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After Drug Suspension, Jason Pridie Gets New Life With Phillies

Jason_PridiePhoto: Philliedelphia/Frank Klose

In a very under-the-radar move just over two weeks ago, the Phillies signed outfielder Jason Pridie to a minor-league contract.  Like many of you, I only vaguely knew of Pridie due to his time spent with the New York Mets last year.  The next we heard of Pridie (if we were even paying attention at all) he was being suspended 50 games for a drug violation while in camp with the Oakland Athletics.  Upon the completion of his suspension, Pridie asked for and received his release from the Athletics when also-suspended Manny Ramirez was taking the roster spot he would otherwise occupy.  The Phillies gave him a chance just over two weeks ago.

Just on Thursday, Marcus Hayes of the Daily News wrote about the clean start Pridie was getting with the Phillies.  Pridie reflected to him just how grateful he was for another chance, after being suspended for a "drug of abuse":

"I realize how quickly things can be taken away, for dumb things. How quickly I went from being in the big leagues, and possibly being in Oakland, to missing 50 games and looking for a job.  I have a wife. I have a kid coming. I just feel like I'm living with more meaning. With what happened, I very easily could be looking for a different job right now, with a wife and a kid on the way. But, fortunately, I'm still playing the game I'm blessed to play."

Two weeks ago, perhaps not even Pridie saw an opportunity to come to the major leagues this fast.  The Jim Thome trade left the Phillies needing to add a lefty bat to the roster and looking at AAA, Pridie was the one.  The attitude and gratitude he expressed above may have contributed to his hot start for the Iron Pigs: in just 12 games, Pridie has six doubles, two triples, one home run, and 12 RBI to go along with a .370 batting average.

Pridie spent a good amount of time with the 2011 Mets, appearing in 101 games.   In just 208 at bats, Pridie contributed a good amount of extra base hits with 11 doubles, three triples and four home runs.  However, he hit just .125 in 24 at bats as a pinch hitter.  

It remains to be seen how much playing time he will get in an outfield that includes Juan Pierre, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence.  In his career Pridie has been primarily a center fielder.  But, as the Phillies slip further and further out of playoff contention, any of those three conceivably could be dealt. 

When I took the above picture of Jason Pridie, I did so thinking maybe sometime down the line I might get to use it for a piece.  I did not expect it so soon.  Pridie stormed into Lehigh Valley with a new attitude and immediately started putting up results.  I am looking forward to seeing what he can do with the big club.

Ruben Amaro Waves a Phillies White Flag With Jim Thome Trade


Well, that's it.  Ruben Amaro has given up on the Phillies for the 2012 season.   In case you did not pick that up by a lack of moves when things went wrong, his trade of Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for nothing that would help this 2012 club shows that it is over.

The Phillies record this year is an indication of what Amaro did or did not do for the club.  Now let me be very clear: I do not blame Amaro for all the injuries.   But, he has made a number of key mistakes that brought the team to the point where they are trading from a position of strength for nothing that helps the team's immediate needs.

The Bullpen Was Never Assembled to be a Strength

Ruben Amaro contructed a bullpen that was to look like this:

  • Jonathan Papelbon
  • Antonio Bastardo
  • Chad Qualls
  • Jose Contreras
  • Mike Stutes
  • David Herndon
  • Kyle Kendrick

Now, Papelbon has been everything one could ask for since signing with the Phillies.  Antonio Bastardo has been OKAY - the same Antonio Bastardo that the Phillies saw down the stretch last year.  Either way, both have been the reliable pieces in the bullpen that one might expect.

But, never did Amaro add a second left-handed reliever.  That is, unless you count the two-week trial that Dontrelle Willis got that clearly was not meant to be from the start.  Ironically, the Phillies would have four left-handed relievers at times: Bastardo, Raul Valdes, Joe Savery, and Jake Diekman.

Chad Qualls has not been an effective reliever in years.  In 2010 Arizona had to release him after he got through two-thirds of the season with an 8.29 ERA.  After being picked up by Tampa Bay he improved; his ERA was only 5.29 with the Rays.  2011 in the cavernous PetCo Park of San Diego, Qualls put together a season that looked okay on paper, a 3.60 ERA.  But - look at the numbers closely, you'll see that Qualls had a 5.05 ERA when he was not in PetCo Park.  He had a 33.75 ERA at Citizens Bank Park in 2011.  Qualls was a late addition for just $1.1 million, meaning other teams noticed how bad he was.  But, Amaro had to know that the Phillies had no reliable 8th inning reliever, since Jose Contreras would not be reliable.

Ah, Jose Contreras.  For some reason Amaro gave him a two-year contract after 2010.  I am not sure anyone believes his age is the one in the media guide, mostly because he pitched like an older player all along.  In 2011 Contreras pitched a whole 17 games.  He actually pitched just as many in 2012.  Another reliever got his opportunity when Contreras hit the disabled list in April 2011: one Michael Stutes.

Mike Stutes burst onto the scene in 2011, dominating hitters in initially the 7th inning.  But as Ryan Madson became the Phillies' closer, Stutes got some 8th inning work in tandem with Antonio Bastardo.  Stutes had a 0.00 ERA in April, a 2.89 ERA in May, and a 3.14 ERA in June.  But, starting in July he started giving up more and more runs.  Stutes had a 3.75 in July and then ballooned to a 5.84 in August.  He was leaking oil.  He was still very talented, but it was clear that young Stutes was not ready for a prime-time bullpen role.  After an injury-riddled Spring Training, Stutes surprisingly made the Opening Day roster, and six appearances later, was done for the season.

I was one of David Herndon's biggest detractors during his Rule 5 stay and early last season, but Herndon put together a very respectable season in 2011.  He is sorely missed; I do not feel that Amaro could have forseen this injury.  In the case of Qualls, Contreras, Stutes, and the lefty he never acquired, I blame Amaro for counting so heavily on them.

Left Field, Power

The Phillies suffered really crippling injuries to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  Exacerbating the situation was the injury to Laynce Nix.  It's amazing how much the Phillies miss Laynce Nix right now.  The Phillies have gone a season's worth of games without a left-handed power bat when you factor in the injuries to Howard and Utley.  Utley is back, and Howard is forthcoming.  But Amaro's response to left field set up this situation.

While people said frequently that Raul Ibañez was old, and blah blah blah...the Phillies never did replace Ibañez's 20 home runs and 84 RBI.  Amaro's response to filling the gap was to let John Mayberry and two veterans on the downside of their career battle it out to play for cheap.  Mayberry never proved to be a starter and Mayberry has proven he is not a starter.  While there is no denying Pierre's contributions, he is a table setter and not a producer.  He can hit all the singles and steal all the bases he wants, if there is no one to drive him in, does he really help?  

Amaro carried table setters Polanco, Victorino, Rollins, and Pierre, most of the time always in the same lineup.  Who was going to drive them in?  Sometimes Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pence sometimes have, but there is hardly any power otherwise.  With Utley and Howard out, the Phillies had to have some power in left field.  Amaro failed to do so.

No Moves Made, Other than to Subtract

So, half-way through the season with gaping holes on the Phillies, Ruben Amaro has only done two things:  created a shuttle bus that goes back and forth to Lehigh Valley to cart AAA relievers back and forth, and traded Jim Thome, adding nothing to the major league roster in return.   While I have full confidence in Director of Player Development Joe Jordan and the players the Phillies acquired in this trade, they are not for right now.   If Thome was traded for a reliever, I might have believed that the Phillies were still trying to win in 2012.  He was not, and I feel Amaro has given up.

It's Late

Things go wrong.  It's up to the General Manager to respond.  Amaro has sat on his hands and done nothing to help the team that maxed out its' payroll to win and the team is on pace to finish 20 games out of first place.   The Phillies are on pace to win 74 games and the Nationals on pace to win 94 games.  If the Phillies played as well as the Nationals the rest of the way at that .579 clip, they would still finish 10 games out and with 83 wins.  

To finish with the 94 wins the Nationals project, the Phillies would have to go 58-24, an unreal .707 clip.  

So, Amaro realizes he has dropped the ball and sold off Jim Thome.  More are coming soon.  The white flag has been waved. 

Jim Thome Traded to Baltimore for Single-A Players Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon

Around the eighth inning of today's ballgame in Miami, rumors began swirling of Jim Thome headed to Baltimore in a trade. Thome was shown in the dugout with a bat in his hands, most likely hoping to have one more at-bat as a Philadelphia Phillie. 

The future Hall of Famer had an excellent month for the Phillies during interleague play. Thome would see very little time at the plate had he stayed with the Phillies for the remainder of the season.

Jim's last hit as a Phillie came on June 23rd when he went deep, sending the Phillies to a 7-6 win in the ninth inning. Overall, he hit .242 this season with 15 hits, 15 RBI, and 5 homers. 

The Phillies have received two single-A players in return for Thome: catcher Gabriel Lino and right hander Kyle Simon. 

Lino is the Orioles' #10 prospect for the Orioles and Simon is a promising starting pitcher in class A ball. 

The Phillies have also called up outfielder Jason Pridie from Triple-AAA Lehigh Valley. 

Phillies Drop Fourth Straight to Marlins, 3-2


After a miserable game one last night in which the Marlins beat up Cliff Lee, the Phillies were looking to gain some ground in the N.L. East with the Braves and Nationals playing each other this afternoon. Cole Hamels looked to continue his excellent season against Mark Buehrle who pitched seven scoreless in his last outing.

Giancarlo Stanton got the party started with a solo home run to left field, igniting the Marlins' home run statue, hypnotizing fans and putting on a show. 1-0 Fish.

In the top of the second, Carlos Ruiz was able to score on a sacrifice fly from Shane Victorino. Tied game.

Jose Reyes scored in the third on a single from Stanton, putting the Marlins up 2-1. In the fifth, Reyes scored again, this time on a bases-loaded sac fly from Justin Ruggiano. Like Omar Infante's sac fly last night, Ruggiano's would have been a grand slam anywhere else. 3-1 Miami.

Hunter Pence brought the Phillies within one run in the seventh with a solo home run to left-center field. His second homer in as many days.  

Cole Hamels was taken out after seven innings and 104 pitches. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out five. 

Michael Schwimer had runners on the corners in the eighth but got out of the inning with a fabulous play by Placido Polanco at third base. 

Heath Bell closed it out for the Marlins after giving up a double to Carlos Ruiz. Phils drop another, 3-2. 

Afternoon game tomorrow in the finale of this series. The Marlins have a shot to sweep the Phils with Ricky Nolasco on the mound against Joe Blanton. 

Cole Hamels Seeking First Win Against Marlins This Season

Well last night wasn't the start we were looking for. Cliff Lee was lit up for six earned and the Phils only produced two runs themselves. It wasn't a good game at all, and for Cliff Lee it hasn't been a good season at all. The Marlins now hold a 4-3 record against the Phillies this year, as well as sitting 2 1/2 games ahead of them in the divison standings. This afternoon, Cole Hamels (10-3, 3.03 ERA) will look to notch his first win against the Marlins this season while his counterpart, Mark Buehrle (6-8, 3.55 ERA) will look to do the same against the Phillies.

Hamels is coming off of a strong outing against Tampa Bay. On Sunday, Hamels started game one of a day-night double header, tossing seven scoreless against the Rays. Hamels only surrendered three hits and struck out seven, but with just one run to work with it didn't seem safe. Antonio Bastardo walked the first two batters he saw in the 8th and surrendered a three-run jack to Carlos Pena, Phillies lose. Hamels gets a no-decision. Hamels is 0-2 when facing the Marlins this year, both times at home. Most recently on June 2, Hamels was tagged for five earned on seven hits, two of them home runs, in a 5-4 loss. In his career, Hamels is 6-9 with a 3.67 ERA against the Marlins.

The Marlins will send out lefty veteran Mark Buehrle in an effort to take this series early. Buehrle is coming off of his own shutout outing as well. On Sunday, Buerhle tossed seven scoreless against the Blue Jays, allowing seven hits while striking out seven as well. Buerhle got the win to make him the most-winningest pitcher in Interleague Play history. Buehrle is seeking his first win against the Phillies this season. Being 0-2 against the Phillies as well, his most recent loss came on June 1 when he allowed four earned runs on eleven hits over five innings. In his career against Philadelphia, he is 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA.

The Phillies are back in dead last in the NL East with a 36-43 record. The last time this team was seven games under .500 for the first time since April of 2007. What the hell is the matter with this team? Like seriously it's like they are bi-polar on the field. They give us hope for just one, maybe two or three games, but then slide back into a pile of crap. If they can't find a way to make anything work, Cole Hamels is going to be a Dodger at the end of the season.

Today's lineup @ Miami:

  1. Jimmy Rollins SS
  2. Polly 3B
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Chooch C
  5. Hunter Pence RF
  6. Vic CF
  7. Wiggy 1B
  8. JMJ LF
  9. Hamels P.

TV: CSN ; Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP.

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

Roy Halladay Throws Bullpen Session, Making Excellent Progress


(Photo: Philliedelphia/Lindsey Crew)

Well hopefully this will chipper you up after tonight's game.

Roy Halladay threw 33 pitches during a bullpen session today, working on all of his pitches. Halladay has been sidelined with a strained lat muscle since May 29 and was put in "shutdown mode" for three weeks. Halladay was expected to miss "six to eight weeks", but after today's bullpen session. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee thinks differently.

"He's progressing nicely," Dubee said.

Dubee noted that Halladay is "a few days not weeks" ahead of schedule and will pitch another bullpen session this week. It is unclear if the Phillies will send Halladay on a rehab assignment, but even the coaches don't know yet.

We'll all hope for the best for Roy and hope that he can come back soon to help the Phillies stop sucking. 

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

Phillies Flounder in 6-2 Upset in Miami; Cliff Lee Still Winless


Brutal, brutal, brutal. The season continues to go down south for Cliff Lee, who entered this game with zero wins and left with the same amount. It's not about the offense bailing him out, that hasn't been an issue as of late. This is now about Cliff Lee giving up way too many runs, which is highly unusual for him, but it has been an issue all season. It wouldn't be a pretty one in the first game played at the Marlins' new ballpark for the Phils. 

The first run of the game was a weird one. An infield single hit by Logan Morrison went through the legs of Cliff Lee, and Jose Reyes was able to score on the error. 

Hanley Ramirez scored in the third on a single to left from Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton later scored in the inning on a long sacrifice fly from Omar Infante. The bases were loaded during that time, and in any other ballpark, Infante would have had himself a grand slam. Luckily, the dimensions in the outfield are ridiculous, and the Marlins would only take a 3-0 lead. 

In the top of the fourth, Hunter Pence hit a bullet to left field for a solo home run, putting the Phillies up on the board.

The fifth inning would be the last for Cliff. After allowing a single and a ground-rule double, Justin Ruggiano doubled to deep, deep center to score Stanton and Morrison. Ruggiano later scored on a singe from catcher John Buck. With the Fish up 6-1, Raul Valdes would take the ball from Lee.

Cliff's final line: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3K, 96 pitches (61 for strikes). Cliff's ERA now stands at 4.13. Absolutely awful.

The Phillies were making Josh Johnson work as his pitch total reached 108 after six innings, the sixth being his last. He allowed only four hits and one run, the homer to Pence. He struck out six and walked two. 

Raul Valdes and Jeremy Horst combined to pitch 3.1 scoreless innings against the Fish. They struck out two men each. 

Ryan Webb came in for the ninth with a 6-1 lead and gave up an infield single to Chase Utley before Utley would score on a single from Hunter Pence. However, he would make it out of the inning with a groundout from Polanco. 

Cole Hamels and Mark Buehrle will square off tomorrow at 4 in the second game of this series. 

Phillies Prospects Making All-Star Games

There won't be as many Phillies in the mid-summer's class as there have been in recent years. This is a product of being in last place 78 games into the season. While we'll only have a couple in San Diego, the Phillies affiliates in the minor leagues will be represented- and even host an All-Star game.

Ryne Sandberg will take a couple of his IronPigs to the AAA All-Star game on the behalf of the International League. Tyler Cloyd (8-1, 2.11, 76.2 IP, 0.97 WHIP, 53 K, 17 BB) will go and pitch in the All-Star game, while Kevin Frandsen (.289, .698 OPS, 26 RBI's, 84 H, 29 R's, 291 AB's) will be going as an infielder. The IronPigs are in first place.

Reading will send six to the Eastern League All-Star Game at home. Darin Ruf at first base (.318, .938 OPS, 12 HR, 49 RBI's, 83 H, 45 R's, 261 AB), Cesar Hernandez at second base (.311, .785 OPS, 1 HR, 34 RBI's, 19 2B's, 8 3B's, 92 H, 40 R's, 296 AB's), Troy Hanzawa at shortstop (.279, .708 OPS, 29 RBI's, 63 H, 31 R's, 226 AB's), and Sebastian Valle at catcher (.252, .676 OPS, 8 HR, 31 RBI's, 58 H, 22 R's, 230 AB's) all are going as position players. Julio Rodriguez (5-1, 3.23, 83.2 IP, 1.30 WHIP, 85 K, 41 BB's) will be going as a starting pitcher and closer Justin Friend (2-0, 0.33, 14 saves, 27 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 24 K, 10 BB's).

Clearwater already played their's. Jesse Biddle,  Austin Wright, and Tyler Knigge all were chosen as pitchers. Cody Asche, Cameron Rupp, and Peter Lavin were also all-stars. Colin Kleven pitched for Lakewood in the South Atlantic League's game. He was the only Blue Claw there.

Reading will host the Eastern League All-Star Game in just 12 days. 

Baseball Talk Philadelphia: Friday Fan Rant


Tom Van Leer leads off with a lot to say:

Dear Baseball Talk: Philadelphia

Where do I start. It is hard to believe this team. Just when our Offence is starting to get in motion our bullpen continues to be mediocre. Last night the team, the fans, and the city was the happiest its been since Opening Day. Chase is back, we hear Ryan Howard is starting rehab, and Chooch is the best Catcher in the MLB. The game starts off with back to back home runs and Valdes gives up a three run homer. Not surprising. Then we come within 1 run and just when CBP and Tom McCarthy are as loud as ever Chad Qualls comes in. You might as well bring in some guy standing in line eating nachos. Why would they bring him in! They know he as been terrible yet they continued to bring him in. Thank god they sent him down. You have to question Amaro JR's offseason pickups. I mean when you bring in old, end of their career players like Wigginton and Nix do you really expect them to be everyday players? NO! There was absolutely no reason to bring back Jim Thome. I love the guy but when we have injuries and players already getting old do we really need a 41 year old who got injured this year? We need young players like Galvis (minus the PEDs and broken back) I still think there was no reason to waste prospects on Roy Oswalt. We already had Hamels and Halladay. That brings me to Cliff Lee. Its time to start thinking this isn't going to be a good year for him. We have seen him do this before. In 2006 he went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA. But don't worry. He went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in his Cy Young year the next season, so next year could be a big bounce back. And last night was just a huge disaster. Instead of putting a starter on the mound, for some reason they thought it would be good to have a bullpen game!? ARE THEY SERIOUS?? They already knew the bullpen is one of the worst in the league. So why waste a game for their mediocre performance? We had a game where the team would be pumped, the city would be pumped and they just waste it. They could of used the excitement to their advantage but they just waste it. Ridiculous. I just hope the bullpen will fix itself and become a winning team. 

Tom VL

Andrew McCormick checks in:

Charlie Manuel couldn't manage his way out of a f@#$ing paper bag. Remarks complete.

Robert Calderon speaks:

Its a shame how the bullpen blows when our huge problem this year was offense. And now that the offense is doing great in my opinion we have one of the worst pens in baseball. They really need a makeover of this pen. There is no making a recovery. They need new players in there.

Somairot616 says:

This team is so frustrating. Charlie needs to wake up. They also need to designate Chad "Touch Em All" Qualls back to little league. My preteen niece can hit off of him.

Aaron Goldberg:

what is bothering me this season 

 why cant the phillies have a solid go to pitcher in the 5th starting spot?
kendrick isnt as reliable. kendrick can eat innings for us but almost everyone can over power him.

Cliff Lee, Josh Johnson Open Up Weekend Set In Miami

LeechoochPhoto: Philliedelphia/Lindsey Crew

The Phillies were unable to end their homestand on a good note as they failed to seal a series victory against the Pirates. They took the first two games by storm, but were outhit by the Pirates in the last two games on Wednesday and yesterday. The Phils are embarking on a six-game road trip and tonight they'll make their first stop in Miami, Florida. The Phillies are meeting the Marlins for the third time this season, but it's their first time visiting the brand-new Marlins Park. Honestly, I think this park is ugly. Even uglier than Citi Field. 

Cliff Lee (0-4, 3.72 ERA), still winless, will seek his first victory of the 2012 season. It's June 29 and Lee remains winless after 12 starts. It's tough and sad, but he's not so innocent. In Lee's last start, on Sunday against Tampa, he was tagged for five earned runs on six hits over seven innings. Lee struck out 9 and walked three in the loss, his fourth of the year. Lee has a 5.10 ERA in his last seven starts. He has blown four leads during that span: two three-run leads, one two-run lead and a one-run lead. He has also allowed 14 earned runs in his past three starts (20 innings). Lee has not pitched against the Marlins this year and has a 2-0 record with a 2.31 ERA during his career.

The Marlins will send out Josh Johnson (4-5, 3.96 ERA), who is making his sixteenth start of the season. Johnson is coming off of a very strong tart against Toronto where he allowed just one earned run on two hits while striking out seven through seven innings. Despite his great effort, the Marlins only scored one run to support him. The Blue Jays ended up scoring six runs in the 9th inning, so Johnson was handed the no-decision. During May, the Marlins were 6-0 in games Johnson started (he won only three of those games with three no-decisions), but in June so far the Marlins are 1-3 in his starts (he is 1-2 with a no-decision). Johnson pitched against the Phillies back on April 11 where he was lit up for six earned runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings to get the loss. In his career, Johnson is 5-4 with a 3.68 ERA against the Phils.

Will this finally be the game that Cliff Lee gets a win? The Phillies' bats have been cranking out a lot of runs, 51 over their past 10 games to be exact. Like stated before, Cliff Lee has blown four leads in as many starts. At this point it's not the offense's fault, it's Cliff Lee's. Hopefully Chase Utley can provide some power and keep a spur in this team's behind to keep them going. 

Worth Noting: The Phillies and Marlins are split 3-3 in their season matchup. The Marlins have taken a series and the Phillies have taken one as well. 

Tonight's lineup @ Miami:

  1. Rollins, SS
  2. Pierre, LF
  3. Utley, 2B
  4. Ruiz, C
  5. Pence, RF
  6. Victorino, CF
  7. Polanco, 3B
  8. Mayberry, 1B
  9. Lee, P

TV: myPHL17 ; Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.