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Friday, January 09, 2009

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The real issue with Ibanez's age is two-fold:

1. Aging hitters and power swings don't go hand-in-hand and it is very common for a guy to lose it rather quickly. If Ibanez suddenly becomes a guy who only hits 14-15 HRs next year, the Phils are going to be stuck with a corner OF who hits for a high average with average/below average power.

2. If Ibanez does get hurt at some point (knock on wood because he has been kind of an iron man), he will likely take him a while to come back at bodies over 35 don't snap back well to injuries to someone 25 or 27.

I have a man crush on Burrell, though, I really excited about Ibanez because I believe he is definitely bring a more "dangerous" bat to the plate I believe. I think his season will rest heavily on Howards season as well, seeing Burrells RBI numbers could have been significantly higher if Howard didn't strike out so much for 5/6 of the season

Before addressing the Ibanez vs. Burrell issue, let me continue the Howard talk from the last thread -- I was going to say the Howard criticism, but I think it's better labeled concern.

Howard walked 107 and 108 time in '06 and '07. That fell to only 81 walks last year. His AVG fell 17 points, from .268-.251, but his OBP fell 53 points, from .392-.339. That's the biggest reason Howard fell from the elite level to the offensive equivalent of our ever-beloved Pat Burrell.

The main difference between Ibanez and Burrell is that Ibanez gets singles while Burrell gets walks. Ibanez supporters have pointed out that this means he can drive in more runs, as many walks come with a base open.

We'll see how that works out in practice, but in Burrell's support I would note that players who draw a lot of walks tend to keep doing it year after year, while BA tends to fluctuate more year to year, and that while Ibanez had more hits than Burrell last season, 186-134, Burrell actually had the higher OBP, .358-.367.

One thing that I hope we don't see this year at all is a Utley/Howard/Ibanez in the middle of the order. It would be absurd and make an opposing manager's job that much easier in the late going.

It is going to be interesting though to see where Ibanez hits early in season if Utley likes misses say the first 3-4 weeks. I would guess 3rd or 5th.

MG: (From last thread) John Smoltz is 41-years old and coming off surgery for a torn labrum. He'll be 42 by the time he's ready to return to pitching sometime in June. If the Red Sox get 25 starts out of him this season, it will be a miracle worthy of sainthood.

Understand the support/criticism on both sides Alby - but you kind of contradict yourself a bit within the same post.

You support Burrell's walks by saying that its a more reliable number than batting average, while you list Howard's diminishing walks as a major factor in his dimished performance.

So if Burrell's walks fall like Howard's, he'd quickly diminish as well, leaving your support of Burrell's likley consistency a bit flawed.

hopefully this weekend I'll be able to post them online, but with some help from Tom Ruane from Retrosheet, I was able to calculate a player's 'Expected RBI'. I'll post a bunch of explanations, forumlas, etc. later; but for whats its worth now:

aRBI eRBI aeRatio
Burrell - 86 63.812 1.348
Ibanez - 110 83.443 1.318

So if the average mlb player filled in for every single AB for Pat Burrell(expected RBI), he would be expected to drive in 63.812 RBIs, and 83.443 for Ibanez.

So although very close, it does show that Burrell despite his walks, does more with his RBI Chances than Ibanez does, shown in their aeRatio.

Alby, if you separate intentional walks from unintentional walks, it's pretty easy to see what has changed about Howard. after getting 37 and 35 IBBs in 2006 and 2007, he got only 17 in 2008.

2006: 704 PA, 37 IBB, 19.0 PA per IBB
2007: 648 PA, 35 IBB, 18.5 PA per IBB
2008: 700 PA, 17 IBB, 41.2 PA per IBB

2006: 704 PA, 71 unintentional BB, 9.9 PA per "UBB", let's call them
2007: 648 PA, 72 UBB, 9.0 PA per UBB
2008: 700 PA, 64 UBB, 10.9 PA per UBB

clearly his ability to draw walks on his own was slightly poorer in 2008 than in 2007 or 2006. but the more significant change was that managers and pitchers just didn't feel the same need to avoid pitching to him in important situations. (that was true throughout the season as well; he had 6 IBB in March, more than he did in any other month.)

I think Ibanez batting 5th could force RHP to throw more strikes to Howard, thus improving the offense vs. RHP. Conversely, I believe the team's record vs. LHP will decline. But the real issue is what happens in close or tied games in the 8th and 9th innings. With 3 lefties in the heart of the order, there could be trouble.

thephaitful: If that formula is based on one season, it's worthless. If it's for their careers it has some modest value.

FWIW, here is Howard in the 2008 playoffs:

NLDS: 16 PA, 3 IBB, 2 UBB
NLCS: 23 PA, 0 IBB, 3 UBB
WS: 24 PA, 1 IBB, 2 UBB

small sample sizes and very different situations than the regular season, of course. interesting though maybe just coincidental that he hit worst in the only series where he was IBBed more than once. (NB: in the 2007 NLDS, Howard had no intentional or unintentional walks.)

clout: I believe Werth will play a major role in how this lineup is drawn up. Will it be JRoll-Vic-Utley-Howard-Werth-Ibanez? Or will it be JRoll-Werth-Utley-Howard-Ibanez-Vic?

clout: correct that particular line is isolated to all things 2008, both the mlb average, mlb base-out states, and both individual numbers.

careers, as well all years back until 1956 can/will be calculated once i have more time.

JW: Good assessment. I also believe Ibanez will be a slight offensive upgrade this year but the money/length of the contract may make it a bad decision in a couple years.
Also, we just won the WS and the players are so close that I don't see why you don't just bring back Burrell to defend the title. Of course, that's me being a sentimental fan.

clout/CJ: I really hope Charlie figures out quickly that Werth should hit 5th and Ibanez 6th.

thephaithful: I'm not really tracking your argument. How is it inconsistent for alby to cite Burrell's high walk totals as a point in his favor, while citing Howard's diminishing walk totals as a point againt him? You hypothesize that, if Burrell's walk totals fell, then it would be inconsistent for alby to keep arguing that Burrell's walk totals are likely to remain high. That's like saying, if Ichiro hits .220 next year, it would be inconsistent for all his supporters to keep arguing that he's a great hitter. I suspect if Burrell stopped drawing walks, alby -- and the rest of Beerleaguer -- might not be singing his praises anymore.

Ken Rosenthal says the Phils are interested in Nomar, and are still in the picture for Lowe.

Brian G: Here's the problem with batting Werth ahead of Ibanez vs. RH SP:

Werth OPS vs. RHP .767 (2008) .753 (career)
Ibanez OPS vs. RHP .824 (2008) .849 (career)

You'd cost yourself runs early, while helping yourself later (as LOOGY prevention).

Also from mlbtraderumors: Before signing with the Rays for two years and $16MM, Pat Burrell was getting offers in the one-year, $5MM range.

baxter: Garciaparra makes sense if he can play the OF and spell Ibanez vs. tough lefties. Unfortunately he can't. He's fine vs. LHP, worthless vs. RHP. Maybe Amaro wants to use him in place of Howard vs. LHP. Can't see that sitting well with the big guy, though.

bap: i was citing that his plus side of Burrell is that he walks at a high rate, which is said to be more consistent than batting average. So since Ibanez's plus is his average, its not as likely to continue because batting average isn't as consistent. and then previously, he listed how another player's walk total did not say consistent.

baxter - I could stand having Nomar and Lowe.

My theory on intentional walks is that scouts and managers figured out that they could just throw pitches out of the zone. If he walked, okay. But he was just as likely to flail at those pitches.

Lighting a fire under Howard might not be the worst thing.

If you're really worried about sticking a RHB in LF, put Nomar at 5 and Feliz at 7. He's done it before, not (as some worry) too brutally.

and ditto on the lighting a fire thing

Garciaparra was 1 for 4 as a PH last season and is 7 for 28 career.

Bax~

I read that about Lowe too but from Jon Heyman. I'd love to see the Phils get Lowe and I'll eat crow (deservedly so) if it did happen. Lowe make sense for the Phils and if they are in on him, Amaro is playing the denying game well. But I still don't like Amaro's moves for the most part this off-season.

I did not hear about Nomar. How old is he anyway? He'd be a nice pick-up if he can still play a little 3rd. Plus he could spell Howard at 1B. And and clout says if he can play a little LF than I'm all for him. Willie Bloomquist signed with KC so at at leat we won't get him (thank God). We should have made an offer to Baldelli and see what would have happened.

Is it me or is our team getting older on average?

Re: Lowe

Jon Heyman says today:

Lowe is far from a certainty to join the Mets, however. He is in play for the Braves and quite possibly the under-the-radar Phillies. The Brewers and Angels are outside possibilities (the Red Sox have to be out now after signing Cooperstown-bound John Smoltz).

...

But if Lowe goes to the world champion Phillies, that would give them a superb five-man rotation and put them in a dominating position to win the division for the third straight year.

Even so, the Mets don't appear to be all in for Lowe to this point. GM Omar Minaya, who met with Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado during their recruitment periods and plans to meet soon with Pedro Martinez, has yet to meet with Lowe, who has huddled with the Braves and Phillies already.

It seems that while some Mets people have stumped hard for Lowe, Minaya prefers the young left-hander Perez, which might explain their lukewarm $36-million, three-year offer to Lowe. Unless they change their stance, maybe Minaya will get his wish and be able to go after Perez after all.

In re: Garciaparra's L/R splits
His career numbers are evenly distributed - almost exactly. Last year he was bad against righties but great against lefties; in 2007, he did the opposite (you could look it up). I do not think he'd be bad, necessarily, against RHP. In fact, he'd probably be better than our everyday 5.

Andy: Feliz in LF is OK by me. Garciaparra at 3B is a horror show.

Andy: "In fact, he'd probably be better than our everyday 5."

Pretty high bar you're setting.

clout: If I remember correctly... Nomar was brutal as a PH in the playoff series vs. Philly.

"Also from mlbtraderumors: Before signing with the Rays for two years and $16MM, Pat Burrell was getting offers in the one-year, $5MM range."

If this is true, it proves my hunch that the Phillies wouldn't have paid a dollar to resign Burrell. They just wanted to move on.

Garciaparra worthless vs RHP? only in 2008. the rest of his career he has a minimal platoon split, and in 3 of the last 5 years he's hit RHP better than LHP.

There's no way the Phils sign Lowe at $15 million per. Boras has been "mentioning" us to bid up the price, and Ruben is OK with that.

Sports Illustrated's John Heyman insists the Phils are still in on Derek Lowe. I'd love for him to be in the rotation.

Tim Redding is close to signing with the Mets. He should scare anyone, but for some reason he's Cy Young worthy against the Phils.

Supposedly Pat Burrell was only receiving 1 year $5M offers before signing with the Rays.

Phaithful: OK. Got it. I do see your point.

With the players he is signing and targeting, Amaro is on pace to have an entire roster of players aged 40 and over within about 3 years.

Braves are meeting with Lowe today. I think the Braves are in trouble if they don't get someone like this. If they don't, it would not surprise me to see the Braves as the worst team in the NL next season.

it would not surprise me to see the Braves as the worst team in the NL next season.

Posted by: J. Weitzel | Friday, January 09, 2009 at 02:43 PM

Words to warm a phan's heart

you know who ranks as the best clutch hitter of the last 25 years? Soon to be Hall of Famer Mr. Mark Grace.

Rosenthal wrote today that the Phils are "minimally interested" in Lowe, because of signing Ibanez. He said that the long list of arb-eligibles will push the payroll to 135 million. Apparently Rosenthal feels that is the Phils ceiling, but he doesn't state how he LEARNED that 135 is the limit..

Mark Grace was one of those opponents I used to hate watching the Phils face.

If the Phillies' payroll is $135M this year, you have my solemn word that I will never again use the words "Phillies" and "cheap" in the same sentence.

On to the Nomar 3b D vs Dobbs 3B D debate!

BAP that's worth 135 mil right there.

Sam: Pray tell, who is doing this ranking and what are the criteria? Whatever they are, they must surely be stupid. Grace's career numbers with RISP were, like most players', ever-so-slightly better than his numbers in general. His numbers in the post-season were excellent (.329/.417/.488), though that was mostly on the strength of one great NLCS series, in his second season, where he went 11 for 17. In his other 5 post-season series, he hit .246.

If you asked 1,000 scouts, baseball writers, and GMs to list the 100 best clutch hitters of all-time, I doubt very seriously that Mark Grace would appear on a single list.

JW - Worse than the Nats as currently constituted or the Pirates (who quietly are working on one of the greatest futility records in sporting history by not even generally sniffing .500 for the past 15+ years)?

Good original post by JW, on the difference in RC by Ibanez and Burrell. Unfortunately, i've learned on Beerleaguer that Batting avg w RISP is pure 'luck', according to a couple of posters .
The 'luck' explanation is a good way for the Ryan Howard, and now Raul Ibanez detractors, to explain their results in comparison to Pat Burrell...
tp, please explain to me again how Burrell does more w his rbi chances than Ibanez. That was very amusing. Its hard to believe that a guy who bats .190 w RISP is doing more than a guy batting .310 RISP.

not sure which is funnier: "Mark Grace, greatest clutch hitter of all time" or "Mark Grace, Hall of Famer."

Okay, there's something about Pat Burrell that has been on my mind since last season and his name may not come up many more times here so forgive me, I have to get this off my chest.

I have heard any number of stories about how Burrell is just catnip to women and his teammates called him "bait", etc.

Honestly, I don't see it. He is not unnatractive, but I don't see the purported super sex appeal. On my list of hottest Phillies (2008 roster), he would finish no higher than 5th.

Poor clout is just shaking his head at this post, no doubt. But it has been on my mind for a while, and it was brought up by fellas more than once last year. I just had to clear it up.

"Mark Grace was one of those opponents I used to hate watching the Phils face."

Mark Grace is one of those broadcasters whom I'd hate to have to listen to. I was in CT during the week that the Phillies played the Dbacks (in AZ), staying in a home that had the MLB package. Watching the broadcast I was struck by the clownish and clumsy interplay between the play by play man and the color and their more banal than usual pronouncements. Eventually the camera panned to the broadcasters, who were situated in center field next to a swimming pool (sponsored by some pool company). The play by play guy looked professional, a slick 30 something, but the color was a grinning middle-aged buzz-cutted goateed man. Judging from his look, delivery and commentary (along the lines of "Upton should hit a home run!") I took him to be the owner of the pool company and thought, "I guess they take baseball pretty casually out there." Later I learned it was Mark Grace.

BAP - Agreed. It is utterly ridiculous to give a shred of merit to the "Lowe to the Phils" talk once Moyer was resigned.

Said months ago but only way a Lowe-type would get signed here was if the Phils were able to move nearly equal salary in a trade and not take on much additional salary.

The only way that would possibly play out with this roster as currently constituted would be moving Myers for prospects which is highly unlikely given the Phils' conservative FO and their approach this offseason.

Here is an interesting question - do you think Myers or Lowe would give the Phils better numbers over the next three seasons at comparable dollars?

MG: You're right. As the team is currently put together, there's no way to bring in Lowe unless they either 1) shed payroll or 2) raise the amount they're willing to spend this year.

Losing Myers to bring in Lowe makes no sense to me.

Losing Myers to bring in Lowe makes no sense to me.

I disagree, but I do think it's pretty clear that's what it would take to sign Lowe.

If the reports are true that Burrell was only getting 1 yr/$7M, then the Phils are really were set on a course even if it wasn't necessarily the most fiscally savvy one.

Kind of reveals a few traits about Amaro's personality this offseason - stubborn to a T and very self-assured/arrogant. Maybe even a bit standoffish. Successful managers do need these skills to some degree but if the Phils' have a tougher time this season and say don't make the playoffs, this act is going to ware thin real fast with the media and especially the sports' fans in Philly. Philly sports fans' will tolerate a inept operator (such as Billy King) for a long duration as long as he makes a concerted effort to be affable and "one of the guys."

Amaro doesn't seem to have any such pretensions and if the Phils stumble a bit next season, my bet is that is act/persona wears real thin on the fans.

Actually think that getting Lowe/trading Myers would better position this team to win next year in 2009.

My bet is that Myers is allowed to walk next offseason and the Phils are really going to have some tough questions next offseason about their rotation going into 2010.

Two questions really:

1. Would the Phils be better off trading Myers for some prospects this offseason or taking the likely picks when he walks?

2. How would the Phils feel about being committed to Lowe for at least 2 more years after this season at big dollars?

On my list of hottest Phillies (2008 roster...

phargo, c'mon. Don't leave us hanging like that. (Where's the list?)

We guys can always use something else to argue over about which we have no real clue.

there's no way to bring in Lowe

People keep saying this, and I know that it's true. But bringing in Lowe would make the Phils prohibitive favorites in the NL East for 2009, regardless of factors like: Howard Ks, three lefties in a row, Happy's .288 OBP, Ruiz being solely a defensive player, Utley spending April recovering, and an almost certain bullpen regression.

Indeed, phargo, if there's anyone who can explain his sex appeal, it's clout.

In re: Phils' "interest" in Gabe Kapler

Maybe the Phils are interested in Kapler so they'll have a new model for tee-shirts left in lockers during ST. After all, one wonders if there might not be more than one "manchine" in the world.

http://www.mostbeautifulman.com/athletes/gabekapler/bio.shtml

I don't think Ryan Howard can be rated the way other players are. He is a force around which the opposing team's strategy revolves. He changes the game by his presence.

After the money we put into the new stadium, we should insist the Phillies never let him leave. No cheapskate behavior by the team that sold Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein at their prime can be tolerated.
It would be like trading Babe Ruth, with similar results
Joe

I have said the Phils payroll this year will send shockwaves up the owners' spines. There is NO WAY they're gonna add Lowe. They won't spend the money to lock up Howard, let alone Lowe.

All the owners' care about are asses in the seats, and their bottom line. Winning the WS was just gravy to them and it's a way to say to the phans "see, our way is the right way".

I'm all for operating "reasonalbly". But "reasonbably" is doing what you have to do to put a championship-caliper team on the field. Thus, you have to pay the going rate for the top talent to get it. Marquee players are coming the Philly just because they won the WS. Players may take less money to go the NY or Boston but not the Phils.

There were 50 sell-outs last year. And they'll probably be at least that this year. What's wrong with spending the extra money and going for it again? If the owners' did that, there might be 70 sell-outs. But they just don't get it.

As for Myers vs. Lowe, Since Myers will probably walk next year, I's trade him for the RH bat we need if I could, then go after Lowe. But if they are willing to extend Myers, then I'd rather have Myers than Lowe because of the age difference.

The pending arb cases which will drive up the payroll, are the Phils fault, not the players'. Guys like Hamels, Werth and Vic should have been extended last year. With their contracts out of the way, they might have been able to spend more as their contract would have already bee included in the payroll.

Lastly, Amaro learned from Wade and Gillick. The problem is that Amaro has neither man's track record as a GM. I'm not saying Wade was a good GM, but he had job a long time. When Gillick talks, at least people listen. Who pays attention to Amaro and takes him seriously? He didn't do what he said he was going to and for me that makes him the wrong man for the job. How come most every player the Phils are "interested" in signs elsewhere? Rermember too, that they made a ton of money last year, but they don't want to spend it.

Here's the http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=betweenthenumbers/ortiz/060405>article that claims Mark Grace is the most clutch hitter of all time (since 1972).

Please note that our very own Von Hayes is #25.

Someone with better research skills @Sophist? can validate these results.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=betweenthenumbers/ortiz/060405

Apparantly the Braves made a big pitch for Lowe. They want him "badly".

Go the the Phils website. Who are they talking to? No one. But ST tix are on sale. See what I mean?

"(Where's the list?)"

Should I admit that I was hoping you would ask?

5. Toss-up: Shane Victorino, Chooch, maybe PtB
4. JA Happ
3. Jayson Werth
2. Ryan Madson (Long lean pitching machine)

and at #1, always and forever, my boyfriend:

Jimmy Rollins


phargo

Wow. No Hamels?

Oh, and phargo:
You did see that photo of Happ from like HS or College with his hair frizzed out, right?

Ya know, I actually kinda like that shot. He looks so much more serious without the grin and the hair.

I figured there might be surprise at the abscence of Hamels, but he's a just a little too Nuke-LaLoosh-young-jock-in-the-spotlight for my taste. This list is only about hotness, not ability.

I think dudes also think Chase Utley is a stud. I think the hair gel is a bit much.

Then again, Jayson Werth is on the list despite facial hair that would disqualify a lesser man.

Yeah it's pretty obvious that the Phillies wanted no part of Burrell again. I wrote something similar to Weitzel a few threads back about Ibanez. They wanted contact and clutch hitting and felt Burrell and Howard was a black hold of stranded runners and strikeouts. The three lefties in a row is an issue to me, but you could bat Werth or Victorino 5th and Ibanez 6th to pick up the runners. Of course, then Ibanez will probably walk a great deal to get to Feliz/Dobbs and Ruiz. I guess the three lefties in a row is inevitable so we will have to live with it and hope that Ibanez can repeat his performance vs. lefties from last year.

If the Phils have a shot at Derek Lowe they need to take it. He'll just be making Myers money after this year. I just picked up my six pack (they didn't have the physical tickets ready when I bought it the 2nd day they went on sale) and was talking to the guy at the counter. He said they were selling tickets like crazy, including a few thousand more season ticket holders and six packs sold. This is all at increased prices. This means more concessions sold at the games. They are also selling merch like crazy. They have the money, especially since Lowe is just taking Myers' spot after this year.

A rotation of Hamels, Myers, Lowe, Blanton and Moyer with a nucleus of Howard, Rollins, Utley, Victorino, Werth and Ibanez plus a returning bullpen that will be strong (although I don't see them repeating last year's incredible performance) is sure to make any team nervous and I could see 95 wins, especially with the Braves looking weak and the Nationals being the Nationals.

The Tim Redding signing by the Mets is fine by me. I am not scared despite his track record vs. the Phils. His luck will run out.

Phaithful & BAP: ae solved the mystery. Howard's lost 20 walks were the IBB he had been getting, so his eye is indeed consistent -- for about 80 walks a year.

Thanks for the pick-up, ae. Guess I shouldn't try to do research on the fly at work.

DPatrone: From what I hear on this list, the Phils payroll was under $100M last year. This year, it looks to be at least $125M.

Is $25M more not enough in your estimation? How much should this team be spending?

I love how people are so willing to spend everyone else's money.

The Phils' ownership now isn't "cheap." That was a fair and very valid criticism until about 2001 or so but the last several years the Phils have spent money and generally put out a pretty respectable product on the field.

If the payroll does increase to $125M this offseason, I wouldn't call the Phils' ownership "cheap" either as this would represent a substantial increase from the previous season. You could counter that the Phils haven't really increased payroll in any meaninguful way since CBP opened or that the Phils are still misery generally in select areas (e.g., development in Latin America) but the days of Bill Giles uttering nonsense about the Phils being a "small-market team" and the Phils being in the bottom 1/3 of the league in payroll are past.

I think the hair gel is a bit much.

Plus, he's gotta work on his language...

On Werth: I always kinda think he looks a bit wall-eyed. I suppose he might look good in a biker jacket on a bar stool, though. That look plays well in the Dakotas I hear.

(j/k)

I dont know where DPa is coming from with post after post about the cheapness of the front office. The 125-135 million that they will pay out this year is more than enough. If anybody should have any issues regarding payroll, it should be complaining about giving Jamie Moyer another contract instead of getting a good #2-3 pitcher. And the past, albatross, foolish signings of washed up Geoff Jenkins and never was, Eaton.

Alby: "Howard's lost 20 walks were the IBB he had been getting, so his eye is indeed consistent."

Whoa! Good facts, bad conclusion. Howard did indeed lose 20 IBBs, leaving his non-intentional BB about the same. But HE HAD WAY MORE PAs in 2008 than in 2007! So while his non-intentional walk total remained the same, in fact his walk rate was DOWN!

Subtracting Howard's IBB from his PA totals, you get 73 more PAs in 2008 than in 2007. And his non-intentional walk rate declined from 12% in 2007 to 9% in 2008. That's a drop of one-quarter, which means he was swinging at more crap and had a WORSE eye.

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