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Friday, January 12, 2007

Comments

who were the three people that didnt vote for Ripken?

and, what can we do to get their credentials revoked?

They must not have filled in the check box completely.

At least that is what I blame my SAT scores on.

HOF voting is probably one of the overhyped things in baseball. Way too many baseball writers act like it is a canonization of saints. Morality arguments get tired pretty quickly.

Jason: It sounds like you're saying let the kids fill those 4 bullpen spots and if they fail and the Phils fall short again, tough beans.

I'm not ready to throw the towel in that easily. I think they're close and a couple of proven bullpen arms can make the difference. I don't want to hope and pray some kids will step up. The pen has too many questions already.

MG: So much of HOF voting is arbitrary. If Bert Blyleven pitched in New York or LA for good teams instead of the Midwest for bad teams, is there any doubt he'd be in the HOF? And if Goose Gossage hadn't pitched for the Yankees, would his name even be mentioned?

But isn't it a choice between young garbage and old garbage at this point? You're going to be saying a prayer with any of the remaining free agents.

Previous thread comment: Isn't Villone a Type B free agent?

Surprised nobody's used the "A" word when discussing bullpen options. "A" stands for "Arthur."

from Rotoworld: With no Adam LaRoche deal in sight, the Pirates are beginning to look more closely at other (Mike Gonzalez) trade possibilities.

I wish we could some how pull this trade off. This would help put bp concerns to bed.

Jason's got this exactly right, Clout. Consider the potential upside of, say, Ron Villone versus the potential upside of Joe Bisenius or Zach Segovia. Then consider the relative costs of those options.

You write about "proven" bullpen arms; if the Phils can acquire Linebrink or Otsuka, you have a point and that's a preferable option to going with kids, Rule V fliers, minor-league drifters, etc. But it doesn't seem they can do so, which means the choices are basically those I've set out here. I take young who-knows over old garbage, particularly because if the kids stink, you don't have to fret about the seven digits of budget you lose by cutting them.

I see both sides of this young garbage/old garbage debate. I agree from Jason's perspective that you might as well not spend the money if the results are going to be about the same - but then again, that appears to be management's philosophy, and it's a flawed one. Arthur Rhodes was a bomb (as opposed to 'da' bomb), yes, but not everyone is going to necessarily pan out like Arthur Rhodes. Nothing is a bigger recipe for disaster than going with a young, inexperienced bullpen. A team can get away with throwing one or possibly two guys on the roster and get them work in 6-1 games, but if you are counting on guys who haven't been through the wars to get you through them - and keep in mind this team had three complete games last year - it's going to be a long season. As JW says, confidence is everything for a reliever, and time-tested pitchers, regardless of quality, are far more likely to have more of a presence and likelihood to get the job done in pressure situations. Madson is a rather inverse case to what I'm claiming, as he showed a hundred times more poise as a rookie than he has since then - but then again, he proves the confidence issue perfectly. You need guys who can come out of the bullpen and make pitches and throw strikes. How can a team have confidence in a guy who can't project his own confidence? So, you ask, does that mean I'd rather have Rick White and Rheal Cormier back? Well, I say, after you see the alternative, you're probably going to wish for them back, too. And maybe I'm wrong - maybe there'll be a kiddie-corps bullpen revolution in '07. But the odds stack up highly against it.

Two comments about the HOF voting: how is Jack Morris' percentage that far below Blyleven's? And if New York writers skew HOF voting, why did Mattingly not even get 10%?

'far more likely to have more of a likelihood'...ah, that's good...

Because Mattingly had a slightly above average, but not truly remarkable career?

Goose's numbers are sick, he deserves in. Jack Morris absolutely deserves in, as does Blylevin.

"Nothing is a bigger recipe for disaster than going with a young, inexperienced bullpen."

Tell that to the 2006 World Series representatives.

Jason: RSB pretty much articulated my position. Neither untested kids or FA leftovers is a good option. But the odds are better that the leftovers, because they've done it before, will help you. Obviously, the ideal solution and the one I desire, is to trade Lieber for a couple solid relievers.

All of this is from a perspective that the Phils sole focus is making the playoffs. If that is not the case, then obviously I go for the kids.

Lieber alone could get them one good, not great reliever.

So what about Lieber in bullpen? Plenty of experience, throws strikes, can bust it in on hitters. Pat Gillick brushed aside the idea saying his defense wasn't good enough. Huh? Phillies are giving him 7.5 million good reasons to take infield practice.

I don't see anyone in the mix for the Phillies' bullpen slots who can throw 100 mph, do you, kdon?

I sense that Lieber would work out in the bullpen about as well as Ryan Franklin. Yes, I know I just said you want guys who can throw strikes, but Lieber's propensity for giving up homers would lead to some back-breakers. I agree that they should be able to get one decent reliever for him.

kdon: The only significant rookie contributor to the Cards bullpen was Adam Wainwright and he was one of the top prospects in baseball. If the Phils have an Adam Wainwright-type prospect ready to step in this season, do tell.

Isringhausen was the closer, Looper the setup man and Brad Thompson & Josh Hancock rounded out the pen. None were rookies.

How did Ron Villone end up a Type-A free agent anyway?

clout -

i think that we were talking about Detroit.

Fabio seems to miss a lot of bats, and does hit 95+, and I think the one Rule 5 guys is a 97+ guy.

I like young kids in the bullpen, instead of old retreads.

You've got to hope that between Flash and Moyer that there is enough leadership to get the kids thru the rough spots.

I guarantee Phils trade Lieber before opening day. One - I bet the Phils want to move his contract if possible. Even if they get a veteran bullpen arm in return, they probably save $3-$4 million next year. Two - I doubt that Lieber would accept a move to the bullpen or if his arm would hold up to be used on consecutive days.

I like testing out the young guys if all we can get is garbage.

But this situation seems a lot like the Floyd / Madson 5th starter issue last year.

We barely miss the playoffs and wonder why we let the young guys blow it early on.

joe: kdon wrote, "Tell that to the 2006 World Series representatives."

The Cardinals were in, no?

clout, if the young guys we start in the bullpen don't work out, we can still trade with other teams, no? I understand that during the season we won't have the option of signing these FA RP, but like jason said, is there any less risk with the FA then with the younguns?

I agree with CY though, as well. The phils need to have a quicker trigger than last year on these younger guys.

I don't like putting established starters in the BP, I'd rather trade Lieber for a reliever and some positional prospects. At 1yr/$7.5mill, he's got to have some major value. I agree with MG, one of the starters will be gone by opening day, my bet is Lieber.

Will: No. If the youngsters don't work out, it's too late. Teams will be set and you'll basically be trading from weakness and picking up the Rick Whites of the world. There is less risk with a veteran releiver because he's sopmeone who has had past success. Unless these young prospects are top-shelf, can't-miss types, which they aren't.

Will: It's more difficult to trade for relief pitching than you think, because every team believes they are contenders thanks to the Wild Card.

Like can't miss, top-shelf Geoff Geary, for example.

Bullpen debate = round and round we go.

Clout, the comment by RSB refered to "young and inexperienced", not "rookies."

Aside from Wainwright, the Cards had:

Hancock: 28yo, 88 IP going into '06
Thompson: 24yo, 55 IP going into '06
Johnson: 25yo, 2.2 IP going into '06
Josh Kinney: Rookie in '06

If you include Wainwright, then 5 of their 9 bullpen guys were "young end experinced" and of the four veterans, two (Flores and Sosa) sucked.

Also, if you consider the playoffs (where one might assume youth would be exploited), they got by with 4 youngsters and 2 veterans.

The only thing that matters is the ability to get out ML hitters, and when you show me an avaiable reliever who can do this better than what the Phillies have now, I'll be interested.

No more Koploves or Villones!

kdon: I interpreted RSB's "young and inexperienced" as "rookies" since the subject of this discussion is the Phillies. Are you aware of "young and inexperienced" Phillies who aren't rookies who are the equivalent of Hancock and Thompson? Kinney and Johnson were the 11th and 12th men on the team and did not have significant roles.

RSB and clout, your comments about the Phillies not having a "Wainwright" or "a guy who can throw the ball 100MPH" seem to indicate that you actually care more about talent and ability rather than age. If that is the case, then the Phils should be looking to put together the most talented bullpen, regardless of age. Right now I don't see a reliever who has signed (expect for Spier) or still available that would represent an improvement over:

Gordon, Geary, Madson, Smith, Castro, Condrey

This isn't great, but I'll sure take Smith, Castro, Madson and Condrey over Rhodes, Fultz, and Franklin and White.

Clout, Madson and Condrey would be the equivilents to Hancock and Thompson.

I'd argue that BOTH World Series representatives had legit starters that could average more than 6.1 innings/start, as well. Let's hope that the moves made this off season are indeed an upgrade to the rotation and that there is significantly less reliance on the bullpen this year. They were certainly exposed as the year went on the innings began to mount. The best answer to a short bullpen is a strong rotation. I think both the Cards and the Tigers would tell you that. When Suppan is lighting things up, it's real easy to have that young 'pen sound a lot better than it really is. Let's not forget that they still won less than 90 games last year during the season.

WP, I think the WS may be affecting your view of the Cards staff. After Carpenter and Suppan, their starters were absolutely terrible last year, and were the #1 reason why they only won 83 games:

Marquis - 33 Starts, 6.02 ERA
Mulder - 17, 7.14
Reyes - 17, 5.06
Weaver - 15, 5.18
Ponson - 13, 5.24

And only Carpenter averaged more than 6 inning per start. Suppan averaged LESS THAN 6 IP per start.

Ex Phils news today : Royals sign Alex S. Gonzalez to minor league deal. Cubs sign Tomas Perez to minor league deal.

kdon, actually, that is precisely my point. When the Cards aren't getting overachieving pitching in the playoffs, their 'pen is just as sad at Philly's. My point was that when a rotation gets hot, it has a way of making the 'pen look a lot better than it really is. My comment about them winning less than 90 games was supposed to have emphasized that. I think we're saying the same thing.

Flores didn't suck in the playoffs. Riding the wings of all that AAA experience, the Eude Brito clone appeared in seven games, zero earned runs. Earned a win against Mets Oct. 19.

Today's headline: Relief pitcher Randy Flores and the St. Louis Cardinals avoided arbitration, agreeing Friday to a $1.8 million, two-year contract. The 31-year-old left-hander was 1-1 with a 5.62 ERA in a career-high 65 games last season -- his first full season in the major leagues. He was second on the team with 20 holds and was part of a surprisingly effective showing by the bullpen in the postseason.

That four-headed monster of Wainwright, Flores, Kinney, Johnson combined for 33 postseason appearances, with ERA of 0.00, 0.00, 0.00, 1.23.

I think the people are missing the point about young guys vs. retreads. I am ok with going with some young guys vs. veteran retreads like Villone.

The problem is if the young guys fail or Gordon/Geary get hurt, there are almost ZERO fall-back options available in the minors right now. The Phils will be back to where they were last season when Floyd/Madson both flamed out as starters.

It will result in guys being rushed prematurely from AA or A and leaving guys who really struggle up to long. Not a good situation.

kdon: Condrey is not even close to either Hancock or Thompson. What, other than blind faith, makes you think that Smith & Castro can be quality contributors to the pen in '07?

kdon wrote: Right now I don't see a reliever who has signed (expect for Spier) or still available that would represent an improvement over: Gordon, Geary, Madson, Smith, Castro, Condrey

Clay Condrey preferrable to any reliever that was signed so far this year other than Spier ???

Oh, I don't know clout, maybe their proven performance on various baseball fields. Castro has been lights out no matter where he has pitcher, minors, major, arizona fall league, everywhere. Smith has been a stud at AAA and the majors in the last two years as well.

I really don't see how you can look at their respective past performances and not expect them to be adequate major league pitchers, ceratinly capable of puttin up VIllone-like ERAs in the 5s.

Sorry I misunderstood your point WP, I certainly agree that this years pen will be helped if Garcia/Myers/Cole can pitch into the seventh consistently.

OK, so maybe Bradford is better, though he is really a situational righthander, which isn;t all that valuble.

Obviously guys like Gagne and Foulke could be significantly better, but we are talking about salary's in close to $6M per year, as opposed to the minimum.

But, as far as the Borkowski, Villone, Romero, Baez crowd, I would have as much faith in COndrey as any of those guys.

kdon: How many innings has Castro pitched above A ball?
In how many mlb innings has Smith been stud?

Like I say, blind faith.

I can't imagine someone as sharp as you thinks the current bullpen is adequate to start the season.

One thing that has not been mentioned in the bullpen debate is experience. Who would you trust in a tight spot with the game on the line – the young kids or the veteran retreads? Would you rather have the ball in the hands of Ron Villone or Matt White in the eighth inning of a one run game and a tough right-hander coming up? Pitchers like Todd Jones of the Tigers that have had sordid pasts, sometimes end up on the right team at the right time and become heroes. Maybe Villone can be a lights out LOOGY?

I would argue that the Phillies have overvalued what Jon Lieber will command on the trade market. The Phillies have tried to deal him to about a half dozen teams to no avail. Jim Salisbury wrote in the January 7th Inquirer that “St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Houston, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Minnesota, Washington and the Mets are among the teams looking for starting pitching.” I believe that Minnesota and Pittsburgh have already said no. I cannot be sure, but I do remember reading that somewhere. We should take the Mets and the Nats out of the equation since they are in the division. The Cards just signed Mulder (just think – the Cards would rather roll the dice on Mulder, who will not be back until June, than trade for Lieber), so we should count them out. Hypothetically, that leaves Houston (who still might sign some guy named Clemens), San Diego, San Francisco, and Toronto has potential destinations for doughnut-boy. Anyone care to speculate on possible trades with these teams? I do not see anybody in Toronto’s, San Fran’s BP worth taking. The Padres have some depth at the ML and AAA level. I would love for the Phils to get Cla Meredith (5-1 1.07 ERA .071 WHIP in 45 appearances). Granted that is only in his first year in the majors, and the Padres probably will not give him up. I like Dan Wheeler of the Astros (70+ appearances with a low ERA). I do not think we could get him straight up for Lieber, but the Astros really need another starting pitcher (their rotation right now would be Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Jason Jennings, Woody Williams, a player to be determined).

Well, the Orioles finally unloaded Rodrigo Lopez on somebody. “The Rockies on Friday acquired right-hander Rodrigo Lopez from the Orioles for relievers Jim Miller and Jason Burch.” – mlb.com. Didn’t the Orioles acquire a lot of relievers this off season? Maybe they are in the market for a right-handed starter (Lieber) and we can pry one or two of the Oriole relievers away. The may want Lieber plus a prospect, though. Would anybody make that trade?

Above should read Matt Smith - not Matt White.

Jason:

One the plus side going into this year is the fact that the starting rotation is better compared to last year. In instability at the tail-end of the rotation and the failed Ryan Franklin experiment led to a horrendous start last year and contributed, in my opinion, in undermining two pitchers of whom I had high regard – Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson. Floyd should not have start the season in the rotation. He would have been a better option later in the season when the weather got warmer. Madson will never reach his potential. He should have been left in the pen. Instead, his confidence was ruined as both a starter and a reliever. IMO Madson could have been a closer. I know some have opinions to the contrary, but I think he had that potential. Granted, not a blow your doors off closer, but somebody who knows how to get hitters out.

IP, the experience issue was in fact mentioned earlier by both myself and clout (you know us, the best of buds). We agree with you.

Gillick's playing it savvy with Lieber, and the Phils will probably be best served with this strategy of waiting to see who gets hurt on other teams in spring training. Somebody's bound to to not only deal for Lieber, but need him enough to give up something fairly substantial for him. Or at least substantial by Gillick's usual off-season standards.

Gotta love a debate about unproven relief pitchers.

Villone would be a mistake to sign in my opinion because he's just not that good for the money he wants. If it were 1 year 1 million, then sure, but that doesn't even get you Scott Schoenweis now-a-days.

Our bullpen sucks as of now, we need help. Lieber is still there to trade, and if Gillick signed Trot Nixon, Rowand would also then be available to be jettisoned for relief.

I also like the idea of bringing Rick White back on a minor-league deal, and I was one of the people that trashed him when he was first picked up. He is a great guy to have on the team, you could see how he kept things loose and had fun. He's not all that good of a pitcher, but he's not all that bad either. Bring back the Beard!

Its times like this I wish gillick would have an eye on the fans welfare. We're all that close to cabin fever on the bullpen thing, simply because Gillick is doing the right thing with lieber - waiting it out.

Ultimately, I think MG's point along with those of Clout and RSB have it - we're not operating from depth right now, and a combination of bad starts and inexperience could not only hurt the team in april and may, it could have a bad effect on bringing forward our only real strength in the minors - a crop of arms who we should be getting one or two full-timers out of (both in the rotation and the bullpen). I'd really rather we didn't blow all this depth by putting too much pressure on these guys - they're not all going to have cole's poise and confidence when they have a bad game. Young kids with old heads like his are rare and I don't want to see us blow this depth in arms.

But if I had to choose between waiting to see what we get on lieber and signing old and experienced junk, I'm waiting to see what we get on lieber. And with eaton and hamels still to get through spring training in one piece, I'm happy to be holding on to lieber until the right deal comes up.

oisin: I agree. The last thing PG needs to do with Lieber is make another bad trade. But Iron Pig makes agreat point: What if there's no market for Lieber? We may have to root for pitching injuries on other teams in ST.

IP, you summed up what RSB and I have been saying. Veteran relief pitchers fluctuate from year to year, but at least they've done it before. As we learned from Madson & Floyd last season, throwing young pitchers into key situations for the first time is a far riskier proposition. Obviously, at some point, factoring age and experience, that must be done. In the case of Matt Smith, we need to see what we have. Another year of Triple A is unnecessary. But that's NOT the case with Castro and the others. That's why you get a veteran lefty to pair with Smith and a righty setup guy who can also close in case Gordon goes down. You don't say, "Oh I think Clay Condrey and Castro can do it."

If Condrey wakes up one morning with good stuff and command and Castro shows he can jump straight from A ball to a significant mlb role, that's wonderful, icing on the cake. But counting on that happening is foolhardy.

I agree with Oisin that any trade for Lieber has to occur in ST. Besides, there is a chance that doughnut boy will actually show up in shape this year because he knows the situation he's in. This could only increase his trade value.

As far as my overall view of the bullpen is concerned, I'm on record as being in favor of going with the younger kids vs the retreads.

I'm also feeling better about who we have.
Flash - as long as he's healthy he'll be fine.
Geary - the only concern is the potential lingering affect of overwork last year.
Madson - should benefit mentally from having a defined role.
Condrey - "Condrey" you say. Well. I actually took a look at his gamelogs for the entire time he's been to the show. Not surprisingly, his career ERA and periferals are not very impressive - until you separate out the spot starts he made with the Pads. As a RELIEF pitcher he has a career 3.63 ERA. The thing that concerns me about him is his WHIP (1.61), but while not overpowering, he seems to have brought that down somewhat last year.
Castro - needs a little sesoning, but has great stuff. I'll bet even is he starts the year at AAA he'll be an early call-up.
Smith - has shown he can get guys out in both leagues. You can knock him for lack of experience, but that experience has to start sometime.

Now we're down to the last 2 spots in the bullpen, which, is what the big debate is about.

It would seem that Jim Warden (who would do well to lose the 'Ed' if he doesn't want a season full of bullpen heckling) has the inside track on one of those slots. I think the Phils could live with the rest of that bullpen if one more legitimate, experienced reliever, to whom Manuel could entrust an 8th or 10th inning assignment, was acquired. The entire department would look a whole lot better with just that one missing ingredient. And hell, I wouldn't be averse to *more* than one, but let's be realistic...

AWH, I agree on Condrey. I think he could fulfill a sixth inning-type role nicely.

Am I the only one who's underwhelmed by Cal Ripken? Don't get me wrong, he had a great career. I'm just not in line with his constant canonization.

I hate how people keep trotting out ERA as if it were a meaningful statistic when it comes to measuring relievers' worth. You have to look at the peripheral stats with them much more closely because many of the runs they allow to score aren't charged to them.

Clout, I think you are engaged in a different argument than I am. There are two distinct propositions that are being conflated, possibly causing the disagreement:

P1) The Phillies bullpen is adequate, and therefore needs no changes before the season.

and

P2) The current market for FA relievers is highly overpriced and the talent level is barely discernible from what the Phillies already have on hand.

In case it is not clear, let me say I am arguing for P2 *and not* P1. I have said before that I think the bullpen needs an upgrade and it remains the #1 weakness for the Phils. My point is that this weakness *will not be improved* through signing mid-level journeyman relievers like Rhodes, Fultz, Franklin, VIllone, Baez, etc.

In fact, not only will signing these player not improve the team, but it will (1) cost significantly more, effecting the teams ability to upgrade at other positions, and (2) mean that high leverage innings will likely go to the veteran, rather than the best pitcher. AN example of (2) was Manuel's use of RHodes as a set-up guy even though he was brutal. If someone like Baez or Borowski were brought in, they would likely get the 8th inning assignment, even though Geary is a better pitcher than both of them.

Not only will this effect in-game decisions, but it will effect the makeup of the roster. THese retreads are all signing ML deals, meaning that they would open the season on the roster even if someone like Condrey or Sanches is a demonstratably better player in spring training.

You and RSB seem to feel that we can bring in these guys and it would create depth and competition, but the established guys would be handed bullpen spots and opportunities for younger players would be blocked. *THere would be no competition!* Villone would just get his spot and Castro would go dominate at AAA, and the Phils would lose, and we'd all complain about how Villone sucks, just like we complained about Franklin and Rhodes last year (and COrmier, ROdriguez, Urbina and Worrell before that!)

I would like the Phils to address the bullpen need through trade if neccesary, but if no one decent is offered, I would be content to go into the season with this pen.

It is possible to both believe that a team has a weakness AND to believe that the proposed options to fix that weakness would in fact hurt the team more.

Tray: Exactly right, which is why Condrey's ERA is meaningless and his peripherals alarming.

I may be overracting on the bullpen. AWH and kdon and the others who think the bullpen is just fine could be correct. But I think it is two veteran arms short. By June we'll know who was right.

kdon: The bottom line is that, while you'd like an upgrade via trade, you are perfectly satisfied with the makeup of the bullpen now.

Like I said, we'll know by June who was right and who was wrong.

Ripkin is a phony always was and always will...he always rubbed me the wrong way...don't get me wrong i love the fact he went out there day after day and played the game in a time when guys would take a day off because they couldn't play back to back games on astro turf. But i think if you really look at his numbers they're much overrated. The guy deserves the HOF but he's no where deserving of all his constant praise. I've also heard some whispers from people down in Balt that he wasn't necessarily the greatest citizen and the team/police & the alike have swept some incidents under the rug for him a few times during his career.

CLout, your last comment demonstrates that you completely miss my point. It might be more enlightening to attribute a more nuanced viewpoint to the people you are arguing with rather than reduce complex arguments to easily assailable straw men.

I give up.

kdon: Let me try to state your position more precisely. You would like an upgrade in the bullpen via trade BUT if that doesn't happen you are perfectly fine entering the season with the bullpen as now constituted.

If that is NOT your position then you and I read different kinds of English.

ALright, I guess I don't give up (what the hell, it's raining outside and I have nothing to do until the Birds game tonight).

First of all, I don't know why you feel the need to add the qualifier "perfectly" to my argument, but I am fine *given the other options at this point*, which is a fairly big qualification which you don't seem to want to acknowledge.

Let me see if an analogy to out current situation in Iraq would gelp. (BTW, to preempt [ha!] the inevitable response of "oh, I can't believe you are comparing the Phillies bullpen to Iraq" I'll simply say that the use of an analogy is in the logical argument, not the gravity of the respective situations).

An imagined debate between two people (I will call them "dkon" and "lout")prior to March of 2003 (though this is quite similar to actual arguments I had at the time):

dkon: "I don;t think we should invade Iraq."

lout: "OK, well you must be perfectly fine with the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein."

dkon: "No, actually, the human rights violations in Iraq trouble me quite a bit."

lout: "Then you must want to invade."

dkon: "No, I just feel that an invasion would execerbate the very problem of terrorism that it supposedly meant to address, and that it would in fact make the situation worse for individual Iraqis."

lout: "So you *are* fine with Saddam, I guess the blood of his next victims will be on your hands."

dkon: "No, I would like to try to address the situation in other ways, possibly through diplomacy. Saddam may in fact continue to oppress his people, but I don;t think that an invasion would help."

lout: "You are either for Saddam or against him, and if you are against him, you must want to invade."

dkon: "No, in fact, I am against both his rule and the proposed solution of invasion. It is possible for a reasonable person to hold both of these views."

lout: "I really can't believe you are perfectly fine with Saddam."

dkon: *bangs head on table*

Dude, what the hell are you talking about? The police 'swept incidents under the rug' for Ripken? Thanks for that bulletin, you've apparently scooped the world.

I don't consider myself to have any kind of special allegiance to Ripken, but your comments are way off base. You might consider him a 'phony', and perhaps his public persona isn't entirely legitimate, but he was a consistent professional and a class act for twenty seasons. In this day and age, when role models are ever atrophying from the sporting world, it makes sense that people would go out of their way to uphold someone like Ripken. But God forbid people actually have values and standards for their athletes; there's always people like you who want to see good people brought down. I assume you must have some great dirt on Dale Murphy, too.

And over 400 homers, 3,000 hits, and 2,000 consecutive games playes are overrated? Whatever. Ripken was a little short of being a *great* player, but the overall package of his accomplishments, work ethic, and goodwill for the game renders him absolutely worthy of the praise he's received.

kdon: What do these words mean to you:
"I would like the Phils to address the bullpen need through trade if neccesary, but if no one decent is offered, I would be content to go into the season with this pen."

Maybe you don't understand the word "content."

I used to think Abreu and Burrell were the dividing lines for debate. Add Ron Villone to the list.

RSB: I'm with you on Ripken. For one thing, the HOF has ALWAYS used longevity as a major factor in admission. Guys with short careers rarely make it, no matter how good. Where things get slippery is on the moral issues. There's some pretty nasty characters in the Hall. Ty Cobb, to name just one.

Jason: Villone is just symbolic of the veteran flotsam and jetsom available each offseason. The real debate is whether the holes in the pen can be filled from the Phils minor leagues this season. I say no.

Yes, "content" was the wrong word to use. Content implies that you are satisfied, and this is clearly not my position, considering I called the pen the team's #1 weakness AND I would like to improve it. My bad.

I should have said "I am willing to go into the season with this current bulpen, considering that all available and proposed options appear to be worse."

"The real debate is whether the holes in the pen can be filled from the Phils minor leagues this season."

No, that isn't it at all. It is whether the team as a whole will be better if these holes are filled by young players or veteran "floatsam."

BTW, I am in complete concurrence with you all on Ripkin, the guy was an absolutely fabulous baseball player who was dominant in his early years.

I would disagree with you RSB, however that Ripkin wasn't "great." Bill James has him ranked as the 3rd best SS ever. Basically he was the best offensive SS since Honus Wagner (I don;t think either Yount or Banks played there long enough to merit consideration) and was a fantastic defensive player. I think the consecutive games thing actually does him a disservice, because he was truly a great player regardless of breaking Gehrig's record.

The reason the Phils haven't adequately filled out the bullpen (and the bench for that matter) is money. Pure and simple.

Talent is a secondary concern to profit margins. That is why you end up with two OF reserves who didn't even play in the majors last year. Werth and Garcia are the kind of acquisitions that I would expect from a bottom-feeder team like the woeful Pirates or Royals. Not the Phils.

Maybe, I am wrong and the bullpen and the bench perform adequately in April and May but I doubt it. Kind of like that that guy in college who goes into a final exam needing an A to get a decent grade in the class. Sometimes it happens but most times he ends up with something mediocre.

Kdon: Thanks for clarifying. I have no problem debating whether the kids or FA vets are the right solution. I do have a problem with posters who think the Phils pen is fine, as is. I also wonder how you can know "all available and proposed options appear to be worse."

Clout: Of course. This thread got a little nuts and probably didn't need to be. My position since the start of the offseason is they need a setup man, perhaps more. Now they've reached a point where a high-impact reliever must come from a trade, and everyone knows it. The front office is on record saying they have no interest in the remaining FAs. It could be a financial decision, but either way, I don't blame them. That's probably where you and I see it differently.

They'll look to trade Lieber, and like you, hope they can get a setup man from it. However, every sign points toward this growing roll call of young pitchers, Rule 5s and waiver picks to fill 6th inning-up, whether we like it or not.

As a way to put this FA reliever business to bed, I want to clarify that I have no interest in sifting through a season of cherry-picked comments on how they should have signed so-and-so, so-and-so, so-and-so, or so-and-so for the bullpen, assuming, of course, they would sign to pitch in CBP.

Not sold on Condrey the way I wasn't sold on Geary two years ago. But get this: Fabio Castro. No matter how young, or how inexperienced, you can't take away the fact that he's pitched a steady year's worth of exceptional baseball. This was a nice pickup by Gillick. You get guys like this, and work with them, so you don't always wish upon the magic summer of Ron Villone.

You can basically divide Ripken's career down into two halfs: Superstar and Average. From 82-91, Ripken clearly was a great player both offensively and defensively. Especially if you consider the average SS in the 80s was a position with basically no power and limited average.

From '92 until his retirement, Ripken was closer to an average player. Only in limited time during '99 did he post really great numbers again.

Sad to say but I think the streak robbed Ripken from being a really good player into his 30s. Ripken became a prisoner of his streak and it hurt both him and the Orioles during the 90s. Instead of being remembered for a guy who changed the SS position during the 80s, Ripken will almost exclusively be remembered for the streak.

As for Ripken's personality, I would characterize him as being "vanilla." Good character but hard to generate real fan zeal. Probably would feel definitely if I was born in Baltimore or an Orioles fan.

I am sure his teammates will speak in fond terms but Ripken was a loner for a long time on his team. Stayed in seperate hotels on the road for a long time (at least from the early 90s) and kind of would have prefered to avoid the spotlight. Maybe he was different in the 80s when he first came up. Can't say. It would be interesting to see what the Baltimore Sun sports writers would say off the record.

Weitzel - You can put away the FA reliever for now but just like herpes it will probably reappear in April and May as a festering sore for fans on this blog.

"I also wonder how you can know "all available and proposed options appear to be worse."

Geez clout, of course I don;t "know" this...it is an opinion, an opinion I have often backed up with stastical evidence. Anything beyond opinions and evidence I'll leave to the clairvoyants and soothsayers among us.

Sorry, were you claiming to "know" that Koplove would be a good pick up, or only expressing an opinion that he could be.

OK, that really is it, Jason, I promise...unless of course clout attributes to me another position I don;t hold ;-)

Just visiting from a Cubs site, but why do they call Tomas Perez "Pie Man"?

http://wrigleyville23.blogspot.com/2007/01/why-do-they-call-him-pieman.html

kdon: As I said earlier, we'll know who's right and who's wrong soon enough. If Castro, Condrey and the other Phils rookies come thru, then obviously you were right and I was wrong. If not, I'm sure you're big enough to admit you were wrong.

You say your opinion that there are no viable alternatives is backed up by with "statstical evidence." Last year's stats are meaningless when it somes to veteran relievers. By your statistical evidence, signing Todd Jones, Joe Borowski, Roberto Hernandez etc. etc. etc. last season was a big mistake. Except now we know it wasn't. We will find out how these "worse alternatives" do.

Jason: Re: Fabio. Which pressure situations did he pitch in? He was mop up relief. I don't know how you call call 31 innings of mop up "a year of exceptional baseball." And I am on record as loving this trade and thinking the guy has a good future. I just don't think he's ready to be thrown into pressure situations yet.

I guess this is offically a baseball town again.

The more I look at this bullpen situation I agree with the Phillies position. Until we can find a seriously accomplished (or "star") reliever whats the point in signing a 4 mil a year guy who has a 4.88 era? Lets throw what we have in the minor leagues at it and see what sticks.

If we get real desperate I heard Rick White's available

I hate Andy Reid.

W-ville, he is called the "Pie Man" becuase he is the guy who hits players in the face w/ creme pies during interviews...it is by far his best attribute, he will make Nefi look like Ernie Banks.

Clout: I don't recall saying anything about pressure situations. He's 21 and has done a an very nice job with what they're asking him to do, considering the jump from A ball. He's also having a great winter.

Jason: That's exactly right. But I was talking about this coming season. Unless you think the Phils can afford to use him like they did last year.

Is the site all out-of-whack for anyone else?

the thing with fabio is, there is concern that his build may lead to injury problems, he's listed at 5'8", but i suspect that there may be a rounding error...

and he throws 95+, with a killer 93 mph knuckle curve.

given his diminutive build, he may have less innings in his arm than others. you may have to use him when he's green, or lose him.

i tend to think that he doesn't have anything to learn in Ottawa, he may have to learn on the big stage.

kdon, agreed. Isn't it amazing how much one's postings can be nitpicked and twisted, or one sentence in a post picked on without regard to it's place in the entire post or the context of the entire post?

I don't know how many times we have to make the point that we're not *fine* with the bullpen as is, for the same reasons as everyone else.

The remaining FA RPs just aren't worth it.

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