Results tagged ‘ Charley Kerfeld ’

Looking for Starting Pitching Depth

Rumors are flying at the Winter Meetings. I’ve had several people ask me in the past 24 hours if the Phillies are the mystery team in pursuit of Cliff Lee.

No, they are not.

Asked yesterday if the Phillies could get creative and add a frontline starting pitcher, like he had suggested in his postseason news conference at Citizens Bank Park, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “We haven’t closed any doors. If I were a betting man, I would say it’s probably not going to happen because that’s not necessarily our priority. But we can’t close any doors.”

A more likely scenario is the Phillies signing a player to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Bartolo Colon is an interesting name. He is 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in five starts with Aguilas Cibaenas in Dominican Winter Ball. In 29 2/3 innings he has allowed, 23 hits, four runs (three earned runs), one home run and two walks. He has struck out 26.

Phillies scout Charley Kerfeld has seen Colon pitch for Aguilas, and he gave the Phillies a positive report. But there are a couple big reasons not to sign Colon, too. Remember how Pat Gillick said last week that a player’s makeup is 65 percent of player evaluation? Well, Colon quit on the Red Sox in 2008 and White Sox in 2009. (That’s a pattern.) I’ve got to think that’d be two big strikes against him. But the Phillies also take low-risk, high-reward opportunities, too.

“He would be considered that type of guy,” Amaro said. “But we’re not really on him.”

So don’t go spreading word the Phillies are going to sign Colon. (This isn’t one of those stirring-the-pot-at-the-Winter-Meetings stories.) But the Phillies like to take chances and be creative, so I don’t think I’m too crazy (right? right?! right?!?!?!) for at least asking Amaro about it.

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Phillies Watch Martinez Throw Again

pedro watch.jpgPedro Watch continues.

A Phillies source said team officials watched right-hander Pedro Martinez throw three scoreless innings in a simulated game this afternoon at the organization’s academy in the Dominican Republic.

Phillies assistant to the general manager Charley Kerfeld watched Martinez pitch Tuesday. The Phillies then requested a second session with Martinez to see how his arm responded. Contrary to a report, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was not in attendance Friday. He is in Philadelphia.

The source would not say what the Phillies thought about Martinez’s second performance. But if they came away impressed and remained interested in signing him, they would require Martinez take a physical.

If Martinez takes a physical and passes it, he could agree to a contract with the Phillies as early as next week.

“I feel the best I have for some time,” Martinez told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The Phillies have been looking for starting pitching help for most of the season. Their rotation has a 5.06 ERA, which is 15th in the National League. A baseball source told MLB.com on Thursday night that signing Martinez would not prevent the Phillies from continuing to pursue Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay in a trade. In fact, they plan to pursue Hallday whether they sign Martinez or not.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter again until July 20 against the Cubs because of the All-Star break, but because Martinez hasn’t pitched this season he likely would need to pitch in the Minor Leagues before he could pitch in the Majors.

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The Houston Astros claimed Chris Coste off waivers, which cleared room for the Phillies to activate Raul Ibanez from the DL. Ibanez is not starting tonight against the Pirates.

Coste had not started behind the plate since June 17, so the writing was on the wall. The Phillies clearly preferred Paul Bako as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup. But Coste handled the news well. He joked that his time in Philly was so good that he could write a book about it. In fact, he did.

I thoroughly enjoyed covering Coste since he made his debut in 2006. He always treated me well. I wish him the best.

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Phillies and Martinez Getting Close?

pedro.jpgThere is a very real chance Pedro Martinez will be in the Phillies rotation after the All-Star break.

The Phillies said today they had not signed the free-agent right-hander to a contract, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had no comment when asked if the team had reached an agreement with Martinez. Amaro also offered no comment when asked if Martinez is headed to Philadelphia for a physical, which is standard procedure before a player signs.

“I’m not talking about Pedro, and I haven’t talked about Pedro,” Amaro said.

But Martinez, 37, told The Associated Press his agent is negotiating with the Phillies.

“The Phillies saw me this past Tuesday in a simulated game and I felt very good with my fastball and all my pitches,” Martinez said. “I feel the best I have for some time.”

Martinez said it is up to the Phillies and his agent to finalize contract details.

Phillies assistant to the general manager Charley Kerfeld watched Martinez throw on Tuesday in a simulated game against a Phillies summer league team in the Dominican Republic. Kerfeld came away impressed – Martinez’s fastball reportedly reached the low 90s, according to reports – that the Phillies have pursued him.

The Phillies have been looking for starting pitching help for most of the season. Their rotation has a 5.03 ERA, which is 15th in the National League. In an important side note, a baseball source told MLB.com tonight that signing Martinez will not prevent the Phillies from continuing their pursuit of Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay in a trade.

The Phillies recently called up right-hander Rodrigo Lopez to replace injured left-hander Antonio Bastardo in the rotation. Bastardo replaced right-hander Brett Myers, who had season-ending hip surgery last month

Lopez pitched well in two starts, but left Wednesday’s game against the Reds after the fifth inning because of inflammation in his right shoulder. He said Thursday he felt fine.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter again until July 20 against the Cubs because of the All-Star break.

Martinez is a three-time American League Cy Young winner, but went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA with the Mets last season. He last pitched for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

One report said Martinez signed with the Phillies for $4 million, but that is inaccurate. There is no chance the Phillies would sign Martinez for $4 million — unless that $4 million is prorated.

Has Martinez signed? Amaro said no.

Will he sign? I think he will.

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Shane Victorino won the NL Final Vote, which means he is headed to St. Louis next week.

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