Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

New Deal? Hamels Isn’t Worried

Had a chance to talk to Cole Hamels for a few minutes last night at the Four Seasons in Center City, where Charlie Manuel was named Magee Rehabilitation Hospital’s 2011 Humanitarian of the Year.

(Aside: Following Jonathan Papelbon‘s news conference on Monday at Citizens Bank Park, I kidded Manuel about being named Humanitarian of the Year. I said, “Charlie, you’re always getting honored by somebody.” He said, “Hey, man, I used to get roasted. They used to put salt and pepper on me and roast me.”

Everybody is wondering what’s going to happen with Hamels, and understandably so. He made $9.5 million in 2011, and is eligible for salary arbitration one final time before becoming a free agent following the 2012 season. There is mutual interest in signing Hamels to a multiyear extension, but nothing has happened so far. That shouldn’t be particularly alarming. Not yet.

“My whole philosophy is: I don’t fear trying to sign something quickly because of the fear of failure or getting injured,” Hamels said. “I’ve had a serious injury. I broke my arm in high school and they said I would never throw again. I overcame that, so I think I can overcome anything. I’ll never have regrets or what ifs. I just know if I can play and do a really good job it’ll take care of itself.”

Signing Hamels could be tricky.

Angels ace Jered Weaver signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension during the season. His career numbers are very similar to Hamels’. But the longer Hamels goes without an extension and the better he pitches in 2012 his price goes up. Hamels could be (should be?) looking for $100 million or more. The New York Mets signed Johan Santana to a six-year, $137.5 million contract in Feb. 2008, nine months before he would have become a free agent. The nine-month mark for Hamels is Feb. 2012. But the notable difference is Santana was a two-time Cy Young winner at the time. But while Hamels doesn’t have a couple Cy Youngs, he does have a World Series MVP trophy and is considered one of the best pitchers (not just left-handers) in baseball.

So the question becomes how far are the Phillies willing to go?

They already have committed $89.5 million to Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Jonathan Papelbon in 2013. That doesn’t include a raise to Hunter Pence, who will be eligible for salary arbitration, or other multiyear deals the Phillies sign this offseason (Jimmy Rollins? Michael Cuddyer? Both?).

The Phillies will have to decide how many mega multiyear contracts they can handle.

A big thing in Hamels’ favor is he will be just 28 next season. Halladay turns 35 in May. Lee turns 34 in August. The Phillies would like to have Hamels a piece of their rotation for the foreseeable future because Halladay and Lee won’t be around forever. Although with two (possibly three) more seasons with Halladay and four (possibly five) more seasons with Lee, Phillies fans hope it’s not for a long time.

The Phillies are focused on Rollins and other 2012 roster decisions at the moment. In the past, the Phillies have waited until January to sign their own players to extensions (i.e. Shane Victorino, Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton). The same could happen here, but Hamels sees how the top pitchers in baseball are paid. He just needs to look around his own clubhouse.

“You get into money like this, which you never possibly imagined … I think as long as you’re compensated in the category that you’re playing, then can’t ever have any sort of hard feelings or any regrets,” he said.

I also spoke with Hamels about his recovery from offseason surgeries. Read the story here.

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Rollins Holds Court


rollins talks.jpgThe Phillies held their first full squad workout today, and Jimmy Rollins held court afterward.

Here are the highlights:

Question: What was your reaction when you heard about the Roy Halladay trade?
Answer: When I first heard about it? Jayson Werth actually sent me a text. He was like, ‘What’s going on?’ But I could hear the panic in his voice. I’m like, ‘What happened? Roy? We didn’t get him? Damn. He went somewhere else?’ He was like, ‘No, we got him. But we traded away Cliff.’ I was like, ‘Oh. You mean we only get to keep one?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ That’s really not a bad trade off. We’re going to miss Cliff’s hitting, especially those two-out doubles. I’m on deck like, ‘Why are they still pitching to this guy?’ But in all seriousness, you lost a great pitcher in Cliff Lee. There’s no doubt about that. But we picked up an even better. That’s nothing to not to be happy about.

Q: What do you want to improve?
A: Everything. I told Davey I want to try to steal 50 bases. That’s the first thing I want to try to do. Will it happen? Let’s see. But that’s my goal. It’s a place I’ve never been before, so it gives me something to shoot at. I’m trying to keep the errors under three this year. That would be nice. I was on pace for that, but at the end slipped up a bit. I’m still trying to score 150 runs. Never hit .300 and working on 200 hits. There’s still a lot of things for me to do. If I do those things hopefully I’ll be doing a good enough job to bring us another championship.

Q: Any predictions?
A: We do have a chance to do something special. Frank came and told me that National League teams that go to the World Series three years in a row win two out of three. That sounds like some pretty good odds.

Q:  What do you think about Polanco hitting behind you?
A: Well, he’s done it before. There will be a lot of first to thirds if I’m on. Well, probably not our ballpark, but most other places. But Polanco is a good hitter. He sprays the ball around. He puts the ball in play. He will move guys up. He will drive in runs. A lineup can be changed. We’ve seen Charlie change a few spots. He keeps the 3, 4, 5 guys pretty much the same unless there’s a left-handed pitcher, but nothing is ever set in stone with Charlie.

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Roy Halladay Day

Halladay presser 7817.jpg

A few highlights from Roy Halladay‘s news conference today:

On the inevitable comparisons to Cliff Lee this season: “I think that’s what baseball is. I think everybody is always comparing different players. I think that’s how they decide who is the better player. That’s always been the case, whether it’s guys on the team being compared to you or other teams. That’s part of it. It’s nothing that fortunately I have to pay attention to. My job is to obviously prepare and compete the best I can. I stay out of the papers and news. Not that those people don’t know what they’re talking about. It just doesn’t have a lot to do with how I should approach the game. Yeah, obviously that’s going to be there, but it’s not going to affect the way I prepare or pitch or anything else.”

On when he begins his daily workouts: “It varies. Normally, 5:45 I try to get here. There have been a few young kids that have been chasing me in, trying to beat me. So I have to start bumping it to 5:30 here soon.”

On Johan Santana’s comments that he is the best pitcher in the NL East: “No, I steer clear of that. I think it was a Lou Holtz quote, ‘Well done is always more important than well said.’ I’ve always tried to take that philosophy. I try to stay out of those things as much as possible.”

On what he is looking forward to most: “Postseason. For me that’s the ultimate. Obviously there’s no guarantee, but that’s the driving force for me right now and the biggest reason. It was never about changing teamamtes, changing environments, changing cities. It was about wanting to pitch in October. That’s what I look forward to here the most. Like I said there is no guarantees, but based on what they’ve done in the past and the guys who are in that clubhouse, I look forward to having that chance.”

On Scott Rolen giving him any advice on Philadelphia: “He actually said that I would love it. He said that you’re going to love being there. I know that was probably tough for him based on the past few times back to Philadelphia, but I know he really enjoyed his time there. He seemed to think that I would, too.”

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My new book is currently available online. It also will be available in Delaware Valley bookstores in late February/early March. I hope you check it out. But in the meantime, The Fightins is giving away a few copies.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and will be in bookstores in the Delaware Valley in late February/early March.

The Mets Talk about Pedro


martinez and santana.jpgPedro Martinez
is expected to arrive in Philadelphia tonight and take a physical tomorrow morning, a baseball source said.

If he passes his physical, the Phillies could introduce him at a news conference Wednesday.

Martinez has not pitched since last season with the Mets. He went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA, but Phillies scouts liked what they saw last week during two simulated games at the team’s baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

“Pedro is a pitcher who likes to compete,” Mets ace Johan Santana said. “If Philadelphia is giving him an opportunity to play there, he’s going to compete for sure. That’s all he’s looking for. He’s a great friend of mine. We had a great time together in New York last year, and I hope all the best for him. He’s looking for the best for him, and I believe that Philadelphia is offering him what he wants and the conditions that he wants, and he’s going to have a chance to win there.”

But can he still pitch?

“Time will tell,” Santana said. “I don’t really know. But he showed in the WBC that he was ready to go, and he wants to prove a lot of people that he still has a lot left in his tank. I believe that he’s a man of his word. If he says that, he’s going to compete.”

Mets third baseman David Wright said he also thought Martinez threw well at the WBC.

“I know that’s a small sample, but you can never count a guy like Pedro out,” Wright said. “He’s just got a certain competitiveness to him and a fire to him that not too many pitchers have.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Good Baseball Against Good Teams

rollins 0614.jpgJimmy Rollins said he looked forward to a double. Actually, he looked forward to any ball that would hit grass first instead of leather.

He got more than that.

He hit a solo home run to right field in the seventh inning in today’s 11-6 victory over the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. The homer snapped a 0-for-16 slump. But more important, it gave the Phillies the lead against Josh Beckett.

“It was a good win,” Rollins said. “We got a game back on the Mets, which was the most important thing. … It was very fun. You always look forward to these games. Really, since we’ve left every series has been pretty fun. I guess you have the exception of San Diego. They weren’t playing that well, although they were playing well at home. But Los Angeles, New York, Boston. We were playing teams that are expected to be in the running down the stretch. It’s not easy, but you definitely look forward to playing those games.”

Rollins is right about that. Cole Hamels shutuout the Dogers on June 4 at Dodger Stadium, and almost every game has been nip and tuck since. The Phillies had ninth-inning leads June 5 and 6 against the Dodgers, but Brad Lidge blew a pair of saves. The Phillies pounded Randy Wolf in a 7-2 victory June 7. They hit four homers against Johan Santana in a 6-5 loss Tuesday. Chase Utley hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning against the Mets on Wednesday. Raul Ibanez hit a game-winning three-run homer in the 10th inning against the Mets on Thursday. They lost in 13 innings to the Red Sox on Friday. Last night’s game was an 11-6 loss, but they came back to win today.

The Phillies are 5-5 in that stretch. They could be 7-3, if Lidge saves both those games or one of them and Greg Dobbs‘ foul ball Friday is ruled fair.

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It looked bleak for the Phillies bullpen after J.A. Happ threw 55 pitches in just two innings. The Phillies had thrown 24 innings the previous four nights, and Charlie Manuel said he had just Chan Ho ParkRyan Madson and Tyler Walker available.

But Happ squeezed in 5 2/3 innings, Park threw 2 1/3 innings and Madson pitched an inning. The bullpen gets a much needed rest tomorrow.

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Ibanez had started 222 consecutive games until today.

He has been bothered the past few days with some soreness in his left Achilles area because of some ill-fitting shoes, so Manuel rested him. He said the shoes have been fixed and he is fine. He also said after a long week, which included three consecutive extra-inning games and a game Saturday that ended after midnight, Ibanez just got today off.

“It’s nothing at all,” he siad.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

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