Jonathan Pettibone's big-league debut similar to his dad's

042213_jonathanpettiboneap.jpg

Jonathan Pettibone's big-league debut similar to his dad's

Jay Pettibone, his wife, son and daughter flew all night from California to be in Philadelphia on Monday. The Pettibones expected to be a little tired after a trip on the red eye, but they weren’t expecting to be so cold.

You see, while rushing around to get ready for a last-second trip and making the arrangements with work and school, the family wasn’t prepared for the winter-like evening at Citizens Bank Park. They didn’t pack any winter coats.

Nevertheless, Jay Pettibone warmed up quickly after watching his son Jonathan work 5 1/3 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his major-league debut at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night (see story). In fact, Jonathan Pettibone did pretty well on such short notice. On Saturday, the 22-year-old right-hander from Anaheim, Calif. was in Allentown, Pa. with the Phils’ Triple A club when he got the call to come to Philadelphia.

Pettibone allowed six hits, including a pair of solo homers, and no walks (more on that here) while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings to put the Phillies in position to pull out the 3-2 victory (see Instant Replay) and make the trip that much more exciting for Jay Pettibone and his family.

“Everyone is busy with work and school,” Jay Pettibone said. “My daughter is in high school and my son is in college playing ball, too, and packing everything up within a few hours to get on the road -- we just wanted to be there for him and show him the support. It was something we didn’t want to miss.”

A similar scenario occurred 30 years ago, too. While pitching for the Triple A Toledo Mud Hens, Jay Pettibone was told to hurry to Minnesota to make his big-league debut against the Kansas City Royals.

Jay Pettibone remembered that Sept. 11, 1983, complete-game loss as if it were yesterday. His son remembers hearing the story about that debut over the years, too.

“He always talks about it because he got a CG (complete game), so it went a little better than mine,” Jonathan Pettibone said. “He reminds me from time to time, but it’s all in fun.”

There are some quirky coincidences in the pro baseball careers of Jay and Jonathan Pettibone. Aside from rushing from Triple A to make surprise spot starts, the elder Pettibone remembered working for pitching coach Johnny Podres, who also guided the Phillies’ pitchers when they won the National League in 1993.

Jay passed on the advice he received from Podres back then to Jonathan on Monday afternoon.

“The whole scenario. The quick call and hurry to get there and being told you’re pitching the next day,” Jay Pettibone said. “I just told him to relax and enjoy it just like I was told by Johnny Podres way back when. I tried to do that myself.”

It was the perfect bit of advice.

“Don’t let anything around here get to you,” Jonathan Pettibone said his dad told him. “Just enjoy it and do what you’ve been doing your whole life.”

In Jay Pettibone’s debut, he went up against Danny Jackson, a member of that '93 Phillies team. He made three more starts after the debut and lost them all. When the season ended, Jay Pettibone went back to the minors in 1984, and he played for a young manager in his second season at Double A Orlando named Charlie Manuel.

Three decades later and Jonathan Pettibone made his big-league debut for Charlie Manuel.

What are the odds?

“He was a good guy that the players all liked,” Jay Pettibone remembered. “He just let you go do your thing. As a pitcher, he would let you go out there and go deep into games. The players that were hitters really liked him because right fresh out of baseball and he was very helpful to them.”

Manuel recalled the elder Pettibone’s repertoire.

“I remember he pitched for me,” Manuel said about Jay Pettibone. “Sinker, slider.”

Jonathan Pettibone relied mostly on his fastball and changeup. Of his 83 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, Pettibone threw just eight sliders. Everything else was heat or a changeup, which was the plan. Eventually, Pettibone will have to throw more breaking pitches, but for now it was important to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

“That was the game plan,” Jonathan Pettibone said. “I didn’t want to pick around the strike zone. I wanted to be aggressive and get ahead of guys.”

Manuel liked the pitcher's aggressiveness. Though he allowed a double on the second pitch he threw in the game, Pettibone recovered to get out of the inning unscathed. In the second, Pettibone allowed a solo homer to third baseman Pedro Alvarez, but recovered to get a pair of strikeouts.

In his first big-league plate appearance, Pettibone drew a leadoff walk against A.J. Burnett, advanced to second on Jimmy Rollins’ single and moved to third on a groundout by John Mayberry.

When Burnett threw one wild to Chase Utley, Pettibone rushed home with the Phillies’ first run.

Dad might have been a little more nervous about the at-bat and the trip around the bases than the pitching performance.

“Oh boy,” Jay Pettibone said about watching his son dig in at the plate.

Pettibone got three more strikeouts in the third and fourth innings and allowed just one hit. Russell Martin hit a solo homer to lead off the fifth and Clint Barmes followed with a single, but Pettibone got out of the inning with three ground balls.

After Pettibone retired Andrew McCutchen to start the sixth, Manuel went to the bullpen.

Through it all, the first Phillie to be born in the 1990s was poised and stoic on the mound. Yeah, he admitted to having difficulty falling asleep the night before and said he was nervous for the first couple of innings, but once he got going it was just another game.

“That’s normal for him,” Jay Pettibone said. “He stays in control and doesn’t show a lot of emotion. That’s typical for him.”

In the meantime, the Phillies are going to need a fifth starter with John Lannan on the disabled list. Manuel said the Phillies will discuss if Pettibone will get some more work in the big leagues, but if it’s a one-and-done gig, it went pretty well for the kid.

Even his dad thinks so.

“Good job,” Jay Pettibone said when asked what he’ll tell his son after the game. “Way to go out there and throw your strikes and challenge people. That’s the key. Let them put the ball in play and keep the game close and turn it over to the ‘pen like he did and they have a good chance to win it.”

Breaking down the best and worst moves at MLB's winter meetings

Breaking down the best and worst moves at MLB's winter meetings

Five more thoughts as baseball's winter meetings wrap up:

1. What now for McCutchen?
The hottest name as the winter meetings began this week was Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' perennial All-Star centerfielder who had a .404 on-base percentage from 2012-15 with four straight top-five MVP finishes before falling off a cliff in 2016.

McCutchen hit 40 points worse last season as his bat and legs slowed and his approach deteriorated at times, perhaps out of frustration. There's been some speculation he was playing hurt.

The Nationals were the team most connected to McCutchen, but after failing to work out an agreement with the Pirates and losing out to the Red Sox for Chris Sale, Washington ultimately ended up trading for White Sox CF Adam Eaton.

So, what now for Cutch? It seems unlikely at this point he'd return to the Pirates ... would be kind of awkward. He knows his days there are numbered given Pittsburgh's payroll situation, and he hasn't yet accrued 10-and-5 rights. 

But Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters Wednesday that the intent now is to keep McCutchen.

And McCutchen tweeted this, implying his lips are sealed after weeks of rumors.

If McCutchen does eventually end up elsewhere, I don't think it will be the Phillies. There are certainly things to like, and I do believe McCutchen will bounce back in 2017, but at this point in the Phillies' rebuild and at this point in McCutchen's career, he's not the player to alter the organizational course for. 

2. Shrewd Sale
The Sale trade played out exactly as it should have — the team with the leverage scanned the market, found a few potential deals and got maximum value for one of baseball's five best starting pitchers.

In many trades of superstars, you can look at the return package and quickly conclude which team got the better end. Those opinions aren't always proven true — prospects fail, veterans get hurt — but winners and losers are usually identifiable.

In the Sale trade, there was no clear winner or loser. 

Sale is an ace, a pitcher you'd likely rather have start Game 1 of a playoff series than David Price. He's the ideal complement to Price, though in my opinion Sale is more of 1A to Price's 1B. 

Price has exceptional stuff and command but no deception. He has a one-step delivery that doesn't throw a hitter off balance. Sale has maybe the most deceiving delivery of any major-league starter — it's all elbows and knees coming at you, especially if you're a lefty — to go along with elite stuff and usually above-average command. 

They're both lefties but they offer much different looks for a hitter.

The centerpiece of the White Sox return, Yoan Moncada, is considered by many the best prospect in baseball — a big, athletic infielder who's settled in at 3B. He's got all the tools and the type of fluidity in his game that has enticed scouts as long as scouts have existed. 

Michael Kopech is the prototypical young flamethrower, a 6-foot-3 righty who throws a triple-digit fastball with a plus breaking ball. You look at Kopech and see some Noah Syndergaard-like, Justin Verlander-like potential.

Sale should make the Red Sox about five wins better each of the next three seasons. In terms of World Series odds, the Red Sox may enter 2017 on an even plane with the Cubs. 

And two or three years from now, Moncada and Kopech could be two of the top young players in baseball. This trade made a lot more sense for the White Sox than acquiring Victor Robles and Lucas Giolito from the Nationals. Both are intriguing prospects, but the Moncada-Kopech duo has more talent and upside.

The conversations between the White Sox and Nationals regarding Sale ultimately led Chicago to acquire Giolito as part of the package for Eaton. 

The White Sox have done very well this offseason in acquiring three, maybe four top prospects. Moncada is a big-time building block, and the return for Eaton of Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning gives Chicago three right-handers with enormous upside.

3. No clue what the Marlins are thinking
For the better part of two weeks, the Marlins had been linked to Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, the two best closers on the market and probably the two best closers in baseball. 

Chapman agreed late Wednesday night to a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees, by far the largest ever for a closer.

ESPN's Jayson Stark reported Tuesday night that Marlins owner/money man Jeffrey Loria had given his front office the go-ahead to sign either closer. Right now, that leaves just Jansen.

The question is why? The Marlins are not an elite closer away from winning the NL East. Adding Jansen will not catapult this team ahead of the Nationals or likely the Mets. The Marlins might not even be an elite closer away from a wild-card spot. 

Miami is still trying to pick up the pieces after the death of Jose Fernandez. The tragic loss has left them with a middling rotation, which right now includes Wei-Yin Chen, Edinson Volquez, Adam Conley, Tom Koehler and Jeff Locke. 

That rotation isn't leading you to October, not unless Giancarlo Stanton actually plays a full season and the Fish avoid regression from guys like Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto and Martin Prado.

Great New York Post columnist Joel Sherman also questioned Miami's approach this week, opining that the Marlins would be better off buying two lesser free-agent relievers like Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler at the one-year cost of either Chapman or Jansen. It would make sense since Miami already has three good relievers in A.J. Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps.

4. Brian Cashman's had quite a few months
The Yankees will not enter 2017 as the AL East favorite, but GM Brian Cashman has positioned them so well for the future, better than pretty much anyone could have expected back in July.

When the Yankees traded Andrew Miller to the Indians before the trade deadline, they picked up a top outfield power prospect in Clint Frazier and an intriguing young pitching prospect in Justus Sheffield. When they dealt Chapman to the Cubs, they picked up Gleyber Torres, one of the most well-thought-of shortstop prospects in baseball. (New York also added outfielder Billy McKinney, who could end up being a serviceable .280/.360/.430 type of player.)

And after it all, after transitioning the Yankees from an old, directionless team, Cashman ends up with all those prospects and Chapman.

In recent years there have been several opportunities for a team to re-sign a star player months after trading him for prospects. 

Some thought the Red Sox would do it with Jon Lester after trading him to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes. 

When the Phillies were considering trading Cole Hamels the first time, before he signed his $144 million extension, the possibility existed Ruben Amaro Jr. would trade him and then try to re-sign him that offseason. 

It almost happened with the Yankees and Carlos Beltran this offseason, before Beltran chose the Astros. 

There have been more examples, but this is the first time I can recall the team selling high on the player, getting the prospects and then also getting the player back. 

Great work by Cashman and the Yankees, who now have an infusion of young talent and still the best eight-ninth inning combination in the American League with Dellin Betances and Chapman.

5. Rockies must trade for pitching
The five-year, $70 million contract Ian Desmond agreed to with the Rockies this week was a stunner because they didn't seem to need more offense. They play in the game's best hitter's park and already have an annual MVP candidate in Nolan Arenado, an underrated stud in Charlie Blackmon, last year's batting champ in D.J. LeMahieu, emerging stars David Dahl and Trevor Story, and Carlos Gonzalez, who has 65 homers and 197 RBIs the last two seasons.

And yet the Rockies added Desmond to the second-largest contract in their franchise's history, behind only that futile six-figure deal for Mike Hampton.

They're also reportedly interested in last year's home run champ, Mark Trumbo. With or without Trumbo, the Rockies right now have the deepest lineup in the NL, one that should still thrive away from Coors Field.

But they've also backed themselves into a corner here of needing to trade one of these talented position players for a top-of-the-rotation arm. 

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Thursday that the Rockies and Blue Jays began discussing a potential trade involving Blackmon and 25-year-old right-hander Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays, as of yet, do not seem inclined to make the deal. Stroman won't reach free agency until after the 2020 season, whereas Blackmon's contract expires after 2018. The difference in cost and years of control seems to be too much for the Jays.

Blackmon, who last year hit .324/.381/.552 with 35 doubles, five triples, 29 homers and 82 RBIs, is the most logical trade candidate for the Rockies because he's starting to get expensive. But the Jays' unwillingness to make that Stroman deal could mean that moving even a player as talented as Blackmon for equal value could prove difficult for the Rox.

Looking around the league, a team like the Indians could be a fit for Blackmon since they have an enviable group of starting pitchers in Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar. Carrasco for Blackmon would seem even, but we shall see.

Phils lose LHP in Rule 5 draft, exit winter meetings balancing present with future

Phils lose LHP in Rule 5 draft, exit winter meetings balancing present with future

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The winter meetings ended Thursday morning with the Phillies sitting out the Rule 5 draft. The Phillies’ roster was at the 40-man limit and that prohibited the team from making a pick.

The Phils did lose one player in the draft as reliever Hoby Milner was selected by the Cleveland Indians. 

Milner, who turns 26 in January, is a left-hander who recently switched to a side-arm delivery. He had a 2.49 ERA in 49 games at Double A and Triple A in 2016.

Milner was eligible for the draft because he was not protected on the 40-man roster last month. The Indians selected him for $50,000. He must stay in the big leagues all season or be offered back to the Phillies for $25,000.

Andrew Pullin was a player the Phillies feared losing, but they hung on to the lefty-hitting outfielder. Pullin, 23, hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

The Phillies selected one player, infielder Jorge Flores, in the minor-league phase of the draft. Flores had been in the Toronto system.

The Phils lost one player, 25-year-old pitcher Jairo Munoz, to Tampa Bay in the minor-league phase. Munoz pitched in the low minors in 2016.

With the winter meetings behind them, Phillies officials will head back to Citizens Bank Park to complete the construction of their 2017 roster. So far this winter, the Phils have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and added outfielder Howie Kendrick and relievers Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and David Rollins.

Remaining on the Phillies’ to-do list is adding a backup infielder – Andres Blanco could return – and deciding whether to pursue a veteran hitter to play a corner outfield spot or give an opportunity to a young tandem such as Roman Quinn and Aaron Altherr. 

General manager Matt Klentak spoke often during the week about that balance he is trying to strike between improving the 2017 club while keeping intact long-range goals.

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside – that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

Time will tell which way the Phillies go on this matter.