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Tag:Hunter Pence
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:59 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 9:00 pm
 

Will the Phillies pay Cole Hamels?


Cole Hamels
By Dayn Perry

The Phillies might be progressing toward a contract extension for lefty Cole Hamels. Or both sides might be locked in a holding pattern. The Sporting News takes the former position, while Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweets that the latter is the case.  

Hamels, who's entering his walk year, will make $9.5 million for 2012, and, given his performance history and age (he won't turn 29 until December), he'll command a hefty contract on the market. The challenge for the Phillies is to lock him up before he gets there. 

On the other hand, while the Phillies are flush with revenues these days, they're also committed to more than $112 million in payroll spread across just 12 players for next season. As well, they're also faced with losing Shane Victorino after this season, and following the 2013 season Chase Utley and Hunter Pence are both eligible for free agency. In a related matter, it's quite possible that the Phillies are going to run up against the luxury tax threshold in the near future. That's surely going to be part of their calculus. 

Hamels's profile means he's likely going to command a contract of at least six years and at something north of $20 million per, unless, of course, the nebulous "hometown discount" comes into play. Are the Phillies willing to pay those rates and pony up for Victorino and take care of business with Utley and Pence when the time comes and perhaps pay the (luxury) tax man? Those are the difficult questions GM Ruben Amaro will soon be forced to answer. In all likelihood, everything starts with Hamels.

​​​​For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.



Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:41 pm
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Phillies sported an MLB-best 102-60 regular-season record, but then lost a heartbreaking Game 5 in the NLDS, 1-0, to the eventual World Champion Cardinals. Rubbing salt in the wound was slugger Ryan Howard tearing his Achilles tendon on the final out of Game 5. He's expected to miss around two months. With him missing time, the Phillies aging stars a year older and a much tougher division in 2012, is the window of opportunity for another World Series title starting to close with this nucleus? It's certainly not closed, but it may be headed that way.

Major additions: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, OF/IF Laynce Nix, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome
Major departures: OF Faul Ibanez, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Ben Francisco

Probable lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Jim Thome/Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, 1B
6. John Mayberry, LF
7. Placido Polanco, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Ryan Howard will obviously man 1B and slide in the lineup at cleanup when he's ready to take the field, but it doesn't sound like that's happening until late May, if not later.

Probable rotation
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton

Kyle Kendrick waiting in the wings if someone goes down.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up: Antonio Bastardo

Important bench players

C Brian Schneider, OF Juan Pierre and whoever isn't starting at 1B (see lineup above)

Prospect to watch
Domonic Brown isn't a prospect anymore and much of the Phillies top prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors, so it's slim pickings here -- as to be expected with an elite, veteran club. I'll go with Phillipe Aumont, a relief pitcher headed for Triple-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings once he was promoted to Triple-A last season. Control was an issue, as he walked 14 guys, leading to a 1.54 WHIP, but he certainly has the strikeout capability to contribute to the bullpen later in the season if he gets things figured out. Considering the Phillies are counting on the likes of Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis in the bullpen, the chances an injury or underperformance open up a spot in the 'pen after a few months are pretty good.

Fantasy bust: Hunter Pence
"Before you hop aboard the hype train and ride it all the way to crazy town, you might want to remind yourself that theonly aspect of his game that changed for the better last year was his batting average. He didn't gain any power. He didn't walk more or strike out less. He didn't fundamentally change as a player. He simply got better results, putting together a .361 BABIP instead of his usual .305 or so. It wouldn't be the first time. He had a .377 BABIP as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .322. But the peripherals suggested it was too good to be true then, and they do now as well. Pence is an asset in Fantasy because of his job security and 20-homer power, but he's a .280 hitter who can't take a walk." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Fantasy sleeper: John Mayberry
"General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made the comparison. Manager Charlie Manuel has made the comparison. It's Mayberry's identity now: the next Jayson Werth. For the Fantasy owners who have played long enough to remember when Werth rose from obscurity to put together a 20-20 season in 2008, that's cause for celebration. But is it a reasonable expectation? Hey, Mayberry is more of a certainty now than Werth was then, having hit 15 homers in 267 at-bats last year. Like Werth, he's a former first-round pick who, like Werth, didn't begin to meet his potential until his late 20s. And like Werth, he happens to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
World Series champs. By now, anything less is a disappointment for a group with so much talent and postseason experience.

Pessimistic outlook
The offense badly struggles without Howard -- who falls behind in his rehab and misses three months -- with age declines limiting production from the likes of Utley, Rollins and Polanco. Worley comes back to Earth after his insane 2011 season and Blanton continues to struggle with injuries. Even with all that, the Phillies would still be good enough to be a playoff contender, even in the mighty NL East, due to the new two-wild-card playoff format. It's hard to envision enough things going wrong to have them finish below the Braves, Marlins and Nationals. Maybe two of the three -- in a worst-case scenario -- but not all three.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:11 am
 

Phillies' Brown: 'I'm fighting to win a job'

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

A year ago, the Phillies' right fielder's job was Domonic Brown's to lose. And, well, he did.

A broken hamate bone in spring training followed by a thumb sprain slowed Brown at the beginning of the season and then his lack of production led the Phillies to go out and get Hunter Pence at the trading deadline. Brown hit .245/.333/.391 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 210 plate appearances as a 23-year-old last season. He was sent to the minors after Pence joined the team on July 30 and called up in September. He struck out in his only plate appearance in September.

This season the expectations aren't as high for Brown, the team's former top prospect. He's among those in contention for the left field job, along with John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix, but it appears the deck is stacked against him.

Mayberry was the surprise breakout in 2011, hitting .273/.341/.513 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 296 plate appearances. Nix is a veteran backup, who like Brown, is a left-handed hitter.

In October, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he wanted Brown to get another year of Triple-A under his belt in 2012.

That, unsurprisingly, isn't how Brown sees things.

"I don't know if I need at-bats in Triple-A or if I need to get used to it up here," He told reporters, including David Hale of DelawareOnline.com on Tuesday. "I just know I need to play somewhere."

Triple-A hasn't been much of a challenge for Brown, who has played 69 games over two seasons for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, hitting .298/.390/.453 with eight home runs and 17 stolen bases. Still, he's not played more than 41 games in one season at that level, so there could be some benefit to a full season at Triple-A and seeing teams and pitchers more than once.

The lack of power last season -- seven home runs in the minors and five in the big leagues -- isn't much of a surprise due to the broken hamate bone. Brown said Tuesday his hand is "100 percent" and it took months for him to get there.

As for this spring, Brown trained with Gary Sheffield in the offseason and is excited about his chances to make the team out of spring.

"I'm not at peach if I start at Triple-A. … I'm coming to win a job," Brown said. "I'm fighting to win a job here. That's the big goal."

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Houston Astros



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The most interesting thing about our latest installment in this series is that I believe this would have been one of the better teams in the majors had we done the exercise three or four years ago. How good would a Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Freddy Garcia top three in the rotation have been a handful of years ago -- along with Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Bobby Abreu leading the offense? Alas, we're doing it now and some of that sounds far less enticing. Still, let's check it out.

Lineup

1. Hunter Pence, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Ben Zobrist, RF
4. Lance Berkman, LF
5. Bobby Abreu, 1B
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. John Buck, C
8. Aaron Miles, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Wandy Rodriguez
4. Bud Norris
5. Jordan Lyles

Bullpen

Closer - Brad Lidge
Set up - Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Fernando Abad,
Long - Felipe Paulino, Freddy Garcia

Notable Bench Players

Ramon Castro, Carlos Guillen, Drew Sutton, Brooks Conrad, Brian Bogusevic

What's Good?

The trio of Pence, Zobrist and Berkman makes the front part of the offense look really attractive and Abreu offers decent protection for the Puma. Fitting in that two-hole would also do wonders for the development of the young Altuve. Can we assume health in this exercise, considering it's for fun? Sure, I will. So the starting rotation looks pretty good -- albeit not dominant anymore -- with Johan as the ace and Oswalt a good number two (remember, back issues hampered him last year). If Lyles isn't ready yet, we can plug in Garcia or Paulino as the five.

What's Not?

Lidge and Qualls aren't bad, but there is nothing in front of them worth much except two starting pitchers -- and, again, we may need one of the two in the rotation. The bottom part of the batting order isn't very good either and the bench is thin. But let's focus on what is really bad: The defense. I fought back and forth with whether to put Abreu or Berkman in LF, but either one is a bad choice. I just feel like Berkman can move better at this point. I also had to shift Pence to center, even though he's better suited in right. Miles is much better used at second base and he's not even really good there.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, the 2011 Astros were the worst team in the majors and in franchise history. This team isn't particularly good, but it's better than that. With that rotation, a decent back-end of the bullpen and some offense, these Astros should be able to work close to the 75-win range. One thing is for sure, they wouldn't be the worst team in the NL Central. I also feel like the best news for Astros fans is there would actually be some name players here to root for, after having seen the likes of Oswalt, Berkman, Pence and Michael Bourn traded over the past two real seasons. Still, you can't help but think that there are enough pieces here that the Astros could have properly built a real-life team that was still in contention in 2011 -- had they made the right moves.

Next: Los Angeles Dodgers

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: October 8, 2011 9:23 pm
 

Howard, Hamels to undergo surgery

By Matt Snyder

With the Phillies 2011 season coming to a close on a 1-0 loss in Game 5 of the NLCS to the Cardinals, the focus for many players now shifts to getting ready for next season. And for a handful of them, it means having to immediately get some injuries taken care of.

The big one here is first baseman Ryan Howard. He was injured on the final play of Game 5 and an MRI revealed that it's bad news. He has ruptured his left Achilles tendon and will require surgery. He has to wait until the swelling goes down before the surgery and there's no timetable for his recovery until the procedure has been completed. The official line from the Phillies is that "there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training." A reasonable expectation is about six months, which gets us into April, depending upon when Howard has the surgery. And what if there are setbacks? And whenever Howard's injury is healed enough to allow him to resume baseball activities, he'd then have to work his way into game shape. So this is already an issue for the 2012 season.

Starting pitcher Cole Hamels is also going to go under the knife. Twice. First, he's going to have "loose bodies" removed from his left (throwing) elbow on Oct. 14. Then, a week later, he's going to have surgery to repair a inguinal hernia. Expect Hamels to be ready come mid-February, though, as these aren't serious procedures like Howard is going to have.

There are more, too.

Right fielder Hunter Pence is going to have an MRI on his sports hernia to evaluate the severity of the injury. A course of action will be determined after the results of the MRI are known.

Third baseman Placido Polanco is also going to have an MRI on his sports hernia, and the Phillies report surgery is likely. 

Bench player Ross Gload will have his hip injury examined, but is likely to undergo arthroscopic surgery.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 2:45 pm
 

NLDS Game 3: Cards, Phils battle for series lead

Hamels, Garcia

By Evan Brunell

Phillies at Cardinals, 5:07 p.m. ET, Busch Stadium, TBS
Series: Tied 1-1
 
Phillies Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Jimmy Rollins SS 1 Rafael Furcal SS
2 Chase Utley 2B 2 Allen Craig  LF
3 Hunter Pence RF 3 Albert Pujols  1B
4 Ryan Howard 1B 4 Lance Berkman  RF
5 Shane Victorino CF 5 David Freese  3B
6 John Mayberry, Jr. LF 6 Yadier Molina  C
7 Placido Polanco 3B 7 Ryan Theriot  2B
8 Carlos Ruiz C 8 Jon Jay  CF
9 Cole Hamels LHP 9 Jaime Garcia LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Hamels vs. Cardinals: Hamels has plenty of history against the Cardinals, but the 2011 version isn't what he wants. Greinke gave up four runs to the Cards in seven innings in his lone start against St. Louis this year. The game came on Sept. 18, so Cardinals hitters will be familiar with Hamels when he toes the mound. Craig and Pujols each went deep on Hamels, but of batters with at least 10 plate appearances against Hamels in his career, only Theriot hits Hamels well at .333/.364/.571. No surprise he is in the lineup. Over Hamels' career, he has a 3.27 ERA in nine starts against the Redbirds.

Garcia vs. Phillies: Garcia has handcuffed the Phillies in the early going of his career, tossing up a pristine 1.90 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances. He's punched out 21 and walked 10 in 30 innings, including Ryan Howard six times. John Mayberry, Jr. has only faced Garcia six times but with three hits (one a double), he's the Phillie with the best marks against the lefty. Hunter Pence is the most successful Phillie with a decent amount of at-bats (15), having seen Garcia 15 times thanks to spending his career with Houston prior to being dealt to Philly.

Full Playoff Coverage

NOTES

  • The hottest Cardinals hitter in the last two games has been Ryan Theriot, who played in Game 2 and went 2-for-4 with two doubles. His counterpart in Game 1, Skip Schumaker, went 3-for-5. Great production out of second base.
  • The best Phillie hitter has been either Jimmy Rollins, who is 5 for 8 with two doubles and five runs scored, or Chase Utley. Utley's gone 3 for 6 with four runs scored and two doubles. Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard have also enjoyed a nice series.
  • Including the playoffs, St. Louis has gone 7-4 against Philadelphia.
  • How many relievers will Tony La Russa go through in Game 3? Game 2 saw six -- count 'em, six -- bullpen arms used, leaving just Jake Westbrook in the bullpen by the time Game 2 ended. A day off should ensure the entire bullpen is available.
  • There is zero chance of rain tonight in St. Louis and game-time temperature figures to be in the mid-70s.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 2, 2011 9:38 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Carpenter puts Cards in 4-0 hole after two

Carpenter

By Evan Brunell

Chris Carpenter headed to the mound for Game 2 of the NLDS attempting to pitch on three days rest for the first time in his career.

Skipper Tony La Russa explained the move as wanting Carpenter to make two starts in the series as the reason for moving him up a day and slotting Jaime Garcia in Game 3. La Russa was taking a calculated risk, as three-days-rest outings in the postseason have decreased in both frequency and effectiveness over the last several seasons. And La Russa of all people should have noticed that, as his personal history bears out. Prior to Carpenter's start, La Russa started a pitcher on three days rest four times in the playoffs for St. Louis. The combined ERA for all four pitchers? 14.18. (hat tip: @BJRains)

Carpenter is more of the same, as his 18.00 ERA after two innings bears out. He needed 30 pitches just to record the first out of the game, loading the bases on a leadoff double and two walks, allowing two runners to come in on a Ryan Howard RBI single. That makrs six RBI in two postseason games for Howard, after six games last year led to zero RBI. Another run went on to score in the inning, then Carp got two quick outs in the second. Alas, Rollins doubled again to bring up Utley. Before a 3-2 pitch to Utley, TBS cameras caught La Russa yelling "s---!" He proved psychic as Utley walked, allowing Hunter Pence to drill a RBI single before Carpenter retired Howard to get out of the second.

A 4-0 hole in the playoffs is never good, but when it's scored by the Phillies, you can pretty much count the game over. With Cliff Lee on the mound, it's going to be hard enough to score one run, never mind four. Carpenter is coming out for the third inning, but unless he can turn it around quick, he won't be long for the game.

Follow the game live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 4:56 pm
 

NLDS Game 2 preview: Carpenter goes on short rest



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cardinals at Phillies, 8:37 p.m. ET, Citizens Bank Park, TBS

Cardinals Phillies
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Rafael Furcal SS 1 Jimmy Rollins SS
2 Allen Craig RF 2 Chase Utley 2B
3 Albert Pujols 1B 3 Hunter Pence RF
4 Lance Berkman LF 4 Ryan Howard 1B
5 David Freese 3B 5 Shane Victorino CF
6 Yadier Molina C 6 Raul Ibanez LF
7 Ryan Theriot 2B 7 Placido Polanco 3B
8 Jon Jay CF 8 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Chris Carpenter RHP 9 Cliff Lee LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Carpenter vs. Phillies: The Phillies can't be too excited about facing Carpenter again as the Cardinals' ace has dominated Philly this season. In two starts against Philadelphia, Carpenter's allowed just a single earned run and beaten the Phillies in both outings. Most recently, he held the Phillies scoreless through eight innings in the Cardinals' 5-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 18. On June 23 in St. Louis, Carpenter allowed one earned run on five hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking one. Utley's had the most success of any Phillies hitter against Carpenter, going 7 for 15 in his career. Pence and Fielder have homered off of Carpenter, but Pence is 4 for 22 (.182) and Howard is 2 for 9 (.222). 

Lee vs. Cardinals: A full sixth of Lee's 42 walks this year have come against the Cardinals, as the Phillies left-hander is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season. Six of those seven walks, however were in one game, a loss at Busch Stadium on May 16. In his last outing, he pitched a six-hit shutout on June 22 at Citizens Bank Park. Berkman's had the most success against Lee in his career, with five hits in 13 at-bats, including three doubles. Pujols, on the other hand, has just one hit in eight at-bats against Lee. The only Cardinals to homer off of Lee is Furcal, who is 2 for 3 in his career off of the lefty. 

NOTES

Full Playoff Coverage
  • According to Weather.com, there are possible showers Sunday night at Citizens Bank Park, but no real threat of prolonged delays.
  • Matt Holliday is out of the lineup again with a strained tendon in his right palm. Tony La Russa said before Game 1 that he'd be available to pinch-hit and hoped he'd be ready for Game 2. Holliday left the penultimate game of the regular season and hasn't played since.
  • Carpenter is starting on three days rest for the first time in his career. He threw a 105-pitch shutout over the Astros on the final day of the regular season to help the Cardinals win the wild card.
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