Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Phillies’

The Five Best Free Agent Pitchers Left On The Market

February 7, 2010

While everyone is getting ready for the big game, I am writing about baseball. Such is the life I have chosen.

Yesterday, I wrote about the five best hitters left on the free agent market, so today I will focus on the five best pitchers who have yet to find a home for the 2010 season.

Here are the top-five free agent pitchers left on the market:

1. Kiko Calero, Relief Pitcher. At 35-years-old you would think that Calero has been around for forever, but he hasn’t. Kalero has only been in the majors for seven years and perhaps his 2009 season was his best.

In 60 innings pitched with the Florida Marlins, Calero had a 1.95 ERA, 69 strike outs, and only allowed 36 hits in those 60 innings. Those are some impressive numbers.

What was just as impressive was that Calero was equally effective against righties and lefties. He held lefties to a .187 batting average and righties to a .176 average.

Calero would be a valuable addition to any bullpen. The Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays were rumored to be interested earlier in the offseason.

2. Jarrod Washburn, Starting Pitcher. Washburn was off to a fast start in 2009 and then he was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the trading deadline and things fell apart.

Washburn may be forced into retirement

Washburn suffered a knee injury down the stretch and stumbled to a 1-3 record with a 7.33 ERA with the Tigers. His last start was Sept. 15 against the Kansas City Royals and lasted an impressive one inning and gave up four runs.

Washburn is 35 now and is now even considering retirement if he can’t get an offer from either the Minnesota Twins or Seattle Mariners.

3. Joe Beimel, Relief Pitcher. Beimel is the youngest of any pitcher on this list (32), but his value is not really strong. He is coming off a year where he had a 3.58 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies, which is not bad at all.

However, there is one is problem with Beimel–he doesn’t do anything particularly well.

He doesn’t strike anyone out and as a left-handed pitcher, he isn’t that effective against left-handed batters. Lefties actually had a higher OPS (.781) against Beimel than righties did (.741) in 2009.

A lefty who can’t get left-handed batters out is like a pass rusher, who can’t sack the quarter back. Beimel is like the Vernon Gholston of baseball.

4. Chan Ho Park, Relief Pitcher. It seems like Park has been around forever. It was a really long, long, long time ago that Park was an up-and-coming pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Park is 36 now and is coming off a year where he had a 4.43 ERA in 83.1 innings with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was actually used as an old-fashioned swing man last year. He was used in relief and made seven starts.

Park is much better suited to be a reliever at this stage in his career. Park had a 2.52 ERA last year in relief and pitched rather well for the Phillies out of the bullpen in the playoffs. He had a three ERA in nine innings during last year’s World Series run.

I wouldn’t trust him in a big spot to save my life, but he should find a home pretty soon.

5. Braden Looper, Starting Pitcher. Looper went 14-7 with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but don’t be fooled by those 14 wins and his 194.2 innings pitched. Looper was pretty bad last year.

Looper was not impressive with the Brewers in 09'

Looper led the National League in runs allowed (113), home runs allowed (39), and finished fourth in hits allowed (216). He also had an ERA of 5.52. It was like he was going for the anti-triple crown of pitching.

I think Looper will have a hard time getting a major league contract and will most likely sign a minor league deal with incentives.

That’s all for today. Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone!!!

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Phillies Handing Out Extensions Like Candy

January 25, 2010

I am going to admit, I am writing this post in a very bad mood. As many of you know, I am a New York Jets fan. I have had season tickets for the past seven years and yesterday’s loss was a killer for me.

I wasn’t as confident going into this game as I was going into the 1998 AFC Championship Game, but confident none-the-less. In 1998, the Jets lost to an all-world (at the time) running back in Terrell Davis and a Hall of Fame quarterback in John Elway.

Yesterday, the Jets lost to another Hall of Fame QB, Peyton Manning. When people ask me the greatest QB I have ever seen play, the answer I always give is Joe Montana. Manning is doing his best to change my mind.

As the great Joe Benigno always says “Oh the pain, the pain, the pain.”

Now on the matter or post at hand.

The Philadelphia Phillies have had themselves quite the busy offseason. They have signed free agents (Placido Polanco, Danys Baez), made trades (Roy Halladay), and now they are taking care of their own.

Over the last week, the Phillies have signed three players to contract extensions. The Phillies are taking a page out of the old Cleveland Indians’ playbook in the early 90’s when they were locking up all of their talent to contract extensions.

Let’s take a look at who the Phillies locked up, their contracts, and whether or not those extensions make sense.

Carlos Ruiz: Three-years, $8.85 million.

I absolutely love, love, love this extension for the Phillies. Last year, Ruiz set a career high in home runs with nine and OPS with a .780 mark. But that is not the reason I love this deal.

Ruiz is one of those glue guys that every team needs. Ruiz raises his game in the postseason (career .303 hitter) and doesn’t it always seem he is in the middle of every big rally the Phillies have in October?

Ruiz also catches a very good game. Watching him in the last couple of postseasons, Ruiz has developed a good rapport with the Phillies’ pitching staff and usually makes the right pitch selection in a big spot.

Good extension by the Phillies

Shane Victorino: Three-years, $22 million.

Again, this is a very good extension by the Phillies. According to Fangraphs, Victorino was worth about $33.5 million to the Phillies over the last two years. Roughly $17 million a year.

I would smile too if I just got $24MM

To give a player around $7 million a year, who gives your team $17 million in value, is a pretty good deal in my opinion. Victorino, who was acquired by Philadelphia in the 2004 Rule 5 Draft from the Los Angeles Dodgers, can do it all for the Phillies.

Victorino finished in the top-10 in 2009 in triples (first), hits (eighth), doubles (ninth), and stolen bases (ninth). Though he slipped a little in 2009, Victorino is also a pretty solid center fielder.

So far the Phillies are two-for-two in their contract extensions.

Joe Blanton: Three-years, $24 million.

This extension I am going to have to question. I don’t mind the money per years that the Phillies are giving Blanton, but why give him three years?

If Blanton was a free agent this offseason, he would get a one or at the most, a two-year deal. Joel Pineiro is a pretty comparable pitcher and he got a two-year deal. No reason for the Phillies to go three years with Blanton.

Blanton last year was 12-8 with a 4.09 ERA with 163 K’s and a 1.32 WHIP in 195.1 innings. He will be 33 when his three-year contract expires.

So as Meatloaf once said “Two out of three ain’t bad.” With the Phillies locking up most of their top talent for years to come, they have established themselves as the team to beat in the National League for at least the next three years.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Rockies Lose Jose Contreras, But Bring Back Jason Giambi

January 24, 2010

Back in October, my buddy Odie sent me a text saying “I can’t believe Contreras is pitching important innings for the Rockies.” After all, the Jose Contreras we saw pitch against the Boston Red Sox as a member of Chicago White Sox a couple of months earlier, was one of the worst pitchers we had seen all year.

He couldn’t throw strikes, he couldn’t field his position, and his head seemed in the clouds. He was truly terrible.

Contreras will join the Phillies' bullpen

However, Contreras found the fountain of youth with the Colorado Rockies and pitched quite well for them down the stretch. In seven games, Contreras had a 1.59 ERA and struck out 17 in 17 innings pitched.

Contreras’ performance with the Rockies earned him a contract for 2010. According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed Contreras to a one-year contract. No terms of the deal have been disclosed.

Contreras is the second relief pitcher the Phillies have signed this offseason. Earlier in this offseason, the National League Champions signed Danys Baez.

Contreras is expected to be an old-fashioned “swing man” for the Phillies. He will be a guy who can spot start or pitch a couple of innings out of the bullpen if need be.

Contreras, 38, will be entering his eighth season in the major leagues and has a career record of 71-63 with a 4.61 ERA with the New York Yankees, White Sox and Rockies.

While the Rockies lost Contreras, they did manage to bring back a fan favorite.

As first reported by Andrew Marchand of ESPN 1050 Radio, the Rockies have re-signed Jason Giambi to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. Giambi is expected to be the Rockies’ top pinch-hitter and power source off the bench in 2010.

The Rockies have brought back the Giambino

This is a good re-signing by the Rockies.

Much like Contreras, Giambi was revitalized in Colorado after being released by the Oakland A’s earlier in the year. In 24 AB’s with the Rockies, Giambi hit .292 with two home runs and a .452 OBP.

Just as important as to what Giambi produced on the field, it’s what he did off the field for the Rockies, which made him a valuable part of the Rockies’ clubhouse.

Despite being a poster boy for the steroid era, Giambi has always been a favorite of any clubhouse he has been a part of. His loose personality and leadership abilities are good for a young Rockies team.

Giambi will be entering his 16th season in the major leagues and has a career .282 average with 409 home runs and a .405 OBP with the A’s, New York Yankees, and Rockies.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Rotation: National League East

January 21, 2010

Earlier in the week, I took a look at the starting rotations for each American League team. Now it’s time to switch gears and focus on the National League.

I will start in the National League East and go from there. The NL East is home to perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay and Johan Santana. Not only are there superstar pitchers in this division, there are also some great young arms like Josh Johnson and Tommy Hanson.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League East team as presently constructed.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Roy Halladay, RHP

2. Cole Hamels, LHP

3. Joe Blanton, RHP

4. JA Happ, LHP

5. Jaime Moyer, LHP

Quick Take – The Phillies made the big move this offseason trading for Halladay. In doing such, they had to trade playoff hero Cliff Lee. While I have no doubt Halladay will be a Cy Young candidate in 2010, this rotation will only be as good as Hamels is. They really need him to bounce back this year.

Atlanta Braves

1. Derek Lowe, RHP

2. Jair Jurrjens, RHP

3. Tim Hudson, RHP

4. Tommy Hanson, RHP

5. Kenshin Kawakami, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation has so much depth, that the Braves were able to trade Javier Vazquez. I like this rotation because it’s a good mix of young (Jurrjens and Hanson) and old (Hudson and Lowe). If the Braves give him any run support, Jurrjens could be a Cy Young candidate in 2010.

New York Mets

1. Johan Santana, LHP

2. Mike Pelfrey, RHP

3. John Maine, RHP

4. Oliver Perez, LHP

5. John Niese, LHP

Quick Take – This rotation reminds me of those Boston Red Sox rotations back in the late-90’s. They had Pedro Martinez and a bunch of question marks. This is a big year for Pelfrey. Perez is reportedly got in the best shape of his life this offseason, so let’s see if that translates to his performance on the mound.

Florida Marlins

1. Josh Johnson, RHP

2. Ricky Nolasco, RHP

3. Anibal Sanchez, RHP

4. Sean West, LHP

5. Chris Volstad, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation is young, tall, and talented. Johnson leads this staff and is an early favorite to win the NL Cy Young award in 2010. At 6’8″, 240 lbs, West has a ton of potential. This staff also has top pitching prospect Andrew Miller waiting in the wings.

Washington Nationals

1. John Lannan, LHP

2. Jason Marquis, RHP

3. Scott Olsen, LHP

4. J.D. Martin, RHP

5. Craig Stammen, RHP

Quick Take – The addition of Marquis will help this staff, but overall, it’s still pretty weak. I really like Lannan. He is a good pitcher, who unfortunately plays on the worst team in baseball. Of course, all eyes will be on the development of Stephen Strasburg. There is a chance he could join this staff by the end of the year.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the National League Central.

Brad Lidge Has Knee Surgery, Could Miss Opening Day

January 15, 2010

What is it with the National League East and knee surgeries lately?

We have the Carlos Beltran knee surgery fiasco going on right now and now there is another player going under the knife to repair a knee. However, everyone is on the same page with the later surgery.

It will be a while before Lidge celebrates again

According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday. This was Lidge’s second surgery of the offseason.

Back in November, Lidge underwent surgery to remove bone fragments from his right elbow. There is a strong possibility that Lidge could miss Opening Day.

If Lidge is not available to start the season, Ryan Madson or newly signed Danys Baez could be in line to get some saves. Madson would be the more logical choice since he filled in for Lidge last season.

If the Phillies are to repeat as NL East champs in 2010, the Phillies are going to need Lidge to have a bounce back season. We all know about Lidge’s disastrous 2009 season and quite frankly, the Phillies won despite him.

With the Atlanta Braves, Mets, and even the Washington Nationals improved in the NL East, the Phillies won’t get away with Lidge blowing 11 saves and having a 7.21 ERA.

If Lidge can come back to resemble somewhat of his 2008 form and the rest of the bullpen stabilizes, the Phillies will once again win the NL East and perhaps, the NL Pennant.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Nine: National League East

January 14, 2010

Isn’t it funny how a couple of minutes could change an entire post? As I started writing this post last night, I found out the news that New York Mets’ center fielder, Carlos Beltran will be out of commission for three to four months.

Within five minutes, the Mets went from having a very good lineup to a lineup with a lot of holes in it. So now that Beltran is out for a couple of months, where does the Mets’ lineup stack-up against the rest of the National League East?

Let’s take a look at each lineup in the National League East as presently constructed today. Since the pitcher will hit ninth, I just inserted the team’s top pitcher in the nine-hole.

Philadelphia Phillies

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Chase Utley, 2B

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Shane Victorino, CF

8. Carlos Ruiz, C

9. Roy Halladay, P

Quick Take – One through eight, this is the best lineup in the National League. This lineup has speed and power throughout. This lineup will be hard to shutdown in 2010.

Atlanta Braves

1. Nate McLouth, CF

2. Martin Prado, 2B

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Troy Glaus, 1B

6. Yunel Escobar, SS

7. Matt Diaz, RF

8. Melky Cabrera, LF

9. Derek Lowe, P

Quick Take – This lineup will only go as far as Glaus takes them. If he can come back healthy, then the Braves will have a very good lineup in 2010. It could be made even better when super stud prospect Jason Heyward makes his debut.

New York Mets

1. Jose Reyes, SS

2. Luis Castillo, 2B

3. David Wright, 3B

4. Jason Bay, LF

5. Jeff Francouer, RF

6. Daniel Murphy, 1B

7. Omir Santos, C

8. Angel Pagan, CF

9. Johan Santana, P

Quick Take – Not having Beltran will kill this lineup. The Mets could make up for the loss of Beltran by signing Bengie Molina and/or Carlos Delgado. The Mets have been rumored to be interested in both.

Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Jorge Cantu, 3B

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Cody Ross, RF

7. Gabby Sanchez, 1B

8. John Baker, C

9. Josh Johnson, P

Quick Take – If Uggla and Cantu stay, then this lineup becomes a lot better than most people think. This is a big year for Maybin. I think he really needs to show something this year.

Washington Nationals

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Christian Guzman, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Adam Dunn, 1B

5. Josh Willingham, LF

6. Elijah Dukes, RF

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Jason Marquis, P

Quick Take – This lineup is certainly getting better. I like the one through five, especially Zimmerman. The Nationals are talking to Orlando Hudson, but if he doesn’t sign with them, I don’t mind Desmond as their Opening Day shortstop. I think he can be good.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at the National League Central.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Houston Astros Sign Brett Myers

January 9, 2010

Back in January of last year (actually almost one year to the day), I wrote a post “Looking at 2010 to predict 2009.” The idea was to see which players would have a big year in 2009 based on their free agency status after the season ended.

I called this big year the “Adrian Beltre year.”

The pitcher I had targeted to have a big year or an “Adrian Beltre year” was the Philadelphia Phillies’ Brett Myers. Here is what I wrote about Myers last January:

Myers gave up a lot of HR's in 2009

“After being summoned to the bullpen in 2007, Myers had a descent 2008 by going 10-13 with a 4.55 in 190 innings. Like Blalock, there are a couple of things I like about Myers this year.

1. It seems like Myers has been in the majors forever but he is still only 29 years old. The ages of 28 and 29 is usually when a pitcher comes into his own.

2. This will be the first time Myers will be pitching for a free agent contract.

3. Myers will be pitching once again on a good team with a solid bullpen which won’t blow leads for him late in the game.”

Well, things always don’t work out the way you think they would.

Myers struggled in April and May giving up 17 home runs in 63.2 IP, went on the disabled list, ended up having hip surgery, and returned in September only to find himself in the bullpen. Even my thought that the Phillies would have a solid bullpen in 2009 didn’t hold true.

Overall on the season, Myers went 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA, gave up 18 home runs in 70.2 innings, and had his lowest K/9 ratio since 2004 (6.4).

Despite having a rough season in 2009, the Houston Astros are hoping Myers can bounce back in 2010. According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggert, via Twitter, the Astros have signed Myers to a one-year, $5 million deal. The deal also includes an option for 2012.

One of the reasons that Myers signed with the Astros is because the Astros offered him a spot in their rotation. Myers will be the Astros No. 3 starter heading into 2010 behind Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez. Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino should round out the rotation.

I have my doubts as to whether or not Myers can improve on his gopher ball habits pitching in Minute Maid Park. However, considering the Astros started the 2009 season with Russ Ortiz and Brian Moehler in the starting rotation, Myers does represent an upgrade in 2010.

Myers is the third acquisition the Astros have made to bolster their pitching staff this offseason. Earlier in this offseason, the Astros signed Brandon Lyon and traded for Matt Lindstrom.

Despite their acquisitions to the pitching staff, the Astros still strike me as a fourth or fifth place team in the NL Central. I expect the Astros to finish behind the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and perhaps the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Jamie Moyer May Not Be Ready For Opening Day

January 7, 2010

At 47-years-old, you have to start wondering how much more Philadelphia Phillies’ LHP Jamie Moyer can put his body through.

On October 2, Moyer underwent surgery to repair three muscle tears in his groin and lower abdomen. Almost two months later, Moyer underwent another surgery after an MRI exam showed a small blood collection that could have been infected.

Moyer will have knee surgery on Monday

Now, Moyer is scheduled to undergo another surgery–this time on his right knee. Moyer will undergo the surgery on Monday.

That’s a lot of surgeries for a 27-year-old to have, let alone a 47-year-old. Thanks to all these procedures, Moyer may not be ready for opening day for the Phillies.

“I would doubt that Jamie would be ready for opening day,” Ruben Amaro said through the Philadelphia Inquirer. (The Phils open April 5 in Washington.) “It’s possible. If anybody can do it, Jamie can.”

Moyer signed a two-year extension for $13 million before the 2009 season, so one has to figure this will be Moyer’s final season in the major leagues. Unless he wants to say he played till he was 50, I don’t see why Moyer would continue to pitch after this season.

The Phillies’ first four spots in the rotation is set with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, JA Happ, and Joe Blanton. When Moyer comes back, he could either compete for the fifth spot in the rotation or be a long reliever out of the pen.

I think because of his ability to eat innings, Moyer will be given every chance to start for the Phillies in 2010. In the two seasons before last, Moyer threw over 190 innings.

Moyer will be entering his 24th year in the major leagues in 2010. Every time Moyer takes the mound, he is living proof that A. It pays to be born left-handed and B. You don’t have to throw 100 mph to be a successful major league pitcher.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Red Sox Go On The Defensive Again, Sign Adrian Beltre

January 5, 2010

Theo Epstein looked at the defensive statistics and saw his team was one of the worst–if not the worst defensive team in baseball last season. His goal this offseason–to improve the Boston Red Sox overall defense.

First he added Marco Scutaro to play short, then he added Mike Cameron to play left and now he has added another superior defensive player.

According to Peter Gammons via Twitter, the Red Sox have signed 3B Adrian Beltre to a one-year, $9 million contract with a player option for $5 million for 2011. The deal is pending a physical.

Beltre is the latest free agent to join the Red Sox

This a great value signing by the Red Sox.

Beltre is one of the best defensive third baseman in the game and completely fits with what Epstein is trying to do defensively. Over the last three years, Beltre ranks fourth amongst all major league third baseman with a 23.7 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating).

Beltre replaces Mike Lowell as the Red Sox starting third baseman. Lowell was a statue last season. Lowell’s UZR last season was -10.4. Beltre’s was 14.3.

To say Beltre is an upgrade defensively is an understatement.

This move also allows Kevin Youkilis to concentrate on being the full-time first baseman rather than having to worry about shifting back-and-forth between first and third. Casey Kotchman’s reign as Red Sox starting first baseman lasted about three weeks.

With the moves Epstein has made this offseason, the Red Sox should be one of the better defensive teams in baseball next season.

Offensively, there are some concerns about Beltre. First and foremost, let’s get something out of the way–he is never, ever, ever going to have a year again like he did in 2004.

His .334 average and 48 home runs was the aberration of all aberrations. He is just not that good of a player. He is a guy who is more likely to hit .265 with 20 – 25 home runs, which is what he has done over the last five years.

While he has been consistent over the last five years, his OPS has dropped three years in a row, which is a little concerning. However, moving into a hitter friendly ballpark and hitting in a very solid lineup should help Beltre’s numbers.

It wouldn’t shock me if Beltre hit around .275 with 25 – 30 home runs in 2010.

With every signing there are two sides–the team’s side and the player’s side. And for the player’s side in this deal, this has to be considered a loss.

At the beginning of the offseason, Beltre was reportedly seeking a four-year, $40 – $50  million contract. He essentially priced himself out of the range of the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and maybe even the Seattle Mariners.

Now two months later, he signs a one-year deal not even worth $10 million a year. That has to be a little disheartening for Beltre’s agent.

However, this is not a total loss for Beltre. Beltre and his agent realized he wasn’t going to get the money he wanted, so why not sign what is essentially a one-year deal with a team and a ballpark that gives him the best chance to succeed in 2010.

If Beltre has a big year, he can test the free agent market again in 2011 with better stats and perhaps a better economy behind him. It’s not such a bad strategy.

And while we are on the subject of strategy, how bad does the Phillies strategy of rushing to sign Placido Polanco look right now? Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. looks like a complete buffoon right now.

Mark DeRosa signs for two-years and $12 million, Beltre signs for one-year and $9 million, and Polanco signs for three-years and $18 million? That deal is looking worse and worse every day.

I would rather have both of those guys than Polanco.

Beltre has a .270 average with 250 home runs and a .779 OPS in 12 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Phillies Add To Their Bullpen, Sign Danys Baez

January 1, 2010

Update

The Baez contract is for two-years and $5.25 million. Man, I should have been a mediocre relief pitcher.

Original Post

Before I get to my Danys Baez envy, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I also hope everyone had a safe New Year’s Eve, or as it is commonly referred to in New York City–amateur hour.

Today is the first day of the year, but I also feel one of the most underrated days of the year. There are no responsibilities, there is college football all day, the NHL Winter Classic, classic movies like Airplane on Comedy Central, and of course, Chinese food.

What’s better than that?

Though I have to admit I am a little disappointed in the MLB Network today. How do you show the same programming for 48 hours straight? Today is a perfect day for All Time Games.

Now on to the matter at hand.

Yesterday, a couple of free agents ended 2009 with a bang. Marlon Byrd signed with the Chicago Cubs and Danys Baez signed a contract as well.

Baez is heading back to the NL

As Todd Zolecki of MLB.com first reported via Twitter, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Baez to a two-year contract. No terms of the deal have been disclosed yet.

Not only am I extremely envious of Baez, but I am envious of his agent as well. This guy must have the best negotiating skills on the planet.

Baez’s agent was able to negotiate a three-year, $19 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles after the 2006 season. A 2006 season, in which he had his worst statistical season of his career up to that point.

In 2006, Baez had the highest ERA of his career (4.53), highest hits/9 (9.1), and lowest K/9 (5.9). Somehow, Baez’s agent took those number and spun them into a three-year contract.

Now Baez’s agent is at it again.

Baez had three less than stellar years in Baltimore. It was really only two years because Baez missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Baez had a 5.02 ERA in those two seasons and his HR/9 of 1.2 was the highest of any two year stretch in Baez’s career. In 2009, Baez had the lowest K/9 of his career at 5.0.

It’s usually not a good sign when a reliever doesn’t have the ability to miss bats anymore. Baez’s agent turned two years of mediocrity into another two years of security for Baez. Amazing.

The Baez signing essentially means the end of the Chan Ho Park era in Philadelphia.

I have to admit I am not to fond of the Phillies’ offseason so far. I thought they had a chance with a couple of smart moves to really put the hammer down in the National League and have failed to do so.

They gave up their best prospects in order to acquire Roy Halladay, who won’t give the Phillies that much more than what Cliff Lee would have given them, I really didn’t understand the rush to sign Placido Polanco and as it turns out now, they overpaid for him, and Baez really isn’t that much of an upgrade over Park.

It’s been a perplexing offseason for the Phillies in my opinion. They have addressed their needs, but I am not a fan of the decisions they have made to address those needs.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg