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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Nah, it's still JRoll...

Backups would include Hamels, Howard and Victorino.

As goes Rollins, so go the Phillies.

Rollins is the Captain on and off the field...even if he doesn't have a Big C on his jersey.

In honor of the historical inauguration today, here's a story about former presidents in baseball, including newbie Obama.

One last comment (from me, anyway) on the Utley vs. Howard popularity contest:

Chase Utley represents a type of player Philadelphia fans seem to love -- not simply hard-nosed, dirty-uniform and all that, but close-mouthed about it, too. He reminds me most of Bill Barber, the epitome of this type of athlete -- very quiet, plays hard and, most important, never comes off as whiny, petulant or moody.

Consider Hamels' history in this regard. When he asked for a chiropractor, many fans mocked him for requesting special treatment. Imagine what the Philly fans would have said about Roger Clemens' arrangement in his final few years, in which he didn't even travel with the team. It's a blue-collar city, in attitude if no longer in fact. We don't much like hot dogs.

In most regards, Howard, who is very quiet, satisfies our cravings, except in his contract demands. Those come off as asking for special treatment -- in fact, his adviser(s) keep flat out saying that he's a unique player and so deserves a unique contract. I think that rankles at least some Phillies fans.

All of which is nothing but my opinion, but it's based on 45 years of observing Philadelphia teams and fans.

No. Its purely because he's black.

Just Kidding.

I don't think there is -or should be- one answer to the question of leader & face of the franchise.
Different players bring their talents and personalities to the mix and that's a good thing.

Alby: Pretty good analysis. I suspect there are a variety of reasons, but those are quite likely the major ones.

FWIW, my guy is J-Roll.

Clout: I love J-Roll, too. But look at the mixed reaction from Phillies fans to his outspokenness. I think the only reason some people are OK with it is that it really, really ticks off Mets fans -- and we all love that.

O's sign Markakis for 6 yrs/$66M and buyout his 3 remaining arbitration eligible years. Very good young hitter but won't be that elite hitter unless he develops a little more power.

Likely a guy who will generate very good numbers (Abreu-like without quite the SBs) but it will be done very quietly because O's have sunk off the map nationally and don't even get as much coverage/attention in Baltimore anyway.

I would say JRoll has and will be for the next year or two. Been a constant here for nearly 10 years now and been a pretty notable presence off the field the last 2 seasons (even nationally a bit).

More interesting discussion is Hamels and Utley. Both guys are going to be here for at least the next 3 seasons and it is going to be interesting to see how the fans/media react to the noticeable differences in personalities.

MG: The O's haven't been on my radar for at least 5 years, but they've had a VERY interesting off-season.

They added Izturis, one of the best fielding SS in baseball and Feliz Pie, a gold-glove potential OFer to Adam Jones and Markakis, which might be the best defensive OF in the AL. They got Zaun to fill in at C until Matt Weiters, the best propsect in baseball, is ready, which could be July. They also added the always useful Ryan Freel.

The only thing stopping them from being dangerous is their rotation, which is decidedly subpar.

Alby - FWIW, I agree, actually. No matter how much I might I suspect that racial prejudice may play a part in the vehemence of some peoples' reactions, I do not think that race is the basis of Howard criticism. If not for the salary stuff, I believe he would be (even) more of a star in the voices of the fan base.

That Hamels and Madson signed instead of going to arbitration ought to play very well with the phans.

Clout: Very interesting points. If Baltimore can make noise with their defense, you are the man.

I think the BoSox have a pretty good defensive OF too...Bay, Ellsbury and Drew are all pretty good at their respective positions and Kotsay off the bench is a nice piece to have. That's some decent range out there.

JRoll by default. He's been here longer and he plays every day.

We may see a similar situation developing that existed during the Schmidt/Carlton era, where Michael Jack was clearly the guy out front.

Caveat: Lefty had stopped speaking to the media because he was tired of being misquoted.

Unfortunately the O's play in the AL East with a solid Red Sox team, a revitalized Yanks team, the defending AL champs Rays, and a generally underrated Blue Jays team. The O's will finish last yet again in the AL East and will be lucky to win 75 wins with a horrendous rotation and weak bullpen.

It's all about J Roll. Utley just doesn't have the charisma to play that kind of role- and maybe he doesn't have the interest, either, which is fine. I think it's nice that he and Mrs. Uts look after the homeless pets.

Andy, you know this phan will be glad to see Madson for a few more years! Oh, and Cole, too.

Another obstacle the Os face? How about the Yanks/Redsox in the books for about 90 wins every year.

Ita a nice problem to have. 4 guys that have legit arguments to be the man.

Hard to say who is the "face of the franchise"

I think marketing favors Howard, utley is the fan favorite and J-Roll stirs the pot. Hamels has to be in there now though, as he was more clutch than any of them when we needed it the most.

If I had to keep just one, it would be Utley. But I have an admitted man crush.

We are lucky to be phans in this era...this has got to be one of the most talented (and hardworking) teams we've ever had.

Alby re: arb rules

Thanks for the post of those 4 factors that arbitration is guided to look at. Were they given in order by any chance? I'm curious if team win% and attendance is really #2 or just merely one of the 4 points to consider.

O's budget has also been left in the dust. At their apex in the mid-to-late 1990s, the O's payroll was right there with the Yanks and generally at/above the Red Sox.

Yanks have since run away financially from the O's since the creation of the YES network. New Yankee Stadium isn't going to help either. Ever since the Yawkey Trust sold the Red Sox and NESN was created, the Red Sox have run away financially too.

Money does matter in baseball and it is very tough to outperform an opposing team on the field when their payroll is 2-3x larger than yours every year. Even if you are successful, sustaining that for more than a 2-3 year window if you are a smaller club is very difficult.

With a nickname of "Hollywood" and a fairly famous wife, Hamels doesn't seem to be one who shies away from the spotlight. This offseason he was on a number of national media shows and sold his house in West Chester to move to a million dollar condo in the middle of Center City.

My bet is that Hamels is seen much more frequently now around Center City and pops up much more in the sightings section of the Philly papers.

MG, I read a report that said they're keeping the house in West Chester.......not that it really matters.

Personally I'd much rather live in Center City in a nice condo than out in West Chester...especially if I worked in S. Philly. The commute is much better if nothing else. Besides, there are better restaurants downtown.

AWH - Cole's brother has to live somewhere. That kid has got it made.

NEPP: Obviously West Chester can't compete with Philly, but it has a couple of nice restaurants, too. If either he or his wife are into horses, that's the right place for it.

Phaithful: I think they just consider all four things, not in any particular order. But I'm guessing.

NEPP - Agreed. Much easier commute down Broad St than trying to take West Chester Turnpike and Blue Route down to CBP.

Regarding our feathered friends from 95 South...I live about 30 minutes north of Baltimore and they have a regional network as well, but when the product on the field is worthless, the broadcasts will be as well. When you have the Gnats and the O's on the same station people aren't going to flock to it.

On the flip side, they show Flyers games every couple of weeks (not counting the games against the Caps), which is nice.

Baltimore is and will always be a football town with the Ravens (unless they leave in the middle of the night at some point).

Usually a lot of criticism leveled at Phils players on Beerleaguer has some merit, but the stuff against Hamels was pretty much devoid of it.

Here's a great comment from Albert Pujols:

"Ask me that question in 2011," Pujols said. "Right now I don't really care about it. That's [my agents'] job. That's why they're my agents. That's why they're getting paid. They got me the money that I got because they do their homework. So when that time comes, we need to take care of it. As of right now, I don't even worry about it. I worry about getting ready for this year, next year and 2011 if I'm still here and they don't trade me. Because they have the right to trade me wherever they want right now."


Until Angelos arrived, Baltimore had no problem being a baseball town as well. He's proof that some owners are worse than merely cheap.

Agreed Birdland...what I should have said was Baltimore is now and will continue to be a football town for the forseeable future.

Camden Yards is still a great place to catch a game too! That stadium doesnt seem to be as dated as some stadia seems to get after 15-20 years of existence.

phargo - I almost said something about Madson on the last thread, indicating that the signing might warm up at least a portion of ND; but refrained. I was appreciative of your appreciation of Jason's photo.

Food for thought:

Gio Gonzalez is slated to be the No. 3 or No. 4 on the A's this year and Gavin Floyd is likely going to be a No. 2 this year with the White Sox.

Garcia trade is looking worse and worse as time passes.

I'd have to go with Rollins too. He's been here for the last place finishes, the disappointing wild card races, the division champs, and now the WFC - I think that puts him overtop of anyone else.

Its a safe bet if you asked any non Phillie fan around the league to name someone off the top of their head, Rollins is probably the first name out of their mouth, especially Met fans.

Jimmy's whole "team to beat" quote feels like its going to be an annual thing for a long time in the NL East. I can't wait for a Nats free agent signing in 2019 to declare them as the team to beat.. it'll just bring me back to the good ol' days.

From last thread...

Jenks didn't technically go through arbitration. They avoided arbitration. It's hard to say whether Jenks would have set a "record" had the process continued.

And Andy... yes... Luckbox. You've never clicked on the link from my name?

I hope Papelbon goes to arb. It would just be interesting to see what he gets. Doubt Boston would let it get to that though.

Re: Hamels- why did Mlb network etc have to throw out a scare like that? Saying Cole was playing in the WBS. I see today he isn't on the roster. Thank god. I thought he declined. But I still was nervous. Hope JRoll and Shane get limited action (they should with Jeter and Sizemore on the team).

MG: Gio Gonzalez's standing in Oakland's rotation says more about their lack of depth than Gio's readiness to assume that role. His season at AAA was a lot like his year at Reading -- a jump in BB and WHIP, mid-4's ERA -- and it only got worse in the majors. He's still only 23, so he'll have plenty of opportunity to improve, but I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up back in the minors at some point in the season. Indeed, I have to wonder about the depth of the once-vaunted A's minor-league system if they have to rush him this way.

Yeah, Gonzalez might have swing and miss stuff sometimes but he's still very erratic. He wouldn't be in the majors if he was on the Phillies. I'd rather see Carrasco in a MLB rotation at this point. His walk rate is through the roof.

I do miss Floyd though. His curveball is wicked when he's on and he's been on more and more lately. I remember watching that game where he almost tossed a no-no and I was simply amazed at how good his pure stuff is when he's at the top of his game.

I do doubt that he ever would have made it in Philly though...too many expectations with the #1 pick. He simply wasn't able to live under that microscope here. As long as he stays in the AL, I wish him the best of luck with his career.

Chatter over at Metsblog says the Mets are talking 2-year deal with Jon Garland. If the Mets fill out their rotation with Jon Garland and Tim Redding, I think that's best case scenario for us considering the options they had available to them.

That would also leave Ben Sheets out there without many suitors...we could so snap him up at that point. Yes We Can!

"He's been here for the last place finishes"

All 0 of them during Jimmy's time. :)

For the casual fan or outsider(fan of another team) I would guess that Jimmy Rollins would be the face of the franchise.
For the ticket buying Phillies fan (or those who take the time to blog) I believe the face of the franchise is Chase Utley.

I'd have to say that this is Rollins' team...he is the position players' union representative and the sort of mouth-piece of the club.

NEPP: Agree on Floyd. I am a bit puzzled though on the offer of him for Brian Roberts of the O's. The Sox already have Alexei Ramirez and other young guys, so perhaps the Sox are trying to deal him while he's hot.

CJ -
As I used to say, when I was a bowler, it's better to be lucky than good.

****NEPP: Agree on Floyd. I am a bit puzzled though on the offer of him for Brian Roberts of the O's. The Sox already have Alexei Ramirez and other young guys, so perhaps the Sox are trying to deal him while he's hot.****

I tend to think that it was the other way around...the O's offered Roberts for Floyd, not K. Williams asking for Roberts and offering Floyd.

Any idea on when arb numbers come out? I thought it was today...

Great thread header. I think the face of the team is determined by who the viewer is. Phargo told us it's Rollins. My daughter wears an Utley jersey. Hamels is the hero of the moment. Lights Out Lidge may have been the team MVP. To me the face of the team is smiling Ryan Howard. To each his or her own. There is no correct answer to this question.

Agree with Clout on the Orioles. Their future could be pretty bright, with Markakis, Jones and Wieters in the field and pitching prospects like Matusz and Tillman. I actually thought Texiera would have been a really good sign for them because of his age and he's at a position they could really use an upgrade for over the next few years. They can compete in a couple of years, although the AL East will always be tough with the Red Sox, Yankees, and now the Rays.

If they actually do play Pie in left field, they'll have to hope he hits at his best possible level to contribute enough offense there, but that outfield defense would be unbelievable. I think Adam Jones has breakout star potential this year or maybe next.

NEPP: Well, that'd be a weird offer as apparently the O's asked for Floyd plus a prospect for Roberts. Perhaps I have it wrong, or the source I read has it wrong, but from what I read the O's made a counter-offer to the initial straight up offer from the Sox.

Just heard from someone that we signed Shane to a longterm deal, but I haven't read anything or seen it anywhere yet.

Jack: That would be interesting, if true. I think locking up Vic with cost certainty right now would be another fine move from Amaro.

Cj and jack: he just signed a 1 year deal to avoid arbitration. And it was another fine move again by Amaro. Because arbitration is never good. Looks like Howard will be the only guy to go by the time the numbers come out for the 2nd year in a row.

By the way, enjoy Howard while we can because the way he does business he is out of here after arbitration period ends and he becomes a free agent.

Jack - I'm not sold on the O's pitching. What they have currently is pretty lacking, and basing a projection of prospects is dicey. Good OF, though. And Wieters is the bee's knees.

Hey, East Fallowfield, there's a new, um...well, you know...

Yup, its pretty clear that the Phillies and Howard will never come to a long-term deal. Every year they go to arbitration makes it less likely that it will happen and every year he gets older, a long-term deal makes less sense for the FO.

I heard Vic just signed a 1 year deal avoiding arbitration, nothing longterm. Still awaiting the official announcement though.

MPN: The deal might be prompted by the O's copncern they'll lose Roberts when he becomes a free agent at season's end. Ramirez doesn't walk, so can't be a leadoff man, and he does play CF and SS so can be moved to another position if they got Roberts.

Signing Vic to a long-term deal this year would actually be pretty foolish. I can see why Amaro and the Phils don't want to extend him a time when his value might just be at its apex. Not like he is going anywhere anytime soon unless the Phils decided to trade him.

Hamels is definitely becoming one of Philly's most popular athletes. We love a winner. He needs to stop putting his foot in his mouth though.

Ryan Howard will be traded after this year for far too little.

Len39 - Agreed. If the Phils have consistently done one thing wrong during the tenure of current management, it is get nickels and dimes for a big-name asset when they move it. Schilling and Rolen come right to mind but there are a few others too.

MG - I suggest editing your statement, thus:
"If the Phils have consistently done one thing wrong ..., it is get nickels and dimes for a big-name asset when they move it."

Historically, when the Phils got stuff to sell other GMs salivate.

Yeah, there's a new thread.

The real face of the franchise is big and green and is a good dancer.

I cringe every time I hear Hamels talk. His voice sounds like a 15 year old girl. I feel like that might make it difficult for any one to take him seriously if he tried to emerge as a clubhouse leader. But maybe not. His performance speaks for itself.

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