Year in Review: Jose Contreras – Phillies Nation
2010 Player Reviews

Year in Review: Jose Contreras

When the Phillies signed Contreras last winter, it was not the most newsworthy signing of a Cuban defector blessed with a thunderbolt arm, but it may have turned out to be the most consequential. Contreras, who turned 39 last week, is the latest in a series of starting pitchers the Phillies have successfully converted to relief stalwarts, including Chad Durbin, Brett Myers, and Chan Ho Park.

Contreras had last been a top-line starting pitcher in 2006, when he went 13-9 for the White Sox. With his fastball velocity in free fall, he caught on with Colorado in late 2009, and was excellent in seven appearances, five from the bullpen. Those 17 innings were enough to convince the Phillies to plug Contreras into Park’s old spot in middle relief.

Contreras, despite originally stating a desire to start, took to his new role in middle relief with gusto. Contreras’ fastball averaged 94 mph in 2010, up 3.5 mph from 2008. With his velocity back, Contreras was able to work in hard breaking stuff to great effect, including a high-80s slider that was worth 8 runs above the league average. This translated to better than a strikeout an inning and, despite a midsummer hiccough (caused in part by some bad luck with strand rates and BABIP), the Big Truck finished second among Phillies relievers in innings pitched, third in ERA, and third in strikeouts.

With so much of the Phillies’ payroll tied up in a few superstar players, the key to building a successful team is filling in the gaps on the cheap, and this Big Truck certainly delivered.

Grade: 7.8/10–Contreras was an dependable, if not spectacular reliever all season long and earned his contract extension. He wasn’t Mariano Rivera, but it’s hard to go far in baseball without decent middle relief.

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Greg

    December 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Finally able to logon, woohoo!

    Either way, I enjoyed the Contreras signing. He seemed to be un-phased in high pressure situations, such as when he walked the bases loaded in a save situation, then retired the side on strikeouts. He did well as both an interim closer and a setup man, and I think Charlie trusts him enough to use him in situations that he’d use his best arm, Madson, in.

  2. Chuck

    December 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Well, lets’s see if this works. Cool new look.

  3. Pat Gallen

    December 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Hey guys, to leave comments, make sure you make a login name with a password to sign in with. It’ll make things super, super easy once this site takes off. Thanks everyone!

  4. Brian Michael

    December 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Jose was a nice surprise this season.

  5. jay aka phillyboy

    December 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    LOOKING FOR ANOTHER BIG YEAR!!!!

  6. Ted Bell

    December 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    This new blog is freaking me out – in a good way…

    I’m Ted Bell.

  7. GoPhils

    December 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Nice new setup. Jose Contreras was pretty good last year. He was very good in the postseason. With his blazing fastball and nasty splitter, he was fun to watch. If you watch Aroldis Chapman, you can see that he has imitated some of the mannerisms of Contreras. He chews a big piece of gum and keeps licking his pitching hand. He has a nonchalant look on his face. I hope jose can make a strong contribution next year along with his fellow countryman Danys Baez. The bullpen, of course, is unpredictable, so I hope Contreras can keep it up and Baez can turn it around.

  8. Sweet Dee

    December 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Chan Ho. There’s a name I gladly forgot about.

  9. psujoe

    December 17, 2010 at 4:32 am

    just testing comments from my iPhone, yeah baby.

  10. Dan E.

    December 17, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Loving the new site layout.

  11. phils_ftw

    December 17, 2010 at 4:42 am

    btw we should have a poll option now after games for the Jeltz or Ashburn awards. Since we’ve got a new layout would be a nice time to make those awards selectable by your readers. That way it’s not just the bloggers’ personal opinion, but census.

  12. Adam

    December 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Contreras was highly valuable last season, especially when Lidge went down for a few weeks. I think he ran out of gas there a little toward the end. Charlie might have to check his innings, but I’m glad he’s coming back.

  13. bfo_33

    December 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

    First, I like the new look a lot, hoping the bugs get worked out pretty quick.

    Contreras was a nice supporting cast pick-up, even with a bit of a mid season slump. A bullpen that wasn’t used much last year may be close to obsolete this year.

  14. bfo_33

    December 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I always thought Ted Bell was the most interesting man in the world. Now there is proof.

  15. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Ok, that’s better. I was wondering why there were no comments. I guess it does indeed take some time to work out the bugs and for everyone to get used to this.

    Glad we have Contreras back….especially if Durbin isn’t signed which looks more unlikely now.

  16. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Ted Bell’s avatar is pretty funny. Pay no attention to mine. I was just playing around with images.

  17. Brooks

    December 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I wish you could blow up the Avitars some – Chuck, are you a lizard?
    My suspicions were right about Ted – he’s an old drunk (I love it!).

    Nice job PN, Hopefully the burps we have been experiencing are gone for sure. I had no idea this was coming.

    As amazing as the Phillies starting pitching is, nothing is a lock. Last year, I was convinced that the Phils had more than enough pitching (before Oswalt) to win the division and be in the WS for the 3rd year in a row. The offense rolled, as late as May 11th with a thrashing of the Bucks (12-2) and six rbi by Howard, 4 by Werth – I was in heaven. But then the injuries and most depressing, the long droughts of games scoring 3 or less runs. My heart was broken. Then came September, the marvelous month where 21 wins was one of the most exciting bursts I can remember (screw the 06 Rox), The Phils were mostly healthy, the pitching was tuned in but the bats were not dominant and it just seemed maybe the Phils had enough, even though the O was still mired in the so called “Year of the Pitcher”. Regardless, the constitution of this team was such that they were built to not lose a series – then they ran into a good pitching staff and the O dropped off. The unthinkable happened.

    So, I cannot get too pumped, yet anyway. We need to see some consistent run scoring, we need to see Jroll staying healthy, Utley, Vic, Poly, Raul, Ruiz and especially Howard hitting their averages – no one has to be outstanding – just their averages will do. And I believe a key ingredient will be what our designate RF will do. We can never expect too much from a rookie but his upside is amazing.

    Optimistic, always, definitely cautious though.

  18. Greg

    December 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Quick question: How do Brian and Pat both have 360+ posts?

    • phils_ftw

      December 18, 2010 at 4:31 am

      Greg, my guess is because when they make blog posts on here it adds to their post count (sort of like how when you create a new thread on a message board it increases your post count.) All the old blog posts they made have likely been calculated into the new system and been added to their number of posts.

  19. Pat Gallen

    December 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Guys, continue to mess around with all the bells and whistles while the powers that be work out the kinks. Hope you all enjoy!

  20. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Brooks, it’s part of a sunset picture I have on my computer. I’ve got this really cool pic of CBP during a storm with all kinds of clouds rolling in….but I can’t seem to be able to upload it.

  21. The Dipsy

    December 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t like the new site. I think its too busy, difficult to navigate, and a bombardment on the senses. Also, being raised catholic, I really dislike cursive writing. While one of my favorite phrases is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, I am also aware of the other saying “ya can’t stop progress”. That said, I appreciate the time and effort the gang put into the site. It is really something and I can gladly suffer through knowing that everybody else enjoys it. I hope it goes over big. Kudos.

    • bruce

      December 18, 2010 at 12:40 am

      I’ll have to agreed with Dipsy about this new layout for the site. I don’t like it for the same reasons. There are more distractions with excess Phillie fodder and the annoying ads. Maybe in due time I’ll adjust and see it as a positive rather then a negative.

      By the way, I couldn’t get in initially and had to create a new account and could only use “lowercase” letters for name, password, etc. Why? I also try to create my own avatar with difficulty. I hope the result is good with submission of my first post on the new site.

      • bruce

        December 18, 2010 at 12:43 am

        I see that my avatar is a disaster (chuckles). Can anyone tell me how to delete the unwanted avatar and create a new one?

        • bruce

          December 18, 2010 at 12:56 am

          I found a way to delete the previous avatar and created a new one. Let’s see if anyone knows this picture of the person with trademark glasses. 😉

  22. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    This is like playing with a new toy on Christmas morning. Thanks, Pat, Brian,. et al…!!!!

  23. Gaze_NJ

    December 17, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    hmm… I really enjoyed PhilliesNation for it’s bell/whistle-less approach! Now it looks a lot like every other blog out there. And for some reason it’s running incredibly slow for me. Not that it’s going to stop me from visiting!

  24. Lefty

    December 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    It works! Beautiful layout.
    Jose made like three bad pitches all year. The McLouth homer comes to mind, but what a super job he did overall. Great pick up.

  25. Jay aka Phillyboy

    December 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    There will be no deal between Phillies and lefty reliever Dennys Reyes, according to a source. Two sides have parted ways.
    2 minutes ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

  26. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Dipsy, what the hell is that picture?

  27. psujoe

    December 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Good stuff Phillies nation.

    Reyes deal fell through. Not sure why, but Phils need to restart the search for a lefty arm in the pen.

  28. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Should have taken Sherrill. What about Fuentes? Probably too expensive though.

  29. The Dipsy

    December 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I want Fuentes! Not Tito. Not Daisy. Brian.

    The Dipsy

  30. Chuck

    December 17, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    You would take Brian Fuentes over Daisy Fuentes? Oh, wait a second…this is baseball and the Phillies we’re talking about here.

  31. Jeff of Nova

    December 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Nice new look,

    Like that it gives you an avatar, mine is not original…. Just me and my wife sitting 1st row behind the Philiies Dugout:)

    Jose had a suprisingly good year and looking for another one as well.

  32. therookie300

    December 18, 2010 at 12:31 am

    I like the new site. I was shocked at first when i clicked my bookmark. I can actually log in now which is nice. Got a little frustrated with that.

    I think Contreras had a nice year for the Phils. He will be a valuable contributor out of the pen this year as well.

  33. bruce

    December 18, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Jose Contreras exceeded my expectations for the 2010 season. He found his lively fastball and control that made him a very effective middle to end reliever. Pitching coach Rich Dubee may have something to do with his effectiveness. Also another possible factor is the Cuban connection. His close friend and teammate, fellow Cuban defector Danys Baez provided support and the role of language interpreter. Those kind of intangibles can’t be ignored.

  34. Brooks

    December 18, 2010 at 8:19 am

    This site has a whole lot more to offer and is not that bad to navigate either. Nice work guys.
    Anyway we can blow up these avitars to see what they really are? I had to crop the hell out of mine to catch the
    WS trophy in it but its my favorite pic. I want to lick another trophy…

    You have to watch these YOUTUBE videos – the first is a conversation (animated) between Lee &
    Jayson Werth and the others well, you’ll remember fondly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foKhrNPxJPE

  35. Chuck

    December 18, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I had to change my avatar. Brooks thought I might be a lizard in the other one!! Not that I hate lizards or anything. Anyway, yeah, this site is…well…interesting. I agree. At first, I was sort of like wondering what was going on. What happened to my PN??!! I am

  36. Chuck

    December 18, 2010 at 9:37 am

    oops. hit submit by accident. Anyway, I am a creature of habit. Change can be awkward sometimes. But, like Dipsy said, in the name of “progress” I guess it’s necessary and very good in the long run.

  37. loupossehl

    December 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    test – the great unknown

  38. bruce

    December 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I too had some difficulty in cropping an image for the avatar. Best bet is to use a smaller pic from your file or website which will reduce the need for cropping.

  39. betasigmadeltashag

    December 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    took me a while to post also, I am a person who likes routines, but just like getting used to my new tivo I guess I will get used to it eventually, Like Jose’s signing a lot he can pitch at anytime in the game and it seemed to me the more he was used the better he did, and he can pitch the 8th or 9th when Madson and or Lidge need a day off. And he just looks mean out there witch is good for a reliever. Can not wait til April

  40. psujoe

    December 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Sherril was perfect as was Randy Choate. Both are going to be a pain in the Phillies LH butt’s in 2011. I honestly didn’t like the Reyes signing because of his bad year against lefties last season. Fuentes wants 3/$15 which is too rich for the role he’d play in Philly. Not sure exactly what else is out there, add in the Sox and Yankees looking for Left BP help. Situation just got a lot tougher.

  41. The Dipsy

    December 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Fuentes wants 3y/15m? Pay him. Honestly, I thought he would be asking for more. He’s a lefty and closer. If you sign him, that would afford the team some flexibility when Lidge splits after the season. I imagine that the Phils would sign Madson, and Fuentes could either A) be the 2012 closer B) be part of a nice Madson/Fuentes closer combo, or C) be the eighth inning guy. He is better than Downs who signed for the same money. 3y15m is decent value and if he were to pitch to form it would fix our bullpen problems. No money left? First of all, “bull”. Nextly, OK….backload the contract.

    The Dipsy

  42. Chuck

    December 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    They won’t do it. 3/15 is too much for a reliever…IN THE EYES OF THE PHILLIES….after the Lee signing. Would love to have him though…

  43. The Dipsy

    December 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Chuck, the Phillies are “all in” this year. Big time. It doesn’t make sense to leave an area weak. When people say 3/15, what does that really mean? How about 2/9? How would you feel if we had all these starters and then blew the WS because of a shaky bullpen?

  44. psujoe

    December 19, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    If the Phils can get rid of Blanton the Payroll situation is actually in great shape. 2011 would be at about $150 million, but still needing 3 more players. They’ll get about 8-9 million in increased ticket revenue from the increase. 2012 they’ll have extra money to play with, especially if Oswalt departs. I’d sign Fuentes, but I doubt it happens. What lefty specialists are left?

  45. Chuck

    December 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I see your point, Dipsy. But I just wonder if they (the Phillies) feel as though they’ve blown their wad and can’t bring them selves to sign a reliever for 3 years??

  46. tavian

    December 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I think the new site will be great once we all get used to it. Progress is painful but usually worth it.
    Moreover, what are the Phils doing about an outfield bat, a serviceable utility player and the bullpen. I am not hearing anything, and that either tells me that nothing is happening. OR that something B I G is coming down the pike.

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