The Washington Nationals’ “State of the Union”

Much like the Miami Marlins did, the Nationals restocked their roster and pitching staff this

Stephen Strasburg will lead a young, determined rotation in 2012.

offseason, however they did not change their name. Meet the newest threat to the Phillies’ reign over the NL East (sounds familiar), the 2012 Washington Nationals.

Let’s start with the position players in the Nationals’ starting nine, or rather, eight. Continue reading

Phillies release five minor leaguers

This may not be on the level of the Dontrelle Willis release that cam Friday, but the Phillies did announce the release of five players from Minor League Camp this morning, including friend of the blog Brian Gump.

Gump, 24, had played as high as Hi-A Clearwater, hitting a career .239 in three seasons after being drafted in 2009. An outfielder, Gump had amassed a bit of a ring collection during his time in the organization: a championship with the GCL Phillies and two with the Lakewood Blueclaws. On his blog (which I suggest to everyone, it’s on the blogroll) Gump wrote “Adversity breeds greatness, so I’ve got to battle on and see where this takes me. ” He also mentioned that he may try his luck at pitching, an interesting idea considering his career numbers on the mound (a pair of 1-2-3 innings and a strikeout).

Among the others released are Alan Schoenberger, an Australian infielder who made it as far as Hi-A (2011) after being signed as a 19 year old in 2006. His career numbers were low, with a batting average of .217 and a dismal .936 fielding percentage. Pitcher Jesus Pirela, 23, was also released after playing in Williamsport last year.

Ryan Feierabend, 26, was released after pitching as a starter for Triple-A Lehigh in 2011. This release makes room for Joel Pineiro, who was signed by the Phillies this offseason and will be no doubt heading down to Triple-A in April. Update: Pineiro was released this morning. Oops.

Lastly, pitcher Kasey Kiker was let go, and the reason you may not have heard of him is because he was signed last month. No appearances for the club, Spring Training or otherwise, though it is interesting to note that he was a first round draft pick in 2006 for the Texas Rangers. So long Kiker, we hardly knew ye.

But seriously, the best of luck to all of the players released, especially Brian Gump, who has been nothing but nice to us at PhightingOn.

Phillies Finalize Arbitration by Signing Hunter Pence

Earlier today the Phillies locked up their final player eligible for arbitration, when the team and All-Star Right fielder Hunter Pence agreed to a one-year, $10.4 million contract.  The figure is the midpoint between the $9 million offer from the organization and the $11.8 million that Pence was seeking.   Continue reading

Phillies Give Cole Hamels One-Year, $15 Million, Avoid Arbitration

Earlier today, the Phillies crossed another thing off of their pre-season to-do list, when they gave 28 year-old Cole Hamels a one-year $15 Million deal, avoiding arbitration.  The deal comes just 32 days before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.

The 2011 All-Star finished last season, so far the best of his career, 5th in Cy Young voting, while compiling 14 wins and 194 strikeouts, as well as career highs in ERA and WHIP (2.79 and 0.986 respectively).

The Phillies also worked out a deal with utility infielder and one-time pitcher Wilson Valdez (Fun fact: Wilson Valdez’s hat from that game is actually in the Hall of Fame).  The deal is reportedly worth $930,000 for one year.

The signings leave just Hunter Pence eligible for arbitration.  Pence reportedly is asking for $11.8 Million, while the Phillies are offering $9 Million.