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Monday, February 18, 2008

Comments

Speaking of Pat Burrell, his "it was nice knowing you" could have been the funniest part of the KK prank.

Geoff Jenkins DOES look like Favre.

I don't think the Beltran statement will be the difference this year. I think the difference maker this year may be the Phillies use of chiropractors both at home and on the road. If this can keep Cole Hamels muscles loose and in the right place all season, he may outshine old Johahn. I have heard some anecdotal stories about chiropractics that are downright amazing. I personally have never needed their services, but this maligned profession may be difference maker for the Phillies this year.

dont be an idiot lake fred

yon, having used chiropractors in the past, I can say that they do provide temporary relief. My experience (only mine), however, is that they are not a permanent solution. That is, unless one develops some other kind of program of strenthening and stretching (which Hamels already does), chiropractic visits can become 'addictive' in the sense that one feels the necessity to keep returning if something feels a little out of place.

In my case, I was able to wean myself from the chiropractor's skeletal manipulations by adding deep muscle massages. This loosened all the muscles that had tightened, and took the pressure off my skeleton.

Everyone is different, and Hamels obviously feels he needs to continue with the visits.

Chiropractors that focus on simply solving back pain are worth it. The ones that are snake-oil salesmen are the ones that try to solve other ailments, like colds and flu and depression. I've had good experiences with the ones that just focus on aligning your back.

That being said, I can crack my own back/neck just fine, and don't need to spend 50 bucks each visit.

Anyone know of a site that lists ballparks by ease of hitting home runs?

ESPN.com has a section under their baseball statistics that lists park factors. This includes HR, triples, doubles, walks, etc.

"No matter what you think of him personally, Myers is interesting copy. Notice the writers tend to lean on him for a different perspective. He doesn’t pull punches."


Just ask his wife

Not the best turn of phrase on my part. Hate when that happens.

Utley is an honors graduate of the Crash Davis school of "know your cliches."

Squads: That was exactly what I needed. THANKS!!!!

Not the best turn of phrase on my part. Hate when that happens.

Posted by: J. Weitzel | Monday, February 18, 2008 at 12:12 PM


Don't feel too bad. From Jayson Stark's column today:

"As a guy who once aspired to be a boxer growing up, Myers never met a battle he thought was worth backing away from."

Word has it, that Myers's wife knows how much of a fighter her husband is.

Chiropractors are a bunch of medical school flunkees who do more harm than good. The presence of a chiropractor merely adds one additional source of injury risk to the already injury-prone Cole Hamels. How will the management feel if this guy puts Hamels on the DL? Suggesting that a chiropractor will make the difference this year is borderline looney tunes. The difference this year between the Mets pitching and the Phils pitching is enormous. But don't worry, they have David Wright but we have Pedro Feliz.

Chiropractors are a bunch of medical school flunkees who do more harm than good. The presence of a chiropractor merely adds one additional source of injury risk to the already injury-prone Cole Hamels. How will the management feel if this guy puts Hamels on the DL? Suggesting that a chiropractor will make the difference this year is borderline looney tunes. The difference this year between the Mets pitching and the Phils pitching is enormous. But don't worry, they have David Wright but we have Pedro Feliz.

Hey now, the charges were dismissed, give the man a break.

Sorry about the double post. Damn computers.

The attacks on Brett Myers are getting more than a little old.

Feel free to jump on the "you must be for spousal abuse bandwagon" if you must. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What he did was wrong. Period. He owned up to it and got help.

Move on.


Now, if you want to continue to rip the Phillies' handling of the incident....well, far be it from me to stop anyone from taking shot at the Phillies FO.

I agree, bashing Myers for the incident is old, however, most of what I saw here today was pointing out the irony is using fighting terms figuratively about a guy with a violent incident in his past.

Bashing Myers is old, but the irony is not. At least to me.

I understand that Myers has a pugnacious and feisty personality. He can't entirely change that but it also worries me that it will still plague him as a starter through bouts of concentration lapse.

It is compounded by the fact that the Phils don't have a strong veteran presence behind the plate and that Dubee/Cholly tend to let their starters go a bit before walking out the mound.

It seems that Myers almost needs to have a strong spring training and a couple of good starts in April to get in the right mind set. Unfortunately, I could see him having a potential mini-meltdown early if he really struggles in April.

Umm...Myers beat his wife, UNFORGIVABLE

Myers stats this year: 12-10, 4.22 ERA

Only Philly fans can excuse a pitcher beating his wife

Joe - I don't want to rehash the Myers' domestic incident. If you numbers for Myers are correct, this would spell trouble for the Phils. If I had to make a guess I would predict:

14-10, 3.85 ERA, 1.27 WHIP

Not an All-Star season but definitely a solid starter.

People seem to be worried about Myers' health. I'm not. Myers was hurt last year primary due to the Phils' ridiculous hanging of him and Cholly letting him throw all those pitches in that Marlins' game.

Cholly never did take enough flak for his poor handling of Myers' during that Marlins' game last year that played a big part in Myers' injury.

Brett Myers' quotability and curve? Nice.

His leadership in matters press-related (and general being-a-good-human-being-related)? Positively Ryan Leaf-like.

http://www.bugsandcranks.com/philadelphia-phillies/brett-myers-blows-the-game-screams-obscenities-at-reporter/

(And, oh yeah... about those Boston allegation: they would be a whole lot easier to remember, were we talking about a run-of-the-mill, he-said-she-said, "should we press charges" situation... neighbors in the hotel that night reported hearing the IMPACT of his punches hitting something that sounded like meat.)

*allegations

*whole lot easier to forget

Yeah, just because the charges were dismissed doesn't dismiss the fact that he beat his wife.

He should not get a free pass after a year.

Do we forgive rapists after 1.5 years?

He needs a while before anyone should begin to look at him as normal.

The biggest challenge the Phils are going to face is that the Mets have 4 starting pitchers (Santana, Pedro, Perez, Maine) who are likely to post numbers that are equal or better than Myers.

Does anyone here think the Phils will have another starter this season (min. 10 starts) that will post an ERA under 4.50 besides Hamels and Myers?

No one should dismiss what Myers' did. It was horrendous and the Phils' management handled the entire incident in nearly as poor a fashion. Still, no one can be sure about the current dynamics of Myers' relationship with wife/changes he has made.

It is highly unlikely that adults can change their personality (aggressive temperant) but plenty of people can learn to control their behaviors.

Yeah, Kendrick will. I see him at 3.90-4.10. I don't think he will struggle as some suggest. Plus are you really counting on John Maine to post good numbers - look at his numbers in the 2nd half last year - especially August & September.

Bullpen's a question mark, too.

Full disclosure: am a huge Mutt fan (albeit a reasonable one) living in NJ. I boo Rollins and Burrell and Utley dutifully (as I do Chipper, Jeter, et. al.), but all in good fun... I'm a baseball fan first. That said, Myers seems by all reports to be a grade-A @sshole.

About relative strengths, though... in all honesty, how do you think your bullpen lines up with ours (and Atlanta's)? Personally, I think we've got the slight edge there, too, assuming proper usage and a bounceback from at least one of our question marks (Duaner Sanchez, Sosa, Wise, Padilla, Joe Smith)... although Romero seems primed for a good year, and Lidge (assuming early success) seems a GREAT pickup at the price.

In case the name wasn't a huge tip, am a Met fan... but a reasonable one, I think. I boo Utley, Howard and (natch) JRoll, but all in good fun. That said, it's been my personal and professional (former social worker) experience that spousal abusers don't change... they merely attempt to manage their anger (or other) problems. IOW... it's in there. Between that and other matters, it just seems-- rooting-for-laundry issues aside-- that Myers seems like a little less good a human being than even most ballplayers.

ANYWAY...

Am more curious about what you guys think about how the NL East bullpens compare... Romero still scares me moderately as an opponent, and Lidge (assuming no awful-looking early failures) seems a VERY solid pickup at the price. Seems OUR pen, though, might still have the edge over yours (and Atlanta's, natch) if we get a healthy Duaner Sanchez back (or a bounceback from Matt Wise, Joe Smith, or one of our recent draft picks Rustich or Kunz).

Sorry... having internet difficulties.

MG, I disagree that Maine and Perez will improve, and they may not even equal last year.

They both pitched waaaaaaaay more innings in in 2007 than in 2006. Perez has, however, pitched that much in the past. But, not Maine.

I would say one or both of them are 2008 Will Carroll candidates.

I wouldn't 'count' on them if I were the Stems....errr, Mets.

I dunno Hit Man, kdon and Jack say Gillick's acquisition of Feliz means he had a "decent" off-season for the Phils. Wonder what kind of off-season they think Omar had, huh?

Chiropractors go to school longer than MD's and you must not have back problems. Your lucky, I have back problems and would not be able to work if it wasn't for my Chiropractor.

The city of Philadelphia would like to announce a parade, immediately followed by a rally at city hall to celebrate the fact that Brett Meyers thinks 'sequals are always terrible.' Mummers outfits are optional.

The Phils did not have a "decent" offseason. At best they treaded water. I would give this offseason acquisitions a C or C+. Nothing horrible but not a lot to inspire much loftier expectations/sell tickets on either.

"Notice the writers tend to lean on him for a different perspective. He doesn’t pull punches."

Jason, come on, there had to be a better way to phrase this.

I also felt a little uncomfortable laughing along with Myers during the video. I have no problem rooting for him in his capacity as pitcher, but I'm not at the point yet where I even remotely respect him as a person.

If it was someone else's idea, I would have liked it more. Not to tell the reporters how to do their job either, but I hate seeing them yuck it up with Myers too.

Coming from a background in journalism, I hate to see reporters sucking up to the people they cover.

I thought kdon and jack said that the addition of Feliz was a positive bc his superb defense and the fact that he only takes up one roster spot makes up for the minimal offensive downgrade from a defensively inept Dobbs/Helms platoon?
And coupled with everything else done(like making a move that enabled Brett Myers to return to the rotation) and considering his resources (in budget and prospects), Gillick's offseason was "decent"?
Maybe I'm not giving their position the simplification others feel it deserves.

kdon: We've covered that, the poor phrasing.

I agree with MG on his take on the off-season.

And clout, don't forget you said the offseason was "super" the "best by any team in baseball."

I'd give them a B-, as they did what they had to this offseason to get better without giving out any stupid contracts. If they would acquire another reliever or sign Lohse during spring training, then it would definitely go up to a B+/A-. I really like the Lidge trade and the Jenkins and Bensons signings, and while i don't love feliz, it definitely didn't hurt the team.

What grade would be given to the available free agents, and should that factor into the overall grade of the Phils' off-season?

Brian G: I think that's a fair and accurate description of their, and apparently your, views. Getting Lidge and Feliz makes it a "decent" off-season.

My problem is I have higher standards than you do.

kdon: Sounds like your backing off your earlier assessment. I don't blame you. I agree with MG as well.

Loshe would take the team to a B in my opinion. I still think the team has major holes in the rotation however.

Offseason moves:

Lidge trade - Not a huge fan. I would have preferred to simply sign Cordero, and keep Geary and Bourn as cheap bench players. I also think Costanzo can be a league average 3B, at least offensively. If Lidge returns to his old self, then obviously a good move.

Letting Rowand go - The right move, clearly

Jenkins - Of all the possible platoon partners, Jenkins was probably in the middle somewhere. However, the fact that Gillick realized he could put together an OF as good offensively and defensively through a platoon is the kind of thinking I like.

Feliz - Not a major move either way, but I couldn't take seeing 3 3B a game again. Assuming Gillick really did try to go after Lowell, I think this was the best backup option.

This would put the Phils at around a 'B' but their handling of the 5th spot is suspect, dropping them to C/C+. Chad Durbin, to me, is exactly the wrong kind of player to have - a replacement-level veteran with no upside signed to a major league deal so he is and guaranteed a roster spot.

Benson was good. Taguchi a waste. Snelling interesting.

"Sounds like your backing off your earlier assessment."

What was that? And this time, when you put quotes around something you are implying I said, provide a f'in link.

Clout: The aquisition of Lidge keeps our bullpen (which, while thin, was effective down the stretch last year when healthy)from regressing, but more importantly enabled us to move a guy who was a top 30 starter in '06 back into the rotation. That's significant. We also got Jenkins for a platoon with Werth, which is a solid move to make to replace some of Rowand's offense when resigning him would have been a much more serious commitment. Romero was resigned, which allowed the bullpen to at least not regress.
I think your main contention is that we should've thrown a couple mil at a Matt Wise type to add more depth. I don't disagree with that, but do think it's Gillick's philosophy to avoid significant commitments to back end guys.
But considering what was available, what else should Gillick have done?
And decent doesn't mean good, it just means adequate. No one is saying the job done was exceptional.

AWH - Maine and Perez don't have to improve at all really to have a realistic shot at posting better numbers this year than Myers. Both guys have good/great stuff and Minaya deserves a ton of credit for fleecing the Orioles and Pirates (well maybe not quite as much considering it was Littlefield).

It will be interesting to see how Maine responds this year. Don't follow the Mets closely enough to know if Maine just ran out of gas last year down the stretch or if teams started to make adjustments to him (basically a 2-trick pony with his fastball and slider). Probably more of the former although Maine needs to develop a reliable 3rd pitch to post similiar stats again this year.

I really like Perez though. Peterson (who is arguably one of the best pitching coaches in MLB) totally reconstructed Perez's mechanics last year in spring training. Evidently worked wonders with Perez's control and he posted really solid numbers last year.

Only upside about Perez from a Phils' perspective is that he can get rattled a bit and is a little injury-prone. He is also a FA is a FA at the end of this year and a Boras client.

All of those dopey Mets' fans who brag about the endless pockets don't seem to realize that Perez (if he has another season like last year) is going to command a ton of money on the FA market. Not in Sabathia's league but a 26-year old lefty who throws hard is going to probably get $16M+/year for at least 5 years.

The Mets do have some big contracts (Delgado, Pedro, Alou, El Duque) coming off the table in '08 but they are also going to have to fill holes in LF, 1B, and a few starting rotation spots through FA or trades since there FA system is as barren as the Phils.

B-Mac: The question is, did they get better?

Lidge replaces Myers in the pen.
Jenkins replaces Rowand.
Feliz replaces Helms/Dobbs.
Myers replaces Lohse.

Doesn't look like a B- to me.

kdon: The word "decent" was Jack's and then repeated by you in agreement with his assessment. Do I need to start keeping copies of your posts?

Brian G: Decent: 2. respectable, worthy.

Sounds like a synonym for good to me.

That's fine. I'd say it was a respectable job. We'll know by September.

Lidge replaces Myers in the pen.
-Push
Jenkins replaces Rowand.
-Downgrade if you think Rowand reproduces his '07. Push if you think Rowand reproduces his '06 and '05.
Feliz replaces Helms/Dobbs.
-Upgrade
Myers replaces Lohse.
-Significant upgrade, espcially since Myers actually replaces Loshe + all the other starters from that spot.

Overall, I think the pitching will be improved slightly, defense improved slightly, the starting offense will be worse, the bench better.

The problem for the Phillies will be trying to find that 309/374/513 from the CF spot. Personally, I don't think either Rowand or Jenkins/Werth is going to do that.

"Do I need to start keeping copies of your posts?"

If you are going to use direct quotes, yes, you should.

Or you can just go back to misrepresenting what people say the old fashioned way.

kdon: So you deny agreeing with Jack that Gillick had a "decent" offseason?

Did the Phillies look at Steeve Traschel? He's been durable (200 IP 7X), is league average, would sell a lot of beer (works a little slow)...I might want him over Loshe. I know he's signed with the O's.

Kdon: You really ought to consider treating him as a troll. The hard thing to find in the archives are examples of clout posts in which he doesn't go out of his way to pick a fight.

Clout: Nobody gives a sh*t. Grow up.

Clout:

You are in no position to make me "deny" anything. If you have a link to something I wrote, post it.

Alby: I think I will.

Couple of reality points:

1. Benson signing - While there isn't really any downside to this move, this move was completely overhyped/overrated. The most telling sign is that Benson only got a minor league contract ($100k) from the Phils. Didn't even get a contract with a $1M+ base like Clement. This should tell you volumes about where Benson is at and the real interest in him from MLB teams.

It is from a certainty that the Phils will even get anything out of Benson this year. Torn labrum surgery is a big deal and it has been less than 12 months since Benson had surgery. When are some of the lazy reporters going to stop with this "Benson as a potential 5th starter out of camp" crap? Benson is a decent signing who might help the Phils down the playoff stretch but let's not go overboard.

2. Romero/Feliz signings - Gillick got out of the gate quickly on resigning Romero and probably pissed a ton of teams off by setting the going rate/inflating the market for veteran relievers. I was glad that Gillick resigned Romero but didn't Ed Wade get blasted for signing relievers to similiar deals? Have to see how this one pans out but I imagine it will be very much like the Cormier deal. Plenty of ups and downs.

I am definitely in the anti-Feliz signing camp. His signing has been debated ad nauseam on this site. The biggest clunker though was signing him to a guaranteed 2-yr deal. The Giants (a team desperate for power) thought so lowly of Feliz that they weren't willing to offer him a multi-year deal. Maybe another team was willing to offer him 2-years guaranteed but I tend to doubt it.

3. Jenkins signing - Not a bad signing but it depends on how fast Jenkins deteriorates over the next 2 years. I just hope that Jenkins doesn't lose a bit of his power or that he suddenly stops taking as many walks because he will become a pretty useless player then. This deal will become a bad deal if the 3rd year vests and the Phils are stuck with a 35-year old player who is a defensive liability with limited power/bat speed.

Who's ready for some baseball?

"Chiropractors go to school longer than MD's"

This is not true. Only one out of 19 Chiropractic schools in the US requires a baccalaureate degree for admission. Most do not. Chiropractic school is 4 years, the same as medical school for an MD. However, MDs then are required from 3-9 years of more training before being able to practice medicine on their own.

The insinuation that Chiropractors are more educated than MDs by virtue of being a Chiropractor is overtly false.

The funny about Gillick's tenure is that he blasted the previous regime (Wade) for handing out long-term contracts to Burrell, Abreu, Lieberthal, etc.

On the other hand, Gillick has had no issue with making plenty of crappy FA signings for 2 or 3 yrs at moderate to decent money. Sadly, I think Feliz and Jenkins both might fall into this category too.

When I was a kid, we used to have an antique nickel slot machine in our house. I remember my brother once proudly showed me a huge stack of nickels that he had won over the preceding hour. When I asked how many nickels he had put into the machine, he gave me a puzzled look & said he had no idea.

My brother was about 8 years old at the time, so he can be forgiven for his faulty methodology. Phillies' management, however, still uses that same kind of methodology when they try to sell the fans on the productivity of their off-seasons. They lose a top-flight everyday player like Rowand, & replace him with a solid part-time player in Jenkins & then they say, "We think we've improved our team because we added a very solid part-time player in Jenkins." Or they resign Romero & they say they've solved their need to "add" another solid arm for the bullpen. Or they move their best reliever into the starting rotation, trade for Brad Lidge to fill the void in the bullpen, & then say they've "improved" the bullpen by adding Lidge.

Alby: LOL.

Jon Heyman says Pat Gillick is the sixth best GM in baseball:

"The last man to win for Peter Angelos in Baltimore and the guy who built the Mariners' 116-win team didn't do too badly getting the Phillies to the postseason last year. The question is how many years before young hotshot Ruben Amaro Jr. takes over?"

This "young hotshot" must really have something going for him.

MG: As I understand it, Benson can opt out of his contract if he's not on the major league roster on March 25.

JW - Me. I am curious to see a few things but nearly 90% of them are pitching related:

1. Eaton, Myers, and Kendrick look
2. What (if any) pitchers emerge to take the last bullpen spots?
3. See if Gordon and Lidge are actually healthy
4. Snelling can do
5. Helms shows anything that he deserves a spot on this team

BAP: Don't forget they've improved their power too by signing Feliz.

My prediction: The best contribution by a new Phillie this season will come from someone who's not on the 25-man roster April 1.

Clout - Thanks for the clarification. I imagine the Phils will add Benson to the 40-man roster but keep in Florida to build up strength/stamina until he get designated for a rehab assignment sometime in May/June?

To answer Jason:

I am ready for some damn baseball already. Enough already arguing over what the team may be. Let's see what it is.

One revision. Let's "argue" over what the team is. Can't have Beerleaguer with out the argument.

I will not engage in one more point by point critique of Gillick's inept off season moves. However, I do want to recognize once again his great skill at lowering fan expectations. Impact players like Cabrera, Santana, or Bedard just never seem to be within the reach of the Phils. Instead, we learn to live with guys like Jenkins, Dobbs, Chad Durbin, Feliz, etc.,the fungible 40th percentile types. And of course, we are told about how little money there is to spend. And so, the homeboys lower their expectations every year and predictably start to parrot the party line about how smart Gillick really is and how much he has improved the team.

I have been a devoted Phillies fan for much longer than most of you have been on this earth. Their M.O. never seems to change. They will not spend the dollars to compete. Whatever you think of Scott Rolen, he had it right about their lack of commitment to compete. This off season is no different. No top of the rotation pitcher. No upgrade for the bullpen. And another loser at thirdbase.

Hit man:

I've been a fan since the late 80's, and the likes of Jenkins, Durbin, Feliz, Dobbs, Gordon etc. are nothing new to me.

Ownership just doesn't care enough. They got lucky with Rollins, Utley, Howard and are now quite happy with 86 wins as the over/ under. People will come to the park all summer, and the team will make it's nut, as long as those three are in the lineup. That's ownership's bottom line.

Morty- I agree. The best players have generally been the guys who have come up through their system. They seldom go out and buy talent. They tried that a few times when they signed guys like Wagner and Thome, and they couldn't unload their salaries fast enough to suit ownership. When Gillick announced last year, quite to everyone's amazement, that they only had 12 million to spend, we needed to remind ourselves of two minor details. The Phils' payroll has been static for years, which considering salary inflation, amounts to a decrease in spending. Moreover,there would have been a lot more available to spend were it not for the dollars Gillick tied up in deadwood like Eaton and Moyer.

Morty: In total agreement that ownership is the real problem here. It's absolutely awful that they lack the committment to make this team a top-notch franchise in the sport. Clout likes to paint me as a Front Office apologist, but it's mostly because I feel like ownership, and not Gillick or Amaro, is the real problem with this team. Everyone on here clamors for Santana and Bedard and all these huge-money players and then blames Gillick for not getting them, when the fact is it's ownership's refusal to pay these guys that prevents them from coming here.

I'm not saying Gillick has done a great job here- I described this offseason as "decent", by which I meant we got marginally better; he could've done a worse job, but he certainly could've done better as well, and his other offseasons haven't been much to write home about either. However, the fact is we're never going to satisfy everyone who wants huge-money and big-name free agents until we get a change in ownership.

All that being said, we've complained A LOT this offseason for a team that won the division last year and has a great core of players under 30. Last September was absolutely amazing, and while I'm worried about this season, I still find myself happy when I remember that run to the division. If you don't keep these things in perspective and enjoy for the while the good things that do happen, however small and however rare, what's the point of being a fan in the first place?

Phils' fan complain (and rightly so) because this team hasn't won a playoff game since '93 and has two playoff appearance in the past 25 years. To say though that this current ownership has remained static though just isn't true.

Things did start to change in the late 90s when Monty and Co. realized that they could no longer live off the '93 mojo and the Phils were near last/dead last nearly every year in attendance during the late 90s and early part of this decade. The tired act of complaining the Phils were a "small-market" team with a small-market budget didn't fly anymore.

Monty and Co. realized they would have to reestablish some credibility with the fans (by actually starting to field some winning teams with marketable players) but more importantly build a new stadium. I give Monty and Co. credit in that they did get the stadium finished and the Thome signing did reenergize this fan base. The Phils also put more money into the draft/signing bonuses.

It seems though (and correctly so) that the Phils' ownership has been content to coast along though and live off some of the hard work/investments they made in the late 90s and early part of this decade. Best example of this is the minor league system which is back to being in the bottom third of the league and more importantly devoid off any kind of real impact talent.

If anything, the current state of the farm system reminds me of the late 80s/early 90s. Some half-way decent prospects but not one single guy who is going to breakthough and not a lot of depth.

The funny/sad thing is that the playoff appearance last year may actually hurt this team in the longer term since it allowed the ownership to coast along this offseason. The Phils could really jack up season ticket prices (which they did) while having no real pressure to make a big move.

Plus, this current ownership isn't going to sell before the end of this decade. This team is a cash cow now and is likely to be competitive to the end of the decade. If anything, I am willing to bet there will be an ownership change after Amaro has had a few years to drive this team into the ground and the best years of Howard/Utley/Rollins etc are past. Say Beerleaguer prediction in '11.

This is my first post on Beerleaguer.

First of all, I just have to tell you how much I love this site. The daily discussions are interesting and Mr. Weitzel is to be commended, for sure. Perhaps even more, the postings are often interesting, insightful, and well-informed.

Second, I'm a trial lawyer by trade, and if I can make a suggestion to all of you -- the ad hominem portions of your arguments don't help. Calling someone stupid, or otherwise insulting them does not convince anyone else that your argument is actually better than theirs. I don't need to point out who I'm talking about, but there is, for instance, one frequent poster on the site who is extremely well-informed, whose arguments are often very interesting, but he ends up routinely insulting the (often very good) arguments of people with whom he disagrees. It's not helpful, or a sign of confidence in his own arguments. Insults are not arguments.

Third, what prompted me -- after months of enjoyably reading along after I first discovered this site -- to write in is the recent reiteration of the old tripe that Phillies management is cheap and is not committed to winning. While that may well be true, and we have seen plenty of evidence for that in the past, it is plainly not true this offseason. Virtually the only impact moves anyone made this off-season were trades, not free agent signings. Santana, Bedard, Cabrera, Willis -- all trades for prospects (which we don't have in great supply thanks to Ed Wade). The few free agents out there were plainly not worth the money, and in many instances were not significant upgrades. Andrew Jones for $18+ million per year? C'mon! Aaron Rowand for $60 million? A guy who is a league average center fielder at best, except for a career year in a contract season? Please. So if you can't get superstar talent, all you can do is fill a niche -- an everyday defensive upgrade at third base, a good lefty platoon hitter in right field, a potential mid-season rotation boost. While you may be right that the Phillies off-season was only "decent," it could not have been much better, at least as far as free agency is concerned. And you can't trade for something with nothing.

Please keep the great comments coming. I've got to say that I've always been a baseball fan, but I can't remember looking forward to a season as much as this one. I'm also looking forward to the great insights throughout the season I've come to rely on on Beerleaguer.

JAS - Agreed but to a point. The Phils felt no hesitation in sticking it to their season ticket holders by jacking up prices by over 10% or by likely having one of the 3 or 4 most expensive average ticket prices again in MLB (a fact that has really gone under the radar since CBP opened). Say what you will about the Vet but there were plenty of cheap tickets available.

Plus, it aggravates me this that this team makes such a big deal about signing guys Feliz (a guy might have not found a guaranteed starting job at 3B this season) and Benson (a rehab project who may not even pitch for the Phils this year).

I understand that Myers has a pugnacious and feisty personality. He can't entirely change that but it also worries me that it will still plague him as a starter through bouts of concentration lapse.

It is compounded by the fact that the Phils don't have a strong veteran presence behind the plate and that Dubee/Cholly tend to let their starters go a bit before walking out the mound.

It seems that Myers almost needs to have a strong spring training and a couple of good starts in April to get in the right mind set. Unfortunately, I could see him having a potential mini-meltdown early if he really struggles in April.

I'm sure we all know who JAS is referring to. Buster Olney, who I have to say is getting pretty dim in his middle age, did a post on Burrell today, quoting some scouts to the effect that Burrell's no more than a 6 or 7 hitter on a "good team." Seems like an awfully untenable claim given that (a) last year we were undeniably a good team, and offensively a great one, and (b) Pat Burrell didn't hit 6 or 7 during the whole second half of the season. Nevertheless, one AL scout, who freely admits to not seeing Burrell play much last season, says, "he either walks or hits home runs when he doesn't make outs, and he doesn't help you defensively or on the bases. For a good team, Burrell hitting No. 3, 4 or 5 is not going to help you." Another AL scout writes, "he's basically a guy that you could get some power and on-base out of in your lineup (but that could conceivably hit 7th for a good club), but would be a liability defensively and on the bases."

I understand that Myers has a pugnacious and feisty personality. He can't entirely change that but it also worries me that it will still plague him as a starter through bouts of concentration lapse.

It is compounded by the fact that the Phils don't have a strong veteran presence behind the plate and that Dubee/Cholly tend to let their starters go a bit before walking out the mound.

It seems that Myers almost needs to have a strong spring training and a couple of good starts in April to get in the right mind set. Unfortunately, I could see him having a potential mini-meltdown early if he really struggles in April.

JAS:

From what I can tell, the Santana trade was more about the Mets being willing to pay him than the Twins getting back a great package of prospects. If they liked Kuroda (I know nothing, have no opinion on him, FYI) they could have paid more than LA was willing to overcome the west coast pull. And why not sign Lohse? These are all upgrades that will not come about because of money.

MG:

The late 90's moves you describe were indeed intended to be upgrades, but the ambition was to reach the level the team is at right now. They were aiming for competitiveness, not a championship. And, to their credit, they succeeded. Personally, I think they worked backwards from wanting a new stadium to realizing they would have to fill it.

MG-

Fair points as always, but if money is what we're talking about, that's not the problem here. The self-imposed budget isn't what caused them to get Feliz or Benson. While arguments have been amply made on this site about whether Feliz is actually an upgrade (I think he is), he was almost certainly the best available in free agency. Benson cost the team bupkis, so it's hard to criticize that as a bad move, at least at this point. There really isn't anything else out there that would actually make the Phillies a better team.

I suppose you could argue that Lohse is a money issue, but to me he looks only marginally better than Eaton at a really, really steep price. In any case, I don't think the Phillies make it or don't because of Kyle Lohse, who falls smack into the 40% that was described above.

I do think it's a 50/50 shot, though, that during the year the wheels will fall off the starting rotation bus, and the Phillies will have no choice but to trade somebody truly valuable (i.e., an everyday player) for a starting pitcher in desperation.

Jack - "We'll always have September 2007." ~H. Bogart

JAS: I'm always fascinated by posters who suddenly pop up and claim to have been long time readers of the site who never before posted, but just can't resist and it's usually something that sounds just like another poster.

Tray: I see you're still smarting from having declared Burrell washed up last season. Look at it this way: Eventually, you'll be right.

Clout: Good point about Benson.
MG: it is the 25 man roster not the 40 man roster.

I worry that Benson and many of the other guys - Rule 5 and guys without options will all be lost by the start of the season. Which will leave us with Chad Durbin or Eaton as the number 5 and if someone gets hurt or stumbled we are just as bad as last year. This is why we need to sign Lohse, to give us some depth. I could care less if we are paying Lohse $3 million or $7 million to come out of the BP this year if Eaton or Durbin step up because we know by May 15th, he'll be starting. I continue to believe having Lohse on this team gives us that depth and removes lots of worries.

"Virtually the only impact moves anyone made this off-season were trades, not free agent signings."

The following off-season moves were free agent signings, some with their current teams: A Rod, Mike Lowell, Andruw Jones, Jorge Posada, Francisco Cordero, Kosuke Fukudome, Hiroki Kuroda, Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand, Mike Cameron.

I think some of these could be "impact moves," but that's just me.

if Lowell had signed and we supposedly gave the best offer, the off season would have been better. He didn't sign and we got Feliz. Outside of Rowand, no one was going to Philly.

Is Loshe still alive? The best story of the offseason is the fall of Scoot Boras, if you can call it that.

you know, Scott "Scoot" Boras. My bad.

JAS - Forgetting the money, I think the Reds Cordero signing might end up helping their team quite a bit. I worry about Prior in SD during the second half and Kuroda in LA.

Yes we made the Lidge trade but once again Gillick hung on to Helms too long, just like he did with Lieber last year. By not eating some of their salaries, we get stuck paying all of their salary. However, the big trade the Phils blew was getting Matt Garza from Minnesota. I think we could have put together an aggressive package to get him.

I'm sure people have commented on this, but if not, what do people think of the rationale behind Rollins' 100 wins prediction? He says he bases it on the amount of injuries the Phils had. Which is true, the Phils' really did have a ton of injuries last year.

I know the consensus here, and I tend to agree with it, but what about Rollins' thinking? If Gordon, Madson, Myers, Howard, Utley and Victorino were to stay healthy all year, could anyone see at least 95 wins?

p.s. please don't hurt me for asking, clout.

JAS: Completely agree. As as a (future) law student myself, Following up "Yeah, but Feliz OBP is only..." with "...and you're a butthead" doesn'treally add to any argument.

Clout: Agree with you on Cordero (although I don't think I would have paid him that much money), Fukudome, and Kuroda. At least we made an effort to sign Lowell. No way we could have afforded A Rod. Don't want Jones/Posada/Cameron (too expensive/like our catching situation already/would have ratherd Jenkins). Would have taken Rowand on a shorter contract. Would have taken Hunter on a short contract.

Agree with you that they would have been impact signings, diagree on how much better they would have made us (besides A Rod and Lowell). All thogether, good point though.

There are a ton of lawyers or future lawyers on this site. That is why I laugh at idiots who scoff at blogs and their viewers/comment. A blog with consistent timely posts, knowledgeable content, and a lively discussion can get legs pretty fast in a particular industry.

And this blog is the perfect example

MG- Agreed. There are a few PhD types too. Too bad we don't run the team.

JAS: Agree with you about the ad hominem attacks. I'm occasionally guilty of them myself, but they really don't advance the discussion.

I disagree with you, however, about the Phillies' commitment to winning. Sure, there are plenty of good reasons to avoid giving out mega-contracts to 60th percentile players. But, if ownership were really committed to doing everything it took to bring a World Series to Philadelphia, they would have given Gillick a mandate to replace Rowand's bat AND address the team's biggest problem -- the bullpen. Instead, they gave him a budget of $10 or $12M for the entire off-season. Even within this limited budget, the Phillies would still have been better off spending it all on relievers. But the Phillies' management reasons that it's more important to spend money on offense, because homeruns are what bring the casual fans to the ballpark. So they took all their money & used it to sign a marginal, part-time upgrade in Jenkins & a non-upgrade in Feliz. Meanwhile, they once again are trying to fix their massive bullpen problems on the cheap -- a strategy which completely backfired last year & will likely do so again.

JAS wasted little time in digging in a mixing it up, and he is indeed a first-time poster. My sources confirm it.

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