BLOG: Mid-Season Moves
By Bill Campbell
Possible Phillies Moves
With most of the media flying the surrender flags and clamoring for action on the Phillies trade front, here is a list of personnel under consideration for possible moves and how each stands in relationship to their trade agreements.
Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, and Jonathan Papelbon: Limited no-trade clause, can pick a trade to 21 teams of the player’s choosing
Jimmy Rollins: 5 and 10 rights. He must approve any trade because he has spent 10 years in the majors, 5 with the same team.
Chase Utley: Limited no-trade. He can block any trade to 21 teams of his choosing. He becomes a free agent in August.
Carols Ruiz: No no-trade clause.
Michael Young: Must approve any trade because of a clause in his contract, but he waived it to come to Philadelphia. Might waive it again.
Trades or movements of any kind are not restricted to the players on this list. Anyone can be moved but making deals involving the players noted here could be more difficult. With much media pressing for personnel action before the July 31st deadline, cases will vary depending on those no-trade clauses. Ruben Amaro’s phone may be ringing loudly and frequently these days but these player-controlled options may limit his ability to make some moves.
The latest report on Darren Dalton is that he’s doing pretty well, visiting with family and maintaining good spirits following 7 hours of surgery at Jefferson University Hospital to remove two brain tumors early this week. Dalton has been in the hands of Dr. Kevin Judy, professor of neurological surgery, who hoped to have the former Phil home for the Fourth of July for 3 to 4 weeks of rest before undergoing radiation treatment. Dr. Judy noted that the tumors did not originate from cancer elsewhere in the body, which is encouraging. The surgeon also said that one tumor was near an area in the brain that affects communication. Dalton was awake for most of the surgery so that Dr. Judy could avoid further damaging that region. “The concern in his language function,” said the surgeon,”the problem he had been having that first brought him to our attention. “ Hopefully, the doctor has preserved that for Dutch and the planned treatment will insure a healthy future for him.
“I didn’t play the big points good enough,” said Serena Williams, after being defeated at Wimbledon by 23rd seed, Sabine Lisicki of Germany. That’s unusual for Williams as she almost always plays the big points like a champion, having won 3 of her last 4 Grand Slam tournaments in 2011. But Lisicki, playing the way Williams usually does, snapped that streak with a great serve, powerful returns and pinpoint ground strokes. Speaking to the media after the match, a composed Williams said, “Cone on, guys. Let’s get with it. She is an excellent player. She’s no pushover.” Williams was right. She blew leads of 3-0 and 4-2 in the third set to Lisicki and never quite got it back. As for Lisicki, she was a mediocre 16-15 in 3 other Grand Slam events but 17-4 at Wimbledon where she went on to the fourth quarter-final. Patrick Mouratoglou, the French coach who began working with Serena Williams last year, said, “You cannot be perfect all the time. She won 34 matches in a row. It had to stop one day.” Unfortunately, it stopped at the All England Tennis Club for Ms. Williams.
Sloane Stephens was the last American in the singles draw at Wimbledon. Just after she had served 2 set points against Marion Bartholi of France, rain started to fall and the crowd became a bit aggravated as it feared another rain delay. Stephens started to stumble and eventually lost the match, 6-4, and 7-5. With that, there were no more Americans left in the field. Ms. Bartoli will face Sabine Lisicki, who ousted Serena Williams, on Saturday in the final.
Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky signed a 20-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jays this week. The 24-year old Russian, who won the Vezina trophy as the NHL’s top goalie this past season, could have become a restricted free agent this week but he signed this deal instead. I’m told that NHL players are very close to an agreement which will return them to playing in the Olympics next year. A complete deal hasn’t been reached yet between the NHL, the union and the International Ice Hockey Foundation to send the league’s players to Sochi, Russia, but they’re working on it. Meanwhile, the Flyers are shopping in the free-agent market for a forward and a goalie after their concentration on the blue line during the player draft. The Flyer’s immediate goal is to try to improve a team that missed the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 seasons.
The biggest hockey star available in free agency this season had to be Vincent Lecavalier, and the Flyers grabbed him with no questions asked. All an NHL franchise could do at the moment was to lock him up to make future contributions to better the team. Lecavalier is a 33-year-old offensive star with sizeable production numbers, including 383 goals and 491 assists in 1,037 career games. He helped to led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup 10 years ago and he signed what he thought was a career-long contract with Tampa Bay. There was no way he could have known that, despite that protection in his contract, he would be moved in what came to be known as a “compliance buyout”. The “compliance buyout” is really a requirement that a team comply with whatever the salary cap happens to be in a certain year. The player hardly matters – and Lecavalier got caught by it.
Trying to understand the salary rules in the different pro sports can be a futile exercise. In most cases, the rules don’t resemble each other from one sport to the next. So the Flyers, even after getting rid of the high profile Danny Briere, Chris Pronger and Ilya Bryzgalov now find themselves with Lecavalier. The Flyers recently have shifted from a big contract team with a core of veteran players to one focused upon replenishing their ranks with younger players. Lecavalier would have been welcomed a decade ago when he was 23 and ready to play with Richards and Carter. But he’s 33 now and Tampa Bay used him as a compliance buyout option to better their future. Despite their search for younger players, the Flyers have taken him on. It seems to contradict their plan. If Lecavalier is done, it won’t be the first time the Flyers have been hurt by giving big contracts to veteran players. Look at the names of the stars the Flyers just let go. You have to hope that Lecavalier fits in to the new team. Otherwise, they’ve thrown good money after bad.
The most outstanding performance of the baseball season was turned in this week by Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, who became the first pitcher in 27 years to start a season 13-0. He’s the first pitcher to do that since Roger Clemons, who went 14-0 for Boston in 1986. Scherzer has 139 strikeouts this season, second only to Yu Darvis of Texas. “The record is kind of overblown in a sense,” Scherzer said. “Every time I start, they’re always picking me up. They’re always making plays. That’s the reason I’m 13-0. I’ve gone out there and pitched well and always given our team a chance to win, but it’s those other guys that do their job too.” Wouldn’t Cole Hamels like to say the same thing?
Since we’ve just celebrated the Fourth of July, it might be fun to recall some of the most legendary baseball games that were played on this date.
In 1905, the old Philadelphia Athletics scored 2 runs in the 20th inning, giving pitcher Rube Waddell a 4-2 win over Cy Young of Boston. Both pitchers went the distance and Young didn’t walk anybody.
In 1925, two great left-handers of their time, the Yankees’ Herb Pennock and the A’s Lefty Grove, headed up a pitcher’s duel that New York won 1-0 in 15 innings. Pennock gave up only 4 hits and walked none in that memorable game
In 1939, Jim Tabor of the Boston Red Sox hit 3 home runs including 2 grand slams in an 18-12 win over the Philadelphia A’s in the second game of a double-header. In New York, facing a paralyzing disease, Lou Gehrig gave his famous “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech, saying farewell to baseball.
In 1985, the Mets beat the Braves 16-13 in 19 innings in Atlanta. The game went until just before 4 a.m. on July 5th and was followed by a fireworks display for the 10,000 or so fans still in the park. The Mets’ Keith Hernandez hit for the cycle in 10 at-bats.
In 2008, Colorado hit 6 home runs to rally from a 9 run deficit for the biggest comeback in franchise history. They beat Florida 18-17. The Rockies and Marlins combined for 3 runs on 43 hits, 21 of them for extra bases with 8 home runs.
Hope you all had a Happy Fourth of July.