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Monday, June 30, 2008

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For anyone who wants to excuse Ryan Howard because of his power numbers, his OBP, which is the single most important offensive statistic, is .310. For comparision's sake, Pedro Feliz is at .311. Rollins, Utley, Victorino, Werth, Burrell, Coste, Dobbs and Feliz all have higher OBPs than Howard. That is simply unacceptable from a guy making 10 million dollars and hitting 4th in your lineup. There is no excuse for him.

(Post carried over from last thread)

Someone brings up an interesting point: What about the coaching staff? The guys flat out ignore Steve Smith on the field (and not without good reason sometimes), so what do other BLers make of the Phils' current coaching staff as a whole?

I've never been a big fan of Dubee's; always have coveted having someone like Dave Duncan, who seems to always get the most out of his SPs. Henderson seems to be a decent BP coach (and HR Derby pitcher extraordinaire).

Speaking of HR Derby, who else is with me in NOT wanting Utley to participate if asked? His swing is not designed for HRs like Howard's (much like Abreu); anyone else think it could screw him up a bit?

I don't care much for voting or the all star game in general. My gut says we have three all stars. If these guys don't make it, then I I'll be a little disappointed (only a little).

Utley
Lidge
Hamels

Wow... this seems like it was a great time for me to be in Vegas. I was much more interested in what was happening at the poker table than in what was happening on the baseball diamond.

So, let me get this straight... we're 2-8 in our last 10, are 5-13 since sweeping the Braves, and we scored 3 or fewer runs in 10 of those 18 games...

And we're still in first place?!?!? Man, it's a good thing the NL East sucks this year (although not as bad as the NL West)!

I'm glad to hear there is talk of moving Myers out of the rotation. After hearing he abandoned his fastball in his last start, it's clear there are some pretty clear problems right now. He should NOT be starting until he can demonstrate an ability to mix his pitches with confidence and hit his spots a lot more consistently than he's done thus far.

Personally, I support giving Happ a try rather than moving Durbin out of his key bullpen role. I think it's possible Carrasco may be a possibility later this year. And I'm not going to believe in Benson at all until he gives me a reason to do so.


The shame of all this is that the pitching (apart from Myers) has been pretty damn solid over this stretch. It's the bats.

Does anyone believe this offense is really as bad as it's been recently? I suppose it's possible. Ruiz has been terrible at the plate. Feliz has been slightly better than expected, although that still ranks him as one of the worst offensive third baseman in baseball. Jenkins has been a huge disappointment. Werth hasn't been the same since his fast start. Rollins has been unable to show the offense he flashed last year. Howard HR and RBI totals disguise a rather hollow offensive performance. Pat Burrell and Chase Utley couldn't be counted upon to maintain their pace... and Utley, especially, has fallen hard to earth.

But will they really be that bad moving forward?

I suppose I'd much rather be in first place at the mid-way point asking these questions than buried deep in the hole we've been forced to dig out of in year's past.

Good point about being in first and asking the questions/weathering the storm, CJ. Odds are, this team is not this bad, so to be "running cold and remaining the large stack" (albeit at the kiddy table), isn't a bad spot to be in.

I can't emphasize enough how big a mistake it would be to throw the whole 'pen out of whack by moving Durbin into the rotation. Who gets that spot and how do the dominoes fall after that? The only way I'd consider it is if Myers, who wants to pitch himself into the 'pen assumes mop up duty. Certainly he hasn't warranted more than that anyway. I could not be more ticked than if he get the 8th inning every night, and started dialing it up to 94 mph again for some reason.

As far as the offense, as a whole it isn't producing too much below what expectations should have been. The problem is that everyone expected back-to-back MVP's to put up years like they just had, and to have Utley join along, as well. How realistic is it to think that everyone hit at their career best in one year? The reality is, aside from Howard, who looks woefully lost, everyone else is very close to their career norms (Taguchi excepted). The frustrating part of that, though, is that it is the result of a lot of up and down play and not everyone playing consistently at their career norms. If that were the case, things would be radically different. I'd love to see the Phils save some of those hits/runs from those 20 run blowouts for interleague play (of which the Muts went 9-6, BTW).

Is CJ's post news? Are they really calling up Happ to replace Myers in the rotation?

Yeah, just when we thought the Mets were dead, here we go again. I'm going to be a realist (not a pessimist) and say that the Phils will not be in first by the end of this week.

I'm guessing that they lose 2/3 to the Braves, and I'm predicting a sweep by the Mets. It just fits the Phils MO right now. I just don't see a 180 occurring just because they start playing NL teams. It is not like they were overpowered by the Rangers pitching staff.

Parker - Not that I don't share your conservatism regrading the Phils' chances before the break, but it wouldn't exactly be a 180 if they started playing well again.

Afterall, they scored 16 runs in 3 games against the Rangers.

Jack: Not to denigrate OBP, but most experts I've read say OPS and OPS+ are the most important offensive stats.

Not sure about the ATL series, but I'm hopeful that a day off and Chipper being out might help. After that, I think the trip home, and the familiar opponent will wake up the bats at least a little bit.

Also, don't ever, ever underestimate the 7 greatest words in the English language - "Now pitching for the Mets, Aaron Heilman."

@Parker -- I understand the concept of realism. However... when I read that you think we will lose 6 out of the next 7 games. I find it hard to think you are anything other than a pessimist.

Preacher: LOL, I needed that joke to lighten my mood. I love seeing Heilman come on the mound at CBP. I think the Phils do, too.

Lake Fred:

No, it's not news, just idle talk on my part. However, the Phils have discussed removing Myers from the rotation. They may simply skip him this time since they have an off day that allows for that. Or they may move Durbin to the rotation. Other options include Happ and Carrasco.

Preacher: That is an awesome line. I hope you don't mind if I plagerize. I know a few Muts fans that will be seriously irked by that one.

Last night I posted that, if the Phillies hadn't made at least one roster move by the end of today, the fans had a right to be irate. It's coming up on 7:00 eastern time, and I've heard of no move being made. My ire is building by the minute.

I guess management feels that a team which is just a few games above .500 & has been the 2nd worst team in baseball over the last 3 weeks is nonetheless so perfectly comprised that there's not one improvement which could be made.

Anyone want to take me up on grading out Howard's season based on the huge gap between his OPS without RISP vs. his outstanding OPS with RISP? I'd love to hear some opinions.

The energy also escapes me to talk about Burrell, who's been pretty much a non-factor since April. I return instead to the ever-popular topic of Howard. It was asserted towards the end of the previous thread that the HR Derby did not hurt Howard. Indeed, as Howard's season really took off in the second half, that appeared to be the case. But I would say that was a turning point in Howard's career as far as his approach to hitting. It was as if he suddenly discovered he could hit the ball even farther if he pulled it, and that became his focus in the second half of that season. All the pitchers who'd been trying to bust him in after seeing their pitches away get flicked out to left, were now finding Howard could turn on those pitches. That was his pinnacle. He still would flick those balls away to left and center and pull the balls in. As a result, there wasn't any one clear-cut way to pitch him. Case in point: I recall the shift on Howard starting to emerge of September of that season - yet he still hit well over .300 that month.

He hasn't returned to that formula since, outside of a few brief stretches. Once a pure hitter who stayed back and hit the ball where it was pitched, Howard has become an all-or-nothing oaf who is strictly a mistake hitter. The Phillies themselves are also complicit here; I recall that they emphasized a shift in Howard's approach to get him to pull the ball more. He was fine as he was, a .290-.300 with power to spare. Hope they're thrilled to death with the results now.

Ok, ok. Perhaps I am simply trying to temper my expectations after a week worth of garbage play. I figure that if I go in with the expectation of loss, then the only possible results are justification or surprise. Of course this runs counter to my normal thinking, but if there is one thing I have learned about the Phils in my 21 years of being a fan, is that you can throw normal out the window.

BTW: I am actually pretty interested in this Red Sox v. Rays series. The Rays are rapidly gaining in media attention, which has made them an eventual source of loathing, assuming they become ESPN's target of projectile drooling. However, for the moment, they are a model of how a MLB franchise should be run.

I should note, that becoming the source of ESPN drooling does not make a team any worse at running their franchise, however, it does make me less likely to recognize it with any positive commentary.

I Really wish the Mets had traded Oliver Perez. I think that he is about to go on a tear. I still think he is overrated, and subject to extremes, but when he is on his meds (or whatever keeps him on an even keel), he is very tough. I know some are suspicious of even a temporary turnaround from him, but I think that his hot streak will hang around for enough time to melt the bats of the Phils on Sunday. I just hope they bring some of that seemingly lost patience with them to that series.

Mets/Cards should be good as well, Parker. Lohse on the mound tonight.

Sophist, indeed. I'll be a Cards fan tonight (and for two additional days).

Parker: It's possible Ollie could go on a tear (although I wouldn't put any money on it) but Martinez and Santana have been touchable lately...and their BP is still the BP we all know and love.

Doesn't Eaton still have a decent record against the Mets?

The Braves series actually scares me more, with the pitcher going in the first game against Kendrick we've never seen; I think it's important to start off with a win tomorrow to set a new tone.

The Phillies are in a stretch here where they are facing 5 straight righthanders. The best of the lot would appear to be Vincente Tequilla, I mean Padilla. And we already thumped him. Then yesterday they faced Bobby Hurley or somebody. He was the very definition of mediocre and yet we could barely touch him. If ever there was a stretch that should wake up these bats, this is it. I've never even heard of a couple of these Braves guys. I thought for certain that a few average righties in a row would at least jump start Howard. He did drive in the only run yesterday and he did launch one the night before, but he needs to get back to going the other way as RSB pointed out. He doesn't even remotely resemble the hitter he was 2 years ago. He has more natural power than almost anybody we've ever seen. All he needs to do is make contact with the barrel of the bat and the ball ends up in the flight pattern. He doesn't need to pull anything to be a monster. Good analysis by RSB.

The most frustrating thing for me with Ryno is not his play (Although he could certainly be doing much better). My frustration is that the Phillies arbitration loss has become a policy shaping decision for the entire MLB. Because of Howard's huge arbitration award, other teams are now inking their young talent to long term deals quickly (See Tulowitzki, Longoria, and a bunch of others that excape me). This represents a complete 180 from the previous practices of most franchises.

The problem is that the Phillies are the team that had the example set by their bad decision. It is like being found guilty of a crime ex post facto. Now Howard has become drastically more difficult to sign. While small market teams (I wish that the Phils did not act like one, and a dumb one at that) are rushing to secure their young talent, one of the Phils best is now likely to be either traded or allowed to become a FA. It is really only by chance that all of this happened, but it is just frustrating that it happened to the Phils.

I can also see where the Phillies themselves are at fault by lowballing the offer to Howard, and catching the wrath of the arbitration panel for unscrupulous practices. The Phils hedged their bets and lost, while every other player got to see the cards and get a whole new hand. Either way the Phils bungling ways continue, fault or no fault.

Let's not forget that must-see series with the Fish and the Nats. (*sarcasm*)

I hope Cy Redding has it in him to 2-hit the Fish.

FWIW: Scott Lauber said today that if the Phils make a move it will be tomorrow, not today. So BAP, don't less the blood pressure go up too much. See what happens before first pitch.

Doubleh: I'd be thrilled to see Martinez, but I think they are catching Santana, Maine, Perez.

Parker: Isn't it a 4-game series with the Mets? Either way, it's going to be Pelfrey or Martinez, and neither of them scare me all that much.

Oh, yeah...? Oops. I didn't look that far ahead in the schedule. I just assumed it was a 3 game series. Well that changes things a bit.

I hope the Phillies are alert enough to realize that this is a golden opportunity to right the ship. As horrible as we've been, we can really bail ourselves out by beating our division rivals. Thump the Braves and Mets and you can get yourself a little breathing room. Then we need to deal with the Marlins when we see them. If we have any competitive guys (and I know we do, we did come from behind by beating the Mets like redheaded stepchildren down the stretch)these next two series ought to identify them.

Mets looking as tight as the Phils right now...

RSB: That's unduly harsh on Burrell. The guy had a monster April to help us get off to our solid start, and his usual cool off since has been to a level where he's still playing very well (approx .900 OPS last two months). The only reason he hasn't been a factor is bc the rest of our sorry lineup hasn't allowed him to be.

Parker: The Rays aren't a model franchise.
They simply were so bad for so long and accumulated so many high first round picks as a result that it's gotten to the point where they have no choice but to be good.

Can't believe Benson has been main art on Philly.com sports all day today.

I hope tomorrow the Phillies announce they're giving Happ a start. Stop pussyfooting around. We're the only team that hasn't mixed in a sixth starter yet. Give it a shot; it's not that big a deal. Happ's got some skills. John Ennis and J.D. Durbin didn't. I hate the idea of using some Durbin/Madson combo. That means they're cooked for a couple days. Actually, given a choice between Durbin/Madson and Myers, I go Myers. But I say skip Myers and hand the ball to Happ. Next best choice is to have Myers take his regular turn.

"Can't believe Benson has been main art on Philly.com sports all day today."

"I hope tomorrow the Phillies announce they're giving Happ a start. Stop pussyfooting around. Skip Myers and hand the ball to Happ."

I agree sir. Benson is a long way away from the majors. Best case scenario is him being ready to go, by August. More realistic is him getting a September callup, and being at full-strength in 2009, for a shot at someone's rotation.

What else does Happ have to do? If he had gotten any run support this year, he would easily have 3-4 more wins. He has pitched 2 games, where he has only given up 1 hit and not gotten the win in either of them. He leads the IL (and is 3rd in all of minor league baseball) in strikeouts. Its not like last year, where he was pitching poorly and injured, when he was forced to come up and pitch against the Mets. This time, he has earned a promotion.

Why is this so difficult? You have a 8th inning guy who is hurting and you want to protect him for the stretch drive. DL him now, place Myers into that role for the time being and use your best AAA pitcher as your 5th starter. 28 other clubs do this regularly. They replace a struggling starter with a minor leaguer who is pitching well.

What are they afraid of? Succeeding?

Not to mention, it doesn't hurt to keep this farm system moving. Try to find out whether Happ can help them in a situation that isn't against Toledo or against taxi squads during spring training '09. This is a great opportunity to see what a prospect can do.

Not meant to be harsh. Just saying, Burrell has been okay since April, but nothing more. He's having a strong season overall, on pace to break his career-high for homers. Borderline all-star, hopefully he'll make a push and get himself on the squad. I really don't care at all about the A-S Game or A-S voting, so maybe that better explains my apathy.

Brian G:

Well, I don't base the status of a franchise on how they performed 10 years in the past. If I did that, then I would say that the Dallas Mavericks are a bad franchise. History shows that they were horrible for years, however, in the last several years they have been good.

The Rays have drafted very good pitchers, and they obviously did a few things right in their drafting. They are considered one of two teams that has what it takes to trade for Sabathia (Brewers as the other). They have great position players now, and are stocked in the minors with a good mix of good pitching and position player talent. I'm not sure what model you would suggest, but I'd certainly take the Rays minor league situation over the Phillies (or just about any team other than the Brewers) at this point. They are young and built for the future. What more do you want?

Parker: How they've been run is different from what they are. The Phillies have been a playoff contender for 5-6 years in a row and are today, yet there's plenty of people here who have lots of complaints with how they're run. But I should add, 1. I don't know a lot about how the Rays are run, and 2. Yes, I'd take their situation over ours in a heartbeat.

I guess that means Chuck LaMar is a 'model' GM.

It could be possible that the FO is holding on to Happ for a trade piece. Or maybe they figure that big league right handers will light him up. I would not be suprised if we see Benson called up and Myers sent down. Benson was signed for this exact reason, as insurance. Probably for Eaton or Kendrick not Myers. Minor league numbers don't wieght that heavy when a pitcher is on a rehab schedule. They are working on thier pitches and loction, not necessarily trying to get batters out. I'm not a fan of Chris Benson but I'll bet we see him before Happ.

I don't know what part LaMar had in all of that drafting, but if he was one of the main decision makers for that team for the past 3-4 years, then I am glad that he is on the Phils staff. I have heard him bashed several times on here, but not for any reasons that I can recall that were totally justified. I think I mentioned something last season about how the Rays were about to take off, but as soon as I complemented the hiring of LaMar, my comments drew the ire of several here. I'd like to hear some of the reasons why LaMar was critisized again, because B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Dionner Navarro, Iwamura, and Evan Longoria all seem like good decisions to me. That is not even considering the highway robbery that was getting Carlos Pena.

I don't know how much LaMar had to do with any of that, but If he had a hand in drafting/acquiring most of those players, then I he would be my vote for the next GM of the Phils, hands down. I've felt like he may be Gillick's preference considering he was the guy that Gillick brought in, whereas the dueling dufus duo was here before Gillick arrived.

If the Phils indeed call up Happ, shouldn't it be done soon? I'd rather the guy be in Atlanta for the start of the series. Typical management ineptness...

Shields, Kazmir, Crawford, Upton were all under LaMar's watch as GM of the Rays. Longoria, and Iwamura came after his firing. However, several players from his time are still there (Andy Sonenstine, Rocco Baldelli).

So whatever success they are having, some (a lot) of it is attributable to players drafted or acquired by LaMar. Also, reading some from his Wikipedia bio, he was part of the staff of the NLCS contending Pirates of the early 90's. He was also an assistant to John Shuerholtz with the Braves during their big runs through the 90's. Sounds like a pretty good pedigree to me.

Parker, I don't think Baldelli is still a Ray. This is nothing against what the FO in Tampa have done (since RB was performing quite well until the unexpected, mysterious illness) but I think they had to release him.

Actually, it looks like he's plying at the single-A level. I had thought he was released.

That the Phillies would even think of going with Madson and Durbin, instead of calling up Happ, is just bizarre. If this is what they decide to do, I can draw but one conclusion: the incredible paucity of roster moves is motivated by a desire to cut costs. Despite what the Phillies tell us about their "highest payroll ever," they aimed their payroll squarely for the $92 or $93M range. But they miscalculated by $3M on Howard and they erroneously reckoned that they could get some team to take all or part of Wes Helms' $2.4M salary. Having spent a good $5 of 6M more than they planned, I suspect that PG is under instructions to trim costs by cutting down on minor league call-ups. Last year, they had 8 zillion of these moves and, eventually, they start to add up. If Happ is not called up by tomorrow, I believe it's because the FO made a conscious decision to make as few call-ups as possible this year.

I simply can come up with no other explanation which would account for why Gordon is not on the DL; Taguchi is still on the roster; the horrible TJ Bohn has been called up twice; and the Phillies are contemplating burning out 1/3 of their bullpen rather than calling up a pitcher who has excelled at every level of the minors.

Stick a fork in Delgado.

Hanley Ramirez just hit another game tying HR in the ninth. He is BY FAR the best SS in the NL East.

TK: You are right, but it still doesn't make me happy that the closer for the Nats blows a save when they only had 2 outs to go. Ugh. Let's go Nats!

Actually, Rollins may be 4th in the division this year with Guzman hitting so well...then again Reyes is good for a couple bonehead moves every game, so maybe he's third.

Nats knocking on the door again...

Marlins walk-off win. Damnit. Phils better start winning because the Fish will just not go away.

The Marlins are gonna be the team there for the entire season. Hopefully they'll be chasing us and not vice versa.

HH - Florida is 4 games over .500. I'm pretty sure they played June 13-16 (3-5 in their last 8 with two late-inning wins.) That's worse than the Phils.

They've gone away. The Phils just haven't capitalized.

Their schedule before the break is considerably easier than ours, however: WAS, COL, SD, LAD.

Speaking of all stars, how much will it suck if we're watching Kyle Lohse pitching on July 15th at Yankee Stadium?

Pat will make it next year. With the Phils?

Perhaps the reason for the discrepancy between Howard's RISP vs. non-RISP numbers is the likelihood that opposing teams can't readily put the shift on with runners on second and/or third.

Or perhaps reading anything into half a season of RISP numbers is stupid. Sample size anyone?

Anyone who thinks the Rays are not a well-run team right now is fooling themselves.

I also have to say that people ripping on Chuck Lamar was probably ill-warranted. While Friedman has done an excellent job since taking over, Lamar was in place to build much of this foundation. Of course he was given a LOT of high draft picks, but let me ask people one question: Would you trust either Ed Wade or Pat Gillick's administration to do as well with those picks as Lamar did?

Jack -
Wade is much better at building player morale - especially with free agent pitchers.


When Parker and Jack agree, it is like the perfect storm of being wrong.

Chuck LaMar had a horrible reputation for good reason. He was the GM of the Devil Rays from 1995 (when they began player development but before actually playing games) through 2005. Among his early moves was trading expansion pick Bobby Abreu for Kevin Stocker and Dmitri Young for Mike Kelly. I could go on and on on bad trades, but those are the highlights. During the 8 years he oversaw player personnel, the team compiled a .400 record.

His first 5 first round picks: Paul Wilder, Jason Standridge, Josh Hamilton, Rocco Baldelli, Dewon Brazleton.

LaMar does share one thing with Wade: His best moves came in his final year. They are both slow learners.

@Jack
a half-season of RISP numbers is a large enough sample size. econometric studies can have smaller samples depending on their tolerance levels. that said, we're not looking for anything statistically significant. we're just throwing out hypotheses; mine, that defenses can't put on an extreme shift with runners on second, and especially third, is worth exploring in my opinion largely because Howard has blamed the shift on his problems publicly, and we've talked here on BL how players, instead of beating the shift by adjusting and hitting opposite field, try to pull more and hit shots out of the park or down the line. in terms of policy, such a finding would put the onus on getting more people on base before Howard; like hitting Burrell 4th; or compelling JRoll and Vic to take more walks; OR the best long-term option is to get Howard to adapt by poking balls to opposite field until defenses are less inclined to shift on him whether there are RISP or not. In any case, this was the same issue Ortiz faced a couple years ago, and he somewhat adapted by learning how to drive balls opposite field. Howard needs to regain that stroke and focus on staying inside the ball on pitches on the outer half.

Granted, a couple years ago, during Howard's monster MVP year, he actually didn't hit all that well with RISP. If he hit at the same rate he is hitting now, he might have shattered the RBI record.


Clout: Fair enough. I didn't nominate the guy for GM of the Decade of anything. I merely said that people ripping strongly on him when he was hired was probably ill-warranted.

The 8 years you cite were also their first 8 years of existence, correct? A lot of expansion franchises struggle for the first decade. For every Marlins in 1997 or D-backs in 2001, there is a Seattle Mariners or Montreal Expos, who didn't have a winning season for 10 years either.

In terms of his drafts: Hamilton and Baldelli were good picks. Hamilton's incredible natural talent is on display now, and by all accounts he was a choirboy until he got injured in his 2nd season of pro ball, and no one foresaw his off-field problems. Baldelli was (and is) an above-average major league player while healthy, and still may contribute more to the team this year. He also picked Carl Crawford, James Shields, BJ Upton, Jonny Gomes, Andy Sonnenstine and Delmon Young, all of whom are important parts of this first-place team (not including Young, who was traded for Matt Garza, their #3 starter). He also drafted Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, Reid Brignac, Jake Mcgee, all of whom have been rated Top 50 Prospects, and 3 of which were rated this year above any Phillies prospect.

As you said, the guy got better as he went along. As many things as he did wrong early, he did well later on.

Bob- I agree with you that the shift probably influences his numbers with RISP. My general point was that, as you pointed out by showing the difference in his MVP season, those numbers don't really have a whole lot of correlation with success, or indicate any significant or unique skill (or lack thereof). They are just part of the huge, somewhat random, matrix of numbers that is baseball.

Clout: Also, he traded Victor Zambrano for Scott Kazmir. I'd say he won that deal, no?

Indeed: the Kazmir trade more than offsets the Abreu/Stocker trade, IMO.

Basically, the Rays that you see now, were LaMar's work (except Longoria and Iwamura). I'd say that he did a pretty good job building that team with the minor league system flourishing and all of his young talent still being on the team.

Basically: The Rays (Except Longoria, Iwamura, Dan Wheeler, Eric Hinske) are LaMar's work. His contribution is about 75 % of that team.

I wouldn't mind him being the next GM, and kicking out the dueling dufus duo.

?His first 5 first round picks: Paul Wilder, Jason Standridge, Josh Hamilton, Rocco Baldelli, Dewon Brazleton."

That's 2 for five... what success rate do you think first rounders should have?

Tray: What about the Phils success rate? Or any other teams? I'd say that those odds will be pretty consistent throughout the league.

Worth noting that Shields came later in the draft, as did one of their other starters (Andy Sonenstine). They also picked Dan Wheeler, but traded him, and only recently reacquired him. Where are B.J. Upton, and Carl Crawford in that list?

I'd say Hamilton has worked out pretty well, although not for them. Then again that is not the FO's fault that he had a crack cocaine problem.

BTW: Howard was a later round pick. Who did the Phils draft first in Howards year?

For what it's worth, the Phillies signed their top draft pick Hewitt tonight. (I'd better get used to the weirdness of writing that, because he's got my last name. It's like one of those custom-made books for kids where your own name is inserted in the role of the superhero.)

"A player of Anthony's caliber is exactly what this organization has a track record of developing," said Jack Toffey, Hewitt's Boston-based agent.

*clearing throat* ...Oh?

The Fact that we are now more than 72 hours after Myers latest meltdown and have no definite response from the phils is pathetic. Just shows that there are too many voices in that organization and proves why nothing gets done quickly as reported in the Philly mag article a few months ago.

Happ is adequate according to Gillick. Not exactly a glowing review!

Good morning.

It will be interesting to see if the roster changes today. I kind of doubt it.

Last night I had a nightmare about going to see the Phils at CBP. My family would not leave the hotel room to go see the game.

I will actually be there for the matchup with the Mets next Saturday (followed by a week at the Jersey Shore).

See you soon!

Coming full circle? The Phils last series win was 3 weeks ago as they swept a 3 game set in Atlanta. Since then they gone on to lose to the Marlins, Cardinals, Red Sox, Angels, and Rangers. Today starts another series against the Braves though, so maybe just maybe they can right the ship.

Phils vs. No Name Righty with a high WHIP. On the surface everything looks great. We'll see how it turns out once the bullets start flying. I don't think Jesse "The Body" Ventura said that, but he should have.

It's interesting to see how many beerleaguers think Rocco Baldelli is a star and Chuck LaMar a good GM. I wonder if the Rays fans share that view.

Parker, if 8 years of .400 ball doesn't bother you and one good trade makes up for years of bad ones, then you've gotta love Ed Wade, no?

Jack: So you'd say the Rays progress under LaMar was about average for an expansion team? Hint: Do some research before you answer.

Not sure why anyone would think that LaMar (whatever your take is on him) would be any sort of an upgrade over Pat Gillick and the current regime. I think you'd be hard pressed to say that Chuck LaMar has had more success as a GM than Pat Gillick throughout both of their careers. Why would LaMar make the Phillies any better? Does someone know something about payroll/ownership/job duties changing when Pat leaves?

Inside/Outside - Those players you mentioned were not all acquird by LaMarr. He had the top pick nearly every year and still they were a terrible team. It wasn't until they hired GERRY HUNSICKER and the moves he advised on turned their fortunes around. So what does Dave Montgomery/Mike Arbuckle do? They hires LaMarr after passing over Hunsicker for Gillick. Vintage Phillies move!
Hunsicker would have cleaned house, from Arbuckle all the way on down. But you have to remember, a job in this organization is for life and an employee only gets canned when the fans are up in arms.

Once again, Chuck LaMarr is an idiot. He's just like Arbuckle, drafting bodies instead of skills and talent. Back in 2000 the Phillies were zeroing in on drafting Rocco Baldelli at #15. All of a sudden Arbuckle and Noworyta became worried when they saw a contingent of Tampa Bay scouts lead by GM Chuck LaMarr at Baldelli's games late in the high school season. The Phils lost out and Tampa Bay selected Baldelli at #6. Bummer! The Phils were forced to select some college kid named Utley at #15.

Ha, phargo, we have the same plans next week.

Want to know why Arbuckle didn't draft Albert Pujols? He knew all about him at age 16. Both lived in the same area/town in Missouri. Oh, the reason Arby didn't draft him? Too pudgy.

Lamar. Arbuckle. Amaro. None are worthy of a full-time GM spot.

I have the energy.

Burrell's problem is this: There are about 4 other OF in the NL that have a claim at being better than he is this year and there are a few that have more famous names that get votes because they were great once. *cough*griffy*cough*

Add that all up and it is easy to understand his situation in the vote. Personally, I think Burrell has done well this year and I hope he gets a nod.

Howard deserves an invite to the HR Derby. Rollins has earned tickets to watch the All-Star game from boxseats.

Lidge and Hammels deserve to go. I wonder when MLB will let the fans vote for a pitcher or two?

Hamels doesn't deserve to be an all-star. Burrel will make it before Cole.

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EST. 2005

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