Tag Archives: Drew Smyly

How Phillies GM Matt Klentak channeled "Hoosiers" at the trade deadline

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In the classic 1986 film “Hoosiers”, Gene Hackman stars as basketball coach Norman Dale, who takes the reigns of a rural Indiana high school team in the early-1950’s.

Hackman/Dale is an old-school coach, even for those long-ago days. He uses a number of tough-love methods, trying to mold his team into a winner despite a highly skeptical and passionate fan base in the local community.
In one such incident, Dale’s Hickory High School team begins a game with just six players. He benches one for disobeying his rules, and when another player fouls out, Dale refuses to allow the benched player to take the floor.
The referee approaches and says “Coach, ya need one more,‘ to which Dale replies “My team’s on the floor.
In this analogy, Phillies fans are the referee. Matt Klentak is Norman Dale.
Sure, leading up to Wednesday’s MLB trade deadline, Klentak had added lefties Drew Smyly and Jason Vargas, bumping both Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin to the bullpen.
But Phillies fans wanted more. They wanted a co-ace to pair with Aaron Nola at the top of the rotation. Or at the very least, someone who would slot in as a legitimately talented, proven #2-type starting pitcher behind the right-hander.
Those Phillies fans wanted someone such as Zack GreinkeMadison BumgarnerRobbie Ray or Alex Wood.
And so, on trade deadline day, the fan base sat staring at their laptops, pads and phone screens thinking “Ya need one more.
But there would be no new ace added to the Phillies starting rotation on this day. And since are no longer waiver trades allowed during the month of August, there will be no new aces at all during the 2019 season.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweeted out that, in summary, Klentak’s position was that “We can’t trade our best prospects all the time. We weren’t willing to meet prices on better players.

 

 

Matt Klentak, summarized: We’ve been adding for the last two months. We can’t trade our best prospects all the time. We weren’t willing to meet prices on better players. Dickerson has a groin injury and will be “eased” into action.

 

 

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In other words, Klentak answered those Phillies fans as Dale answered the referee: “My team’s on the floor.
It remains to be seen what will happen over the final 8 1/2 week of the regular season. The Phillies rotation is certainly deeper, has more experienced arms in it, and now has a pair of southpaws. But will that be enough to help push the club to the postseason for the first time in eight years?
Dale’s methods worked. His team won the Indiana state high school basketball championship in the film, which was inspired by the real-life Milan High School team which had won the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship.
But Dale won thanks not only to his methods, but also to the return and excellence of a genuine great player to the team. Will any such player step up, stand out, and lead these Phillies to the promised land? Or at least into October baseball?

As 2019 MLB trade deadline arrives the Phillies remain linked to arms

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Folks at the MLB Network will be busy on trade deadline day

The 2019 trade deadline has finally arrived in Major League Baseball, and the Philadelphia Phillies continue to be linked to a number of players.

Two pitchers with the same first name are among the more frequently mentioned when it comes to deadline deals for the Phillies: Alex Wood and Alex Colome.
Wood is a 28-year-old left-hander currently with the Cincinnati Reds. The North Carolina native was a second round choice of the Atlanta Braves in the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of Georgia. He can become a free agent after this season, so would be a pure rental unless he can be signed to an extension.
Wood was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a huge 12-player, three-team deal between the Braves, Dodgers and Miami Marlins at the 2015 trade deadline. He was then sent to the Reds along with Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig back in December.
The southpaw has a 52-40 career record over 173 games (130 starts) across parts of seven big-league seasons. Due to back issues, Wood did not make his 2019 season debut with Cincinnati until this past weekend. On Sunday, Wood allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings against the Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies have taken a very close look at Alex Wood and have discussed Tanner Roark, too. With Cincinnati’s acquisition of Trevor Bauer, figure one of those SP is on the move.

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Wood also would bring 16 games of postseason experience, including a pair of starts with the Dodgers, one each in the NLCS and World Series while with the Dodgers in 2017.
Wood is scheduled to make his next start on Friday. The Phillies have already announced that Jason Vargas will make his debut with the team that night, and Saturday is Aaron Nola‘s regular turn. Should Wood be acquired, he would most likely make his Phillies debut on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park against the Chicago White Sox.
Colome is a 30-year-old reliever out of the Dominican Republic. He is under club control via arbitration for one more season, and can become a free agent following the 2020 campaign.
Currently the closer with the Chicago White Sox, who will be visiting Citizens Bank Park for a series beginning on Friday, Colome could theoretically pitch against the Chisox rather than for them this weekend.
There are plenty of teams who are pursuing closer Alex Colomé, who has 21 saves and is yielding an .079 batting average, but the Sox are currently planning to keep him in hopes of contending in 2020.

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Colome has a 3-1 record with 21 saves. He has a 2.21 ERA, 3.82 FIP and 0.762 WHIP, allowing just 19 hits over 40.2 innings with a 32/12 K:BB. Over the course of his career, Colome has done a good job keeping the ball in the park with just a 0.8 HR/9 ratio over 381.1 innings. He would likely become a co-closer in Philly with Hector Neris.
General manager Matt Klentak has already made a number of modest moves in an attempt to incrementally improve his ball club while not sacrificing top prospects. Here is a quick look back at the new players added to the mix in recent weeks:
July 13 – Logan Morrison: 9-year big-leaguer signed as a free agent. He is a lefty bat with 137 career home runs. Hit 38 homers as recently as two years ago with the Tampa Bay Rays. Has played mostly at first base and left field, but has no significant LF time since 2012. Currently with Triple-A Lehigh Valley but could be called to Philly at any time now.
July 19 – Mike Morin: 6-year veteran right-hander was purchased from the Minnesota Twins. Over parts of six big-league seasons has appeared in 211 games with five clubs, including now with the Phillies. Tossed two perfect shutout frames with two strikeouts in his last appearance vs Braves on July 26.
July 21 – Drew Smyly: 6-year big-league lefty has started and won his first two outings with the Phillies after signing as a free agent. Over 171 career appearances (96 starts) he has allowed 595 hits over 634.2 innings with a 617/198 K:BB.
July 27 – Jose Pirela: 6-year big-league veteran was purchased from the San Diego Padres and sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley as infield depth insurance. had 10 homers and 40 RBIs with Padres in 2017 when he was given 344 plate appearances. Has appeared in 290 games in MLB, with 127 at second base and 110 in the outfield.
July 29 – Jason Vargas: 36-year old, 14-year big-league veteran left-hander was obtained in a trade from the New York Mets in exchange for minor league catcher Austin Bossart. Vargas has made 287 appearances in MLB (266 starts) and has a 98-95 record with a career 4.26 ERA, 4.42 FIP and 1.315 WHIP. He has allowed 1,604 hits over 1,587.2 IP with a 1,104/484 K:BB ratio. Won a career-high 18 games with the Kansas City Royals just two years ago.
July 30 – Blake Parker: 34-year-old, seven-year big-league veteran right-handed reliever began the season as the Minnesota Twins closer after spending the 2017-18 seasons as a key member of the Los Angeles Angels bullpen. Parker signed as a free agent with the Phillies. This season he had 10 saves and a 4.21 ERA, allowing 34 hits over 36.1 IP with a 34/16 K:BB and had pitched very well over more than a month before imploding in his final Twins appearance vs the New York Yankees.

Drew Smyly strong again on mound in series opener vs Giants

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Phillies get second straight strong outing from Drew Smyly

The Philadelphia Phillies left tons of base runners in scoring position, 10 left on base total, on a steaming hot Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, but still came away with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

With the win, the Phillies (56-50) moved three games up on the Giants (54-53) in the overall National League Wildcard race standings. Based on the results of other games involving that race, the Phillies will end the night tied for one of the two available Wildcard postseason berths.
The two teams battled through the first three innings scoreless, with the Phillies leaving a runner out at second base in each frame. But it would be the home side getting on the board first, finally pushing two runs across in the bottom of the 4th inning.
J.T. Realmuto and Cesar Hernandez started that inning with singles, with Realmuto rolling around to third base on the Hernandez base hit. Maikel Franco then hit into a 4-3 ground out, but Realmuto raced home with the game’s first run. Adam Haseley then ripped a double to right, with Hernandez racing around to make it a 2-0 game.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Phillies powered up with the longball to double their lead. After Bryce Harper drew a one-out walk, Rhys Hoskins crushed his 23rd home run of the season out to center field, pushing the Phillies out on top by a 4-0 margin.
The real story on this night for the home side was the pitching of newcomer Drew Smyly. The southpaw was brilliant, allowing just four hits and a walk over seven shutout frames, striking out five Giants batters.
In the 8th, manager Gabe Kapler went to Nick Pivetta out of the bullpen. Pivetta promptly surrendered a pair of solo home runs, to Brandon Belt with one out and Stephen Vogt with two outs, cutting the Phillies lead in half.
Hector Neris then came on for the 9th inning, and the closer set the Giants down in order to clinch the victory. The Phillies and Giants will try to go at it again on Wednesday evening in South Philly with showers and thunderstorms looming in the weather forecast.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Drew Smyly: 7 IP, 4 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. 103 pitches, 71 for strikes.
Giants – Tyler Beede: 5 IP, 10 hits (1 HR), 4 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. 86 pitches, 58 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: DREW SMYLY

For the second straight start since being signed as a free agent, the southpaw gave the Phillies a strong outing. He used key strikeouts, a pair of big double play balls, and a nice caught stealing to keep the Giants off the scoreboard.
Over 13 innings with the Phillies, Smyly has now allowed just one run on eight hits, walked three, and struck out 13 opposing batters. Who knows how it will go over the longer haul, even just down the stretch this season. But right now, Smyly is giving the beleaguered Phillies starting rotation an incredible shot in the arm at just the right time.

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Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies all smiles as Drew Smyly provides another stellar outing”

Could Matt Harvey or Derek Holland be next Phillies pitching reclamation projects?

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After being waived by the Angels, could Matt Harvey help Phillies?

It is not secret that the Philadelphia Phillies are looking to upgrade their starting pitching rotation. As the 2019 MLB trade deadline approaches, the club has been linked to almost every arm rumored to be on the market.

General manager Matt Klentak has not limited his attempts at improving the staff to just the trade market, however. Witness this past weekend’s move to sign left-hander Drew Smyly, who had been released by the Texas Rangers.
Smyly paid off, at least for one start, when the 30-year-old, six-year veteran surrendered just one run on four hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking two in a game that the Phillies ultimately won over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Two more veterans with a track record of big-league success, one a right-hander and another a left-hander, are now also available after being recently released by their most recent clubs. The righty is 30-year-old Matt Harvey and the lefty is 32-year-old Derek Holland.
Of course, there is a reason that these pitchers, still in the back-end of their prime years, were released. Neither was impressing in this 2019 season.
Harvey was released by the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-5 record and 7.09 ERA amassed across 12 starts in which he allowed 63 hits over 59.2 innings with a 39/29 K:BB. Holland was 2-4 with a 5.90 ERA, allowing 68 hits over 68.2 innings across 31 appearances, seven of those starts, with a 71/35 K:BB.
All the way back in 2013, Harvey became a National League All-Star and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting as a 24-year-old with the New York Mets. Sadly, he required Tommy John surgery following that season and missed the entirety of the 2014 campaign.

Harvey returned strong in 2015 to win 13 games with a 2.71 ERA over 29 starts. However, he then was forced to undergo thoracic outlet surgery in the middle of the 2016 season, pretty much ending his effective time with New York.
Dealt to the Cincinnati Reds in May 2018, Harvey would go 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA overall in Cincinnati across 24 starts. This past December, Harvey signed a one-year $11 million deal as a free agent with the Angels.

Holland made his mark over eight seasons with the Texas Rangers. (Keith Allison)
Holland was recently released by the San Francisco Giants. After pitching his first eight seasons with the Texas Rangers, with whom he won 16 games as a 24-year-old back in 2011, Holland signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox in December 2016, then again as a free agent with the Giants in February 2018.
140 of Harvey’s 145 career appearances have come as a starter. Holland has made 221 career starts across his 275 appearances. Most of his relief outings have come over the last four years.
The question to be asked is, would either or both of these veteran pitchers be a rotation upgrade for the Phillies? Or, would they be inexpensive enough to take a flyer on, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle?
The answer to the first question is likely a no. Their recent performances have been pretty much on a par with what the Phillies were already getting from Nick Pivetta, who was bumped from the rotation with the Smyly signing.
Now, would they be inexpensive? Relatively speaking, yes. Holland would only be owed a fraction of his $7 million and Harvey a percentage of that $11 million contract. Both are only guaranteed through this season. Neither would require surrendering prospects.
For what would basically be about $8 million, the Phillies could add the two veterans to their bullpen mix, while also having some injury insurance for the rotation, as well as a potential spot-starter if one were needed at any point.
Now, would either or both accept a bullpen role? And would the Phillies entertain such moves? Those are unknowns. Neither has been publicly linked to the club at this point. But Klentak, with both the Smyly signing and the recent trade for reliever Mike Morin, has shown a willingness to try inexpensive quick fixes. These two veterans just might fit the bill as well.

Hunter Pence, Ian Happ would be perfect fits for Phillies bench at trade deadline

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Hunter Pence has refreshed his career at home in Texas

The majority of chatter and rumor involving the Philadelphia Phillies as the 2019 trade deadline approaches has revolved around pitching, and for good reason. The Phillies are probably going to need to find a pair of new starting pitchers in order to remain in contention for a postseason spot this year, and that remains the case after the signing of lefty Drew Smyly.

However, there is no doubt that the club could also use better options coming off their bench. There are a pair of hitters rumored to be available who could help bolster those bench options for manager Gabe Kapler.
One of those is a name and face familiar to many Phillies fans, corner outfielder Hunter Pence. After completely reworking his swing and rededicating himself to a new training regimen, Pence stunned many across baseball by emerging as an AL All-Star this season at age 36.
Pence, who plays for the Texas Rangers, is now the subject of a new documentary “The Pence Method“, which will air for the first time tonight (Saturday) on FS1 at 9;00 PM.
Jeff Wilson for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Pence recently, and quoted him on how it felt to know that teams were interested once they learned of the changes he was making.
There was a lot of doubt. I lost my job. I wasn’t playing every day, and it hits your confidence. I wasn’t necessarily doing great right away. It took a lot of failing to really learn the swing change. When you’re going through that process, and when I heard that at the winter meetings at lot of general managers were interested, it was tears of joy. I felt super grateful and honored. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel.
Pence, who has earned more than $120 million over a 12-year big-league career which included a stop in Philadelphia from July 2011 through July 2012, would eventually accept a $2 million dollar, one-year deal with the Rangers. He has far outperformed that contract.
Over 58 games and 228 plate appearances, Pence is slashing .291/.351/.587 with 15  home runs, 30 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs and 45 runs scored. He has an outstanding .938 OPS, and while used mostly as a DH (30 games), Pence has also played 16 games in left field and five in right.
Coming back to Philly, Pence would become a right-handed bat off the bench as a pinch-hitter while also providing occasional innings as a corner outfielder.
Texas was in the AL Wildcard race throughout the season’s first half. But having lost 11 of their last 15, the Rangers now find themselves 5.5 games in back of the second Wildcard spot and nine games out in the AL West Division. At some point soon they are going to have to do the right thing and sell on what has basically been a rental player in Pence.
Getting a big price in return will not be easy, despite his production. But any contender could use a player with the energy, dedication and skills of a Hunter Pence. The Phillies especially so, if a trade match can be found.
Perhaps the Rangers would take a flyer on someone like Nick Pivetta, just bumped to the bullpen by the Phillies in favor of newcomer Drew Smyly, for their rotation?

MINOR LEAGUE UTILITY PLAYER COULD ALSO HELP

Ian Happ appeared as a utility player in each of the last two seasons with the Cubs, but has been at Triple-A all of this year. (Ian D’Andrea)
The other interesting available name is that of Ian Happ, currently playing at Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs system. Happ is a 24-year-old (he turns 25 next month) who appeared with the Cubs as a utility player in each of the last two seasons, but has not been called up yet in 2019.
Across the outfield, Happ appeared in 117 games in center, 88 in left and 38 in right field. On the infield he played in 46 games at second base, 24 at third base and saw action at first base for a pair of games.
This year at Iowa, Happ has split his time between center field (76) and second base (19) while also appearing twice in left field. He has produced 16 homers, 34 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs and 63 runs scored while also stealing nine bags.
The Cubs might actually be a fit for someone like either Cesar Hernandez or Maikel Franco. A straight-up swap of Happ for Hernandez would allow the Phillies to put Scott Kingery at second base on an everyday basis, with Happ taking over the center field depth spot and spelling almost anyone at any other position as well.
This is a deal that could potentially expand to see the Phillies go after Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini as their own new backup behind the plate to replace Andrew Knapp, who has appeared over-matched for the most part. With the Cubs recent signing of Martin Maldonado and the anticipated return next week of two-time NL All-Star Willson Contreras, general manager Jed Hoyer may be inclined to swap both Happ and Caratini if the right pieces can be found in return.
Sure, let’s keep the focus on the starting rotation, where it belongs. But if Phillies general manager Matt Klentak doesn’t also have his eye on making improvements to the club’s bench, it could eventually sink the team down the stretch. Pence and Happ would upgrade the Phillies depth for the 2019 playoff push.