Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’

Looking at the J-Roll Talks

It’s Day 3 at the Winter Meetings and Jimmy Rollins remains the Phillies’ top priority.

A few thoughts on the Rollins negotiations:

  • Most everybody roaming the Hilton Anatole lobby believes Rollins will resign with the Phillies, even the lady that sold me the $12 turkey sandwich yesterday. It’s just a matter of when.
  • Rollins has been searching for a five-year contract, but I don’t see any team giving that to him. The Brewers? Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said yesterday, “We have nothing that suits our desires at this point for the financial situation that we have.” I’ve been told they would love Rollins, but on nothing more than a three-year deal. Maybe less than that. The Cardinals? I’ve been told they’re not really interested, or they’d be interested if they lose Albert Pujols, but would not overpay for him. The Giants would like him, but apparently don’t have the money. The Mets are not looking to add salary. So, really, the Phillies appear to be the only team really pursuing Rollins. That would seem to favor the Phillies, right?
  • Here’s a question: say the Brewers offer a slightly better deal than the Phillies. Is there any way Rollins goes to Milwaukee? Listen, I’m from Milwaukee. I love it there. But some people like to call Rollins a “red light” player. He loves the limelight. He’s going to play in relative anonymity in Milwaukee. Summer and fall weekends in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are different than New York and Florida (especially if the Marlins sign Pujols). Interleague series against Boston are different than interleague series with the Twins. I’d have to think Rollins would miss that.
  • The Phillies remain one of the best — if not the best — team in baseball. Rollins has said the opportunity to win is going to be a factor in his decision. The Brewers have a good team now, but they don’t have the money to throw at problems like the Phillies.
  • Rollins lives in South Jersey. His wife is from here. He has relationships here. If he leaves he’s just a baseball player coming to a new team. He’s not J-Roll in Milwaukee or St. Louis. He’s the guy trying to make up for the losses of Prince Fielder or Pujols. It’s quite a different situation.
  • Here’s my best guess when Rollins makes a decision: Monday or Tuesday. Why? Because the last two offseasons the Phillies have finalized deals with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee the week following the winter meetings.


Need a holiday gift? We’ve got another Sports Writers Extravaganza book signing at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Barnes & Noble at the Willow Grove Mall.

Could Happ Help the Pen?

Thumbnail image for happ 0805.jpgJ.A. Happ
has been so good this season that he could win National League Rookie of the Year.

But as good as he has been in the rotation, he could be in the bullpen in the postseason. In fact, he could be pitching in some big spots in some big games.

“Happ really has improved as the season has gone on,” Charlie Manuel said after the game. “I like Happ as a starter. I always have. But at the same time, I also see the way our pitching looks. There would be a chance that he could wind up in the back end of our bullpen if we don’t get some things straightened out and (J.C.) Romero doesn’t come back or something. I’m not going to say we’re going to do that, but we’re going to talk about it if we don’t have any lefties.”

Asked if he could see Happ as a ninth-inning guy, Manuel said, “Yeah, probably. You know one of the big things about Happ is? He’s not afraid to throw his secondary pitches. He’s really improved a whole lot. He’s still got a little ways to go yet, but he has really improved as the season goes along.”

And those improvements translate into him being able to shut down a team for an inning?

“Yeah, I think he could do that,” Manuel said. “And I think his experience that he has in the last couple years can allow him to do that, too. He throws strikes, and he definitely is not scared. I’ll talk about that. I don’t know exactly how we set up yet. If we get J.C. Romero back or something … I like Happ as a starter. I always have. He’s got a big future.”

So Happ, who has gone from bullpen to rotation to hot topic of conversation in Roy Halladay trade rumors, could be headed back to the bullpen if the bullpen doesn’t get healthy fast.

“I’m not looking that far ahead,” Happ said. “I have two starts left and I feel I can help us that way. But I want to help us, period. Whatever way that is, that’s what it is.”


Ryan Howard‘s two RBIs pulled him into a first-place tie with Prince Fielder for the Major League-lead with 132.


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Remembering the NLCS

ramirez nlcs.jpgThe Dodgers still have last year’s National League Championship Series on their minds.

The Brewers hit Manny Ramirez with a pitch Tuesday in a 17-4 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers retaliated and beaned Prince Fielder with a pitch with two outs in the ninth inning. An enraged Fielder tried to storm the Dodgers clubhouse after the game only to have teammates and security guards hold him back.

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin explained why Guillermo Mota hit Fielder.

“We don’t want the same scenario that happened last year in the playoffs where the Phillies kind of tried to intimidate us by throwing at Manny and we really didn’t retaliate,” he said. “We don’t want to be considered as a team that doesn’t have our players’ backs.”

The Phillies pitched aggressively to Ramirez during the NLCS, which the Phillies won in five games. Brett Myers memorably threw behind Ramirez’s back in Game 2. The Dodgers didn’t retaliate until Game 3 in Los Angeles, when Hirkoi Kuroda threw at Shane Victorino‘s head.

“As long as you keep the ball in front it’s up to the hitter to get out of the way,” Charlie Manuel said. “Yeah, we got aggressive with Manny. Manny tries to get aggressive with us, doesn’t us? That’s how you play baseball.”


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Your Phillies All-Stars Are …

howard 0609.jpgChase Utley
and Raul Ibanez officially have been named starters for the National League All-Star team.

This is Utley’s fourth consecutive All-Star appearance.

This is Ibanez’s first.

Still waiting on the reserves.

Update: Ryan Howard has been named a reserve. Charlie Manuel is bringing four first basemen to St. Louis: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez and Howard.

Shane Victorino has been named to the Final Vote ballot, which means he can make the NL All-Star team.

His challengers are Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, Giants first baseman Pablo Sandoval and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

In my opinion, it’s a two-man race between Victorino and Kemp. I just don’t see the fan support there for Guzman, Reynolds or Sandoval.


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Who Will Manuel Take to the All-Star Game?

howard derby.jpgCharlie Manuel
is a powerful man these days.

As manager of the National League All-Star team, he makes eight selections to the 33-player roster. And he made no bones before tonight’s game against the Braves that he is partial to his own players.

“I’ll be the first guy to tell you that,” he said. “Everything that I’ve gotten out of us winning … I’ve got a World Series ring, and everything I’ve got was because our guys played good and they won. If you want to call me a player’s manager, I think I am because I think the players definitely have everything to do with it. I think good players make a good manager. I think good players can play over some of the mistakes a manager can make.”

We know Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley will be starters at their respective positions. They have commanding leads in fan voting.

But which other Phillies could go?

“If you ask me who I would vote for or pick, anytime I could pick one of my players definitely I’m in favor of that,” Manuel said. “But at the same time, when you look at things, you have to be fair to the game and also the guy who is having a big year. That can be hard to because there are so many.”

I’ve heard some talk that Manuel should pick Cole Hamels (4-5, 4.98 ERA), Brad Lidge (0-3, 7.57 ERA and 14 saves) or Jamie Moyer (6-6, 6.05 ERA) for their contributions last season, when the Phillies won the World Series. I don’t expect that to happen at all. Manuel would love to pick a few Phillies, but it would be impossible to sell Hamels, Lidge or Moyer with home-field advantage in the World Series on the line.

So when then?

I think Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino are legitimate possibilities.

Howard is hitting .256 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. He is tied for second in the NL with 41 extra-base hits. He is third in RBIs and go-ahead RBIs (19) and tied for third in game-winning RBIs (nine). He is fifth in home runs. He is from St. Louis, where the All-Star Game will be played July 14. He has been one of baseball’s best run producers in recent seasons. He has meant the world to Manuel in the middle of his lineup.

But Howard has some stiff competition at first base. Albert Pujols (.337, 30 homers and 77 RBIs) will be the starter. Prince Fielder (.306, 20, 74) has to go. Adrian Gonzalez (.268, 24, 48) and Todd Helton (.312, 9, 53) are legitimate candidates. There are others, too. There are only so many first basemen Manuel can take, which puts Howard in a numbers crunch. It will be interesting to see which way Manuel goes.

Victorino is hitting .295 with five homers, 34 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. He is tied for second in triples (five), tied for fourth in runs (52) and tied for ninth in hits (89) and stolen bases. Obviously, there are plenty of outfielders with better power numbers than Victorino, but Victorino is not a power hitter. He is a speed guy, who plays great defense and can hit. He might be an easier case for Manuel to make.

Third baseman Pedro Feliz has had a nice season, but he also appears to be in a numbers crunch with David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, Casey Blake and others.


Jimmy Rollins snapped his career-worst 0-for-28 slump with a single to right field in the third inning. Rollins also singled in the fifth.


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Line Drive Hits Hamels' Shoulder, Leaves Game

Cole Hamels left today’s game in the top of the fourth inning after a line drive struck him in his left shoulder.

The Phillies said Hamels has a contusion.

That’s another word for bruise.

Is it serious? Will he miss his next start? Hopefully we’ll have some answers after the game.

Hamels had just allowed a two-run homer to Ryan Braun before Prince Fielder hit him on the shoulder. But before that homer to Braun, Hamels had retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced.

Updated: Hamels said he expects to make his next start Tuesday against Washington.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’ll be fine. I’ve gotten hit in much worse spots, spots where you don’t really come back as fast. I’ll be able to go out there and pitch in five days. Hopefully it’ll finally be five days instead of the six or seven because of these rainouts.”


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