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Monday, March 21, 2011


Call me a nut, but I'd take a minor league flier on Perez too.

If they want an aging punch-and-judy second baseman why not get Eckstein? What they really need is a proven right-handed bat. Has Jermaine Dye been working out?

So am I still being a Debbie Downer for saying there are serious concerns with this team right now?

I'm starting to work under the assumption that Utley isn't going to play much this season. If that's the case, I have this pretty much a toss-up between the Phils and Braves for the division, a slight advantage to the Phils. The Braves may well have the better offense and bullpen, the Phils the better starting rotation and defense. It will be a close race.

For anyone to call this a great or terrible signing is being ridiculous. Its a minor league deal, so what?

I think he makes the team over Orr/Barfield/DYoung and will probably be used as a situational pinch hitter all the time - a veteran switch hitter who keeps the ball on the ground.

And this shouldn't be a Valdez/Castillo argument since Valdez is going to be the starter and Castillo is competing as a backup.

Hopefully for our sake, Castillo won't be on this team for long so we won't have to edure too many pages of debate over the value of his OBP vs Valdez's glove.

Fast forward to July 6th:

Luis Castillo Leads All-Star Voting After Great 1st Half

Castillo has had a great 1st half after being signed to a Minor-League deal by the 1st Place Philadelphia Phillies. Castillo is firmly entrenched in the #2 spot of the order where he has batted a brisk .337, stolen 37 bases and gotten on base nearly 45% of the time this year. If not for him, the IronPigs would likely be in the cellar instead of 4th place. He will be the only 'Pig at the Triple-A All-Star game taking place in Salt Lake City next week.


I see what you did there.

NEPP: A more likely fast-forward from that same date:

Chase Utley leads NL 2B All-Star Voting Without Playing a Single Game.

"I'm starting to work under the assumption that Utley isn't going to play much this season."

Jack, I'm actually more pessimistic than you are:

I'm already operating under the assumption that Utley isn't playing at all. I'll give the details on Prediciton Day.

JW, BTW, when is Prediction Day this year?

Before I get labeled a Downer - I was merely referring to superstars' ability to lead fan voting without even having to play, not that I think Utley would still be injured on July 6th.

as long as we are fast forwarding to july 6th.....happy birthday me!

Who are the 2B or 3B free agents next year?

How can you not worry about this team. The rotation is awesome, everything else is not. Offense is going to be bad without Utley and Werth. The bullpen could be bad too if Lidge can't get it done. The Braves a far better team then a lot of Phils fans are giving them credit for. Their rotation is one of the best in the game, their bullpen is good, their bench is good, and their offense is probably better than ours.

I know there isn't a snowballs chance for him but I like Orr.He always seemed to have a way to make things happen with the Nats.If he could do it with them he should be able to do it easier with the Phils. Speed kills.


Castillo represents zero risk, moderate reward.

He won't regain his Florida Marlins form and he won't adequately replace Utley's offense, but he should outhit Valdez, Martinez, Orr, etc... At any rate, I'm glad to have him in the hopes that he can stick it to the Mets.

Scotch: I'd definitely make Perez this season's Kris Benson on a cheap minor league contract. A veteran arm who's highly motivated to earn his way back on a major league roster is never a bad thing to have stashed on the farm.

"I know there isn't a snowballs chance for him but I like Orr.He always seemed to have a way to make things happen with the Nats.If he could do it with them he should be able to do it easier with the Phils. Speed kills."

I hope this was sacrasm. Orr is awful:


The only impact name on the list is Aramis Rameriz and maybe Kelly Johnson if he has another good year.

If Utley is expected to be out for the whole year, then expect rumors to be flying around both players at the deadline - especially Johnson.

awh: "Does the drop in defense from Valdez to Castillo justify the increase in OBP, that is, how many more balls foes Valdez get to that Castillo does not (14?) and how many of those guys score, vs. how many more runs might Castillo score being on base 14 maore times?"

Why are you also ignoring the slugging? Last season, Valdez slugged .360 and Castillo slugged .267. Not only does Valdez have significantly better range and a better arm (which comes into play on double plays), but he slugs much better. Any possible gain you get in OBP is washed out by the other advantages Valdez has.

CJ -- No Polly (hopefully, he improves); no Chase (endgame?). Right now, we have 2 spots to fill. If RAJ/Chollie likes Castillo better than the other utility players run out there this spring, what choice do we have?

Regardless, I'm amazed at how Valdez has become such an integral part of this ball club. What a nightmare spring.

cj: i think awh is agreeing with you...

Schneider says Castillo is a great teammate.

Talking to the CMO this morning and if Utley really has arthritic knees then this season is a lost cause & his career in doubt even with surgery. Basically, his future is as a DH if he has one. Obviously a slight problem for the Phils.

Funny that lorecore mentions Ramirez is a FA next year. I mentioned Aramis Ramirez as a possible trade target last week. Are the Cubs expecting to compete this year? Would they consider a Blanton+Cosart or Colvin for Ramirez trade? Should we?

It would be kind of a panic move, but I am getting the feeling that maybe it really is time to panic. Is Utley going to play at all this year?

Remember all those people that laughed at the notion that an age-related injury could possibly affect the vaunted Phillies offense?

The Phils will not score as many runs. The Phils will not give up as many runs. Over 162 games, four aces usually beats a great line-up. Think SFG over COL. Even without Utley I'm not worried.

And Castillo? On a minor league deal? He's basically an under-priced commodity in an area we have a hole. This deal was a no-brainer.

Regarding his offense, I think you need to look at 2009, too. Which was the outlier? (My common sense tells me '09 is the outlier, and he's more likely to repeat '10; BUT...) If '09 was a better example of what Castillo can do with a bat he might not be a bad addition.

Gosh, though. 205 hits, 22 XBH. (Last two seasons.)

via ---> Castillo owed $0 if cut by opening day

Jack: No. I don't remember anybody laughing at the notion that injuries could play a part in a declining offense. Are you just trying to bait people at this point?

Shawn: Yeah, pretty much.

Where did the inoperable arthritic knees come from? Did I miss something?

If you were to select the top 10 pitchers most likely to win the NL CY in 2011, four of them would be Phillies. If you truly believe that starting pitching is by far the most significant factor in winning ball games and always has been, you like the Phillies' chances. They are the team best equipped to get to the playoffs, either as division winner or WC, and to win each series they play in (The playoffs are a crapshoot, but being able to start an ace in each game of every series is a nice edge.).

If Utley is gone for any significant period of time, its time to move Blanton.

That's why he's still here. He'll help you get the 2B or 3B you need to help the infield.

This team's offense went to sleep last year in the playoffs and through much of the regular season (despite what the stats say) and its only going to be worse this year. Rube has to act. Atlanta looks like the better team, without Utley and Werth. That is a TON of production gone.

And Washed Up Luis Castillo and David Eckstein aren't the answers. This team needs a bat in a major way.

"its time to move Blanton."

only a day after Clout Day, sounds like panic to me. Move Blanton, and then what, make KK your 5th man. No thanks. I'd rather have Valdez at 3rd and Castillo at 2nd than KK as our 5th starter. And Polly's scheduled to play tomorrow, I have alot more confidence in Valdez than KK

I think we will indeed see a move made - but not until after the AS Break, just a couple weeks before the trade deadline.

Blanton as a starter at that point should we be in contention and looking like the playoffs are likely becomes absolutely of no use to us once we go to a 4-man rotation come playoff time.

He however will/would be worth a ton to a contender who needs SP help. We'll be able to discern exactly what we need - maybe Chase is back (I highly doubt it) and Ben Fran/RFD/Gload is tearing it up, but Chooch is hurt and we need a Catcher or Lidge and Madson are both hurt/inneffective and we need a closer ....

You just never know at this point, Rube will be smart to bide his time and wait.

That said, there is no way with a $160M payroll he lets this season slip away - if we are in bad shape come the deadline, Ruben will strike. That also diminishes the cost of the incoming salary/salaries by waiting ....

Stay patient. It's a good quality to have.

What would be real saddening is if Utley's knees are arthritic and we have to trade him to an AL team to be a DH as a salary dump :'(

It seems suitable that the day Luis Castillo replaces Chase Ultey is cold, wet, rainy and miserable.

Utley might be done at 2B. He could be in left next year after Raul is gone. If he could DH, he can play left.

So here's the question... does Castillo make the roster ONLY if he wins the starting job?

Would we really keep him on the roster as a bench player when he offers almost nothing as a bench player?

I'd prefer going with Valdez and Martinez if Polly isn't ready for the opener.

I was away from any sort of computer and/or internet capable phone for a few days and this is what I come back to?! Luis Castillo?

Since it's a minor league deal, I guess there isn't much risk, but still. Luis Castillo? I really don't like that guy. We'll see if a new uniform and few base hits (not XBH, of course) will change my mind. Gosh, I hope so.

Jack: Respect.

I'm bummed....Utley is my favorite player

It's amazing how much more dire Chase Utley's condition has become over the last 24 hours. I suppose by tomorrow he'll be having his legs amputated.

Consider me one of those not panicking. I expect Utley to play this year and to play a good amount.

But for some of those of you who think Utley's done... I suppose you'll have to reconsider your declarations that Utley's contract was so much better than Howard's!

Bigger issue that no one seems to bring up is just how healthy Castillo actually is at this point. He has had hamstrung problems almost his entire career and been plagued by numerous foot issues the last few years. Glad the Phils at least have a chance to look at him in person including a likely overview of his medical records.

Castillo is almost essentially is guaranteed to make the team at this point. Just a question of whether he opens the season as the starter at 2B. I would say its 50/50 with close to 100% chance that Castillo is the starter by mid-April.

Both Martinez/Barfield have had some defensive struggles this spring and get the impression that neither guy has really made enough of a positive assessment to make the club feel they were an adequate solution at 2B.

Until Utley is accounced to be missing the entire year, no moves will be made.

Team can make the playoffs with backups at 2B. Team winning the world series without Utley isn't very reasonable though.

MG: What's the point of keeping Castillo if he doesn't earn a starting job? Assuming Polanco is good to go (and indications right now are that he will be)... does Castillo earn the starting job over Valdez? And if he doesn't, what's the point of keeping him?

CJ: If Utley's career ended right now, his contract still would've been a bargain.

CJ:" So here's the question... does Castillo make the roster ONLY if he wins the starting job? Would we really keep him on the roster as a bench player when he offers almost nothing as a bench player?"

I couldn't disagree more. Switch hitting veteran with great contact skills and keeps the ball on the ground is pretty helpful to this team when you look at the options of our bench.

And again, this isn't a Valdez vs Castillo debate, its Castillo vs the backups.

"The Braves a far better team then a lot of Phils fans are giving them credit for. Their rotation is one of the best in the game, their bullpen is good, their bench is good, and their offense is probably better than ours."

Have we gone back in time to 2010?

lorecore: You do realize Castillo doesn't want to be a bench player, right? That was a big part of his sulking on the Mets. He also provides ZERO defensive flexibility because he only plays 2nd (and poorly at that).


Chase Utley has been diagnosed with inoperable tumors throughout his body and he has fallen into a coma. He is currently not expected to live out the day.

Castillo or Pete Orr? I'll take Luis
Castillo or M. Martinez? I'll take Luis.

It pains me to watch Utley on that MLB Network Opening Day promo. I wax nostalgic for the days of "general soreness." How young we were then. How innocent.

Old Phan: That's correct... the Braves will likely win the division again, just as they did last year.

Late inning, runner on 2nd/0out or runner 3rd/1out - who do we want up?

Gload vs lefty?
Schneider vs lefty?
Mayberry vs righty?
Castillo vs either?
Martinez/Orr/Barfield vs either?

Give him Castillo, even at his worse(2010) over every signle other option.

Dear god our bench is horrific! Am I missing someone?! Gload, Mayberry, Schneider, ..... ?? ...... ?? We're going to have Castillo AND one of those backups?

And cue the "Our bench is terrible" brigade... the same one that's bemoaned our bench for the last 5 years.

I have serious concerns about our bench...I mean, it looks weak.

Is Dobbs really gonna repeat his success? What about Jenkins? He seems washed up. I'm thinking Juan Castro just got lucky last year. And this Bruntlett guy is terrible. So Taguchi?!? Are you freaking kidding me???

The concern over the bench is, and has been, wildly overstated. Charlie is not the type of manager that uses a full roster, so it doesn't really matter.

CJ, good to know. Now I don't have to waste 6 months of my life watching baseball knowing the Braves will win the division and that Utley's career is over.

Castillo has great contact skills and keeps the ball on the ground. Sounds like he will give Valdez a run for his money GIDP.

Have they set a date for Utley's funeral yet? Are they gonna have a public service down at CBP like they did for Harry K?

didnt mean to start the 'brigade' - just didnt realize that this many nonMLB players would be on our MLB roster opening day until i started typing it out.

But yeah - Castillo is a lock to make this team.

CJ - Castillo makes the roster because he is better than Martinez/Barfield. It isn't about him being superior to Valdez.

As for the bench, yeah the last time they had a really strong bench was in '07. It has moderated between average to below-average since then.

NEPP: Utley's corpse would have a higher SLG than Castillo.

NEPP: They are going to put him on ice until the team gets home. At the viewing,he will be seated in his lawn chair.

MG: Despite the fact that Castillo doesn't want to be a bench player and the fact that he offers ZERO versatility? I just can't understand why he'd be on our bench.

**** Utley's corpse would have a higher SLG than Castillo.***

If you laid Utley's corpse sideways in the infield, he'd probably have more range on groundballs as he's about 6 feet tall.

CJ - Castillo realizes that if he isn't the Opening Day 2B that he has a very good shot in short order. Agreed he offers little versatility but you can say the same about Barfield too who really can only play 2B (maybe LF).

NEPP: don't forget Utley's superior positioning.

CJ: "Castillo doesnt want to be a bench player"

and I dont want to pay my mortgage.

"Move Blanton, and then what, make KK your 5th man?"

Uhh, you do realize that this team has done OK with KK as their 5th starter the past few years?

Having a 5th starter making as much money as Blanton is, is stupid. He'll never start a game in the post-season....if you get there.

Move him now and get what you TRULY need...another bat.

With the top 4 starters in this rotation, you could throw NEPP out there every 5th day and be OK.

We have enough pitching. We are short on offense...again.

FWIW, I told you guys. In the post-steriod age, up the middle infielders are hardest hit by age. Expecting Chaser to age well was a pipe dream smoked by those growing up watching Kent and Jeeter magically stay healthy while playing demanding positions and still being productive. Chase is more along historical norms, for some inexplicable reason, than along the 90s/00s versions of the same.

For this reason, we see that paying Howard is actually defensible, considering at his position he's still likely to be productive in 6 or 7 years, which is likely 4 or 5 more than Chase or Rollins.

So because D. Young can play terrible defense at a couple positions, he's now versatile?

None of our bench guys are really good defensively...other than maybe Mayberry (who can at least play all 3 OF positions decently). Martinez, Barfield, D. Young, and Orr are all below average.

Dan - Paying Howard is just as problematic potentially because of his defensive-related shortcoming. I love Howard as DH. Not as much as a 1B.

lorecore: And if you don't pay your mortgage, you get kicked out of your house. If Castillo doesn't want to be a bench player, he should get cut. I'm not sure what you're trying to say? One of the main reasons he performed so poorly with the Mets is because he sulked on the bench. That's not something I want on this team.

Unfortunately, the only thing thats blares out at me after this article is .... "Chase Utley could be gone for a long, long time, with signs pointing toward inoperable arthritic knees."

so sad.

"Move him now"

still feels like panic. KK is insurance for injury. if Blanton was gone and KK was the 5th starter, what happens if there's an injury to one of the big 4...Worley?

There's a big difference between CAN play multiple positions and CAN'T play multiple positions even if you're not talking gold glove defense.

Luis Castillo CAN'T play anything but second base. And has stated he's not interested in being a utility infielder.

Martinez, Young, Orr CAN play multiple positions.

CJ: If Castillo said that he'll retire if he doesnt make the starting lineup, then I'm on your side. But I havent heard him say that since he willingly chose to sign a minor league deal about 24 hrs ago.

Castillo is not going to sit on the bench. He'll either start at 2b or be promised a platoon job at the very least, or ask for his release. I can only hope and pray that he wins the 2b job for you guys. Then I know at least the Mets will have a chance to beat the Phills this year. lol

Oh worst we'll cut the guy on a minor-league deal.

Again, its a no risk signing.

Nothing is inoperable! You hear me?? NOTHING!!!

I'm surprised CJ is so against this. I figured he would have already bought his Castillo Phillies jersey and praised the signing to the high heavens.

Not a huge Castillo fan, but this is an easy call. Young, Martinez, orr, Barfield are awful.

if Blanton was gone and KK was the 5th starter, what happens if there's an injury to one of the big 4...Worley?

If we trade Blanton and sustain an injury to one of our big 4, we'd still have a better rotation than just about every other team. You take away 2 of the best 5 starters on any team and tell me which would be in better shape than the Phils.

BB, Fail.

Just because CJ doesn't always piss and moan like a typical BL asshat doesn't mean he has to agree with every move the team makes.

The fact that Wilson Valdez has a guaranteed spot on the roster and is being sung as far above our other options should make us pause.

Valdez is a freaking journeyman middle infielder with a couple trips to Japan under his belt. He's hardly a starter on a championship club. He's got a career OPS+ of 64 and even in his "fantastic" 2010 season, he posted an OPS+ of 79. He's a no-hit glove guy and he's gonna be our starting 2B.


Bed Beard: There is a risk. We keep Castillo and he sucks. That's a risk.

I don't have any confidence at all that he's better than Valdez either offensively or defensively and there is no reason to carry a can't field-can't hit guy on our bench.

Steve the Met fan - If Santana and Beltran were healthy and ready to go, the Mets would still be hard pressed to win 90+ games or contend with the Braves/Phils.

NEPP: Yet you want a no-hit, no-glove guy to take his place? Strange logic.

CJ - Young is already making the roster. You really think Castillo's attitude and not his health-related issues really impact his performance last year or in '08?

The biggest issue with Castillo is just how healthy he really is. If he is healthy, he will be useful to this team as a starter at 2B.

Question: If Castillo is offered a bench job,refuses,and retires,do the mets still owe him his full salary? Or do they get to deduct the minimum he would have made?

I was mostly being sarcastic b/c i'm pretty optimistic and can't stand the doom and gloomoers, but i'm not sure what the downside is. He sucks? Same as the others.

****NEPP: Yet you want a no-hit, no-glove guy to take his place? Strange logic.***

No, I want Utley to be healthy. Castillo sucks just as much as Valdez. The people praising Valdez as a great player are insane. He's a 25th man/journeyman type guy. Its really scary that we're counting on him (or Castillo) to be a starter this year.

Valdez did a very admirable job last year for this team. It seems like people have forgotten that.

"Unfortunately, the only thing thats blares out at me after this article is .... "Chase Utley could be gone for a long, long time, with signs pointing toward inoperable arthritic knees."

so sad."

Second that. Hopefully he will be back, but no good news thus far, and it doesn't sound promising in any way. I knew there were going to be some ups and downs with Chase's health going forward, but I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that what was a potential HoF career, just might be in its twilight.

Castillo, in his day, could hit for average & draw walks. If he can still do those things, and not completely disgrace himself on defense, then he's a better short-term alternative than Valdez -- and, at the very least, he's a better short-term alternative than Martinez, Barfield, & Orr. If he flops, or they find someone better, they waive him and move on.

PhuturePhillies is predicting Martinez to make the roster over Young. I find that interesting because it seems like we mostly agreed that Young would make it on the clout day thread.

***Valdez did a very admirable job last year for this team. It seems like people have forgotten that. ***

Yes he did...expecting him to repeat it is a bit silly though.

He's a no-hit (79 OPS+ last year) middle infielder who even at his peak is a 25th man.

krukker - Ugh. I hope not. A small guy who does nothing of note except play a bunch of different positions and has above average speed.

Offensively, he's useless. A hacker who takes even less walks than Valdez with zero power. He isn't a guy who will even post a .300 OBP or a .650 OPS.

Martinez is essentially a smaller, shittier version of Valdez.

Yeah but he's a rule 5 guy AND he's versatile. We love that.

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