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Monday, February 26, 2007

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nice rundown

Have we seen or heard anything about Justin Germano? I was thinking he might be someone in addition to Happ the Phils could count on for a spot start out of the minors.

Germano is the forgotten man, isn't he? He's in the mix somewhere, and I should have mentioned him, maybe as an emergency starter. Put it this way: He's good enough to start for Washington if the season started today, and it might not be a bad play to consider something like.

ESPN Insider has a story about how the Phils are still working on Howard's payday.

Anyone here subscibe who can tell us what it says?

AWH this is what was posted on ESPN Rumor Central.
Phils still working on Howard's payday
Feb 26 - Could the contract of the NL's MVP actually get renewed? Could happen. The Phillies have imposed a Friday deadline on negotiations with Ryan Howard and all their unsigned players, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. Assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr. on Monday said that by the end of the week, "we'll either have something agreed to -- or renewed to."
Amaro recently met in Florida with Howard's agent, Casey Close, but wouldn't characterize where their talks stand at this point. One source familiar with the negotiations said, however, that the chances of the two sides agreeing on a long-term deal were remote at this point, but that a one-year agreement was still possible.

If Howard winds up with a one-year deal, even if it's by getting renewed, his new salary will almost certainly be a record for an American-born player with between one and two years' experience. The current record is the $690,000 Kerry Wood made in 2000.

"I don't know what to expect," Howard said Monday. "I'll just wait and see. But that's what they [Close and Amaro] get paid to do -- negotiate -- and I get ready for the season. Whenever they figure out what they're going to do, I'll be here. I'm not going anywhere."

Thank, Rev!

Anybod have an opinion on RP Sean Tracey? Has anybody seen him pitch?
Should the Phils be interested?

ChiSox look ready to move him according to Ben Maller's link.

Rosenthal writes about lineup protection and Phils' 5th hitter.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6504366

I just read that Gavin Floyd sprained his ankle while pitching in a intersquad game after faceing only 4 batters.

"Usually individual performance comes from within," Burrell says. "Somebody asked me the other day: Are you the biggest key to Ryan Howard's success? No, he is. That's just the way the game is."

Good point.

Also in Maller's link, Ozzie Guillen is predicting Freddie Garcia will win 20 games this year.

I would be nice.................

ae, thanks for the box-score insight. In fact it was Will Ohman (I wont forget that again because I remember thinking at the time Oh Man, a lefty specialist. Corny yes, but it helps.) If my message insenuated that I thought he was a nobody, then I was probably wrong. What I should have said was that I had not previously heard of him. The numbers you brought up do suggest his success has come as of late.

Regardless of Will Ohman's prominence in the bullpen ranks, it would be nice to have such a guy that I have never heard of whom could be counted on to get out the NL MVP in a pressure situation. No? Just dont think we have that guy, but maybe we do considering Ohman's age and recent development. Maybe Smith could develop into this type of pitcher. Lets just hope it is sooner than later.

Also, maybe he is not a left specialist, he just seemed special against out lefties when I heard the game on the radio. My apologies.

2 ex-Phillies go down in 2 consecutive days. 1st Abreu now wonderboy Floyd.

Most of you know I'm a fan of the Model Dictator Fabio Castro, and I seriously think he might be the best fit for the bullpen out of the candidates that are available.

Condrey is decent and I would say he's the long man, but we still have an excess starter that fits that role.

Personaly from what I've seen of Brian Sanches, I don't think he'll ever be a contributor at the MLB level.

I am not sure what to believe this time of year when it comes to the pitching staff. Is this Phillies’ PR propaganda, columnists with nothing else to write about or does this team have depth and options with the pitching staff? It seems like every other day we hear about somebody like Warden or Bisenius. What are your thoughts…?

I read the article by Rosenthal on the Phils lineup. I do not often agree with Conlin, but the line up he published a few weeks back (Vic, Rowand, Utley, Howard, Rollins, Burrell, Helms, Catcher, Pitcher) was exactly the lineup I had put together about a month back. Rowand hit well in the 2-hole and IMO Rollins is better ion the 5-spot than leading off. IMO Rollins ability to make contact makes him a better threat than Burrell. I really think Burrell and Howard should be split up because of their propensity to strike out. Rollins is a great fit there. Vic, assuming he becomes a better base runner and raises his OBP, would seem to be perfect leading off.

As for Ryan Howard, IMO Ryan should get a big contract with a raise well in excess of $1 million. I know that Fred Lynn won MVP and ROY in the same year. Has anybody since come close to what Howard has accomplished over the last two seasons? The Phils need to make a good faith effort towards showing both Howard and the fans that this team is committed to rewarding their young talent and building a championship team. Utley’s contract was a good start, but now they need to deliver with Howard.

Iron Pig: This is the time of year when fans dream. They dream that Jim Ed Warden and Clay Condrey and Joe Bisenius and Bobby Madritsch and Karim Garcia are major league players. That Geoff Geary is a stud setup man. That Tom Gordon will be healthy all season. That Jon Leiber can bring in a nice haul of talent. That the Abreu trade was a good deal for the Phillies.

In a month or so the season will begin, reality will take over and we'll all pretend like we never thought any such things. Jason will probably erase the posts. That's why spring training is the best time of year.

Re: "I'm still intrigued by junkball left-hander Brian Mazone and his 2.04 Triple-A ERA, but have a feeling he would get killed in a Major League bullpen."

What is the basis for that assessment? Are his stats meaningless? Somehow misleading? If so, what should we be using to evaluate these minor league prospects?

Help me out here, Jason.

I think he's going off the fact that many junkballers with low E.R.A.'s in Triple A get killed when they come to the big leagues. Joe Roa comes to mind.

Here's how I see the bullpen to start the season.

Locks: Gordon, Geary, Madson, Alfonseca, Smith

Last two: Castro, Warden

Ottawa-bound: Bisenius, Happ (the #7 starter), Germano (#8), Mazzone (#9), Segovia (#10), Condrey, Sanches, Brito... unless they decide that 1) Brito is fully healthy and suited for relief work, and 2) the dropoff from Castro to Brito isn't worth possibly impeding the Model Dictator's development. In that case, Brito is the second lefty/long man, and Castro joins a very lefty-heavy rotation in Ottawa.

While Jason didn't mention Alfredo Simon, I don't see him sticking--but I'd like to see the Phils work out a reasonable trade to keep him around.

I'm really not that worried about the bullpen. If Garcia and Myers are the horses they've been and the rest of the starters stay more or less healthy, the 'pen should be good enough.

Interesting video on Burrell. As you are all aware, I've posted before that the big difference between Pat '05 and Pat '06 was his BABIP.

If he has a little better "luck" this year and his BABIP returns to '05 levels, he'll be fine.

I still wish he'd hit .300, though, because he looks to be perfectly capable of it.

All of our starters, with the exception of Eaton, should be able to consistently give us 6-7 innings, putting less wear and tear and need on the bullpen. Eaton, if healthy, could join the stable to Garcia, Myers, Hamels, and Moyer of the label workhorse.

Having a 2nd lefty in the pen would be nice, but not necessary.

AWH- you're right, Burrell does "look" completely caple of hitting .300, as he has a built for baseball body type. But, I'll take .265-.270 with improved average with runners in scoring position.

dajafi, I'm with you on Simon. Anyone that throws that hard is worth keeping around to see if he can be developed.

The only disagreement I have is that I see Brito being the other lefty out of the pen, assuming he comes back fully healthy and can pitch.

They'll give him the edge because of experience as a fill in starter at the MLB level. Also, I really do think they want Fabio to get some AAA experience in pressure situations.

Carson, interestingly, Mike Schmidt basically agrees with phandom. A quote from Sheridan's column today:

"He judges Burrell on what he thinks Burrell could be more than on what he is."

I know we all want more from Burrell, because more equals more wins. But what he gives now is not shabby either. I would love for him to become an Albert Pujols, but it's not gonna happen. I'd rather have Pat Burrell than a lot of other LF's in the game.

I love reading through the posts before I look at who is posting and try to figure out who is writing what. The one constant I can pick out is Clout. I was absolutely sure when I saw the part about dreaming before and during spring training. I agree Clout, most of this optimism will fade quickly once that first game begins. However, if we actually start out strong this year, I see the optimism bandwagon getting a major head of steam. I just hope that this team can start off in contention and maintain a steady pace throughout the season. Much like a quality racehorse, if the Phils can just stay no more than 3-4 games out of first in this division until August and September I think they can win it. We say it every year, and so do all the talking heads, but the first games are just as important as the last as far as the standings go in the end. I just hope all this Jimmy Rollins smoke is a smouldering fire come April 1. There is nothing I would like to see more than a Brett Myers complete game with about 10 K's to beat the Braves. Dreaming, maybe, but it sure as Hell beats the nightmares that have been the opening weeks of the last couple of years.

George: It's difficult to ignore one of the International League's best starters last year, and until mother nature interfered, Mazone was in line for an emergency start in September.

The problem is, he's a 30-year-old minor league vet with a mid-80s fastball who gets by on breaking pitches. Unless they have pinpoint command, I just don't see many of these types of left-handers ever working in the majors. But I hope he proves me wrong.

Jason- based on your description of Brain Mazzone, sound like he's a younger Jamie Moyer stuff wise. Maybe Moyer could teach him a thing or two to help him towards becoming a MLB pitcher.

Nice post! It won’t be long before the pretenders begin to be separated from the contenders.

Move over kdon, I’m also ridin’ on the Condrey bandwagon. Albeit in limited action, he appeared to turn the corner in the latter part of ’06 with better control and good movement on his pitches. Although a few years older, he could take the same track as Geary, who was dreadful until he turned it around in the 2nd half of 2005. While unrealistic to expect similar results to Geary, he’d be dependable for mop-up at the very least.

Jason: Exactly right on Mazone. The high minors are filled with guys like that. The difference between major league hitters and AAA hitters isn't huge, but it is defined by the ability to hit breaking balls and/or lay off those out of the strike zone. Very, very few junkballers like Mazone have the command necessary to fool major league hitters.

Parker, the start of a season and the end of a season are the most visible parts and attract the most attention from us fans and the sportswriters. But someone wrote last week (I forget who) that the Phillies didn't miss the playoffs last year because of a slow start or because of the bad play against weak teams in the final week. They lost because of how they played in June. And if you go back and look at it, he's right.

In fairness, since I constantly remind everyone how weak the schedule was from mid-August on when the team got hot, the June schedule was pretty tough (Mets, Yanks & Red Sox against whom they went 1-8). But that was their worst stretch of baseball (9-18).

VOR: Your fantasy about Condrey is a nice one, but let's look at the facts: 28 IP 35H 9 BB 16 K. That translates to 13.8 baserunners per 9 IP and a WHIP of 1.53.

His career minor league stats aren't so hot either. But he did have a nice 50 IP stretch at Scranton last season at age 30.

actually, I like Condrey as a back of the pen reliever too. it's not entirely reasonable, but I still remember that in the 14 inning marathon against the Nats at the end of last year (which I actually saw in person), Condrey was the only guy out of the pen who pitched well and with confidence.

just to make it clear for clout - I don't think Condrey is actually a quality major league reliever, but I like him as a guy who can soak up innings in blowouts or early starter exits, allowing some of our younger pitchers some time to develop at AAA (and obviously I'm thinking Castro here).

Iron Pig - in addition to Lynn and Ichiro, who both won ROY and MVP in the same season, Cal Ripken was MVP the year after winning the ROY. nobody is arguing that Howard doesn't deserve a substantial raise, but to pay him much in excess of what the business of baseball allows and requires is incredibly foolish.

those peripherals on Condrey are a lot worse than I thought. (he was terrible in June - a .371 OAV!) but I would still rather roll the dice with him as our last pitcher and give Castro more time in AAA. I don't think Warden or Simon would be any better at the ML level.

Clout, never count out journeymen relievers! True, Condrey’s stats are hardly worth a second look, but, not to belabor the point, Geary’s numbers from his first full season-and-a-half were just as bad, if not worse.
A while back, I posted a comment listing several relievers who became effective later in their careers. Borowski, Weathers, Jamie Walker, and Bradford are just a few that I remember. Relief pitchers, more than any other position, frequently take years of lingering in the minors or shuttling between leagues to develop.

On a related note, the Drabeks current newsworthiness brings up an interesting topic: Why are 2nd and even 3rd generations of hitters relatively common, but are a rarity when it comes to pitchers?

Any fan can easily rattle off the Bonds, Griffeys, Boones, Fielders (and on and on) but are stymied when it comes to successful father-son pitchers. Stottlemyre is the only one I can recall, any others? (Hopefully, Drabek can be added to the list in a few years.) Are successful hitting traits genetically-based while pitching skills rely more on experience? Are hand-eye coordination, bat speed, pitch recognition, etc. based more on natural ability but skills such as changing speeds effectively and putting spin and break on a pitch learned rather than inherited. If a hitter doesn’t possess the requisite skills, they’ll hit the AA/AAA ceiling and rarely, Chris Coste notwithstanding, break out later in their careers. OTOH, it’s not unusual for pitchers to remain off the radar, spending years whittling in the minors before they develop enough control and consistency to have some success in the major-leagues.

pitcher father/sons (some of which I actually knew before I looked on Wikipedia):
Jim Bagby Jr/Sr (won over 300 games between them)
Dizzy/Steve Trout
Clyde/Jaret Wright
Floyd/Brian Bannister
Joe (Patrick)/Joe (Howard) Coleman
Pedro (Rodriguez)/Pedro (Felix) Borbon
Julio/Jaime Navarro
Dick/Steve Ellsworth
Thornton/Don Lee
Rene/Aurelio Monteagudo
Mel (Joseph)/Mel (Douglas) Queen
Fred Rath Jr/Sr (only threw 28 innings between the two of them)

and that's not including non-P/P father/son pairs, like SS Chris and RP Justin Speier.

Thanks, ae! The list pales in comparison to the great father/son hitting combos.

Not to overgeneralize but it seems that hitters are born while pitchers are made.

it does seem like that, vor. it would be interesting to see how many sons of well-known pitchers tried, but never made it to the big leagues...

it may just be an odds thing... if you've got a great pitcher as a father, he's going to try to teach you two things:

* How to throw his stuff
* How to hit his stuff.

and hope that you can be good at one of them.

clout: The phillies missed the postseason the past 2 years by small margins. The only thing both years have in common are the 10-14 April records. 2005's June record was 15-12.

So while you can say that last year's miss is due to the June record, if you're looking for a consistently bad part of the season to fix it's April.

To be quite literal, any game lost during the course of the season is just as detrimental to playoffs hopes no matter when it occurs (April, June, or September).

Clout, you are right about the Phillies losing it in June last year, but that June schedule wasn't all Yanks, Red Sox and Mets. There was some Nats, D-Rays and Orioles in there, too. I think the low point of the season was dropping two of three in a weekend home series against the D-Rays, a team that won only 20 road games all year.

The losing records in April are damaging mainly to the psyche of the fans, who see their high hopes and optimistic outlooks dashed early on, but in the scope of a season it's only one of many months in which games are played. The Phillies could open 14-10 in April this year and some might be thrilled, but it would be foolish to think that would make them a lock for the post season. It might improve their chances a little, but only a little.

Of course. No one's saying that the Phils can start selling playoff tickets if they having a winning April; and of course everyone understands that all 162 games are valued evenly. I don't really know what you're all getting at.

The point is, rather than just picking up momentum at the end of the season, the Phils need to put together an entire season of winning baseball. That's it.

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