Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: November 2011

Phils part ways with Mathieson

The Phillies have released relief pitcher Scott Mathieson Tuesday afternoon, the team reported.

Mathieson was released to pursue an opportunity to play in Asia according to the team. The move puts the Phillies at 39 players on the 40-man roster. It leaves room for them to lock up one more player before the Rule 5 draft.

Mathieson’s career never really took off for the Phillies. He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Phillies.

His major league career started in 2006 but Tommy John surgery sidelines the hard throwing right hander for a couple years and he began his journey back to the majors.

He finally returned to the majors in 2010, allowing three runs, two earned, in 1 2/3 innings pitched. He got more time in 2011, pitching five total shut out innings.

Mathieson had been a hard thrower his entire career. Even after the Tommy John surgery, Mathieson still throws in the mid-90’s and can be a valuable asset to a team if he can only control his location. Those accuracy problems are the reason he was never a mainstay with the Phillies the last two years.


Phils contacted Wagner early in off season

Just a little off season fluff to pass the time while the real news awaits your eyes.

Apparently, before the Phillies even made plays for their former closer Ryan Madson or newly signed Jonathan Papelbon, they made a call to former closer Billy Wagner.

Wagner, 40, told the Phillies: “I do not have an itch. I’m done. I’ve got a major role on a JV baseball team. I’m JV baseball coach.”

Philadelphia wasn’t the only team to contact Wagner, who didn’t pitch at all in 2011. His final season in 2010 with the Braves was one of the finest the left-hander ever had, closing out 37 games with a 1.43 ERA in 69 games.

Because Wagner was reportedly contacted so early in the off season, it isn’t known if the Phillies sought him out as a closer, a set up man or another competent left-hander along with Antonio Bastardo.

Wagner played for the Phillies in 2004 and 2005 before an ugly divorce with the fans and team.

Phils offer arbitration to Madson, Rollins, Ibanez

In a move to get compensation for possibly losing three crucial free agents this off season, the Phillies offered arbitration to closer Ryan Madson, short stop Jimmy Rollins and left fielder Raul Ibanez.

All three have until December 7 to accept or decline the arbitration. If they accept, they will sign a one-year deal with the dollar amount determined through arbitration. If they decline and sign elsewhere, the Phillies will be compensated for the loss.

Both Rollins and Madson are considered elite free agents. If they sign elsewhere, the Phillies will receiver two picks: one being a sandwich pick, and the other depending on where the signing team’s first-round selection falls – if it’s a top 15 pick, the Phils get a 2nd rounder. If it’s below, the Phils get that pick. In this case, they’d hope a good team signs one of the free agents.

With the Phillies signing Jonathan Papelbon last week, it looks like the Phils will be getting compensation from Madson, who will be seeking a nice pay day elsewhere.

Read more of this post

Tallying the TTB preseason predictions

If you guys remember, back in April, a majority of the TTB staff submitted their preseason predictions for the season.

The predictions consisted of division winners, Wild Cards, LCS and World series winners, and MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year winners for each league. With the latter five being recently named, we have figured out a grading system for each category.

1 point for every division winner
2 points for every LCS winner
3 points for the World Series winner
0-5 grading system for each of the five individual awards (0=awful; 5=correct)

So here are the results from back in March:

Read more of this post

Winter Classic jerseys revealed

Photo courtesy of Dave Isaac

The Checking Line confirmed the leaked jerseys a couple weeks ago.

Today, they were made official at 11:30 ET.

The jerseys are in fact very classy, including an already popular accessory: the laces at the neck. The jerseys will go on sale at the Wells Fargo Center at 1 PM.

More pictures after the jump:

Read more of this post

Phillies trade for Wigginton

(David Zalubowski/Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLC)

Alden Gonzalez of just tweeted that the Colorado Rockies announced they traded Ty Wigginton to Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

This is an incredible move for the Phillies, who had their sights set on Michael Cuddyer. Wigginton is a very similar player and would come at a much cheaper price than Cuddyer.

Wigginton plays the corner infield and outfield position, giving the Phils a replacement for Ryan Howard at first as well as someone who can play third base and left field to spell Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and become a replacement for Raul Ibanez.

Read more of this post

Phils fill out 40-man roster; leave off James

Today is the deadline for teams to complete their 40-man roster before the Rule-5 Draft next month.

A player eligible for the Rule-5 Draft are players signed at 19 or older with four years of minor-league service time and players signed at 18 or younger with five years of minor-league time.

So in order to fill out the 40-man roster, the Phils added right-handed pitcher Phillippe Aumont, catcher Sebastian Vaille, left-hander Jake Deikman and outfielder Tyson Gillies.

Missing from that list is outfielder Jiwan James. As Matt Gelb pointed out, James is 22 and has not played a game above the Single A class. That is the reason the Phils most likely left him off the roster, feeling he has a good chance of not being drafted due to his lack of higher-level experience. A player like Gillies had a good shot at being drafted.

The Phillies still do have one more spot left on the roster. Guys like right-hander Scott Mathieson, catcher Erik Kratz, infielder John Bowker and infielder Harold Garcia (torn ACL last season) are all at a risk of being taken in the draft.

Personally, Erik Kratz should not be let go. Mathieson still has no control, Bowker can’t hit and Garcia is 25, damaged and hasn’t even gotten past AA.

In defense of Kershaw over Halladay; Phillies fans need not fret


Photo via ESPN

John Shields is a contributor on Team to Beat as well as a writer for The Philly Phans. Here is his latest up at TPP.

Last night MLB announced the winner of the 2011 Cy Young in the National League.

The recipient of baseball’s highest award for pitching this season? Lefty Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yes, the same young superstar that finished the season an impressive 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA while pitching for a team that finished 82-80.

Winning 20+ games with a team that is “average” is hard to do. Toronto finished 81-81 with nobody over 15 wins. An even more impressive stat: Kershaw won over a quarter of their games.

To many in this area, this was an outrage! a shocker! People were furious that our beloved ace got robbed. As for a small amount of fans in this area, myself included, there was no surprise involved. Kershaw was the best pitcher in the National League this year and earned this award.

Read the rest of Shield’s post at The Philly Phans.

Phils sign Schneider to one-year deal

The Phillies and catcher Brian Schneider agreed to a one-year deal.

The deal is said to be worth $800,000 and could reach $1 million in incentives tied to games played.

This will be Schneider’s third season with the Phillies as their back up catcher to Carlos Ruiz.

Read more of this post

Kershaw wins 2011 NL Cy Young; Halladay, Lee round out top three

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The race was down to four competitors, unlike the American League in which Justin Verlander took home the AL Cy Young in a unanimous decision.

Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee and Ian Kennedy all have had seasons to make a unanimous decision impossible. Only one of those four men was going to be named the 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner.

That man was Kershaw.

Kershaw got 27 first place votes, good for 207 points. Halladay finished in second with 133 points (four 1st place votes) and Lee came in third with 90 points (no first place votes). Kennedy got the other first place vote, finishing in fourth.

Kershaw won the pitching Triple Crown, the first to do that since Jake Peavy in 2007. Ironically, Peavy also won the Cy Young that year.

Kershaw was 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strike outs. He also had an incredible 0.98 WHIP which was also best in the majors.

Last year’s winner, Halladay, went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA. Teammate Cliff Lee had a similarly incredible season, going 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA, boosted by an incredible June and August.

Arizona’s Kennedy tied Kershaw for the league lead in wins but had a significantly lower ERA and strike out total to the other pitchers. Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) finished in 5th, giving the Phills three starters in the top five.