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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Looks like Phils may dodge JA Happ in our series with Houston. He may miss the start due to an age-related oblique injury.

during the Herndon thread i tried to locate the top 3 nonMadson reliever seasons the Phillies have had from their farm system.

I had to go to back to Carlos Silva's 2003 campaign.

"After the All-Star Break, the Rays pretty much went by matchups."

...which is the sensible way to handle the 9th inning. The role of "closer" has damaged more teams than its helped. It's turned late inning management from a game of strategy to the use of a glorified good luck charm.

It really is laughable, when you think about it, to believe that a reliever is more or less effective depending solely on what inning he pitches.

NEPP, every Phillie fan should be hoping for a good year from BenFran.

Something else crossed my mind as well, and it's more of a question for the board than anything else:

Are Chooch's numbers in the 7-hole a mirage - that is, are they, or anything close to them, sustainable?

Because if they are, it begs the question of which lineup is better - the lineup of

JRoll, Castillo, Ibanez, Howard, Vic/BenFran/Polly, Chooch,

or the lineup of

JRoll, Vic, Ibanez, Howard, BenFran, Polly, Chooch, Valdez?

If Chooch's numbers in the 7-hole are "repeatable" [Career: .319/.385/.502 in 7-hole vs .243/.348/.368 in 8-hole; 2010: .337/.407./.524 vs .263/.398/.351] , does that trump switching out Castillo for Valdez?

Is 7-hole Chooch + Valdez (and Vic in the 2-hole) better than 2-hole Castillo and Chooch in the 8-hole?

Jack: well strictly speaking you might be right, but Dan Wheeler sorta became the closer after that. he had more saves than the rest of the bullpen put together.

re: Rizzotti

Please let all posters realize his clearance thru waivers has finally signaled his true trade value:


Baron von Hayes, that's a good distinction:

The Lidge extension at the time was not necessarily 'bad', but based on subssequesnt history the contract has turned out to be.

Jbird, that sort of proves Jack's point (and yours). I bet plenty of teams evolve into essentially a closer by committee approach. Most of them don't do it as prominently as they Rays did (maybe because they aren't good teams). But most importantly, they don't announce it as publicly as Theo did with the Sox. Remembering back to that time, he was adamant that this moneyball approach to relief pitching was superior, and many people were anxious to prove him wrong. Doesn't mean he was, it just didn't work out.

a-dub, I sort of think that's what the Lidge "haters" are saying (other than Will S), which is why I'm puzzled that they are being attacked.

BvH, that also begs the question - is one season of "closer by committee" and adwquate sample size?

Also, what were the reasons it didn't work out? did Francona put the pitchers in bad matchups too often?

If you do it that way it's subject to the decisions by the manager, and THAT may be the problem rather than the pitchers themselves.

Prediction: One of these days -- probably in most of our lifetimes -- a smart and independently minded manager will come along who will defy conventional wisdom by using his best reliever in the true fireman role, regardless of whether it's the 6th inning or the 9th. Other managers will soon follow &, pretty soon, the closers of today will all be used in the way they were used during the 60s & 70s, rather than being saved for a critical 9th inning situation which may or may not ever arise.

Beeraeaguer :) because if we wouldn't be amazing GM's we'd at least mentally masturbate about how good we would be.

And will s. I heard a small child say Charlie Manuel might be above average time to get out the steel toed boots.

Beerleaguer obviously. Stupid phone keyboard.

"I sort of think that's what the Lidge "haters" are saying (other than Will S)"

I don't hate him. I just don't think his value is = to Michael Bourn at a minimum salary + 37 million dollars.

Factor in the cash that had to go to Ibanez with the loss of Bourn and it's reasonable to believe that Amaro would have had the cash to retain Werth and sign Lee.

Rays are going to probably do it again this year because they don't have that 1 dominant guy. Like I said, theoretically I endorse the strategy. I just think a team looks back on history and figures more championships have been won by Mariano Rivera than all the bullpen committees put together.

BAP, would that it were, but I bet you are wrong. Too much money at stake for closers to be eliminated, and being a manager is too political a position. I think there will be occasions where it happens, but there will also be too many cases where it begins to backfire and managers will cave to public pressure to reinstall a security blanket. Blowing a game in the 9th inning is just so much more psychologically damaging to people than if it happened in the 7th, even if the result is the same.

My gut is that we are stuck with "the closer" for as long as we have the DH. Which is forever. (And to be clear, I support neither.)

"I just think a team looks back on history and figures more championships have been won by Mariano Rivera"

That works if you have Mariano Rivera, or maybe five or six guys other guys in the past 75 years.

Not so much if you've got Brad Lidge or the vast majority of others who have been designated "closer".

Will S: Do you think that solely Brad Lidge 2008 for Michael Bourne's five years of team control was a good trade for the Phillies. I am not including any of the extension, just the trade at hand.

Will - put an "average" closer on the 2008 Phillies and he blows 3 or 4 games and the Phillies don't even make the postseason. Lidge was totally worth Bourn who would have been a pinch runner and defensive replacement on the 2008 team. his contract was ok-ish at the time and bad only in hindsight.

Will, did we ever sign a closer (or another relief pitcher) in your dream scenario? What did K-Rod go for that off season? Or even Fuentes? Or did we just entrust high leverage situations to Fabio Castro or Clay Condrey? We needed a proven arm in the bullpen, we took a reasonable gamble on Lidge, it didn't work out.

That's my only point, you can't look at this stuff in a vacuum, and with the only measuring stick being your rear-view mirror. No one is arguing that it currently is a good signing. But there are people who are saying that it was a dumb move at the time, and you seem to be among them. I'm calling a bit of BS on that.

Will: As has been pointed out multiple times on this thread alone, the deal was not Michael Bourn and $37M for Brad Lidge. The deal was Michael Bourn for one year of Brad Lidge. The $37M was a separate, independent decision which came later. The latter deal was obviously a disaster. But the former deal was well worth it. You're making a .679 OPS player sound like Rickey Henderson.

Chooch has legitimate OBP skills but his batting average is due for a revision. He posted a ridiculously high BABIP last year which inflated his average quite a bit.

He's probably, in reality, more of a .260-.270 hitter and not a .302 AVG hitter like he was last year. Basically, it was likely a career year for him in 2010.

Just had to post this hilarious photo of a rookie Werth:

****Do you think that solely Brad Lidge 2008 for Michael Bourne's five years of team control was a good trade for the Phillies. I am not including any of the extension, just the trade at hand****

Yes...1 million times yes. I would do that trade every single time as it was a great trade. Just because Houston got some value out of it doesn't make it a bad trade for us. It was a win-win trade.

Bourn's 3 years as a fulltime player have produced OPS+ of 57, 97, & 90. there's a ton of value in the glove, but let's not pretend this is equal to the Ryne Sandburg deal.

Minor correction, there seem to be a few people arguing that it is currently a good contract. I just can't believe those people really believe that, and they are merely succumbing to sentimentality.

What if the Phils had not extended Brad Lidge? Here were the options that offseason:

Brad Lidge, PHI, 3 year, $37.5M with $12.5 club option
58 saves, 117 games

Francisco Rodriguez, NYM, 3 year, $37M with vesting option for $17.5M
60 saves, 123 games, 1 arrest

Brian Fuentes, LAA, 2 year, $17.5M with $9M option
72 saves, 113 games, dealt to Twins during contract

Kerry Wood, CLE, 2 year, $20.5M with $11M option
28 saves, 69 games, dealt to Yankees during contract

Trevor Hoffman, MIL, 1 year, $6M then 1 year, $7.5M
47 saves, 105 games

Trades were also made for Rafael Soriano who surprisingly accepted arbitration with the Braves and JJ Putz who was dealt to the Mets and had his arm fall off and Kevin Gregg who had success with the Cubs and Blue Jays. Oh... and Billy Wagner signed with the Braves, but we wouldn't have considered him coming off Tommy John... and being a rat.

I think the invention of the "save" has led to the problems with how bullpens are used at the end of games. Closers get paid the big bucks among bullpen guys, and how many saves they get determines how many bucks they get. Any attempt to use closers regularly in non-save situations will lead to problems with the players, their agents and the players' union.

In order to get back to the old fireman concept, management would have to provide assurances to the players that their salaries would not be affected adversely by elimination of the save statistic.

Somehow this is all Tony LaRussa's fault.

NEPP, I agree there will be some regression with Chooch, but why was/is there such a disparity - even in 2010 - between his performance in the 7 and 8 hole?

Granted, the 2010 sample size in both spots isn't that great, but does he see better pitches to hit in the 7-hole, and if he does can that explain the difference in his BA and SLG there.

In the 8-hole he didn't exactly set the world on fire but he did continue to get on base: .263/.398/.351.

Let's undo the Lidge trade and all that followed.

While Lidge was saving 41 games in 41 chances in 2008, Michael Bourn was hitting .229/.288/.300 (.588 OPS) over 514 PAs in his first full season. Of course, if he had still been with the Phillies, he wouldn't have gotten 514 PAs worth of experience because he would have been a backup. Which, in turn, means that he probably would have posted around a .588 as as our starting centerfielder in 2009. Of course, with Bourn as a new fixture in our OF, we wouldn't have needed to sign Ibanez, whose OPS that year was merely .899. So, .311 pts of lost OPS. But we would have had a good closer -- or maybe we would have, since I don't really know who that closer would have been.

I think it's fair to say that Bourn for Lidge was a good trade. Resigning Lidge: not so good.

who woulda thunk that Brian Fuentes would be the best value of the bunch.

and even Fuentes lost his job at one point, and choked big time against the Yankees in the playoffs

CJ, interesting list.

I wonder if Soriano would have accepted arb if the Phils had been in the mix looking for a closer?

It also makes me wonder what would have happened in 2009 if they had cut Lidge loose and signed Trevor Hoffman instead?

"Do you think that solely Brad Lidge 2008 for Michael Bourne's five years of team control was a good trade for the Phillies."


And I'm not intending to present Bourn as Ricky Henderson. I do, however, feel that five seasons of an inexpensive Bourn are more valuable than Brad Lidge 2008. It's not as if the Phillies '08 bullpen was a bunch of scrubs and one savior named Brad Lidge. He was not an irreplaceable piece to the puzzle.

If you factor in the cost of extending Lidge and the added cost of Ibanez in RF (which would have been unnecessary if Bourn was a Phillie), it's not even close.

"Will, did we ever sign a closer (or another relief pitcher) in your dream scenario?"

In my "dream scenario", Myers retains his role as closer from 2007, which is where he wanted to stay in the first place. When Eaton struggles, he's replaced by Happ.

Burrell walks and the 2009 OF is Victorino, Bourn, Werth. Bourn leads off. Rollins bats in the lineup in place of Ibanez.

$37 mil for Lidge + 32 mil for Ibanez becomes spendable cash in the winter of 2008.

GM~ You're right about the offense. It should have been augmented.

On Lidge: What's done is done as far as the contract is concerned. He won't be here next year.

Will S, if you had access to a DeLorean and Doc Brown, you would make a hell of a GM.

Lidge is one lucky guy. One lucky pitch to Pujols in 2005 and his life changed. I expect Lidge to come back and have a perfect Sept.thru Nov.

Yeah, the "dream scenario" also includes the "hindsight 20/20 scenario" and "Everything working out perfectly scenario".

Actually Billy Wagner was the best value of the group. But as bap said, we probably weren't in that market.

Baron: It's not as if Lidge had a tremendous track record when the trade was made.

As much as I disliked the Ibanez contract, he is a much better offensive player than Michael Bourn, even today. And, actually, the Phillies' 2008 bullpen WAS a bunch of scrubs at the time of the Lidge trade. Madson was a decent middle reliever but hadn't yet started throwing 97 MPH; Romero was a LOOGY; and Durbin was coming off a "career year" in which he had posted a 97 ERA+.

I feel quite confident that there's no WFC in 2008 without Brad Lidge, and I feel equally confident that there's no NL championship in 2009 with an inexperienced Michael Bourn in the OF instead of Ibanez. Other than that, I think we'd have been perfectly ok if the trade had never happened.

Will S: The level of disagreement we have on the initial trade is so large that discussing anything additional with you about it is useless.

Anyone else agree?

Stark picking Phils/Bosox WS with Bosox coming out on top.

Quotes on NL GM:

"The Phillies, to me, are still, clearly, the best team in the National League," said one NL GM. "All they need to do is survive the first half until everybody gets healthy."

"Their pitching is so good, they're GOING to play in October," said the same GM. "They don't have to field their best nine in April. They have to field their best nine in October. So if any team in baseball can be patient, it's the Phillies. With those four pitchers, they're GOING to be there. So get everyone ready for September and October."

"It's not as if Lidge had a tremendous track record when the trade was made."

His track record was actually pretty strong if you look at things like BAA and WHIP, which tell you more about the quality of his pitches than save percentage does. If you wanted someone with a better track record when it comes to closing, you'd have had to give up Vic or Werth instead of Bourn.

Will S, which is why we only gave up a light offense / high defense prospect, and not Rickey Henderson.

Also, in your scenario you outline above, we could not have been WFC. B/c with Myers in the pen, he doesn't work the walk against CC, Vic doesn't hit the GS, and we lose the game and series. Everyone knows that was the real catalyst to our post season run.

"I do, however, feel that five seasons of an inexpensive Bourn are more valuable than Brad Lidge 2008."

Will, how can you ass-u-me 5 more years of Bourn after the trade when it hasn't happened yet?

Bourn could get hurt and never be the same player again.

If you're evaluating the trade based on that premise the whole premise of your argument is false.

BAP- nailed it. Romero was grabbed off waivers for goodness sake.

Stark hates the Phillies!!!! Oh, wait.

"All they need to do is survive the first half until everybody gets healthy."

That's assuming everyone gets healthy and nobody else (JRoll, Polly, etc.) get hurt.

Will, the other problem with your argument is that you are ass-u-ming that the Phillies win the WS without Lidge.

Again, a false premise, because you cannot make that assumption.

Woah, Castillo released!

No mas Castillo

BAP: I disagree with you on both. I do respect your opinion, however I don't see how you can say that having Ibanez over Bourn makes the difference in winning the 2009 NL Championship.

If Rollins replaces Ibanez and Bourn replaces Rollins in the 2009 lineup, we have a leadoff hitter who bats .285 and steals 61 bases with a switch hitter in the lineup. Bourne had 97 R in Houston. How many times does he score hitting in front of Utley, Howard, Werth, Rollins, etc?

wow really?! He has done everything they asked I thought. I can only remember one error too.

i agree with NEEP. the cisco kid will dazzle phillies phans this year. maybe mayberry, too.

It's because he didn't know how to book a proper hotel reservation.

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey, BedBeard, I just provide the quotes and link.

Was his defense really that bad?

Or was Castillo only brought in when they were concerned about Polanco?

Holy Sh*t! No one here saw THAT coming.

Huh? That is truly puzzling.

Hopefully the release of Castillo is because they're confident Polanco is healthy. I guess this also means both Young and Martinez make the team.

I'm not disappointed to see him go; after all, he is a .650 OPS 2B with bad defense (and that's if he's healthy), and a reputation for having a bad attitude. I am surprised though, because he brings one thing that none of the other 2B options do, and that is OBP/the patience to take pitches.

Oh well, no harm no foul.

Your opening day lineup:

CF: Victorino
3B: Polanco
SS: Rollins
1B: Howard
LF: Ibanez
RF: Francisco
CA: Ruiz
2B: Valdez
PI: Hallday

Rotation: Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton
Bullpen: CL Contreras, Madson, Baez, Romero, Bastardo, Kendrick, Stutes (why else remove Rizotti from the 40 man roster?)
Bench: Schneider, Mayberry Jr., Gload, Young, Martinez

castillo was just one big ARI waiting to happen.

CJ, will they go with Stutes or Herndon?

Looey, Loo-i - Oh Baby - We gotta go - . I really thought he was brought in to rest Valdez.

It may be they valued Young's ability to PH and play multiple positions more than Castillo's OBP.

I must admit, on an otherwise well-run team, I find the Phillies' excessive obsession with defense & versatility to border on the bizarre.

me likee that lineup, CJ.

awh: Why clear a spot on the 40-man roster if you're going to release Castillo? They must need that spot for Stutes. That's my guess.

Shocked they cut him as he had a pretty good week. Oh well.

Guess they really really love Mini-Mart.

Ah... check that...

Delwyn Young is not on the 40-man roster. Maybe it will be Herndon and Young.

CJ, mlbtr seems to be indicationg it's either Young or Stutes. My bet is Young, and they go with Herndon.

Ahh, CJ, you type faster.

They could also 60 Day DL Bocock to free up a spot on the roster. So Young and Stutes would both be added.

"I must admit, on an otherwise well-run team, I find the Phillies' excessive obsession with defense & versatility to border on the bizarre.

Posted by: bay_area_phan

bap, I disagree. With this pitching staff, they probably want to put good defenders behind them, even when starters get off days.

CJ - Thanks for digging that up. Basically, it seems the Phils weren't crazy about the upcoming closer options that offseason. After they got a strong 'proof of concept' in the 1st half after Lidge returned from the DL & his knee surgery, they did a relatively uncommon move of extending him during the middle of the year.

It was a pretty high-risk move given several factors (e.g., Lidge's recent performance to that point, his checkered health status, some signs that the economy was starting to really bottom out, etc).

That was Gillick's style though. I do think it is safe to say that Gillick's tenure here in FA was really mixed with more misses than hits via FA.

Or the Chone Figgins deal has been completed.

It is the end of an era, although it never started

BAP - Its absurd especially when it is to keep a Rule V bum like Martinez all year. Martinez stinks even by the standards of a utility INF. He might not be the worst offensive in MLB but I bet he ends up in the bottom 10 if players who get at least 100+ ABs.

The ironic thing is that this really isn't that good of a defensive team either. Its average/above average.

Is any hitter in this lineup going to have an OBP higher than .350 this year? I doubt it.

RE: Pitching/Defense. Amaro has said as much, but it's odd* considering how dominate their offense has been in the past, and they play in a great hitters park.

*I'm thrilled to have the pitching we have.

BAP - The other absurd point is that the Phils will push how good Martinez is defensively just as they did with others including Castro and Bako.

Hell, at least No-Hit was solid defensively at 3B and vastly superior to Dobbs/Helms.

At what single position that Martinez plays is he a defensive upgrade over a single starter on this team? Maybe LF. That's it.

And so goes the life of a closer..

I am as pissed as anyone at Bradly and we definately overpaid....but the title is wrong... Because at the the ime we gave him an extension, we actually won. Brad will forever get a pass for being the man that year. And this is really his last year in Philly I'm sure this injure just cemented that.

Plus, last year, when the team played well, he too played well. No news about Lidge was good news. All we need is one more run from Lidge and one could argue he has performed his contract. If we win another ws and he does not blow any saves in the postseason/september... he deserves a chance. IT's alll mental with this guy!

Philadelphia Phillies 40-Man Roster

Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
55 Danys Baez R-R 6'3" 225 Sep 10, 1977
58 Antonio Bastardo R-L 5'11" 195 Sep 21, 1985
56 Joe Blanton R-R 6'3" 245 Dec 11, 1980
52 Jose Contreras R-R 6'4" 255 Dec 6, 1971
72 Justin De Fratus * S-R 6'4" 220 Oct 21, 1987
34 Roy Halladay R-R 6'6" 230 May 14, 1977
35 Cole Hamels L-L 6'3" 195 Dec 27, 1983
57 David Herndon R-R 6'5" 230 Sep 4, 1985
38 Kyle Kendrick R-R 6'3" 210 Aug 26, 1984
33 Cliff Lee L-L 6'3" 190 Aug 30, 1978
54 Brad Lidge R-R 6'5" 215 Dec 23, 1976
46 Ryan Madson L-R 6'6" 200 Aug 28, 1980
47 Scott Mathieson * R-R 6'3" 230 Feb 27, 1984
64 Drew Naylor * R-R 6'4" 235 May 31, 1986
44 Roy Oswalt R-R 6'0" 190 Aug 29, 1977
66 J.C. Ramirez * R-R 6'3" 225 Aug 16, 1988
16 J.C. Romero S-L 5'11" 205 Jun 4, 1976
43 Brian Schlitter R-R 6'5" 235 Dec 21, 1985
49 Vance Worley * R-R 6'2" 230 Sep 25, 1987
59 Mike Zagurski * L-L 6'0" 225 Jan 27, 1983

# Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
51 Carlos Ruiz R-R 5'10" 205 Jan 22, 1979
23 Brian Schneider L-R 6'1" 210 Nov 26, 1976

# Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
25 Brian Bocock R-R 5'11" 185 Mar 9, 1985
71 Freddy Galvis * S-R 5'10" 170 Nov 14, 1989
75 Harold Garcia * S-R 5'11" 190 Oct 25, 1986
74 Cesar Hernandez * S-R 5'10" 160 May 23, 1990
6 Ryan Howard L-L 6'4" 240 Nov 19, 1979
19 Michael Martinez S-R 5'9" 145 Sep 16, 1982
27 Placido Polanco R-R 5'10" 190 Oct 10, 1975
73 Carlos Rivero * R-R 6'3" 200 May 20, 1988
11 Jimmy Rollins S-R 5'8" 170 Nov 27, 1978
26 Chase Utley L-R 6'1" 200 Dec 17, 1978
21 Wilson Valdez R-R 5'11" 170 May 20, 1978

# Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
9 Domonic Brown L-L 6'5" 205 Sep 3, 1987
10 Ben Francisco R-R 6'1" 190 Oct 23, 1981
7 Ross Gload L-L 6'1" 190 Apr 5, 1976
29 Raul Ibanez L-R 6'2" 220 Jun 2, 1972
40 John Mayberry R-R 6'6" 230 Dec 21, 1983
8 Shane Victorino

CJ, there are 38 on the list above that I copied off the Phils mlb page.

Yo, new thread.

The Phils didn't 'overpay' for Lidge really based on the KRod contract but they certainly didn't get any kind of discount for signing him to an extension. If anything, they did pay a very modest premium.

Anyone trying to defend the Lidge deal based on the raw dollars will be very hard pressed. Even at the time, I remember it being questioned a bit because the market for elite closers was $10M+/year and Lidge clearly was above that.

There aren't any relievers worth more than $10MM/year. Mariano Rivera has only topped $10MM in value in a year twice in his career and he is the exception that proves the rule.

I'm not a GM, but if I were I'd let Lidge walk after 2008 under every circumstance. His value as a FA was immense after a perfect season. Letting him walk nets you a first round pick and a supplemental first round pick (assuming he's type A) and saves almost $40MM over three years. You can sign two very good relievers for that kind of money (whether that's how you spend it or not is another question) and the draft picks will be worth a hell of a lot more if even 1 player reaches the majors as an everyday or utility player.

I think Ryan Madson's contract represents the upper limit of what a reasonable amount to pay for a top shelf reliever is and he was a young guy without a major injury history when he signed. Lidge was a terrible risk and he bombed accordingly.

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