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Sunday, March 02, 2008

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So with Ennis gone, that only leaves a few "easily dumpable" guys on the 40-man roster, right? I look and see T.J. Bohn, then maybe Condrey before you start having to dump guys they picked up this year (like Olmedo and the Rule 5 guys). So if they get another mediocre middle reliever when other teams trim their roster, I guess Bohn's gohn.

From my blog today:
Adam Eaton. Adam F'n Eaton. Piece of no good donkey dung Adam Eaton. Piss poor excuse for a Major League pitcher salary whore Adam Eaton. Yep, I still hate him. This news shouldn't be new to any reader of this blog, hell Eaton knows firsthand the level of my hatred I have for him. I had this to say in the comments section yesterday prior to his spring training 2008 debut, "Eaton pitches today. I'll be following his spring closely, because as much as I hate him, I understand we need him. Benson won't be ready to start the season, Blackley is a longshot, and the Durbins really aren't that good. Eaton has had success in the past, just not really as a Phillie, so I'm hoping he can somewhat bounce back and at least turn in a 5 era, which is sometimes all you need to win with the Phils offense behind you. He needs to give 6 innings every time out though, too many short outings last season that killed the bullpen." See, even this angry hate-filled blogger can find it in his heart to give Eaton a second chance. Too bad he's promptly dashing all hopes of a rebound season as his line from yesterday's game was- 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, and 1 HR. Don't worry though, both Durbins have sucked so far too, and Benson still isn't ready to pitch in a game, but at least Blackley tossed 3 scoreless frames. I know it's only spring training and that many players struggle, but in regards to Eaton this is merely continued suckage and I hate it!

*The Mets are beaten up again, and this time not even at the hands of the Phillies. Carlos Delgado is the latest Met to suffer an injury (to his hip) and the list of other impaired players includes Carlos Beltran, Brian Schneider, Marlon Anderson, Ryan Church, Orlando Hernandez, Luis Castillo, Endy Chavez, Damion Easley, and Jose Valentin. Happy mending...not!

Carson...why not tell us how you really feel about Eaton?

In his defense (and I am not, by any measurable or unmeasurable means, a defender of Eaton), Eaton has always been pretty awful in ST. (Look up his baseball cube numbers.)

Of course, if he were serious about "competing" for a fifth starter position, you might figure he'd show up to this ST with more desire, more focus and/or more stuff. I eagerly await the up-coming kool-aid interview when he says, roughly, "It's just Spring Training."

All the redemption the Phils can offer is beneath Kris Benson's dirty hood.

Andy I thought you promised not to use fancy fonts.

Responding to MG on Eaton from prior thread, while it is indeed true that pain can lead to loss of velocity, it is not a sure thing. Eaton changed his arm slot to get away from the pain. By changing the slot, his arm didn't hurt (or hurt less) so he could let the ball go. The problem was, by changing the slot, he lost his command. I suspect if Eaton tried to throw with his normal arm slot, his fastball would've lost a few mph.

Zolecki, to his credit, did address the pain issue today and said Eaton claims his shoulder feels fine, but has been bothered with some back problems.

If Eaton is lying about his arm, it should become apparent by the end of ST.

For anyone who watched Eaton yesterday: All I saw were the lowlights, and true to form the pitches that got hit were belt-high. This was the case all last year -- he simply cannot get the ball down. Was that the case yesterday, or did the hits come on mistakes?

Carson: I always enjoy your scholarly analysis.

Eaton's problem isn't just keeping the ball down, it's also the fact that his fastball has zero movement.

He has the straightest fastball I've ever seen; it almost looks like it slows to a stop right before the batter crushes it.

Speaking of Eaton, I've been looking over some data on the Phils finances, and it seems maybe we should be shifting more blame towards Gillick and less towards ownership (Dajafi makes a similar point on The Good Phight)

According to Forbes, the Phils finished 23rd in operating income (re: profit)) in the majors, which means that while they still made a good chunk of change (11.3M), but were below average for all of baseball.

For a comparisons sake, the Phillies took in the ninth most revenue in baseball, but of the six teams closest to them, they had *the worst* profit margin.

Cards, Giants, Braves, Nats! Astros, and Mariners all made more money than the Phillies.

In fact the only teams that did more poorly than the Phils were low budget teams and the Yankees (who actually do better than this because of their TV deal).

I've often ripped the Phillies for being cheap, and I think in the grand scheme of things they are (because of the sweetheart stadium deal and how much that helped their investment), *relative* to other ownership groups, they are not cheap at all.

Eh, sorry poorly worded there. The Eaton reference was meant to mean that it's been Gillick's bonehead moves more than cheap ownership that has kept the team from elite status.

Link to Forbes page:
www.forbes.com/lists/2007/33/07mlb_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.html

Link to Good Phight:
www.thegoodphight.com/story/2008/2/29/104045/699#readmore

"Carson: I always enjoy your scholarly analysis."

BAP- I know you made this comment tongue-in-cheek, but thanks nonetheless.

Carson: My use of the word "scholarly" was, of course, tongue in cheek, but I do find your rants to be very amusing -- even more so, because they accurately sum up how I feel about Eaton, as well.

Lots of pitchers throw a straight fastball. When they're thrown belt-high, it's called batting practice.

I've thrown out this idea before, but I don't really understand why the Phillies don't try Eaton in the bullpen. He's horrible as a starter, plain and simple. So what exactly is the downside of giving him a try in the bullpen? Since he can throw hard, there is at least a slim chance that he could actually be decent out of the pen. And, even if he sucks -- as I admit is likely -- he won't be any worse than the likes of Condrey, Holdzcom, Zagurski, et al.

clout - thanks for watching my back.

I really, really promise this time.

Really.

b-a-p:
I think, instead of the bullpen, they should try him on their VSL team; start Happ or Blackley until Benson is ready; and eat the sunk cost. He was a bad mistake, fiscally. He doesn't need to be a continuing bad mistake team-wise.

(I know that's that's unrealistic; so I'll keep telling myself "He always does bad in ST; he always does bad in ST; he always does bad...")

bap,

I think it's very likely Eaton would be worse than all three pitchers you listed. And almost certainly worse than one of them (only one would make the team anyway).

That said, I would rather have him in the pen because he would do less damage there.

kdon: You can't know until you try it. That's my point. A guy who throws 93 or 94 MPH as a starter could throw 95 or 96 MPH as a reliever. Even if the odds of success are only 10%, why wouldn't you try it?

kdon: I agree with you on ownership vs. management. Gillick gets to skate because of the static budget, but his personnel moves speak for themselves.

With regard to Eaton, since neither Zagurski nor Holdzkom have proven they can pitch in the major leagues, it's a bit of a stretch to say that it's "very likely" Eaton would be worse than them, or even worse than a fringe major leaguer like Condrey. To make that statement you have to assume that Eaton, at age 30, is washed up and cannot return to his career norms. Odds are against that. On the other hand, if Eaton's shoulder is messed up, he'll be worse than everybody until he gets surgery, just as was the case with Garcia last season.

I'm not posting lineups, but Valentino Pascucci is at DH today.

Michael Kay: "Valentino Pascucci is at DH, and he'll be singing in the opera tonight."

I do think Eaton is completely washed up.

I think Eaton's 6+ ERA is pretty indicative of his true talent, and considering how he struggles in the first inning, a move to the bullpen wouldn't help.

I think it very likely that all three of the pitchers above would likely post ERAs under 6 over a full year. I don't think Eaton would.

If he has to be on the team, and can't be buried on the DL, I obviously support him pitching in the pen, but it won't help anything.

WTF Valentino ??? We've been too lax here at Beerleaguer and let these guys slip by!

"I eagerly await the up-coming kool-aid interview when he says, roughly, "It's just Spring Training."

Ask, and ye shall recieve

kdon: A move to the bullpen would allow Eaton to dial up a couple extra MPH on his fastball. In theory, that might cure his first inning problems. Of course, in theory, communism works (as Homer once said on "The Simpsons").

Yikes - Giambi crushes a three-run homer off Hamels. Inning should've been over, but Brennan King let a grounder get by him.

King should have fielded seeing eye single by Abreu. This led to big inning.

King should have fielded seeing eye single by Abreu. This led to big inning.

Feliz picked off. We miss Davy Lopes. Yesterday Rollins doubled up. Schmidt was coaching yesterday, Wathan today.

Jason Lane just hit a homer off Hamels.

Not that it's scary, but eh...

I guess it's possible bap, but I don't think getting Eaton from 90 to 92 does much. The guys is completely clueless out there. Being in the pen won't help his complete lack of control or movement. If he didn't have a contract and was being scouted based off a last year, he would have a tough time getting an invitation to camp.

With another pitcher, I would have faith, but at no point last year (even his good games against the Mets) did it actually look like he knew what hew was doing.

Valetino has some very impressive offensive stats, though they came from the offense-heavy PCL.

He should be fun to watch in Allentown.

Lane's Homerun off change up. Burell did not even turn around. No doubt about it shot to left. Hamel's looks perturbed. Lots off body language on ball 4 call on Cabrera.

Are you texting these updates form the scene of the crime, Billy Mac?

Good work by Hamels making Jeter look foolish on that K.

kdon: Pascucci was covered. Minor league journeyman with power. Former Expo. Likely to be Lehigh Valley's very first clean-up hitter.

Morty, thanks. My favorite part is when he admits he's being overpaid and he's okay with it.

I know ST results, as a whole, have no correlation to regular season results -- even more so, with the early ST games. But the Phillies are almost invariably terrible in spring training, and they're almost invariably terrible in April. At some point one does start to wonder if they ought to take these games a little more seriously.

The Sexy Dictator is in the game, pitching against the Meat of the Yankees lineup.

Thanks Jason,

Must have missed that one. Good to see you were still on it.

Michael Kay bringing up Philadelphia fans booing Santa Claus.

HONESTLY.

Sitting in last row of sect 208 so not as good vantage point on pitches. Steinbrenner is right behind me in his box.

BAP: The first 10 days or so they should be playing intrasquad games; they play other teams mainly so they can charge for the tickets. If Hamels is still giving up HRs on his changup two weeks from now, I'll start to worry.

Similarly, if Eaton had gotten to work early and blew away people yesterday, how much would it have meant? That's not to excuse his awfulness, just to point out that even if he weren't awful yesterday, I wouldn't be getting my hopes up.

Now that I reread that, my second paragraf might not be clear: I mean if Eaton had worked out a few weeks early and was further along than the hitters, he could be fooling us into thinking he was better. In short, I put more stock in the last two weeks of ST than the first two.

Fabio Castro is looking very sketchy. He's not completely on target, and when he is, guys are getting rips. Giambi knocked an RBI opposite field double.

Wind is swirling. Jeter jacked that. Nice catch by Burrell.

And as I post that, Castro throws a wild pitch low and away.

Malcom,

They always forget that the guy in the Santa Claus costume was hammered and annoying the crowd.

It's not like twenty guys from the 700 level went to the Gallery and started pelting Santa while a kid was on his lap.

However, booing Abreu was a disgrace.

Yeah, I agree there, there's no reason to boo Abreu. Probably some drunken idiots who made the drive to Clearwater.

kdon: Jason Marquis posted an ERA of 6.02 in 2006, a line that was, like Eaton's, an outlier. Was he washed up? Was that indicative of his true talent? Or do guys, for whatever reason, sometimes have awful years?

BTW, I agree with you that if Eaton fails to improve he shouldn't be sent to the pen. He should be cut and the Phils eat the salary.

Finally, neither you, nor I, have a clue about whether Zagurski is a major league pitcher who could post an ERA under 6. It's very hard to project a fringe talent. Plus he'd actually have to make the team.

Castro has pretty good stuff but terrible command. BTW, I now have a save/get key that types those last 7 words for me.

Phils hit Steven White pretty well, and King just struck a two-run single (A-Rod should've probably made the play). 5-4.

And yeah, Clout, Castro does have nice stuff, and he did strike out Cano, but that command ... oh that command ...

Clout (I guess I'll suspend the ban since you're being civil), I didn't watch Marquis much in 06 so it's tough to know.

But if I remember correctly from that year, his ERA was inflated because LaRussa left him in a couple games where he go pounded because he needed to save the bullpen.

My feeling on Eaton is based not just on a stat line, but watching him throw last year. I'm sure I saw him throw at least 1500 pitches last year, and he *never* looked good.

He was like a pitching version of David Bell. Sure, there would be a positive outcome every once and a while, but there was no evidence of skill.

On Zagurski, well I think his minor league record and watching him give me at least some clue as to his ability.

I can tell he is better than the 50 or so pitchers who will fill out the lower depths of the Phillies system, that the movement and speed of his pitches are certainly ML quality.

It's not some guarantee; I just liked what I saw from him last year more than Eaton.

Eaton made one good pitch yesterday. He ran something into Jeter's hands on the groundball double play in the first inning. But there's got to be some sort of unmentioned tendonitis, or mechanics whacked the eff up on him. But hey, we're witnessing something pretty rare here - an eight year veteran making a guaranteed $8M this year whose career is imploding.

This Patterson guy pitching is interesting. He takes the ball out of his glove at the leg kick. Like he teases the batter with it....

Ugh. Eaton comments today:

"I think I've established myself as a big-leaguer," Eaton said. "I'm getting paid extremely handsomely, probably more than I'm worth. But everyone is not worth what they're getting paid. It's fun. If you don't like the competition, what are you doing here? Everyone should thrive on competition."

BS Translation: I getting paid big dollars for another 2 years and the Phils didn't any real competition so I am the No. 5 starter coming out of camp. I also detect a guy who is very uncertain of himself and his capabilities given his performance last year.

This is arguably the biggest problem with Eaton. He mentally crumbles during in-game pressure situations and shirks responsibly. We heard these same type of comments last year from Eaton.

One thing I didn't hear a single reporter talk about really was what impact seeing the sports psychologist (recommended by Moyer) had on Eaton this offseason.

Maybe it is entirely physical with Eaton but something just tells me there is a huge mental component to this too.

I will defend Eaton only on one point at this point - it was one outing (which means almost nothing) and more importantly hitters are always ahead of pitchers the first few weeks in camp. One thing to throw a simulated game off a mound and another to face real live competition. It usually takes a few weeks for a pitcher to really get his timing/feel down again.

I am willing to give Eaton this spring training to see what he looks like. If he continues to struggle every time out and is locating well, the Phils realistically have to consider an alternative for Eaton (even if that means putting him on the DL with a phantom injury).

Castro looking shaky at best. Excited to see how Carlos looks today...

That article also mentioned "personal problems" last year, which is the first I've heard. Anyone know what they were? (I mean actually reported, not speculation)

But you're dead-on MG about the personality. I gagged when I read that this morning.

I can't believe there hasn't been one word on Gordon's appearance yesterday. The one thing I wanted to see more than anything this spring training was Gordon's offspeed stuff.

How did Gordon look yesterday? Did he get tagged yesterday or were the Yanks just hitting well?

If Lidge begins the season on the DL and Eaton and Gordon are either on the DL too/ineffective, this team will be in a world of trouble come April.

Carrasco looked good. Fly out, two weak grounders. Very efficient.

In re: Eaton. As I mentioned before, I love this line: "everyone is not worth what they're getting paid."

Which also means, I guess, he feels it's just great that he earns more than Cole, because, you know, he's not worth what he's getting paid either.

I think the chemicals used to bleach his highlights have seeped through his skull.

clout - maybe you need a second save/get for Eaton. Something different that indicates no command and no stuff either.

Nice inning by Carrasco. Love the attitude, ready to throw as soon as the batter steps in, easy motion...and that swing by Posada!

Don't normally put much stock into ST, but that may be my favorite inning so far.

But don't worry - Gillick strong offseason has produced plenty of contingencies given their pitching depth in both the rotation and the bullpen.

Glad the some others (like kdon) are coming around to my point:

-This team has largely won in spite of Gillick and not because of him the past 2 years. When you can make that statement about a GM, he is doing a poor job.

Burrell with a homer to left. Nice swing and a line drive.

Yeah kdon, just a very quick and freewheeling inning by Carrasco. Very nice to see.

An organization that was truly concerned about winning wouldn't have brought in C. Durbin and Benson as the primary "competition" for the No. 5 starter spot.

I know we have rehashed the lack of available starters in the FA market to death but automatically handing the No. 5 starter to Eaton because of his salary is just flat out wrong.

Pasucci's swing is very slow.

Is Carrasco going to start the season in AA or AAA?

My bad, that was LaTroy Hawkins with the ball out of his mitt.

Line up the tone and tenor of Eaton's comments with J-Roll's comments in the Stark article, and you'd think they are on two different planets. And who says they get paid too much? The data was compelling that Eaton was hurt last year, but I'm now buying MG's argument that he's damaged goods up in the noggin.

YES cutting to Fox News for political news? Huh?

It's too bad Hamels didn't do so well but he had a bad spring training last year so I'm not too worried. As for Castro at least he didn't walk anybody. I think he should spend the whole '08 season in AAA (unless injuries force him to be called up) as a starter and work on his command.

Yeah, YES has an agreement with FOX News; they put their headlines on the ticker, as well.

Carrasco should start the year in AA. He had a tough time adjusting last year when he was called up, so they should give him a dozen or so starts in Reading.

Another nice inning by Carrasco. He struck out one (on what was that, a sinker?) and got a groundout double play (another grounder turned into a throwing error).

My MLB.TV isn't looking so good, but whatever that strikeout pitch was, it was nasty.

I'm thinking that's his sinker. A beaut. Meanwhile, Flyers in a shootout with the Rangers.

Strikeout pitch was a curve. Just froze the batter. When a RH batter flinches at a curve that ends up low and away, you know you have something nasty.

Yeah, curve is right. It landed belt high.

Meanwhile, Greg Golson flashes some speed. (And Marty Biron un-saves his way to a shootout loss.)

On a positive note:

- While the Phils are stuck with Eaton for another 2 years, it is nothing compared to the enormous mistake the Giants made with Zito. That contract is going to a millstone around their necks for years.

Except, MG, Zito is still at least league average as a starter. He's too expensive, sure. But he can live in a rotation as a #3 or 4 and be better than most.

Eaton's best placement is in the minors somewhere. I bet he'd be a killer in short season A.

Carrasco is getting a third inning! Huzzah!

MG, I love how your "positive note" is that the Phillies didn't sign an average pitcher to a 7 year, 126M deal.

Actually, I'd love if we were paying someone $10MM to throw 196.7 innings with a 4.53 ERA. Zito as our 3 would build a whole lot better record than the 11-13 he did in SF.

Let's see if SF wants to make a deal - the Phils take on the rest of Zito and they take on the rest of Eaton.

Andy - I don't even think Zito is a 3 anymore. Zito had a series of meaningless starts in Sept. last year that helped to make his stats more respectable. If not, his ERA would have been north of 5 too.

Okay. Quick retraction. I don't want Zito 3 years from now at $18.5 MM.

What were they thinking?

Two singles, but then two Ks by Carrasco. Awesome job.

Andy, you would really do that deal?

Zito is trending downward in just about every statistic, and would be a disaster in a park like CBP.

Take a look at what he gets from 09-14.

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2004/12/san-francisco-giants_30.html

MG - as to his ability, I'd still take Zito's north of 5 over Eaton's north of 6.2.
But you're right. They did get hosed on his total contract.

Love the way Carrasco worked outta that jam.

(Malcolm, Biron had no help. Carter stood out today, but the Flyers looked slow in the 3rd period and OT. Timonen's OT try reminds you why the Flyers don't win in shootouts).

Too late! It's in the archives forever!

kdon - right after I posted what I thought was a provocative idea, I looked up Cot's and saw that it was, actually, a stoopid idea. Good think Ruben wasn't reading - otherwise it might be the first big deal of the Amaro years.

kdon - and it will haunt me frequently, I am sure.

Just as I am always keen to remember:

clout: "I am often wrong..."

Eaton for Zito? No thanks. I want the Phils to win a championship in the worst way but getting stuck with a back-end rotation guy at huge dollars for the next 6 years makes zero sense.

First impressions of Carrasco (first time I have seen him pitch live):

1. Nice, easy delivery.
2. Very good movement on fastball.
3. Deceptive change-up, that can get both lefties and righties off-balance.

4. Works up and down in the zone; and has enough on fastball to work up.

5. Much better slider/curve, than I thought.

Kid has very good stuff. I can see why the team didn't want to deal him.

I'm beginning to like this Carrasco kid. (Actually I liked him before - that's in the archives, too - along with a definite belief that he should not pitch for the Phils this year.) Who cares if all the scouts have him with a ceiling as a #3. Let's see what he does to all those AA boys for Reading this year.

MG - someone proposed that?? Shame!!

Phillies take the lead on RBI singles by personal favorite Brandon Watson and emerging threat Greg Golson.

Kids look nice today. Andy, you're right about Carrasco, he was missing high, but missing well because of high velocity. I could see him on the Phillies by September 1.

Not is just my own crazy take. That is just because I out in SF and get to see Zito occasionally.

Ooh! Golson with an awesome diving catch! NICE!

Malcolm - I'd rather see him get a whole year in the minors, to let him develop fully. But yeah, it is nice to see someone else headed toward Philly who might be more than hype.

Well, I'd think he'd spend most of the year in Reading, then maybe get called to Allentown by July. He'll get his full year in the minors.

But don't rule out seeing him in Philly by September.

MG - you and b-a-p oughta hit the Phils-Giants games together. (And send me some Ace Pear Cider.)

Yeah. I really hope Golson can get his pitch recognition difficulties worked out - because apart from that he does have impressive tools.

Ugh - an error sets the table, but Holdzkom's got to pitch better than that.

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