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Sunday, December 28, 2008

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Chooch was much like our other series-winning catcher, Bob Boone. Unsung, steady, timely hits, MVP-deserving.

I completely agree with this pick. Chooch was steady in the regular season and a phenomenon in the post-season.

Glad that Chooch wins. He did an excellent job with the pitching staff. Lidge always mentioned Carlos when talking about his success this year.

This was simply a great post Jason, I applaud you. As a Chooch supporter who has had his loyalty tested, I was very pleased to see him come through with the bat big time in the postseason and handle the pitching staff with poise and purpose. I expect a bounce back season from Ruiz in '09, with a .250+ average and more gap power.

Chooch!! The biggest little hit of his career! Handled the staff well. Hopefully he will be better offensively next year, but a good job defensively, always.

Sorry if i dont have this stat right i watched the replay of game 3 a few weeks back... but i think at one point carlos already reached base 5 straight times maybe 6 just the catalyst we needed with the way we were struggling early at the plate and on the bases Great BL pick!!! Cole has gotten enough coverage!!

game 3 of the world series i meant

Could have been MVP of the world series... Love to see players redeem themselves in big games.

Great read - its been tough defending Ruiz from his critics throughout 2008, but he made it all worth while late in the year and in the postseason.

I would have voted for victorino personally. He's the most hated Phillie from the majority of all of our closest rivals, which makes me like him even more.

Ruiz was irreplaceable in the last two months of Phillies baseball. Pitching, pitching and more great pitching down the stretch of the season brought them to WFC. Ruiz was an integral part of that recipe. My favorite player this year. Good call Jason.

http://phillies.scout.com/2/824993.html

This makes me very optimistic. Someone tell me this guy is wrong and that we are doomed for last place.

Great pick with Chooch. He also did a great job turning the lineup over late in the season and postseason. He does prove the values of intangibles, especially when Brad Lidge isn't scared to throw a killer slider in the dirt cause he knows his catcher has him covered.

I think we'll see Chooch bounce back offensively this year too and hit around .250.

It is starting to look like the Phillies moved too early and committed too much in inking Ibanez for three years and $30 million. The recession is creating an depressed market and it is looking like guys like Burrell and Dunn are going to be signing for short contracts and little money. I think this move is really going to bite back in a year when Raul starts to show his age.

From a NYTimes story on the Jets end of the season collapse:

Tight end Chris Baker did not need to speak. He wore the answer on his head, in the form of a Mets cap. The teams are cousins in futility, forever in the shadow of the other New York teams, joined together this season by eerily similar late-season collapses.

Good stuff.

"http://phillies.scout.com/2/824993.html
This makes me very optimistic. Someone tell me this guy is wrong and that we are doomed for last place."

Nice atricle. But the sniveling, complainers will get you back in the right frame of mind before the day is out.

EastFallowfield, nice quote!

The writer of that phillies.scout.com article seems to have had a thesaurus on his desk, but not a dictionary.

*****It is starting to look like the Phillies moved too early and committed too much in inking Ibanez for three years and $30 million. The recession is creating an depressed market and it is looking like guys like Burrell and Dunn are going to be signing for short contracts and little money. I think this move is really going to bite back in a year when Raul starts to show his age.*****

Though part of that depressed market is because the Phillies already filled their need in LF. I agree on it biting us in the arse in the 3rd year of the deal though. If Manny ever signs (man his price has plummeted...karma's a beyotch sometimes) things might pick up.

I'm happy for Ruiz and I think he really deserves the accolades, but the fact is that the Phillies have to take a hard look at Carlos for 2009.

Will Ruiz improve offensively, or at least be mediocre at the plate? Several posters above are hoping Carlos 'bounces back' to his .250+ avg and regains some gap power. Perhaps, but Carlos has played only 2 full seasons. Which season was the real Ruiz and which the exception? If 2008 was the true Ruiz offensively, how many ABs can you afford to give to a guy with an OPS of .620?

I have no issue with Carlos Ruiz defensively (other than being terrible at controlling the opposition running game). But will that be enough to justify playing him everyday?

Reality says that Ryan Howard starts slowly every year (career avg in April: .230), that Pedro Feliz is coming off back surgery, and that Chase Utley will most likely be out of the lineup to start the year. In that situation, with a weakened lineup that might impact as much as 25% of the season, how long can CM afford to leave Ruiz in the lineup if he's not hitting? Paulino could get a long look (which is exactly why he was acquired), or Marson might be called up sooner rather than later.

Let's hope that Ruiz' hitting in the NLCS and WS were hints of what he could do in 2009.

My bet: Paulino comes into camp ripped from playing winter ball and starts off hot in spring training leading to endless BLer debates about who should get the majority of the catching duties.

Little behind on the hotstove during the holidays, but just saw the Giants inked Randy Johnson for 8mil.

I think the Renteria move was a good one, and they signed a good reliever in Affeldt as well. I think if the price is really as low as it looks for Dunn and Burrell, that SF might their next destination. Would add another good deal for a usually flaky Brain Sabaen. That added power with some of their young speedy types, veterans Molina, Winn and Rowand, would make a decent team out west. And it helps to have an automatic win every 5 games with Lincecum.

Johnson in that park is a good bet...it'll be nice to see him get 300 wins...as long as its not against the Phillies.

Mike77 -

http://phillies.scout.com/2/824993.html

There are some valid points in this article but some very ridiculous point too:

1. "Hindsight is always 20/20 so it is now easy to view the rear view mirror of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies season and admire their offensive balance. The team had an enviable combination of speed, power and an admirable ability to score runs in a wide variety of ways."

Say what? Phils did have some speed at the top of the lineup but more often than not the bottom of the lineup was pretty slow. Additionally, their BA and OBP both declined by a noticeable amount last year and this lead to the Phils posting their lowest run total since they moved into CBP. It was still a good offense but it was one that increasingly relied upon the long ball.

2 They also point with some justification to the fact that Ibanez hit lefty pitchers at a plus .300 batting average rate in 2008 . . .

This argument has been clearly debunked. Ibanez career numbers vs. LHP are average at best and his power numbers are slightly below average.

3. It would not be unreasonable to assume that in the more friendly hitting atmosphere of Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park his [Seanez] power numbers might easily increase.

Wrong. It is much more likely that as an aging player Ibanez will lose his power stroke due to his age than hit more HRs because of the ballpark. If Ibanez's does lose his power stroke in 2009 and beyond, this will be a terrible signing.

We were sold the same bill of goods on Feliz last year. In fact, I will give anyone 5:1 odds that on an under/over of Ibanez hitting 25 HRs this year. My bet is he ends up with around 18-20 HRs. Solid but not Burrell's power.

4. Critics of the Ibanez signing also point to his alleged weakness defensively in left field. This belies the evidence that Seattle, despite their American League use of the designated hitter, always chose to use Ibanez in left field and never replaced him for defensive purposes in the late innings of a game.

Ibanez flat out stinks defensively. Look at any defensive metric you want and he comes out in the bottom 1/3 at least. Hell, even the traditional scouts say he is a below average defender at best.

If you really want some great comments on Ibanez's defense, just go over to USS Mariner which is a great blog on the Mariners. They will give you plenty of great insight into Ibanez's defensive liabilities.

5. "This might allow the team to market incumbent third baseman Pedro Feliz in a possible deal for someone of value, or at least give the team time to prepare for his eventual departure when his contract runs out at the end of the '09 campaign."

The Phils couldn't trade Feliz right now for a bag of baseballs. No team would take his $5M contract for a 34-year old with a bad back.

6. Presently, there have been no Brad Penny to Philadelphia rumors but if the rangy righty continues his free agent ways into the middle of January it might behoove Amaro to reach out and see if a deal can't be struck. It simply makes too much sense.

Simply makes too much sense? I think not. Penny is going to want a deal that has plenty of upside potential. I don't see the Phils signing another starter who potentially could make north of $5M/year.

As for Penny, why would a rehabbing pitcher who is trying to perform for a long-term contract after this year come to the Phils and pitch in CBP? He only comes if the Phils overpay him and they won't do that.

7. Jason Donald, along with John Mayberry Jr. and to a lesser extent Ronny Paulino, represent even more to the potential cast of major league characters on the teams roster this year. They are all right-handed hitters on a team that features left-handed hitters deluxe in Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Greg Dobbs and Geoff Jenkins. They would collectively offer the kind of power balance that critics feel will be missing with the departure of Pat Burrell.

Ha ha. Paulino, Donald, and Mayberry? (who probably will see very limited time with the big league club this year) are going to be the Phils right-handed power sources. Combined I would be stunned if these guys hit more than 15 HRs for the Phils this year.

I never was much of a fan of Cooch, I mean, Chooch Ruiz, but I was truly impressed by his performance in the post season. I'm now completely comfortable with Ruiz as our starting catcher. Congrats to Chooch as BLer of the Year!

Most teams realized that the economic downturn was going to depress FA salaries. That's why so few FAs were offered arbitration: arbitrators would have awarded higher salaries than a depressed market would dictate. This might also have been a perfect time (depressed market) to negotiate reasonable longterm deals with a few of the Phillies top arbitration-eligible players like Howard and Hamels if the Yankees hadn't benchmarked firstbasemen and starting pitchers with their absurd deals for Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett. Both Howard and Hamels can now point to those deals as starting points for their own contract talks. Thanks NY.

If Manny comes out a loser this offseason, he can thank Scott Boras, who encouraged him to get himself run out of Boston so that he could get a new, better deal elsewhere. Better for Scott Boras that is. Had he stayed, Manny's former agent would have earned the commission on the extended Red Sox contract, not Boras. Boras 1, Manny 0 no matter what Manny now signs for. (I noticed that the Phillies signed Chan Ho Park after he had switched from Boras)

On Ibanez, I'm guessing that the Phillies FO had decided early on that Ibanez was the single best fit for them (debated on BL). Thus they didn't pursue Pat Burrell at all. If Ibanez could be signed within the team's targeted budget, they were not going to risk waiting and maybe losing him or having his price being bid higher by other suitors. They signed him as soon as the numbers matched up.
I don't think Ibanez' price would have gone down had the Phillies waited. Any downward pressure on his asking price caused by the economy would have been more than offset by other bidders forcing it upward. Ibanez was in more demand than either Burrell or Dunn for various reasons.

"The recession is creating an depressed market and it is looking like guys like Burrell and Dunn are going to be signing for short contracts and little money."

How great would it be if Burrell could sign a short contract and little money to be the Phils righthanded bat off the bench and sometimes starter / injury insurance!! Would never happen but I would love it.

MG,

I didnt not supply the link to the article. It was ZT. And your rebuttal was what he was looking for.

I'm with Lake Fred. Chooch had a pretty bad year last year, but he stepped it up when it really mattered. Hats off to him and I hope he carries it over to this season.

MG,

I have stated many times that I think Ibanez is an upgrade over Burrell.

But for the record, I was disappointed the Phillies gave him a 3 year deal. I would not have given him more than 2 years at that age. Nor would I have given Jaime Moyer a 2nd year.

The problem that I have is guys making it the end of the world that the Phillies added a left handed bat. Ibanez does'nt hit lefties that much worse than Burrell (the last 3years), and we dont face Lefties as much as righties. On the other hand, Ibanez hits righties MUCH better than Burrell(and again, we face them more often). All will be fine if Cholly bats the Left handers (2, 4, and 5), or (3,4 and 6).

The writing was dreadful, and so was his prediction about Brad Penny. He just signed with the Bosox.

MG: That scout.com article was extremely superficial, especially on Ibanez power numbers. A tiny bit of research shows that MOST of Ibanez's HRs were at Safeco last year. If Safeco was holding down his HR #s that would be reflected in a discrepency between home and road the other way. And you're right, it's the same argument the cheerleaders like mikes77 made last year on behalf of Feliz, predicting what a solid offensive force he'd be. Also, the writer just assumes Mayberry is ready for the major leagues. We shall see.

RedSox close to signing Brad Penny.

mikes77: "Ibanez does'nt hit lefties that much worse than Burrell (the last 3years)."

Do you even bother to check facts before you make your ignorant posts? Please look at Burrell's OPS and Ibanez's OPS each of the past 3 years vs. LHP.

yeah, i was just about to post the same Alby, about Penny. I actually haven't read the article but from the points that MG has detailed, it doesnt sound too informative. Nothing like predicting a fee agent signing while he's in the process of signing with someone else, hah.

Anyone play that Free Agent Frenzy on mlb.com this year? I think CC to the Yanks is the only one i got right so far.

MG - As to (1), looking at the lineup I think most would say it's well-balanced. Generally speaking, they have several guys that hit for power and several guys that can steal a base and extend a single to a double, etc. (some of these guys do both: Werth, Utley, Rollins). Even with Rollins' lack of production for much of the season (.236/.308/.375 for 85 games in the middle of the year), the Phils were 3rd in the NL in SB and 1st (by a wide margin) in SB%.

You're right about their BA and OBP losses (despite being 2nd in SLG.) Where did those losses occur? Where did gains occur?

Here's the 08-07 comparison by position

BA/OBP (08 - 07)

C: .243/.327 - .250/.332
1B: .245/.338 - .268/.383
2B: .293/.379 - .325/.400
3B: .245/.295 - .255/.321
SS: .277/.346 - .297/.345
LF: .252/.367 - .269/.398
CF: .292/.354 - .311/.377
RF: .262/.332 - .287/.361
DH: .083/.120 - .217/.280
P: .124/.176 - .155/.202

sizable losses: 1B (-.023/-.045), 2B (-.032/-.021), LF (-.017/-.031), CF (-.019/-.023), RF (-.025/-.029).

EFF, close your italics.

3B OBP is a sizable loss as well.

No, clout, he doesn't bother to check. Because in his epistemology, events he has seen always trump events as expressed through statistics. At least that's what he claims, but I call
BS -- I question how often he has seen Raul Ibanez play, ever, considering that he has so far performed in those centers of baseball fandom, Kansas City and Seattle.

He is what you so accurately called him -- a cheerleader. Last time I checked, nobody bothers to listen to analysis from the girls with the pom-poms.

Ruiz: .313/.353/.375 in NLCS; .375/.500/.688 in the World Series (with a SB!)

His 3rd comparable, after Wiki Gonzalez and Jason Bates, is John Marzano.

It's hard not to credit this team's pitching success to him in part. He also, despite a lackluster offensive season, was 4th among NL C in BB% and first in BB/K, which is how he managed a .320 OBP despite hitting .219 (he matched Bengie Molina in OBP even though Molina hit .292 with a .445 SLG.)

He also played third base in one of this team's most important games all year. Many players (in the DVDs) pointed to that game against the Mets as season-changing. Not to postulate causation but Aug 26-the End: 31-14.

not really in mikes defense, but in Ibanez's, I think Ibanez will be able to replace the production that Burrell provided.

Their last 3 years OPS+ are very similiar, staying in the low-mid 120's, while Burrell relies heavier on walks for OBP than ibanez, and Ibanez more on base hits.

His handedness may become a problem in late innings if the middle of our order is strictly lefty, but its hard to lump Utley into that group since he hits just fine vs LHP, with a career OPS of .861 (.918 vs RHP).
And i'll call it a wash in the field. From what i'v read, both burrell and ibanez seem to have the fundamentals down, but lack the atheletism to be considered any more than below average. But theres a reason why they're left fielders... they are great hitters woh acnt field.

Nice pick and a nice graphic, too. I was pretty stunned the way that Ruiz showed up in the playoffs. He played big in big moments, and certainly his ability to pick pitches out of the dirt had a lot to do with the success of Lidge, and thus, the team. Feelings are not analysis, but I did get a sense that Ruiz found himself a bit in the playoffs this year. No telling if it translates into next year, but he certainly came up big when it counted this last one.

Better to be a cheerleader (fan) than a wannabe GM. Contrary to what many of you believe, you don't know more about baseball than the people who do it for a living.

I think I could do at least as "good" a job as Ed Wade...at least on trades.

~ducks before the "but Wade built our core!!!" comments start to fly~

Thanks guys for dissecting the article. I now realize I was foolish for becoming optimistic from that article. The Phils will be lucky to come 10 games behind the Nats.

Oh and I'm sorry for restarting the Ibanez/Burrell debates by posting the link.

By the way, Remember that Abreu trade? In my personal opinion I think it was addition by subtraction, how bout you?

ALBY said, "No, clout, he doesn't bother to check. Because in his epistemology, events he has seen always trump events as expressed through statistics"

Last 3 years

Burrell vs LHP .275
Ibanez vs LHP .269

There are your stats, ALby. Take them to your girlfriend Clout.

Burrell vs RHP .246
Ibanez vs RHP .300

As I said before, Ibanez hits RHP, MUCH better than Burrell, and Burrell hits LHP slightly better than Ibanez.

C'mon now, NEPP, Wade makes fantastic trades.. for the other team.

ZT: There are already a few too many ignorant peeps on this thread. Don't need someone else whose baseball knowledge is what he heard in a barroom.

mikes77: You're joking, right? You seriously think BA is the best measure of a player's offense? Are you in the 5th grade?

mikes77: BA gives you only one third of the picture on offense. OPS gives you a far more complete picture because it includes power and OB, two key components (most would argue the 2 most important) of offense. Here is the way to compare Ibanez and Burrell vs. LHP over the past three years:

2006 2007 2008
Burrell 1.012 .950 .952
Ibanez .663 .650 .866

That is not a "slight" difference, as you claim. It is a vast, yawning chasm, although not as big as the one between your ears.

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