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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I thought Dom Brown was ready to step in and be an impact player?

Now we are questioning whether he may or may not be an everyday player this season?

Someone is either being disingenuous or flip-flopping.

Jack- sorry, you seem like a swell guy but you're not my sole focus on BL.

I just find it interesting that, as clout says, you clearly have a set of players you will always dislike (or always argue against, since you'll object to the term 'dislike'), such as Ibanez, Polanco, Kendrick and Howard, and then you have your boys who you will stick up for through thick and thin like Hamels, Utley, Werth, and the entire 2010 Atlanta Braves roster. It really was clear when you threw a fit that anyone dare speak ill of Werth (though I sided with your general argument on that one) and whenever anyone gives you any sliver of daylight to slam Howard, you will do it.

The same is true with Polanco apparently, because you take the smallest opportunity- someone dare claims Polanco broke his elbow this year and played through it, which may mean his performance suffered as a result- and claim he was 'even worse two years ago,' which doesn't even bolster your age-concern argument. If he posted an OPS+ of 101 in 2008, 90 in 2009, and 95 playing with a broken elbow half the year in 2010, how is this evidence of declining skill due to age?

Any worry you have towards Polanco is purely speculative, just like your "He can't play 3rd base" argument was last year. Basically, you're worried about it because you want to worry about it since he's not one of your boys. The fact is, age hasn't proven to be a problem yet for Polanco, and assuming his elbow is fully healed there's no reason to assume or worry that it will be this year.

TTI: Personally, I would go with Dom Brown everyday, but no matter who it is, whether Brown, Francisco, or someone else, the simple fact is that name every day is written in a lot lighter shade of pencil than Jayson Werth's has been the last 2 and a half seasons, you know what I mean? Even if I think Dom is a fine choice, he would certainly have a shorter leash than an all-star like Werth.

And there's a difference between what I would do, and what Charlie will do. The bench will be more important because, as it happens, I'm guessing Charlie is a lot less inclined to let Dom play every day than I would be.

Iceman: One could argue that the fact that Polanco's elbow bothered him all season was, in fact, proof that age was a problem for him.

Of course, that's totally speculative, and that argument (posited by myself) would simply further your claim that I am looking for any reason to bash Polanco because... well, I'm not sure why, but suffice it to say I hate him for some reason or another (or, I find any reason to argue against him, because you had to qualify the notion that I simply "dislike" guys). So I won't make that argument.

Jack and goody, you're still just speculating and "predicting" the future.

You are certainly welcome to your respective opinions, but that's all they are at this point: speculative opinions.

I confess that I don't know how the season is going to play out or how important the bench is going to be, but then again, neither do you.

"The bench will be more important because, as it happens, I'm guessing Charlie is a lot less inclined to let Dom play every day than I would be."

Jack, Dom Brown hasn't even made the big club yet.

Man, oh man, you like to spout off and speculate.

As most of the long-time posters here know, I don't like to predict much, because I'm usually wrong. I will say this, though:

While a platoon of Dom Brown and Ben Francisco probably will not produce what Werth has produced the last 3 seasons, with the addition of Lee, I'm not sure they'll have to.

Also, I think, ass-u-ming reasonable health from the players, that Utley will give the team more than Castro/Valdez did last season when he was on the DL. I also think JRoll will do the same, and that Ryan Howard stands a pretty good chance of rebounding to career norms and producing a little better than he did last season. Also, Ibanez started out slowly - most likely affected by the offseason surgery which hurt his offseason preparation, but he did put up this slash line from July 1st onward: .303/.368/.485. Then, of course, there was the Polanco injury, but I hesitate to mention that because you don't seem to think that injured elbows that require postseason surgery really affect a player's performance. Oh, and weren't Vic and Chooch on the DL too?

IIRC, Werth and Ibanez were the only 2 regulars who didn't do time on the DL.

So, you obviously expect another rash of injuries this season and no offensive rebounds or reversions to career norms - even adjusting for age related decline.

I guess if that happens then the loss of Werth in Rf really is going to affect the team a lot. OTOH, if Howard, Utley and Rollins rebound, Raul proves the second half last season was no fluke, then perhaps they'll not be too badly off.

Of course, the opposite could happen and every regular could wind up on the DL for extended periods and the season could turn into a total disaster.

So, really, which do you think is more likely?

Hey, let's go get Ichiro.

Blanton for Ichiro, Straight up. That would work, right?

Abreu is never off limits. That's like saying shooting trout with an AK-47 in a barrel goes out of season.

Ichiro...Ichiro...put an end to the bitchero

One could argue that the fact that Polanco's elbow bothered him all season was, in fact, proof that age was a problem for him.

And those people would be stupid. A broken bone doesn't necessarily have anything to do with age.

awh - I don't see Howard rebounding too much. Something about the way the strike zone is called or baseballs are made or weather patterns or (idk) the economy or something has led to a decrease in home runs across the majors. It was so much a part of his game that, along with the perpetual shift (and his inability to hit line drives to left), Howard's numbers have fallen. It's not so much about getting back to his career norms, at this point, but establishing some new ones for the new reality.

awh: "i dont know the future and neither do you"

Then why are you on a blog in the offseason? Shouldn't you just be typing RYNO!!!! seconds after he aleady hits a HR?

Again - people come here to speculate and make predictions based on their research, opinion, Gut, whatever. And others argue it with their own feeling//thoughts.

Its posters who have 0 thought or opinion of speculating, but still criticize everyone else for making their own is the worthless type of posts on here. Even the worthless posts that attempt at humor are nice once awhile.

TTI: Dom Brown doesnt need to be and everyday player to have a good impact this year. If he comes in to camp with a better defensive understanding, then even on his off days he can be a late game impact off the bench, including fielding, running, and hitting.

I still think he'll be the majority starter in 2011, and think that he'll have a righty platoon mate to start and eventually earn more playing time.

Wasn't there a point last season where Howard's approach starting paying off?

June: .320/.373/.650 - 7 HR
July: .286/.364/.571 - 8 HR
August: basically a lost month
Sept/Oct: .272/.405/.534 - 7 HR

Howard hit 23 HR from June 1 on (92 starts) with a .900 OPS. That's a 40+ HR pace.

2010 vs LHP: .264/.333/.492 (.173 OPS higher than 2009)

Definitely premature to think he won't hit 40+ next year. He missed most of August and suffered through that bizarre late April-June swoon (5 HR in 40 games) along with most everyone else.

Whether he's hitting close to 50 or more may be another question entirely.

# of 45+ HR hitters

01: 9
02: 4
03: 4
04: 4
05: 5
06: 5
07: 4
08: 1
09: 3
10: 1

45+ HR seasons are down. Of course, Howard is the guy who hit one in 08 (along with 06, 07, and 09).

awh: Obviously I'm just speculating and/or trying to predict the future. What else would I be doing? That's what everyone is doing here.

Sophist, quit making sense.

Sophist: What do you define as Howard's approach? I thought his approach was make more contact while risking power/walks.

In that case, his average was at its lowest in Sept. and OBP was highest, so wouldnt that technically be against the "approach" he took last year?

JW: Thanks for clarifying on Valdez. I thought that as a 6-year-minor-league veteran he was a free agent unless the Phillies signed him to a contract for 2011.

jason, you obviously missed the subtlety of what I was saying(though it wasn't very subtle), or, you lack reading comprehension skills.

For you and the rest of the slow people:

My issue with Jack (and possibly you) is that he pontificates as though he can somehow predict the future. In addition, he does sound like the “whiny little bitch” JW referred to in the opening of the thread. As I posted, you are certainly entitled to your opinions, and certainly can make any prediction you like. But don’t type the statement as though it is an absolutely irrefutable fact.

Posting “IMO” or “IMHO” denotes at least some humility, something that accuse one of your chief antagonists [clout] of lacking. However, when someone posts “…the bench is actually more important than normal this year” and “…the bench is more important” it smacks of an absolutism that defies logical analysis.

Besides, Jack’s posts are not exactly consistent. Before he posted the above quotes he wrote “…the key issue is simply whether the aging offensive core can reverse last year's injury/performance decline. That's really the only issue that matters at this point. If they can, this team is poised to win close to 100 games and should be the WS favorite. “

Now, in this post he actually seems to acknowledge that there is some “whether” and some “if” in the upcoming season. So, according to Jack “the aging offensive core can reverse last year's injury/performance decline”, then they’ll win +/-100 games and all will be well at the Zen. Assuming that happens, please explain to me how “…the bench is actually more important than normal this year”. However, he then essentially disagrees with his own post by claiming that it will be.

jason, made that first comment mostly out of a hazy memory that Howard appeared to be a work in progress last year (esp. against lefties) and that his power returned late in the year. I suppose I should have said he found a better medium between his contact approach and his bb/power to get better results.

His BB% and K% were down almost all year, though.

2005-2009: 13% bb - 33% k

2010 bb% - k%

april: 5% - 21%
may: 10% - 31%
june: 7% - 24%
july: 7% - 29%
aug: -- - --
sept/oct: 18% - 32%

Still talking about lower bb and k rates with sept/oct being the exception.

Probably a cliche, but I get the impression that Howard is a hard-working player and spent the better part of the year improving his offense.

Was there an Ichiro connection I missed, or is this purely a holiday wish-list type thing? Stark wrote in his Strange But True column some amazing facts for the baseball season, and one stood out to me; Ichiro again led the AL in hits, but finished almost dead last in runs scored. That's damn near impossible. He's gotta be sick of that.

awh: I figured it went without saying that any statement about the future written here had an implied "IMO".

I trust that you can use your own judgment to ascertain when I'm stating a fact ("Polanco hit .298 last year"), and when I'm stating an opinion ("The bench will be more important this year"). I didn't think that was hard to do, but if you'd like me to spell it out for you in the future, I will try to be more considerate and do so.


My guess is the Phils will trade Blanton at some point between now and February and will clear most of the salary while picking up one or two insignificant prospects.

awh: You're criticizing my reading comprehension skills when its you who needs every post to clarify "This is my opinion" from "this is a fact" before every statement?

We'll trade him to the Brewers for Jesus Sanchez.

Sophist - I would much prefer the Howard who Ks at a slightly higher rate and BBs a hell alot more than the version we saw last year.

NEPP: you can not predict the future. you are wrong. i am right for calling you wrong. i win. you lose.

NEPP - Brilliant!

Andy, I was a little inconsistent in my post. In the 3 years prior to last season, Howie averaged 47 HR and 141 RBI, so that could serve as a definition of a "career norm" for him. Obviously, his numbers from last season were way off that mark. When I posted " producing a little better than he did last season" I meant somewhere around 40/125, not 47/141. After re-reading my post, I realize that 40/125 is more than a "little better" than 31/108.

Point: IMHO Howie should have a better year than 2010, and his as well as Utley's rebound, along with a healthy Raul and a healthy JRoll, should make up some of the lost offense in RF. Sure, injuries are always a risk, but the last I checked the rockies had a 25 yr old SS who only played 122 games in 2010. Did they plan for that?

Jack- Polanco's elbow bothered him all year because a 90+ mph fastball fractured it. I'm sure if he was 25, it would have bounced right off of him like he was Superman. I totally get it now, thanks.

Is Sweeney coming back as rh pinch hitter and back up 1st baseman?

Trade the best 5th starter in the history of baseball for a bench piece and you'll be damn well right the bench will be more important on BL than in the past.

Of course, it's also possible that Polanco's elbow bothered him all year, but that it had nothing to do with his .726 OPS. The evidence for such a case would be: (1) that he had a .727 OPS the previous season, when his elbow WASN'T bothering him; and (2) that, at 35 years of age, it's perfectly reasonable to believe that he might not be quite the same hitter he once was.

Bed Beard, Rosenthal is wrong in one respect: There are a couple of teams who will still have the salary flexibility to make a deal in ST if they feel they need to. Obviously, the Yankees will be able to, and IMO the Angels could if they wanted to. Also, Texas could do it - rmember their offer to Lee? So, while he may be right in that 'most' teams will have their salary level set, there will still be a few who could take on JB if they felt they needed to.

bap, it will be interesting to see what Polly does this year.

I think teams will want to have their pitching staff more or less set by ST, no? It's one thing to have a 5ht starter battle in ST(between rookies or injured vets or somethng), and another thing to have a 3-4 type starter like Blanton in the fold.

MG, I'm not sure Howard has a switch that makes him a 7% BB - 27% K guy or a 15% BB - 38% K guy. Obviously Howard was more productive in 06, but it's not 2006 anymore. Trying to recreate his approach from that season isn't going to decrease the number of lefties he faces, the number of times he faces the shift, or eliminate the scouting reports 3-4 years of PA help accumulate.

His 2008 and 2009 lines against LHP in particular are signs of a player who at least needs to change his approach against lefties. Even with the shift Howard's career BAbip against LHP is .300. Toss in his ability to help his BA with balls not in play and a more contact focused approach isn't a bad idea. Howard's numbers against lefties got better every month last year, and his strong second half was almost entirely due to his performance against them (.985 OPS against LHP post ASB).

Howard was awful against righties after the ASB, but looking through his numbers I'm not sure you can say it was because of an approach. He had fewer K/BB before the ASB against righties and his OPS was over .900.

BB: Not to mention that, by the time ST starts, most GMs have already spent all the money allotted to them for the off-season. Amaro has about a month to get the Blanton trade done. The optimal time will probably be within a week or so after Pavano signs, since Blanton would be the best, or at least most reliable, available SP at that point. You could actually make a pretty strong case that he's the most reliable available SP right now.

I heard Dobbs and Grunt got together and bought Fred Ex's old "4th and 26 Ranch" and renamed it the "O fer 26 Ranch".

I know there are lots of studies which say that lineup protection is a myth but it does kind of make intuitive sense that, in a season where Jayson Werth put up monster numbers, Howard's walk ratio would be somewhat down. Following that same line of logic, I will predict that, if Ben Francisco is our primary No. 6 hitter this year, Howard's walk totals will be back up again (maybe even way up). Whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing is not so clear to me.

Ishmael, Ichiro's name popped up a couple days ago after giving an interview in Japan. He sounded more than a little pessimistic about the Mariner's future. Luckily he can live vicariously through his pals that have played and are playing for the Phillies to know what it's like to be on a consistent winner.

I suspect that they'd bat JRoll 6th, not BenFran:


Man...what a mediocre lineup.

Good thing our pitching is fantastic.

I like Jroll at #5 over Ibanez and Brown at #7.

In re: Howard
The pause I have regarding any predictions based on 2010 post-ASB stem from his history. He has traditionally been much better post-ASB. I don't know if his 2010 numbers show improvement or his normal cyclical nature.

Well, hot second-half aside, his performance against lefties was something novel.

"I think teams will want to have their pitching staff more or less set by ST, no?"

BedBrd, ideally, yes. But if you are the GM of a contending team, or even a team on the cusp of contending, wouldn't you make the move during ST to improve your team? Doesn't that send the right message to your players?

Or, are you going to stand pat and send THAT message to the locker room, especially if they know JB (or an equivalent) is available?

I.e.: What would the reaction in the Yankees locker room be if JB rolled in during ST to potentially eat 200 innings and pitch league average baseball? Does that make them feel less, or more confident facing off against the Bosox and Rays?

BTW, in case you missed it on, for all of you worry-warts (and you know who you are - AAMOF I believe JW characterized you as whiny little bitches), here's a projected 2014 lineup:

I would make the move whenever, but i'm not sure why X team wouldn't want to make the move now, and settle their rotation a little bit, instead of waiting until ST. As a Phils phan, i'm content with the Phils keeping Blanton or moving him.

BedBrd, then we're not disagreeing. MY point is simply that I disagree with Rosenthal in that IMO there will still be some market for Blanton even into ST.

new minor league thread, boys and girls.

The deeper you go into ST,the better the chances are that one of the 145 SP on the other teams goes down. Couple that with some teams fifth starter candidates all sucking,and Blanton becomes more valuable late in February.
Of course,this is just my opinion,but even if my name was Ruben,it would still be an opinion,not a fact.

Not sure what others think but we need some RP's and some bench bats... any thoughts on:


Bench (Can Hit Lefties): Vlad Guerrero (death to lefties & I'd rather have him in LF than Ibanez), Jermaine Dye, Marcus Thames, Manny Ramirez

We definately need to look @ future replacements for SS (Valedez hits into toooo many double plays!)

We'll also have to address the future LF if Fransicso doesn't pan out and Giles continues to be a flop (also he's a lefty).

Madsen looks like a guy we could trade @ the deadline if we bring in other set-up role pitchers via free agency. We might unload him for a 3b/SS prospect that's fallen out of favor w/another contending team prob in the AL.

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