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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Comments

phaithful (from last thread):

All the Lidge stuff is gone right now, I'll have to try back from time to time. Appreciate the tip.

I'm a fan of the minor league signing, as you can always catch lightning in a bottle, but Cervanek and Tracy are getting up there in age. Why don't the Phils actually sign some guys in their 20's that still possibly have upside?

This shows how weak our minor league system is when it comes to 1B prospects.

I hope Hamilton bounces back this year as he has a great glove.

From last post... I'm officially on board with calling the new Mets stadium, Bailout Field.

Cervanek and Tracy. Two guys who received the loudest... "WHO???" when announced before Game 5 (and as they road in cars around CBP during the parade), while Adam Eaton perfected his "Fall Frosting" at home.

Congrats to them.

got caught in that TypePad username loop... there (HammRadio = mike cunningham) not that it matters much.

But seriously, I had to explain to people around me who both of those guys were. That's when I realized that hanging out in the company of Beerleaguers is elite company indeed.

Great news about the Cervenak and Tracy signings. Now we all have something we can truly be thankful about on Thanksgiving. I guess I was wrong about Ruben Amaro. He DOES plan to make aggressive off-season moves after all.

He had to do something after getting shown up by Doug Melvin's blockbuster signing of Swindle.

So, I saw the funniest thing at Barnes & Noble last week. In the baseball section there wsa the book "Baseball for Dummies" by esteemed baseball authoer...Joe Freaking Morgan. Talk about priceless and unintentional comedy.

I believer there's a special insert chapter that details which daughter goes to Stanford and for which scholarship.

BAP: And these signings came waaaaaay before BAP Day. Just imagine what fun is yet to come!

BAP: Don't look for a big splash. Just a series of small splashes.

If Savery can't keep his ERA under four early at Reading, the young,lefthanded hitting, first base depth problem will no longer be an issue.

Why do people keep thinking Savery will simply convert to a hitter with no problems? Besides, he'll probably be pretty good as a pitcher eventually anyway.

Savery has a SIGNIFICANTLY better chance of becoming a major league pitcher than he ever has of becoming a major league hitter.

This one was a true Blockbuster. I'm waiting for this to replace the Madonna/A-Rod news item on AOL.

clout: Amaro has made it pretty clear that there won't be any big splashes. Problem is, they're going to be losing a key part of their offense and (possibly) their No. 2 starter. Unless Amaro is a tremendous judge of talent (which I doubt), or gets very lucky, I don't see how small splashes are going to fill those holes.

93 wins next season.

Any other predictions? Sure, you could wait to see who's actually going to be on the roster on opening day - but that's taking the easy way out.

Well... that's just great... based on track records, we now know there is NO chance of the Phils getting 93 wins next year.

I'm gonna hold out on making any 09 predictions until at least the midway point of Spring training.

And what "track record" would that be, CJ?

My prediction that Howard would finish with a better year than Burrell, or my prediction that Manny would have a stronger second half than Burrell?

(Admittedly, I did predict on more than one occasion that the Phils would go nowhere in the post season if they didn't acquire a top of the rotation starter.)

And your prediction, CJ? Here's your chance to show how much more you know about baseball than I do.

BTW - I do recall that BAP predicted a 90 loss season if the Phils don't resign Burrell. I guess he still has a while before that prediction is officially logged.

phlipper: My reputation is stellar. Check the archives. I predicted 92 wins last year. I said the Phils did NOT need to trade for Manny Ramirez or any top line starter. I said Pedro Feliz would have a horrible year. I said that Jayson Werth would get better given more time.

I'm pretty much infallible. I should open a crystal ball shop.

That's excellent, CJ. I'm impressed. So, what's your prediction for next year?

I should point out that my Howard/Burrell prediction was made when in May - when Burrell was pounding the ball and Howard was completely pathetic.

I got 4 of 6 division winners last year and 5 of 6 in 07. That's my only claim to fame. I said 93 wins for 2008 and thats what their Pythagorean win total ended up being.

philipper: Don't mean to burst your bubble... but...

Burrell 2008 OPS+ 125
Howard 2008 OPS+ 124

Had Howard been hot early and Burrell hot late, it may have been Burrell who got the MVP votes.

Nevertheless... way to go out on a limb to say Howard would finish better than Burrell. Burrell was likely to cool off significantly and Howard was likely to heat up significantly. I'm surprised anyone actually disagreed with you (if any did).

phlipper: And... um... really?? You're to be patted on the back for suggesting that one of the greatest RH sluggers of all time would have a better second half than Pat Burrell?

My bold prediction, in the spirit of phlipper, is that the sun will rise tomorrow.

You have a number of options, CJ. You can man up and make a prediction.

You can simply not reply.

Or, because you have some inferiority complex, you can continue to be compelled to somehow "prove" your baseball brilliance by attacking me.

So far, you've taken only the third option. Consider the other two.

phlipper: When I made my prediction, the Phillies were in the throes of their 3-month offensive funk. My thinking was, "If our offense stinks this badly with Burrell, imagine how bad we will be without him." I still feel that way but, in my usual hyperbolic manner, I probably overstated how bad our offense really was and, hence, went a little overboard in predicting 90 losses. More realistically, they'll win 84 to 86 games and be also-rans.

Man up and make a prediction? Sorry, I'm no longer in high school and don't respond to this kind of juvenile pressure.

Besides, a prediction at this point is stupid. Why make a prediction with significantly incomplete information when there will be months worth of new information to include.

I could predict today that the Phillies will win the World Series in 2020 and it would hold as much validity.

I will say this though. I can easily imagine a scenario in which all the wheels fall off and we really do lose 90 games. If Howard & Rollins continue their offensive declines, and we get Adam Eaton-like production out of Moyer's spot (either because Moyer starts to pitch like his age or because we inadequately replace him), this team will struggle to finish with a winning record. A few more bad breaks -- i.e., some key injuries, some reversion to the mean from members of our bullpen, or some additional off-years from key players -- and 90 losses could easily happen.

As I said at the time of my 90-loss prediction, it doesn't take much for a team to go from very good to very bad overnight. You need only look at the 2008 Padres, who went from 89 wins to 99 losses merely because a key pitcher got injured, a few guys got old overnight, and some key members of their bullpen underperformed their 2007 seasons.

Really? 2020? I had that too. Odd. There's some really good little leaguers that I've already pegged as Phillies stars.

Anyone want to join me in Williamsport next summer for some advance scouting?

Easy formula for 90 losses = Utley doesn't come back the same and Hamels has TJ surgery in May.

I picked the Nationals to finish fourth, which I think is a prediction even more embarrassing than my picking the Braves 2nd.

I picked the Tigers to win the AL Central...oops.

For an even more stark example of the thin line between excellence and ineptitude, look at the 2008 Tigers. In 2006, they won 95 games and made the World Series. In 2007, they won 88 games and just missed the playoffs. Then they went out & got Dontrelle Willis & Miguel Cabrera, yet they still managed to lose 88 games and finish behind the Royals last year. How?

Kenny Rogers got old -- going from 17 wins in 2006 to 3 wins in 2007 to Eaton-esque numbers in 2008. Gary Sheffield got old. Bonderman got injured. Verlander inexplicably had a terrible year. And guys like Polanco and Ordonez, while still having good years, did not have the spectacular career years they had in 2007.

Looking back all the warning signs were there for the Tigers...just nobody expected all those things to happen at once.

Nepp: Agreed. I would also add that there are plenty of warning signs from the Phillies too. Jamie Moyer is one gigantic warning sign, yet the Phillies are out there trying to resign him -- probably to a multi-year contract. Geoff Jenkins & Pedro Feliz are major warning signs. They're both in their mid-30s, with several consecutive seasons of declining performance & Feliz just had back surgery to boot. Joe Blanton's a warning sign. He was a key part of their late-season run but, during that time period, he pitched about as well as he has ever pitched in his career, away from the cozy confines of Oakland Coliseum. Lidge's career year is a warning sign, as career years always are. It's not that I expect Lidge to suddenly stink next year; but I don't expect him to be nearly as dominant as he was this year. Utley's injury is another warning sign, as is Hamels' history of injury. And, of course, Rollins 2007 season & Howard's 2 straight years of significantly declining numbers are also big warning signs.

You can't plan for every plausible negative scenario, but you can plan for some. The Phillies are walking right into the mouse-trap by resigning Moyer & counting on Feliz & Jenkins to come through with better 2009 seasons. And if Eric Bruntlett is really their backup plan to Chase Utley, that's yet another mousetrap they're walking into.

flipper: You missed it from the earlier thread but seriously, dude, you need counseling.

BAP -

I knew that your 90 win prediction was only reflective of your tendency to get a tad pessimistic on occasion - but couldn't resist.

That said, you have gone on to highlight quite a few of the pivot points next year - and focused on the negative turns for each.

The Phils changed my whole outlook about them last year, by the way they won the championship. They consistently outperformed my expectations.

So, I'm going to say that Moyer and Lidge won't reach the levels of last year, but not decline significantly. Feliz will do better because he won't be hampered by this year's injury. Same for Utley. Rollins will perform somewhere between the 2007 and 2008 Rollins - an improvement. Howard will wind up with similar numbers as last year - without the same degrees of extreme highs and lows. Werth will be more productive because he will be getting more ABs and continue the improvement he showed against RHP. Blanton will perform at career average levels - but that's a far cry better than Myers and Eaton for most of last season. Myers will perform at career norm levels - fairly mediocre but all-in-all, better than last year. Ruiz will hit better.

The bullpen as a whole will take a step backwards, but not a huge step. So, all together not a huge change one way or another in terms of individual performances - some a bit better, some a bit worse.

But what makes the difference to me is that this team will be confident next year, and continue to prove that the have the intangibles to outperform their stats.

"flipper: You missed it from the earlier thread but seriously, dude, you need counseling."

No, I saw it, clout. I just figured that the oldest insult in the blogosphere was simply not worth responding to. But since you compulsively felt the need to repeat it, because apparently you think it's incredibly unique and hilarious, I will respond.

It's the oldest insult in the blogosphere, clout. Try being more creative next time.

phlipper: I was only focusing on the negative turn because the theme of my posts was "How the Phillies could turn from a World Champion into a 90-loss team in one season." Do I think all, or even many, of these negative developments will happen in unison? They could, but they most likely won't -- which is why I have backed off my 90-loss prediction. An 85 or 86-win season, with no playoff appearance, is a more realistic prediction -- and one which is still sufficiently negative to satisfy my need for constant pessimism.

Sorry, BAP - you did actually make that clear.

I mis-read your statement: "I probably overstated how bad our offense really was and, hence, went a little overboard in predicting 90 losses. More realistically, they'll win 84 to 86 games and be also-rans."

to be a jokingly pessimistic

"...More realisitcally, they'll LOSE 84-86 games."

Again, I'm going to try a new approach to rooting for the Phils, and try to be fully optimistic all the way through. Honestly, no more "SEASON = OVER" statements until they lose their first three or four games.

We were relatively injury free in 08...that likelly won't happen again. The only major injuries we had were Rollins missing 6 weeks, Gordon going down and Utley's nagging injury and Feliz's back. Other than that, the pitching staff was completely healthy, and all the major position players were too. That's not gonna happen again.

Moyer isn't likely to repeat his mid 3's ERA, Hamels could have a hangover after pitching 250 innings in 08, etc etc.

Its very easy to see the worst case scenario. I wouldn't be stunned if we don't make the playoffs to be perfectly honeset.

On the flip side, I could see us back in the playoffs as a 90 win team as well.

BAP- You obviously have a good track record helping guys who murdered their mothers, but stick to the law. Baseball predictions are not your strong point.

Nothing unusual with these type of moves to fill out some roster spots on your T-AAA. Every team makes team.

Issue has been that the Phils have had to make more than their share. Let's just hope that the Phils just don't have to keep signing some many veteran minor league journeyman to round out the rosters at Reading and Allentown.

Happy Thanksgiving BL'ers...gobble 'til ya wobble!

It's impossible to predict injuries, so a whoosh down in wins is always possible, but the Phils have been pretty consistent contenders beginning in 2003, with win totals of 86, 86, 88, 85, 89, 92. And I'd argue that 85-win season easily could've been an 88 or 89 win season had they not dumped Abreu & Lidle and replaced them with weaker players.

Those win totals were accomplished despite very slow starts, in some cases, and despite key injuries, in some cases.

I think this era compares favorably to the great teams of the late 1970s/early 1980s when the Phils won 86, 101, 101, 90, 84, 91, 89*, 89, and 90 games in a 9-year stretch. (*-projected over 162-games, only 107 games played that year).

While this team isn't as good as that team, I think it's reasonable to expect them to continue as a contender for at least three more years with wins in the mid-80s to low 90s.

I know the Phils weren't ravaged by injuries last year, but it's not like the pitching staff was completely unscathed. We won 92 games despite the fact that three of our initial 5-man rotation missed significant time because of ineffectiveness. Myers was sent to the minors. Eaton was sent to the minors. Kendrick was dumped from the rotation. Only Myers returned to pitch... the other spots had to be filled otherwise.

And to minimize losing Rollins for more than a month... and having Utley's effectiveness significantly limited by injury would be a mistake. Add in Feliz's back injury and three-fourths of our infield was singificantly affected by injuries.

Although our catcher and outfield were unaffected by injury... it was hurt by complete offensive ineptitude behind the plate and in the LF platoon in RF.

Really, only our bullpen made it through unscathed.

I'm not willing to accept the argument that we were immune to negative influences last year and that our "luck" may not hold in 2009.

er... that should read LH platoon in RF.

guys seriously stop feeding flipper and his trollish nonsense will stop.

See he will respond to me because he has to appear to be in control, but he will get no response from me.

Happy Turkey Day to all! I know what one of the many things I'm giving thanks for this year is.

CJ: Bullpen wasn't completely unscathed at all. It's easy to forget that Tom Gordon started the year as our setup man. And we lost the incredible Tim Lahey after a week...

lekh: I had forgotten Flash... although I think that was an expected injury for the Phils. Nonetheless, you are correct.

Phaithful from last thread. I went on ebay and found out what the baseball jersey sizes mean.

48 = M
50 = L
52 = XL
54 = 2XL

I have been told that the sizes run big. Since I'm taller and weigh more, I might go with a 50 or 52. I still need to sleep on it another day.

Philly native, Mike Koplove, has signed a minor league deal with the Phils with an invitation to spring training. He's a solid relief option for the 12th man on the staff or to have stowed away in Triple A in case of injury.

JW: If Tracy and Cervenak are worth of a new thread, surely Koplove is. The side-arming Chestnut Hill Academy/U of Del. product was a pretty good righty middleman with the D'backs his first year and a half in the bigs back in 2002-03. Kinda reminded me of a poor man's Steve Reed.

Unfortunately he hurt his arm mid-season 2003, had surgery and hasn't been the same since. His K/BB ratio deteriorated and it is particularly dreadful vs. LH (81/77).

At age 32, he's probably not much more than ROOGY at the big league level, but he is better than anything LV had last season as far as potential big league help.

Its always nice to have veteran relievers at AAA in case of injuries at the MLB level. And he can fight for the 12th spot if Condrey isn't coming back.

Considering how cold the Hot Stove has been so far this off-season, this is definitely worth another thread...assuming JW is out of his turkey induced coma yet.

Anyone see the nasty Lou Marson for Lyle Overbay rumor that someone tried to start over at Philly.com? It pissed me off for about 2 minutes until I realized it had to be a horrible sick joke by a Mets troll.

Mike Koplove? Wow. I think I'll wet my pants.

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