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Thursday, July 15, 2010


I said division rivals.

After 87 Phillies games


ATL 52-36
NYM 48-40
PHI 47-40


PHI 49-38
FL 46-45
ATL 44-45

Injuries concern me less now that Polanco is set to return. Relief pitching may be second.

NEPP - re Collins and Swindle. Isn't this where scouting reports come in? You can't minimize every minor leaguers K9 by simply saying there was this funky pitcher named Swindle who did it too. Collins isn't a pitcher a pitcher in Swindle's style. He's deal is that he's small (but he has power) and may break down (more like Lincecum).

I vote "late inning relief".

Has there ever been a WS winner, since the concept of a "closer" emerged, than didn't have shutdown late inning relief?

****NEPP - re Collins and Swindle. Isn't this where scouting reports come in? You can't minimize every minor leaguers K9 by simply saying there was this funky pitcher named Swindle who did it too. Collins isn't a pitcher a pitcher in Swindle's style. He's deal is that he's small (but he has power) and may break down (more like Lincecum). ****

I wasn't trying to compare them...just mention that he's a Lefty with a funky delivery in AA. He's intriguing more than anything.

On his size...there's small and then there's Collins small. He's tiny for a pitcher. He's the David Eckstein of LOOGYs.

Funny thing about the late inning relief problem is that the Phils have a wealth of closer-type options.

plyr: K9 - BB9 (three year averages, Jose just this year)

Madson: 8.4 - 2.5
Lidge: 10.9 - 4.8
Contreras: 10.2 - 2.8

The problem is that they're using their least consistent RP in some of the tightest spots. Romero is pitching well, Madson is back, Contreras may be the best RP finding of the offseason anywhere, Durbin is coming back. We won't be seeing Baez in a meaningful situation again. Seems like, Lidge aside, it's the middle relief that's more a problem, and Lidge has looked good as often as he's looked bad.

my two cents.

RE: Heather / online stuff.

The reality of it is basically that most people are totally normal rational nice people. The problem is not everyone is very good at writing out there opinions in an online forum without coming off like a bit of an asshat. You see it a lot here. I mean I don't post a ton because in all honesty I don't usually have a lot to say unless it's rooting (or being a smart-ass for smart ass sake). If you were to go back and find a lot of posts I made some of them probably come off as waaaay!!! more mean spirited than I intended. That's the nature of an internet forum.

There is no inflection. Look how often people miss sarcasm. Or attribute sarcasm where there isn't any.

I got into a huge argument with a girlfriend circa 2000(around when aol instant messenger was big) because we where chatting, and I made a joke I would make in person and get away with. It just comes off as mean without a wry smile or a wink behind it.

I'd use emoticons but as I understand that's just poor form ;-P .

Then there's the fact that being online some people just can't help themselves with the little digs because it's so easy not having to look someone in the eye. There's a lot of posters who could easily express their opinion in a non-inflammatory manner. Really just changing one word or two would do it.

Let's take as an example: Ending a post with "interesting." I think clout is famous for this one(might be wrong).

Say someone said like

a) "I really think Wislon Valdez should be filling in at second base while Utley is hurt."

Fine innocent enough. A poster might respond thus:
b)"So you think Wilson Valdez is he answer at second base?" O.K. Maybe a little bit off the point you were making but fine you can explain. Civil enough.

Now try the:
c)"So you think Wilson Valdez is he answer at second base? Interesting."

All of the sudden the response goes in tone from b) possibly genuine inquisitiveness or slight sarcasm even to c) You are the biggest *%(^ing moron I have ever had to deal with EVER.

I think a lot of people would notice the tone here lighten up a bit if they ended a lot of their posts a sentence or two early and stopped using words like 'obviously'. It's just so easy to be a smart ass to strangers though.

I refer as always to the "Greater Internet F%&^wad Theory" . While it doesn't always apply it's a good fun jumping-off point.

late inning relief was my pick. i dont know if bullpen by committee is the answer (probably not) but charlies HAS to let go off the "brad's my closer" talk and have a short leash.......i still believe if brad lidge doesnt blow game 4 last year, we find a way to win that game and with cliff in g5, we go up 3-2 going to the bronx and we win back to back WFC. i still have nightmares of game 4

Look at it this way, and assess the odds of each:

1) Rotation: What is the probability that the bottom of the rotation falls apart, especially with Happ rehabbing and possibly returning soon?

2) Rivals: What is the possibility that division rivals continue to play at the pace that they've played? Are they that good, the Braves playing .661 since April, and the Mets playing .611 since May?

3) Lineup: Will results here improve? Do you expect Werth to continue his anemic RISP performance? Do you expect a stronger 2nd hald from Howard? Will JRoll pick it up? Polly? Ibanez?

4) A & I: This one really affects question #3. Do you think Polly can't rebound? Same with Utley? How about Raul? Do you expect JRoll to hit .208 .287 .338 the rest of the way (his #s since his return)?

5) Late inning relief: Two words....Brad Lidge. Any questions?

Baseball America's Scouting report on Collins: He gets outs with a solid fastball that tops out at 93 mph and a true 12-to-6 curveball that he spins really well. His quirky delivery helps him as well. He has a high three-quarters arm slot and does an especially good job of staying on top of the ball and driving down despite his height. He has a high leg kick and stands as far to the third-base side of the rubber as possible"

Tops out at 93 means he probably sits 88-91 or near to that range. Quirky delivery guys tend to scare me is all...they typically get hammered in the Majors.

Girardi would have rolled Rivera out for another inning, and the Phils would have rolled out - who? - for the 10th. The Lidge/Rivera difference was pivotal, yes, but it wasn't just about that inning.

"Lidge has looked good as often as he's looked bad. "

Sophist, sometimes Lidge has looked great.

The question is....can a team vying for a playoff spot and chasing down division rivals afford to have that type of inconsistency at the back end of the bullpen?

It's one thing when, like 2009, the team is 8 games up at the end of August. Can they afford the "Good Brad/Bad Brad" act this season?

One major knock against the closer role is that, while the closer is usually the team's best relief option, the 9th inning use of the closer may not always use him in the highest leverage spot.

For the Phillies, this is a good thing.

Tough choice for me between bottom of the rotation and late-inning relief. A better bottom or the rotation and late-inning relief becomes a somewhat less crucial factor. Improve the relief and the bottom or the rotation becomes less of an issue.

But neither of issues will really matter if the core group doesn't pick it up.

Starting with the typos early today. That should be bottom OF the rotation.

phils and nova, I share that sentiment. There's a big difference between being down 3 - 1 and tied 2 - 2.

If Lidge's inability to put away Damon changed the entire Series, IMHO.

awh - Yeah, I think they can.

Breaking down Lidge appearances

No ER: 13
1 ER: 3
2 ER: 1
3 ER: 1

0 or 1 baserunners: 11
2 baserunners: 2
3 or more: 5


"It's one thing when, like 2009, the team is 8 games up at the end of August. "

Well - they built that 8 game lead w/o a reliable closer all season - and got to the playoffs as well. I'd argue because they had a pretty solid bottom of the rotation.

Not having a reliable closer certainly hurt in the WFC - but the problem is really when you have a weak bottom of the rotation and no reliable closer.

Sophist - Haven't we gone through this with Madson repeatedly? He's not a "closer-type option."

Contreras is, maybe, but since his spectacular start to the season he's really struggled.

I'd love the Phils to go out and get a Soria, for instance, but I'm not sure it's worth the price. It really looks like Rube is saving his bullets for an upgrade to the rotation.

agree with phlipper, i think most people, myself included, assume that with polly coming back and jimmy now in the lineup, the lineup with correct itself. howard will have his normal second half, werth will progress and hopefully improve the RISP average and if ibanez stays mediocre, maybe dom brown is called up.

That is the reason i picked bullpen as a pressing need over the lineup. i think the lineup will benefit tremendously by have jimmy and polanco in there.

*by struggling with the keyboard this morning

Chris - Your feelings about Madson's gutsiness aside, by closer-type option I simply meant a guy who can strike out the side / have a pretty clean inning without shocking the fanbase, whether that means the 7th 8th or 9th inning.

How many teams have three guys with those peripherals? The Phils have a wealth of late inning, power pitching options as well as a pretty good LOOGY in Romero.

The biggest issue with Madson is that every time they try him as a Closer, it screws him up for a few weeks afterward as he becomes a guy that simply throws fastball after fastball after fastball...forgetting that his changeup is his best pitch.

I'm not saying I have no concerns about Lidge. I'm just saying that if I had to rank it, I'm much more worried about the Braves and WC pace than the Phillies problems. All these things could fall into place (.600 win pct in second half), and the Phils could still be on the outside looking in.

Voted for back end of the BP.
"Once burned, twice shy" I guess is the reason. I need to see more of Lidge looking lights out again before I regain my faith in him.
I sorta like relief pitching by match-ups better than a designated closer anyway, and I think a healthy Phils BP has the ability to make that approach work.
I really don't care who gets credit for the save as long as the team wins the game.

i don't know why people think happ is coming back anytime soon. he's not. it's been six weeks since he started to pitch again and he still is not back to normal. it isn't happening (no pun intended)

Seems to me that it's pretty unlikely that the Phils would fail to win the WC if they win 60% of the rest of their games (92 wins).

RE: Soria...I saw a Royals scout at the IronPigs/SWB Yanks game last weekend and immediately thought about the Soria possibility. It would be nice.

Pitching probables for the next 2 series:


Thursday- Moyer versus Dempster
Friday- Blanton versus Lilly
Saturday- Hamels versus Wells
Sunday- Halladay versus Gorzelanny


Monday- Kendrick versus Hawksworth
Tuesday- Moyer versus Carpenter
Wednesday- Blanton versus Garcia
Thursday- Hamels versus Wainwright

I picked late inning relief.

I think a true closer like soria would help us more than a third starter for the playoffs would because if you really think about how the rotation will go we have 2 almost certain wins in Halladay and maybe 2 by Cole. Unless we get someone who is truly a better option than Blanton than I think a closer would be a better fit for this team. They've shown they can score one everyone and any kind of pitcher (except a knuckleballer of cours). A closer would lock up those victories from Halladay and Hamels. But we have to get into the playoffs to even worry about it...

I have no reason to believe that this will ever happen, but here is my .02 on what might help our post-season chances in 2010 and 2011:

- sign Dye to a half-season deal (a'la Pedro)
- pick up Sherril.
- trade Werth to an AL contender for a top AAA prospect (preferably pitching or a right handed outfielder).
- promote Brown to platoon with Dye.

Losing Werth would certainly hurt, but hopefully, they'd land something more valuable to the immediate future than two first round picks.

Dye is certainly no replacement for Werth, but he could be used to give Ibanez a break from time to time, or in place of Brown when a right handed bat would be more beneficial. The presence of Ibanez/Dye/Brown also provides more talent and versatility for a pinch hitter off the bench. Hopefully, Dye would recognize that this is his shot to impress and continue his career and that motivation would yield positive results for Philly.

As for Sherril, we've taken bigger chances in the bullpen that have paid off. It's worth the investment.

Voted for back end of the rotation. Can never have enough pitching.

My poll must be broken. I didn't see an option to choose Ryan Howard as the biggest problem.

In all serious though, I'm in the division rivals camp. It's not that I don't see plenty of holes in the team right now, but there were holes galore in 08 and 09 as well. Since both the team and the FO has shown an ability to regroup and fix first half problems the last few years I have to believe they will continue to do that until I see them fail to do so. Which leaves the stumbling blocks outside of the Phillies control to contend with. The continued play of the Braves, and to a lesser extent, the Mets at their current high level will make catching them difficult.

Re: Madson, Bill Baer has convinced me he wouldn't be a bad closer, he's just been a victim of some unluckiness, plus confirmation bias. His stats seem to indicate he did even better in the 9th inning last year than the 8th.

If things go south again this year for Lidge (which I hope they don't, but IF) I vote for Madson to take on the closer role again.

Here's a link to the article in case you haven't seen it before:

That being said, I voted for "lineup" being that I believe if this offense performs like it has shown in the past 2 years I think they can get the wild card/pennant.

If it doesn't, they're not in the playoffs. My $.02.

Rex: You could very well be right with your analysis of internet communication vs. spoken communication...It's much easier to be an actual jerk over the internet, as well as being perceived as a jerk when you had no intention of being so.

Oh, BTW Mr. Montgomery was on MLB channel last night talking with Mitch Williams at the futures game.

He seemed to imply the Phils were trying to make a big move, but also seemed to say they could make a big move on offense or pitching.

Take that for what it's worth...if he was actually being serious, I'd be interested to know what serious offensive pieces they're considering.

i think you meant the AAA All-Star game, not the futures game

"i think you meant the AAA All-Star game, not the futures game"

Yep, that's what I meant. Thanks.

Heather: Todd Zolecki said the same thing on 610 last week: Something along the lines of Amaro wanting to make a flashy move. Doesn't sound like they want to give a halfway decent prospect for a halfway decent stopgap guy.

The Phillies have been seen scouting the bars and bordellos of Tijuana, looking to add that last piece of the Pennant Puzzle: Todd Pratt.

"Girardi would have rolled Rivera out for another inning, and the Phils would have rolled out - who? - for the 10th."

Sophist, if the Yankees didn't score in the top of the 9th, would Girardi have rolled Rivera out at all in a tie game on the road? How many times has that been done with Rivera?

dlhunter you just made my day a whole lot better. I needed a good laugh and you just gave it to me.

I vote division rivals. There just wasn't this kind of competition last year from anyone in the NL East, and this season we're behind not one, but two teams. I don't think the odds actually point to BOTH the Braves and Mets falling apart in the second half, so the Phils are going to have to played some much-improved ball to catch up to somebody this season.

Wow! Bottom of the rotation only gets 5% of the votes?

Well, it's nice to know that we won't be hearing any b!tching at Beerleaguer about Blanton should he not improve in the second half of the season.

And of course, no criticism of RAJ will be forthcoming should the failure to get a reliable #3 pitcher turn out to be a key issue.

dlhunter, I thought you were going to say Chris Coste.

I voted division rivals. I still think pound for pound the Phils have the best team, but the Braves are looking sharp, and might be stepping it up a bit to win one more for the Grumpy Old Man. Everyone needs to get healthy, and it will be looking good for the Phils.

About the Braves, I wonder about the bottom of their bullpen in the second half. Wagner and Saito are far from spring chickens.

The Mets are the Mets. They blew it on Cliff Lee and will most likely blow it when it comes to getting another arm.

The Phillies need health and they are in it. If they get Haren or Oswalt, it's even bigger. Wouldn't be suprised to see them grab a late inning arm before the waiver trade deadline. That's where the Phils always succeed.

flipper - you're going to hear complaints about all the options above. The question is which is the biggest obstacle going forward. There are things not on this list that people will complain about.

"Contreras is, maybe, but since his spectacular start to the season he's really struggled."

Chris in Vt, Contreras had a .56 ERA on June 1. Since then his ERA is 5.53 (2.79 overall).

He's pitched 13 innings since June 1, and given up 8 R and ER.

However, 6 R were given up in only 2 appearances on June 19th and July 4th. He pitched 1/3 of an inning in both those appearances.

Subtract the 2 blowups and he's pitched 12.1 innings and given up 2 runs.

Sure, the blowups count - both games were losses and his runs allowed were the Twins and Braves margin of victory - but his ERA in the rest of his appearances, 12.1 IP, is 1.46.

He hasn't been as spectacular as he was at the beginning of the season, but he's realy only had 2 disasters.

"The continued play of the Braves, and to a lesser extent, the Mets at their current high level will make catching them difficult. "

Lincoln, I asked this question up above: do you think the Braves and Mets are good enough to continue to play that well?

If they do continue to play that well, I'll flat out state this now:

The Phils won't catch a Braves team that continues to play .661 baseball.

They could catch the Mets even if the Mets play .611, but it won't be easy.

The wildcard for the Mets is Beltran. What impact willl he have?

I really think one of the Phils' "big" moves to improve this team could be the easiest, albeit it would require upsetting some people.

Swap Ibanez for Brown.

Yes, Brown will struggle. But from seeing him, I really think his struggles will still add up to more offensive and defensive production than they are currently getting from Ibanez.

(Yes, this is my opinion, but Ibanez's line is almost cover-your-eyes awful from a not defensively good LF at .243/.326/.397....I think Brown can do better than that.)

If you don't want Ibanez on the bench, trade Ibanez for whatever you can get for him, even if it's not a good trade and move forward with Brown.

Don't get me wrong, I would buy Ibanez a drink in a bar for what he did for the Phils last year, but IMHO we shouldn't be nostalgic when we have better options.

I know this isn't a "new" opinion but it bears repeating until our management gets the message.

Greg - I've thought of that, too.
Braves have several older, injury-prone guys - Chipper, Glaus, Wagner, Saito.
Its unlikely that all of them get through the rest of the season uninjured and/or as productive as the first half.

Bonehead, isn't it ironic that the one injury that the Braves have had has been to their youngest player, Heyward?

I agree that based on history, the older Braves are injury risks.

The same could be said for the Phils, too.

Moyer - 47, Contreras - 38, Ibanez - 38...

Oops, that should say "the one KEY injury the Braves have had".

Heather: I agree with you. Get WHATEVER you can for Ibanez and spark the team with some youth. IMHO, Brown will be able to put up better second half numbers than Raul.

Tossup between rotation depth, bullpen depth and the competition. I picked the competition. Braves have demonstrated they're a serious challenge and it looks like they're going to load up for the stretch, maybe adding an OF. Wildcard race is wide-open so, we could get zinged by someone against whom we don't get alot of head-to-head opportunities.

Regarding the bullpen, if they somehow manage to find a closer, what a wealth of set up men. How do you find opportunities for Madson, Contreras, Romero and Lidge (who I'd love in that role) to pitch 7th and 8th innings with regularity? My preference would be to find a good lefty to allow them to use the depth to mix and match their way through the late innings.

I'm not sure how it will translate at the higher level, but Brown has shown ability to hit lefties in the minors - something Ibanez has not done this year.

awh - Small sample sizes, and all that...

Heather: I'd go with a Brown/Ibanez platoon if things don't shape up here real soon. I don't think you can send Ibanez down as I think age is the biggest factor to his play this season. Ibanez is also untradeable at this point unless the Phils are willing to pony up for most of what is owed on his contract. Nothing i'm typing nobody hasn't read already on here i'm sure.

I'd love to see Brown up to see what he might be able to do... but I'm not on board dumping Ibanez.

I'm remembering back to a time last year when there was a big push to get rid of Jamie Moyer. I can't remember who it was (it was me), but he was declared Washed Up™ (by me). Plenty of people on here were in agreement. After all, the guy was old and performing poorly.

The Phils did not dump him. They did replace him in the rotation (which I agreed with), but he's certainly proven lots of people wrong (including me) with his performance since then.

It's possible the guy who put up an OPS+ between 115 and 131 in 8 of the last 9 years has suddenly lost it.

Heather - As for Madson at closer, you can use the advanced metrics to demonstrate his "unluckiness" as a closer, but NEPP hit the nail on the head...When Madson's the "closer" he gets fastball-happy, to the point that he's throwing 4 or 5 in a row, and the 4th or 5th one gets hammered.

The advanced metrics may tell a different story, but sometimes you have to disregard the "stats" and believe what your actual eyes are telling you and the actual results.

Voted for division rivals, for reasons already stated. Odds seem less likely that both Mets and Braves will crash and burn, and the Phils will likely run into a better Nats team down the stretch than in previous years with Strasburg (though when do the Nats not give the Phils troubles).

I think Sheridan calling a trade for Alex Gonzalez a "shot across the bow" seems a bit over-the-top, but nonetheless, two moves seem likely, one to bring in a playoff-caliber, number-3 starting pitcher in light of Blanton's struggles (oblique injuries seem to linger) and another an infielder who can hit--Polanco's injury scares me. What I wonder about are the movable pieces to bring in such a haul. Blanton's contract does not make him an attractive commodity, but Kendrick has been solid and would be a desirable piece for another club looking to move contract and get guaranteed years of affordable pitching moving forward. Matthiesen and at least 1-2 other A or AA parts could also go. Is that enough for a trade with a non-contender looking for prospects and cheap, MLB-ready pitching? Or will Werth need to go for pitching/infield help in a trade with another contender? I just don't see him moving given how that would weaken the lineup.

RE: the tone of internet chat discourse and the Heather thread. Yeah, agreed about the anonymity factor and the emotional detachment of disembodied discourse leading to lots of flaming, but there's also the context of sports as a zero-sum, winning-is-everything recreational activity. Doesn't promote evenhandedness. Can be as bad as political debate.

Hugh: Phils have an upcoming series with one of the NL Wildcard leaders (Dodgers). I think they play at least two series, historically one out in LA and one here. What better time to close the gap. I have no idea if they play the Rockies anymore this year.

Heather, I've actually thought about that too. One could argue that Brown "couldn't possibly be worse" than Raul, but you never know.

I wonder what, if any, moves RAJ is trying?

Chris, I don't disagree with "small sample sizes", but how much of a difference in sample size is 12.1 or 13 IP?

PhillyRhetoric, why would you trade Kendrick?

Since his first two starts this season he has a 3.80 ERA as a SP in 15 GS.

Will you get a better pitcher than that in a trade?

Division rivals is my pick. The Phils have no control over their rivals' records other than in a couple handsfull of games. I have no metric that backs this up, but I believe ATL is in "win one for the Gipper" mode.

Should the Phils overcome the NYM, they still have to contend with very little control over the rest of the WC contenders.

Worst-case scenario: Phils finish 2nd and out of the playoffs. Should that happen, there are no odds that can be placed on infestation of BL by trolls and the calls for Rube's firing. It would be a certainty.

PhillyRhetoric, Jeff Sackman at THT did an analysis of SP a couple years agon. I've posted these before, but here are the numbers:


Since his first 2 starts, Kendrick has pitched like a #2, at least that what the numbers bear out.

Dominant? No, but better than you probably thought.

He's the reason Happ hasn't been rushed back. If he continues to pitch this well they can take their time with Happ.

Blanton is the problem in the rotation tight now.

Tim from Williamsport - Phillies have a 4-game series v. the Rockies at home starting end of next week, plus one game that was canceled in CO due to weather, although I don't recall when that will be made up.

I think if Kendrick could be part of a trade for Haren, i'd consider it.

All the choices in the poll are factors, of course - for any team - but I selected division rivals. Competition is strong this year, and not just in the division, but across the league, as has been pointed out by others. Phillies really need to be on their game and find a way to win as many games as possible when playing the Braves and Mets. Braves playing with extra, intangible, motivation of winning for Cox, plus pitching, plus a decent lead.

awh--don't want to deal Kendrick and love how he's pitched this year. but to get a tough pitcher who you'd feel confident running out as a 2 or 3 in the playoffs--oswalt, haren, etc, you have to give up quality, and the phillies don't have the AA or AAA prospects to land that quality this year. i don't dispute the stats on kendrick this year, but assuming that a trade for a pitcher is about getting to and winning series, how confident are you right now in running moyer, blanton, or kendrick out as your #3? I don't think the phils will dish young talent for the back end of the pen with 4 pricey and talented (if inconsistent) relievers already back there.

Dan Haren is making 8.6 million

Kendrick is making 0.48 million

There is no way the phils make that trade.

Does KK really have any trade value?

BedBeard, if they got Haren that's one thing. I would move Kendrick in a second for Haren.

But PhillyRhetoric stated "two moves seem likely, one to bring in a playoff-caliber, number-3 starting pitcher in light of Blanton's struggles (oblique injuries seem to linger)".

I was simply pointing out that KK has pitched like a #2 the last 15 GS.

I would like more clarification on what constitutes a "playoff-caliber number-3">

Kendrick has been good for us, but lets not get disillusion here. If Kendrick can be a part of any trade for a guy like Haren you DO NOT balk at that.

PhillyJoe: Of course not, 1 for 1 makes no sense.

One thing JW didn't mention up top was the bench.We've discussed this before, but I thought I'd post these numbers just for reference:

2010 NL Average for PH:

.226 .293 .351

2010 NL Average for Subs:

.221 .283 .340

I don't know how to pull the data for bench players who start games. Maybe someone else can. :)

I just read this on ESPN. Usually I like Bill Baer but not sure about this one. I mean, Mayberry as savior? Really?

"Getting the middle of the lineup back to its normal level of production will be key if the Phillies intend to become the first National League team to reach the World Series in three consecutive years since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals. Fans are growing impatient, hoping GM Ruben Amaro will do something to shake up the roster.

One suggestion has been to designate backup third baseman and outfielder Greg Dobbs for assignment. Dobbs has been putrid at the plate as his .192 batting average indicates, and he has never been a reliable defender. DFA-ing Dobbs would likely result in the promotion of John Mayberry Jr., a power-hitting righty who is performing well for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

-- Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley's 2010 Trade Deadline Primer "

If Mayberry is the answer I think we need to ask a different question.

PhillyRhetoric, Oswalt and Haren are #1's, not #3's.

Are you saying that a " "playoff-caliber number-3" is a Roy Oswalt of Dan Haren? Wow.

Heather, agree.

awh- "Chris, I don't disagree with "small sample sizes", but how much of a difference in sample size is 12.1 or 13 IP?"

Sorry, I should have clarified. I wasn't trying to be argumentative I was saying that you'd demonstrated that a couple bad outings can skew the numbers to make it look like Contreras has been awful.

I agree that 13 IP is a small sample size and that is why his numbers have looked so crooked since the beginning of June.

awh - I think he's saying that on our staff Oswalt or Haren would likely start game 3 of a playoff series, as long as the rotation was lined up ideally.

I'd think it would go Halladay/Hamels/Mystery Starter

Mayberry and his robust .705 OPS in Lehigh...not quite.

I would call Dom Brown up and give him 5 starts a week...keep all 3 OFs rested and give him regular playing time. Young top prospects are great at sparking teams.

Durbin coming back helps the bullpen so that'll help, Howard should continue to warm up as the year goes on, Werth should snap out of his RISP snafu, Vic should start hitting for more average, a healthy Ruiz and getting Polly back and we'll be fine.

If Charlie is serious about Polly being at 3B everyday until Chase returns then Dobbs is more vulnerable to DFA then if Polly splits his time between 2B & 3B.
But, would you rather call up Mayberry or take your shot with Brown as a call-up?
Seems like the Brown has a lot more support on BL than Mayberry.

Well, Brown is by far the superior baseball player than Mayberry by any measure.

Brown is starting to live up to that "next Darryl Strawberry minus the coke" projection at this point.

awh--maybe kendrick, blanton, or moyer is the guy the phillies go to in the playoffs after halladay and hamels. i am just suggesting that blanton has been running out of gas this year and not inspiring confidence, although he could turn it around in the second half--but again, the ST injury worries me. he should have been more durable after coming to camp in great shape this year. moyer has had some great games this year, but in a playoff series i feel better about him in long relief than i do in a game 3. and though the phils are not there yet and may not make it this year, i think a last-week-of-july trade for an SP has to be done with an eye on october. my "definition" of a playoff-caliber pitcher is based on my gut. my gut is telling me to ask whether KK is seasoned for that pressure. perhaps he is, as 2007 is now 3 years removed. this might be why we don't see a trade for a top-flight pitcher (the only type of SP worth trading for at this point). that may not clarify sufficiently, but i hope it better explains how i'm thinking about this.

agreed that it would take more than KK to land haren. probably 2 more players/prospects. disagree that phils wouldn't make the trade based on the salaries. they've added SP salary in the past (blanton, lee, etc). it's in the next few years where a move like this hurts, as it's been well-established that KK has provided good value. for a club like the D-Backs, struggling with attendance, they could use cheap, quality SP. but their fanbase would implode if they didn't bring in name-recognition talent for haren, so this is a tough call. oswalt? i know he walks after the season, but i'd love to see him with H & H in october. please no more myers. would almost rather miss the playoffs than watch him pitch again for the phils.

Before his cocaine addiction destroyed his career, the Straw averaged a 144 OPS+ over his first 9 seasons.

"Strawberry but not quite as explosive" is the phrase I've heard to describe Dom Brown's game. That's a pretty special player all things considered.

****oswalt? i know he walks after the season, but i'd love to see him with H & H in october. ****

Oswalt is signed through 2013 I about $16 million per season (without specifically looking it up). Part of the trouble with trading him for the 'Stros has been the financial committment a team needs to make for him...despite his near HoF level career to this point.

phillyrhetoric - Actually, if Oswalt did walk after this season he'd be a much more valuable trade commodity. He has another season at 16 mil after this one and then an option year for 16 mil as well. From what I understand that's the primary roadblock the Astros have run into when it comes to getting value back for him.

NEPP beat me to it...

Is everyone convinced that Young Jamie would implode in a playoff or WFC game? I am far from convinced that he would.

Thanks Chris...I was just about to post that after checking Cots.

awh--yeah, like Chris in VT says. they're 1s (though Haren has been up and down this year) and i'm projecting where they'd be in our rotation--they'd be 3s for the 2010 phillies, but they'd both be expensive. this time of year, everyone is clamoring for a big move. the impetus behind my post was about the pieces that other clubs would find desirable and convincing to fanbases that would be reeling from the move of a popular pitcher. i guess i'm trying to imagine what pieces we have. happ is hurt but he's also got years of team control ahead of him and a ML arm and just missed on the ROY, so he could go, too. mentioning their names doesn't mean I want to see them go, but you've got to think that other trade partners who are soon to be out of contention will want pitching, the cheaper and closer to the majors, the better.

And if Brown can have a career like Strawberry's, he will be a star in Philly for years to come.

I wonder if anybody would take Ibanez if the Phils picked up all but, say 1 or 2 mil of his salary? It would still save the Phils money, since Brown costs next to nothing.

$1 or 2 mil of the $17mil remaining salary? Phils will not eat that much.

Heather wrote: "It's much easier to be an actual jerk over the internet, as well as being perceived as a jerk when you had no intention of being so."

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my oldest daughter when she was 4. I had carefully explained to her that all the Santas she saw were just men dressed up to look like Santa, and that the REAL Santa had lived a long time ago. So, one day we were passing a grand opening at a car lot, and she saw a clown handing out balloons. "Daddy," she queried, "Is that a REAL clown, or just someone dressed up to look like a clown?"

I say this because it's worth pondering what is the difference between a REAL jerk and someone who just talks like one...

hadn't realized oswalt was locked up for 1 plus 1. thanks for clarifying. maybe they will be going forward with the pieces they have--KK and Moyer have been half of JW's 4-horsemen to this point and haren would take a king's ransom. don't know if anybody else available and on top of their game would be worth dealing for at this point. when they dealt for blanton the consensus was that they settled for the second-tier of available pitching. in 2008 that was what they needed, but that doesn't seem worth the price this year.

***I wonder if anybody would take Ibanez if the Phils picked up all but, say 1 or 2 mil of his salary? It would still save the Phils money, since Brown costs next to nothing.***

IF it was me...I'd hang onto Ibanez as a 4th OF who got starts against RHP occasionally and who could be used as an okay LHB off the bench. He'd have value in that type of role...nothing close to what we're paying him but that's a sunk cost at this point. Ibanez AND Brown will only cost us $12.567 million next year.

Old Phan- I still have the memory of young Jamie coming off the mound hurt at the end of last year burnied in my memory, so any other image of him imploding is unnecessary.
I am amazed at his come back from all the post season surgery & complications at his age and would love to see him in the playoffs and WS this year.
His success , in any outing, is subject to his command of the corners. If he misses his spots - he's in trouble. If his spots and the strike zone being called that day don't coincide -he's in trouble.
An implosion can happen, but I don't think pressure or DITHL will be major factors.

I agree NEPP, but I just don't see the Phils/Amaro/Manuel tossing Ibanez on the bench to start Brown, especially since they're both LHB's.

Ibanez is a sunk cost at this point, but what's really the point of keeping him around? He can't play any position except LF, and Dobbs, Gload, and Francisco can all play LF and other positions. If you eat 15 mil of the 17 mil left on his contract, you at least save 2 mil, maybe pick up an org. filler MiLer, and move on with Brown.

Rex: This blog isn't for everyone. It's got its own personality and quirks. Those who don't like it or feel uncomfortable here should move on rather than hang around and whine about how rude people are.

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