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Monday, July 19, 2010

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At the start of the series, I was convinced the Phillies would sweep the series. At the end of the series I'm convinced the Phillies won't see the postseason this year. Oh yeah, and Werth can't be traded fast enough if you ask me. Whatever is bugging this team, is bugging him most. He needs a change of scenery and so does the team.

Jason, you've taken the words right out of my mouth.

When was the last time the Phils looked like a team in control?

Is this where we start the drumbeat to move the A's back to 21st and Lehigh?

Kutztown: You put it a great way. "When was the last time the Phils looked like a team in control?" Excellent.

What frustrates me is living out of the TV market, I don't have a chance to view all that many games. However, it seems like whenever I do, they play lifeless baseball.

Victorino and J-Roll need to learn that they're not power hitters and instead are OBP guys who can run the bases. Smacking a single or double is a lot better than their standard pop out while swinging for the fences.

I'm not so sure that J-Roll is an OBP guy who can run the bases anymore either. He hasn't shown me much offensively since his MVP year that leads me to believe that he's much better than a league average shortstop.

As for Victorino, he is by far the most overrated person on the roster. Given an equal opportunity for at bats, Francisco is every bit as productive.

A fire sale should not be out of the question, beginning with Werth and Victorino and possibly extending to Ibanez and Blanton if a contender can be found who is willing to take on the salary. We'll finish just as well in 2010 with an outfield of Brown, Francisco and Mayberry...third place in the NL East.

Maybe Halladay is a bad luck charm...

One thing is for sure...this season is completely and utterly NOT Ryan Howard's fault. He has done everything he could over the past 6-7 weeks to keep us above water (including hitting over .320 with power) and it hasn't mattered.

****Is this where we start the drumbeat to move the A's back to 21st and Lehigh?****

I always thought it would be cool if instead of expansion, they moved one Florida team to Brooklyn and moved another to N. Philly. Both markets could handle it and it would be good for the game. Granted it would turn us into a mid-level franchise but still...guess its my love of History is all.

Brown is a 3.5 hour drive away in Indianapolis. Give him a couple swings against the St.Louis right handers and see if he can make contact.

****The Ikea shelves weren’t going to hang themselves****

Protip: Use drywall anchors (assuming they're the same Ikea shelves I hung in my living room...the black ones (Lek I think) that are 3-4 feet long?). That way you dont have to worry about lining them up with the studs and they'll hold a good amount of weight with those anchors.

****As for Victorino, he is by far the most overrated person on the roster. Given an equal opportunity for at bats, Francisco is every bit as productive.****

We have officially crossed over.

"What frustrates me is living out of the TV market, I don't have a chance to view all that many games. However, it seems like whenever I do, they play lifeless baseball."

MLB Extra Innings is still on sale for like $140. That is, assuming you still want to see this team.

Howard is now 5th in the NL in HRs (just 1 behind the leader) and 1st in the NL in RBIs.

***MLB Extra Innings is still on sale for like $140. That is, assuming you still want to see this team.***

Online version is less than that....

"Victorino and J-Roll need to learn that they're not power hitters and instead are OBP guys who can run the bases. Smacking a single or double is a lot better than their standard pop out while swinging for the fences."

Agreed. A few possibilities present themselves.

1) The coaching staff is encouraging Vic and J-Ro to be power hitters.

2) The coaching staff is telling them to just get on base but Vic and J-Ro have no respect for the coaching staff and are just blowing them off or

3) Vic and J-Ro are being told not to swing for the fences, agree with that, but are physically not able to execute anything but pop ups.

All of the choices have frightening implications for the team.

Yea, I know Heather. I've had MLB.tv the past three seasons (before then I just watched at my parents house) and it was great. Debated between slingbox and MLB.tv this season and went with slingbox. Quality is so bad, it's difficult to watch.

Ryan Howard stinks. Right?

He's paid to be the best in the league at hitting HRs and driving in runs...not hit .300 as a "singles hitter." Wait. What? Oh, you mean he IS leading the league in RBI and is only 1 HR behind the leader. But...but...but...he can't throw to second. He stinks. I told you.

{I've been away the last few days and wanted to kick the dead horse while he was down.}

So, the Phils, huh? They pretty much stink again. To lose 3 of 4 to that Cubs team is inexcusable. Especially since it took an historically bad performance by Marmol and a dropped ball at the plate by Soto to avoid being swept.

Dom Brown time?

"Howard is now 5th in the NL in HRs (just 1 behind the leader) and 1st in the NL in RBIs."

Fortunately Howard is on my fantasy team as the DH. Oh yeah, I also have Miguel Cabrera as my starting first baseman, Adam Dunn (through the position rules) as my outfielder, and Adrian Gonzalez as my utility guy.

I think my entire league was asleep when it came to the 1B position.

Sorry, that was probably a bit off topic but Ryan Howard's production is certainly helping me out as well as being a pleasure to watch. :-)

*****He's paid to be the best in the league at hitting HRs and driving in runs...not hit .300 as a "singles hitter." Wait. What? Oh, you mean he IS leading the league in RBI and is only 1 HR behind the leader. But...but...but...he can't throw to second. He stinks. I told you.****

And he's hitting for average...no walks really but tons of hits. He's like Vlad Guerrero all of a sudden.

And top 15 in Avg.

****And top 15 in Avg.****

15th in AVG
15th in OPS (rapidly climbing in that one too).

I was driving from New Orleans to Houston last night and the Phillies games was featured on ESPN radio. The bad thing about sports radio stations are that they are the weak sisters of the broadcast family. Usually, a town's big power station will be news-talk. The wimpy thousand watt 20 mile radius range station will be a sports station. As such was my fate on this drive, I heard the first inning of the game as Halladay got out of a two runner inning without giving up any runs, then the station faded as I neared Baton Rouge. In my mind, I felt comfortable about the game with our "Ace" on the mound. No ESPN stations could be found until I was in Lake Charles. By then it was the ninth inning and our beloved Phils were down, 11 to 4. I was able to hear Howard homer, Werth to do nothing, and Francisco homer. I had hope, but the station faded away, as was the Phillies chances of a victory.

I think the Panic Button logo has replaced the demented Eric Brunlett rain out photo as the one to look for in 2010 on BL. I have hit the panic button stage this year.

I'd like to see Werth traded for a pitcher they can control for a few years. Not sure if such an offer is out there.

This isn't popular here on BLer, but it is possible trading Werth could jump start this team like trading Abreu did in 2006.

What happened to extending Werth? Ha!

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

(yes, that's all I've got)

Baffling. That is the only way to explain the consistency shoddy defense and lack of run support the Phils have had been Halladay this season.

At this point, this roster is now pretty much 100% with the obvious exception of Utley and Happ. Yeah a few guys are likely to play at less than 100% the rest of the way including JRoll & Polacno but no excuses from here on out. Need to take advantage of a somewhat favorable schedule the next 2+ weeks and wrap up 9 wins or so the rest of the month.

For all of the consernation though, this team is just 2 GB in the WC. Yeah it is a crowded place but I am still convinced that this team is the right trade away (and it doesn't need to a stud bat either) from writing the ship and making a very legit playoff run.

Ever since the Pirates series, they looked like they have played large portions of the game in a mental haze. Just looks like a team that is a combination of mentally fatigued & pressing too hard. Questionable baserunning, pretty of poor ABs, and lapses defensively.

Whatever 'Nitro' button that Cholly used to push is obviously depleted. He needs some more quarters from Amaro to stock up.

There is where Amaro needs to do his job and get some players to help this team because it is hard to see this team as currently constituted though making a playoff run. Every year since '07, the Phils have gotten resources at the deadline that have a played a critical role in their 2nd half surge.

This is largely folklore that his current core has automatically 'flipped' a switch in the 2nd half to begin playing better. Each season, they had signficant boost to their starting rotation that make a huge difference.

Bay:

Oh No! You didn't!

I'll check back in 4 days when the Abreu trade arguing slows down.

I'm with MG. This team is still 2 games out of the Wild Card. There is plenty of time to make that up. There is plenty of time to make up the division as well but one step at a time.

I agree with MG, too. Especially the parts about looking mentally fatigued the last few weeks and, the part reminding us that they've picked up a rotation piece mid-Summer just about every year since Moyer got here. With that said, after watching the last 4 games, I still say:

BOOOOOOOOOOOOO

BOOOOOOOOO

I feel slightly better, but this series against St. Louis is going to be laughable.

Brett Myers would be nice to have this season...figures

I'd like to see Werth traded for anything of value at the AAA level, if only to provide trade deadline opportunities for 2011.

I am hanging by a thread on this one... 1st Pittsburgh, then Cubs, embarassing


(no pun)

Let's see how they do against st Louis. mAYBE A SPLIT, Probably only 1 win...

If Atlanta keeps going at the rate they have been, allof this will be a mute point in a week or 2 anyway

Werth needs to go. Now.

I used to like him, but his lack of hustle and clueless at bats are dragging this team down. What the hell is wrong with that guy?

Keep Francisco in the lineup for a RH bat, and give Dom Brown a chance to show what he can do. It's past time.

I wouldn't be shocked if we traded for Bretty.

I agree with Bay Slugga. Trade Werth Bring up Dom and watch the fortunes of this team change. Just like in 2006 when they traded Abreu.

Things I don't understand:

- The lack of criticism regarding Howard's defense. For all of the criticism that Howard has gotten this year for his lack of power (t-2nd now in HR and leads in NL in RBIs), his shoddy and inconsistent defense has largely taken a back seat. While Howard did seem like he got out to a great start early last year, his defensive performance seemed to fade over the season. This year he makes the occasional spetecular play he has made his share of gaffes too.

He is tied for last in MLB in errors (9) among 1st baseman, 21st of 25 players in fielding pct (.990), 23rd of 25 players RZR (.709), and 19th of 25 players in OOZ (18).

Howard has just not played well this year defensively at all yet and has been as bad if you go by the stats as he was in '07 and '08 (maybe worse) when everybody harped on it constantly. He still is either the worst throwing 1B in the league or close to it especially to his right and he just makes too many easy mistakes.

- Why Cholly is playing Polanco at 3B. I don't think Cholly is a great tactical manager but why he would start Polanco at 3B is just puzzling. You have a guy who won a Gold Glove last year at 2B and is certainly accustomed to playing the position. Instead he is going to apparently start Valdez at 2B, even though his numbers are .222/.271/.356 (.626 OPS). It means that one of the few guys who has really hit in this lineup (Dobbs) sits now even though he is hitting .303/.343/.606.

This is blatantly stupid and one of the thing that drives me nuts about watching Cholly's tactical decisions. Strategy is overrated in baseball but just as in chess you should put your pieces in the best possible position for success. The differnece is in baseball the players determine the outcome.

Cholly clearly isn't doing that by playing Polanco at 3B yet he will continue to trot Valdez out there and his .600 OPS everyday. Its dumb. Very dumb.

- Halladay being plagued by the long ball of late. Now given up 2 or more HRs in 4 of his last 7 starts. That has never happened in his career before. People might say 'well that is because he is pitching at CBP'. Nope.

Three of those stats have been on the road including last night in Chicago. Others were vs. Cin (June 30th), vs. Min (June 20th), and vs. NYY (June 15th).

Now granted all of these are HR-friendly parks but my bet is that if you give up 2 HRs in a start, you are going to lose more than your share of ball games. It has been the issue that has plagued Hamels all year. Doesn't matter how well you pitch if are giving up 2 HRs or more a game.

I would love to see some stats on when a starting pitcher gives up 2 or more HRs and see what that does to his W-L record and the team's. I would bet that a team loses at least at a 75% clip when their start gives up 2 HRs especially in a year where offense has been depressed across MLB.

Halladay may be great and the Phils may continue to play shoddy defense/not shore for him but it is going to be hard for the Phils to win games when he gives up 2 or more HRs a start as has been happening lately. Same goes for Hamels.

Protip: Use drywall anchors (assuming they're the same Ikea shelves I hung in my living room...the black ones (Lek I think) that are 3-4 feet long?).

NEPP- I hope you mean inches not feet!!

(State of the Phillies has made dry wall anchors into a more stimulating discussion)

Re: the trade deadline..
I think they'll end up making a minor trade just to show the fanbase they're doing something, but that's about it.

The Phillies are not very clear buyers or sellers right now, so rather than make bold moves, who bets the FO pretty much stands pat?

****The lack of criticism regarding Howard's defense. For all of the criticism that Howard has gotten this year for his lack of power (t-2nd now in HR and leads in NL in RBIs), his shoddy and inconsistent defense has largely taken a back seat. While Howard did seem like he got out to a great start early last year, his defensive performance seemed to fade over the season. This year he makes the occasional spetecular play he has made his share of gaffes too.

He is tied for last in MLB in errors (9) among 1st baseman, 21st of 25 players in fielding pct (.990), 23rd of 25 players RZR (.709), and 19th of 25 players in OOZ (18).

Howard has just not played well this year defensively at all yet and has been as bad if you go by the stats as he was in '07 and '08 (maybe worse) when everybody harped on it constantly. He still is either the worst throwing 1B in the league or close to it especially to his right and he just makes too many easy mistakes.****

We should just cut this bum immediately! I mean, with 1B being such a crucial defensive position and all.

I doubt the call-up of Dom Brown makes this team much better, but I'm pretty much in done trying to wait it out. Call the kid up and see what happens.

What are the financial implications of that? Aside from waiting until his super two status is cleared in late May 2011, would a call up now alter his clock significally than it would be in a month/two months/the start of 2011 ?

NEPP - It mattered alot last night when Howard didn't make that catch. Yes, defense at 1B is probably the least important on the field next to LF.

Still, when you have one of the worst defensive 1B in the game it does matter especially when your offense is scuffling so much.

"As for Victorino, he is by far the most overrated person on the roster. Given an equal opportunity for at bats, Francisco is every bit as productive"

Nothing like a little insane with my morning coffee.

Heather - If Amaro does that, then he failed to get the job done and it will be fair to criticize him. Either cut bait on this year this by trading Werth (maybe even a guy like Durbin too) and likely a prospect or MLB player who can help this team next year or make a move to bolster this team.

Standing pat is the likely worst strategic move.

MG: "it mattered a lot last nite"

eh, gonna have to disagree. Howard makes that catch...and we still lose by 5 runs i bet.

****Protip: Use drywall anchors (assuming they're the same Ikea shelves I hung in my living room...the black ones (Lek I think) that are 3-4 feet long?).

NEPP- I hope you mean inches not feet!!
****

No, I meant feet as in the length of the Ikea Shelves...the drywall anchors are maybe an inch to an inch/half. They basically are screwed in and then spread out on the far side of the drywall to distribute the weight. You have to put the anchors in first and then the screws that holds the shelf bracket.

Old Phan: Is that an insane comment? I DO think Victorino is under performing a bit average wise, but given the amount of plate appearances Shane has had, I also think Ben Fran could of put up similar numbers.

I like Victorino, but if I had to say someone was over rated, I'd say him.

"Standing pat is the likely worst strategic move."

I totally agree, but as stated, I really don't think the FO will do much besides make a token move...

Without the Phils being clear buyers or sellers, they aren't going to go out and get a real impact guy and give up what it takes to get him.

OTOH, they're unwilling to risk the wrath of their fans (and perhaps reduced ticket sales?) by saying "season over!" and selling off pieces.

I hope I'm wrong, though and the FO moves clearly forward in one direction. Just not holding my breath.

Say what you want about Victorino's GGs too, but UZR doesn't like him much.

Take that with a grain of salt, however.

I'm mystified by the fact that this lifeless, mediocre team has the same personnel as the exciting, competent winners I watched last year, with the only major exceptions being an improved 3rd baseman and a true ace in the rotation. Yes, the bench faces are all new, but it's the bench. And yet, last year's team was exciting and competent, and this year's team....

I don't get it.

I do understand that attitude is everything in sports, and that attitude had a lot to do with the Phils' performance last year (and in 2008, 2007, and the last half of 2006 as well). But attitudes that produce winners for 3 years running don't just evaporate in the warm air. We have no clue -- none -- what happened to the Phillies' confidence, and what's poisoning their performance this year. All we know is that the same team that was hyper-confident last year, is barely league average this year, with pretty much the same personnel.

One slump, normal. Two slumps at the same time, bad luck. FIVE slumps? The entire team slumps? I'm clueless.

Anybody?

(PS: I join the rest of the BL squad here in supposing the Werth-Utley rumors to be baseless nonsense. However, what's bugging this team almost has to be something along those lines. So maybe it's true; or maybe something equally dire we have not heard is true. But SOMETHING is eating this team.)

Yea, Howard not making the catch on that foul ball really had no affect on the outcome.
Although I do think Howard as struggled a bit more defensively in the last few months, I think people aren't focusing on it because it hasn't been that bad combined with the Phils having more important issues.
I'm curious of those 9 errors, how many were throwing errors?

The Phillies made their big moves over the Winter...they wont be making another splash this summer.

And, barring a miracle, this team seems destined to slowly fade as the summer marches on. We're a Halladay injury away from being a 75 win club.

"I agree with Bay Slugga. Trade Werth Bring up Dom and watch the fortunes of this team change. Just like in 2006 when they traded Abreu."

You're grasping at straws.

The Abreu trade made sense because a couple of young leaders (Utley, Rollins) were deferring their leadership to the established order of the clubhouse (Abreu), and it was necessary to break up the established order so the young leaders could establish themselves. Removing Abreu made sense, not just because it was a change, but because it encouraged young leaders to grow and removed a roadblock.

Is there a similar roadblock in the clubhouse today? Who knows? Jayson Werth is not a leader on the Phillies by any stretch of the imagination, and we really have no idea whether Dom Brown will be, either. If Werth is somehow poisoning the clubhouse, getting rid of him will help, even if he's replaced with a dead mule. But we have no information suggesting that Werth is the problem, aside from a handful of rumors that probably are not true.

So there's an off chance that trading Werth will accomplish something, but not much of one.

"One slump, normal. Two slumps at the same time, bad luck. FIVE slumps? The entire team slumps? I'm clueless.

Anybody?"

I agree with you.

The manager needs to deal with the problem and right the ship. That's one of the biggest part of the manager's job, and if UC is truly a player's manager then he needs to prove it and get the players' heads screwed on straight. If the problem is so bad that the manager cannot deal with it, then the manager needs to be in the GM's ear saying "Trade this player."

As much as I thought the Jays were the winners in the Escobar/Gonzalez trade, it was obvious that Cox thought Escobar was club house poison, and the GM acted accordingly.

Now, if there is a problem the Phils either need to find the correct combination of managers/coaches who can deal with it, or get rid of the player(s) causing the problem.

At this point, I'm refusing to believe it's all random luck and chance anymore.

No effect? No way. Phils get out of the inning with a minimum of damage. Instead they down 4-0 which changed the entire complexion of the game. Being 4-0 that early in the game with this offense the past 3 weeks is a mountain to overcome.

re: sellers

the phils obviously aren't playing the ball we've accustomed to, but they are in no way sellers. What are they, 2 games out of the wild card? Only way I can see Werth going is if its a three way trade where we get a haul of prospects from a contender, and flip those kids to a team rebuilding for their lone bright spots.

re: Howard's defense

The foul popup along over his head is actually a play that Howard has made exceptionally well for years now. He is blown two pretty easier ones in the past month or so, but has usually made good plays on those type of balls. Overall, his game has looked to me taking a step backwards tho - which is probably why you wont see him atop a WAR leaderboard anytime soon.

Actually they are 3 back in the Wild Card to St. Loius - b-ref.com hasn't updated yet this morning.

So if they lose this series to St. Louis, they'll be at least 5 back of the WC and in all liklyhood even further back in the division.

Pretty big series this week, ranging anywhere from 7 GM back or a possible share of the lead of the WC - with only 1 week before the deadline. Yikes.

"Overall, his game has looked to me taking a step backwards tho"

This applies to almost everyone on the team.

St Louis is in first place so the Phils are only 2 back in the Wild Card race as the Cards aren't in those standings until they drop back into 2nd.

I think the bullpen is in dire need of a shake up too. I'm sorry, I like Herndon too but it's not worth losing a season by keeping a guy who clearly isn't ready for the bigs. Romero as our lone lefty out of the pen scares the hell out of me. Amaro should have been blowing up Scott Eyre's cell phone a while ago. Durbin is the guy who is best to put out a fire. He may be more neccessary with Kendrick, Moyer, and Blanton on the horizon but I think they could have used him more in the 7th last night than the Romero and Herndon show.

If the Phils are 5 or 6 in the WC (and at least a couple more in the NL East), at the trading deadline, I hope Rube sucks it up & becomes a seller.

It would be vastly unpopular with a majority of the fans in Philly but the Phils might be positioned to get some MLB talent or MLB-ready talent in return to supplement Dom Brown.

They are stuck with the turd Ibanez and Lidge deals but there a few pieces (Werth, Durbin, Contreras) that I could see teams being interested in trading for.

Sitting on his hands would be vastly disappointing if the Phils are in this spot. If there is one thing though that Amaro has shown in his brief tenure as GM, he is an aggressive-mover and takes gambles. Don't expect him to trade Brown at the deadline but I would be pretty stunned if this team just sits on their hands too.

Howard's defensive improvement is more myth than reality. His weight loss improved his mobility somewhat, but his mobility was already pretty decent for someone his size. And he has always excelled at scooping low throws out of the dirt. His weaknesses have always been throwing & overall consistency. They are still weaknesses.

And, for that matter, for all the praise that gets heaped on St. Utley's defense, he, too, is a woefully inconsistent defensive player.

Howard's # since the AS Break:

4 GS, .400 AVG, 1.674 OPS, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R.


Howard isn't the issue.

.318 AVG with a 1.038 OPS since June 1st.

I'm glad the Phillies offense is so good they can afford to let a .357 hitter rot in Lehigh.

I mean, really, where would we even slot someone in like that? Our two corner outfielders are having wonderful seasons so far.

I agrre w/ TTI,only 2 back for the wild card and I think Atlanta will come back some. But, the Phils have to relax and play better. A trade for a Lefty RP would probably help. The bullpen threw gasoline on the fire last night.

David Herndon isn't really the problem. The fact that Herndon has made 29 appearances as a result of injuries and Baez sucking is the problem.

"If the Phils are 5 or 6 in the WC (and at least a couple more in the NL East), at the trading deadline, I hope Rube sucks it up & becomes a seller."


I agree, but who are we selling besides Werth (maybe) that we're going to get good big league talent back for while simultaneously not crippling ourselves for next year?

I'm not really thinking of anyone, but maybe you have a few possibilities in mind?

WAR doesn't like Howard and never has, even in his 2006 MVP season. WAR is a flawed stat anyway, in many ways.

This team is difficult to watch right now. Even when they have a series like they did against Cincy, they go down to the wire to pull out victories and struggle to score. This series against the Cubs was just painful. If Soto doesn't drop that throw at home they take a 4 game sweep by the Cubs...just sad.

Maybe it is time to cut bait with Werth, but this team should not be a seller at this point. Perhaps the Cards series will clarify things, but if they sold off some important pieces like Werth/Blanton/Etc. it would be an absolute white flag.

I'm hoping one of you who knows competitive baseball will be able to help me figure something out.

I come to baseball via competitive softball, and there's a difference between baseball and softball strategy that I don't understand.

In softball, you put your best fielder and fastest runner in left field and left-center, 'cause that's where the strong hitters put the ball. If you have weak fielders, you put them behind the plate (the pitcher can cover), 2nd base, or 1st base, and in a pinch, right field, 'cause hardly anyone places the ball to right.

In baseball, you folks talk as though left field is a place where teams put their weak fielders, after 1st base. And sure enough, as I recall the Pirates of my youth, left field is where the Willie Stargells and Frank Howards went, whereas center field got the Bill Virdons and right field, the Roberto Clementes.

Now, I understand that there are more lefties in professional baseball than in the general population, and the distribution of batted balls is more even across the field than in softball. And infield play is a lot more important in major league baseball. But still, righties outnumber lefties, and they're apt to pull the ball. Why is left field the place where you stash your lumbering slugger, and not right field?

Thanks in advance for the education.

"If the Phils are 5 or 6 in the WC (and at least a couple more in the NL East), at the trading deadline, I hope Rube sucks it up & becomes a seller."

I don't disagree with that statement. But it's seems improbable that they're going to lose another 3 or 4 games in the standings in the next 12 days. It COULD happen if they continue to play as terribly as they have. More likely, they'll go about .500 over their next 12 games & still be within 3 or 4 of the WC lead on 7-31. If that happens, they're buyers. But just because you're a buyer doesn't mean you can't, or wouldn't, sell if the right deal came along. If they were able to deal Werth for a marquee pitching prospect or a major leage ready right-handed OF prospect, I could certainly see them doing it, no matter where they are in the standings.

A marquee, major league ready prospect >> 2 first round draft picks in the Phillies' hands.

"And, for that matter, for all the praise that gets heaped on St. Utley's defense, he, too, is a woefully inconsistent defensive player."

Absolutely.

You need a much stronger arm to make the throw from RF to 3B than you do for any throw from LF (as LF will almost NEVER make the reverse throw to 1B). That's a big part of it.

Philwynk: I assume you're talking about slow pitch softball and, if so, it's pretty obvious why the left fielder would be important & the catcher not so much. In slow pitch softball, everyone pulls everything since the pitches are, well, slow. And the catcher doesn't matter since he doesn't have to deal with sliders in the dirt & there isn't any base stealing (I don't think).

Would anyone take Blanton?

NEPP: That, plus the fact that left fielders don't need to throw to 3rd as often as right fielders do. If there's a runner on 1st & the batter singles to RF, the runner may well try to get to 3rd. If the single is to LF, the runner would almost always stop at 2nd.

I haven't researched this, but in a lot of major league ballparks, isn't left field smaller than right field too so there's less ground to cover?

CBP, Fenway, Minute Maid Park, Citi Field come to mind.

There's not a lot of parks I can think of off the top of my head where the right field is smaller than left except for Yankees stadium.

Maybe the top of my head statistics are completely wrong and if so correct me...it just "seems" like there are more small left fields than right fields.

philwynk - relative to left, right field is more important in two respects, both of which relate to the distance to 3B. A right fielder needs to have a stronger arm to make that throw because it is farther and because he's behind the runner and, he also needs to have footspeed to catch or cut-off more balls in right that would be triples if they fall in the corner and/or reach the wall (and would only be doubles to left). Some will also tell you that line drives the opposite way are more difficult to catch, and that the predominance of righthanders means you put a better fielder in the opposite field.

Blanton- Yankees need pitching but they usually dont get fleeced.

****That, plus the fact that left fielders don't need to throw to 3rd as often as right fielders do. If there's a runner on 1st & the batter singles to RF, the runner may well try to get to 3rd. If the single is to LF, the runner would almost always stop at 2nd.

Posted by: bay_area
****

Exactly bap.

Victorino is one of the more overrated defensive players in baseball. I've said this before, but people believe he's a great defender because he "looks" like he's running really hard at everything. But he takes bad routes to balls, and has to sprint to balls that other more graceful fielders (like Beltran) make look easy, and those guys get to balls that Shane cannot.

He's got a great arm, and had great range in RF, but as a CF, he's only really average at best.

Why would we want to trade Blanton? He is under team control at fair price through the prime years of his career.

What exactly would we trade him for?

Blanton is not easily traded. Not many teams want a mediocre third or 4th starter locked in for two and a half years.

If they were looking at Blanton, I can't think of a single team that wouldn't want a cheap Brett Myers, who is a better and more flexible pitcher, instead.

Vic was an amazing defender in RF...he's above average (but likely not a legit GG winner) in CF.

If he ran better routes, he'd be an elite defender instead of above-average. The raw ability is definitely there.

Interesting discussion, guys, and thanks.

Hugh M's last sentence rings true to me -- more opposite field balls that are harder to catch. I'm not as sure about the arm thing. I mean, yes, I see the difference in mechanics related to the direction of the runners on the base path. But for all their slow foot speed, left fielders tend to have decent arms, or at least the ones I've known. Both PtB and Ibanez have pretty good throwing arms, and -- again from my youth -- Willie Stargell was actually a more accurate thrower than Clemente, and prevented a lot of runs from scoring from third.

So I'm thinking it has more to do with Hugh M's last sentence -- that more of the balls hit to left are lazy flies, whereas more of the balls hit to right are sinking or hooking liners.

What do y'all think?

NEPP, and bap:

The throw to 3rd from right is not so important as you make it. Almost invariably, the correct play on a single to right is to throw the ball to the middle of the infield to prevent the batter from taking 2nd. You're much better off with runners at the corners than with runners on 2nd and 3rd.

You only make that throw when the batter is trying to stretch a double into a triple, and frankly, that's not common enough to warrant the difference in fielding skills that I'm seeing between left and right.

On average, a RF will always have a better arm than a LF. Burrell had an accurate arm, not a super strong one. I doubt he'd be good at making that throw from the RF corner to 3B. Ibanez is the same way with an accurate arm but not strong.

Ichiro is the epitome of a great defender in RF. So is Jay Bruce (remember his arm from last week?)

It amazes me that posters want to trade Werth. We are six back in the division 2 or 3 back in the wild card. At this point there is no way trading Werth makes any sense at all.
It has been a brutal two months of Phillies baseball and I am frustrated as hell. Werth is the only right handed threat in a underperforming line up. He is in a walk year and I know he is going to break out eventually. Really our only hope is that he does.
We are not going to get a productive right handed bat back for him. What we would recieve in trade value is not going to be as valuable as the draft picks we get when he signs else where.
I can not see any good reason to trade him. It makes no sense now or even if we were to build for the future.

"What we would recieve in trade value is not going to be as valuable as the draft picks we get when he signs else where."

I don't think anyone here is advocating trading him if you don't get enough trade value to cover the 2 draft picks.

"And, for that matter, for all the praise that gets heaped on St. Utley's defense, he, too, is a woefully inconsistent defensive player."

No. Utley makes some errors, usually with throws (his arm is his weakness), but he is a very good, very consistent defensive player. He gets to many more balls than the average second baseman. Arguably the best defensive infielder in the game.

I look forward to Werth going on another hot streak and everyone loving him again with comments of "Extend him now!"

2009 IronPig Gary Majewski back in the Majors with Houston. Hasn't appeared in the bigs since 2008 with the Reds.

Good for Gary! Though I'd hesitate to call the Astros a Major League club.

'I look forward to Werth going on another hot streak and everyone loving him again with comments of "Extend him now!"'

Does this team really need to give another extended contract to a guy on the wrong side of 30?

Heather, OK say we trade him for some stud AAA prospect. We are 5.5 games out and 3 in the WC. Who feels that hole in the line up. I am pissed but I am not ready to throw in the towel.
If you are just wait out the season you will have 3 picks in the first 50 in the next draft. I like that rebuilding plan better than getting one player now for Werth.
Bottom line is that if he dosen't start to produce were done anyway. If he does start to produce we have a shot and the draft picks next year anyway.

Hey NEPP: By the time Werth hits his second hot streak, the team will be twelve games out of the Wild Card, and he'll be playing for another team.

In case anyone was curious...
OPS+ for 2010:

Houston Astros: 71
Wilson Valdez: 73

Can Valdez keep it up for the rest of the season?

"If you are just wait out the season you will have 3 picks in the first 50 in the next draft. I like that rebuilding plan better than getting one player now for Werth."

If the Rays were desperate enough for a right handed bat to give up Jeremy Hellickson or even Wade Davis, both of those guys are worth more than two low draft picks in the first round.

Hellickson's floor is a 3-4 pitcher, and a ceiling of a #2, and he hasn't been brought up to the major leagues yet.

Davis is a hard thrower who still has a few control issues, but is a cheap legit #3 under team control for a few more years.

Now if Tampa won't give up anything nearly that good, then fine, but if either of those guys were offered, they're both guys who have an immediate, positive impact and at controlled costs.

Low first round draft picks have value, sure, but even if they make it to the big leagues, they're probably several years off.

JW: thanks for the heads up on Majewski, i'll add him to the list.

I found 127 players from 2000-2009 that played in the majors(not minors) with the Phillies and then again on another mlb team, and wrote a little bio and stat totals at thePhormers. will try to expand to 90s, add 2010 players, and somehow find all the minor leaguers too - still a work in progress on those.

Hattip to DeutchsePhan for giving me the idea.

"What we would recieve in trade value is not going to be as valuable as the draft picks we get when he signs else where."

This is an oft-made argument that is just nonsensical. You'd be getting one supplemental pick between the 1st & 2nd round, plus the other team's 1st round pick which would probably come late in the 1st round (since the teams that could afford Werth are probably decent teams). How many such draft picks actually turn into above average major league regulars? How many of the Phillies' late first round/early second round picks have turned into above average players? And, even in the off chance that you do hit the jackpot, it would be at least 3 to 4 years before you get any payoff.

A prospect who has proven his ability to succeed against AA or AAA competition stands a pretty decent chance of being a good major league player & contributing at the major league level soon. That is worth WAY more than 2 draft picks that will very likely turn into Anthony Hewitt and Joe Savery.

Astros are desperate for help. after winning 5-2 behind a strong Brett Myers outing on Friday, they knocked Ohlendorff out in the 2d on Saturday, a high-water mark for the weekend, on their way to surrendering 36 hits and 21 runs in two games to the woeful Buccos.

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