Previous month:
November 2012
Next month:
January 2013

Unlucky Bastardo? Mike Adams Apparently Gets Antonio Bastardo to Change Uniform Numbers Again

Bastardo

We were told that Mike Adams likes Bo Jackson and therefore was going to wear #16.  The Phillies official roster lists Adams as #16.   However, I am hearing now that Adams has worked out a deal with reliever Antonio Bastardo to get jersey number 37 from Bastardo.  This marks the second offseason in a row Bastaro gave up his jersey number to a newly acquired high-priced reliever.

Prior to 2012 Bastardo gave #58 to $50-million relief acquisition Jonathan Papelbon.   I do not have any details on what it took for Papelbon to get #58, but I am sure he had megabucks to do so.  Adams, $12 million richer after this deal, could certainly afford a Rolex watch or a sportscar to get the #37 back that he wore from 2008 to 2012 with the Padres and the Rangers.  He previously wore #46, but apparently has no affinity towards that number.

I have no official confirmation of this switch; it was just a tip.  But if I'm wrong, I will be happy, considering I spent $100 on a #37 Antonio Bastardo jersey (pictured above) prior to this season.  Bastardo should just pick number 93 or something so no one else will take it in the future.  Or better yet, be a dominant reliever and players will change for him.


Michael Young Reportedly Will Skip World Baseball Classic to Focus on Phillies

Michael_Young_interview

A few days ago we learned that Michael Young was eligible to play for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and that the Mexican team had listed Young as among those possibly playing on the team.   But, a report today from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says that Young will skip the classic.  The reason? To focus on his new team:

 

 

Some fans on our Facebook page were worried about a possible injury to Young while playing the extra games.   Though Young played for the United States in the World Baseball Classic in the past, he was indeed considerably younger and did not have to worry about any new challenges on the baseball diamond.  This Spring Training may be of particular interest to Young since he will return to third base full-time for the first time since 2010.

The World Baseball Classic began in 2005 after the International Olympic Committee removed baseball from the Olympics.  The tournament gives countries the ability to showcase their homegrown superstars who often play in the United States.


MLB Unveils New Batting Practice Caps: Phillies To Have More Blue, Braves Called Racist

Bphat

Courtesy ESPN Uni-watch
Bpjersey
The matching jersey from majesticathletic.com

Every few years, MLB restyles batting practice hats and jerseys.  This year will feature a new batting practice hat.   The jerseys should last another year, as they seem to be replaced every three years in recent years.   The hat this year features more blue, as the model seems to be that the team's primary cover is most of the hat, with the team's alternate color doning the brim, logo, and button up top.

In theory, the players will all wear these hats throughout Spring Training and then every day at batting practice.  However, most players tend to skip the hats and jerseys prior to games, since it seems utterly silly to wear two different hats and uniforms.   Often they'll wear the gameday hat or no hat along with a windbreaker instead.

Down in Atlanta, the Braves' new batting practice hat is causing a fuss.   On Philly.com's Pattison Avenue blog they feature the controversy surrounding "Chief Noc-a-Homa" on the new Braves hat:

The Braves' wordless image of a mohawaked Native American cocking his head back can be difficult to interpret--it is hard to tell whether the man is screaming or laughing uproariously.  

But one thing we interpret for sure is that the logo, originally named "Chief Noc-a-Homa," comes from a different time, when this sort of thing was... allowed to... be a thing.  

They also note that the Cleveland Indians have spent the last several years phasing out Chief Wahoo from their uniforms and merchandise.

ESPN's Paul Lukas gives the hat an F:

BravesBP


Former Phillies Reliever Ugueth Urbina is Out of Prison, Wants to Pitch

Remember this face?  He was most recently seen in a Venezuelan court room and before that pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005.  After the season, Urbina was involved in an incident that led to him being charged and convicted for attempted murder of five workers on his Venezuelan ranch.  However, Urbina had some troubled times even before this incident.

Prior to the 2005 season, Urbina's mother was kidnapped in his Venezuelan town.  Such incidents have happened frequently enough in Venezuela to high-profile athletes and their families in search of ransom money.  Wil Ramos, Nationals catcher, was recently kidnapped herself.

Then, during the 2005 season, Urbina was involved in an incident on a Detroit Tigers team charter plane that reportedly led to Urbina's exit from the team.   The Phillies felt Urbina would be the perfect compliment in the bullpen to closer Billy Wagner and the Phillies sent the Tigers Placido Polanco, who went on to have the best seasons of his career with the Tigers.  Urbina has not played since the 2005 season with the Phillies.

Today, Urbina finds himself out of jail, and Deadspin reports that Urbina wants to pitch and a Spanish-language report out of Caracas says that Urbina can throw 90 miles-per-hour:

The former big leaguer has said he is in good physical condition and some reports claim that his fastball marked 90 miles per hour when it reaches the plate while playing in prison. 

In the report former Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu gave Urbina a good report card (in my best translation):

I am very happy because my friend is free. He is ready to start a new life outside bars. He is a working man, passionate ballplayer, a great friend. Anyone who knows him well knows his humanity, regardless of the bad moments of his life.  I love and respect him a lot.

Ruben Amaro Jr. gave a 38 year-old Jose Contreras a two-year contract, so why not give Urbina a chance?  The Phillies probably don't have much room to give a guy a chance, with high-priced Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams on the roster alongside many young, promising arms.

One scenario where a team could give him a chance is the New York Mets.  Urbina's son Juan, pictured above, is a Mets prospect.  The Mets are not expected to contend in 2013 and a small contract with an invitation to Spring Training wouldn't hurt them too much.


New Phillies 3B Michael Young to Play on Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic?

Michael_youngXmas

I had no idea he might qualify.   According to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas News, new Phillies third baseman Michael Young may play for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Mexico lists Young among the candidates for its team. Young qualifies because his mother is of Mexican descent. Young has not indicated if he intends to play for Mexico.

Young played for the United States in 2006, when he played with Chase Utley and former Phillies Brad  Lidge and Brian Schneider.    The same year Young played for the United States the Mexican team had to use some non-major league talent, drawing from the Mexican League and even plucked former Phillies Spring Training invitee Karim Garcia from Japan to play.


You May Have Missed: Nick Swisher Signs With Cleveland Indians

Nick_swisher2

Merry Christmas!  Busy with the holidays I missed one noteworthy piece of news from Christmas Eve: outfielder Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians.  Swisher's deal is reportedly for four years and $56 million.  Merry Christmas to him!

Swisher once was thought of as an option for the Phillies, but the talk quickly quieted down as his price rose.  $14 million a season is indeed a lot of money to pay for a bat, but in an offseason when Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli each get $13 million a year, it does not seem too bad.  Of course, the Phillies payroll situation is a different story.

If the Phillies are ineed looking to stay under the luxury tax, they will have to add payroll that has an average annual value of $7 million.    The average annual value of a contract counts against the luxury tax, not the 2013 salary.  So they could not have signed Swisher to say, $7 million in 2013 and then $16.33 million the remaining three years without going over the cap limit.

It looks more and more like the Phillies will piecemeal the 2013 outfield and attempt to trade for a bat at the deadline should they need one.  I personally would have liked to see the Phillies do what the Indians did, which was trade a right fielder for prospects (Shin-Soo Choo) and then sign another one.   It keeps the position covered while adding other pieces.


Scratch THAT Idea: Raul Ibañez To Make Third Stint As a Seattle Mariners Player

Philles 4-30-10316
Photo: Philliedelphia/Frank Klose

It was fun to think about it while we could.   Former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibañez will reunite with one of his former teams this offseason, but it won't be the Philadelphia Phillies.  According to Sweeney Murti of WFAN, the Seattle Mariners and Raul Ibañez have come to terms on a one-year contract.

Ibañez began his career with the Seattle Mariners as a catcher in 1996 and stayed with the team through 2000.  In 2001 Ibañez joined the Kansas City Royals for a three-year run, before re-uniting with the Mariners again for 2004-2008.  Ibañez played for the Phillies 2009-2011 and spent the 2012 season with the New York Yankees.

In the last couple days and even this afternoon as reports indicated that the Phillies might be interested in an Ibañez return, plenty of Phillies fans started to think that Ibañez as a part-time or plattoon player would be a nice addition.   As time passes, the Phillies are running out of options for people to sign and barring a trade may end up carrying a primary outfield of Ruf, Revere, and Brown with plenty of John Mayberry mixed in.


Buy Low, Or Don't Buy At All

No Cody Ross, no Nick Swisher. Happy me. No, neither guy stinks. No, I didn't want to think about them in a Phillies uniform in three years. With both off the board, neither will be here. Again, I am quite happy with that.

Apparently RAJ is considering Scott Hairston now. I just don't really see much point to any commitment here. Sure, if it's a year or two cheap, I could certainly see the benefits of a righty bat with power, but if this gets expensive, run away, again.

Another name coming up is Jason Kubel, who put up some impressive numbers from the left-side in Arizona, especially in the power department, where his 30 homers and 90 RBI's grab your eyes. Arizona could deal him now that they got Ross. Defensively, he's about the same as Laynce Nix, but with more power. If he were platooning with either Darin Ruf or John Mayberry Jr., that could definitely make a lot of sense, though my sense is that Charlie would play him more than many of us would want. If the Diamondbacks want to deal him on the cheap, it's hard to argue with a 30 homer bat to plug in, but I would not expend any prospects I'd miss on him.

I continue to think the best option is to simply wait it out unless a deal is really good. If you tell me that Ruf is in left and Nix picks him up against some righties, and Brown is in right, and Mayberry does the same for him, I'm ok with starting the year for that. I still hold out more than a little hope that one or both of them can grow into being a starting (600 PA's) outfielder, feel Ben Revere is more than capable of the same, and like Tyson Gillies enough based on last season in Reading, to feel that there's no reason to commit much to these guys on the market now. If you said the Phillies biggest risk is on a couple of young outfielders this year, I'd say that probably doesn't decide the outcome of the season. I still that riding on Roy Halladay's right shoulder.

Paranoid Cody Ross-Hating Phillies Fans Can Relax: Ross Signs With Diamondbacks

Cody_Ross

Many Phillies fans on our Facebook page and on Twitter  in recent days have voiced their displeasure about the Phillies' rumored pursuit of Cody Ross.    Too much money, not strong enough, and many other reasons, including that he beat the Phillies in 2010 on the way to a Giants World Series title.   They now may relax.   According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Ross has signed on with the Arizona Diamondbacks:

 

But Buster Olney brings up another interesting point that could affect the Phillies:

The move is somewhat surprising since the Diamondbacks appeared to be set in the outfield, with Adam Eaton in center (no, not THAT Adam Eaton), Jason Kubel in right field, and Justin Upton in left field.   With the high cost of Ross, they may be inclined to move either Kubel or Upton, though Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers expressed that he was not likely to move Upton.  Thus, Jason Kubel's name would enter the fold.

Kubel signed with the Diamondbacks prior to last season, hitting 30 home runs and driving in 90 runs while hitting .253.  

Kubel is, however, a left-handed bat and I am not sure how much that would interest the Phillies.


Phillies Outfield Pursuit is Getting Silly as Scott Hairston and Vernon Wells Emerge as Main Options

Scott_Hairston

The Phillies appear to have given up on the idea of getting an acutal starting outfielder with power and have gone to some last restorts.  The latest from CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury seems to indicate that the Phillies do not wish to even pay the price of a Cody Ross and are moving on to even more inferior options.  Salisbury writes:

According to sources, Amaro is considering multiple possibilities -- including free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidate Vernon Wells -- and it’s possible that something could pop during the Holidays.

Wonderful.

Scott Hairston is a nice player.  I would love to have him as a backup right-handed outfielder on my good team.  The problem is that the Phillies don't have a starting outfield and Hairston will end up playing entirely too much.

In 2012 Hairston played entirely too much because he was on a bad Mets team and hit .263 with 20 home runs (most of which seemed to come against the Phillies) in 377 at bats.   I do not think the Phillies would start Hairston, but he would end up in a plattoon with either Domonic Brown or Laynce N ix.

Vernon Wells was a recipient of the cursed seven year, $126 million deals that have provided underwhelming results for the teams that signed players to these terms, alongside Barry Zito of the Giants and Jayson Werth of the Nationals.  After a  32 home run, 40 double, 106 RBI 2006 the Toronto Blue Jays signed Wells to that seven year monster deal.   He proceeded to underwhelm, but for some reason the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim decided to take on the contract.   Wells has hit .211 and .245 in his two seasons in Anaheim.

Could he contribute something to the Phillies?  I suppose there is a chance, but there's also a chance he would be the player that caused the Angels to carry him as a $21 million bench player.  The Angels blog Halo Hangout says that the Angels need to trade Wells "while they can" and that the Angels would expect to pay $36 million of the $42 million owed, meaning that Wells would be a $3 million per year gamble.    Wells could be a worthwhile gamble if the Phillies had two starters in the outfield, but Ben Revere is the only sure bet.  

Some argue for giving chances to Darin Ruf and Domonic Brown, adding either player probably knocks one of the two or backup infielder Freddy Galvis off of the major league roster.   I think the Phillies probably need both Galvis and Frandsen available for late innings defense at third base and to back up Chase Utley who will require some rest.

At this point, I would just say the Phillies should just forget their outfield and stick with what they have.  This is getting silly.