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Thursday, March 22, 2007

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Weitzel, as depressing as your offering is today, it made me laugh. I too am starting to panic. My once optimistic view on this season is vanishing as if Pen & Teller are pulling a cruel joke on me.

Our bullpen sucks- true.

Anytime you trade complete crap, aka Gavin Floyd, for a proven winner and workhorse, Freddy Garcia, something is fishy. We're now facing that reality.

I'm trying to find a positive in all this- best I can come up with...Jon Lieber fills in for Freddy for some quality starts upping his trade value. We then trade Lieber for setup man and Freddy comes back healthy by May and is back to being the pitcher we expected.

Just pop a Prozac and live it up bro!

what a difference a day makes?

I never was that high on the teams chances envisioning some more underacheivement, but I'm not jumping off the wagon either. Seems like another 85 win, right off the WC pace season to me.

Rod Barajas to the rescue.

This will be an interesting 11 days.
I guess it's official that Brett toes the rubber on 4/2. Hope he can go 9.

I'm not convinced that this was some sneaky trick by the White Sox. Garcia's best pitching came at the end of the season in 2006. I think it's just a fluke of bad luck.

Jason, I'm repeating back to you what you're in the habit of reminding us all periodically.

It's a long season.

As for this? If garcia goes down, leiber goes nowhere. Fine. I'm not happy about trading for junk, though, but if you've run your medical rule over a guy and he's coming out okay, there's nothing to be had by second guessing. common assumption is that garcia's fastball has been dropping and dropping, but that's been happening year on year whilst he was at the sox, as I recall. No point second-guessing it.

As ever with these situations, its all about how we manage to deal with the mess. Last year we called up cole hamels when we needed to fill the rotation. this year, maybe the phils keep up segovia and bisenieus to help keep the bullpen afloat.

And really, as bad this is, how can it be any worse than the starts to the last couple of seasons? You know, the ones where we lost loads of games that count? If howard isn't happy, I'm actually glad - it's the same as cole not being happy. It's a smart guy and stellar player who's trying to improve his game, knowing he needs to tweak stuff.

Lieber's dissatisfaction? As callous as it sounds, I don't care. He's said he'll take the ball and do his best, and going into his final year of a contract, I'm sure the motivation to do that outweighs any unhappiness at how he's being treated by the phils.

When we have ANOTHER crappy april, when segovia/bisenius have been smacked from pillar to post, when howard is hitting 250 with no homers, when barajas is turning into the black hole part 2, when everyone has cole's change sussed and he can't throw anything else, when lieber posts another slow start, when garcia's DL time stretches beyond 15 days, when geary and madson are being leaned on for innings 5-8 every day and alfonseca is closing?

Then I'll be worried. Now, I'm just waiting for it all to start.

Weitzel -- i'm having trouble keeping up. one day the voice of god has proclaimed the phils world series contenders and the next the team is in shambles. the emotional rollercoaster is killing me.

any chance we're overreacting to a tight bicep? worst case, at least this year we're relying on leiber rather than madson & floyd to save the day

it sounds like we've got our very own El Duque.

Maybe hanging onto lieber was a good idea :-) Looks like he'll be starting a couple times.

As for Coste/Ruiz - Coste's Thigh Injury "should" be 100% by opening day... shoulder injuries are kindof scary, though.

Relax Phils fans. It could be worse, you could be Tony LaRussa this morning:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-322larussa,0,6397172.story?coll=sfla-sports-headlines

Maybe all this global warming talk has tricked the Phils in thinking March is actually April which is why things are so bad.

Regarding Lieber - if he was more committed to keeping himself in shape and had a good 2006 season he would have a better arguement for his displeasure in working out of the pen.

Otherwise he did a bad job of selling himself by denying the weight issue is a problem (perhaps he should have hung with Myers this offseason) especially in his contract year.

Hopefully he will fuel his appetite for revenge on opposing batters as mentioned by other posters to pimp his trade value and in the end both the Phils and he will be winners.............YEAH RIGHT!

Everybody take a deep breath. I think there's zero chance that the ChiSox traded Garcia knowing he's junk. Just bad luck. Let's see how it plays out.

You forogt one for your list, Charlie Manuel is in charge and needs to pull this assembled mess together. Ugh... All that and he got an endorsement from Pat Gillick too!! Ugh...

Garcia: We dont even know the extent of the injury, so it is ridiculous to speculate that he will miss significant time.

ESPN: Phils on ESPN today against the Red Sox. Will be the fist game I get to watch this ST.

Dave Hollins: Eddie S., if what you say is true about Ortiz signing as a free agent with the Red Sox, then Baseball Reference has a pretty big error on Dave Hollins transactions log. It says that he was traded to the Mariners for a player to be named later, and it says the David Ortiz was the player that completed the deal. It's right there.

Even if the ChiSox knew Garcia was junk, which I don't think he is, it's a good thing we gave them equal value in return.

I'm agreeing with Oisin on all fronts, that was a great post. Even though we know what we're getting come April, lets get it started.

What's it mean to get smacked from "pillar to post"?

i'm still telling myself it's spring training and it doesn't matter much.

ditto oisin.

To look on the bright side, if Garcia & Ruiz open the season on the disabled list, then the team keeps Lieber & Coste. That doesn't solve the team's biggest problem, the bullpen mess.

The red pinstripes are like kryptonite to free agents and acquisitions. Here comes another Danny Tartabull/Andy Ashby/Gregg Jefferies/Mike Jackson experience.

Baseball is a crazy sport. Watch Lieber come out firing.

Paul -
Pillar to post - I think it is a builders term meaning equilalent to top to bottom or all over the place. Pillar to Post inspection means a top to bottom inspection.
Correct me if I am wrong

I think Garcia will be fine. Probably just a little early season dead arm. Glad we have 6 SPs. Hope Carson is right and it ups liebers trade value.

cheers CY. I've no idea where the phrase came from (I thought it was an irish thing), but generally it means if you've been kicked about pillar to post, you've been kicked about all over the shop/all over the place. Thoroughly wailed on. Hammered, and not in a drunk way. FUBAR.

You get the idea.

Seriously (and forgive the bullishness, the adrenal glands seem to be pumping today) but I think something like this is a good indicator of what the team's mental makeup is like going into the season. We're on the back foot a bit with injuries, couple of players have publicly stated they're not happy with their form - if we go and grind out results for a .500 april (bit of realism creeping in), then so much the better. I'd prefer that to another horrible april with the usual platitudes of 'it's only april/it's still early.'

'course, mental strength ain't everything, but it helps, and more importantly, stops a long line of phillies phans from jumping off the cliff early in the season.

Completely agree Oisin. Get out the kinks now, and just hope they truly are just "kinks". Bullpen still scares me. That being said...

With all the talk of Lieber and/or Rowand being traded, is there more of a chance that Rowand stays put and Victorino or Bourn get dealt? Does Victorino have more value than Rowand? I feel those 3 guys are relatively similar, and neither are a power hitting OFer (though Rowand had some pop-24 one year). If Lieber and Victorino/Bourn can get us better return, would you go for it?

Off subject a bit but does anyone else think the regular season is too long and needs a little facelift?

I wish they would have the WS in early or mid-September when the weather is more like it is during the season. Also expand the rosters by a few players, and have more double-headers (both back to back & day and night) and get a chance to see more younger players play.

Baseball was my love growing up and still is but the season is so damn long, especially for a Phils fan.

Garcia's velocity was down by the end of last season and everyone in the American League knew it. His velocity during Spring Training has never exceeded the high 80's and has often been in the mid-80's, further confirmation that all of those innings have taken their toll and that the scouting reports were accurate. The bicep injury may be a new thing or may be part of the root causes for his ailing fastball, but for anyone to suggest this is a fluke is to ignore all the evidence already present for all who wanted to look to see.

I am hardly consoled by suggestions the White Sox got equal value. Gonzalez may yet turn out to be a decent pitcher though Floyd almost assuredly will not, but in the end where is the equal value on this end when Garcia was supposed to be the centerpiece of Gillick's off-season moves and now may start the season on the DL?

There's nothing better than a peeved starting pitcher going into his walk year. Here's to hoping for the best this season, despite the overwhelming list Jason's posted. This is the first season I've spent reading up on the Phils extensively before opening day and rightfully so the first season I am seriously concerned/depressed.

Maybe there's something to be said of over analyzing the situation. Come April 2nd, everything changes echoing Oisin's post...Although the pessimist in me says i'm completely wrong.

Tom Goodman,

Are we writing off Garica and putting this trade in the PG trade disaster column already, before the season has even begun? Only in Philadelphia.

About the Cole Hamels concern...read this article on phillies.scout.com. Their Phillies correspondent always has a more upbeat spin to his articles (and no, it's not like the wool that phillies.com tries to pull over our eyes)

http://phillies.scout.com/2/628858.html

Tom, if "everyone in the American League knew" that Garcia was punchless at the end of 2006, how did he manage to post a 2.49 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, .533 opponent OPS, and 4-1 record in his 6 September starts?

Have to disagree Tom G(oodman). Word was that Garcia's fastball hasn't been in evidence for the last couple of years - there's been a steady decrease since he left seattle, as I recall - so that's not necessarily symptomatic of a problem nor is it proof that we were trading for dud goods. We knew that the pitcher we were getting was NOT a flamethrower.

I don't understand a "sky is falling" point of view about Garcia. The guy has been a rock for the past couple of years and the report was that he has stiffness in his arm. The Phillies with their six starting pitchers are sitting him down and if he misses a start or two it will not be the end of the world. Also, how can you blame PG for a 200 IP+ guy going down in spring training. Chill guys.

RE: A Vic or Bourn trade, I don't doubt that Bourn, and maybe Vic has higher value because of age, price and the fact that Rowand becomes an FA at the end of this year and all indications are that his CWS contract is sitting under a paper weight in Chicago just waiting for the end of this season, but when you get donw to it, those are also the reason the Phils will trade Rowand, but don't want to shop the younger guys. Especially for a fill-in vet RP.

RE: The overly long season, Amen. What makes Football so popular in large part, is that every game is huge. Both Baseball and Hockey need to shorten their seasons, who cares who is skating around with the Stanley Cup in June, and who the hell wants to watch the Twins play the Cubs in a blizzard with a -30 windchill in October, it's silly, but hey $ talks.

shortening the baseball season is a ridiculous suggestion, and would completely change the nature of the game.

seconded, joe.

and I think we should shrink rosters, not expand them. just because Tony "DUI" LaRussa thinks you need eight pitchers to get through a game doesn't mean you actually do.

Wow, that is a hell of a grocery list of issues that has compiled since the beginning of Spring Training. Regardless of all the issues that have cropped up I'm not throwing up the white flag yet. They still have a solid rotation even with Garcia possibly shelved, I think Lieber is going to want to prove he belongs in the starting rotation and that will produce good results. But the news about Gordon's shoulder is very very unsettling (hasn't been confirmed, only a rumor right now). Without Tom Gordon the Phils easily have the worst bullpen in the NL. Looks like this team will have to bring the wood if they want to win.

Regarding today's paranoia: That's the story of the day. Garcia's setback is the icing on the cake of a story that's been building since pitchers and catchers reported. They're not having a good spring. They have not addressed the bullpen. They appear to be springing leaks. That's today's topic, and was the unanimous tone of most of today's stories. There's no way around it.

On the other hand, there are many bright sides. The rotation is solid. The offense has thump. The games don't count for another week-and-a-half. Lieber is a terrific fallback. Etc.

What exactly would be the strategic differences between a 160+ game season and a 120 - 130 game season?

I see your conclusion, but you seem to have omitted your arguement.

The pros and cons to shortening a season would be interesting to hear, but in the end the only con that matters is the amount of $ that will be lost for every game not played. The season will never be shortened.

sorry jason. I assumed you were succumbing to rampant paranoia, as apart from all of us succumbing to rampant paranoia.

I just keep thinking of the glittery, shiny springs that floyd and madson had last year. That keeps me warm at night. (Well, that, the bedclothes and my wife)

yt, are you really suggesting that dropping 40 games would have no strategic impact? 360 fewer innings you need to get out of your pitchers. more than 160 fewer PA out of each lineup spot. you don't think coaches and GMs might slightly change their approach?

I wish they'd bring back afternoon World Series games. These poor kids in different times zones are missing good games and moments because they occur way after bedtime.
Case in point: Mazeroski's home run vs. Luis Gonzalez single. And anyone besides me getting tired of looking at Guiliani or Ben Affleck watching October ball with earmuffs on?

Day games are better in my opinion anyway.

Not to mention Paul, that the best pitching matchup of last off-season was Barry Zito vs. Santana and it was played at 1pmEST(11AM local!!) on a weekday!! But alas, the Yanks must play in the primetime.

one ESPN radio guy yesterday pretty much summed up the season for the every-man out there: Really excited in April and May, doze off until mid-August then pick it up again. But, as someone pointed out, losing 20 games of revenue will never happen. Plus the almighty MLBPA would have to agree to take pay cuts, which will never happen.

Why not go back to the 154 game schedule and start the playoffs in the last week of September?

I'll add something to the majesty of Spring Training 07. Chase Utley has flipped the switch to the ON position.

John Thompson looks like he's headed for the DL and the Jays might need another SP. Let the unfounded Rios rumors resume.

Moyer, giving up jacks. Utley hitting jacks. Probably need to get used to this scene early on.

I'm with Tom here. Garcia is no ace, and he's getting more hittable by the season. The Phillies scored an average mid-rotation pitcher, not a bad thing, but not something that's going to make the difference in the divisional race. It's understandable why he was considered expendable by Chicago. Even if he comes back healthy, there's just something about him that doesn't excite me any more than Jon Lieber himself.

Speaking of Lieber. I don't get how all the posts want to just poke fun at him and take yet more cheap shots about his weight. The man's got a point: he's being treated like crap, particularly for a long-term veteran, and don't think that doesn't get noticed around baseball. This organization needlessly mishandles and bungles more situations related to fans, players, announcers, contracts, and general PR than any other I can think of. It's a matter of exhibiting simple communication most of the time; it seems to be somehow beyond the folks running this show. And Amaro's name keeps popping up in a what is now a majority of team-related statements. He doesn't help a damn thing.

I still contend, over the protests of Bedrosian's Beard and Jimmy Rollins, that no matter how much prime talent the Phillies manage to compile, they are essentially a *mismanaged* baseball franchise and that is why they cannot, will not, and do not win. It all comes back to the way this organization goes about its business, which in both my estimation and by the firm, wretched evidence of 23 out of 24 non-playoff seasons, is the *wrong way*. They just do not get it.

JB, I don't feel like it's the regular season that needs to be shortened - it's the pre-season and the postseason. The World Series is anticlimactic, and the exhibition games run on at least two weeks too long.

BB: It would be extremely unwise to trade Bourn.

That is the one thing from the box score that concerned me about Gordon. He did pitch 1 inning without giving up a hit/run but 2 BB/1 HBP (take that Meatballer) means me must have been all over the place.

Anybody actually see Gordon pitch in person yesterday?

Hold the phone on the alleged collapse of the Phils starting rotation!

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/20070322_Phils_encouraged_by_Garcias_exam.html

OK so he isn't in good shape to start the season but it has to be considered a silver lining in the dark skies over Philly.

few teams are lucky enough to get 200 above-average innings out of a mid-rotation pitcher, and those that do are going to make the playoffs more often than not. the fact that the White Sox thought Garcia was expendable doesn't make them right. they also thought Floyd would be fine pitching fifth in their rotation, and guess how right they were on that one.

I do agree with RSB that the Phillies are making a name for themselves as a woefully mismanaged organization. (I've previously posted, I don't think the Howard raise was necessarily an example of that, but that debate isn't really worth getting into.) seeing Amaro's name plastered all over every misleading, misbegotten missive out of Phillies HQ is already getting depressing, and he's not even the GM (yet).

Wow, Freddy Garcia=Lieber now.

I do agree that the "Lieber is fat" mantra is old and overdone. But, with the new media these days, news gets recylced, trade rumors are more rampant and names are too easily thrown about. That's a reality, no way to stop that.

Watching Howard today - his swing is just a lot bigger. He's lunging and his body is all over the place.

Hi everyone,

Long-time reader, first-time poster.

I'm headed down to Clearwater (from Philly) this afternoon for my first ever trip to spring training. I'm pretty excited even with all the doom and gloom. I'll be sure to send a report.

Ribbies,

Have a blast!

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