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Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Sweet! Now we'll all have a new 3rd base coach to lambaste for ill-advised stop and go signs.

I will not miss any of these guys: Dancy, for the aforementioned bad decisions; Bombard, bc my last memory of him was when he inexplicably failed to argue the blown call on Chase's 3-run homer; and Varsho, because the only time I heard his name was when Charlie got tossed (and JW seems to think it's for his own good).

But why did they hold onto Dubee? Seems to me Phillies pitchers -- both veterans and youngsters -- are notorious underachievers, wracked by the mechanics problems pitching coaches are supposed to spot and correct. Did anyone else notice the improvement in much of the staff (esp. the starters) when Jamie Moyer came over here and started doing the job Dubee should have been doing?

I'd be interested to hear some other people's takes on Dubee.

varsho will wind up in detroit w/ his boy leyland. it'd be fine for juan samuel to come here, but if there is a more competent guy who could come in from outside the organization i'd be happier w/ that. the phillies inbreed like their from west virginia - new blood, especially from winning franchises, is ok once in a while.

good luck to all those guys.

Dancy was not agressive enough for me as third base coach. Let's bring back Vuke!

Anyone else have a feeling that John Russel will have either the bench coach or third base job?

I can not believe Foghorn will continue to manage this team next year. This completes my transformation to a Yankee fan. Thank you Pat Gillick.

Here's my post buried at the end of the last thread:

The firing of coaching assistants is a "throwing a bone" to dissatisfied fans mechanism, while the head coach or manager gets to keep his job. Normally the assistant coaches that get let go are ones coaching in areas where the fans are not satisfied.

The Phils hit pretty good, so the hitting coach gets kept. The Phils score a lot of runs, so the basepath coaches get fired. Duh! The pitching sucks, so the pitching and bullpen coaches are retained. Duh! The dugout management sucks, so the dugout coach gets canned.

ome of this makes sense, some of it does not. Look to see a tactician get the dugout job. I don't understand the basepath coaches firings. Help me understand all of this!

Prediction: Russell will be the third-base coach, Sanuel the first-base coach, Dick Pole the bench coach.

Nobody has said anything about my new bunting.

Jesus, I'm with you on Dubee -- I notice Orel Hershiser is working on TV; I think he's a better pitching coach than announcer, and he's from the area.

Dukes, you're kidding, right, about Dancy not being aggressive enough? What I'll remember there is the number of guys who were out by 20 feet -- I believe the 05-06 Phils set a two-season record in that stat that may stand forever.

Jason, you're being WAY too kind in crediting these guys with "helping" Manuel through his first season as skipper. This was a pure and simple case of the team brass rewarding loyal soldiers with a couple of years in the bigs to qualify them for MLB pensions. I have nothing against rewarding loyal soldiers, but nowhere is it written that the team can't supplement whatever they earn in MLB pension. For all I know, maybe they're matching whatever they qualified for (no longer do players need 4 years of service for vesting; they're now vested from Day 1). But it's unconscionable that this nickel-and-dime bookkeeping decision took precedence over putting the best possible team on the field. What they saved was the price of a journeyman infielder or middle reliever, at best. What they lost, especially last year, was a pennant (I say that because I recall more than two cases in which Dancy, in the late innings, sent a go-ahead runner to certain doom).

I was *going* to say the bunting looked good. I just forgot.

Alby, rumor has it Hershiser was not popular with his pitching staff in Texas, and he certainly didn't get good results there.

Greg, eschewing the Phillies for the Yankees? Weakling. Anybody can be a Yankees fan. It takes a high pain threshold to be a Phillies fan. Suffer like a man! (You know, like we all do, never complaining...)

Alby: No-no, I agree with you ... I actually just finished adding a bit about rewarding loyalty to the original when I read your comment.

Anyone watching the Yanks-Tigers? I like Magglio Ordonez's tribute to Mark Fidrych with that haircut...

After reading Moneyball last winter I really noticed how the Phillies do not really buy into that school of thought (the book actually ripped Gillick a few times). While I don't think they need to go buy the book like Billy Bean does, do you think they really will hire a tactician on the bench? Who might that be?

Dukes: I don't see it happening with Gillick. He's been successful building clubs his way, through scouting and signing players who fit a certain mold.

The problem with the Phillies is that they don't seem to buy into any school of thought. If there is an organizational philosophy at all, it has represented itself as complacency.

RSB: It's still a little early in Gillick's tenure, but patterns are starting to emerge. He likes raw athletic talent at the minor league level. That was reflected by the Drabek signing and some of the players acquired in the deadline deals. He's not going to sign long-term deals when he doesn't need to. He doesn't believe in signing high-ticket free agent starting pitching, and so far he hasn't. Rowand, Conine and Moyer might embody the "character" quality he's looking for, but it's difficult to say with certainty. After all, Moyer and Conine are old men who cleared waivers when their teams no longer wanted them. But like I said, it's hard to tell. I think Gillick's primary motivation this season was getting out from under expensive, long-term contracts.

I can see why Bombard and Dancy lost thier jobs, however I cannot fathom how Rich Dubee kept his. He has been just as inconsistant as Charlie Manuel in my book. Orel Hershiser would be an incredible addition to the Phillies staff! He would also bring in some much needed new blood into the franchise! That being said, I doubt the Phillies are going to travel down that road at this time.

By the way, it's still very interesting to read Gillick's take on Manuel. Much like after the season ended, Gillick had a chance to give Charlie a ringing endorsement and didn't. I really hope Gillick looks long and hard at either Girardi or Pinella to take over this ship. Maybe Varsho was let go in order for a new manager to pick his own bench coach if one of the possible inside candidates are truly interested being the manager here. One can only hope that is the case!

Another trend we've also picked up from Gillick is that he's willing to take chances on a lot of players off the scrap heap. He didn't have any success at all with that method in '06.

Also, insofar as the Phillies run their organization like its a branch of the CIA, Gillick fits in very well with that approach.

Just want to be clear that Greg the Yankees fan is not hte same as Greg S. who will always be a Phillies fan!

Orel Hersheiser in a Phillies uniform. Ha! We're all more likely to see Danny Ozark in a Phillies uniform again...

In the same way it takes more than stategical genius to be a good manager, I think it takes more than pitching knowledge to be an effective pitching coach. Many people endorsed hiring Joe Kerrigan long before it happened, but by and large he only wound up alienating the staff more than he helped it. Hershiser would likely have the same result. He has a very overbearing, didactic way about him which I'm sure would not endear him either to an employer or an underling.

RSB: That's a good one. It's interesting too how NL-minded Wade was and how AL-minded Gillick was. Wade was always loyal to his role players (Kevin Jordan/Tomas Perez/Rob Ducey), and if they had to get a reliever, they always had to be in the proven-veteran mold of Todd Jones (Tom Goyne of BS&S always wondered how David Weathers never found his way into a Phillies' uniform). But Gillick was just as loyal this season to his old guys, guys like Alex Gonzalez and Ryan Franklin. In this regard, the two weren't all that different, although Gillick cut his losses much quicker than Wade would have (Ricardo Rodriguez, Fasano, Franklin). What really separared them is what happened after the trade deadline. Wade couldn't have orchestrated deals with Seattle and Texas. Gillick seems to have the hook-up.

Are they really considering Juan Samuel as a coach? Please tell me this is some crazy kind of joke being perpetrated by management. Isn't this the same guy who never met a low and outside pitch he didn't love? The same guy who continually made stupid baserunning blunders game after game? The same guy who made you hold your breath everytime a ball went anywhere near second base! Come on!! They might as well hire Von Hayes so they will have the stupidest coaching staff in major league baseball.

I still feel Hershiser would be a better option than Dubee, but I know it's just a pipe dream. I think the players may respect Hershiser more. Could he be overbearing? Possibly, however he could have some success with the players based on what he accomplished during his career. I have not been overly impressed with Dubee. I prefer managers and coaches who have had some kind of major league success.

Samuel was well enough thought of to have been a coach ever since his playing days ended. He may have been erratic at times, but in no way was he a stupid player.

For what it's worth, Dubee apparently has a better rapport with his pitches than any Phils' pitching coach since Johnny Podres. It's probably why he kept his job. Just because a guy isn't high-profile doesn't mean he's ineffectual.

pitcheRs, not pitches

I agree that a high profile guy isn't always the best choice. There are many things that go into being a good coach, but having success in the major leagues should only enhance what one brings to the table.

I don't care who our manager and coaches are as long as we get a legit right-handed bat - Sheffield, Tejada, Alou, Ramirez and Ramirez all could be available in some way. If we get one of them I'll be pumped (as long as we get a closer to cover Gord when he's hurt).

I'd love to see a power right handed bat at 3rd and the defense of Rowand, Victorino, and Bourn in the outfield. I'd love Vic and Bourn at the top of the order with their speed. Watching the Dodgers the other day I couldn't help but notice the pressure that Furcal and Lofton put at the top of the order - it was like two leadoff hitters - like Pierre and Castillo were in Florida a few years back. That would be awesome in front of Utley, Howard, and our phantom right-handed bat (who in a perfect world would have been Burrell but now never will be).

RSB writes, "[Hershiser] has a very overbearing, didactic way about him which I'm sure would not endear him either to an employer or an underling."

Is that just your impression, are you extrapolating from the word that he wasn't popular in Texas, or have you heard/read something in particular? I honestly don't know much about him, and have no reason to think he'd be good, average, or bad. But I'm hardly put off by his results there -- I don't know of anyone who's had much success with the collections of castoffs the Rangers stock up on annually.

I've seen that speculation on Samuel elsewhere as well.

Alby, Hershiser's clashing with members of the pitching staff, and with Buck Showalter, was documented at the time of his departure from the Rangers.

Jon, having had success in the majors isn't any more a prequisite for a pitching coach than it is for a manager, as the reputations of Rick Peterson, Dave Duncan, Ray Miller, and Leo Mazzone will attest. There are also some coaches out there like Ron Guidry and Dave Righetti who have had major-league success; ultimately, it's a matter more of how well the individual communicates and implements his guidance than about the level of professional success during his own playing days.

Also, Alby, I'll admit to using my own perception about Hershiser in comprising part of my judgment. There's always been something very grating about him, and the more I see him on ESPN, the more I can understand why he didn't work out as a coach.

1. i think all this makes perfect sense. PG actually likes what manuel does in the clubhouse and was going to keep him, but couldn't say that becuase he knew he was going to tell manuel that some of his coaches had to go. he didn't want to endorse manuel just to have him quit becuase of the coaching demands.

2. wasn't dubee the guy who helps bring up all the horses for the marlins? dontrell, becketr, penny, etc?

3. i will be shocked if gillick adds offense this offseason. phillies scored plenty of runs and with a dose of discipline would have scored even more. he will add d in the outfied to replace burrell, if he can, and veteran pitching - jack morris, tom candiotti, david cone, dave stewart, aaron sele, david wells, jimmy key...- i have faith.

4. i'd also be shocked if he didn't add more guys from his old teams/ foreign player(s)

4. i noticed the bunting and should have said something. you're like my girlfreind, "your hair looks nice, honey!"

Foreign players would be a welcome change. Asian players have been part of the major-league landscape for over ten years now, and we've yet to see even *one* on a Phillies roster, not even for a single inning. It tells you something about the creative reach of the people in the organization.

I'm stupid. What's all this stuff about bunting? Are we talking baseball hitting type bunting? or something else?

wow - torre just pulled the anti-grady little. man i hope the yankees lose.

who knew that on thursday, september 24, 1964 at connie mack stadium, Joe Torre had 3 rbi's in a 5-3 milwaukee braves win over the phil's (who were in the middle of losing 10 in a row)? another reason to hate the yankees.

RSB: The percentage of Japanese pitchers having success this season as relievers is simply astonishing. Martin brought that point up on Monday. Someone else also brough up the point about acquiring relievers as toss-ins in a trade. That's another good way to get them instead of spending, Matt Smith being the example. For next season, the club seems high on a Double-A pitcher named Joe Bisenius and have "fast-tracked" him. Zeeeee! They believe he has suddenly figured it out.

let's not forget about Daisuke Matsuzaka. gillick absolutely has what it takes to get a stud like that from japan.

Fred: It's the star-spangled stuff at the top of this site. If you haven't seen it yet, hit refresh.

RSB, I realize all of that. I just happen to prefer coaches with some success. That doesn't mean that others will not succeed, it's just a personal preference. That doesn't mean I would not hire someone who did not have major league success. A perfect example is Jim Leyland. I would hire him in a heartbeat. The same is true for Dave Duncan, but I would not discredit someone like an Orel Hershiser either. They all have something they can be bring to the table.

I guess what frustrates me all goes back to Charlie Manuel. I think he needs all the help he can get and possibly someone other than Dubee could help a little bit more. Dubee seems too quiet or maybe it is Manuel who is too stubborn to heed any advice from his pitching coach. Whatever the case, something needs to be different next year. I would like to see some new blood and new ideas coming more from outside the organization.

Joe Torre's a good guy. If you want to root against someone, there's always Alex Rodriguez. And Ronan Tynan.

Abreu with a big first postseason game, 4 RBI. A little Phillies revisitation, watching him and Polanco.

These were minor moves that I doubt will have any true affect on the Phils next season. Besides the pitching coach, the rest of the staff in baseball are quite overrated in their importance.

There are two main reasons. Most baseball players spend a majority of their time developing in the minor leagues. Thus, a major leaguer player generally already has his defining attributes by the time he makes the majors. The other main reason is that strategy during a baseball game is limited, especially in the AL.

I have to agree though with alot of other posters here about Rich Dubee. Seems that he doesn't bring many positives to the table . If the Phils are going to develop some young pitching besides Hamels, this position seems like it is pretty important next season.

Asian players tend to concentrate in West Coast cities and the largest metro areas (NY, Chicago). There are exceptions (Toguchi in St. Louis comes to mind), but they're few; I think this is mainly a matter of comfort, as these are the cities with larger Asian-American populations. The Phillies are far from the only team without much Japanese/Korean presence.

if posted the player would only be able to negotiate with one team. so that could be us.

torre had 2 triples in that game. seriously...

So let's see if I got this right. Charlie Manuel misses the playoffs two years in a row by a game or two, and the GM feels he's the right guy to get them into the postseason next year?

That means the GM must feel that the Phillies overachieved by winning 85 games, and they did that due to CM's leadership?

Gillick should have made it clear to Manuel at the start of the season that he would be gone if the Phillies didn't at least win the WC. They were certainly a good enough team on paper and were not particularly hurt by major injuries.

But in fact, CM should be fired for no other reason than the fact that the Phillies 'blew' their WC spot by losing key games down the stretch to out-of-contention also-ran teams. With 7 critical games to go, if there was anything that a manager should be expected to do, it's to keep his players mentally ready, focused and CONFIDENT. Instead, they looked scared and tentative. And so they played. The Nationals in particular set the tempo of the series and the Phillies stood around trying to react.

He was unable to figure out a way to allow his MVP-caliber player to have any impact, instead continuing to allow the other team to pitch around him. Nothing was tried.

These are the things that good managers, winning managers, can do when the key games are played. Mediocre managers cannot.

I am disgustedly NOT looking forward to next season if I have to continue to watch CM give games away. Ugghhh.

I can't disagree about Manuel being a mediocre manager. The one thing he seems to do well is not step on any toes, and make the players comfortable. But what good is such comfort, ultimately, when it does not translate into loose, confident play on the field?

Obviously the premium here is on everyone getting along and being allowed to "fit" and harmonize, rather than on winning. The two things are clearly not mutually exclusive.

In most competitive endeavors, be it business, war, or sports, it's a very small step from comfortable to complacent. People who are too comfortable are adverse to risk, adverse to change and adverse to confronting problems. Mediocrity is the price you pay for comfort, and I can't think of a better word to describe the recent Phillies teams than ultimately mediocre.

I sure hope that guys like Rollins never reach the point where finishing 1-2 games out of the money for 4 years in a row is somehow ok, as long as you're playing with a great bunch of guys and a players' manager.

RSB, you are correct that winning and fitting in are not mutually exclusive. Intensely competitive people can fit in well together if they agree that anything less than a championship is not good enough, they all know and accept their role on the team, they feel they are all being treated fairly, and they know that everyone is expected to pull their weight. If not, the team will fragment and self-destruct, with finger-pointing, player cliques, and an irrelevant manager. Or perhaps worse, they will shrug their shoulders and play for themselves and a paycheck.

Well there you have it, one of things on my offseason "to do" list has already been handled...abysmally I might add. As most of you know I detest Manuel as a manager. I would have liked to see him axed or moved to hitting coach, but NOT see him stay at the helm of decisions. I know people agree and disagree with me to varying degrees.

Phillies "blew" the wild card in April and June. They were 8-3 in the last 11 games that mattered. They wound up 3 games out of a tie for the wild card after losing a "meaningless" last game. So the phils would have had to go undefeated in the final 12 to win the wild card, and be 11-1 to force a tie breaker. If this is considered blowing the wild card, some people have unreal expectations.

Keep in mind that 1 loss was due to a questionable call, another was after a ridiculous rain delay in which it would be expected that no one would be playing up to their abilities, and the third to a hot houston club by a run. I'm not offering these as "excuses" but losing three games in the final 11 in such circumstances is not exactly what I would characterize as "blowing" the wild card.

The phillies were 18-10 in September, if they had played that well every month they would be in first place. If you want to criticize the managing, coaching, etc you need to look at what happened earlier in the season. However, when you see the ridiculous starting rotations at those times, the real culprit for the philly failure becomes clear.

New banner work = tres web 2.0!

DQ: Your delusions of moving Manuel to Hitting Coach are laughable. Noone in baseball moves down within the same organization. Case in point: the Red Sox years back fired their manager mid-season and put the bullpen coach in for the rest of the season. When they hired a new manager, they "had" to fire the bullpen stand-in, because moving down isn't done in the MLB. It's ridiculous, yes, but true.

How fast do you think Manuel would be snatched up as a manager if he were let go? Pretty fast I imagine. He's basically the managerial equivalent of Rheal Cormier or Burrell (after last season). Good stats on the face of it:(Winning records for 2 years, missing the playoffs by near margins for 2 years, grooming Howard and Utley, etc.), but we all know how shallow the stats really are.

after sleeping on this for a night i actually think i'm more annoyed than i was. not one time have i let myself consider that PG would take this job without complete control, but as i sit here with my bowl of total, i am now starting to believe that this isn't a PG move. there is no way that he - as an unbelievable baseball man who has forgotten more about baseball that i will ever know - thinks that manuel is capable of managing an elite baseball team. when lou pinella gets hired in crappy chicago i think i'll cry.

Jason, I now see the bunting. It looks nice. It wasn't showing up last night on my New Orleans dial up at home. My work broadband shows it fine.

Won't patriotic bunting make foreign players uncomfortable? Shouldn't we have diversity bunting sporting colors from the flags of the home countries of our international players? (I'm being facetious!) This is an American pastime, even though we call it the World Series.

Will- I don't actually believe Manuel would accept a role as hitting coach, I was saying he'd serve the Phillies better in that role.

Managers are easy targets, no matter how "good" they seem to be, because they're easy to blame for club failures. Manuel has his faults just as any skipper does, I just happen to dislike Manuel faults more than other managers, but that's also because I watch the Phils nearly every game. I'm not naive enough to think that Manuel deserves all the blame, but I'm also not dumb enough to think that he is the best solution as the leader of this team.

I don't know what the deal is with Piniella. I would think that PG has the scoop. If Piniella was available, I think Cholly would be history. Perhaps Lou told PG that he would prefer an AL team.

Gillick's comments suggest to me that Manuel is being kept only because the franchise owes him money. I did not hear a vote of confidence in there anywhere.

Me neither ae. I'm hoping against hope that whatever they said in that meeting boils down to "Make sure they're ready to play in April, or else."

"Make sure they're ready to play in April, or else."- my feelings wholeheartedly! We need a good start to '07, as our 10-14 Aprils two years in a row have come back to haunt us.

We're 3/4 thru this cycle. Here's basically how it works: Year 1: Blame manager, fire manager. Year 2: Blame pitching coach, hire new one. Year 3: Blames field coaches, hire new ones. Year 4: Fire manager, hire new one. Repeat.

Walter, this happens in the corporate business world on a three year cycle.

Year One: New magement installed. Numbers don't improve. Reason given: too early for new management style to take effect.

Year Two. Numbers don't improve. Reason given: New management style should show improvements in year three.

Year Three. Numbers don't improve. Reason given: New management style does not work. We are studying the problem and beginning at year four we will reorganize and install new management.

I guess next year is Year Three for Cholly.

Lake Fred- excellent application of business knowledge to the Phillies management fiasco!

Lake Fred:

>Won't patriotic bunting make foreign players uncomfortable?

Hell, any type of bunting by the phillies made everyone uncomfortable.

now, that's the type of humor I like to see. Good on Joe!

The Philadelphia Phillies have announced that current manager Charlie Manuel will become player-manager for the 2007 season. The 62-year-old Manuel can play all outfield positions and will also provide a left-handed bat off the bench. He becomes the first player-manager in MLB since 1977, when Joe Torre led the New York Mets while also playing in 36 games.

Charles (Chuck) F. Manuel’s six-year career statistics:
242 384 25 76 12 0 4 43 1 0 40 77 .198 .273 .260

Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick expects the fans to embrace Manuel as a player. “He’s a professional hitter and his constant hustle will set a good example for the younger players. He is the type of blue-collar player that the Philly fans will love”.

Since Manuel hasn’t played since 1975, inserting the elderly Manuel into the lineup might cause friction among the players. “Charlie is well-liked by the players and instills a loose atmosphere in the locker room, so we don’t expect any problems” said Gillick.

Manuel can play all three outfield positions but is primarily a left-fielder and could reduce current left-fielder Pat Burrell’s playing time or even make a deal to another team more likely. “I have no idea what's going to happen, and it would be stupid for me to speculate," Burrell said . "I want to be back, and I plan on being back. I don't know why I wouldn't be."

When manager Manuel was asked how player Manuel would fit into the lineup, Charlie said, “Fuqua brings lots of ‘sperience to the line-up and’ll give Howard the protection we’re lookin’ fer. We’ll drop Burrell to the 6th slot and put Cholly in at number 5”.

When Burrell was asked if moving the fatherly Manuel ahead of him in the batting order was a vote of no confidence in his ability to protect Howard, Pat said, “I have no idea what's going to happen, and it would be stupid for me to speculate. "I want to bat fifth, and I plan on batting fifth. I don't know why I wouldn't bat fifth”.

Using a 62-year-old outfielder who hasn’t recorded a major-league putout in thirty-one years could be risky. Asked if he were willing to scrap the experiment if Manuel shows he no longer has the ability to play at the major-league level, Gillick replied testily, "I said he's under contract, and if he's under contract, it sounds like maybe a decision has been made."

Phillies President Dave Montgomery expects the fans to embrace the move. “We believe this is an innovative idea that allows us to a save the fan’s money by using an employee already under contract instead of overpaying on the free agent market”, said Montgomery. “Our front office spent countless hours brainstorming over this idea. We are setting the trend, and expect other clubs to follow our model once they realize how successful it is”.

Finally, when contacted at his home in Fargo, ND, 33-year-old rookie Chris Coste had this to say: “Really? A 62-year-old player-manager? Wow, what a great story!”

I don't know why this would be a surprise - Gillick said he would be targeting international players. Manuel has a .303 career average in Japan, with 189 HR and 491 RBI. sounds perfect!

(NB: has a slight error - Manuel hasn't played baseball since 1981, his last year with the Yakult Swallows.)

Have I entered the Twilight Zone? Everything else appears normal.

Manuel as player manager and qualifying as an Asian player due to his long service in Japan???!!!

LOL. Some good humor in this thread. Thanks to Joe and VoR.

Forgot to thank ae, too!

this is very off-topic, but baseball-reference just posted 2006 stats. of particular interest to me is the player comparisons - I always enjoy looking through these to get a ballpark idea of how players will age. some prominent Phils have interesting comparisons:

Ryan Howard's #1 comp through age 26 is Norm Cash. it's an eerily similar career - Cash had an excellent half-season at age 25 (.903 OPS), and then had his legendary 1961 breakout season - .361/.487/.662 with 41 HR and 132 RBI and a 201 park-adjusted OPS+. his BA dropped 118 points in 1962 - a record for a batting champ. conventional wisdom is that Cash's career was a disappointment, but even though he never came close to those 1961 numbers, he did pretty damn well in the remaining 12 full seasons of his career: 30+ HR 5 times, 20+ HR 11 times, and keep the era in mind when you look at those numbers - he finished 2nd in HR three times between 1962 and 1971. Cash's career OPS is .862, which is an excellent mark for a career entirely contained in the pitching-heavy 1960s - his adjusted OPS+ is exactly the same as Reggie Jackson's, and higher than guys like Will Clark, Pedro Guerrero and Chuck Klein. he hit more HR in his career than Joe Dimaggio, Rocky Colavito, or Gil Hodges. (Cecil Fielder, unsurprisingly, comes in third on Howard's age 26 comp list behind 1930s slugger Zeke Bonura.)

other interesting position player comparisons:

Chase Utley's best age 27 comp is Alfonso Soriano (although Utley walks much more than Soriano ever did - his career-to-date OBP is 20 points higher), which we could probably all live with. Jeff Kent comes in second, which doesn't surprise me, although Utley's late 20s seasons are substantially better than Kent's. an interesting point about both those guys is that they had excellent seasons at 30 and afterwards, which is a good sign for Chase.

Rollins' best age 27 comparison is Jim Fregosi, which means we should be trading him in two years for whoever is the next Nolan Ryan...

Pat Burrell's best age 29 comparison is the aforementioned Gil Hodges (whose age 30 season was maybe his best), who looks extremely similar - low BA, high walk rate, similar power, although in a different era). of course, everybody loved Gil, which is not included in the formula.

of pitchers:

Brett Myers best comparison at age 25 is Brad Radke, and second best is Javy Vazquez. both fairly encouraging (at least if you ignore the Vazquez/Yankees meltdown). lends credence to the idea of Myers as an strong #2.

in his short career, Hamels' best comparison is Floyd Bannister, and their age 22 rookie seasons do look very similar, although Hamels struck out 33 more batters in 10 fewer innings, which is a lot. I'm sure we're all hoping for more of an upside than Floyd Bannister, but you could do worse - i.e. the other comparisons, which are all flameouts.

Jon Lieber's best comparisons saw their careers end shortly after their age 36 seasons (Kevin Tapani, Shane Reynolds, Mike Krukow).

Randy Wolf's best comp is, intriguingly, Jason Schmidt, who of course had his breakout season at age 30. although Wolf's HR rate is higher and the TJ surgery adds a wrinkle, their career to date numbers are pretty close. Bruce Hurst, 3rd, also had an excellent age 30 season (5th in the Cy Young voting), although Shawn Estes, 2nd, did not at all (1.74 WHIP).

for reference, the career-to-age-29 numbers of Randy Wolf / Jason Schmidt:

1175 IP / 1135 IP
190 GS / 182 GS
69-60 / 69-62
4.21 ERA / 4.33 ERA
550 ER / 546 ER
971 SO / 924 SO
437 BB / 478 BB
1129 H / 1132 H
157 HR / 110 HR
102 ERA+ / 98 ERA+

Great post, ae! Along similar lines, I've often wondered if it is unrealistic to expect Howard to produce similar numbers throughout his career.
Conventional wisdom says that if he shows more patience and gets better protection behind him, he'll see more strikes and improve even more!!! But can we really expect numbers even close to 58-149 every year? That would make Howard a baseball god!! Unfortunately, for players like Norm Cash (and possibly Ryan Howard), monster seasons early in a career can lead to unrealistic expectations. There is no way Cash's career would be considered a disappointment if his breakout season came much later in his career.

anybody else here them mention dusty baker as a potential bench coach on wip?


Who the hell listens to WIP?


The Randy Wolf/Jasn Schmidt comp is interesting. Wolf may be the 3rd or 4th best FA pitcher this year, and we know what we gots, we prbly should sign him.

shh sorry - "hear" not "here"

one note about Cash's 1961 season is that there were a lot of pitchers in the majors that year who shouldn't have been there - 1961 was the first season for the Senators 2.0 as well as the Angels. it's no coincidence that Diamond Jim Gentile also had a complete aberration of an offensive season (1.069 OPS - his BA dropped 50 pts and his SLG dropped 171 pts in 1962) in the 1961 AL. in the Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James writes:

"Jim Gentile was great in 1961 - when there were twenty minor league pitchers in the American League. I don't put much stock in the 'expansion year' argument; the expansion effect is small, and lasts only for two or three years. Still, I think it would be difficult to argue that the quality of American League competition in 1961 was exactly the same as it was in 1960."

the same goes for Cash, even though Cash was obviously a better player than Gentile.

i like to listen to anthony and also listen when john marzano is on. i agree that the rest of it is worthless.

Great stuff, ae. Thanks for the historical perspective.
I had most of the baseball cards from the Det teams in the late 60's, including Norm Cash. Unfortunately, I don't remember anything from the classic '68 WS. My WS memory only goes back to the '69 Mets!

Also, thanks to JW for providing the forum!! It is unmatched!!! Don't know what I'd do without my morning coffee and Beerleaguer!

Another note about Cash's 1961 season is that he later admitted to playing the whole year with a corked bat. You could look it up.

Ryan Howard may never hit 58 homeruns again, but he's no Norm Cash.

Good point, however, ae, about Gillick's frequent references to Manuel being under contract. You're right, it's hardly a strong vote of confidence. He gets one last chance.

VOR, if they start a baseball version of the Onion, that post ought to go in the first issue. Brilliant work!

Dukes: Speed is wonderful at the top of the order, but it only works when you get on base. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Victorino and Bourn can get on base at the rate of a Pierre & Castillo or Lofton & Furcal. In fact, quite the opposite. Look at the stats.

Thanks RSB, you beat me to the post with that info on the corked bat.

wasn't 61 the year the Maris hit 61 homers?

So in a year when the AL sucked, Maris hit 61, and in a year when the NL sucked, Howard hit 58. Puts some things in perspective

'61 was an expansion year for the AL, and offensive stats were up all over that league.

I don't think you can compare 2006 to 1961. There has been no equivalent flood of subpar talent into the league. Keep in mind that first expansion ('61) was the weakest one ever.

as RSB and clout pointed out, there is no comparison between 2006 and 1961. (and if RSB and clout are both agreeing on something, you can probably take it to the bank.)

I also think it's debatable that the NL "sucked." the level of competition in the NL is obviously not at the level of competition at the peak of the AL (i.e. the Yankees), but the spacing between the best NL team and the worst is substantially less than the best AL team and the worst. the NL has no Royals, no Devil Rays. even the Pirates were a solid team in the second half of the season.

it's going to be a STATE NLCS next season. Pirates vs. Phillies!


I believe 1961 was also Mickey Mantle's 54 homer year.

in 1961, six ALers hit over 40 HR - Maris (61), Mantle (54), Gentile (46), Killebrew (46), Colavito (45), and Cash (41).

in 1960, Mantle led the AL with 40 HR.

I saw where Bobby Abreu tied a ML record with his 8th consecutive 100 walk season. He shares the record with the Big Hurt. If he had stayed with the Phillies, he'd be sole holder of the NL record.

In 1961, Don Demeter led the Phils with 21 homers!

'61 Phils only hit 103 HR total...even more surprisingly, that wasn't the least in the majors - KC A's hit only 90, although they did have 21 (!) different players go yard. for comparison, the 2006 Phils had 16 different players hit a HR.

Thanks for letting us know the B-Ref comps are up ae...I guess my evening is set, they are just so much fun.

Amazing that PtB put up almost identical numbers to last year (when he finished 7th in MVP voting).

Also great post vor!

Astros give Manager Garner an extension but fire their PITCHING COACH! We keep ours. Why?

Mets now are like the Phillies. Pitching sucks but big bats help them win as they beat LA in the opener. They will use the Phillies 2006 motto: "Outslug the opposing team!"

Texas Rangers fire Buck Showalter with three years left on his contract. Why didn't they just fire his bench coach and his basepath coaches, after all they still had him under contract? I don't understand. I must be dumb. Can you explain this to me Uncle Cholly?

Lake Fred- I've come to the sickening conclusion that the Phillies organization is actually happy with the job Manuel has done.

He must have goat pictures of the owners.

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EST. 2005

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