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Saturday, April 07, 2007

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Inquirer: General manager Pat Gillick said the Phillies might take another look at righthander Dustin Hermanson, who was released Sunday by Cincinnati. The Phils saw Hermanson in the off-season but weren't impressed. He had a 7.36 ERA in eight appearances this spring for the Reds. He started well, but struggled late in the spring.

Just to follow up on something that as at the bottom of the last post. Clout, Rosario is already on the team, Bisenius was sent down.

Good win yesterday, and I couldn't agree more Jason that Ruiz just looks like the real deal. I'm glad Cholly has decided to alternate the catchers, but I think Ruiz may become the everyday guy by May.

I also wonder if everyone wants to talk about how great and wonderful the Braves are today? With Hampton's injury, they have two spots in the rotation filled with junk. As I said last post, it will take a little while before the Phils rotation depth ( a major advantage over everyone else in the NL East) begins to become apparent.

JW: I also think that I saw someplace that Michael Costanzo has now hit a HR in each of the last two games at Reading. What has the local press had to say about his spring? PS Glad to see Burrell get off to a good start: expressing that he has changed his stance by putting more weight on his back foot and that the foot in question feels great for once. Of course this will most likely not be enough for those who seem to have an irrational hate for #5.

Longtime lurker, first-time poster.

What a great post to wake up to on a Saturday morning. Lots of positives last night. And here's another positive, courtesy of Phillies Notes on philly.com:

Garcia, who is on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis, threw 51 pitches in 31/3 shutout innings in a rehabilitation start Thursday for single-A Clearwater. He allowed three hits and a walk, and struck out seven. He also reached 91 m.p.h. with his fastball.

kdon's comment yesterday about the strong rotation taking some time to show its importance is dead-on. Moyer showed that last night with his terrific fourth-starter effort. When Garcia comes back -- with his fastball topping 90 mph -- I think it'll be even clearer.

And finally, got any room on that Pat the Bat Bandwagon for me? I wonder, How many big hits will it take for the jerk-off boo birds at CBP to cut the guy a break? Will they ever?

Sorry, on Rosario/Bisenius, the Inky says Rosario won't join the team until Monday, while the Phils depth chart already lists him as on the team in place of Bisenius.

This is what will likely happen, but I guess it isn't official yet.

Always room for a Burrell supporter, slappy. We'll sneak you on the bandwagon while RSB is sleeping.

Rosario is out of options. He can't be sent down without clearing waivers. That's how the Phils got him for only cash. He's on the team.

As critical as I have been of many of Gillick's trades, and he deserves to be ripped for some of them, he showed great patience in waiting out the B-jays on this one.

BTW, Rosario is slated to pitc middle relief. With his mid-90s stuff, maybe he's also used as the guy who comes in to try to K tough right handed batters and kill rallies.

BTW, Rosario is slated to pitch middle relief. With his mid-90s stuff, maybe he's also used as the guy who comes in to try to K tough right handed batters and kill rallies.

Jayson, good point about Charlie's handling of werth and dobbs. Although the usual proviso of early days stands, he does seem to be handling mixing and matching players in each game a lot better this year. I could see a fair bit of this happening in april till get gets a handle on the various bench players's strengths during real baseball.

Kdon: If true, and they have to keep Rosario, then Condrey has to go when Lieber comes back. I don't know who else it would be. They're not gonna cut Madson and Smith is the only lefty. By making the team Opening Day, Alfonseca is guaranteed $700,000 whether he's cut or not. So he stays too.

Wouldn't Segovia go down after he makes a start and Lieber step in for him?

Particularly after seeing the (albeit entirely predictable) serious short relief problems surface in the first few games of the season, I am convinced that the Rosario purchase has the potential for a big upside. Rosario's ability to throw mid-90's gas could be invaluable, if Rosario continues to show improvement in his control. The guy had a decent Spring Training (admitting the "limited sample") with the Jays (1-0 record, 8 games, 9 IP, 9 K's, 6 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, and six walks.

Unfortunately, because Gillick failed to recognize that Gordon was permanently done as a closer after last season, with Gillick failing to obtain an off-season replacement, the Phillies are going to have to "create" someone else in the closer role -- and that will have to come from experimentation -- first in mid-relief spots with untried others. Among those "experiments" -- perhaps, just perhaps -- might be Rosario.

And if Rosario doesn't pan out, he goes on waivers and the Phillies are only out the $100,000 they paid for him, and the Phillies go on to the next "experiment." Anybody who consistently hits the mid-90's -- regardless of whether he has a bunch of out pitches" -- is worth taking a long look at.

Gordon and Madson have already demonstrated that clearly are not the answer to Phillies long relief needs this season.

Obviously, the final line in the above post should have read, "Phillies *short* relief needs this season.

I would give Gordon another shot before you throw him under the bus.

He had limited action in the spring and he was injured at the end of last year. Give him a couple more innings.

Madson I agree is more of the same. At lease Gordon showed good stuff last year.

I like that Manuel is giving starts to Dobbs and Werth, but does anybody know why Werth batted second instead of seventh Thursday? Does Charlie really think he's a better hitter than Rowand? If Condrey is waived I expect the Phils will lose him and it will be like they traded Condrey and $100,000 for Rosario, but I think Segovia gets sent down first and somebody goes on the DL or Lieber goes on a rehab stint to buy more time.

I dont know about Gordon, I think he is done but the Phillies have no other options. Alfonsaca cant close, geary doesnt have good enough stuff for that role, and Roasario throws hard but is too wild (Mitch Williams anyone).

I think one thing that has not been said enough is how well Burrell is playing. Defensive limitations aside, he is hitting the ball well, taking advantage of the pitches Howard and Utley are not getting, and driving in runs. His foot is feeling better, which is allowing him to drive the ball off his back foot, which could enable a big year from Pat. I hope that the fans lay off for a little bit when the team gets back home and give him a chance to get comfortable playing at home....booing is fun, but laying off could help along a big year.

I'm glad Gillick is finally getting around to stockpiling relievers, but the problem remains - this team doesn't have any viable options for set-up roles, or as a potential replacement for Gordon. And DavThom, doesn't Alfredo Simon have a mid-90's fastball, also? Big deal. Consider my enthusiasm curbed.

The emergence of Dobbs means we're going to be seeing extremely little of Nunez this year. He appears to be strictly a defensive replacement and bunting specialist at this point. Also interesting to see Ruiz come on with the bat, and to note he's started half the games. It's rather difficult to make an argument for wearing out Barajas if Ruiz remains productive. Scratch that - it's rather difficult to make an argument for Barajas being here in the first place, while a more valuable bat in Chris Coste rots in limbo.

Phils will need Burrell again if they're to beat Willis. I think it'd be a good night to let Howard sit and sort it out before he gets any further screwed up.

On Phillies.com:
New reliever delayed: Right-handed reliever Francisco Rosario, acquired Thursday from Toronto for cash, is not expected to join the club until Sunday or Monday, according to Manuel.

In these days with a lot of money usually at stake, a player must be given a thorough physical before he can play for his new team. Even when Rosario does arrive, Manuel expects him to throw two bullpen sessions before pitching in a game.

When he is put on the roster on Monday he will replace Segovia and if Leiber comes back he will replace Bisenius. Condrey will not be released!

Not to endorse "closer by committee" or anything of that ilk, but Manuel should probably look at rotating some of these back-end relievers to see who works best in the closing situation.

I'm thinking Gordon, Alfonseca, Madson, Geary, possibly Rosario when he comes up. It shouldn't be an overly long trial - just two weeks or so - but this team needs to know its strengths back there, and where they fit, before thinking about the trade deadline and etc.

Let's not get that excited about Rosario. The Jays were willing to trade him for only $100k in cash. Didn't even warrant a marginal prospect in return. Gives you some insight into how little Riccardi actually thought of Rosario or what other teams were willing to give up.

Rosario is a fringe guy who probably has more potential than Condrey. Plus, Rosario does throw hard and Phils desperately need a guy out of the pen who can come in and get a K in certain situtations. Alfonseca isn't that guy.

I am going to be curious to see who is sent down as guys come off the DL (Lieber/Garcia). Guess that ultimately Segovia and Bisenius are sent down in the next 2 weeks and Condrey is either sent to Ottawa or claimed by another team.

That Gillick is even remotely interested in a guy like Hermanson at this point tells you that Gillick has next to zero confidence right now in Gordon's ability to get it done. Hate to be reactionary, but I have to agree with Gillick.

The closer role is the ultimate problem with this pen and will probably continue to be all year. Always much easier to build a pen around a stud closer and fill in the other roles. Sox realized this when they moved Papelbon back to the closer role this spring.

I only see two real solutions for the Phils to correct the Gordon problem. One is to look externally for a trade. Cordero might be available or another team might make a decent veteran closer available as they fail out of contention. Given that even a decent veteran closer will command some decent in return, I doubt the Phils have what it takes to get this done. Just don't have the prospects/players at the MLB level. Sadly, the Phils unofficial salary cap also comes into play and the owners won't take on a big contract to get it done.

The other option is internally to fix this problem. I hope that the Phils have the sense to immediately move Bisenius to the closer role at Ottawa when he goes down. Give him until June and see what he produces. Bisenius doesn't exactly have the ideal stuff to be a closer but he does have one really plus pitch.

Thing that is a real drag is that Mathieson isn't an option because the Phils rushed him last year and he blow out his arm. Mathieson would have be an interesting alternative to close instead of Gordon.

Nobody mentions Smith as a possibility to be optioned. What's the use of having a left-hander if he isn't going to throw strikes consistently? If you were to ask to assemble the best possible bullpen with the parts that are available, Smith wouldn't be on my list right now. I have no problem telling him to work it out in Ottawa.

Smith needs to harness his command. I've always thought that game scenarios aren't the best place for someone to practice such a thing. Send him down to JV and let him work on it there. Maybe he'd come back as focused as he was last season when he could get people out.

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