Did the Phillies Really Almost Get Bobby Abreu Back to Use as Burnett Bait?

Did the Phillies Really Almost Get Bobby Abreu Back to Use as Burnett Bait?

The Phillies' Joe Blanton, who sounds as though he spent the entire offseason on the trading block, has reported to Clearwater with the rest of the pitchers and catchers.
The funny thing is, he almost didn't make it.
ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted Sunday night the Pittsburgh Pirates weren't the only team interested in beleaguered tattoo enthusiast A.J. Burnett. Prior to the Yankees closing the deal with the Pirates to send Burnett and just under two-thirds of his remaining salary to Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers and a bag of baseballs, it is alleged that the Phillies nearly made a play to acquire the now-former Yankee's services.
We knew the Yankees were interested in Abreu. And we knew the Phillies were interested in swapping Blanton for Burnett. But did both things nearly happen in concert?
An alternate reality after the jump...
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@Buster_ESPN
Buster Olney What the Phillies tried to do last week, sources said today, was trade Joe Blanton for Bobby Abreu, then flip Abreu for Burnett.
Feb 20 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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@Buster_ESPN
Buster Olney The Phillies' hope was that Burnett for two years would've provided at least a bit of a safety net in the event Hamels walks away as a FA.
Feb 20 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

That's right, the Phillies nearly traded Blanton to Anaheim for former Phillie (and former Yankee) Bobby Abreu, who would have been promptly sent to New York in exchange for Burnett. Granted, it would have made sense for the Yankees, who would have both unloaded Burnett and got the designated hitter they've been shopping for, but would it really have made sense for the Phillies?
Though Olney does great work, it's tough to believe the Phillies front office could view Burnett as any kind of safety net for a potential Cole Hamels departure. Honestly, over the past two seasons, Hamels has averaged a 2.93 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. On top of that, he was one of only three starting pitchers in the Majors to a post a sub-1.000 WHIP in 2011. The 35-year-old Burnett, on the other hand, well...he hasn't posted an ERA under 5.15 in the past two seasons. Really, the guy gave up five earned in six innings in Game 4 of the ALDS against Detroit and they nearly threw him a parade in the Canyon of Heroes.
We're not arguing Olney is wrong, we're just hoping the Phillies brass wouldn't have actually seen this as, again, "a bit of a safety net."
All that said, if you remove Hamels from the equation and look only at Blanton, it's not all that crazy. Rather than paying Joe Blanton $8.5 million in 2012, the Phils could have opted to pay Burnett $13 million (total) over 2012 and 2013, assuming they would have gotten the same price break as the Pirates. Coming off a milieu of injuries in 2011 and 4.82 ERA in 2010, Blanton is far from a sure thing in his own right.
As for the Yankees, indications were last week that they would be using the cash freed up from the Burnett trade with the Pirates to re-sign Eric Chavez and close a deal with another former Phillie -- Raul Ibanez. That deal, according to the Associated Press, was to be valued around $1 million ($11 less than the 39-year-old left fielder made last season). If such a plan is still in place, Ibanez would presumably DH for the Yankees in 2012.
Sure, the deal is dead now, but how would you have reacted to the Amaro & Co. dealing for A.J. Burnett (or to the mere mention of Bobby Abreu back under contract in Philly)?

[h/t 6ABC for the story]
>>>ESPN sources: Phillies tried for Burnett via Blanton, Abreu trades [WPVI.com]

There aren't enough Chooch pillows for every Philadelphian

chooch-pillow.jpg

There aren't enough Chooch pillows for every Philadelphian

Carlos Ruiz has been traded to the Dodgers and it is sad.

Not in the sense that it's a move that remotely affects anything about the current state of the Phillies. It's sad simply because Chooch -- lovable and awesome and wonderful Chooch -- is no longer a Phillie.

Chooch will be remembered for catching Roy Halladay's perfect game and no hitter and that little dribbler down the line in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. And, of course, dropping to his knees in celebration with Brad Lidge making them World Effin Champions.

But mostly he'll just be missed. What a guy to have aroud for so long.

Roy knows how hard it is not to have him around. I guess Chase won't need his any longer since the two will be reunined with one last chance of glory in L.A.

Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to Dodgers

Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to Dodgers

Jimmy Rollins. Then Chase Utley. Now Carlos Ruiz.

Thursday closed another chapter of the Phillies' golden era.

Ruiz, the Phillies' catcher since 2006, has been traded to the Dodgers (along with cash) for catcher A.J. Ellis, right-hander Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later.

Rollins was dealt to the Dodgers in December 2014. Utley, still with Los Angeles, was traded to the Dodgers in August 2015.

Ryan Howard is now the lone leftover from the Phillies' 2008 world champion club.

In 11 big-league seasons — all with the Phillies — Ruiz has hit .266 with a .352 on-base percentage and has been lauded for his game-calling abilities. This season, the 37-year-old is batting .261 with a .368 OBP, three home runs and 12 RBIs in a reserve role.

"I met Chooch in 2009 for the first time and immediately sensed that he was a special player," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But more importantly, over the years I grew to know that he is a special person. I'll miss him."

Ruiz caught Cole Hamels' no-hitter in July of last season, marking the catcher's fourth no-no behind the plate, tying him for most in MLB history with Jason Varitek.

"He’s a tremendous catcher and it just shows," Hamels said after no-hitting the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 25. "If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be catching this many no-hitter, perfect games. All of us have been fortunate enough to have him."

The Panama native, beloved and known by the Delaware Valley as "Chooch," quickly became a fan favorite. He was the staple behind home plate of the team's five-year run from 2007-11, in which it won five National League East titles, two NL pennants and, of course, the World Series championship in 2008.

"They are my favorite fans in the world," Ruiz said in February, "and we have some good memories together."

Philly Mayor goes to bat for Eagles fans, cheesesteaks against John Oliver

john-oliver.jpg
HBO's Last Week Tonight

Philly Mayor goes to bat for Eagles fans, cheesesteaks against John Oliver

Charter schools. They're complicated!

After watching John Oliver's segment on them over the weekend, you'd agree there is plenty of nuance involved in the charter school debate. But also that some of them are dirty as all get out. An underground nightclub at a SCHOOL? Jeez. That can't be okay anywhere.

It's a solid segment. But it also took a couple of unneeded digs at the city of Philadelphia, its cuisine, and its sports fans.

That irked the Mayor of Philadelphia and he fought back today on Twitter.

"Agree on charter oversight but English soccer fan who eats fish from newsprint can't judge Eagles fans, cheesesteaks," Jim Kenney tweeted.

Take that you fish-eating Brit!

You can also watch the entire John Oliver segment from Last Week Tonight below.