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Monday, October 25, 2010

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"I wonder if the perception that the Phillies “didn’t get after it” against San Francisco was actually their physical inability to do so. "

Personally I was thinking a lot of it was due to stupid mistakes and failure to adjust, combined with ill timed cases of slumps/pressure.

Then again, that explanation would make me feel better because you can definitely work on mental mistakes and lack of adjustment....thus te possibility that they come back even better next year.

However, if you're actually going into a permanent decline with a physical inability to get better, then THAT is scary.

Hmmm...considering that apparently a lot of the Phillies themselves think they left it all out on the field, maybe that is spot on.

JW:
Some posters have already thanked you in previous posts, but since this is the first post for the new thread, I wanted to get it up front.

Thanks for your even-handed oversight of your blog. It's been great for this life-long Phillies fan. It's even better to interact with like-minded folks, so thanks again for this year of comments and insights.

Everyone on the team should follow Doc's workout regimen. Perhaps they won't get injured as much.

Hi,i'm from Italy and i love to find sites about this niche. Thank you very much for your work . To your success.

To Billingsley, Heather, Cowley, et al: is it possible to see a team lose and *not* "see" evidence of complacency, heartlessness, etc.

Because it seems to me that what you call complacency, heartlessness etc is simply the appearance of a team in the process of losing. In other words, to say that a team played complacently is simply to say that it has lost. In your vocabulary they function as similes. Because if "complacency" had a meaning other than "losing", you would be able to muster up evidence of its existence, other than "they lost". And since none of you have, or can, I'm forced to decipher sentences such as "The Phillies lost because of complacency" as meaning "The Phillies lost because they lost"--which is true, I'll grant you, but also banal in the extreme.

No mere human can replicate the Doctor's workouts.

Durbin has to go. Contreras has to stay.

Klaus: How do you account for a team that can't get fired up by what happened in the 3rd inning of game 6? Your (former) star player is nailed for the umpteenth time, you have the starter on the ropes and eventually removed, your bench and bullpen rushes to his defense, you have the fans in a frenzy as they already know they played a huge part in rattling Sanchez (certainly more than the players did), and you follow up by stranding 2 men on base, in addition to 6 more anemic innings of weak pop-ups, fly balls, called strikes, and lousy defense. A driven and motivated team would have exploded after that series of events, this team chose to continue to flatline as they have the entire postseason. They let the fans down and themselves. That's complacency and heartlessness in my book.

Posted by: Joe Cowley | Monday, October 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Tired. That is the word I would use to describe the team this year. I have wondered if 4 Octobers in a row have worn down some of them. Should players keep training in October even when their team fails to advance? Or is it better to just rest and let the body recover?

Re-post:

Does it occur to the "no heart" crowd that maybe the players know that sometimes no matter how "hard they try," they come up short; maybe they realize that's the nature of baseball?

It's laughable that anyone thinks that a team of players can dedicate their lives to perfecting their baseball skills, and then become "complacent" or "lack heart" as they're on the cusp of reaching rarely achieved levels of success. Let alone a team that has already exceeded expectations for years.

And how do these insightful fans gain that insight? By watching 3 minute interview?

Jack - what body of evidence do you use to determine that Worley is a replacement for KK? Granted, KK isn't now and will ever be anything other than a mediocre, 5th-starter level pitcher, but I don't think the team has the evidence to go with Worley as of yet (although he has looked good thus far). As KK defenders have said over and over at BL, he's an above-average 5th starter and he's a relatively cheap option.

We need a good corner outfielder by 2012. May as well get him now to protect against Brown struggles and/or Ibanez regression.

'And how do these insightful fans gain that insight? By watching 3 minute interview?'

No, actually by being there with 46,000 other people that showed more fire and determination then the players on the field. That's where.

Amaro had mentioned in an interview that he was close to scrapping the current "plan" and moving on prior to the Oswalt deal.

I wonder if that isn't an option for 2011. Barring some significant changes in the lineup, the lineup that wasn't enough to get through the NLCS is going to significantly decline in 2011 with Brown/Francisco instead of Werth.

Howard, Ruiz and Polanco aren't going anywhere, nor do I think that Utley or Rollins will be moved (though if anyone were to be moved to free up salary and add RF power, keeping Valdez and moving Rollins might be the wisest option).

That leaves Ibanez, whose contract makes him very difficult to move and Victorino, who we cannot replace from within (unless we still believe that Jimmy Rollins is our ageless leadoff hitting phenom).

After the Lee/Oswalt trades, I can't say that Amaro is the type to stand pat. Something will change in my estimation. What that is....who knows.

phlipper: The issue is that now being arb-eligible, KK isn't that cheap of an option, for the performance he provides.

It would be a bet, based on minor-league numbers and a limited major-league sample, that Worley could provide similar performance to KK for cheaper salary.

Worley's numbers this year at AA/AAA were pretty good. 3.36 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9. Very comparable numbers (arguably better) than what KK put up at the same age. Worley also pitched fine at the major-league level this year (obviously a tiny sample of only 13 innings).

I think Blanton or Victorino could be dealt in the offseason to resign Werth. My guess is it would be Blanton. This year may be difficult budget wise...but Ibanez, Rollins, and Lidge come off the books in 2012....maybe the FO will take exception for 1 year.

Herndon, Kendrick, Worley, Bastardo, Escalona, Mathieson, and Zagurski will all battle for spots in the pen/5th Starter.

Dom Brown starts the year in AAA to get more ABs...He becomes the heir apparent to LF.

Valdez gets a ML contract (2 year 2.5 million)

Durbin, Romero, and Contreras are gone. Kendrick gets non-tendered only to resign at a lower $$. Phillies buy out Benny Frans last 3 years of Arb.

Sweeney, Moyer, and Dobbs get offered minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training.

Joe C.- Alternative Explaination that comes to mind.
The starting pitcher from SF was wild and the Phillies had him on the ropes.
Relief pitching from SF was good and quelled the rally.

If I'm questioning anything from the loss it's CM's decision to bunt Ruiz after the lead off double.
Ruiz is a better hitter than anybody off the bench , let him hit.

Joe, I won't argue with what you think you see. Just be aware that if you were to attempt to convince someone else of the correctness of your views, it would be necessary to offer evidence in support of them. How do we know that "this team chose to continue to flatline"? Because they lost?

Let me get this straight: "The team lost because it chose to continue to flatline, proof of which is the fact that they lost." Seems rather circular to me.

To Billingsley...is it possible to see a team lose and *not* "see" evidence of complacency, heartlessness, etc.

Yes, of course.

Even though Houston is picking up a lot of his contract, is there any thought to trading Oswalt this offseason?

If the Phills had only performed better against the Giants, capitalized on some of the missed opportunities or even had slightly better luck, nobody would question this blueprint. Moreover, the series was quite even statistically. But in the key moments, the Giants simply outplayed, outpitched and outmaneuvered the Phillies

Excellent. I think that's what the "no heart" crowd is really trying to say. At least, that's what I was getting at. The Giants played better when it mattered most. The Phils came up short.

"is it possible to see a team lose and *not* "see" evidence of complacency, heartlessness, etc."

Yeah, it is possible. I don't recall many people finding our World Series play last year heartless; we just ran into a better team (and had a worse manager). This series I could certainly see why people would advance a "no heart" critique, not that I buy into it.

Tray - suppose that the liner to Huff was two feet to the left or right, and the Phils advanced to but lost in the World Series. Would the team still lack heart this year as opposed to last year?

Apparently one of the 5 Owners just passed away...Rube is making an announcement shortly.

In the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th innings, the Phils had men on base and in scoring position but failed to capitalize. The only explanation for that is whoever came up at the time was complacent and lazy. Yea, that must be it.

"Yes, of course."

What would that look like? If a team loses it must as some points fail--strikeout in a key moment, make an error, give up a hit. For you and for others it's just these moments that you take as evidence of complacency. Complacency is failing, yes? And if no evidence is required, what's to prevent every observer of every failure ever from concluding that the cause is complacency?

'How do we know that "this team chose to continue to flatline"? Because they lost?'

I explained that over the final 6 innings, including the inning of the brawl, when 2 men were stranded with 1 out, they continued their lousy defensive play,lack of clutch hitting with men on base, and brutal at-bats. Was there any inning where you felt confident that this was "the inning?" The only thing that got me optimistic in the ninth was Rollins being selective at the plate and actually working the count, then Howard took the air out of the park. If they went down swinging, literally and figuratively, then I wouldnt call that a flatline.

"is it possible to see a team lose and *not* "see" evidence of complacency, heartlessness, etc"

For myself, yes. There are numerous examples, but just from this year, if this team lost with Kyle Kendrick on the mound and Sweeney/Gload at first, Valdez at short, and Brown/Francisco in RF and Werth in center...

I didn't think they lost because of heartlessnes or complacency for the most part. I thought they lost simply because the team they were fielding at the time wasn't really good.

@Joe Cowley: Have you ever played baseball? How does "getting fired up" have anything to do with playing baseball. This isn't football where you go out and mash skulls. You get fired up in baseball and you go out swinging hard and missing. You make tense mistakes.

Do you think that the Phillies wanted to "strand 2 men on base, in addition to 6 more anemic innings of weak pop-ups, fly balls, called strikes, and lousy defense." This "Driven and motivated" stuff is so tiring. They lost because they didn't play well. Go get your self a team of David Ecksteins. Get Eric Byrnes to come out of retirement. They've got plenty of drive. To bad they suck. This team is no different than it was in 2008. Not one bit.

I wonder if anyone here has ever had a bad day at work.
And this is why I'm always bothered by the financial aspect of the game. Because so and so makes a lot of money, they aren't supposed to make mistakes, but for anyone who's watched baseball for more than 5 minutes knows, it is a humbling game. The least talented guy can get the big seeing eye hit and the most talented guy can smoke a ball right at someone's glove. It happens. It has nothing to do with complacency or heart.

Are we still doing this? Talking about "heart" and "complacency" just to appease the small-minded?

Let me know when we can talk about marginal roster moves and prospects' performance in Winter Ball. That's real BL offseason discussion.

So it's impossible to witness complacency in defeat if the defeated party is decidedly inferior, talent-wise, to the victor.

In that case, I infer that it's the position of the heartlessness crowd that the Phillies offense was decidedly superior to Giants pitching? That's an arguable assumption, to say the least.

On another note, is it possible that the world is so complex--filled with innumerable variables--that it sometimes happens that the decidedly superior team loses to an inferior, even while giving maximum effort?

Really not going to be any surprises this offeason in terms of the Phils own players. They likely put out 1-year offers to both Durbin and Contreras. Doubt either guy is back.

More intriguing is do they offer arbitration to KK or just try to sign him to a 1-yr deal and do they try to sign a veteran right-hand bat and trade Francisco. Its clear as day that Cholly doesn't like Francisco as a ball player. Just wonder if Amaro trades him even though he will likely have to pay at least 4x-5x Francisco's salary to get an adequate veteran in his place.

We're still doing it, Jack. For what it's worth, I was at one of the games and this lack of heart was not on display. The best I was able to discern, watching their play at the plate and in the field on TV (and the dugout shots) was the team played tight - tried too hard at times and was unable to play loose. I'm not big on armchair psychology but, there is quite a large mental aspect to the game. My impression was that, for whatever reason, high expectations worked against some players at certain points in this series.

For the first time in a long time, this is likely to be a pretty damn dull offseason for the Phils. No real trades of note and minor tinkering at most. I would be stunned if they sign one FA of real note although they will certainly have their share of 'Value Village' types and role players.

since Saturday, i haven't been able to watch any sports news, read any articles, visit any websites, other than THIS ONE.

even with some of the vitriol directed by some on this site, the general tone is both reasonable and true. reading other commentors on BL makes me feel better, for some reason. i can't even talk about the series to my friends right now, but i can come here to ease my troubled mind.

thanks JW, and thanks to others who come here to support the phils, and their fans.

"I wonder if anyone here has ever had a bad day at work"

To extend that point further, does your attention ever wander at your job? Or do you always give it 110%?

How can we possibly say we know that baseball players are always giving it their all and trying their hardest when our own personal experience indicates that that probably isn't the case?

Just food for thought.

Hugh: The mental part is obviously a huge part of the game.

The issue I have with discussing it, is that none of us have any clue what the mental state of a professional baseball player in the NLCS is.

We could talk about the possibility of life on another planet, and the BL commenteriat would have more insight to provide on that topic than we do on the mental aspect of playing professional baseball at the highest level.

"@Joe Cowley: Have you ever played baseball? How does "getting fired up" have anything to do with playing baseball. This isn't football where you go out and mash skulls. You get fired up in baseball and you go out swinging hard and missing. You make tense mistakes."

I'm not following your argument. If being stressed and tense can make players worse, then why can't heart and motivation make them play better?

I don't see how you can make the argument that emotion can only make players play worse and not better.

Don't think Amaro should be that complacent either but he made his bed his the contracts he has signed.

Its just too bad Amaro prematurely signed Howard during the season because his value likely took a hit this season and the trade market for Fielder isn't looking that lucrative for the Brewers.

If Fielder is traded and signs a new deal at a yearly rate over the life of the contract that is significantly less than Howard's new deal (20-25%) and less than years (2 less years), Amaro is going to look like he made a bad deal and timed the market entirely wrong.

Jack and Hugh:
Mike Schmidt might have a clue on the mental aspect:

"The difference was not the high quality pitching, it was my ability to execute my game plan in a relaxed at-bat."

Jack - agreed. I don't claim any particular insight. As for Heather's point about having a bad day at work, I would analogize playing in the NLCS to a lawyer trying a multi-million dollar jury trial. You can have bad days as a professional but, if those bad days occur in big spots because you didn't give it your full attention or effort, it's inexcusable. Failure when the stakes are highest can be due to any number of factors but, not personal inattention or ambivalence.

I think they can win with H2O plus various different pitchers and position players. They've already proven that due to all of the injuries in 2010.

Can't see Werth being back. If he was 27 or 28, maybe. But the Phils need to get younger and Werth is 32.

Fielder - He likely will get a similiar contract in length to Howard especially given his younger age. I doubt though he sees anywhere near that $25M figure though. Likely around $18-$20M annually.

MG: The Howard deal was laughably bad at the time and has only gotten worse. It doesn't even kick in until AFTER next year.

Prediction: Even the people on BL who defended it at the time will recognize, before it even starts, how horrible of a contract it is.

This isn't to bash Howard. I've actually been in the position of defending him the last couple weeks, as he and Werth were our only good hitters in the NLCS. It's really to bash Amaro for making such a totally unnecessary move and totally overpaying while doing it.

"Are we still doing this? Talking about "heart" and "complacency" just to appease the small-minded?"

One sort of hopes that one day posters like Heather, Cowley et al will become even dimly aware of the problems with mentalistic explanations but then one reads this:

"How can we possibly say we know that baseball players are always giving it their all..."

without there being any acknowledgment of the obvious corollary: how can we possibly know that they aren't,

and one gives up hope.

Team that signs Werth is really going to regret it the last 2 years on his deal I bet especially if he gets a 5 year deal.

My bet is that a 5 year, $85M deal.

The lasting visual I have of this series is the AB where Utley hit a popout and had such a defeated look. He just put his head down without even looking and half-heartedly ran to first.

It looked to me like there was a definite lack of killer instinct this postseason, except for game 2 of the Reds series. The Giants seemed to want it more and they deserved to win.

That isn't to say that we would have won if we played with more heart and emotion. The Giants played well enough to win, but more importantly, they got big hits and made the plays they needed to win. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other side.

Oh, the ryan howard contract. When the Phillies are paying ryan to be a DH for the boston red sox, we will be very angry.

I predict that between year 3 and 4 of the new deal (4 to 5 seasons from now) that we move him bc he loses a step in the field. No team will be willing to take on the backloaded contract and we have to eat $55 million to dump him for some marginal talent.

Ruben will be the new ed wade, but worse.

"@Joe Cowley: Have you ever played baseball? How does "getting fired up" have anything to do with playing baseball."

I have, and I'm one of the few people that takes heart, motivation and complacency into account rather than strictly numbers and complex calculations. Bochy was even asked at one of his news conferences whether in this age of endless statistical analysis of matchups in baseball that heart and desire should be taken into account and he whole-heatedly agreed, and his team proved it on the field. It was a great question, great response and Bochy's team backed it up 100%.

"Amaro is going to look like he made a bad deal and timed the market entirely wrong."

amaro was pretty much universally panned when the deal was announced.

Jack - Yeah. Amaro clearly likes to be a first-mover and that has gone bad on him on a couple of occasions now with the Howard example probably the one that will loom largest.

I am really curious to see what happens with Fielder and to a lesser degree Gonzalez although I don't see the Padres moving him this offseason or signing him to a long-term deal. Not to mention Pujols who just might easily sign the biggest deal this offseason even though he isn't a FA until the end of next year.

I bet the Phils look into trying to trade Victorino. I would not trade him just to trade him, but there's some money to be saved there, and maybe they can get an infield prospect or a decent bullpen piece for the next several years. Ellsbury is on thin ice in Boston, apparently. Could he be the leadoff man the Phils need? Just a thought.

The Phils will never eat $55M on Howard's deal. That's absurd. Even the Yanks have never eaten nearly that much on a deal before for all of the fools saying they should just dump Burnett this offseasson which makes no sense. Stuck with him at least though next season and hope you get some better value on your sunk cost.

Regarding Howard, Schmidt was similarly bashed endlessly after his 1 for 23 performance in the 1983 post season, a season where he clubbed 40 HR and helped carry the team. His salary was over-analyzed, and his overall value was questioned by the "he only hits home runs with nobody on base" crew. They can now be compared to the "Howard always strikes out" crew. Schmidt went on to have 4 more 30 plus home run 100RBI seasons, and his third MVP 4 years later. Funny how everything old is new again.

I think it would be funny to watch Pujols and his agent negotiate with the Cards or another team.

Albert: "Look at what Ryan Howard signed for. I deserve double that, easily!"

Team: "Yeah, but come on. That contract is far out there, you can't really expect us to use it as a comparison. It's not our fault that Howard got to negotiate with Ruben Amaro."

Albert (to his agent): "Get the Phillies on the phone!"

BB- That is interesting and Vic (along wiht Ruiz) are really the only Phils' position players who are relatively easy to trade because of their contract situation and age.

Doubt it though because they simply don't have a CF on their roster if Werth leaves and would likely need to sign a veteran CF to take Vic's place.

If the Phils could get a use bullpen arm would be possibly be slated to take over for Lidge after next year, I would be opposed to exploring that move at all.

Cowley - Schmidt was still an very good/elite defender though and his power hadn't tailed off notably either in '83.

My bet is that Howard does rebound next year to post numbers similiar to what he had in '09.

MG: If he's healthy he absolutely will. This season he would have had 45, 135 and probably the highest BA of his career.

Remember Anaheim cut Vlads because they thought he was done. 125 RBI and a booming RBI double in Game 6 after Hamilton was walked later and he's going for it all.

Mike Schmidt OPS+ in the years 1980-1983:

171, 199, 161, 156

Ryan Howard 2007-2010:

144, 124, 141, 128

Schmidt was also a GG defender at 3B, while Howard is below-average at 1B.

Howard is a very good player, but he is in no way comparable to Mike Schmidt, one of the best players of all-time. Please.

Jack: No comparison was being made to the player, just the series they had and the criticisms being leveled. Once again the endless verbal diarreah of numbers is misplaced and unneccessary.

Joe: 45 HRs? You think Howard would have hit 14 HRs in the 17 games he missed in August?

Interesting.

'"How can we possibly say we know that baseball players are always giving it their all..."

without there being any acknowledgment of the obvious corollary: how can we possibly know that they aren't,

and one gives up hope.'

Klaus, if it wasn't at all obvious, I was attempting to play the devil's advocate and point out that neither sides can have certain knowledge.

Just as people proclaiming with certainty that the Phils tried their hardest and were just overcome by a better time cannot be sure of that, neither can the folks who say the Phils didn't want it.

Therefore, in my estimation, since we can't know, nobody can tell Joe Cowley he is certainly wrong, any more than anyone can tell Old Phan he is wrong.

Both sides have a set of facts that they use to back up their opinion. There is no way of proving anything.

However, to my mind, it's certainly fun to debate it.

In fact, go back to the first post on this thread, and I recognize the fact that we will never know. Instead, I indicate that I CHOOSE to believe a certain way based on what I believe that says about their team and it's future.

I don't mind that you disagree with me, but please take the time to understand my argument first, or ask me to clarify if you don't understand.

Oh, I think criticism of Howard based on this series is totally undeserving. No question. He and Werth were the only productive hitters. Ridiculous to hold him responsible for the loss, or criticize his offensive play.

This team is a classic example of the bindings of success. We got beat by a collection of castoffs, hasbeens and used parts with a couple of young serviceable studs. I am not an idiot and realize we got here but we could have had Burrell for peanuts and had a right handed thumper off the bench. Instead, during the absence of our players we hung in there just enough with what we had and while O is a integral member of the team now, he doesn't fix our hitting woes. The biggest in your face example the Giants showed us was that it was okay to admit a player was not "right" for a particular playoff game as they sat Rowand and Panda to play these "scrubs" who beat us.
Everybody knew how thin our bench was all year long and we brought up Bocock? We waited weeks too long to bring up Brown.
Now they just need to move on and hope somebody injects life into this crew. I hated Vic for years because of his daredevil attitude and stupidity on the bases and was always told he kills in the playoffs, well beside some really great catches his stupid baserunning cost us that game the other night. I don't know what to even think about him anymore.
Where was Sweeney? Where was Exxon? We had options but UC didn't go there because he lives and dies with his "boys". Look at that crap we sat through with Lidge for two years.
I am just really burned up. I don't even see Brown ever starting for us. I have a bad feeling he will be another Mayberry.
I am okay with a few growing years, Rollins and Werth doesn't get resigned. Ibanez has to be a 4th outfielder or gone. We need to get rid of pop-ups with RISP. Give me some right handed contact hitters.

'We had options but UC didn't go there because he lives and dies with his "boys". Look at that crap we sat through with Lidge for two years.'

Dont forget Dobbs and Durbin as well. His penchant for these loyalties based on one season have damaged us for 2 subsequent seasons.

According to Amaro, Phils have money to spend?

Go read High Cheese

no name, thanks for the heads up.

High Cheese makes it sound like they'll make a strong push for Werth. Don't get me wrong, I like Werth, but if the Phillies are going to overpay for a right fielder, I would rather they overpay for Carl Crawford.

Old Phan: Kudos on your 11:20 AM post. Makes the most sense to me.

Heather, now you're just getting greedy! They know Werth, they like Werth.

The pitching should be good enough that an average offense would be OK. None of the big three pitchers had their career years. Most of the regulars had their worst seasons this year and it was still enough to win 97 games.

Heather - saying that a team with the success of the Phillies, let alone any professional baseball team, "lacks heart" or "doesn't care" or is "complacent" is in complete contrast to the known facts.

Players who have those attributes never make the majors, let alone win with the regularity of the current Phillies team.

One might have a case, albeit a weak case, if we were talking about football, where sheer aggressiveness correlates positively with success to a greater degree (although there is certainly a limit to that correlation in football as well: taking bad penalties, failing to read an offense due to overly-aggressive play, etc.)

I guess that it's reasonable to conclude that one team is "hungrier" than another team, and that their hunger correlates with success. I guess it's also possible to say that the decline of a once-successful team is due to complacency. So you could reasonable argue those attributes in a relative fashion (relative to the Phillies of previous years or relative to the team that just beat them). But the Phillies were more successfully, and more "winning" than all but four other teams this year despite numerous obstacles.

There's a perception around baseball now that Phillies can be pitched to. The Yankees did it, the Giants did it. Hell, the Reds even did it. This team has plenty of heart; it just needs to get a little smarter. Mike Schmidt is in the HOF because he learned - after turning 30 - how to stop getting himself out. It's a game of adjustments and the next adjustment needs to come from the Phillies' hitters.

Anybody else listen to Rube's press conference?

Some things I got out of it (most of which is nothing new to anyone here):

- He'd love to move Ibanez, both to shed money and get younger. He acknowledged the need to get younger, but also said the core isn't going anywhere. To me that means if somebody is getting moved, it's either Polanco (I highly doubt that for a number of reasons) or one of the outfielders (Werth included since letting him walk would accomplish things much the same)

- Even if Werth leaves, Brown will not be handed the RF job without a good showing in the winter and ST. If he struggles, somebody else will be starting in RF on opening day

- Didn't at all rule out the payroll increasing some. If Werth would take a shorter deal (3 years maybe?), they'd bring him back. I think length will be the issue that ultimately sees Werth leave, as somebody will probably offer him a longer deal.

- He talked at length about the hitting. Not surprisingly, he thinks guys will bounce back. But he criticized their approach to at bats, specifically in the playoffs. I thought that was interesting.

- I think he wants guys to make some changes in the their off season work outs. He talked a lot about adjusting the way you prepare as you start to get older, that maybe it would help keep guys healthier and so on. (This was all mostly about Rollins in my opinion)

"Heather, now you're just getting greedy! They know Werth, they like Werth."

Yeah I know I'm getting greedy and it will never happen.

Although the article at High Cheese made me confused on Amaro and his priorities and vision for the team. It discusses Amaro trying to retain Werth as a top priority. Ok, no problem....Then it has Amaro going on to say that one of the three biggest issues for this team is the fact that they are all getting old (in baseball terms.)

Am I the only one who thinks these priorities are in opposition?

Well, we have done it all in playoff ball.

1. Make playoffs, lose in opening round. Check, done in 2007.

2. Make playoffs, win in opening round, lose in NL championship round. Check, done in 2010.

3. Make playoffs, win in opening round, win in NL championship round, lose the World Series. Check, done in 2009.

4. Make playoffs, win in opening round, win in NL championship round, win the WFS. Check, done in 2008.

Of all the scenarios, I like option 4 the best.

We still have a WFC caliber team for next year. I'm not giving up the ghost on this one. We always felt that the Giants were our most dangerous opponent. I think that Texas will find out that fact, too. Texas was going to lose to either the Phillies or San Francisco. Other than Cliff Lee, I don't think the Rangers can compete against the Giants' starters.

The problem this series wasn't the pitching. The Giants scored 19 runs over 6 games against the Phils. That's very good and should have been enough to win any series.

It's the offense that's the problem. And the reason why we didn't score a lot this series boils down to not hitting home runs. Think about it: when you look at the offensive lulls the team suffered this year, there's a consistent hallmark. No one on the team was knocking the ball out of the park.

This is an offense designed to score primarily with the long ball. Take that part of their game away, and look what happens. The Giants did this successfully. They refused to give the Phillies hitters fastballs over the plate in fastball counts. If they got fastballs, it was always on the outer half. Always. And most hitters can't take a fastball away over the fence.

And now the rest of the league knows the book on this team. Pitch them away. That requires a change in hitting approach more than anything else.

People want to get rid of Vic?

He is more necessary than ever. He is the only speed the Phillies have on the bases now. Utley can steal. Rollins likely will be slowed much of the time. Werth will be gone. Brown may be in AAA or platooning. That means this team will be both old and slow. Bad combination.

However, if Rube can find a good fielding, inexpensive centerfielder, Vic should be moved to right, where his poor reads won't matter nearly as much and his arm will be an asset.

Raul can likely be moved to an AL team to DH if the Phils will eat even a third of his salary. But I think his bat still plays well enough and he isn't a bad keeper for one more season if rested a little more for Bennie Fran or Domonic.

They will certainly sign KK. But signing Durbin would be a major mistake. He was awful the entire second half of the season and in the playoffs. Unless he was injured, and they think he'll recover. But he's much too expensive without a major cut in salary to the minimum.

Worley and Bastardo will need to be on the major league roster this season. And maybe a sleeper from the minors like DeFratus or similar.

But people are panicking unnecessarily. A top three of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt for the entire season is amazing. Then Blanton and KK or Worley or similar? That's another divisions winning team almost no matter how much the offense plays.

And I will not comment on the Howard contract. My mother taught me that if I couldn't say something nice, to say nothing at all.

Hey beerleaguers,

Very sorry about the Phillies loss on Saturday night...for many reasons.

I really wanted to see the Phillies back in the World Series because the Phillies are my NL team! Unfortunately, how this thing has shaken out I am now faced with the possibility of the Giants winning the World Series, which I suppose would be fantastic for the Giants but it would be a hellish outcome for A's fans.

How things work in these parts is that, generally speaking, Giants fans s.hit on the A's and their fans ad infinitum. The A's and their fans are like the red-headed step child of baseball when it comes to sports coverage in the bay area, too. The one retort to the ceaseless crap regularly dished out to A's fans - which generally always shut the Giants fans up was - "How many World Series trophies have the Giants brought home since moving to San Francisco?" I really, really do not relish the thought of how horrible life as an A's fan is likely to become if the Giants win it all.

Go Rangers!

Yankees 2011 Worlds Series Rotation:

Sabathia

Lee

Hughes/Burnett

Sabathia

Hughes/Burnett

Lee

Sabathia

How do you beat that? Might as well pack it in now.....Lets hope injuries on the Yanks offense...bc our top 3 are only as good as their soon to be top 3 and they have a better offense.

Werth already turned down 4 years, $64 million and then switched agents to Boras.

He's gone...move on. If there is money to spend, it will be spent on a new RH bat (to stopgap in RF or platoon with Brown) and middle relief (sadly).

Jack's well-known blind hatred of Kendrick -- who had the temerity to make Jack's prediction that he'd never be a major league pitcher look foolish -- has clouded his mind.

The Phillies needed double-digit starts from six pitchers this season, the minimum being 12. Three other pitchers also started games.

While Worley may well be as good as KK, who's your 6th starter? Carpenter?

KK made $480,000 this season and a bump to $1.2M seems reasonable. Is that $740,000 going to get you a platoon rightfielder?

Put aside your blind hatred for a minute Jack and realize the logical course, which RA will follow, is to have Worley and KK compete for the 5th starter job. The loser goes to the bullpen as RH long man replacing Durbin. And almost certainly will start at least 10 games during the season.

Ok NEPP, I agree....So what Right Handed bat is out there?

Dom is gonna be a flop in his first season. The fact that he may be platooning with Ben just makes right field look that much more depressing after losing the best right fielder in the league. Dom looked awful this season, even for a rookie. Needs to get his hands down or lefties are just gonna keep torching him. Should have found a way to hold on to Werth.

"Players who have those attributes never make the majors, let alone win with the regularity of the current Phillies team."

First, I have to disagree with this.

Off the top of my head, I can think of an example. One of the things that made some Mets fans enraged at Jose Reyes this year was that he admitted it was hard to concentrate 100% of the time and be on top of his game for every play.

If you disbelieve me, I can dig up the interview, but yeah, say what you will about Jose Reyes, he's a great player and a great shortstop.

So players who don't give it their all on every play definitely make it to the majors and succeed in the MLB.

To suggest that it's possible that not every one of our players give it 110% every play is not an anathema. It's within the realm of probability.

Now, onto the meat of your argument:

First of all, I don't think I suggested that I seriously believe this team was gutless or heartless, mostly because I feel uncomfortable defining those attributes within the context of a baseball game.

However, to address complacency, why is that ridiculous to suggest?

A big part of this game is about staying one step ahead of the opposition and making adjustments. I have no idea why you're being sarcastic about this and implying it's not a big part of ANY team's success.

Complacency is certainly a reason a team would not adapt. Certainly not the only one. But certainly a legitimate one that we can debate.

My point, to restate it, is that reasonable people can disagree. If you want to believe this team was just outplayed by the Giants, there is certainly evidence there. If you want to believe this team failed to make the proper adjustments to the Giants, i.e. "got complacent", there's evidence to support that. If you want to believe this was nothing more than a run of tremendous bad luck, you can support that too.

It's almost like folks have a vested, emotional interest in presupposing one or the other.

They go into next year absolutely returning the entire infield.I think Howard and Utley have monster years next year. They just weren't healthy down the stretch. Don't forget the year Howard was having before he got hurt. He was definitely top three or four in the MVP race up to that point. Polanco will be healthier and steady as always and Ruiz will also be more than fine. Rollins can still play excellent shortstop but his days as a consistent hitter are probably over.
The of is where we might be able to get younger and mosre contact-oriented. Victorino is a great cf and a good hitter but he might be the kind of player that we can trade to get a little younger and more consistent at the plate. There's no reason they can't be right back here next year and hopefully with a better outcome.

Is it so inconceivable that we can move Ibanez...even if we eat $3 or $4 million next yr?

I wrote this morning on this question. the options are thin, but marcus thames seems like he'd be a fit. i'm not sure he's in the yanks plans for next yr...

Werth is gone. No way he signs less than 4 yr deal and unless Phils are willingly to ridiculously backload.

Amaro press conference didn't say much although it was interesting to hear that Amaro kind of admitted that the 3rd year of the Ibanez contract was a mistake (oops!) and they prefer a veteran in RF to start they year & that isn't Francisco.

Has Vic commented that he "loves" the position the team is in, down 4 games to 2? Just wondering...

****Ok NEPP, I agree....So what Right Handed bat is out there?****

No idea to be honest. Bottom line is Werth wont be back as he's gonna sign for $16-18 million somewhere. We're not gonna commit over $160 million to 17 players next year regardless of what Rube says.

Yes, pete. He has a full no-trade clause...makes trading him rather impossible.

****He was definitely top three or four in the MVP race up to that point. ****

He was? Maybe Team MVP but not NL MVP. He was having a solid but not spectacular year prior to the injury.

Funny Scenario: The Giants do indeed non-tender Cody Ross, we pounce on him with Rube giving him the classic 2 year deal (probably in the $10-15 million range total)...he proceeds to hit .240/.305/.385 with below average defense and is cut the 2nd year of the deal.

Ibanez is making nearly $12M next year. Unless they are willing to probably say eat at least half of his contract, he isn't going anywhere.

I am glad to hear that Amaro kind of recognizes that Ibanez was exposed this postseason and at times this season. He can still be a productive player (especially when he is hot) but he isn't an everyday player anymore. Hopefully Cholly realizes that too.

I would really like the Phils to see a veteran right-handed OF bat to play RF and go with platoons in LF and RF next year. Yeah you get a failoff of production in RF.

You can even occasionally give Gload the occasional spot start in LF. Going to require Cholly to miss and match which he hates to do but likely the best case scenario.

Ibanez is an outfielder who hits:

.275/.349/.444 who plays below average defense in LF.

Oh yeah, and teams will perceive him as an injury risk and probably project his offensive performance to go down.

Do we think that other teams will be seriously interested in picking up a lot of Raul's salary?

More to the point, who are we putting in his place?

Ibanez is a very solid LH platoon bat in LF. He should never ever face LHP again.

He's not a total loss next year but he should honestly platoon at all times and bat 6th or 7th at best.


Raul vs. RHP: .277 AVG/.366 OBP/.822 OPS.


There's some value there...that's good as he's unmovable.

". One of the things that made some Mets fans enraged at Jose Reyes this year was that he admitted it was hard to concentrate 100% of the time and be on top of his game for every play."

Heather, you way over generalize here. There are some players who at least seem to be more focused and play with more intensity than others - Pete Rose being the most famous example in baseball. But to go from there to characterizing a player or a team as "complacent" or "lacking heart" is ridiculous. Again, any player that is complacent of lack heart doesn't reach the majors or stay there, and any team that lacks heart or is complacent doesn't have the level of success that the Phillies have had. It's a non-starter.

How about signing Burrell and platooning him in LF with Ibanez?

Now there's a wacky idea!

"they prefer a veteran in RF to start they year & that isn't Francisco"

They prefer a veteran, but part of the problem with this team (that Amaro admits) is that the team is too old!

How is getting another veteran helping with this problem?

Let's solve the problem of this team being too old and expensive...by getting more old and expensive guys!

::bangs head against wall::

Sorry folks, that was just my frustration talking.

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