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Friday, December 01, 2006


When I saw the Santiago story yesterday, I thought maybe, if a spring invite and Ottawa are OK. It also made me think of Sammy Sosa, who also spoke of a comeback, but then Sammy would probably not play winter ball to prove his worth.

This is off-topic, but since I live in Boston I can't avoid the innundation of Manny-mania. Anyway, the Boston Globe really really thinks that the Padres are going to trade Jake Peavy for Manny. Never mind that the Sox already have five starters but few dominant relievers, or the fact that Peavy, aside from being young and good, is due about $20 million over the next three years (you know - Danys Baez money).

Anyway, all of this is just to say that we're not the only ones who come up with cockamammy trade proposals.

When you turn 50 in the PGA, you can join the champions tour. The ages of these comeback baseball candidates are approaching 50. Maybe MLB will form a true senior circuit, fielding teams in the existing cities and utilizing the stadiums when the big team is on the road. MLB will form their own pay channel (copying the NFL channel), showing these old timer league games to fill up air time space. Old retirees, with nothing better to do, will be glued to the tube yelling at the screen for Lenny Dykstra to take that extra base!

It could make for interesting trivia. Jamie Moyer is 44. Benito is 41. Borders is 43. What was the oldest battery in baseball? You would think it would have to include Satchel Paige.

I just read Bill Conlin's column. The second half was unintelligible. It was written like Danny DeVito's speaking on the recent The View show. The spoken word often gets out and can't be pushed back into one's mouth as if never spoken, but I thought that newspapers had editors that would squash bad writing before it hits the presses. I guess Conlin gets a free pass and his dribble goes straight from the brain to the printer without a reality check in between.

guys who don't read newspapers shouldn't be allowed to write for them.

Also off topic, but JW, it's "border" rather than "boarder".

Maybe the Phils and PG can have a number of ex-Phils catchers at a special tryout.. I hear John bateman is looking toi catch 30 games.

Come on Jason, how can you use evidence like "stats" to assess the value of a player like Borders. The guy has one more World Series MVP than Howard/Utley/Hamels/Myers/Burrell/Abreu/Bonds,
Hudson combined!!! 'Nuff said.

Pat Borders or Benito Santiago would delight me if they became Phillies because of the blogging opportunities it would give me.

Chris Roberson sucks...plain and simple.

Oh and Roberson is terrible. Considering that it looks like we will have Burrell, Rowand, Vic, and Conine at 1-4 in the outfield, I'd sign a lefty PH for the minimum (Ledee) cut Roberson and start Bourn everyday in CF in Ottawa. If after a few months, Bourn clearly demonstrated he can hit AAA pitching, the bring him up. Otherwise, he would be wasted as a PH and defensive replacement.

when Pat Borders caught for Jamie Moyer in 2005, he tied Satchel Paige for third-oldest battery at 84 combined years. Paige started a single game for the 1965 Kansas City A's at age 58 (!!!) and was caught by 26 year old Billy Bryn. (Borders also caught for none other than 41 year old Terry Mulholland in 2004.)

the title of oldest battery goes way back to 1904, when 53 year old future Hall of Famer "Orator" Jim O'Rourke made a honorary appearance with the NY Giants as catcher - he went 1/4 with a single and a run scored. O'Rourke started the early game of a doubleheader with 33 year old and also future HOFer Joe "Iron Man" McGinnity, for a combined age of 86 years.

the modern record is held by Phil Niekro and Rick Dempsey of the 1987 Indians, who were 48 and 37, respectively, for a total of 85 years.

so the theoretical Moyer/Borders battery would actually break a record that dates back to the infancy of baseball...

Santiago . . . seriously? Santiago says he is 41 I am willing to add 2 or 3 years to that total.

that was actually Billy Bryan on the '65 A's, if you were checking my math.

I would either trade/cut Roberson if he doesn't except assignment to T-AAA. He showed last year that he can't handle major-league offspeed stuff. Wasting the roster spot if he makes the team.

i doubt anyone was checking your math ae, but a good post nontheless.
Frankly, Id rather have Pat Tabler.

Correct me if I'm wrong but midnight tonight is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration. Those who don't get the offer become free agents, which means there should be some bullpen arms on the market tomorrow morning that won't cost a #1 pick.

You are correct - we should see some fireworks tomorrow when teams no longer have to mortgage their future to sign the likes of Fultz...

Hermanson and Riske may not get an arbitration offer from the White Sox, according to a story in one of the Chicago papers.

Piazza... Santiago... Borders...
Is Clay Dalrymple still alive?

Wasn't Santiago suspended or suspected of steroids recently? Perhaps we could get Bonds, Gange, Santiago, Franklin, Dykstra, Dalton, Inky and Julio Franco (if that dude is not on the juice they need to preserve his DNA) to form the Philadelphia Performanced Hancing Phillies.

Thanks to clout's astute observation about the arbitration deadline, I will now have to check in with Beerleaguer over the weekend to check on new players available during halftimes and during lulls in my wife's likely requests to: buy a Christmas tree, move furniture around to make room for the Christmas tree, erect the Christmas tree, string lights on said Christmas tree, help in decorating the Christmas tree, enevitable trips to stores, and fixing outside lights in the cold.

lake fred- you should be checking in on phillies blog regiously every day!

ok, "regiously" was meant to be i'm a bit "special" sue me.

looks like Santiago did admit to using steroids offered by Greg Anderson, Bonds' trainer.


This is off topic and was perhaps mentioned on another thread (sorry if I'm being redundant), but I read in yesturdays (I think) Austin American Statesman that Pujols was upset he didn't win the MVP. He thinks it should only be awarded to a player on a playoff team. I don't think that's true, since it takes a lot of players to make a winning team. Also, of course, the Phillies won MORE games than the Cardinals won.
It was probably some 'roid rage on Pujols's part.

Good thing we didnt sign Latroy Hawkins. He just singed with the Colorado Rockies. THey are known to be a graveyard for relief pitchers on their last leg. So sounds like Hawkins is officially done. We still need a reliever, but if the Rockies signed somebody that can only mean that no one else was interested.

Maverick -- are you in Boston proper? I'm out in Concord for now. I agree that Manny-mania is getting a bit rich up here too. reports that "Manny List Five Teams--Including Three that Don't Exist--That He Would Like to be Traded To". Good stuff :)

Carson, during football season and with kids back to school activities, free time for me to get online is tough. Summers are always free to check up on Beerleaguer. The fall is tough for me, but I drudge on and do my best.

On the Pujols rant, he needs to realize that he is a great player and is very valuable. America loves Home Runs and Howard's 58 non-roid homers is pretty tough to beat for the MVP voters. He should have kept his mouth shut. It will cost, not gain, him future MVP votes. In my respect-o-meter, his level just dropped somewhat.

Hey, alright! Joe, I live in Brookline, just west of the city, but do work in Boston proper (which is, of course, where most of my news-reading gets done).

Hey Joe and Mav,
Phillies Nation is spreading...and I thought I've spent the last three years in Cambridge in complete isolation!

Okay, now I gotta ask - do either of you guys know where I can get a couple cases of Yeungling up here? Harpoon's alright but I miss the days when I could walk into any bar and just say "lager."

I was just sitting here wondering why Brad Radke's name isn't thrown around more as a viable SP.. I know he's 34 and his avg ERA is 4.25 and his WHIP 1.25. Anyone know more about him?

rob, Radke is done. I believe he pitched most of last year with a torn labrum and shredded rotator cuff. He and the Twins knew it, but he had opted to go out with a bang instead of going through surgery and recovery.

didn't radke say he was considering retirement?

Thanks Casey.. You jogged my failing memory.. I recall hearing that story now :)

kdon, maverick, and joe - All in the Boston area? Just moved out to SF Bay are this year from Boston.

Guess you guys didn't make it to many Phils games in Fenway. I went to 3 Sox-Phils games in Fenway and there were only a handful of Phils' fans.

I asked the manager of Colonial Spirits in Acton about Yuengling and he told me that they don't distribute north of Connecticut. That said at least we aren't stuck buying by the case up here.

Unfortunately, the Phillies will probably pass on Miguel Batista - my personal choice for 8th inning - now that the D'Backs offered him salary arbitration, the Astros didn't offer Russ Springer - I hope that means we don't get stuck with him now! Tucson is now represented on this blog as well....

Tucson?! Verde, you and I coulda been Phils buds in the SW - I was living there for 3 years, just moved to Portland. Alas.

I'm kind of sorry to have missed out of the Boston Beerleaguer Assn. as well, as I lived there for four years.

Sports are kind of tame in Oregon. The have sports teams with names like the Beavers and the Ducks. I think that if there was ever a fight on the field, the fans here would all hide their faces in their hands.

I just moved to salem from Philly. Eugene is a weird city with a whole lot of tough looking Donald duck's painted on walls etc.

I visit Oregon pretty often - when are they going to bet a baseball team so the Phils can travel up there? As for Tucson, bear down! Back to our team - Fultz and White are gone for good, but I'd expect Borowski to be signed for 1 year as the 7th/8th inning guy now that he wasn't offered arb. by the Marlins.

I don't know if you Fultz and White are both gone for good. I would be willing to bet that one of them ends up on this roster.

I'm hoping the Phils sign Borowski and Riske.. That would be some smart shopping..Plus..Rick White BETTER be history.. I kinda think Fultz is OK as a last option lefty

Official list of teams who offered arbitration
American League
BOSTON (1) -- Keith Foulke, rhp.
NEW YORK (1) -- Ron Villone, lhp.
OAKLAND (1) -- Barry Zito, lhp.
SEATTLE (1) -- Gil Meche, rhp.
TEXAS (2) -- x-Carlos Lee, of; Vicente Padilla, rhp.
TORONTO (1) -- Ted Lilly, lhp.

National League
ARIZONA (1) -- Miguel Batista, rhp.
CINCINNATI (2) -- Rich Aurilia, 3b; Scott Schoeneweis, lhp.
LOS ANGELES (1) -- Julio Lugo, ss.
MILWAUKEE (1) -- Tony Graffanino, 2b.
NEW YORK (2) -- Roberto Hernandez, rhp; Guillermo Mota, rhp.
PHILADELPHIA (1) -- David Dellucci, of.
ST. LOUIS (2) -- Mark Mulder, lhp; Jeff Suppan, rhp.
SAN DIEGO (6) -- Alan Embree, lhp; Ryan Klesko, 1b; Chan Ho Park, rhp; Dave Roberts, of; Todd Walker, 2b; David Wells, lhp.
SAN FRANCISCO (1) -- Jason Schmidt, rhp.
WASHINGTON (1) -- Jose Guillen, of.

X-has agreed to terms of a contract with Houston that has not been finalized

A better list would be who WASN'T offered arbitration because now they are free agents who can be signed without having to give up a draft pick. Riske & Weathers are on that list and either would be an improvement over White. I cannot see bringing Fultz back under any circumstances. He's not a true LOOGY, is old and reverted back to his career norm last season. Steve Kline (also not offered arb) would be a nice addition. You have to have a savvy vet lefty to go with Matt Smith.
Other bullpen guys not offered arb who might be worth considering: Joe Borowski, Dustin Hermanson, Eddie Guardado, Octavio Dotel, Danny Kolb, Eric Gagne, LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero.
About half these guys have injury concerns. There's a group of big-name starters out there too like Weaver, Maddux, Mulder and Thomson, each of whom will likely outperform Lieber or Eaton next season, but I'm guessing they'll sign for money the Phils don't want to pay.
With Dellucci gone, we need another lefty outfielder. Kenny Lofton, anyone? Trot Nixon?

Here's a lineup vs. RHP that would be fun to watch:
Lofton CF
Utley 2B
Burrell LF
Howard 1B
Rollins SS
Helms 3B
Victorino RF
Ruiz C
That would be L-L-R-L-S-R-S-R with Rowand batting for Lofton vs. any LHP.

Clout – Kenny Lofton…please, no.

Even though he was offered arbitration, I would rather have Dave Roberts from the Padres in Center. In fact, I would rather have Dave Roberts from Action News than Lofton. His defense would be about the same as Lofton’s. Anybody know if he hits left-handed?:)

Clout - I'm pretty sure Hawkins signed with COL. 1 year, 2 million, something like that.

Hawkins is not signed, but he is close to inking a deal with the Rockies. This is from this morning's Denver Post:

"The Rockies are ironing out the details on a one-year contract with reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who would fill their void for an eight-inning setup man.

'It looks like we are going to get something done,' agent Larry Reynolds said. 'But it's not quite done yet.'

The 33-year-old is expected to receive a $3.5 million salary with a mutual option for 2008."

I'd sure take Lofton back. But the way the Phils let him go so indifferently after hitting .335 indicates that they weren't happy with his clubhouse presence.

Am I really the only one who remembers Lofton as something other than some kind of butcher in CF? I'll tell you one thing, he moves back on the ball about ten times as well as Rowand.

I'd take 1 Rowand over 10 Loftons. And I can care less about how much better his BA is. The guy is turd, there is a reason he's been on 5 teams in 5 years.

That's the kind of thing I would usually say, Tony. Only I think Lofton added a lot to the Phillies' offense, and there's also a reason why every team he's been on has been a contender.

RSB: I wouldn't call him a butcher, but his defense at this point in his career is subpar, particularly his arm. The guy can still hit, take walks and steal bases.

You may be right about his clubhouse presence, as Tony notes, no team keeps him around more than one season, but I've never seen any stories about it. I will check with a couple insiders I know.

Iron Pig: Dave Roberts is about to sign with the Giants and thanx for the update on Hawkins, I missed that one.

Final note: Fultz signed with the Indians, so the Phillies are truly obligated to sign at least 2 proven relief pitchers.

Lofton's 2005 season for us was a better leadoff year than anything Rollins has, or likely will, ever put together. (even though he didn't have a full season.)

clout, our first diagreement in about two months: Burrell batting third? I'm on the Pat Burrell Trade or Keep Indifference Committee, so I'm not a Burrell Basher, but I am not supporting batting Burrell third!

my guess as to why Lofton keeps getting shuffled around is that he's too old to be a long-term solution in center, so teams sign him as a stop-gap. and since he will always (well, at least for another year or two) find someone willing to give him around $3M for another season, he probably doesn't mind the instability.

of course that's just my own amateur psychology, but I never got the impression that he was a clubhouse cancer or anything like that.

Fred: It's not ideal, but when you look at the Phils lineup they have a bunch of guys who should hit 3-4-5 and a bunch of guys who should hit 6-7-8 and nobody on the team who should ever hit 1 or 2. So in dealing with such a bunch of misfits, my thinking was to maximize the OB ahead of Howard. Burrell is a station to station runner, but it's not like he'd be holding Howard back on the basepaths. I also kind of like having good power in the 2 hole, an approach a lot of teams took back in the 1950s. Plus breaking up Utley-Howard makes it tougher for opposing managers to bring in a lefty.

First Dellucci, now Fultz: Cleveland finally avenges the Phillies for signing Jim Thome.

Don't laugh. I hear they've got their eyes on Jose Hernandez, too.

Here's what a nerd I am: I'm on BB-ref just checking some box scores from the 1950s at random. Some guys who batted second: Eddie Mathews, Wally Post, Hank Bauer. All had good power for that era

Is it possible to sign another starter (Marquis or Moehler)then use Lieber plus Ruiz or Coste in a package to trade for a catcher and/or bullpen help?. I dont think you are losing much (Lieber vs. the 5th starter in this scenario)I had heard a few wks ago that Michael Barrett could be traded..

Bobby Bragan, an unconventional theorist who managed the Braves and Pirates in the '50s, believed in actually having the hitter with most power bat leadoff.

I don't know when exactly it became the absolute standard for batting orders to have a fast, singles-hitting leadoff hitter, contact-hitting second hitter, best overall hitter third, most powerful as the cleanup hitter, etc., the way it is now. Obviously it makes a good degree of sense to do it this way, but as I often proclaim, just because there's one effective way, doesn't mean it's the *only* effective way. If you have more time on your hands today, clout (or anyone else), it might be interesting to find examples of teams and/or players that broke with lineup norm for extended periods and had success. Although, it's probably Bill James already has an article on it somewhere.

RSB, we have very different memories of Lofton's ability to go back on balls. I remember every first step (or two) coming in even on the deepest balls hit to center, which of course is a no-no even for little leaguers. I did very much appreciate the offense he provided, though.

I distinctly remember a game against the Mets at Shea in Sept. '05 in which Lofton bailed Brett Myers by making two unbelievable plays at the fence, on balls he had to run miles to get to. That was only one game, true, but I can also recall several others in which he impressed me by covering so much ground. I think that if you have to choose, speed is what you ultimately want in a CF, not necessarily a sterling arm.

Apparently the Phils are interested in signing another catcher. I'm curious as to what this would do for Coste. I'm 100% in favor of Coste getting the Opening Day start (catching Brett Myers). I just don't see the need to carry three catchers. I'd love to see the Phils sign Piazza and use him as a late-inning replacement or as a pinch-hitter. He would have fun in CBP. And who might the Phils play in the OF if there's no Pat Burrell? An OF of Rowand Victorino and Conine wouldn't be ideal in my mind...

i find all the lineup talk interesting. i'm a fan (sorta) of what the sox did with youkelis. my ideal lineup would have an obp guy first (only needs enough speed to go from first to third), then i always thought the ideal lineup would have a left handed, pull hitting, contact hitter in the two hole. this would allow for a lot of first to thirds. then the best hitters 4-5-6 no matter what side of the plate they swing from.

i always thought their should be more speed at the bottom of the order than the top. my thinking their is that if a speedster hitting 6 or 7 gets on they are more likely to steal a bag and then score on one hit. important for a bunch of reasons. 1. because back to back hits are less likely at the bottom of the lineup than at the top. 2. because i don't like running in front of homerun guys. i also like more speed 7 and 8 in the nl becuase the pitcher can bunt them over more easily. i would never have the slowerest person on the team (like the phil's last year with the catchers) hit 8th. how many times did a pitcher bunt and a cather get thrown out, or the phils not bunt at all because it has to be perfect to get the guy over. with the speed at the bottom that problem is solved.

the phillies lineup (disclaimer - i am not advocating this or saying it is the best lineup, i'm just using as an example of my thoughts) would be:

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

assuming victorino can steal a bag, he'd score on rowand singles all year. pitchers could bunt over rowand a lot more easily than ruiz/coste. while utley's rbi powers are wasted some with him two, it's either him or victorino there, and when in doubt i want the better hitter up more often. that's the same reason why howard is three and burrell woudln't split the mvp and utley. burrell will get up about 100 times after a howard single, hopefully providing him with fastball that he can actually hit (instead of the down and away slider).

some will argue that ruiz/coste will spoil victorinos speed. i'm ok with that because, if victorio is on first and ruiz/ coste on second (because they are 6 and 7 respectively) rowand is up with a risp anyway. this is totally different than them being 7 and 8 and having the pitcher up.

just my thoughts - i agree they are not perfect and don't plan on defending them to the death. i think the lineup distributes the strenghts and weaknesses of the team nicely, providing nice protection for everyone exctp rowand, who will just get destroyed when hitting with no one on.

Interesting thoughts. I dunno if 1. Rowand would get destroyed hitting 8th, 2. if that system of thought would work in the NL and 3. if Utley would be best served hitting 2nd.

In that lineup, I would like to see Helms hit second then have Utley, Howard, Burrell, Coste, Victorino, Rowand, then the Pitcher's spot. Rowand might be left on a lot, but late in the game he could score if you get a pinch hitter (that can actually pinch hit) with some power up at the plate. It would make an interesting experiment, but it's one I wouldn't like to see implimented in the NL.

i hear you ace.

i've just always thought that a 1st to 3rd to start the game is such a beautiful way to start things off. with a lefty (although utley isn't ideal) that's more likely to happen. i guess my ideal #2 hitter is wade boggs, pete rose, rod carew, tony gwynn - you know - the kind of left handed, singles hitting monsters, that fall of trees.

Helms is a bit more of a doubles hitter, so Utley would be best served hitting third. Although Helms doesn't ALWAYS hit doubles, we can expect about 20 from him next season. I'm personally a bit more old-school and want my best pure hitter batting third. That way, the pitcher doesn't have an easy inning knowing that a home-run hitter is up at the plate. Although Howard hitting third would cause him to draw walks, no matter where you bat him, he will draw walks. He could hit ninth and still get free passes. I'd just like to have my best hitter batting third so that the pitcher will be forced to throw strikes. Utley almost always has good at-bats and fouls off a lot of junk strikes until he gets a pitch he can handle. His 35-game hitting streak is proof of this.

I'm surprised RSB acknowledges Bill James's existence... anyway, I think there's something to be said for the hitter with the most power batting leadoff simply because that's 5 chances fo him to hit a home run instead of 4... however, the Nats did this with Soriano and he ended up with just a ton of home runs and 90-something RBI's if I recall correctly, so... probably what makes more sense is to bat the guy with the highest on base percentage first. Someone like Abreu, if we still had him.

Care less about the lineup right now and more about shoring up the bullpen. Hopefully Gillick is able to do something at the winter meetings but I have my doubts.

Tim, your ideas make a whole lot of sense. Really, more than practically every suggested lineup configuration I have ever seen on this board.

Tray: I actually happen to be a fan of Bill James - so much for pigeonholing.

Baseball Prospectus did something on the effects of batting your best players 1st, making your lineup in order of OBP, and said that most teams would gain one win in the standings over a traditional lineup. Some guys made a lineup tool ( that predicts the best lineups according to their formula... its fun to play around with. It goes by the philosophy that its better to A.) Give your best players the most ABs by batting them at the top and B.) Spread out the easy outs (Helms, Pitcher, etc.)

rsb - thanks for the kind words.

dave z - we actually did that one year when i was coaching little league. we set the line up after the first half and then used second half stats to set it for the playoffs. it worked out ok in the playoff because everyone didn't have to hit. in the regular season it was not that great though because the botton 5 kids or so really struggled causing an inning or two of 3 up - 3 down. with a lineup like the yankees though it might be effective.

I like your lineup too Tim, but I can't believe RSB is going for it. I mean, it still has, horror of horrors, Burrell hitting behind Howard!

I live in Cambridge too... sounds like a strong philly presence in MA.

Tim - I bet you have thought more about the line-up than the people putting it together.

I still think Utley should lead off (best OBP on team) and then bat Rollins second (switch hitting is beneficial here to break up the lefty's). Howard swings third using the best hitter concept by Tim and this will never happen but Coste hitting clean up (4th spot is somewhat over-hyped anyway). He was one of our better clutch hitters last year and is not going to be held up on the basepaths by the BIG MAN & no one else in my opinion is much better. Try Helms fifth and then Burrell sixth to take the pressure off which I think would actually work if he is still around. Then hit Rowand 7th and have Victorino in the 8th spot who is almost like another lead-off hitter and also speedy to avoid the pitcher's bunt and FC scenario.

Here is how it would look:

1st - Utley
2nd - Rollins
3rd - Howard
4th - Coste
5th - Helms
6th - Burrell
7th - Rowand
8th - Victorino
9th - OUT

This looks more balanced and gets your weapons the most ABs. I really like the Utley, Rollins, and Howard trifecta to start the game.

So how could a Bill James fan be a supporter of the Abreu deal and claim that it's better to try to put a ball into play and strike out than to take a walk?

Because, like Bill James, I don't go blindly by bottom-line statistics and use the 'evidence' they present as an excuse to ignore context and personal observations. James' writing and opinions are determined by much more than statistics, which is why I find him infinitely more insightful and interesting that certain stat regurgitators who call themselves 'disciples' - some of whom evidently are not strangers to this board.

In the *context* of being a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, with runners on base and a deep count - taking a borderline pitch is not acceptable. That hitter could end up walking and getting on base, but that pitch just as easily could have been called a strike. He's showing he doesn't want to be the guy responsible for delivering, for stepping up, for giving the team a lift. It's a cop out. The official statistics will indicate that the walk and the on-base average are strictly positives, but in this case I don't believe it is appropriate to stand there and take a walk unless the pitch is four feet off the plate. I want to see effort in that situation. There are times when a walk is as good as a hit, and there are times when it's not.

Clout, just read your explanation for batting Burrell 3rd. Your reasoning makes sense. And in this world of make believe, we'll never see Cholly trot out a lineup like you wrote, especially with Rollins batting 5th.

There is a very interesting article about former Phil Don Carman over at

is anyone else incredibly bored with the way every single Phillies offseason article devotes about 25-50% of the text to complaining about how we didn't get Soriano? see, most recently, this morning's Zolecki column:

"The Phillies had hoped fans would be awash in talk about where to hit Soriano in the Phillies' lineup. (And maybe buying a few Soriano jerseys for the holidays, too.)
Fourth, behind Ryan Howard? Fifth, behind Howard? Instead, the Cubs made Soriano rich, and the question remains for the Phillies: Who in the heck is going to protect the big guy in the batting order? Anybody?"

these guys made it through denial, anger, and bargaining pretty quickly, but it seems like they've been stuck on depression for a long, long time.

Maybe, the lack of any real news/rumours has them grasping at straws. So hard to tell this year what is really going on. I've seen yet more references to the phillies being desperate to trade burrell, despite gillick saying 'we don't have much to trade.'

Of course, he might just think that even in the current market, burrell is worth nothing . . .

ae - i agree 100%. it's lame, as if soriano would make us the world series favorites or something.

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