Spring Training Odds and Ends: Happ, Romero – Phillies Nation
Odds And Ends

Spring Training Odds and Ends: Happ, Romero

-J.A Happ will be the first pitcher on the mound on in the Phillies first Spring Training game against Florida State University on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to this game for the sole fact that it is finally actual baseball action. Metrics have concluded this offseason that Happ will not be on the same level as a year ago when he was the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up.

Bill James, the projectionist monarch, says Happ will win 10 games and post an era in the mid-four’s.  I’ll give J.A. a bit more confidence than that, but even if he wins 12 games and hovers around four in the ERA column, that should be looked at as a successful season for a number-four starter. Whatever the case, I would warn not to pay too much attention to Happ’s ST performance.

-The guy I’m really looking forward to seeing is Phillippe Aumont. He will throw behind Happ during Wednesday’s game and the expectations will still be rather substantial for a guy who isn’t expected to make his mark on the majors for another year, at the earliest.  He was the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee trade, meaning many eyes will be glued to his performance.

Aumont boasts a power fastball, but needs to hone his secondary pitches before he can truly be counted on as a top-of-the-line starting pitcher.  Still, if he can figure out the curve and change up he has been working on, it’ll certainly be exciting to see his maturation.  He no doubt has big shoes to fill, but what are you expecting out of Aumont? If he’s not a #1 or #2 starter in the league, will it be failure of a trade?

-J.C. Romero finally threw earlier today for the first time since elbow surgery in October. The lefty specialist hurled 23 pain-free pitches, all fastballs, as he attempts to return to his 2008 form.  He should be ready to go by the first week of the regular season, if all goes well.  And, boy, do the Phillies need him.  They need that lefty presence badly as last year it was J.A. Happ, Antonio Bastardo and Jack Taschner out of the pen, for the most part. Bastardo is a year older and wiser, Happ is a full-time starter now, and Taschner is gone.  The onus is now on Romeo to get healthy.



  1. WFC010

    February 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Seeing Aumont in action on Wednesday should be something to watch, and he’s already shown in the past that he can handle some of the best hitters in the Majors, so I would be very interested in seeing how he will do on Wednesday.

    Happ as well has some pretty big expectations for this coming season, if he wants to prove last season wasn’t a fluke.

  2. Dan

    February 28, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    If aumont doesn’t work out as a starter, his power fastball might work in the back end of the bullpen.

  3. shag beta sigma delta

    February 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I thought Seattle had pretty much figured Aumont as a closer, are the Phillies looking to try and make him a starter again? But am looking forward to seeing him throw also, he is a big dude.
    I am a big Happ fan I think he showed a lot even back to 08 when he was called up at the end of the year, and last year he did allow a lot of base runners but he never got flustered, which I feel is a great sign. I can see Happ somewhere between 3.5 and 4 ERA this year and with this offense if it can gain some consistency could give him 12 -15 wins.
    I also think that we may see some of the young arms come up to fill some bull pen spots this year if JC can not get back into form. I thought they should have brought some up last year instead of Taschner, but he did OK for what he is.
    I am sooooo looking forward to this weeks ST games already have them set to record on my DVR. And August 12 home opener can not get here soon enough, have my tickets ready to go. Just got Sunday package tickets last week, come on Spring let baseball begin again

  4. WFC010

    February 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Yeah, a lot of people feel that Aumont could be a great Elite Closer if he doesn’t work out as a Starter. Honestly I would prefer to see Aumont as a 1-3 starter over a Closer, but both positions are VERY crucial for a team that aims to keep competing for championships, which the Phillies are certainly hoping to do.

  5. John

    February 28, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I think that moving Aumont back to starter was a wise move – if nothing else that’ll get him more IP that relieving would. Doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll stay there upon arriving in the bigs. The extra innings will be beneficial, especially in allowing him to work on secondary pitches. Is he slated to start the seson in AAA or AA?

  6. WFC010

    February 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I think I heard that he’d be starting the season in AA, although making AAA by the end of the season wouldn’t be out of the question. We aren’t likely to see Aumont in the majors in any capacity before like the middle of 2011 at the earliest, but only time will tell.

  7. Greg V.

    February 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    You heard it here first folks! Aumont will be our future closer!

  8. John

    February 28, 2010 at 11:06 pm


    A nice piece about Aumont from Scott Lauber in his blog. Too bad he won’t be covering the Phils anymore, I think he did really nice work

  9. Brooks

    March 1, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Shag, if the Phils could get 13 wins or there about with Happ, I think they would be happy. Of course we are hoping for more all the time.
    Last year Happ gave up 149 hits in 166 IP – he also walked 56 batters, which averages 11 base runners per 9 IP (8 hits and 3 walks per 9).
    I wouldnt say he gave up too many hits but, he wasnt overpowering either.
    Unless Halladay gets hurt, it looks like he is as close to a shoe-in for 20 wins as you can get.
    Halladay – 20 wins
    Hamels – 15-18?
    Blanton – 14 wins
    Happ – 13 wins
    #5 starter (between Jamie and Kyle to start with) – 10-11 wins?
    72 (plus) wins if you look at the light numbers – good number!

  10. derekcarstairs

    March 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

    We should be very happy if Aumont becomes our new closer in 2012. With Lidge’s big contract gone after 2011, the Phils would be in a much better position to retain the core players for several years.

    I think our standard for Happ should be to perform at the level of a no. 4 starter on a top team, not just a league average no. 4. An ERA of 4 would do the trick, but not one in the mid-4s.

  11. Pat Gallen

    March 1, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I would think the only way we see Aumont as a closer at this point is if he drowns as a starter for at least a year or injuries take their toll. And you dont really want to have either scenario on your hands with a young, top notch pitcher.

  12. George

    March 1, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Whether this becomes “a failure of a trade” doesn’t depend solely on Aumont. On the Phil’s side, there are also Gillies and Ramirez to consider. It’s also possible, though not likely, that Lee could falter. Mariners fans would call it a failure, then.

  13. Manny

    March 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Chan Ho speaks out:


    Park was no exception. Standing in the locker room of the defending champs, dressed in the iconic pinstripes, Park made clear that he regretted leaving Philadelphia.

    He began by saying the right things about becoming a Yankee. “They have the most history, and they are popular in the world, even in Korea,” Park said. “When I grew up, they were a symbol–New York. Yankees.”

    But he spent most of his time yesterday talking about an off-season he called “frustrating.”

    “I had a wish after the season,” he said. “Philadelphia was the no. 1 choice. I had a tough time leaving there. I had much support from fans and community, and I had the best teammates there, so…”

    Well, he was asked, why didn’t it work out with the Phils?

    “Too late. Too late. Too late. It didn’t work well in the beginning, and later on, too late,” he said.

    Basically, Park orginally expected a raise from the Phils, feeling that a strong performance had earned him more than the $2.5 million he made in 2009. His agents negotiated with Amaro through mid-December, and then the Phils decided to move on. Park was shocked.

    “They were talking, and it didn’t work,” he said. “Trying to get a deal, and it didn’t work out, and then later on they just gave up, and I lost.”

    He eventually signed for one year, $1.2 million to become a Yankees reliever. Park said that while he still preferred starting–and claimed to have drawn interest as a starter from several teams, though he declined to name those teams–he was more comfortable in the relief role than ever before.

    “I knew a lot of teams were going to expect more” from him as a reliever, Park said. I” had success in the bullpen last year and the year before.”

    Park also addressed the criticism leveled by Charlie Manuel this winter. In complimenting Baez and Contreras as pitchers who would never refuse to take the ball, even if injured, Manuel was clearly taking a shot at Park. It is likely that Manuel’s view of Park as a victim of frequent minor injuries contributed to the Phils lack of aggressiveness in pursuing the pitcher.

    “I was disappointed in what he said,” said Park. “That’s what he thinks, but I don’t think it has any meaning. He still is my favorite manager. I didn’t talk to him, and I didn’t believe it (when he first heard about the comments). But who cares? He’s still my favorite manager. The whole team; they’re the best. That’s why it’s so difficult to leave. The fans, especially the fans. They’re the best.

    “(It is) mostly sad…to leave Philadelphia. I had fun last year. Good memories and things. That makes me sad, but in the future (I’m on) a good team, and we have a chance to win. That’s what’s most important.”

  14. beta sigma shag

    March 1, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Brooks thanks for the stats, if you asked me I would think those walks and hits per nine would be higher. I guess it is perception that he always pitching with guys on base.
    I also think Doc should reach 20 wins if he stays healthy
    and from all reports Cole is working hard and with Doc down there hopefully that will help Cole a little so I like the high side of 15-18 wins for Cole.
    I really like the starting rotation if they can stay healthy, but I think we have enough in the organization that can fill in short term if some one needs to miss 1 or 2 starts.
    The pen is a huge question mark at the start of the season for me, but I also feel that is one of the easiest fixes throughout the year, between the young arms and guys you can picke up along the way.
    I hope Lidge rebounds and some of the guys they signed are good enough to handle the load, which should be lighter with Doc here all year

    Halladay – 20 wins
    Hamels – 15-18?
    Blanton – 14 wins
    Happ – 13 wins
    #5 starter (between Jamie and Kyle to start with) – 10-11 wins?

  15. Manny

    March 1, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I think that from the Lee and Park stories, plus the key FA signings and exctensions the Phillies have made, one thing is clear: RAJ likes to move quickly and aggressively. Not saying it’s good or bad, just saying that it is now clear that that’s his style.

    He doesn’t let things drag forever and if he doesn’t sense a “fit,” he’ll move on and find someone else to do the job. When he sees a “fit” he’ll go right after it and sign/extend the player.

  16. Matt Kwasiborski

    March 1, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Will the Mariners consider it a failure if they fail to make the playoffs and Lee walks at the end of the year?

  17. Chuck

    March 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Is this dude, Park, for real?? Some of the stuff coming out of his mouth almost seems like a joke.

    Wasn’t HE the one that screwed up thinking that he could get more…and didn’t the Phillies offer him $3M to play this year??

    The comment about Charlie is wierd, too. As if Charlie Manuel is in the business of taking “cheap shots” at his players.

    Thanks, Chan Ho, for last year. Now move along to your new team. And good luck when facing THIS lineup.

  18. deebo

    March 1, 2010 at 11:50 am


    yes park is for real. jeff borris, on the other hand, may be looking for a new client.

    RAJ is now or never. consider the Lee quotes. Lee said, The day I got traded, we were preparing our counteroffer. (No quotation marks, hence, not an exact quote) beltre turned down 3y/24M. the fact that the park negotiations went on for 6 weeks weren’t the fault of RAJ, blame the agent. park lost money, b ut something tells me that some south korean cable company will pick up the YES network. making the signing a wash for the yanks.

    it isn’t about money, it’s about sending a message. everything burns. sorry joker, you never watched baseball.

  19. psujoe

    March 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Park left money on the table from the Phillies in the hopes of signing as a starter. When it was determined that nobody wanted him as a starter, “it was too late” for Philly.

    Lee’s agent was countering a 3 year $60 million extension which was the Phillies bottom line. No sense waiting for a coutner offer when the best you can offer wasn’t good enough.

  20. Jeff of Nova

    March 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I agree with psujoe, If you put your final offer on the table and they say no, there is no counter, now I am not sure if RAJ told them this is the final but knowing what they signed Halladay for it was.

    Park was clearly misguided by his agent and misplayed the market, yes the Phillies could have used him, but we are not talking about resigning a player that is not repaceable.

    what are you talking about?
    “it isn’t about money, it’s about sending a message. everything burns. sorry joker, you never watched baseball.”
    I take it you are a Yankees fan? sorry but losing Park does not burn!! He has been replaced for less and we will be fine. Yankees are the best team in baseball but did not really upgrade much this offseason so good luck in that division!

    That being said…..


  21. WFC010

    March 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    By the way, is the Wednesday game with Happ,Aumont,etc. going to be broadcast on TV or the internet anywhere?

    I really want to see it.

  22. Bob in Bucks

    March 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    In general I don’t think it makes sense to talk about wins from starters (or anyone else). The W does not tell us anything about a game. The rules are silly (I pitch 4 2/3 innings but you pitch 1/3 and the offense scores in the bottom of the inning and you (1/3) get the win. I look at ERA or WHIP for pitchers.
    If Happ comes in under 4 ERA that would be fantastic. I am looking for a 4 – 4.25 which would be good for a #4.
    On Park, he or his agent played a weak hand. Off-season is very dynamic, Amaro can’t wait until you make up your mind, everyone else is moving. The message is clear – if he gives you a good offer you either take it or leave it. After Lee and Park people will pay attention when RA makes an offer!

  23. Chuck

    March 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Yeah….I guess I’M the joker, accorging to deebo?? Coming from a Yankees fan, which I also assume he is….that little comment makes sense.

    And I agree…losing Chan Ho Park doesn’t burn at all. On to bigger and better……

  24. Jeff of Nova

    March 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I am right on board with Armaro’s thinking! Good business!

    Chuck, you jokster:)

  25. Chuck

    March 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I’m on record right now as saying that the Yankees WILL NOT repeat this season…

    Jeff of Nova is right when he makes the point that the Yankees didn’t “upgrade much this offseason.” That, coupled with the division they are in, and I just don’t see a repeat in them. Plus they have ZERO heart.

    And that’s no joke .

    And neither is this…


  26. WFC010

    March 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I wouldn’t count out the Yankees just yet, even though their core players age more and more as every year passes.

    Most of the Phillies core are just entering their 30’s, while many of the Yankees core guys are in their mid to late 30’s.

    They can NOT keep up the same caliber of play for much longer, and some of them have already begun to slip.

  27. Don M

    March 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Gotta remember that the Yankees maybe didn’t need to upgrade AT ALL …

    so even the fact that they “Didn’t upgrade much” …. means that they are still on top .

    I don’t think the World Series was all that close .. the same way that we easily handled the Rays, the Yankees easily handled us

    Boston looks really good and should challange the Yankees.. but I can’t see any team from the AL Central or West that is better than either of those teams

    A healthy Posada, a healthy A-Rod . . the addition of Granderson.. I think the Yankees are still stacked, and definitely the team to beat.

    I think that we improved even more.. and closed the gap

    I wouldn’t be shocked to see a World Series repeat from both teams

  28. WFC010

    March 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    The Yankees clearly beat us in the World Series, but I still feel we COULD HAVE won if everyone was playing up to their potential. Many of our big bats didn’t hit like we all know they can, we had a wounded Closer who pretended to be “just fine” and a young Ace-Caliber Starter who was having a terrible year.

    To be honest, I never even expected us to make the World Series this past year…mainly because of concerns with Lidge and Hamels.

  29. The Original Chuck P

    March 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Granderson is a fraud… think Howard’s bad against lefties? Try .183 on for size (his batting average against lefties in 2009). Defensively, he’s below average. At the plate, he’s a downgrade from caveman Johnny Damon. The Vazquez trade makes them scary… he’ll help keep that staff healthy. It would be tough to bet against the Yankees but it would be tough to expect them to stay healthy… they are an old team… but they’re still pretty good on paper.

  30. Chuck

    March 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I’m not saying the Yankees aren’t going to make the postseason. I just think Boston is better and will challenge them mightily. I agree that the AL representative in the Series most likely comes from that division…. and that’s either the Yankees or Red Sox.

    Granderson is really nothing all that special. Vazquez is good.

    However, it is an older team. I mean how much longer can Pettitte go and Rivera, while still effective (oh what am I saying?? it’s Mariano Rivera for God’s sake)..

    Still, I just don’t think they have a repeat in them. Just one man’s opinion and prediction. And I think it’s based more on a gut feeling….which probably means absolutely nothing.

  31. WFC010

    March 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I really think that there is nothing all that GRAND about Granderson, but he’s still an okay player besides being way over-rated. And they let Damon walk for THIS guy?

    Sure Johnny is aging, be he still has a few productive seasons left in him…and he’s much better than Granderson.

  32. BurrGundy

    March 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Park will be seen more in Korea by playing with the Yankees –The World Champs — than in Philly. He is a huge name in Korea. Frankly, I wish the dude luck, except in the post season when playing the Phils.

  33. NJ

    March 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Where a guy is being groomed in the minors is almost completely irrelevant and 100% situational. Pedro Martinez was a reliever coming up and Mariano was a starter. Aumont was in the bullpen because Seattle in the worst shape they’ve been in for years was trying to fast-track him to the majors with a bullpen about as good as the Nats or Pirates at that point.

    Just look at our experiment with Josh Outman… (How can you trade a pitcher named OUTman??)

  34. WFC010

    March 1, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Josh Outman: Best Pitcher name EVER

    Really sucks that we let him go 🙁

  35. Don M

    March 2, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I don’t think Granderson will win the MVP or anything like that.

    but for people to be dismissing that .. or thinking that it won’t help them, is just plan foolish

    In his career, he hits only .210 against LHP . . but .292 against RHP (and MOST pitchers in baseball are Righties) . .

    He has an overall career batting average of .272 . . he’s probably good for 20 HR- 20 Steals

    Bad in the field??
    He’s got a .993 Fielding Percentage..
    And the fielding Bible (all those stats geeks), ranked him 3rd best CenterFielder

    So he’s above average offensively.. and above average defensively.. Im not sure how that wasn’t a good upgrade for the Yankees?

  36. Chuck

    March 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Those numbers aren’t bad for Granderson. I guess it’s because he’s not that “sexy” name out there that everyone….admittedly myself included….have sort of discounted what he’s done and what he could possibly do for the Yankees.

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