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Saturday, June 23, 2007

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I see the Phils have removed Eude Brito from their 40 man roster, leaving them now with 39. That likely means there is another move coming.

The Phils site has Brito still on the 40-man. Where did you see this, Billy?

Mike H, This was reported both by Scott Lauber of Delaware News Journal and Todd Zolecki of the Inquirer in their notes columns, although Zolecki indicated this was related to the Romero move -- which implies the Phils plan on placing Romero on the 40 man roster. Brito will remain at Ottawa though.

Cool. Thanks for the update. When Beerleaguer is my first choice for news, why bother reading the papers?

Have the Phillies announced that they are going to do for a extra starter as a result of the doubleheader on Friday? Would be nice to have Moyer and Hammels throw against the Mets given their struggles versus lefties. Looks like Hammels would throw Friday or Saturday and Moyer would miss the series if he throws Wednesday or Thursday

Missed last night's game for an expensive dinner out; maybe I ought to do that more often. This might not be a playoff team, but it wins more laughers than the last couple of editions have.

For anyone who missed Conlin's column on franchise lowlights over 9,990 losses, it contains some priceless insults, including one about Bill Giles, "former scoreboard operator for the Houston Astros." Ouch, even though it's true.

RSB, I respectfully disagree about playing for now or the future. At my age, I'd just as soon avoid a rebuilding plan, but there's good reason you shouldn't long for it, either: Our core group is older than you might think. Rollins, Howard and Utley have about a 5-year window that will represent their peak years (Utley perhaps a little longer, Rollins perhaps a little less). Hamels is pitching well right now. Why ignore this core and aim for some pie-in-the-sky future?
In fact, I'm puzzled by your endorsement of Gillick's "trade" of Abreu, which represented nothing but a salary dump. If you want to rebuild, you swallow some of the salary in exchange for a prospect or two; if you save money, it's probably to spend on free agents, which cost you further draft picks. Dumping Abreu for nothing but savings represented a "win now" move, not a rebuilding move.

Winning game 2 of this series would be sweet today. We need to beat up on the weaker competition while we have the luxury of playing such losers as the Cardinals and Reds. Now I know any MLB team can beat another MLB team on any given day, but looking at the records those 2 teams are inferior to us and we should be winning series against them.

Alby, I don't think you could have convinced a lot of people that trading Abreu was a 'win now' move. It struck most as the opposite, and that's actually one reason I was in favor of it. I understand that people want to win around the 'core' of Howard/Utley/Rollins, but there's more to a team than a core of a few elite players. I'm not advocating that the Phils should send their best remaining players packing in favor of 'rebuilding', but I *would* rather that they didn't keep trading prospects, even half-decent ones, for dead-enders who can't help this team get over the top. The replenishing of the farm system is the key, and most likely the only way, for this organization to get out of its tired patterns and perpetual rut. So whereas I'm not about to say, trade your stars for prospects, I do say, concentrate on keeping what you have and stop falling into this win-now trap. When they don't win, and they just keep finding ways to not make it year after year, the team just throws itself further behind. Is it worth it to keep fumbling along like this for the possibility that one of these years, they make the playoffs and ride a hot streak to the World Series? To most, apparently it is. But to me it's the difference between a team that say, throws in a fluke playoff appearances in the midst of 25 also-ran seasons, and a team that's in the running every single year for 10-15 consecutive seasons. (Pray tell, who is the "core" of the Oakland Athletics?)

This patch-and-fill-around-the core nonsense is a poor excuse for running a team efficiently and intelligently. If the argument is, *under the circumstances* (meaning under this dimwitted assemblage of front office/ownership individuals) that a fluke playoff appearance is the best we can hope for - I may have a harder time disagreeing with that. But it's hard to determine if this perspective, as represented by commenters here, is based more out of a concession to the present organizational non-philosophy or an endorsement of it.

Utley, Rollins, and Howard aren't fresh-faced kids, but they aren't old, either, and they also aren't going anywhere. If Howard wants to leave because the team isn't respecting him or they aren't winning enough, yes, it would be a shame, but it wouldn't be something the Phillies would never recover from; if anything, in fact, Howard has recently shown plenty of reasons why he might well be a risk to sign long-term. (I was all for trading Abreu because he was no longer the kind of player a team ought to be building around.) In any case, however, I've been following the Phillies all these years, and the only discernible thread running through the master scheme of management is that there has to be a "core" of players. What that has translated into is that a fifth of the roster end up commandeering a majority of the payroll, and the team is hamstrung (out of necessity or self-imposition is another matter) in its efforts to assemble a worthwhile roster around the big names (hence the myriad long-term contract extensions that have ended up hurting this team: Dykstra, Daulton, Lieberthal, Burrell, Abreu, etc.). At any given time, it appears imperative that the Phillies have to have these big names - the selling points, the *indentity* - to throw all over the season-ticket brochures, and this formula of 5 elite, 5 average, and 15 lousy which has been going on forever takes precedence over an effort to streamline talent, spend more efficiently, and improve scouting and minor league operations. The Phillies are a lazy, uncreative organization in terms of generating success on the field but never in terms of generating revenue. Thus they appear to have again convinced fans that they have to WIN NOW because we have these once-in-a-lifetime megastars. It would be all well and good to have them in most cases, but here it becomes pointless at best, self-destructive at worst to keep using these focal points as an excuse to continue to mismanage the team.

mlb.tv says I'm blacked out from watching today's game. Is this a nationwide blackout? The game isn't on Fox where I live (upsate NY).

I rarely get to watch weekend day games, are they all blacked out? mlb.com doesn't give very much information.

MLB.tv shuts down on Saturday afternoons, regardless of whether the game is scheduled for Fox or not.

Bahhhh, that's dumb.

Thanks for the info, RSB.

I dont know how much longer I can take Vic's lack of situational hitting. Has he ever moved Rollins over when he gets on to start the game? Ever?

It's also a good question why Rollins isn't running much this year. One possible reason is that Victorino often doesn't take many pitches with runners on base.

RSB.. Howard isn't going anywhere for the next 4 years. He doesn't have a choice. But if he could leave, it would be a REALLY bad thing. I don't understand the short term memory loss of some of these posters against Howard. He had one of the better non-roids seasons EVER last year, and was MVP. Suddenly we'd be ok without him? And didn't everyone see the effect he has on everyone else in the lineup (Zolecki showed the stats). Our pitching has been atrocious, the reason we're in this is because our offense is ridiculously good, even with the bums at a few positions.
Our ownership sucks, but I don't route for them. I don't need some feeling of purity about my team's success. We have two bonafide MVP caliber players in the middle of our lineup, rebuilding(whatever that would entail exactly) with Utley and Howard in their primes would be criminal. If Gordon and Myers come back and give us any semblance of a bullpen, we'll quickly be the best team in the NL East.

In four years' time, we'll have a much better idea how how horrible it would be if Howard opted out. In the meantime, do what's best for the Philadelphia Phillies, not four or five high-paid players who wear the uniform. *Any* time an organization is focusing on the short-term, it damages the long-term prospects. This is what, the fifth straight season the Phillies are obsessing over the short-term - *without* having won, and with a less than 50/50 shot at winning this year? Glad you're happy with that. Hope you enjoy the results of it, too.

RSB why are you so negative?

And what do the Oakland A's have to show for it?
It's not like we've been a .500 team with a few megastars. We've come excruciatingly short for like 4 out of 5 years, which could be attributed to bad luck (we had the friggin wild card lead with a week left last year). It only makes sense to try and get over that hump, instead of completely blowing things up. And as for short-term vs. long term, what prospects did we trade? Silva? Punto? Estrada? All decent to nice players but nothing substantial. We've held onto everyone important.. Utley, Hamels, Howard. We even waited too long to dump Floyd.
And I don't understand what "doing what's best for 4 or 5 highest paid players" means? Should we not have re-upped Utley?

mlb.tv is working fine here in the UK

but it looks like it is blacked out in the US, the little symbols are red

"It's not like we've been a .500 team with a few megastars." You're right. The Phillies haven't been an 81-win team. They've been an 86-win team! Zow!

The A's? Oh, just five playoff appearances in the last eight years. Pretty awful, I know. The Phillies certainly could have achieved that if only they weren't so damned unlucky. This year their luck is sure to change, with this deep roster and all. I just feel it.

26 base hits for Phils pitchers this year. Eaton is a hair short of .200 for the season.

Wainwright's control is spotty and I am being generous. Let's make this guy throw a meat ball next inning.

Sorry, RSB, you've gone off the deep end.

You might as well be advocating dealing Howard, Utley and Hamels for as many young prospects as we can get. After all, we need to rebuild our farm system, right? Isn't that what we need? A strong farm system? After all, the Oakland A's keep bringing up these great home-grown prospects and they've won like 12 World Series championships in a row!!!!!

Whatever.

Just about every World Series winning team is a strong combination of home-grown talent and free agents. We have the home-grown talent, now I'd just like to see us be a little more successful in the free agent market.

This team can win now. Anyone who denies is ignoring the facts that are right in front of their face.

Negadelphia. We certainly earned that nickname.

My point is the A's made it past the first round only once, which is a hump their organizational philosophy could be blamed on.

No. If you would bother reading what I write, you'd see that I said: "I'm not advocating that the Phils should send their best remaining players packing in favor of 'rebuilding', but I *would* rather that they didn't keep trading prospects, even half-decent ones, for dead-enders who can't help this team get over the top."

Oakland isn't the only team I could use as an example of a team that does things right. Minnesota. Atlanta, obviously. Cleveland. Even Florida, although that franchise is doomed, still stays more competitive than they probably have a right to thanks to a strong inner organization. And even though they're larger-market teams with more margin for error, both New York teams and both LA teams have been excellent models this decade. The Phillies are firmly in the class of teams that do things wrong, and it has nothing to do with luck.

Look, CJ. You don't agree and you aren't going to see things as I do. Leave it at that. Dismissal on the grounds of being "negative" just make you look ignorant.

Florida????

They buy a couple of big free agents to complete their puzzle and then sell off what they have. That's what you want? Isn't that the opposite of what you've been advocating?

How many prospects have we dealt away for that "missing piece." I'm honestly curious about just how bad they've been at that.

Ownership is more negligent if they have a chance to make the playoffs and fail to make a move necessary to get us over the hump.

Anyone who says we should be Oakland... a franchise that brings up talent... gets close and then trades their best talent or watches them walk away is clueless.

The Indians were a good team in the late 90's, but they haven't even sniffed a division title since Charlie Manuel was there. I wouldn't consider them a model organization. The NY teams strategy has been to outspend the rest of the league. The Mets despite the money spent have the same number of division titles as the Phillies since 1993 (1). The current Phils are in a unique situation where they likely have the greatest shortsop, 2nd baseman, and first baseman in their over 100 year history all playing together in their prime years. There is a small window of opportunity to take advantage of that. You can only compare this core group to perhaps the late 70s/early 80s Phils.

I'm not comparing Florida's situation to the Phillies'. They're totally, completely different. But they stay competitive because they have a deep organization and competent decision-makers. Similarly, you can't compare Oakland's situation to the Phillies. The financial picture is vastly different.

"How many prospects have we dealt away for that 'missing piece.' I'm honestly curious about just how bad they've been at that."

Not too many, because there aren't many around to begin with. For that matter, you might want to cite just who they have to trade now to get them over that elusive hump.

I would advise that you at least tone down your impulsive and emotional posts to not include words like 'clueless' and 'off the deep end'. This isn't some cheap message board where people thoughtlessly insult each other. I'll say it again: if you don't agree, leave it there. I will not respond to you again unless you can address the topic respectfully.

Billy Mac, how many weak components existed on those late 70s/early 80s teams? The right side of the infield was perhaps undermanned until they acquired Trillo and Rose, but were the Phillies weak at any other position during all those years? They had a deep bench, a deep bullpen, and a stocked farm system. I don't see how the two situations compare.

The Mets and Indians both recovered in a remarkably short amount of time after their fortunes went south in the early part of the decade. I don't necessarily measure the overall legacy of an organization by specific successes or failures in the playoffs. The measure is consistency - how regularly is a team in a position to contend, if not win. I'm very impressed by how quickly Cleveland regained its footing, and as far as the Mets - I might back off somewhat on the claim that they're a model franchise, but keep in mind they're built primarily around farm products Wright and Reyes.

The phillies haven't traded away too many future stars for a "missing piece", but there have been a few. Tejada, Gio, Silva, Punto, Hancock, and then the older players that have been traded away over the years, like Abreu, Padilla, Polanco, Michaels, Lidle, and others throughout recent years. None of them are stars, although Gio might turn out to be, and we've clearly given away more than we recieved. Good teams don't have such abysmal records for trading. Think about the best Phillies trades in recent years : even the good ones aren't really THAT good. We got Abreu for little, and what we gave up for Wagner didn't hurt us at all either. But on the other side there's a bunch of trades where we gave away things for probably nothing, and a few where the exchange was probably equal. Good teams don't come out on the short end so often.

Teams like Oakland or Minnesota survive not only though diligent scouting but through fleecing bigger-market teams that don't embrace the changing landscape of baseball. Oakland got a ace pitcher (Haren), a decent bulpen arm (Kiko Calero) and a good hitting prospect (Barton) for one pitcher, Mark Mulder. Minnesota got Joe Nathan, Fransisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski. Heck, even the Yankees got a bunch of projected major league prospects for a 37 year old disgruntled outfielder with poor defense (Sheffield). The Phillies have shown on real ability to trade major leaguers for good, future talent, which is what inevitably sets up some teams above the others.

Can't ever remember a game that's elicited fewer comments than this one. The Win-Now Phils on their way to a sparkling 2 games over .500. Wasn't this looking like a stronger division a couple of months ago? They have no right being anywhere *near* first place.

well the game wasn't on tv, and you've been sort of a killjoy today, RSB. no offense, buddy.

Oh, it's my fault, is it.

to mlb.tv subscribers:

learning to use non-us anonymizer proxy's will make your experience more gooder.

RSB, he doesn't really think it's your fault.

Anyone read this on the Zo Zone??

Phillies righthander Jon Lieber could miss the rest of the season because of a torn tendon in his right foot.

Lieber, who injured the foot Wednesday in Cleveland, said he has been told it would take six to eight weeks for the tendon to heal without surgery. At that point, Lieber then would begin a throwing program. But being realistic, it would take Lieber at least a couple weeks to get his arm back into shape and by that time it would be the end of the season. Lieber also said he has been told that if he does not have surgery on the tendon, he might lose muscle strength in that area. Lieber is seeking a second opinion Monday in Philadelphia with team physician Michael Ciccotti.

Now it seems they have to make a deal to stay in contention, but for who? And who do they give up?? Rowand?

"Tejada, Gio, Silva, Punto, Hancock"

Gio's highly rated right now, but I'd consider none of them to be future stars. I think a part of the problem is that Phils phans (i'm sure other fans do it to their teams, too) tend to overrate their players.

P, I know :) I'm not *that* sensitive.

Not Rowand. I guess they almost have to trade Bourn now. They're already asking Kendrick to be a miracle worker, and they simply don't have another candidate. The only possible alternative is to go above the wishes of Myers (or Ryan Madson) and convert them right back to starters in mid-season. But that would damage their already weaker than weak credibility as an organization. And so now the depth of this team - thinner than Lieber's ripped tendon - is truly exposed for all to see.

Oh, there I go being negative again. Tsk. Uh...we're the team to beat! Sis boom bah!

The good news is that Lieber's efforts don't exactly appear impossible to replace, almost no matter who ends up replacing him. I, for one, won't miss watching his ugly mug fill my monitor every fifth day.

Today's loss was solely on Eaton. No consistent control and didn't miss alot of bats out there.

He really has been all over the board this year but has generally been a big disappointment. His W-L record aside, you expect more from him than an ERA close to 6.00.

If Lieber is done for the year, it is a huge blow for the Phils. Lieber has pitched poorly lately but there is no internal candidate that is viable right now to replace him. I will be curious to see random starter the Phils bring in though to replace Lieber.

Does any think that Lieber's tendon injury might be due in part to his horrendous conditioning? I can't image that Lieber has the most strenuous stretching/exercise routine.

Anyways, Lieber probably cost himself at least $8-$10 million. I doubt that we will get much more than passing interest from teams next spring. Probably a one-year deal with a low base and alot of incentives is the most optimistic Lieber can hope for.

I for one won't miss seeing an underachieving, over-the-hill veteran who has been apathetic at times during his Phils' tenure.

Over the hill and apathetic I can agree with. I don't know about underachieving. I never quite am able to understand how Lieber gets anyone out with his 'stuff', which is just a series of flat, hittable sinkers and sliders.

If Lieber is gone for the season, Rowand will be traded.

RSB - I think Lieber is a little better than you are giving him credit for but not much.

The bigger reason the Phils weren't able to move him this offseason was his contract ($7.5 million) and his injury risk (well-founded it seems).

Quoted from the Ken Mandel article off the Phillies website, "The Phillies will need a starter for the other game of that twin bill (on Friday), as well as one for Saturday. Candidates include 20-year-old Carlos Carrasco (recently called up to Double-A)...."

I just can not believe that this would even be a thought in somebody's mind, yet alone make it onto phillies.com.

I don't care how badly they need a starting pitcher, it would just be wrong to rush this young man to the majors like that. He's rated as the top prospect in their entire farm system.

I agree, limoguy. It would be a disgrace. If the Phillies have an ounce of sense, they'll either call Segovia back up - I don't care how bad he's been - or they'll let Yoel Hernandez start and go for 50-60 pitches. The second I saw that they'd promoted Carrasco to Reading, I wondered if that's what they were thinking. And I would bet it is. But it should not be. I'd rather see them dredge up the butt-worst pitcher off the waiver wire or in the Mexican Leagues then start rushing their few legitimate prospects from the single-A leagues. No competent organization, under *any* circumstances, would rush *three* pitchers who had just joined double A, within the span of a month.

segovia is on the DL.

Carrasco may be the only shot.

ugh. i have a sneaky feeling that we'll be seeing trachsel in bloodstripes, soon.

I usually don't post stuff from my blog straight on to here, but it's very appicable today:

Yesterday was not a good day. The Phils lost to the lowly Cardinals because Patty G's star offseason acquisition Gavin Eaton sucks, Pat Burrell's average dropped to .205 with no hopes of rebounding, and Shane Victorino's hitting streak was halted at 14 games. Believe it or not, that's not the worst part of yesterday...Donut-Eater's career as a Phillie very well might be over like a fat kid tearing through a box of cream-filled. Jon Lieber was placed on the 15-day DL while Jars of Clay Condrey was recalled from Ottawa. Lieber's stint on the DL will take far longer than 15 days, and most likely the remainder of the season. Results from a MRI exam taken Saturday unveiled a ruptured tendon in the bottom of Lieber's right foot, with a timetable for return if everything goes "perfect" at mid-September, but season-ending surgery is the likely alternative. That leaves the Phils with yet another hole to plug in the rotation. We've probably already lost Freddy Garcia for the season, Tom Gordon and Brett Myers are still on the mend, and now Lieber too. That's $29.5 million on the DL and roughly 30% of the payroll. For the short-term the Phils are planning to fill the void internally with either J.A. Happ, Carlos Carrasco, or J.D. Durbin (none of which excite me at this stage in their careers). A trade remains a route Gillick may take, but probably for a free-agent-to-be suckfest like the "Human Rain Delay" Steve Trachsel. Yep, we're screwed!

Lieber's injury might be the back-breaker. The team already desperately needed another starter, to replace Garcia. Kendrick has been great but it is asking far too much to expect him to a solid 5th starter the rest of the season. He still needs work on his command. Happ is a crapshoot and Segovia, Sanches etc. are not and will never be quality major leaguers. Gillick either makes a trade for a quality starter or you can kiss the playoffs goodbye, folks.

CJ and P O'Neil: You have said the Phillies have quality position players (plural) in the lower minors. Please list them and what you base that assessment on. Thanks in advance.

RSB: There will never be agreement on the Abreu trade, but where you and I differ is you have no problem trading players away for nothing. I don't think you can build a winning team following that policy, no matter how flawed the guys you trade.

To CJ & Brian: Before you mock Florida, Cleveland and Oakland, please look at their records over the past decade and compare them to the Phillies. Even if the team doesn't win the World Series, the goal is to put yourself in a position to win the World Series (i.e. make the playoffs). Now answer this question for me: How many playoff appearances have those 3 teams made in the past decade? How many for the Phillies? Still feel like mocking them?

Clout,

Adrian Cardenas. HS player of the year last year(or 2years). Invited to the Future stars game. D'Arby Myers, highly touted outfielder, 17year old shortstop at Williamsport (Garcia, I think his name is) and Jason Donald to name a few (that of course, doesn't include anyone just drafted). Sorry if that doesn't fit into your always-bash-the-phils minor league system criteria.

I still can't believe that the Fillies never tried Brian Mazone either as a possible lefty reliever or as a starter. They released him (sold him?) so that he could sign with a Korean team. For two years at least he was their best AAA starter, he threw strikes, and succeeded. He would have learned a lot working with Jamie Moyer to boot and might have been a #3 or #4 starter for five years.

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