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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

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You hear it in Coste's remarks that he's basically said "hey, what more can i do to make a point with these people?"

Now I know I am sometimes blinded in my judgement of the Phils because I such a fan, but I feel this team will seriously contend for the NL East title. I also live in the New York Media Market and while at work listen to New York Sports Radio. This morning while listening them discuss the upcomeing season they have the Phils in fourth behind the Mets, first of course, and the Marlins, second, and the Braves, third. With only the the Nationals being worse then the Phils. Now am I the only person out here thinking the Phils are going to win the NL East?

The Rev: Yes.

Oisin (from last thread): I hope Marcus is right and Ruiz does start. But I have a sneaking suspicion they are not going to pay Barajas $2.5M to be the backup.

gr: I'm with you. I want them to keep Coste. There's no shame in carrying 3 catchers if one of them can also play several other positions in a pinch. He's sure as heck got more value than Karim Garcia.

dunno, clout. Ryan Franklin got signed for that kind of money and we all thought it indicated starter, but he went straight to the bullpen from spring training. I really don't expect barajas to be the fulltime catcher, although it will dinge our produciton behind the plate even if he's only catching every 5th game.

Like everyone else, I hope they stick with coste. He's just a good guy to have on the bench full-stop, and his flexibility only makes the bench more useful.

I have to agree the Phils are probably not going to win the NL East this year, but to me it's just as ridiculous to predict that as to predict them finishing in fourth behind both the Braves and the Marlins. Anything could happen but I'd be interested to see the specific reasoning behind that pick.

Thought people may find this amusing. Don't know if it has been posted - sorry if it is a repeat.

From Rotoworld...

Marcus Giles was handcuffed, detained and escorted from Qualcomm Stadium during Sunday's Chargers playoff game after getting involved in a fight on the stadium's club level, according to police.

San Diego Police Lt. Dan Christman said Giles and a friend were involved in a fight with at least one other person, who slipped away before being caught. Giles was given the option of returning after being detained but chose to leave. He does not face charges for the incident.

There must be something Chollie and PG don't like about Coste. Maybe it's personal. Maybe he had more than a little to say after they sent him down after ST last year. Maybe they're not grown-up enough to get over it.

Or, maybe they don't really like what he brings to the plate.

AWH: That was addressed today by Marcus Hayes in the Daily News. Here's the salient excerpt:

And then the team made it known that they wanted a better backup to Ruiz. Why?

" 'Lack of experience,' " said Coste, putting air quotes around the phrase. He understands that the Phillies are uncomfortable with his unorthodox catching style and the fact that he is a converted pitcher and infielder. "It's a mirage. Because they don't see me as a top-line catcher, I must be bad."

Not that he bears a grudge: "If I was a GM, to have only Ruiz would be a gamble."

Of course, the catcher spot isn't his real concern now, anyway. It looks as if he'll need another strong spring: "I hope a .472 average will be good enough to make the team this time."

This attitude on the part of management, as much as any other factor, is why many of us would not predict a first-place finish.

That last paragraph was me, not Marcus Hayes.

I still think that the Phils trade one of their starters before opening day. If the Phils didn't want to pay for bullpen help, why would they move a guy making $8 million (Eaton) to the pen. Just don't see this happening.

Much as it was nice to see the barrage of baseball articles and columns today, not many of them (if any) packed anywhere near the kind of analytical punch I've been getting on Beerleaguer instead. Where was Conlin to berate ownership for imposing a salary cap and forcing Gillick to go rummaging through the bargain bins? All he had to say in regards to the Alfonseca signing was to marvel at his 24 digits and say he must have been one of Hemingway's cats in a previous life. All Hagen had to say was to ruminate for the billionth time on whether Philly is a baseball or football town. And everyone else was focusing on Pat Burrell. What is there left to say about Pat Burrell?

Beerleaguer frequently beats philly.com to the punch when it comes to signings, rumors, and especially insight. It isn't just responding to what the mainstream press is saying (even though I am right now), it's frequently setting its own pace.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet that Gillick wishes he never signed Eaton. He could have used that money for other needs. For Eaton himself to suggest that he could be this year's Ryan Franklin testifies to this. I don't necessarily blame Gillick for signing Eaton, as he didn't know he would be able to land F. Garcia at the time. But for the sake of hindsight, Eaton seems quite superfluous as things stand now.

That is what it looks like now, but with the pitching situation being the way it is for most of the teams in the league, you have to believe that one of these starters will get dealt at least by the All-Star break. After all, the team right now looks a lot different than it did last year... maybe Gillick's thinking he'll get a better impression what they're made of in ST and/or the first part of the season, and then address whatever he feels he needs to in a trade (although one has to assume at this point he would be going after bullpen help).

Also, I'm biased in that I don't like Lieber at all. I would love to see him go for someone good, and if that can be done the Eaton signing will look great.

I disagree with the assertion that the BP must be dealt with now; in fact, I like Pat's approach here.

Look at it this way – Pitchers and catchers report in less then a month. What are the chances that in the 30 days following that a team that considers them self a contender doesn’t lose a 1 – 3 SP and suddenly sees its whole season slipping away?

Forget over-priced FAs in a soft market; forget the GMs that are only willing to unload last year’s problems at this point. Wait for that first big name to hit the DL, and watch the stock of veteran SPs like Lieber hit the moon.

I realize that (as the huge Phils fans you are) you want to see them signing big-time contributors everyday, especially when there is no actual baseball to watch to distract you, but patience can pay some big dividends this time of year.

Coste is sounding like a guy who, if we traded or released him, would take special pleasure in showing the Phillies management how stupid of a decision that was.


And I think I'd cheer him no matter what team he landed on.

General question: would having a 6-man rotation and therefore everyone pitching on one more day's rest increase the average number of innings pitched per start?

I mean anything to decrease the number of outs we have to get out of this bullpen, right?

anyone have ESPN inSider? Buster Olney has an inside report on Gillick and the Phillies.

Thanks, RSB. That was a wonderful take on Eaton's status as well.

Copy/pasting premium content makes me feel uneasy, so here it is in a nutshell:

It's nothing breaking, and he mostly uses today's articles as a springboard to cobble something together on how Gillick is from the old school. Primary focus is Gillick, and how he travels great distances to personally scout players.

ESPN Insider's baseball stuff used to be better. Other sites seems to have caught up with Rob Neyer's posts. Stark and Olney are readable but don't really shed much insight into anything.

Does anyone know if Gammons is going to be a regular this year on Baseball Tonight and resume full-time duties at ESPN?

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports writes about the pitching woes of the contending teams. He writes:

"The free-agent market is nearly dry, spring training is a month away and a significant number of teams are still worried about their starting pitching.

The top remaining free agents are Roger Clemens, Jeff Weaver and David Wells. Clubs are fighting over scraps such as Ramon Ortiz, Tomo Ohka and Brian Lawrence. Roger Clemens may be in the twilight of his career, but the Houston right-hander is among the top free-agent pitchers remaining.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers and Phillies — two teams with a relative surplus of starting pitching — are holding tight, knowing the demand only will rise."

He then writes short summaries on the starting rotations of the Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, Astros, Blue Jays, Twins, Mariners and Rangers.

On the Mets he writes: "Without right-hander Pedro Martinez, who will be sidelined until at least the All-Star break, their rotation is not even close to postseason caliber.

The signing of right-hander Jorge Sosa will provide another quality arm. But the top two starters — lefty Tom Glavine, 40, and righty Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, also 40-something — are too old. And the bottom of the rotation – righty John Maine, lefty Oliver Perez and righty Mike Pelfrey – is too uncertain.

The Mets eventually can use outfielder Lastings Milledge as their primary chip to land a quality starter — assuming Milledge's value remains as high as it was last season, when the Mets could have included him in a package for lefty Barry Zito."

PG just needs to wait like YT writes until some contender starter goes on the long term DL, then a good trade can be made.

From Ben Maller: "Right now, adding another quality starter appears unlikely. Brian Lawrence, a free-agent starter the Mariners had some interest in signing, seems to be leaning toward signing with Philadelphia."

Maybe the team is going for a 7 man rotation? You could eliminate the need for a bullpen altogether if you have guys pitch just once every eight or nine days and just leave them out there until the game ends!

Brian Lawrence is a minor league guy. Why a 31-year old guy would want to sign a minor league contract in Philly over a major league starter job in Seattle is beyond me. Given his age, maybe he's given up on being a starter and wants to come to Philly in a bullpen role?

I honestly do not see the love affair everyone has with Coste. He had a few clutch hits last year, but the guy has a sloppy swing that is not repeatable and is below average defensively. He is not an everyday player, and can not play the defensive positions needed for a utility infielder.

I hope he becomes the next Johnny Bench, but he is Todd Pratt without the arm or the power. He is baseball's Bobby Hoying.

LOL, great post Verdeforce. Actually, PG is trying to make it easy for Cholly with this new rotation:

Monday - Brian Lawrence
Tuesday - Adam Eaton
Wednesday - Jamie Moyer
Thursday - Doughnut Boy
Friday - Freddy Garcia
Saturday - Cole Hamels
Sunday - Brett Myers

Sorry, he's not a minor league guy at all. I'll admit I was ignorant of him and didn't try hard enough to dig out his stats from MLB.com.

I was not enthusiastic about the Eaton signing because of his inability over the past 6 years to go very deep into ballgames. I didn't think the Phils needed another 5 inning starter. But, all things considered, he's a better bet than Lieber.

I agree with yt that some team (maybe even the Mets) will be so desperate for a starter that they'll pay more for Lieber than is currently available.

Re: Six man rotations. Several teams have tried them over the years and all have abandoned them. I'd like to see a team try a 4-man rotation sometime.

Anyone else think if Lieber was on any other team but the Phillies the Mets would make an offer for him? But the thought of sending some rookie and/or veteran reliever to bolster our pen isn't something they would want to do. I really don't think the Phils would mind trading him in the division as long as they got something good in return for him.

Would anyone really be scared of facing Lieber 3 or 4 times a year? He's exactly the kind of SP we hammer...old rightys that are around the plate. It's those wild lefty rookies that give us fits. He'd be perfect for the Muts. Veteran, expiring contract, played in NY before... Maybe Omar will panic and make us an offer we can't refuse?

Scared? I would love it. We'd hammer him every time - all we need to do is sneak a few donuts into the Mets' locker room and we're set.

Longwood, I love your scouting report on Coste's "sloppy, unrepeatable" swing.

You seem to be saying that he's due for a hard fall. In light of that I'll remind you of this Bill James Primer taken from his Baseball Abstract:

1. Minor league batting statistics will predict major league batting performance with essentially the same reliability as previous major league statistics.

He is career .300 hitter in the minors with that unrepeatable swing. That would seem to indicate some consistency, and something that can be repeated and projected to MLB.

here we go againg with Chris "Babe Ruth" Coste...

RSB: The Eaton signing looks superfluous for this season, but you're forgetting that the Eaton contract is for 3 years. Lieber is on his last year and clearly won't be back. Garcia is no sure bet to sign with the Phils when his contract expires at season's end. And I don't doubt for a moment that Myers would be moved for the right offer. So if you're penciling in the 2008 rotation, right now it's Hamels, Eaton, Myers if he's not traded, Moyer if he's still alive by then. Eaton's not going anywhere.

AWH: Coste is a .300 minor league hitter only if you include his four years in the Northern League, where he amassed about 40 percent of his minor-league at-bats. In organized ball he's about a .280 hitter. That's a big difference when you consider that, very roughly, you would knock off about 20 BA points for the translation to MLB. You'll notice that's where projection sites put him for '07, which fits in with the idea that he will decline to his natural level -- about .260, say. There's no shame in that, but you'll notice that even Coste himself says he understands why Barajas was signed. If he can understand it, why are so many here so unwilling to do the same?

BB, nice chuckle, but you need to grow up! Now one is claiming anything such.

But when someone else posts an absurd comment that has no basis in reality, I like everyone else who posts here, reserve the right to call him on it.

I just happen to think Coste gives them the best chance to win, because the bottom of the lineup has someone who has actually demonstrated he can hit.

Alby,

Once again, you're right on the mark about Coste. He's a good guy, a good story, and a decent player. Barajas is probably better-Coste knows that.

All I know is that the team was 29-21 when he had more than one plate appearance.

You figure out the rest.

I understand why they signed Barajas, and so does Coste. It is still frustrating for him. What I don't understand is that they have a guy who all he's done is produce for them and we all get the impression that if he doesn't bat .465 in spring training again, he may not make the team.

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