Things are looking really bad for the Phillies right now. They are only 3 games over the .500 mark and only up by a half-game in a division we should be running away with.
At this point last year we must have been much better, right? Actually, not really.
All of the points above are valid and correct. But the good news is that we were in a very similar position last year. At this exact point last season (after game 75), the 2008 Phillies were much better at 9 games over .500. However, that was the beginning of the west coast interleague road trip in which the Phillies went 2-7 and as late as game 91, the Phillies were 5 games above .500.
Therefore, if the Phillies go 9-7 in their next 16 games we will have matched last year's total exactly.
For whatever reason, the Phillies continue to struggle at this point in the season under Charlie Manuel, but if history repeats itself, we will be treated to some very good baseball really soon.
It has been reported that the Toronto Blue Jays are not shopping starting pitcher Roy Halladay, but they are open to discussions about a trade for the right-hander. Buster Olney of ESPN claims that the Phillies are frontrunners in the Halladay sweepstakes. He says that players like Kyle Drabeck and JA Happ, as well as shortstop Jason Donald are attractive pieces to the Jays.
Will Ruben Amaro be willing to part with Drabeck? That might be the big question.
It is now official. Pedro Martinez will be joining the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils signed the 37-year-old right-hander to a one year deal reportedly worth about $1 million with about $1.5 million in incentives. Martinez was also immediately placed on the disabled list so that he can pitch in minor league rehab assignments and will likely join the team in about 2-3 weeks.
Pedro has 214 career wins and a career ERA of 2.91 in 17 seasons. He is an eight-time All-Star and three-time American League Cy Young award winner. Signed by the Mets in 2007, injuries have limited his effectiveness over the last two seasons, and after only pitching 5 games in 2007, he went 5-6 in 2008 with a 5.61 ERA.
Martinez will most likely take the fifth starter spot in which Antonio Bastardo and Rodrigo Lopez have pitched.
The Phillies could use a pitching boost. They have the third-worst ERA in the National League at 4.98
I do not think the Phillies should trade for Roy Halladay.
Yes, Roy Halladay would make us an instant contender for the World Series. Yes, we could desperately use his arm in our pitching staff. Yes, we have the pieces in the minors to make it happen. Yes, this is a rare time in which we are not bidding against the Yankees or Red Sox. Yes, we are in the best positions of all teams to make the deal happen.
David Montgomery was on Daily News Live this week and basically stated that he would prefer to have a team that remains in contention for a title each year rather than win a title this year and fall of a cliff. Can you honestly say that in order to win the World Series again this year, you would be willing to deal with ten years of terrible teams? I doubt it.
I lived through the days in the mid nineties when the Phillies were the laughing stock of baseball and I don't want to go back. This is the first time in 25 years that we aren't in desperate need for a title. It would be nice to win another championship, but if there was any time when I wouldn't sell my soul for a championship, it is this year.
Most people fail to realize that we are not the Yankees. But money does play a part in this decision. Roy Halladay is going to cost roughly $15 million per year for each of the next few years if we get him, but JA Happ and Kyle Drabeck will cost next to nothing during that time. For example, Cole Hamels is in his fourth year and has great numbers and NLCS and World Series MVP trophies to his credit, but will be making less than $7 million over the next three years.
If we were to replace Happ and Drabeck with Halladay, we are probably going to need to let someone like Ryan Howard go in order to keep him. It just does not make financial sense for the Phillies. Don't let this year's payroll fool you - it is always business first with this ownership group and if it doesn't make them money they will not do it.
Finally, if Toronto wants JA Happ in the deal, we will be replacing Happ with Halladay, meaning that we will still be left with Moyer, Blanton, and Pedro Martinez/Rodrigo Lopez. I realize the importance of top starters in the playoffs, but if I am going to give away the farm for Halladay in order to improve a weak starting staff, I don't want to give one of my good pitchers in return.
You might call me crazy, but part of me is happy to see this 10 game winning streak end.
In the game of baseball, consistency is the key. If you asked managers across Major League Baseball whether they would like a streaky ballplayer or one that is consistent, I would bet almost all of them would take the consistent player. Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez are a great example. Both players ended up with similar numbers each year, but Burrell was streaky and Ibanez was not. Yeah, it was nice when Burrell was hot, but when he was cold, he was COLD and a major hole in the middle of the lineup.
The same is true for a team. When they are red hot, good things seem to just happen. But when a team is cold, it seems that nothing they do seems to work.
I worry when a team comes out of a serious winning streak that they "forget" what is was like before the streak and forget just how tough the game of baseball can be. When winning comes so easily to a team, they may not need to be 100% focused because they just know that they will win. But baseball is a 162 game marathon that requires , all of your focus. Teams do not win based on their best and worst streaks generally (except maybe the Rockies of two years ago). They win it on the games in between.
I think this Phillies team over the past few years has been so successful because they don't get too high and don't get too low. That is what it takes down the stretch, and that might be a big reason why we dominated so much in the playoffs last year.
Eventually you need to get back to business, and that is exactly what the Phillies have to do tonight.
The Phillies somewhat surprised everyone Wednesday by announcing they have traded for left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee. The Phillies received Cliff Lee and right-handed outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.
Considering the fact that the Phillies did not need to give up any of the players that Toronto demanded, it sure seems like Ruben Amaro, Jr. pulled a Houdini act. No, we did not get Halladay, but Cliff Lee is a close second. Those who wanted Roy Halladay will probably not be particularly excited about this deal, but the fact that we did not give any of our best prospects to get Lee is nothing short of amazing.
Here is a little more information on the players in the deal:
To the Phillies:
Cliff Lee is 31 years old and was the American League Cy Young winner last year and is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA this season. He is making $5.75 million this year and has a $9 million club option for next season.
Ben Francisco is a 33 years old and played left field for the Indians this year. He is hitting .250 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI this season. His arrival most likely means that John Mayberry, Jr. will be heading back to Lehigh Valley.
To the Indians:
Jason Knapp is the centerpiece of the four-player package. A second-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, his fastball is clocked around 98 mph. He is just 18 and was 2-7 with a 4.01 ERA in Class A Lakewood, but some scouts have said recently that they think Knapp has more upside than Drabek.
Carrasco (6-9, 5.18 ERA) has struggled this season in Triple-A, but the Phillies remained high on him.
Infielder Jason Donald has struggled in Triple-A this year, hitting .235 with 2 home runs and 34 RBIs in Triple-A.
Catcher Lou Marson is hitting .294 with 1 homer and 24 RBI in Triple-A and has the potential to be an everyday catcher.294 1 24has the potential to be an everyday catcher.
If you read my previous articles, I did not want to mortgage the future for a pitcher that may only be here for a year and a half. But I also wanted a boost to the pitching staff. I love this deal because it adds a top-notch starter without giving any of our top prospects.
The Phillies have gotten their money's worth quickly in the Cliff Lee deal. Ben Francisco started in center field last night and Cliff Lee goes to Hill tonight as the Phils face the Giants.
Both Lee and Francisco joined the team yesterday prior to the game against San Francisco. Lee is set to face off against right-hander Ryan Sadowski.
Cliff Lee: (7-9) 3.14 ERA 107 SO
Ryan Sadowski (2-3) 4.81 ERA 14 SO