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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I was wondering why Castro was up in the 9th as it's not like Manuel to wave the white flag. I agree 100% that any extended DL stint for Utley demands a trade for a competent middle infielder. Watch them sign Aki Iwamura instead.

Doesn't have to be a middle infielder. They would be better off looking for someone with firepower for third and moving Polly to second. That flexibility was one of the reasons they signed him.

I'm getting tired of seeing a back half of the lineup comprised of substandard bench players. Even if Polanco and Utley are suddenly cured of their ailments, they need more days off and to do that we need a competent backup who can both field and hit. A Bizarro Juan Castro like maybe Mike Fontenot of the Cubs... Did anyone else know Miguel Cairo is hitting .279 as a backup for the Reds?

Not that it's a popular choice, but does Garret Atkins now become an option? Thought he was released from Baltimore a few days ago, although that may speak louder volumes than anything else.

Would infinately rather see Wiggington in here rather than Atkins or Iwamura.

Signing nearly ANYONE at this point would be an upgrade over Castro. He's been that bad in the field and at plate the past 2 months.

I'll say it again, it's not their year.

Atkins is Utley's old college buddy from UCLA. He might already be crashing on Chase's couch.

Wiggington is turning back into a pumpkin. Baltimore might be more eager to move him before he loses a lot of value, though I still don't think they are looking to give him away for free. Of course then you have to ask yourself if we're still interested as his batting avg. has dropped this month from .282 to .266 and he hasn't homered since May.

Atkins is worth a flyer with a minor league deal, but if even the O's didn't want him on the bench. . .

Andy LaRoche has been a lame duck in Pittsburgh and is now having trouble getting off the bench. It's obvious they're not going to make him a 2B at this point as tehy're using Bobby Crosby, Neil Walker and Delwyn Young ahead of him. Not sure why that is as I don't think it would be a stretch to change positions for him. He has talent but, probably a project at this point.

Wigginton would be a smart move...especially with Polly likely needing to be spot-started for the rest of the way.

Thus, I predict an Iwamura trade shortly.

Though, as someone above stated, Wigginton has been terrible the last month...barely a .600 OPS in his last 28 days.

It's not as pressing, but I'd still like to see them bring in Jermaine Dye as well. The Phillies bench is proving a weakness. And, for a team that relies on a lot of players in their 30's who should be getting more days off (not DL time, off days), it's actually a problem.

I'm not as worried about Francisco/Gload as I was a week ago. Dye might be an okay option in the 2nd half but I doubt he'd see much playing time...and his defense is atrocious. He's honestly probably not even close to game shape at this point either.

I pushed for him hard earlier in the year as a platoon for Ibanez...would have been interesting to see it happen.

re: Dye. It's a shame they didn't pounce on a league minimum Pat Burrell when they had the chance. Dye won't come cheap. He's said as much. I wonder if Balco Barry is still willing to work for league minimum.

As for our patchwork infield, I'd sooner take a chance on Atkins at 3b and Polanco at 2b than to settle for Castro or trade what little we have for an overachieving journeyman like Ty Wiggington.

I can't see the point in them adding Dye wiht Francisco on the roster. Interleague is over and at least Gload can competently spell an outfielder or Howard.

This site & this season has been more like a daily medical update than a disection of ball games lately.
I enjoy baseball a lot better than MRIs, concussions and the like.

Damn that Francouer and his french voodoo!!!

Hugh - the knock on LaRoche is that he's not a hard worker. At this point he's looking like a AAAA guy.

Iwamura would've been okay at the time they eventually signed Pete Happy, but not now. I have a load of garbage sitting at the curb that has more value than damaged goods Iwamura. Weren't the Phils interested in Wigginton a few years back?

I read Salisbury's article last night saying the O's have been all over our farm system and the three names that stood out were Jeremy Guthrie, Kevin Millwood, and Ty Wigginton. Millwood obviously costs too much and has been horrible this year. Guthrie would probably get whiplash in CBP as he does at Camden Yards. So yeah, Wigginton would be a nice trade piece right now. This talk about Atkins and Iwamora though doesn't suprise me either. While neither one excites me, they have at least both been to a World Series in the past 5 years and are somewhat of an upgrade to Juan Castro. I think.

Jbird - it's a fair knock. He has the talent. Open question is whether he finally grows up and applies himself now that he's getting pushed to the margins of a marginal team. If he gets another chance, it will likely be his last.

What next? Have the Phils played any games at all this year past April with their full projected starting lineup?

This is a tough lesson on how important the bench can be.

Bubba's half right anyway. In addition to the latest medical bad news, most of the dialogue has seemed to have been the slump, and the non-performance of the bench players.

Oh well, nothing to be done but continue to root for them to patch it together.

What about Jhonny Peralta? He's in the final year of his contract, on a last place team, and he's got experience at 3B & SS? If Utley was out long-term, they could move Polly over to 2B and toss Peralta at 3B.

He's making $4.6 million this year and has a $7 million club option for 2011.

Just think the relevant third basemen the Phillies had torched them last night with a bomb and three steaks.

I mean Feliz was adequate in the field but did not give us corner power that we needed.

I wonder if Cliff Lee can play 3rd base.

Another, and probably more available, name: Edwin Encarnacion. He plays third, can do second and was DFA'd just shy of a week ago. The Jays might trade him as a salary dump.

Urrps. He's played 1st but not second. Mea culpa. He did log a few innings in the minors at short too. But that shouldn't count.

better go get your Greg Dobbs T-Shirt out of the trash, he's gotta be the odds on favorite to take over 3B with Polly sliding to 2B.

better go get your Greg Dobbs T-Shirt out of the trash, he's gotta be the odds on favorite to take over 3B with Polly sliding to 2B.

I wouldn't mind Encarnacion...he might benefit signficantly by coming back to the NL...they could just toss him at 3B and move Polly over.

He defense at 3B is supposedly Dobbsian though.

RedSox DFA Model Dictator.

Actually, NEPP, I like Peralta better because of the SS thingie. With Polanco's ability to shift to 4, having a 5/6 guy would be the best option going forward. He, like Encarnacion, is kinda youngish too.

****better go get your Greg Dobbs T-Shirt out of the trash, he's gotta be the odds on favorite to take over 3B with Polly sliding to 2B.****

I mean, logically, he can't even hit in Lehigh so it makes sense to call him right back up so he won't hit for us either.

Dobbs in AAA: 2 of 17 with 7 Ks, a .229 OPS

Well, this is certainly disappointing news.

Just learned it when I read this thread. I was disgusted and turned the game off last night. Utley's error was the beginning of my displeasure.

I was ready to post/rant something this morning about how disgusted I was with Utley's play this season - mostly in the field. Including last night, he already has 10 errors. He has been a butcher at 2nd base this season, a shadow of the fielder many here feel should have won the last couple of GG's at the position. Additionally, those errors have come at bad time during certain games. In short, he hasn't exactly been clutch in the field.

If he's seriously hurt and needs to go on the DL, the dropoff to whoever is the replacement will be a chasm. This we know.

But to look at it another way, maybe 15 days will help him heal and get his act together, and he'll start playing like the Saint Utley we expect on the field, not the poor imitation he has been so far this season.

Rant over.

****I was ready to post/rant something this morning about how disgusted I was with Utley's play this season - mostly in the field. Including last night, he already has 10 errors. He has been a butcher at 2nd base this season****

Yet, ironically, he leads the Majors in UZR/150 at 2B yet again. His range has been excellent and his defense has still be pretty good despite the high error total.

Also, on the whole Ruben Amaro has done a good job, but the one thing for which he deserves a great deal of criticism is the lack of catching depth in the system.

In ST 2009, the Phils had better depth than just about anybody in MLB.


If I have to watch Brian Schneider take one more AB in a Phils uni I'm goint to throw something at the TV screen, or, I'm likely to get ejected from the game at the 'Zen for screaming obscenities when he's at the plate.

i think mickey morandini should be considered. he's actually a few years younger than jamie moyer and i bet we could get him cheap.

NEPP, as you are aware, the stats only tell part of the story. Argue that with clout, and beware of sample sizes.

Go back and check the box scores. Some of those errors have come at critical times. He has been decidedly unclutch.

He deserves some criticism. But if you want to be an Utley sychophant go right ahead.

UZR/150 (MLB Rank) for Chase Utley

2007: 14.9 (2nd in ML, 2nd in NL to Phillips)
2008: 19.3 (2nd, 1st in NL)
2009: 12.2 (1st...Polly was 2nd ironically)
2010: 17.8 (1st)

NEPP, what the most important thing a fielder has to do?

****Go back and check the box scores. Some of those errors have come at critical times. He has been decidedly unclutch.

He deserves some criticism. But if you want to be an Utley sychophant go right ahead.

Overall, he's still the best defensive 2B in the league...even if it seems his errors have been costly or at really bad times. I think you need to look at the sample size yourself. He's been the overall the top defensive 2B over the past 4 seasons and his numbers show no dip whatsoever.

awh: Brian Schneider is more than a capable backup C in the major leagues. Check out the numbers of most of the backup catchers in the league. You were hoping maybe we could get Joe Mauer to back up Ruiz?

We've had some bad injuries, but so have a lot of teams. You see the Red Sox this week? They've had Ellsbury out most of the season, Beckett since May, and now lost Pedroia to a broken foot, Bucholz is missing starts, and Victor Martinez broke his thumb.

awh - Bill Baer argued yesterday that this could be, and should be, a Gold Glove season for Utley.

I was surprised because, like you, I have been under the impression that it's been a down season for him in the field.

My hunch is that we think Utley looks bad in the field this year for two reasons: a) we pay too much attention to the high number of errors, which lends to the impression that Utley has been worse this year than in other years, and b) we don't attend much to the play of other 2B around the league, which would provide the proper comparison class.

You're more sensitive than most to statistical arguments that run counter to conventional wisdom, so I'm curious as to what you think.

Excuse me for my ignorance, but I am a little new to this site.

What does UZR stand for?

NEPP, Utley is on pace to make 22 errors this season.

Is that good?

****NEPP, what the most important thing a fielder has to do?****

Errors are a terrible way to judge a fielder. For one, they dont account for range. Two, they're very subjective in many cases as they are a human judgement call by the official scorer. Last night was a legit error and it was a very costly one as it led to a rally that put the game out of reach. No one is arguing that.

Many times, Utley has errors on balls he has no business even getting a glove on, let alone fielding it cleanly.

People pay far too much attention to the error on the routine play, and not enough on the 5 plays that Utley makes because of positioning and range that other 2B wouldn't get to.

It is true that Utley seems to be booting more balls than usual this season--and that's never good. But it's also true that he's still getting to more balls than any other 2nd basemen, who as Optimuspun notes, we don't actually see every day.

****What does UZR stand for?****

Ultimate Zone Rating

Using errors and errors alone to judge a guy's defense is almost as dumb as saying the only stat that matters for a pitcher is wins (waits for clout to misquote). Errors dont tell the whole story or even a very good one. Lack of errors is the reason Jeter is a multiple Gold Glove winner.

Jack, I know where Schneider fits into the scheme of things.

You either have a bad memory, or you haven't been around that long.

Go back and check the archives. I am on record going back at least 3 seasons - when the tandem was Chooch/Coste - that the Phils were in great shape as far as the MLB catching situation was concerned compared to many othet teams.

Tell me something I don't know.

Amaro deserves criticism because he of lack of foresight, and because he traded away better players than Schneider for next to nothing.

Utley also leads the league in OOZ (Out of Zone plays)...plays where he is well outside the 2B zone and he still fields it cleanly.

awh: Utley has 10 errors this year. Kelly Johnson only has 5.

Therefore, Johnson is twice as good a fielder as Utley, according to your logic.

optimuspun, haven't read Baer's article. I'll read it later today and get back to you.

From what I've SEEN with my eyes, both on TV and at the dozen games I've been to, Chase Utley has been poor in the field this season.

Don't get me wrong. When at his best I think Utley is the best 2B in MLB.

He has been far, far from his best this season - and it's about time someone start recognizing that.

JW, does BL allow for "de-canonization"?

Chad Tracy is another recent DFA from the Cubs FWIW. .250/.327/.295. Fifty-six starts at third for D-Backs last year.

Heading out to Cincinnati with Mrs. Kuvasz to take in the next two games there. Look for a buxom blond gal in the second row just at the end of the Phillies dugout... I'm the guy next to her with the blue Phillie hat!......trying to keep her from jumping on the field to kiss Werth.

"Errors dont tell the whole story or even a very good one."

NEPP, much to your chagrin, neither do defensive stats.

BTW, you still haven't answered my questions.

I am also unhappy that Utley has 10 errors before July. Way too many for a team that led the NL in fielding pct. for a few years, or was close to the top defensively anyway. But however he's performing in the field or at the plate, his loss is a big blow. Esp. because Utley told us a week ago that it's not an injury unless it keeps you from playing - which it is - so it's unlikely to be minor.

Do you realize that Rollins and Polanco have only been in the lineup together 10 times this year, according to Michael Barkann of Comcast Sportsnet? 10 times, that's it! Phillies are 9-1 in those games.

All these injuries are enough to make one wonder whether it's our year, as BobbyD does.

awh: Look, Utley deserves plenty of criticism. I agree with you. His slump was horrible, and even as he's hitting now, he doesn't appear to have regained his power that made him so valuable the last few years. That's an issue. Additionally, while I think he has been overall a good fielder because of his range, the routine errors seem more commonplace this year--that's also a problem, albeit a smaller one than people make it seem.

Ryan Zimmerman has 8 errors at 3B this year to Polly's 4. Thus Polly is twice as good as Zimmerman at 3B.

Besides, many of the errors attributed to Chase Utley this season have been attributed incorrectly: they should instead be attributed to his injured body part, when appropriate. For instance, Utley injured his thumb in the fourth inning last night, so his 'error' in the sixth should not read "E: Utley (10)," but "E: Utley, R Thumb (1)." Once the proper annotations are made, I think you'll realize that it's Chase Utley's knee and thumb that have been the real butchers this season, with Utley himself nearly perfect in the field.

I did not know the Red Sox had so many injuries to deal with, Jack. Both Phils and Red Sox are holding their own anyway, but it is tough to deal with repeated losses of regulars. Pedroia's broken foot is a big loss for them; he's a sparkplug for them, I think.

I answered it but you dont agree. Errors dont tell the whole story. You're making way too much of something that's not really a major issue.

Dirtball David Eckstein is second to Utley in UZR and has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. He would be my choice.

NEPP, you are being childish with your silly comparisons.

Why won't you answer the questions. Jack, to his credit, made an attempt to engage me directly instead of trying to obfuscate.

NEPP: Good point. Everyone knows that by looking at his errors, you can tell Ryan Zimmerman is a poor fielder at 3B. Anyone who boots routine balls like him cannot possibly be considered a good fielder.

****NEPP, you are being childish with your silly comparisons.****

How so? You're saying that errors are the only factor on which to judge fielding. We're providing examples that show you're completely off-base. Judging a fielder solely by his errors is like juding a hitter solely on batting average while ignoring everything else.

Is Utley the best defensive 2B in the Majors? Yes
Is he having his best season on record? No

I can't really complain about a guy that's still the gold-standard for his position.

NEPP, I'll repeat them, because I can see you're a little "slow" this morning:

"NEPP, what the most important thing a fielder has to do?"

"NEPP, Utley is on pace to make 22 errors this season.

Is that good?"

Direct answer instead of obfuscation are appreciated.

optimuspun - excellent.

I appreciate the levity.

NEPP, please re-read my posts, and show me where I said a fielder should be judged solely on his errors.

You STILL haven't directly answered my questions.

Utley has ten E's;
so let's reason together:
Morandini? none.

There, there, NEPP. Don't get your panties in a wad.

I'll answer them for you:

Answer to question #1: CATCH THE BALL.

Answer to #2: NO.

I understand and agree with much of what you are saying, but if you read your own posts it almost seems you are taking the position that errors don't matter at all.

I guess Utley has been taken off the do not criticize list.

Also, I can't understand why people always have to diminish the Phillies. In the last thread someone said that Cueto wasn't very good last night. When we beat the Twins people post, "Well they aren't a good team." Why do we always have to try and push the Phillies into some mass of an average team?

Eckstein does get extra points for his excessive scrappiness

Neither are yes/no questions. Utley's range means he gets to balls that other 2B don't even get a glove on. The fact that you dont understand that basic concept makes the discussion a bit pointless.

Fielding the ball is just one part of being a good defender. First, you have to position yourself correctly. Second, you have to react and range over or back or forward to field the ball. Third, you have to cleanly field the ball, Fourth, you oftentimes have to throw the ball to another defender to make an out.

Errors are only really charged on the last two aspects of fielding. As I've stated a couple times now, errors DO NOT tell us anything other than the fact that Utley either booted a ball of his glove for whatever reason or he made a throw and it was either off the mark or poorly gloved.

ALot of times, a good 1B saves alot of errors for the rest of his infield simply by getting balls in the dirt. Who do you blame in that scenario? Do you blame Utley for the bouncing throw or do you blame Howard for not snagging it? The official scorer will blame Utley as that's how Errors are scored. In reality, its a little bit Utley and a little bit Howard. If we had Derrek Lee at 1B instead of Ryan Howard, Utley might have 6 errors instead of 10 or 7 or even 5. If Utley had no range, he might only have 5 errors instead of 10. If Utley didn't position himself based on his knowledge of what the pitcher is throwing, what the hitter's tendencies are, what the game situation is, etc etc, his errors might be lower as he wouldn't even be in position to make a play on the ball.

You are trying to simplify something into a yes no answer because you're pissed at Utley based on your perception that he's having a bad year because you see 10 errors next to his name. Its so much more complex than that.

"I guess Utley has been taken off the do not criticize list."

TTI, I gave him the moniker St. Utely on this site because, for so many people, he seems to be above criticism.

When he plays as well as he can I have and will sing his praises as much or better than anyone else.

Right now he's not playing very well. Excuse me for pointing it out.

Gotta go. I'll respond to anything after this later today.

awh: Actually, the most important thing a fielder can do is to make outs, or contribute to making outs. According to UZR, Utley does that as well as any 2B in the league.

****I understand and agree with much of what you are saying, but if you read your own posts it almost seems you are taking the position that errors don't matter at all.****

No, my point is that errors dont really tell us anything other than that the official scorer felt that the play was an error.

Half the time when the outfielder has it go off his glove, its judged a hit when we all know it should be an error. Unless he's diving, a good outfielder should probably catch 98% of balls that go off his glove.

They matter just not nearly as much as you seem to think they do.

awh: Very melodramatic. Did someone run over your pet this morning?

Yes Utley has made some errors this season. I don't think anyone argues that. What is being argued is your assertion that errors are the single most telling stat for a fielder. You can claim you're not saying that but the connections in your posts make that claim. Perhaps be a little more careful in how you structure your points.

Andy, was that a haiku? Here's another:

Rollins, Madson, Happ
Now Utley--All to DL
Season now over?

For all of you saying Utley's UZR is great this season, I thought UZR was a stat that had to be used over LARGE sample sizes (like a whole season) for it to be relevant. I always thought UZR for 1/3 of a season was pretty meaningless. Am I wrong about that?

****For all of you saying Utley's UZR is great this season, I thought UZR was a stat that had to be used over LARGE sample sizes (like a whole season) for it to be relevant. I always thought UZR for 1/3 of a season was pretty meaningless. Am I wrong about that?****

No, the point is that his UZR/150 is pretty much unchanged over the past 4 years and for his career. There's no huge jump or drop in it. In a case like that, its fairly safe to say that nothing has really changed in his overall defense.

Otherwise, yes, sample size would definitely come into it. That's why I listed his numbers for 4 full seasons to show his pattern.

awh: Catching help is on the way:Phils 3rd round pick Cameron Rupp 4 games played 12 AB with 6 strikeouts , yesterday’s game- 3 errors- opponents stole 6 bases in game.

Also, the sample size on UZR is also dependent on fielding chances so sample size comes into it more on Outfielders than infielders as infielders get far more fielding chances. Still, 1/3 of a season would be fairly meaningless if taken completely by itself.

seems like last night was his first error in a while. i might be wrong on that but he had been playing magnificent 2B here recently. and he's been hitting. last night was a bad error but I think he's been playing great defense recently

Heather - I think you raise a good point, but the question would still stand as to whether UZR over 1/3 of a season would be more/less valuable than the number of errors over the course of 1/3 of a season.

That is to say, and I think this is what NEPP and Jack are up to, the attempt would not be to establish that Utley is having a great season on the basis of UZR (as Bill Baer did yesterday at crashburnalley), but to shift the burden of proof to show that error-count is more significant than UZR over a third of a season.

I hate the "defensive metrics" never-ending discussion. I much prefer the "why didn't Ruben get us a real utility" never-ending discussion. Heck, I even prefer the "Jesus Sanchez trade" never-ending discussion. (Still better than the "why did we trade Cliff Lee" never-ending discussion, though.)

Utley does a fantastic job of positioning and, he covers a lot of ground at second base. These facts, and his general superiority at 2b (not sure he's the best in MLB but, he is a saint) do not change the fact that he has made alot of errors this season. They still count. They're plays he should have made. I can't recall a single error that was unfairly ascribed to him. Rather, like last night, they have typically been glaring. Thanks to awh for calling a spade a spade - he has made numerous, uncharacteristic flubs in the field. More numerous than should be acceptable to him. This, too, is a fact. Although, I'm of hte impression that NEPP believes that each error was both a meaningless abstraction based upon Utley's overall effectiveness, which is fair, and also, each was a product of arbitrary and capricious scorers, which is inane.

i don't see one problem getting on utley at all. it's not like he cares. it won't effect him one way or another

ESPN Inside Keith Law: New Top 25

#1. Dom Brown
#2-#25 who f'n cares.

Keith Law loves Philly.

Andy: I'm with you on UZR talks.

"Utley does a fantastic job of positioning and, he covers a lot of ground at second base. These facts, and his general superiority at 2b (not sure he's the best in MLB but, he is a saint) do not change the fact that he has made alot of errors this season. They still count."

This is a good point. Utley is still doing "worse" this year if you look at it that way, because presumably he could always cover ground, have excellent range, etc. in the past 2 seasons, yet this year, he is making far more errors than is typical. He may still be an elite second baseman, but his defense still appears worse this year if you look at it from the errors perspective.

I guess I'm just at the point where I'm wondering if this is mental mistakes, pure bad luck, older age, or a physical injury catching up to him.

whoops, i meant:

#1 Dom Brown
#2-21 who f'n cares
#22 Jarred Coasrt
#23-#25 who f'n cares

KLaw's been lovin' on Cosart all season.

@awh -- "Utley's on pace for 22 errors. Is that good?"

Please review the number of errors Schmidt had per year.

thephaitful: awesome.

Lehigh recalled Neil Sellers from Reading...shot in the dark: Dobbs will be back up with Utley to the DL.

Dobbs, the guy who can't hit in Lehigh.

wow, I didn't know Mike Schmidt sucked. Maybe he should give back all those gold gloves because awh thinks errors are the whole and sum of fielding.

Schmidt also only hit .267 for his career...mediocre at the plate and in the field, eh?

gah, I hate being a Phillies fan. Even our hall of famers suck.

"Dobbs, the guy who can't hit in Lehigh." Dobbs, the career .298 hitter at AAA who got rusty sitting on the bench for a season and a half.

If Dobbs is on his way back to the big club, it sucks that he didn't get enough playing time to regain his stroke. His first two games he went 0-for-9 with 5 K's, then had a 2 hit game, then went 0-for-4. Not a good start for the Greg Dobbs reconstruction project.

I hope he doesn't come back up just to sit around again.

Wigginton is a terrible fielder, Atkins is slightly better. LaRoche is a very good fielder who can't hit.

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