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Friday, June 26, 2009


Said it the other day but Sabean realized that guys like Taschner & Walker (along with Hennessey) were a reason on why the Giants' bullpen had largely stunk the last 2 years. They finally realized that even though they might have a very good rotation that they needed to upgrade their middle relief too after watching bums like Taschner cost them too many games the past 2 years.

I will say this about Taschner - he was the only guy in three years I lived out in SF and went to the occasional Giants' game that got booed lustily by the relatively passive fans there. In fact, it was a Philly level of boos usually and it wasn't uncommon to here him called "Trashner" or worse. That was surprising because the only guy I remember getting booed worse was Armando Benitez and rightly so.

Where to start? seems like a good time to offer a midterm grade for the first-year GM.

/grabs popcorn, sits back.

El Pulpo just signed with the Barnstormers...perhaps we could give him a shot?

What bothers me the most is that in some years, there was a mystery about which areas most needed improvement. This year, it's starting pitching. Yes, you will probably have to overpay. Gillick "overpaid" for Blanton, and it worked out fairly well. We are in a freefall and need a starting pitcher.

Amaro's grade should be a solid D.

Besided Ibanez?
what has he done... And I have a crappy feeling by mid next year, even Ibanez wont be considered a good pick up.

Can't the All Star break start this coming Monday?

Grade B- (just on player acquisitions and not on long-term deals)

1. Ibanez has been terrific (even with the injury)

2. Eyre has been solid before hitting the DL

3. Mayberry for Golson trade. Mayberry has contribued in a positive way even if it has only been in really small portions.

1. Moyer has been so-so at best and it was hard to believe that any other team in MLB was going to offer him a 2nd guaranteed year

2. Signing Park to what was starter's money and then allowing him to be a starter.

3. Resigning Bruntlett at notable dollars as the backup middle utility INF. Hard to believe that couldn't have found a better player option for $800k.

4. Jamarillo/Paulino/Taschner trade sequence has been Amaro's single worst set of moves hands down.

On the offensive side, Amaro has generally been okay but the failure to find a right-handed bat was kind of puzzling. Still, Ibanez has been terrific and Mayberry looks like he might be that right-handed bat.

On the pitching front, Amaro' moves have backfired in his face. Signing Eyre was a solid move but he did nothing to upgrade the pitching staff this offseason.

If you would have judged Amaro by his own self-proclaimed goals at the start of the offseason of acquiring a right-handed bat, upgrading pitching, and defense, I would say Amaro was a failure in all three regards.

The most disheartening thing is that it looks like more than a slump - the Phillies have looked like a flat-out bad team, a sub-.500 team, for over two weeks. They have been without some important pieces, but that doesn't explain why they're playing with their heads tucked between their legs, if not all the way up their arses.

I don't know if I believe in midterm grades for GMs. You really do need a full season to begin judging. I'm not this huge Ruben Amaro fan or anything, but people have to remember that Gillick was also largely inactive and seemingly ineffectual during the first halves of his three seasons with the Phillies.

One thing we can tell from here is that the effort to build bullpen depth was more or less a mirage. A huge pile of crap is still just crap. And then there was the Ronny Paulino head-scratcher. And the Kendrick hair-tearer-outer. And Paul Bako. Okay, I'd better stop there before I contradict the content of the previous paragraph.

The Ibanez signing gives Rube a 'C' for his mid-season grade.

The Paulino for Jaramillo trade was terrible.

Signing a 45 year old pitcher to a multi-year contract was terrible.

Miguel Cairo and Paul Bako spending time on a top teams roster for extended periods of time was/is awful.

One last point while watching the game last night...

Is it me, or does Chooch Ruiz look like he has lost a lot of weight, even since the start of the season? As I was watching him flailing away and seeing his average heading towards the low .200's again, I was struck (don't know why I hadn't noticed earlier) how much lighter and smaller Chooch looked. He's a short guy to begin with, but he looks really light to me.

I wonder what the story is with that?

Marson has gotten red-hot at Lehigh Valley the past few weeks. Maybe Chooch has something wrong with him? Don't know.

Welcome to a Mets fans hell. (But at least we have a convenient "injury" excuse) Anyway, this is what happens when you have a bad bullpen. Hopefully for you guys Lidge will regain his form from last year. Not to say he has to be perfect, but without him being close to lights out, I don't think the Phills stand a chance to get far in the postseason.

D? Come'on. I am from an Amaro fan and wanted to see Arbuckle get the job since Amaro to me represented all of the wrong qualities in a GM (old-boys network, no real track record, butt-kisser & toady to Dave Montgomery and Co.)

We'll see but saying that Amaro has been a "D" or "F" so far as GM is ridiculous. He also deserves some real credit for locking up players like Howard, Madson, and Werth.

denny b - Why is it really surprising that Chooch is going into a prolonged hitting funk where he does nothing for at least 3-4 weeks? He has done it in his last two season and frankly doesn't isn't a decent MLB hitter.

The problem with his slumps is that they last so long (at least a month) and that he is so bad in them (sub .200 AVG with no pop whatsoever).

Couple things at play here and need to stay in front of the discussion.

1.) A majority of the moves Amaro made were designed to get rid of arbitration abttles for guys over the next few years and make certain this nucleus of guys was together and have a shot to win again. He gambled that a core of Howard, Werth, Victorino, Hamels, Lidge, and Madson along with Utley and Rollins is good enough to win. I don't think at the beginning of the year any of us would've disagreed.

2.) You also need to try and think of moves at the time they happened and not with hndsight. For example, Jason Jaramillo was not going to help the team this year. They needed a lefty in the bullpen and he identified a guy that filled that need. I don't think Jaramillo gets that done. So he swapped for a catcher who had a better chance at that. It absolutely has not worked out.

On other notes- He overpaid for Bruntlett. Eric will help you as a speed guy off the bench and gives you some defensive versatility off the bench late in games. He is an offensive liability though. He's not worth what he is currently making however.

Amaro brought in a bunch of infielders to be prepared in case Utley or Feliz missed a bunch of time. He stockpiled veteran arms in Lehigh Valley to be prepared but one walked and the other has not panned out.

I think we can all agree though that the Ibanez signing, for this year alone, has been an upgrade over what they had and a bright spot in the line-up.

TO me the grade is still somewhere in the middle but right now closer to the bottom C-/D+. The good news for him though is this- many GM's make their living by working the trade deadline. Let's see what kind of magic he can work here and how that leaves the grade.

denny- Maybe that's why they are sticking w/ Bako. I'm trying to make sense of it.

I typed the wrong grade. I meant to write C/C-

Frankly I am amazed that people thought this team would be great shape with all of the injuries, schedule, and their suspect starting rotation.

I am much more willing to see where the Phils are in another 2 weeks at the All-Star break and how they play against the Braves/Mets in their upcoming series. If they continue to play this badly for the next 2 weeks and are potentially 3rd in the NL East at the ASB, then I might get a bit worried.

Silver lining in the Bastardo injury is that he should be mercifully relieved of duty. Despite Conlin's glowing review of him, he's clearly not MLB ready. How much longer do we go w/ farm hands until RA makes a move for a real MLB SP? At this point I'd take a Brad Penny type just b/c he KNOWS how to pitch.

I'd give Amaro a C- so far. Good job resigning the core plus the Ibanez move. Other than that it's been mostly misses. He needs to get Charlie some tools in the shed.

oh BLer, another day in foolishness. We all knew this interleague schedule would be rough. Last year, we were 4-11. This year we are 4-11 with 1 series left. Why are we grading Rube now, when 2 weeks ago, we were doing great and now we hit a midseason wall.

People on here so far giving "C"'s and "D"'s are clueless.

Let's take inventory shall we? Myers(#2), Lidge(closer), Eyre( specialist), Ibanez(Hr's and RBI's say enough) are all on the DL. Rollins stinks this year on the whole, Moyer is ok at best.

With that, how is this mini slump Rube's fault? By the way, it was here on BLer that people were screaming for Walker. Like MG said, let's wait until the ASB to make assesments.

Baseball America has an update on last year's top international free agent signings. . . has anyone ever heard a reason for why teams with less financial resources like the Padres and Rangers can have so much success in Latin America while the Phillies just seem to ignore the market? Who on the big league roster was signed out of Latin America by the Phillies? Ruiz and Bastardo? None of the teams top prospects are from outside the U.S. The entirety of the Phillies' international scouting has produced a league avg. catcher and a swing man? Now there's a real failure of management for you. Amaro hasn't had time to really affect that yet, but I don't think the Phil's are linked to any of this year's top players either.

JBird: Carrasco is from outside the U.S. But, yeah, your basic point is right.

As for Amaro, grades at this point don't make a lot of sense. I'll save my mid-term grade for the morning after the Michael Taylor for Sidney Ponson trade.

Early favorite for the 2010 Jeff Jackson Award: 2009 first round pick Kelly Dugan (1 for 11, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk), although I wouldn't count out Zach Collier (.221/.278/.315, 28% strikeout rate).

Of course, it will be tough to knock Hewitt off his thrown.

JBird - Since the current ownership bought the team, they are notorious for hardly spending any money in Latin America especially in the more popular markets like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Something really has gone on for the last 25 years or so.

They have focused on some lesser popular overseas territories (Australia, Venezuela, Panama, etc) but they largely believe in spending and developing players through the US draft.

Even then, last year was the first year the Phils really spent any kind of real money again in the draft since the days of the big bonuses to Floyd and Hamels since the late 90s/early 2000s.

Why would the Phillies want to waste money on Latin American scouting operation? Has there ever been a decent major leaguer who came out of that region of the world? Do they even play baseball there?

thats why Lidge was the hands dowm MVP of the National League last year.......anyways welcome to the hell hole that is the NL EAST.

mvptommy: Don't you have to take Ibanez's injury into consideration for Amaro's grade? You have to expect a 37-year old will have injury concerns, or at least you should. It's not like Myers or Lidge, where the injuries sort of came out of nowhere. When you sign a 37-year old to a 3-year, 30 million deal, part of the risk is of injuries. So when he gets injured, you don't get a free pass on it.

Wow. Is it panic mode already here? It hasn't been fun to watch the past couple weeks, but all the pessimism is a bit premature...

IbaƱez has provided more than the entire value of this year's money in just the first third of this season. Even if you can pin his breakdown on Amaro, it's certainly to early to say he overpaid.

It's still waaay to early to grade Amaro. Bruntlett is stealing his paycheck, but Mayberry seems serviceable as an RHB. The relief puzzle is a problem, but almost everyone who was key last year is playing below replacement level, so it's tough to pin on Amaro per se. Taschner is a mess, but if he's providing a lot of runs below replacement, it probably means the rest of your Pen is a mess--which it is. Durbin, Romero, Eyre, and Lidge are all pitching below replacement.

Maybe Amaro should have seen that coming, but if he had replaced half the pen in the offseason, we would all be screaming bloody murder.

calling up Paul Bako and leaving him on the roster this long is enough to give him a horrible grade.

Wait, wasn't Bastardo declared in a Beerleaguer headline to be "2009 Rookie Sensation" or something like that?

Now he "doesn't belong in the big leagues"?

From last thread:
I propose the Phillies create an annual "Jeff Jackson Award," named after the 4th overall pick of the 1989 draft, a kid out of Simeon HS in Chicago with tremendous tools, strength, size, speed, range, throwing arm, reflexes. The Phillies cut him loose at age 22 because he had no baseball skills at all. He couldn't even get on the team bus right.

This award would go to the 1st or 2nd round pick with the most tools and the least results. Past winners would've been Greg Golson and C.J. Henry.

Early favorite for this year's Jackson Award is Anthony Hewitt, boasting a .115/.172/.192 line after 7 games in his second season at Williamsport. He's also made 3 errors in 17 chances for a snappy .824 FA.

Andy asked whether the "Jackson" would be limited to the current year's draft class. The answer is no, any 1st or 2nd rounder in the Phillies system can win it.

MG: Puerto Rico's been subject to the draft for about 15(?) years now and I think Venezuela qualifies as a major scouting hub. I wish the Phils would spend more money there. However, you're right about the strategy, I've heard that before, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Australia's produced, like, 3 major league players. Their players always seem to top out in AAA. Remember when the team spent about $2 million on that pair of Korean pitchers and neither of them turned out? I know the Latin kids don't always pan out either, but if you're going to spend the money, spend it on the better bet.$2 million will get you one of the top 5 Latin prospects ..Now if they could lure some of those players off the Korean WBC club here, then they might have something.

What makes Jeff Jackson all the more galling, in my mind, was that Frank Thomas was taken 3 picks later.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we keep calling all these draft picks "toolsy" but with no baseball skills.

I thought that the "5 tools" were hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, good arm, and good defense. Three of those tools are inherently baseball skills.

Aren't all the "toolsy" candidates for the Jeff Jackson Award actually just good athletes who overpowered high school competition but actually have, at best, 2 of the 5 tools?

To intersect the Jackson and Latin America discussions, Why can the Phillies get so excited about super-athletic-no-skills 18 yo American kids but not super-athletic-with-skills 16 yo kids from the Dominican Republic?

dwr: Traditionally the 5 tools are hitting for average, hitting for power, running, throwing and fielding. But everyone on any HS baseball team can do that.

At the professional level, you have to translate those tools into baseball skills: controlling the strike zone, adjusting your hitting approach to the situation, translating speed into base-runner and fielding skills, fielding reliability and range, positioning etc.

Lots of 5-tools players lack professional baseball skills.

The levele of play of the last couple weeks, when it comes from a bunch of guys like

clout -
In re: the JJ award

Good! Cause the 2007 draft year was fortuitously lacking in "toolsy" types. But this year may be awash with them, since the top two picks (I'm hoping that counts even though Hudson was third round) should wear a Makita patch on their uniforms.

I do wonder if D'Arby Myers could get some sort of "honorable mention" prize even though he wasn't drafted all that high.

I bet the Phillies could field a mean Arena League Football team. Maybe that's the team's ultimate goal, turn the Blue Claws into an expansion team for the ALF II.

Found the answer to J-Rolls slump on Baseball Almanac :
"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"- Yogi Berra

You are all a bunch of whiners.


They are still in first place.

Shouldn't Carrasco get the same chance Bastardo had?

Yeah. STOP BITCHING. We are in a slump. And I know half of you chumps were tuggin' ole charlie and the boys off after that met's series a ways back. Just chill out bro's. You can criticize without sounding like a 15-year old girl who just got stood up for a date. And I am talking to you CLOUT and you JACK. BL ELITE MY ASS. Lets give ole rube the benefit of the doubt and give him a chance to make a deadline move. Once clay and lidge are back and in good form all will be well. Bro's, I implore you: Trust Charlie and the boys. The boys of summer will ride high again.

Zeez Out

sneed - Yeah people have been a bit over the top but this team has played really poorly of late.

Yeah its interleague play but they got some breaks that a good team does capitalize on including missing Halladay twice and getting swept by an O's team that is one of the worst road teams.

They also have notable mental gaffes in just about every game they have played for the past 2+ weeks (almost 3 weeks) and if they weren't in the NL East they would be 2.5 GB in the WC.

What I want to see if where this team stands at the All-Star break. They have 2 important series coming up against the Braves/Mets next week and don't have an off-day again until ASB break on July 13 after their off-day on the 29th.

It is not crazy right now to suggest that this team may well be .500 at ASB and that frankly.

Just for comparison sakes, the Phils were 52-44 (.5 up on the Mets) in '08 and 45-44 on July 13th.

Phils have tended to not play their best baseball under Cholly in the first half due to a couple of factors but in '05 & '06 this team went into the ASB with a mediocre record and was home in Oct.

If they go into the ASB at .500 (or say 1 game above .500), I give this team better than a 50-50 shot of being home again in Oct.

Check out this video of an awesome bat trick.

click here, click here, click here

I don't understand the stupidity of fans who suggest that just playing very mediocre baseball in the 1st place (say .500 or so) is fine because "this is a 2nd half team."

Reality is that the Phils played relatively poorly in '05 and '06 before the All-Star and were home each year in October despite playing better in the 2nd half.

In '07, the Phils only made the playoffs in part because of a historic collapse by the Mets.

Reality is that even if "this is a 2nd half team), if they go into the ASB at .500 or so, they will almost likely be home again in Oct.

Wow, Dugan is already a bust.

Truth: Good point about the Jaramillo trade. People seem to forget(on purpose?) that Paulino was terrible in ST and was rumored(BL myth or real?) to have an attitude problem. Small sample and all that, but there's some personal responsibility there too.

Good point with Bruntlett. Not sure why they moved in so fast on him.

Overall, i'm not wowed by Amaro. Good signings with Howard, Hamels, Werth, good trade for Mayberry(although, not a major move) and the rest is very "eh".

Though at this point, what he does in the next month or so is what concerns me.


Did any of those teams have a comparable rash of injuries at once?

This team is not in a slump. A slump is when you're in a funk for a short amount of time. This teams shitty pitch staff has been shitty all season. That's not a slump, that's just a shitty pitching staff.

A headline on, straight from an 80's high school movie:

Norris Hopper Traded For Corky Miller

Bed Beard: Your kidding about Dugan right?

BB: Sounds like the high schools from Hoosiers got together on a trade, doesn't it? The integrated South Bend team sends Norris Hopper to Hickory for Corky Miller.

Jesus christ people, Sneed and Zeez are right. Everyone just loves to freak out here. Two weeks, out of a 5 and a half month long baseball season, is definitely a slump, not a sign of the damn apocalypse.

Especially when you consider all the injury issues. Add in interleague play (the Blue Jays would be a playoff team in the NL), and it's at least understandable that they're struggling. Combine the injuries and the schedule with a natural "slump" that some teams go into for short periods, and this is nothing out of the ordinary.

Seriously, eveyone, deep breaths. We won the World Series last year. Just chill out. Most likely, this team will bounce back and be fine. If they don't, well, that will suck, but so be it. JUST RELAX.

Sneed: I was being sacrastic (re: Dugan), b/c someone is already comparing him to Jackson.

but jack, there's nothing fun about relaxing. we should be talking about where we are trading utley, howard, and hamels and burning this whole wretched mess to the ground, and starting over.

Just to give people some perspective, last year the Rays had the best record in baseball. They had two different stretches where they lost 10 of 13.

"Not the sign of the damn apocalypse" (voice). Brilliant.

Look, if one more person harps on the Taschner deal, as if it's the Monica Lewinsky mistake of Amaro's career, I'm going to lose it. Until a rash of injuries to our pitching staff, he was pitching once every ten days. He was a 50 game replacement for crying out loud. 50 games. 1/3 of a season.

The reason this team is struggling is a confluence of factors, as Jack pointed out, that lined up at the same time, as they tend to do during a 162 game season. We've now lost our leading hitter, home run and RBI leader, our # 2 starter, our Closer and LOOGY within a month.

The Blue Jays might be the best team in the NL.

Two teams that were good wire to wire last year in the ML: Angels and Cubs.

Both lost in the first round.

RELAX. It's not time to start finding flaws with our single-A prospects because the Phillies draft too many "toolsy" players and not enough Latin Americans.

Look how many guys they drafted on the team that just won the World Series.

bb: Obviously he's not a bust yet. But, based on all the scouting reports, he has bust written all over him.

I love how people come onto Beerleaguer and say "You're so negative! Stop whining!"

A)The team is playing awful, and there's PLENTY of things to complain about. If you actually watched last night's game, I don't see how you could have any problem with the "what have you done for me lately" mentality. It was that bad.

B)This is a sports blog. It wouldn't exist if everyone came in and said "Man, I love the Phillies! I know they'll turn it around!" Sit back, enjoy the fun, and find your favorite crappy draft pick to complain about.

I think you said the same thing about Savery-immediately. I'd slow your roll a bit.

Okay, let's look at the moves Amaro's made this offseason:

Letting Burrell Walk and Signing Raul Ibanez in return: So far, that's been the right call, even if Ibanez has been hurt lately. Think about where the team would be with Burrell's production vs. Ibanez. Pat The Bat is hitting (AVG/OPB/SLG) .243/.354/.324 for the Rays with 2HR and 22RBI in 136AB for 8 million this year. Ibanez? .312/.371/.656, with 22HR and 59RBI in 250AB for 10 mil/year. Clearly, we got the better deal here so far.

Letting Adam Eaton and Geoff Jenkins go: Eaton was signed, then cut by the Orioles. As bad as our pitching is, Eaton's been that or worse, with an ERA above 8. He didn't last 10 starts in the AL East. Geoff Jenkins still hasn't played in the majors this year. These were two signings from the Gillick era, I think Amaro made the right call dropping them and freeing up room for younger or better talent. Would you rather have Jenkins out there instead of Stairs, or Eaton instead of Bastardo/Happ?

As for the Taschner move, it probably would have been better to keep Koplove or someone else now, but Taschner's only in the pen because Lidge, Eyre, and Condrey are hurt. Myers, out for the season. Now Bastardo. Romero missed the 1st 50 games because of injury and couldn't train with the team. This bullpen has been gutted by injuries. From overuse? Good possibility. But you can't blame Amaro for bringing in marginal talent, that's all that's out there. No, they don't belong in the majors. It's not like we have a choice, half the corps is down.

As for starting pitching, Hamels admittedly screwed up his training regimen, but he's been better lately. Same thing with Blanton and Moyer, they've both shown improvement lately, especially the former (now that I said that he'll probably be hammered in his next start). Happ's a number 5, always supposed to be. Bastardo is just a place holder until they get another starter via trade. I'm not so worried about the front 3, it's the 4 and 5 starters who concern me. The front 3 will keep us in games.

"They won the World Series" reasoning is as flawed as the "Sky is Failing" rationale.

The "they have had a ton of injuries" is just an excuse too. Mets are even more banged up than the Phils.

I said a month ago that if the Phils were in 1st place on July 1st with a 2-3 lead that would be fine. Still feel that way but it is also not ridiculous to suggest either that there is the real possibility they might be .500 come the ASB either.

The series vs. Braves/Mets next week should tell you something because it increasingly looks like the Phils only route to the playoffs will be through winning the NL East again this year.

"They won the World Series" reasoning is as flawed as the "Sky is Failing" rationale.

Do explain what that means.

MG: You're one sadistic mother lover. I've patrolled this board for a long time and I have never seen a dummy like you so consistently make terrible posts. With every post you make, you leave an out for yourself to come back in a week with something else when you turn out to be WRONG AGAIN. Your antics may come off as harmless, childish ramblings to some, but your a cancer on this thread. A CANCER. You remind me of the ghost of that dead baby in the book "Beloved" by Toni Morrison. Everybody attempts to ignore you but you keep sticking your dead ghost baby's head in everyone's business. Well let me be the first to tell you that your dead baby ghost head can go chomp on a bottle of deez straight from the teet of the true phil's fans.

Whether or not the sky is falling, the starting rotation, as currently constructed, is not enough to make a serious run at a title. This has to be corrected before the deadline or else it will be a complete waste of a year for an immensely powerful offense and a crisp and capable defense.

Relying on their ability to be "a second half team" would be a foolish and potentially costly gamble. The NL East is winnable. The rest of the league can be beat.

Myno: So irrational, unintelligent complaining and whining makes this board better than me trying to illustrate that a similar thing happened to basically the same team a year ago and they ended up winning the WORLD SERIES!

I have no problem criticizing this team for it's boneheaded plays over the last few weeks. The point that I am trying to make is this team won a World Series with a similar mid-season swoon a year ago and that is a lesson that we should try not to soon forget.

what i dont undersand is according to j. weitzel and most of the BL ELITE( cough, cough) bastardo was gonna make johan look like a number 3 starter! he was younger just as good and was pitching with the vaunted WFC'S vaunted offensive to help him along..but in truth they only staked him to a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch. Clearly not whathe bargained for..The Young Johan type pitchers need at least 8 runs before they pitch come on!! whats the deal? and the all the crying for hes garbage? wheres the mad dog or no one!!! as the closer sentiment? seems to have gone the way of the doo doo bird.yoo hoo.. yoo hoo boo hoo

also godfather when does getting suspended for 50 games for cheating by using steroids consist of "an injury" it seems he was a much better pitcher on the juice too.. just saying facts are facts

BB: What I said about Savery was as follows . . .

Right after he was drafted, the Phillies threw Savery into a spring training game and he allowed like 5 runs without recording an out. I did not "declare him a bust" (and what exactly does it mean to "declare someone a bust?"). I did express the view that, even without any minor league experience, I would expect considerably better than a total melt-down from a guy who was a first round pick and had 3 years of major college experience. I stand by that statement to this day.

The one wild card with Savery has always been his injury history. He was a top prospect before his injuries, and he has never really gotten his pre-injury velocity back. I know he's got a great record this year -- albeit with less than great peripherals. What I don't know is whether his velocity is back. If it is, then it would substantially bolster his future prospects.

What's the difference between Michael Jackson and a plastic bag?

One's white, plastic, and dangerous for kids to play with, and the other is used to carry groceries.

You just gotta realize that MG and BAP are the two most consistently negative fans on this board, so take everything they say with that giant grain of salt.

How is Amaro get a pass on the pitching front?

He resigned Eyre & Moyer, paid big dollars to Park as a middle reliever (he will make at least $3M plus this year), and traded for Taschner. Besides Eyre, not one of those guys have been a good move so far this year.

Amaro clearly said he wanted to upgrade the pitching staff this offseason he and clearly failed to do that.

He also mentioned upgrading the bench, which he didn't really do.

Zeez represents the largely brainless Phils' fan you see you at games. Likely two years ago, he would be calling the Phils "losers" and other crap because they generally had come up short. Now that they have made the playoffs for 2 straight years they can do no wrong.

As for the Phils, I still think they have a good shot at making the playoffs and that should be the bar for a successful season. Said before the season that they would probably win 87 games but be home in Oct.

Either way it looks like they have little margin for error again. If they make a good move at the trading deadline for a starting pitcher and catch a few breaks, they likely win the East. We'll see.

sneed - There's better ways to win the World Series than "look absolutely awful at midseason and bounce back hard in the second half." You aren't gonna win them all, but you can at least play hard and consistent baseball, and I think a lot of us thought the team would take a step in that direction after such a great postseason.

So far, it looks like more of the same. Hence, all this, which I think is justified. No one is saying season=over but the sarcastic and the idiots, and only one of those groups is worth listening to.

Jack - Your right. I do tend to be a bit pessimistic when it comes to watching the Phils. Grew up and largely saw a team that lost year and year and failed to come close.

Since CBP opened though, the Phils generally have changed their operating status and even David Montgomery would admit that the Phils have a different approach now including spending more money on their annual budget.

MG: And what was your prediction in 2008? My guess is that it was negative and had us sitting at home as well. Same with 2007.

My point is that you and some others are constantly being negative, and for what reason? Yes, they're playing badly, but that doesn't mean they are a terrible team or that they are doomed. This team had a much longer "slump" last year, and still rebounded to win the WS. As I pointed out, last year the Rays had two stretches when they lost 10 of 13, and still won 97 games and had the best record.

Seriously, we can be critical without being miserable. Some of the posts on here are just miserable and frankly, self-pitying. "oh, woe is us, the poor Phillies fan". That doesn't fly anymore. We won the WS last year. This core of players has bounced back incredibly the last few seasons, from the Abreu trade in 06, to the miracle run in 07, to the WS run last year. Have some damn faith in them.

Hello My name is Kevin. I'm from Canada and lets go Jays

"You remind me of the ghost of that dead baby in the book "Beloved" by Toni Morrison."

Why the hell did you read that book?

Lets go Jays lets go Jays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can always tell if you are from the states all I have to do is ask you to say saturday. And you will say something like saturday. but we say it as satinday. thats how us Canadians know.

"Beloved" is a great book, probably the most significant American novel of the second half of the twentieth century, and an essential part of the American literary canon.

Anyway. Like to see another dominant Hamels performance tonight. Hopefully our guys have figured out how to hit Romero.

Carson-I was scouring your website for a review of Toni Morrison's lastest work, yet I couldn't find it. Where is it?

GM Carson are you talking to me. because if you are I might not understand you people from the states because I'm from Canada.

Jack - I thought the Phils would be a WC winner in '07 and they would just miss the playoffs in '08.

When did I say this season was over by any stretch or get that hysterical/negative about how the Phils played in Interleague play?

As for Amaro, I don't think he has done a bad/terrible job so far at all and that it is really premature to judge him.

MG: I get the sense you are either very old or very young. It is almost as though I can sense through your feeble comebacks that your brain is either extremely undeveloped or wasting away into nothingness. You seem to lack the creative reasoning most humans use easily in their daily lives. I picture you as either an aging retiree struggling to get his AOL dial-up connection to work correctly or a acne-stricken youngster mistaking his tough-guy image on the school yard as some sort of license to spew rhetorical gobbledygook on Beerleaguer.

Your mannerisms most remind me of Henry Fonda's character in the best-picture nominee "On Golden Pond." You're no longer able to do the things that you used to and you have degraded into a bitter old man, picking fights with younger, more able-bodied house guests to gain acceptance. Listen dummy, if you can't satisfy Katherine Hepburn in bed you need to leave this blog. I am the young-hung-buck who has strolled into your back yard putting the moves on your geriatric wife and you can't do a thing about it. Let's just say I don't need icy-hot to get my snake army mobilized. And not because I want to either, she is a wretched cow, just because I can. So just beat it, bro.

I'm going to give a test to see if you are from the states.tomorrow is what day?.. if you gueesed saturday you are from the states.if you said Satinday you are from Canada.

Zeez on Keyz do you know the soung saturday saturday.well in Canda we sing Satinday Satinday Satinday Satinday Satinday satinday.

Zeez - Neither. You just more the "urban retarded" style of posting with some real weak metaphors and largely witless commentary.

In Canada we bowl with Candles. and you people bowl with something called pins ha ha ha ha ha.

Oh you people and your arguing. In Canada we don't argue like you people.

Beerleaguer is on fire today. It's a madhouse in here.

lets go Jays Lets go Jays. Oh I think Ricky Romero will do great today.Us Canadians are such great thinkers.

Wow, references of "Beloved" and "On Golden Pond" on the same thread. I think Happy Hour started early.

Just like last time we played this game should be easy.yes yes I think so and you know what they say about the Canadians we are great thinkers.

Lets go Jays Lets go Jays!!!!!!!!!

11:14 AM to 4:15 PM

Great Baseball Talk and Better Wit from Zeez

Clout: What, you took that carefully crafted Bastardo rookie card graphic seriously?

With Bastardo seemingly headed for either the DL or AAA, I wonder if the Phillies plan to make a roster move before today's game or, at least, within the next day or two. Because of the off-day, they could get by with a 4-man rotation until after July 4. But even if they call someone up to make Bastardo's next start, they won't have to do so until Wednesday. In the meantime, they could use Bastardo's spot to call up either another bullpen arm (Carpenter? Escalona? Carrasco?) or another bat (perhaps Cervanek).

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