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Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Awesome Jason!

Love the pitching matchup talk.

Too bad the way it stacks up though. While I'd like to see Cole go head to head with the Muts twice, we would likely be giving away the Cinci game. Chad Durbin vs. Aaron Harang would essentially be close to a forefit.

Actually, the better use might be to use a sixth starter Friday, April 11 against the Cubs' fifth starter.

I need to repost.

Durbin vs Harang - you never know with the phils bats. The matchup obviously tips the scales toward the Reds but it would be far from a forfeit.

Yes - here it is. If everything falls according to my calculations, the weather holds, the injury bug doesn't hit, and the Phils pitch a sixth starter Friday, April 11 against the Cubs' fifth starter, the matchups for Hamels and Myers will include:

-- Hill & Patterson
-- @ Harang & Arroyo
-- Zambrano & Lilly
-- Santana & Pedro
-- @ Sheets & Suppan
-- Peavy and Young

That's nice speculation and all, but there are going to be rainouts, especially in April. I don't think it is worth projecting starters 3 weeks into the season and penciling in a sixth starter to adjust said matchups.

my pants get tighter and tighter as the matchups draw near...

All in fun. Let's hope they can get to April 11 without rain and use that sixth starter. I want to see Santana and Hamels Friday night "under the lights!"

what is going on with lohse? didn't see anything over the last week. ANyone have any info? Are we involved at all? Is anyone?

Unfortunately Larry, you're probably right. That said, those matchups would be simply awesome to have in April. Although a (small) part of me wants to see Hamels and Myers fae the worse pitchers and get their win totals up so they can be in contention for all-star games and Cy Young votes.

On a theoretical level, if those matchups hold true, if we could go oer .500 in those 12 games started by Hamels and Myers, I like our chances in April. Even considering how bad our 3-5 starters are, most other teams' starters are as well, and I'll take our lineup over anyone else's. The only team I would be worried about is the Mets, as Perez and Maine are certainly better than Kendrick and Moyer.

Wow, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

I've been thinking about how to use the "extra starter" for quite some time now and I've come up with a half-assed plan. I say use Durbin every couple weeks for a spot start giving Moyer or Eaton a break. This keeps Moyer stronger through the season and Eatons arm healthy (as if that matters). Also, if Benson is ready down the line, call him up and let him make some starts too while the resting pitcher does bullpen work if needed. Just a thought.

Geez Larry.

You got me with that switch Jason. I'm on board for your new setup.

Irish, your probably right, if Eaton managed 10 wins last year, then the Phillies offense can never be counted out. Still, Cole did have his best game at Cincy last year, CG, 15 Ks

>>my pants get tighter and tighter as the matchups draw near...<<

??!!??!! That's more information than I needed to hear. Oooogah!!

*Love* the adjustments/changes.

But do we expect the Phillies to actually do this? I fear we'll get "But it's a long season" blah blah blah "it's still early" blah blah blah.

I don't think I can stomach another dismal start.

The Phils better have a good April...I don't think I can handle another craptacular start to the season. I know all worked out last year, but yet it still almost haunted us.

myers and kendrick (and Victorino) on today show this am:

A fast start would be great, but I would settle for a 14-13 April. That would be a great improvement over the last 3 Aprils.

A sweep by either team in the initial series between the Phillies and Mets will test the mettle of the losing team.

Imagine the Mets getting swept with the resulting media punishment and emotional toll?

It is a long season but that would have to have some long-term implications on their play. Dr. Phil might have to put Brittany on hold.

Should the Phils get swept and it would be notification that this is a different Mets team which now believes it is the team to beat, especially now with the left-handed super hero protecting the streets of Gotham and Queens.

Plus it would probably signal another disappointing April which would be double-jeopardy for Phils' fans.

Either way it will be early bounty of baseball rivalry at its finest.

Wow. What a poignant and educated offering to the discussion. Isn't there a moratorium on all things Myers and his wife?

I like the fun-loving Phillies of this spring, so far. But if it doesn't translate to a *winning* April...

The Kendrick bit reminded me of the story last year about the sudden rainstorm, and the Phillies coming to rescue the grounds crew. This one is another story that makes you feel better about rooting for this team than you would if it still had Ugueth Urbina or that toad they got from the Mariners last year and then released before he pitched an inning.

Beerleaguer favorite Ron Villone goes to St. Louis on a minor league deal.

I think that the Braves, Mets, and Phils are all relatively close. The Mets obviously have to be given the advantage. In the end, though, its not going to be the best team that wins. It'll be the healthiest.

ESPN preseason power rankings ranked us first:

And Odalis Perez goes to Washington on a minor league deal. Watch him win 18 games, while Benson never pitches a major league inning.

That ESPN link is a waste of time, some hack on Page 2. To get an idea of the writing:

From the #3 Chicago White Sox:

"Ozzie Guillen usually saves his bleep-ladened riffs for midsummer, but he's ----ing fired up early this year, promising to fill reporters' notebooks, and threatening to run naked in the streets of Chicago should the Sox win it all. We can't say we're rooting for that, but we can definitely say we respect the &@#$ out of it."

Good stuff

"ESPN preseason power rankings ranked us first:"

and the Braves 23rd.

I repeat somebody's request above: any news on Lohse?

Isn't there off days during the first two weeks of the season? And wouldn't that mean you could go with 4 starters until a fith was needed to keep everyone on the same days rest? So why would it be benificial to have a sixth starter? Other then for our top two to match up against other teams top two.
Also wouldn't it be best to try to line it up so that Hamels doesn't pitch day games? If I remember correctly he doesn't do well in them.

If anything over the last 5 years the Phillies have been ultra tight in the first two weeks of the season. NOrmally, I would be worried they are buckling down, but in this case I think it shows they are rleaxed and confident.

vicki those aren't the power rankings....

I can't wait for April....The Mets are gonna spank the Philthies

Interesting schedule for the Phils in April. Given that they play some tough teams and their struggles in April the past several years, I would be happy if the Phils even finish the month at .500. A couple of games over .500 would be gravy.

Just can't themselves get down like they did last year (if I recall they were down 9 games to the Mets at Memorial Day) and hope that they will be able to catch a team (Mets) that is likely to have solid pitching all year.

hhhh - the headline is "Page 2's preseason MLB power rankings." I know they aren't ESPN's real power rankings that they update all season long, but that's what they called it.
But yes, like kdon said, it is on Page 2 and isn't the real "power rankings."

"Beerleaguer favorite Ron Villone goes to St. Louis on a minor league deal."

The sad thing is that Villone would have had a decent chance at winning a LOOGY spot in this pen. Not exactly facing world beaters in the likes of Youman and Blackley.

If we need a sixth starter in April I'd just as soon call up Happ to start one game and then send him back to the minors. Let Durbin get comfortable in relief.

"Isn't there off days during the first two weeks of the season? And wouldn't that mean you could go with 4 starters until a fith was needed to keep everyone on the same days rest?"

No and no.

The Phillies play one game, then have an off-day, then play 26 of the next 27 days.

Wonder what the Phils all time regular season record is in March?

MLBTR is now recapping the remaining FA starters including Lohse. He's basically saying this group is "waiting for injury or ineffectiveness" to get a major league offer. A little surprising, Loshe isn't anything special but I'd think someone would have signed him by now.

As for the Braves being ranked 23rd, I can see that for the following reasons (keep in mind, I think that's pretty low, but I do put them behind us and the Mets)

1) They're bullpen is an absolute mess. There's practically no one in it. The Phillies are in comparatively good shape
2) In terms of starting pitchers, they've got the same problem we do, an old guy at #4 (Glavine), and a BIG question mark at #5 (Hampton), however, if Eaton is as bad as we all expect, there's some chance that the Durbin's, BLackley, hell even Benson if healthy could fill that void. Doesn't seem like the Braves have the same options.
3) Guy probably believes both Diaz and Escobar are overrated. Remember, Diaz is traditionally a platoon player and Escobar has never spent a full season in the big leagues. I'll betcha he's expecting those 2 players to slump.
4) Combine number 3 with an aging Chipper Jones, and a drop in Teixeira's ungodly numbers after he was traded, and he rates the Braves offense as worse than the Mets. 5) As old as the Mets are, both the Braves and Mets share the same problem of having very little depth. At least with the Phillies we've got some solid bench players if anyone goes down, e.g. in the outfield between Jenkins, Taguchi, Werth, all 3 could fill in for Burrell or Vic if injured. Not so for the other teams.

It's not like the Braves have had a good offseason either. True, they brought back Glavine, but I don't think anyone should expect him to post an ERA under 4.50. He's getting long in the tooth. Second, Andruw Jones had a horrific 2007, but he's easily one of the top CF in baseball the few years before that both offensively and defensively. Kotsay can't fill his shoes. Finally, the bullpen's been a consistent problem with this team since they moved Smoltz back. Wickman was decent, but they didn't get a proven guy who could replace him!

Now, I'm not saying the Braves aren't a threat. They are, very much so, if they remain healthy. Dave X is correct. The healthiest team down the stretch will probably win the NL East. But I do think you'd have to put them 3rd in the horserace for who will win the division, behind the Mets and Phils.

And just because I like overlong posts, here's my Top 5 Reasons the Phils will take the division over the Mets
1) Age is still a problem for New York and several important members of their team will miss significant time with injuries; current suspects are Pedro, Delgado, Castillo, Alou, Maine (who's at risk for injury from overuse, he pitched 91 innings in 2006 then jumped to 191, possibly a reason why he faded down the stretch) El Duque, Wagner (Billy's now 37, still throwing hard, but you heard it here, I predict he'll be hurt this year)
2) The Mets bullpen lacks a true setup man (Heilman's a converted starter) and really is no better than the Phillies
3) We've got a better offense far and away
4) Contrary to other predictions Kendrick won't slump in 2008, giving us a very good #3 starter,
5) The Mets suck.

The last one is the one I spent the hardest time researching.

godfather ye bad

Looking ahead to tomorrow's arb hearing: I know the Phils have a very compelling statistical (and othrewise) case justifying their position on the Howard hearing. But it has made me uneasy in my gut for a while now. Just finished Phil Sheridan's article (linked on BL) and it rang true to me.

Howard is a centerpiece of the Phils core nucleus with Hamels, Utley, & Rollins. This window we are in right now will close in a few years and it could be decades before the Phils assemble this caliber of young, core players again. Same goes for Howard. Consider his relative youth, demonstrated ability (Rookie of the Year, MVP), box office appeal, what he means to the team in this particular place and time, and attitude. Think about his market value in the future with soaring salaries and what % of that $3M amounts to.

Then think about him with a sour, deteriorating relationship with the Phils over several years and then leaving for the Yanks, Reds, or Mets. The phils saving that $3M now and what it could mean could haunt us for a long, long time.

Maybe he'll take the $7M, smile, and continue to be a positive force for the next several years. But I don't rest easy on this issue, how it is being handled, and its long term implications for this team.

Flame away.

Rob: I have to say I just don't agree with the whole notion of giving someone extra money to make them happy. I understand the concept, and it sounds good in theory to the fans, but it's just not how teams operate. Why would you give away money? Look, the system is the way it is. It's somewhat unfair to young players, but it's a price you pay for having free agency and guaranteed contracts.

I find it amusing when people complain about signing Pedro Feliz for 4 million dollars because the money should be spent on improving pitching, and then complain that we're not giving away money to Howard.

Look, if Howard has a bad relationship with the Phillies, it's not gonna be because they didn't cave in and do what NO teams do and acquiese to his demands when he has no leverage whatsoever. It's gonna be because he wants a huge, record-setting long-term contract and the Phillies haven't given in on that yet. If you wanna criticize the Front Office for that, then go ahead. But to criticize them for beign part of a system that all players and agents understand just doesn't make sense I don't think. Howard knows how this game is played- its ridiculous to think that the Phils are being somehow disrespectful of him by going to Arbitration. Remember, Howard is the guy who has switched agents TWICE now because he wants to get more money. He certainly knows how the game is played.

Also, if the Phillies let him get to free agency in a few years, it's not gonna matter whether they paid him 7 million or 10 million this year.

Once again in regards to Howard- he's under Phils control through 2011. Will it really come back to haunt us by then if Howard decides to walk away from the organization and take big money elsewhere...only time will tell.

Godfather -- I hope your projections are accurate but, with all due respect, I think you're analysis is rather short on objectivity. Basically, you are construing every area of doubt against the Braves & Mets & in favor of the Phillies.

According to your analysis of the Braves: (1) Chipper Jones, who has had a 1000+ OPS 2 years in a row, is "aging;" (2) Matt Diaz, who is a .310 career hitter against right-handers, is a "platoon player;" (3) Teixeira, a .286 career hitter with at least 30 homeruns in 4 straight seasons, is due for a drop off just because; & (4) the bullpen, which includes Soriano, Royce, Moylan, Ohman, & Gonzalez, is a "complete mess." But, when it comes to our team, you either gloss over problems as if they don't exist (i.e., your claim that our bullpen is equal to the Braves & Mets), fantasize about some solution that has little chance of happening (Blackley or Benson taking over the No. 5 starter's job), or take it on pure faith that we're all imagining the problem in the first place (i.e., your assurance that Kendrick will be solid).

Please note that I am not saying anything negative about Godfather. He's a fine person and valued contributor.

About the words he posted, however, I believe a reasonable, cool-headed analysis would conclude that they are utter, complete mindless nonsense.

i love it. baseball is truly back in philly.. anticipating phils - mets, hamels - santana on a friday night.

Godfather: Mets troll here... albeit a semi-reasonable one.

Point of clarification: Heilman has been near-lights-out with inherited runners, and generally performing at a more-than-serviceable rate (ERA+ over 120) over the last three years in setup work, and-- barring one unfortunate at-bat against Yadier f-ing Molina-- most Mets fans are MORE than happy with his work as a "converted starter."

I think Lidge will do fine for you (unfortunately); Romero's a good deal iffier. But even if he does well, all we need is for one of our question marks (recovering Sanchez, iffy Wise, Joe Smith, a slew of minor-league signees) to be strong out of the gate to have a SIGNIFICANT edge there, too.

"There" being the bullpen.

And I would also like to note that I did not slag on G'father for being an unstinting, mouth-breathing homer. Despite, you know, his being an unstinting, mouth-breathing homer.

(Kidding. Please don't spit on my niece when I bring her to CBP like you did last year.)

The other thing about "giving Howard the money" is that it sets an unfortunate precedent. I believe that the organization should simply have a policy: if we can't agree on a long-term deal or on an acceptable one-year comprimise, we go to arbitration and let them settle it.

This is what all teams do; in fact, I don't ever remember a team simply giving the player what he asked for without going to arbitration. If you do what Rob and Phil Sheridan apparently advocate, giving away 3 million dollars when the other side has no leverage, then how do you decide who to do that for, and who not to? It's one thing to tell a player he's not worth as much as he thinks he is (something I don't think will possibly affect his performance). It's quite another to tell a guy that you won't do for him what you did for the guy he's playing next to; that legitimately might cause some problems in the locker room.

Keith Laws blog entry, written in response to Sheridan's article

i agree with Law 100% on this

GodFather: You are nuts. I mean this in a nice way.

(1) The Phillies offense is not significantly better then the Mets. When you factor in park effect (use the home-road splits) there was an 8 run difference between the two teams in 07.

(2) You realize that the ESPN power rankings article was a joke? Not based on anything other then who has the most media humor lately? They ranked the Whitesox 3rd. There should be no doubt that these rankings have nothing to do with strength of team.

(3) You are out of your mind if you think the Phillies pitching is close to as good as the Braves. PECOTA has the braves pitching 46 runs better then the Phillies

(4) If you assume that Pedro only gets 20 starts, PECOTA still has the mets pitching 139 runs better the Phillies.

Regarding Delgado, I think people may be in for a dissapointing shock when he performs closer to 06 then 07. Everyone calls his 07 year a slump and his 2nd half weak. The numbers say otherwise.

Before the allstar break he had a .750ops and a OBP in the low 300s. After the break he had a .844ops and an OBP in the .370s. My point is that he had a very weak half the coincided with his injury, his 2nd half he was close to normal. Why expect a drop off?

The worst thing about the Page 2 article... if you're going to spin your wheels, at least bring some actual funny.

Eric Neel isn't poignant, profound, or informative, none of which is a crime. But he's not terribly entertaining, either-- at least Simmons is a fun BS read.

Tony: Good find. Basically what I was trying to say, he does it better though.

Even without Pedro, we're talking Maine-El Duque-Perez-Pelfrey/Armas as a back four. If you lose a starting arm-- Hamels again for any length of time, Myers, even Kendrick-- well... yipes. I mean, YIPES.

Though the Braves are crossing their fingers with Hampton, their pitching (even bullpen-wise) should be plenty resilient... heading into the season, they should be best equipped to handle any injury/ineffectiveness-related bumps.

(Nodding head after reading Law's article.)

A more realistic view of Phillies pitching:

Cole Hamels 195 29 3.45 14 8 0
Brett Myers 160 26 3.83 11 7 0
Kyle Kendrick 200 35 5.35 11 14 0
Jamie Moyer 125 21 4.25 8 7 0
Adam Eaton 125 22 5.18 7 8 0
J.D. Durbin 65 13 5.26 3 4 1
Travis Blackley 35 6 5.88 3 5 0
Carlos Carrasco 25 5 6.47 1 2 0
Brad Lidge 65 0 3.54 4 4 18
Tom Gordon 45 0 4.26 2 3 6
J.C. Romero 50 0 4.45 2 2 2
Ryan Madson 60 0 4.33 3 3 2
Clay Condrey 50 0 4.76 2 2 2
Scott Mathieson 65 0 6.41 3 5 0
Mike Zagurski 40 0 4.64 2 2 3
Francisco Rosario 45 0 4.43 2 2 2
Chad Durbin 60 0 5.31 3 4 1
Travis Blackley 30 0 5.88 3 5 0

Total: 804 RA

Braves Pitching:

John Smoltz 205 30 3.28 14 8 0
Tim Hudson 195 30 3.99 12 10 0
Tom Glavine 125 23 5.1 7 8 0
Chuck James 130 23 4.34 8 7 0
Mike Hampton 95 18 5 5 6 1
Jair Jurrjens 90 18 5.04 5 6 0
Jo-Jo Reyes 90 18 5.13 5 6 0
Rafael Soriano 70 0 2.98 4 3 10
Octavio Dotel 50 0 3.86 3 3 12
Tyler Yates 55 0 4.13 3 3 4
Peter Moylan 65 0 3.61 3 3 4
Mike Gonzalez 40 0 3.55 2 2 6
Will Ohman 50 0 4.05 3 2 3
Manny Acosta 55 0 4.54 3 3 3
Royce Ring 50 0 4.01 3 2 3
Chris Resop 40 0 4.25 2 2 1
Jeff Ridgway 40 0 5.48 2 3 1
Anthony Lerew 45 0 4.93 2 3 0

Total: 758 RA

Mets Pitching:

Johan Santana 230 33 2.94 17 8 0
Pedro Martinez 125 21 3.37 9 6 0
John Maine 160 26 4.03 10 9 0
Oliver Perez 150 25 4.22 9 8 0
Orlando Hernandez 105 18 4.08 6 6 0
Mike Pelfrey 130 24 4.32 8 8 1
Billy Wagner 65 0 2.77 5 5 44
Aaron Heilman 70 0 3.47 4 3 4
Duaner Sanchez 60 0 3.6 3 3 2
Pedro Feliciano 60 0 3.43 3 3 5
Matt Wise 50 0 3.91 3 2 3
Ruddy Lugo 50 0 3.97 2 2 2
Scott Schoeneweis 50 0 4.05 2 2 3
Jorge Sosa 75 0 4.33 4 4 1
Joseph Smith 45 0 3.18 3 2 2

Braves Pitching:

John Smoltz 205 30 3.28 14 8 0
Tim Hudson 195 30 3.99 12 10 0
Tom Glavine 125 23 5.1 7 8 0
Chuck James 130 23 4.34 8 7 0
Mike Hampton 95 18 5 5 6 1
Jair Jurrjens 90 18 5.04 5 6 0
Jo-Jo Reyes 90 18 5.13 5 6 0
Rafael Soriano 70 0 2.98 4 3 10
Octavio Dotel 50 0 3.86 3 3 12
Tyler Yates 55 0 4.13 3 3 4
Peter Moylan 65 0 3.61 3 3 4
Mike Gonzalez 40 0 3.55 2 2 6
Will Ohman 50 0 4.05 3 2 3
Manny Acosta 55 0 4.54 3 3 3
Royce Ring 50 0 4.01 3 2 3
Chris Resop 40 0 4.25 2 2 1
Jeff Ridgway 40 0 5.48 2 3 1
Anthony Lerew 45 0 4.93 2 3 0

Total: 758 RA

sry for the double post.

PhillR: Numbers courtesy of PECOTA? (As I work for a nonprofit, am not a BP member.)

Sadly this board is sometimes populated with some people who are so negative, if they stood there and witnessed the Second Coming of Christ, they would moan, whine, and complain: “JESUS! Jesus Christ! What in the HELL TOOK YOU SO LONG”.

My hatred for the inherited wealth ownership is well documented. I do admire what Pat Gillick has been able to do while operating within the restrictions of that ownership.
I would like to thank all the positive posters who are now appearing to help balance the negativity.

Here is but One Example:

“Thome trade (2 seasons of Rowand but required them to give up a bunch of money and the Phils have nothing to show today for it)”

So this is a very clear statement. NOTHING. Zero. (Two, if you count the Rowand seasons which he does not care about).

Now lets see if this is Correct. Remember. NOTHING. NADDA. ZERO.

Here is what we have to show for the “Thome trade” in descending order of importance. We would not have these things if the “Thome trade” had not been made by General Manager Pat Gillick in 11/05.

1) The 2007 NL East Flag which will always be a part of Phillies History. The Greatest Comeback in Phillies History would not have occurred (to break the curse of 1964) without Aaron Rowand, and Ryan Howard’s 47 HR’s, 94 Runs, 136 RBI’s, and 309 Total Bases vs. “Gentleman” Jim Thome’s stats of 35 HR’s, 79 Runs, 96 RBI’s, and 243 Total Bases during 2007, there would be no Pennant.

2) Ryan Howard’s 2006 single season record of 58 HR’s as a Phillie.

3) Ryan Howard’s 2006 modern day record of 383 total bases. Fourth in Phillies History, behind only the Chuck Klein’s Major League Record of 445 total bases in 1930, his 420 total bases in 1932, and 405 total bases in 1929.

4) The 2006 MVP season of Ryan Howard - 58 HR’s, 104 Runs, 149 RBI’s, and 383 Total Bases.

5) The 2007 season of Ryan Howard - 47 HR’s, 94 Runs, 136 RBI’s, and 309 Total Bases.

6) The 2007 season of Aaron Rowand - 27 HR’s, 105 Runs, 89 RBI’s, and 315 Total Bases.

7) The 2006 season of Aaron Rowand – which included the Greatest Catch in Phillies History when he ran into the fence, forever earning him fan adoration and the nickname ‘fence-face’ and future Philly U-Tube admirers.

8) The Phillies saved $21,500,000 Dollars on Thome’s Contract. Money that was available to sign Taguchi and Lohse during the 2007 stretch run.

9) The 34th Pick in the upcoming 2008 MLB Draft to the Phillies (for loss of Type A Aaron Rowand to Giants).

10) The 46th Pick in the upcoming 2008 MLB Draft to the Phillies (for loss of Type A Aaron Rowand to Giants).

11) LHP Gio Gonzalez who was lost when traded back for RHP Freddie Garcia. Gio should be good, but it should be noted that he is still in the minors and has been traded 3 times, and twice by the White Sox.

12) LHP Fabio ‘Model Dictator’ Castro – who is now on the Phillies 40 Man Roster.

Comments made at the time of the trade…

By ROB MAADDI, AP Sports Writer
November 23, 2005 “…. Thome, an oft-injured first baseman, is owed $43.5 million in the final three seasons of his $85 million, six-year contract. He hit .207 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in just 193 at-bats last season.”

From MLB Rumors
“Once you add it all up, receiving Jim Thome and $22MM for Aaron Rowand, Haigwood (who was later traded for Fabio Castro), and a Gio Gonzalez is nowhere near a good deal for the Sox. As proposed, this is simply way too much value for the White Sox to give up for Thome”.

None of these things would have happened if the trade had not occurred. Rowand, salary relief, plus two minor league pitchers was the best offer available at the time. The White Sox have the 2008 season and then and option for the 2009, then his contract like Rowand’s is up, at a position we could not use him.

So is the answer ZERO? NOTHING? Or maybe two? No it is not. The trade cleared the path for all 12 of these things to occur. Without the trade none of these things would ever have happened. I for one, am thankful for every single one of them.

yes, numbers from PECOTA, thought that was a given but I should cite.

Oh and the Mets total RA is 665.

Well the Top 5 reasons why the Phillies will beat the Mets? Total bulls*&t on my part :). They're the prohibitive favorites with Santana. Couldn't resist needling the Muts fans reading though.

But the points about the Braves I'm serious about. Teixeira is a lifetime 910 OPS hitter in Arlington, a well known hitters bandbox. His OPS with the Braves? 1019. I seriously doubt he'll reproduce that in a pitchers park over a full year. Braves need this guy to pick up the production Andruw Jones gave them in 2005 and 2006, I wouldn't say it's a slamdunk he'll do it. Kotsay sure as hell is no replacement for the guy.

And Diaz has been used in a platoon the last 2 years by the Braves. Full time may be something different all together. Chipper's missed portions of the last 4 seasons and will turn 36 in April. His production is going to start sliding from this point on, simply because he's getting older.

And the bullpen IS a bunch of nobodies. Soriano to close? Are you kidding me? If that's all they've got they're in trouble. He's NEVER closed full time before and has only pitched in the majors for 3 full seasons, missing 2004 and 2005 with Tommy John surgery (and he's going to be 29). Ohman's a career middle reliever, and an average one at best. Pete Moylan's unproven (parts of last 2 season with Braves ONLY). Mike Gonzalez only pitched through April and May last year. The rest are a bunch of minor leaguers the Braves hope they can patch together into effective middle relief. Bottom line, this is by far the Braves biggest weakness.

Mets fans, Godfather et al: Just to correct something in your various posts, the Braves bullpen is the STRENGTH of their pitching staff, not the weakness.

Teixeira can mash. Your point regarding Arlington is not without merit, but the guy is entering his prime now at the age of 27. In all likelihood he will be better over the next two years then he has been in the past. That might not translate to a higher OPS because of the pitchers park he plays in, but the guy will produce.

Maybe Chipper only plays in 120games and gets 500 PA. I think the Braves will take that considering his .425OBP and 1029 OPS when is on the field. Maybe he wont play as much but I don't see chipper's production per a PA dropping off anytime soon.

Clout: Don't disagree. It's just that it's a lot more... unformed than the Phils' or Mets.

One thing the Braves have that both the Phils (definitely) and Mets (to a lesser extent) don't is a LOT of young arms to stanch any injury-/ineffectiveness-issue bleeding.

Jurrjens was a nice pickup; I have a feeling he proves his worth to a greater extent than PECOTA predicts.


To clarify, it wasn't your niece that I was spitting on last year, it was her hat. I know, not much difference to those on the receiving end, but I'd just like the story to be told accurately.

Also, as I will be attending the Phils-Mets game at Shea on 7/23, please, feel free to have your niece spit on my hat then. Really, fair is fair.

Your sense of fair play is heartening, and greatly appreciated. Although she would have to take a half-swig of Yuengling beforehand to make it true turnabout.

(Funny thing... I think I might be attending 7/23, as well.)

All jokes aside... it's nice to have reasonable Met-Phil discourse every now and again, even if rarely (or never) in person.

[Oh, and Chase Utley is a homo, and isn't even gracious enough to let Burrell have reacharounds.]


I'll even buy her the beer.

Your mother will buy her the beer.

Godfather: Why does it matter that he's never closed before? Closer is the one position where teams put in new guys all the time and get similar value.

Brad Lidge had never closed before 2004, and he had 29 saves, a 1.90 ERA and finished 8th in the Cy Young Voting.

Mariano Rivera had never closed before 1997 and had 43 saves and a 1.88 ERA

Brett Myers had never closed before May last year and he had 21 saves.

Francisco Cordero had never closed full-time before 2004 and he had 49 saves and a 2.13 ERA.

All of these guys had a lot of experience as a setup man or starter or both, and moved into the closer's role no problem. Guys do it every year. I would expect Soriano to be fine, and if he isn't, it will have nothing to do with a lack of experience at closer.

SirAlden - Yet another ridiculous analysis. Thome trade was a mixed bag and you conveniently forgot that the Phils nearly gave as much money to the White Sox to take Thome's salary. Hardly an economic bargain.

The Phils currently have only 3 things from the Thome trade: Castro, NL East pennant, and 2 draft pics. Not a single player who is going to help this team win in the next 2 or 3 years (2008-2010) during the prime of their current core of players. Maybe the Phils land a real find but it is much more probable that the 2 draft pics will not amount to much.

So basically, the trade comes down to Thome for 2 seasons of Rowand. I wouldn't call that something to write home about and sadly the Thome trade has been one of Gillick's better moves since becoming the GM here. The ledger in the poor acquisitions columns has much more ink.

I don't understand how people think the Braves have a terrible/weak pen. Might not be as deep as the Mets but still pretty solid. If anything, I would take Soriano over both Lidge (injury and question about pitching in CBP) and Wagner (age and injury) at this point as my closer. Plus, I would take Acosta and Moylan over any of the Phils' setup guys right now too.

The big question for the Braves is Gonzalez going to be able to give them quality innings this year and who rounds out the back of their bullpen.


i have to say, i agree on the discourse comment, you definitely are not the typical mutts troll. on that note...


MG- are you saying you would rather we not have traded Thome?

1) Great article as those potential pitching match ups have me wanting to buy some tickets right now. I also think it is important to note that the Phillies and Mets play something like 6 times in the first 19 games. This would make another 4-11 start even more of a disastor than last year. It is so important we start hot against the Mets and bring the NYC media down on them and bring back all the memories of last season.

2) As far as everyone saying give Howard the money, he seems happy and in shape now. When he's a free agent he'll go to the highest bidder no matter what happens now. I think the Red Sox will be all over him to replace Ortiz at that point. The thing to do will be to sign him to a long term contract when he has two years left on his deal. He still has four to go. That is a long time. He looks like a tank now so none of this is getting him down and I predict 60 homers and a .290 average if he plays 150 plus games. Another reason you can't just give him the money is then what will happen when Hamels wants more money or Rollins decides he wants a new contract or Victorino goes to arbitration? Are you just going to give them all the money. It is not how you run a business.

Ummm, MG, Soriano, in effect, has 3 full years of experience closing in the bullpen. 2 were missed because of Tommy John surgery. He's currently 28.

And he's the VETERAN. Everyone else has even less big league experience. Gonzalez has had 2 quality years, 1 closing for the Pirates, period. He was hurt last year. Ohman was called up a few years back and is over 30, which implies to me that he's a career minor leaguer who's kept his job because he pitched well out of the pen, so he's probably career middle relief (like Geary). The rest except Moylan, and believe me, I've checked, don't have a full year's experience in the majors (at least according to the depth chart).

This smell's EXTREMELY patchwork to me. Soriano's the one of 2 guys they can definitely rely on. Gonzalez has to be healthy. Ohman's nothing special. Moylan's got 1 excellent year under his belt but that's it. And that's the best they've got. They're hoping the collection of kids they've got has a few guys who can step up and be effective. There's no way this qualifies as a strong bullpen.

Clout, you're telling me that a rotation fronted by John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, and Chuck James is a weakness compared to that?

This is an interesting piece on Rollins vs Utley:

I forgot to add that the Braves will make it a three team race this year and Texaria for a full year scares the hell out of me. Remember when he hit a homer a game in that September series at CBP? Plus he's at the end of his contract so he's playing for a new one. I think he's a sleeper MVP pick.

AWH: I have been saying for sometime that Rollins (66.1 VORP) was a farcical pick for MVP. Yes, Utley would been a better pick despite the injury and shortened playing time. Utley, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera were all more valuable then Rollins.

Sports writers are idiots.

But he backed up his promise!

Godfather: While you are a wise and wonderful chap, sometimes your posts display a breathtaking ignorance. Chuck James has a torn rotator cuff and is going to try to pitch thru it. He's their #4 starter. #5 is Jo Jo Reyes, a mediocre prospect who was rocked last year. Other alternatives include the wretched Buddy Carlyle and rehabbing 35-year-old Mike Hampton.

Now for the bullpen. Before he got hurt, Mike Gonzalez was one of the best lefty setup men in the game, lifetime ERA+ of 189. He's expected back in July. Moylan had an ERA+ of 237 last year. That's not a misprint. Soriano has a lifetime ERA+ of 147 and WHIP of 1.02. Will Ohman, their 2nd lefty, has held lefties to a .196 BA and an OPS of .613 over his career. Manny Acosta, their middle-inning guy, throws hard, gets ground balls and held opponents to a .543 OPS in 23 IP last season, after posting similar stats at Richmond.

The Braves DO have weaknesses and there's lots of reasons to believe the Phils will finish ahead of them. But the bullpen is NOT one of those reasons. It is a team strength.

PhillR: Well, if the VORP says so, that should pretty much end the discussion, right?


Didn't know about James' injury. My mistake.

But still, Gonzalez is due back in July? You really think he'll come back at 100%? There's also no guarantee he'll be as effective. So really, the back end for the first 3 months is Soriano, Moylan, Ohman? Mind you, I've said the 2 guys they could actually count on are Soriano and Moylan.

First, about Moylan's numbers, that's with 1 year in the big leagues. He repeats that, fine, but let's see what happens. Remember, most hitters in the NL hadn't seen him before last year really (15 IP in 2006 isn't much of an audition). I'm sure there are relievers on other teams who have had great years like that and not put up anything close afterwards (I'm just too lazy to look it up at the moment because it's midnight now). And Ohman? Fine his splits against lefties were good, but his splits against righties in 2007 (ERA/WHIP/SLG/OBA/) was 6.62/1.75/481/381. Since Gonzalez is out, they're not going to be able to use this guy as a LOOGY, you think he can handle the 7th inning with numbers like that?

Again, this does not strike me as a strong bullpen. 2 guys to rely on, that's it. You said it yourself, Gonzalez is actually out. After the names mentioned above, the rest of the cast is a bunch of unknowns.

Would you rather have the Braves bullpen or the Phillies bullpen?

Phillr: I feel honored that someone that knows more than all the baseball writers has graced us on this board. You should be where Peter Gammons is now. There is more to the game than just plain stats, you know? Although Rollins was the first man to get that many HR, 3B, SB, etc. in one season so I guess his stats were kinda impressive too.

Godfather - The Braves' bullpen. You talk lack of depth in the Braves' pen but who takes the last 2-3 spots in the Phils' pen. Basically warm bodies who will likely post ERAs near 5. Plus, I would take the top 4 guys in the Braves' pen (Soriano, Moylan, Acosta, Ohman) than the Phils (Lidge, Gordon, Romero, Madson).

I will acknowledge though this bullpen will be better than the one that began last season. The bullpen to start the '07 season was a complete farce and Gillick acknowledged as much by trading for Rosarion on the 2nd day of the season/pushing Myers into the closer's role in April.

There isn't one sure thing right now in the Phils bullpen unless you count Lidge (and he is coming knee surgery and a season where he lost his job as the closer at times).

Romero - Decent stuff but his control appears/disappears in an instant. I am willing to bet he ends up with decent numbers but he is going to get exposed a bit if he is used vs. righties more.

Gordon - I can't believe that so many people seem optimistic that Gordon is going to have a good season based on a handful of outings in Sept. Gordon IS DONE. Did people forget the rest of the year (and the 2nd half of '06) when he generally stunk? Even when he came back last Sept, Gordon generally was only throwing fastballs.

If the Phils even manage to get 50 innings and a sub 4.00 ERA out of Gordon this year, they would have to consider a success. I hope they do but I don't think they will get either.

Madson - Underrated bullpen guy but relies on his changeup. With Geary gone, there is going to be an increased load on Madson. I bet that generally puts up good numbers for the season but either ends up on the DL/ineffective due to overuse sometime after the All-Star break.

C. Durbin - Filler. If he can give them innings and an ERA under 4.50, the Phils have to consider it a success. I bet he gives the Phils a handful of so-so starts, a bunch of innings out of the pen, and an ERA around 5.

The question is does anyone else breakthrough on the Phils and I don't see a single candidate they have now in camp that is poised to do that. Bunch of guys who will shuffle in and out of the pen with mixed effectiveness all season.

If the Phils are going to win this season, it will probably be in spite of their bullpen and not because of it.

I just hope that the Phils' bullpen this year is not reduced to not having a single decent year in the pen due to injuries/ineffectivness. Hell, there was a stretch for a few weeks when the Phils best reliever was El Pulpo.

Clout: When it comes to offensive value, absolutely.

Len39: Nice of you to whip out the ad hominem attacks. Yes I think Peter Gammons is a great example of a sports writer that has not caught up with the times. If you would like to see some writers who "get it", check out Keith Law and on a good day Rob Neyer.

These days it is pretty easy to calculate the offensive value of a player, weighted by position, etc, etc. Rollins was as I recall something like 8th most valuable in the NL.

Rollins had great "counting stats" but they were in terms of the top 5-10 players in the NL, comparatively empty. So he hit a lot of triples and had a lot of hits. He had over 700 plate appearances to do it in. His .344OBP wasn't even mediocre, it was downright bad. The plate appearances (aside from not getting injury) were largely a product of his teammates. Big deal.

I'm not saying he wasn't among the elite players of 07, but I think the arguments upon which writers based their voting were largely superficial.

Clout: If you dont like VORP use WARP which includes fielding value.

Wright: 10.6
Utley: 9.3
Rollins: 9.2
Hanley Ramirez: 8.9

I think its hysterical that Ramirez who dominates VORP gets slaughtered when anyone looks at his fielding. The guy need to move to the outfield so badly.

PhillR: It is not all about "CALCULATE the offensive value of a player" there are intangibles too and that counts for something. Being a rock on the team that can be counted on to be in the lineup to get 700 at bats and leading the charge day in and day out without ever withering all counts for something. Getting big hits and setting the tone for the offense counts for something. It isn't all about stats. There are intangibles that you can't "calculate" to consider and Rollins had those intangibles last season.

Len39-Agreed. MVP voting has alot more to it than stats. Yeah, it is a bit of a popularity contest but JRol still played 162 games at one of the most demanding positions in the field (probably only more difficult to have to catch 162 games).

If the Mets had won, Wright probably would have been the MVP although Fielder had a hell of a season too.

My guess is if Phils win the Howard arbitration hearing, we'll sign Lohse.

Slocs, you display a typical Philly cynicism that many of us share. With these owners, do you really think it's just about the money? (sc).

Jason, sorry to hype another blog, but David Cohen has an excellent perspective on Pat Burrell's career over at TGF. Well worth the read.

Link here:

Godfather: Your argument about the Braves bullpen is loaded with false assumptions. Ohman is a LOOGY. Period. They don't need him to be more than that, even while Gonzo is out. Moylan, Acosta and Soriano can handle the last 2 innings. As for the middle innings, Tyler Yates and Royce Ring are at least as good as Durbin & Condrey. I won't mention the young arms the Braves have, any one of which could break thru this spring and take a bullpen spot.

MG: Good analysis.

Good stuff. Loved the header projecting matchups. It never happens like you plan it. I bought tickets to the July 4th game here in Houston and projected three weeks of a rotation and it looked like I was going to be stuck watching sad sack Eaton. In actuality I got to see Hamels with Coste catching and the Phillies winning. You never know...

Good stuff in the comments. I enjoyed MG's bullpen analysis. I wholeheartedly agree that Flash Gordon's arm is no longer major league worthy. I enjoyed jumping over to the Law blog. I even enjoyed Sir Alden's analysis of the Thome deal.

To put a positive spin on the bullpen, all four of their back end (Madson, Gordon, Romero, Lidge) have ability and past success. And if all four remain healthy and pitch to their capabilities we will be pretty happy with the results.

That said, the odds are against all four performing like that, but you never know...

"Jimmy Rollins made more outs than any MVP in the history of the National League." - FJM

The guy produced mediocre offensive results over the course of two seasons. By virtue of CBP he had a ton of PAs and accumulated a lot of hits and steals. The talent isn't MVP quality. Talk to me about intangibles when the Phillies finish 08 in 3rd because of a weak rotation and an offsense that is just league average when you take out the CPB effect. Intangibles are largely fairy tales. At the end of the day its about NOT MAKING OUTS and having an OPB over .350.

I agree with Sir Alden regarding the Thome/Rowand trade. It seems to me that Thome had to leave. First, he needed to get back to the AL to be a DH. Second, he was holding up Ryan Howard. Just getting him out of here made the Phillies better in both the short term and the long run.

Once you accept that Thome had to go, the question is just what you can get for him. I've seen no evidence that the Phillies turned down a better deal in favor of the Rowand deal. Put another way, so far as we know, the Phillies had two choices: 1) keep Thome; or 2) do the Rowand deal. That's a no brainer.

The Phillies would not have won the division last year if you hadn't done that deal. That's the bottom line for the short term. They won the division because they made the deal, so the deal was good.

For the longer term, they have neither Rowand nor Thome. But they have Ryan Howard, who probably would have been traded for half his value if they hadn't made the move. So three years out, the deal still looks like a good deal.

I agree with MG that if you look for equivalent value for value, it looks worse, but that's only one part of the story. In this instance, Ryan Howard is a tie breaker. Or, should I say, a tie obliterator?

PhillR: "Intangibles are largely fairy tales"? This is the end of the argument for me because you can't argue against this kind of ignorance.

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EST. 2005

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