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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Point on. All the more reason to spend the money to win now when the future is fairly bleak. Yet they tread on, repeating the mantra "if they play to their abilities, we will compete for a playoff spot."

What are the chances of Jim Rushford coming back the the Philly organization at either Reading or Allentown?

It may be carrying "Philadelphia Freedom" a bit far to be the "City of Independents."

"the Phillies employ more graduates of the independent leagues than any other organization."

This is like saying "our college football team has more walk-ons than any other college". I'm sure the Phillies front office can't be proud of this.

Andy, from the last thread. I understand the discussion was about Feliz being or not being a late-inning defensive replacement. My point was that the stats show he was a better everyday third baseman than the vaunted Helms/Dobbs platoon last year.

In response to Jack's defense of Feliz in the last thread: Isn't WARP a counting stat, in that it's related to playing time? So it's not surprising that Feliz would rank higher than a couple of part-time players.

I think a lot of us would mind Feliz more for the expense than anything else. If used as Helms' replacement in the platoon -- and as the defensive replacement in games Dobbs starts -- he might produce more than Helms. But the extra money is would take is better spent on the bullpen.

That's how I feel about it, too, Alby.

Alby: It is somewhat of a counting stat, but when you combine Dobbs and Helms they played the same amount of time at 3rd base as Feliz and performed half as well. Also, those stats include Dobb's time in left and at first, so they actually played more than Feliz.

I agree that money-wise, I would rather invest in relief pitching. However, if signing Feliz allows us to trade Helms for bullpen help, then we have upgraded at both 3rd and in the bullpen.

The other thing is that I believe we can improve our bullpen by using some of our young, talented pitching prospects in the pen. The fact is, signing free agent relievers is a risky proposition because the position is so inherently inconsistent from year to year. I mean, look at J.C. Romero- he was released by 3 different teams in the last year, we signed him, he pitched well, and he got 3 years and 12 million. Is that really a good investment? Probably not, because of how inconsistent he has been, but one that we had to make. Relievers' stats vary so widely from year to year that making a long-term investment in one is very risky, which is why building a team I would advocate using internal options in the pen (future starting prospects) and saving the money to sign free agent positional players, where future performance is much more easily predicted.

Relax. THey will address the 'pen by bringing in another LH reliever.

Jack: You mean the young, talented pitching prospects like the ones who JW listed in his article?

I found this stat about all the independent leaguers to be particularly nauseating. But it's not surprising. Independent leaguers are desperate & will work for nothing. For every AAA & AA roster spot which the Phillies can fill with 33-year old independent leaguers, it's one less signing bonus they have to pay at draft time.

Independent League Friendly or really sh*tty farm system? I believe it's the latter moreso than the first.

I like RJ Swindle though and would love for him to become a LOOGY in Philly in the future.

The other piece of the Helms/Feliz question is the "tradability" of Helms. At one point we heard the Farnsworth rumor. But when the Marlins tendered a hard offer it was for some AA guy (offhand I cannot remember, nor will I do research on his name) who'll be lucky to make AAA for any length of time. I'm simply not so sure that Helms would be of enough interest to anyone to get a decent reliever.

Coupled with that, we can find other stats about Feliz (like he's only ever "worked the count" to 3 balls 408 times in 3027 plate appearances) which indicate that watching him play everyday might have adverse effects on our stress levels.

Why is everyone betting against Dobbs's continued improvement? I know he's not that young, but neither was Ryan Howard when he finally got his chance.
Dobbs's career minor league numbers(6 years)
.307 .358 .456 .814

Last year, in only 324 at bats, Dobbs hit 20 doubles, 4 triples, 10 hrs, .272 ba and a 96 ops+.
Dobbs also fielded 5 different positions reasonably well. Not bad, for a rookie.

Baxter- I feel like many others that Dobbs is doomed when pitchers use anything not fast and straight.

absolutely no chance Helms nets the Phillies anything that qualifies as "bullpen help", even considering the pathetic state of this team's relief corps. like Andy says, that's a fantasy that has already been shot down.

The Marlins, who settled for Cantu, were willing to give up a relief prospect for Helms. The Phils said no, but if they get Feliz, for example, a prospect would be fine.

Baxter-- If Dobbs has so much upside, why did it take him till 26/27 to debut? ESPECIALLY, as you contend, he plays them "reasonably well." The fact is , he HAS reached his potential and he doesn't field (at least 3B) well at all.

Interesting tidbit on MLBTR.. Seems that Glaus requested the trade out of Toronto and off the artificial turf..In that case, nice job by Riccardi (or dumb luck) that Rolen could be had.. Seems like Toronto may have gotten the better crybaby, er.. player or at least it's a wash.

the Marlins offered Scott Nestor, who just posted 1.41 WHIP / 4.44 ERA / 4.92 BB/9 / 10.32 K/9 in 75 AA innings at age 22, if the Phillies paid more than half of Helms' remaining salary. I'll defer to clout or another more minor league-savvy poster, but it looks pretty obvious to me that Nestor has no chance of contributing in 2008. and paying a half-plus of Helms' salary means Feliz is actually costing you $6.5-7M instead of $5M.

baxter: I'm with you on Dobbs. The conventional wisdom seems to be that last year was as good as it's going to get, but his minor league numbers say otherwise. Given 350 ABs, I could see him hitting .290 and slugging around .450. Dobbs has his shortcomings, such as defense & plate discipline, but he has hit for high average at every level.

Most of these Indy guys are strictly fillers, yet RJ Swindle can really baffle lefty hitters, and Greg Jacobs knows how to hit, though he is getting up in age. Gary Burnham seems like he will be a future minor league roving hitting instructor.

Inge or Crede at 3B are both good people to think about: if the price is right in the first case, and the back is right in the second.

Anyone else off the scrap heap is just not a significant upgrade, and not worth millions of dollars.

ae - Agreed on Helms. If the Phils don't pick up a portion of his salary, there is no way they get anything more than a mid-tier prospect that isn't likely to help them this season.

Nice post JW. Maybe the Phils should put this poem outside the new stadium in Allentown ("The New Colussus" by Emma Lazarus):

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Jack: You have the same problem every time: Garbage in/Garbage out. WARP is NOT the end all, be all of offensive stats. OPS+ is a far better measure.

And on that measure Helms/Dobbs was better lsat season and that was with Helms having an all-time bad year. They will be better this season, by an even larger margin.

You have no clue how many runs Feliz would save on defense (playing next to Rollins) versus how many he would cost on offense. So it is rank speculation on your part. As usual.

Again, the debate is Feliz as an everyday player versus the Dobbs/Helms platoon with Bruntlett as defensive sub. The stats show that Feliz would NOT be an upgrade. Which makes you wrong. Yet again.

If Dobbs has so much upside, why did it take him till 26/27 to debut?

Thats the exact criticism I'm criticizing. Dobbs wasn't even drafted out of college, he was signed as a 22 year old FA and sent to low A. After averaging close to .900 OPS in A ball for over a year, Dobbs has promoted to to AA San Antonio, where he had a .950 OPS over the next three years. Despite his solid numbers, he didn't reach AAA until late 2004, at the age of 25. With Adrian Beltre blocking his path to Seattle, Dobbs posted a .800 ops over the next three years in AAA Tacoma.

Dobb's cups of coffee in Seattle weren't complete failures- he hit .370, with a 1.46 ops+ during very limited play in 2006.
Then he came here.

Don't get me wrong- I don't think Dobbs will ever be an great MLB player, because he can't hit left handers or curveballs. However, I do think he fields better than Helms and hits better than Feliz. If the Phils acquired a decent fielding third baseman, who smashes right handed pitching, they'd probably have a productive platoon at third.

I never called him a "great fielder", but I do think he's passable at both 3B and the outfield. I can't quantify "passable", but I'd say "better than at least 35% of MLB players fielding those positions". He has some range and a strong arm.

Why did Dobbs take so long to make the big leagues? Pat Gillick, the same guy who brought him to Philadelphia. As we all know, he can be wrong sometimes.

I don't really like Feliz, but a 1 year deal wouldn't stop the Phils from finding a long term solution next off-season. I also wouldn't mind trading Helms for bullpen help. That being said, I'm sure that, with a little creativity, the Phils could come up with a better 3rd base solution.

Some teams employ scouts with expertise on Japanese players. Some employ scouts with strong Latin Amertica connections. The Phillies employ guys with links to Indy ball. Figures.

JW: Scott Nestor is NOT a prospect. He's minor league filler.

I don't really like Feliz, but a 1 year deal wouldn't stop the Phils from finding a long term solution next off-season.

problem there is that the situation next year is just as ugly as this year. look at cot's free agent list:

Hank Blalock * TEX
Joe Crede CWS
Morgan Ensberg SD
Troy Glaus TOR
Chipper Jones * ATL
Corey Koskie MIL
Greg Norton TB
Scott Spiezio * STL

I'm not seeing any solutions there...

baxter: Good analysis. The fact that it took Dobbs so long to get a major league call says more about the fallibility of major league scouting than it does about Dobbs' abilities. Dobbs languished in the minors for too long because he isn't "toolsy." He's slow, doesn't have great power & isn't very good on defense. The one thing he CAN do, however, is hit pretty well -- and if you can hit pretty well, you can be an asset to any major league team. Basically, it's the same story as Chris Coste.

ae: That's even more reason why they should sign Dallas McPherson, who at least has the potential to be a long-term solution at third base. Since they don't seem inclined to sign McPherson, I'm thinking that Jason Donald is going to get a crack at the job. If he can keep putting up the kind of numbers he put up last year, I would expect him to get a second half call-up.

BAP: That's exactly right. Plus he doesn't particularly look like a sleek athlete. There are lots of guys like that, who actually do pretty well once they're finally given a chance. Scott Hatteberg and Jack Cust come to mind.

Why is the debate between Feliz full-time and Helms/Dobbs/Bruntlett, clout? I don't see us cutting ties with Dobbs if we bring Feliz in.

Except we need to change it a little MG

Give me your Aging, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to be rid of their off-season jobs,
The wretched refuse of your teeming benches.
Send these, the filler, softest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the bullpen door."

Nicely done. Think we just found the new passage for the Value Village.

Hey guys,

Was wondering if any of you out-of-towners have invested in the MLB.TV package for the season, and if you can tell me a little bit about it?

Do you recieve all 162 games? I'll be moving to Miami in June, and If I have to sit through 162 Marlins games this year, I may kill myself.


I hear Ricky Vaughn's a free agent.
We could use another "Wild Thing" in the bullpen.

Tray- Good point. Dobbs stays and starts against most righties, as well as becomes available for more pinch hitting duties, becoming more of a super-sub, available at 3rd, 1st, LF and RF. It improves our bench as well as our 3rd base defense, and possibly our bullpen if we can receive a reliever for Helms in a deal (although I admit that will be hard to get a major-league level reliever for him). Everyone who says Feliz is signing to be an everyday player and thus will automatically play every day is forgetting one thing- Wes Helms last year. Same situation, didn't perform, didn't play every day. They'll still play Dobbs often.

Clout- you're right, it is garbage in vs. garbage out. Feliz is not good, and would be a below-average NL 3rd baseman. But Dobbs/Helms already are very below-average NL 3rd basemen. It is my contention that adding in defensive value, Feliz is slightly less garbage than Helms/Dobbs. Whether that's worth millions, I don't know, but if the Phils are willing to spend money, then it's their money to spend. I too would like to see them improve the bullpen, but as I've stated, I think that spending money on random veteran relievers has just as big a chance to be a waste of money as paying Pedro Feliz.

It's not so much that I want the team to sign Pedro Feliz, because I know how bad he is with the bat, it's that I really feel like you and some other simply refuse to recognize defensive value. I have seen multiple stats that put Feliz's defensive value at close to 30-40 runs higher than Dobbs/Helms' combined efforts. That equals out to roughly 3-4 wins. Not insubstantial. And his bat, even discounting WARP and BRAA which put him ABOVE Dobbs/Helms, was far closer to their level than their defense is to his. I understand defensive stats aren't as perfectly refined as offensive ones, but that doesn't mean defensive value doesn't exist. It does, and Feliz has it.

Dobbs belongs as the super-sub others have mentioned. A full-time 3B is what I would like.. Prefer Ensberg over Feliz, but they both would be adequate. Helms can be traded for "whatever". What annoys me is the added pitching depth necessary, even if it takes shelling out, say, 10 million, this ownership puts up that familiar wall of "budget". Screw the budget. You'll make up the 10 million by August with a team that MAYBE goes wire to wire.

Jack, Tray: Feliz will not sign unless he's the everyday thirdbaseman. He will not platoon with Dobbs. Dobbs would be a bat off the bench if they sign Feliz.

Jack, your argument that Feliz > Helms + Dobbs is tenuous because it requires that we assume that Helms' established level of play is equal to his 2007 season but that Dobbs' established level of play is not equal to his 2007 season.

also, it assumes that a 33-year-old will not experience any decline in defensive or offensive ability. it's worth noting that Feliz has negative trends in isolated power, secondary average, and BB/PA over the last three years. (this is hardly a point in Helms' favor either, but he's a sunk cost.)

Jack: I agree with this: "I understand defensive stats aren't as perfectly refined as offensive ones, but that doesn't mean defensive value doesn't exist. It does, and Feliz has it."

Where you and I part company is the value of a defense-only thirdbaseman on a team with Rollins at SS that plays in a bandbox. I say you're better off with an offensive minded thirdbaseman with a below average glove. You play to a park's and a team's strengths. If we were in Petco or SF and had a poor range SS, I'd probably think a guy like Feliz was pretty useful. But in the Phils situation he'll cost the team more runs than he saves.

John B
I live in florida and I get the MLB on my computer. I see almost all the Phils games so I do recommend it. I believe it cost me something like 89.95 a year. I think they give you a preview during spring training so check it out then.

clout, that's also a good point. especially because CBP has actually played as unfavorable to hits in general and non-HR extra base hits over its existence. it's only really for home runs that it's been (extremely) favorable for hitters.

Clout: I would agree with you if there were an offensive-minded 3B that was available, but there isn't. If we were debating Pedro Feliz vs. Troy Glaus or Ryan Braun, this wouldn't be a question. Unfortunately, we are comparing Feliz and Dobbs/Helms. Describing Dobbs/Helms as "offensive-minded" is generous at best, as both were below-average as rated by OPS+.

Jack: Well, closer to average than Feliz. Keep in mind Helms had a career bad year and that Feliz numbers have been declining, as noted by ae above.

Last year OPS+: Dobbs 96, Feliz 81, Helms 68.

Career OPS+: Helms 96, Dobbs 87, Feliz 84. This is a bit misleading since last year was Dobbs first full season.


Thanks for the removal of the pink Ruben Amaro photo as the lead item.

ae- Helms is one year younger than Feliz. There is no reason to think he isn't declining as well. As for Dobbs, there could just as easily be improvement as there could be the same, or possibly worse. He's a 29 year old entering his 2nd full season (full season as a part-time player), which doesn't bode well. I'm simply not convinced that the offense Helms/Dobbs are set to give us is adequate considering how bad their defense is as well. Again, as I said before- I would HAPPILY, HAPPILY have nothing to do with Pedro Feliz if there were a decent offensive 3rd base option out there.

Maybe I'm being dense, but how does our stadium's being a bandbox decrease the value of infield defense? I see where it would make outfield defense less important, but why does it make third base matter less? Also, isn't our pitching staff a little ground-out heavy? Someone like Kendrick depends pretty heavily on infield defense.

Tray - You have a point because both Kendrick and Moyer induce a much higher than average number of ground balls to the right-side of the infield.

Feliz is probably an upgrade over Helms but I would rather have the Phils signed another veteran reliever. The problem is that Feliz would probably become the everyday starter at 3B if he signs with the Phils. The slight improvement at 3B would probably be less of an improvement over signing even a league-average veteran reliever than the likes of Condrey and the Amazing Durbins. Got more bang for you buck here.

Dobbs was the most used pinch-hitter on the squad last season, with 47 ABs. Among the 40 MLB players with more than 25 plate appearances as a PH, his .864 OPS ranked 13th. (BTW, So Taguchi's .974 OPS ranked 7th, and his .406 BA was first.) Color me NOT WORRIED about bench hitting, with Taguchi, Dobbs, Werth and Coste excellent pinch hitting/double switch options.

However, I am worried about bench speed. We've got none.

In case you missed the item in the "Player News" link JW provides at the upper left, Atlanta starter Chuck James was diagnosed with a slight tear in his rotator cuff after the season ended.

Maybe he won't feel it this year. Anybody have any idea of how it might affect his 2008 season?

MG, I agree that the need for a veteran reliever is greater, but who's really left?

ajc1, anytime team loses the kind of WAY above average speed(he have been the fastest player in MLB last year) Michael Bourn has, it's a downgrade. He was extremely disruptive, especially late in games with the score close.

However, I success in the upcoming season will probably have more to do with the pitching than bench speed.

With Miguel Tejada facing a possible DOJ probe for perjury, that Ed Wade guy (remember him?) is looking real good in Houston right now.

I would say that the threat to Tejada is a a shot accross Roger Clemens bow.

I think this reduces his chances of testifying under oath to less than 0%.

When Roger 'doubled down' in denying steroid use, I wonder if he really thought the situation was as potentially explosive as it may become?

Also, isn't our pitching staff a little ground-out heavy?

Kendrick yes; not anybody else.

Here is a little diversion for today. It's an article from Forbes about the top 10 most influential mascots in sports. Of course the Phanatic makes the list.

Tray: Having Rollins at SS decreases the need for 3B defense. The bandbox decreases the need for no-hit position players. You want offensive-minded hitters who maximize the advantage your ballpark gives you.

If you played in Petco you wouldn't load up with bad-glove, big bangers. You'd go for speed batting average and fielding. In CBP, the opposite is true.

Jack: Your position on the bullpen -- don't sign anyone just use the youngsters to fill the holes -- is identical to that taken last offseason by kdon.

The problem is that handing 3 or 4 bullpen jobs to unproven, fringe-talented players like Castro, Matt Smith, Condrey, Sanches etc. as was recommended last year by kdon, is a high risk strategy. Much higher risk than signing veterans. Yes, relievers tend to be up and down year to year. But the risk is higher when you throw an unproven kid in there.

Bay Area Phan: "if you can hit pretty well, you can be an asset to any major league team."
True. But if it's all you can do very well, as you concede is the case with Dobbs, you're more of an asset to an American League than a National League team. His scattershot arm makes me less than enamored of him. If he can get that under control, he'll have a longer career than we now think, because he kills fastballs. I love him as the new Greg Gross.

AWH: I'd look for James' control to go south -- say 1BB/9 increase -- if he's feeling pain in the shoulder. If they're smart, they're figuring he'll be shut down by June, and anything else would be a bonus. This is an interesting test for the new GM.

Clout: Nestor's one good peripheral is 10.79 K/9, which looks intriguing. Is his stuff any good, or is he just fooling inexperienced hitters with slop?

Baxter: You wrote, "Why did Dobbs take so long to make the big leagues? Pat Gillick, the same guy who brought him to Philadelphia. As we all know, he can be wrong sometimes."

I think you're slagging the wrong guy. Without Gillick, I doubt Dobbs would be in the big leagues now.

On the song lyrics: Wouldn't it be more appropriate as "I lift my leg by the golden door"?

Whoops. That previous one was me, too.

Alby: Actually, I would argue that Dobbs is better suited for the NL than the AL. He's not really a good enough all-around hitter to be a team's everyday DH & his defense isn't good enough to be an everyday third baseman or outfielder. But he does hit for pretty good average, which makes him very well-suited to pinch hitting. Pinch hitters are of far more value in the National League than in the American League.

Whatever his role, my point was that scouts tend to obsess too much about physical tools & defense. Guys like Abraham Nunez & Eric Bruntlett can't hit a lick but have no trouble landing major league jobs, because of their slick fielding. But a guy like Dobbs wastes away in the minors until his late 20s, even though he keeps posting .300 batting averages every year.

Clout: CBP is a homer-friendly park, not a hitter-friendly park in general. At least, that's what ae said. So maybe, yes, the fact that we play in a bandbox means that you should load up on power hitters, but it doesn't mean that OBP becomes more valuable. Actually, I would say OBP becomes more valuable in a park like Petco where it's tougher to get hits and much tougher to hit home runs, whereas in our park maybe it makes sense to trade on-base abilities for some slugging (to an extent). Anyway, Feliz, for all his faults, isn't any less of a home run hitter than Helms or Dobbs so I don't see how the "play to our advantages" argument works against him.

Tray, I have no idea how you construed my post to mean OBP is less valuable.

seriously, is your post some kind of elaborate joke? because I have a hard time believing you actually believe that.

No, I construed your post to mean that our park is homer-friendly, but not necessarily singles-friendly. Now, I don't really buy the "play to your park strength" theory myself. Bad hitters, as well as good hitters, benefit from park effects, so to me, the offense/defense calculus doesn't tip one way or another depending on the park. Besides, if a park's more offense-friendly, the visiting team reaps those advantages too, so don't pitching and defense also become more important in a hitting-friendly park? But that's absurd; everything can't become more important at once. So I reject the theory. But, supposing you buy it, if the park's strength is its homer-friendliness, and not that it somehow enhances offense in general or OBP, playing to your strengths would mean, I suppose, loading up, not just on "offensive-minded" players, but specifically on home run hitters. Feliz is such a hitter - at least, no less of one than Helms or Dobbs.

Depending on the situation, I would agree that offense is more important at a hitter's park than a pitcher's park. However, CBP is a homerun park, moreso than a hitter's park. I want to see as few men on base for the opposition because in CBP any fly ball can jump out of there. Yes, I prefer a stick like Howard a first who can hit 50 home runs a year but is a terrible fielder... but in our discussions on 3rd we aren't talking about elite hitters here. We are talking about Helms and Dobbs for crying out loud. I don't really know anything about Feliz other than the round-n-round discussions on Beerleaguer... so I'm not going to comment on him. What I do know is that every time Dobbs/Helms butchers a play at 3rd allowing a baserunner that should not be on first, the next batter is going to be a very scary experience.

Rotoworld has an article on NL East prospects. Nice things to say about Carrasco. Maybe we'll see him this year after all, despite Amaro saying Outman and Mathieson would be the only ones ready.

Tray: Look at it this way. When you're in a hitter's park you want players who can take advantage of that and not make outs. Thus, you want someone who ranks at least league average in outs per plate appearance. How does Feliz rank in outs per plate appearance?

As for power, the best measure of power is slugging pct. Feliz has a lifetime SLG of .433. This is not so good. Not even as high as Helms, who isn't really a power hitter. But here's the worst part: Feliz hasn't even hit his career average in SLG since 2004. His SLG last season was .418. The year before that it was .428 and the year before that it was .422.

Feliz last season ranked 11th in the NL in SLG among 13 primary thirdbasemen who had 400 plate appearances. In 2006, he ranked 14th out of 17. So you can't even make the case that he's even a league-average power hitter at third. He's below league average. Well below.

Honestly, I wish Burrell got the love on here that you and 5 or 6 others are giving to Pedro Feliz. It really is amazing to see.

John D. - I also live in Florida and really like the MLBTV package. The only games you don't get are the Saturday day games as Fox has an exclusive for the day until 8PM regardless of what game they are airing and the nationally televised ESPN games. When the Phils play the Marlins you will have to watch the local broadcast.

Being in a small park doesn't make offense more valuable, it inflates offensive statistics.

Personally, I'm not sure exactly what the right answer is when it comes to "building" a team molded to a certain park. My best guess is that you build the best baseball team regardless. I'm partial to arguments such as DaveX and Theory's, but I can also understand emphasizing offense as well. That said, I'm very skeptical of anyone who thinks they have the set-in-stone answer...

Also, Clout, that's ridiculous logic to equate advocating Feliz with not appreciating Burrell. Pat is a very valuable player for us, one whose value is far superior to Feliz, or Dobbs/Helms. He also has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion at hand, unless you would like to discuss him?

If that's the case, why don't we discuss potential lineup order; I assume most people think the top of the order will look like this:


Do other people have any different visions of what the lineup should look like?

The Phillies' third baseman is sitting on the Cinn. Reds'bench. His name is Keppinger. He has a .309 BA and 10 homeruns in a little over 400 Major League At Bats. He has a .32l BA in the minors, much of it, at triple A. He plays all of the infield positions, including shortstop. He makes the league minimum in salary. Somebody
buy this guy's contract before the Giants' get him and bat him in the two slot.

Keppinger would be nice. Highly doubt he's a .300 hitter with consistent playing time at the MLB level, but he'd surely be an upgrade. Can't see the Reds trading him to us though.

That brings up a good point. Just about anyone would be an upgrade over Helms. Has anyone ever watched him try to hit a fastball. My mom in her prime had a quicker bat. I can't imagine that if you scout the globe you wouldn't upgrade 3B, at least from the righty side. Even, JW, if it means going to the independent leagues.

steve - your mom a free agent?

In re: the bandbox and offense.

Here's a thought exercise. Two different, medium to slow baserunners reach base on a walk with two outs. One is in in Petco, one is in the Zen. Adjusting for all other factors, who is more likely to score?

That's why OBP is more important in CBP.

Peterson - good idea!

So, what would it take to get Keppinger? Even if he's only a .280 hitter (with, say, a .400-.420 SLG) his terrific OBP would compensate. He's the ant-Feliz!!

Jason, great thread header! You said it all in your concluding lines: "Need proof that the farm system sucks? You're stepping in it." That's says it all. I can add nothing to that fine summation.

I am also intrigued with Dallas McPherson, but we here have no real inside information and just guess in the dark, project shadows.

Why has no other time, signed him to a contract by now?

Taguchi will give us speed off the bench, and could be the replacement for what Bourne did with Burrell last year.

I wish we had a follow up question with Amarro, when he mentioned Snelling as a lefty off the bench. I cannot see the Phillies going with 14 hitters, so the only possibility would be letting Taguchi go, or Helms. With Dobbs and Bruntlett handling 3B.
Quite confusing.

I begin to wonder, regarding McPherson, the state of his back. It limited his playing in 2006; and he was out all of 2007 as part of getting surgery. It may be that the Angels are hoping to sign him to a minor league deal (al a Matt Smith), or maybe the medical reports are not good following surgery. Maybe there's no there there any more.

Another potential problem with McPherson, of course, is his agent.

The Phils are still talking to Lohse and word is he would accept 3/25. He would be our #3 and for that money I am all for signing him.

Sorry for the change in topic, but did you all see the op-ed Glanville wrote in the NYT today? (I don't think I have the ability to paste HTML link, and you probably have to register at to read it, so I won't even try to provide the link. But the op-ed is there today.)

As a Penn grad and Phillies phan, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Glanville. He is one of my all time favorites. But I think he undersells the greed aspect of our juicing era...I mean, it's easy to feel some sympathy for the journeymen listed in the Mitchell report. But how do we reconcile Glanville's (very well-reasoned) arguments with the hulking superstars, the ones who walked away with the millions and millions by extended/enhancing their careers? And with the owners, commissioners, fans (like myself) who enabled it all? Like most, I don't have a great answer...

I'm not trying to start a whole new discussion, just pointing out that it's a good read. As many posters have noticed before, it's great to see Glanville achieving success post-MLB, and in a such a classy way.

andy, re: keppinger's cost? You don't know the price until you ask the Reds what they'd take to part with him. The Reds have told him to buy a first baseman's mitt. They plan to use him in a right handed back-up to role to lefties Votto and Hatteberg at first. By the way, check out this guy's fielding stats. He just doesn't make errors. I listened to a lot of the Reds' games.The announcers complained frequently over his not being a starter. As re: MLB feed over the internet. I live in Germany and watch every Phillies game.

Phillies, Lohse Still Talking Contract

It appears as if the Phillies could find a familiar face return to the fold for the 2008 season. According to and the Wilmington News Journal, the Phillies and the agent for free-agent pitcher Kyle Lohse, Scott Boras, continue to discuss a multi-year deal.

Lohse and agent Boras were originally seeking a four-year deal, but have been unable to find too many suitors, according to reports. However, assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said talks continue with the right-hander. It's believed the team is willing to make a three-year offer to Lohse, who went 3-0 with a 4.72 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) for the Phillies last season after being acquired at the trade deadline from Cincinnati.

Lohse is a veteran of seven big league seasons and has been to the playoffs four times.

Lieber signs 1 year deal with Cubs. They must really be desparate. I too read where the Phils are still negotiating with Loshe. The Phils never give more than a 3-year deal to a pitcher (They will for Hamels when the time comes I'm sure). If Loshe would be willing to accept a 3-year deal form the Phils, I'm all for it. This would possibly mend relations with Boras and that's a good thing. We could still bring in Benson too as insurance for Eaton (my guess will be a minor league deal). I still say a LH reliever for the 'pen as well. If we could get Feliz and then move Helms that would be ok too.

i am definitely on board with Lohse for 3....i think he's this year's Gil Meche and would be a solid #3

FYI, pat the bat is having his live chat on at 5:15 today....get your J-Mike/Olde City romps questions ready

Lohse I'm sold on for the No. 4 spot, but having what looks to be:

No. 1 starter (Hamels)
No. 1.5 starter (Myers)
No. 4 starter (Lohse)
No. 4 starter (Kendrick)
No. 4.5 starter (Moyer)

Isn't bad in the National League.

Lohse for 3/24 is a risk worth taking. He comes in as our #3 and the bottomline is we are a better team with him, as opposed to Eaton or an unproven kid.

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EST. 2005

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