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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Comments

JW: Agree with your bullpen analysis 100%. Regarding Lieber, he might get you Mench, a one-way player, but he doesn't come close to getting you Wilkerson straight up.

I got the name of who the phillies signed from the Phillies scout. It wasn't who I had hoped. They signed 36 year old reliever Paul Shuey to a one year deal. He hasn't played in the majors since 2003 - he has had various injuries in the past few years. His espn stats are on this link:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=3069
I'm not sure if its a major league or minor league contract. Hopefully minor league. Of course, still pending physical.

Jason, though I have more confidence than you do regarding the current bullpen corps, I also like the Rowand-for-Linebrink deal and hope it goes through. Looking at Sledge's stats on Baseball Cube, he's never really gotten it done at the big league level, so I think there's hope.

I suspect there's a Lieber trade lined up and ready to go now, though who knows if it will still be there if/when the Padres decide they want Rowand.

Although, I think it is a very good potential deal to sure up the Phillies 'pen, I think that the ST play of Sledge should only be part of the equation. The other part needs to be the play of Vic. Are we 100% confident that he can handle a full time CF role? Granted, there is a little more leeway in terms of sacrificing some of Rowen's offense in favor of suring up the 8th. I, too, would sleep better if ole Six-finger was out of the 8th inning picture, but I want to make sure that we're not giving up on the outfield, as a whole.

does Paul Shuey have altshimers?

This deal, if available, should be jumped on immediately...I like Rowand...like what he brings to the clubhouse but I just do not believe you are giving much up with Victorino playing center.

Linebrink is exactly the type of guy they need in 8th...and lets not forget, they are likely going to need someone for the ninth after Flash breaks down...and he will break down...also, regarding Rowand...

"Rowand, who recently avoided arbitration by accepting $4.35 million from the Phillies, has one flaw to his game. He seldom walks and last year had a .321 on-base percentage. Over the past three seasons, Rowand has drawn 80 walks and struck out 283 times."

I could still see and hope the Rowand/Linebrink deal goes down. Terrmel Sledge in all honesty stinks, but they do have Jose Cruz Jr. as a backup plan.

We need a proven relief pitcher any way you look at it. Hopefully we can still dangle Jon Lieber to get that reliever.

The team is good in so many areas, but a poor bullpen will kill a season.

With any deal that gets rumor status you have to ask yourself...WHY would the other team do this trade? It makes no sense for them.

Gus: I like the Rowand for Linebrink deal. Keep in mind Rowand is a free agent after this season. But we don't know yet how good Victorino is as an everyday player. Personally, I don't think he can be a good everyday player.

You make an excellent point regarding problems with Rowand's BB/K ratio and OB. However Vic's lifetime OB is .326, lower than Rowand's .334. Rowand also gives you .446 lifetime SLG to Vic's .388. In sum, Vic is probably as good on defense as Rowand, but there is a significant dropoff on offense.

Re: Paul Shuey, he was a pretty good reliever with the Indians and Dodgers who suffered a series of catastrophic injuries as he got older requiring elbow surgery, thumb surgery, hip surgery etc. The Indians brought him back to ST in '05 and he couldn't hack it. Since 2003, he's thrown a grand total of 6 IP in organized baseball. I cannot imagine what he could possibly offer.

Wilkerson was a Phillies killer a couple years back if I recall. Does that mean he'd be like Bobby Abreu in right?

>Vic's lifetime OB is .326, lower than
>Rowand's .334

I'll call that identical... seriously, .008 differnce means 4 more times on base per 500 AB's.

The slugging... yeh, Rowand is *much* better.

I'll go out on a limb and say that Vic is better defensively, at least his arm...

But, I'm sorry, I don't like the trade... Our outfield would be completely in shambles and not exactly productive, or defensively sound.

That, aned I do believe in Rowand's clubhouseability, even though it isnt a SABRE metric.

I love this deal . Rowand is gone anyhow after this season and it returns Vic to his natural position -- CF. Not only do we get a good setup man, we are now in position to upgrade RF with some power. We have depth at CF with Roberson and Bourne. And Werth can also play CF. Get it done Pat.

I'm with joe, I don't like the trade.

The deal may also be contingent, from the Phils side, on which doughboy shows up in ST. He's in a contract year, and if he shows up in half decent shape and pitchers well, he could be moved to Texas who still need SP help.

If I'm the Phils, I'd much rather move Lieber for RP than Rowand. He has to go anyway, and then I don't need to worry about finding outfield help.

Linebrink for Rowand. Done. Only thing I don't like about the trade is that it leaves the Phils with a hole in the OF and dependent upon a trade involving Lieber to get another OF.

A platoon of Werth/Garcia in RF does not exactly excite me too much.

I guess the question is.. and stat head can help me out here, is who will give you more wins during the season, a Rowand in center, or a Linebrink on the mound?

I don't think that the dropoff from Linebrink to our collection of chuckleheads is THAT drastic that we can take a large outfield drop off...

I agree that this would be a good deal and I'm pretty sure the stats up to this point would actually show two net games. The Phils won more when Victorino was filling in for oft-injured Rowand last year and Linebrink is a net gain over Madson/Geary as the set-up. They should get this done, even if they don't move Lieber until the trade deadline, because they would still have the insurance of the 6th starter and the willingness of Eaton to start the season in long relief. Unfortunately, if that were to happen they would have been better served keeping Conine as insurance.

I like the possible deal for Linebrink. I agree that he is one of the missing pieces, but only if we can flip Lieber for a decent outfielder. I'd love to land Rios, but I don't see the Phils ending up with him. I would take Wilkerson over Mench though. I'd even gamble with Geoff Jenkins over the before-mentioned two. Milwaukee may be into that more since Jenkins and Lieber have similar salaries if I remember right. It would be interesting to see the numbers he could put up at CBP.

Joe, I completely agree with your post. The Phillies would be left with a centerfielder who has never played regularly over a full season and no right fielder to speak of. Whatever would be gained from Linebrink would be lost with the absence of Rowand's presence in the outfield. Moreover, note that Rowand has been making the rounds this off-season, showing up at malls and press conferences and baseketball games to represent the Phillies. Though the rumors persist, I can't see them dealing him for a faceless relief pitcher. Regardless of the baseball sense the trade might make to some of you, consider that it hurts the Phillies from a marketing standpoint to trade Rowand, and don't imagine that doesn't factor into their thinking. Besides, I don't see why they can't manage to scrounge up even one decent relief option by trading Jon Lieber instead.

Note also that if Lieber *can't* fetch a half-decent reliever, there's no way on earth he's going to fetch a half-decent outfielder.

Clout, I don't get this:

"I like the Rowand for Linebrink deal."

"Personally, I don't think he (Victorino) can be a good everyday player."

Well, if you like the deal, I guess that means you like not having a "good" CF.

I would not do this deal, for several reasons:

1) We don't know about Linebrink. He WAS a dominant pitcher, but at his peak he had a very high workload and it may have affected him last year. The pages on B-Ref are littered with guys who were good in the pen for a few years, but burned out (Williamson, Zimmerman, Urbina, Worrell, Rodriguez, etc.) If this was 2005, I would pull the trigger, but I think there is reason to believe Linebrink is no longer an elite set-up man.

2) Geary has had two seasons in a row that were better than Linebrink's 2006, and Madson's work in the pen is comparable to what Linebrink did last year, if you adjust for ballpark. And last year was not a fluky ERA seaon for Linebrink, he gave up way more hits and HR than in 05 and 04.

Additionally, the guy will be moving from THE BEST pitchers park in baseball to one of the worst.

3) The OF. I'm sorry, but a starting 3 of Burrell, Vic, and Werth would be pretty bad and it would likely mean retreads like Garcia making it onto the roster. Even if we trade Lieber, a power guy like Mench would mean the OF defense would be brutal. I have argued that Vic may be underutilized in a corner position, but I like having another speed/defense guy on the team. Do we really want a lineup that has Burrell, Helms, Mench, Howard, Rowand, and Barajas in it? We would have one of the slowest teams in baseball!

I don;t know how many times we have to make a stupid trade for a reliever to get people away from these kind of moves! Do we really not remember Mike Williams, or Urbina, or Wendell, or Cook, or Worrell, or Rodriguez, or Hernandez, or Franklin, or every other veteran reliever we have picked up in the last 5 or 6 years?

I can think of ONE non-closer who was a good acquisition...RHeal Cormier. If the odds are against you to begin with, and the payoff is Cormier...no thank you!

If

RSB: Lieber could fetch an outfielder. They may need to throw in some bucks to get it done, but it's possible. They got Dellucci for Tejeda and Blalock last year after Looch hit 29 homers.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is Rowand's walk year and Linebrink would be around for 2 years in exchange - so the value needs to be weighed against a guy who in all likelihood is headed back to the White Sox next season.

The team has inspired no confidence in its ability to trade for relievers - Polanco for Urbina being the worst. The infield would be the strongest in the NL if Polanco was still here.

Yeah, I'm not sure about this either. I see the point about Rowand being gone after this season, but I dont know what Linebrink has. Kdon's point about him pitching in the best pitcher park in the league cannot be ignored. As far as the OF, I really dont think we are in bad shape either way. We are still going to have the offense, and depending on who is in RF, at least a decent defense (Burrel being the main weak point). If we could get Linebrink and a younger pitcher or some kind of prospect then it would be a different story. Remember not long ago there was talk of a deal with MIL for Mench and Turnbow. While Turnbow was terribly bad last year, he is young and could bounce back and has ridiculous stuff. If we could net that kind of deal then, why is it not possible now. Nobody can tell me that prior to last year that Linebrink would be more valuable than Turnbow, so why now? I dont know what kind of stuff Linebrink has but he looks a lot like the savy type (like a RIck White: I realize he is better than WHite, but that type of pitcher). 30+ guys like that are coin flips as to whether they are good anymore in a year. Besides, the Padres shafted us with Andy Ashby already. The only thing we ever got from the Pads that I know of was John Kruk.

Clerical error: It was Lieber for Mench and Turnbow. But either way I think Rowand is worth more than Linebrink alone.

"I guess the question is.. and stat head can help me out here, is who will give you more wins during the season, a Rowand in center, or a Linebrink on the mound?"

Joe, I'm no stat head, but just out of curiosity, your question led me to one of JW's fav sites to check out Win Shares. Granted, things can't be 100% equal between a relief pitcher and a CF (who missed considerable time last year), but the WS stat actually give Rowand 1 more WS than Linebrink. Career-wise, he has 30 more WS (both started to get their time in '04). Again, we're comparing someone who would be asked to get 3 outs late in fairly close games vs. someone who is expected to play 9 full innings just about every night, so team need is considerably in play here. The question then becomes just how badly do the Phils want that consistency toward the back of the 'pen?

Again, I ask...if you are SD, would you do this deal?

Clout - Gotcha. I guess the difference is that I think Victorino is closer to Rowand than a lot of guys here...and I think the pen is a far more dangerous problem than an outfield created by swapping Vic in and Rowand out...

Dude: Yes, because Terrmel Sledge is penciled into LF.

bte - It looks like Geary and Linebrink have identical winshares.

What's wrong iwth Geary in the 8th?

Seriously, Linebrink for Rowand is a bad deal for the phils.

Just looked up Linebrink's away splits over the past 3 years (2004-2006) to see ballpark effect. His away splits are the same and in some cases better than his home numbers. 8 K / 9 innings. 3 K / B. Opponents batting just .188 against him. Phils could really use a hard throwing reliable setup man like Linebrink.

That;s really interesting BM, especially because the Pads play 1/4 of their road games in Colorado and Arizona, two big hitter's parks. He is a groundball guy, so maybe the dimensions at PETCO don't help him as much as other pitchers.

WOW! I just looked up Linebrink's splits and they are pretty amazing, especially considering his home park:

Career stats:

WHIP:
Home - 1.46
Away - 1.04

ERA:
Home - 3.57
Away - 2.66

BA Against:
Home - .277
Away - .204

OK, I'm still against the trade, but no longer for the PETCO reason.

kdon: Relievers stats are inconsistent because you're dealing with a smaller sample size. Best to look at career stats when judging relievers. Linebrink is one of the best setup men in the NL. That's a fact. Several teams have tried to get him this offseason because his stats were down last year and they might get him more cheaply.

I do not think Geary or Madson or Sanches or Condrey are quality setup guys. That's where you and I differ. IF you can get a Linebrink for a Rowand (who's leaving anyway) you have to do it. Then you go get a decent OF with Lieber & prospects as Jason correctly notes we did last year with Dellucci.

Trade is a mute point now at least until spring training. Couple of facts though about Linebrink suggestion:

1. Linebrink has generally not benefited from pitching in SD. In fact, his numbers on the road were signficantly better on the road in '04 & '05. His numbers were slightly worse in '06 at home but nothing to suggest he suddenly became a road warrior.

2. Nothing in Linebrink's numbers suggested that he really slumped last year. His K/9, BB/9, HR, and AVG were all pretty much in line with his career statistics.

3. The only thing to worry about Linebrink's heavy usage. He has used in alot of games and pitched a bunch of innings for 4 years straight. There is a possibility wear and tear might affect him over the next 2 years.

4. Linebrink is clearly a better pitcher than Madson or Geary. There really isn't much argument here. Geary had a really nice year last year but some of his stats suggests he was a bit lucky with his ERA. Madson has generally been mediocre/awful the past 2 years out of the bullpen. 2004 is looking more like a highpoint for Madson.

If you land Linebrink for Rowand, you now can send Madson to the Nats for Church. I just posted a negative on him today on PhilliesTalk, but I've seen that possibility mentioned this winter.

If I hadn't watched a single Phillies game last season and I read the things some people are saying on this thread, I would assume Rowand is some kind of offensive powerhouse, in addition to being an amazing defensive outfielder. Of course that's not the case. He's certainly better offensively than Victorino, but not head and shoulders better, and Shane is only going to improve. And the truth is, as much as I love Rowand's attitude, Vic just outshines him defensively. Most importantly, this team desperately needs bullpen help. To get that, you're going to have to sacrifice something.

MG, agreed on 1 and 3, but not 2 and 4.

#2 - Linebrink's WHIP in '04 and '05 was:
1.04, 1.06
in '06:
1.22

Now 1.22 isn't terrible, but this is clearly worse than when he was a dominant reliever.

Also, this isn't the result of bad luck, or a bunch of dribblers. His FIPS ERA (basically, what you would expect given peripheral numbers) the last three years were: 3.17, 2.56, 3.76.

Anyway you slice it, Linebrink did slump last year, even if it was from dominant to just good.

#4 Geary's FIPS the last two years were 3.58 and 3.48, so he got a little lucky last year, but both of those numbers are better than Linebrink last year.

I agree that Madson hasn't regained his '04 form, but he can still be a 3.5-4 ERA guy in the pen, if the Phils simply keep him there and identify his role properly. His two years in the pen he put up FIPS of 3.31 and 3.67.

According to FIPS at least, both Madson AND Geary have been better in their last two years of relief work than Linebrink was last year.

"Pitching, pitching, pitching" should become the mantra of Phils' fans. Phils' have generally had a good/very good offensive team since 2003 but just haven't had the pitching. If I can get a stud reliever for an above average CF, I make that trade in a heartbeat.

Drives me nuts that the Phils' finally upgraded their starting rotation this year (might be best one since '03) and have actually depleted depth in their bullpen. Guess it will make for more interesting storylines.

Good points KDon. The Phils' desperately need decent years out of both Madson and Geary (ERAs below 4). If either of these guys tanks/get injured, this bullpen will be in huge trouble.

I don't understand the problem with this deal. We have a replacement for Rowand in Vic. You have Roberson, Bourne, Werth and Garcia who have spent some time in CF as well. Not to mention Lieber CAN be moved for an OF. Look at all the OF available at this point. Teams are dying for veteran starter like Lieber. The Yanks, Mets, Cards, Brewers etc... are in need of a starter. All of which have an OF piece they could move.

I think that Otsuka will be traded by Texas during ST.. He is already upset that they handed the closer's job to Gagne..I LIKER Rowand for Linebrink BUT I LOVE Lieber for Otsuka.. This way you keep Rowand around till the trade deadline and package him (or Burrell) then for a guy like Rios or another power hitting corner OF

I would be for the deal, for the simple reason that Victorino is only slightly worse than Rowand and our current setup options are a whole lot worse than Linebrink. To say nothing of what happens when Gordon lands on injured reserve. If we didn't have Victorino, it's a very different story, but we do.

I just don't understand why so many are saying Rowand is a better hitter than Vic. I thought Vic as number 2 hitter did a great job moving runners and giving himself up. I remember lots of multi hit games. Also you got to remember hes a switch hitter which makes him more valuable than rowand and besides he has lots more speed, also rowand is not a number 2 hitter for the Phils.

fljerry, Agree. Rowand and Vic's offensive contributions are similar with Rowand having more power. The other facets of the game Vic is superior. Overall, I see Victorino as an upgrade to Rowand in CF -- besides being younger and cheaper.

Actually Billy Mac I am not that positive that Rowand really has that more power. Statistically over the years Rowand played in Chicago he hit homers. Victorino coming up late in 2005 had a hit homers as a pinchhitter. I believe if he was hitting down in lineup where Rowand hits he could be a 15-20 homer guy.

What's all this bluster about comparing Rowand to Victorino? The point here isn't which one of those two is better, it's: who is the right fielder going to be? Is that somehow not the least bit important? The Phillies have been dangling Lieber since before the lockers were cleaned out at Dolphins Stadium, not to mention at the trade deadline. Anyone recall the fact that the Phillies couldn't get any team to bite for him in July? And now he's good for a starting outfielder in return? Seriously, are we all a little punchy here?

RSB: I hesitate to say it, but we had a pretty good RF here once and we traded him for a pile of reeking human garbage and a LOOGY.

Well, not to worry Clout, apparently all they have to do is trade Jon Lieber to get him back. Everyone's been breaking down the door to get at this guy, you know.

RSB: I don't think even his wife breaks down the door to get at him. I think he's more along the lines of asking a neighbor, "Hey, do you mind if I leave this at your curb?"

RSB - I heard whispers Coste has been secretly working out in RF.

He will become the new millenium anti-Steve Jeltz.

fljerry, please provide more evidence (historical) other than "I believe", that would suggest Victorino can hit 20 home runs. He's never hit that many at any level.

As for the rest of you in favor of this trade, why are you so willing to sacrifice outfield defense. I need to keep reminding you, especially the statheads, of Bill James primer that "A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense."

Linebrink has played in pitchers parks in SD (even before Petco). As a result, the defense that has played behind him has generally been good(they were constructed that way - why do you think SD thought it was so important to trade for Cameron), ones that, if James is correct, have had some effect on the 'stats' that he has put up. Last year their starting outfield all had plus RFg.

An outfield with BOTH Rowand and Vic in it is going to be significantly better than Vic in center, ??? in right, and the DH masquerading as a left fielder.

IMO it will help the pitching overall more to have them both out there than to bring in a pitcher, albeit a good one, who is only going to pitch 6% of the innings.

Like Linebrink. Would love to have him. Rowand(in the context of overall outfield defense) is too high a price.

Sorry for getting a little riled up there, but I have more to say. One: this is the Padres talking here, not the Phillies. The Padres want Rowand, they're initiating contact, they're making the statements. Two: what's with the offhanded assumptions that Rowand will be "gone" after this year? Says who? Know of anyone in the minors the Phillies have to replace him with? Gillick brought him here because he obviously loves his makeup; it stands to reason that if he has any kind of decent year, the Phillies well could be interested in re-signing him. And Rowand seems equally enamored with being a Phillie and living in the area. Three: contrary to the assertion ny fljerry, people here grossly undervalue Aaron Rowand. I watched him play last year, and yes, he seemed to be somewhat overrated defensively and had all kinds of holes in his offensive game. But he's still a damn good centerfielder and a solid bat, someone you want to see coming up with the game on the line. He didn't have a great year last year, and he's no superstar, but I again point out that several White Sox players pointed to him as the MVP of their World Championship team. Likewise, he's a far more important piece off the puzzle in Philadelphia than he's been given credit for on this site.

Clout, you accurately debunked the idea that Linebrink and Geary had equal win shares last year, and are therefore equal. One guy has done if for several years, the other has done it once. Geary cannot be counted on, IMO, until he does it again -- that is, bears a heavy workload, as Linebrink has, for several years.

Madson for Church? No thanks.

Coste in right? I was presuming that lack of range is why cholly didn't give him any time at 3B. With Burrell in left and Coste in right, Victorino would look like one of the Olsen twins by June.

Line of the day, Alby.

With the entire outfield to cover Victorino might break down and not last the whole season.

Assuming rob is correct, that Otsuka will get traded by Texas in ST, I have a question for all you "Rowand for Linebrink" fans.

Which would you prefer, Rowand for Linebrink, or Lieber for Otsuka?

Sarcastic Coste reference...........

It sounds good but I wouldn't bet the farm on anything happening before spring traning. Victorino hasn't proved he can handle a true full season ! If they could deal Liber for Bullpen help well then do it but don't forget Burrel get hurts (choke- choke) every year ! THey are very weak this season in outfield too!

Assuming Rowand is 'gone' after this year (and I don't 100% agree that he is), I don't understand why we would want to move him now anyway. Aren't we trying to win it THIS YEAR?

If you are convinced that Rowand would not stay with the Phillies after 2007, then you assess the situation at the trade deadline, depending on where the team is in the race.

Unless you are getting the clear advantage in a trade, it doesn't make any sense to me to be looking to move a starting CF, one with a good rep in the clubhouse and decent offensive skills simply becasue you're afraid that you'll get nothing back if he walks as a FA after 2007. Don't his potential contributions in 2007 mean anything?

As for Rowand for Linebrink, I don't particularly like it. The main reason is that you are trading a known quantity for an unknown quantity. I think what Rowand will bring to the table is fairly predictable, offensively and defensively, whereas relievers in general and a 'rebounding' Linebrink in particular are giant dice rolls. The team taking the greater risk, the Phillies in this case, should be demanding more value in return to offset that risk. Demand more in return from SD or move on.

Alby, you were "presuming that lack of range is why cholly didn't give (Coste) any time at 3B." Your presumption is WRONG, ALBY.

The overriding reason why Coste was not played at third base after the Bell trade is found in the following revealing short blurb by Todd Zolecki in the August 8, 2006, editions of the Philadelphia Inquirer, appearing under the headline, "Manuel wants bats to pick up the slack":

"One nice bonus has been catcher Chris Coste, who is hitting .357 with four homers and 19 RBIs. Mike Lieberthal has hit the ball much better recently, too. In Lieberthal's previous six starts, he was hitting .400 (8 for 20) with three home runs and eight RBIs.

Manuel does not seem inclined to try Coste at third base, where he has played in the past. The Phillies want to give Nunez a chance to play, and Nunez is considered a superior defensive third baseman to Coste.

'I haven't seen Coste play a lot of third,' Manuel said. 'But we just traded David Bell. This is supposed to be a chance to let Nunez play. If you say you're going to let somebody play, you're going to play this guy. It's important to win games, but if you want to give a guy a chance, you have to give him a chance.' "

Let's not forget that Coste was the International League's All-Star third baseman during the 2005 AAA season at Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Those who personally observed Coste play third base all that season will say (and have said on Philly.com) that they observed numerous instances of spectacular play by Coste at the hot sack, and that Coste had more than adequate range at the position. I myself listened to about 40 Red Baron's games on radio on the net that season, and I personally heard several specatcular plays by Coste at third described in those broadcasts.

The failure to play Coste at third base last season, as the Zolecki report above reveals, was attributable principally to the desire by Gillick/Manuel to avoid a "third base controversy" after the Bell trade -- at a time when Abe Nunez was hitting about a moribund buck sixty and couldn't seem to get his average above that level.

Coste can play a fine third base -- perhaps not up to the level of third base glove man Nunez, but as a defensive third baseman, there is probably no one in baseball who is a better *defensive* third baseman than Abe is.

Nevertheless, Coste certainly should have been given some starts at third base last season after the Bell trade, particularly given Nunez being an automatic out in so many games.

Coste's already-demonstrated ability to play the position had nothing to do with the fact that he got no time at third base in 2006.

Agreed that Rowand has been undervalued today. The reason why is fans watched the offense get by fine without him late in the season. I thought they played their best ball without him, actually. But most people forget about Dellucci, who got hot when they needed it, along with a list of others who turned it on.

Rowand could have a big year, maybe touch 20 home runs, and I'm pretty confident he'll finish 2007 as a better run producer than Vic. But I like Vic better in the lineup, especially now that they have Helms, and I like Vic's glove better. I wouldn't blink on Linebrink for Rowand. They need arms, and can't afford to burn the good ones by June.

The kind of outfielder they need to partially make up the difference can be had. We're talking players like Church, not Abreu. Lieber can get you that. I'm no Lieber fan, but he's Washington's No. 1 or 2 starter if the season starts tomorrow. And if Church isn't enough, or whomever, go rent a bat like a dozen teams do every July.

That's how I see it. Of course, I haven't been able to shake the idea that Pat Gillick was prepared to pony up for Soriano or Sheffield, and now he's reportedly willing to head into the season with Burrell, Vic, Werth and Garcia. I don't buy it.

Damn, you had to go and set off DavThom's Chris Coste Beerleaguer Buzzer.

I like Coste too, but to suggest he didn't get a shot at third base because 'there is probably no one in baseball who is a better *defensive* third baseman than Abe is' is just a tad hyperbolic. Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez, and Ryan Zimmerman didn't play in Independent Leagues, but I would have thought you might have heard of them anyway.

Yeah, silly me, presuming that a guy who plays catcher might not have the quickest feet in baseball when he's stationed in the infield. Crazy talk. Don't know what came over me.

RSB, you misread the esence of my post.

My point, referencing the Zolecki piece of August 8th, was as follows: "The failure to play Coste at third base last season, as the Zolecki report above reveals, was attributable principally to the desire by Gillick/Manuel to avoid a "third base controversy" after the Bell trade -- at a time when Abe Nunez was hitting about a moribund buck sixty and couldn't seem to get his average above that level."

My reference to Abe Nunez' defensive prowess at third base simply related to the following portion of the Zolecki article:

"Manuel does not seem inclined to try Coste at third base, where he has played in the past. The Phillies want to give Nunez a chance to play, and Nunez is considered a superior defensive third baseman to Coste.

'I haven't seen Coste play a lot of third,' Manuel said. 'But we just traded David Bell. This is supposed to be a chance to let Nunez play. If you say you're going to let somebody play, you're going to play this guy. It's important to win games, but if you want to give a guy a chance, you have to give him a chance.' "

I absolutely love davthom73 rants about Coste. Always give me a good smile.

And RSB, certainly I was aware of other fine defensive third basemen in MLB, some of whom you've mentioned, but I must say that I didn't see *any* third baseman -- in either league -- play any better *defensive* third base than did Abe Nunez last season.

Hey, AWH, I like your question. Otsuka is the guy I'd want. He can close, too. If anyone can convince me that Flash will be healthy enough to save 35-40 games, please try because I expect to see him on the DL once or twice.

Wow, I wake up this morning and have the joy of reading a nice debate here on BeerLeaguer about relief pitching, Coste, and outfielders.

My random thoughts- if given the choice between Rowand for Linebrink or Lieber for Otsuka, I'd take Otsuka in a heartbeat. However, the Rowand deal is doable, as Lieber could fetch Ryan Church to platoon with Jayson Werth in RF and then move Vic to CF.

Rowand is a better overall run producer/batter than Victorino because of his power. However, if Davy Lopes can teach Vic to harness his speed and convert it into stolen bases then things will begin to even out. That's a big "IF" though.

Just because Gillick hasn't traded Lieber yet, doesn't mean he's not worth anything. He is a proven starting pitcher that is owed 7.5 million this season coming off a down year. I predict within the next month to month and a half, Gillick will find him a new home and we will get a useful part in return. That useful part depends on if Rowand stays or goes.

Chris Coste ISN'T awesome. He had a great feel-good story last year, and probably is capable of putting up respectable #'s in limited playing time/utility role. But I'm sorry, there was a reason he was a 33 year old rookie that spent time in the Independent League...he's just not an everyday caliber player. Argue with me all you want, but if he started at 3rd, catcher, or anywhere else, he would not "succeed" for a full season. I'm not trying to say he's worthless, as I believe he should be given a bench spot and get a start once a week at catcher and 3rd and be the 1st pinch-hit option.

AWH: Lieber for Otsuka is a no-brainer. One problem, however. The Rangers would never, ever, ever, ever do that trade. The Phils would have to add one and, more likely, two prospects. But it's a nice fantasy.

JW: I know this sounds bizarre, but I wonder if it's possible that Phillies management is lying when they say they're ready to spend big money for the top free agents and then wind up spending little money for Jayson Werth. There was an interesting story this week about how the Phils received money from the rich teams due to the luxury tax. Guess we really are "small market" huh?

I think Chris Coste wins the Beerleaguer offseason award as "Most talked about player", taking the title away from Bobby Abreu.

Top 2008 free agent corner outfielders as of now appear to be Jermaine Dye, Adam Dunn and Ichiro. The Phillie minors are filled with speed guys. An attempt at a 1 year extension with a team option for Rowand might be wise before trade considerations.

Good header post and fine discussion. I'm bipolar about Rowand. I love his hustle and attitude. I hate his injuries caused by his hustle (stupidity?). I hate his throws from the outfield. I am ambivalent about his hitting. If he goes for Linebrink, that's fine with me. I can't believe such a deal hinges on a guy named Terminal Sludge, I mean, Terrmel Sledge.

People on this site moan about all the talk about Coste. I am sick about reading about how wonderful No Hit Nunez is. If he's so good, let him play CF or RF.

It sounds like Bernie Williams is only getting a Minor league contract from the yanks.

Come on, I'd take Bernie in a heart beat.

I love how it always comes back to Coste. That cracks me up.

clout, surely you're not insinuating that the Soriano/Sheffield talk was just that - talk. Why that would be preposterous.

I dont know if I like the Rowand trade idea, but even if we do it and assuming Victorino gets hurt, we still have other options. Assuming that he does not go out for the entire season, we can go with one of these minor leaguers or with Werth or somebody else. I dont think that there would be a huge offensive dropoff from that position if that happens. Certainly nothing that cant be overcome with Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell (If he's right/healthy/whatever he was 2 years ago). If our starting pitching is as good as advertised then we could stay in these games without Vic (dont think he is any offensive juggernaut).That being said, we need to improve the bulpen and then no matter what happpens in RF or CF, we have a bona fide chance to contend for the WS. If Rowand can solidfy this weakness then I guess I'm for it. My only question is whether Linebrink is the guy that will do this.

It might have been B.S., but Gillick's desire for a hammer behind Howard seems legit. No one honestly believes he's fine with Burrell. You know how I know this? He said so, back in September.

Let's not forget Rowand is coming off a bad year. I do like him, but he's no superstar.

Linebrink had been coveted by a lot of teams out there. He was the guy the Yanks wanted for RJ (+prospects). He's good.

I'd do the deal IF Lieber can fetch an OFer. Would love to get Rios somehow.

On the surface it seems like a good trade for the phillies, but as I read through the comments I agree that we shoud not do this deal.

This deal would leave us in a terrible situation in RF. And we would have to deal Lieber to get a RF fix. And we are hoping to get Church / Mench??? That isn't too impressive. It leaves us unathletic an shallow.

I would be content to go into the Spring with the current roster, and try to get leiber's value up. Then we trade him for a RP if we can or send him (or another starter) to the pen until the inevitable injury of one of our SPs.

And in the article it say Linebrink had problems with the long ball. In case no one noticed, CBP houses its fair share of them.

Great discussion though, I can see both sides...

Do you think PG could make a successful run at Ichiro for 2008 like Ace mentioned above. If that's the case, PG may just leave the OF filled with placeholders in 2007 in order to reserve a spot for Ichiro.

I don't realistically see Ichiro (or his Japanese media entourage) in Philly in '08. Hell, at this point, I'm not sure I see Pat Gillick in Philly in '08.

Perhaps someone has some insight here, and I would love to see it, because this makes no sence to me.

Bernie is going to sign a minor league deal? Does he want to retire a yankee that much, or are the Phillies really this stupid? Granted Vic and Rowand might be more valueable long-term, but Bernie would be the best all around OFer in Philly the moment he puts pen to paper. He may only have a year or two left, but how can you not get this guy? Does he hate Philly?

Umm, no on Bernie. This team needs a corner OF, and Bernie just doesn't have the bat for that. He hasn't cracked an .800 OPS since 2002. He is nice guy and the only guy on the Yankees dynasty that I could pull for, but he is done as a hitter.

Clout's comment about Abreu is right on! Think about it, if Abreu were in RF, we could trade Rowand for Linebrink, deal Lieber for prospects, and the difference in salary would only be a few million dollars. Simply amazing how much worse that deal looks every time I look at it.

There is one scenario that I would like, however, and that is if the Rowand-Linebrink deal were followed by a Madson-Church deal. I really like Church (as a ballplayer!) and he would be a far superior bat and defender than someone like Mench. If we had Gordon, Linebrink, and Geary at the back end of the pen, an OF of Burrell-Vic-Church, and six solid starters, I would be very happy.

We can propose that Lieber would get a solid major league reliever. Sadly, the reality is that he probably won't get any kind of pitching except for a minor league prospect.

At this point, the Phils have to think about a platoon-type outfielder and try to move Rowand for relief help. This is probably the best scenario since I am almost 100% sure that the Phils will move Lieber before opening day.

For all of the BS that Amaro spouts about having 6 starters, the Phils are not going to spend $8 million this year to have Eaton pitch long relief. Phils are going to move a starter before opening day and Lieber makes the most sense.

Sadly, I think the Phils will move Lieber even if they don't get much in return just to save some money and clarify their starting rotation.

So Kdon, you think Werth/Garcia/Bourne/Roberson sitting on the bench and spelling our outfielders a few times a week will be better then adding a legit consumate pro like Bernie for a year? I just don't see it.

We got a few never was's and a couple never will be's and this former all-star will be shagging balls in Toledo all season.

I tend to think you get him in here.

And yes I am aware "never was's" is a terrible excuse for English.

Always loved Bernie but he's done now. He is only going to be a Yankee and he has nothing to offer the Phils. And he's not going to end his career shagging balls in Toledo nor in Philly. If he doesn't make the team he retires.

Not Toledo...Scranton!

It was never reported anywhere that the Phillies or Bernie Williams had the slightest interest in one another. Let's get over it.

NO Bernie Williams. Love the guy, but he's done. I wouldn't be surprise if he signs the minor league deal and retires.

I think Werth will be a pleasant surprise.

Not Scranton, Ottawa, and if he waited another year, he'd be an Iron Pig in Allentown!

Bernie is with the Yankees and they will be in Scranton with AAA this year.

When i mentioned Lieber for Otsuka I said that Otsuka is upset that Gagne was given HIS closer's job the minute he inked his FA deal.. Therefore, it is possible that his crankiness will lead to public demand for a trade.. That makes Lieber look a hell of a lot better to the Rangers... Clout--- I Never said the two sides of the deal wer equivalent..

BRETT MYERS
3 YEARS 25 MILLION PLUS INCENTIVES

great signing pg!
i guess this means no alex rios haha
Go Phillies, tickets on sale tommorrow

Rob, and others: Otsuka hitting the market will be like Paris Hilton getting out of a limousine in front of the papparazzi -- everyone will be jostling for the best shot. He's a legit closer in a market devoid of them. Don't you think Boston would offer, say, Delcarmen and Hansen for him? And that Texas would take that over anything we could put together?

On Bernie Williams: One of the realities of our modern free agent era is that many players cannot be enticed to play by money alone. Bernie Williams is a smart guy who has made tens of millions, has probably invested it well, and with his guitar playing can actually have an interesting life and make a decent living without ever picking up a glove again. Philly isn't the only city he has no interest in playing in.

even though brett wasn't a free agent until after the 2008 season, this is a very good deal when you figure what the free agent pitchers were getting this off season (gil meche 5 years 55.5 mill)
One more thing to keep in perspective is that myers is making as much as adam eaton, not to put eaton down but brett is a far more superior pitcher then eaton! oh and he is only 26 years old..
now if he can only keep his head straight throughout a whole game and not get flustered so easily.....

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