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Friday, December 28, 2007

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i guess it's better than 'catching a dream' but that's still a stupid title.

Whatever happened to Dave79, Coste's alter-ego? You'd think he could get his hands on a galley copy for an early review for Beerleaguers.

"Astros signed outfielder Darin Erstad, who had been with the White Sox, to a one-year, $1 million contract."

When I first read that Wade was interested in Erstad it made no sense to me, but now that I see it's just 1 year, $1M, it's actually a decent bench addition.

From today's NY Daily News:

Mets show interest in Jon Lieber
BY PETER BOTTE and ROGER RUBIN
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS

The Mets have touched base with representatives for several free-agent pitchers they consider fallback options if they are unable to land a marquee starter in a trade this winter.

One of those contingency arms apparently belongs to former Yankee righty Jon Lieber, according to agent Rex Gary.

"We've been in contact with the Mets, but as we sit here today it'd be wrong to suggest something is imminent," Gary said last night. "There has been a lot of interest in (Lieber) from other teams. ... But he has absolutely no problem with the idea of pitching in New York. He liked pitching in New York with the Yankees and he likes to win."

Hey, someone wrote about the Phillies. It was Conlin:

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/columnists/bill_conlin/20071228_Bill_Conlin___How_much_room_is_there_for_improvement_.html

I really don't know what point he's trying to make here. It's basically a run down of the season, I guess.

When I first read that Wade was interested in Erstad it made no sense to me, but now that I see it's just 1 year, $1M, it's actually a decent bench addition.

clout, you've got to be kidding. Erstad is nearly as bad as Nunez.

ae: "Erstad is nearly as bad as Nunez."

Not really. Nunez was 54 OPS+. Erstad was 68 OPS+. The gap in the career numbers is even bigger, obviously.

Erstad is clearly nearing the end, but he can still field, he can still run, he can hit a mistake and he's good in the clubhouse. For 1 year, $1M that's fine. Anything more than that, or if they viewed him as a starter, would've been a mistake.

Nunez was the arguably the worst offensive player the Phils have had in the past 25 years. Erstad had struggled but I doubt he would be that bad.

The marketing folks at Ballantine need to come up with a slicker, shorter title. "The 33-Year Old Rookie?" Coste deserves better.

The fascinating thing will be if Coste actually reveals dirt or talks about Phils' management. I would tend to doubt it though since he is still trying to keep his roster spot with them.

Coste's book should be an interesting read. Hopefully, for him, it's not the final chapter.

Coste underperformed my expectations in 2007. I didn't think he'd duplicate 2006's .328 BA, and had him pegged as .280 - .300 for 2007. He hit .279.

The ST battle between him and Jaramillo will be interesting. The early handicap is that in a dead heat the Phillies will lean toward the younger, marginally less expensive player.

That leads to an interesting question.

Would the Phillies, in that scenario, look to trade Coste to another team that is looking for a backup catcher, who is far less expensive - and offensively more productive - than say, a Gary Bennett (825K), Michael Barrett (3MM), Jason LaRue (?), Guillermo Quiroz (?), or Jose Molina (2yrs/4MM)?


Could they get a decent reliever for him? Or, would they merely assign him to Allentown as insurance, in case ether Ruiz or Jaramillo get hurt?

Of course, there's always Pete LaForest!

"The 33-Year-Old Rookie." Somebody clearly sat up all night coming up with that title. Even as an author, the poor guy gets no respect.

But don't worry, Chris. You can hire Sir Alden as your publicist. He'll tell you that even without a better title you're headed for the best-seller list.

If Coste has a reasonable spring, I think he wins the backup catcher spot. I feel it is his job to lose. Coste will always be looking over his shoulder and be competing for the last roster spot. The pitchers like throwing to him and Cholly trusts him. If Jamarillo beats him out, for Coste's sake, I would hope they would trade him. He won't garner much in a trade though -- probably a Mike Dubee level prospect.

Can anyone find an article or evidence correlating team defense to pitchers ERA?

I just have a hard time believing that most of the Rockies pitchers having career years in a hitters park had nothing to do with them being the best defensive team in the majors (and I might also be hinting that part of our miserable ERA was due to the lousy Philly team defense) Although that would mean that team defense does matter, even in a hitters park (I expect an argument from someone about this).

(The response I expect to get) "Blah, blah, hitters park, blah, offense, blah, run scored counts more than a run scored against, blah, blah, do you want another no hit Nunez, blah.

I guess I'm still under the impression that Nunez was closer to a league average fielder than a great fielder and only looked great when compared to a wooden stake pounded into the dirt. Which let more balls get to the worst defensive right fielder in the league (talk about a double whammy). When combined with a poor defensive first baseman and a below average center fielder might have been a contributing factor to the 4.95ish team ERA.

You probably know that runs allowed count for more than runs scored in the pythagorean equation. Although I'm not a huge fan of that equation, sabermetrics interpretations have recently entered the mainstream.

There have been a lot of articles written about the correlation between ERA and defense. Here's one:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=878

Clout: His name is DaveThom73. I was just thinking about how I missed his posts. They always made laugh.
Coste will be the backup catcher this year. Jaramillo will be better off playing everyday in AAA then once or twice a week in the show.

Baxter: Careful, you'll be going against Clout and AWH, who don't believe that defense matters.

Interesting to note that statistical studies have shown that team defense, pitchers K rates, and closer performance are the 3 biggest corrollaries with winning in the playoffs. I'll admit that I may be wrong about the bullpen, that it could be a fatal flaw for this team (although I doubt it). Will Clout be willing to admit that he's wrong about defensive value (namely that he thinks it doesnt exist)? He seems to believe that statistical analysis begins and ends with OPS, which is a MADE UP STAT (arbitrarily adding together 2 individual and unrelated stats).

Ricky, I agree that I would expect a slight improvement in our team ERA based on the defensive upgrades of Victorino in center and Werth in right, in addition to Jenkins getting playing time (all above-average defensive outfielders). If we can find a good-fielding 3rd baseman, we will have one of the better defensive teams in the league (overcoming Howard, of course), which will certainly help our pitchers' ERA (and help us win). I would sacrifice a small amount of offense at 3rd (Helms/Dobbs) for a lot of defense there.

Also, here's the article which explains the correlation between defense, strikeouts, and closer and playoff success. It's taken from the Baseball Prospectus book.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=betweenthenumbers/billybeane/060405

ricky: I don't think anyone would argue that defense doesn't matter, even in a hitters park. Where you run into trouble is when you advocate someone who can't hit as an everyday player at an offensive position because you think he'll save more runs than he costs on offense.

You also will have some trouble supporting this statement:
"most of the Rockies pitchers [had] career years."

Those who pitched the most IP would be most improved by this great defense. Who had career years? Let's run down the list:
Francis: Better stats in 2006.
Cook: Career year, but only his second full season as starter. Was it defense or just the normal learning curve?
Fogg: Career year was in 2002.
Hirsh: First full season.
Buchholz: Career year, but only second full season.
Jimenez: First full season.
Lopez: Career year was in 2002.
Corpas: First full season.
Fuentes: Career year was in 2005.
Affeldt: Career year.

So, to sum up, of the top 10 Rockies pitchers, 3 had career years, but two of them were in their only their second full seasons; 3 were in their first full seasons so haven't had careers yet and thus it's impossible to say they had "career years"; the other 4 have had better years in the past.

Jack: I think defense is very important, especially up the middle. This, by the way, is not a radically new notion.

Where you and I part company is on the value of having a good-field, no-hit player in the corners. I'm still waiting for someone to show me that such a player saves more runs on defense than he costs on offense.

Clout: The thing about "offensive positions" is that we have incredible offensive players at SS and 2B, which means we don't necessarily need traditional "offensive" production out of 3B. This year I would rate us as having above average offensive production from 2B, SS, 1B, and LF, average production out of CF and C, below average offense out of RF and 3B. The fact is Helms and Dobbs are going to give us below average offense anyway- why not at least have someone there who can give us above average defense and save some runs with his glove? ( I don't have time to do the research to see where our players project as it comes to average production for position, [that was off the top of my head], but I would love to see it if someone could).

Also, Clout, what stats did you use to define career year? ERA, I'm assuming?

ricky, Bill James developed a Defensive efficiency (DER) statistic in one of his abstracts in the 1980s. This statistic applies to whole teams and is simply the percentage of balls in play that are turned into outs. It is strongly correlated to defensive independent pitching statistics. You can find a lot of articles on this.

I believe that I did prove that Feliz was worth more runs last year than Helms and Dobbs combined. Reposted from an earlier thread, using stats from Baseball Prospectus:

Using Fielding and Batting Runs Above Average from 2007:

Feliz in 143 games at 3rd: 5 Runs on offense, 27 on defense (worth 32 runs above replacement player)

Dobbs in 68 games at 3rd: 12 runs on offense, -3 on defense (worth 9 runs above replacement player)

Helms in 68 games at 3rd: -1 runs on offense, -3 on defense (a whopping 4 runs BELOW replacement level)

Critics of sabermetrics often cite its impenetrability, or its "arbitrariness," or its newfangledness, or just its like math-ness. Too much math, they say. Too many nerdy numbers. Who needs numbers? What can they ever tell us? Facts? Phooey. I will rely on my eyes, my gut, and a different set of equally arbitrary mathematical cutoffs which aren't nerdy because I am familiar with them. - Ken Tremendous

Jack, I find it funny that you source a book that helps you make one point on one side, but disagrees with your assertion that OPS is a made up stat.

B Dub- Ha, fair point. But most sabermetricians would agree that OPS is an arbitrary stat because it just lumps 2 unrelated stats together without much reason or assigned value (are we to assume that OBP and SLG are equal because they are both given 50% weight in the equation?). Not that it doesn't have some value, it certainly does compared to looking at BA and RBIs, but my main point was that there are much better offensive stats to use than OPS (such as WARP, VORP, Runs Created, EQA, etc.), to determine offensive value. But Clout only believes in OPS apparently. That was my main point.

Ok, here's how it really is- both defense and offense matter. At third base we have a crapfest with the mitt and about average on offense (Dobbs/Helms) however I think we can all admit that Pedro Feliz sucks donkey dong when it comes to offense, no matter if he's the 2nd coming of Brooks Robinson picking it at the hot corner. We do not need, nor should anyone want Feliz. If we were without a 3rd base option than he'd be better than no 3rd baseman, but we have 2 players to plug in there, even if they aren't good defensively and aren't standouts offensively either. There is no free agent 3rd baseman that could cure our ailments at that position. Patty G went after Lowell but was turned down, A-Rod wasn't an option, Mike Lamb is a part-time player with equally bad defense...there just isn't that many options out there for 3rd that meet the criteria we're looking for.

clout, why is it so difficult to understand that a play made by a fielder that a typical fielder wouldn't make equals a hit on offense -- regardless if it is a ss, 2b, 3b, or 1b?

I know you don't buy Dewan's plus/minus system even though it involves video scouting of every play of every major league game and record detailed information on each play. But when other fielding statistics like probabilistic model of range, and revised zone rating also indicate a great defensive 3B like Feliz is making 40 plays that Helms or Dobbs don't make, I think there is something to it.

I think there's something to it too, Billy Mac, and don't see why having a great field, no hit player (and no hit's kind of harsh when the player in question has hit 20 home runs the past four years in a pitcher's park) is so much worse than a no field, mediocre hit platoon. Helms was pretty awful on offense himself last season.

Jack, I agree that mathematically OPS makes little sense, since the numerators of the two fractions involved have different denominators and they are never forced to become common. I misunderstood were you were coming from there. I also agree that using OPS as the only means of rating a player offensively is a little on the silly side.

I thought you were arguing OPS had no value when it does. It’s a quick of looking at offense, but if we are going to useing math and science then we should be using better math and science then OPS.

Runs Created is my current favorite and I am taking a closer look at lately EqA. I’ve got my copy of Baseball Between the Numbers right here at my desk. What a great book.

Jack: I use OPS+ because everyone I read says it's the best single stat to measure offense. Doesn't mean those other stats are bad, just not as inclusive.

Also, we need not re-argue a point that was endlessly argued on a previous thread. Several posters on that thread showed your comparison of Helms/Dobbs to Feliz is bogus because of the way VORP is measured.

Billy Mac: Are you arguing that 3B and 1B are equal in defensive importance to SS and 2B? If so, wow!

I know that "statheads" keep saying that Feliz is the worst producing 3B or.. His OBP sucks etc.. I STILL say-- because I'm the anti-nerd-- that 20 HR 80 RBI and a .255 AVG from Feliz whips that crappy platoon we have now.. This DOES come from my gut and watchin thousands of baseball games.. The defense he provides is icing on a league AVG third basemen's cake. All I care about in this case is HR RBI and avg.. not WALKS.. NOT for THIS team. we have scores of baserunners.. let him bring them in with singles doubles or HR.. seems simple to me.. don't need a bunch of percentages for that..

Billy Mac: Isn't it amazing that "a great defensive 3B" like Feliz wasn't even used at the position regularly until 2006? The Giants coaches must be really dumb.

Again, I'm always amazed at how much love Feliz gets on Beerleaguer compared to Howard.

Clout , Don't twist what I said. No one is arguing the relative importance of ss or 2b to 3b. But that doesn't mean that defense doesn't matter unless it is "up the middle".

Billy Mac: Agreed. Defense matters everywhere. But it matters more up the middle. Which is why recommending a good-field, no-hit player for 3B is bad advice.

Feliz was blocked at 3b, since the Giants had Alfonso and Durham at 3b and 2b for about $16M. That is why he had to play RF. The Giants are not the best run organization if you've noticed.

clout, I’m not saying this in a leading why, but who do you read… I’m seriously curious about this. I’m trying to read as many different points of view as I can.

As far as I know both Baseball Prospectus and the Hardball Times claim to have better metrics than OPS+. The Hardball Times likes Gross Production Average, and Baseball Prospectus uses EqA.

On a normal team I'd agree that SS and 2B are the most important defensive positions. I just think that 3B takes a huge jump on this team as Burrell is the left fielder. In multiple systems Burrell is shown to be one of the worst left fielders in the game and adds a free base to many opponents hits (I deal with this as he is our only righty and a good hitter). This turns balls that should be outs into doubles and balls that should be singles into triples.
If the 3rd base platoon hit like Howard then I'd probably forgive the fact that they field like him. But they hit like the catcher (might be an insult to Ruiz)and field like the left fielder (might be an insult to Burrell)

The difference in correlation to runs between OPS and EqA or RC is only around .06. So while they may be "better" the difference is really rather small, they're more useful in my opinion to show how some players who may be passed over simply by looking at OPS are really valuable offensive contributors. Considering the advanced statistics all weight OBP more than SLG, they tend to make Feliz look worse.

"I just think that 3B takes a huge jump on this team as Burrell is the left fielder. This turns balls that should be outs into doubles and balls that should be singles into triples."

In 2007, across the majors, there were 118 triples hit to left field (based on the play index at baseball-reference.com). Of the 118, only 4 were against the Phillies. Based on 30 teams, that's just about average. Arizona, Oakland & the Yankees tied for the lead with 7.

I'm not saying that Burrell is a good fielder, but this is (at least) the second time that I've seen someone complain about triples hit to Burrell, so I wanted to look into it.

stjoehawk: Very interesting. Someone other than Burrell started in LF in 24 games. Is it possible that one of those 4 triples was hit in one of those 24 games?

Also interesting: The 32 teams that yielded the most LF triples (Arizona, NY and Oakland) have spacious foul territories. CBP has one of the tiniest in the majors. Could one argue that this makes LF defense even less relevant in that park?

That 32 is supposed to be a 3.

clout - I checked all 3 games & it appears that Burrell was playing LF during all 4 triples. Should have specifically stated that.

One was on 4/24 (@ CBP), one was on 5/3 (@ Pac Bell (oops - AT&T park)), and the last two were on 8/11 (@CBP). In fact, in that 8/11 game, the Braves hit back-to-back triples to left field. I'd be curious to know if that had ever happened before.

Having essentially no foul ground and Vic in center does decrease the defensive importance of the left fielder to some degree.

Favorite post I saw on another site:
"Watching Wes Helms play 3rd is what I imagine it would look like to see Ryan Howard play 3rd."

Clout- First off, no one really did argue convincingly against my methods- and I didn't use VORP.

Secondly, do you really think the Giants not playing Feliz at 3rd until 2 years ago is an indictment of his defense? We're talking about a franchise that has failed to build a decent team around the greatest offensive player of the last 30 years (except for 2002). I don't doubt that they are seriously behind when it comes to evaluating talent.

Thurd, saying that Feliz gets more love on here than Howard is ridiculous. The fact that some people criticize Howard for his poor defense and strikeouts on occasion has NOTHING to do with adovcating Feliz's defensive skills (everyone knows he can't hit). What do you want us to say? Howard is an incredible offensive player. There. I could repeat that 50 times to satisfy you, or we could get back to our argument.

Finally, I understand that you think Feliz's poor offensive skills means he shouldn't play here, and I understand most of your argument. I think we would both agree that someone like Lowell would have been a great move by the Phils. The position needs to upgraded. However, I'm not sure why you think Helms/Dobbs will be automatically better for this team next year than Feliz. Didn't my numbers at least indicate there's a question? Don't you have any sort of doubt? I know I personally am making the harder argument- arguing for a good defensive player is MUCH harder due to the relative lack of quantifiable metrics and the natural bias toward offense. I am willing to admit that I could be wrong. I ask you though, are you really 100% confident that a platoon of Helms and Dobbs is better for the Phillies than Feliz? In other words, is No-Field/Barely passable Hit better than Good-Field/No-Hit? Are you even willing to accept the possibility that it might not be?

Branyan is a poor man's Dave Kingman, or even a poor man's Gorman Thomas for that matter.

Haha, Mr. Branyan?

If memory serves me correctly Gorman had some unbelievable minor league years in which he hit like 40-50 hrs and was considered a Brewers top prospect until he made the bigs and everyone found out he couldn't hit a curveball.

What I have learned from this blog the last few days is that strong defense up the middle is most important. I think this is something that Chris Wheeler pontificates on at least once a year. I also believe that Connie Mack basically said the same thing.
The value of excellent fielding at third and first is the protecting of the line in late inning to avoid doubles. An excellent fielding first baseman will also help the rest of infield from making as many throwing errors. You can always put a donkey at first with minimum risk, but you risk occasional errors when he can't consistently "pick" those bad throws.
I don't know what metrics there are to prove this. I just know from watching ballgames at every level for the past 55 years.

What I have learned from this blog the last few days is that strong defense up the middle is most important. I think this is something that Chris Wheeler pontificates on at least once a year. I also believe that Connie Mack basically said the same thing.
The value of excellent fielding at third and first is the protecting of the line in late inning to avoid doubles. An excellent fielding first baseman will also help the rest of infield from making as many throwing errors. You can always put a donkey at first with minimum risk, but you risk occasional errors when he can't consistently "pick" those bad throws.
I don't know what metrics there are to prove this. I just know from watching ballgames at every level for the past 55 years.

Now what I learned is how to double post.

Jack: I know you're trying to oversimplify the argument because it may help your cause, but it's not quite what you make it out to be.

It's not as simple as choosing between Feliz and the Helms/Dobbs combo because one costs money that hasn't been spent. You are advocating spending a chunk of money that will be better used on pitching for one of the worst offensive regular third basemen in the game simply because he'd likely field a few more balls than the Helms/Dobbs platoon.

Sorry, it's a terrible baseball decision.

Dobbs OPS+ last year vs. righties was 105. Helms' vs. lefties was 98.

Feliz's OPS+ last year was 81.

I just don't buy that his glove will come anywhere close to making up for the difference in offense a straight platoon will have... especially for the cost. A cost you just can't ignore.

Me love me some Condrey! Go Clay and we alls got to give it up to the new Guch!

Clout --
Its "davthom73" -- remember? Happy Holidays to everyone here -- and Jason, is "The 33-year-old Rookie . . " the same book which was to be entitled "Catching a Dream"?

Oh -- and DallasGreensjock, should I "out" you, or will you fess up to your real handle?

I'm much more concrened with spending the extra bucks for some arms than worrying about the 3rd base platoon, especially since the production from 2nd base/SS is above league average. They'll score the runs, but can they prevent the runs?
Since the topic is on 3rd base for the most part, has anyone taken the time to compare its production from each half of last season. I could be way off, but it seemed to me as if the position was more productive in the second half with Helms pushed aside as Dobbs was getting the bulk of the time there.

BillyMac -- Well, -- to use Amaro's words about Coste -- "Coste still has options" -- meaning that the Phillies could again stash Coste in AAA by "optioning" him there and, of course, that would be the ultimate shaft for Coste. If the Phillies are going to give Jaramillo the inside track to get the backup catching job -- which I think they will -- the Phillies should trade Coste now -- and indeed there was interest in Coste last ST -- albeit at a time in late March when Coste was nursing a hamstring injury. See, e.g., the blurb in the March 23, 2007, editions of the Dallas Morning News, which read, in a story about the Texas Rangers backup catching situation at the time, "Briefly: C Miguel Ojeda is the in-house leader to be Gerald Laird's backup, but the club has talked to other clubs with extra catching, notably Philadelphia (Chris Coste) and the Los Angeles Angels (Jose Molina). Both clubs are seeking relief pitching, and had RHP Rick Bauer (15.63 ERA) been more effective this spring, it might be easier to consummate a deal. .."

As far as defense last year - they tried that with Nunez and after awhile they benched him. Doesn't that prove at least to Cholly that you need more than defense at third?

Davthome is my hero! He will be missed if he doens't return

Been away from BL since before Christmas. Santa did not bring me the Coste book preorder receipt, but he did bring me some Phillies gear: a Phillies Santa hat, a Phillies throw pillow, and a Phillies sweatshirt. Rumor has it, another Phillies item is supposed to come later in the mail. Santa also got me a nice coffee table book called Cooperstown about all the Hall of Famers. Nice book.

Lake Nostradamus foresees that Coste will get the shaft by the Phillies in 2008. He better sell a lot of books.

F U Jim Leyritz

Mugu: Your memory is a little off. Gorman Thomas got to the big leagues and apparently saw at least 268 pitches that weren't curve balls over 13 seasons; that's how many he hit over the walls, anyway, helping give those Milwaukee teams the nickname "Harvey's Wallbangers." He twice led the league in HR and twice finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. He also twice led the league in Ks.

There's no way I'd ever mistake the Phillies as having extra catching right now. It's highly unlikely unto impossible that Coste would land anything (by himself) that could help the team right now. In other words, you won't find a team dealing a middle reliever for him. That said, I'm hoping there's a GM dumb enough, but I won't hold my breath. Suppose Ruiz or Jaramillo (who's totally unproven anyway) get hurt, then who gets called up to catch?

With a supposedly better catching prospect in the system with Lou Marson and Ruiz looking like the real deal,it seems that trying to trade Jamarillo makes a lot more sense then trading Coste. Plus, they still have Werth as the emergency catcher if Ruiz and Coste were to go down, right?

B-Mac---I believe emergency catcher would be the operative term for Werth, as in, if 2 catchers go down in one game. I'm not sure when Werth has caught last, and it would seem putting him in that position for any period of time would probably do the Phils as much good as occasionally putting Burrell at 3rd. I agree that trying to trade Jaramillo would make more sense than trading Coste. But again, trading any of them would leave them weaker than the position already is.

Rejected proposals for Coste's book title:

-"Blocked by Sal Fasano"
-"From Fargo With Cargo"
-"Gillick Ruined My Easter"
-"Pawtucket Nights"
-"I'll Show All You Bastards If It's The Last Thing I Do"
-"Iron Man, Iron Pig"
-"Such a Great Story"

Haha, "Such a Great Story." The real title's almost as bad. Maybe Feliz isn't the right guy, but isn't anyone a little worried that we have no defensive substitution guy at third base? Couldn't hurt to have someone on the roster who can actually, you know, field the position. Bruntlett's never done it.

Brian- I wasn't suggesting starting Werth at catcher, it's just that he would be a better option than carrying a third catcher, or he could fill in on a short term basis if a catcher was to get hurt. But really, a catcher could be acquired very cheaply to fill in if one of our two starting catchers were out for an extended period of time. It would probably just mean that the uninjured catcher would play much more, not a terrible scenario.

Plus they still have Pete Bunch of Trees as a call-up anyways

Phils roster still at 42, how long are they allowed to keep it this way? My guess is until right after the holidays, meaning 2 guys will be designated for assignment come Jan. 2nd.

B-Mac-Trust me, there's no way I was holding you to the Werth at catcher thing. I guess Mark LaForest's brother would be the one to slide in there if the Phils decide a catcher is expendable. I know they won't be putting any money into the position through free agency unless they're forced to.

This time of year, it is always fun to look at the transactions and see where former Phils' and Phils' farmhands sign. Feel free to add to the list.

Bobby Scales - Cubs
Joe Thurston - Red Sox
Jim Brower - Reds
Anderson Machado - Mets
Adam Bernero - Pirates
Sal Fasano - Blue Jays
Brian Sanches - Nationals
Eude Brito - Nationals

Does anyone know where Greg Jacobs landed ?
I was surprised the Phils didn't resign him. Also what was the deal with Michael Restovich ? He was signed and weeks later.

Last part cut off. I see Restovich was released by the Phils. That was a curious move after signing him just a few weeks earlier.

With regards to a defensive 3b backup, the Phils will probably sign someone to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Could it be our old friend Abe Nunez ?

Restovich got a better offer in Japan.

Billy Mac: Bruntlett hasn't played a whole lot of 3B, but he's very experienced at SS and 2B and has the arm to play 3B. My guess is he gets a lot of action there in spring training. There's no way the Phils will carry 2 utility infielders. Bruntlett is the man.

Clout, Agree about Bruntlett. But it wouldn't surprise me to see a non-roster invitee who plays good 3b, just in case Brunlett can't hack it.

I remember the Coste for Bauer rumor last spring and it was commented upon on Beerleaguer. Bauer, who was decent in 2006, was awful in spring training, cut by the Rangers and signed by the Phils without losing Coste. Bauer started at Ottawa, was awful there, cut by the Phils and signed by the Dodgers and was much better in Las Vegas. He became a 6-year minor league free agent at season's end and was signed to a minor league contract by the Indians.

Regarding Jacobs, I can't find an IronPigs roster anywhere (not even on their Web site) so I'm not sure who their starting OF is. I always thought of him as a Jack Cust type, who deserved a shot as a PH or DH in the AL. As far as I know, he's still a free agent.

I am fairly certain Jacobs signed on with another team. He put up nice numbers. I also thought he had a shot to be reserve player in the bigs. As far as Iron Pigs outfield, my guess is Brandon Watson (CF), Valentino Pascucci (LF), and either Roberson or Snelling (RF).

What about Javon Moran in the IronPigs' OF? Didn't we get him back from the Reds at some point? I always thought that his minor league numbers were comparable to Bourns.

MPN: We got Moran in the Cormier trade and I like him. He should start at Lehigh Valley. He's not as good as Bourn because he doesn't walk as much and as a righty is a little less valuable, but he has the speed and the glove and should be decent reserve in the bigs.

I too envision Javon Moran as a solid 4th outfielder type by 2009...gotta be better than Chris Roberson at least.

I've seen enough of both Roberson and Moran to say they're both most likely going to amount to nothing more than "tweeners" in their careers. Nothing personal against Moran, but he's a faster minor league outfield version of Abraham Nunez.

Brian: You're right that the big question about Moran is his bat. But I would argue that his stats say he's much better than Nunez and a bit better than Roberson.

Nunez was a career .684 OPS in the minors. Moran is .732. That's a pretty good gap. Also, No-Hit Nuni was never much of a base stealer. Moran is. Moran doesn't have a lick of power, even less than Nuni, but in this case it's worth mentioning straight batting average: Moran is lifetime .299, Nuni was .274.

You have a better case with Roberson, whose .733 OPS is almost identical to Moran's. But that's mostly because of the SLG. Moran rates a big edge in B.A. and a small edge in OB. But the biggest difference is that Roberson has amassed these stats at age 27 and is currently at the same level of development as Moran, who's only 24. Moran has a chance to improve. With Roberson, I think what we see is what we get.

Clout---Moran does have a chance to improve, but I think we'll both agree that the time is now. I've always found Roberson and Moran comparable (with a very slight edge to Moran)watching them at the lower levels. However, neither has shown me that they'll stick as big leaguers. If anything, I'm a bit suprised Roberson even made it at all.

Looks like Coste is going back on the rubber chicken circuit. They are sending him and KK to Williamsport in mid January. Will never forget last summer when those two combined for a nine inning complete game at Reading. Believe KK was called up the next day and well the rest is history. Hard to believe that KK and Hamels were 25-9 in 07. 16 games over.500 will be hard to equal for them in 08 but they will have to do even better.
http://www.crosscutters.com/

RSB - loved your book titles. Thanks.

I've been away on holiday. It is always so good to return and find Jack fighting with clout about the bullpen and about whether Pedro ".288" Feliz is betterb than a wooden stake. (Actually, there's the comparison - is it better to have a wooden stake near the bag at 3rd, or nailed into the batters box 4 times a game?)

Brian - Werth caught a couple games last ST.

I liked the book titles,too!

"- Former Phillies pitcher Kyle Lohse is still on the market, and does not appear close to a deal. The Mets and talks with his agent have slowed, and I have heard from an unnamed source that he has had talks with the Reds, Cardinals, Mariners, Rockies, and one anonymous team, among others."

LOL

Jamie Moyer seems a bit miffed about some comments former Mariner Shane Monahan threw out. Rumor has it that Moyer has now challenged Monahan to a cage match...let's get ready to rumble!

The only team in that bunch that would probably give the Carl Pavano style (or Carlos Silva style) contract to Lohse would be the Mariners.....or if the anonymous team is the Royals. Amazing what mediocre starting pitching can fetch on the market though.

Moyer was on my flight to Orlando a few days ago. For some reason I always pictured him as an average-sized guy, but he's at least 6'1". He was with his family so I didn't say anything, plus I probably would have let something spill out like "we-love-you-jamie-poison-adam-eaton's-gatorade-please!" Keith Jones and Keith Primeau were at the airport too. Everyone in Philadelphia sports must spend their New Years riding Space Mountain.

Oh, and the Moyers were in coach class. What a modest guy.

"Baxter: Careful, you'll be going against Clout and AWH, who don't believe that defense matters."

Jack, this is the first chance I've had to respond to that idiotic comment. It is also a complete misrepresentation of everything I have ever posted on this site. (Are you in politics?) You hurt your own credibility when you do it, so if you want others here to take you seriously, it's best to respond to what they actually post, and not some fictionalized version that helps your argument.

For the record, I think defense is very important, so much so, that I am a serial poster of this quote from Bill James 1988 Abstract:

"Primer #10 - A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense."


I've probably posted that at least 4-6 times over the course of the last year.

I just happen to be with clout on this particular point about Feliz and 3B.

Good to see owners standing up to Boras. Todd Jones and A-Rod already blew him off, hopefully Lohse is next

Happy Hangover, oops I meant Happy New Beers...dammit, Happy New Year to everyone! BeerLeaguer is my 2nd favorite Phils site, and that's why I continue to comeback daily to check in on the banter- well, more like complaining. Phils World Series Champs in 2008!!!

GM-C, what's number one?

I reckon it would be GM-C's very own blog. "We Should be GM's".

Phils in '08!

BloodStripes- bingo, gotta go with my own blog being favorite, but I'm probably the only one who thinks that.

The first day of the '08 Phils! Happy New Year all.

Let's hope 08 is better than 07!

Anyone going to Clearwater?

coste is clutch!!

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