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Thursday, February 05, 2009


Andy: So you think the Phils will only carry 4 straight outfielders this season?

Posted by: clout

Nope. (I mean, yep. The greatest probability in my thinking is that they'll go with four outfielders and at least one "outfielder." The "outfielder" I'm thinking has the best chance to make the roster, barring a late RH bat addition, is Matt Stairs, who cannot be called an outfielder without placing quotes around it. It's what they did in the WFS.)

If they sign a RH bat, it becomes more interesting. All the reports have them going after Garciaparra as their first choice, trying to get him not to retire. If they get him, I imagine that they will depend on Bruntlett and Dobbs to spend time as the revolving fifth "outfielder." (Actually, relative to Matt Stairs, you might even call Bruntlett a real outfielder at this point, though I wouldn't.)

In re: Carson's post, Ditto.

From prior thread, I agree with NEPP on Bruntlett. His value is his versatility: He can play every position except catcher (although you only want him in CF in a dire emergency).

He had a career bad year in 2008 and odds are good that at age 31 he'll revert to recent career norms: .250 with .330 OB and no power at all. We just have to hope that Cholly uses him properly, meaning that he should never ever start in LF or 1B or get more than 150 ABs.

Andy: Stairs, for better or worse, counts as an outfielder, so that would be 5. I agree, they will carry 5 outfielders.

Here's what they won't do: Carry 4 outfielders and use Dobbs/Bruntlett as the 5th, regardless of whether they sign Garciaparra or not.

I'm giddy with excitement. Are any Beer Leaguers flying south? March 13 - 18 for me. With the 10 degree temps and snow here, I will welcome the baseball, the beach, and 70 degree weather.

Top three reasons to be there ....

1. Taking in every inch of the Carpenter Complex including the minor leaguers taking batting practice on a little league type field.

2. Every fan brimming with optimism of this being their teams year to be WFC.

3. The Tiki Bar’s after game festivities!!!

I'm surprised there wasn't more comment on the DN piece yesterday about the Howard arbitration. They did a detailed rundown of the criteria that an arbitrator must base his decision on. They concluded that Howard won most of the categories. Most posters here have predicted that Howard will lose his case.

I went to ST last year(and WS Gm 5, talk about full circle!) and it was an amazing trip. I'd recommend to any and all phillies fans.

Not overly expensive, baseball blended with bars and nitelife, white sand beaches, ex players on every corner, and great weather.

Bring a blanket and a few sandwiches, lounge on the outfield grass with a bucket of beer on ice from the tiki bar, can't go wrong! I highly recommend that sliders stand they have, their mini burgers are perfect ballpark snack food.

clout: I think Howard will win arb. If the Phils would have came up to $15, that probably would have done it. It would be hard to argue against a 50% raise AFTER a record breaking salary the year before.

but i'll pull a page out of your book and say that although i think Howard will in, I will be happy if the Phils do. If he hits $18, then he'll be making arod money before he evens hit FA, which kind of ruins the whole idea of team control, since he'll be about 20% of their payroll in another year.

Would Howard make $18mil on the open market this year? I dont think its a very clear cut answer. Usually when you have players still under team control, they make less than what they do if they were in FA.

Here's what they won't do: Carry 4 outfielders and use Dobbs/Bruntlett as the 5th, regardless of whether they sign Garciaparra or not.

So if they sign Garciaparra, or some other guy who's ostensibly an infielder, which current position player do you think they'll leave off the active roster? I'll make this a multiple choice:

a) Paulino/Coste
b) Jenkins
c) Stairs
d) Bruntlett
e) Dobbs

Clout: Didn't see the piece, but my understanding of the process is that it doesn't work on a strictly checklist basis -- that is, the arbitrator can make up his own mind on what's important and what's not.

If the Phillies knew what OPS+ was, they'd be in a much stronger position. As it is, I think his problem will be trying to get out too far ahead of what others with his eligibility have made.

Trying to predict who will win is too dicey for me. I hope he loses because if he wins, I believe it speeds his departure.

HBG: is St. Pattys Day between the 13-18 this year? I was down there for St. Pattys DAy and there was a great outdoor bar right along the bayside. Its right behind(connected?) to an all you can eat buffet, think its called Styres or something. Gotta check it out, they had $1-2 drinks all day and night.

Andy: If they sign Garciaparra -- and I think it's a longshot -- that will have a domino effect. Almost certainly two of Stairs, Jenkins, Dobbs, Coste, Bruntlett will be gone and possibly even three. Much, of course, depends on whether Feliz or Utley open the season on the roster.

St. Patty's day is ALWAYS March 17th.

Phaithful: Indeed it is. Phils play Reds on 3/17. I planned my trip to be there on St. Patty's day specifically. From what I understand that is the day to be there. Was there 2 years ago and missed it. You are corect, grass seating is the best deal going.

Alby "If the Phillies knew what OPS+ was"

I'm not a front office cheerleader, but c'mon.. these people manage hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, more than any of us will ever see or handle, just because they dont debate it in interviews to the public doesnt mean they're oblivious to statistics and sabermetrics. Yes they have made moves that might not look right in the eyes of stats, some for worst and some for the better. you and everyone on BL < 2008 WFC Front office. Dont forget it.

Its statements like that get others all riled up about BLers being know-it-alls and wanna bes.

Few comments:

- You can make an argument that Amaro knew he wasn't going to resign Burrell so that he moved on Ibanez quickly.

The same reasoning though on Bruntlett doesn't hold up. There are a ton of middle backup INF who are available every offseason that post better numbers. Also, the Phils knew that he wasn't going to be a cheap option given his numbers of service years.

He was brutal last year at the plate. As for defensively, I said it before but he is really only an adequate option at 2B/SS. He was poor in LF and I wouldn't want him at 3B unless there was nobody left on the bench.

Does Bruntlett rebound to hit .250 or better with a decent OBP? That answer is not likely. Just look at his peripheral numbers. They clearly show a player who has declined the past few seasons.

His .SLG numbers have dramatically dipped as his % of GB has risen while his % of LD and FB has fallen. In fact, Bruntlett might not even have a .SLG of .300 and that is pathetic even for a backup middle INF.

Maybe he gets a bit more lucky and his BABIP in increases. It is no coincidence though that his BABIP has dramatically dipped as his % GB has notably increased the past 3 years.

So let say he gets 250 ABs with a line of .240/.320/.310 that gives him an OPs of .630 (an improvement of 35 points from last season). Given this pretty optimistic picture, that still would have put Bruntlett at 154th in OPS among 168 players in the NL last year with more than 200 ABs.

So basically even if Bruntlett has a notable improvement this year he is likely to stastically be among the worst offensive players in the entire league. More than likely, he doesn't have an OPS of .630 and will be among the worst 4 or 5 players in the entire NL this year if he gets 200 ABs or more.

and Bruntlett is important on this team because of the health status of Feliz (who I think the Phils are much more worried about than they let on)/Utley and Cholly's propensity to use his bench early and often.

This means that Bruntlett is going to get a bunch of PT this year and will also see his share of pinch-hit appearances where he will likely be overmatched in most situations where the best outcome will likely be a BB.

Thephaitful: That may just be the best stated post EVER on this site.

Assuming there's no other signing, if Utley doesn't start the year you'll see Marcus Giles starting. If Feliz doesn't start the year then Dobbs will start at third.

I don't really see a scenario where Bruntlett gets 250 AB. He's valuable because with 13 position p layers you need one or more who can play a lot of positions. However I really don't like him as the only right-handed backup OF/1B.

--I'm giddy with excitement. Are any Beer Leaguers flying south? March 13 - 18 for me. With the 10 degree temps and snow here, I will welcome the baseball, the beach, and 70 degree weather.--

I'm down here in South Florida and have snagged a couple of tix for a March 27 night game at Steinbrenner Field: Yankees vs. Reds. Earlier that day, I'll be in Kissimmee to see the Phillies battle Houston-I have a buddy who has worked for the Astros for 20 years and will have freebie tickets waiting for us at the window. We'll stay in the Tampa area Friday night and see the Phils play Pittsburgh in Bradenton Saturday. I do my best to get to ST games the last week in March after the minor leaguers have been sent out. It's pretty much the starting line-up for 5-7 innings. Can't wait!

The Phils have shown a pretty clear aversion to relying upon advanced statistics and have been later than most teams to embrace them.

come on, does anyone really think ANYONE in baseball doesn't know about OPS+?

Brian - One thing that makes me doubt you claim is the lineup Manuel would post when Feliz was injured (7/25 to 8/20). 24 games. Bruntlett started in 13 of the first 20. Many of those were against RHP, of course.

Manuel realized his error and started Dobbs afterwards when Bruntlett hit .125/.239/.150 in those first 20 games. Hopefully he remembers that lesson.

In fact, did anyone else realize that Bruntlett hit .165/.260/.235 in his last 66 games last year?

Anyone from Howard's Homers out there today?

****Assuming there's no other signing, if Utley doesn't start the year you'll see Marcus Giles starting. ****

No, we'll likely see Bruntlett at 2B. Giles didnt even play minor-league ball last year. He was completely out of baseball. He's one of those long long shot minor league invites to ST this year...he's not the same Marcus Giles who was an All-Star.

Honest to God, I got goosebumps as soon as I saw that.

If everyone in baseball -- I assume that includes Ryan Howard -- knew what OPS+ was, Ryan Howard wouldn't have the balls to ask for $18 million. He was the 38th best hitter in MLB last year by that measure, and his defense and baserunning didn't move him up the list any.

Andy: So you think the Phils will only carry 4 straight outfielders this season?

So, who's sexual orientation is in question?

This was over on Phils' Nation:

"How good is this team?

Since the Phillies are now world champions, the expectations are high as ever. The goal — finally — is repeating as champions. Getting back to the World Series is good. Anything short? Not good enough."

I will disagree. If this team wins the NL East again or makes the playoffs, that will be a successful season for them. This isn't the NBA or NHL where just making the playoffs doesn't really mean much. If they make the World Series again that would be great but to set such a high bar is a bit too lofty.

Can't wait for ST. I had an opportunity to go to Clearwater but I couldn't make the numbers work. Now I've had surgery and my job is in jepardy. I'm still disappointed though.

As far as any more moves, I just don't think they'll be any. Amaro did a great job re-signing his own players, but failed miserably when it came to bringing in necessary pieces of the puzzle. Now with Howard's arb case looming, which they'll probably lose. They're out of money. I believe they haven't settled yet say at 16 because Howard knows he'll win @ 18.

They like everybody. They sign no one. They could have had Wiggy if they would have offered more than 1 year. They don't want the payroll any higher so they'll fill from within. The players that remain just don't wamt to play for the Phils at the money they're offering. And the Phils don't want to extend so there you go.

If you look down the list, most NL teams have a much bigger "questionable" area than other teams.

Have to figure that the Nats and Pirates are going to be the bottom feeders in the NL this year. Whatever team likely gets the better starting pitching will avoid losing close to 100 games but still must be kind of depressing to know going into the season that your team will be lucky to avoid losing 90+ games and that you really don't have that many younger exciting homegrown players to watch either.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick counters the Ken Rosenthal report that the Phillies decided not to pursue Ohman. The Phillies are still talking to Odle about Ohman, but don't have much more than $1MM to spend unless they move a contract.

*Time to move Coste and/or Stairs. No need for 3 catchers and 2 lefthanded bench bat outfielders.

MG, I found this part of Olney's piece VERY interesting:

"Pittsburgh Pirates: Rotation

Paul Maholm had a nice year and has been locked up in a multi-year deal, but there are noises in the organization that nobody else's job is safe, and that Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell will have to earn their spots in the rotation; there will be no guarantees."

Ian Snell?

If that's the case, is anyone else here interested in taking to the Pirates about a trade for Snell?

Start with Kendrick and see what happens?



It maight take Happ for starters, but IMO it's worth having a conversation.

I'd love it if we got Ohman...that'd be one good bullpen. I thought we had $3-5 million left, not $1 million...what's going on? Are they assuming a Howard victory?

Almost certainly two of Stairs, Jenkins, Dobbs, Coste, Bruntlett will be gone and possibly even three.

I'm not sure that answers the question. Coste doesn't belong on this list, really, siunce they'll only carry one back-up catcher. It's either Paulino or Coste. If Garciaparra (or equivalent) signs, then, yeah, that's exactly what I was saying. One of Stairs, Jenkins, Dobbs or Bruntlett needs to be removed from the active roster in some manner. You cannot really take off the utility infielder and I'm not sure you take off the best PH you have. Would you keep both Stairs and Jenkins? Isn't that redundant? And if they sign anyone else, then you still need to divest.

The reason they wanted Wiggy (in theory - we all know how the Phils are with rumors of interest) was he could play OF (though he, too, is technically an IF).

That's why I said, if they sign someone like Nomah, it'll be really interesting to see what the 25 looks like at the end of March.

This Olney blip also is interesting:

"Washington Nationals: Rotation
Do you want to know why the Nationals have had a hard time getting any name free agents to take their money? Well, consider that the Marlins' No. 4 starter, Scott Olsen, came over in a trade -- and now is arguably the Nationals' best pitcher. Daniel Cabrera also has an inside track on a spot in the rotation, behind John Lannan -- the only returning member of the organization who made more than 22 starts last season."

Would the Nats be interested in Kendrick for one of their RH hitting outfield bats, and does it make sense to give up pitching for a P/T players?


Snell would be great, but it is going to take a lot more than Haap or KK to get it done.

I am sure they would want at least 1 top tier prospect.

Probably just saying those things for show and trying to motivate their players.

IT doesnt make sense to trade pitching for a P/T bat...its okay to trade Kendrick for P/T pitching though...or a new hotdog stand for CBP...whatever they're offering.

"NEPP: Are they assuming a Howard victory?"

Maybe, but even if they aren't, it's prudent to plan for the worst.

Besides, I have a HUNCH (c'mon clout) that some relief help will still be available after Howard's hearing. Apparently the guys still available want Affeldt type deals, or at least close to that annual salary.

MLB teams have demonstrated (so far) that they're willing got be patient. If the Phils do win the Howard hearing - I ASS - U - ME it get's that far - then they may be able to swoop in a pick one of the LH RP up for a price that's in between what thye're asking and the $2MM Eyre signed for.

The other consideration, in regards to the active roster, is that they might look carefully at which players with options available they stack up at Lehigh Valley. On the 40 man roster, currently, the OF with options left is Mayberry. The IF with options is Harman. They could add Donald but may be unwilling to start his clock. If they hold someone at LV as an emergency plan I think it's more likely to be Mayberry. In which case they may consider Dobbs/Bruntlett the fifth OF.

NEPP - C'mon, with all those major league wins, he's gotta be good for a Cheesesteak stand at least.

Of course if we could trade Bob Walk for Gary Matthews, maybe we could trade Kyle Kendrick for Austin Kearns.

Quick question about Ryan Howard:

How many of his HRs the last three seasons have been opposite field homers?

How many have occured at the Zen?
The reason I ask: I wonder how valuable he would be to another team where some of those fly balls would be long outs?

I seems to me he has a compelling reason to stay in Philly before he goes the FA route. If he got traded to San Fran, San Diego or even the Yankees, how much does his overall production drop because he's playing in extreme pitchers parks?

It seems to me he'd have to try to pull the ball more, and we've all been eyewitnesses to the results when that happens.

Can anyone out there figure out how many of the HRs would be long outs in those parks?


The Yankee reference was meant to indicate that it's an extreme pitchers park to left-center field - 430 feet.

I don't really think Howard gets alot of "cheap" homeruns...he usually crushes the ball out even when its to the opposite field. And he's far more of a pull hitter than he was his rookie year (Bill James had an interesting article on this in last year's "Gold Mine" book)

Andy, Kearns works for me. He has decent splits vs LHP.

KK is only 24- a little young to just give up on him.
I am as disappointed in his late '09 performance as anybody, but if Brett Myers could get his head straightened out , maybe KK will come to find his way back into good graces.
If he has a lousy spring training I will join you with the pitchforks, tar & feathers.

Interesting article on ESPN about Nomar vs Jeter, saying Nomar may be as good as Jeter this year (when Nomar plays) according to predictions. You have to be an insider to see it though, I think it's in ESPN magazine if you get that too.

Pecota Predictions:
Jeter .288 .353 .383
Garciaparra .274 .335 .409

Part of the article:

"Any discussion of Nomar comes with the usual playing time caveats, as Jeter's durability will almost surely allow him to outproduce Garciaparra simply by staying in the lineup. But because of Garciaparra's ability to continue to hit for power, he's as valuable (if not more valuable) than Jeter when he's healthy enough to play. Had he qualified, Garciaparra's .466 slugging last season would've ranked sixth among MLB shortstops. And if he is able to match his PECOTA projection, than that's a higher OPS (.744) than Michael Young, Miguel Tejada and Edgar Renteria had last year. "

Nomar Doens't play SS anymore, does he?

How does he compare to 3rd and 1b?

Still interesting though.

I thought KK's mental "toughness" was his big asset?

Jeter probably shouldn't play SS anymore either...even if he is a former "gold-glover" at the position.


Adjusted OPS: 2006-2008 Player
2006 2007 2008
Howard 167 144 124
Dunn 114 136 129

Dunn is unemployed, and Howard wants 18mil. Large money gap there.

Another question though, when do we call Howard's declining performance a trend? I am scared to beleive it's a trend as I want him to be like the 2006 version again, but how many years till we call the decline a decline?

NEPP, I never said the Hrs were "cheap". A HR is a HR.

I was merely inquiring as to how much his stats and value might be enhanced by playing at the Zen, or diminished by playing in San Diego. He hits a fair number of 'oppos' at the Zen that would be outs at Yankee Stadium, SF and SD. How would that affect his production, particularly his HRs, RBI, and OPS?

I'm not a stat geek, I'm just askin'.

For example, go look up the historical dimensions of Yankee Stadium. The RF line and fence used to be shorter 9benefitting Ruth), and it was 480 feet to left center when Dimaggio played there.

I's a minor miracle Joltin' Joe even got to 361 HRs lifetime playing in that park, and losing 3 peak seasons to WWII service.
Looking at it that way I understand why a lot of people who I have talked to who actually saw DiMaggio play say he was the best player they ever saw.

I meant "cheap" in that he doesnt seem to get alot of "flowerbox" homeruns even to LF. When he gets a hold of it, its usually 10-15 rows in the stands at worst.

Another neat stat: Most people here at beerleaguer are smart enough to realize this anyway when discussing rbi's but here is the stat anyway:

RBI Opportunities: 2006-08 Player PA with runners on (Rank)
Howard 1,076 (1)
Dunn 883 (37)

NEPP still thinks what Kendrick did in his first season and a half in the majors could not possibly have happened. It was faked on a Hollywood sound stage. Like the Moon landing.

Theres a difference between knowing about OPS+, and accepting it as the most important measure of a player's offensive performance. And since the Phils are the ones with the lower $$, then i'd assume that they hold OPS+ in higher regards than Howard, his dad, agent, and most importantly the Arbitrator. So if Howard wins I believe your beef is with the arb., not the Phils.

clout, I think every bit of it happened. I also think that unless Kendrick learns a 3rd pitch (say a changeup against lefties) that he'll never be an effective starter again.

Khaioken: Take those RBI Opps stats with a grain of salt. They count a man on first with two outs as 1 RBI Opp, and a man on 3rd > 2 out as 1 RBI Opp.

I like the idea of trading for Kearns. Let's hope Dunn signs with the Nats so there is a logjam in the OF.

khaiokien, wow, almost 200 ops more for Howard during the last three season.

That's 21.85% more.

Is that the total number of PAs or ABs with runners on, or is it the total number of runners on during that period?

phaithful, isn't, by definition, and AB with no one on an RBI opportunity?

phaithful, what I meant was it seems to me that the "opportunities" even themselves out over the course of three seasons, and +/- 200 more opp's is significant.

yo, new thread.

NEPP: A third pitch would certainly help against lefties, but that wasn't KK's problem last year. Command was. As a righty finesse pitcher his command must be excellent for him to succeed. Loss of command is usually a mechanical issue, which in turn can be caused by bad habits, poor conditioning or injury. If it's the one of the first two, there's no reason to think he can't straighten it out by working with Dubee.

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