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Monday, February 19, 2007

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This year even more so, they actually do have the rotation to do it.

Another thought; keep Leiber and use Eaton in relief. Last year Adam held hitters to a .208 BA in his first inning but much higher in the rest. Also don't forget that is against the 1,2,3, and sometime 4th hitters. The other side of the arguement is he hasn't been in that spot as a reliever yet. But the transistion is much easier to RP than going to SP. I recently read an article on potential closers and he was one of 10 players mentioned that could excel in such a role. Well anyway its just a thought and we still have a month and a half to go before the season.

I think Eaton would fit better in relief too. plus, it gives us a chance to show off Lieber in the rotation - assuming he pitches well - to trade partners, if necessary.

Interesting stat, Bob. I'm old enough to remember when Paul Owens acquired Ron Reed, who had been a solid starter with mediocre results. They turned him into a reliever and he was a cornerstone of the bullpen for many years. Look around at all the guys who are now closers but began as starters: Gagne and Isringhausen spring immediately to mind. Why not Eaton indeed, especially since he's always had problems getting past the 6th inning anyway?

Wow what a simple move and it seems to make everything better. I think they should definitely try Eaton as a reliever. I like Lieber in the rotation more than Eaton as he is way more reliable, and Lieber feels like he has something to prove this year after having an off year last year. No trades needed and it solidifies our biggest weakness. Maybe this is why we haven't traded Lieber, because this is what Gillick had in mind the entire time.

Except Lieber isn't a very good starter anymore. I suppose the benefits may outweigh the costs.

Bob D - I may have read the same article about Eaton as an RP. I think it is a good fit and I heard he is willing to pitch there.

The one thing that the Phils have to improve on is there home record. Forty-one wins at CBP is not going to win a division. Secondly, they also gave up eighty-one more runs than the Mets. Hopefully, the improvements to the pitching staff will help towards a playoff run.

Lieber might not be all that good anymore, but unless he slips even further from last year's performance, he's still better than most fifth starters.

Invariably, one of the five starters is going to have an injury. It's smart management to not have to rely on an Adam Bernero or Aaron Fultz to patch together a start. Phils are going to need that extra insurance to get past the Mets this year.

Exactly - we read the same thing every spring. Which is why Rollins should keep his mouth shut until the Phillies have actually won something. If you think about how many times this team has been picked to at least reach the playoffs in the past four seasons, it's galling to consider they haven't made it once. I finally gave up picking up anyone but the Braves to win the East until they finally didn't win, and by the same token, I refuse to pick the Phillies to make the playoffs until they finally have DONE IT. Until then, please guys, spare us the talk and the hype - and that goes for you too, Stark.

The Phils aren't going to be paying Eaton 8 mill a year to be a reliever, whether it makes sense or not the front office won't want to lose face

Well how much are we paying Lieber a year? If we can't trade him one of the two has to relieve. It's hard to predict what will happen, assuming we keep him. From Charlie's perspective, Lieber is more proven so he may want to start Lieber. Obviously the front office would really like to trade him but if they never get offered anything substantial back, they may keep him and then I think it would be 50/50 as to which started and which came out of the bullpen.

Sheesh, c'mon already. There is no way - NONE - that Lieber isn't traded in March, unless someone blows a rotator cuff. Eaton is not Ryan Franklin II.

Lieber is making $7.5M next year. either way, we're stuck paying someone a lot of money to be a long reliever - obviously that's not ideal. but putting Eaton in the pen would be making the best of a bad situation, IMO.

however, I would hope that Lieber and Eaton both get the chance during spring training to work in relief to see how they respond to the more irregular work schedules, warmup times, etc.

I don't know RSB, the recent columns (of course taken for what they're worth, which isn't much) seem to suggest to me that Lieber's here for the time being. I don't really get a sense of desperation to deal on the part of the Phils, which would be smart (if true).

I disagree that we're necessarily using one of them as a long reliever, to me Eaton with his stuff would make a nice set-up man. Long relievers don't get used too often so that would really be a waste, but as bad as our bullpen looks if we could use one of them in the 7th or 8th inning I think the expense would be justifiable.

I was thinking the same thing Tray. Why not give Eaton a shot at the 8th and create some competition for 6 finger and Madson?

Use Castro for long relief to get him used to the bigs and hopefully he can take over meaningful innings when one of our arms gets traded / injured.

I think I read that Eaton tends to gain velocity over his first few innings. So in that sense, you're probably not getting his best work if you use him in a one-inning role--not to mention that you're probably further risking his already questionable health.

Barring an injury to one of our front five, I don't see how Lieber comes north with the Phillies. He'll be traded somewhere; too many teams need starters.

I was all aboard the "Trade Lieber" train just a few weeks ago, but the more and more I think about it, hold on to him. Lieber still has the ability to be a #3 starter, which means he'll still make a damn fine #5. I know he was bad at times last year, but he also showed he can still be effective too. One down year shouldn't mean "good bye". I have no idea about Eaton's ability to be in the bullpen, but it might make the most sense. I just don't see any good trades out there for Lieber. If something solid did arise, then I hope Gillick jumps on the opportunity, but don't trade him for the sake of salary/trading.

Paying a set-up man $8 million a year is obviously excessive; paying a closer that much isn't so far out of line. A year as the 8th-inning guy might prepare Eaton to take over as closer next year. Let me stress I don't actually think this would happen; it's too far outside the box for the Phillies. But the important thing to remember,in terms of "they're not paying X dollars for a set-up guy," is that this is what's known as a sunk cost -- the money is already spent. It doesn't matter where he pitches, he's going to be paid the same amount of money, so you might as well put him where he does the team the most good.

I'm with RSB on this one: Lieber will be traded this spring. You can book it.

Couple of identical articles on Jayson Werth this morning from the Philadelphia papers. He sounds close to 100 percent, but of course, 100 percent means what? Is it 16 homers, .484 SLG like in 2004, or career average .245/.333/.420?

Alby:

It's not a sunk cost if the money hasn't already been spent (i.e. the Phillies don't pay the $8 million if he's traded to another team). There might be teams (Yankees, Red Sox) that would consider carrying an $8 million middle reliever. The Phillies are not one of those teams. Barring an injury to one of the other starters, Lieber will be gone.

Jason: That depends on how Cholly uses him. If he gets 75% or more of his ABs vs. LHP then you could see an OPS around .825. If 50% or more of Werth's ABs are vs. RHP then you're definitely looking at .245/.333/.420. He flat out sucks vs. RHP, but is quite potent vs. LHP.

I agree with RSB a few posts back. I really with Rollins would mute himself.

During Utley's streak last year, Utley was smart not to talk. It was refreshing. Until two weeks in, when Rollins started yapping away, talking about how Utley feels, etc.

Shhhhh, J-Roll. More with the getting hits and on base in April and less with the talking.

i enjoyed the articles on werth - as a 4th OF with some defensive flexibility, he might turn out to be a good pinch hitter in the 7th, etc. another note from the stories today: chase has reported to camp 20 pounds of muscle heavier.

If, as suggested in an earlier post, Jorge Julio is only a little better than Alfonseca, then I like our setup position. I don't personally agree with this, but Julio supplanted the supposed closer of the future in Arizona last year. Granted, Valverde struggled and Julio was a little inconsistent at times, but overall he was good. If the Phils could get 80% of Julio from Alfonseca then I would not hesitate to anoint Gillick as a genious. I dont think that this will happen, but I do think that I have a higher opinion of Julio than some.

Also, I still think Lieber is gone sometime before the start of the season, barring injury.

Julio pitched very well for Arizona, but that was his first good season (well, half-season) since his near-ROY campaign (he finished 3rd) in 2002. in every other year he's hovered around average: ERA+s of 99, 105, 70, 109, and 85 for NY before he was traded (then 124 for Arizona).

in re Lieber, I do think he will be traded - but I don't think management is desperate to let him go. maybe it's wishful thinking, but I believe they'll be ready to take six starters into the regular season until another team makes a reasonable offer - I just don't see Gillick dumping Lieber for a lefty specialist and a mediocre prospect (ha-ha).

People seem to forget that the Phils are paying Lieber $7.5 million this season. That alone is a huge incentive to trade him. Sadly, I think Gillick moves by the end of spring training even if the Phils don't get much in return. The only kind of trade the Phils won't make with Lieber is excepting a huge salary in return.

Glad to hear that Werth is supposedly healthy but I suspect on his production. As Clout stated, Werth is pretty weak vs. RHP. That said, I see a .240-.245 with 10-15 HRs depending upon playing time.

i'm in the 'lieber is gone' crowd. i'm still thinking st louis or texas.

gillick likes athletes too much to watch lieber every fifth day again.

The Phils are holding all the cards right now. If they get the right offer, and I bet they will, Lieber's gone in ST. Otherwise we've got insurance for one of our own starters getting injured, unless someone wants to trade for him early in the season. Starting pitchers are only going to get more valuable and Gillick's doing exactly what he should be right now; that is, nothing.

Some interesting info on Eaton and how his middle finger might affect his season with the Phils:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/mlb_spring_training/post/Eaton-could-be-key-to-Phillies-rotation?urn=mlb,24575

There is also nothing wrong with dealing Lieber for prospects if a back end reliever doesn't shake loose. A team with decent scouting could get quality talent, perhaps not a future star, but maybe a future role player. Wouldn't it be nice to have better backup infielders or outfielders? If it comes down to prospects or getting someone like Damaso Marte from Pittsburgh, it would be a tough call for me.

No, it's either a sunk cost -- the payroll with Eaton and Lieber -- or the payroll must be trimmed, in which case we're not dealing from strength, we're dealing from weakness. If we don't HAVE to dump the salary, then one has to pitch in the bullpen. Am I explaining this properly? Perhaps not. What I'm trying to say is that if we keep all 6 starters, then one of them (unless and until an injury) won't be a starter anymore. Or to put it another way, why trade Lieber unless the 8th-inning guy we get back is better than Eaton would be?

Jason, if you were responding to me, I'm not saying it's not good to get prospects (as you say, it would actually be a good thing). I was making a slightly sarcastic allusion to the Abreu "trade."

ae: I wasn't. I didn't see your second post.

I would take Damaso Marte over prospects. As we've seen, anyone can win the Series as long as they make the playoffs, and someone like Marte could make a difference of 1 or 2 wins, maybe even more. Granted you'd like to build for the future but this could be our best chance, next year we may not have Garcia, and I forget how long Moyer's signed but he can't hold up for forever.

i originally said start the market for lieber for a kazmir like talent. i doubt you'd get it, but i'd try.

a team just needs to be desperate, but i doubt PG will wait that long to move.

You know ... I would take Marte over prospects, too. For some reason, I thought he was a little worse than he was last season, but he was pretty good.

Marte is a veteran left-handed reliever, something this team really lacks. While I really like Matt Smith, and think Fabio has some potential, it would be great to have a veteran lefty out of the pen, even more so if we could get Pittsburgh to throw in a prospect to sweeten the deal.

Marte for Lieber deal without thinking. Unfortunately, I think the Phils are going to be reduced to getting just prospects at this point for Lieber.

When thinking about Eaton and Lieber, we are forced into thinking about Rowand too. Yes, we need more help in the bullpen, but do we deal Rowand or Lieber to get it...maybe, but work with what you have first. Eaton to the bullpen is a good idea to test two things...1) can Eaton pitch effectively in relief (2) can Lieber produce enough to catch the eyes of other teams. Having pitched all through college, I understand the confidence that a pitcher achieves from a solid center fielder. Unless you can equal the defense and upgrade the offensive production from a CF signing; keep Rowand in CF, Lieber at SP and move Eaton to RP. Then re-evaluate a month into the season!!

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