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Thursday, December 21, 2006


Whatever gets Coste at least on the bench is good with me.

Figured something like this was coming sooner or later. I wouldn't be surprised to see Conine hang 'em up some time this year, too.

What is it going to take to get Nixon?

I've always liked Conine and was glad when the Phils picked him up for the stretch run; however, my lasting image of Conine in my mind is a botched fielding play in the outfield late in the season, plus his last week batting behind Howard and doing diddly. I am glad he's not in our future plans. I also agree with Zach T about Coste.

If their was a show called Phillies Idol, and each week, a player got voted off the team, I think Coste would still be alive when all the bullpen is voted off, all the outfielders are voted off and the only pitcher left is Hamels. That's how popular I think Coste is with the fans.

There was too much panic yesterday from the Coste fans after the Barajas signing. He'll get plenty of PH chances next season, probably in big spots. He's earned it, and it suits him.

Ranks in popularity?

1. Howard
2. Utley *very close though*
3/4. Hamels/Rollins I couldn't really decide
5. Aaron Rowand
6. Chris Coste

Philadelphia loves its blue collar guys and underdogs and Coste fits into both categories.

Coste is a Rocky or Vince Papale type success story that Philadelphia or any city loves to embrace.

Manual knows him from Cleveland and has confidence in his abilities so I agree he will be a factor this year in pitch hitting and spelling multiple positions (C, 3B, 1B) BUT still could end up taking over the primary catching duties if Ruiz fails and/or Barajas becomes the next Sal Fasano.

Zach. Your list is close to mine. I'd rank them like this:

1. Howard
2. Utley
3. J-Roll
4. Hamels
5. Coste

I think Rowands Phillies fan star power dropped when we saw some of his poor throws from the outfield and when he ran into Utley.

I did a little dance when I saw this move go down, as I was afraid no team would take Conine on for us. Conine is a waste of a roster spot no matter where he is right now, he really should just retire, and let his great years in the 90s speak for themselves.

Also, Coste > Rowand, in terms of popularity. I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse, but perception of his injury last season seems to have moved from "putting himself into the play" into "unnecessarily injuring himself," and he didn't play too well when he was healthy, either.

I secon ADAM on this one. Couldn't have said it better.

And I also agree with J - Coste will get his ABS. And he will be fresh this year, so we will get his clutch Pinch Hits all year long.

Now if we can just finagle Lieber for Otsuka, sign Trott or Huff and get a LH relief pitcher, we will have a very solid offseason.

One more I don't mind seeing Gillick makie. Opens up a roster spot and almost $2 million in cash (I would almost willing to bet the Reds picked up Conine's entire '07 salary).

"Now if we can just finagle Lieber for Otsuka, sign Trot or Huff and get a LH relief pitcher, we will have a very solid offseason."

CY, my thoughts exactly! Although we could possibly use another arm in the pen (besides the lefty you are talking about) and an upgrade over Sandoval/Nunez for a back-up middle infielder spot. I don't know if all of those things will happen, but you never know.

If the stars align, Zito will go to the Mariners or Giants while Suppan goes to Giants or Mets. Then Texas will bang down our door for Lieber. Maybe get Otsuka and Benoit

I highly doubt we would get Otsuka and Benoit. Maybe if we threw someone else into the deal, but that would be the only way I think we would end up with both.

I doubt the Rangers trade Otsuka for Lieber straight up. Even though Rangers signed Gagne, they have absolutely no idea if/how well he can pitch.

Nice. They save a little money and create an opportunity to bring in someone better.

I'd be excited to see what a Werth/Nixon platoon could do. Actually I'd prefer Huff as a full-timer, but probably not at the deal he'd demand (something like Eaton's contract at a minimum, I suspect).

Trot Nixon would make sense on this team, but we'll just have to wait and see. Conine would have been a fine bench guy, but trading him was the right thing to do.

This Conine move is fabulous, even if the returns aren't blue-chip prospects. Though it feels like every time Krivsky notices that some pesky meddling kids are rising up through the system, he has to go acquire some old dudes to balance it out. It's getting sort of freaky.

I must say, this is another move I like. Key is a non-prospect, organizational filler, but Moran might actually be better than Roberson. He has Roberson's speed and defense, but unlike Roberson, he can hit. He's a slashing type, puts the ball in play, doesn't strikeout much (also unlike Roberson). He doesn't walk much either (like Roberson) which is a drawback.

At age 24 he should've been in Triple A last season but he was slow in recovering from a bad hamstring pull so repeated AA. He should start at Ottawa and if he hits, I think he'll see some time in the bigs. he doesn't have the power or OB to be more than a 4th OFer, but he's a step up from Roberson.

I like the recent moves. Cant say I know much about Werth, but far as I know, Barajas is a pretty good catcher. Great insurance no matter what. He is definately MLB starter quality. The Conine deal is it a holiday gift? I dont know, but hey I'll miss saying Conine the Barbarian, even if everyone hates me saying it. Well, evrybody, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, and otherwise a joyous holiday. Stay safe, there are a few of ya that are bashers but hey, everyone would miss ya. Take it easy all and Happy New Year.

For those who doubted the substance of my post yesterday on this board to the effect that Gillick is luke warm at best in his estimation of Coste -- see today's Phillies' website story by Ken Mandel on the Conine trade, which states in pertinent part, as follows:

"If the season opened next week, Coste would be part of a bench that includes Abraham Nunez, Werth and Ruiz. Randall Simon is the lone left-handed option, assuming the Phillies don't make a trade.

Gillick wouldn't commit a spot to Coste, last season's feel-good story.

"We need a left-hand hitter, so consequently the fact that Werth can catch some creates some flexibility there. So if we did acquire a left-hitter, someone could be in jeopardy," Gillick said."

Yeah, right. I rest my case. Just what does Coste have to do to get some baseline level of respect from Gillick?

Parker: Bashers only emerge when they read statements like this on this board: Barajas "is definately MLB starter quality." Of course, quality is a matter of opinion, I suppose, so I'll cut you some slack tonight. But FYI, BB-Ref lists players most similar to Barajas as Todd Pratt & Chris Widger. 'Nuff said.

Jason, your post on baseball slang in the last thread was laugh-out-loud funny. It reminded me of a quote I read in the Daily News some years back from Lieberthal, who was asked to explain Schilling's "rising" fastball.
"It's really nothing special," he said, "It comes in straight as a string, but then at the end it has this little hop."
That little hop gets 'em every time.

One final word on Moran (who is younger) vs. Roberson. Career strikeouts per AB: Roberson 1 K for every 4.5 ABs. Moran 1 K for every 6.2 ABs.

And a note to Gillick, that great talent evaluator of catching talent -- when you say that Jason Werth "can catch", were you even aware that Werth has not even caught so much as one game during the guy's entire time in the big leagues (2002-2006)? Check out this link, Pat, if you don't believe me:

davthom: If Randall Simon is on this team's 25-man roster next April and Coste is cut, Gillick should be tried on charges of criminal negligence.

Clout - I was really warming up to you being in the Holiday spirit but you had to throw a zinger in there to maintain your reputation.

Clout: Amen, brother. We're on the same page.

Bix: The zinger about Barajas or the one about Randall Simon?

Hate to admit it but I liked them both but was more specific to the Simon you say.

Now this move makes signing Barajas more sensible. They can carry the 3 catchers and now get a left hand hitting outfielder. I'd rather have Werth than Conine for his speed

"Right now, Michael Bourn or Chris Roberson figure to be lined up for the final outfield slot temporarily, with left-handed hitters Aubrey Huff and Trot Nixon still on the FA board."

It better be temporary. They need to sign one of these guys before they're all gone.

CORRECTION: Moran was part of the Cory Lidle deal of 2004. I incorrectly listed him as a waiver claim.

I am kind of lukewarm on the deal. I have always liked Conine and felt that the Phillies needed a player like him. In addition to what he was able to do on the field, he brings a level of maturity and veteran leadership that teams need. I know things like maturity and leadership don’t mean much to the sabermatricians out there, but it is sometimes the intangibles that change an under achieving team into one that exceeds expectations.

While you cannot quantify the effect that leadership has in terms of in wins and BA, you certainly can see its effect on the field. Strong leadership and a great attitude are contagious.

I agree that this opens up a roster spot for the Phillies to fill in some of the remaining gaps on the roster. Heck, I even agree with Clout tonight that Moran could turn out to be a steal.

I keep waiting for the bullpen moves. If we can take a chance on Werth and Barajas, why can’t we take a chance with some of the pitchers that remain unsigned? I would be interested in hearing everyone opinion on the best remaining FA relievers and how they might fit on this team.

i'm in the camp that thought conine had a little more left then he did. of course i never expected him to bat 5th either.

i like the move, especially if Moran earns mlb time at some point this year or next.

yo i understand that Coste is a great story and all but you know what...i'm friggin sick and tired of not making the that being said, if this team is better without Coste....THATS FINE with me...he's 30+ and only has 1/2 season in the big leagues for a reason. There aren't many times a guy comes from no where to be a big time player for a number of years

So for all you COste LOVERS (davthom73 especially) enjoy the cup of Coffee he had last year and the minor success he had for 1/2 a season and please stop whining if Mr. Coste doesn't get regular playing time and is forced into just a pinch hitting role this year. Personally I think if Rowand/Burrell are not traded and we do go out and get a LH OF bat then Coste is all but gone which isn't necessarily all that bad as long as the team is better off. I do believe that is the goal of this team and not whether or not they lead the league in feel good stories.

No they do not need to lead the league in feel good stories but they also need guys that can hit in the clutch.

Coste was one of the few guys whose behind did not pucker up in key situations which is part of his support base.

The Dude: Chris Coste is a lot more than a "feel good story." That tired cliche, with the implication that all Coste is is a "feel good story", marginalizes and disparages the hard core, clutch-hitting production and substantial positive contribution which Coste made to the Phillies last season. You assume that Coste cannot replicate or approach his 2006 numbers, but you have no evidentiary basis to make that claim at this point. Coste took that away from you with his fine play last season. If, and only if, Coste demonstrates in 2007 that 2006 was an abberation, then you will be able to make the blind assumption you do. Otherwise, your opinion is devoid of any factual foundation.

You and Pat Gillick apparently have no use for a guy who had the following numbers last season: 65 games, 198 at bats, 7 home runs, 32 RBI's, .505 slugging percentage, and a .328 BA. But, then again, Gillick had a lot of use for Fasano, Gonzalez and Nunez. Senility in the GM chair, perhaps? Anyway, a long way from Gillick's "salad days" in Toronto and Seattle.

I noticed how nobody has pointed out that when they made a trade for Conine last year, they recieved cash in that deal. That cash was for Conines salary this year. Although his numbers were listed on the payroll but the Phils indeed recieved that money. Now they trade him and his salary away. That alone is a very good move.

BTW, Let Coste earn a spot next year. You just can't give it to him. Let him earn it. If he comes and hits like he did last year, Gillick will keep him up.

I'll take Gillick's senility over Ed Wade's lucidity anyday....

I have never suggested that Coste, or anyone else on the team, should be "given" a spot. The problem I have is with Gillick loading on a guy like Barajas who has a terrible OBP, and a guy like Werth, who Gillick says "can catch", when Werth has never caught so much as an inning in the big leagues over the years 2002-2006. I also have a problem with Gillick's bias against Coste, which was reflected in today's Mandel piece on the Phillies' website where Gillick went out of his way to put the needle to Coste by saying, "We need a left-hand hitter, so consequently the fact that Werth can catch some creates some flexibility there. So if we did acquire a left-hitter, someone could be in jeopardy," Gillick said."

After the season Coste gave the Phillies in 2006, and Gillick now goes out of his way to say that Coste is "in jeopardy"?

No, I am not asking that the Phillies "give" Chris Coste anything -- other than fairness from the team's GM and manager. Right now, IMO, Coste is not getting that.

I kind of liked Conine too, Iron Pig, and was glad when they got him for the stretch run. But let's face it, he's pretty useless in the field and has limited power at this point. I think he's basically only useful as a pinch-hitter, and he wants to play more. Fine, let him play - apparently the Reds still think they have a chance to win the wild-card in 2006. I like that the Phillies are getting younger with Werth, and I think he has a much greater upside to help this team than Conine.

DavThom73 - judging pat gillick on the basis of what you perceive to be his atttitude to one player is really not wise.

Mandel of Phillies pravda has consistently misjudged gillick's moves. Gillick, as per usual, says nothing about how its going to affect existing players - he is not quoted and mandel assumes its going to be the worst because mandel is a thoroughly unimaginative reporter. I've no doubt coste is on the bench going into the new season if he hits well in spring training, and since his numbers in the minors and majors suggest that to be the case, its likely to be true.

Last year when ryan franklin was acquired, the assumption was that because he was a starter, he was going to be our 5th starter. gillick and manuel looked at the spring training performances of floyd, madson and franklin and moved franklin to the bullpen. there is fair reason to believe that when assembling the team at ST, merit counts.

Regarding Werth's catching - from the day he started playing pro ball to 2002 the guy was playing catcher in the minors. I suspect that if asked, gillick would say that coste can catch as well.

Weitzel- I just want to say thanks for this blog and all the other Phillies blogs out there that don't take themselves as the end-all-be-all of the Internet in regards to Phillies information. I'm sure some of you have recently known PhilliesPhansPhorum has went on a "shut-down" but is now up and running through invitation only plus a $10 entry fee. I actually did get invited back but will be declining because I will not pay money to go on to a site and be verbally abused by people who think they're superior because they know Bill James' latest projections or the Win-Shares for Pat Burrell last season. I like BeerLeaguer, I like Ball,Sticks, & Stuff, I like my own blog. So once again thanks Jason for this site, unless of course you choose to start charging admission then in that case bye-bye...j/k.

OIsin, my opinion of Gillick is based on a lot more than, "judging pat gillick on the basis of what (I) perceive to be his atttitude to one player (Coste) . .. "

Let's start with the Gonzalez, Fasano and Nunez off-season signings for the 2006 season. Yes, all GM's make moves that don't turn out, but those three off-season pickups, coming when they did, were particularly damaging to the Phillies for the first two-plus months of the season, given what the team needed from those slots at the time. One could make argument that the failures of those three players offensively was the difference between the Phillies making the playoffs, and not. I could go on with reasons as to why Gillick had reason to suspect all three of those guys, and to stay far away. Among other moves of Gillick's with which I disagree, I don't like the Werth signing, either. Gillick thinks he's gotten the Jayson Werth who produced 16 home runs in 89 games, 290 at bats, and 47 RBI's in 2005. I think Gillick got the guy who hit .234 in 2006. I could go on, but perhaps you would acknowledge that there is Gillick is legitimately subject to criticism for a number of moves that he has made in Philadelphia.

Regarding Coste earning a spot in spring training. What did he hit, about .400 last spring? He hit .328 in the regular season, against real pitching, including big clutch hits during the second half. He's earned it already.

DavThom - I'm getting at your assumption that gillick definitely doesn't like coste. I don't think he does or he doesn't. He never makes firm statements about players because he's always shifting his plans.

Regarding the players cited, as bad as they were, lets look at their number of ABs over the period cited:

nunez - 31 ab in april, 27 in may
fasano - 29 in april, 49 in may
Gonzalez - 18 in april, 18 in may

Bell managed 73 and 89 in those two months, Lieby 54 in april and 13 in may
Ruiz 35 in may

Philly managed 811 ab in april, 961 in may 1772 in total.

Nunez percentage of total at bats -

DavThom - I'm getting at your assumption that gillick definitely doesn't like coste. I don't think he does or he doesn't. He never makes firm statements about players because he's always shifting his plans.

Regarding the players cited, as bad as they were, is it fair to say they constituted the difference? lets look at their number of ABs over the period you mentioned:

nunez - 31 ab in april, 27 in may
fasano - 29 in april, 49 in may
Gonzalez - 18 in april, 18 in may

Bell managed 73 and 89 in those two months, Lieby 54 in april and 13 in may
Rollins 97 in april and 115 in may
Ruiz 35 in may

Philly managed 811 ab in april, 961 in may 1772 in total.

Nunez percentage of total at bats - 3.27%
Fasano's percentage of total at bats - 4.4%
Gonzalez's percentage of total at bats - 2.03%

Bell managed 9.14%, Lieby 3.74% and Ruiz 1.98%. Rollins 11.96%

which is just another way of saying that arguing that the bench players at 3b and SS managed a lot less ab's than the regular players. as bad as they were, its a small percentage of total abs and a lot less opportunity to significantly hurt the offense. Did we have a weak bench last year? yes. Could it have been better with coste? yes. was a more significant concern the regular players offense during that period? definitely.

I look at a GM over the course of his whole tenure with a team, not at the dumb moves for familiar players he made first time round. I'm more concerned that gillick never got great value in the abreu trade. In the case of fasano and gonzalez, it wasn't a problem to lose the contracts. we didn't pay a lot, and we didn't lose a lot when they went.

This year gillick (a years worth of assessing scouting reports under his belt) ISN'T picking up useless old guys for the bench. He's gambling on younger players who have had problems in the past but who stand a not unreasonable chance of coming good (werth or helms) and he has made it clear (in today's daily news and inquirer articles) that he wants a trot nixon type to platoon in right with vic/rowand/werth. The pitchers he's been picking up have the same feel about them.

He's a long way from making up for getting nothing back for abreu, but I can't fault his strategy so far - avoid big contracts in a thin-ish sellers market, address your concerns through solid trades, go into spring training in a position to trade from strength in two positions should another team be left short and desperate.

Gillick has improved on last year. I doubt he's going to cut coste, and manuel says in this mornings daily news that the numbers coste put up say all you need to know.

I love the Coste story, but there's no reason to expect him to reproduce his magic of last season. No prior track record, nothing. I like the Conine trade b/c he's not old like Coste, he's REALLY OLD. However, he has a track recored and playoff experience. I do enjoy a good story and Coste provides that (and he seems like a good guy), but he's being made into the 2nd coming of Babe Ruth. I'm completely exaggerating and haven't had my coffee yet, but let's put some thought into this. Is Chris Coste the piece the Phils need to win the WS? Is he even a "core" guy on this team? He did very well in his "cup of coffee" last year, but if i'm a GM i'm not going out of my way to keep a 33(?) year old guy on my roster b/c he did well for a few months.

Coste's playing time last season was a lot more than "a cup of coffee", by my definition of the term -- for me, a "cup of (major league) coffee" means a handful of games enabling the sipper to listing in the Basball Encyclopedia. Coste was a lot more than that for the Phillies in 2006 -- game winning hits against tough pitchers and a number of big time clutch hits in tough strung-out at bats in August and September.

With the trading of Conine's contract, could this lead to a deal where Rowand is traded for a couple of minors and the Phils sign both Huff and Nixon. If they trade Rowand and the saving of Conine's contract would enable them to sign both players. 2 LH hitters are needed. I say Burrell/Nixon, Victorino and Huff/Werth is a pretty good offensive OF. Not to mention trading Lieber's contract. Some of these pitchers throwing in winterball look pretty darn good. Maybe go with a young pen.

Every player can help you win a championship, even a pinch hitter. Even if they add another outfielder, which is very possible, Coste's spot is secure. His primary threat is Randall Simon at this point, and he's cooked. The reason Coste was successful is he doesn't waste at bats. He makes pitchers work for it and gets his bat on the ball. That's the complete opposite of a player like Simon.

The only way Coste isn't here is if they sign a very good, productive backup infielder, someone like Mark Loretta for example. There's no chance of that happening.

I can't fault Gillick's strategy so far either, because he IS saving money by not giving in to any high contract demands, but Davthom is spot on when he questions the motives of the Werth signing, and Gillick's subsequent argument that he "can catch." How can you say that about a player who's never caught in the bigs? Where's the follow-up question to PG by the savvy reporter who fields such an answer?

You'd have to figue Coste knows Werth has never caught a big league game in his life, and that knowledge along with the healing Fasano scars is serving to either piss him off, or at the very least slightly anger him. It would me, or any weathered minor leaguer who tries so hard for so long to make it this far. But in baseball, what is deserved and what is earned are two completely different things.

I don't know how you can say Coste's spot is secure. He doesn't have a position now and if the team carries 12 pitchers, it is difficult to carry a bench player that you don't play in the field. There were ample opportunities for Coste to play 3rd last year and he didn't play one inning. Obviously the Phils don't think he can play 3rd and Helms will backup Howard at first. I am assuming the Phils will carry 5 outfielders. I don't see the Phils going into the season with just Nunez as the only backup infielder. If the team carries 11 pitchers, this puts Coste in a much better position to make the team. As far as Coste as a catcher, it seems the Phils (at least Gillick) has soured on him as a receiver. But wasn't Coste being praised by veterans like Moyer, Lidle, and Lieber last season ? And didn't he do a nice job catching the rookie Hamels. All of sudden, there is concern that he can't handle a veteran staff. Didn't I see him throw out Reyes from his knees ? With regards to Huff; he's a pretty poor outfielder and probably best suited to play first. I don't see a fit there.

I can't see the Phillies doing the two utility infielder thing anymore. It basically amounts to waiting around with Dan Sandoval in case Utley or Rollins get hurt, then wishing you had something better to hit in the 9th inning. If they get in a bind with an injury, they'll just have to make due until they can recall someone from Ottawa.

I don't see 12 pitchers happening either because of the defense/speed liabilities with Burrell/Helms.

I think Coste actually batted .463 last spring training.

I'm with the crew that say Coste needs earn his spot this spring training again. He definitely needs to be given a real shot at it though. I don't think anyone could definitively say whether Coste will or will not repeat his performance from last year, trying to predict something like this is a waste of breath.

Now that the Phils traded Conine, getting a decent LH bat to platoon with Victorino is nearly as important as getting some bullpen help.

If Werth were healthy, then you might consider him a realistic option to contribute next year. Werth has been played a game in over a year and he struggled mightly in 2005. Hopefully Gillick realizes he can't count on this guy for 2007.

I agree with Billy Mac. What exactly did Coste do wrong last year? To have a guy like Moyer, who's pitched since Reagan was president, come over and develop an instant rapport with Coste, says quite a lot. Why would a guy who was so important a contributor to a baseball team have to prove himself again? Who do the Phillies have off the bench who's any better? As Jason points out, he consistently gives you quality at-bats, which is a key to his success and an invaulable trait for a skilled pinch-hitter. Werth, by contrast, strikes out literally a third of the time. If Gillick and Manuel were watching the same games I was last year, they could see that Coste can *hit*. The 'track record' means nothing in comparison to what a player is doing *now*.

Meanwhile, PG is so proud of himself, boasting that the team is so far superior than it was a year ago. Glad you see it that way, Pat, but other than the starting rotation, it isn't immediately obvious to me. You've still got some work to do - save your self-adulations for when and if we see some results.

Oh, for crying out loud -- at this point I'm hoping Coste gets cut or traded just to put a cork in DavThom's keyboard (forgive the mixed metaphor, but J started it with his "too many cooks"). Look, the guy exceeded everybody's expectations except perhaps yours, Dav, but to base your assessment of him on his "clutch hitting ability" is the height of folly. No statistic fluctuates more, for just about any player, than delivering in the clutch. I actually agree with you on what seems like an unfairly lukewarm attitude on Gillick's part, but I think others have made the point well: we're talking about a backup catcher here, not the second coming of Johnny Bench.

As for those questioning the Werth signing, he's getting $650,000 plus incentives. What's not to like? You act as if he's a $4 million-per-year guy.

Will, you're wrong about predictions. Of course, nobody can say FOR SURE what someone will or won't produce, but reasonably accurate predictions can be made from past performance. One of the strong predictors is regression to the mean -- basically, if someone has a year that's much better than his previous established performance level, odds favor him falling back to that level the next year. So, while nobody can predict anything for sure, it's fair to say that Coste is more likely to regress this season than to maintain the level he performed at after joining the Phils.

If we're to judge anything about Gillick's performance by his approach to Coste, it's this: He prefers established big leaguers to aging minor leaguers. Congratulations, we've now established that he's no different from 29 other general managers in major league baseball.

Nice to have you step into the conversation and tell everyone how wrong they are, Alby. You're so good at that.

"He prefers established big leaguers to aging minor leaguers." Is it really so simple to you to refer to Coste as an aging minor leaguer? Is the evidence of what he didn on the baseball field last year totally and perpetually irrelevant to you because he had not previously played in the major leagues? What does one have to do with the other? Either the guy can play and produce, or he can't. Did he show he can play and produce in 2006, or does that really not matter in light of his career prior to 2006?

"Regression to the mean" is pure presumption that you want to believe you can apply to all players on all teams at all times - yet there is no evidence whatsoever that Coste can't contribute just as solidly again. And so what if he were to hit .258 instead of .326? What you're looking for in a pinch-hitter late in a game is the ability to have quality, focused at-bats, the ability to get on base, the ability to threaten with extra-base power, the ability to get a good swing and make contact. Coste has shown the ability to do all of these things far better than any other prospective option the Phillies will have off the bench next year. That's the "reasonably accurate prediction" that I can make from his past performance.

I haven't seen anything from Gillick that demonstrates to me that he can evaluate mid level talent, or at least distinguish it from minimum wage talent.

RSB if you can make a prediction like that based on a sample of Coste's 9 pinch hit appearances then you should get hired as a GM.

I put this into same category as your "Howard didn't hit in September because Burrell was batting behind him regardless of what the stats say" theory.

Alby, that assumption of regression to the mean is a good one when talking about major league veterans. But you wouldn't think of doing that for a 24 year old kid brought up for the first time would you?

Coste may be a late bloomer, in which case you don't know what his sophmore ML season will look like. More of the same? hopefully. Major regression as ML pitchers figure them out? hopefully not. If he is a late bloomer, then he should be treated the same as that 24 year old call up.

Coste may also be what you've already tried and convicted him as: a career minor leaguer who had a ridiculously good season that good fortune timed with a call-up to the big leagues.

Which one is it? An objective person would say they don't know until the season starts.

No, clout - you'll put it in your "I'll twist your words to suit my agenda" category. As always.

RSB: No need to twist your words, they speak for themselves: "What you're looking for in a pinch-hitter late in a game is the ability to have quality, focused at-bats, the ability to get on base, the ability to threaten with extra-base power, the ability to get a good swing and make contact. Coste has shown the ability to do all of these things far better than any other prospective option the Phillies will have off the bench next year. That's the "reasonably accurate prediction" that I can make from his past performance."

Again, based on 9 pinch-hitting appearances. Amazing. As always.

A hitter can be judged on his "ability to have quality, focused at-bats, the ability to get on base, the ability to threaten with extra-base power, the ability to get a good swing and make contact" in ALL of his at bats, not just his pinch hitting at bats. If a hitter -like Coste- shows he has quality, focused at bats at any point in the game, those traits should only improve when he's buckling down to pinch hit, unless he's got rocks in his head, which it's apparent he doesn't.
Also, Coste's "regression to the mean" can't be judged at all since it was his first big league season. And his minor league numbers are all pretty consistent. Which, if anything, would lead one to think his consistency will continue.
If the dude hits like Nunez in Spring Training, sure, he should be sent to AAA like any player who doesn't have a long track record in the majors. But if he hits reasonably well, he should have a spot for himself on the big club, no matter the competition. (and when i say "no matter the competition," i clearly mean the possible competition, not if they trade for A-Rod and Pudge and whomever. just covering my bases, no pun intended).

I agree with with RSB that Gillick should be a little hesistant to tout the Phils' improved talent. The starting rotation cleary looks stronger but I can't actually point to any other part of this club that is better off than 2005.

The outfield and bullpen are both worse since Gillick since arrived. Plus, the Phils still have only average players at both 3B and C.

Unless something dramatic happens, I would target the Phils at 85 wins +/- 2 wins. Still not enough to win the division (figure Mets win slightly more than 90+ game with Zito signed) and doubt that they take the WC with 85 wins. Just running in place.

Honestly clout, you're being a jerk. If you want RSB -or anyone- to clarify what they're saying, ask. If you have statistics to refute what someone is saying, share them.
Or maybe just e-mail your retorts directly to him. He can then place them directly into the junk folder -without reading- and I don't have to read your (jerkish) posts, either.
(the ones where you're reasonably arguing one side or another, they're well thought out and educational).

First off Ruiz was originally slated to be the starting catcher in 2007 by most accounts so Coste was sitting initially anyway.

Interesting sidenote by Marcus Hayes in today's DN that the Phillies are concerned of Ruiz's health & production plus ability to manage a headstrong pitching staff for a full season which is why they signed Barajas.

My guess is that Coste chances of being on the opending day roster & staying there all year are better than Ruiz's who I believe will be dealt with Lieber or sometime in the next few months.

Jaramillo (3 yrs younger) is probably not much further behind Ruiz (who is older than Myers, Howard, & Werth) in potential just lacking ML AB's & Barajas signed a 1yr contract with option for 2nd year.

Barajas could hold the fort until Jason is potentially ready or really finds a home here for some strange reason with Coste a steady back-up who could start without losing much and Werth an emergency back-up.

Read what Manual has said lately and since the beginning of camp last year about Coste & he will play this year and I'll bet alot.

its said to say it but i'd be all for Coste getting cut or traded just so that i don't have to see anymore posts from Mr. Coste on this site've never seen a 34? yr old guy who has 150 ab's get so many comments about him getting screwed. Jesus H. Christmas most of us on this board grew up with the dream of playing in the majors and the guy finally did it so i give him all the props in the world but..hey there is a reason he was a career minor & independent leaguer. Plus hell i'd take a year of being screwed and riding the bench if it meant i'd make $250,000! Now please Mr. Coste (Davthom73) please stop your constant whining when the phils make a decison which could potentially affect your playing time!!!

THE DUDE - pretty funny as it almost is believable based upon the threads.

Then again you could be Lieberthal with an axe to grind.........

Is Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is coming to Town" not the greatest Christmas song of all time? It never gets old.

Anyway, I hope Coste is on the team next year. But coming out of nowhere and hitting 330 is too much of fluke for the Phils to not have a viable backup plan.

seth: My post wasn't addressed to you. If you don't like to read my posts, just skip over them. Name-calling is a sign of your maturity.

God give me anything that will change the subject off of Chris Coste. You swear this guy hit 58 homers last year!!! Who hear doesn't want him to make the team? But you think you can judge that he will repeat last year on a handful of major league at bats? When you jump on those at bats don't forget the 12 years he spent bouncing around the minors and independant leagues. Lets get real. Look at Kevin Stocker and Ron Jones. They had great starts and faded into oblivion. The Barajas deal was a good move. We have 2 catchers with very little major league experience. Coste is a 30 something career minor league player. Ruiz is a rookie who also has not proved anything at the major league level. Barajas gives us a veteran major league talent who has some trade value if Coste and Ruiz prove themselves as major league players. Add me to the list of people who would like to see a player like Trot Nixon in a Phils uniform.

malcolm: I second your motion. I, like davthom et al, think Coste should be on the team next year, especially if the alternatives are players like Simon & Roberson.

But some posters here have gone to absurd lengths in describing Coste's talent. It was his first year in the bigs, for crying out loud, and he only had 198 ABs. As you note, there are a ton of guys in mlb history who came up made a big splash and then disappeared forever. No one can predict what Coste will do next season. Give him a chance, yes, but stop making ridiculous statements about how the guy is always focused on every at bat, is tough in the clutch, would hit .300 with 20 HRs if he played every day etc. etc. Sheesh!

hey everyone...i'm a phillies fan from dad is close to being a phillies fan, i've almost won him over haha...i just wanted to say GO PHILLIES and i think we've done pretty good this offseason as far as getting players go, and i really don't think Pat should trade aaron rowand because we have a young team that needs veteran leadership and he's a guy that knows what it takes to win championships.

Malcolm wrote "We have 2 catchers with very little major league experience." That explains why the pickup of Barajas makes sense. Malcolm did a nice job in a concise fashion of explaing the merits of this pickup. That said, I'll admit my bias as I'm a Coste fan that wants him to get a fair shot at staying in the big leagues.

Coste for president in '08. Merry Christmas all.

And to think I got my nickname "Drama Queen" on this site from I believe Clout (although I may be mistaken).

Anyway, Chris Coste was a feel-good story, but he was more than that. You can't deny what the guy did for the team last year, and although he may not be as scorching hot with the stick next season, there's good reason to believe he'll still adequately produce, especially considering he'd be the backup catcher (until of course Barajas was signed).

Enough bickering's all good up in here. Merry Christmas everyone!

"Now a normal English-speaking person would take that to mean. . ."

"My objection is to the boneheads who say Kenny Williams got snookered. . ."

"Tim K is an idiot if he thinks the Eaton signing was the worst of the offseason."
Gillick has addressed this and if they stay healthy, this pitching staff could put them over the top. Then the idiots on here can talk about how it was all because of the chemistry. . ."

"Name-calling is a sign of your maturity."


Merry Christmas, douche.

Clout: You get the point. I've received e-mails on this, and I'm running out of reasons to keep you here. Let's lighten up a bit. People are starting to feel discouraged from participating.

I love the way everybody skips over the part where I say Coste seems to be getting a raw deal from Gillick. I don't know how else to say it -- I LOVE THE GUY! But I'm not going to let that emotional investment overcome my ability to look at his situation with clear eyes. My point is merely that from the point of view of a baseball lifer like Gillick, Coste is a flash in the pan, and there's a lot of baseball history that confirms that as the smart-money point of view. As one of the great old sportswriters said, the race is not always to the swift or the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.

Will and Seth make an erroneous argument when they say we can't use regression to the mean because last year was Coste's first major-league season. Yes, but he has a long minor-league track record, and it shows his established performance level to be lower than what he did with the Phils. That is the mean to which he can be expected to regress. I would argue that it's still good enough to be a back-up catcher; unfortunately, the Phillies don't have a clear starting catcher, which actually hurts him here. I, too, believe he has done enough already to make the team, but Gillick hasn't checked with me lately on my opinion, and I'm not going to string him up for his choice of backup catchers. As someone else pointed out, that pales in comparison with his biggest screwup, which was getting nothing for Abreu. It's become pretty clear that if we had held onto him, his value in the newly set market for productive corner outfielders would be far higher than it was last July. It will take a lot of great deals to overcome that monumental screwup.

RSB, you seem to take issue with the whole idea of regression to the mean by making the argument (I'm putting it in my words here) that any INDIVIDUAL player cannot be predicted with complete accuracy. It's a specious argument, because if you extend it, it boils down to "we can never know what a guy will do next year." You're absolutely right, we can't, and if you go back and read what I posted, I said exactly that. But that doesn't invalidate regression to the mean. It is a tool; it has been shown to hold true in the majority of cases. Indeed, you and every other person who follows baseball uses it when trying to predict the performance of any given player; it's the strongest argument against, say, Eaton suddenly becoming a stud. It COULD happen, and I'm sure some of the front-office brass who were here when he was drafted hope it does, because it will validate the high draft choice they spent on him. But that's a best-case scenario.

Here's another hypothetical for you: Let's say Eaton does turn in his greatest ML season this year -- maybe 16-8, a 3.75 ERA with good peripherals. Can he be expected to repeat that? Regression to the mean would argue against it; for not-too-distant examples of the phenomenon among Phillies pitchers, I would point to John Denny's Cy Young season and Danny Jackson in '93 -- peak performances that were never repeated. (Yes, they were better pitchers before and after those peak seasons than Eaton has shown himself to be, but you get the point.)

As for the "twisting someone's words" argument, RSB and others, you've done a pretty good job of ignoring every positive thing I've said about Coste so that you could castigate me for calling him a "career minor leaguer." I said that was Gillick's view, but as long as we're going for accuracy, that's also the truth. I'm sorry it offends those of you who seem so emotionally invested in rooting for the guy, but that doesn't make it anything less than the truth.

As for Clout's etiquette, J, I would vote for some of the folks on here to grow a thicker skin. "If you believe X you're a moron" seems fairly mild to me; then again, I guess I'm used to the flame-throwing that occurs on political chat boards.

Hey THe Dude: You said, in part, "(I)'d be all for Coste getting cut or traded just so that i don't have to see anymore posts from Mr. Coste on this site either . . . .hey there is a reason he was a career minor & independent leaguer . . . Now please Mr. Coste (Davthom73) please stop your constant whining when the phils make a decison which could potentially affect your playing time!"

Firstly, to the extent that it even needs to be stated, I am not Chris Coste. It is a matter of record that I have made numerous posts to this board during the precise times that Coste was on the field playing for the Phillies last Summer.

And I certainly need make no apology for backing Coste and other guys who have come out of the independent leagues, such as the recently-acquired Jacobs, who may well surprise as a backup left-handed-batting, stellar defensive oiutfielder in St this Spring.

But it is the venom of your reaction toward people supporting Coste on this board that find so strange. I have had (and continue to have) honest disagreements with others on this board, and frankly enjoy those exchanges, most of the time. But your statements above, with their blind ignorance, leave little to be discussed. I mean where does one go in a discussion with you, when your foundational (and completely false) assertion is that I *am* Chris Coste. That demonstrable fact is that I am not.

Hey, Dav, take it as a compliment. I sure wish I could play ball as well as Chris Coste.

And it's a point well taken about the indy league guys -- I root for just about every one of them, and I too will be keeping an eye on Jacobs in spring training, in hopes that he's good enough to become the LH bench outfielder. Just remember, though, that the Phillies are on record as being "old school" in their approach to judging players. If anyone here has ever read Kevin Kerrane's outstanding "Dollar Sign on the Muscle," which focused on Phillies scouting under Dallas Green, the scouts actually would talk about players having "the good face" -- meaning they looked like players from the neck up. Sounds insane, but it's there on paper. (Full disclosure: Kerrane, a prof at the University of Delaware, is an acquaintance of mine; the book is out of print but well worth tracking down). Anyway, that's what you're up against in terms of anybody in the front office thinking outside the box. OTOH, they are also on record as not believing in sabermetrics, either.

Merry Christmas everyone!

“Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe mentions that Keith Foulke is expected to sign today. Edes thinks it could be the Tribe.

The Indians, having tried going young last year, are stocking up on veteran relievers this winter. They've already added Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz, and Roberto Hernandez.” –

I cannot understand why PG is waiting to bring in bullpen help while the list of FA relievers dwindles. So, in the spirit of Christmas, here is my wish list for relief pitchers for the Phillies. Unfortunately, most of the remaining “big names” are damaged goods.

Dustin Hermanson (RHP) – Had issued with his lower back last season after being one of the best relievers in the AL 2005. Finished 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 14 games for AAA Charlotte, with 16 strikeouts and appeared in six games posting 4.05 ERA over 6 2/3 innings for the White Sox. I think he should be considered as a set-up man and possibly as an option for Gordon should he have injury issues. He is definitely worth bringing in for a physical. If his back has not healed, then we do not sign him.

Chris Reitsma (RHP) – Another player with injury issues last year (ulnar neuritis in his pitching hand). He had some pretty good seasons for the Braves in ’04 (4.07 ERA/1.37 WHIP in 84 appearances) and ’05 (3.93ERA/1.27 WHIP in 76 appearances). He can be a set-up man and had an opportunity to close for the Braves on a few occasions including last season where he converted eight of twelve save opportunities and had fifteen saves in ‘05. Again, there is no harm in bringing him in for a physical.

Scott Schoenweiss (LHP) – My personal choice for LOOGY or set-up man. Acquired by the Reds from the Blue Jays after the deadline, Schoenweiss held NL hitters to a BA of .176 and finished the season with 9 scoreless apps (8 IP). His best season was with the Jays in ’05 where he was 3-4 with one save and a 3.32 ERA in 80 appearances (a career high). Good GO/AO ratio of better than 2:1 since moving back to the bullpen in ’05.

Jeff Nelson (RHP) – Signed to a minor league contract by the White Sox last year, he did have elbow trouble which limited him to only six MLB appearances last year (3.38 ERA over 2 2/3 innings). He has had injury problems over the last few seasons, but may be worth a look based on his career numbers.

Dan Kolb (RHP) – In 2006 he posted a 2.75 ERA in 22 appearances after the All-Star break and filled in for Derrick Turnbow on the Brewers. A former all-star closer in 2004 where he posted 39 saves.

I agree, IP, Hermanson and Reitsma seem like valid 8th inning guys, potential fill-in closers. OTOH, Nelson is ancient, Kolb has never come close to duplicating his '04 season (and his peripherals suggest that his results that year did not match his actual performance). Doing nothing does not seem like an option, but then I notice that the front office no longer leaks like the sieve it was during Wade's tenure. Could it be because Dallas Green is now kept out of the loop?

Alby - I appreciate that you would take the time to respond so thoroughly. I understand 'regression to the mean' and I am not attempting to repudiate it - but a) the only ML 'mean' where Coste is concerned is 2006; it is hard, if not impossible, to suggest we can refer to MLE numbers judging by Indie League performances; and b) I also posited that even if Coste hit considerably lower than .300, he would still be serving the Phillies well late in games by giving them a strong option off the bench by means of his grinding approach to important ABs which he demonstrated. I can recall several occasions when Coste played an integral role in a late-inning rally with a marathon at-bat that resulted in either a crucial walk or hit, and I found this truly impressive - a component of Chris Coste that stands out more relevantly to me than the fact that he previously had been buried in obscure leagues.

I took particular exception to your simplistic description of Coste as an 'aging minor-leaguer' rather than an 'established big-leaguer', because it just doesn't strike me as a relevant or fair way to assess him, whether you want to defer that thinking to Gillick or not. I feel it's a misleading bottom line, whereas in my opinion the bottom line ought to be: was this guy a fluke or can he actually play? Not, can he hit .325 again, but, *can he hit; can he contribute; can he help this team*. I am not inclined to believe that the abilities he displayed last year were of a nature that suddenly evaporates.

Note that my judgments are not emotionally colored by or invested in Coste. When he came up, I was as skeptical about him as anyone on this board, and you can ask DavThom if you don't believe me. When he started off 0-for-18 or whatever it was, and then partially cost the Phillies a game in Boston with some mistakes, I was calling him a bush league joke. He proved himself to me in a big way, and I am not basing any of my claims on his merely being a 'feel-good story'. Baseball is no place for sentiment. Sure, I root for him like anyone else, but I have no use for the whole movie storyline. I'm interested in what he does objectively on the field, and how he can help the Phillies win.

Lastly - I have read that book by Kerrane, and please pass it on to him that I found it to be a terrific book, as well as an extremely enlightening insight into the Phillies' organization at its 1980s crossroads - why it had previously succeeded, how it clung to older methods which were rapidly being bypassed, and how that caused it (in part) to begin deteriorating. I may have said there's no sentiment in baseball, but Bill Giles apparently never got that message...

A separate not ot all those flustered by the ongoing talk about Coste: Coste has inspired more good debate on this site than anyone other than Pat Burrell, and maybe Brett Myers, ever since last spring training. That's just the way it is. What's to debate about Chase Utley or Cole Hamels?

not ot = note to. Ack.

THis dosn't seem to make sense to me...

From Rotoworld:
Sources told the Dallas Morning News that the Rangers have acquired Brandon McCarthy from the White Sox for John Danks and Nick Masset.

Wow. There will also be a couple of lesser prospects exchanged. The White Sox had previously been after both Danks and Masset in a Jon Garland trade. This is far a better trade for the Rangers. McCarthy isn't far away from being a better pitcher than Garland and he's five years away from free agency. Garland, on the other hand, is due $22 million over the next two years before he becomes a free agent. The White Sox are getting a couple of talented arms here, but this is the third trade Ken Williams has made this winter that we're not fond of. Dec. 23 - 2:24 pm et


So much for trading Lieber to the Rangers..Maybe we'll go with a six man rotation :) Happy Holidays to ALL!!

The deal surprises me since I thought the reason the ChiSox traded Garcia was to make room for McCarthy. I know Danks is a lefty and top prospect. Not sure if this eliminates the Rangers as a trading partner. I assume they are still going after Zito and looking to upgrade their rotation. But I would be Ok with stashing Lieber or Eaton in the bullpen until you get good value for Lieber. There is no reason to rush to trade Lieber.

Iron Pig, some interesting bullpen names. Reitsma and Schoenweiss are worth considering. Scott Schoenweiss is also a local guy, having played HS ball in South Jersey.

Wow indeed, Cy. It's now reported as a completed trade on ESPN. This is a real head-scratcher; everyone assumed Garcia was made available because the Chisox wanted to clear space for McCarthy.

RSB, I think we basically agree here, except for the point about regression to the mean. Having just one MLB season doesn't spare Coste from the principle. He has a long track record, even though it's in minor league and indy league ball; the stat-head crowd has invested plenty of effort in showing that minor league numbers can be translated to major league equivalents, and if anyone is so inclined we could do the math. My point is that even compared straight up, last year in the majors was over his head. But I agree that even at his true offensive level Coste is an asset; I was very impressed with his throwing arm, and pitchers liked working with him. Why Gillick doesn't agree with us is something we may never know for certain; I've just been trying to look at it from the viewpoint of an old-school executive, and why he might be inclined to view Coste as a disposable part.

All I can tell about Gillick is that he is loyal first and foremost to players he has a personal connection with. By the way, how ironic is it that I mentioned Griffey's injuries -- I see by this morning's paper that he has now broken his hand in an unspecified accident at his home.

If they don't land a SP through free agency then they will still be in the market to trade Otsuka for a SP. They are not in a position of weakness anymo so I don't think anything will be done soon.

I have been hoping to see a Reitsma signing since the day they didn't offer him a contract.

i haven't been able to close my mouth since i saw the mccarthy thing. WOW

i said the chisox aren't rebuilding, wow was i wrong. this is insane.

maybe we can send a package that includes leiber for fields, the chisox third base stud.


At this point, it looks like the Phils may have missed the window to trade Lieber. They may have to wait for spring training and see if any teams need a starter due to injury.

Finally someone agrees with me that the Phils need to sign Schoeneweis! Thanks Billy Mac. If we can't get a good trade for Lieber, I say throw him into the pen with Schoenweis, Madson and Geary and they will be able to build the bridge from the starters to Gordon.

As for the other topic at hand, clout is far more likely to really be Ed Wade (who else despises all of us Phillies fan so much) than Davthom73 is Chris Coste.... Perhaps they are both just relatives of their heroes....

Um, given the injury histories of two of the younger starters (Hamels, Eaton) and the age of Moyer, maybe we should see if the Phillies need a starter to replace someone who's injured before we're so quick to dump Lieber?

I think PG may have over estimated the demand for Lieber. He could not make a trade with Pittsburgh for either Gonzalez (who will be a Yankee any day now according to reports) or Torres. Minnesota, which has bullpen depth, said they were not interested. Now the Rangers look to be out of the picture (which could be a reaction to not getting Zito who I suspect will be an NY Met any day now). I hate to beat a dead horse, but PG would be wise to sign some FA pitching to strengthen the bullpen. Then, when a team is desperate (perhaps from an injured starter) pull the trigger on a deal with Lieber for prospects.

The White Sox are stock piling one heck of a lot of pitching prospects (Gio Gonzalez, John Danks and Nick Masset).

Verdeforce, read my comments above on Scott Schoenweiss. I think he would be a fantastic option. We need a ground ball pitcher for the late innings at CBP.

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