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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Comments

Brett Myers needs to show up tonight in a big way. Hamels can't carry the staff by himself. Once it is conceded that the bats inevitably will cool down at certain junctures in the season, then the weight falls on the pitching staff to keep the team in the game until someone gets lucky. For more than a week (10 games or so), the pitching (outside Hamels/Moyer) has fallen flat on their faces.

Brett Myers lets see some of that Boxer's mentality. This offense always has a puncher's chance, unless you get them down for the 10 count by the 4th inning.

Wow. Jason telling it like it is. Good points, all. These have been some ugly, ugly games lately. Not sure what the answer is, maybe it's time for Cholly to shut the doors and blast people to wake them up.

I think it could get worse before it gets better. If you look at Chase's historical stats, it looks to me that although he certainly isn't going to keep going hitless, it may be a while before he explodes again. Face it, as good as he is, he isn't going to hit 45 or 50 home runs and bat in 140.

Although Howard's HR and RBI totals are imposing, he just cannot seem to turn it around with respect to the little league style K's. I do not think he is the much feared hitter he was even a year ago. I suspect the book on him is that if you pitch him carefully he can be managed, just don't make an obvious mistake or he could rock you.

Maybe it's just me, but Rollins seems to be in a little MVP hangover as well. Not horrible, but thus far, I haven't seen the guy who can ignite the entire team the way he has in the past.

I've been one who really has been pulling for Jenkins and Feliz to step up and really become part of the fabric of the team, and it really hasn't happened, except sporadically. C'mon guys, time to turn it on.

Tough games coming up. I continue to believe the Mets are overdue for a roll. Don't want to get ahead of myself, but the series over the 4th is going to be a real test for both teams. And my guess is that the Mets will be coming into those games riding high and cocky. Hoping our Fightins' are up to the challenge of the next couple of weeks!


Wow! Is it really time to abandon ship? I think a near team wide slump is occuring right as we run into a few the best teams the AL has to offer, but there is still plenty of baseball to be played here, and we are up two games.

Lets not lose focus in the early stages of a long race we are actually winning.

Nice to see Weitzel drawing a clear line in the sand- "The time for tolerance is over. The time for consequence is now." That's sounds like something I would say...of course I'd throw in the use of "douchebag" too.

No one here is abandoning ship, but IMHO, at this stage anyone who's not becoming concerned about the direction things are going needs to take off the rose colored glasses.

yt: Are you happy with how Brett Myers is pitching? He's killing them. And how long is the leash on Adam Eaton? I'm not saying yank Myers this minute, but at this point, he needs to earn it.

Frustrating though the Phillies' recent play may be, I'm not particularly concerned.

Baseball, like all sports, has its ebbs and flows; a .300 hitter doesn't hit .300 every month, nor does a .600 team win or split every series.

To that end, I'm treating these past few series as something of a correction to the Beerleaguer pre-season mean of 88 wins.

Of course, we'd all view it as a very disappointing season if they actually ended up at 88 wins (especially should the rest of the NL continue to struggle and the Phillie bullpen excels the entire year).

Three words that do not strike fear into opponents:

Eaton, Myers, Kendrick

Sound like a post-season staff to you? Not to me.

Jason, I agree with you on Myers, he has been a disaster, and I am totally finished trying to figure out if he'll ever turn it around.

What I do think will happen (and much sooner than later) is that the middle of the line-up Utley, Howard and Burrell will start hitting again, and when that happens you know they will be putting up serious numbers again. We are in a lull in the storm, but I am not panicking. I never expect staring pitching to carry us to October, I didn't expect Myers to be this bad, but the bats we got cover a lot of warts when the are on.

The wake up alarm has to go off pretty quick, or we'll find the Mets taking the division lead in our own backyard come begining of July. That will make Omar look like a genius with changes he made.

I think its beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gillick is going to make a move for more pitching, and I really wouldn't be surprised if its for a big name. Everyone knows this is our year to make a move and I think he's going to do it.

This past week has cemented in my mind that when it comes to the phils I am a "pessoptimist" to borrow a term from the palestinian novelist Emile Habiby. He defines the term as such: "I don't differentiate between optimism and pessimism and am quite at a loss to which of the two characterizes me. When I awake each morning I thank the Lord he did not take my soul during the night. If harm befalls me during the day, I thank Him it was no worse. So which am I, a pessimist or an optimist?"

Take out the religion and it pretty much sums up how I regard any half-decent inning by Myers or Eaton.

If I had a dollar for every time our starters gave up two or more runs in the first inning, I'd ......buy a new starter.

The time for complacency is over! I am looking at you Brett Myers, Jimmy Rollins, Pedro Feliz, and Adam Eaton!

I am even looking at you Charlie Manuel! I thought the team played so loosely under him. I thought he was a hitting guru. What he has really done with this team, other than lead them to get swept in the playoffs. What about the years he made mistake after mistake costing this team victories and ultimately other shots at the post season? That's right, the complacency surrounding Charlie Manuel needs to change!

That being said, we need a little shake up of some sorts. Some kind of little trade or minor league promotion to get the team going again.

Hell, I'd even go for a big trade too, but I just don't see that happening.

Do something though! Make an example! Reinforce those long term team goals!

Couple of points:

1. If this team taught me anything last year, it is not to get too worked up or down. I realized that this team was going to do the same thing with this because their starting pitching was at best just adequate.

Said 2 weeks ago when the moronic talk of an "elite team" or "World Series" starting appearing that it was way too early for that. Hell, I just wanted to see where the Phils were at in the standings come July 1st because the schedule for the last 2 weeks in June looked really tough.

2. Feliz actually has been just about what the Phils could expect out of him. Still, Dobbs should have been starting twice a week at 3B since the start of the season against RHP. He should be now too.

3. JRoll has fallen off from his MVP season but that was almost to be expected. Hasn't been great this year but hasn't really played poorly either.

4. Major issue with this offense pretty much all year have been Howard and Jenkins (Ruiz to a lesser degree). Both guys have had some productive bursts here and there, but for the most part they have been disappointments this year. Neither guy has delievered what I would even call adequate production.

5. Don't really know what the Phils do beside minor tinkering really to "shake up things." When you have a farm system that is largely devoid of top-end talent or player capable of making an impact, it really limits your options.

I guess if Myers continues to pitch so poorly over his next 2-3 starts you have to consider pulling him from the rotation but the alternative options are slim to none. Happ? C. Durbin moved to the rotation? None of them are really appealing.

Historically, the Phillies have not been a competitive team. By that I mean they have had a terrible habit of coming up small in big spots. How many crucial series against the Mets and Marlins did they blow during the Bowa years? Especially late in the season. Last year they reversed that trend. With fiery guys like Utley and Rollins blossoming into major stars the team became ultra competitive. They hammered their division rivals and other good teams every chance they got. They received lots of clutch hitting from Howard and Burrell too.
In the last two weeks they look to have reverted to the old Phillies. You have to beat up on your division rivals like they did the Braves a few weeks ago. And then when the Sox and Angels come in, you need to open up a case on them too. I definitely don't like the look of this team lately. They look timid again. I really thought that was a thing of the past with the loosey goosey attitude that Manuel brought with him. You get into a tough stretch on the schedule like this and you have to hold your ground. I don't want to see the Phils win this division (I know I'm getting ahead of myself) just because it is weak. Go out and beat this division into submission. They've all got it coming and we do have the ability to do it. WAKE UP!

donc and MG,

Good summations on a good day to vent.

One player the Phils have missed all season is Rowand. Yeah, it was tough to justify giving him a 5 yr/$50 M deal because it would have forced the Phils down the road to make a tough choice sooner on a player like Howard or Hamels.

Victorino just hasn't delivered the offense punch the Phils need (and that would be ok if Howard and Jenkins had produced like expected but they haven't) so the gap has been that much more noticeable.

More it looks like, if the Phils truly would have wanted to make a run for it this year and in 2009 (really there window of opportunity), they should have ponied up the cash for Rowand and packaged Victorino together with prospects to deal for another starter.

Would that have got you a frontline guy - certainly not but it would have given the Phils a better rotation than they have now.

Funny thing is that everybody has praised Gillick this season (largely for the results of the Lidge trade so far). What I see and I harped through this postseason was the millstone around the neck of this team that is the contracts of Eaton, Feliz, and Jenkins.

This $20M plus of salaries for next year of these 3 players is going to cripple what the Phils do this offseason and even limit their thoughts at the trading deadline of taking on any kind of significant salary beyond this year for the final 2 months of the season.

Ignoring what has happened recently the real problem has been Brett Myers after 75 games this season. They are 7 games under .500 when his name appears on a lineup card and 16 games over .500 when his name does not. An amazing differential for an opening day starter, supposed No.1, an ace, a stopper etc. Gillick really missed even more badly on this one than he did with Freddy Garcia last year or writing the Phils off after the Abreu trade in 06. Really does not speak very highly of him as a HOF GM. Now his whole tenure with the Phils will be judged over the next 4 or 5 weeks based on what he does with Myers and what kind of deal he can pull to paper over the Myers debacle.

I think June is proving what many of us already knew: the Phils have a team that can ( maybe even should) win the NL East, but not a team that can win a playoff series or, a fortiori, win a championship. The team-wide slump is occurring just as they're playing teams like the Red Sox and Angels for a reason.

This team looks like the team that was slept by the Rockies last Fall. They aren't prepared for good pitching (they have sufficient talent 1-5), and Eaton and Kendrick don't have the stuff for talented, well-coached teams.

They still have the team to defend their division title (88-94 wins), but they'll need an upgrade in SP and Howard/Burrell/Utley to return to ceiling levels to do much more.

MG: Yeah, those contracts are bad, but didn't you just say you wanted to sign Rowand for 50 million? The Eaton deal everyone knew was a mistake the moment it happened. The Feliz deal has been talked about more than any other single thing in the history of this website. The Jenkins deal? Everyone seemed to like it. My question is, what would you have done this year instead? Would you have had Jayson Werth start full-time in RF, and then kept Chris Snelling or TJ Bohn on the team as your 5th OF? At 3rd base, would you have kept the Helms/Dobbs platoon? To be honest, I like our team now better than that team, even with 20 million owed to mediocre-at-best players.

So the Phillies Notebook article on Philly.com basically implied that Vic, Werth or Dobbs would all be considered on the table in a mid summer trade...interesting.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/20080621_Phillies_Notebook__Phillies_GM_Gillick_says_team_will_seek_to_fill_needs_as_trade_deadline_approaches.html

As long as it isn't Bedard...the more I read about him and look at his stats, I really don't want him on the Phillies. His splits are horrible, he can't stay healthy, and he sounds like a clubhouse cancer.

Insult to injury: someone put a microphone under Eaton's chin after the game.

"Tonight it seemed like, you make a decent pitch, or even a bad pitch, and they didn't hit it terribly hard but it was in the right spot," Eaton said. "There were a couple of balls that, for a foot or two closer to the player, we would have had double plays. It seemed like everything they hit was in the right spot."

Keeey-rist. At least when Myers stinks up the joint, he'll say so. Obviously, Eaton's fixated on the play where Rollins broke to cover second and the run scored. No mention of the two-out walks, the fat fastball to Guerrero, the lack of command, the fact that he gave up 12 goddamn hits in 5-plus innings. I don't seem to recall a whole lot of chinkers and bloopers among them.

So Gillick's talking about trading players from the current 25-man roster in lieu of a prospects-only package. Glad to hear it. Now we'll have to figure out which players he might be talking about. Myers has to be considered the most likely to go. Victorino? They're giving away the second Victorino figurine in two years in a few weeks. Plenty of reason to doubt it'll be him. The fact that they apparently expressed in interest in Freel makes me wonder if they'll be shopping Jayson Werth to someone who might want to play him every day. Who else? Kendrick? Ruiz?

I think Abreu chat still trumps Feliz'.

I'm not impressed with the economic arguments. With the stadium packing 105% attendance this team should have a bankroll to crack the top ten.

I don't know the details of free agent negotiations, but I would have concentrated more on landing one or more of the following: Kyle Lohse, Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, Aaron Rowand. Though the Lidge trade worked out for us, the idea was to move one OF, not two and not to spend the entirety of freed money for a less productive OF replacement who plays a less valuable position.

Whelkman: I think not targeting Curt Schilling has turned out to be a good idea...all things considered. You were aware that he's having career ending shoulder surgery on Monday?

Dull: I agree with you about Myers and I think the problem is worse than many realize. The Phils are really boxed in on this one. I see a lot of posts that propose trading him. I don't think you could get a handful of magic beans for him. And I don't see him being of use in the bullpen either. Last year as closer everyone loved him, but I thought he was adequate at best. He blew three or four saves if I'm not mistaken in about 20 chances (not sure of those numbers but I don't think they were great). He is the poster child for million dollar arm and a 10 cent head. If somebody boots a ball or he gets squeezed by an umpire, he melts down. In short he didn't have the make up for a closer and now he can't get out of the first inning so I think that makes him a terrible candidate for anything but long relief. So what do you do with him? I have to think his lack of velocity and resulting lack of confidence point to an arm problem. But so far, neither he nor the Phillies have raised that possibility. If he's not hurt maybe he needs a shrink, although I think that has been pretty obvious since the incident with his wife on a Boston street. I also think he's the type that could be a problem in the clubhouse. That's a good group of guys in there and he doesn't strike me as a barrel of laughs. Of course I can't know that for sure, but it certainly seems that way. Either way he NEEDS to bring it tonight.

I think years of Gordon and Mesa closing made any even somewhat competent closer look like Mo Rivera. I don't ever remember thinking "Wow, Myers is coming in...game over" when he closed last year. Maybe I'm alone in that but he was good not great as a closer.

On another note: I was thinking last night about something...what would it actually take for me to want to boo Utley? I mean even now I'm not pissed at him but I'm actually pulling for him to come out of his slump...anyone else had the week he had and I would have gutted him on my blog but Utley is different somehow. Basically he'd have to be caught redhanded over a body before I thought bad of the guy...weird huh?

Jack - Depends on what they would have done about getting a marginal upgrade to platoon with Werth in RF. There were a few discount options (like Gonzalez) to platoon in RF with Werth.

Didn't hate the Feliz or Jenkins signings as much it was the length of the deals. Still have no idea to this day why Feliz got 2 years. No other team was offering this including the one time that actually had some interest in him (Giants). If Jenkins deal automatically vests next year for 2010 (and there is a good chance unless he gets hurt and misses a substantial amount of time), it was a bad deal too.

My bet on Gillick is this - the bad contracts to Feliz, Eaton, and Jenkins are his short-term legacy for next year and the boatload of picks from the 2006-08 drafts will ultimately determine and shape what Gillick's tenure here meant.

My view is and has been - this tinkering approach might make the team a bit better this year but it certainly isn't going to be enough to win in the playoffs or a championship. Been the Phils modus operandi for years though and this team basically has this year and maybe thorough maybe 2010 to contend. Beyond that, it gets really dicey because of the large contracts that Howard and Hamels will command.

NEPhilliesPhan: I agree, but I was replying to the argument of "what would you have done differently in the off season?" Unfortunately, I cannot use 2008 events to weigh in arguments about 2007. Similarly, Rolen isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, but he's still a definitive upgrade from Feliz, though definitively more expensive, too.

Whelkman: Did you really mention Scott (Tiny Tears) Rolen. Talk about a clubhouse cancer. He bitched his way to baseball heaven (St Louis) and couldn't even be happy there. Add in the fact that a little shampoo in his eyes sends him to the DL and I think I'll pass on her.

NEPhilliesPhan: At Utley's first inning hideous strikeout, I believe I heard "stifled boos", like a few people started to boo out of habit then quickly realized who the target was. Still, it's not a far jump to genuine booing, though I can't recall Thome getting that treatment, even when he genuinely stunk.

Personally, I doubt we would have been able to get Rolen...they wanted another legit 3B...The Toronto/STL trade was a one of a kind deal that fit both teams but not any others.

Pitching wise, I probably would have given Lohse the 4 million he asked for in March but not the 21 million they offered him in Oct (what a moron to turn that down). We never had a shot at either Santana or Bedard in a trade...not at the time...we could probalby afford Bedard now but why bother? He's not what we need.

On Rowand: Not giving him 5 years was still a good call. Yeah he's great right now and might even be good for the next 2-3 years but those final 2 seasons would have killed us. Besides Vic ahs been better defensively by a good margin and teh rest of teh offense would be fine if Howard didn't decide to not show up this season.

I think Chase Utley will go down in history as the most beloved Phillie ever, even surpassing Whitey. Just nothing not to love about the guy. He is streaky though. Somebldy is going to pay for this slide and soon.

in surveying PG and CM comments in the press, i think it's likely Dobbs will be our ML-ready trade piece. He deserves to play everyday and if you package him with a minor league piece, I'd imagine you could get someone to provide some depth to our rotation, but not necessarily a #3. Of course, you package him with two top line minor league pieces, then you could probably get back a really good starter.

I hate not being able to count on Moyer and Kendrick because they seem to be really good people. But it's tough having two "Movement and Location but no Velocity" in the same rotation. You could make the case that there is not one pitcher in our rotation that throws legitimate heat right now. Myers used to be able to, but can't seem to rock it in there without overthrowing these days.
We need a #2 with a plus arm to throw alongside Hamels. Otherwise, it seems like we're throwing the same soft stuff out there everyday. Granted the movement on each pitchers' pitches are different, but when the bats get heavy in October, I'd rather face a guy with a guy with "control and movement" than a guy with a "heater."
And in the least, the Phils should have a variety of pitchers at their arsenal to mix it up against opponents.

donc: I'm skeptical on the whole "clubhouse cancer" stuff, mostly because I'm not actually in the clubhouse. Most of that stuff comes from the media, directly or indirectly, and not from the players. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but how is Rolen's whining any different from Howard's or Hamels'? They're both significant injury risks, too.

Anyway, I want to field the best team, which involves scouting the best talent, not guys I'd prefer to hang out at bars with. If a guy really is that bad, you'll see the evidence in a lot of "team jumping", like Milton Bradley, who has seen six teams in nine seasons despite sporting a career 116 OPS.

donc: you are seriously underestimating Myers' trade value. It may be at an all-time low right now, but that's one reason why many teams may be lured into actually making a try for him. A pervasive mentality in baseball is that a 'change of scenery' - i.e. let's let *our* staff take a crack at this guy and see what happens - can sometimes revitalize a player's fortunes. It explains why players like Byun Hyung-Kim and Jorge Julio and Jeff Weaver and Sidney Ponson keep finding new opportunities no matter how badly they flame out - because they have good arms, have had success in the past, and pitching is always in such high demand that teams are willing to hold out belief that "maybe he'll get it again". I have no doubt that many executives look at Myers and see a guy who has the physical ability to be a good pitcher, if only he can be harnessed by their witch-doctor pitching coach. I'm fairly positive that he alone would bring more in return than any two Phillies prospects you'd care to mention.

We didn't have the pieces for Rolen though. Glaus/Rolen made sense both for the money, change of scenery, and talent levels...We wouldn't have had anything the Cards wanted in exchange.

The biggest issue with a team getting Myers is his huge $12 million contract for next season. That, and the drop in velocity, lowers his value immensely.

By the way, when I say to "concentrate" on acquiring players, I mean just that. It doesn't mean "give into whatever they ask". While Rowand is making more money, you have to wonder how he feels about playing for such a stinker. Believe it or not, there are people who will leave money on the table to play for a better team, though Philly has a habit of being the city with the money left on the table...

Maybe Rowand was a lost cause, but I generally don't assume that just because a player signs with another team makes it automatically so.

Whelkman: I agree that we can't know about his clubhouse persona, but he got his panties in a twist when he got called out by Dallas Green and then he couldn't get along with The Genius in St. Louis. The one constant in these situation is Rolen. And to let you know, I happen to think he is the best defensive third basemen in history when he is healthy. Sorry Oriole fans. And to be fair, I do think both Dallas Green and Tony LaRussa are jerks. But Scotty seems unbelievably sensitive. I just think his feelings will get hurt wherever he goes. I wonder if he had anything to do with the Jays firing their manager. Just kidding.

RSB:If you are right I'd deal him tomorrow. But I don't think they'd be lined up at the door is all I'm saying. The guy makes some serious cake. But I do agree with the whole change of scenery theory. It could work if his arm is sound. Does the name Gavin Floyd ring a bell. Ouch!

donc: From what I've witnessed, I wouldn't disagree. I'm recalling a game where Rolen tried to catch a foul ball that just went into the stands. It seemed like for the next half hour, every time the camera was on Rolen he was glaring in that direction, like some fan called him a name or maybe got in the way of the play or something.

Still, I'm not sure how much that matters. Just because I might think of someone as a nancy doesn't mean they aren't good at what they do.

The injury history is a much better argument. Though, theoretically, we'd still have Dobbs and Bruntlet or some other utility infielder to spot the defense.

If the Phils are going to concentrate on just trading from the MLB roster, the returns at what they will be able to get are pretty thin. Like Dobbs and Werth in their roles but neither guy is going a starting pitcher that is an upgrade from what the Phils have now. Ruiz has even less value.

Basically, if the Phils do make a move in a month, I think it will be for another bullpen arm that might represent a sufficient upgrade to the back end. Also wouldn't be suprised if they trade for a lefty out of the pen. Gillick realizes that he offseason strategy flamed out here and that there is a lefty reliever in the system worth bringing up to the major league team this season.

Myers would get a pile of beans right now in a trade. Besides his really poor performance, there are just too many lingering questions about his velocity, his attitude, and the $12 M owed for him next year.

Weitzel was right that if Myers was a free agent at the end of this year. He would be lucky to sign a $12M deal over the next 2 years. My bet is that he would get lumped into the category of veteran starters who would be forced to sign a 1-yr deal to see if this year was a fluke or it was something else.

If Myers was signed to say a top-end closer salary instead next year (say $7-$8 M), the Phils would have an easier time moving him if they wanted to because you might be willing to find a team that would gamble on him being able to return to be a decent closer next year. Not at $12M though.

I agree with MG that the bullpen is the most likely area to see improvement, despite it being our "strongest" area presently. Relievers are extremely liquid, and we need to start thinking about 2009 else we won't have a bullpen.

BedBeard asked an interesting question in the last thread: "Anyone who still pretends this team can compete without a Sabathia/Cook/Bedard type addition please raise your hand."

I do! Let me state a couple things first. The Phillies are NOT going to get "a Sabathia/Cook/Bedard type." So the question is whether or not you think this team can compete as is. A quick look at the standings (1st place in East, 3rd best record in the NL) tells me the answer is Yes!

Now, can they compete deep into the playoffs with this rotation? Well, yes again, because when each of these pitchers is at his best he can beat any team. And, as we saw with the Rockies last year and the Cards a couple years ago, it is not the best team that wins in post-season, it is the hottest team.

But I think what BedBeard is really asking is "While it is possible that all these guys could get hot at the same time and pitch to their max, what are the chances of that happening?" And the answer there is "slim and none." The addition of a Sabathia would raise those odds from "slim and none" to "just maybe." So I agree with the need for a strong shut-em-down SP. Do I think PG will get one? No. And Cook, by the way, doesn't remotely equate with Sabathia.

I do think PG will make a move or two that improves the team around the margins. But that's about it.

The bullpen has been a revelation. But am I the only one that reaches for the bottle every time Flush Gordon enters a game? Same for Mad Dog except the situation ususally isn't as pressure packed. It is an awesome sight to see Lidge leave the pen. When he's on(which is most nights) it's not even fair. When he's not on....oh that's right, they don't hit him then either.

Gordon would be much more palatable if Manuel would just pull him when it's obvious he doesn't have it, which is usually apparent from the first pitch. Even when Gordon's "on" it's not like Romero and Durbin are totally atrocious options, and they look like potential saviors when Gordon is launching pitches into the stands.

I see that donc and a couple other posters are trying to rewrite history on Myers as a closer.

He converted 87.5% of his save chances (21 for 24). Jose Valverde, who led the league in saves, converted 87%, Trevor Hoffman converted 86%, Francisco Cordero did 86%, Chad Cordero did 80%, Takashi Saito 91%, Billy Wags 87%, Ryan Dempster 90%, Izzy 94%.

Thus among the top 10 relievers in the NL last year, only Saito & Izzy had a better rate of converting saves. Anyone who says Myers was just average as a closer last year apparently wasn't watching baseball.

That should've read Saito, Izzy & Dempster.

I completely agree. If his first 2 or 3 pitches are balls, it's not likely to change. The most deadly thing in baseball is a reliever that can't throw strikes. How many 3-0 fastballs have to leave the park before Flush and by extension Charlie start to notice a pattern. The two I mentioned aren't reliable enough to just plug into their roles and let them go. I hate it when a manager reflexively puts in his set up man for the 8th and closer for the ninth regardless of the situation. You have to have some flexibility. Especially when your set up man is so mediocre.

Rowand: I think the appropriate inquiry into the overall value of Rowand and what his loss means to this team has many different levels.

1.) Defensive Upgrade: Vic is a baseball magnet in CF. Rowand made plenty of great looking catches, mostly because he wasn't quick enough to get to them and make them look routine. Additionally, I would love to know the exact number of balls that Vic has been able to snag that Rowand would have come up just short on last season. I'll guess that number is nearing double digits if it is not there already.
2.) Stolen Bags threat: Vic could steal 30-40 bases, Rowand might get 10.
3.) Power differential: Whatever power differential there is between Vic and Rowand is more than offset if you consider that even with Rowand playing CF (and assuming Vic was not traded), Vic would still be playing a good many games in RF (if not the majority). Therefore, the Platoon of Jenkins/Werth is the appropriate comparison in power. So far, Werth/Jenkins have more HR than Rowand, and I think it could be as much as 10 or more HR by the end of the season.
4.) $$$$ (always a big consideration considering what the Zito's, I mean Giants gave him).

Feliz: whatever you say about Feliz (and I'm not going to be overly positive about him), he is a defensive upgrade at 3B. He is also considerably better offensively than Wesley "I taught Carlos Ruiz how to hit fastballs" Helms, or Abraham "I taught Carlos Ruiz how to hit everything else" Nunez.

If its going to be a thread to list team problems, Hamels has been a better hitter than Ruiz this year. Even if Coste gets worn down by multiple starts, he'd still probably be better than Ruiz.

clout:Thanks for the numbers. They are decent but they aren't a whole seasons worth either. I know a percentage is a percentage but there is a reason you cant win a batting title with 200 at bats. I have no numbers to back my theory up but I seem to recall him getting a few saves while still giving up runs. I don't mean to imply that he sucked as a closer but he wasn't lights out either. He's a hot head and when things don't go his way he can come unglued. That will prove to be a fatal flaw with a closer every time. There is no margin of error.

On Brett closing: My statement was that of an opinion. I never felt that confident with him as a closer despite his decent percentage. He may have only blown 3 saves but that doesn't include the games he came into tied and picked up the Loss. He lost 5 games as a reliever last season too. He was a good closer but not at the Rivera, Hoffman, or Lidge this season level...and that was when he had good stuff still. Now that he's tossing meatballs every pitch I doubt he'd be an effective closer.

What struck me most about this morning's discussion is that, for the first time in recorded Beerleaguer history, the phrase "a fortiori" was used when discussing the state of the Phillies. Sophist must either be a lawyer or a philosophy major.

I still maintain, as I did for the entire season (post bullpen move), that Myers is better as, and should be a relief pitcher. I know I harped about his ability to go to his breaking stuff earlier and more often out of the pen. He has to rely on his fastball earlier and more often when he starts. If he isn't locating it, then he gets hammered. When he is in the pen, if he can't the the fastball across, then he can just beat you to death with curveball's (which oddly enough seem easier for him to throw). Once he does that, he can slip a fastball by easier. The problem is that teams sit on his fastball early in games, and right now it is just not overpowering. His fastball is essentially dead meat when it comes across over the middle to a MLB hitter.

donc: Myers had 3 blown saves out of 24 chances. Batters hit .181 off him in save situations. With RISP, batters hit .200 off him and that includes his 3 very bad starts. In the 9th inning batters hit .213 with a .637 OPS. His ERA as a reliever was 2.87. The facts needn't change your opinion, but I thought they should at least be presented.

Comparing Rowand to Vic defensively is pretty easy actually...you can look at their respective Zone Ratings and Range Factors for a good guess at who's better.

Vic 2008 CF: 2.46 RF, .929 ZR, 1 Assist
Rowand 2007 CF: 2.64 RF, .889 ZR, 11 Assist
Rowand 2008 CF: 2.97 RF, .873 ZR, 1 Assist

So if you compare their numbers in the stadium (Vic 08 v. Rowand 07), Vic has a substantial advantage in percentage of balls fielded successfully (ZR) He gets to 4% more balls than Rowand did last season in that CF. Rowand's ZR dropped this year as a result of playing in ATT park with it huge Outfield. Both had a large number of Assists last year but both has only 1 so far this season. Granted assists are a tough measuring stick for OFs as some teams don't run on guys with very stong reputation arms. Either way you slice it, Vic covers far more ground in CF than Rowand did last year or this year. In fact, Vic leads all CF in the NL by a substantial margin in ZR and is 3rd overall in the Majors behind two speesters in Carlos Gomez and Adam Jones...both of whom are just slightly above him.

clout: As closers do sometimes, Myers also pitched in several tied games. He incurred 4 losses in those situations. If you add those losses to his blown saves, his percentage of successful appearances doesn't look so great.

There's a 111 point difference between Victorino's and Rowand's 2008 OPS figures, which is enormous and completely obliterates whatever value Victorino derives from stolen bases. Don't get me wrong, I like Victorino quite a bit but wanted both on the team, even if it meant a suboptimal configuration of Rowand in center and Victorino in right. Jenkins isn't even on the radar compared to these two.

clout: how do those numbers change when you throw in games in which he entered tied...he somehow lost 5 games as a reliever last season.

NEPhan: Again, don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion, but Myers had a better save rate last season than Hoffman or Lidge, whose conversion rate was a horrible 70%. It should be noted that his record as a starter last season was far worse than this season, albeit in only 3 starts. So there is no factual basis for your belief that he would not be a good closer if switched back to the pen.

Looking at the numbers, if the season ended today, Vic would probably be a legit Gold glover in CF and should have a good shot at winning it. He plays on a good team, has no errors (big to GG voters) and has outstanding range on CF. If Rowand could win last year than Vic could easily win this year. All he needs (sadly) is a few more "spectacular" diving catches. His problem is he rarely has to dive for the ball because of his speed.

His stuff isn't the same as last year. Even if you give him a 3/4 mph velocity gain as a reliever he's still not close to where he was last year. I doubt he'd succeed in either role. Besides which, his numbers last year havef nothing on Lidge this year. So if he did go to the pen he'd be a $8 million set up guy to go along with our $6 million set up in Gordon.

NEPhan: He entered 15 tie games and lost 3 of them and also 2 of his 3 blown saves. He also won 5 games as a reliever. His ERA in save situations was 1.84. You're going to have to use emotion to back up your argument, as RSB does, because the facts aren't on your side.

clout: My argument is that Lidge this year is better than Myers last year. You cant pull out any statistics that could even imply that Myers would be a better option than Lidge.

Clout: Again, can you give the numbers when he entered a game tied as well as in a "save situation"? Believe it or not, coming into a tied game is a very important situation as well. Myers pitched well as a closer last year, as good or better than we could have hoped for; was he great? I personally don't think so. While the numbers say he was better than Lidge last year, anyone with a brain can use sample size and past history to realize that Lidge was a better option to be a closer this year. Having the highest K rate of any pitcher in MLB history, and having 3 seasons of 29+ saves is a better argument than a converted starter who had never pitched a full season as a reliever.


BAP: If you're going to do that in an effort to lower Myers conversion rate (which makes no sense but I'll humor you) then don't you have to do that for the other closers as well?

Clout: He also had a 4.12 ERA in non-save situations. Do those games not count?

Jack: I know you love to distort an argument, but the debate is about whether or not Myers was a good closer last year. He was. You can pretend the debate is about something else and play with your straw men. But it is what it is. Sorry.

Rollins
Vic
Utley
Rowand
Howard
Burrell
Feliz
Ruiz/Coste

That would likely be our lineup if we'd resigned Rowand...I don't know about you but I like Burrell in the 6 hole alot better than Jenkins/Werth or Feliz.

Sometimes I wish we were the Yankees/Red SOx.

clout: the problem with that debate is that you are the only one arguing about Brett's performance last year. I mentioned a gut feeling I had last year when watching him...I wasn't confident. This year when Lidge comes in I think that there's about a 95% chance the game is over. I already admitted that I didn't base it on anything...it was just a feeling.

Clout: Myers was a good closer last year. I'm glad we're in agreement.

Lidge was a much better option for closer this year. You argued vociferously against that in the offseason. I think that looks pretty stupid now.

If you platoon Dobbs with Feliz, drop Feliz to 8th, and never play Feliz and Ruiz simultaneously, NEPhilliesPhan's lineup is even more intimidating.

Whelkman: I know right...that would probably be the best lineup in baseball. Good defense overall and very very good offense.

Jack: Keep digging. I'm sure there are a few more subsets you can find bad numbers. The fact is, his overall numbers as a closer last year were quite good.

Jack: I was worried about Lidge as a closer because he had 2 bad years. I wanted him as setup for Myers and for them to sign Kuroda or trade for a quality SP to fill out the rotation. Since everyone is now clamoring for another SP, I'll let the rest of the board decide who's stupid on this one.

Let me repost this again for you Clout:

Myers was a good closer last year. I'm glad we're in agreement.

Lidge was a much better option for closer this year. You argued vociferously against that in the offseason. I think that looks pretty stupid now.

We all agree Myers was a good closer last year...that means nothing this year though.

For some reason, his velocity and control are off and he can't pitch on the road anymore...why not debate what the Phillies options are...

NEPhilliesPhan: not to mention with your lineup and my suggestion to bat Dobbs 7th, we'd have a very, very deep alternating lineup, which would make it practically impossible for a pitching specialist to get one over on us, instead of lasting a whole inning.

The Phillies tried for Kuroda...he wasn't interested remember? He wanted to play on the West Coast and preferably a warm climate (LAD fit perfectly). Gillick did kick the tires on him. The Dodgers also outbid everyone on him.

NEPHan: If you want to change the debate midstream, that's fine, but you won't have a debate since I agree with you.

My original post was in response to this from donc "Last year as closer everyone loved him, but I thought he was adequate at best."

You agreed with that statement in the prior thread. I disagreed. That's the only point being debated (by me anyway. Jack wants to pretend there's a different debate.)

Whelkman: Yeah its fun to dream eh? Rowand balanced them out so much with his bat.

Switch
Switch
Left
Right
Left
Right
platoon
platoon

Disgusting how balanced it was...Ashame Rowand went for the truckload of money in SF.

NEPhan: "The Phillies tried for Kuroda...he wasn't interested remember?"

Let's see if I have this straight. Because the Phillies couldn't or wouldn't sign an extra starting pitcher that means those of us who wanted them to add a starting pitcher were wrong. OK, got it.

My only real point was that IMHO: Myers was good but not great last year as a closer. I was happy with his performance but its not as if I felt we had Mo Rivera on the mound in the 9th.

In other news: Lohse has won 6 straight starts.

Jack: "Lidge was a much better option for closer this year. You argued vociferously against that in the offseason. I think that looks pretty stupid now."

Jack, please find one post where I said the Lidge deal was a bad trade. You can't. What I argued for, and you argued against, was keeping Myers in the pen WITH Lidge and signing (or trading for) another SP. I'll let the board decide who was on the stupid side in that argument.


clout: LOL...no that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying the Phillies did TRY to sign another starter but there weren't really many options out there. Lohse turned them down (the first time), Kuroda wasn't interested, we werent players in the trades, Schilling only used us to drive up the price (he had NO interst in leaving Boston which turned out to be a good thing). Colon also didn't seem to intersted in Philly...he apparently targeted BOS all along. Wolfie turned us down to go to SD, etc etc.

We probably should have "dug deep" and signed Lohse when he came crawling back in March but Gillick for some reason didn't want to. That was a mistake. Other than that, there wasn't anyone available.

NEPhan: Would you have been OK with re-signing Lohse and keeping Myers in the pen with Lidge? If your answer is yes, then you are making the same argument I did in the offseason. Lohse was one of several pitchers I argued for.

clout: That was never really an option though...not with this FO and ownership. Myers salary makes him too expensive to be a setup guy in their eyes.

Here is what our priorities should be for this fall:

1. Resign Lidge long term (3 or 4 years)

2. Resign Burrell (bite the bullet if he asks for 3 years)

3. Decide what to do with Howard long term (trade or sign)

4. Lock up Hamels.

Honestly, #1 and 2 should be done this summer to avoid them hitting the market. Burrell will get a ton of money with his bat from a number of AL teams (TB, TOR, NYY and even BOS all come to mind, hell so do KC, SEA, and couple of others that could use a DH like him. Lidge will be very very attractive this fall too so lock him up now. My guess with him is they are waiting for him to blow a save so they can see how he reacts before they offer him a long term deal.

clout: That depends on whether it was for the 3 year deal they originally offered or the 4 million he asked for the second time.

3 year deal: NO
1 year deal: YES

If they signed Lohse, I'd have tried Myers in the rotation but not been upset at moving him if the starting didn't work out.

BAP re "a fortiori"

As a lawyer and a philosophy major, I didn't learn a fortiori in philosophy; so I think it's safe to assume that Sophist is a lawyer.

Which leads me to add that someone other than Sophist has used the term "sophistry" on this board. That's one that didn't appear in my philosophy classes either, but could have.

Just an observation, or two, on the level of erudition on BL. Quite impressive.

Now, let's go Phils! -- get out of this f'n funk and kick that hot shot AL lefty who you're facing tonight in the crotch.

Gillick is obviouly running out of credible excuses for not making the necessary mid-season trade for another starting pitcher. He now says that the parity among teams discourages trades, as 15 teams are at .500 or better, and are presumably still in contention. Hmmm. In 2007, 16 teams finished at .500 or better, 14 teams in 2006, and 15 teams in 2005 were at or above this mark. So, the 2008 situation is the norm, not the exception. What Gillick is saying is: don't expect much to happen. Too bad. While the short-term problem is inconsistent offense, the more serious longer-term problem is that the Phils lack the required one-two punch in their starting rotation to go deep into the playoffs. The "good news" is that if they keep up the poor play, the post-season won't be an issue.

Our major problem with a trade is our farm system. Any legit trade will wipe out an already very thin system.

Clout: Yes, you argued for keeping Myers in the pen alongside Lidge.... but with Lidge as the setup guy for Myers. That was stupid, because over his career Lidge has been proven to be a very good closer and has the highest strikeout rate in history. Myers had a good half-season as a closer.

clout: I'm late in responding, but yes you do have to do the same analysis for all relievers. I'm not gonna go do that now, but I believe I did it at some point last year, when we were having a similar discussion about Myers' value as a reliever. My conclusion was that he was a good, not great, closer.

HitMan: Yes, there were about the same number of .500 teams in the last 3 years as there are this year. And how many top-tier starting pitchers got traded during those 3 years? I can't think of a single one.

[But I think what BedBeard is really asking is "While it is possible that all these guys could get hot at the same time and pitch to their max, what are the chances of that happening?" And the answer there is "slim and none." The addition of a Sabathia would raise those odds from "slim and none" to "just maybe."]

-Exactly

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