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Friday, March 09, 2007


No clue on the trivia question. But I'll guess Mike Williams? I think he was a throw in on the AS team one year so the Pirates would get a guy on the team.

Dobbs is really going to have to suck the rest of ST to not make the team.

Delgado stiff neck, Franco wrist injury, El Duque getting lit up like a Christmas tree ... Mets got some problems right now.

Even though the opposition's run totals have been pretty high this spring, the starters have been solid, and another positive is that the best young prospects - Happ, Segovia, and Bisenius - have fared very well. Really no worries so far, except for the left-handed relief.

How did Redman manage to have a winning record with that ERA on the Royals...? That's Ripley's Believe It or Not material.

Never worry about stats on March 9. But that doesn't change the fact, which I and several other posters have been harping on for months: The Phils need bullpen help, particularly a lefty.

There were some fun fantasies on the last thread about trades that will never, ever be made. Waiting to read one that is fair for both teams and thus could actually get done.

I totally agree with Clout. People are being ridiculous. It is just the FIRST WEEK OF SPRING TRAINING. Honestly. Who really cares if a pitcher gets tagged in one or two outings or if a hitter struggles a bit? People on this blog should know better.

It means absolutely nothing unless a guy is trying to come back from an injury like Werth or Alfonseca. Then I do care a litte bit to see if they are actually able to get out there and potentially contribute.

I don't see why we are so high on Dobbs making the team. I am not against Dobbs, but think of the ST Chris Coste had last spring???? He did NOT make the team. Dobbs could also hit over .450 and not make the team.

clout: sane.
MG: sane. (in the last thread, too.)
AWH: sane.

The rest of the panic-stricken, off-the-bandwagon-jumping posters on this site who are worried about the relief pitching on MARCH 9TH: INSANE!!!!

In spring training, pitchers build up arm strength and stamina, and work on their pitches, especially off-speed stuff they haven't thrown since the last season - you know - pitches like curve balls, sliders, change-ups, etc. Pitches they may have lost a little bit of feel for.

If you are worried at this time about the pitching, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. If that doesn't work, call your doctor and make an appointment, and go and describe your consternation to him.

He's likely to refer you to a psychiatrist, who will then examine you and prescibe either Valium, Prozac, or whatever medication they prescibe for dementia. More information on one of the drugs can be found at, courtesy of Eli Lilly and Company.

Um. It isn't as if the 'rest of us' haven't been expressing grave concern about the bullpen since November, AWH. I'm not basing my concern on the results of nine Grapefruit League games, but let's just say where the performances of Smith and to a lesser extent Castro have been concerned, there hasn't been much in the way of encouragement.

Do you suppose that Matt Smith is sitting carefree around the clubhouse, not bothering to be concerned that he was shelled in two consecutive outings? Do you suppose he was merely experimenting with the gyroball? I understand that spring training stats are not always to be taken seriously, but you're positing the opposite extreme - that they don't matter the slightest bit - which is just as inaccurate. It's March 9, yes, so no one's panicking, but if Smith is incurring these results on the 19th or 29th, I'd say it's time to seriously look outside the organization for a left-handed reliever.

Generally, publicly trumpeting your own sanity is a sure sign to the contrary.

Moreover, AWH, if I remember correctly, you were the one crying about the sky falling because the Phils didn't give Ryan Howard a 10 year deal, and then turning around the next day and deciding he didn't deserve a long term deal because you thought he had developed a bit of a gut.

Based on this history, I don't think you're exactly qualified to lecture anyone on when and when not to panic.

That said, you are right that it's only the first week of spring training. But, as RSB points out, we haven't exactly seen anything encouraging from our middle relief prospects - a known area of concern before spring training began.

I would be inclined to point out that it is 3/9, and these guys are right, the pitchers are just getting their stride and working out their pitches.

I alas must also point out, that this is 3/9 and the hitters are just getting their stroke back.

By what you are saying, we should expect 50 to 43 game scores, as if a pitching doesn't matter till week 4. The fact is, if a guy is getting touched now, he has time to get better, but don't discount the fact that the competition will get better too.

I realize that watching the Phils pitchers the last couple of games was, to say the least, annoying, but did it kill your sense of humor?


don't give me Castro. that last outing was all on the defense including consecutive errors by Bourn and Sandoval. he was fine. I've read several articles already that said he was throwing the ball well

For those interested in more info in Boone Logan, I did a little research since he's never been listed on any top prospect lists.

Logan is a 22-year-old LHP drafted in the 20th round in 2002 out of Temple College (a little school in his home state of Texas). He has a 92 mph fastball and an OK slider and that's about it.

He had a huge spring training last year and the Sox brought him north even though he'd only had 1 year of A ball. Predictably, he was lit up, but when sent down to AAA he pitched well including a solid 57/12 K/BB ratio.

The reports I've seen project him as a LOOGY, probably as good a prospect as Matt Smith, which is to say, about average, nothing special. Arm stiffness caused him to cut short winter ball.

Conclusion: He's nothing more than a throw-in, should not be a significant part of any trade.

The Phils aren't the only ones with "uderperforming" pitchers. This from Mutsblog:

"RHP John Maine gave up no runs on three hits over three innings while striking out three batters.
RHP Philip Humber allowed three runs through two innings, and now has a 24.00 ERA this spring.
RHP Aaron Heilman started well, but was rocked for four runs during one inning of work."

Starter did well, reliever got shelled, prospect got shelled. Where have I seen that before?

Forbes Magazine ranks the Phillies as the ninth most valuable baseball phranchise.

Worth $424 million, an increase of 8% over the prior year, 42% Debt/Value , with $176 million in revenue and $14.8 millon in operating profit. Gate receipts were $72MM.

The debt number means they OWE $178 million, most of it probably from the cost of building the new ballpark. $178MM is a tough nut to turn. Until that debt disappears it's likely we'll continue to see the type of payroll discipline we're used to.

The link to the Forbes article is here:

Interesting stuff.

Trivia answer: 1B/DH Ken Harvey of the Royals made the All-Star team in 2004. In 2005 he was sent down to the minors. He has yet to return to the majors.

Does anyone know anything about Ron Calloway? He is a minor league free agent pickup that played at Pawtucket last year. I know he won't make the team, but I noticed him last week as he swings a nice bat. He had 4 hits in Toronto B game this week and has 2 doubles and a triple so far in Grapefruit games. I looked up his numbers and he's 30 and played a bit for the Expos. Seems like he may give you a little more than Roberson or Simon.

The Phillies being in debt is a lot different than when an individual is in debt. An individual will decide not to purchase the bigger tv etc. until they pay their debt off. When major league teams spend money it is looked at as an investment. Signing Howard or Utley pays back in tickets, jerseys and tv deals among other things. I don't think we can look at the new park and say the Phillies are going to be more fiscally conservative because of it.

Debt is more of an issue with NFL, where player signings usually involves large upfront cash bonuses.

if this team does well this season and makes the playoffs i think that they will have a much better repeutation amongst the fans they already have and will generate more. Ryan Howard having a good season will also help.

I think they will realize the marketing potential of this team, and they will spend the money neccessary to take them to the next level(top shelf OF and 3B and RP). If we get those pieces we are pretty much unstoppable.

Stellar outing here by Freddy Garcia. Oh, never mind, I'm not supposed to notice. He's just working on his knuckleball.

For veterans like Garcia, I think they approach spring differently. We're talking about a 31-year-old pitcher with a ring, who consistently logs well over 200 innings each season. This is all a tune-up.

But I'm on RSB's side with concerns about M. Smith, even if it is March 10, and in Hayes' article this morning, Smith is clearly upset with his performance so far:

"If I keep throwing like this, I don't think good things are going to happen," Smith said. "If I don't have my slider, I'm pretty much worthless."

That's your top bullpen lefty speaking.

Just realized I had "Mark" Hampton in the subhead. Also had Boone Logan's age wrong in the preview post. Pretty sloppy lately. Must hire a copy editor.

The salient number in the Forbes article is $14.8 million in operating profit -- that number is the bottom line, coming after the debt payment, not to mention every other expense they can reasonably toss in to minimize the figure for tax purposes. In short, it means that the club's payroll could go to $110M before the red ink starts to appear.

I still think the bullpen is going to be the Achilles heel of this team this year and that this team as currently constituted won't win 90 games and the NL East. I give them 50/50 on the wildcard just because I think the NL is general is going to be pretty mediocre again this year.

Should, would, could - the Phils could have gotten a solid veteran arm or two but choose not to. I vividly recall a ton of posters on this website who ranted against this idea.

But it is only the first week of spring training. You really have no idea how this team will do or start to shake out until Memorial Day. Unless the Phils can clearly make an upgrade (e.g., Rios in RF), than they should pretty much stay pat and see what shakes loose.

Finance 101 - That debt for the Phils of $178 M means almost nothing. It is going to building a tangible physical asset which the team will own. You can bet that price will be included if current management ever sold this team.

I see Dobbs hit another hr. Maybe he is the natural

Maybe we should keep Lieber and put him in the bullpen. I don't know. It seems like we're going to at least need Bisenius on the roster.

Nunez another ofer today - while King had 3 hits (2 doubles). Wonder if King can play other infield positions other than 3rd.

fljerry: He can't. He also can't hit.

Well he sure appears to be hitting, Lord knows it's a small sample size but I think it's a little categorical and derisive to say the kid "can't hit."

Tray: Sorry. I base my judgment on 8 years on in-season minor league stats and scouting reports. I respect your decision to base your judgment on two weeks of spring training. We'll find out who's right soon enough.

Not that I am rooting for King - I am looking for someone to replace Nunez. Any time someone is looking good, I am hoping this may be the surprise of ST and take Nunez's place. Helms has been looking pretty good so far, so anyone that can play all infield positions I am hoping to see succeed can be a backup.

fljerry: Sadly, Nunez's contract guarantees that he will be on the team no matter what. But I share your wish.

clout, you are correct about his contract, but, he can be traded if someone else steps up.

Is it possible they go North with Coste (C,3B,1B), Dobbs(IF,OF), Garcia(RF,LF), Werth(OF,C), and Ruiz on the bench?

Or is Nunez just too good defensively to not have on the team?

Nunuez is on the team...get over it!

Get over what?

Nunez is making a little over $2 million assures he makes this team and that no team would ever trade for him.

Nunez could best sure this team by playing solid defense and hitting .250-.260. I would be thrilled if the Phils even got that from him.

AWH: MG is correct. Nunez would be tradeable only if the Phils would pick up his contract and that assumes anyone would even want him. The Phillies will need at least one backup who can play SS and 2B and Nunez is the only major league ready player who fits that description currently on the roster.

I just read in that King was a first round draft choice. He is 26 and I can not find out who or when he was drafted.

fljerry: I posted this on an earlier thread. He was NOT a first round pick:
King was a second round pick by the Dodgers out of a HS in Tennesee in 1999. The reports on him are that he is an exceptional fielder. The bad news is that he can't hit.

King doesn't strike out a huge amount but his career BB/K ratio is ugly and the rest of his numbers are weak. He spent 3 years at AA, not showing much progress except maybe a little more pop. At Scranton last season (his first full year in AAA) he hit .261/.302/.440, the best numbers of his career. 3B is his only position and he has no speed so a utlity job is out of the question. At age 26, if he can raise that SLG to say .475, he could get a cup of coffee some day. That's probably the extent of his upside.

CBS Sportsline resident MLB smart aleck Larry Dobrow on the good and bad bullpens in the major leagues speaks of the Phillies:

Tom Gordon's elbow has about as much elasticity left in it as Farrah Fawcett's smile. Matt Smith has yet to prove that he's any more interesting than his name. Want more? Antonio Alfonseca is only useful in leagues, real or fantastic, that award points for alphabetical order. Ryan Madson is a crippling changeup in search of a mound life partner.

Still more? Clay Condrey practically has FLUKE etched into his forehead. Geoff Geary's little-train-that-could adventure has a date with derailment. This bullpen is exhausting even to contemplate, so I can't imagine what it'll be like to watch. Two ideas: 1) Try Eude Brito, whose last name might or might not rhyme with "Frito," in a single-inning-only role; 2) Pray.

I know some people on here say "don't get all worked up, we're only a week into spring training", but in regards to the bullpen, I was worked up before the spring games started. We know our rotation is solid, we know our offense will score runs, but we do not know if our bullpen will be able to keep a game close or maintain a lead...this is scary!

All I can say is that in '93 (the last time we tasted genuine success), the team had a good record in spring training. I am well aware that most regulars are just tuning up and minor leaguers are often filling the stat sheets. However, winning is an attitude and I have no doubt that the hot start to the spring contributed to the Phils mentality in 93. They just always found a way to win, regardless of who was playing and how they scrapped out a victory. I just think these Phils are jumping on the opposition early, and not having that killer instinct. I know it's early, but we NEED that to start now.

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