Results tagged ‘ J.A. Happ ’

Romero, Lidge Updates

J.C. Romero threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session this morning in Clearwater. Roughly 12 pitchers were breaking balls, the first time he had thrown them this spring.

“Great,” Rich Dubee said. “He threw fine today.”

Next for Romero?

“We’ll see if he throws Tuesday or Wednesday,” Dubee said. “We’ll see how he responds. It’s the first time he’s throwing breaking balls. If he’s doing all right, maybe Wednesday could be a chance to see some hitters. If not, maybe Wednesday he’ll throw another side. But he was good today. Very good.”

Brad Lidge will start the Double A Spring Training game Thursday. J.A. Happ will start the Triple A game.


Good luck to Scott Lauber, who is leaving the Wilmington News-Journal to cover the Red Sox for the Boston Herald. He spent his final minutes on the beat at Frenchy’s Cafe in Clearwater.

You can’t get grouper sandwiches in Fort Myers, dude!


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!

Amaro Downplays Halladay Possibility Again

Thumbnail image for halladay 0719.jpgIt would make no sense for Ruben Amaro Jr. to talk publicly about his interest in Roy Halladay.

In fact, it would make more sense to say he has little chance in acquring him.

That is what he said this morning before he left the Winter Meetings. The chances for a big-time move, Ruben?

“I don’t think there’s any likeliness,” he said.

So nothing has changed in the likeliness scale?

“There’s nothing likely. How about that?” he said.

I wrote last night that there is talk at the Winter Meetings that the Phillies are one of the favorites for Halladay, if not the favorite. reported this morning that the Phillies and Angels are front-runners with the Phillies offering J.A. Happ and Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor. The Phillies also would have to shed some payroll to make room for Halladay’s $15.75 million salary. Joe Blanton could be a casualty there. He made $5.75 million last season, and will receive a raise. But said the Phillies would have to shed more payroll than that.

That could explain why the Phillies haven’t made much progress on Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre. It sounds like that’s why the Phillies are playing hardball in negotiations. They might need to get them on the cheap to afford Halladay. But why would Park and Eyre agree to that?

If the Phillies would have to give up Happ and Blanton to get Halladay, who would they have to fill in the rotation? Would they go into the season with Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick? Or could they pick up another starter for Blanton? A free agent like John Smoltz maybe?

Fun, fun, fun …


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

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.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Park's Preference: Starter or Reliever?

park celebrates.jpgThe Phillies are looking to bring back Chan Ho Park as a relief pitcher in 2010.

But what does Park want?

“I want to be a starter again,” Park said in The Korea Times earlier this month. “Being a starter is more attractive for me, because I can take over a whole game.”

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that Park is a reliever as far as he has been told from Park’s agency.

“His preference is to go to a winning ball club,” said Park’s agent, Jeff Borris. “There are some clubs that are interested in Chan Ho as a starter. There are some clubs that are interested in Chan Ho solely as a reliever, which would be the Philies. There are some clubs that see him as somebody with some swingman attributes, where he could perform in both roles. We’re really not shutting the door on any possibilities right now.”

Park talked extensively during spring training about how much he valued starting because his fellow Koreans could watch him pitch. Obviously, watching him is much more difficult when he is a relief pitcher.

But he also was much more successful as a relief pitcher in 2009. He beat J.A. Happ for the final spot in the rotation in spring training, but went 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in seven starts before the Phillies moved him to the bullpen. Park went 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 38 relief appearances.

“I’ve been pleased with the response that we’re getting on him,” Borris said.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Happ Finishes Second for NL Rookie of the Year

Thumbnail image for happ 0805.jpgPhillies left-hander J.A. Happ placed second in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Florida’s Chris Coghlan won with 104 points.

Happ had 94 points.

Coghlan got 17 first-place votes, but was missing completely on seven of 32 ballots. Happ was the only pitcher to get a vote on every ballot. Coghlan placed second on six ballots and third on two. Happ got 11 second-place votes and 11 third-place votes. 

Coghlan led NL rookies in average (.321), runs (84), hits (162), doubles (31), total bases (232), multi-hit games (51) and on-base percentage (.390). Happ was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and topped NL rookie pitchers in innings (166), strikeouts (119), complete games (three) and shutouts (two).

Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson received two first-place votes and finished third with 37 points. Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen finished fourth with 25 points. The other first-place vote went to Brewers infielder Casey McGehee.


The Phillies removed Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Paul Hoover, Andy Tracy and John Ennis from the 40-man roster. They are now free agents. Bruntlett and Walker will not be back next season, but Hoover, Tracy and Ennis might.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Debbie Downer Says Halladay Unlikely

Thumbnail image for halladay 02.jpgWould the Phillies like Roy Halladay in their rotation in 2010?

Absolutely. But sources said today the chances of the Phillies trading for Halladay this off-season are unlikely. Ruben Amaro Jr. would not address those rumors, but asked about the possibility of trading Cole Hamels, Amaro chuckled.

“Hamels is one of our starters next year,” he said. “And we view the combination of Hamels and (Cliff) Lee as strong a top of the rotation as anybody’s in the league.”

The Phillies believe Hamels will rebound in 2010, and if he does rebound they believe they will have one of the best 1-2 punches in the National League. And because the Phillies believe that, Amaro reiterated that his priorities this off-season are finding a third baseman — Adrian Beltre, Miguel Tejada, Placido Polanco and Mark DeRosa are possibilities — and upgrading the bullpen.

There are reasons why a Halladay trade would be difficult. The Blue Jays wanted right-hander Kyle Drabek, left-hander J.A. Happ and outfielders Domonic Brown and Anthony Gose for Halladay before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Phillies balked, kept their top prospects and sent four other prospects to the Cleveland Indians for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco. The Phillies were unwilling to part with their top talent for two potential postseasons with Halladay. They would be less likely to trade top talent for one potential postseason with him.

Putting together an attractive package for Halladay likely would mean gutting the farm system, when the four prospects sent to Cleveland are considered. There are a lot of pieces that need to fit to make a trade like this. Now, if the Blue Jays come to the Phillies with a reduced asking price then maybe things change, but until then it remains unlikely.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

The Collapse of Cole Hamels

hamels 1031.jpgI wasn’t sure what to expect from Cole Hamels last night in Game 3 of the World Series. I figured he was due to pitch a good game, but I wasn’t going to be surprised if things fell apart.

Neither was Hamels.

“That’s been the story of my whole season,” he said following the 8-5 loss to the Yankees at Citizens Bank Park. “I can cruise through hitters and then all of a sudden — boom. I don’t hit a small speed bump. I hit a big one.”

Asked about the last pitch to Mark Teixeira in the fourth inning that resulted in a walk, which led to a two-run home run from Alex Rodriguez, Hamels said, “It was a strike. It’s the story of my season.”

He thought Rodriguez’s home run was a pop up.

“For it to go over the fence … you know what?” he said. “This is the park I play in, so I definitely know to expect this.”

But then came an intresting comment as he talked about a season that has been a struggle since spring training. Hamels, who is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four postseason starts, told reporters, “I can’t wait for it to end. It’s been mentally draining. It’s one of those things where, a year in, you just can’t wait for a fresh start.”

Hamels lines up to pitch Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, if the series gets that far. Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee have to wonder how confident they can be sending him out there? Hamels is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four postseason starts and he does not sound like a confident man. Asked if he would feel comfortable pitching Hamels in Game 7, Manuel would not commit.

“I wouldn’t be hesitant to start him,” he said. “But at the same time, we’ll see how the series goes.”

But after sounding like a mentally beaten man, Hamels also said he would like the chance.

“I really do hope I have that opportunity,” he said. “It’s one of those games that you can definitely redeem yourself. I would know it’s the very last game that I would ever have that season. It’s not the type of game you want to have in your last game. It’s just kind of something where if you could end it on a good note, why not? Having a Game 7 opportunity that would be mean a lot. I hope my teammates believe in me and want me to be out there for it.”

If the series gets to Game 7 — Hamels put the Phillies in the difficult position of having to win three of four games against the Yankees — the Phillies have two options: Hamels or J.A. Happ. Do they stick with Hamels, or do they look at what they have seen and heard and take their chances with Happ?

Of course, before we get in a lather about Game 7, Joe Blanton must outpitch CC Sabathia tonight in Game 4.


Teams that fall behind 2-1 in the World Series are 26-55.


Jayson Werth has seven home runs this postseason. He would tie Barry Bonds (2002) and Carlos Beltran (2004) for the single-season playoff home run record with one more homer.

It certainly would help if more than Werth were hitting. Jimmy Rollins (.200), Shane Victorino (.182), Chase Utley (.182), Ryan Howard (.154) and Pedro Feliz (.091) are struggling. Werth (.400), Carlos Ruiz (.333) and Raul Ibanez (.250) are the only players hitting .250 or better.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

It's Blanton in Game 4

Thumbnail image for blanton.jpgCharlie Manuel
announced today that Joe Blanton will pitch Game 4 of the World Series.

He decided Cliff Lee, who pitched brilliantly in Game 1, would not pitch on short rest for a few reasons. First, he has never pitched on short rest before and Manuel felt this is no time to experiment. Second, Lee has thrown a lot of innings this season and feels Lee would be more effective on normal rest.

“He hasn’t pitched on three days’ rest, although I talked to him and he told me he had, or I thought he did,” Manuel said. “I also like him in Game 5 because we’ve got an offday Tuesday. If it goes seven games or something, that would be on his bullpen day and he might be able to pitch or whatever … I don’t think he’s ready for it on three days’ rest. That’s really pushing him because he’s never done it before. If he had done it before like CC (Sabathia) has, and CC pitched consistently last year on three days’ rest. I think you’re taking a chance on really pushing him. He’s the kind of guy that he gets into the game and with his adrenaline going and everything, and definitely we don’t want to hurt him.

“And I think Blanton fits for us because I think we want to keep (J.A.) Happ in the bullpen, especially kind of in the middle where he could do some innings. Also Joe pitched last year in the World Series and he’s got a little bit more experience.”



The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Happ Is Outstanding Rookie

The Major League Baseball Players Association announced today that J.A. Happ has been named the National League’s Outstanding Rookie in its Players Choice Awards.

Check out the podcast here.


The Mayo Clinic talks about the injury that could have ended Jayson Werth‘s career.


SEPTA workers have voted for a walkout just a few days from the Phillies hosting the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday.

The Associated Press reported that union president Willie Brown said 4,700 workers authorized him to call a strike if last-ditch negotiations with SEPTA fail. SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said he hopes a deal can be reached.

The Phillies host Game 3 on Saturday, Game 4 on Sunday and Game 5 on Monday.

“We’re planning for all contingencies,” Phillies vice president of communications Bonnie Clark said.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

How Will the Rotation Look?

Thumbnail image for lee b 1007.jpgHow would you set up the Phillies’ World Series rotation?

Charlie Manuel said earlier today he would discuss that with Rich Dubee, Ruben Amaro Jr. and others this weekend. I would not expect the Phillies to make an official announcement anytime soon, but it’s obvious that Cliff Lee will start Game 1. I would start Cole Hamels in Game 2, despite his recent struggles. As much as he has struggled — he is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts this postseason — he still has one of the two best arms in the rotation. He was one botched double play from allowing one run through five innings in Game 1 of the NLCS. He allowed three solo homers in Game 5, but he wasn’t getting knocked around the ballpark (i.e. walking people and giving up four or five hits an inning). I still take my chances with him on the road.

I know everybody would like to see Pedro Martinez pitch Game 2 at Yankee Stadium, but I’d rather have him pitch Game 3 at home. 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 NLCS. Martinez also is 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in his last five postseason appearances against the Yankees. I’d rather have Martinez pitching in front of the home crowd in a place he has been more successful than in a place where he will be hearing “Who’s your daddy?” chants.

Manuel said he more than likely will use right-hander Joe Blanton and left-hander J.A. Happ in the bullpen to start the series, but either of the could start Game 4. The Yankees have an .846 OPS against left-handers and an .837 OPS against right-handers. The Angels have a .793 OPS against right-handers and a .788 OPS against left-handers. Maybe they go with Blanton against the Yankees and Happ against the Angels, although Blanton is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees and is 3-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 appearances against the Angels. Happ allowed four hits and two runs in six innings May 23 in a 5-4 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He has never faced the Angels.


Lee said he would be willing to pitch on short rest, but I only see that happening if the Phillies drop their first two games and they get into desperation mode.


Amaro said there remains a chance somebody like Brett Myers could make the postseason roster. Who would they bump? Left-hander Antonio Bastardo has faced just two batters this postseason. Maybe they go elsewhere.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.