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Monday, March 10, 2008


With Eaton "ailing", both Durbins sucking, and Blackley showing why he was left unprotected, I'm becoming a bigger fan of the Benson deal. Here's to hoping he's ready by the end of April.

I have to think J.D. is running out of chances to prove he's the real deal for a spot in the rotation. Right now, I wonder how much they consider Castro and Rosario options to begin the season on a trial run before Benson is ready.

On the other hand, there's still plenty of time for this to play out in a mundane way, like C. Durbin straightens it out and gets slotted into the fifth spot.

I've got no problem with Chad Durbin making a spot start for a double header or to give some one an extra day, but I can't see him really helping us as the 5th starter.

This may have been mentioned on a prior thread, but due to the Dodger's injuries at 3rd Wes Helms may be a target...please!!!

I was sorry to see Valentino Pascucci being sent out so early in Spring Training -- particularly given his 1.000 slugging percentage -- and his tape measure home run and a triple so far in limited duty.

Obviously still very early, but I may be inclined to think that we may have to find ways to plug 2 holes in the rotation. In addition to the #5 started, I'm extremely concerned that Kendrick's 15 minutes of fame may be about up.

davthom: I sort of have a soft spot for Val too. There are lots of guys like that -- can't run, can't field, can't hit for average, strikes out too much, but CAN hits HRs at the major league level -- in the minors who could play a role on a bench somewhere if only they had the chance. Jack Cust is the classic example. He passed thru 5 organizations before the A's finally gave him a shot at age 28. All he did was post an OPS of .900. Obviously, that skill set makes way more sense in the AL.

No Carrasco on the cut list?


WP: It's March 10, and Kyle Kendrick is washed up. Fascinating. And here I thought Carson was the king of short-sighted, over-the-top pronouncements based one one game or even one inning.

Hate to see Tuffy Goosewisch go.

I would love to see someone like Rosario or Castro figure out how to harness their very live arms and claim the 5th starter role, but I won't read too much into anything that's happened so far. There's a good possibility that those two just have a big head start on everyone else this spring based on their recent winter league play.

With Kendrick struggling and all of the pitchers vying for the 5th spot struggling as well, I hope the front office opens the budget up for Loshe to be signed. He and Benson could be the answers to stabilizing our rotation.

Thanks for the dig Clout, been a while since you gave me a verbal bitch slap. Thing is, I'm often right.

And wasn't Cust named in the Mitchell Report?

The part that's tough about watching the ST struggles is we have less information, actually, than during the regular season. In the season, we know that the teams are ostensibly trying to win games. IN ST, winning games is not really a goal. Instead, the players are working on re-learning, improving, developing, experimenting, and all kinds of other stuff.

Any player might simply be working on something difficult to do, and so might look sucky right now. Or they might not quite be ready to go all out. Or, and with someone like Eaton this is more likely, they might actually already be going as hard as they can, trying as desperately as possible and, quite simply, they suck.

But we don't know. It's the downside to ST. And it gets us a little prematurely depressed, maybe. But give it a couple weeks. By, say, the 24th, most of the guys who are left will be trying to win - or trying like all get out to make the roster.

clout - ditto on the Tuffster. I was so looking forward to the Darensbourg-Gosewich battery.

I was actually rooting for Valentino Pascucci too. Based on his minor league track record, he strikes me as the kind of player who, if ever given a chance to play full-time, might hit .265 with 22 homeruns and 80 walks, and everyone would be shocked about it. Too bad he's not younger, since the Phillies may be in the market for a first baseman a few years down the road.

To repeat something I said in yesterday's thread, I don't buy the argument that anything that happens in the first 5 weeks of ST is meaningless. In fact, not only don't I buy it; I think that attitude is the very reason why an 85 to 89 win team has started out 3 of the last 4 seasons going 1-6.

It's troubling to me that we see the same patterns repeated year after year with this team: (1) a bad ST, marked by hideous performances from some key pitchers; (2) the Phillies -- from management down to players -- totally writing off that bad ST as meaningless; and (3) a 1-6 start to the regular season. When a pattern has repeated itself in 3 of the last 4 years (and, even in the fourth year, we lost 3 of the first 4), it boggles my mind that no one ever questions whether there might be a relationship between the first two items and the third one. Maybe, just maybe, this team doesn't take ST (and ST results) seriously enough. Everyone else is ready to start their season on opening day, while we're not ready to start it until a week or so later.

WP- Yes Kyle Kendrick is clearly done.

Spring Training is the absolute definitive gauge of that


The overreaction on Kendrick is likely due to the fact that people simply were not paying attention. Posters like myself and MG have been warning that the Phils (and fans) were expecting too much from Kendrick since the new year.

But because everyone assumed he was a top starter based in last year, they freak out now.

But if you take a more balanced view of Kendrick (that he is a #4 pitcher tops, and likely could use another year in the minors), then this is simply a bump in the road, no big deal.

Kendrick isn't as good as he was last year, but he is also not nearly as bad as he has looked so far.

If you start with the assumption that he is a 5.00 ERA pitcher who could win 10-12 games, then this isn't a disaster.

"If you start with the assumption that he is a 5.00 ERA pitcher who could win 10-12 games, then this isn't a disaster."

Ah...but what is it if you start with the assumption that he's the #3 starter on a pennant contending team? (Which is what the Phils-media-tool-machine has been feeding the fan base)?

(That's rhetorical, of course.)
The problem is that the pitching staff has a 1, a 2, a couple 5s and a whole bucketful of 5-wannabes.

I attribute the slow starts to playing in cold weather more than any other variable. The Phils had a winning record in ST last year and plenty of good camps from players, then started 1-6.

One year, I'd like to see the Scheduling Powers start the Phillies in Miami, then go to Houston, and then have the home opener in the second week.

Lidge threw 25 pitches off of a mound today and said it was a major step forward. Although he made the right call by getting the meniscus scoped, it's still his plant knee. I still reserve judgment.

Truth: It's ironic that you should name yourself, "The Truth Injection," because your post seriously misrepresents what WP said. He said he was "extremely concerned" about Kendrick. He didn't say that Kendrick was "clearly done."

After seeing the last 2 games, I don't see how anyone wouldn't be concerned about Kendrick. The Phillies, always in PR mode, are spinning the performances by reminiding everyone that he had a couple of tough patches last year. But 6 runs in 2 innings is not a rough patch; it's an abomination.

It may be ST but Kendrick & everyone else on our pitching staff are trying to get people out -- and they're failing miserably at it. Before someone misstates my post: I am NOT saying that Kendrick's struggles are irreversible and that he's finished as a major league pitcher; I'm NOT saying that he should be sent to Triple A or released; and I'm NOT saying that, because he's had 2 horrible ST outings, he's going to have a bad year. But I AM saying that his struggles are worrisome and should not casually be dismissed as meaningless. The idea that, once the last week of ST starts, these guys can somehow flip the switch & start pitching well is fanciful. A more likely outcome is that a hideous performance in early ST will presage a hideous performance in late ST and in the early part of the season. Hence, the Phillies' 1-6 starts in 3 of the last 4 years.

Mike: The Phillies went 11-18 in ST last year. And surely an intelligent poster such as yourself does not seriously believe that the cold weather is the reason why the Phillies have lost 6 of the first 7 in 3 of the last 4 years. Except for a handful of about 6 or 8 teams, EVERY team plays in cold weather in April. Those teams don't start off 1-6 every year.

Holy crap, I haven't had enough coffee this morning. Yep, they were 11-18 last year. I was thinking of 2006. Did 2006 really make a difference going into the first week? Nope. The Phils have had similar records like 11-18 going back to 2002.

bap, as I posted yesterday, the Phillies had a winning record in ST in 2006. The also started out that year at 4-11.

ST ain't meaningless, but it's not the 'be all and end all' either.

If I had the time, I'd look into better reasons why they start out slow (and if the weather has anything to do with it). It seems that in the early games, the pitching gives up walks or the defense gives up errors at critical times.

These are the projects I should have done this winter...

At least people on here are no longer trying to compare KK to "my boy", Derek Lowe.

Mike: I haven't researched it either. I've only noticed a strong correlation between bad STs, bad pitching in ST, and hideous starts. A good ST doesn't necessarily translate to a good start (as we saw in 06), nor does a bad one necessarily translate to a good start. But there seems to be a correlation -- at least in the Phillies' case.

Is it too soon to panic? The correct answer is no. They should have panicked during the offseason. Eaton is and always will be an automatic loss. Moyer's second half of last season pretty much represents what we can expect from a pitcher who is just too old to be effective. I have been a Kyle Kendrick fan because he hails from Mt. Vernon, WA which is just down the road from where I live. But let's face it, whenever he pitched well last year, it generally required a couple spectacular defensive plays by Nunez and a diving catch by Victorino. For a sinkerball pitcher, he gets too many hard hit fly balls. His poor ST performance is a bad omen.

The reality is that the Phils have 2 solid SPs and a very weak bullpen. They need Benson to heal fast. They need to sign Lohse. They need one of their remaining pitchers to step up to the rotation. It's doubtful that more than one of these needs will be met. They also need to trade Helms for bullpen help. It's not an encouraging picture. As much as I love the Phillies, their inaction on the pitching front in the offseason makes a 3rd place finish likely. If you want some truth injected, this is it.

so I guess Tampa is going to be the best team in the league this year going by their spring training record.. :rolls eyes:

Htman - the only "bullpen help" they'll be able to get for Helms is a used catcher's mask.

michael - I'll be pulling for those Ray's til the cows come home (or until the Phils face'em in the Series). (But I think I hear some mooing.)

Lohse is off the table. Amaro said that again and was quoted in today's article about Kendrick.

BAP- Saying you think Kendrick's 15 minutes might be up is roughly the same as me being sarcastic saying he is clearly done.

I'm not worried about Kendrick becasue of the type of pitcher he is. He thrives on his sinker and is trying to work on his change-up. A sinker ball pitcher usually gets better as they work more innings because their arm gets a little tired so it gets their arm slot to a correct point. So Kendrick isn't relying on it as much right now and is working on the change-up with little success. BUt ST is for that kind of stuff. He's also really only throwing his fastball when he is behind in counts.

He's thrown less than 7 innings this spring so far- so excuse me if I'm not ready tos tart sounding the alarms that his 15 minutes are up

* should've been less than 8 innings last post

From the makers of "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain":
Hamels and Myers and 3 used tires.
or, Myers and Hamels and 3 thirsty camels.

or, Myers and Hamels and a carton of Camels.

I know I'm more pessimistic than most about Kendrick, so I guess this is expected, but why do people consider him a really good sinkerball pitcher? He "thrives" on his sinker? His groundball rate last year was 47%, and his rate in the minors was just slightly better. While that is above average, it is nowhere near the GB level of Lowe, Carmona, Wang, Webb and other pitchers that are actually successful sinkerball pitchers. He's not even anywhere near Aaron Cook.

Look, I hope that he's tinkering around with other pitches and that explains some of his problems so far, but his entire career suggests he'll have groundball rates this year around 47-50%. As I've written before, it is very, very hard to find pitchers with that level of GB rate and a K rate as low as his that have been successful, even league average pitchers.

b_a_p, thank you for actually READING what I typed, rather than interpreting it as so many others have (clout is the king of this). I stated that I was "concerned." Period, end of sentence.

For everyone who does want to interpret this, the primary reason for my concern is the fact that I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that KK overachieved last season. We see this time and again (Hideo Nomo comes to mind to a more extreme extent). Give the rest of the NL the chance to see this kid a couple of times and his mediocre stuff isn't exactly solid mid-rotation material. I think he'd be best served in the 'pen.

But, since everyone else is so proned to hyperbole, I'll hold off on any more "concerns" until we're mid-August or so, to prevent the assertions that I'm claiming someone is DONE while it's still early. After all, "it's a long season" will be typed no fewer than 450 times in the next month alone.

Is anyone else listening to this game on radio? I've been listening for 5 minutes now and they've called 1 pitch. They're just talking in the booth and completely ignoring the game, it's absolutely terrible.

You don't think the rantings of Bob Walk are any good, Jack? Ha ha... I agree.

Time for some Real Deal action...

I feel like I've been listening to the same game for the past 5 days.

All of the balls put in play by Pirates batters sound like they are hard hit.

Crazy Jon: Seriously, it's the same thing every single day. Our pitching is so bad right now its ridiculous. Not to mention we don't even seem to get a hit or threaten to score until the 5th or 6th inning. I'm less worried about the offense, I know we'll score plenty this year, but the pitching is a legit concern, no matter what people say. Gillick has completely failed in building a competitive pitching staff. Good riddance.

These knuckleheads calling the game must never watch any other game. They just said that, based on what they've seen, Edgar Renteria is an average shortstop. Give me a break.

Home run, Burrell.

Why is Happ back in the minors while JD Durbin is still being considered for the 5th starter's job? That's a rhetorical question, by the way. No need for explanations about options and waivers.


Happ's being back in the minors might have to do with a 5.02 ERA in Ottawa last year. He took a real step backwards, and needs to get back on track. Based on his performance at lower levels, he's guy some potential, but he needs a refresher course in getting people out. The guy could turn out to be pretty good, and there's no good reason to ruin him in the bigs by letting him get shelled as he did in his one start last season.

My God, Durbin sucks. Blackley has to impress next time out.

Happ's being back in the minors might have to do with a 5.02 ERA in Ottawa last year. He took a real step backwards, and needs to get back on track.

Actually, it probably has more to do with guys like the Durbin's, Blackley etc... having no safety net (no options) and the team wanting to give them every opportunity to sink or swim in the next 2 weeks.

Happ and Bisenius have options, and if they pitch well early on at Allentown, they will probably be up. Both pitched solidly, in limited chances this year in ST, and are still well thought of.

"Real Deal" might be pitching himself onto waivers.

JAS: Happ was injured last year. That's the reason for the high ERA & it also may have something to do with why he got shelled in his one big league start.

In a perfect world, I agree with you that Happ should start the year at AAA to prove that he can master that level & that he is recovered from his injuries. But the Phillies' world is less than perfect. 2 years ago, Happ was lights out at AA, where the level of play isn't all that much different than AAA. A guy who can pitch well at AA, if healthy, would very likely give the Phillies a better chance to win this year than any of the other candidates for the No. 5 starter's job. At the very least, they could have given him a few more ST outings to see how he does.

denny: Yes, that's the reason (I already knew that; that's why I said I didn't need an explanation). The Phillies sent Happ & Bisenius to Allentown out of fear that, if they tried to do the same to JD Durbin, some other team might, God forbid, claim him. Gillick evidently thinks it's more important to hold onto the great JD Durbin than it is to win games in 2008.

I would package Wes Helms, the Real Deal, and one other guy to any team for any sinkerballing relief pitcher, no matter if he is a AAAA. Yep, it's a salary dump. That seems to me a realistic option, but I am not the GM. Am I way off here?

Yahoo reporting Eaton has herniated disc in back and other assorted DL yet but can they repair him and do we want him repaired?

Do we have the technology?

That has to be it for Real Deal.

3 1/3 IP.

8 hits
5 doubles
2 walks
5 earned runs

10 of the 20 hitters he faced reached base.

ERA for the spring is now close to 10.

Anybody got Paul Abbott's number?

Mike H - you're only way off in thinking that any other GM would actually take that deal. Why would another team want our trash? That third player would really have to be worth it for that other team.

I think the reality is that Benson moves into the rotation by May, and if he is healthy, he'll end up the number 3 pitcher and KK is then the #5, which is what he should be. Until then, they hope to get the best out of a crapshoot at the #5 slot.

The scary thing is not that this team has horrendous pitching, it's that we have been sold a load of crap by the Front Office, knowing full well that the pitching was putrid and the reason they needed those final week heroics to win the NL East.

This is typical of Phillies management. They knew going into the winter, after their blink-and-their-gone playoff appearance, that their needs were for pitching, both starting and bullpen. One can make the arguement that every team in MLB needs pitching, but outside of trading for Lidge, signing Romero and re-shuffling a guy (Myers), that makes us better?

So instead of writing off Eaton, probably prematurely slotting Kendrick as their #3 starter, upping the payroll to re-sign Lohse (who had a decent year) and further firming up the bullpen, they did nothing. Why does anyone wonder why this team starts off every year with a sub-par performance? Are they oblivious? It's the same thing every year: "We're hoping that...". This is a team that really believes that doing almost nothing in the off-season, is going to win in spite of it's lack of commitment to doing so? Are you kidding me?

Every year at Spring Training we hope that every piece falls perfectly into place. That's like driving on I-95 at rush hour, to a place 30 minutes away, when you have only 20 minutes to get there, and hoping that there is no traffic.

What's really amazing? That we buy into it every year!

Tim: Because the Phils would pay for the trash, a GM would get three players for one, and a GM would need a third baseman. I'm not thinking Boston would make that move, but would Kansas City?

Mr. Mack: To be fair, Lohse was offered 3 years, $21 million and he turned it down. I'm sure he wishes he had taken that offer now.

But on the whole, you're right, we are again faced with a pitching staff that will have to be rescued time and time again by our offense.

Mike: Here's the problem with your thinking. Helms is NOT a third baseman. He's a utility, back-up first and third baseman. He proved last year he doesn't have the skills to man the hot corner full time.

Yep, you're right. I know Helms is a misfit on this team. I speculated that there is some value for him and that the value could net a relief pitcher. There isn't a team that would likely take that deal.

Yep, you're right. I know Helms is a misfit on this team. I speculated that there is some value for him and that the value could net a relief pitcher. There isn't a team that would likely take that deal.

Helms? Value? HA, he looks half retarded out there.

Great blog, Im adding you to my blogroll over at Hopefully we can do a link exchange.

CJ - Where did that $21 million go? They had a minimum of $7 million committed to Howard. Where's the rest?

The latest demoralizing statement by Golden Boy Amaro, that "We don't have the means to pay Lohse, even at a low price" is sickening to me. Are you f*$#ing kidding me? They are this close to imploding, and they're not even out of Spring Training yet, but there is no panic in Phillie-land.

This is the exact mentality that caused Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling and who knows next packing, er, I mean running, for the exit door. The lack of commitment by the front office to winning is painfully obvious. There is a self- imposed salary cap, which by all accounts is that of a small to middle market team.

The Phillies slogan for '08 should read:
'We're Committed. Maybe You Should Be For Supporting Us!'

It's spring training, relax everyone.

"or, Myers and Hamels and a carton of Camels."

Crazy John,

It's too late; the Phils had their chance to hire Leyland...

I tuned into these clowns on MLB because of the posts above...God are they brutal. The guys cell phone just went off...and then he talked about it!

Good ol' Bob Walk. Nicknamed "Whirlybird" and "Pigpen" in his playing days. Once when he was 18 and drunk, he threw a tennis ball into the field of play at Dodger Stadium. But he did win Game 1 of the 1980 World Series... after the offense bailed him out of the top of the first... lol

The Pittsburgh radio call during this game has been positively THE WORST alleged "play--by-play" broadcast that I have ever heard in my life!

What is the problem with the Phillies having a radio call for every Spring Training game? While WPHT obviously wants its "Big Talker" talk format advertising revenues -- which I am sure are larger than a Phillies' ST game would produce -- it seems to me that there should be nothing stopping the Phillies from running the radio call on -- on those days when WPHT is not carrying the ST game -- as many other teams do. By way of example, I believe that the Twins, for instance, have a radio call for all of their ST games -- whether on the net alone -- or on the net and on the radio -- and the Twins are in a much smaller market than are the Phillies.

A radio call is particularly importantduring ST games -- for which MLB Gameday is not operating.

It is frustrating to watch this team's pitching this spring training but this just wasn't an area the Phils put much emphasis on this offseason besides the Lidge trade. Instead they chose to sign guys like Jenkins and Feliz. Basically, if everything broke their way the pitching staff would be "ok."

More than likely though the Phils are going to need to reach for a starter from AA by June and be trolling the waiver wire all season long for bullpen additions. This is the third season of Gillick's tenure and the third-year the pitching staff is at best below-average.

Not only did they really fail to upgrade their pitching this year (and I actually understand this to a degree with the starting rotation because the FA market was so lean but I am less forgiving on the bullpen where some attractive options out there) but the Phils will likely be bystanders in the FA market next season because of Gillick's signings of Eaton, Feliz, and Jenkins.

This is why I blast Gillick so much because not only have the majority of his major moves been disappointments but he has had no coherent plan to capitalize on the Phils' core of talent to put them in position to contend for a championship. Instead it has been a patch signing here and a stop-gap move there.

The sad part is that when Amaro takes over as GM later this year, I think we will long for the largely absent and silent nature of Gillick.

I am ready to close the chapter on the Durbin experiment, the J.D. variety. Hell, I am ready to say goodbye to Chad Durbin too, but that ain't happenin...

BTW, Youman sucks too. Another wasted spot on the 40-man roster.

MG, I was in favor in of signing both Feliz and Jenkins, but if it came at the expense of Lohse, I would amend my opinion.

It's simply shocking that the team won't pay an extra 5-7M for one year of Lohse when they are this close.

I also don't see why they never made a serious push for Cordero. For the price of Feliz, Jenkins and Lidge, they could have signed him and Loshe and the bullpen would have been:


They wouldn't have had to sign C. Durbin, Taguchi, or Jenkins and would still have Bourn and Costanzo (1088 OPS in ST!)

Few points:

- JD Durbin's outing probably helped to seal his fate today. Unless there are a few more injuries in camp, his short tenure as a Phil will be over in a week or two.

- Agree that Kendrick has looked brutal but it is spring training and only 2 outings. I would be more worried if we heard something about Kendrick's health. Kendrick will struggle at times this year (say an ERA around 4.75-5.00) but the Phils have tied their fate to him. Plus, I am a fan of Kendrick's demeanor and poise. Don't think he is going to getting himself in a mental funk because of 2 poor outings in spring training.

As long he can even be an average starter must nights (say 6+ innings with 3-4 R), than he won't one of the problems this year.

- Gordon gave up yet another run today and 2 hits. I am much more concerned about "Gordon as closer" for the first 2 weeks of the season than I am right now with Kendrick. Funny how those "Gordon is healthy and ready to go" articles that appeared 3 weeks ago have just fallen off the earth. In fact, I don't recall seeing a single quote from Gordon in the last 2 weeks. Gordon is done and the next inevitable story that will come out is "Gordon struggling to find touch on offspeed pitches" followed shortly by "Gordon to the DL."

Amaro BS translator:

"We don't have the means to pay Lohse, even at a low price"

What he really meant:

"We don't have the money to pay Lohse because we screwed up the Howard arbitration thing and instead had to pay him another $1.5-$2 M and are stuck paying $3 M to a guy (Helms) who might not even make our opening day roster."

Positive news:

- Lidge threw off the mound yesterday. Here is hoping that he doesn't suffer any setbacks and is ready to come back by the second week of April. Phils fan live with "Gordon as the closer" for a week or so but hopefully it doesn't turn into an entire month of April thing.

Although I spent most of the off-season yelling "TRADE KENDRICK", I'm not giving up on him yet. In AI's immortal words, "this is practice we're talking about - practice". If Kyle says he's experimenting, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

In baseball, success is always relative, so you have to look at what everyone else is up to...

Joe Blanton (who everyone wanted to sell the farm for) has allowed 15 hits and 9 runs in 11 innings. More examples:

Roy Oswalt 7R 9IP
Randy Wolf 9R 4IP
Oliver Perez 9R 4IP
Victor Zambrano 9R 9IP
Clay Buchholz 8R 3HR 5IP
Barry Zito 9R 3IP
Brandon Webb 13H 6R 9IP
Nick Lowry 7R 2IP
Erik Bedard 5R 4IP
Joba Chamberlain 2R 2IP

think all those guys are finished?
honestly, i'm WAY more worried about Cole.

If Hamels has a bad year, we'll spend all summer talking about the Eagles.

Crazy Jon -
How about Myers and Hamels and then three days of sheer stupidity by the front office shining through and showing us how awful they are.

Oh. That doesn't rhyme.

Can we trade Helms to the Eagles? Surely they need an extra tackling dummy.

Nomar has been scratched from the travel team to Japan. The Phils front office will have to be fairly pathetic if they can't dump some of Helms' salary on the Dodgers and open up a roster spot.

screwed up howard's arbitration?
how about they don't take their awesome young nucleus to arbitration, like every other big market team? Just because we, as fans, realize the reality of the situation, doesn't mean we have to be satisfied with it. The ownership gets away with it because we let them.

Fans should start pressuring the ownership to SELL! They'll do it if we raise enough of a ruckus. The owners don't want attention, but if we start complaining, they'll get a lot of it.

come on people- the phillies have 2 legit starting pitchers, two!, and they're too cheap to pay Kyle Lohse 4 million. Thats unacceptable, like Norman Braman unacceptable. When Eagles fans stood up, Braman sold. Phils fans need to do the same.

kdon - I am still not a fan of the Feliz signing but it is hard to argue that the Phils could have gone with a platoon of Helms/Dobbs again for the entire season. Dobbs is at best utilized as a kind of super-sub who can play a couple of positions and be a good PH option off the bench. Just poor defensively at 3B and he didn't hit there well.

Helms has shown nothing this spring so far. Have to admit I was a fan of this signing last year and thought Helms would be a solid part-time regular like Dobbs was last year. None of the ridiculous (20 HRs) stuff but I thought that he would end up with numbers similiar to what Dobbs put up.

Now, Helms hasn't shown much offensively and doesn't really a position on this roster due to his defensive limitations (really only a 1B).

Hasn't been discussed at all but I really wonder if Helms makes the opening day roster. Will the Phils go with an 11-man rotation just to clear a spot for Helms and not have to release him?

This ownership will not be forced sell, period. No amount of complaining by fans (about a team that won the NL East last year) will force them to sell.

And I don't blame the FO totally for Howard going to arbitration, it seems as though that is what Howard wanted. The FO actually has a record of not going to arbitration.

Youman should either end up at Allentown or be released. Last thing the Phils need is another soft-tosser in the pen who can't throw strikes. Here is hoping the Phils realize they need another lefty in the pen since Romero will primarily be a setup guy and go with Castro as a LOOGY to start the season.

Hey davthom -

That money is better spent on promotional give-a-way days in the minds of the Phillies Phabulous Phront Office! The problem with those nit-wits is that things that are really important to the true fans, are not of any importance to them. Spending the money for broadcasting Spring Training games is obviously not one of them.

Just another astute observation from an owner like Bill Giles who would rather stockpile bobble-heads than prospects.

The team needs new ownership. They stepped in sh*t with Utley, Howard, Rollins and Hamels, but they can't afford to pay all 4 of them market rate, and also fill in the gaps. Their luck is the cause of their demise. Ironic, eh?

Yeah, Baxter, while I agree the ownership is terrible and hope they sell, your point about Howard is one that has largely been disproven here.

Howard was out for as much money as possible and wanted to go to Arb- caving and just giving him the most he wanted would be bad business and set a bed precedent. As Tim said, the team has a history of reasonable long-term deals for their young guys- Burrell, Myers, Rollins, Utley all received long-term deals instead of arbitration. Howard is a special circumstance who feels he is in line for a record-setting contract and seems to be hostile to negotiations for a reasonable long-term deal. Plenty of big market teams go to arbitration; I don't get that part of your statement.

Crazy Jon:

"Hamels and Myers and three days of flyers."

I like:

If owners don't sell, it's six months of hell!

Mr. Mack, the slogan should read:

"We're NOT Committed. But Maybe You Should Be For Supporting Us!"

Just a thought on the Lohse situation. Since Benson can leave the team after March 25, maybe the front office feels that Benson will walk if the Phils sign Lohse. It seems realistic that if Benson is progressing he may not want to wait for an injury to happen to crack the rotation, even though the Phils would definitely need him at some point even with Lohse (and probably sooner rather than later).

Im not saying that this should stop the FO signing Lohse. Just about everyone here would rather have the proven commodity that is Lohse (no matter how mediocre) over the gamble on Benson. But that may be what ownership is thinking, especially with the cost differential.


Tim - Disagree totally. Fans complain through their pocketbooks and the purchase of tickets (particularly season tickets). While it took a while for 1993 to wear off, the fans did begin to realize that the 1990s BS mantra from Giles about being a "smart-market" team wore really thin and attendance really bottomed out during the late 1990s/early 2000s. Fans had just grown tired of the perennial losing, lack of spending, and BS from ownership in general.

Even with their NL East pennant, the Phils only came in 6th in attendance in the NL last year. The previous seasons it was 7th and 9th. So while CBP has helped the Phils in numerous ways, the owners realize that they will need to put a winning product on the field due to the ire /discontent that have been built-up over the years. Any goodwill this ownership had with the public and media at large was used up years ago. It would take a few years of playoff success for that to return in any large part.

If this team were to return to a 75-80 win team again and have to rebuild, I bet the attendance would plummet and rapidly. That is why I think this ownership group will ride out this current core and sell sometime early next decade when they have to likely begin to rebuild to some degree.

"Howard is a special circumstance who feels he is in line for a record-setting contract and seems to be hostile to negotiations for a reasonable long-term deal."

Jack, your statement assumes that what the Phillies want is "reasonable". Team Howard have a different opinion of what is "reasonable", given Howard's historic accomplishments.

I'm not siding with either party, but to write that Howard "seems to be hostile to negotiations to a reasonable long-term deal" is pure speculation on your part.

Being MOTO, that's why they "negotiate", because the sides have differing opinions as to a player's value.

Utley's a Rollins' contracts are, in the current market, steals for the Phillies. I'm sure Howard sees that and would like to make sure that doesn't happen to him.

The Phillies have a right to place a limit on what they will pay Howard. Howard has a right to want more.

We'll see what happens.

As an aside, I'll lay odds right now that they don't resign Rollins after 2010. If Bill Conlin's article is correct about the potential of Freddy Galvis , he could be ready by 2011, and as much as I'd hate to see it, it'll be "bye bye Jimmy".

MG -

My frustrations, which I hoped wouldn't happen this early, are the same as yours. How can we know what pieces to the puzzle are needed, yet the Front Office feels completely differently?

I'll tell you why...because they don't want to admit to a complete bust when it comes to Adam Eaton. This guy, along with Freddy Garcia, were Gillick's big signings. I would rather have seen them sign a bunch of young arms, either through free agency or players who are out of options, rather than waste money on moves like these. The LOOGY role is non-existent right now as is the fifth starter. They will happen through default. Great way to plan your pennant winning team's strategy Pat!

Again, as in the previous two seasons, there is no Plan B. Last year's Plan B Closer is now our Opening Day starter, for the second straight year. Injury prone players continue to be the "hope" that the FO wants us to have faith in. This team just never seems to think that there is any urgency for making a true run at a championsghip.

Bludgeoning your opponent doesn't work every night, even if your Tony Soprano.

TWB - There is no "Lohse situation." The FO has made a decision that he is too expensive. That really should be the end of the discussion. It is like the wise poster who reminded us all that Burrell has a FNTC - Full No Trade Clause.

AWH - Installing Freddy Galvis is a hell of a gamble on your part. Remind us again what his batting average was at Williamsport?

We are Beerleaguers. We don't have to fall for Bill OneChair's ramblings!

MG, here's an alternate translation from my

Ruben "Liar Liar" Amaro BS Translator:

"We don't have the means to pay Lohse, even at a low price"

What he really meant:

"We expect Eaton to be on the DL very soon, possibly having surgery on his herniated disk.

Therefore, we expect Benson to be the 5th starter and reaching his incentives, which could add up to several million dollars.

That's why we can't sign Lohse."

Mike H: I realize this. They are not signing Lohse. But at the same time half the posts here say how the Phils should pay Lohse. Just offering another theory. Obviously the only one that matters is that they are too cheap.

Jack: I agree with you that Howard is overreaching in his quest for a $200M contract. But the Phillies also screwed up big-time, by coming up with an arbitration figure which was so ridiculously out-of-date that even Howard's excessive $10M demand was deemed by the arbitrator to be the more reasonable of the 2 offers. As we hashed out at the time, $8.5M represents the present day value of Pujols $7M contract in 2004. Pujols is better than Howard by any measure, so it's just a matter of figuring out how much to back up from $8.5M. My guess is that, had the Phillies offered Howard $8M, they almost certainly would have prevailed in arbitration. Without that $2M miscalculation, maybe our owners would be willing to pay Lohse $4M. Without that and the $900K they're wasting on the spectacularly bad C. Durbin, we'd be barely $1M apart from what Lohse wants. And I won't even bring up the subject of Pedro Feliz.

AWH - I like your spin on my slogan.

Hammels & any buyers?

Can we get Mark Cuban or Pat Croce to put in a serious bid for this team? I read last year that both were looking into buying a MLB franchise. I swear to God that I don't think I can take another year of this lame ownership group of used car salesmen, telling us that our pitching staff is going to be sufficient this year, all the while knowing full well that the muffler is attached with string and wire.

Oh, and I forgot the duct tape.

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EST. 2005

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