Results tagged ‘ Jayson Werth ’

Looking Ahead: Six Free Agents, Three Arbitration Eligible Players

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You probably still have your NLCS hangover, but I thought I’d give everybody a quick look at the Phillies’ offseason. They have six potential free agents and three players eligible for salary arbitration.

Here is a look:


– Jayson Werth. The Phillies and Werth are going to say the right things in the coming weeks. The Phillies are going to say they would love to bring back Werth, which is true. And Werth is going to say he wants to come back, which also is true. But the reality is different. The Phillies already have more than $145 million committed to 16 players in 2011, and Werth is going to be one of the top free agents on the market. Ruben Amaro Jr. has said several times the Phillies can’t have a roster full of $15 million-a-year players, which is what Werth could be making soon. Outfielder Jason Bay received a four-year, $66 million contract from the New York Mets last winter. Werth should command more. Bay hit .267 with a .362 on-base percentage and a .493 slugging percentage in the three seasons leading to free agency. Werth hit .279 with a .376 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage the past three seasons. The numbers show Werth is a better hitter than Bay. He also is a better fielder and base runner. And there seems to be little doubt Scott Boras, who is Werth’s agent, will be seeking the big-time deal Werth has waited his entire career for.

– J.C. Romero. The Phillies have a $4.5 million club option on Romero, but it is unlikely to be exercised. The Phillies are expected to rely next season on Antonio Bastardo instead. And while Romero went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA the last two seasons, he also missed time with injuries and has walked (42) more hitters than he has struck out (42).


Rob McElhenney Talks Utley, Howard and Phillies

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A little more than a week ago you probably thought this weekend’s series in Atlanta would mean something.

It turns out it doesn’t.

We’ll have plenty of time before Game 1 to discuss the NLDS rotation, the postseason roster, the Cincinnati Reds, Placido Polanco‘s elbow and Jimmy Rollins‘ hamstring. So let’s move into the weekend the right way, with an interview I did Tuesday with Philadelphia native Rob McElhenney, creator and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are appearing in the Dec. 2 episode, so I thought it would be a good time to talk to Rob about it, and get his thoughts on other things Phillies related:

(Note: Rob allowed me to watch the scenes in which Utley and Howard appear. I definitely laughed. Check out the story on, with reaction from Utley and Howard.)

Question: I know Utley and Howard are appearing in an upcoming episode. I’ve seen some dicey cameos from athletes on other TV shows. How did they do?
Answer: I thought they did a really amazing job. I thought they were better than a lot of actors we wind up having on the show. I thought they did a (freakin’) amazing job.

Question: Really?
Answer: I thought so.

Question: Were you aware of Utley’s reputation for being a guy that isn’t especially talkative or outgoing, at least publicly? I was surprised he even said yes.
Answer: He was the first person to say yes. We got word back from his representation, I think within an hour, that he was into it. I don’t think that he and (his wife) Jen watched the show before we mentioned him in the last season. I think a bunch of his buddies watch the show and handed him the DVD. I think he got the joke.

Question: I know Chase told me that he thought the “Chase Utley love letter” was pretty funny.
Answer: It spawned from a conversation we were having in the writer’s room about what an interesting phenomena it is as you grow older to continue to think about professional athletes as being older than you. I think it’s just something that happens when you’re a kid, and then when you look up the ages of some of these guys … I’m like two years older than Chase, and I thought what a funny idea it would be if a character looked up to Chase Utley as his older brother-type figure. Then he comes to find out that he’s older than him and how sad that is.


Four In A Row: Phillies Win NL East

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I asked Roy Halladay if this is how he imagined it would feel.

“Colder,” he replied, as beer was poured down his back.

Great answer.


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!

Magic Number Is 4

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A few words from Braves catcher Brian McCann:

“We knew what we were getting into coming in here. We knew who they were pitching. We’ve all faced them before and they’ve all got great stuff. They executed every pitch and when they got themselves in trouble, they got out of it. That’s what number ones do and all three of those guys are number ones.”


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!

Werth Chooses Boras As New Agent

boras.jpgJayson Werth
has hired Scott Boras as his new agent, a source told tonight.

Werth recently left agent Jeff Borris from the Beverly Hills Sports Council for Boras, who represents some of the biggest names in the game.

Werth should be set up for a nice payday once he reaches free agency after the season. He is hitting .292 with 44 doubles, two triples, 24 home runs and 76 RBIs in 146 games. He has hit 60 home runs since the beginning of the 2009 season, which ranks second in the Majors amongst right-handed hitting outfielders. (Jose Bautista is first with 62.) Werth also can run, throw and play good defense.

How this affects his future with the Phillies, if at all, remains to be seen. It already was believed Werth would be impossibly difficult to resign with the Phillies already having committed more than $140 million in payroll in 2011, Domonic Brown waiting in the wings and Werth likely to fetch a contract at least similar to the four-year, $66 million deal Jayson Bay received last winter from the Mets.


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!

Brown Scratched from Lineup, Winter Ball and 2011 …

The Phillies scratched Domonic Brown from tonight’s lineup against the Marlins because of tightness in his right quadriceps.

Brown said he has been feeling tightness for about a week, but aggravated it sliding into home plate in Game 2 of a doubleheader Monday. Brown was scheduled to see a team doctor this evening.

“I think I’m all right,” Brown said.

Brown, who the organization just named its Paul Owens Minor League Player of the Year, said he felt the quad during early hitting.

“I didn’t want to make it any worse, so they decided to take me out of the lineup,” Brown said.

Jayson Werth, who had hit .059 (1-for-17) in his career against Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad, took his place and hit seventh.

Brown is hitting .214 with three doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs in 30 games with the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr. said Brown would have been better served spending more time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but injuries and other roster decisions put the Phillies in position to keep him on the 25-man roster longer than they wanted.

But Amaro said the Phillies have talked with Brown and his agent about playing Winter Ball, which would help him make up for the at-bats he lost sitting on the Phillies’ bench.

“He’s not the perfect, finished product yet,” Amaro said. “He’s got things to learn, things to do, things to improve upon. We’ll see how it goes.”

There is a good chance Brown will be the Phillies’ everyday rightfielder in 2011. Werth will be one of the top two free agent outfielders this fall – Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford being the other — and the Phillies have not had any substantial talks with Werth for months. Werth is looking for new representation, although it is unclear how that might affect future talks.

“That’s possible,” Amaro said, asked of Brown’s chance to be a 2011 starter if there is an opening. “But I certainly won’t anoint him that guy.”


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!

Howard Goes Off, Bats Go Silent

howard 0824 2010.jpgI’ve never seen Ryan Howard that angry before.

In fact, the last time I saw Howard that angry was Spring Training 2006. He had just hit a home run against Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who thought Howard “pimped” his home run. Beckett barked at Howard from the Red Sox dugout at Bright House Field. Howard barked back, before dropping his glove and putting his hands in the air, basically telling Beckett to come out.

Beckett never did.

Howard never reached third base umpire Scott Barry in the 14th inning last night, but that’s probably because Placido Polanco and others restrained him. I have to wonder if Howard will be suspended for his actions, although a fine is definite.


The offense scored just two runs in 16 innings, so can’t blame the umpires completely for this one — even if Barry botched the call that led to Howard’s ejection.


Last night was one of the most bizarre games I’ve seen. Ross Gload, who is on the disabled list, was ejected after Howard left the field. (Charlie Manuel explained a player on the DL is not allowed to yell at anybody on the field.) The Phillies, who were out of position players, were forced to move Raul Ibanez from left field to first base, a position he had not played since 2005, and pitcher Roy Oswalt into left field, a place he had never played in his professional career.

Oswalt was the first Phillies pitcher to play in the field since Bill Wilson Aug. 6, 1971.

“I’m not sure what I think about the whole thing just yet,” Jayson Werth said. “I’m going to take a quick nap here and think about it. Come back tomorrow refreshed and act like that didn’t happen. I know I haven’t been playing the game as long as some people, but it’s the first I’ve seen of anything like that. That was just … I’m not going to say what I want to say. I’m going to sleep on it.”


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!

Gene Simmons Impression Distracted Werth

gene_simmons_kiss.jpgJayson Werth
sent Brett Myers a text message late last night following the Phillies’ 3-2 loss to the Astros:

“I was laughing at you as I got picked off. Thanks.”

Werth got picked off second base in the sixth inning just seconds after Myers intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz. Astros catcher Humberto Quintero fired a missile to second baseman Angel Sanchez, who applied the tag. So what the heck happened on the play? Well, a couple things. But certainly the most interesting thing is that just before Myers threw ball four to Ruiz, he looked back at Werth out of the stretch and stuck out his tongue a la Kiss’ Gene Simmons.

(Forgive me, but that is one of the funniest things I’ve heard while covering the Phillies over the last eight years.)

“That’s what put me on my heels,” Werth said. “But the big reason it happened was, while I still had a field of vision, Brett was in my direct line of the catcher and (Quintero) threw the ball. It was Brett, (Quintero) and Chooch, all in the same periphery. So I didn’t see anything. I did remember saying, ‘What’s that?’ and see the ball at the pitcher’s mound. I was dead at that point.

“The whole time I was thinking, after he threw the first pitch, if he doesn’t pay attention here I could probably steal third. I’m still thinking like that before that (fourth) pitch then he looks at me and … I was smiling as the ball was on its way. So between that and the little smokescreen where I got shielded on — and that was the main reason — it was terrible.”

Myers almost felt bad about the Simmons distraction.

“He’s one of my favorite players over there,” he said about Werth. “He keeps everybody loose.”

So does Myers, and it paid off last night.


Astors manager Brad Mills said Quintero’s throw surprised him, too.

“Caught me completely off guard,” he said. “If I would have been the base runner I would have been out, too.”



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 Looking to Sweep Marlins

The Phillies have won 11 of 13 to move within two games of the Braves in the NL East after being seven back on July 22.

A few stats to chew on:

  • The Phillies are averaging 5.46 runs per game since July 21, which ranks second in the NL. Houston is first with 5.92 runs per game. Who knew J.A. Happ could hit, too?
  • The Phillies lead the league in batting (.300), on-base percentage (.372) and extra-base hits (47). They rank second in slugging pecentage (.460) and stolen bases (12).
  • They lead the league with a 2.74 ERA.
  • Raul Ibanez‘s 1.216 on-base-plus-slugging percentage is fifth in the league. He ranks fourth in the league with 12 RBIs.
  • Jayson Werth‘s 1.090 OPS is eighth.
  • Carlos Ruiz‘s 1.005 OPS is 14th. He is 12th with 10 RBIs.


Roy Oswalt gets his second shot in a Phillies uniform tonight. I would be things go better for him than in Washington.


The Phillies picked up Mike Sweeney in a trade yesterday with the Mariners for a player to be named later or cash. A low risk move for the Phillies. If Sweeney can give the Phillies two good weeks, it will pay off.


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.


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!