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Friday, June 18, 2010


I never really missed Chan Ho...and apparently UC didn't either from his comments during the off-season.

Contreras was a great signing as was Polly (so far, 3 months into a 3 year deal). Polly's defense has really been impressive and you can see a clear improvement on his instincts over the last 3 months. Remember April when he would hesitate to charge balls and he played nearly on the outfield grass to make sure balls wouldn't get by him? Totally gone now...he looks like a 3B now (may have even grown a couple inches). Great to see as it will really show once Jimmy is back and we have great defense on the entire left side of the infield.


Polly: 9.1
Beltre: 18.5 (bandied about last winter but clearly too expensive for us)
Figgins: now a 2B but -22.6 (so happy we didnt sign fluke contract year last year for him)
Feliz: -22.1

Polly was the best signing of the bunch and while he might be a utility guy in that 3rd year, he'll likely (or hopefully) be a decent one who can still can a couple hundred ABs without killing us.

whoa whoa whoa... Sophist just struck gold. How is this not the new headline:

"Lopes tells Utley is suffering a knee injury"

Its funny how most of Amaro's offseason moves have generally been runaway successes so far (Halladay, Contreras, Polanco). Yeah, Baez has struggled and the bench additions (Schneider, Gload, Castro) have generally been a bust but overall I would argue he improved the team.

Too bad some of the players on the team have underperformed a bit or been injured. There is that one other move that I can quite remember either . . .

Missing the forest for the trees implies more good things than bad were done to this point. I can't agree with that.

I like the Polanco, Contreras and Halladay signings (of course.) The Lee signing at the trade deadline was genius as well.

But the extra year to Ibanez stinks, the Howard contract has been roundly panned, and the Lee to the Mariners deal was asinine as well.

To me, missing the forest for the trees would be to imply our General Manager has had anything but a decidedly mixed tenure thus far, with great moves mixed in with horrible, mind boggling ones.

I wouldn't make a lot of the comment. Lopes said he's been "hampered by a little bit of a knee injury." I guess considering the info vacuum it's something. At least it's not the hip.

NEPP, the phils offered Beltre more than the Doz or what they offered Polanco and Beltre turned them down.

thephaithful, do you really want to dwell on the fact that our best player is hurt and is playing like a shadow of himself due to a knee injury? I sure as hell dont.

Why not sit him for a week to let it heal? Sign/trade for a decent backup 2B or even 3B (moving Polly back for a bit) and give Chase some time off?

Seriously, Chase batting .200 with no power isn't a plus for the team. Clearly, no one wants to see Valdez AND Castro out there every night but maybe Chase starts getting days off a bit more when Jimmy returns? Valdez is a decent glove at 2B and if we can handle him every night at SS offensively, why not at 2B when Rollins returns.

Lopes wonder if he let one 'slip past the goalie' when he admitted that Utley is playing with a knee injury. My bet is 'yes.'

****NEPP, the phils offered Beltre more than the Doz or what they offered Polanco and Beltre turned them down.****

Didn't they offer a multi year deal but Beltre wanted either a HUGE multi year deal or a bigger 1 year deal (something we didnt want to do)?

I forget exactly.

Heather - Yeah overall you have to see how things pain out but to me the most egregious move was offering Howard that deal when Amaro didn't have to do that until this offseason at the earliest.

If Howard finishes with a real down year offensively, the Phils have cost themselves millions in the process.

eh, it might not be the most thrilling dicussion, but its certainly been one of the most discussed topics over the past month, and we finally have an inside source quoted instead of a bunch of us declaring what they see/feel.

Also, Lopes goes on to mention it a second time later in the article.

Without the Howard deal, I think Rube is having a decent year as a GM. Not great but decent. That deal was and is a headscratcher. It'd be one thing if this was a contract year for Ryan...but 2 years early? For a guy in his early 30s who can't hit LHP (on display prominently last night again as Pettitte OWNS Howard). Just a mystery.

NEPP - Agreed to a point. Especially once JRoll gets back. Sometimes you hurt the team more by being out on the field and being largely ineffective as Utley has been the past month.

That said, the Phils probably are worried about losing too much ground if Utley is out for 3 weeks or more if they have to play a combo of Valdez/Castro at 2B. This is where there horrible bench limits them. If they had a capable INF on the bench (either at 3B or utility INF), they put Utley on the 15-day DL if needed and not have it really hurt them.

Nothing like a series win over the Yanks to get the RAJ trumpets blowing.

Utley has a .495 OPS over the last 4 weeks (23 GS).

That's the bar that a replacement player would have to beat to give us more than an injured Chase Utley is giving.

Last 14 days: .550 OPS
Last 7 days: .641 OPS

So, yeah, he's warming up a bit (into the .640s for an OPS) but its not pretty right now. If he's hurt, sit him the moment Jimmy comes back.

NEPP: I'm not saying the "injury" isn't affecting Chase's hitting, but I also think he is slumping. If this was an injury that the team thought was even a bit serious, Utley would probably be sitting. I think it is more that Utley is slumping than Utley is playing hurt, though it could possibly be the combination of both. With the offense showing signs of life, lets see what happens this weekend with Chase.

Keep Valdez this time and drop Castro----poor defense,no hitting and can be timed to first with a sundial.

I hope so...I hate to see lost seasons offensively thanks to injury.

I agree...Castro is finished. Luckily, its a fairly cheap ($750 K) mistake to correct. He's only owed about $450K (plus a $50K buyout) the rest of the way anyway. Keep Valdez and move on.

"And of course, there’s Halladay, who has done everything the Phillies had hoped."

Except pitch well against AL teams.

11.2 IP 16 H 12 ER 4 BB 4 HR 6 SO

Remember when people were worried about the Nats? That was laughable.

As predicted, they've fallen to 8 games out, and are tumbling fast. They're more likely to get the #1 pick again than they are to finish at .500.

I don't understand Heather's three counterpoints to JW's claim that Rube's done a nice job.

On Ibanez: First, where is the evidence that Ibanez would have signed here without a third year? It's easy to call the third year of the contract excessive; it's strange, though, to criticize Ibanez's performance in his third year, and then to use hypothetically bad performance against the signing, considering that Ibanez (a) performed quite well in his first year, and (b) is not yet half-way through his second year. The logic is: well, he's going to be bad, despite having been good, so the signing was a bad one.

On Cliff Lee: Was the starting rotation in September 2009 better than that of September 2008 under Pat Gillick? I think so. Is the starting rotation better now than it was at ANY point under Pat Gillick, and, moreover, better than it was in September 2009? No doubt. Joe Blanton has been a disappointment, and Happ has barely pitched. But Jaime Moyer, in his much decried second year, sure looks good. Ditto for Kyle Kendrick. Oh, right: we're supposed to evaluate the Cliff Lee without attention to how good the rotation has been, how the acquired prospects develop, and do all of this prior to September, when the starting roster will be finalized.

On Ryan Howard: Not sure what to say here. I'm a little worried about the extension, but it certainly can't be used yet to show that the GM has done a bad job. Does it project to be a great contract? No, but maybe ought to wait till it, you know, it begins, before casting judgment.

I'm with thephaithful on the Utley tidbit. I posted this in the other thread, but it really does show how good the organization is at keeping tight-lipped about the health of the team. The local media hasn't had a clue.

They allegedly offered Beltre 3 years 24mil

A couple of things:

"This is positive news, Utley's ever-decreasing BA notwithstanding."

optimuspun, during the Yankees series these were Utley's #s:

.273 .429 .273, 3 H, 2 SB (had a third stolen alst night but Howard fould off a pitch).

Utley "raised" his BA during the Yanks series. Signs of resurgence are starting to show. Now, hopefully, the power returns.

MG, I must disagree. I don't think Castro has been a bust - not if you looked at his career numbers. Castro has been Castro. In April he hit .280, which included one of his hot streaks where he hit .353 for about 10 games - the kind of hot streak he has had before. He's a career backup, who overall has performed at about replacement level for a SS at the plate.

Schneider is hitting .278 (albeit with no power). Did you expect more?

Gload, well, he's been a disappointment so far, as has Dobbs, though both of them have hit a little better of late (both: 2 for their last 6). Lost in Moyers awfuls start against the Red Sox was the fact that Gload went 2/4 as the DH.

Got to the game early last night and saw BP. Dobbs scalded some balls. For that matter so did Francisco who spent a bit of time talking and joking with Charlie during BP.

The fact that they let it slip shows just how good they are at keeping tight-lipped?

I'm kidding. I know what you meant.

"To me, missing the forest for the trees would be to imply our General Manager has had anything but a decidedly mixed tenure thus far, with great moves mixed in with horrible, mind boggling ones."

Heather, please name a GM for me who has had every move work out as well or better than anticipated. I'm not defending Amaro, because you are right - he has not been perfect.

But I can't help but think you are applying a standard to RAJ to which no GM could possibly live up. At least that's how your post reads.

Rube has made 2 major mistakes so far in his tenure:

1. Cliff Lee

2. Howard's extension.

One is a bit more debatable than the other.

Let's try to focus on the positive today though.

awh - You and your 'numbers.'

That's fair though - Utley has looked a little better in the past week. I was just trying to put a positive spin on the possibility of nagging knee problems: taking relief that it's not his hip, and hoping that it's not severe.

"Heather, please name a GM for me who has had every move work out as well or better than anticipated. I'm not defending Amaro, because you are right - he has not been perfect"

I'm not sure what you're getting at. There does not exist such a perfect manager. But the implication (to me) was that Amaro has overall had many more good decisions than poor ones. Not sure I can agree with that.

Others don't either, so it's not just me.

I post that article not because I expect you to agree with it, just to show that it's not just me who thinks some of Amaro's moves have been bizarre.

NEPP, Pettitte "owns" Howard....maybe.

But Howard had the first RBI off Pettitte, which changed the entire "feel" of the game if you were in the ballpark (I was). There were a lot of Phils fans at the park, and you could feel our mood cahnge as soon as he delivered.

Granted, he K'd twice last night (he's a LH power hitter against a borderline HOF LHP) but he also had two RBI, the first one being huge and putting some pressure on the Yanks.

Three things I've learned from the majority of posters on Beerleaguer over the past two seasons:

1. Gillick is the best GM in history and far superior to Amaro.

2. Kendrick can't possibly succeed in the major leagues.

3. Bastardo is one of the Phillies top prospects.

Any questions? flipper? Jack? SmokeyJoe? Anyone?

optimuspun, excellent post at 9:58.

This is BL, though. Stop. You are only allowed to make sense once a week here. :)

Just noticed an interesting stat when looking at the standings: the Phillies are last in the NL East in runs scored.

@Heather: Nobody doubts that you'll find plenty of folks who don't grasp what Amaro's up to all the time. I wish I had a nickel for every mention of the Lee trade, the Ibanez contract, and the Howard 5-year signing.

Gotta say, though, that article's take on Ibanez was odd. It speaks of Ibanez as a DH masquerading as a left fielder, but I've got to tell you, I'm orders of magnitude more comfy with Ibanez in left field than I was with Pat Burrell there. Ibanez was a defensive IMPROVEMENT.

People thought Ed Wade was a good general manager after 1 1/2 seasons, too.

I think all the mentions here of "Wait till Rollins gets back" explains a lot. A Phillies team with Polanco-Rollins-Valdez-Howard in the infield is a far, far better team than with Polanco-Valdez-Castro-Howard (not to mention the lineup). Utley's defensive play has been sound, discounting a disturbing two weeks around the end of May. I suspect that the Phils' management staff has been delaying The Healing of St. Utley until the return of the Wounded Hero Rollins. Makes sense to me.

I think that we all are pretty much in agreement re Valdez > Castro. And we have been for a while now.
But I had a feeling that the Phils hadn't yet reached that conclusion. However, I sure hope that the last three days finally sealed it in favor of Wilson.

When JRoll returns, dump Castro.

Don't we have to wait until the contracts expire before we can say for certainty that the Iabnez and Howard contracts were terrible? I distinctly remember numerous posters here ridiculing the Zito contract as the worst in baseball history. They are, of course, silent now.

Some trees define a forest more than others. Polanco, I grant, looks like a great move. But I can't let a cheap set-up man excuse the mismanagement of Cliff Lee or the amazingly misguided Ryan Howard contract.

@BobbyD: " the Phillies are last in the NL East in runs scored."

How much would you be willing to bet me that they're either first or second by Sept 15?

Or, do you really think that the Mets, the Braves, and the Phillies are all three going to continue to perform for the rest of the season the way they have from May 20 through June 20?

It's hard to compare Gillick to Amaro, because they had different jobs to do. Gillick had to put the final pieces in place to put a contending team over the top--he did so. Amaro has the unenviable job of having to deal with a title team which may or may not be starting to come down the other side of the mountain--tough to tell yet how he's going to handle it.

Clout: Speaking of Bastardo, how's Joe Savery doing? He'll contribute any day now, right?

Clout: The Zito contract is still terrible; he's gone 37-48 with a 4.37 ERA (in a pitcher's park) since going to SF. They're paying Roy Halladay money for Joe Blanton performance.

Bonehead: You are, obviously, correct. Valdez is superior to Castro by any reasonable measure, both offensively and defensively.

But there are 750,000 reasons why the Phillies will never agree with you.

Jack and Clout:

Can we agree that predicting the future, especially regarding the future performance of minor league baseball players, doesn't always produce accurate results, and leave the bickering for another day?

Let's stay focused on the Cliff Lee trade. I don't care what else RAJ does this year because that trade was the dumbest trade in the world.

good post wildthing...

i think rube should probably get some credit, however, for contreras, park, etc. set-up men are very important (esp. in the playoffs).

1. Gillick is arguably the best GM in Philadelphia history and superior to Amaro. In addition, after leaving a trail of championships in every port of call, he is regarded as one of the best GM's in baseball over the past fifty years.

2. Kendrick was and is unlikely to succeed at the major league level; his difficulty in striking out hitters and other limited proficiencies make him a longshot bet. However, sometimes longshot bets pay off (Piazza).

3. Bastardo is one of the Phillies top prospects. This isn't to say that he's the next Santana, but he is every bit the longshot that Kendrick was and is. The fact that Bastardo is one of our top prospects says more about our weak farm than it does about an overestimate of Bastardo's potential. I'd certainly rank him ahead of Aumont and Ramirez if only for his ML service time.

ben, couldn't agree more.

optimus, it seems obvious that 'something' was not right with Utley, I don't disagree. I was just pointing out that, despite the lack of power, the Yankees series was an improvement.

is anyone else bothered by the fact that utley doesn't admit when he's hurt?

i get the whole macho thing, but what if it would actually be beneficial for him to sit a few weeks and come back healthy for the 2nd half?

just a thought.

Also, Clout, I wanted to point this out a few days ago, but didn't get the chance. You said something like "Gillick's first move was signing Julio Santana; Amaro's was signing Raul Ibanez. Therefore, Amaro is better."

But that's an idiotic way to look at things. You should at least give the context-- Santana was given a 1-year contract worth the veteran minimum. Ibanez was given a 3-year, 30.5 million deal. Those are apples to oranges.

That would be like comparing Gillick signing Jayson Werth to Amaro signing Juan Castro. Clearly, Gillick is a better GM, right?

Will: Brilliant observation.

All the core championship guys were Gillick signees, right?

Plus he made the trades for Freddy Garcia and Aaron Rowand, signed free agents Tom Gordon, Adam Eaton, Alex Gonzalez and Abraham Nunez, without whom a WS wouldn't have been possible.

Plus he got quite a haul of topnotch prospects when he traded away Abreu, Barajas and Ryan Franklin, right?

FWIW, Gillick's first 3 guaranteed major league contract free agent signings:

1. Signed free agent RHP Julio Santana to a one-year contract.

2. Signed free agent INF Abraham Nunez to a two-year contract.

3. Signed free agent RHP Tom Gordon to a three-year contract.

Amaro's first 3 guaranteed major league contract free agent signings:

1. Signed free agent OF Raul Ibanez to a a three-year contract.

2. Signed free agent RHP Chan Ho Park to a one-year contract.

3. Signed free agent C Brian Schneider to a 2-year contract.

Will, let me introduce you to something you're unfamiliar with: Baseball.

Utley isnt being thrown out on a lot of close plays at second-- so I'm not positive his knee is totally responsible for his batting woes. Heck, wasn't Mickey Mantle able to hit 300 while half in the bag?

elliot: It bothers me IF he is hurt.

Lee Trade:

1. I wish they kept him for the year w/Halladay and let him go in the offseason and got the draft picks. However, the reality is they traded him (duh). I have a problem with them trading him, not the actual trade itself. People who are already writing off the ACTUAL trade are short sighted morons, who expect to win the lottery after buying just one ticket. If a year from now the guys they got back are all floundering, then pan the deal. Otherwise, let's give the kids a chance.

Zito: Still an awful contract.

Howard: I'm not wild about the contract, but like the prospects mentioned above, let's see how it plays out before we pan it already.

Gillick/Amaro:Gillick gave this team/franchise legitimacy.

@elliott: "is anyone else bothered by the fact that utley doesn't admit when he's hurt?

i get the whole macho thing..."

Most professional baseball players are playing with some pain about 40% of the time. They've been spiked in the shin; they stoved a finger on a ground ball; there's a slight pull in their heel; they woke up with a stiff neck; and so forth.

It's not a macho thing, it's just that it's not so easy to know when a minor injury (that everybody deals with pretty much on a regular basis) is affecting their performance so much that it needs long-term attention.

I think I see the problem here. Beerleaguer masquerades as a site that is not "phan" driven but more the intelligent, discerning fan who is not afraid to criticize their team when it is called for.

How quickly I learned the opposite when I dared to claim the jury is still out on Amaro and that the Phillies' chances of making the playoffs were not good (as measured by outside metrics, not just my own opinion.)

FWIW, the rebuttals to these assertions have been gold like "Baseball Prospectus doesn't know what they're talking about" and summaries of the first 3 agent signings a general manager makes somehow being indicative of their entire performance.

It's gold, Jerry, gold.

"Howard contract has been roundly panned"

No, not really. Even so, there really is no way to judge it objectively until it actually starts.

It doesn't take an "outside metric" to come up with the belief that 3 1/2 GB with 100 or so to play, the Phillies still have a great chance of getting in the playoffs.

Here's another brilliant observation:

"Kendrick was and is unlikely to succeed at the major league level."

Kendrick major league career numbers:

21-16, 4.63 ERA in 379 IP.

I guess it depends on your definition of "success" is, but if that's not successful there's a helluva lot of unsuccessful people on major league rosters.

Question about the Abreu trade:

I thought the entire purpose of that trade was to make room in the budget, and to reconfigure the team around a different and more effective center (Abreu was supposed to be the franchise player).

I thought it was a brilliant move. The current success of the Phillies as a ball club dates from the day Abreu left and a whole raft of young players -- Utley, Rollins, Howard, Victorino -- got a chance to act as the core of the team.

I wasn't aware of BL back then. What's the BL consensus about that trade? Clout seems to think it was a weak move. Do others here agree? Or was clout just noting that the minor leaguers in the deal haven't panned out?

Heather: If you don't understand the difference between odds in poker and the odds of a baseball team making the playoffs on June 15th, then there's little hope for you. I notice you also ignored the quite clear, logical and reasoned posts by "the ghost of luis aguayo" and several other posters rebutting your absurd assertions.

Like I say, little hope.

I never claimed to be a fan of the Howard contract, but like many others have said it hasn't even started yet. It's pretty difficult to claim with certainty that it was a terrible move when you're projecting 2-7 years into the future.

What if Howard goes on one of his patented late-season hot streaks, pushes the Phils into the playoffs and helps carry them into the WS this year, and wins another MVP? Would that change one's opinion of the deal? I don't see how it possibly could one way or another, since it would still be a full season away from beginning...

Old Phan: Please define roundly panned if this isn't it:

I could come up with 100's of articles slamming the deal. The only articles that I saw that gave lukewarm praise to the deal were from the Philadelphia press.

Seriously, if this isn't roundly panned, what would be roundly panned? Could you define it for me, please? I want to be able to know it when I see it.

Jack: I do agree you need to look at ALL the personnel moves made by Gillick and Amaro to compare. I'll be happy to post them when I have a bit more time. What do you think they will show?

As for Zito, then you agree it's the worst contract in baseball history? And that you know how the contract will look in the end in the context of pitching cost and what his final numbers are?

clout: If I spent all day responding to posts on Beerleaguer, I'd have nothing else to do with my day.

But while we're calling folks out, how about responding to my comment that comparing GM's by their first 3 FA signings is ridiculous?

philwynk: Please explain how subtracting Abreu caused the Phillies to win the World Series.


Heather: I just found the first 3 FA signings an interesting comparison in light of your view that Gillick was awsome and Amaro bad. But I think the best comparison is to look at all their personnel moves. I'll be happy to post them when I have more time and let you and others decide. You may be surprised.

"Heather: If you don't understand the difference between odds in poker and the odds of a baseball team making the playoffs on June 15th, then there's little hope for you. I notice you also ignored the quite clear, logical and reasoned posts by "the ghost of luis aguayo" and several other posters rebutting your absurd assertions."

Actually, I do understand odds. Do you? 33% odds is the same in poker, baseball, Yahtzee, the lottery etc. The only thing that might be different is the confidence interval for said statistic...which I identified in my previous post on this subject and asked if anybody could clarify it...which they didn't.

philwynk, you make an excellent observation about injury:

There is a difference betwenn "hurting" and "being hurt".

Utley's knee may be "hurting" but it is not "hurt" enough to cause him to miss time.

I'm sure Chooch is hurting, yet he looks poised to rebound after a good game last night.

Last season, both Ibanez and Lidge were "hurting" and "hurt", as evidenced by their offseason surgery. Same with Utley in 2008.

Players get dinged.

HOpefully Utley has a minor ding and will soon feel better - and play better.

@clout: It changed the clubhouse dynamic, and created a leadership vacuum into which one or more of the younger players was required to step. Abreu was supposed to be the franchise player, but he was lazy, and underperformed. When he left, the younger players stepped up and produced a completely different team psyche, one that focused on producing wins as a team.

That's my theory, anyhow. I don't know if it's correct: I do know that the Phils' record on July 29 was 47-54, and their record at the end of the year was 85-77, so they were 38-23 after trading Abreu. SOMETHING changed, and dramatically. If you have a better theory regarding what that was, please let me know.

Heather: Actually you don't.

As noted by a previous poster, poker is not baseball. In poker you have a controlled universe of defined value rankings and a limited number of combinations remaining to change the outcome.

In the BP baseball "odds" there is no defined value rankings that allow you to say "Phils always beat Mets, beat Braves, beat Nats..." There are an infinite number of combinations remaining over 100 games.

To compare poker odds, where values are firm and fixed, to baseball, where the values are ever-changing, and say that BP's 15% odds of Phils making playoffs on June 15 is as solid as the odds of drawing to a straight, for example, is silly and bizarre.

Poker odds have predictive value. BP's playoff odds on June 15 have little or no predictive value.

I meant to add, the Phillies were 38-23 after trading Abreu AND HAS NEVER BEEN BELOW .500 SINCE.

Something changed when Abreu left, and changed dramatically for the better.

HAVE never been below .500 since.

Crud. Typo.

philwynk: We try and stay away from things you can't measure with a Fangraphs statistic here on BLer, but I tend to agree with you.

I'll defend WAR and the like until I'm blue in the face, but something definitely did change once Abreu left.

Clout will point out that the Phillies traded away a productive player, and he would be right too.

philwynk: Do you have any factual evidence for the following statements or is it just raw prejudice?

1. "It created a leadership vacuum into which one or more of the younger players was required to step."

2."he was lazy, and underperformed."

Jack said pretty much what I was about to say. This isn't the first time I've seen clout go to the old "compare the first three names signed by each GM" game.

However, if we are going to play that game, I'd like to point out that Ibanez's contract alone pays for all three of the Gillick trio with plenty of cash to spare, and apart from a three month stretch at the start of '09, he hasn't exactly been worth $10m per season, has he? I'd also argue that the Phillies would have done just as well had they kept the inexpensive Chris Coste or Ronny Paulino than to waste money on a two year deal for a declining Schneider.

Of the three signings you cite, only Park has proven to be a wise choice, and after blowing his money faster than a 12 year old with an allowance in the off season, he missed out on re-signing Park at a bargain. Instead, we've gotten Baez for two years at a premium price. He hasn't really worked out too well either thus far, has he?

Granted, Polanco and Contraras were wise decisions (and ones that I supported at the time), but trading Cliff Lee for three questionable prospects was just as foolhardy as trading Abreu for the same...and it may have cost the Phillies a shot at a 2010 World Series (in exchange for three longshots that may never contribute at all, let alone lead the team to its third championship).

In the end, however, Gillick's moves had taken the Phillies from the joke of the NL East to a perennial division champion that earned its second World Series championship.

Thus far, Amaro is the Phillies version of George W. Bush - he was handed a task in which his charge has a surplus of cash and prosperity only to spend himself into a corner with foolish decisions.

If Blanton doesn't pitch well tonight, I say put him in the 'pen and let Kendrick keep his spot. So you'll have:


Gee whiz, Heather. Have you got a burr under your saddle?

You last post was condecending to the point that many here might mistake you for a junior version of a longtime BL regular. ;)

Let me help you:

This is BL. People post here and get challenged all the time. Deal with it.

Besides, you ignored the major point of my post which was this:

"But I can't help but think you are applying a standard to RAJ to which no GM could possibly live up. At least that's how your post reads."

Lastly, you posted links to some of the articles where Howard's contract got "panned". So what? Do you have any opinions of your own, or are you led by the nose by consensus opinion from all of the pundits?

Remember 2 days ago when BP's Postseason Odds had us at a 15% chance of making the playoffs?

And I suggested a good week might see it go up to 30%?

Two wins later, it's up to 25.6%.

Went up almost 6 percent last night.

This despite the fact that two teams ahead of us won both days, so we're no closer than we were after the Halladay loss.

And the Mets percentage actually went down after sweeping the Indians.

Supposition, and talk in the newspapers. Abreu was always criticized for dogging it, if I recall. (It's not raw prejudice: I actually like Bobby Abreu, and was happy that he performed well in the Yankees organization, where he was not expected to provide leadership.)

That said, I still haven't heard an alternative explanation for what caused the dramatic turn-around in the Phillies' performance after July 29, 2006. Would you care to offer one? Or are you just in Logic 101 Professor mode?

In Heather's defense she did say, "The only thing that might be different is the confidence interval for said statistic."

She makes a good point here. The BP odds are calculated by previous performance, future schedule, and the performance of your opponents. If the Phillies were to play how they were playing for the last month, then 15% is probably about right.

Take that 15% with a grain of salt, as the confidence interval isn't very good.

"33% is the same in baseball, yahtzee, poker"

Completely WRONG.

in poker, a 10 beats a 5 everytime.

in baseball, a pithcer with an ERA of 0.00 doesn't get a .000 avg hitter out everytime.

philwynk: "SOMETHING changed, and dramatically.

Indeed. The pitching staff's ERA dropped by a half game per game, their strikeout/walk ratio leaped from 1.9 to 2.6 and WHIP fell from 1.5 to 1.3. In addition, the opposition batting average fell 24 points.

let em rephrase in case someone tries to poke through my poker logic:

A three of a kind beats a 2 pair everytime.

In all your card games, you're odds are the chance of a card coming up and having a predetermined result on the game.

in baseball, or sports in general, the odds are just the chances of things happening based on past performances.

will: "In the end, however, Gillick's moves had taken the Phillies from the joke of the NL East to a perennial division champion."

You have no clue what you're talking about.

How many members of the starting 8 and rotation did Gillick bring to the team? If anything, Gillick cost them the division in 2006 by trading Abreu and Lidle. The team was a contender the day Gillick was hired.

"Gillick's moves had taken the Phillies from the joke of the NL East"

Will, in what universe? The Phils finished 2nd in 2005, 14 games above .500, two games behind the Bravos. 2006 was the Mets' year, but the Phils still finished 2nd that year with 85 wins.

Do you really the other teams that were looking up at them those seasons regarded them as a "joke"?

@BaySlugga: "We try and stay away from things you can't measure with a Fangraphs statistic here on BLer, but I tend to agree with you."

Thanks, Bay. I do understand about the Fangraphs, but however much fun it is to juggle stats, sports are not ultimately about statistics, they're about character, attitude, and drive. So if we stick to the numbers, we miss the point of the exercise.

'Course, there's never a good way to settle a disagreement like the one clout and I are having. But I'm willing to listen to any reasonable explanation for why the Phillies trading away, not one, but TWO productive players (Cory Lidle was pitching pretty well, IIRC) resulted in such a noticeable improvement in team performance.

@clout: "Indeed. The pitching staff's ERA dropped by a half game per game, their strikeout/walk ratio leaped from 1.9 to 2.6 and WHIP fell from 1.5 to 1.3. In addition, the opposition batting average fell 24 points."

I assume you meant "half a RUN per game." Typo.

To what do you attribute this improvement? Did run production also increase at the same time? If so, to what do you attribute that improvement?

I'm not challenging, I'm genuinely curious. I did not realize their pitching improved so dramatically at that point. Recall that they also traded away Cory Lidle, who was not pitching badly.

philwynk: Is it possible that the team's performance would've improved sharply had the trade never been made? Can you show evidence of causation between the trade and the much-improved pitching, for example?

So, who stepped up into the leadership void that was created when Abreu left? The same guys who have been getting ripped for the last 4 weeks for having no leader?

Jimmy? Hadn't he been around long enough at that point without moving Abreu, if he was indeed such a strong leader?

It was pure coincidence that the pitching staff improved at the same time Abreu was shipped off for nothing.

How the hell did we get back to this??

clout: what was the motive of the Phillies to trade Abreu?

if you think it was for strictly value in prosepcts, then you're view of the trade is correct, they lost.

I personally think the motive of the trade was to dump salary and mix up the clubhouse to build a better team in the future. So my takeaway from the trade is better than yours - although I clearly wouldn't call the trade brilliant.

As for the Cliff Lee trade itself, the question is as follows:

Would you rather have...

Cliff Lee in 2010, Drabek/Taylor/D'Arnaud for the future and $20 million/yr spendable cash in 2011 - 2014


Roy Halliday in 2011, Aumont/Gillies/Ramirez for the future and a maxed out budget.

Frankly, I believe that the Phillies would have had just as good of a chance at a 2010 WS with Lee instead of Halliday, and if Halliday was so hell bent on coming to Philly, we could've signed him in 2011 and introduced him into a rotation alongside Kendrick, Happ and Drabek (3/5 of the rotation under the age of 30 with modest salaries).

Instead, Blanton was offered arbitration, and now we're saddled with him and his salary for three seasons, Lee was sent off packing (unhappy that he was traded and unlikely to consider a return) and a ridiculous amount of our budget is tied up in Halliday/Hamels/Blanton.

So, unless the trio of baby Blue Jays greatly outperform their scouting reports (and outperform Drabek/Taylor/D'Arnaud, the winter of 2009 (the Blanton situation paired with Lee/Halliday trades) will have been an unquestionable failure for Amaro both financially and in terms of performance for 2010 and beyond.

And yes, Clout, that's a bit worse than trading Abreu for magic beans.

thefaithful: Exactly.

clout, I'm caught somewhere between where you and philwynk are on the Abreu trade.

While he may not be able to offer any "evidence" that Abreu leaving caused a "leadership vaccum", it does stand to reason that it changed the dynamic inside the clubhouse.

As far as Abreu being "lazy and underperformed" is concerned, I never heard his work ethic questioned, and he did perform at the plate.

I'm interested as to whether you think he "underperformed" defensively in RF, given the great deal of natural athletic ability I'm sure we both agree he has?

re: the "joke of the NL East"

Perhaps an overstatement, but they certainly weren't lighting the world on fire.

Oh, and clout, I'm on the record here as saying it was a lousy trade from a personnel standpoint.

More than anything Gillick did, the core players maturing was responsible for the uptick in record.

Gillick did bring in Lidge, Werth and Blanton, all of which ended up contributing significantly to the '08 title. However he also signed Eaton, Jenkins, Gordon, etc. and traded Abreu and Lidle for next to nothing.

Every GM has good and bad moves, it's impossible to be right every time.

Clout: I never said Zito's deal was "the worst contract in history", but it's a bad contract. Like I said before, he's produced Joe Blanton performance for Roy Halladay money. Do you think that's a good deal?

As for Amaro, I'm far less pleased with him than you are, and mostly because of what I see him doing going forward. You forget that Gillick actually did re-stock our farm system--who do you think drafted all the guys we traded to get Halladay and Lee?

Amaro, meanwhile, seems hell-bent on signing veterans and guys deep into their 30's. You think that's a great strategy--I don't. I think you're investing in guys who are, on the whole, likely to decline, and because they are more expensive than young guys, you're left with much less flexibility if things don't work out.

And do we need to discuss Amaro's first foray into trying to obtain prospects? Please let us know if you think he got good value for Lee.

thephaithful: Gillick said at the time, and it created quite a flap, that he did not think the team was a contender. Abreu's contract had only 1 year left on it, he was slumping and Gillick wanted to add young talent to the system.

Many called it a salary dump, but the team denied that.

Although I think the trade cost them the playoffs that year, I have no quarrel with the notion of dealing Abreu. My problem is the crap they got in return. If the haul for Lee turns out to be equal to that crap, then Amaro's trade will have been every bit as bad as that one.

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EST. 2005

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