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Sunday, July 23, 2006

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Even with some good bat production, the team ERA is still over 6 in the last seven days and 4.95 in July. Pitching has been the real let down this year, followed by the lack of production and leadership from the catcher position.

Good point, Jason. Knowing it's a national telecast will probably cause a louder reaction from the fans who want to prove a point to Myers and to the rest of the country. And that's fine with me.

i don't think there will be a huge negative reaction from the fans. i don't think the fans have an agenda or anything to prove to anyone. we'll see though...

They really have been playing a lot more disciplined in the field, I must say.

Good luck to Myers tonight, he screwed up and kind of atoned for it, hey everybody deserves a second chance. Not that it makes it right.

Plus we REALLY need his arm.

Watching on TV, it doesn't seem like the fans went after Myers to much. I'm sort of surprised.

All you batting average guys out there. Among the regulars, any guess who's second in hitting behind Utley?

this has got to be one of myers' career-best outings. granted, no joneses, but after 8 innings, he's retired 12 in a row, allowed baserunners in only 2 innings all game and went 7 1-3 innings before going to a three ball count on any hitter. and, of course, he's staring down the barrel of a no decision. *he* should be the one booing -- he has an ERA under 4 and only 6 wins. phils are 1 for 12 with RiSP. what a joke.

IMO, it's the best he's looked since that Saturday afternoon game last season against the Braves. In that game, no one could touch his curveball.

In one inning, I counted at least 5 statements from Joe Morgan and Johnny Miller that were either wrong or pulled directly out of their ass. The best was this from Morgan:

"If the count was 2-0 and not 3-2, he would have hit the ball a little further into the outfield."

Eh?

excellent game for Myers now pitching in the 9th inning. If they can score another run he may just get a complete game victory.

Looks like he is realy settling down and changing his whole attitude on and off the field.

check that. staring at a 4-hit loss. for all the talk about how bad the phils pitching has been this year, when they get good performances, they don't know what to do with them.

2nd best hitter after Utley? Bell.


I don't think Charlie made a mistake by keeping Myers out there against Renteria. Myers wanted to not get burned again after the homer. No such luck.

my favorite morgan statement of the night was "see how bobby abreu pulled up at first base - that's why he was out at second" the reply then clearly showed that (a) bobby ran full board all the way and (b) bobby was safe at second. so, joe, what is it you do for a living again? oh yeah, steal ESPN's money.

If that wasn't the best start of the season by a Phillies pitcher, it's definitely in the top 3.

Gordon gives up a long ball to Francouer. I'll say this about Gordon. When you can feel the pressure through the television set, especially these big, prime-time games with Atlanta and New York, Flash has not come through for them.

well, mr. francoeur, that's good news for my sportsline fantasy team, anyway.

GR: I'm with you; that's the play that inspired me to write that.

jay, i know what you're saying with gordon, but i'm not sure tonight qualifies. the way the game's going at the plate, and with the braves in possession of a legit closer, i'm not sure gordon really blew very much. it certainly didn't help. but, i'd rather he did it now then when he was actually protecting a lead.

Tonight wasn't his worst offense for sure, but it was still a bad one. For me, his biggest failure happened that series with the Mets when he gave up that bomb to Delgado. I know it's picky, but that's the level of competition a top-flight closer is expected to perform in. Even though it was very early, that series had a playoff-type atmosphere surrounding it. Gordon is the least of their problems, but if they hold onto him through his contract, I don't know if I'd trust him to finish off Game 7 of the World Series.

As soon as Myers gave up that go ahead run, it was over. Another well-pitched game wasted.

Too many runners left on base again. Lousy situational hitting. What else is new?

no, i agree, that was the first real chink in the armor for him. i think with his contract and the market, he should be viewed more as a commodity than a puzzle piece. and i mean, for the rest of the year, not the next few seasons. he'll mean alot more to someone else.

This team doesn't score for Myers. Remember the red-hot start he had last season? If I recall, it took him a while to get his record over .500.

I'd trade Gordon in a heartbeat if it meant they could get a promising young starter in return.

It amazes me that Gordon is not at the very top of their list of people to Trade. Buy low sell high. Gordon will never have more value than he does right now, and we need prospects.

Instead we will trade him in the next 2 years after he has stopped pitching well. We will eat half his contract and probably get Ryan Franklin back in return.

Regarding Gordon: up 'til about a month ago, Manuel flat-out refused to use Gordon in anything but a save situation. Since CM has been using him in tie games, and tonight even behind in the game, he has not been as effective. It's strange that Manuel's been using him so much more liberally, yet only to backfire almost every time it's not with a ninth-inning lead.

I don't buy the idea that Gordon comes up short in "big" games. This wasn't all that big a game. I doubt America was riveted on every pitch between two teams a combined 15 games under .500. The reason why the Phillies need to keep him is because they have absolutely no other option for a closer. Signing him was by far Gillick's best move. We've been spoiled over the years, but quality closers are not easy to come by. Teams that can't hold leads in the ninth innings are at a huge disadvantage. If the case was hopeless and I was endorsing a total rebuilding program which would involve 100-plus losses next year, I'd say sure, ditch him. But it's not like that. It *can't* be like that, because the Phillies don't have any prospects to come in and replace all the established players, a la Florida. They'd lose 140 if they tried it.

I'd like to see them keep Gordon. You cannot have a total void in the ninth-inning pitching role.I do not want to watch the Phillies experiment with people who have no business closing games, rotating them in and out all year - especially not with a team that'll be trying to build itself into a winner and likely need every psychological edge it can get. Gordon is a strength of this team, and I see no need to discard it and turn it into yet another weakness. I think this team can be built to contend for next season. I think there'll be enough left to compete, and it's clear that the slightest notch above mediocrity will have you scrambling for the playoffs late in the season. The Phillies are not even approcahing mediocrity this year, but a shrewd set of chnages can have this team in good enough shape come next year. They aren't going to do any better than Gordon if they want a closer. They'll have plenty of other needs to address besides trying to find a lesser replacement.

Meanwhile, no reaction to Myers tonight. He pitched a good game, so I guess that changes everyone's mind. Montgomery was probably giving high fives all night. Poetic justice, then, that he lost. Maybe if he had bunted with a man on in the seventh instead of stupidly swinging and hitting into a double play - brilliant thinking when you're 1 for 35 on the year - the outcome would have been different.

virginia greg: where in VA? this one lives in arlington.

no offense, RSB, but that logic on gordon is, well, doesn't it sound like the phils front office the past two decades? gordon is one of the best chips you have to make those "shrewd changes" you're talking about. he's exactly the kind of puzzle piece some team will overpay for. sooner or later, this franchise has to realize that it can't keep chipping away, that it needs to remake itself top to bottom. which is the bigger problem: not having a legit closer on a sub-500 team or not having legit prospects in 80% of its farm system?

I'm not advocating 'chipping away', but I'm also not proposing a full-scale rebuild. I don't think it's necessary. There's still good young talent at the major league level. When you have that in place, you build around it. If you rebuild, you're going to lose Utley and Howard to free agency or premature trades because they're tired of the losing. That's a waste. One half of the roster ought to stay and the other half ought to be obliterated. That's more than chipping away. It's building constructively and intelligently around the best of what you already have. If it's done right - and I defy anyone to tell me why it could not be - the Phillies could have a good chance to be better than a .500 team next year, as well as beyond. They aren't starting from scratch, and there's no need to try to. If Lieber was still a solid pitcher on his way to 17 wins, I wouldn't advocate trading him, either. Quality veteran presence is an asset to a younger team. Leiber and Lidle, however, are not quality and as such are therefore useless. Gordon can still play. Besides, if the Phillies were to trade away everyone over 27, I guarantee you that isn't going to change the overall fortunes of the farm system. That comes with good drafts, better personnel evaluators and decision-makers. I would agree it could be a start and I'm in no way opposed to trading worthless non-commodities like Burrell for prospects, but if I were Gillick I'd be angling for major-league players as well. I just hope his judgement in the upcoming days is better than the day when he signed Ryan Franklin, to cite one of too many possible examples.

Normally I wouldn't disagree with you RSB but you are dead wrong about trading Gordon. This team has alot of needs instead (including a reliable starter besides Myers). Plus, you are not going to get any higher trading value for Gordon than now.

What happens next year if Gordon breaks down or is generally less effective due to age? Is Gillick can get a starting pitcher like Garcia from the White Sox, I make this trade in a heartbeat.

Then who's the closer? You do acknowledge that's important, right? I know Gordon's 38, but he's still all-star caliber. I wouldn't necessarily agree that an average starting pitcher is worth more on a club than a top-of-the-line closer. Some baseball people would think so, and some wouldn't. I personally don't believe a good closer is a "luxury", it's an invaluable commodity. Ask the Yankees, who have had very shaky starting pitching the past few seasons, where they'd be without Mariano Rivera. If the Phillies give up Gordon, then they'll have to expend more time or other players on acquiring another closer, anyhow. There is no one close to even being considered a candidate for such a role anywhere in the organization.

I'll amend my comments to agree with Jason's stance that if they could get a promising, young pitcher, I'd trade Gordon as well. But I'm talking about Verlander/Zumaya-type promising, not A-ball promising, or 29-with-mediocre-stats-but-great-arm promising. And I don't think that offer is going to be forthcoming. When the Phillies say they'd have to be overwhelmed in order to trade Gordon, for once I can see their logic.

The reason why relief pitchers like Tom Gordon can demand No. 1 starter money at age 38 speaks more to the poor planning and handling of the closer role than the quality of Tom Gordon.

Where do relief pitchers come from? Some teams develop players to be closers from the very beginning (Street, Cordero). Others, like J.J. Putz, Jon Papelbon and Chris Ray, started out as starters and were converted to closers later in their development. Papelbon is better than any closer in baseball right now. In Putz's case (and I don't claim to know much about him), it appears as though he stuck around as a relief pitcher and was eventually inserted at closer.

The rest pay top dollar for veterans. The Phillies never develop relief pitching. This concept is beyond me. In a day and age when top closers are getting $40 million deals, it should be a priority.

You know there's a kid in the Phils farm system throwing 100 mph cheese? His name: Scott Mathieson. He's done well as a starter, but wouldn't it be worth it for the Phils to think outside the box and ask themselves if he could be even more useful as a closer?

Think of the money they'd save if they could come up with their own solution for once.

They have mentioned Mathieson as closer potential. Problem with trading Gordon - during the winter they will need to shop for another closer and possibly pay more $$$. One thing I have noticed Gordon tends to let up runs in non save situations. He has been excellent during saves.

yoel hernandez, although hurt most of this season, is/was an example of a closer bred from within. if the phils knew what they had on their hands, they wouldn't be watching derrick turnbow (4th round pick, 97 by phils) close for milwaukee right now.

i would not, however, deal gordon for soft-tosser freddy garcia. if anyone saw his game against the yanks on national tv last weekend, it looks like his arm is about to fall off. he's not the pitcher that won 18 games for seattle in 2001 anymore, he's become cory lidle.

there are only a few closers who are established track records that are worth playing large salaries too. one of the dumbest things that GMs continue to do is handout ridiculous contracts to closers. the more savvy GMs (aka Beane) will internally develop a pitcher instead and spend those other resources more wisely.

plus, closers are by nature less superior pitchers to starters. closers only need 2 good pitches and the proper demeanor to close a game. in fact, a majority of closers were starters who were converted at one point or another since they just didn't have the stuff to start.

unless things really change, the phils won't be frontline contenders next year. they just dont have the pitching. if you can trade gordon now to get a quality 2 or 3 starter, you do it in a heartbeat. the phils aren't going to get a verlander for gordon but they still should get a quality arm capable of starting the next 3-5 years at least.

by the way, gordon was converted to a closer by the Red Sox after a couple of mediocre seasons as a starter with them. worked out brilliantly and he had a hell of a year from them and allowed them to make the playoffs.

Phils need to listen to all offers including those for Gordon. The only untouchables on this team should be Howard and Utley. Closers are paid well because it is an important role; that is why the BoSox will likely keep Papelbon there and not move him to be a starter. Same reason Yanks never tried to convert Rivera back to a starter - despite starting pitching needs. I have similar concerns about Freddy Garcia as gr. I had read reports that his velocity was in mid 80s this season. No thanks.

If Matheison projects as a starter, I wouildn't waste him to close games. A good starter is much more important. Papelbon, as good as he has been, wil likely be asked to start next spring to see what he has. If the kid has top starter potential, he'll be starting.

Papelbon will almost definitely be a starter next year for the Sox. Only reason he got pitched into the pen this spring is because Sox thought they had an access number of starters. That was before they traded Arroyo and they had a ton of injuries (Wells, Clement, DiNardo, Wakefield). Never have enough starting pitchers.

The Yankees made an offer of some kind for Abreu and were rejected because basically it didn't include Philip Hughes. The real news is that the Yankees brass are repeating a sentiment a lot of us feared would be prevalent in the league, that is, that if they're going to take on Abreu's salary they shouldn't have to give up too much else.

Maybe they're just doing business, but aside from the Milledge thing, which was pretty quickly laid to rest, there hasn't been much good news about an Abreu deal.

exactly MG,

the common prevailing thought is that a guy who starts 1 in 5 games is worth more than a guy who saves games. And it's correct in my opinion. The only problem deals with dealing with the mind of a person. If the Sox put Paps in the rotation next year, and he does only so-so and the closer does so-so, can they put him back in the pen? when do they make that decision? What will his head be like then? Right now Paps believes in his pitches and goes out there with confidence, will it be the same if he gets hit pretty good for 3 months in the rotation?

This is the tricky part about turning guys into relievers, which is why I would rather see the Phils start developing prospects to be closers and relievers. But first we need more pitching prospects.

And after Gio's performance this weekend, I'm ready to retract my statement that he'd pitch as well as Lieber.

zach,

don't be suprised if Gillick pulls the trigger on that deal by Sunday if it's still on the table. JW's post a few days ago was probably right on: they won't do much till the homestand's almost over. Plus with so many teams interested in Abreu, Gillick may not want to take the first offer. Oh, and the NY Post isn't the best source for pretty much anything.

Zach, the sentiment you cite is the rule of thumb all over baseball for the past couple of years: If you want prospects for an established player, you must pay at least half the outstanding salary, a la the Thome deal. So if, as others claim, ownership is looking to slash payroll for next year, don't expect much in return for Abreu. I would guess that's the holdup here -- nobody will part with a prospect unless the Phils pony up more cash.

The other tidbit of note from the Post article was the Yankees "concerns" that Abreu isn't a big-time, big-city player. Sure, he blossomed in the home run derby spotlight, but doesn't he tend to shrink in big game situations?

I keep hearing that he's clutch, but Abreu has an A-Rod tendency to walk (Abreu) and/or strikeout (A-Rod) when he's most needed. New York will kill ol' 53.

I was shocked, too, when I saw Bell's average last night. I thought it was a typo.

The Thome deal was a bit different because no one knew what sort of player he'd be this year. I still believe they could get something worthwhile for Abreu, other than the unloading of his salary. The problems are apparent, but Gillick needs to deal him or Burrell, and if he doesn't, I'm going to blame it on Gillick and not on his bad luck.

...Abreu has only one home run since May 31, but his market is really hurt by his rep; one AL scout derisively referred to Abreu as a "country-club compiler,'' meaning he's sometimes low on effort despite being high on numbers."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/jon_heyman/07/24/bowden/index.html

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