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Thursday, November 11, 2010

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I remember Keith Hernandez speculating about an Utley injury in May, noting that he wasn't turning his hip/legs like he used to. Then Lopes made the comment about him being injured. Hopefully if there's something to that it gets addressed (and isn't just the new reality).

Repost from last thread:


bap - go back and read my original comment re: Beltre/Santo/Rolen. I said that Beltre's much closer to a Rolen or Santo than he is to a Pedro Feliz. I'm not saying that Beltre = Santo, but I am saying that Beltre is a MUCH better player than your description of him as "Pedro Feliz Plus." Feliz was/is an AWFUL offensive player. Beltre is an above-average offensive player who can hit in the middle of the order. Feliz's defense, once above-average, is now truly bad. Beltre is close to GG caliber at 3B.
This whole debate seems rather academic, as I see almost no chance the Phils sign him. I do think he'll end up being overpaid on a long-term deal. But he's much better than you are willing to give him credit for.

Would Varitek is content playing as a backup catcher/pinch hitter? Can he play anywhere else? If not, what would we do with Schneider?

With the recent trend of going after veterans with a reputation of having a good character and being a positive clubhouse presence, I can't see Francouer being courted by Philly.

I could see them making a push for Ankiel, Edmonds or even Matt Stairs for the right price. I'm not advocating any of these moves, just saying that they wouldn't shock me. Francouer would shock me as it would be a departure from their recent trends in the free agent market.

I realize this is sacrilege, but what about the Phillies and steroids? Has this story been investigated and reported?

not sacrilege just silly

Reposted from previous thread:
In regards to BRef's similarity, note that Santo -> Beltre score (thru age 31) is only 909, which is not that close. If you look at the column to the left, you'll see that by career, he is closer (932) to Vinny Castilla.
They describe the formula (http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/similarity.shtml). It's meant as a very gross tool. It is pretty slanted to stat accumulation more so than rate, IMO. It also doesn't take into consideration context, as in Santo played in a low offense era and Beltre in a high offense era.

Chase was about as good offensively in 2010 as Mike Schmidt was in 1978. I'll spare you the details and leave them as an exercise for the reader, but we're talking about two guys with an OPS+ in the 120-125 range. That's not too shabby, so quit freaking out. Sometimes a guy will have a great season instead of the earth-shattering season we're expecting, and that's really all the explanation there is for it.

Schmidt's 1978 was a huge outlier in his SLG and came out of nowhere.

As JW has pointed out, Utley's has been decreasingly steadily.

I'd like to second that comment about Keith Hernandez. Living in the NY market, I watch a fair amount of Mets games, and I think the trio of Gary, Keith, and Ron are the best in the business.

Hernandez's observation was dead on about Utley - when Utley swings he plants his front foot. Rather than turning that foot and pointing his toe towards the pitcher during his swing, Utley locks that position throughout his swing which creates a very "army" swing. I'm no Gabe Gross, but it would seem that this really saps his power and bat speed. I'm not sure if this is a just a mechanical error in Utley's approach (probably not, as he did it all season), or if he is compensating for a nagging hip.

As I pointed out yesterday, Bill James seems to think Utley, and the rest of the team for that matter, will rebound in terms of SLG, OPS, and ISO numbers - take that for what it is worth.

Keith Hernandez made a comment about Ryan Howard that really stuck with me too. Howard hit a massive opposite field homerun at Citi Field, and Keith said, "Once this guy learns to pull the ball, watch out". Everybody knows Ryan Howard might have the best opposite field power of all time, but look at these numbers...

Ryan Howard has a career HR/FB of about 25% when he goes to left field or center field. When Howard hits the ball to right field, he has a HR/FB of 51% - wow.

Keith went on to point out some mechanical issues in Howard's swing that were similar to his observations on Utley. You think Keith would come and be our hitting coach?

Sorry for all the Mets related love, but these comments seemed pretty relevant to the discussion.

Rotating that right front ball joint while making the turn at 2nd can't be getting more comfortable as the years wear on for Utley. LF/1B ?

I like the idea of making a run at Beltre and moving Polanco back to 2B. We are very deep with average/good enough to start but not great outfielders. Let the OF be Vic, Utley in LF and DBrown... if DBrown needs to sit against difficult lefties start Ben Fran, if Ultey gets hurt again, insert Gload or Ibanez

In the course of this thread, we have turned Chase into our next LF. That's good, now trade Ibanez and Gload for Pujols to play RF and we should be set.

on Utley: The guy's been playing hurt off and on for the last few seasons. Besides, he's one of those hitters that can hit pitcher's pitches, as I have seen him do on several occasions. I would not be too worried over his numbers.

on RF: Still not convinced we need to sign someone "right now". We can plug this hole with 3 guys and/or a platoon that we already have. I'd sit tight, save the cash, and wait 'til the trade deadline and see what we really need then. If RF is working out fine, then pick up pitching or something. Be flexible financially. Perhpas we can pick up someone much better off a club that is calling it quits for the season.

on 2nd Wild Card: While I'm not wholly against more teams in the playoffs, I am against having the WS being played in November. I am also against having the possibility of WC teams having a .500 or less WPCT. And I am also against having too many Wild Cards, see NHL. The number of Wild Card teams should be <= the number of Division winners.

Grandpa, Francouer is in RF as of the last thread. I hope Howard isn't traded by the end of this page.

"I'm not saying that Beltre = Santo, but I am saying that Beltre is a MUCH better player than your description of him as "Pedro Feliz Plus."

I used the term "Pedro Feliz Plus" the same way people use the term "Larry Bird type" to describe any 50th percentile white NBA player who sort of possesses the same skill set as Bird, albeit in far lesser degree. In a normal year, Beltre hits for so-so average, draws few walks, has decent homerun totals, hits lots of doubles, and plays strong defense. That kind of sounds like the description you'd hear for Pedro Feliz in his prime -- except that Beltre does all these things better than Feliz ever did. That across-the-board difference in production makes one a pretty bad overall player (even in his prime) and the other a pretty good one (for the record, I actually wanted the Phils to sign Beltre last off-season). But, given his track record in 10 of his 12 previous seasons, I simply don't think Beltre is worth remotely close to the money that he's likely to get this off-season.

When we win the World F Series this year, the headline will be "Orr Problems are over!"

Hopefully Orr is nothing more than a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training...

Pete Orr is exactly the kind of signing that should be made this time of year. He's versatile. He can run a little. He can play every position you want a utility guy to play. And he pretty much costs nothing.

He's a nice option to have stashed away at AAA in a pinch.

Well the Phillies won't be up the Lehigh without a paddle.

Utley's real value is that he plays at a position where power is at a real premium.

Even with his diminished offensive season, Utley SLG was 6th and his OPS was 4th respectively among the qualified 15 second baseman.

His same numbers at 1B would have been 14th and 12th respectively among 23 qualified first baseman.

Utley is a one of the most valuable offensive players at 2B. As a 1B, he would be fairly run-of-the mill with likely below average power numbers as he ages.

These are numbers to concern us. IF (big if) this is a trend, there is not a good solution. As MG points out, his incredible value is due in part to his position. At 1B he would be avergae offensively. I have not run the numbers and don't know how to, but I suspect the same would hold true for corner outfielders as far as offense. Even if he could learn the position (he probably could) I don't think he has the arm to be a corner outfielder, particularly an RF.

I am really, really hoping this is a blip on the scale.

Don't understand the whole concern about Utley's numbers this year. Yeah, they were down a bit but he is still one of the best offensive 2B in the game. Also solid defensively.

He also isn't signed for the super long-term. 3 more years at a relatively moderate salary ($15M and change. Not the kind of contract that will really hinder the club (e.g. Howard bump up to $25M that runs from '14-'16)

Pete Orr is about what to expect this off-season. Anyone know if it's a Major League deal?

I don't understand the Francoeur rumors at all. He is a God-awful hitter. It's bad enough the offense is going to take a hit with the departure of Werth. Let's hope they don't compound that problem by giving Domonic Brown's AB's to Francoeur.

The article doesn't actually say, but I assume this is a minor league deal, as opposed to a guaranteed one. If Orr is being signed to provide AAA depth, he is a nice acquisition. If he's being signed to be on the major league roster, that's a different story.

They also resigned Dane Sardinha to a minor league deal. I will sleep better tonight knowing that Sardinha will be back.

For those couple weeks where our top 3 catchers were all injured, Sardinha did as well as anyone could have expected. Didn't he hit a game winning home run?

How many teams have to use the organization's 4th catcher at any point during the season? I do wonder, however, if this means he becomes the 3rd catcher. Hopefully it won't matter but I'd rather have Hoover. Is Hoover expected back?

MG: Yeah, it would kill the team to have a 1B with only average OPS numbers for the position, right?

Jack - Not necessarily but who knows what Howard will be like in another 3-4 years. It would likely hinder their payroll and the ability of the team to compete if they have say a 1/6 of their payroll or so devoted to a guy who gives them below average production at a key offensive spot.

Varitek rumors makes zero sense since Schneider is already signed for this year. The guy the Phils will bring in at C is a guy on a minor-league deal for Lehigh.

Utley's decline is probably due to injuries.

The real question is:

Is he still capable of staying healthy for an entire season?


MG: My point was that the Phillies already have a 1B who is just average for his position by OPS (Howard was 7th out of 13 1B this year), but I'm not allowed to talk about that or I get killed by people on here as being an irrational Howard-hater.

Varitek?

Chooch is obviously being groomed for RF and the 5-hole

Chooch works better at 3B. But does he have the height?

2008-2010 OPS+:

Schneider: 87, 68, 96
Varitek: 73, 80, 100

Varitek has been better but the difference is slight. He might also have a little more left on defense but, again, the difference is not vast.

I'm all for upgrades, but any money spent on one upgrade is money that might otherwise have been spent in other areas. Considering our tight budget and our considerable needs in the bullpen & outfield, I am extremely hard-pressed to see how a minimal upgrade at a position which might get 35 to 40 starts per season could justify the considerable costs of signing Varitek & eating some or all of Schneider's salary. This rumor makes zero sense.

MG, I hear you on Utley's contract, it certainly does seem like the team can manage the issue from a dollars and cents point of view.

For me, I guess it's more of an emotional/fan type thing. A year or so ago the discussions here were about when Utley would almost inevitably put up his MVP season, and whether he could maintain the pace he was setting long enough for him to be an automatic HoFer. I had kind of grown used to the idea that in Chase, the Phils had the best second baseman in baseball, arguably one of the top three or four players in MLB, and an MVP/HoF guy in waiting. I was wondering about whether they would have the statue near CBP of him turning the DP with J-Roll, or alternatively, hitting a homerun.

A short time later we're having discussions about his decline, where he could be moved around (I don't see a logical place), etc. The ever-changing world of MLB, but a bit nostalgic for me and my son, who loves Chase.

Like I say, I really hope he bounces back.

krukker: I think Hoover refused his assignment to LV and became a free agent.

MG: There's no question that Utley's value is significantly enhanced by the fact that he has a team-friendly contract & plays a position where offense can be hard to find. But that positional scarcity thing can also be overstated. The supply of .870 OPS outfielders may exceed the supply of .832 OPS 2nd baseman, but it's also an inescapable fact that an .870 OPS outfielder does more for his team's offense than an .832 OPS 2nd baseman.

With a .250-hitting leadoff hitter, a 3rd baseman who provides little power, one corner outfielder who provides only average production for his position, and another whose identity and production remain a huge question mark, the Phillies' offense needs Utley to be better than an .832 OPS hitter in 2011. If he isn't, our offense will struggle and it won't be any consolation that he's better than all but 5 or 6 2nd basemen in baseball.

i remember reading when the story came out about his hip surgery a couple years ago, it was noted in the article that he has a degenerative hip condition. probably something to do with it

I think Utley's deterioration is a minor problem. If his power seems to be declining, he becomes the perfect leadoff hitter. Sees a lot of pitches. Gets on base a lot, even if he's not hitting. And he can run. Also, if he's leading off, my guess is he'd work on bunting.

Utley can be a premier leadoff hitter, and with Rollins declining, that will be a need. Vic is truly not a leadoff hitter.

Juan "I am the fastest" Samuel is the new 3rd base coach, Perlozzo to 1st.

"I like the idea of making a run at Beltre and moving Polanco back to 2B. We are very deep with average/good enough to start but not great outfielders. Let the OF be Vic, Utley in LF and DBrown."

To make a slight modification to this, I like the idea of making a run at Beltre, moving Polanco to SS, moving Rollins contract to an AL team for bullpen help or a pitching prospect and using whatever remaining money to make a serious play to resign Werth (with Magglio as the backup plan) and keep Valdez and Orr in Philadelphia as utility infielders, Francisco and Gload as OF depth/pinch hitters and give Domonic a full year in AAA to get regular LHP at bats and lengthen the number of years he is under team control.

2011 Phillies
-----------------
Victorino
Utley
Beltre
Howard
Werth/Ordonez
Utley
Ibanez
Ruiz
(pitcher)

Rotation:
Halladay
Oswalt
Hamels
Blanton
Kendrick/Worley/possible return we get for Jroll.

Pen:
Lidge
Madson
Baez
Bastardo
Some combo of Park/Contreras/Fuentes/Ohman/Takahashi
Kenrick/Worley/possible return we get for Jroll

correction:

Insert Polanco after Victorino unless we plan to clone Utley.

Juan Samuel was my favorite Phillie in the mid 80s.

When I was a kid, Samuel always reminded me of Lando Calrissian.

aksmith: "He can play every position you want a utility guy to play."

Except the unimportant position of shortstop.

I want absolutely no parts of Jeff Francoeur and his Mets/Braves stink on this team - he's a whining loser

Clout - Don't know how well he can play shortstop, but he did play it some in AAA last season.

If you don't have an internet connection how did you post this?

aksmith: I saw that and wonder is Syracuse had some injury issues. At the major league level Orr has mainly been at 2B, where he was once a league average fielder, with a fair anmount of starts at 3B, where he was slightly worse. He is now well below average at both those positions. In 347 games he's seen action at SS in 9.

Will S,
You realize most GMs like to make as few moves to "unknown quantities" as possible. How many people who we don't have or are not playing in their current positions do you want to make here?

Yo, new thread

Burt: "If you don't have an internet connection how did you post this?"

Obviously, he had to use an analog device, most likely employing vacuum tubes and electrical circuits.

Inexpensive Philadelphia Eagles Tickets. Tickets Available for the rest of the 2010 season. --> http://shortme.eu/exz

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