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Saturday, May 06, 2006

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"Funny how it wasn’t even planned that way"

These things rarely are.

Does anyone think Ruiz has a legitimate chance to make an impact in Philly? With the exception of Mr. Weitzel, most fans/media seem to be pretty down on the guy.

Fasano hasn't hit for average or power, never walks, and his defense has been criminally bad at times this year.

Still, Manuel will probably bury Ruiz and I would be surprised if Ruiz starts more than a handful of games before Lieberthal returns. Let's look forward to a plenty of 1-2-3 innings with Bell, Fasano, and the pitcher.

I'm not down on the guy, I don't even know him, but I have serious reservations about our chances of contending if he's up with the big boys for any length of time as the primary catcher. Big-league clubs need big-league catchers.

I forget what year it was, but when Liberthal went down with the torn ligament a few years ago and they brought up Estrada, all hope was lost. Estrada struggled and a good team faded.

If Liberthal is out, and there are no plans to start Fasano on a daily basis, then the Phillies need to trade for a legitimate starter, dump Fasano (finally) and let Ruiz serve as backup. That should probably have been the plan all along, with Ruiz as the backup and Liberthal as the starter, with the aim of easing Ruiz into the role that'd he'd take over next season. As it stands, if it's just 15 days, fine, let Ruiz start and then keep him and dump Fasano when Liberthal comes back.

In short, whether Ruiz can be the future isn't the question. He's not the answer in the now, if Liberthal is out for longer than expected. Makes you yearn for Pratt, who in even a fill-in full-time role could have injected some authority and leadership.

Love the site!

I'm with MG. Fasano, although everyone wants to like him, doesn't have major league talent. maybe he'll make a good coach someday. Next year, I see the Phils going out and getting an upgrade at catcher (Javy?) and resigning Lieberthal to a backup spot if he'll take a pay cut. If he won't take the cut, then it's Javy and Chooch.

I don't get it-as far as I can tell, the only serious argument against Ruiz is that he's not a power hitter. His age isn't a real issue-plenty of players have gotten established at 27. Look how long it took for the team to give Utley a chance. The Phils' organization has been brutal at evaluating its own talent for years.

Jason,

As you know, I've been a big Carlos Ruiz fan ever since watching him play every day in Reading in 2004. He was no prospect when he came here, but midway through that season he learned to drive the ball, and he's been hitting great every since. He's already good enough to play behind the plate in the big leagues. Some people get stuck on those Baseball America labels, but seeing is believing, and I belive in this guy. More later on my blog.

I'm very keen to see the guy play, and was really pleased to see that he'd got a chance courtesy of Lieberthal's injury. I'm presuming he's been a catcher for floyd in the past and it would be great to see him take over from Fasano. Good prep if hamels comes up as well.

Brian--what do you mean? Every player has to make the jump sometimes, and it's not always the big prospects who make the biggest impact. Speaking of catchers, wasn't it Mike Piazza who was totally buried in the draft, and only chosen as a favor to the family by Lasorda? Ruiz isn't another Piazza, but he's a solid defensive catcher, and he's been hitting solidly, so why not give him a shot next year? It'd make things a lot simpler and cheaper if he stepped up for us. And what you forget about Estrada is that he WAS a Major League catcher, and became an All-Star. Ruiz has the experience, he has the minor league experience, it's time to give him a go and hopefully Manuel will start him every time Myers, Lidle, and Madson pitch over the next 15 days.

Whoops--first time I typed "experience" I meant "stats"

" Fasano, although everyone wants to like him, doesn't have major league talent. maybe he'll make a good coach someday. "

i hope for his sake it is soon, because he turns 35 in 3 months. talk about a late bloomer...

Time will tell about Ruiz, but it's hard to see why he wouldn't be immediately more productive on all levels than either catcher the Phillies have been playing. Perhaps this is the injured Jim Thome/opportunity for Ryan Howard sort of blessing in disguise. I still shudder to think of the state of this team if Thome hadn't been injured; Howard would be long gone by now, even if Jimbo had hit his .207 over 150 games. The Phillies literally have to be forced into getting a first-hand look at its prospects, so as far as that's concerned, I'm calling Lieby's knee contusion a positive thing.

"The Phils' organization has been brutal at evaluating its own talent for years." That's the bottom line. Go, Carlos Ruiz!

Why not keep Ruiz when Leiby comes back - especially if Fasano is hitting .100 or less. Ruiz may have a legitimate shot at staying with the team. Leiberthal actually has been fairly good this year. His hitting has been surprisingly good even though it seems he is lacking the power he had at one time.

There is a lot of upside to Ruiz. He has been hitting well and if he keps that up things will take care of themselves.

I'm pulling for him, that's for sure. Fasano is kind of cool and very charismatic it appears but talent wise the kid has it all over him. If he keeps sticking the ball the cigars will sit up and take notice.

Plus his salary is still low and that's a BIG plus.

Lieberthal's injury is definitely not a positive thing for this team. They need Lieberthal healthy and productive if they are going to contend for the playoffs.

Still, this is an opportunity to see what Ruiz can do. Fasano has certainly not shown that he deserves alot of playing time.

Ideal scenario is that Ruiz shows enough for the Phils to keep him with the big league team and demote Fasano to T-AAA. I can't possibly imagine that there is any team that would claim a 34-year backup catcher you can't hit or defend.

I only regret that Ruiz's opportunity is due to Lieberthal's injury; I'd much rather see him taking Fasano's roster spot. His success will be important both for the Phillies short-term and long-term prospects. The Phillies need someone better than Fasano this season and will need to find a new regular catcher next year. The list of catchers who will be free agents next year isn't very exciting. In fact, Lieby may be the best of the bunch.

There's a lot riding on Ruiz. I hope he surprises all the experts -- except, of course, our blog host.

Adam...
My only point is that if the Phillies are serious about contending this year, then I'd like them to go with a catcher with major-league experience. Be that Liberthal if he comes back. Or a Stinnett, Pratt type if not.

I know there's been a lot of debate here about the intangibles of handling pitchers, but I don't think the importance of the position should be underestimated.

I point to that season when Liberthal went down because I feel if the Phils had traded for someone then maybe it would have turned out different had we not gone with Estrada primarily.

I'm all for Ruiz being up with the club (heck, he just threw out his first steal attempt against!), even after Liberthal comes back. But I wouldn't be confident if he were to play as the primary catcher if Liberthal is done.

Attaboy, Chooch ...

What makes Ruiz any less of a prospect than Paul LoDuca before he suddenly emerged in 2001? He'd been in the Dodgers system for eight years, nobody had really thought about him during Piazza's tenure, and he'd been unspectacular in three big-league stints already, though he hit at AAA (as Ruiz has done).

Ruiz caught Floyd both at Reading in 2004 (good) and at Scranton last year (not so much). Obviously Hamels hasn't had a problem with him. And, as several posters have noted, he's gonna be cheap... probably through the whole productive part of his career. Given that Fasano's the alternative, what's to lose?

Lieberthal's injury is potentially a good thing in the provided context that it allows them to get a look at Ruiz, as nothing else, barring an injury to Fasano instead, was going to get him up here. The Phillies can afford to go two weeks without Lieby. If it were a season-threatening or 60-day type of injury, I would not say it was positive in any context.

First of all, this is a bit silly because Lieberthal is coming back. But...

Brian, that doesn't make sense to me. A Fasano/Pratt/Stinnett type isn't used to playing a whole season, is used to being a backup, and really doesn't bring much either offensively or defensively (especially in Fasano's case). Even if Ruiz doesn't adjust immediately offensively, he's no worse than Fasano, and Fasano has already been proven a defensive liability if anything. Saying "we'll stick with the veteran no matter what" is the type of problem the Phillies front office keeps having, and one they need to start thinking about more.

I think the injury can be viewed "positively" not only in that we get to see Ruiz, but also in that Lieberthal will get some rest. That, plus a contract year, should hopefully mean a Lieberthal who can contiribute at the bottom of the lineup.

And yet it appears as though they intend to play Fasano every day in Lieberthal's absence. What was I thinking, that the Phillies would do something that made sense? Pah!

On the other hand, there is this seven-game winning streak going on that has caught everyone off guard. It's pretty astounding, really, but I have a suspicion their luck is about to run dry...just as when Gonzalez hit into that DP a week ago tonight, I figured it was bound to turn around...now their luck is beginning to border on the improbable and I can't imagine it'll last another game.

Not to get ahead of things, but the Mets series could be an interesting one.

I was at the game last night, and it was great to see Ruiz gun Winn down at 2nd. He may not have gotten a hit, but it looks like he has a clue at the plate and behind it...so let's hope he gets another 5-7 games in him before Lieby comes back so he can try to prove himself.

It was a fun atmosphere at the game. That place is great when it's packed! Bonds coming to town is a great thing because the fans are booing him instead of their own players.

Now Lieber needs to right himself in primetime tonight!

speaking of Mets, nice to see Billy Wagner start warming up his mouth early. would hate to see a whole series go by without him trashing his ex-team every chance he gets.

Adam...
I agree that this is silly insofar as Liberthal is expected to come back. And I agree that Ruiz should be here as a backup instead of Fasano. The only point I wanted to make is that I don't think Ruiz should become the full-time catcher IF Lieberthal were done for the season. In that unlikely event, I believe the Phillies would need to trade for a catcher with major-league experience, with Ruiz still serving as backup-two, three times a week.(And I don't believe that should be Fasano.)

This view all comes back to that season when Estrada was thrown into the pool and made to sink or swim. He struggled, and the Phillies along with him.

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