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Friday, May 25, 2007

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Fantastic post.

Barajas has quickly become my least favorite philly. He seems soft and unfocused behind the plate (let's not forget the passed ball). If only Coste could stay.

One specific question re: Manuel. Can anyone tell me why we don't run more, esp. in the later innings? I realize Cholly has tried to hit and run a fair amount, but the ability to steal bags in close games is critical (making one hit tie the game or take the lead instead of two). Shouldn't our runner be putting more pressure on the pitchers when the reach? And why not run for Pat in the 7th instead of Coste in the 8th last night?

The base running was just atrocious all around last night.

There were alot of people in denial on Sunday afternoon. Sample size be damned, Barajas makes no effort.

Of course by the end of the today, Coste will be making the trip back to Ottawa. Heaven forbid this organization actually keep the 25 best players on the big league roster.

The layers of symbolism wrapped up in the Coste-to-Barajas flubbed play at the plate are almost too much.

I've been harping on the continued poor fundamentals since soon after the season started, and actually posted in April that despite the generally mediocre level of play from some of the off-season pickups, the biggest let-down of this new season has been the much ballyhooed, revamped coaching staff. You can complain about the inaction on the bullpen front (and no doubt someone will soon), or the catching controversy, or the lack of left-handed outfield power, and you're right to complain about those things.

But this is one area that was ostensibly ADDRESSED in the off-season, and that's what's so frustrating about it. We brought in guys who were specifically picked for their grasp of fundamentals, to make sure we did the little things right. A lot of the other problems were just ignored, or there was no one available, or we couldn't afford to solve them, or whatever.

This just points to a different kind of, uh, phutility. It seems to infect so many levels of the organization. What can you say about an organization that didn't make Garcia take a physical, that lost Germano on waivers, that gave away Abreu for a sack of beans, that can't wrestle a little plate discipline out of its players, that lets players off the hook for giving up on games? I don't know how to describe it, but it's what makes trying to assign blame to the ownership, or the GM, or the manager, or really anybody in this organization so hard. It seems to be an organizational shortcoming. How do you even begin to address a problem like that?

And, the band[gillicks garbage] plays on.

Jason, this ranks as one of my most favorite BeerLeaguer posts ever. You didn't sugarcoat it at all. Because remember you can sugarcoat a turd, but after all it's still a turd in the end.

The Phillies play stupid baseball. Funniest thing is, nobody is held accountable. People keep excusing Manuel saying he's not at fault. Bull Crap...he's beyond a shadow of a doubt part of the problem with this team. I understand making him the sacrifical lamb solves nothing, but honestly the man does not deserve to be managing a MLB team. He needs to be fired. Barajas need to be released. Is this reactionary...yes. But reacting can cause a difference and send a message.

This team is sickening. Literally sick to my stomach because I'm that pathetic and care that much. Wish I didn't, but I do.

Did anybody hear Gillick with Jody Mac yesterday? He must have gotten a real tongue lashing from Monty, because he says he doesn't respond to rumors and even mentioned Salisbury's name. He has been totally neutered at this point. This guy is well past his prime as a GM, it's embarrassing at this point. If he had any dignity and self respect, he'd just go out guns a blazing and rip his bosses. Not that it gives him a free pass, because his deals and signings have been lousy to say the least.

It's a flat out joke that Charlie is still managing this team. It's like a frigging country club in there, there is no accountability whatsoever. Seriously, Charlie puts the lineup cards out there and just prays it works out. I remember seeing a spring training quote, can't remember if it was last year, where Charlie said in regards to practicing the basics "if they don't know fundamentals by the time they get here, then that's their problem". Charlie, it is your problem and is leading you on a one way ticket outta here.

laramie -- systemic problems like that will not get addressed until the team has owners that care a little more about winning, and a little less about turning a fat profit year after year. We fans can complain about this player or that, this coach or that, or the GM, or the scouting, or whatever, and every once in a while a new body is shuffled in, but the new body has the same limited mandate, and the same organization to deal with. So nothing ever changes. You either accept this fact of life as a Phillie fan, and howl into the wind, or you decide to stop the insanity and find another team or another hobby.

Excellent points, Jason.

I've been a semi-defender of Manuel for a long time, and the reason why was evident again last night: the team played their butts off. I had no doubt that they badly wanted that game.

But for as long as Manuel's been the skipper, they've played hard but dumb. Many nights, as last night, painfully dumb.

Add in that this GM is now--I have to admit it--as bad as or worse than Wade when it comes to figuring out who can contribute and who can't (Coste/Barajas), and you've got a badly conceived roster, giving maximum effort and yet under-performing. Difficult trick, that.

That quote came this spring. Basically Charlie Manuel is there for decoration. Bumbling backwood bumpkin decoration.

Carson,

I tried sugar-coated turds once and they weren't nearly as bad as you make them out to be.

Playing hard is great, but playing dumb will undo all the good from the "hard" effort. How about efficient baseball instead?

dajafi,

Do you think Barajas has been giving maximum effort the past two nights?

Playing hard is great, but playing dumb will undo all the good from the "hard" effort. How about efficient baseball instead?

*Bay-Area...wow!

For the record, that was an attempt at humor. I have never actually tried sugar-coated turds.

Jason, once again you have hit the nail squarely on the head. And like Carson, I too care TOO MUCH about this team. I am also sick to my stomach after every loss. The past two nights I could not fall asleep thinking about those games. Manuel is a joke. Barajas is a joke. But, both of those names will continue to plague this team until the end of the year, I'm afraid. I attribute four losses (a modest number, I'm sure) DIRECTLY to this coaching staff. Teams will play better ball, hitters will go into slumps and pitchers will have bad outings. The only constant is the coaching staff. They have to be prepared to deal with the above factors. This staff is not and unfortunately, shows no signs of improving themselves.

Here's to hoping that Howard sparks something (or if nothing else forces Maneul and Co. to put a decent/normal/effective lineup out there for a change)and they win two in Atlanta.

Minor league news: RHP Bubba Nelson sent to Ottawa (AAA).

Great post, Jason.

Here's my votes: Least favorite Phillie. Rod "I Suck" Barajas.

Least favorite manager: Cholly "Nice, but dumb as a rail" Manuel.

I think the real condemnation of the owners isn't that they want to make a profit. The real problem is that they don't understand the best way to do that. Making the playoffs brings in a tremendous amount of money. Rather than understand this, though, the team has been penny-wise and pound-foolish. They've been right at the cusp of making the playoffs the past 4-5 years and a few more million dollars of payroll and they'd be able to add those extra wins to do it and in turn, net a substantial profit.

Great post J.

I was a Barajas "supporter", as in, I was fine with them signing him as a backup, b/c he had an ok career so far, and the Phils had a young guy and an unproven older guy. At this point, I'd get rid of him as soon as possible. I thought it was an excellent move putting Rod back in action last night to show the fans and his teammates that he can do better. That's obviously not the case. Get rid of him.

Bed Beard- way to step up and admit you were wrong, too bad we can't say the same for Barajas and Manuel...no regard for accountability.

Steve Jeltz--I have no idea of Barajas' effort level. But that he was playing dumb--astoundingly dumb--I have no doubt at all.

J-Roll has walked only 4 times in the past 40 games. This after being an on base machine this spring and the first 6 games. Let's hope the March/early April J-Roll returns soon.

On Coste: Despite having 2 hits last night, his best AB was his walk where he fouled off 7 pitches. JW, you are right -- Coste "gets it." It is ironic that one of the "smarter" players is being jettisoned back to Ottawa after such dumb play the past 2 games.

Best post ever. I'm dumbfounded that some Philly sportswriters say that Coste made a bad through to the plate. Barrajas screwed up again but they are afraid to say it.

I just don't understand. Barrajas doesn't add anything. Coste does. It is like when Bell played in front of Polanco. I don't care how much the phils pay guys but I do care about who they play. Burrell is hitting freaking .237 but he continues to start. Give Bourne a few starts and keep Dobbs (this year's Coste) playing. Smith at third is just terrible, the guy doesn't have a clue. Coste needs to stay on the team. If they need to send Barajas to Ottawa and eat his salary, who cares.

And Rosario... We let Germano slip away and we have this bum, oh but he throws hard - who cares...

guys, regarding barajas:

june 1 aint that far away.

Any word on Myers? While I agree 100% that last night's loss was due to Smith & Barajas, it was also yet another loss by the bullpen. I think that makes 8.

The worst thing about this team reaching .500 is that management still believes that this team can win. They still believe that if they just wish hard enough that the team will win. If they don’t, out come the would of, could of excuses. The team’s play over this series has been pathetic and is a microcosm of the overall condition of this team. Not even a bench clearing challenge could ignite this team. The Marlins called them out last night and this team failed to answer.

Barajas should have been packing his bags for home last night rather then heading to Atlanta. Nothing short of an outright release will satisfy me at this point. If the team had any guts, they would release him and send a message to the rest of the team

BTW…is anyone else baffled by the fact that the team has yet to release the MRI results on Myers? It must be worse than they first let on – but can we really trust anything this organization says regarding injuries.

Carson, you want Manuel fired, fine, but do you really believe this is a good team? Can they compete with the Mets and Braves? These are professional players, many with long term contracts, what is a manager going to do to motivate this team. Bowa tried to kick butt and what good did it do? This is not a good team, period. As was said before they have about six good players and then the rest are "c" level. At best they will hang around .500 all year.

I agree at this point that Coste should stay and Barajas should go.

It was funny to see Barajas trying to act so tough during the "fight" - trying to make up for his pathetic play at the plate Wed.

I hope it doesn't take Cholly too many weeks to figure out that lefties have been having success against Howard and Utley, so he needs to stick his hottest right-handed hitter (Rowand/PtB/Helms) in between. I see the Fish staff managed to have a leftie pitching every time Utley came up last night....that's good coaching. Cox will do the same thing if Cholly digs out his old lineup cards with Utley & Howard at #3/4.

John -- To anyone who watched the game last night -- and the replays of the Coste-to-Barajas play at the plate -- the Associated Press account carried on the KYW-TV web page is an accurate description of what happened.

"Olivo led off with a triple, and Borchard grounded to first baseman Chris Coste, whose throw home beat the runner. But Olivo was safe when he kicked the ball out of catcher Rob Barajas' glove."

KYW link:
http://cbs3.com/topstories/local_story_145091234.html

On the other hand, the guys on the Phillies radio broadcast fell all over themselves trying to absolve management's boy Barajas from blame by saying that Coste's throw was somehow partially at fault -- which the replays clearly showed that it was not.

Also acting tough during the fight -- and I don't think it was an act -- was Jimy Williams. He wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier as a manager, but if they replace Cholly with him it won't be a country club, either.

Coste's throw was slightly to the 1B side of the plate, when the ideal would be to the 3B side. No matter, though, if Barajas blocks the runner out. I still thought the runner was out, frankly, though I didn't see the replay.

But the real boner was pulled by Smith, sending Bourn into a certain out. That run would have won the game. I have seen more bad judgments by the 3B coaches in the past 3 years than Vukovich committed in his entire career out there. Am I nuts, or would someone who was a good baserunner during his career -- yes, Davey Lopes -- be a smarter choice for the coaching box?

BTW, count me among those ashamed that I ever defended Barajas. I have a hard time believing the scouts never noticed that he won't block the plate. If this was the best Gillick could do at the ML level, then he would have been better served signing an experienced catcher he could stash at Ottawa in case Ruiz or Coste got hurt or was totally ineffective.

Also acting tough during the fight -- and I don't think it was an act -- was Jimy Williams. He wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier as a manager, but if they replace Cholly with him it won't be a country club, either.

Coste's throw was slightly to the 1B side of the plate, when the ideal would be to the 3B side. No matter, though, if Barajas blocks the runner out. I still thought the runner was out, frankly, though I didn't see the replay.

But the real boner was pulled by Smith, sending Bourn into a certain out. That run would have won the game. I have seen more bad judgments by the 3B coaches in the past 3 years than Vukovich committed in his entire career out there. Am I nuts, or would someone who was a good baserunner during his career -- yes, Davey Lopes -- be a smarter choice for the coaching box?

BTW, count me among those ashamed that I ever defended Barajas. I have a hard time believing the scouts never noticed that he won't block the plate. If this was the best Gillick could do at the ML level, then he would have been better served signing an experienced catcher he could stash at Ottawa in case Ruiz or Coste got hurt or was totally ineffective.

Kong asks: "What is a manager going to do to motivate this team?"

Maybe inspire confidence that he will make good decisions that will give the team its best chance to win? I’ll suggest that the Phillies players know at least as much about baseball as all the good people who post here on Beerleaguer. They see everything we see, and more.

If you were Chase Utley, what would you think when you see the manager bring in the overworked closer to protect a 4-run lead in the ninth inning -- twice in one week -- and then watch said closer’s arm fall off? Do you feel good about your team’s prospects for the season?

If you are Jimmy Rollins, what are you thinking when you sit in the dugout and watch the 3rd base coach send home a baserunner when everyone else in the park and anyone watching on TV can see he’ll be out by half the distance between 3rd and home? The next time he waves you around, will you put your head down and go, or will you try to peak over your shoulder, just to make sure?

If you are Shane Victorino, what goes through your mind when you look at the lineup card and see that the guy who is catching, the guy who screwed up the game the night before and then laughed about it, is back in the lineup, and he’s not even the best catcher, maybe not even the second-best catcher available? Do you think it matters to “the boss” whether you put forth your best effort or if you just mail it in?

With the bumbling incompetence that characterizes the management of this team, I can see why players might have a hard time staying motivated. I can’t say that I would blame them if they give up. They shouldn’t, of course, but I wouldn’t blame them.

Manuel needs to go. It's that simple. This team has had to deal with some key injuries (Garcia, Howard, etc) but they are still under .500 near Memorial Day weekend.

I am not a big Jimy Williams fan. Got to see his managerial style pretty well in Boston with the Sox. He believes that everyone needs to play and this often results in constant lineup shuffles. Additionally, Jimy is pretty quick to give the hook to a starter and I wonder how that would turn out with this crappy bullpen.

The one thing that would change though is player accountability. Jimy won't rip players in public but he is not afraid to stand up to players. Jimy was one of the only guys in Boston to actually stand up to Pedro. Never really got the credit he deserved on that one.

I say Manuel deserves another week. If this team is below .500 to start June, he deserves to get canned and I hope that Williams becomes the interim manager for the rest of the season.

I'm sure, Alby, that Barajas hasn't been doing this his whole career, otherwise he probably wouldn't have had a career.

Davthom...

Unilke what you heard on the radio, the Phillies' TV guys made no excuses for Barajas on that play. Sarge said (and I believe this is a direct quote): "The catcher should make that play 100 out of 100 times."

Sarge is far from the most polished broadcaster you'll ever hear, but his honesty is refreshing.

I don't know everything, but I do know that Charlie Manuel isn't doing his job requirements and that's what gets people fired. This is his 3rd season and things seem to be getting worse. Any team that has Hamels, Myers, Rollins, Howard, and Utley as its nucleus should not struggle so much...that's a reflection on leadership, or lack-there-of.

Gargano is on fire today ripping the Phils:

"You know what the face of this franchise is? The Phillie Phanatic. It really is. It's frickin Sesame Street."

So true.

Has there been an official announcement about Howard being activated and someone being DL'd. Maybe Nunez goes to the DL with the mild concussion and Coste plays some 3rd with Dobbs.

Not sure I want to lose Nunez right now.

and whats wrong with the phillie phanatic?
at least he is entertaining.

950 just said Coste was sent down. I am not in love with him like others, but a space should be found on the roster for him. We dont need 7 in the pen.

"Has there been an official announcement about Howard being activated and someone being DL'd."

Philly.com has a story up now saying that Howard was activated, Myers was put on the 15 day DL (retro to 5/24), and Mike Zagurski was called up.

No clue on who else is leaving the 25 man roster, since they're adding two and removing one.

http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/sports/20070525_Phils_place_Myers_on_DL__activate_Howard.html

from comcastsportsnet:

Zagurski up; Howard activated; Coste to AA READING; Myers DL'd

and myers to DL, zagurski called up...just on 950

Coste to Reading?

Kingman,

Pointing to the failures of another crappy manager (Bowa) does not absolve our present crappy manager of his failures. This team is plenty flawed, to be sure. But they finished 3 games out of the playoffs last year & 1 game out the year before. You're telling me a good manager couldn't have coaxed a few extra wins out of this team, to get them into the playoffs in each of the last 2 years?

Your premise seems to be that no manager, no matter how good he is, could turn this Phillies team into a playoff team. My first response is: how do you REALLY know? There is no empirical way to know how this team might do with a decent manager because it has been eons since we have had one.

My second response is: even if you're right in asserting that the Phillies are no playoff team, why is that relevant to assessing Cholly's job performance? If your starting first baseman hit .185 with a .201 slugging pct., you would never advocate keeping that guy on the grounds that, even with a good first baseman, the team still couldn't contend. Regardless of whether the Phillies are good or bad, Cholly is a bad manager who makes an incalculable number of strategic blunders & whose teams have consistently looked stupid & unprepared throughout his stewardship. He should have been replaced long ago. There have been plenty of previously mediocre teams who suddenly caught fire upon the hiring of a new manager. Who's to say it couldn't happen with the Phillies? Until you actually try it, there's no way to know. On the other hand, if you keep Cholly, you know exactly what's going to happen, which is that they will continue to be mediocre in every aspect of the game.

I guess this makes sense. We used 30 pitchers in Spring training. Zagurski wasn't one of them. Phils had him figured as a single A level talent. Now, less than 2 months later, he's the best we've got.

The fact that Coste is the odd man out is shameful. We can't realistically hope for the release of Barajas (as much as I would love it), but you simply have to find a spot on the roster for a guy who is always a threat to get a base hit, no matter what the situation or who's pitching. Consistent overachievement and solid play in the bigs aren't good enough for a spot on this team? Give me a break.

Did Coste get sent to AA Reading (and not AAA Ottawa) because they want him close by or something? Maybe if Nuni goes on the DL? WTF?

re: "It seems to be an organizational shortcoming. How do you even begin to address a problem like that?"

The absolute scariest thing about the Gillick regime has little to do with what goes on at field level. The scariest thing is that there have been no other front office changes--none. The Gang That Can't Shoot Straight put a hired gun out in front of them and didn't give him any bullets. I can't blame him much for having to dig out from under Wade's stupidity. But I can blame him for allowing himself to be put in that position and so contributing to duping all of us into thinking that real organizational change was just on the horizon.

Brilliant post Jason!

Chris Coste in Reading.
Rod Barajas in Philly.
Pat Gillick insane.

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