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Thursday, October 11, 2007

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Let the speculation for utility infielder begin. I'm in for 2005 fantasy baseball star Jorge Cantu. Who's with me?!?!

Wow, I can't eatch this game (at work) but is Colorado ever going to lose a game ever again?

I guess I want the Rockies to win out from here because then the Phillies don't look so bad.

I'd rather see the Rockies win the LCS, but they really need to drop a game soon - I am sick of these sleeveless jerseys with the same colored undershirt!!

Well, if you just saw that, that was clearly the Marlon Anderson play on the DP.

Anyone see this article on MLB.com:

A-Rod, Rollins win Legacy Awards - Honor given to Most Valuable Player in both leagues.

Arizona is making Philly look better in more ways than one at the moment. Although, I have to say, Hurdle is a loser.

I can't believe that those "classy" Arizona fans would throw detritus on the field. Wonder if they'll ever be mentioned as being as brutal as Philly fans - I guess if no one is watching or paying attention it won't get enough press.

If Philly fans were throwing bottles on the field it would be the top story on SportsCenter.Since it's Arizona-the story will be how a few fans were classless.

I cast a vote for bringing up Mike "Don't Call Me George" Costanzo. This way we can some balance on the corners regarding strikeouts. And, according to most scouting reports (and my own eyes in Reading), Costanzo's fielding is somewhere as follows.

(incompetent)-----(Helms)-(Costanzo)-----(Dobbs)-----(Nunez)-----(competency)
0--------------------1--------------------2--------------------3--------------------4--------------------5

Note that most major league players are above the competence level (this is skewed low). But, with fielding like Mike's we won't miss a beat on the commenting!

That was a pearl of a bunt...fundamentals, who knew?

Another reason to stick with the Rox: a Drew will lose. Even though it's the wrong one, it still feels good.

Oh my God! Is...is that...is that Brett Myers' music?! MY GAWD?! THE CARNAGE!

PhanAddict: I will assume that, per your comments on commenting, you are not serious. Costanzo truly does need more seasoning (like probably an entire year at AAA). Otherwise his K-rate would define "brutal."

As for Dobbs, I would love to see his minor league splits. Every level he's been at, he's eventually topped .300, which makes me believe that he may be able to hit left-handers once he's seen them a couple times. (Or not - without those splits...)

Jason - I too have fears about Kata. As with so many others, a known quantity (even if it's a very small quantity) is often chosen more quickly. (Which means look as well for some effort at Silva and a glimmer of a chance at Wolf should the Dodgers pass.)

Conscience - but why would you bunt with a man on second and two outs? I don't think that was a good play.

Arizona fans actually care, who knew?

Andy:

Definitely joking. He averages a SO per 3.2 ABs. Howard is a little less at 2.7 (I think--I calculated it earlier and since forgot). Costanzo shows a ton of potential, but his fielding really is somewhat atrocious and his bat quite undisciplined. If they can ever harness the bat and at least make him a competent fielder, though, his power is not questioned. Plus, being a Philly kid (well, close enough--Philly like Jamie's Philly--greater Philly area we'll say), he could be a fan favorite.

HEY! Lets not forget about A-Rod as a possible everday 3rd basemen. I say screw pitching, lets have the best infield in the history of the game.

By the way, the demise of the Braves may be greatly exaggerated. Schuerholz gave up GM duties, but he's now their team president. Meanwhile, his replacement, Frank Wren, has been the assistant GM for a number of years. Expect the Braves to remain a top organization.

I'm not sure what I'd do about Mateo at this point. I'd certainly have a better idea if the Phils had actually used him last year. At this point I would lean towards picking up the $1.5 mil. option (then again, I, unlike the Phils, couldn't care less if he's a scumbag).

Also, if the Phils sign Randy Wolf, Gillick should be fired on the spot. He's not healthy, and only a little better than average when he is. There's always been a bit too much love for this guy.

I will miss Nunez in a way, though I certainly agree with the decision. Barajas is literally addition by subtraction.

Also, why is happ never mentioned as a possibility for next year? is he not projected to be ready? good enough?

Well, on the Internet that looked just like the Phillies -- a futile late-game rally falling far short.

Predicted headline this weekend" "Ariz., Colo Ratings Set All-Time Record Low." Seriously, is there anyone besides us hardcore baseball geeks watching two small-market (OK, Phoenix is actually big, but it seems small) teams with no real superstars...ON TBS (!!!), a channel that's not even that easy to find (on my cable system, it's Channel 99)?

Rox may not lose another game. The Phils will be slightly vindicated..Very slightly.

That was supposed to be "Ratings Low," not "Record Low."

elliott - Happ has shown some problems with command. He got much better in the second half last year, and may do well enough in Spring Training to break into the Phils' crummy staff. But, then again, he has options, so he'd probably get sent down. (I also doubt they'd bring him up to sit in the pen.) (But hey, I'd take him over Adam "Please Trade Me to Venezuela" Eaton.

Some points I'd like to make...
On Howard, I felt like his trouble this year and the reason for his exorbitant # of strike outs had a lot to do with his inability to lay off sliders in the dirt from righthanders. It was what drove us all nuts this year. So I checked it out, and sure enough, his K rate against righties went up over about 10% this year, while his K rate against lefties was close to the same. I don't have a problem with him striking out a lot. For, one he's a slugger, so it's somewhat natural. Also, he let's the ball get in on him quite a bit before pulling the trigger, it's part of what makes him successful, so the K's will always be there. I think the stats show that he is what he is against lefties, but his problem against righties is correctable and he can turn alot of THOSE k's into walks or hits (like he did in his MVP year).
Not that he's not a dominant player anyway.

Brian G -
Preface: I'm not in the trade Ryan camp.

My concerns are
1) in his second full year of seeing many of the same pitchers, he should have been seeing them better, and coping with some of their stuff. The pitchers, however, adjusted much better to him than vice versa; and

B) in the past, he seemed to do much better at hitting non-homers; it makes me wonder if he's neglected some of the (good) habits that made him extremely productive.

I also have to add that it is not surprising to me that he had an off year. This year was either going to be his best whole year or his worst - since it was his second. A lot of guys would love to have his numbers, including the Ks. A lot of teams would love to have someone WITH his numbers.

I expect that early in Spring Training we'll have some idea of what kind of Howard to expect in 2008.

As bad as it may sound to some people here, if Helms and Dobbs were platooned correctly last season, our 3Bs would've had about a .800 OPS. Great strategist Charlie Manuel gave Helms more ABs vs righties than lefties, though. Simply put, Lowell is the only good FA 3B on the market. If 11 mill is being discussed at a minimum, I think its more likely than not that some team jacks it up into the mid to high teens.

I think RF is a bigger concern - my goal would probably be Japanese superstar Kosuke Fukudome, who, prior to being injured this year was putting up OPSs brushing 1000 in Japan. If you accept that Japanese leagues are the equivilent of AAA in America, still pretty impressive...

Will, isn't this really the best kind of championship series? I'd rather not watch the same old 'stars' and teams. A real baseball fan should be enjoying this matchup...even though, admittedly, the action hasn't been scintillating tonight.

To continue...
On the Myers front, I think we'd be crazy not to put him back in the starting rotation. It annoys me when people pull the "stop talking about it card". I didn't mind his move to the bullpen during this past season, because at the time we thought we had 5 other legit starting pitchers, and our bullpen was probably going to destroy any playoff chances we had.
However, in the future, I look at it in two ways. A couple of years ago, Trevor Hoffman, the all time saves leader, was signed for 3 years and 18 mil. That same offseason, AJ Burnett was signed for 5 years and 60 mil. So why in the heck would we choose to make Brett Myers a 6 million a year asset when we can use him in a 12 million a year role. It's just horrible economics.
Secondly, Clout likes to point out that Joe Borowski was successful something like 85% of the time in the closer role. I'm also pretty sure that Clout wouldn't argue that Borowski has the talent that Myers does. Being that we're a team strapped for pitching resources, why would we want to put our second best pitcher in a role that could be filled almost as well by a guy with a 5.05 ERA?
Like I said, last year it made sense in desperation... but this year, with the benefit of experience, we're much better off aiming to pay some money to upgrade the bullpen than we are finding someone who could come even close to giving us the 200 innings Brett Myers could.. "what he wants" be darned.

Andy.. good points... but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't get in shape bc of all the award banquets and whatnot, and there was a lingering issue starting with his injury that resulted from that that led to some of his bad habits. I hope he'll be better prepared next year. And if not, so be it, he's still a great player. I just think some have jumped to conclusions a little too early.

Thing to consider about Lowell :

If A-Rod walks away, as many expect, the Yanks are on the market for a big name 3B. Since they said they definately will not resign Rodriguez if he opts out, that leaves Lowell. And no one wins a bidding war with the Yanks... although there's a small chance they go with Betemit

RSB - I disagree. Take a look at the Braves. Their core of young players consists of McCann, Franceour, and Johnson. Good players but certainly not in the level of Rollins, Howard, and Utley.

Their offensive will probably be decent again but so much depends upon Chipper playing 130-140 games again. I just don't see it. Without Chipper and A. Jones, this offense is a probably around the middle of the league in runs.

Plus, their pitching is not as strong as people think. Starting pitching is a question real question mark after Hudson and Smotlz. Their bullpen has some serviceable arms but they still don't have any really quality guys at the backend either.

Basically adds up to them being a decent team again next year but I see them in the mid-80s win range. Contender but not a playoff team.

MG - I didn't say the Braves are likely to ever be what they once were. But under the same leadership, there's no reason to imagine their fortunes as an organization will dwindle. That team still produces players. The biggest difference from ten years ago is they don't have the budget they once did.

Good riddance Barajas and Nunez!

These are the best off-season moves made by the Phillies this year (yes, including the Manuel contract).

I definitely agree that because there are no real attractive Starting Pitchers on the Free Agent market, we should target one of the elite closers (Cordero would be fine) and then move Myers back to the rotation. This will solve our two biggest weaknesses in one stroke! Is it just me, or does that just make too much sense?

Plus as mentioned above, an elite closer will command a much lower salary than a top tier (or even mid-tier) starting pitcher. Perhaps someone should mention this lower cost spending strategy to the Phillies ownership group.

The rest of my thoughts...
I still haven't decided whether I think it's a good idea or not to resign Rowand (it would have made sense when he prob coul've been had for 3 years 25 mil during the season, which would've mad Vic/Bourn tradeable assets). I'm not completely aganist Lowell, but not crazy about him due to his age and injury history.
I want nothing to do with Andruw Jones. I think that would be a huge misuse of money.
Finally, Jason brought this up, so I'd like to say that I think it would be really dumb not to offer Geary arbitration. What would he cost? 1 million? That's about what we paid Nunez last year. In the two years prior to this, Geary has held opponents to a combined OPS and had a 3.3 ERA. He's obviously not a setup man, but for a 5th to 7th inning guy, that ain't bad. He's shown the ability to get major league hitters out consistently, something our other cheap options have never done. I think it's worth 1 million to find out if his career is over, or if this past year was just a one year burnout from the 91 innings the year before.

Dave X - I totally agree about RF especially if Rowand isn't resigned. I am really suspect that Werth can duplicate his performance again. Just seems a real crapshoot to go with a platoon of Werth/Bourn in left and Victorino in CF.

It now seems likely that the Mutts took a dive that last weekend (Glavine KO'd by the Fish in the 1st - give me a break). They knew they were too flawed to win a playoff series, saw the Rockie buzzsaw coming, and most importantly, knew that the Phils would be forced to hand Cholly a big contract after "winning" the East. A pretty painless - and clever - way to knock the Phils out of contention for the foreseeable future.

I actually was among the few who favored the Diamondbacks in this series, but their odds just got a lot steeper after tonight. They played like crap after the first inning. Still, for all their 'momentum', the Rockies really aren't playing anything close to dominating baseball. Their pitchers have pretty much picked up the slack to this point, but I wonder how long that can last.

In the AL, I'd love to see Cleveland win, but especially with the home field, it's hard not to see Boston winning that series.

Brian G - I also totally disagree on not bringing back Geary either. Take a look at the free agent relief pitching market. It is so thin that a guy like Riske is likely to command a 3-4 yr deal at $10-12 million.

Hell, teams are so desperate for relief pitching that guys like Sturze, Percival, and other guys are likely to get contracts with near a $1 million next year.

Here is what I would like to see the Phils do if they insist on keeping Myers as the closer:

1. Avoid signing Linebrink. He is going to cost $4-$5 million a year and want 3 years. Wiser to spread that money around instead on 3 relievers.
2. Resign Romero and sign Mahay. Gives Cholly two quality lefties out of the pen that are also capable of facing righties too. Plus, Phils don't have any lefties in the minors ready to pitch out of the pen. (1-yr each at total cost of $3 million).
3. Bring back Madson (1 yr/ $2 million)
4. Exercise Mateo's option or bring back Geary ($1.5 M may seem expensive but even broken down geezer relievers who are a much bigger question mark are likely to earn $1 M this offseason)
5. Sign a hard-throwing RHP like Hawkins or Seanez (2 yr deal at $4 million probably)

Gives you a bullpen that looks like this:

CL Myers
RP Gordon
RP Mahay
RP Romero
RP Madson
RP Hawkins
RP Mateo

Basically this will cost the Phils about $10 million total. I know it is a bit more expensive but it just seems wiser to add 2 or 3 quality arms instead of signing one guy like Linebrink. Plus, there is less risk because you can likely sign most of these guys to a 1-yr deal except Hawkins or Seanez.

Plus, this allows the Phils to stash Mathieson and a guy like Condrey at T-AAA. Almost inevitable Gordon gets hurt again next year and I am not certain of Madson's health either.

Picking up on an earlier idea: A fitting tribute to Nunez' offensive futility would be a short clip of each of his 17 GDP the past two seasons.

Good bye to one of the worst position players to put on a Phils' uniform in recent history.

Nunez most interesting offensive - 13 IBB. Only in the NL could a player who has hit .220 the past two seasons with zero power be intentionally walked that many times just because he hits in front of the pitcher.

MG: That sounds good. I would like to see them go after percival though. he looked really good in st. louis this year.

why is it that geary's numbers always look so much better than it seems they should?

based on my memories of him, i'd guess his ear was over 6 this year, and over 4 the year before.

i'm inclined to say, based on the numbers, that we should keep him. but then i start thinking about watching him pitch, and i think thats nuts.

Well relief pitching numbers are weird, you can twist them to make Joe Borowski seem like a good pitcher

A year too late for Nuni! Here's hoping they don't bring him back at a cheaper rate next season!

RSB, I am glad you are here to tell us what real baseball fans should enjoy. This NLCS is a snoozer. Even the fans in AZ did not show up to watch it. Game 2 start time is 10:20 eastern. Give me a break! RSB I hope you and the 6 other people who may watch enjoy it, because you are real baseball fans.
This must be the silly season here at beerleaguer. Over the last couple of days I have seen comments about trading Howard and Utley, and yesterdays discussion was truly absurd. That guy should have been treated like the Met's trollers. I guess this is what happens after a long, exhausting season.

curt, that is an interesting theory, but it is ridiculous for several reasons, including plenty I have not thought of.
1.) Assuming the Mets had consulted Lake Nostradamus and were aware of the Phillies future success under Charlie Manuel, that would be giving them too much credit, intellectually.
2.) They don't know anything, and claiming that a team would pass up the extra salary and a chance at the postseason is ridiculous. Some of those older guys may never have that chance again. Heads would roll if there was some overt attempt to tank a season.

**Note: I'm assuming your comment was complete scarcasm, or you were under the influence of some sort of intoxicant when making it.

i'd strongly consider bringing back geary, because i think he's still better than the 5th/6th relievers on most teams, and i think he has the chance to be much better than condrey. when geary isn't overused, is put in with a clean slate (ie no inherited runners to let score), and faces primarily right-handed hitters, he's not bad.

Don, RSB, making bold, blanket assertions, without any reasoning?
Noooooooooo? It couldn't be, I refuse to believe it under any circumstances.

parker: i don't think curt has ever made a post that wasn't dripping with sarcasm.

Parker and Bath, I thought curt was joking too. However, I think RSB really belives his own BS. Either way the last couple of days have been very strange here at BL.

Brian G: I'm not someone who says you can't talk about what's not going to happen. Feel free. We can even pretend A Rod is coming. But based on what the organization and the player himself are saying, Myers is the closer next year, like it or not.

MG: How much would you like to bet that Mahay & Romero have to settle for 1-year contracts?

elliott: Geary's inherited runners numbers are bad, as are his numbers vs. lefties, even when he had his career year in 2006. He'll be too expensive if they offer him arb, but I think they can get him to re-sign at a reasonable price. As noted by several posters he's a fine 5th-6th inning man, although it makes no sense to have both him and Condrey on the team, since you only need 1 of those kinds.

Dave X: It's amazing how many people don't get it about relief pitchers. They just can't get past the ERA.

Come on, you have to admit that enticing the Phils to resign the Dumbest Manager in Baseball made the '08 and '09 Mutts a whole lot better and cost them absolutely nothing.

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the Mutts and Phils are duking it out for last place next year.

An article for anyone who thinks anyone other than the Phils would be dumb enough to waste Myers as a closer for another year: http://www.slate.com/id/2175720/fr/rss/

Curt, that was a little over the top don't ya think? I don't see a problem with keeping Gas Can Geary, at least for the early going. If the guy get's back what he had in '05 into '06, this bullpen gets a lot more comfy. With Romero's emergence, Myers could certainly go back to starting although, I don't think he'll win any more games than the 14 or 15 he's been up to so far in his career, he'll certainly give the rotation a a lift.

I know that the Phils have no interest in A-Rod, but while we're playing fantasy GM, here's two options that I would find intriguing, but would never happen:
1) Sign A-Rod for SS, sign Lowell for 3B, move Rollins to CF, keep Vic in RF.
2) Sign A-Rod for SS, move Rollins to 3B, move Vic to CF.

I think you have to have confidence in your young'ns to do this sort of stuff. If you notice, these teams mentioned happen to have a pretty good starting rotation as it is. The point of having a Myers in at closer is that you pretty much know what your going in with. Consistency is the x-factor that is unknown with young, affordable players.

Fortunately, Romero's emergence makes this particular debate virtually moot.

Here is a comment from out in left field -

Does Kyle Kendrick offer any trade value at all?

We talk about Bourne's value in the trade market - and i know Bourne's top skill (speed) is at a much higher value then any Kendrick's skills.

The Red Sox were able to increase the trade value of "limited-ceiling" prospect Kason Gabbard by having him throw a few solid starts. Kendick did more then throw a few solid starts so I think his value would be higher.

I know management might be statisfied with his small contract and perhaps 30 starts in 2008 but I am worried about a fall-off and think we might need to strike when the iron is hot.

Any thoughts?

Oh, I would NOT like to see Kendrick go.

Is it too late to submit my favorite Nunez moment? It was this postseason when he threw one to first and it bounced.

I miss GrumpyGramps.

I like MG's potential bullpen, but I agree with clout that Romero and Mahay will get more than 1-year deals in this market. If they want 2 or 3 years, I'd probably give it to at least one of them.

Rusty, unless you can get a 3B or outfielder who will be with the club for a long time, I don't deal Kendrick, because you certainly won't be able to deal him for a better pitcher (in other words, there are better pitchers, but no one's giving them up for Kyle).

Rusty - I think the lesson everyone will take away from this post season is that you hang on to your young pitching talent, rather than taking on everyone elses expensive rejects. KK may not be the talent his '07 W-L record suggests, but he's what we've got.

Dave X: Any Phils lineup that could consist of guys named Fuk-u-dome, Outman, and Bastardo is alright by me.

I wouldn't trade Kendrick. Part of his success is his groundball-pitching. He's a good fit for CBP.

And I'll feel silly when I get his jersey and he's shipped off right away.

I heard a rumor the WIP newsbreak that they're looking into Schilling and Rivera. If those were the only two big moves they made, I'd be happy.

Hard to Believe Harry Rumor ~

WIP radio reported this morning that the Phils are 'interested' at looking at signing Schilling and possibly Rivera. That would be considered an off season coupe for certain, (but highly unlikely in my mind)which I would assume would land Meyers back in the starting rotation. Would this mean that the ownership is suddenly willing to change their previously stingy ways?

Curt, It cost them a division title, a shot at a world championship, the disgust of their fans and the tag of the worst colapse in MLB history. Is that nothing to you? Charlie may not be the smartest fella in the world but compared to you he is a rocket scientist.

Wow locastic, I was asleep at the wheel. I was reading everyones blogs when I heard that rumor. Low and behold, you heard the same one and reported too. So, sorry for the repeat. That same report said that the Rowand numbers that were being thrown around made the Phillies very nervous. That doesn't sound encouraging.

Here's a link with more info on the Schilling/Rivera rumors.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/102-10122007-1422472.html

Interesting tidbit about Rowand:

Hoping to build a foundation for a new deal, Phillies management had a recent chat with Rowand's agent, Craig Landis, and was floored to discover Rowand is seeking a six-year, $84 million contract.

no friggin way is that a good deal.

I wouldnt even consider signing Rowand for more than 4 years, and even at that I'm a little skeptical.

I'm still going to trash Rod next year too.

Don - I take it you're not convinced that the Mutts took a dive just to stick us with good ol' Cholly for the rest of the decade.

When the Phils next reach the playoffs with only 36 year old Michael Bourn remaining from the '07 team, I'll say "I told you so."

Curt:

I'm kind of on the fence as far as the whole debate on Myers closing or going back to the rotation. He's valuable in either spot. While I recognize he has more raw economic value in the rotation, I also saw him progress, begin to learn the closer role, and get better at it as September went along. I'm sure he'd do what the team asks him to do, but it's tough to jerk a guy around like that.

That being said, I fail to see where the Slate article is a convincing argument for moving him back to the rotation. The guy is just getting good at being a closer, and it's not an overnight transition, just ask Smoltz. I also find it ironic that the article cites JC Romero as an example of an overpaid, underproducing veteran reliever that the Sox correctly dumped. If I'm not mistaken, he just played a big part in getting us into the playoffs.

Well... let's count out Rowand for our future. 6-years, $84 million is insane. We may have gotten the best year out of Rowand he'll ever have and we have two cheaper alternatives to replace him.

At least now we can move forward discussing this team's future without talking about Aaron Rowand.

Totally nuts and it will never happen. Rowand's agent is just setting the bar high and getting that figure circulating.

Crazy numbers for Rowand.

Sounds like Rowand will soon be an ex-Phillie. It's ashame that their lack of being able to pull the trigger on player's who they could have signed much cheaper if they had signed them sooner happens, but in some cases (Wagner)it works out for the better. It may be one of those scenerio's in this case too. This being a career year for ARow, he still makes the outfield a formidable one, with what he brings to the ballpark everyday.

Those numbers don't shock me, why should they shock the Phillies? What he is asking for is a starting point, he may get less than that, which is what they need to explore.

Well that Slate article should have been titled:

Dear Clout, here's why Joe Borowski would have been a bad acquisition for the Phillies.

That said... I would have been fine with him being a set up guy....

The one thing that articled doesn't mention is that there is a psychological difference with closing versus being very successful in the 6th or 7th inning. If you are up 2 and you give up a run in the 6th inning. That's okay, we have 3 innings to get that back. You are up 2 in the 9th and you give up a run. Guess what... the pressure is up. YOU Need someone to handle that pressure. I have a feeling that Myers as he settles into his role will be able to manage his emotions to handle those situations.

If we followed this article's advice to ride the best bullpen guy to close is interesting. Considering Manuel had to do that by happenstance than design. I don't think that inspires confidence. IF you had a guy who was lights out in the 6th or 7th inning for 2 weeks (Condrey, Castro) and you put him in to close, you aren't going to get the same results. You aren't. The data is there.


While Myers' overall compliment of talents could make him a Top 50 starting pitcher in this league, I think his potential to be a Top 5 or 7 closer is something we should explore.

The psychology of the baseball team is improved by having a top back end closer as well. "Let's get this game to Myers". Look at the years that Mesa was closing. Look at his blown saves and losses in tie games. Then look look at the standings. I +-5 difference in those games could have been the difference in making the playoffs. (YES, I know that you can pick up those 5 games in other ways: better defense, better starting pitching, clutch hitting, etc) The closer is your last chance... Like the last line of defense in a battle. He holds here... we win.... I want a guy I have confidence in there. Not just this weeks hot pitcher.

i'd love to hear what the most valuable contract they would award Rowand - your best offer before you decide its not worth it.

I would say somewhere around 4/45

they meaning you guys

I have a feeling that Myers as he settles into his role will be able to manage his emotions to handle those situations.

that's funny, because I have exactly the opposite feeling.

we all have to remember that Kendrick's W/L record is not reflective of just his pitching talents. because he's a groundball pitcher, his success is also strongly influenced by the play of the infielders behind him. IMO, that was the biggest reason for his sub-par record at AA. he just didn't have the gloves behind him to make him look as good as Rollins and Utley make him look.

as long as our inside infield defense continues to be strong, i think fears of Kendrick dropping off are unwarranted.

i wouldn't trade him. he's a perfect fit for our team and our ballpark.

Control - the best teams this year demonstrated again that anyone with a decent arm can be an effective closer, at least for a while. Even a Borowski can usually come in with the bases empty & get 3 outs. A guy who can give you 200 innings every year is a much rarer beast.

Anyone else think those Rivera and Schilling rumors are beyond outrageous? Is this the Phillies PR "machine" at work or what?

I still like Meyers in the starting role. Especially if the Rivera rumors hold any truth to them. Starters are much harder to come by, where as closers are easier to develop. The moneyball theory (for what it's worth) is that guys that throw hard for an inning are easier to develop than guys with stamina and an array of pitches. I do feel that theory holds some merit, even though a top notch closer, or for that matter, a top notch bullpen, holds a lot of value in the way the game is played now. Pitchers tossing complete games is going the way of the rotary phone. Having a system stocked with young arms is a key to success at the big league level. Unfortunately, the Phillies don't have that luxury.

The phillyburbs article also had some useful tidbits on the plans for 3rd. I still like Lowell and would love it if they could score Atkins (which I doubt), but Crede worries me. He is coming off of season-ending surgery, isn't that young (29 or 30) and has a history of back problems. I'd only be tempted if we didn't have to give up much.

Gives you a bullpen that looks like this:

CL Myers
RP Gordon
RP Mahay
RP Romero
RP Madson
RP Hawkins
RP Mateo

MG: on your prospective bullpen. i like it. i do. i think the Mahay pickup is a good call. he seems like the best LHRP available... and i know i may sound foolish for saying this, but i like the idea of latroy hawkins too, not just for his arm, but for the simple fact that he was the only rockies player to help with the tarp on that telling day in june. i want that kind of character to be an important influence in who the Phils pick up this off-season.

but then, by the same token, that leaves a confounding decision about Mateo... do we even know who this guy is?

Clout - I would be surprised if Romero or Mahay get more than 1 year. Neither guy is a classic setup guy or closer. Plus, lefty relief pitchers got 1-yr deals last year.

Maybe the market has changed but I still think most teams are looking at offering LOOGY a 1-yr deal with an option for the 2nd year.

The real issue is how inflated the FA market is going to be for relievers. It is even more thin than last year. If things get crazy, I would see a guy like Romero or Mahay getting in the $1.75-$2 M. If that does happen, then it is nuts.

Max I possibly see for Romero or Mahay is 2 yr/$4 million. If that happens, than the Phils probably only sign 1 of them.

Is there any chance of Igucci coming back? Is there ever even a slight chance that the Phillies could entice a Japanese player to come over to the states to play for them, like the previously mentioned Kosuke Fukudome for their outfield? Maybe if Igucci retires, which was rumored, they could keep him on as a scout and tap into the Japanese league's still untapped potential. It would be nice to see the Phillies step up this type of scouting in order to start beefing up the farm. Hell, why not put a little sushi at the post game buffet? The bullpen heavyweights sure could have benifitted from it this past season.

I think bringing back schilling is a great idea...and the fact that he'd accept a one-year deal makes it even more attractive.

He's not the pitcher he was, but he's still a #2 who turns it up in October.

I don't see Rivera happening.

Does anyone know, or have a reason to believe, which AL teams burrell would be willing to go waive his NTC for? (assuming we can reach a deal)

Also, is there a date by which the Phillies have to decide about picking up julio mateo's $1.5 mil. option?

i also worry about Gordon in the bullpen. his shoulder ailment is not fleeting. it's only going to continue to worsen and i seriously doubt that it will feel as good as it did down the stretch for the entirety of next year, which means that we'll have the "bad gordon" in the bullpen for stretches of the season.

that worries me. it was a dumb signing to give a 38 year old free agent a two year deal... and i think the phils ought to consider this lesson before they que up "enter the sandman"

I honestly don't care if we have to pay Romero and Mahay 2 million for next year, I think the Phillies need to spend the money it takes to get the players they need. I am much more worried about long term contracts (e.g. Rowand) than I am shorter term high priced ones.

We might all think that these contracts are ridiculous but that is what teams are willing to pay and we need to be able to pay it. Without a salary cap, money should not be a concern. When you don't have a viable farm system you have to be willing to pay for quality to fill your holes.

The way I see it - The Phils are either going to keep Mateo or Geary. Since Mateo will make $1.5 M if the Phils exercise his option and Geary will be in that neighborhood, I would prefer sticking with Geary. None quantity who has shown that he can be effective at CBP if used appropriately.

Mateo is a flyball pitcher who has a troubling inclination to give up HRs. I don't like that in CBP. Plus, if Mateo still had anything left why did the Phils leave him in the minors last year? Mateo must have had better stuff than at least 2 or 3 of the jokers in the Phils' bullpen during Sept.

Curt,

I pretty much agree with you that a starter who gives you 200 (mostly quality) innings is a rarer, much more expensive beast than a closer.

However, I'm not %100 sold on the "anyone with a decent arm can be an effective closer" idea. Corpas is a good pitcher, so is Valverde even if he was demoted in '06. I think the Indians, Red Sox, and the other teams left all had better starting pitching than the Phillies, or some other advantage.

The bottom line is, the Phillies went into April with a shaky, suspect pen whether we recognized that at the time or not. Everbody knew about it within a few games, and the results were a 4-11 start and Myers being removed from the rotation. I don't think we can afford to have a repeat of that. The pen has to be well set up to start the season. If that means stockpiling a bunch of capable arms, or having everbody set in their roles to start I'm not sure (I favor the latter).

If the Phillies actually signed a guy with the last name "Fukudome," I could die a happy man. The possibility already has me laughing, and there is probably zero chance of it actually happening. I'm getting that guys jersey no matter who he signs with.

MG, they left mateo, inexplicably, in the minors because he beat the snot out of his wife. i think i would take my chances with mateo. geary is not reliable at all; he constantly lets inherited runners score. his fastball lost a good 4-6 mph this year.

mateo has had a pretty good career, and pitched really well in the minors for both seattle and the phils this year.

besides, this way myers doesn't have to be the biggest SOB in the bullpen anymore.

If Mateo was ever going to pitch for the Phils, it would have been last month.

MG:

my take was that the Phils left Mateo to linger at AA because of his legal problems. (he was charged with spousal abuse after an incident a new york hotel. i think he bit his wife...) he can't leave the country and that was the reason the Phils gave for not sending him to AAA Ottawa. i think the Phils had every intention of bringing him up to the varsity club when they acquired him at the deadline, but the resulting outcry from fans about another wife-beater on the team forced the Phils to let him linger in the minors. i don't know what you do with him now... i know that even if they don't exercise his option, they still retain control over him.

Curt, you're probably right, I just find it ridiculous. I hate that the team has to curb its decisions because the suburban, SUV-driving, nuclear family wing of the fan base will get offended if the team allows a thug like mateo on the field.

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