St Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies - Game 5

What they’re saying about the Phillies’ first round exit


We did this with the Yankees yesterday, so it’s only appropriate that we check out some of the reaction to the Phillies’ surprising first round exit. Here’s a quick sampling:

Charlie Manuel: “Right now, I’ve just got some anger. I just feel very empty.”

Roy Halladay: “The hard part is, you think about all the work you put in, and then you have two days to get excited about the game. All of a sudden, it disappears. It’s hard to have it end like that.”

Ryan Howard: “It sucks. It sucks. Being in this situation, having it come down and making the last out and having it happen the way that it happened, it sucks. You don’t want to be a part of that. We came up short. The only thing we can do is try to focus on next year and, for me, try to get healthy.”

Sam Donnellon: The Cardinals advanced not just because they hit, but because their overlooked staff matched the Phillies famous staff, made the Phillies lineup so dormant that the two loudest innings of the game began with a hit batsmen and a dropped third strike.

David Murphy: It is a question that re-inforces the fickle nature of baseball’s postseason, when an entire season of accomplishment boils down to five games of performance. Once again, the Phillies were narrowly out-performed. And now they must spend an offseason reflecting on the emptiness of 102 wins, staring blankly at the present like last night’s sell-out crowd.

Jim Salisbury: Long after the stadium had emptied, and after most of the players had dressed and left the clubhouse, Shane Victorino reached into his locker and pulled out a sheet of World Series tickets marked for games in Philadelphia. He looked at them wistfully then tore them in pieces and dropped them into the trash bin as he headed for the door and another cold winter. This is all happened Friday night. The new Black Friday.

Todd Zolecki: This will be considered one of the greatest disappointments in Philadelphia sports history. Everything had gone according to plan during the season. The rotation lived up to the hype. The bats struggled early, but the team acquired Hunter Pence at the Trade Deadline to bolster the offense. The Phillies cruised to their fifth consecutive NL East championship, but this was a team that was supposed to win it all, and it won’t.

Paul Hagen: But what will 2012 look like? That’s the question that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will have to answer. Does he just need to make a few tweaks here and there and hope for fewer injuries and better timing a year from now? Or will he decide that this team is a little too old and a little too stale and feel the need to make significant changes to alter the chemistry? And how much will his hands be tied by financial considerations?

Phil Sheridan: Another year passes, then, without a ring for Halladay and Lee, who came here to win. For the first time, you have to wonder whether they picked the wrong place.

Cliff Lee: “It’s disappointing because we had higher expectations. I don’t know (if this was the best opportunity. I don’t think management is going to give up on everything. We’re still going to have good pitching. We’re still going to have a good team. I expect to come in here next year and make another run at it.”

Orioles acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners for Steve Clevenger

Mark Trumbo
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson
Leave a comment

As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger.

This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.

Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.

Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.

Cardinals finished runner-up to Red Sox in David Price sweepstakes

David Price
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

These kind of after-the-ink-has-dried reports have to be taken with a grain of salt for a variety of reasons, but they’re fantastic conversation-starters …

Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Cardinals “finished runner-up” to the Red Sox in the bidding for free agent left-hander David Price, who signed with Boston on Monday for a record seven years and $217 million.

There were reports early on that the Red Sox were going to have to overpay on Price because he wanted to either stay in Toronto or make the move to the more pitcher-friendly National League. And maybe they did go significantly above and beyond the next-best offer to land him.

But the report from Nightengale serves as an indication that the Cardinals are ready and willing to spend big money ahead of next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville. Does that chunk of change now get directed toward Jason Heyward? Or might the Cardinals pounce one of the falling dominos in this still-loaded starting pitching market? What about both?

St. Louis lost Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery last month and both Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha carry some injury concerns into 2016. There’s money to spend there with a new billion-dollar local television deal about ready to kick in.

Pirates expressing interest in Justin Masterson

Justin Masterson
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Leave a comment

Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has become the king of the reclamation project. And it sounds like he’s about to take on another big one …

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates have expressed interest in free agent Justin Masterson. The expectation is that it will be a one-year deal with the goal of rebuilding the right-hander’s value in an environment where many other struggling veteran pitchers have executed significant career turnarounds.

Masterson earned his first (and only) All-Star nod in 2013 when he registered a 3.45 ERA, 195 strikeouts, and three shutouts in 32 appearances with the Indians. But he had a 5.88 ERA in 128 2/3 innings between Cleveland and St. Louis in 2014 and he continued struggling to the tune of a 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox in 2015.

It’s not clear whether the Bucs would try him as a starter or reliever.

Zack Greinke deal “could come soon,” Dodgers and Giants lead the bidding

Zack Greinke
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Jordan Zimmermann signed with the Tigers on Sunday for five years, $110 million. David Price signed with the Red Sox on Tuesday for seven years, $217 million.

Two big dominos have fallen in this loaded free agent market for starting pitchers, and another big one is about to go …

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says a deal for Zack Greinke “could come soon” and it’s currently “Dodgers vs. Giants” at the top of the bidding ladder.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick confirms that both the Dodgers and Giants are looking for an answer from Greinke, adding that the 32-year-old right-hander seeks a five- or six-year deal with a greater average annual value (AAV) than what Price just secured from Boston. That number would be $31 million, so we’re talking something close to $32 million through 2020-2021.

Greinke opted out of the remaining three years and $71 million contract with Los Angeles in October after posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.84 WHIP across 222 2/3 regular-season innings in 2015. He finished second to the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta in the National League Cy Young Award balloting.