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Sunday, May 28, 2006


Message to GM-
It is about pitching! ALL about pitching. If I were the GM, I would trade almost all of my fieding and offensive talent, including Utley, for great pitching. A toatl overhaul. I would want twop number "ones" and two number "two" in my starting rotation. Runs can be "produced". Yeah, the Phils can score six but always give upseven or more. Just score 1 and give up 0. It would take years to accomplish this, (what talent is good enough to trade?)but in the end a championship would happen. Please note, I am not a Phillies fan, but living in this area, I hear enough. I am unfortunately stuck in a division with the Yanks and Sox, my Orioles suck! Another poorly run ball club. But thats a whole :nudder" story

Ps- I cnt tyype, sory fro teh typoos

Floyd should definately be sent down, and I could care less about his psyche, he simply doesn't have talent. He hasn't been even a remotely adequate pitcher above AA. Here's what he's done since moving to Scranton:

2004 AAA - 30.2 IP, 39H, 9BB, 18K, 4.99 ERA

2004 ML - 29.2 IP, 25H, 16BB, 24K, 3.49 ERA

2005 AAA - 137.1IP, 155H, 66BB, 97K, 6.16

2005 ML - 26.0 IP, 30H, 16BB, 17K, 10.04ERA

2006 ML - 50.1 IP, 63H, 28BB, 31K, 6.62 ERA

Totals - 274 IP, 312 H, 135 BB, 187K

This is simply bad. Not even a 1.5/1 K/BB ratio, 447!!! baserunners in 274 IP. If we took away the fact that he was a #1 pick, he wouldn't have even been discussed as a rotation candidate.

Madson has everything over Floyd with the exception of hype and pedigree - talent, stuff, desire, fortitude, etc. This should be a no brainer. As valuable as the back of the bullpen is, it is not as important as the starting pitcher.

Dontrelle Willis. Hmm. I'd rather they stay with Cole Hamels than do a typical Gillick prospect-depleting trade for Willis.

I really hope Madson can pull things together today. Otherwise I'm going to have to hunt down Cole Hamels and yell at him for ruining my Memorial Day weekend.

It was funny watching the Phillies game on TV last night with my dad. I went out of the room for a bit after Howard's home run in the 7th, and then I come back and my dad's like "This Phillies [pitcher] just gave up two home runs, it's 9-6 now" and I didn't even have to look at the screen to know it was Ryan Franklin.

I don't think Hamels would be a part of any trade - his injury history and enourmous upside make him too risky to either trade or trade for.

I don't think I would do the Willis deal if it was Vic + Ruiz + Gonzalez (if it was Floyd, !yes! but I don't think the Marlins are that dumb). The Phillies have a lot of big contracts and WIllis is likely to command at least 10M in arbitration next year. Even though he would essentially take Wolf's place in the salary structure, that might stop the team from upgrading at 3B and C. Also, Willis has always been streaky and he would be moving from a pitchers park to a hitters park...I don't think he would post an ERA under 4 here.

I think this team can win with Myers/Hamels/Madson/Lieber/Lidle. Lieber and Madson can't pitch this bad the rest of the way and Hamels will certainly be an upgrade on Floyd.

Also, have to say it is hillarious that Zolecki calls Floyd an "excellent arm" in the Inky story - do reporters ever actually look at performance? FLoyd *had* an excellent arm but that was three years ago when he threw 95-97.

Sorry, Pete, but you can't win games if you don't score runs, but you are willing to trade the #1 second basemen in the National League. Who will most likely be the best second basemen for the next 10 years, which will most likely translate into some hall of fame votes.

There is a misperception about acquiring pitching. That it is easy to do. But it's not because you are competing with 31 other teams for a trade or free agency.

The only REAL way to get pitching is through your farm system. Or getting other teams pitching prospects. You will always PAY too much for established pitching than prospects.And Gillick won't over pay for pitching.

However, he probably will have to get Dontrelle. BTW, I'm ready for conspiracy theories, anyone want to believe with me that Dontrelle has been taking games on purpose so that he's easily traded?

Nah... me neither.

Deanna, good call... I wasn't watching the game at that point, checked my cell phone for a box score. Saw the 2 spot in the 7th and the 3 spot in the 8th.

Thought to myself, "Dammit, missed another Howard home run. No matter, Franklin probably gave up the 3 in the 8th."

As for giving up on Floyd. I think the culture of the Phillies farm system to treat their highest prospects with kid gloves, especially on the mound, hurts the club immensely. Someone once said, that the Minor Leagues only exist, so that that teams top draft picks make the big leagues. These top draft picks are treated like faberege eggs, and come to the big leagues with little ability/desire to WIN ball games.

Even guys like Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell (to some extent, he's having a tremendous season this year. He's a different player), don't seem to understand what it takes to win ballgames. It's as if, they learned nothing in the minor leagues.

Look at the bench staff for the Phillies... Each one of these guys, are former Managers in the Phillies farm system, which means, that they have carried the same philosophy throughouth their careers. And it's not win first.

Maybe Varsho has it, but I doubt Dancy or Dubee do. I notice that during Pitching changes the players talk to Bombard and NEVER talk to Dancy. Does that mean something too?

I was hoping Gillick was going to be allowed to clean house. Up and down the system. Hopefully, Arbuckle gets a GM job elsewhere (Royals?) and we can start overhauling the whole system.

MC - what about Utley, Myers, Madson, Ruiz, Vic...all these guys are generally seen as "gamers" and came up through the system.

While I think visible intensity and dirty uniforms and knowing how to win (whatever that means) are vastly overated (or, more specifically, that they manifest themselves in tangible things like statistics) - they tend to reflect a player's personality, and therefore something that really cannot be taught.

AS for the coaching staff, I wouldn't object to a complete overhaul.

Couldn't agree with you more MC.

The Phils took a pass on starters over the winter because, in a pitcher's market, they were unwilling to pay the premium over the perceived market value.

But if you look around the league, few if any teams have a staff with any depth or any quality beyond 3 starters. Add in the frequent injuries and it appears that starting pitcher's will once again have the most leverage next winter.

So, does the team rely on their Double-A "prospects" and upgrade at 3B & C via free agency or do they overpay for quality pitching?

Now, if they could only trade #53 and free up the $18M...

$18M? Abreu is making $13M this year and $15M next year, with a $16M team option for '08.

Floyd has pitched poorly -- no doubt, but don't say he doesn't have talent. Obviously this is not the same pitcher I saw in Clearwater, but he has a great curve with good bite, a low-mid 90's fastball and a decent change. I am not ready to give up on this 23 year old. With regards to acquiring pitching through free agency or trade, agreed it is hard to do, but look at the Mets staff. Is Kenny Rogers helping the Tigers ? Would Beckett have helped the Phils ? Ponson ? Were there better relievers out there than the fringe junk the Phils acquired this year ? The NL East is winnable this year, but Gillick did nothing to make this team better, particularly the staff. However, there is still time to turn this around.

Went to Reading last night with my Granddaughter.

I can see why they are having problems. It seemed that every hitter they put up was hitting .150 or less. The two young kids Moss and Bourn appear to have no clue how to approach an AB. Swinging at first pitches constantly. I am wondering if any of the batting coaches anywhere preach situational hitting. They did win in 11 innings when the catcher singled in the winner.

Haigwood started and had good stuff, but lost the strike zone and was kind of effectively wild after the 4th inning on.

Then when I get home I saw Phils lost late, I automatically thought 'Franklin' and so it was.

Pitching, pitching and more pitching.........

I haven't been keeping track, but Billy Mac has made many predictions/points that have turned out to be dead right this season, including his comments on Gillick. Good job, Mac.

Floyd no longer has the talent he had when drafted. If he had good stuff, he would strike out more batters, walk fewer hitters and allow fewer hits. It's not really that complicated. When he was throwing 97 to AA hitters, he was good. When he throws 93 to ML hitters, he gets knocked around. He does have a good curveball, but he can't get to it because he can't locate his fastball early in the count. ACcuracy with a fastball IS a talent, and a pretty damn important one, and FLoyd can't do it.

I'm not saying give up...only that he has no business being in the major league right now and that it is unlikely he will be a good pitcher. Put him at AAA and keep him there till he can produce an ERA under 4 or a 2/1 K/BB ratio. I'd like to see a case made that he should be in the starting rotation.

If we trade for Willis, Gillick could throw Floyd in the deal. He's young and cheap, right up the Marlins' alley. Maybe they could throw in Franklin too!

I like you're thinking ragtopguy, any chance the Fish might want a Phutility infielder in Nunez as well?
Oh, and it has been a while...but I hate David's you're scrappy veteran...get the runners over!!!

kdon, I am not opposed to sending Floyd to the minors as he has been ineffective. We disagree on Floyd's talent level as I think he has good stuff. I think his problems are primarily mechanics that can be straightened out. But if you send Floyd to the minors, who takes his spot ? Madson ? Madson hasn't done anything to show me he can be an effective starting pitcher. I can throw out the same poor stats for Madson as you did for Floyd. I just see a bigger upside with Floyd than Madson as a starter. If you send Floyd down, I call up Brito.

OK, so Floyd does not belong on a contending team, but (cover your ears Phillies phaithful) the Phillies are NOT a contending team. They might as well let the kid stick around and see if he either finds himself or proves beyond a doubt that he just doesn't have it.

Take away that 13-1 streak, which looks more and more like a fluke, and the Phillies are 11-23. They have a losing record at home. They have scored fewer runs than they have allowed. Their hitting is spotty, their defense has collapsed and the shortcomings of their pitching have been vividly chronicled here and elsewhere. Add to that a manager who seems to draw names out of a hat to determine his in-game substitutions, and it's hard to see how this team contends for anything.

They are a .500 team. Send Utley, Howard or Myers to the DL for any length of time and even .500 becomes a dream.

I don't see why the Marlins would trade Willis, period, but even less so to the Phillies, a divisional rival and one with not much to offer at that. If you trade an all-star pitcher who's 24, you're going to want a group of potential all-stars who are under 24. The Phillies don't have that. Gavin Floyd? Please. That's not a prospect. Other teams have scouts, they can see he has nothing. Bobby Abreu? It wouldn't make sense; if you want to build around someone, you don't go for a guy eight years older. Carlos Ruiz? Not really a prospect, already 27, may not even be a candidate to have a career as a regular. It's a long long longshot that Willis would ever come to Philadelphia.

Last night's game was beyond maddening, a showcase for the three components on this team - Floyd, Franklin, and Fasano - whose continued presence is flatly detrimental to their chances or winning.

Actually Billy Mac, I would be shocked if you showed me statistics saying Madson and FLoyd have been similar at AAA and the majors. I've put this up before, but here we go:

Floyd AAA + Majors

274 IP, 312 H, 135 BB, 187K

Madson AAA + Majors

363 IP, 367H, 169 BB, 295 K

Madson has posted a succesful season at AAA, one great year as a reliever in the majors, and one OK year. Floyd has never done anything close to this. He is 23, so there is nor harm in running him out there every fifth day at Scranton.

As for not caring who we pitch because the team isn't a contender, that is exactly the kind of loser attitude that give Phillies fans a bad name. Floyd has been *the worst* player on the team this year (Franklin a close second) and is a major reason why the team is only at .500. It's absurd to say Floyd should play because the team isn't good when Floyd is a major reason why the team isn't good.

Oh, and I agree with everything else you said Billy Mac. I would like to see Brito up here and I agree that Floyd may be able to fix his mechanics and turn into a great player. I just think he shouldn't be in the Phillies plans *now*.

The Marlins will be willing to trade Willis because of $. When it comes time to sign him long term, it's gonna cost a lot.

And if they send Floyd down, mentally he'll be done. I don't think that he has what it takes to pitch well consistently at this level brainwise.

David Bell with more fine situational hitting! How can you even pull the ball in that position?

While Floyd has certainly not showed much the first two months, I wasn't exactly expecting a lot alot of him. Kind of a wait and see attitude out of spring training (which fans should always mind themselves that spring training numbers mean almost nothing). His is this team's 5th starter and almost every team's 5th starter is barely adequate.

The most worrisome thing about Floyd is that he is able not to throw a fastball consistently for a strike. Starters who can't throw fastballs for a strik don't last long.

Still, more of the fans' angst belongs on Lieber and Lidle. They are the supposed 1 and 3 starters reprospectively on this team. While Lidle has performed slightly below his career numbers, most nights he gives the Phils a chance to win (60% Quality starts). Only problem is that he only goes 6 innings and that really exposes the mediocre middle relief pitchers on this team. Also, the Phils defense has disappeared this year and Lidle lets alot of balls hit into play.

Lieber is the where the fans' angst should be placed. His the the supposed "ace" of this team. He is getting paid big money and the Phils were relying on him to win about 15-17 games this year in order to contend for a playoff spot.

Lieber has only given the Phillies only 3 Quality Starts (6 innings or more with 3 or less ER) in 10 starts this year. Tied with Floyd and WORST IN THE NL FOR A SUPPOSED 1 OR 2 PITHCER. Lieber has also been victimized by the poor Phillies defense but he is giving up alot of hits and they all can be because of poor defense. More troubling, most of his runs have come in a few innings where he just seems lose his control.

I do think Lieber will pitch slightly better but he has been awful so far. If Phils' fans were counting on Floyd this year, they were delusional. In order for the Phils to make the playoffs, Lieber, Myers, and Lidle has to pitch effectively. Additionally, they needed one other starters (Madson, Floyd, Hamels) to have a breakthrough type year (12-14 wins). Looks more and more like this team will fire Manuel in June.

Lieber has been a huge disappointment so far. MG, as you've pointed out he's only had 3 quality starts, and if he is not giving you wins, where are they coming from ? I agree that Lieber (along with Hamels) are the keys if this Phils team wins this year. As far as Lidle is concerned, he is giving me about what I expected. He keeps you in games and gives you a chance to win. He has average stuff gives up lots of hits, but knows how to pitch. On a good staff, he should be your 5th starter; unfortunately for the Phils he is their 3rd. The height of my optimism for this team was after Lieber's near no hitter against the Reds. I figured he had finally straightened himself out and with Myers, Lieber, Hamels, Floyd (who had won his 3 previous starts), Lidle, and good news about Wolf, this team was in good shape starting pitching wise. How things change in 2 weeks. I think Gillick needs to make a move now to improve their pitching. Although I've complained about the Phils' bench, an obvious person to trade is David Dellucci. He really is a luxury for this team (with only 43 ABs in 2 months) and now buried as your 5th OF behind Victorino. He could provide some value to an AL team as a DH.

It's hard to disagree with your assesment, Nat, but it isn't even June and the team is only five games out. You don't just throw in the towel and admit you have no chance to contend when in reality the rest of the division isn't that great, either. The Phillies simply can't afford to let Floyd cost them any more than he has. I would leave Madson in, yes. I don't care what that means for the bullpen. Aside from the extra-inning game against the Mets, Madson was horrible in the pen, anyhow.

Meantime, I'd like to mention that Ryan Howard is having a monster season and no one seems to be appreciating it. He has an excellent chance to break the all-time franchise single season HR record in his first full season. And he's hitting around .300. I know a lot's been made of his poor defense this year, but there's a strong case to be made for what he'd been doing offensively. He's living up to expectations, pure and simple, and there aren't many Phillies we can say that about. His huge hits in the previous two games went overshadowed because the bullpen went on to blow the games, but I've been noticing he's been having better at-bats all around, and particularly in big situations. A lot of his homeruns either tie the games or put the team ahead. A *lot* of them. And that's the best part about what he's been doing.

I don't want to throw in the towel. I want to hope that what I see happening isn't what's really happening.

But going into the season, I thought the Phillies would contend based on the facts that their run-scoring and defensive play ranked at or near the top (depending on which measurements you want to use) of the league last year, and that their young pitching had a chance to improve.

Now one-third of the way through the season, their run-scoring is off, the defense has crashed to near the bottom of the league and their pitching... well, I'm not going to go over all that ground again. I'll just say that finding a fifth starter who is incrementally better than the one they are using ain't going to change things much.

Some things could change that would keep this season from going down the drain before the all-star break. Rollins looks like he might be starting to hit again, which would be a helluva good thing; now if he'd just quit wailing at the first pitch and popping up, which he did again today, with RISP, of course. Howard is turning into a terrific offensive force; now if he could just clean up the glovework a bit. Lieberthal should be back soon, which just goes to prove that you don't appreciate what you've got until it's Fasano.

All of these positive indicators won't vault the Phillies into first place, even if no new negatives arise, unless the pitching improves, and that goes back to my preseason hope that the young pitchers would get better, and that includes Gavin Floyd. Wanna try Brito in that slot instead? Sure, bring him up. Let's see what the next AAA guy can do. Maybe it'll work this time.

As for the division being weak... it really galls me to say it, but the effin Mets look good. Do you realize that they lost the last 4 games started by Martinez? I had thought that for them to hold first place they would have to win all of Pedro's and Glavine's starts because the rest of the rotation doesn't look like much. But through no fault of Pedro's, they lost his games. And didn't miss a beat in the standings.

Am I concerned that the Phillies aren't as good as I thought? Yup. Am I worried that the Mets are even better? Hell, yeah!

Shane Victorino and Floyd/Madson are the type of players that a team like the Marlins are looking for if you want to go for Willis. They are relatively young, major-league-ready, low-cost, and play critical positions (CF and SP). Teams like the Marlins/Royals/Pirates have no interest in high-priced stars like Abreu or older players and utility infielders.

I'm not suggesting that the Phillies get Willis necessarily, but if they wanted to do it, a Victorino/Floyd package might work.

As for losing Shane, although I personally like him as a player, it's not a big loss in the sense that he's going to ride the bench the rest of the year, barring injury or a big trade of a starting OF. The Phillies have Delucci to back up anyway, so they don't need Victorino. If the Phillies have a trade in the works involving Abreu (or Burrell) then I don't touch Victorino. Otherwise, he'll never have higher trade value than now.

The Phillies should trade for Dontrelle just to get his bat. It would better than most of the bench bats we have now.

Here are two reasons why I wouldn't trade Victorino, unless it was somehow made necessary in order to pry Willis from the Marlins. One, there's a good chance both Abreu and Burrell have very limited futures with this team. Victorino has proved he's a quality outfielder who could at least hold up his end in a platoon if that became an option; this way you don't have to worry about getting an outfielder in return from anyone. As far as I know, there are no other OF prospects in the minors who are ready to compete for a previous predictions for Chris Roberson aside.

Two, Victorino represents the kind of player you want to just keep adding to this mix and hold onto. He's a positive force for this team: he plays hard, he plays smart, and he can play, period. I'm not saying he's ever going to have a lucrative career, but I do know that he's the kind of player with which the Phillies should, and I think are trying to, infiltrate their moribund franchise.

If he is legitimate bait, then of course, I'd rather have Willis, but if I were the Phillies I wouldn't be so quick to dangle him.

In response to what Nat said about the Mets, for the first time I'm willing to admit I'm afraid they're for real as well. Watching them play against the Phillies, I became aware that they play with elevated intensity and confidence and have let a hot start snowball into something bigger. They look like they could win because they do what it takes to beat you. That legitimizes them far more in my eyes than merely shelling out money for big names.

Please forgive my ignorance, but could someone please explain to me the basis of the "inevitability" of trading Burrell and/or Abreu? Trading them to what end?
No team is going to part with top of the line pitching for either of them; and that's a healthy chunk of the team's offense that would be lost. What's the thinking with this?? Thanks.

"Manuel should allow more pitchers to take a hack late. They can't be much worse than the bench." You know things are sad when this is actually true.

No one in his right mind wouldn't trade for Willis. He's too cheap salary-wise not to do the deal. If it's a matter of pitching prospects to get him-remember that the vast majoriy (95%?) of top pitching prospects don't pan out. Most of them turn into Gavin Floyd. Or Pat Combs.

Trading Burrell and Abreu would be to the end of eliminating the old-guard players who represent a failed, dying core of an unhappy era. Players who bring more intensity and desire to win have gradually been displacing this core, but a clean break is necessary in order to transform the identity of this team.

One can argue that Rollins has been part of this core as well, but even though his failure to progress into a perennial all-star has not endeared him to most of the fan base, I tend to lump him in with the new, developing core due to his younger age and marked personality. Criticisms may be hurled at Rollins left and right, but no one can accuse him of the relative indifference or lack of agressiveness that otherwise earmarks the Phillies of the past several seasons; pitching has been a perennial problem, but no less defining has an indisputable lack of character. Rollins has always stood out as one of the very few exceptions to that over the years.

Several people on this site bristle at my suggestion that these "intangibles" mean more than what Abreu and Burrell contribute offensively, but I firmly believe that the Phillies need to divorce themselves from these two. Gillick evidently tried doing just this in the previous off-season, so it does appear to be a matter of time before they are ex-Phillies.

I just want to echo some thoughts: Brito pitched on Saturday and so did Floyd. Send the headcase known as Gavin down to Scranton and give Eude a shot. Brito could be better, but I doubt worse.

Howard is swining a nice stick. He needs to keep better focus on the field though too, then he's a complete player.

I still can't believe the Phillies signed Nunez to 2 years and Franklin for 2.6 mil. It seemed like no team really wanted Franklin, so why the hell did Gillick guarantee 2.6 mil? Why in the world did Nunez get 2 years...there is no way you give a life-long player of his status, or lack thereof, a 2 year pact! Bench and relief pitching is Gillick's fault. And in the NL, bench and bullpen matter a whole lot!

I agree Nunez and Franklin (not to mention A-GONE) were poor signings, especially considering they wanted Franklin to pitch in the rotation, where he would have been a disaster. Fassano was also bad if they were expecting him to catch twice a week.

OTOH, the two deals that shipped out Tejeda and Michaels for Delucci and Rhodes (ones that were heavily criticized here) seems to be working out (not great, but OK). Hard as it is to believe, the bench and bullpen probably would have been worse without those moves.

Oh, and I meant to actually back up those claims with evidence:

Dellucci - 42 ABs, .813 OPS
Michaels - 186 ABs, .697 OPS

Rhodes - 17.1 IP, 4.15 ERA
Tejeda - 16.1 IP, 7.71 ERA

Obviously it is early and Tejeda has the biggest upside of the 4 players, but these deals have certainly helped *this* year.

I'd argue that Franklin as a late-inning reliever is more of a disaster than Franklin as a starter would have been. He wouldn't have been a particularly good starter, of course, but nor would he be all that much worse than Cory Lidle - and he *definitely* couldn't be worse than Gavin Floyd. He'd probably give up a lot of hits and homeruns but generally last six or so innings. Having a pitcher with those tendencies work in the seventh or eighth inning instead is just a bad, bad idea.

I don't think Eude Brito is any better of an option than Floyd. I was enormously unimpressed by him last year; I don't think he can get big league hitters out.

RSB, care to offer any reasons why Brito cannot get major league hitters out other than that you were "enormously unimpressed." That doesn't really leave much room for discussion.

Brito has given up 38 hits in 53 innings in AAA this year and had a 3.68 ERA in 20 IP in the majors last year. This is already head and shoulders above anything FLoyd has accomplished. Yeah, so he is a little guy - the scoreboard operators don't care what you look like.

What do you want to discuss? I gave my opinion of Brito's pitching ability. He throws a lot of junk and has difficulty locating it. If you throw junk and can't locate it, you're not going to be a successful major league pitcher.

Not sure I would go as far to say the Rhodes and Dellucci deals have worked out OK.
You had to get pitching help, so Rhodes was a calculated risk with his age. He is also making $3.7M a year. So far, he has been a poor setup man and this is now a huge hole for this club. He may turn it around.
Tejeda is 24 year old power pitcher, who still has an upside. We won't know for some time how this deal works out. Michaels and Dellucci are both 800 ops guys, but Michaels is a few years younger, plays better defense and unlike Dellucci can hit both lefties and righties.
The Phils weren't going to have Michaels sitting on the bench getting $1.5M, but I think they could have done better than Rhodes.

RSB, so you don't like Brito...fine. However, we need to give him the chance. Floyd has proven now that he simply isn't going to get the job done. Eude isn't amazing or anything, but what I was suggesting was that he most likely would be a bit better than Floyd, and even if he ended up being as bad so what?! Floyd is only still on the roster because he was a #1 pick.

By the way, Lieber is disgusting this season. He pitched one amazing game, but the rest of his starts have been of a 5th starter quality.

The Phillies should be killing teams like the Nats, especially with rookie pitchers on the mound! This is yet another reason why this team won't be around come October...shame too, because I never get a good birth day present that way.

Don't know if you noticed, CB, but the Nats just finished a 7-3 homestand and are scoring a ton of runs right now. O'Connor is exactly the type of pitcher who usually stymies the Phillies, rookie or not, so this one will hardly be a pushover.

Well, as I conceeded, Tejeda's value (if any) lies in the future. He has a career 4.13 the MINOR LEAGUES, and gave up a lot of baserunners last year, so I wouldn't be particularly excited about his prospects. Even if you think his future performance will exceed his past performance, my point was that the moves helped for this year.

And, as far as getting better value than Rhodes, I'm not privy to the offers Gillick recieved - I'm looking at the trade he *did* make and it seems OK. Rhodes seems to be the 2nd best option out of the pen and has looked sharp his last few times out.

Well, now that Lieber is hurt, when may need Floyd AND Brito! Ugh !!

Brito has a good fastball -- low to mid 90's and hard slider that is particularly tough on lefties. You want to fault him on his fastball command at times or control -- fine, but don't say he relys on junk. I am not sure if Brito is the answer, but I think he pitched decently last year and is pitching well at SWB this year. I would give Floyd another start, but Brito isn't a bad option.

RSB, I have noticed that the Nats are on a bit of a hot streak, but they're not a quality club. The have holes in the lineup and their pitching is suspect. My point was, if the Phillies are a playoff team, this game shouldn't be all that much of a challenge to them.

Interesting note: O'Connor is from the same high school as Floyd...let's trade them for each other...bye, bye Floyd! But sersiously, the Phillies should have traded Floyd during spring training when he looked like he could pitch in the majors, his stock is low now.

Brito throws in the nineties? Are you positive? I remember him throwing sliders and changes almost exclusively, maybe a sinking fastball. I sure don't recall him throwing with that kind of velocity.

If Lieber goes on the DL, they need to use the opportunity to reevaluate how much a starting pitcher with a season 5.79 ERA is really helping them. I find it difficult to believe they couldn't fill that production with any number of pitchers from their system.

RSB, I recall Brito throwing a hard sinking fastball in 90s. He also threw a lot of sliders and changes as you mentioned. He's a little guy, but has a lively arm.

In my opinion, if you are a quality MLB player, there should only a handful of times all season that you fail to knock a man in from 3rd with less than 2 outs...the Phillies fail to do this all too often.

Another great effort by the Phlegmatic Duo with a man on third.

I look at the Phillies farm system and see a handful of possible replacements for underachieving pitchers like Lieber and Floyd. As forementioned Gio Gonzalez and Eude Brito, plus Scott Mitchenson, and some others from Scranton and Reading.

When Utley came up, his defense was suspect. He has worked his butt off to become a good defender. I love watching this kid play the game, it's fantastic! Nice play Utley!

As I said above, Howard needs to concentrate defensively...he has been horrible this season. That was a dumb play. I love Howard's offense, but there is no reason for fricken play like that!

Are guys like Gonzalez and Mathieson really ready to come to the big leagues and pitch capably? I think it's kind of a pipe dream, even as much as what they have has struggled. And again with Brito...okay, I guess you give him a shot to do better than Floyd, who's been awful all year...but I wouldn't expect much.

Thank you RSB, that's all I was suggesting. I don't think Brito is a top-tier starting pitcher, but I have a hunch he could be better than Floyd. And if he's not, so what? It's not like it matters if Floyd's head gets any more screwed up. The kid is painful to watch pitch.

This is a bad game already. Poor defense giving up a free run, and poor situational hitting failing to pick up an easy run. The story of the Phillies!

Yeah, I wouldn't be placing any bets for the Phils to win this one.

I'm as frustrated with Lieber as anyone else, but what are your options? Eat the last two years of his salary? Trade him at his absolute low value?

I know you wrote the preview for THT, Jason, so take a look at Lieber's FIPS ERA - 4.33, not great but not terrible. Lieber allows a lot of balls in play and is therefore subject to a lot of random variation in his success, based on the defense and luck.

If he returns healthy, he is a better option than Floyd, Madson, Brito, Gonzalez or whomever else you want to throw out there. Lieber has thrown 1900 career innings of above average baseball in his eleven years - a little patience please!

I wouldn't be placing any bets for the Phils to win any game.

Trading Lieber isn't really an option...wishful thinking, sorta like getting rid of Nunez. When I was suggesting all those replacements it was for Floyd and in the event that Lieber goes DL.

Maybe Lieber can shave some of the years off his 36-year-old frame while he's on the DL. He looked pretty fresh tonight, as he has all season.

If Lieber goes on the DL, we'll at least get a quick resolution of the Floyd vs. Brito debate.

Listening to Beer Leaguers debate which is better, Brito or Floyd, is like listening to beer drinkers debate which is better, Schlitz or Old Milwaukee.

The answer, of course, is too much of any of them make you ill.

Yes, that's the Phillies pitching. It's like cheap beer. It sorta resembles the real thing, and in a pinch you might get away with it, but if you serve it up to anyone who knows the difference, you'll be embarrassed.

2 players that seemed to age 5 years this offseason: Abreu and Lieber.

Gotcha' CB, I was more responding to Jason's suggestion that the team "reevaluate" Lieber.

If he is hurt, I would go with Brito, or, God, I can't believe I'm saying this....Franklin, before rushing up anybody from AA.

Nat that was an excellent comparison of Phils pitching to crappy beer, I laughed out loud!

What would Franlin be? Olympia?

Nat, that's an analogy for the ages.

Go figure, Phillies are getting a quality extended outing from Condrey out of the bullpen and they can't capitalize on it from an offensive standpoint. Once again, this is the story of the Phillies.

Franklin as a beer- Meisterbrau

Condrey hasn't given up a run so far in four outings. Have they actually found an effective reliever?

He's effective for the time being.

wow, it's like I'm predicting this game. I said in a previous Howard's offensive, but he needs to turn it up defensively to become a complete player. Well, he commits the error tonight, then smacks a 3-run homer. I'm on tonight baby!

Condrey was outstanding tonight.

good night all, hope I can return to the board tomorrow with a Phillies win.

Ryan Howard is just something else. I think people are just beginning to realize what kind of year he's putting together. Thome hits 20 homers in the first two months and they don't miss him one bit.

Counting triple-A, I think Condrey hasn't allowed an earned run in 20-plus innings. Did I hear the announcers say that?

Kind of a shame his night had to end. Lots of groundballs. Odds are Lieber wouldn't have held them down like that.

Is it too soon to speculate that Condrey would make a nice seventh-inning pitcher?

Rick: I agree people are starting to realize what they have in Howard. He's hitting it out at a monsterous rate.

Carson, I think I'll hold off the Karnac the Magnificent comparisons so said it was going to be a "bad game" right?

Kdon, I just don't think Lieber hasn't been jobbed by bad defense or bad luck this season. I look at FIP almost daily, but with Lieber, I don't buy it. Hitters are getting nice, even strokes on him and belting hard line drives. He's hanging a lot of ths split-finger stuff that once dropped hard.

As an aside, I wanted to write something this morning but didn't have time - sort of a pep talk for the start of summer. They've lost way too many games they should have won, flittered away too many chances they should have capitalized on. Pitching has been poor, but they should have won more games.

Milwaukee was a bummer, but they need to bounce back right here and win this series with Washington, and start getting in gear for the rest of the season. Their big hitter, Howard, is red hot now. Let's do it. Let's go Phils!

I guess we will have to disagree Jason. Lieber's peripheral stats indicate that his ERA should be lower, and real ERA almost always regresses toward peripheral ERA (FIPS) As for scouting, his ball seems to be diving as much as it always has, but I won't claim to be a opinion is that some balls are just falling in. Regardless, what would you suggest doing with him?

Finally, another team's bullpen is exposed...couldn't agree more about building some momentum...Lets Go Phils!

I'd entertain offers for Lieber. That's all they can do. Figure out if he's worth keeping through the life of his contract.

There are positives to indicate he could come around, but we're getting into June here and he hasn't been much better than a No. 5 starter. In the last three starts, he gave up 3 homers to Boston, 2 to the Mets and 1 here tonight. I don't like his ability to get himself out of jams.

One other point on the summer pep talk, the gang's all here again: Rowand, Lieberthal's back, Hamels is coming back. You could argue that everyone on the team deserves to be there. Let's start doing more of what they're doing tonight.

Could it be? The Phillies winning in a laugher? You mean I can sit back, relax and enjoy the final innings? No gnashing of teeth over Charlie's pinch-hitting and relieving notions? No "close your eyes here comes Boom Boom Franklin?" The Phillies and their fans need one of these.

Now if the D-Backs can just tag the Mets...

Back to pitching, I think Gillick would like to remake the 2007 starting rotation with his own selections, a blend of young and old players. Lieber and Lidle are in spots Gillick will probably want to play around with using free agency.

On the topic of pitching, I was reading a Cardinals blog this evening where rumor has it that the Phillies, among several other teams, have been scouting Mark Mulder.

No speculation there about any possible deals. The Cardinals sorely need corner outfielders and, with the possible demise of Jim Edmonds, perhaps a centerfielder, too.

I'm not going to speculate, either, but as we all know, the Phillies need starting pitching and they probably have an outfielder to trade.

So you can throw that in your rumor mill and grind it.

I was at the game tonight and it was nice to see a laugher. Reading back over the board, I was thinking the same thing when Howard threw that ball away - here we go again.

Anyway, on the way home I was listening to WIP and they were talking about possible trades to make for Willis. They seem to think that Hamels would need to be included in any possible trade - what do folks think, should we do that?

I tend to think not, but not for any good reason. The person I was at the game with (we got tickets a few weeks ago hoping to see Hamels) said he thought Hamels might still turn out to be another Brandon Duckworth (I had totally forgot about that guy). I still prefer trying to get Willis (or Mulder) with Victorino, Floyd/Madson, and Bourn or Gonzalez, but I'm curious what other bearleaguers think.

How the Phils do in the next 2 weeks including an 11 game road trip will likely determine if Gillick will be buying or selling prior to the trade deadline. I don't see any major trades prior to then.
Since you brought up Mulder, let me bring up another interesting possible top rate rent-a-pitcher -- Kelvim Escobar. Angels are certainly looking for power. With Colon returning from DL and recent call-up of Jered Weaver, it seems there is a possibility the Angels would move Escobar since they have been unable to resign him. And if the Phils are in a seller position, I am wandering if the Yanks would have any interrest in Mike Lieberthal with Posada's lame hamstring ? Just interesting speculation.

I don't think Hamels is another Duckworth, another Gavin Floyd. I think he's got a legitimate chance to be the real thing, if he stays healthy. Duckworth never had the potential to be anything better than a fourth or fifth starter. Hamels has a chance to be at least as good as Willis - who would, by the way, be a free agent much sooner than Hamels. You don't give up Cole Hamels for anyone.

Mark Mulder? I don't see why you give up a front-line starter for a corner outfielder. Or anything else the Phillies have (other than Myers, Hamels, Utley, and Howard). I'm glad to hear the Phillies are scouting these guys, but realistically they wouldn't appear to have a real shot at getting those kinds of names right now. The likes of Kelvim Escobar may well be as high as we can set our sights, and I don't even know if that's attainable.

That 11-game road trip scares the bejesus out of me, meantime.

I have a great idea. Let's trade everyone that sucks so far and keep the guys that are playing well. I'm sure you'll find plenty of teams that will take our garbage and give us top line prospects or major league-ready players. And I don't remeber Brito ever hitting anything higher than 90-91 last year. Mid-nineties?? You're dreaming.

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EST. 2005

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