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Sunday, March 09, 2008

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http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_8507462

MPN posted this at the bottom of the last thread, and lists Helms as a possible replacement for LaRoche, along with Inge and Crede.

Helms would seem the best choice, because the Dodgers only need a temporary bridge until LaRoche returns and Inge (long contract, expensive) and Crede (would require top prospect) are bigger investments.

If the Phillies are smart, they should submit a list of mid-level prospects they would want and let the Dodgers pick one.

The consensus is that the Phils can't get anything for Helms, but I think Colleti is a bad enough GM that he would part with a C prospect for Helms and pick up the salary (maybe the Phils pick up the buyout)

The LA article indicates that the Dodgers will look internally first.

I agree Helms should be their best option among the ML vets mentioned. Here's hoping they go that way.

Hope, it does say that, but I would be surprised if Torre is okay with giving Tony Abreu 2-3 starts per week.

The other options don't seem likely, and Abreu is best served as their utility infielder.

Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near Helms, but the combination of Colletti's seeming ineptitude and Torre's love of vets make me think they go outside the organization.

KDon - your proposed offer seems fairly reasonable, unless Gillick thinks he can get more for Helms (which he shouldn't).

Why would anyone offer a mid-level prospect for Helms? He's strictly a salary dump right now because he has absolutely no role on this team. I can't imagine anyone ofering more than a 37-year old, one-legged catcher from low A ball.

How in the world would we get anything worth anything for Helms?

"How in the world would we get anything worth anything for Helms?"

Well CJ, I think I listed the reasons above, but I'll repeat.

1) Dodger currently have a 34 yo injury waiting to happen at 3B.

2) Zero depth at the position

3) Torre likes veterans

4) Colletti seems to have no idea how to evaluate talent

5) The other 3B options will cost the Dodgers a lot either in salary or talent, when all they need is a stopgap until LaRoche returns

6) Dodger expect to be contenders for the playoffs

Sure, there are probably 28 teams that wouldn't give up a mid-level prospect for Helms, but the Dodgers seem desperate.

CJ - I would gladly take that 37-year old, one-legged catcher, and assign him to our minor league system as a tobacco-spitting coach.

Let the record show that BOTH LaRoche and Garciaparra were hurt after I posted here a few days ago that the Dodgers had no use for Helms because LaRoche was one of the best prospects in baseball plus they had Garciaparra at 3B.

I agree with kdon that Abreu is not an adequate solution at 3B with LaRoche out for 10 weeks and Garciaparra being bothered with a bruised hand. It will be a shock if Garciaparra can stay healthy enough to play in more than 100 games.

I know it's just spring training, but any guess as to why Charlie would bat Feliz in the 5 hole, ahead of Jenkins and Dobbs, vs. a RHP? Does he ever look at stats? Does he know they keep stats in baseball? And that you can tell stuff from them sometimes?

So that changeup of Kyle's ... not working yet? Yeesh.

Break up the lefties, maybe?

Don't worry clout, I don't think there is any chance Feliz hits above Jenkins in the regular season.

If he does, it's a mistake.

And the thing about the Dodgers is that they were linked to Inge *before* LaRoche and Garciaparra got hurt. It's an indication of how little they believe in prospects (see Loney, Ethier) and their lack of faith in Nomar staying healthy.

Every ST our pitchers get lit up, & the Phillies finish with a godawful record. The pitchers invariably ascribe their problems to the fact that, "I was working on a new pitch." Then the real season starts and we immediately lose 6 out of our first 7 games, falling 5 games out of first place before the season is even a week old.

Since this scenario plays out the same way year after year after year, it is fair to ask whether our pitchers spend too much of their ST time "working on a new pitch" and not enough time getting themselves ready for the season. I've always believed that the Phillies don't take ST seriously enough & I believe it shows up in their perennially lousy Aprils.

So Ryan Howard. He's good. Everyone else. Ehhhh.

Kendrick is obviously experimenting right now. In doing that, he has lost his command (which he HAS to have to be successful). In that 2nd inning, he had 2 walks and a wild pitch. That is very unlike him.

Its just spring training. Rollins isn't even close to hitting his weight.

Just get the work in, and tune it up the next 2 weeks and be ready when the bell rings.

b-a-p:
Unfortunately the new "pitch" is probably something like "Come here often?" slurred to a 22-year old bleached blonde at closing time in a Florida bar.

Can anyone tell me why both Happ (2.25 ERA in 2 appearances this spring) and Bisenius (0.00 ERA in 3 appearances this spring) were assigned back to minor league camp this morning?

Is it just because of the "options" thing, or what?

You'd think you would want to keep a couple of pitchers, who are getting some outs, around a little longer? Its not like many are doing that right now.

I didn't think it was possible for the phils pitching to do WORSE than expected this spring. The bar was set so low they could trip over it.

clout - my guess about batting Feliz 5th?

He's trying to demonstrate to all those kool-aid drinking defense lovers how much "pop" Pedro has in that lumber of his.

Not many happy stories so far this spring, especially with the pitching. Kendrick is having trouble getting his pitches down.

denny: The problem I have with that approach is that it has led to 4 straight losing Aprils. In fact, to focus on April is really too general. The Phillies actually do fine in the last 3 weeks of April. Their specific problem is only in the first week of the season. In each of the last 2 years, and 3 of their last 4, they lost 6 of their first 7 games. They were better in 2005 (and, perhaps not coincidentally, that was the only year where they had a winning record in ST). But, even then, they still managed to lose 3 out of their first 4 regular season games.

I haven't checked, but I would be shocked if, over the last 4 years, there's any other team in baseball that has been as inept as the Phillies during the first week of the season. And it's not like they're the D-Rays or the Nationals, who are just inept across-the-board. When you contrast the Phillies' mind-numblingly horrible starts with their considerable success over the rest of the season, one can only conclude that the problem is systemic. Other teams are ready to start their seasons on opening day, whereas the Phillies aren't ready to go until about a week later. I believe this has a great deal to do with the team's laissez-faire attitude about spring training.

Now the 4th straight game our pitching has been shelled early and we haven't hit. It's starting to worry me. Kendrick has done absolutely nothing to dispell my fears that he is due for a serious decline in peformance this year.

With the way our pitching has been the last 2 weeks, not signing Lohse is now bordering on criminal. If they don't sign Lohse, we'll know 100% for certain that the front office is just not committed to winning the way they should be. At this point, there's no other way to put it.

The lack of quality pitching this spring has been very disapointing to say the least. I didnt expect much and I know it is only spring training, but concern is setting in.

Why do we need Bisenius and Happ? We have Adam Eaton, Lincoln Holdzcom, and the Durbins.

rosario strong again

interesting Rolen hitting over 400 in ST. Glad he'll be in the AL.

Jack, I agree about Lohse but it won't happen. Benson gonna cost $4-5 million, they signed Feliz, they're stuck with Helm's salary and gave Howard an extra $3 million. no way they bust the budget until mid season if they are drawing well and 9in the hunt.

Looks like we can slide Rosario into the Opening Day roster. Fantastic spring. And Darensbourg looks like he'll challenge Castro and Youman here.

I understand it's easy to be worried about Kendrick and the offense stalling, but I figure things will start coming together soon enough. Nobody wants the Phils to start 1-6 or 2-10 or whatever; I don't think that'll be the case this year.

Just as Blackley is tracking Moyer in case he breaks down, Rosario is tracking Kendrick. Kyle could find himself at AAA and Rosario will be the No. 4. since Kyle has options and Rosario does not and must be kept on the 25 man roster. The way the rotation is set up Chad Durbin is tracking Eaton for the 5th spot. If this were the last week of ST the opening rotation could look like Myers, Hamels, Moyer, Rosario and C. Durbin with Kendrick at Allentown, Eaton on the DL, Benson on extended ST at Clearwater and Blackley offered back to the Giants.

Well, Jack, I guess it's all over then. We are all in dream land if we think the Phillies are going to sign Lohse. Arbuckle has already said as much. Therefore, they are not committed to winning. Funny how these arguments ring even more true after an early spring 9-4 loss...

Dull-There is no way Kendrick is losing his spot in the rotation until after the All-Star break at the earliest. Phils have tied their fate in the early going to him and Moyer.

Still not going to get too done on Kendrick. He is going to struggle at times this year batters become more familiar with him and teams have better scouting reports on him. I just hope he can give the Phils the "Lidle special" (6+ innings, 3-4 R).

I am in Clout's boat at this point - the rotation is going to be an issue but the bigger problem in the early going is the bullpen.

I have little faith that Gordon will contribute much and you to wonder if Lidge will be able to stay healthy this year. Without these guy arms, the Phils' bullpen is arguably the worst in the NL.

i'm not panicking over kendrick.

pitchers do try out new pitches in spring training, it's what its there for.

By all accounts, Kendrick needed an out pitch to lefties, and a way to keep people from diving after the sinker.

maybe he's addressing those issues.

its like hamels last spring. it was all cutters and curves, with almost no changeups. they knew his change up worked, and worked well, he didn't need to work on it.

I'm amazed at how many Beerleaguers are already hitting the panic button.

Jack, Slocs, Mike H....relax!

It's early...many kinks to be worked out.

Besides, you forget that in 2006 the Phils played well in ST, and then came out of the chute 4-11.

I'm not saying ST is meaningless, I'm simply saying it's only March 9th.

I'm with clout...let's take a look at things on 3/20 before we really make any judgements as to who stinks and who they should keep. (As the founding member of the A.B.E. Society I'll make an exception for Eaton.)

For instance, Rosario looks great right now (and I love the power arm), but suppose he gets shelled three times in the next ten days?

Besides, when it comes time to rip this ownership group I'll (and many of you remind me I sound like a broken record) be happy to join you if it's justified.

It's early. Relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Have to say, I'm excited about Rosario. He's got a ton of options (back-end starter, middle relief, long man, back-end reliever) and has some good stuff. I'm hoping Castro wins out the LOOGY chase, because he's practically Rosario, but a lefty and younger.

As bad as the Gordon-Lidge-Romero troika could be (and it could), the Phils have a ton of young relief prospects and options who are going to come around strong.

I wonder if the rotation winds up looking like this out of ST:

Myers
Hamels
Kendrick
Moyer
Rosario

Three power arms in Brett, Cole and Francisco. Hmmmm.

"As bad as the Gordon-Lidge-Romero troika could be (and it could), the Phils have a ton of young relief prospects and options who are going to come around strong."

Where are these stud young relievers? I haven't seen them in camp. The Phils are banking on that their back-end relievers (in particular Lidge and Gordon) are going to cover the deficiencies in their middle relief.

If even one of the "troika" back-end guys is either injured or ineffective, the Phils' bullpen is going to be a weakness again this year too although they are likely to go through periods like any bullpen where they look good.

There was a great point over at GoodPhight - Phils only need a 5th starter two times in the first 3 weeks of the season (April 9 and 19).

The issue is that both games are against the Mets. If Eaton doesn't go on the DL, do the Phils let him take a crack at the Mets (one of the teams that he pitched well against last year in 4 starts and has excellent career numbers against).

I didn't say "stud," but between Rosario, Castro, a healthy Zagurski, Bisenius, Happ, Segovia, a healthy Mathieson and Outman, there's more hope than there was last year. I'm not saying this is a bounty or anything, but I'm looking at these guys optimistically.

Malcolm - Your really reaching. Maybe 1 of these guys has a real positive contribution to the pen.

The only guys you mentioned that even going to get consideration for the bullpen at this point are Rosario and Castro. As for the rest:

- Zagurski and Bisenius need to show that they are healthy and put up some decent numbers in the minors before they even deserve consideration for a callup in the pen. If either of these guys see considerable time in the pen (more than 10-15 innings) this year, it spells big problems.

- Happ and Segovia same as above except that the might get a shot at the rotation. Zegovia has pretty much dropped off the Phils radar completely (really just organization filler at this point) and Happ has to reestablish himself in order to get a callup at some this year.

- Outman has gotten shelled this spring training and looked completely overmatched. Let him spend the years in the minors and see what he can do.

- Mathieson isn't healthy and has had setback after setback with his elbow since last year. Until he can even get on the mound, I'm not really concerned about what he brings.

Well like I said, I'm optimistic about these guys. Sure the majority are injured and need time in the Minors. I know that.

MG: Pretty good assessment. Here's mine: Zagurski is a fringe prospect, might make it as LOOGY someday. Bisenius is slightly better but has health issues. Segovia is a non-prospect.
Rosario and Castro have the most upside but have the same problem: Great stuff, bad command. Maybe 1 in 10 young pitchers solves that problem.
Mathieson would be the best bet, but isn't healthy. Happ needs to prove he's healthy for a couple months at Allentown. Outman isn't remotely ready for The Show.

"We're giving it a couple days off," said Eaton, who is 0-2 with a 15.75 ERA this spring. "The MRI results were .... slight herniated disc. And some arthritis on the right side. Which is kind of what we knew going in. But it's official."

What does that mean?

Let's hope its the end of the road

Pride of Philly: It means they are hoping and praying one of the other candidates can put something together. They now have an official reason to put Eaton on the DL to start the season.

I know we've talked about Rosario starting on here, but has there been any quotes or indication that the Phillies are considering it? Has Zolecki or any of the other guys covering the Phils mentioned it?

AWH: I don't think anyone's hitting the panic button because of 2 weeks of ST. If they were, you'd be reading posts about benching Pat Burrell & Chase Utley & sending Jimmy Rollins & Cole Hamels to Triple A.

On the other hand, I think it's appropriate to be seriously concerned when early ST returns corroborate what most of us already knew or strongly suspected -- i.e., that Adam Eaton has no redeeming value, that Kyle Kendrick was a fluke, that Tom Gordon is shot, that neither of the Durbins is a viable alternative to Eaton, and that the solution for the Phillies' bullpen problems is not presently on the roster.

Not panicing here.

I don't like that KK has had a second very bad outing. I don't like it that Rollins is not hitting. But Eaton always was lousy. Durbins are not an alternative. I do not believe that Hamels, Kendrick and a few others will be as bad as what we've seen.

Likewise, I am not going to jump so quickly on the Rosario for 5th starter bandwagon yet. Give him a chance to prove whether he's an unexpected star, a human alternative, or a ST fluke.

Of course, Vic D, apart from that lucky HR by Jesus, has been unstoppable.

the quote I took was from zolecki, posted this afternoon

I was merely being sarcastic about not winning because Kyle Lohse isn't on the Phillies radar screen. My bad for not being more clear on that. There are, by my estimation, four to five pitcher spots that raise serious question marks. There are no offense question marks, of course.

This is an okay problem to have on March 9. It is not okay on March 25. These two weeks are the time for any pitcher to get hot and go north.

I wonder if the Red Sox, their front office, or their fans, are pooping bricks like we are because they are 3-8 this spring and Beckett has no timetable to return? I doubt it.

Most of my predictions turn out to be dramatically wrong, but I did predict, about a month ago, that Rosario could be the pleasant surprise of ST. In his very brief major league career, Rosario's problem has been command. He has 29 walks in just over 49 IP, a rate of about 5.3 per 9 innings. But, if Rosario's walk rate reflected simply an inability to throw strikes, you'd expect to see the same high walk rate in his minor league stats. Yet, in 462 minor league innnings, he walked only 164 -- a rate of just 3.19 per 9 innings.

If a guy can throw strikes in the minors, there's no physical reason why he can't throw strikes in the majors. This suggests to me that Rosario's problems at the major league level have come from a lack of confidence, and that's something I would expect he will overcome with experience. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I do think what we're seeing with Rosario could be a legitimate transformation.

If Rosario can even be adequate hard-throwing option in the 6th or 7th inning for the year, that would be a huge lift for the Phils. I just don't know if he is going to be able to show enough control to stick with the team for a prolonged stretch.

Walks KILLED this bullpen last year and we have seen the same this spring training from most of the guys looking to round out the pen. At this point, the Phils just have to cross their fingers that Lidge comes back healthy by the 2nd week of April. He is the key to the entire pen. Without him, the Phils are going to be in a world of trouble because I think Gordon is finished. Another case where if Gordon weren't making the money he was this year, he would be slotted for a closer/key setup role given his performance the last 1 1/2.

I actually think Madson will be fine this year and give them a decent year (say an ERA around 3.50 with a hefty workload). Actually think Romero will be solid too except that he is going to get exposed a bit if he used exclusively as a setup guy. Plenty of adventures but overall his numbers will decent (say slightly north of Madson's with an ERA 3.75-4.00 but that will be weighted by a just a handful of poor appearances where Romero walks a few guys and they score).

So if Lidge comes back relatively soon in
April (say by April 15th) this bullpen going to better than the April 2007 edition. Gordon and Madson are holdovers but Romero is a huge upgrade over M. Smith and Lidge would be an overgrade over Gordon.

Middle relief will still largely be a disaster though. I see a bunch of guys who are shuttled back and forth between Allentown this year with some pretty motley results.

Still think that C. Durbin is going to be released this year by July. Phils' fans complained mightily about Ryan Franklin but I bet C. Durbin posts worst numbers and becomes a whipping boy for the struggles of the Phils' middle relievers. The only two things I see going in his favor are his ability to start and the fact the Phils are stuck paying him $900k.

The more I hear from Eaton and the more I am disgusted with both him and the Phils. X-rays apparently showed that Eaton doesn't have a stress fracture but the MRI showed a slight herniated disc and arthritis (which is pretty amazing considering he is only 30). This is not an injury that suddenly appears out of nowhere in almost every case unless a patient has some of definite accident.

It stands to reasons that both Eaton and the Phils must have known about Eaton's back this offseason given the supposed degree of pain that Eaton is in. I am just baffled then why Eaton was not put on a rigorous PT regimen that would have helped Eaton identify a set of practices that would have ameliorated his pen.

I wish some reporter who covers the Phils would ask some obvious questions to Eaton including:

1. Did his offseason training regimen include any specific PT exercises to address his back issue?
2. Did he rely upon the Phils' medical staff and trainers for his primary opinion or seek external advice? What is he doing now?

Both legit questions that should be answered by either Eaton or someone in the Phils' organization.

Most sports beat reporters seem to mock bloggers yet most of the articles I have seen written on Eaton in the past week are just generic recycling of ideas with no real content besides a quote or two from Eaton.

If Rosario & Castro can keep throwing strikes & pitching well -- and I admit that is a gigantic If -- I'd make one of them the 5th starter. If not one of them, then who?

I completely agree with you, MG, about Durbin. I hated this signing from Day 1. Throw out last year -- in which he was merely slightly below average -- and Durbin has been an absolutely atrocious major league pitcher throughout his career. I'd much rather have Clay Condrey as our middle relief inning eater, and it's not like I'm a great fan of Condrey.

"I don't like that KK has had a second very bad outing."

Andy, Kendrick had a couple of bad outings in a row last season. Twice, actually, but because he was such a huge upgrade over Garcia, we tend to forget. Check the gamelogs at baseball reference.

I'm not saying he won't regress, I'm simply saying 5 IP is not enough of a sample size to draw any conclusions, particularly if he is working on a new pitch.


MG, nice post, the news about A-B-E doesn't surprise even a little. It's typical Phillies medical modus operandi: incompetence blended with a touch of subterfuge, accompanied by an initial dishonesty with the fans, and then a final reckoning when they can't hide the truth any longer.

MG -- Eaton now admits that the "accident" occurred last season -- allegedly -- as Eaton explained after his poor performance this week -- as the Camden Courier-Post reported -- "Eaton indicated his back problems began last July while attempting to move the batting cage at Citizens Bank Park . . . Eaton . . . has had two sets of X-rays taken within the last week with both negative."

link:

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008803070340

bap, Condrey is an adequate mop-up guy. He had 6 horrible outings in 39 appearances last year.

After June 8th he only had 2 bad outings and pitched fairly well.

AWH: I agree about Condrey. In fact, I made that identical point myself in several posts last year. When I said I wasn't a fan of Condrey's, I only meant that he's no great world beater. If my post sounded unflattering toward him, that wasn't my intention. If my post sounded unflattering toward Durbin, that WAS my intention.

Totally unscientific poll at phillies.com: Who will be the #5 starter on Opening Day?

J.D. Durbin, 2307 votes (30%)
Adam Eaton, 2260 votes (30%)
Travis Blackley, 1764 votes (23%)
Chad Durbin, 1324 votes (17%)

Interesting.

"It's typical Phillies medical modus operandi: incompetence blended with a touch of subterfuge, accompanied by an initial dishonesty with the fans, and then a final reckoning when they can't hide the truth any longer."

Just got finished watching The Wire and was thinking - different faces with the Phils over the years but the same BS. Here are some of the forms:

1. Non-acknowledgment - I don't know if I call this a lie. For example in Eaton's case, Amaro and numerous in the Phils' organization dodged and refused to answer any questions this entire offseason on Eaton's health status. It was a giant mystery this entire offseason. Now, it is becoming pretty clear why this spring training. I wouldn't call this a lie but it certainly isn't the truth.

2. Company-line - This is where there is an internal policy where everyone sings the same tune. This applies to the Lidge trade. Everybody (and I do mean everybody including Lidge himself) made an extra point of emphasis on Lidge's health status. In fact, it seemed to be overkill given that he was just having a relatively basic arthroscopic surgery done to his knee. Maybe it was just a real freak of nature that Lidge taught his foot on the mound and reinjured his knee. More than likely it was not and Lidge wasn't 100% healthy/may not be this entire year.

3. Outright deception - This is type of lie that really pisses me off. Basically the person telling the lie is saying, "Your an idiot and you will buy whatever we are selling." I can actually understand the first two. Every baseball team does it to some degree. This applies to how the Phils handed Gordon last year when they lauded his health in spring training, it was apparent that we wasn't healthy, he went on the DL the first month, and the Phils' response was "what are you going to do?" Yeah, the Phils lied about because they were trying to trade Lieber but they had a compelling reason not to mess with ticket sales in spring training. Plenty from the Garcia trade applies to including the Phils' BS excuse of how "teams always rely upon another team's medical records when completing a trade."

First two aren't the truth but I can accept them. The last one is what pisses me.

I agree that it is way to early to panic. The thing we should be happy about is the Phils are healthy except Eaton (probably a good thing) and Lidge (hopefully he is ready by the end of April. Guys like Rosario, Blackley and Castro have had some good outings and that is nice to see but most of these guys do well in the minors too but have failed in the big leagues. It will be interesting to see what happens my guess is things go like this with pitching:

Myers
Hamels
Moyer
Kendrick
C. Durbin (Eaton and Benson on DL)

Gordon (Lidge on DL)
Romero
Madson
Blackley
Rosario
JD Durbin
Condrey

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