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Saturday, March 31, 2007

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Someone a couple of threads ago complained about these two games taking away from the atmosphere on opening day. I like the games, OTOH, because they give the team a taste of April in the Northeast. Friday night's low, I just saw on the Weather Channel, is predicted to be 30 degrees. How many years have you watched the Phillies look dead when they get back from Florida and have to play for two weeks in the cold -- all the down-side of October baseball with none of the excitement, and the Fightin's rarely look like they're ready to rumble. Frankly, I hope somebody starts a bench-clearing fight, just so they enter the season with a little fire in their bellies (easy to say when I'm typing in my pajamas).

In the last thread Dukes mentioned the gorilla in the room -- our spotty outfield offense. Tray listed all the ways in which the team has slipped since last year. Jason pointed out the pressure to do well out of the gate. Add in the pressure of Rollins' prediction and we have all the potential needed for an April meltdown. Upside of such a scenario? I think Cholly would walk the plank by early May.

Great post as usual Alby.

Q: Myers Monday, Hamels Wednesday and Eaton Thursday to round out their series with Atlanta. Then Moyer Friday against Florida. Would anyone have rather seen Hamels and Moyer flipped?

I'm sorry but last year, they swept this on-deck series and that didn't do a darn thing, not to mention the fact that their 18-12 spring last year didn't do anything either. it's all relative

Forget the records of games that are half played by minor leaguers and players who are no longer here. What about when the important players like Howard talk about getting in rhythm with their swing, or when veterans like Jamie Moyer talk about finding a groove. Nothing to any of that? Nine home runs by Hamels this spring and four yesterday. No concern? Hamels has enough experience to flip the switch?

I've posted on "momentum" before and always get drilled. But the players seem to believe in it, maybe not momentum as much as feeling in a groove with their abilities.

your point is a good one. I was just bringing up the fact that they had all the momentum last season and fell on their face.

J -

The Phils want Moyer at #5 and then Myers the next day. The change of speeds supposedly messes with opponents' lineups.

The On Deck Series, if I remember correctly, can be traced back to '04 when the park was opened. The reason for the home games was to have dry runs of the ballpark operations prior to Opening Day. Having been an events person, you want to catch problems and glitches before the sell out crowd shows up on Monday. Then again, I believe at least the first game there was a sell out.

Anyone else enjoy the Phillies notes column on philly.com? Seemed like reading comments on Beerleaguer- Cole saying that the threw fastballs when he usually wouldn't, Pat and Charlie saying that we'll see Bourn in situations besides late inning defensive subs and Pat saying that the 'pen needs consistency or he'll have to find it.

I agree wit EK. I don't think winning or losing these games will make any difference, or very little. I just hope they can turn up the intensity on opening day this year, as opposed to May 1. These guys proved last year they can play well with their backs against the wall. Pennant winners, OTOH, don't have to wait that long to play well.

BTW, did anyone see Conlin's column yesterday, or maybe the day before, in which he noted how seldom Howard batted cleanup early last year? I mention is because I had gotten so used to him there by September that I forgot he rarely hit No. 4 until July.

Chris Coste got two hits and ran the bases for the Ottawa Lynx' only run during another injury assignment game with Ottawa yesterday in the Phillies' AAA team's 3-1 loss to Durham -- disabled list for Coste because of a hamstring strain? -- come on.

link: http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070330&content_id=197655&vkey=news_t501&fext=.jsp&sid=t501

Yeah, funny how we forget that about Howard, and that he actually hit his best stride with Burrell hitting behind him.

Nice to see Conlin debunking the protection myth, but it's a little late Bill. Marcus Hayes, Kevin Roberts, Hoffman, and Zoleckiu had all pointed this out months ago.

J.D. Drew picked off at second! Perfect.

I know I've commented on it before, but the thing that has me most excited about the Phillies as they head into the season is Michael Bourn. The Phils say they expect him to play more often than people think, which is just what I wanted to hear. It means that they'll be disinclined to let either Burrell or Rowand run out there day after day when/if they go into crippling slumps. He's an excellent insurance plan, and a progressive addition to the makeup of this team.

Concerning Hamels: yeah, he's impressive, but it occurs to me that without the changeup, he's Kyle Abbott.

When Eaton inevitably bites the dust and goes on the DL, I don't think I'll mind a bit. What a waste of time and money.

Eaton is not very inspiring. He looks like absolute crap again. Good thing he picked off J.D. Drewwwww...

This team can't beat the big boys. Already down 3-0. Eaton is terrible.

This team can't beat the big boys. Already down 3-0. Eaton is terrible.

Agreed RSB. You can't learn everything from spring training, but it's pretty clear Eaton is average at best.

The Phillies comment that he "could be a 20-game winner" could be an all-time howler.

And why is Calloway in there instead of Bourn?

Way to hit the nail on the head, RSB. Eaton is a total waste of time and money. Maybe we can ship him out mid-season, ala Andy Ashby. I know this is still only pre-season, but he doesn't give off a good vibe at all...

I liked the Eaton signing, but I agree he hasn't inspired much confidence. None of his pitches so far have been high quality.

Anyone else listening to Andersen rag on Matsusaka? He could actually spend his time analyzing a very interesting pitcher, but instead we get 25 jokes on the gyroball and the list of his entourage. I'm not sure what Andersen's beef with the kid is, but he is comming off like an a**hole.


RSB: "When Eaton inevitably bites the dust and goes on the DL, I don't think I'll mind a bit. What a waste of time and money."

Of course, Eaton was a Gillick "old boy" signing during the past off-season. Gillick's silly story about going out to Seattle to convince Eaton to sign with the Phillies -- as the Seattle Times revealed -- was actually a retirement house-hunting trip for Gillick -- and the old man can't retire soon enough, IMO.

My prediction: another Gillick recycle -- Gillick 2000 Blue Jays' first round draftee Jason Werth -- and his long, sweeping swing -- will bomb with the ring of the regular season bell.

I couldn't agree more on Gillick. How much longer do we have the bear with his inadequacies?

Will Eaton give up 6 or 7 runs today? Ugh...

As for Gillick, who is next? Amaro? There is no upgrade there...

Eaton is singlehandedly making me reconsider my opinion of the Phillies' not trading Jon Lieber. This guy is making Lieber look like Greg Maddux. He has no out pitch. Let's see if he pulls another 'it's only spring training, they don't pay me for this' after this one.

Watching our starting pitching getting destroyed by the BoSox sucks!

Hamels is going to still have his peaks and valleys with more peaks this season than valleys. He's still learning how to pitch at the MLB level. Eaton on the other hand...well, I have nothing nice to say.

I'm still predicting 92 wins, but they better be able to "flip the switch" come Monday.

Eaton Alive! BoSox Feast on Phillies!

Hopefully that headline won't be repeated come Thursday against Atlanta...

I guess I should say the jist of that headline, cause obviously we won't be playing Boston on Thursday...

Nice to see Burrell warming up going into the season!

Ha ha, nice dugout shot of Burrell flipping someone off! Maybe that was for me!

A truly old-school reach down and get it Burrell homer. Eaton was a mess, but three runs off Dice-K including a Burrell shot ... I'll take it. It's Julio de la Cruz time.

Calloway's glovework on the ball between him and Rowand was atrocious - ALWAYS catch the ball with two hands. However, Rowand should've called him off of it.

And Sarge sounds like he's got some sort of brain disorder. His commentary lacks any amount of insight 98% of the time.

I think Mr. Rogers from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood could do a better job in the booth..

Sarge is weak. I thought maybe he was starting off slow with regard to his new found job, but he is his same boring self with each broadcast. I hope the tv producers realize that and at least give us some Larry Andersen during the regular season.

Alfonseca hasn't looked sharp either..just gave up a homer to 'Tek. Sarge's commentary wasn't too bad on that one..

maybe not, but he just struck out someone on a filthy looking pitch

3 runs off dice-k thanks to his 4 walks. they only have 2 hits.

alfonseca looks ok. other than the HR, he's throwing ok. he doesn't appear to have an out pitch, however. that's got to be the diffrence between 45 saves and pitching in the 7th inning.

"alfonseca looks ok. other than the HR, he's throwing ok."

I thought so, too. I'm not overly worried about him the way I am with others.

I like what Im seeing from Matt Smith. has a real nice slider

Matt Smith didn't look too bad - I'm glad he's getting himself on track. Werth showed some decent range on that ball hit to the OF.

smith worries me, however. when he misses, he misses by 2-3 feet. he's going to have a real important job, namely getting out all the lefties in the 7th/8th inning. look at the schedule the first month and those are some good hitters. he's got to get everything straightened out really quick.

just read RSB's comment above about Eaton. i agree 100% and am surprised by eaton's relentless mediocrity. maybe i shouldn't be but, as it turns out, he's neither a power pitcher, nor does he have anything special in terms of specialty pitches. for a big guy with 4 pitches, he looks incredibly hittable. in fact, he looks like ryan franklin.

Ryan Franklin came to my mind as well, mostly when Ortiz hit the ball 450 feet.

Maybe it will change, but I don't want another pitcher who gives up 8+ hits an outing the way Lieber did last season. Not with this defense, and not with this bullpen. They don't need guys warming up in the fourth and fifth. Pitchers like that, and this ballpark, are a recipe for mediocrity. Maybe Eaton is one of the reasons the Phillies think Bourn will get a lot of innings. They could be scrambling.

Harry Kalas' velvet vocal chords have soothed my soul.

He alone inspires confidence in me.

'in fact, he looks like ryan franklin.'

Oh, man. The truth hurts.

The good news, though: the key bullpen guys are really rounding into shape. Alfonseca is going to be a 4.50 middle-inning guy; whatever. But Smith, Madson, Geary, and Gordon look ready to go. Even if the rest of the team by and large doesn't.

I don't know what the Phillies were thinking by putting Andersen on radio and Matthews on TV. I don't even think it's a matter of personal taste. It's just stupid.

wow, Dobbs. nice swing

5 HRs and 20 RBIs from Dobbs this spring!

Dobbs looks like a steal.

I'm kinda thinkin about picking him up late in my fantasy draft.

Is it me, or has Matthews been on the tv broadcast all game? If so, that is pretty damn weak...

I don't know but this mlb.tv thing is great. you have the Phillies video but the audio is from the radio broadcast. pretty cool

"Maybe Eaton is one of the reasons the Phillies think Bourn will get a lot of innings. They could be scrambling."

Even Bourn can't play in the second deck. We commented on this when the signing happened, but a FB pitcher with average stuff is a nightmare in Citizen's. I'm worried about Moyer too.

I wonder if the same scout who said Eaton could be a 20-game winner was also the one who said he had the stuff to be a groundball pitcher. Ugh.

Just in the few at bats I've seen, Werth has looked awkward at the plate. He's another player who hasn't inspired much confidence. A fifth outfielder.

Jason, I just went back and looked at the Eaton thread and you weren't alone in liking the move. I called it "the best signing of the Gillick era" and RSB liked it too!

A lot of the negativity is based on the fact that Garcia was acquired later, so Eaton looks superfulous. But at the time, we were looking at Brito or lord knows who as the 5th starter. I still think that in two or three years this contract won't look that bad, but so far, he hasn't looked sharp. No matter what he does, he and Moyer will both be better than Madson and Floyd.

Nice swing from Ruiz. He's going to make more than a few pitchers pay this season. Always seems like the Phillies would face catchers like this and would get hurt by them.

Meanwhile, I've seen enough from Barajas to know the scouting reports are correct. Swing at most everything. Good for about 12 home runs. Rest of the time, he'd just as soon give it a long ride than put it in play. He's there to catch. "Set 'em and forget 'em."

kdon: I initially liked the Eaton signing because Gillick had done it immediately after they learned they'd lost Wolf to LA. But as soon as they got Garcia, Eaton's presence was superfluous and remains so. Jon Lieber is a better starting pitcher than Eaton, but he's getting the short end of the stick because he's not the one who just signed the free-agent contract. At this point, mediocrity appears the best we can hope for from Eaton. He looks like a nightmare waiting to happen in such a pitcher's park as CBP. It wouldn't take much to be considered an 'upgrade' from Gavin Floyd. If Gillick was a fisherman, surely he'd want to throw Eaton back.

It also looked like another offseason would go by without getting a pitcher. They didn't exactly break the bank for Eaton, but it's a significant commitment.

Nevertheless, Eaton's record this season is 0-0 with an 0.00 ERA.

Carlos Ruiz is our future starting catcher. Barajas is here to tutor him, but Ruiz has above average offense potential.

Lets see if Dobbs can continue this blazing start to his Phillies career.

I have very mixed feelings on the whole Eaton signing. At some point, the "potential" label should not be applied to a pitcher anymore and Eaton has well passed that point.

As a fifth starter this season, I think Eaton is fine. He is a substantial upgrade over anybody the Phils through out their last year as their fifth starter. Problem is that Eaton is a man from G.L.A.S.S. and is almost guaranteed to make his annual trip to the the DL.

The bigger concern I have about Eaton is beyond 2007. Almost guaranteed that he becomes the 3rd/4th starter on this team in 2008. No contending makes the playoffs with a guy like Eaton as their 3rd starter.

Unless of course that contending team is the San Deigo Padres who made the playoffs with Eaton as their 3rd starter (Peavy, Woody William, then Eaton).

Spring Training for the Phillies is like Spring Training on Beerleaguer, you really can't extrapolate between what you see now and the regular season. For example: I find myself in near total agreement with the posts of RSB and davthom this offseason. But once the season begins....

Is the 3pm deadline today or tomorrow? Is it a trade deadline? I don't quite get it - I thought the trade deadline was in July.

And how did that Padres team fare in the playoffs? I believe they didn't win a game...

I wasn't trying to be a jerk, I was just being contrary.

I'm so pysched for this season to start.

Allow me to defend Eaton here a bit. When he was signed several of you declared the Phillies "now have the best rotation in the NL East." I won't mention names, but thes same people are now saying he's crap.

I liked the Eaton signing (I'd been griping about getting another SP even before the season ended) but was under no delusion about what he was. He doesn't go deep into games, you're lucky if he averages 6 IP a start. He also gives up HRs and he'll give up at least 30 this season, as will every other member opf the Phillies rotation. Moyer might give up 40 if he pitches 200 IP.

But Eaton is a pretty decent 4th-5th starter, IF he stays healthy. His fastball is in the low 90s and he has a good slider. He can also throw a curveball and changeup. His problem has always been command and his K/BB ratio is just fair, but he's got the stuff and hitters have only batted .257 off him for his career. He's also given up fewer hits than IP. That will keep you in most games.

Nobody's trying to be a jerk on here. It's still the pre-season, so this continues to be the blog of brother love...

Opening day has me wanting the weekend to be over so that it can be Monday already.... that is soooo wrong...

Greg "The Natural" Dobbs and Wonderboy have had a great spring training, but nobody should get too excited. In 222 major league ABs he has exactly 2 HRs. That's TWO. His best season ever, about half and half in AA and AAA, he hit 17. And that was playing everyday. He's a damn sight better than Karim Garcia, though.

My original post on the Eaton signing (which praised an earlier post by ae):
"ae: Good job! I agree with your skepticism on Eaton, but the Phils had no interest in a top tier FA starter so that left the group including Padilla, Lilly, Marquis, Meche, Armas, Batista, Ohka and a bunch of lesser lights than that. I hope everyone appreciates the irony of Padilla being the best of that lot, but Eaton might be second best. Trivia fans will note that Eaton was a Phils prospect who was dealt for Andy Ashby, an utter failure here, in yet another bad Phillies trade."

So me, Jason, ae, clout, and RSB all agreed on the same thing: that Eaton would be good, if not spectacular, addition?

I'm floored.

Also, good post clout explaining what Eaton does well. THere was a reason I like him, and I can;t let a few exhibition games sway my opinion. Damn subjective analysis! Fails every time...

kdon: Just to be perfectly clear, I liked the signing, but unlike you and RSB I disagreed that it made the Phillies rotation the best in the NL East.

I liked the signing then, still like the signing now.

Clout, where do I say anything about "the best rotation in the NL?"

It's so much fun having two sets of opinions: my own and those attributed to me by clout.

How about a trade with the Blue Jays -- Chris Coste for Rosario -- the high-velocity, control-challenged pitcher who was scouted by the Phillies this past week -- and who was just designated for assignment by the Jays? That deal makes sense to me, with the "given" that the Gillick Phillies clearly have no use for Coste.

The Blue Jays' backup catcher right now is Jason Phillips -- a terrible hitter who hit .128 in Spring Training. Behind Phillips is 2006 Phillie castoff Sal Fasano, who was. last I heard, still in the Blue Jays camp as a non-roster player.

I think that a trade of Chris Coste for Rosario may be a real possibility. Coste -- notwithwtanding the "disabled list" disinformation being floated by Phillies' management, actually has been playing in Spring Training games for Philies' AAA club Ottawa for the past three or four days, and yesterday, Coste had two hits and circled the bases to score the Lynx' only run in a 3-1 loss to Durham. In other words, I don't think Coste is really very "disabled" any more, and Coste would certainly be a backup catcher upgrade for the Blue Jays from Phillips and Fasano.

I don't think I ever really liked the Eaton signing...my words (from the thread clout refers to) were:

"I'll be surprised if Eaton posts a sub-4.50 ERA, but whatever...everybody else seems to like him for some reason I can't discern, and he's certainly better than the ludricous Castro-as-number-five rumor floating around recently."

people were actually pushing Fabio as our #5 starter? seems so long ago...I still think the signing was a mistake and stand by my prediction of a 4.50+ ERA. I could easily seem him putting up 2005 Eric Milton numbers - although, of course, that would require him to stay healthy enough to start 35 games.

Coste for Rosario is impossible.

Correction on Fasano -- Sal was just assigned to the Blue Jays minor league camp today. See, the ESPN transactions page, referencing both Fasano's assignment, and Rosario's designation for assignment, at the link: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/transactions

ae: "Coste for Rosario is impossible."

Why?

dav, the trade value of 34 year old career minor leaguers - no matter how well they hit in a quarter of a season - is basically zero. could he get us Ricardo Rincon? probably, and that's because Rincon is a 37 year old who had labrum and rotator cuff surgery last year. Rosario is a 26 year old with a good arm - there's no way we get him unless we're giving up someone who's still a prospect.

also, I know I've seen references to Toronto having to waive Rosario - why? he didn't debut until 2006, so he should still have option years left, unless the Blue Jays added him to the 40 man roster two years before his debut.

ae: Rosario was designated for assignment today. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/transactions

I read of Rosario yesterday on espn that he has a great fastball but his secondary pitch is a well below-average slider.

Regarding Francisco Rosario, and the Phillies, the report in today's Toronto Star, under the headline, "Jays announce opening day roster", states, in pertinent part, as follows:

"Yesterday’s final decision really came down to Accardo or Francisco Rosario, but Jays opted to designate the 26-year-old for assignment. Jays now have 10 days to either trade, release or place him on waivers. At least three teams have shown interest, the Phillies most certainly."

link: http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/198135

And also, yesterday's report in the Toronto Sun:

"Right-hander Francisco Rosario, also out of options, is on the trade block with the Phillies one of three teams that have shown interest. "There's a couple (of trade offers), but nothing on the front-burner," (Jays' GM) Ricciardi said.

link: http://www.torontosun.com/Sports/Baseball/2007/03/30/3870384-sun.html


Rosario is a hard-throwing righty with serious command problems. Maybe Dubee has a secret elixir.

kdon: You're right and I'm wrong. I went back and checked. The "best rotation" debate was after the Garcia signing, not Eaton.

I doubt that Dubee has the magical elixir to really help anyone on this staff. Frankly, I was kind of surprised that he wasn't one of the coaching staff who got swept out this past winter.

Went down to the game today with my granddaughter. Eaton was just as bad as in Sarasota as everyone has noted. I sure like that kid Dobbs, ball JUMPED off his bat. Also, I liked Utley stealing 2b even though they were down. That's Lopes' coaching. Burrell's swings were good, especially the dinger. Looks like he opened up his stance, moved his legs wider apart. I think it helped. Howitzer had a fine swing, just got under it a little bit.

I never put any credence in spring pitchers stats. Hell, Lefty used to get crushed every spring then go out and toss a 2-hitter or something on Opening day. Bullpen didn't look to shabby today either.

And I think a little leeway for Gillick would be in order here. Patience. Give him another year at least. Baseball is a sport with a flow of its own and sometimes teams follow that. The arrow is pointed upwards, the sky is the limit!

See ya at the opener.

dav, I know that everyone is reporting Rosario as being out of options. I was hoping someone could explain how that is possible, since he just made his ML debut last year.

I hate to rip "Sarge" Matthews but why was he hired? What is his experience? Did he prep w/ any minor leauge games. He states the obvious & his voice realy affects the flow of the broadcast. Scott Grahm must drink Jack Daniels watching these games wondering what he did wrong.
I'm a huge fan of hamels-but does anyone remember what his fastball velocity was approaching the season last year. His fastball topped out at 87mph yesterday & in his post-game interview he said he hopes the regular season games adrenaline will get him going.

Why is Rosario out of options? Here's a link explaining the rules http://baseball.about.com/od/lesserknownrules/a/transactionrule.htm
Rosario he started his professional career in 1999 as at age 18. Because he was under 19 he was automatically protected for 4 years without being placed on the 40-man major league roster. The next year, 2003, he was injured the entire year. Then from 2004 through 2006 he was on the ML roster and optioned to the minors each year. It makes not difference if he played in the majors or not (he was called up in 2 of the 3 seasons), he was still on the ML roster and sent down 3 different seasons. Now he is out of options, but he's also 26. I like Coste as a pinch hitter and emergency catcher much too much to want him to be traded for a wild minor league reliever who can't be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. The Phils could end up getting as much for Coste as they got for Bell and Cormier.

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