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Saturday, July 08, 2006


Can this team afford a good, not great, fielding centerfielder who doesn't have much power, strikes out a lot, and is now in his second straight season of subpar batting? Well, it could if the corner outfielders were picking up the slack sufficiently, but Burrell is clearly faltering badly and Bobby's power numbers are also down. The Phillies asked for Rowand in the Thome deal because they thought the corner guys would handle the run production and Rowand would not have that primary responsbility, especially with Utley and Howard also in the mix. That assessment probably also explained in part Chicago's willingness to move him. Of course, the White Sox also thought they had his replacement, but it turned out they did not. Now, rumors persist the Sox want Rowand back. Should the Phils give him up, and if so, for what? The Sox are thought to be loaded with pitching, but they aren't giving any of that up as they battle both Detroit and Minnesota for the Central crown.

I wouldn't be too upset keeping Rowand another season, but I don't have great expectations of him apart from his obvious willingness to play hard. I have written many times that I thought he plays too shallow. I have observed the same situation first-hand at the ballpark. The shallow play is probably due to two things: his mediocre arm and his conviction he can go back on balls hit over his head but the majority of balls hit to center tend to fall in front of the fielder. His arm is not great and he does charge the ball very well, but a few too many balls drop behind him and, in the end, are costly.

Aside from his few awesome catches (and yes they were spectacular), I have been a little down on Rowand. He misplays a lot of flyballs (too many in my opinion), he allows runners to take extra bases with his misguided throws, and when he throws home, he consistantly has the ball going up and down the line. Also, I thought he was going to be a guy who got in someone's face when things started to slide. Guess I was wrong on that one.

Rowand seemed to come here with a chip on his shoulder, but anymore he comes across as one of the more reserved guys on this team. Maybe he wants out of here? I don't know. I feel like he won't sign back here this fall (just a hunch), and if there is any chance of that, why not see what you can get for him? At worst, it will get Victorino in the line-up more often. I wouldn't do it just to move him, but if the right deal came along, why not? Other than Utley, no one should be deemed untouchable on this flat-out disheartening team.

Other than Utley? Have you heard of this kid named Ryan Howard?

Yup, and I would listen to offers for him too. Great power hitter with hands of steal (and yes I would have to be absolutely blown away with an offer for him).


That being said, I highly doubt he is going anywhere, anytime soon. Nothing wrong with listening to offers for just about anyone.

So we build a mini-ballpark, then trade the best young powerhitter in the game. Brilliant.

Gillick himself has said that no one is untouchable. I just happen to think Utley is.

If utley or howard go, I'm done with them for about 10 years. We traded polanco, to keep utley. We traded thome, to keep Howard.

That being said, I'm entirely certain that the marketing department at the phillies would never ever let howard or utley be traded.

OK, so you would not trade Howard for a stud young pitcher like a Liriano or Kazmir? I would do that so quick and not even bat an eye. What if you could land Willis for Howard? Would you do it then? If you could get proven stud pitching, that will beat proven stud hitting most days. Relax though, teams aren't going to give up a Liriano or Kazmir, so Howard will still be here. Nothing wrong with listening to see if a team would bite (ex. Florida).

All that being said, I agree with Will. Nothing will happen.

Will, maybe that's what's wrong with the Phillies. The Marketing Department is making the decisions, not baseball people!

For the Phils Howard is more tradable than Utley only because of his defense. However It would take alot to convince me to trade him and then I may not do that because he is good for the team.
Now is the time to go and remake this team. Start trading players who can be replaced for next year. That would include Bell, Leiberthal, Fasano, Nunez, Abreu, Burrel, Lidle, Leiber, and most of the relievers except Gordon, and Geary.
We may be able to pickup a few quality players for next year. How would a Burrel/Lidle trade to the Yankees look for thier top 3B & SP prospects look. Both teams may jump at that.

howard and utley are not getting traded. it is pointless to talk about it.

i would trade rowand for not much. i can't comment on his off-field attributes, but on-field his defense is overrated (especially his below-average throwing arm) and his bat, as the post points out, does not fit well with this lineup and frankly, is not too productive and never really has been. he was an overhyped player who would not have been as valued if he had not been on the world series winner last year. also, i think victorino has shown that he can produce equal to or above rowand and lose little defensively, cheaper.

i would love to trade liberthal or bell or nunez but no one in the world would take those losers.

i would trade abreu now (unless someone moves him to the leadoff spot where he could acutally help this team.)

i would trade lieber or lidle if anyone wants them.

i would trade burrell only if the team took 90% of his salary. i don't want to see the phillies paying another guy millions to hit 30 homeruns for someone else (thome.)

the first player i would try to trade after abreu would be gordon because closers are valuable at the deadline for contending teams and the phils could get above value for him, and who needs an aging closer on a team that isn't goin to win soon?

The Yankees are going to give up top prospects for mediocrities like Burrell and Lidle? In your dreams. They aren't run that way anymore, and haven't been for a long time. Only the Phillies make those types of moves.

I never understood why Lofton was summarily discarded by the Phillies. He did a fantastic job offensively, and was at least the equal of Rowand in centerfield; in short, he was far better than anyone could have asked. I gather he was not regarded as a 'positive' presence in the clubhouse, but still...the way he was unpursued would have led one to believe he'd hit .250.

Nevertheless, hardly anyone batted an eye over this when Rowand came into the picture. He was a solid enough player, a gamer, etc. And he still is. Is the overall productivity from the CF position down? Yes. Could that have been predicted? Yes. Is that Rowand's fault, and should we be so down on him as a result? No.

Keep in mind that many observers believed that Rowand was an integral, perhaps *the* integral player on that ChiSox champion team last year. In his career there, he hit all over the lineup. That didn't seem to detract from the idea that he could be a valuable component of a winning team. He isn't a star, and he strikes out a lot, and he doesn't do anything spectacularly. But he's also far from a liability in any area. And to me he still represents the most positive addition Gillick has made, and if the latter continues gathering players of Rowand's mold, we're eventually going to have a good, competitive team - as opposed to the present edition, which is neither good nor competitive. I know folks like Salmon, clout, and S & B are never going to agree with my (and Billy Wagner's) contention that something intangible is missing from the equation, but the main problem with the Phillies, even more than pitching, has always been a defeatist attitude. They look, feel, play, and lose like a bunch of feeble, miserable losers. That, more than anything else, is what has to change. You can adjust the roster, trade for prospects, sign free agents, but at the end of the day what has to go is this stale, joyless ennui of a losing franchise.

Would I rather watch a flawed player like Aaron Rowand hit .270 with 70 RBI than a polished Guy Smiley named Bobby Abreu with his gleaming OPS and OBP? Any day of the week. That's just me speaking. This is the kind of baseball I'd prefer to watch. You look at the White Sox last year: yes, they had solid pitching, but they didn't have any stars on that roster. The Phillies? Full of stars, devoid of Octobers. The concept of team baseball is as crucial as anything in my mind. The idea that when you're down a run or two in the late innings, you expect the team to come back. Imagine that! That you find a way, that you play the game right, that you show your fans you care the way they care. The Phillies have lost many games this year because of poor pitching, but they've lost just as many on carelessness, on futility in the clutch, by shrinking and pressing once they get behind. They simply do not have a good approach to the game. Rowand may not be the savior, and he may have made his share of mistakes himself, but he is at the very least a step in a direction *away* from this poisonous atmosphere. You want numbers? You've had your numbers all this time. They get you nowhere. It's time for a different emphasis. Rowand is a keeper.

I agree with RSB:

There's a lot to be said for positive lockerroom presence. He is a good outfielder and a solid 7-slot hitter. The fact that he's underproducing at 6 isn't his fault, it's the management's for not having rollins down there. But then you're left with no one in the 1 slot and noone to put there.

Trade Howard? That's preposterous, and yes even for Liriano. We've got a young stud, who is decent in the clutch with awesome power. and his cost is virtually nothing. He would play everyday, and I respectfuly submit that even with Liriano this team would be at .500 at best.

In the NL first base needs to be a power hitter position, who else would play first? Who could we pick up that would be cheaper than Howard? Unless you think we have enough power, except Burrell and Abreu combined don't have the power numbers that Howard has.

In possible trade news.... LAD's closer Gagne is gone for the season. With the back-up not doing real well. Gordon with Burrell to the dodgers is a solid possibility. Or at least Gordon. We should be able to get one or two good prospects for Gordon alone.

rsb, great post. i must respond to some of your comments though.

"the main problem with the Phillies, even more than pitching, has always been a defeatist attitude" - you cannot be serious with this. their attitude is more important than one of the worst pitching staffs in the NL?

"White Sox last year...had solid pitching...didn't have any stars on that roster" - wow. they had 40HR 1B paul konerko plus 4 other guys in the lineup who made all-star games recently, not including frank thomas. they had the league leader in steals and 6 guys over 15 homeruns. and "solid pitching" might be an understatement. they had 5 starters with era's less than 4.03 and another starter who won 9 games plus 6 solid bullpen arms, 3 of which had era's below 2.03. of course, that probably had nothing to do with them winning the series. more likely it was due to aaron rowand and his magic personality. that also must be why the chisox are struggling so much without him this year.

"The Phillies? Full of stars" - who is a star after howard and utley. burrell? zero all stars. abreu? .286 and 8hr is not star quality. rollins? a star in his own mind. myers? you wanted him traded long ago, so that doesn't sound like a star. this team does not have many stars.

lastly, "You've had your numbers all this time. They get you nowhere." exactly. starter era's of 7.29, 5.47, 5.91, 5.45, 5.07, 5.48 get you nowhere. the only starter with a decent era, everyone wants to trade becasue he's a loser. so instead of getting better pitchers, the phils should invest in some motivational speakers and self-help books, because as soon as they change their attitudes, those era's will plummet...

I don't post often, but Beerleaguer is one of the first sites I check each day when I get on the computer. Well written, insightful, provocative and usually updated daily if not more often.
I will be travelling from Jacksonville, FL to upstate NY next week and plan to stop in Philadelphia for a game on the 21st against Atlanta and possibly on the return trip on the 27th against Arizona. Having never been to the ballpark, I'm seeking some input as to best seats, etc. Is it worth springing for the more expensive seats if available or are the "cheap seats" adequate?
This has thus far been one of the most disapointing seasons I can remember (fan since '64) and I share the outrage at management, but I'll shell out the money anyway as I don't get to Philadelphia often

how dare you say ian snell is mediocre or even sub-mediocre!

I agree with Weitzel that Rowand is not a 2-hitter. His OBP is too low and he strikes out to much. Still, I think people need to give Rowand some slack.

Rowand was hitting well before his injury but has really struggled since he returned. Additionally, Gillick picked up Rowand since he mashed LHP pitching the past 3 years (03-05). Here are Rowand's numbers the past three years against LHP pitching, AVG .308 OBP .366 SLG .515 OPS .881. in 396 ABs.

Oddly, Rowand has really struggled against LHP pitching this year, AVG .197 OBP .242 SLG .393 OPS .636 in 61 ABs. Rowand's struggles against LHP pitching this season have really hurt. The Phils OPS against LHP is nearly 30 points lower and it would help if Rowland could pick some of the slack. Rowand is one of the few starting Phil's hitting worse at home. I wonder if running into the wall has played with his head at all.

Rowand's contract ($3.5 million) is very reasonable and I liked this attitude/demeanor. Ideally, he would hit in the 6/7 in this lineup. If Rowand does continue to flounder in Philly, then the Thome trade is going to look worse and worse since the Phils only have Gonzalez to show and had to give the Sox a ton of money too.

yeah great post RSB exactly correct in most areas. I listened to Kruk on 950 and Marzano on 610 today both had the same take on this team. BLOW IT Up! Time to make trades and make some moves throughout the organization. Gillick was asked before the season about what it would take to make some moves. And his response was 10 games. Now it was up in the air about what 10 games meant. At first I thought it would be 10 games out of first but that obviously isn't the case because they've been at that point for a week now. I'm now thinking it might be 10 games under .500. Which could happen this weekend if they lose 2 of 3 against Pitts. Except the manager to be fired at the break if they lose tonite or tomorrow.

Most importantly Billy Wagner for all his bravado and T.O. speak I think he has a good point. The losing mentality starts at the top with the owners. Who the heck are they? Nobody knows! That is absurb. How can you hold the players accountable for their poor play when the owners won't man up and admit they're only in for the $. This team only spends money when necessary which is pathetic. To condone not going out and signing players in the 90's remember we were forcefed that we're in a small market? I will never let that down. I guess they didn't think Philly is a small market when they went out and signed Thome only to attract season tickets for the new park.

I think the option of trading Gordon to the Dodgers needs to be explored. That team has a serious glut of talent in the minor leagues. Especialy in the areas in which the Phils are weak. 3rd base and catcher.

Just from watching the games you can't really tell how much of a leader a player really is. So for all us that think that Utley and Rowand are leaders, we really don't know. All I can go by is what some of these former players like Kruk and Marzano say which is that they are leaders but maybe not ready to speak up since there are other guys on the team that have been here longer and go about leading in different ways like Burrell, Abreu and Lieberthal. Until the old guard are gone they younger guys cannot step up and feel like the team is theirs to take over.

Utley is no spring chicken considering they messed him up for an entire year at scranton making him a 3rd baseman because we were looking at getting rid of Rolen. They even thought so little of him that they drafted Tim Moss with their 1st pick in 2003 and the guy can barely hit .150 in AA ball. Because of the constant critisms by the organizatio on his defense throughout his minorleague career, Utley's progress was retarded and slowed to a snails pace. An entire season was essentially lost now making him a 2nd year starter at the age of 27. Likewise with Howard, the saga of Howard and Thome was well documented in the local papers. The organization really never considered him a prospect yet still hyped the hell out of such guys as Duckworth, Coggin, Byrd, M. Anderson, Valent and Floyd who have all been total busts. This team is totally inept at being able to evalute its own talent. Feel free to rip me a new bunghole but I'm totally done with this organization. I bet Ed Wade is laughing his ass of right now watching this team.

oh yeah after i made that post i remembered some other great hypes that never made it. Jorge Padilla, Terry Jones, Anderson Machado, and Juan Richardson. God I can't believe I actually used to look forward to the UPN 57's Sunday Down on the Farm Report before the games to watch how these scrubs were doing! I'm sure I'm not the only one though.

Well, S & B, as I said, we don't think alike. Every time I make my point about the Phillies having a cancerous, losing atmosphere, you dismiss it with a sarcastic reference to self-help books. I tried to deflect your predictable rebuff in advance, but to no avail.

I'm hardly the first to make the observation that the White Sox won the World Series without any real stars. If Paul Konerko is a superstar in your eyes, so be it. They had a lot of guys with good numbers, obviously. But the good balance all around, in the pitching staff and the lineup, was the story of that team far moreso than individual performances. There's something to be learned from that for those of us who are less stubborn and blind.

I asserted that of course the pitching has been a problem, but it's a problem a lot of teams overcome with better timely hitting and a better approach to situations in general. The "numbers" I was referring to were that of Golden Child Abreu and the formerly defended left fielder, whose numbers have been so inconsequentially robust. By now, it's hardly a novel stance, I have been saying for over a year that it's those two who need to go, over the protests of people like you who carry on over the data on Strat-O-Matic cards.

anyone else ready to throw up after watching Wheels and Graham talk about the impending 5 game series with the Marlins and their 5 game sweep of the Marlins like 5 years ago for an entire half inning. Then they follow it up with the next half inning devoted to Burrell's stupid dog. They are so boring and homers for the organization it makes me want to puke!

anyone else ready to throw up after watching Wheels and Graham talk about the impending 5 game series with the Marlins and their 5 game sweep of the Marlins like 5 years ago for an entire half inning. Then they follow it up with the next half inning devoted to Burrell's stupid dog. They are so boring and homers for the organization it makes me want to puke!

beerleaguer is great, but this thread includes some of the dumbest, ill-informed comments I've ever seen. (thanx RSB & MG for at least making some of the posts worth reading.) Must be the losing streak.
Regarding the lineup, as I posted 2 days ago, the Phillies offense consists of 4 guys who should always hit 3-4-5 (Utley, Abreu, Howard, Burrell) and 4 guys who should never, ever hit higher than 7th (Rollins, Rowand, Bell, Leiby/catcher). Pat Gillick is a smart baseball man and it's amazing that he couldn't see that in spring training, just as he couldn't see that you can't win with this rotation. Either that or he knew the team would be crap and he lied to the public about it.
P.S. Jason, check out Ian Snell's recent starts. The kid is pretty damn good.

the comments in this thread are utterly amazing

clout & chris..u got something against my posts? If so, voice ur opinions thats what a board is for, right?

Mike -

Very few "bad" seats in the park. I've sat in the 400 level behind home, which is really nice on hot days (under the eave, nice breeze off the field). If you're going for the first time, get there early and take a look around, ashburn alley is really nice and there's little trinkets all around.

no single player on the phillie has ever put up numbers better than paul konerko, yet the phillies are "full of stars" and the chisox have none. explain that please.

and while you're at, defend your stance that myers should have been traded a month ago.

"those two who need to go, over the protests of people like you who " - see above where i say abreu and burrell need to be traded and where i insist abreu and burrell are not "stars."

"good balance all around, in the pitching staff and the lineup, was the story of that team " - exactly my point. you however, want to talk about "intangibles." make up your mind.

"pitching has been a problem, but it's a problem a lot of teams overcome" - no one wins with bad pitching. don't go back on what you said. you implied that attitude is more important than talent. you can igonre "strat-o-matic" all you want, but the first team to get to the post-season with 4 starters with era's over 5 will be the first. talent trumps attitude, and this team is less than talented. blame intangibles, attitude, psyche, moral, ethics, morals. etc. etc. all you want. this team loses because they aren't as good at baseball as other teams. deal with it.

Beerleaguer isn't about one-on-one debates. We don't agree. The end.

if you don't want to debate, then quit calling me out.

bk: I'm sorry, my post just happened to come after yours. I wasn't referring to your comments at all. Your comment on dealing Gordon to the Dodgers is right on the money. They have some good young talent.

clout thanks I have done some research of the Dodgers prospects and they definetly have some nice pieces which could fit here. They will be trying to get some additional help in the back of that bullpen and they need a lefthanded bat off the bench. Looks like Gordon and Dellucci could be a match. But i'm sure that alot of other teams have more to offer than the Phillies since we have no depth whatsoever.

You got it, pal. I won't honor your petulance with a response of any kind from here on out.

Why would anyone argue with RSB? The guy represents the idiot part of the fan base, and is a large part of the reason why the Phils are awful.

Anyone who'd rather watch, as he says, the thoroughly mediocre Aaron Rowand over the very possibly HOF-bound Bobby Abreu doesn't know baseball. "That's the kind of baseball I prefer to watch." You prefer losing baseball. Wonderful.

You're disqualified, RSB. Turn in your Internet connection and keyboard at once!

That's exactly why the Phillies suck-they've always preferred "gamers" over guys with talent. You can trace this all the way back to the Dick Allen era.

Today idiots love Rowand, Fasano, and other guys who look like they're playing hard but can't actually play. And Phils' management knows mediocrity is cheaper than excellence, so they'll keep guys like that because it keeps the dumber part of the fan base happy, even as the team loses.

I'm cutting the thread off right here. Let's move on.

if we trade rowand i am quiting baseball are the crazy rowand probilly the best center felder we have had for awile here is what they need to do trade burrell for kevin mench and trade lieber for a yuong reliver but why trade a ok power hitter a good on base hitter hes also fast andhe is unbelivbelly amazing in center we did not give him the chance this year because he ramed into the wall and when he clodded with utly!

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