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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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Tough blow for Mike Zagurski, who may need elbow surgery. Zagurski, who was a total nobody in the farm system, made great strides last season and showed me he can become a Major League contributor someday.

Have the Phils in the past year or so had more than the average number of pitchers needing TJ Surgery? Or does it just seem like it since I don't take any notice of the farm systems of other clubs?

How does Salfino get the chicks with that picture? He looks like one of the perps on "Law and Order" with that mugshot...

All kidding aside, he's one of the best in his field.

Sucks about Zagurski.

This is a big day for Kendrick. He ought to be throwing the sinker today with regularity and authority.

Jobbers: It's probably because the Phillies are lacking in any innovative strategies to deal with health-related issues. One of my main problems with this franchise and regime is that they are completely reactionary- they don't seem to be looking ahead any further than the problem that popped up yesterday, and I think the health issues that this team and system have had are reflective of that.

Shame about Zagurski. Could have been a LOOGY that might have helped the Phils this year in a Sept. callup or next year. Career is probably finished.

Projections were really interesting. Only guy who looks like he really might improve is Chooch (who gets some love from Bill James). With slight falloffs for Rollins, Utley, and Burrell, the Phils' look like it may take a hit.

More importantly though, the bottom of this lineup could be very streaky if Burrell, Jenkins, and Feliz are trotted out there everyday. Here is hoping to Cholly doesn't continue to trot out the same lineup day after day since he does have some alternatives on the bench.

Jack

Agree to a point. Also could it be due to misuse / abuse of the pitchers by the pitching coaches?

The Jenkins analysis is disturbing.

His analysis implies Jenkins will have 600 PAs this year. Not gonna happen.

I'm not sure why the CW indicates Burrell to have a down year in a contract year.

I was disappointed in Salfino's wiki page; after your lead in I was hoping to see some of those babes he's scoring.

Whoopee. Another piece of homer journalism. Guy looks at work done by others. Guy regurgitates work in his piece. Guy explains why hometown players will outperform every projection. Fans get tight pants, get drunk, and get in fights at CBP, 'cause Pedro Feliz is awesome.

Defense has been kind of discussed here and there this spring (mainly in regards to Feliz) but I wonder how much the Phils' defense has really improved if it has at all overall.

Obviously, Feliz is a big upgrade at 3B and maybe Victorino in CF (Rowand's Gold Glove was not warranted). I don't see any other Phils who will likely improve defensively this year. If Jenkins see a majority of the time in RF though, that is a big dropoff from last year when Victorino/Werth. Plus, it is likely that Burrell's defensive skills will continue to erode (he really was horrible last year and I don't know if he rebounds).

So there is an upgrade at 3B with a decline in RF. Maybe a slight upgrade in CF and a slight decline in LF but probably a wash overall.

Look at RF and 3B then:

- Phils' 3B had 487 chances last year which was above the league average (453). Makes sense because of Moyer and Kendrick inducing grounders to the left-hand side and likely to continue this year as long as these two are in the starting rotation. Phils had 25 errors (compared to 15 for the league average). Figure that with Feliz that the Phils make less errors at 3B and gets to more balls too. Maybe an improvement of 30-35 additional outs this year at 3B sound reasonable?

- Phils' RF had 387 chances last year which was above the league average (358). Phils had 6 errors (compared to 6 for the league average). Figure that with Jenkins getting a majority of the playing time that the Phils' RF make a handful of more errors and gets to less balls too. Maybe an decline of 10-15 outs this year in RF sound reasonable?

The Phils are likely improved slightly but I wouldn't count on their defense being a really strong suit.

Thus Spoketh Zo:

Blackley on waivers, Darensbourg and Knotts reassigned to minor league camp.

Our current 11 pitchers (Zo says 27 healthy players are in camp) are:

Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, Adam Eaton, Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and J.D. Durbin.


http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies_zone/16984216.html

Sorry, Andy. VD and Gary Knotts got reassigned to minor league camp.

Ugly outing for Kendrick.

Where do I get these so-called tight pants? Can I get my wife in a pair, too?

MG - where does one come up with comparative data on OF range? The places I've looked indicate Jenkins has slightly above average range. They also indicate he makes significantly fewer errors than average. (His fielding percentage is above average every year he's played, I believe.)

There must be some sort of comparative I haven't seen.

"Flash has been very good this spring," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He's very confident."

The 40-year old Gordon has been healthy this spring after being slowed by a strained right rotator cuff last year.

"My arm does bounce back really good," Gordon said. "The way I feel right now, I could go three [consecutive] days."

Gordon has had 4 straight scoreless appearances this spring training now. More importantly, this is the first "my arm is feeling really good" quote I have seen in weeks from Gordon. Here is hoping this is just not PR type.

Hope I completely eat crow on Gordon and that he gives the Phils an incredibly solid season (3.50 ERA, 65-70 innings).

Hmmm... so let me recap. If Zolecki's right our starters are Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, and Adam Eaton. Our long guy is Chad Durbin. At season start, Tom Gordon with J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson taking on set up. Clay Condrey is the sixth inning guy and J.D. Durbin is the mop-up.


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Got Loogy?

Andy - Went to Hardball Times and looked at RZR and OOP. Jenkins didn't have pretty stats last year in LF if you look at these stats. The Brewers played Jenkins in LF last primarily because his defense has declined a bit and Hart is a much better defensive OF.

Regardless, Jenkins is a falloff defensively from Victorino or Werth. In fact, Phils' OF defense in general will be weak with Burrell in LF and Jenkins in RF.

Everything I had heard before about Jenkins is that he is an above average fielder. But I have not seen him play. Putting him in Burrell company seems like a low blow. What can we expect from Jenkins in RF? In LF?

MG - Are you implying that Jenkins is going to play more than 2/3rds of the time in RF?

Kendrick is horrible.
Guarantee that Benson takes his spot in the rotation when he's ready.

"Went to Hardball Times and looked at RZR and OOP. Jenkins didn't have pretty stats last year in LF if you look at these stats."

MG, I just went to THT and did the same. He looks to be an outstanding fielder. His RZR last year was second in the majors. His OOZ was seventh.

In fact Jenkins RZR in left was higher than Victorno's in RF.

Andy: Here is all you need to know about range factor: Last season Bill James' metrics showed Rollins and Reyes as 2 of the worst shortstops in baseball. I'm not saying you can't measure defense with statistics like zone ratings and range factors etc., but they are very rough compared to the quality of the offensive and pitching measurements found in baseball, largely because they are so much affected by factors that have nothing to do with the fielder.

Andy & JAS - You are absolutely right. Still will be a slight dropoff from Jenkins to Victorino but probably negligible (say 5 plays). So the Phils should be better defensively this year as long as Feliz is good as advertised and Victorino gets a majority of the time in CF.

Jenkins has long been regarded by scouts as a superior defensive outfielder with a good arm. Obviously, he's not as fast as he used to be so his range has decreased, but I think most baseball people still regard him as above average. The outfield area at CBP isn't very big so range isn't as important as it would be in a place like San Diego or Arizona for example.

clout - I'm not going to argue that point. I agree. It's just that I hear conflicting opinions on Jenkins. I've heard he's a good fielder, with decent range and a decent arm. Now, it appears, other folks are saying he's awful. Looking at those only marginally reliable defensive stats, he looks pretty good. He is good as far as fielding percentage.

I just think that it's not helpful to make blanket statements like: "his defense will save us umpteen runs" (as is the case with our amazingly talented 3B), or "along with PtB, he'll make one of the worst defensive OFs in the business." MG was using RZR and OOZ, so I looked. Using those measures, Jenkins is not too bad.

Gosh. Sorry I just posted that. Should've refreshed first. Didn't mean to sound snitty.

No one uses range factor... its as bad as fielding %.

Andy: This is absolutely, 100% correct: "I just think that it's not helpful to make blanket statements like: "his defense will save us umpteen runs" (as is the case with our amazingly talented 3B), or "along with PtB, he'll make one of the worst defensive OFs in the business."

Those sorst of statements are just wild speculation. Fielding measurements just aren't that fine.

Andy - Preventing runs is entirely different from making outs. It is fairly reasonable to take an educated guess at the impact Feliz might make at 3B in terms of outs vs. the Phils' 3B last year.

Dave X: What's wrong with fielding pct? It's a pretty good way to tell if someone is sure-handed or has a scatter-shot arm. It gives you only a small picture of a player's overall defensive value, but for what it does, it's not bad.

Clout - Agree there is isn't one superior defensive metric that tells the entire story but if you look at some of the more traditional ones (RF, errors, Fielding PCT) or more recent ones (RZR, +/-), Burrell was one of the worst LF in the game last year.

"the impact Feliz might make at 3B in terms of outs"

Well, you know, that's why they call him Senor Out.

MG: My eyes tell me that too!

Fielding Percentage is the same as Range Factor but with a different denominator. Total Chances (F%) makes more sense than IP (RF), but both have pretty serious problems. Fielding percentage is based off errors and completely fails to take into account range. Someone with a really low FPCT probably sucks at defense, but beyond that it doesn't really offer much. Its sort of like batting average... it gives a picture but not nearly the full one.

OPS would then be RZR, which is essentially a much better version of fielding percentage...

Claudio Vargas released by Brewers. Any interest?

Vargas gives up too many fly balls for me. Average fastball, average slider, not much else. Pass.

DaveX: I agree 100% on your description of the limitations of fielding average. Plus here's another one: If you're a shortstop with Keith Hernandez playing first your errors will decline and your fielding pct will rise.

I would hestitate to compare RZR to OPS, however, as RZR also is impacted by factors that have nothing to do with the fielder. OPS is a more accurate measurement of offense.

Tom McCarthy just confirmed that Zags is going to have Tommy John.

I'll take Vargas for the Mets or Braves. Not for us, though.

Are the Phils truly going to break camp, again, with just one LHP in the bullpen? How demented is Pat Gillick?

I like stats, hell that's what baseball is about, but relying solely on stats has and forever will bother me. I like the human element of watching a game and not just playing the season out in some wankers basement.

Mike: He still sounds better than Raw Deal Durbin.

On the subject of OF defense: With the amount of OF assists that the Phillies posted a year ago, anything close to that or above that total would have to be considered a very good to outstanding outfield, would it not? As long as Burrell's range is their only handicap out there, then I would be satisfied with that scenario. The guns that they posessed last year were certainly a deterrent for opposing base runners trying to stretch base hits into extra base hits. I guess we will have to wait and see where they stand this year before we can make that call.

I am still concerned about their overall team speed, and without Davey Lopes calling the shots as the 1B coach, I am hoping they can survive without his input until he gets back. I always liked the option of having that speed line up that they deployed on occasion last year.

He does, Alby. But Durbin will be an Iron Pig when Lidge comes back. Do I think his services will be necessary because they will be blown out by the Nats? No. How about the Reds in Cincy? Not likely. How about the Mets in Shea? Probably. Lidge might be back by then. Burying J.D. in the back of the pen is, to me, a risk worth taking.

GM Carson: What person doesn't like the human element of watching baseball? Honestly, most of the guys who are huge "stat" people are just really involved fans of the game. They go hand in hand. I don't get why people always paint people who use statistics as losers in their basements who never watch a game.

I like to read about as much advanced stats as I can. I also like to go to as many Phillies games (and Yanks and Mets games since I live in NYC)as I possibly can, and to me baseball will always be about the games I played in little league and watching games live while drinking a cold one and all the other personal, aesthetic pleasures of the sport. Using statistics to help me understand the game is not mutually exclusive to any of that; in fact, it has only enhanced it.

Beating a Dead Horse is never a good thing, but in this case, I am at least willing to admit a few flaws. Because of years of mis-management, which we can all agree on, I am in the habit of watching what the players that were traded away or available but not signed, do after the fact.

So, with that in mind I will present my, What-If-They-Only-Had-Our-Forsight Dept:

Kyle Lohse may not have had a great deal of support here at BL'er (50/50, but he is an innings guy for sure. His 190-200+ innings that he would give you year in and year out are hard to replace. I am willing to bet that #5 (I hate to even say the name) won't get close to that number. I know the bullpen wouldn't mind having him, and I trust Dave Duncan's opinion of him more than the Phillies brass. Pitchers are like numbers in that little black book; you can never have enough of them.


So is Benson on the 40-man yet? This should be a no-brainer, but for some reason it will take Patty G. and Ruby A. until the last minute possible.

Jon- I mean, it probably makes sense to wait for the last minute. Wouldn't wanna add him on and then have him come down with an injury tossing in the bullpen today. You know?

"Last season Bill James' metrics showed Rollins and Reyes as 2 of the worst shortstops in baseball."

Which James metric is this? As far as I know, the only publicly available one James consults on is Dewan's plus/minus.

James may have had something to do with Range Factor, but no one uses that anymore. If you want to challenge defensive metrics, at least use the ones that people care about (plus/minus, Tango, FRAA, etc.).

This system had had Reyes as the 7th best SS in baseball and J-Roll as average (not sure where since they only list the best and worst).

James may have had something to do with Range Factor in the begining, but no one uses that anymore. If you want to challenge defensive metrics, at least use the ones that people actually care about (plus/minus, Tango, FRAA, etc.).

Considering the defending World Series Champions pay James to develop statistics like this, pardon me if I don't take his word over the "I've got eyes" crowd.

Frankly, I think Vargas would be an upgrade over C. Durbin as a swingman and he'd only be owed the major league minimum since the Brewers are obligated for most of his salary.

kdon: I think it was range factor. The link was posted on beerleaguer during the season last year and there was quite a bit of discussion on it. As I recall Reyes ranked a few notches higher than Rollins and both were in the mid-20s out of 30 mlb shotstops.

kdon: I too would take James' word over the average fan. But some things are just obvious. If a James metric says Burrell is a great defensive leftfielder, you'd accept it. I wouldn't. I do know that James has said defensive measurements aren't nearly as reliable as offensive.

Jack: Your post on stats/game watching was excellent.

"I think it was range factor. The link was posted on beerleaguer during the season last year and there was quite a bit of discussion on it. As I recall Reyes ranked a few notches higher than Rollins and both were in the mid-20s out of 30 mlb shotstops."

According to ESPN.com, there were 24 SS who 'qualified' for their stat board (it looks like the SS had to play 2/3 of team's games to qualify).

Looking at range factor, Reyes came in 22nd & Rollins came in 13th.

One interesting part is that based on Zone Rating (using ESPN.com, covering the same population), Reyes was in 3rd place & Rollins was in 11th. Looks like both stats put Rollins in around the same place, but they're drastically different on Reyes.

"I am still concerned about their overall team speed, and without Davey Lopes calling the shots as the 1B coach, I am hoping they can survive without his input until he gets back. I always liked the option of having that speed line up that they deployed on occasion last year."

Me too Mr. Mack. Lopes really had an impact on this team as Victorino became a legit base stealing threat and the Phils had an excellent SB %. Turned it into a real tool.

Now Lopes is out and the Phils still have Steve Smith (who really struggled last year as the 3B coach and sent runners in some ridiculous situations).

Couple this with the fact that the Phils will have zero speed in most of their lineup now (Howard through Feliz) and I think this team is going to resemble the 2006 offense more than the 2007 offense in that it will be more dependent on the long ball to score runs. Works well in late May onwards but not exactly the most advantageous strategy for cold weather games in April.

Kendrick got bludgeoned today. 10 H and 3 BB in only 5 innings isn't exactly encouraging. Easily could have given up more than 5 runs if the wind had been blowing out.

MG: I didn't see or hear the game, but I do note that 9 of the 10 hits off Kendrick were singles. Were they bleeders? Hard-hit line drives? Lucky bloops? Based on the stats you can't tell. Also they still aren't charting the ball/strike ratios. If I had to guess I'd say KK's sinker was up in the zone, but without seeing the game you can't tell if it was a command problem, a luck problem or a fielding problem. But with 90% of the hits being singles, he must not have been getting totally rocked.

25-Mar-08 Released by the Toronto Blue Jays Sal Fasano. John Patterson signed minor league contract with Texas Rangers. Dallas McPherson optioned to AAA.

Re: Kendrick

I listened to the game on MLB radio and tuned in just after the 4th run in the top of the first. The impression I got was that he allowed a few soft hits in the inning - just as I tuned in LA commented on "another bloop hit."

He seemed to calm himself after the 2nd, retiring 5 or 6 in a row at one point. He recovered nicely. That's the favorable way of interpreting the outing. There's no question he's struggling, but the Reds' damage was isolated and they didn't hit him hard. As clout mentioned, only one hit was for extra bases - a 2B.

C. Durbin, Romero, and Madson pitched well (4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB between them), and it was good to see the bats get to Cordero, including a double from Jenkins (his only good AB of the day, of course.) Again, these are the positives from today.

MG - You also mention the wind factor. I don't know what influence it had on any particular ABs, but Kendrick had 7 GO to 3 fly-outs, which is encouraging.

Just heard that it was blowing into today from the OF at a pretty good clip. One thing I will give Kendrick credit for is for settling down after the 2nd inning. I am certain that Eaton would had a mental meltdown in a similiar situation.

If the Phils are going to carry 11 pitchers (more because they don't even have a 12th pitcher worth carrying on the MLB roster), the Phils can't afford to have an outing where a starter only goes 2 or 3 innings. It will throw off this bullpen at least until the next off day and severely limit Cholly's options.

Weather Report: Next monday looks wet in Philly with a 30% chance of rain. The following Thursday has a 60% chance of rain.

Gillick's Seattle connections have gone dry this year; Blackley's locker was cleaned out, Chris Snelling is on borrowed time and he pulled off a big deal today by moving his former first round Mariner draft pick:

Back-up IronPigs infielder Mike Garciaparra, who really didn't fit into the Phillies plans this summer, was traded to Baltimore Monday for future considerations.


Future Considerations?

Isn't he Some Dude's cousin?

"I am still concerned about their overall team speed, and without Davey Lopes calling the shots as the 1B coach, I am hoping they can survive without his input until he gets back. I always liked the option of having that speed line up that they deployed on occasion last year."

Agreed, Mac. This is a big concern for me, too. If it is a simple matter of them learning things from Lopes, they should be fine. But if it was more Lopes seeing things that they weren't seeing on their own, then it could be tough. (granted, I don't know enough about the base stealing world to even know if that makes any sense... so everyone can flame away if I just made an idiot out of myself.)

Theory & Mac, you're probably right about Lopes' presence having some effect on the SB totals. They learned, but probably not everything he knows.


Andy, I think Future Considerations is Some Dude's second cousin. Some Other Dude is Some Dude's first cousin.

I'm not sure about the rest of the family.

AWH:
Me neither...but I do know that Future Considerations is pretty closely related to Cash Considerations. I don't think any of them are great prospects, but they all sound better than Eaton or Helms.

Dallas McPherson couldn't make the Marlins. Do people still want him as our 3rd Baseman?

The problem with Kendrick, as I've been saying all along, is that he doesn't strike enough guys out. Therefore he is much more prone to a day like today where he gives up a lot of unlucky hits. Guys who can get strikeouts can overcome some bad luck. Guys like Kendrick put so many balls in play that a little bit of bad luck can go a long way to ruining a game. To be more than a back-end 4th or 5th starter, you need more than just an above-average GB rate. We can say he's gotten unlucky all we want- but when you put so many balls in play, it's bound to happen.

Jack: That is exactly right and can be seen with pitchers like Tewksbury (for old-timers) and Paul Byrd and any number of pitchers who rely on command because they have no stuff. Those guys generally wind up as 4th or 5th starters for that very reason, unless, with experience, they develop the command to hit a flea in the ass, right cheek, at 60-feet, 6-inches like Greg Maddux or Trevor Hoffman.

I cant see a reason not to make a run at Vargas for the league minimum. hes only 29, and the Brewers did have some excess pitching. at this point as thin as the pitching is, anyone serviceable is certainly worth a look.

Vargas has mostly been a starter, but he has actually had better success as a reliever. I'm not crazy about his GO/FO ratio but he's got passable control & he certainly has the ability to miss bats. Besides, with JD Durbin as our 6th reliever & no one as our 7th, we're not in a position to be too picky.

Hey, first time poster long time reader. Great blog you have here. Too bad Im a Nats fan I guess, LOL.

Anyway, I stumbled upon www.saberscouting.com the other day looking up some college prospects. Looks like it could get big. When I was there I found some other interesting info too. Check it out.

Good Luck this Season
Take care
AS

Jack/Clout - Can guys who induce double plays overcome bad luck, too? I'm not discounting your point - as a major league pitcher, you have to have an "out" pitch. Moyer was 45th and Kendrick was 61st out of all 666 pitchers who pitched last year in inducing double plays. (Although Kendrick is credited for inducing a triple play, so consider that gem as well.) Where, if anywhere, do you attribute this?

Any word on Benson?

They've asked Benson for another day since Helms is due to be traded for a can of spam

Andy, thanks for the reminder. I forgot about Cash Considerations.

But, when Cash Considerations is traded doesn't the Commish getting involved, maybe to check the geneology chart to make sure the parties aren't too closely related? I hear they want to rid MLB of incest.


To all you Vargas hopefuls: I hate to throw cold water on your hope (I think he's worth a shot, too), but there's no way he passes through the 14 teams ahead of the Phillies. Well....it's possible, but I'd be very surprised if it happens.


From the Inqy...

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies did not add pitcher Kris Benson to their 40-man roster yesterday, but the righthander will remain with the team, as his 24-hour window to opt out of his contract has passed. "I'm feeling good with the clubhouse and the pitching coach and the manager," Benson said. "The winning attitude here, the excitement going into the season, it's all a win-win situation from my standpoint. From their standpoint, they have another starting pitcher they can count on down the road."

All he wants to do is remain a Phillie.

Agreed AWH. I imagine one of the teams that is desperate for a cheap starting pitcher (Pirates and Marlins come to mind) will take a flyer on Vargas.

Anyone else for stashing Byung-Hyun Kim in Allentown? He apparently showed up out of shape so the Bcs are set to buy him out. Maybe he returns somewhat to form and could be a fill-in at some point.

Remember it just wasn't McPherson who some posters, including me, wanted. It was to address the pitching staff and give McPherson a try at the same time. More or less, a different allocation if money. If he failed, you could have rode with Dobbs and Helms until the deadline, but still had some upgrades made to the staff. Also, McPherson was banged up a bit this spring. He could very well be with the Marlins before too long. It would be nice to have that kind of insurance at Allentown.

Mike H: No doubt about it, contact pitchers, especially those like Moyer & KK who rely on pitches down in the zone, will induce more DPs than power pitchers.

The next few days should be interesting. There's no way the Phillies open the season with 11 pitchers, one of whom is the Bad Durbin.

There once was a pitcher Bad Durbin
No relation at all to Chad Durbin
Pat picked him up cheap
But his pitching was *bleep*
So we ended up drinking mad Bourbon.

From last thread: Tyler Yates "fantasy" trade

Yates for Helms would be great. Yates is not very good, but probably more valuable than Helms. Besides, I personally saw Yates give the finger to a group of disgruntled Braves fans during a bad outing against the Phillies. He already has helped the Phils win a game and he has no problem giving Braves fans the appropriate greetings.

BTW: Contrary to popular opinion, there are actually Braves fans. I have seen them. Also, Bruce Willis did not appear in the making of this post.

My 2¢ on stats. I agree with both Carson and Jason. The rock solid foundation of baseball fanship is the stats. I can still recall stats on the back of old baseball cards I have since lost that I had as a kid. The stats link the present day to the historical figures. The stats make us want to learn more about players who were long gone before we were born. However, the recent spate of new age holistic technical mumbo jumbo stats are more designed to make one believe that baseball is a science.

The joy of baseball is watching it. You can't equate a great fielding play into a mathematical formula. A Ryan Howard blast is a thing of beauty, not a mere stat. Most people use stats, especially predictive stats, to confirm their gut opinions. That's how I feel about the whole subject.

Yates was traded to Pirates for minor league pitcher

fljerry - was it Some Dude?

"...Also, McPherson was banged up a bit this spring"

McPherson has been banged up his whole career.

We should trade Helms for Kline or Stanton (neither of whom excite me, but, you know, beggars/choosers and all that), and then we should see if Rudy Seanez is going to retire or would be interested in being in our bullpen. The Dodgers just released him and he was good just last year, so you'd think he has something left.
Lidge/Gordon/Romero/Madson/Seanez/Kline/Durbin ... i'm ok with that.

I'd definitely give Seanez a call - if he doesn't get picked up by someone else. He's gotta be better than The Real Drool.

I still can't forget JD's shutout that he threw against the Whitesox (I believe). How can he be so good one day and so lousy the next day. The previous relief pitching (not last) he looked good striking out 3.

Alby brought up the point the other day that most teams will need 18-19 pitchers over the course of a season (starters and relievers). Phils don't even have 12 pitchers going into the year they can count on.

RE: "I listened to the game on MLB radio and tuned in just after the 4th run in the top of the first. The impression I got was that he allowed a few soft hits in the inning - just as I tuned in LA commented on "another bloop hit.""

Was at the game yesterday. Nothing "bloopy" about any of the hits I saw (except Pedro's error). Even the outs were hit very hard.
Sorry to say it, but Kendrick was awful again.

fljerry - I'm thinking the shutout was the Dodgers in LA, but I'll have to check.

From Hagen article in Daily News:

"I'd like to see anybody stay who can get outs," Manuel said. (in regards to Blackley).

At this point, the Phils just need to try and grab/keep any arm they can. One thing in the Hagen article that made no sense was that the Phils would even consider releasing Helms and just eating his $3M salary. No chance.

Helms will either get moved (which is likely) or the Phils will keep on the roster for the 1st half of the season/not carry 12 pitchers.

Possible relief candidates:
via trade- Mike Stanton for Helms, or Steve Kline for Helms.

Off waivers- Tim Byrdak and Aaron Fultz.

All are lefties. I'd prefer Fultz, Kline, Byrdak, and then Stanton in that order.

I just have the feeling that some pitching move is going to shake in the next three days. This totally unquantifiable feeling is there because pitchers like Seanez are available and they pulled the trigger on Dellucci two years ago.

Tony Gwynn previewed the NL East on Yahoo. He said the Phils rotation was "strong." He picked the Phillies because "they learned a lot last September and played good solid baseball. It's a question of the other teams trying to catch them, now."

Seanez and those mentioned by Carson. Nice little list there, chief.

Mike: That feeling you have is not "unquantifiable." It's eminently quantifiable & the quantity is "4," which is the number of spring losses that JD Durbin has suffered.

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