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Monday, April 16, 2007

Comments

Well, since there was no games, I decided to look at the Helms/Nunez situation a little more. Basically, I wanted to try to answer the question of whether Abe's glove would make up for his bat.

First, defense. By all accounts, Nunez is a far superior defender at 3B and the stats back this up. His career Zone Rating (basically the percentage of catchable balls) at 3B is an impressive .826, which is near the level of guys like ROlen and actually better than dfensive standouts like Cirillo and Chavez.

Helms, OTOH, is just bad, with a lifetime .774 at the hot corner. This is worse than Bell, and the lowest among the dozen or so 3B I looked at.

So, no question, Abe is worlds better with the glove. Now, the question becomes how many runs would Abe save over the course of the season. This is actually pretty easy, as we can assume around 500 chances for a 3B over the course of the season. Tha means that if both Nunez and Helms played 1 full season, they would make 412, and 387, plays respectively.

So Abe basically would save 25 hits over the course of a season over Helms. That's no small number, but is it enough to make up for his bat.

SHort answer: no. Long answer:

If you just look at their respective OBP, Helms has a career rate of .332 (which is actually dragged down by two very poor years in Atlanta to begin his career) while Nunez
stands at .312. Again, if we assume 600 PA (which is actually low), Helms will get on base 199 times, Nunez 187 times.

So, that's only twelve extra times on base, so maybe Abe's bat doesn't hurt as much as we think. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten to sluggin percentage, where Helms completely blows Abe away, with an advantage of .445 to .317!!!

Now, the fact that we are even contemplating giving more than a handful of starts to a guy with a career .317 SLG, and that we are actuaally paying $2.5M for this production, is a bit troubling, but I'll press on.

Over the course of 600 ABs, Helms will have 70 more total bases than Abe, which is *a lot*.

To do a direct comparison, I'll assume that 13 of the 25 hits that Abe saved would be 2B, which seems high, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

So, as a quick recap

Fielding
Abe: +38 total bases (12 singles, 13 doubles)

Hitting
Helms: +70 total bases

Final tally:
Helms +32 bases

Considering that neither player is likely to break out or completely collapse, and that I've bent over backward in my rounding and assumption to give Abe an edge, there should be no question who are everyday 3B should be.

That should be "OUR everyday 3B." Good grief.

You know it's a rainout when commenters are analyzing deep into the Helms vs. Nunez debate.


/Thanks though Kdon

"That should be "OUR everyday 3B." Good grief."

Good grief indeed. The truth is neither should be our everyday 3B if we are really contenders, but you gotta go with what you got I guess.

Excellent analysis kdon.

How about Burrell at 3B? He played there in college and has the arm for it but I guess he is no Chipper Jones.

Would make for one helluva of an offensive infield.

Some turtles have more range than Burrell at the moment. If they were going to go the all offense IF route, the move would have been to put Thome at 3rd (that's what he came up as with the Tribe). But again there would be banana slugs with better range than Thome at this point.

Animal analogies aside, a Howard/Utley/Rollins/Thome infield would make the sickest offensive infield in history. I'm sure someone is going to do research to prove me wrong, but you get the idea.

This Helms/Nunez garbage is silly. Abraham Nunez doesn't belong in the major leagues let along a starter on the "team to beat." While fielding percentage and range are important having Nunez in the lineup leaves a blackhole at the bottom of the order. Nunez is like having a pitcher in the eight spot in the lineup. Think about it, if Rowand starts to slump again, and it is Barajas' night to catch; Rowand, Barajas, Nunez, and pitcher. Its like having four pitchers batting in your lineup!! Its simple really. Suck up the errors Helms will make at third and have a semi-firm bottom lineup with Helms, Rowand, Ruiz and pitcher. Nunez shouldn't even be on the 40 man roster. Its a joke.

If there was anyway to play Pat the Bat at 3B, they would have done that after shipping Rolen out. Not happening.

Yt, there may be some way to squeeze out a decent year by using Abe late and in Moyer's games, but anyway you look at it, 3B is still a problem.

Back to the real world, I agree with Brad the whole Nunez/Helms "argument" is silly. Wes Helms is no superstar, but he's certainly not a borderline major league player like Nunez.

a Howard/Utley/Rollins/Thome infield would make for a sick THEORETICAL offense. Still, it's only slightly better than the REAL LIFE infield of Wright/Reyes/Delgado that we have to contend with 19 games a season. Has Beltran ever played 2B? Haha.

kdon, I can appreciate the analysis, having done the Bell/Nunez fielding % analysis myself. How many guys do you know with Folders at work with Excel spreadsheets containing mediocre Phillies' fielding stats? Good stuff. Safe to use Coste's Minor League Zone Rating at 3B for a 3rd wheel in the equation?

Quick rant on the rescheduling of tonight's game. First of all, I am no weather man, but I live a little over an hour from Philly and it has not rained here in over 2 hours. Secondly, it is completely asinine for the Phillies to reschedule this game as part of a day-night doubleheader on a Fireworks Night! I am complaining even more so since I have tickets to the later game. Traffic will be a nightmare, especially since it involves the Mets! I can see the drunken madness now! It will make the college nights look sane! Why they couldn't do it another night or even that Sunday is beyond me...

WP, where can you find Minor league Zone Rating?

I like Coste and all, and he has a good reputation at 3B, but I'd stick with Helms a few months before doing anything drastic. Ae put up some good stats that proved Helms's season was kind of a fluke last year, but we should give him a little time.

c'mon, one more rainout and freddy makes his debut down here in dc.

Nice analysis KDon. I still am interested though in many runs Nunez's glove could possibly prevent vs. Helms' offense adding to the Phils' run total. Only way is probably to look at RC/27.

I bet that is probably on the order of 25-30 runs in favor of Helms if each player got about 500 ABs.

Being optimistic, let's say Helms would .280. That translates into 140 hits with 500 ABs. If Nunez hits .240, that translates into 120 hits with 500 ABs. Only a difference of 20 hits. The real difference comes down to extra base hits though.

Helms would almost certainly hit near 20 HRs with 500 ABs while Nunez would hit 5 HRs max. Automatically translates into a difference of 15 runs in favor of Helms. Plus, Helms is going to having a higher number of extra base hits than Nunez.

Final tally:
Helms +32 bases


kdon -- nice work. That's slightly over 1 base a week over the course of the year -- not much of a difference. Then start considering who is more likely to go 1st to 3rd, or 2nd to home, once on base. Most importantly, whose presence at 3rd is more likely to keep the pitching staff sane.

I start Nunez when our lefties start, and bring him in when we get the lead in the other games.

I smell a deal! PG has been too quiet. I'm surprised that the Astros came and went without a hint of an "our problem for your problem", "maybe he needs a change of scenery" rumor involving Leiber or Madson and Lidge.

Lieber for Lidge could benefit both teams. It's worth a shot. It gets donut-boy out of our pen and gives Lidge a chance at salvaging his career. Maybe he takes over for Alfonseca or even Gordon at some point.

Does it really matter who is at 3b. Helms is a lousy fielder, Nunez can't hit. RF is terrible and the 'pen sucks. Bottom line is our GM didn't do hos job and we phans suffer. It doesn't look like we're "the team to beat" does it? Know why? Because we're not. I knew this coming into the season. Hey Borowski can still pitch can't he? Ask our team doctors how his shoulder is, they'll tell you. And wouldn't Trot Nixon or Aubrey Huff look great if RF? Sure they would. Let's not beat ourselves up over who's at 3rd. There are yoo many holes on the team anyway that Gillick didn't and now can't fix. Rowand and Lieber don't bring much in return, so either extend Rowand's contract or trade him at the deadline. And since we don't know about Garcia, Gillick might be better off holding on to Lieber. A 3-8 record really should be 5-6 but doesn't matter. The team's not good enough and in 2 off-seasons Gillick has done little to change that. Manuel should go but in favor of who? Jimi Williams? I don't think so. The guys who could be managing this team are managing in Detroit and NL Chicago. Enough said.

Btw, it hasn't rained here in over 4 hours and I am only an hour from Philly. Oh well, it will probably pour tomorrow and we will be sitting around without a game then too.

curt: Even if you were right about Nunez being better than Helms, which you're not, using the Helms half of the platoon only against RHP is dumb. You want the switch-hitter (Nunez) vs. RHP so he can bat lefty and the righty (Helms) vs. LHP.

MG, I come up with the following runs created per 500 PA (estimated):

Nunez: 44
Helms: 65

So that's almost a two win difference for Helms with the bat (10 runs = 1 win)

Additionally, these are career numbers, which means Helms is really dragged down by two horrible years when he first started. If he hits like he has the last four years, it becomes more like a 30 or 40 run difference.

"That's slightly over 1 base a week over the course of the year -- not much of a difference. "

True curt, but one base (single) every week is a pretty big difference. For a player that gets 500 ABs, one hit per week is the difference between a .300 hitter and a .364 hitter. Would you really say there is "not much of a difference" between these two hitters?


clout --

1. You're putting words in my mouth. I never said Nunez was better than Helms. I have said that he's better at 3rd for this team so long as Ruiz, Rowand are hitting, and suggested that it's probably a tossup otherwise.

2. You misread my last post. I said I'd start Nunez "when our lefties" are pitching. Has nothing to do with who's pitching for the other side.

3. It might be a good idea to take a deep breath or two before calling other people "dumb."

"True curt, but one base (single) every week is a pretty big difference. For a player that gets 500 ABs, one hit per week is the difference between a .300 hitter and a .364 hitter. Would you really say there is "not much of a difference" between these two hitters?"

Now that's cheating kdon. You already established that the difference is not that Helms gets on base any more often. The difference is that he gets more extra base hits. So, we're not really talking about an extra single a week -- we're talking about a double rather than a single.

You're right curt, my bad, I should use sluggin instead of batting average. I was just being lazy though, not trying to decieve.

32 bases in 500 AB (about on eper week) is the difference between a hitter who slugs .400 and one who slugs .464. Still a pretty big deal.

curt: You're right, I misread your post. But your idea of platooning Nunez and Helms is still dumb. And it's especially dumb if it's geared toward OUR pitchers and not the opposing pitchers, when at least you could get a slight advantage because of the lefty/righty breakdown.

what about giving dobbs a shot to get some at bats at 3rd against right-handed pitching. i would even consider platooning dobbs & helms & using nunez in the late innings when helms is playing

So here's a prime example of why ERA for relievers doesn't work. Mike Gonzalez comes into the game for the Braves. Runners on second and third, one out. They were down 3-1. He walks Ryan Church to load the bases, then walks Brian Schneider, thereby giving up a run, then gives up an RBI groundout to Chris Snelling, and finally, strikes out the Nationals' pinch-hitter, who was 1-15 in the bigs in his lifetime. 2 runs score, neither is charged to him, and his ERA actually drops because he got two outs. So hopefully we can all use better stats to talk about relievers' performance in the future.

Curt's idea of using Nunez with Moyer and Hamels is actually pretty clever, if Abe were even a remotely good offensive player.

Both are more likely than anyone else on the staff to induce grounballs to the 3B.

Freddy Garcia is going to go all 9 because he had 2 days extra rest.

I'm trying to be optimistic here...because there's not much to be optimistic about. Stupid weather!

My two cents on the Nunez/Helms topic, a good rainy day conversation.

What does Nunez have, 2-3 starts this season out of 11 games? I'm fine with that. Dobbs has a start in there, too. That's fine, too.

Helms probably doesn't even think of himself as an everyday player. Neither did any other team he's played for. It's only a matter of time before he boots three plays in a game or something outrageous.

Does the team really want Moyer and Hamels to go into every game with Helms and Burrell on the left side of the defense? Or Myers and his inability to shake off bad innings and plays? No. You give them help and spread it around. Moyer and Hamels make a living on offspead junk, which will get hit to the left side.

70 percent of starts is where I'd set Helms max. Don't forget the one benefit to sitting him is that he's a proven pinch hitter on a team with an awful bench.

Defense isn't a "dumb" idea. It's definitely hard to imagine a post-season infield with Helms, especially after watching St. Louis gobble up everything hit their way last fall.

Jason: If Nunez starts every game that Hamels and Moyer pitches, that gives him 40% of the starts. And, yes, putting Nunez, who is barely above league-average fielder at 3B, in the starting lineup 40% of the time is a dumb idea. Since when is a run prevented of more value than an offensive run scored? As kdon and others have noted, Nunez will kill more runs on offense than he'll save on defense.

kdon: If Abe were even a remotely good offensive player we wouldn't be having this debate.

kdon, thanks for the info, do you have any figures at 3rd base for Dobbs or Coste (majors or minors)?
DPatrone, you are so right the GM has not done the job. I really believe that Gillick is a figure head and that Amaro Jr. is really doing the deals. We are all so quick to blame Manuel and give the GM a free ride. I say fire Gillick, Amaro and Arbuckle and hire a new GM and let him hire a new manager.

Are the Phils actually going to play baseball tonight?

I think I have to agree whole-heartedly with clout on this one. 40% of the starts is WAY too many for No-Hit Nunez. While the defensive mindset is appreciated, there's only so many balls hit to 3B in a game and it's not enough to justify 4 or 5 lousy AB's.

Personally, I do not see what talent/skills Abe Nunez possesses that necessitate that he earns a $2.5MM Major League Baseball contract. There are a TON of great glove players littering the minor leagues who could put up the same (non)offensive numbers as he does. I think he should be viewed as nothing more than a late inning defensive replacement player at this point, with the occasional spot-start.

Clout: Yupper. That adds up to 40 percent. Unfortunately, that wasn't my point. My point was to spread the extra defense around from time-to-time, especially to the left-handers, giving Nunez a few starts, and even the occasional nod to Dobbs. I'm fine with what the Phils have done at third so far.

Isn't that twice in the same thread you've misread a post?

Since I'm in the minority in saying defense is very important, at least understand my skepticism that big offense will lead the Phillies to the promise land after watching the last half dozen Phillies teams burn out and come up short.

I happen to think Nunez is quite good at third defensively actually. Posters will have a hard time convincing me that last season's pitching surge didn't have a little something to do with better defense at the hot corner.

An example of a versatile utility infielder that is cheap is John McDonald of the Blue Jays. Why the hell are we paying No-Hit Nunez so much money?!

I meant glove-worthy versatile utility infielder.

clout --

Stats are wonderful things. I can give you stats to support just about any conclusion. For example, Kdons stats (which show a slight difference between the performance of the 2 guys after considering several statistical categories, but don't include other relevant aspects of their performance) are based on multi-year performance in the categories considered. They are not based on, say, Helms and Nunez' fielding stats at 3B in games pitched by finesse lefties. I would imagine that the 3B gets lots more chances in that situation. If so, Helms has a much greater opportunity to screw up, right? But maybe not -- maybe he plays much better defense at 3B than anywhere else. We can hope not, but the stats before us don't tell us whether this is true. Nor do they tell us whether Helms made every one of his errors playing 3B. Bottom line: the relevant stats may actually show that Helms will kill us if allowed to play 3d with finesse lefties pitching. I wouldn't be surprised if Cholly hasn't already reached that conclusion. There's nothing wrong with believing otherwise, but don't pretend your opinion is anything more than your opinion.

It is childish to resort to name calling when people don't share your opinion.

Jason: Sorry. When you said "Does the team really want Moyer and Hamels to go into every game with Helms and Burrell on the left side of the defense?" I thought you meant resting Helms for Nunez. BTW, check out the pct. of chances in a game that go to 3B. Also, if you look at range factor and errors, Nunez was about league average.

the problem with helms is that his backup is such a terrible hitter that i just don't see how he will only start 70% of the games as jason suggests. even if he does start 70%, that means we get nunez for about 50 starts this year! eesh! scary prospect. i too believe defense is important, but......at what cost offensively? in any case, everyone knows nunez isn't worth his contract, so there isn't much point in looking for the dime-a-dozen minor leaguers who could bat .190 and field as he does. too bad we can't find someone stupid enough to take his contract off our hands...

in any case, i think the OTHER alternatives are at the least interesting to discuss. i've only seen dobbs out there once and his 3B play seemed about on par with helms, but obviously i haven't seen him stats to back that up. as for platooning with helms, i'm wondering, does anyone have dobbs' minor league splits? at the major league level, he's actually hit LHP more than RHP, but the sample size is abysmally small. coste *is* an interesting alternative at 3B once a week. it's really too bad and kind of stupid that the team hasn't and doesn't at least seriously consider that. to my knowledge, they haven't even tried him at 3B in spring or in the minors in the last year anyway, so i guess it's a more or less a moot conversation.

Clout: No problem. We're all arguing for the same thing here really - to have Scott Rolen as our 3B.

curt: If I call you dumb, that's name- calling. If I call your idea dumb, that is not name-calling. Starting Nunez 40% of the games at 3B is a dumb idea. If Cholly has stats that show Helms allows more runs with his glove than Nunez loses with his bat when finesse lefties are pitching, then I am happy to change my mind on the issue.

Why is Coste in the minors? His slg% last year was .505. This year Barajas is .076, no hit Abe .182, Bourn .167. Only Rollins and Utley have a higher slg% so far this year. This makes no sense.

- barajas has a large contract and was just signed in the offseason (even if the signing seemed and still seems a bit dubious)
- nunez has a large contract that they've committed to
- as an OF, bourn isn't really competing for a position with coste

BTH, I see your point, but if the Phillies really want to win you should have one of your best clutch hitters on the team. Barajas was a mistake! The Phillies need to try to package him in a trade, maybe Toronto would want him since they tried to sign him earlier in the off season.

Nobody wants Barjas, and they can't trade him until June. Again, he's the least of our problems. Criticize PG all you want, but he was coming into this season with an unproven middle level prospect in Ruiz and a 30+ minor league journeyman type who did well when given the chance, but had no major track record. Barjas was brought in as an experienced defensive catcher. I agree he's not that good overall, but if our main hitters stepped up in the clutch, Barajas' futility at the plate wouldn't be as magnified.

If we're looking at neglect, I'd be more concerned with the OF, rather than C. (For the record: at this point I DO support giving Coste a spot on the bench, but haven't really given any thought on who he'd replace.)

dave, i don't disagree with you. i thought signing barajas was a big waste of money and i also lament that the front office won't admit its mistakes. i would have been happy with ruiz getting 2/3 of the games and coste 1/3 this year, with coste also spelling helms at 3B or howard at 1B occasionally. if werth could actually still play C competently, i would have less of a problem with him, too, but there's been no indication of that as far as i know. same if dobbs could play some OF. i'm just a fan of roster flexibility, i like bench players that can wear multiple hats. i also like proven PH ability, and a couple of our guys (nunez and maybe dobbs) seem to be the type who need regular playing time to not suck.

I do wish someone had the data on the % of GB to the 3B when various guys start. Maybe someone like ae or dajafi knows where to find it.

The problem is that while Moyer's pitching style might lead to a lot of GB to the third basemen, Moyer is in general a FB pitcher.

Hamels, OTOH, is a GB pitcher, but he also strikes out so many hitters that defense is less important.

I wouldn't mind seeing Abe start for Moyer's games if there were a RH pitcher on the opposing team.

One further complication is that the team doesn't have any other backups for 2B and SS other than Abe. If Abe is going to play 2B or SS once every few weeks AND gets starts at 3B, he might push 300 ABs, which is really unacceptable.

However, the real problem is that you can bet teams like the Red Sox and A's would be doing this kind of researtch themselves to find out how best to deploy their resources. The Phillies? Not so much.

Someone above mentioned Coste and Dobbs. I don't know where to find minor league zone rating, and I don't really trust stats like range factor or fileding percentage.

However, by all accounts, Dobbs was not a good 3B and would probably be a worse hitter AND fielder than Helms. THe word on COste is that he is solid at defense, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was good, but I would have more faith in Helms as an everyday guy than Coste.

I think you give Helms a month or so to prove what he can do before contemplating any changes.

If someone took fumanchu off the Phillies hands last year why not Barajas? Maybe the Yankees will take his salary to make up for the lopsided Abreu trade.

lieber, nunez, and barajas should fetch a quality OF or RP, right? (HA!!!)

Barajas and Nunez aren't going anywhere.

Gillick is convinced we need Rowand, and we just might. Lieber can be given away for all I care, but his trade value is really low right now. It's time to cut bait on Madson, because he's certainly not helping us and how much longer are we going to keep him around pitching so sh*tty? It's obvious that he can't get it done...he doesn't offer me any "relief".

BTH, maybe if they throw in Madson they can get a real GM and manager for the lot. lol!

Barajas was signed as a Free Agent. I believe, they CAN'T be traded until June. So technically, he can't go anywhere until then.

They can't trade him without his consent (at least that's my understanding) before June 1st. This was an issue with the O's and Jeff Conine last season as they were going to dump him early on, but didn't because of the rule.

kdon: Good post on Nunez and groundball pitchers.

BedBeard: I'm with you on Barajas. He wouldn't have been my choice, but given that the Phils have nothing in the minors, PG was smart to get insurance for Ruiz/Coste. In hindsight he would've been better off with a AAA vet since Ruiz seems to be doing just fine.

I hate to see everyone giving up on Bourn just because of his horrible at bat on Saturday. Remember, he had a great at bat against a tough lefty last week. Let's give the guy 80 or 100 plate appearances before we decide he can't help this year.

not giving up on bourn, but i wish we had more depth in the OF. i also think that bourn shouldn't ever be in there as a sub in the 6th inning like he was last week. the guy shouldn't have been in the position to have to even take that bad AB.

an nl team could get away with abe nunez playing every day if he was the eight hitter and the 6 and 7 guys could hit.

i'd think of it as a caesar izturis situation. (although playing third it'd be even worse)

the 07 phils are not that team.

"Let's give the guy 80 or 100 plate appearances before we decide he can't help this year."

The problem with this approach is at this pace, those 80 or 100 PA are going to come from the seventh inning on, in tight games, against LOOGYs, after teams have pitched around Howard.

Not only is this bad for the Phils, it's bad for Bourn's development. If you just want a caddy for Burrell, then the team is better off with Roberson up here and Bourn playing everyday in Ottawa.

"the guy shouldn't have been in the position to have to even take that bad AB."

Well put bathtubhippo, that sums it up pretty well. It's not a question of Bourn's ability, but of the role that Manuel is using him in.

if garcia gets rocked tonight, it's going to be very ugly on here.

someone may jump.

Brad: "Nunez is like having a pitcher in the eight spot in the lineup."

Um...no it's not. I'm having difficulty finding cumulative statistics for all pitchers, but let's look at Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs, arguably 2006's best-hitting pitcher, at least by slugging percentage: 11-73, a .161 average, but his 6 HR gave him a .397 slugging percentage. Dontrelle Willis, who slugged .344 thanks to 3 HR and a triple, went 11-64, a .172 BA. If you prefer a pitcher with a higher BA, the top pitcher last year (minimum 30 AB) was Jamey WRight of the Giants: 11-47, a .255 BA. Slugged .298, thanks to 2 doubles.

In short, Nunez isn't "like having a pitcher in the 8 spot in the lineup." He's more like having a second catcher -- and not the one with the good bat -- in the lineup. Houston does pretty well playing Brad Ausmus every year, and his career stats would improve if he had Nunez' 2006 line added to his totals.

Steve Jeltz: "Wes Helms is no superstar, but he's certainly not a borderline major league player like Nunez." Wrong. If he were only able to play 3B, he would not be a major leaguer at all.

J. has it right: Wes Helms' 3B stats fielding stats are close to meaningless -- they indicate how badly he played there BACK WHEN ANYONE THOUGHT IT WAS ACTUALLY POSSIBLE. Except for our "brain trust," nobody in MLB considers that a realistic possibility anymore. Same thing with those career stats someone cited for D. Bell -- we weren't playing David Bell's career average, we were playing David Bell with a bad back, a guy with all the range of someone in a full-body cast.

Kdon, however, has nailed the real problem: Nunez is the all-position backup, so he won't see much playing time. By the way, the reason I suggested him playing behind Moyer isn't the GB-FB ration, it's that Moyer gets more balls in play than the other starters.

Clout, I disagree with you about Bourn. Given that our chances at the post-season have already taken a serious blow, I would be more worried about getting him ready for next year than what he might bring to the table this year. Kdon is right: if the job is caddying for Burrell, and I can't see where it's anything more than that, Roberson seems like a better choice, if only because he has more experience (not a lot, but a little more) against higher-level pitching.

Did anyone see the early return of the 2 big free agent pitching signings of the off season? Both have started 3 games and have 1 win and two losses with Zito's era 5.29 and Schmidt's era 7.36.

Anyone commenting on Bourn's ability to play at the MLB-level is frankly ridiculous at this point.

Alby has a more valid point that Bourn maybe better served at T-AAA to further develop though.

Who is starting tonight? I've seen both Garcia and Eaton listed in various places.

Alby: "If he were only able to play 3B, he would not be a major leaguer at all." Which he are you referring to, Helms or Nunez. If you're point is the only reason Nunez is in the majors is because he can play 2B, SS, and 3B then we are in total agreement.

Alby - I hope that you aren't possibly advocating that Nunez deserves more playing time over Helms because of his defense. That is absurd.

Nunez is a better hitter than any pitcher but he wasn't in the first half of last season (.136 AVG with 1 HR in 104 ABs) with an OPS of .362. Willing to bet it was one of the all-time worst for a Phillies player.

While I am ranting on Nunez, since when is he a good defender at multiple positions? The only position Nunez is above-average defensively is at 3B.

Certainly doesn't have the range to play SS or 2B on a regular basis and he is pretty shaky on turning the double-play.

Clout, I agree that starting Nunez in 40% games is probably too much. However, I have to ask that you explain this question:

"Since when is a run prevented of more value than an offensive run scored?"

It's my understanding that a run is a run; regardless of whether it's contributed offensively or prevented defensively, you're contributing equally and directly to the cause of winning. I'd like to hear the line of thinking which declares that this is not so.

Changing the subject, I have to admit my surprise when I read that except from Giles' book in the Inquirer this morning - it had me cracking up.

I don't think Bourn will be hurt by not playing at Ottawa. He already has 1,014 abs at AA and AAA plus he is 24 years old. They need to get rid of Rowand and put Bourn in center. I can't see the advantage of Rowand over Bourn. Bourn is a better fielder and can steal a base. I would love to see Bourn given the chance to hit second with the eventual move to leadoff with Rollins hitting second.

Alby, kdon: IF all Bourn is, is a caddy, I agree. I'd rather seen him playing every day in AAA. At 9 games into the season, however, it's hard to say what he, or anyone, is at this point.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying he's a good defender at multiple positions, I'm just saying he can play them when necessary. That would be his primary value as a player.

Just to be more clear, I'm not defending Nunez in any way. I think he sucks and is essentially stealing money. I wish I could be terrible at my job and pull in more than $2 million a year.

On a different note, I hope Eaton is the starter tonight. Know it throws off the rotation but this team needs really needs to get some momentum back with a winning week.

Alby, we can still make the postseason. As for comparing Nunez to Ausmus, one, there are a lot of bad hitting catchers and not many awful hitting third basemen, third base is simply a position where more offense is needed, and 2, Houston does alright with Ausmus, but really, in the years when they've just missed the playoffs, it's been players like him - not just him, they have a lot of bad hitters, but he's the worst - who kept them out.

MG,

You don't think Garcia can do well Tonight?

When are they going to send Michael "No-Hit" Bourn down and call Chris Coste back up. I think we would have won at least 1 more of these close games if we had Coste available as a pinch hitter rather than Bourn.

No. Eaton just has good numbers against the Mets and pitched well last week. Stay with the hot hand.

Great debate on the Nunez/Helms situation - enjoyed some good opinions and facts supporting each side (mostly Helms).

One intangible lost in some of this discussion is Utley and Howard's defensive lapses.

Although they appear to be working hard to improve and Utley has made some great plays this year the right side of the infield is still somewhat shaky at times, especially Howard.

Helms, Howard, and Burrell allow Nunez to be more of an asset at the corner on the Phils more than perhaps other teams, especially with when every run is vital with our unpredictable BP.

JB, I kind of see what you're saying, but I think that this team needs to cut the crap and decide what it's "identity" is. Are they going to out-offense other teams to win, or are they going to out-pitch/out-leather other teams? Largely, this is a power/RBI-first laden lineup (and rightfully so considering CBP) and defense is only secondary. I have a problem with starting Nunez and using his "defensive prowess" as the justification - he plays 1 of 9 positions on the field.

Concessions have already been made defensively, as you noted, by signing players like Howard and Burrell. As far as I'm concerned, any talk about "player x's" defensive shortcomings is really only idle chatter. This team was not put together as-is for it's above average defensive play. We can complain about Rowand's arm or Helms' glove all we want. Truth be told, they're not being paid for those respective parts of their games. As much as the purists hate to admit it, Major League Baseball is about $'s and $'s aren't generated by fans paying to see a multi-position utlility infielder who flirts with the Mendoza line but has a .998 fielding %.

Philly fans would boo Ozzie Smith in today's environment.

Tray: Good point on the Ausmus/Nunez comparison. Really, there's no comparison. Beyond the difference in the level of offense between the 2 positions, there is this: Ausmus is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Nunez isn't remotely close to being one of the best defensive thirdbasemen.

any chance of a trifecta tonight?

1. end the david wright hit streak
2. quality start by chief
3. win the game

WP - I agree with your comments and I am not really definding Nunez but addressing the Phils situation.

As much as it gets discussed the fundamentals still get lost on this ballclub.

The Braves always appear to be overachivers and the Phils underachievers but maybe it is just perception.

True about Ozzie and it is a little ironic that the Phils Phamily recently lost a huge part of their history in Vuk who probably would have never made it to the show in today's game.

As the father of a 10 year old stepson, I couldn't agree more when you state that the "fundamentals still get lost on this ballclub." I watched an entire game with him on DVR waiting to pause/rewind to show him how to properly execute a textbook crowhop and throw (with emphasis on stepping-to and following through to your target). Needless to say, Rowand and Burrell aren't exactly "do as I do" kind of examples. Little things.

Okay, almost game time. We NEED to play this game for everyone's sanity. I don't think anyone on here can go another day arguing about Abraham Nunez. Hell, we've been talking about him more than his own family at this point!!!

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EST. 2005

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