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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Heh, from ESPN on Steve Kline:

Mar. 17 : Kline insists that his 7.71 spring ERA is partially due to a groin injury he battled earlier in camp, reports the Mercury News.

O-K. I'd still take him for Helms.

Hm. If that's the case, I might actually pass on Kline.

Jason -
clout likes to maintain that JD Durbin and Pedro Feliz are the most beloved players on beerleaguer. He is, of course, mistaken. They are merely appreciated much more than they should be and given more credit than their talent indicates. Victorino, on the other hand, is one of the most beloved players. He too is given more credit than his talent level, but has been productive enough that the BL response to possibly giving him up is astoundingly strong. After Rollins and Utley (and maybe Hamels), there may not be anyone more "beloved by beerleaguers" than Vic. Sorry you took such a rhetorical pounding yesterday.

In re: "hard to handle." A day after Chollie called him in for ten minutes, he went 2-2 with 3 RBIs. I think, no matter what Wheels thinks, Chollie knows what buttons to push.

Okay, clout. If Darensbourg is this year's Alfonseca, we should show appropriate respect to his place in the wide sea of mediocre Phillies relievers. Even though he possesses a merely human ten digits, we could use the French (since I do not know where to find an Alsatian translation - Darensbourg is Alsatian - for the word), and label him:

Le Poulpe!!

(But only if he makes the roster out of camp as LOOGY/mop-up).)

I don't mind taking a beating when an opinion is crap.

I also love Victorino, but have wondered if it annoys people that he has to shove a shaving cream pie in someone's face EVERY interview. That's gotta sting.
They interviewed his dad on Father's Day last year and he just seemed like a really down to earth, humble, likable guy, and so I associate Shane with that as well. Jimmy's mom is still my favorite though.

If the Giants would be willing to take Helms (and I still don't think they do), the Phils should jump on him for Kline. Hell, at this point the Phils should be willing to trade Helms for any capable reliever.

disagree that Helms-Kline makes no sense for Giants (apart from money). The Giants INF is in turmoil.

They have no one at 3B and Durham at 2B is a free agent at season's end. He hit .215 last year and may be cooked anyway. Frandsen makes no sense at 3B because he has no power. He could, however, be a long-term answer at 2B.

Vizquel will be a free agent at season's end if he doesn't play in 140 games, which seems likely since he's out 4-6 weeks with knee surgery. The Giants plan to use a non-prospect named Brian Bocock there, but that's totally crazy since he's never played above A ball and is a .241 hitter at that level. Frandsen could play SS until Vizquel comes back if the Giants had someone at 3B.

Helms is better at 1B defensively, where they plan to platoon Aurilia with Ortmeier. It would make sense to deal Kline (who's just about done and is FA after this year) for Helms and use Helms in platoon at 1B, freeing up Aurilia to play 3B and Frandsen to play SS until Vizquel comes back.

Frankly, I don't think Kline has much left. Lefties had a .748 OPS off him last year. I don't know if I'd do that deal if I were PG. But I would definitely do that trade if I were the Giants, especially if the Phils would pick up salary.

Clout: I'm on the fence about Kline also. My instincts tell me a veteran lefty like Kline would be useful because it would give Cholly more confidence to keep better pitchers like Romero out of unessecary action. Have to see about his health, however. Helms will have a better year than last year, and might end up being a better player off the bench than anyone they have, including Dobbs and Werth. He's not totally worthless.

I'm also on the fence about Kline. On the one hand, it would be great to get something usable for Helms. A 2004 version of Kline would be great.

But...on the other hand, we would not get a 2004 version of Kline. It would be, more likely, an extrapolation of the 2005-06-07 Kline, which is not pretty. I think he's going, going, gone.

I'd be more tempted if it was a straight up swap, no salary considerations. Then it's a dump, which would be okay. Of course, then we'd never see "Le Poulpe" as the LOOGY.

who the heck is 'le Poulpe'? i can't keep up with you kids and your crazy hip slang.

loctastic - no one is Le Poulpe. clout suggested that Vic Darensbourg is this year's Alfonseca. Since "Darensbourg" is a (French) Alsatian name, I clowned that we should call him the French equivalent of "El Pulpo:"

Le Poulpe!

It has a nice ring, but it is a rather stupid suggestion, I admit.

Kline might not be great, but we don't need Helms and we know he isn't great, so I say make the swap if possible. That's a big "if" though.

What about Helms to the Dodgers? I had heard that was a possibility with their 3rd base issues.

The insight made a few days ago (I forget who) about the Phils FO looking at players' career years, then spinning that to the fan base to create the expectations was dead on. That being said, if a Kline deal were to go down, I'd expect that last year's performance would soon be swept under the rug and we should expect nothing but great things. A bunch of b.s. Although, trading away garbage and getting even a slight upgrade from the trash currently in our 'pen isn't necessary a terrible business decision. The injury scares me, though.

Helms is more than expendable at this point. I think they're waiting until April, though, since Wes Helms is the March poster boy on the 2008 official team calendar hanging in my office. Sadly, I would not be shocked to find out that such factors play into this FO decision making.

anything for Helms is a plus at this point. can they seriously keep him on the roster for opening day?

Just curious about how the rest of MLB views Helms, in terms of position. Would a team with a 3B need really be looking at Helms as the answer, or are they all savvy enough to realize that he's playing out of position, without any real signs of adaptation?

In his prime, Kline was a guy who would give you about a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, a WIP no higher than 1.40, and an opponents batting average no higher than .250 & maybe considerably lower. But he hasn't been that pitcher since 2004. His WIPS & OBAs have been getting higher & higher for the last 3 years & his strikeout totals have been getting lower & lower. And he's not even valuable as a LOOGY because left-handers have hit over .300 against him in 2 of the last 3 years.

If Vic is the most beloved Philly on Beerleaguer, then Helms must be the most hated. Of course, he earned that contempt with a hideous 2007 season. Still, if he returns to career norms (as he probably will), he will be a valuable bat off the bench. At the same time, he has little trade value because of his salary, plus last year's performance. For those reasons, I have little doubt that, if we trade him, we'll come to regret it.

I also don't buy the argument that Helms must be traded because of "roster math." I don't believe in roster math; I believe in keeping your 25 best players on the active roster. I've said before that I think Eric Bruntlett is eminently expendable -- even more so now that we have Feliz. Feliz has played SS before, so he can play there if Rollins goes down (which is highly unlikely). It's more important to have some decent bats off the bench than it is to worry about a Rollins injury scenario that will probably never happen. If Bruntlett is on the 25-man roster, as he undoubtedly will be, there will be plenty of games where he will be sent up to pinch hit in critical situations where the Phillies would be much better off having Helms at the plate.

"If Vic is the most beloved Philly on Beerleaguer, then Helms must be the most hated."

You're forgetting Eaton. Everyone else is a distant 2nd (to me at least).

Vic is not the most beloved - I'd reserve that for Rollins and Utley...but he's close.

The comparison, however, is apt, since Helms may not be the most hated either.

Think pitching staff...fifth starter...$8.45MM...3 years...

aaaararrrrrrghghghgh... my brain hurts just thinking about Eaton.

high five, Jeltz

At this point, the Phils are desperate for warm bodies in the pen. I would trade Helms for any almost veteran reliever who is able to give the Phils 45-50 capable innings with an ERA under 5.

My biggest worry about Kline is his health actually. Kline, to put it bluntly, was a porker last year. No way he was the 210 listed on ESPN. Try more like 225 or 230 by season's end.

Kline did come into camp in better shape this year (big shock given it is a contract year) but has battled some injury issues this spring. One thing the Phils don't need is another veteran reliever who spends a significant amount of time on the DL.

My prediction - Helms ends up on the opening day roster because the Phils find no takers and the only reliever the Phils bring in is a fringe-type like Rosario. May help but more than likely not.

MG - speaking of "fringe type," anyone think Mike Myers will actually make the Dodgers' 40-man roster. At the end of ST, he'll be looking for work. He, like Kline, is declining from his previous abilities. But if all he's looking for is a MLB roster spot and $1MM or less, hmmmm....

Any buyers?

Forget to mention yesterday:

Glad the Phils only wear though green unis and hats on Spring Training because they are horrendous looking. I mean talk about a crass attempt by the Phils to make a few more measly dollars in Spring Training on merchandise. Then again if fans are dumb enough to buy it, the Phils will sell it.

Andy: It won't necessarily be Mike Myers, but I have no doubt that Gillick will be actively scouring the waiver wire, and I have no doubt that this was his thinking all along. It's kind of similar to his fascination with the Rule 5 draft. 28 years ago, he got exceedingly lucky with the George Bell pick; ever since then, he's been relying on the Rule 5 draft as a staple of every off-season rebuilding plan. Likewise, last year Gillick hit the jackpot by landing JC Romero on waivers. Hence, now he figures he can duplicate that success every year.

Come opening day, our 25-man roster will include some veteran reliever not presently on the team -- most likely someone who just posted a 47.21 ERA in spring training.


Once again, I couldn't agree more. Bruntlett is expendable because Felix can play short and second in the 10 games or so that Utley or Rollins need a breather. For the remaining 170 games, it would be better for the Phils to have a bigger bat than a decent glove.

If this is obvious even to a hockey fan like me, why hasn't the front office figured it out?

Helms over Bruntlet?

Give me a break. Feliz has played all of two games at SS since 2004 (23 total) and *has never* played an inning at second base.

I'm sure the pitchers will just love those games when the right side of the infield is Feliz at SS and Dobbs at 3rd.

Only if your intention is to get Feliz hurt (which happens when you put an inexperienced 33 yo in the middle infield!) is it a good idea.

Of the dumb ideas of the offseason, this is number 1.

Don't forget that Greg Dobbs can log some innings at 2nd base too if need be (although it would be a good situation if Utley went on the DL). I like Bruntlett though for the mere fact that he isn't No-Hit Nunez. Bruntlett has some speed, Nunez didn't. Bruntlett draws some walks, Nunez doesn't.

Couple of thoughts:

- Agreed that Bruntlett doesn't bring much to the table besides playing multiple positions. Feliz can't play SS though. Not even for a game. I also highly doubt he could play 2B either because of his inability to pivot on the double play throw.

- All of the talk about acquiring pitching help is kind of pointless since the Phils are only going to take on a veteran league minimum salary if they don't move Helms.

- Still don't understand all this ridiculous talk about the No. 5 starter spot being open. Cholly mentioned in again. When are the Phils going to end this charade and say Eaton is the No. 5 starter (unless of course they put him on the DL to start the season in which case C. Durbin will be the No. 5 starter).

kdon: Rollins played all 162 games last year & he played 158 games in each of the 2 seasons before that. Exactly how many games per year do you think we would trot out an infield which includes Feliz at SS and Dobbs at third? Answer: Maybe 1 or 2 at most and, more likely than not, none.

As for getting Feliz hurt . . . that wouldn't be my intention, but it's not a terrible idea.

that should read "wouldn't be a good situation"

I'm in favor of keeping Bruntlett over Helms.

I seem to be on an island with this idea &, frankly, I have no idea why. Bruntlett is an awful hitter, plain and simple. It is 100% certain that there will be a good 15 to 20 games over the course of the year where a .250 career hitter with no power will be required to hit in a critical game situation, where we could otherwise have used the vastly superior Wes Helms. On the other hand, based on history, it is about 50-50 that Rollins will play in every game this year & it is about 90% likely that he will miss no more than 3 or 4 games. And if he does miss those games, we've already got a guy who can play SS -- perhaps not brilliantly, but adequately.

Do you really want to weaken your team out of fear of a disaster scenario that will probably never happen? The fact is, if Rollins goes down for any extended period of time, the season is over anyhow. So who really cares whether or not we have a viable replacement (if you consider Eric Bruntlett to be viable)?

Bruntlett and Helms were offensive equals last season. Bruntlett can pick it at a couple positions and has speed, so the edge goes to Bruntlett. He's also younger and cheaper. But I see where BAP is coming from, certainly. Long gone are the days where teams carry two utility guys. That happened here only two seasons with guys like Ramon Martinez, Jose Hernandez and Tomas Perez.

Even last year, I'd say Helms was a better hitter than Bruntlett because of his power. Bruntlett had the better OBP last year because he walked more. But walks are of less value when your primary job is pinch hitting. In any event, I'm going by career norms. I am assuming that the 2008 version of Wes Helms will be considerably better than the 2007 version.

BAP- I understand where you're coming from, but I disagree. I think Helms is a piece of crap that is going to continue to suck. I know I could be wrong, but that's my opinion. Therefore, I like Bruntlett more because of his defense, speed, and ability to get on base.

"I'm going by career norms. I am assuming that the 2008 version of Wes Helms will be considerably better than the 2007 version."

I agree with this statement, but the question is, do other MLB teams feel this way? If we can get anything useful for Helms, a trade must be done. While I agree that over their careers Helms is a better hitter than Bruntlett, we need bruntlett for the multiple positions. But we do have Olmedo as a utlitity guy now even though Bruntlett is a better hitter than him which says a lot. Can Bruntlett be sent down to the minors or is he out of options?

Bruntlett vs. Helms as a career PH is a lot closer. OPS .787 vs. .805. And if all you're interested in is actually getting a hit, Bruntlett's career PH BA is .303, to Helms .269. More importantly, if you look at "clutch" stats, Bruntlett is decidedly a better option. Take 2-out RISP:
Bruntlett .324 .387 .515 .902
Helms .236 .348 .472 .820

typhoon: Bruntlett is way out of options.

There are a couple more factors which will keep Bruntlett on the Phils 25.
1) As long as Costanzo looks good in the Orioles' system and Lidge is flirting with injury, Bruntlett has to be productive to justify Gillick's 2007-08 "Blockbuster."

2) Bruntlett came up to the majors when Jimy Williams was manager of the 'Stros. He, presumably, likes the kid.

Carson: Your opinion could certainly turn out to be right. I can't read the future. I can, however, make educated predictions. In doing so, I would put a lot more stock in a guy's career performance than I would in a single bad season by a 31-year old player who has otherwise been much better.

Anyway, that's the last I'll say on this issue. Bruntlett's a horrible offensive player & I believe it would be a travesty to give him a roster space over Wes Helms. And, by June 1, I expect that I will no longer be the only one that believes this. Frankly, I think most of you who are sticking up for Bruntlett are only doing so because you don't like Helms and would rather go with the random, unknown prize behind Door No. 2.

Bap. What about second base?

Every team in baseball carries a player like Bruntlett who can play all the defensive positions. I don't see why you would depart radically from having a backup middle infielder in order to accomodate a stiff like Helms.

You could maybe convince me if it was a project infielder or outfielder with potential who was going to make the team, but not Helms.

Seriously, you want to give up the only player on the depth chart at 2B and SS to get Helms on the team.

MG is right about turning the double play. You just can't throw players like Feliz and Dobbs into a middle infield position like it's right field.

kdon - I am so insulted by your insinuation!!

I'd be open to PG looking into trading either Helms or Bruntlett. See which one could bring in the better reliever. Maybe some team out there could use one of those utility IF guys.

Years ag, there was a nationwide poll on sportscasters. Howard Cosell made the top five in both "Favorite" and "Least Liked". If such a poll were taken of the Beerleaguers "Favorite" and "Least Liked" Phillies, I think Myers would be top ten in both lists.

My "Favorite" list would be:
1. Utley
2. Howard
3. Hamels
4. Rollins
5. Moyer

My "Least Liked" list would be:
1. Eaton
2. Everyone else tied for 2nd.

The comparison of Helms and Bruntlett is bizarre. They fill 2 very different roles. Bruntlett is a classic utility guy with the added advantage of being able to play corner OF. He doesn't have the glove of a Nunez or a Tomas Perez, but, unlike them, he actually has a chance to get a hit. He also has decent speed.

Helms role is as a corner INF backup and PH. Most teams have one of each (i.e. the Mets have Easley & Marlon Anderson). To the extent Helms is competing with someone for a job, it's Dobbs, who also plays the corners. But Bruntlett is a given since you absolutely have to have a middle INF backup and Feliz can't play there and Olmedo is an even worse hitter than Nunez.

That's not fair, Clout. Perez had three solid years as our utility guy where he was much better than Bruntlett ever was.
I always like Tomas.. at least until he fell off the proverbial cliff.

Jason, they were actually discussing Manuel's trouble with Victorino on DNL (I believe) yesterday. They were talking in euphemisms, but the general sense seemed to be that he has a bit of a big head about being the team's CF, hence the closed-door meeting.

So, I don't think you were too far off, although it seems that the "trouble," if you can even call it that, is very recent and not something that's been an issue in the past.

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