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Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Overall, I'd say the Mets are in better shape than the Phils pitching-wise, but late-spring loose ends aren't a problem reserved for the Phils. The Mets don't have a fifth starter right now. Nelson Figueroa and Mike Pelfrey are the top candidates. Fernando Tatis will likely be their last man on the bench. Joe Smith or Brian Stokes will be their final man in the bullpen.

One "gushing" article from today I agree with is the strength of our bench. It will be quite solid.

I've never seen a prospect raise his stock more in one spring outing than Andrew Carpenter. Now Rotoworld picked up the story ...

I like J.D. ... in AAA. Let him start every 5 days there and see if he can ever harness his control. At least he's got upside.

Since the Phils let Blackley go, would they be able to offer the Giants Helms in a trade to keep him? And if so, would Blackley then not be bound by the Rule 5 requirement to remain on the ML roster?

Morty, yes and yes.

And I'm certainly in the camp of letting the Real Deal have a full season in AAA. It wasn't so much that I thought he could help the team this year (though his performance likely wouldn't have been worse than Eaton or C. Durbin), but that I didn't want to lose that talent in order to bring in Alfonseca/Mesa v 2.0.

I'd rather trade Helms for a servicable reliever of some sort. Blackley doesn't count as one.

...Should've added that they'll probably have to offer something a little more than just Helms to get that, though.

Anthony Reyes availability has been made know by the Cards according to MLB trade rumors. The Phils have shown some interest in the past in Reyes and I know that he is a fly ball pitcher, but I think it would be a great acquisition. The Phils could use some good young arms, especially those w/ over 200 innings of ML experience. Reyes struggled last year in the Win and ERA department, but his peripherals were all right. The thing is that he has destroyed AAA for over 250 innings w/ a AAA ERA of 3.18 and a Whip of 1.04! His AAA walk rate has been below 2.57 in every year and his K/9 was above 8.7 in 3 out of 4 years. I think he just needs a fresh start and at 26 he still has time to turn out some good ML seasons. This year he could easily help out at the 5th starter spot (if we are lucky and the top 4 produce). But next year he could really be valuable w/ Moyer getting impossibly old, Eaton ineffective, Benson going somewhere else (especially if he does well), and a lot of prospects still too young (Carrasco, Outman, Savery, Drabek...).

Of course it all depends what we have to give up. The cards could use a lot in the pitching dept. but we don't have much to spare. They have one of the top OF prospects in baseball in Colby Rasmus. They could really use help in the middle infield, but I think that Cardenas might be too much to give up... or is he?

kdon: Sometimes you say the most ridiculous things:
"(though his performance likely wouldn't have been worse than Eaton or C. Durbin)"

Since only JD Durbin of those 3 has yet to even be able to pitch well enough to stay in the majors for very long, what possible basis do you have to say that?

I'd make it real simple and go get Rudy Seanez. It might take a half-mil plus incentives. Big whoop.

"what possible basis do you have to say that?"

Post all-star break, 2007:

Pitcher A: 41 IP, 5.71 ERA, 18 K, 14 BB
Pitcher B: 57 IP, 7.38 ERA, 30 K, 23 BB
Pitcher C: 56 IP, 4.78 ERA, 31 K, 31 BB

C, of course, being the Real Deal.

Again, nothing spectacular from any of them, but hardly absurd to suggest that pitcher C could pitch as well as A and B in 2008.

Mike H: From the last thread, you asked why no one had really talked about Carpenter before. The answer is that while 19-6 looks great, minor league W-L record is about the last thing any scout or analyst would look at when evaluating a prospect. It simply doesn't matter. Carpenter showed some really good things last year, stuff that was above where he was ranked as a prospect, but he was doing it as a 22 year old in low A ball, where most of the players are younger. He's shown some real potential, but he has to prove it at a higher level this year before we should really consider counting on him to produce at the big-league level.

Jack: Actually, it was Clearwater, which is high Single A, and the average age in the league is around 23.

Carpenter really has been pretty unheralded, considering he was a second round draft pick, won 19 total games last year (including 2 in the post-season), & pitched a 7-inning perfect game. But I agree with you that we need to find out if he can do it at AA or higher. I'm actually fairly optimistic about him. He's done nothing but impress up to this point.

JW - You mean that you disagree with Brett Myers's claim that the Phillies have the best rotation in the National League? Shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

I'm all about picking up Rudy Seanez and one of Fultz, Kline, or Byrdak. None are spectacular, but each would help strengthen our very weak bullpen.

Thank God JD Durbin has been placed on waivers. I actually hope he goes through and ends up in our minors because I think if he figures "it" out in his f'd up head, he could be a serviceable pitcher someday, but right now he surely isn't.

Any thoughts on going after Claudio Vargas? Milwaukee cut him, the Mets want him badly to fill their 5th rotational spot, and the Phils need all the help they can get. Vargas won 11 games last season and has a pretty reliable veteran arm.

Here's the link to Andrew Carpenter's Phuture Phillies profile.

http://phuturephillies.com/category/players/carpenter-drew/profile-carpenter-drew-players/

How about going after Seanez and then wait for Mike Myers on the waiver wire. He's sure to show up. I like him better than Kline.

In other Mets news, Ruben Gotay is starting the season on the DL.

I will recast my "no" vote for Anthony Reyes. He's a fastball/changeup pitcher. He's not going to get the Dave Duncan treatment in Philadelphia in perfecting a ground ball pitch. Every stat that is important to pitch in CBP has trended in the wrong direction going back to 2005.

If you're implying Cardenas for Anthony Reyes, slugdog, I could not disagree with you more. Should J-Roll and Utley stay healthy and excellent for years, Cardenas is a trade chip for later down the road.

J~ Seanez is 39! I'd like to get someone younger if possible. If not, then go for it.

Seanez fits the bill as someone who can get strikeouts, which Manuel has been asking for. 73 strikeouts in 76 innings last season. That's over 30 more than any reliever gave them last season besides Myers.

I'd be interested to see Carpenter pitch live because that ERA last year seems a bit low given his peripherals.

163 IP, 150 H, 53 BB, 116 K, 16 HR

I don't know if you can fine minor league DIPS, but that doesn't seem to translate to a 3.20 ERA without luck.

It's good of course, but without the ERA and win totals, it's not a line that grabs your attention like Carrasco's '06 Lakewood campaign.

Seanez is old, but stick him in middle relief and be pleasantly pleased.

I dislike Anothony Reyes very much. He may have upside, but apparently so did JD Durbin. Both have been a mess thus far in the majors.

I agree on Seanez. Unlike a lot of veteran guys whose names get tossed around here, Seanez can actually pitch.

The Phils could get him for the minimum, and the returns would likely be as good as what teams like the White Sox get from Dotel and Linebrink at a fraction of the cost.

kdon: Career stats are a better predictor of future performance than stats from 3 months.

Seanez has done nothing but produce over the past handful of years, I don't understand why more clubs are after his services.

Beggars can't be choosers, Patrone. We have Ruben McGillick to thank for putting the Phillies in that position.

Is there any possibility of starting another place where kdon and clout can take their pissing matches so the rest of us don't need to be subjected to them?

I'm just here to read and have civil discussions about the Phillies. I have no interest in which one of you has the bigger one.

Truth Injection: This probably didn't occur to you, but you don't have to read each post. You can skip over posts by kdon and myself.

I'm all for signing Seanez, but I continue to be dumbfounded as to why we are even in this position. Seanez was on the FA market forever, and ultimately signed with L.A. on a $500K non-guaranteed contract. It would have taken absolutely nothing for us to sign him before.

Mike H. You're right. But after the Phils lost Howard's arb case, they weren't about to spend any more $$. If Seanex would agree to a very low salary and we can't get anyone else then ok. My guess is the team will keep trying to trade Helms and unload his salary. No way they're gonna release him. They'll have to pay him his salary + his 750k BO if they do.

"kdon: Career stats are a better predictor of future performance than stats from 3 months."

Yeah sure, sometimes. But sometimes not. I never fail to be puzzled why you think you can shut down discussion based on such obviously wrong blanket statements like this.

First of all C. Durbin's career stats are actually *worse* than what he did in the last few months of 2007, so your objection is moot there.

Secondly, the Eaton that has returned from injury and the trade to Texas is a very different Eaton then the one who pitched in San Diego.

Ah, Patrone, but getting put in this position goes back well before the Howard arbitration case. It goes back to November 1, when the money changers counted the take from the playoffs and said "OK, boys (and Claire Betz) - X% is for us. We'll keep payroll the same and have Ruben cry poverty to the media."

We Beerleaguers thought that payroll would be cut at the end of the season. After making the playoffs, the owners made enough money to keep payroll at the same spot, more or less.

Don't get me wrong, Patrone. You make a fine argument for trying to win the World Series. It's also an implied argument that if management can optimize their profit, they make their return on investment AND win the World Series.

But these owners are trying to maximize profits first and foremost.

Mike H.

True. But they have the bucks to spend if they choose to. They choose not to. This is partly why PG can't complete the puzzle. The rest of the blame goes to him for failing to address obvious needs of the team.

For instance instead of snubbing their noses up at Lohse because he turned them down earlier, they could've have brought him back. Didn't. Now they're looking for relief help. There was a few guys on the open market
that could've helped. Didn't get any of them. Why? One reason is $$ of course. The other was/is that once again they've over-valued a guy they thought they could trade for help (Helms). They did the same thing last year with Lieber.

One question I have is, when they lost the arb case, Amaro said the Phils "were prepared for it". My question is simply: How?

kdon: You (purposely) missed my point. Career stats:

C. Durbin: 5.75 ERA, 82 ERA+, 1.56 WHIP
J. Durbin: 6.19 ERA, 75 ERA+, 1.65 WHIP

2007 stats:
C. Durbin: 4.72 ERA, 97 ERA+, 1.42 WHIP
J. Durbin: 6.06 ERA, 76 ERA+, 1.76 WHIP

The numbers speak for themselves, although feel free to continue your fantasy.

Mike H: The payroll is up about 10mil from where it was this time last year.

I think it's fine to criticize Phillies' FO philosophy, but cheapness isn't the issue.

Every business obsessed with profit, like the Phils management is, have two lines on their balance sheet called "Miscellaneous" and "Contingency." That's how they were "prepared for it." The cushion of cash that they set aside for 2008 was used for Howard. Was all of it used? I have no idea.

Brian - It's up because guaranteed money contracts went up. It's the same payroll more or less. My apologies if I implied that they are "cheap" in the traditional sense.

Brian: Some of us are skeptical about the Phillies claim of a $100M+ payroll. Let's see what USA Today lists as their opening day payroll.

Earlier this off-season, Mike Illitch, the Detroit Tigers' owner, found out that the Marlins were shopping Cabrera and Willis, He immediately picked up the phone & called the team's GM, Dave Dombrowski, to urge him to get involved in the bidding. When Dombrowski told Illitch that trading for these 2 guys would totally bust the team's payroll budget, Illitch responded by saying that he now had a new budget. THAT's my idea of an owner whose highest priority is winning.

If Gillick went to Monty & said that the Astros wanted to trade Roy Oswalt for Chris Snelling, Monty's response would be that it sounds great, but the Phillies can't afford Oswalt.

Looks like Eaton's going to spread out the runs he gives up today.

Clout, that's fine. I think it is completely legitimate to make an argument that C. Durbin is better.

My point is that there *are* sound reasons to think the Real Deal would be better, included among them is his very nice stretch from last summer.

That's the problem with your "anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid" arguments; in that they make for poor points of departure for discussion.

Because you automatically assume anyone who thinks differently is stupid or ridiculous, you assume anyone who disagrees with you thinks the same of you.

But I don't think it's ridiculous or stupid to think C. Durbin is better than the real deal; I just happen to disagree.

BAP - An eminently practical example of optimizing payroll (the Tigers) versus maximizing payroll (the Phillies).

I'm expecting something unexpected.

Yes! My first Wheels "middle in" of the year!

And of course, incongruously applied to Sheffield, who loves to extend his arms out over the plate.

So much for Eaton's hot streak

On the bright side, Eaton's going up against a monster lineup and isn't getting completely lit up... so far.

Anna Benson needs to put down her marmosets and give her hubby some McLovin, 'cause we're going to need him in May for sure with the way Eaton and Kendrick have looked this spring.

We talked about Polanco yesterday- seems appropriate.

Possible postgame comments from Eaton:

"Hey guys, it's cool. Have you seen my career numbers?"

Brian G:

It depends how you want to define "cheap."

I assume you don't want to argue whether ownership's priority is winning a WS, or fielding a competitive team that does not go into the red, financially.

Yay! Back to sucksville, population Eaton!

I'm glad to see Eaton get exposed a few days before Opening Day against a monster lineup versus Kenny Rogers and the Phils somewhat regulars. Better this than to see Eaton twirl a three-hit, no-run six inning start against the Bad News Bears or the Pirates.

Durbin has NOT been put on waivers! He is still on the squad as of 2:17pm eastern time

So much for the "next Chris Carpenter"

Sorry dudes, I suck.

Just noticed that Blackley's contract was refused by SF and he's been assigned to Lehigh Valley. We might not have seen the last of him.

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080327&content_id=2461382&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi

Great news on Blackley.

I do wonder why the Giants wouldn't take him back. I know there are a few rules mavens out there; is there any disincentive for the Giants to take Blackley back and put him in AAA?

I like it "middle in" and up, too...

Yeah, they'd have to give us back $25,000 of our Rule 5 posting fee....

The article says he rejected an assignment to the Giants AAA team, so maybe he figures he has a better shot at making the Phils?

Okay, thanks MPN. So once the Phils offered him back the steps were:

1) Giants option to pay $25,000 for contract.

If declined, 2) Blackley can choose:

a) Giants AAA
b) Phils AAA
c) Free Agency


Must be tough for Blackley that a team wouldn't pay $25,000 though.

Vote for Pedro!

How crazy would it be if Feliz hits 30 HR this season? Even if (when) his OBP is craps out at around .300, the HR, RBI and defense might actually make him an asset and not a liability. We'll have to call him Senor Outta here instead of Senor Out.

I'm not convinced yet, but maybe he won't be as much of a black hole as most of us first thought.

xfactor - I'm cautiously optimistic. He's had a good spring, but spring training doesn't mean anything and that homer was off the Tigers' equivalent of Carpenter.

kdon: Applying the law of parsimony, I offer the simplest explanation for why the Giants didn't take Blackley back: he sucks.

In general I abhor the low OBP, occasional power, easy-out guys. But Feliz may just flourish at CBP with a balanced lineup. Considering the alternative was Helms/Dobbs, I don't think this was a disastrous signing....yet.

Guys, I am fine, my era would be better and I just gave up less runs and/or pitched more innings. Do the analysis.

Ugly lineup and game today. Blech.

Today's been another great day for Ruiz. If he raises his OPS+ from 86 to 95 this year, he'll have to move up in the order.

xfactor: It's not that the Feliz signing was disastrous in and of itself. It's that it reflected some seriously misplaced priorities.

If the Phillies had signed a couple of relievers and THEN added Pedro Feliz, the move would have been a lot more justifiable. But as it stands, we've got Adam Eaton as our 5th starter & a bullpen which includes Clay Condrey & JD Durbin (in the 5th and 6th spots, no less). For the same $4.25M that we are paying Feliz, we could have gotten ourselves a couple of relievers who would have been big upgrades over Condrey & Durbin. Instead, we spent the same $4.25M to make, at best, an exceedingly modest upgrade at third base.

"I think it's fine to criticize Phillies' FO philosophy, but cheapness isn't the issue."

Brian - I largely agree with you. Granted the Phils have largely kept their payroll flat since CBP opened but the issue has been Gillick's failure as a GM to find the useful pieces to complement this team.

If this team fails to make the playoffs this season, it will largely be due to the fact that Gillick ignored addressing the pitching this season in lieu of adding Jenkins/Feliz and that his FA pitching additions (Gordon, Eaton, Moyer, Romero) don't cut it.

Need bullpen help. Is Jesse Orosco available?

Bap, I think that's a bit harsh on Blackley.

He isn''t great, bu is basically indistinguishable from the talent that floats between the fringes on the majors, AAA and the waiver wire; kinda like Chad Durbin except we only have to pay him a minor league salary.

Having guys like this, instead of similarly talented players signed to major league contracts, has it's value.

I thought Orosco was the setup guy for the Saltillo Sarape Makers. He's still better than the Real Dud.

kdon, good one:
Possible postgame comments from Eaton:

"Hey guys, it's cool. Have you seen my career numbers?"

I personally am enjoying clout/kdon pull out just enough to win...

I've ignored spring training... for the most part... Always have. It's the Steve Jeltz Spring Trainings (and as my father would say... before him... the Ron Stone spring training)... for every Chris Coste break out, there are the Jeltz/Stones.

This is a fairly veteran team, that will be fine offensively on day one.

The problem I have is, the old adage that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters in the beginning. What's going to happen to this staff, when they catch up!!!

I look forward to posting with fervor beginning next week... As I realized that my weeks are filled with 1 or 2 visits to CBP per week again. I missed that old place.


bap:

I agree that pitching was/is the priority, especially a #3 starter.

But the same time, you have to juggle priorities. We're assuming the FO would have used that money on pitching, but it's entirely possible that we'd have Helms/Dobbs and also no new pitchers. Or worse, another bad signing.

Looking at 3B on its own, I'm not dreading Feliz as much as I was when they first signed him. After a few rally-killing months of a .300 OBP I might feel differently, depending on how many clutch RBI he gets.

bap:

I agree that pitching was/is the priority, especially a #3 starter.

But the same time, you have to juggle priorities. We're assuming the FO would have used that money on pitching, but it's entirely possible that we'd have Helms/Dobbs and also no new pitchers. Or worse, another bad signing.

Looking at 3B on its own, I'm not dreading Feliz as much as I was when they first signed him. After a few rally-killing months of a .300 OBP I might feel differently, depending on how many clutch RBI he gets.

just remember, the Dodgers didn't want to pay the $25K to have Victorino back either.....(not saying Blackley is going to turn into a stud in 2 years)

kdon: I'm not a big fan of Chad Durbin & wasn't crazy about the signing. But he's had an 8-year major league career. He's clearly on a far higher plane than Travis Blackley.

You're basically equating Blackley to an AAAA pitcher, but I'm not sure what evidence you're basing that belief on. Clay Condrey would be a classic example of an AAAA pitcher. Blackley is not. He has been in the majors for two brief snippets of time, was wretched both times, was wretched again in spring training, and has been no better than mediocre even at AAA. Quite simply, he is not a major league caliber pitcher or anywhere close to it.

You put far too much faith in the Phillies ability to assess talent. It seems like every guy they grab off the scrap heap, you regard as a legitimate prospect. Blackley was just passed over by 29 other teams & I tend to trust the collective judgment of these 29 teams a lot more than I trust the judgment of the Phillies' front office.

I am come to peace with the Feliz signing except the second year guaranteed. If he hits a 25 HR (and I still have my $1 bet with kdon that he doesn't even hit more than 20 HR) and plays excellent defense again, then the Phils can live him in the lineup as long as Cholly doesn't do anything retarded by placing him in the No. 5 or 6 holes.

Still think that C. Durbin is going to be a scrub (innings eater with an ERA slightly over 5) largely but the issue is that the Phils don't even have relievers who can do that. That is what is amazing.

I am largely a proponent of avoiding signing FA relievers to long-term deals but where was the harm in bringing in another veteran reliever or two on a 1-yr deal with a low base with incentive upside potential?

"I'm not a big fan of Chad Durbin & wasn't crazy about the signing. But he's had an 8-year major league career. He's clearly on a far higher plane than Travis Blackley."

Talent wise, I just don't think so. The eight year vet thing does nothing for me either.

I mean the fact that Durbin in '04 pitched 60 innings with a 1.74 WHIP and 6.97 ERA should not count in his favor.

I don't particularly care at all that a player *has pitched* in the majors, I care how good they have been while doing it.

Flash is getting lit up like a Christmas tree today. Line drives all over the place.

Better win 10-1 early in the season, and not have to use him to close. And, pray that Lidge comes back 100% healthy and gets back to business as a closer.

"It seems like every guy they grab off the scrap heap, you regard as a legitimate prospect."

Certainly not a prospect. Again, I'm not saying I think Blackley/Real Deal are better than C. Durbin, I just think it's a foolish practice to give major league contracts to talent at this level.

I mean, if the Phils had signed Blackley to a major league contract and C. Durbin was the waiver wire guy, I would be arguing that it was stupid to sign Blackley.

Another turd from Eaton today. Any decent lineup with patient hitters is going to lite him up this year. Sadly, the Phils are going to regret not biting the bullet and signing Lohse.

Anything who doesn't think that Lohse will be vastly superior to Eaton this year is nuts. Even a very pedestrian year from Lohse (say an ERA around 4.50-4.75) will be a run better than Eaton and would likely have made Lohse a 12-game winner with this offense.

BTY - Why the media swallowing the Phils' BS about them being prepared to release Helms and eat his entire salary? This is NO CHANCE this happens and Helms will definitely break camp with the Phils just like the supposed competition for the No. 5 starter spot was completely bogus.

I am going to use a Amaro BS translator when posting his comments on here. At least Gillick hasn't gone out of his way to polish turds since he has been the GM.

Middle relief is going to be an issue with this team when Moyer and Eaton start. This real issue though with this pen is Gordon and Lidge. If they guys are healthy and effective, then the pen will not be a totally Achillies' heel. Problem is that Gordon IS DONE.

kdon: Well, in some sense, you're preaching to the choir on C. Durbin. I wouldn't have given him a major league contract either, & I agree with MG that, if he has an ERA under 5.00 this year, it will qualify as a pleasant surprise. Still, I don't see how you can say there's no difference between a career minor leaguer who has been mediocre even at AAA (Blackley), and a guy who pitched 127 major league innings last year & had an ERA under 5.00. There's simply no comparison -- and their spring training performances bear that out. One guy was mostly pretty effective; the other guy couldn't throw strikes to save his life.

C. Durbin was supposedly only pursued by 2 teams - Pirates and Phils. Don't exactly tell you much about the demand for his services.

Myers on the starting rotation:

“It’s probably the best in the National League. That’s my opinion, and nobody is going to care about my opinion.”

Not much to say here for such a ridiculous comment. I just hope the Phils' rotation is even league average this year because they make the playoffs is that is the case.

Clout- roughly every other post is you and kdon battling.

How about instead of looking for a fight at my comment you just think, "Hey maybe we do fight too much," and cool it.

I dont know how a team can only have 10 pitchers right now...it is amazing considering that everyone knew they had to add bullpen help.

Real Deal, we will miss you.

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