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Monday, August 31, 2009

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I'll watch CC tonight. Something to do with the night off.

Better safe then sorry.

Probably not much of a story here anyway. They got 158 innings out of him this year; most of which were very strong.

Get him another off-season of training and strengthening and see how he progresses to start 2010 in AAA. And maybe by this time next year, he is up with the big club.

Cleveland is off today. Their series with Detroit starts tomorrow.

I think Bay Slugga is going to watch a documentary on C+C Music Factory tonight, since he has nothing else to do. Tomorrow, he may watch Carrasco.

To make this Phillies-Mets analogy really work, you have to remove Howard, Rollins, et al. from the Phillies' roster & put all the injured guys back on the Mets' roster. If you want to make it work perfectly, you can remove the guys on the exact same dates that the Mets' analogous guys went down.

If you took all those guys out of the Phillies' lineup, and put all the Mets' guys back in, I doubt the Mets would be 75-53 right now, but I don't doubt that we would be somewhere close to 59-72. The Mets probably wouldn't hold a 17.5 game lead on us, but they'd be in first place, with the Braves & Fish in 2nd and 3rd.

If both teams were fully healthy, the Phillies would still be the better team. But the Mets would definitely be in 2nd place right now, battling for the WC, and with a slim chance at still catching us. So it's a bit absurd to be blaming the Mets' current predicament on management's failures.

Do they have re-runs of "The Charlie Manual Show" featuring T-Mac .
Loved them during the rain delays.

(Just kidding , in case someone is taking me literally)

Where is everyone getting that the Delgado injury was foreseeable, and that the Mets should be faulted for not planning accordingly? He has had more than 500 PAs in every season since 1996.

Delgado's injury was foreseeable only to the extent that all injuries are foreseeable, and he's 37 years old. But what were the Mets supposed to do? Sign Mark Teixeira to be the emergency injury replacement? Murphy has hit .260/.315/.704 -- certainly not great, but a damn sight better than anyone who would have been stepping in for Ryan Howard if he had gone down for the season.

With a bench that is hitting a collective .176/.272/.310, the Phillies didn't plan for injury any better than the Mets did. They have just been more fortunate.

Ah, yes - tomorrow*

Phils DFA'd Brad Harman today.

So that opens up a spot on the 40 man roster.

I wonder if the Harman DFA is prelude to a Nomar trade.

denny: Was about to write the same; you beat me to the punch.

JW loves this kind of minutiae. I predict a "Brad Harman DFA'd" thread within the next 20 minutes.

More fortunate Bay_Area? Really? Let us count the injuries this year: Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, Cole Hamels at the outset, Brett Myers, Carlos Ruiz very early on, and Greg Dobbs, all have spent time injured this year, almost all on the DL (Hamels just started late). Additionally, surprisingly poor seasons by Rollins (He's been better, but still in the .240's), Lidge, and Hamels, as well as the poor stretch by Ibanez right now. Yet, we're where we are. No, we planned better my friend, I'm sorry.

bap: The Mets choose to pick up a $16M option on a 37-year old player. And they're shocked he broke down?

Why were so many people upset at the Phils for signing Ibanez (apart from the LH thing)? It's because he's old. And lo and behold, a couple months into the season, he's hurt and hasn't been the same since.

If the phillies replace Bruntlett with Nomar, can we call him Gnomar?

"If the phillies replace Bruntlett with Nomar, can we call him Gnomar?"

That's truly inspired!

thinkred: It clearly is a prelude to something, or else why do it? It will probably be something unexciting, though, like calling up Andy Tracy or Mike Cervenak -- neither of whom is presently on the 40-man roster.

"Murphy has hit .260/.315/.704 -- certainly not great, but a damn sight better than anyone who would have been stepping in for Ryan Howard if he had gone down for the season."

the difference is that murphy, an objectively poor player when you factor in his "defense", was counted on to be a regular for the mets from the outset of the season.

Harman was DFA'd to make room for John Ennis. Yes, John Ennis.

And John Ennis was immediately placed on the DL. I don't know why it all happened, but it seems to be much ado about nothing.

Some of you guys are missing the point of the SI article. The point is- the Mets have invested way too much money in a small portion of their roster.

The 8 guys the article is referring to eats up 88 million of the Mets 149 million dollar pay roll which is roughly 61% of their payroll. I don't know exaclty what the league average but that seems on the high end. The Phillies by contrast have 57% of their payroll tied up in the 8 similar players, and 4% makes a huge difference.

On top of that- man do the Mets have some awful contracts. Fernando Tatis makes 1.7 million this year.

If you think Bruntlett at 900,000 is bad (and it is) what do you think about Alex Cora at 2 million per year?

Rich: The day is still early, but I'll be shocked if we see a dumber post today. First of all, what are you talking about? Cole Hamels was injured? Second, you are not to be taken seriously when you're equating season-ending injuries to All-Star caliber players to 2-week DL stints for Chad Durbin, Greg Dobbs, Carlos Ruiz, Brad Lidge, and Clay Condrey.

From the last thread:

mm, Choch's BA with RISP is .266, and .243 with men on base.

Chooch is quietly hitting .305 .391 .559 .951 in August, with 3 HR and 11 RBI.

The biggest splits are:

vs RHP: .223 .326 .373 .699, 5 HR 18 RBI OPS+ 94

vs LHP: .292 .378 .514 .892, 3 HR 19 RBI, OPS+ 130

And here's the shocker:

Home: .316 .422 .579 1.001 with 5 HR and 15 RBI

Away: .185 .275 .285 .560 with 3 HR and 19 RBI.


He has 34 more PA Away.

"I wonder if the Harman DFA is prelude to a Nomar trade."


Might be just a prelude to calling up a Scott Mathieson or a Andy Tracy, who aren't on the 40 man.

I think both BTW, will be called up tomorrow. Which would mean another spot might have to be cleared (I would start with Joe Bisenius).

My predictions for September callups/additions to the roster:

Myers (off DL)

Condrey (pitched today, off DL)

Lopez (its a coin-flip between him and KK)

Taschner (gets the nod over Escalona)

Mathieson (terrific story and has been dominant; get feet wet for 2010 bullpen spot??)

Tracy (with Stairs going 1 for the past 2 months and Dobbs hurt, they need a lefty bat off the bench. Plus, he can play 1st, if you want to get Ryno some rest late in a blowout game).

Mayberry (can sit next to Francisco on the pine)

Dobbs (will hopefully be back by this weekend)

And, maybe Quentin Berry, whenever Reading's season ends. The Phils could desperately use a late inning pinch-runner and this guy would fit the bill. Its all Bourn was asked to do a few years ago in September and its all Berry would be used for.

I wish there was a 3rd catcher to bring up. "The Hoov" is not the answer. VERY dangerous continuing to go with just 2 catchers.

fernando tatis and his $1.7M are really killing the mets and their near $150M payroll.

Still on the 40-man roster: Joel Naughton, Steven Register, Drew Naylor, Joe Bisenius, Mike Zagurski, Jack Taschner.

If there's one thing the Phillies definitely do NOT lack, it's potential roster vacancies.

Why was John Ennis put on the 40 man roster? He had Tommy John in April! Surely, he can't be ready to pitch!

From Twitter:

"For those asking, Ennis move is procedural. Having a DL guy on 40-man allows team to later add a non 40-man guy to playoff roster if needed."

When they move Myers off of the 60 day disabled list don't they need to make room on the 40 man roster?

Wait, you mean *THE* John Ennis?

Who the hell is Joel Naughton?

Joel Naughton is going to be better than Russell Martin and Brian McCann...combined.

/Clout bait.

I am not going to argue about whether the Mets' injuries sabotaged their season but it is a real stretch to say the Phils have been anything but the benefactor of good health.

There was only player who was important and missed a significant portion of the season - Myers. You could maybe argue Romero but the Phils still have had a very competent situational lefty (Eyre) in the pen all season. Lidge, Hamels, and others have missed a bit of time but hardly anything significant.

You need to have a talented team to win and some good luck with injuries to generally win your division. This year and last year the Phils have had good health. Phils really only had to overcome a large amount of significant injuries in 2007.

Would've been fun to see some of these guys pitching in the GCL Phillies game:

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2009_08_31_tgrrok_phlrok_1

How sad must your life be if you troll another team's fan message board?

Go outside and get some sun, or find a woman. That's pretty fun

"2-week DL stints for Chad Durbin, Greg Dobbs, Carlos Ruiz, Brad Lidge, and Clay Condrey."

b_a_p, c'mon now, in the interest of fairness at least be accurate.

The players you listed were indeed put on the 15 day DL, but almost all of them have been or were on the DL longer.

Ibanez missed 21 games, 6/18 - 7/10. Team record during that stretch was 10-11 (it coincided with interleague play so it sure didn't help).

Condrey and Romero have both been on the DL longer than 2 weeks.

Condrey, except for a brief 3 innings in between, has effectively been on the DL since June 19th - 2 months. And, until he got hurt he was the best reliever on the team this season.

Romero has been on the DL since July 23rd, and they did not have him for the first 50 games.

Myers DL'd 5/28
Ruiz DL'd 4/11 - 5/2
Eyre DL'd 6/12 - 7/5
Durbin DL'd 7/23 - 8/10
Lidge DL'd 6/9 - 6/25
Bastardo DL'd 6/30
Dobbs DL'd 8/23

Yes, their injuries haven't been anywhere near as significant as the Mets', but they have not been insignificant.

Good God, just realized the highest batting average on the GCL Phils (link above) is .245.

"There was only player who was important and missed a significant portion of the season - Myers."

MG, sobre qué Romero?

"How sad must your life be if you troll another team's fan message board?"


not sure, was this directed at me, truth injection?

i am in no way a troll, die hard phillies fan and longtime lurker on the site.

just thought it was ludicrious for you to use the contracts of tatis and alex cora as examples of "terrible" contracts. they don't even register. that cnnsi article was an absolute trainwreck and has no redeeming ideas worth referencing, IMO.

BB, that's highest average amongst those appearing in today's game. Not included in today's lineup:

- Jonathan Singleton, 2009 draftee batting .290 as a 27 yr old
- Domingo Santana, just-turned-17 yr old OF signed this winter from the DR, batting .288 with 6 HR and 28 RBI

Plus 2009 draftee Brian Gump (.317 at the time) was just bumped up to Lakewood, while 18 yr old SS Jonathan Villar just got promoted to Williamsport (batting .277 with 11 steals in the GCL).

Lazy reporting at its finest (From MLB.com)

Q: Who would be a good fit for the Mets in the off-season?

An energized, multitalented outfielder with extra-base power -- Jayson Werth of the Phillies.

I don't think the Mets have enough to acquire either and certainly not both. And I can't image the Phillies dealing Werth to any team, let alone one in their division. But a gifted first baseman would constitute an upgrade at three or four positions. That was the case when the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez in 1983 and John Olerud in '97. The other infielders instantly became more confident in their throws. And if the Mets pitchers are going to comprise something other than a strikeout staff, few upgrades will be as beneficial as a first baseman with soft hands and savvy."


Why bring up Werth when there's no way in hell the Phillies would ever EVER trade him to the Mets? Seriously, what's the point? You know, Utley would be a great fit for them too...as would Howard...and Cliff Lee.

awh: My point was simply that EVERY team has injuries over the course of the season. The Cardinals have seen 15-day DL stints for DeRosa, Lohse, Ludwick, Ankiel, and Green, plus Troy Glaus has missed the entire season. The Dodgers have lost Kuroda, Milton, Wade, Ohman, and Manny. To say that the Phillies' injuries have somehow been above and beyond the norm this year is a pretty big stretch. To equate them to the Mets' injuries is not even in the real world.

I'm fascinated by the concept that Andy Tracy is a major league player. dennyb, discuss?

That should be 17 yr old for Singleton, obviously...

isn't the gulf coast league known as a very offense oriented league? or is that pacific coast league(pcl)

NEPP: I read the same article and had exactly the same reaction as you. The Werth reference was a bizarre non-sequitur.

BBeard - thanks for the box. I love seeing Colvin and Cosart in the same game - of course, the opposition probably didn't.

In re: "Gnomar"
It would not be fair to Garciaparra to call him "Gnomar;" but totally appropriate to call Bruntlett "Gno More."

The SI article is not very good, but it's overall theme is, IMO, somewhat accurate.

That theme is this:

The 2009 Mets are a poorly constructed team without a lot of roster or minor league depth that can step in if needed.

Just look at their starting pitching:

- Santana, no problem there
- they counted on a surgically repaired Maine, who had had only one season where he made 3 starts, being 100% - didn't happen
- they re-signed and counted on Ollie Perez, who was always a crapshoot
- they counted on Mike Pelfrey, who except for an 2 month stretch in 2008, was also very up and down at times
- they went with "also a crapshoot and injury risk" Livan Hernandez as their 5th starter

To sum the above up, basically, they were counting on 4/5 of their rotation all coming together at the same time. That almost never happens.


Contrast that with the Phillies who:

- had Hamels coming off his best season (WFC-MVP)
- had Myers who had proven to be a decent starter for more than one season in the past
- had Blanton...same as Myers
- Moyer, see Myers and Blanton
- had a 3 way competition for the 5th starter spot, which left htme with valuable depth


There is a big difference between the two approaches outlined above.

This was all discussed in ST on this board, though not necessarily in this context at one time.

The Mets' FO took some risks coming into the season.

So did the Phillies', but no where near as big as the Mets.

bap, I wasn't arguing with your overall point.

I was arguing for fairness in accuracy.

awh - "Yes, their injuries haven't been anywhere near as significant as the Mets', but they have not been insignificant."

Every team has injuries to some degree. The only player the Phils didn't have a ready answer to replace due to the extent of his injury was Myers. That was more than remedied once the Phils got Lee.

Oops. Typo.

Should have said:

"- they counted on a surgically repaired Maine, who had had only one season where he made 30 starts"

BedBeard: Naughton is indeed comparable to Russell Martin and Brian McCann in the same way that Antonio Bastardo is comparable to Johan Santana. They are both mammals.

bap and NEPP, care to provide a link to the MLB article?

thanks in advance. : )

Back to something on the last thread. Regarding the MVP race, people think Howard, Mark Reynolds, and Prince Fielder will finish 2,3,4 in the race behind Pujols?

That would be slavish loyalty to HR and RBIs and nothing else, including things such as getting on base, playing defense, and positional value, especially regarding Reynolds and Howard. My top 5 ballot would read: Pujols, Hanley, Utley, Fielder, Sandoval. Tulowitzki right behind them, and Howard down in the next category with guys like Reynold and Adrian Gonzalez.

F4F- Whatever you say. Find it odd the first posts you make are defending the Mets.

Also- you think Alex Cora at 2 million a year is a good contract? You think Tatis at 1.7 million is a good contract?

Please explain how giving a guy with a career OPS+ of 74- 2 million dolllars is a sound use of resources.

Like I siad- the Bruntlett deal is bad, but it looks amazing next to the Cora deal.

"I'm fascinated by the concept that Andy Tracy is a major league player. dennyb, discuss?"


OK.

1. Matt "One hit since July 1st" Stairs is the only left-handed pinch-hitting option on the bench most nights.

2. Greg Dobbs is hurt.

3. Andy Tracy is a left-handed hitter.

4. Andy Tracy has 24 HR's at Lehigh Valley.

5. Andy Tracy has been recalled before by the Phils to play off the bench.

6. Andy Tracy can play 1B, late in the season, when the division is clinched and Howard needs a few innings off.


Its really pretty simple. The Phils need a lefty bat off the bench (they need ANY bat off the bench, at this point). There aren't many viable options in the minors. Ruben evidently isn't going to trade for anybody. Tracy has put up nice numbers this year and has a little bit of MLB experience.

Pretty easy call, really.

denny b: I'm not arguing about whether Tracy will be called up. Your points about why are all true.

I'm trying to understand why you think he's a major league player.

"The only player the Phils didn't have a ready answer to replace due to the extent of his injury was Myers."


MG, we agree. Contrast that with the Mets, who didn't have an answer in 2008 for Alou or Church getting hurt, had no 2009 answer for Delgado, Reyes or Beltran.

The Phillies, OTOH, at least have "answers" to players getting injured, even if nowhere near as good as the guy getting hurt.

In fairness, though, how do you really replace the following?:

Utley - best player at his position in the game
Howard - best pure power hitter in the game
Rollins - best defensive SS in MLB
Vic - GG CF, team sparkplug, 117 OPS+


The answer is: You really don't.

But at least the players the Phils have to plug in have proven themselves to be able to play MLB caliber baseball for short stretches.

The fact is...if they could play that way for long stretches they would be starting somewhere.

great convo and points made fellas thanks, I have this crybaby Mets fan at work who loves to dwell on how unlucky the Mets are, and how he can't wait for next year after everyone forgets about the Mets and they storm the division by surprise.

I love attacking his 2010 Mets more than the 09 version just because he doesnt have excuses for how bad they'll be in 2010 yet.

I read that the Mets eliminated one of their minor league fall leagues as a cost cutting manuever, and the writer wondered whether the cost cutting will spread further through the organization in the offseason. Hope it is true, or it is likely that they'll end up with Matt Holliday and John Lackey by the spring if they keep spending like they have the last few years.

For those who know the rules, is today really the end of the waiver period? What I mean is, with the "injury replacement" clause (hence the crazy Ennis transactions), can't we pick up someone in September and still put them on the post-season roster? Didn't we do that with Stairs last year? Or am I mistaken, and a team can only use players within the organization as of Sept. 1 as injury replacement?

I guess I'm also trying to understand how 17 ABs (which is what Stairs has had this month. He had 16 last month.) is enough to say someone is washed up.

The Mets are both poorly run and also decimated by injuries this year. These things are not mutually exclusive.

They could have certainly won the division with a full, healthy roster, given a little bit of luck in their favor. The Phillies are a better team, but not by so much that it is inconceivable that the Mets could have won this year, given a full healthy roster.

That said, the difference between the two teams (and it has been quite marginal the last couple years), has been in the construction of the 25-man roster, and the ability of our role players versus theirs.

thephaithful asked, "isn't the gulf coast league known as a very offense oriented league?"

far from it. singleton's .290 average ranks 9th in the league & the six home runs Santana has hit are the fourth most in the league.

it's very much dominated by pitchers.

awh: I'm not sure I understand this statement:
"But at least the players the Phils have to plug in have proven themselves to be able to play MLB caliber baseball for short stretches."

I understand your point that the backup players the Mets had to replace their key parts were pretty lousy. I agree. But are you saying the Phils have better players than the Mets to plug in for Rollins and Utley? If so, who would that be?

Jack: You have a 1B as your #1 and a poor fielder shortstop as #2, and you cite positional value and defensive ability as your reasons why.

Pujols would be my number #1 and Hanley would be in my top #5 too, but I don't agree with your justification of it.

Also, I would think about every beatwriter for teams across the league would have Howard in the top #5. So everyone else in baseball is wrong and you are right, or maybe you value ops+ vs left handed relievers insanely too high?

truth injection -

"F4F- Whatever you say. Find it odd the first posts you make are defending the Mets."

certainly, you may believe whatever you want. i posted here today for the first time mainly in regard to the cnnsi article, which should offend any fan of logic, facts, or sensible writing, forget baseball. i noticed a few posters here mentioning the article, so i felt like chiming in.

you seem to mistake my disagreement with your assertion that the mets problems stem from terrible contracts as some kind of defense of the mets. far from it - i think the mets are a trainwreck of a franchise. i just don't think their primary problem is huge contracts to players with little ability.


"Also- you think Alex Cora at 2 million a year is a good contract? You think Tatis at 1.7 million is a good contract?"

those dollar amounts aren't even relevant in today's game. carlos silva's contract is terrible. vernon wells. barry zito. tatis' and cora's contracts are not even worth mentioning in a discussion of the mets problems.

that's all i was saying.


"Like I siad- the Bruntlett deal is bad, but it looks amazing next to the Cora deal."

really? cora has an OPS of .630. bruntlett's is currently .464.

how exactly does the cool $1.1M the phillies "saved" by signing bruntlett over cora make brunlett's K look "amazing"?

yeah, gonna have to agree with f4f here.

$1.1 mil is about 0.8% of the Phillies payroll. I think that Cora would makes the Phils more than 0.8% better of a team if he was our middle IF replacement.

thephathful: It's all about context. I don't think I really have to explain the Pujols selection. Hanley's defense is better than what it used to be (his UZR is now average, not terrible like in 2007), and his offense so good, and position so important that with average defense, he seems quite clearly the choice for #2 to me. Average defense at SS is more valuable than average defenset at 1B.

However, who out of my top 5 would you take Howard over? Fielder? Same position, but Fielder has quite clearly been better offensively, and neither are great defensively. Utley? Despite what a few people on here think, I think almost everyone agrees Utley is the better overall player. Sandoval? The only good offensive player on the Giants, pretty much the only reason they're in contention, along with Lincecum and Cain. That one I'll admit is partly just because I love watching the guy hit. He's awesome.

Also, in regards to beat writers, I think history has long proven they do not always make the most sense with their votes. And if you think that Howard will be in every top 5, well, all I can say is he wouldn't be in mine, and I'm fairly positive he won't be in all the beat writers', either.

AWH: You lose Vic out of the lineup and the Phillies would slide Werth to center and have a platoon of Mayberry Jr./Stairs in right. It's a drop off obviously, but it's not falling completely off the cliff like most teams would do.

clout: I'm just curious what is your assessment of Bruntlett's play last season when Rollins went down with an injury for about a month? His line was a pedestrian 245/304/349.

Also, so much of Howard's candidacy the last couple years rested on the fact that he got really hot in September, when we needed it most, which meant he was more "valuable" than his overall numbers suggested, because he was at his best in highest-leverage situations. Understandable, to a certain extent.

But this year, we had a 7-game lead on August 1st, when Howard was hitting .265/.350/.533 with 26 HRs and 78 RBIs. Did anyone consider him a top MVP candidate then? Now, on Sept. 1st, with Howard's hot streak, we're up 8 games.

It's hard to make the argument that this year Howard was any more "valuable" than his overall numbers suggest (and his numbers are good, but don't stack up to Pujols, Hanley, Fielder, Utley), because the simple fact is Howard's typical late hot streak hasn't had the same importance in the standings.

Maybe we should have this discussion about MVP when the season is over. By the time it is, Howard will dwarf players like Pablo Sandoval.

Personally I do not watch Fielder often, but his defense is less than Howard this year I believe. I would give Howard that, plus his place as the run producer for a 1st place team. And I also think that by end of season, Howard will have surpassed Fielder in production numbers and lessened the gap in OPS+(current around 160>135) to a point where they're offensive seasons will be more comparable. I could be overstating Howard's september and defense compared to Fielder's but thats my current philosphy.

Jack: Its almost the same story as most of our debates. You value OBP higher than I do, and I value SLG/production more than you. Even though we've discussed 100 different topics, after 4-5 posts into it, we usually end up here.

Clout - I don't think anyone believes Tracy or guys like Cervenak are anything more than AAAA players. But at this point, and for whatever reason, Matt Stairs is hitless for the better part of two months. There is no downside to bringing up a kid who won't be a long term major leaguer to do some pinch hitting. If you think Stairs hasn't gotten enough at bats, then he's never going to get enough. Tracy has been playing every day. He's probably in better shape to hit occasionally than Stairs at this point. And there are always cases of lightening in a bottle type guys who come up and get hot for a short time. The pitchers probably know nothing about them. Tracy is that kind of guy. And there's no sweat letting him go at the end of the season.
There is almost no hitter in AAA who couldn't come up and get a couple of hits in the majors. They are mostly incapable of doing that over any long period of time. But there's no reason to keep a guy like Tracy around if you're not even going to call him up when rosters expand and you haven't had a lefthanded pinch hit in a really long time.

So, notice that I didn't say he's a "major leaguer." I said he's a stop gap who is worth a try for one month.

I will say this, maintaining a 7 game lead in first place is more important than holding off the Astros for 3rd place in a crumbled division.

And I am surely biased towards Howard because I personally watch him account for all 5 runs in a 5-2 victory, whereas I am sure Prince may be doing the same thing, so I do admit I do not have the most objective view.

Does OBP and SLG/prodution apply to all players equally? Isn't it more important for guys like J-Roll and Vic to have a higher OBP vs. Howard where you want a higher SLG?

CJ: Bruntlett's performance subbing for Rollins last year included some shoddy fielding as I recall. I'd say his tenure was comparable to Murphy subbing for Delgado.

Just went back and read the SI preview for the NY Mets (in which the Mets were picked to win the NL) and it had this amusing tidbit:

"In a tactical move ripped from Davey Johnson's book, Jerry Manuel can squeeze extra runs out of his lineup by shifting Daniel Murphy from leftfield to second base whenever Johan Santana or Oliver Perez are on the mound. The two lefties generate mostly fly balls and strikeouts, minimizing Murphy's exposure on defense; by using Murphy (left) at second 30 to 40 times, the Mets can get an extra bat, such as Nick Evans (who had a strong spring), into the lineup and rest the fragile legs of regular second baseman Luis Castillo."

Want to know how many innings Daniel Murphy played at 2nd this season? None.

And don't just blame the Delgado injury. Murphy didn't start playing first base until the middle of May.

Oh, and the Nick Evans with the strong spring? He didn't get his first at bat until June 21st and he only has 51 plate appearances this year!

aksmith: In a key spot with the game on the line, who would you rather have up, Andy Tracy of Matt Stairs?

By the way, Tracy is no kid. He's a 35-year-old Triple A vet with an MLB career line of .223/.301/.415 in 302 PAs.

clout: I recalled some shoddy defense as well, but I believe that shoddy defense came early. I'll have to go back and look. I'd say comparable to Murphy is probably fair.

I think Murphy has no place on a major league team. His defense limits him to only 1st base but he's got no power. I wonder where he might end up.

CJ, Jack: At this point in time:

Howard OPS+ 135
Sandoval OPS+ 143

Clout: So then you agree Sandoval should be ahead of Howard in the MVP vote?

Clout - At this point of this season, I would rather have the minor leaguers. I know Stairs will not get a hit. Anything more than zero hits is good for me. Stairs hasn't only not had a hit all this time. He hasn't hit a ball hard the entire time. He's hit shallow popups, grounders to second and struck out a fair amount.

I think Stairs is breaking down pretty badly. I went early to watch batting practice when the team was in Arizona. I know he regularly puts on quite a show banging the ball out in right. Imagine my horror when he could barely reach the seats. Most of his batting practice swings barely made the warning track. Even in batting practice, he wasn't hitting the ball with any authority at all. And even Bruntlett, who has little power, was hitting more out during batting practice.

Stairs may have been alright had he been DHing all season. But I think it's actually a case of a guy being done.

I know exactly who Tracy and Cervenak and their ilk are. They are just a notch below the major leagues. But they are also guys who have been getting regular at bats all season.

Jack: I think Sandoval may very well be as valuable to the Giants as Howard is to the Phillies, perhaps moreso.

aksmith: So because Stairs is 0 for 17, you feel a 35-year career minor leaguer who hit .223 in the bigs has a better shot of getting a hit in a key situiation.

Interesting.

Stairs is 0 for 17? I know others accuse you of picking and choosing parts of arguments. But I think it's a little more than 17. Isn't it heading toward 0 for 30? And it's heading toward two hitless months, isn't it? And the character of those at bats is pretty awful.

So, yeah. The fact that you would rather have the guy who is proving at the major league level that he can't even hit authoritative outs seems pretty interesting as well.

I think the term career minor leaguer is just lazy. Coste was one of those right up until he started hitting .300 in the majors. There are simply a lot of guys who don't get much of a chance in the majors for whatever reason, who can do well in small doses. Tracy as your starting first baseman would be a disaster. As a pinch hitter, he's had regular at bats and is probably a lot sharper than Stairs.

the only value andy tracy can possibly have is as a warm body to man 1B when the division is wrapped up and we're trying to keep howard rested. that's it.

are we any closer to getting nomar? or is he even healthy?

Interesting thing about Howard is that if you look at his defensive stats (conventional or saber) they look pretty much the same as previous years:

Conventional

Errors: 10 (08 - 19; 07 - 12)
FP: .991 (08 - .988; Career .990)
RF/9: 9.1 (08 - 9.7; 07 - 9.4)

Saber
UZR/150: 1.4 (08- 2.4; 07 - 0.4)

The UZR/150 likely will rise a bit but it is unlikely to match last year's 2.4 number. The conventional stats point to someone who has basically matched his career marks.

Maybe Howard hasn't played as well defensively as he did earlier in the season (especially in April/May) but I watch the Phils often enough to challenge these numbers that Howard hasn't notably improved this year defensively including digging balls out of the dirt, stretching on a throw, and picking balls more effectively at 1B. Even his range seems to be a bit better this year.

The only part of his game that is really wanting defensively yet is his ability to throw the ball especially to 2B (hands down his worst attribute defensively).


I'm not so worried about the bench. Gnome, Dobbs, and Stairs all have playoff/WS experience, which has to account for something. Stairs and Bruntlett each hit a HR in their few PA last October, and Dobbs performed fairly reliably as the main LH option off the bench (although if I remember correctly, he looked terrible in some ABs during the WS).

Bruntlett, with his recent 5-10 performance, is here to stay. Stairs will likely get some starts given the doubleheaders and the need to give Werth some rest (although Francisco will also need some playing time in RF). It also looks like Stairs would be more effective with a slightly lighter bat. Dobbs, obviously should be the first LH option off the bench. So the bench is actually not that poorly set up with two LHB, two RHB and an extra catcher. If they have a big enough lead in the standings, one thing they could experiment with is having Werth catch one (or half) game and have either Stairs or Francisco spell him in RF.

But key goals going into September:
1) Get everyone healthy and primed (a.Don't wear out SP, who have been leaned on pretty heavily the last couple of weeks and could use a taper period for their next couple of starts; b. rest the starters)
2) Get BP roles clearly defined (starting with CL/Lidge and incorporating guys like Myers and Romero if they gets back)
3) Get everybody ABs, esp the bench
4) Get Ibanez right
5) Win games at home

...
noticed that this Phillies pitching staff, despite the complaints about the small strike zone this season, is among the league leaders in not issuing walks (and the leaders in throwing wild pitches by a large margin; the team however has the highest ERC%, meaning that it gives up a lot of hard hits). In fact, JA Happ, who has issued the most walks of any starter on the Phillies, is tied for 33rd in the NL (he does have a relatively high BB/IP rate of 3.2). Also of note is that relatively few AL starters are in this list.

I'd like to see Madson rested some in September. Cholly really rides him during the season, though he managed to find another level last Sept. I just wonder if he can keep up that new found pep for the rest of this year.

This little item is off of the espn power rankings board:

"Phillies pitchers have a 2.75 ERA (52 runs in 170.1 IP) since Aug. 11."


TNA, you can't walk 'em when they hit a homer off your first or second pitch. Just kidding. Interesting stat. Starters have done very well for us the past month, which is encouraging. Interesting article on Lidge by Zolecki at phillies.com, BTW. Also interesting photo of this guy Ennis on Zo's blog. Is it just me, or does his facial expression look like he's about to crash into something? Again, just havin' fun. Life is going pretty well for a Phils fan right now.

NEPP, thanks for the link.

Here's another Q&A quote from the article that I found revealing:

"Do you think the Mets would have been competitive with the Phillies if they hadn't been cut down by all the injuries?
-- Gloria D., Brooklyn, N.Y.

No. I thought the Mets were lacking in April, well before they lost Delgado. And I saw more evidence of that as the weeks passed and before Reyes went down. My sense of the division race then was that the Phillies had several players -- Shane Victorino, Werth, Rollins and Raul Ibanez -- who enjoyed every moment on the field and didn't want to leave it until they had buried their opponent. And they had dominating talent in Howard and Utley.

I didn't see those characteristics in comparable quantities with the Mets. I thought too many Mets players were too easily satisfied and that not enough of the players with dominating talent delivered in critical situations. The 2009 Mets, more than Mets teams of the three previous seasons, were fundamentally flawed and tended to make grand mistakes.

The injuries merely widened the gap to ridiculous proportions. I thought the Mets were a second- or third-place team, one that would win 85-90 games, tops."

"The Mets have had 22 players on the disabled list which ties them with the Texas Rangers, and have lost players for a total of 1,095 days which is second to the San Diego Padres."

link

For all the Met whining about injuries, somehow the Texas Rangers stayed around a playoff race with their injuries...

If Sheffield hadn't dropped into their laps, Murphy was supposed to be their LFer. Wright when healthy only hit 8 HRs. Pelfrey's mediocre, Perez when healthy worse than that. Livan was healthy and was part of their rotation from day one.

It's entirely possible that a healthy Mets team would have finished out of the running just like they did in 07 and 08.

I don't think even a healthy Mets team would be in 1st in the NL East. They could be pushing for the WC but they still have major issues. That's what happens when you build a top heavy team on aging veterans and injury risks.

Omar Minaya would likely sacrifice his first born if he had half of the Rangers farm system with which to plug holes.

Non-existent farm system and aging vets is a bad combo.

This link is on the si.com power rankings site:

http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/?p=16815target="new"


Absolutely hysterical.

Longshot here but I wonder what it would cost to snare Jim Thome from the WhiteSox to be our LH PH off the bench for the final month? We could DFA Stairs at that point.

Fun to dream.

Here's a link for other laughers:

http://phillyphaithful.com/


My favorite one is "Must be September in Queens".


Disclosure: I have no affiliation with the site.

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