Monday, January 28, 2008

Hot Corner Surprise

In an unexpected move the Phillies have reportedly signed third baseman Pedro Feliz to a two-year contract. Pat Gillick had consistently commented that they Phillies were comfortable platooning third base with Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs. With the addition of Feliz that Phillies have 3 third baseman, which is one to many. Presumably Feliz will start leaving either Dobbs or Helms as the odd man out. My guess is that one of those two will be traded for a bullpen piece sooner rather than later.

I’m hesitant to praise a signing before knowing the value of the contract but if the money is reasonable this is an exciting signing. Last season Feliz hit 20 homeruns. That’s five more than Wes Helms, Abraham Nunez, and Greg Dobbs combined. Pedro will have solid power and play adequate defense. His career .252 average and .288 OBP aren’t great but they still represent an upgrade.

The Phillies have now signed a new starting third basemen for the third straight season. I believe that Pedro Feliz will excel were Nunez and Helms failed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lieberthal Retires

Long time Philadelphia Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal retired today after fourteen seasons in majors. I wasn’t sad to see Lieby depart last season to the Dodgers but looking over his career statistics has reminded me of the good times. Back in the day Lieberthal was one of the best catchers in baseball. He had several high quality seasons including two All-Star campaigns. He also won a Gold Glove in 1999, which I had totally didn't remember.

I have a lot of respect for catchers. They take more punishment than anyone on the baseball diamond and Mike was no exception. He played 1,212 games in his career and in 1,174 he suited up for the Phillies. He owns the Phillies franchise record for the games played by a catcher and also the most times being hit by a pitch. It’s hard to quantify the value of stability but there’s no doubt that the Phillies were well served by his years of consistently solid play. I wish him look in his life after baseball.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lidge and Madson avoid arbitration

The Phillies avoided arbitration with a pair of key relievers signing Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson. Lidge who came over to the Phillies in the Houston deal and Mad Dog will make $6.35 million and $1.4 million respectively. Both are reasonable prices for quality pitchers.

Lidge is a huge pick up. I don’t buy that Albert Pujols permanently messed up Lidge in the 2005 NLCS. That explanation is a junk story for ESPN. If Lidge had psychological issues in Houston it was a product of Phil Garner changing his role in the bullpen. A closer needs to know that they are the man. A closer also needs to know that if they blow a game then they will still be the man tomorrow. Every time Lidge pitched as an Astro last season he had to worry about losing his job. That would cause even the most confident pitcher to lose his cool.

The truth is that Lidge has a blazing fastball paired with a killer slider. Last season he had 11.52 K/9 and 1.25 WHIP. That was a down year for Brad. Between his sick repertoire of pitches and the knowledge that he is the man for better or for worse, Brad Lidge will succeed in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thank God Ed Wade is Gone

This afternoon I sat on my coach watching Congress question baseball big wigs about the steroids. I was surprised to see that the House committee holding the hearings started off the day by requesting the Justice Department to investigate allegations that Miguel Tejada lied to federal agents about his use of steroids.

My first thought was to think of a good friend of mine at school (you know who you are) who is a big Astros fan. As Phillies Phans we can all commiserate with the idea of a team suddenly losing their biggest off-season acquisition. I’m thinking of Freddy Garcia.

But more than that former Phillies GM Ed Wade has already done long term damage to the Astros. He has already gutted the system trading away a ton of prospects including Josh Anderson, Troy Patton, Matt Albers, and Dennis Safate. For some reason he signed Kazuo Matsui to a 3-year contract, which is about two years more than he deserved. He traded for Jose Valverde who averages nearly 4 walks per nine innings over his career. In addition Valverde is a fly ball pitcher who is not well suited for throwing in tiny Minute Maid Park. To top it all off Miguel Tejada may be spending 2008 on trial and not fielding ground balls.

And of course old Ed traded his stud closer Brad Lidge to the Pighten Phils and got very little it return. I am so relieved that Ed Wade is no longer the Phillies GM.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Phils Ink Jason Werth

The Phillies avoided arbitration with outfielder Jayson Werth signing him to a 1.7 million dollar contract. That’s a great value for a fourth outfielder that can serve Charlie as a solid pinch hitter and defensive replacement in a late inning situation. I’m a big Jayson Werth fan. He has power, speed, and doesn’t hesitate sacrifice his body in pursuit of fly balls. What’s not to like?

I wish that the Phillies would give Werth more at bats. But that’s not going to happen. The Phillies brain trust has decided to give to the well-aged veteran Geoff Jenkins the keys to right field. The Phillies would be better off with the more athletic Jayson Werth in the lineup every day.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Roberson to the Orioles

Chris Roberson’s tenure with the Phillies came to an abrupt end when his contract was sold to Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. Roberson once a top prospect in the Phillies farm system has fallen out of favor. Roberson had the best year of his minor league career in 2005 when he won the Paul Owens award. Unfortunately he has struggled recently hitting .266 last season for the Ottawa Senators.

The Phillies simply don’t have room for him. The Phillies already have two reserve outfielders in Jayson Werth and So Taguchi. In addition the Phillies signed free agent Chris Snelling who can come up from the minors in case of an injury.

Chris Roberson will be best remembered most for his contributions to the darkest part of the Phillies 2007 season. During a sunny afternoon against the Braves in Hotlanta, Roberson entered as a defensive replacement without sunglasses. Two catchable balls feel in front of him helping the Braves win the game. I won’t be sad to see Roberson go.