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Friday, July 18, 2008

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Thanks God there's a game tonight.

Nice break, lots of rumors, a trade, lots more speculation.
Feels almost like a second opening day.
PLAY BALL

So what do we do with Happ - 7 innings last night, 1 walk, no hits. Freaking Brilliant. Myers isn't pitching like that in AAA, AA and, I predict in A-ball tonight.

I continue to think the Phils need to move Myers - either to the pen OR preferably to another team. I further predict that he is gone before finishing 6 and allows 5 runs next Wednesday against the Mets. It is more than just confidence. The guy doesn't prepare, struggles getting bunts down, doesn't stuck with his game plan, ignored Dubee and his catchers and is out of shape. Moreover is a jerk.

I worry that he'll kill us as a starter and struggle (think Gordon) as a set-up guy. Now before the deadline while he still has 1.5 years left and we can "sell" his closer success for last year is when he should be traded and we can maximize a deal. Then we can take on more salary for the several pieces we still need - lefty in pen, Matt Holiday, etc.

With 66 games left in the season, the next 12 will probably determine our fate. If we pull a Mets like 10 game streak, we blow away the division. If we spin our wheels, we will stay in contention and raise the blood pressure of 3 million fans. Or they could just pack it in.

Not since last September has the pressure been this large on this team. I wonder if they notice?

The offseason didn't feel as long as this All-Star break. Let's go Phils, let's go.

Clout: I hope we can just end this, so I'll go ahead and do it for Willie: Baseball Prospectus had Cardenas rated as our 3rd best prospect coming into 2008. Most other places had him in the top two.

Looking forward to some games against division rivals over the 2 next weeks with the Phils locked in a playoff race. Always the best kind of baseball.

Jack: Most other places had him in the top two.

Most had him ranked at #2, rather than #1, as Clout has claimed in the statement that "all agree that Cardenas is number 1 by a wide margin."

Happ will be in the Phillies rotation by years end, whether he replaces a slumping Myers, a traded Myers or anyone who lands on the DL.

For those saying the Phillies are cheap for not bringing up Carrasco... It has nothing to do with that. It's because 1. He's only 21, 2. He's shown nothing that would lead them to believe he'd be successful at the ML level right now, and 3. He's possibly hurt right now.

I don't know why everyone feels the need to rush Carrasco to Philadelphia when Happ has demonstrated that he has what it takes to pitch in the major leagues.

Assuming you were to allow Carrasco to leapfrog over Happ, who would he replace in the rotation, and why would he be a better choice than Happ?

It's amazing how much hate there is for Brett Myers, considering he was on the mound when the Phillies clinched their first division in 15 years. I don't need a list of the reasons why people are frustrated with him. I know what they are. For me though it take a lot longer to turn on a guy who helped end a long playoff drought. That's all I'm saying.

Booby D: It's amazing how much hate there is for Brett Myers, considering he was on the mound when the Phillies clinched their first division in 15 years.

Not as a starting pitcher, he wasn't.

Willie: what's the point?

Jack: Thanks. That's one. I listed 3 others that had Cardenas in the top 2. But I agree with you, it's a pretty silly debate. I think even Willie would agree that Cardenas was the Phillies best position prospect.

Brian G: Exactly right and you could also add that his K/BB ratio is nothing special.

BobbyD: What's the point?

The point is that if he were Lidge's 8th inning setup man (or even if it were the other way around, with Lidge setting up Myers), it is very probable that there wouldn't be nearly as much hate directed towards him.

As it stands, he is very easy to hate at the moment. He is a wife beater and a crybaby that is upset that he lost his closing job and his "rockstar status." On top of that, he was our opening day starter and his last month in the majors was worse than Eaton.

How long did you think Philadelphia fans would tolerate this scenario before turning on him? They're not a real patient bunch to begin with, but short of starting a dog fighting club, he's done nearly everything he could do to earn this hatred.

CJ: If you didn't keep on spewing crazy nonfactual BS, I would have to come out defending Mets players like Perez. Just because you are fan doesn't mean you have to live with your head up your butt.

You obviously have no problem eliminating select games to prove your point, otherwise you couldn't possibly say insanity like Perez is "getting worse".

His WHIP over the last three games (during which he had an ERA of 0.45 against the Phillies, Yankees and Rockies) was 0.85.

His seasons 1.42WHIP is below his career average. If you exclude his 1/3rd inning injured start its 1.35.

I am not saying he is a great pitcher. I am saying he is a great #4 pitcher. Only a mad man would say that he is getting worse.

*Meant to type: "I NOT would have". sry.

The Phillies have been playing very tight lately. I don't reckon a 10 game winning streak by the Mets will help that. We started that streak by losing the last 3 against them two weeks ago. The only way to undo it is to put a hurtin on them next week. And while we are at it we should show the Marlins their place too. I think the best thing the Phils have going for them is this part of the schedule. If you've got stones, you'll prove it in the next two weeks. If not, it'll be a long hot August and September.

PhillR: His peripherals are all in decline. If you can't see that it's because, as a Mets fan, you choose not to. To suggest that an uptick for three starts means he's suddenly turned some corner in his 7th season is just plain crazy. But, go ahead, let the Perez-love continue. It's probably better suited for Metsblog.

CJ: I'd take Perez over four of the starting pitchers used by Philadelphia this year.

Well, three + Joe anyway.

Bobbyd, Myers is a hateable guy--I think it's mostly that simple. From the general "need to be a rock star" attitude, to the domestic violence incident, to the perceived lack of work ethic.

I think the division-clinching relief appearance brought him back up to about even keel with a fanbase that already didn't like him. Plus, he's having a crap year and has a big-ish contract on a team that has had too many underachieving pitchers with $10 million salaries lately. Note that we also hate Eaton and Freddy Garcia.

I have to say, I've tried to root for Myers, but it's been difficult. I cringed watching the video of the Kendrick-to-Japan prank--it was all in good fun, but Myers still looked like a dick.

Or I could have just said "+1 to Willie"!

Question for beerleaguers: do most of you get to see the Phils prospects play? I don't mean that in a negative way, but I rarely have such strong feelings about prospects and I wonder what inspires you guys.

Willie: Congratulations. You'd be taking on a player with a ERA+ worse than Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer. Perez is clearly better than Adam Eaton... but I'd even take my chances on Brett Myers and Joe Blanton coming around. Oliver Perez is an implosion in the making every time he takes the mound.

chaz: I live in Hazleton and regularly go to Reading Phils and Iron Pigs games (and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees home games when they're playing the Pigs).

I moved back to PA in 1997, so it's been a while since I've seen a Clearwater game, but I'm VERY skeptical of any can't-miss FSL prospect after witnessing first hand the hype of names like Brien Taylor, Tavo Alvarez and Rondell White. You can tell next to nothing from FSL performance to predict major league success.

Willie: "I'd take Perez over four of the starting pitchers used by Philadelphia this year."

Which four? Excluding the 2 starts by Happ, they've only used 5. I see 2 he's pitched better than.

2008 ERA+
Hamels 140
Moyer 112
Kendrick 99
Perez 92
Myers 76
Eaton 78

As I said in the update, three plus Joe Blanton. Myres, Eaton and Moyer being the other three, but in all fairness, I was taking age and contract into consideration with Moyer and would place Moyer > Perez if all other factors were equal.

In other words, Moyer is the safe choice, but Perez has the higher upside.

Of course Moyer>Perez if "all other factors were equal". Five years ago, Moyer was 21-7 with a 3.27 ERA.

"I have to say, I've tried to root for Myers, but it's been difficult. I cringed watching the video of the Kendrick-to-Japan prank--it was all in good fun, but Myers still looked like a dick."

So true Chaz, so true.

Willie: Then you're saying you'd take Ollie P over 4 Phillies pitchers (including Blanton) in career terms as opposed to how they're pitching this season. You could probably make that case, although I'm not convinced Myers won't end up with the better career. Blanton has had a slightly better career than Perez, but it's a wash to me going forward. Guys who are wildly inconsistent like Perez are hard to project.

Five years is a long time, Baxter, especially when comparing a 45 year old to a 28 year old.

Please don't get me wrong. I like Jamie Moyer, but if I were given an opportunity to trade him one-for-one in exchange for Perez, it would be a difficult decision to make...especially if we had a reasonable shot to extend Perez for three or four years.

Actually, all the talk about the pitching staff is interesting. Maybe even fun. Blanton may be this year's version of Cory Lidle/Kyle Lohse, rejuvenating the staff in a useful way. BUT

(a very important word "but")

BUT, the Phils are a hitting team. And unless they hit the ball more consistently in the second half of the season, they will find themselves at about that 85 win level that a lot of us (like the consensus of the Board) expected in March. The Phils pitching, for the most poart, has been better than last year. If the friggin batters can manage to hit from game to game (or even from series to series), they stand a better chance at winning this thing. Without the bats, the Blanton move is treading water.

I note Law's statement that Victorino is a "below-average defender." I believe we have Law in this very forum, and his screenname is PhillR.

I'm glad we have Moyer countering Nolasco tonight. I wouldn't feel so great about the matchup if the Phils had anybody besides Moyer or Hamels on the hill.

Andy: I absolutely agree with this statement.

Eaton and Myers have been nightmares, but overall, our starting rotation has been pretty solid and our bullpen situation is almost as good as any team could hope for (though we could use someone to give Romero a rest...just not Swindell. I'd give Justin Pope a shot).

The Phillies playoff hopes depend entirely on their ability to hit the way they did before June. If they can produce at the plate up to their full potential, Blanton will have no difficulty posting a winning record in Philadelphia.

I'd rather have Pelfrey than Perez...

Perez has had the "upside" potential since his days with the Pirates. Maybe he pitches well enough in the 2nd half to get some sucker team to give him a 3 or 4 year deal at big dollars (say 4 yr/$40 M). Hopefully that team is the Mets.

I just hope we bring Happ back.

Andy and Willie: I was just going to post something to the same effect. Until six weeks ago or so, our pitching had been stellar to say the least. It started to falter at almost the exact instant the bats went quite. Certainly not a coincidence. Lack of scoring adds pressure to the entire staff. The rotation sometimes gets over worked because of it. This leads to a ripple effect. A week or two of that and the bullpen starts to get overworked or vice versa. The lack of run support has exposed all of our pitching weaknesses; mainly depth. All of your marginal pitchers (both starters and relievers) can get the job done with a lot of support. When things get tight you need quality. I don't mean to diminish the overall good work by the entire staff, but does this pitching malaise really come as a surprise? Isn't it, to some degree, a regression to the mean?

Right... I can't believe we're talking about the "upside" of a 7-year vet.

Carlos Carrasco has "upside."

Oliver Perez has "unrealized potential."

The only peripheral that is down for perez is Ks. His WHIP objectively viewed is inline with his better years.

I don' love Perez. I am not a damn Mets fan. For me though, I am in the camp of belief that says being a fad does not mean skewing the facts to suite one's prefered reality. Its that sort of thinking that deludes people into excepting Blanton as the big ASB move, or giving Eaton 3 years and $24mil.

PhillR: I hate to keep repeating myself...

K/9: 7.75 this year. 8.85 last year. 9.27 career.

BB/9: 5.23 this year. 4.02 last year. 4.78 career.

HR/9: 1.48 this year. 1.12 last year. 1.38 career.

HR/FB: 13.6% this year. 8.8% last year. 12.0% career.

LD%: 22.2% this year. 16.8% last year. 19.4% career.

That's 5 different stats that suggest Oliver Perez is both worse than last year and worse than his career numbers. But you can keep saying it's just that his K's are down.

Oh, and let's not forget how lucky he's been this year...

BABIP: .257 this year. .287 last year. .294 career.

PhillR: You can't possibly be arguing that Ollie P is having a better season this year than last.

Clout: No, not at all. Just that his modest decline in some peripherals has been accompanied by some stability in terms of WHIP. A fact that is lost when you include his injured start. I wasn't even saying he was a great pitcher, just that he was a very good #4 who is pitching as well as Moyer. I would never slot Ollie into a #2 role.

I do think that whoever gets him this offseason gets oe of the best options for the back of a rotation in he NL.

Perez's xFIP this year : 5.26

Only one player has worse luck adjusted peripherals in the league - Barry Zito.

Eaton has been moved to the bullpen, as per Daily News Live.

tutpsu: Thanks for the update. I think it's what was expected. Hopefully the next move is off the team. The question, then, is who goes off the roster? Seanez?

What sense does Eaton to the bullpen make? Why isn't he just looked at as a sunk cost? Do they honestly fear that letting him go would come back to bite them in the ass or something? Would any other team in the majors even pick him up for the minimum?

Brian G: I don't think this is the last move for Eaton. I suppose he may actually pitch well there... but I doubt it. I think it's just a matter of time until he's gone. Or mysteriously DLed.

What's the likelihood that a trace on PhillR's IP would show a New York or North Jersey location ? Any takers of that bet ?

Brian G: "What sense does Eaton to the bullpen make?"

For $24 million dollars, it's worth a shot. I'd hate to release him and eat all of that money without even trying him as a middle reliever. If nothing else, he can be the sacrificial lamb we throw in when we're on the wrong end of a blowout.

>> The question, then, is who goes off the roster? Seanez?

I would assume Bisenius.

Billy Mac: I wasn't talking about the 40-man... I was just wondering which player goes when Blanton joins the active roster.

CJ, Bisenius is on the active roster.

The Phillies will keep trying Eaton in various roles until they are completely convinced that he's washed up. They will not throw away $11M still owed. If he'd agree to pitch in the minors like Myers, that would help. But he'll almost certainly be with the organization for the rest of the season and probably next year as well.

Big, clutch win coupled with a Mets loss. We're back on top and those Mets are still lookin' up!

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