Posted tagged ‘Jimmy Rollins’

Phillies Grab Cliff Lee

July 30, 2009
Cliff Lee (McIsaac, Getty)

Cliff Lee (McIsaac, Getty)

The trade of Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp for the 2008 Cy Young award winner, Cliff Lee, and an outfielder, Ben Francisco, should easily stabilize the Phillies pitching rotation and almost make them a lock to come out of the National League and play for the World Series.  Most people wanted Roy Halladay as opposed to Cliff Lee, but the cost for Lee was significantly less and he brings almost as much as Halladay would have.  

Jason Donald, a shortstop, wasn’t going to crack the Phillies line-up for a few years because of Jimmy Rollins, making him dispensable.  Carlos Carrasco, a strong pitcher who lacks intensity and consistency, became expendable with the emergence of young pitching talent Kyle Drabek, Kyle Kendrick and JA Happ.  Jason Knapp is a hard throwing 18 year-old prospect that could develop as a solid reliever or even starting pitcher, but the Phillies could grab another one of those type prospects next season.  Finally, Lou Marson may have been the only player that could cause a hole in the Phillies organization.  Marson, a catcher, was the heir to the duties behind home plate for the Phillies.  Keep in mind; the Phillies have done a solid job filling the catcher hole with a middle talent veteran, Carlos Ruiz.  The Phillies will be all right at catcher without Marson.  From my perspective, the Phillies gave up nothing to get Cliff Lee, so this trade was a no brainer.  In fact, the Phillies kept their three best minor league prospects – Dominic Brown, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek. 

When I saw the Phillies put together the package for Cliff Lee with the Indians, I thought they were trying to get the Blue Jays to drop their asking price for Halladay.  I guess I was wrong OR the Blue Jays are very stubborn, pricing themselves out of the market for moving their high salaried player.  Regardless, the Phillies got a high level pitcher.

With the acquisition of Lee, this does bring up some issues with the Phillies current pitching rotation.  Obviously, Cole Hamels remains your number 1 starter with Cliff Lee assuming the number 2 spot.   This leaves a few pitchers for three spots – Pedro Martinez, JA Happ, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Rodrigo Lopez and Antonio Bastardo.  Looking at this list, Bastardo either goes back to the minors or pitches out of the pen.  Lopez can make his last start tonight and return to pitching out the pen or head to the triple A.  Moyer leads the Phillies in wins and is a solid veteran presence.  Joe Blanton has excellent experience and has pitched well.  JA Happ, a rookie, has pitched some impressive games and looks like he should be a rotation guy.  Who knows what to do with this rotation?  With a four man rotation heading into the playoffs, assuming that Pedro gets his form back, you send out Hamels, Lee, Martinez and Blanton and I guess if I needed a fifth starter, it would have to be JA Happ.  I think Jamie Moyer is just going to break down by the end of the season and players will figure out how to hit his junk.  Luckily, I am not the pitching coach or manager of the Phillies, so I won’t have to deal with these decisions.  However, I do get to complain or comment on the decision.

The Phillies went out and made a great move to help their ball club.  I look forward to all the great things to come this season.


Weekend Home Runs

July 27, 2009
Chase Utley Goes Yard

Chase Utley Goes Yard

After a disappointing start to the Phillies’ series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the “Fightins” came back with two powerful wins, including a 4 homerun outburst in yesterday’s game.  In fact, Jimmy Rollins, void of anything resembling his former self of the last three seasons, went yard in back to back games, with a grand slam just to prove he still has it.  Of course, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez got their turns to hit the long ball. 

Regardless of all the homeruns and power hitting, it is quite satisfying to know that the Phillies can bounce back from a tough loss.  Equally comforting is that the bottom of the pitching rotation got the job done over the last two games.  Even the bullpen has slightly steadied – of course with big leads, it really doesn’t matter. 

The Phillies are still in negotiation with the Blue Jays for the Roy Halladay services.  It appears the Blue Jays are asking for the farm, when the Phillies want to only give up the barn.  Our take here at Philatude is – you have to do whatever it takes to win another World Series.  I’d be satisfied giving up prospects now to win another championship.  If it means overpaying with prospects to get a pure number 1 pitcher, I would do it.  Imagine a rotation of Hamels, Halladay, Moyer, Blanton and a shadow of his former self, Pedro Martinez heading down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs.  I am assuming that JA Happ has to go to the Blue Jays for Halladay.  It would be a tough rotation to get any traction on and put together decent consecutive games.  Simply put – the Phillies should get Halladay to give them the best shot at winning the Series.

Unless a monumental collapse occurs, the Phillies should be in control of their destiny.

Phillies Head into the All-Star Break Winners in 8 of 9

July 13, 2009


Surprisingly, the inconsistent Phillies won 8 of their last 9 and returned to their tough, resilient and determined style of playing ball.  This weekend’s sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates featured strong pitching, both from starters and relievers, a come from behind victory and offensive prowess from all players, including their lower line-up hitters.  

Still impressive is J.A. Happ.  I was concerned he would be inconsistent and timid during some of his starts.  He has been one of the Phillies best pitchers and a guy that should be trusted on the mound.  He pitched a solid game yesterday and got the needed run support from his teammates.  Happ will be a mainstay in the Phillies rotation.

So, now that the All-Star break is here, the Phillies have a chance to reflect on their “up and down” first half of the season.  Granted, they are in first place by 4 games, but imagine if they didn’t have that ridiculous home field slump – they could be up by 10 games in the division and have the best record in baseball.  There is nothing wrong with striving more.  Jimmy Rollins’ play is still concerning.  He has hit better, but still doesn’t have his game back to last season’s form.  I think he is on cruise control and relying too heavily on the fact that he has been a MVP.  He needs to play with the same style and determination that got him to the MVP level.  With a revamped Rollins, a healthy Ibanez and a rested and relaxed team after the All-Star break, the Phillies have the opportunity to repeat as champs.

Of course, if the Phillies sign Pedro Martinez (so the rumor goes), all bets are off.

Phillies Pitching Steps Up – Finally

July 6, 2009
Jimmy Rollins - Photo by Tom Mihalek

Jimmy Rollins - Photo by Tom Mihalek

After a much needed 3 game sweep of the New York Mets, the Phillies sit in 1st place 4 games ahead of the rival Mets, but only 1 game ahead of the surging Florida Marlins.  Let’s remember that we have a whole division to win, not just to win over the Mets.

Anyway, the Phillies got excellent starts from call-up Rodrigo Lopez, wily veteran Jamie Moyer and rotation main stay, Joe Blanton.  Lopez went 7 innings, but got tremendous run support from the Phillies offense.  Moyer was the winner in a 4-1 game that saw Jimmy Rollins have a huge 2 RBI double to help seal the victory.  In yesterday’s series finale, Joe Blanton pitches shut-out innings before the bull-pen completes the victory.  It’s important to note that the offense did just enough to allow the pitchers to win.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the pitchers were consistent and powerful in the same games that offense scores bunches of runs?

A few important notes about this weekend’s series win.  First, Brad Lidge picked up a few saves and pitched very well. He didn’t get into a jam and he threw hard, fast and in control.  Second, Jimmy Rollins, battling a ridiculous slump, came through with big hits in two games.  Finally, the Phillies players realized that they have a good squad and should be playing with more confidence.  I hope that this weekend’s success continues and helps keep the Phillies in the W column.

Oh and by the way – David Wright is SO overrated.  If he didn’t play in New York, he would just be another third baseman with potential.

Winning on the Road

June 24, 2009

Phillies Logo

Phillies Logo

After a horrendous home stand, the Phillies got back into the win column with a drubbing of the World Series runner-ups, Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, this win came on the road.

Regardless of this most recent win, with an excellent offensive display, there are concerns about this Phillies team. We’ve discussed their faltering bullpen (overworked, not focused, an illusion last season, etc…), their inability to win at home (appearance of lazy and callous play) and their overall undetermined attitude for winning. I think the first two problems can be easily fixed. They can sure up their starting pitching with a trade or expecting more out of their younger pitchers. Winning at home should come more easily once they are able to realize that they can beat any team in the league anywhere with the appropriate focus.

Now the biggest problem is their attitude towards winning. During the World Series run, the Phillies exuded confidence, power and determination. Right now, they appear to be playing the card: “We won already, we just have to get there and we have nothing left to prove.” This attitude has to be fixed immediately. Charlie Manuel is doing everything he can to get this team to win (except some of his relief pitching decisions). The leaders on this Phillies team – Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard – have to lead by example and really show their teammates that they want another World Series.

Regardless of all their problems, the Phillies still hold a lead in their division and have plenty of time to turn things around and play consistent baseball. I think they can do it.

PhilaTude’s First Phillies Post

May 11, 2009

Jimmy Rollins, (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Jimmy Rollins, (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Yes, here at PhilaTude, we are Phillies fans.  It hasn’t always been easy being Phillies fans, but we stuck with them and got rewarded with a World Series Championship in 2008.  In fact, there was a rough period in Phillies world when it was better to watch the Braves on TBS play good baseball than watch the Phillies suffer.

Today’s main point of a Phillies post is to discuss the potential of Jimmy Rollins sliding down in the batting order.  Manager Charlie Manuel hinted at this to help dig Rollins out of his slump.  I’m all for it.  I hope Jimmy is too.  There is no reason he shouldn’t be.  He has played in the majors 9 years, won an MVP award and has a World Series ring.  He has played multiple times in the All-Star game and is the toast of Philadelphia.  Rollins should do whatever his team needs him to do.  I’m not sure how Rollins will react, but my suspicion is that he’ll slide down in the batting order, but he won’t be happy.

If Rollins doesn’t want to move in the line-up, he better figure out quickly how to get out of his slump to help his team.

Oh yeah, the Phillies pitching staff isn’t really helping to win games, either.