Random thoughts about Philadelphia Phillies baseball, of course.
--- With all this talk about a trade with New York, has anyone stepped back to consider whether the Yankees actually need Bobby Abreu? If it makes George Steinbrenner happy having a name-brand player at every position, then yes. In terms of winning games, no. They can’t expect much better. They’ve won five in a row, and nine of their last 10. Their corner outfielders have done a serviceable job, and maybe even a little better than that. Melky Cabrera is hitting .276 and has reached base safely in his last 20 games. Is it any wonder why Yankee interest in Abreu has cooled?
--- Not that Pat Gillick needs another reason to be a seller at the deadline, but Atlanta’s recent surge should be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Baseball's great procrastinators have won seven in a row to jump two games ahead of the Phils and four back of the Wild Card lead. History is on Atlanta’s side to make a mid-season run and return to the postseason. Talk about a dangerous team at this stage of the season.
--- A fierce storm with 70 mph winds knocked out power at Beerleaguer headquarters from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., so there wasn’t an in-game discussion thread and I missed the game. The morning highlights revealed more bad signs for "winningest" Phillies pitcher Ryan Madson, who gave up two runs in the first inning and was exposed for four runs in the sixth. Judging from the highlights, hitters were waiting on his change.
--- Even worse was Arthur Rhodes, which is the player Madson should probably replace in the bullpen next season. Rhodes loaded the bases and then imploded. When talking about giving young players a chance, there’s no better place to start than in bullpen, where fossils like Rhodes (6.07 ERA) should be pushed aside for the younger stable of bullpen arms in Triple-A. Time to jumpstart the future in the bullpen, too, so they aren’t forced to blindly overspend on veteran middle relief like the rest of baseball.
--- On the bright side, Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 20 games.
--- According to the Detroit News, the Tigers are back in the Abreu sweepstakes. The deal is rumored to include outfielder Marcus Thames and pitcher Zach Miner.
--- Pat Burrell won’t include last night’s game on his personal highlight reel. Burrell went 0-5 and butchered a couple balls in the outfield. At the end of the season, Burrell will have some very good offensive numbers, probably 35 homers and over 100 RBIs. I have to believe Burrell will be more attractive to teams in the offseason rather than at the deadline. When teams were reportedly scouting Burrell a few weeks ago, that's when he looked the worst. The rub on Burrell is that his numbers ring shallow, but typically, perceptions like those fade once the season concludes and stat sheets are all that’s left.
--- Tom Goodman of Swing and a Miss opened up a discussion on MLB realignment yesterday. I weighed in with my thoughts for a four-division league that would adopt an NFL-style playoff format. The Phillies would be in the AL East with the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Nationals, Baltimore and the Blue Jays, though one poster made a good point that Toronto should be swapped with the Braves.