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Friday, April 20, 2007

Comments

I like this move and the picture of Myers you chose.

In the picture perfect world perhaps Myers does develop into a lights-out closer this season with Madson working long relief, Geary slotted into the 6/7th inning role, and Alfonseca and Gordon holding down the 7/8th setup man innings...and Donut-Eater Lieber returns to being a solid starting pitcher...PERFECT WORLD.

or

This is just a mirage to showcase Lieber for a couple starts until we can trade him for a quality relief pitcher and then move Myers back to the rotation.

or

All of this is permanent and blows up in the Phils face. We lose both Lieber and Garcia to free agency, while Myers becomes a crappy reliever and never recovers to be able to start again.

Oh, I wonder which one it will be? This is our Phillies...luck is not on our side.

I'm liking the optimisim. I'm with you all the way. Myers is doing the team thing. Full respect.

Leiber really needs to perform now. He has his wish being back in the rotation. Now show us you deserve to be there Jon.

Scenario number 1 please GM. Its time for some perfection.

Phils to put together a streak tonight.

The Phils need to remind Kyle Lohse he isn't a good pitcher, in fact he sucks.

The Phils need to remind Josh Hamilton crack is whack.

The Phils need to stop me before I jump off a cliff.

Yeah, I like the idea of Myers closing with Flash and Alfy in setup roles.

Unfortunately, our RISP attrition rate will be somewhere in the low 90s.

CLout: On Borowski, I didn't mean to base my argument on his ERA. I've watched him pitch 3 times already and he does not look good. He was throwing in the mid 90's against the Phils last year and is toping out at 88 right now. Losing 7 MPH on a fastball might not mean a whole lot to a control pitcher, but for a power reliever, I think it does. If you get a chance to watch him, he is really struggling. He has had a difficult time getting outs, not just against the Yankees but, he has struggled (10 hits and 4 walks, 6 K, in 6 IP) against the ChiSox and Angels. The Sox and Angels were both struggling to hit when he faced them. I dont think my claim has no merit if you watch him pitch.

Jason, let's ditch the left hander and finally admit that we got NOTHING for Abreu/Lidle. Abreu the so called club house cancer. I know some here wish to forget about Abreu but guess what he is gone and the Phillies are 4-10, he was the problem right?

Howard: Does anyone think that it is possible that Howard was injured before he actually reported the injury to the trainors and did not say anything? Reasons why I ask this:
1.) He has hit several balls that I thought were gone, but died on the warning track. I realize it has been windy and cold, but with his power he should still be able to get them out.
2.) Knee problems can cause this problem. Bonds had the knee problem last year and while he was making good contact with the ball, he didnt have his HR power and everything died at the worning track. If Howard could not plant on his knee, it would explain he flailing swings and lack of power so far.
3.) Although there are arguments on the other side of this 3rd point, I throw out my side and y'all can take it from here. It seems to me that he might not report the injury due to the potential impact it would have on his contract negotiations. While his stats might suffer, he would always have the option later to say he is hurt when and if he is not performing.

******* I throw this out as a possibility, and would like to hear what anyone else thinks. I am not saying that I think this is true, I just want to see if anyone thinks this is possible.**************

"prize fighter competitiveness"?

Sorry but I don't see that. I see someone who gets flustered at the first thing that doesn't go his way. But at least as a closer once he gives up a big hit it's over anyway.

Rick (Boston): Is moving Brett Myers to the pen the dumbest move of the season so far?

Keith Law: Oh, by far. Not only is it indefensible as a baseball move, but to me, it indicates a completely broken decision-making process in baseball operations. Three starts into the season and you pull your second-best starter and make him a middle reliever? Don't you think moves like that should be made in the offseason, after some careful deliberation? If I was the Phils' owner or president, I'd have my metaphorical axe at the sharpener's.

The 9th inning doesn't matter if your starters can't get past the 5th inning. The new rotation, particularly the addition of Garcia, was supposed to protect a largely useless bullpen. Take Myers out of the rotation, you're more or less back were you started...counting on the Ryan Franklins, Arthur Rhodes, Rick Whites, Madsons, Alphonsecas, Rosarios etc of the baseball junkyard for 3-4 innings every night.

And of course, its simply a crapshoot whether Myers can actually pitch the 9th, or whether Lieber can be effective for even 5 innings.

I don't like the move, but I respect Myers attitude. I think we've harmed our rotation's ability this year. Jon Lieber is 37, and his incredible control aside, he seems to bring nothing else to the mound anymore. I just don't think that a contract year is going to make the difference, and we'll get largely the same as we got last year.

He doesn't replace myers, and it means that 3-5 are all of number 4/5 quality. Pretty much makes me sick to think of it.

I won't blame charlie for choosing this option - he's desperate, feeling the pressure, and is trying to deal the hand he's given. But making the move casts every one of gillick's acquisitions in a bad-to-horrible light. In fact, gillick's passive approval of this has what's got me most ticked off. If manuel had gone to gillick and said 'we're desperate, there's no bullpen options, this is what we're doing but we need a starter from somewhere' and gillick responds by saying 'don't go with this until the starter is in place', I'm happier. If gillick says 'charlie it's crazy, we need a starter for this to work - lets speak to mike arbuckle, assess the minor league options and see can we push anyone' then I'm happier. They make this decision back in spring training and just let lieber start . . . I'm happier.

But for gillick to seemingly shrug his shoulders suggests a disconnect, a preparedness to let the manager sink the ship at the risk of further screwing things up when the next guy takes over and says 'I want myers back in the rotation.'

But like I said, kudos to myers. He'll bust himself out for this team, and he has talent and he might help the bullpen. just don't know where we're going to find a number 2/3 type pitcher from now.

Last night's win notwithstanding, the team is an ugly mess right now. still beggers belief that howard is being let go day-to-day instead of sat down for a stretch, and I can't understand why they didn't use caution and put him in for an MRI. He is last year's MVP with a body type which will aggravate these kind of problems. You'd think in those circumstances that they'd take no chances.

But that's the phils under gillick. Always gambling. I'm pretty much through with him now - he gambles regardless of the odds, on info which is not always reliable. And he relies way too much on a lot of gambles succeeding at the same time (see Gordon, Floyd, Madson last year, or helms, Victorino AND rowand this year). My point there being it's not enough to rely on the probability of Vic doing better this year, he's relying on the probability of Vic AND Helms AND Rowand doing better this year. last time I did things like probability, that reduced your overall chances.

Jason- I just looked at the image of Brett again that heads this post...where the hell did you find it? What's up with the fuzzyness of it?

DK,

Again with Abreu? He ain't coming back.

I like the Myers move.

Carson: Jason was up all night last night painting that, do you like it? You can have the original for 499.99. Make the check out to Beerleaguer.

It's from an Allen & Ginter baseball card, which means I shouldn't be posting it. Let's keep it on the lowdown. I felt it was appropriate for a piece on Myers "rebirth."

Allen & Ginter. Quality baseball cards, for over 247 years. Available online.

Weitzel- those copyright laws crack me up, as I'm constantly "stealing" images and posting them on my site.

I'm in a strangely funny/optimisitic mood today, but of course my sarcasm remains. But that's what makes me a grizzled BeerLeaguer vet.

the only thing i give myers credit for is making a huge mistake. he should be kicking and screaming. he should downright refuse. this isn't better for him, on a short or long term basis, or the team, on a long term basis.

does anyone think the phil's will fill two starting rotation holes this winter in free agency? i don't. we're looking at a battle between aj happ and mathieson for the 5 spot next year. or even worse, there is no one signed in free agency and 2 farm guys have to make the rotation. this is absolutely frightening.

this move is completely unprecedented in the history of mlb. there is a reason for that. it is completely asinine.

Yes, Hamels is # 1, but you'll never guess who's # 5:
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-behindthestats&prov=ap&type=lgns

I can live with that plan. It's a lot more than any real direction that the club has shown in the recent past. That being said, how scared should we be that the planning for this team is having to be done by the (probably) lame duck manager, and not the GM?

Gillick is seriously starting to tick me off. His stand Pat laissez faire attitude, necessitating Cholly to get creative should be unacceptable. If nothing else, he needs to pick up on this plan and trade Lieber, preferably getting a decent left-handed reliever in the process. While I agree that keeping Smith around just to have a lefty in the 'pen is stupid, I do belive that a LOOGY, at the very least, is very important.

Beard, my point is that Abreu was never the cause of this teams constant poor starts. We should have gotten something of value for him at least in the bullpen. He has more rbi's, 13, than any Phillie, the same as Utley and Howard combined and is hitting .345/.406/.414 and has scored 13 runs the same as Rollins. He was the Phillies best player for years and they gave him away for garbage.

I don't know if moving Myers to the 9th and Gordon to the 7th/8th is a good idea. The current setup reminds me a bit of Bill James' "Bullpen Ace" idea. If Gordon is your second best reliever, let him have the 9th. Bring Myers in anywhere from the 6th onwards to put out fires. I'd rather see Brett trottin' to the mound with 2 on and none out in a tie game than Gordon, that's for sure. When the Phils are up 3 and need 3 outs to win the game, sure give it to Gordon. I don't think Myers cares to much, because I think he understands his value to the team, and the "value" of wins and saves as pitcher stats.

TC: If the Phillies are open minded enough to try using a bullpen ace, I'd love to see it. It's a fantastic idea. Unfortunately with the Phillies being who they are, I didn't bother mentioning it.

DK, I appreciate your kind words, but it is time to move on. I have.

Believe me, I know where you are coming from. You were a fan of mine and like a lot of other folks your voice was drowned out when you repeated pleaded with the media and the more unreasonable vocal minority to understand that I was clearly not the problem with this team. My supporting cast was never good enough. It's a problem all "stars," like myself, and "superstars," like AI and Big 5 will always have with perception. You can't win in any league with a few stars and a bunch of garbage.

Anyway, for your own mental health, please move on. And by the way, good luck, Chase and Ryan (you're gonna need it).

Bobby

BedBeard: Guys like you who were wrong about the Abreu trade hate to have it thrown in their faces, I know. Don't blame you.

Jason: I agree 100% with your assessment up top. Despite the repeated statements of kdon and others that the bullpen was not a problem, it's obvious that it was indeed the single biggest problem. And it is now too late to address with a trade before the season goes down the drain. If the Myers gamble pays off, we have a chance for a reliable setup and closer combination. Geary, Madson, Alfonseca have the ability to pitch the 6th and 7th. They have to hope that Garcia stays healthy and Lieber can pitch like he did in the second half of last season. Those are a lot of ifs, but there aren't many options here. Gillick's failure to deal for or sign a solid setup man in the offseason sabotaged hopes for a decent start.

Parker: Howard's injury happened late in the extra inning game Wednesday night. I was watching when it happened, he jumped at the first base bag trying to beat the throw. Sarge immediately pointed out that you're never supposed to do that, you can hyperextend your knee or jam an ankle. He's lucky he didn't tear a ligament.

DK, I appreciate your kind words, but it is time to move on. I have.

Believe me, I know where you are coming from. You were a fan of mine and like a lot of other folks your voice was drowned out when you repeated pleaded with the media and the more unreasonable vocal minority to understand that I was clearly not the problem with this team. My supporting cast was never good enough. It's a problem all "stars," like myself, and "superstars," like AI and Big 5 will always have with perception. You can't win in any league with a few stars and a bunch of garbage.

Anyway, for your own mental health, please move on. And by the way, good luck, Chase and Ryan (you're gonna need it).

Bobby

The argument against this remains that you are taking 200+ Top-25-in-the-league innings out of the rotation and replacing them with 200 league average at best innings, thereby reducing the games in which you may be handing off a lead. Aside from his usual September run, Lieber's last 12 months make him look like a batting practice pitcher. The bullpen might be better, but the starting rotation IS weaker. I don't see how you can argue against that. I guess it comes down to which you feel is more important.

Jason: When you say permanent, do you mean for this season or for Myers' career? If it's permanent for his career, what is our rotation next year (as is)? Is it Hamels, Eaton, Moyer? Shouldn't we move Myers back to the rotation at some point, I know the bullpen looks like it will suck even more in the future than it does now, but maybe we just need to overspend on relievers/a closer this offseason as oppossed to searching for two starters in the offseason, one of whom would need to be a top of the rotation guy of at least Myers' calliber. Can we really count on Mathieson (who I really like but wasn't exactly lights out as an MLB starter) and Happ or Segovia to round out our rotation? In which case why did we trade Gio Gonzalez. I'm more upset with this move because of the timing. This is not something that should be done with your ace (who would you want to have starting the most important game of the year - although I could go for Moyer at this point) after 3 starts, one of which was good. But it certainly shouldn't be done when your ace was struggling. I just don't see how this helps us or Myers long term. And if this had been in the works, why sign Myers to an extension at the end of the offseason? If this was planned, how does that make any sense at all. I will say this though, I like that Myers is willing to do it.

I can't believe we're trying to sugarcoat this move already. Myers may have a great attitude about wanting to help the team win, but making this a permanent move is still a horrible idea.

Looks like I wasn't so bad after all.

Don't forget, as consistant as he is, Moyer will be 45 next year. No way can this move be permanent. We need a GM who can not only see what the short comings of the team are but be able to fill them. He said we needed BP help and a big bat. What did he get? Six starters and a catcher when they already had Ruiz and Coste but no BP help and actually reduction since Fultz was lost. Not that Fultz was great but he would have given them a loogy they badly need.

< Does anyone think that it was possible that Howard was actually injured before he reported the injury >

Yes, he could have been injured carrying all that hardware away from the banquet circuit last winter.

lekh: A lot will depend on how Myers does in his new role. I guarantee if he's lights out, he isn't going anywhere.

gr: You framed it well. This is a great issue to talk about, isn't it, and that's really what Beerleaguer is all about.

My rational is the bullpen, without Myers, is so bad that it will cripple them from making the playoffs. Myers has the potential to make a huge difference, insofar as to say that back-end relief could actually become a strength.

Meanwhile, the rotation is weaker, as you said. But ... is it solid enough for a run at the playoffs? It's early to tell, but say "yes." I like what I've seen from Hamels a whole lot. Moyer is quality. Garcia should be quality. Eaton looks average at best. Lieber is average or below.

This next statement I'm about to make isn't science, but I'll throw it out anyway. They didn't win games when Myers pitched. 12. 13 tops. It just never added up to me; it's seemed too low. And I don't have an answer why that is.

On a side note: Sheridan’s column in today’s Inquirer. He made some great points. There’s very good insight there. But it was too much of an agenda against Eskin, WIP and, I felt, myself and everyday readers of a space like this.

Thank you for educating us on how much we don’t know about managers. It still doesn’t change the fact that everyone seems to agree Manuel isn’t the best choice, and on a team like the Phils, where 2-3 extra wins means the difference between October baseball or tee-times, perhaps our frustration is justified. A good manager can earn you those wins.

as bad a job as Gillick did assembling a bullpen this offseason, the fact remains it is clearly easier to put together relievers through free agency/trades/waivers/minor leagues/etc. than it is to create a rotation. (it doesn't look like there's much in the way of FA reliever options right now - although Francisco Cordero is interesting - but the starter market is likely to be even worse, as a possible Zambrano bidding war could drive up the prices on everyone.)

I'd like to see guys like Happ get a shot at starting for the big league club next year, but if we need to fill in two or three rotation spots (because let's be honest - who knows what we can expect from Moyer next year), it won't matter if Myers turns the next Eck, because the rotation will be such a mess. that's why this is such a bad move in the long term, even if it's arguably worth the risk in the short term.

I can't believe Phillies.com is already trotting out the Utley/Howard All-Star propoganda. I guess as poorly as they've started, they need to get the media ball rolling sooner, rather than later.

clout's point yesterday about the competitiveness of the series with the Nats should have been pretty eye opening to any who hadn't already thought about that. With the current state of this team, bottom feeding is inevitable without a shake-up. Glad to see that it wasn't lost on Manuel. Although he says that he doesn't have the answers, this move at least shows that he has the balls to wager a "guess," which is more than we can say about Gillick at this point.

Best case scenario is that Lieber comes out tonight and pitches some lights out baseball, to increase any perceived value in the trade market, then a move is made that addresses multiple needs (bullpen, future starting pitching, bench bat, whatever-there are more holes to fill now than before the season started). Worst case scenario, however, is much more likely with decades of history to support the notion that nothing of any real value will be done, or worse, a real bad deal. If things don't pick up soon, the highlight of the spring for Philly fans could be the NBA lottery, which speaks volumes about Philadelphia sports at the moment.

another thing - I like Myers' enthusiasm at this new role and eagerness to help the team as much as anyone. but the flipside is that I don't recall him being as excited about, say, getting the opening day start this year. (although I could be misremembering, correct me if I'm wrong.) that, more than any physical effects relieving could have on his arm/endurance, is really troublesome (in terms of who's going to be starting those 35 games for us next year).

I love the Myers move. He's got the makeup for it. I think the chance of going out every day to pitch fits him more, instead of pressing every 5th day. I can see him being the closer by the end of May. And a rotation of Hamels/Garcia/Moyer/Eaton/Lieber is still pretty solid.

Great piece. I really wasn't excited about Myers' move to the bullpen, but, definitely see it as a positive now, and am willing to give a little time to see how this all shakes out. This move can potentially have a great long-lasting effect on the 'pen.

Oh, and Manuel is not the problem. He's not the one popping up or striking out when runners are in scoring position and less than 2 outs. It's that kind of inability to grind runs out when the big hitters are slumping that is killing the team. Bad baseball.

And Preacher, you're forgetting the NFL Draft is next weekend. I'm sure that'll get more viewers than the Phillies game, no doubt.

"I can't believe Phillies.com is already trotting out the Utley/Howard All-Star propoganda. I guess as poorly as they've started, they need to get the media ball rolling sooner, rather than later."

Unless there's something else I'm missing, every team is pushing the all-star voting on their official page. For example, the Nationals are pushing Zimmerman ('and seven of his teammates').

To Parker's question on Ryan's injury, I'm fairly confident that it came from the play. I was sitting about 10 rows back from the first base bag, and while I wasn't watching his legs, I was watching his face. There was a clear moment when Ryan's face winced and my body, in reaction to that, curled into a semi-fetal position in my chair. I think the combination of the way his foot hit the bag matched with the fact that the cold didn’t allow anyone’s body to be loose, had its effect.

While I wouldn't argue that some of his hits that would be home runs have been falling short, I’d attribute them to the fact that the cold impacts the hit ball. If you look back at last year, Ryan had five homers in April, as compared to 13 in May, 9 in June, 8 in July, 14 in August and 9 in September. I’d suggest that last April was warmer than this April, which helped him as pitchers were able to be more consistent with their fastballs and I’d also offer that, as Ryan has pointed out, he doesn’t currently feel comfortable with his swing. I’m confident with spring finally making its comeback that more of Ryan’s hits will bring us to our feet and when he begins feeling comfortable with his swing, we’ll all be much happier. But it could be Jason’s optimism rubbing off.

I did feel like, on Wednesday night, that Ryan spent more time setting his batting stance than in the past. I could have been mistaken- everything seemed to take longer in the cold on Wednesday.

jason, i'm willing to admit that myers may do well in the bullpen role and make even make a positive difference (whether or not that makes up for the negative difference i'm expecting from lieber, that's another argument). however, for me, it gets into a much larger issue and that's the this organization doesn't appear to have the capacity to obtain and/or develop enough resources solve its problems year and and year out. ideally, you'd like your closer (or, god lord, your 8th inning guy) to not be a #1 pick with borderline all-star numbers as a starter. it feels like plugging holes only to see others sprout up and then you have yourself a zero-sum game.

but again, the bullpen has blown some games but is not the reason (or lone reason) this team is 4-10. if they go another 4-10 and lose alot of game 4-2, can we then agree that the offense is killing the season?

Dear Phans,

I told you last year we won't be contenders until 2008. You didn't listen.

Your GM,

Pat Gillick

PS-Loving the legal weed.

typos. typos for everyone.

dear Pat Gillick:
this team is much less likely to contend in 2008, especially after your impending half-assed firesale.

thanks (for nothing),
ae

StJoe, I'm not saying that the Phils shouldn't be talking AS Game like the other teams. I think an argument could be made that there are other Phillies who would be better candidates so far this year (Rollins and Burrell come to mind).

GR - Zero Sum Game is spot on. Hear hear.

"as bad a job as Gillick did assembling a bullpen this offseason, the fact remains it is clearly easier to put together relievers through free agency/trades/waivers/minor leagues/etc. than it is to create a rotation."

ae, as always, great point.

On Myers, Keith Law is right on, this should have been done in the offseason. Even though I think Myers is more valuable to the team as a starter than a reliever, I could have lived with it if it wasn't a pannic move.

Let me ask the supporters of this move one question: If Myers is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA, and Lieber gets a groundout the other day instead of the 3-run HR, does this move get done. IMO, not a chance. This is an overeaction, pure and simple. You cannot make major changes like this based on a handful of events.

Charlie Manuel with an "educated guess?" Ruh-roh! He is a league average manager - 15 better than him, 14 behind him, based on team strategy, clubhouse responsiveness, and in-game tactics. At most, the difference between the #1 and the #16 manager is two wins.

Jon Lieber is a slightly average pitcher, but not too far below. His value over replacement player is still fair enough for the middle of the league.

WP, you are joking about Burrell right? He has 1 hr and 6 rbi's. Rollins is playing great but Reyes will make it. The one who should get real consideration is Moyer.
There is an interesting article by Bill Conlin in the DN about the move of Myers to the BP he ends it with the following quote: "This move was thrust on Myers in a blinding flash of panic. He is a pitching work in progress and we can only hope this knee-jerk spasm by a doomed manager is not career-altering."

Thinking about next year, consider that the starter who has half of our wins is a 44 yr old with an 82 mph fastball. His "stuff" is still something of a novelty in the NL East, but how long does that last?

Jason, clout, etc.: If you were to be given these two composite ERAs, which one do you think is the Phils pen, and which one is the starters.

A - 5.57
B - 3.91

A is the pen, right? Nope. That 5.57 ERA is for the starting 5, which we are now about to significantly weaken. The fact that we are focusing on the pen is one of the major problems with a subjective approach can be misleading. Why are we focusing on the pen, and not the rotation? Well, there were a couple high-profile meltdowns in the begining of the season, and anything that happens in the middle of the season is magnified.

But also, we see the pen as a problem because we *expected* to see the pen as the problem. Only to someone who is looking for what they want to find could the following be "obvious":

"Despite the repeated statements of kdon and others that the bullpen was not a problem, it's obvious that it was indeed the single biggest problem."

Really clout, despite the fact that the rotation has been significantly worse than the pen? Or the fact that the team has stranded 10 runners per game? This focus on the pen is the myopia I complained about earlier, and it's now overtaken the Phillies (and most posters) collective opinions.

In all likelyhood, the next few weeks will see the Phils play better, for two: 1) They simply cannot continue to strand runners at this rate, 2) The schedule is easier.

I'm sure we will see all sorts of articles on how Myers settled down the pen and why the team is winning. In all likelyhood, it will be the Phils average w/RISP regressing to the mean, but that just isn't a fun story.

I don't understand the commenters who are saying that Myers has the "makeup" for this role, that's he's somehow suited for it. What evidence do we have of that? I'd say that if he's shown us anything over this season and last, it's that he's specifically NOT the kind of guy you want in there in emotional situations. He's easily flustered and tries to compensate by blowing the ball past people, by challenging hitters. And hitters are aware of that, and they're only going to become MORE aware of that over time. Yeah, maybe he'll go on a run like Zumaya, a guy who really fed off that emotion and had some luck blowing the ball past people last season, but I think the odds are better that he won't. That won't stop him from trying, though, over and over again. How can you argue with that, having seen him pitch the past 2-3 seasons?

I made this point before and I don't want to repeat myself but it seems appropriate in this thread. He's a young, immature pitcher who tries way too hard to be the ace. And now he's putting himself into a role where he's going to feel the pressure to try even harder. I don't like this move one bit.

And no, I don't have a better idea.

kdon, one of those starts was by Segovia, who gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. Not to say the starters have been great excepting Moyer and Hamels. The BP did give up some leads which did cost some games.

Pat Gillick,

You moron. You ruined my perfectly good offensive machine. All you had to do is add some pieces to the bullpen and you were set. The game passed you by 10 years ago. I tried telling Monty what he was getting into when he hired you. Nice job, Dope.

Sincerely,

Ed

Kdon,

Have you been watching the games? Perhaps you might have noticed that Moyer pitched 8 SO innings yesterday, then put on a couple of runners in the ninth. We brought in our 60yo old closer and he brought them right home.

Starter is charged with those runs. Did he throw the pitch that brought them home? Is ERA a good way to measure a pen?

I'll give you a hint the answer to both questions is the same.

I'm going to weigh in as a positive vote for the change. The simple fact is that we have three guys now in the pen I feel pretty good about bringing into the game: Six-finger, Flash and Brett. Geary and Mad Dog are up and down (the Dog more down then G-man, but true either way) Rosario too soon to tell, and I think Matt Smith could be dominant... In Reading.

Yes the rotation may not be as good, but the difference between an also ran and a playoff team that does not appear in the stats in how they fair in close games, and that has a lot to do with the pen.

There will not be a lot of complete games, and 7 innings of shut-out ball from Hamels for example could quickly turn to disaster if you bringing out Sixy and Flash for the second or third day in a row to close a one or two run game.

Eventually the Bats are going to pop, and were going to win a few 14-8 ball games, and I'm fine bringing (insert patch work RP name here) to close those out.

But we need to get the close ones too.

kdon, how many inherited runners from our SP have been stranded by our bullpen instead of being allowed to inflate the ERA of the starters??

For something completely different check out "We Should Be GM's" comment section. It gives some interesting comparisons of Brett Myers eyebrow. A hint-it involves Ernest Borgnine.

kdon, you make a good point. It's normal enough to remember the games that were lost late rather than the ones we were never in --although that last Met game was pretty unforgettable for the way everyone quit early.

Kingman, my point was that if the AS Game is supposed to highlight the best players on each team each year, there are more productive players than Utley and Howard, thus far. I used Burrell as an example, as he's hitting .333. I suppose I could have used Rowand, instead. My overall point, however, is that there really aren't any All-Stars on this team right now. I guess someone has to represent the Phils, though.

Same old Phillies but give Gillick a little credit that he is not afraid to OK or make a change, especially one that goes against traditional thinking.

Obviously some changes were terrible and some were good under his watch but during the Ed Wade tenure it is doubtful this would have ever happened although Wade probably had his hands tied more than PG.

I personally love the Myers move and it is far better than anything we could have gotten in return for Lieber.

Lieber should find his mojo since it is a contract year and he was pitching well in ST so let's give this a try.

ESPN Baseball tonight had an under ALL-STAR under-.200 BA team on it and we are not the only team struggling with our big guns most attributed to the cold weather.

Mother Nature might make the biggest improvement on this ball club after the Myers move as it appears spring has finally arrived.

Dear Phans,
I hated you dum azz Philly Phans since my Blue Jays kicked your asses in 1993. I still hate you and am gonna make sure you dont get to the post-season for at least another 10 years.
Love,
PG

laramie - With regards to Myers' makeup to be closer, I think the fact that he can go out there every day and pitch suits him, and he'll be less inclined to stress about one bad outing as he'll be able to go out the next day and get it done.

I know it's just a feeling, but I think he'll do a good job at it.

Jason- "Tony the Tiget" is not my new alias. I don't shamelessly plug my blog like that (anymore that is). But I do appreciate someone doing it for me...hahaha.

Anyway, on to tonight's game...do you think Lieber is going to have a stupid pitch count of 75-80 pitches because he's coming from the 'pen? I say leave him in for 100 pitches or so if he's chucking well.

I don't believe there is any way your minds can comprehend what I am trying to relate, but in short, your minds, are like, creating this 4-10 reality, man. When you stop limiting yourselves to just five senses you'll see that everything, like, just is.

PS - 11:11am, December 21, 2012, man.

Cholly is doing the best he can to make something akin to lemonaid out of Gillick's offseason lemons. I really don't want to hear that there were no relievers available via trade or FA. Why anybody who likes the Phillies should find him or herself acting as a Gillick-apologist is beyond me. If the problem comes from even on-higher than GM, then you're talking essentially unavoidable systemic shortcomings and underperformance into the future.

Pat Gillick - Really your not funny.

Laramie - I think you make a good point about Myers' mental demeanor and its effect on him as a closer. Worth considering for a couple of reasons.

Myers does get easily frustrated and seems to unnecessarily challenge hitters as the game wears on. Especially can be a jackass about challenging good fastball hitters with a fastball in the strike zone. Part of that is Myers' fault but I also blame the catchers on this team. Good catcher would help Myers realize that throwing a fastball down the plate late in games is just foolish.

The upside here is that Myers' might be able to get away with this as a closer. Instead of having to conserve energy, Myers can really let lose. I would not be surprised to see him throwing 95 or 96 consistently as a closer. World of difference between a rising fastball that is 95-96 mph vs. 90-91 mph due to fatigue.

Other potential downside with Myers' attitude and a closer role is that Myers doesn't seem to let things go easily. I don't know if Myers will be able to shake off a walk-off home run if he is used the next day.

Is it just me or has Ryan Howard's swing changed since last year. He seems to be pulling off the ball and trying to pull everything. After watching Burrell try to pull every single pitch for the last three years I've noticed this. When a hitter is trying to pull it produces a lot of weak ground balls to the side they are trying to pull it to, i.e. alot of Howard's outs (when he isn't K'ing) are ground balls to the right side. Last year he would crush the ball to the left-center alley or in the seats. I think one of the reasons he was so great was because he could consistently hit to the opposite field and would therefore keep pitchers off balance (pitchers couldn't go away, away, away). I just hope he fixes that beauty of a swing when he gets back. This injury may well be just what the doctor ordered for this horrid slump he started on.

Overall, I still haven't changed my mind about the Myers' move. Thinks it reeks of desperation and is ill-advised beyond 2007.

Myers move is Exhibit A how the Gillick tenure has been marked so far by almost purely reactionary actions vs. strategic decisions. I just don't see any indications that Gillick is either doing an adequate job of building a current playoff-caliber team or building a team that will contend toward the end of the decade.

If anything, I think Gillick's trades and the current dearth of prospects in the minor leagues bode ill for this team in 2009 or 2010.

I noticed the last 2 ABs for Ry Ho that his mannerisms were different from one AB to the next. His did not move in the last AB but did in the one before..The only thing that was the same was the fact that he swung, first pitch, into a FC and Double Play respectively..
I hope Milt works with him if there is an issue..

JB - no offense, but if there is one thing i'm not prepared to do, its give gillick credit for anything, as he's done very little to improve this team since the end of 2005. the bullpen is worse, the bench is still very bad, and while the rotation is supposed to be better, the lineup might only be marginally better (eventually) and only through the improvment of wade-era players. what exactly does gillick get credit for again?

Love the move, love GM-Carsons three possible outcomes even if it is outcome number 3 we don't want to resign Leiber at the moment, and we will have to pay Garcia the going rate next year, if not Garcia we have the cash freed up from Abreu to sign another Number # 1 starter.

Remember Leiber was a righthanded Moyers, and lost 3 games last spring due to fielding errors. He trade worth cannot be any lower than it is now, if he suceeds his worth will rise, if he fails he can be released. Great Move.

As for Beerleagers projected Bullpen roles, again it shows the quality of your analysis that makes you the top Phillies Fan Site.
Two slight modifications to the Bullpen; first reverse Madson's and Geary's roles, Geary is best as the long reliever, Madson when he was lights out 2 full years ago, let them see him for just an inning and his change up was devasting. If teams get to time him he fails; second demote Smith and bring up Fabio Castro! the lefty with the best flakey left handed name in baseball!

Scream out Fabio Castro YOU DID IT!!! three times and see if you smiling! Scream out Fabio Castro YOU SUCK!!! imagining that he has just served up three wild pitches in a row, or a 3 run walk off homer and see if you are smiling!!!

See either way Fabio Castro is crucial to Phillies fans staying off suicide watch.

In regards to Howard's swing, I also have seen a little bit of Burrell's head-pull every once in awhile. I was actually wondering how much input Manuel (and Milt, for that matter) have with these guys in making any changes. Cholly is supposedly the master at making a player a better hitter, but after Howard's first two seasons, the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mantra should apply.


Those who hate this move should look at what my brother came up with on his baseball blog. http://www.deathtoflyingthings.blogspot.com/

Please note form my brother’s post that Myers is 54-42 with a 4.42 ERA over the course of his career, while the “worst” signing of the off season, Adam Eaton is 55-46 and 4.45 over his career in about the same amount of games.

Sorry, Jason if I was out of line plugging WSBGMS but sometimes the atmosphere here gets a little argumentative. The only disagreement or argument there is who is the bigger asswhole, Corey or Carson.

Clout/Philly fan in DC: to clarify my statement earlier, I realize that the actual manifestation of the injury that has Howard out, occured Wednesday night. My point is that perhaps he was injured (Hence his struggles) slightly and made it worse the other night. I watched some replays of him striking out (There are not many other highlights of him this year) on ESPN earlier and it appears to me that he is being very cautious on his plant knee (By the way, these highlights are before the Wednesday injury). He seems to plant and as soon as he swings, he sort of, hopps off of it as if to take stress off of it. I may be reading into it too much, but his swing definately looks different too me, and that is the only thing that I see that is different. Once again not saying that is true, but just a thought. If you get a chance to review some of his swings, see if you dont see him jumping off that knee to relieve pressure.

Philly fan in DC: When you say that he took longer to set his batting stance, do you mean that it appeared that he could not get comftorable, and was constantly adjusting his stance? If that is the case, and it was pre 1B injury, it could suggest that he was having problems with the knee. I think it is at least possible.

snooge, your brother's analysis ignores the fact that Myers has been very good in the last 2 seasons - one of the best strikeout pitchers in the NL - after being very bad in his first 2.5 seasons. using his career stats and not his 2005-6 stats (a major difference for a young pitcher - those first 2.5 seasons were his age 21-23 years) to argue that he's not a frontline pitcher is misleading. also, Eaton's career numbers were mostly compiled pitching in San Diego, in a much, much more pitcher-friendly ballpark than CBP.

I do like the Bob Ferguson reference though.

At first, I was totally sickened by the move of Myers to the bullpen. But after evaluating it, I came to a conclusion that I think is interesting.

The Phils now have a solid 3 in the bullpen that can pitch the 7th on(Gordon, Myers, and Alfonseca), an average starting rotation even with Leiber, and a batting order that WILL hit eventually.

What team does this mimick? Thats right, our rivals up the turnpike, the New York Mets.

Now this might not work but atleast we're trying.

You do not take your opening day starter and make him a reliever. We all know that of Hamels, Eaton and Lieber, one or more is likely to breakdown during the season not to mention the uncertainty of Garcia's arm. It will then take Myers some time to stretch out his arm again when he returns to the rotation which will further put a strain on the BP because he will only be able to go 4-5 innings initially.

If a starter goes down, you can bet we will see someone like Segovia or Mazone. Myers is in the pen the rest of the year.

kdon is being laughably disingenuous. Before the game Wednesday night they posted a stat on TV that showed the Phils bullpen had the second worst ERA in the NL. That night they pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing only 1 run. This one game now has kdon crowing, "See, I told you the bullpen wasn't a problem!" Even though 4 of the losses have been directly attributable to the bullpen. kdon, you're twisting yourself into a pretzel to defend an indefensible position.

Brad: Interesting post. Maybe someone with a better memory than mine can help me out, but I swear I read a story last summer in the Daily News that talked about how they were trying to get Howard to pull the ball more.

It is extremely humorous to me to see some of these posts against the Myers move, and realize that the arguement is the total opposite of what these people have been saying all along.

Simple facts; this team has taken a conventional "inside the box" approach to everything this young season. Taking the "experienced" guys north and sending Coste to AAA is just one example.

Repeatedly the GM and Charlie are blasted up and down this board for troting out the same line ups and same approach to every situation and getting the same sub-par results.

Then, suprise! They take their best starter and send him to the pen to sure up what has been a clear weakness on this team, a totally unconventional move and suddenly everyone starts yelling "who does that? No one, no one would ever do that, worst idea ever!"

Give me a break. This is the very stereotype of the Philly fan. Do nothing they boo it, do something they boo it.

Give it a chance.

Parker- I believe he took more time to make sure his feet were set and his back was in position before he pointed the bat. I viewed it as I do when I'm attempting to fix my golf swing (which is a never ending effort)- I take more time to make sure that I'm lining up correctly, that there's some distance between myself and the ball, that I have enough room to swing cleanly but not too much room that I'll be straining. It really seemed to me that he knows that he's struggling and he's looking at the little things to see if there's something that has thrown him off.

I think, just like with my golf swing, knowing that something is off has gotten into his head, so he takes extra time to do the little things. But, Parker, yours is the flip side of what I had thought while watching him, so it might be correct, it just wasn’t what I had thought originally.

ae

While Myers earlier years were not as good as the last two lets not forget that Myers hasn’t had a #1 like season. Also saying his earlier seasons were really bad isn’t really true either. Only 2004 is really bad the rest are alright.

It also doesn’t take away from the main point of my brothers post which is that Myers is a much better pitcher through his first 45 pitches then he is from there on out. Those numbers are based on the 2005 and 2006 seasons. So far I think my brother’s position holds that this isn’t a bad move.

It would be one thing if the drop off occurs after 75 pitches or something, but it is a little troubling to think that Myers is a lesser pitcher around the 4th inning. (How many times has Brett been cruising until the 4th or 5th?) This isn’t just something that was bothering him when he was 21-22 years old. This is a trend for his whole career including his very good years.

maybe it's none of my business because I'm not a philly phan. But I actually really enjoy this website. But anyway, before the season started, I remember reading posts from you guys stating how good this team was going to be. Forget what JR said about being the team to beat. You fans were going nuts about how you were going to be a power house in the league this year. Now, all I read about is how Gillick needs to be fired because of all the "lemons" on this team. I also read someone post once that this team was full of a bunch of C-list players or something to that effect. So if someone could please explain to me, when exactly did this "power house" become "lemons"?

yt,

That's a good point; my main problem with the organization has always been their unwillingness to take even moderate risks (i.e. maybe let Coste play one game at 3B last year just to see what happens). And especially considering what a disaster this season has been it's time to throw sh*t up against the wall and see what sticks.

Who knows, maybe Myers/Gordon/Alfonseca turn into Nasty Boys 2007. OK, that won't happen but at this point I think it's worth rolling the dice.

In the long term, I'd like to see Myers as a starter. But the bottom line is that this team has 6 starters at the moment and of those guys he is probably the one best suited to pitch out of the bullpen. It might not be ideal but at least they are making an attempt to maximize the assets they have in place.

snooge-
your contention about the 45-pitch drop-off isn't remotely true.

Myers' 2005 opponent OPS by pitch count:
1-25 .842
26-50 .759
51-75 .652
76-100 .674
100+ .462 (small sample size)

Myers' 2006 opponent OPS by pitch count:
1-25 .701
26-50 .629
51-75 .697
76-100 .858
100+ 1.052 (small sample size)

in 2005, you can clearly see a pitcher who grows stronger as the game goes on. that was not the case in 2006, and there could be any number of reasons for that - maybe he was out of shape, or maybe he just isn't as good as he looked in 2005.

but in any case, there is no 45-pitch drop-off. and even if that was true, that's not what you want from a reliever. the odds of Myers throwing more than 25-30 pitches out of the pen, tops, are very slim. the fact that he can throw twice that many pitches doesn't help him close a game.

metsblog: if you were able to predict that Utley would be hitting .224 and Howard .213, and that Myers would have a 9+ ERA after 3 starts, clearly trolling message boards is a waste of your clairvoyant talents and you should be in Vegas right now.

And no, my name ain't Baby. It's Janet, Ms. Jackson if you're NASTY.

ae- I never said I was clairvoyant, in fact I never spoke about a prediction i made. And if you read closely to what I said, I asked "how are they now lemons" so are you saying chase utley, ryan howard and brett myers are lemons becuase they're struggling? That doesn't make sense. but don't take your frustrations out on me brotha, I just find it interesting how everyone thought they were so right. That the phillys truly were the team to beat. Now everyone thinks they're right that they suck. Then when they get hot I'll be watching you, specifically talking about how great they are again. No matter how you spin it, they can't be both. but honestly, I did think you guys would stink this year. I thought your starting pitchers were way overrated, and your relievers were complete garbage.I also thought Utley, Howard, and Rollins would have monster years, but with that gut on Howard that's about twice as big as it was last year, I'm not surprised he's struggling. which means Utley's not going to get anything to hit. Combine that with the compelling pressure to score so many runs that your pitching couldn't possibly blow it and you've got a crappy team. Oh yea, and no team leadership is a problem too.

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