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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Comments

If Carrasco continues to do well this spring it'll be very interesting to see what the Phils do with him. I love his upside and potential as a starter, but I imagine it will be awfully alluring to plug him into the bullpen for the season or possibly even the 5th spot in the rotation...but let's not rush things.

Someone needs to tell J-Roll to starting hitting (.077 avg.).

They should definitely sign Lohse. We saw clearly last season that having an abundance of starters is a good thing after the Garcia and Lieber disasters. He's an upgrade over Eaton. Blackley is a mystery, Kendrick could falter, and the Durbins are nothing special. Keep the young arms in Allentown or Reading as starters.

I can live without Lohse, even at 4Mil. I think us Philly fans got spoiled last year with the few amount of starts he had. If you look at his minor and major league stats he has never been that good and I think he just performed at the right time last year. Ala, Jeff Weaver for the Cardinals who was a terrible pitcher before the Cards, pitched amazing during the playoffs, signed a big contract with the Mariners, and is still a terrible pitcher for the Mariners.

when your pitching strategy involved throwing a bunch of garbage up on the wall and hoping that a few pieces stick, you're better off throwing more garbage than less.

I understand that Lohse will never be a great starting pitcher. But his career lines suggest that he will probably have an ERA between 4.5 and 5. This will be around the ERA average for NL pitchers this year. However, when you consider that our #3 (Kendrick) and our #4 (Moyer) are likely to post numbers in the same range as Lohse, I feel like signing him to a one year deal can only help by adding one more arm into the mix. Plus, you won't have buyer's remorse because it's only a one year deal.

I get the feeling that this year is going to be the same as last--it's highly likely we're going to go value village or make minor league call-ups with Happ and Carrasco, so if the reported price is 4 million for just one year, I think you have to bite and roll the dice. It doesn't hurt. I'd take all the options I could get right now.

Career lines suggest a 4.5-5 ERA for Eaton as well.

Jason: That's misleading though. Eaton has never shown even the potential to be an average pitcher. Any of his "good" ERAs are from pitching in San Diego. His ERA+ has been consistently around 90 and often significantly below. At least with Lohse he's shown flashes of being slightly above average, and there's the hope he can work out the season to season inconsistencies, versus Eaton with his complete lack of confidence in his shoulder, etc, that doesn't lend much hope.
Anyway, overall their ERA+ difference is 95 vs 88.

And one more thing, on the "Lohse isn't anything special, and that's why he's not getting any interest" line... ehhh... then we're idiots for having offered him 3 yrs at 21 or 27 million in the past, and that doesn't line up with him not being worth even 5 mil to us now.

Not sure how you could not want Lohse at 4M/1yr? Forget about whether or not he ends up stinking or not, there just isn't anything but upside in a situation like that.

Two points:

1. I absolutely don't understand why people think Eaton isn't going to be the No. 5 starter coming out of camp. This notion of "open" competition for the No. 5 spot is compete sham. Even if Eaton was a FA at the end of this year, I would highly doubt that he wouldn't be the starter coming out of camp. Phils are stuck with Eaton and have to pray that he can given them even average/slightly below-average numbers.

2. This spring training reminds me of two years ago when the Phils sold everyone on using Madson/Floyd as their No. 4 and No. 5 starters because they did nothing that offseason to upgrade their rotation. It was a complete disaster and played a huge part in the Phils not making the playoffs in '06. I see the same thing happening this year with a starting rotation that is likely to be average/below average again at best with a potential for a really poor rotation if Hamels/Myers sees any real time on the DL.

That is why it is so frustrating to be a Phils' fan. It is not that they are cheap it is they are so damn fiscally conservative when it comes to threatening their profit margins.

The funny part is that signing Lohse to a 1 yr/$5 M would probably help them team's chances of making the playoffs again and it would easily repay their investment in Lohse's if they did make the playoffs again in '08 through a higher season ticket sales base again in '09 along with higher continued advertising dollars.

Monty and co. realize this of course but they just aren't willing to jeopardize their profit margins (which is really frustrating).

I didn't realize the Phillies made a formal offer to Lohse earlier. Do you have a link to the exact figure?

ae: Excellent point.

dkit: Lohse pitched no better for the Phillies than he did with the Reds or Twins. He's an average starter at best, and he's certainly no savior. But he is quite reliable in his mediocrity and there's something to be said for that -- especially given the present alternatives.

I guarantee you the Phils won't publicly comment on this but they are crossing their fingers they will be able to get away with calling up a starter again by June that has a substantial contribution to their team again this year.

Phils had Hamels in '06 and Kendrick in '07 but I don't know if they strike gold three years in a row. Everybody seems hot on Carrasco because of his early spring training outings but I don't know if he will be ready again.

Guaranteed though that any if any of the more highly-rated Phils' prospects pitch well in April/May, they is a great chance they get a callup by June. Guess it is extra incentive for the likes of Carrasco, Outman, etc.

"when your pitching strategy involved throwing a bunch of garbage up on the wall and hoping that a few pieces stick, you're better off throwing more garbage than less."

This is a crazy way to operate though is will almost certainly result in the Phils sitting at home in Oct.

I am going to wait until the end of spring training but the early struggles of Eaton and Gordon along with Lidge's uncertain health status don't bode well for this team.

The question I have is what happens in the scenario where the Phillies break camp and Eaton has an ERA of over 6 and someone like Blackley or Durbin or anybody else for that matter has a good spring line with an ERA around 3?

Do we really have to give Eaton 4 to 6 weeks worth of baseball to try to figure it out? This team doesn't need any more problems to deal with while playing baseball in April.

I was hoping Eaton would get it together, but what I saw when he pitched against the Yankees was the same Eaton I saw last year.

I'm not trying to be super-negative here and I'll be as optimistic as the next fan when opening day arrives, but this scenario has a legitimate chance of becoming reality.

Ken Mendel of Phillies.com reports the offer to Lohse was 3 year $21 mil early in the offseason.

MG, you sound like a true Phillies fan, completely pessimistic about Carrasco despite his good showing so far.

Thoughts from last thread:

Phargo, great game observations and write-up. Contribute more often.

BAP, your prediction of Lohse going to the Mets is similar to mine, except my feeling is a fear (instead of a prediction) that the Mets bastards will sign Lohse.

Andy, swapping the entire Phillies team for the Marlins is an intriguing idea. Mgmt. would love it, low salaries and expectations. We would then be able to see if Uncle Cholly is really a great manager and what CPB does to inflate the hitting prowess of a team.

The Mets just announced that Moises Alou has a strained groin and has been sent to New York for testing. It was only a matter of time.

Thanks Carson. So the Phillies made a big bid for a mediocre pitcher. It's ... um ... happened before.

Oops! I meant CBP! Drat! Damn typing finger!

LF - Why is it a "fear" that the Mets will sign Lohse? Is he good enough to scare you as part of another team, really? He is mediocre at best, and he may be a nice insurance policy for this team at the right price, but if the Mets sign him, that doesn't scare me - at all.

jhart: I posed the same hypothetical question a few days back. As for my answer, I will break with conventional wisdom and say that, under your hypothetical scenario, Eaton does NOT open the season as the 5th starter. We all know that the competition for the 5th starter's job is a weighted one, in which the Phillies will indulge every presumption in favor of Eaton. But if the difference between Eaton & some other pitcher is simply too stark to be ignored, I believe that even the Phillies will do the right thing & stash Eaton on the DL.

Lake Fred - Your nuts if you think two meaningless outings in spring training for Carrasco mean anything.

Even the outings by Gordon and Eaton so far have to be taken with a grain of salt. I am more interested to see if Gordon how well throwing his breaking ball (which supposedly isn't throwing) and to see if Eaton can build some momentum going into the season to boost his confidence.

Mets signing Lohse would be a huge deal but it just gives the Mets yet more depth in their pitching. Even if they struggle with a ton of injuries to their positional players, the Mets will have a really strong and deep pitching staff to fall back on.

ae - "when your pitching strategy involved throwing a bunch of garbage up on the wall"

Let it fly!!!

Who said "reliable mediocrity?" What a great phrase!

MG: To me, Eaton's bad outing has considerably more significance than, say, Kyle Kendrick's bad outing or Geoff Jenkins' slow start. It's not terribly significant if a previously reliable player gets off to a bad start in ST. But when a guy was wretched last year & he picks up almost exactly where he left on, it's a very troubling sign. Obviously, if he turns things around over the next 3 weeks, then I wouldn't hold the bad first game against him. But my point is that it's more than reasonable to be troubled by his first game. It cannot just be dismissed under the heading, "It's only spring training" - especially since Eaton believes he is pitching for his job, and has every incentive to be at his best in these games.

In other words, MG, the Mets will lose a lot of one run games by scores of 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, etc. because their dinged up lineup won't be able to bring runs home. At least that's the likely scenario against a league leading offense like the Phils have.

Mike H - Too bogus assumtions:

1. The Phils' ragtag pitching staff will be able to only give up 2-3 runs a game.

2. The Mets won't be the Giants offensively this year. They may only be average if they have injuries to Delgado, Castillo, Alou, etc but they still have some great offensive players in Beltran, Wright, and Reyes. I highly doubt there are a ton of games this year where the Mets only put up 2 or 3 runs.

BAP - Agreed about Eaton but his comments the other day lead me to believe that Eaton knows the job is his unless he goes on the DL with a real or "phantom" injury.

Benson scheduled to start a minor league game on Saturday. Good news, probably worth its own thread. This signing is already heading in a positive direction.

GM Carson: I actually think plugging Carrasco into the bullpen is not a terrible idea, for the team and for his development. IF he were to pitch really well in Double AA, and IF he proves himself to be the best available pitching help the Phillies have (and I would do this only if he were really dominating), I would propose putting him in the bullpen for the stretch run. Earl Weaver used to do this with his pitching prospects, both Santana and Liriano developed this way in Minnesota, and currently Joba Chamberlain is doing it (and the Red Sox were going to do it with Clay Bucholz last year but he got hurt). I really think its a good way to break your young starting prospects into the majors while limiting their innings and being able to closely control their development (choosing what situations for them to work, how many days, etc.).

Now, as I said before, this is very unlikely for Carrasco this year, as he is still quite young and hasn't proven he can pitch at the Double AA level. However, it seems to me like a creative way to control both your pitchers development and add some talent into your bullpen. I'm sure everyone who does it doesn't turn out like Santana and Liriano, but it worked for them...

Homerun Derby Durbin strikes again!!!!

In ST, it seems to me that the most important players to look at are those that need to prove something. Like someone said, if Kendrick comes out and has a slow start or Jimmy Rollins (at .077) doesn't hit well for a while, its not that big of a deal, because those players have shown they have the ability to play well when they have to. Other players who have no credibility yet need to step up. I hope that the Phillies will keep a keen eye to those pitchers when choosing the fifth starter.

If Eaton continues to be Eaton through ST, I hope the Phillies will look at the more-than-impressive performances by Carrasco, Blackley and co. Our minors have shown they can turn out stars and I think that is how we will win games in April, with young nationally unknown players making an, albeit brief, name for themselves.

philadelphiabaseball.blogspot.com

Sean: Having a roster full of rookie pitchers does not strike me as a great strategy for getting off to a fast start. That said, having Adam Eaton in the starting rotation doesn't strike me as a great strategy for getting off to a fast start either.

I wasn't talking about the Mets losing one run games to the Phillies only. In that head to head matchup last year, one team scored at least 5 runs 13 times. I'm more interested in one run games against teams with team pitching above the mean.

There were approximately 64 games last year where the Mets scored three runs or less. Their offense scored 804 runs in the season and were clearly above average in all categories.

Knowing all of that, does it constitute "a lot" of low scoring, one run games? The NL league average ERA was 4.44 last year. A low scoring game, to me, is both teams scoring less than 9 runs. If the Mets have above average pitching and below average offense, it is likely that they will be involved in more low scoring than high scoring games. Is it likely that there will be "a lot" of them? Not necessarily.

Um, Sean, Kendrick has made 20 starts in his career. In case you missed the debate in the last thread, there are A LOT of questions about whether he can consistently be a good pitcher.

I'm much more interested in Kendrick's performance than Eaton's, because I know what I'm getting from Eaton- bad pitching.

Mike H: I think the point was that they don't have below average offense. Most people, myself included, would probably be willing to make a large wager that the Mets end up above average in Runs scored in the NL.

Jack: While you continue to be wrong on KK, let me say that your thoughts on Carrasco are right on the money. Not only would that be the smartest way to break him in, it likely will provide the best help to the big club: This team's bullpen is a disaster waiting to happen, far more than the starting pitching.

If Eaton stinks again, they've got Durbin, Blackley & happ. If Gordon can't do the job as closer with Lidge out, they've got nobody.

And just to be clear, when I say "Durbin" I mean the Durbin who can pitch at the major league level.

Maybe Benson's the reason the Phils aren't biting on $4M for Lohse. Maybe they believe he will contribute.

If the Mets have above average pitching and below average offense, it is likely that they will be involved in more low scoring than high scoring games.

except the Mets don't have a below-average offense. only the Phils, the Rockies, and the Braves scored more runs/game last year. and don't forget, they play in a pitcher-friendly park. their road runs/game was second in the league to the Phillies.

true, there are injury risks on their team. but there are also injury risks on our team too, and while the Mets don't exactly have great depth, we might have even less.

JW - Couldn't agree more. I think they're patting themselves on the back for the potential Benson bargian, and praising whatever force kept Lohse from signing at that initial offer.

I hate backwards thinking like this, but I wonder if Howard's winning his arbitration is what put the final nail in the coffin regarding the potential to sign Lohse for 1 year. "We have to pay Ryan this extra money, but we seem to have hedged that with cheap pitching" sort of thinking???

Clout: Haha, thanks for the support buddy. If you say I'm right, I must be.

Anyway, we can disagree on how successful Kendrick may be this year, but you have to agree that there are at least some valid questions about it, no? He is by no means a guy like Rollins, like Sean said, who we know to a 99% certainity will be a valuable contributor (barring injury of course).

Jack: You are also right about the Mets offense.

Maybe Benson's the reason the Phils aren't biting on $4M for Lohse. Maybe they believe he will contribute.

you're probably right, Jason. can't say I'm really confident in their assessment though.

to me, one of the major reasons Lohse is worth signing is that he can also pitch in relief (and barring that one pitch to Kaz Matsui, he's done so pretty well). and we had all of four relievers on this team with ERAs under 4.72 last year: Myers (now in the rotation), Geary (now in Houston), Madson (pre-injury), and Romero.

Jack: I think were you and I agree on KK is that he projects as no better than a #3 or #4 pitcher. People who project him higher than that based on his gaudy stats from last year will be disappointed.

As for the poster who denigrated my comparison to Paul Byrd in the last thread, I would point out that Byrd has won 15 games twice, 17 games once and has a career ERA+ of 105. The Phillies would jump for joy if KK duplicates Byrd's career. Most prospects don't come remotely close to that level.

Good start by Myers.

I'm not really paying much attention to my own arguments this afternoon. It's more like mental doodling out loud on my part. I like asking questions or floating trial balloons here, because I know I'll get an answer.

An 810 run offense is above average, and that is not in dispute. Upon further review, that was the point, Jack et al.

If Howard is 7 for 13 this Spring, he is batting .538, not .438.

A 4.50 ERA is 6 innings, 3 runs. If Kendrick gives us that consistently over the course of the season, he will easily hit 10 wins again, and likely a few more as well.

Another great clout quote to keep for the archives!!

"Jack: You are...right"

"when I say "Durbin" I mean the Durbin who can pitch at the major league level"

clout - as opposed to the Durbin who threw a 9 inning shut-out last year at the major league level?


(just eggin' ya on!)

Andy: I'm referring to the one who had an ERA of 6.06 and WHIP of 1.76 in 65 IP last year and, along with Pedro Feliz, is one of the two most beloved Phillies players on Beerleaguer. (kdon's man-crush Geary would be on that list except now he's in Houston.)

Of the potential 5th starter candidates of Eaton, Benson, Durbin, Durbin, Blackley, and maybe Happ (add others as you see fit), I am struggling to see who exactly has a realistic shot at maintaining that spot. Granted we have no idea if/ when Benson could be at full strength.

I guess what I'm asking is... do guys like Real Deal, Blackley, and Happ even have a chance to break camp in that role, or are they really just part of the competition for the bullpen? Just curious how well these guys have to do to actually get serious consideration at the outset?

Francisco Rosario was starting in the winter league, right? Any chance of him being the 5th starter if he continues to look good?

Lohse CAN pitch in relief, but does he really WANT to? Perhaps, at this point, he's desperate enough to say he'll pitch in the 'pen for $$, but my guess is he won't want to.

This has been a fun thread. We now know that:

The Mets have an above average offense (which continues to move towards average every time we hear about the latest injury).

Carlos Carrasco should be counted on for nothing more this season than perhaps some stretch run bullpen work. Anything more than that is asking (and wishing for) too much. His performance at AA and probably AAA will determine his late-season role.

Kyle Kendrick shouldn't be counted on for anything more than a #3, at absolute best, and more likely a #4. Should his early minor league problems return, he'll likely struggle to hold onto the #5 role. If he can continue to show the command and poise he showed at AAA and last year, he'll be a valuable member of our rotation.

Am I missing anything?

Bed Beard: I agree. I can't imagine him signing on for a potential bull pen role. His real payday will come as a starter. I'd expect him to eventually settle on a cheap one year deal with the hope that his performance this year will translate into a big payday for next year.

CJ - you're missing that Geoff Geary is kdon's "man crush"


evidently.

And I predicted Howard to be the first 100 homer in one season guy.. but Andy said they'd walk him too much first.

Brian - at 80 HRs in August, he walks every time from that point on.

BAP says: "he is quite reliable in his mediocrity and there's something to be said for that -- especially given the present alternatives."

Exactly right. He looked pretty darn good to us not because he was anything better than average, but because average is a level half our rotation will never see again. Granted, Moyer turns in his share of winnable starts, but he's prone to long stretches of below-average performance. Eaton and the Stick To The Wall Gang are even less reliable. I say sign him cheap, and if the rotation is filled make him a reliever; he'd immediately be pretty high on that depth chart. The prior argument against him was that he could lose it like Eaton; on a 1-year deal, no big loss if he does.

"the Stick To The Wall Gang"

classic

From BP's Team Health Report, posted today:

The Facts
Head Trainer: Scott Sheridan
Player Days Lost: 1,049
Dollars Lost: $19.95 million
Three-Year Rank: 14th

In his second year, Sheridan is going to be asked to answer whether last year's numbers were fluke or trend. It's not that they were that bad; on a purely statistical basis, they were slightly below the median, but the injuries to the pitching staff picked up significantly. Yes, there were the flukish oblique strains, an injury that no trainer has yet figured out how to forestall. If there's any positive trend, it's that the Phillies got guys back, effectively and ahead of schedule, in a year where one game meant a lot. Getting Cole Hamels back or keeping Brett Myers healthy in his incarnation as the club's closer are all positives, which makes me think that with a year under his belt, we'll see an improvement on the raw numbers for Sheridan's staff.

Since it is essentially the same team that Sheridan has back, this situation will provide an excellent year-over-year comparison. With the known risks in the rotation and the same solid but thin lineup, we'll know next year if the Phillies have a longer-term health issue.

clout: Did you see the quotes from Kendrick about the Braves' LH hitters sitting on his sinker? That seems to fit in with his problems against them. Dubee wants him throwing his changeup and slider more often.

The funny thing is that in an early off-season interview with Bruce Ruffin, he attributed his inability to ever live up to his rookie season as a starter with the fact that he didn't stick with what worked for him as a rookie.

I have no idea how any of that will work out, but it should be interesting. The possibility of a big drop-off is one reason I'd take the flier on Lohse if it's just 1 year/$4 million or so. Obviously they won't spend that much now, but it's another item for the If They Weren't So Cheap file.

clout -

"I'm referring to the one who had an ERA of 6.06"

So, as I read this, you prefer J.D. over Chad. Or did you mean "I'm not referring..."

Alby: I'm curious. You said half our rotation will never be average again. We know that Hamels and Myers are certainly above average. Kendrick had a 119 ERA+ last year and even with some backsliding, it's certainly not unreasonable to expect a 100 ERA+. Jamie Moyer hit 92 ERA+ last year and 104 and 98 the two years before that. I know he's gettin old, but he's got a good chance to be right around average. Adam Eaton, on the other hand, hasn't been close to average since 2003 (97) and hasn't been at least average since his rookie season in 2000 (103).

Danny Sandoval broke up a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth against the Braves in a Spring Training game today. Braves rookie Jair Jurrgens excelled in a game which also featured Cleveland hurler Kobayashi.

You can't make this stuff up...

Alby: I did see that and that is exactly his problem. The sinker is good enough against righties, but won't cut it against lefties. He's got to improve his slider and his changeup, but especially the latter against lefties.

Andy: Make mine Chad.

clout - thought so. Your phrase needs correction. Suggestion:
"I'm referring to the one who didn't have an ERA of 6.06 and WHIP of 1.76 in 65 IP last year"

Kobayashi? Wasn't that the guy they traded Kendrick for?

Regarding the Met's offense, I don't why the current injuries project them to have less Offense in 08 then they had in 07. Alou only play 82 games in 07 and Delgado spend the 1st half recovering from an injury. Church, Castillo and Beltran will be fine come opening day.

Where do you all see a decrease coming from in 08? By the way, normalize for park effect and the Phillies were only 4 runs better then the Muts in 07. 4 runs is just as likely random variation as it is actual superiority. Its superficial and should hardly be considered a source of confidence or reassurance.

Phillr: Only one person said the Mets offense would decline. Take it easy. Everyone knows the Mets are good on offense, so go take your passive aggressive Mets trolling elsewhere

enjoy this from espn: Now, six of New York's eight regulars are sidelined, plus one member of the rotation -- and it's still early in spring training.

Remember all that excitement and bravado after Johan Santana was acquired from Minnesota last month? With the best pitcher in baseball suddenly on their side, the star-studded Mets were supposed to be NL favorites.

But age is becoming a major question mark for this team, which might be too injury-prone to win.

"I myself have never seen so many injuries at one time," Minaya said. "The good thing is it's early in camp."

CJ: Yes, I was referring to Eaton and Moyer; I think an ERA+ of 92 is about all you can expect from the old guy.

I guess I should have said "half the veteran rotation," because I don't like to assume KK will easily build on last year; learning to throw a change-up at the major league level is a dicey proposition.

Given this bunch, I think Lohse would slot in at #3. Not a great #3, certainly not a playoff team's #3 unless he exceeds all prior performance, but better than what we've got there now, unless KK repeats his rookie season (119 ERA+ isn't too shabby).

Just for the record, the post about the Mets' injuries is from another "Bob'. Personally, I hate to hear about any injuries and would rather just have the teams go head to head, at full strength.

That being said, the Phils had more than their share of injuries last year, and it is part of the game. I don't wish them on anyone, but if they happen to another team, we're not giving away any handicap runs to 'em either.

anyone thought about using carrasco in a way similar to the way the yanks are using chamberlain? i wonder if starting a prospect as a reliever with the plan to move him to starter is a good one for him. last guy we had that plan for was madson (we all learned he is certainly better suited to relief), but right now i'm struggling to think of examples of that process being successful. anybody got any?

keep in mind, i'm not suggesting this plan, just wondering about it...

Well said, Bob the Phillies Fan.

On that note, Moises Alou is out until "at least May" to fix his hernia, according to MLB.

Jack: For the last time, I am not a Mets fan. Feel free to beat up on my Fish all you want though.

A number of posts were referring to the "league leading" and "Vaunted" Phillies offense in this thread. This always strikes me as silly as the Phillies and Mets are comparable on offense to objective observer.

Oh and Mike H., MG and a couple others implied the Mets O would decline. I am not a Mets troll, I just like to stand up for truth in numbers. Enough with the ad hominom attacks please.

Decline?

"2. The Mets won't be the Giants offensively this year. They may only be average if they have injuries to Delgado, Castillo, Alou, etc but they still have some great offensive players in Beltran, Wright, and Reyes. I highly doubt there are a ton of games this year where the Mets only put up 2 or 3 runs."

If Delgado, Castillo, and Alou spend a significant amount of time on the DL (Alou is already to miss at least a few weeks in April), the Mets are going to struggle to store runs at times and likely be be a pretty average offensive team. It is not exactly like the Mets have a ton of depth anywhere with their positional players right now.

This is why I would be surprised to see Minaya try to sign Lohse, move El Duque to the pen, and trade one of his surplus relievers for a RH bat with some pop that can play OF during the next week or so.

Mets fans' are such crybabies. Already criticizing Minaya for not "not getting adequate bench depth" this offseason. Insufferable.

It would only be fitting if the Mets get a dominant season from Santana, suffer from an injury-plagued season, and miss the playoffs again.

In the spirit of past WSBGM's song parodies, I bring to you my rendition of Pearl Jam's Better Man inspired by the uninspiring competition for the 5th spot in the Phillies rotation.

Waiting, watching the game,
It’s the 4th inning, it’s got to stop,
Tell him, take no more, Manuel practices his speech
As he approaches the mound, he thinks it over.
Pretends to take the ball as he looks him over.
Manuel lies and says he’s alright with him,
Can’t find a better man.
Phans dream in color, Phans dreams in red,
Upset we can’t find a better man.
Can’t find a better man.
Ohh...

Talking to himself, there’s no one else who can pitch now,
He tells himself, oh...
Memories back when the rotation was bold and strong,
And waiting for the league to come along.
Swears he knew it was so, but now he swears it gone.
He lies and says he’s okay with him,
Can’t find a better man.
Phans curse in color, Phans are seeing in red,
Pissed Gillick can’t find a better man.
Can’t find a better man!
Yeah...

We boo him, yeah...but he don’t want to leave this way.
We need him, yeah...that’s why he’ll be back again.
Can’t find a better man.
Eaton ain’t a better man,
Dos Durbins aren’t better men,
Blackley ain’t a better man,
Can’t find a better man,
Kris Benson is injured and,
We need a crafty veteran,
Or an equivalent to Johan Santana-an,
Kyle Lohse ain’t the answer man,
Where is a better man?!
Ugh...

News from Phils camp:
*Brad Lidge is healing quickly and hopes to throw off a mound early next week.

*JD Durbin continues to sputter in his quest for the 5th spot in the rotation.

*Former 1st round pick Greg Golson continues to shine this spring with an .800 avg.

*Newbies Bruntlett and Feliz are still hot at the plate batting over .400 each.

*Brett Myers has looked freakin' awesome this spring, ZERO era.

*Benson is set to pitch in a minor league game on Saturday.

Hee!

I especially like "Dos Durbins"

Plaschke of Around The Horn infamy wrote an hilarious column on Juan Pierre yesterday, for those of you who like arguing over Juan Pierre. He says Torre should start Pierre over the vastly superior Andre Ethier. The article contains gems like:

Fans don't appreciate him. Statisticians can't calculate him. Bloggers downright brutalize him.

I like him.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-plaschke5mar05,1,2397230.column?ctrack=1&cset=true

Correction: I like the use of the TERM "Dos Durbins".

Phargo- good correction!

ok, i'll bite.

it's not that pierre is necessarily a bad player, there's just no room for him on the dodgers. he has zero power, and doesn't walk enough. on top of that, the dodgers already have their leadoff guy in furcal. and on top of that, they signed andruw jones to play center which is moving pierre to left field. so you're putting a guy with a SLG in the .350s at a corner outfield spot. and on top of that, now two players who are ready for the show in andre eithier and matt kemp are blocked because of the dodgers boneheaded signings of andruw jones and juan pierre. and for the record, juan pierre, a basically useless player to the dodgers, signed a 5 year, $44 mil. deal. comparing that to adam eaton's 3 year, $24 mil. deal, the dodgers are actually paying $800k more than we are for eaton and they're on the hook with that contract for 2 more years than we are. though, in pierre's defense, he's a whole hell of a lot more tradeable than adam eaton.

that should say $800k more *per year*

The link should have the word true after the = sign. Plaschke acknowledges, sort of, that Pierre was terrible last year, but nevertheless insists that "Pierre will fit... as easily as his bat fits on a bunt" (I didn't make that up) because his season last year was actually not that much worse than the year his team won the World Series in Florida. Most people would think that's a sign he didn't have such a great year back in 2003, but not Plaschke. He seems to think that Pierre won them the World Series. He does admit that Pierre's "plate discipline" was a lot worse in 2007 than in 2003, but blames that on the "lousy offense" around him. It's a pretty amazingly flawed argument.

I'm in Clearwater now, check out photos from the games here:

http://flickr.com/photos/jakesg123/

GO PHIGHTINS!

Tray: It's not hard to understand once you realize that knowing anything about baseball plays very little role in who gets hired by newspapers to cover it. The No. 1 requirement is an ability to write coherently -- note I said coherently, not intelligently -- on deadline. No. 2 is a willingness to take whatever crap newspaper management decides to dish out. Depending on the paper's ownership, baseball knowledge might not make the top 10. Knowledge of baseball can be learned; willingness to kiss editor @ss is priceless.

And no, I am not a frustrated sportswriter. It's actually a fairly awful job.

Thanks Jake.

The Pierre debate is a classic statheads vs. scouts argument.

By the way, I fall closer to the stathead side (altho not so extreme that I accept the nonsense that's passed off here as the Gospel of fielding. Hell, even Bill James says the fielding metrics aren't remotely as good as the offense and pitching metrics) but since RSB left there's almost no one here taking the scouts' side of the debate.

Nice pictures, Jake!

Im glad to see Rosario showing better command control this spring. We can always use a 6-7th inning arm and I like what I am seeing from him.

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