Another quiet week for the Philadelphia Phillies. They did introduce their latest big acquisitions, SS Didi Gregorius, and RHP Zack Wheeler on Monday. We will post some quotes and a link to that below.
They also announced the first four Non-Roster Invitees to join them in Clearwater for Spring Training, including an old favorite from Villanova, and we will note them as well.
Phillies welcome Didi and Zack:
In a Monday afternoon press conference we heard from the two newest Phillies. Both of them talked about what they need to do to make themselves better players and help the team contend in 2020.
When asked about his comparisons to top FA target Gerrit Cole, and how he can improve himself to get to his level, Wheeler had this to say about his pitching arsenal.
“I don’t think it’s a secret these days, so I can say it,” Wheeler said. “My two-seam gets hit a little bit more than my four-seam, so maybe it’s throwing more four-seams. It’s not a big speed difference, so it’s no secret, but maybe it’s throwing more four-seams. That’s one of the smaller things that you can do to get better without having to change too much and get in your own head.”
Zack also said that the Phillies good defense will help his stats. When compared to the Mets 29th ranked in MLB in Defensive Runs Saved, the Phils were 8th.
“They’re pretty solid in the field,” Wheeler said. “That was a big thing for me. You pitch to put the ball in play, so with a good defense that’s always going to help you.”
As for Gregorius, who feels maybe he came back from his Tommy John surgery too soon, and had his worst year for the New York Yankees last season, he knows he needs to make an impact during this one year deal, if he wants to make a better long term deal next season.
“Just take it one year at a time,” Gregorius said. “We’ll just go from there. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of years. Everybody was saying that I wasn’t ready or I wasn’t prepared to play when I came back. But I still went out there and pushed. I wasn’t at my best, but I still pushed.”
We will talk more about these players as the spring training invitees gets more settled, but we will touch on two of them this week.
IF Phil Gosselin is the only one of the four that has played for the Phillies. Goselin, 31 did a good job in 44 games last season, mostly as a PH. He had 10H, and a BA of .313, both ranked 6th in MLB, in that tough role.
The other intriguing player is OF Matt Szczur . Those of us who follow local college sports will remember Matt as one of the big pieces of the Villanova WildcatsFCS Championship team of 2009, where he racked up 270 all-purpose yards in the 23-21 Championship game win over the Montana Grizzlies. There were visions of him being the next Brian Westbrook, but it turned out he was an even better Baseball player.
Szczur has played well over 300 games at the MLB level, including 107 for the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs.
With the roster expanded to 26 players next season, all four of these veteran players, including IF Josh Harrison, and OF Mikie Mahtook, have a chance to make the extra spot or two on the squad going north.
It is that time of year to wish all our readers a Happy Holidays and will leave you with the Phillies holiday video.
Though I was born a few blocks from what was to be the NY Worlds Fair/Shea Stadium/Forrest Hills Complex, my parents saved me from being a NY fan by moving to Elkins Park in 1955, when I was 6 months old. I have been living and dying w/ Philly sports teams ever since. Now over 60 , I bring an older, but hopefully not stodgy, spin to this blog. By day I am a mild mannered controller/IT guy for a family business, but by night you will either find me @ CBP at least 17 games a season, and most other nights yelling at my tv as if they can hear me. Though I attend many other local sports, my main love has always been baseball, and my focus here is the Phillies, but I am also part of the team covering the Philadelphia Union.