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Friday, February 12, 2010


I saw Lehr a few times in Lehigh Valley and he was the ace of the team (along with RoLo). Then all of a sudden he was pitching for the Reds one day. Definately capable of getting outs in the big leagues.

I wonder why Lopez wasn't a Phillies NRI.

I would like to see the Gnome make the Nationals. After all he did have some pretty exciting moments as a Phillie. I think he is a guy you can easily root for when he isn't on your team.
I will miss the crazy eyes picture of him though.

Unrelated to the thread, but I was watching the Network yesterday, and they spoke of Jayson Werth...I know it's been spoken of before, but help me remember....I get that the Phils have a budget and all, but isn't there ANY way they can use the end of others' contracts, plus trade someone else, in order to keep Werth? Just seems a shame to let a really high-caliber player like him leave - a RH, power-speed-defense guy. He's got so much to offer!

Here you go Reverend.

GBrettFan - I think the only solution, which I've seen kicked around here in the comments by others, is trading Ibanez this offseason and using that roughly $10 million to sign him to a backloaded contract.

Another deep playoff run would help create some cash too.

dear god that is haunting.

That picture is like the baseball version of goatse...

Somehow you just figure Gnome will turn into a Phillie killer on the Nats- hit 324 against us and 024 against everybody else.

Looking at the numbers, it will be near impossible to resign him without busting the budget to $150 million for 2011...and then going back down to the $130-140 mark.

Dumping Ibanez won't get us much relief...I doubt there will be much of a market for him even if we take some of his salary. He'll be a 39 year old LF making $12 million.

If we backload a deal and push the budget up a bit, its possible.

Only way that happens is likely another deep playoff run.

MG- I tend to agree with you about Benny Loopers resume. This being said I don't know if we can completely throw him under the bus.
The Mariners problems in that regime had much more to do with crappy contracts and horrific trades(ie. Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre and the Bedard trade). I think they actually produced a decent number of quality prospects and some stars.
Felix Hernandez, and Adam Jones are both excellent players brought in under Looper's watch. Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow, Michael Saunders, Carlos Truinfel, and hopefully Gillies, Aumont andRamirez.
So While I agree with you somewhat, I with his role limited to the minor leagues he might actually be effective. Please let him be effective!

Benny Looper is no Chuck LeMar. After 23 years with the Mariners organization, it's not unreasonable for the new regime to want new blood, and it's typical for a guy like Looper to not want to take a demotion. Who knows how good he is or isn't in talent evaluation, but I perceive it to be a GOOD thing that Looper was highly involved on the Lee trade. That said, it's not like any of the 3 guys were obscure low A ball players.

NEPP, you are exactly right regarding the Werth re-signing issue.

Even with a deep playoff run asking the ownership to extend the payroll to $150-155 million (another $13 million MORE than this year, is asking alot).

Remember Werth isn't the only problem next season. You have to replace/resign Durbin and Contreras, along with Arb. to Dobbs, KK, Zagurski and Francisco.

We are already at $132.75 going into next year.

This is why as I have said before, Rube is going to have to decide between Werth (backloaded contract for 5 yrs) vs. NOT resigning one or two of the big guys that are FA's/ in Arb. in 2012. i.e Rollins,Madson,Howard,Hamels, etc..

It comes down to everyone standing in a line like in the schoolyard and picking teams. Because you can't have everyone, the trick is assembling the right group to keep your club on the top.

Well, if you want to talk about Looper, that begs a couple other questions:

Have the Phillies adequately replaced Mike Arbuckle, and when will it become apparent whether or not he is missed?

I'm less worried about the Gnome becoming a Phil-killer than Cervenak.

Regarding replacing Arbuckle. It will probably take four years to truly know if Looper is doing his job well. In that time we will have a pretty good idea what we got in the 2009 draft, a decent idea what we got in 10 and an early idea on 11. also all the foreign players we signed in those years. So its going to take some time to find out whether he will be missed or not. That being said I think Arbuckle did a really good job and he will be hard to replace.

If he makes the team, Gnome would be the Nationals' version of Wes Helms.

Tommy- I feel better about having Werth in 2012-14 than all of the guys on your list except Hamels (Howard is a tough call, but he will be more expensive). You should also add Lidge to your list. I would place the odds of the Phils picking up his 12.5 mil option for 2012 at about 1 in 10. There are a bunch of contracts up after 2011 so they really do have a lot of flexibility.

If they could save 8 mil or so by trading Ibanez after this season I think they could keep Werth. The only question is if they can work out the timing of the trade/signing, since I doubt they will be willing to extend Werth before they are sure they can dump salary.

In re: trading Ibanez
They'd have to trade him AND his salary. It might be hard to get a team to pick the money responsibilities, regardless of his 2010 accomplishments.

In re: Bruntlett
If he makes the Nats' roster does that make him the "Capitol Gnome?"

Jonesman: I am not as sure as you are about keeping Werth over everyone except Hamels and Howard.

Howard, I think he is too valuable to let him walk. He carried us into the postseason in 2008 with a ridiculous September. The moment that I remember for some reason is the Phillies making a comeback against the Braves capped off by Howard hitting a clutch HR off of Gonzalez in Atlanta. Then in that Rockies series just last year, he may have won us that series with his Game 4 performance at the plate.

If you keep Werth in 2012 you will have Hamels, Howard, Werth, Halladay and Utley all making at least $15 million. With Werth making $15 million in 2012 for arguments sake, Howard getting $23 mil, Hamels getting $15-17, they will make a total of $89 million on only 6 players. With only 4 players remaining locked up for a total of $28.5 million(Blanton, Vic, Polanco and Ruiz).

So for 2012 you have a payroll of $117.5 on only 10 guys. Also, buyout to Lidge ($1.5 million)

Can you really see Rube filling 15 more spots with 25 million (Saying their payroll is $145 in 2012). That is impossible.

Therefore, Werth has to go, there is no way around it. Unless you are willing to sacrifice Howard's HR and RBI production, along with incredible hot streaks that can carry his team for multiple weeks at a time.

Werth is that ole horsetrader Gillick's boy. Jason is staying.

Lincecum and Giants come to an agreement -- 2 years, $23M.

Of course Werth could end up in Seattle in an even swap for Lee in July.

My nightmare is Werth and Lee being on the Yankees next year

"Can you really see Rube filling 15 more spots with 25 million (Saying their payroll is $145 in 2012). That is impossible."

Check out the Florida Marlins 2008 and 2009 payrolls before you say something is 'impossible'

And do you really prefer Ryan Howard over Jayson Werth plus 8 million in additional payroll? This is not nearly that clear cut to me.

I'm coming around to the arguement that Werth is gone. It's just too many dollars on too few roster spots. This team works well because it's not just stars and scrubs, which can backfire in a bad way.

Jonesman - to make it work we'd need a better farm system and a manager who trusted young players in tough spots.

"My nightmare is Werth and Lee being on the Yankees next year

Posted by: AL "

I'm assuming here that AL stands for American League.

Never understood the general hatred that Gas Can got on here while Condrey seemed to generate such praise.

He was the Phils most valuable reliever in '06 and played a key role that everyone seems to overlook in the Phils' dramatic turnaround late in '07.

Gas Cas never seemed the same though after Cholly abused his arm in '06 and was ridiculous with how he used Geary that year. Appeared in 81 G and likely warmed up in close to 100 G while leading the NL in bullpen IP with 91 1/3 IP.

Really was when I thought Cholly had no clue on how to use a bullpen when he basically used his most valuable and consistent reliever 31 times in games where they were up or down at least 4 or more runs. That is absurd. Those innings are ones you should be using more of your low-tier relievers.

Cholly had pretty much followed a similar path though with other backend relievers though including Madson last year (27 appearances out of 79 G where the Phils were up/down 4 or more runs) and in '08 although it wasn't quite as ridiculous as with Geary in '06.

Gas Can late in '07:

Aug: 6 G, 9.2 IP, 0-0, 2.79 ERA
Sept: 13 G , 17.1 IP, 2-0, 2.65 ERA

Jonesman: Your kidding me regarding that Marlins comment right? Unbelievable, posters get mad that we can't compare the Phillies with the Yankees and now you are trying to go on the other end of the spectrum by comparing them to the Marlins? Really?

How well did the Marlins do in 2007 and 2008? Last I checked the goal was to win a World Series, no?

"And do you really prefer Ryan Howard over Jayson Werth plus 8 million in additional payroll? This is not nearly that clear cut to me."

Well let's see. Can Werth carry a team on his back in September to get them into the postseason? Can Werth win a league MVP? Can Werth win playoffs series for his team?

Howard did those things. So yes, he is worth the extra $8 million.

My point with the Gas Can posts - Cholly is going to 'abuse' at least one of his middle relievers this year. It has to be a veteran. Likely guys are either going to be Baez or Durbin. Durbin was that guy in '08 and he was basically dust by Aug.

My nod is Baez who if he earns Cholly's trust early with some strong showings in April/May, Cholly is going to trot him out there on a really frequent basis especially if Romero/Lidge aren't ready to go.

Question is does Baez hold up down the line (July/August) if Cholly leans on him heavily in April/May. I almost certainly say no. History of a guy with minor/major injuries.

Hopefully I am wrong because for this bullpen to go really solid again, they are going to need alot of IP and quality work from Baez. Hope he is up to meeting Cholly's workload.

MG: Using and abusing middle relievers is the way to do it though. What is the max that a guy like Condrey or Geary are going to give you? There's something to be said about pitching these guys into the ground before they price themselves off the team, the way Condrey did ... There weren't a lot of options in the 06 bullpen, either. The Tom Gordon years.

Jonesman: "And do you really prefer Ryan Howard over Jayson Werth plus 8 million in additional payroll? This is not nearly that clear cut to me."

I don't think it's clear cut that Ryan Howard is going to be paid the $20 mil/year every seems to assume he is. Just because he's paid like that now and sees himself that way doesn't mean teams will agree (see: Johnny Damon), especially when he's 32 in two years.

Nope just can't stand the Yankees fans on campus

I think this is the year all the innings catch up with Madson.

JW - Fair enough. Frankly I don't mind if Cholly utilizes his middle relievers that much including Condrey last year.

It is just that he seems to use his backend relievers a fair amount in games where his team is up/down by a large amount. One of my biggest gripes is how often Cholly uses a guy like Madson in the 8th inning when his team is up/down 4 or more runs. It happens a fair amount and is pretty ridiculous most times. No reason that another modest option couldn't get you 3 outs there especially if they are rested. I would have to look for more comparison to see if it is really apt or not.

Madson though is a big concern. Frankly I thought he was going to be an issue last year with the added innings/appearances with the 2008 postseason. He wound up appearing in 87 games (including the postseason) and 95 IP during '08. that's alot of work even by standards of 20-25 years ago.

Instead, he trained like a fiend supposedly last offseason and gave into camp with his fastball blazing pretty much all season. He had another heavily workload though (91 games and 89+ IP).

Frankly, Madson is one of the guys I am interested to see how he looks in camp and what he is throwing early on. If he took it easy this offseason, I don't know if he is going to be able to hold up over the course of the season.

Really been the lynchpin of the bullpen the last 2+ years and Phils don't have an answer if he isn't up to the task because they don't have another reliever who has his stuff nor can give them similiar number (75-80 G, 80 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) with a solid K/9.

"Killer" Kendrick will amaze this year. Working out with his bud Roy he will gain in stature, pitch into the seventh and add just another mph to his moving fastball to counterweight his new baffling change. The BP will be well rested by the fall post season.

JW - Tom Gordon. That definitely gets a nod as one of Gillick's worst signings. Everybody knew he was going to break down after the destroyer of bullpen arms in NY had ground him up. Didn't even last half a season before heading up on the DL and gave the Phils essentially 6 decent months over the course of an injury-plagued 3 years.

Bullpen to me is far and away the most interesting story in camp because there are a couple of compelling and key stories including Lidge, battle for a lefty spot, and hold it rounds into shape heading into April.

KK is also other most compelling story coming into camp. Happ showed up last year, posted strong results through out camp, and round up winning a roster spot.

KK is arguably pitching for his professional career in Philly at this point. If he has a strong spring, likely ends up as the No. 5 starter and a chance to cement himself as a more legit starter. If not, I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up as backend bullpen/AAAA guy who bounces around.

"pitch into the seventh"

Nooooo. Please, I am begging. Don't start this up again.

But, on a serious note overall you are right and saying exactly what I have said. The bullpen given this teams top 4 spots in the rotation can save the bullpen from being exhausted come the fall.

(And I hope you are right concerning KK adding a new pitch to his arsenal instead of relying on his fastball mainly, followed by slider. We don't need another Lidge, so I hope KK can get that change-up perfected.)

"KK is arguably pitching for his professional career in Philly at this point"

MG, SHHhhhh. Don't tell clout, you might break his heart.

I watched KK at LV. He was throwing harder and more confidently. If he did develop a changeup or some lefty out pitch as his fiancee insists and continues to study Roy's attitude, you never know. He just seems more confident.

Meyer: Wait what? His fiancee said what?

So I looked it up and here is her quote in January (I swear I didn't make this up):

“He only had two pitches,” Stephenie said, “and the batters caught up to him. Now he has five, and his change-up is sick.”

FIVE!FIVE? Stephanie, come on now. Stop pulling our leg.

Laughter stops......and now continues....

I'd be more confident against AAA batters than major league batters as well.

"Can Werth win playoffs series for his team?Howard did those things."

Werth hit .444/.583/.778 with a HR and 3 SBs in the 2008 WS. He also has a better career playoff OPS than Howard and more playoff HRs.

It took me a half century to realize women know everything. Killer Kendrick MUST have five big ones. It is all coming together this year for KK including the post WS wedding.

Jack: Come on man. Stop trying to grab straws here to try to make Werth similiar to Howard is at least 1 of my 3 questions.

The truth is Howard won Game 4 of the 2008 WS. Remember, his 2 HR and 5 RBI performance that sparked the Blanton HR en route to the 10-2 blowout?

He also had great games 3 and 4 of the Rockies series in the NLDS, along with games 3 and 4 of the NLCS.

The Phillies don't win the WS in 2008 w/out Howard due to his clutch September and they don't get to the WS in 2009 w/out Howard.

Also,for their careers in high leverage situations during the regular season Howard is .295/.398/.650/1.047 with a OPS+ of 117. Werth is .262/.367/.448/.815 with a OPS+ of 98.

If you would take Werth over Howard, then good for you. Also, I am holding you to choosing Werth over Howard. And people say I am silly??

Jayson Stark has a piece up about the volatility of ,iddle relief pitchers, and the fact that no GM has been able to "figure them out".

It's for espn "insiders" only, but the first coupleof paragraphs are up.

"Jack: Come on man. Stop trying to grab straws here to try to make Werth similiar to Howard is at least 1 of my 3 questions."

tommy, I hate to be the grammar police, but WTF does that sentence mean?

The Phillies must have the formula for good middle relief pitchers. I will bet someone on this site can prove it.

Tommy: I didn't say I'd choose Werth over Howard. That's a tough decision and I would consider FAR more than tiny sample-size playoff stats.

But since you brought it up, I thought I'd point out that Werth has been a better offensive player than Howard in their respective postseason careers.

Also, claiming Howard single-handedly won a 10-2 game is a bold statement. Not sure how you can do that. And before you say anything, I was there. So don

Post got cut off there, but I was saying that I was at that 10-2 game, so Tommy couldn't pull his "you were just sitting on your computer looking at stats" argument.

Werth hit .444/.583/.778 with a HR and 3 SBs in the 2008 WS.

I've been watching the WS DVDs (w/Phils audio) during snowdays.

We're maybe forgetting the bad plays Werth made in the field and on the basepaths (picked off at least twice-which more than cancels out the benefits of the 3 extra bases gained on the SBs).

And that HR made the game four score go from 6-2 to 8-2. Howard knocked in 5 runs in that game.

EF, so are you saying that players ought to be able to time their HRs for when they are most needed?

BTW, what was the final score of the game?

No, it just seemed that Werth made at least 3 bonehead plays in close games that don't show up in that stat line that was provided.

Both Werth and Howard and every other Phils was doing poorly in the clutch in the Series, remember, even though the Phils had the series lead at that point. Howard's HR sort of opened the proverbial floodgates.

The final score was Phils 10, TB 2. Howard went 3-4 with 5 RBIs and 2 HRs.

Considering post-season stats as a measure of a player's quality is beyond moronic. By that standard, Al Weis and So Taguchi are two of the greatest players in baseball history.

Which Phillie represents a rain out now with the crazy eyes? Juan Castro?

clout: Yeah, and Michael Jack Schmidt's .236/.304/.386 in 158 postseason PA is fairly pedestrian, too...

Curious to see what Stark said and some of the numbers in his study. My bet on "inconsistency" of middle relief relievers is multifaceted.

As the game has become more specialized over the past 25 years and you have had 4 additional teams being added, you have added more pitchers to the game including more middle relievers. Basically it means you likely have more spots and thusly lesser talented players who are now pitching at the MLB level.

I also bet that 'inconsistency' is also effected by several measurement and statistical issues including how you define & measure inconsistency, what your sample size looks like, etc.

Clout don't forget Dusty Rhodes

Werth does make boneheaded plays from time to time, and did during the WS, but he's still a great player. Hopefully, he'll learn better instincts as he continues playing regularly, and he does show flashes of greatness as when he stole his way to home.

MG: "Basically it means you likely have more spots and thusly lesser talented players who are now pitching at the MLB level."

That is exactly right. Fringe pitchers + small sample size (60 IP per annum) = inconsistency.

There is also inconsistency among 5th outfielders.

Back in the day, when you needed a middle reliever, it was the starter with the most rubbery arm. Just for fun, here's how many games the 1956 World Champion New York Yankees rotation pitched in relief:

Ford 1
Kucks 3
Turley 6
Larsen 18

Can you imagine Halladay, Hamels, Blanton and Happ pitching that many games in relief?

They also had a guy, Tommy Byrne, who'd been a starter since 1948, but was now age 36. He started 8 times and relieved 29 times, throwing 110 IP.

Tommy- you have a tendency to extremely oversimplify in every argument you get involved in. The original issue I raised was you quoting a 23 mil salary for Howard and 15 for Werth. If this is the case we are not merely comparing Werth to Howard, but Werth plus 8 mil additional payroll per year.

You also are basing your entire argument on things that have happened in the past, but the unfortunate truth is these are both 30 year old guys whose aging pattern will go a long way in determining how much value they hold in the coming years. Which type of player do you think ages better?

Which one do you think plays better defense?

If you take out salary, how they will age, and defense, then absolutely I would take Howard, but there are a lot more factors here than you are considering. Howard is a great player, historic even, but that does not mean he is necessarily the right one to hold on to.

One last thing, if we extend Werth, but not Howard, we have them both for 2011. Otherwise this is the last year we have them all in the same lineup.

The argument is not Howard vs. Werth, it's Howard vs. Werth plus money. Looks like $9M might have bought us another season of Cliffie, loose body or not, and even a solid #3 at that money might be worth the loss in RBI.

That being said, I still take Howard. He's a once-in-a-generation slugger, and if he improves his pitch recognition and plate discipline half as well as he has improved other facets of his game, he's got a shot at .285 and 45 for years to come.

Well, until the late start to his career comes back to bite.

Interesting thread.

Never heard of most of these guys, though.


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