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Monday, May 21, 2007

Comments

Donut-Eater Lieber...who knew?

Yes, starting pitching has been solid, and that's what we expected. Offense has been punchy, and will hopefully improve even more with the addition of Howard on Friday. The bullpen is crappy though, and there doesn't seem to be any fix for that.

Lieber rated the 57th best? Wow!!! I don't want to jinx him, but with 30 teams, that means he's pitched at least as well as a #2.

Carson, at this time the only fix for the bullpen seems to be a hope and a prayer.

Someone posted on the last thread, that Alfonseca and Geary's ERAs are completely different when they're coming off rest.

Here's hoping the return of an effective Madson will allow Chollie to use them less and give us Myers, Geary, Madson and Alfonseca as useful relievers. Condrey can handle the mopup duty, despite the thrashing he took the other day. Rosario can also handle that kind of work - big leads or big deficits.

If Gordon can come back, a BIG IF, maybe things will stabilize to the point where a bad start like the one on Saturday won't tax the pen.

I take what Gillick said at face value. I don't think there's a lot of available bullpen out there now.

Maybe they should just be patient with what they have and try to work them into games whenever possible. See what happens. They have nothing to lose seeing what Hernandez or Rosario can handle. There aren't many hot hands in the minors. John Ennis and Kane Davis are pitching well, but they're old veterans like Condrey. (Didn't realize Ennis was 6-5, 225.) Bisenius was touched up again on Saturday. Zagurski?

Speaking of Ottawa, Durbin had a great outing yesterday:

"J.D. Durbin had his best start of the season, holding Pawtucket to one run over more than 8.0 innings of work as the Lynx edged the Paw Sox 2-1."

He's still a long way away from major league ready. He was shelled his previous game.

Also, Smith is pitching OK with Ottawa.

I'm anxious to get a look at Zagurski.

If the starters can keep up the quality starts, I think the 'pen woes will iron themselves out. A healthy Madson will help ease the burden from Geary and Alfonseca - at least in order to give them a day off or two on a regular basis.

If Gordon has anything to offer, I figure that's a bonus. Like Weitzel has said, I think he's finished.

All that, and the return of Mr. Howard. I think the time off will pay HUGE dividends...not the least of all mentally. His quad may nag for the season, but pushing the reset button on his season can only help!

Gillick saying that any bullpen help with have to come internally at this point in the season is pretty much common sense. It is highly unlikely a team will deal a decent bullpen arm 2 months before the trading deadline.

Sadly, Gillick didn't even do a good job of picking up a few guys in T-AAA who might have helped this team. Unless Gordon gets better (about as likely as me winning the lottery), then this bullpen is going to stay status quo.

I don't know about writing off Gordon. He didn't look all that terrible to me even with a bad shoulder. If he's cleared to pitch again this year, he can only help. Best-case scenario (those do happen sometimes, don't they...?), he could be the missing link as a legitimate set-up man for Myers in the second half.

If Gordon can pitch a solid inning here and there, I'll take it. I'm not going too overboard with that shoulder.

It's really tough to find answers for this bullpen. It is after reading Jason's header about the steady starters and Myers effectiveness out of the pen, that you start to realize that the entire bullpen on opening day sucked to high heaven, and still does.

I still think Cholly and Dubee have not managed that situation very well. Posters that say Cholly has to pitch Myers and Geary every day because everyone else sucks, misses the point. These other guys don't suck every outing, only some outings. Sometimes Alfonseca is decent at getting the hitters tio hit ground balls. Some outings Condrey and even Rosario were effective. I think the jugglers of these BP balls (Cholly & Dubee) have dropped the ball more than once. I worry about using only Geary and Myers until their arms fall off during the stretch run.

Carl Pavano 19 bad starts for the Yankees for 40 million dollars and we think we have things to whine about.

The good news is when teams fall out of contention we will be able (with younger pitching in our minor leagues and cash) be in the hunt for relievers. Still to early yet for teams to bail on their local fans and trade.

If you want to see a contrast in baseball writing, look at Hagen's piece today in comparison with the Inky's Sam Carchidi. Carchidi's article calls the Phils homestand "triumphant" which is simply absurd. What did they achieve, what did they "triumph" over?

It was an article that wouldn't have been out of place on Phillies Pravda.

Hagen, OTOH, congratualted the team for winning, but also pointed out that beneath the surface the team really misses Howard.

It's nice that Burrell is hitting, but Nunez, Dobbs, and Rowand are all going to come back to earth (Rowand has already started).

The current lineup with J-Roll hitting third and Nunez and Dobbs in the everyday lineup is not good enough to win consistently. Hagen rightly points this out while Carchidi just leads the cheers.

I'd give anything to have 1/10 of SirAlden's optimism. I don't see the "younger pitching in our minor leagues and cash" doing a damn thing for this team any time before 2009. Not sure if you've scoured any of the farm system fodder, but there isn't a "must have" arm within the Phils system. As far as the cash goes, I'll believe that when I see it.

This is, I believe, exactly why Gillick has to build the 'pen from within. It is also exactly why I have little faith that the 'pen will be any better than average at best, even if the best-case scenario pans out. The talent simply is not there.

kdon: Hagen's take is right on the mark. No need to go over the top with this homestand. It wasn't especially crisp, and they got some help, like yesterday. I liked the starting pitching however. It made up for the shortcomings. Hamels, Lieber and Eaton, in that order.

This is the second season in a row that Gillick has been forced to scour the A and AA minor league teams for pitching solutions due to an inadequate job in the offseason.

Last spring, it was the starting rotation. Gillick was forced to rush Hamels and Mathieson along with handing a couple of starts to non deserving candidates (e.g., Brito, Bernero). Worked out really well with Hamels but likely led to Mathieson blowing out his arm and generally ineffective starts from the other candidates.

Now, Gillick is scouring the A and AA teams for bullpen help. Zagurski may deserve a shot with this team in another year or so but bringing him up now places an awful burden on him. Generally, you tend to ruin a pitcher's development by rushing him ahead a few levels instead of letting him gradually develop or pitch in some meaningless Sept. callup games.

I really hope that Gillick doesn't help to destroy a couple of decent prospects in his attempts to cover up the deficiencies in the bullpen he helped to create.

i been saying it since the offseason in today's game the majority of relievers need to be groomed and brought in from within the organization. Ideally this team would love to only have to spend big $ on either a setup guy or closer and hope the other can be a organization guy with little service time = low $

For all the ripping Gillick has gotten including me...i kind of agree with his lack of moves for relievers so far. It is too costly to bring in FA relievers or trade for relievers since most 6 & 7th inning guys tend to alternate good years with bad ones. I suggested back in the fall that Lieber would make a good reliever and thought that Segovia and Bisenius had a chance to fill those long reliever and 6th inning spots...i guess i was wrong about them since they aparently aren't ready. Hopefully Gordon can come back and be a better than average setup man with era in the 2's that way Alfie, Geary and Madson can all be pushed back an inning to situations which might better serve their talents. ALthough i do think we NEED to get a viable lefty for the pen at some point this year and Villone aint that guy.

How much longer until Gordon comes back? I know his arm/shoulder hurts and he had a stint in the hospital with an ailment (aka- sick from losing his closer job to Myers.

It will be interesting to see how long Gillick stands Pat with this port-o-potty of a bullpen. Sadly, probably until the trading deadline when getting a reliever or two won't make enough of a difference after the current group effectively blew many a games.

Alby, Davethom, AWH (from two posts ago):

Amazing, Davethom takes a break from posting for a few days and the following happens:

1.) Seemingly positive conversation involving music (I don't think I need to specifically point out the analogies here). General tone is more upbeat. No excessive Coste commentary.
2.) Actual Conversation about things that are relavent and realistic.

Now: Not so much.

Davethom specific: I loved your first amendment rights position. Apparently you forgot that ALBY has the right to call you a "dipstick", and to tell you to "STFU" (Which I imagine was utilized in an attempt to hide it from the kids: koo koo, Kachoo, Mrs. Robinson). By the way Alby, I can't say that I disagree with anything you said. Keep on excercising those first amendment rights. I also understand Alby's point about the fed's and conspiracies. Davethom, its not like he was attempting to suppress your speech. Although Alby represents more of an authority, IMO, than either davethom or AWH (Who I believe to be the same person), I dont't think he represents an authority capable of quieting speech. This, however would not be a dissagreeable idea from where I stand.

AWH: your comments about Alby and his significant other (Not sure what that is implying, by the way) is loaded with comedy. Not that what you were saying had anything that even resembled comic relief, but that it wreaked of idiocy. (I am usually not that harsh, but is it really harsh when its true?) Don't quit your day job.

Pat Gillick's Maple Leaf: Who cares. So he likes Canada. I'm sure there are good reasons for that. I would probably like Canada too, if I ever had the chance to go there. Davethom, really, what was the point of that post. I smell another conspiracy brewing. I can see the headline: "Pat Gillick secretly tries to subvert the Phillies organization against the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, Pat Burrell, Rod Barajas, Aaron Rowand, Gregg Dobbs, Brett Myers, and Adam Eaton didn't get the memo. In a related note, Chris Coste only has one at bat. This serves two purposes. First, it allows him to continue his anti-Coste policies ("The Costespiracy'), and it helped save the Blue Jays from impending doom from the unstoppable bat of Chris Coste. Not even Pat Gillick's conspiracies work."

you guys should buy baseballsoapopera.com and open a blog there.

Williard when I was optimistic about the Phiilies High and Low A minor league clubs

http://phuturephillies.com/

it was not to repair this bullpen, it was to be able to throw in prospects at the trade deadline, like we were able to do to get Jamie Moyer from Seattle.

Between losing draft picks for signing free-agents or dubious value, and trading arms away for junk old reliever past their prime,
Ed Wade put us up on the rocks.

Just go back 10 years and weep.

http://www.philliesdraft.com/DraftReports/DraftReportsYearByYear.html

Go take a look at pick #55 of the 2000 draft, or picks 48 and 80 of the 2001 draft,
open a Schlitz or Iron City first.

The High A and Low A clubs are rated highly with pitching. Aside from A.J. Happ there is nothing else to trade in the system. Eude Brito anyone?

Gillick is not trading prospects for cash, and he is not signing retreads and losing draft picks. So the system year by year will be getting better.

Now I here the chorus, what about Garcia?
Well I for one want Gio back, not Floyd but Gio. But you have to get to a place where you can roll the dice hoping someone like Garcia in his contract year will step up.

What is good about it is he steps up or he fails and we have the same cash next year to try for the next Starter. Here is hoping Garcia will come round.

Bathtub: Dont give Davethom any ideas. I would also prefer Davesofourlives.com (for all your online baseball drama.)

It's shaping up as a carbon copy of last year: a miserable April, followed by a good May to give us all false hopes. In June, they'll start their annual rite of playing mediocre ball in the middle of the season, then they'll get hot around late August and early September, only to get swept in a critical late-season series & end up missing the Wild Card by about 2 games to either the Astros, Braves or Padres.

I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but is there anything about the Phillies' season up to this point which suggests that it's going to turn out any differently than all the other near-misses?

Parker -- still dazed and confused, eh, buddy?

bay: Watch the schedule. The Marlins have lost 2 of their straters and 2 everyday players so shouldn't present much of a challenge, but after that comes the Braves nd the D'backs. How they get thru that stretch will be telling.

Parker -- Here's one for you -- Tonight, Borowski just picked up his 14th save in 16 save opportunities -- and Borowski was topping out at 94 mph on the gun.

Alden, do you really understand how the MLB draft works? do you have any concept how low the odds are that a second round draft pick ends up panning out? look at your much lamented 55th pick. now, it just so happens that Cleveland netted Brian Tallet, who has been slightly above average as a reliever this year and last (although, it's worth noting, not for the Indians, who traded him for a mediocre prospect last year).

but look at the surrounding picks:
50. ANA, C Jared Abruzzo, put up a .613 OPS for TEX's AA team in 2005, organizational filler.
51. ATL, RHP Ken Nelson, out of baseball by 2002).
52. CHW, SS Tim Hummel, career .599 OPS in two MLB seasons, organizational filler.
53. STL, LHP Christopher Narveson, TJ surgery knocked him off track, now borderline prospect.
54. MIN, RHP JD Durbin, we all know about him.

56. TEX, SS Jason Bourgeois, career .706 minor league OPS, organizational filler.
57. LAA, RHP Joe Hanrahan, career 1.44 minor league WHIP, organizational filler.
58. TOR, 2B Dominic Rich, hasn't made it past AA, although he's hit a little.
59. PIT, RHP David Beigh, out of baseball by 2004.
60. OAK, SS/CF Freddie Bynum, hitting .176 as a part time OF for BAL, was part of the legendary Rheinecker/Bynum/Dominguez/Koronka trade.

of course it would be good to have more minor league players, if only to avoid stocking the farm teams with thirtysomethings. and signing Mike Jackson was obviously one of Wade's stupider moves. but the vast, vast majority of the time losing a single draft pick is not going to have the slightest effect on how well the Phillies do in a given season.

davthom, where was your Borowski Update 8 days ago, when Joltin' Joe blew a 7-5 lead by giving up 4 hits (including a HR) in a game the Indians lost 10-7? why, it's almost as if you're selectively quoting stats to make him look like a great reliever when he's actually got a 1.62 WHIP and 8.44 ERA.

ae -- You're out-of-date on your stats. Borowski's ERA after tonight's game is 7.94 . . . and dropping.

I'll take a guy who converts 14 of 16 save opportunities any day -- even if he has had about three very bad outings -- especially where the guy is hitting the gun well over 90 m.p.h. now. Others have explained recently on this board why a reliever's high ERA can be a poor measure of his overall effectiveness. A save is a save, in my book.

The great Myers/closer experimment is still just that. While Borowski is used to regular duty as a closer, Myers has never been in that role until this year. Yes, Myers has done well in most (but not all) of his closer outings -- but the way Manuel is using him as a multiple-inning closer right now -- how long can Myers remain effective as the season wears on?

And Parker -- Borowski hasn't broken down yet -- and his top end fastball appears toi be picking up a couple of mph in the last sweek or so.

bay, I think we're all from Missouri. Until the Phils show us something different, you have evey right to that point of view.

Hey, davthom. Parker thinks we're the same person...and he accuses you of being a conspiracy theorist. It's a 'park-spiracy'!

well I'll be dav, you're right. it must be plummeting now that he's gone all of two appearances without self-destructing.

dav, I strongly suggest you go read some Indians message boards and see how secure they feel in Borowski. I'll spoil it for you - they do not feel secure at all. shocking, I know; they must not have realized that his ERA is "7.94 . . . and dropping".

Look, this can't be emphasized more strongly: Gillick made a mistake in passing on Borowski. It is pretty foolish to assert otherwise. The Phillies desperately need(ed) a way to bridge to Myers, and they had one willing to sign as a set-up man in Borowski. Are you seriously going to try to keep saying he isn't legit because his ERA is high? It's pathetic to keep clinging to one side of an argument just because it's *your* argument. Come on. Look at some of the tripe they're instead rolling out there in the eighth inning. Francisco Rosario? Alfonseca? I don't make absolutist claims often, but if you're going to try to say Borowski wouldn't look very, very good in red pinstripes right this moment, I'll say you are dead wrong.

I realize comments like the one I'm about to make might call into question half the purpose (along with half the content) of online discussion boards, but I'm going to go ahead anyway.

What's with the endless fighting over Borowski? I just don't understand how people get so animated about this topic.

The Phillies didn't sign Borowski, and they aren't going to pick him up in a trade. He probably won't be signed as a free agent whenever his contract is up. Borowski will probably never play for the Phillies - for better or worse. Arguing over whether the Phils should or shouldn't have signed him is even less relevant than the endless backup catcher debate. The only possible purpose the Borowski debate could serve is one little tally-mark in the scorecard of how bad a job Pat Gillick has done assembling a bullpen. As far as I can tell, all parties to the Borowski debate agree that the bullpen stinks. What's the point in figuring out what risky choices might have panned out had they only been made differently? Why not examine what might be done to rectify the crappy state of affairs from this point forward?

At least with the endless backup catcher debate, you're arguing over actual options that management might exercise - that is, Barajas or Coste could be the backup catcher, and the Phillies dictate that future. Whether choosing Barajas or Coste as backup catcher would have a significant impact on the team's performance is questionable. But at least this silly debate is over something the team might actually do. It's not splitting hairs over decisions the Phillies made months ago and cannot ever undo.

Now, I understand that there is something to be learned from history, and from examining decisions to see what mistakes can be avoided in the future. And to some degree, I wish the Phillies had taken the risk with Borowski. But they didn't.

So now what?

RSB, "it was the medical people" according to Seattle Slew. He abdicated any responsibility.

My guess at what happened is that this ownership/mgmt group (O/M) is VERY, VERY conservative when it comes to medical evaluations, instructing the doctors to err on the extreme side of caution. It's most likely because they've been burned in the past (see Jackson, Person).

Gillick may not have the authority to overide the medical people, even if he judges the risk to be worth it.

Remember, it's about the money with these folks (ownership).

How exactly is the state of the Phillies' bullpen - the weakest of weak links on this team - not relevant?

We deal in hypothetical speculation on this board at times. Regardless of whether or not a certain move was made in the past, or that it in fact won't ever be made, it is indeed relevant when this decision making directly affects the position of this club on a nightly basis. We can use present results to evaluate decisions made in the past, so as to estimate the overall effectiveness of those running the team. So that's the point. Deal with it.

"Whether choosing Barajas or Coste as backup catcher would have a significant impact on the team's performance is questionable."

strange, most backup catchers log 1-2 starts per week. That translates into 140-200 ABs per year. I would say that any player with that number of ABs, regardless of position, can impact a team's performance throughout a season.

How in the world could a guy with a 7.94 ERA look "very, very good in red pinstripes right about now"? It's not like this is Albert Pujols batting .245 and you know he's going to improve. This is Joe Borowski. Perhaps he's just had a lot of easy saves. Obviously if we were to start using Borowski in a setup role, i.e., coming into tied games, games where we lead by a run, games where he has to strand runners, that 7.94 ERA would hurt us, so why would he make such a great bridge to Myers? If you come into a game in the bottom of the ninth up two runs and you give up a run, that's still a save, but that kind of performance won't do in setup.

The state of the Phillies' bullpen, which is terrible, and has contributed mightily to the team's downfall, is completely relevant to the team's performance. My point is simply that people who are not part of the bullpen *and who will never be part of the bullpen* cannot be very relevant to how to solve the problem of the terrible bullpen.

I get your point on hypothetical speculation, and I think it's a good one, generally. We can often learn from exploring options, no matter how theoretical or fantastical.

But the Borowski debate has perhaps passed its prime when it comes to hypothetical speculation. Instead we are treated to a nightly bickering over the same limited set of facts by the same zealous parties - all over someone who will never play for the team. I'm all for looking back at Borowski's performance later on in the season once or twice, but for a non-option to receive such regular and heated debate blows my mind.

In any event, I doubt we need much help estimating the overall effectiveness of those running the team. They suck.

I realize I am an extremely infrequent poster, but I have been reading on a nightly basis since sometime in the middle of last season. If you Borowski debaters (and backup catcher debaters for that matter) want to carry on with these debates and believe that you are deriving some insight from doing so, by all means go for it. I'll continue to read all the same. But I wanted to just suggest that we keep it in some perspective.

strange,

I'm guilty of getting over-invested in arguments about guys who play once a week. Sometimes given the limitations of this type of forum it's hard to fully communicate your point of view as you might in a one-on-one conversation. And often times people misinterpret things. But the point you brought up about over-analyzing past events and not looking forward is something I touched on a few weeks ago.

It's pretty much agreed that overall the farm system is weak and that has a "trickle up" effect (if that makes sense) on the bench, bullpen, etc. One thing that would make me as a fan happy is the front office coming straight out and saying that they might cut back player payroll $5 million or so but they're going to spend that money on bringing in the best possible scouts and personnel people to build the farm system long term. Ideally, they wouldn't cut the team payroll to do this, but if they are operating with a somewhat fixed budget (which I believe they are) I'd accept that.

I don't know what scouts make but just guessing I doubt the best scouts in baseball make $200K/year. CM makes $800K/year and I'm sure there are managers who make less, so I doubt most scouts top six figures. To lure away the best guys from teams they may be comfortable with/loyal to, double their salaries. So 8 of the best scouts in baseball may cost $3.2 million, tops. That leaves $1.8 million of my hypothetical $5 million to spend on minor league coaches, replacing some of the dead weight in the front office (Amaro), etc.

Look at what the Indians got for Bartolo Colon (and Tim Drew): Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips (and Lee Stevens). Imagine where the Phils might have been if they had gotten that type of return on Schilling or Rolen. Why not bring in the Indians scout(s) who orchestrated that trade as well as the Twins guy(s) who traded Pierzynski for Liriano, Nathan, and Bonser?

As an owner, I think that would be a better investment in the long term health of my business than some journeyman 5th starter. But, hey, I'm not an owner. Just something I wish they would consider.

It's not really my intent to bicker. I'm just pointing out that the Phillies' bullpen is an egregious mess, and while so many people - including the GM and his redoubtable assistant - cry wolf about no one being available to help, it bears pointing out that they passed on a guy who was ready to sign here - a guy ABSOLUTELY would have helped solidify the pitching staff. It's absurd to say that because Joe Borowski is not an all-star, and is in fact an aging, relatively marginal relief pitcher, he is therefore not worth discussing. At this point, please note that even someone of his caliber would help things immensely. That's the 'perspective' I'm keeping.

At 160-200 at bats a season, the difference between a .200 hitter and a .300 hitter seems to work out to be an average of .8 hits a game and 1.2 hits a game. (Assuming 50 games for a twice-a-week backup catcher over a 6 month season). If you want to argue about .4 hits a game till you're blue in the face, go for it.

I have no doubt Coste would be a better backup than Barajas, but it's not killing me either way. Nor do I think it's killing the Phillies either way.

RSB, I'm not taking the position you label "absurd" - namely, that Borowski wouldn't help the team because he's aging, marginal, or not an all star.

I'm taking the position that Borowski won't help the team because he won't be on it.

Jeltz,

Now that's an interesting proposal. I don't know the first thing about what separates a good scout from a bad one, but assuming it's based on something more reliable that chance, it stands to reason that the Phils could actually improve the team by improving the staff that assesses and assembles the team.

I suppose they'd do that if they were willing to be forward thinking, or even slightly creative. Which might be assuming too much.

Well, strange, we might as well delineate the terms of our discrepancy, instead of going 'round in circles. You feel it is not worthwhile to discuss things that have not or will not happen, that are not *factual*, while I feel it is. You believe it is not constructive to speculate unless we do so with 'solutions' in mind, but I believe it is valid to posit, particularly in the absence of present-tense 'solutions', that a possible solution was out there at one point and the Phillies missed the boat. We might as well just leave it there.

Although, I might add that if we were to discuss things based on the possibility of it actually *accomplishing something* other than generating and reacting to insulated opinions - you'd have nothing but empty space on this web page.

strange, that's a spurious argument, and, rather silly.

No player gets ".4 or .8" hits in a game. It's the difference in the total number of hits adding to the team's production throughout the season.

Are you seriously going to argue that 35-50 hits a year from a bench player don't make any difference?

As a corollary, I don't think an investment in foreign scouting/development would be a bad idea. Who is the best foreign born player to come up through the Phils farm system in the last 20 years? Carlos Silva, maybe? I can't think of anyone else off the top of my head.

Jeltz, you just inadvertently heaped the biggest comdemnation on the competency of this Phillies ownership group that one possibly could have.

We live in an era of the Latin American player. Look at the names: Big Papi, Santana, Vlad, Garcia, Hernandez, Manny, Colon, Jones, Gonzalez, Renteria, Soriano, Pedro.......

The game is full of them. Good players, aveerage players, and superstars.

And the Phils best Latino player in the last 20 years is ....Carlos Silva?

RSB - I might be coming across as more opposed to hypothetical speculation than I really am. I think Borowski might have helped. So do you. Some other people think otherwise. We're still not gonna sign him. I'm just trying to point out that hypothetical discussions are more useful when you look at bigger trends because that can lend to informed decision making about future players, whereas excessive debate over one player doesn't really get us anywhere. As for your second point, I hinted at that concern in my opening to my first post. I'm not trying to stifle discussion, and I do for the most part enjoy reading this board very much. But a little perspective.

AWH - I'm well aware that players do not hit .4, .8, or 1.2 hits a game. That's why I said it was an average. Nonetheless, according to my math (which could be wrong, as math is hardly my strength), the difference between a twice-a-week backup catcher who bats .200 and one who bats .300 is that the former gets about 40 hits per season, while the other gets about 60 hits per season (assuming 200 at bats per season, or 4 at bats per game, and pretending walks don't exist because that would involve me dealing with OBP and slightly more complicated math). So we're talking a difference of 20 hits over the course of the season. Some of those hits might matter, some won't. The Phils seem uniquely talented at leaving men on base, after all. So, while some of those hits actually lead to some runs one way or another (RBI or get driven in by another batter) how many of those runs count enough to lead to a win that wouldn't have happened with the worse-hitting backup catcher? I'm not sure, but I'm guessing not all of them. Someone with more statistical sophistication can tell you the likelihood of the 20 hits generating meaningful wins.

If the difference between Coste and Barajas could result in 3 or 4 wins, then you're right - in a best case scenario, that might be the margin that takes the Phillies into the wild card spot. But that's a best case scenario, and I've given you some pretty big assumptions here.

At any rate, you've misunderstood my point on the backup catcher debate. I simply brought it up as an example of a debate, however tired, over something that the Phillies actually control.

I know I'm saying this without looking at the statistics, and I'm drawing from a small sample size from my recent memory, but does Carson post the first comment on every thread?
Just sayin.

This is a radical thought but you know who the Phils could have signed this offseason - How about Rick White or Aaron Fultz? Both guys have been pitching lights out for their respective teams (Astros and Indians) and are playing for peanuts this year.

White got signed to a minor league deal and is making a miserly $600k. Fultz only got a 1-year deal from the Indians at $1.5 million.

The reason that neither of these guys was resigned is due to money. Pure and simple. The Phils already acquired one bargain discount veteran retread (Alfonseca) and didn't want to spend an additional 500-700k on a pitcher like White. Any Phils scout, coach, or owner who tries to tell me that their were more question marks with White than Alfonseca is full of crap. As for Fultz, I am willing to bet he would have resigned here in a heartbeat if the Phils had offered him a 1 yr deal around $1.5 million. Instead, the Phils again chose to go the discount bargain route with unproven Matt Smith as their primary left-hand option out of the pen.

So basically, the Phils could have spend a little over $2 million to provide themselves with a little additional depth in the bullpen and ensure that they had some options in case things didn't work out as planned. Instead, that $2 million will go back into the pockets of Montgomery and Co. It angers me so much that the Phils' ownership sets a budgetary line in the sand and will not go above it.

MG, once again:

$2MM - that's approx. $500K less than the backup catcher is making. Hmmmm, I wonder where the Phils could have come with the money?

Phils start a big 3 game set against the Fish tonight, with our ace King Cole taking the mound. Is this the day we finally break the .500 barrier? Gosh, I hope so!

The next 2 series (6 games) are huge against Florida and Atlanta as we can really make up some ground in our division and start pulling away from the mediocrity mark of .500.

I would say the Phils best Latino player was Bobby Abreu.

Borowski would look good in the Phils bullpen b/c his high 7 ERA would fit right in.

Journeyman Rick White had a combined era of a little over 5.00 last year and has been consistently inconsistent the last 6-7 years. Fultz is a different story, having a great year this year and has had a good year in the recent past. He's making $1.5mil this year. I don't think they didn't sign him b/c of the money. I bet they're kicking themselves over him.

Argh. Borowski and Barajas have crept into the conversation again. Like a virus, those two.

We are lucky to get rid of Justin Germano he has appeared in 3 games for San Diego and has only managed to win 2 of them. He is 2-0 0.47ERA, 19In, 5SO, 0.74 WHIP. Another great move by our Phils.

this isn't directed at anyone in particular, but I honestly don't get the knee-jerk negative response to (admittedly irrelevant) arguments like those in this thread. yeah, they're obviously not real important subjects, but this is a board of relatively fanatical Phillies fans. what are we going to but argue about minutiae?

and on cue: RSB, my "pathetic" argument is that Borowski is a fringe reliever. as far as that goes, yes, obviously he would help our bullpen - it's one of the worst in the majors.

but it's not like the addition of a guy like that would instantly turn us into the Padres or have us contending for the NL East. I mean, look at the numbers - if Alfonseca's every appearance had been a save opportunity, he'd have 14 saves right now. I realize that's not truly a valid comparison, and there's other variables, etc. etc., but still - blindly posting every time Borowski manages to stumble into another save as if that was some kind of incontrovertible proof of how awesome he is (davthom, not RSB) is just obstinate.

BB, as Ed Wade would probably tell you, Abreu was not originally scouted and signed by the Phillies. I think that the best Latino prospect ever signed by the Phillies was Ferguson Jenkins, and we all know how that turned out.

Regarding the scouting, that has been a deficiency ever since the Idiot Giles took over the team. I guess he never felt that investing in player developement was glitzy enough to warrant his interests, so don't expect the team to spend money in that area while he's around.

I know Abreu wasn't signed/drafted by the Phils, but that wasn't the question. We got him in a good Ed Wade deal for Kevin Stocker.

Feguson Jenkins is Canadian.

This thread is getting boring, especially the stuff about Boring-owski. He's not pitching very good and he's not a Phillie. Who cares about him. The pen is crap and it would be crap with or without him.

Being in Houston, I cringe everytime Weird Beard comes in and pitches another good outing for the Astros. He was cheap and the Phillies had him. Chalk him up to the Germano trash heap.

We need to rename Davthom to Saint Davthom as he's always staking a case for lost causes like his brother-in-law Coste or or his Aunt Sally's boyfriend Borowski.

BB, you're right about Jenkins, sorry about that. I guess that means the Phillies have never scouted and signed any exceptional Latino players.

Pretty interesting article by Jim Salisbury today @philly.com. The jist of it is that Gillick was "called into the principles office" (Monty's) after he called out the middle of the order last week. Montgomerey said he was "too negative".

Gimmie a break, Dave. Dave Montgomerey sounds like a nice guy, but he really has no business running a MLB organization.

Bottom line about Borowski - we didn't get him. To determine how well this team would do had we gotten him is a tremendous waste of time. It would have changed the entire dynamic of the whole staff (i.e. Myers would still be starting, we would have had to have traded away Lieber, etc.). Simply to look at his stats and all of the ways to spin his "success" is a tremendous waste of time. It's not like we could just plug his numbers into this staff and determine how many more wins we'd have.

strange: The fact of the matter is a number of posters on this thread defending Gillick's do-nothing approach to the bullpen this past offseason, though they'd never admit it now.

I want to give a shout-out to Jeltz. His point about scouting is on target. When other teams trade stars they get quality prospects in return. When the Phils trade Rolen, Schilling, Abreu, the return is minimal. The difference? Scouting.

BedBeard,

If I may quote myself, as I brought up the topic originally: "Who is the best foreign born player to come up through the Phils farm system in the last 20 years?" That indeed was the question.

You're right Abreu is the best Latino player the Phils have ever had. But, as far as I know, he never played one minor league game in the Phils organization so he definitely did not "come up through the farm system."

Fergie Jenkins is the best foreign born player they ever developed. Going back to my original thought of "in the last 20 years" (just because that's all I can personally remember) has anyone thought of a name better than Carlos Silva? If not, that shows just how pathetci the Phils are at scouting/developing foreign players.

"And the Phils best Latino player in the last 20 years is ....Carlos Silva?"

That's the quote and question I was responding to.

Jeltzie, I can't think of any really great foreign players signed and developed by the Phillies who actually contributed to the team. The best I could come up with is Tony Taylor (BB correct me if I'm wrong again, but he is Cuban), based on the overall contribution he made to the team. The only other name I could think of is Juan Samuel and I was never a real big fan of his.

While we're on the subject of scouting, how 'bout a list of the best scouts in Phillies history. I nominate Tony Lucadello, who not only signed Schmidt, but also Jenkins as well.

BB,

My bad. We were talking about two different things.

What about George Bell, Juan Samuel and Julio Franco? I think they all qualify as being better than Carlos Silva.

DK,

You're right about those three but doesn't it seem weird that they signed better Latino players in the early 80's than they do today. Most teams have become better at foreign scouting, while it seems like the Phils are much worse than they were two decades ago.

Jeltz-no problem. I just read AWH's post and commented, didn't take it in full context.

Tony Taylor is Cuban, but wasn't drafted by the Phils (Cubs). The Phillies did pfinally open up an Academy in the Dominican(?) recently, right? Better late than never, but this is ridiculously late.

Jeltz, it's funny that this lack of Latino talent started under this current ownership. Why? They don't care about winning only about making money.

Your right ae, let's do it the Ed Wade way, lose high draft picks for signing crummy free-agents and trade lots of minor leaguers for closers at the trade deadline, who were great 6 years ago.

Don't worry the chances of any specific draft pick or minor leaguer of panning out
is not that high, so it's ok for our minors to be bare. Once we get to the CIT we can easily go shopping for free-agent arms, it's so easy to find middle, and set-up, and shut down closers. lol

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