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Category Archives: Jason Donald

Bats Explode As Phils Earn Sweep

The weather was hot in Philadelphia… hot enough to heat up the Phillies’ offense. They scored in bunches and batted around twice to beat the struggling Cleveland Indians 12-3 to sweep the AL Central basement dwellers Thursday afternoon.

The runs rained down like the typhoon-like conditions that hit Citizens Bank Park in the top of the eighth inning. The winds whipped up and then all of a sudden, the rain fell with some hail mixed in as play was halted.  The game was delayed for an hour and 37 minutes while the grounds crew fought with the treacherous conditions.

Placido Polanco erupted for a monster game, going 4-for-5 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs. Jayson Werth had a 3-for-3 day with two runs and an RBI. Since June 10th, Werth is hitting .395 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.  Dane Sardinha hit his first career home run to lead off the sixth, a blast into the left field bleachers.

Joe Blanton was spectacular aside from letting up a two-run homer to former Phillies prospect Jason Donald, who was a part of the Cliff Lee deal. Blanton went 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with eight strike outs.  Fausto Carmona got shelled for seven runs, five earned, in four innings off of nine hits.

Before the game, the Phillies announced that reliever Chad Durbin was placed on the 15 day disabled list.  Durbin suffered a strained right hamstring in Wednesday’s game.  In 35.1 innings this season, Durbin was 0-1 with a 3.31 ERA.  Reliever Nelson Figueroa was recalled to take Durbin’s roster spot. 

Doubles: Polanco (15). HR: Sardinha (1).

WP: Blanton (3-5). LP: Carmona (6-6).

Boxscore.

Phils Land Lee in Trade

Well the Phillies had their eyes set on Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays would not budge so the Phillies went straight to plan B. They nabbed another former Cy Young award winner in Cliff Lee from the Indians for a package of prospects. In the trade, the Phillies got the 2008 Cy Young winner and outfielder Ben Francisco for four prospects: Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Knapp.

Cliff Lee is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and a 6.34 K/9 this year. He has come back to form in his last five starts, pitching at least six innings and allowing no more than three runs. He also has thrown two complete games in that span. In four games versus the NL this year, he went 1-0 and didn’t allow more than three runs and went at least six innings, nothing four quality starts. He also had a complete game shut out versus St. Louis.

The Phillies were likely frustrated with the Blue Jays’ demands and gave up on Halladay so they went with the next best guy. Not only is Lee a great pitcher but he will add to the Phillies already solid rotation. The Phillies also succeeded in getting a great pitcher without coughing up Kyle Drabek and JA Happ.

I love this move for the above reasons. The Phillies now have a rock solid rotation along with Pedro Martinez and Rodrigo Lopez as back up plans. Also Brett Myers could be back but a bull pen spot is more likely than the rotation. With the addition of Lee, the rotation now probably looks like this going by when each respective pitcher has thrown:

Hamels
Happ
(Lopez is scheduled for tomorrow)
Lee
Blanton
Moyer

Overall this is a great trade and the Phillies are now instantly the best team in the National League in my opinion.

Trapped Between A Doc and a Hard Place

For the past few weeks, Phillies fans’ heads have been ready to explode with determining whether or not Roy Halladay would be worth the sacrifice of JA Happ. Halladay made himself more expensive, going a complete game versus Boston yesterday and improving to 11-3. Happ is making it harder to give up as he went at least seven innings for the fifth consecutive time yesterday to improve to 7-0. Here is a list of options the Phillies have:

1) Over pay a boat load of good prospects for Halladay.
2) In the over paying, include Happ or Kyle Drabek.
2) Pass on the chance for a Cy Young pitcher to keep the prospects and settle with Pedro Martinez.

In this post, I will go into detail of all three scenarios and where it will leave the Phillies. In conclusion, I will chose the best option.

The Phillies traded Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Dominic Brown, and Jason Knapp for Roy Halladay: This is the dream scenario for the Phillies. They get to keep a hold of Happ and Drabek along with top OF prospect Michael Taylor and catcher Lou Marson. The Jays get two good pitching prospects (but not the Phillies’ best), the short stop prospect they so eagerly wanted in Donald, and a great outfielder in Brown.

The Phillies get the former Cy Young winner and dominant Halladay for the fee of four cheap prospects. There is only one problem with this: it’s not realistic and most likely won’t happen. I would welcome this trade with an open heart but I already know not to get my hopes up as the Jays WANT Happ to be included in the deal.

Also the Phillies have been playing tremendous ball for the past two weeks and don’t want to mess with the team’s chemistry. With their current 6.5 game lead in the division, the Phillies might not need Halladay to help in a race that may not even be close. Also Halladay will need time to adjust playing the NL every start.

I will pass on this scenario.

The Phillies trade Happ/Drabek/both along with other prospects for Halladay: This already sounds like a terrible idea as it is the worst-case scenario. Drabek has some seriously nasty stuff in the minors. He is also only 21 and has the stock to be much better than Cole Hamels. He throws hard and has a filthy breaking ball. He was touted as the best pitcher in this year’s Future Stars Game last week.

Happ is major league ready and proven. He’s 7-0 with a 2.68 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and a 6.2 K/9. In his last five starts, he’s gone at least seven innings and has thrown two scoreless outings including one complete game. These two players alone are not worth giving up for Halladay.

I will pass on this scenario as well.

The deadline has past and the Phils do not make a move for Halladay: after the 2010 season (Halladay would be a FA), the Phillies will need to worry about signing Joe Blanton. They will also have to give a new contract to Happ and see Jamie Moyer possibly retire. Pedro Martinez will be gone after 2009 and Hamels will still be in for another year. If the Phillies don’t have Happ, Carrasco, or Drabek to fall back on and also keep Blanton, you will be looking at a very depleted rotation. It is hard to find good pitching in the free agent market unless you’re the Yankees.

Also in the field, Raul Ibanez is 37 and Jayson Werth is 30. Who knows how much longer they will be Phillies. In that case, holding onto Brown, Taylor, and John Mayberry Jr. seem to be smart decisions. Shane Victorino will also be available in the market but he is a player the Phillies will need to hold onto. Catcher can also be a concern so holding onto Marson will be important as well.

Not trading for Halladay is the way to go.

Phillies Close to Deal with Pedro

Todd Zolecki wrote that the Phillies are down in the Dominican Republic and they are nearing a deal with Pedro Martinez, reports say. Ruben Amaro Jr. has declined comment. The report came from this site, which unfortunately is in Spanish. It reports that he signed a $4 million deal but that’s not know if it’s with incentives or for how many years.

“We are trying to do what we can to add to our club, and if we feel at the end of the day Pedro is going to help us than we’ll make a run at him,” Amaro said Wednesday.

So what does Martinez bring to the table? Well if he is the only move the Phillies plan on making then Amaro is a complete jack ass. If Martinez is going to be the Phillies fifth starter and JA Happ will be the prime piece in a trade for Roy Halladay, then Amaro is a genius. A move like this is leaning hard on the latter and with Toronto scouting Happ and having interest in Jason Donald can only lead to good news.

Martinez is 214-99 lifetime with a 2.91 ERA. He last pitched in 2008 with the Mets, going 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, and 80 K’s in 20 starts (109 innings).

Jays Shopping Halladay

The thin market for pitchers just got thicker. Though I could see Halladay moving fall through, there will be a long line of teams with offers interested in former Cy Young pitcher. The Phillies will be one of those teams. I will show the Philly Inquirer article written by David Murphy with the details and then I will break down each part:

First, let’s take a look at what a team would be getting on the field:
1. Halladay is 32 years old.
2. From 2006-2008 he averaged 17 wins, 7 losses, a 3.22 ERA, 6.2 strikeouts and 1.6 walks per nine innings.
3. This season, he is 10-2 with a 2.79 ERA. Opponents are hitting .250 off of him.
4. Halladay is 17-8 with a 3.02 ERA in 35 career interleague appearances.
5. Halladay was on the disabled list twice with shoulder problems in 2004, and missed the second half of 2005 after breaking his leg. But he has been mostly healthy since, although he did spend time on the DL in 2007 after an appendectomy.
6. The Phillies coaching staff likes Halladay a lot.

Second let’s take a look at his contract:
1. Halladay is in the second year of a three-year, $40 million contract
2. He is scheduled to early $14.25 million this season, which means the Phillies would be adding roughly $7.125 million of payroll for the rest of this season.
3. Halladay is scheduled to earn $15.75 million in 2010, after which he will become a free agent.

Third, let’s take a look at the Phillies’ bargaining chips:
OF Dominic Brown: Rated by Baseball America as the organization’s top prospect, he is currently on the disabled list with a broken finger, but that shouldn’t limit his value. The 21-year-old left-handed hitting corner outfielder was hitting .299 with a .379 On Base Percentage with nine home runs, 38 RBI and 14 stolen bases at Class A Clearwater.

RHP Kyle Drabek: He has been tearing up Double-A Reading, and at just 21 years old may be on the verge of surpassing Carlos Carrasco as the organization’s top pitching prospect.

LHP J.A. Happ: Happ recently recorded his first career complete game shutout against the Blue Jays and has been fantastic the last two seasons. Scouts don’t think he has the upside of a Buchholz, but with five more years of club control and an impressive start to his career, he has value.

INF Jason Donald: He has battled injury and performance issues since his promotion to Triple-A, but he is still viewed as one of the Phillies’ better prospects.

C Lou Marson: Like Donald, has had a so-so year at Triple-A. But, also like Donald, he is the closest thing the organization has to a major-league-ready bat, and he plays a premium position.

OF Michael Taylor: You know all about him already. If you don’t, check out his stats at Double-A Reading.

RHP Carlos Carrasco: Kind of in the Gavin Floyd mold. Great stuff, but he still does not have the major league makeup. Then again, he is only 22 years old.

OF John Mayberry: Has drifted back and forth between the Phils and Lehigh Valley. Big-time power, but won’t be an everyday player in Philly for at least another year-and-a-half.

So here are some packages I’ll throw out there. You tell me which ones wouldn’t make sense for the Phillies:
1. Dominic Brown, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick, John Mayberry Jr.
2. Drabek, Jason Donald or Lou Marson, Andrew Carpenter, Player TBA
3. Drabek, J.A. Happ, John Mayberry Jr., Player TBA
4. Drabek, Michael Taylor, J.A. Happ, Player TBA
5. Dominic Brown, Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Kyle Kendrick

First Murphy broke down Halladay. Halladay is 32 but that doesn’t seem to be a factor at all. He will instantly become the ace on this team, making Cole Hamels the #2 which I think Hamels or anyone else on Philly’s side will have no problem with. His 10-2 record and 2.79 ERA will instantly be leading the Phillies. His numbers the last 3 years are also incredible. His numbers versus the NL (17-8; 3.02) show that he should have no problems switching to the National League. Halladay and the Phillies will be a match made in heaven.

Now looking at his contract, money should not be an issue here. The Phillies have the ability to pay the remaining $7.125 million for this season and $15.75 million for next season. He will be a FA after the 2010 season and if he and Philly see another ring during the next two seasons, I could see a contract keeping him here for more years to come.

Now to the players Murphy feels the Phillies should use in the trade. Based off Toronto’s needs, Lou Marson could be a target. And I can’t see any team not wanting the talented outfielder Dominic Brown. As far as pitching, the only player I do not want to part with is JA Happ. He is pitching well and will continue to pitch well. Though sacrificing him will instantly make the top of the rotation better, their back end will be tremendously weak. I have no problem with coughing up either Carlos Carrasco or Kyle Drabek as long as it isn’t both. Throwing Andrew Carpenter’s name in the mix is also not a bad idea.

Murphy throws in some good ideas for packages and the one I agree with the most is the second. The first thing that attracted me to that idea was that there is no trading of Happ. I thought the fifth was more of a dream option as it is the weakest proposed. Back to his second option, Jason Donald or Marson are going to be the offensive kickers in that deal. Both have great potential offensively. Now the deal breaking piece will be Drabek or Brown. I liked him choosing Drabek because it will allow Philly to hold onto Carrasco, who has already shown good potential. Drabek is their top pitching prospect and therefor will help counter the loss of Halladay for Toronto.

He also threw in Andrew Carpenter which was not a bad move as an insurance piece. Now he added a player TBA and I would make that John Mayberry. Mayberry strikes out too much but shows great offensive and defensive skill. Brown is probably going to be the better all-around player than Mayberry and Mayberry’s major league experience could be a plus for Toronto.

There are a lot of options out there in going for Halladay. As long as he keeps his Cy Young form and the Phillies don’t give up too much, I will have no problem in bringing him here.

Join Liberty Bell Sports forums and discuss with other fans your opinions on trading for Halladay.

Jason Donald: the future of the Phillies.

It’s been another busy week in Phillies news before Opening Day on April 5th versus the Atlanta Braves. Probably the hottest topic of the Phillies blogs has been Jason Donald, the middle infielding prospect for the Phillies.

The Phillies Nation has this to offer on him:

The 24-year-old infield prospect had three hits yesterday, raising his
Grapefruit League average to .379. Add these numbers (plus his 1-for-3, HR line
against Team USA) to his recent U.S. Olympic team and Arizona Fall League totals
and Donald is hitting an oustanding .395 (57-for-144) with 7 HR and 26 RBI.
Since being called up to Reading, Donald is hitting .332 (168-for-506) with 21
HR and 80 RBI. Sure it’s double-A and triple-A pitching he’s facing most of the
time, but one can’t deny the steady – and often dominant – bat Donald is
carrying.

They also bring up a great point about him being behind great infield talent in Chase Utley at 2nd, Jimmy Rollins at SS, and Pedro Feliz at 3rd. He will most likely stay at Lehigh Valley in the AAA and get called up as a utility player.

The Beerleaguer brought up a similar issue and has this to say on where or how to play him:

While there’s little question over his stick, where to play him remains key,
especially with starting third baseman Pedro Feliz on the road to recovery.
While Charlie Manuel has been impressed with Donald’s glove, he hasn’t put in
much time at any position besides shortstop over his career.

This kid was going to get a lot of reps with Utley and Feliz shelved for Spring Training. Unfortunately for Donald, both Utley and Feliz look to be ready by Opening Day. Feliz is still a little bit iffy but we will only know in about three weeks when the Fightin’s come back home to Philly.

Phuture Phils had this final prediction for his fate:

I personally think he’s going to be one of the last cuts from the squad and sent
to AAA where he’ll play both 2B and 3B, mostly 3B.

Also in other news, former Philly Inquirer writer and now MLB.com writer Todd Zolecki did a little story on Ryan Howard’s foul line drive through the Bright House Field press box. The ball flew between Phillies baseball communications employees Greg Casterioto and Kevin Gregg. The ball was hit so hard that it put a hole in the drywall in the back of the press box. Not only did the ball dent the drywall, you can actually see the seams of the ball imprinted on the wall. Ryno even owned up to his damage by signing the hole. Photo from Zo’s page.

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