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Friday, February 23, 2007


I would love for Jim Ed Warden to pan out and become a useful member of the 'pen. If Dubee and company can maximize his potential, he could become a decent situational righty.

I read the little blurb on Kevin Mench from Rumors and Notes. It sounds like he doesn't have a job with Milwaukee. If the Phillies run into problems with Werth, or deal Rowand, they could get him pretty cheap, maybe as low as a mid-grade prospect package similar to what they presented to Texas last season.

If the Phils can get Mench for a mid-grade propsect, I make that trade. The Phils are probably one of the few teams that will use their 5th outfielder fairly often this season . Mench would automatically become the best bat off the bench and is a better option than Garcia/Robertson/????.

I should say Mench doesn't have a "full time job." If I'm Milwaukee, I'd give the platoon a whirl with Jenkins. But they may decide otherwise.

I still refuse to believe Garcia is in the mix for anything.

i am correct in saying Jeremy Burnitz is still a fa?

Carson – I agree with you. I too hope he pans out. He could be a nice addition to the pen.

How do you think the pen shapes up from a personnel standpoint? I seem to remember Cholly saying that they will bring 12 pitchers north.

Jason – I liked Mench at UD, but I have a bias for Delaware players. I understand that Werth is hitting with some power so, perhaps, the wrist is healed.

Nothin' like ST!
Big Jim Ed sawing off bats! Werth puts on an impressive power display! Davey Lopes transforming Phillies into the '82 Cardinals! Jon Lieber...uh...Jon Lieber...ah...Jon Lieber arrives in a ginormous vehicle!

News from Port St. Lucie: LoDuca with a sore throwing hand, El Duque sent to NYC for MRI on sore back. Prediction: Minaya caves in and deals touted prospects for a front-line starter sooner rather than later.

War of words heats up between Mets/Phillies. Even Cholly gets in on the act: "St. Louis did win the [NL Championship Series] though, didn't they? Gotta love it!

Only 5 days to initial ST game against FSU! If your jonesing for a fix here's the link for the live audio:

Wed., Feb. 28@6:30 PM!!!!!!!!!

no doubt Mench would be nice to pick up for a mid-level prospect. but if he's publicly unhappy about platooning for the Brewers, how would he respond to being a 5th OF for the Phillies?

I'm hoping my XM radio gets the spring training games, I NEED something!

ae- this may seem far fetched, but possibly Mench would be happy coming home- being a Delaware boy and all, growing up rooting for the Phils.

per milwaukee, jenkins wants to play full time or be traded also. one of them will have to be moved. but ae's point is right on the mark. the reason so few teams have quality 5th OFers is because quality OFs don't want to sit 4 games a week.

Great job on the links, Jason. I know minorleaguesplits and the cube are the first stop for a lot of us whenever Gillick drags in one of his projects.

I also share your disbelief that Garcia is in the mix. Of course, I also refused to believe the team wouldn't bring Coste north last year, or actually use Jose Offerman.

Kevin Mench has a lifetime .746 OPS vs. RHP, so he is essentially a clone of Werth, the difference being that Werth is far better on defense. If Werth flops, Mench might be nice fallback, but there's no reason to deal for him now. I'm more concerned with the lefty-hitting side of the bench.

Tim: Burnitz is still a FA and with good reason.

I guess you could argue that Philly is a good destination for an in between OF (maybe a starter, maybe not) since you have LF and CF on the trade block, both of whom tend to spend time on the DL and a RF that is basically an unknown commody as a starter.

The OF in April stands a pretty good chance of being very different from the OF in Sept.

If you were talking 1B, 2B or SS that would be somthing different. Those are dead locks.

Nice to see Warden throwing chain saws up there. I've heard good things about this guy. Somebody tell me why the Indians let this guy go.

Tony- my best guess why Cleveland let him go is they wanted/needed proven commodities in their bullpen this season after last year's debacle. They also let Gutherie go and the O's picked him up.

Ae and Clout - Good points about Mench. I just have serious doubts about Werth and what he brings to the table.

I could care less about the "power display" Werth put on in batting practice. Talk about a worthless story. I am interested in how he plays in spring training but you really won't have a sense of what Werth brings until mid-to-end of May.

I have serious doubts about Werth too...

unrelatedly, interesting article on new Nats manager Manny Acta in the Wash. Post:

I like this guy.

Good news for gamers like me... MLB 2K7 is coming out a week early, next Tuesday. It looks almost real.

bah... until mlb2k7 is coming out on the wii, i ain't picking it up.

LOL... you sure man? That would be pretty bad. The Wii Sports baseball game it comes with is awful.

this is a great story about bonds and griffey. it's sad that some people still honor bonds.

wii sports baseball awful? Bah! Blasphemy!!! you just have to invite over some of philadelphia's sports writers and editors, and break out a couple cases of beer, and talk large amounts of crap.

(mlb2k7 will be better on the wii, but this will pass the time)

Clout? -

So now in addition to being the definitive expert on all things baseball and the Phillies, you are also here to police the blog from irresponsible people like myself making wild, unsubstantiated claims. Thank God that you are out there to keep the internet safe from people like me. Please tell me where I can find your blog. Like I have told you before, if you do not like what I write (or what anybody else writes) then ignore it.

You are right about one thing. You are not here to just pick on me, you are an equal opportunity a**hole. There is more than enough evidence in your previous posts to prove that fact.

Iron Pig: Now, now, name-calling won't strengthen your argument. You made a reckless charge about a couple players and couldn't back it up. End of discussion. Let's move on to another topic.

Jeff Sackmann from The Hardball Times wrote an article today about five NL bullpens that are in flux. Here is the link:

It is kind of a bleak outlook for our Phils. I hope that what we are seeing from Alfonseca and Warden is not an aberration.

(mlb2k7 will be better on the wii, but this will pass the time)

I was just speaking hypothetically anyway. As far as I know there are no plans to release it on the Wii. They would have to pretty much redesign the entire game, including the graphics engine, so I don't think it's gonna happen.

Wii Sports baseball is definitely the sort of thing you need alcohol to enjoy. There's no baserunning! There can't be because the players don't even have freakin legs!!

Is MLB a good series?

I used to play Hardball 2003 all the time, but I've never found a good game that feels real since then.

Basically, I want a game where there are realistic walk totals (insert stathead joke here!). So many of these games make it impossible for you to throw a pitch outside the strike zone.

Any thoughts?

the 2k series is good, but in last years, with ryan howard, i would literally hit a home run ever other at bat against a righty. if you get ahead in the count you sit fast ball and kill it. i ended a year with 100 homers. i traded for hank blalock and he hit over 70.

*every other

not good. I'm thinking of getting OTOTP baseball, because I enjoy the GM aspect of the game more than anything, but I would like a game that has *some* interesting gameplay.

MLB 2K6 wasn't very good. But MVP 2005 was fantastic, and the guy who made that was brought on to make MLB 2K7 better. I've only heard good things about it and the graphics speak for themselves, but we'll see. Either way it'll a nice diversion in between televised ST games.

BTW Tim, you know, you can change the difficulty level...

"I still refuse to believe Garcia is in the mix for anything."

From - "Manuel was impressed on Thursday with the work of pitchers Freddy Garcia, Matt Smith and Brian Mazone, and the hitting of Jayson Werth, Karim Garcia and Greg Dobbs, not tipping his hand as to who might have the lead in the battle for what appears to be two bench spots. Chris Coste is also involved in that competition."

So, if Alfonseca is given the set-up role and Karim Garcia wins a coveted bench spot, do we still feel as optimistic about late game situations this year? It doesn't matter if Gordon is available in a tie game or not, I don't foresee too many ties games in that case. I sure hope that Cholly isn't THAT loyal to these veterans.

If it's 12 pitchers going north, is there room for Warden? Help me out here, it's Friday night and I'm fried.

Assume the six starters, or an unnamed reliever if Lieber is traded. So the six in the bullpen are:

M. Smith


I know lots of people say Castro, but I think the numbers game works against him, because he has options left. Both Alfredo Simon and Warden are on the roster via Rule 5, and there isn't room for both. If the Phils pass on one, they could trade for the other, but what if they want both?

I know some people would rather not go with the veterans, but it makes sense to give them the first shot; otherwise you have to release them outright and promote guys who are your back-ups in case of injury or ineffectiveness.

I realize all plans go out the window should someone pull an Eddie Oropesa and impress the coaches so much they have to keep him. An injury to one of the first 5 starters could also open up a seventh true bullpen slot.

All this sort of gives lie to the "very few jobs are open" consensus storyline. There are enough uncertainties to make me look forward to B game box scores.

Amaro Jr. on today's Jody Mac show: Coste will be given a look at 1st & 3rd but not OF, and is "not neccesarily the odd man out".

Why can't we send Lieber to the Mets? I know you're not supposed to help the competition, but I could live with a slightly improved Mets starting rotation if it got us a quality reliever.

And going back to Bobby, I find it hard to figure how his "brooding" could cancel out all that he brought to the offense. He's just one of 25 guys on a roster. Did his "brooding" affect Rollins's batting average or Lieber's ability to pitch? These guys hardly see each other off the field. I can't fathom how the slightly sullen demeanor of a single guy you see a few hours a day and interact with much less could so affect the performance of everyone on the team that the team became better BECAUSE he left. Barry Bonds is a far more annoying guy to be around, and his production has fallen off drastically, but no one would suggest that the Giants would be better off if they just jettisoned his .980 OPS.

Wow, so Amaro had to actually say Coste wasn't the "odd man out." That's actually pretty negative. Only a few weeks ago, it was that he wasn't neccesarily "on the team."

I know some people like to make a moral argument for Coste, but he really is a better player than Garcia, and probably better than Dobbs.

Bringing Garcia north would mean the Phils still really don't understand talent, focusing only on two things: veteranacity and athleticism.

On Warden, I would be a little concerned about putting him on the 25 man roster. The team only has 3 off days in April, so everyone is going to need to pitch. Considering that Eaton and Hamels will probably start off with low pitch counts, and concerns about burning Geary and Gordon out, I'd rather have Condrey in there. He may not be lights out, but he'll be average.

Ideally, we could flip some cash Cleveland's way and send big ole Jim to Ottawa.

Well, if the speculation about Alfoneca translates into the season then that is awesome. Maybe whoever said(I cant remember to give credit) that Jorge JUulio is just a little better than Alfo could be right, indirectly.

Zack, liked the comment on turning up the dificulty level on 2K6, but Tim is right, too many HR's.

I can't imagine Karim Garcia not making the team. I think the Phils are looking for power off the bench rather than speed. Even if Bourn and Roberson hit .300 and Garcia hits .200 in ST, Garcia was intended to be on the roster come April. I don't like it either, but we might as well face it.

I also expect Warden to be on the roster, barring a horrific spring. I think the Phils wouldn't risk losing him by not sending him north. He and Castro are the best bets to fill out those last two spots on the pitching staff. As Alby mentioned, Castro does have options left, but the fact that he'd be a second lefty would seem to weigh more heavily in his favor. I would consider Condrey and possibly Bisenius as solid insurance at Ottawa. Other than the fact that the back end of the 'pen seems a bit fragile, the Phils actually have a nice stock of middle relievers right now.

The next person who says one more word about Bobby Abreu should be sentenced to spend the entire season posting only on Mets Blog.

Ain't nothing better than a player performing well in the bloodstripes.

Just for the hell of it RSB.........BOBBY ABREU, BOBBY ABREU, BOBBY ABREU!!!

RSB, Castro and Warden? One project at a time please!

I don't think the Phls will need more than one lefty because I think we can expect Geary-ALfonseca-Madson-Gordon to be in for one inning stints. Cholly isn't exactly LaRussa when it somes to matchups!

My bullpen (in order I would like to see them):


" I'm more concerned with the lefty-hitting side of the bench."

clout, I share your concern, but let me ask whether there is any place we can find minor league splits for all the years someone is in the minors? Why do I ask?

To revive the endless Coste debate, he hit .345 against RIGHT HANDERS last year, and checking I discoved he had a higher BA against RHP in his limited time at SWB.

Is there any place where they would have his splits for his entire minor league career? I'd be interested to know if he's one of the aberrations in baseball.

If so, does that alleviate some or all of the need for a LH bat on the bench?

AWH, you make an intersting and informed obersvation backed by statistical evidence. Therefore, there is no shot in hell the Phillies will pick up on it.

Don't you know that you use LH pinch hitters against righties? It's been done that way for a 100 years!

Rheal Cormier was better against RHP *in the majors* for eight years, and Cholly still used him as a lefty specialist.

I hate to distract from the point of the thread, but I have been reading Beerleaguer for quite a while now, and have never posted anything, mainly out of fear of sounding inept (I thought I was a huge Phan until reading the posts on this site). I am posting now to state that I look no further than Beerleaguer to get my fix of Phils news. I love the insight, the opinions and the friendly (sometimes not) banter back and forth. Keep up the good work! Perhaps you will hear from me again in the future.

kdon, I don't know why you'd consider Eaton, who has never been a reliever, to be more of a sure thing. I don't feel Castro is so much a 'project' if he is left to pitch in middle innings, and I again submit that while Warden may or may not be ready, he probably incurs the benefit of the doubt to eke out a spot on the roster in order for the club to retain him at all. But aside from this being my own opinion, I also see this as the best estimate of what the Phils themselves might be considering before the exhibition season opens.

for the record - i'm sure the level was up. not all the way up (i believe that was hall of fame level) but at least all-star. if i recall, when you put it on hall of fame the computer would hit homeruns anytime i threw a strike.

it was that batters eye that made it so easy. that and not swinging at every pitch.

as a pitcher i would just pound the strike zone and not care about the solo hr. i pretty much was curt schilling.

Unless Warden bombs in ST, the best option may be to have him start in the pen and have Castro start the year in Ottawa as a starter. The Lil Dictator can be the first call-up for either the bullpen or the rotation.

All this really depends though on what goes down in the next month, so we're all just guessing at this point.

C'mon RSB, Eaton wouldn't be converting to SS!

He is a major league pitcher. They go back and forth between the pen and the rotation all the time. He has said he wouldn't mind doing it, and the Phils have never said it was out of the question.

He is waaay more of a sure thing than either Castro or Warden.

Oh, and I wouldn't object to either Castro or Warden getting the last spot, but I would be worried if they *both* made the team.

AWH: I'm unaware of any site that gives career minor league splits. The individual teams do, so you'd have to go year by year and team by team to figure out Coste's lifetime split. Coste ability to hit both kinds of pitching (and the inability of Garcia, Werth, Dobbs, Mench etc. to do so) should give him an edge.

kdon: Some managers get it more than others. I've seen teams load up on lefty hitters vs. Glavine, who is way tougher on righties. Of course, it depends on the pitcher. I'd never bat a lefty-who-hits-LHP hitter against the Big Unit.

Stevejeltz: "we're all just guessing at this point." Bingo! None of us has any clue who will be the last arm added to the 'pen. I just hope it's someone halfway decent with upside (i.e. not Condrey).

Re: Jim Ed Warden. Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is a 27-year-old player still stuck in AA. In fact, he's never evenb had a full season yet in AA and never pitched an inning in AAA. There's a reason for that. I consider him an extreme, extreme longshot to make the team.

RSB: You and I agree on Eaton. He has more injury history than any pitcher on the team. It is very unlikely the Phils would subject him to the stress of warming up/pitching 2-3 days in a row as bullpen guys have to do. On Castro, I think his ST performance will dictate what happens but odds are he winds up in AAA.

kdon - Would you really only be comfortable with one lefty in the pen? I know it's not mandated to have two but I think back to all those times last year when we'd face teams with a surplus of lefties in the pen and knew it'd (usually) be a long night for Utley & Howard. I think if we only had one quality lefty, and note M. Smith is on the fringe of that, we could be a bit hamstrung.

I could be wrong, but besides Castro, who else would fit the lefty bill?

Inky, excellent point. Matt Smith has proven nothing, as far as I'm concerned. Let's see what he does over a full MLB season.

Now, here are your choices for second lefty:
Castro, Brito, Mazone. That is beyond slim and damn close to none. kdon is probably right, it's not ideal, but they flat out don't have another lefty for the 'pen (unless Castro is lights out in ST).

Hopefully they trade Lieber for that lefty reliever. I mean hopefully more than that, but a package that includes a left reliever.

'He is a major league pitcher. They go back and forth between the pen and the rotation all the time.'

No, they don't actually. The vast majority of starting pitchers are *starting pitchers*. Eaton has never relieved in his professional career. I don't know where you get this idea that it's just as simple as saying, okay, you - I don't care about your history, get down to the bullpen and do the exact same thing you do as a starter. It takes a vastly different approach and enormous adjustment to become a relief pitcher when one is accustomed to being a starting pitcher, and vice versa. The number of pitchers who can make this into an entirely smooth transition would have to be in the vast minority. Eaton's offer is all well and good, but he was given a very generous contract to be a starter on this team, not as an experimental set-up man.

Clout, you have a point about Warden being a 27 y/o AA pitcher, but the Phils seem really high on him and it's likely they'd lose him altogether if they cut him. I would chop at least one of the 'extremes' in front of the 'longshot' status you give him.

You're right clout, outside of the Phillies' organization, the names Castro, Brito (recovering from a car wreck) and Mazone wouldn't instill fear in any major league hitter; not even Karim Garcia.

This is where a lefty set-up guy would fit in perfectly for the Phils. It's a shame Mr. Rhodes had to go and forget how to pitch last year. Lefty relievers are a dime a dozen too. At least quality ones.

Considering the surplus of conversations here about finding that "diamond in the rough" from Castro, Warden, Simon or Bisenius, why don't we consider a FA name that's been out there all along....Kent Mercker.

I'm clearly joking. I'd rather have Dan Plesac come out of retirement.

How about a Top Ten List of "It Must Be Spring Training When":
#10. 27-year-old Rule 5 Big Jim Ed Warden is given the chance to make the roster after sawing off the bat of Jason Hill (who?) on the first day of full-squad workouts.

I suppose Gillick can stash a Rule 5 on the roster if the starters are able to eat up innings (compared to the Madson/Floyd experiment of last season).

A lot depends on any moves over the next five weeks or so. If Lieber is traded, Castro might start at Ottawa and be called up as an emergency starter; if Happ is impressive, he might get the call. Brito? Sounds like he'll be sidelined for awhile. Add in the unknown reliever acquired in exchange for Lieber or Rowand, and who knows what the 6th and/or 7th spot in the bullpen might consist of.

When it comes to Rule 5, NL is at a distinct disadvantage to the AL, where a GM could easily stash a prospect on the roster for the season.

FWIW, Conlin claims Castro's "stuff was filthy" in the DWL.

Bisenius appears to have an inside track to make the cut. Both Gillick and Noworyta have said he could surprise and head north with the team.

VOR: Never been any questions about Castro's stuff. Big questions about his command.

Right on, clout. Just checked his DWL stats: app. 6BB/9!

Getting innings as a starter at Ottawa looks like a good bet. Should be interesting to see his role in Spring Training.

After reading all of this, I think it way too early to set up the bullpen. Let ST take its course and see who sticks. I kind of agree with VoR with Bisenius and Castro having the better shot at going north to Philly than a guy like Warden.

A welcome to L.Skin. All you need is the Phillies passion to post.

Our Model Dictator Fabio Castro has a future with this team, and I wish Charlie would have used him more last season so we'd have a better feel for how much he has to offer. He had success in limited duty last season, he's had success in the minors, and he's had success in the winter league...I'm seeing nothing but success.

And now this from Manuel intends to use Fabio Castro as a reliever this spring. This increases the lefty's chances of making the 25-man roster.

I like the guy, and hope he gets every opportunity to prove his worth.

Castro will no doubt get his opportunity but, as Clout posted previously, control is an issue. He gave up walks at a rate of about 6BB/9 in the free-swingin' Dominican Winter League (to go along with around 9K/9!). Unless he proves otherwise in Florida, the best option for The Model Dictator could be as a starter in Ottawa where he'd get the most innings to harness his "filth". Later, he could be brought up as an emergency starter or as a reliever.

There's a Q&A with Cole Hamels at here:

Nice link, AWH. Love the Coste part, but maybe Hamels hasn't been paying attention.

kdon, the first thing I thought of when I read the Coste part was the Carlton/McCarver battery. I'm going to check and see who caught games Hamels the last 10 games of the year when he was lights out.

If it was CC, does Hamels comfort level with him help Coste's chances?

I August and September, Coste was the starting catcher in all of Hamels' games.

11 starts, team record of 8-3, personal 6-3 record, 69.1 IP, 20 earned runs, 2.60 ERA. In only 2 starts did he give up 3 or more earned runs.

The credit goes to Cole, but somebody was calling the game and handling the pitcher.

Hamels overall record when Coste was the catcher:

13 starts, team record of 9-4, personal record of 8-4, 85.1 IP, 31 earned runs, 3.26 ERA.

Trend or concidence? Did the bat in the lineup make a difference?

AWH: Not only this, but Coste was also the clear choice of veterans Jamie Moyer and Cory Lidle. I don't know why Gillick is so down on Coste's catching ability when the endorsements - and the results - are so apparent from battery-mates young and old.

As much as I sometimes defend Manuel for fostering a looser and more positive attitude on the team, Phil Sheridan's column stretches the credit a bit far in his column today, suggesting that Manuel is responsible in part for the blossoming of Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels, and Myers. Sheridan is one of the best Philly writers, but he's full of caca here if he believes these talented players wouldn't have performed at the level they have with a different manager.

RSB, I agree to a point that it's caca. However, Manuel clearly knows a great deal about hitting fundamentals, and I think one needs to give him some credit for their improvement.

He is, afterall, the one who turned Howard toward RF a little bit, turning long foul ball to left into home runs.

So, Charlie is responsible, I think, for some of it. But the drive to excel is something inside both Howard and Utley that was there long before Charlie showed up.

Accoring to rotoworld, the White Sox have been impressed with Gavin Floyd.
Good luck with your impending case of blue balls, ChiSox.

Good point on Coste. Not just Hamels, but all the pitchers improved when he was catching.

There is just no reason for Rod Barajas to be on this team.

Did anyone read Smith's ridiculous column? He's gotta be the worst writer in Philly sportswriting history.

In his article today Ken Rosenthal keeps alive the Rowand/Linebrink and Lieber/outfielder trade rumors. The Rowand/Linebrink move I'm against.

The link is here:

Jason, thanks for the link to Lauber. Nice read.

Barajas is insurance against Ruiz, not Coste.

There was only one Phillies catcher playing Winter Ball, Ruiz.

AWH: Here's the dilemma. Do you trust Alfonseca, Madson or Geary to be setup man now and/or closer later if Gordon gets hurt? I sure don't.

But, if you deal Rowand for Linebrink to solve that problem, do you trust an offense that has Victorino AND a Werth/Garcia platoon? I sure don't. It would be the worst offensive OF in the NL (except for Wash).

So the only way this works is if you can get a potent RFer in a trade for Lieber. Is that possible? I doubt it.

Solutions anyone?

clout, you present a case, which with I agree, of having to choose the lesser of two evils, unless you can get a Linebrink for a Lieber.

My choice, is to go with the outfield defense that Rowand and Victorino supply. It will help ALL of the pitchers.

Any early word on the two kids the Phils signed? I assume they're a couple years away from The Show, but they're both a bit older, and one is a Jersey kid, so that seemed interesting:


Thats a good point. What will affect Team ERA more: Linebrink as setup, or a Rowand/Vic combo in the Outfield.

I think that Rowand is more valuable, and that he saves runs on a regular basis.

Also worth consideration in the Rowand/Linebrink debate are the contracts. Linebrink has an option year after this. Rowand becomes a free agent.

I wish everybody do his job like you do

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