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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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Maybe this puts the screws into Lohse a little bit. Drip...drip...drip..starting pitchers are off the market.

Nothing not to like about this unless it really does mean the Phillies are out of the running for Lohse.

I can't remember who said it a few posts back (sorry!), but I wonder if this could increase their leverage with Lohse, whom they still need.

As far as I'm concerned the rotation hasn't been improved one bit because Benson won't be available for a while, and when he comes back, I think it is a pretty good bet that one of Hamels/Myers/Kendrick/Moyer will be either hurt or significantly under performing.

I would have loved to see a team option for 2009, but beggers can't be choosers at this point I imagine.

KDON - I disagree. Obviously one of our "big 4" could be injured just like any team's (And I use big 4 very loosely, we have more like a big 1 1/2), but I think it is much more likely that Benson is taking over for the #5 spot in the rotation than from Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Moyer.

No complaints here either... I suspect Benson wants to redeem himself as much as anyone in the sport.

One more move and I'll submit and call this offseason a success.

Watch Eaton get his act together. You watch.

Ihey, at least we didnt give up adrian gonzalez AND chris young for eaton...cough...john daniels...cough

JW:

OK, you called it first.
/(taking CY's advice:)

You're probably right JW-just about anything will be an improvement from last year and in the past, he wasn't THAT bad. IF he gets his act together, he could end up being a decent #5, as opposed to a terrible #5.

kdon:

That's not a bad bet at all.

i'm with you too J on Eaton.

i like the Benson signing. i bet we're very grateful for him in July.

JMARR:

I think you misunderstand my point. Yes, as currently configured, Benson would be moving into the #5 slot. The problem, as I see it, is that both Moyer and Kendrick are about even money to post ERA's over 5, and Benson *should* be taking over for one of them.

With Loshe, you would allow Benson to replace either, by letting Kendrick get some work at AAA (where he has never pitched), or putting Moyer on the DL.

Fun fact: According to ESPN.com, Benson full first name is Kristin....

From all I've heard, labrum tears are tough to rebound from -- so I'm not so sure a midseason payoff is anything close to assured.

If he starts the season healthy and doesn't win a spot in the rotation, do we start him in the minors or keep him in the pen with the big club?

Funny how the later it gets in a Gillick off season, the smaller a signing has to be to get us all optimistic. It's not a bad deal and has some upside for this year. Our pitching staff still is pretty bad, though.

But hey, after Feliz I've been drinking kool-aid pretty regularly: Go Phils!!!

@Weitzel -- If this pushes Eaton, I'll be surprised. Pleasantly however.

Like Lieber, when Eaton's stuff is working, he's really good. But also like Lieber, he either has neither mental strength or physical strength to put together 5 or 6 straight good innings.

Mitch Williams has outlined Eaton's problems last year (position of the ball out of the hand) and his lack of keeping the arm up (instead of the side) could be mental strength or the shoulder was a real problem.

If it's his shoulder, JW, than no matter the incentive, Eaton will do no better than last year.

Phinally, we got him after a long courtship.

KDON - no I understand your point, what I am saying is that I disagree just a bit.

If I was going to wager on Benson replacing a member of the rotation, I would say that it is much more likely that the first 4 starters do not blow up or get injured than it is that Eaton or the rest of the #5 candidates needs to be removed for injury or performance.

Well it sounds like pretty low risk and some possible insurance. Nothing to get too excited about right now, but it could be something to get excited about in June or July.

JMARR:

You think that it is a better bet that four pitchers will all live up to expectations than that one will disappoint?

I guess we do just disagree.

(And, BTW, the expectations for Moyer is what? a 5.00 ERA)


KDON - obviously from a percentage standpoint the smart money is on 1 out of 4 crashing than 1 out of 1.

That only works however if all 5 are the same pitcher, (or anything).

I have no reason to believe that Myers or Hamels won't be healthy to start the season, (of course anyone can be injured at any time).

Regardless of how they pitch in spring training, they are in the rotation.

Kendrick? I like his chances a helluva lot better than Eaton, Durbin X 2, Blackley etc. breaking camp and making it through April and May in the rotation.

Moyer? Will he be effective in August? Don't know, but again, I'll put my 1st half money on him far more than the #5 starter ... so to answer you directly.

Yes, I think it is a better bet that THOSE 4 pitchers will live up to expectations than our boy Eaton will disappoint.

I think you are right on target with Moyer - expectations this year as far as I'm concerned.

First Half 17 GS, 8-6 4.75 ERA, 1.300 WHIP
Second Half 16 GS, 5-7 5.15 ERA, 1.405 WHIP

Full Season, 33 GS, 13-13 4.95 ERA. 1.355 WHIP

Glennbo~

Kristin it is. Let's hope he doesn't pitch like Kristen.

Like the signing, especially as a minor league deal. I'm happy with the offseason so far: Mets add one big piece, we add many small ones. I think it about evens out, at least IMO.

Glennbo: I mentioned that Bensons first name is 'Kristin' in an earlier thread, nearly spit my coffee out when I found out.

Let's just hope Kris Benson doesn't end up throwing like a Kristin Benson...

Jody Mac just announced that Benson may be on his show later today. Maybe he will give a better indication when he might be ready. From all that I had hear, he wasn't expected to pitch until July.

The thing to remember about Moyers' ERA is that last year, he had a bunch of starts where he got blown up, and a bigger bunch of starts where he was quite serviceable.

I would take a repeat of last year and forget about what his ERA is.

JMARR,

I'm not arguing that Eaton is a better bet. I think it is basically a lock that the #5 spot will be terrible as it stands now.

My point is that there is *also* a good chance the Phils will have to fill a spot in the top 4.

As it stands now, they have *zero* in the way of depth if Moyer or Kendrick struggles, because Benson will almost assuredly be taking over for what ever dreck fills the #5 spot.

Also, that same dreck is also the first in line to replace any of the top four.

Put it like this.

Now you have
Hamels
Myers
Kendrick
Moyer
Eaton/Benson

I would prefer

Hamels
Myers
Kendrick
Moyer
Loshe

with Benson avialable to fill in in June/July when it is almost a lock that one of these pitchers will be hurt or struggling badly.

KDON .... aaaahhhhhh, now I hear you. You bet, I think that we will very likely use at least 7 or 8 starting pitchers before the season is over. No doubt about it.

"I'm happy with the offseason so far: Mets add one big piece, we add many small ones. I think it about evens out, at least IMO."

I'm doing too much posting, but I hope someone has fun with this.

Let's see if we could package Lidge/Feliz/Durbin/Benson for Santana. (Jeinkins doesn't count because he just replaced Rowand).

Cool JMARR. Basically, I think Benson is the solution to a problem we haven't experienced yet. We still have no answer for the number 5 spot.

I would rather have

Santana
Bedard
Hamels
Myers
Lowe

But this isn't fantasy baseball.

Amazing that this thread has gotten to 35 comments and not one deals with Anna's hot/crazy ass.

Well, so much for that streak.

...don't get me started, loctastic. Been there..er..done that.

KDON: I disagree. I think we should package Jenkins in that deal. Then you could bash my opinion a little bit more.

1 big piece vs. several small pieces. I stand by my opinion. Whomever had the edge is up for interpretation.

Some ray of sunshine piercing through the clouds before donning the sunglasses for Spring Training.

Regarding player signings Gillick must be loved by the owners as his MO appears to be value-driven (cheap) and a disciplined (callous) while being the fall guy for the owners from the fans.

Obviously Amaro is now paying his dues by getting his rookie hazing by doing all the PR and announcements and living on the front lines.

If Wade was still here Howard would be probably in his second year of 10 year - $225 million contract (which could be a good thing eventually) and our anemic farm system would become the independent league.

Hopefully somewhere in private Brian Cashman is secretly trying on a Phils cap to see what it looks like on him.

kdon: "If the Phils hadn't caught the Mets at the wire, Eaton would have been reasons 1, 1a, and 1b why that didn't happen."

Really? Looks like you're still lovin' that Phillies bullpen from the start of last season!


We started hyping Benson back in early November on my blog, glad to see the deal sealed.

John D: You support the art of the "small splash" as our beloved management has termed it. Small market, small splash.

This is my confusion. The following ESPN link lists Benson's injury as a rotator cuff:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3244533
Was it a cuff or labrum? The likelihood of full recovery for the two injuries is quite different.

clout:

small market, small minded...

Adding: can we take up a collection to buy the team again? Whose idea was that? A tenant paid their rent in straight cash, so I've got some lying around.

If you replace Eaton's 162 innings with league-average starter production, you save more runs than if you replaced 520 bullpen innings with league-average bullpen production. The bullpen's still a problem, though.

Dave X: Eaton was 10-10 last season. How many gamnes did the bullpen lose, either directly or indirectly by allowing 1-run deficits to become much larger?

Phillies now have 2 players with playmate wives. (Hamels, Benson).

The Mets have.....um, Moises Alou (who pees on his hands, and he's ugly too).

Advantage: Phillies.

My Post from Nov. 1 2007: I'm hoping that he has more upside than I stated at the time.

The Orioles declined their option on Kris Benson. I'm trying to think of a reason to get excited about this, but alas, I can find none. Anyone think he is even worth a SP invite? I mean he has to at least still have some upside, as diminished as it might be. Is he still together with Ana Benson? If so, and we signed him, we would have two pitchers with two playboy model wives. Bet there is no other team that can claim that. In the words of my favorite writer/amourously annoying spot TV personality, Dan Lebetard: BAM!!!!!

clout - what's a "gamnes"?

Benson is a decent gamble that will most likely payoff come May or June. I still would like to see Lohse signed. I don't expect it though with this ownership group.

Clout, do you know off-hand our record in games started by Eaton?

I don't know, W-L records are about as good a sign of pitching ability as BA is of total offensive ability.

Regardless, I know the answer is that the bullpen "lost" at least 23 games, more if you add in allowing 1-run deficits to become larger. Of course, the question is by nature slanted against the bullpen : a starter can never let a 1-run deficit grow larger without first having lost the game, but the bullpen in your scenario gets charged with both direct and 'indirect' losses. Also important is that it W-L doesn't account for run support.

To my point :
Eaton had an ERA of 6.29 runs last season and the NL average was 4.64. That's a difference of 1.65.

The bullpen had an ERA of 4.5 (lower than the starters') and the NL average was 4.08. That's a difference of .42. Thats almost exactly 25% of Eaton's difference.

The bullpen pitched 520 innings last year, but Eaton only pitched 162. In other words, Eaton pitched about 31% of the innings that the entire bullpen did. This means that in 162 innings, Eaton allowed more runs above average (29.7) than the bullpen did in 520 (24.26). The difference between replacing Eaton and replacing the entire bullpen should be about half a game. The league average replacement would also go about a half inning per start farther than Eaton, relieving the necessity to use types like Condrey in the 5th.

clout - On a more serious note:
It is impossible for the bullpen, actually, to "win" games. They can only come in and hold the other team scoreless, which is, basically, pitching a shut-out for however many innings they are in there. No major league team expects that from its bullpen.

A starting pitcher, on the other hand, can earn a win (can "win" the game) by pitching 5 innings with run support better than his effort.

I guess what I'm saying is that comparing Eaton to the bullpen is not a viable comparison. Can't really do it.

But - here's a key point - they each sucked last year. They are both a problem heading into this year.

Tray - that's easy to find. On his game log page at B-Ref, the team record in games he started was 15 - 15.

If John Cena can come back from a torn labrum in four months, Benson can certainly contribute come pennant race time.

Personally, I'm just waiting for A-ball Knuckler Joe Kellogg to take that #5 spot come August.

Cena had a torm Pectoral.

Glennbo, it was the labrum and the return rate is very low.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3089685

Tray: I know this: He was responsible for 10 losses. I also know the bullpen was responsible for three times as many. Fixing the Eaton problem while ignoring the bullpen is like protecting the back porch while the rest of the house burns down.

Dave X: Fascinating. So wins and losses aren't nearly as important as ERA.

Andy: They can "win" a game in the sense that they save a win for the starter. Feel free to add up their saves and deduct that from the losses.

Our bullpen also won 28 games, which is more than the 23 they lost. So Clout has refuted his own "Eaton was 10-10" argument.

Parker: Phillies now have 2 players with playmate wives. (Hamels, Benson).

And I'd take Mrs. Utley over either of them in a heartbeat.

Fortunately for Chase he gave her a ring. ;-)

Looks like Mathieson had a setback and is going to see the doctor. To count on anything from him this year was wishingful thinking even before this setback.

Also, Drabek may not pitch this year according to Arbuckle. That's two seasons lost to injury. Can't be good.

The Race to 100 wins begins. Phils need to get out the gates fast for once.

Wow. Corrected making a joke to a friend about a fictional character where the injury reference wasn't even the point of the joke. :(

I bet you don't even know who Joe Kellogg is!

Clout :
The Cubs' bullpen went 21-27 with a 3.76 ERA, holding opponents to a OPS+ of 94.

The Blue Jays' bullpen went 19-25 with a 3.46 ERA in the harder league, holding opponents to an OPS+ of 81.

The Marlins' bullpen went 29-28 with a 4.05 ERA, holding opponents to an OPS+ of 99.

Wow, looks like the Marlins had a better bullpen than the Jays! Thank god wins and losses are there to show us the light, we might have thought the better pitchers are the ones who didn't give up runs.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that Eaton will have a better season than anyone envisions -- let's say 14-9, 4.52. On the other hand, Moyer and Kendrick will both have ERAs well north of 5 and, when the time comes for Benson to join the big league club, Kendrick will be the one demoted.

I hope to be wrong about this, but the Phillies have had a long line of starting pitchers who came up and had substantial success in their rookie years, only to fade off into the twilight soon thereafter.

Brian G: As I pointed out many many times last season (and kept a running count for most of the season) there are games the bullpen lost that got charged to the starter. In some cases they allowed the go-ahead run(s)on base to score. In other games the starter left behind by 1 or 2 runs, which the bullpen then put out of reach. In cases in which the Phils later scored runs that would've taken the lead, that's a loss caused by the bullpen even though it's on the starter's record. Added to the direct losses, it adds up to more than 30.

I love when posters here argue how good the bullpen was last year.

Dave X: The debate here is whether Eaton cost the team more losses or the bullpen. You say Eaton. I say the bullpen.

Clout- In terms of judging a pitcher, ERA is a better indicator than won-loss record. There's not an intelligent baseball person who would tell you otherwise. Our bullpen was not good last year, as most people will agree, but your argument here, whatever it is, is worse.

Dave X: I'm surprised you don't know that the bullpen wins games without getting a W. How many games a bullpen wins for a team -- by holding the lead or by keeping a game close so the offense can come back -- is the number that counts. Not ERA. As most folks (but apparently not you) realize, there are fewer stats more misleading than a reliever's ERA.

Clout- Your "running count" is the dumbest thing I've ever seen. I'm gonna go ahead and randomly attribute 73 losses to the offense for not scoring as many runs as the other team. There, that's about as accurate as your "stat" about the bullpen losing games. Please. And no one is saying the bullpen was good, so don't try and make it seem like I am. I'm just pointing out that you're random calculations for how bad they were is arbitrary and meaningless.

Jack: I'm not talking about individual wins. I'm talking about TEAM wins.

That was terrible grammar. Read: Your random calculations for how bad the bullpen was are arbitrary and meaningless. The point is still the same.

Jack: When the bullpen allows the winning runner(s) on base to score or turns a 1-run deficit into a 5-run deficit in a game the Phils wind up losing by a run or two, that is a loss caused by the bullpen even though the L is stuck on the starter. Is that too complex for you?

clout - Again, since ERA is more important for a starter than W-L, and the number of leads given up (however you want to measure it) is more important for a reliever than ERA - isn't trying to compare Eaton to the bullpen comparing apples to oranges? It's like comparing the value of a 1B to a SS based on home runs or assists.

Andy: We're comparing losses to losses. How many games did Eaton cause the team to lose? How many games did the bullpen cause the team to lose? Folks here say Eaton caused more losses. I say the bullpen did.

I'm not sure I've ever read someone say the bullpen was good last year. Maybe "not THAT bad" or "ok", but "good", eh...no.

Clout: First, I wasn't arguing the bullpen was good. Just making fun of your ridiculous argument of Eaton's wins vs losses. Nice straw man though.

Second, is it possible a team will either use different pitchers or that the same pitcher will pitch differently with a 1 vs. 4 run lead? The answer is yes. Also, there's chaos theory. Losing a random game in April and falling one short in September doesn't necessarily mean we wouldn't have fallen short if we had won that game.
And this is not to say that the bullpen allowing leads to enlarge didn't cost us some games. It did. Just that, as Jack said, your "games directly attributable to the bullpen" is ironically arbitrary for someone who hates defensive stats so much.

Brian G: The bullpen causes the team to lose, directly or indirectly. Nothing complicated here. Yet that's arbitrary?

It is when they come into a 5-4 game in the sixth then give up 2 runs in 4 innings in a game we lose 7-6.
My point being, which games you attribute to them is somewhat arbitrary.

Not sure why everyone expects Kendrick to regress or just plain flop. He may not do as well as last year, for various reasons. However, I thought he saw at least a couple of teams more than once. And you don't see mound composure and command like that in a lot of young pitchers. Wishful thinking, but maybe he's more polished with experience?

Clout: Please use an objective method to determine how many losses the bullpen cost us. Then we can have a discussion about it.

Control13: People believe Knedrick will regress because a 3.87 ERA with a 3.6 K/9 rate is highly suspect. He consistently does not strike out guys, and that simply does not indicate sustained success at the major league level, at least not without an incredible sinker, like Chien-Ming Wang (who still has a higher K rate than Kendrick).

Control13: Polished is definitely not the problem with Kendrick. He showed great poise and polish for us down the stretch. The issue with Kendrick is stuff, pure and simple.

Reposting from a previous thread (again). Dammit Beerleaguer, quit making posts when I'm the last comment :)!

Okay, this is actually great. I was worried we'd make the mistake of spending 3-4 million with incentives on the guy. Yes, he's recovering from an injury, but should be healthy in June and that winds up being great for us if anyone in the rotation goes down, plus we can move him in if 1 of the 5 starters is awful. And since he's down in the minors, it makes less of a glut if Lohse is signed too. I'm crossing my fingers that they sign Lohse to a 1 year deal only with an option. Not likely to happen, but that's the best to hope for.

Actually (and I'm thinking of this as I type), a two year deal might not so bad. Moyer retires after this season in all probability. So, signing Lohse for 2 years puts him in the 4/5 hole where he belongs. You go out and sign a topflight starter with the money available from dropping Moyer's and Gordon's salary (about 13mil I believe), move Myers back into the bullpen as a closer, keep Lidge as setup, and you've got a rotation of Hamels, New Guy, Kendrick, Lohse, and Eaton to start 2009. Assuming Carrasco develops he'll probably make a bid to start that year, so it could very well be Hamels, New Guy, Kendrick, Carrasco, Lohse. That's a pretty tough rotation.

Now who could the new guy be? We won't get Sabathia with that money, but Garland, Lowe, Penny, Sheets, they might go for a deal in the range I gave. Hell maybe Mike Mussina or John Smoltz could be gotten on the cheap if they don't retire.

Note, I didn't mention keeping or dropping Burrell.

Among the many problems with your contention, clout, is that Eaton pitches one-fifth of the starters' games, but the bullpen pitches in every game that isn't a complete game. Given those facts, the further fact that Eaton, all by himself, gave up more runs above league average than the entire bullpen is rather staggering. If you could get your head out of your wins and losses, maybe you could see it.

What also might help is if you kept a running total of how many wins every team's bullpen "cost" it by giving up runs. Then maybe we'd know where the Phils stood in relation to the rest of baseball on that, because as it now stands, you have no frame of reference for whether 23 blown wins is good, bad or average.

And no, it's not a defense of the bullpen. It's an attack on your odd theories and your obnoxious way of trying to put them across. Really, I sometimes wonder where you get off pretending you're a seamhead.

Godfather: Lidge won't stay here to pitch setup. We've got him for one year, and if he's not going to be our closer he'll be somebody else's.

As for your starter list, let's see how many of them sign during the season before you start salivating. You named four pitchers. The odds that all four will both have good seasons and not sign extensions aren't great. So the Phils will be among a dozen or more teams going after three or fewer pitchers.

Jack: Sorry, I'll take it down to your level: Bullpen allows runs that cause loss.

Get it?

Jack,

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on kendrick's low strikeout rate preventing him from duplicating last year's success. I'm not an expert on pitching metrics.
The only thing I'll say is that guys can have killer stuff, and if they can't control it, it doesn't matter. Command is more important than stuff I believe. Did Moyer ever have an incredible out pitch? I think a guy with average stuff and excellent command can be reasonably successful. We'll see in a few months.

clout -
The bullpen pitched 160 games. Eaton pitched 30. Did the bullpen lose 5 1/3 times more games than Eaton?

That would be, incidently, 53.3 games.

Alby: I've listed numerous stats over the offseason where the Phillies bullpen ranked near the bottom of the NL. I won't repeat them again. The debate was whether Eaton caused the team to lose more games than the bullpen. You either agree with that or you don't.

Cut the insults, clout. You're out of your depth, and everyone is tired of it.

Andy: Did the bullpen cause more losses than wins?

Alby: You speak for "everyone" now? I'd say you're the one who's out of his depth.

Clout, you don't seem to understand something -- we understand your points, they're just wrong. Most of us are here for conversation; you're here because of some psychological problem with your manhood.

But let's take it at your level. You're talking one starter vs. an entire bullpen. This is in addition to your nonsense about Lidge not being able to close games but being wonderful as a set-up guy, your constand misquoting of other posters, your nasty, combative attitude and most of all your tiresome game in which you predict something, someone else predicts something else, and you obsess about it all season. Really, it's a bore, and an obnoxious one. Why not go haunt some Mets blog?

Yeah, you would answer I'm out of my depth, because insults -- unoriginal ones, at that -- are basically your whole game here. Why Jason hasn't banned you I"ll never figure out. You don't bring enough to the conversation to justify your existence, IMO. But I"m happy to put it to the other posters to see how they feel.

Now stop changing the argument -- another of your favorite games -- and address the fact that one starter vs. the entire bullpen is a point only an idiot would make.

Clout: Alby at least speaks for me, when it comes to this argument. You've backed yourself into a corner and your attempts to get out are more and more feeble.

I appreciate your passionate fanhood, and I like our debates, but too often you are hypocritical in your arguments and personal in your attacks. Just my two cents.

I know that Eaton was historically bad last year while the Phils' bullpen was just bad. Besides a stretch of a few half-decent starts in May, Eaton had one of the worst season by a starter in the last 50 years in MLB. That folks will be tough to duplicate.

People seem to forget that Eaton somehow went 10-10. If he had played on a bad team or a team that did support him like the Phils, he easily would have had a shot to lose 20 games. He was that bad.

Oh God John Cena ref, if I didn't get enough of him outside of beerleaguer.

I find it interesting to read the debate on Kendrick's pitching metrics and his peripheral stats. It will be interesting to see what kind of year he produces.

There is one stat of his that I am concerned about, which no one else has mentioned.

Has wnyone else looked at his IP last year, both between Reading and the MLB level?

Am I wrong to be concerned that he pitched so many more innings than the year before?

clout:
Did the bullpen cause more losses than wins?

By itself no pitching staff can cause any wins. If the team does not score, they do not win. If the bullpen comes into a game behind in runs, what can it possibly do to cause a win? If it comes into a tie game in, say, the third inning, must it pitch 6 scoreless innings to be mediocre? (Because, God forbid, they might give up one run and lose the game.)

Was Eaton stellar in those games where he gave up five or more runs in less than five innings but the Phils won anyway? If a relief corps gives up 4 runs in 6 innings that's pretty sucky. But Eaton does it for a lot more bucks and that's fine?

But really, the only way that you're right about the bullpen is to admit that it's apples and oranges. Starters and relievers are expected to do different things. Their work, therefore, is not compare-able.

Sample bogus question:
"Maury Wills never hit more than 6 HRs in a year; Greg Jefferies eclipsed that number more than ten years in a row. Who's the better infielder?"

It's a bogus question because it compares two players in a meaningless way.

To say that the six pitchers in the Phillies bullpen, in the 160 games in which they appeared, lost more games than one starter, who pitched in 30 games...
well, of course they did. They also contributed to more wins than Eaton did. But the question is bogus because you're comparing two different kinds of things.

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