Results tagged ‘ Mark DeRosa ’

Phillies Focus on Polanco, Talks Serious


polanco.jpgTalks have become serious as the Phillies have narrowed their focus to Placido Polanco to replace Pedro Feliz at third base.

Multiple sources told MLB.com today that the Phillies have been very aggressive in their pursuit of Polanco, a free agent who played for the Phillies from 2002-05. The Phillies also had targeted Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre, but Polanco has separated himself from the pack. It is unclear how close the sides are to a deal.

The Red Sox, Astros and other teams have expressed interest in Polanco, but it appears the Phillies are further down the line in their pursuit.

Polanco, a career .303 hitter, has spent the past four-plus seasons with the Detroit Tigers, who acquired him in a trade with the Phillies in 2005 for relief pitcher Ugueth Urbina and infielder Ramon Martinez.

Polanco hit .285 with 10 home runs and 72 RBIs in 618 at-bats last season with Detroit. He hit .341 in 2007 and .307 in 2008.

He has played only second base with the Tigers, where he won three consecutive Gold Gloves. Polanco has played 322 games in his career at third base, but only nine since the end of the 2004 season.

If the Phillies sign Polanco, he could hit second in the Phillies lineup between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Polanco struck out just once every 14.7 plate appearances in 2009, the second-best mark in the Majors. He has averaged just one strikeout every 17.5 plate appearances the past five seasons, which also is the second-best mark in the Majors.

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It's Deadline Day

Thumbnail image for park 0917.jpgThe Phillies have until 11:59 p.m. tonight to decide whether or not to offer salary arbitration to their free agents.

The suspense is killing you, isn’t it?

The Phillies basically have two players worth watching: Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre. They’re both Type B free agents. The Phillies would receive a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft as compensation, if they offer them salary arbitration and they sign elsewhere.

I’m guessing they offer Park arbitration, but don’t offer Eyre arbitration.

Park’s agent said recently that Park has drawn interest from several teams, and the Phillies have said recently they want Park back. If Park accepts arbitration from the Phillies, he is signed for 2010 and will get a raise from the $2.5 million he made last season. If he signs elsewhere, the Phillies get a draft pick. Seems like the Phillies can’t lose there.

Eyre seems less likely to be offered arbitration because he is coming off surgery on his left elbow, and because the Phillies seem to want to bring him back at their price. If the Phillies offered him arbitration, he would seem more likely to accept because it would mean a certain raise from the $2 million he received last season. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.‘s comments that the Phillies will not engage in a bidding war for Eyre’s services indicates they don’t want to go much higher – if at all – than the $2 million he made in 2009.

None of the team’s other free agents are expected to be offered arbitration: catcher Paul Bako, infielder Miguel Cairo, third baseman Pedro Feliz, right-hander Pedro Martinez, right-hander Brett Myers, outfielder Matt Stairs and left-hander Jack Taschner.

It also will be interesting to see which free agents on other teams are offered arbitration. I’m curious to see what the Tigers do with Placido Polanco. He’s a Type A free agent. If the Tigers offer and the Phillies sign him, the Phillies would forfeit their first-round pick to get him. If the Tigers don’t offer, I would think the Phillies really go after him, if they haven’t already. The other Type A free agent worth watching for the Phillies is Miguel Tejada, who they could have some interest in — although Polanco, Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre are their top targets at third base.

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Phillies Favorites for DeRosa?

derosa.jpgFOXSports.com reported early this morning that the Phillies are the favorite to land Mark DeRosa, according to a Major-League source.

But the Phillies also are seriously interested in Placido Polanco and Adrian Beltre. Other potential candidates like Miguel Tejada could become possibilities, depending how the market develops.

DeRosa hit .250 with 23 home runs and 78 RBIs last season with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. He hit .285 with 21 homers and 87 RBIs in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs. He had wrist surgery Oct. 26, but his representatives said Tuesday that DeRosa should resume baseball activities before Spring Training.

There are reasons why DeRosa would fit.

He is from the Northeast. He grew up in New Jersey and attended Penn. He has a reputation as a hard worker and good teammate, which the Phillies consider important attributes. He also is not expected to command a major salary, which is why Chone Figgins is not a realistic possibility for the Phillies. DeRosa made $5.5 million last season.

Of course, those same things can be said about Polanco. He played with the Phillies from 2002-05. He is a hard worker, good teammate and also is unlikely to command a major deal. He made $4.6 million last season. But one potential sticking point with Polanco is that he is a Type A free agent. If the Detroit Tigers offer him salary arbitration, the Phillies would forfeit their first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft if they sign him.

The Phillies have liked DeRosa for some time. They talked with him and Wes Helms about joining the Phillies before the 2007 season, but ultimately signed Helms. They also tried to trade for DeRosa last winter. The deal ultimately fell through, and the Phillies signed Raul Ibanez to play left field.

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Hot Corner Update

We know the Phillies are looking for a new third baseman, but I’ve gotten a couple questions recently about a couple potential replacements for Pedro Feliz. Namely, how is Mark DeRosa recovering from Oct. 26 wrist surgery? And would the Phillies forfeit their 2010 first-round draft pick to sign Placido Polanco, who is a Type A free agent?

DeRosa’s representatives said today that DeRosa’s wrist is fine. 

“Mark underwent successful surgery on his left wrist,” Dr. Gary Lourie said in a statement released late last month. “The procedure was completed with no complications, and I expect Mark to resume full baseball activities well before baseball season begins.”

The Phillies certainly would prefer not to give up a first-round pick for Polanco. It remains to be seen if the Tigers will offer Polanco salary arbitration, although I would think it is more likely they would. Obviously, if the Tigers don’t offer Polanco arbitration he becomes much more attractive because nobody would have to forfeit a top draft pick to sign him.

Stay tuned.

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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.

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Phillies Declind Feliz's 2010 Option

The Phillies are going to explore other options at third base.

They announced tonight they have declined Pedro Feliz‘s $5.5 million club option for 2010. They will pay his $500,000 buyout instead.

“This doesn’t preclude us from bringing Pedro back next season,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “While this allows us to explore other opportunities, we will continue to keep the lines of communication open with Pedro and his representative.”

There are some intriguing names available at third base. Chone Figgins would be the best third baseman available on the free-agent market. Adrian Beltre and Mark DeRosa are interesting names. Former Phillies infielder Placido Polanco is expected to become a free agent. He has played second base since he joined the Detroit Tigers in 2005, but has played third in the past.

The Phillies are expected to bring back their remaining seven everyday players – catcher Carlos Ruiz, first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, leftfielder Raul Ibanez, centerfielder Shane Victorino and rightfielder Jayson Werth – which means this could be the Phillies’ only opportunity to upgrade their lineup. They have plenty of power, so maybe they look toward finding a quality top-of-the-order hitter. Figgins or Polanco would fit that bill. Figgins hit .298 with 114 runs scored, a .395 on-base percentage and 42 stolen bases this season for the Los Angeles Angels. Polanco hit .285 with a .331 on-base percentage and 82 runs scored.

Like Amaro said, the Phillies still could re-sign Feliz if they don’t find a suitable alternative. But there is some risk. Feliz could ask for more than the $5.5 million he would have received had the Phillies simply picked up the option. Or he could sign elsewhere. The Phillies are willing to take that risk.

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Phillies Rivals React to Lee Trade

lee 03.jpgHere is some reaction from NL East rivals regarding the trade that brought Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Phillies:

Braves right-hander Derek Lowe: “I think everybody knew they were going to get one of the two, either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. It definitely helped them. And they’ve got Pedro (Martinez) coming back soon. So it definitely made it harder on us.”

Braves catcher David Ross: “You hate to see the team that you’re chasing get better. But if you want to make the playoffs and reach the World Series, you’re going to have to beat the Roy Halladays, Cliff Lees and Josh Becketts. In one sense, I wish the Phillies hadn’t gotten better. But in another sense, I don’t think that he’s unbeatable.”

Marlins outfielder Jeremy Hermida: “They’ve got four lefties now. It looked like a good trade for them on paper.”

Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla: “It’s a good pickup for the Phillies. A Cy Young Award winner last year. … Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Happ, Moyer. They’ve got a good rotation.”

Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad: “Good for them, I guess. Obviously, you know what he did last year, so he can dominate. He dominated the American League, which is a good league, so it’s a bit tough for us. It adds a really good arm to their rotation. But, like I said, we’ll see what happens when you play them, I guess. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez: “I saw that. Good for them. That’s a good deal. I know that Francisco kid is pretty good, too. And I know that we liked, as an organization, we liked that Lou Marson guy – the catcher that Cleveland got. Good trade for both sides, I guess.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel had little reaction because he said the Mets just need to focus on themselves.

That’s probably a good idea.

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Cardinals third baseman Mark DeRosa, who played with Lee this season in Cleveland, said he unexpectedly gave Lee the news he had been traded.

“I actually called him,” DeRosa said. “He hadn’t heard the news yet. I said, ‘It’s coming across the ticker that you got traded to the Phillies.’ And he was sitting in the clubhouse in Anaheim with Kerry Wood and said nothing had been told to him yet.

“Cliff’s a legitimate No. 1 starter. I hate the fact that he’s going to Philly, but at the same time I’m happy for him because he deserves to be pitching in some big games. He was a great teammate.”

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Get Your Halladay Fix


halladay 02.jpgIt’s been a few minutes since the last Roy Halladay update, and if you’re like me, you’re probably getting the shakes from withdrawl. So here are a few tidbits to get your fix, you baseball junkie:

- Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon he did not have a sense either way if the Phillies would make a trade – any trade – before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But we know most baseball insiders still consider the Phillies the favorites to get Halladay. And we know the Phillies remain hot after Halladay. Former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick has been in Toronto recently, and Blue Jays scouts have been combing the Phillies’ farm system as they decide on the prospects the Phillies would need to include to acquire the former Cy Young winner.

- Here’s the kicker if the Phillies and Blue Jays pull the trigger at the last hour: Halladay won’t need to change hotel rooms. The Phillies play the Giants in San Francisco from July 30 – Aug. 2 and the Blue Jays play the Athletics in Oakland from July 31 – Aug. 2. Both teams are staying in the same hotel in San Francisco.

- Amaro said any reports about his prospects being untouchable (or tradeable) are purely speculative, including reports that the Phillies have told the Blue Jays that Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek would not be traded. Amaro wouldn’t say if they would trade Drabek or not. “There are some people we would not trade and there are some people we would, and it’s all subject to change,” Amaro said.

- Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said he expects a package “similar or better” to packages the Orioles received in 2008 for Erik Bedard and the Indians received in 2002 for Bartolo Colon. The Orioles received All-Star outfielder Adam Jones, All-Star closer George Sherrill, top pitching prospect Chris Tillman and two others for Bedard. The Indians received Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore, second baseman Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens for Colon.

- There is some thought the Phillies, if they are unable to land a quality starter, will turn their attention to the bullpen. AOL Fanhouse reported this week the Phillies have scouted Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls. Sherrill could be available at the right price. Bullpen help makes sense. The Phillies just placed left-hander J.C. Romero and right-hander Chad Durbin on the 15-day disabled list, and closer Brad Lidge continues to struggle.

- The Phillies still hope to land a right-handed bat for their bench. They fell short in recent weeks in their pursuit of Mark DeRosa and Scott Hairston. “We have different pursuits,” Amaro said. “We’ll continue to pursue all of them. And we’ll decide by the 31st which is our biggest need. … We’re just trying to improve our club if we can. If it’s with pitching, it’s pitching. If it’s with a bat, it’s a bat. We’ll try to address all these issues. These are all issues that are easier said than done. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be done. They may be done internally, too. Are we trying to improve our club in those three areas? Yes, but how we line it up and prioritize it is something that we’ll keep to ourselves.”

- Asked which he would prefer: a starter or a reliever before the deadline, Charlie Manuel didn’t miss a beat: “I prefer the horse. The horse keeps you out of your bullpen.”

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Pedro Martinez threw 60 pitches in a simulated game and felt fine. He is expected to begin a rehab assingment Sunday with Single-A Clearwater.

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