Mathieson, Zagurski Optioned

The Phillies bullpen picture became a bit clearer this morning as RHP Scott Mathieson and LHP Mike Zagurski were both optioned to Minor League Camp.  Both should start the season in AAA Lehigh Valley.  Mathieson, 27, came into camp with a legitimate shot to make the team but performed inconsistently during his Spring outings. The inconsistency and some recent command problems most likely led to the trip back to the minors.  Mathieson pitched well in Lehigh Valley last season as the teams primary closer going 3-6 with a 2.80 ERA in 54 outings, accruing 26 saves and striking out 83 in his 64.1 innings. 

The expectations were as high for Mike Zagurski this Spring as he was competing primarily with Antonio Bastardo as a LOOGY in the Phils ‘pen.  Zagurski, 28, pitched well this Spring but lost this battle, at least in the short term, although injury issues always seem to crop up with Bastardo. On the bright side for Lehigh Valley fans, the bullpen appears to stack up very well with Mathieson, Zagurski, Schwimer, and Stutes pitching the later innings for the ‘Pigs.

56 thoughts on “Mathieson, Zagurski Optioned

  1. This is the right move to make – Mathieson still needs work on his secondary pitches. Bastardo is better than Zagurski at this point.

    I’m not convinced Herndon makes the team though despite these moves. For the first week or two of the season, I could see them keeping Martinez as an extra position player to give Castillo another week or two to show he is a keeper and to get more of a look on some of the bench players. When they need a 12th pitcher, they can make a move.

  2. Although not as popular, Herndon offers more than Mathieson as a major league pitcher. A pitcher who has good control and throws a 90mph, 2 seamer, consistently down in the zone, offers more than a pitcher, with iffy control, who throws a 99mph, 4 seamer, consistently up in the zone. JMO.

  3. The phils are gonna have to use baez, herndon or kk in some important spots this year. They all can’t be long men. I think Baez won’t be on the team all year and mathieson will get a call up somewhere may/June. Injurys will come into play also and this bp will look alot different in the later parts of the season. Cholly’s got his work cut out for him this year.

  4. I think it was probably a matter of Herndon having more versatility. They can stretch him out and have him go a couple of innings if necessary. Mathieson is strictly a one-inning guy, which means he was really competing for appearances with Baez in the 7th inning slot. Personally, I would have been fine with that, but I can see why they might opt for this mix, which gives them greater flexibility. Now, of course, it remains to be seen whether our $2.5 million long man gives us anything–I’m pessimistic.

  5. Herndon offers the ability to come into a men on base situation and get a ground ball DP due to his fastball’s movement down. I’m surprised they already made the moves but I guess it was obvious to them.

  6. I thought the Mathieson-as-a-one-inning-ONLY guy was debunked with some multiple-inning appearances this spring. Seemed they would bring him in one inning for an out or two then make him sit and go back out there. Aside from the three-walk scoreless inning the other day against the Rays, his spring numbers are really good….9IP, 9K, 3H. The 6BB stick out like a sore spot, but consider half of them came in that one inning in Port Charlotte.
    Zagurski, on the other hand, was simply nasty with 12K in 8IP.
    Here’s hoping these two long-time Phillies guys who have overcome career-threatening injuries get a shot soon.

  7. I think the team wants Mathieson to get regular work so that he can master or improve the splitter. He won’t get the work if he’s with the Phillies – it actually makes a lot of sense and is in Mathieson’s long-term best interests.

    As for Zagurski – he got beat out by Bastardo. I don’t think that should surprise anybody. Bastardo’s stuff is electric. If Zagurski pitches really well in AAA – he’ll be pitching in the major leagues somewhere in 2011 and might even be the Phillies’ other lefty.

  8. For a team that shows money is no object this is ridiculous
    Mathieson and Zagurksi should replace Kendrick and Baez and eat their salary
    What a waste to see those two stiffs trotted out this season

    1. I seriously doubt this is a money issue… I think this is a Charlie issue. Charlie prefers veterans and I truly believe that if he told Ruben he wanted Mathieson and Zagurski in his bullpen to call on instead of Baez & Kendrick that Ruben would probably let it happen.

      That all being said I’m not sure it’s a wrong decision as I’m not really sold on Mathieson. I think he’s a thrower and not a pitcher.

    2. It’s not a money issue. It’s an issue of these old kids not being good enough to make the 25-man. What would be ridiculous is paying pitchers to play for some other club, and replacing them with guys who never proved they could be even as good as those they replaced.

  9. I hope these guys dont go down to LHV and sulk……the 22-28 spots on a MLB team are always inter-changing between injuries & inconsistency…..if they have success in LHV they will be up to the show either through atrition or injury.

  10. They brought Stutes back over from minor league camp and he pitched a scoreless inning today against Toronto, 2 ks. I think it’s still possible he makes the team instead of Herndon.

  11. Herndon is a better pitcher than Mathieson at this point, bottom line. His fastball is straight, and he can’t get his secondary pitches anywhere near he’s trying to throw them. His stuff is good, but he’s not good enough yet.

  12. I agree on Stutes, I think the reason he wasn’t going to make the team was he wouldn’t get regular work but that is now more possible.

  13. What a pleasure watching Mathieson pitch in the A+ minor league game on Ashburn Field against the Blue Jays this AM. You saw a high 90’s fastball, a slider and a splitter all in the zone. He pitched two shutout innings. Jonathan Singleton also showed a strong accurate arm in throwing out a runner at second trying to stretch a single into a double and at the bat he lined a base hit. The downside in the game was that Brody Colvin struggled mightly walking at least 5 batters in his start. Most of his pitches were up in the zone and he had no breaking ball he could command. Over on Schmidt Field in the A- game catcher Frankie Diaz continues to impress this time with a double to left. Diaz has one of the best and most accurate arms of the catching corp in camp. Mike Zagurski also made his minor league camp appearance in the game after being optioned off the major league camp roster.

  14. I thought Baez was pitching well this Spring? I’d love to see what Stutes could do in the Bigs.

    1. Isn’t it obvious that everyone of the 14 relievers on the Iron Pigs and Reading are better than the Major Leaguers. Of course the front office and Charlie Manuel don’t want to use these better players because they have some diabolical plan to attempt to win with lesser talent.

    1. I think Feierabend is being considered a starter for AAA? The AAA pitching staff could be interesting this yr…

      1. Given the starters for the AAA Spring Training squad, it looks like the rotation will be:

        Vance Worley
        Drew Naylor
        Eddie Bonine
        Nate Bump
        Ryan Feierabend

        At this point in Spring Training you can tell a lot by usage. Starters are being used in their regular rotation spots and getting stretched out. The AA rotation looks set as well:

        Josh Zeid
        Austin Hyatt
        J.C. Ramirez
        Ryan Edell
        Tyler Cloyd

        1. Don’t get forget Cisco at AA. I think it is between him and Cloyd for the last spot in the rotation. I think we all know who will be at CLW:


          Rodriguez (won’t be there for long)
          Maybe Garner (heard he is struggling)

          1. I don’t know about Shreve in the Clearwater rotation. He hasn’t been getting Clearwater starts. He has been starting with the Lakewood group, and getting smashed. Rodriguez has been starting with Clearwater and doing well.

          2. On your Clearwater rotation, I think Hernandez or Rodriguez will get one of the 5 starting spots over Shreve. Most likely Rodriguez. I think Cosart will blow away A ball, and be moved up to Reading the minute it gets warm.

            On your Lakewood rotation, I think Biddle won’t pitch there until it gets warm.
            P Garner and/or Morgado

        2. What happens to Grilli and Carpenter at AAA? Mathieson, Schwimer, Zagurski and Stutes(or Herndon) have to get innings in the bullpen.
          What happens to Matt Way and Cisco at AA? DeFratus, Aumont, Rosenberg and Garcia are in the pen there.

          1. I think to start the yr AAA BP might be:
            Meyer or Perez

            DeFratus (not that long)
            Cloyd (think he loses battle for #5 starter)

  15. Why did they waste a start on Feierabend ?

    Herndon did nothing to help himself today.

  16. If this stands then the bullpen is in trouble. Which of the early inning right handers would you bet your house on? Lets have the starter loses it in a close game with two or three runners on. What is your best option for a right handed batter? That may not come up as much on this team (phour aces) but it doesn’t look good at all.

  17. Really liked what I saw of Stutes today, both his hard slider and his 12 to 6 slider looked real good. He had good command for the most part and really fooled Molina on a strikeout pitch. He said during his interview after his outing that he’s been working on his changeup in minor league camp but didn’t throw it much during big league camp because he was focusing on getting people out. Seems like a good guy.

  18. I actually anticipate Stutes making the team. Judging by Zolecki’s comments, and the AAA log jam, I think the Phillies are working on a trade of at least one of the relievers on the 40 man. This would open up a spot for Stutes.
    I’ve been critical of Stutes due to his lack of control, but watching him this spring, it is obvious that he is far and away the best of all of these high minors relievers (DeFratus, Schwimer, Mathieson). He even looked better than Herndon and Worley, IMO.

  19. Keep in mind a 40 man roster spot could open up other ways – Martinex goes back to Washington, or Lidge goes on 60 day DL if his MRI would be real bad. They also need to open a spot on the 40 man for Castillo if he sticks.

      1. Considering the dearth of legit middle infielders in our upper system, I’d like to keep Bocock around personally. He’s a warm body that can fill in at least. His glove at SS is quite good.

        There are other worthless bodies on the 40 man that could easily be dumped…like Drew Naylor.

  20. What do people see in herdon that make them think he is a good relief pitching prospect.I Have not seen anything from him to think he is a major league pitcher. him and zag puzzle me. all the love for those two.

    1. Herndon has a legit sinker. No one else near the big leagues has one.
      CB Park is death to fly ball pitchers.

      1. Like Happ? Hamels, Blanton Oswalt and KK all have a G/F ration under 1.00. It is a urban myth. Many a bad slider has been sent into the stands. Ask yourself why Ryan is down on homers. He and Utley feasted on low pitches.

    2. Nice sinker and is developing a decent slider with a 93-94 fastball. He’s not gonna K a crapload of guys, but he can be good in the Clay Condrey role of mopping up and such.

        1. Except, however, for the minor and apparently inconvenient fact that he DOES hit 94 on the gun. I’ve seen him hit 95 and, I think, once saw him hit 96.

  21. Schlitter could go 60 day. I guess it could be retro.
    I know nothing about Carlos Rivero. Is he still here?

      1. He’s been playing with the AAA squad and looks like he can help LV but I don’t think he’ll ever make it to Philly.

  22. Naylor, Schlitter, Rivero, and Bocock seem like the possible choices to be dropped, but Martinez back to the Nats, and Lidge or Utley at some point to the 60 day is possible (hopefully not). Also, they only have 2 catchers on the 40 man and its unlikely they’ll go through the entire season without needing another catcher that would have to be added at that time.

    1. Dropping a starter like Naylor in order to keep all of these fringe relievers would be a mistake. Naylor is the same age as Hyatt and is farther along. He also had better numbers at AA than Herndon had when the Phillies selected him from the Angels. Naylor could take off, if and when they put him in the bullpen.

  23. Raj may be looking to swing a deal with Washington to keep Martinez. If that’s happening a guy on the phils 40 man may go to wash. If the phils acquire Martinez bocock could be taken off the 40. If bocock passes through waivers the phils could bring him back.

  24. Two areas where the Phils minor leagues are deep is pitching and outfield. What does everybody think of the outfield situation this season, especially the people who have been in Florida:

    AAA – this is tough. Brown (DL), I see Frey, Sullivan, and Thompson fighting for one spot (edge to Frey), Miller, and Moss. Anybody else?
    AA – Gillies (DL?), Mitchell (saw he is hurt..DL bound?), Susdorf, Myers, Boucher, and Kennelly (who can play many other positions)
    A+ – James, Castro, Singleton, and Gump. There might be one more person who can move in here and play of/DH
    A – This is really where it gets crazy. I think their starters may end up Collier in LF, Altherr in CF, Santana in RF, and Hewitt (DH/OF). I think Kyrell Hudson makes it as a back-up. That also leaves Alvarez and Dugan (I think he gets a lot of starts at 1b). Eldemire I believe stays in extended ST.

    1. I am not down there, but agree we are deep in outfielders. But we aren’t deep in quality, big-league ready outfielders. Like our top pitchers, most of the big talents are a few years or more away from the majors, which is why Gillies’ most recent set of injuries are so disconcerting.

    2. After Alvarez’ season in WMPT last year he has to make it to Lakewood, probably ahead of Hudson, who can start in CF for WMPT.

  25. With Dugan…why put him at 1st base? The 3b experiment with Altherr seems gone. We don’y really need at 1st baseman for the foreseeable future with Howard here for just short of eternity and Singleton who, though headed for LF because of Howard’s deal, had very good fielding merit in Lkwd’s 2010 team.

    Is Dugan not athlete enough to play 3rd base–one of our deep holes–or even LF as could be good for a guy who can also hit from the right side? The plan for Dugan seems uncertain from one season to the next. As our 1st draft choice from a couple years ago, it is somewhat surprising that the Phils seem at a loss as to where to best utilize his skills.

    As to his skills, let’s hope they reveal themselves over a season-long trial in ’11. So far, we don’t really know what the franchise has in him. Good luck to him.

  26. Ive recently returned home from an 8 day spring training trip. I spent most of my time following the AA squad. It seems Mitchell is fine just a deep bruise on his hand. THE outfield could be Gillies DL, Susdorf, Mitchell, Dabbs, Boucher? Kennelly as Utility. Hitting instructor has been spending time with Dabbs on taking more aggressibe swings (power) seems to be working. 5 for his last 9 with 2 doubles and a triple. Aplus OF could be James, Castro, Gump, Myers and Singleton being utility Lf, 1B, and DH. This is just my opinion on what I have seen this last week. Of course only organization really knows who will be where.

    1. Thanks midwest phan for the first hand update. I doubt Singleton will be a utility player – he’s our #1 hitting prospect. He might get starts at 1B to give his arm a rest, but other than that I expect him to play LF as much as possible. It’s also a tad disappointing to see Myers at A+ again, mainly because he will take playing time from Singleton, James, and Castro.

      It seems like Overbeck is hitting well.

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