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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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I hope they put Castro in the starting rotation rather than the pen. Reading might start the season with one of the best starting rotations in AA if they do. Fabio has been effective as a starter in winter ball.

With only 38 on the 40 man roster looks like the FO will be working the waiver wire and try to get a couple of suspects for Helms.

how old is fabio?

So much for my prediction yesterday. Blackley is a better fit anyway because he has more stuff and they cannot afford to let him go.

Later today, I will have stats on every player since Saturday. They are interesting, to say the least.

opps 23 I see. still a little hungover from st pattys.

Darensbourg is worthy of a feature at this point. He's one of the older players in camp and he's still in the hunt from the looks of things. If Val can get one, so can Vic.

With Opening Day about 2 weeks away, there are still a lot of questions. What the hell are they going to do with Helms? Who's the 5th starter? Who's in the bullpen aside from Lidge (probably DL'd), Gordon, Madson, and Romero? What about Chris Snelling?

If Vic Darensbourg actually makes the team -- as now seems possible -- Andy might have to find a new vehicle for his sarcasm.

Carson, agreed that there are probably more questions with the Phils at this point (only 12 days til they count) than any other team. With the available spots on the 40 man, I'm sure we can expect some "projects" and "shots in the dark" in the next couple of days. Seems like we're trying to paint a moving target on many of these holes.

Speaking of Vic Darensbourg, we approach the season opener with a house of cards assembled by Pat Gillick. All of these predictions about winning 88-90 games are delusional. To make that happen, ALL of the following must occur. First, Adam Eaton needs to return to mediocrity rather than the horrible pitcher we know and hate. This despite an extraordinary level of consistency, game in and game out, in which his first inning MO was appalling. Please don't tell me he pitched well in his last 3 innings. Then there was last year's phenom, Kyle Kendrick, who has apparently un-phenomed during ST. He needs to turn it around now. We need Moyer to not pitch as he pitched in the second half of last year. The bullpen is thread bare. Gordon is pretty much finished, so the effective bullpen is at most 4 pitchers. If just one starter goes down, it's Chad Durbin time. Good luck.

Gillick's neglect of the pitching has been criminal. While repeatedly saying that pitching was the number one priority, he used the limited funds to address less important needs, allowing various helpful bullpen additions to go elsewhere. Instead, he pursued the theory that if you throw a lot of crap at the ceiling, something will stick. Guess what? Nothing stuck. With this pitching, they need 7 runs a game to have a chance to win. Since that won't happen, put me down for 3rd place.

One more happy detail. Santana.

BAP: Only until Vic actually pitches in a major league game.

Hitman: I think what you are saying is that this pitching staff is working without a net and if even a single thing goes wrong, there is no Plan B. I cannot imagine anyone on this board disagreeing with you.

7 runs a game times 162 games implies that pitching can only give up on average 6 runs a game. That roughly breaks out to a prediction of a team ERA for the season of 5.60. With a staff of Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, that's just not likely. I'm not implying that the pitching situation is below average - it certainly is. Just a little perspective, that's all...

"If Vic Darensbourg actually makes the team -- as now seems possible -- Andy might have to find a new vehicle for his sarcasm."

Talk about your darkhorse candidate. Sadly, it is because it is by absolute default that Darensbourg would make this team. If the Phils are serious about having another lefty out of the pen, they have to swing a deal and be prepared to take on a little salary.

Plan B? I think what you are really saying is that they did not have a PLAN A.

Gillick must be a "craps" player because that is what he signs and it always appears he is always rolling the dice in hopes of hitting it big.

mike h: Say what? The Phillies are going to score 7 runs per game in 2008?

Anybody have an idea who the AAA rotation will include?? I'm from the Lehigh Valley and am fairly excited about being able to see a bunch of Iron Pigs' games. Looks like most of the top level prospects will begin the season at Reading, though(NOT including Castro). Is Jaramillo slated for AAA???

It IS a little difficult to understand how we could spend some $11M on Jenkins & Feliz, while totally neglecting the very area which -- in Gillick's own words -- was the highest off-season priority. I feel pretty confident that the Phillies could have gotten by on offense with Helms/Dobbs/Bruntlett at third & some combination of Werth, Taguchi, Snelling, & that Italian guy whose name I forget in the OF. For that matter, I can even understand Gillick's reluctance to dive into the weak FA market for starting pitching. What I can't understand, for the life of me, is how he could have completely ignored the bullpen, when that area has been our undoing for about the last 5 years, & when the FA market for relievers was quite strong.

If they had entered the season with the same pitching staff, with no Feliz or Jenkins, but with about 2 more quality relievers, I would like their playoff chances a lot more.

While the Phils pitching staff is likely to be a bit rag-tag again, there is no way they finish the season with a team ERA even close to 5. Not with Hamels and Myers in the rotation and some decent arms at the back end of the bullpen.

My bet is somewhere slightly below last year 4.60 ERA mark which still puts the Phils though among the bottom of teams again in the NL. My bet is only the Cards, Nats, Marlins, and maybe the Pirates finish with worse team ERAs than the Phils this year. So basically an 11th or 12th place slot.

I have come around a bit to the Feliz signing only that it meant the Phils didn't bring back the horrendous Abe Nunez and allows them to use Dobbs off the bench.

Where it looks the Phils may hard erred is by spending the money on Jenkins (and this will be a terrible signing if his contract vests for a 3rd year at decent dollars). Phils might have been better off here going with the bargain discount rate player and signing at least another very solid arm for the pen.

Its funny. The Phils released Youman (tells you how little they thought of him) and now have 2 spots on the 40 man roster. The Phils could easily release a few other players on the 40 man roster (LaForest, Bohn?) too without any notice.

Tells you volumes about a team when they go into a season with at least a couple of spots open on their 40-man roster. One of the reason on why I laugh about how one of the Phils' supposed strengths going into the season is their supposed "depth" over the Mets. Besides the OF, I just don't see it at all.

Only consolidation for the Phils is that the Mets have already had some serious injury questions this spring including Alou, El Duque, Delgado, and even Beltran. Besides maybe El Duque, the Mets don't really have an adequate backup for any of these players.

The hitman said that with this pitching, the Phils are going to need 7 runs a game to win. That's about 1160 runs a season, the most prolific offense ever. Its not going to happen.

Mike: I think that was his point

Astros and Reds are also candidates with teams to finish with worse team ERA than the Phils. Every team in the NL West should have a better team ERA, ditto for the Cubs, Brewers, Mets, Braves. So best case scenario is probably an 8th or 9th place slot in the NL for team ERA for the Phils. If they do that, they should score enough runs and win enough games to make the playoffs again.

My bad. Phils' team ERA was 4.73. If they can finish 9th or 10th that likely puts the Phils at a team ERA around 4.50. That translates into roughly 770-775 runs allowed.
If the Phils' pitching staf/defense can do that, then I like their chances to win 90 or more games and make the playoffs again. I see a more modest improvement at best.

"I have come around a bit to the Feliz signing"

MG - you might not want to "come around" too far. So far, in ST, forget everything else: Feliz has amassed, in his 45 plate appearances, the amazing total of 59 pitches seen.

OOOrrrahhh!!!

(If Vic D makes the team and does well, BAP< I have no doubts of the target.)

I am surprised that Castro will be at AA, I thought he would be at AAA. I hope they try him out as a starter at AA though.

Andy: Surely that stat can't be right. I mean, as bad as Feliz is, there's just no way . . . Or is there?

Feliz is from the DR.
Wasn't it fellow DR native and hacker Juan Samuel that said "you don't walk off the island"?

AAA rotation might include Mazone, Youman, Happ, Knotts, and maybe Segovia, possibly Outman in the middle of the season. I'm probably missing a couple of veterans. There's a Kutztown University alumn in there somewhere. Chiavacci I think?

does benson have one of those 38 40-man spots?

Through all the doom and gloom of this pitching staff, here's what we I'm seeing...

Brett Myers looks ready to go. He's pitched great this spring.

Cole Hamels will be just fine. His last performance shut down a lot of those questions.

And what about Jamie Moyer? His 2.77 ERA so far may suggest he's not yet out of gas.

I also don't think Kendrick will be nearly as bad as he's been his last couple outings.

And the 5th starter will be the same mess this year as we had last year.

mike h.: Thanks. I missed that. The Phillies won't score 6 runs a game either.

Jason: Doesn't Youman have to pass thru waivers and choose to report before he can be penciled in at Allentown?

Andy - I had a bigger issue with giving Feliz the second guaranteed year more than anything. Giants weren't willing to do that and I can't imagine their was another team willing to give Feliz a 2-yr guaranteed contract. If worse can to worse and Feliz didn't play well, Phils could have moved on next year. Now they are suck with him regardless.

Of course, I just jinxed Moyer, who allowed a run.

CJ - I think you will see Moyer duplicate what he did last year. Pitch reasonably well the first couple of months (April into June) but Cholly will let him throw too many innings/pitches because the middle relief will suck again this year.

Moyer should really be viewed as a 6 inning guy max and most nights the Phils should be happy if he gives them 5+ innings at this point. Sadly, I think Moyer is going to be forced to go into the 7th inning in too many starts in April/May.

By July and August, the wear and tear will catch up to Moyer and he will start to get lite up again.

Why don't we like Darensbough again?

His numbers in AAA last year are likely better than anything Castro or Blackley would put up this year in AAA.

"If worse can to worse and Feliz didn't play well, Phils could have moved on next year. Now they are suck with him regardless."

MG - I am willing to believe that you meant "worse came to worse..."

but whether you meant it or not, they are "suck with him regardless."

kdon -
We (meaning I here) don't not like Vic D. I have just been amazed that, apart from the Lidge trade, Darensbourg is the best that Gillick could do. My over-reaction to the announcement that he was signed came at a time when numerous other relievers were still on the market. We passed on, for instance, Wise, Knight, Mahay, others...

Signing Darensbourg as the "best available FA reliever" is amazingly audacious and perversely incorrect.

kdon - Spoke to my physicist niece last night. She concurs that any number (other than zero) divided by zero is infinity.

I just knew you'd want to know.

MG: I agree. I think we'll get much the same as we got out of Moyer last year. Which would be acceptable to me.

Clout: The last I read was Youman was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, according to the transaction page on Phillies.com.

I believe Youman has already reported to the Pigs, he pitched 3 scoreless innings yesterday in a minor league game. You can kinda follow games results on the Reading Phils website. NO box scores, but highlights. RJ Swindel has at least 4 scorless innings!

martin, there's another guy who has a great name. Wouldn't be great to have a pitching staff with Outman, Bastardo and Swindel?

Thanks martin - I forgot they offered those on the Reading Web site. I'll need to start tapping that for news.

kdon: Think of it this way. The next time Andy waxes sarcastic about Vic Darensbourg, pretend that he's also waxing sarcastic about Shane Youman and Travis Blackley and Lincoln Holdzcom and Chad Durbin and all of the other assorted riff-raff that Gillick brought to camp to fill out the last 3 spots in our bullpen. The words "Vic Darensbourg" are really just a short-hand code that Andy came up with to refer to the entire pile of garbage. The fact that there really does happen to be a guy named Vic Darensbourg is just a confusing, but irrelevant, coincidence.

Look at Moyer's pitch splits last year:

April: 5 GS, 34 IP, 2.65 ERA, 103.8 Pit/GS
May: 6 GS, 38.1 IP, 5.63 ERA, 93 Pit/GS
June: 5 GS, 29.2 IP, 3.94 ERA, 91.8 Pit/GS
July: 6 GS, 30.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 100.8 Pit/GS
August: 5 GS, 32 IP, 6.47 ERA, 93.7 Pit/GS
Sept: 6 GS, 34.2 IP, 4.67 ERA, 91 Pit/GS

Now granted Pit/GS is heavily dependent upon how effective a starter is and if he gets pulled early. Given the bullpen meltdown last year in April, Cholly rode Moyer late into games and consistently ran up a really high pitch count with him.

It enabled the Phils to win a few games in April but it put a large strain on it that likely played a big part in Moyer's struggles come July/August.

The Phils have to treat Moyer this April like a old wrist watch. He runs and is dependable but you don't want to go banging him around all over the place.

I hate to put pitchers on a strict pitch count but there is really no reason why Moyer should appear in the 7th inning this April nor should he throw more than 100 Pitches in any start. Regardless of how well-conditioned he is, Moyer only has so many effective pitches left in him.

My bet is that old Chucklehead and Dubee will ride Moyer deep into games again this April as they sort out the bullpen. Moyer will likely post decent stats but run up some high pitch counts too. Means that come June and July that Moyer will start to have games where he gets absolutely shelled because he just doesn't quite have his location due to the extended wear and tear on his arm from earlier in the season.

That is the one thing that does drive me crazy about Cholly is how he handles pitchers at times. Way too often I get the feeling he manages with his "gut" only and doesn't take a look at some of the numbers in front of him.

Romero's last inning is probably what we should expect out the guy this year. He's going to put men on base... we've just got to hope he doesn't let them in.

MG: Riding Moyer into the 7th inning did help the team win some games early least season. But I'm not so sure that strategy will work for early 2008. As we saw today, Moyer is a 5-inning pitcher at this point. Part of this is age-related and part of it has to do with the fact that his 80 MPH fastballs just aren't going to work by the third time through the order. Of course, when your 6th inning bullpen options are Rosario, Durbin, & Vic Darensbourg, it's somewhat understandable why Cholly might choose to leave the game in Moyer's hands.

"Of course, when your 6th inning bullpen options are Rosario, Durbin, & Vic Darensbourg, it's somewhat..."

What you mean, there b-a-p, is that "when your 6th inning bullpen options are "Vic Darensbourgs," it's somewhat..."

Maybe I shouldn't be so tough on Cholly then because he gets to play Russian Roulette with his suspect middle relief. Still don't think Darensbourg makes this team over Blackley or Condrey but the Phils' back of their pen is once again going to be one of the worst in all of baseball.

Jason: I thought he was outrighted to Allentown, not optioned.

Clout: That's what I thought, too. That's what one of the reports said - possibly the press notes - can't remember where I first read it. He's not on the 40-man roster anymore.

kdon: I think the concern on Darensbourg is his ERA+ of 85, his bad K/BB ratio, his bad HR p/9 ratio, his 1.50 WHIP and his lifetime OPS against of .786 over his major league career and not his 52 nice innings at Toledo last year. There may be some question whether he's able to improve upon those weak major league numbers at age 37. That said, this bullpen is so bad he might very well be the best 12th man.

Impressive offensive assault by the Phils on the Rays pitching staff today (the charge led by Senor Out with 4 LOB). Three amazing hits. Good thing we're not counting these games until tomorrow.

Jason: If he's off the 40-man then he was indeed outrighted and teams have 10 days (I think) to claim him and he also has the choice to declare himself a free agent. If no one claims him (likely) he can decide to report, which would be a good decision on his part as there is no other team where he'd get a better opportunity to get called up.

Chuck Smith went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. Somewhere, Chase Utley is breathing a sigh of relief.

Clout: You are probably correct, and it looks like he's already taken his LV assignment.

Andy: Is Cholly still batting Senor Out in the 5 hole?

Guys, I think the appropriate nickname for Pedro Feliz is "Pete Happy"--as in, just grin and bear it everytime he grounds out weakly on the first pitch.

http://www.swanshadow.com/2008/01/dont-worry-pete-happy.html

clout - It's not the five hole I'm worried about. I'm sure Burrell will occupy that if he's healthy. He did, however, bat him sixth, again. It is a truly scary sign. In every inning that Howard is the third, the next inning will begin with a tailor made DP opportunity - PtB BB, Senor Out GIDP. Guess our RF platoon should practice hitting with 2-outs nobody on.

Pete Happy? Someone's gotta come up with a riff off of that. C'mon Carson, doc justice, JB, set those creative juices to work...

Senor Out is ok as if Human Out Machine (HUM) but somebody needs to get something that really flies.

I think it's funny that Pedro Feliz has a worst nickname than Abraham Nunez. Nunez's nickname implied he might actually earn himself a walk. Feliz's tells us to expect an out.

If Feliz really struggles out of the gate and makes a bad play or two that leads to a loss in April, the fans are going to turn on him real quick. Could get ugly and Feliz never really has had to face the kind of criticism he will see/hear in Philly.

I just think it's a shame we can't have Pete Happy and Joe Table on the same team.

If Burrell is in the five hole and Feliz in the six hole all season then Feliz will likely shatter the record for "most outs responsible for."

Don't know if this was noted or not, but Jeremy Affeldt was sent back to the bullpen. He signed with Cincy for a "chance to start."

Andy: Burrell will never ever get a pitch to hit if Cholly persists in batting Feliz 6th. Plus it just eliminates whatever value Jenkins might have. Not to mention wrecking the L-R-L-R advantage they'd have in the 4-7 holes if they'd bat Jenkins 6th. I've defended Manuel against the unfair stereotypes over the years, but if he bats Feliz 6th once the season opens, then he really is dumb as dirt.

But Feliz has "power" and by hitting in CBP he will hit at least 25+ HRs (insert laugh here)

Gillick had that really smart-ass comment about Burrell's "40 good swings a year" two years ago when he was trying to move him. Well, I would say that Feliz only has "20 good swings a year."

MG: Given the win of the NL East last year, Rowand's popularity, and the expectations of fans that the team should improve each year rather than regress; I suspect that Lidge and Jenkins will be on pretty short leashes by the fans as well if they don't get off to a good start.

"The words "Vic Darensbourg" are really just a short-hand code that Andy came up with to refer to the entire pile of garbage. The fact that there really does happen to be a guy named Vic Darensbourg is just a confusing, but irrelevant, coincidence."

Does this set the record for Beerleaguer's most meta post ever?

Not only the best meta-post but one of the most entertaining posts I've seen. (Back to lurking)

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