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Sunday, October 29, 2006

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Adding another 40 year old to this lineup would be an unforgivable mistake. With Conine, Moyer and Gordon already in the mix the Phillies need to be hedging their risk against age, not jumping deeper into bed with it.

Any chance Melvin would part with Bill Hall? Much cheaper option salary-wise than A-Ram, and probably not as atrocious defensively (although I havent seen any numbers).

Hall has a career .940 fielding percentage at third, which is pretty terrible. only three qualified third basemen had worse last year (Edwin Encarnacion, Chad Tracy, Alex Rodriguez). on the other hand, his career zone rating is .810, which is pretty good - only four players had better ZRs last year (Brandon Inge, Morgan Ensberg, Pedro Feliz, Mike Lowell). he really does not seem like a natural 3B though - only 84 games there over five seasons, and he never played third in the minors. his power surge in '06 is very out of character, as well - 35 HR is only two less than he hit in his entire minor league career, nearly 600 games.

Aramis Ramirez isn't as bad defensively as some have suggested. He had one horrible year defensively, but has improved each of the last 2 seasons.

I could see Morgan Ensberg being traded. But go look at his career, and tell me he isn't the 3rd base version of Pat Burrell.

Alou is old, is an injury risk, but is still productive. If the price were right, I'd take him in Philly.

Mark DeRosa is an interesting name. I'd take him over someone like Ensberg. He is no A-Ram or Crede though.

As for Alou, I really don't have an interest in yet another 40 year old player on this team. I would rather go with a younger option if possible.

Finally, Padilla is Padilla. Gillick made a mistake (or was forced to make a mistake) with regard to him. While I would take a gamble on him, the Phillies surely will not. I can see him ending up on the Muts next year, most likely winning another 15 games. It will be interesting to see who fills out our rotation if Wolf does not come back. Wolf isn't a bad option and is definitely better than someone like Ted Lilly. He will probably have better numbers than Jamie Moyer next year too. He needs to be back here if the price is right.

No thanks on Alou. Still productive when he plays, but when a guy seems to have serious injuries at least every other year, I wouldn't go there.

DeRosa, on the other hand, *is* an intriguing idea. A semi-platoon with he and Nunez at third wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, at all.

I will agree that Padilla could have and should have been traded for more value, but I don't blame the Phillies for trading him. He had more than enough chances and he wasn't a good guy, period. I'm glad I don't have to watch him anymore, and frankly the prospect of the Mets or Braves signing him shouldn't scare anybody. Little good he did the Phillies in the NL East.

No thanks on Mark DeRosa. He's a career .730 OPS who had a career year in Texas. Strikes out too much -- over 100 times last year. Some team will overpay for him. He's the 2007 equivalent of 2003 David Bell. The hitting coach of the Rangers, Rudy Jaramillo, must be really good. Look at all of the players whose careers are resuscitated in Texas -- Dellucci, Matthews Jr, DeRosa. Since Jaramillo took over as the Rangers batting coach for the 1995 season, Rangers hitters have accounted for four of the American League's 11 MVP award winners. They have 16 Silver Slugger awards, three home run titles, two RBI championships and a batting title.

Derosa or Garciaparra would be good if a power hitter was aquired. Even if not, it's not a bad to put them in the lineup. The team does need a lefthanded OF or resign Dellucia.
If both 3B and either LF or RF was upgraded greatly (example: Beltre / Soriano) I would not be surprised to see Gillick give a rookie a starting spot in OF like Bourn. But we'll have to see how the offseason pans out.

DeRosa is not what I have in mind for the answer at 3rd. He had a career year last season (a damn fine one), but all other seasons he hasn't been anything but mediocre at best. A team is going to pay too much for his services and suffer as he never produces at the same level as he did last season again. It's not like he's young and will continue this upward career trend...an example of a one and done season.

I'd rather see Wes Helms brought in for a much cheaper price tag, and possibly platoon him with someone...other than Nuni that is. I read on other blogs the idea of a Helms and Russel Branyan platoon. Helms kills lefties and Branyan mashes righties...could be had for 3-4 million total.

He's the 2007 equivalent of 2003 David Bell.

I kind of had the same thought, Billy Mac.

I'm sort've with RSB on this one - we should have traded padilla for more value, and if he's in our rotation last year we are more consistent and probably make the post-season, but I wouldn't be bothered about getting him back, or even another NL east team putting him on their roster. I remember writing last year that his bb's were going nowhere but up, and this year he managed about the same as last year - 70, vs last year's 74. His strikeouts per nine innings are impressive enough (7.9 this year), but he's still a pitcher with a 4+ FIP - I think the guy's control is always going to work against him. Its worth noting that the k/9 figure for 2006 is well up on his average over 2002-05 of 6.01 It strikes me that its a FA year performance and some team is going to get a small shock if he slips back to his stubborn unreliable self. If he gets anything less per year than burnett, I'll be shocked and the Players Association can start griping about collusion again.

RSB: LOL. He doesn't mind losing as long as the Phillies trade guys he doesn't like!

DQ: I like that Helms/Branyan idea. Neither can field, but that would be a wicked offensive platoon.

I've had nightmares for years that Padilla signs with the Braves and puts up an 18-5, 3.00 type year. Of course, Mazzone was part of the rationale for that fear, and he's now gone.

DeRosa does seem like a central-casting Phillie, and I have no doubt at all that he'll further flesh out that Bell comparison--getting Chris Wheeler gooey while mostly making the rest of us sick.

Bringing in DeRosa would be Deja Vu all over again - player puts up career numbers (Nunez) and gets signed by the Phillies. Might be a slight upgrade over Nunez but not much of a solution at 3B.

Yeah, clout. The Phillies obviously missed Abreu and Padilla, difference-makers that they are, winning only 85 games last year instead of their usual 86.

dajafi: Padilla is never going to put that kind of season together. We've watched him long enough to know that.

"getting Chris Wheeler gooey while mostly making the rest of us sick."-dajafi

One of the best quotes of the year! Because you know "he does all the little things" as Wheels would say.

I'm cold about the Helms/Branyan thing, or about any other 3B option that isn't real slick in the field. Still a smallish park. You want your pitchers throwing lots of ground balls. And you want infielders who catch them.

From the Trade Rumor Blog link in Jason's post above they have an item that the Phillies are interested in Akinori Iwamura. What's the scoop on this guy?

I don't know much about him. What I do know is the one constant name circulating among most Phillies trade rumors is Alfonso Soriano.

Nice to see that everyone recognizes the absolute folly of the Padilla trade...I think it definately cost the team a playoff spot.

Also, RSB, I don't think djafi's numbers are too impossible, considering he has had 3 14 win seasons and a 3.28 ERA. If he went to a pitchers park like Shea, I would see him having a shot.

As for the FA list, the guy I would love to see is Catalanato. He is cheap (probably less than Delucci) and would make a great platoon with Conine. I'd say no on DeRosa, the guy's season definately screams fluke. I think the best way to get a 3B is to trade Rowand + a B-level prospect.

The phils would have to move Burrell to be able to financially pick up Soriano, even then he'd take money from prospective pitching or 3B FA.

I think the Japanese guy may be the fall back plan.

the more I hear about Iwamura, the more I like. especially as there has not been a lot of talk about other teams pursuing him aggressively, which hopefully means a relatively low posting fee. I think he has a lot of upside and could thrive in CBP...

this Soriano talk, on the other hand, scares me. every article has us pursuing him seriously, which is just ridiculous, especially if it means paying someone else to give us garbage for Burrell just to save a few million. that's a great plan for winning 85 games again.

I disagree, Kdon. regardless of which park padilla is in, those BB's are an issue and don't look to be going away. I do think if he comes to the NL, he's the kind of pitcher who will have pitch a great game against the phils whilst in the midst of a horrible slump. His era+ this year is 1.04 - the very definition of slightly better than average (by virtue of his strikeout ability). In this year's FA market, he will be overvalued, not undervalued. I'd put 5 pints of guiness on it.

I found this on Iwamura on Yahoo: The Red Sox, Phillies, Padres and Indians are all said to be interested in bidding for the rights to negotiate exclusively with Iwamura, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Iwamura, Japan's starting third baseman at the World Baseball Classic, hit .311/.388/.543 in 145 games for the Yakult Swallows this season, this year, with 32 homers, 27 doubles and 77 RBI. Yakult has agreed to make Iwamura available to MLB teams via the posting system this offseason.

What's happened to Andy Marte, who can't seem to stick in the majors? He was supposed to be a can't miss prospect.

I went to this blog site from a guy from Maryland that discussed the Japanese players: http://eutawstreetbombers.blogspot.com/2006/09/japanese-players-of-interest-since-end.html

He predicts that Iwamura will end up with the Phillies. He also discusses some other Japanese players that the Phillies have some interest in.

One of my favorite songs is "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors. If the Phillies start "turning Japanese", they should pick up at least two such players, so they could have a friend on the team, good for morale, to keep them happy.

Go look at Soriano stats and Pat Burrell's stats. People on here say Soriano is awesome, and others say Burrell is bad. Besides stolen bases they are very similar. Defense is a push, Soriano slightly better power, Burrell better on base skills. Yet we'd have to eat some of Burrell's contract (5-6 mil) then pay Soriano (15-17 mil). So Soriano would essentially be costing the Phils (20-23 mil) and if we kept Burrell only (12-13 mil). So is Soriano worth 8-10 mil more than Burrell...to me...NO!

Iwamura struck out 167 times last season and 175 the season before. I am assuming Japanese baseball is about AAA level. Besides being a left handed hitter (prefer a righty), the high strikeouts does not seem like a good fit with this lineup. I did see he has one some gold glove awards, so he apparently can field.

I agree. Soriano had big numbers, but he was a big dud in that last series with the gNats. He was an easy strikeout target for the Phillies pitchers. That was Burrell's irritation to Phillies fans. I can't see spending more money for the same thing. Mt advice? Keep Burrell, pass on Soriano.

Lake Fred- we're on the same page, but when others on here read our comments we're going to be under attack because perception of Soriano is that he's a far superior LF to Burrell, but he's really not. He is better, and I would rather him (Soriano) over Burrell, but not for the price it will cost both for his salary and eating part of Burrell's.

catalanotto would be a good player for the phils and def cheaper than dellucci, but he's not an everyday LFer. those K number for Iwamura look bad...kaz matsui had similar K problems, and look how he turned out.

and please, everyone, stop w/ the soriano crap! as overpriced and overrated as burrell has been, he's nothing compared to soriano. as i said on BS&S.com, the boos-to-be for soriano would make pat burrell's boos sound like tom-jones-panty-throwing-cheers.

Iwamura is reportedly an excellent third baseman, as evidenced by his willingness to play second, short or centerfield in the US.

as far as the "issue" of his strikeouts, you know people are grasping at straws to criticize a player when that's literally the only bad thing they can say - after all, he hits for power, OBP and average, and that's pretty much the whole game. projections I have seen from reputable sites put him as at least a mid-.800 OPS. he's not a marginal player - if there were a guy right now in AAA whose last two seasons in OPS were .931 and .946 OPS, would you honestly not want him on your team? (and keep in mind, Japanese baseball is a higher caliber than AAA.)

of course there's no guarantee he'll hit, but he seems like a pretty reasonable risk to me, especially at only 27. the only legitimate issue I can see is that he's a lefty, which is less than ideal.

Of course, we're all trying to improve an offense that produced the most runs in the NL. That was obviously the main problem this year.

I went back in time to the March 2006 Archives on this site and found my 2006 predictions for the free book contest. Here's part of what I wrote on March 31, 2006:

"I see the Phillies as a team on the downslide in the beginning of the rebuilding process. I don’t see them in the playoffs let alone the World Series. I fully expect a third place division finish and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they finish higher. However, saying that, in baseball anything can happen as attested by a humorous shirt I saw this week sporting an Apollo 13 theme. The shirt read, “Houston...We have a World Series.” I see a Red World Series, a rematch from 2004, with the Cardinals winning over the Red Sox."

I was wrong about the Red Sox, but I did pick the WS winner. I guess the anything can happen remark was foretelling the Detroit success. Lake Nostradamus had a lucky guess on the winner this year!

Jason, your site haunted for Halloween. Maybe the time change has affected it. My comment time stamped 3:21 PM was made before my 2:31 PM comment.

Jason, I expect better from you than "He's a 40-40 player." According to every meaningful statistical study there is no more important statistic than on-base percentage. Last year he was at .351, a bit above average, but it's the first time he's been above the league average in his 6-year career. He's also 30 years old, no spring chicken. There's only one reason to look at him seriously: lineup protection for Howard. But I'm with DQ -- at $8-$10 million a year more than Burrell, it wouldn't be an $8-$10 million upgrade.

AE, if strikeouts really were no issue, people wouldn't despise Burrell so much, would they? I would be intrigued to see the team add Iwamura, who would be a clear upgrade from Nunez. You're right, they don't really need another lefty bat, but I wouldn't mind them making a run at the guy.

"You can tolerate it for a high average high output sluggers like Ryan Howard, but for others, you want to see contact with the ball."

okay - except Iwamura actually is a high-average, high-output slugger. he was fifth in his league in BA both this year and last. his power numbers appear (can't be 100% - there's no J baseball-reference unfortunately) to put him fourth in his league this year and sixth last year. Hideki Matsui regularly struck out 100+ times a season (which is only 140 games in Japan) before he came to the US, and I think he has done okay. (as a side note, I have never understood the preoccupation with strikeouts as a negative thing. that's baseball in the year 2006 - guys are going to strike out a lot. Utley Ks 130 times a season! Joe Sewell died 16 years ago, folks.)

my point in all this Iwamura boosterism is that he appears to me to have the highest upside of third basemen who have a realistic chance of playing in Philly next year, even if you stretch the definition of "realistic" to cover Ramirez. and isn't this one of the reasons everyone was so high on Gillick - that he can convince excellent international players to come to the Phillies? well, Iwamura is the best third baseman in Japan right now.

Typepad, and yours truly, are under the weather today. This might be why the majority "vote no to Soriano" is a little surprising. You mean to tell me no one would welcome this guy as protection for Howard, even with the pricetag? Protecting Howard is a pretty important need.

I'm not trying to say Soriano isn't a good ball player. I'd gladly take him on this team if the price tag wasn't so steep. Burrell isn't a superstar, but he's not slouch either. He was hurt this past season (wrist and foot) and still managed to put up better numbers than league average...his OPS is solid! I know OPS, homers, and rbi's aren't everything, but to cast them aside is silly. Burrell did play poorly in crucial situations down the stretch last season, but that's not been the case over his career.

I can understand a certain degree of speculation regarding Soriano, but huh? He's a 40-40 player. He was a dud in the last Nats series? Who cares? That team was in shambles.

DQ - I forgot to mention that Soriano's fielding wasn't too good during that series either.

Billy Mac - Good detecive work finding those horrible strikeout figures for Iwamura. I surely don't like strikouts. You can tolerate it for a high average high output sluggers like Ryan Howard, but for others, you want to see contact with the ball. I think I'll pass on Iwamura. Watch Gillick sign him tomorrow!

Iwamura is a risk, sure, but he's a risk that's probably cheaper than a-ram (if he goes for FA) and definitely soriano. Why did Burrell do all our heads in so much this year? the k's looking when we knew we had the various 06 versions of the black hole coming up be it fasano, bell, nunez, lieby on a bad day etc.

Show me that Iwamura k's looking on 3rd strikes a lot, then maybe I'm a bit more concerned. and sure, the left-handed hitter thing isn't brilliant. But as ae points out he's 27, so there's room for further development, and he's put up good numbers. I'm in favour of taking a chance on cheaper and younger rather than more expensive and older. As others have pointed out Soriano, barring a miracle, won't be an option unless we're trading burrell and eating a chunk of his salary. So we'll be paying for half of burrell AND soriano for burrell-like production with a lot more speed. I'm not saying spend frugally, but there is no way that makes sense to me money-wise. I'm assuming if A-ram hits the free market, the situation will be similar, although probably not as expensive because of the lack of the 40-40 tag.

Granted, we don't know how the bidding may go over Iwamura, but I'd prefer to take the chance.

looks like A. Ramirez just officially opted for free agency. (according to ESPN radio in Chicago, as posted on various websites incl. MLB Trade Rumors.)

I love how these threads go. Jason makes a post on Padilla, Alou and DeRosa. Therefore, the hot discussion is on Iwamura, Soriano and Burrell. LOL.

Burrell doesn't get nearly the heat that he got in '06 if "the black hole" didn't exist behind him. Even remotely mediocre hitting with an occasional big hit in the 7-8-9 spot takes a lot of the heat off of Pat the Bat. An upgrade at 3B goes a long way to making Burrell look a lot better back in a Philly uni next year. I can't believe I just typed that.

Gotta agree with DQ on the Soriano question. His stats past 3 years aren't much better than Burrell, he's a bad fielder, has hideous OB and will be ridiculously overpriced.
Same problem with Sheffield who, at his age, won't nearly be the player Abreu will be and will cost much more. Dump Abreu to save money and then spend it plus much more on Sheff (who says he won't settle for less than 3-yr contract)? Only an idiot would think that's a smart move.

Jason, while getting a bat to hit behind Howard would be nice, it is far from the pressing issue concerning the team - as will rightly notes, the team did lead the NL in runs last year! We shouldn't overemphasize failures at the end of the season (Burrell and Conine comming up weak) at the expense of problems that existed all season long (starting pitching, middle relief and offense at 3B and catcher (until Coste)). THe former concerns are in our head because of frustration, not because they were objectively more damaging to the teams success.

The problem with Soriano has been mentioned before, but they guy is simply overated and we would be paying for a career year! It's amazing that some people are suggesting that we trade Burrell, eat nearly half his salary, and then hand out a 4 or 5 year deal to a surly slugger with no plate discipline who can't play outfield to save his life.
All this to get someone to hit behind Howard.

While the problems with Utley hitting behind Howard have been noted (speed, etc.), these pale in coimparison to the problems of eating Burrell's contract and having another expensive long-term deal. Just switch the goddamn players (Utley and Howard) in the order and focus on what the team needs, pitching and a 3B.

This obsession with someone to hit behind Howard obscures the real problems with the team.

Man ... I'm taking a beating over this guy! I'm not even all that into Soriano!

ae, If a lineup already lacks contact hitters up and down the lineup, I am not excited about a lefty who struck out once every three ABs against sub MLB competition.

Iwamura will demand at least a 3 year deal for $20 M.

By the way, here were Kaz Matsui's numbers in Japan.

Age 26 -- 36 HRs , .332 avg, 1006 ops
Age 27 -- 33 Hrs, .305 avg, 914 ops

I am not saying Iwamura is Matsui, but their numbers are nearly identical if not better for Matsui if you consider Matsui stole bases and didn't strike out as much.

A Phils' fan would be crazy if they wouldn't like the acquisition of Soriano; however, it has to be evaluated in the context of other solutions/options.

The Phils have much bigger holes to fill including 3B and pitching. I would much rather have the Phils go after a premier pitcher (although their aren't alot this year) instead of signing a valuable but overrated slugger like Soriano.

Interesting Phillies mailbag on phillies.com if you believe Ken Mandel is more connected than other beat writers.

Among other things, he states

1. Aaron Fultz is not expected back
2. Fabio Castro will likely start the 2007 season at Reading -- perhaps as a starting pitcher.
3. Of free agent relievers, Rick White has the best chance to return.

Clout wrote

> Same problem with Sheffield who, at his age, won't nearly be the player Abreu will be and will cost much more. Dump Abreu to save money and then spend it plus much more on Sheff (who says he won't settle for less than 3-yr contract)? Only an idiot would think that's a smart move.

I didn't agree with trading Abreu then and I still don't know. But there is no reason to lump Abreu and Sheffield together. Doesn't matter if Sheffield wants a 3 year contract. If the Yanks pick up Sheff's option (which they most certainly will do), then Sheffield at 1 year and $13M is an interesting but risky move to me. I think a couple of AA players gets Sheff from the Yanks as they most certainly will trade him. I would much prefer this to spending $60M or so on Soriano.

Billy Mac - I do agree with you, to a point. Iwamura isn't going to come over here and start playing like Mike Schmidt (who ranks 7th in Ks for his career, FWIW) off the bat.

the Matsui case is really bizarre - as you pointed out, he looked for all the world like an excellent hitter (not to mention very strong on defense), but he just went off a cliff when he came to the US. part of that may be Shea - just look at Beltran's splits this season to see what kind of effect the stadium can have. Matsui hit very well when he moved to Colorado (.896 OPS), although in only 113 AB.

but I think the major difference between K and, for example, Hideki Mastui as well as Iwamura, is that Kaz cannot take walks - never did in Japan, doesn't in the US. this suggests to me that Kaz is not the Abreu/Dunn/Thome (or even Burrell) type, who strikes out a lot because they're patient and they're waiting for their pitch. he's more the Jose Hernandez/Preston Wilson type who strikes out a ton because he's a guess hitter - and if his hits aren't falling, his value plummets. I would bet that even if Iwamura hit .250 in the US (which I don't think is likely), he would still draw 90-100 walks and hit 25-30 HR. now that's not ideal (and sounds a lot like 2006 Burrell), but it's a big difference from Kaz Matsui losing over 150 points in slugging and becoming basically worthless when he came to the US.

another point missed in the K. Matsui comparison is that his strikeout rate actually dropped (very very slightly) when he came to the US - from 4.73 to 4.74 AB/K. another positive trend is that his strikeout rate in the last two seasons is even lower than that (6.21 2005, 5.28 2006). which could be a good thing or a bad thing - either he's getting accustomed to ML pitching, or that he's trying so hard not to strike out that his hitting is suffering.

anyway, to wrap up this very long post, you're right that Iwamura's strikeouts are something to worry about - as much as, say, Soriano's 160 Ks last year are something to worry about. however I am not convinced that his strikeout rate should be a deal breaker, nor am I convinced that it necessarily means he will not successfully adjust to ML pitching (esp. in a relatively favorable stadium like CBP and with great hitters around him in the order).

Jason: I'd love to see Andy Marte in a Phillies uni, but that's unlikely.

He played this past season at age 22 and, wanting to make a big splash with his new team, pressed pretty badly and messed up his swing. The Indians are still very high on him. This scouting report is courtesy of my in-laws, who live in Cleveland.

I think he winds up as a very solid player, not a high average hitter, but 30 HR power and a decent fielder. I'd take that for the next 10 years.

Billy Mac, couple things. Mandel's pretty good, so it's probably true. On Sheff, I agree the 1 year is an interesting gamble but his agent says he won't play for any new team without a 3-year contract. He most definitely is NOT worth a 3-year contract.

Padilla - I guess there's no use crying over spilt milk. Forget that you traded Padilla for nothing. It's done. But the Phillies should be asking themselves some other questions, starting with "what happened?" Why did Padilla win 15 games this season, but couldn't get it together the previous two season with the Phillies? Was he pitching for a better team this year, the Rangers? Was it the fault of injuries? Was it a bad pitching coach? Was he mis-used? Was he distracted by personal problems that were solved last year? Did he hate the manager? Contract year?
The Phillies need to be asking themselves why an obviously talented player was unable to perform for the Phillies yet did for the Rangers.

Iwamura - The Phillies should take him if they get the chance. The guy can hit and the guy can field. Yes, he's LH and he strikes out, but those things should not cloud the value he brings. For one thing, it opens the door for the Phillies to start tapping the market for Asian players, which is a good thing. More immediate, adding a Japanese player helps in an area that the Phillies desperately need help: knowledge of fundamentals. Based on the coaches the team has added, it looks like the Phillies are going to try to return to fundamentals, and a player like Iwamura fits nicely into that plan. He would certainly make the team more fundamentally sound than adding either Soriano or Sheffield.

Soriano-Burrell - I admit I have a personal prejudice against Soriano-type players: talented, terribly exciting, but streaky, often temperamental and ultimately heartbreakers. Add the fact that he carries a high price tag and I don't see the big upgrade vs Pat Burrell. If Burrell wants to stay, and he's healthy, he could surprise and have a big year. That's a gamble I think worth taking (unless someone offers some real value in a trade).

Sheffield - A 1-year deal at $13 mil is not bad for a proven bat behind Howard. The other thing that acquiring a big name like Sheffield does is that it takes advantage of a PR opportunity for the Phillies, what with the Eagles, Flyers and Sixers all in the dumpster. Making a bold move like that bullds a lot of momentum for 2007. I still prefer Iwamura as a longterm solution at 3B, though.

Please, does anyone who really thinks Padilla would have won 15 games with the Phillies? Really. Please. Yeah, a drunk-driving headhunter who doesn't speak to the media or his teammates. I might as well switch my allegiance to the Rangers, I'm so heartbroken he's gone.

I would greatly prefer Sheffield over Soriano for the simple reason that he's a better hitter. Howard and Soriano in the middle of the lineup are dangerous, but also good for about 350 strikeouts between them. I think the $15 million-plus per year it would take to get Soriano could be better spent elsewhere. If Sheffield wants a 3-year deal, give it to him. Just don't give him a no-trade.

That said, I'd rather see Soriano signed at any price if the options come down to him or Burrell. The Howard-protection issue really *cannot* be overemphasized. The Phillies seem to be near the league lead in runs every year, but they lose a ton of games due to a malfunctioning offense. The aim is consistency. If you weren't alarmed by what happened to Howard the last three weeks of the season, you were not paying attention.

RSB - on consistency - isn't it better to give every player in the lineup a chance to contribute and this increase the overall chance of runs, then heap too much money on one player to protect another and expect that one to sort all the problems? Putting all your eggs in one basket is a foolish gamble, and I'm through with this team's foolish gambles on one uber-player to overcome all our problems. Protection would be nice, yes, but as someone else points out - mix up the lineup and we get protection. and its easier to mix-up the lineup with more decent hitters.

I'm not trying to skate around the idea that we need protection for Howard, but he's a big boy, he'll find a way to adjust if we still have Burrell in the 5 hole. Backend of the rotation, bullpen, and 3rd are our glaring deficiencies right now. Idealy signing a 3rd baseman that can protect Howard is nice, but unrealistic unless Gillick ponies up for A-Ram.

"The Phillies seem to be near the league lead in runs every year, but they lose a ton of games due to a malfunctioning offense."

Geez, RSB, are you serious? The resason they score so many runs and still lose is because the GIVE UP a lot of runs. Again, while Conine and Burrell hurt the team down the stretch, the FAR BIGGER problem over the course of the season was starting pitching.

In 2006, the Phillies outscored their opponents 865 to 812, which leaves them with an "expected" win total of 85.9, or .9 more than they actually won. Essentially the PHillies performed as well as you would expect a team to give their run production; meaning the offense didn't "malfunction" at all.

Also, FWIW, given the Phillies raw statistics, they should have scored only 855 runs, meaning they were actually MORE EFFICIENT than an average offense.

Also, very nice post ae!

San Diego is not planning on picking up Piazza's option for next year. What are the chances he can come "home" for one last year, really cheap? Not that we need to carry three catchers. Just throwing that out there while we're tossing around the possibility of signing 40+ year old vets.

Piazza a Phillie...no thanks.

Nice post, George S. I think I'm leaning toward Iwamura. With Burrell, Howard and Utley already in the top ten NL strikeout kings, adding Iwamura will make the opposing pitchers lick their chops to come in to Philly to pad their strikeout stats while seeing their ERA soar.

I leave for a while and I come back to find out that Pat Burrell is just as good as Alfonso Soriano? Did you guys actually watch the Phillies games in August and September?

.258-29-95 or
.277-46-96 (batting leadoff in a pitchers park)

Put Soriano in the middle of the Phillies lineup between howard and utley playing 81 at CBP he's at 50 and 130. Numbers Pat the Bat couldn't sniff.

Wash. Post reports today that Soriano told the Orioles he's looking for 7 years/$117M. that is absolutely ridiculous, and I have no doubt that some team will be stupid enough to pay it. but it had better not be us.

Well, kdon, considering that the personnel of the team in September will resemble the personnel of next season, I'm looking at what the team's problems were in that month specifically. The bullpen, of course, but *not* the starting pitching. One of the central problems was that Howard was kept in check because there was no one of any appropriate caliber behind him anywhere in that lineup - and yes, this *did* affect the entire offensive output and the team's ability to win down the stretch. In effect, if you do not find a dangerous hitter to fit behind him (and sorry, folks, Pat Burrell, isn't anyone's idea of 'dangerous'), you are more or less ensuring that Howard's production will be way off next year. DQ says he'll find a way to adjust, but I didn't see that from him over those last three weeks - it's tough to adjust to a constant diet of breaking and offspeed pitches thrown a foot outside the strike zone. Howard is a decent hitter, but those 180 Ks suggest he's a long way from being able to make adjustments like Pujols or Bonds. If he continues to get the kind of treatment those two get, he will *not* remain nearly as productive a player as he was in 2006.

and Tony, your projection really lacks any basis. in 2004 and 2005, Soriano played in a very hitter-friendly park in Texas and hit with Michael Young, Hank Blalock, and Mark Teixeira. Soriano had 28 HR and 91 RBI in 2004, and 36 HR and 104 RBI in 2005. not to mention that Soriano hitting leadoff for the Nationals actually inflates his power numbers, since he gets more plate appearances than if he hit fourth or fifth.

also worth noting that Soriano's walk rate coincidentally shot up when he went to the Nationals. I'm just guessing here, but I think pitchers are more likely to pitch around you when the next hitter is Royce Clayton or Felipe Lopez than when a guy like Teixiera is on deck. (note that Soriano received 16 IBBs in 2006 - he has only 15 over the entire rest of his career). I would bet on Soriano going back to his ~35 walk pace if he played for Philadelphia.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/102-10312006-734721.html

Don't have time to read through the entire post to see if this has been discussed yet. Soriano 5 years 75 Million? We are supposed to make a early push for him.

Is this something to get excited about or just another huge contract mistake?

Anyone think we will actually make an offer for him?

Stick Burrell behind Howard for another year and see what happens. He'll be booed his first AB on Opening Day or first time he strikes out with a guy on base, it'll become a distraction all year (it already was last year). And ask every pitcher in the national league who they'd rather pitch to? Pat Burrell or Alfonso Soriano. This is completely ridiculous I can't even believe I'm arguing it.

I still don't get the "all he has more than Pat Burrel is speed" argument. As if 40/40 guys grow on trees. And while Burrells OBP is good, it 's pretty much useless because it takes 2 hits or a HR to score him from 1st. I'd rather have a guy that might get on base a hair less but has a chance of stealing a base and scoring from 2nd on a single without spraining his foot. I won't even talk about Soriano's .060 higher slugging % last year.

And come on AE, power numbers inflated because of more AB's? Maybe that's because while Soriano was getting AB's Pat Burrell was getting pinch hit for by Joe Thurston and platooned with 42 year old Jeff Conine down the stretch.

Tony, I don't see what you don't understand about this. counting stats such as HR, doubles, etc. are highly dependent on the number of times a player bats. the average difference between the leadoff spot and, for example, the fifth spot in the NL was 65.83 PA in 2004 (the first numbers I came up with by Google search). if you give player A 66 more PA than player B, player A will hit more HR, all else being equal. this is a pretty straightforward concept.

I am not arguing that Burrell is a better power hitter than Soriano, because that just isn't the case. my point in bringing up plate appearances was that you used the leadoff spot to discount his RBI total, while ignoring the fact that more PA also improves his power totals.

Soriano's OBP is not a "hair" lower than Burrell's. Soriano's career OBP is .325. Burrell's is .362. Soriano's career slugging percentage is .510 - Burrell's is .479. I will leave the math there to you.

I would also like to lift from a poster on PhilliesPhans.com some interesting stats regarding Burrell and Soriano.

Soriano career RISP
.252/.316/.447
Burrell career RISP
.267/.388/.466

Soriano career RISP/2 outs
.224/.305/.421 23.26 AB/HR 2.99 AB/RBI
Burrell career RISP/2 outs
.252/.390/.481 19.23 AB/HR 2.50 AB/RBI

Soriano 2004-6 "close and late" (per ESPN)
.261/.342/.425 29.41 AB/HR 8.77 AB/RBI
Burrell 2004-6 "close and late" (per ESPN)
.239/.387/.414 25.00 AB/HR 6.33 AB/RBI

I'd like to take issue with the idea that Padilla somehow prospered in Texas after sucking in Philadelphia. That's ridiculous. The only difference between the '06 model and the previous two years was that he was healthy all year. He put up pretty much the same numbers in Texas that he put up in '02 and '03 in Philly; for that matter, his '04 numbers weren't much different if you adjust for the 85 innings he missed to injury. So he basically had a bad year in '05, which means one year in the past five he didn't run according to form. If he was a horse, wouldn't you bet on him? I'm not saying go after him -- that ain't gonna happen -- I'm just saying that he's been more consistent than most pitchers over the 5-year period.

The only thing Pat Burrell does better than Soriano is walk. That is it. There is NOTHING else on the baseball field that Pat Burrell is better at. Nothing. I'm done with it.


also, the world is flat, evolution is a lie, the sun orbits the earth, and David Eckstein is the best shortstop in baseball.

so nice to ignore objective reality.

People's perception of Burrell is poor on here because they get to see him play every game. If he were on another team that we only got to view but a few times a year, we'd be wanting that juicy OPS and decent power numbers.

Soriano was better than Burrell last year, but over the course of their careers that just isn't the case. AE provided the #'s and now you are just choosing to ignore...that's not even ignorance, that's silly!

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