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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Comments

As long as a right-handed pitcher is starting the game, Manuel's lineup better look exactly like it did last night. Now when a lefty is going I could see inserting Nunez at 3rd and Burrell or Werth is LF.

Bourn has upside and I think he's prepared to show it off. His speed should not be down played, because although power is an awesome gift to have and Bourn lacks it, his speed can be a "powerful" tool too.

I like the idea of sending Durbin to the mound on Thursday and saving Eaton, whom he pitches well against, for the day game on Friday. That would be a smart move by Charlie...see I can give him credit when it's due.

I really hope they start Durbin against the Reds rather than the Mets. I'm not sure Happ will do much better, given that he's just coming off an injury, but he has far more upside than Durbin.

With regard to Terry's comment on the previous thread that we all ought to be happy with the offense since the stats top the league, we can never lose sight of the fact that CBP is the biggest hitter's park in MLB. Move the team to Shea or Petco and the stats drop by at least 20%. It never hurts to try to upgrade your weak spots on offense. That said, I agree with Terry and everyone else who says the main focus of Gillick right now must be on upgrading the pitching. Pitching will determine if the team makes the playoffs.

Here's a hot topic to get Beerleaguers going this morning: Do you start career Mets-killer Pat Burrell this weekend?

The GM has done such a poor job equipping his team and wasting money on broken down or marginal players it actually makes Manuel look better - like he's an underdog.

I get a sense just about everyone - including the writers - has soured on Gillick.

Good stuff, Jason. This group of underachievers may actually start being overachievers. This series with the Mets is key. Cincy can be had. A sweep of Cincy would really be a sweet lead in to the Mets this weekend.

I will be in the stands, Section 109, Row 33 for the Phillies July 4th game in Minutemaid Park in Houston. I'd like to see the First Place Phillies play in that game.

Actually, I've spent months bitching about the lineups. PtBB hit 4/5 for 6 weeks too long, costing us games. Then he "hit" 6th way too long. Rowand was bounced around everywhere except where he belonged - nothing like a .370 hitter at #7. Jimmy at #3 was a complete waste but, it went on and on. The lineups were particularly awful against lefties for months.

A few quick notes:

If anyone saw the Comcast SportsNet interview with Ruiz last night I think that is part of the reason we are stuck with Barajas.

He is very hard to understand and I am sure he has improved dramatically. But with the pitching staff that they started the season with they were reluctant to gamble with Ruiz without a proven everyday catcher as a back-up plan which I can accept.

Without any trades we have made some upgrades throughout the year:

Kendrick => Garcia (so far)
Bourn => Burrell (looks promising but jury is still out)
Dobbs > Welms
Alfonseca > anyone else closing
Zagurski > M.Smith (big disappointment)

Not to start an argument but Victorino is better for the Phillies than Abreu this year.

While much maligned the farm has helped out this team with Zagurski, Kendrick and we will see what Durbin & Happ can do but we have gotten more production than anyone could have imagined at the beginning of the season.

Utley is in the running for league MVP but I think he would have to share the team MVP with Rowand as he has been rock solid and made up for Burrell's right-handed bat protection.

"career Mets killer Burrell" is just like career power hitter Burrell. The career stats don't hit this weekend, the 2007 version of PtBB does.

Alfonseca is better than anyone else closing outside of Myers & Gordon being healthy I should have stated and set-up man.

Got to love Kendrick. I love how he battled out of that first inning. The umpire was not being kind to either rookie pitcher. Kendrick managed his way out, while Bailey flailed and failed.

If Kendrick was their 14th rated prospect, clearly they need to bring up the other 13 pronto.

Also, now I'm really disappointed I had to give away my tickets for Saturday's game. Stupid family get-togethers.

"You know it's been a pretty good night when someone is complaining that a guy with a HR, 2 hits, & 3 runs doesn't hit enough DOUBLES. A guy who, BTW, delivered a clutch bases-clearing PH DOUBLE to WIN our LAST game. Hard to believe we waste a roster spot on this "problem.""

curt, you're dense.

A) I never said Victorino was a problem. the fact that he doesn't get as many extra base hits as he should is a problem.

B) so because Victorino hit a clutch double one time, he's fine? I guess Burrell's fine too, since he hit that one clutch HR against the Mets.

C) what, do you want a medal for noticing that early season lineups were bad? every single poster on here knew that.

Bailey failed mostly because he was trying to be quick to home, because we had speed guys lead off both innings. He couldn't locate his pitches even when he could find the strike zone.

Bailey also failed because of the park and the heat. Reds could easily come out tonight and thump Moyer for a half dozen runs. Kendrick allowed more runs than his first two starts, but give him credit because of the conditions. It was actually his best start. I like the kid. If he can keep at it, it's a wonderful development.

Kendrick has done exactly what I had hoped for before he made his 1st start. I said I'd be happy if this kid could go 6-7 innings of 3-4 run baseball...ding, ding...that's what he's done, so I'm happy.

Burrell sits unless a lefty is pitching. Bourn is my starter when a righty is on the mound.

I like the kid too. He has stones. But each new start where he doesn't get rocked is a small miracle.

Surprised nobody has even mentioned the bad news: Myers/Gordon now AFTER the All-Star break. I have a hunch "August" is going to be the key word for those two.

O'Neill - they've lied about Myers from the start, hoping that we don't notice how bad they screwed him up. Even now, we have no clue as to what's up with him, but it's obviously not good.

I agree with Carson. Bourn should start against the Muts righties and Burrell can start against the lefties. It's also nice to have Pat on the bench should we need someone to face Wagner late in a game. I am looking forward to attending Friday night's second game. It better be Hamels! Haha!

I also think it would make more sense to pitch Durbin Thursday night and Eaton during Game 1 of the doubleheader on Friday. Hopefully Charlie makes the right call here.

Every time some AAA pitcher is being rocked this summer, remember that our missing Ace was injured pitching in a non-save situation against the Marlins in May. The very definition of Phillie phutility.

curt inadvertantly touched on something that is a HUGE upgrade this year - everyday speed on the basepaths (Vic playing everyday, Bourn getting more time on the bases, etc.). The top-to-bottom speed on this team (Howard, Burrell and catchers excluded) has to be among the best in baseball. It truly does play into hitting, as well, as putting that kind of speed on the basepaths is a TREMENDOUS distraction to opposing pitching (especially late in tight games). Just ask Scott Proctor what an early speedy baserunner (Corey Patterson last night) can do to your focus.

Curt,

With what seems like a worse injury than they reported(of course), do you really think Myers wouldn't have gotten injured in his next outing, if he was held out of that Marlins game?

O'Neill - I believe he'd still be taking the ball every 5 days if someone in the organization had had the sense to stop Cholly's desperate little experiment.

speed is great. guys who can hit are much, much, much better. Corey Patterson, exhibit #1.

when Bourn and Victorino are regularly getting on base 3-4 times a game, they're extremely valuable. if Victorino regresses or Bourn's current hot streak disappears, they get much less valuable very quickly.

Someone mentioned in a previous chat that they thought our runs would go down 20% if moved to a tougher park. But while our HRs and AVG at home are significantly higher at home, we have actually have 199 runs in 39 away games as opposed to 194 runs in 37 home games, so our runs per game at home is only slightly better than on the road. Our offense has been at the top of the league independent of the ballpark

Curt,

If you want to start doling out the blame, look no further than Gillick. If he had made one substantial bullpen move in the offseason, Manuel wouldn't have been forced into a position where the Myers move was even a consideration.

I agree with J-Roll, Vic, and Bourn in the lineup it's one of the fastest in MLB, and Utley and Rowand are quick too.

The Mets are stacked with Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and the new addition of Carlos Gomez.

The Angels have some speed in the AL too.

I'm certainly no Gillick apologist, but shouldn't he get as much credit for bringing in Dobbs and Alfonseca as he gets roasted for signing Barajas and Helms?

Just askin'.

Dobbs and Alfonseca were minor pick-ups -- if they failed, they are easily dismissed. Barajas and Helms got more money, money that should have been invested in a better bullpen considering Helms and Barajas have not outplayed the guys they were brought in to replace.

As for Gordon and Myers ... I await them being welcomed back as the Phils' only key additions at the trading deadline.

curt: And there's no chance that Burrell will ever hit again?

Bridoc10: Absolutely. And if you want to see all of the personnel moves Gillick has made as GM, I have a list, which I've posted here a couple of times. He should be judged for all his moves, not just some.

Looks like Buerhle's staying put. At least he won't be going to the Mets/Braves.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/444903,CST-SPT-mark27.article

Bridoc: You're right about that. Dobbs has been a nice surprise and Alfonseca has been a little better than expected.

Clout - Gillick should also be judged for moves he did NOT make, such as picking up bullpen help.

Bridoc, you're not allowed to give any compliments about any signing, without criticizing also.

Alfonseca isn't "bullpen help", I guess.

The evidence from the past 12 months isn't promising, is it?

There is the Burrell at Shea Stadium and then there's PtBB. I would merely bring him in after they bring in their LOOGY or as the last batter against Wagner.

Yes, if you can line up cash flows against Gillick's moves, you'd see that they did not deliver on the value. (Which is really frustrating - I was a very big Gillick apologist from the beginning.) But you can't measure non-moves. We'll never really know if Scott Linebrink has an aversion to south Philadelphia or wearing the bloodstripes, will we?

Clout,

I'd love to see it, actually.

I don't think ANYONE expected Helms to be such a disaster at the plate, especially after last season. His defense was ALWAYS questionable, but that was supposed to be offset by decent power numbers and a better-than-Nunez average. Hasn't happened.

And everyone keeps talking about the moves that didn't happen to shore up the bullpen. There simply wasn't quality available.

Barajas is a blackhole, but Ruiz has been a pleasant surprise.

(Uh oh, I think I just opened the door for the first Chris Coste post of the day!)

Tim: Too small a sample and too dependent on quality of opposition. You need to look at the home/away splits from the past 3 years.

here you go, clout:

2006 / 5.48 R/G home (1st) / 5.20 R/G away (4th)
2005 / 5.27 R/G home (2nd) / 4.69 R/G away (2nd)
2004 / 5.23 R/G home (3rd) / 5.14 R/G away (3rd-tie)

Bridoc: I didn't quite expect Helms to be THIS bad, but I also didn't expect him to duplicate last year's .329 average -- or anything remotely close to it. Before he came here, he'd been a career-long backup for 3 different teams and, even with his big year in 2006, he had a career average right around .270.

I'm always suspicious of guys who are coming off a career year -- and even more so in Helms' case, since his career year was based on only 240 ABs. But Gillick seems to be a complete sucker for part-time players who are coming off a single career year. Remember, this was the same fallacy that led him to sign not only Helms, but also Abraham Nunez.

I agree the sample is too small, but at the same time you cant judge what this team has done based on the last three years - its a very different team

Tim: Please look at the stats supplied by ae. They support what I said.

I, for one, thought Helms would be a nice little pickup offensively, especially in CBP. The one year he played a lot (2003) he showed some power, with 23HRs.

clout: well, I think they partially support your point. IMO, the stats show two things: one, most teams - not just the Phils - score less runs on the road than at home, presumably because teams are built to play to the strengths of their home parks. and two, even though the Phils score less runs on the road, they are one of the most potent offensive teams in the NL no matter where they're playing. (arguably because OBP and high-percentage base stealing - which is nothing new for the Phils, who have been doing it with Rollins and Abreu for years - are valuable anywhere, from CBP to Petco.)

Barajas is actually an asset in the lineup against lefties (.956 OPS).

Helms is taking up a valuable roster spot, and adding no value. I'm as surprised as anyone. Nevertheless, we need Coste here to play some 1B against lefties.

ae: You're right. What I actually said is that if the Phils played in Shea or Petco the offense would be down 20%. But it does show a strong offensive edge at home. No argument that the Phils are a superb offensive team regardless of park, but my point was not to overlook the CBP factor.

More importantly, what are the pitching splits at CBP and on the road since inception?

Helms is taking up a valuable roster spot, and adding no value. I'm as surprised as anyone. Nevertheless, we need Coste here to play some 1B against lefties.

Posted by: curt | Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 11:49 AM

I KNEW I'd opened up the Chris Coste can o' worms.

here are pitching splits:

2007 / 5.38 R/G home (14th) / 4.97 R/G away (12th)
2006 / 5.19 R/G home (13th) / 4.84 R/G away (7th)
2005 / 4.88 R/G home (13th) / 4.09 R/G away (2nd - seriously!)
2004 / 4.89 R/G home (12th) / 4.75 R/G away (10th)

the chris coste thing isn't a can of worms, its travesty.

there is no reason that coste should be in Reading While: Barajas, Helms, !Werth!, and Condrey on on this squad.

its simply not the best move for the team.

Several have posted on this site that Shane Victorino is not an everyday player. Best suited as a 4th outfielder. I argued he was playing out of postion -- best suited as a CF.
However, if I look around the NL, there are only a handful of RF that I would prefer over him (when you take into consideration his base stealing ability, defense, and arm). Francoeur, Griffey, Hawpe and probably Corey Hart. And maybe Shawn Green, but that is debateable. Am I missing anyone ?

@Billy Mac: possibilities out of the other NL regulars are the Dodgers' Andre Ethier and the Pirates' Xavier Nady.

Billy Mac: Look at the OPS. That's the key stat.

I think Victorino has been fantastic. He doesn't provide a great deal of power, but his speed and defense have been nothing short of outstanding.

Why is Victorino's value to this team still a subject of debate?

Clout

I'm sorry, you're wrong. The Phils production does not drop 20% outside of CBP. It's just plain wrong. Away from home in 2006, our offense dropped 5% per game, 11% in 2005 and just 2% in 2004.

In 2007, our runs per game is down 2.6% on the road compared to at home.

The idea that our offense would be 20% worse at Shea is just plain wrong.

Clout said: "Look at the OPS. That's the key stat."

You'd take Nady over Victorino then?

I've always wondered why OPS is the only stat that matters. It obviously doens't take into effect speed and defense. And if the rest of the offense is so explosive, can't we afford to give up some OPS in right field in exchange for speed and defense?

Clout, What other starting RFs in the NL do you think are having better seasons than Victorino ? I could only name 5, with only 3 clearly better all around. I agree he is not the ideal, but most teams have someone worse, including playoff bound teams.

CJ - that's just not true. we get substantially below average production from 3B and LF. guys like Utley, Howard, and 2007 Rowand offset that, and I agree that we can easily afford one slap-hitting speed guy in the outfield. but sticking Victorino and Bourn in the corners full-time is not a good plan unless you add another power bat to the lineup to balance them.

also, the reason OPS is generally considered a good stat (although I don't think you'll find anyone who thinks it's the "only stat that matters") is that it is statistically proven to track runs scored. you don't see statistical connections like that with stolen bases or some other speed metric.

Excellent post as normal Weitzel. Beerleaguer has become part of my morning routine.

Couple of thoughts:

- Kendrick's composure and his ability to induce groundouts are what has impressed me the most so far. The Reds easily could have blown the game wide open after the 1st inning last night.

I am going to be curious though to see how Kendrick responds though when the Phils' offense doesn't score a lot or runs early and often in his starts. So far the offensive support for his starts has been tremendous. Plus, I would like to see Cholly start No-Hit instead of Dobbs/Helms during Kendrick's starts.

- Please switch Eaton's start to the Mets series. This is such a "No, duh!" move that even the Phils can grasp it. Hopefully it is announced today or tomorrow.

- Victorino brings some things to the table as a hitter but is miscast as 2-hole hitter. Doesn't hit for a high average or walk enough. Plus, he tends to take some awful swings up there. Like what Victorino can do though in the 6-hole with his speed though.

- Now Myers won't be back until after the All-Star break at the earliest? In a disturbing trend this year, I think the Phils clearly lied and are continuing to lie about the extent of Myer's shoulder injury. He will have been out nearly 2 months and that just doesn't happen to a guy who has been a horse throughout his entire career unless he is really hurt. Myers has alot of faults but I have questioned his desire to take the ball and pitch.

ae,

I agree... I don't like the idea of Bourn in LF is Victorino is in right. I was merely talking about Victorino alone.

By the way... moving Eaton to Friday could create a problem next week with one of them (Eaton or Hamels) having to pitch on less rest, right? I thought I heard that somewhere.

The reason we can afford to have a dearth of slugging percentage at corner outfield positions is because we have a lot of it up the middle. On a baseball team you need guys to get on, and you need guys who can drive them in. More and More where a person plays is irrelevant because you’ve got guys with power in places where power wasn’t before (Utley at second Rollins at SS). We have got enough pop in the lineup. As far as this year is concerned we just need to avoid glaring holes, which means benching Burrell and Helms for guys who will make less outs.

Ops is a great stat, but for someone who has stolen 22 bases and has a thunderbolt for an arm its not such a great judge of talent. People have to learn when stats are good measure of player and when they are not. All of the intangibles that Victorino brings to the table are invaluable. The guy wants to play, he wants to win, and if you sit him he throws a temper tantrum. That’s the exact opposite attitude to the one we had in right field last year. As long as Utley, Rollins and Howard are around, and we find a decent right handed bat with a little bit of meat on his slugging percentage, I want no one else in right field (or center) for the next three to five years

Unfortuantley, whether people like or dislike the idea of having both bourn and Vic in the field at the same time its their only good option.

Burrell stinks- He's nothing more than a multi-million dollar bench player-plain and simple. What else are they supposed to do? Does werth really have that much more upside over bourn? I'd rather give a kid at shot at proving what he can do everyday. If he goes on a 3-4 game hitless skid, then you go back to the drawing board.

But you know he'll be hungry. He's going to hustle. And he's a huge advantage on the base path.

Until Bourn proves he can't handle it, i say start him.

Looking at the overall picture (speed, defense, and offensive production) this is how I would rank this season's NL RF's:
1. Junior Griffey
2. Corey Hart
3. Shane Victorino
4. Brad Hawpe
5. Francouer
6. X-Man Nady

*Francouer is not having that great of a year (8 homeruns same as Vic, defense about equal, and on base % and slugging both less than Vic). Nady is decent, but his defense isn't anything to write home about. Hawpe is good, but very bad against lefties. Griffey is having a "born again" type season, but Vic's speed is superior to his and Griffey' D has slipped over the recent years. Hart has come out of nowhere, but lets see how long this lasts. Basically, Vic is one of the best RF in the NL...top 3 in my opinion.

Here's some solace for you guys : In Atlanta, Andruw Jones is having a worse season than Pat Burrell is. He isn't getting benched, though, because Cox knows players don't magically lose the ability to play.

GM-Carson - You are probably right about Victorino but it also shows how poor the RF position is for most teams in the NL right now.

Carson: I think you need to put Andre Ethier, who's young and can hit, and Shawn Green, who's still a dangerous hitter, on that list. and even though Hawpe can't hit lefties, he's clearly a much, much better hitter than Victorino. I would place Victorino no higher than fifth, behind Griffey, Hawpe, Ethier, and Green.

Let me guess Dave X, you're a "start Pat Burrell" supporter. Here's some facts you're letting get in the way of your Burrell/Andruw Jones comparison:

Jones is superior to Burrell in offense and baserunning. Here's some more facts: Jones' has 12 hr and 45 rbi this season compared to Burrell's 8 and 33. Jones' career high in homers is 51, which he accomplished 2 seasons ago while hitting 41 last season. Burrell's season high is 37 which happened way back in '02. And Bobby Cox continues to play Jones because Francouer in RF is also struggling and he already has a successful platoon of Matt Diaz and Willie Harris is LF. Burrell needs to sit!

Gillick just called me and told me that the Beerleaguer guys shouldn't criticize his trades because....the sample size is too small. You need to look at his past century of work. Yuck! Yuck!

Ex-Phil Weird Beard Rick White of Houston got lit up last night by the Brew Crew, giving up a slew of long hits.

ae- I value your opinion, but Shawn Green can not compare to Shane Victorino overall. Green is better offensively (albeit not by much), but Vic has him beat hands-down on defense and speed. Ethier is a solid young talent, but I would not rank him ahead of Vic (this may be my bias of watching Vic every game coming through).

Sadly our back-up in RF is pretty much an easy out outside of a mistake pitch.

On Foxsports.com they have a "hot zone" for each player showing their average in nine pitching "zones".

Unless a pitch is down the middle, low middle or middle inside he is an easy out.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/playerHotZone?categoryId=103964

If you would take his current stats times 4 you basically get his 2005 stats with the Dodgers which is probably more the norm than his magical breakout year in 2004.

Another one-dimensional Phillie and he plays some decent defense on occasion but Coste brings more to the table.

davex -

how is that braves offense doing, eh?

Jones isn't that much more accomplished offensively than Burrell. Jones's career OPS is only higher by 6 points, and even in his 50-homer season, it was only at 922, which is 2 points higher than Burrell's 2002. He gets on base significantly less than Burrell and his baserunning isn't that good. He's gotten caught in about 1/3 of his attempts, meaning he's been a detriment to his team in that department, and he hasn't even stolen more than 10 bases since 2002. He is a better defender, but the fact is looking at the overall picture both Burrell and Jones are similar offensive players. (Both have a career OPS+ of 116, which means they've, on average, been 16% better than their counterparts over their career).

Dave X- by baserunning I didn't mean simply stolen bases, I mean actually running the bases. We've all timed Burrell going 1st to 3rd on a double with an hour glass. Jones' is a speedy guy, but at least he doesn't clog the bases either. Andruw is having a horrible season, this much is true, but so is Burrell and Burrell should sit. He's had one productive month (April '07- .292 avg .850 OPS) in the past 3 months of baseball, as he's been horrible in May (.179 and .770) and June (.127 and .581) of this year.

Clout:Can you post your list of Gillick's moves so far.
I love this new lineup. Phills actually pose a threat in the bottom of the lineup "Formally the Black hole".
Bourne creates a Jose Reyes like fear into pitchers once he reaches base. They have no shot of throwing him out & it leads to big innings. Hopefully Bourne show's it this weekend vs the Mets. Looking forward to going to CBP to watch Hamels on Friday night.

Dave X: Burrell didn't "magically lose the ability to play." First of all, there has been no magic involved -- though I suspect his various ailments have taken their toll. Second, Burrell's drop-off has not been gradual, as you suggest. He was benched down the stretch last year, as well, and he was horrible in spring training this year. Except for one strong month, which wasn't even that strong, he has been getting progressively worse for the last 2 seasons.

Finally, just because Bobby Cox does something doesn't make it right. I don't see Atlanta burning up the league on offense.

The Burrell/Andruw comparison is definitely fair. Both have a decreased line drive rate, hr/fly ball rate, and have a low BABIP. But while Andruw has a .300 OBP, Burrell's is .373.

Still, I don't have a problem with Manuel putting Bourn in the lineup because he's been really productive so far. Even though his current .306/.404/.388 line screams small sample size, he's very valuable if he posts a .350 OBP. It may also help the team decide, once and for all, whether he's the next starting CF or will be packing his bags at the deadline for pitching help.

ae, thanks for the splits. all I gota say is, wow. It's amazing that after they extend left field and raise the wall after 05, the runs per game go over 5.
Sorry to go off subject here, but Rich Dubee's resume is not looking so good. Since we have a slew of younger pitchers coming in, how about getting Leo Mazzone out of Baltimore and on our bench rocking back forth.

Reed, I don't think you can really assume that the wall move created that jump - league average R/G in the 2006 NL was 4.76; in 2005 it was 4.45. so the Phils' increase in R/G of 0.31 was actually exactly equal to the league's increase in R/G.

but yeah, please, please, please fire Rich Dubee.

Re: Victorino. Well, I think we can conclude that on a Web site of Phillies fans, the fans think the Phillie player is best!

Regarding everyday RFs in the NL, taking into account overall talent, track record and potential (and not just the first 70 games of the season), I'd prefer the following over Vic: Hart, Hawpe, Francoeur, Ethier, Griffey, Burke, Quentin, Hermida, Kearns.
I'd prefer Vic over the following: J. Jones, Encarnacion, Winn, Green, Giles, Nady. Encarnacion is a close call for me. That rates him as 10th best of 16 players. Obviously, if you're just going by the stats for the first 70 games that list changes.

Now let's compare Vic to the NL centerfielders:
I prefer Pence, Andruw, Hall, Pie, Young, Pierre, Beltran over Vic.
I'd rather have Vic than Edmonds, Roberts, Amezaga, Logan, Duffy, Cameron ( a close call but he's 34), Freel (although maybe not Hamilton), Taveras.

That puts him 8th out of 16 or 9th if we sub Hamilton for Freel. One thing this list shows, as someone mentioned above, is how weak the league's rightfielders are compared to its centerfielders.

kells: It's a very long list and I think we should save it for an off day but if Jason can find the earlier post maybe he can link it.

Does anyone here think Andruw Jones and Pat Burrell are washed up? Be out of baseball in a year or two? No chance of them ever having another big season? Done at age 30?

clout: please tell me there's some centerfielder other than Juan Pierre that you are referring to.

One thing I've noticed.. there is always complaining about how the Phillies lie about injuries. I should sure hope they would lie. How else would they have any kind of leverage while trying to make a move? You can't announce that kind of stuff.

Having said that, they should make moves appropriate with the diagnosis, even as they don't publish it. Like they should have had a better contingency plan for Gordon going down, when they knew he was hurt since June.

Burrell was benched down the stretch last year but that doesn't mean he was playing bad. In Sept/Oct last year he hit .250/.414/.474, including 5 HR, - his best line of the year. Its just another example of Manuel not really knowing what he's doing.

On a second note, Atlanta's offense is faring poorly this year and the Burrell-Jones comparison was mainly meant to show that even the best, borderline future-HOF (which many consider Andruw to be) players can have extended slumps. Bourn's top offensive upside for this year and for probably at least the next couple is close to Pat mired in a major funk. Unless they're hiding a major injury, which is possible, I think that the possibility of Burrell coming back to his career norms presents far greater room for improvement than benching Burrell and playing Bourn.

clout - I think Pat Burrell is washed up. Too much drinking and partying killed his skills.

Good thing I don't play pro baseball..

I allow for the possibility that Burrell could have another big season. But that other big season could be next year; it could be 3 years from now; it could be never. At some point you just have to cut bait.

Let me take the Burrell question & flip it around for the Burrell supporters out there. Is it possible that a guy who once hit .209 & slugged .404 could be in the midst of another similar season? And, if so, how long is the manager supposed to keep blindly sticking him in the starting lineup, in the face of mounting evidence that he is in the midst of just such a season?

I allow for the possibility that Burrell could have another big season. But that other big season could be next year; it could be 3 years from now; it could be never. At some point you just have to cut bait.

Let me take the Burrell question & flip it around for the Burrell supporters out there. Is it possible that a guy who once hit .209 & slugged .404 could be in the midst of another similar season? And, if so, how long is the manager supposed to keep blindly sticking him in the starting lineup, in the face of mounting evidence that he is in the midst of just such a season?

'from the district' - great paragraph illustrating why the Phils are just fine with the production they're getting from their right fielder. I have never understood why there is this supposed necessity to have a certain standard of power numbers from any given position; there were some who criticized John Kruk because he didn't hit enough homers for a first baseman. What is this useless mandate that the corner outfielders *must* hit balls into the upper deck but the centerfielder is a-ok if he hits one homerun per season? The idea that certain positions in a team's lineup should be responsible for certain offensive attributes makes sense, but the positional 'standards' of offense are based on generalities and have no real meaning or relevance for the overall makeup of a team.

Regarding Myers, I don't think it's a matter of the Phillies 'lying' except possibly to themselves - it's called 'denial' (or perhaps, as George Bush would call it, 'misunderstimation'). They assume the best-case scenario then gradually accustom themselves to the realities as they become unavoidable over time. It usually goes like this - day-to-day, second opinion, 15-day DL as mere precaution, rehab setback, back at the end of the month, still sore, indefinite timetable. I can't imagine anything less surprising than the prolongation of Myers' DL stint when we've just witnessed the sorry sagas of Tom Gordon and Fab 5.90 Freddy (sorry, I'm running with that nickname, although I'll admit Conlin's 'Senor Sweat' is better).

Charlie Manuel's "I can do whatever I want" dissertation makes for refreshing copy, but it's a shame he apparently has no input in actually determining his roster; he may be able to do what he wants with the lineup card, but I guarantee you he'd agree with everyone here that Coste can help his team more than either Helms or Barajas. I don't think anyone in the front office would say a word about playing Burrell more; if anything, it's more embarrassing when he's out there. After all, everyone just wants to make him disappear, and since they can't, it must almost come as a relief that they're finally hiding him on the bench.

The Phils are getting lucky with Kendrick, but it appears far less likely that they're going to get away with starting an absolute chump in Durbin against the Mets. My guess is that he'll make Adam Bernero look like a shrewd acquisition. They should have just given a spot start to Madson.

Locastic,

Good point. It's not always in their best interest to tell the truth. I don't like that, but being completely honest would be bad business.

RSB - Madson? You remember last April-June, right? :)

I realize the options stink. I can't help but enjoy the 'secret surprise' aspect of new blood though. I'll tire of it quickly after the first 5-run inning, though.

Can somebody here please comment a little bit on the stories that came out of spring training regarding Burrell's experiment with contact lenses? The chances of a person's eyesight to start diminishing at the age of 28/29 seem to be much higher than those of a body breaking down at the same age. Is it possible that Burrell really needs to correct his eyesight, found contacts annoying, and is too macho to wear glasses or get corrective surgery?

From what I know of Burrell, I can imagine him refusing help because he is convinced he can work through the problem--and that he looks at his high number of walks as evidence that his eyes are perfect.

Pat's bottle cap baseball skills are still top notch.

Maybe he should've worn the glasses from Spring Training. He should contact Ricky Vaughn.

I bet Burrell is the Babe Ruth of lawn-chair wiffle ball. He can hit it past the *third* car!

Locastic - The whole "disinformation so we can get work a trade" angle is an incredibly weak excuse. What about Garcia and Phils' management just flat out lying this year about how Garcia enjoyed wearing bandaids on his shoulder and didn't have a cortisone shot?

If the Phils truly don't want to say anything about an injury, than do what the Pats do in the NFL. Meet the league reporting requirements and just give out a generic response out a player's injury/rehab. It would frustrate the Phils' fan base but it would a change from the Phils usual candor.

MG - the Garcia situation is the same deal. Them announcing he's having cortisone shots is as much as calling all the teams and telling them they'll likely need a pitcher soon.

Maybe they should clamp down further like the Pats, or maybe that's not the way it's done in baseball. I don't know there.

Dave X - Burrell might rebound but how long do you give him? He hasn't done anything in 2 months. One of the things that I give Cholly credit for here is going with a better option while not publicly criticizing Burrell.

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