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Injury Updates From Clearwater

Posted by Erik Seybold

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As full-squad workouts began today and there is injury news already for the Phillies' pitching staff.

Righthander Justin DeFratus will be shut down for at least a week due to elbow tenderness. He will be re-evaluated by the team doctor next week. 

"We'll just slow him down," Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It's early and we want to be conservative with him."

Cliff Lee did not throw  a bullpen session, which was scheduled yesterday, today due to abdominal soreness. Amaro said it was "normal soreness" and said he did not know if the team would slow down Lee's routine.

"I'm not worried about Cliff," Amaro said.

Good news for Jose Contreras, who threw off a mound for the second time after elbow surgery today. All seemed well after the session. Amaro and assistant general manager Scott Proefrock watched from a balcony and left impressed.

"He threw really well today," Amaro said. "We were very encouraged with how he threw. More importantly, he was really encouraged. That's real important. Once you go through a surgery, there's always some tentativeness there. He had a really good demeanor when he walked off the mound. That's a very, very good first step." 

Quotes Courtesy of Matt Gelb (@magelb)

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

 


Have the Phillies and Cole Hamels Already Agreed to a Contract?

Posted by Mike Frohwirth

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Prior to the 2011 MLB season, the Boston Red Sox acquired 1B Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres, in exchange for three highly-regarded minor league prospects. Despite Gonzalez' status of one of MLB's elite hitters, it was an expensive price to pay, considering that Gonzalez would be eligible for free agency after the season. (Gonzalez was under contract only for 2011, at a bargain salary of $6.2MM.)

In the 48 hours prior to the announcement of the trade, the Red Sox met with Gonzalez' agent, John Boggs. The two parties did not come to a long-term agreement, but sources indicated that there was "enough common ground for a deal to be struck." On April 16, 2011, two weeks into the regular season, the Red Sox announced that they had reached an agreement with Gonzalez, on a 7 year, $154 million deal.

The timing of the new contract announcement was extremely advantageous for the Red Sox. If they had announced a deal prior to the start of the regular season, Gonzalez would have counted for $20.025MM towards the 2011 luxury tax (8 years/$160.2 MM= $20.025MM "cap hit"). But announcing a deal after the 2011 season started kept Gonzalez' 2011 salary, for luxury tax purposes, at only $6.2MM. This gave the Red Sox more room under the 2011 luxury tax threshold, and more time to determine how to accommodate Gonzalez' $22MM salary, in subsequent seasons. This scenario is eerily similar to the Phillies' current situation with LHP Cole Hamels, and it wouldn't be surprising if it plays out in a similar fashion.

(Note: The 2011 Red Sox did wind up over the luxury tax threshold, incurring a 30% penalty on the amount of the overage, as it was the second consecutive season in which they exceeded the threshold. The timing of the Gonzalez deal saved them $4.1475MM in penalties (($20.025MM- $6.2M) x .3)).

Should the Phillies try to retain Hamels for the long-term?

Short answer: Definitely. It often seems that Hamels doesn't get enough credit as he should, as a result of pitching in the same rotation as aces Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. But Hamels is coming off another stellar season (5th in MLB xFIP: 3.02), and he is only entering his Age 29 season. Hamels is one of MLB's best, and is just entering his prime seasons. It is not unrealistic to think that, barring injury, he could be a top pitcher for at least the next five seasons. With Halladay and Lee now in their mid-thirties, retaining Hamels would ensure that the Phillies still have a #1 starter, even if (when) Halladay and Lee decline.

The Phillies have plenty of money, why don't they just announce a Hamels extension right now?

The Phillies definitely have plenty of money to sign pretty much whomever they want these days. They do, however, want to stay under the luxury cap threshold in 2012. Exceeding the cap in 2012, by any amount, results in a 20% tax penalty on the amount of the overage. But, perhaps more importantly, if the Phillies exceed the cap in 2012 AND in 2013, the penalty on the 2013 overage will be applied at 30%. Given the Phillies' rising revenues, and the contract situations pending for 2013 (Pence arbitration, Victorino free agency), it wouldn't be surprising if the Phillies were planning to exceed the luxury tax threshold in 2013, but want to keep the '13 penalty at 20%.

Can the Phillies afford a long-term deal with Hamels?

Of course. With a huge television contract coming relatively soon, the Phillies have plenty of money to retain Hamels, even if they have to "overpay."

Does it make sense for Hamels to agree with the Phillies, rather than test free agency?

As a free agent, Hamels would certainly attract a lot of interest. With multiple teams in the running for his services, his future salary should be driven up. However, Hamels has a good situation in Philadelphia. He pitches for a habitual contender, with a packed stadium every night, with a veteran team where the pressure is shared. Hamels would be paid like a #1 starter for the Phillies, but would not face the level of pressure he likely would with another organization.

The biggest reason that Hamels should agree to a deal with the Phillies, as soon as possible, is the potential of an injury. Hamels might get a few more million by waiting for free agency, but an injury in 2012 could cost him $100s of millions.

It makes too much sense for both sides to agree to a deal, shortly after the season begins. The Phillies can afford to "overpay", especially in the latter years of a long-term contract, when the new television contract takes their revenues through the metaphorical roof. Waiting for free agency is a totally unecessary gamble for Cole Hamels. A "reasonable" deal for Hamels would likely be in the neighborhood of 5 years/$100MM ($20MM AAV). Don't be surprised to see an agreement announced in mid-April, in a "much less reasonable" neighborhood. A 7 year/$160MM deal ($18MM-$20MM-$20MM-$22MM-$24MM-$28MM-$28MM) seems about right.


Roy Oswalt Will Stay Ready For Clubs

Posted by Erik Seybold.

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According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Roy Oswalt has stated towards major league clubs that he might return to baseball mid-season. 

Excerpt from Crasnick's article:

Oswalt, 34, has told teams that he plans to keep throwing, stay ready and would be willing to return during the season if nothing materializes before then. That approach would mirror what Clemens did in 2006 and 2007, when he returned in June to pitch for the Houston Astros and then New York Yankees.

Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, has told media outlets that Oswalt is planning to make an announcement Thursday, but provided no further details. Garber didn't respond to phone calls or texts for this story.

Oswalt went 16-11 with a 3.24 ERA in two seasons (2010-2011) with the Phillies. The Phillies did not pursue the team-option that was in Oswalt's contract along with Brad Lidge's option after the 2011 season. Despite rumors of pitching for the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, and even the Boston Red Sox, Oswalt has not been able to find a team to play for as Spring Training has already begun.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Story Time With Roy Halladay

Posted by: Erik Seybold

Docbackatit(Photo Courtesy of @ToddZolecki

Now this story is going to go on for generations and generations to come. Hell, I'm going to tell it to my own (future) children and then they're going to tell their children. They're going to tell the story of how Roy Halladay, Philly's favorite athlete, saved a naked Amazonian man from an anaconda. 

The first time this tale was spoken of was last December when Bassmaster Elite Series Champion Skeet Reese posted the story on his blog, AdvancedAngler.com

Halladay, best friend Chris Carpenter, and former-reliever B.J. Ryan all went on a fishing trip to the Amazon with Reese in early December. What they would encounter would not only be huge fish, but also a naked man who was... I'll let Roy take this one. 

"I was not wrestling snakes. I was nowhere near snakes. We were just driving back. We had been fishing all day and we were on the boat driving back and we happened to see a guy sitting on the shore line without clothes. We couldn't talk to him. The guides had to talk to him. They were speaking Portuguese. He had been attacked by a snake and escaped, but it had ripped the engine off the boat and left all his stuff out in the middle of the river. So we picked up his stuff and drove him back to his tribe, I guess you would call it. 

"What he was doing is he had nets underwater because he was diving for Aquarium fish. When he was diving for the fish the snake bit him on the backside and started wrapping him and when he was getting away from it, it pulled the shorts off him. So he swam to the banks and I guess the next closest thing for the snake to grab was the boat engine.

"By far I've told that story more than any other story I've ever had. And I've got the guys I went fishing with to thank for leaking it."

So there you have it, folks. I know, I'm quite disappointed that Roy didn't kill the snake like many of us would have wished to have happened, but hey the man can only do so much. A perfect game, a no-hitter, some hot rods, a pair of Cy Youngs, and now this story that will live in infamy.

 
Video courtesy of (@ryanlawrence21/Delco Times)

Well played, Roy.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

 


Shane Victorino Flies High On CBS' Hawaii Five-0

Posted by: Erik Seybold

ShanehawaiifiveoPhoto courtesy of CBS.

The CBS hit show Hawaii Five-0  has grown to become a staple in my Monday night rituals. I come home from work, take a shower, pop a seat on my bed and begin winding down while watching television. I usually record a bunch of TV shows on my DVR just incase I miss the show. Shows like CBS' How I Met Your Mother and Two and Half Men,  along with History Channel's Pawn Stars are usually waiting for me when I get home. Enough about me and my business, let's get down to the real story.

Tonight's episode of Hawaii Five-0, titled "Kupale (Defender)" was a special one. Not only was it a new episode, but Phillies' outfielder Shane Victorino and Olympic Gold Medalist Apolo Ohno appeared in the episode. The episode's plot revolved around the murder of a man dressed as a Hawaiian warrior for a reeanactment. Victorino played a business man named Shaun, quite well actually, on a company retreat while Ohno, who had a longer and more detailed role, played a history buff named Seth Burgess who helped the Hawaii Five-0 team solve the case. 

Here is the clip of Victorino on Hawaii Five-0.

   

Now I'm not going to tell you what happened exactly because that would just be wrong. I hate when I set a something record and I always find out what happened because someone opens their mouth, so I won't do the same to you. But, Shane and Apolo did a great job acting.

Victorino has not yet arrived in Clearwater, but I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to quit baseball to become a full-time actor (just kidding, I'd be devistated).

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI and on Facebook

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The Best Images from Pitchers and Catchers Reporting Day

Posted by Danielle Wilson (all pictures taken by yours truly!)

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Jose Contreras shakes his butt for the camera.

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Jonathan Papelbon fixes his belt

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Cliff Lee winds up

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Michael Schwimer braces himself for a ground ball

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Tuffy Gosewisch tosses to Roy Halladay, Austin Hyatt, and Jake Diekman

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Vance Worley takes grounders with Hamels, Elarton, Bastardo, and Willis

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Hamels winds up an imaginary baseball while Dontrelle says "hello!"

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Brian Schneider watches as Erik Kratz takes batting practice

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Kyle Kendrick reacts to his recent signing with the Phils before a jog. "They gave me seven million?"

For more pictures from my day at Bright House Field, check out the 2012 Spring Training album on Flickr


The Best Of Cole Hamels' Press Conference

Posted by: Erik Seybold

ColepressconfPhoto courtesy of CSNPhilly.com

As we all know, Cole Hamels is a free agent at the end of the season. After signing a one-year, $15 million contract extension in January, the big task for the Phillies is to keep Hamels for as long as they can. This afternoon, Hamels had a press conference live from Clearwater where he discussed the upcoming season and his future. Here are a couple of quotes from the 28 year-old lefty. 

"I'm really just focused on getting out there having a good year and getting to the World Series and win it," - when asked about his future as a Phillie and any possible future contract.

All Hamels wants to do is win, win, and win. Not a bad philosophy.

"I don't have a deadline, no. The only deadline I know about is set by Major League Baseball. That's after the World Series." - when asked if he had a deadline for any contract negotiations.

Okay, this is a good thing. At least we all know that Hamels is not going to be immature like Albert Pujols. 

"Philadelphia has become that big market city where everybody wants to play" - talking about how he has seen Philadelphia grow since he's been here.

He's damn right.

"To be here in the Phillies organization, you know you have the best shot and that's a huge motivator." - talking about being in the position the Phillies are in.

It actually is a motivator to know that every year you have a great team that can make it to the World Series. It would suck to be a New York Met and know that you are just wasting six months out of your life to lose.

"All I want to do is win, that's my priority, and the Phillies are a team that will put me in that position to that." - talking more on his desire to win.

He's right. The Phillies are one of the premiere clubs in baseball at this moment and the best chance to win is right now. 

Hamels also stated that he will just play ball and let his agent and the Phillies do all the rest. We all know he's not being completely honest there. He's going to want to know how long and how much his contract will be. Hopefully the Phillies can get the job done with Hamels' agent before the end of the season. 

Maybe if that proposed TV deal pulls through, the Phils will have a couple extra bucks to spend on Hamels.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor to Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI, and follow him on Facebook.

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Former Phillies LF Raul Ibanez Signs One-Year Deal With Yankees

Posted by Erik Seybold

IbanezatplatePhoto Courtesy of Michael B. LeSage.

As numerous rumors recently hinted, it has been confirmed. The New York Yankees have signed former-Phillie Raul Ibanez to a one-year, $1.1MM deal. Ibanez will serve as the designated hitter for the Yankees.

The 39 year-old Ibanez is returning to the American League after three seasons in the National League with the Phillies. Ibanez signed a three-year, $31.5MM deal with the Phillies in 2008. In three seasons in a Phillies' uniform, Ibanez collected a .264 batting average, a total of 70 home runs, and 260 RBI. Last season

Initially, word that Ibanez could be signed by the Yankees came at the same time that the Yankees were shipping out A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The unison of "Rauuuuuuul!" chants that used to fill Citizens Bank Park everytime Ibanez hit a home run or came through in the clutch will be missed, but his time is up and he's moving on.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Report: Phillies Nearly Traded Joe Blanton for Bobby Abreu

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Written By: Matt Rappa (@mattrappa)

It was revealed a couple days ago that the Phillies had interest in acquiring right-handed starting pitcher A.J. Burnett from the New York Yankees.  

Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted Saturday night that Phillies starter Joe Blanton would be involved in a three-way trade in order to land Burnett in red pinstripes.

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In turns out, according to a recent report from Buster Olney of ESPN, the Los Angeles Angels were involved in the potential move.

What the Phillies tried to do last week, sources said today, was trade Joe Blanton for Bobby Abreu, then flip Abreu for Burnett.

Olney followed by saying the Phillies hoped Burnett would provide a safety net had Cole Hamels walked away in free agency. 

This trade that never came-to-be is intriguing on many aspects. Bobby Abreu would have returned to the Yankees, the team the Phillies traded him to during the 2006 season for prospects CJ Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez, and Carlos Monasterios.  Burnett coming to Philly would have meant a reunion with Roy Halladay- teammates of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2006 to 2008.

The fact that the Phillies even considered moving Joe Blanton for another starting pitcher shows the low confidence the team has in him. All said and done, he is still a member of the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2012 season- for now.

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Phillies, Kyle Kendrick Agree On Two-Year Contract Extension

Posted by: Erik Seybold

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Philliedelphia/Corey Shaw

As reported by CSN's Jim Salisbury, MLB's Todd Zolecki, and Philly.com's Matt Gelb, the Phillies and righthander Kyle Kendrick have agreed on a two-year, $7.5 million contract extension. In the beginning of January, the Phillies and Kendrick avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.585 million deal. The deal leaves Kendrick with one remaining arbitration year in 2014. He has four years of arbitration as a Super 2 player.

Excerpt from Matt Gelb

If anything, the deal allows the Phillies to budget for a strict number. Kendrick was scheduled to earn a $1.4 million raise from 2011 to 2012. This deal prevents a similar raise in 2013 through the arbitration process. Now Kendrick, for budgetary purposes is locked into an AAV (annual average value) of $3.75 million.

The 27 year-old Kendrick is entering his sixth season as a Phillie. Last season, he went 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 15 starts. Over the past six seasons, he has compiled a 43-30 record and a 4.41 ERA. If the Phillies are investing this much into Kendrick, it is very feasible that he could already be set as the fourth or fifth man in the starting rotation. 

Good morning from Clearwater.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.