

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Sergio Escalona blew a 1-0 run lead in the ninth, allowing four hits and two runs to hand the Yankees a 2-1 lead. But Brian Bocock singled and pinch-runner Quintin Berry scored on Paul Hoover‘s double in the botto of the ninth to tie the game. Hoover advanced to third on the throw home. Pinch-runner Dewayne Wise scored the winning run when Wilson Valdez singled off Yankees pitcher Wilkins Arias.

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Halladay in Town

The Phillies are trying to orchestrate a complicated three-team trade that would get them Roy Halladay.

But that trade would come at a price: Cliff Lee.

Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners are involved in discussions to send Halladay to the Phillies, Lee to the Mariners and prospects to the Blue Jays from both teams. One source said that no deal has been finalized.

A source said Halladay and his agent arrived in Philadelphia today to take a physical and talk about a contract extension. The Phillies would want Halladay to sign an extension to make the deal. If the Phillies and Halladay can’t come to an agreement, it is unlikely the Phillies would make the trade.

Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, said he has not heard from the Phillies or other teams regarding a deal.

“Unfortunately, some of this stuff is out of our control,” he said. “But obviously when there is smoke there is fire.”

It is believed the Phillies are considering trading Lee because they don’t think they can sign him to an extension before he becomes a free agent after next season, and because the prospects they could get in return for him would soften the blow to their farm system. Braunecker said he had talks with the Phillies last week at the Winter Meetings about a contract extension. There were reports that the Phillies specifically requested Braunecker to fly to Indianapolis for a meeting, but he said that was inaccurate.

“It’s been very preliminary dialogue,” he said. “I wouldn’t characterize our discussions at this point as negotiations. But I think it’s inaccurate to say whatever dialogue we’ve had to this point as being anything other than positive and constructive.”

Lee told The Cleveland Plain-Dealer in August that when the Indians decided not to talk about an extension in Spring Training 2009 that it made little sense for him to talk about one after the 2009 season when he was so close to free agency.

“It doesn’t make sense to do it one year out when I just watched what CC (Sabathia) did,” said Lee, referring to Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract.

Braunecker said Lee’s comments pertained exclusively to negotiations with the Cleveland Indians, and not the Phillies.

“We had taken a position at the end of Spring Training with the Indians that Cliff was going to play out the remainder of his contract and enter the free agent market,” Braunecker said. “We’ve never had any of those conversations with the Phillies of any sort. That was exclusive to the situation with Cleveland.”

One source familiar with the negotiations said the Mariners at least would include right-hander Phillipe Aumont in the trade. Baseball America ranked Aumont as the organization’s No. 3 prospect. He went 2-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 44 relief appearances with Double-A West Tenn and Single-A High Desert.

It is unclear who else the Phillies and Mariners might include in the trade, but the Phillies had made right-hander Kyle Drabek and outfielder Domonic Brown untouchable in the past.

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Cliff Lee Involved in Roy Halladay Deal?

Thumbnail image for halladay.jpgOh, the plot thickens.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal talks about a plausible scenario in which the Phillies trade Cliff Lee in a multi-team deal to acquire Roy Halladay. And you know what? I could see it happening.

Halladay likely would require a contract extension to waive his no-trade clause, which means the Phillies would have an ace locked up beyond 2010. It won’t be easy to extend Halladay, but I think it would be easier to extend him than Lee.

The Phillies met this week with Lee’s agent about an extension, but nothing is imminent. In fact, there is nothing to suggest progress has been made. I personally think Lee is intent on testing the free-agent market. In an August interview with The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Lee talked about the Indians’ decision not to negotiate an extension with him during spring training. He said it basically ruled out the possibility of discussing an extension after the 2009 season.

“It doesn’t make sense to do it one year out when I just watched what CC (Sabathia) did,” said Lee, referring to Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract.

If Lee hits the open market like he suggests he will, I don’t think the Phillies will re-sign him. He likely will sign elsewhere, and the Phillies will have just two compensatory draft picks to show for it. So I’m thinking the Phillies are looking at two scenarios:

  1. Trade Lee to get Halladay, who they sign to an extension.
  2. Keep Lee, don’t get Halladay and Lee walks after the 2010 season.

But why can’t they get Halladay without trading Lee? Prospects and payroll.

Rosenthal mentions that the Blue Jays might eat some of Halladay’s $15.75 million salary for a bigger haul of prospects. The Phillies might need the help. Trading Lee might allow them to keep their own top prospects like Domonic Brown, Kyle Drabek and even J.A. Happ, and still meet Toronto’s asking price. It also would provide them payroll relief. The Phillies’ payroll is pushing $140 million, which seems to be their limit. That might explain why the Phillies haven’t made much progress in finding bullpen help — they are trying to get pitchers under market value. And if you’re a pitcher, why would you do that? Maybe if the Phillies free up a few million dollars they can fortify a bullpen that has question marks with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero recovering from elbow surgeries.

There are a lot of moving pieces and considerations here. Fascinating stuff, if that’s what needs to happen for Ruben Amaro Jr. to pull this off.

So what’s your choice, if the Phillies can only have Lee or Halladay in their rotation next year?

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The Phillies have until 11:59 p.m. tonight to tender contracts to the following players or they become free agents: Blanton, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey. The Phillies are expected to offer contracts to all five.

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Going to New York

Here are a few things from today’s workout at the Bank:

  • Charlie Manuel expects to see CC Sabathia three times if the World Series goes seven games.
  • Raul Ibanez is going to DH Game 1, which would allow Ben Francisco to play left field. Matt Stairs or Greg Dobbs could DH Game 2 against A.J. Burnett.
  • Robin Roberts spoke about the 1950 World Series. He said back then he hated four things: Notre Dame, Michigan, the Yankees and Russia. That might be one of my top five answers to a question all year.
  • Manuel would not say who will pitch Game 2, but he sounds more and more like it’s going to be Pedro Martinez. Martinez went 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in five starts at home this season. He went 3-1 with a 5.66 ERA in four starts on the road, not including the seven shutout innings he threw in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. He is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in his last five postseason appearances against the Yankees. But Martinez has experience. He won’t be intimidated. “We weigh all that,” Manuel said. “We try to weigh everything possible. I guess that’s the good part about my job. I’ve got quite a few people around and we discuss everything about the game. We discuss everything that you’re supposed to cover. There’s not a whole lot that we’re going to miss as far as what we want to do. But when I look at Pedro, Pedro has been in the big environment. He’s pitched about everywhere you can pitch. I don’t think nothing is going to really bother him or get him upset. I think we can pitch him in either ballpark, really. I don’t think it matters at all.”

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Lee Leads Cubs Sweep


lee 0813.jpgMichael Vick
signed with the Eagles?!?!?!?!?!?!

OK, got that way out of the way.

Let’s talk baseball. Cliff Lee has been better than advertised in his first three starts with the Phillies. He is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA, inculding one run in eight innings today in a 6-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He has allowed 16 hits, three runs and six walks in 24 innings. He has struck out 24. Opponents have hit just .193 against him.

Those are remarkable numbers, especially compared to CC Sabathia. He went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his first three starts last season after the Indians traded him to the Brewers. He allowed 17 hits, six runs, five earned runs, one home run and six walks in 24 innings. He hit two batters and struck out 24. Opponents hit .205 against him.

“He uses his heater as good as anybody, and from a lefty especially,” Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot said of Lee. “It’s impressive.”

“He throws everything for strikes,” Cubs second baseman Jeff Baker said. “He’s not predictable. He’s got pitches that go every way. He’s got a cutter that goes in, a changeup that goes in, a sinker that goes down and he’s got that big curveball. There’s a reason he won that Cy Young Award and he was so coveted at the Trade Deadline this year.”

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Ryan Howard snapped a career-high 57 at-bat homerless streak when he hit a three-run homer to left field in the fourth inning.

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Give Blood, Wear a World Series Ring

Fans who donate at the Phillies Blood Drive on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park have the chance to take a photo wearing an authentic World Series championship ring (must bring own camera). Plus other perks. Must pre-register.

Check out details here.

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Howard Hits 200, More on Halladay


howard 0717.jpgRyan Howard
 last night became the fastest player in baseball history to hit 200 home runs.

He already ranks eighth on the Phillies’ all-time list:

  1. Mike Schmidt, 548.
  2. Del Ennis, 259.
  3. Pat Burrell, 251.
  4. Chuck Klein, 243.
  5. Greg Luzinski, 223.
  6. Cy Williams, 217.
  7. Dick Allen, 204.
  8. Howard, 200.

But where will Howard end up? The Bill James Handbook 2009 projects players’ career numbers. It gives Howard a 32 percent chance to hit 600 homers, a 16 percent chance to hit 700 homers, a 9 percent chance to hit 762 homers and a 5 percent chance to hit 800 homers.

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The Phillies remain a leading candidate for Roy Halladay. Blue Jays scouts are everywhere these days, but they are especially scouring the Phillies’ Minor League system. If there wasn’t the potential for something to happen, the Blue Jays wouldn’t be there. Of course, keep in mind Halladay said earlier this week he considers his chances to be traded no better than 50 percent. But the Phillies are very much in this game, just like they were last year with CC Sabathia.

The Red Sox could put together a nice package for Halladay, but the Blue Jays seem unlikely to trade him within their division. Other than the Red Sox, the Phillies are one of the very few teams that can put together a package for him. If Halladay gets traded, I expect the Phillies to be right there at the end.

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The Phillies activated right-hander Clay Condrey from the 15-day DL. They designated right-hander Tyler Walker for assignment.

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Outfielder Michael Taylor, who Baseball America ranks the 23rd best prospect in the country, has been promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

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A top scout from another team said Sunday he considered right-hander Kyle Drabek, who Baseball America ranks the 24th best prospect in the country, to be the best pitcher at the All-Star Futures Game. He wasn’t terribly impressed with left-hander Yohan Flande, who also pitched. Flane is 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA in three starts for Double-A Reading since he went 7-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 13 starts for Single-A Clearwater.

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Amaro Talks Halladay, Martinez, World Peace, Etc.


ruben green.jpgRoy Halladay
! Roy Halladay! Roy Halladay!

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke with reporters a few minutes ago at Citizens Bank Park. He would not comment specifically about Halladay, who is available via trade. But he talked about trading for the theoretical stud pitcher. He also said little about Pedro Martinez other than “we are trying to do what we can to add to our club, and if we feel at the end of the day Pedro is going to help us than we’ll make a run at him.”

Question: Can you go out and get a stud pitcher?
Answer: We have some flexibility. A lot of it depends on the player that we’re talking about. But we have some flexibility. It’s not unlimited. And as you know, we have the highest payroll we’ve ever had. We’re well over $130 million, and there is a limit to what we can spend.

Q: Are there untouchable players in your farm system?
A: There are some untouchables in our system. We feel that we’re building a pretty strong farm system. … We have to be prudent about what our future is about. It is important to win now, and we understand the importance of that. But that said, there are players we would like to keep for our future. And I would say they’re not as touchable as others.

Q: But it is a situation where you absolutely would not trade somebody? If the best player in the Major Leagues is available, are there still players you would not consider trading?
A: There are.

(Those players are right-handers Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp and outfielder Dominic Brown.)

Q: Last year you reportedly finished second in the CC Sabathia sweepstakes …
A: Really? If you’re second, you’re last, I guess.

Q: Are you in better position to make a trade for somebody like a Halladay this year?
A: I think we’re in good position to do some things overall. Like I said, I think our farm system has improved. Again, when you’re talking about doing trades of any type, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We may think our guys are much better than they think our guys are.  We’ll try to be aggressive with the right deal. At the same time, we have to be prudent about what some of these moves might impact our future, too.

Q: You understand fans and the manager don’t like to hear that?
A: Oh, yeah, I understand that. The goal is to win this year. There’s no question about that. That doesn’t change. But we didn’t get CC last year and we didn’t get Manny (Ramirez) last year and most of these guys on the field right now are toting rings around.

Q: Would you substract from the Major-League roster to make a trade?
A: The goal is to add, not to subtract. That’s really the goal, so subtracting doesn’t necessarily help us.

Q: If there is a guy you’re pretty sure can help you win a World Series this year, but you’d have to give up a guy you think might be a superstar … is that a tough call to make? Kind of like Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. Is it worth giving up a guy like Smoltz for a World Series?
A: Well, if you can guarantee me that it’s going to win a World Series then probably, yeah. You don’t get a chance to win too many World Series. But that’s the thing. When teams put a really huge investment in a move they expect to win. Some pretty big names got moved last year and while those teams made the playoffs, they didn’t necessarily make for a championship club.

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Asked about getting a right-handed bat for the bench, Amaro said, “I’d like to. Do we need to? I’m not sure. We’ve picked up guys like Matt Stairs late.”

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