Monthly Archives: July 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Carrasco scratched from start; reportedly in deal for Lee

LEHIGH VALLEY — Carlos Carracso has been scratched from his start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. There is no indication that he is hurt. Jason Donald and Lou Marson have been taken out of the starting lineup as well.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that a deal will happen between the Phillies and Indians, sending Cliff Lee to Philadelphia for Carrasco, Marson, and Donald, along with pitching prospect Jason Knapp.

Knapp, who will turn 19 on August 31 has been compared to Roy Halladay by one scout, who called the 6-foot-5, 215-pound righty a “Halladay clone.”

The deal reportedly isn’t imminent, but could happen before the Phils game in Arizona tonight.

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Filed under Breaking News, Shay Roddy

He was one of the good guys

[Ed. Note: Yeah, ussually we try to keep this site about baseball, but Jim Johnson was a very special man in Philly so I thought I’d share this story I wrote with you]

Andy Reid used the words sincere, direct and honest to describe defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who passed away to melanoma around 5:45 this afternoon.

But perhaps Coach Reid forgot Johnson’s greatest trait. The one that made him stand-out from every other defensive coordinator– fearlessness.

Jim Johnson was the most fearless football coach I’ve ever had the privilege to watch.

I think one game tells his story best. It was a game that Pro-Football Hall of Famer Ray Didinger reminded me of earlier this afternoon. A 2007 Sunday night loss to New England, one of the league’s great offensive powerhouses.

For the entire season, teams played New England scared. They didn’t blitz. They played a cautious, lazy defense.

But Johnson came in with his fearless approach, blitzing nearly every play. And it worked; Brady felt the pressure. The Eagles defense gave them a chance to pull the upset of the year.

It didn’t turn out that way though, with troubles offensively. The Eagles lost 31-28. But Johnson’s defense was of no fault.

Though Johnson’s scheme didn’t win that game for him it was tried by other teams around the league, most notably by Johnson’s former understudy, Steve Spagnuolo in Super Bowl XLII, where Spagnuolo’s Giants went on to shock the world, beating the undefeated Patriots.

He went in and tried something unprecedented. He was fearless and it made him great.

Off the field he was a great person too.

He shaped not only the football lives of so many of his defensive students, but their real lives as well.

He kept them focused on one collective goal- winning.

“There’s been no finer coach or man than Jim Johnson,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said Tuesday night. “He was just an incredible gem from Day One.”

And that just about sums it up.

Jim Johnson was one of the good guys.

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Lee could be Phils’ deadline solution

So much has been made of the talks between J.P. Ricciarddi and Ruben Amaro, Jr. about bringing Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. In fact, too much. Philadelphians have obsessed over this “baseball god” and “savior” for weeks now. But as the deadline inches closer, maybe it’s time for Amaro to move on. The price for Halladay is just too steep.

“If the Phillies think for one minute that they’re going to get [Halladay] for anything other than top dollar, they’d better go get Cliff Lee,” a baseball executive told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

So maybe Amaro should move on to someone a little cheaper. Someone who could be of similar value to Halladay, but not quite as elite. Maybe Amaro should take a look at Lee.

Lee, who’ll be 31 next month, is a two time Cy Young Award Winner and  proven pitcher, who could bolster the Phillies deep into the playoffs. And he won’t come at too steep of a cost.

He seems to be the perfect fit.

Though accomplished pitchers always come with a price-tag, Lee might only cost you pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, as apposed to Drabek and lefty J.A. Happ, as the Blue Jays demanded.

An Indians scout (as well as a Blue Jays scout) was in Reading tonight, where Drabek improved to 7-1, going seven strong innings.

CSNPhilly.com Phillies beat writer and friend of Phillie Phanatics, John Finger talked to Drabek after the game about all of the rumors flying around. “It’s a little weird,” Drabek said. “I didn’t think it would happen like this, but I’m trying not to think about it. I just go out there and pitch.”

But weird or not, the end may be near for Drabek, as he’d be the logical piece in a trade for Lee.

Drabek wouldn’t complete the deal though, and another likely piece would be Carlos Carrasco. Assistant General Manager Chuck Lamar told Dave Murphy from the Philadelphia Daily News that the organization holds Carrasco in high regard.

“He’s one of the top pitching prospects, not only in our organization, but in all of minor league baseball,” Lamar said.

“He’s thrown the curve ball almost exclusively since we signed him. He’s one of those unique guys who can spin the ball, and he can throw both (the slider and the curve).”

Lamar said he has seen an improvement in Carrasco’s ability to pitch inside, an art that takes many pitchers a long time to master.

“It never seems to come easy to anybody,” Lamar said. “Carlos has adapted quicker than we thought he would. And I know in his last couple of starts he’s done a good job of challenging a guy inside.”

But with Carrasco and Drabek highly regarded by the organization, you can’t help but wonder if Amaro will be willing to pull the trigger.

It’s a high reward trade with the risk of losing some future greats. Count on Amaro to do what’s right. He’s been dead on so far.

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Halladay comes at a cost

He’s one of the greats. He could be the missing link in a potential-filled Phillies team. He could be the key to winning another World Series. But, just like any great commodity, he comes at a cost.

As rumors continue swirling regarding Roy Halladay, the Cy Young award winning ace, coming to Philadelphia, excitement continues to build. But just might that excitement be a bit premature?

The Blue Jays aren’t going to give him away.

According to the most recent reports, sources are saying that Halladay will cost the Phillies J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek, and Dominic Brown. Now it’s up to the Phillies to take the deal or counter.

Manager Charlie Manuel addressed the situation today, when reporters asked him if Halladay was worth the Jay’s asking price. “I like Drabek and the basic reason I say that is, when I look at him, the style of pitcher that he is, I look at his upside. I look at his tools. I look at the kind of pitcher he is – I call him a drop and drive pitcher – and I think he’s on the order of Nolan Ryan or Tom Seaver or Colon, guys like that with a real strong core, strong legs, get a big push off the rubber to produce power. It’s a style that usually makes for a long career. That’s what I see.”

Aside from Drabek, Happ would also be a significant loss to the Phils rotation. He’s been the steadiest of the Phils starters with a 7-1 record, trumping ace Cole Hamels (6-5) and every other Phils starter.

Bottom line is, you can’t ask much more from a pitcher than what Happ is giving you now. Halladay says he doesn’t want to sign an extension so he’s only good for a year-and-a-half. Happ is showing potential to be great for a long time.

Why trade the farm to get a pitcher who may only be a tad better than the one you’re giving up?

The Phils have what it takes now to be a powerhouse for a long time. But don’t take that for granted. You go trading away the farm now and the window to win narrows. That’s all Halladay does for you- give you a chance to win in a narrow window.

Why not open that window wider by keeping what you have. Maybe pick up a number three or some bullpen help.

There’s an unnecessary sence of urgency for Halladay. He’s an exciting player, but think about the cost.

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Filed under Editorial, Shay Roddy

What the heck’s going on here?

As the Phils go through one of their best streaks in franchise history, this blog continues to suffer. Every once in a while there’s a ray of hope, but then more and more weeks without a post.

So a fair question is “why even read Phillie Phanatics anymore?”

Though I can’t really give you a good answer to that question, I really appreciate your loyalty and readership. At least let me tell you what I PLAN to do:

  • As a blogger I have three general priorities– reporting news, analyzing news, having fun with news. Through the final week of July and all of August you’ll find mostly editorial columns. I would expect between three and four 500 word columns a week. Hopefully they will be sufficient in all three categories.
  • Beginning in September we will be posting between seven and ten posts per week. You can expect three of those to be the lengthy columns, as discussed above. Other posts will include breaking news, funny tabloids, or short analysis of things.

Phillie Phanatics is currently hiring. There are two part-time jobs available. One includes writing game recaps. The other is breaking news updates and general site maintenance. For more information send an email to communications@philliephanatics.org.

Thanks for sticking with us, you’ve been incredibly loyal. If you have any suggestions or further questions, feel free to email me or post them below.

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A hero moves on

He was a survivor. They kept him in the minors for more than thirteen years- he survived. They sent him to Triple-A after he hit nearly .500 in Spring Training- he survived. They signed Rod Barajas to take his job- he proved to be better. They signed Ronnie Paulino to take his place- he won the job. They signed Paul Bako- he finally lost.

Although you might have seen this coming (after all the front office has been trying to get rid of him for years), shocking seems to be a fitting word to describe yesterday’s decision to place Phillies’ backup backstop Chris Coste on waivers. A man who’s journey to the majors was, quite literally, a book, left the city yesterday for Houston, after the Phils front office decided that the newly acquired Paul Bako was a better fit.

He was a man who won every Philadelphian’s heart. He was, in every sense of the word, a Philadelphia hero.

It never came easy to Coste, who was thirty-three when he made his major league debut with the Phillies. He never once gave up. He stuck with it through hard times and long bus-trips to farmlands and redneckvilles that minor league teams called home. He had the hard life, but he never looked at it that way. He saw it as baseball- a game he loved.

He stuck with it. He never quit. That’s why we loved him. That’s why he was a hero.

Though at times his play between the lines could get frustrating, we never lost respect for Coste. He got us and we got him. That’s something you rarely find in a city as demanding as Philadelphia. 

The change hit a soft spot for the thirty-six year-old Coste as well. “I didn’t realize how much the fans would take to me,” Coste said. “I don’t know that there’s many cities around baseball that would take to me the way Philadelphia has. It’s almost the kind of stuff you could write a book about.”

But now, Coste’s storybook life will move to Houston, where he will assume a major-league roll. It’s tough to see him go, but if anyone can win a new set of fans over it would be Coste. 

Best of luck, Chris.

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Filed under Editorial, Shay Roddy