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Category Archives: Alfonso Soriano

Olney: Ichiro Rejects Phillies Offer; Signs With Yankees

In an interesting report from ESPN’s Buster Olney, the New York Yankees will bring back Ichiro Suzuki for another season.

But what’s interesting about that is that Suzuki reportedly declined a two-year, $14 million offer from the Phillies to sign the one-year deal with New York.

The Phillies are in need of another corner outfielder and the pursuit of Ichiro became a curious one. Ichiro isn’t exactly known for his pop, especially with Cody Ross, Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton still out there.

The price tag and years that Ross, Swisher and Hamilton are asking for must be turning off the Phillies. Hamilton is still trying to land a five-year deal somewhere while Swisher and Ross want four and three years respectively.

Suzuki, 39, would have made a nice lead-off hitter, but that would have given the Phillies an outfield of Suzuki, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and Darin Ruf. The only way that deal would have made sense is if the Phillies then traded Brown for 36-year-old Alfonso Soriano, which would have continued to increase the age of the team.

 

Phillies In Talks With Cubs; Interested in a Brown-for-Soriano Swap

CBS’ Jon Heyman reported that the Phillies are in talks with the Chicago Cubs about 36-year-old outfielder Alfonso Soriano.

The Phillies would send Domonic Brown to Chicago for Soriano, and the Cubs would have to pay a significant amount of Soriano’s salary.

The Cubs are willing to pay up to $26 million of the $36 million owed to Soriano for the remaining two years on his contract.

Last season, Soriano hit .262 with 32 homers and 108 RBIs.

Soriano comes as an alternative if they can’t sign Cody Ross, the most economical choice among free agents. Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton are a little pricier.

Phils Above .500 With 5th Straight Win

Phillies LF Juan Pierre makes a diving catch in the 1st inning. It was one of two nice defensive plays by Pierre in left field. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Phillies 8, Cubs 7
WP – Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22)
LP – Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46)
SV – Jonathan Papelbon (11)

CHICAGO — The Phillies are over .500 for the first time since being 1-0, a weight that has finally been lifted off their collective shoulders.

They extended their winning streak to five games with a 8-7 win over the Cubs. The momentum is fully in their favor, and it’s shown during the current five-game winning streak the Phillies are on.

Chris Volstad was yanked after he allowed four runs in the first two innings to the Phillies. With the early 4-1 lead given to Roy Halladay at that point, he was able to coast through the rest of the game, ending a five-game winless drought.

Halladay went eight innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out four. He gave up a pair of solo home runs to Alfonso Soriano in the 1st and Wellington Castro in the 8th.

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Series Preview: at Chicago Cubs

PHI: 18-19, 5th in NL East; CHC: 15-21, 5th in NL Central

When: May 16-17
Where: Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)

Probable Pitchers
Wednesday: Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 7.32) vs Matt Garza (2-1, 2.36)
Thursday: Roy Halladay (3-3, 3.20) vs Chris Volstad (0-5, 6.92)

Broadcast Info
Wednesday, 8:05, CSN
Thursday, 8:05, PHL 17
All Games on 94.1 FM

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Bats Go Back In Hiding As Phils Lose to Cubs

Phillies SP Roy Halladay walks back to the mound after Cubs CF Tony Campana scores on a Starlin Castro single in the 4th inning. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Whatever the Phillies did on their day off yesterday they left their bats at home.

They came back and dropped the first game of the series to the Cubs, 5-1. You could put some blame on home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor, who called a terrible game like usual but in the end the bats didn’t show up when it counted most.

Starting in the 1st inning, the Phils squandered a prime scoring chance off Cubs starter Paul Maholm.

Juan Pierre led off with a single, moved to second on a passed ball and got to third on a Placido Polanco single. But back-to-back pop-ups by Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence and a ground out by Shane Victorino ended the early scoring threat, setting the tone for the offense.

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Series Preview: vs Chicago Cubs

PHI: 37-25, 1st in NL East; CHI (N): 24-36, 5th in NL Central

When: June 9-12
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Thursday: Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.78) vs Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74)
Friday: Roy Halladay (8-3, 2.56) vs Carlos Zambrano (5-2, 3.98)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (5-5, 3.92) vs Matt Garza (2-5, 4.07)
Sunday: Roy Oswalt (3-4, 3.05) vs Doug Davis (0-5, 6.38)

Broadcast Info
Thursday, 7:05, CSN
Friday, 7:05, CSN
Saturday, 4:05, FOX
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

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Season Preview: NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

Expectations: Aroldis Chapman throw a 373 MPH fastball.
Key addition: Edgar Renteria
Key loss: Orlando Cabrera
Projected record: 92-70
Summary: The Cincinnati Reds were among one of the biggest surprises in baseball. In 2010, the young Reds overtook the reigning NL Central champion Cardinals and made their first postseason appearance since 1995. They have a very talented young core in 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce. Sprinkle in veterans like Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria and they should be back on top of the Central division. Their starting rotation is very strong and is full of veterans. Youngster flamethrowers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto help anchor the ship. Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood should help bring stability and gives them a very deep rotation. The Reds should get a challenge from Prince Fielder and the Brewers but no Wainwright for the Cardinals makes this division race a little less intriguing.

Milwaukee Brewers

Expectations: The franchise folds as they realize they can’t move on without Cutter Dystra.
Key Addition: Zack Greinke
Key Loss: Alcides Escobar
Projected Record: 87-75
Summary: The Milwaukee Brewers finished with a record of 77-85 last season but made significant moves in the offseason. After Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke was considered the runner-up prize for many teams and the Brewers landed him. They parted with a few prospects and Alcides Escobar to obtain Greinke. Greinke brings over a boatload of talent. His career numbers are 60-67 but most of that is the product of playing on a bad team. In 2009, he boasted an ERA of 2.16 and could do more of the same in the competitive NL Central. The Brewers also added outfielder Nyjer Morgan in a trade. Morgan brings over a ton of talent and a bad rap. He is famous for charging Marlins’ pitcher Chris Volstad and plowing over catchers. Morgan will challenge Carlos Gomez for the centerfield job and can provide speed at the top of the Brewers’ lineup. They have a lot to be proud of heading into this season and should contend with the Reds for the division crown.

St. Louis Cardinals

Expectations: They amputate Wainwright’s arm and find him a new one and he wins the Cy Young.
Key Addition: Lance Berkman
Key Loss: Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery)
Projected Record: 83-79
Summary: The Cardinals finished second place in the Central last season and were hoping to take back the crown. But that became a little more difficult within the last month. With Adam Wainwright slated to miss the entire with Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals rotation will certainly be a lot weaker. Aside from Chris Carpenter, their starting rotation is very weak, especially when you compare it to some of the rotations around the National League. Behind Carpenter, they have Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia. Westbrook was acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline last season and signed a two-year extension. Westbrook went 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA with the Cardinals in the second half last season. Garcia had a very good rookie campaign and could be the #2 starter in the rotation. He went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA. The young Garcia certainly has great stuff but the loss of Wainwright will just be too much. You’re replacing a Cy-Young award winner which is not easy to do. They did add Lance Berkman who should bring some more pop to their lineup. Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday should be among the most talented duos in baseball and Berkman could definitely add 60-70 RBIs to the club. But in the end, the pitching just won’t be strong enough. The Cardinals should be competitive but the other teams in the Central are very good and have made significant strides this offseason.

Chicago Cubs
Expectations: Steve Bartman is finally able to show his face in the city of Chicago again.
Key Addition: Matt Garza
Key Loss: Derrek Lee
Projected Record: 80-82

Summary: The Chicago Cubs are coming off a not-so-impressive season in which they finished in fifth place. They turned around and pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire pitcher Matt Garza. Garza will help to anchor a solid Cubs rotation that also includes Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. Garza was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 for a first place Tampa Bay Rays team. They also let aging first baseman Derrek Lee walk in free agency. They signed another former Ray in first baseman Carlos Pena. Pena is a career .241 hitter and brings some much-needed power to the Cubs lineup. In the past four seasons, Pena has hit 144 home runs and knocked in 407 RBIs. If Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez can be solid contributors along with Pena, the Cubs could stay alive in the Central. However I just don’t think they have enough offense to keep up.

Houston Astros
Expectations: Ed Wade trades with a team other than the Phillies.
Key Addition: Clint Barmes
Key Loss: Matt Lindstrom
Projected Record: 72-86
Summary: For the first time in eight years, the Astros Opening Day starter won’t be Roy Oswalt. It will be Brett Myers. Perhaps that says it all about this Houston Astros team. Their starting rotation is very weak and will be led by the former Phillies hot head. Wandy Rodriguez and J.A. Happ are both very solid but don’t strike fear into opponents. Their offense can be very good at times. Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence should combine to hit around 50 home runs and knock in 175-200 runs. Michael Bourn does a great job setting the table for the Astros. He led the National League with 52 stolen bases and also scored 84 runs last year. Their infield may hurt them this season though. Their best infielder is Bill Hall. Yes Bill Hall. The youth movement in the infield features Chris Johnson at third base, Angel Sanchez at shortstop, and Brett Wallace at first base. There isn’t much major league experience there and I think there will be some growing pains this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Expectations: What expectations? It’s the Pirates.
Key Addition: Lyle Overbay
Key Loss: Zach Duke
Projected Record: 67-95
Summary: The Pittsburgh Pirates begin every season thinking that this year will be better than the previous one. I actually hold that to be true. Well at least by Pirates standards. While this team is very far away from being anywhere close to a successful franchise, I think they will be better this year. Their infield is very solid and should generate some excitement. They added Lyle Overbay at first base which allows Garrett Jones to move to right field. Overbay adds some nice pop to the Bucs’ lineup. Youngsters Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker will turn some heads this season. Alvarez will get to start the year with the big club and could hit 25 home runs for a struggling Pirates team. Walker hit well last season and ended up with a .281 average. He will likely be hitting third in the Pirates lineup and could hit between 75-90 RBIs before the year is through. Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Jones round out a very talented outfield. Former Brave Matt Diaz will be coming off the bench. The rotation as usual, is the downfall of the team. Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, and Ross Ohlendorf will be the top three starters for the Pirates. It’s safe to say that the Pirates could actually be decent one day if they got some good pitching.

Phillies Can’t Escape Early Hole

Not even Roy Halladay could help the Phillies tonight.  Bad fielding coupled with little offense in the early innings sealed their fate tonight.  The Cubs had a four run second inning off Halladay to take the commanding lead early and did not look back.  Once again, the Phillies offense floundered and failed to produce for their ace.

The Cubs had a huge offensive outburst tonight.  Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, and Geovany Soto each had three RBIs.  A big second inning got the Cubs off to a great start.  Soto got the game started in the second inning with a two-run home run that the win carried out in right field.  The Cubs third run could’ve been prevented if Jayson Werth’s attempt to throw out Tom Gorzelanny at the plate was on line.  With runners at first and third, Carlos Ruiz tried to throw out Starlin Castro at second base.  The throw bounced and allowed Tyler Colvin to steal home. 

Halladay threw six innings giving up six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.  This certainly wasn’t one of Halladay’s better outings but two runs could’ve been prevented with simple fielding.  The offense definitely didn’t do anything to help him out.  Once again, the Phillies on many occassions didn’t put the ball in play.  They recorded eight strikeouts once again with Werth recording two of them.  It’s just embarrassing to watch him play lately.  Aside from a few meaningless home runs, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco were the only Phillies that contributed RBIs.

The Phillies dropped three out of their first four games after the All Star break.  They could’ve easily been swept by the Cubs.  It’s certainly not the way that they wanted to get things started.  These next couple of weeks could make or break the Phillies season.  They currently sit in third place five and a half games back of the Atlanta Braves.  It will be interesting to see if the Phillies can break out of this funk and perform like we all know they can do.

Pitching? What Pitching?

Phillies pitcher jamie Moyer holds his head low after allowing a solo home run to Cubs' Alfonso Soriano in the third inning Thursday. Moyer allowed six runs in three innings in the 12-6 loss. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Well the Phillies were still on the All-Star break when they traveled to Chicago for a four-game set. Jamie Moyer and the pen got beat like a bunch of red-headed step-children by the Cubs’ bats as they lost 12-6 Thursday night in the Windy City.

Ryan Howard got things going for the Phillies early with his two-run bomb onto Sheffield Avenue in the first inning. That blast gave the Phillies a quick 2-0 lead that was quickly erased in the bottom half by Aramis Ramirez’s two-run double. Moyer’s day did not get better as he was tacked for six runs total in only three innings on five hits and two hit-batters while striking out one. Jose Contreras allowed five runs in his 2/3′s of an inning.

Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano had three hits and Ramirez drove in four runs as they led the Cubs line up, that seemed to be hitting the ball at will. In fact, only Marlon Byrd, the player I deemed to watch for the series, went hitless among position players yet being drilled twice by Moyer and Contreras and walked once.

The Phillies scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. After RBI singles by Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez, Howard hit a two-run blast for his 19th of the season. It was also the second multi-homer game of the season for him. But like all rallies ended by him, Jayson Werth popped up to end the game.

HR: Howard 2 (19).

WP: Dempster. LP: Moyer (9-9).

Boxscore.

Late Inning Heroics

The birthday may have belonged to Jayson Werth but the day itself belonged to another outfielder. Raul Ibanez’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth gave the Phillies the 5-4 lead and victory Thursday afternoon to split the two-game series with the Cubs. Jose Contreras fought off a ninth-inning threat by Chicago to preserve the win and notch his second save.

Joe Blanton only needed 71 pitches in seven innings of great work as he left the game with a 4-3 lead. He allowed three runs on five hits, a walk, and three strike outs. Danys Baez picked up his second win of the season as he pitched the rest of the eighth after Antonio Bastardo gave up a solo homer.

Ibanez had two hits on the day, his second coming at the most important time. Chase Utley hit a solo homer in the first and Jimmy Rollins’ three-run shot in the sixth gave the Phillies the 4-1 lead before it disappeared the next two innings. Werth had the day off but pinch-hit in the seventh and played the rest of the game.

Philadelphia had a huge scare in the ninth inning. Alfonso Soriano was hit with a full-count on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. He then got to third when Mike Fontenot singled to right field. With no outs, Contreras tightened up and struck out the next two batters before getting Geovany Soto to pop up to end the game.

It was hot as hell at the park and the fans grew extremely irritable in the ninth when Soriano took time after fouling the ball off his foot and then broke his bat on a foul ball during his 11-pitch at bat.

It was also nice seeing the offense score. The sixth and ninth innings were what this offense was capable of doing: getting on base and either driving the man home or hitting a three-run bomb.

The Phillies also got another quality start from the rotation, good signs for a team that has a hurting bull pen and a weird offense. The Phillies will have two of their studs next series versus Boston as they begin inter-league play on Friday.

Doubles: Polanco (10). HR: Utley (10), Rollins (2).

WP: Baez (2-1). LP: Grabow (0-3). S: Contreras (2)

Boxscore.

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