2012 didn’t work out the way the Philadelphia Phillies expected. The pitching is still strong with the big three of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels in the rotation, but it was time to reconfigure a lineup that was middle of the pack offensively. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are back for Opening Day 2013, however Carlos Ruiz is suspended for the first 25 games of the season. The entire 2012 Opening Day outfield of Juan Pierre, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence are gone. The Phillies also said goodbye to near-.300 career hitter Placido Polanco at the hot corner. With the free agent pool looking slim, it was up to trades to upgrade the offense for next season.
Phillies acquire CF Ben Revere
Twins acquire RHP Vance Worley and RHP prospect Trevor May
Phillies acquire 3B Michael Young
Rangers acquire RHP Josh Lindblom and RHP prospect Lisalverto Bonilla
It is going to be weird to see Michael Young wearing anything but a Texas Rangers uniform. No one has played more games in their career for the Rangers than Young. With the emergence of Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, the studliness of Adrian Beltre, and super-prospect Jurickson Profar waiting in the wings, it was time for the Texas’ clubhouse leader to look to greener pastures for a full-time role. Young last season hit .277 (his worst since 2002), but is still just one season removed from leading the American League in hits and batting .338. Philadelphia will be pleased if they get something the middle, plus Young’s great clubhouse leadership.
Revere is a vital cog for the new-look Phillies outfield and is the second centerfielder that the Twins have traded for pitching in a week. Revere was known more for his speed and defense in his rookie season, but evolved into a better hitter in 2012 (hitting .294). Revere will now be the Phillies table setter atop the lineup and does well in not striking out, with only 100 in 989 career at-bats. That should only get better as the 24-year-old continues to grow and enters his prime. Revere was also one of only six players with 40 or more stolen bases last season.
The Twins have been looking for pitching. A lot of it. Minnesota only has Scott Diamond set for a rotation and Worley will factor into the mix if not be assured a spot of his own. May had a rough 2012 in the minors, but was one of the top Phillies pitching prospects prior to that.
Lindblom will factor into the bullpen needs for the Rangers. More importantly though, it sheds $10 million off their payroll in an attempt to bring back Josh Hamilton.
-Bryan Mapes ( @IAmMapes)
It’s May 9th and already this season we have seen a perfect game, 4K’s in one inning (twice), two triple plays, a teenager steal home, a 49-year old win a game, two 40-year olds hit walk-off home runs, a position player win a game, a cycle, a no-hitter and now FOUR home runs in one game.
After that outing Josh Hamilton can not be seen as a mere mortal anymore. He is in fact a government built cyborg who’s sole purpose is to crush opposing pitchers.
What Josh Hamilton did to the Orioles pitching staff Tuesday is the stuff legends are made of. Not only does he now hold the franchise record, four home runs in a game becoming only the sixteenth player to accomplish this. He is the first since Carlos Delgado did it in 2003. Hamilton also set the American League record for total bases in a game with 18 adding a double as well. This was the best offensive output by one player so far this season followed by Ryan Braun’s 4-5. A game in which Braun hit 3 home runs and a triple.
Every home run Hamilton hit was a 2-run shot as Elvis Andrus was standing on first for every one of them.
As awesome as this ride has been with Hamilton so far this season, a revelation came over me as I was watching his fourth home run exit the field by way of center field. Is Josh Hamilton just a great contract year player?
He was last seeking a new contract after the 2010 season one in which he had won the AL MVP award. Hitting a career best .359/.411/.633 with 32 home runs. This season he is on pace to crush all of his personal best records as well as maybe a few Ranger records as well.
I know he is arguably the best player in the game when he is healthy every other year but he seems to be focusing a little more this year than he was last year. Or is my pessimism taking hold of me? Could it be that he is just more determined to win this season after losing his second World Series in a row last year.
Sorry for going off on a rant but that had to be said.
Now back to the man of the hour. Hamilton in his last six at bats is 6-6 with 5 home runs again all with a man on. Giving him a round 10 RBIs over that stretch.
He is the best hitter in baseball right now at this particular point in the season. What makes him even more dangerous are the players that play behind him. With the way he’s hitting right now the obvious question is: why even pitch to him?
When he is followed by Adrian Beltre (who had a home run tonight of his own) and Michael Young, the simple answer is you have to pitch to him.
I see this season, with Hamilton all predictions are based on presumed health, being his most prolific and maybe the best “natural” offensive season we have seen in a long time. Remember he was once deemed “The Natural”.
Does a record night like that have you forgetting what happened to him during the offseason and his impending contract? No, but it should help his case that he should be paid as one of the best in the game.
Matt Kemp the pressure is now off of you to hit home runs as Hamilton now leads the league in home runs. You may now start working on your stolen bases.
I also learned tonight that Josh Hamilton is latin for MVP. Who would have thought?