Results tagged ‘ Clay Condrey ’

Billy Says No, Phillies Say No


wagner 0821.jpgBilly Wagner
doesn’t need the Phillies, and the Phillies don’t need Billy Wagner.

The Mets, who are practically eliminated from postseason contention, put Wagner on waivers Wednesday for the possibility of trading him before the end of the season. A mystery team claimed Wagner on Friday — a report has the Red Sox being that team - but the Phillies said they are not it.

That’s OK with Wagner.

“It would have been tough to go back there,” said Wagner, who has a complete no-trade clause. “You’re never as good as you were. I don’t know if it would have been good. I love Charlie (Manuel). I love their team. All the guys there, but it would’ve been tough.”

Why?

“It’s hard to pitch in Philadelphia,” he said. “Plus, you’re coming back from Tommy John. It’s a little bit different.”

Tough because of the ballpark or tough because of the fans?

“Both,” he said. “I’m trying to work back.”

Wagner is owed $2.7 million in salary, plus an additional $1 million to buyout his 2010 club option. So the Phillies wouldn’t want Wagner anyway.

“Under the circumstances with his salary, we would not be able to place that kind of salary on our club,” Amaro said. “We don’t have $3 million to pull out of a tree.”

But besides the salary, the Phillies expect to have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey returning from the disabled list on or after Sept. 1, once the team can expand its roster.

“I’ll take those three guys,” Amaro said. “That’s like making a trade for three guys.”

Amaro said Myers, who made his first rehab appearance Thursday, felt fine Friday, but he said the team has not determined when Myers will make his next rehab appearance.

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Pedro Martinez met with the New York media this afternoon. He touched on many of the same topics as before, but he offered some new insight on joining the Phillies.

“It’s a great feeling to go to a team like this,” he said. “And you know what? This team really surprised me. This team, as intense as they are on the field, it doesn’t reflect the type of calm they have in the clubhouse. How relaxed that whole team is. How relaxed everybody is. How simple they do it as far as going about their business. It’s very simple. Everybody gets dressed and everybody goes about their business. When they come out there it seems like they know they’re going to win. It’s a great feeling to go out there realizing your team is pretty much on top of the other team by the time you step out.”

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Making Room for Pedro


pedro lehigh valley.jpgCharlie Manuel
got asked every which way he might shape the rotation once Pedro Martinez joins the Phillies.

J.A. Happ to the bullpen? Jamie Moyer? Martinez? How about a six-man rotation?

“It’s something we’ll go over when it’s time,” Manuel said before tonight’s game against the Rockies.

It would have made little sense for Manuel to spill the beans with Moyer scheduled to pitch tonight, Happ scheduled to pitch tomorrow night and Martinez scheduled to make a rehab start tomorrow night for Double-A Reading. Anything could happen before Martinez returns.

But the interest in this situation is legitimate and understandable. Happ has pitched remarkably well as a starter this season. He is 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA overall, and 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts since May 23. He ranks 16th out of 53 National League pitchers in ERA since May 23, which is better than Josh Johnson (3.12 ERA), Ted Lilly (3.75 ERA), Randy Wolf (3.98 ERA), Jamie Moyer (4.00 ERA), Johan Santana (4.09 ERA), Cole Hamels (4.57 ERA), Derek Lowe (4.65 ERA) and others.

But Happ might be headed to the bullpen because Moyer and Martinez are not seen as viable bullpen options. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said repeatedly the Phillies signed Martinez to be a starter (although also has said things could change). Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee has echoed that sentiment.

“I think what’s going to weigh into it is what our best options are,” Dubee said. “What’s going to give us a chance to win another World Series. That’s our goal.”

Wednesday will be Martinez’s third rehab start. And while he has bonuses in his contract based on relief appearances, if the Phillies considered him a relief pitcher they might be preparing him differently.

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The entire pitching staff is in flux. The Phillies have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin on the 15-day disabled list.

Myers, who is recovering from surgery on his right hip, started to jog Tuesday. He will throw a simulated game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Durbin, who has a strained muscle in his back, will make a rehab appearance Wednesday with Single-A Clearwater. Romero, who has a strained left forearm, will make a rehab appearance Friday. Condrey, who has a strained left oblique, is progressing slowly. The Phillies are going to make sure he heals completely before they bring him back.

If Myers returns throwing hard, he could become a nice weapon in the bullpen. He also could be an insurance policy should closer Brad Lidge continue to struggle. Lidge is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA. His ERA is the highest in baseball amongst qualifying relief pitchers.

“He’s our closer,” Manuel said of Lidge. “Showing him confidence, that’s how he’ll get back on a streak. He’s very capable of doing that. He’s showed how good he is. I’m very positive. I have all the faith in the world in him. I know exactly what he can do.”

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Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who went 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA in five starts, already has been moved to the bullpen to make room for left-hander Cliff Lee.

“It’s tough, but having a former Cy Young winner it’s pretty understandable,” Lopez said. “It’s too bad he took my spot, but I want to win.”

Even with Lopez out there are too many starters and not enough spots for them, unless the Phillies would go to a six-man rotation. And what are the chances of that?

“Personally, I think it would be pretty tough,” Dubee said. “Organizationally, I don’t know.”

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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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No Drabek, No Halladay? Not Necessarily



drabek 01.jpgRuben Amaro Jr.
has said repeatedly there are untouchables in his farm system — players he absolutely will not trade.

I don’t believe that.

Before Roy Halladay became available, the Phillies had three untouchables: Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Jason Knapp. Trade any of those three for Erik Bedard or Brad Penny? No way. Trade any of those three for Halladay? Sure, let’s talk. SI.com reports the Phillies have drawn a line in the sand on Drabek. They reportedly will not trade him. That might be true. The Phillies love Drabek. A front office official from another team told me last week that he considered Drabek to be the best pitcher at the All-Star Futures Game. Drabek is very good. He has top-of-the-rotation potential.

But not including Drabek doesn’t mean a deal can’t be made. It just means the rest of the package changes, which Ken Rosenthal also writes.

No Drabek almost certainly would mean J.A. Happ is included. It also might mean the Phillies have to include Brown or Knapp. Maybe both.

Could the Blue Jays walk away from an offer of Happ, Knapp, Brown or Michael Taylor and another prospect like Jason Donald? That is a pretty serious package. Brown and Taylor are two of the top 25 prospects in baseball according to Baseball America. Knapp is in the top 50. Happ is a National League Rookie of the Year candidate.

And if the Blue Jays can’t trade Halladay before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, they will have to trade him in the off-season or next season before the trade deadline. And the longer they wait, the less in return they receive because the team trading for him will have him for less time.

No Drabek, no Halladay?

It’s possible, but I believe if the Phillies insist on keeping Drabek, they still have enough talent to make a deal happen. They just might have to give up more talent overall than if Drabek had been included.

And do I make this trade with the Phillies running away with the NL East? Absolutely. Sure, the Phillies can win the NL East without Halladay. But can they win the World Series? That’s the question people should be asking.

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Kyle Kendrick got scratched from today’s start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but Phillies assistant general manager Chuck Lamar said it had “absolutely nothing to do with the trade deadline.”

The Phillies had been considering a roster move and scratched Kendrick in case they needed him to pitch out of the bullpen tonight. Clay Condrey just returned from the DL with a strained oblique. He said he still has some soreness, but that it is “night and day” from how he felt before he went on the DL last month.

An Internet rumor had the Phillies about to trade Kendrick for Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham. That is completely and utterly false, two sources said. The Phillies have called the Nationals about Willingham, just like they have called every team with a righthanded bat for their bench, but no trade is imminent. And as far as I can tell, the Phillies have done nothing more than make the initial call.

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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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Eyre Up, Escalona Down

The Phillies have activated left-hander Scott Eyre from the 15-day disabled list. They have optioned left-hander Sergio Escalona.

That leaves leftfielder Raul Ibanez, right-hander Brett Myers and right-hander Clay Condrey on the DL. Myers is expected to miss the rest of the season. Ibanez hopes to begin a rehab assignment this week, which would allow him to play in the All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis. Condrey is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today.

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The Tailspin Continues

werth 0702.jpgIt looks bad out there.

Real bad.

The Phillies have lost 14 of their last 18 games to fall into a first-place tie in the National League East with … the Marlins. The Mets are a game back. The Braves are two back.

In just three weeks, the Phillies have breathed life into the rest of the NL East.

“Without question, everyone has a shot in the division,” Braves leftfielder Matt Diaz said after last night’s 5-2 victory over the Phillies. “The Mets are going to start getting healthy. The Marlins are as solid as they appeared to be earlier in the year when everyone though they were the favorite. The Phillies are defending world champs. When they get (Raul) Ibanez back, that’s a different offense.”

How the heck has this happened? The Phillies have not hit, pitched or played particulary good defense. They have hit .233 and scored just 76 runs (4.22 per game) in this 18-game freefall. The rotation has a 5.23 ERA, and the bullpen has a 6.56 ERA with four blown saves. They have been hurt (Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Brett Myers, Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey). They have made mental mistakes.

“Times like this can build character for a team,” Chase Utley said. “That’s the way I look at it.”

The Phillies have looked flat at times, although it is easy to look flat when you’re not hitting or pitching or playing good defense. Charlie Manuel called a team meeting following a loss to the Blue Jays last Friday in Toronto. Manuel addressed a few things in that meeting, including his concern about distractions. That is something pitching coach Rich Dubee mentioned before Thursday’s loss.

“I feel like we’re coming to the park prepared,” Utley said. “We obviously haven’t been playing that well, but we haven’t seen a change in our attitude for the negative. It’s obviously a rough stretch. We’re definitely not making any excuses, but we do need to start playing better in all parts of the ball: offensively, defensively. We need to pitch better. That’s the bottom line. How do you do that? You stay motivated. You stay positive. You have to come to the field every day to prepare and prepare to win.”

The Phillies returned to Philadelphia last night for a nine-game homestand before the All-Star break against the Mets, Reds and Pirates. That normally would be considered a good thing, except the Phillies left Philadelphia for their just completed road trip following a 1-8 homestand — one of the worst homestands in the franchise’s 127-year history.

“Our game is not together,” Manuel said. “We’re all screwed up. The nights we hit, we don’t pitch. The nights we pitch, we don’t hit. We’re losing games late. We’re playing bad baseball.”

It can’t continue much longer, can it? 

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Jimmy Rollins snapped a career-worst 0-for-28 slump with a single to right field in the third inning. It was Rollins’ first hit since June 18, a span of 14 days and 12 games, four of which Rollins did not play.

“I got some hits, so that was good,” said Rollins, who went 2 for 4.

Is it a relief?

“Relief?” he said. “From?”

It had been a while.

“Yeah, I know,” he said.

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Getting Frustrated …


phillies 0625.jpgCharlie Manuel
is tired of it.

The Phillies have lost 10 of their last 12 games following last night’s 10-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. They have hit .232 and scored 53 runs in that span. The rotation has a 5.24 ERA. The bullpen has a 7.44 ERA. The defense has committed eight errors.

And then there are the mental errors.

“If I’m going to go out there and address (the mental errors), there’s a lot of other crap I should be addressing, too,” Manuel said. “I don’t know where I go from there. It’s building up. The dam bursts and get it all out. What can you say?”

“You know what? You play like that right there, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose some more. That’s not good play. I don’t think anybody in our clubhouse will tell you that they think that’s very good play. We’ve lost some games where we’ve given some away. We’ve lost some games where we’ve played bad baseball. We’ve made some mental mistakes. Mistakes that you’re not supposed to make. Sometimes we don’t score. Sometimes we don’t hold them. We don’t play consistent baseball. We don’t have the pitching and the hitting and the defense together. That’s how you accumulate losses.”

The Phillies have been in stretches like this before, but I don’t recall a stretch with so many mental errors lumped so close together.

It obviously will help once Raul Ibanez returns to the lineup. It will help to have Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey back in the bullpen, too. But strained left shoulder or not, it is clear after watching Antonio Bastardo pitch last night that this team really needs to get some starting pitching help before the trade deadline.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, there is almost nothing available right now.

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Another clue Manuel is frustrated: the clubhouse doors opened almost immediately following last night’s game. The doors are supposed to remain closed to the media 10 minutes after every game for a “cooling off” period. But once we got to the doors last night, they opened. That is the first time that has happened since I’ve been on the beat.

Usually Manuel likes to decompress a bit. This time I think Manuel just wanted to get it over with.

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Jimmy Rollins declined before and after the game to talk about Manuel’s decision to bench him at least two games.

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Back in Tampa Bay

tropicana field.jpgAh, Tropicana Field.

Such charm.

The Trop, as locals call it, reminds me of Olympic Stadium, only instead of being in Montreal and having Youppi as a mascot, we’re in St. Petersburg and have an aardvark as a mascot. (I have since been informed from a reliable source that the Rays mascot is a seadog, which I’m afraid is even worse than an aardvark.) Yep, not much atmosphere at the Trop. Not much of a crowd expected this week against the Phillies, either. I remember saying last year that it would be a shame for the Rays to win the World Series because nobody in Tampa Bay really cares about the team. I’m afraid that’s holding true this season. Attendance is up from last year, but they’re not packing them in, either.

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No word yet if Ryan Howard is flying to Florida to join the team today. As soon as I know, I’ll pass it along.

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Raul Ibanez is taking batting practice. Just thought I’d let you know.

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In case you missed it, the Phillies officially announced Clay Condrey is on the DL with a strained left oblique. Sergio Escalona takes his place.

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It is ridiculously hot and humid outside. Or maybe I just think that because it’s been 60 and raining in Philly for the past two months.

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Condrey to DL

condrey 0524.jpgIt looks like the Phillies have lost another relief pitcher to the disabled list.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told me tonight that right-hander Clay Condrey likely is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Condrey had tests on the oblique yesterday.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said last week that Condrey had been bothered with back problems. I asked Condrey about it, but he downplayed the injury. But back injury or oblique injury, it certainly would help explain why Condrey has struggled recently. Condrey, who is 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA, was 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his first 31 appearances this season. He is 0-1 with a 162.00 ERA (six earned runs in 1/3 inning) in his last two appearances.

Left-hander Sergio Escalona is likely to take Condrey’s place.

Amaro said an official decision on Condrey won’t be made until tomorrow.

The Phillies already have closer Brad Lidge and left-hander Scott Eyre on the DL. Lidge could rejoin the team this week.

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