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Monday, March 26, 2007

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Nothing truly shocking here. Bisenius is probably better served starting the season in T-AAA. Let him build off good spring training. Given the current state of the bullpen, I predict a Bisenius appearance in Philly by the All-Star break.

Smith, Condrey, and Warden will likely all make the team. Right now it looks as if Geary (1week) and Lieber (2weeks) maybe on the DL to start the season. Jaramillo will be the b/u catcher is Coste and Ruiz cannot start the season. Sergovia may just make a start for Garcia if they go that route or the team may just skip Garcia in the rotation the first week.

MG I agree Bisenius will be on this team by all star break. I also feel Sergovia will be on the team by then as well.
Is JA Happ still in the mix? He could get that first start as well or be in the pen.

I forgot to list Happ. I'll make the correction.

I'll say it again: Helms should be hitting fifth on Opening Day. Anyone disagree?

i think helms is going to end up being the best move of the offseason (i know, not really saying that much). he's made some nice plays in the field so far this spring. he certainly doesn't look any worse than david bell anyways. at this point, he's probably a better (or most consistent, we should say) hitter than burrell.

My award to most improved commentor is clout. His insights are right on the mark and he's eliminated the personal barbs at other commentors. He has been a joy to read throughout the spring training period.

Jason drives a Camry? Nothing to be ashamed about. I'm recently upgraded my Camry, so I'm happy. I bought a new one to drive back and forth to Houston.

I still haven't purchased an XM radio yet. I discouraged by it's lack of portablility, essentially anchored down to an XM antenna that has to have access to a southwest sky view. You have to pay all this money and have awkwardness, then you got to pay a monthly fee on top of it. In Houston, I have no night time internet, so it's XM or ESPN. Arggghh!

Is anyone having success seeing Gameday for today's game? I think I have everything typed in right but I can't get it to work.

I am still depressed with Smith's performance this spring. I am unsure on why he is almost guaranteed a spot in the pen even though he is pitching horribly in March. He was good last year, but only pitched 20 innings. Am I missing something?

A Beerleaguer moment: Matt Smith just got Bobby Abreu on a fly ball to left. Guess we know who got the better of *that* deal.

gr: more consistent than Burrell - that's the whole key. Helms puts his bat on the ball, and with authority. I don't care who's had the better career. I'll be happy to tell you who the better hitter is right now, though - it's unquestionably Wes Helms.

Hey clout, stop posting as LF!

On the pen, I agree that this isn't a surprise. Condrey was definately going to make the team because he was out of options, and with the injuries, Warden may get his chance as well.

Matt Smith is 27 years old and has the best AAA and ML track record of all the possible lefties (I know, that's not saying much). He should get the first chance in the pen, despite looking quite hittable in ST.

The Jarimillo thing may mean that both Coste and Ruiz start on the DL.

This recent onrush on naggin injuries is definately the biggest reason to be concerned.

Also, Bob D, did you mean Garcia, and not Geary, being out for one week?


Not to nitpick on myself, but I do realize that an "onrush of nagging injuries" is not only a mixed metaphor, but an oxymoron as well. Ooops.

RSB, I'm certainly open to Helms hitting 5th if he produces like he did last year in Florida. THe big question is whether the extra defensive responsibilities at 3B will take a toll on his hitting. Thoughout his career, he has always hit better as a 1B than 3B. I'm certainly pulling for the guy.

of course, then helms goes and swings 2-0 at ball 3. gameday working fine for me. matt smith is not ready for the majors. bobby baled him out after takign too fast balls 3 feet out of the strike zone. int he regular season, there's no way he swining in that at-bat. not him and not against a wild lefty like smith.

If I'm reading this box score right, a guy named Bean just came in and plunked Burrell and Rowand back to back. Now thats good irony.

Actually, Smith had a pretty sharp outing - striking out Rodriguez and Matsui - probably the most encouraging aspect of the game today.

GR, can you give me the link you're using for Gameday?

Colter Bean nails Burrell and Rowand, that's the kind of stuff I love about baseball!

Many of you know I wrote a paper on the Brett Myers alleged domestic violence incident.

On 10/5/06 the Phillie's issued a press release which stated: "We are committed to continue consultation with representatives of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) and others on matters including the training of Phillie's front office and player personnel on domestic violence issues and the establishment of domestic violence policies and protocol."

As of yet the Phillie's have revealed nothing about any measures taken. Also, shamefully, not one newspaper article (local or national) has been written to follow up on the issue.

I have emailed the Phillie's to see what I can find out. I think this is a really important situation, especially in light of Myers' extention and his opening day nod.

Anyone interested in reading my paper can follow this link:
LINK

I encourage people to contact the Phillie's or even local media to try to find out what they can. This should still be a national story. Instead of taking over 9 months from the incident to announce their policies (if they even have any new ones), the Phillie's should be the leaders in fighting domestic violence in all of sports.

Bob D: I cannot imagine Warden making the team, unless 3 pitchers go on the DL. Even then, he'll be gone in 2 weeks. Smith doesn't deserve to make the team, but he's been better than Castro and you have to have at least one lefty.

MG: If the Phils don't make a trade for bullpen help and Bisenius pitches well in Ottawa, he'll be back before May 15.

Bisenius will be back as soon as Clay Condrey blows up and the Phils put him on waivers. I hope Condrey can prove to be a decent reliever, but I don't feel that way about any of the Phils relievers at this moment. Our bullpen needs help, but I don't foresee help coming, you make what you want from that statement.

Howard with 2 more k's today...he's been abysmal this spring.

Rollins committed his 4th error, that's just sloppy.

Anyone else just have a heart attack. Michael Kay (the Yankees announcer) just said..."and now batting for the Phillies, Tomas Perez."

I guess they have last year's #8 instead of this year (Bourn). Still, very scary moment!

Good ol' Pie-Guy Tomas Perez back with the Phillies. Thank goodness this isn't true.

Speaking of ex-Phillies, how bad must the Royals suck if they're actually putting Alex Gonzalez on their 25-man roster. He should have stayed retired.

Tim, I don't disagree that the club's conduct immediately following the incident was entirely inappropriate. but your argument is undercut by this story today.

Even though Howard has been horrid, I'm not concerned. But when is the right time to be concerned about him? If he is struggling like this mid-April to May, then do we worry?

And oh God. No mas Tomas!

Um, ya cause that Perez is no AO Nunez... Oh wait, actually he is Abe Nunez.

Baseball Prospectus (via MLB Trade Rumors) says that word has been going around that Rowand was sitting out to avoid injury for an imminent trade. although his appearance today would seem to negate that (although how ironic is it that he promptly gets hit by a pitch).

Maybe Rowand was sitting out to prevent his miniscule spring average from plummeting any further, in order not to deter teams from possibly wanting him. He looked like a decent offensive player before he smashed into the rail in May; he's looked like an easy out since.

ae - thank you very much for that link. lexis takes a day or two to catch up i guess.

i'm very glad to see the phillies doing something. it's just amazing to me that they don't have an articulable policy they can release to the public 9 months after the incident.

they should be promoting and pushing their new policies and encouraging every mlb team to adopt them.

I watched most of the game today and I am flat out nervous for this season. The Phillies do not look at all like the team to beat. Besides the bullpen, the thing that strikes me the most is the lineup. Howard will come around (I hope), but Burrel and Rowand look horrible. We're in a bad, bad way.

Funny how Milt Thompson had supposedly worked with Rowand to change his swing this spring. Obviously hasn't worked out well so far.

If Rowand only hits .240 or .250 and K's alot, he really doesn't have a ton of value to this team. Problem is that moving Victorino over to CF creates the platoon of Werth/Garcia. Besides being offensively deficient, an outfield defense with Garcia and Burrell might be the worst in the majors.

seems like it would be more likely to see a Werth/Dobbs platoon given the way Dobbs has been hitting, doesn't it? not sure if that's a good thing (or if Dobbs is up to even a part-time OF job defensively) - just pointing it out.

think it's kind of funny how similar (as in virtually identical) Burrell and Howard have been offensively ST - and yet we're all constantly cautioned that Howard will be okay while Burrell is all but a lost cause. I think the truth is probably somewhere in between for both of them - and that the Norm Cash as Howard's top comparison (inaccurate as that metric is, I agree) may be closer to reality than anyone wants to acknowledge.

"Bisenius will be back as soon as Clay Condrey blows up and the Phils put him on waivers."

Carson, I think Jim Ed will blow up before Condrey. Condrey could very well have a nice season for this team.

People need to relax just a little. Last year they were unstoppable in ST and they got their doors blown off the first couple weeks of the season. It'll be ok.

The Yankees announcers mentioned the Werth/Garcia platoon today and I just cannot believe that is a possibility.

The problems:

#1) Garcia is two years removed from ML baseball, and even when he was at his best, he was barely a 5th OF.

#2) In a strict platoon, Garcia would get way more ABs than Werth, despite being the inferior hitter.

#3) Garcia actually is a better hitter vs. LHP, posting a .749 OPS against them vs. .693 against RHP.

(Interjection: Seriously....SERIOUSLY, how in the world is this guy on the team. A corner OF with no speed and no defense who has a career .693 OPS against RHP. I know he is going to make the team, but it will be -- by far -- the biggest mistake)

If the Phils deal Rowand, and make Werth the everyday RF, it's close to a push, but the possibility of Garcia getting 400 ABs is enough to get my blood boiling.

Most posters here have ripped the failure to sign a bullpen arm, but I think the biggest mistake was not signing Huff, Nixon or (my favorite!) Catolonatto to platoon with Werth so that the team could trade Rowand (or Vic) and not lose any more offense.

If they do indeed start the season with Garcia as the everyday RF against RHP, I will be right on board with the alarmists!

kdon, I completely agree. Garcia/Werth scares me. I would've liked to see Huff in there.

INJURY BUG SPREADING UP TURNPIKE:
METS P Duaner Sanchez has a hairline fracture and should be out at least 4 months per ESPN.

With all the trash-talking, injuries, and ST drama it will be an interesting April in the NL EAST.

Kdon, I just check my bank account online and I don't see the big payment clout promised me for naming him Beerleaguer's Most Improved Commentor.

We were lead to believe that the Phillies heading north line-up would be the 25 best players, yet, we see guys going back to the minors because they still have options and others that aren't as good, but have no options, remain with the big club. I am concerned. What were they at the end of April last year? My memory says 10-14. We may be glad if the emerge from April with a similar record this year.

The key for the Phillies this year is how they perform against the gNats. If they can win all their games against the gNats and break even against everyone else, then they'll make the playoffs. If we play .500 ball or worse against the gNats, we'll be watching eight other teams in the playoffs.

kdon - I am with you.

I was screaming for huff or Nixon all offseason. Could have easily signed huff for the money Eaton received (although I didn't check it). Then ship Rowan off for RP help.

oh well. Hopefully the trip north will spark this team, right now it doesn't look so good.

If they trade Rowand, the logical thing to do is make Bourn the everyday CF and play Vic in RF. If Bourn can't hack it after a month, Garcia/Werth is your fallback. A Bourn-Rollins 1-2 would be interesting.

I disagree - I think most of the moves made thus far are more or less consistent with the "best 25 players" mindset. (Germano is the only glaring disagreement I have on that count.)

as I've posted before, I think Bisenius needs more minor league experience (only 23 AA innings, none at AAA) - especially so that he gets regular outings and doesn't have to wait until Manuel's system says he's up for an inning - before he can just step into the ML bullpen with the high expectations and pressure that that entails.

other than the two of them, who's been sent down who really deserved a roster spot? Castro clearly isn't ready. you could maybe make an argument for Brito, but with his accident and general futility last year, it wouldn't be a good one. I don't think any of the position players were ready (especially if they'd be in an infrequently-used bench role).

c'mon, clout - Burrell/Bourn/Victorino is a disaster in the making. if that's the master plan, might as well give up on the season now.

on my last post, just to be clear - I don't think this team is as good as it could/should be. the bullpen and bench are serious weaknesses. the outfield doesn't look great. Eaton looks like a very poor acquisition. but given the pieces we have right now, I think the moves they've made (with, again, the glaring exception of the Germano move) are pretty reasonable.

Catalonatto would've been a great pickup for the Phils - except, that he wanted to go back to Texas.

Speaking of guys who 'want' to go to a particular team, does Greater Philadelphia have any native or adopted sons that would give the Phillies a competitive advantage in a free agent market?

Lake Fred - regarding XM and the requirement of a view of the SW sky, be aware that in major cities – including Houston, I'm sure – XM has terrestrial repeaters to counter the signal being blocked by the buildings and such. So, you shouldn't have a problem with the signal in large cities, and I very, very rarely have a problem with the signal anywhere at all. Just wanted to make sure you knew.

I'm with clout here. Rollins and Bourn at the top of the lineup and Victorino seventh would give the Phillies a *far* more dynamic batting order than they're going to have. Again - please don't tell me about Rowand's great power! The Phils can easily afford to lose his 12-18 homers (if indeed we can even see that from here, considering how he's scarcely he's driven the ball this spring). What this team needs is fewer out machines and greater ability to get around the bases. Mark my words, the Phillies are going to generate *extremely* little offense 6-9 this year.

Rick 'Sachu'? Say it ain't so...

apparently "dynamic" is code for "scores fewer runs but looks better doing it."

I've been hoping for Bourn to make this team all Spring. If they can trade Rowand + to the White Sox for MacDougal and Rob McCowiak (sp?)I would do it in a heartbeat. Over on MLBtraderumors.com, they had a blurb from Baseball Prospectus saying that Rowand's little vacation was so he didn't get hurt and we could trade him. I guess that went out the window when we played him today.

McDougal is terrible. This is the guy who kept on blowing the few save ops he had for the KC Royals and eventually got booted for first J. Affeldt, and then A. Burgos. Rob M. is a decent utility guy who can play a lot of different places, but not really all that well.

Rowand's presence in the clubhouse is worth more than those two guys put together.

ae: Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Burrell-Bourn-Vic is a great OF. I'm on record here as saying it would be last in the NL in HRs. But if they trade Rowand, which is what I responding to, it is superior to an OF of Burrell-Vic-Garcia/Werth, both on offense and defense.

Obviously, my preference is to deal Lieber for bullpen help, but if they can only get it with Rowand, so be it. I'm not in the camp with kdon et al who say the bullpen is going to be fine as is.

I dont get why it has to be a Garcia/Werth platoon. Why not just have Werth by himself? Garcia's helpin noone

Obviously the 'pen is not fine the way it is and I don't like the RF situation. With only 1 LH reliever, that tells me a trade is coming but just who will go I don't know> I think Lieber has to be kept until we know about F. Garcia and Rowand shouldn't be moved unless a RF'der who can play is brought in. I like Werth. But K. Garcia? No , no, no.

okay, I agree with you there, clout. I'd definitely take Bourn starting, rookie struggles and all, over Karim Garcia getting regular playing time.

Is everyone forgetting that Dobbs can play right field. Why not a Werth/Dobbs platoon?

ZT: Werth is a poor hitter vs. RHP. Garcia is a lefty and is probably slightly better, although if he totally sucked, playing Werth everyday would be OK unless he sucks too, which he did in his last active season.

fljerry: Dobbs is a poor outfielder, although probably no worse than Dellucci. His best positions are 1B and 3B.

Clout
It now seems that Dobbs will only be a pinch hitter. There is no place for him at third or first. I know he has played some outfield in spring garden and with lots of practice he may be better outfielder than you think. By the way what makes you think hes a bad outfielder?

Wow Spring Garden - my old hunting grounds - naturally meant training

I agree that Helms was a great pickup & should be hitting behind Howard. I'm completely disturbed watching Burrell hit. I had heard this spring training he was making changes(ie standing closer to the plate/wider stance)But watching the game on YES today & this weekend he looks lost. I have no confidence in him at all

I think this was brought up on here before but I'm really starting to think that Gillick is waiting for '08 just like he said last year when he dealt Abreu.

The phillies need a guy to hit behind Howard. That's old news.

The question is, what position is that hitter going to play? That source of RBI producing-power has got to come from one of the outfield spots, because the infield is entirely accounted for in the lineup.

So what are the options?
1. Burrell
2. Rowand's replacement via trade
3. Burrell's replacement via trade

Is there any righty outfield bat that is better than Burrell and more importantly, available given the trading chips that the Phils have?

The answer to that is no. If you look around the league - there are only a handful of righty run producing outfielders that might be better than Burrell. This list includes:
1. Manny, 2. Dye, 3. Holliday 4. Guerrero, 5. Bay, 6. Soriano, 7. Johnson, 8. Wells 9. A. Jones, 10. C. Lee, 11. Maggs

Now I would think most of those guys are untouchable, and would require a stud blue chip prospect to be considered at all.

Given that, from other teams' perspectives, I could see how they may see the Phils' problem with Burrell as one of those 'nice problems to have'.

In the end, it makes sense to trade Rowand and Lieber for a a stud reliever and a prospect outfielder because besides his influence in the clubhouse, Rowand is probably not the best fit as the 7th hitter in the lineup because his OBP is so low. Rather you need a guy who has the patience to take pitches and create walks (Rowand does not take walks at all). Getting a guy like Bourn in there, who creates havoc on the basepaths, can put himself in scoring position and take advantage of any kind of contact made by Barajas and the pitcher, might make for a better fit overall.

Then again - who's this "stud" reliever that we're looking for. I doubt any such reliever is available for the combo package of Rowand and Lieber.

Ultimately, the Phils need to stop looking externally for someone to come in and save or settle them, and look inwards for the solutions this year. In the meantime, PG and Amaro have gotta start developing those kinds of options (power righty bat, high-powered/reliable reliever) in the farm system. If you look at most of the best bullpens around the league, they're all internally developed: the Twins, Padres, Angels, Houston, Arizona.

if Gillick was actually waiting for '08 (and not just using it as an excuse for his own bad moves), he wouldn't have traded one of our more valuable young pitching prospects for one year of an aging SP.

Tony, the Phils are flat-out stuck with Burrell. At this rate, they have no choice but to just hope he produces something. God forbid it gets to the point where he's platooning with Garcia. But that could happen.

Burrell-Rowand-Barajas is the 2007 Black Hole. A creative manager would tweak the order to break those three up (or four, counting Helms - another righty with no speed), but it's not happening. I noticed that Werth hit 2nd today, and Victorino 7th, so perhaps there's hope. Victorino's a good top-of-the-order guy, but I think the lineup is probably better off with him in the middle of all those plodders.

I can't remember Dobbs playing much in the OF this spring. It does look like he's pretty much PH/interleague DH only. Bourn, meanwhile, unfortunately hasn't helped his chances lately, cooling considerably in the last several games.

The Phils brass must see something that I don't in Jim Ed Warden. He'll probably make the team and stay on the 25 man roster all season to be used in all of 20 games by Charlie Manuel. I'd hate to see a roster spot wasted on him. But if Manuel plans to use him and he can be effective, then I have no problem with him in our 'pen.

I agree, Carson, Jim Ed will be used like the Model Dictator was used last year. It's a definite waste of a roster spot.

To the Other Kevin, thanks for the XM radio tips. I am buying lottery tickets in hopes of being able afford this waste of money for XM radios and their associated gear just to hear the Phillies.

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