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Saturday, November 25, 2006

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with burrells health problems i don't know how he could turn down a hypothetical 2 year $20 million extention in a trade. i have no idea who would be desperate enough to give that to him (maybe san fran, seattle, houston before lee, baltimore, the cubs (they seem just crazy enough), san diego) but it would have to be a team desperate for offense and possibly one either in the al or an nl team that thinks pat can play first base at some point (which there is zero evidence to support). san fran has basically two players signed for next year and san diego has been surprisingly quiet so far this offseason, so we shall see. i think once jd drew signs a lot of moves will be made.

I'm hoping that in the same way these new deals have made Manny Ramirez more tradable, Burrell is now more tradable.

However, in a blatant exercise of hindsight, that Abreu trade looks worse and worse by the day, IMO.

How great would Pat look in a Blue Jays uni, with VWells sportin red! We need VWells! If only it took just Burrell & Floyd to get the deal done.

sorry guys but Vernon Wells is originally from Texas and since the rangers lost 2/3 of their OF in Carlos Lee and G. Matthews Jr. they will most certainly look to Wells via trade with Toronto.

Looking at the PHillies farm system they have a severe lack of depth at all positions including pitching so any trade they make which includes prospects could be potentially devasting for the future.

Batlimore is desperate enough, and they finally have the money. Burrell isn't the only player to turn down the O's in recent years. They bid high for Pavano in 2004. And I also read they were prepared to pay big for Lee. The problem with trading with Baltimore is they have nothing the Phillies want. Their farm system has been a wreck.

Hot Stove update: The Phillies are interested in Rocco Baldelli, according to Fox's Ken Rosenthal. Like I said earlier, the D-Rays could lay the foundation for a young pitching staff by trading their stockpile of outfielders. I like Baldelli a little bit, not a lot, but a little. He's a Gillick-type player.

I'm conflicted on not getting Lee. Yeah you hear about the baggage and the weight. But he is by far a better option then Burrell. The big number for me is BA with runners in scoring position. Burrell last year .222, Lee was around .320. Not to mention that Lee struck out less last year then Burrell did looking alone. We try to paint Burrells contract as reasonable because Soriano and Lee signed for more and Drew may as well. The problem is Burrell is not in the same category as those players. Nobody is going to give him a 2 year extension until they see what he does this season. The offense needs a right-handed bat to bat behind Utley and Howard. But it also needs a hitter who can come through in RISP situations. At this point the Phillies don't have that. I'm not a fan of waiting till next season to hit a big free agent. But I don't think we can put together a package to get a player like Wells and I don't see Jones coming here in a trade either. Both would cost a young major league starter like Myers or Hamels. The more I the off season goes on I see Helms being the only real offense move we make. An outfield of Burrell, Rowand and Victoriano. I'm hopeful we can at least get a decent starter but even that is looking to be another older guy who will be in the pen by the All-Star break. Hopefully we can rebuild the back end of the bullpen with someone other then David Weathers. He just strikes me as a right handed version of Rhodes. At this point I don't see a lot of positives with the Phillies.

Caught the Hot Stove update. Phils have been rumored to be interested in him for a few years. Wasn't sure about him but his RISP last year was .330 and .279 in 2004. Good speed, plays CF. Not sure what we could send them? I keep hearing they are looking for young pitching.

Lee is no way worth his contract here in Philly. BUT with that signing with the Astro's, Burrell's value had to gone up alot. 2 years 13.5M each. With that value they might as well just keep him. I know he isn't the best player, unless you are going to get V. Wells you might as well forget it.

As far as the Phils prospects, they have a ton of them that are legit. Quite a few pitchers at that. Evidently "REED" doesn't pay attention. I understand how the Phils have a history of not haveing good prospects, But I do believe most of the saying that were absolutly wrong and stupid. Rollins, Myers, Hamels, Howard, Utley, even Madson and Burrell have come up in the Phils Minors. Funny how bad our Minor leagues are with prospects they might have 3 of the best in their position and a couple more who could very well be #1 starters. There minors are loaded why do you think Gillick isn't trading them.

Lakewood is a long way from Philadelphia. Minor league pitching took a step forward last season, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the Phillies are suddenly loaded with young arms.

I would just like the name of 2 prospects we have at AAA or AA that we could toss around in trade offers. Floyd is no longer considered a strong prospect. Gio Gonzalez is probably the best prospect we have at those levels. No position players at either of those levels that I can think of. Bourne is a speedster but he hasn't shown to be a can't miss prospect. But i'm not looking at the minor league roster so i'm willing to listen.

all those can't miss prospects and young stud pitchers are still a crap shoot in every organization. even a rookie of the year is no guarantee to be anything more than a journeyman.

i'd be willing to move any position player prospect and any outfielder on our mlb roster for a real starting pitcher.

jason - i think it's time for an "beerleaguer undercover expose" on where pat burrell is and what he is doing to get healthy. i thought by now he'd be like carlos delgado - under the knife twice and on his way to a recovery.

Baldelli's name has long been tied to rumors concerning the Phillies, and here we are again. I think they see the name "Rocco" and figure he'd be bound to become a folk hero in Philly - a Sal Fasano with talent.

The question, of course, is who do the Phillies have to trade that would make TB give him up? Who do the Phillies have to trade that would make *anyone* give *anything* up?

(Don't say Gavin Floyd. You're dreaming.)

Baldelli is 25 and would be under your control for 5 years at $26M (including 3 club options). I agree RSB. What do the Phils have to trade ? D-Rays would want Cole Hamels for Baldelli. No thanks.

The guy to trade is Rowand. Gary Matthews just got an eye-popping deal, and his 2006 career year was not as good--but much better timed--than Rowand's in '04. Aaron is younger and probably has more power, and we have the same player in Victorino but cheaper, with more upside and a much, much better arm.

Baldelli's okay, but he's not a patient hitter. (Neither is Rowand.) The Phils' great offensive strength in the last five years has been their ability to draw walks and wear down pitchers. A lot of that had to do with Abreu, but Burrell and guys like Dellucci played a big part as well. I'm very worried that they're going to turn to guys who "make things happen"--and fail to realize that mostly what they make happen is outs.

When Baseball America releases its list of the top prospects in the Phils' system, the top two players will be RHP Carlos Carrasco and LHP Gio Gonzalez, both rated as Top 10 RHP/LHP in the entire minors. It would take one of them and another substantial young arm to get Baldelli. I agree the player to deal is Rowand. Now that they are reportedly looking at Rocco, it appears they are looking to do it. Don't count out the idea of trading Victorino, who would also be an attractive option for many teams.

Tim - Pat Burrell actually played the hot corner when in college, and could easily move over to first if another team asks him to. It'd be a win-win situation for both Pat and the team that the Phils (hopefully) sucker into taking him. Pat wouldn't have to chase down fly balls, and the team would get a player who has 40 good swings a year. Pat has become the abscessed tooth of this team. It's time for a trip to the dentist's office.

And I disagree with the "lack of depth" theory. We've got a surplus of young SS, OF, and P. I don't think trading someone like Floyd, Happ, Brito, or Segovia would be "devastating for the future." Nor do I think trading Victorino, Bourn, Rowand, or Burrell would substantially hurt our team. Taking away one of those pitchers or outfielders out of the mix wouldn't devastate the farm system of the Phils.

I'm not sure how hot I am on the idea of getting Baldelli. Sure, he's cheap. But he's not a proven commodity. I'd much rather see the Phils get value-for-value and get someone like Delmon Young (though that would be a long shot) or Carl Crawford.

Crawford in red pinstripes -- what a beautiful sight that would be.

Ace - i agree that burrell SHOULD be able to play first but for all i know he never even played there in little league. i used to be a guy who wanted to move him back to third when bell was here but that was apparently impossible. just like it was apparently impossible for howard to play the outfield with thome at first. with some guys the common wisdon is they can play anywhere, other guys - take carlos lee for example - can only, ever, positively (according to the experts) play one spot.

i totally agree with you about baldelli/ crawford.

I think the prevailing logic is that first base isn't terribly difficult to learn. For Howard, he probably wouldn't be able to play outfield because it's so difficult to learn. Getting reads on balls, getting good jumps, the different throwing mechanics, balls in the sun, line drives, timing jumps at the wall, etc. None of those would be very easy for a life-long first baseman to learn. It's much easier to learn 1st after playing in the outfield because there's not near as much to know. THAT is what should make Burrell able to switch to first without a whole lot of difficulty.

Take Chris Duncan. He's not the slickest-fielding left-fielder, but he's blocked at first by Pujols and had to learn the OF.

(I'd love to see Duncan in Phillies red, by the way. The cards are pitching-deprived and we could package Lieber and Burrell and a minor-league P to get Duncan :])

Ace: Baldelli hit .302 with 16 HR and 57 RBI in 92 games last year. Agreed with dajafi that he isn't a patient hitter, but that's production nonetheless. By comparison, Crawford had very similar numbers - .305, 18, 77 - in 151 games. I don't see where one is a "proven commodity" and one isn't.

Nevertheless, the point is probably moot; TB wants to build with pitching, and I don't really think the Phillies have the kind of 'depth' of young arms to justify tossing some of them away in trades - not with aging vets like Lieber and Moyer in the rotation. maybe *one* of them, but that's it - and I don't think that's enough. I wouldn't trade Hamels, by the way, for their entire roster.

Burrell played first base exclusively for the Phillies when he came up in 2001, and didn't do too bad of a job. I don't see any reason why he couldn't be converted back to that position.

Sorry, make that 2000, not '01

My point was that Crawford can stay healthy, and Rocco hasn't totally proven that yet. He missed time last season with a hamstring injury that the D-Rays pussyfooted about for longer than necessary.

Crawford also offers a LOT in OBP and Steals, which is something the Phils could use out of their 2 spot in the lineup.

Crawford would be a perfect fit.

Nevermind about OBP - Crawford's and Rowand's are essentially the same. But Crawford is an absolute burner. Rowand also stuck out an astounding 76 times in 109 games, whereas Crawford struck out 85 times in 151 games.

I would love to see Baldelli or Crawford in CF next year but it is just not going to happen. Phils just don't have the prospects.

I know that fans always overvalue prospects in their team's organization, but some of the comments on this sight are borderline ridiculous.

The Phils don't have one positional prospect who will help them in 2007 unless Bourn gets a shot in the OF. The pitching situation is nearly as bleak. Phils have some promising arms but don't have one pitcher who is ready to step into the starting rotation.

This season is really going to begin to show what the 2003 and 2004 drafts yielded. Unforutantely, the prospects look pretty bleak from both drafts. Beyond Gillick's questionable moves, the biggest factor that is going to hinder this organization in the next 2 or 3 years is the generally poor results of the draft from 2002-2004 (besides Hamels).


If you read Rosenthals article about Baldelli. It says the Marlins would part with Nelasco? for him. The Phillies don't have a pitching prospect they could trade this year who would start the season in the Rays rotation. I think moving Rowand is probably easier then moving Burrell. I agree some of you have overvalued the prospects in this organization. If Floyd was worth anything why isn't he being considered for the 5th spot in rotation. Same with Matheison. If they could be moved to get us a talent like Wells who wouldn't do that deal. I doubt we could move either for Baldelli if we

"This season is really going to begin to show what the 2003 and 2004 drafts yielded."

You're not considering the age of many of the prospects drafted. Sure, Tim Moss isn't a top-tier prospect. None of the players from the '03 draft were due to our signing of type-A free-agents. The very first pick we had was in the third round that year. Bourn and Kendrick are the only two decent prospects out of that draft.

In '04, however, we had a decent draft. We got Golson(who is supposedly going to develop into a Reggie Jackson-type player), Jaramillo(the catcher of the future for the Phils), and JA Happ(a #3-type pitcher who doesn't wow with his speed but deceives hitters better than most). I'm not quite prepared to call that draft a failure, seeing as Happ, Jaramillo, and Golson will have a future with the Big Club.

I'm just not a fan of signing type-A free-agents. Looking at 03's draft is enough to make anybody shy away from that. The only way I really condone it is if the player is: a. Young, b. Consistent, or c. Both -- that can't be said for many of the free-agent starters or batters on the market.

By the way, here's your hot-stove update:

Milwaukee received former All-Star catcher Johnny Estrada, right-handed starter Claudio Vargas and right-handed reliever Greg Aquino for steady left-handed starter Doug Davis and a pair of prospects, lefty Dana Eveland and outfielder David Krynzel.

Ideally you get at least one decent contributor to the major league club from every draft. Kind of a minumum expectation level.

Phils didn't have a pick in the first two rounds in 2003 but the rest of the guys besides Bourn haven't shown much. Kendrick was "ok" last year but he has developed at a glacial pace. If your 23 and still haven't gotten out of High 'A', it is pretty unlikely that you are going to make the big show.

As for 2004, it is still too early but the results don't look good. The only thing that Golson shares with Jackson is his ability to K. Golson is classic great athlete that can't hit. Jamarillo showed some progress and had a good Fall League in Arizona. As for Happ, he stuff his pretty mediocre but he supposedly has an ability to locate/good pitching intelligence.

If Happ develops as a back-end starter (4 or 5) and Jamarillo becomes a decent catcher, maybe the 2004 was ok but I doubt both happen.

Golson is the highest-regarded outfielder in the Phils system. After exchanging emails with Randy Miller, Golson is being developed slowly (he's only 21) so that he can mature and develop his power.

You're too quick to rule out a lot of the prospects we have. Happ can be a 4 or 5 starter, Kendrick could be another 4/5 guy. Gio Gonzalez can be a number 3. That's not even taking Carlos Carrasco, Zach Segovia, Eude Brito, Fabio Castro, or Scott Mathieson into account.

After exchanging emails with Randy Miller, he told me how highly-regarded Golson really is.

I encourage you all to read this artcile: http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/102-03242005-467364.html

Ace - You should try finding a more recent article than March 2005. Golson hasn't done a whole lot the past 2 seasons. Reggie Taylor II.

As for the pitchers you mentioned, the only bonafide prospects are Gonzalez and Carrasco. Segovia has promise but I would say he makes scouts drool. The rest are folder.

Phillies prospects: Bottom line, some good arms, but the positional players are among the worst of any big league team. Like everyone else I like Gonzalez, Segovia, Fabio, Carrasco. Here's my take on some prospects I think have been over-hyped on this board:

Golson is a toolsy outfielder drafted straight out of high school who has no clue about the strike zone. He struck out a breathtaking 160 times in 546 ABs while walking a mere 30 times last season. At age 20, he's got plenty of time, but I'd say predicting he'll be an everyday player someday is an incredible stretch.

I like Jaramillo's chances a lot better because he's produced at higher levels, but he's looks a bit more like a backup guy than a starter: Very solid on defense, not much offense. At age 24, he needs to show he can hit at the AA and AAA level.

Happ is your classic college finesse lefty. The thing about these guys is that they can impress you with their minor league stats, but when they get to the bigs and find more patient hitters, they fail miserably because they can't bring the heat and the hitters lay off the junk. If he makes it, he's a back end of the rotation guy at best.

Kyle Kendrick had to repeat the Sally league 3 times to master it and I doubt even the permanently optimistic Randy Miller would rate him a legitimate prospect at this point.

It is frustrating to see guys like Doug Davis and Dana Eveland (a decent prospect) getting dealt for garbage. The Phils could use a couple guys like that. Davis especially would be a great replacement for Wolf.

Finally, to Malcolm: There is no more meaningless stat in baseball than BA with RISP. It varies widely from year to year for most players. To use those numbers from a single season as the sole value in comparing 2 players is silly.

Guys who can be 4/5 starters? Come on those are not prospects. Gonzalez has talent but won't make the rotation this year. Brito can't be considered a prospect anymore. What makes a player like Baldelli so valuable is the fact that he is so cheap. If Burrels contract was similar to Baldelli he would have been moved by now. Baldelli is a low risk/high reward player. If we could get him and sign a couple top FA relievers and sign a starter like Adam Eaton I would feel better about this off-season.

clout I don't totally disagree with you on RISP. But it is, in my opinion, better then OPS when judging what the Phillies need. If we had 2 run producers at nobody getting on in front of them I would want guys with high On Base Percentages. The problem is the Phillies need guys who can produce runs not get a count to 3-2 before watching a fastball down the middle.

Not all players in the bottom half of the Phils lineup are named Pat Burrell. This year we figure to have a lineup that looks like this on opening day(if Burrell isn't traded):
1. Rollins
2. Rowand
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. Burrell
6. Victorino
7. Helms
8. Coste
9. Myers

I'm pretty comfortable with that lineup, but I'd still like to see Burrell dealt. I'm in favor of finding someone who is a CONSISTENT PERFORMER in ALL situations (RISP w/ 2 outs, RISP, Runners on 1st+3rd w/ 2 outs, bases loaded w/ 0 outs, etc) as opposed to keeping someone who only has 40 good swings a year.

Why not sign Jay Payton?

RISP is a nearly meaningless stat. If their is such a thing as "clutch" a better stat is either "close and late" or "RISP, 2 outs." Those are much closer to "clutch" than RISP.

In 2006, Burrell hit a weak .222, 4 HRs in 153 ABs w/RISP. His performance was also weak in "close and late" and "RISP, 2 outs."

This ".222" and "40 good swings a year" have become the mantra of anti-Burrell fans. Still, Burrell performed decently with "runners on" in 2006 - .269 with 14 HRs in 253 ABs.

To really get a sense of Burrell's "clutchness", you have to look at the performance of a baseball player over a long-term frame than a single season. From 2004-06, Burrell's numbers with RISP, Runners On, and Runners On w/2 outs are good and nearly similiar.

Burrell's perforamcne does slightly diminish in "Close and Late" but he still gets on base with decent power.

I hate the idea of having a lineup with Rollins and Rowand in the 1 & 2 spots. There are going to be way too many times when Utley and Howard come up without opportunities to drive someone in.

MG: It is so refreshing to read your sensible posts when there is so much nonsense on a thread.

Who would you rather have hit second then?

I've read this thread and really agree with this statement by Tim "all those can't miss prospects and young stud pitchers are still a crap shoot in every organization. even a rookie of the year is no guarantee to be anything more than a journeyman."

I also agree with MG's "I hate the idea of having a lineup with Rollins and Rowand in the 1 & 2 spots. There are going to be way too many times when Utley and Howard come up without opportunities to drive someone in."

Basically I feel that a lot of this minor league hype for particular players is a load of crap. Floyd is a perfect example.

I looked at Ace's opening day lineup. I belive Rowand and Victorino will swap places and the opening day battery will be Ruiz and Hamels.

I'm not going to argue the unsensible RISP more then I have. The problem with the with Burrel was taking too many pitches. That lead to him walking more but also striking out looking more. The problem with that is your looking for your 5 hole hitter to be able to put the ball in play and be aggressive at the plate. Something Burrel has obviously lost. I really don't know who or what the answer for that spot in the lineup is. Maybe Burrell comes back next year and can shake last year. That lineup listed above is something we can't win with.

Well, with the Free-Agent bats left on the market, I don't think there's any true impact guys out there. MAYBE J.D. Drew, but could you imagine the Barry Bonds treatment (incessant booing) he would get in Philly? Yikes.

Why not hit Helms in the two-spot? He's got solid avg over the last two years, and isn't a really good RBI man. If he hits line drives like usual, he'll get on base more and score more runs. You can't really predict players coming off of a year like he had with a career like he has, but I've got a pretty good feeling about Helms.

Savior of the Franchise? Definately not. Solid contrubutor? Most likely. But how many Mesiahs are out there on the market? I can't find one.

Looks like we'll just have to swing a trade. I don't see Andruw Jones coming here, but there has to be someone to be had in the trade market. Perhaps a Mesiah?

MG - I take exception with your analysis of Kenrick taking too long to develop. Just check his stats and you'll see that yes the guy struggled his first few years but he was a hs draft pick and most do at that age. Plus he's just turned 22 in August 2006. So he's headed to Reading to play all year as a 22 yr old. That does not indicate a guy that is too slow to develop as you wrote. Its actually pretty typical of most phillies draft picks over the years who are highly regarding and not rushed through the system.

Although the ideal lineup would be something radically different, in my opinion, if you want to stay at least somewhat traditional and still solve the 2-hitter problem, bat Burrell 2nd. He's got the 2nd highest OBP on the team, and if you bat Howard 3rd and Utley 4th you don't have to worry about Burrell clogging up the basepaths, because its not like Howard is going to be winning any races, either. It also gives Howard protection.

Dude - You bring up some valid points about Kendrick but it still took him 3 years to get through "A" ball and the rookie league. Plus, his K/BB ratio and K/9 innings is pretty mediocre.

Next year will probably be his make or break year though at Reading. Usually a big jump in talent between A and AA.

Burrell batting 2nd would be absolutely insane. Not only would it incredibly weaken the run production of the bottom of your lineup, but Burrell 2nd and Howard 3rd would absolutely clog up the basepaths. You'd be making the change from a lineup last year with fast runners 1-2-3 and slow RBI guys 4 and 5 to a lineup with your 2 slowest hitters batting 2nd and 3rd, and Helms and Rowand as the 5th and 6th hitters you need to drive in runs.

So then where would Utley bat Chris?

I guess you bat Helms second by default unless you acquire a better solution. Helms makes decent contact and sprays the ball well to the gap.

By default here is how Phils' lineup looks today:

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

I'd rather have Burrell (.388 OBP last year) clogging up the basepaths than having the bases be empty because Rollins (.334) and Rowand (.321) were thrown together at the top because they can steal a base.

I'm all in favor of Helms batting 2nd - he makes (or has in the past two years) contact, and is a good line-drive hitter to the gaps. That would bring up Utley with his short, sweet swing. Not only that, but Helms bats righty, so he'd break up the mostly-lefty hitting Rollins and the always-lefty-hitting Utley.

What does Manuel do to the lineup when a lefty's on the hill? Leave the lineup unchanged?

Malcolm brings up a good point about Burrell's vaunted OBP: the guy's just up there *guessing*. Maybe it'll be ball four, maybe it'll be strike three. He had nearly as many caught-looking strikeouts as he did walks, fer cryin' out loud. Only in a bottom-line stat junkie's mind is that combination of cluelessness and passivity considered "valuable".

I can't believe you guys aren't looking at this Helms thing batting 2nd they way it should. NOT, he will end up being the 5 hole hitter. If you translate his numbers over a full season, (.300/.350, 30 HR) he is perfect for that spot. You now move Burrell to the 6th hole where he now becomes the best 6th hole hitter in baseball. Helms makes good contact with the ball and could be a 40-45 doubles guy. This is the type of guy you want behind Howard. Burrell has now become a valuable player. His value at the deadline should be able to net a big time prospect. A former #1 pick, hits 30 HR and could play 3 positions (LF, 1B and DH). If a AL team loses any one of those spots you should be able to get some good players for him. $13.5 a year for 2 years, its cheap and its short. Perfect trade bait at the deadline. I don't want him here just as much as the next guy, but the REALITY is his contract is now cheap. Bat Helms 5th and Burrell 6th and its perfect.

Rollins-S
Victorino-S
Howard-L
Utley-L
Helms-R
Burrell-R
Rowand-R
Ruiz-R
is the best lineup.

Based on a full season with last years stats.
170 Hits
43 doubles
11 Triples
25 HR (CBP translates to 30)
110 RBI
50 BB
115 K's
.339 BA/ .390 OBP
.575 Slug
.965 OPS.
Now this is where the problem sets in. He doesn't have a history to go by. But his numbers have been better every year he has played. Looking over the last 2 years, he has been a pretty good offensive player. Now batting between both Howard and Burrell he has protection and should see a ton of great pitches.


that's ridiculous. you can't expand Helms' 240 AB to a full season. I think he will be a reasonably productive player on the Phils, but a .965 OPS would have been 7th in the NL this year. Helms did not turn into Miguel Cabrera when he turned 30.

also, I don't see the logic behind hitting Rowand second. his high strikeouts, lack of walks, low average, and poor SB success rate are all characteristics you *don't* want sucking up PAs at the top of the lineup. I'd rather have Burrell there, even though I'm well aware of his limitations. even an "empty" .388 OBP in the two hole will score a ton of runs with Howard/Utley hitting behind him.

can we get carney lansford to bat second and play third base? i loved that guy

PR - I agree with you, that lineup is clearly the best IMO.

I think that a #5 and innings 7-8 is the priority here.

It would have been geat to have gotten Doug Davis for some mediocre prospects, but I don't se gutting the farm system for Baldelli who is a hamstring injury away from screwing us.

Wolf, Borowski, and another Relief pitcher, then ship the NL East. gg

excellent referential article CY... After "losing" the Soriano sweepstakes.. attention must be paid to the bullpen.. Borowski, Batista and Baez.. our own "Killer B's would fill most of whats lacking here.. Those 3 pitchers could be had for money earmarked for Soriano..The only other option would be to overpay for Schmidt, a true ground ball pitcher then one of the above relievers.. Leave Zito alone

Helms hasn't stolen a base since 2002. I saw he had some triples, so his speed or lack of it may or may not be a concern in the 2 hole. That stat head convert "Bill-One-Chair" was throwing around a bunch of interesting Bill James' baserunning stats in a column a few weeks ago. Curious to how Helms stacks up if anyone has access to this information. Don't really care if he steals bases, but you want a good baserunner in front of Utley and Howard. I agree that Rowand is a terrible 2 hole hitter. He strikes out way too much and doesn't get on base. If you take away his HBP, his OBP is under .300. Rowand with his lack of plate coverage(with his short arms) has to be one of the easiest batters to pitch to. Every opposing pitcher should just look at the video of his ABs against El Duque to know how to work him. I am fine with Victorino hitting 2nd.

Also, an interesting article today from Kevin Roberts of the Camden Courier Post on why a big bat behind Howard is unneeded. Not sure I entirely agree , but thought provoking nonetheless.

Link is too long to copy here. Go to
http://www.courierpostonline.com and you'll find it.

Opening Day Battery:
Myers/Coste
Myers/Ruiz

or

Hamels/Coste
Hamels/Ruiz

I'm not sure how I'd feel about Hamels being asked to start an Opening Day game. I DO know that I don't want Lieber starting another opening day. Myers has enough experience under his belt to start an Opening Day game no problem.

I'd like to see us get Batista and Borowski. If Dellucci declines arbitration, we'd get a first-round draft pick that would cancel out the pick we'd lose for signing Borowski. I'm not very concerned about last year being a fluke. He was steady and consistent throughout the year. In '05 he was bounced around from team to team and his ERA and WHIP both suffered. He also was overworked, which I'm sure led to a breakdown.

If you look at his last season that was comparable to '06 (the '03 season) his WHIP, ERA, and K's are all very similar.

I'd love to see Borowski in the 8th. That would actually give me faith that we could hold the lead. It was a toss-up with Rhodes in there.

Billy Mac: The Phillies have no legit leadoff or 2 hole hitters although Victorino has potential. At this stage of his career he is NOT a good #2. He projects 80-90 Ks in a full season (he had 54 in 415 ABs and only 24 walks) and Rowand is even worse. Neither will take a walk. Because of his speed, Vic would work as a #2 IF he improves his strike zone judgment. The Phillies DID have one of the best #2 hitters in all baseball, Placido Polanco, but in one of their many, many bad trades over the past few years, they dealt him for Urbina instead of dumping Bell and moving Placido to 3B. Rowand is a guy you want hitting 7th vs. RHP.

Rollins hits leadoff by default. His .334 OB is among the worst in the league for leadoff hitters.

There's no way Hamels gets the opening-day start. That isn't the way the Phillies do things. Myers is the opening-day starter even if he has an ERA of 67.50 in spring training.

Regarding Kevin Robert's CP article: I didn't see an explanation for Howard's performance after the first week of September. I know that it's been crowed that those three weeks are a very small sample size, and don't take into account the results of the entire season, but it was at *that point* that Howard was really starting to get the Bonds/Pujols treatment - intentional walks in the first inning, with nobody on base in the later innings, etc. - which is somthing that will continue into next season and beyond. He had been pitched around and intentionally walked his share of times before Sept. 9, but afterwards he very seldom even got a pitch in the strike zone, let alone a fastball, to hit when he *was* 'pitched to'. Neither Howard or the hitters behind him responded well to this. Howard may have said he didn't care who hits behind him, but the way he seemed determined to whale away and try to make something happen instead of take the walk on many occasions in the last three weeks, makes me feel like he *was* conscious of trying to carry the load himself.

With the lineup that would have to be constructed based on the Phillies' present personnel, Howard would surely walk 150 times (in the best-case scenario) and the station-to-station 5-9 hitters would generate a piddling amount of offense behind him. If you're a right-handed pitcher and you have Howard coming up, and then the thoroughly unintimidating trio of Helms-Burrell-Rowand immediately following - *why* would you give Ryan a single pitch to reach? Picture the scenario in any late-inning contest. Phillies fans will be hoping for Howard to come through, yet there is no logical reason why he's going to ever get a pitch to hit. A solid presence behind him would cause a pitcher to think twice about pitching around him. If the Phillies don't provide that option - if you have a choice of pitching to the reigning MVP with 58 homeruns or *Wes Helms*, why on earth would Howard get anything to hit? Go ahead. You tell me.

hey guys to be frank....you dont build a team around big free agent signings. We've tried that route before please refer to the Thome years.While it would have made a lot of noise here and on ESPN a overpaid signing to guys like Soriano, Matthews, Lee or other fringe allstars would have been a terrible mistake.

They need to address the middle relief and back of the bullpen. WIth all the money they didn't sign on a Bat they need to put it all into getting some help for the staff. I will be really pissed off if for some reason I see the likes of fringe major leaguers like Condrey, Sanches, Brito, or Rick WHite on this team at any point this season. The excuse last year was clearing salary which was too much based around a few players in Lieberthal, Burrell and Abreu and spreading it out. THerefore, go out and get some pitching

Damn what a hit on Big Ben ---looks like a concussion

RSB, You raise a good point about Howard only hitting 2 HRs and 10 RBIs starting on September 9th, but you are cherry picking the the day after September 8th when Howard hit 2 HRs and had 10 total bases. Teams were pitching around Howard prior to the 3rd game in the Florida series you reference. Heck, the week before on Labor Day, Phil Garner intentionally walked him to start the 9th inning of a tie game and in the same game he was walked by Clemens (not intentionally, but pitched around) to load the bases. So how did Howard perform in September? He hit .387 and slugged nearly .800. Even if you want to start counting on September 9th, he still hit .340 from then to the end of the season. He wasn't chasing pitches. Besides obviously being pitched around and not hitting as well in the clutch the last 3 weeks, Howard wasn't getting lift on the ball, so he was hitting more singles and less HRs. Also Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino weren't both getting on base at a .400 clip like they were in August -- giving Howard less RBI opportunities. I agree Howard needs some protection. I don't want to see him walked 200 times this year, but I think it is overblown and not a primary need of this team. This team will score runs regardless.

RSB, I think you miss the point of Robert's article. Yes, Howard got the Bonds/Pujols treatment, but that isn't going to change no matter what as long as Howard remains a stud (also, both Bonds and Pujols were IMMENSELY valuable players, preceisely because they got on and scored runs). Robert's point was that they need to knock him in and that...lo and behold...Burrell was damn good at it, hitting .423 after a Howard walk.

It would be nice if you even addressed a stat like that, which pretty much invalidates much of the anti-Burrell crap we've heard in the last few months. In September, the time you point to as the crisis time, Howard was getting walked and Conine or Dellucci were hitting behind him.

Also, I understand the logic of "Why pitch to Howard," but seriously, Pujols and Bonds have managed to put up incredible seasons with guys like Encarnacion, Duncan, Grissom, Feliz, Duhram. Burrell is not at the Kent or Rolen level (although he is much closer than you would allow), but you can always switch Howard and Utley.

Even if you want to argue that finding protection for Howard is important, how in the world can it be more important than improving the pitching staff, considereing the PHillies respective runs scored and runs allowed totals?

I also love that the prospect that if Howard walks 150 times, it is somehow a bad thing. If Howard hits 45 HR next year with 110 RBI but has something like a .480 OBP, I'll take that. If HOward walks 150 times, both Burrell and Helms get 100 RBI, easy.

Clout, Agree that Victorino needs to cut down his strikeouts and increase his walks to be a better top of the lineup hitter. But if you look what he did the last 2 months of the season when he was playing regularly, it is encouraging. He was getting hits, getting on base and scoring runs.

Billy Mac: You're right and that's why I think he has potential. Next season will tell us a lot about his ability to adjust and improve his game.

kdon: Your opinions are based on logic and facts. RSB's are based on emotion. Of course, pitching is far and away the Phillies biggest weakness. But RSB is obsessed with his belief that Burrell and Abreu are the ruination of this team, to the exclusion of all rational thought.

i still say to all you morons that we need pitching and specifically middle and back end pen help NOT another hitter. Jesus look back at the Thome years when we had a lineup of ABreu, THome, and BUrrell (all at their primes) and we still couldn't win. Sometimes having a bunch of power hitters on your lineup just makes it a very disfunctional lineup which those teams were case in point. Peace out hommies and I'll be bringin sexy back tonite when the Eagles shock the world and only lose by 35. Lata

AE, You can expect around a .890-.900 OPS from Helms which is plenty good enough to bat 5th. So are his expected 25-30 HR.

Now on to Rowand, why bat Rowand 2nd how about because he has batted there the most times in his career. He had always batted 2nd until this year with the Phils. His career BA of .346/.391/.594/.906 makes him the logical choice. Its where he has had the most success. Even when he batted 2nd for the Phils last year his .323/.364/.532/.896 still makes him the most logical choice. Just a little info past on to you guys.

PhillyRocks, Nunez also has had success batting second (.344/.394/.450/.844). You wouldn't want him there either.

PhillyROcks, you know, stats go back more than one year. It may be helpful to consult them every once and a while when predicting future performance.

In a low-pressure, no-lose situation in which he didn't have to worry about the defensive responsibilities of playing 3B, he had a career year, but that was far and away his best season in the majors.

Before '06, he had NEVER had a year with a .890-.900 OPS (his career high was .814) or more than 23 HR in a season. I'd love to believe that Helms career year represents a significant change in his ability, but you can't just pencil him in for numbers that in seven professional seasons he has failed to attain.

Clout, well said on the RISP front. Let me join the chorus of those who aren't sold on the "prospect" status of a lot of the young pitchers, or any of the young position players. The farm system has sucked since Dallas Green left, and it's not just scouting -- development is the other half of the equation, and I just don't see it in this organization. It's time to muck out the stalls down on the farm, except the morons running this team will never see it. Gillick is a short-term GM, as we all know, and what the hell would Ruben Amaro know about building a farm system that actually teaches kids anything? Ah, the joys of rooting for a team that projects to suck for the rest of my natural life.

Clout, you're also dead on about Victorino, though I still think he's the best option for the #2, spring surprises (or injuries) excepted -- though if Rowand has a big spring, that could put him in the 2-hole. And sorry, all you Burrell-haters, but the Lunging Lothario is the #5 hitter.

I agree with those who feel the 8th inning guy is the #1 priority, though I still believe this "X is my 7th-inning guy, Y is my 8th-inning guy" is an incredibly stupid way to approach relief pitching. Was anybody surprised when Cholly revealed that, toward the end of the season, he couldn't go to certain relievers because they couldn't pitch on consecutive days? So why pitch them on consecutive days -- sometimes 3 consecutive days -- early in the season if it burns them out so they can't be used at the end? This is insanity, plain and simple, and yet every freakin' team in baseball insists on doing things this way because "players are more comfortable when they know their roles." Nice theory -- don't you wish YOUR boss approached your "role" at work that way? -- except that everyone in the bullpen, except the theoretically best pitcher out there, the closer, has TWO roles -- pitching when the team's ahead, and pitching when it's behind. The problem with having a hard-and-fast 8th-inning guy is obvious -- what do you do when you're ahead in a close game for the third or fourth game in a row? Why not go with the guy WHO IS BEST-RESTED AND READIEST TO GO? Why pretend there's something special and magical about the 8th inning? Just because we've pretended so long that there's something special about the 9th?

The first team to break out of this Mold of Insanity is going to surprise the baseball world; only when someone (LaRussa maybe?) gets smart about this will we bury one of the strangest periods in baseball history.

There's been a slight mix-up in thinking. At some point, "protecting Howard" replaced "getting better, consistent production from the No. 5 & 6 hitters."

There's a difference. Hitting fifth isn't all about protection. It's about producing runs if Howard does nothing.

By the end of last season, many of you were terming the No. 5 & 6 hitters as "the new black hole." They were talking about Burrell, Conine and Dellucci, who also happen to be late-game liabilities in the field and on the bases. At this stage, all three are incapable of playing six games a week, and it was rare they'd stay in the game from start to finish.

It didn't become the "new black hole" because of a lack of protection, however; it happened because a). there weren't enough big hits from an area you're used to seeing it; b). Howard and the rest of the offense was so good, it made this spot look even worse; c). During the final stretch, Dellucci, Burrell and then Conine fell into back-to-back-to-back slumps, right as the rest of the offense surged. The problem became magnified and prolonged, although in the broad scheme of things, the offense kept scoring enough runs.

The article is still worth taking to task on one issue, and it's this attitude of "Bring on the intentional walks!" No. You want more chances for your best hitter to put the ball in the seats. He's also the team's best chance to drive in Rollins, Victorino and Utley, players designed to score.

"Walking Howard didn't hurt the Phillies at all -- after the All-Star break the Phillies were 31-13 when Howard drew a walk, including 15-5 when he walked more than once."

Most of you recognize there's more to it. Improved pitching, strength of schedule and players like Rollins, Coste, Victorino, Utley and Dellucci all got hot at different points in the second half.

Howard is a stud by his own creation, and I guess that gets back to the author's point about how protection doesn't exist. Howard became league MVP by becoming a better hitter, and a more selective hitter. All-in-all, the basic premise is correct. Protection isn't the priority it's being made out to be.

Funny how people criticize Burrell's offense so much. Offensively, his production has been fine although he tends to be a bit streaky.

The thing I am more concerned about is Burrell's defense and base-running deficiencies. From the varioius defensive numbers I have seen, Burrell was one of the worst defensive LFs last year. Gone from average range to below average range.

Also, Burrell is pretty much a station-to-station base runner now. You really can't execute a Hit-or-Run with Burrell but more importantly he can't score from 2B on a single anymore.

kdon, you make good points and I will admit to being extremely suprised at the numbers Conine and Burrell put up following walks to Howard - although I'd like to know how many ABs those averages were based on. The one area where I disagree is when you cite examples of the weak hitters who have been slotted around Bonds and Pujols; even though he hit over .300 last year, the 180 strikeouts bear out that Howard is not on par with those two as a hitter with dynamic knowledge of strike zone, pitch identification, and ability to adjust to all kinds of pitches and locations. He may yet get there, but he is not there yet. In the meantime, it may seem perfectly fine to you that he'd walk 150 times, but consider how many double-plays would result from the sloth right-handed hitters coming up after him. It would take two hits to score him. I don't believe that the logical outcome of a .480 OBP from Howard would be that the #5 and 6 hitters would drive in 100 runs. When I look at the Phillies' offense, I see three outstanding players and five average to below-average players who do not compliment each other well. I see them being middle-of-the-pack in runs scored next season without any further roster moves. I understand that pitching is the perennial focus, but I personally don't feel the offense as it stands is a concern which should be brushed aside so lightly just because it led the league in blah blah and blah blah last year. I think there is a lot of imbalance to it and I don't see it being as effective as people here are taking for granted.

Not that I'll ever convince the Almighty Clout, but my opinions are based on observation, not emotion - which, by the way, is not a polar opposite to the "logic" of purely statistical basis. Statistics can obviously be a useful buffer to establishing a feasible analysis, but they are not the sole means of determining conclusions. If stats were simply cold "facts", then there wouldn't be room for any diverging opinions at all - but apparently that's the way it works in Clout's world of rational exclusivity.

If in fact, however, the revelation of Pat Burrell's .423 average following walks to Ryan Howard suddenly creates in anyone else a newfound groundswell of confidence in Burrell's ability to effectively hit behind Howard, supplanting the raw emotion of over-emphasized memories pertaining to a parade of called third strikes and pop-ups to the first baseman, then I suppose I'll have to concede the point.

Robothal sez the Dodgers are close to signing Wolf. Also he's apparently ready to give them a "hometown" discount, even though we were offering more years.

Plan C for the rotation is .... ?

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6210860

BILLY MAC, Nunez bats .265/.343/.361/.703 over 452 AB over his career. Rowand has .346/.391/.514/.906 over 387 AB a pretty big difference.


KDON, First of all its 6 years. Now every year he has played he has gotten better and better. Over the last 2 years he has batted over .300. Why do I have to go back to 3-4 years ago to tell me what a player is going to do today. IMO, 2 years is a good enough to make some kind of judgement. Am I saying this is absolutley going to happen, no what I am saying is this is what can happen in this position. I haven't had the chance to watch him play day in and day out but looking at his number he looks like a guy who will hit alot of doubles and good chance to bang out 25-30 HR. Even looking at the one time he played a full season he hit 23 out. That wasn't hitting at CBP either. Are you telling me he couldn't have become a better hitter over 3 years. What I see is a player who has been pretty darn good with RISP and has some pop. Sometimes a player only needs a chance. Melvin Mora was 30

I saw that, too. Wolf is a gone pecan. He wants to go back home to the west coast, so bad,that he's apparently willing to forego a multiple year contract and a lower salary to play for the Dodgers. Pat should offer weekly late night trips with Burrell to the late night hot spots.

Ugh. That is depressing news about Wolf. Are you the Phillies actually going to acquire someone who is going to make an impact on this team next year?

i'll put the line of helms hr's at 27.5 and put everything i own on the under.

as i said before - no matter what PG does about Burrell - next season will be defined by what pitcher we acquire to complete the rotation. the 8th inning guy is also more important, but won't matter as much as the last starter.

wolf will be a great signing for la.

PhillyRocks,

"You can expect around a .890-.900 OPS from Helms which is plenty good enough to bat 5th. So are his expected 25-30 HR."

"he looks like a guy who will hit alot of doubles and good chance to bang out 25-30 HR."

These are two very different statements. I certainly believe that Helms has a "chance" at 25-30 HR, but the first statement makes it seem like a lock, which is a completely unrealistic expectation for a 31 yo player who has never hit more than 23. I'm not trying to say Helms is awful or anything, just that I think you are overly optimistic.

I also don't see a pleyer that has developed over six years. Starting with '01, his first full season, his OPS has been .728, .688, .780, .692, .814, .965. This looks much more like '06 was a fluke year than the culmination of years of improvement.

And Melvin Mora, gimme a break! The reason we remember Mora is because he is the exception, not the rule. How many players become great hitters at 30? A lot fewer than have fluke, career years, I can assure you.

To expect Helms to hit 25-30 HRs is kind of ridiculous. I be thrilled if Helms hits .280 with 15-20 HRs. That be far superior to the production of Nunez/Bell last year.

Much more worried about Helms glove though.

RSB: How are stats not facts? As kdon noted, Burrell hit .423 after a Howard walk. That is a fact. Burrell also had an OPS of .890. That is a fact.

Now your observation is that the Phils failed because Burrell was so ineffective behind Howard that pitchers walked him. It is also your observation that the Abreu trade was a good one.

Observations are only as good as the observer. And your "observations" speak for themselves. An observer can be biased or ignorant.

Does that mean everything should be stat-based? Of course not. A young, toolsy prospect with poor baseball skills can develop into a star and his early stats won't project that. But stats do help provide a grounding in reality, particularly when that reality sharply contradicts a biased observation.

you're awfully philosophical this morning clout.

danny baez is signing with baltimore. 3yrs/19mil.

How about Adam Eaton 3 yrs/24M? Wow, that's expensive for a guy hwho hasn't done it yet and can't stay healthy.

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