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Sunday, September 11, 2005


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Maybe the Phillies play better when no one is paying attention? Or maybe they just play better when it is too late.

Won't Edmonds be 36 next season? Seems a little old to me to trade *anyone* for him.

Question for the day:

What would this Phillies team have looked like if - 1) Jim Thome had been healthy this year, and 2) We had this guy instead of this guy at third base?

Two months ago, I would have agreed that a healthy Thome would be better than Howard, but since then Howard is making a drastic charge up VORP, so I'm not sure a drop off even exists. On one hand, you have a 35-year-old on a drastic downslop, and in the other, a 26-year-old close to prime.

Think about some of the pitchers he's tagged lately: Pedro, Oswalt, Burnett, Cordero. Against left-handers like Pettitte, sure, I'd take the experience of Thome. Then again, Thome looked pretty "inexperienced" this season.

Next year, Howard must stay. They'd be completely nuts to get rid of a ROTY candidate and keep a banged up body like Thome at the price of $13 million.

From what I hear, the Phils brass - above Wade - has no desire to get rid of Howard. That was two months ago, BEFORE he established himself as a bona fide ML slugger.

Howard is and will continue to be a mojor league hitter, and a good one. But he's not going to ever be as good as Thome. Here is Howard's line this year. His EQA is .290, which is really good. When Thome was his age, however, he was putting up a .350 EQA. Last year, Thome was putting up a nifty .312 EQA.

Arguably, Thome is on the downslope of his carreer, however since he was 21, he every season he had outhit what Howard has done this year, exeept this injury-filled one. If Thome can come back from his injury, he will likely outplay Howard again, and again the following year, and again the year after that.

Of course, there is certainly a chance that he will not come back, so I am all for keeping Howard. He's certainly inexpensive insurance at this point. But Howard barely outperformed Julio Franco this year. I'm not looking at a future all-star when I see Howard. I'm looking at a strong hitting first baseman with limited trade value. Useful, but hardly irreplaceable.

But what do I know, anyway? I picked the Phils to win 95 games this year :-(

pawnking: To predict Howard will never be as productive as Thome doesn't require statistical training or fluency; it requires a crystal ball, and I doubt you have one that good or reliable. I'd wait for at least one complete season before making the above claims, and, then, if you are correct, I will be glad to applaud you. You might want to keep in mind that Howard's initial callup, albeit brief, skewed the numbers for this year insofar as he was inappropriately used at times and was clearly under the gun to perform in Thome's absence. Even since July 1, he has steadily found his feet as he has become more secure in at his position, on the field and in the dugout.

Tom, All I can say is that to my knowledge, never has a player of Howard's age become as productive as Thome has been. Howard's minor league carreer, though very good, had "above average major leaguer" written all over it, not "Major League Superstar" that Thome had. I think, THINK, that Thome will come back and be a productive hitter. Thome even at the decline of his carreer will most likely be a much more productive hitter than Howard will ever be. If Thome doesn't come back, so be it. Howard is very inexpensive, really only costing a roster spot, and provides some pop off the bench at worst. At best, he can play every day if Thome is unable to continue, as we have seen this year.

Howard has had a good month so far this September, but Thome has had entire years much better than Howard's few ABs in September, including when he was Howard's age, where he had an OPS of 1.026 for the ENTIRE YEAR!!!

If your point was that Howard might be more productive from here on out than Thome from here on out, you may be right, and certainly have a good arguement. But to say that Howard will ever be the hitter that Thome has been over his carreer is total nonsense. 25 year olds just don't suddenly become that much more productive.

Howard might someday make an All Star team. Thome will (if he returns healthy for the next few years) be mentioned as a HOF candidate. I cannot see Howard getting any serious consideration on that score.

I don't see anything in my comment suggesting the "nonsense" that Howard will "ever be the hitter Thome has been over his career." I said it is too early to tell what kind of hitter he will be. Try and stick to what I wrote.

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