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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

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I don't know what to make of this. Lawrence would be an ideal insurance guy, but why would he choose to sign with a team with a surplus of starters?

Yeah. It could have the same legs as the David Wells rumor two weeks ago.

I wouldn't mind seeing Lawrence as a swing guy/long reliever out of the pen. Kind of hard to figure though that we would pass out a chance to start vs. relieve/minor leagues. Lawrence could potentially be passing up alot of money that way.

It really wouldn't make any sense for either him or the Phils unless Gillick were planning on trading Lieber during spring training. So if anything else, the fact that it's being talked about makes me feel more confident that Gillick will do so. That said I'd rather have a good seventh/eighth inning guy than a sixth starter.

I think he'd rather pitch for a contender in a reduced role than as target practice for the Rockies, Pirates or Mariners.

Hey, why not, can't ever have too much pitching. Go for it.

Somethings brewing here. Maybe a Myers trade is near or they had a great falling out. Such a move would weaken the rotation. Say he was sent for Rios, then a Rowand trade would be likely, meaning a reliever maybe on the way. Not sure what to think of such moves just yet. They need a RP but should they weaken the rotation while improving the OF?

If that scenario does play out, would Rios really strengthen the outfield over Rowand. '06 Rios is better than '06 Rowand, but '04 and '05 Rowand is better than Rios - I guess this deal makes long term sense since Rios would be locked up past the one season Rowand is and the way he plays he could be injured half of this year as well. Regardless, they need more than just Rios in exchange for Myers to justify it for me - perhaps throw in a pitching prospect or current reliever.

We can now give up on the oft-discussed Mike Gonzalez as he is now a Brave.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2734082

I too read this rumor around lunchtime today and must admit I thought it was a typo. I just can't see Gillick signing yet another player that didn't even play in the Majors last season (Werth, Karim Garcia), but then again maybe they want him as the long man/6th starter.

Regardless if Lawrence is signed or not, Lieber should be dealt for best relief package.

If Lawrence is healthy he's a better pitcher than Eaton. I wouldn't discount this report. It may take him another half season before he's back to 100% and as a 6th starter the Phils could work him in slowly, give him some Ottawa rehab etc. that would reduce pressure on him to perform right out of the box. It would be nice to have a fresh veteran arm for the sceond half of the season and of the teams interested, only the Phils will be contenders. This situation could work for both sides.

The report I saw on Rios said that he had been shopped to several teams, including the Phillies for Myers, but that there were no takers. The report also said it was likely Rios would remain with the Jays. In other words, the Phils would not trade Myers straight up for Rios.

I just read yesterdays post, and someone said that this team is going to struggle to produce runs without Abreu. Have I been gone for too long or did some people not keep up with the post Abreu Phillies last year. This team scored the most runs in the NL and there was no decline after Abreu. I dont know the stats but I would assume that the production increased. This all done without Abreu and a black hole at 3B. We have more offense at 3B and if anything have equivalent talent in the OF post Abreu trade. Abreu leaving didn't affect the Phils last year and there is no reason to think it will this year. It is possible that they will score less runs, but I will bet that will be more injuries than anything with Bobs Abreu.

When healthy Lawrence may be better than Eaton, but he's not better than Myers.

Signing Lawrence and trading Myers for Rios would be a serious downgrade to the piching staff, IMO.

Parker, I broke it down. The Phils score 6.05 RPG after Abreu was traded, 4.93 RPG before.

Parker: What were the records of the teams the Phillies played after the Abreu trade? Do you remember all the stories last August about how the Phils had only 10 games left with above .500 teams? I don't think the team will struggle without Abreu, but using the final 6 weeks of last season as a measure of the team's quality is a grave mistake. Unless everyone we play this season will be below .500.

While having a stud corner OF would be nice, I don't think Rios is the answer. If the Phillies want to increase their offense, they should do so at the positions where it lacks the most, 3B and C. Rios had a great half-year last year, but besides that, he hasn't really established himself as a great player. Sure, he's got a lot of potential and scouting reports, but so does Brett Myers.

That being said, if Lawrence can return to his old form, he should probably have a spot over Moyer, Eaton, or Lieber. He'd be a nice guy to take a flyer on, for when one of the dinosaurs implode and Eaton goes down with blisters. I think its a serious possibility that only one of those 3 pans out next season, although Lawrence is, post-surgery, by no means a sure thing either.

Parker, I don;t know if you remember or not, but there was this guy named Howard or something that hit like way crazy.

Add to that Coste outhitting the hell out of Lieberthal and Fasano, J-Roll having his classic end of the season run, Dellucci playing out of his mind immediately after the trade, and the weak schedule, and I think that can explain most of the increase.

I do agree that it is preposterous to say the Phillies will "struggle to score runs" however. They will not be #1, and could fall as low as 5 or 6, but in this park, they definately won't struggle.

I like Rios's potential, but for Myers? No thank you. I like Myers' potential as well. I'd trade Rowand and a minor leaguer for him.

Rowand and a minor-leaguer ain't gonna get you a 25 year-old all-star, BB.

I'm surprised that the price for Mike Gonzalez was Adam LaRoche. Since when do setup guys fetch starting first basemen with a .285 average and 32 home runs?

The possibility of signing Lawrence just seems to reinforce my suspicion that Myers is the SP that will get moved, not Lieber.

The team and Myers are apparently not close on what they think Myers is worth $$-wise, so there's a potential attitude problem in the making even if Myers wins in arbitration. I doubt that PG will give him a long term deal right now, so the problem will continue to simmer on until FA.

Next is the fact that Lieber didn't seem to draw much interest, even with pitching-starved teams. Myers would certainly get you better value in return. If you feel you have a critical need to fill before the season starts, then you need to put out bait that fish will bite on.

Throw in Myers' fitness and 'character' issues and I can see PG moving him for the right offer. (Repeat: right offer)

I am not advocating trading Brett Myers. He's a young, talented pitcher. However, if you can fill a longer term need, such as a starting OF, 3B, C or quality bullpen arm (and/or a prospect), then the Phillies are in better shape right now to deal a starter than they have ever been. Signing Lawrence would fit in with that scenario.

Tray: You're right. Setup guys won't get you Adam LaRoche. But closers who go 24 for 24 in save opps and a have a lifetime BA against of .176 by lefties and .217 by righties will.

DaveX: Excellent analysis of Rios and Lawrence.

LaRoche was an awful lot to give up - why wouldn't the Braves consider him at least as much of a cornerstone as the aging Joneses? - but Gonzalez is a hell of a pickup for the Braves, who now have a back end of the bullpen pretty much on par with the Mets. With him and McBride from the left side late in games, I think the Braves are going to give the Phillies a tough time.


I really can't recall another instance where a closer, however good, was traded for a league leader in slugging percentage. Larry Anderson was traded for Jeff Bagwell, of course, but Bagwell was a minor-leaguer at the time. It would seem to me that an everyday starter at first base, if he's really good, affects the game more than any closer. I mean, even the worst closers get a save 70% of the time, and not all blown saves translate into losses. And they already have Rafael Soriano and Bob Wickman for the 8th and 9th innings - did they really need another reliever so badly that they're willing to trade their second best hitter and make Scott Thorman their everyday first baseman?

Tray: LaRoche finished 5th among NL firstbasemen in OPS. Pretty good but not a league leader. He had a career year. He's a lifetime .228 hitter vs. LHP. Perhaps the Braves are not as high on him as you are.

Certainly Gonzalez/Soriano/Wickman now gives them one of the best setup/closer combos in the NL. The Pirates also threw in a decent SS prospect. I tend not to second guess John Schuerholz.

The 6th starter will be need this season! when was the last time the Phils had 3 pitchers Pitched 200 innings? everybody will bell calling all season looking for help and for once the phils might be able to get a good trade
mpbguys.com

Scheuerholz must have a lot of faith in Thurman.

Also, he's been a very good general manager, unless he has something else up his sleeve, if he thinks his team is better with Gonzalez minus LaRoche, I'll default to him.

The Denver Post presents an interesting prospect about the Rockies' desire to upgrade their starting rotation - "Signing (Brian) Lawrence, who missed the entire 2006 season after shoulder surgery, would make it easier to move Buchholz to the bullpen and explore the trade of Kim or Fogg."

If the Rockies don't get Lawrence, a trade of a starter for Byung-Hyun Kim could benefit both teams, although Lieber is a little pricey for Colorado, ideally maybe Myers could garner Garrett Atkins and Kim. Atkins is the 3B I would most want to complete the Phils all-star infield and Kim was best when he was Matt Mantei's set-up guy for the 1999-2001 Diamondbacks - under 3 ERA with a wicked delivery that would change things up big time from Gordon's style at the end of games.

LaRoche is a pretty good hitter but like Clout said he is mediocre against lefties (.736 OPS with .228 AVG since '04). LaRoche isn't as good as '06 numbers but he probably posts .270-.280 with 25 HRs in Pittsburgh. Pirates desperately need some power and a bat to protect to protect Bay.

Funny how Schuerholtz has completely retooled the Braves bullpen in less than a year. Nearly as good as the Mets now. Plus, the Braves offense might be good as the Phils. Just wonder if their starting rotation can hold up.

i hate the Gonzalez for LaRoache trade for the phillies....even though LaRoache made a career of killing the phillies i think that Gonzalez is going to be a killer against us in late game situations.

I saw a story on Laroache saying that he has A.D.D and this season started taking some (legal) steroids to help with the disorder. It allowed him to really focus in on the game and makes him a much better player than in the past without the drug. I would guess that Laroache will be a good player for the pirates for a few years but Gonzalez has the potential to be the closer that the Braves have been searching for since Smoltz returned to the starting staff...plus add in the fact that almost everyone young player that the Pirates trade away become allstars or very serviceable players then i'm leaning towards the Braves really pulling the rug over the Pirates....oh well looks like every team in the NL east is loading up on lefties in late inning situations to throw at Utley and HOward which means that Helms, Burrell and Rowand need to all come up huge for us this year!

After reading this article:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/another-look-at-starting-rotations/

at The Hardball Times, I can see why PG is interested in Lawrence.

29 teams used 8 or more starting pitchers last year, with 4 teams using as many as 13.

Someone, unfirtunately will get hurt. Why not sign the guy as insurance. If he comes here it will be because he looks at the injury history of the Phils staff, and believes he'll get a chance to pitch.

Looking at the article - odds are he will.

I realize Mike Gonzalez is a heavily hyped pitcher by just about everyone on the planet, but I am not very impressed by him at all. his BB/9 rates over the past two years are 5.58 and 5.17. that's a Mitch Williams-level walk rate. for comparison, Williams had a 1.38 WHIP, .182 OAV, and 6.32 BB/9 rate in his magical 1991 season. Gonzalez had a 1.38 WHIP, .213 OAV, and 5.17 BB/9 rate last year. (Williams had WHIPs over 1.6 his next two years in Philly, then never saw the good side of two again.)

now I'm not dismissing the guy - his K rates and ERAs are excellent, and as clout points out, he was 24/24 in saves last year. but that was in Pittsburgh - as far as pressure goes, he might as well have been pitching for the Altoona Curve. Atlanta (not to mention high-intensity road games in NY or Philly) is a very different place.

and before everyone repeats the conventional wisdom about the Braves' magic touch with pitchers, let's remember: Mazzone is gone, and the Danny Kolb experiment didn't exactly win rave reviews.

of course, I'm hardly looking forward to facing him - especially since the Phils seem to have a chronic inability to control the strike zone in late innings. but I'm not at all convinced that Gonzalez is the missing piece to the Braves' conference domination.

Gonzalez is a very good reliever, and makes the Braves bullpen very solid, because they retained Bob Wickman and picked up Soriano from the M's this offseason. However, their offense is now weakened. Giles is gone and now LaRoche too. Things will equal out and the Braves will not be in contention this season.

"The possibility of signing Lawrence just seems to reinforce my suspicion that Myers is the SP that will get moved, not Lieber."

Please God noooo.

Say what you will about Myers he is still more vaulable than Lawrence and a "long term options at 3b". I wonder if this is really about money in that they cant afford to pay Howard/Utley without moving Myers and THAT WOULD SUCK.

They trade Myers forget about the playoffs.

If picking up this guy means we don't have to spot-start a guy the Royals released.... sign me up.

GM/Carson/DQ/Etc: The Braves now have 2 questionmarks on their offense: Thorman at 1B and Kelly Johnson at 2B. Both are good prospects, but you never know.

On the other hand they now have a killer 'pen. And the rotation of Smoltz-Hudson-James-Hampton isn't awful. And the rest of the offense McCann-Chipper-Andruw-Francoeur-etc. is pretty good.

Bottom line: Barring injuries, the Braves WILL be contenders. I like their chances better than the Mets.

clout- good see you remember all my aliases. I think I'll stick with GM-Carson now because that's what I'm using as my blog I.D. and on other sites. Anway, your analysis of Braves is a good one, but Hampton is a big question mark and I'm not nearly as keen on the rest of their offense as you are. But I should never discount the Braves chances of contending, as that is always unwise.

Clout/Kdon, I realize Howard went crazy last year, but there is no reason to believe that he will not do the same this year barring injury. He didnt start out that well last year at least with power numbers. I think that after a full year he should know pitching better and if anything become a better hitter. What he did last year was no abberation, he has been doing the same thing at every level. My point is that the Phils scored all those runs with Howard going nuts and really no other big producers. I think we have a stronger lineup this year, maybe a bit weaker defensively in the IF, but definetly not that much worse. To believe that Abreu was the source of major run scoring last year was to have your eyes closed.

FYI, Kelly Johnson can play LF, SS and 2B. I think he can play and would be a nice pick up if we could do that.

With all this talk about picking up Brian Lawrence, today's Seattle Post Intelligence throws water on that fire as they report: "The Mariners appear to be the front-runners in the competition to sign right-handed free agent pitcher Brian Lawrence.

Lawrence, 31, has offers from Pittsburgh, Colorado, San Diego and Seattle, and the Rockies and the Mariners appear to be the finalists.

Three sources, two from outside the Seattle organization, suggested Wednesday that Lawrence was leaning toward signing with the Mariners.

"Of the (free agent) pitchers who are out there, the Mariners seem to like Lawrence the most," one source said. "He'd get a chance to be a starter there, and that's what he wants."

Sources close to Lawrence suggested he could make his choice as early as today"

from yesterday's Inqy: "The Phillies offered Myers $5 million, while Myers is seeking $5.9 million". sorry, i don't see a trade coming because of $900k.

That is good news, gr, and that is great value if they split the difference.

However, I think Myers is more concerned about not getting a long term deal, not the worth of this contract.

It is a tough call, because Myers has earned the right to have a long-term deal (at least on the mound), but the Phillies have to be reasonably concerned about tying up so much money when they will need to extend Utley, Howard, and yes, in two years, Hamels.

The Phillies are possibly squeezing Myers because they know they control his rights, but this kind of move means it is unlikely Myers stays once his indentured servitude is over. If I were the Phils I would keep going to arb. every year and lettin Myers go when he becomes a FA. Hopefully, by then, there will be some youngsters to fill the holes (considering Moyer, Garcia, and Lieber likely won't be here in '09).

It's a tough call either way.

Parker, I think Howard will have another great season, and I agree the team certainly had other options for offense other than Abreu. My only point was we can't expect Howard to have a FULL season like his august and that the dropoff in offense in RF will be substantial (though certainly mitigated by the increased pop at 3B).

Losing Abreu will hurt (possibly a lot, depending on the play of Vic and Werth), but it won;t be devastating.

Lake Nostrodamus sees 2007 as Brett Myers' breakout year where he will post numbers better than Freddy Garcia and Cole Hamels. Lake Nostrodamus admits that he has no rational basis to make such a prediction, however, he adds that although the future is unknown, the future is what it is.

Just curious, why aren't the Mets interested in a guy like this, or any starter for that matter.

Seems like they have a bunch of ???

Is anyone plugged in on what they are doing?

Interesting... nowhere in today's Post-Intelligencer article does it mention the Phillies, whom he was "leaning towards" just yesterday. And apparently he was leaning towards signing with them despite the fact they apparently haven't made an offer. Sounds like a typo to me.

This is was a 100% misprint. The moron over at the Seattle paper mixed up Pitt with Philly. He's leaning towards the Pirates. Not Phillies

Just like I've been telling clout over the past year, you can't believe everything you read in the paper.

LOL, if only they knew the commotion they stirred up on Beerleaguer. Look at us. We really need some actual baseball and soon.

CY: According to Ben Maller (once again), they don't seem to be interested in trading prospects to Florida for Dontrelle. Maybe they think the remaining crop of FA starters is too weak to bother with, and they're going to just wait and see what happens in spring training.

The Lawrence story is likely a typographical error. Reports that I've read indicate Seattle and Pittsburgh are the most likely to get him. He'd be a nice addition but unfortunately the Phils are not in the mix

Watch PG sign Lawrence and make fools out of all of us!

kdon, I highly disagree that Myers has "earned" a long-term teal. His career high in wins is 14; in his other full seasons, he's won 11, 12 & 13. His career ERA is 4.34. Myers makes people drool when they consider his potential to be some breakout ace, but it *remains* potential. Myers has not shown the ability to be a big winner, for a variety of reasons - and unlike LF, I would be extremely surprised if he all of a sudden blossoms into a 15-20 game winner this season.

If the Phillies are worried about being able to pay both Utley and Howard, Myers hasn't done himself any favors if he believes he should be considered alongside them for a big long-term deal of his own. Utley and Howard have *produced*, have exceeded their perceived potentials and become all-stars early on in their careers. Myers came up well before either of them (nearly four and a half seasons now) and hasn't been an all-star and hasn't even come close to fulfilling his perceived potential - and worse, has left a sour taste in many mouths that he has brought a great many of his problems upon himself.

If it's the case that the Phillies can only afford so many big contracts at once - and it remains the case that Gillick is averse to long-term deals for pitchers in the first place - then it becomes pretty clear that Myers is the one who's going to have to be moved *unless* LF is right and he does show something far more substantial this season. I think that he does of course help the Phillies' chances going into this season, but if he turns in another 13-8, 30-homerun season...he's probably gone.

By the way, I agree with you (again?) clout - the Braves are likely the team to be reckoned with in the East, not New York.

I agree RSB. Myers has been a good pitcher but far some exceptional. Maybe you can use the word "potential" yet with Myers but at some point he has come through a breakthrough season.

Unlike LF, I just don't see Myers possessing the mental acumen or physicial conditioning to become a consistent big-time winner. On the Phils' staff, he an 1A or "ace by default." Would be better suited as a 2 or 3 though.

RSB: That's how I see it, although the Marlins could surprise because they have the best young talent in the division. I think that talent is still a year or two away from peaking, however.

On Myers, I share your frustration but beggars can't be choosers. Outside of Hamels, there are no guaranteed pitching studs on the near horizon and Moyers/Lieber/Eaton can't be relied upon. You think PG doesn't wish he had Padilla back?

I need to reinterate my last Lake Nostrodamus post. I wrote that I had "no rational basis to make such a prediction". That's true. The rational mind say that Garcia will get his 15-18 wins; that Cole Hamels is so dazzling that he is a potential 20 game winner; and that fat boy wife beater Myers will win his 13 plus or minus games. The Lake Nostrodamus prediction is a "feeling" of the future, not my personal rational thought processes.

I am one to usually be a pessimist regarding the Phils chances, but based on what we have done and what NY/ATL has NOT done I am ready to go out on a limb and say that (barring any injury to a starter) that we will runt hrough the NL east and win it by 7-10 games. BOOK IT. You read it here first.

Uh-oh.

Forget the first robin...the first shred of unbounded optimism for the Phillies' chances marks the first real sign of spring.

Of course, as they say, if the groundhog doesn't see his shadow, it means six more weeks of Charlie Manuel.

That would be nice of course, and it could happen, but there's really no reason to think that it will right now. Keep in mind we will still (probably) have a streaky offense and a bad bullpen, the Mets killed everyone last year and still have to be considered formidable despite their starter situation, and the Braves and Marlins are both scary for a handful of reasons. Picking the winner of this division is not so far removed from just rolling the dice.

So, my pick is for the Nationals to win it. If it works out I'll look like a genius.

I agree to an extent RSB, but I think you are overlooking a few things wrt Myers.

1) Wins are a very poor way to judge ability. Way too many external variables.

2) Using Myers "career" ERA is a bit unfair, since he was a young pitcher being thrown into the majors. His last two seasons have been *substatntially* better than his first 2 seasons...ERA way down, WHIP way down, Ks way up. Also, the fact that he has done this after moving to a hitter's park makes it all the more impressive.

3) Myers is still younger than both Utley and Howard.

4) B-PRo had him as the 28th most valuable pitcher in baseball, and *by far* the most valuable pitcher on the Phils.

I think to say he is only at the level of "potential" is really unfair to a guy who has been the best pitcher on the team the last two years. He isn't at the elite level of Utley or Howard, but is still a very very good player.

From a purely objective or statistical point of view I think you can make the case that Myers will be more valuable than Utley or Howard in the next five or six years (given their respective ages, the development curves of hitters and pitchers, and the current premium on starting pitchers).

There are of course many other things to think about when locking up players (position depth, injury risk, fan reaction, character etc.) but from a purely objective standpoint, he might be the most important player to lock up.

RSB, did I read you correctly? Did you say if the groundhog does NOT see his shadoe, then we have six weeks of Cholly and he'll be gone by ....March 16Th! Yay! New manager for St. Patrick's Day!

Shadow. Why do they put the "e" key next to the "w" key?

"[MADson] also will abandon his potentially devastating curveball, a pitch that requires frequent use and better serves starters, and instead refine the slider that he tinkered with last year. I tried to do too much with it. Hopefully, I'll pitch myself into a more significant role."

i don't think i like this. the guy proved his curveball was an outpitch. i'm afraid he's gone mental and won't be coming back. anybody care to walk me down from the madson bridge i'm jumping off of?

Tim, the curve was only an out pitch when Madson was getting it over, which was infrequently. If he feels better about his slider, let him throw the slider. I do like the quote, "Hopefully, I'll pitch myself into a more significant role." That's the attitude he should have.

kdon, I don't agree entirely about wins being a poor measure of success. Obviously, other factors besides the quality of a pitcher's performance can determine winning and losing pitchers, but over the course of a full season - let alone two back-to-back - these 2-1 losses and 8-7 victories tend to balance out somewhat. Myers' other statistics don't really translate into excellence, either. Above-average, yes. But replaceable? Absolutely. Myers is *not* the dominating pitcher the Phillies thought they had in 2001-02. If he hasn't reached his ceiling, he's been very close to it. But that's entering the realm of speculation and opinion. I'll leave the point at this: based on what he *has* done, and based on the kind of sloppy work ethic and serious character issues he has demonstrated, he is not in line for a long-term deal at this juncture. If he wants to be treated like an elite player, he's got to show more than he has. Given the issues the Phillies have with Myers, I maintain that this is a pivotal year for him. If they do lock up Utley and Howard, *and* Hamels emerges as the star he appears destined to become, Myers had better take it up a level or his future in Philadelphia is nil.

My own personal feelings last year were that as the late afternoon rolled around in anticipation of another night of Phillies baseball, I only ever really felt confident that starting pitching would keep the Phils in the game every 5th night - the night that Myers was pitching. I'm sure there's still plenty more "potential" but facts remain that he was really the most consistent (in a positive way, anyway) pitcher on the staff. You never knew which Lieber you'd see and Hamels was still way too young and untested. Myers is in somewhat of a unique position in MLB, he's still young enough that teams see him to have "upside" yet he also has several good years of experience under his belt. This is why I've said that he's probably the best trade token that the Phillies hold (in the "buy low/sell high" mentality. That being said, I won't be upset if I see him pitching for the Phils again this year. At least I can lay off the Rolaids every 5th day.

Why "abandon" a pitch? nothing wrong with working on 4 pitches, hell, nothing wrong with working on 5 or 6.

Especially when the curve has shown promise?

Makes no sense.

Having too many pitches can work against a pitcher if it causes him to overthink instead of just keeping it simple. See Wolf, Randy.

The problem with Wolf is that he fell in love with his back-door breaking ball.

Look at El Duque. How many pitches does he throw?

I can actually see Madson's pitching style more suited to a slider, actually, but christ man, keep working on the curve, it takes years to develop properly, and gives batters something else to worry about.

Not in the bullpen. Madson needs to focus on getting the balls over the plate with what he has, not deception.

What Madson "has" are a 93-95mph, and a Plus change, that Batters seem to sit on.

He needs a 3rd pitch, and sliders may be it. Even in the bullpen.

RSB writes, "Myers' other statistics don't really translate into excellence, either. Above-average, yes."

Um, let's see. If his "other statistics" translate into the 28th best starter in MLB, that puts him in the top 20% of starting pitchers in baseball -- rather low in the ratings for a No. 1, true, but a little better than "above average," which would describe anyone from the 51st percentile on up.

I'm also amused by the constant harping on his conditioning. I'm sure guys like David Wells and Mickey Lolich are, too. And Roger Clemens doesn't exactly look buff. Power pitchers get their power from their legs, which includes their (frequently fat) ass.

Jason, I would fine-tune your Madson comment. He needs to get pitches over the CORNERS of the plate. He gets hurt when he throws it down Broadway.

Hrrmph. Corners of the plate. And I'm sure RSB would be happy to rephrase 'above average' into 'a little better than above average.'

Brett Myers is a physical marvel. He didn't look like too much of an ass when he banged out those two whole hits last season.

Say what you will about Myers, but he's young, and with the possible exception of Freddy Garcia, he's our best pitcher going into the season. He does look like he could do a bit more to get in shape, but if he's pitching well he can look however he wants. Keep in mind we're talking about trading him here... so whether or not such a trade would be a good idea depends entirely on what we'd be getting for him. As it stands now, Rios isn't enough.

As far as the character issues are concerned, it's not the team's job to police his personal life. His problems are not the kinds of problems that the team should treat as an incentive to get rid of him, especially since he seems apologetic.

It's not the size of Myers rear (a power source) that should concern anyone, it's the size of the beergut he sports.

Look at David Wells and others built like him. The extra girth frequently leads to joint (especially knee) problems because of the extra pounding form the weight.

Wells pitched 180+ innings at age 42, if thats how being overweight effects your longevity, I say we start feeding all of our pitchers endless amounts of spam.

There are plenty of examples of overweight pitchers succeeding in the majors - Schilling, Colon, and Sabitha for example. I think the anti-fat bias comes more from the scout in all of us than from actual reasoning. Everyone wants to see imposing juggernauts either at bat or on the mound, 6'4 men of steel. Its this kind of thinking that leads to a consistent undervaluation of players who are either short, fat, or both.

"There are plenty of examples of overweight pitchers succeeding in the majors - Schilling, Colon, and Sabathia for example."

I'll take Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz as my examples. Thing is, Myers, at 26, has the physical tools to strive for that level of excellence, in all facets of the game. But I guess setting the bar at David Wells and C.C. Sabathia is okay, too.

Not disputing your statement, I'm just not too knowledgable about the topic, but what makes Brett Myers a physical marvel?

Sarcasm.

Sorry guys. As you can tell, I get a little hot on the subject of weight in sports.

Tray -

Height 6' 4", Weight 215 lb.

And he's a former (good) Amateur Boxer. I'm betting that most of the "extra girth" is pure muscle.

dudes it's baseball, nobody is in shape except for the juicers and/or the guys under 25...Myers problem is that his mentors were Lieber and Lidle (RIP) who were a bit too porky.

ThatDude: Thanks for the link. He calls Barajas the favorite to be starting catcher, which is what I'm afraid of.

Regarding Myers, let me make a prediction: He will win more games over the next 4 years than anyone else in the Phils rotation.

Madson & curveball. I'm with Joe, let him keep working on it. Just don't throw it in the game.

Pitching is an endlessly fascinating subject. Having lots of good pitches can be nice. I'm old enough to have seen Juan Marichal pitch. He had a slider, screwball, fastball and change/curve, which he didn't throw much. He didn't need to. He could throw the first 3 for strikes and using 3 different arm angles. So it was like 9 different pitches.

Everyone talks about Maddux's breaking stuff (slider, circle change) but he gets most of his outs off his 82 mph fastball, mostly a cutter. Of course he can hit the edge of a dime with it, so that helps.

Barajas as the automatic starter? I hope not. If Ruiz really struggles in spring training/April, then play Barajas a bit more. Not until then though.

if you're ahead in the count and you throw the curve it doesn't HAVE to be over the plate for it to be an outpitch.

even throwing it know he can't get it over will at least give the hitter something to think about.

if he can get a flat slider over for a strike that's worthless. but we'll see. i'm hoping he turns in a good year. (obviously)

I don't think being slightly overweight would encumber one's ability to throw a ball. So I don't see why it should matter.

Injuries Tray. I certainly agree that Myers weight should be factored in on whether we sign him to a long term deal, but umm...shouldn't we be concerned about Howard too!

I'm happy to see Madson drop the curve (pun intended), he almost *never* threw it for a strike and it came as such a surprise and had such a big break, that know one ever swung at it either. I have a feeling Madson will be lights out (3-3.5 ERA) if the Phillies give him the everyday 8th inning job. Of course, I also thought he would be a dependable starter...

So I stopped reading the USA Today piece when I got to this sentence:

"With longtime catcher and FAN FAVORITE Mike Lieberthal lost to the Dodgers as a free agent, Gillick signed free agent catcher Rod Barajas, who has hit 47 homers in 325 games over the past three seasons with Texas." (Emphasis added)

And then I kept reading, and found out that Matt Smith was "a standout reliever for the Phillies down the stretch."

What a joke! There are 15 people who post on this board that could write a more accurate and interesting organizational report. And don't get me started on the USA Today web design...seriously, does anyone actually still read that thing?

that's funny, we "lost" mike lieberthal...more like booted his butt out the door!

there's nothing wrong with packing a little extra weight on in any sport, you just need to know how to be productive with your body. well, maybe not if you're a swimmer or sprinter, but basketball, football, hockey, and baseball was what i was referring to.

Extra weight - it's the wear and tear no the knees and joints, fellas. Sure, Wells threw 180+ innings, but he's also missed significant time over the years due to knee problems.

Does the extra weight "cause" injuries? No. But I'll bet there's a medical study somewhere that shows some correlation. I'll also bet there's a study that shows it affects overall longevity as well.

kdon - I agree in principle, except there are more than 15 people who post on this board who could do it.

Braves sign Craig Wilson to platoon at 1B with Thorman. Wilson crushes LHP although his glove is bad. Still, this is a good signing for them.
Prediction: The Braves and Phillies will finish ahead of the Mets this season.

Craig Wilson- 1 year 2 million...we almost pay No-Hit Nunez that much. Great signing for the Braves.

We have two cloutstradamus predictions in this thread.

1. Regarding Myers, let me make a prediction: He will win more games over the next 4 years than anyone else in the Phils rotation.

2. Prediction: The Braves and Phillies will finish ahead of the Mets this season.

Clout has stuck his neck out on both of these. The first one has a real risk factor in that a lot of posters here want to trade him away. Although technically, wins in another uniform would still count in vindicating clout's prognostication. I agree with this prediction as it applies against Garcia, Eaton, Lieber and Moyer. Cole Hamels vs. Brett Myers win totals over the next four years would be interesting contest.

Predicting the Mets to finish no higher than third in the division is a gutsy call. I won't touch that one with a ten foot pole. It's debatable that those three teams would even comprise the top three with those stealthy Marlins always pulling stars out of their....farm system!

Here's another prediction. After Ryan Howard gets a 30 second standing ovation during his first AB at CBP this year, Pat the Bat will come up and get booed.

All this questioning of Myers, Why? If there is anything that I can see that needs to improve with Myers is his maturity. I've never seen Myers as the type of pitcher that one could say: "If he only develops better stuff, then he could be great." Myers has all of the skills to be a dominant pitcher right now. The only thing that seems to hold him back is overaggressiveness or anger (Whatever you want to call steam coming out of his ears) after bad plays. I thought Myers was dominant at the end of the season, and you dont have to look back maybe a couple of years to when he was second or third in K's in the NL. That is the mark of a dominant pitcher. If you can strike people out like that you can be dominant. He just needs to get it together between the ears and he will be fine. Give the guy a break, he is 25-26 years old. That is very young to be where he is right now. I think the Phillies would be idiotic to get rid of this guy right now. In my opinion he is the best young pitcher (Outside of Hamels) that we have had on this team since Schilling. Hopefully this whole domestic abuse issue will have taught him a few things both on and off the diamond.

USA Today with a Phillies puff piece - WHAT??? Really, that was terrible. To read that, you'd think that we had a formidable farm system, too. So much for my assertation of outsiders looking at Philly as the place where careers go to die.

So, it sounds like Burrell is going to be a Phillie come opening day (not for a lack of trying, though). That being said, I have to make my weekly request for someone, ANYONE (his barber, gardener, girlfriend, bartender - hell I'll even take a Buster Olney re-spewing of someone else's work) to give an update as to his physical condition and any off-season rehab or recovery.

Parker: Great post. Amen.

I second clout's kudos to Parker's post.

Myers isn't going anywhere
Lawrence is going to Pittsburgh
Burrell will have a decent season
Utley will bat behind Howard
There you go.

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