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Sunday, March 15, 2009


i like both of these guys and respect their hard work to hang in there as long as they have. i suspect condrey will be okay for another season provided he avoids a bunch of early bad outings. coste has kind of been a missing man this spring. it has to be killing him.

OK, JW, I'll start it off.

I've posted this before and I'll post it again.

Both Condrey and Coste, despite being "marginal" MLB players, have been better than most backup catchers or 7th bullpen pitchers the last couple of seasons.

Just look at who is competing for the backup catcher job on the Cubs, a team many consider to be the best in the NL: 36 yr old Paul Bako, career 62 OPS+ (never higher than 78) - and 30 yr old Koyie Hill, career 38 OPS+.

Coste's career OPS+ is 99. Was 2008 the beginning of a severe decline for Coste, or the product of early season overuse because of the offensive ineffectiveness of Carlos Ruiz? I would lean toward the latter. I also predict that if he makes the MLB roster he will rebound.

Condrey, despite some of the hate seen here on BL, has been better than many 7th men in MLB bullpens. Just surf around and you'll see what I mean. There is a lot worse out there.

They are both valuable members of a baseball team, because they provide relative consistency and depth - depth that many other organizations do not have.

IMO, If either one of them was outright released, they would quickly find homes on other teams.

Condrey has not given up a run this ST, and looks to be in good physical shape this year. His WHIP, while not great, has been very consistent the last three seasons. If the Phillies get a combination ot 2007 and 2008 out of him this season (ERA+ between 100 - 110), he'll be fine, and probably will be on the roster all year, barring the sudden emergence of a minor leaguer.

Coste, while not great (how many MLB catchers in 2009 are), is better than most backups. Despite his "decline" in 2008, he posted an OPS of .748, 18TH BEST among ALL MLB catchers with at least 75 PA. He had 36 RBI, 27th best among ALL C with 75 PAs. And 2008 was obviously his worst year to date.

If that's what the Phillies can 'expect' from their backup catcher in 2009, well.......

I applaud the Phillies for bringing in Paulino to see if they can upgrade the position - they should always be trying to improve.

But if their 2009 backup catcher is the 2008 version of Chris Coste, that's way better than a lot of other teams.

Condrey saved the bullpen on a number of occasions last year. When Phils starters were blown up, he pitched multiple innings. During Phils blowouts, he kept them from getting close.

If Condrey were put on waivers last year, he would not have made it through. (Even after making four trips to Ottawa in 2007 ... remember when the AAA team was in Ottawa?).

I'd bet a lot of money Condrey comes north with the Phils.

I'd also bet Coste comes north, but only because Ronny Paulino has yet to impress.

But Coste's days as a Phillie are numbered. Charlie obviously lost faith in him down the stretch this year. If Paulino doesn't take his job, my guess is Ruben will go out and find someone who will.

given how much trouble the phils had with ollie last year, perhaps they should sign some of these korean players who teed off on ollie in Petco Park (in cold weather) for 10-day contracts when they play the mets.

I concur with just about everything AWH wrote. Condrey doesn't find much love on BL but he has been one of the most improved players on the Phillies over the last 2 years. He is, and will never be, a dominant reliever, but he was one of the best 7th relievers in baseball last year. With Romero out for the first 50 games, and Durbin unlikely to repeat his charmed season of a year, ago, I would expect Condrey to take on a more important role this year.

As for Coste . . . everyone, including yours truly, seemed to write him off after the Paulino trade. But, even with an awful second half, Coste was still vastly superior to either Paulino or Ruiz at the plate last year. Given his horrible 2008 season, Paulino definitely does not deserve to be the presumptive favorite for the backup catcher's job. If he wants that job, he needs to earn it in ST -- and so far he hasn't. Likewise, if we get a month into the season and Ruiz is straddling the Mendoza line again, then Coste should see the bulk of the playing time.

I expect Condrey to be in the 'pen all season long, and have an era in the 4.50ish area, but his role won't be to pitch in crucial situation, so nobody will really bitch about him.

I see Coste not spending the entire season with the Phils. In fact I foresee the catching situation being like a 3-headed monster with Coste/Paulino/Marson all getting chances to backup Ruiz for stints.

I'd like to see Marson behind the plate, Donald at third, with the other three (potential) Hall of Famers. Now that's an infield with some offense. Won't see it till 2010 or 2011 though. Paulino is 8 years younger than Chris and in the prime of his years. I think Chris should start looking at a second career. Clay Condrey- who cares? He had arguably his best year in 2009 at age 33, but that ain't saying much. How many blow-out game innings did he pitch?

The main differences between Paulino and Coste are 1) L/R splits, where Paulion has crushed LHP in a rather obscene way - small sample size, though. 2) Grizzled experience versus the benefits of a younger body. Coste, at many levels, has seen lots of action. Paulino is built like baby bull. Choose yer poison.

In the end, there may be more of an impact from the Ibanez signing on Chris Coste's future than on the Phillies' 2009 offensive numbers.

"Kendrick, IMHO, is the wild card. Is he capable of, as Dubee alluded to the other day, all of a sudden putting it together?

Posted by: AWH | Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 06:15 PM "

Want odds? There is a Russian saying:
Once every ten years an unloaded gun goes off; once every hundred even a garden rake issues a shot.

Russians are ever the poetic people.

Andy, it seems we agree on KK. I was merely giving my perspective on the competition.

Yeah. I've had enough Kendrick talk, too.

On Condrey, I agree with b-a-p. If there can be such a thing as an "elite seventh reliever" (and I admit that is the kind of phrase that puts the moron in oxymoron), then Condrey was that last year.

The up and down nature of RPs (due mostly to small sample size) and his lifetime acheivements, however, indicate 2008 was a fluke. Still, it was nice that our #7 BP guy out-performed, say, the #1 draft pick in the division rival's pen.

(Have I said how much I will miss Aaron Heilmann this year? I almost wrote a sonnet.)

On a lighter note, Hamels is having his Elbow checked out. He is sore, no big deal... keep your fingers crossed.

That would pretty much end our season if he goes down with something major.


Surely you're not saying...
couldn't be...


LOL...I'm not that pessimistic yet. Though it should be noted that Hamels was clocked at 81 mph on his fastball in his last start...that's where he topped out at.

Combine that with this report and it is a bit worrisome.

love the use of the Larry Bowa rookie card circa 1970

AWH's preliminary overreaction to the Hamels story:

CRAP, CRAP, CRAP, &^%*^%#@*^%*^&)!!!

re: Coste

I agree with AWH when he cites the decline due to overuse early in 2008. Coste is a great backup catcher when he is playing around 2-3 times every 2 weeks, but Ruiz's offensive struggles forced Coste into more playing time than he can handle. I am pretty sure that Coste himself even admitted that he is not capable of playing multiple times a week for an extended period of time.

Since Ruiz is still a risk to be a noshow at the plate, I think that rules out Coste as an adequate replacement. A backup yes, but a replacement, no. Coste would be a great fit for someone like the Giants who have Bengie Molina. I even saw a rumor that the Giants were looking at Pudge as a free agent. Maybe the Phils should be checking in to see about that situation.

phaithful, IMO you err.

Review, again, who's competing for the Cubs' backup role. If the Cubs' starter Soto (who's very good BTW) gets hurt, the offensive dropoff is precipitous.

I have to believe the Phillies know what I posted above, and consequently understand the value of having good depth at catcher.

Ruiz, Coste and Paulino all signed split contracts for 2009.

IMO, that alone indicates this:

If they don't break camp with all three catchers, they will stash one in Allentown. Period.

One, it gives them depth in case of injury, and two, if indeed a starting C on another team gets hurt, it gives them more leverage if making an in-season trade as opposed to a ST trade when there might not be panic on the other side.

To wit: What happens if a catcher gets hurt midseason on a contending team....say the Twins, NYY, Cubs etc.?

Take the Cubs as an example. If you're Lou Pinella would you want to be running Bako or Hill's bat out there every day in the middle of a pennant race?

If Posada gets hurt again, the Yanks have to run out the wrong Molina brother(Jose), lifetime 61 OPS+, or untested Francisco Cervelli who only has 73 AB above A ball (less than Marson).

The Twins already have concerns about Mauer's back, and if he goes down they have 37 yr old Mike Redmond, Drew Butera who hit .215 in AA the last two seasons, Jose Morales who actually had a good year in AAA last season but wasn't the starter there, and Wilson Ramos, a 20 yr old who's never played above A ball on their 40 man roster.

The Phils might be able to get a pretty decent prospect in return in a situations like that, so why trade needed and valuable depth away before it's necessary?

IMO, the Phillies catchers are all staying in the organization for the forseeable future, unless the Phillies could get a good young prospect in return.

JW, love the shout out to Oregon Trail with the "mortally wounded" prairie dog quote.

Lets hope Coste doesn't get dysentery as well...

Yo, new thread

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