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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

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The Rangers signed Sosa to a minor-league contract. Now that's the kind of risk I'd be willing to take. Can't be any worse than Karim Garcia, and he could be a whole lot better.

Say this for Gillick: he's been giving us hot stovers a steady stream of low-grade acquisitions to fuss over. He seems like the baseball version of a guy who scouts garage sales on Saturday mornings, scanning the bric-a-brac with well-honed eyes for something priced at $5.00 which he can sell on Ebay for $20.00.

Yet another marginal position player. Since the Phils' positional prospects are MIA and the Phils refuse to spend any additional money, Gillick has been forced to take a flee-market approach to fill out the bench.

The thing that really baffles me is that Gillick is willing to load up on oodles of marginal positional players like Dobbs yet he has generally been pretty reluctant to do the same with relievers.

If anything I would rather have Gillick bring in some more relievers to round out of end of the bullpen or bring some more pitching depth to Ottawa.

First thing I thought of when I heard Greg Dobbs was "Roy Hobbs." Doubt that Greg has a "Wonder Bat" though.

Meant "Wonderboy." My bad.

Nice analogy, rsb, except he actually seemes to be doing the opposite - paying $20 for something that's worth $5. Not that he's overpaid for anyone really (except for maybe Eaton), just that most of these guys are worth nothing.

It's all a conspiracy, I think. Pat Gillick's trying to turn the Seattle Mariners into another Phillies AAA farm team.

Another mostly-irrelevant but interesting note about Dobbs is that his wife Heidi was due to give birth to their first child on Jan 13th. No idea what their status is there, but this is probably just going to add to an already stressful situation, I'm sure.

I look at this pick-up in a positive nature...Dobbs would probably be better than Danny Sandoval.

From this morning's paper:

"Aaron is a great centerfielder," Victorino said. "With me and him out there, we're going to cover a lot of ground. He can give up some of right and go out and help Pat cover some of his ground out in left."
Shane Victorino

This is exactly why I would not trade Rowand for pitching.

That and this from a Bill James Primer:

#11. A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense.

Rowand and Victorino are going to help this pitching staff a LOT, assuming they don't kill thamselves running into a wall.

From Marcus Hayes column today:

"If the team enters the season with six starters, Adam Eaton yesterday said that he would be a "good soldier" and pitch from the bullpen if asked..."

Would anyone be opposed to keeping Lieber in the rotation and moving Eaton to the BP? I know he would be a pretty expensive bullpen guy, but we can keep him back there until we find a team that would take Lieber.

I read that Manuel may have to figure out how to work a 6 man rotation. I still believe Lieber will be traded before the beginning of the season for bullpen help. Some team will get desperate and pony up a setup man.

I'm not down on the Dobbs acquisition. He's coming in to be a bench player with some versatility and the ability to get hits and an occasional long ball or stolen base. I'm fine with that. I'm not sold on Helms starting at 3rd or Eaton as an SP or all these no name OF project pickups. Maybe Dobbs can pitch some middle inning relief, too.

What about reversing Tony's theory, and putting Lieber in the pen, and Eaton stays as a starter? I like either.

"A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense. Rowand and Victorino are going to help this pitching staff a LOT, assuming they don't kill thamselves running into a wall."

I would, and have, argued that putting Nunez at 3B had the same effect. Unless Helms has more range than Bell, Pat will be doing a lot of bending over to pick up singles that should have been outs.

Eaton's bullpen experience consists of 2 games, but he's probably the only starter who'd be willing to go. Lieber won't and it wouldn't make sense for Hamels or Myers.

I've done further research on Dobbs and he's not good in the field at 3B. He's passable at 1B and usable in the corner OF spots. He has a bit of speed, but not much HR power. He's certainly an upgrade over Simon and Karim Garcia. He kills the offense-biased PCL, but except for 27 ABs last season, hasn't been able to translate that into mlb production. He'll be 29 this year, so not a prospect, but more useful that what's there now (Garcia, Roberson, Sandoval, Simon).

If the season opened tomorrow, my bench would be Bourn, Werth, Coste, Ruiz, Dobbs and Nunez. The Phils may choose to carry only 2 catchers, which means Ruiz could wind up in Ottawa or Coste dealt. Or Bourn might flop. Or they may decide to carry 12 pitchers. The only locks are Werth, Nunez & the backup catcher and that's IF (a major if) Werth can stay healthy and productive thru ST.

Alby: I'd love to see the debate of offense vs. defense at 3B quantified by stats. Nunez would be the worst offensive 3Bman in the NL, a position usually reserved for quality offensive players. But would he save more runs with his glove than runs lost due to his bat? I don't know. Would Helms, a butcher, allow more runs with his glove than he makes with his bat? I don't know that either.

My thought is Dobbs comes north with the club too, clout. Lefty bat, could start on rare occasion at third, plays outfield a little. They like that sort versatile reservist for the bench. I put him ahead of Garcia and Simon for sure. If Dobbs is in, they could lean toward speed, which means Roberson or Bourn in, Coste out.

I would rather see a 6 man rotation and carry 12 pitchers then to send Eaton or Leiber to the pen.

Lieber would not be thrilled to say the least, and Eaton doesn't strike me as someone that would be particularly successful in the pen.

J - it would seem to me that carrying Dobbs wouldn't affect Coste. Why would they want to carry 3 speedy guys that can play the outfield and leave out the one clutch hitter? Seems like getting Dobbs is going to translate into some AAA grooming time for Bourn or Roberson (maybe both).

My bench - Werth, Coste, Ruiz, Dobbs, Nunez
and make Castro the 12th pitcher.

Shaky bench, but it is going to be that way no matter what.

clout, couldn't help but notice you had ruiz on the bench. This morning's article by marcus hayes had ruiz down as the starter.

Funny thing is that the defensive numbers I have seen from last year indicate Nunez was an average to below-average defensive player. Anyone kind of surprised by this?

Please-no debate over Helms v. Nunez! No major league team can give up that much offense at third (as the Phils would would with Nunez) and win anything. This Abreu-less team will struggle for offense and needs every quality bat it can put in the lineup. The one real improvement this team has made in the Gillick era is Helms over Bell/Nunez, and some people want to undermine that?

A 6-man staff is unworkable. If anything, all MLB teams should go back to 4 man rotations, given how quick most managers' hooks are today (and for other reasons.) Trade Lieber.

John - a 6 man would be the reson for carrying an extra pitcher.

Do you think that it just leaves us too shorthanded off the bench?

What are the other reasons?

"Funny thing is that the defensive numbers I have seen from last year indicate Nunez was an average to below-average defensive player. Anyone kind of surprised by this?"

Yes -- and given the state of defensive statistic-keeping, I'm inclined to doubt most such numbers.

Clout, I would argue that in a bandbox like CBP, giving out free chances on base -- whether by walks or rangeless infielders -- becomes paramount. A Rowand + Victorino outfield will cut down on the extra-base hits; a third baseman with good hands and decent range cut down the singles.

That said, there's a significant reason that 3B defense should be less important this year: Fewer left-handed Phillies pitchers should mean more left-handed opposition batters, which will lighten the load at 3B (this is a mixed blessing, since it should increase the number of balls hit to the right side, where Howard has little range and slow reactions, and Utley can't go to his right.)

I would also add that the post-July "comeback" was helped along by the low quality of the opposition. The decline in staff ERA over the last two months could be due as much to lousier opposition as improved defense at 3B.

Count me in on Eaton to the pen. I brought this up a few weeks ago, and if the trainers signed off on it, I think it would be a great decision.

I can't exactly tell why, but I just have a feeling Eaton could be really good in the pen...he is one of these "stuff" guys that just can't seem to stay in the field as a starter. Also, we have to assume we are going to need a sixth starter for (at least) 10-15 games, and Eaton would make a great (albeit expensive) swingman.

Trading Myers would be a disaster. Of the 5 remaining, only Garcia would be close to a sure bet to get 200 IP. Hamels and Eaton are both injury prone, Moyer has been durable but EVERY player at some point becomes too old, and Lieber is an aging player who doesn't keep in great shape and missed time last year. I think I would boycott the season if they traded Myers.

And, as long as we are doing benches:

If carrying 12 pitchers:

Barajas
Coste
Werth
Nunez
Dobbs

If 11:

Add Jacobson

I really do like Bourn, but I want him to get more ABs at AAA and he would be wasted as a 5th OF, with only occasional PH and PR duties.

This still seems short, Barajas is really a waste of a roster space and the OF depth is weak.

Kdon: Did you mean Greg Jacobs?

I know that nobody wants to say this aloud, (not even me), but Myers of all the starters would be the best bet to dominate out of the pen.

He would be nasty in the late innings throwing gas off-set by that cutter and 12-6 curve.

Now, is he more valuable in the rotation? I tend to think so, but based solely on their repitoire --- Myers is best suited to be a dominant late innings guy.

Fire away.

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