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Sunday, March 16, 2008

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"Greg Golson"

While of course he didnt have much of a shot, any chance of seeing him again in a bourn-ish role?

Say what you will about Charlie and his lack of "strategery" but he does know how to manage players in the ball club and he knows what teams need in order to succeed a long season of 6-7 months of baseball. This team needs a spark and a leader, and I think Victorino fits that bill perfectly.

I like that he's starting to make noise in the clubhouse, but in a way that doesn't demean any players or step on any toes. Everyone loves Vic so I think it would be great if he became the mouthpiece of this team with Rollins.

For those of us who back in November called for an upgrade to the bullpen as the most important task of the offseason, this is the saddest possible sentence:

"The Phils are basically left with J.D. Durbin, Travis Blackely, Francisco Rosario, Clay Condrey and Fabio Castro to fill the available openings."

As bad as the bullpen looks... and as much as I'd like to have Myers back there... it's encouraging to see him pitching so well as our rotation will be counted upon to carry the load even more with a questionable, at best, bullpen behind him.

Why do we need another leader?

J-Roll is energetic, plays hard, has been here longer than anyone, is an everyday player, and the reigning MVP.

What else do you need?

While all the focus has been on the pitching -- and rightly so -- the Phillies' bats have been beyond atrocious this spring. Guys like Jenkins, Werth, Burrell, Utley & Rollins are hitting so poorly that Pedro Feliz looks like an offensive dynamo by comparison.

I mention this not because I believe that any of these guys is going to continue hitting like this throughout the regular season. I mention it to point out that even a strong offensive team can easily go into a horrific tailspin for weeks at a time. A well-rounded team can sustain these protracted slumps because they have pitching that can enable them to win tight, low-scoring games. Then you have the Phillies, for whom a 17-game team-wide hitting slump translates into a 5-12 record.

Jasson, I just read the linked article and your phrasing was a little confusing (to me and jhart at least).

Vic being called into the office has nothing to do with Manuel wanting to replace Rowand as a leader. They were two separate stories.

er, I may "Jason"

I haven't played enough organized sports to have an opinion on whether leadership actually matters, or whether it's just meaningless psycho-babble (as I've always largely suspected). I do, however, know that when your team is 28th out of 30 teams in runs scored, 29th out of 30 teams in batting average, and dead last in OBP -- all while having a team ERA of 7.12 -- a "leadership void" is the least of the team's problems.

To echo what was said at the end of the last thread, Taguchi is NOT a pointless signing. It's hard to imagine Vic playing 140 games for us this year (at least for me) which means needing maybe 30 or more starts from someone else. Jayson Werth? Chris Snelling?

Taguchi has 178 career games in CF. Werth has 34. Snelling has 5.

Snelling had to win his job this spring training. Hitting .261 with a .737 OPS and no homers just doesn't cut it. Especially with Taguchi sporting a .936 OPS in the same amount of playing time.

Should we be concerned that Senor Out and Geoff Jenkins have combined for 79 ABs and 0 walks?

Myers: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K

At least one of our pitchers is throwing like he's ready for the season.

I was wrong to say Taguchi was "useless." He certainly has some skills that the Phillies otherwise don't have.

However, he is also a 38 yo slap hitter with a ceiling of a 88 OPS+.

Snelling, OTOH, is 26 and has a much higher ceiling. If he stays healthy, he would be a cheap option to replace Burrell next year, but because we guarantee a roster spot to a player barely above replacement level, we will never know.

My point isn't that players like Taguchi can't help a team, it's that there talents are not so rare that they deserve being handed a spot on the 25 man roster.

Again, last year Alfonseca had some things (like - cough - veteran savvy) that Germano didn't, but it certainly hurt the team last year and this to lose a player like Germano.

KDON, Germano faded after he was figured out. 7-10, 4.45 ERA pitching in Petco. His second half stats were terrible. I don't see him as much of anything. The Phils should quit worrying about who is out of options and pick up the phone and call Milwaukee.

Slocs,

It's possible that Germano got "figured" out, or it's possible that he wore down after pitching so many innings (majors and minors) at a higher level.

He was still a durable starter who posted a 91 OPS+ at age 24. And who has had the following two full seasons at AAA:

Age 22: 3.79 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Age 23: 3.48 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

He was obviously a far better starter than Eaton last year, and is much better than any of the clowns currently auditioning for the 5th spot. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a better year than every Phillies starter except Hamels and Myers.

kdon: Regarding your earlier post on Alfonseca, his contribution of Alfonseca to last season's playoff team has been well documented here despite your bizarre denial of the facts, but this is just a flat-out lie: "In '07, the pointless (or worse) signing of Alfonseca kept Justin Germano off the team."

Alfonseca kept Germano off the team? Huh?The Phillies opened the season with your man Zack Segovia on the roster (not to mention Matt Smith), so why single out Alfonseca?

As for Snelling replacing Burrell, what exactly do you think his "upside" is?

Slocs: kdon is correct about Germano. Me and several other posters here screamed bloody murder when the Phils sent him out instead of crap like Sanches, Segovia and Smith.

It's amusing to hear the Reds announcers whine about their bullpen.


Solid outing by Myers today. He has had a good spring and if Myers can breakout into the top echelon of NL starters in 2008 it will go a long way in helping the Phillies pitching keep pace with the Mets

"As for Snelling replacing Burrell, what exactly do you think his "upside" is?"

110-115 OPS+ with a positive defensive contribution in a corner OF spot.

Again, that's if he is healthy. I think having the option to find out is worth more than the marginal value Taguchi brings.

I realize Snelling over Taguchi is a risk, but it has the potential for more reward. I mean even if Snelling is a complete washout, how hard is to find someone with Taguchi's skill set?

"J.D. Durbin, Travis Blackely, Francisco Rosario, Clay Condrey and Fabio Castro to fill the available openings."

Agreed Clout. Once again the Phils are going to begin a season where the last 2-3 guys in the bullpen are as poor as anyone in an NL bullpen.

Last year, the Phils' bullpen threw 520 innings. If Lidge can give the Phils 65-70 innigs, Madson give them 80-85 innings, Romero gives them 65-70 innings, and Gordon can give them 55-60 innings, then this bullpen will probably be ok.

The problem is I highly doubt Gordon gives the Phils even 40 innings of effective relief this year and I don't know if Lidge will be give anywhere near a full season eitiher.

The real issue though is the rest of bullpen. Where do the find find characters to throw the other 225+ innings? Laugh if you will but the Phils will miss a guy like Gas Can this year throwing 65+ innings of even average relief (4.50 ERA).

I see it working out like a Russian novel - lots of names and changing faces, plenty of misery, and unhappy endings for most.

"I see it working out like a Russian novel."

True: "Crime and Punishment" constructed by "The Idiot."

kdon - Snelling as a replacement for Burrell? Just a bit of a reach. Snelling's value to the club:

1. As a left-handed bat off the bench - this opportunity is diminished since it looks like Cholly is going to make Feliz the everyday starter at 3B even against LHP and this will make Dobbs available most days to PH

2. Left-handed bat in an OF platoon role - once the Phils signed Jenkins this opportunity was pretty much closed.

Snelling can't play CF like Taguchi can. The issue is if the Phils go with an extra roster play and take Helms over Snelling. I don't see what value at this point that Helms brings vs. Snelling to the roster.

kdon: You get no argument from me that Snelling has more upside than Taguchi, but there is zero evidence to suggest he'd be a 110-115 OPS+ player.

He's a guy who had one monster year in the hitter's heaven of the PCL, back in '05 and even then he only hit 8 HRs. He came back to the PCL the next season and was awful. His mlb stats show he's nothing special. Admittedly he's had all kinds of injury problems.

But the fact is, he wasn't even drafted. Gillick signed him as an undrafted free agent. He's got good plate discipline and a nice K/BB ratio, but doesn't have either the speed or the arm to play CF. If he could stay healthy and you put him in LF, which is his best position, he might, emphasis on MIGHT, hit .280 with decent OB and 8-10 HRs (10 is the most he ever hit in the minors) without any steals. That would rank him near the bottom of all everyday LFers in the NL. His ceiling is this: A nice, offense-minded, 4th outfielder.

Still think people are making way-too much of ERAs this spring training. Case in point is Myers. While he has looked really good this spring, it is vital that he has a few good starts out of the gate in April and get settled into his role as a closer.

I am afraid Myers might be his own worst enemy again this spring if he has a few really starts again like he did last April.

Leadership is important to a degree but what impact does this really have on the Phils' crappy pitching this spring or injuries to Lidge & Eaton? It is a talent issue predominantly and not a "leadership" issue.

"but there is zero evidence to suggest he'd be a 110-115 OPS+ player."

That's silly clout. He has a career 97 OPS+ now through age 25, and that includes injuries and 27 horrible ABs (10% of his ML ABs) when he was 20 years old.

Even if you simply adjust for normal improvement in his age 27-29 seasons and throw out his 2002 year when he was the youngest player in baseball, he gets pretty close to 110.

I agree that his "mean" projection would be something around a good 4th outfielder, but his ceiling is higher than that.

And I don't think So Taguchi is so special a player that it warrants closing this option.

Snelling was an undrafted free agent because he's an Australian. Only American amd Puerto Rican prospects are forced to go through the draft process.

kdon: I see "Anna Karenina" as the more appropriate metaphor, since the novel concludes with a train wreck.

"Snelling as a replacement for Burrell? Just a bit of a reach."

Just to be clear MG, I'm not saying Snelling can replace the production, just that the Phils will need *someone* cheap to play LF next year, and Mr. 49/2 won't cut it.

kdon: We shall see who is right and who is wrong about Snelling. He's now 27 and his stats haven't exactly been on an upward trajectory.

BTW, if Snelling is the starting LFer on the 2009 Phillies, I guarantee they won't make the playoffs. Truth be told, however, I think there's very little chance of that happening.

Truth be told, I think there's very little chance of Snelling even being in the Phillies' organization in 2009 -- or 2008, for that matter.

"Truth be told, I think there's very little chance of Snelling even being in the Phillies' organization in 2009 -- or 2008, for that matter."

We agree on this. That was my whole point about Taguchi taking up a roster spot.

And he's 26. Born Dec. 3, 1981.

OOOOOH Adam Eaton pitched well... how often can you expect that... if thats your only good news you should get well acquainted with last place... and last time i checked giving up 5 hits in 3 innings is not that good.

Must be complacency .... cholly better have
another meeting with Victorino.... The braves mets and probably nats will finish ahead of this group of losers.

Nelson Figueroa? WTF?

Nelson Figueroa.... is 7-17 with a 4.65 carrer era... and Figueroa, a non-roster invitee, allowed one hit and one run with two strikeouts in four innings...

he probaly wont make the team because are pitching is so well.. but if he was on the phills he'd be the 4th starter

Santana, Martinez, and Maine is the best pithing staff in the national league....

kdon, Snelling replacing Burrell?

Ei yei yei yei yei!


Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, eh?

I'll agree Mr. 49/2 won't cut it...I predict he'll revert from his 'superior spring'.

But to think that Snelling.........

If Burrell is DL'd at some point during the year, I would not be surprised to see a starting outfield of Werth, Golson and Victorino. Golson hit over .400 against lefthanded pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

clout - Just got back in from a long day of work. If Vic D is to make the team, not only will a slot have to be cleared from the 40 man roster, but a ski slope will have to be cleared from Satan's driveway.

b-a-p:
I didn't make the reference to the A's. But maybe the cookie was referring to a bowling team that you don't yet know that you're going to join because some babe talks you into it. That team is gonna be dynamite!

If PtB goes down, the OF will be (789) Jenkins, Victorino, Werth for the extended period, with ample servings of Taguchi. While it messes up the platoon, it gives extra ABs to the "platooners," and provides an increase in OF defense.

kdon/bap:
I absolutely love the image of the Phils bullpen as a Russian novel. (And even though it's a different book, I keep picturing Jamie Moyer as Omar Sharif.)

The one guy the Phils can't afford to have go down in the OF for a prolonged guy is Victorino. Really don't have a guy who can take his place everyday in CF. Taguchi would be a drop-off defensively and offensively and I don't know if Werth would have the range to play CF. My guess is probably not on any kind of regular basis.

BTY - There is no chance Golson sees playing time with this club before a Sept. callup. OF is the arguably the only position the Phils have some roster depth right now. Rather have Golson build on this spring training and prove that he can put up some decent stats across at the board at Allentown or Reading.

Dull: Golson did indeed hit .432 in 37 ABs vs. LHP in the AFL. And he hit .181 in twice as many ABs vs. RHP.

KDON:

Points noted about Germano and you may be right (I hope not!) when compared to the Phil's 3-5 starters. My real thinking is that I think the Phils are over worrying about these out of options pitchers we have now. I don't see much potential from any except maybe Rosario.

As for Snelling, I tend to agree with you that he has some big upside potential if he can stay healthy and get some at bats. I hate thinking about losing him for nothing because we have nothing in the minors. I'm not convinced that Golson is close or ever will be (but I'm hoping I'm wrong). The thought that Helms or one of these unexciting pitchers will be kept on the roster and we'll lose Snelling worries me. The Helms fiasco reminds me of the waste of money and roster space with Lieber. We know why Helms hasn't been traded because the FO is unwilling to eat ane/enough of his salary, just like Lieber last off season. This penny-pinching costs the FO more money in the long run as well as hurts or team by wasting roster spots.

BTW - I apologize for my ignorance but who is 49/2 and why?

BAP: About your comments about leadership on a team and its true relevance.

Even outside the statistics, it's easy to make an argument about the need for leadership on this team. Hard-nosed play and genuine good guy stories (read: Rowand catch and Rockies groundscrew) have thus far made up the reputation of this team. We all know what is so endearing about this team.

Recently, however, our latest most public events have come in the form of a massive gap in salary arbitration and a voiced public displeasure from our staff ace. I'm not saying Rowand would have prevented these events, but hopefully there exists a leader in this clubhouse to reel in the egoes that inevitably come along with this early success for these young Phillies. Rollins is a great leader by example, undoubtedly, but we don't really know who is the vocal leader all the time. These problems legitamately cause concern and might be the reason for the call for leadership.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN:

"The Phillies' pitching problems are serious, and the rest of the team is looking complacent, which is not a good sign."

Phillies are gunna do exactly what the Mets did last year: get complacent and lazy and feel like they are "entitled" to the division, when in reality, they are entitled to nothing, and in turn, the Phillies will fall flat on their faces. Third place in '08.

49/2 is Golson's k/BB ratio at Reading last year and the primary reason why he is not ready for The Show in 2008. (You're forgiven.) He needs more than decent stats this year - he needs serious contention for the MVP in the Eastern or International League. His clock is running out fast for a 1st round draft pick.

Does Buster Olney get paid by the drawn conclusion? If so, his argument "that it's not a good sign" is worth 3 cents on ESPN 8 at 2:30 AM. Anyone complacent in anything, even digging ditches, is not "a good sign."


That Myers outing was relief. 1 out of 5 starters pitching well this spring...c'mon now!

DN today has chart comparing ST records with April records. In the 8 years starting with 2000, there's been a correalation 5 times. One thing it shows is that the Phillies have been an awful ST team for years. Here's the ST/April comparison going back to 2000:

2007: Bad/Bad
2006: Good/Bad
2005: Bad/Bad
2004: Bad/Bad
2003: Bad/Good
2002: Bad/Bad
2001: Bad/Good
2000: Bad/Bad

I didn't take it further back because those mid to late '90s teams were just awful, so the April record was a moot point.

Interesting that you dug into this, clout. We're still 3 days away from being able to assert anything, I thought?

From MLBTR-
The Phils are hunting for a southpaw reliever and another starter. Brian Fuentes remains on their radar, but they're competing with the Tigers and Yankees for him.
The Indians could make southpaws Jeremy Sowers and/or Aaron Laffey available, if Cliff Lee maintains his spring success. Cafardo says the Cardinals, Phillies, and Astros are eyeing them.

Apparently the Phillies are still interested in Brian Fuentes of the Rockies.

Also the Giants have 9 guys vying for 3 bullpen spots with a few guys out of minor league options. Also Steve Kline may be made available. I guess if you think his ERA last year was an aberration he might be worth a flier in the bullpen.

Fuentes would be a good move as it would give you some insurance if Lidge and Gordon spend time on the DL since he has some closer experience.

Fuentes did immolate himself over the course of last year, opening the door for Manny Corpas. I'd rather not see someone POed because he can't close. Although his K/BB ratio is acceptable, he's a bit of a flyball pitcher.

Slocs - I have been echoing your exact sentiments for quite a while now, but being blamed for negativity.

This is how I see things...

- Please, someone on this God's green earth please tell me why Pat Gillick is still here? He has already stated that there is a 0% chance that he will be back next year. Why not send "Stand" Pat, Eaton, and Helms all packing, eat those salaries and get rid of the bad karma. I know they can't spend that money, but just write off those bad moves so that they can move forward. Those losers are what is keeping the Phils from improving, at least from a money standpoint. Basically they are wasting $10-$11 million this year because of Gillick's bone-headed signings. That money could be better spent on some other quality, proven commodities (free agents). You never mind if a FA get's injured, but signing two over-priced, warm bodies to fill a temporary need, is just bad general managing.

- Rowand's leadership is a gaping hole, since the entire club talked about how important his role was in the clubhouse, as well as on the field. I know Victorino is his replacement, but do you honestly feel that the RF platoon is better than last year? CF itself, with Vic playing there is really no better off, let alone improved. So on a whole, the outfield is not better than last year's, including the loss of Bourne. The combination of fielding a team that is no better than last year's and a woeful pitching situation does not bode well for a season full of promise. I know I am beating a dead horse, but the self imposed, Joe Banner-like salary cap, has handcuffed this team from improving significantly over the '07 model. Such a shame, considering that the FO knows this but will insist on selling us an inferior product and put their own spin on things.

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