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Thursday, October 19, 2006


Good post JW.

I expect them to start Ruiz with 2 of the 5 starters to begin and then take it from there. He needs to prove he can bat consistently AND handle the pitchers consistently well.

Anybody have any speculations on who he'll catch to begin with? I'd personally rather have Coste, the vet (kinda), handle any younger pitchers, definitely Hamels, but besides that I'm lost.

I think that's what'll happen, Will - Ruiz will start 40% of the games, Coste 60% - until one or the other proves he deserves more or less playing time. And I think the Phillies will be just fine with that combination, they'll wind up with more production out of that position than most teams. Both of these guys can play.

It's going to be a busy spring for Carlos to get better acquainted with the starting staff. Coste had success with just about everyone, but he didn't catch Myers a whole lot; those were mostly Lieberthal starts. I could see Ruiz taking over his starts. Hamels pitched to Ruiz at the very beginning, but then worked with Coste almost exclusively. Same for Lieber, although Ruiz worked two starts near the end of the season and appeared to be on the same page. Not to simplify, but if the Phils add a Latino starter, they'd probably pair him with Ruiz. I hold out hope for the Phils to swing a deal for one of the White Sox guys.

To start, I think Ruiz will be paired with Lieber.

Another positive point about the catchers: They work fast. Tom Goodman made a good point on this subject, how the starting staff appeared to work faster later in the season, and that it was no coincidence they had better results.

i think that the late season pitching success can be almost 100% attributed to the increased pitcher-handling ability behind the plate.

my shopping list this season is a lot shorter than other people here... I'm comfy with the catcher situation, I'm very comfy with keeping Rowand, and think that evaluating him from this past year is premature.

First, we need to sign Wolf. He's the 3rd or 4th best FA out there, is a "company" guy, and we know exactly what we're getting. Plus second year TJ'ers are often very, very good.

So, you've got an opening day rotation of:
* Hamels
* Myers
* Wolf
* Lieber
* Someone from the farm.

Sure, you can go find a 5th SP, but I think that there are plenty of arms in the minors that should be given a shot.

Outfield? It aint bad right now...

The biggest hole is 3b. It has to be filled with major quality.

Great post, I've always loved Ruiz's stuff in the minors and it's great to see him finally getting the chance he obviously deserves.

I'm with Joe, except penciling in Moyer to the rotaion as well. That would essentially make Wolf the 5th starter and I would venture to say alot of teams would like to "settle" for Wolf as a 5th starter. Two of them are playing in the NLCS right now. Whoever shines in AAA can get called up when a starter goes down (which inevitably happens).

I don't have a problem letting Rowand/Conine/Victorino/Burrell share the OF to start and maybe make a move later if they're not producing as a group. They need to get a 3B more than anything and Aramis Ramirez would be the best option. That would give you a lineup like this:

1. Rollins
2. Victorino
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. Ramirez
6. Burrell/Conine
7. Rowand
8. Coste/Ruiz

Personally, I would move Rollins down to the six hole but I'm basing this on what CM will do, not the way I'd put together the lineup.

Nice post. It won't generate much controversy because I believe its speaks the truth about the catching situation. When we get bored we can talk about the Allentown Iron Pigs.

It's hard not to like Ruiz...good minor league numbers, seems to have a good attitude. He and Coste should be fine...I really hope Gillick doesn't feel the need to hire a "proven" player like Fassano. For a couple years in Seattle, he threw away a roster spot on Pat Borders. If the begining of last year aught anything, it is that bench strength is crucial.

Also Steve, Moyer holds a player option and is likely to decline it to either ask for more money or go back to Seattle. No inside word or anything, but that seems to be the consensus view. If Moyer leaves, I think a starting pitcher is as important as 3B. After Hamels, Myers and Lieber, there is not much left. They need to sign at least one pitcher (hopefully Wolf).

Kdon: I would agree with that idea strongly. The Phillies can get away with having the last spot in the rotation as a toss-up for someone to win in spring training, but they can't have two experiments like they did with Floyd and Madson. That killed them.

Everyone is talking up Wolf here a lot. I'm scared of Wolf. I don't think he's that good, to be quite frank about it.

Ruiz/Coste works ok but I wouldn't mind seeing the Phils invite a veteran catcher for spring training. Hopefully, that veteran catcher would open the year at T-AAA and be around if Coste turns out to be a fluke or if they have an injury.

I disagree that the Phils can only go into the season with 4 starters. Starting pitching depth killed this team last year. Plus, you can't count on Lieber, Hamels, or Wolf (if they resign him) staying healthy all year. One injury and this rotation is reduced to looking at some pretty weak alternatives (e.g., Brito) or throwing some kids to the wolves (e.g., Segovia). Either choice is pretty bad.

I will be very happy if the Phils go into the 2007 with a Ruiz/Coste tandem behind the dish. As RSB said, they together will produce better than league average most likely.

*I DO NOT WANT JOHNNY ESTRADA IN A PHILLIES UNIFORM! We already have something as good as him.

3rd base is my major concern too. And what concerns me even more is some of the fans thinking that it's acceptable to have a MLB 3rd baseman hit as poorly as Nunez...that is just silly.

back to the NLCS: How can LaRussa possibly justify hitting Juan Encarnacion *cleanup*? That guy's bat scares absolutely no one. Talk about weak protection for Pujols.

LaRussa is a freaking moron. And those are the good days...

RSB, Imagine what Tony L will have to do if they wind up in the Series and need a DH. Just furthers my argument about what a distinct disadvantage it has become. Not sure that the NL will ever be as competitive as long as 80% of their season they're essentially playing a different game.

I should add that today better be a good day for LaRussa. Encarnacion is an absolute joke as a clean up hitter. Time will tell if that pays off, but you'd think that there would be better options against Oliver Perez...

Speaking of LaRussa, I bet he is all proud of the safety squeeze he just had Belliard lay down...

Here's an idea for 3B : Akinori Iwamura. He's going to be available to Americans this winter, he hit .311/.388/.543 last year, and slightly better the year before in the Japanese leagues, which is above AAA. To top it off, he'd be 28 when the season starts, meaning if you sign him even to a big, 5 year deal, you're still getting mostly productive years. Since the Mariners and Yankees both have highly-paid 3Bs, maybe its something the Phils can look into? They cetrainly have the money with Abreu, Lieberthal and Wolf all coming off the books from last year (not to mention being in the largest unshared media market). IMO its a better solution than the A-Ram and A-Rod pipe dreams.

Spiezio would have been a much better option to protect Pujols, he's swung the bat well in the series. But Genius Tony probably had an index card that told him Encarnacion went 2 for 5 against Perez in 2003, so there you go.

Joe sez, "i think that the late season pitching success can be almost 100% attributed to the increased pitcher-handling ability behind the plate." Whereas I think it can be almost 100% attributed to a third baseman who could pick something more than his ever-multiplying scabs.

Dave X, Akinori Iwamura sounds like a great idea, but I have a hard time imagining a Japanese player coming to a city that would represent such a big culture shock. Once someone does, though, other dominoes could start to fall. I believe Gillick will at least act as if he's not afraid to start the season with Nunez at third, while keeping his eyes open for whoever loses his job when the game of musical chairs starts.

Endy Chavez just made the best catch I think I've ever seen.

Off the topic of catchers, but I hope everyone just saw that catch by Endy Chavez. Unbelievable ice-cream-cone catch 2 feet over the left field wall, and then doubled up the runner at first to end the inning and keep the tie for the Mets.

I can't get over that catch. It was unbelievable.

That catch was unbelievable, but I think I'm even more impressed with Jeff Suppan. Talk about a gutsy performance.

Yep, good thing the Phils let him go for nothing.
Interesting to see wild flights of fantasy beginning to pop up again: "Ruiz is the next Lo Duca" "Catching is 100% of the reason the pitching got good late last season" etc.
I do agree catching should not be among the top priorities. I have no problem with a Ruiz/Coste tandem. Priority-wise, I'd say 3B is #1 and the rotation #2.
P.S. to Joe. If the Phils begin '07 with a rotation of "Hamels/Myers/Wolf/Lieber/ Someone from the farm" they will NOT, repeat NOT, win as many games as they did this year. The rotation needs help and the bullpen needs lots of help.

Everyone seem comfortable with the catcher spot and rightfully so from last years production. This is an area that is a low priority for Gillick. They may be able to work a trade for Estrada to be a lefty to platoon or off the bench. It would add great depth at catcher and he wouldn't cost much in a trade. However with Ruiz's speed and defense and Cost's defense he is not needed but would be a luxury.

Something that is overlooked here so far: Both Ruiz and Coste have good arms and are solid at defense. That in my opinion is even more valuable. Coste can also play 1B, 3B, and LF with more experience at 3B than the other spots.
Good topic can't argue here unless I want to argue with DQ over Estrada HA!

This has nothing to do w/ Ruiz (I agree this was an excellent post, as were some of the responses), but the 8th inning of the Mets-Cards game just ended and I'm absolutely enthralled w/ this particular game. It's classicly beatiful games like this that makes baseball such a wonderful sport.

I'm ambivalent about who I want to win, but wouldn't mind seeing Wagner blow it.

Oops . . . make that "beautiful" game. Where's spell checking when you need it.

Oh, I hope it hurts, New York. I hope it kills.

I only wish Wagner would've given up that homer to Molina.

YEAHHH! Please, Fox, keep showing those Mets fans' faces. I don't feel sorry for them just yet.

McCarver's getting to be as bad as his old partner Kiner...who is 'Chris' Floyd?

I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing New York teams lose.

And you can't forget that Mets Left Fielder "Eric" Chavez

These moments are so precious. What will Scott Rolen remember? Scoring the go-ahead run? Getting robbed of a homer? Nope. His vivid memory will be how uncomfortable it felt when Chris Myers asked in the national post-game interview whether he's on speaking terms with Tony LaRussa.

Well, at least we got some decent playoff baseball there for a change. But nothing's as gratifying is watching New Yorkers choke on rain-soaked humble pie. How sweet it is!

It was a good Game 7. Fans are taking it surprisingly well on Metsblog. One reader lists his top five goats: Trachsel, Wright, Valentin, Mota, and last but not least, Billy Boy.

The Mets looked like the Phillies in that series. One night they're bombing pitches all over the park and scoring 12 runs, the next they're being stymied by Jeff Weaver. Also, they did not do well in the clutch, lost home games in the ninth inning, and even had the last game end with a called third strike with the bases loaded. It all looked so familiar! Maybe they shouldn't have worn the pinstripes...

They did. Meanwhile, the Cardinals continue to get big outs with runners in scoring position. Defesively, they've been making big plays this postseason, but tonight, they were locking them up with good pitching.


I didn't ever expect Endy Chavez to become a productive MLB player. He's no star, but he seriously helped the Mets with their outfield woes this season. I've watched him play a lot this season, and he's an excellent defensive outfielder.

They showed Endy Chavez' catch over and over, but never replayed the complete play with the throws that caught the runner off first. In my mind, the combined incredible catch and the inning ending out at first completing the double play was the best postseason defensive play ever. What did Rolen get for his effort...flied out into double play!

I'm so glad that the Mets lost. I think Billy Boy didn't get into the game in the ninth due to his sucky appearances this whole NLCS.

In the WC, I generally pull for the NL teams, but I'm rooting for the Tigers this year.

Jason's posts about last night's game were right on.

Nice post Jason. I think I did compare Ruiz to Lo Duca, for the reason you note--he got the bigs at an advanced age, but has stayed productive with the bat deeper into his 30s than most catchers.

The other nice thing about Ruiz is that if he pans out, the Phils have a cheap option to start behind the plate for the next half-decade--as with Howard and Utley, probably to an even greater extent, the guy will spend his prime years under contract with the Phils.

I'm with RSB on NO ESTRADA. But it does seem like the reflexive dumb Phillies thing to do.

My favorite McCarver from last night's game was this gem about Rolen after he uncharacteristically rifled the ball into the stands for a late-game error.

"You'll see on the replay that Rolen looked over to second and was indecisive," McCarver said (or something like that).

Cue replay. And nothing. He picked the ball up and went right to first.

"But in my opinion, he was *thinking* about going to second," McCarver said.


Nice post on Ruiz. I'm still wondering if the Phils would be in Detroit Saturday if they hadn't... just... almost... not... stalled... at the end of the season.

I thought Rolen was thinking second as well.

But I know Floyd's and Chavez's first names too.

For the record, it was DQ who was adamantly anti-Estrada. But I don't see the sense in bringing him here either, unless he can play third base!

Good piece by Hagen in today's Daily News on how Dombrowski built the Tigers. He dealt veterans like Jeff Weaver and Mark Redman and got solid young prospects in return. Just like the Marlins have been doing. Imagine that.

Thank you for the props RSB, but I was just going to let is slide, it happens.

Getting young prospects in trades is a primary reason for their success, but it's not the only reason, clout. The Tigers, like a lot of others, also know how to find cheap, younger talent to fill out a roster and bench. Thames, Monroe, Shelton, Gomez, etc. etc. were minor league free agents, waiver guys or Rule 5 picks now playing a major role.

The Phillies, on the other hand, recognize a need, scratch their head for about two seconds, and come up with obvious veteran filler like Alex Gonzalez, Randall Simon, Ryan Franklin and Sal Fasano with no upside at all.

It's time for the Phils to dig a little deeper in this regard, too.

Of course the veterans the marlins/tigers traded for those prospects didn't have huge prohibitive contracts (Abreu). But we don't like to factor that into the equation on here, since money's no object for the Philly franchise.

If Rolen is so upset with his manager - maybe he will come back home and play for the Phillies - we'll send Nuni to the Cards for him

Scottie-boy is great defensively, solid offensively, but has been injury riddled and has obviously thin skin...return to Philly negatory.

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