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Monday, April 21, 2008

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Mets fan here. Was having this argument on another blog so I thought I'd ask it here to see what you guys think: Chase Utley vs. David Wright? Who is the better player and why?

That 6th inning nearly killed me. I thought the Phils were going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

And might I add? Shut up, Joe Morgan.

Too close to call. Wright is better at fielding his position. Utley is leagues above anyone else at second when it comes to hitting.

I see that Joe Thurston is starting for Boston today.

Utley vs. Wright is a draw. Phillies fans would take Utley, Mets fans would take Wright. And everyone would be happy.

Thurston is amazing. I bet he hasn't started more than 30 games in his entire professional career in the outfield. He actually admitted to me, personally, that he fibbed about how much experience he had in the outfield when the Phils started him in left in 06. It all started when he was shagging balls with Varsho and Varsho liked the way he tracked down balls. Now he's starting in left for the defending champs.

The moral of the story is: If you want to become a Major League left-fielder, just tell them you know how to do it, and you're in.

Chase is terrific, but there's literally no aspect of the game in which he's better than David Wright.

Jason: I couldn't agree with you more about the Harman and Bohn call-ups. With Harman, perhaps the Phillies had limited choices. But Bohn? That's just bizarre. There are at least a half dozen outfielders in the Phillies' system who would bring more to the table than Bohn, including Pascucci (who would have been my choice), Golson, Watson, Moran, and Slayden (who would have been my second choice). I suspect the reason the Phillies decided to call up such light weights is that they didn't want to start the service time clock on any half-way legitimate prospect. So, thanks to the Phillies' ever frugal ways, we have Bohn & Harman as our late inning pinch hitters for the next 10 days.

Happy Patriots Day, everyone. Love that 11 a.m. Red Sox game.

They are roughly equivalent in terms of BA and OBP, but Wright has more power, is much faster and will rack up more steals. Wright is also probably the better fielder at his positions.

The case could be made that third base is a deeper position and that on the basis of scarcity Utley is the better player to have. However BP has Wright at a significantly higher VORP for 2007 and now 2008.

Sidenote: Wright and Utley's 2007 comparisons are valid as despite the injury Utley still had a full seasons worth of PAs and only 100 less then David's.

Another sidenote: My fiancee (she is from Philly) thinks David is much hotter and votes David on this fact alone.

Joe Thurston is your quintessential minor league journeyman, but he would be a sizable upgrade over TJ Bohn

He might have found a nice home for himself in the American League. As a bench player, it seems like a better fit.

Do the Phils have any need for Frank Thomas? PH or spot starter at 1B? I know he wants to play most every day though.

Almost anyone would be a better option than Bohn and Harman. I can't see either of them contributing anything to the club over the next 2 weeks besides painful pinch-hitting appearances and new reasons to bitch about Pat Gillick & Co.

There's guys floating around that we should look to for a stop-gap. Kenny Lofton is a great example, but he might now not the job. Someone like Kevin Mench would make a lot more sense.

LC, you answered your own question. Frank Thomas is only interested in a full time gig. Thats impossible in the NL.

Also, havent you had enough of strikeout prone sluggers?

Frank Thomas is still useful in my opinion, but only for an American League team, he doesn't play the field anymore.

PhillR: "Wright and Utley's 2007 comparisons are valid as despite the injury Utley still had a full seasons worth of PAs and only 100 less then David's."

I think Wright is definitely the better all-around player but, give Utley the 100 extra at bats last year and his numbers would almost certainly have overshadowed Wrights. Probably equal in homers, 20+ more RBI and a probably 18 more doubles. Give him back those 30 games and he may have been the MVP.

Barry Bonds isn't doing anything right now.

With both Jimmy and Victorino on the DL, I think the Phillies should sign Kenny Lofton to hit lead off and play center. I know he wasn't the most popular guy when he did play here, and he is probably about 53 by now, but I think he would help to provide a little stability and speed at the top of the lineup.
Let's sign Kenny Lofton.

Some of the game's finest talent at their positions are in the NL East: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Johan Santana, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Billy Wagner, Hanely Ramirez, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Jeff Francouer, Mark Texierra, and Brian McCann.

Carson: Noticed no Zimmerman on that list, and I would agree. He hasn't homered since the opening series with the Phils. He's very streaky, it seems.

Jason, I think it should be "role-playing" as GM

Hugh Mul: The difference between Wright and Utley in HR was 8, the difference in PA was 98.

Utley hit one HR ever 27 PA in 2007, so assuming equal PA to Wright he would have finished with 26 HR. Still significantly short of Wright.

RBI is a meaningless statistic for evaluating a hitter, all it does is reflect on those hitting in front of the player in question. However Utley would certainly have made up the 4 run gap.

If you project Utley's numbers based on equivalent PAs to Wright in 2007 then Utley finishes with a VORP of 79, versus 81 for Wright. If you are unfamiliar with VORP, it is an offensive only measure of runs created versus a replacement level player at the same position.

So ultimatly Wright wins this one due to better power and speed.

Hate to point out little typos but there still could be Mets trolls hanging around

Carson- No Beltran?

These types of moves are where the Phils' true misery ways truly show through. They are going to make a trade for "cash considerations" because they don't want to spend a couple of hundred thousand on a veteran league minimum player. Instead, they will go with an untested and unready Harman and a stiff like Bohn. Really disappointing.

Signing Lofton isn't realistic. Besides the fact that he would be expensive, the Phillies already have 5 outfielders. When Vic comes off the DL, Lofton isn't going to accept a demotion to AAA. A much more practical option than Lofton would be, say, someone from our minor league system who is hitting above .200. I know our minors are thin, but I believe there are a few guys who meet that criterion.

Wright had a lower OPS than A-Rod, Chipper Jones, Ryan Braun, and Miguel Cabrera. He's a better fielder than Braun and Cabrera by a large margin, and better than Rodriguez and Jones by a smaller one. Still, the case could easily be made that last year Wright was the 3rd best 3B in the game.

Utley's nearest competitor was Jeff Kent, who was over 100 points of OPS behind Utley. And the defensive gap is huge there. Utley is unquestionably the best 2B in the game right now.

In my personal opinion, I think Beltran and Zimmerman are overhyped. They're good players, but I wouldn't rank them as the best in the Majors at their position. I know people will probably argue, but that's my view on it.

Utley's only competition as best Secondbaseman in the game comes from Brandon Phillips, but he doesn't even touch Chase.

I'm not sure I buy the argument that Utley's value is enhanced because of his position. It's true there are more good-hitting third baseman than second baseman but you need only look at the Phillies' rosters over the last 5 years to see that, as a practical matter, those good-hitting third baseman are not readily available. If Utley were a dynamic defensive player, then I might be more willing to buy into the argument that he gains value over Wright, because of the relative scarcity of the 2 positions. But Utley is pretty average at second base and, eventually, is probably headed over to first base when Howard leaves & Adrian Cardenas is ready to come up.

I agree that Utley is the best 2B, however the margin of difference between Utley and a "Replacement Level 2B" is smaller then the margin of difference between Wright and a replacement level 3B.

The fact that there are other great 3B does not diminish how good Wright is.

As for Beltran. Its impossible to argue that he is anything other then a great defensive CF. As for offense, he had a vorp of 51 in 07 and 68 in 06. What CF in the NL had better?

Really, please name me a better CF then Beltran offensively. I think Ichiro had a higher Vorp in 07, but not 06. Anyone in the NL?

Signing Lofton isn't realistic. Besides the fact that he would be expensive, the Phillies already have 5 outfielders. When Vic comes off the DL, Lofton isn't going to accept a demotion to AAA.

this is true, but it should be pointed out that Taguchi hasn't really been pulling his weight. IMO, it would be a smart move to dump Taguchi for strictly salary relief and sign Lofton - can't imagine that he'd demand much more than $3M. and with Victorino's apparent fragility you have to think he'd get a lot of PT even after Vic comes off the DL (and who knows how far off that would be).

of course that assumes that there would be some demand for Taguchi (I think there's a pretty good chance) and that the Phillies would be willing to add $1-2M in payroll (not at all a good chance). but really, the 25-man is very problematic right now.

Oh Ive got it, Andrew Jones! lol.

I guess Justin Upton will probably be better real soon if not in 08.

CF is pretty shallow these days and a VORP over 50 is pretty damn good. Its pretty Elite really.

The list of Phillies with VORP over 50 is Howard, Rollins, Utley. Burrell for example was 34.5.


PhillR- your arguement for Beltran is a solid one and he is a great CF. Torii Hunter, Ichiro, Granderson, Sizemore, and newly CF BJ Upton rank as some of the best, but you're right, Beltran belongs in that list.

PhillR- ease down big boy. I said it was my "opinion", I didn't present my list as a "fact".

Rowand had a better year offensively than Beltran last year.

VORP sucks. It's so 2003.

PhillR: I'm no sabermetrician so you should/wil know we're not talking the same language. Still, just as a devil's advocate (because I'd rather watch Utley play than Wright, regardless) here's my take on your analysis:

"The difference between Wright and Utley in HR was 8, the difference in PA was 98.

Utley hit one HR ever 27 PA in 2007, so assuming equal PA to Wright he would have finished with 26 HR. Still significantly short of Wright."

I don't think 4 HR, based on statistical assumptions which eliminate any elevation of performance in September, is significantly short on the HR totals. Looking at career averages, they're nearly dead even and Utley's career high is 2 better than Wright. From what I see watching them play, Utley has as much pop in his bat as Wright and I'll take the 55-60 doubles he might have hit last year vs. Wright's 42 as more than making up for a handful of homers.

"RBI is a meaningless statistic for evaluating a hitter, all it does is reflect on those hitting in front of the player in question. However Utley would certainly have made up the 4 run gap."

I've heard this repeated ad nauseam, so it must be true. But, to me, a player's ultimate job is to score runs and drive them in so I'll continue to look at those numbers. Utley does both at a greater rate than Wright. I would expect a guy at the top of the lineup (like Utley) to do more of the former than the latter, and a guy down further in the (like Wright) to have more even numbers or be RBI heavy. Utley's RBI total, and his edge on Wright, is significant to me when I do that comparison.

"If you project Utley's numbers based on equivalent PAs to Wright in 2007 then Utley finishes with a VORP of 79, versus 81 for Wright. If you are unfamiliar with VORP, it is an offensive only measure of runs created versus a replacement level player at the same position."

You got me there - I thought a VORP was something from Star Trek: TNG. Who is the "replacement level player" and is a difference of 2 statistically meaningful?

"So ultimatly Wright wins this one due to better power and speed."

I'll give you better fielding, speed and baserunning. I'm not convinced Wright has more power or is a better hitter. It looks like a dead heat to me.

This made me laugh:

"If Jimmy being hurt is my fault, then blame me. Put it on big Chuck. He'll take the blame. Believe me, I'm big enough to take it. Blame me for whatever you want. No problem."

Sounds like four years in Philadelphia have worn some of the cuddliness off of Big Chuck.

Thoughts from this weekend:
1. I'm 0-4 in Phillies Mets games I've gone too. I'm never going to one again.
2. On Friday night Hamels never should've pitched to David Wright in the 8th. Wright was all over him all night. After Church basically doubled off of him, Gordon should've come in to face just Wright, then bring it Romero. That loss is on Charlie.
3. Howard cost us 3 runs with his glove the first two games, as he should've turned the inning ending double play before Madson gave up the homer. To be fair he looked good with it last night. It's frustrating how unfocused he looks out in the field most of the time.
4. Lidge looked terrified last night. We were lucky to pull that one out.

"As for Beltran. Its impossible to argue that he is anything other then a great defensive CF."

Why? I've only seen him a little, but I'm not bowled over. I was at CBP his first game there for the Astros, and I didn't see any blazing speed, or even good routes to balls. Yes, he's good, but "great"? Based on what?

"I'm 0-4 in Phillies Mets games I've gone too. I'm never going to one again."

Aha! It's Brian G's fault.

What's Rickey Henderson up to these days?

Tony0- You sort of have me on Rowand. His VORP was 52, Beltran's was 51.6.

Hugh- A 2 run difference in VORP is just that, 2 runs over the course of the season. So you are right it is pretty much a dead heat.

I think the point you are trying to make with RBIs would be better served by a stat like BA with runners in scoring position, no? The problem with RBI is that the biggest factor in getting a lot of RBIs has nothing to do with the guy getting RBIs, its all about the ability of the people hitting in front of him. So lets compare BA with RISP which isolates the players we are evaluating.

David Wright hit .310 with runners in scoring position, while Utley hit .304. Again a slight advantage to Wright, but really a dead heat. Utley had more RBIs because the people in front of him had higher OBP the Wright.

Another interesting point is this. Utley had incredible protection in the form of Ryan Howard hitting behind him. The guy was getting a ton more pitches to hit because howard was up next. Wright was protected either by Delgado or Lo Duca or Valentine in 07.

The advantage of hitting in front of a monster like Ryan Howard is hard to overstate.

Giants DFA'd Rajai Davis according to MLBTR. seems like a low risk option...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/
c/a/2008/04/20/SPKH108JPN.DTL&feed=rss.giants

BrianG: Phargo's right. The Phillies are 2-4 against the Mets this year and I place the blame squarely on you.

"The advantage of hitting in front of a monster like Ryan Howard is hard to overstate."

is there any evidence of this?

http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2004/09/the-protection-externality-it-doesnt-exist/

Utley vs. Wright comes down like this for me: 2B is a far more important position than 3B (despite what Tray, Jack, kdon et al say). Utley is clearly the best. I'll take the best at the position over a guy who was second or third best last season at a lesser position.

I'm ok with that. My first two losses were both games of the Friday doubleheader last year. I had tickets to Sunday's game but decided to just drive by the stadium and scalp them, and we won that one on a great game by Kendrick. Coincidence?

Forgive me if I'm not willing to concede better baserunning and speed to Wright. Wright steals more bases, but he attempts a lot more as well. Like Reyes/Rollins, it seems like basestealing is much more aggressive in NY than in Philly right now. %-wise, Chase is as good if not better than Wright.

Additionally, Chase very rarely makes a bad baserunning decision but is also not conservative. I don't watch enough of Wright to know his abilities, but I don't see how he could be much better.

Alby- Beltran has won two gold gloves (admittedly meaningless for determining who is "best"), and had the highest zone rating among center fielders in 07. Zone rating is sort of a combination of fielding percentage and range factor.

Among full time players he had the highest range factor and second highest fielding percentage.

If you really want to see an amazing play, he made a game saving catch the 14th in Houston last year that could be one of the greatest catches ever. Im sure its on youtube somewhere.

PhillR "A 2 run difference in VORP is just that, 2 runs over the course of the season. So you are right it is pretty much a dead heat."

blind squirrel finds the acorn

"The problem with RBI is that the biggest factor in getting a lot of RBIs has nothing to do with the guy getting RBIs, its all about the ability of the people hitting in front of him. . . . . Utley had more RBIs because the people in front of him had higher OBP the Wright."

I don't know if that's true. I do know that hitting behind Rollins has to help improve RBIs, but I also know that Reyes' OBP was slightly better than Rollins'.

"Another interesting point is this. Utley had incredible protection in the form of Ryan Howard hitting behind him. The guy was getting a ton more pitches to hit because howard was up next. Wright was protected either by Delgado or Lo Duca or Valentine in 07.

The advantage of hitting in front of a monster like Ryan Howard is hard to overstate."

I agree - hitting in front of Howard has to help a guy get pitches to hit. Of course, at some point, you're picking your poison with Utley and Howard adn this year, Utley is more poisonous.

Tangent: Why isn't Howard seeing better pitches this year with Utley in front and Burrell behind? I'd move Burrell up a place to test this theory. Howard certainly couldn't get any colder.

I think we can safely say that Utley is slightly better than Wright in some categories, significantly betters in others, and wright is slightly better than Wright in Some categories and significantly better than others.

Defense I will defer to Wright. He's not Scott Rolen but he can really pick it. I question the "SPEED" factor, however, Even though Wright is a 25 to 35 stolen base guy, I'm not sure it has anything to do with having more speed than Utley. I think Utley either chooses not to run, doesn't have a green light or doesn't run because he is often hitting in front of Howard, who will be WALKED 99.9% of the time if there's an open base.

Last night before I left the game in the 3rd inning (my sister was on the way to the hospital about to have her first child), Howard hits a fly ball with 2 outs... Utley on First, Werth on Second. Utley was COOKING around the bases and turned on 3rd third and and had about 15 feet between Werth and him about when the flyball was caught. Maybe Werth wasn't running full speed, but Utley was absolutely CHUGGING.

I'd like to see their 60 yard splits to see if Wright is significantly faster.


both my some day be hall of famers...

only one... may have the ability to go down as the greatest at their position.

That said. I'd love to have Wright on the Hot Corner. And I'd love for the phillies to get him off the plate some.

It's amazing that a guy like Wright can do SO MUCH damage to a team over the weekend and there is not ONE hard inside pitch to get him off the plate. (I'm not talking brush back). I'm talking the kind of pitch that might "hit the jersey" like Utley.

Okay... I take that back.. Last year we hit Wright 4 times.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/event_bat.cgi?n1=wrighda03#divisory=1&pitchORbat=bat&n1=wrighda03&year_game=career&event=16&out_type=


Clout- I see your point, and as a GM I would agree with you.

However if the question is "who is better", then that is different.

Utley (projected to fulltime in 07) was 79 runs better then a replacement 2b, while Wright was 81 runs better then a replacement 3b.

(1) The fact that there is someone even better then Wright does nothing to change the fact that Wright was better compared to league average then Utley at their respective positions.

(2) If we all agree that 3B is a much deeper position then 2B, then it stands to reason that the baseline for "replacement player" at 2B is much lower then at 3B. This implies that it is easier to achieve a higher VORP at 2B then it is at 3B.

So yes, I agree that due to the scarcity at 2B Utley may be more valuable, but that does not mean he is a better player. Also the reality is that elite players at all positions are truly scarce, it would be no easier to replace Wright's numbers at 3B then it would be Utley's at 2B. Its not like the Mets can go out and sign Arod.

They're both awesome players. The difference is extremely minimal.

FWIW I'd take Wright over A-rod. Seems like he's a better teammate (there is something to be said for that) and he doesn't have the baggage.

while both utley and wright are the best at their respective positions (wright in the nl at least) and will be for many years to come, i think you have to give the slight edge to wright, based on both of them posting similar numbers but utley in the better lineup and ballpark.
Go to baseballreference.com and neutralize both wright and utley's stats. Interesting stuff


Utley vs. Wright

This is the other Bob, and I agree with the other Bob who posted that it is a draw. Two great players. Utley is a hardnose, throwback type with great intangibles. Don't know as much about Wright in that regard, but he seems that way also.

Would love to have Wright on the team, and hope he is as appreciated in Metdom as Chase is here in Philly.

With Burrells hot bat, is it time to move him to the 4 hole? I like the idea of splitting up Utley and Howard to force the other team to burn more relievers in the late innings. My only concern is Howard takes this as a slight, mopes about it and loses his confidence which prolongs this slump a bit. Any thoughts?

"intangibles" "better teammate" "throw back type" lmao.

I would without a moments hesitation take Arod over either chase or wright. We have no idea about utley or wright or arod as teammates, how hard they work, or any of the intangibles. ALL that we know are stories twisted and massaged to generate maximum readership.

What we do know our numbers. The numbers say that there is no such thing as clutch and that Arod is one of the greatest players to ever play the game and will in all likelyhood continue to be great for the next 6 years.

The only argument to make otherwise is that Wright is significantly younger and poses a smaller injury risk. Wright and Utley may very well be in the HOF one day, but Arod could justify his own temple.

Both Chase and David Wright are unbelievably talented players and have incredibly high ceilings; still - Chase is 29, Wright is 25. I think what that shows is that Wright may have a slightly higher plateau as you could argue he hasn't even entered his prime age of playing yet.

Oh and ps, for those clamoring for Joe Thurston as a replacement for the injured Snelling/Victorino rather than Bohn or Harman, Thurston is currently 0-5 today for the Red Sox. Though he had a great catch out in Leftfield, he looks extremely lost and confused at the plate.

T-bone, I don't think Howard has much confidence right now anyway.

Talk about lost and confused. That describes Howard this year.

For this year and probably the next 2, I'd say it's a very, very close call and so I'll stick with my guy and take Utley.

Because of the age difference, Wright is definitely the more valuable commodity.

I think these are 2 of the 4 clearly most talented players in the NL (Hanley and Pujols being the other 2), and that the MVP will in all probability be one of Wright or Utley, barring injuries of course.

I couldn't agree more with Ken Rosenthal's take on Ryan Howard. Which is basically to just enjoy him while we have him.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8047698

Hey phans~

I was up in Philly for the weekend as went to the game Sat. Howards looks like a deer staring at hedalights at the plate. And his defense certaincost the Phils on Fri. But then last night he makes a fine catch and a nice pick in the 9th.

I can honestly say though that right now as currently contstructed the Mets are better.

Saw PG's interview before Fri.'s game and he was asked about Loshe and said thay were already committed to Benson. That kind of thinking will not improve this team. They ARE having a better April than the last few seasons and their pitching has been somewhat surpising to me. But it is obvious that they need bench help and another lefty in the 'pen and I fear that by the time a deal is made if any, it will be too late.

DPatrone: "Saw PG's interview before Fri.'s game and he was asked about Loshe and said thay were already committed to Benson."

This makes no sense at all. How can you be committed to a guy who had no chance to make the opening day roster, and may never make the roster? Does Gillick have brown eyes?

DPatrone - do you mean "constructed" or "performing"? A healthy Rollins and Vic, coupled with career average numbers from Howard and I think these teams are fairly even.

Along with career averages from Feliz/Jenkins/Ruiz..

Rajai Davis wouldn't be a bad pick-up. A decent speed guy to replace Victorino for now. He has career minor league average of .305 with 251 SBs over 7 seasons.

I still can't believe Bohn and Harman were called up at the same time. That's pretty damn sad if you ask me. The Phils need to make a minor move here and bring in someone who can provide a little more depth. Otherwise it will be a painful experience watching these two when they do make it into a game.

I also like the sign Lofton and let Taguchi walk when Vic returns idea. Either way, something needs to be done whether it's Davis or Lofton. The bench is damn weak right now.

So Taguchi hasn't been a knock out so far but i'm pretty sure he's going to turn out to be a valuable bench player over the long season, i don't see any reason they would release him and his .300 pinch hitting average.

someone mentioned this earlier, but what do people think about putting in a waiver claim for Rajai Davis?

he was DFA'd by the Giants. he's the burner off the bench that the Phils have been missing since they shipped Bourn back home. a solid defensive player, he needs some help at the plate that Uncle Cholly might be able to provide and he's a better alternative to any current "late inning defensive replacement" option.

i would do it. and send Bohn back down.

great minds think alike there...

Jon- i would hate to see the Phils cut Taguchi loose. like johnnysanz mentioned, he has a great average as a PH, but more importantly to me he is a very technically sound ballplayer. how many games last year did we see Nunez/Bourn/Roberson get up there and fail to get the bunt down? Taguchi has made an impression on me already this season as a player that can be counted on to hit the sac fly or lay down the bunt when the team needs to manufacture a run. i think that's a critical strength overlooked in his evaluation as a bench player.

Rajai Davis is obviously a huge upgrade over Bohn and probably even Snelling, but he's nothing more than a lefty 4th or 5th outfielder with good speed, OK glove and mediocre bat.

For sure, you wouldn't cut Taguchi to make room for Rajai Davis.

Phillr,

You may be lyao about quaint concepts like being a good teammate, or intangibles, but a player's teammates aren't. BTW, since you're lyao at something I wrote, I wasn't talking about A-Rod, the comparison was between Utley and Wright. A-Rod is something you brought into the mix, which is fine.

But anyway, I disagree that we have "no idea" about these guys as teammates. Sure, stats are harder evidence, but there are threads we pick up as we watch and read that I think after a while are more than "twisted or massaged stories".

I've probably seen Chase Utley in over 100 games in person or on TV over his career and have read the same amount of articles, etc. that discuss him in some respect.

In that time I've watched many examples of intangibles like diving backups of an errant throw that saved a base and later a run. In the all star game I watched Manny Ramirez peel off running to second base on a grounder by the shortstop. Then I saw Chase plow into the shortstop in the same game trying to break up the double play - in the all star game.

In the many thousands of words I've read (in the oh, so easy Philly press that the players all love), I have not seen one phrase-zero, zip, nada-that suggests the idea of anything other than a hard working ballplayer who is highly respected by his teammates and opposing players.

I haven't had the good fortune to see or read about A-Rod nearly as much, but I have read numerous times about issues or clashes with other teammates or players. The ball/glove slap, yelling at the guy trying to catch a popup, his tough relationship with Jeter, some discouraging words about his performance and attitude by Giambi and other Yankees, Jose Canseco (admittedly not the best of sources) saying in his newest book "A-Rod, I hate your guts" to end a chapter about how a-Rod was hitting on his then wife...

Sure, some of this is professional jealousy, or whatever. But if the players were of equal ability (I know they aren't, that's not the argument I'm making) who would you rather have on your team as a player, and in your locker room as an owner?

The point of this isn't to knock A-Rod, I agree with your analysis of his ability and my gut feel is he has probably had somewhat of a bum rap. But I can't buy dismissing out of hand what someone like Utley can contribute to a club besides pure stats.

i don't see any reason they would release him and his .300 pinch hitting average.

Taguchi has had one good season as a pinch hitter, when he went 13/32 in 2007 (with a .448 BABIP; he's at .315 on his career). other than that, he's been completely unexceptional as a PH: 16/70 from 2002-2006 and 0/3 this season. there's absolutely no reason to think that he has any special talent as a pinch hitter, especially since he's 38--not exactly an age when players generally peak.

as far as I'm concerned, Taguchi has brought nothing to the table despite his multiyear, multimillion dollar contract. his defense has been mediocre at best, he hasn't done anything at the plate, and he hasn't shown any real baserunning skills.

Taguchi has made an impression on me already this season as a player that can be counted on to hit the sac fly or lay down the bunt when the team needs to manufacture a run.

Taguchi's sacrifice flys on the season: 0
Taguchi's sacrifice bunts on the season: 1

must have been one hell of a bunt to make such an impression.

Nothing against Utley, but I'd take Wright because he's four years younger.

Frankly don't understand all of the Wright vs. Utley talk. Old hat and it is only April after all. Much more interested to see if this offense is going to be able to do much of anything against two lefty starters the next two days in Colorado.

Redman is a stiff (one of the classic examples of how even a marginal guy keeps a starting pitcher job in the majors because he is a lefty) but willing to bet that Francis puts the clamps on them pretty well.

Joe I~

I mean "constructed". But you're point about "performing" is well-taken and duely noted. It's clear at the moment that injuries will hurt the club's starting 8. We don't have much help down on the pharm and we surely don't have any trading chips down there. Yes when all of our guys are healthy the teams are fairly even.

Hugh~ That's what PG said. Stupid,yes. But that's what he said.

Rare point of praise for Amaro:

Granted the Phils handled JRoll's injury in a seemingly incompetent manner, but at least he came out in the public to possibly acknowledge that fact. Even that is a rare thing from this organization.

I will give Amaro a few points there for at least acknowledging a mistake was made even if it was kind of half-hearted and really didn't provide any new insight.

Amaro is still a douche. Btw, I can see the argument for keeping Taguchi around. I'd just like to see the Phils do something to address the inadequacies of Bohn and Harman being on the Major League roster at the same time.

Didn't change my opinion of Amaro but you have to give him some credit where due at times.

DPatrone: "That's what PG said. Stupid,yes. But that's what he said."

I'm sure he said it. I don't think it's stupid so much as it is bullsh!t.

I know off topic, but it was pretty funny listening to sports radio in NYC complaining about how unwelcoming the fans at CPB are.

They actually blame the Eagles fans.

Really pretty funny how much whining is going on up here (I live in NYC). Makes me a little proud. It was mostly, "they were saying mean things to me and my sister...." Not about fights, or snowballs....

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EST. 2005

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