Three More Years: Flyin’ Hawaiian locked in thru 2012

Posted by mattsmith on 22nd January 2010

Shane Victorino, along with Joe Blanton, is here to stay awhile.

The All-Star center fielder joined Blanton in signing a three-year contract extension Friday, wiping out his final year of arbitration eligibility plus two years of free agency.

Victorino’s contract will pay him $22 million over three years.

The Phillies’ last arbitration case is Carlus Ruiz, whom they are expected to sign to a multi-year deal.

Tags: Carlos Ruiz, Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies, Shane Victorino
Posted in Phillies news | No Comments »

Blanton inks three-year, $24M deal

Posted by mattsmith on 21st January 2010

Joe Blanton and the Phillies agreed to terms on a three-year, $28 million contract extension Thursday.

Blanton would have been a free agent after this season. He was seeking $10.25 million in final year of arbitration.

Tags: Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies
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Phillies talking extensions with Victorino, Ruiz, Blanton

Posted by mattsmith on 21st January 2010

The Phillies had been in talks with Shane Victorino regarding a multi-year deal. Now, it appears, both Carlos Ruiz and Joe Blanton are being targeted for extensions, too.

All three players are arbitration eligible.

Blanton would be a free agent after this season, while Victorino wouldn’t be a free agent until after the 2011 campaign. Ruiz, 30, is arbitration eligible for the first time.

Tags: Carlos Ruiz, Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies, Shane Victorino
Posted in Hot Stove, Phillies news | No Comments »

Blanton looking for fat salary

Posted by mattsmith on 21st January 2010

It was reported Tuesday and confirmed Wednesday that Joe Blanton is commanding a ridiculous salary increase for the 2010 season.

The burly right-hander is seeking $10.25 million. The Phillies countered with $7.5 million.

Is Blanton a workhorse? Yes. Was he arguably the Phillies’ best starting pitcher for the ENTIRE SEASON in 2009? Yes. Should the Phillies offer him an attractive raise from his $5.457 million last year? Yes.

Should it be $10.25? No, but somewhere between $6.5-7.0 million seems right.

Is Joe Blanton on the same planet as Tim Lincecum, who is seeking $13 million? Absolutely not.

I can see Heavy B’s positioning here. The Phils basically paid Brett Myers roughly $10 million a year for three seasons, and isn’t Blanton better than Myers??? Yep.

At the same time, the fact is, Joe Blanton is not worth that much.

Tags: Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies
Posted in Hot Stove, Phillies news | No Comments »

Is Pedro coming back to Philly?

Posted by mattsmith on 6th December 2009

Pedro Martinez remains interested in a return to the Phillies.

The three-time Cy Young award winner told the Associated Press Saturday, “(The Phillies) treated me very well and they were very professional. They will always have the door open.”

While the Phillies will passively attempt to upgrade their starting rotation, the focus during the offseason is the bullpen. As it stands now, the Phillies’ rotation consists of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton next year. It’s very possible that Jamie Moyer returns, if deemed healthy, or top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek wins a job out of spring training.

Chances Pedro is a Phillie next year are slim and none.

Also, I absolutely do not expect them to empty the farm system for Roy Halladay or sign second-tier starting pitchers, such as Jason Marquis or Randy Wolf …

Tags: Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies
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World Series Game 4: Yankees 7, Phillies 4

Posted by mattsmith on 2nd November 2009

The Dud

Repeat offender.

Brad Lidge gave up three runs — all with two outs — in the ninth inning. Game over.

The Story/The Turning Point

Lidge allowed Johnny Damon to battle back from a 1-2 count. With two outs and nobody on base, Lidge kept firing fastball after fastball — completely neglecting his slider — until Damon finally whacked one to the outfield for a base hit. That opened the door for the Yankees…

Damon stole second base and kept running to third. Nobody was covering third because Feliz was manning second base as Jimmy Rollins was on the other side of the bag, playing the shift against Mark Teixeira. Lidge SHOULD have ran to third to take the place of Feliz. Instead, Damon made it to third uncontested.

Huge mistake.

Teixeira walked and Alex Rodriguez delivered the big blow — a run-scoring double to left field. Jorge Posada put the nail in the coffin with a two-run single.

Trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, Chase Utley smashed a solo homer off CC Sabathia to cut the deficit to one. Pedro Feliz hit the game-tying homer off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth.

It was at that moment you thought the Phillies would pull it out and even the series. Even more encourgaging was seeing Lidge breeze through the first two batters in the ninth.

Those damn Yankees are good.

You can hate them all you want, but you got to respect them. They’ve had an answer for everything in this series, sans Game 1.

You can question what the hell Lidge was doing throwing Damon fastball after fastball when his slider was working so well. But, at the same time, the Yankees find ways to get it done, much like the Phillies had done earlier in the playoffs.

Also, you can question why Joe Blanton started in place of Cliff Lee. I wrote on Saturday that Charlie Manuel opting to go with Blanton over Lee could result in a short series. It sure is turning out that way.

To his credit, Blanton kept the Phillies in the game. He allowed four runs over six innings. Not Cliff Lee-like, but he was solid. Sabathia was there for the taking, but the Phillies did not capitalize. One too many guys were left stranded on base …

Again, I can’t give enough credit to the Yankees. They are a championship team and are the better team right now. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that and it doesn’t mean we can”t make an epic comeback.

The Next Game

Lee pitches against AJ Burnett in Game 5 Monday night. I would love to see one last dominant performance by Lee to send the series to New York. I can’t stand the thought of seeing them win it on our home turf.

Then again, I’m not ready to count out the Phillies. This is a resilent team. Maybe Lee can take the life out of the Yankees’ bats.

There’s no sense in giving up now.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Joba Chamberlain, Joe Blanton, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Phillies, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | No Comments »

WORLD SERIES GAMEDAY: The Critical One

Posted by mattsmith on 1st November 2009

World Series Game 4

Phillies vs. Yankees

7:57 PM EST at Citizens Bank Park

Ryan Howard needs to heat up in Game 4

Ryan Howard needs to heat up in Game 4

No analysis is necessary. This is the Phillies’ first must-win situation in the postseason since the 2007 NLDS, when they trailed Colorado, 2-0.

Actually, the Phillies hadn’t allowed their opponent to win two games in ANY series since the 2007 NLDS.

But… who really cares about that…

Whether we like it or not, Joe Blanton is taking the bump. CC Sabathia throws on three-days rest for the Yankees.

While Cliff Lee would be the  preferred choice, Blanton has been consistently strong all season. He hasn’t pitched much in the postseason, and got his first start in the NLCS, allowing three runs over six innings. That would be the type of outing to expect tonight  for the Phillies to have hope. Blanton has to be workmanlike and keep his team in the game.

Sabathia hasn’t pitched in Philadelphia since Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS. We all remember what happened …

We’ll see what happens tonight…

Tags: CC Sabathia, Joe Blanton, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | No Comments »

This World Series could be over… fast

Posted by mattsmith on 31st October 2009

I hate to sound like a Negadelphian…

I have major issues with Charlie Manuel’s decision to start Joe Blanton in Game 4.

Imagine for a second that Cole Hamels gets murdered in Game 3 and the Phillies fall behind in the series, 2-1. So, for Game 4, you’re entrusting Blanton to beat CC Sabathia??

Oh no.

Cliff Lee MUST GO IN GAME 4!

If the Yankees beat Hamels, Blanton will be relied on to save the Phillies’ season. With Lee going in Game 4, he can pitch Game 7, as well.

Cliff Lee must throw more than two games for the Phillies to win the World Series.
Cliff Lee must throw more than two games for the Phillies to win the World Series.

Instead, Lee’s going to pitch the maximum of two games, while the Yankees’ ace will throw in three games. I’m sorry, Charlie, but Lee has to pitch more than two games in the World Series. He’s been the best pitcher in the playoffs. WE CANNOT SAVE OUR BULLETS!

Yes, Lee has NEVER thrown on three days rest, but so stinkin’ what?? This is the World Series. Leave him out there until his arm falls off.

Instead, Manuel is taking a HUGE risk by not matching Lee with Sabathia in Game 4.  And it could be lights out for the Phillies in a hurry, all because Manuel is worried about his ace pitching on short rest.

A big Philly boooooooooooooooooo to this move, Chuck.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009, Phillies commentary | No Comments »

Blanton gets Game 4 nod over Lee

Posted by mattsmith on 31st October 2009

COURTESY OF  NLEASTCHATTER.COM

(LONG WORK DAY = MINIMAL BLOGGING)

According to the Associated Press, Charlie Manuel has had a change of heart and decided to go with Joe Blanton in Game 4 of the World Series.

Manuel, concerned for Lee, said, “I don’t think he’s ready for it on three days’ rest. I think you’re taking a chance on really pushing him.”

He went on to say, “I think Blanton fits for us because I think we want to keep Happ right now in the bullpen, especially kind of in the middle where he could do some innings. And also, Joe pitched last year in the World Series, and he’s got a little bit more experience.”

In his career Blanton is 0-3 with a 8.18 ERA versus the Yankees. The last time he faced the Yankees was June 12, 2008 as a player for the Oakland Athletics with whom he squared off against Andy Pettite in a game he lost, 4-1.

His line was 6.2 IP 6H 4ER  3BB 2K.

Tags: Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009 | No Comments »

To start or not to start Cole Hamels… that is the question

Posted by mattsmith on 23rd October 2009

Who are you?
“Who are you?”

I just heard an ESPN Radio report that Charlie Manuel is “leaning” toward starting Cole Hamels in Game 2 of the World Series.

Is that the right decision?

Some fans would prefer not to see the lefty at all in the World Series. Um, well, what are you going to do with him? Leave him off the roster? Put him in the bullpen? Nah.

I don’t think Hamels has been Adam Eaton in the playoffs. Yes, he’s had his struggles, but the dude hasn’t been awful.

The best option, in my opinion, is letting Hamels take the mound in Game 3. Cliff Lee is the obvious Game 1 starter. Joe Blanton should pitch Game 2. I like Hamels pitching at home because that would take some of the pressure off (I hope). Pedro Martinez should get the nod in Game 4.

J.A. Happ hasn’t proved that he is ready for the big stage. I think he’s more valuable coming out of the bullpen to face left-handed hitters.

Obviously, the rotation isn’t set in stone, but there’s no possible way Hamels is left out…

Tags: Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, World Series
Posted in Phillies Playoffs 2009, Phillies commentary | 1 Comment »