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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

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I don't feel like searching through archives but, several weeks ago, I actually predicted that the Phillies would end up with Jason Marquis. He is an absolutely quintessential Phillies pick-up.

My 2 cents: It is pretty frustrating to see names like Peavy, Oswalt, Bedard & Lee getting tossed around and then watch the Phillies -- as they do every year -- settle for the very definition of an average starter. Even if Marquis helps them in the short-term -- which he may or may not -- it would be a real missed opportunity to let all these high-end starters land with the competition, even though the Phillies certainly have the prospects to acquire one of them.

The Phillies reason that average is cheap, doesn't cost a lot in prospects, & still improves the team. And in each of the last 2 years, that average pitching acquisition was enough to help them win the division. It could be again but the problem with an average starting pitcher is that he is not always average. What makes them average is not that they are incapable of being effective, but that they often have long periods of woeful ineffectiveness, as Marquis did in 2006 and the second half of 2007. In other words, there is no guarantee that Jason Marquis is going to do for us what Kyle Lohse did in 2007 & Joe Blanton did last year. His chances of ending up as a total bust are fairly high. The same could not be said of guys like Peavy, Oswalt & Lee.

"control-challenged"

Nice. Remind me to send a check to the "National Control-challenged-life Assosication" to help them protect the natural habitat of all the control-challenged creatures out there.

And then I'm going out to buy one of those "Girls Gone Control-challenged" videos.

Michael Taylor really is mashing, wow.

More thoughts: Is Marquis worth a Marson-Carrasco-Donald type of prospect? Not even close. Is Marquis better than Moyer? Yes. Is he better than Blanton? If Blanton starts pitching to career norms, then almost certainly not.

Next question: would Moyer even be the guy that Marquis replaces in the rotation? Common sense says of course. My many years of careful observation say no.

The Phillies seem to be in denial about Moyer's problems. In fact, they seem to think he's improving. Having signed him to a 2-year contract, they are not going to concede defeat on him easily. Happ was nothing short of terrific in his first outing, and has been very solid whenever he has pitched. Yet, history says that the Phillies, for whatever reason, don't like him. They waited forever to call him up. Even after he performed well, they went out & traded for Blanton to replace him. Then they brought in baseball's worst starting pitcher to compete with him for a starting job. Then they gave the job to baseball's worst starting pitcher. Since the Phillies have been on a non-stop campaign to keep Happ out of the rotation, my guess is that if they did trade for Marquis, he would not take Moyer's spot in the rotation, but Happ's. If that's the case, this will not be an upgrade, but a substantial downgrade, and a totally wrong-headed one, considering Happ's youth, Marquis's contract status, and his decided lack of upside.

there is a nice interview with michael taylor on the readingphillies site and it includes game clips which presents a very exciting picture of his skill set. Thoughtful ballplayer possessing tools for the game.

BAP - I would agree on Moyer. Phils are just getting out from a bad expensive starting pitcher contract (Eaton) and now they have another year on one (Moyer).

Yeah, I am not crazy about a guy like Marquis but he would be an upgrade over Moyer and Blanton at this point.

As for Lohse/Blanton, neither guy was great down the stretch but they both were an upgrade from what they replaced. That is how I view Marquis and I would rather see two months of Marquis this summer than Moyer.

There really are two questions about Marquis (or any other starter the Phils acquire):

1. What do the Rockies want for Marquis? Given the premium that starting pitching is at right now, I imagine it is fairly high. Phils got Lohse for a relative song after the trading deadline but Blanton had a much higher asking price.

2. If the Phils do acquire another second-tier starter like Marquis would they take Happ out of the rotation (more likely) or make a more dramatic move with Moyer (pretty unlikely)? If they acquire another starter and yet keep Moyer in the rotation, this really might negate the value in acquiring an additional starter.

How about Brad Penny? He's on the block, has decent overall stuff, and has proven he's a legit pitcher in the NL. His 09 numbers arent' great but he's got his old velocity back.

He'd be worth a look and one decent prospect, right?

I wonder what Wade wants for Oswalt?

Based on his past trades, I would guess Quintin Berry(speedy no power CF) and a sack of magic beans would likely get us Roy Oswalt.

Just throwing this out there...

Is it possible that the Phils are targeting Marquis because he is available NOW while those other pitchers won't be available until the trade deadline?

I mean, I'm sure the Phils could inquire on a guy like Oswalt or Bedard, but those teams also know that they'll be able to get more for them come July when more teams are committed to bidding.

Just a thought. Not trying to defend what could end up being just a lateral move.

Agree with your second point entirely. And my fear is that this is where the Phillies are heading. I could see this trade ending up as a straight-up deal of Happ for Marquis, which would be an unmitigated disaster. Even if it's not a straight-up swap, it's hard for me to imagine the Phillies replacing a revered player like Moyer just 2 months into his contract. That's just not the way they operate.

If they acquire Marquis (and let's face it . . . once a name like this surfaces, it's already a done deal), and use him to replace Happ, the team will get worse, not better.

Wouldn't Happ for Marquis be downgrading the rotation?

On general principle, I would'nt take Penny. The Phillies could have signed him for free in the off-season, now Boston wants a prospect for him after watching him get hammered for 2 months?

Kendrick and or Carpenter for Marquis. Nothing more... and I would only want him if he was taking Moyer's spot, (not Blanton or Happ).

Why would you want to remove Happ from the rotation? That would be considered stupid. AND, if someone is taking Moyer's spot, where's Moyer going?

FWIW, Penny had a rough April but he's settled down in May with a 3-1 record, 4.41 ERA in his last 5 starts. This despite a ridiculous .347 BABIP for the month (career BABIP is .304).

He would be a good addition stuff wise and he'd be playing for a new contract. He's much better and Marquis.

mikes77: It would take more than Kendrick. I'm thinking someone like Joe Savery or Michael Stutes.

NEPP - Don't we have a full sack of magic beans left from the Monasterios trade? Or did we already give some of them to Wade when we acquired the Gnome?

Willy/NEPP: I'm not telling you what I think SHOULD happen. I'm telling you what I think WILL happen. For a cynic like me, there is a huge difference between the 2.

That's the biggest problem...

If the Phils do intend on getting a starting pitcher, and they replaced Moyer, where would he go?

He's not injured.
There's no way he goes to the minors.
They won't release him.
He won't retire.

There's little chance of the Phils bringing in a starting pitcher to replace Moyer.

**** if someone is taking Moyer's spot, where's Moyer going? ****

Mid-season retirement ala Schmidty followed by a renegotiation of his contract so he is a roving pitching instructor. That would work. I doubt he's gonna continue to go out there and get hammered every 5th day. He seems like the type that has too much pride to Eaton his way through a contract like that. I could see Amaro (and ownership) doing the right thing and cutting a deal with him to pay him the money over a few more years and keep him in the Organization. He relocated his family from Seattle to Florida so there's no real reason for him to leave the Org.

The poor Tampa Bay Rays, they make it to the world series yet ESPN still don't know their name.

Today's poll: Will the Devil Rays make the playoffs with Akinori Iwamura out for the season?

By the way, I usually don't bother getting worked up about rumors, but this particular rumor I'm taking as an accomplished fact. The only issues left to be resolved are who we trade away and whose spot in the rotation Marquis takes.

I grew up in a small, rural town where everyone knew each other and there was no such thing as a false rumor. If you heard that So-and-so's wife was sleeping with So-and-so's husband, you would never just dismiss the information as a baseless rumor: you knew with 100% certainty, it was true. That's exactly the way I feel whenever I see the Phillies linked to a spectacularly mediocre starting pitcher like Jason Marquis.

The more I hear this "Moyer's a stand up guy who will retire for the benefit of the team" idea, the more I wonder why he insisted on a multi-year deal. If he was so interested in doing something for the team instead of for himself, why did he need an extra year on the contract?

If he wanted the money then, and he negotiated for it, why wouldn't he want it now? I simply do not see him graciously retiring.

BAP, I'd like to argue with that premonition but sadly I can't really disagree. All we can hope is that the Rockies turn us down. That's about the only way to prevent us from this trade...or perhaps Marquis blows out his elbow in his next start.

ZT - Maybe it's a trick question. Of course the Devil Rays won't make the playoffs.


The Rays might, though.

This notion that Moyer would retire just because he is getting hammered due to "pride" and walk away from at least $10M guaranteed is nonsense. I can't imagine any athlete retiring and walking away from $10M let alone a guy who never really had a really big contract/payday in his entire career.

****If he wanted the money then, and he negotiated for it, why wouldn't he want it now? I simply do not see him graciously retiring.****

I doubt he'd just retire. I could see them working out a deal where he still gets paid though. There are plenty of precedents for that happening and our current FO has a pretty solid track record of doing the "right thing" when it comes to players. The Jaramillo deal for example where part of Amaro's stated reason was to give him a chance to make an MLB roster since it wasn't happening in Philly. I believe they just did the same thing with Lehr as well.

Why not send some dudes to Houston for Oswalt then send Blanton and the Gnome to Cleveland for DeRosa?

(I know that's thinking too much like a Fantasy Baseball manager. But it's the only way to keep the blood pressure down when Junior's about to send Worley and Taylor to COL for Marquis.)

Andy: That trade (Taylor/Worley for Marquis) looks like its too real. I can most definitely see that going down. I'm getting mad at just the thought of it.

****I can't imagine any athlete retiring and walking away from $10M let alone a guy who never really had a really big contract/payday in his entire career. ****

FWIW, he's averaged $6.5 million a year for the past 9 seasons...not including 09. But again, I doubt he simply retires but I could see them working something out to clear that money in the short-term but still pay him.

Besides... Jamie isn't walking away before his 250th win no matter what.

The bigger question is why is Cholly taking the limited position of "all or nothing" on Lidge:

“I want Lidge to feel like we’ve got all the confidence in the world in him because I do,” said Manuel, sitting in the dugout at Citizens Bank Park before the Phillies began a three-game series against the Florida Marlins. “People are going to voice opinions and say, ‘Sit him.’ What’s that going to do for him? Sooner or later, he’s got to get out there and pitch and get somebody out.

“What’s going to be good for him is when he goes out and throws a good inning. He does that a couple days in a row, and then I think you’ll see a huge difference. Once he gets his command, he’ll be off to the races. Sitting is just kind of prolonging it.”

So the solutions (according to Cholly) with Lidge are to either make him the last guy in the bullpen or to keep using him as closer? Ugh.

Cholly has never impressed with me that much with his tactical decisions in a game but hands down his most negative trait as a manager is his insistence on sticking with something that is clearly not working.

You can't panic and change things on a game-to-game basis but it has been 2 months and a 1/3 of the season is gone.

Is it really that radical of a solution to use Lidge in a non-closer role for the next 2-3 weeks to see how he responds?

What I don't understand is how Cholly is largely a genius since this team won the WS and he can't be questioned on what is a pretty limited view on a situation and a real pigheaded decision.

He's a players manager, MG. For better or worse, he's extremely loyal to his players.

CJ, I agree that he won't do anything before win #250.

MG: What do you expect Charlie to say? There is NO WAY he goes out in the press and says anything else. I suspect that privately the Phils are looking at alternatives... plans for Madson to close, etc.

But publically? Charlie has his guy's back. Always has, always will. Don't get too worked up about it.

NEPP & CJ - There is a huge difference between blind loyalty and throwing Lidge under the bus per se. Cholly have taken a more middle ground without criticizing Lidge at all. Almost every manager in MLB does the same.

MG: Think you're way off there. The limited view is making the decision today instead of considering the implications for a 162 game season. As good as Madson has been, there wasn't much reason to think he could EVER close until last year. Charlie is taking a long term view and considering Lidge has his velocity and his slider still, it really isn't that much of a stretch to think he can't work it out at the ML level.

MG: I'm curious about how often Charlie has taken this "middle road." He is a player's coach. I mean, how many times did he actually call out even Adam Eaton!?!?

I just took a look at Nestor's stats; wow. In, like, 250 career minor league games he averaged 6.3 BB/9. That truly is control-challenged.

Oh, by the way, did everyone see that Maxim's Hot woman of the year is Olivia "Control-challengede"

{please note the extra "e"}

Marquis is a back of the rotation starter. Now that is nice to have for the 2nd half push, but I would really like to see the Phils go after someone who would be the #2 guy and push everyone else back a spot. Right now with most teams having the attendance down, and with ours above last years we should be able to afford it. Also taking on a big contract shouldn't hurt because that pitcher would then fill in for the loss of Myers to FA.
Now this is what I would like to see but I think it is a pipe dream.

CJ - Cholly has taken the middle road before a bunch including just last year with Myers.

As for criticizing players, Cholly's policy there has even evolved over the last 2 years as Cholly has begun to call out some of his players publicly the last 2 years including JRoll last year and Werth this spring. He is just usually more subtle with it and not bombastic.

sneed - Putting your head into the sand isn't a strategy. Lidge has been one of the worst pitchers in MLB so far and one of the worst 2-3 relievers.

It is not like Lidge has struggled and blown a couple of saves only. He is generally giving up runs each time out this past month (and with no inherited runners).

This team doesn't need to demote Lidge but putting him out there time & time again the closer's role right now is ridiculous.

As for Madson, he has the best stuff on this team right now hands down and his attitude really has shifted over the past year. He almost never dicks around with a hitter now and usually goes right at him. Radical change of departure from even last April. I would bet good money that Madson could close and be a very solid option.

MG: When I get back from lunch, I'll try to look back at quotes about Myers. I just don't remember Manuel coming out and talking down his players very often.

The notion that Moyer will retire gracefully is simply naive. Moyer has 7 kids and, as MG points out, he has never had a huge payday. During off-season contract negotiations, he vigorously held out for a 2-year deal, instead of a 1-year deal. He did that because he knew this was his last major league paycheck and he wanted to squeeze as much money out of the Phillies as possible. He did not do it so that he could walk away 2 months into his contract.

A buyout is more plausible. As I recall, Moyer's contract was for around $13M in base pay, but also included some substantial incentives based on innings pitched. The $13M is money out the door. But if the Phillies demote Moyer, he's never going to make a dime on the incentive clauses. So if they paid him the $13M base pay, plus a small additional amount, maybe he could be induced to take it.

MG: Moving him from the closers role is likely going to be perceived a demotion to Lidge, don't you think? All I am saying is the "limited" view is the overreaction right now. AROD is the best hitter in baseball. Throwing him a fastball on a full count with an open base was a mistake. The Yankees had 5 walk off wins this month. Perhaps it was coincidence that Lidge struggled again up there after three quality appearances in a row.

I love Madson, but your perception that his "attitude" has shifted over the past year is just that. We have no idea how he responds to the pressure of the 9th inning role. In the meantime, you have to give the guy who was perfect last year another couple of weeks to work things out. This team is a lot better with the dynamic 8-9 combo of last year than without it. If Lidge's track record shows anything its that his confidence can be destroyed easily. Charlie is doing what has to be done to keep him focused and involved. If Charlie has proven anything, it's that he knows how to manage professional ego's.

I refuse to think management is stupid enough to trade Happ, Taylor, or some other upper-end prospect for Marquis. I'm not saying it's an impossibility we trade for him, but I could see Marson or Donald being a more realistic centerpiece.

sneed - I don't have an issue with Lidge blowing a few saves. It is that his overall numbers are horrible and he is clearly struggling it the closer role.

In 2006 & 2007, actually Lidge responded well when he was put in the setup role and his career numbers are better as a setup guy.

The most reasonable thing to do would be to move Lidge to the setup-role for even 2 weeks to see if he responds.

Interesting off topic point I just looked up after realizing Howard was not listed in Carson's blog for number of Howards(HR, BB, and error in one game). Ryan Howard has ZERO errors this season.

MG - His numbers as a setup guy are kind of skewed because he was nasty in that role as rookie while Wagner was closing in Houston. His numbers as a setup guy, since he was demoted in Houston are, as a small sample, just about on par with his best years as a closer. They are much better than 2006, of course, where a similar move was made (moving him to the setup role) and results did not begin to show until the very end of the season, and then into 2007.


Which brings me to this: He really had one bad year - the 2006 season after the Pujols home run, which may or may not have caused his slide. That can only be debated in a more subjective, irrational forum. In 2006 his homer total doubled from the year before. Some of that was due to luck, some of it was due to location. Otherwise, his splits stayed about normal, which suggests to me that its not stuff, but confidence that is his real issue. If you can follow my logic there (and if you disagree I see your point) then I think we can jump to the next conclusion together: Charlie is actually doing what's best for the team, Lidge, and possibly Madson, by not making a knee jerk reaction in late May and putting a $30 mil reliever in the setup role. If Madson has a bad appearance or two and Lidge settles, do we switch back right away? What does that do for Madson? Currently, Madson is a great setup guy. Let's give Lidge more time to get right so we don't have to consider all of these transverse options and how they might affect each other in the future.

The Phillies have done their share of stupid things, but there is literally 0 percent chance they would include Michael Taylor in a Jason Marquis deal. The Phillies absolutely hate to part with their top prospects (that's not a criticism; just an observation). The whole reason that they always fix their sites on mediocrities like Jason Marquis is because they know they can get these guys without trading away the likes of Michael Taylor.

Marquis is similar in caliber to Joe Blanton except that he is a lot more expensive ($10M this year) and, unlike Blanton, he is in his walk year. That means his trade value is much less than Blanton's was. I think we're talking about a package of Joe Savery/Micheal Stutes/Jason Knapp type of prospects.

BAP: Assume you agree but can't express anything other than outrage if they dealt Savery/Stutes for Marquis.

At the very least Happ needs 5 starts before you can make a move, unless it is for a front line starter. If that's the case then I hope they do it as soon as possible. Better to have an ace like pitcher (Oswalt, Bedard) for closer to a full season than just the final 2 months of the season.

Is it just me or are the Brewers of 2009 looking like the Phillies of 2008? Young staff ace, 4 question marks behind him that are overachieving, a bullpen that has been lights out led by a reincarnated closer, a young offense loaded with run producers, and a wildcard loss the season before in their first taste of the postseason?

Between Milwaukee and the Dodgers when Manny comes back the Phils likely have to make moves this year if they want to win the NL again.

sneed: Here's where I stand.

1. I would prefer Bedard over Marquis. He has much more upside and, given his expiring contract & the strong market for starting pitching, I believe he can probably be gotten without having to include Taylor or Brown.

2. I would NOT be outraged if they traded Savery and/or Stutes for Marquis. Marquis would be better than Moyer and those guys are dime-a-dozen prospects.

3. However, I would be extremely outraged if they traded for Marquis (or anyone else) and used him to replace Happ instead of Moyer.

As presently constituted, I can't see the Brewers beating out the Cubs, but they are a formiddible team. They have a lot of power in their lineup and their starting pitching is way better than they are given credit for. Gallardo is a legitimate ace; the oft-maligned Dave Bush is actually a very good pitcher; and Looper is a solid No. 3. The back-end of their rotation is problematic, but the Brewers have shown a recent willingness to be big players at the trade deadline. I would look for one of the available big-name starters to end up with them.

Gallardo is quietly putting up a really, really good year. He's an ace.

****The Phillies have done their share of stupid things, but there is literally 0 percent chance they would include Michael Taylor in a Jason Marquis deal. The Phillies absolutely hate to part with their top prospects (that's not a criticism; just an observation). ****

Cardenas was our top position prospect when we traded him last year...

Stutes is not a dime-a-dozen prospect. Didn't some write from BA say he could be a #3?

If we give up Taylor for Jason Marquis, Amaro should be fired on the spot. I'm not COMPLETELY against Jason Marquis, although I would advise strongly against, but giving up any of your serious high upside prospects (Drabek, Taylor, Brown) for Marquis is a terrible decision. Donald would be ok. I personally wouldn't do Marson or Carrasco, but I'd actually be better with giving up either of those instead of the guys I listed above.

Also, if they give up anything of value for Marquis, and then use him to replace Happ in the rotation, Amaro should also be fired. Just a terrible waste of resources.

Speaking of that deal...how about Josh Outman? He's already better than Blanton! Billy Beane is insane. He should just go work for a club that can spend some money and see what he can do.

Cardenas hit .396/.471/.626 to start the year in AA before getting promoted to AAA where he is off to a slow start. He could be a good defensive middle infielder with a little pop and a little speed, with the potential to be a high OBP/top of the lineup type in Oakland for several years.

The A's got a lot for Blanton and he helped us win a World Series.

NEPP: Ok, make that 1 percent.

I do think Cardenas was a much different situation than Taylor. Taylor is considerably closer to the the majors than Cardenas was, and his stats considerably better. Plus, Cardenas played a position where there wasn't much future with the Phillies. Blanton also had significantly more value than Marquis because he was a lot cheaper & was arbitration eligible for several more years.

sneed - One of those trades that works out for everybody, albeit in very different ways.

NEPP: True, but Blanton wasn't becoming a free agent at season's end.

"Charlie is doing what has to be done to keep (Lidge) focused and involved. If Charlie has proven anything, it's that he knows how to manage professional egos." --Sneed

You know what? (and I speak to all you who know what it means to love and play baseball) --- I would love to play for Charlie! I would think that he would allow me play up to my potential, whatever that would be. You can't ask for more than that as a ball player.

The Phils 2011 starting OF is Brown-Taylor-Mayberry. Not bad.

sneed: I'm not sure we should be naming Mayberry a starter in the OF just yet. He's got a lot to prove. I have high hopes, but his "prospect" status is still up in the air.

where's Ibanez, sneed?

Sneed: Ibanez is signed through 2011, so you think they'll eat that money, or what? Clearly he's not gonna be producing like he is right now, but there's still a chance he'll be a reasonably capable MLB player, in which case the Phillies will pretty much have to start him to justify the contract.

Just another bonus to giving a 37-year old corner OF a 3-year deal when you're two best position prospects are corner OFs.

My guess is your OF in 2011 is either Ibanez-Victorino-Taylor or Taylor-Victorino-Brown, depending on whether Ibanez makes it an easy decision on cutting him and eating the cost. Going from left to right. I don't see them getting rid of Shane because of his defense out there in center.

Mayberry as 4th OF, or be traded.

Meant to type 2012, but either way I can easily see them going young in the OF as they try to rotate the next crop of talent into town.

I see Ibanez being more of a platoon player with a nightly defensive replacement at that point. They can afford to do that for ONE year if the other 3 outfielders are making league minimum or there about.

In 2011, Taylor will be 25--he will be starting somewhere, either for the Phillies or somewhere else (hopefully here). Brown will be 23, so while he looks like a special prospect right now, it's certainly possible he could hit a bump in Double-A and need a year in Triple-A in 2011.

My opinion based on topics at hand today:

- Still believe Lidge should be closer and let him work out of his pitching slump, or DL him. Do not move him to setup.

- Marquis is a big fat "NO". His numbers have decreased each year since 2004.

-Bedard again is a big fat "NO", because he will A.) cost to much B.) will be a free agent and most importantly C.) can be a headcase

- Our best option is to let things roll until end of June. If we need pitching still then maybe tap into Eddie Wade and get Oswalt for possibly Donald and Kendrick, or something to that effect.

"Ibanez is in an assisted living community in 2011 after the roids have ravaged his system for the next 2 years."

Really?? You think he is on roids? You are wrong. His body hasn't changed at all. The reason he has so many Homeruns this year is because as I said all along, he is seeing more fastballs than he did ever in Seattle. Becuase of hitting between Utley and Howard. This is exactly why I wanted him here all along. He hits for contact but if he gets a fastball, he can drive it.

mvptommyd: Please don't feed the trolls. Thanks.

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