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Monday, May 26, 2008

Comments

The best topic to carry over from the last thread is the consistency of the offense. It's more anecdotal than statistical, but Utley and Rollins (and to a lesser extent, Victorino) have got to really heat up. Burrell, Howard, and the role players are always going to be streaky; for us to win with our starting pitching, our top of the order guys absolutely have to set the table. The scariest thing from the series at Houston was our inability to hit with RISP.

It is Gorges. Played golf this morning; this evening I go to the game.

From the last thread's discussion re: what the Phils need from SP:

I really think the Phils just need IP from their starts and the minimum QS from 3 of the 5. If the pen maintains, and the offense scores as it did last year, that will be sufficient (the former IF is certainly a bigger one.) Just looks at their record in games in which the SP pitches at least innings and allows 4 runs or fewer.

Hamels - 8 starts of 6 IP or greater and 4 R or less. Phils are 7-1 in those starts (38 RS in those games.) In the one loss, the Phils put 0 runs on the board and lost 1-0.

Myers - 5 starts of 6 IP or greater and 4 R or less. Phils are 2-3 in those starts (20 RS in those starts.) Phils scored 5 combined runs in the 3 losses, 15 in the two wins. 1 of the 3 losses was on Seanez.

Moyer - 6 starts of 6 IP or greater, etc.. Phils are 5-1 in those starts (43 RS.) Phils scored 2 runs in the loss.

Kendrick - 5 starts of etc.. Phils are 4-1 in those starts (24 RS in those starts.) Phils scored 1 run in the loss - lost 2-1 to the Astros.

Eaton - 5 such starts. Phils are 2-3 in those starts (16 RS in those starts.) Phils scored 9 combined runs in the 3 losses.


52 starts; 29 starts such as these and a 20-9 record in those starts. Only one loss credited to the pen, but those losses are actually on the offense. Unless my math has failed me, the Phils scored a combined 17 runs in those 9 losses.

Sophist: I agree with every word of your post from the end of last thread. If the Phillies had 2 good starters and 3 6 inning/3 run type guys, they would do pretty well. Over the final 2 months of last season, they even managed to get by with 2 good starters (Cole & Kendrick) & just 2 back-end types (Moyer & Lohse). The 2008 Kendrick is pretty much like the 2007 Lohse so, if Moyer can keep pitching as he has, that gives them 2 back-end starters & 1 top-of-the-rotaion guy. Somewhere they need to find a guy who can be what Brett Myers was supposed to have been. That strikes me as very unlikely. And, for that matter, it also strikes me as unlikely that Moyer can keep pitching like a 6/3 guy. Opposing hitters are hitting him at a .325 clip. That is eventually going to start catching up to him.

I don't generally get worked up about RISP stats since it's early in the season. Those things tend to even out in the end. Your teams RISP stat should be a bit better than your team's total hittings stats (a bit higher because it's generally easier to hit with men on base, and things like fly balls don't hurt your BA with a man on third and less than 2 outs.)

However, I do wonder if the Phils sometimes have the wrong people at the plate with runners on because of their batting order. Victorino seems to be getting tons of chances as does Feliz. Utley has been walked once this year so that teams could face Howard. Burrell's walks aren't being complemented as they should. I think, if nothing else, Burrell should bat between Utley and Howard.

BAP - Agreed.

In any case, I didn't say the Phils have this, I just think this is the minimum of what they need to win 90 games.

Of course, it doesn't have to be the same pitcher who's that #2 each time through. Every few times through they just need 1 of the other 4 to step it up while the other three do the bare minimum.

The Phils Pythag right now is 29-23, a 558 win percentage. That's 90 or 91 wins in 162 games, and that's without that #2 starter we were talking about and an offense that hasn't hit its stride yet. There is some frustration on this board, but I think a lot of it is because of the Phils slow offense but it is misdirected toward people like Madson and the SP.

This team is incredibly close to being a 100 win team, it's tragic -- tragic because they only fall short due to mismanagement . . . mismanagement in the FO and from the dugout.

Sophist, other than switching Howard and Burrell in the line-up, what are the major problems with Manuel this season?

I'm going to repost 2 excellent posts by Jack from the end of the last thread:

The most important statistic is not "average runs scored per game", or something to that effect, but rather run-differential. I believe that "offensive consistency", as GM-Carson would put it, as not exactly a skill. That is to say, if you have an offense capable of scoring about 890 runs, which is basically where the Phils have consistently been and project to this year, the division of those runs is not really something you can control, and will basically even out over time.

The point is that we have a very, very good offense. We are 5th in the all of baseball in runs, which for some reason people are complaining about, and once again, if our starting pitching was even average, we would be running away with the division. Please, people, complain about the right thing if you are going to complain, which is the starting pitching other than Hamels.

Posted by: Jack | Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Also, here's a very scary tidbit. This comes from Baseball Prospectus' John Perotto, who writes a weekly Sunday column and includes Rumors from each league. Here is how he leads off his NL Rumors:

"There are some close to the Phillies’ situation who believe the team will trade first baseman Ryan Howard before next season rather than risk seeing him get a significant bump over his $10 million salary in arbitration."

Even for those of us who have argued against giving Howard a long-term huge-money deal, this is awful. I have always said that you keep Howard year-to-year until at least the trade deadline of 2010. Trading him away before next season would be shutting the window on the most promising Phillies' run of success in 20 years, just to save an extra 5 million dollars. Let's hope this has no chance of ever happening.

Posted by: Jack | Monday, May 26, 2008 at 10:25 AM

And, as I noted in response, "Does anyone here have any confidence that this management would get back equal value in a trade for Howard, given their track record?"

Kid: A few come right to mind.

1. Pinch running for Burrell in every close game;

2. Not platooning Dobbs & Feliz;

3. Consistently leaving his starting pitchers in too long;

4. Batting his catcher 8th, even if that catcher is Coste, who is hitting .329;

5. Grossly excessive reliance on sacrifice bunts, particularly in the early innings and without regard to whether the batter at the plate has any clue how to bunt.

No doubt I have only scratched the surface.

Strange happenings lately. The Rays lead the AL East. The Mariners have the worst record in baseball. A pitcher with 3 career wins coming into the season is leading the majors in ERA. And, strangest of all, clout praises not one, but two, of jack's posts, and even goes to the trouble of reposting them.

I just think it would be great to have that .400 obp of burrell ahead of Howard, especially when Ryan starts hitting. Ex: Chase gets on base, Burrell either drives him in, or gets on base himself, Howard comes up and smacks them both in. Good times.

Unless someone gets hurt or they lose 5 games in a row, Cholly doesnt seem to like to mess with the lineup too much. It messes with his gut.

Clout: no to your question. This team, regardless of the name of the GM, hasn't made an even satisfactory trade involving a big-name player in 25 years.

Kid: those things BAP mentioned. Yep.

"Does anyone here have any confidence that this management would get back equal value in a trade for Howard, given their track record?"

Yes. This is a totally different scenario than Schilling, than Rolen, than Abreu. This is not a malcontented free agent-to-be, or a player perceived to be on the decline. This would not be the usual scenario where the Phillies would be dealing from a disadvantage. Howard will still be seen a prize for an American League team in need of wither slugging power or drawing power - no matter how many flaws there are in his game, he will hit 45 homers every year, and in the off-season, that's the number that's going to count to teams bidding for him. The Phillies would be poised to get significant value in return for Howard. Being that it is fairly certain that the Phillies will *not* attempt to sign Howard long-term, it makes more sense to trade for players who are younger and could fill more important organizational needs for potentially longer periods of time, rather than simply to let Howard's contract play out and receive a draft pick when he leaves.

Others might disagree - believing that two more years of Howard as a sure thing is a better way to go than any combination or multitude of unsure things - though, on the other hand, an offer of Howard (alone or in a package deal) could surely demand more than just prospects. However, I do not believe Howard is nearly as crucial to whatever success the Phillies may have as others believe - or at the very least, I do not believe that he is irreplacable.

I think either opinion is valid, though I certainly would never expect others to buy into *that* sort of freakish notion.

Looking at the shorter-term picture - this is a pretty big homestand: two mediocre teams and one ahead of the Phillies in the standings. You could probably book great odds on 6-4, but 7-3 is really what they ought to look for out of this, especially since a 10-game road trip follows. Time to stop spinning the wheels and get a sweep somewhere in this upcoming stretch.

One addendum to the post on Howard: a primary reason the Phillies have fared so poorly in the past when trading bigger names is because they *waited too long*, thus all but destroying their leverage. The longer they hold onto Howard, the less return they get for him. Unless he hits .400 with 25 homers in the second half, I doubt I will change my mind that this coming off-season is the time to make the move.

Have to agree that Carson's criticism of the offense is pretty arbitrary and ridiculous. For one, it shows no comparisons to other teams (is 3.6 runs/game in three quarters of games unusual?). Also, the Phillies won 7-5 the first game of the Astros series. Do they not get credit for this? I actually feel like they've been more consistent this year than in the past.

RSB: An opinion is valid if it is based upon facts. Your opinions rarely are.

Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez were neither malcontents, in decline or about to be free agents. What was the return on that trade? I know you think the Abreu and Padilla trades were good ones, but what of the other trades this team has made? How often did they get equal value? I think looking at the facts of the trades this team has made over the years, especially trades involving stars, one would have to be willfully ignorant to think they would get equal value for Howard.

@sophist -- why wouldn't the Thome-Rowand trade be "satisfactory"?

It opened the door for Howard to become Rookie of the Year and MVP. Rowand became a very popular energy guy with a decent bat. Made an All-Star game. Ran through a wall and helped the team get to the Playoffs.

In my book that is satisfactory.

clout: so based on the 'fact' that the Phillies have apparently never received a good return on a trade, they should therefore abstain from ever making another? How totally absurd. You're the one being 'willfully ignorant' about what I've said regarding this being a scenario clearly distinct from others. And you want to throw hindsight like Gavin Floyd at me as a reason not to trade Howard? What does one have to do with the other?

mike c: You make the mistake of adding Howard to the trade, but trades can't be viewed that way. They stand or fall on their own. Either you believe 2 years of Rowand plus Gio & Haigwood was equal value for Thome or you don't. Howard should have nothing to do with it.

RSB: The Phillies have indeed gotten good value on some trades. But most often they've gotten the shorter end of the stick. In high profile trades, they tend to do quite poorly indeed. That's my only point. Those facts mitigate against your view that they're likely to get equal value for Howard. It's not impossible, but, as I said, given their track record, it's not very likely.

BAP, you are correct on all your points about Cholly's on-going mistakes. The fact that Philly starters average more innings per start than most teams doesn't mean that they are performing well. I does mean that Cholly waits too damn long to pull his starters, which he invariably does only after the harm has been done.

RSB, you are right about trading Howard. The most likely scenario is that he is heading for a Rob Deer season, at which point his trade value will have been reduced by half, particularly given his present salary. The time to trade him is now, while there are still GMs out there who think Howard will turn it around. His present value is substantial, and there are about a half dozen teams which can afford him. Of course the )Phils will wait until he hits .225 with 200+ strikeouts.

I'm sure we'd get some real talent back for Howard, but I'm also pretty sure that we wouldn't get as good value as many other teams would. Gillick/Amaro tend to overvalue raw, toolsy prospects and guys in the twilight of their career with great track records. In this deal, you'd probably see a lot of the former. If they do trade him, I hope they get major league-ready pitching.

clout: I'm not sure I'm quite willing to go that far. Trades do not occur in a vaccuum. They occur in a context and they almost always have collateral consequences. The context of the Thome trade was that: (1) he was very expensive; (2) he was 35, and coming off a bad & injury-plagued year; (3) he had a no-trade clause (as I recall); and (4) the Phillies had a younger, better, cheaper guy who could fill the same position.

Sometimes 80 cents on the dollar is the best you can get & you have to just accept it. I'd say this was one of those times. This wasn't like the Abreu situation, where doing nothing was a viable choice. Thome pretty much had to be moved.

Hitman: I'm not saying they should trade Howard now. I don't think he's headed for a Rob Deer season. I think he's headed for a season of 200+ strikeouts and 45-50 homers. That isn't satisfactory, considering what Howard is capable of if he showed a willingness to improve his game, but let's be fair: Rob Deer never had the ability to hit for that much power.

BAP: I don't disagree with any of that. And if you're willing to accept 80 cents of the dollar, that's fine too. If I were a GM I'd look to do all my trades with guys willing to accept 80 cents on the dollar, regardless of whether they had a good reason for it. My only point is that a trade should be judged solely on the players in the trade. You either get equal value or you don't.

I certainly don't want to see Howard traded, but if it was going to happen, I assume he'd go to the junior circuit, and the only way to make it worthwhile for the Phils is to get a top pitcher(s). Who's going to give that up? (FWIW, he's closing in on the NL lead for homers)

45-50 homes isn't satisfactory? No wonder so many guys do steroids!

Homers, that is!

The HR total is more than satisfactory. Does that compensate for the gaping holes in the rest of Howard's game? No. It does not.

Or I should say, it doesn't compensate to the extent where he's worth franchise-player money. And I defy anyone to simply chalk it up to the Phillies' 'cheapness' if they opt not to give that money to him.

I'd think that a team that's all about marketing (aren't they all?) would keep Howard as a bridge to the African-American community. However, since they have J-Roll, they might see Howard as expendable

Hitman: If the time to trade Howard is now, are you throwing in the towel on making the playoffs this season?

If not, who will be the everyday 1B when Howard is shipped out?

Unless they're 15 games out of a playoff spot before the deadline (highly unlikely), I can't see why you'd trade him in season.

Yes... Ryan Howard had a terrible April. Terrible. Indefensibly bad. I wish I knew why he started seasons so slowly.

But... Since May 1st, he's got a .920 OPS with 9 HR and 22 RBI in 24 games. Since May 8th, he's hitting .279 with a 1.059 OPS with 8 HR and 18 RBI in 17 games.

One year ago, on this date, Howard was hitting .200 with 6 HR and 25 RBI. He finished the season 47 HR and 136 RBI (2nd in the league in both).

If he goes on to hit 41 HR and knock in 111 more runs, he'll finish this year with 55 HR and 145 RBI. He'll have an OPS right around his career average and, unfortunately, he'll still strike out more than 200 times.

But this would be unacceptable? Why? Because he strikes out too much? Because his defense isn't better?

Sure... he may not finish the year as strongly as he did last year (41 RH, 111 RBI, 1.016 OPS in 114 games), but I ask you why not? Hell, he may even be better than that.

I wish he got off to a better start than he did this year and last. I wish he had a kick ass April. If he ever does, he'll probably crack 60 HR.

But you know what... it doesn't much matter to me when he gets his production. All players go through streaks. I challenge you to find a slugger you can count on for 45-55 HR, 130-150 RBI and a 1.000+ OPS.

So now is the time to trade the guy? So we won't have to pay him $15 million next year?

Just plain insane.

@clout - fine. Even if you don't include Howard in the mix. The trade for Rowand was, using Sophist's term. "Satisfactory."

Since you weren't looking to replace THOME's production. You can't compare their numbers straight up, as @bap says, trades are not in a vacuum.

You should evaluate trades based on filling your needs and strengthening your future. Gio was used in a trade that was supposed to get us a #1 or #2 type pitcher. It didn't work. But if you add up the value, it seems to work in my book.

And since at the end of the day, all i'm looking is to meet, @sophist's "satisfactory" rating scale.

I think that trade passes.

RSB: Which "gaping holes" do 45-55 HR, 130-150 RBI, and an OPS around 1.000 not make up for?

Yes, it would be great if Howard was a more complete player, but the fact is that he does produce a lot of runs and wins a lot of games for this team, so maybe we have to accept him for who he is, as opposed to waht we want him to be. If you want to move him further down in the lineup, fine, but he should not be traded. He's too important to the Phils.

JD, just to clarify, my wish to move Howard to the 5th spot isn't due to a personal dislike for him or a low opinion of his abilities. Howard's hitting 4th now bc it's the traditional clean-up spot and Howard is the clean-up hitter. However, the 5th spot is the clean-up spot on this team if Vic is batting 2nd and Burrell 5th. You move him down in the order to take advantage of Burrell's OBP and Howard's abilities.

I also wonder what batting Vic 8th (and bumping Utley-Burrell-Howard up) would acheive. Vic 8th would strengthen the bottom of the order, and also provide speed on the paths for pitcher sac bunts and JRoll RBI chances.

"if Vic is batting 2nd and Burrell 5th"

err, make that Burrell 4th. And ignore the other typos.

Sophist-You made a lot of good points. I've always liked the one-two punch of J-Roll and Vic, but it would be interesting to see what Vic would do in the 8th spot, and it would also put Coste in the 7th spot where he belongs.
I wouldn't mind seeing Burrell bat clean up and Ryno hitting 5th. Who knows, maybe he would strike out less. (I can dream, can't I?)

Everyone's favorite former prospect-Gio Gonzalez is currently 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 10 starts for the A's AAA team.

CJ: It remains to be seen, first of all, if Howard is really going to drive in 130-150. He's got 34 now, a pace which would suggest closer to around 100-110 RBI.

I accept Howard for what he is - even if he *should* be a better overall player, I agree that what he does give you, obviously, is still pretty valuable.

The issue is an economic one. Howard is either worth the payout or he isn't. All considered, I don't think he is. I've seen enough of him to make that evaluation.

Beyond the notion of whether anyone thinks he's worth or it or not, the central point is whether the Phillies intend to sign him to a long-term deal.

If they don't (and many signs point to this), the issue then becomes whether they're better off trying to make a trade to get value for him now - and regardless of whether or not that would be technically 'equal value', rest assured it would be significant value - or just stick with him until the end and let him walk when he's able, receiving no value.

There are good arguments to be made for both perspectives. I fall on the side of getting value for him in the near future, mainly because I believe Howard's value is over-stated and that he is not the type of player whose absence would signlehandedly cause the Phillies' chances to drop.

RSB- "he is not the type of player whose absence would signlehandedly cause the Phillies' chances to drop"

Doesn't that depend on who replaces him? You're giving up a big run producer, so you have to get something to make up for that loss.

RSB: You know the "on-pace for" is BS. Players get hot and cold. Howard's tendency is to do a lot better from May to September than he did in April. In fact, his career high in HRs by May 1st is 5... which he achieved both this year and in his MVP season.

Ryan Howard, yet again, will be in top 2 or 3 in HR and RBI when this season is over (barring significant injury). He is the game's best young slugger.

And yet you want to get rid of him because of "gaping holes" which you still haven't laid out (strike outs? defense? really??) or because he's not "worth the payout."

What more does a guy have to do for you to earn $15 million? I'm all ears.

BedBeard: How's Garcia doin' for the Phillies?

RSB: "I believe Howard's value is over-stated and that he is not the type of player whose absence would signlehandedly cause the Phillies' chances to drop."

I might actually agree with you if you can answer this question:
Who's the 1.000 OPS guy who replaces Howard in the lineup?

If you cannot answer that question, then you don't know what you're talking about.

Clout,

Sorry to break your heart about Gio. Way to early to count him out, of course.

BedBeard: You didn't answer my question: How's Garcia doin' for the Phillies?

clout: Hey... Garcia had the same record as Floyd and Gonzalez combined last year, so I think we got equal value!!

CJ/clout: Jesus, do you guys watch the games? What more do I want of a player who makes $15 million? How about having the ability to hit left-handed pitching, to make contact far more consistently, to field his position with a modicum of competence, to not clog the bases like a Zamboni, to demonstrate leadership ability, to demonstrate he can keep himself in shape - in other words to do *something* productive for a team when he's not bashing balls over the fence?

Oh, okay - none of that matters, just the composite statistic you want to wave in my face like a stone tablet of unalterable Truth - a statistic which takes *none* of what I mentioned into any account.

The issue, nevertheless, is not what he makes in his arbitration years; that will amount to a reasonable enough sum (even $15 mil, though I doubt it'll bumped that high next year) which the Phillies can afford well enough. The issue rests with the years after Howard's free-agent eligibility. He is gouing to be worth tons on the open market. Teams that solicit FAs from other teams often solicit the publicity it generates, the excitement among the fan base which generates increased ticket sales. From a purely baseball standpoint, it does not make sense to throw $20 million a year to a one-dimensional player who most likely will be a health risk as he ages. But someone will do it. The Phillies won't, and shouldn't, try to match that offer. The issue is what to do with him, if anything, before that point arrives.

RSB: All true - he's a terrible fielder, not fast and is only slightly above average vs. LHP - but totally off point.

Who is the 1.000 OPS bat that replaces him in the Phillies lineup? You said his loss wouldn't cause the Phillies record to decline, so obviously you've got a 1.000 OPS guy you think they can get or is waiting in the minors. Who is it?

(If you want to know what OPS is or why it's important, I'll be happy to explain.)

RSB, I'm still curious who or what you want to replace him (and his run production) with.

RSB: Clog the bases? Clog the bases!?!?

My god... do you watch baseball? Do you understand how rediculously bad that kind of argument is? Are you 75 years old and yearn for the days when statistics didn't matter? Are you really Buzz Bissinger???

Seriously, we should unload the greatest young slugger in baseball, a guy who delivers 50 HR, 130 RBI and a 1.000 OPS because he's not enough of a leader for you?

We should unload the guy because, despite the fact he has more HR against lefties than anyone in baseball over the last three years (someone check me on that), but we should unload him because he can't hit lefties?

We should unload the guy because he doesn't "field his position with a modicum of competence." I know, I know... here I go with those crazy "stats" again. His fielding percentage is better than 8 other ML first basemen... whom I sure should all be cut if they can't also hit left handed pitching. He also ranks 6th in the league for zone rating and 10th for range factor among major league first baseman. I hate defensive stats, but I think those qualify as a "modicum of competence."

Finally, he's too fat to be a major league baseball player. You're right. His production is merely a mirage. Once you exceed a weight of 275 lbs, baseball stops actually counting anything you do.

I'm now convinced.

He's too slow.
He's too fat.
He's a bad leader.
He can't hit lefties.
And his defense sucks.

Trade the bum.

And while we're at it... Chase Utley is looking a little chubby, he ranks just as poorly as Howard in defensive stats, he's not a leader, and he only has 4 SB. It's a good thing he's got a career .281 avg. vs. lefties or this would be a package deal!

JD: certainly it wouldn't be such a tough thing to find a decent first baseman to replace Howard, either via trade or free agency. You won't find another first baseman to match his production, but someone with a decent glove and decent hitting ability, in addition to whatever other parts a trade would bring and/or what could be acquired with the money freed up on the payroll, could match or come close to matching the overall value lost by Howard's departure. There's no reason why this couldn't the case. Losing Howard would not cripple this team, not even close.

RSB: Any specific suggestions? Absent signing Mark Teixeira (which wouldn't make any sense considering you're pinching pennies), who should our first baseman next year be?

Here are the possibilities:
Sean Casey (too fat)
Carlos Delgado (bad defense)
Nomar Garciaparra (not a leader)
Jason Giambi (clogs the bases)
Richie Sexson (clogs the bases)
Doug Mientkiewicz (can't hit lefties)
Scott Hatteberg, Kevin Millar, Eric Hinske, Tony Clark (I can't keep a straight face anymore)

So we'll just plug in that easy to find "decent glove, decent hitting ability" and used all of those imaginery freed up dollars to sign a stud starter. That's what you're telling me, right? And that will make up for 1.000 OPS at first base.

Riiiiiight.

Wow. So is starting.

No Atkins, Tulowitzki or Holliday for the banged up Rockies.

We counter with Taguchi (Werth injured and don't want to start Jenkins vs. a lefty).

At least Coste is batting 7th.

I can't believe I just had an argument over the value of a player and had to counter these nothing-to-do-with-winning-baseball points:

Clogs the bases
Not a leader
Too fat

Simply boasting a 1.000 OPS isn't enough. We need to stock our team with 9 Eric Byrnes. He's got a good glove. He hits lefties. He's skinny. He's speedy. He's a leader. He makes contact.

I'm beginning my campaign for a team full of Eric Byrnes. How can we lose?

Deja vu all over again.

Who needs Atkins, Tulo and Holliday when you have Ryan Spillboroughs. Dammit.

Hope our bats show up and Ryan Howard doesn't clog those damn bases!!!!

Eric Byrnes woulda caught that throw to first!!!

Yes, but can Byrnes pitch?

Its ridiculous that Howard doesn't know how to catch a baseball. If I'm Manuel I take Howard aside before a game and throw him balls for 2 hours in front of everyone to embarass him because its unbelievable he can't squeeze anything.

I see my inconsistent offense post didn't go over well. It's my opinion, doesn't have to be fact, just the way I see it.

By the way, Ryan Howard is a joke. He's dropped 3 throws now in about a week.

Looks like we'll have to make tonight a slugfest. I'll be checking from my phone. Go Phils!

Mets have responded well to the Willie Randolph meeting. Jose Reyes first inning error has now lead to two runs.

This is setting up well. We better be a patient offense tonight. This guy can't find the strike zone.

In next years arbitration hearing the Phillies should show 2 videos to make their case. First video is Howard missing throws to first and the 2nd video could be showing 1000s of tee ballers who can catch.

By the way, Moyer needs 5 scoreless innings to turn in a quality start now.

UTS !!!

Deja Vu all over again again

Mike M: Yes... the arbritor will make his decision based on how many errors Howard has.

Now THAT's the way to get back in the game. Chase!!!!

Utley >= Spilborghs.

even so taguchi should get a hit off this guy. or maybe a walk.

Two shots barely missed being HRs... this could be one of those high-scoring games!

And it may have to be unless Moyer settles down.

One of my favorite things in recent years is hearing Harry advertise ridiculous sitcoms on UPN/CW. Hilarious.

I love Harry, but he seems to have lost it a little. Great voice, though.

We'd be all over Myers and Eaton for less than this. Terrible start by Moyer, everything out over the plate.

CJ: that's right, you just cherrypick the points you don't like and ignore the other ones. Don't forget to be condescending, patronizing, and hotheaded while you're at it.

Again I refer to Buster Olney's blog from a few weeks back.

"Here is a discussion worth having, if you are in the Phillies' front office. Is Howard, who turns 29 this fall, going to be a player in whom you want to invest a long-term deal -- somewhere from $80 million to $120 million? And do you think Howard will be worth his projected salaries in 2009 and 2010?


If the answers to those questions posed in the Phillies' smoke-filled rooms are no, then the best time for the Phillies to trade Howard is this summer -- when the marketplace is absolutely starved for power hitters, and when another team desperate for offense might be willing to give up a couple of good prospects for someone capable of generating 40 to 50 homers. The Phillies could add depth to their thin stable of young pitchers, and they could plow ahead and compete in 2008 and in the future with the team built around Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley."

Yes - it is a discussion worth having, CJ. So let's DISCUSS it and not pretend one or the other is RIGHT beyond reproach. K?

I'll take that RBI

4 runs with 1 hit. Whatever it takes!

Here's my question. If we trade him before next season starts, do you trade him for pitching or offense? Especially if Burrell isn't re-signed. Although if you trade Howard, you have the money to re-sign Burrell (unlike clout I don't believe transactions occur in a vacuum).

Although an upgrade in the rotation is obviously a pressing need, most of the best prospects in the organization are pitchers (Carrasco, Outman, Savery, etc.).

If Howard and Burrell both exit, the most pressing need to me is suddenly power hitting corner infielders (1B and 3B) and power hitting corner outfielders. And those types of prospects are nearly non-existent in the organization.

So if you trade Howard is it more important to get back a power hitter or a starting pitcher? I'm not sure but based on organizational depth, I'd say a hitter. And is it realistically possible to get one of each? I kind of doubt it.

What would be ideal would be to move Howard and sign Texiera. I wouldn't hold my breath, but this would free us up to find the best package available, be it pitching or hitting.

If you're going to trade Howard for another power hitter, why not just keep Howard?

JD: Good question.

Yes - Finally getting after this bum.

So with a double and an RBI !

What is it with the fans that interfere with the game? How dumb are they?

Yep, even Taguchi can get a hit off this guy.

Pigs will fly.

So makes Feliz look like Werth.

Jorge should have "Doubles" as a nickname...or "Dobles" maybe.

Dobles de la Rosa...

Not that it really matters, but Albert Pujols is both younger and better than Ryno, to whoever said Howard is the best "young" slugger in the game.

Also, the only reason Ryno should be traded is if Burrell is capable of playing 1B. It would be a lot easier to make up value replacing Burrell in LF than keeping him there and trying to get a new offensive stud at 1B.

Has PtB ever played 1st?

Nice to finally pound one of these anonymous starters who usually shut inexplicably shut the Phils down.

JD: because when you're talking about spending huge amounts of money - and I'm talking in terms of long-term contract - you would prefer a power hitter who can help the team in other ways, and one who doesn't have a body type that would suggest an early decline. Whether that money is instead spent on a player of Teixeira's caliber or divided among several useful parts who play other positions - it is still money better spent elsewhere. Keep in mind also that Howard could be in a package deal which could potentially bring back some viable position players. If the team chooses to let Burrell go, then keeping Howard's power around for the interim might make more sense. But power isn't the only formula for winning, and it wouldn't be as if the team would be totally devoid of power even with both of them gone.

Nice......I love gettin at the pen early in the first game of the series. This should help us out the next couple games. :~)

JD: Uh, yeah. A lot in the minors and he originally came up as a 1B. Played 3B in college.

Happ with another good outing at Lehigh Valley tonight:

7 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 4 BB's and 4 K's

Pigs win 4-2, wearing the camos.

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EST. 2005

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