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This One Feels Right: Giants Outfielder Hunter Pence Celebrates Being a World Champion

Pencews2
I hate writing about this, but it's Hunter Pence and he deserves to be recognized for this achievement - even if he didn't contribute that much until the actual World Series.

The Giants held their World Series Championship parade today in downtown San Francisco. Millions turned out to see the second parade in three years and Hunter Pence captured some of the confetti downpour on video. He posted the clip on his Whosay account.



Pence, who is obviously in loss of his voice from celebrating, can only move his mouth to express his joy. In the video you can see him mouth, "What? What?". He then flips his hat on backwards and says "Are you kidding me right now?". The rest - undecipherable. 

Pence also tweeted not too long ago that today is one of the best days in his life.

Pencews

It still stings.

 


Phillies' Jimmy Rollins Wins Rawlings Gold Glove Award at Shortstop

JimmyRollinsGG

While the season itself ended up tumultuous at times for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, he has had a number of personal accomplishments to show for it.   Earlier in the season Rollins beat out Larry Bowa to top the games played at shortstop list in Phillies history.  Then, Rollins picked up his 2000th career hit.   Now, Jimmy Rollins has won another Rawlings Gold Glove award.

Rollins was named a finalist for the gold glove award yesterday, along with  Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, and Jose Reyes.  I am not sure the criteria to make one a "finalist", or if the winner is named after a second vote, but managers and their coaches get to cast votes for the Gold Glove winner.  Managers and coaches may not vote for their own team's players, so the league recognized Rollins' defensive contribution.

The award is Rollins' fourth; he won in 2007, 2008, and 2009.   The news was broken by the Philadelphia Inqurier on Twitter.  The award was to be announced on ESPN 2 Rawlings Gold Glove Award show, but was prematurely announced on Twitter.

Carlos Ruiz was named a "finalist" for catchers, but the award went to Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.


The Hot Stove: My Phillies Offseason Wish List

Hotstove
Alright guys, it's two days into the offseason and I'm already going through baseball withdrawl. The offseason is the time to make moves that teams couldn't make during the season. Acquisitions will be easier as free agents are the prominent target for teams. Although trades can take place as well, I'll be looking at my top five free-agents on my wishlist today. 

1. Michael Bourn CF

Michael Bourn got his start in Philadelphia and it would be nice to see him come back. Having Bourn in the leadoff spot would benefit the Phillies in so many ways. The 29 year-old outfielder is coming off of an All-Star year with Atlanta. Bourn hit for .274 in 155 games with the Braves. Bourn also drove in 57 RBI, but his number of stolen bases stick out the most. Bourn swiped 42 bases this season while failing 13 times. A speedy leadoff guy who still has youth is who the Phillies need in order to become a situational-ball team. Relying on home runs is getting old and with Jimmy Rollins aging and no Shane Victorino, a reliable, speedy leadoff hitter in Michael Bourn is the right way to go.

2. Kevin Youkilis 3B

The Phillies' spot at third base is currently vaccant as I see it. With the declining of Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton, it basically leaves the Phillies with Kevin Frandsen as the likely starting third baseman for 2013. Yikes. We all knew that the Phillies would need a new third baseman in order to even think of contending for playoffs next year. Kevin Youkilis is the Phillies' best bet for a third baseman. Now I know it seems highly unlikely that this won't happen, but the White Sox declined his $13 million option on Tuesday, so he's on the market. The 35 year-old Youkilis split time between Boston and the south side of Chicago this season, posting a .235 average with 19 home runs and 60 RBI in 122 total games. Of course his age and his numbers from this season raise a red flag, but there's not a lot of better competition in the third base department. Youkilis is a right-handed batter who can still bring power to the lineup. 

3. Kyle Lohse SP

Hear me out on this one. I know that Ruben Amaro Jr. has spent majority of his tenure as GM in seeking a juggernaut pitching staff, but I find points where I can agree with him. You can't win games with a crap pitching staff. I'm not saying the Phillies' starting rotation is crap, but Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels are not going to carry this team anywhere soley on their arms. Adding one more starter to the mix can put the Phillies back into contention. Kyle Lohse is emerging into the prime of his career. The 34 year-old put up a 16-8 record this season while posting a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts for the Cardinals this year. A dominant right-hander can even out the rotation for the Phils and Lohse is one of my personal favorites to attain.

4. Eric Chavez 3B

Let's face it, the Kevin Youkilis thing has a better chance of not happening than actually happening. That's why this is a wish list. It's a compliation of players I would like to see join the Phillies, not a list of players who will join the club. Eric Chavez is another good free-agent third baseman on the market this year. The 34 year-old has seen better days, but I believe he showed his actual worth with the Yankees this year. In 113 games, 64 at third base, Chavez hit .281 with 16 home runs and 38 RBI. With 50 starts over A-Roid at third, Chavez commited just 5 errors at the hot corner. Chavez isn't the essential power-hitting third baseman, but he is still able to extend his swing far enough to knock it out of the park. If the Youkilis thing falls through, which it most likely will, Chavez is my second favorite option for the Phillies' hot corner.

5. Ryan Madson RP

One of the biggest problems the Phillies faced this season was the faultiness of their bullpen. The Phillies' bullpen held a 3.94 ERA (183 ER in 418 1/3 innings) this season; ranking 21st in all of baseball. I'm not forgetting about the 27 losses that the bullpen accounted for. The problem the bullpen had was that the young pitchers were put in situations that they couldn't handle. In a late-inning situation, you don't want to send a 20 year-old kid out on the mound. You want to send a pitcher who has had a taste of the pressure. The Phillies need someone like Ryan Madson back on the roster for next year. Hell, they need Ryan Madson back on the roster for next year. The 32 year-old spent majority of his career in Philly before signing a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds last year. Unfortunately, the Reds never got to see Madson pitch, as he underwent Tommy John Surgery during Spring Training. The Phillies need a bridge from the 7th or 8th inning to Jonathan Papelbon in close games. Madson has proved that he can handle the pressure and if it's any bullpen arm I want this offseason, it's going to be his.

So there you have it, folks. Read and enjoy my wish list. Agree with it or disagree with it, I won't be offended. Let's hope Ruben Amaro Jr. finds his way onto Philliedelphia and takes this into account. 

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI


Phillies Buy Out Infielder Placido Polanco

Placido_Polanco

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover, the Phillies have declined Placido Polanco's $5.5 million contract option for 2013.   They will instead pay a $1 million buyout to Polanco.  The oft-injured Polanco is no longer a sure bet.  It remains to be seen how healthy Polanco is or if he will seek playing again.  

Polanco was perhaps most productive for the Phillies in 2010, when he batted .298.  In 2011 he followed it up with being named a National League All-Star and winning a gold glove.  But, injuries started getting in the way and Polanco ended up playing just 122 games.  In 2012, Polanco played in just 90 games and hit just .257, the lowest he has in a full season at the major league level.  

So ends the second Phillies tenure of one of my favorite Phillies players.  If only had General Manager Ed Wade not traded Polanco for Ugueth Urbina back in 2005.  Urbina would have otherwise been released, and reports stated that the Tigers would have taken David Bell, but Wade felt obligated to keep Bell playing third base and Polanco was shipped out.

For the Phillies Polanco has started games at third base, second base, shortstop, and left field, and for much of his Phillies tenure was the number-two hitter managers Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel loved to have.


Phillies Officially Decline Contract Options on Jose Contreras and Ty Wigginton

Ty_Wigginton_2B

The Phillies are making moves in the middle of Hurricane Sandy.  This is because the day after the World Series represents the first day of free agency.   Though not much of a surprise, the Phillies have declined their contract options for infielder Ty Wigginton and relief pitcher Jose Contreras, reports Phillies.com's Todd Zolecki.  Each player will get $500,000 to go away.

Contreras' career may be over.  Allegedly turning 41 on December 6th and coming off injury after injury, Contreras may have trouble finding a team to play for.  In November of 2010, the Phillies sigend Contreras to a $5.5 million, two-year contract extension.   He has not had much to show for it, making just 17 appearances in 2011 and again 17 appearances in 2012.     This followed a 67-appearance season in 2010 where Contreras went 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA.

Wigginton was acquired in an offseason trade with the Colorado Rockies.  Wigginton earned $4 million in 2012, with the Rockies footing the bill for half of it.  The Phillies acquired Wigginton to help out in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard's absence, as well as help out occasionally at third base.  Wigginton proved in Spring Training that second base was a bad idea.  We learned regularly that Ty Wigginton at third base was also a poor choice.  So, picking up Wigginton's $4 million option for 2013 would have been an even worse choice.  Wigginton hit just .235 for the Phillies in 2012.

The Phillies likely will use Kevin Frandsen and/or Freddy Galvis to replace Wigginton, and the Phillies have a large supply of young relievers to help take Contreras' spot in the Phillies' bullpen.


Reports Continue to Surface that Michael Vick Could Be Out as Eagles Quarterback; Nick Foles to Start

Nick_Foles2
Will Foles get his shot?

Sitting at 3-4 with Andy Reid in danger of losing his job, reports are surfacing that the Eagles may make a change at quarterback.   Despite problems on defense (or their lack thereof), it appears a change is near.   Fox29's Howard Eskin is reporting that the Eagles just may make a change.

Vick_Out_Eskin

Those two bad mistakes could not help the defense.  But, perhaps Michael Vick had an idea there may have been a change.  Vick himself alluded to possibly being benched in his postgame comments, via the Washington Post:

“Obviously, he’s thinking about making a change at the quarterback position,” Vick said. “The thing I do know is that I’m giving us every opportunity to win. I’m trying my hardest. Some things don’t go right when I want them to. Some things do. So if that’s the decision that (Reid) wants to make, then I support it."

Also of note: the Philadelphia Eagles announced that their offices would be closed today and Reid could not meet with the media.   Eskin passed on to 94 WIP that Eagles staff was indeed at the NovaCare center today and meeting. 

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Twitter first reported something similiar to Eskin's report and then followed it up with the sentiment that the final decision has not been made:

Another Eagles source: Don't be surprised if change at QB comes. Vick knew what was at stake Sunday, knew how pissed Reid was.

Told Reid isn't ready to commit to a QB change because it won't solve all problems. 1source won't be surprised if it happens tho.

So, it's something to think about while being hurricaned in.  I am not sure that I can pin the Eagles' problems on Vick.  Vick has been battered this season and if watching at home I'm never comfortable he has a chance to throw the football, I am sure he cannot be either.


Reports Continue to Surface that Michael Vick Could Be Out as Eagles Quarterback; Nick Foles to Start

Nick_Foles2
Will Foles get his shot?

Sitting at 3-4 with Andy Reid in danger of losing his job, reports are surfacing that the Eagles may make a change at quarterback.   Despite problems on defense (or their lack thereof), it appears a change is near.   Fox29's Howard Eskin is reporting that the Eagles just may make a change.

Vick_Out_Eskin

Those two bad mistakes could not help the defense.  But, perhaps Michael Vick had an idea there may have been a change.  Vick himself alluded to possibly being benched in his postgame comments, via the Washington Post:

“Obviously, he’s thinking about making a change at the quarterback position,” Vick said. “The thing I do know is that I’m giving us every opportunity to win. I’m trying my hardest. Some things don’t go right when I want them to. Some things do. So if that’s the decision that (Reid) wants to make, then I support it."

Also of note: the Philadelphia Eagles announced that their offices would be closed today and Reid could not meet with the media.   Eskin passed on to 94 WIP that Eagles staff was indeed at the NovaCare center today and meeting. 

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Twitter first reported something similiar to Eskin's report and then followed it up with the sentiment that the final decision has not been made:

Another Eagles source: Don't be surprised if change at QB comes. Vick knew what was at stake Sunday, knew how pissed Reid was.

Told Reid isn't ready to commit to a QB change because it won't solve all problems. 1source won't be surprised if it happens tho.

So, it's something to think about while being hurricaned in.  I am not sure that I can pin the Eagles' problems on Vick.  Vick has been battered this season and if watching at home I'm never comfortable he has a chance to throw the football, I am sure he cannot be either.


Reports Continue to Surface that Michael Vick Could Be Out as Eagles Quarterback; Nick Foles to Start

Nick_Foles2
Will Foles get his shot?

Sitting at 3-4 with Andy Reid in danger of losing his job, reports are surfacing that the Eagles may make a change at quarterback.   Despite problems on defense (or their lack thereof), it appears a change is near.   Fox29's Howard Eskin is reporting that the Eagles just may make a change.

Vick_Out_Eskin

Those two bad mistakes could not help the defense.  But, perhaps Michael Vick had an idea there may have been a change.  Vick himself alluded to possibly being benched in his postgame comments, via the Washington Post:

“Obviously, he’s thinking about making a change at the quarterback position,” Vick said. “The thing I do know is that I’m giving us every opportunity to win. I’m trying my hardest. Some things don’t go right when I want them to. Some things do. So if that’s the decision that (Reid) wants to make, then I support it."

Also of note: the Philadelphia Eagles announced that their offices would be closed today and Reid could not meet with the media.   Eskin passed on to 94 WIP that Eagles staff was indeed at the NovaCare center today and meeting. 

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Twitter first reported something similiar to Eskin's report and then followed it up with the sentiment that the final decision has not been made:

Another Eagles source: Don't be surprised if change at QB comes. Vick knew what was at stake Sunday, knew how pissed Reid was.

Told Reid isn't ready to commit to a QB change because it won't solve all problems. 1source won't be surprised if it happens tho.

So, it's something to think about while being hurricaned in.  I am not sure that I can pin the Eagles' problems on Vick.  Vick has been battered this season and if watching at home I'm never comfortable he has a chance to throw the football, I am sure he cannot be either.


Hot Stove: My Offseason Wish LIst

Hot-stove

And so the hot stove season begins. I usually spend it reading books, watching movies, and old games to feed my rather ridiculous addiction to the great sport of baseball.  It's also a time to discuss signings and possible trades. So let's look at my rather controversial shopping list.

1. Melky Cabrera

Let me start by saying I'm not a sports moralist. I want Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, same with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.  I wouldn't revoke medals from Lance Armstrong. If it makes my team better, I'd gladly see Melky Cabrera signed and if he's available trade for the services of Alex Rodriguez (we'll get to that).  As I watched the World Series go to Detroit and the need for the DH opened up, I would have much sooner put Cabrera there instead of Theriot or Sanchez. It didn't cost them any in the end but what if it did?

For the past two seasons (one in San Francisco, the other in Kansas City),  Cabrera has been the best bat on his team. He's hit over .300 and would have won the batting title this season had the rules not been tampered with. With all the runners left on base for the Phillies lately, it would just be foolish in my opinion to ignore the option all together of adding Cabrera. Maybe it's not the direction they go, but they need outfield help and it's clear that he's the best option available in the market.

Unless that Darin Ruf for Curtis Granderson craziness has weight.

2. Alex Rodriguez

Who knows if Rodriguez is available or not? I don't see how the Yankees can just dump the contract due to poor postseason play but I also don't see how they can't after he became such a public story. It was more public than the games themselves. So, in the event that the Yankees are willing to eat most of the contract (which they'd have to), the Phillies should absolutely entertain adding Rodriguez.

More likely they go after Eric Chavez as a platoon for Frandsen which also makes perfect sense and has been written about on here. I'd certainly think that's more realistic and a nice fit as a platoon with Kevin Frandsen.

3. Ryan Madson

Through all the issues that the '12 Phillies had, the one that bit them most was the eighth inning. Bullpen was a serious issue. Why not bring back the best 8th inning guy in the Phillies recent history? Madson is coming off a season where he did not pitch due to Tommy John. True there were some raw emotions between him and the Phillies when they decided to sign Papelbon but I think adding Madson is possible and essential.

4. Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Saunders, or Joe Blanton

Starting depth kind of came in to question at the end of the season. Roy Halladay was iffy, Vance Worley got elbow surgery, Joe Blanton was traded, and we're left with a lot of question marks in the starting rotation next season.

The three I mentioned are all plausible back end starter options, assuming Amaro doesn't go into ace mode and signs Dan Haren (who really isn't much of an ace but a decent mid rotation arm) or Greinke. I'm not seeing that happening at all so the second tier is probably where the addition would come from.

5. Derek Lowe

Since the glory days of 2009's bullpen campaign from Chan Ho Park, the Phillies have lacked a solid, veteran, multi-purpose reliever. I think to ink Lowe, you'd have to promise him a shot at the rotation in Spring Training and that's fine yet his numbers as a reliever in the Bronx were much more promising. Either way, I see him being a nice addition on a one year deal.

Health

Health is probably the most important thing here. Last year the Phillies were missing their two best hitters for far too long. The season was almost a lost cause by the time Utley and Howard came aboard. Credit to them for making it interesting down the stretch but the injury bug bit hard with those two for the second year in a row. Getting them to stay healthy and into game shape for next season is huge, possibly more huge than anything I mentioned above.

So there's my list. It figures to be one of the more interesting off seasons of recent years so I'm very anxious to see where the team ends up when it's time to report to Clearwater. Until then, enjoy the discussion and take time to dive in to the history and the science of the sport. There's plenty to enjoy in the winter months ahead.

 


Former Phillies OF Pat Burrell "Tried to Fight" CBS Sports Columinist Jon Heyman in a Bar Last Night

Pat_Burrell

You cannot make this up:  According to CBS Sports columnist Jon Heyman himself, Pat Burrell and he almost got into a physical altercation.   Heyman tweeted a thank you to former major leaguer and MLB Network host Kevin Millar for coming to his aid.   Deadspin identifies the other as MLB public relations employee Mike Teevs.

Heyman tweeted this:

Heyman_Burrell

Heyman is no physical threat, and I am skeptical he would be the aggressor here.    But check out some of Heyman's followup comments, which elicited a couple of other reports from those who have seen Burrell around before:

Followup_Heyman

One would think Burrell would calm down with age.  This cannot help his second career as a scout for the San Francisco Giants.   Or maybe it helps: lots of San Francisco was rioting last night.  I guess this is hardly different.