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Sunday, April 16, 2006

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Madson would have to prove himself to not be an asset in the rotation before they would think of moving him back to the bullpen. I don't believe he's going back to the 'pen for one reason: he was *not* a dependable pitcher for them in that "seventh-inning" role for much of last season. It is a role which does not appear to suit him. He has terrific stuff but struggles with consistency from outing to outing. As a starter, he has a better chance to prepare and settle into games. He has had command this year since the first day of spring, a command I didn't see him exhibit much last season. I think this is too valuable a commodity to be dipping in and out of the rotation. The Phillies would be making a mistake by doing this. A better solution lies elsewhere, more likely outside the organization. (In a Venezuelan jail? Alas...) The fact that Fultz has not been the same pitcher this year is really hurting them.

How is it Tim Worrell suddenly becomes Rollie Fingers when he puts on a Giants uniform? How a guy with as marginal stuff as Worrell can have success closing games is beyond me.

I agree with RickSchuBlues. It's much more difficult to find a pitcher who can consistently pitch 6 or 7 innings than it is to find one who can get 3 outs a game. Madson's start on Friday was very impressive in that he handled adversity well and was able to get outs with having his best stuff. It was unthinkable at the end of the 1st inning that he would go 7 innings in that game.

The Good Phight had a good article about the Scranton bullpen options a few days ago:

Phils bullpen puts the "fun" in fungible

There are a few credible arms in the SWB bullpen that could be called upon in 2006 including the aforementioned Hernandez.

In addition, everyone keeps talking about Hamels, but might we see Gio Gonzalez in a Phillies uniform in 2006? I know there are injuries worries with him, due to his slight frame, but if he continues to dominate the Eastern League (granted he's only had 2 starts), perhaps his left-handed gas would make a great option in the 7th inning of games down the stretch. People would argue you have to be conservative and I'd be inclined to agree, but living in Atlanta and watching the Braves everyday, it is clear they are not afraid to promote their AA pitchers to Atlanta directly. In the last few years, much of the young talent they've promoted in season has come from their AA Mississippi Braves club, rather than Richmond.

Sanches and Minix are two guys I've had my eye on since last season. Minix in particular knows how to keep the ball on the ground and had an outstanding 2005. Along with Hernandez, all three showed well in Clearwater. I'm still not sure inserting them solves their late-inning situation, but it's not hard to believe they'd be better than Santana.

This bullpen is scary. Scary bad that is. They have Dellucci or Alex Gonzalez to trade for bullpen help. At this point in the season, I doubt they'll get much though. However, Dellucci could land a reliable arm.

Dellucci's start is reminding me a lot of how Michael Tucker started with us last year. A lot of this could just be that he is not used to being a bench dawg. I agree though that he is probably our most expendable chit for trade purposes.

I do think that Geary is over his head in a late-inning pressure situations. He looked almost frightened on Saturday night. I agree with Jason and Dajafi that if people don't start settling down we seriously need to think about bringing some folks down the NE Extension.

Most expendable would have to be Alex Gonzalez. I have yet to see what he brings to the table that Chris Coste cannot. I'm not even close to writing off Dellucci.

Bullpen help will likely come from a trade of one of the 3rd basemen they have on the roster. This likely will not happen for amonth or more until a need arises on another team. Booker remains a possibility since he has to be on the Phils roster all year or sent back to Washington. But the question is who's spot does he take? Someone will get sent down, released, or traded.

Madson would need to have a complete meltdown to get sent back to the bullpen - he is here to stay as a starter.

What about Jeff Nelson? I know this might stir up some posts. But seriously, he is a veteran that has pitched in many pressure situations well over his career. He is currently not on a MLB team, because he got released by the Cardnials at the end of spring training. I know he's not a savior, and that he's old, but he's worth a look in my opinion.

If the bullpen is really this bad, then there will have to be a move made before Wolf comes back. Also, by that point, Madson will either have established himself as a starter (in which case they won't move him to the pen) or proved ineffective (in which case we won't mind moving him to the bullpen).

I'm not ready to give up on Geary and Santana (though I am on Fultz, last year was clearly a fluke). First of all, you have to throw out their appearences at Coors, everybody except Cook and Myers got knocked around. Geary had an ERA+ 122 in 58 IP last year, even if he didn't pitch too many high leverage innings. Santana is kind of an X-Factor, but I think he can be league average, which is all we need from a 6th or 7th innings guy, and he pitched one excellent inning on Fri before getting beat up.

Really, the team is set in the 8th and 9th so were only talking about a seventh inning guy and I think Lieber, Myers, and Madson will routinely go 7.

As long as Rhodes and Gordon stay at the level they have been at the last few years, we should be alright.

I'm surprised Nelson isn't already here. He's another Pat Gillick guy.

Jason: Didn't mean to imply that I am writing off Dellucci. To the contrary, I think that like Tucker, he'll turn it around. I was just arguing that he would probably bring the biggest return in trades that did not involve core players. I agree with you though that Coste could probably give you more than ASG.

What about Wolf in the pen when he comes of DL? Most guys coming off TJ surgery are not ready to handle the full load right away - this could be a way to ease him back in. It worked very well when the Cards did it with Matt Morris several years ago.

I haven't given up on this bullpen yet. Heck last week we were all talking about how well they were pitching. Most of the guys haven't even pitched 7 innings yet. My guess is if the Phils decide to put Booker on their roster then Geary will be sent down to Scranton.

I'd like to see Booker given the opportunity to see how he could help the Phillies bullpen. He may not help though, and at what expense? Geary does have an option or so left, so it wouldn't hurt to put in him Scranton and see if Booker can stick with the big league team before offering him back to the Nats. Booker has huge strikeout potential, but if he can actually hone his skills to be productive in the majors is yet to be seen.

Santana would be first in line to go down, not Geary. Santana is clearly the 25th man on the roster, the last resort to be used in a game. They'll probably give Booker a shot.

I agree with Pennypacker and Jason: the Phils underutilize their farm system when in need of a hole to fill, and I can't believe there aren't arms in the system that couldn't do a better job than some of the present bullpen stiffs. It's good to have experience, and thus dependability, in the bullpen, but it's even more important to have effectiveness. The Phillies should keep trying and trying until they find people to do the jobs well enough, because even as marginal as their roles appear, it is crucial that the more essential pitchers on the staff aren't overused. No pitcher on the Phillies can really be counted on to "routinely" go seven; note that it's happened just two games so far out of twelve.

Lidle, Lieber and Madson all averaged over 6IP per start last year, so maybe I should have said pitch INTO the seventh routinely. I think Madson can do this as well.
The fact that the starters have only done it twice so far is a concern, but it is early in the season and pitchers tend to pitch longer once the weather heats up and pitch count limitations fade away.
I think the basic point stands, that the 6th and 7th innings guys will be serviceable because they won't be needed too often. If the starters DON'T routinely pitch into the seventh, then it won't really matter who is pitching in the 6th and 7th.

Sorry, that should have read "Lidle, Lieber adn MYERS"

Santana has no minor league options remaining, so he would need to be released, not assigned to SWB. Again, I am not going to give up on Santana. He's only pitched 5 innings and in his previous relief appearance pitched 3 1/3 of no hit, no run ball. I know I am in the miniority, but I think he can be an effective pitcher for this team. I like his fastball and splitter.

In order to send Santana to the minors, he would need to clear waivers and accept an assignment to the minor leagues, which is what happened to another rotund Phillies pitcher last season, Terry Adams.

Seeing how readily he disposed of Ricardo Rodriguez, I doubt Gillick would hesitate to cut Santana loose. Given his track record, there's no real evidence to suggest he's any better than what we've seen. I wouldn't say I'm giving up on him so much as I never thought much of him to begin with. Jeff Juden had a nice fastball, too.

As usual, Jason has put his finger on what's wrong here--but if there's one area of the roster in which there has to be a problem, it's middle relief. The point of that piece I wrote on The Good Phight is really that after Gordon and Rhodes, literally the next ten or eleven guys who could be Phils relievers--the five in the big-league pen, the five in Scranton and Chris Booker--are probably interchangable. There's no reason, other than salaries and maybe ego investment on Gillick's part, to get too deeply attached to any of them.

I want to see what Booker can do, and depending on how the year goes I'd also think about adding Mathieson or Gonzalez into the 'pen at some point. Boston seems to be doing okay with that approach.

What a disaster--one starting pitcher and one relief pitcher. We are in for a long year--4th highest payroll and 3 games under 5oo early. It's not going to get any better--Franklin is Gillick's boy--SEND HIM BACK TO TORONTO. WE ARE TIRED OF LOSING!!!!!!!!!!!

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