Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 Ballzy Awards


Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly bring to you the inaugural edition of THE BALLZIES...PhoulBallz.com's annual awards given out for the finest achievements in the Phillies organization as well as related things and stuff. Without any additional delay, let's get this thing rollin'.


Major League Player of the Year- Ryan Howard

Howard is one of the most consistent hitters in baseball today. He's had four straight seasons with 45 or more homers and over 135 RBI. Howard also won the most valuable player award of the NLCS in 2009. He is one of the greatest Phillies hitters of all time. There's not much else to say.


Minor League Player of the Year- Domonic Brown

The Phils' #1 prospect hit for a .299 batting average in 106 games while smashing 14 homers, 64 RBI and swiping 23 bags. When watching Brown play it is easy to tell he's got the right tools and he is a pure athlete. Speed on the bases, range in the outfield, an excellent arm, a solid bat...it's all there. Brown projects to be a Major League starter and the sooner Jayson Werth prices himself out of the Phillies' budget, the sooner phans could expect to see Brown in red pin stripes on a full time basis.


Team of the Year- Lakewood BlueClaws

The 'Claws won the South Atlantic League championship this September. Led by great Phillies prospects like Anthony Gose, Trevor May, Travis D'Arnaud, Troy Hanzawa, Sebastian Valle and Jim Murphy as well as manager Dusty Wathan, Lakewood clinched a playoff berth with a strong first half of the season and beat the Greenville Drive for the league title. It was Lakewood's second ever SAL championship.


Game of the Year- NLCS Game 4 Dodgers @ Phillies, Jimmy Rollins walk-off 2 RBI double!

I was there for the most unforgettable game of the year. With 2 outs, my lady grabbed her bag and said she was getting ready to leave. I replied and told her I was getting ready for a WIN! Jimmy Rollins immediately followed with the biggest hit of his career to put the Phillies in control of the National League Championship Series. Tremendous!


Best Non-game Moment(s) of the Year- HK Sign Toast

After winning both the division title and the National League Championship Series and clinching a second consecutive trip to the World Series at home, Phillies players took to toasting the late Harry Kalas with beers and champagne at the left-center field sign that honored him. Without Harry, there could be no more perfect moment.



Best PhoulBallz Interview of the Year- Michael Taylor

Taylor's Q&A can be found HERE. It's a good look at the prospect who was dealt twice in one day this month as part of the Roy Halladay deal. Taylor was remarkably well spoken and excited about his own blossoming career. Oakland's newest prospect is a 5-tool talent who will join former Phillies prospects Josh Outman and Gio Gonzalez with the Athletics. Expect to see Taylor facing Major League pitching in 2010.


Best Sarge Quote- "You jerk off the ball."

Link to the clip, brought to you by The Fightins Dot Com. Adding some of his usual questionable color to the game broadcast, Gary Matthews Sr. described the trouble with swinging too hard, during an August Jayson Werth at bat.




Most Influential PhoulBallz Sunday School Subject- Roy Thomas

Thomas was a turn of the century (1900) Phillie who was so proficient at slapping foul balls that baseball rules were changed. In 1901, NL president William Hulbert grew so frustrated with Roy drawing out at bats the he petitioned the rules committee to institute a new two-strike rule. Prior to that, fouls only counted as strikes if the catcher caught them. If Thomas were still around today, he might be a spokes person for PhoulBallz.



Favorite PhoulBallz reader- YOU

Yeah, winner, you are this site's favorite reader. I bet you are wondering how to know if I am really talking to you, or if this is just some generalized nonsense. Well, star...take my hand and let's shine together while I prove it's you that means so much to me.


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Feel free to honor YOUR OWN best things from 2009 in the comments section. I wish you all the best as you ring in the new year.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Classic Coming to Another MLB Venue


Folks, the annual NHL Winter Classic is coming up on New Year's Day. Philadelphia's very own Flyers, riding a 4 game win streak, will be participating in the contest as they visit the Bruins in Boston.

A couple years ago, the NHL started the tradition of an outdoor game each year on January 1st. The first Winter Classic was hosted by the Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium, where the Buffalo Bills normally play, and the second one was held at Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play, with the Blackhawks hosting.

Still in its infancy, the NHL plans to make the Winter Classic bigger and better each year. This year's game being played at one of sports' most storied venues fits right in with that plan. Fenway Park, the usual dwelling of the Red Sox, with be home to the Bruins on New Year's Day. Soccer and football have both been played at Fenway Park in the past, but this will be the first hockey game played there. Fenway will also host a NCAA game when Boston University faces Boston College a week later on January 8th.

Hungry for more Winter Classic information? BroadStreetHockey has plenty more. Click here.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bruntlett Signs With Nats, Manager Book Worth Checking Out

Washington Nationals, you just had two consecutive 100+ loss seasons...what are you gonna do now?

We're going to Beard-o World!

On Monday, the Nationals signed Eric Bruntlett to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Bruntlett batted .172 with a .462 OPS in 72 games for the Phillies in 2009.

I hope Santa brought you something good, Nats fans, because your team sure as heck isn't going to.

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Looking for a good way to spend those AmEx and Visa gift cards that you got for the holidays? Make sure you check out Chris Jaffe's book Evaluating Baseball's Managers, A History and Analysis of Performance in the Major Leagues, 1876–2008. Jaffe is a writer for HardballTimes.com. The book, just made available to the public, is a remarkable study of Major League managers throughout the history of the sport and applies a sabremetric approach to reviewing the performances of such great skippers as Connie Mack and Tommy Lasorda.

The book is full of facts and unique statistics and facts about managers and their team's characteristics. In a passage on ex-Phils manager Jim Fregosi, Jaffe points out that Fregosi is the only Major League manager to last 10 years in the profession without ever having a batter belt at least 8 triples in a season.

Evaluating Baseball's Managers also takes a look at another ex-Phillies manager. The book points out Boston manager Terry Francona's success when his team has its back against a proverbial wall, as Jaffe digs into how gritty the Red Sox have played in recent years, going 9-2 in post season elimination games.

Here is a link you may use to find and purchase this anthology of baseball history...Click here to purchase the book.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 43

Hugh Mulcahy was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1935-1940, then again from 1945-1946. Mulcahy was the first Major League regular to enter the military during World War II. Mulcahy was a converted infielder, whose arm strength earned him a trial on the pitchers mound.

Mulcahy was purchased by the Phillies from the Senators in July 1935 and made his Phillies debut that year in a single inning of relief work against the Pirates, the only other Major League team he would ever play for. In that appearance, he faced Lloyd Waner, Paul Waner and Arky Vaughn, three future Hall of Famers, and retired them all in order. Mulcahy then made 5 starts, but failed to win any of them and was sent back to the minors and was urged to abandon his side arm delivery, and raise it to a higher angle. Mulcahy went on to earn 25 wins with Hazleton to lead the Class A New York-Penn League. That would earn him a return trip to the big leagues.

Mulcahy's time with the Phillies earned him the unique nickname of "Losing Pitcher", as he led the National League in losses twice. He never had a full season in the Majors in which he won more games than he lost. Following an 18-loss 1937 season, in 1938 Mulcahy went 10-20, to lead the league in losses. The following season, when he posted a 9-16 record, the reporters began referring to Mulcahy as "Losing Pitcher Mulcahy".

In 1940, Mulcahy lead the NL in losses again, with a 13-22 record, but he pitched better than his record might indicate as he completed 21 games and finished the season with a 3.60 ERA. He defeated the defending champion Reds three times out of five starts. In July he reeled off 5 straight wins and in late September, in his final start before leaving for military service, he defeated 9-time all star and 2-time MVP Carl Hubbell and the Giants 6-0 at the Polo Grounds. He also made the all star team that season by posting 7 of his wins by the all star break.

Mulachy would miss the next 4 seasons serving his country. When he returned to the Phillies in August 1945, he had lost considerable weight from an illness and lost his fastball as well. Despite participating as an instructor at a 3 week camp, for players returning from military service prior to spring training 1946, Mulcahy was no longer the same pitcher that he was prior to the war. He would win only 3 more games for the Phils, upon his return. He saw action in 2 games for the Pirates in 1947, and he pitched in the minors after that, until 1950.

After retiring from playing, Mulcahy would work as an instructor in the Chicago White Sox system for several years and even serve as an assistant pitching coach for Chicago during the 1970 season.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Q&A With Justin De Fratus

If you keep up with things here at PhoulBallz.com, you should be familiar with pitching prospect Justin De Fratus. After going 5-6 with a 3.19 ERA in 36 games and making the SAL all star team with the Lakewood BlueClaws this season, the right hander, who will be 22 years old for the entire 2010 season, was declared to have the best control of all pitching prospects in the Phillies' system by Baseball America this offseason. I had the opportunity to ask some questions of Justin this week regarding how he celebrates his holiday, among other Christmas type questions. Here is how that went down...


Can I get you to talk about your typical Christmas with relatives? Any good family traditions?

My Christmas starts on Christmas Eve. It's been the same schedule for as long as I can remember. Christmas Eve,we head down to Fountain Valley, Ca. to visit with my Dad's side of the family which consists of 17 members. We have dinner, exchange gifts and just visit. We're usually done with everything at about 10 o'clock so that's when we'll head back home to Oxnard. Usually, my family wakes up early Christmas morning so that we will have enough time to open gifts within my immediate family (5 people) before we go to Mass (Santa Clara Chapel in El Rio, Ca). After Mass we will go home and gather the remainder of our gifts and head to my Aunt's house to visit my Mom's side of the family which consists of (I might be counting wrong) 39 Aunt's, Uncle's and cousins. I come from a big Catholic family. Then, we'll eat and visit for little bit longer. After that, we're pretty worn out so we'll go back home and wind down.


What is your favorite food to eat during the holidays?

My favorite holiday food would have to be tamales. I don't know how many Phillies fans would know what those are, but if you are ever in Southern California during Christmas time, you have to have some.


What is your favorite holiday song?

My favorite holiday song...O Holy Night. I really like Celine Dion's Christmas CD called "These Are Special Times". You can thank my Mom for that. She listened to that CD a lot when I was younger.


What is your favorite holiday movie?

Probably The Muppet's Christmas Carol. It's so funny.



What was your favorite Christmas gift from your childhood?

I usually got the same thing every Christmas. I only asked for one thing.....A Rawlings Pro Preferred Glove. I couldn't stand using the same glove 2 years in a row so all I wanted was a new glove each year. I also remember being pretty excited about getting my first electric guitar too. I love to play the guitar and make music.


Do you have a Phillies ornament for your tree, and if the answer is no, WHY NOT?!

HAHA Yeah! I barely saw it this year and when I asked my Mom about it she said it has been there since I got drafted.


Your tree...real or fake?

Apparently, this is the first year in almost 10 years that we've had a real tree. It's less expensive to have a fake one and the Angel sits better on the top. The real one smells nice though.


Do your parents still hang ornaments you made for them in school?

No, my Mom wants her tree to look nice. Plus, my brothers and I are all old enough now to understand that all of that stuff is just crap.


What do you know about Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey?

I know absolutely nothing about that.



Can you name a 2009 BlueClaws teammate who you think would have the most Christmas spirit and why?

Travis Mattair because he is strong in faith and understands the real meaning and importance of Christmas.


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Happy holidays to all...!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Glance at 2009 MLB Payrolls

Taking a look at this AP graphic detailing 2009 MLB payrolls, the differences are clear. The fun part of looking over something like this is picking out the underachievers and the surprise performers.

The difference between the Detroit Tigers' payroll and the Florida Marlins' total team salary is nearly 102 million dollars. The difference between the Tigers and Marlins in 2009 total wins is 1 (the Marlins has one more win than the Tigers). That is remarkable value from Florida. In fact, the Marlins, with the lowest payroll in MLB, had more wins than 19 teams and the same amount of wins as one other team. 15 of those 19 teams that the Marlins were better than had a payroll that was at least DOUBLE what the Marlins paid their 40 man roster.

At 87 wins, the Marlins finished just 6 games out of the division lead and 5 games back in the wild card standings. Imagine if that team actually spent some money and brought in some help for the existing core of young players. Adding veteran leadership and money to the payroll worked the last time the Marlins tried it in 2003, when they won the World Series.

The Yankees had the highest payroll in the Majors at $220 million. With 103 regular season wins and 11 more in the post season, the Yankees spent about $1.93 million per win. Comparatively, the Marlins spent roughly $431,000 per win. The Phillies' 102 total wins, between regular and post season, along with their $138.3 million payroll comes out to about $1.3 million spent per win. The injury plagued Metropolitans dished out over $2 million for each of their 70 wins.

The Minnesota Twins (87 wins/$73.1 million payroll, 23rd highest team payroll) also achieved considerable success in 2009 by winning their division and going to the playoffs.

While teams like the Marlins and Twins continue to hang around with the big spenders, baseball will stay interesting. When there's no longer any hope for some of the little guys (Pittsburgh and Washington aren't really in the Majors, are they?), maybe some forced salary cap and salary minimum would be necessary. But as some of these teams are able to display, there is still parity in MLB and even the greatest prodigals aren't guaranteed a shot in the post season.

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Happy Festivus, everyone!

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It's Written All Over Your Faces

The following pictures are of former free agent pitchers Jason Marquis and John Lackey. One man just signed with the Washington Nationals, the other man signed with the Boston Red Sox. Judging by their expressions, can you tell who will be playing where?
















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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Phans Phunding Kalas Statue

Let me start by stating that I absolutely think the Phillies should honor Harry Kalas in as many ways as possible. We know about the restaurant at Citizens Bank Park, we're all aware that the team renamed their television broadcast booth after Harry, and of course it was a big deal when the team honored Harry with a spot on their Wall of Fame (unfortunately with a typographical error). However, I am still not sure I am in love with the current methods of funding this project.

The website HarryKalasStatue.com and the non-profit group Dear Harry Inc. have set out to collect a total of $80,000 in order to complete a 7 feet tall statue, which is slated to be created by local sculptor Lawrence Nolan. The goal, in the end, is for Dear Harry Inc. to present the statue as a gift to the Phillies. Dear Harry Inc. currently stands at roughly $15,000 raised. Check out the web site for full details.

My issue is not with the idea or the group trying to make it happen. It's that the team doesn't seem to be behind this. From what I can tell, this cause is being driven by phans because there was no action taken by the Phillies.

Honestly, based on the error in the text on the Kalas Wall of Fame plaque and the Phillies' lack of urgency to fix that matter, it should surprise no one that the team has ignored the statue subject. If there was enough public outcry to insist on Harry's plaque being fixed and if phans slammed the team with a collective uproar wondering why a non-profit group feels the statue is essential while the Phillies do not, then perhaps the National League champions would act, in order to save face.

I would prefer not to assert what people should do with their money, but of all the millionaires who've claimed to love Harry Kalas, what would a $65,000 collective donation mean to those people? Just some thoughts here, but how much of full public image reversal in the city of Philadelphia could despised figures like Scott Rolen and Adam Eaton make by donating 65 grand to Dear Harry Inc.? How about Elvis Burrell's daddy...might he make a good candidate to display his love for the man and his city with a donation? Sure, it's cool that Jimmy Rollins wanted to wear Harry's sport jacket and shoes in a parade down Broad St. this year, but is there another way he could pay tribute to the voice of the Phillies? Like I said, those were simply some ideas, but I remain firm in my opinion that it's rather strange that phans are joining forces to make this happen while the Phillies organization, their players and all their alumni have nothing to do with it.

Click the link below to find out how to contribute to the cause.



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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 42

Otto Knabe was the starting second baseman for the Phillies from 1907-1913. For seven seasons, Knabe teamed with shortstop Mickey Doolan as the team's double play combination. In an era where runs were at a premium, Knabe excelled at the art of preventing runners from advancing.

Knabe once spoke to a reporter about his playing days and the occasionally rough, aggressive style he and Doolan perfected. "Doolan and I didn't specialize in mayhem, but anything went if the umpire wasn't watching. The Cardinals and Phillies used to have some grand battles." In one game, Cards player-manager Roger Bresnahan had been spiked by Phils third baseman Hans Lobart and instructed his players to go after Lobert in retaliation. Knabe spoke of that game, "Ennis Oakes, a Cardinal outfielder, took it upon himself to avenge his manager. Oakes got to first base this day and shouted to Doolan and me, "I'm coming down!" We told him to come ahead and he did. As Mickey took the throw from the catcher, I jumped up and landed on my knees on Oakes as he was sliding in. The only place Doolan could find to tag Oakes was on the jaw and he must have knocked him unconscious because they had to carry Oakes off the field. He never did get around to third."

For what he offered in the field, Knabe, unfortunately, was never a great hitter. In seven seasons with the Phillies, Knabe was a .249 hitter with a .643 OPS. His best offensive season came in 1912, when he drove in 46 runs, stole 16 bases and posted a .282 batting average. His job never was to be a slugger. Instead his duty was to get on base in front of the bigger bats and score runs. For instance, in 1911, even though he batted a lowly .237, Knabe still drew 94 walks and scored 99 runs.

In 1914, Knabe jumped to the newly formed Federal League. Aged just 29 years, Knabe was named player-manager of his new club, the Terrapins. The team went 84-70 and finished in 3rd place.

After the Federal League folded two years later, Knabe returned to the National League, playing one more season, split between the Pirates and the Cubs.

After retiring from playing, Knabe managed in the minors. Knabe is the Phillies all-time team leader in sacrifice bunts with 216.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

The 8th Crazy Night & the #1 Video

As Hanukkah wraps up, so does the annual PhoulBallz top 8 Phillies videos countdown.



There's really no need to explain this video or to elaborate on its ranking in this countdown. All I will say is Phillies phans were very lucky that HARRY KALAS was their guy for all those years.




Happy Hanukkah to all.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hanukkah Phillies Video Countdown, Night #7

In the annual Best Phillies YouTube Videos of the Year Countdown that we do every Hanukkah, we've reached this year's #2 video...which is actually a pair of clips honoring the Phillies' second straight World Series berth.



The first of two here is the post game celebration from the TBS television broadcast of game 5 of the National League Championship Series, when the Phillies clinched a return to the World Series. Obviously, the game is more important than this content but, considering we always run into the issue of MLB being stingy with their game footage, we use the post game celebration instead. There are great moments here, including speeches by team president David Montgomery and series MVP Ryan Howard as well as a perfect moment as Philly phaithful boo broadcaster Ernie Johnson.



As an extension to that video, we have the Ron Browz/Jim Jones "Pop Champagne" music video remix featuring Chan Hooooo Park celebrating the NLCS win. It was a tremendous run going to the fall classic in back to back seasons. The only thing close is HANUKKAH!

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Plenty of Arms Left on the Farm

For those of you out there who are still somewhat displeased about the Phillies giving up Kyle Drabek in the Roy Halladay deal and who are concerned about the depth of starting pitching prospects in the Phillies' organization, I am here to reassure you that there is still a solid collection of pitching prospects on the way up for the defending National League Champions. Here's a rundown of guys who I feel make the system fairly deep with quality arms.

Former 1st round draft pick (19th overall, 2007) Joe Savery has progressed nicely. Savery started his 2009 Double A campaign with a 9-1 record. He was 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 21 games at Reading, before being promoted to triple A Lehigh Valley. With the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Savery posted a 4-2 record with a 4.38 ERA in 7 starts. While his ERA's at both levels could use improving, a plus with Savery is that he allowed no homeruns after his promotion. The lefty should start the 2010 season at triple A and could be an option to fill some voids on the Major League club this season.

2008 3rd round draft pick Vance Worley was an all star in the Eastern League in 2009. Worley slumped after starting 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA through June. However, after that the right hander posted a 2-8 record with a 7.73 ERA. Worley's season ERA was 5.34.
Teammate Mike Stutes, another 2008 draft pick (11th round), is also a righty. Through 27 starts in 2009, Stutes went 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA. Again, perhaps another unimpressive ERA, but the combo of Worley (22 yrs old for the entire 2010 season) and Stutes (23 yrs old for the 2010 season) were the first Phillies pitchers to start the season at the double A level the season after they were drafted since Randy Wolf...and they stayed there all season in their first full year of professional baseball. That counts a lot.

Mike Stutes

Yohan Flande, appeared in MLB's Futures Game in 2009. The Dominican born lefty will turn 23 before next season starts. Flande started off very hot with high A level Clearwater, going 7-1 with a 2.52 ERA. He was promoted in early July and after starting off slowly with a 7.50 ERA through his first 3 starts with Reading, he settled in and went 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA over his final 10 starts of the season. Flande displays excellent command and the sky may be the limit.

Yohan Flande

The low minors are laced with talented pitching prospects as well. Names like Trevor May and Jesus Sanchez may not be familiar to you yet, but they should be. And so should Matthew Way and Justin De Fratus.

Sanchez led a Lakewood charge through the stretch run and into the post season that ended with the team's second South Atlantic League Championship. In the regular season, Sanchez went 10-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 26 starts. In game 2 of the SAL finals, Sanchez threw 5 shut out innings and earned the win. Sanchez will be 22 through the 2010 minor league season and is on the Phillies' 40 man roster.

Jesus Sanchez

May was a 4th round pick in 2008 who spoke to me earlier this year about young phenoms like Rick Porcello and Trevor Cahill who have broken into the Majors by ages 20 & 21. May is rather confident that he could also very well be a guy who succeeds at a similarly young age. May will be 20 years old for the entire 2010 minor league season. In 17 starts for Lakewood in '09, he went 5-1 with a 2.24 ERA, striking out 106 batters in 88 1/3 innings.

Trevor May

De Fratus, an 11th round selection in 2007 was a key contributor all season long for the SAL champion Lakewood BlueClaws, but was kept out of the post season with an injury. De Fratus saw his role change in 2009, going from starter, to reliever, then back to starter again. Baseball America gave Justin the distinction of having the best control in the Phillies' system with recently released rankings. De Fratus, a righty hurler, has walked just 41 batters in 193 1/3 innings combined over the last 2 seasons. The '09 SAL all star De Fratus will be 22 yrs old for the entire 2010 season.

Justin De Fratus

Matthew Way was a 5th round pick in this year's amateur draft and became Lakewood's game 1 starter in their first round playoff series. He certainly established himself as a deserving pitcher. After earning a promotion from Williamsport with a 1.67 ERA through 8 starts, Way had a 4-1 record and a 3.11 ERA in 6 regular season starts with Lakewood. Keep your eyes on this lefty who will turn 23 in January, especially if he develops more confidence in his breaking pitch.

Matthew Way

Alright, so surely none of these prospects are as highly touted as Kyle Drabek has been. And they might all be further away from a Major League debut than Drabek is at this point, but these hurlers are all reasons to feel confident in the minor league arms that the Phillies have left, aside from the pieces they are adding, in return for Cliff Lee. Don't forget...In Ruben We Trust.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Halladay is Here!

In one side of a blockbuster tri-fold deal, the Phillies acquired pitching ace Roy Halladay in a long rumored trade with Toronto on Wednesday. The deal sent prospects Michael Taylor, Kyle Drabek and Travis D'Arnaud to the Blue Jays. Money was a key factor in the Phillies side of the swap, as the Blue Jays also sent $6 million to the Phillies.

Halladay has agreed to sign a contract extension with the Phillies. It is a 3-year $60 million deal with a vesting 4th year option. The $20 million option for 2014 becomes guaranteed if Halladay meets all 3 of the following criteria: he pitches 225 innings in 2013, he pitches 415 combined innings in 2012 and 2013 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2013 season.

“This is where (my family and I) wanted to be,” Halladay said at an introductory press conference at Citizens Bank Park. “It was an easy decision for me. Once the opportunity came up for me to be part of this, it was something I couldn’t pass up.” It's quite a turnaround for Philadelphia, who used to be the city whose team had to trade away guys they could not pay or keep happy. Now the Phillies can afford the best, and the best are happy to play there.


In separate portions of the blockbuster chain of events, the Phillies also sent Cliff Lee to Seattle for a trio of prospects- RHP JC Ramirez, RHP Phillippe Aumont and OF Tyson Gillies. In addition, Toronto flipped Michael Taylor to Oakland for third baseman Brett Wallace.

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Hanukkah Countdown, Night #6/Video #3

Hey, gang. It's the 6th night of Hannukah, and we're getting closer to the top ranked spot on this year's PhoulBallz Top 8 Phillies Videos on YouTube Countdown.



The #3 video is this edited clip of Henry Hill in Goodfellas reacting to the Phillies' radio broadcast when Jimmy Rollins slapped the game winning walk-off hit to beat the Dodgers in game 4 of the National League Championship Series. It was the greatest comeback I have ever seen. The creator of the video, "n8productions", did so to win a t-shirt from thefightins.com. So, to the creator and the fightins I offer tips of the proverbial cap, and congrats on creating a tremendous video for all phans.

Happy Hanukkah, everyone.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More of the 8 Crazy Nights Video Countdown

It's the 5th night of Hanukkah and the PhoulBallz Phillies Video Countdown is still rolling along.



The 4th ranked video is FunnyOrDie.com's skit where Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard host a Fantasy Camp. The clip was done in conjunction with the MLB Players Association Players Trust. It was quite funny and encouraged volunteerism. Good stuff.

Happy Hanukkah!

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An Insider's Opinions on Shipped Prospects

As the projected Roy Halladay trade continues to draw closer to finality, I wanted to offer some input on the minor leaguers that the Phillies are set to ship to Toronto.

In all, the Phillies will have sent away 7 total prospects for Halladay and other pieces. Add the four prospects (Jason Knapp, Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald) it took to acquire Cliff Lee from the Indians in July, to the group currently being discussed, Travis D'Arnaud, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek, and the Phillies will have given up 7 of their 10 best prospects, as ranked by Baseball America in January 2009. Of those seven, I had the chance to watch 4 of them play quite a bit this year, and got to know them a bit through interviews and off the record conversations.

The two biggest days in this site's history, traffic-wise, have been on days that Phillies/Cliff Lee trade news has erupted on the baseball world. As baseball fans everywhere search for the big Phillies prospects' names online, they stumble upon PhoulBallz.com. For you new readers and others, ahead lies some notes on three of those players that I am personally familiar with, along with links to their PhoulBallz interviews.

Michael Taylor- The most well spoken minor league ball player I have had the honor of speaking to. His talent is visible at all times on the field. I had the opportunity to watch him for a single series in Trenton in June, among a couple more games throughout the season, but in that single series on the road, Taylor displayed his speed by stealing bags, displayed his exceptional arm by gunning out a runner, his excellent bat by driving home runs, his solid range by tracking down fly balls some guys his size wouldn't come close to, and his smarts on the field by not trying for extra bases when the situation didn't call for it.

Taylor's 5-tool reputation is no exaggeration. The Stanford U. man has the skills and is ready to see Major League pitching this coming season.

Kyle Drabek- Not to insult Drabek, but when interviewing both him and Taylor back to back, it is very easy to tell which player was drafted out of high school and which player went to college. That's not specifically a remark about Drabek's intelligence, as it pertains to both men's maturity levels as well. Drabek is young-minded and needs some maturation in general.

Drabek's talents supercede any shortcomings elsewhere. The young man who just turned 22 years old last week, went 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 25 starts between High A Clearwater and Double A Reading in 2009. Reading Phillies manager Steve Roadcap told me in August that Drabek was a no-brainer to have a solid Major League career in his future. Drabek has been a power pitcher throughout his minor league career, even after his Tommy John surgery...striking out 150 batters in 158 innings in 2009. He could be ready for a call up sometime this season, but more likely should be Major League ready in 2011.

Travis D'Arnaud- No one will work harder to improve than D'Arnaud. He spent plenty of time in spring training with every elder catching prospect that he could, to learn from them, while he had the opportunity. He worked countless hours with career minor league catchers and current coaches in the Phillies system Dusty Wathan and Tim Gradoville all season long to improve his defense. Around mid-season, as his batting average struggled to stay above .200, Travis could regularly be found in the indoor batting cages after a game, while his teammates showered and ate, to work on his own fundamentals. Travis hit .302 after the SAL all star break to end the season with a respectable .255 batting average. He also led the BlueClaws with 71 RBI in 2009.

The emergence of Sebastian Valle, another catcher, at the low A level late this season possibly made D'Arnaud expendable in the eyes of the Phillies. D'Arnaud is truly a bright young player who wants to succeed. Toronto will be lucky to have an individual with such great desire to excel at the sport he loves.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Reports: Halladay Acquisition Nearly Complete

It has been reported many ways, with plenty of different names attached. Initial reports, from SI.com, had Cliff Lee going to Seattle as part of a three-way deal. Halladay has a full no-trade clause that would have to be waived for any trade to go through.

The Associated Press released details, citing information from an individual close to the negotiations stating that Joe Blanton, "Jay" Happ and minor league OF Domonic Brown would be dealt away. Brown was ranked as the #1 prospect in the Phillies' system by Baseball America this offseason.

However, CSN's Jim Salisbury has reported that sources are telling him that pitching prospect Kyle Drabek is in the deal and Brown would stay. Lee is included in the deal, Salisbury reports.

Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of ESPN reported that catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud would be included in the players that the Phillies send to Toronto. D'Arnaud was ranked #4 in the Phillies' system by Baseball America.

A long term extension would likely be in the works with Halladay, as his current contract expires after the 2010 season.

Final details on this trade will likely not be released until Tuesday.

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