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Friday, June 20, 2008

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Like those day games after a night game...

From last thread..

Myers threw 93-94 in 2006 as a starter, he threw 97 last year as a closer, and now he's throwing 88-89. It's pretty obvious that he's hurt or just has a dead arm, is probably trying to overthrow to compensate, and is losing control as a result. The idea that ripping into Brett Myers to somehow get him to focus more is the solution doesn't make any sense to me. Figuring out where 5mph of his fastball went seems like a more logical place to start.

We have to remember that they are men and not machines. And certainly not just statistics-generators. That's why Charlie is a successful manager, and why the stats-weenies get insulted (and confused, and angry, and ignorant, etc, etc.) when things don't happen in a mathematically precise way.

I am personally not too hopeful about a rest for Utley. I was listening to the pregame on the radio on, what, Wednesday? and they asked about Utley and about giving him a day off soon. They (I think it was Manuel) said that his issue was a timing problem and that what he needed was to just keep going out there. Aka, no rest.

...I don't really think a day off would hurt.

I've wondered recently if Utley himself doesn't want to rest, not necessarily because he has "a timing problem" that he needs to get worked out but also because he just loves to play. For once in my life, I'm not going to blame Manuel for this because I think it's as much Utley's decision as it is his, but I think the time is coming where one side is going to need to make the decision to let him have a day or two to chill. Hopefully yesterday he got plenty of sleep.

Wasn't yesterday a day off? No game. No travel. Does that mean we should expect the old Chase Utley today?

I'm not sure about this whole "day off" excuse. We also had a day off between the Atlanta and Florida road games. And we had another home day off May 29th (no travel, no game).

If one game is all it takes to reenergize Chase, than wouldn't these days qualify. Or are we suggesting he needs more time off... how much more?

The off day Thursday and Monday will help, and then the All Star Break is a few weeks away (Utley will be involved, but then the Phils have Wed. and Thurs. off after the game).

Utley can't turn into Cal Ripken, whose selfish streak affected his production. He won 2 MVPs almost a decade apart, but his other seasons were filled with mediocrity and decreased run production. Every player needs to sit a couple times a season to prevent physical and mental fatigue

"I think the time is coming where one side is going to need to make the decision to let him have a day or two to chill."

Really?? We're honestly suggesting that the best player in the National League should sit on the bench for two days?

I think we are grasping at straws here . . . the man's just in a slump. Its happened before, it will happen again.

I disagree with letting Utley sit. He had yesterday off to rest. He's the type of player who needs to work through a slump.

If his timing is off, which is the big problem now, the best thing may be to step away and regroup.

Squatter,

I think you're dead on - at least the first two sentences. However, I learn an incredible amount here from the guys who usually have the stats to either reinforce or make me rethink my subjective perceptions. A tip of the hat to them.

But I think we may see some of the first part of your post with both Myers and Utley. There isn't an iota of doubt in my mind that nobody wants Chase to break out of this more than Chase. I also have little doubt he's doing extra BP and video work to help himself and the team. And he's probably telling Cholly right now that he needs to work through this, not hide from it, and that this is an important series he needs to show up in. I tend to agree with the theory that he may be out of gas and needs a day off. But who really knows, you just play the percentages and make the best judgment you can.

Myers is more complex. I'm sure he, like Chase, wants desperately to break out of this. But is he doing the extra work the coaches recommended? Is there a part of him sulking about the BP change? Is there some sort of physical or mechanical problem with the lost velocity? We know he's, shall we say, not the most stable of persons.

John Smoltz, who probably has more insight on this than anyone else, has commented with respect to Myers that it is unbelievably tough to transition from reliever back to starter, and that it takes time.

Does Brett get mad and get it going? Or does the Salisbury rump kick simply drive a guy - who could be struggling with very real physical problems and is trying his best to dig himself out - deeper into a funk?

I dunno. Never a dull moment.

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting he sit today; not after the off day. It would be unecessary. The time to do it was in St. Louis.

Jason: The Phils were off June 9th (traveled from Atlanta to Florida, hardly a tough travel day) and played St. Louis on June 13th. Through the first game of the Cardinals series, Utley had hits in 6 of his last 7 games, going .333/.438/.556 with 8 RBI in those 7 games.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but was anyone really thinking about giving Utley a day off at that point? Really?

"Hindsight is always 20/20, but was anyone really thinking about giving Utley a day off at that point? Really?"

I'm fairly sure I mentioned it in one of the St. Louis threads, that he was due for a day off. If I didn't, I just never got around to posting it.

I'm supporting Weitzel on this idea of resting Chase Utley. Give him an extra day off once a month or so and let him pinch-hit in a crucial situation if necessary. Highly doubtful this would hurt, but it is likely to help him re-energize. It's just a thought.

Take care of this guy is the general point. They need him. Does anyone recall how he looked in October? Terrible. Spent ...

Check out the Phillies Bullpen's line for the past 6 games: 19 IPs, 15 H, 3 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 23 K, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP

I mean Damn, I didn't realize how good they've been till I added it up.

Flashback to 1993...Blue Jays are bringing back Cito Gaston

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8266320/Sources:-Last-place-Jays-fire-Gibbons

Nick Leyva (wasn't he in Toronto before) hired as one of the coaches...

~shudders when thinking about 1993~

Am I the only one still haunted by Joe Carter?

A couple points from last thread.

BAP, re: Arroyo: He's had 2 excellent years in a 9-year career, but his career ERA+ is 107, which means he's slightly better than average. That's better than Myers, but I'd guess the guy who's 3 years younger has more upside.

NEPHan, re: The alleged ripoff of Ed Wade doesn't look like a ripoff to me. Lidge is in his walk year. Bourn is 2nd in the NL in SBs, which you want from your leadoff guy. His OB sucks at the moment, but he's starting to come around (.395 OB for past 2 weeks). That's always been his strength and I'm guessing it will be closer to what it was last year by season's end (.348).

Geoff Geary (ERA+ 169) has been their best bullpen performer.

The third guy in the deal, Mike Costanzo, was part of the package sent for Miguel Tejeda, now with an OPS+ of 110.

If that's a ripoff I want the Phils to get ripped off like that.

1) i don't think utley was spent physically last October. unless he worked himself to death while rehabbing, the guy did have quite a bit of time off while he was on the DL right before the final stretch.

2) is utley the KG of baseball? so intense that at the end of the season, he's just completely drained with nothing left? almost too intense to function? almost like he cares too much so that it wears him out?

Bob:
Right, nothing wrong with stats, kept in the proper perspective. But its not the whole ball game, any more than superstition is. You didn't get that hit because you're wearing your favorite underwear, or because you were "due" statistically. At this level, everyone is talented, physically and by training, and the "head" factor becomes more important. Utley is off now, Howard was off earlier, and Burrell was off a couple years ago. What fixed them, who knows. It could have been one little thing, ten little things, or one big thing. It's subjective. That's why I say that stats don't help in this situation, any more than a hunch or superstition. It's the human element.

Yeah, Bob makes a good point. Chase Utley had a month off while he was injured. He came back, played two games, took a day off and then played the Phils last 30 games over a 33 day stretch. I suppose that stretch could have burned him out, but I don't think one month of baseball is enough to drain Chase Utley. He played poorly in the playoffs the same way the rest of our offense did. I don't think we should attribute it to being spent. If that's the case then we'd have to believe Chase will need more than a month off in the middle of the season to "re-energize."

Good debate. I think asking Utley to go 162 and ignore signs of wear is playing with fire, but so far he's been solid from start to finish in his career. We'll see.

OT: Did everyone see the Freel rumor from Stark?

Freel has been linked to the Phils via rumor for a few months now. If healthy he'd be an awesome addition to the bench as he can play many positions and is a sparkplug when on the bases.

Jason: Yeah, good points on both side. I'm not suggesting he play 162 games... but I also don't think he'll need a day off between now and the All-Star break. I'd rather use those off days during some tough stretches in August.

OT: Where was the Freel rumor?

Freel would be an awesome fit for this ballclub and city. He's like Utley in terms of hustle, while perhaps not looking quite as smooth while doing it.

That said, why would we need him?

As Jason said, the real point is that we need this guy and to take care of him. That goes for Myers as well on another level.

This is where the coaching staff really earns their stripes. I don't think any of them, Howard, Utley, Myers, Burrell, Hamels, Rollins are going to say, "I need a day off -or to miss a start -which will ultimately help me pull it together and help the team more than if I play tomorrow." The coaches have to decide whether the guy needs a day off, or a stretch in the minors, whatever is best for the player & team.

And in this regard, where we go way beyond stats, I would guess/hope? that both Cholly and Lopes probably have a pretty good feel for the best course to follow.

From Jayson Stark-
• Phretting in Philly: With the help of a number of clubs that have spoken with the Phillies, we've assembled this shopping list of starting pitchers it appears they've at least kicked tires on: Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo and (surprisingly) Jarrod Washburn. Bedard just hit the market, so you can add his name any minute now.

But those same clubs say the Phillies might have the hardest decisions to make of just about any team with win-the-World Series upside. If they go for it now -- and decimate their still-thin system to deal for a big-name rent-a-pitcher like Sabathia or Burnett -- this might be the only year they'd be capable of contending.

To make a trade like that, they'd probably have to give up both of their two most advanced starting-pitching prospects, Carlos Carrasco and Antonio Bastardo. So if they lose Brad Lidge and their rent-a-starter to free agency, and Jamie Moyer retires, Brett Myers doesn't rebound and Adam Eaton's first half turns out to be a mirage, the Phillies' pitching staff next year would essentially consist of Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, an uncertain Myers and seven question marks.

"So that's a tough call," said one NL executive. "Do you say, 'Go for it, and the hell with next year'? Or do you think big picture, but maybe not have enough [pitching] to win this year? It's a scary choice to have to make."

• Seeing Red: Despite all the talk about the Reds' trading Junior Griffey and/or Adam Dunn, the player who might attract the most interest is actually Ryan Freel, a guy who's "on everybody's radar," said one executive.

We've heard Freel's name connected, in some form, with every contender in the NL East (Phillies, Braves, Mets, Marlins), just for starters.

clout: You can try to twist the numbers how you want but the Lidge trade was a great trade on the Phillies end. Bourn (who may be 2nd in SBs) sucks pretty much everywhere else besides a brief hot streak. His season line is .238 avg/.292 obp despite the hot streak to start June. He's a 4th/5th OF on most teams. He's also on pace to strike out 137 times (a bit much for a leadoff guy with no power) Geary was an extra piece we didn't need who is proving with the Astros that he again cannot pitch when the game matters or with men in scoring position (look at his splits for Close and Late, and Scoring position). Costanzo isn't doing that hot either...he's 24 (25 in Sept) batting .245 in AAA with 84 SO in 237 AB. For a supposed "power" guy he's slugging all of .354 with 6 HRs (1 every 39.5 AB)...all this with 10 E at 3B (a position scouts aren't sure he can play in the majors). So how is that a good trade again?

Lidge, on the other hand, has been lights out from the start for the Phillies and he is anchoring the bullpen of a 1st place team. If they don't resign him, it will be by their choice not because they can't.

Wow...looks like the Randolph canning sent off a whole wave of like-minded behavior around baseball. Anyone see Bavasi's line about Bedard as he stormed out the door? "...why does he think the lefthander doesn't pitch deeper into games? 'You gotta ask him,' Bavasi said. 'Good luck. And he's going to have some stupid answer, some [dumb] answer.'"

Hmm.

They're also talking about jettisoning Jose Vidro from Seattle. Never would have believed his career could tailspin so sharply. That guy could flat-out hit when he was an Expo - always reminded me of a slightly lesser version of Abreu from the left side.

Cito Gaston is an odd choice - but then again, it's even odder that no one's even courted him in all the time he's been away from Toronto.

I agree about Utley. He doesn't just need a day off, he needs a game off. There is a difference. It can help a player to sit and regroup. Tuesday night against Lester would have been the perfect time to do it.

On Myers/Salisbury: nice try Jim, but I don't think Myers' determination is what's in question here. What's in question is diminished quality of pitches and perpetual stupidity and a terminal lack of feel for pitching. If/when Myers ever leaves, I can't wait to read the outpouring of quotes (a la Bavasi) about how clueless, stubborn, and uncoachable he was. So great, now he'll go out there like a raging bull and think he's got to stick it up Salisbury's ass and give up three more homers. I don't know what good that does anyone.

Ryan Freel is drawing strong interest; Stark names the Phillies, Braves, Mets, and Marlins as suitors.

On Freel: He would be a 5th OF on the Phillies...what the hell would we do with him? He's too good to be a 5th OF and we don't have room for him to be anything else. He might take some ABs from Jenkins but other than that he's a 1 start a week guy and defensive replacement in LF...Do you guys really think a competitor like Freel would like that?

Oh - That's from MLB Trade Rumors.

squatter: I think we can all agree that baseball is more than a game of stats. The human element trumps all. On the other hadn you make a statement that suggests you think every result is just random:
"You didn't get that hit because you're wearing your favorite underwear, or because you were "due" statistically."

In fact, past performance is the best gauge of future performance. Players tend to finish a year close to their career norms. A guy may not be "due" statistically, but odds are that he will finish the year at a certain place statistically. Which means that if he's underperforming, chances are that he will at some point start overperforming.

Hasn't Freel-to-Philly been a rumor for the past three years now? Why exactly do they need him, other than the fact that his 'personality fits the city'? If was left-handed, maybe he would be useful. But he's not and he's an injury magnet. I think they'd be better served by looking elsewhere.

FWIW: The late John Marzano once said on 610 that Myers wasn't very well liked in the clubhouse, b/c of his attitude and some of his teammates wouldn't cry if he was dealt. That was before last season.

BB: that's highly believable.

I wouldn't be surprised...his little baby whining hissy fits must get old fairly quick...

NEPhan: Don't get me wrong, I like the Lidge trade from the Phillies end. But to declare it a ripoff from the Astros end, as you did, flies in the face of facts. They traded one season of Lidge for potentially, a quality leadoff man (let's see his numbers at year's end before you declare him a 5th outfielder) for the next decade, the best non-setup/closer in the bullpen and a throw-in that helped get one of the better shortstops in the league.

That's not a bad return for a guy you were only going to have for one more year.

The only thing Freel seems to add that Taguchi doesn't is the ability to play 2nd and 3rd base (99 and 104 games respectively). That would give us Freel, Bruntlett and Dobbs as bench players who can fill multiple OF and IF roles. He also performs the same against LH and RH pitchers (.732 and .737 OPS's in career splits). As a PH, he has a career .190 BA.

NEPhan: Actually Freel plays all 3 OF positions, 3B and 2B and isn't terrible at any of those spots (although his best position is CF). But I agree with you, why would they need him? He'd be a big upgrade over Taguchi, but that role is a waste of his talents. Some team that needs him playing 3-4 times a week will make a better offer.

Freel's a better OF than Taguchi by a good margin too.

clout: On Bourn...we'll revisit him in Oct and see where he ends up. I just don't see him as a legit leadoff guy. He's feels too much like Joey Gathright for my taste.

clout: I agree on Freel, with Dobbs/Bruntlett, adding Freel seems a bit of a waste. I guarantee that Gillick will dig up another bat but I dont see it being Freel.

Ashame we didn't trade for Brandon Inge when he was available earlier in the year...could you imagine having his versatility on the bench...though now the Tigers would never trade him.

Utley could use a day off but wait for the right match-up or use him at 1B and give Howard a complete rest as he would benefit more.

Second base requires alot of energy in the field with double-plays, covering on steals, keeping the running honest while on 2B, cut-offs, relay throws, etc.

Not to mention all the walks to the mound to keep the pitcher's head of their you-know-whats (see Myers, Eaton, and to lesser degree Kendrick).

Hard to imagine Freel coming in with his $3 million salary this year and $4m next year on the books. Nice player but as RSB noted an injury-risk but younger, more versatile legs than SoTag.

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