Results tagged ‘ Matt Diaz ’

Winter Meetings: Day 2 (Reyes, Sherrill and Others)

reyes 2.jpgRuben Amaro Jr. reiterated today he does not expect the Phillies to make any moves before the conclusion of the Winter Meetings, which end Thursday morning with the Rule 5 Draft.

“That’s subject to change,” he cautioned.

The Phillies were in discussions about a contract with left-hander Dennys Reyes. A source said tonight a deal was not imminent, although reports from St. Louis said Reyes was headed to Philadelphia. A second source said the Phillies and Reyes’ agent had exchanged contract figures last week and met again today. The source also indicated nothing was imminent.

Reyes went 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 59 appearances last season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Interestingly, left-handers hit .307 against him last season, while right-handers hit .177, although he has been better in his career against left-handers (.238) than right-handers (.279).

But while the Phillies have interest in Reyes, they also have interest in other relief pitchers. That includes left-hander George Sherrill, who went 2-2 with a 6.69 ERA in 65 appearances last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies have liked Sherrill in the past and think he could rebound. The Phillies also met today with right-hander Chad Durbin‘s agent. The Phillies have indicated they remain interested in bringing him back.

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Winter Meetings: Day 1 (So Far)

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A few things from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.:

  • Ruben Amaro Jr. said he does not believe the Phillies must find a right-handed-hitting outfielder to replace Jayson Werth. But outfielders to watch include free agents Scott Hairston and Matt Diaz. Diaz’s agent Larry Reynolds said he is receiving plenty of interest on Diaz, who could sign with a team before the conclusion of the meetings. He declined to say how interested the Phillies might be.
  • There has been a buzz at the Winter Meetings the Phillies had focused on free agent outfielder Jeff Francoeur, but sources said the Phillies are not seriously pursuing him.
  • Aaron Rowand is available in a trade, but the San Francisco Giants probably would need to pay a substantial portion of his salary to make it happen.
  • Interestingly, Amaro spoke of a potential platoon in right field involving Ben Francisco and Ross Gload - not mentioning Domonic Brown, who hit just .069 in nine Dominican Winter Ball games before returning home last week. Asked if he would prefer Brown to play every day than split time in the big leagues, Amaro said, “If we had our druthers we’d rather put Domonic in a position to get the at-bats that he kind of lost last year and prepare himself to improve his outfield play, base running, etc. In a perfect world, we don’t need Domonic to make our club, unless he really pushes us, unless he shows us in Spring Training that he’s ready to take that next step.”
  • The Los Angeles Times reported the Phillies could be interested in Angels outfielder Juan Rivera, which would make sense. The Phillies have liked him in the past, although Rivera struggled last season with just a .746 OPS against left-handed pitchers.

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Werth $126 Million; Now What?

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Jayson Werth wore black to an October news conference at Citizens Bank Park.

The color of clothing proved prophetic.

Werth, who had become a fan favorite during four successful seasons with the Phillies, spoke like a man who knew his time in Philadelphia had come to an end. It officially ended today, when he signed a colossal seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. MLB.com first reported the impending deal. CSNPhilly.com reported the Phillies offered Werth a three-year contract with an average annual value of $16 million and an option for a fourth year.

A source told MLB.com the vesting option would have increased the value of the contract to $60 million.

Even if the option had vested for the 2014 season, the Nationals offered $66 million more than the Phillies with an average annual value of $18 million.

The Phillies never had a chance.

“We felt that we offered him a significant contract such that we had a chance to bring him back,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said tonight at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “But clearly, at the end of the day it was about trying to get the best contract he could and I think he did.”

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… Two Aces to Go

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Have to wonder what the Braves are thinking after losing tonight to the Phillies, 3-1.

In the past, they might have said, “Well, we’ve got Cole Hamels out of the way. Now we can get after (insert names here) tomorrow and Wednesday.” Except this time (insert names here) are Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. That cannot be a comforting feeling knowing the Phillies hold a four-game lead in the NL East with just 11 games to play.

“You never want to feel comfortable in this game or relaxed, but I think at the same time, if there’s ever a time when you feel confident with where you’re at, that’s got to be right now considering what we’ve done the last two months to catch the Braves and go ahead a little bit,” Brad Lidge said. “Yes, if they do their thing and we all take care of our business then I like our chances a lot.”

A few things about tonight:

  • Hamels is 6-3 with a 1.74 ERA in 14 starts since July 10, which is the second-best ERA in baseball in that span. (Only Seattle’s Felix Hernandez has been better with a 1.59 ERA). Hamels also is 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA in his last five starts. The guy is pitching with tons of confidence right now. He worked out of a serious jam in the second inning. He is confident throwing any of his four pitches for strikes. He is looking tough.
  • Lidge looked nasty in the ninth inning. He is 0-0 with a 0.91 ERA and 14 saves in 15 chances since July 31. It is such a huge boost to the bullpen to have Lidge throwing well. If Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt can give the Phillies seven or eight innings, Charlie Manuel has to feel pretty good going with Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras and Chad Durbin in the late innings.
  • The magic number is eight.
  • Not sure how I feel about Red Man running onto the field. On one hand, I hate these people because they are idiots. Idiots. On the other hand, I loved seeing Matt Diaz trip up the guy as he avoided ballpark security (Get those security guys cleats!) and seeing Diaz smile as Phillies fans in left field cheered him. Red Man, you are no Green Man!

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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!

Lee Is Hittable, Beatable

lee 0829.jpgHow good had Cliff Lee been since he joined the Phillies last month?

“I watched his film and I don’t think he missed but five spots in two games,” Matt Diaz said after last night’s 9-1 victory over the Phillies.

Lee entered the game as the first Phillies pitcher to win his first five starts since Marty Bystrom in 1980. If he had won last night he would have become the first Phillies pitcher to win his first six starts since Al Orth — yes, the Al Orth — won his first eight in 1895.

Lee also had joined Fernando Valenzuela as the second pitcher in the past 60 years to win his first five starts with a team with a 1.00 ERA or less. Lee posted a 0.68 ERA. Valenzuela had a 0.20 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But Lee allowed 10 hits, six runs and three home runs in just five innings against the Braves, easily his worst performance since he joined the Phillies after a July 29 trade with Cleveland.

He is 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

“I think he made more mistakes than he’s been making,” Diaz said. “Looking at tonight’s film of my at-bats alone, he missed a couple of spots.”

Lee agreed.

“I went and watched basically every hit I gave up and they were all right down the middle,” Lee said. “It’s hard to get good results when you’re throwing pitches belt high and down the middle of the plate. That’s basically what happened. I feel good about throwing strikes, working ahead and not walking people, but I put myself in positions to put them away and I missed up and down the middle. If you consistently do that, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Homers to Anderson and Brian McCann might not have been home runs elsewhere, but Lee refused to use that as an excuse.

“Ballpark? Whatever,” Lee said. “I got hit today because I was throwing pitches down the middle. That had nothing to do with the ballpark. It was me throwing balls down the middle and them not missing them. They’re good hitters. The ballpark is an excuse. Yeah, maybe in another ballpark a couple of those would have been fly balls, but they weren’t. They were home runs. It’s my job not to throw the pitches where I did.”

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The Phillies need to win Sunday night to prevent back-to-back series losses for the first time since they lost four consecutive series from June 12-25 against Boston, Toronto, Baltimore and Tampa Bay.

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The Phillies are hitting a mediocre .215 (56-for-260) with 14 homers and 87 RBIs with runners in scoring position since July 26.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

The Tailspin Continues

werth 0702.jpgIt looks bad out there.

Real bad.

The Phillies have lost 14 of their last 18 games to fall into a first-place tie in the National League East with … the Marlins. The Mets are a game back. The Braves are two back.

In just three weeks, the Phillies have breathed life into the rest of the NL East.

“Without question, everyone has a shot in the division,” Braves leftfielder Matt Diaz said after last night’s 5-2 victory over the Phillies. “The Mets are going to start getting healthy. The Marlins are as solid as they appeared to be earlier in the year when everyone though they were the favorite. The Phillies are defending world champs. When they get (Raul) Ibanez back, that’s a different offense.”

How the heck has this happened? The Phillies have not hit, pitched or played particulary good defense. They have hit .233 and scored just 76 runs (4.22 per game) in this 18-game freefall. The rotation has a 5.23 ERA, and the bullpen has a 6.56 ERA with four blown saves. They have been hurt (Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Brett Myers, Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey). They have made mental mistakes.

“Times like this can build character for a team,” Chase Utley said. “That’s the way I look at it.”

The Phillies have looked flat at times, although it is easy to look flat when you’re not hitting or pitching or playing good defense. Charlie Manuel called a team meeting following a loss to the Blue Jays last Friday in Toronto. Manuel addressed a few things in that meeting, including his concern about distractions. That is something pitching coach Rich Dubee mentioned before Thursday’s loss.

“I feel like we’re coming to the park prepared,” Utley said. “We obviously haven’t been playing that well, but we haven’t seen a change in our attitude for the negative. It’s obviously a rough stretch. We’re definitely not making any excuses, but we do need to start playing better in all parts of the ball: offensively, defensively. We need to pitch better. That’s the bottom line. How do you do that? You stay motivated. You stay positive. You have to come to the field every day to prepare and prepare to win.”

The Phillies returned to Philadelphia last night for a nine-game homestand before the All-Star break against the Mets, Reds and Pirates. That normally would be considered a good thing, except the Phillies left Philadelphia for their just completed road trip following a 1-8 homestand — one of the worst homestands in the franchise’s 127-year history.

“Our game is not together,” Manuel said. “We’re all screwed up. The nights we hit, we don’t pitch. The nights we pitch, we don’t hit. We’re losing games late. We’re playing bad baseball.”

It can’t continue much longer, can it? 

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Jimmy Rollins snapped a career-worst 0-for-28 slump with a single to right field in the third inning. It was Rollins’ first hit since June 18, a span of 14 days and 12 games, four of which Rollins did not play.

“I got some hits, so that was good,” said Rollins, who went 2 for 4.

Is it a relief?

“Relief?” he said. “From?”

It had been a while.

“Yeah, I know,” he said.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

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