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Friday, March 19, 2010

Comments

I answer with a definitive YES based on the starting rotation. Halladay is better than Cliff Lee, Hamels is off to a great start, Happ and Blanton are who they are and Kendrick (in my mind) will be a better fifth starter on Opening Day than anyone could have expected.

The lineup is better with Polanco in the fold and Utley will be healthy at the start. The bullpen does have some issues for Opening Day, but they had problems as of game six as well. The Yankees won the World Series because of the Phillies bullpen.

I think the Phillies CAN be better than the team that was last on field in game 6. Are they on paper? Yes. But i think health has an awful lot to with it. IF Romero is healthy, IF Lidge is back, IF Hamels is Hamels once again, and IF Ibanez hit better than he is currently showing in spring training.

I'm not as big a fan of Chan Ho Park as most seem to be. Think we lucked out, and his apparent unwillingness to pitch too often helped keep him from being exposed.

Often you'll hear people say relievers are hit and miss from year to year, yet we all get upset if the guys who happened to be useful one season aren't around the next season.

The Phillies are certainly no worse than they were last year. Whether they are better or not depends on how healthy the pitching remains. They do have the toughest inter-league schedules, which should not be a problem if they expect to beat the Yankees or another AL team in the World Series

***I'm not as big a fan of Chan Ho Park as most seem to be. Think we lucked out, and his apparent unwillingness to pitch too often helped keep him from being exposed. ***

I think it was more of an inability to pitch back to back days than an unwillingness. UC commented on that during the off-season...Park simply couldn't stretch himself out sometimes in the bullpen.

Overall, I think we're more of a 95-99 win team instead of the 89-94 win team I thought we were last year.

Obviously, the bullpen is the biggest concern; given the mix of injuries, unproven youth, and the unpredictability of who will 'hit' and who will 'miss'.

But fortunately, our Phils are good enough to have the luxury to use several months of the season, via trial and error, to weed out the misses and replace them with hits - and still win the division.

I voted yes--simply because our closing situation was so ridiculous last year that, honestly, continued questions (and injuries) in the bullpen make it rather par for the course.

JW- I agree with yor reservations anout the bullpen, but the rotation and 3b are improved and the bench is at least a wash.

The Phils have some ifs that need go get answers (Lidge, Romaro, ) but thats always going to happen.

Upgrade from '09 going into "10.

Can't wait to see how the season plays out.

I voted yes because on paper the team is better. Beyond that I think the hunger still has to be there after getting pretty dismantled by the Bombers. Are questions there about the health of the bullpen, sure, but when is that not the case?

I voted yes with this caveat -- the organization has very little depth with the exception of a number of interesting but shaky arms starting the year in AAA. Any IF injury will really hurt. There is very little interesting for trade in the minors, other than Brown, so should a mid-season trade be required, I don't think the Phils can pull off much of an upgrade.

With Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, and Happ the bullpen might not be a factor if they are all throwing 200+ innings. If Hamels is better than last year I think the 10 Phils are better than the 09 Phils.

YES. Halladay > Lee.

That's all it comes down to, all the other pieces are minor.

There was a lack of focus from many of the players early on last season after winning WFC-1. Not Howard or Utley, but Moyer's comments were generally indicative. However, after losing to the Yankees and Halladay, Howard and Utley driving the mission bus, this team is as primed as ever to destroy anybody that gets in their way.

This team is not just physically more talented. They seem to be mentally more focused than last year. (Even with many of the same players)

"I think they’re better, but I can’t say it with conviction. So my answer is 'no.'"

Huh? You think they're a better team, but you answer "no" to the question of whether they are a better team? I don't get it, Jason. An incremental improvement in starting pitching (Halladay over Lee, Hamels 2010 over Hamels 2009), a better bat in Polanco, and a bullpen that is about the same as last year's equals a better team. Much better? Maybe not. Enough to beat the Yankees? Maybe not. But it is a better team.

Situation for the Beerleaguer throngs to consider. I work at a library and at our annual book sale, one of my colleagues noticed some Phillies memorabilia - a 1985 Phillies yearbook. What a great year to remember. If "NOT" was still cool to say, I'd be saying it right now.

So my question is, what do I do with the this "rare" piece of Phillies history. I was thinking of starting a blog dedicated to the 1985 Phillies in jest. But I'm not sure if I have the satire chops the way GM Carson does. In fact, the fact that I even alluded to using "NOT" is proof that I don't.

Maybe I'll just donate it to Carson and let him have at it. Or maybe I'll get over to a RiverSharks game and get it signed by Von Hayes. That will certainly increase its value. Maybe than I can even get the full cover price of $4 for it.

Ideas?

"Right now, their closer and top lefty are recovering from surgery."

Last year, their closer had a 7.21 ERA and their top lefty pitched 16 innings all year. Advantage: 2010.

Oh, I voted "Yes". They are better. Halladay>Lee,
Polanco>Pete Happy,
uninjured Ibanez>injured Ibanez,
surgically repaired Lidge> injured Lidge.

I voted "yes" b/c I believe the pitching will be better and the line-up will be improved with PP hitting 2nd. Of course they'll have to stay relatively healthy. Hamels and Lidge are the keys this year. If they bounce back, we'll be watching October baseball.

I still think the Phils will have to bring their A+ game if they make the WS. The AL teams have an advantage with the DH and the only way to overcome that is with superior pitching. Cliff Lee would have helped in that regard.

I voted yes, for many of the reason people have stated. I think Halladay is better than Lee, and we have him for an entire season, not just after the break. Hamels is due for a bounce back type of year. I don't see any regression from Blanton. Happ can't possibly be as good. But, his drop-off will be accounted for somewhat by a whole season of Halladay.

Bullpens always contain question marks. If healthy, there is no way that Lidge is as bad as he was last year. No way. I think Contreras and Baez will prove to be solid pick-ups and Madson will continue to put up solid numbers.

The bench is definitely improved. Gload gives them a nice PH option. If Dobbs is healthy this season, he will again be a great contributor. Schneider is a more capable back-up than we are used to seeing in the last few seasons. Castro is...Castro. In my book, still a better option than Cairo, Bruntlett, Nunez, etc.

The starting 8 will be what they have been the past few years -- dominant. Polanco will be a perfect fit in the 2-hole. Victorino is going to put up amazing numbers out of the 7-hole (count on it!). The only big issue is the health/durability of Ibanez.

Overall, I think the '10 Phillies is better than the '09 Phillies.

JW, can you drop Lauber from the Tweet feed if he's just going to be doing Sox coverage now?

What worries me is that 2009 was a career year for Werth, Ibanez, Ruiz and Happ. I would expect about the same production as last year from Victorino, Blanton, and Howard. And we'll probably see improvements from Rollins, Utley and Hamels. How much will we have to compensate for any drop-off from those first four? How will Polanco perform? And I'm not even talking about the bullpen.

I just think 4 career years can't easily be duplicated.

Forgot to mention Francisco above. Having him as the 4th outfielder gives a solid RH bat for the bench. I feel bad that I always forget about him. He's a starter on a few teams.

sifl: That's a fair point. In my opinion, Werth and Ibanez will regress somewhat, but will still be above average ballplayers at the very least. With Werth showcasing for a new contract, one might hope he'd put up some monster numbers again. One never knows, however.

They're pretty obviously improved from the team that walked off the field against the Yankees...Halladay's better than Lee, Hamels will be improved, the lineup's healthy, and there's no way Polanco can be as inept at the plate as Feliz.

As for the bullpen issue, the bullpen was a mess during the WS last year as well. That hasn't been fixed yet, but if everyone comes back healthy the bullpen has the potential to be significantly better than last year's.

TBD. Everybody is assuming that Lidge will come back and generally settle the issues at closer & be a vast improvement over last year. Can't be worse but I do kind of wonder what kind of pitcher Lidge will be.

My bet is somewhere in between last year & 2008. Basically a guy who notches around 30 saves with a notable improvement on his control but still pretty hittable at times. Let's say an ERA right around 3.75, 30 saves with 4-5 blown saves thrown in. Acceptable but not great.

Less sold on Romero coming back. Hope I am wrong because this team needs a lefty or two in the pen. Especially a veteran option that Cholly will actually use.

Bench should be a bit better mainly because they should have a full season of Francisco, solid PH option in Gload, & hopefully a healthy Dobbs who was horrible down the stretch will nursing several minor injuries. Castro is a .220 stiff and not crazy about what Schneider can do offensively especially if he is forced into everyday action by Ruiz's seemingly annual June swoon.

I do think the Phils win a few more games 2-3 during the regular season though because the 2009 Opening Day Phils are going to be better than the 2008 Opening Day Phils. 95 wins has a nice round number to it.

sifl - Was 2009 really a career year for those 4? It was Werth's first year as a full-time starter, and you're already writing off any improvement? Ibanez was hurt for half the season, you don't think he could improve given a relatively healthy campaign? Happ was a rookie, and while I also expect some regression, is it really impossible that he could improve from his rookie season? And I think Ruiz is more likely to settle into the type of production he had last year for a couple seasons than he is to fall off immediately.

I think you're being overly pessimistic if you really think that all 4 of those players are definitely going to have a drop-off in performance.

I would have signed or traded for a lefty reliever months ago. Bastardo and Escolona hardly look up to the task. Other than that, Lidge is a question mark but Madson has great stuff and I think will be fine in the 9th inning if neccessary.

Somewhat sheepishly I voted yes. I should point out that my optimism grows exponentially with the start of the season, such that I completely lose the ability of rational thinking and any real objective analysis. Without fail, I think this team is better in every area, we've even got a slimmed down manager. But I'm also a guy that has bet, at the beginning of the season, the eagles would go 16-0 one year, therefore my opinion isn't terribly relevant.

I do think the biggest question mark is the bullpen, which going into last year, I had thought was a strength. Given the phils overcame that weakness quite well, I think they'll figure out a way to do it again if needed.

Catcher is the one position (and only position really) that Amaro has bungled badly since becoming GM. Forced them to bring in a washed up retread like Bako last year and don't really know how much of an upgrade Schneider is at this point.

Meanwhile Paulino looks good in the Fish camp, Jamarillo would be a better backup than Schneider, and the Phils traded away their remaining talent in d'Arnaud and Marson. Basically left with veteran warm overs options like Hoover at AAA instead of a competent backup.

Keep your fingers crossed that Chooch stays healthy.

sifl - I would agree about the power numbers especially for Ibanez. Even though the charts showed that playing at CBP did probably add 2-3 HRs to Ibanez' total I was stunned he hit 34 HRs last year. Only person I remember on this entire board posting he would hit 30+ HRs before the season started was mvp. I would be really surprised if Ibanez hit 30+ HRs again. Hell, even 25 would be more than adequate.

Same on Werth and his 36 HRs. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he drops back more to the 28-30 HR range.

The 2010 rotation is an improvement over 2009. I'd argue that Halladay has been far more consistent over his career than Lee. I also think that Moyer will have a much shorter leash in the final year of his contract, especially considering Kendrick's newfound performance/work ethic.

The bench is a massive upgrade, as is Schneider over Bako. Polanco's bat is an upgrade over Feliz, and I believe that it overshadows a minor to moderate defensive downgrade, if such a downgrade exists.

I don't see how anyone can say that the role of closer is a downgrade. How could it possibly be worse than 2009? As with Moyer, I'm sure that Lidge's leash will be considerably shorter than last season. I believe that, if necessary, Madson can adequately replace Lidge as closer and Baez can work the 8th. We have enough arms at AAA to fill in the blanks. As for Park, he is an example of why Amaro should consider not spending his entire budget immediately - save $4mil for the bargains that can be had in Feb, Mar.

Barring injury to key components, I'd say that the 2010 Phillies are definitely an upgrade over 2009. Depending on Cole's bounceback and Ibanez, a 100 win season wouldn't shock me.

Greg S.--you're not the Greg S. who works at Ganser Library, are you? I mean... we just had our book sale... and Ganser is just a skip-and-a-hop from Lancaster.

Do we think the Yankees got better? Vasquez?

TheTheory: Yep, that's me. Who are you?

2010 Opening Day Phils are better than the 2009 Opening Day Phils for 1 main reason - Roy Halladay.

Pushes Hamels into the No. 2 spot (and the spotlight off him a bit) and more importantly the Phils don't have to depend on Myers to be a frontline starter. A role in which he was a failure the past 3 seasons except for that miraculous run in the 2nd half of 2008 which is still one of the most improbably things that has happened in Philly sports the last 25 years.

Are the 2010 Phillies better than the team that walked off the field in NY?

As I posted a couple of threads ago:

On paper, yes.

But a lot of teams have looked good on paper to start the season and wound up going home in October.

That's why they play the games.

This team is better.

Bullpen questions are more than offset by upgrade to rotation. Bench is clearly stronger. Offense much improved by replacement of Feliz with Polly.

Number one impediment is health. If any of the key guys gets hurt for extended period (Halladay, Hamels, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Werth), then team is worse, not better.

Brett Myers update:

He has been hit around a bit this spring and looked exactly what he looked like in Philly last year before he went down for the year. A backend starter who doesn't have the same life on his fastball anymore and doesn't enough enough control to compensate for it to be a frontline starter.

I voted "yes". They're better on paper. B ill Conlin think they'll win 98 games. Last year, if the back end of the 'pen was better, we'd have won 100 games. Do I think that can happen this year? Yes. Do they have holes? Yes.

I would have brought in MacDougal over Contreras and kept Bruntlett over Castro. I would have aquired Doc and retained Lee and Blanton as well. I would have asked Moyer to possibly retire and take a job in the org. I know Beltre turned the Phils down, but I would have tried harder to get him. I like Polanco but I think RAJ made the decision to sign him too hastily. But that's just me.

The Gload and Schnieder signings are excellent.

I like what I've beed reading about the rotation this Spring. If they get consistant starting pitching, I think they have no problem in the East. We'll see what happens from there. They could very well repeat as NL champions.

Greg--I'm one of the student workers... Jacob, who works down in acquisitions/serials. I used to be a more vocal participant on beerleaguer, but now I mostly lurk.

Jacob:

Stop by my office sometime if you want to see the "rare" Phillies memorabilia.

:)

Myers would be fighting for a spot as a 5th starter on our team this year. And I'm not sure that he'd have the inside track over KK/Moyer. Yeah, he probably would but he hasn't been a good starter (better than replacement level) since 2006. That 2nd half of 08 was a great mirage that helped win us a WS.

That said, we'll always have that awesome at-bat against Sabathia.

****Number one impediment is health. If any of the key guys gets hurt for extended period (Halladay, Hamels, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Werth), then team is worse, not better.****

I think, out of that bunch, Werth is the most easily lost for a month...as Francisco could cover the position credibly at least. Yeah, it would hurt but not nearly as much as losing any of the others. If Rollins goes down, we're screwed...Castro is not a legit option as an everyday option. Any of the other infield spots allow you to be creative.

2B - Move Polanco over and go with Dobbs/Ransom/Castro if its shorterm.

1B - Start Dobbs/Gload or even Ibanez and put Francisco in LF.

3B - Dobbs/Castro/Ransom.

Granted, none are pretty but its better than Castro every single day.

A "Yes" vote.

Zolecki summed it up pretty well. I would add that having Halladay for an entire year should be a real benefit for several reasons.

-It takes pressure off Cole Hamels. All he has to do is pitch. Halladay is the ace who has to be the stopper time after time. I've always wondered if Cole might fare better as a 2, with a truly great pitcher in front of him.

-Should also incrementally take some pressure off the bullpen over the course of a season.

-Halladay appears to be the model of what you would hope for in your staff ace. Someone to follow the lead of a la Kendrick. Lee was terrific, but Halladay seems more like an indomitable icon.

-Halladay won't be perfect, we know. But there were times when Lee was inconsistent during the season, and I was left wondering if he was really as good as he seemed to be, or if he was benefiting from pitching (1) to the NL, and (2) to batters unfamiliar with him. Halladay seems more consistent over a longer time frame against tougher opposition.

All of this and everyone's predictions, of course, assume good health for everyone. If Utley or Halladay or Rollins went down with a season ending injury - well, you get the drift. Ugh, hate to even think about it.

I voted yes due to the pitching staff improvements, but my primary concern is that the hitters are all on the downside of their careers (i.e. 30 or older).

There's not much upside left in the lineup at all (until Dom Brown gets the call).

I'd say with confidence that "yes" this team is better.

The rotation is upgraded. I think Halladay is a bigger upgrade over Lee than Zolecki does. As I said before- that's not a knock on Lee. Lee is a fine top of the rotation, probably top 15 in baseball pitcher. Halladay is top 5. You took a strength and made it stronger.

IMO, Hamels will be better this year and that helps out.

There may be some questions in the bullpen but I think that Kendrick may slide into a role there and he will be good in that role.

The bench is clearly an upgrade. Schneider is a better back-up than Bako. Gload is an upgrade from Stairs.

Also, Polanco is going to be better than Feliz offensively and actually improves the line-up. For as much as I love Victorino he is not an ideal number 2 hole hitter. Polanco will fit that role better and in turn that will help the bottom of the order.

Like clout said, health is going to be the biggest obstacle.

The Phils are considerably better on paper than Opening Day 2009, I think, for the reasons discussed -- rotation depth being the main one.

I think this is a 95-plus win team, and was bemused by the low win estimates from PECOTA and others, IIRC.

Injuries are the big variable -- impossible to guess but we have had a relatively benign run on the injury front. For some reason, the potential injury I worry about quite a bit is Ruiz. I fret about the lack of catching depth in his absence.

Utley, Ryno, Ruiz, Vic about the same this year as last. Raul colder 1st half, better 2nd = no change. Polanco will win a couple with his bat and brains but lose a couple with his glove/arm. Starting pitching & bench better. Three big question marks; Lidge, JC, Hamels. To expect all three to be healed and better is a lot to ask. Won't happen. And then there is Werth, can he have the same stuff this year and secure a huge contract? That's four key players with question marks. My feeling is at least two of these question marks will come through and that is enough to provide a better, more wins, year.

NEPP: I think you and my new monikers on here should be Zeus and Apollo because, apparently, we're both lapdogs for the capitalist scum ownership.

Driving in NJ yesterday afternoon and listening to the fan with Chris Russo. He was talking about the Yanks/Mets a bit.

His main point though that after this weekend that it is a good time to start to get really excited about Opening Day with it less than 2 weeks away.

It made me wonder if Mad Dog observes Clout Day on March 20?

Anyone else think the Phils will make a move the last week in March for a lefty reliever like they did for Taschner?

Phils have made some surprises in later March the last few years (last year - trading for Taschner, releasing Jenkins)

I say it is 50/50 but is mainly limited to whatever shakes loose on the waiver wire.

Well gosh, to have our best lefty from the pen back, Moyer needs to lost the 5th starter job or they need to re-sign Eyre our of retirement.

Where has BAP been? There's been way too much optimism here recently. Nowhere near enough angst. I'm starting to think the Phils can win 110 games. I need a dose of doom and gloom.

****NEPP: I think you and my new monikers on here should be Zeus and Apollo because, apparently, we're both lapdogs for the capitalist scum ownership.****

If their payroll was $100 M, it'd be one thing...having the 3rd highest in baseball and having raised it nearly 50% in the past 3 seasons, I've got no complaints. Most owners aren't Mark Cuban/George Steinbrenner...I accept that, as crappy as it is as a Fan from time to time.

I think Middleton would be that type of owner but who knows. I also know that Giles/Monty will never willingly let him buy out Betz & Co to take over the team.

If and when Betz sells out, it will end up being 4 equal shares to the other partners...as per their initial agreement back in the early 80s.

****Where has BAP been? ****

He's been gone since the WS games...I almost wonder if something bad happened to him in real life. Its odd for a heavy regular on a website to just disappear with no comment on why.

Yea, where's BAP? I know where I am - had to drive 20 miles to find WIFI. How's my boy Kyle doing?

One thing to keep in mind when evaluating the 2010 team is what the Phils ACTUALLY got from the players on the 2009 roster. There is a misperception by some (particularly in the media and among Mets trolls), I think, that 2009 somehow was injury free and went swimmingly well.

Regulars:

Rollins finished the season well at the plate, and played well defensively for the whole year. But keep this in mind: Juan Castro, with his career 230 .270 .332, would be an UPGRADE over the .205 .250 .319 that JRoll was posting on July 1st of last season. Simply put, Jimmy Rollins played BELOW replacement level for the 1st half of 2009. The reality was that it was as if he WAS injured.

Raul Ibanez was on fire to start the year - a HOF level performance (.312 .371 .656 before he was DL'd), but then lost 21 games to an injury that was bad enough to require surgery in the offseason. He then played at .232 .323 .448 the rest of the season, which was at about replacement level or slightly below. Ben Francisco would have been an upgrade from that, and certainly would have been defensively.

Saint Utley played slightly above replacement level, .242 .346 .425, in August and September.

The bench was weak and did not perform well.


Pitching:

Brett Myers was lost for the season as a starter after May 27th (10 starts), and was a below league average starter, before being DL'd, with an .872 OPS against. 10 GS, 63.2 IP, 4.66 ERA, 1.554 WHIP, 2.30 K/BB.

Chan Ho Park had to be replaced by Happ.
Combined, however, they started 30 games, pitched 177.2 innings, 3.79 ERA, 1.350 WHIP, 1.92 K/BB.

Moyer was replaced by Pedro.
Combined the started 31 games, pitched 168 innings, 4.98 ERA, 1.440 WHIP, 2.30 K/BB.

Hamels and Blanton were league average.

Spot starters(KK, Rolo, Carp., Bastardo) started 13 games, pitched 67 innings, 5.37 ERA, 1.298 WHIP, 1.597 WHIP, 1.87 K/BB.

Clifford Phifer came in and essentially saved the postseason.

Still, a total of 12 different pitchers started a game for the Phils in 2009.

So, will the rotation overall be better than 2009?

Bullpen:

Brad Lidge.....well, you know.

Romero was almost nonexistent.

A lot of the 'pen spent time on the DL.


Still, they WON 93 games.

So, is the 2010 team, on paper, better than what you see above?

I think BAP's father occasionally posts here as well. Im thinking he goes by Hitman but I could be wrong about that. I do hope all is well with BAP.

donc - We're due for about 2 dozen injuries. They'll ne lucky to crack 75 wins.

I voted yes. Just based on "nobody could possibly be worse than Lidge was at the end of last season" alone, they're better. But there are substantive ways too. Polanco, for instance, and Halladay. But Gload will hit better than Stairs. Rollins should hit better than Rollins. Schneider, injury risk or not, is better than "Take it all" Bako.

In re: the other question
The Yankees are better too.

Thanks Andy. I needed that.

Halladay being slightly better than Lee is irrelevant when it comes to the WS. Either one could pitch three games and win all of them. It's the rest of the team that needs to show up for us to win it all.

Andy, the Yankees are better simply because of the addition of Vasquez.

However, I'll worry about that if they make it back to the WS again.

The Rockies and Cardinals both worry me this season, and anything can happen in a short series.

The Braves and Mets will be better too, making the divison more of a dogfight, though they should win it.

Lee was not great in game 5 at all. he allowed 5 runs. our offense bailed him out or it would have been over then. and lee wasn't pitching on short rest. halladay will

Lidge was so bad last year that him being injured already makes us a better team than last year. Almost any reliever in the game could have put up the numbers he did so getting anything decent (30 saves 5 BS as mentioned above) would make the team much better already. Lidge can be a great player (see 2008) and I like that he is a Phillie, but last year was a disaster.

Every team has 4 or 5 players that if injured would dramatically alter their season, so I don't really think that should come into question when asking if the team is better.

Seems like an incrementally better team than last year, to me. My main concern is the fact that all but one of the regulars is on the plus side of 30 and most players have seen their best years by the time they reach 30. That doesn't mean they can't still be good, or very good, but the aging process will begin taking its toll on this group eventually. I think I am most worried about Rollins in this regard.

The question is are the Phils today better than the team we thought we had at the start of 09 (with all the expectations of Hamels and Lidge etc). I think the honest answer is only maybe.
The real problem remains what management has done. They traded in an opportunity to have a rotation that would for sure have outclassed the Ynakees in WS10 and a few more years for probably a penant but out oafter 4 or 5 for lack of a 9th spot hitter (no overwhelming pitching) plus three unproven futures.
I question the managerial savviness of such a move. Even given what the FO says about saving for the future. As many here note futures may or may not work out and the fact is with the team and rotation the Phils would have had 3 more years to develop some other youngsters (we saw some inteh spring). In other words the potential for a dynasty over the next couple of years would have been worth the risk of growing our won.
Finally and this relates to a prior thread about finance--it is all about money after all--NEPP pointed out that there are almost 20 million RedSox followers in New England. The reality is that Boston spent money on the team and that created folllowers. The Phils FO would do well to study that model.

RK: I agree with the general philosophy that you need to spend money to make money, but those that think the team can operate at a loss for a time, because they'll make it up on the back end, haven't kept up with the business section of the paper and the problem of tight credit.

I love how people keep saying that the Phillies keeping Lee guarantees another championship as if it's fact. It was never going to happen. Amaro has said if Lee was still here, they never would have traded for Roy in the first place.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that we do live in Fantasyland and the Phillies have a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton and Happ. Great rotation; I'll give you that. But at the expense of what? Dobbs permanently at third? All minor league guys in our BP? No catching depth whatsoever? A bench consisting of Francisco and Andy Tracy/Mike Cervenak?

RK, you may disagree with the philosophy of trading Lee and that's OK. I tend to agree with you - I would have tried to keep Lee - but I see the FO's point.

They want to be contenders for many years, and in their opinion keeping Lee would have hurt their chances of doing that. Also, I don't buy the argument that money had "nothing" to do with it. They run a business - money ALWAYS has something to do with it.

Now, they could have traded Blanton but said they would not have gotten prospects for him that were any good. (They say they checked around.) That may be true, but they sure didn't take their time shopping either Lee or Blanton. They pulled the trigger pretty quickly.

What that tells me is that their real fear was the PR fallout from a month-long process of shopping Lee. Even if one agrees with them, ultimately, that it was necessary to trade Lee, they let PR considerations interfere with trying to maximize Lee's value.

Letting PR interfere with a trade of that magnitude it is NOT a good baseball decision.

"Amaro has said if Lee was still here, they never would have traded for Roy in the first place."

hh, if that's true then the whole argument over whether they should have kept Lee is a false choice.

awh: I think his actual words were that the trade for Halladay was contigent on moving Lee for the prospects to restock the system (and get salary relief, let's be honest). If they could have moved Blanton for similar prospects, they likely would have done that, but I think ultimately Lee would have walked and then you still have a gaping hole in the rotation after 2010. I guess I'm not sold on this whole "window" philosphy, in part, because it's a self-fulfilling one.

Nice story behind Doc getting #34 (for all those offended that he got Lee's number):
http://www.csnphilly.com/03/19/10/Numbers-Game-The-Story-Behind-Docs-34/landing_v3.html?blockID=200689&feedID=5046”>Number's Game: The Story Behind Doc's 34

Yes, they're better.

And just wait until they sign Pedro again for the stretch run! Flu-less Pedro > flu-stricken Pedro.

The pitching staff is under a 2 era after nearly 47 innings on the mound. Yep, things are off to a good start. My only worries are MadDog and Brad.

I think they are better. Bench is vastly improved. Bullpen if healthy could be the best in baseball. I also think they have the best 1-8 lineup in the league

I'd say yes for two simple reasons.

1. They've added some power and haven't lost much (except for Cliff Lee, but with his recent tussle with the D-Backs he seems to have at least lost his trademark cool)

2. They're hungry. There's nothing more motivating than being hungry and having the necessary things in your kitchen to cook up your favorite meal.

I tried to correct my link above, but it's not showing up as a post here.

Number's Game (CSN Philly)

Yes - they needed a fundamentally sound player like Polanco amongst all the Power guys.

I'm very optimistic this year. Top to bottom, they're a better team.
Hitting, Polanco is absolutely better than Feliz and the with the exception of Ibanez, I think everyone will outperform last years numbers. I especially think Chooch is ready for the next step as a hitter.
Starting Pitching is very good. If the only worry is the 5th starter, that's not too bad.
The Bullpen of course is a question, but I think Lidge will be somewhere between last years horror and '09s brilliance. Which is adequate on this team. If some of the arms in the pen don't work out, it shouldn't be too tough to find replacements.

go phils!

"those that think the team can operate at a loss for a time, because they'll make it up on the back end, haven't kept up with the business section of the paper and the problem of tight credit."

This might be the most hilarious thing I've ever read.

Millionaire (billionaire in some cases) baseball owners who run a monopoly in which the value of their franchises only increases might have a problem getting a loan?

That is too funny!

not that clear cut clout. this is one of many recent articles saying essentially the same thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/sports/17teams.html

You guys are all sleeping on what will be the best storyline of 2010: Mr. Jamie Moyer.

Hellz Yeah.

les phils: Good article. Has nothing to do with the Phillies, however.

I don't see how the Mets have any use for Chris Coste. Any chance we re-sign him for minor league depth?

It's a Spring day Jason - stop whining and bellyaching about the Phillies. It's "early days' to start your whinging.

Geez - grow a pair.

Mayor from NYC

better b/c Hamels seems to have had a better off-season than the '08-'09 season. they are prepared if Lidge fails again. Howard is putting it into LF.

here's a better question: What if the phillies don't make the playoffs this year? does the firesale being in november 10' or does management stick it out one more year?

not that it's very likely the Phillies do miss the playoffs this year, but just curious what you think this ownership group would do in that scenario, or, would revenues still be so high it would be irrelevant.

I think there's a sense of complacency here regarding Carlos Ruiz. I love him as much as the next guy, and he sure had some timely hits in the last two postseasons, but look at his OPS / OPS+ the past three seasons:

2007: .735 / 87
2008: .620 / 63
2009: .780 / 104

I think 2009 might have been his career year. He posted some solid numbers in the minors, so there's no indication that, like Werth, he's some sort of "late bloomer". He's seen three solid years of MLB pitching, and this is who he is.

I wouldn't expect much more than his 2007 season.

Halladay is better than Lee; the bench has improved; Hamels looks better...all in all, 2010 should be a better team.

Off topic but interesting: through four innings of the Royals vs D'Backs spring training game, Brian Anderson of the Royals has already hit for the cycle.

Yes we are a better team.

Offensively we are better for two reasons.

Polanco > Feliz
Contract year Super - Werth > Super - Werth

Pitching we are probably a wash.
Halladay probably slightly worse than a Contract-year Lee, but Hamels has to rebound, Happ and Kendrick will improve.

Overall I think that is a slight improvement.

polanco is a upgrade if for only one reason ,he slides nicely into that number two slot,his d will be avg and his overall bat a slight upgrade,hamels is weak mentally and that will be where docs influence will be huge,the bullpen i think when healthy and intact will be much stronger with the additions of two bulls in contreras and baez.concern for me is the lefty situation even with romero healthy

I vote "No," for one simple reason. There is no way to prove "Yes." Comparing a known entity to an unknown isn't really possible. Believing in something that can't be proven calls faith into play, and faith and facts are two very different things. While facts are often not nearly as sexy as theories, they at least have data to support them.

Some people have altered the question to compare our 2009 opening squad to the 2010 squad, and that also isn't quite fair. At the start of 2009, most thought our bench to be pretty good. Stairs was still a folk hero, Dobbs was well regarded, and Bruntlett, well, he was still considered more or less competent. By the end of the season, those things had changed somewhat. Those who have replaced the departed have track records from different places, so the comparisons are hard to line up perfectly.

Will we be better? Here's hoping. Are we? There's no way to know...

Although Myers and Lee have left, the pitching staff is stronger. Polonco is an upgrade over Pete Happy, and Schneider brings support to Ruiz. Overall, this team is potentially stronger than the injury riddled team at the end of last year.

I definitely think this year's team is better than 09. I don't even think it is close. Lidge and Hammels must have better years. The bench is much better on paper. The bullpen is a wash and possibly better IF JC is healthy and Durbin has to be better than last year.

Now, whether they will perform is another story. Time will tell!

One thing not often commented on is how utterly outmatched the 1-2 in the Phillies line-up (Rollins, Victorino) was against the 1-2 in the Yankees (Jeter, Damon). How many Philly home runs in that series were solo shots? I think Rollins has a better year offensively, and Polanco helps improve the top of the order. Power was never a problem, so overall this offense is better.

I share the bullpen concerns, and I pray Beerleaguer is right about Hamels. The Lee trade still haunts my sleep. The guy was available for 9 mil and we sent him packing. I'm sorry, I've heard all the clever arguments, but that doesn't make sense in any economy.

Yes, Halladay is better than Lee, but that is the only improvement I'm really confident about. I do expect Hamels to improve, but not by so significant a margin that it will make up for the regression I expect from Happ and Blanton.

I honestly think we got pretty lucky last year offensively in terms of everyone playing to the best of their ability (with the sole exception of Jimmy). I would be surprised if every one of those guys (Ryno, Chase, Jimmy, Werth, and Vic) plays as well as he did last year. I like Polanco, but I liked Feliz a lot more than most people, so I think that's a mostly lateral move.

The big difference for me is in the bullpen. I am no optimistic about Lidge bouncing back and past that the bullpen is extremely sketchy. I don't like that we're relying on Contreras being an effective member of the bullpen.

Our rotation is better, our lineup's about the same, our bench is better, and our bullpen is worse. It's close but because I expect to see an injury or unforseen slump somewhere, my answer is no.

I also voted yes because of the pitching! Although Lee will be missed, imagine what the season would have been like if he'd been on the team the whole year - and that's what we're getting with Halladay.

On paper, yes, but mostly, I believe, in mindset. This teams seems much hungrier than last year, and with a man like Roy Halladay raising the bar on a team that is already known for its strong work ethic, it makes us just that much better. I actually think Halladay is a good step above Lee, even when that Game 1 of the WS was one of the best-pitched games I've ever seen. Also, I think the players know that, and so they feel in their hearts that anything less than a WS win is a failed season.

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