Utley Trade Talks Heat Up

utley-celebration

The Phillies may be on the cusp of shipping Chase Utley — a beloved member of the 2008 World (Bleeping) Series champs — out of town as they continue their rebuilding project.

“Sources told MLB.com on Thursday night that several teams have made offers for Utley, although no deal is imminent,” MLB’s Todd Zolecki reports. “The Giants are just one of those teams. San Francisco general manager Bobby Evans confirmed to MLB.com that his team has made an offer. The Angels, Cubs, Astros, Yankees and Dodgers are in the mix. The Angels have been interested in Utley for more than a month, and are worth watching.”

Utley wants assurances of playing time on his new team: “He does not want to ride the bench, because he plans to play next season.” Read more »

While You Were Sleeping, Phillies Have Been Just Awful

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan (55) leaves the game during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 11th.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan (55) leaves the game during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 11th.

Despite the trade of Cole Hamels, it had actually been a nice couple of weeks to be a Phillies fan. It had maybe been the most fun stretch for fans of the team since the 2011 season.

Hamels was gone. Oft-booed closer Jonathan Papelbon was gone. Even Ben Revere had been traded. And in their places were guys like rookie pitcher Aaron Nola, Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera (an infielder playing center field) and Cesar Hernandez. At one point after the All-Star break, the Phillies were 16-5.

The Phillies won their first four games out of the all-star break, including a thrilling walk-off homer by Jeff Francoeur to complete a sweep of the Marlins. After that win, the (limited number of) fans in the outfield celebrated like the team had won the World Series, or at least a playoff game. Read more »

Phillies’ Franco Hit on Wrist; X-Rays Negative

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco lies on the field after being hit by a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field on August 11th.

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco lies on the field after being hit by a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field on August 11th.

One of the few bright spots in this Phillies season has been the emergence of Maikel Franco at third base. In a year devoted to building the future, Franco has emerged as one of the likely building blocks.

So when this happened Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks…

…well, you can imagine a cold shiver went down the spines of Phillies fans everywhere. Read more »

Meet the New Phillies Prospects

Photos via USA Today Sports Images and Twitter

Photos via USA Today Sports Images and Twitter

Last week, just ahead of the July 31st Major League Baseball trade deadline, the Phillies made some moves to shore up their farm system. The big haul, of course, came in exchange for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman, but trades sending Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere to Washington and Toronto, respectively, also added potentially useful pieces to the Phillies minor league system.

That’s good and all, especially when the fifth-place Phillies are rebuilding for the future, but prospects are just that: prospects. They are full of potential, but the overwhelming majority don’t end up in All-Star Games, if they even make it to the show.

We know who the Phillies are getting — catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitcher Jake Thompson, and outfielder Nick Willams are the major pieces from the Hamels deal. Now the question is, what are the Phillies getting? Where will these players fit into the Phillies’ bigger plans, and how limitless, or limited, is their potential?

Here, we break down what the major baseball scouting outlets are saying about each fresh face on the Phillies Pharm. Read more »

WATCH: Jimmy Rollins Gets Standing Ovation in Return to Citizens Bank Park

 Jimmy Rollins acknowledges the crowd before his at bat during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Jimmy Rollins acknowledges the crowd before his at bat during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Last December, the Phillies began their dismantling of the core that brought them five straight division titles, two pennants and a World Series when they traded Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. Rollins later said he was now “free” at his new team.

Last night, the Dodgers visited Philadelphia for the first time since the trade, and Rollins was penciled in to the leadoff spot against his former team. The crowd responded by giving him a standing ovation before the first at-bat of the game. Players from the Phillies dugout (and on the field) similarly cheered him.

“It was cool,” Rollins told reporters postgame. “And it went longer than I thought. It was a great moment.”

Read more »

Report: Phillies Trade Ben Revere to Blue Jays

Ben Revere gives a hand signal to shortstop Andres Blanco (not pictured) after his home run during the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Revere gives a hand signal to shortstop Andres Blanco (not pictured) after his home run during the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

According to MLB.com Phillies beat guy Todd Zolecki, the Phillies have traded centerfielder Ben Revere to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Phillies’ return has not yet been reported.

Revere came to the Phillies as part of a trade with the Minnesota Twins in the 2013 offseason. The Phillies sent Vance Worley (who was just designated for assignment by the Pirates) and Trevor May to the Twins to get Revere.

Revere played just 88 games in his first season with the Phillies, due to injuries, including a fractured food midway through the year that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He hit .306 in his second season with the Phillies and stole 49 bases; he also hit his first major league home run last season. Read more »

The Legacy of Cole Hamels

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Hamels is finally gone from the Phillies, a victim of several recent years of organizational incompetency.

Let’s face it, if you are building a major league team the right way, the executives in charge don’t allow for a dead-battery period like the Philadelphia Phillies have suffered through the last three years. Instead, they HAD to trade a pitcher like Hamels, who otherwise would be young enough to still be the ace of a starting pitching staff that could be playoff contenders every year

Unfortunately for Hamels and the Phillies, the left-handed pitcher was biggest trading commodity they had, the only piece that could somewhat replenish a bone-barren farm system. From the Texas Rangers, they got at least five better prospects then they currently have in their system. At least two of the prospects can in a short time be projected as starters at positions of need – catcher and leftfielder. In the deal, the Phillies have nabbed the Rangers third-, fourth- and fifth-ranked prospects in their entire organization. And that ain’t bad. Read more »

A Cole Hamels Career Timeline

Cole Hamels, left, answers questions alongside Mike Arbuckle, then the Phillies' assistant general manager for scouting and player development, during a news conference Wednesday, May 10, 2006, in Philadelphia. Hamels was about to be called up and would make his Major League debut two days later.

Cole Hamels, left, answers questions alongside Mike Arbuckle, then the Phillies’ assistant general manager for scouting and player development, during a news conference Wednesday, May 10, 2006, in Philadelphia. Hamels was about to be called up and would make his Major League debut two days later.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights and lowlights of Cole Hamels‘ career in Philadelphia.

2002

June 4th: Hamels was picked by the Phillies with the 17th overall selection in the first round of the MLB Draft. Zack Greinke and Prince Fielder are the two most notable names taken before him; behind him in the first round, only Matt Cain made an All-Star team. (Future Phillies Joe Blanton and John Mayberry Jr. were also picked behind Hamels in the first round.)

Early August: The Phillies took a while to sign him, with the pitcher wanting a signing bonus the same as Scott Kazmir (who was picked two spots ahead of him). Hamels, then 18, met with the Phillies at a game in his hometown of San Diego. “I got to see some places and some faces I haven’t seen before,” he told the Inquirer. “It was fun to go onto the field and meet some of the players.”

August 23rd: Hamels and the Phillies agreed to terms for a $2 million signing bonus. Read more »

Cole Hamels’ Final Gift to the Phillies

Cole Hamels waves to fans during batting practice before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park on July 22nd.

Cole Hamels waves to fans during batting practice before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park on July 22nd.

Cole Hamels may be headed to the Texas Rangers in a massive deal. But he gave Phillies fans a hell of a gift before he left.

On Saturday, Hamels pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field — a notoriously fickle place to throw a no-hitter. Indeed, a no-hitter hadn’t been thrown there since 1972, and the visitors hadn’t thrown one since 1965.

Hamels dominated. He struck out 13, walked just two and, once he finished off the no-hitter got teams to increase their offers to the Phillies. After a career of dominant pitching performances for the Phillies, he ended his career by helping the team get more in return for him. (He also vetoed a trade to the Astros, so maybe the Phillies could have gotten more. But that’s minor.)

It’s only the second time a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter in his final start for a club, and then been traded, according to Dan Mallon, and the first time in-season. Hamels made the ultimate last start for a team not in contention: He had one more signature moment in a Phillies uniform, and helped the club get more for him in a trade. Read more »

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