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August 2012

Phillies Option Savery, Diekman to Make Room for Schierholtz, Lindblom.

Screen shot 2012-07-31 at 10.27.02 PM
The Philadelphia Phillies have optioned left-handed relief pitchers Joe Savery and Jake Diekman to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs to make room for the newly acquired outfielder Nate Schierholtz and RHP Josh Lindblom.

Savery had a 5.40 ERA in 19 games for the Phillies this season (25.0 innings pitched). Jake Diekman threw slightly better, as he had a 4.64 ERA in 23 games for the Phillies (21.1 innings pitched).

Schierholtz had 5 home runs and 17 RBIs in 2012 for the San Francisco Giants in a platoon-role in the outfield (.257 batting average).  Lindblom had a (2-2) win-loss record for the Dodgers, with a 3.02 ERA and 43 strikeouts.

Matt Rappa is a contributor for You can find him on Twitter at @mattrappa.

A New Beginning: Phillies Find Life in Series Opener Defeating Nationals, 8-0.

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Final: Phillies 8, Nationals 0. WP: Cliff Lee (2-6, 3.73 ERA) LP: Stephen Strasburg (11-5, 3.12 ERA)

I forewarned after the matinee game on Sunday afternoon that many Phillies may have put on the red pinstripes for the very last time.  Well, it turns out a couple of fan favorites, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, indeed have. With Victorino going to Los Angeles and Pence heading to San Francisco, the Phils' outfield has a new, fresh persona surrounding it.

The Phillies recalled outfielder Domonic Brown from the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and catcher Brian Schneider was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday night's action. To make room for catching prospect Tommy Joseph, who was a part of the Pence deal, the Phillies sold Tuffy Gosewisch to the Toronto Blue Jays for no compensation.

Victorino and Pence weren't the only Phillies rumored to be on the trading block.  Many others were coveted by clubs but deals could not be finalized. Juan Pierre had drawn interest from the Cincinnati Reds, Joe Blanton was the main and perhaps only significant target for the Baltimore Orioles, Ty Wigginton enticed the Yankees as a bench asset, and even Cliff Lee was in a rumored blockbuster deal to the Arizona Diamondbacks that would send power right-handed bat Justin Upton to Philadelphia.

Got to love the trade deadline season. Even former Phillie, Chad Qualls, was traded from the New York Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Casey McGehee. But now that 4:00 pm on July 31st has come and gone, only a trade through waivers can be made.

Tonight's game felt weird. Essentially like a new chapter in Philadelphia Phillies baseball. With Victorino and Pence gone, Domonic Brown has the chance to shine and show his ballclub what he can truly provide to help them win.  If you remember, the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu along with Cory Lidle in 2006 to the New York Yankees, in which gave Shane Victorino at the time the chance to show the Phillies his skills in right-field. Maybe Domonic Brown can play up to his potential now that only he is in his way from staying up with the team on the MLB-level.

An early home run by Kevin Frandsen in the top of the second inning got the new-looking Phillies off to the right track offensively.  In the top of the third, Juan Pierre stole his 24th and 25th base of the season, and subsequently scored on a throwing error by catcher Jesus Flores.

Things were going so well for the Phillies in tonight's action, even Cliff Lee brought in a run scoring Mayberry on second in the top of the fourth. The inning would get better.  Way better. After Cliff Lee stole second off of Stephen Strasburg, Jimmy Rollins smashed a ball off the top of the right field fence, and was able to round the bases for his fourth career inside-the-park home run because of a Bryce Harper fielding blunder.

Jimmy Rollins has the most inside-the-park home runs in baseball since 2000 with 4. Chase Utley has (3), with his most recent coming off of the San Francisco Giants on July 26th last season.

Being on an innings-limit for the season and already given up six earned runs, tying the most he's ever allowed in a start in his career, Strasburg exited the game after just four innings. (4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR). LHP Tom Gorzelanny, former Chicago Cub, came into the game in the 5th and threw three scoreless frames in total (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR). Henry Rodriguez relieved him in the 8th and part of the ninth (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, o HR), with Drew Storen recording the final two outs in the top of the final frame (0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR).

Domonic Brown got a hit (59th overall) in his first 2012 at-bat off of Rodriguez in the 8th, and Carlos Ruiz along with Laynce Nix brought in two insurance runs in the top of the 9th, capping off the great offensive night for the new-look Phillies.

Cliff Lee retired the final 10 batters he faced, as he threw 103 pitches (68 strikes) in seven scoreless innings (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR). Antonio Bastardo retired the first two batters in the eighth (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR), and Kyle Kendrick (0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR) along with Michael Schwimer recorded the final four outs for the Phillies (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR).

August baseball has arrived, which means only two months remain in the regular season. Vance Worley (5-6, 3.88 ERA) starts for the Phillies Wednesday evening (7:05 pm ET) against Edwin Jackson (6-6, 3.52 ERA).  The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and can be heard on 94WIP and 1210 WPHT.

Matt Rappa is a contributor for You can find him on Twitter at @mattrappa.

Joe Blanton Trade to Orioles Does Not Work Out; Stays With Phillies...For Now


He's still here.  Credit Ruben Amaro for this one.  It sounds like the Orioles expected the Phillies to simply dump Joe Blanton on them for nothing.  

There were rumors that the Phillies were looking to shed salary, or a get a prospect such as infielder Jonathan Schoop.  Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette seemed to think the Phillies would cave and eat Blanton's money and take little in return.  If that is the case, then there is no reason for the Phillies to trade Blanton.

The Phillies still have two months' worth of games and an entire month where the team would still be able to make a waiver trade.

The way these waivers work is that the Phillies will place Blanton on waivers.  If a team claims him, the Phillies can either pull him back off of waivers, work out a trade with that team, or simply let the other team claim Blanton.

If Blanton clears, he can be traded the same way the he would have been able to be traded today.  That is a likely scenario, because any team claiming him would be responsible for his contract. So the Phillies are in a win-win situation with Blanton.

If Blanton IS claimed, the Phillies can meet one of their goals by letting the team take Blanton and his salary off of their hands.   If Blanton is NOT claimed, they can still try to trade him and get something back.

I would think Blanton is still likely to go to another team.  But Amaro was not willing to let that happen in a way that did not make sense for the Phillies.  Good for him.

Pregame: Lee vs. Strasburg Closes Out Big Trade Day


A busy day in a dreadful Phillies season finds them shipping Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence out of town. Both moves were very necessary and look for more in the next month as the waiver trade deadline approaches. My brief editorial is the return for Victorino and Pence is worthy of them. I was among the few that felt the haul to land Pence in the first place was ridiculous and today kind of proves that. At the end of the day, he was not worth the prospects and certainly not worth the dollars.

It's important to take time and remember the good times with Shane Victorino.  I was ready to move on from him but he had a fantastic run in Philly. From Rule 5 bust to Gold Glover, All Star, and World Series Champion. His slam of Sabathia in the '08 NLDS is one of my favorite Phillies moments. His work in the community with the Boys and Girls Club was amazing and while he got under my skin a bit this season, when all is said and done, the beer is on me if I run into him at a local watering hole.

But enough of my editorial. There's a game to be played.

The struggling Cliff Lee takes the mound against the not struggling Stephen Strasburg who's getting ever so close to the dreaded 160 innings cap. My guess is, they're a little more liberal with that down the stretch but that's for another time.

Kevin Frandsen is awarded another start at third coming off his 2/3 Sunday. John Mayberry and Jayson Nix find themselves on the ground where Victorino and Pence once stood. A flight delay scratched Domonic Brown for tonight. It's yet to be seen if he shows up in time for the game to grab a seat on the bench. Catcher Brian Schneider was also activated today.

It's been a day for the Phillies. One we haven't seen for a while. It lets a bit of air out of the tires of a match up that should be awesome between two of the best pitchers in baseball.  Yet at the end of all this excitement, we still get to kick back and watch nine innings and that's never a bad thing.

Line up: Rollins 6, Pierre 7, Utley 4, Howard 3, Ruiz 2, Nix 9, Mayberry 8, Frandsen 5, Lee 1

Phillies Open Series Against the Nationals Shorthanded; Brian Schneider Activated


After quite the busy day on the trade front, the Phillies still have a game to play in Washington D.C. against the Nationals.  They will be short players, as Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino headed to BWI airport to join their new teams.  So, who's left in the outfield?

Juan Pierre stayed with the Phillies., so he will man left field.  John Mayberry Jr. is the only capable body to play center, and Laynce Nix will have to be in right field.

Dom Brown was with the Iron Pigs in Syracuse, New York and will not make it to the ballpark in time, reports David Murphy of the Daily News.  Presumably, Nate Schierholtz will not either, given that the Giants are all the way across the country.

The Phillies smartly kept Erik Kratz around when the team activated catcher Brian Schneider from the disabled list today.  So really, the Phillies are only down one body.

The bench tonight is: Schneider, Kratz, Fontenot, Wigginton.

Somehow Yankees Trade Chad Qualls to the Pirates...and Get Someone Back

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Wikipedia Commons  (No way do I want to re-live him in a Phillies Uniform)

Interesting - the Pirates replaced Brad Lincoln by acquiring Chad Qualls from the Yankees, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

They got infielder Casey McGehee in return.  With Gaby Sanchez joining the Pirates he was expendable.

Qualls had a 6.14 ERA for the Yankees after being traded by the Phillies for nothing.  McGehee will help fill the void caused by Alex Rodriguez's disabled list stint.

I sure wish the Phillies had gotten that return.

Tommy Joseph "Estactic" to Join the Phillies as He Switches Clubhouses in Richmond to Join Reading

Photo courtesy the San Francisco Chronicle.

Phillies new catching prospect just joined Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio and offered his excitedment and a few details.  It appears that Joseph will join the Reading Phillies first, and he is excited to be on the team.

"I'm sad obviously because I'm leaving people...I'm estactic about joining the Phillies..a great organization, outstanding people."

The Phillies have Carlos Ruiz and Sebastian Valle. What does this mean for Joseph?

"It's great for me because I'm going to get to learn from one of the best in the game".

Ruben Amaro himself called Joseph.

"I have talked to Ruben, he congratulated me; he just told me he's excited to have me and it made me feel good about being here."

Sebastian Valle could be going to AAA Lehigh Valley because Joseph is joining the AA Reading Phillies today.  It turns out, he just has several feet to go.

"They told me I'm going to stay in Richmond because Reading is here."

Joseph had spent this season with the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels, who happen to be playing the Reading Phillies this week.  He hit .260 for the Flying Squirrels this year, with 8 home runs and 38 RBI.

Bowden thinks that Joseph will be a "25 home run guy" in the major leagues.

In this San Francisco Chronicle piece from this spring, Joseph was given high praise from his former team:

Ramon Ortiz threw to Joseph in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game against Colorado and had his own "wow" moment when he learned that Joseph was 20 and fewer than four years removed from being a high school first baseman.

"That guy who caught me yesterday?" Ortiz said. "He's going to be very good. You'll see."

Drafted out of high school, he was once considered a work in progress as a catcher.  But his bat caught their eye from the start.

The lure for scouts was Joseph's bat. He hit .494 with 15 homers as a high school senior in a region and state with stiff competition. He then hit 16 homers at low Class A Augusta, Ga., in 2010 and 22 for high-A San Jose

Carlos Ruiz is a free agent after 2013.  Joseph probably ranks higher than Valle as a catcher, but it remains to see where this will go.  Either way, he sounds like a nice pickup.

Details Emerge to Indicate CBS San Francisco Report Was Accurate as Hunter Pence Heads Heads to Giants


Remember the Sunday night report that everyone was calling "fake?"  It appears it was accurate, and now an agreement is in place that would send Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants, CBS's Jon Heyman reports.

Today on XM's Power Alley, Jim Duquette stated that San Francisco Giants General Manager Brian Sabean went to ownership to ask about money to acquire Hunter Pence.   Ownership said no.

So when CBS San Francisco's Dennis O'Donnell reported that the two teams had a deal in place, pending ownership approval, he was not wrong.

What changed?   Shane Victorino changed.

Thanks to Ruben Amaro sending his other outfielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who also aquired reliever Brandon League and third baseman Hanlery Ramirez, the pressure was on for the Giants to make a move. 

Duquette also said that the Dodgers' General Manager Ned Coletti was told by ownership to "forget money - get better".  

Thanks to the Dodgers, the Giants had to act.  And it appears they have in the form of Hunter Pence.   

It remains to be seen who the Phillies get in return, but the catcher Tommy Joseph mentioned by O'Donnell late Sunday seems to be a good bet.

UPDATE: No OF Gary Brown, 1B Brandon Belt, or RHP Kyle Crick, Jayson Stark reports.  Joseph seems to be confirmed to be in the deal.   My best guess says OF Francisco Perguero is in.

UPDATE: Nate Schierholtz is in the deal

Joe Blanton Could Stay In Philly

According to reports, the Baltimore Orioles and Phillies have been at a stalemate all night regarding Joe Blanton and it seems to be over Blanton's salary.

With the Phillies set to deal the 31-year-old righty starter, the Phillies want to shed the remaining $3MM they owe out of the $8.5MM Blanton's set to make this season.

The Orioles don't like that.

And, according to an industry source, the Orioles appear hesitant to absorb that figure for a pitcher who is considered a mid-to-late-rotation innings eater. The Phillies, who surprisingly are last in the National League East despite a $170 million-plus payroll, are looking for salary relief, especially after inking lefty Cole Hamels to a $144 million contract extension Wednesday.

Blanton is 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for the Phillies this year. Blanton has pitched well recently, tossing five quality starts in his last six while posting a 3.82 ERA in July after two ugly months in June and May.

The Orioles seem to be scouting Blanton due to his seniority in the majors. In nine seasons, Blanton is 81-71 with a 4.35 ERA in his career with the Phillies and Oakland Athletics. 

According to MLB's Brittany Ghiroli, the Orioles beat writer, the Orioles are starting to turn their heads to other starters. 


There's four hours left until the deadline. It's going to be intense.

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

Mr. Brown Goes To Washington: Dom Brown Scratched From Triple-A Game, Called Up By Phillies

BrowncallPhoto: Philliedelphia/Steve Trapani

With Shane Victorino being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers becoming more and more imminent as each minute passes by, the Phillies have reportedly called up Domonic Brown from Triple-A Lehigh. Brown has been scratched from the lineup in this afternoon's IronPigs game and is headed to Washington D.C.

Brown has not played a game with the big league club this season, being with Triple-A Lehigh since the end of Spring Training. In 60 games with the IronPigs, Brown hit .281 with 5 HR, 28 RBI and 13 doubles. Brown has dealt with numerous injuries this season, first his hamstring and twice with his knee. 

In 91 total big league games split between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Brown is hitting .236/.314/.382 with 7 home runs, 32 RBI and 5 stolen bases.

This is the beginning of the Dom Brown Era.

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.