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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


not crazy about the two-year contract (given gillick's imminent departure).....but i suppose if he's fired after next yr. it won't be too much $ to eat.

As a Met fan (I come in peace), I have to say I like this news. The thought of Joe Girardi in red and white had me really worried.

Damn! This means we are stuck with Smith and Dubee as coaches next year as well.

Love him or hate him, the team comes to play for this guy. Look at what he got out of Pat Burrell, Kyle Kendrick, a broken-down Tom Gordon, and J.C. Romero. This team should have been written off in July due to injury, and they rallied and made the playoffs. Since the 4-11 start, they went 85-62. That's pretty impressive.

Then again, a wild combination of career years, solid player leadership, and offensive firepower overcame some very questionable game strategy. He's not nearly as dumb as fans make him out to be, but like Bowa, I think he'd be a very effective hitting coach under a smarter manager.

I can't say I'm a big fan of this decision, but with their not being any superior candidates waiting in the wings, I guess I'll have to accept it. I for one fell into the Joe Girardi kool-aid earlier this season but he's obviously never coming to this team.

The reason I have doubts is simply because Manuel does not have the baseball IQ you'd want in managing your team. My roommate, a diehard Mets fan, agrees that Willie Randolph does not seem to possess this IQ. He read earlier that Manny Acta studies Baseball Prospctus in an attempt to independently learn tendencies and upsides of players he's facing and players in his system. I have a feeling Charlie isn't being seen paging through Prospectus in his spare time.

It seems that there's a tier of managers who'd you want managing your team, and then just a level of mediocrity. Bobby Cox, Joe Girardi, and Buck Showalter come to mind. Manuel seems to fit in with the secondary tier that gets hired to manage intangibles more than anything else.

Usually I would scream about this, but the Red Sox win games by having fantastic players and an average manager. If the Phillies actually got some pitching help, I picture the same thing occurring.

and here i was with dreams of a spurned joe torre coming to philly...

Cholly was rewarded for getting a team to the playoffs that could have very easily thrown in the towel a number of times throughout this injury-plagued season. I'm okay with that. Like everyone else I'm not crazy about his in-game strategy but this team is going to improve next year based on how well Gillick is able to upgrade the dreadful pitching staff, not based on in-game strategy.

actually, i'd be okay with this if there's a no steve smith clause.

Although, I am generally of the opinion that who the manager is during the season doesn't matter, Cholly has me believing that the manager's role increases in the postseason - especially in a short series. Evenso, I don't really mind this signing.

This sucks. Typical Phil's fan luck. They win just enough to convince the owners to rehire this clown. He will outlast the next GM's first year as well. They owners will NOT eat the last year of his contract - no matter how cheap they get him.

Not that the next GM (certainly some in-house 'loyal' clown) would get rid of him anyway.


Cant say im happy about this, but we all knew it was coming....ive got a question for everyone, why was there a hand-written sign in out bullpen that said "WORD" on it...anyone here the superstitious reasoning or if there is a story behind it?

Wow. I am really surprised by the first couple of negative posts here.

JW did a great job of summarizing how I think 95% of Phils' diehards feel about Cholly - great chemistry guy and below average tactician. I really like JW observation about the Phils possibility outgrowing Cholly's skill set. Sharp stuff.

The Phils had to sign Cholly to a 2-year deal if they brought him back. If the Phils had only signed him to a 1-year deal, Cholly would have been labeled a "lame-duck" all year. This distraction would have started in spring training and lasted all season. Nobody needed that stupid story line.

One other point - Cholly needs to be given some credit for having an unflappable demeanor in a ridiculously tough town that really takes some cheap personal shots on him. It takes a lot to turn the other cheek when a guy like Eskin constantly harps on you.

"There's no question, the players want him back," Shane Victorino said on Monday. "He did a great job. He put us in position to win throughout the year. It's not our call. We know what we want. Upstairs, they have to make a decision and do what's best for the team. He kept us in the right direction all season."

[From the article on]

The phils made a ton of money this year. Next year season ticket sales will be up because many people put deposits down to insure playoff tickets. Management is fine with the status quo.

Quite frankly, this team is capable of winning 100 games with better pitching and a reliable thirdbasemen. I felt Clint Hurdle made worse in-game decisions but his players performed, while ours did not.

As to what to do? I would sign Lohse to an Eaton like deal. Yes you heard me. He can win a lot of games for a team that hits like the Phils. He pitches lots of innings and is a team guy. With Lohse you have 4 potential 200 inning guys in Moyer, Kendrick, Lohse and Hamels. Immediately, this makes the bullpen stronger and less susceptible to burning out.

I would also take a run at Schilling for a 1-2 year contract. If we can't get Schilling to sign

For the bullpen, get Romero back and you have Myers, Gordon, Romero, Madson, Alfonseca and two new pieces (Mathieson?)

Finally, I would do everything I can to trade Eaton, even if we have to eat 50-60% of his salary. If we can save $3-4 million/year and eliminate his awful starts, it is a win-win. That $3-4 million a year we save could be used to get an important piece.

I would also offer Rowand a contract with limited trade option for 4 years but below what Byrnes signed but with incentives that can bring it up to $11-12 million/year. I think the Phils would happily pay Rowand $11-$12 million a year if he doesn't go on DL for an extended time and his numbers stay around these levels. But even a Rowand hitting .260 and 25 double-play balls helps because of his defense and his intensity. Another reason you sign Rowand is because you have to trade Bourn or Victorino for starting pitching if you can't get Schilling to sign. If you can get Schilling you can afford to let Rowand walk.

I never thought I would say it, but I am actually kind of relieved the Phils brought Cholly back. The only realistic internal candidate was Lopes and I don't see one of the premier managers coming to Philly. The Phils won't pay enough.

Now, the Phils can get to the serious business of evaluating their team and deciding on what steps they need to make this offseason. There was no need to let this drag out for 2-3 weeks.

Wrong decision #1...

I want to throw this out there right now:

-If you think it was a horrendous move to bring back Cholly, then who would the Phils have brought in? (Note: LaRussa is just being unrealistic and if you say Torre then I will assume you are a dope).

ae, good point, and that is what I have been saying. If 1B are so easy to find/replace then who would do it?

Dave X: My point is this: What level of production, RBI's, HR, OPS., or otherwise, is capable of replacing Howard, while still keeping this team competitive? And just because you get cheap pitching, how long does it take for them to be MLB ready? I don't have any stats on this, but I would say that young pitchers are one of the positions that are most prone to failure (at least in the sense that they will not end up turning into what you hope they will provide).

I like the Manuel signing. I like the stability. I would be concerned that the players might not respond to a drastically different type of managing. I think some debate about the overall affect of a manager is long overdue. It has been hinted at several times recently, but no one seems to be willing to cross into that unruly territory (Myself included). That being said, I am feeling kind of froggy about the issue. We'll see.

i don't know. it worked to a point this year. they got in. he screwed up game 2. on the whole the team was broken from day one and manuel held it together. the team started taking on water on day one and they never freaked out. credit for that. it worked for this team this year. he is sketchy in game, but baseball is a long season and on the whole i think bowa was worse in game. he always killed his bullpen in blowout games. he couldn't take a loss. manuel got a bad rep early and hasn't recovered.
i know the col. series sucked, but there is a ton to be optomistic about. last year everyone but rollins and moyer got hurt and they still won the division. they have a fixable bullpen problem. the major parts are in place now for fine tuning. do you guys understand how much easier it is to fix a bullpen than to fill a hole in the middle of the line-up? chin ups guys.

There is something to be said about a manager relating to his team. At work in general, a boss can influence the work ethic and passion of his workers; and yes, though these ballplayers make millions, I'm sure a manager has some sort of influence on his players.

Yes, Manuel isn't the best gameday manager. Of course, he's not working with the greatest stable of players. Most things he does are logical enough; his biggest faults seem to run the line of tradition. He's old school, but the way these guys play, the makeup of this team — he's the perfect guy for the job.

I think the major duty of a manager is to manage — to keep production and morale high without sticking his fingers too deep into the jelly. Manuel does that extremely well. The production is high (he gets everything out of a talented offense and gets a lot out of a subpar pitching collection), the morale is high and he doesn't micromanage — he lets his coaches do their jobs (for good or worse).

I like the move. But it's essential Gillick finds better talent for this team, and it's essential he sees the poorer part of the coaching staff (Smith, Dubee) and address that with Manuel. Or else this team is a great offense and not much else (see late-90s Indians).

Burrell could replace Howard at 1B (not that I am in favor of trading Howard).

Why the rush to sign Cholly ? Do you think any other team in baseball wanted him ? Typical Montgomery move to keep the status quo. I was hoping they would try to upgrade. Please don't tell me Dubee and Smith are back too.

I am happy with this decision because he earned it. He did a lot with what was given to him. I agree that he is not a good or may even an average tactician by any stretch but what he brings to the clubhouse in terms of the environment means a lot. It means a lot to the people that work under him (players).

I assume the management in their season ending interviews got the same message and so brought him back. LaRussa would cost too much and probably would not come here if the job were to be offered. I know people are dreaming of Torre but seriously, if you are Joe, why would you come to Philadelphia? What possible incentive would you have to come to a team whose ownership does not commit 100% to winning?

Also, given his cost he is not that much of an improvement. He too has his flaws (handling the pitching staff, specifically the bullpen) and $150+m payrolls go a long way to cover some of them up. Lastly, for at least the past 5 years, his teams have underachieved.

Hearing about Joe Girardi's demeanor with his player in his Florida days, why would management want to hire him? Are you sure that the one year in Florida was not a "flash in the pan"? Also, do you think this team would enjoy playing for him? And yes, players who enjoy playing for their manager does matter.

The only thing I would have done differently is that I would have put in a condition to have him change two of his personnel -- Steve Smith and Rich Dubee.

Disclaimer: I wanted Charlie fired ASAP during the first 4+ months of the season, until the Mets came to Philly in late August for a four game set.

The mid to late 90s Indians lost in one World Series to a fantastic team and would've won the other if it weren't for a certain closer who was last seen getting a "Mesa sucks" chant blowing it in Game 7. I would have no problem with the Phillies being the late 90s Indians...assuming Jose Mesa is not involved!!

They "rushed" to sign Cholly so that they can get on with the laundry list of decisions they have to make. Manuel is a good manager - leaps and bounds over that bum Bowa - and worked wonders with a team whose postseason rotation included a #2 guy who started the season in Reading. If you can get a team that thin to the playoffs, you're doing something right.

I'm not worried about Manuel being the right manager or not for a World Series run. Frankly, this team ain't going to the World Series without significantly better pitching - yet pitching just isn't available or affordable for this Phillies team. I'm hoping for another playoff berth, but pitching wins in the postseason. I don't see the Phillies significantly improving in that department.

Manuel was extended for 3 reasons
1) Players like him
2) Ownership likes him
3) He's cheap

If the Phils didn't sign him, would Manuel get a managerial job anywhere else ?

They've made their one big move,resigned Cholly.Won't get a 3b,they have 3 of them.Don't be surprised if they keep Eaton and Garcia,pithing solved. Rowand??

pitching pithing close enough for Dubee

From previous thread :

I do think the Braves were stupid in trading for Texiera. They gave away the farm and still didn't make the playoffs...

Which brings me to a bigger point, that upgrading (or degrading) one slot in the lineup by a few hundred OPS points isn't going to make or break a team. Its a team effort, and the Phillies led the league in runs by a fairly comfortable margin. In fact, if you take out all of Howard's RBIs, the Phillies would still rank 7th in the league in runs.

I know you all put differing levels of trust into more advanced statistics, but according to Hardball Times Howard created 62 more runs created, although he had 260 more plate appearnces. If the Phillies lost 62 runs, they'd be #2 in the NL this year...

Some part accidentally got deleted. Should be :
but according to Hardball Times Howard had created 62 more runs created than Brad Wilkerson (800 OPS), although Howard had 260 more plate appearnces. If the Phillies lost 62 runs, they'd be #2 in the NL this year...

Billy Mac hit the Lenny Dykstra on the head. Bad move made worse if they don't improve the team and the pitching staff. Smith might not return considering Charlie is not allowed to choose his own coaches.

Which brings me to a bigger point, that upgrading (or degrading) one slot in the lineup by a few hundred OPS points isn't going to make or break a team.

I have an incredibly hard time seeing how someone can believe this. so if you replace Jimmy Rollins (.875 OPS) with Ryan Theriot (.672 OPS), there would be little effect on the Phillies? I mean, that's not even "a few hundred OPS points."

or how about we flip it around? what if we replace Abe Nunez (.600 OPS) with Ryan Zimmerman (.788 OPS)? an even smaller gap! that wouldn't help the Philles?

seriously. this is crazy.

I'm not saying it wouldn't help or hurt them, but if you replace Howard with someone worse the Phillies aren't going to drop to the Nats level of offense like some people seem to imply.

Dave, that's such a limited claim as to be worthless.

here's the point. the Phillies, as currently constructed, have absolutely no suitable replacement for Howard. (Burrell is not a suitable replacement, because then who replaces Burrell?) thus, if they were to trade Howard, on top of making sure they get enough pitching in return to justify a significant decrease in offensive production, they would have to go out and get another player just to make sure that this decrease is only significant, and not, let's say, catastrophic.

it would be one thing if we had at least a league-average replacement to step in. then we could argue if it was worth a 200-300 hit in OPS to get a pitcher or two or whatever. but we don't. this is the thing that (some of) the trade-Howard contingent just hasn't addressed, as far as I can see.

My offseason wish list would be Mike Lowell, a closer (preferably Francisco Cordero, of the available options), resign Romero, and two bullpen pieces - one of the veteran type, one that has a little more promise and the possibility that they could start if needed (read: when Eaton collapses).

I would like to resign Rowand, but I don't think it makes sense for the club. Lowell would replace his right handed bat in the lineup and solve our 3B problem. He has expressed interest in playing here too. I think an outfield of Burrell, Werth, Victorino with Bourn as a fourth would be solid.

Move Myers back to the rotation. Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Moyer, Eaton. In a perfect world, we would trade Eaton, but I just can't imagine why any other team would want him, even if we ate most of his contract. Plus he cant possibly be as bad as he was last year (can he?)

Absolutely no surprise here. I maintain my indifference towards Manuel, though I will echo whatever credit has been given in this thread. No one would believe they could ever win with him, but now no one can say they haven't won with Manuel. It's going to be pretty much the same exact team next year, coaching staff and all. Hopefully it won't feel quite as familiar despite this fact.

There is no way that the Phillies have the capacity to be a 100-win, dominant sort of team next year, no matter what moves they make. The goal is to get over that 90-win hump and to stop playing from behind all season.

Even while realizing that they won primarily as a result of solid starting pitching and stellar relief pitching, I urge people to consider the positional makeup of the Indians and Diamondbacks as the playoffs continue this weekend. Particularly, note the Cleveland Indians' offense. There is no 'superstar' on that team, no huge drool-inducing numbers, but there is a depth and consistency from top to bottom which enables them to score more than enough runs. Both these teams won with solid starting pitching and superb relief pitching. The Diamondbacks famously were last in the league in hitting, but if you watch them play, they execute flawlessly. They compensate for their deficiencies by making the most of their opportunities. The Phillies' model can sneak in with its 89 wins once, but don't count on that happening again.

I'll make one further comment about Mr. Howard (unless provoked otherwise!). There is no way to belittle the magnitude of his power numbers. He is a special, gifted player and I am proud of what he has accomplished in his young career. But as a fan, my appreciation goes chiefly to the players who demonstrate an aptitude for intelligent play. Players who get the most out of their abilities and who enhance the quality of the game by the total attention they devote to their craft. Players who demonstrate the opposite approach are immensely irritating for me to watch, and Howard is one of the worst offenders I've ever observed. The way he went up there with no game plan and got himself out time after time after time was sickening for me to watch. So if it seems that the comments I make appear to engender a 'bias' on my part, I'll acknowledge that I can understand why it might be interpreted as such. But regardless, I consider my opinions and commentary to be objective, which is more than I can say for some hero worshipers who refuse to consider the notion that he may not warrant the kind of financial commitment he is coming to expect.

For the record, I would greatly prefer that Howard is able to hone his game and do great things in his career as a Phillie. I harbor no converse hope that he will continue to flail at bad pitches so that I can advocate getting rid of him.

Apologies for the redundancy and non sequitor in the third paragraph, if you make it that far.

The question is if Rowand resigning is how much he falls off next year. If he plays at his career avg number he probably is:

.280-.290 AVG, 15-20 HRs, 70-80 RBIs, 10 SB, .340 OBP

Good but not the kind of money you want to invest $12 million a year in.

I actually think the Victorino would give the Phils similiar numbers in CF next year with less power (say 5-10 HRs) and more speed. Plus, Victorino is a superior defensive player to Rowand. Better range and much better arm.

The only question though is Victorino able to physically hold up to play in 150 games. Less concerned with his build than his style. He reminds of Nails in that regard. Plays hard everytime out and his legs makes his game go.

Bourn is an adequate substitute if Victorino goes down for a bit but I am not crazy about a Bourn/Werth platoon in RF. Not enough offense from a corner outfield position.

@ AE: The most likely course would be going into the FA market and finding a 1b or LF/RF willing to convert to 1B (probably more likely), for example, .800 OPS Wilkerson. For the record I don't want to trade Howard now, for a variety of reasons, including this year's FA class and the fact that we can control him cheaply for a while. I just think that some of the arguments against the trade - mainly, that the Phils offense will be impotent without him - are demonstrably untrue.

I'm going to maintain my position with regards to Cholly that I've had in recent times.
As it was mentioned before, for better or for worse, the players totally come to play for this guy. Going to school in Boston and being present for the 2004 Red Sox season gives me a different perspective on the matter I think.
Whether it was because of him or in spite of him, the 2004 Red Sox won the world series with Terry Francona. Of course the Red Sox had great pitching and that can't be downplayed, but you could hear from the most influential players on the team how important it was to have a manager for whom the players feel comfortable playing. Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, and Curt Schilling all said how vital it was to have a manager like Francona. You hear the same kind of stuff from guys like Utley, Rowand, Hamels, and Jimmy regarding Cholly.

Just gotta hope we achieve the same results, huh?

I have to say the Phils let Rowand but only if they pick up a legit right-handed bat to play 3B or an upgrade over Werth (who I think was a great story but is highly unlikely to play so well again).

RSB: I hate to have to continue to point out bold assertions that are not true, but you are batting .1000 tonight.

I just want to go through this "No star" Indians Lineup, "No drool inducing numbers"

1.) Grady Sizemore: Possibly one of the most dymanic threats in all of major league baseball. 20-30 HR power, 90-100 RBI, 20-40 SB. Probably the best defensive centerfielder in baseball. (This guy bats leadoff)
2.) Kenny Lofton: (assume that Asdrubal Cabrera does not bat in the 2 hole) I don't really need to go into a detailed discussion of Lofton. He brings SB, clutch hitting, playoff experience, good defense, and can play all outfield positions.
3.) Travis Hafner (No star players?): Hafner had a down year (Kind of like Howards down year except Howards numbers dwarf his): 24 HR, 100 RBI, .837 (I emphasize that this was a down year, way down. He usually is in the 40+HR, 130 RBI area)
4.) Victor Martinez: 24 HR, 114 RBI, .879 OPS (He plays catcher, and is the best hitting catcher in baseball)
5.) Jhonny PEralta (SS): 21 HR, 72 RBI, .771 OPS.
6.) Casey Blake (3B, LF, RF): 18 HR, 78 RBI, .776 OPS
7.) JAson Micheals, David Dellucci, Trot Nixon (Platoon): I'm not citing their stats as most people are familiar with what they bring.
8.) Asdrubal Cabrera (2B): 3 HR, 22 RBI, 159 AB, .775 OPS.
9.) Franklin Gutierez: 13 HR, 36 RBI, .790 OPS (271 AB)

Oh, I forgot Ryan Garko: he actually would be in the starting lineup at 1B (Insert after peralta or behind Blake, depending on matchup): 21 HR, 64 RBI, .842 OPS.

I think it is clear that this is not a lineup devoid of stars. They can slug with any team in the American League. Throw in the fact that they have the top 2 starting pitchers in the AL and this is a very good team.

Reasonable statement: Just because you have not heard of a player does not mean that they are not good.
• That being said: I do not understand how you could make the statement that Martinez, Hafner, and Sizemore are not stars. I know they play in Cleveland, but I thought most people that followed baseball closely would know who they are, and maybe you do, I don't know. The failure to mention them, or at a minimum, to say that the Indians do not have any "stars", seems questionable at best. I might agree with the comment about the D-backs (to a degree), although I could also make an argument that, that statment is questionable. These are the kinds of baseless assertions that drive me up a wall. Sorry RSB, but this is kind of ridiculous.

Note: I'm not trying to be a smart arse here. I doubt anyone would look at your statement and believe it, but for anyone who might, I post this information for them to make independent judgment.

MG - Your point about Victorino replacing Rowand but skeptical about his durability reminds me of Rollins a few years ago.

I thought I remember Bowa commenting how Jimmy needed to get stronger to stay fresh for the whole season.

Victorino reminds me of one of those guys with freakish God-given athletic talent but never had to work hard to keep his body in top shape.

Hopefully he will follow in Jimmy's footsteps that the season begins in the offseason, no reason why he should not be able to handle a full season of games without breaking down.

BTW: based on Hafners lack of production this year (ONly 24 HR and 100 RBI, .837 OPS, instead of 40+HR, 130-140 RBI, over .900 OPS), I think they should clearly get rid of him (Based on one down year). However, those stupid guys in the Cleveland front office made the manumental mistake of resigning Hafner. The stupidity of this decision will have devastating affects in the near future, similar a failure on the Phillies part, to trade Howard will be the catalyst for imediate doom. I wonder why the Indians would do such a monumentally stupid thing? It boggles the mind.

Good move, he earned it. And yes, I think he would have been hired by another team if the Phils let him go. Maybe not in 2008, but likely in 2009. You just cant not bring back the manager who got you to the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

Gosh, thanks, Parker. I had never heard of any of those guys. Where would I be without you to tell me what a 'star' is?

Wasn't my point moreover that no one in that lineup really has gaudy numbers, but that the production is evenly distributed throughout?

I often proclaim civility and tolerance on this site, but you are too much, my man. You have a very weak comprehension of baseball and yet have the gall to assert this veneer of superiority. Seldom have I ever seen arrogance so hopelessly misplaced.

RSB, getting on past the "star" talk, you mentioned something of the strengths of the two playoff teams overcoming their deficiencies. The D-Backs were your example: a weak hitting team, but their weakness overcome by executing flawlessly. My question is what exactly do they execute? A bunt with a man on second and one out? 2 out singles with RISP? Getting out of jammed innings with K's or GIDPs? I like where you are going with this, but I'm just more curious about this. For the record, I think you also have a good idea of what constitutes a star. Thanks.

RSB: not trying to pick a fight here, but I wasn't sure exactly what your point was. if it is that the Indians don't possess any hitters in their lineup with gaudy numbers but instead have a lineup of evenly distributed production, then i think it's partially, but not completely true.
The Indians rely extremely heavily on three batters in their lineup for consistent production and power. I think actually that their lineup is VERY similar to the Phils (obviously adjusting for the differences between the AL and NL).
The Indians go as Sizemore (their leadoff hitter) goes, just as the Phils rely on J-roll to set the table and supply a little pop. Also, the Indians' 3-4 hitters (Hafner and Martinez) are far and away their most feared hitters, just like Uts and Howard. It's also interesting to note that, out of the three players on each team, there are 2 lefthanded hitters and one switch-hitter. Both teams also struggle somewhat in hitting left-handed pitching.
Additionally, both teams possess lots of role players dispersed throughout the lineup with a some pop or speed (Lofton, Blake, Peralta, and Garko vs. Victorino, Burrell, Dobbs, Rowand). It's actually uncanny, in my opinion, how similar these two lineups are.

To tell you the truth, I don't know exactly where I was going with this. But I guess it is still interesting to note the vast similarities up and down the batting order with a team that has advanced farther in the playoffs in a tougher league.

and please don't attack my above post saying that I'm and idiot for comparing the playoff results of a team like the Indians (excellent starting pitching, solid bullpen) with a team like the Phils (inconsistent starting pitching, crappy bullpen). obviously the reasons are apparent for the different playoff results of the two teams...

Not having watched the D-backs in more than a handful of games, I admit that claim is based largely on heresy. But having watched them in the playoffs, they did play sparkling fundamental baseball and efficiently converted most of their scoring opportunities. They also had the best one-run record in the league, which along with consideration for their deep bullpen, would seem partially attributable to timely hitting late in games.

Ho-hum. It would have been exciting to hear that Joe Torre was coming to Philly to manage but we knew that would never happen.

Given that Philadelphia management would not be willing to pay for a so called "top tier" manager like Torre, I can live with the decision.

He earned it, in a tough town. The players like him. With few if any exceptions, they play hard for him and seem loyal. Not that you can't win without it, but this team I do feel would have problems without their team chemistry, "spirit", or what have you. They aren't like the Bronx Zoo Yankees, for example, who had the talent to win in spite of team turmoil.

Not only that, they are a team in flux, with some key players probably leaving, and new guys coming in. I think J-Roll, Chase, Rowand, and probably Howard are emerging clubhouse leaders, but I don't know that there is really an "enforcer" type like a Sal Bando or a top dog like Big Papi who has emerged yet. This makes a manager who has the confidence of his players and can keep personality problems at a minimum more important.

All in all, we'll groan next year at some of the blundering pitching moves, but given the composition of this particular club, it's probably the best we could do.

I was kind of hoping Lopes might be promoted, but in all candor, I don't know whether he is managerial timber for sure or not. Certainly would like to se him next year, and with a more active role.

More $ to spend on players this way too. Right.

Parker and RSB!!!!! CATFIGHT!!!!

RSB: You made this same argument about Howard during the season and I believed then, as I believe now, that the points you raise are perfectly legitimate. Howard is a tremendous player, who clearly wants to be paid Manny Ramirez/Derek Jeter money. But the jury is still out on whether he is worth it. The homer & RBI totals are great, but he's a liability in the field, he leaves lots of runs on base with his inability to make contact and, most disturbingly (to me), the opposing manager can completely take him out of the game in the late innings by simply bringing in a LOOGY. On top of that, he's not all that young &, with his less than ideal bat speed, one wonders whether his skills might start dropping off at a relatively young age.

To sign Howard to the contract he wants, the Phillies would have to devote a good 20% of their payroll to one guy. Like it or not, that is going to seriously cut into their ability to resign other good players like Myers, Hamels & Rollins, & to bring in high-priced free agents. Given his weaknesses, and given the sharp drop-off in his stats from 2006 to 2007, it is more than fair to ask if Howard is worth the kind of contract he wants. There is absolutely no urgency to give him a huge contract now, because he can't become a free agent until 2011. So, what exactly would be the reason to give him a long-term contract now? Why wouldn't you wait & see what he does in 2008? Will he be closer to the 2006 version of Ryan Howard (who hit .313, struck out 181 times, hit 58 homers, and hit .279 off of left-handed pitching)? Or will he look more like the 2007 version (who hit just .268, struck out 199 times in only 529 ABs, & hit only .225 against left-handers)? The answer to that question will determine whether we should even be THINKING about giving him the type of mega-contract he wants.

DD: I don't attack people for being idiots unless they aggressively do so with me, and happen to be dimwitted on top of it. Your post questioning me about the Indians was far more reasonable and I agree there are some similarities. The one thing that stands out is that they didn't need a Ryan Howard to score 800-plus runs. They have Hafner who is a 40-plus HR guy most seasons, but they were just fine with him only hitting 24 this year because the rest of the lineup was so filled out and productive. I guess my closest ally in this argument is Dave X, who vouches that the Phillies' offense would not be significantly weakened if it had to downgrade to moderate levels of production at the first base position.

For a rational argument on what kind of contract Howard might get this offseason go over to GoodPhight

To me, 5 yr/$64 million sounds about right. Maybe you even give Howard a very limited no trade clause (something like 5-7 teams). I just know if Howard will bite but that is alot of money to term down.

The way I took RSB's comment about the Indians : No one player has 50+ HR, yet they still have a good (if not elite) offense. In fact, no player had as much as 30 HRs and only 5 had above 20.

Here's what concerns me: I kind of think Manuel got bailed out with a truly terrible bullpen. In other words, since every pitcher other than Romero and Myers was downright awful, he really couldn't make a bad choice when he went to his bullpen because they were all likely to fail. If the team does get bullpen help, I'm scared we'll see more of what we saw in Game 2, moves that don't really make much sense.

However, I like Charlie, and I really like how he's handled the harsh environment in Philly. I don't think he gets enough credit for his attack on Eskin. Suddenly, with the team 4-11, the focus was on him and not on the team sucking, and they seemed to right the ship after that. I really want him to succeed, but they have to have someone on that bench who is in charge of the bullpen. He's a great hitting coach, but he's clueless with pitching and they need someone better than Dubee telling him what to do.

BAP: you just summed up my entire argument far more concisely than I ever could have. I hope you also have more success in dodging the tomatoes thrown at you for venturing skepticism towards Ryan Howard, who's apparently achieved the Pat Burrell/sacred cow status on Beerleaguer.

If you have a conversation about Howard bring some facts to back it up:

"he leaves lots of runs on base with his inability to make contact"

This is flat out ridiculous and bogus. His stats with RISP are really strong and Howard was among the league leaders in sac flies.

"the opposing manager can completely take him out of the game in the late innings by simply bringing in a LOOGY."

Howard did struggle at times this year against LHP but he is far from an automatic out against any LOOGY. Make a slight mistake and it is gone. Plus, Howard hit LHP fairly well in '06.

"his less than ideal bat speed"

I haven't seen one indication that this is true or that scouts have said anything about this. Howard made adjustments this year but seemingly struggled at times this year lunging at offspeed pitches. Still, this doesn't have a single thing to do with bat speed.

Back to the topic,

I am disappointed with the signing of Cholly. All may be true - the players love him, etc. But, as a fan, I find him a big embarrassment - just watch his interview with the press following Game three. The guy can't even put an intelligent sentence together.

I still haven't seen a single poster who bemoaned the Cholly resigning with a single viable alternative.

followed here most of the year and want to thank everyone on their in sight i work nights and this place gives me great play-by-play to go along with gameday. but i finally have to sound off.
cholly signing is not bad not great but he earned it. Torre could only do 1 game better in postseason then old cholly so give him a break for once. also the other commen thread is trading howard for pitching and both sides make good points but the bottom line is do you feel that this management could actually get quality in return meaning an ace pitcher and more. i doudt it. and last of all why not put Burrell at third its as valid as Gooch!

I have my issues with Cholly like everyone else, but not re-signing him would be absurd. He held a broken team together, the players like him, and he got the Phils into the playoffs. For that, he deserves to be rewarded.
Unless it's just for the fun of the argument, I find it amazing that anyone would even contemplate trading Howard. Might as well trade Hamels and Utley while you're at it.

East Bay, you are correct, so next year I will make a point of not listening to the pregame manager's show, and I'll get by just fine.

A fair and good move to bring back Manuel after a good season. There are many aspects of being a manager including handling the players, motivating the team, creativity, flexibility, and of course being a strategist. Manuel did well enough in most of these areas to win a division. He did make an extremely bonehead strategy move in game 2 with Kyle Kendrick that did negatively affect a low scoring series but with all the questions that he's gotten on that move, all the newspaper articles and sports commentators (at least from the radio) inveighing against it, hopefully he will reflect on that decision and grow from it. Now give him a couple of better pitchers and fix 3rd base, and we'll see if he can help our Phillies attain greater results next season.

I'm fully aware Charles Fuqua Manuel is a great motivator, because almost all his players claim so. But he is not the right man to lead this team to the next level. He has made costly errors in his decisions of pinch-hitting, pinch-running, defensive replacements, yanking starting pitchers too early, and worst of all bullpen management over his 3 seasons. Most of you know I can't stand this man, and those are the reasons why. Yes I make fun of his speech, but to be honest I simply think he's a dumb decision maker.

Dave X vouches that the Phillies' offense would not be significantly weakened if it had to downgrade to moderate levels of production at the first base position.

Dave X suggested we replace Howard with Brad Wilkerson. forgive me for being skeptical.

maybe I'm pointing out the obvious here, but the reason the Indians were able to be successful despite only a fair season from Hafner, their Howard equivalent, is that they had two legitimate Cy Young candidates in their rotation. I would love to hear a suggestion of what team is going to give us two ace pitchers in their mid-20s (oh, and an .850 OPS first baseman, since they "grow on trees") for Ryan Howard.

Damn, more pro-Cholly sentiment than I would have expected. No one in their right mind who knows the Phils would be surprised by this but to be happy with it? I see it as just another signature example of Monty et. al.'s cheapness and willingness to settle for mediocrity. Yes, he didn't have the pitching, but he also didn't know how to use the pitching he did have. And not just the pitching. To state the very, very obvious, how many times will we have to watch a Pete Laforest PH with an Iguchi and a Dobbs on the bench next year (metaphorically if not literally)?

b_a_p, we agree on a lot of things, but this comment:

"his less than ideal bat speed"

is just idiotic and ignorant. In fact, it is so ignorant it literally, and I mean literally, defies the laws of physics.

Here's how:

Ryan Howard uses the largest, heaviest bat allowed by the MLB rulebook, a bat that has been marveled at by none other than Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell. He also hits home runs that consistently travel farther than everyone else in the game.

The law of Physics that comes into play here, or rather, one of Isaac Newton's three laws of motion, is this one:

F = mA

or, Force equals Mass times Acceleration.

I, for one, have watched him hit in regular and then slow motion, and have been amazed at the bat speed he does generate. His problem at the plate is not the speed of his wood.

As large as his bat is, it would not hit balls very far, unless the acceleration (or speed) was present. It would be, literally, physically impossible.

I'd still take 2/3 (if not more) of the managers in the game over Charlie.

It is one of the biggest cliches in sports that teams plays hard for their manager. I fully believe that J-Roll, Victorino, Utley, and others would play hard for any manager. Now we have to wait 2 years to get that opportunity, cause you know damn well the Phils aren't eating any managerial yes man's contract. Bottom line is that Maneul has cost this team A LOT of games the three years he has been here and IMO he really hasn't shown any signs of growth. I can hardly wait for the Amaro-Manuel lovefest in '09...

I'm not taking sides in the "trade Ryan Howard debate", but I thought I'd pass along this little ditty from the Cincinnati Enquirer about Adam Dunn, and his finanacial value, since others hae brought him up as a comparison to RH.

This is the columnists opinion:

"It will cost the Reds $13 million to pick up Dunn's option for next year. The team hasn't announced what it's going to do, but Dunn recently met with Reds owner Bob Castellini for a private lunch, and both sides said it went well.

The $13 million option is a lot of money for someone who is not seen as a complete player - Dunn probably will never win a Gold Glove for his defense - but very much in line for a player with Dunn's offensive production. In his last four seasons, Dunn has hit at least 40 home runs. During that time he has 401 RBI."

Since Dunn plays LF, it also gives some perspective on Pat Burrell, and whether he should be traded, replaced on have his contract extended.

link here:

ae: I think that you and I are making the same argument.

1.) Howard could be traded if (I would never advocate for this as I said until he is 32 or 33, maybe even 34):
a.) He gets pitching (good pitching)
b.) Somehow the Phillies get a 1B that can "Fill in" for Howard (You don't necessarily have to replace his numbers as much as have someone there who will be capable of doing some of the things he does. You use the .850 OPS, and that is a good point.)

The problem with all of this is simple:
1.) No one is likely to give up young/talented pitching, unless they are several years away from being major league ready (Or are somewhat flawed in the other organizations eyes: See A.J. Pyrzinski [I murdered that] for Liriano and Nathan).
2.) There is no in-house replacement for Howard (Or anybody that has any other exceptional offensive talents). Any replacement would have to come via trade. I asked the question many times: How much would it take to get half of Texiera? 3/4 of Texiera? My guess is enough to cancel out some of the bounty recieved in any trade for Howard.

One thing that I originally thought about was moving Utley to 1B (A move that I think happens down the road anyway). THe only problem is that the same problem exists in replacing Utley at 2B, and it is even harder to replace.

AWH: The bat speed post is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. That is great stuff.

Well, I can't complain. I said all year that he should be back if they make the post season. I guess I should have qualified that with them needing a playoff WIN, but oh well.

And yes, a useful bullpen would probably help his cause. 2.5 useful guys (Myers, Romero, and half of Gordon) really isn't enough to get it done.

How'd this thread get back to trading Howard? Y'all have to stop drinking so early.

I don't think he gets enough credit for his attack on Eskin

On the contrary, I thought it was terrific he wanted to kick Eskin's ass! That's a plus in my book.

I know that's not what you meant. But it was still a fun moment in 2007.

RSB, Actually, for the purposes of review, your statement was:

"Particularly, note the Cleveland Indians' offense. There is no 'superstar' on that team, no huge drool-inducing numbers, but there is a depth and consistency from top to bottom which enables them to score more than enough runs."

The problem is that you take a turkey basting approach to many of your arguments. You know that you are going to need to inject the bird with seasoning, and get something with depth to make it taste good for your guests. Instead, you haphazardly go crazy with the butter brush, only coating the outside. On the surface everything seems good, but when someone with a good sense of taste bites into it, they realize that there is nothing of substance.

There are essentially three parts to this statement
1.) There are no superstars in the lineup: This is not backed in any way. In fact, you lambasted another poster for using the term "star" in an earlier post.
2.) There are no "drool inducing" numbers: you failed to define exactly what stimulates your own saliva glands, but I'm sure that reasonable minds differ on what could cause this sort of reaction to numbers.
3.) The lineup is balanced: You supplied no evidence as to why this is true. Dave X, and Diggitydave supplied good arguments as to why this is true, and I agree with them.

Also, implicit in your statement is an assumption that the Phillies lineup does not possess this sort of balance and somewhat reliant on star players. Aside from the fact that you previoulsy rejected the "star" argument out of hand, it is debunked by DiggityDave's post. His argument discussing the similarities of the Indians and the Phillies lineup is a good one.

Billy Mac wrote: "Manuel was extended for 3 reasons
1) Players like him
2) Ownership likes him
3) He's cheap"

I think reason no. 1 is the real reason to keep Cholly. The players liked him. They played as a team with great enthusiasm. There was no bad words said about players by Cholly or from players about each other. He helped (developed?) maintain the team chemistry. I the ongoing Beerleaguer debates between the stat heads and the "intangibles" crowd, Cholly is a master at maintaining the "intangibles" side of the equation. On the stat head side, Cholly often appears as dumb as a tree. Carson is right about that, however, Ben Keeler hit the nail on the head when he wrote: "You just can't not bring back the manager who got you to the playoffs for the first time since 1993." Firing Cholly would bring bad karma to the team.

On the rumor front, I heard Joe Torre's next job will be managing St. Louis and Tony LaRussa will take over Joe's job with the Yankees.

"Better players would make his job easier, certainly."

That's true of any manager. A chimpanzee could manage an All-Star team. At least a grow'd up one could.
Don't expect anything to change. Making the playoffs and extending Charlie means more of the same around here.

Translated: A weak start, big push when the pressure is on and lots of goofy decisions that the players are required to overcome.
Oh, and in spite of 3+ million at the gate, I don't expect them to spend much money on free agents, either, which means more reclamation projects from the scrap heap.

remember the following:
baseball is a game of failure.
there is a finer line between success and failure in baseball than in any other sport.
stats can be used to prove anything.
it is not your money.
dealing barkely, lindross, rolen, and schilling did not put their teams over top.
you'll never have a lineup of .330/30/110 in every spot.
player with different skill sets mesh together to make a team.

If I was alive I still wouldn't have taken Kendrick out.

Long term goal: Beerleaguer crowd wins lottery (maybe one of those European lotteries I'm always winning on email without ever having even entered!), buys team from current miserly collective ownership, Phils start to operate like large market club that they are rather than continuing to act like they are based in Fargo.

there is a finer line between success and failure in baseball than in any other sport.

I dunno, tell that to the Buffalo Bills.

1) Scott Norwood
2) Music City Miracle
3) that onside kick Monday Night

"I'm fully aware Charles Fuqua Manuel is a great motivator, because almost all his players claim so. But he is not the right man to lead this team to the next level. He has made costly errors in his decisions of pinch-hitting, pinch-running, defensive replacements, yanking starting pitchers too early, and worst of all bullpen management over his 3 seasons. Most of you know I can't stand this man, and those are the reasons why. Yes I make fun of his speech, but to be honest I simply think he's a dumb decision maker.

Posted by: GM-Carson | Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at 07:22 AM "

I totally agree with this opinion.

This is a typical Phillies/Montgomery move. Settling for a decent manager instead of going after a better manager. This was a great season for the Phillies inspite of Manuel's managing.

Bringing him back for '08 is the first mistake of the off-season in my book. At the very least why wouldn't you talk to Joe Torre or some of the other managerial candidates out there? What teams were beating down Uncle Charlie's door for his services? I just don't understand the timing here.

yeah Parker, I think we agree. I don't think at all that the general idea of trading Howard should be off-limits. I just don't see any way that trading him could actually help this team. and as far as I've seen, nobody on the pro-trade side--whether this offseason or 12 months from now--has come up with any evidence to the contrary.

Loco, do you really think Cholly was gonna try to kick Eskin's ass? Don't you think that incident was a little contrived...what with all the yelling and script behind his closed office door? That incident benefitted both parties. The state of the Philly sports media is completely glamrific right now and I wouldn't think that was too spontaneous.

And again, booing an opposing player of exceptionally ability without a repugnant reputation is low class and borish. If you think that is exceptable, what does that say about you?

**** Queston ****

What are the Phillies needs for next season and how do you see them filling them?


I think the Phils need a starting pitcher, 2 left handed relief pitchers, a third baseman, and lastly maybe one more relief pitcher.

Starting Pitcher: I think they resign Lohse. There are other options, Silva, Schilling, but I think Lohse is the better move.

Left Handed Relief Pitchers: I think they resign Romero for one spot. No idea for the next one. If they cannot find anything they will have to throw Zagurski, I guess. Or a trade.

Third Base: I wish we could sign A-Rod, but we will likely end up with Nunez again if they can't make a trade. Rumor has it that A-Rod will opt out, but if he does the Yankess will get Lowell instead of resigning him. I can't see the Phillies winning the bidding war for him. Past those two, the 3B market seems pretty thin. Are any of them better than Nunez??

12th Pitcher: If the Phillies can acquire a solid everyday lineup, just one platoon, they may want to carry an extra pitcher. An extra starter for spot starts & long relief? Extra relief pitcher?

bigmyc -

you are suggesting that Charlie and Eskin collaberated in staging a fight to boost ratings and to take the focus of the phillies awful start.

think about the absurdity of that conspiracy theory for a second. Have you seen Charlie act in those Phillies promotional spots? He cant. The man wasn't acting. He literally wanted to fight Howard Eskin, and I would have a paid a lot of money to see it.

I'm not really sure where all the love for Joe Torre comes from. I pose this question: How many managers (Including Uncle Cholly) could not make the playoffs with the Yankees lineup and their bullpen? I mean the guy manages a team with a quarter of a billion dollar payroll. If you want to talk about odds of a chimpanzee having a chance of winning games, I'll roll the dice on the Yankee's any day of the week. If anything, Torre has underachieved in the latter years of his tenure with the Yankees. To his credit, at least to some extent, the front office has made some questionable moves with the starting rotation, but that cannot make up for the 800 pound gorrilla in the room (quarter of a billion $ payroll). If ever there was justification for firing a manager, inability to win, or at least make it to a WS, with that kind of money, is at the top of the list. I don't know what brilliant move Torre makes that stops Tom Gordon from blowing 3 games of the first 6? Does Torre do magic tricks and change the makeup of his bullpen? Can he will Adam Eaton into a quality starting pitcher? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then the Phillies made a monumental mistake in not hiring him. Otherwise, I think Torre is the news of yesteryear.


This is my last post on the Howard issue also, for now.

The proof will be in the pudding in '08. Does he just continue to rely on raw ability? Or will he do some offseason conditioning and try to lose 10-15 pounds? Will he work on his defense? And most importantly, will he react to what teams did with him this year, and adjust his approach at the plate so that he's not a human strikeout machine? We'll see. Then I would think you make a decision about what to invest in him.

I don't know that I've seen this addressed yet (maybe I missed that thread), but how do we win games where we score 3 or less runs next season? I'm sure that someone knows the stat better than I do, but at one point we were 2-20 when we scored 3 or fewer runs. That's how good teams win, especially in the playoffs. If retaining Charlie solves it, I'm for that. If keeping Myers in the 'pen does that, I'm for it. But that was a glaring problem for this team that needs addressed.

Nutter: Great call on your comment: "dealing barkely, lindross, rolen, and schilling did not put their teams over top." Not sure it's completely apples-to-apples with the Howard scenario but it does remind me of the scene in Arrested Development when Tobias and Lindsay are trying to work through their marital problems. When the subject of starting an "open" relationship arises, Tobias (the psychiatrist) says something like, "I've seen this in some of my patients, but it never works...the couples become so bitter and angry towards each other, and it completely destroys the relationship"... (long pause)..... "But, then again, it MIGHT work for us."

does he just continue to rely on raw ability?

Howard was never a can't miss prospect. He wasn't drafted out of high school. He wasn't a first rounder, when he was in the low minors his prospects of being an everyday major leaguer were doubted by scouts because of holes in his swing and a huge strikeout rate. He learned to hit the inside pitch, and now there is no one way you can pitch Howard to get him out. He worked hard to beat the odds and now is the player who reached 100 home runs quicker than any player in the history of the game. There is no evidence that I can see that the is anything but a positive, hard working, law abiding fearsomly professional hitter. I'm all for debating how much money he is worth, but to say he just rested on his laurels and coasted his way this season to 47 hrs and 136 rbis doesn't seem defensible to me.

From the District: Excellent point. One more feather in the cap of Mr. Howard. Keep em coming. Howard is no stuffed bird, but more feathers in that cap are always useful.

I find it comical that someone can make the argument that Burrell won't waive his FNTC because he enjoys playing for Manuel, a manager who uses the "late inning" defensive replacement earlier and earlier in the game, as the season goes on. If I had a nickel for every at bat that Burrell missed late in a game because he was pulled for defensive purposes (the same can be said for Helms/Dobbs), I'd be on my way to a hefty payday myself. Manuel has long criticized Burrell and his swing and I believe fell firmly into Gillick's camp trying to trade Burrell last offseason.

While you have to give Manuel credit for earning his players' trust/respect, as well as developing hitting, I'm not thrilled with the signing. Girardi would have been great, but I think that Lopes or Williams would actually be better suited for the job (for those who must ask who a better candidate would have been).

Not sure I'm ready to approach another season questioning pitcher usage (as noted above a better 'pen will only futher lead to second-guessing), defensive replacements, or pinch hitting (or the pitcher hitting, only to be removed before the next 1/2 inning) every third game or so. For a man with so many years in the game and so much knowledge, he sure does get "Monday Morning Quarterbacked" more than he should.

I think Eskin walked in that clubhouse to cause trouble, and Charlie didn't have the patience to deal with his nonsense. I don't believe Charlie is conniving enough to plan some kind of staged event ahead of time..

mike nutter, I have to respond to this comment, which is, if I understand the context, completely wrong:

You wrote:

"it is not your money".

By that, I take it to mean that you are saying to everyone on the blog that it's the team's money, and we have no place in telling ownership how to spend it.

In response I ask you one simple question:

Where does ownership and management get the money that is 'not ours'?

The answer is obvious, as is any fan's right to demand ownership increase payroll enough with the money he or she spends at the ballpark to try to keep the team truly competitive - and by that I mean legitimately trying to make the playoffs EVERY year, especially when the franchise operates in the FIFTH LARGEST MARKET.

I have posted this before, and for your benefit I will do it again:

This ownership management group is not good enough at operating the baseball side of the franchise to be consistently competitive without being one of the top clubs in payroll outlays. At least, that is what history tells us.

MLB revenues are double what they were 8 years ago. Owners that really care about winning INVEST the money in baseball players, whether it be scouting them, in the minors, or in international player scouting and development.

Last I checked, mr nutter, the owners got a pretty good return the last couple of years on their investment.

And when attendance stunk several years ago?...well, take a look at what payroll was.

Baron - Outstanding, and appropriate, Arrested Development reference. Tobias Fünke's words ring as true now as they did in his time.

Thoughts on the long thread...

1. How could you not extend Manuel? What else does the guy have to do except win a division crown. What kind of message do you send if you fire the first manager to win you a division in 14 years (and only the second since 1983). He earned his extension. If he's a disaster next year, they can fire him.

2. I can't believe we're still discussing the relative worth of Howard. People pretend 1) Howard's production is easily replacable, 2) Removing Howard from the lineup would not adversly affect the rest of the lineup, and 3) That Howard's value to this team lies only in the offensive numbers he puts up. I think this discussion shows a great deal of naiveness, but that's just my opinion.

Hi guys, nice to be back. I would think about dealing Howard myself, but I would only trade him if I got a really great offer. As for Manuel, I'm pretty disappointed. One could almost argue that we would've been better off missing the playoffs so we wouldn't get stuck with this guy. I'm sure there are a lot of likeable managers out there who aren't nearly as bad at managing a bullpen, knowing when to pull a pitcher, choosing the right guys to pinch-hit, knowing when to make a defensive substitution and when you should leave one of your best hitters in the game...

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