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Monday, June 25, 2007


"The Phillies, meanwhile, have inquired on both Dontrelle Willis and Buehrle and found the price unreasonable. They're going to need to acquire a starter one way or another."

And...good to have you back J!

Welcome back from Amsterdam, Jason! How were those coffee houses? LOL

Your story on Burrell is rght on and a sad one. I don't get it how a guy with his talent for hitting could have lost it. Kind of like the hitter's version of 'Steve Blass Disease'. Remember him, the Pirates pitcher than pitched well then suddenly lost his control and was done?

I think that now is the time to give Bourn a shot in LF. They will be in a quandry until they decide whether or not to trade Rowand. I'd like to see them offer him 3 years at 21 Million, think he'd sign?

I'm sure the brain trust (uh-oh) is convened today trying to configure a way out.

What the hell would've the Phils given up for Dontrelle? The Marlins would probably only accept Chase or Cole, along with something else. That's almost laughable.

If the team has any shot at the postseason, however, they'll need a 3 kinda guy for the rotation. And Buehrle is the right fit, but again, what would they have to give up? Likely Rowand and a prospect like a Carrasco.

I say go with the young arms, mix in a stodgy old veteran for a few starts (a guy like Lohse would work possibly) and see what comes out of it. Keep Madson in the 'pen, as he's beginning to show some of his '03 form. Reasess the pitching situation at the break, and see at that point whether it's feasable for the long-term to go for the pennant now.

Exactly right Malcolm, regarding Willis.

Welcome back, J. Great post, as always.

I can't help but feel a bit of sadness about Burrell. From his college numbers and that one pretty fantastic season (was it 2002?), the man clearly has talent. Most say he works hard, putting the time in the cage, at the park. I just don't get what went wrong.

Clearly, the Phillies are a better team with Pat OUT of the lineup than IN.

If the Phils trade a front-line player like Rowand for a free agent-to-be like Buehrle I will renounce my allegiance to them. They clearly will not make the playoffs and will have close to zero chance of re-signing a pitcher they trade for. Recent history tells us that the Millwood, Milton, and Garcia deals were disastrous. What happens if Moyer hangs it up after this year? Who'll be in the rotation in 2008? Blame wohever you want (owners, Wade, Gillick, CBP), but the bottom line is that this team is in serous distress and will remain so for the long term.

welcome back Jason; robo-Beerleaguer this past week just wasn't the same.

your writeup on Burrell is very well said, and I feel the same way. I've defended playing him, hoping that he could recover to at least the reasonably productive level he was at last year, but it doesn't take a professional scout to see that he's lost it. I still wouldn't be surprised if he has a comeback season somewhere down the line, but obviously not here.

as far as who's going to move to the rotation, I think Durbin is unlikely given the hoops management had to jump through to get him through waivers; they can't send him back down again if he struggles without going through that process again. I hope it's not Carrasco, who's just far too raw. if it was up to me, I'd probably take the low-risk move and throw Nelson out there to see if he sticks before taking a chance at hurting the development of a real prospect. (especially since we'll probably need one of them to step into the rotation next year.)

Just a question...

Is there any chance of the Phillies dealing Burrell? It would have to be to an American League team, I'd imagine... and they'd have to pay a lot of his salary. Is it at all possible? Is there a commodity worth having that we'd get back?

And I've been solidly in the keep Rowand camp for awhile... but that's when we were discussing dealing for a reliever. I think it'd make more sense to deal him for a starter... but it still creates that huge hole again in our 5-spot in the lineup.

Finally... Madson seems to have settled into his bullpen role again... I don't mind him for a spot start, but until we get Myers and Gordon back, I feel more comfortable with him in the bullpen.

Give Boston a call. They're sitting on 4 starters at AAA. Theo built a deep minor league system in 4 years. Maybe the Phils could take lessons. But I doubt it.

Brio, Rowand is ALSO a free-agent-to-be, so I'm no sure why you're so offended by the idea of trading one free-agent-to-be for another. It's not like that kind of trade is going to weaken the Phillies in the long-term. And, since you concede that we're not going to make the playoffs with our current pitching mess, it seems to me it makes pretty good sense to explore trading Rowand for a starter. I would hate to lose Rowand but, if we don't find a starter, we have no chance at the playoffs this year -- and if we have no chance at the playoffs, keeping Rowand makes no sense to begin with.

Of course, I have no idea how we would ever swing Rowand for a starter, since the only teams that would be interested in him are teams that are in the playoff hunt and, therefore, unwilling to trade starting pitchers. The only way to do it would be by a three-way trade where some non-contending team trades its starting pitcher to us, we deal Rowand to a prospect-rich, hitting-poor team, and the prospect-rich, hitting poor teams gives its prospects to the team that dealt us the starting pitcher.

Welcome back, Jason.

I can see how a free-agent-to-be pitcher who comes here in a trade may want to play somewhere else next year, but I wouldn't dismiss out of hand that they don't resign/make a major effort to resign him. If you get a guy like Buerhle and are in the Phils situation for next year (Moyer older, Lieber/Garcia gone), you should be considering signability anyway.

Walter - you don't need to take lessons to do what Epstein & the Red Sox have done. all you have to do is be willing to break slot to sign draftees. not only are the Phils unwilling to exceed slot, they try as much as possible to go under slot. which is pretty much the textbook way to build a weak minor league system.

Minor point, but I object to Brio's classification of the Millwood deal as disastrous. Estrada for Millwood? Didn't work out that badly for either team. They got a guy who filled the gap until McCann was ready, we got a decent starter. Just because some people thought he'd be an ace doesn't make the trade itself bad.

I'm a long time Beerleaguer reader but this is my first post.

I just wanted to make the case that Burrell should be given more consistent playing time. Sure, he's struggling, there's no question about that, but he really hasn't been as horrendous as some posters make it seem. First, even with his .209 avg, he's got a .373 OBP. For whatever else he's not doing this year, he's getting on base.

His poor BA is being driven by a really low BABIP of .233. Part of this is the result of a lower line drive and ground ball rates, but part of it is luck, as well. This is also affecting his SLG. If you adjust his line for his BABIP last year, his line becomes more palatable: .249/.407/.420. And that's assuming all of those hits are singles.

That narrows down the real driving force behind his struggles: his lack of power this year. His isolated power is lower, .171 compared to .244 in 06 and .233 in 05, but that's not atrocious, either. The freaky thing is that he isn't popping up more--his infield fly rate is actually lower than it was last year--yet his HR/fly ball rate is way down. That seems to me to be something that will regress to the mean as the year goes on, unless there's an injury we don't know about that's sapping his power.

There are a few caveats here, I guess. Burrell's career has been marked by wild fluctuations of BABIP and it's not out of the question that this could be one of those years, especially since his line drive rate has decreased by about 17% Second, Burrell's fill-ins have been doing a good job, particularly Bourn in very limited playing time.

Still, this team is stronger with Burrell in the lineup. I say this not as a Burrell apologist per se, but as someone who likes Werth and Dobbs and really likes Bourn's skill set. It's just that, when right, Burrell slugs around .500, higher than any of them (and yes, I know Dobbs is slugging .519 at the moment, but I can't see that lasting), and gets on base at least as well as his replacements even when he's struggling. And all in all, yes, Burrell's had a subpar first half, but if only that HR rate returns to his career norms, he'll be better than his replacements.

I understand the strategy here: the Phillies are in a tight race and Manuel, recognizing that his job very well might be on the line, is playing the hot hand. And I admire, to some extent, the willingness to ignore pay check when filling out the lineup card. However, this strategy is self-reinforcing--if he's not playing, Burrell won't improve--and could ultimately be self-defeating. Unless there's something we don't know about, Burrell should be playing 6 times a week.

I still think the most telling stat is the one someone mentioned on the last thread:

Burrell:31 RBIs, 9 of which were in 1 game(2?). That would leave him with 22 RBIs, otherwise. And he's supposed to be a power source.

Welcome back J.

Did you rent bikes? That was my favorite part about Amsterdam. I spent two straight days peddling around the little streets there. Man, my ass sure hurt afterwards though.

Enrico: We passed on bike rentals. My wife isn't the most gifted biker, and the city is a little intimidating between the bikes, trams, pedestrians, markets, waterways, etc. It takes getting used to. We walked instead. The city is small enough to see walking over a few days. The cafes come in handy to rest up and grab a drink.

Like many people who go there, the number of bicycles is the first thing I noticed about the city, then it's the number of cafes, pubs and city-specific industry like the coffee shops. You could walk for 10 minutes before seeing someone who's overweight. They do it right in Holland. We also got out to the country for an afternoon, which was actually our favorite part of the trip. The rail system is easy and affordable.

Pat Burrell's days as a Phillie are numbered, all I can say is thank god. No more staring at strike three.

The only concievable way this team makes the playoffs is if they trade Aaron Rowand for a starting pitcher. I think the huge gaping crater sized hole in the pitching rotation left by Lieber's absence is a much bigger concern then keeping Rowand in the 5 hole next to Howard. Rowand is probably going to leave here in the off season to sign with Chicago again, why not send him packing for Buerhle? Even if they don't make the playoffs if this trade even has a chance of happening (which it probably does it) it at least shows the fans that this front office is at least trying to do something instead what they are really doing which is sitting around with there thumbs up their rears. If no trade is pulled then the only thing to look foward to is the Phils 10,000 loss celebration.

I still can't believe people want Burrell in the lineup. When he's slugging? Are you kididng me, he's not even hitting any more. Still has a decent on base...who cares, he's slower than Mike Lieberthal running with a bum knee. Burrell hurts this lineup, plain and simple. He hasn't done anything since April. That's 2 months of complete crap.

Alby, I would consider the Millwood trade disastrous. Millwood had one good 1/2 season for us in 2003. He was pretty awful otherwise at about $10M per year. Estrada would have been an upgrade over Lieby from 2003 - 2006, particularly considering the additional payroll flexibility he would have provided. Easy to look back now in hindsight, but if the Phils don't make the Millwood deal and foresaw the steep decline in Lieby and the abilities of Estrada, we are looking at least one playoff berth assuming the additional payroll was put to good use.

The point about not wanting to spend money to sign top draft picks is a really interesting one that Peter Gammons mentioned in the blog that's up on right now. If you spend the extra million (or whatever) to sign those guys, it pays off by not having to pay 10's of millions for a BJ Ryan or Eaton or Padilla or whomever.
Really, why does anyone draft position players? Everyone always needs pitchers. I think I would draft 100% pitchers so my team would always have enough. Then, you can always trade a top pitcher for a bunch of hitting prospects.


Please tell me you didn't waste too much time on Amstel and Heineken with Brouwerij Westvleteren and Brasserie de Rochefort a stone's throw away! Grolsch is okay, though.

The problem with trading Rowand is that he's also a free agent, so he's only a viable option for contenders. I don't see why the White Sox would want him back at this point if they're about to re-sign him (I'm not so sure they will).

It's sort of funny how it's *always* the pitching with this team. Anyway, as P O'Neil pointed out above, they're not getting anything resembling a useful starting pitcher, so I think it'd be best to put Myers back in the rotation, fill that last slot with Kendrick/Happ and try to get a reliever for high-leverage situations.

@seth - I like that idea... unfortunately the Phillies do not do a good enough job developing pitchers through the system. I'm unsure why.

What I'd like to see are more... Hard throwing Relievers... and Ground Ball Starting Pitchers (as long as CBP is standing)... and not worry about if they have a lights out pitch like a 12 to 6 curve or a Knuckle Curve or a Super Chnage UP...

As great as the offense of this team is, we'd have a better shot with weaker hitting and powerful pitching. It works for the Astros. Surrendering Rowand might not be the horrendous idea it appears to be.

I have this weird pheeling that the Phils will come away with some middle-of-the-road pitcher and Jermaine Dye.

Yep, P. O'Neil - 9 RBI in 2 games this season. Four RBI against the Marlins in early April and five against the Cubs in May. All other games, he's had 22 RBI.

one problem with putting Myers back into the rotation - aside from concerns about its effect on his arm - is that he has not been preparing to be a starter. according to Zolecki yesterday (in the Q&As on, Myers would need another month to prepare to start. so instead of returning on July 8 (for argument's sake), he wouldn't return until August.

@Phil - As for Myers going back to the rotation... If you are going to do it.. .you can NEVER put him back in the bullpen again. You can't jerk him around based on your need. I really feel like Myers could finish his career with like 250-300 saves if he stuck it out. A Mariano Rivera type of pitcher. Who you bring out to end games... whether it's a save situation or not. Just win the darn game.

I know some people believe the closer is overrated. What is OVERRATED is the Save stat. But there is not one person here, who looks to the Yankees run of championships and not look directly at Rivera for those rings.

They used to call Closers "Firemen" (okay maybe it was for marketing) but it was really because you brought the guy in to PUT out fires. If you are up 3 in the 8th inning and 3, 4,5 are coming up. YOu bring Myers in then (and let your seet up guy close).

The goal is to WIN ballgames... and use your best pitchers to get out of jams. The thought process of having a 7, 8, 9 inning guys only helps you when you have a guy like Manuel who can look at the scoreboard, see what inning it is and call that guy out. Well, geez you can get a 3rd grader to do that.

Managers shouldn't be handcuffed like that.

meanwhile, Madsen, who may fill in for Lieber for a start, is prepared to start?

whelkman - the only year the Astros made it to the postseason with a poor offense was 2005, and they had to get stupendously lucky with simultaneous lights-out seasons from Oswalt, Pettitte, Clemens, Lidge, Qualls, and Wheeler. and they still only barely beat us out for the WC.

besides, playing in CBP makes it foolish to go all-out on pitching. it's a world of difference between CBP and Petco.

Myers needs a month to prepare to start but Madson can do it ASAP?

Speaking of Zolecki, he had a perfect, concise answer to the latest trade-rumor query: "Who would they trade? And don't say Aaron Rowand because there's no chance they can trade the only productive righthanded hitter in their lineup."

Who, indeed? How would they even be able to get a hitter like Dye or a schlep like Lohse with the meager bait they have to dangle?

I thought I'd read that Madson wanted to be left either in the 'pen or in the rotation for a full season, so I was surprised to see that he's now endorsed a move back to starting. I think that would be the best solution for the time being. They can call up Romero to fill his slot in the bullpen.

Stevephen, I had the same thought. Does anyone have any insight into why that is (honest question)? Is it because he is only looking to make one start?

Zolecki's quote says in total: "I agree to an extent [responding to a guy saying that it makes the most sense for Myers to return to the rotation]. If the Phillies think Gordon can be effective, I would consider returning Myers to the rotation. But there's one problem with that: it would take Myers another month to stretch out his arm so he could pitch effectivley as a starter. So now instead of having him back July 8, for an example, we're talking Aug. 8. Is it more valuable to have Myers pitching the final three months of the season as their closer or the final two months of the season as a starter? You could argue both ways."

I don't know enough about the physiology or whatever, but I think you can take Zolecki at his word - I don't get the impression that he's one to repeat management BS.

Mike C.: "You can't jerk him around based on your need." Wha?? But you can jerk around Lieber, Madson, anyone else who has to go to the pen or back? Why this special regard for Myers, who owes the team, IMO, for standing by him during the Boston embarrassment last year. And the month to get ready sounds like pure BS; there are starters all over baseball who will go back to their rotations with a lot less than a month of rehab work. Unless, of course, the injury is worse than advertised.

Nevertheless, I still think Myers needs to start, and I'm not sure that it would take an extra month to stretch out his arm.

/The Phils also hung Myers out to dry last year by throwing him out there to pitch in Boston, after getting arrested. They handled that poorly.

Bring on any of the young pitchers J mentioned from the minors. I'd prefer Happ, since he's the one they had highest rated before he went on the DL. It's probably too early for Carrasco; but didn't Hamels come up to the majors with only a couple of brief stops in the minors?

And with young guys, at least their performance is a wild card; you know what you're getting with some middling retread in a trade. It's exciting to see what the new blood can do.

I like Kendrick's style so far, it seems like his fastball has some sink to it, which is crucial for pitching at CBP.

Nobody knows the true severity of Myers' shoulder injury. That's why no one has a good answer, including the team and beat reporters. He's simply not an option for the rotation at this point.

Why can Madson do it and Myers can't? Several reasons and factors. Health, for one. Myers has a shoulder injury, Madson is healthy and pitching. Madson no longer has a valued bullpen role and is the most fungible pitcher on staff. He's most equipped to mix it up for a couple innings, the only difference is he'll showcase his slider more.

The other reason - Myers looked like a solid closer, and they need a closer. As the season progresses, these games will get tighter and tighter in the later innings. Who's your stopper then? Pulpo? Gordon? No thanks.

What were Madson's problems last season? An even split of command and third pitch. He appears to be more comfortable with his slider than he was with the curve. He's using it more than I thought. He's also done a better job with walks and home runs. Madson isn't a perfect fit, but I'd go with experience, and some reasonably good 2007 success, over Durbin, Happ, etc.

I don't mind trying Mad Dog, but we have to realize, his problems are in his head, not his arm. I was surprised to see, when he entered the game yesterday, his BAA was .219. That's a very good number, certainly better than the results he's achieved with it.

The idea of putting Myers back into the pen assumes he's going to be ok when he gets back. That isn't at all clear. Here's a guy who was very durable as a starter and then is injured a month after going to the pen. Coincidence? Maybe, but I'm skeptical. What happens if you put him back in the pen and he gets injured again? What if this time he has the shoulder injury people feared he had last time?

The extra month of rehab doesn't sound right to me, either. First, let's face it, no one know when Myers is coming back. The team doesn't have anything more than a tentative timetable and Myers predicted last week. To know it's going to take an *extra* whatever period of time, don't you need to know what that original period of time is going to be?
And he can't go on a rehab assignment and then gradually work his way up to 100 pitches? After he's healthy, doesn't it just become a matter of stamina? Didn't Lieber do the same thing in like 3 starts? It's not like Myers doesn't know how to get ready to be a starting pitcher.

So from a health-standpoint, I think it makes more sense to put Myers in the rotation.

Strategically, it also makes sense. I opposed moving Myers to the pen back in April but I was open to the idea that with 5 other credible starters the move could work if the Phillies leveraged Myers correctly. But things are much different now. The Phillies can't really afford 2 replacement level starters and don't have the resources to land a decent starter on the trade market. Good relievers are much easier to obtain than starter of Myers's quality.

Locstatic: Carrasco isn't Hamels. Hamels was a couple years older than Carrasco & he dominated at every minor league level, including his brief stints at Double & Triple A. Carrasco just turned 20 & made his first start at Double A only last week. He evidently has great stuff & has done well the last 2 years, but he is hardly dominating at the level Hamels was. Calling him up to the majors at this point would be a recipe for disaster.

Assuming they can't make a trade, what about letting Fabio Castro have a start or two? He has pitched better since being demoted & at least he has a bit of major league experience. He's still thoroughly wild but he might be the best of a lot of bad options.

BAP: Castro has been relieving, not starting. and it looks like he's seldom pitching more than 1-2 innings.

another point on the Carrasco/Hamels comparison is that just because something works once doesn't mean you should do it again. you might get away with sticking a fork in your toaster once, but don't make a habit of it.

I was happy to see that RJ Swindle got a little mention in the recap. While he is only in Lakewood, he truly has been practically unhittable and he is mature enough to help out as a possible left-handed reliever. As I posted previously, he is death on lefties. He has faced 13 lefties in Lakewood and struck out 10. Lefties are hitting .083 against and righties a whopping .180. Despite his fastball topping out at 84, his 52 mph curveball cannot be hit. He throws it for a strike, but it comes through on a plane that lefties can't touch. IF it gets hit, it is because RJ missed his spot. Additionally, RJ is a very smart pitcher and is quite adept at setting hitters up. It is curious why he remains in Lakewood when there are clear lefty relief needs. Even his teammates are questioning why he is still there.

Ae: Yeah, I know that Castro has been pitching in relief but they have previously talked about trying to make him a starter. But I supppose a game against the Mets isn't the ideal laboratory for conducting this experiment.

The bottom line is that Gillick needs to pull a trade out of his hat or this season is over. There's been a lot of derision aimed at Steve Trachsel on this website, but he would look pretty good right now & probably could be gotten at a reasonable cost. In all honesty, he'd not only be an upgrade over what we currently have; he'd probably be an upgrade over Lieber as well.

"Good relievers are much easier to obtain than starter of Myers's quality."

Ha! Because we've done such a good job finding good relievers... ;-)

Once again, I'm wholeheartedly behind keeping Myers as our closer the day he comes back until the day he retires. I think it's a perfect role for him and will give the Phillies a better chance at success both this year and in future years. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I believe it nonetheless.

Gillick will do what he always does--not much.

Thanks for the insight on the Madson/Myers question. Suppose Myers comes back healthy has a great second half. Does the Phillies ability to round out the rotation in the offseason have a significant influence on whether Myers returns to the rotation next year? Will Happ or Kendrick be ready/reliable enough to alleviate some rotation concerns? I like Myers as a closer and think he has the stuff and the mental make-up to be great, but at what expense? Thoughts?

Why does Myers suddenly have the 'mental make-up to be great' when his mental make-up has been working against him for years? Perhaps his over-aggressiveness better suits him as a closer, but I would argue that's a big reason he got hurt in the first place. Others cry 'overuse', but I point to the radar gun readings immediately before the injury. Myers *never* threw 97, 98 as a starter. I think he blew out his shoulder trying to blow hitters away. At what expense is *that*?

has anyone wondered why they dont bring up one of the scrap pitchers from AAA and have them pitch Thursday - thus pusihing eaton back to one of the DH games FRiday? He has pitched well against the Mets this year, and although he isnt great, I would rather him and Hamels on Friday against the Mets than Hamels and AAA picther unknown. Plus, you are throwing a weaker hitter at the reds as opposed to the Mets?

Does this make too much sense?

I can't conceive of Myers staying as closer next year, because that would mean the Phils would be paying their basically unproven closer $20.5M over 2008-2009. that's BJ Ryan/Billy Wagner/Mariano Rivera money for a guy who would have been a closer for a few months, and could be considered a serious injury risk (if overthrowing turns out to be a consistent bad habit).

and of course, it also assumes that Hamels/Eaton/Moyer/(Kendrick?)/(Happ?) is a viable rotation.

I, for one, would just love to see some semblance of stability with this team. Every year it seems like we are a team of patched holes: as quickly as we put one (inadequate) patch in place, another hole bursts. Granted injuries have really killed us this year, especially pitching. But that hits almost every team, every year.

I'd be nice to see them not completely panic and pull off another head scratching move because they are shorthanded. One that invariably eats up $$ & payroll flexibility, even for someone like Trachsel. It'd be nice to give some more young guys a chance and keep guys like Madson & Myers in their pre-established roles.

Let the young guys play. I'm sick of watching the no-name waiver wire types or aging veterans with nothing left in the tank (see Connine, Offerman, Bell, Barajas & a litany of others) eat up quality PT.

I'd be much more excited to watch a team fielded by the Bourn's, J.A. Happ's & Kendricks of the Phillies' organization who might lose more than the lame ducks out there who teeter around .500. At least then we'd be fielding a team that would gain some experience, have more stability, and have something to look forward to. Not just the same merry-go-round that comes out every summer.

Just my humble opinion.....

Ben, that makes a hell of a lot of sense to me. with Eaton's track record against NY (5 starts, 5 wins, 33 innings, 7 runs - including 2-0 in 2 starts this year), they should be throwing him out there every series.

What was Brett Myers' injury history before this year? I can't find that info...

Also... Adam Eaton has the best winning percentage of the top 16 free agent pitchers this year apart from only Dice-K.

RSB, I don't disagree with you about Myers trying to overpower guys, but we'll never know whether is was that or his alleged overuse that caused his injury. What I meant by "mental make-up" to be a closer is that he is aggressive and, being that he would only have to throw an inning or two, it would allow him to put a little extra on his fastball. I guess I was wrong. That's all I was saying--nothing more, nothing less.

@alby -- Myers when asked to go to the bullpen and setup/close, he asked that it last the FULL season, because he didn't want to go through what Madson went through going back and forth from starter to bullpen.

Throwing Lieber in the bullpen wouldn't be considered a jerking him around, since they made it clear they were trying to trade him. They could get NO value for the man. Lieber sulked immediately in the bullpen and may be the most INEFFECTIVE pitcher in the history of bullpens with his first 2 performances there. The Gordon injury forced the Phillies hand. I will agree that they should have been aware of the severity of Gordon's injury and addressed it with Myers in the spring training that was a mistake.

Madson giving a spot start is NOT unreasonable as he is one of the few relievers on this team that can go longer than 2 innings. NO one is asking Madson to go more than 5 innings/75 pitches. (At least they shouldn't.)

The difference between MYERS situation is that he needs to stretch out so he can be (keyword) "EFFECTIVE" as a starter. That means for 15 starts for the rest of the season. Not ONE start where you just want the pitcher to treadwater for 5 innings.

regarding Myers overuse led to his injury... Despite that might be the most common sensical reason, I don't think it was the ACTUAL reason he was injured. I think he was forcing his pitch after the Rod Blunderajas play at the plate. Myers' emotions got in the way, he forced a pitch and blew out his arm. (Was he weakened by pitching 4 days in a row? again perhaps. But I'll look to that specific situation as the direct cause/effect.)

When Myers was moved to the bullpen, I posited that he had a better chance to be a dominant closer than a dominant starter. But it appears this dominance has come with a cost. It will be interesting to see if Myers is as willing to forego all caution and try to throw his arm right out of its socket again, or if he'll rely more on hard breaking pitches as he did as a starter.

@Ben Keeler -- I second that motion to push back Eaton for NY and fill the gap in the Cincy series with a guy from Ottawa or Reading.

@Inky -- I'd second the "youth" movement idea (it worked in atlanta and florida) but unfortunately we have the wrong manager to do that with. Cholly "hot hand" Manuel would most likely stunt any growth the limited playing time would gain.

Mike C.: Your points are well taken; I just don't think Myers' preferences should determine his role as much as you do. Once upon a time pitchers got demoted/promoted from the bullpen frequently; I don't think arms have changed in a generation, just egos and paychecks. And I go back to the absurdity of it supposedly taking a month to "stretch his arm out." It's not as if he started years ago -- it was late April when he last started. If that's the line coming out of the front office, he's hurt worse than they're letting on.

As for a youth movement, take a look at Florida's young starters a year after -- lots of arm injuries. Not worth in, IMHO.

RSB: Of course Myers had a chance to be a dominant closer -- most No. 2 pitchers in baseball would be. Yet very few teams take a successful starter and stick him in the pen, and the Phillies wouldn't have, either, except for the fact that they had six starters at the time. Now they have three. This is actually a no-brainer; it's a stumper for the Phils' front office because they have no brains.

Ably & Mike C: By youth movement I think we'd still be a far departure from the likes of Florida & Tampa Bay since we'd still have Hamels, Moyer & Eaton type that hopefully will eat some innings. I see the situation in Florida as an extreme - relying way too much on pitchers way too early. I'm arguing for youth over retreads.

Regarding'll be interesting to see where he is mentally after this stint on the DL. Remember he's never been there before. Along the lines of what RSB mentioned, i think keeping Myers in a stable position (closer) while he deals with the mental adjustment of learning from being hurt will be vital to his success.

Myers has to be wondering, just as we are, why exactly he got hurt. Overthrowing? Throwing too often? We'll never know if he jumps back to the rotation. And neither will he.

"Of course Myers had a chance to be a dominant closer -- most No. 2 pitchers in baseball would be."

I don't think that's necessarily so. Not all starters are cut out to be relievers, not even the good ones. The Phillies may have surmised - not incorrectly - that Myers' repertoire and makeup could be used to more of an advantage in the role they gave him. The only thing I fault the Phillies for in this instance is not assigning him that role at the outset of spring training. They had a surplus of starters and not enough bullpen at the time. It so happens that now that surplus is long gone, but it's too late to turn back on the decision now.

Without anyone to turn to the Phillies have to put Myers back in the rotation. Especially if Gordon comes back as Flash. Unless we get lucky with another rookie starter or some trashy trade then leave him as closer. Of course Madson may do well but thats a big if. Considering Myers is proven the decision should be easy.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Myers actually say something like "don't jerk me back and forth.."? We're mincing words here, but if he's put back into the rotation for good(not counting some manuevering in the playoffs), that's not exactly being jerked "back and forth". That's one time in the 'pen and back as a starter-b/c of circumstances, not whimsy.

/just putting it out there.

Wow. Post of the year, really. You have the Romero signing, the coining of "Value Village," and this seer moment from Jason:

"The chances are high the Phillies will go after a marginal veteran. Names like Steve Trachsel and Jose Contreras come to mind. Others like Kyle Lohse of Cincinnati seems like the kind of tablescrap that would fall into Phillies’ hands some random afternoon."

I mean, that's outstanding. He predicted the Lohse signing.

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EST. 2005

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