Results tagged ‘ Pedro Feliz ’

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 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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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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Four More Phillies File for Free Agency

It is a formality, but Chan Ho Park, Pedro Feliz, Matt Stairs and Paul Bako filed for free agency today.

They joined Pedro Martinez, Brett Myers and Miguel Cairo, who filed Friday.

The Phillies have contacted Park’s agent about returning next season, which makes sense at the right price. He pitched effectively in the bullpen, going 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 38 relief appearances. The Phillies have told Myers that he will not be back. They have declined Feliz’s $5.5 million club option, which means they are exploring other options at third base. Stairs seems unlikely to return, unless they bring him back on a minor-league deal. It sounds like the Phillies will look elsewhere for a backup catcher. Martinez also seems unlikely to return because the Phillies already have Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick and others signed or under their control.


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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 Pick Up Lee's Option

Thumbnail image for lee 0731 b.jpgThe Phillies announced their first significant move of the off-season today when they picked up Cliff Lee‘s $9 million club option.

It was no surprise.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said they have spoken with Lee’s agent a couple times during the postseason, and said they would consider thinking about a contract extension for Lee.

“That said, we have some time on that,” Amaro said.

Amaro also said they have not decided on Pedro Feliz‘s $5.5 million club option. Amaro said that decision must be made by Monday.

“More than anything else, what options might be out there for us,” said Amaro, asked why the decision on Feliz’s option is more difficult than Lee’s. “And deciding whether picking up his option is best suited to try to move forward. He had a solid year for us. I like the man personally. He’s a great person. He’s a great teammate. But I also believe in trying to improve and sometimes a change can be for the better. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to, but it’s something that we’re thinking about.”

Amaro announced that leftfielder Raul Ibanez (groin), closer Brad Lidge (elbow) and Scott Eyre (elbow) would be seen by team doctors Friday and Saturday. Eyre needs surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow. Lidge is going to get checked for potential loose bodies in his elbow. And Ibanez will have a MRI on his groin. Ibanez also had a tear in his abdomen, which might require surgery.

“We’re getting our arms around that to see exactly what kind of damage he has in there,” Amaro said of Ibanez’s injury.

Amaro also announced that the entire coaching staff has been invited back for 2010.


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A Phillies Hot Stove Primer

You’re probably still bummed, but if the Phillies are going to become the first National League team to play in three consecutive World Series since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals they are going to have to have a good offseason. So let’s take a look at what’s ahead in the coming months.

The Phillies, who have the salaries of Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins and Jim Thome finally off the books, already have $97.75 million committed to 11 players in 2010: Greg Dobbs ($1.35 million), Cole Hamels ($6.65 million), Ryan Howard ($19 million), Brad Lidge ($11.5 million), Ryan Madson ($4.5 million), Jamie Moyer ($8.75 million), Jimmy Rollins ($8.5 million), J.C. Romero ($4 million), Chase Utley ($15 million), Jayson Werth ($7 million) and Raul Ibanez ($11.5 million).

The Phillies have nine potential free agents:

  • Paul Bako
  • Miguel Cairo
  • Scott Eyre – Type B free agent
  • Pedro Feliz (pending $5.5 million club option)
  • Cliff Lee (pending $9 million club option) – Type A free agent
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Brett Myers
  • Chan Ho Park – Type B free agent
  • Matt Stairs

They have seven players eligible for salary arbitration:

  • Joe Blanton
  • Eric Bruntlett
  • Clay Condrey
  • Chad Durbin
  • Carlos Ruiz
  • Shane Victorino
  • Tyler Walker

Let’s look today at the two players with club options: Lee and Feliz.

We know the Phillies will pick up Lee’s option, which pushes the payroll to 12 players at $106.75 million. Asked last night if he would like to talk about a long-term deal with the Phillies in the off-season, Lee said, “I haven’t really thought about it. It’s not up to me. It’s up to … yeah, I’d like to, but I can’t force anything. That’s out of my control.” I’m guessing both sides will talk about an extension, but I also believe Lee is going to be very interested in testing the free-agent market after the 2010 season. If he pitches like he pitched the past two seasons, he is line for a major payday. I think a deal might be tough to reach, but I thought the same thing about Howard last offseason.

Do the Phillies pick up Feliz’s option? They could, but if they don’t there are options. Chone Figgins easily is the top free-agent third baseman on the market. Adrian Beltre, Juan Uribe, Mark DeRosa, Melvin Mora, Troy Glaus, Hank Blalock and Joe Crede also are out there. How good would Figgins be in this lineup? Fantastic. He hits, gets on base, runs and plays good defense. He sure would look good hitting between Rollins and Utley. Another name is Placido Polanco. He also would look good hitting between Rollins and Utley. He has played third before. In fact, he played there for the Phillies. But is he more comfortable at second base, where he has been since he joined the Tigers? He has not played third since 2005, so would the Phillies even think he can still play there?


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Game 6 Lineup

Here is the Phillies’ lineup for Game 6 of the World Series:

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Shane Victorino, CF
  3. Chase Utley, 2B
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Jayson Werth, RF
  6. Raul Ibanez, DH
  7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
  8. Ben Francisco, LF
  9. Carlos Ruiz, C

Of course, Pedro Martinez is on the mound.


Charlie Manuel said Victorino (bruised right index finger) told him he can throw and hit, but he will be monitored closely. … Manuel said everybody is available to pitch tonight, other than Cliff Lee. I suspect we won’t see Cole Hamels, but Manuel didn’t rule out the possibility. … Feliz is hitting seventh because he went 1-for-3 with a double against Andy Pettitte in Game 3.


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Who's On Third?

Brad Lidge and Pedro Feliz said they did not know who should have covered third base.

Johnny Damon said he expected Lidge there.

Jimmy Rollins said he forgot to tell Lidge it was him.

Charlie Manuel discussed the play that set in motion the killer 7-4 loss last night to the Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series. Damon stole second base with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and wisely ran to third with nobody covering the base as the Phillies had deployed a defensive shift toward right field for Mark Teixeira.

“Every year we go to Spring Training and when we go over our fundamentals and bunt plays and things like that, we might spend five minutes on that at the most,” Manuel said. “We might talk about it two times. That’s the first time I’ve seen that play happen against us since I’ve been here. That plays comes up sometimes. Damon was heads up. I said there was a miscommunication. If you’re going to play the game the right way … that’s kind of an instinct play. That’s where you’ve got to be heads up in the game.

“You’ve got to know where you’ve got your defense set and who’s going to cover third. Most of the time that’s the pitcher. But I’ll be very honest with you, if we’re going to go over it, if we’re going to discuss it every day, for me, (Carlos) Ruiz is going to cover third because he’s faster than Lidge and he’s a better fielder and things like that. He would be the guy that I would say, ‘Go cover third base.'”

Some have wondered if Rollins could have taken the throw from Ruiz at second, but he was positioned too far away from the bag. Feliz made the correct play by fielding the throw at second.

“But the big thing in the inning was A-Rod’s hit,” Manuel said.

Manuel pointed that Damon already was in scoring position because he stole second. He would have scored anyway on A-Rod’s double to left field.


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A Killer Loss Puts Phillies on the Brink

damon 1101.jpg

Unless the Phillies win three consecutive games against the New York Yankees, Game 4 of the 2009 World Series will be remembered as one of the most gut-wrenching losses in team history. I’m guessing it’s somewhere between Game 6 of the 1993 World Series and Black Friday (Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS).

The Phillies never had a lead, but they tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pedro Feliz hit a solo home run to left field. They had two outs in the top of the ninth when Johnny Damon came back from a 1-2 count against Brad Lidge in a nine-pitch at-bat to single to left field.

Then the unbelievable happened. Damon stole second with Mark Teixeira at the plate. The Phillies enacted a defensive shift for Teixeira, which meant Feliz took the throw at second with Jimmy Rollins backing him up. Damon noticed nobody covering third and took off. He reached third easily.

“I just went off instinct and fortunately it worked out,” Damon said.

“To be honest, that’s not really something you go over a lot,” said Lidge, asked who should have been covering third. “I don’t know who is supposed to cover third on that. It was kind of a weird play where no one ends up being there and it becomes a foot race and he’s faster than I am. It’s kind of an unusual play. You’re kind of out of sorts and then all of a sudden there’s just nobody at the bag.”

“That’s a play, we never got anybody to say, ‘OK, you’ve got to go there, you’ve got to go here,'” Feliz said. “I got the bag at that time and J-Roll was backing me up and nobody was on the other side. He saw that and took off for third.”

Rollins said it was his fault.

“I make sure the pitcher knows that he knows on a steal he has to cover third,” Rollins said. “At that time I didn’t really mention anything to Brad, so when he made the pitch in his mind it was just a regular steal. But with the way the defense is set up it’s my job he makes sure he knows to go to third. I’m the captain of the infield. That’s my job. I did it before when Chan Ho (Park) was pitching and I just didn’t do it that time.”

We know what happened next. Lidge hit Teixeira with a pitch. Alex Rodriguez doubled to score Damon to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Jorge Posada singled to score Teixeira and Rodriguez to make it 7-4.

More later. My head hurts. I’m sure yours does too.


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