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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


"In the first episode, the bullpen must create a dessert using organic ingredients."

Will they bring Bill Lee out of retirement for this one?

until I saw the schedule, I was resigned to not seeing any spring ball. MLB network rules. Time to re-up the comcast extra innings package, too.

mikey77, nice post on the previous thread. You did nail all the points. I would disagree on your opinion of Bowa being an incompetant tactician, though.

He wasn't great, but he didn't have the complete suite of talent, particularly the pitching, that Charlie has.

And as we all know, it eventually boils down to whether a PH gets a hit, or, most importantly, a pitcher, especially a situational reliever, gets out of an inning. The manager can't do that for them.

Bowa didn't have The Ace, Lidge, Durbin, Romero, Eyre, Seanez, or Ryan Madson throwing 98 MPH.

There's a big difference in the talent level of the 2001-2004 and the 2007-2008 Phillies teams.

This is a repost from an earlier thread, about the bullpen's reality show:

"UH OH!!!

I don't like this one bit.

The Phillies' bullpen is going to be featured in a new reality series on MLB network calle "The Pen".


Maybe I'm overreacting and not giving them enough credit, but I son't like the distraction something like that can cause.

Posted by: AWH | Monday, February 23, 2009 at 06:02 PM "

I don't like the bullpen show idea...its got "DISTRACTION" written all over it. If the pen comes out slow, like Lidge blows 2 saves in April, it'll get blamed.

****Ryan Madson throwing 98 MPH.****

My how the legend grows. In 10 years will we be reminiscing about how Madson was throwing 101 MPH back in the aught-eight WS?

Ummm, NEPP, I don't quite understand your post. Please explain. Thanks.

Can't wait to see Ryan Madson doing magic tricks, Clay Condrey spitting tobacco, and Brad Lidge stinking people out with lethal doses of gas on their reality tv show.

Re: Bowa's managerial skill. Maybe I just remember too many instances, such as leaving in Rheal Cormier to face Vladamir Guerrerro in the 8th. Or, refusing to force Abreu to bat lead-off once and a while. Or the contrived arguments/fits with umpires to get applause from fans.

Re: Cholly's altercation with Eskin. That was the most important, non-personnel related, event of the last 3 years. I really think the players started to play with 'purpose' for him after that. My favorite part of that was when Eskin told him to 'grow up'. Cholly responded with the classic, "I been growed up! I been growed up!"

You have to love how MLB has the radio rights for just about all of the day games, forcing you to buy their online radio package for those who want to listen at work.

Yeah Charlie going off on Eskin was awesome. I was listening this morning to 610WIP and they were talking to Guidel about how she needs to tell Manuel to let bygones be bygones and grant interviews to them.

They were all laughing and saying how Charlie doesn't like them, its pathetic they think that is funny. I hope Manuel tells them to go f themselves when they go down to Clearwater.

I wish all the sport figures in this town would refuse to talk with 610 and maybe they'll actually learn a thing or two before they sit in the radio booth and tell everyone how bad they are.

I love how on this board winning in the post season is all about intangibles and nothing about luck or who's hot. Yep, those mighty 2007 Rockies had tons of intangibles and that's why they swept our Phillies, who lacked emotion, drive, heart, gumption etc. blah, blah, blah.

'Luck' and 'Hot' are tangibles??

phaithful, the 'hosts' on WIP really don't know very much about baseball.

Now, they may have access to the FO, coaches and players because of their job, but there are people who post here who know far more about the game and players than those guys do.

Simply, they're not 'all that'.

The only host they've ever had who knew baseball really well is Jody Mac.

The rest of them know less then you or I do. I've heard nothing insightful about baseball from any of the hosts on that station in years.

And Eskin - well, he was deriding the Phillies chances the entire season last year. In short - to use his words - he is a dope about baseball. Not only do I think he doesn't understand the subtlety of the game, he really doesn't evaluate players well either. He offers nothing. Period.

So, Charlie going off on Eskin may have been important, but the reality is Charlie should have ignored the little elf. I'm sure he's forgotten more about baseball than Eskin has ever known.

Television? Aren't those things in museums?

NEPP, Madson was throwing 98 in the post season, unless all the guns used were really, really fast.

And God, how I despise the morning show on 610. I don't know how that moron Cataldi became a millionaire doing that sh*t.

Scott Lauber reports tomorrow's lineup:
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
LF Raul Ibanez
1B Ryan Howard
RF Geoff Jenkins
DH Matt Stairs
2B Jason Donald
3B Eric Bruntlett
C Chris Coste
P Jamie Moyer

Now it seems like it is real!

****Ummm, NEPP, I don't quite understand your post. Please explain. Thanks.****

I dont remember Madson hitting 98...I do remember 96 or 97 several times. Did he actually ever get to 98 on a legit radar gun?

I think a far more interesting reality show would be to stick about ten Beerleaguers in a dank hotel room and make them watch the games with no sound. They get to comment on the game and mock each others commentary. The only statistical resources they get are the daily newspapers and what they can scribble on the one pack of 3x5 cards they get, along with a nubby pencil, at the beginning of the series.

Periodically, Heidi would come on to give them "reality show tips." And then, about once a week, one of them is voted into the "soundbyte booth" to talk "meaningfully" with important media personages like Howard Eskin, Keith Hernandez and Anna Benson.

I'd watch that show as much as I'd watch any other reality show.

If I saw that lineup in a regular season game, I'd probably, it just gets me excited that ST has really begun.

NEPP- Agreed.

AWH: While your right about baseball knowledge on 610 that it doesn't compare to here. You have to relaize they cover all sports not just baseball. Therefore they have guys that are stronger in other areas but have knowledge everywhere.

For example, macknow knows hockey, gargano college football and basketball along with the NBA, sonny hill the NBA etc. Sports talk radio hosts have knowledge on many sports not just one.

And frankly talking stats and who the 5th OFer for the iron pigs will be isn't entertaining radio.

So while you are correct about 610's baseball knowledge compared to this site and some of the callers that are lunatics, the point is a variety of sports for the hosts to be up to date on for the fans like myself who watch everything.

bonehead: well put.

awh: you give Eskin too much credit. He is a dope period.

tommy: the afternoon guys are fine, they actually have opinions and back them up. But the morning and afternoons are simply wannabe comedians in the morning and a guy who is wrong about 90% of the time. Everytime Eskin mentions the word gaurantee, immediately run to a bookie and bet the opposite.

Um...if my job...the one that actually PAID me was to talk about sports in one city...I think I would be able to make myself pretty much an expert of all 4 sports in that city...

Thephaithful; you are correct. That's why I don't listen to the morning show. I listen to music until 10 then listen to 610 then turn at 3 and listen to missaneli on espn radio.

NEPP; they generally know a lot but I think you want more stat crunching and more talk about who the phillies need to get or whose going to go where. And with all this Mcnabb garbage going on, flyers needing goaltending and the sixers missing 14 free throws to lose last night at the buzzer, there is no room for that talk.

Bonehead: Yes. Unless you think a winning streak or a missed call at home plate can't be seen or measured.

"I think I would be able to make myself pretty much an expert"

What? You're not already?

Actually, I want to agree. If any of these guys needs tips on baseball they can come on here, THT, Sickels, Phuture Phils, and a few other places (even WSBGMs) and get themselves informed. Really. If I was paid to know about football, I could learn. Likewise NBA and College hoops.

With the first four series of the regular seasons against the Braves, in Colorado and Washington, and then a four game set against the Friars, the Phils are positioned for finally getting out of the gate with a strong April. Here's hoping the team can execute: particularly that Utley is healthy (and not just rushing himself) for opening day and that Howard can throw off slow starts of the two prior year.

JW: I just hope that Lidge doesn't have to make crab fries during the quick fire challenge before going in to a game with a 1 run lead....

And now the New York Post is scrubbing through transcripts of WIP interview (a big Seth Meyers REALLY? to that) to through more gas on the Phillies dissing the Mets fire. Pathetic. Click my name for the story.

to throw... d'oh. Need. More. Coffee.

****NEPP; they generally know a lot but I think you want more stat crunching and more talk about who the phillies need to get or whose going to go where. And with all this Mcnabb garbage going on, flyers needing goaltending and the sixers missing 14 free throws to lose last night at the buzzer, there is no room for that talk.****

To clarify, I live in VT, we dont get 610 up here. I was speaking from what I remember from having lived in Philly. Eskin and Cataldi are both asses though.

dont the Phils usually have a Tuesday scrimmage? It's usually against like Florida State or something?

phaithful, bonehead, clout:
This is a silly argument involving what, out of a list of unmeasurable things, can be considered tangible. Silly. Silly, silly, silly.

On the ph/bh side, one cannot influence or change luck and being hot any more than the effect of "chemistry."

On the other hand, at least luck (see BABIP) can be, to some extent, measured.

But, really. Even individual defensive ability can barely be quantified; so how can anyone argue about whether chemistry or hotness is more intangible (unless you're talking about Penelope Cruz, where her "hotness" cannot be disputed and one whould hope for a little "chemistry," if you know what I mean).

Mainly though, the silliness of your discussion points to a greater need, apparent every year at this momentous time:
Thank you all for reminding us that ST games need to start...and behold, here they are!

NEPP: you would be correct, they are both very annoying along with diRHEA Hughes.

Skip the morning show and listen to Jody Mac. The guy knows his sports, especially baseball.

I think the "intangibles aren't necessary" argument is a bit overboard.

BedBeard: "the "intangibles aren't necessary" argument"

Who made that argument?

WFCs return the same day as Tiger Woods.

Its if funny that there is now this common perception now it seems among the fan base is that the talent base on this team is somehow is really that much better than the 2001-04 teams (particularly the 03-04 teams which were better than the 01-02 teams because of a few notables differences including Thome).

In 2007, the Phils were fortunate to make the playoffs. 89 wins in the NL East would have only got them in the playoffs 1 year other since the current division format in '96 (in '01). Most year it leaves you home in Oct.

Plus, it is amazing how quickly people seem to gloss over that the '07 team really was a rag tag pitching staff for almost all year with a few exceptions. There was a 3-week stretch before the ASB during the summer where the best arm in the bullpen was El Pulpo. It solidified just enough in Sept to make a playoff run.

Even last year, the big difference was really the pitching. Everything (and I mean everything) fell into place with the bullpen. Career years by Lidge, Durbin, Condrey, and very solid years by others (Madson, Seanez, Eyre). Now maybe the Phils get a bunch of breaks again with their pitching staff with year again but I don't think it is likely.

Great. Now we're gonna argue about whether it's an argument.

It's beginning to remind me of this.

We can all just watch and save some time.

As for ripping Bowa - it is amazing how people quickly forget just how inept Francona was here. Bowa may have been an ego manic but it really was a night/day difference when he took over the team in '01.

MG - There is a considerable difference between the pitching staff from 2002 or 2003 and this year's. (i.e. Brandon Duckworth as a #3?) Bowa definitely had fewer tools to work with. That being said, every time over the past couple years, when I feel like Chollie should "go Bowa" on the team, his calm manner has seemed to work. I think treating adults as adults, in the long term, is a much better mangerial approach.

A side note. As I was looking at team stats for the mentioned years, I noticed that the Phils' offensive production really took a hit last year. Despite 5.5 runs scored in three games, they dropped from 5.5 runs per game to 4.9. That's a lot. (But I bet the corner infield defense is a lot better!)

That first 5.5 should be "55." The drop off from 5.51 to 4.93 is just under 11%.

Andy: If Bowa were manager last year would the Phillies not have made the World Series?

MG: I know i am just nitpicking one statement you made, but I would argue that Lidge had a career year.

The only career best number he hit was sv%.

In 2004 he pitched 94innings with a WHIP under 1, 157K/30BB, and a ERA+ of 229.

Had his career high in saves in 2005.

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"

clout - I do not know. They might not have. He certainly would have made some decisions differently and used different motivational methodologies. Maybe they would have won more games. I do not believe so, but I have no empirical way to prove that.

phargo - Seneca makes pretty good apple juice. If he was right about the luck thing, though, a lot of very prepared people would be cleaning out Las Vegas on a daily basis.

Not sure how you can prepare to hit triple red 7s on the slots.

Did anyone see Astros catcher has torn labrum and they voided his contract due to him opting for surgery?

Chris Coste to Houston anyone?

"Not sure how you can prepare to hit triple red 7s on the slots."

Not sure either, but it costs you 132.5 mil to pull the handle a second time

"I think the Mets had the top teams [the last two seasons]." -- Cole Hamels.

Well said, Cole! Can't say I disagree. If Scott Schoenweiss had trained with J.C. Romero, who knows?

If I had to make a list of events that made the Phils a better franchise it would be this:

1. 2000 - Schilling rips the Phils' FO in regards to their commitment to winning and their desire to spend money to put a winner on the field. He was 100% right on both counts at the time and the fans agreed because they really stopped showing up.

Phils' traded him but it forced the Phils' FO to reevaluate how they operate.

2. 2001 - Bowa takes over as manager for Francona. It was amazing how apathetic the team had become under Francona. Bowa may have been an ego maniac and many too many moves but he did contribute in part to changing the culture here

3. 2003 - Phils sign Thome (and make several other moves that offseason including acquiring Millwood). Phils recognized that they needed to get serious about putting more talent on the field to post a better record to bring back the fans. It started to work. If it hadn't been for Mesa being a complete stiff that year and getting owned by the Fish, the Phils would have made the playoffs.

4. 2004 - CBP opens. New stadium opens that is a vast improvement over the Vet. People may miss the Vet but in reality it was a dump to watch a game. Medicore sight lines, blast furnace in the summer, horribly uncomfortable seats, terrible food, etc. The only good thing about the Vet was that you could get reasonable tickets in the upper deck and then move around.

5. 2005 - This team had gone as far as they likely would with Wade and Bowa. It was time for a change in management to tweak the edges of a now fairly successful team to see if they could get over the top. Phils brought in Cholly and Gillick to get this team to the playoffs.

Yeah the players move were important including Utley, Howard, and Hamels become regulars but the reality is that the talent core of this team has generally been solid since 2003.

Somebody mentioned Terry Francona. That brings back memories (nightmares). The truly amazing thing about Tito is that he is actually as stupid as he looks. Hard to believe. I call him Chance the Manager, after Peter Sellers great character in the movie Being There. He should cut Curt Schillings lawn for life.

PhilsSuck - I will give you the Mets had a better team than the Phils in 2007 in terms of talent but they came up short against the Phils head-to-head when it mattered the most.

Last year, the Phils had the better team. Both teams scored the exact same number of runs but the Phils pitching staff (largely led by their bullpen) allowed 35 less runs. Mets did play much better against the Phils head-to-head but it isn't largely isn't "luck" when a team wins their division by 3 games. Phils were just the better team last year.

Trading with the Astros is always a plus since you know how weak your counterpart is.

I see Tim Byrdak as a LHP reliever and Jason Michaels/Reggie Abercrombie as a RH OF Bench bats.

So they do have some possible wanted peices. Not sure what the Phils have, other than Coste, to give them.

"better team"

Here's the thing, though. What empirical data do you wish to use to base your premise upon? The best form of data is the win-loss record. Really. How else do you want to enstablish who performed better over 162 games? The Mets, even in 2007, had 162 games to acheive better results than the Phillies and they failed. They may have piled on better statistics, or shown off to the home crowds, or whined more effectively. But they simply did not win more games. They didn't. So they simply were, in practice, a better team.

Last year is an especially clear model. Not only in terms of wins during those 162 games, but in one respect that is especially different:

Mets - 0%.
Phils - 100%.

By the most important empirical measures, the Phils were better teams both years.

P.S. From now until the end of the 2009 season (and possibly beyond) I suggest you change your handle to "WFC Phils Suck." If you're going to be ignorant, you might as well be ignorant and correct.

Byrdak actually has had some pretty good success as a lefty reliever.

LHB Splits
.135/.222/.247 - 2008
.176/.280/.397 - 2007
.206/.297/.379 - career.

He's 34 making $1mil. Sure the Astros want more than Coste for him, but it is Ed Wade...


I think it is fair to say that the 08 team was genuinely better than the early aught teams. Certainly it had the best Pythagorean win-loss of the bunch (93-69), compared to 04's 86-76 and 03's 90-72.

The '08 team was 2nd in the NL in runs scored and 4th in team ERA. The '03 team was 5th and 7th.

You can argue I guess that the 08 team over-performed, but I don't really see it. I'll grant you Durbin and Condrey, but Lidge (as phaithful explains), Madson and Romero had seasons not all that out of line with their career norms. Same, I think, with several other key performers (Howard, Hamels, Utley, Burrell, Myers, etc.) Now I admit that all of these good players played well all at once, but to say that is only to say: they made a good team.

The '08 team was a good team!

Klaus: agreed. For each overperformer you can point out, there is a player who may have played under their capabilities.

Most of that is found on the offense, as our pitchers did have an overall great year(contract year for Myers may help). But Rollins year alone should signal that the offense can be much better, along with a healthy Utley who we should have for at least the majority of the season.

"Here's the thing, though. What empirical data do you wish to use to base your premise upon?"

Well it's really just an assertion. It goes: "we were the better team but our bullpen was awful."

It can't be argued, but it could be represented mathematically, like so (on a scale of one to ten):

Mets: Offense (8) + Rotation (9) + Bullpen (3) = 20

Phillies: Offense (7) + Rotation (7) + Bullpen (9) = 23

and 20>23.

See, Mets were better!

Byrdak - for better or worse, is a pure LOOGY. It would be a mistake to use him against a decent RHB. It would still be better to have someone like Ohman, or even Beimel, who has an actual shot at pitching well to a righty.

As for Coste; I might flip through the Astros' minors for something interesting before using him to get Abercrombie (who looks to be a TTO-wannabe). Drew Sutton, for instance, might be a good guy to develop as a switch-hitting utility player with some power. He would not be an immediate help, but down the road, maybe...

The real problem, of course, is that Coste will not be dealt until Chollie has a chance to watch Paulino for a few weeks. It is no sure thing that he even makes the active roster.

"See, Mets were better!"

Not until 88>89
or 89>92
or, most especially, 89>103.

Klaus - Yeah the '08 team was better but it was largely the pitching that was the difference. Phils likely had their best pitching staff since '93. '07 team generally had mediocre pitching just like the teams earlier this deacde.

I would be stunned if anyone in the Phils' pen posts better numbers this year than last. Madson might be the only guy and then it is pretty hard for him to really improve on his numbers that much.

Doesn't mean the Phils won't have a pretty solid pen again but they likely won't lead the NL in ERA again or have such a % SV pct either.

BA has their top 100 prospects list out for this year. The Phillies on the list:

#48 Dominic Brown
#52 Carrasco
#66 Marson
#69 Donald

They project Carrasco, Marson, and Donald as seeing time with the big club in 2009.

"Phils were just the better team last year."

MG, I have argued they were better in '07 as well.

WFC Phils Suck claims the Mets were better, but "choked". Why were they better.

If they were really better they wouldn't have chooked, no?

Over the course and cauldron of a 162 game season, there is an ebb and flow, and teams get hot and cold.

In 2007, the Phillies went 4-11 in their first 15 games, DESPITE being under pressure to start the season off winning, because they had had a poor start the year before.

The Mets closed the '07 season by going 5-10. Based purely on W-L record, 4-11 is a bigger "choke" than 5-10.

My point is, simply, that over the course of 162 games, the Phillies were better.

When pressure was on both clubs to do well given the situation they were in during that time, why, during the course of a 162 game season, is the Mets 5-10 record the last 15 games any more important than the Phillies 4-11 record the first 15?

From David Murphy's article today, I'm wondering if Charlie will carry Donald on the roster this year and work him in a bit sort of like how Chase Utley was worked in in 2003-04.

****From David Murphy's article today, I'm wondering if Charlie will carry Donald on the roster this year and work him in a bit sort of like how Chase Utley was worked in in 2003-04.****

He probably won't...not unless he KNOWS he can get him at least 400 ABs. They want him to continue to improve, not ride the bench. So if an IF goes down for an extended period, Donald will likely be brought up.

NEPP - More importantly, who's roster spot would he take? Last time I looked, there was no space for another "straight" infielder.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

ba tum dum

That's part of it too...though you figure theyd probably get rid of Jenkins or Stairs...or not carry 3 catchers.

Well, he can play lots of positions and he is a RH bat. With Ibanez on the team now, I can't see them really carrying Jenkins and Stairs. Dobbs is a lock. Bruntlett is a lock. And the back up catcher is a lock. If Charlie wants to work more rest for Feliz, Rollins, and Utley I could see Donald getting north of 300 ABs.

300 ABs is a TON of off days for those guys...and not alot of starts for Dobbs at that point.

I think you guys are making a rather large assumption about Donald being a capable third baseman at this point. One would think he'll get the hang of it, but he's just getting started. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't need at least a half a season in the minors before he's ready to play third in the bigs. And MPN I'm not sure about the lots of positions statement. All he's really been is a shortstop.

Well, sure, that'd be 75 games started, but PH alone would probably suck up a number of ABs. You're right though, unless there is an injury, I can't see Charlie giving Utley or Rollins that much rest... but it'd sure be nice to be able to give them at least 10 games of rest each, to keep them fresh. The problem is that do you really want Bruntlett taking that many starts and does that deter Charlie from giving them both that much time off?

I think he CAN be a good 3B...I don't think he is right now. Though Utley had very high praise for him and his ability to adapt to playing 3B...

I wonder about the wisdom of bringing a kid up and telling him "Oh by the way, you're going to be playing a new position". He'll probably adapt to third base pretty quickly but to try that at the major league level would be a little risky in my mind. I think it would be great to have him penciled in as your opening day thirdbaseman in 2010. I would be shocked if that isnt already the plan. To that end it would be great to see him get a look later this year, but not yet.

Donald should get to spend a full minor league season learning third base and then, assuming he does okay, start for the club next year. If he's the third baseman of the future for this club then the FO should commit to that idea and not rush things. We will be okay w/ Dobbs at third this season while Feliz is out.

There is no way Donald opens the season with the Phils unless both Utley and Feliz open the season on the DL. Even then, the Phils have brought in a million veteran INFs that likely would get the nod in the short run.

Phils and Donald would best be served if he opens the season at Allentown in the lineup everyday and playing 3B. My bet is that Feliz will be plagued by injury/consistency this year and that Donald will get a shot with the Phils well before the expanded rosters on Sept. 1.

I still wonder what the Phils are going to do with Stairs. There really isn't a role on this team for him (he can only really play 1B/LF and even then he is a complete liability defensively) but I don't know if the Phils can move his $1M salary.

Donald will not be the everyday third baseman while Feliz is under contract and is healthy enough to play.

They have too much to lose if they stunt his development by not getting him enough AB this season, or enough experience and work actually playing 3B.

The only place Donald will bet enough work is in Allentown.

Unless Feliz goes down for the season I seriously doubt we will see much of, if at all, of Donald at the Zen.

Besides, why start his arb clock ticking?

Jason Donald is penciled in to start at SECOND base tomorrow. He played SS (his naural position) in the AZ Winter League. The Phillies obviously know that Donald has no chance of playing SS or 2B for the Phillies anytime soon. So if he had any chance of being a big league 3B, don't you think he would have played 3B in the Winter League? Don't you think he would be playing 3B in Spring Training?

Of course they would not want him to being playing 3B for the first time at the big league level. But if they had plans for him to be the 3B in 2010 after playing 3B for a year at AAA, why would they waste Winter ball and Spring Training as an opportunity for him to begin learing how to play third?

The writing is pretty clearly on the wall, the organization has pretty much decided that Jason Donald does not have what it takes to play 3B.

It would seem to me that anybody who is a prospect at shortstop should be reasonably expected to be able to handle third base. It's definitely the less demanding of the two positions defensively. The only reason that I could see to make a player a ss over a thirdbaseman is a lack of power. I don't think that is a concern in this case.

****Jason Donald is penciled in to start at SECOND base tomorrow. He played SS (his naural position) in the AZ Winter League.****

He actually played 3B in the AFL as well.

And he was taking grounders at 3B earlier in the week in ST...

Third requires a stronger arm than SS and 2B. Third is also requires more of a quick reaction to balls than SS or 2B.

Sure the differences in arm strength and reaction between SS and third might be very small, but we are talking about doing this at the MLB level. Very small differneces in talent are what separates someone who can make a career in the big leagues and those players who get stuck in the minors.

I am not going to even begin to speculate about Jason Donald's arm strength or reaction time because I have never seen him play. Maybe he could make the sitch, I would like to see it.

However, the Phillies have seen him play, and it seems they are not having him play 3B, even though there is a need there and there is no need at SS or 2B. So, I will speculate that since they still have Donald playing SS and 2B, but not 3B there must be a reason why he can't handle 3B.

re: career years for bullpen

Lidge might not go perfect again, but didnt look like he's tailing off anytime soon. I think you can expect him to remain among the elite closers in the league.

Personally i think Madson will not be as strong, but there are plenty of reasons that indicate that he will that other posters have pointed out.

JC Should be himself again when back from suspension and Eyre seemed to only have a few bad innings in 08 for the Cubbies.

Durbin can go into the year as a reliever and not have to stretch himself out as a possible 5 starter, so his conditioning down the stretch may improve.

I think we can still expect to have a very effective pen in 2009.

I must admit it makes absolutely no sense to put Donald at second tomorrow. Bruntlett can play there. A spring training game is exactly the situation he should be getting his feet wet.

Baseball Prospectus stated last year and I quote "Given his good hands and TERRIFIC arm, he could play at 3B"

3B and SS requires similar arm strength as the SS has to make those long throws from deep in the hole...

He might have played a little 3B in AZ and might be taking some ground balls in ST, but it just doesn't make any sense to me why he isn't playing 3B full time at this point.

If his future is at 3B, why waste valuable time in the fall and ST playing any SS or 2B?

If Donald started at 3B tomorrow and made a couple of errors that cost the Phils the game, would anyone care that they lost? I wouldn't. ST is the time to learn and make mistakes. So, why not put him at 3B full time and let him learn and go through the growing pains now?

It just doesn't make sense to me.

donc: agreed, it's spring training, why the heck wouldnt you put Donald at 3B and let giles/bruntlett play 2B. I agree with others who say that Donald should be getting every rep at 3B possible with SS and 2B being locked up for years to come.

They want to use him as a utility guy and they have question marks at 2B and 3B right they have him splitting his time at ST doing both positions. And he split his time in the AFL pretty much 50/50 at 3B and SS (?? don't know why, maybe they were trying to trade him still).

PS: I hope I am wrong and Donald can play 3B. It's just that it seems to me that if the Phils thought he was the 3B of the future, he would be playing there every waking minute to learn how to play the position.

Guys - I think you may be reading a bit too much into one spring training game. Donald will get his share of innings at 3B this spring you can count on it.

As for the trade with Houston, that is an interesting idea. If it does happen I do not think it will be for a LH reliever, or any reliever. If there is one thing we all know about Ed Wade is that he overestimates the value of middling middle relievers.

We would have a better chance trading for prospect(s) or a RH bat for the bench.

I agree with both of you guys. First of all I think the shortstops throw from the hole is the hardest in baseball. If you can make that one you can make any throw from third. And clearly it seems his future is at third in this organization. I would think they'd be running him ragged at third. That's all I'd have him play. BTW: I saw Donald on DNL last night. Barkann was interviewing him from Clearwater. He seems like a real good kid and he's already mastered the art of saying nothing when answering a question. Yeah, he's definitely a prospect.

If it is true that he split his time in the AFL 50/50 between SS and 3B, that makes me feel a little better.

Everything I saw from the AFL had him at SS, but if he did get a decent amount of PT at 3B, then maybe there is some hope yet.

It is not the case that any SS can play 3B. One big difference is no 3B ever forgets to wear his cup at practice.

Hamels was saying the Mets were better last two years maybe trying to make their whiny fans feel better. Obviously he's not great at being PC when recapping their choke-ish tendencies and should leave discussions of that to the media and the fans.

I won't be stunned when Donald is the major "sacrifice" we make at a mid-season trade...I'm sure they'll justify it somehow.

"Third requires a stronger arm than SS"

This is completely false. Shortstops play deeper than third basemen, thus getting the ball later, thus having less time to make throw to first. Anyone who has ever played in the infield knows this.

You are correct that 3B requires better reaction reflexes than SS.

Thank you Jeltz.

Before he started seeing time at 3B, Donald reeked of pure trade bait, he was on schedule to rot away behind one of the best middle infields in baseball until at least 2012. see: Cardenas.

So if he can not catch on at third, he is destined to be flipped for either another inning eating starter or perhaps a prospect of his calibur that has already proven his ability to play at 3B.

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EST. 2005

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