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Saturday, February 09, 2008


is it a bad sign that the Phils didn't sign Benson before he throws for other teams today? that would seem to drive the price up or indicate that Benson wasn't happy with the Phillies offer. no?

Don't you think Benson would be stupid to sign prior to showing what he can do for other scouts? If other teams now want him there could be a bidding war for him.

I think you're both right. It is a bad sign for the Phils because either a) he will look good and drive up the price or b) look bad.

But, his agent would have been a fool to let him sign with the Phillies before working out for other teams.

Just wondering what other teams will Benson be showcasing for?

i agree that it would be rather foolish to sign before throwing today, but the media reports indicated that Benson really wanted to play with Philly this year... if that was the case, why not take the security and sign if the deal was decent?

fljerry- i can't find the link now, but i thought i read it was teams like Pittsburgh, Houston, Florida and Atlanta.

because this is the Phillies and they do not want to capitalize on "now". Forget the fact they went to the playoffs, have the reigning NL MVPs the last 2 years, pack in the stadium game after game, have a nucleus that includes Utley, Hamels, The Phanatic (outside the reigning MVPs). Ownership doesn't care about anything except for "the budget", which has risen about $10 million in 5 years, even with new stadium.

Just sign Benson and Loshe and be done with it...then solve the impending Howard bs so we can just move on to Spring Training.

There's a chance the Phillies are going to look very, very smart, getting Lohse on a one- or two-year deal at less than $10m per and/or Benson on a one-year for less than $5 million. Either represents a considerably better bet to give them a representative #4 starter performance at way, way less than, say, what Carlos Silva got.

Of course, there's also a chance they miss out on both guys, and look both cheap and stupid in the process. Hopefully this is the sort of situation in which Gillick's long years of experience yield something really worthwhile.

hopefully, dajafi, your first assertion is what will go down. i think Gillick's refusal to talk about a Lohse deal is actually a positive sign since most of his deals are done very very quietly.

I don't care whether the deal is quiet or noisy.

I don't care how much or how little they spend.

I don't care whether the owners or the players make money.

I just want the team improved.

The Phillies need more and better pitching or the window of opportunity that the young core of players represent will soon close.

It's really that simple.

"Benson really wanted to play with Philly this year... if that was the case, why not take the security and sign if the deal was decent?"

a) He worked out well for the Phils, and there is no risk in waiting a few days if he feels confident in his workout

b) He didn't work out well, and is hoping to dupe another team into more garunteed money.

Multiple choice:
Benson wants to pitch for the Phils because:

a) Amaro told him they have a strong commitment to infield defense.

b) Manuel told him that Rollins, Utley and Howard are ready to rake behind him.

c) His agent told him that if he pitches well in the Zen someone will pay him the BIG bucks next year.

d) His wife told him Pat Burrell was really good.

but i gotta say this while i'm thinking about Phillies pitching. why is NOBODY giving Adam Eaton the slightest chance to rebound from last year? am i the only one who thinks he may have a significantly better season than 2007?
i know it seems unfathomable now. and yes, i did watch Eaton pitch last year. but we see it all the time where players in contract years put up monster numbers because they know the continuation of their baseball career depends on it. Eaton has to realize that, despite his contract, if he doesn't improve upon last year, he's going to find himself out of a job. since he pitched well against the mets last year (3.86ERA), i'm assuming that his problems were mental and not really physical. i'm not expecting him to suddenly become Cy Young, but i do expect him to shave a run or more off that 6.29 ERA and i won't be surprised if i'm happy with Eaton as a number five starter.

Cube- I am writing this under the assumption that you are reacting to all this talk about adding another starter... and that everyone is assuming Eaton will be replaced. I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility that he would have a decent '08... however, as much as I love Moyer and Kendrick, they are both big question marks as well. What if Moyer comes into spring training and starts pitching his age? What if Kendrick suddenly realizes he is in the big leagues now? Heck, what if Eaton is more injured than the F.O. wants fans to believe?

More pitchers will be needed this year. Fans want to rely on more than an iffy Happ call-up.

Lohse definitely upgrades the rotation, so I say do it. Benson could do the same. If we would sign both and both would pitch well we could even see Myers back in the pen... all of a sudden our rotation and our bullpen look a lot stronger.

Cubehostage, the problem is that even with a major rebound from Eaton--say, him pitching to a 4.80 ERA--he's still a below-average starter. My guess is that if he stays healthy, he'll put up something like a 5.30, a full run better than last year. But if you look at his career track record, it's fairly unlikely he stays healthy. Between the lousy '06 performance and his poor health history, they just need more options. And I don't mean the Durbins or Happ/Outman/Carrasco/Carpenter.

theory- indeed i was responding to the talk of adding a pitcher, but most directly i was trying to challenge the assumption that this extra pitcher would replace Eaton.
i agree with pretty much everything you said. pitching depth is essential. i think the Phils would be foolish not to sign at least Benson or Lohse. like you, i'd like to see both of them in Clearwater.
i'm guessing though that the depth is going to need to cover Moyer and maybe Myers, who i think will struggle coming back from the pen, more than Eaton. this assumes of course tho that i'm right that his problems were mental (big assmption). i'll disagree on Kendrick though. he'll never dominate, but he is a smart, groundball pitcher that will always be successful with a competent defense behind him. i think he keeps it steady this year.
somebody on the last post suggested moving Moyer to the 'pen if he struggles early with the workload. i think that's an idea worth exploring. his slow stuff would keep hitters really offbalance when juxtaposed with the high heat of romero, lidge, madson. thoughts?

i agree too that the internal pitching alternatives won't suffice for this season. although i am curious to see what Happ throws in spring training if his elbow is truly healed from last season... i'd like to see

Moyer might work in the pen... definitely not something I'd be opposed to trying if there are other people who can start more capably. Although, from my (more limited than some) experience soft throwers don't always fare as well as hard throwers.

Also, it is not us who will decide what to do with 6 or 7 starting pitchers. Fans like to envision that Eaton will be history. More likely Manuel will see who performs in Spring Training and will pick from there.

dajafi: Good post. My thoughts exactly on the idea that the Phils could either come away from this looking quite savvy or quite foolish. I'm excited by the prospect that they're lining up to make the kind of move other teams seem to make. Hopefully it works out. Cross your fingers.

The odds of the Phils starting 5, as presently constituted, going through the entire season without requiring a full-time replacement in at least 1 and more likely 2 spots, are remote.

dajafi: Agree with your post but I would not equate Lohse with Benson in terms of risk. Benson is a much, much higher risk of not being able to help at all.

Cube: If Eaton is healthy, a big IF, odds are good that at age 30 he will revert to career norms and have a much better year than 2007. Career norms are below league average, but decent enough for a 5th starter. Let us not forget, as bad as he was last season, his win total was just 1 short of his career best.

If Eaton rebounds, it will be because of time away. I think his dismal year had a lot to do with his head. hopefully he will come into this season with a chip on his shoulder...and brain.

Theory: If the Phillies were to sign both Benson and Lohse (unlikely) and both were to remain healthy and Myers were moved back to the bullpen to close with Lidge as setup and everyone else bumping back (Gordon/Romero for the 7th, Madson for the 6th) the Phillies would win the division by 5 or 6 games in my opinion, Santana or no Santana.

I think its fair to expect a boucne back from Eaton, however, I don't think its fair to expect that bounce to mean an ERA below 5. Its pissoble, I guess, but given that he was a mid-4s ERA in PETCO, and an flyballer, its fair to look at last year and the year before in a different light.

*Possible, although pissoble looks cool

Dave X, when evaluating Eaton's ability, "pissoble" is probably the more appropriate word.

Actually, the same could be said for the scouting dept's evaluation of Eaton before they signed him.

Fabio Castro and Rosario pitched well in starts in the Caribbean Series this week. In the minds of the FO their performances probably elimated any reason to sign either Odalis Perez or Benson other than to minor league deal to start the season in Allentown. If the FO was smart they would go after Lohse if he is avaiable on the cheap just to keep him away from the Mets.

clout: I'm with you. In my dream world, the Phils get lucky with signings of both Lohse and Benson, giving them a rotation made up of the best five out of Hamels, Kendrick, Lohse, Moyer and Benson and Myers takes back the closer role with Lidge setting up. The entire pitching staff would be significantly better in that scenario.

We'd have to get lucky in a lot of ways, however... 1) We sign both pitchers, 2) They are both healthy and pitch well, 3) Manuel determines it's smart to move Myers back to closer.

The chances of all those things happening is rather slim.

Agreed, CJ. If the Phillies were to sign both Lohse & Benson, I would definitely not be lying awake at night worrying over how they plan to fit 7 starters into just 5 rotation spots. The question would undoubtedly answer itself since, among those 7 pitchers, there isn't a single one for whom you couldn't imagine a very plausible disaster scenario. Chances are better than 50-50 that, for at least 2 of the starters, that disaster scenario will actually come to pass.

In the extraordinarily unlikely event that all 7 starters are healthy & reasonably effective, you could use Moyer out of the pen and/or return Myers to the closer's job.

Clout - I agree wholeheartedly. We would be fine with those guys going 6 innings and then moving into the pen with Madson, Gordon, Romero, Lidge & Myers.

As for the other thread where someone thought the Dbacks may regress - no way. Not only do they have Webb and Haren but Randy Jones is gonna be there as well. I think Arizona has the best Rotation in the entire league, no way they fall back. I see them winning 100 games this year.

Isn't that D-Backs offense just plain ANEMIC?

If memory serves me right, I think no one hit .300 and a lot of starters under .250
The on base percentages were horrible too.

I also googled Randy Jones to get his stats from the past few seasons and he's actually the drummer from the Village People!

How many win can I pencil him in for? I think I can get him on the cheap in my fantasy league.

Fat L: I think Slocs meant Randy Johnson, aka The Big Unit.

BTW, you are correct about the D'backs on offense last season. The team BA was just .250, and they had 3 everyday players below .250: Drew, Young and RF (Quentin & Upton). They finished 14th in runs scored. Big reason: Almost the entire lineup were first or second year players. Presumably these kids get better with experience.

Oh, one more thing. The D'backs had the best record in the NL.

Sorry, I am still in Flyer's mode. Of course, I meant Randy Johnson. Guys like Upton (20 yrs), Young (24 yrs), Drew (24 yrs), Reynolds (24 yrs) are going to be really good. Young almost was a 30-30 guy in his rookie year, Reynolds had 17 homers in 366 at bats, Upton is one of those can't mis guys, as is Drew. Add to the mix Max Sherzer who is gonna be a lights out closer in the next year or two along with Micah Owings and Doug Davis. This team is gonna be really, really good for a loooong time. And and remember they pickedup Chad Qualls and still had Tony Pena for their bullpen. I would trade our team straight up for their team, well... not really cause I love my Phils! But still Arizona in my opinion is the hands down favorite to got to the series this year.

I guess my sarcasm and kidding nature was failed to be conveyed in that post.

I think a lot will depend on weather Lyon will be able to duplicate those fat 47 saves that are leaving with Valverde. The kid looks promising, but I digress, I realize this is not a D-Backs blog.

Dave X: Thank you. I'm going to try to use "pissoble" in a sentence three times a day from now on.

C.J. Personally I would love to see the Phils sign Benson or Lohse and put Myers back in the pen. Brett's stuff has never been a problem it's his head. He loses it mentally and chances are with him on the mound for 6-7 innings he will melt down at some time during the game. I love him in the pen, he comes in with an attitude and just has to throw not think.

Funny, I always thought closers were the ones who needed to be mentally sound to succeed. The fact is, wherever you put Brett he's going to melt down on occasion. Remember the Sam Carchidi game? We should've traded him years ago before the whole league caught on to the kind of player he is. Now we just have to make the most of him. That means keeping him in the rotation. Who's your number two in this Brett-less rotation - Kendrick? Supposedly he's throwing harder but most people are expecting a sophomore slump.

Yep, interesting theory...the guy has problems mentally, so we'll put him in the highest leverage situations?

Even if we signed Loshe *and* Benson, i would still want Myers in the rotation. Is Kendrick ,Moyer, or any of those guys a #2?

I mean if there is a question about which is more valuable, closer or starter, look at the following two pitcher's contracts:

A: 4/46
B: 4/48

Now pitcher A is Francisco Cordero, one of the elite closers in the game. Pitcher B is Carlos Silva, a league average starter.

That should tell you all you need to know about what is the more valuable position.

I'm all for strengthening the pen, but not at the expense of the rotation.

I would go after Loshe and Wickman, and leave Myers alone.

No one has mentioned Mike Mussina. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Yankees make him available soon. Then the question becomes is he worth pursuing?

I know I lead a sad existence when I'm dreaming about Phillies, but my dream was of Jamie Moyer a month into the season with an era about 9. I hope and doubt that happens, but that's a scary dream nonetheless.

Again, call me the skeptic, but I am not sold on the Dbacks supposed "supremacy" in 2008.

They're going to have to cure the run differential problem they had last season before I'm convinced. If they don't I see a big regression.

I agree that the young players they have 'should' get better in 2008, but there will be deviations from that expected improvement, and it's also possible some of them will crumble under the pressure of the expectations.

In short, they look good on paper, but until then I'm going to pretend I'm from Missouri.

kdon: I thought Wickman retired. He doesn't have much left anyway.

AWH: That should be our attitude toward every team.

looks like Eaton is going to wear #21, so he should bounce back because it was #23's fault

Wearing #23 is one pissoble reason for his bad year.

I have to agree with kdon(in wherever) about Myers. Until the Phils actually have a #2 starter, they need to keep him in the rotation.

Given the way Ruben Gillbuckle operates, it might be awhile.

I understand the skeptism surrounding Brad Lidge's ability to maintain leads, but the man's pitching array is filthy and there is no doubt in my mind he has the stuff to be a dominant closer once again. Will he? God I hope so, but let's give him a chance before crucifying him. Myers belongs in the rotation because that is obviously where this currect cast of Phillies need him. For once I'm actually being patient.

At the link above, Gerry Fraley ranks the National League catching tandems.

Am I being a homer in thinking Ruiz/Coste should be ranked higher?

Clout: Perry listed Wickman on his list of top 10 FA still available, and didn't say anything about retirement.

He isn't closer material anymore, but is certainly capable of providing 50-60 innings of league average relief and provides insurance if Gordon is hurt.

I can't believe he would get more than 1 year for a couple million bucks...and if he is toast, you can simply cut him with no longterm costs.

Oh, and he had a 665 OPS against in the second half last year, so it's unlikely he is done.

has there been any report on Benson's session yesterday?

Could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure we haven't signed Wickman this offseason for the same reason we didn't sign him after the Braves cut him last year, and that's because he wouldn't accept anything other than a closer's role.

kdon: And he had a .794 OPS in the first half, while pitching one third more innings. Do second half stats count more? When they're based on 20 IP?

Benson is welcome as a no-risk flier. Since it keeps coming up, I want to make one other point.

Brett Myers belongs in the starting rotation.

The decision isn’t about his preference or the media hype over a hyper personality. His track record suggests he's suited to each role as well as the other. His comments to the public about the switch were exemplary and I expect great things from Brett this season. If anything, closing games for a spell makes him a better starter, because he'll morph into a closer when the game gets tight and pound the strike zone with his best stuff.

A fundamental axiom of theoretical physics is that starting pitchers have the most important role on a baseball team. Not the closer. Not the third baseman. Not even the shortstop or the center fielder.

Its the starting pitchers.

They dictate the action and touch the ball more than anyone else. If your starting pitcher falters by going fewer than 7 innings, your odds of winning go dramatically down. On this point the gearheads and chaw chompers generally agree.

The Phillies have to match up against some tremendous 1-2 punches this season. Santana-Martinez, Webb-Haren. Smoltz-Hudson, Peavy-Young.

Until the Phillies build a Big Three without Brett Myers, he belongs in the starting rotation.

Meanwhile, the Phillies attempts at putting together a true Big Three has been Mission: Impissoble.

Andy: Then you think signing Lohse and Benson is a bad idea, I take it.

I know I'm in a minority, but I don't think the Phillies pitching is playoff caliber. Whether the help comes in the form of starters or bullpen doesn't matter to me as long as it comes. Both areas need help. And if all the Phils can do is get 2 starting pitchers and no bullpen help, then moving Myers makes sense. If they can get bullpen help and keep Myers in rotation, that's the best scenario of all, but management has made no effort to do that. They apparently think the bullpen is championship caliber.

No clout, I only mentioned second half stats because concern over his age. Over the course of the whole season, he was an average pitcher.

And don't joke about 20 IP, you tried to defend ALfonseca for the season based on one week!

kdon: I sure wouldn't defend Alfonseca's entire season! But when Myers & Gordon were both out, he did save the Phils bacon. they should've cut him soon after.

I can't imagine the Phils would sign Wickman after passing on numerous higher quality relievers. I honestly believe they think they have a championship quality bullpen and don't need to add a thing.

Andy: Then you think signing Lohse and Benson is a bad idea, I take it.

This is one of those times when "clout - I'm often wrong" applies.

I do not believe I indicated that signing Lohse and Benson is a bad idea. In fact, I believe it would be a good idea, depending on whether it is financially feasible. I do believe that until someone in the rotation is reliable better suited than Myers to go up against the second pitcher on, say, the teams xfactor listed, it might be fool-hardy to move him back to the bullpen.

And yeah (pre-emptive thought), Lidge-Myers is a better tandem than Gordon-Lidge. But Hamels-Myers is better than Hamels-Kendrick (or Hamels-Lohse, for that matter).

Quite simply, Myers is the only #2 starter on the Phillies pitching staff. With so many other teams having #1s and #2s, it doesn't make sense to me to use him in the bullpen - even with Lohse.

Incidently, I agree with both these ideas:
a) Lohse replaces Eaton (with whom I do not know what to do) as #5 and Benson gets stashed at AAA for now; or

b) Lohse replaces Eaton (with whom I still do not know what to do) as #5 and if Benson is healthy enough, he becomes #4 with Moyer used as a lefty long-reliever.

But neither Benson nor Lohse is better than a #4, so they will not replace Myers in the rotation.

Go ahead and shred me; I've tried to be clear.

Wait, who's the left-handed reliever?

Andy: Thanks for clarifying. I certainly understand your point of view. By the way, Benson will not go to AAA and he'll find a team that will put him in the rotation right now, so that's not an option.

I also doubt that the Phils will eat Eaton's contract, so Lohse won't replace him. They might be able to talk Lohse into starting out in the bullpen. if eaton is still hurt, then he'd step in.

I realize this is all speculation, I'm just struggling for ideas that could improve the Phillies pitching. If nothing is done, they won't make the playoffs. That I guarantee, no matter how many HRs Howard hits.

Murgatroid: Right now on the depth chart the Phils have two lefty relievers, Romero and Youman.

Please clarify.

what do you all think about Dave Bush from Milwaukee? he's a power righty starter. i'd like to see the Phils make a play for him and convert him into a bullpen arm.
he can replace Gordon spot in the rotation when he eventually goes down. or, Madson can replace Gordon and Bush can take Madson's role.
thoughts? what does Milwaukee need?

clout -
I guess I was thinking that even Benson might recognize that, if his fastball is still below 85, he's not ready for the majors yet. There are a bunch of questions about him that the FO has answers for that we don't. Like: how fast is he progressing; how much is he expecting; when does he think he'll be ready; what other teams are interested; and so on.

As to the bullpen, I do believe that the Phils had lots of opportunities this off-season to actually change its quality and they failed. I do not believe that Mahay, Wise, Affeldt, or Hawkins (to name a few) would have been quality set-ups. But when Gordon goes down, they would have filled in better than whoever will. As you have pointed out, when one person gets injured, everyone has to move up a slot - and if the back end is simply the "dreck we can afford" (hired mainly to do mop up) then trouble begins.

The bullpen is not playoff caliber. Moreover, I am not convinced, in this age of "Big Threes," that the rotation is either. Even with Myers.

cube - Milwaukee doesn't need anything we have. Since Bush is listed as their #2 starter, I doubt they'd be looking to give him up, either. And, as we all know, the Phils do not have the available minor league talent to tempt the Brewers into a "pitcher for prospects" deal.

Maybe we can set up a 5 for 1 and send them Eaton, Helms, Monasterios, Sanchez and Smith.

"Should it happen, they will have added a starter, swing man, third baseman, right fielder, left-handed reliever and closer, among other moves made around the perimeter."

That's what I was wondering about. We already had Romero, and isn't Youman not expected to start the season in the bullpen?

Much ink has been spilled about both Lohse & Benson, but I wouldn't bet on the Phillies to sign either one. The Lohse chatter is really nothing more than wishful thinking; I've never heard even the slightest hint from management that they are actually interested in signing him. As for Benson, I haven't heard anything about how he looked in his workout yesterday. But, if he looked halfway decent, then he'll have other suitors -- and there's nothing that drives the Phillies away faster than a FA who is actually wanted by other teams. On the other hand, if he's still throwing 70 MPH, then you can start fitting him for a Phillies uniform.

Chris Capuano might be available but we would likely have to give up too much and have no idea if he can bounce back. Get Benson and Lohse and see how things look.

Another thing is that we're all sort of taking it on faith that Myers is going to return to being a solid No. 2 starter. In fact, it is anything but certain. Myers has been sort of up and down throughout his whole career &, while I admit it's a tiny sample size, he sure didn't look like a No. 2 starter at the beginning of last year. With nearly a full year having gone by since his last start, I definitely think Myers has to be considered a question mark. That's not to say that I wasn't in favor of moving him back to the rotation (I WAS in favor of it). But it's easy for me to imagine a scenario where the move seriously backfires & he ends up pitching more like a No. 5.

Murgatroid: I think Jason got a bit carried away. The Phillies certainly did not ADD a lefty reliever or closer or extra outfielder. Bringing Romero back is not the same as ADDING someone. Neither is replacing Myers with Lidge. It's simply getting back to where you were last season. Myers IS an addition to the rotation, so that's an add. But Jenkins replaces Rowand. Again, NOT an addition. Besides putting Myers into the rotation, the only other true additions are Feliz and Chad Durbin. If you think that amounts to a bang-up off-season, God bless you.

Slocs: Capuano had a bad 2007 season, but I'd bet on a bounceback. I like him considerably more than either Lohse or Benson. Not sure what it would take to get him, & I don't know that I'd be willing to give up our top pitching prospects like Outman, Savery, or Carrasco . But I'd gladly give up Cardenas, or a couple of prospects in the next rung down.

i didn't realize Bush was so high up in the Milwaukee rotation. i thought he was fighting for the #5 spot. nevermind.

Couple of points:

1. Benson is not going to be ready to pitch opening day given the date of his torn labrum surgery. A wise team would sign Benson to a 1-yr deal with a mutual option for '09. Structure the deal so it has an incentivization-laden but rapidly escalates. The team that offers this type of deal to Benson will likely sign him.

You figure Benson would be ready to go sometime toward the All-Star break and give a team a second-half boost for a potential playoff run. All things considered, I almost certain Benson will end up signing with the Cards for several reasons (Duncan has a good track-record of rehabbing starting pitchers' career, Cards have been willing to take a gamble on veteran starters like Carpenter and Clement, and Cards might be a darkhorse contender in the NL Central if they stay healthy).

2. Agree with posters here about the possibility of resigning Lohse is pretty much near zero. The window closed when the Phils signed Feliz. If Lohse signs with the Mets for only a 2-yr deal for $16-$18M, I am going to be pretty pissed though.

There just isn't much long-term downside in a 2-yr deal for a veteran starting pitcher who doesn't have a history of injuries (you can unload Lohse next year at the trading deadline if needed). So basically this would a commitment of probably less than $15M when you think about it. At worst, the Phils would slot Lohse to take over Moyer's spot in the rotation next year.

3. I have to totally agree with Clout about this team's offseason so far. It should be called "Treading runner" or "Running in place." The only real potential upgrade has been putting Myers back into the starting rotation. It was painfully obvious in the playoffs that the Phils didn't have a No. 2 starter capable of committing against any other team in the NL. I just hope that this adjustment works andMyers doesn't let a poor start or two in April let him get sidetracked.

4. One issue of the most foolish issues that keeps getting brought up is how the "Phils are still the champs" and "How the pressure is on the Mets because they choked." BS. What is more interesting though to look at how the chemistry of both teams has changed.

One of the things that struck me yesterday in particular when I went to the Giants fan-fest (my friend was going and I was curious to see how the Giants will spin their craptular lineup in the Post-Bonds era) is how the chemistry of both the Mets/Phils has been effected.

95% of the time, I will take the team with better talent over chemistry. Still, I do think Rowand demeanor/chemistry really did have a subtle yet important impact on this team.

It was pretty evident yesterday at the Giants' Fan Fest that Rowand already has become one of the more popular guys in the Giants' clubhouse/one of their leaders.

The Phils still do have a couple of leaders but I think they are goign to miss Rowand's presence in the clubhouse more than on the field. Howard/Utley just aren't the kind of high-energy/vocal guys that guys will graviate to in the clubhouse. Makes JRoll all the more important. In fact, I would argue that JRoll is now the most important player on the Phils given everything he brings to the table.

The Mets on the otherhand have noticeably improved their chemistry. Besides getting Santana, the Mets have subtly gotten rid of some of their biggest malcontents/bad chemistry guys including Lo Duca, Mota, and Milledge. Plus, they apparently didn't her good things about Estrada and shipped his ass out to the Nats.

Mets still have a few players who can be moody (Pedro) or shoot their mouth off (Wagner) but I am willing to bet you won't hear the same rumblings this year out of the Mets' clubhouse including the Latin vs. Non-Latin players thing.

the lack of reporting on Benson's session might mean that it didn't happen and the Phils are signing him or that it did happen and a) his arm fell off or b) Anna was gettin' down in the Zo Zone.

Seriously, with nothing really going on today in Philly sports, why no story? God, I can't wait til Wednesday.

Which Spring story will happen:
1) JRoll says we're the team to beat in the Grapefruit League
2) Pat Burrell leads the GFruit League in triples
3) Pedro Feliz leads the GFruit League in walks
4) The 11 or 12 Phillies pitchers that head north fail to inspire confidence heading into the season

I can see the Phils logic in not resigning Lohse because he wouldn't represent a substantial upgrade to the Phils during the playffs (and more importantly because he would potentially put a big dent in their profit margin).

This is just ass-backwards thinking though because it assumes the Phils chances of making the playoffs are pretty good.

Before the Santana trade, I would have agreed because the Phils would have been in the thick of things in both the NL East/wildcard races. Now the Mets are likely going to win 94-95 games and I just don't see the Phils being able to keep pace.

Even in the wildcard chase, the Phils are likely going to need to duplicate last season's win total or even maybe win another additional game or two. That is much more doable than improving by 4-5 wins but this hasn't had a season yet where they have won 90 or more games. Plus, there are 4 teams out in the NL West (Arizona, SD, Colorado, LA) would might potentially put up a win total in the high 80s. Plus, you can't count out the Braves either.

Just why I hope the Phils sign Lohse and Benson but I am not counting on it. If Gillick somehow did pull that off, then I would be pretty impressed.

I have two "modest proposals" for the Hamels-Myers-Kendrick-Moyers-Eaton rotation.

1) In the season opener, start Eaton. For at least the first few weeks of the season, that puts Hamels against most teams #2s, Myers against their #3s, and Kendrick against their #4s. (Call this the "scapegoat" proposal.) Even though, ostentsibly, it might give Eaton and extra start and Hamels one less, it might benefit Cole to have that extra rest.

(Okay. Hey, I know it's stupid; but wait, I get crazier...)

2) When Eaton starts in away inter-league games, he should bat ninth. The DH should bat for Feliz. Eaton would get, at most, two ABs. After that it would be a PH for the relief pitchers.

I'm guessing that 2 Eaton ABs + 2 PH ABs > 4 Feliz ABs.

(Truly LaRussaesque, n'est pas?)


Hello there Phillies fans. They call me Metropolitan Man. I'm a METS fan 1st, and a baseball fan second. I know what has been happening in the NL East over the years. That authentic choking team with the "A" on its caps were disgraceful. They would win the division, mirepresent, and continued to squander METS and Phillies opportunuities. Too many years the fans had to endure this. Then came 2006 and the Mighty METS re-established greatness while you guys followed suit in 2007. Now that brings us to 2008. You guys used to be"the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Now you guys are just the enemy. I cant stand the braves, then the stankees, and now the philthies.....


You philthies fans while passionate have a lot to be desired. Your franchsie is the losingest team in all of sports...congradualtions at achieving something. The city needs a makeover and the stench of philly steaks and seafood hogies (as good as they are) can be smelled anytinme a local belches. You guys think you upgraded and gush over defense and offense. Well you may still have some left over from last year but sparkplug Rowan is gone. You guys are gunning for 1st but will be lucky if you finish 3rd. You strong armed the division last year while the METS fell asleep at the wheel. I dont know if you know but the METS signed Santana and have given them a shot in the arm, sending the philthies to be the braves doormat...again. You booed Santa and pellted him with snowballs, and you wonder why you dont get any post season presents. METS fans thank you in advance for Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels, future METS who will sign the 1st chance they get to get out of philly. You can have Wagner back at no extra charge. The philthies are the new enemy to the METS at least for the time being. D. Wright, Willie Randolph, and even Fred Wilpon said you guys are the team to beat so as a fan, I have to give you crap. Enjoy the season, get your best heckles out and be ready to be humiliated by the METS franchise and there fans....I'm done practicing with braves nation, what are you philthie fans all about!!!

Keep it baseball if you can, a battle of the wits may prove you lacking!!!


Met Man: The numerous spelling errors in your post suggest you dropped out after the 8th grade. Am I close?

Hmmmmm, not a baseball question Clout. However my 8th grade eduaction still out does your lack of reading comprehension. If all you got from the post was grammatical errors, then you must be a Wagner fan. The two of you trash instead finding the silver lining. Get on board with baseball....unless the lack of wit comment hit home.

Met Man - I appreciate Mets' fan thoughts but not idiots who just ramble on incoherently like you do. Crawl back to your hole in Queens/Nassau County.

clout -
IMO you are mistaken again.

Eighth is unnecessarily generous.

"They call me Metropolitan Man."

Classic. I also like how he mentions that "sparkplug Rowan is gone."

Here you go MG, heres why I'm amped and for some reason and you are down. This upcoming season is a chance for 3 out of 5 teams to establish dominance and not be 1 hit wonders. The METS matchups make them better on paper...of course it has to be played on the field but heres what I see and what you are oblivious to.

Delgado V Howard: Both are sluggers, 1 on the rise and 1 on the decline. Howard has a huge upside due to power, age, and he is not shabby on defesne. Delgado is in contract year so expect big things. Knowing that Howard is looking for the big contract may actually hurt his perfotmance a la Andruo Jones who is now a dodger. Edge slightly goes to Howard.

Castillo V Utley: Similar scenario as above except Castillo maybe healthy and still wont match Utley. However Castillo is a vet who has been to the wars and won. Utley is still young so look for young mistakes but he is rising fast. Offesnively the edge goes to smarts go to Castillo because of the time put in.

Reyes V Rollins: I'll always go with Reyes becasue he has not hit his ceiling and is already exciting. Rollins had his MVP year, can he duplicate it???? Edge goes to Reyes due to bias.

Wright V Feliz: You have a decent 3b, but lets be real. D Wright is going to be a bonifide basher. Edge METS

I'm not even going to get into the outfield situation. We have a 15 homer, 43 doubles guy in right, an all star in center and a platoon in left that shatters any platoon the philthies can put together.

Snieder/Castro V Luiz: The defesne of these catchers will shutdown the so-called run leaving the METS to be the steal leaders again. I wont even touch your pitching situation because it is a joke. Anybody who thinks I'm not serious about the METS is just delusional....I'm just curious about the philthie fans. I have read so much about how you guys arent scared yet the additions and subtractions you made in the offseason makes you weaker...go figure.

Now try responding in baseball lingo!!!


Howard is a SLIGHTLY better than Delgado? Utley is lacks baseball smarts (which many consider his greatest asset, skills aside)? Surprisingly, Met Man doesn't even realize how much better Wright is than Feliz, showing how little he truly knows about even his own team. Luiz=Ruiz? I think the Phils outfield is worse than the Mets but not by much. The dropoff from Beltran to Burrell is clear, but it is not that huge of a difference in overall production. Vic's stats will compare favorably to Alou/injury replacement, and I would bet that Jenkins/Werth outperforms the Mets RF. Leave it to a borderline incoherent mets fan to turn a bunch of philly pessimists into optimists. Why am I even wasting my time with this pathetic soul. His father must have been hammered when he met his mother dancing half-naked on the table at some dive bar in Queens, how else was this MF'r the fastest sperm?

I did you a favor by showcasing your offesne and defense. If I wanted to insult you, I'll talk about the philthies pitching staff. Thats where you will lose your games...with pitching because you have none. The METS have 2 Cole Hamels in Perez and Maine. Like I said, wont get into pitching because you have none.

lekh tizdayen: Im not the fast sperm, Im more of the super sperm!!!!


Met Man: We know our weaknesses...reading the fcking posts! We know our pitching is not up to par. Read the fcking posts! Perez and Maine are not Cole Hamels, just as Cole Hamels is not Santana. Have some dignity/self-respect and just stop posting unless you have something worthwhile to write, and if you do, try and get the names close to accurate. Rowan and Luiz?

Oh and Met Man, I'm pretty sure your father's best sperm ended up in tissue...

Muts Man:

Tip for Dicks: If somebody calls you out as an 8th grade dropout, you should be careful enough to spell "education" correctly in your response.

As someone so eloquently put it on a thread after the Mo-Rohn Santana trade, the last time Muts fans were this confident was Labor Day. Enjoy Bill Wagner pissing away a handful of his starts this season.

You have to admit, though, the Mets really showed the Phils how to play in August...err...September...err October...
wait a second! Did the Phillies win their last eight games against the Mets? Really?

Met Man - You comparisons are really biased and unrealistic even for a Mets' fan. You seem to be emblematic of Mets' fans and it is why I hate going to watch games at Shea. Very knowledge baseball crowd but full of a large number of drunken louts/degenerates/imbeciles/dullards. Arguably the worst crowd I have been in including get hit by batteries when I was a kid for wearing a Phils' hat at Shea.

The baseball crowd at the Vet used to be as bad as Shea but that is not the case with CBP. Maybe the really increased price tags at Citibank Field will do the same and drive out some of the idiots at Mets' games too.

C'mon, beerleaguers! Lighten up. Give the guy a break. After all, it must be truly hard to type when you're dragging your knuckles and breathing through your mouth in ugly clothes that your momma picked out.

lekh, relax. We're obviously dealing with a Met level IQ.

1B: "edge slightly goes to Howard"?.........that depends on what your definition of 'slightly' is. You must be referring to the "Queens Blvd. crack-head" definition of slightly. Howard is one of the five most feared hitters in the game. Delgado is very good, and better defensively, but since they've been testing for steroids, he's never approached Howard's 2007 season, much less his 2006...big edge Phils.

2B: "edge goes to Utley"? Utley would have been the MVP last year instead of Rollins, if he hadn't been hurt. Castillo couldn't sniff any MVP's butt if he were on his knees behind him. "Large chasm" is a better description of the difference.

SS: Reyes may be better than Rollins, but he'll have to prove it. And don't count on it - he may turn out to be a head case. Last year he was the lead choker. Even, until Reyes proves otherwise.

3B: The one position when the Mets have a huge edge, at least on the offensive end. Wright, IMO, is the second best 3B in baseball.

LF: Even - because Burrell is younger and less injury prone, but Alou is probably a better hitter when healthy. Neither one is a good defender.

CF: Big edge to Beltran on the offensive end. Slight edge to Victorino on defense. I'll go with Andruw Jones assessment: "The best defensive CF in the NL plays right field for the Phillies". Overall...big edge Mets.

RF: Platoon of Jenkins/Werth vs. "Who's the Met's RF?" Edge to Phils.

C: Schneider vs Ruiz...even, as Schneider rates better defensively, but Ruiz is better at the plate. The backups: call me a homer, but I'll take Coste over Castro's erratic defense and spotty power any day.

The pitching favors the Mets.

It's going to be a fun season.

One thing I have to say about all this Benson stuff is a Mets fan, I was unhappy to see him go (except for the fact that we got Maine back) because his wife is great theater. Trust me, you guys get Benson, and you'll talk more about that hot wife of his than Kris. He'll have stretches where he's real good but then go 2-3 weeks where he gets crushed. Its definitely a good bottom of rotation filler if he's healthy. Good Luck Philly fans. Its gonna be a fun season.

"Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels, future METS who will sign the 1st chance they get to get out of philly."

Will this follow suit with Pedro, Glavine, Delgado, and Wagner? You know all those free agents who are past thier primes?

Fat Lobster... Delgado came in a trade for 2 nobodys and I'm not sure we can say Wagner is beyond his prime. He's always had stretches where he blows a few games but so does every closer outside of Mariano Rivera. Glavine was a mistake but Pedro was a good move.

I guess I'm just thinking who is on the upswing in terms of MET acquired free agents in recent memory?

Beltran. Can't say Santana is on his way down either.

Good Point. I stand corrected.

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EST. 2005

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