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Sunday, February 25, 2007

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As always, I have no problem taking a chance on players like this. If he's not ready for MLB action, stick him in Ottawa and hope that he pans out there and can contribute this season for the Phils.

Agreed. It sounds like another one of Pat's minimal risk yet possible gain for the Phillies if he is a semblance of the pitcher he was in '04. I'm curious to see, however, where they would slot him - a starter or a reliever?

Great story. It's always makes things more interesting to have guys like this in camp.

Inky, I think it would make more sense (and be a measure of professional courtesy) to slot him as a reliever. Overworking him could lead to even more arm troubles, and effectively add a few more longs to "long long shot" at contributing at the big league level again.

Ace - I'd agree but given his arm problems durability isn't one of his strong suits. I wouldn't think that the constant up and down routine of a reliever to play to his strengths. Either way, it wouldn't be a bad guy to look at.

And, for those who bleat repeatedly on this board that no one outstanding comes out of the independent leagues -- see Jason's note above on Bobby Madritsch -- Madritsch went directly from the indy Northern League Winnipeg Goldeyes to Gillick's Seattle Mariners.

Certainly, giving Madritsch an ST look costs the Phillies nothing, and Madritsch, who has overcome serious arm problems in the past, might well bring something positive to the Phillies' bullpen table.

On a completely different note, ESPN.com reports that Scott Rolen and Tony LaRussa have patched things up. Imagine, Rolen, who couldn't get along with his manager in Philly, has trouble with his manager in "baseball heaven". And I'll bet Scottie thinks neither time was he responsible for any part of the rift.

I wish the talent were still at 3rd for the Phils, but the attitude......

I like the Phillies looking at this guy, but I am really starting to wonder if there is anybody worth looking at in the league that wasn't previously signed by Pat Gillick? I would not be surprised to hear that the scouts and other baseball people are getting frustrated because it really is starting to look like this is a one man show.

Strange dreams last night- I dreamt that the Phils packaged Lieber and Rowand to Texas for Otsuka and Wilkerson. I'm not saying that's a dream come true, it was just my dream. Personally I'm leaning towards keeping both, hey the mind works in mysterious ways.

Well he would be another LH arm to throw into the barren wasteland that is the Phillies LH bullpen situation. It was the hot topic yesterday, and to tell you the truth, I hadn't really been concerned about it until now. Inky brought up a good point about last the end of last season and the innefectiveness of Howard and Utley against tough LH bullpen pitchers. I remember a particular game very well against the Cubs in which the Cubs pulled Micheal Wuertz out to put in some no-name LH. He proceeded to strike out Howard and basically made the rest of the team look terrible as well. I realize that this was an isolated incident, however it would seems a strong point of a bullpen to have at least one, probably more, reliable LH arm.

Do the Phils have this? Based on the fact that I cant remember the Cubs' pithcher's name suggests that maybe these guys are either sure bets or flash in the pan types. We definetely do not have a sure bet, reliable LH in the pen, however the ultimate question is whether we have anyone that has the ability to be a surprise? Is it Castro? Smith? Smith looked tough last year, but as Clout pointed out, give him a full season. Castro looked good in extreme mop up relief, but screwed up in the only pressure situation I remember him in against the hated Braves in the first game of a double header (the one Howard hit 3 HR).

Here's hoping we find some guy that we can rely on to take out that big LH bat of the other team down the stretch.

Heyman at sportsillustrated.com reports this morning that if Looper and Thompson and transition to the rotation in St. Louis a natural would be a trade of relievers for Lieber.

Link here:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_heyman/02/25/willis.marlins/1.html

Who would we want from that group for doughnut boy?

"can't transition to the rotation"

Weird carson I had a similiar day dream while lying awake in bed. Creeeeeeeepy .

davthom: Yep, you're right, Madritsch has had an "outstanding" career. Not a Hall of Fame career like Coste, but absolutely outstanding. The Indy leagues are full of All-Stars. It's amazing the MLB teams never give them a chance. Madritsch will probably win 15 games this season.

AWH: Outside of Izzy, that Cardinal bullpen is fairly ordinary. Hancock had a career year last season that I don't expect him to repeat. Looper is erratic. The lefties are just average. I kind of like Brad Thompson's potential.

GM-Carson/thrillhouse: The chances of the Rangers giving us Wilkerson & Otsuka for Leiber & Rowand are equal to the chances of Charlie Manuel sprouting wings and flying with the Blue Angels over CBP on Opening Day. Have you had that dream yet?

Did anyone read Zolecki's column about how they've banned doughnuts from the clubhouse? I bet Lieber has his agent on the phone demanding a trade ASAP.

i've never seen madritsch pitch but like carson i never think something like this isn't worthwhile.

could someone repost that link to the fsu/phil's game? will it be broadcast on 1210?

i think the cardinals have a great chance of trading for lieber. i also think he'd be very successful there.

parker, after scanning some box scores, I'm guessing you're talking about Will Ohman, who came on to strike out Howard several times (although the last time Howard faced him, he hit a double and scored on a Conine single and Burrel FC). Ohman isn't exactly a nobody for the Cubs - a quick web search shows that he throws in the mid-90s, Chicago has been grooming him as a lefty specialist for several years, and he's maintained a K rate over 9.5 in 123 ML innings. he looks more like the Cubs' version of Matt Smith than some anonymous roster filler.

I remember Ohman. I was impressed how he dominated Howard up to that point. Pretty tough customer on an otherwise lousy Cubs team last season.

Tim, I think mg posted a link to the FSU station.

It should be a fun game, Drabek is scheduled to pitch. It would be nice to see if he can perform well enough to go to Batvia rather than extended spring training.

Also, nice piece by Hayes, he calls the set-up job an "open competition." I would argue it should be Geary's job to lose, but at least old six-finger isn't being handed the job.

My bad, it was voice of reason who posted the link. Here it is again:

http://seminoles.cstv.com/multimedia/baseball2007.html

thanks for the link kdon.

i thought all the phil's articles were good today. i enjoyed the one on fundamentals also. it seems like jimy williams really has a philosophy when it comes to the drills.

Assuming the Mets are your primary competition this year, you would also want a second lefty in the pen since the Mets are not the same team offensively against LH pitching. Delgado and Beltran are much less effective and Valentin is useless against lefties.

Delagado, yes, but Beltran is pretty even for his career:

OPS
vs. LHP: .849
vs. RHP: .846

Last year, he had some pretty extreme splits, but they may just be an abberation.

ae: Get down on your knees and pray that "looks more like the Cubs' version of Matt Smith." Ohman is one of the best lefty relievers in baseball.

I think that's a pretty dramatic overstatement clout. (Wagner? Gonzalez? Ryan?) Ohman may someday be an elite reliever, but right now he's a 29-year-old (2 years older than Smith FWIW) with a career 1.36 WHIP and 4.15 ERA. and yes, he's obviously dramatically more effective against LHP, but the Cubs do not use him strictly as a LOOGY - he faced more than 50% RHP last year.

in any case, it doesn't matter - my point was that Ohman isn't a random nobody; you obviously agree.

ae: I didn't say closer I said reliever. but you're right, I really should've said LOOGY. My point was that comparing Matt Smith to him is very premature.

from Roto:
Bobby Abreu strained an oblique muscle in batting practice Monday and is expected to be shut down for at least a week or two.

Abreu is one of the game's most durable players, but his status for Opening Day is in question because of the injury. Melky Cabrera can fill in for Abreu in right field, but that's still a big downgrade.

Expounding on the subject of Madritsch, Sheridan has an interesting report on the tryout camp the Phillies held yesterday, which resulted in four minor-league pitcher signings. What is most remarkable about this is that a number of the candidates came about via this new Phillies' methodology of scouring for talent under rocks and soil, even through Google searches. As Sheridan put it: "The story begins in October, when Phillies general manager Pat Gillick hired a scout named Mal Fichman, who specializes in finding overlooked players in the independent leagues."

"'This only works because Pat Gillick believes in doing it,' Fichman said. "We're the only team doing this now. Gillick, Arbuckle, [minor-league director] Steve Noworyta, they're all behind this.'"

I can hardly believe I read that: "We're the only team doing this right now".

Rather than simply shrug off the Chris Coste phenomenon, Gillick instead seems to have taken it to heart and seems increasingly determined to find more and more of these diamonds in the rough. It's an admirable, economical, and resourceful approach, but seeing as he's obviously seen fit to patch the parent club's needs in a similar fashion (with the likes of K. Garcia, Dobbs, Werth, Alfonseca), one wonders if he doesn't stretch it a bit more than is appropriate at times.

RSB: You read my mind. I was planning to post on this subject.

Presenting Reason #1 why the Pat Gillick era is different than the Ed Wade era, and in general, I'm all for it. The more, the merrier, especially regarding minor league pitchers.

Look around baseball and you will find more teams finding success by digging under rocks and soil for their bullpen. Many relievers don't come into their own until their late 20s.

Since Gillick took over, the Phillies have broken with conventional methods by signing players from all over the planet. Garcia was in Japan and Mexico. Alfonseca was making a comeback in the Dominican. Dobbs was a waiver claim. Livingston (before MLB stepped in) was a waiver claim who might have been a front-runner for the No. 2 lefty out of the pen. Warden, Casto were Rule 5 players. The latest signings came by way of open tryouts, and there were more indie league signings earlier this winter (Jacobs, Weatherby was a closer for Lancaster).

Not to say every player here will work. Most won’t. But one of them will, and that’s one less Todd Jones they must trade for, or one less mediocre veteran they must sign to a three-year deal.

Anything to help lock down the guy with real talent, the one who lauches 50+ into space.

kdon, Beltran's extreme splits last year may have been an aberration, but his swing certainly doesn't look as good when turned around. Also, I looked up the 2006 Mets numbers as a team.
ops
vs lhp .738
vs rhp .796

I would be shocked if the Phils don't carry 2 lefties in their pen. Smith for sure and likely the second acquired via trade. Castro is a possibility if they don't acquire someone. Mazone and Happ are dark horses.

I get the impression that Gillick has thought three moves ahead of the labor agreement. This kind of management is something I expect from Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner, and it's straight out of the "We're good, but how can we be great?" management school.

All-Star talent plus hungry, competent, and cheap talent is a much more intriguing mix than mediocre and overpaid talent.

Nevertheless, the game is still played in between the lines.

This is a super-late comment, but I loved Bobby Madritsch when he was here in Seattle and I really hope he gets a chance to pitch again and to bounce back (and YES, it was really annoying how Bob Melvin overused him in 2004. 140-pitch outings? Hello?). He was just one of those guys you liked because of who they are. He had FIRE -- the kind that made you want him on your side in a pitching duel -- or in the next World War. You wanted to see him snarl. You wanted to see him smile. He was interesting, and not just because of his Lakota Indian heritage and the tattoos. He had a history, he had overcome a ton to get where he was, both in terms of social status and in terms of things like driving 1500 miles to try out in various semipro baseball leagues.

I nicknamed him "Badass Bobby Bowflex" after a series of funny articles in the 2005 season when he was trying to rehab after the injury, how he'd acquired a Bowflex while sitting at home going nuts because he couldn't play baseball or anything, and one day he was watching an infomercial and saw the Bowflex and was like "Hell yeah! That's exactly what I need."

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