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Friday, February 15, 2008

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Krill Condrey has a nice ring to it.

So J -
Are you calling us bottom feeders, then?

Just to follow up on the rotator cuff/labrum story (which I'm sure is facinating to the rest of you):

Bap, the story you linked to was written at the time the Orioles waived their option on Benson, written six months after the surgery.

The story I linked to was written when he actually had the surgery. The closer you get to the actual time of his injury and surgery, the more stories say it was a rotator cuff.

At some point, I think it got confused, and lazy writers never went back to check.

kdon: Doesn't look like we're going to get a definitive answer on this issue. But I'm sure the Phillies know what they're doing. They would never sign a guy without a thorough medical check.

BAP-that's a good one.

Well, no actually bap, I think we do have a pretty good answer, considering that there was a story written, *when* the injury occured, saying Benson suffered a torn rotator cuff and could possibly return by the end of 2007 and that there is even a discussion of him being healthy for April.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2799185

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2763185

Neither of these things would actually be a possibility had he suffered a torn labrum.

BAP-yes, they'd never sign a guy without a thorough medical check WHO DIDN'T HAVE A HISTORY OF SHOULDER PROBLEMS. Garcia's injury is the kind of thing that disappears from the radar, if you will, with a few months rest (and there's no argument on this point, I've asked several doctors; there are advantages to working at a hospital). No inflammation, no pain, it slips through a physical very easily. You'd have to specifically look for a torn rotator cuff or labrum to find the problem. They gave him the physical in mid-December, he'd been off October and November by that point. MRI's are not routinely done for trades, assuming an MRI would actually have revealed the problem (which we can't say for certain).

Yes his velocity was down. But bottom-line, saying they should have performed in-depth tests on the guy's shoulder is hindsight talking. I personally don't fault the Phillies nearly as much as I fault Garcia for lying about the problem with his shoulder through the offseason and the first half. It's entirely possible that he made his shoulder far far worse by lying and continuing to pitch.

Godfather: I was just making a joke. I'm in no position to know whether or not a medical exam would have revealed Garcia's issues.

Reposting (from end of last thread):

Inky says rotator cuff. Also says "He's coming into camp thinking he'd be ready Opening Day. That's awfully aggressive for us being only 10 1/2 months post-op."

and

"Hopefully sometime from Opening Day to the first of June, somewhere in that timetable, he should be ready to go," LaMar said.

Link: www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080213_Phillies_sign_Benson.html

Does this means that the new phan groups this season are Pedro's Plankton, Geoff's Grubs and Brad's Barnacles?

Weitzel: Fantastic writing. Thanks for your honest ho-hum cynicism when the papers are full of pollyanna stories.

The palm trees are nice, too.

JW, you make glorified jogging and stretching sound SO boring.

I for one would donate to get Jason down to Florida and have him blogging from their through all of Spring Training. I think we all see that Jason brings a great eye to this. His reporting/blogging following his meeting with the Phillies when they were making the rounds was by far the best of any of the so-called sports reporters.

Jason perhaps a premium subscription plan or something. I view Beerleaguer the way people used to talk about MTV, they couldn't go without it. Keep it up!

JW- Metsblog did that big deal up with their sports channel, couldn't you do the same with Comcast?

Has anyone seen the picture the Phils are using for the Pat Burrell "Man or Machine?" t-shirt? Just a hunch, but this will probably break as "Most homo-erotic story to come out of Spring Training" unless there's another hidden gem in camp that can unseat it.

...Naaaah, I think Pat has it locked up.

I used to put that shirtless Burrell picture as my roommate's desktop background just about every time he left his room. I think it brightened up his day...

Nice blog. However, I will continue with my things to be optimistic about. Ryan Howard has showed up early and in TREMENDOUS shape. Just seeing him joke around at the batting cage shows he's refreshed and relaxed without having to go through the rigors of being MVP. I don't think it is too outlandish to predict 60-65 homers this year and a .290-.300 batting average. Howard will also break through to the elite level as far as being marketable and popular in the entire basebal landscape. It'll be a fun four years before he signs with the Red Sox to replace David Ortiz (sorry to ruin the optimistic vibe).

Here's a video from Comcast SportsNet about the Burrell T-shirts. Pretty freakin' hilarious. Even Cholly was wearing one!

http://s50.photobucket.com/albums/f332/1isme/video/?action=view&current=patshirt.flv

Ya know, Jason, I just took a closer look at yer palm trees. Hmmmmmm.....

John D:

How many homo erotic stories come out of ST? Meaning, how close was the competition?

Morty
Did you mean "how closeted was the competition?"

JW - Thank you for not rehashing the "Warm & Fuzzy" articles that come out like clockwork right before and after the opening of spring training. Completely useless except for the occasional personal detail or two.

At this point, I am only interested to see if there are any develops with players (e.g., Helms trade, Lohse signing) until the actual spring training games.

Props to Chase if he really did make those Burrell shirts.

Saw this in today's San Diego Union Tribune: It demonstrates that the Padres' pitching coach really has a plan for his pitchers going into ST. Is it any wonder (even besides Petco Park) that the Pads have led the NL in ERA the past two seasons?

I just don't get the sense that the Phillies are this strategic.

"Before Jake Peavy throws the season's first pitch on March 31 – opposite his friend, Astros ace Roy Oswalt – Balsley envisions several developments for his staff.

Justin Germano, for example, should be throwing a cut fastball; Peavy is expected to be more facile with his change-up; and No. 2 starter Chris Young may have developed a new change-up or made greater use of his current change-up.

Balsley also has given thought to reducing the practice sessions of Young, who has been hindered in the second half of the past two seasons by strained torso muscles. He is likely to give extra rest between Cactus League outings to eighth-inning specialist Heath Bell, who threw more pitches than any full-time reliever in the league last season.

Also on the drawing board is a delivery refinement for strong-armed but erratic Wil Ledezma, a left-hander who is one of several candidates for the No. 5 job in the rotation."

Andy:

hey-yooooo (the best Ed McMahon impression I can type).

ZT:

Agreed. Perhaps it shows Utley attempting to assume some of Rowand's mantle as locker room chemistry guy. A good sign if so...

Not exactly secret words of wisdom from the pitching coach.

Germano will need to develop something else, b/c unlike Kendrick, he got solved.

I'll go with machine on Burrell. Every year he performs right up to his career norms. Just ask clout.

And Jason, De La Soul Is Dead is a classic album, but American Gangster was pretty disappointing.

Perhaps this is the booze talking, but I'm expecting a huge year from Pat the Bat. He may have put up career norm numbers last year but he's never hit like he did in the second half last year. After all, he's half man half machine right?

"Is it any wonder (even besides Petco Park) that the Pads have led the NL in ERA the past two seasons?"

Kirk: I understand your intention, and agree that it would be nice to hear that the Phils' pitching coaches had a plan.

But Petco plays an important part in the Padres' ERA. Their away ERA last year was 4.46. Compare that to, say, the Cubs' away ERA of 3.88. It may be that their dedication to planning the season is important. But IMO it contributes less to the low ERA than the Petco Polo Grounds.

lekh:
c'mon; look at the pic. Pat Burrell is All Man.

I just saw that Baseball Prospectus has the Phillies finishing third behind the Braves and Mets and batting .266 as a team. I know they haven't had a blockbuster offseason and I may be optimistic, but I think a prediction of third is a bit ridiculous. I recognize the Mets' acquisition of Santana and the Braves quiet resurgence (so to speak), but come on, third?

Jim Salisbury's article on the Howard contract crap. Best article I've read on the topic..
http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20080216_Jim_Salisbury__Arbitration_is_no_reason_for_discontent.html

If you are in search of some more substantive information on which to blog, check out BP's PECOTA predictions for 08.

They have the Phillies coming in 3rd with 84 wins.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=757

...posted by Matthew Cerrone...at metsblog.com
As noted earlier, Carlos Beltran reported to camp today, earlier than expected. He took some swings, then talked with reporters.
According to SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt, when asked about the division, Beltran gave a bland response. However, before walking away from reporters, he smiled, laughed and said:
“Tell Jimmy Rollins we are the team to beat.”
…ding, ding, ding…let the games begin, folks…

From PECOTA:

East W L RS RA AVG OBP SLG
New York Mets 96 66 809 665 .268 .340 .425
Atlanta Braves 86 76 802 758 .272 .339 .434
Philadelphia Phillies 84 78 838 804 .266 .340 .450
Florida Marlins 76 86 760 813 .258 .331 .431
Washington Nationals 72 90 759 855 .266 .334 .421

Third, Mike, seems perfectly possible. The Braves were almost as good as us last season and now they've added Teixeira for a full season, the Mets are going to be quite a bit better because of Santana, and some might argue that we've gone slightly backwards. If I had to bet I'd go with second place, but third's a real possibility.

Yep Phil, that Burrell shirt ground this thing to a halt!

The PECOTA projection should be a wake up call. I don't have access to PECOTA, but three different projection systems (CHONE, ZiPS, Marcel) have 3/5 of the Phillies rotation as having an ERA around 5.

The rotation, as it stands now, is not good enough to compete with the Mets, and maybe not the Braves.

Sign Lohse!

If we didn't have Feliz, the OBP would be about 100 points higher.

Another note on projections:

CHONE has Feliz projected to be the best defensive infielder in baseball next year.

PECOTA on Phillies starting pitching:

Name IP GS ERA WHIP H BB HR SO W L SV VORP
Cole Hamels 195 29 3.45 1.19 177 56 24 181 14 8 0 46.8
Brett Myers 160 26 3.83 1.29 153 53 19 147 11 7 0 33.9
Kyle Kendrick 200 35 5.35 1.52 241 62 33 96 11 14 0 5.1
Jamie Moyer 125 21 4.25 1.42 141 38 17 75 8 7 0 20.2
Adam Eaton 125 22 5.18 1.51 142 48 21 84 7 8 0 6.5

Ok, ok- sure a 3rd place finish is quite possible, but so is a 1st place finish. I'm usually very negative, but I have to say I like our club. I know Santana really boosts the Mets, and a full season of Teix helps the Braves, but I still like our chances. I'm saying 90+ wins this season!

PECOTA projections for our starting rotation are the exact reason I hate projections. Not to say those won't be dead on, but I think it's a bunch of bullsh*t. F' projections, play the game on the field.

The 84 wins total is probably a bit pessimistic but I just don't see how the Phils are going to improve on last season's win total with a pitching staff that is likely to be the bottom 1/3 of the NL again this year in terms of team ERA.

I am going to wait until spring training to see what happens (Eaton, Gordon, etc) but I am willing to bet this team is safely in the 86-88 win band. Unless something quirky happens with the wildcard, this is going to leave the Phils sitting home in October yet again.

I would have to pretty vehemently disagree that the Phils are "team to beat in the NL East." BS. That ceased the day of the Santana trade. Mets have much better pitching and more depth than in both their starting rotation/bullpen. Plus, the Mets don't exactly have the Padres lineup either.

Given that the Phils pitching is likely going to resemble Swiss Cheese again this season at some point when you have some pitchers hit the DL (Gordon, Madson, Eaton, ???), the question is are the Phils going to find the unlikely pitching saviors they did last year in Romero and Kendrick?

The more I look back on last season, it was these two guys who arguably were the biggest reasons why the Phils ultimately ended making the playoffs.

Conlin's article this week was dead-on that the Phils are once again this season are going to need some unlikely internal starting pitcher to step forward this year. The question is - can the Phils find another Kendrick this year and who will he be?

Just a thought, but Ryan Howard has quite a bit left before he is eligible for FA. Barring a Santana injury the Mets are pretty dominant in the NL East for 08.

Can you imagine the package that Ryan Howard could pull in via trade? Good lord, you could rebuild the Phillies farm system (which is among the worst) in a single move.

The problem with the Phillies is that they don't develop talent like a mall market team or truly spend like a big market team. NY will also be able to outspend the Phillies, so why not build smarter?

Based on runs scored and runs allowed, the Braves were actually the best in the NL East last season. The fact that they were 5 behind us just shows the random variance that occurs in baseball. 3rd might be the most likely possibility, but there's certainly a good enough chance that we'll be better. Its not like we're the Marlins...

PhillR
Why stop with trading Howard - might as well trade Utley and Rollins while you are at it.
Oh can't forget Hamels.
You are playing for 2012 instead of this year and next few years with the nucleus of these stars. You don't trade stars unless you get stars back at different positions.

PhillR - the problem, however is summed up in a single question:

Do you trust the jokers in charge to get value in a trade for Howard?

(I do not.)

PhillR, you're obviously new to this board.

The Phillies' below average scouting dept has hurt their ability to get equal or better value in trades, whether it be MLB ready talent or minor league prospects.

This has been discussed extensively here for at least 1 1/2 years.

Also, the do not do a very good job scouting, trading for, drafting or developing pitching. This manifests itself at the major league level. The Phillies, as a team, have been in the bottom half of MLB pitching for 16 of the last 20 years.

2007 was not an abberration.

Where does that PECOTA on Moyers come from? A 4.25 ERA?

Maybe two years ago in a pitcher's park in a pitcher's division, but I don't see that this year.

Also, I usually don't have the anti-prediction rhetoric, but I don't see how Eaton could outperform Kendrick.

Personal Projections:
Hamels : 3.30
Myers: 3.70
Kendrick 4.90
Moyers : 5.15
Eaton : 6.00
(Chad) Durbin : 6.00
(J.D.) Durbin : 5.50

fljerry: You are right, it probably would be best to trade Rollins as after last season he will likely be the most overrated of the bunch. If they could get MVP value for Rollins 45VORP, it would be hard for the scouting department to go wrong.

Pros & Cons:

METS:
Why they can be better: Santana
Why they can be worse: they lost a LOT of offense in the offseason.

PHILS:
Why they can be better: Feliz in CBP for 82 games, Kendrick for a whole year, Ryan Howard is slim & trim, and they can't have a worse April than they did last year.
Why they can be worse: Eaton is still in the rotation, and they replaced Rowand with...?

I have no problem with a system predicting us to come in 3rd. I've said that before the Santana deal I essentially saw all 3 teams as being within a couple wins of each other; now I see the Mets as a 3-5 wins ahead of us and the Braves, who I view as pretty close to equal. Injuries and surprise performances will be the key.

TC: Where did the Mets loose a lot of offense exactly?

Ryan Church is basicly the same as Sean Green. I guess Schneider is a downgrade from Lo Duca, but Lo Duca was hardly an offensive force...

kdon: I don't see how the Phillies can possibly miss the playoffs with Feliz, can you?

Hey

I've seen several people talking about injuries. Of course, they will happen, but it seems to me that the Phils had a stupid number of trips and number of days that players spent on the DL last season. Does anyone know where to find DL stats? Number of trips, number of days team by team. I know the Phils had a lot of injuries last year, but I'd like to see some numbers as to how they compared to other teams.

clout - think of all the runs they'll be saving!

It was not a hard core Beerleaguer caliber discussion, just a group of fans including myself, but when the guys had a chance at the party tonight to talk a little baseball, there was one common theme that emerged. The consensus was that one way or the other, the Phils are going to find some ham handed way to alienate and eventually lose Ryan Howard, and get virtually nothing in return when they do.

Did you guys (I am sure you did) see that Kendrick prank on Phillies.com? Classic.

Ben Keeler: Saw the Kendrick prank. Priceless!

Anyways, my ERA projections:

Hamels: 3.05 (I think knowing Santana is in the same division as him will HIGHLY motivate him)
Myers: 4.15 (I think his return to the rotation may hurt his ERA a bit)
Kendrick: 4.30 (Won't duplicate last year, won't do astronomically worse though)
Moyer: 5.35
Eaton: 5.80 (He can't do be worse than last year, right?)

The first useful information from the official Phils site this year--apparently Kendrick was the target of a pretty good prank. Amaro and Manuel met with KK and convinced him he was traded to Japan. The media was involved, and he was convinced...

I'm sure it was hilarious, but I wish Amaro spent as much time improving the pitching as he spends on practical jokes.

"kdon: I don't see how the Phillies can possibly miss the playoffs with Feliz, can you?"

Clout, I do still think they could miss the playoffs. I'm not sure why you think a modest upgrade at the 3B (which is all anyone claimed Feliz was) would be so important.

I think that if the Braves stay healthy (a big if), the Phillies will finish 3rd.

If they signed Lohse, I would upgrade them to second in the division and the WC, but still probably 3-5 games behind the Mets.

Did anyone else think that prank was a little too cruel?

I mean, maybe saying something like they were going to send him back to AA would be funny, but to make him think he was going to leave his family and friends behind to go to another country strikes me as over the line for a practical joke.

I guess if Kendrick was okay with it, I should be, but I don't think he would have said anything even if he thought it went too far.

The prank was funny. I like that this group is showing their fun loving nature off the field, but then on the field their fiery side comes out. This makes me love them even more...not like we're watching the Royals or something.

Actually, kdon, I kind of feel like this was the perfect prank. Aside from being well-thought out and well-executed, it achieved a good purpose - it increased Kendrick's commitment to the team. It got him thinking about how he didn't want to be part of another group, and then, in a moment of relief, told him he didn't have to. He will, I expect, work harder for the team this Spring (maybe this year) because he knows he really wants to be here.

Of course, that's over-analyzing. Actually, it was just funny.

Andy and Carson:

I'm with you guys, The prank shows me that the team is committed to maintaining the same great sense of camaraderie they carried all last season, in this coming season as well.

It bodes well for those of us you think about those factors, and were concerned about the departure of Rowand's influence

Morty: Was thinking the same thing. It's nice to see these guys loose, although we're only a few days into spring training.

This team plays much better when they're loose and having fun and hopefully it can carry over through the season.

Also, did Howard loose some weight in the offseason? Anyone else notice this?

TC,

You say the Mets have lost a LOT of offense....uh, who are you talking about exactly? Shawn Green? Paul Lo Duca? C'mon. Ryan Church may actually be an upgrade in RF for the Mets. The point is, offense shouldn't be a problem for them.

The difference between the Mets and the Phillies will be pitching and I fully expect that to play out as predicted.

And yeah, I expect Feliz to have 20+ dingers and play good defense, but there is a reason he was sitting around on the scrap heap for so long. Think about it, if you are giving Gillick kudos for signing Feliz, then maybe the Phils have had a pretty bad off-season. The have done nothing to separate themselves from the rest of the division. In fact, they have done more to regress.

seemed like a risky prank - what if Kendrick had gotten all mad and started screaming things at Manuel and Amaro he couldnt take back?

In agreement with Kdon re. the Kendrick "prank." I believe it was a really ill-conceived, stupid and thoughtless idea?

Creating that level of anxiety and stress just ain't funny. Try imagining yourself in that situation. Being told, out of the blue, that your job with an organization you're happy with, has ended and you're being shipped to Japan if you want to keep working. Got a family? Makes it even less amusing.
There are a lot better ways to foster team unity and spirit.

Obviously there was a "period" intended after the word "idea." Not a question mark.

IF I HEAR ONE MORE TIME THE PHILS FARM SYSTEM SUCKS,IM GONNA PUKE..NAME ONE TEAM,JUST ONE,WHERE 4 OF 5 STARTING PITCHERS ARE HOMEGROWN,WHERE BACK TO BACK MVPS,ARE HOMEGROWN,NOT TO MENTION...BURRELL,RUIZ,MADSON...SO FAR....

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