Results tagged ‘ Jose Contreras ’

Almost Home …

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for contreras 01.jpgHola, amigos.

I’ve been blog-less since Friday morning because of a conversion to new blog software. But the conversion didn’t work as planned, which left me unable to post. I apologize for that. But we went back to the old software for the next 24 hours or so, which should allow me to post through tomorrow’s Grapefruit League finale at Bright House Field.

I want to mention a few things before the Zo Zone goes dark again:

The Phillies have not named a closer to replace Brad Lidge, but my guess is Jose Contreras gets the nod. Why? It’s just the feeling I get from being in camp the past few days. Rich Dubee also sounds like he wants to keep Madson in the eighth inning, where he has thrived. I asked Dubee yesterday if he thought Madson was better prepared to close this season than previous seasons.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Ryan Madson is Ryan Madson. What did he do? Take a crash course in how to close? We’re in Spring Training here. … I think the game speeds up on him sometimes. He doesn’t get to the same comfort level. There’s a little anxiety there. The ninth inning is a little different than the eighth. There have been a solid eighth-inning guys that haven’t been able to pitch the ninth. One day they learn how to do it.”

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Bored at Work on Monday?

Thumbnail image for contreras 01.jpgIt could be a quiet week for the Phillies other than Jayson Werth declining salary arbitration tomorrow, which is expected and should not be made into a big deal. But I would think things could pick up next week during the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

In the meantime, I’m sure you’re looking for something to read regarding the Phillies so here’s a look at the Jose Contreras deal, if you’re interested:

2011: $2.5 million
2012: $2.5 million
2013 club option: $2.5 million or $500,000 buyout.
Performance bonuses: $50,000 for 50 games pitched; $50,000 for 55 games pitched; $50,000 for 60 games pitched; $100,000 for 65 games pitched; $100,000 for 70 games pitched; $100,000 for 30 games finished; $100,000 for 35 games finished; $100,000 for 40 games finished; $250,000 for 45 games finished; $250,000 for 50 games finished; $500,000 for 55 games finished; $500,000 for 60 games finished.
Award bonuses: $50,000 for All Star; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids ($75,000 for second; $50,000 for third); $25,000 for Gold Glove; $25,000 for Silver Slugger.

Looking for a holiday gift(s)? The 4th annual Philadelphia Sports Book Signing Extravaganza is Friday from 7-10pm at Barnes & Noble, The Court @ Oxford Valley Mall, 210 Commerce Blvd., Fairless Hills, Pa. Ray Didinger, Anthony Gargano, Glen Macnow, Jayson Stark, Randy Miller, Greg Cosell, Reuben Frank, Mark Eckel and myself will be on hand to sign copies of our books and talk sports.

I’m also signing my book from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park. So if you can’t get to Barnes & Noble on Friday night, try the ballpark on Saturday afternoon. Thanks!

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I’ve got a new Facebook page, where I’ll post stories, blogs, thoughts, etc. Check it out here.

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Follow me on Twitter.

Phillies, Contreras Agree to Two-Year Contract

contreras 01.jpgThe Phillies have reached an agreement with Jose Contreras on a two-year, $5.5 million contract, according to a source. The contract includes a club option for 2013.

ESPNDeportes.com first reported last night the parties were close to a deal.

Contreras, 38, went 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 67 appearances this season – his first full season as a relief pitcher. He quickly became a favorite for Charlie Manuel, picking up three of his four saves in May when Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson were on the disabled list.

The Phillies now have six free agents. The Phillies are interested in bringing back Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin. The Phillies have had discussions about Werth, although it is believed he will sign elsewhere. Durbin could be back, depending on what kind of deals he finds elsewhere. The other free agents — J.C. Romero, Jamie Moyer, Mike Sweeney and Greg Dobbs – are not expected back.

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I’ve also got a new Facebook page, where I’ll post stories, blogs, thoughts, etc. Check it out here.

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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, Contreras Could Be Close to Deal

Jose Contreras is one free agent the Phillies want to see in red pinstripes in 2011.

They could be close.

ESPNDeportes.com reported Sunday night the Phillies are nearing a two-year, $5 million contract with Contreras. The report also said Contreras could receive a third year in an option based on performance incentives.

Contreras, 38, went 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 67 appearances this season – his first full season as a relief pitcher. He quickly became a favorite for Charlie Manuel, picking up three of his four saves in May when Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson were on the disabled list.

The Phillies have seven free agents, and Contreras has been the most likely to resign. The Phillies also are interested in bringing back rightfielder Jayson Werth and right-hander Chad Durbin. The Phillies have had discussions about Werth, although it is believed he will sign elsewhere. Durbin could be back, depending on what kind of deals he can find elsewhere.

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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!

Hitting the Open Market

Thumbnail image for Werth0036.jpgJayson Werth hits the open market in less than 24 hours.

That should not surprise anybody. Werth was not going to sign a contract during his exclusive negotiating period with the Phillies. But beginning at midnight Saturday anybody from any team can contact any player, including Werth.

I still don’t think Werth resigns with the Phillies.

Scott Boras, who is Werth’s agent, said yesterday it doesn’t have to be that way.

“The Yankees are a Goliath,” Boras said. “George (Steinbrenner) built them with the idea of the word ‘best.’ The Phillies are now Goliaths. The reality of it is they have the ability to do what they need to do to retain their players. It’s merely a matter of choice. It’s not a matter of good business because I think everybody would agree they’ve made some really good business decisions. They’ve all proven to be fruitful economically as far as franchise value increase, future television negotiations, fans. Everything is going well. Somebody asked me if they can have a $200 million payroll? Of course they could. It would be good business to do so.”

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Looking Ahead: Six Free Agents, Three Arbitration Eligible Players

werth playoffs.jpg

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:

FREE AGENTS

- 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).

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Shades of 2009

lidge 0731 2010.jpg

Brad Lidge‘s blown save tonight in a 7-5 loss to the Nationals stirred more memories of his nightmarish 2009, when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities (73.8 percent). But Charlie Manuel wasted no time in his post game news conference telling folks Lidge is his guy.

“He’s our closer,” he said. “We’ve been working with him now for two years. I guess right now we’ve got to keep continuing to work with him. He has his moments.”

Lidge, who is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA and 10 saves in 14 opportunities (71.4 percent) this season, allowed a leadoff single to Michael Morse and walked Adam Kennedy with one out when he threw a 92 mph fastball to Ryan Zimmerman, who crushed the ball to center field for a three-run home run to win the game. Lidge said he shook off catcher Carlos Ruiz to throw the 2-1 pitch inside because he had success with that pitch against Zimmerman in the past.

Manuel said the Phillies have to keep working with Lidge. Why?

“Because that’s what we’ve got,” Manuel said.

The Phillies picked up Astros ace Roy Oswalt before today’s non-waiver trade deadline, but did not address a bullpen that entered the night ranked 10th in the National League with a 4.11 ERA. The Minnesota Twins got Nationals closer Matt Capps (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 26 saves) before the deadline, although it required their top prospect. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Octavio Dotel (2-2, 4.28 ERA, 21 saves) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players. (Had the Phillies not traded Cliff Lee, perhaps they could have swung a prospect or two to get somebody like Capps or Dotel, right?)

Internal options? Ryan Madson has struggled as a closer, converting 18 of 24 save opportunities in his career. The Phillies said Danys Baez could be an option when they signed him to a two-year, $5.25 million contract, but he is 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA and has not pitched recently in many close situations. Jose Contreras might be the best option. He is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and three saves in three opportunities this year as closer.

“I hear you guys say that for two (gosh darn) years,” said Manuel, when asked about Madson. “I hear this and that, this and that. What the hell? We try this guy. We try that guy. We try this guy. Then I hear you bitch to me sometimes about their roles: ‘Guys don’t know their roles.’ I can go on all night now. Let’s just drop it right there.”

Lidge’s fastball this season has averaged just 92.5 mph, according to fangraphs.com. That is the lowest average of his career. His fastball averaged 93.6 mph in 2009, 94.3 mph in 2008 and 95.2 mph or better from 2004-07 with the Houston Astros. As his fastball has lost velocity, so has the separation in mph between his fastball and slider. He had 7.8 mph of separation between his fastball and slider this season, 8.2 mph in 2009 and 9.2 mph in 2008.

“I’m a guy that in the past has thrown 95, 96,” Lidge said. “This year I’m learning to pitch with a little bit less on my fastball. You don’t want to pay too much attention to it because you want to execute your pitches … it’s something I’ve got to learn to pitch with.”

Lidge, who had offseason elbow and knee surgeries, said he is not sure why his velocity is down, but said he is healthy.

“I don’t feel hurt or anything,” he said. “To me it’s not something I’m going to make a big deal of. It’s something I need to be able to pitch with. My rehab outings all the way through, it’s kind of stayed the same. If it’s not going to get back to the 94, 95 as it has in the past, then I’ve got to pitch with what I’ve got.”

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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!

Howard, Contreras and More


howard 0323 2010.jpgRyan Howard
hit two homers today in a Grapefruit League game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

And that means what exactly?

“That hopefully April 5 is getting closer,” he said.

It can be difficult to gauge what a Spring Training means, but players happily take the good ones over the bad. And so far is Howard is having a good one. He is hitting .356 (16-for-45) with three homers and eight RBIs in 16 games. He also has walked five times.

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Jose Contreras (6.48 ERA in six appearances) worked out of a sixth-inning jam. With a runner on second and one out, he got Carlos Pena to ground out and Pat Burrell to strike out to end the inning.

“He’s got good stuff,” Manuel said. “That right there is a good place for him to come into the game.”

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Manuel on his lineup: “We’re going to score some runs. We’ve got a chance to put together a big offensive year. If we just stay focused and we can get going right, we’re going to have some .300 hitters and we’re going to score some runs.”

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Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and is hitting .345 this spring. A calf injury slowed him last season, but he is moving better this spring.

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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!

Kendrick Is Looking Good

kendrick 0308.jpgThings are different this spring for Kyle Kendrick.

Rich Dubee pronounced Kendrick the favorite to win the last job in the Phillies’ rotation last spring, but a few weeks later the Phillies sent him to the Minors. It seemed that Dubee wanted to build confidence in Kendrick, who had been competing with J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park and Carlos Carrasco. In reality, Kendrick needed time to develop his secondary pitches. But praise of Kendrick this spring seems more genuine, and for good reason. He has pitched well. He threw three scoreless innings today in a 7-5 loss to the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field to continue to build his case for the final job in the 2010 rotation.

Kendrick has thrown five scoreless innings this spring. He has allowed just two hits and has struck out two.

“What I’ve seen this year, he’s a completely different guy,” Carlos Ruiz said.

Kendrick’s top competitor for the fifth job is left-hander Jamie Moyer, who faces the Blue Jays in a “B” game Wednesday.

Here is the rub: If both Kendrick and Moyer pitch well this spring Moyer might have the edge because of his experience and $8 million salary. Kendrick, who makes $480,000 at the big-league level, could start the season in Triple A or in the Phillies’ bullpen. Anything but the Minors, Kendrick said.

“If it’s the fifth man, great. If it’s the bullpen, I’m happy with that, too,” he said. “I just want to have a good year, a good full season in the big leagues and go from there. If it’s the fifth guy or in the bullpen, so be it. But I’ll be happy wherever it’s at.”

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Shane Victorino (sore shoulder) makes his Grapefruit League debut tomorrow night against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista. Roy Halladay pitches. … Jose Contreras allowed six hits, six runs and three walks in just 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees, although Charlie Manuel deflected blame to sloppy play in the field. … Jimmy Rollins and John Mayberry Jr. each hit solo homers.

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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!

A Week to Go

A week from today Phillies pitchers and catchers hold their first official workout in Clearwater.

I just hope there’s no snow there.

Seriously, enough with the snow.

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Got the latest contract info:

Jose Contreras. $1.5 million salary. Performance bonuses: $50,000 for 10 games started; $100,000 for 15 games started; $200,000 for 20 games started; $300,000 for 25 games started; $350,000 for 30 games started; $50,000 for 35 games finished; $100,000 for 40 games finished; $200,000 for 45 games finished; $300,000 for 50 games finished; $350,000 for 55 games finished; $50,000 for 50 games; $50,000 for 55 games; $50,000 for 60 games; $50,000 for 65 games; $50,000 for 70 games. Plus: $50,000 for makign the All Star team; $50,000 for being named the NLCS MVP; $100,000 being named World Series MVP; $25,000 for winning the Gold Glove; $25,000 for winning the Silver Slugger; $50,000 for winning Comeback Player of the Year; $100,000 for winning Cy Young or Rolaids ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd). The Phillies also will not offer Contreras salary arbitration if he is a Type A free agent.

Scott Mathieson. He will make $115,000 in the Minors and $400,000 in the Majors. He also receives a $2,500 bonus for appearing in 50 games.

Oscar Villarreal. Minor League contract for $17,000 a month and an agreement for a Major League contract for $125,000. He will make $675,000 if he plays in the Majors. Performance bonuses: $25,000 for 20 games; $25,000 for 25 games; $25,000 for 30 games; $30,000 for 35 games; $30,000 for 40 games; $30,000 for 45 games; $30,000 for 50 games; $30,000 for 55 games. Plus: $25,000 for making the All Star team; $50,000 for being named World Series MVP; $25,000 for being named NLCS MVP; $50,000 for winning Cy Young or Rolaids ($25,000-2nd; $15,000-3rd); $25,000 for winning a Gold Glove; $25,00 for winning a Silver Slugger. If he is not on the 25-man roster by July 1, Villarreal will be released if requested or he will be added to the roster within 72 hours.

Also, Villarreal does not have an invitation to Major League spring training.

Mike Zagurski. He will make $151,548 in the Minors and $400,000 in the Majors.

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Joined a podcast at fightinphillies.com, where we talked about spring training and … my new book.

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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 where books are sold. It also will be in Delaware Valley bookstores everywhere in early March.

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