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Friday, November 09, 2007

Comments

Thanks for starting a new thread. In the unappetizing LOOGY options don't forget Matt Smith, all that's left of Abreu.

The point about Lidge being a "rental" is yet another reason that the Phils should think hard about keeping Myers as the closer. Granted, he'd be one hell of an expensive closer, but Myers in that spot keeps us from having to worry about filling it from year to year.

Also, if the concerns surrounding Lidge's "mental fragility" come to any sort of light, the last thing we want to do is move him to set-up mid-season (still as a rental) only to have to experiment with a new closer (Gordon? - may God have mercy on us all).

Lidge contends that his struggles were due to mechanics and tinkering with a cut fastball he eventually scrapped.

Gordon/Romero -> Lidge -> Myers every other day or so is about as good an any other NL team can trot out there and take this team from a bottem feeder, "value village" bullpen, to something that can address the #1 concern that we all had last year - PROTECTING A LEAD.

Obviously, still holes in the rotation, but considering the ball park and the potential potency of the Phillies' offense, scoring runs will not be an issue. Getting a lead early will be the key to success. I think we could settle on some mid-tier pitching to round out the rotation (Durbin/Happ-type?) and still be competitive every day.

In re: toolsy defenders -
No thanks. We have a minor league system crammed full of toolsy defender OFs. We need a righty bat to balance the line-up.

Andy, in case you missed this at the end of the last thread:
Andy: I'm disappointed that you too are willfully distorting my opinion. Let me repeat yet again: I do NOT oppose moving Myers back to the rotation!

I DO have serious concerns about Lidge as a closer. I'd rather see him as a setup man.

Given that, I'd rather add a decent closer like Cordero here, use Lidge as setup and return Myers to the rotation OR bring in a SP and keep Myers as closer.

I've said this repeatedly since the trade was made and my view must not be that's off the wall or Conlin wouldn't share it.

"Gordon/Romero -> Lidge -> Myers every other day or so is about as good an any other NL team can trot out there"

Preacher - looking at some of the other bullpens, even in the NL, you're stretching it a bit. There are a lot of teams that had a better 7-8-9 than that.

Actually, a "lot" sounds better than it is. "Several" teams. I will name a few presently; but right now I have a meeting.

"That's a false choice. The choice is this: Kuroda & Eaton in the rotation with Lidge as setup, Myers as closer OR Myers & Eaton in the rotation with Gordon as setup, Lidge as closer."

For the second choice, does the money not used to sign Kuroda go anywhere else?

I take slight umberage with the comment about, "everybody that counts wants him (Myers) in the bullpen."
Sure, I like him as a closer, but it's now about leveling out the the fat areas to the thin.....Romero should have an important role in this BP, not just the set up guy for the set up guy. It's hard to argue the notion that Myers is better than anything available on the FA market.

I'm just saying that Myers as the closer is not neccessarily a no-brainer. Keep in mind, he give up his share of long balls in between the pitches he misses the bats with...

*Re-posted from the old thread*

I have a friend who has a friend that works with the Twins and apparently the belief within that organization is that the three biggest suitors for Santana are the Cubs, Phillies, Red Sox.

I would take this with a whole silo full of salt, mainly becasue I have no idea what type of package the Phillies could or possibly have talked about putting together to finsih off a deal like this.

Plus this would almost have to be contingent upon signing a long term deal right away.

I told my buddy though that you can probably figure the Phillies out of this

Re-posted from last thread:

Clout: No, yours is a false choice. Where is Kuroda in that 2nd option? I'm saying if we sign Kuroda, I would rather have both Myers and Kuroda in the rotation. You do not present that option.

Clout- Wait your opinion might not be that off the wall becasue Bill Conlin shares it?

You might want to find a less buffonish horse to back you up there

Hopefully Romero wasn't a flash in the pan playing for a contract last season. $10 mil for 3 years would be a bargain if he can come close to replicating 2007. He brought lots of energy and emotion to the bullpen, and I believe shouldn't be considered a LOOGY since he was strong against both lefties and righties, and would usually pitch whole innings. If anybody has the breakdown, I'd love to see the splits.

I'm in agreement with clout on Myers. But if they do contemplate keeping him as closer with Lidge as set up, then they'd need to get 2 more real starters. That's not in the cards.

To Willard Preacher, in my humble opinion, I would say everybody's concern was not so much holding the lead, but GETTING the lead after sixty percent of our starters would give it up early. The "holding of the lead" was only so grave because, like in most wins, the Phils had to come from behing yet again...and to lose the lead late after the team fights so hard to get it...well.....

The Twins are a small market team who is forced to build from within, via excellent scouting. If/when they ever pull the trigger on Santana, it will only be for a whole bunch of prospects/young players, something that the Phils have very, very little of.

Doc: You're right - he was equally tough on everyone last season. Over his career, he has been stronger against lefties however. Right-handers hit .382 off him in 2006, but it's varied from year to year and he's had success against both.

Gillick has also been quoted that Santana will be moved this offseason, so it seems that Gillick is close to the situation. I gotta tell ya, if Santana wears red stripes, I will absolutely phreak out. Gillick said it wouldn't be until 08 back in 06, so maybe he is saving his best for last and making good on his words when Bobby was sent bye-bye.

Can you imagine Santana on this staff and team?

bigmyc, I think you'd probably see about a 50/50 split on the subject, but according to everyone's favorite statistician, clout, the bullpen surrendered an exorbitant number of leads and cost this team more than 15 games last year.

I like to use the "gut check" test to evaluate my level of comfort for the various aspects of the staff. Sure, every 5th day or so (when the Eatons/Liebers pitched) I would feel pretty uneasy about our chances on that day, before the game. However, my level of discomfort rose even more considerably during a close game when they'd cut to Geary/Condrey/Mesa/Alfonseca warming up in the 'pen and my outlook was far bleaker during those moments. I know it lacks the statistical backing that so many on this site seem to require, but I think that I'm not the only one who feels that the 'pen was a larger concern than the rotation.

I've never been a real fan of Myers-as-closer, because I don't think he'd be nearly as lights out over the course of a season as his proponents believe. his extremely low HR rate in relief this past year just seems unsustainable to me for someone who was so gopherball prone as a starter. I'm willing to change my mind if he's doing something different mechanically or something, if someone wants to make that argument.

however, if another quality starter is added, I absolutely agree that Lidge/Myers in the 8th/9th is a much, much better option than the current situation. but what possible acquisitions really qualify as another quality starter? for me, the list is Garland (via trade, although with the tradeable Bourn gone that may be less likely) and Kuroda. and that's it, IMO. nobody on clout's list of top FA pitchers (i.e. Glavine, Clement, Jennings, Benson, Colon, Lohse) interests me at all as anything more than a long shot gamble.

Word to whomever just brought this discussion back to reality by noting that Myers wasn't always lights out as a closer. He was good when he was good, but I, for one, was still a nervous wreck when he took the mound.

For the type of money he's making, he needs to go back into the rotation. Too bad that he likes being a closer. He needs to man up and do his job which is to start.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I think that part of the reason he likes being the closer so much was b/c his starts didn't go so well last year. Of course, I don't have a very good impression of Brett as a man so that might be coloring my view. . .

Romero has severe LH/RH splits on his career: .270/.372/.433 vs RH and .227/.321/.304 vs LH. that is why he's a textbook LOOGY.

there's absolutely no reason to think that his performance last year was repeatable. he held hitters to a .130 average. he had a ridiculous .158 BABIP over the second half of the season. there is simply no player in baseball history who has been able to do that consistently, year after year.

"I like back-of-the-game pitchers who get a lot of strikeouts," Charlie says.

It's insight like this that makes Manuel indispensible. Who would have thought?

ae, I have long maintained that Myers is better as a closer than a starter because he limits himself on the types of pitches he throws. Instead of working with 4 pitches he goes with 2 or maybe 3 pitches exclusively. Consequently he uses his two best pitches (Curveball and fastball) more. He also throws harder in the closer role. He usually stayed in the low 90's as a starter and he touched 97 several times as a closer, while routinely getting it in the mid 90's.

That being said, I am happy with Myers in the rotation at this point. I think it adresses more concerns and in a less expensive and more effective way than signing any of the current free agents. I'm not suggesting that they should not sign any of these free agents, but not as the number 2 starter. They need to get another reliever and another starter either way.

I actually think that closing for half a year could actually make Myers better as a starter from a mental standpoint. If he can transfer the focus of a closer (do not give up any runs) into the starter role, and take everthing pitch-by-pitch, he may improve his starting performance.

Also, in response to my catcher comment last night. I thought it was clear that having catcher as the number 5 priority did not mean that it was a huge priority. That leaves 4 issues on the team that are more important to adress. I believe that if those 4 are properly addressed then the team would be better than if they ignored one of those and substituted addressing the catcher situation in place of the other four needs. However, if something minor can be done in that area, I think it would be beneficial.

As good as Myers was in the bullpen and as much as he wants to be there. Brett has too much talent as a starter to stay in the bullpen. With starting pitching being so thin, the Phillies really need him to excel in the starting rotation.
http://philliesphorum.mlblogs.com

I emailed Conlin this morning after I read his column. I wrote:

"Bill, a thousand words arguing to keep Brett Myers in the bullpen and not one mention of what to do about the starting rotation?"

He replied pretty quickly:

"Pat Gillick makes 7 figures to answer your question. Actually, it was 938 words."

Obviously it would be great to have Lidge set up Myers, but with young Kyle Kendrick as our #2, Jamie Moyer as our #3 and Adam Eaton getting lit up every 5th day, how often would games need closing?

In his latest CNNSI article, Heyman also thinks Silva might be the best FA starter out there....

Here's the deal:

If the Phils can grab a No. 2 starter (Kuroda, Willis, Cabrera, Garland) and a No. 4 or 5 starter (Benson, Colon, etc.), we can move Myers back to the closer role and have Lidge set up.

Until then, Myers has to be in the rotation. Remember, we can't get to the closer if the starter can't do his job.

On another subject, was anyone else troubled by Gillick's statement, in this morning's papers, that the Phillies had about $8 to $12M left to spend in free agency? It has generally been assumed that the Phillies would be upping payroll to around $105M and that, after anticipated arbitration adjustments to guys like Howard & Madson, they'd have around $25M to spend on free agents. Lidge will cost $6M, which is about $5M more than they paid to Geary & Bourn last year, so this should leave $20M left to spend, not $8 to $12M. Right?

I thought about this at length & I finally realized that there's only one way to reconcile Monty's statements about a $105M payroll & Gillick's statements about having just $8 to 12M left to spend.

Monty's literal statement a few weeks ago was: (a) that the team paid out around $105M in salary in 2007; and (2) that he expected payroll to be around $105M again in 2008. Everyone interpreted this to mean that the Phillies were increasing payroll from $95M to $105M. An astute observer should have asked: does Monty mean that OPENING DAY payroll will be $105M or does he mean that he expects the Phillies to pay out $105M in salary over the course of the entire season?

When USA Today publishes the team's annual payrolls, they're talking about opening day payrolls. The Phillies' opening day payroll in 2007 was $89M, only 12th highest in the league. Of course, between opening day & the end of the season, guys get called up from the minors, guys get brought in via trade, and guys are signed off of the waiver wire. As a result of all those mid-season transactions, the Phillies ended up paying out a total of $105M in salary in 2007.

So, when Monty says that payroll will be $105M this year, what he means is that, by the time the season is over, he expects the team to pay out about $105M in total salaries, just as they did by the time last season was over. Since call-ups, signings & trades are 100% certain, you have to budget for them & it would be reasonable to assume they're going to cost about the same in 2008 as they cost in 2007. Hence, to budget for a total annual out-lay of around $105M, you'd undoubtedly budget for an opening day payroll of right around $89M again. With continued salary inflation, an $89M opening day payroll will likely put them in the bottom half of major league payrolls in 2008 (this, after a record attendance year, and after they wasted no time raising season's ticket prices for 2008).

In short, Gillick's comments didn't get much attention, but I think we should all be alarmed. I anxiously await AWH's commentary on this subject.

Moving Lidge to set-up in a contract year couldn't possibly please Lidge or his agent. Assuming he pitches reasonably well next year, he'd get closer dollars somewhere, but probably several million less as he won't have a track record of having fully recovered as a closer (and the mental breakdown rumors in a closer role will continue to run rampant). He'd also probably be at least slightly bitter about the demotion and harbor a bit of resentment towards the phils.

I write this without knowing anything about Lidge's feelings on the matter or his reputation as a "team player". But from an economic perspective (and probably a pride perspective), those, seem like the feelings a rational being would have.

Moving Lidge to set-up in a contract year couldn't possibly please Lidge or his agent. Assuming he pitches reasonably well next year, he'd get closer dollars somewhere, but probably several million less as he won't have a track record of having fully recovered as a closer (and the mental breakdown rumors in a closer role will continue to run rampant). He'd also probably be at least slightly bitter about the demotion and harbor a bit of resentment towards the phils.

I write this without knowing anything about Lidge's feelings on the matter or his reputation as a "team player". But from an economic perspective (and probably a pride perspective), those, seem like the feelings a rational being would have.

BAP- that is a great point I didn't pick up on. I had been assumign our opening day payroll would be significantly higher. A reporter (our budding Jason Weitzel in a coup of an interview, perhaps?) needs to get an answer from management on your points.

Has Romero in fact been re-signed? I don't think he has as yet. At least I can't find it. Any updates?

One other thing to consider is that Myers never was injured as a starter but as a reliever he missed over a month on the dl, coincidence or is his arm not made to pitch on consecutive days?

"I'm disappointed that you too are willfully distorting my opinion."

Sorry, clout. I know you would never do that.

Nice use of bold letters, incidently.

I think everyone here believes that the Phils do not need to be finished with the Lidge deal. There not only needs to be additional work with the line-up, but with the pitching staff as well. Having Lidge this early does give some leeway as to what kind of pitchers get added.

The real question is, I guess, what do you think would be a better option: Kuroda or Cordero? Is it better to have Myers close with FA money used to get a real starter or have Myers start with FA money used to get a real closer?

I think that the thing that fules our anxiety, and leads to "disappointment" is that we know our own upper management so well; we expect that they believe that they are, mostly, done with this one acquisition. (i.e. "See? We've improved our bullpen and rotation!")

Andy: That is my point exactly. I hope I'm wrong.

I guess a corollary point I would add is that it's not only bad from a baseball perspective, but it's also short-sighted from a business perspective to skimp on the opening day roster so that you'll have more money in reserve to spend during the season.

Think back to all the relievers the Phillies shuttled in & out of the active roster during the course of the 2007 season -- i.e., Mesa, Zagurski, Castro, Rosario, Romero, Sanches, Yoel, Ennis, Condrey, Durbin, Kane Davis, Bisenius, Anderson Garcia, & probably a few more I'm forgetting. If the Phillies had spent a few more bucks on relievers before the season started, they might actually have ended up saving themselves money, since they wouldn't have had to bring in so many of these guys in mid-season.

b_a_p, I had noticed the same Gillick comment and had the same reaction.

but I'm wondering - is it really possible that promotions, waiver pickups, and so on added around $9M in payroll (since the $89M figure doesn't include the $7M Thome payment either)? I have not run the numbers, but I find that math really hard to believe.

I was impressed with Bisenius last year.Didn't seem like he got much of a look Anyone have any idea about his status for 08.

I've been keeping my mouth shut because I know some stats supported he was a good reliever for the Phils, but I'm *ecstatic* that Geary is gone.

That guy. Oh, that guy with the giving up bushels of runs at a time and really, really blowing when he blew.

So: Lidge as a $7 million setup man in front Myers as an $8.5 million closer, with Romero at around $3.5 million, Madson at $2m and Gordon at $7m (all salaries but Myers guesses/approximations)... that's $28 million for the last five relievers in the game. Meanwhile in the rotation you've got two guys making the minimum or close, Moyer at $6m or so and Eaton, if healthy, grossly overpaid at $8m, plus whoever fills it out.

Wasn't Wade fired?

If we somehow acquired two more starters--a Santana/Bedard ace type and a viable #4-5 type like Silva--then we could talk about Myers remaining in the bullpen and Lidge setting him up. Until then, doing so would be a terrible misallocation of resources.

jr: Bisenius throws hard but he was horrible in the minors last year & horrible in the Arizona Fall League which just ended. I wouldn't count on him for help until at least 2009, if at all.

ae: I thought the Thome payment was $5M, which would mean they spent $11M during the season. But whatever the figure, it's not hard for me to believe that this is what the Phillies spent on mid-season acquisitions & call-ups.

Most of the call-ups made only the major league minimum of 316k, which I assume was prorated to the time of their actual major league service. Still, with all the relievers the Phillies brought up from the minors, it had to cost $3 or $4M minimum over the course of the year. Then there's guys like Lohse, Iguchi, Branyan, Romero, & Mesa, who all came over in mid-season & had significant salaries. There's Kendrick & Coste who got called up from the minors during the course of the year. And, finally, there's starting pitchers & position player who came up for brief cups of coffee -- i.e., Segovia, LaForest, Roberson, Happ. All of this has to add up pretty fast.

bap and ae - I saw that point about $8-$12M left to spend on FA too and that really opened my eyes too. Not sure where that figure comes from but it might include resigning Romero at $3M/year and possibly giving a longer-term deal to Howard. If that is the case, then the $8-$12M figure makes more sense.

Still, if the opening day payroll is at $95M or $96M again, then that will be an insult to the fans of this team. This team raked in at least an extra $25-$30M in revenue last year due to the increased attendance and the 2 playoff home games. Plus, the TV revenue contract money is starting to really kick in too and I bet the Phils got better advertising deals this season due to the strong TV ratings on Comcast last season.

All of this aside, you can bet that ticket prices will increase by 8-10% on average. Guaranteed. It would be insult if this Phils didn't increase their opening day payroll by at least that amount this season.

I hate being so suspect on the motives on this team but time and time again they demonstrate that bean-counting takes presence over winning.

dajafi: You think a Gordon/Lidge back end is just dandy?

I'm fine with moving on, because there are more important things to talk about, but Clout has consistently dodged my straight up, point blank question: Do you stand by your statemtent that Kuroda will be a better starting pitcher next year than Brett Myers? We can use whatever reasonably objective method you would like (Win Shares, ERA+, VORP etc...)

Also, he refuses to acknowledge that he set up a false scenario by comparing a team with Kuroda to a team without Kuroda, and then making the bold prediction that the one with would be better. He still won't answer whether he thinks that a rotation of Hamels, Kuroda, Kendrick, Moyer and Eaton and a bullpen of Madson, Gordon, Romero, Lidge, and Myers is better than a rotation of Hamels, Myers, Kuroda, Kendrick, Moyer and a bullpen of (5th reliever), Madson, Gordon, Romero, and Lidge. I clearly prefer the 2nd. He has not answered this easy question. Why?

Why do I have the terrible feeling that the Lidge trade and the Romero resigning are going to be the Phils biggest moves of the offseason?

Phils already used their most ready available trade asset (Bourn) and they supposedly only have $8-$12 M left to spend on FA which won't get you much in this market. May bring in another bullpen arm/outfielder or a discount starter but certainly won't bring in a guy like Cordero or a starter like Kuroda.

Clout: You keep ignoring the facts and asking the wrong question. Typical Conlin article today - points out the obvious without offering a solution.

Where the hell are the Phils going to find 2 FA starters in this market (particularly if they can't swing a deal for one and they only have $8-$12 M left to spend in FA)?

So I go back to my question yesterday:

Do you prefer a rotation of Hamels, Kendrick, Moyer, Eaton, (Discount starter like Lieber) and Lidge/Myers closing

or

Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Moyer, Eaton and Gordon/Lidge closing?

I would go with scenario 2. Plus, you can bring in 2 quality setup bullpen arms for the price of one mediocre starter and still have some money left over.

Not sure if this had been reported yet, but it looks like the Phillies did raise some ticket prices for 2008.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20071109_Phils_hike_some_ticket_prices.html

"Lower-bowl seats (Sections 108 to 114 and 133 to 139) will rise from $35 to $37, the first time the price of those seats has gone up since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004. Seats in Sections 201 to 205, the pavilion area, and the scoreboard porch area will increase to $22, from $20. The $15 seats in the club and terrace levels will be $16.

Scoreboard porch seats tied to a $10 concession add-on last season that cost individuals or groups $30 will cost $32 next year."

I will get criticized by Clout for my supposed preference of Gordon/Lidge over Lidge/Myers. Of course, I would prefer Lidge/Myers over Gordon/Lidge. So would 99% of Phils fans I think. The problem is that is looking at an issue in a vacuum. Sorry that just doesn't happen.

Hell, it would be great if the Phils signed Cordero to be the closer and moved Myers back to the rotation. Or if the Phils signed Kuroda and kept Myers as the closer. That is not likely happen for several reasons that have been mentioned today/yesterday.

MG: I agree. Like I said, we can't put Myers in the closer role unless we get the starting pitching. It's called starting pitching for a reason - they start, they pitch the most, they're more relied upon than the relievers.

It may be beneficial for us to take a break from this discussion, mainly because we're wearing ourselves thin. We won't know anything more until early December, more than likely.

That said, let's play the "guess Romero's contract" game.

Me first -
2008: $2.5M
2009: $3M
2010: $4M option
Result: 3Y/$9.5M

MG: Clout refuses to acknowledge these things. Instead he will come back and say things like: "Well, if you want Tom Gordon closing games, ok, but you're an idiot". He doesn't seem to comprehend that Myers at 200 innings is far superior to any FA starting pitcher out there, and has more of an impact than Myers pitching 60 innings. He will probably ignore both of our arguments because he refuses to deal with the legitimate questions we pose. I don't mind his opinions; he has them, I disagree, I don't care. I don't like his condescension and the fact that he consistently distorts his own views and those of others in order to suit his purposes, and refuses to accept when people challenge his ideas.

stjoehawk - Thanks for the article post on ticket price increases. Like I said 8-10% will likely be the average ticket price increase next year.

Not the question is if the Phils are going to have an opening day salary of $105 M or if Monty pulled one of his mealy-mouthed BS statements he has gained notoriety in Philly for making.

Jack: I'm beginning to wonder about your mental health. Here are my views, yet again, on this issue. If you'd like to bet against either of these things, that's fine, but I do stand by these statements:

"My point was that the team would be better with Lidge as setup and Myers as closer and Kuroda in the rotation. I believe that combination will win more games than Myers in the rotation with Gordon as setup and Lidge as closer. So, yes, given those choices, Kuroda would put up better numbers."
and...

"In his last 3 years as a starter, Myers won 11, 12 and 13 games. Yes, I think Kuroda can win at least that many with a good team."

Clout: I really thought we had moved on. The quote I had an issue with you conveniently didn't post. The one where you point blank said that "Kuroda will put up better numbers than Myers as a starter". Since you have refused to back up this statement, the only thing I can think is that you realized how stupid it was, and so backtracked to try and make it seem like you were saying something different. If that's your style, ok.

I'll move on to another question: Why do you think Myers pitching 60 innings helps the team more than him pitching 200 innnigs? Do you think that the difference between 200 innings of Myers and whatever 5th pitcher we have to use if he isn't there, is less significant than the difference between 60 innings of Myers and whatever combination of bullpen pitchers we use to make up for that? Please explain. Remember that last year, we only moved Myers to the bullpen because, at the time, we had an extra starting pitcher available; we thought we had 6 legitimate MLB pitchers. Is that the case this year?

This is a pretty good battle ...

"Remember that last year, we only moved Myers to the bullpen because, at the time, we had an extra starting pitcher available; we thought we had 6 legitimate MLB pitchers. Is that the case this year?"

Actually, I don't think that was the case. Lieber was the one moved to the bullpen (during spring training) when there were 6 healthy pitchers.

Myers was moved to the bullpen when Gordon was proven to be ineffective at closing games, and Lieber was moved back to the starting rotation.

(I think that was how it happened, at least.)

StJoe: Plus the fact that Lieber REALLY sucked at relief

"This is a pretty good battle ..."

I disagree. You can't say that without bringing some stats to back that up...

Oh. Sorry. Must be habit at this point.

Andy, I welcome any NL 7-8-9 combos that would be better than Gordon/Romero, Lidge, Myers. I think it would make for a fascinating discussion. I honestly think that if 2 starters can be added, to solidify Myers as closer, the abover referenced combo is as good as any in the NL.

StJoe: That's right. The point is that we had a quality (or at least, someone we thought to be quality) starter waiting to take Myers' place in the rotation. The assumed difference over 200 innings between Lieber and Myers was small enough to warrant the move. This year? I don't think that's the case.

"This is a pretty good battle ..."

Meh, its pretty one sided. Jack has clout running.

"Plus the fact that Lieber REALLY sucked at relief"

Wow. Didn't remember how bad he was. 2 appearances, 2.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3 runs (all earned) and to top it all off, all 5 inherited runners scored.

Where are you guys getting the idea that we can trade for santana, or bedard? the only chance we have at them is through free agency in 09. the phillies farm system does not have the talent to reel one of those guys in. look at the dodgers (kershaw, kemp, meloan), angels (adenhart, wood), red sox (ellsbury, bucholz), and yankees (hughes, kennedy, chamberlain). the phillies prospects don't compare.

brendan: I don't think anyone is getting too excited about getting Santana or Bedard. Most people know they are out of reach.

StJoe: He only had two appearances?! Man those two appearances must of really stuck with me then.

Clout=Conlin?

Jack, I appreciate your tenacity.

Clout, you have a good mind for the game, but that statement above is incomprhensible; you did say Kuroda would put up better numbers than Myers.

From a bit back; Dajafi is absolutely right to say we can't spend $28M on the back end of the bullpen if it means a rotation of:

Hamels, Lohse/Silva/FA, Kendrick, Moyer, Eaton.

Aside from Hamels, each one of these pitchers is below average for their slot. However, if you keep Myers in the rotation AND add a starter, all of a sudden you have:

Hamels, Myers, Loshe/Silva, Kendrick, Moyer

In this scenario, I think you have ABOVE average players at each slot, which basically means you would have the starting pitching advantage almost every day.

Clout, can you honestly say that an unknown commodity like Kuroda will have better numbers than the last 2 full years of Myers as a starter. Myers: 2005 13-8, 3.72 era, 1.21 whip, 208 strikeouts in 215 innings. 2006 12-7, 3.91 era, 1.30 whip, 189 strikeouts in 198 innings. Myers is in his prime Kuroda is 32. I much rather spend the $ it would cost to sign Kuroda on Cordero and a corner OF to platoon with Werth.

Clout, can you honestly say that an unknown commodity like Kuroda will have better numbers than the last 2 full years of Myers as a starter. Myers: 2005 13-8, 3.72 era, 1.21 whip, 208 strikeouts in 215 innings. 2006 12-7, 3.91 era, 1.30 whip, 189 strikeouts in 198 innings. Myers is in his prime Kuroda is 32. I much rather spend the $ it would cost to sign Kuroda on Cordero and a corner OF to platoon with Werth.

And, yes, I am fine with a bullpen of: Lidge, Gordon, Madson, Romero/LOOGY, Mateo, Zagurski, Eaton if it means we have the starting pitching advantage every day AND have the superior lineup every day.

That's a tough combo to beat.

I think win shares makes a pretty good arguement that a starter is more valuable than a reliever given that the league average for starters is about 5W/S higher than that of relievers.

Also, whats with the fascination of Kuroda? Not many Japanese starters have had success in the majors, so I think its pretty crazy to assume that a older Japanese starter will outperform Myers. Most Japanese starters have had some success in their 1st season and then revert to being league or below average (Nomo, Ishii, Irabu - never good, and it really makes me worried for Dice-K). So seriously, why are we assuming that Kuroda would come in a be a bondafide #2 without at least exploring that he could be a total bust. Myers has the higher upside and is easier to project.

"Clout=Conlin?"

Sure, clout's having a bad day, but there's no need to insult him like that.

What about Trot Nixon or Brad Wilkerson to platoon with Werth in RF? If they could be had at a reasonable price, I'd do it. Or trade for Ryan Church.

Still need bullpen help, even if Romero and Lidge are in tow.

I welcome any NL 7-8-9 combos that would be better than Gordon/Romero, Lidge, Myers.

I don't know exactly how all of these teams use their relievers, but all of these four-man combinations are at least a push compared to Myers, Lidge, Gordon, Romero. (there are some FAs listed, but I think for the most part these guys are returning to their same teams next year.)

San Diego: Hoffman, Meredith, Bell, Brocail
LA: Saito, Broxton, Beimel, Seanez
Arizona: Valverde, Pena, Lyon, Cruz
Colorado: Corpas, Fuentes, Affeldt, Hawkins
NY: Wagner, Heilman, Feliciano, Schoeneweis
Atlanta: Wickman, Moylan, Soriano, Gonzalez
Chicago: Howry, Wuertz, Marmol, Dempster

AWH doesn't seem to be around to rant about the Phillies' cheapness, so I'm stepping into his role for the day.

Let's crunch a few numbers. In the same article which talked about the Phillies' price hike on tickets, it was mentioned that the average price of a Phillies ticket was $27.25 in 2007 -- the 7th highest in baseball. The RedSox were the highest at $47.71. The RedSox averaged 36,675 fans at home last year; the Phillies 38,374.

27.25 X 38,374 X 81 = $84.7M in ticket revenues alone, which I think we would all agree, merely scratches the surface of all the money a major league baseball team brings in. The Redsox admittedly made a lot more in ticket revenues than the Phillies: 47.71 X 36,675 X 81 = $141M. The difference between $141M and $85M is $56M; the difference betwenn the two teams' opening day payrolls was around $54M. But lest we forget, the RedSox posted $52M just for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K. Since this money went to his Japanese team, and not to Dice-K himself, it doesn't count as salary & isn't included in USA Today's opening day payroll computations.

The end result: The RedSox grossed $56M more than the Phillies in 2007 ticket revenues. But they spent $106M more in off-season player acquisitions. It's not hard to figure out why one team has won 2 World Series titles in the last 5 years, while the other has 1 playoff appearance in the last 14 years.

TJR, good point. Kuroda could be good (especially his first year: even Irabu was good!), but isn't nearly the known quantity that Myers is.

One other point that we haven't discussed about Myers is his injury history. As a starter, he was about as durable as any 22-25 year old I can remember (32 starts, 31, 34, 31) yet as a reliever, he got hurt only one month after the switch.

Now part of this was due to not preparing in the offseason and spring training, but a lot of it also has to do with Manuel's rigid use of the bullpen, which had Myers out there almost every other night, sometimes for more than an inning.

In the stretch leading up to his injury (April 25 to May 20), Manuel pitched Myers in 14 games over a possible 24 games, for a total of 17 IP.

This translates to about 95 games and 105 IP over the season, which is just insane. I think Cholly deserves more than a little blame for both Geary and Gordon's early season stuggles after their suicidal pace from '06, and I don't trust him with Meyers arm especially.

ae, Wickman was released by Atlanta last season.

Carson: None of those names excites me too much. Wilkerson = terrible batting average, tons of strikeouts. Nixon has no power and his hitting skills are in steep decline. Church is definitely better than the other 2, but still nothing to get too excited about. If we're really going to have an OF of Werth, Burrell & Vic, I agree we need to add a No. 3-A type of outfielder, and ideally one who is left-handed. I was thinking Luis Gonzalez on a one-year contract.

ae, Wickman?

I agree with the poster that Lidge/Myers/Gordon would be about the best in the NL.

I'm in full favor of Myers in the rotation as a practical matter, but I think he would be great as a closer.

I think the lower HR rate wasn't just a statistical fluke, considering he gained aboue 2-3 MPH on his fastball and could concentrate on just 2 pitches.

The other thing being totally overlooked is that the Phils are going to possibly need another starter anyways even if Myers is moved back into the rotation due to Eaton's health.

If Eaton is 100% healthy, I am somewhat optimistic he can actually be a capable back-end guy (5.00 ERA or so). Not stellar but capable. If he isn't, all bets are off and the Phils are going to need to either sign a discount starter like Lieber or take a real gamble on someone.

With Bourn gone, the Phils definitely a quality LH-bat to platoon with Werth. Of all the guys on the Phils unlikely to duplicate their performance from last season, Werth is No. 1 on my list with Romero a 1A if he resigns. Easily could see Werth reverting to a .250 hitter with spotty power.

yes, I forgot Wickman was released. replace him with Acosta and Atlanta looks even better though.

and my opinion of Wickman isn't very good. but then my opinion of Tom Gordon isn't very good either. the only reason he hasn't been released is the $6M he's owed for 2008.

Go ask Mets fans how they liked their bullpen last year. Some of those others on the list maybe you could make a case for, but the Mets?

the Mets' bullpen imploded because of overuse, bad luck, and Wagner's dead arm. reliever performance is notoriously difficult to predict, but on paper their lineup is much better than the four-man pen proposed above.

and the fan viewpoint is a pretty weak way to analyze things. if you used that criteria on the Phillies, the team's biggest problem would be dumping Pat Burrell. (just like how in 2006 the biggest problem was dumping Bobby Abreu.)

TJR: Yeah, I'm not sure exactly why Kuroda is being talked about like a star pitcher. His numbers do look good, but I don't think anyone would claim that they can accurately use Japanese stats to predict MLB performance. I guess he would be a good addition because it's always good to have more ptichers than less, and if his stats translate decently well, then yeah, he could be a good 4 or 5 starter here. But thinking that he'll be better than Myers or even reasonable #3 starters seems pretty ludicrous, at least to me. However, at least it would be a good sign that management is committed to using all possible avenues to improve the team.

ae, I may be willing to concede Colorado, assuming they could duplicate the year they had last year, but career performance and numbers would indicate that the Phils with Myers as closer should be as good as any of those tandems. If you factor in Jorge Julio vs. Madson, I think we win that one hands down, too.

I like Lidge as the closer, but you can't count on Gordon as the setup guy. At 41 years old, what are the chances of him staying healthy all year? We need another setup arm and another starter.

At any rate, Myers and Lidge in the bullpen is about as good as an upgrade to one of the biggest voids on team, as we could expect. And it is certainly no value village (considering what they'd be paying their set-up guy and closer). Now, about that 3 man rotation...........

I don't reall get the hating on Gordon. It was clear he was hurt at the beginging of last season, and got better throughout the year, and was solid in September.

From his recall on July 17th to the end of the season:

30.2 IP, 28 H, 9 BB, 21 K, 5 HR (.722 OPS against)

That HR rate is a little high, but otherwise I see Gordon as a dependable pitcher once he recovered from his injury. Not elite closer status, but certainly not dead weight.

well, they're not all slam dunks. I still think Colorado's a push, but they're probably the weakest one I listed. (either them or Chicago, if they insist on using Dempster as the closer.) at the very least I think that list shows that there's no way Myers, Lidge, Gordon, Romero would be the best pen combo in the NL.

Jason: As our resident expert on Japanese baseball (and, of course, our moderator), was wondering your thoughts on Kuroda, as well as in general how well Japanese performance can be used to predict MLB performance. It seems like we're all kind of guessing here; does it seem like scouts and teams are basically geussing with Japanese players also? My totally unsubstantiated guess is that Kuroda is about a #4 starter, someone who maybe could give us the numbers of Kyle Lohse over a season. Does that sound anything like what you had in mind?

kdon, I didn't mean for that to sound like I was hating on Gordon. He had a very strong second half. My point is about his health at his age. And like you said, he was injured at the begining of last year - my point exactly.

Does anyone have insider rights on ESPN? They have a headline under MLB Rumor Central, "Marlins want Kendrick for Cabrera".

Dave Kingman - Without even looking, I'd think that it's Howie Kendrick from the Angels.

Dave Kingman: Yeah, that's referring to the Angels and Howie Kendrick. Haha, I hope you didn't get your hopes up thinking we could deal Kyle Kendrick for Cabrera. I don't think we could get away with that even if Ed Wade were GM of the Marlins.

Wasn't Schoenweiss atrocious for the Mets?

my lack of confidence in Gordon stems from the following: 1) he turns 40 this month, 2) he has been very fragile the last two years, and 3) even when he was pitching reasonably well at the end of the season, he was (to my eyes at least) pitching away from contact and desperately hoping that he could catch hitters getting impatient. I saw a gutsy and admirable performance from a guy without a lot of stuff left, but not something that gave me any confidence for his next pro season.

Yeah, it's Howie Kendrick from the Angels (along with their top two prospects).

Schoeneweis was terrible because he wasn't used as a LOOGY. he slaughters lefties: .204/.308/.247 last year and a .601 OOPS for his career.

It's sad I have to say this about a guy making 8+million dollars, but Gordon has to be treated with kid gloves, like the Yanks treated Joba Chamberlain this year. Granted one guy is on the upswing and the other is at the end of his career, but if the Phils want Gordon to be effective at all, he can't be overused.

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