Results tagged ‘ Jack Taschner ’

A Hot Stove Refresher

Let’s catch up with where the Phillies stand as teams can sign free agents beginning Friday.

First, some important dates to know:

  • The Phillies have until Dec. 1 to offer salary arbitration to their own free agents.
  • Free agents offered arbitration have until Dec. 7 to accept.
  • The Phillies have until Dec. 12 to tender contracts to their remaining unsigned players.

Everybody knows the Phillies are looking for a new third baseman. They would love Chone Figgins, but they are not expected to be in the running because he is seeking a reported five-year, $50 million deal. The Phillies already have $106.75 million committed to just 12 players next season, which does not include significant raises to salary arbitration eligible players Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton and Carlos Ruiz, plus upgrades to the bullpen and bench. The Phillies are going to look for a shorter, more affordable contract to fill their void at third. More likely targets are Placido Polanco, Adrian Beltre and Mark DeRosa. The Phillies have had interest in Miguel Tejada in the past, but he also might command too big a contract.

The Phillies reportedly have expressed interest in right-hander Fernando Rodney, but if he can close elsewhere, I imagine that is where he would go.

The Phillies have nine free agents: catcher Paul Bako, infielder Miguel Cairo, left-hander Scott Eyre, third baseman Pedro Feliz, right-hander Pedro Martinez, right-hander Brett Myers, right-hander Chan Ho Park, outfielder Matt Stairs and left-hander Jack Taschner.

Park and Eyre, who are Type B free agents, seem to be the most likely players to return. Ruben Amaro Jr. said he has contacted Park’s agent about bringing him back. Eyre, who had elbow surgery last Monday, said he will play for the Phillies or retire. If he decides to play, the Phillies seem interested. He is 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 61 games since he joined the Phillies in Aug. 2008.

The Phillies have told Myers that he will not be back. If Stairs returns, it would on a Minor League deal.

If Feliz returns it means the Phillies’ plans to upgrade at third base did not go as intended. Amaro said last week that he has told Martinez that they have not closed the door on his return, but are focusing their attention elsewhere. It seems unlikely Martinez will be back.

Amaro hasn’t ruled out Bako’s return, but he also said finding a backup catcher is a priority, which indicates they will be looking elsewhere. Taschner is expected to sign elsewhere. It is difficult to picture the Phillies signing Cairo to anything other than a Minor League deal.

The Phillies have seven players eligible for salary arbitration: Blanton, infielder Eric Bruntlett, right-hander Clay Condrey, right-hander Chad Durbin, Ruiz, Victorino and right-hander Tyler Walker. The Phillies are expected to tender contracts to Blanton, Ruiz and Victorino. Durbin is a good bet, depending on how the Phillies rebuild their bullpen. The futures for Bruntlett, Condrey and Walker seem less certain.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Postseason Roster Takes Shape

taschner 0930.jpgIt took longer than expected, but the regular season finally ended this afternoon when Paul Hoover scored John Mayberry Jr. in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 7-6 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Onto the postseason …

The Phillies have off tomorrow and will hold a workout Tuesday before Game 1 against the Rockies at 2:37 p.m. Wednesday. (It could be Cole Hamels vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.) But there will be meetings and discussions about the postseason roster in the meantime. The Phillies do not need to submit their 25-man roster until 10 a.m. Wednesday, but there were clues and answers about it after the game:

  • Charlie Manuel said he might not take 12 pitchers. “I might go with 11,” he said. “I don’t know yet.”
  • Manuel could be thinking about 11 pitchers because Miguel Cairo has been playing well. He went 2-for-4 with a triple, home run and one RBI yesterday. He has hit .357 (10-for-28) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and two RBIs since he rejoined the team Aug. 29.
  • But before you start thinking Cairo could bump Eric Bruntlett, Manuel said he finds value in Bruntlett because he can play everywhere in the field, especially the outfield. The Phillies also consider him a better shortstop than Cairo. He can run, too. Bruntlett scored the winning runs in Games 3 and 5 of the World Series. I don’t think it’s Bruntlett or Cairo. I think it’s Bruntlett and maybe Cairo, although I have been surprised before.
  • Manuel sounds like he likes left-hander J.A. Happ in the rotation because the Rockies have a lineup loaded with left-handers. Happ shutout the Rockies in August, which helps his cause. But the Phillies also might need Happ in the bullpen because Scott Eyre looks like the only other lefty in the pen. “I always have looked at (Happ) as a starter and his success this year has been as a starter,” Manuel said. “I’m not ready to reveal what we’re going to do yet because I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do.”
  • Left-hander Jack Taschner quietly cleaned out his locker. The Phillies told him he would not be needed. Taschner was not surprised, but was upset nonetheless. He went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 24 appearances. The Phillies designated him for assignment earlier this season. He asked for his release, but the Phillies did not grant it. He pitched in the Minors and rejoined the team last week after suffering a back injury. He pitched just once. Taschner is salary arbitration eligible, but does not expect to be back next season. “I’m not going to say anything,” he told me. “What is done is done.” Ruben Amaro Jr. later told me, “As far as his future here, we haven’t made any decisions. It was a tough year for him. Frankly, I think because he struggled earlier in the year, it was one of the reasons why he didn’t pitch a lot because he didn’t perform at the level we would have liked. He was caught in a Catch 22. He didn’t pitch a lot, and when he did he wasn’t as effective. I like Jack a lot.” Taschner changed his mechanics in the Minors, which Amaro said could prove beneficial next season. If he is back.
  • Amaro also said while Taschner’s season is over, the Phillies have sent left-hander Sergio Escalona and Mayberry to Clearwater, Fla., to play in case they are needed.
  • Before Taschner cleared out his locker and before Amaro said Escalona was headed to Clearwater, Manuel said it would be tough to put Taschner, Escalona and left-hander Antonio Bastardo into big-game situations. I would surprised to see Bastardo to make the roster based simply off what Manuel said. “It’s kind of hard to put a young kid in there,” he said.
  • He said Brett Myers is ready to pitch in short bursts, but not multiple innings. Myers pronounced himself ready to go in back-to-back games. I expect him to be on the roster.
  • With Taschner, Escalona and most likely Bastardo out, that would leave Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Myers, Tyler Walker and Happ/Pedro Martinez as bullpen candidates.

*

Games 1 and 2 will be played at 2:37 p.m., which was not unexpected. Game 2 in Colorado will start at 9:37 p.m.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Myers Has Sore Shoulder

The Phillies certainly could have used Brett Myers this weekend at Turner Field.

But Myers never pitched, despite the fact the bullpen pitched 16 innings in the three-game series. In fact, Myers has not pitched since Sept. 12 against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Myers said Friday he had not thrown because Phillies starters had been going deep into games. But that no longer held true after J.A. Happ pitched three innings Friday, Pedro Martinez pitched three innings last night and Cliff Lee pitched four innings this afternoon.

Phillies general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. said following today’s 4-2 victory over the Braves that Myers has had soreness in the back of his right shoulder for more than a week. Myers will fly to Philadelphia on Tuesday to see team physician Michael Ciccotti to “see if there’s anything very serious about it.”

Myers, reached by telephone, said, “I don’t think it’s real serious. I have some stiffness and tightness and they want me to go get it checked out.”

The Phillies have just 14 games to play before the postseason, and with left-handers Scott Eyre (loose body in his left elbow), J.C. Romero (strained left forearm) and Jack Taschner (strained back) and right-hander Chan Ho Park (strained right hamstring) sidelined with injuries, this comes at a bad time. But Myers, who missed more than two months in 2007 with a strained right shoulder, sounded optimistic he would be pitching before the end of the regular season. He said he has thrown each of the previous four days and has felt better each time.

“I should be back,” he said.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Good Signs from Lidge?


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lidge 0523.jpgBrad Lidge
threw perfect innings Friday and Sunday to pick up saves against Atlanta, and with a little more than a month to play before the postseason, the Phillies are hoping they see more of that the rest of the way.

Because the Lidge they have seen for most of 2009 could bring heartache in the playoffs.

Lidge’s struggles have been well documented, but from a historical perspective they are even more jarring. MLB.com researched and found there have been just six relief pitchers in baseball’s modern era who have seen their ERAs jump five or more earned runs in consecutive seasons with 40 or more appearances in each season.

Lidge is trying to avoid becoming the seventh:

  1. Mike Flanagan (a 5.67 ERA increase): The American League Cy Young winner with Baltimore in 1978 sported a 2.38 ERA in 64 appearances with the Orioles in 1991. He had an 8.05 ERA in 42 appearances in 1992.
  2. Mike DeJean (5.38): He carried a 3.03 ERA in 59 appearances with the Rockies in 1998, but had an 8.41 ERA in 56 appearances in 1999.
  3. Gene Nelson (5.27): Nelson, who won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, had a 1.57 ERA in 51 appearances with the A’s in 1990, but had a 6.84 ERA in 44 appearances in 1991.
  4. Vic Darensbourg (5.15): He had a 3.68 ERA in 59 appearances with Florida in 1998, but had an 8.83 ERA in 56 appearances in 1999.
  5. Derrick Turnbow (5.13): He sported a 1.74 ERA in 62 appearances as Milwaukee’s closer in 2005, but had a 6.87 ERA in 49 appearances in 2006, when he made the NL All-Star team.
  6. Ron Davis (5.11): The 1981 American League All-Star with the Yankees carried a 3.48 ERA in 57 appearances with Minnesota in 1985, but had an 8.59 ERA in 53 appearances in 1986.

Lidge is 0-6 with a 7.03 ERA and has 27 saves in 36 opportunities. His ERA is the highest of any relief pitcher in baseball. His nine blown saves and his 75 percent save completion are the worst in the Majors. Last year he went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA and 41 saves in 41 opportunities in the regular season and 0-0 with a 0.96 ERA and seven saves in seven opportunities in the playoffs.

Lidge’s turnaround could be dependent on one thing: the command of his fastball. Those who have seen him this year and those who watched him struggle in Houston say the same thing: he needs to command his fastball.

*

The Phillies have recalled left-hander Jack Taschner, their first move since rosters expanded.

*

The Dodgers got Jim Thome before last night’s midnight trade deadline. Thome called Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti before the trade and said, “Uh, you know I can’t play first base anymore, right?” Colletti said that is fine. The Dodgers are looking at Thome as a power bat to come off the bat in the late innings.

I think they’re still having nightmares of Matt Stairs‘ homer in Game 4 of the NLCS.

I kid, but that’s a heck of a weapon to have the rest of the season. And should the Dodgers make the World Series, they have one of the best designated hitters in baseball in their lineup in the AL park.

*

Carlos Carrasco makes his big-league debut tonight for the Indians.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Victorino Is In Second Place In Final Vote


victorino 060307.jpgThis is a surprise.

Shane Victorino is trailing San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the National League’s Final Vote for the final NL All-Star roster spot. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds and Washington’s Cristian Guzman trail Sandoval and Victorino.

I said last night that I thought it would be a two-horse race between Victorino and Kemp because Reynolds and Guzman won’t have the fan support and because Sandoval might not have enough name recognition outside the NL West.

So, naturally, Sandoval leads.

Fans can vote until 4 p.m. ET Thursday at MLB.com. Updates are expected daily.

*

Raul Ibanez went 0-for-2 with a walk and run scored in a rehab appearance for Double-A Reading. He made only one play in left field, but came out of the day OK. Reading hits the road tomorrow, which means Ibanez could continue his rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

*

The Phillies have optioned left-hander Jack Taschner to Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies designated him for assignment Friday. They explored opportunities for him to pitch elsewhere in the Majors, but once they could not find one they optioned him instead. The Phillies could have outrighted him to the Minors, but because he has more than three years of service time that would have meant taking him off the 40-man roster. If they had done that, Taschner could have declared for free agency.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Bullpen Woes

taschner dfa.jpgI flew from Atlanta to Philadelphia this morning and got to the ballpark today around 2:30 p.m.

In between, I crunched numbers.

(I also showered.)

Here is what I found:

The Phillies entered Friday’s opener against the Mets with 19 saves in 32 opportunities this season. Their 59.4 save completion percentage ranked 23rd in baseball.

The Phillies had 47 saves in 62 opportunities last season. Their 75.8 save completion percentage ranked fourth in baseball. Before you ask, while Brad Lidge went 41 for 41 in save opportunities last year, pitchers can blow saves in the seventh or eighth innings, too, which accounted for last season’s blown saves.

That is a remarkable drop. The Phillies blew just 15 saves last season. They have blown 13 this season.

The Phillies have not had a worse save completion percentage since 1998, when they saved just 57.1 percent of their games (32-for-56). That team finished 75-87 and third in the National League East.

The closer that year? Mark Leiter.

*

The Phillies designated Jack Taschner for assignment. He went 1-1 with a 5.20 ERA in 21 appearances. The Phillies could have optioned him, but they said they wanted to do him a favor and give him the opportunity to join another team and pitch elsewhere in the Majors.

Taschner had a 3.74 ERA through June 10, but once J.C. Romero returned, Taschner pitched less and less and got rustier and rustier. The Phillies have 10 days to dispose of his contract. He can be traded, claimed on waivers, released or sent to the minors if he clears waivers.

Taschner not only is a fellow Wisconsinite, but he’s a good guy. I wish him well.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Happ, Taschner Make Bullpen

The Phillies have announced that left-handers J.A. Happ and Jack Taschner have made the bullpen.

The 25th man has not been announced. It appears Miguel Cairo would be that guy, but perhaps the Phillies have something cooking. A team source said earlier today they would move on and look elsewhere for help once they got word Gary Sheffield was going to New York.

There had been some thought the Phillies might keep Happ in his starter’s role in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but I think they feel he pitched well enough last season and this spring to earn a big-league job. They also said earlier this week they feel he can keep his arm stretched out enough that he could start at a moment’s notice.

Taschner was a lock all along. He was a lock because they acquired him recently in a trade with the Giants and because he will be paid $830,000 (i.e. they didn’t acquire him to have him pitch in the Minor Leagues … not at that salary).

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Park Wins Fifth Job, Phils Contact Sheffield

Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that Chan Ho Park beat J.A. Happ for the fifth starter’s job. Happ’s fate with the team has not been decided, although Amaro said Happ, Gary Majewski, Jack Taschner and Bobby Mosebach are comepting for two bullpen jobs.

Amaro also said the Phillies have contacted the agent for Gary Sheffield, who the Tigers just released. Sheffield could be a bit now that the Phillies have released Geoff Jenkins.

*

Park said he will make his debut April 12 against the Rockies in Denver.

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Paulino Traded to Giants for Taschner

taschner.jpgJust got word that the Phillies have traded Ronny Paulino to the San Francisco Giants for left-handed reliever Jack Taschner.

A few things about this trade:

  • It’s a lock. Chris Coste will open the season as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup.
  • Taschner will be the bullpen’s second left-hander while J.C. Romero serves his 50-game suspension. The other left-hander is Scott Eyre.
  • This could pave the way for J.A. Happ to open the season in the rotation and Chan Ho Park to open the season in the bullpen, although Ruben Amaro Jr. stressed that nothing had been decided. There had been some talk that Happ could open the season in the bullpen, if Park had a better spring than him. But both have pitched about the same, so I would be surprised at this point if Happ isn’t this team’s No. 5 starter.

Update: The Giants flipped Paulino to the Marlins for Minor League pitcher Hector Correra.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers