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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Comments

For those who listened, I incorrectly said Cole Hamels struck out 20 batters his final start of the season. That would tie the Major League record. The correct total was 13. I got a little overzealous.

Continuing from the previous post, I love Bonds, but we don't need him on our team because we already have a mini-Bonds who plays the same position. Signing a guy as insurance just in case someone isn't hitting doesn't make much sense. On that logic, maybe we should've traded for Renteria just in case Rollins stops hitting. You don't bring in two really good players to play the same position. Besides, you can always throw Dobbs out there if Burrell's in a mega-slump. As for Odalis, I don't really like the idea. He's almost sure to continue being what he's been for the past few years, and that's a very bad pitcher. The fact that he used to be alright doesn't mean much to me. I'm sure Chad Durbin wouldn't be any worse than Perez, though I'd much rather have Lohse or Trachsel.

NY fans get Johan santana and a superbowl win and phillie fans get pedro feliz

Well, what did Philly fans ever do to deserve a championship? Well, besides loving their teams unconditionally and never deserting them despite 25 years without a championship.

Hopefully Odalis Perez can be had for a minor league deal. Otherwise I don't see the point. Any chance he could be used (and would be decent at) being a LOOGY in the bullpen?

Mets can add who ever they want they still probably will win 90 games but won't win the championship!

I love being a part of New York...Mets, super bowl champs, its amazing...im sure you guys wish you had teams that NY has

I hate to be the one dredging up old criticism of Phillies' ownership/management (OK, I don't hate it), but check out the 'Erik Bedard' link on the upper left under "Player News".

The pertinent sentence:

"According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Adam Jones traveled to Baltimore on Sunday, likely for a physical in advance of an Erik Bedard deal."


Now, why is it that other teams (in this case the Orioles) require a player with suspect health concerns to submit to a physical before a trade is made, and the Phillies rely on other teams' medical personnel?

It seems to me that had the Phillies proceeded in this fashion they might not have been saddled with $10MM - 1 win Freddie Garcia last season.

Only in Philadelphia.........

With all the remaining free agents on the market (about 150), I'd think some would get desperate an sign minor league deals. Lohse won't, but Trachsel or Odalis might in a pinch. If that's the case they should sign a few pitchers with MLB experience to stash in Allentown- better than relying on Segovia at least.

can we seriously retire the "ny fans got... and phillies fans get Pedro Feliz" seeing it about 100 times in every post over the last week its gotten totally hack. same with the well other teams are making a guy take a physical the phils should of done that with Garcia..THEY DIDN'T GET OVER IT! its one trade out of how many they've done since and before...

from mlbtraderumors.com is the Phils are "lukewarm" on Odalis and that they're are checking out Benson again. looks like one of them will get a minor league deal from the phils.. cue the Conlin-esque cheap jokes..

BXI: Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Besides, kdon and Jack say Gillick has had a good offseason.

clout -
Maybe those are relative assessments.

If the Phils spend money on a minor league contract to a risky flyer, I'd definitely prefer Benson to Perez. Benson has never posted an ERA over 5, much less 6.

Still better (using the devil we know argument) maybe it'd be better to just sign Lohse.

(Of course, that's simplistic since Lohse probably still wants more than a year or two and probably wants $10MM per...)

Andy:

Let's just pay Lohse the dollars he wants (11 mil) and try to get the years we want (2). That's a fair compromise for a guy no one, apparently, wants to sign long term with only a couple weeks before pitchers and catchers.
/Morty

p.s. shameless blog plug, but check out Homeless ET

Morty
Was that really ET, or Odalis Perez?

I would stay far, far away from Trachsel. his peripherals in Baltimore were pretty terrible: 151 hits in 140 innings, 45:69 K:BB (yes, 45 Ks in 140 innings. fine for 1908, not so much in 2008). and then he got predictably shelled in Chicago. he looks pretty done to me, I think the best-case scenario in the Bank is an ERA around 5 and a half.

I have the same suspicions about Livan, for what it's worth. flyball pitcher (34 HR), extremely hittable (247 hits in 204 IP, opponent batting line of .308/.371/.499). maybe he'd work for a team in a pitchers' park, but we don't have one of those.

"im sure you guys wish you had teams that NY has"
- Can't wait to enjoy those Knicks, Jets and Islanders with you.

This is one of the most classless things I've ever read. I, too would be ashamed to put my name to it. I'm sure your fellow Phillies phans are horrified.

was wondering how ZiPS would project Feliz in CBP versus Feliz at Pac Bell. answer:

.235/.280/.393/18 HR/65 RBI @ CBP
.239/.282/.382/15 HR/63 RBI @ Pac Bell

note that (as I have pointed out previously) CBP is only hitter-friendly w/r/t home runs. hence lower BA & OBP here than in SF.

Giantsfan: Agreed 100 percent, and I'm saddened it took so long for me to see it. There's no place for that here.

Why are we talking Superbowl on here anyhow? I came on here to escape the lunacy of last night.

Agree with BXI regarding the Santana/Feliz comparison. They were not "one or the other.'

Its unfortunate the Phils are not "allowed" the resources they would have needed to get a deal like that done....and it is so glaring that the Twins GM would laugh PG off the phone thinking it was a joke.

At this point, I'm hopeful the Phils pony up for Kyle Lohse. Not much of a reason to pass on that at this point. I'd also like to see them sign Benson to a minor league deal. Low risk, some reward opportunity there.

Get the arms, and hope one or two actually pan out. We're done on the offensive side of the ball (Geoff Jenkins) and the, um... defensive side of the ball (Pedro Feliz). We damn well better get some more arms.

How awesome would it be that the first time the Phils play Santana, during Howard's first at bat against him he takes the first pitch and slams a 450 foot homer into the right field stands. Now that would give me "goosebumps."

i don't know much about odalis perez, but his numbers suggest taking a flier on him with a minor league deal might be a good idea... he had a 5.57 ERA last year in kansas city. taking him out of the AL will lower that by half a run or more and give him the Phils defense and he could be serviceable. not the answer to all our prayers, but certainly a strong player to stash at AAA for a call up.
i was high on Benson earlier. i thought he could be a real sleeper coming off injury, but from the rumors currently circulating, i think it's best to take a pass. he hasn't hit 75mph on the gun yet, which suggests that his arm is not healed yet, and no one else seems to be interested. i'm interested to hear how the second scouting goes, but for now i think Perez before Benson and Lohse before both of them.

Any chance the Phils offer Lohse something along the lines of 2 years for 11 million (if that is what he wants dollar-wise) with a vesting option for a third year if he hits certain appearance/statistical benchmarks? Or is that unrealistic given Lohse's stance?

I know this is comparing apples and oranges, or maybe I should say elephants and cheetahs, but Curtis Granderson just signed a 5 year $30.25 million contract. He is a tremendous all-around talent and doesn't become a free agent until 2011...the same year Ryan Howard becomes a free agent. Yet it's rumored that Howard is looking for 20+ million a season, a far cry from the nice deal Granderson just signed. My point of all this- while I don't expect Howard to sign for the equivalent of 6 mil a season, 20+ mil is ridiculous and outlandish.

Are the Phils worse for signing Perez? No. The question is if they have to spend $1M or $1.5M to do it are they better off spending that money elsewhere.

I would imagine though the Phils can get Perez for a deal that would be similiar or less than what C. Durbin got (1 yr/900k). Say 1 yr/800k-$1M.

Josh- probably unrealistic. I can't see him signing for any less than either 9-10 million for 1 year, or 16-18 for 2 years (at min.) The market for him seems to be a lot smaller than he and Boras expected, but my guess is they can still find something pretty good for him.

Okay, 1 comment on the Garcia trade, then to my main point(s): I asked a relative, who was a doctor, how the problems with Garcia's shoulder couldn't be picked up by the routine physical the Phillies gave him before the trade. The answer is that with the kind of shoulder injury Garcia had, a few months without pitching removes the swelling and pain. The injury is still there, but its effectively hidden unless they do an MRI or similar test, which obviously doesn't fall under the heading of routine physical.

Now, main point about the Braves. Clearly Atlanta is outclassed offensively by both the Mets and Phillies; they have decent power in the heart of the lineup with McCann, Jones, Teixeira and Francoer but lack a leadoff hitter. Starting pitcher I actually believe is superior to ours should Hampton return healthy (he's pitched VERY well for them down there). Bullpen of course is a huge question mark, and that's the Braves real weakness. Once they get past the 6th inning, they don't have a proven closer to get saves.

The Braves offense is average. Jones and Teixeira are superior hitters, and McCann and Francoeur and McCann are both young and decent hitters already and should improve, but outside of Matt Diaz there's really no one that threatening in the lineup. Kotsay is an injury liability. Johnson and Escobar are both young kids, although Escobar may become a superior hitter (he had pretty good OBP and AVG in 300AB last year).

Now, before the Santana trade, I would have put the Braves and Phillies as the teams that would compete for the NL East crown. Of course now unfortunately I must put the Muts in the front-runner spot. I'm still not foolish enough to discount the Braves. They have a lot of depth on that team from the bench, and several pitchers who could compete for the 5-spot should Hampton be hurt again.

Now that the post-Santana despair has worn off I think I should make a few points about the Muts as well. First, the Mets still have the same problem as last year, namely, several of their key players are old veterans who can and will break down and not play the entire season (Alou, Delgado, Hernandez, Martinez). The team is a house of cards; if they get bit by the injury bug, they'll perform poorly (part of the reason we were in a position to catch them was because they were unable to run away with the division when injuries hit them in the summer). Secondly, the bullpen is still a question mark, and for all intents and purposes is the same group which performed so poorly down the stretch. While Wagner is still a very good closer, he is not as dominant as he was in the past (slower fastball, WHIP has risen with the Mets vs. time with the Astros and Phillies).

This is not a perfect team. Santana gives them a clear edge in starting pitching, but they're a fragile team without much depth behind their starting lineup and rotation. And should Santana himself be injured and miss significant time (1 month or more), you heard it here first, Mets don't make the playoffs.

Interesting predictions posted today on MLB.com, saying Phils win the division and Utley is MVP.

Andy:

I hope that was not Perez, because if we sign him, he'll have very little time to get in shape.

Glad you enjoyed.
/Morty

Godfather; Are you familiar with the Atlanta Braves baseball team? Apparently not. Their problem is pitching, not hitting.

You make a statement that is so wrong, it's breathtaking: "Clearly Atlanta is outclassed offensively by both the Mets..."

Clearly outclassed by the Mets on OFFENSE????

Let's go position by position and compare OPS between the Braves starters and the Mets starters, listing the top player at each position:
C: McCann, .772
1B: Teixeira, 1.020
2B: Johnson, .831
SS: Escobar, .837
3B: Jones, 1.029
RF: Francoeur, .782
CF: Beltran, .878
LF: Alou, .916

Most of these weren't even close, by the way.

The Godfather: Interesting analysis, and a great effort, but there's a couple small points I wanted to comment on:

"that's the Braves real weakness. Once they get past the 6th inning, they don't have a proven closer to get saves."

A closer is only a small part of the bullpen. Just ask the Phillies, for the last few years we've had a very good closer, either Wagner or Myers and now Lidge, but its been our weak bullpen overall which has cost us. A proven closer is generally overrated, young guys step into that role all the time and succeed. A bullpen's success is measured by its OVERALL contribution, not just the closer.

"but outside of Matt Diaz there's really no one that threatening in the lineup"

Matt Diaz is the only threatening bat in the Braves' lineup? I assume you meant OTHER than Chipper Jones, Texeira, Mcann, and Franceour, correct?

Also, Matt Diaz is threatening?

Jack: I wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley.

I think Clout would agree with me on the bullpen issue. It's not the top guys that are the problem, but the 5th, 6th and 7th inning options that are a weak spot for the Phils.

How many teams have good relief options in the 5th, 6th and 7th? I think you'll find this is a weak part on most teams.

To me the Phils have to be still favored in the NL East. Last year Johan played in only 33 games. I suspect if he does not break down that is about the number he will play in this season again. The key is Reyes vs. Rollins. Reyes quit on the Mets in the last 15 games of the 07 season when he failed to show up, lost his "giddyup" and did not steal a base. J-Roll showed up for all 162. And with his 100 win prediction will show up for all 162 again!

Alby made a provocative statement on the previous thread. He thought the Phillies would underperform the league at three positions at least: RF, CF and 3B.

3B is a no-brainer, they'll have the worst in the NL. But CF, in my view is a strength. While Vic is a weak option in RF, near the bottom vis a vis his peer group, he's top 5 in CF, where the offense of his peers is much weaker.

Ruiz at catcher is nothing special, but since catching is so poor on offense, he should definitely be above league average. Among catchers with 300 or more PAs, Ruiz ranked 5th in OPS and is pretty good defensively.

The RF platoon of Jenkins/Werth is solid on defense, but jenkins will have to improve sharply over last season to make it above average.

Burrell is bad on defense in LF, but on offense he was 5th best in the league and if you throw out Alou, 4th best.

mets fan here,

you guys are underestimating feliz. Compared to what you have, he is an upgrade. And if you forgot, look around the diamond. You can afford a 'so-so' 3rd baseman.

The braves have a very underrated lineup. Even last year they were a pretty good club even though their rotation was subject... but who's isn't? The NL East will prove to be the strongest division in the NL.

Where can I get some of this koolaid you guys are drinking? Cholly has his hands full now that Theres a new Sheriff(Santana) in the east.

Jack: That's exactly right and the problem becomes deadly if either of your top 2 guys, this year Gordon and Lidge, gets hurt. It has a domino effect of pushing unqalified people into important roles and opening the door for absolute garbage at the back of the pen.

What looks like an OK pen in spring training quickly becomes awful when a key guy gets hurt and you lack quality in your depth. I have no confidence at all that Gordon can be the setup man for a full season.

Godfather,

liked your Atlanta analysis, but...I have to say Jones, McCann, Teixeria, and Francoeur seemed pretty threatening to me every time they came up to bat in the last Phils Braves series of 2007. Maybe it was just me, but I was glad to be done with those guys when that series ended and I don't look forward to seeing them again. They can fluff up an ERA pretty quickly.

2007 Phillies offense by position, vs league:

C .740 / .712
1B .930 / .846
2B .935 / .759
3B .689 / .805
SS .875 / .758
LF .905 / .835
CF .884 / .762
RF .791 / .786

projecting to next year, I think I'm a little more positive than clout. I'm pretty confident that catcher, center, and right will be moderate strengths (i.e. above league average) while first, second, short, and right should be significant strengths (i.e. top five in NL). third base will still likely be worst in the league, depending on who Pittsburgh and SF end up using.

Len39: Yes, considering that is where the least talented pitchers end up, in 5th, 6th, and 7th inning roles, you're right that it is every team's weak spot. However, its all about good/bad as relative terms. Compared to most teams, the Phillies have very weak back-end bullpen pitchers (by back-end I mean back of the roster, not back-end as in end of the game).

ae: Yeah, I can't imagine any scenario in which our offense is a problem. Pitching, once again, will be the issue.

Clout: You're right about Victorino. I was trying to say that you can count on Burrell because he has performed that way over many seasons; therefore I'd say it's "more likely" that CF would be a problem than LF. If he performs identically to last year, it won't be a problem, and I'm sure he'd be above the midpoint (wish he'd learn to take a walk, though. His strike zone must be the size of a napkin, but he hacks at everything).

"The NL East will prove to be the strongest division in the NL."

ulysses - if you were not a Mets troll, I would ask you to support the idea that the NL East compares favorably to the NL West. While it's nice to have strong offensive production, it is important to remember the value of good pitching.

In 2008 the NL West will outpitch the NL East. Often. Easily.

Oops, that was me.

Jack, I agree; I'm not even that worked up about Feliz any more (please don't yell at me clout).

which is why it really kills me that the Phils insist on holding fast to their arbitrary budget limit when there are probably a half-dozen players still out there who could actually help this team in 2008. I know, I know, nothing new...but I still wake up every morning hoping to see that Amaro or Gillick has actually bothered to do something about the pitching.

Heh. Amaro and Gillick do something about the pitching. That's about as likely as an 80 degree day in February in Philadelphia. The owners have spoken - they want their profits. There are no trading chips in the minors to give. When competing for pitching talent, CBP puts the Phillies at an automatic disadvantage.

Mike H:

I think it's even worse than that . The ownership doesn't net profit what they would consider "real money" from the team. They're not getting rich from the income, that is.

No, what I believe is that they merely don't want to go into the red, because they don't want to guarantee any loans. I recall the story of one or two years ago where some trade was shot down because it required a loan guarantee to take on a salary.

So, it's not even about the cash, it's about risking a stupid signature that is backed up by the phenomenal appreciation the ownership group has seen.

A Championship is not a priority.
/Morty

It is rather unbelievable that the Garcia trade is still being talked about. That being said, unless someone can show definitively that an MRI (probably the only or at least the best combination of cost/effectiveness, medical procedure to detect the injury) is standard procedure for at least a majority of MLB organizations when making trades involving players with no history of injuries of the nature that manifested themselves after the trade, then the entire debate is fruitless. I personally do not know if it is standard procedure, but I doubt it. MRI's are still not cheap, and for a guy with no history of that type of injury, why would you expend that unnecessary cost?

sorry i meant to reply to ae.
/morty

"Why would you expend that unnecessary cost?" The Ruben Amaro Nuremberg Defense, ladies and gentlemen..

Parker:

Pitchers should almost always be suspected as damaged goods after long use like Garcia had.

Do your homework and verify yourself what the Seller tells you. This is a business.

But not ours, why do you care about the Phillies money? I don't.
/Morty

If the phils can't afford Lohse, let's get a pitcher who pitches lots of innings in a hitters park or hitters league (AL) who has a good groundball/flyball ratio and an era under 5. He'll be better than Eaton and Moyer from the start and if we bundle a piece they need Madson if their bullpen is week, Victorino if they need an outfielder with speed, a couple of prospects like Happ and Donald, we get better and add some depth. We can always sign Lofton if Victorino is traded.

I also think that Blanton is doable if we trade a couple of our top prospects and if they won't help until 2009 or 2010, then we should.

*they're not their

To the point about pitchers and CBP, has anyone heard about the dimensions at Citifield? Will it be pitcher friendly like Shea, fair to both hitters and pitchers, or a hitter friendly park?

If it is not like Shea, it will be interesting to see if the Mets can still attract pitchers.

http://philliesphorum.mlblogs.com

It would be nice to see the Phils move Helms and take some the savings to sign another reliever or two. I acknowledge that Lohse is out of their budget and the relief market has gotten thin.

Still, there are a few guys out there who could help this club.

1. Rudy Seanez - Is he a setup-quality arm anymore? No. His numbers though were solid until he was pushed a bit too hard by the Dodgers last year and his numbers/velocity dipped after the All-Star break. Still, Seanez would certainly be an upgrade over the riff-raff the Phils are currently proposing to utilize at the back-end of their bullpen.

My bet is that if Seanez would not be overutilized by Phils, he would give them 45-50 innings with decent numbers (3.75-4.25 ERA). The sad part is I bet the Phis will be happy if they get this type of performance from Gordon this year. Worst-case scenario is that Seanez flames out and the Phils would cut their ties to him by July. Too bad they aren't willing to spend the $500-750k to find out.

Negatives: You would worry about his age, slightly increasing numbers of HRs, and declining G/F ratio.

Positives: Seanez has been healthy the past couple of years, his K/9 rate has remained strong, still can gas it up to the low-90s when needed, and has adequate control (certainly better than jokers like JD Durbin and Rosario who throw a pitch and hopefully get it somewhere within 6 inches of where the catcher called for it).

2. Trevor Miller - Somebody brought up here that Miller really wants to strike a deal with the Rays/stay in Tampa due to his family situations (son has physical challenges due to some disease).

Not enamored with Miller's stuff. Still, he still throws hard enough to get a fair number of Ks while not walking a ton of guys. Just stems from the fact that the Phils need another lefty out of the pen (particularly if Romero is going to be utilized more as a setup guy). Zagurski isn't ready to take this role out of camp and the Phils don't have another viable solution internally.

Negatives: Might not take a 1-year deal. No plus pitch and has become more of a fly-ball pitcher the past few seasons. Will get exposed against good right-handed bats.

Positives: Another guy who has been healthy with an effective K/9 rate and adequate control. Nice stop-gap solution for a year to develop another lefty arm for the pen.

3. Ron Villone - Basically the same as Miller (another capable lefty out of the pen) except that his numbers looking like they are slipping worse. This is a guy that I wish the Phils had signed last year. He certainly would have been an upgrade over the likes of Yoel Hernandez and others.

I would be willing to bet the Phils could potentially get him into camp with a minor league contract if he is still willing to play/not trying to comeback for another season with the Yanks.

Negatives: Might not take a 1-year deal. No plus pitch and has become more of a fly-ball pitcher the past few seasons. Will get exposed against good right-handed bats.

Positives: Another guy who has been healthy with an effective K/9 rate and adequate control. Nice stop-gap solution for a year to develop another lefty arm for the pen.

4. Shawn Chacon - Not a guy I am a big fan of him. His stuff is very pedestrian, he struggles terribly with command at times, and he has gotten exposed as a starter the past two years.

I do this - If the Phils are considering the likes of Benson and O. Perez, Chacon isn't that much of a downgrade. Plus, Chacon is an experienced swing-man who would be an upgrade to the backend of the pen. Think another guy like C. Durbin although they are pretty different pitchers. He probably could be had for a deal very similiar to Durbin or even less. Think 1 yr/$750k.

The Phils' lining of argument is none of these players would really represent an upgrade to their current talent. I disagree.

The current candidates for the back-end of the bullpen are as poor as anytime in recent memory with the Phils. In fact, I would say the last 2-3 bullpen guys who break camp with the Phils will be as poor as any team in MLB.

Reminds of those late 90s teams that had crap pitcher after crap pitcher walk thorough the bullpen due to injury/ineffectiveness. It happened last year and will happen again this year.

What compounds this is that the guys at the back-end of the bullpen aren't shutdown guys and are injury-prone. Basically adds up to one big mess. Hopefully I am wrong and that the Phils can find a diamond in the rough and that the backend guys (Romero, Gordon, Madson, Lidge) are better than I think they will be.

(Note: I would take both Soriano and Wagner over Lidge headed into this season. )

For anybody jonesing for baseball with a Phillies flair (very little though), Fabio Castro is pitching right now for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Caribbean World Series. It's being carried on XM radio.

Shea:
Left Field - 338
Left Center - 371
Center - 410
Right Center - 371
Right Field - 338


Citifield:
Left Field - 335
Left Center - 379
Center - 408
Right Center - 383
Right Field - 330

Lol. I found that post very amusing, Cookie. You'd REALLY have to be jonesing to be tuning into Fabio Castro's winter league appearances.

MG: Agree about the Phillies' horrendous bullpen. I actually like Shawn Chacon a little more than you do. He has generally been pretty effective when he has pitched out of the bullpen & he could make a spot start without embarrassing himself too badly. In fact, he would have been a better choice for the swing-man role than Chad Durbin. Other than Chacon, the pickings are pretty slim. Maybe there are still some decent guys to be found from the Japanese leagues but that doesn't seem to be an angle in which Phillies' management has the least bit of interest.

It is funny how CBP has developed this overblown reputation as a pure hitters park. Yeah it helps HRs (especially once it starts to get warm and sticky in South Philly in June) but moving back the fences in LF did help to cut that down a bit. Otherwise, the park plays pretty neutral and has a decent amount of fair ball territory.

I would be curious to see how CBP would play if the Phils actually put together a pretty decent overall staff.

I agree that the pitchers still out there are pretty fringey. but still, who do we have better than Seanez, Miller, Villone, or Chacon? I see four: Lidge, Gordon, Romero, Madson...I don't expect much at all out of the Durbins, Blackley, Zagurski, or whoever else is getting pawned off as a half-decent reliever.

Well, MG, we know how we hit when we're at home, and it's a lot better than when we're on the road.

As for the bullpen, I'd like to sign Seanez. Like ae points out, he'd automatically be our fifth-best reliever. Maybe our fourth or third best even. We don't really know how Gordon or Romero will do this season.

Seanez is set to re-sign with the Dodgers.

550,000.

Check the player link in the upper left.

Besides being nearly 40, Seanez is a fly ball pitcher and, hence, not a great fit for our park. On the other hand, he does have the ability to miss bats, which is something the Phillies sorely need.

The bottom line: he's certainly not someone I would have targeted at the beginning of the off-season but, after spenidng the whole off-season neglecting their bullpen, he's now one of the better guys left & almost certainly better than the Nos. 5-7 in our pen. The Phillies are probably the only team left that he hasn't already played for. Maybe they can use that as a selling point.

Well, I'm sorry I wasted 3 minutes of my time writing a post which became irrelevant the second I hit the "Post" button.

Scratch yet another competent reliever off of our off-season wish list.

The player notes at left include the following from the LA Daily News:

--Free agent Rudy Seanez is set to re-sign with the Dodgers for $550,000.
He can earn an extra $750,000 in incentives. It's still a very cheap deal for a guy who had a 3.79 ERA in 76 innings last season. Everyone must have caught on to the fact that he never has back-to-back good seasons.--

So much for that idea.

In other matters,

"MRI's are still not cheap, and for a guy with no history of that type of injury, why would you expend that unnecessary cost?"

A quick check online shows they're going for $750-$800. I'm pretty sure even the Phillies budget could handle it.

"We can always sign Lofton if Victorino is traded."

The Phillies have a decent CF under cost control with Victorino. Lofton could replace his production for one year, but the Phillies are counting on three from Vic at a relatively low, pre-FA cost. That's worth more than anything he'd fetch in trade, at least from a cost-containment-over-time point of view. Look at all the positions at which the Phillies DON'T have cost control at a low salary -- basically, everywhere but catcher. I doubt Gillmaro will give that up as easily as you apparently would.

They clearly just don't think the bullpen's a need. I wouldn't expect anything else to get done.

Willy Aybar, 3B, has been arrested for domestic violence in the Dominican Republic.

This is a perfect opportunity for the Phillies to pick up another cheap player and stash him at AAA, and, when the smoke clears, promote him to take the starting 3B job(and save some money) after trading Feliz.

PR be damned!!!

They clearly just don't think the bullpen's a need. I wouldn't expect anything else to get done.

it really is hard to believe how many times I've read someone associated with the Phillies boast about how great the bullpen is now; how improved it is. because I look and see a net loss from last year. (and I know clout and probably some others have been beating this drum for weeks, so a tip o the hat to you.)

crashburnalley.com has a nice writeup on the Phils.

My favorite paragraph:

"Adam Eaton. Not much needs to be said about him other than that the sooner the Phillies get rid of him and his awful pitching, the better. Eaton might be the worst pitcher the Phillies have allowed to pitch 150 innings or more since Brandon Duckworth in 2002. The non-progressives in the Phillies’ front office likely don’t realize this and will try to justify paying him $24.5 million over three years by letting him take the mound once every five games."

They clearly just don't think the bullpen's a need. I wouldn't expect anything else to get done.

Thenfollowing is from the Phils' website:

"The Phillies are certainly aware that their 2008 success will depend on improved pitching, and the club essentially killed two birds with one stone, adding closer Brad Lidge and moving Brett Myers to the rotation."

So I guess those damned birds are dead now.

Comments regarding the posts about my analysis:
1) I rate David Wright a better 3B than Chipper Jones. Wright's better defensively, healthier, and seems to be an equal offensively.
2) The SS OPS is not a good comparison because of Jose Reyes. He's a LEADOFF MAN. You don't expect him to post up large SLG. Besides, the numbers you're using for Escobar are based off 300AB. He's a rookie, his first full season is this year, and we really don't know what kind of numbers he'll put up.
3) Diaz' statline from last year over 358 AB (OBP/SLG/AVG/HR/RBI)368/497/338/12/45, projects to 17 HR and 63 RBI over 500AB. Not good for a left fielder, but for the 6/7 hole hitter that's pretty good production. As I said, he can hurt you.
4) About the Braves' bullpen. I should have phrased this as they don't even have somebody who can close. Right now it's Rafael Soriano, Will Ohman, and Mike Gonzalez as the most experienced relievers there, the rest are a bunch that hasn't seen much experience (and frankly neither do Gonzalez or Ohman). Say what you want about Romero, Madson, Gordon, and Lidge, they at least have a history of effectiveness in the 'pen (AT TIMES, I remember just as well as you the games this crew has blown).

Andy, LOL!

The problem with the Phils FO is that they're focused of killing two birds in the bush, when it's the one in hand that really counts.

And their pitching staff is a bunch of birds who have had broken wings in the past...Gordon, Madson, Myers, Eaton, Hamels, Mathieson, Zagurski, and Happ have all had arm problems.

Here's hoping the little birdies can fly.

Andy: Great quote! If you think about it, that's an amazingly stupid statement. It's like saying 1+0=2.

Adding Myers to the rotation is a plus. But you're not ADDING Lidge to anything. He's simply replacing Myers, a pitcher who had better numbers in relief last year than he did.

Myers OPS against: .609
Lidge OPS against: .721

Bottom line: You've added NOTHING to one of the worst bullpens in the league and, if Lidge repeats the season he had last year, you've made it worse.

Godfather: I was simply posting the OPS of each team's starting player. We can certainly speculate about who will do what in this coming season, but the fact of the matter is, last season, the Mets were superior to the Braves on offense at 6 of the 8 positions.

Thus, your statement that the "Braves are outclassed offensively" by the Mets is absurd. The facts show the direct opposite.

Godfather: Excuse my dyslexia. What I meant, and the facts show, is that the Braves were superior to the Mets on offense at 6 of the 8 positions.

Johnson and Escobar cannot be considered superior to Reyes and Castillo. We're talking about the 1/2 hitters of the Mets. Both are proven, veteran players, and BOTH have a track record of low SLG. That's not why they're batting 1/2, they're in those spots because they're both supposed to put the ball in play and they're both speedsters.
Escobar is a still a rookie who has not played a full season. Johnson's first season was last year. Both the Mets players are also appreciably faster, Reyes had 78 SB and Castillo had 19 for a combined 97 SB and 212R. Johnson and Escobar combined for 14 SB and 141R. I am aware that the Run totals have more to do with the players hitting after than the runners themselves, but you still must give the batter some credit for getting in scoring position in the first place. Johnson alone struck out 117 times, nearly equal to Castillo's and Reyes combined 123K.

P.S. Jones missed about 20 games (again) last year. I'd actualy argue Wright is the better 3B. Jones has an injury history and is only going to decline from here on, Wright is still very young, and a better glove.

P.P.S About Lidge vs. Myers: the need for a number 2 is much more pressing. Fine, the 'pen is a little worse. THe need for the starter is paramount. I'd rather have Myers in the rotation making effective starts than in the bullpen getting saves. He can't GET a save if the Phillies don't have a lead because their starting pitching has put them in a whole again.

If you think the better move was to keep Myers in the pen and sign Lohse/Silva, I have 1 question for you: what are you smoking, and where can I buy some? We're talking about a pair of high 4/low 5/ERA pitchers who belong at the bottom of the rotation and who would have demanded 3/4 contracts at 10mil/year. That's INSANE. Myers is clearly superior to those 2.

There's weren't any other closers out there available, except for Cordero, and he went to the Reds to the tune of 4 years/48mil, entirely too high for what he's done. Outside of Kuroda the free agent starting pitchers were also poor, and of course Kuroda turned our offer down even though he's overpaid with 3 years/39 mil (which was our offer).

Moving Myers back to the rotation was the best move to improve it outside of picking up Kuroda. Once you make the decision to do so, picking up Lidge in a trade is a very good move, because now the closer spot you vacated is filled. The decision to trade for Lidge was probably made AFTER Gillick decided to move Myers back to the rotation.

Fine, so he wants to pitch in the pen. I have no problem with that, NEXT year. Right now the need for a starter was more important.

Godfather- Johnson is the second-best offensive 2B in the NL. there's really no comparison between him and the slap-hitting Castillo. why would you only look at the almost irrelevant K totals, when Johnson beat out Castillo by 13 points of OBP and nearly 100 points of slugging.

and comparing cumulative rather than rate stats for Escobar and Reyes is just ridiculous, since Escobar only had a half-season of AB. I would probably agree that Reyes is better than Escobar right now, but the criteria you're using are just nonsensical.

"Free agent Rudy Seanez is set to re-sign with the Dodgers for $550,000. He can earn an extra $750,000 in incentives."

It is hard to accuse the Phils of being cheap when they don't spend another $10 M to resign Lohse.

Not signing a veteran reliever like Seanez is the kind of move that reveals the true frugality of the Phils. Instead of spending an extra 200-300k on a potentially quality veteran reliever, they will trot some guy who will pitch for the veteran league minimum. Winning takes a backseat to cost.

The funny thing is that I guarantee you the Phils will once again sign one or two veteran relievers at some point in June or July who get released by others teams/clear waivers.

They will sign these guys not because they will really upgrade the club but because they only will have to pay them a prorated portion of the veteran league minimum. So basically they save 200-300k per reliever. That is why the Phils signed Romero and Mesa last year. Romero worked out unbelievably but more often than not you end up with a White/Mesa.

The most frustrating/maddening part is that signing a quality veteran reliever may add an additional 1 or 2 this season. Doesn't seem like a lot but that very well may be the difference between the Phils making the playoffs again this year. So basically the Phils might miss out on a few million dollars of revenue in '08 by making the playoffs again and cost them more than $10 M in '09 and beyond through higher season ticket renewals and better advertising sales/deals.

All for the sake of 300-400k. Montgomery is a very competent businessman but you wouldn't call him a visionary who both maximized either the Phils' chances of victory, their potential profits, and ultimately their value.

Saw this jaw dropping stat on Phillies Flow on Santana's Interleague career numbers:


G GS IP H BB SO
35 24 182.2 121 46 191

ERA Ratio
2.27 0.91

That folks is domination that nobody on the Phils' staff can touch.

best 2B in the NL? forget about phillips, uggla and kent?


My only point is that I would like to see some evidence that other teams (At least a majority) would mandate an MRI examination for all pitchers, even in the absence of serious injuries of the type that later manifests itself only later. If it is the case that most MLB clubs conduct a mandatory MRI on pitchers who have pitched a lot of innings without serious injuries, then I will say that the Phillies made a serious error. If that is not the case, then the bashing is unfounded. I just hear a lot of bashing about the lack of the use of an MRI, yet no one has established that it is a common procedure utilized in situations like Garcia's. I do not think is the standard procedure, and the fact that the Phillies may not have sought a medical procedure that could have detected something is irrelevant if there were no indications that it was needed, or that it is not a commonly used procedure within the league. Without this, the entire argument that the Phillies missed the boat, is totally unfounded criticism based on merely perceived ineffectiveness on their part.

MG, I don't even think it's frugality. They arguably overpaid for Feliz, Jenkins, and Romero. I just think they're happy with the bullpen. It's baffling, but that's the logical conclusion.

Tray - I agree the Phils definitely overpaid for Feliz and Romero in retropsect. Jenkins only if the 3rd year option vests.

As for being happy with their bullpen - maybe. I still bet that Cholly would prefer another veteran reliever and I can't imagine that Gillick is opposed to taking a minor gamble on a veteran reliever for a year.

I bet that it comes down to money in large part though. That was the reason the Phils didn't sign Percival last year during the season. He cost more than the prorated veteran league minimum even though he would have helped this team a lot more than Mesa.

yes, I think Johnson is better than any of those guys. but whatever; even if you disagree on that he's still substantially better than Castillo.

Godfather: You set the parameters of the debate: That the Mets offense is better than the Braves. This statement is easily proved or disproved by FACTS. OPS is the best measure (or if you prefer OPS+ to take stadium factor into account). Based on the most recent set of facts, you're wrong. Again, we're talking purely about OFFENSE here because that is what you said in your original post. If you meant something different, you should have posted something different.

Godfather: On the Lidge acquisition, you're debating against yourself. Unless you agree with the Phillies that they added to BOTH the rotation and the bullpen by signing Lidge.

We both agree it helped the rotation by freeing up Myers. If you think it also ADDED someone to the bullpen, I'd love to hear your explanation.

I agree 100% with Tray. The Phillies are quite happy with their bullpen as is, from Gordon as setup man down to Youmans and Condrey in middle relief. They think this is a championship caliber bullpen.

They think last year's numbers (the blown saves, the 4.50 ERA (4th worst in the NL), the .800+ OPS in the 6th and 7th innings) was a fluke.

Here are the bullpen ERAs of the 4 NL playoff teams last season plus the Padres, who are still waiting for Holliday to cross home plate:
Padres 3.06
Cubs 3.76
Rockies 3.85
D'backs 3.95
Phillies 4.50

Bullpen problem? What bullpen problem?

Parker: Garcia lost about 5 mph off his fastball in the second half of the 2006 season but was able to make up for it by being smarter about his breaking stuff. This was widely known. Since the Phillies were investing $10M in him, would an MRI have been prudent or not?

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EST. 2005

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