The Yankees may give Halladay a miss

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The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner thinks that the Yankees may pass up the chance to trade for Roy Halladay:

Don’t expect the Yankees to make their Halladay strategy public – why
not keep other teams guessing? – but the early prediction here is that
they will not get him. History is a guide, and though Joba Chamberlain
and Phil Hughes were not always consistent last season, they showed
progress toward becoming the aces the Yankees envision. And for a team
that wants to get younger, it would seem foolish to trade a future ace
and the few dynamic position players the Yankees have in their farm
system.

I see where Kepner is coming from: given the way they passed on Johan Santana and waited for CC Sabathia to become a free agent as opposed to trading for him, it would appear that the Yankees are no longer in sign-everything-that-moves mode. They make considered judgments and all of that. In Kepner’s words, the Yankees are not desperate and won’t act is if they are.

But Halladay is a different beast than Sabathia and Santana, right? The Yankees passed on Santana for the simple reason that they knew Sabathia would come available the next year. At the same time, they were able to wait on Sabathia because they knew they were well-positioned to sign him when he hit the market.

Contrast that with the Halladay situation: there isn’t another arm like Halladay’s that will come available next season. Unlike Sabathia, Halladay and the Blue Jays are entertaining a window in which to sign an extension prior to any trade being completed.  Upshot: If they Yankees don’t act to get Halladay now, they will not get him.

I like the idea of giving Chamberlain and Hughes a chance, and Kepner mentions that the Yankees probably need to think about getting younger. But their youth cuts both ways: younger is better, but doesn’t it also make sense to try and squeeze a couple more championships out of the Jeter-Rodriguez-Posada-Teixeira-Sabathia core?  With Halladay in the fold, they’d be favorites for that for the next 4-5 years. With Chamberlain and Hughes, there are no guarantees.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.