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Monday, January 15, 2007

Comments

I agree almost completely with what you said about the Birds. Although I wouldn't like to see Donovan go. I still believe he can bring us a championship.

I hope we can bring Donte back. I've really grown to like him and Reggie Brown. Basket has been solid as well.

I heard some talk of your PSU guy Paul, I'm not going to guess at how to spell his last name. Don't count on Andy moving up to take an LB unfortunately.

Poz is projected as a 2nd rounder. He should be around when the Birds get to pick. It will all depend on his performance at the combine.

Sorry RSB, JW did right by posting a separate PDF, but where else are we supposed to post replies?

As for Mad Dog, I think I'm happy to see him back - if for no other reason than he'll know his new role (not starter) and can only get better. How's that for a ringing endorsement?

When pee-wee coaches teach the fundamentals, they should run film of Poz and Connor tackling.

RSB: Bear with us, brother.

If anything, I greatly appreciate the conscious respect given to baseball-only fans here!

You expect to see one of the other arb guys moved? I can't see any of them being traded now, not even Rowand. As for Utley - I've heard all the exuses on why they can't extend Howard, but there are just *none* when it comes to Utley. We'll see if the money saved in obtaining marginal retrards to pad the roster is now wisely allocated. Really, it'd be sickening if it wasn't.

I agree with most of your Eagles analysis, except that I don't think there is a need for another QB. I suspect that AJ Feeley is pencilled in as "The Future".

Um, just for the sake of clarifying, that was meant as 'retreads'.

RSB: It would not come as a shock to see one of them moved.

Disagree about arbitration guys being moved except for maybe Myers. Myers seems like he is grumbling again about his contract and he might be a real headache again this season.

Talented guy but hard to justify handing a 4 or 5 year contract to a headcase who doesn't seem to take physicial conditioning as a priority. Maybe Gillick surprises everyone by moving Myers instead of Lieber.

RSB, I completely agree with you on Utley...almost every other team is locking up their young stars when they become arb eligable, and the Phillises should do the same with Utley. I would give him something similar to Wright, arond $55 over six years.

On the Birds, I would be stongly against moving McNabb. Garcia is a nice QB (and should be signed as a backup) but not nearly as good as McNabb. What helped the Birds most of all down the stretch was the decision to run the ball more often. If they allow McNabb to play in a more balanced offense, I can see them returning to the top of the NFC.

Garcia will be 38 and is unlikely to withstand the physical pounding he takes over a 16 game season. He is the ideal backup, good for short spurts, but unsuited towards a full season.

Is the comment about Feely a joke? THe Dolphins had a chance to see "the future" and it looked about as promising as it did "Blade Runner."

Oh, and Feely is exactly ONE year younger than McNabb.

MG: I wouldn't mind that one single bit. I only wish they could've done it earlier in the off-season. With the pending extensions of Utley and Howard, Myers will stand out more and more as a guy who literally is more trouble than he's worth - or, thinks he's worth.

kdon -

No, the Feeley comment was not a joke. His body is a helluva lot younger than the oft-injured McNabb, and he had success in this (west coast) system.

The dolphins debacle can be mitigated because the main focus of that offense: Ricky Williams left the team High and ... well, high.

But, whatever, in my mind there are only two professional sports teams in Philadelphia right now, and one of them just got knocked out of the playoffs.

Bring on Spring Training. How about that Ryan Howard?

As for Myers... After the Boston incident, I suspect that his bargaining power has been reduced. How many more years does he have until FA?

Well, yes, Feely's body should be young, considering the guy couldn't even start in college.

If anyone thought he could play, I don;t think he would have signed on to be a third-string QB. He is a nice enough guy to have in an emergency, but would be a disaster on an everyday basis.

>Feely's body should be young, considering the
>guy couldn't even start in college.

Lost his starting job, after an injury, to Hasselbck.


Speaking as a Cowboy fan i'm happy not to talk about the Eagles for a while. I think the market for Myers is better then the one for Lieber.

Cowboys/Phillies fan??? Is that legal?

I think I'll just ignore all Phillies news until April. This offseason has been like one long horror movie, with Pat Gillick in the Freddy Kruger role, Alfonseca as Chucky, and RSB as Fred's loving mother, who never lets the fact that Fred's running around chopping people's heads off get in the way of her maternal loyalty.

C'mon, Tray. It hasn't been all horror. Instead of Freddy Krueger we got Freddy Garcia.

But, we now also have the 'Octopus'.

To really be a horror going forward, we only need Myers to slap his wife around a little more, Rowand to break something else and get bloody running into a wall, and Utley and Howard to start making comments like Rolen did, when they realize what ownership is really like.

Oh, and Cole Hamels trying to play taps on someone's skull again.

AWH: Not to worry. The great Clay Condrey will save the day! LOL

Say what, Tray? "loyalty" to Gillick? I haven't exactly gone out of my way to praise ol' Freddy since he took over as GM, let alone for what he's done this off-season.

Since Beerleaguers seldom keep old threads going, let me repeat here what I posted (twice) on the last thread:

AWH, yeah, I know Condrey's record and history. He's 31 years old, hardly a youngster; his big break should have come in 2002, when he was 26 and toiling in the Padres system. He had his best year as a starter in AAA, going 10-4 with a 3.50 ERA. He earned a callup in late August; working mostly out of the bullpen he logged a 1.69 ERA and a 1-2 record in three starts, two strong ones at home and a shaky one in Frisco. He made the team the next spring, but bombed miserably in the 5th starter/reliever role and was back in AAA by May, then got hurt. Then it's two years toiling in mediocrity as a starter in Scranton. I do like the line as a reliever last year -- he actually started out as a reliever in the minors, was switched to starting after four years of declining performance as he moved up the ladder.

Do I think this guy can fill the same role as El Pulpo? Yeah, I do. Does that mean Gillick should have thrown El Pulpo back? Not in my opinion. For all we know, both will make the team, or neither will. Too many people are assuming that, given the choice between an effective Condrey and an ineffective Six-toe (a little Lezcano joke for the oldtimers), we'll go with the vet, who'll suck. I realize there are good reasons to mistrust on such a point, but we're a long way from that exact set of circumstances coming to pass.

Alby: Well said. There is zero evidence in either his stuff or his stats to suggest that Clay Condrey can be a quality major league pitcher.

clout, he'll be riding a white horse just like Buck Jones.

The great thing about you is your propensity to exaggerate what others write. (It's funny though!)

No one has said CC is the answer to the 'pen woes, just a potential role player who represents good value on a team with parsimonious and historically incompetent ownership.

I'll make a prediction. Utley and Howard - for financial reasons it's 50-50 that they're both still here four years from now - I say one will be gone.

Feeley lost his job to Harrington, not Hasselbeck.

Feeley's a nice little backup, but he's not the future. However, I bet Andy is comfortable with he and Garcia as backups for another year, so don't expect them to draft a QB. Of course, that will change if Garcia walks.

"Cowboys/Phillies fan??? Is that legal?"

Man law #2007: No fan of any Phila team can be a fan of the cowpukes (or yankees, lakers and devils, wait, do they still play hockey?)

I definitely think Reid will draft a quarterback if there is a quality arm available. There was a report that the Eagles would have seriously considered Matt Leinart if he fell to their spot this season.

QB or running back, but not both. Reid isn't that kind of drafter. I think he should draft a linebacker as well and a run-stopper DT.

Also, nobody seems to mention it, but the CBs have also managed to get hurt (collectively) more than Westbrook. I nice, tall CB would help a lot I think. Obviously low on the priority list, but still should be addressed, at least for the future. Rod Hood's a fine nickle-back, but can't handle every play duties.

I've been wondering about Myers. Since we can't seem to trade Lieber (and the fact that Lieber's been impressive in the Fall when the Phils have had to make up for their poor starts) it seems to me that someone in the front office has to have asked themselves, "Can we get anything for Myers?"

As for Posluszny and the Eagles, there have been many types who are talking about the draft who say that there isn't really a team that needs a LB and is likely to take one in the first. It sounds like it's a lock that he'll be there when our pick comes around, but I'm confident we'll pass on him. I think Andy would take his shot on him if he was around in the 2nd. That said, I strongly believe that it's a travesty if he's still around in the first: Pos (or Poz, depending on your preference) has shown that he can play inside and outside LB, and he put in the time to learn both on the college level and showed his effectiveness. On a few of those McAllister/Bush 10 yard scampers I found myself saying "Andy, how important ARE LBs?"

But officially, baseball season started around 11:00 on Saturday night, thanks to the mess that is the Broad Street Bullies.

I say! I expected to see Utley re-upped for another 4-6 years. He should be golden in this town, and IF he is to be comfortable playing second fiddle to Mr. Howard, we absolutely must show him the money. Hell, I want to keep Myers too. He's a great pitcher, and if he wants an extension, I say give it to him. I hope he impresses this year.

Madson for 1.1 and one year is a fine deal, but if Gillick can't lock up Utley (or chooses not to) THAT will be the biggest mistake the team could make. Overall, at least so far, I think our GM has done a good job and I am excited for the season...excited but anxious.

"There is zero evidence in either his stuff or his stats to suggest that Clay Condrey can be a quality major league pitcher."

There is zero evidence in either his stuff or his stats to suggest the *Antonio Alfonseca* can be a quality major league pitcher.

Corrected that for you clout.

Hang the Cowboys fan!

Willis just got 6.45MM from the Marlins.

What does Myers deserve, or, more importantly, what does HE THINK he deserves?

Hey Clout and kdon - Lets agree that neither Condrey or Alfonseca is likely to have a whole lot of success in '07. They are basically organizational fillers that will fill out the end of the Phils' bullpen.

I was just kidding, RSB.

Just because myers is grumbling about the phillies arb offer doesn't mean he wants out. and ultimately that's what arb is there for - sort out whether the player or the team have the better case to make for their offer. We may be trying to lowball myers a bit, but that's the nature of arb. Like AWH said, what does myers think he's worth? Its hardly indicative of a problem.

Re lieber - the lack of offers doesn't mean that there's no interest, it just means the other owners are trying to see what they can get away with. ultimately, we have a welcome problem if we don't get a decent offer for lieber. I'd rather see us going into the season with six starters than be perceived as a soft touch. Wade always gave away too much. Gillick has got nothing for 3 players (lidle, abreu and padilla), but it could be argued that his need to trade them outweighed the actual deal he got. If that is the case, he must be desperate to right the ship and make it clear that the phils do not give away arms like they have in the past.

And regarding Il Pulpo, it occurred to me yesterday - the easy thing for either the scout or the sabremetrecian is to assume that their indicators absolutely predict a players career over the next couple of years. From a stats POV, the only thing I see that's good about Il Pulpo is a healthy percentage of GB to line drives and fly balls, and an ability not to surrunder home runs (last season was an aberration). If heavy scouting of him suggests that he is consistently effective since weight loss and arm trouble, and peripheral numbers over a small sample size support that, then it's not a crazy decision, gamble though it may be.

None of us like this method of assessment because it's trusting the people who have not consistently proven to have good scouting talent (notice the phrase consistent there, please). But it bears remembering that gillick is different to the brain trust, does scout extensively himself, so MAY be assessing players in a different fashion to Ed Wade and Arbuckle.

I've said that last year's FA hires in the offseason weren't a good indication of how effective gillick's assessment methods are - he was several years out of baseball and everyone noted that the guys he was going for were guys he'd worked with before. He has since gone out and got guys like germano (for cormier) and castro. It's possible that a year on he'll be looking a lot sharper.

I'm not making excuses for the guy. He has a long way to go to make up for the butchering of the padilla, abreu and lidle trades. But neither do I think this offseason has been a bust. By july I might be screaming blue murder because gillick's guys (pt ii) have come up bust. But lets all remember that he is NOT ed wade. He does things differently. There are indications to that effect in how he deals with the media and his propensity to hire outwith the organisation (the new coaches, his new assistant).

(jason, it bugs me that I end up writing essays on your comments page rather than my own blog. What can I say? the quality of discussion here sparks my brain.)

Alfonseca's gb/ld/fb percentage from fangraphs. It dropped last year, but for two years running previous to that it was at a respectable 60% gb. since 02 it has never been lower than 50%

Ryan Madson now stands as the Phils setup man...not good. I think Madson can improve, only because he had such a horrible season. I do not think he has closer capability and I barely think he can become an effective setup man (pre-closer). With a concentrated effort solely on relieving he should get better, but to think we can compete with him as our go to 8th inning guy is just scary. I desperately hope some team dishes out a proven setup man for Lieber.

I think it will take some kind of a miracle to turn madson around. You look at all his peripherals: bb/9, whip, hr/9, and they've all trended steadily downward since 03. The only thing he managed to improve in that time is his strikeouts - 04 and 05 he was above MLB average, and so his bb/k looked better. If he can stabilise to be an average mlb reliever, fine, but like jason said a bit back - he's been round the block, folk have that delivery sussed and he shows his pitches a little too much.

I'm down to thinking of him as relief fodder at this point. He's there so we don't overuse guys like geary or overexpose guys like smith.

kdon: Again, by your logic Roberto Hernandez, Todd Jones, Trever Miller, Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz and all the other FA veteran reliever flotsam that's been signed over the past few years were mistakes. Your blind spot is in projecting Condrey to do something he's never done. Alfonseca (and all the names above) were coming off bad/injured seasons but they'd been successful in the past. Chances of a guy like that bouncing back are much higher than Condrey, a career minor leaguer at age 31, suddenly succeeding.

oisin: I'm not real comfortable with Madson as setup man either, but you have to admit he has better stuff than Geary and, really, those are the only 2 logical options. The problem with Madson is command and consistency. Maybe in a sharply defined role he can resolve those issues. On the other hand, if PG can get a proven setup man for Lieber, we'll all breathe a lot easier.

just to strike comprimise between kdon and clout - if, as the study cited by kdon suggest s, there's little difference in the success rate between the condrey's and the alfonseca's of this world; and if, as many sabremetricians would have it, you're better off not paying top dollar for a reliever (which we certainly haven't done with alfonseca) as its a crapshoot every year for many of them as to how good they'll be; then why fuss as to condrey vs alfonseca? really? we're talking marginal gains in cost, and its not like choosing the 34 year-old is 'blocking' the 31 year-old, if the latters numbers in the minor-leagues are not eye-popping.

Coste has skewed things a bit for everyone I think. Perhaps fans are slightly more attuned to giving the AAAA-guys a chance.

"The problem with Madson is command and consistency." Bingo. His stuff is good; his problem is that when he misses his spots, it's toward the center of the plate rather than out of the strike zone. Personally I would have preferred he get more training as a starter, because all three of his pitches can be effective, but I don't see the kind of head problems that Gavin Floyd has (or even that Myers has; if nothing else, Myers shows that head problems are no roadblock if the stuff is good enough).

All that said, I, too, worry that he won't step forward to claim the role he's being handed, but as Clout points out, what options do we have? I would also point out that Arthur Rhodes probably fit the image of the guy we all covet -- proven set-up guy, occasional closer, plenty of experience. It's a crapshoot.

Clout, I'm not as down as you on Condrey. In his second stint with the team last year he performed pretty well, until that extra-inning game in which he blew a save. He was sent down immediately afterward. In my career synopsis, I hope I indicated that there is some reason for optimism here -- he started out as a reliever, was switched to starting and now is back in the 'pen. I think he's worth hanging onto; when I think of the learning curve Geary went through, I'm reluctant to give up on guys too soon.

I'm for geary if its him vs madson. Madson may have better stuff, but I'll take geary's continued improvement in control season on season and keeping the ball in the park every time. Unlike a lot of folk, I think there is evidence to suggest that geary is more durable than people give him credit for (I know I've wittered on about this before but in 2006 his GB's increased towards the end of the season and his line drives allowed dropped of sharply - I think this year 70+ IP will reflect the same pattern, because of his commitment to fitness levels and conditioning).

Yes, madson gets a couple more k's. But he walks more people (and his bb/9 has increased over the last three years) and allows way more homeruns.

Clout is right about Madson when he says; " Maybe in a sharply defined role he can resolve those issues." Remember last year when Madson revealed in an interview how he had to adjust his brain from a reliever's brain to a starter's brain, only to be put back in the bullpen. With a defined role, he can get his head on straight and, maybe, pitch effectively in that role as a reliever.

Also, after living in New Orleans all of these years, I have morphed from an Eagles fan to a Saints fan. That said, my logo items of choice to wear out and about in New Orleans is my Phillies gear, although I do also wear LSU, Tulane, Saints and Hornets logo items. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Flyers, Sixers and Big Five basketball. Nobody around here ever heard of the Big Five or the Palestra. Here, hoagies and subs are called Poor Boys and served on French not Italian bread.

You guys read this yet. Seems to me, Utley is emerging as the team leader.

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/16467919.htm

This says it all to me:

"I hope - actually, I don't hope - I expect everyone to want to get better."

LF -

Nobody in philly has a soft spot for the Flyers and 6ers. They both blow goats.

With Madson, I think that people simply sit on his "devastating changeup", and bash it when he catches too much plate.

A consistent third pitch, curve, slider, splitter, would go a long way into solving his problems.

But, my choice for setup guy? Geary, without a second thought.

I'm always wary of a primary changeup guy, without a decent breaking pitch. (Yes, I'm aware of the success of Trevor Hoffman, Rodney, Doug Williams, etc).

I agree with those who suggest Geary should be first choice for set-up instead of Madson. Geary's fastball is straight, but he was throwing consistently in the low to mid 90s last year, and more importantly he was able to make quality pitches near the plate. He was keeping the ball down and on the corners, game in and game out. Madson, by contrast, was and is nowhere near that dependable and he has not earned a set-up role. I would love to know, by the way, where it has been written or determined that Madson has been annointed the set-up guy. And I would not be the least bit surprised if the set-up man to open the season is Alfonseca. It's probably a role that is going to be determined by results shown in ST, or perhaps through the course of the season.

RSB - you'd hope that ST dictates this kind of thing. But then I'm also hoping that alfonseca and barajas are nothing but old back-ups who will be used in that role. So I'll end on hoping that this year's ST follows the example of last year's ST, and none of the management go into it with presumptions of players having set roles.

I have no idea why the Phillies wouldn't make Geary the set-up guy, he has been a very good pitcher for two years. I am a little concerned that Charlie burned him out last year, but the guy has earned the spot.

"then why fuss as to condrey vs alfonseca? really?"

Oisin, the reason is that Condrey would most likely be used in the fifth or sixth inning whereas Manuel might be tempted to make ALfonseca a set-up guy. Hayes's article yesterday already mentioned that he would be "right beside" Madson as a set-up guy to Gordon.

It's like Franklin and Rhodes last year. they would have been fine as mop-up guys, but becauase they were established vets, they were pitching the 7th and 8th instead of Geary, who was clearly superior.

The most dangerous players in baseball are the bad, "proven" veterans, not rookies.

If management goes into ST with the idea that the roles are already set and ST is a place just to get up to MLB shape, then we'll have another sucky April and May and Cholly will be packing his bags for a one way ticket to his next job.

Oh, I just read RSBs post, Amazing! Amazing that you see Alfonseca as the set-up guy.

See, it is simply astonishing what having a 45 save year will do...the hardball times calls it "magic closer dust" and Alfonseca must be coated with the stuff! I honestly don;t think anyone here has looked at his numbers (except Oisin)

You are absolutely right Oisin to want Alfonseca as an old back up, but his "veteraness" is already seeping into the minds of some of our most acute posters!

"Oh, I just read RSBs post, Amazing! Amazing that you see Alfonseca as the set-up guy."

RSB said he wouldn't be surprised if Alfonseca was the setup guy on opening day, and neither would I. It's definitely possible knowing how Manuel has used veterans in the past. And for what its worth, Marcus Hayes suggested he might be the answer to their setup need yesterday. Is it good enough? No, but who knows?

Kdon - fair point. I am making the classic mistake of not looking at all hirings with my ol' baseball head on, instead using my 'fan-who-lives-fairly-far-away-and-so-predominantly-goes by-stats' head.

If we had a manager who didn't lean towards veteranicity, I'd be happier. We all would. but it's like posting to beerleaguer. He just can't leave the habit alone.

Phils have just been replaced by the Orioles on local 1350am. We dont have Comcast Philly and our Phillies games are blacked out on TBS and ESPN.
Sure is gonna be tough following the Phightins in York PA this year !!

I agree Jason that Alfonseca may be the set-up guy, my "amazing" was that anyone could write that and not immediately criticize the deal.

This is basically my whole point, no one would be talking about Condrey or Sanches as a set-up guy, but because of AAs veteranicity (thanks Oisin!), he is suddenly thought to be a potential 8th inning pitcher. Is this not a very very scary thought? A bullpen that is ordered like this:

Gordon
Alfonseca
Madson
Geary
Smith
Castro

is far less likely to protect late inning leads than a bullpen that looks like this:

Gordon
Geary
Madson
Smith
Castro
Condrey

That is why this has the potential to not be an "eh" kind of signing.

don't think anyone is really disregarding that risk kdon. and we can spend till opening day trying to read the signs and divine what cholly/gillick's intention is, then arguing who has the better evidence for it...Is anyone else as desperate for opening day as me?

What, I can't state something matter-of-factly without having to express my outrage for the signing itself? I'll again state that while I'm no champion of Alfonseca, I don't agree that the bullpen is worse off with him in it. Whether he's qualified to be the set-up man is something which will be borne out; I highly doubt that it's something that's going to be determined based on previous numbers alone going into spring training. If he has a strong spring, I think he's the set-up man - regardless of your opinion, and regardless of mine.

"You are absolutely right Oisin to want Alfonseca as an old back up, but his "veteraness" is already seeping into the minds of some of our most acute posters!"

Unfortunately, you're looking at stats and using common sense to make this statement. Career stats, indeed support your assertion that Geary is the most sensical option to set-up over Alsonseca. However, what you are failing to look at is the most important point of all - the individual in charge of using ST to make these decisions is so incredibly loyal (to a fault) to veterans that any outsider would look at the vast majority of this current 40 man roster and assume that Philly is where players go to put their careers to bed.

Jason made a great point in his Eagles write-up about "fine tuning" rather than rebuilding. A similar argument could be made about last year's Phils team. We have gotten so enamored in each and every transaction, rumor and nuance that sometimes we forget to step back and look at the big picture. Often clout is accused of being overly critical of the pitching staff (starters and relievers). However, if you are an Angels fan (or fan of any other random team that is not familiar with the Phillies), you'd look at this pitching roster and immediately pick out at least 2 or 3 guys who you'd say "I can't believe this guy is still playing major league baseball." The same can be said about the position players. Hell, I follow the Phillies daily and STILL can't believe that Karim Garcia and Randall Simon are getting paid to play professional baseball.

Couldn't agree more WP, the Phillies had two players on the team last year that had no business playing baseball (Fasano and Gonzalez) and another 4 0r 5 who would not be on a good team (Franklin, Rhodes, Nunez, Santana).

The fact that these are all veterans should not be a surprise. When a rookie bombs out (like, say Floyd) the problem can be addressed, but when it is a veteran, they tend to stick around for a long time. We gave Gillick credit for going back on some of his decisions, but really, Gonzalez retired, Santana got hurt, Fasano didn't lose his job UNTIL he got hurt, and Franklin, Rhodes, and Nunez continued to suck until deep into the season.

THey were all simply bad players, but they got time (and weren't cut) because they were veterans.

If you look at the worst players in baseball in '06 according to a stat like VORP (which is cumulative, so it shows the *amount of damage* a player does over a season), it is almost entrely made up of veterans. The bottom 10 (essentially, the most damaging baseball players in the game):

Barmes, Molina, Tomas Perez, Abe Nunez, Ronny Cedeno, Brad Ausmus, Angel Berroa, Antonio Perez, Vinny Castilla, and Paul Bako. (BTW, I'm not cherry picking here, the next two guys are Rondell White and John Mabry)

Of this group, I would call Barmes, Molina Cedeno and An. Perez young players (but only Cedeno was a rookie), but the rest were all in the "established" veterans group. I'm sure you can find quotes on all these guys, like "Well, Castilla has been there before, he brings some stability to the hot corner."

Pitchers, the same thing:
9 of 10 are veterans.

So clearly, the most damaging players in baseball last year were "proven" vets, not rookies.

Now, the immediate response is probably that "well, the rookies were not even good enough to stick around," but this is *exactly the point*. Only veterans are allowed to stink all season, rookies or untested guys like Condrey would be given a short leash, while players like Alfonseca would be allowed to be horrible for a long time. All the players in these lists performed at *below* replacement level, which means that they were *worse* than your average waiver wire pickup. If Condrey or Sanches doesn't cut it, we can pick up someone else, but if it's ALfonseca, we will be stuck with him throughout the season.

kdon: That's the most meaningless stat you've ever posted. Of course the worst players are going to be vets. They can't be optioned! And even if you cut them, you still have to pay them. So teams keep them hoping they'll turn it around.

In any event this has nothing to do with the debate. The debate is this: Who is more likely to help you, a proven vet coming off injuries/bad year or an untested rookie. By your logic Roberto Hernandez, Todd Jones, Trever Miller, Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz etc. etc. were all bad decisions.

RSB: No one from the team has suggested that Alfonseca will be the setup guy if Madson fails. That's simply speculation. The team HAS said that if the season started today, Madson would be the setup man. If he fails, the logical fallback is Geary. If Alfonseca reverts to his pre-injury form and the other two flop, then he'd be put in there, but I'd say he's 3rd on the depth chart at this point.

clout, He'd be third on my depth chart, too. However, I'm not so sure that Charlie Manual agrees with you and I. I guess we'll find out.

"Of course the worst players are going to be vets. They can't be optioned! And even if you cut them, you still have to pay them. "

Clout, did you actually read my entire post. I *specifically* addressed this point here:

"Now, the immediate response is probably that "well, the rookies were not even good enough to stick around," but this is *exactly the point*. Only veterans are allowed to stink all season, rookies or untested guys like Condrey would be given a short leash, while players like Alfonseca would be allowed to be horrible for a long time."

Your objection about "options" proves the very point I was making. Thank you.

kdon: Your point is as obvious as it is absurd. Of course there's a risk. The teams that signed Roberto Hernandez, Todd Jones, Trever Miller, Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz etc. etc. after they had horrible years took a risk too.

Man, what great reading. Oisin teaches me a new word "veteranicity". He also let's me know that I too am a "fan-who-lives-fairly-far-away-and-so-predominantly-goes by-stats head." Even though I'm not a big stat head.

Then, kdon writes a great post showing how bad veterans are allowed to suck all season while prospects suck once and are back on the farm, only to be immediately jumped on by clout and I'm left realizing that I agree with both of them.

To me, this Alfonseca pick-up ranks right up there with Barajas and all these other recent pick ups of broken down projects. All of these guys are projects, they are not even prospects.

I'm glad ST is just around the corner. My local paper, the New Orleans Times Picayune, printed the ST report dates for all teams in yesterday's sports section. They had room for this along with all the the NFC Championship game hype and hoopla.

You obviously are not following me, clout, and I can;t really put it any better. I don;t understand, really, Oisin picked up the point in about two seconds, but you are still struggling to get it.

Yes, there is a risk (and reward) with BOTH veterans and untested players, but the point is that one is a lot easier to get rid of than the other. Again the problem is not just that ALfonseca is bad, but that he is bad and a veteran, which means his spot on the roster is assured. If Condrey or Sanches fail, they can be optioned or released, but ALfonseca will be allowed to continue to fail, just like Rhodes, just like Franklin, just like A-Gone, just like Fasano.

clout, you may not agree, but kdon seems to have hoist you on your own petard.

Rotating unproven players in and out of a spot is, IMO, a far better strategy than signing some vet who ownership is unwilling to release because of financial reasons. The Phils missed the playoffs last year because they stuck with Rhodes, Franklin & Co. too long, and blew too many late leads.

At least if a younger guy stinks you can replace him until you find someone else who can do the job.

Gee...you might even have more flexibility to make a trade during the season for a veteran to fill the spot as long as you don't have the burden of a ML contract to dump.

Using AWH's logic built on kdon's post and clout's objections, it appears to me that it would be better for PG to build his bullpen from within than to waste money on older lunkhead veterans. Those on this site who have advocated building the system from within and not to get too excited at this time of year due to the lack of PG signing activity have been blasted as being dreamers. You give twelve of those farm arms a chance at the big show and one or two will most likely exceed your expectations and succeed in the Phillies pinstripes.

AWH, I'm not sure I agree. I think that the problem was the Phillies didn't really have anyone from the farm who could come up and do any better than Franklin, Rhodes, et al - a chronic weakness of this organization. And at this point, even though there are prospects on the horizon, they still don't have anyone who is ready or able to assume a set-up role on this team. A veteran of dubious quality such as Alfonseca may similarly not be up to the task, but there's a reasonable chance that he may be.

If I may add to my previous post: the only real *danger* presented by Alfonseca's presence is that Manuel would stubbornly persist in using him in pressure situations even if he proved not to be reliable for them, as was the case with Arthur Rhodes. However: Rhodes was specifically designated as the set-up man, or in Manuel's terminology, the 'eighth-inning pitcher', from the day he was acquired. The Phillies have not announced such sharply defined plans for Alfonseca, which *hopefully* means that problem will not repeat this time around. Manuel needs to become more flexible with his bullpen, and use people according to *recent* performance rather than steadfastly maintaining regimented roles with this group of pitchers he'll have.

Maybe we should just keep this as the permanent bullpen thread!

I agree with you RSB, but Franklin and Rhodes did at least keep Geary from a more meaningful role until deep into the season (and even when Madson went to the pen, he was used as a long man while Rhodes continued to trot out for the 8th). THe point is that we don't know what Sanches/Condrey/Castro could have contributed, because they were blcoked.

Just as a point of agreement, I think everyone agrees the Phillies pen needs to get better, we just disagree as to whether a "veteran of dubious quality" is part of the solution or the problem.

Kdon, I agree. Cholly was locked into his 7th, 8th and 9th inning pitchers no matter what happened. His 7th inning guy could have a 3 pitch, 3 outs inning, yet he'd be benched for Arthur Rhodes. It just burned my britches to see him waste pitchers like that.

"THe point is that we don't know what Sanches/Condrey/Castro could have contributed, because they were blcoked."

Exactly!

In addition, we don't know what anybody else could have contributed who was blocked.

Might they have failed? Yes. But what if they had succeeded?

AWH: And just think of all the wonderful rookies that Roberto Hernandez, Todd Jones, Trever Miller, Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz etc. etc. blocked!

Oh, the horror!

clout, I love the way you cherry pick the succesful one from last season. I'll bet there were more than that - way more - who were busts. The Phils alone had two.

Go through the other MLB teams and see what you come up with.

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