Phillies

Former teammates remember Roy Halladay

Former teammates remember Roy Halladay

The news of Roy Halladay's death shook the sports world Tuesday. Within moments of the revelation that Halladay was in the plane that crashed in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday, the love and grief from Halladay's former teammates and peers began to pour out.

Here's the reaction from some of those closest to Doc. This still doesn't feel real.

Chase Utley
"Words cannot describe what it feels like to lose a friend like Roy. He was the ultimate teammate with a passion for being the best. I'm honored to have had the chance to compete with you, Roy. My heart goes out to Brandy and his boys. RIP Doc, but knowing you, rest is not in your vocabulary."

The bromance between Halladay and Utley was one of the most fun aspects of those Phillies teams. Halladay always revered Utley's work ethic, which is saying something because it was Doc's tireless dedication to his craft that made so many players around baseball look up to him.

"On the field I got goose bumps every time!" Halladay tweeted in July 2014 of playing with Utley. "Please encourage your friends, family, most of all your kids to be like chase! #26&chooch!"

Charlie Manuel
"Roy was the best competitor I'd ever seen and it was an honor to have managed him. He was not only a great pitcher, but also a great person and a tremendous father. His contributions to the Phillies can't be measured. Roy was like a brother to me and we remained close after his playing days. I'm heartbroken for Brandy and the boys."

Some of the most memorable Doc-Charlie moments were when Manuel would go out to the mound late in a game to gauge whether Halladay had enough left to get one more out. Every time, Halladay would shrug him off. And it seemed like every time, Halladay would pick up that final out to make his manager look wise.

Ruben Amaro Jr.
"Roy Halladay was most accountable and hardest-working athlete I'd ever been around and while he was the fiercest competitor on the mound, he was also the kindest and most gentle person I've ever known. My heart goes out to Brandy, Braden and Ryan."

Amaro loved Halladay. Landing him in that trade with the Blue Jays prior to the 2010 season was one of his biggest accomplishments as Phillies GM, and it was the result of months of work trying to pry him away from Toronto.

Brad Lidge
"We will all remember Roy for his amazing moments on the field, how he dialed it up in the most important situations, how he competed and left his heart on the field every time he took the ball. But he was also an incredible dad, an incredible husband and an incredible teammate. He was quiet and thoughtful, but knew how to be playful. I competed against Roy since we were in Little League together and I will remember him in that way, and as a man.  It was a privilege to know him and his family, and to have been his teammate. Our hearts go out to Brandy, his kids and his family."

Scott Rolen
"I'm sick right now. Doc was as driven a human being as I'd ever met in my life. I'm hurting for his family and friends. We all lost a good man."

Halladay had the same level of respect for Rolen that he had for Utley. Three men personified by the word "gamer."

Shane Victorino
"You are gone too soon, my friend. I was blessed to have shared the field with you as a teammate, competitor, friend and more importantly, brother. Praying for Brandy and the boys, my Ohana and I will do all we can for them in this tragic time. I love you, bro."

"Ohana" is the Hawaiian word for family.

Raul Ibanez
"I am deeply saddened and absolutely devastated by the tragic loss of Roy Halladay. Doc was the best pitcher I ever had the privilege of sharing the field with as his preparation, consistency, passion, drive and excellence on the field was unmatched. He was a dominant force on the mound every fifth day and he made all of us better without having to say a word. Doc was a tremendous teammate who never sought out the spotlight, rather he let his greatness on the field do the talking for him. He cared about winning and being the best player and teammate possible.  His career accolades speak for themselves but what I most admired about him was his love for his family and his children. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this incredibly difficult time."

• • •

Those were just a few of the heartfelt messages from Halladay's former mates. The rest of the baseball world was hit just as hard. And you didn't even need to know Halladay personally to be devastated.

Phillies well positioned to make a run at freed Braves' prospects

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Phillies well positioned to make a run at freed Braves' prospects

Teams all over baseball, including the Phillies, are ready to pounce on a bevy of young international talent that became available Tuesday.

Major League Baseball punished the Atlanta Braves for a host of international signing violations by stripping the club of 13 minor-league prospects (see story). MLB also banished former Braves general manager John Coppolella from working in the game for life.

In the summer of 2016, MLB found the Boston Red Sox in violation of international signing rules and stripped that club of five international prospects. Included in that group was Simon Muzziotti, an outfielder from Venezuela. The Red Sox had initially signed Muzziotti for $300,000 in 2015. He was declared a free agent a year later and the Phillies swooped in and signed him for $750,000. Now 18, Muzziotti played for the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team in 2017.

The list of players set free on Tuesday includes 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, who received a $4.25 million signing bonus in 2016. Six other players that received signing bonuses of $1 million or more were also set free. The group includes Venezuelan catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, who received a $3.53 million bonus and Dominican infielder Yunior Severino, who received a $1.9 million bonus.

The Phillies are well positioned to make a run at some of these new international free agents and past practice says they will. The club added to its current international signing pool in a couple of trades last summer and has about $900,000 remaining. More money can be acquired in trades and applied to the current pool. A team can also use money from next year's pool — that market opens in July — to sign a player, though those funds cannot be used to augment the current pool.

Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani is the prize of this winter's international market. While the deep-pocketed Phillies have interest in Otani, he is subject to international signing bonus rules and pool limits. Translation: Signing him is not simply a matter of being the highest bidder. The team that gets Otani will likely be a contender in win-now mode with a history of signing Japanese talent. An American League club that could offer Otani at-bats (he wants to hit, as well as pitch) would be the best fit.

So, the Phillies' international splash this winter could come from the fallout of the Braves' signing controversy.

The former Braves' prospects are eligible to begin signing with new clubs on Dec. 5. They are:

Kevin Maitan, SS
Juan Contreras, RHP
Yefri del Rosario, RHP
Abrahan Gutierrez, C
Juan Carlos Negret, OF
Yenci Pena, SS
Yunior Severino, 2B
Livan Soto, SS
Guillermo Zuniga, RHP
Brandol Mezquita, OF
Angel Rojas, SS
Antonio Sucre, OF
Ji-Hwan Bae, SS

MLB Notes: Braves lose 13 international players in sanctions

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MLB Notes: Braves lose 13 international players in sanctions

ATLANTA -- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of 13 players, on Tuesday for rules violations committed by the team in the international player market.

Manfred also placed former Braves general manager John Coppolella on the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, who was the team's international scouting chief, is suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Manfred said an investigation conducted by Major League Baseball determined the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017 by moving bonus pool money from one player to boost another player's contract.

Most notable among the players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016 (see full story).

Yankees: Judge has left shoulder surgery
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees say slugger Aaron Judge had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and is expected to be ready for spring training.

The operation was performed Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The Yankees say the procedure involved a loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup.

The 25-year-old Judge hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 155 games this season, helping New York make it to the AL Championship Series, where they lost to the eventual World Series champion Astros. He was a unanimous selection for AL Rookie of the Year and finished second to Houston infielder Jose Altuve in the AL MVP race.

MLB: Morgan urges voters to keep steroid users out of HOF
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep "known steroid users" out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball's steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall's board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

"Steroid users don't belong here," Morgan wrote. "What they did shouldn't be accepted. Times shouldn't change for the worse."

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions (see full story).

Cubs: Venable leaves front office to be base coach
CHICAGO -- Will Venable is leaving the Chicago Cubs front office to be their first base coach.

The former major league outfielder was hired last summer as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

The 35-year-old Venable replaces Brandon Hyde, who has been promoted to bench coach for manager Joe Maddon.

The Cubs also announced Tuesday that they had hired Jim Benedict as a special assistant to baseball operations. Benedict spent the previous two seasons as the vice president for pitching development for the Miami Marlins.