David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez tested positive for PEDs in 2003. Is that really a shock anymore? I can't stand what the media/government/whoever has this document is doing. Somebody has this list of 104 names and is leaking one or two every month. What the hell is wrong with the world we live in today? The 2003 tests were supposed to be anonymous and the names never leaked, but if one is going to be leaked (starting with A-Rod), then shouldn't they release all 104 names and spare the current players the detriment of being implicated in something that they may not be guilty of. It's getting ridiculous, and the sad thing is that I am not the least bit surprised by any name that pops up anymore. The only ones that will really shock me would be Derek Jeter or Ken Griffey Jr. Come on baseball, release these names and let's move on and get away from this Steroid Era.
Sorry for the prolonged absence everyone. I have been very busy as of late and haven't been able to sit down and put my views down on paper (or in today's world, in a word document). I sure picked a hell of a time to get busy. While I was gone what happened? The Phillies won series against the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, improving to 58-41. The Eagles lost a legend in Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson, and my prayers go out to his family. The Phillies then backed off negotiations with the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay and decided to make a magnificent trade that brought 2008 AL Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee to the team (along with a very good right handed bat in Ben Francisco). I will be commenting more on the passing of Jim Johnson, the reinstatement of Michael Vick, Eagles training camp, and other things football in a different column that will be up shortly.
The first thing I want to say about the Cliff Lee trade is that Ruben Amaro Jr. showed amazing determination and poise in finding the Phillies an ace pitcher to bolster the staff. Also, J.P Ricciardi, the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, is an idiot. The guy overplayed his hand, which is understandable considering he was dealing the best pitcher in baseball, but he ended up losing any chance of getting great value for Halladay. I can't see Halladay staying in Toronto for the remainder of his contract and there is no way in hell that the Blue Jays will get anything close to the offers they are getting now for him once the offseason rolls around. The only way they will get value for Halladay is by trading him to the Red Sox for Clay Buckholtz, which is also ludicrous. The best example that I can think of that would mirror that would be the Mets trading Johan Santana to the Phillies right now for Kyle Drabek. Do the Jays understand how stupid that is to trade your star pitcher to a team that is better than you in your own DIVISION? Anyway, that's my two cents about Halladay.
Back to Cliff Lee. I think the move is excellent. Amaro and his staff did such a good job of realizing that J.P. Ricciardi wasn't going to budge on Halladay so they went a different route and came up aces. What I love about this deal is that not only did the Phillies do something they never do and trade for an ace pitcher, they also bolstered their bench while not losing any pieces of their major league squad. OF Ben Francisco is just the type of player the Phillies need to help give the other outfielders some rest down the stretch while also providing a capable right handed bat off the bench. With Victorino getting hurt yesterday (knee contusion), it is starting to look like this move was even better, although I hope Shane's injury isn't serious.
Of the four minor leaguers that got traded to Cleveland, Jason Knapp was probably the centerpiece, and he is only 18 years old. As I said earlier, I think he has the potential to be a great pitcher, and most likely will fit into a team as a lights out closer, but overall, the Phillies didn't give up too much. We are set with pitchers so Carrasco was expendable, Jason Donald plays middle infield, which is currently taken up by Rollins and Utley, and Lou Marson is an up and coming catcher, a spot taken by Carlos Ruiz. Marson is probably our biggest loss because we really don't have a backup for Ruiz, so maybe Amaro's next move will be to get some minor league depth at catcher.
Now the Phillies are the favorites to repeat as National League Champs (at least in my mind, betting sites still have the Dodgers slightly in front). With a rotation that includes Hamels, Lee, and Blanton, along with their pick of Happ, Moyer, Martinez, Lopez, etc, what's not to like? The offense has been unstoppable (except for last night, I don't know what happened there), and now we have depth at pitching, which also allows Charlie Manuel to bolster the bullpen by maybe moving J.A. Happ back there. Also, Brett Myers is recovering very quickly from hip surgery and is considering a mid-August return, which means there could be competition for the closer spot. Very exciting stuff! Tell me what you think about everything that has been going on, and sorry I was gone for so long.