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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Comments

How will they blow this one?

Let me throw a topic out there for a post nexst week based on OneChair's column last week....should the NL go with a DH? I think the time has come. Just think if we didn't have to trade Thome?

Coste is playing well against the lowly Bucs

Gotta keep it in perspective

Being that all other professional leagues use the DH, it would seem to be a matter of time before the NL goes with it. I don't like the rule, but it's pretty senseless for everyone else to be operating with it but one "league"...particularly when interleague games have decreased the distinction between them. It should be uniform, and in order for that to happen, it's the NL that'll have to conform, not everyone else.

What I'd prefer is no damn interleague and no DH, but it's like saying I want no owners for the Phillies. Fat chance!

Make that 'new' owners.

The acopalyspe is upon us . . . the Phils actually had 3 RBIs with 2 outs/RISP. Oh wait. It was just the crappy Pirates. Nevermind.

i hate the DH as well. No strategy in it. It allows stupid managers like Torre, Tito, and Charlie Manuel to look good for no reason. In AL games you get to the 7th inning there's no suspense. You know who's coming to bat and who's gonna keep playing.

It's like saying that 2nd down and more than 4 yards in football has to be a pass.

Pitt got there first series win of the season from the phillies last time they met. Maybe the Bucs are trying to return the favor....

Well, I just got back from a week's vacation up in Maine where I listened to the Red Sox. Man what a team, that Big Papi has to be a Baseball God!!

I followed our flailing Phils in the paper the next day, hoping to see a deal or Elmer's firing or something. No such luck I see.

Well at least they won today, hooray!

Great to be home again.

I love the DH because it allows stupid managers. managers shouldn't decide games, players should.

Who the hell really wants to see a pitcher bat?

Don't gtet me wrong, Chris Coste had a nice game yesterday, but why is he starting his 3rd game in a row?? Did Charlie forget about Ruiz already?? It's not like Ruiz played like crap against San Diego...

I hope the NL never adopts the DH! In fact, in a perfect world, baseball would get rid of the DH! American League baseball is rather dull in my opinion. Pinch hitters would all but be eliminated and crappy pitchers would stay in the game longer. The constant strategy and second guessing that goes on in the National League doesn't even compare to American League. Heaven forbid you would actually have to make a manager like Charlie Manuel think every once in a while! Otherwise he could manage here forever. Ugh...

Anyway, for every David Ortiz there is a Rondell White or Ruben Sierra still trying to hang on. Why let players have it easy and just bat? Baseball is an all around game and should be played as such. I would even go as far as to add a 26th man if teams would get rid of the DH, allowing for an extra potential batter on each of the major league teams.

jon - I really hope the guy who goes by Dav73(migh actually be Coste himself!) sees your post about Coste playing over Ruiz. The guy is like obsessed with Coste and I think he might have a man-crush on the guy. But anyway you are totally correct about playing coste or even Fasano when he's back. This team needs to figure out what it has and i'm not against letting Ruiz play to see if he can be a viable backup option next year. This goes for other positions like 3rd and CF too. Bring up the young Bourne and let him play CF and put him in the leadoff spot. Send a message to the team that if you don't do your job then you can be replaced. This is especially true of Rollins who obviously is not coachable when it comes to the leadoff spot. He just can't take a pitch or play the game the right way. He's become compacent with now his 3rd manager whom have all let him have his way and pamper the guy like a baby. He now thinks he's invincible and cannot be displaced. The team can be anyworse with someone else trying leadoff. I would honestly put J-K as I call him in the 8hole so really piss him off.

anyone ever notice this statistic with the phils. They have a tendency to score a ton of runs one night then nothing the next. They always seem to average about 4.5 runs when you look at back to back games. So last night they scored 6 so today i would guess they'll score 3. Since they already have 3, I'd be willing to bet they don't score again and they will lose 9-3 in another 4 or 5 inning Hamels loss. If this guy is the next Steve Carlton then I got to know who Don Carmen was compared to when he came up.

Does anyone know of any sites which keep track of innings in which a player bats which in turns led to runs being scored. My point is of all the innings in which the black hole has batted I really can't imagine alot of production has come of it.

wow, does hamels get effing rookie-squeezed.

this umps strikezone is postage stamps sized.

I cant believe anyone really enjoys having pitchers hit and having all sorts of PH issues late in games. To me it takes the joyout of baseball. We need the DH.

Wow, I am so surprised...

Burrell struck out....looking....with the bases loaded

Shocker!

i really dont get the coste-hate thing here.

the *only* knock against him is that he's 33. that's it.

he's a hitting machine.

coste should stay up when leiby is back from the dl. ruiz will go back down, because he isnt major league material.

the question is what to do with fasano.

burrell is 2/5 with 2rbi's. i'll forgive his bases loaded strikeout.

nunez doesnt belong in the bigs, though.

Its not hating Coste. Its continuing to question Manuel. Its the fact that Ruiz should have started at least one of the games against Pittsburgh. That's all.

As for what to do when Lieberthal comes back, I would release Nunez and let Coste take his spot off the bench. Keep Ruiz as the back-up and the third string catcher can be Coste.

Hey Jon and BK: Coste was given his third start in a row today, just as Ruiz was given three straight starts in the San Diego series. Ruiz has hit better this trip than the .142-with-no-extra-base-hits-with-only-one-RBI last time. But as I write this from Gate E1 at Philadelphia International, Coste this afternoon has two hits in four at bats, and two RBI, including the go-ahead run RBI in the game. Coste's BA is now .318, compared to Ruiz' .202. Frankly, the three straight starts given to Coste, as productive as has been, is nevertheless a surprise to me. After playing Coste only twice in the previous two-week period, one of which was Coste's replacement for the injured Fasano last Sunday in Toronto, it seems as though Phils management has finally realized that it has a productive and potentially versatile player in Coste, who can help the team substantially, right now. I not saying Ruiz doesn't deserve a look. He does, but I think something is "up" in "tradeland", although I am not sure what it is. And BK, your suggestion that I "could be Coste himself" is as untrue as it could be. I am *not* Chris Coste, and this post proves this fact conclusively, as this post has been written and sent written at the very time that Coste is on the field catching for the Phillies. I am writing this post on my laptop, while listening to the eighth inning of this afternoon's game. And BK, as for your "manlove" suggestion, that crude remark is not only absurd, in making that comment, you seriously debase and denigrate yourself, and you remove any scintilla of credibility that your opinions might otherwise have had with serious followers of baseball. Listen to this: I defend Coste in the face of baseless criticism such as your post above,solely because Coste deserves to be defended, and I will continue to do so, where it is warranted.

does any one else think that maybe the phils made a mistake sending coste down after spring training?

I have to say that even though it doesn't make sense that he started all three games in the series, good for Coste. He's been contributing in a big way, for whatever it's worth. So there's a happy ending for him after all.

Fox Sports is reporting yet another big Abreu rumor, this time (again) to Boston. It's a matter of time before he's finally history here. I hope to be commenting on the outcome of a substantial deal within a week or two.

I just saw on ESPN that Brett Myers will be rejoining the Phillies on Friday...

Here is the article from ESPN:

Myers set to rejoin Phils; no timetable for rotation

Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies pitcher Brett Myers is expected to rejoin the team Friday in San Francisco after taking a leave of absence following his arrest on charges that he hit his wife in the face.

Myers, the team's best starter, was placed on the temporary inactive list and optioned to Class-A Clearwater after he pleaded not guilty to assault charges at his arraignment June 23 in Boston Municipal Court. His next court date is Aug. 4.

A decision regarding when Myers (5-3, 3.86 ERA) will return to the rotation will be made at a later date.

"He's joining the team, but when he's going to pitch, we haven't decided yet," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Myers and his wife, Kim, will continue to participate in professional counseling sessions as part of the Phillies Employee Assistance Program.

Myers was arguing with his wife shortly after midnight on a Boston street corner, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office. Police responded to a 911 call and found Myers' wife crying and with a swollen face.

Hey Davthom73: The question of starting Coste was more along the lines of a day game following a night game, which goes back to Charlie Manuel. Ruiz should have started in my opinion.

This Coste vs. Ruiz debate is hilarious. Neither of these two will EVER be an everyday catcher in the major leagues with a winning team (or even a losing team unless there's an injury). They are both backups with limited skills and don't project as anything more. Are they capable of having a 10-game hot streak. You bet! Would I love to see an independent league refugee like Coste do well? You bet! But arguing about backup catchers when the Phillies have huge, huge problems is silly.

Just the latest thing to comment on. Obviously, we know the Phillies have bigger issues at hand.

Actually, Jon, I agree with your last post on this point. By the same logic, I didn't think that Ruiz should have started all three games in the Padres series either. In fact, the "three starts for Ruiz" and now "three straight starts for Coste" situation was part of what I was referring to when I made my "something is up in tradeland" remark. Neither made sense to me, outside of the possibility that either Ruiz, or Coste, *or both*, are the subject of trade discussions by Gillick, and are being "shopped" to specific potential "buyers", Gillick looking toward Lieberthal's forthcoming return from the DL. Along these lines, the Phillies radio play-by-play call this afternoon mentioned the upcoming All-Star break (always an active time for trades), and the fact that an unusually large number of scouts from other big league teams have been scouting the Phillies in Philadelphia over this past homestand. While both Ruiz and Coste have options left, optioning out 33-year-old Coste, thereby "freezing" him on the Phillies 40-man roster in Scranton Wilkes Barre at this point, especially after the unfair (and unwise) cutting of Coste after ST, would be to perpetuate terrible unfairness to Coste. If I were Coste in that situation, I would demand my immediate release from the Phillies. On the other hand, if the Phillies were to designate Coste for assignment, and expose him to waivers, I believe that more than one club (particularly in the National League) would claim him, given his strong offensive performance thus far in the bigs, Coste's solid catching and throwing display, and his versatility in being able to not only catch, but to play major league quality third base, first base, and even corner outfield slots, as well. Those attributes have great value right now, particularly for a National League team. In the absence of a deal involving Coste, the Phillies should find some way to keep him on the 25-man active roster. Coste, and the Phillies themselves, deserve no less.

You know the Phils' season has approached total irrevelance when people are seriously debating Coste vs. Ruiz playing time. Who cares. Besides watching Howard tomorrow night in the HR derby and going to a Phils-Giants game next weekend, the only real date I care next is about July 31st.

Abreu to Boston? I can't even fathom that. Where will he play? He cant play center, and I can't imagine them trading away Trot Nixon's awesome left field play for Abreu. But hey, they have tons of young pitching, so, I'll take it.

I don't see where Carlos Ruiz is so damn irrelevant. If you can name a more viable option for next year's starting catcher, please do so. There is no guarantee the team can or will seek one outside the organization. The idea is to find out if Ruiz might be considered for the job. He has decent skills, including solid defensive ability and possibly average or better offensive skills for the position. To what degree he is a potential major league catcher is not known, and certainly has not been conclusive on the basis of his limited experience with the Phillies to date. There is nothing to lose by finding out. The more he plays, the more we know. There would seem to therefore be very little point in playing either Coste or Fasano over him as much as they have played, considering the team is out of contention and has no clear option for this very important position beyond this season.

Clout: Personally, I think that the future of the catching position for the Phillies is worth a few stray keystrokes on this blog this afternoon. One scarcely assailable truth is that this season is likely Lieberthal's last with the club. A corresponding scarcely assailable truth is that the Phillies will need at least two viable catchers next year. Coste and Ruiz, perhaps in that order, and perhaps in the inverse, might just fill that need. In the meantime,Clout, neither you, nor anyone else, has any factual basis, in the form of a major league track record on the part of either Coste or Ruiz, to dismiss these two guys as "backups with limited skills (who)don't project as anything more." Incidentally, that fake MLB "GM speak", a la your use of the scouting term "project", really slays me. Forgive me, but with you doing the "projecting", Clout, the "projecting" means little to me, or probably many others. Coste and Ruiz, based on their limited but recent major league performances, and their AAA numbers, should *both* be given a legitimate and extended "look" by the Phillies right now. What I find "hilarious", Clout, is the fact that people think that there are Johnny Bench or Pudge Rodriquez clones out there for the Phillies' easy pickings. Just how would the Phillies proceed to pull off a trade for such a front-line catcher, anyway? Who would the Phillies trade, and/or what catcher in that category will be a FA whom the Phillies could/would sign after this season? And, as you yourself noted, the Phillies have far more serious immediate problems anyway.

clout,

why the harsh prognosis on coste? it looks to me like the guy has the hallmarks of a .300 hitter in the bigs. why shouldnt he be considerred as the next starting catcher?

davthom:
There are professionals who make a living projecting players based on their abilities. Some of these judgments are available to the general public in various publications and Web sites. You can fantasize all you want about Coste's skills set, but that doesn't change the reality. He's a 33-year-old independent leaguer who's been through 4 or 5 organizations. If the Phillies are using a platoon of backup catchers next season, they are in sorry shape (which they may be anyway.)

My opinion on the catcher situation:

If he can hit .300 consistently, and the pitchers like him................ why not?

he could be a cheap, decent addition while we wait out the overwhelming contracts and work on pitching, etc.

Is he long-term? No.

Joe:
Calling Chris Coste a backup catcher is a harsh judgment? Sheesh!
P.S. I LOVE Chris Coste. He's a great story! But I try to use my brain rather than my heart when analyzing this stuff.

I don't see why Ruiz should already be written off as a backkup. He's young and chances are will continue to improve. And Coste isn't THAT bad, geez. He throws strikes to 2nd base from his knees for cryin' out loud. He's hitting pretty good lately also. At this point I'd keep him and Ruiz and not let the door hit Lieberthal on the butt on his way out.

As for the DH, I agree with a statement above, get rid of it and add a 26th player, that would certainly mollify the union.

Well, Clout, one thing is clear. You are *not* among those "professionals who make a living projecting players based on their abilities." Clout, I don't *need* to fantasize about Coste's "skills set" (sic). The guy is hitting .311, .324 against RHP's, and .364 with runners on base, with five RBI in his last two games, with a number of multiple-hit games along the way to those numbers. And, according to you, Clout, Coste is not worth seeing more of with the Phillies this year, because you supposedly read something by a "professional who makes his living projecting players based on their abilities." To use your word, "Sheesh"! Coste hit sixth in the batting order today, and produced two hits and two RBI, including the go-ahead RBI. In the two years that I was a part-owner (one of four such owners) of an independent league franchise back in the years 1996-1997, I got to know *real* baseball people, including many who were inside and outside major league organizations. A few of our players went directly back into major league-affiliated organizations during that time, and I myself was directly involved in those transactions and negotiations. Also, before you jump to any conclusions, my experience had nothing whatsoever to do with Chris Coste, who did not play in our league (the Prairie League) during the two seasons in which I was a part-owner of one club in that league. I have never met Coste. However, I do know Coste to be a quintessential "late bloomer" in spades, a player whose skills have continued to markedly progress, even into his thirties. Coste is a far better player today than he was at 27. Again, I actually think that Coste can hit in the .300 range in the big leagues. And based upon Coste's 2005 & 2006 ST numbers, and his big league numbers thus far this year, neither you, nor anyone else, can prove me wrong so far! Chris
Copste is a great deal more than a mere "feel good story" right now. He has established his right to be taken seriously as a productive major league baseball player who can help the Phillies. Continually referring to Coste as a " feel good story" is unfair to Coste, his accomplishments thus far, and, most of all, his major league numbers this season at this point.

If Coste was a starting pitcher, I might care more. Pitching is and pitching will be this team's problem for the foreseeable future pending a major trade/FA signing.

As for Ruiz and Coste, they both appear to be decent bench players. Coste's minor league numbers are ok but his SLG percentage is a bit on the low side. Coste might hit .300 but he never walks and has no power. Basically that makes him of limited value and it is highly unlikely either his BB rate or HR rate will change at this point in this career.

I am more interested to see what Ruiz can do the 2nd half of the season. Hopefully, Ruiz can demonstrate that he deserves a chance to contend for a starting job next spring. At the very least, I hopes he hits enough to prove that he is a decent backup. Ruiz's defense is fine but his offensive output will determine his future.

One player I don't want to see again this season is Captain Meatball. He was a nice story but he needs to practice "with" or "without" so can take orders at Gino's or Pat's. Perfect guy to work at either place.

davthom73: Well, at least we now know where your bias comes from. Not to belabor the thread anymore, I'll make you a deal. If you're right and 45 ABs is an accurate predictor of how someone will handle a full major league season and he hits close to .300 in 200+ ABs, I'll post a very praiseworthy post at season's end and admit I was wrong. On the other hand, if all of the major league scouts who've seen him play and passed him by over the years, all the teams that could've picked him up on waivers or the 6-year-player draft and didn't and little ol' amateur me are right, then you'll do the same. Deal?

MG: Ruiz can be a decent backup if he can hit .240 with fair power (i.e. 10 HRs in 200 ABs). At age 27, however, what you see now is generally what you get. And just to be perfectly clear, there's nothing wrong with a Ruiz-Coste tandem next season if the Phillies are going to lose 85 or 90 games while they rebuild.

Clout, without incorporating by reference all of your statements as fact, or responding to them point-by-point, yes, that which you propose is a deal. Parenthetically, I make no apologies for supporting guys who have been overlooked by the major league scouting structure, who have come up the long and hard way out of the independent (non-MLB-affiliated) professional minor leagues. Without listing them, there are a number of them playing starting or productive backup roles in the big leagues now. One thing I know, some baseball players develop markedly and "find their game" as players in their late 20's and, in the instance of Chris Coste, even into their early 30's. Other players decline or atrophy by their mid-20's. Certainly we shall see how things turn out. In the meantime, Coste (correctly) will be with the Phillies for their forthcoming Western trip, as the team announced after yesterday's game that Roberson was being sent down to clear the roster spot for Lieberthal's return Friday from the DL. Apparently Fasano has stated that his knee swelling is down and that he could be ready to come off the DL for the Phillies' San Diego series on the Coast. It will be interesting to see what happens then.

There will be some interesting minor roster moves for the Phils in the next week. Myers is also rejoining the team on Friday.

Dav:

I have heard from several retired minor leaguers something along the lines of "if i knew then, what i know now, i would have made the bigs."

and, i believe them. the mental aspect of the game is absolutely underrated.

it is possible to teach almost anyone to throw a low 80's fastball. it is possible to teach almost anyone to hit a 90+ mph fastball.

the physical skills arent the hardest to find, its the mental acuity and toughness that is so critical.

thats why you find so many physically gifted early round draftees fizzle out in the minors. they have the physical skills in spades, but they are utterly unable to gain the concentration and clarity of mind to truly become a success.

Look at Ryan Madson. He absolutely, positively has "stuff" that should make him a premier 1 or 2 pitchers. The issue is solely between his ears. That being said, I think that Ryan recognizes the issue and is trying to resolve it.

The problem is that scouts look more for raw talent that they think that they can sculpt, and not mental ability that they can use to build the physical skills.

The game is mostly mental.

i may get booed here, but i really did want mike piazza this year. i would have promised him his 81 starts behind the plate and he would have been the first righty off the bench. (becuase of injuries he obviously would have gotten more starts) if we are looking at coste/ruiz catching next year i see no reason why an offer shouldn't be made for him to catch as much as he is knees will allow. coste could even stay up as the 3rd catcher since he apparently can play anywhere.


Joe, now that was a fine and insightful post!

"the mental aspect of the game is absolutely underrated."

Watch what you say, boy. Some 'round these here parts don't like it when you veer away from statistical territory and start thinkin' for your uppity self.

Tim,
Piazza wanted to catch most days as he would like to hit 400 hrs as a catcher. San Diego gave him a chance to start; at best in Philly he would have split time with Lieby. And not to be a jerk, but did you actually watch any of the Phils games last week when the Padres were in town ? Piazza can no longer catch. He is strictly a DH now. I would prefer the Phils resign Lieby for 1 year at a much reduced salary than have Piazza. Not that I am advocating resigning Lieby. I suspect the Phils will make a minor trade for a Jason LaRue type player as a stop gap.

RSB - there's an unfair comment. all the stats are different ways of evaluating the player as a whole. If anything, the approach of scouts who rate 'five tools' often leans towards valuing physical skills over mental. The Kevin Youkilis example of moneyball is a classic case - a player who's mental approach to getting on base was rated over his physical make up.

Stats do not dispute the mental aspects of the game. some folk just get plenty mad when its used as some kind of indefinable crutch to disprove an argument based on stats. The classic case being 'I don't care about abreu's OBP and offensive stats, he just mentally isn't a winner.' which is a common sentiment voiced by phillies fans.

oisin: Good scouts use both physical tools and stats in judging a player. Anyone who says Abreu "isn't mentally a winner" will look very silly if and when Abreu is traded to the Red Sox. As Schilling and Rolen have shown, it's who surrounds you that counts.

Billy Mac: It would take more than a "minor trade" to get a Jason LaRue type, assuming you mean a catcher of his quality.

Well, I'm a voucher for that classic case. I'll attempt to explain for the fiftieth time why I don't consider my position 'unfair'.

I'm not at all claiming statistics mean nothing. However, they often don't begin to tell the whole story about a player. If you watch baseball for years on end, and I don't just mean the Sunday afternoon games, but as many games as you can - and you have powers of observation, you perceive things about players that are not and can not be evidenced by statistics. Stats are an essential part of baseball, and a great many revelatory things can be measured by them. But there's a vast realm ungoverned and beyond their capacity to quantify. "The things that don't show up in the box score" is a broadcaster's cliche, but there's a reason why it's a cliche. Statistics don't tell you about a player's mental makeup. That's why scouts exist: to observe, to go beyond the stats. Who among us has not by now commented that Gavin Floyd looks "intimidated" or "green" on the mound? Who has not concluded that this is the primary cause of his problems? Based on his statistics, we'd have to conclude he has no talent. But because we know he *does* have talent, he'll get plenty more chances. That's just one example of the statement Joe made. The game *is* largely mental and stats don't bear out any arguments where that's concerned. It's a purely subjective consideration. Because an opinion pertaining to it can not be concretely "backed up" the same way an opinion can be backed up with statistics, does *not* make it therefore groundless and random, and the observer therefore an 'idiot'. I have watched Bobby Abreu play not for a handful of games, not for one or two years, but eight and a half seasons. He's been a very good player for the Phillies, but mentally he does not bring a good approach, a winning approach, to a baseball team. I don't need a player to curse and be demonstrative in failing or losing as evidence to suggest against this. The way he plays right field, and the way he so often is content to walk with runners on base will tells me everything I need to know about Bobby Abreu and his commitment to team baseball. If another fan who has watched him an equal amount does not believe these things are important, and that in fact the mental aspect of baseball is not important, that is his prerogative. It is not something that can be 'proved' either way.

If we can each respect the fact that we are basing our opinions on something we follow very closely, it might translate into better tolerance for differences of opinion. If they do not agree with one's own opinion, consider that they are informed all the same. If someone offers the opinion that Abreu sucks, that is not an informed opinion and should not be respected.

I don't want to come off as a hyprocrite, and I'll admit I often have an abrasive way of addressing people's comments, particularly when they disagree with mine; I realize this sometimes exacerbates the level of tension on these threads. I am not prounouncing myself above the plea for etiquette here. It's something I'll try harder to keep in mind. I don't think communicating antagonistically or emotionally is a way to get any point across. I don't think that you change people's minds if they are already made up, so to those who oppose what I am saying: just accept that we're on separate pages. I don't write on here to try to persuade you, and you aren't going to persuade me. This is not to say we have closed minds, but that we have a fundamentally different way of seeing things which renders arguments futile.

Clout, I just mentioned LaRue as an example. But since LaRue lost his starting job to David Ross, you could probably get him for someone like Cory Lidle. LaRue's having a terrible first half of 2006, but he is signed through next season. At $3M for just one season, you could do worse. As much as there has been discussion here about Ruiz and Coste, the Phils need to someone to catch next season.

RSB, great post. I'm sure it took you some time to write it. I've looked at this paragraph you wrote: "If we can each respect the fact that we are basing our opinions on something we follow very closely, it might translate into better tolerance for differences of opinion. If they do not agree with one's own opinion, consider that they are informed all the same. If someone offers the opinion that Abreu sucks, that is not an informed opinion and should not be respected."

I believe that you can have an opinion, that may not be backed up with facts and stats, but are just gut feelings. I think those opinions should also be respected. If I say Elmer or Bell sucks, it may be uninformed, but I think it should still be respected.

RSB: I don't think the gulf between you and the stat heads is as wide as it may appear. If a player doesn't have the mental toughness to perform at higher levels, that will show in his stats, no? You are absolutely right that a player's makeup can be as important as his skills. Look at players like Arthur Rhodes and Aaron Sele, to name 2 of the weakest-hearted players in MLB. Do you ever have any doubt that in playoff, pressure-cooker situations, they will fail? They have failed repeatedly in those situations. This can be seen not only by watching games but by seeing their post-season stats vs. the Yankees.
I also agree that Abreu has a lot of dog in him. On the other hand, you can be the biggest dog in MLB and if you lead the league in OB, have an OPS of .900 and hit 30 HRs you're probably on balance helping the team more than you hurt it. Another good example: J. Roll. He's as hard-nosed, 100% player as you'll find. A true gamer. But does he help the team win more games than Abreu? And if loser-dog Abreu were dealt to the Red Sox, with that lineup, you think he'd make them start losing?

I know you were only speculating, but Jason LaRue? Don't we already have two of him on this team? That is part of the problem. Please sir, may I have some more? Ugh...

Fred, I don't think you'll get an argument from anyone that Bell sucks.

Clout, I hear you about Abreu on the Red Sox. I do not believe Abreu causes the Phillies to lose. Not only that, but if he were to get hurt, it would negatively affect the team's offense. No question. But the Phillies and the Red Sox are two vastly different paradigms. The Sox are well established winners. Abreu can help them, certainly. But what Abreu is in Philadelphia is another story. What he has been is a centerpiece of a team mired in failure. (And yes, when you finish second when you're expected to finish first, I'll call that failure). The Phillies sought to build their core areound him and Burrell, two guys who contribute nothing to a winning atmosphere. The stats will tell me that one has acceptable numbers with RISP, the other has abyssmal numbers. My eyes tell me that they don't want to be up there when the game's on the line. The rest of the team feeds off that. Rolen and Schilling were, to me, winning players before they left Philadelphia. Jim Thome was as well. But there's a palpable quagmire of failure, of negativity, of trying to hard, of playing too tight, that envelopes the franchise as a whole and chokes the life out of everyone. I'm not blaming Bobby Abreu wholesale for that, but to me he's largely emblematic of the Phillies as a whole: talented but without presence and puny under pressure. The Phillies are never going to be able to restructure their identity with him on the team. They may not lose because of him, but at the same time they are unable to move forward with players like him. It's my opinion that a change in attitude would help this team win more close games, and more games in general. If you'd rather hear this from a more capable writer, read Phil Sheridan's recent columns. He has his finger on precisely what I've been trying to say.

I agree RSB. Abreu is the symbol of futility surrounding this team. Is he a good player? Yes. A very good player? Sometimes, more so in the past, yet still a productive player today. However, he is part of the core group of players (along with Burrell, Rollins, and Lieberthal) who have not gotten this team to the playoffs. If he can bring you the most in return to add to the emerging new core of players (Utley, Howard, Rowand, Hamels) than he is the card to play, even more so if you have to move Brett Myers.

BillyMac: From your lips to God's ear. LaRue would be a wonderful addition to this team and if Gillick could get him cheap he should jump at the chance. LaRue is a fine defensive catcher with good power. He also can play a little OF and 1B. He's got knee problems and isn't playing so he's having a career bad year, which is when you get guys like this.

Clout, I am not as high on LaRue as you are, but I think he is better than what we have currently. According to Fox's Ken Rosenthal "The Reds continue to shop catcher Jason LaRue, and an official with one rival club says the team is willing to pick up part of LaRue's remaining $3.9 million salary this season and $5.2 million salary next season."

If you are looking at free agent catchers in 2007 the pickings are slim. I may be missing a few, but here's who will be available.
1. Damian Miller
2. Bengie Molina
3. Mike Piazza
4. Mike Lieberthal
5. Javier Valentin
6. Javy Lopez
7. Rod Barajas

Ah. 63 posts on backup catchers. Sad.

On the other hand the "take your girl to spook lane" bit made me laugh.

You guys gotta see this article:

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/15007806.htm

Unbelievable! Who are they kidding themselves about Myers? And so much for someone else buying this franchise anytime soon...

Ryan Howard just beat out David Wright to win the Home Run Derby. I'm glad I bothered to watch, it was probably the highlight of the Phillies' entire season.

It was fun watching Howard pull the ball like that. Once he learns the pitchers a little better, it's scary to think of what he can do.

Jon, I checked out that link. It's a whopper. It's an interview with Bill Giles, who comes out and denies that Myers hit his wife or pulled her hair, that the accusations are in fact a big lie.

Leave it to Uncle Bill to scoop the nation. I'll stick with the Boston Police report for now, thanks. If it didn't happen the way it was reported, why has no one - literally and factually no one - come forward to claim such a thing? And why has Myers been in Florida for the past ten days?

Here's another choice exerpt:

Q: Does it matter to you that the public is so down on this team?

A: "I don't know that that's true.

Yes, folks, Phillies ownership is in touch with reality like never before.

Hey, the Phillies are a regular Home Run Derby dynasty. No playoffs, no World Series, but when Home Run Derby comes around, red means go!

Already I can't wait til next year.

Yeah. Even nicer to see him beat a Mut.

Yeah RSB. I have never heard such BS spewed from the mouth of a Phillies owner. Damn right depressing...

Hey Weitzel. Any take on the Giles interview? Might be worthy of a headline!

It's beyond depressing; it's galling. I'm talking about what Giles said about Myers. Here's an excerpt from the Boston Globe, the day after the incident:

"Myers' wife told police she believed her husband hit her twice in the face with a closed fist. Witnesses told police Myers dragged his wife by the hair and slapped her across the face. Procopio (a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley) said it is unclear if Myers punched his wife or slapped her, but he did strike her in the face."

Excuse me, Bill. You'd damn well better be correct if you're going to refute this. That's inexcusable if there's any truth whatsoever to the facts with which everyone has been familiar for weeks. If the Phillies know something the rest of the world doesn't, then why would they hide it? Why would Myers hide it? Why would his wife hide it? Why wouldn't a witness come forward and clain something to the contrary? A *team employee* evidently says it didn't happen. Well, how convenient.

Methinks you've said quite enough, Mr. Giles. The rest of the owners couldn't possibly find enough duct tape to cover your mouth. I hope there is serious attention paid to this interview tomorrow.

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