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Monday, March 05, 2007

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surprised there hasn't been more talk about Utley's 0-for-spring performance so far.

personally I'm not worried about it, but considering that we can spend three or four threads arguing over $100,000 of Ryan Howard's salary, you'd think his IF partner would've gotten a mention...

For the first few games, someone posted the link for the stat tracker, I haven't been able to find that on my own. Is that just for some games, or is there a way to get that for all the games.

On March 5th I am absolutely not even slightly worried about Chase's .000 BA. This team has plenty of issues to talk about, but 2B ain't one.

Chase no longer 0-fer!
Radiocast is available on mlb.com (Reds feed, Internet only)

Small sample size, but nice to see JRoll leadoff with a BB for the 3rd(?)time this spring, Vic slaps a ball through the infield, Helms wraps up scoring with a double off the wall.

Thank you, here's hoping the Hawk indeed never dies!

Thanks, St. Joe. I've replaced the link.

Another BB for JRoll! SB, scores on Vic base hit!

What is the rule for pitchers batting in spring training games? It seems like most games that I've seen so far use the DH rule, but the pitchers are batting for themselves today.

our other games were all against AL teams, weren't they? Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees - am I missing anyone?

Anyone hear Randy Miller on WIP this morning regarding Howard's contract?

1. Selig & Co. applied pressure to Gillick to retain current salary structure.
2. Howard intent: Make a statement about salary structure by refusing to sign. Advised by someone close to him (not his agent).
3. Gillick wanted to announce an agreement between parties, incentives were pulled off the table when Howard refused to sign.
4. Future long-term contract may not be so cut-and-dried, Howard may opt for free-agency.
5. Disappointment over contract will not affect Howard's play this season.

answering my own question - Cleveland, also an AL team.

Thanks for the contract situation breakdown V.o.R.

I like Jimmy getting walks, but I also like Jimmy getting extra base hits.

That was my initial thought as well (only vs. NL teams), but I've seen other spring training box scores of NL vs. NL teams & that's not always the case. For example, yesterday, there were 6 NL vs. NL games, and 4 of them used the DH.

interesting, vor. since Howard's raise was announced, my own personal conspiracy theory was that it's unofficial official MLB policy that nobody makes more than 6 figures until arb.

and while I can see Howard's argument, I think he would be foolish not to sign a long-term contract with the Phils this offseason. to be brutally honest, and I realize this is an unpopular position among Phillies fans, I don't see him having a very long career. I see a Cecil Fielder/Mo Vaughn trajectory, great from 25-32 then rapid decline. since, if I'm adding correctly, his first FA season would be at age 31, I don't think he will command nearly the price he thinks he does by that point.

I'd be very glad to be proven wrong, but (especially since we can't protect him by DHing him) I don't see it.

VOR - if that's true about MLB intervening in the contract talks, or 'pressuring' the Phillies, it's a bit of a bombshell. I hope Miller can back that up concretely. This was not handled well. I certainly hope the Phils are able to make it up to Howard.

Just to amend my comment from the previous thread, I noticed Howard's gut when he bent over in the batter's box. The camera had a front shot of him, taken from the third-base dugout. You can't see it so much normally because the unis are not fit tightly enough to show off such features, but when he *made* it tight by bending like that, it was kind of jarring to observe. There was some serious flab. I really don't quite understand how this could not be seen as a potential issue with Howard - not *now*, I grant you, but as a stumbling block in the pending negotiations, and moreover for the sustained level of Howard's performace. Will a protruding waistline prevent him from ever hitting homeruns? No - but it may well cause greater susceptibility to injury, and decrease other facets of his game such as baserunning, fielding agility - if it is not properly addressed. Someone used the example of Mo Vaughn on an earlier thread, and that's a great example of why it's important for a player to condition himself properly, no matter how "big" he or his family is. the fact is, he is getting *even bigger*. The last thing the Phillies need is for his extended contract to become a Thome-like albatross in a few years, and don't tell me an overweight player doesn't run that kind of risk.

I've only seen Rollins in one game, but I have noticed that he seems to be making a point to have good at-bats out of the chute. If he doesn't jump at pitches with no one on base, Rollins could be an unbelievable offensive force, and he's already been pretty damn good. I think he's still fine-tuning his approach to hitting. I'm excited to think about what he could do if this command of his at-bats becomes a full-blown trend, if he could just stay locked into it all season.

ae, agree on the "foolishness". Personally, I think it ridiculous to speculate on what Howard might do four or five years from now. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and Howard will accept the insurance of long-term deal rather than the risk of waiting out his service time to explore free-agency.

RSB wrote- "if he could just stay locked into it all season"...basically stay a consistent force out of the leadoff spot...we're talking MVP. No really, imagine Rollins being a consistent force out of the top spot in this lineup...unbelievable amount of runs scored potentially putting 127 last season to shame.

I don't give a crap if it's only spring training, all these runs the Phils are scoring is making me happy.

why was carlos ruiz taken out of the game already?

2 shutout innings from Lieber with 3 k's...CY YOUNG hopeful!

But seriously, every quality outting he gives this spring only helps increase his value.

Rollins two walks...nice to see.

Victorino continues to knock base hits...love it.

RSB - about Rollins, I was looking at his pitch data on baseball-reference (and it's a really incredible amount of data they have on there, well worth checking out if you're a stat nerd like myself), and one number really stood out. throughout his first six seasons, Rollins swung at the first pitch about 25% of the time. in 2006, he cut that to 19%.

considering how young he is, I don't think it's out of line at all to anticipate more patience at the plate. and he doesn't need to turn into Rickey Henderson (or Bobby Abreu) for the team to benefit from that.

I'm listening online and its the Reds announcers. They have no comercials so in between innings you can hear the background noise, they played the Cheers theme and I thought about Beerleaguer.

RSB: Rollins was on the local Comcast show "Meet the Phillies" prior to heading to FLA and is specially motivated to get off to a fast start and make the All-Star team in front of his homeys (across the bay) in Oakland.

oh yeah, forgot I was "Woody" from Cheers. not sure if that's an insult or compliment. i'll choose to take it as a compliment.

Rollins said he wants to score 150 runs this year.

alfredo simon has not done well at all thus far. very unimpressive.

REV- 150 runs for Rollins would be my prediction if his plate discipline improves.

ae - that's a revelatory stat, and in line with what I observed from Jimmy last year. It's no accident that he's getting better and better as he gradually hones his game. And VOR, if I know Rollins, he is *not* missing the All-Star Game in Oakland.

The Phillies are getting undo criticism for Howard. It's a salary structure issue, a CBA issue, and who can blame Howard's camp for being frustrated with it?

The fact is, the players did right by them this winter. Utley was the recipient of a universally applauded deal, Myers received a generous three-year contract and Howard got a record-setting raise for a non-arb player. They were unexpectedly generous twice and did what they were supposed to do with Howard. I'm solidly in their corner on the way they handled their contracts.

150 runs is never going to happen. the last guy to score 150 runs in either league was Jeff Bagwell in 2000, and that was with a .424 OBP (and I'm going out on a limb and predicting that Rollins never gets there).

and before Bagwell? Ted Williams in 1949, when he had a .490 OBP. just in case that wasn't clear: FOUR HUNDRED NINETY. in fact, Williams and Bagwell are the only two human beings to score 150 runs after 1937.

good for Rollins to set his sights high, but don't hold your breath.

ae: He scored 127 runs with a .334 OBP. So to score 23 more runs he might need an OBP of .400 or .390. I'm not exact with my math but he will not need to have an OBP above .400.

ae- I wasn't trying to say Rollins is going to score 150 runs. That is a tad unrealistic. However, I believe he scored 127 last season. If he kept all his other stats similar but improved on base % to around .360, an extra 23 runs isn't out of the question. By the way I remember Dykstra scoring 143 in '93...damn close to 150.

Howard and weight redux: After scanning his color spread in the NY Times, I'll concede he's hefting around extra pounds. This is why God invented spring training and Florida sunshine.

did Alfredo Simon really just give up a hit to Kirk Saarloos? Kirk 2-for-36-on-his-career, been-playing-in-the-AL-since-2005 Sarloos? that's encouraging.

you guys are missing my point - scoring 150 runs is virtually impossible. Rickey Henderson never did it, even when he had a .419 OBP and 80 SB. Vince Coleman never did it, even when he had a .363 OBP and 109 SB. Kenny Lofton never did it, even when he had a .372 OBP and 75 SB. Willie Wilson never did it, even when he had a .357 OBP and 79 SB. Willie McGee never did it, even when he had a .384 OBP and 56 SB. Rollins is a good player, but he is never going to score 150 runs.

ae- I applaud you for the stats you just posted to defend your statement, excellent work.

I don't really think Rollins will score 150 runs, but I was just speculating that with the lineup he has behind him and the previous success he's had at scoring that with increased plate discipline comes the likelihood of him scoring more, maybe not 150, but more than 127.

I agree with you Jason on the most part about the Howard contract, but one thing I can't figure out is why they didn't go *above* $.9M.

Howard's deal isn't an outright record, it only ties Pujols's deal from '03. Given the overall increase in salary since then and the fact that Howard won the MVP, it seems like a snub not to at least give him $.95M. The record may seem symbolic, but as a lot of people have pointed out, sometimes symbolic gestures can make up for cold, hard, cash.

If Howard was getting advice telling him to challenge the precedent, he needs to look elsewhere. This is not a Curt Flood moment; baseball teams deserve a few years of indentured servitude from their players in return for providing them with the time and support to become major league players.

150 runs for Rollins would be my prediction if his plate discipline improves.

Carson: If Rollins scores 150, I'll buy you a steak dinner at Morton's!!!

Can we give ALfredo Simon back now?

Damn- if Victorino swipes 30-40 bases, Clout owes me a steak dinner at Morton's. Now V.o.R. will do the same if Rollins scores 150 runs.

Vic's is more realistic, but hell, it's spring and optimism "springs" enternal I guess.

I'm willing to pony up the first $5 to start the fund to get Simon a plane ticket back to where ever the hell he came from.

I credit PG for bringing in a bunch of guys and seeing who sticks, but talk about weak, he should not be eating innings when younger guys can be getting some chances.

my bad, I saw Dusty Wathan pinch-hit earlier in the game and thought that meant Ruiz was pulled...forgot the pitcher was batting, and in fact Ruiz just blasted a homerun...encouraging.

I say Cole Hamels is a dead lock to win 20 games this season.

(now who's gonna offer me steak if Cole pulls this off?)

carson, you are absolutely right there. he's got the potential to go in the mid-130s, maybe even 140+ if the stars align right. once you get a few runs below 150, you see Biggio, Henderson, Sosa, Dykstra. but for whatever reason, the 150 line is really, really difficult to cross, almost like 60 (and then 61) was for all those years.

I don't remember anyone making a big deal out of Bagwell in 2000 - he wasn't even an All-Star, but that was a noteworthy achievement. the last time before 2000 someone scored 152+ runs was Lou Gehrig in 1936.

ae- this has been an enlightening conversation about the 150-run mark. Honestly, thank you for sharing your perspective with me. This is why I love talking baseball and Phillies with baseball savvy fans, it broadens my understanding of the game and makes me even "smarter".

Ok, enough with that sappy crap. Alfredo Simon is a no-talent ass-clown!

Word at the winter tour is that Alfredo Simon could be Reading's closer this season.

ae, you're point about 150 as being the sort of upper limit on runs scored brings me back to a debate we had a little while ago about Rollins and how much more we can really expect from him.

I like your example of Henderson and Coleman, but I think a great example is the Dude. In '93, Dykstra had 773 PA and a .420 OBP and scored *only* 143 runs.

Now, if Rollins scored 127 runs last year (in 758 PA), how many more can we honestly expect him to score?

I mean think about it? While J-Roll benefited from Howard, Utley, Burrell etc., the '93 Phils had some serious sluggers too (though admittedly not as good). Considering the OBPs are so far apart, I think you have to conclude that J-Roll does a lot of things well that contributes to scoring runs *outside* of getting on base. I would use the cliche that what Rollins does on the basepaths "doesn't show up in the boxscore" but it does! It's called runs scored.

And even if we say that "hey, Jimmy should be able to get those 16 runs", we're still only talking about maybe one win over the course of the season.

This really does seem to be the case where Harry the K is right, we really shouldn't focus on what he can't do when what he can do (i.e. score runs), is very valuable.


ae: Did any of those players you mentioned have 3 people batting behind them that drove in 100 RBI's each?
I agree with you that it is not likely but it is going to take more then Rollins to score those runs.

One possible explination for Bagwell breaking the barrier (though not for why he didn't recieve much hype) is the park and era. Did you catch the *lgOPS for Minute Maid 2000. THe average OPS was .820, by far the highest I've seen in a non-Coors environment.

in '96, Lofton had Thome (116), Belle (148), and Ramirez (112). and he "only" scored 132 runs.

two of those guys had 2 100 RBI hitters...in '85, Henderson had Mattingly (145) and Winfield (114). in '87, Coleman had Willie McGee (105) and Jack Clark (106).

in '80, Willie Wilson only had Brett with 118. Willie Aikens had 98. and in '85, Willie McGee only had Tom Herr with 110 (seriously!). Jack Clark was second on the team with 87 RBI (in only 442 AB)...but then the '85 Cards were an odd team.

kdon, you're right, although it's still an impressive performance.

and reverend, if those examples don't satisfy you because of the lack of RBI, how about the 1982 Brewers? four guys with 100 RBI: Cooper (132), Yount (112), Oglivie (102), and Thomas (112) - plus Ted Simmons with 97. and Paul Molitor, who led off nearly the entire season with a .366 OBP and 41 SB, scored "only" 136 runs.

ae: The stats you come up with simply amaze me. I look forward to makeing more comments that you will prove wrong.
yt: If Hamels wins 20 I'll buy you a (cheese) steak.

Rev., I think a nice comp for J-ROll is Damon. In 2003, hitting in front of one of the highest scoring teams ever (and, yes, three guys with 100 RBI), Damon had a .345 OBP in 690 PA and *still* scored only 103 runs.

He was hitting in front of a lineup that featured SLG% of:

.512 (Varitek)
.472 (Millar)
.524 (Nomar)
.587 (Ramirez)
.578 (Nixon)
.592 (Ortiz)
.540 (Mueller)

Even if you extrapolate Damons ABs to the high 700s AND bump up his OBP to .370, he still gets nowhere near 150, and this is hitting in front of one of the great lineups in recent history in a DH league in a high run scoring environment and in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball!

Anyway, this is all to say that ae is completely right. Outside of a freakishly high park factor + ungodly OBP (Bagwell) or putting '85 Henderson atop the '27 Yankees during the run-scoring environment of the late 30s/early 40s, 150 runs scored is, for all intents and purposes, impossible.

I’ll take what I can get Rev, see you at Jim’s around mid-September.

How about Justin Germano’s line today 2.1 1BB 4K 0R 0ER.

Looks nice.

kdon: Excellent point. Rollins run scoring is in large measure a product of his huge number of plate appearances (and Howard, Uts & Burrell hitting behind him of course). Pretty hard to get a lot more than 758 PA.

that's an interesting example, kdon. how did Damon not score more runs in 2003? the only thing I can see is maybe a lot of GDP...there were six guys on that team with 10+ GDP, with 22 from Ramirez.

thanks for the compliment reverend...when it's a boring afternoon at work, nothing makes my time pass quicker than surfing around on baseball-reference for obscure trivia.

For what it's worth, Rotoworld listed their top 150 prospects today. Phils had 3 mentions: Bourn, Carrasco & (way down near the bottom) Mathieson.

I think you might have missed my point clout. Even with that many PAs, it's hard to score much more than 140 runs.

The fact that J-Roll got fairly close to the "limit" means his high runs scored are a product of *much more* than a lot of PAs.

Germano is the junkballer lefty, right?

This man has "spot start, see if he sticks" written across his forehead right now. We'll be seeing him at least once this year.

ae, those GIDP #s seem high, but I don;t know what's normal. WHen you consider how many guys were on base that season, as a percentage of ball in play, they might not be that high.

Damon may have been hurt by the fact that the two player hitting directly after him (Walker and Garciaparra) had the lowest OBP on the team. We may think that having SLG% behind you would be the most important thing, but having guys who get on base *after* you may be as important to runs scored as anything else. Not only do walks/hits move you up on the bsaes, but they also mean the team isn't making outs, and allowing you more oppotunities to be driven in.

That 2003 team really was amazing. They scored all those runs with their 3 lowest OBP players hitting 1-2-3.

You think Damon's bad. Take a look at Ichiro's 2004 season. 704 AB's, 262 hits, 36 SB, .414 OBP...101 runs.

Ichiro! is pretty understandable. The Mariners offense stunk that year and they play in a pitcher's park in a pitcher's park division.

When the two highest SLG% (other than Ichiro!) are from Raul Ibanez and Randy Winn, you aren't going to score many runs.

Given how badly the Phillies' farm system stinks, it's predictable that they keep getting their brains beat in the second the teams start putting the minor-league guys in the game.

From Toronto Globe & Mail:

"Today, a B game will be played in Clearwater against the Philadelphia Phillies, in which Casey Janssen and Dustin McGowan -- both ticketed for Triple-A Syracuse and both of whom have attracted trade inquiries -- will pitch for the Blue Jays against a Phillies team whose general manager, Pat Gillick, spoke to the Jays as far back as the winter meetings about the availability of right fielder Alex Rios.

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said last week that "we're not trading Rios" -- not unless the Phillies are willing to give up Cole Hamels or Brett Myers. . ."

Rios for Hamels or Myers is insane. Ricciardi's been saying that since last year and it's no more likely now than it was then.

ae: Agreed. As unlikely as Lieber & Ruiz for Rios that some posters here have been talking about as a serious proposition.

He might as well ask for Howard, Utley and Rollins next.

A stupid move on his part, because now if he gets stuck taking anything but a legit 1 or 2 starter for the guy he looks like a fool no matter what he gets.

I just don't see how a trade ever works for Rios - we want to dump Lieber, but we'd have to thrown in someone very good to make up for him (MLB Trade Rumors posters think Carrasco). but I just don't see the point in that case. (also, I'm not even remotely sold on Rios.)

Makes sense Clout. Fun to dream though.

Rios is solid gold...

There's better young of's we can pick up than rios.

Or rather i meant to say...if the jays are going to be so unreasonable, we can take our busines else where, like Tampa Bay

mm, who?

That's right Clout. No way Lieber/Ruiz gets us Rios. I'm not sold that Rios is "all that", but his age/tools/potential, he'd be a great pickup. Just will have to include all minor league talent the Phils might have (Which I'd at least consider).

/i mean i'd be willing to include a couple top prospects in a trade (assuming Lieber is in there too), not all of them.

Rios: Talk about an entry with legs. Clout and others are correct when they wrote it would take more than Ruiz and Lieber. Probably a prospect or two more. Ruiz was dropped into the original post because the Jays need catching.

Today's game: Setting aside emotion, and viewing it from an outside perspective as JP Ricciardi would, Ruiz is having a nice spring so far, hitting his first homer this afternoon. Michael Bourn had another productive day with two steals, and Jon Lieber pitched two shutout frames. Disregard past the fifth inning. Someone named Ennis blew it.

One point seems to be missing in the Rios to the Phillies trade speculation. That is, who do the Jays replace him with if they want to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox?

If Rios is as good as advertised, where do the Jays turn to make up the production?

Clout, et.al. are exactly right. Rios is far too valuable to the Jays to give up for oly Lieber and Ruiz.

I don't know that the Phillies can afford to give up anything MLB ready of value to get him, that won't diminish their chances of competing this year. Seems to me the a trade could hurt both teams more than it would help.

Think we can end the Rios trade talk although a Coste-Rios trade might be viable. Not only can Coste play C and in the field, but he guaranteed to hit at least .330.

Best about today's game was that Lieber looked good. A couple more good outings by Lieber this spring might actually enable Gillick to shake something useful in a trade. Keep your fingers crossed.

Anybody know why Burrell was scratched from the starting lineup. This was mentioned on the radio broadcast on the internet. Have not heard anything since and was wondering if he was hurt or sick or maybe in a trade.

I just read this at the phillies webpage and its answering my question

Burrell scratched: Pat Burrell was scheduled to make the trip to Sarasota, Fla., but a sore back caused the Phillies to keep him in Clearwater. He played in the "B" game at the Carpenter Complex, with Karim Garcia making the trip to Sarasota.

"[Trainer Scott Sheridan] wanted him to stay over there," Manuel said. "His back has been a little stiff. He's going to be fine."

The problem with trading Ruiz is that the phils don't have a next-gen catching prospect after him for a long, long time...

Maybe Bourn makes the team as 5th outfielder/Pinch runner/D Sub for Burrell.

It's weird not seeing [Trainer Jeff Cooper].

Burrell scratched due to sore back- but healthy enough to play in B game....Philies.com reports that Rios made the trip to Clearwater for the B game... Lieber pitches well in spring debut...hmmm...

Over on Phillies.com there's an article about how Lieber is pissed about the weight comments. He is 6'2" 243, I'm 6'2.5" 244...same size, and I'm fat. Difference between us, I blog and he's supposed to be a professional baseball player.

Carson, are you a no-talent lard-ass?

AWH, because I have a sense of humor I found that funny. I'm not really a lard-ass. I played college football at 295 pounds, then ballooned up to 340 after my playing days. So although 240 seems heavy, it's relatively low for me.

It seems like guys want to project Ryan Howard into Mo Vaughn or Cecil Fielder and overlook guys like David Ortiz...no one has complained about Ortiz' physique as he has improved on great numbers at 28, 29 and 30...yes, he could tail off dramatically but do you see it over the next two years? By the way, both guys are listed at 6'4"/230 (a reach on both counts I know).

Given Ryan Howard a fat 5 year contract is not without its risks but don't throw up Mo Vaughn as the poster child of why not to do it.

It'll be at LEAST 7 years, Gus. No way Howard's people allow anything less.

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