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Monday, July 09, 2007

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"... if he fills out..."

If Lance Parrish didn't breakdown...
If Wes Chamberlain had longevity...
If Polanco stayed at third...
If Jim Leyland was a yes man...
If Joe Girardi didn't scare the crap out of ownership...

I don't trust anyone in this organization, nor do I trust their "If..." assessments.

It's like my 6th grade teacher, who doled out grades based on the criterion of whether he believed a particular student was "working to ability." A kid who was deemed to be of below average intelligence could earn A's on his report card by getting C's on all his tests. A kid who was deemed to be smart could ace all his tests but, since he was only performing to par, he would get Cs on his report card.

Sorry that post was a little vague. Brian Smith's grades were the object of my analogy. Since I failed to say so in the original post, I definitely didn't post to my ability & am giving myself a D grade for that post.

"The Phillies will start the second half with rookie Kyle Kendrick, followed by Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton."

I'm sold; where do I buy the playoff tkts?

Chase Utley batting 8th for NL. David Wright bats 5th. Bonds hits 2nd. The American League lineup by Leyland looks about right. Larussa's lineup looks like he's still asleep at the wheel.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Ichiro Suzuki, cf
Derek Jeter, ss
David Ortiz, 1b
Alex Rodriguez, 3b
Vladimir Guerrero, rf
Magglio Ordonez, lf
Ivan Rodriguez, c
Placido Polanco, 2b
Dan Haren, p
NATIONAL LEAGUE
Jose Reyes, ss
Barry Bonds, lf
Carlos Beltran, cf
Ken Griffey Jr., rf
David Wright, 3b
Prince Fielder, 1b
Russell Martin, c
Chase Utley, 2b
Jake Peavy, p

@sorry for the double post didn't see teh discussion on the previous post.

Larussa's lineup is based on hype rather than performance. Bonds, Beltran, Griffey and Wright are the biggest names, so they bat in the middle of the order.

Never mind that Utley is the best hitter in the game.

I'd say Bonds is the best hitter in that lineup, followed by Utley, Fielder and Griffey.

Beerleaguer just got a nice plug on 610 by Macnow.

I said it at the end of the previous post, but I'll say it once more: LaRussa could be asleep at the wheel, or he could be dropping Utley in the lineup as a way to get him on base when the order comes back around.

In any case, no one - no one - can make sense of Beltran batting third.

P: I heard it. Hurray for Beerleaguer. Glen cited Clout's unofficial tally of losses attributable to the bullpen.

Utley batting 8th is a National (League) disgrace. I will never again believe all of this crap about how smart Tony LaRussa is.

Tray: I'm obviously biased having watched Utley since he was platooning with Palonco, but I agree with the Reds manager, whatever scout Jayson Stark talks to, and Craig Biggio that Chase is the best in the league.

Bonds batting 2 and Utley batting 8 means nothing more than Bonds will play one inning in the field, take his AB, then call it a night. It says to me that Utley will get some more playing time. I don't believe it has ANYTHING to do with ability or putting together a winning lineup. The All-Star game competitiveness ship sailed a LONG time ago.

Macnow is a keen observer of the National Pastime and has the best show on WIP.

Good point Willard. I don't see any nefarious reasons for Utley hitting 8th.

Finally some good news about Gordon. Even a Gordon at 80-85% and with usage limitations is still an upgrade over Sanches or Joe Table.

clout - like macnow alot too. very even-keeled, objective, cal and good insights/interesting topics. I am a big fan.

I agree except that Larussa chose to include Freddy Sanchez(!), so Utley will have to come out as well.

I like Macnow because he actually talks about sports.

I can't tell you how many times I turned on the morning show expecting to hear about the previous night's bullpen meltdown or Barajas wimpout and instead they're talking about eating wings or something.

Finally got a chance to read some comments from Montgomery's conversation last night. He is obviously a bright guy and you would think a former marketing exec would be more PR savvy/sensitive.

Honestly, it seems like everytime Montgomery opens his mouth he gives enough fodder for media guys/fans to rip him for at least a week. You would think he was some boob who ran a local shop and reports goaded him into making stupid, inane comments on public record.

Control your spin. If you are going to make a public appearance, demand that you get a set of questions beforehand. At the very least, you can make it understand before the conversation takes place that you won't discuss certain topics.

Do you think a CEO of a Fortune 500 company agrees to make foolish comments in a public forum? Extremely rare and they usually don't last long.

It's nothing to get worked up over, but Utley batting 8th is just silly. Among the eight starters, he's got the highest batting avg., 2nd most RBIs, and 3rd highest OPS. Meanwhile, Carlos Beltran is hitting 3rd with his crisp .264 average and an OPS 155 points lower than Chase.

Few players get me more worked up than Beltran. Although he's got talent, I think he has to be one of the most overrated players in the league.

Except for Reyes leading off that lineup makes no sense on many levels. You bat a guy with a.972 OPS 8th? And the guy with the .817 OPS 3rd? Nuts.

My lineup would go like this:
Reyes
Utley
Bonds
Fielder
Wright
Griffey
Beltran
Martin

MG: How many sports writers or radio sports commentators would stand for a guest demanding a list of questions in advance and setting limits on what questions can be asked?

Back in '74 when I heard that Schmidt, Bowa and Cash were selected to the All Star game I thought to myself, "Oh boy, this is great!" (Sorry for the gratuitous Animal House reference) Anyway, now in my jaded cynical middle age, I've come to the realization that what happens tomorrow with Utley, Rowand and Hamels, isn't going to change the fact that this team is going nowhere this year. I hope one of those guys has a great game and is MVP, but facts is facts and Giles & Co. are still in charge and failure and frustration will always lie just around the bend.

Montgomery: "What does 'Go for it' mean?!?"

Clout - They may not stand for it but I guarantee that they put up with it to get access/content that is viewed as unique or valuable.

Always harder to get interesting/juicy content for executives than vice versa (even in the crazy world of sports).

clout:

Very few, I can tell you. I work in the media, and we get suggested lists of questions all the time. As soon as they arrive, we file the list in the trash cans.

Sometimes, an interview subject can ask that certain topics be avoided (often times, they deal with legal issues)... but no self-respecting journalist will be dictated to by an interview subject.

The lineups aren't for baseball reasons. They are for something else. The lineups were built for FOX.

While Ichiro is an obvious lead off hitter, The worldwide TV audience benefits. Jeter is probably the perfect 2 hole hitter as well, but it doesn't hurt that his Q Rating is the highest of all the all stars. Hitting third, Big Papi, a extremely popular player. AROD, 4th... Polarizing for sure... a 4th hole hitter absoultey... but you couldn't bat him lower for TV.

In the NL... Reyes is the only pure leadoff hitter in the starting lineup. Plus, he's from NYC. Barry Bonds gets the home crowd to see him early... and he can get his early curtain call. Beltran 3rd? NYC. Griffey's Q Rating is 2nd only to Jeter probably on this list. David Wright 5th??? The only reasonable explanation is NYC.

Forgetting the baseball reasons, Utley batting 8th is slap to Philadelphia and the Phillies... Fox can wait until the 3rd inning perhaps to talk about those 10000 losses.

clout: I'd bat Griffey after Bonds for theatrics.

Clout:

Who do you think has leverage in the situation

1. Sports reporter who requires interviews and stories in order to keep up his readership/listenership/viewership, and therefore his job

or

2. fantastically wealthy owner of a major sports franchise who doesn't have to do anything to keep his job.

Many interviews of high profile people are prescripted, because the leverage is all on one side of the negotiating table.

Dominic Brown, mentioned in J's post is quite an athlete-turned down a WR spot at U. of Miami.

Batting 8th doesn't matter much - by the time Utley comes up in the order Peavy will be out and replaced with another all-star, its not like usual where 8th means you don't get driven in unless Carlos Zambrano's pitching.

from the district:

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. There may be a discussion of the topics ahead of time, but the bulk of interviews are NOT done with pre-scripted questions. It's just not how real journalists work.

It has nothing to do with leverage. I wouldn't want one of my reporters to do the Q&A if the condition was using pre-scripted questions.

Besides, Montgomery does have an incentive to talk... he wants fans to come to games so he can make more money.

district: Actually, it's just the opposite. There is no shortage of people the reporter can go to for the story. And an interview that has those kinds of ground rules isn't going to produce much of interest, so it's a waste of the reporter's time.

Take a radio commentator like Macnow. Why would he waste his show's valuable time by having on a guest to whom he couldn't ask provocative questions?

The big shot needs the media to promote his team. Most of them are savvy enough to do that without sticking their foot in their mouth.

Utley's definitely better at swinging the bat and making contact, but I'll take the guy with an on-base percentage over .500 any day. You could put it this way, Chase is a better hitter but Bonds overall is a better offensive player.

CJ - There is a world of difference between using prescripted questions for an interview and working out the basic parameters of an interview beforehand.

It just amazes me that Montgomery doesn't more carefully craft his appearances.

You are the GM and have Rowand on your roster. Rowand is a great guy, having a career year, plants his face on fences, and is a Philadelphia Type Guy.

What do you do? You call his agent to open negotiations and his agent tells you clearly that his client wants to test free-agency which is his right. What do you do? You tell him you like his client and would like to sign him depending on the msrket rate this fall.

You then go see if anyone wants to trade picthing for him, which is highly unlikely, SanDiego Blogs report that there was no true serious Linebrink Rowand trade talk and that SD wants to sign Linebrink then make and offer for Rowand in the fall.
Why trade away someone when you can sign Rowand in free agency.

So as a GM you want to trade Rowand for pitching but why would anyone do that when pitching is so valuable and Rowand's agent says that he is testing the market.

So what you are faced with is inaction that is seen as uncaring, not because you A) do not want to sign him (he is not negotiating until free agency) or B) noone is offering good pitching for a 2 month rental when they can bid against you in the fall.

That leaves you with C) will anyone offer you more in trade than what you will receive - 2 high draft picks for losing him if you are not able to sign him.

Sadly the lack of pitching leaves few options, if you really like Rowand which I am sure we do, trading him will nit increase your chances of signing him in the fall.

Jason, P O'Neil: The only comparison I can see between Dominic Brown and Darryl Strawberry would be if Brown is on drugs.

There is absolutely no comparison in terms of being a baseball prospect. Strawberry was a #1 pick. Brown is a 20th rounder who is very raw and is hitting .214 in the GCL. Maybe he will become a baseball player someday, but I guarantee you Arbuckle doesn't know. I'd also be curious to know what pct. of 20th round picks ever make The Show. I bet fewer than 5%.

The Daily Herald out of Chicago speculates, "Or maybe [GM Ken] Williams unloads the fading [Jose] Contreras for a promising rookie outfielder like the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp or the Philadelphia Phillies’ Michael Bourn."

Nice to see that Reading will finally have something more than retread pond scum thanks to Pat Gillick's collecting top draft picks.

9 in the last two years 2006 and 2007, vs. 6 in the previous three years 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Drabek, Cardenas, Carpenter, Donald from the article were all top picks in 2006.

18. Phillies (for Billy Wagner) got Kyle Drabek while losing their 21. Yankees (for Tom Gordon) Ian Kennedy, RHP, Southern California.

They also got 37 Philadelphia Adrian Cardenas SS Monsignor Edward Pace HS (Billy Wagner).

Drabek and Cardenas for the loss of Billy Wagner who wanted to pitch in Shea Stadium and was not going to sign here.

Getting something 3 years down the road for the loss of someone who would not sign with you.

Sir Alden...

That was Buster Olney's point. GM's can often do better taking the draft pick and maybe getting a player who can really help you in a few years instead of dealing for a Jose Mesa-like disaster.

Word is, the Padres picked up Milton Bradley knowing when he walked after the season, they could get an extra draft pick.

Let me add a third voice to CJ and Clout on the pre-selected questions issue. This is something interview subjects frequently request, and it's usually denied. The only times I've seen it in my experience (30 years) in newspaper and radio is when you're working on an investigation and you want comment from the subject. In cases like that, you have enough for a story anyway; comments from the target show you've given him/her a chance to respond. You also make clear to readers that the subject was responding to written, not oral, questions.

When booking radio guests I'll usually tell them the subject of an interview, but not the actual questions. A "scripted" interview is the type of thing that PR departments like the sound of, but there's simply no reason to grant such a request -- the public will view you as a propaganda tool. An audience is only worth wooing if you give it something it wants; otherwise you're like a bad American Idol contestant, sucking in front of a large audience. It's one thing to throw softballs so you can get a movie star to agree to an interview; who wants to hear Dave Montgomery spout a line of company bull? Admit it, you'd think less of any media outlet that would play along -- and so would thousands of other people.

Signing Mesa was the worst signing in the history of the Phillies period.

I wonder if he generates a Type B free-agent, that would be a riot.

Sir Alden...

I wasn't suggesting a Rowand for Mesa trade ;-)

I was just saying that in a weakened trade market, you might not get much better than a worn out starter or reliever who can barely help you anyway.

MG: I haven't seen the interview transcript. What did Montgomery say that was so stupid?

Exactly CJ that is the bar.... who will give you more than two type A draft picks if you lose Rowand, sadly I believe noone will. That does not mean that Gillick is not out looking or uncaring.

My point is, is that Gillick is refusing to sign free-agents or lose minor league talent for trade deadline relievers the way Ed Wade did.

The New York Times had a couple of interesting articles today (sorry, no links, I read it on dead trees). One was a rundown of the stockpile of starting pitchers currently at Trenton -- six legitimate prospects (including Ian Kennedy, mentioned above by SirAlden). Some were first or second rounders; others were drafted low and paid bonuses way above slot money (the article makes a note of saying that Bud Selig is mad at them for it. Guess how much the Yankees care.)

The other was on the younger brother of C.J. Henry, a high school junior who's a basketball hotshot. The article speculates on Henry going back to hoops so he can play alongside his brother in college, something the Yankees bought him out of after he was drafted.

SirAlden: I agree.

Unfortunately, when Ed Wade is the measuring stick... every GM looks good.

I think Gillick has been deficient in many, many ways. Perhaps too many to count. However, I will be a lot more upset if he does go and deal Rowand for the sake of making a deal only to get a bad bullpen arm and miss out on the draft picks.

10,000 Losses

Including 1994-2000 Ownership Black Hole.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/

The Colorado Rockies, The San Diego Padres, The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and The Texas Rangers are the only teams with lower winning percentages.

We are gaining and should pass The Baltimore Orioles, The Florida Marlins,
and The Washington Nationals in the next Decade.

The Milwakee Brewers, The New York Mets, The Seatle Mariners watch out.

I was just saying Brown's an athlete. Strawberry, especially before drugs, was a heckuva player. D'Arby's the guy to watch on that team.

Upcoming 2008 Free-Agent Relievers

Better than last winter, but still not great in quantity.

Closers
Mariano Rivera (38)
Jason Isringhausen (35) - $8MM club option for '08
Bob Wickman (39)
Francisco Cordero (33)
Armando Benitez (35)
Eric Gagne (32)
Todd Jones (40)

Does anyone think the Yankees with Rivera or the Cardinals with Isringhausen will let them be available?

This leaves Wickman with the Braves who is 39 years old with current ERA 4.80 | WHIP 1.63

Benitez age 35 who had not earned his salary, and Todd Jones age 40 who found his stuff in Detroit after stops in Philly and the Marlins.

So this leaves Francisco Cordero age 33, and Eric Gagne age 32 with the bionic body and is reportedly on the way back to LA.

Do not expect to find significant arms in Free-Agency in 2008 just as there were none worth losing Joe Savery LHP for in the first round in 2007.

Joe Borowski anyone?!

Ugh, did Berman just introduce Albert Pujols as "Winnie the" in front of the San Fran crowd/TV audience. Terrible.

It seems like they didnt really organize this event as no one seems to know what to do....

ugh Joe Morgan

Arbuckle needs to take a drive to Lakewood to see LHP RJ Swindle. He has a .093 ERA and is holding lefties to a .050 BAA. Lefties are 1 for 23 against him, with 15 Ks. His 23 Ks and 4 BBs in 19.1 IP ain't too shabby either.

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