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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I couldn't agree more, Jason. The 162-game schedule is just a job for him anymore and probably has been since he blew out his knee in Arizona and lived through the Larry Bowa Experience.

If I were the GM, I'd pass a subtle hint off to Carlos Ruiz and say "Buddy, hit .290 in Scranton, and the job's yours. We'll make it happen."

question: who's more bored -- lieberthal with playing in philadelphia or fans with watching a groundball third out with runners in scoring position .772 of the time?

Lieberthal sounds about as excited to go to work everyday as many of my coworkers. That is not a good thing for a professional baseball player. Where is the love of the game? Where is the desire to win?

Gentlemen, it seems to me we have a 21st century version of Roger Dorn on our hands. If we could only turn that power into a brutal reminder that he is an overpaid, know it all veteran who doesn't hustle...

lieby's not married either, so we can't even send a strapping young reliever (yoel hernandez?) to sleep with his wife.

I don't know anything about that, Mr. Caught Looking... but I did read the whole article in the Delco Times again, just to be sure I meant what I said. I can't square "winning the World Series" with some of those awful quotes at the end. I tried giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I can't. Too much me-first there to win a playoff spot, let alone a World Series game...

At least Roger Dorn still had talent.

I find lieberthal's fall from grace truly depressing, but then I'm a sucker for a decent catcher, and for a while he seemed like one of the best. I realise he's primarily to blame for not readjusting and getting his head straight in the wake of Bowa and Joe K's departure, but I'm still happy to point up yet another reason that Joe K's tenure here screwed things up for us.

This from the guy who (allegedly) covinced schilling that he could catch schill? Am I imagining that story? Did it really happen all those years ago?


Just a hunch, guys, but I suspect Lieby's attitude will not affect his performance. He's a middling catcher on the wrong side of 33, whether he's excited about his job or not. Sure, I'd rather our players play for the love of the game, for professionalism, for the passion to win, whatever. But realistically I don't mind an indifferent attitude as long as he produces. Heck, give me a uniform and I'll be the most enthusiastic player out there. But I'll also hit .0000005 for the season.

Good catchers are so hard to find in this day and age. I'll settle for a mediocre player who can squat four out of five days and provide occasional power out of the bottom of the lineup. Lieby's not going to make or break this team, and as long as he does his job, I'll be happy with him.

I have a suspicion that physically, it is very tough on Lieberthal, and it has drained him mentally, but he keeps on playing. Why? Several million reasons why if you catch my drift. And while we all like to think we would do the right thing and bow out, I doubt any of us would leave that big iron on the table.

Lieby is weak, nuff said. Next subject.

I went to the Delco Times site and read the article before posting a comment. While I have been as critical of Lieberthal as the next fan in recent seasons, I read nothing to support the conclusion many of you are coming to, i.e., that Lieberthal views the coming season as a chore to get through in order to clip his coupons. He wasn't happy with his recent performances either and wants to play in the post-season before hanging it up. His comment about not wanting to quit too soon and be bored should be taken at face value: baseball is all he has known for his entire life and he would miss it, especially since he hasn't accomplished the important goal (not money, he makes clear) of reaching the post-season. Oh, and by the way, I also read elsewhere he is engaged to be marrried, so that takes care of that issue as well.

Here are the quotes from the article that really lost me on him and I posted what I did...

"In a perfect world it would be a great story to play my entire career with the Phillies." Implies that, because it is not a perfect world, he's looking to get out of Philadelphia. And if there are no takers, then he'd retire.

"I try to enjoy everyday here. You never know, I could be traded tomorrow, or released." Surely this is boredom and frustration from playing in Philly.

"I feel good this year. My knee feels great, but everything is based on performance. First and foremost, you have to be able to perform well enough so that teams want you."
Teams? Sounds like he's shopping for a new one. Health plus performance equals increased value in the free agent market. We now call that the Billy Wagner story, don't we???

but if mike's shopping for a new team leads to the kind of career year billy had then i will GLADLY take that and watch some poor team overpay for him next yr.

It's too bad AJ Hinch went to a development job in AZ. I would rather the combo of Hinch and Ruiz at the major league level rather than Mikey and Sal. Then we could of paid Sosa 1 million to be a 5th OF rather than Washington's deal of 500k.

I'm really not out to take contrarian stances, but I think Mike Lieberthal has fallen prone to Von Hayes syndrome: a solid veteran who put in several good years who the fans have turned on because his entire tenure represents losing. I never felt it was fair to Hayes, and I don't think it's fair to Lieberthal. This guy's been through a number of serious injuries and was still a top catcher two seasons ago. His game has declined over the past two seasons, but his numbers are still probably better than average for a catcher. I'm not saying he's the best thing that ever happened to Philadelphia sports, but he is that rarest of things, a Phillies no. 1 draft pick who's had a substantial career with the local team. I think he deserves more respect than he's been getting.

Lieberthal is an above average catcher in the NL, believe it or not, although he was probably only third in the NL East, behind Piazza and Schneider last season. As such, if he wants to play elsewhere after this season I do not think he will have any trouble landing a job.
Knowing that, it behooves the Phillies to deal Lieberthal by the trade deadline. He has value and you can get something in return. He will not retire if he is dealt to a contender, preferably on the west coast.

I do not think Lieberthal will finish the season with the Phillies unless he announces his retirement at the end of the year.

An aside: I don't know if it's really appropriate to suggest what topic to blog about next, but Jason, I'm hoping the Paul Hagen article on Harry Kalas will be addressed. I'm not broadcaster-obsessed, honest, but I think it's an issue that ties to the whole Scott Palmer/PR thing the organization has fumbled its way into. I know, I guess I should start my own blog if I have something I want to talk about, but man, am I chomping at the bit where this subject is concerned.

I want to revisit this Lieberthal discussion and talk about performance, something I tried to hold off writing about in this post. I won't have time this morning for a separate post, so here it goes.

Bored, but not necessarily unproductive would be the theme. He’s a good hitting catcher, but still a poor catcher. The days of the hot-hitting catcher have been over for years, replaced with a preferrence for guys like Mike Matheney and Brian Schneider.

Because he's playing for a contract for the first time, well, ever, and because he's clearly looking past his career with the Phils, I view Lieberthal as a candidate to perhaps improve offensively, to maybe block out the BS and knock in a few more with RISP.

My big problem with Lieberthal over the years is how he handles pitching. He needs to be more aggressive, set a faster pace and perpetuate an intimidating presence. Of all the comments, I most agree with the short statement by “That Dude” when I think of him behind the plate. Lieberthal is weak. His poor framing of pitches goes without saying. His habit of setting up way outside on pitches outside the zone, thus tipping off the pitch, goes without saying. The complacency enters the situation when a pitcher starts to become unglued and Lieberthal does nothing about it.

I would trade the offense for more of what Todd Pratt brought to the table, someone who is willing to fight for their pitcher.

Nothing more to add on Lieberthal, but in response to a comment by RichSchuBlues on the Kalas situation, go to Brian People's site (listed above and to the right under Philling Station) where he provides email addresses for Larry Shank (Phillies PR direcotr) and Scott Palmer. Make your thoughts known to them on the subject of Kalas and, indeed, the entire proposed broadcaster alignment for the coming season. Just a preview: you will be getting six innings of Chris Wheeler on the telecasts! Are you motivated now?

one story from last season i heard was that after a play in the field, ryan howard came over to lieberthal and said "should i have cut that throw to home off?" and lieberthal said something to the efect of "oh...yeah, you could have."

One thing that's impossible to deny about Lieby is that he is not a leader the way you want your catcher to be, true. He's never had an effect on any pitcher and his personality probably isn't fit for such an important positional role as catcher. From that perspective, I do understand why people knock him. The difference between him and Pratt became very palpable last year, and it's just one more opportunity to reel in the disgust from the Phillies' priority of saving a few pennies by turning their backs on Pratt, one of their most valuable players, or at least people, over the past few seasons.

Guys, let's try not to be too hard on Lieby. He's got a very very hard job, probably the hardest in baseball, and he does it well. Let's not blame the woes of the pitching staff on him, and let's not blame his age (and therefore declining skills) on him, and let's not blame the Phillies failure to win one stinking game against the Astros last year on him, either. He's been a fairly consistent presense behind the plate, and been a fairly good hitter for the Phils. He's another very very good player whos not getting the credit he deserves for reasons which escape me.

Lieby understands the obvious-he only still has a job because he has the big contract, and the Phils will want him gone once the season is over. The truth is, his play has declined (especially defensively) to the point where the team should simply play Ruiz and not worry about Mike's contract, but it's hard to get baseball people to understand the idea of sunk costs.

i don't think the problem here is lieby. leiby has been a pretty good fielding catcher and at times his hitting hasn't been that bad. every now and then you'll see the fire in lieby's eyes. if you want to talk about a guy who is bored out there, lets talk about david bell. now that's a guy who looks like he's watching a "three's company" marathon.

watching a circle jerk is more exciting than see leeberthal pop up with men on base

Sorry lpeasw :(
Wron caategry....

will e carful

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