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Monday, April 30, 2007


Don't speak ill of Bobby Abreu, you'll have some commenters on here out for blood.

Hoo boy. I'm staying away from this one.

Wonderful J, after finally a few days without the endless arguement about Abreu bounceing back and forth on 100+ post threads, you have to poke the sleeping bear.

Oh well, Whats the over under on how many times Clout will call someone's reasoning idiotic for not blasting the Abreu Trade with his degree of fervor?

Not surprising that Abreu isn't well liked in the blogoshere; the Yankees are playing terrible and Abreu is at the top of the list.

This comment, however, is very silly:

"his at bats are terrible"

If there is one thing that *cannot* be said about Abreu is that he doesn't go up there with a plan. I haven't seen him much with the Yankees, but I can't imagine he is just flailing away at junk.

The power loss may be real, however, and it's possible the PHils move to the CBP bandbox masked a more significant decline in power. We'll see, but Abreu may be looking more like a very good #1-#2 hitter, and less like the superstar level player he was before. I predict he'll be at around .880-.900 OPS by the end of the year however. Still a very very valuable player.

Three extra-base hits is pretty indefensible, especially hitting three for the greatest offense ever assembled. I can't imagine pitchers are as afraid to challenge him these days as they were here.

Oh ... hat tip to the senior correspondent for passing along the Abreu update. I didn't realize his slump had gotten this bad.

RSB, I was just looking at the last post and saw this:

"I'll maintain my ground that passing on Borowski was a mistake. Results are results. He's healthy enough to lead the league in saves - he's doing the job."

Is this a joke? Borkowski has an ERA of 9.00 right now and has allowed 19 baserunners in 11 innings. Your post makes my argument about the misleading nature of the save stat perfectly.

Also, I know a lot of that came in one game, but he still has been average at best.

A joke? I don't know, kdon - is saving 9 out of 10 games a joke? Oh, that's right, saves don't mean anything. It only means the team won nine out of ten games your pitcher came into close. Totally meaningless stat. It's so misleading compared to the composite stats *you* want to trot out - sure, reliever's ERA, any stathead's best friend! - which clearly tell the whole story as to the job he's done for Cleveland instead of the Phillies.

Carson and RSB gave me a good laugh at the lead of this thread. clout hasn't responded, so I'll pretend I'm clout.

You guys are being absurd if you are trying to make a negative point about Abreu based on the limited sample size of early season stats. Do you think the Yankees would accept a trade of Vic for Abreu even up? Fat chance! Wise up, Abreu was a great player for the Phillies that we gave away for nothing. His season numbers will back me up!

How was that? Did I pass the audition?

LF: not nearly harsh enough. But a reasonable preview.

Abreu's advantage in walks Victorino more than makes up for in defense. There have been a few balls this year that Shane has caught that Bobby A would have needed a rocket up his arse to catch.

guys, let's try to separate the name-calling from the facts and look at how Borowski and Gordon have actually done.

Gordon's made 8 appearances and pitched at least an inning in every one. he's had 5 scoreless outings (62.5%), one 1-run outing (12.5%), and two 2-run outings (25%). in other words, Gordon's given up a run in 37.5% of his appearances.

Borowski's made 12 appearances, with two lasting less than an inning. he's had 7 scoreless outings (58.3%), three 1-run outings (25%), one 2-run outing (16.7%), and one 6-run outing (16.7%). in other words, Borowski's given up a run in 41.7% of his appearances.

so why does Borowski lead the league in saves? closing 11 games - tied for third in the majors - is one reason. let's look at the appearances in which he gave up runs.
- on opening day, he goes 1 IP/2 ER. but because Cleveland already had a 9-run lead, his outing didn't factor into the result.
- on 4/10, he went 1 IP/1 ER. but because Cleveland had a 2-run lead, he got a save anyway.
- on 4/19, he had his well-publicized 2/3 IP/6 ER meltdown against the Yankees. but because Cleveland had a 4-run lead going into the inning, he does not get a blown save for his work (only a loss). (he had four days of rest going into the game, FWIW.)
- on 4/24, he went 1 IP/1 ER. but because Cleveland had a 3-run lead, he got a save anyway.
- on 4/25, he went 1 IP/1 ER. this time, he gets a blown save because Cleveland led by only a run.

Borowski has had some very strong outings, and five times hasn't surrendered a hit (six, if you count a one-out save on 4/14). but he has been very inconsistent, and has been saved on several occasions by not being in a save situation or by having enough of a cushion to allow for his mistakes.

in my opinion, it's too early to say that Gillick made a mistake by not signing him, especially at $4M for this season. I think you need to wait a little longer to see A) if he can keep up a heavy workload and B) how his luck balances out the rest of the year.

(and as a side note, kdon is absolutely right that the save stat is a very poor way to measure a reliever. RSB, would you argue that Borowski is doing better than Papelbon because he has more saves? of course not.)

Abreu is struggling but what about the Yanks' pitching staff? Starting rotation is the worst in the league. If Igawa hadn't pitched well out of the pen on Sat., the Yanks would have gotten swept in the Bronx this weekend.

Going to be really fascinating to see if the Cashman continues to try to get younger & restock the Yanks' farm system or panics at some point this season.

what i'm not getting is the sudden backlash against victorino. he's the starting RF, why? out of need. sure, moving him to CF or platooning him in RF would be better, but in order to do so, you'd have to either trade the team's hottest hitter or platoon him with jason werth, who has been hated at a pretty good clip in his own right.

victorino is hitting .283 vs RHP and is 6-for-8 in stolen base attempts. you can't realistically expect anything more from him. if the beef is with management, then ok, but they player has basically been as advertised.

ae - no, of course I won't say Borowski is better than Papelbon. As a closer, he's strictly average. But as a set-up man and closer insurance, and a presence which would have kept Myers as a starter, he would have been valuable.

Besides that - any way you slice it, unless those saves are all three-inning jobs with a ten-run lead - converting 9 out of 10 save opportunities is *getting the job done*. Period. I can't believe you'd compare his performance as closer to that of Gordon, who is only 4 for 7. Saves may be a somewhat misleading tally at times, but not across the board.

Maybe Cashman will make a deal with the Phillies to right the severly listing Yankees ship. He needs a player's manager. We'll trade Cholly and Vic to the Yanks and in return, we'll get Joe Torre and Abreu!

The Borowski debate is closing in on becoming the most irritating chapter in the history of this site. It has already surpassed the famed Ron Villone standoff of Jan. 2007.

The Mets put El Duque on the DL and called up Chan Ho Park. Chan Ho Park! Who, btw, had an ERA over 7.00 in Triple A. Let's hope he ends up getting 20 starts or so for the Mets this year.

gr: I don't know that I've picked up on much of a Victorino backlash, although many readers, myself included, are not convinced he's an everyday player. Most people seem to be willing to give him a chance as a starter and understand the situation with OF depth. He's played great defense, but has struggled at the plate recently.

Victorino has slumped the past week but he is going to be a streaky offensive performer. Gives you spurts of offensive for 3-4 game stretch and then doesn't do much for a week. At least when Victorino isn't hitting, he has very good range and a pretty decent arm. With Rowand and Ruiz hitting, the Phils can tradeoff a little offense for defense.

Bobby Abreu. No Comment.
Joe Borowski. No Comment.

El Duque didn't even make it to May without going on the DL. Thought he would at least be healthy through Memorial Day.

J.Weitzel- I agree.

ugh..the yankees can keep torre and abreu no thanks.

I love Victorino's outfield defense, that arm is awesome. I love his maturing speed on the basepaths. I dislike his aimless swings at hittable pitches that lead to lazy fly outs. Maybe Jimmy should take Vic aside and teach him to drive the ball, because the way Vic is swinging right now reminds me a lot of a younger pop-up happy Jimmy.

J.Weitzel- I agree. people acting like borowski is Eck reborn or something, get over it.

ugh..the yankees can keep torre and abreu no thanks.

-- Speaking of struggling former Phillies outfielders, has anyone seen Jason Michaels' line recently? He's really struggling in Cleveland. His career peaked in 2005 for sure.

-- Make no mistake on the Borowski debate. It may be annoying, but it's Beerleaguer all the way, baby.

-- RSB wondered whether Spring Training performance translates into the regular season, and watching Ryan Howard struggle for the last month indicates the warning signs were accurate. However, the opposite of that would be Aaron Rowand, who stunk statistically but has been red hot all month. His numbers are actually quite impressive, and he appears to be more patient this season. 11 walks and a .452 OBP. I wouldn't have guessed that.

Don't forget Barajas being the reason for all our problems.

JW: Good point about Howard/Rowand in spring training. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't.

Sorry that my Borowski posts are irritating, but I feel I've got a legitimate point here. The point is not about the greatness of Borowski, but how his presence would have benefited the pitching staff as a whole. I'm a bit mystified as to why this submission is so readily dismissed.

RSB: The announcers kept saying Rowand looked good and was hitting the ball solidly this spring, but you could tell something was up when they spoke about Howard. Obviously, they were on to something in both cases.

Howard will get his swing back, hopeful He's been spending time with Uncle Chlly in the cage.

It looks like it may be time to hit Ryan 5th or 6th until he un-slumps.

RSB... are you suggesting that Borowski should be the Phillies closer? If you're not, then why should saves matter? If he gives up runs as regularly as he does, then being a middle reliever would be as much of a disaster for us as Madson was early. Finally, would Gordon have more success as a closer if he were closing with 3 run leads instead of 1 run leads?

My opinion is that Gordon and Borowski both stink.

I'm just using Borowski's save conversion % to illustrate the point that he's certainly an effective enough pitcher that the Phillies could have used him on the pitching staff this year. Gillick backed out, and at this point it doesn't appear justified. Unless all of you really feel that the starting five as now constructed is anything beyond reliably mediocre. Myers bumped the rotation up to slightly above average, stats from his starts this year notwithstanding. It's squarely average now, and I don't know if that's enough to see this team through.

Here's my take: Myers might be better in a set-up role than Borowski. But Myers is a hell of a lot better in the the rotation than whoever would presume to take the place of the first guy who comes up lame, or gets shelled for extended periods - and come to think of it, we have two guys teetering on that status as I write.

Hear Hear Tony!

I think I agree with RSB. I think what he's trying to say is that if we had signed Borowski, then Myers would still be a starter and we could end the horrible prospect of Eaton pitching every 4th game.

I think Eaton pitches every 5th game, and if we had another semi useful BP arm, it would mean that Lieber would be out of the rotation, not Eaton.

Obviously not signing bad players (Eaton and Barajas) would have been a better idea, or not giving a long term contract to a guy on social security (Gordon), but I don't see how argueing about it will help.

yeah yt, that sounds about right to me. Borowski would have taken Alfonseca's place, wouldn't he? that's probably not much more than a zero-sum trade in the long run, and the way it looks right now the balance is tilted way toward the guy with the 1.38 ERA.

yt: not necessarily. To open the season, yes. But I don't think they'd leave Eaton in there all season if this just kept on the way it has. Hypothetically, if Lieber were to keep pitching well and Eaton were to keep getting bombed, there's no way they'd ditch Lieber.

No one's claiming that arguing about it will help. But that's silly to say. Nothing anyone says on here will help anything. Should we just sit on out hands and yell 'go team' and laugh at the Phanatic?

ae: Alfonseca is a better pitcher than Borowski? No offense, man, but you're dreaming. There's a reason why one of these guys gets the ball when it's 2-1 in the ninth, and the other when it's 6-0 in the ninth.

I have no love for Borowski. The point I made on the previous thread was that DOZENS of bullpen guys changed teams in the off-season. And Gillick made no move. So Manuel was forced to move his ace into the pen. That's just bad management.

My beef is mainly with those who thought the existing staff (Condrey, Sanches, Smith, etc.) were playoff caliber relievers and the team didn't need bullpen help.

On Abreu, odds are against him being cooked at age 33. Past 3 years, Abreu has hit .272 with .463 SLG in April. His July numbers are actually worse. The other months are all .890 OPS or better. Maybe we can buy low. Would Cashman take C.J. Henry for him? He's a former 1st round pick.

I find the Phanatic to be very funny.

When would we have seen Lieber pitching well if he were not in the rotation?

When has PG signed a guy for big money and then dumped him for under performing?

Nunez is still here right? Gordon is still our closer? Barajas is making 2 million while our best bench bat from last season freezes his nuts off in Canada.

But the would have what? Bought Eaton out? He'll be on the same bus out of town a Werth.

They should have overpaid for that Spieir guy to be the bullpen ace and then filled the rest with the Alfonseca's and Castro's of the world. Just get at least one proven guy whose labrum isn't hanging on by a thread (Borowski/Gordon).

Does anyone else love Harry's "Chase Utley, you are the man!" call. I laugh every time I hear that commercial.

Everyone's favorite 34-year-old catcher is hitting .216 in Ottawa. Maybe his batting average is in Canadian?

This is the final thing that I am going to say about Borowski: For anyone that is not a believer in whatever pathetic stat that Borowski has accumulated, please do everyone a favor and watch him attempt to close out a game. While you are watching there are two other requirements:
1.) Try to imagine as much as possible that you are an Indians fan (This is possibly fostered by the presence of familiar faces of Fultz, Dellucci, and Micheals). Then in character, as Indians fan, ask yourself: Is this guy worthy of being a closer or a setup man? If your answer to the first question is yes, then I want to know if you have been a.) Drinking, b.) The victim of blunt force trauma to the head recently.
2.) Once you have experienced the full effect of the horrors of being an Indian fan when the bullpen/Borowski comes into the game, imagine that Borowski is a Phillie. He is a Phillie, and he would have been the setup man for the first month of the season. Now imagine that the 8th and 9th includes pitching performances, back to back, of Borowski and Gordon?
--Once the second phase is complete, if you have not caused minor property damage or attempted to harm small animals nearby, please report back. You will be given the results of your exam in short order.

Dozens of bullpen guys changed teams in the off-season - yes. I single Borowski out because a) the Phillies had him in their pocket and walked away from a deal; b) it turns out he's healthy and could have helped. The Phillies instead have weakened their rotation in attempting to strengthen the bullpen, and it appears that it really didn't have to go down that way. Why give Gillick a pass here? He's willing to waive an MRI on 'Buckets of Sweat' Garcia, but then put his foot down and back away from Borowski? Jesus, that looks like some poor medical evaluation to me, on top of all the bad scouting and talent evaluation that goes on with this organization.

Sorry, yt, I'm still not used to Freddy Garcia in the rotation and Eaton pitching just eats at my tender Phillies psyche. I'm glad he only pitches every fifth start! I hate Eaton.

Parker - he's saved 9 out of 10 games. Gad, what a nightmare that must be for those poor Indian fans. Clearly, he has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are leading the AL Central. No, not that horror show Borowski. Everyone knows that division is so weak, that anyone with an attached arm could close out a ballgame. But never mind that. I'm not endorsing him as closer. He was willing to sign here and not be a closer. Although you'd think it would have been nice to have a guy in the bullpen who saved over 30 games in the previous season, just in case. Glad you're satisfied with a rotation of Hamels and four past-their-prime vets.

BedBeard: You dope. You obviously haven't heard of the "Candian VORP Projection" or "CVP". It accounts for cold weather. Basicaly it adds .150 to the batting average of all players currently playing in Canada unless they play in a dome. So Coste is really projecting to .366. Bill James is coming out with a "Northeast Matrix" for all hitters above the Mason Dixon line (through the end of April) for his 2008 Baseball Abstract.

sarcasm off/

Moyer and Lieber may be past their prime, but they're actually pitching well. Garica needs a few more starts before I write him off, but I am a little nervous.

RSB, how can you be so utterly obsessed with that irrelevant 9/10 stat and ignore the fact that Borowski's allowed a run in more than half of his appearances? you look at my post pointing out that Alfonseca's ERA is about a ninth of Borowski's and tell me I'm dreaming, but you have this single-minded obsession with the idea that because Borowski has nine saves, he must be dominant. it's just not true. he's great at times, but he's nowhere near reliable.

I'll repeat:

RSB, Borowski has had more than one bad outing... besides that one bad outing, which was pretty catastrophic (two thirds of an inning, six earned runs), in two of his last three outings, each one inning long, he's given up one run, and if you took out that one game, he'd still have an ERA of 4.35 - not atrocious but not good either. It means every time he goes to the mound there's about a 50/50 chance he lets up a run. Fortunately, he's been lucky to come into the ballgame when his team is up 2 or 3 runs, so he's still getting saves, but I don't see how well he can be pitching when he still has an ERA in the fours even if you subtract his worst outing.

Again, RSB, I emplore you to heed the advice given in previous post with regards to PBBSSS (Post Borowski Blown Save Stress Syndrome). If you display any of the symptoms above, please contact your team and thank them for not signing Borowski. If not please come in for an evaluation. We are doing research for a similar Phenomena suffered by Phillies fans. It seems that Phillie fans are developing temprorary cases of Teret's Syndome in the moments immediately prior to, and post Tom Gordon, pitching in a game. Many exhibit the disorder througout the entire experience. Although preliminary results indicate that those exhibiting the latter have hyper-agressive personalities, and may be dangerous to the surrounding community if left untreated. You may hold the key to a medical breakthrough.

without checking the numbers, i think victorino is a pretty streaky hitter, and the power he displayed in his IL all-star season in '05 seems to be a thing of the minors. but he's walking a little more in the early going, and that's something.

i think charlie's easing werth into playing time which would eventually offset some of the time victorino's getting now. as recent history indicates, he's a fan of the platoon in some cases, first utley-polanco, then the famed lofton-michaels coup of 2005.

werth is going to K alot, but i think as the season progresses, he's going to improve and pull his weight. remember, he's been off for two years.

I love this website.

ae: It seems to me the best way to measure a reliever's worth is: 1. Did he allow runners on base to score? or 2. Did he hold the lead or save the game? If a guy comes into a 9-3 game and gives up 4 runs in a inning I could care less. I just care about the win. Or, I want him to shut down the other team's rally if he comes in with runners on base. I agree the save stat is bloated and ERA is irrelevant, so this has to be looked at on a game by game basis.

Anyone care to say something worth commenting on?

How about we talk about tonight's game and our chance to end April at 12-13, not good, but better than last year's 10-14 April.

Why don't you give it a try, BB, if you think everyone else is so irrelevant.

Parker - whatever. You try to sound clever, but you don't know a whole lot.

Wait, if a guy comes into a 9-3 game and gives up 4 runs, you could care less? I could care less as a fan, but it has huge bearing on your evaluation of how good a pitcher he is. It seems to me that if he has performances like that with any degree of frequency, that probably tells you that he's not a good pitcher and you don't want him in situations that matter at all.

gr: Only problem with your theory is that Charlie's been starting Werth against RHP and sitting him vs. LHP.

Umm to further stoke the Borowski debate.
Both saves and ERA are not good metrics to evaluate a reliever on. That said, Borowski is not great, but AVERAGE.
But would the Phillies as a team be better off with Myers in the rotation instead of Eaton and Borowski in the pen? For 1/3rd the price even...I think so.
And ofcourse, Borowski started the year with Florida shakily too, but he worked his kinks out in the second half

/it was supposed to be sarcasm b/c there was 15 mins without a comment and I'm bored at work.

RSB-I tend to agree with you, but not this time.

I'm going to revert to the Victorino debate.


These are yearly lines for the Phillies' natural speed/contact-hitting outfielder position player, 2000-present. Doug Glanville, Marlon Byrd, Kenny Lofton and Bobby Abreu are represented.

Here is Victorino's projected line:


That's not bad compared to the others. His production is actually better (though without any homers), and his on base percentage is better compared to the lean Marlon Byrd years.

Now, with Vic hitting in the 2-hole, it exposes him more to the scrutiny, whereas Byrd (and sometimes Glanville) hit down in the 7- or 8-hole.

Still, as the third-most-productive outfielder, he is an improvement over what we usually see from that role. If he can boost his run production a bit and hit a few over the fence, I'd be very happy with his season.

Parker I think your posts are funny and I enjoy reading them.

RSB I agree with you most of the time but not this time. Borowski has pitched 11 innings with 15 SO 13 Hits 6 BB and 11 Runs(all earned). I don't think he is much better then what we already have.
Also if ERA and Saves are not good stats to look at with Relief Pitchers what are ?

Inherited runners allowed to score
Leverage of innings ( Giving up 2 runs with a 7 run lead in the 9th has to count less than giving up 2 runs in a 2 run game right? )

geez, can we go back to analyzing the Abreu trade?

Total break from Burowski and Abreu . . . what about the upcoming 10-game road trip? Any predictions? Personally, I would be thrilled if the Phils go 6-4.

Being an optimist, we take 2 from the Braves, split in San Fran and drop 2 in AZ.

That would make us 5-5. Sounds about right.


Thanks for the new topic. The road trip could be tough, especially on the pitching staff. If I remember correctly, because of the makeup game with the Astros I think the Phils play 23 straight days. If someone could mix a complete game in sometime this week, that would be a major help to the bullpen. 6-4, would be great but 5-5 is a reasonable goal. Hopefully they stay hot and outperform our expectations.

Abe Nunez starting again tonight, according to Marcus Hayes on DNL.


Tony- Because Cholly HATES you.

Steve Jeltz-I feel that 5-5 is about right too. Going to be really interesting to see how this offense does against Hudson tonight and then in the Giants series. If Howard continues to slump, they are going to have trouble scoring runs.

Is it me, or is the Borowski debate actually intensifying? Can we talk about scrapple again?

The best part is the Borowski debate is in an Abreu thread. It's like Beerleaguer's 2-4-1 Happy Hour special.

Tony - I'd guess because Lieber is on the mound tonight. Lieber has 1.43 groundballs per 1 flyball, and I'd guess Cholly would rather have Nunez taking those grounders at third, as opposed to Helms who will be looking for his 5th error tonight.

Besides, Abe "No Mercy" Nunez sounds cool.

PS - It's really pissing me off that the Braves games are no longer on TBS. I was really looking forward to that right about ... well, now.

They say Hudson's back and I'd be inclined to agree. Hopefully Lieber can match his effort; I doubt it though.

Bedrosian's Beard takes yet another gratuitous cheap shot at Coste above --"Everyone's favorite 34-year-old catcher is hitting .216 in Ottawa. Maybe his batting average is in Canadian?"

Yep -- after dodging three snow storms and being forced to play in gameday weather in the 30's and lower 40's the first two weeks of the season, Coste -- in a mere 15 games so far -- has had a slow start.

Coste has been quoted in media accounts as saying that being shipped to the minors this season has hurt him far more than even last year's slap-in-the-face cut by Gillick in the CBP locker room the night Delucci was acquired the day before 2006 Opening Day. This year, Coste was told by Phillies' management that he "didn't fit into the team's scheme this year" -- whatever that meant.

My wife and I had occasion to travel to Ottawa recently, and after watching the Senators eliminate Pittsburgh in an NHL playoff game on April 19th, on April 20th, we sat in Row A behind home plate at Lynx Stadium and watched the Lynx play Charlotte.

Before the game, I had occasion to speak to Coste for the first time alongside the Lynx dugout, and without getting into details of that conversation, I can say, with first-hand knowledge, that Coste feels terribly wounded by the treatment he received at the hands of Phillies' management during the off-season.

It sure is easy for armchair baseball fans, easily flinging blog posts, to say that Coste should simply "buck up" and "fugetaboutit" -- but that's not so easy when you're 34 years old, and you've just been trashcanned to the minors after hitting .328 in 65 games with a .505 slugging percentage, 32 RBI's, and 7 HR's with the Phillies in '06 after 11 minor league years -- and your employer has "optioned" you to AAA, insuring that you won't be able to get another big league job -- all as your window of opportunity rapidly slips away.

Beard, I'm waiting for your inevitable sneering, sarcastic response -- but it won't change the facts I have just recited.

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EST. 2005

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