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Showing posts from 2011

Galvis Done With Winter Ball

Phillies prospect Freddy Galvis has wrapped up his Venezuelan League season after playing in 47 games for the Aguilas del Zulia. The 22-year-old, who was ranked as the Phillies' 4th best prospect in an August survey of Phillies minor league experts conducted by The Reading Eagle, struggled at times in the off-season league played in his native country. Overall, the switch-hitting shortstop posted a .249/.308/.333 line with 7 doubles, 4 triples, no homers and 24 RBI. Galvis, who was signed by the Phillies in 2006 at age 16, picked up the pace late with Zulia, as he sported a .326 batting average with 10 RBI over his final ten contests. After an abbreviated Venezuelan League effort last off-season that saw Galvis spend an extended stretch working out under the supervision of Phillies personnel at the team's spring training home in Clearwater, FL, Galvis stood out offensively in 2011. Always regarded for his defense, the glovesmith's bat was steadily disregarded, until he

MLB's Biggest PR Problem

The following is a guest post written by friend of this site, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler. A pro baseball broadcaster, Jesse is a life-long sports fan, who calls it like he sees it. The problem with baseball is not that the games go on for over three hours, or that Tony La Russa and Ron Washington used their entire bullpens in each World Series contest, or that the umpires' strike zones are inconsistent. It's much more simple than that. Baseball is my favorite sport. Basketball isn't. Yet this page of the NBA's greatest shots is better than anything baseball can ever produce online. Why? Because it has video links. Baseball's media department, run by Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) prohibits the sharing of any MLB video away from the official Major League website. It's asinine and counterproductive, and promotion of the game suffers because of it. If I wanted to show someone why Barry Sanders was so good, I type 'Barry Sanders&

Phillies Anticipating Winter Classic

The annual NHL Winter Classic is set to be played on Monday, January 2nd and will pit the Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Rangers. Recently, NHL.com writer Adam Kimelman published quotes from a few important Philadelphia basball figures in regards to the upcoming outdoor contest, to be played at the Phillies' home, Citizens Bank Park. He spoke with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., team president David Montgomery and the most tenured player on the team, Jimmy Rollins. Amaro: "It's pretty cool. It's been pretty neat watching the development, the things that are happening. … I've been watching every single day we walk in. I take a route in through the concourse and check out the progress. It's been neat to watch." "I'm born and raised here, a big Flyers fan. I was here when the Broad Street Bullies were big-time. I think I was 9 or 10 years old when they were winning. And it's exciting. I've always been a big F

Christmas on the Farm 2011

It's that time of year that gets you in the mood to be jolly. The biggest of all holidays is loved by all, for many reasons. Phillies prospects are no different. I checked in recently with several minor leaguers to find out what stands out for them as reasons to get excited for Christmas. Highly ranked lefty pitching prospect and the Phils' #1 draft choice last year, Jesse Biddle (pictured), took part....as did outfielders Brian Gump , Tyson Gillies and another former top draft selection Anthony Hewitt ...right-handed hurler Tyler Knigge also offered his thoughts along with slugging first baseman Jim Murphy . What's your favorite holiday movie? Jesse Biddle: My favorite movie is easily "Elf" with Will Ferrell because he plays a character perfect for my sense of humor. There is something about the innocent slapstick humor that I find hilarious. Brian Gump: Probably "Nightmare Before Christmas", I think that counts as a Christmas movie r

Phils Winter League Updates, 12/22/11

Regularly throughout the off-season, we'll take a look at Phillies players who are participating in various winter leagues around the world. As you might suspect, the time has come once again to provide updates on the prospects and big leaguers staying active in foreign professional leagues. - Wilson Valdez , playing with the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican League, has posted a weak .213/.255/.301 line in 35 games. In addition, Valdez has slugged 2 homers, driven in 18 runs and stolen 6 bases. The 33-year-old infielder batted .249 in 99 games with the big league Phillies in 2011. -Phillies utility man Michael Martinez has not seen action since December 9th with the Estrellas del Oriente in the Dominican League. Through 19 games, Martinez posted a .113 batting average with just 1 extra base hit, a double. The 29-year-old has been playing shortstop for the Estrellas. Martinez batted .196 in 88 games with the Phillies in his first MLB season in 2011. -Lefty reliever Juan

Wade to Return to Phils in Scouting Role

As reported by several sources on Monday evening, former Phillies general manager Ed Wade is set to return to the Philadelphia organization in the role of a scout. The 55-year-old, who was fired last month from his position as general manager of the Houston Astros, began his front office career as an intern with the Phillies' public relations department in 1977. After that gig, he worked various positions for multiple big league clubs before he returned to Philadelphia in the capacity of assistant to the general manager in 1989. Wade later became assistant general manager with the Phillies (1995-1998) and, of course, general manager for the team (1998-2005). During his time at the helm of the Phillies, Wade became notorious for trading away All-Star Curt Schilling. As the top dog in Houston, he helped stack the Phils with All-Star talent by dealing Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. Wade was terminated by the Astros after the team collected a Major League

Off-Season Check In: Tyler Knigge

Throughout the autumn and winter months, I'll check in with various Phillies minor league players and inquire about how they try to maintain their baseball acumen during the long, drawn-out off-season. This edition features 12th round draft pick from 2010, right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Knigge . The Idaho native posted a 4-3 record with a 3.32 ERA while striking out 54 batters in 65 innings last season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. The 6-foot-2-inch 215-pound Knigge, who sports a fastball that regularly registered around 94 MPH during the 2011 season, took time recently to answer a couple questions regarding his routine during the off-season to stay in shape and more. How have you been using your down time to stay active and avoid getting rusty? The off-season is great. My day to day routine goes something like this...I wake up at five and I go workout (lift for an hour), go home, shower and get ready for work. Be at work by 8 a.m. and work till 5 p.m. After work

Rollins Set to Re-sign with Phillies

Reports on Saturday by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick stated that the a new contract for Jimmy Rollins with the Phillies is imminent. The contract is believed to be for three years with a vesting option for a fourth year. Rollins' choices became limited as his free agency wore on, and he was said to have been presented with a solid offer from Milwaukee recently, but ultimately it came down to him wanted to stay at home, where he has built a family on and off the field. CSN's Jim Salisbury reports that the contract is worth $33-million over three years. The deal virtually completes general manager Ruben Amaro's to-do list for this off-season as other voids on the roster have been filled with the likes of Jonathan Papelbon , Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton . The return of Rollins solidifies the greatest concern on the roster entering the autumn and winter months, which was, of course, the shortstop position. In 142 games last season for Philadelphia, Rollins posted a .26

Gillies Focused on Bounce Back Year

Ask a child about his Christmas wish list and the tyke might not be quite as excited as Tyson Gillies is when he talks about being on a baseball field on a daily basis. The Phillies' young outfield prospect has spent a great amount of time away from the diamond, as he has suffered repeated injuries over the past two seasons. However, at long last recently, Gillies has been on the field, training at the Phillies' spring training facilities in Clearwater, FL. "I took a week to ten days off for Thanksgiving and when I came back I started hitting straight away. (I've) been taking fly balls in the outfield and I'll be starting to run again here soon. And basically, I've just been lifting weights, hitting and fielding a little bit. I love being on the field!" The Canadian born Gillies was acquired by Philadelphia as part of the December 2009 Cliff Lee trade with Seattle, along with pitchers J.C. Ramirez and Phillippe Aumont . Fresh off a stellar c

Phils Sign Free Agent LHP Willis

The Phillies have signed lefty pitcher Dontrelle Willis to a one-year contract reportedly worth $1 million plus incentives. The well-traveled veteran has pitched with the Marlins, D-Backs, Tigers and most recently the Reds. Early in his career, Willis used his tricky delivery and fierce velocity to rack up solid strike out totals that have dwindled in recent years along with his electric speed. A former Rookie of the Year Award winner (2003), Willis also finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2005 when he finished the year with a 22-10 record and a 2.63 ERA. The signing of the two-time All-Star is certainly a risk worth taking, as Willis still has the tools that can make him a key contributor, especially as a situational left-hander out of the bullpen. Having appeared almost exclusively as a starter in his big league career, Willis’ effectiveness at this stage of his career might be better in a role where he is used in shorter stints. A strength of Willis has

Off-Season Check In: Jim Murphy

Throughout the autumn and winter months, we'll check in with various Phillies minor league players and inquire about how they try to maintain their baseball acumen during the long, drawn-out off-season. This latest installment features the most popular player in Lakewood BlueClaws history Jim Murphy. A 17th round draft selection by the Phillies in 2008, the Washington state native Murphy has played as high as Class A Advanced Clearwater and has posted a .265 with 47 homeruns and 217 RBI in 420 regular season games during his four years as a professional. The slugging first baseman injured his left hand in the final week of the regular season and has been rehabbing the injury following surgery. I spoke with Jim about his recovery, his training, helping out with local youth clinics and more. Read ahead to see what he had to say. I just wanted to check and see how the off-season has been going for you. How has recovery been and how are you staying in shape? Anything specif

Francisco Dealt For Minor League Hurler

The man known to Philadelphia faithful as “Benny Fresh” is heading north of the border, as the Phillies have dealt outfielder Ben Francisco to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league left-handed pitcher Frank Gailey . Francisco, was acquired by Philadelphia in a July, 2009 trade that initially brought star hurler Cliff Lee to town in exchange for four prospects. In his time with the Phillies, Francisco batted .260 with 16 HR and 61 RBI in 225 regular season games played. The 30-year-old is likely best known for his homerun in game 3 of the 2011 division series against St. Louis that locked down a win for Philadelphia. In 17 career postseason games, the California native has tallied a .105 batting average. Gailey, a 26-year-old lefty, was born in Philadelphia and attended West Chester University. In 2011, Gailey split time between Class A Advance Dunedin and Double A New Hampshire. In the Florida State League, Gailey was strong, going 4-2 with a 1.84 ERA and a .168 batting average ag

Moose Tracks: Rule 5 Reaction

Earlier this year, former Phillies minor league third baseman Travis "Moose" Mattair made time to take fans along on his return to baseball, after a year off, by checking in with PhoulBallz.com and PhilliesNation.com, giving the fan base an in depth and unique glance into life as a prospect heading to and participating in spring training, occasionally at the big league level. On Thursday, Moose, a native of Washington state, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the minor league portion of baseball's Rule 5 draft. As fans might expect, the slick fielding Mattair checked in, to offer his thoughts on that news, for what may possibly be the final edition of his recurring diary feature called Moose Tracks . I am really excited and really ready to start a new chapter in my baseball career! This is something I didn't expect and now that I know (about it), I'm very happy. My parents are probably more excited than I am, now that, with Cincinnati, I'll spend spri

St. Louis Merchant Proves Point as Pujols Departs

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Thursday that one fan decided to prove a point to his favorite team's departed star. When news landed that free agent Albert Pujols was leaving the Cardinals to sign a 10-year $254 million contract with the Angels, Paul Russo, who owns a St. Louis based sports apparel chain, decided to give away all remaining merchandise that bared the baseball star's name. According to the article , Russo had recently discontinued ordering Pujols gear, due to the former league most valuable player's uncertainty to return to the club that he helped win the World Series this year. From the Post-Dispatch: Albert Pujols apparel flew off the shelves this morning at the four area Pro Image Sports stores, but only because it was free. Paul Russo, who owns the St. Louis area franchises, said at about 1:30 p.m. that the Chesterfield Mall store had just about given away its entire stock of about 150 shirts an

Several Young Phils Plucked in Rule 5 Draft

The 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings are underway in Dallas and while the greatest amount of buzz has surrounded some major free agents like Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins , there's a minor portion of the annual event that has drawn some interest as well. The Rule 5 draft took place on Thursday and resulted in relocation for a group of selected prospects. Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are not on their major league organization's 40 man roster and 1) were signed to a contract at age 19 or older and have been in that organization for 4 yrs, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for 5 years. Rumors out of the meetings on Wednesday night had Phillies minor league outfielder Jiwan James (pictured) on multiple teams' lists of talented young players who fit that bill. James, a 22-year-old Florida native, is a converted pitcher who was ranked as the Phillies' tenth best prospect in a survey of a dozen m

Madson Declines Arbitration

Hopes were high, like always, for Phillies fans on Wednesday, as word trickled out of the Baseball Winter Meetings that there was a chance that Ryan Madson could accept arbitration with the Phillies. The thought of having two top level back-end-of-the-bullpen guys to go along with three elite starting pitchers had folks quite excited. However, at the end of the day, it was not to be. Madson's chance to join newly signed closer Jonathan Papelbon as well as his former All-Star teammates Roy Halladay , Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels came and went, as he declined the Phillies' offer prior to the 11:59 PM deadline. Returning to the Phillies would likely have enabled Madson, who has appeared in more games with the Phillies than any other pitcher not named Roberts or Carlton, to cash in a sizable free agent payday following the 2012 season. However, returning to a set up role in Philadelphia may have hindered his ability to cash in as a closer, a job he rocked well in 2011,

Off-Season Check In: Brian Gump

Throughout the autumn and winter months, we'll check in with various Phillies prospects and inquire about how they try to maintain their baseball acumen during the long, drawn-out off-season. This installment features outfielder Brian Gump , who was a 26th round draft selection in the 2009 draft. Gump, a lefty hitting 24-year-old California native, has posted a .239 batting average with 9 homeruns and 52 RBI in 178 games during his 3 seasons in the Philadelphia developmental ranks. Recently, I got in touch with Brian, who has played all three outfield positions during his professional career, to inquire about how he trains during the off-season. Read ahead to check out some good insight from the UC Santa Barbara graduate. What is your training regimen like during the fall and winter months? Well, I try and tweak my off-season training a little bit every year. This year, I grew a mustache and it seems to be working quite well. Seriously though, I recently saw a quote

Brotherly Love, De Fratus Style

Steven De Fratus happens to be related to one of the Phillies' top young relief pitchers, a fellow named Justin. Steven's nickname for his adoring brother is "J-Bone" and Steven is hoping that moniker will catch on with the Philadelphia faithful some day soon. It's clear that a rookie on the rise with a team already loaded with household names might be in need of a little love from the fan base. Wouldn't it be a fine time to let Justin know that, even in the off-season, the fans are behind him? In addition to that, it's the season of giving. What about providing Steven with a bit of love as well, by kicking the nickname of his choosing into gear by sending Justin a shout out? If there's any doubt that you want to help Steven achieve a bit of success via insider handle usage, just take a look at how, even months after it happened, the elder De Fratus brother is still taking jabs at Justin in relation to how close he came to surrendering a homerun

BlueClaws Food & Toy Drive This Saturday

It's the holiday season and the time for giving is here. The Lakewood BlueClaws, Class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, will host an event this Saturday, December 10th at FirstEnergy Park to collect donations for needy families in the area. The 12th annual Breakfast with Buster food and toy drive, to be held from 9 AM to 11 AM, will feature free bagels and coffee for fans that drop off non-perishable food and new unwrapped toys. BlueClaws mascot Buster and his close personal friend, Santa Claus, are set to be on hand at FirstEnergy Park to greet fans, as they drop off donations and enjoy their free coffee and bagels, provided by Manhattan Bagel of Brick. Via a press release from the BlueClaws, team general manager Geoff Brown stated, "Over the last 11 years, the community support for this event has been overwhelming. This year, before you start your Saturday, you can grab a bagel and a cup of coffee and help those less fortunate this holiday season." A

Report: Phillies Ink Nix for Two Years

According to multiple reports the Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Laynce Nix to a two-year contract. The deal is pending a physical examination. Originally a 4th round draft choice of the Rangers in 2000, the 31-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder is a career .244 hitter in 9 big league seasons. Last season with the Washington Nationals, Nix posted a .250 batting average with 16 homeruns and 44 RBI in 124 games. All of Nix's homers and all but one of his RBI came against righty hurlers in 2011. Nix has posted a .187 average with 2 homeruns and 11 RBI in his career as a pinch hitter. With those numbers in mind, the best suitable plan for Nix may be a platoon in the outfield. Paired with righty hitting John Mayberry Jr.'s .306 average, 8 HR and 21 RBI against left-handed pitchers, Nix's output could fit in perfectly in left field. In his major league career, Nix has played 229 games in center field, 203 games in left field and 66 games in right field.

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 98

Right-handed pitcher Claude Willoughby spent six seasons with the Phillies from 1925-1930. During his tenure with Philadelphia, he posted a 38-56 record, which was reflective of the team's troubles of the time, as the team sported the worst ERA in the big leagues for nine consecutive seasons beginning in 1922. With financial woes during this period, the team often relied on young, unproven arms, with Willoughby and his 5.83 career ERA with the Phils among them. After winning 21 minor league games in 1924, the Kansas native made his Major League debut late in the following season at age 26. Willoughby started three games as a rookie and won two of them. In 1926, Willoughby confirmed the trouble with handing the ball to an unproven pitcher over a lengthy stretch, when he led the National League in earned runs allowed with 111 in 47 games (19 starts). As a result of winning just 4 of his starts, Willoughby found himself taking on relief duty for much of the next two years. Nick

Caribbean League Updates, 12/1/11

Every so often through the off-season, we'll take a look at Phillies players throughout the various winter leagues. So, the time has come, once again, to review familiar talent in Caribbean leagues. Check out the information that lies ahead. Catcher Sebastian Valle (pictured) has posted a batting average of .210 through 20 games with his hometown Caneros de los Mochis in Mexico. The 21-year-old has 3 HR and 9 RBI as well. Valle, a righty batter, is the Phillies' top non-pitching prospect. Valle has been playing left field, to avoid adding innings, crouching behind the plate, to his knees. In 91 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers during the 2011 season, Valle batted .284 with 5 HR and 40 RBI en route to earning a nod as a full season All-Star in the Florida State League. Right-handed hurler Julio Rodriguez has made two relief appearances for the Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Having not appeared in a game since November

Mathieson Released, Headed Overseas

The Phillies announced on Tuesday that right-handed pitcher Scott Mathieson has been released, freeing him to pursue a contract with a team in Asia. The 27-year-old was 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 15 big league games in his career. He held opponents scoreless in four relief outings this year for the Phillies. Mathieson is secretive about his destination, stating exclusively to PhoulBallz.com that he has an agreement with the team he’ll be pitching for to not announce the signing before Friday, when that club expects to make the news public. A source close to PhoulBallz.com has stated that the Yomiuri Giants in Japan will be the team that Mathieson is set to sign with. The change is something that Mathieson is ready for and he expects to pitch outside of North America for the foreseeable future. “I’m very excited for this. I am hoping to play with this team for a while and maybe come back to finish my career in the States, but, right now, I’m hoping to play overseas for a while,” Mathie

Phils' Old Spring Home Ready for Reboot

Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in 2003 Currently housed at Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, the Phillies once called a different Florida complex their southern home. Jack Russell Stadium was home to the big league club from Philadelphia for spring training dating all the way back to 1955 until 2003 when the relocated to the newly built facility in another part of town. These days, the park that was named after a former big league player and Clearwater city commissioner is disassembled and has remained as an inactive lot, only used for overflow parking, and the like, since the Phillies departed for fresher digs. Community clamor and a struggling economy resulted in plans for housing, in place of the decades old home for Phillies spring training and minor league baseball, to fall apart. Nothing is both what has happened in the period since professional sports vacated the premises and what goes on at the site these days. In the midst of what is described as a low-income neighbo

Kennelly Living it Up, Down Under

Australian native Tim Kennelly has been enjoying some serious success thus far in the 2011-2012 Australian Baseball League season. The righty hitting utility man is tearing up opposing pitching while playing for his hometown club in the second season of this current incarnation of professional baseball down under. In the early going, the 25-year-old leads the ABL with a .529 batting average and has helped his club, the defending ABL champion Perth Heat, to a league-best 11-0 record, including an 8-0 mark on the road. Kennelly's 1.237 OPS is also tops in the league. Kennelly has been a multi-positional player throughout his career in the minors, spending plenty of time at catcher, third base and in the outfield. Such versatility has helped Kennelly earn playing time within the Phillies organization. With the Heat, Kennelly is valuable to his team in the same manner, splitting his time at various spots. Originally signed by the Phillies in 2003 at age 16, Kennelly has posted a .

Hockey Taking Over CBP

The takeover has begun. As the holiday season approaches and winter becomes more imminent, January 2nd, the date of this season's NHL Winter Classic draws nearer. In 2012, Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park will play host to the annual regular season hockey contest that is broadcast on national television. The ballpark is otherwise home to Major League Baseball's Phillies. In the upcoming game, the Flyers will take on New York Rangers. It will be New York's first Winter Classic appearance, while the Flyers, who lost at Boston in 2010, will be seeing action in the annual event for the second time. This will mark the fifth year for the NHL's premiere regular season contest, which first took place in 2008 at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Bills. The process to convert the baseball playing field into an ice rink, in time for the week of hockey events set to take place at CBP, began this week. In addition to the January 2nd regular sea