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Monday, December 18, 2006

Comments

That list of flops is impressive. It would have been the greatest thing ever if Sal Fasano caught lightning in a bottle for a season with the Phils. Too bad he could barely catch a slider.

A very well-thought and articulate post, Jason, and particularly appreciated in light of the lack of any other baseball news at this hour. However, I couldn't agree less with your assessment that bad luck did the Phillies in.

I would point specifically to the Utley fair/foul homerun that you cite as having broken the Phillies' back. Here's how I look at it: the Phillies had their fates and fortunes squarely in their own hands, leading in the wild-card standings with a week to play. They lost a tough game to Houston, and then went to Washington to play a buried, lousy last-place team that wasn't even outdrawing the Marlins. They faced three decidedly sub-par pitchers: Pedro Astacio, Ramon Ortiz, and rookie Michael O'Connor. And they scarcely, by the skin of their teeth, managed to win one of those games. You want to talk about luck? In the game they won, Brian Schneider came up with men on first and second and hit an absolute screamer that Utley flagged and turned into a double-play. I found the placement of that batted ball to be extremely fortuitous. Or how about the gutsy offensive output against Ortiz, off whom they managed two runs on ten hits over five innings in the opener?

The Phillies showed heart right up until the time when they finally scaled the mountaintop, and then their knees started knocking. It was a disheartening, whimpering performance, and Utley's ill-fated hit was just one moment in the course of that series that the Phillies had numerous opportunities to avenge. And as far as Gillick's totality of flops, I'll refer to the commentary of Branch Rickey: "Luck is the residue of design." None of those moves mentioned were met with anything but indifference at best, and more frequently, howls of incomprehension from the fans and media. Gillick failed to adequately fill in the missing pieces last off-season, and the team paid the price for it.

"But it wasn't luck that ultimately did them in; it was pitching. The fates are still worth consideration, however."

Egregious oversight on my part to not have regarded that first sentence. But the fates indeed are worth consideration, and I considered them. What can I say, I'm just a bitter Phillies fan, in the end. To my mind, they blew it yet again, I haven't forgiven them yet, and I bear no excuses for them.

I share your pain regarding the final week. They did it to themselves those final days. Basically, the point I was trying to convey is that over the season, they were more unlucky than lucky.

Admittedly, not my greatest work, but I'm grasping at straws for a new topic.

but I'm grasping at straws for a new topic.

Well, you could always do a post morten on the Abreu trade...

That would cause some lively, passionate discussion, which we obviously need more of here....

Jason, probably about ten years ago, the local New Orleans sportscaster, the late Buddy Diliberto, had an astrologer read the stars and analyze the fates of the New Orleans Saints based on its birthdate. One thing that I still remember was that the astrologer said that local players will perform better than players born in Oregon. I think that is true. That means that Jamie Moyer will finish his career better in Philly than in Seattle.

Look at Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan going back to Houston, Texas, close to their youth hometowns. They did well.

When Gillick picks prospects, the homegrown ones should get a special weight. Granted a local dog will not outhomer Ryan Howard, but a local player should do better in Philly, than he would in Arizona. Is it luck? Are our fates written in the stars?

Re: Abreu, I'm always curious how anyone could doubt the need to trade him when they did.

I know he has fantastic stats over the course of the year, but his lack of fire, perceived or otherwise, doomed the Phils time and time again, I believe.

That said, I know folks in these parts are knowledgable and statistically driven (something I respect very much), and I know I could get killed for assessing a trade on gut feeling alone.

But I think the Abreu deal will be brilliant in the long run. The fact of the matter is the Phillies could not get over the hump with him as their "go-to" guy. He wasn't comfortable in that role, and neither were the Phillies.

That trade turned the reins over to Utley and Howard, and it will work wonders in the long run.

Anyway, Jason, excellent post as usual.

I'm glad I live in North Jersey, because if I saw the Utley "foul ball" live, I might've kicked my TV in.

Actually, I really enjoyed this post. And as for pitching doing them in, you can say that about almost every team that didn't make the cut. Pitching is a premium in the majors, and there are very few times out there that haven't targeted "pitching" in one form or another as their major weakness.

To comment on clout's summary in the previous thread of the ChiSox. I agree that "rebuilding" probably wasn't the best term. On sleeping on it, "regressing" probably is better in describing the ChiSox offseason trades.

JZ, I'm not about to get back into Abreu, so I'm simply going to say you are wrong and that stats DO count more than feeling. Baseball is not like football or basketball, where a firey persona can dramatically affect the team (Rose may be a good example of a positive effect, but I'll argue forever that the "laidback" Carlton and Schmidt were FAR more important to the '80 team). Or how about the "laidback" Rolen, who managed rto win a WS. Is Pujols a fist-pump kind of guy? Paul Knoerko?

This is a lazy way to argue on my part, but I feel the "Abreu just wasn't intense enough" is an incredibly lazy argument to begin with, and doesn't really deserve the usual efforts that goes into combatting it.

Jason, nice post, but be careful with those mixed-metaphors:
"blips" are on radars, not horizons.

Uh oh JZ. You probably have stirred up the hornets nest. Prepared to be called an ignorant fool for not bowing down and paying homage to the Baseball God that is Robert Kelly Abreu. The Billy Bean Fan Club will be along shortly to straighten you out.

Wow, that was lazy! Knoerko? Geez!

I thought it odd that Utley didn't argue that home run call, and for that matter, neither did any of the coaches. It looked pretty obvious from the blurred TV views.

That was a sad series and they were lucky to even win the one. Wasn't that the 14 inning game where Fabio got his only save? Frank Robinson uses a pitcher with 8 career AB'S as a PH and he gets a hit?

Great game though.....

Tony, I think you just provided example 1A of the type of lazy argument I'm referring to. There is not a single scrap of evidence or information in your argument - pure rhetoric.

kdon, it's not a matter of intensity, although all those guys you cited are pretty intense besides the fact, despite not necessarily being vocal players (Carlton not intense? He was so focused as to be damn near in a trance!).

Stats matter, but they do not reveal everything there is to know about a player or a team - and if we're going to be dealing in absolutes here, then you are *wrong* to say that they can. You cannot proclaim yourself to be 'right' and all others 'foolish' and 'wrong' on the basis of statistical evidence alone. If someone wants to agrue, Bobby Abreu is not a good hitter, you have mounds of evidence to argue against it. If someone wants to say, Bobby Abreu was not a good team player, you do not have numerical evidence to point a finger at someone and shout "wrong". And you have no grounds on which to proclaim such a thing is of no importance, relative to statistical merit or not. You can argue why he may have been a team player, in your opinion, but you can't summarily dismiss the matter altogether. Personalities and examples do and can affect teams. Just because there is no way of measuring or quantifying this premise does not make it emotional, irrational, or nonexistent.

I disagree that the Phils were generally unlucky last year. For the most parts, the Phils were pretty healthy last year. They had some injuries to the pitching staff but there wasn't one key player who was on the DL for an extended period (couple of months).

The principal reason why the Phils were sitting home in October was the general horrible starting pitching they received out of the back of the rotation. The Phils number for the 4 and 5 starters were the worst in the majors last year. Again, that is not so much luck as it was due to poor acquisitions and personnel decisions by Gillick and co.


Please can we stop rehashing the Abreu trade. Ugh.

we were talking about the chisox before. there is a good article on espn.com about them and the cubbies.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove06/columns/story?columnist=rogers_phil&id=2701105&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab5pos1

nice post jason. i especially agree about the double headers. they were just sickening.

i've come to the official conclusion that justin germano is the "6th starter". this is only in my head of course.

abreu? seriously? like, we haven't had this discussion before? multiple times? with no one being convinced of any opinion they didn't previously hold? why don't we just throw the death penalty, abortion, and reperations on the table while we're at it? just my two cents, but PLEASE GIVE THE ABREU BUSINESS A REST!

personally, i'd rather see some discussion of the prospects list that i think BP just put out. didn't segovia not even make our top 10? what kind of draft picks do we have for this year (at this point) and do we have a shot a blue-chip prospect or two?

'Luck is the residue of design'

I believe that saying to be oh so true.

The Phils had their share of bad luck, for sure, but the really good teams get past the bad luck.

The cream of the crop, the Championship caliber teams are good AND lucky--they make the Baseball Gods happy.

Let's hope that Pat gets his groove back, looks like he'll be behind the Howitzer again. I can't see Wes Helms there.

I don't know why Pat didn't go after Toby Hall, I think he would've fit in nicely here. I thought that PG wanted another catcher.

Here's that list gr was referencing:

Very Good Prospects
1. Carlos Carrasco, rhp
2. Kyle Drabek, rhp

Good Prospects
3. Michael Bourn, of
4. Josh Outman, lhp
5. J.A. Happ, lhp

Average Prospects
6. Matt Maloney, lhp
7. Adrian Cardenas, ss
8. D'Arby Myers, cf
9. Scott Mathieson, rhp
10. Greg Golson, cf

I have no idea what they consider the measuring stick to seperate "very good" and "average" prospects. Kendrick and Cardenas were taken back-to-back in the last draft. I'm already catching a vibe that the Phils like Cardenas quite a bit. From everything I've read, he would seem to be a surer bet than most of these players, especially pitchers like Drabek, or some of the guys that haven't made it past Class-A. When BA releases its list, I'm expecting him to overtake Bourn as the top position prospect.

Where's Segovia? Great control, great season, great fall, proven beyond the Double-A level?

I see last season's short comings stemming from the atrocious start to the season. Everything else after that was playing "catch up" just to get into the WC discussion. Whether they underachieved in the first couple of months, or overachieved later in the season (around the trade deadline - although I'm sick of the Abreu talk, as well) is up for debate. It was a tale of two teams. As mentioned above, pitching was a downfall for many teams, thus driving this off-season's ridiculous market. For many weeks, other teams' pitching issues allowed the Phils to keep pace (the race in the West was one of those situations where control of one's destiny changed day in/day out).

Kdon, I am not going to make any assesment of Abreu at this point, but I do not think that you can just throw out names out of a WS winning team, and assume that their laid back personalities had anything to do with their success. In some cases the winning is in spite of those personalities. They are merely members of a team, most of which have some fiery personalities that do fire up the team.

First, I would not categorize Pujols as a laid back type. (Especially after the comments about Ryno's MVP). Pujols may not make the headlines for his words, but I think anyone would have a hard time saying that his intensity of play is not inspriring to his teamates.
Second, as far as Rolen, he is an A-Rod type. You can win with him or without him, nothing that he does is ever going to get you off your can in the dugout. (Outside of defense, but even as great as that is he somehow makes it boring).
Third, I think you forgot a few names on those WS teams that had a bit to do with the success of those teams, whose personalities definitely had some inspiring effects on those teams: (Leaders/emotional fireplugs of teams, by example or otherwise by fiery personality)
1.) Tug McGraw (80 Phils), 2.) A.J. Pierzynski (05 Chi. SOx), 3.) Jermayne Dye, ("), 4.) Bobby Jenks ("), 5.) David Eckstein (06 Cards)

2006 Red Sox: Damon, Ortiz, Schilling, Millar, Varitek

I think (Could be wrong) that JZ meant that Abreu neither through his personality or efforts definsively had any inspiring affect on his team. (Which is fine as long as you are not the guy: hence his role with Yank's is subordinate to Jeter.)

Abreu's role prior to the emergence of Howard/Utley has to be regarded as the leader/face of this team. It is hard to argue that it is not exactly awe inspiring to see a guy miss a fly ball on the track becasue he smells the wall. I think that this does affect teammates, especially ones that know that you are the most talented player on a team. (Just think if other players thought that Pujols was loafing at first, could not be a good thing)

I can agree to disagree without calling folks ignorant or, as kdon so nicely puts it, "lazy."

I'll resume questioning commenters' grammar and spelling mistakes now.

I'll leave the Abreu talk for the experts. But I do agree with Mr. SchuBlues. Just sayin'.

And I don't understand how they can call Cardenas an "average prospect" after only 40 games in the GCL, not to mention the fact that he hit .318 during his 41 games there... and it was his first time ever swinging with the wood.

about the list... do germano and bisenius not make it for a reason or are they aged out or something?

oh - and i'd rather talk about this: http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/16267611.htm

than the abreu trade. and i really don't want to talk about the above article.

Essentially, what I really mean is a team is a team not any one individual. Often times it is the average players that you need to come up big to get you to the summit. I think that if these average players see a guy have a lackadasical attitude (Percieved or otherwise), who they know is more talented than they are, has a detrimental affect on a team.

All those that said the clout's "condescending tone" turned them off of this site may want to avoid Beerleaguer for the duration of this thread once clout has a chance to reply to the Abreu comments above.

I can see both sides of the argument. As I have thought about the deal for the past few months, I begin to wonder how much, if any, impact does a fiery attitude impact a team in baseball? Obviously, in basketball or football it can have more of an impact. In baseball, unless it's a pitcher who gets excited and can dial it up on the radar gun, I don't know how much emotion allows a player to hit better or more effectively field their position. While I've argued in the past that this team seemed to step it up when Abreu and his nonchalant attitude was shipped to NY, I'm not so sure that outside of practice, preparation and genuine enjoyment of the game that any one player can make any other play that much better.

This isn't JUST about the Abreu trade, it is a discussion of how to put together a baseball team. As soon as people stop claiming the Abreu trade being "brilliant", I'll stop commenting on it.

Parker, I think you may have missed my point. Of course there are different personalities on every team, the Phillies have guys like J-ROLL and Utley and Myers who like to demonstrate how fiery they are. My point is simply that it is overated and that I've yet to see any evidence of a "laidback" guy having a NEGATIVE influence. The list of great players who simply did their job and didn't pump their fists (like Abreu) is just as long as the rah-rah guys.

On the prospects, it's a little sad that Costanzo isn't on there, considering he was a second rounder and the team has a major hole at 3B. He is already starting to look like a bust, and too bad, he is a local guy.

Also good to see drabek at #2, the comment makes it seem like if he gets his head on strait, he will be a stud. I guess B-Pro doesn't buy the "damaged goods" argument of Herr Conlin.

If you clink on the link, you can actually read the comments for the top three. They seem to like Bourn too.

I think Segovia isn't on there because he was a pretty average pitcher before last year, but still, he had an incredible year last year. I would give him another 1/2 season of AA or AAA ball before believing he is for real.

Germano's k-rate plummeted last year, even though the ERA staye about the same. He doesn't walk guys at all, though, so I'm a little surpised not to see him on there.

Bisenius looks good, but the guy is 23 and has only pitched 23 innings above A ball. Still though, I would think a place like B-Pro would love his chances...better than someone like Golson anyway!

Who is this Abreu guy you guys are talking about?

I agree WP. It is easy to see how a fiery QB in the huddle can get the line to block better, or how Jordan could inspire his teamates, but I still can't figure out how the way in which the RF stands affects Jon Lieber's ability to keep the ball down or prevents Ryan Franklin from grooving 2-0 fastballs.

Kdon, I think you just made my point there with that last comment. I dont think that every player is significantly impacted by another players play. The great ones do not need to see other do great to inspire them. However, even some very good players are extremely affected by the play of other players.
(Example 1: I can't even begin to remember how many times that I have seen Brett Myers go from unhitable, to absolutely horrible after an outfielder misses a play on a ball that they should have caught. He is visibly livid, and he starts throwing nothing but fastballs.)
(Example 2: Marlins, Scott Olsen is throwing an awesome game and Miguel Cabrera makes an error becasue he was loafing around. Olsen falls to pieces after the error, and they have to be restrained from each other by Girardi in the Dugout.)

Can the great players ignore the bad play of their teamates? Yes.
Even average players with strong determination can block it out of their minds. However, not every player has the intensity/mental fortitude of say, Mariano Rivera (Just one example). It is my opinion that most players, no matter what sport you play are affected by how their teammates play. I dont think anybody on this post that has played organized sports can say that they have never been frustrated by another player loafing or just being bad. This is compounded when you know a guy is capable of greatness and he just doesnt seem to care.

Even a great player, (Micheal Jordan) can get frustrated with teamates to the point that he has to take a stand. This is the essence of the whole argument. When you are the best player on a team and it seems like you dont care or winning is not everything, it is infectious. It would be different if it were a fringe player who was doing this, you simply get rid of him. However, when it is the best player on the team it has a negative affect.

Maybe Abreu was not a negative influence, I dont know. I do know that he was the best player on this team for years, and at times I thought he was not giving full effort, and I think that about 40,000 boo's coming from the would second that motion. I just think that it must be said that it is at least within the realm of possibility that this percieved attitude could affect a team, whether positive or negative.

With that logic then, shipping out Pat Burrell for 40 cents on the dollar for team players who can remain better focused should result in a WS run?

Every team sport, needs team leaders.

There are many different types of leadership, from the Fiery Aaron Rowand style, to the laid back quiet Ryan Howard, and everything in between.

Abreu was a leader here, whether intentional or not, and when you see your leader dog it sometimes, it becomes an indication that its ok to not give 100% all the time.

Abreu's performance took off when he was traded to the yankees. He was busting his butt down the 1st base line, drag bunting and generally hustling. It was obvious that he lost his will to give 100% in a Phillies uniform.

Blame it on the fans, the front office, the d1ckheads on WIP, few latino teamates, whatever, he just wasnt playing up to his demonstrated abilities, and may have influenced others performance.

However, that being said, he wasn't the main negative Locker Room influence. "Rumor" has it that Bell and Burrel were the big Locker Room Grinches, with Bell being an a$$ to Rookies when they goofed up, and Burrel being an unapproachable grumpster.

Team Chemistry is one of those things that is undervalued by sabre guys. The Yankees, should have walked away with the Hardware this year, because of all the amazing stats they put up. And the Cardinals? They shouldnt have made the playoffs.

Which clubs Locker Room do you think was closer? Which one do you think had more players going out for drinks after the game? Which one was more fun?

Kdon, I do not think that Aaron Rowand smashing his face into a wall to make a play can make Randall Simon hit a curveball. What I do think is that it can shame someone who has been loafing, into giving at least more effort, especially defensively.

I think the moment when I truly lost faith in Abreu was the Rowand play. When I saw that play, the first thing I thought of was yelling at my TV a few days before when Abreu missed a fly ball because to me it looked like he was scared of the wall. When Abreu came over to help Rowand out, it looked like he was ashamed of his own effort. It was the unltimate paradox in player mentality. Abreu, with infinetly more talent standing next to the bloody Bulldog, Rowand, who makes up for his lack of talent by laying his butt on the line every night.

Whether Abreu was loafing or not, I don't know. But when I saw him continue to miss those fly balls, while turned, looking at the wall, not the ball, it became personal. Maybe it is just my competitive nature, but if I knew I could give more and my teammate smashed his face for this team, and I knew that I wasnt doing all I could, it would make me go all out for my team. I'm not Bobby Abreu, but that is what I would do.

Parker, I think your examples shed light on the disagreement. In actual instances where playes are not made, then I think it obviously does matter.

However, not making a play is a "tangible" ability, and has nothing to do with "intagibles." I have no problem with people saying that Abreu was not a good outfielder, I think they are right. I also think his hitting made up for it.

Howard made a number of bonehead playes last year and no one ever accused him of "dogging it." The main difference is that one player smiles while the other doesn't, and I thnk this is a terrible way to evaluate a player's contribution to a team.

Willard, I'm not saying that you could field a team of David Ecksteins and win a WS. But if you have some great talent on a team and some players that are willing to give it up for the team, you have a better chance. Every team has a weakness/average players. The difference is, some of these players that are average or a weakness give it all they have, and some dont. This is the difference between a champ and a team that is on the couch in October.

The Doug Mirrabelli's of the world and the Jeff Blum's of the world are needed on championship teams too. You shouldnt trade Ryan Howard for a bunch of them, but if you have a malcontent, slouch in that position, you would be well advised to try to fill your team with as many of the effort guys as you can to replace the guys that dont care.

You have to remember that Individual performances in a Team sport are not in a vacuum, they *must* be influenced by other peoples play and attitudes.

For example: I was at "The Catch" game. I noted to my buddy in the 1st inning that Floyd looked like crap, and I didnt think that he'd make 2 innings.

Rowand makes that catch, and suddenly Floyd threw like a pitcher on fire! Seriously, it was an impressive outing, and Floyd was temporarily over his makeup problems. For the next couple of innings, he looked like a top-flight prospect.

(until the torrential downpour stopped play, of course they got the game in, but Christ, I think that Trachsel is one of my least favorite players in MLB. I swear that his tactic is to lull the batters to sleep, and hope they forget to swing. I seriously believe taht he was trying to delay this game enough that it wouldnt have gone in the books)

Anyway, you absolutely can see how one player's hustle can and does bring about better performances out of his team. When you are in a leadership position, dogging it is amplified, as your actions are held as the standard of the team.

I can see your point, Parker. It's a fair point to say that a high-profile player can almost make seem like it is acceptable to give less than 100%. I do not know whether or not that was the case in this particular instance. I am firmly entrenched, however, in the camp that says we do NOT need to trade away Burrell just to build team cohesiveness and to get rid of a "Locker Room Grinch." If PG can't get close to equal value in return, no amount of team chemistry will compensate for the fall off in production.

kdon:

well, if your willing to say that Abreu's offense offset his defensive weakness, I think that I'll go out on a limb and say that Ryan may have made up for his IronPig hands at first.

Christ, you could have put Howard at SS, and he still would have made up for it with his offense. :-)

Willard, I wouldnt trade Burrell either. He is not the type player I am talking about. Burrell's deficiencies on defense are not because he doesnt care, but because he is in need of a foot transplant. I am talking about players like Randy Moss or scienter. These players are infectious on a teams attitude, and I dont care how talented they are, they hurt the team in other ways. Once again, I don't know if that was Bobby Abreu, but he sure looked like he could have watched the ball a little longer and not the wall.

And Kdon, my Problem with Abreu had little to do with his offense. It was always his defense. This is the one thing about a players game that effort can improve. Once again I dont care how hard a player tries, they cant improve their eyesight or even bat speed past a certain point (Without Roids of course). Defense can at least be improved by effort at least to some extent. Although I do think that he was/is on the decline, but that is just me and we will see this season.

oh well, it was worth a try. thanks anyway jason. i'm surprised that drabek has been invited to spring training already, after only basically an A-ball audition at the end of last season. however, it took ryan zimmerman less than a year to get make it to the majors. however however, he was a college player, drabek straight out of HS.

one thing is for sure, they have got to find a power hitter sooner or later in the draft. all of there position prospects top to bottom are light-hitting except for costanzo, who i don't think is a bust yet. he looks liek he could end up being a wes helms 2006 type, which isn't too too bad.

Again, Joe, the "effort" that Rowand gave actually did have a tangible affect, he caught the ball and likely saved three runs. These kind of thing are not nebulous, they are real, catching the ball is real.

Also, Parker, if the argument is about defense, that's fine, but it's not and that's not the point that is being disputed. I'm willing to admit Abreu was a below average defender. OK, great, so is Howard. So is Burrell. Nunez is a fantastic defender!

The point is that I want the former three on my team and not the latter.

Joe, obviously I DO think Howard's offense makes up for his defense...otherwise I would be calling for his departure. The point is that almost NO ONE on this board claimed that we needed to get rid of Abreu because we had inadequate RF defense (if that was the point, we wouldn't have had Dellucci in there!!).

People claimed he had a negative effect on the team and was a "cancer." It is this claim that I find so objectionable becaus it is basically based on how you read a player's body langauage and there isn't any evidence to support it (unlike players such as Bonds, Carl Everett or Albert Belle where their public statements made it pretty clear they were not great teamates). I have still yet to hear anyone on the Phillies criticize Abreu as a teamate.

The anti-Abreu has been led by radio talk show hosts who like to stir up controversey and is based on nothing but pure speculation.

Is anyone else disheartened by the low grades given to alot of the Phils prospects?
Granted alot of these lists are based upon pretty arbitrary criteria (mostly scouts' observations) but I would would have to think that alot of other organizations take a pretty dim view of what talent is currently available in the Phils' farm system.

This has got to hurt the Phils' ability to make deals with other clbus - whether or not this talent gap is real or perceived.

I agree MG, I think the Phillies prospects look pretty good, at least on the pitching side. I do think it is true that the PHillies don't have any can't miss (re:"A")players like Upton or Stephen Drew, however. Everyone on that list has question marks and no one has the minor league pedigree of guys like Howard, Hamels, and Utley.

And gr, I rechecked Costanzo's stats and you're right, it is premature to call him a bust - I had remembered worse numbers than

.258/.364/.411

Obviously .258 is a pretty poor BA, but he walked at a good clip and had 48 extra-base hits. He hit for average in college and that is the easiest thing to improve, and the most likely to fluctuate.

Actually, after checking his line, I am surprised he isn't on the B-Pro list. I think he looks good.

kdon: i think those numbers are more impressive in first half / second half split mode. didn't he have an atrocious first month or two of the season?

i am most defintely disheartened by their lack of power in the minors. it makes the abr- *ahem* trade that much more troubling, in that there are absolutely no viable corner OF candidates at any level of the system.

I never know what to make of these prospect lists. Fabio Castro isn't even 22 yet. I would consider him a good prospect and he's not listed either.

The problem with the Phils is they have very few people in their organization who are 25 or under who are likely to be ML regulars let alone stars. Cole Hamels of course and maybe Bourne. Their very good prospects -- Carrasco and Drabek are both teenagers and several years away.

Compare this to the Mets, Tigers, Twins, Marlins or even Yankees who all have all-star or near all-stars under 25 along with high ceiling minor leaguers ready to make an impact this year or next.

gr, Drabek is being invited to spring training because it was in his contract. Phils did the same for Floyd and Hamels too the year after they were drafted.

I don't want to be misunderstood on my Abreu views. While I do object to the "chemistry" nonsense, since not a single shred of evidence has been offered to support that view, I did NOT oppose the trading of Abreu. I thought trading him was fine. What I DID oppose was getting a pile of human garbage for him. Only Matt Smith will ever make an impact and he's the 8th or 9th guy on your staff. If all you can get for a player is garbage, then you keep him until the market improves.

And for those who say it was a salary dump, please explain why the Phillies needed to dump salary, especially since their payroll is down or flat with last season. And what Abreu-quality player will they sign as a free agent this winter with the money they would've been paying him?

gr, I think you are right about the Costanzo's performance...I think I heard about his first few months and that stuck with me. It's always nice to go back and look at the stats and reevaluate your position on someone ! :)

The reason Castro isn't considered a prospect is because he was with the PHillies most of last year. I forget what the service time ceiling is before you lose your "prospect" status, but I;m pretty sure Castro exceeded it.

Regarding Abreu, I found the Rowand 'catch' very illustrative of two different types of ballplayers, and how they are perceived by fans vs what they actually produce.

Rowand was praised and became somewhat of a hero (and he deserved it), while Abreu was criticized for his lack of defensive 'effort' for the rest of his stay in Philly.

Funny thing, though. Which player better served the team?

Rowand ended up missing what, 6 weeks? (When he did return, he almost knocked Utley out for the year with another ill-considered diving catch).

There's a reason why NFL coaches don't want their QBs running the ball, and there's a reason why it makes sense for your best players to be smart about getting themselves hurt.

It's early May and Ryan Howard is running full speed down the RF line trying to make a game saving catch. Which would you prefer, a spectacular catch and Howard out for 6 weeks, or for Howard to pull up, let the ball drop for a game-winning double, and then proceed to hit 16 HRs over those same 6 weeks? If Howard understands that and pulls up, are you going to say he's 'dogging it'?

I will never take anything away from Rowand's incredible effort. It was exciting and inspiring. But I can't criticize Abreu for not doing the same thing.


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EST. 2005

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