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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


* Value Village courtesy of Beerleaguer contributor RSB.

I've been pro-Myers as closer from the day it happened...though I think I wavered one day. But I defended the move. No point now for people to bash it, because its gonna be like that for the stretch.

On the flip side, I said Branyan was a total waste. I think he still sucks, but he earned his keep tonight and proved me wrong.

I predict that Branyan, in the next two weeks, will go 0-7 and people will be hatin' again.

Well Branyan proved me wrong. The Phillies have pulled a few guys out of the dumpster and made it work. I give Branyan 2 weeks before he goes back to hitting around the mendoza line. I also thought Mesa was an absolute disaster but it turns out he's been acceptable. Dobbs is the real gem out of this group. He's played well enough to be considered an everyday player. He has even managed to play good enough defense lately to be considered a regular 3rd baseman. Seattle has to be questioning themselves for letting him go. And Iguchi was obviously a makeup gift from Chicago but I'll take it.

Here's hoping that Myers is back on track and is tuned up for the stretch run.

RSB (from last thread): "Right field has been more or less a total void since [Victorino] went down. I cannot believe there was/is no one available on the waiver wire who would be a more adequate fix than Werth."

The facts:

Werth since Victorino's injury: 10 games, 10-34 with 7 walks, .414 OBP, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Victorino in last 10 games before injury: 12-41, 2 walks, .326 OBP, 0 HR, 4 RBI

Yeah, he's killing us, all right.

You missed Gillick's best 'Value Village' acquisition - Moyer. In general, Gillick has done a much better this year of identifying some useful low-risk, moderate-value guys.

Now only if every one of Gillick's big ticket purchases hadn't turned out to be a bust so far this team would be a clear front runner in the NL East.

Werth's performance has been a nice unexpected surprise. I totally dismissed his comments earlier this year that he just needed more playing time in order to get comfortable and perform. Not a superstar but certainly a capable 4th outfielder so far.

yeah, credit to Werth. I was terrified when Vic went down and he took over in right. He has done by and large about as good a job filling in as we all could have expected.

What exactly does Werth add to the team? What does he do well? Anything? Hit for average? No. Power? No. Speed? No. Defense? Not really. Don't give me this bullshit, Alby, that the Phillies don't miss Victorino. They absolutely do. Or would you rather the Phils just go ahead and anoint Werth the starting right fielder next year, based on your noble fact-finding mission?

Regarding Myers: it can be argued either way. There's a strong case for him returning to the rotation; there's an equally strong case to be made that he should remain the closer. It's not like I'm the king of wishy-washy; I just recognize that it makes a certain amount of sense either way. My own stance is that it makes sense for Myers to become the closer when you have a decent enough rotation and no closer; however, if the rotation is sub-standard, then it makes more sense to try to find a closer than another good starter. The fact is, *neither* commodity which Myers potentially offers is easy to find. Some believe that a reputable starting pitcher is innately worth more than any closer. I don't agree with that.

Yeah... Branyan has too many shades of Randall Simon for me. Charlie, please bring him in if/when we face Chris Booker again.

I like Kendrick's chances today. His fearlessness will help in that park and he's been given the chance to step up.

"My own stance is that it makes sense for Myers to become the closer when you have a decent enough rotation and no closer"

Well said, RSB. That is exactly why Boston could afford to move Papplebon back to the closer role BEFORE the season began: strength in the rotation!

The Myers move was a 'panic room' decision.

If both Garcia and Lieber had been hurt when they considered moving Myers to the 'pen, I doubt it would have happened.

Oh, for all you haters:

Chollie pushed all the right buttons.................................................................................................again!

@RSB -- Alby didn't say that we didn't miss VIC. He was just proving that WERTH wasn't a void.

Real good win by the Phils. The kind of playoff teams win. "STEAL" or not. Rarely games are "STOLEN". There are 9 innings in agame. 9 chances to score.

AWH - Wait until the Phils blow a game this week against the Nats or Pirates because Cholly makes a series of perplexing moves.

RSB: I'm not a great fan of Jayson Werth either & there's no way in the world I think he could be a decent starting outfielder over a whole season. But he has certainly exceeded expectations as a fill-in for Victorino -- and he has almost certainly peformed better than any Value Village outfielder we might have acquired. I don't think anyone's suggesting that we don't miss Victorino because, on a day-to-day basis, Vic brings a lot more to the table than Werth. But right field hasn't exactly been a "void" since Victorino went down. The Phillies have gone 7-5 since Vic went on the DL & Werth has played a key role in several of those wins.

RSB, Werth won't hit for a great average over a full season or hit a ton of home runs or steal a lot of bases or rack up a lot of outfield assists, but, as Alby showed, during the time Victorino's been out, Werth has, in fact, hit for average (.294) and has gotten on base, more so than Victorino does. So, though Victorino's defense has been missed some nights, I don't think his offense has because Werth's offense has been better over the brief span Victorino's been out. As for Myers, are you really, Jason, going to get excited because the guy struck out Langerhans, Schneider and Logan? .154, .229 and .274 hitters respectively? Probably any decent reliever in baseball could do the same 9 times out of 10. He'd make a good closer, at times he looks like a great one, but I still think it's a waste of talent and money. Surely you aren't happy with Kyle Kendrick as your 2008 #2 starter.

Alby: Here's a link to my April 20 endorsement of Myers becoming closer. I trust you'll find the opinion and enthusiasm consistent with last night's post, which you dismissed as "sudden passion." You also misquoted me. You quoted RSB instead. No need to apologize for the errors.

AWH: Similar to Papelbon, the decision to move Myers to the bullpen was predicated upon the imbalance in the pitching staff *at the time*. I didn't disagree with it then and I don't now. The Phillies, in mid-April, had Lieber, thought they had Garcia, thought they had a decent pitcher in Eaton. They had six starting pitchers and a closer with a bum shoulder. The thing I disagreed with was that they had their heads in the sand all winter and spring and refused to address the situation until after the regular season was already underway. The timing was stupid and it did make it appear as a panic move.

Are people in Boston clamoring for Papelbon to be a starter? He was never a reliever until he came to the majors. He also has the ability to be an excellent starting pitcher, and a young one at that. Yet does anyone in New England feel like the Red Sox are "wasting" his talents?

What's funny about that link is Carson's comment, about four or five into the thread.

"The Phils need to remind Kyle Lohse he isn't a good pitcher, in fact he sucks."


I'll ask again, since all anyone wants to do is throw selective stats at me: What exactly does Jayson Werth do well, and what exactly does he add to the chances of a team winning? His one dominant attribute was supposed to be power; he has yet to hit a homerun at CBP this season. He is decidedly average or below in every pertinent baseball skill. If you start him ten days in a row, there's a weakness on the field for a ten-day stretch. Period. Seems like a good guy, and yes, he chips in an RBI, and extra-base hit, a nice catch every now and then. Most of the time he's strictly invisible.

On a seperate note - what do the Phils do with Eaton if he sits on Friday night and they start Durbin? Just skip his start in the rotation and don't pitch him for 10 days. I am really curious to see how this play outs.

The Red Sox have a really solid rotation with Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester and Wakefield so that's a different situation. Not like us, where some unknown call-up from Double A who doesn't strike anyone out is our #2 starter. I bet you if their 5th starter was Adam Eaton their fanbase would be clamoring to have Papelbon start and Okajima close. Now just to be clear, we don't have an Okajima on our team so I'm not saying that Myers closing wasn't a good decision back in April or isn't now, but I really hope next year we find a closer and put Myers back in the rotation.

RSB - I think you are being a little harsh on Werth. No, I don't think that Werth has one really plus attribute and he doesn't have any business staring everyday but he has shown that he can be a capable reserve outfielder.

Would you rather have Roberson staring everyday and watching him go 0 for ???. Plus, I don't see anything better on the waiver wire than Werth.

Just have to hope that Victorino's calf gets better and he is back in the next week or so but tonight's news isn't great.

What was the setback with Victorino?

Sportscenter noted that Branyon is re-united with his first hitting instuctor, Charlie Manual. Don't expect that he can turn him into Ryno, but I like what Cholly has been able to do with power hitting lefties. See Thome, Howard, Utley, Dobbs, and now hopefully Branyon. If he can get him to just be more selective and just nail the gas, he will be a nice contribution.

On Myers closing situation: I think anyone who watched him close out the Braves game and the nats game has to realize that he has absoulutely wallowing in the dirt, filthy stuff. Nook Logan, Austin Kearns, whoever, they looked stupid, and so did the Braves. A-Rod, Beltran, and Pujols would have gone whiff, whiff, whiff, on all of those pitches, and their reports on the smell imediately afterwards would be similar to their jock as they would be picking them up off of the batters box.

The Phillies couldn't have made an offer to Bobby Kielty? Couldn't have offered a few paper cups for Matt Stairs? Werth, to me, is a disappointment. He was supposed to be their RH power guy off the bench and he hasn't provided much at all.

I do agree he's probably a better option on most nights than Roberson, but that isn't saying much.

MG - If Eaton cant start, he is a waste of space in the bullpen. We only have a 25 manb roster the rest of August, and we cant afford to be playing with 24. If he isnt gonna start, he needs to be DL'ed with a fake injury until Sept.

I dont think anyone is saying we want Werth to be the starting RF, we are saying that he has done a solid job filling in, which he has.

And AWH on Charlie, he has made all the right moves as of late. Like tonight. And during the ATL series.

Papelbon was actually going to be a starter this season, until their FA closer ideas didn't pan out (Piniero, for example).

With the bullpen doing its job recently, the addition of Branyan and subtraction of Geary just paid dividends in a 1-run game, just as advertised. Mmmmm ... crow tastes good tonight.

On Werth, he's not a 5th outfielder at best. He's been playing over his head with Vic and Bourne out.

On Myers, sorry Jason, I still think he needs to go back to the rotation next year and be our No. 2 starter.

Could be using Werth a lot more yet . . as mentioned by MG Victorino has had a setback

long links!! try this, you may need to join bits

MG, I was merely making the point that if you're going to criticize when he makes a dumb move that blows up, give credit when it works out and the team wins.

No one, save God, is perfect.

Dave X, are you disagreeing with me on Papplebon? Yes, he was slated to be a starter, but because of the depth in the rotation, Boston moved him BACK to his closer role BEFORE the season.

I've been pretty consistent all along on my opinion on the Myers thing: he'll make a very good starter or an excellent reliever... I'd prefer the former, but I'll settle for the latter.

RSB: Selective facts? Such as the ones that refute your research-free theories? You said he was a void since filling in for Victorino. I looked it up, and the stats showed he wasn't. No, I'm not suggesting Werth be anything other than what he's been. I didn't even want to see him come back before rosters expanded. But, unlike some people, I'm willing to acknowledge my misjudgments, which are quite frequent, just like most of us.

Jason, my apologies. I didn't remember that you were on the Myers-as-permanent-closer bandwagon. RSB is right, the case can be made either way, and I'm not going to cry a river if he returns to the closer's role next year. I am suggesting, however, that our ability to fill the No. 2 starter slot is limited. Myers as closer most likely means the rotation you see now is the rotation they'll go to war with next season, at least early on, unless someone in the minors can step up by then. Happ?

On another topic, someone noted on the last thread that Happ threw 113 pitches in his latest impressive performance. Does this strike anyone as unwise for a young pitcher who might be called to the majors in a few days?

JW, I'm all for keeping Myers as the closer for next year and for the future for a number of reasons. I feel he has a closer mentality, he seems to like that role, and he may just be better if you get his 'energy' out on the mound multiple time a week. Yes the Phillies call the shot on his role for next season, but I'd rather have a closer of his potential performing a role he likes than a starter who'd rather be doing somethingelse. It may also benefit the 6th, 7th and 8th inning guys knowing if they hold it, Brett will bring it home. Stats are great to an extent, but [dare I use this word again] chemistry is a huge factor on any team, in other words, if you believe you are good at a job you begin with an advantage, and if the opposition also thinks you're good they begin at a disadvantage. Brett brings that to the final inning of a one run game. Is he the best closer right now, no. Does he have a chance to be one of the best down the road, in my opinion, yes.

On another topic, I feel Kendrick has a chance to be a very solid starting pitcher. Yep his body of work is limited, but he's shown he's unflappable and throws strikes. I wouldn't have any problem with him in the rotation next year. True he doesn't have an A+ pitch, he doesn't stike batters out, he relies on control and that can be a dangerous mix, kind of like a Jamie Moyer approach to the game. Then again he's only 1/2 of Moyer, 22 versus 44. [By saying that he'll probably get bombed tonight.]

I apologize for this post, I was out last night Astral Traveling with Dutch.

Anyone notice Myers is starting to look a little more "portly" than usual?

I was big on Myers to the bullpen move but right now have a little cautious pessimism that his emotions will result in another arm injury, especially in a competitive pennant race.

He has always pitched pretty good in big games but closing requires a little more composure in the moment which I am still not quite sold in his maturity, time will only tell.

But there is not doubt the talent to be a top closer is there and the way our team is built offensively and the strength of starting pitching potential in the farm system this is the most logical solution.

I like the fact that Kendrick has gotten into plenty of jams while remaining calm and worked through most of them. He doesn't have Gavin Floyd talent and didn't breeze through the minors, all of a sudden to fall apart when MLB guys get on. He may get lucky sometimes, but I'll take Kendrick's character any day of the week.

Sorry - But there is "no" doubt it should have read.

Unlike most of the posters I am in sales and grammar nor attention to detail is not our forte.

@JB You can't be a Phillies fan if don't have cautious pessimism. We're born with it.

GG - Good point.

Is it a little early to suggest Kendrick might be worthy of being a #2 or #3?

His ERA and WHIP only trail Hamels slightly and as JOE L mentioned above his composure when faced with adversity has been unbelievable.

Too many stars on this team to say one guy is the difference maker but I would say he has been the mortar to this season's playoff house building.

JW - BTW, I hope you are not singing any KC and the Sunshine Band songs around the burn barrel with the fellas.........

JB - Yes I think it a bit too early, but I agree with Joe L's points. Good article today about KK in todays Daily News by Paul Hagen

To me his composure at this age is amazing.

The only thing more disgusting than Tony Bautista's batting stance is the fact that he only has 2 extra-base hits on the season, both doubles coming at the hands of Phillies pitchers...c'mon now!

Also- Former Phillies keep making the news for criminal acts, this time it was Jose Offerman. Another former Phillie was involved in the altercation- Matt Beech. During an Independent League game Beech of Bridgeport hit Offerman of Long Island with a pitch and Jose charged the mound with bat in hand and decided to hit Beech since he didn't get the opportunity to hit the ball. Offerman was arrested, as he smacked Beech in the hands and also struck a blow to the head of the catcher...freakin' idiot! It's good to see Jose can still hit something though, because he didn't hit crap for the Phils in '05. *This fresh off the heals for Jay Baller's arrest for drugs and all we need is sex and rock'n'roll!

No word on if Victorino will start tonight? It didn't look good last night. I was at the Reading game, and he hit the ball right in front of the plate, looked like a foul at first then when he realized he had to run he took off... only went about 5 feet until he slowed to a walk. I thought it was odd he wasn't running out the play, then I saw him walk off the field looking utterly dejected. Threw his helmet down to the ground and limped to the clubhouse. I hope it's not that big of a setback...

JB, I think Myers has offically put the 30 ibs. back on from what he lost in the off season. I guess being a reliever he's had time to munch on siome peanuts in the dugout, or a cheese steak or two.

I agree, at this stage in his career Kyle Kendrick has a chance to be a solid starting pitcher -- but he's only been around the league once. At this stage in his career Bruce Ruffin looked like he'd be a solid starting pitcher for years to come. For those who weren't around when Ruffin replaced Steve Carlton in the rotation, I would cite, oh, Zach Duke of Pittsburgh (actually, quite a few guys of Pittsburgh have done this in the last decade) -- looks great the first time around the league, but performance declines upon repeated exposure.

The reason it's difficult for a young finesse guy to succeed is that he's often getting guys out the only way he knows how the first time around (by that I mean pitches and patterns used to set up the batters). He can't simply turn it up a notch the second time around. Consider Jamie Moyer. He was 7-4, albeit with a mediocre ERA, in his first (half) season with the Cubs, at age 23. Six years later, his career record stood at 34-54. He was out of the majors a full year before he began his comeback. He never reached 200 IP in a season until age 35. I suppose what I'm saying is that when finesse pitchers succeed, it's usually a fairly rocky road. You can pencil in Kendrick as your No. 2 or No. 3 starter, but the higher the slot, the lighter the lead I'd use -- and don't misplace the eraser.

it's way, way too early to suggest Kendrick can be a capable top-of-the-order* starter. I completely agree that his composure has been excellent, and his performance this year has been nothing short of outstanding. but the simple fact is that it's essentially impossible to be a successful major league pitcher when you're recording less than 3.5 Ks a game. (and before you say "What about Wang?" - Chien-Ming Wang has a much more sustainable K rate and a much more extreme GB rate.)

I'm not saying this to put down Kendrick, who IMO has been maybe the best story of this season for the Phils. but counting on him as any more than a 4th or 5th starter next year is hopelessly optimistic.

Alby, another major difference is that Moyer has generally had a near-league average strikeout rate (5.37 on his career; 5.70 this year). in 1986, he struck out 4.64 batters per 9 IP when the league average was 6 K/9. in 2007, Kendrick is striking out 3.36 batters per 9 IP when the league average is 6.6 K/9.

RSB, Alby: I think you're both right. Overall, Werth has been a disappointment. They were looking for him to provide righty pop off the bench and to give Vic a blow vs. LHP and he's responded with a subpar .750 OPS. He doesn't have the glove or wheels to provide value beyond what he does with the bat. Frankly, this is NOT one of Gillick's success stories.

That said, Alby is absolutely correct: In the 10 games since Vic went down, Werth has provided more offense than Vic did in the 10 games before the injury. That's not "selective" stats RSB, it is a stone cold fact.

Re: Myers. I supported the move to the pen at the time because of Gillick's abject failure to improve the bullpen in the offseason. However, I did NOT support it as a permanent move. I still cannot until I know who the starting rotation is. Leiber, Garcia and Lohse are all free agents. That leaves Hamels-Moyer-Kendrick-Eaton-??? And Eaton is a big question mark himself. Obviously 2 starting pitchers are needed and if they aren't acquired I don't see how Myers can stay in the 'pen.

if Myers is a closer next year, what's the rotation? if we send out Hamels-Moyer-Kendrick-Eaton-AAA/FA/trade next year, I think we'd be lucky to finish third in the division.

Myers only earned the No. 1 starter label during Spring Training. Before that, it was a lot of "Will he finally become this team's No. 1 starter?" and "He's showing signs of becoming the team's No. 1." He never gave the team the kind of cosistent, dominant outings Hamels is giving them. Hamels is a No. 1, Myers was not.

Aside from the No. 1 starter label, assigned to a guy who can be counted on to stop a losing streak, I'd like to know the difference between starters No. 2 through 5 in a rotation. What separates a 2 from a 5? Or a 3 from a 4? What is expected from a 3 or 4 on a team that leads the league in scoring?

Victorino suffers setback in rehab assignments for Reading last night-

*Werth has done a decent job filling in, but we NEED Vic back!

Although I believe Brett Myers will make a fine closer, already showing he can handle it, I want him in the rotation next season. Next year's rotation is sketchy at best, but add Myers back into the mix and we're looking much better.

Alby, all of your points are valid. Teams will get a book on him and it will become more difficult to "fool" the batters. Maybe the 2nd time around he should crank it down a notch, which is pretty much what Moyer has done. Great arms don't make great pitchers and I'll go out on a limb and pencil him in at #3 or #4 next year. Eaton has better stuff, Kendrick has shown better gamesmanship. On my ideal team I'd like a mix of hard throwers and finesse guys in alternate games but that's not easy to do. Kendrick has potential to fill that role. However, I'll keep the eraser handy.

Jason, we may have the best offense in the NL, but NY, Atlanta, and Florida are hardly the Padres, and chances are every one of them will field a better rotation than us last year. I'm not sure that our edge on offense will be bigger than our disadvantage in pitching.

Uggh, I can't believe Victorino reinjured himself in Reading last night. Any word on how badly?

However well the fill-ins have been doing, the Phils need to start getting their injured starters back in the lineup sooner rather than later ...

I, for one, am less concerned with next season as I am for the current one. In the current one, Myers seems to relishing his opportunities to close games. From the majority of comments read so far this morning, we all agree that Myers can do either - close or start - really well.

Why don't we wait to see what Gillick or his successor does in the offseason before we decide where to best utilize Brett?

JW - So true.

Most mind boggling, eye-opening stat of the year.

The Phillies have only won 2 games when scoring three or fewer runs.

JB wrote: "Anyone notice Myers is starting to look a little more "portly" than usual?"

Myers is emulating his bullpen role model Old Six Finger Pregnant Belly Alfonseca!

Aside from one scoring inning for both teams, last night's game was a pitchers duel with a lot of three up three down innings.

I disagree with Carson assessment that Lohse sucks. He was with the Reds and the Reds suck. If Lohse knows whats good for him, he'll resign with the Phils for next year. He can see what Eaton's making. He'll go to the Gillick Mint with his pickup truck and load the flatbed with cash bundles.

In raw tonnage alone, I believe the Phils' pen is tops in the league with Pulpo, Mesa, and Myers. Zagurski helped out when he was up with the big club.

@ae -- that makes absolutely no sense. Based on this season, we've hung around with the top half of the National League for most of the season... with Crap (Lieber) and Crappier (Garcia) and Crappiest (Eaton) starting a grand total of 47 GAMES!!!

Given that we wouldn't have 23 starts from Lieber and Garcia and any 5th starter (Happ? Durbin? Trade/FA) would be an improvement over those 23 starts. In addition to the improvement that Hamels would see. Perhaps Kendrick performs at the same level. (ALthough Moyer might fade, but why start now?)

I don't see how that rotation wouldn't be any different or an improvement over this years staff.

Looks like the Myers starter vs. closer debate is over...He's got a closers body. Now if we can only add 50 pounds to Masdon before he gets back.

Mike, you're making absolutely no sense. by your logic, the fact that we've improved our playoff position since Utley went down means that we're better off without Utley. I assume you would not make that argument.

also, note that we've been able to hang around this season for the following reasons:

1. Atlanta getting virtually zero production out of 1B for most of the season. with Teixeira signed, that will not be the case next year.
2. New York getting substandard production from more than half of their lineup. you have to believe Minaya will make several moves to take care of that in the offseason, and Beltran isn't likely to have another off year.
3. Florida having a number of young pitchers take steps backwards. they're always going to be the wild card in the division since their success will depend on young, mostly unproven players, but they're probably going to come up with some more live arms in 2008.

and your plan for the Phils absolutely nothing.

ae: In fact, that same "logic" was used last year by most posters on Beerleaguer. Abreu left, the team started winning more, therefore Abreu leaving was the cause of the winning. Since the same set of facts is true with Utley this year, it shows how idiotic such conclusions are.

The news about Victorino sucks. Bourn isn't looking like he'll be back any time soon. Utley looks to be back for the Mets but he's going to rusty. I don't know how much longer this team is going to tread water. Kudos to Gillick and Manuel for keeping it a float this long (disptie all the stupid mistakes). The ship is going to start to sink though don't get these guys back healthy.

I'm hoping Vic just tightened up. He didn't report a pop like the original injury.

A day or two of treatment will hopefully get him back on the field.

Please no one take clouts bait for the Abreu discussion. Please....

"Please no one take clouts bait for the Abreu discussion. Please...."

Why? What happens when Clout discusses Abreu? J/K!

Myers has the stuff of a top-flight closer and he has the look of a top-flight closer.

Keep him there and you have a VERY important piece of the puzzle locked up for years to come. Or, would you rather have guys like Ryan Dempster, Bob Wickman, Joe Borowski or Todd Jones as your stopper?

Closers are VERY important and when you have one, that has the potential of Myers, you keep him there and go worry about other aspects of your club.

Plus, starting pitching in the minor leagues is on the way. With Hamels and Kendrick, you have 2 guys that should be here for a while. Moyer looks like he has another year in him, as a 4th or 5th starter. Happ is pitching lights out now and should be ready for the rotation full-time in 08'. If you can find a way to dump Eaton, you can either go out and sign another FA starter, try and re-sign Lohse (who DOES have very good stuff) or possibly resign Garcia for a smaller price, if he gets healthy. Plus, guys like Carrasco, Outman, Carpenter, Bastardo and Savery all could be ready for the majors by 09'.

The rotation (health permitting) should be fine in 08' and beyond without worrying about Myers.

Who's Abreu?

The only thing I didn't like was Branyan's pose when he crushed it. Dude, you're lucky to be on the team. Put your head down and run the freaking bases.

AND... Phillies' Defensive Play of the Game last night was, seriously, Ruiz and Dobbs colliding. Only in freaking Philly do the powers that be make a bonehead play the Play of the Game.

Myers gives us great flexibility in next year's offseason - if we can get a closer, Myers starts and thats one less starter we need to sign. If we can't get a closer, Myers is our man, and we focus on signing a starter. I like it.

denny, are those the only free agents available next year?

I think either Francisco Cordero or Scott Linebrink - neither under contract for next year - would be perfectly good closers.

Can we stop pretending the Phils team will be exactly the same next year as it is this year? I know this offseason was disappointing, but it's rediculous to assume all the other teams will get better and the Phillies will do nothing. I know, I know the Phils mgmt is terrible, but come on.

Some people said the Phils could lose up to 100 games this year after the Abreu trade. Of course, they forgot that the Phils have an offseason to make moves like every other team has.

Also-Myers is a solid starting pitcher, but he's said on a few occasions that he wants to be the closer. Perhaps he just means for this season, but I have a hunch that's where HE is most comfortable.

I still say that, in the long-term, Myers as a closer isn't really a viable option. It's a lot easier, and a lot cheaper, to find effective relievers than effective starters. If anything, this year's experience only proves my point, as the Phillies ultimately managed to patch together a reasonably decent bullpen with value village castoffs. I'm not suggesting that they should aim for this same approach in 2008. I'm merely pointing out that it's not all that hard to find serviceable relievers -- particularly since the 2007 free agent class will be strong in this area. And, as we saw this year, if they add some relievers and it doesn't work out, it's not all that difficult to fix the problem in mid-season.

On the other hand, as of today, the only certainties in next year's starting rotation are Hamels and maybe Kendrick. Moyer will be 45 & I don't trust 45 year old pitchers in my starting rotation. Lieber, Garcia & Lohse are free agents. And I refuse to concede that Eaton will be a member of the 2008 rotation. So that leaves 3 vacancies. Myers has proven to be an effective starting pitcher in the past. Given how difficult and expensive it is to find starters, as compared to relievers, it would be foolish not to return him to the starting rotation in 2008.

JZ: Are you kidding me? They should have put a Superman cape on Branyan while he was running the bases!

The Reading Phillies website is saying Victorino is day to day, and that his status for tonight is uncertain. Maybe they are being optimistic just to sell tickets.

i think the question of whether myers is the closer next year or not should rest on what piece is easier to fill in the off-season: high quality relief pitching or a reliable 2 or 3 starter.

Agreed b-a-p. By the way clout, do you think our only way into the playoffs is winning the division or do you finally see we have a shot at the wild card? I think what will happen is the Padres will pass the Diamondbacks, the Diamondbacks will fall way off (they've been outscored by 30 runs this year, this can't keep up), and we'll be in a two-team race for the wild card with the Braves.

I'm not yet comfortable penciling kendrick into the 2008 rotation, at least not without a backup plan. There's something very Carlton Loewer-Garrett Stephenson about him.

Tonight is Cole Hamels bobblehead night in Reading. They won't have trouble selling tickets.

Couple of thoughts...

1) I'd like to pat myself on the back for suggesting from the outset that Branyan was a good signing that gives us pop off the bench that we lacked.

2) I was also on the "Myers as closer" bandwagon from the beginning. I think he will be more successful in that role and it will help the team more.

3) RSB... Jayson Werth was supposed to be a power bat??? Really? Since when. He averaged a home run every 27+ at bats in the two seasons before hurting his wrist. In his first season back since that injury (including yet another injury during the season) he's hit a home run every 30 at bats. The fact is that since taking over for Vic, he's posted an .894 OPS. And that's a void? You're just plain wrong. Period.

4) ae: No one is suggesting the Phils do nothing. Leaving Myers in the bullpen does not mean the Phils will decide to do nothing else to improve that team. That's quite the straw man. Leave Myers in the bullpen and go after free agent starting help. That's what's being suggested.

I am in the bay area phan school of thought when it comes to Myers. Especially this winter's free agent market. There is really no starting pitching.

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but props to the Phils for busting slot (for I believe the third time this draft?) to sign Julian Sampson. This is a tactic they need to consistently apply if the farm system is going to be repaired and replenished.

Elliott: I agree with you about Kendrick but, to simplify my point, I just called him a certainty. In reality, Cole is the only true certainty for next year's rotation. But if Kendrick keeps pitching as he has done so far, it would be hard to think of a reason why he shouldn't be a presumptive starter heading into 2008.

I hope those Cole Hamels bobbleheads turn out better than the Ryan Howard bobblehead from a couple weeks ago.

CJ - first, I was referring to Mike's post specifically, not the general argument. second, there simply is not quality free agent starting pitching available next year. Zambrano and Schilling are not coming here. that means you're choosing from guys like Lohse or Silva, at best - league-average starters. there are considerably above average relievers available (as I said above, Cordero & Linebrink are two).

BAP: I wouldn't mind re-signing Lohse this off season, assuming he continues to pitch well. I am also really curious to see how well Garcia can pitch if and when he comes back. If he pitches well enough, why not re-sign him. He might come a little cheaper than expected and could be worthy of consideration. That takes care of two starter spots, with Cole, Kendrick and Moyer possibly.

CJ: As always, your posts are always on the glass half full side. Good to see you are not being a negative Nancy like some on this board. Always enjoy your viewpoints.

Just to reiterate what is being said, no one is comparaing Werth to Vic but how can anyone deny that Werth has been filling in nicely. Just look at the stats. He's not tearing up the joint but he also isn't hurting us at the same time. Bottom line, Werth has been a contributor to the Phils success in the last two weeks and there isn't too much more you could ask from him.

VOR: I'm not too interested in resigning Garcia. First of all, it's wildly speculative to assume he can come back this year, let alone pitch well. Second, he has had 2 bad, injury-riddled seasons in a row and, as is well-documented, no longer has the velocity he once had. You really want to pencil this guy into your starting rotation for next year, after his disastrous 2007?

Lohse has been good in his 2 starts but let's not get carried away. His career stats are a much better indicator of what to expect with him -- and his career stats say he is a No. 5 starter. Numerous times this year, I've written that the Phillies have a rotation full of No. 5 starters. I'd like to aim higher for 2008.

ae: You're suggesting Linebrink for closer? He's got 4 career saves in 5 full seasons. This season, he's averaging just .63 K's/IP and he's already given up a career high number of HRs. One reason he was traded was because of declining production. Since June 9th, he's got 5 blown saves and one loss to go with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

I suppose Francisco Cordero is an option. He started out great saving his first 22 opportunities giving up only one run. But he's been much less impressive since then saving just 14 of 20 opportunities with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.625 WHIP in 25 games. Is he the pitcher from the first 26 games or the last 25? I guess we'll see how the rest of the season goes.

Last night's win was certainly a Pat Gillick special...

Lohse goes 6.2 strong
Alfonseca gets the win in relief
Werth scores our first run
Branyan knocks in the tying and winning runs with a pinch hit homer

CJ: neither one is Billy Wagner, but I think they'd do just fine.

Linebrink's pitched very well since going to Milwaukee. his workload doesn't seem unreasonable, so I don't think he's going to go off a cliff at age 30. (and Myers had zero career saves before this year, and I assume you aren't holding that against him.)

on Cordero, even if he isn't as untouchable as he was early in the season, he's still got a pretty solid track record as closer going back to 2004.

ae: I guess my question is what makes you believe Linebrink can be a closer? He's never been one in his career and I haven't heard any suggestion that his stuff is closer-like.

I could certainly support bringing in Cordero assuming the last few months of the season aren't a disaster and it's at the right price.

CJ: Please identify the "free agent starting help" available that you think is better than Brett Myers.

ae: Linebrink as closer? Interesting idea, but here are the red flags (not to say it wouldn't work, just that these points would worry me a litte):
*His strikeout rate doesn't fit the normal profile for that role.
*He's been used heavily the past four years.
*He was unbelievably good in 04-05, just good in 06-07. The trend is downward.

BAP: "[Lohse's] career stats say he is a No. 5 starter."

Actually, his career stats say he is league-average. And, by definition, league-average is better than a No. 5 starter, as No. 5 starter will be in the bottom 1/5th of starters.
Of course, lots of people in that bracket won't make it through a full season. Someone (Jason, I think) asked about the difference between a No. 2 and a No. 5 starter. Obviously you won't find a definition in Webster's, but I think an easy way to group the pitchers would be in quintiles -- the top 1/5th are No. 1 starters, the second 1/5th are No. 2 starters, and so on. That leaves the possibility that some teams don't have a true No. 1 starter. If you accept this notion, a No. 3 starter is in the group that's better than 40 percent of the starters and worse than 40 percent of the starters (or at least, the closest to full-time starters). That seems like Lohse's grouping to me.

All that said, I think we should try to re-sign him, based not on his performance as a Phillie so far but on his performance over his career. He's had no injury issues, and he has an advantage over other pitchers of his class -- we wouldn't give up a draft pick if we sign him. Based on his league-average performance, I'm pretty sure he'll end up a Type B free agent.

More BAP: "And I refuse to concede that Eaton will be a member of the 2008 rotation."

Wishful thinking, that. The only way I can see unloading him is if we trade for some other team's problem contract. Eaton for Contreras, maybe?

- In today's game, since a starter is really only asked to go only 5, 6 or 7 innings, building a quality bullpen is a huge factor to a team's success. The days of a starter throwing a complete game, are going the way of the rotary phone.

- The Money Ball mentality, which the Phillies don't embrace, is that you can make a closer out of anyone who throws hard stuff in and around the plate. It's much easier to find a guy to throw like that for one inning as opposed to 6 or 7.

- Gillick, for the most part, put together a rotation that looked pretty nice on paper coming out of spring training. His downfall was that the bullpen was suspect from the start, but we all knew that. There is no doubt among the baseball people that Gillick knows talent, and how to build a team. The resources that he is given, along with his parameters are something that we are not privy to.

- Victoino felt a grab, not a pop or pull, so read into it what you want. His great arm and speed are missed over the long haul, not to mention the electricity he brings every night.

Alby: Carlos Zambrano and Johan Santana?

Okay, so neither is coming to Philly, I'll grant you that. And I don't know the list (perhaps I'll look it up).

However, I don't think the question is just "who can we get to start that's better than Brett?" The question is whether moving Myers to starter improves the rotation enough to off-set the significant drop off in the bullpen.

If our bullpen will be closer by committee of Gordon, Mesa, Alfonseca... I don't care if Brett Myers wins the Cy Young... we're f#$@ed.

Garcia - i agree its a big IF. But if he comes back looking good, I think id give him a chance if the price is right. We have the luxury of waiting until the season is over to make this call.
Lohse - i see your point about too many #5's, but if Kendrick keeps performing, I could live with that rotation. A lot of IFs though.

But CJ, if you're willing to go shopping for starters, despite the fact that very little is on the shelves, why wouldn't you go shopping for relievers? That store is much better stocked. It's Wawa vs. Acme.

Some of you are worrying too much about 08'. This team CAN win this year. And, next year could be even better.

And, with Myers, Madson (who was pitching very well most of this year before he got hurt), Alfonseca, Romero (get him signed), Zagurski, Durbin and Mathieson, that is already a pretty good bullpen for next year, even without doing anything in free agency.

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