Results tagged ‘ J.A. Happ ’

The Price for the Phillies Rotation

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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:

Click here to read the entire story.

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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Baez to DL Creates Postseason Roster Flexibility

The Phillies gained postseason roster flexibility today when they placed right-hander Danys Baez on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms.

The Phillies, who recalled left-hander Antonio Bastardo from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Baez’s place, have 28 players eligible for the postseason. They have the players on the current 25-man roster, plus the three players on the disabled list: Baez, Ross Gload and Jamie Moyer.

“We’d have one wild card, which would be Jamie’s spot,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

Moyer is a wild card because he will not pitch again this season. The Phillies can replace Moyer with anybody who is in the organization on Aug. 31. In other words, if they wanted to call up a player from Class A Lakewood they could do that. That is how left-hander J.A. Happ made the postseason roster in 2008. Pitchers Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski were on the 60-day disabled list, which allowed the Phillies to take Happ, who was a September call-up.

The Phillies got creative in 2009, when they selected the contract of injured right-hander John Ennis and immediately placed him on the 15-day disabled list. That is unlikely to happen to this year, but there are ways to get more flexibility. Now that Baez is on the DL, the Phillies won’t have to use their wild card on Bastardo, if they would want him on the postseason roster.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Phillies Facing Some Friends This Week

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The Phillies face a couple former teammates this week at Citizens Bank Park.

They face Brett Myers (vs. Joe Blanton) tonight and J.A. Happ (vs. Roy Halladay) on Wednesday.

The Phillies told Myers after the ’09 season they would not bring him back. “Kenny Powers is officially a free agent,” he declared upon hearing the news. (That might have been one of my favorite quotes as Phillies beat writer because I love Eastbound & Down.) But Myers also said this the same day, “If I come across the Phillies, I’m going to try to make it hell on them. I’ve got friends on that team, but cross that white line and it’s game on, you know?” Sure. Myers is a competitor. And while he has fond memories of his time in Philadelphia, he still wants to pitch well against them.

The Phillies traded Happ to get Roy Oswalt on July 29. Oswalt is 3-1 with a 3.42 ERA in five starts with the Phillies. He has a 1.65 ERA in his last four after a shaky debut. Happ is 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA in five starts with the Astros.

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Roy, Oh Roy

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The good news is Roy Oswalt has about 11 more starts to make up for it.

The bad news is it helped cost the Phillies a game in the standings.

In terms of highly anticipated Phillies pitching debuts in the past 12 months, Oswalt offered the least impressive one last night at Nationals Park. He allowed seven hits, five runs, two walks and hit two batters in six innings as the Phillies snapped their eight-game winning streak in an 8-1 loss to fall 3 ˝ games behind the Braves in the NL East.

“I think the next start will be a little better tuned,” Oswalt said.

Cliff Lee allowed one run in a complete game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 31, 2009. Pedro Martinez allowed three runs in five innings against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 12, 2009, his first start since 2008. Roy Halladay allowed one run in seven innings against the Nationals at Nationals Park on April 5.

(J.A. Happ allowed two hits in six scoreless innings in a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in his Astros debut.)

Oswalt gets his second chance Thursday against the Marlins. He should be a bit more relaxed — Oswalt said he was too amped up — and more comfortable in his surroundings. We’ll see.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Roy Roy Roy

The ball remains in Roy Oswalt‘s court.

The Astros have a deal in place to trade Oswalt to the Phillies. Oswalt just needs to waive his no-trade clause, a person close to the negotiations told MLB.com. The teams have agreed upon the amount of money from Oswalt’s contract the Astros will absorb and the players Houston will get in return.

It is widely believed J.A. Happ will be in the deal.

The Astros have liked Class A Lakewood first baseman Jonathan Singleton, but the Phillies have been reluctant to give him up. There are reports the Astros are kicking in anywhere from $10 to $12 million to make the deal happen, indicating a top prospect like Singleton could be included. But FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal has reported that Singleton is NOT in the deal. Vance Worley‘s name also has been mentioned, but that has not been confirmed.

Oswalt is owed about $5 million this year and will make $16 million next season in the last year of his contract. But there is a club option for 2012 that would pay him another $16 million. He said last week the option wouldn’t be an issue when it came to approving a trade.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Victorino, Brown, Werth and Oswalt

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Still no word on the severity of Shane Victorino‘s strained left oblique, but we know the injury can be tricky.

It certainly would not be a good time to lose Victorino. Chase Utley is out another month, and Jimmy Rollins seems unlikely to play tonight because of a bruised left foot. Charlie Manuel said yesterday Rollins could miss a couple days. The sooner he is back the better. Rollins had started to swing the bat better, and the offense had started to get on a roll. They also just crawled within 3 1/2 games of the Braves after last night’s 9-5 victory over the Diamondbacks. Now would not be a good time for another deep offensive funk — and losing Rollins and Victorino for a stretch could contrbute to that.

But there are a couple things worth mentioning should Victorino land on the DL:

  1. They’ve got to call up Domonic Brown, right? He is the best outfielder in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and the object is to put the best product on the field. They could call up John Mayberry Jr., but based on performance Brown is more likely to come up with a big hit.
  2. The Phillies almost certainly would not trade Jayson Werth, if Victorino is going to miss a significant stretch. I mentioned earlier this week the Phillies do not have to trade Werth to acquire Roy Oswalt. This might make that decision a little easier for them.

The Phillies remain top contenders for Oswalt, although consummating a trade will be difficult before Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline. Sources said yesterday that Oswalt would waive his no-trade clause to play in Philadelphia, which echoed what Oswalt said Monday. Sources also said his $16 million club option for 2012 is not the sticking point it has been made to be, indicating Oswalt might not make the Phillies pick up the option, if it meant being traded or remaining in Houston.

That is important. If Oswalt requires the Phillies to pick up the option, a deal might be too difficult to stomach because of the prospects the Phillies are expected to deliver and the money they already have committed to future payrolls. If he does not, it would be easier for the Phillies to pull the trigger.

It remains to be seen if the Phillies and Astros can agree on prospects. The Astros have scouted left-hander J.A. Happ, which indicates he could be part of the deal. Astros general manager Ed Wade personally scouted Class A Lakewood recently. (Hint, hint, they know the talent in Lakewood very well.)

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Haren Out, Focus Turns to Oswalt


haren.jpgDan Haren
is headed to Anaheim, which means only Roy Oswalt remains.

The Houston Astros have scouted J.A. Happ‘s latest starts, which indicates he would be packaged in a deal for Oswalt. There have been numerous reports the Phillies would have to trade Jayson Werth to clear salary and gain prospects for Oswalt. But I have heard recently that is not the case. While the Phillies are exploring trade partners for Werth, they could acquire Oswalt and keep Werth. And if I’m the Phillies, that’s exactly what I do, unless I get an incredible offer for Werth. I know fans would love to see Domonic Brown up here, but I think it would be unfair to expect him to do what Werth has done the past couple seasons. Plus, as I have written many, many times before, Werth is an incredibly streaky hitter. He is hitting .387 (12-for-31) with five doubles and three RBIs in his last nine games. His performance with runners in scoring position has been dreadful to this point, especially for a No. 5 hitter, but I’ve got to think it will improve. I’ve also got to think a bunch of homers are in his future.

Up until a few days ago I know many people said the Phillies should be trying to improve their offense. I saw their point because until a few days ago the offense had been struggling. But here is why I think getting Oswalt makes sense, regardless of how the offense is doing: the offense is what it is. The Phillies could add an infielder to help while Chase Utley is out, they could trade Werth and promote Brown to see if he could provide a spark, but I’m not convinced one player makes things better. I think the Phillies have to hope their lineup’s track record comes through – if Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino don’t hit, is Brown or an infielder really going to help that much? – and if it does they need to have a strong rotation. (That seems especially true with Jamie Moyer out because they have no depth.)  Now, if the Phillies can’t get Oswalt, then they should turn their attention to the bullpen — and adding that bat to help while Utley is out.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Kendrick Optioned, Carpenter Recalled

The Phillies optioned Kyle Kendrick to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and recalled Andrew Carpenter to take his place on the 25-man roster.

Carpenter is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts this season with the IronPigs.

It is possible Carpenter takes Kendrick’s place in the rotation. But here’s another possibility: the Phillies make Carpenter a long man in the bullpen until J.A. Happ rejoins the rotation in five days.

Or the Phillies make a trade for starting pitching help.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer reviewed my book today. Check it out!

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Forget About Pedro in 2010

martinez 0818.jpgIt has been almost exactly a year since the Phillies signed Pedro Martinez.

Don’t expect a 2010 reunion.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said before tonight’s All-Star Game that he spoke yesterday with Martinez’s agent, Fernando Cuza, in the lobby of their hotel in Anaheim. He asked Cuza what Martinez has been doing lately. Cuza told him that Martinez still has not thrown off a mound.

Cross Martinez off the Phillies’ list of potential pitching help for the second half.

Last season Martinez had been on the mound …

“A lot,” Amaro said. “From the WBC on. They’re different circumstances. He had thrown all the way up until now. He hasn’t gotten on a mound. Only Pedro could say when he’d be ready. I’m sure he knows, but I couldn’t tell you.”

Amaro would not say there is zero chance the Phillies bring back Martinez, but you only need to read between the lines to know he won’t be back.

The Phillies have a 3.92 ERA, which ranks sixth in the National League. That is a marked improvement from last season, when the Phillies ranked 14th with a 4.61 ERA at the break. Phillies starters this season have a 3.95 ERA, while Phillies starters last season had a 4.98 ERA at the break.

That does not mean the Phillies aren’t looking for pitching help. They are.

J.A. Happ could help at some point, but they also are looking for help outside the organization. The Phillies optioned Happ to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier this month. He allowed six hits, three runs, three walks and struck out seven in five innings in his last start Saturday.

“He threw OK,” Amaro said. “He’s not quite the same pitcher as he was last year yet, but he’s getting close.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Happ Activated, Optioned

The Phillies today activated left-hander J.A. Happ from the 15-day disabled list, then optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Happ had 30 days to complete his rehab assignment. The 30th day is tomorrow, which means Happ ran out of time. The Phillies could have applied to extend his rehab, but Happ did not suffer any setbacks with his health. He simply did not pitch the way the Phillies wanted him to pitch before rejoining the rotation. He went 1-1 with a 6.93 ERA in six rehab starts. The Phillies said they need to see more from him.

“It was kind of a tough decision to send him down,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I was honest with him. I just didn’t think he was pitching well enough to be in our rotation right now. I think he will soon, but just from the way we’ve evaluated him and the way he threw, he’s making progress, just not enough to break into our rotation at this time.”

Amaro said Happ needs to improve his consistency in the strike zone. He said his velocity is fine.

“I think he’s there health-wise,” Amaro said.

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I will be signing copies of my book Saturday from 4-4:45 p.m. during Pigapalooza at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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