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Friday, March 18, 2011


No worries here. It's spring with an older team. And the older team has a GM that has always found a way to recoup.

Remember, they won more games than anyone last year.

If "impending doom" is the phrase of the day of August 20, color me dead. But this team has the chutzpa of a champion, hobbled or helium. Sit back, friends, and watch a team piece its way to another division flag.

Just throwing this out there... but how much of this is Manuel challenging those players. I'm not sure what message he's sending to a guy like Francisco, who's had a fabulous spring at the plate. But has his defense been bad?

I don't take it as anyone being worried about Spring performances. The team actually has a really good ST record, and pretty much everyone is performing fine, except for Rollins (who's hitting about as crappy as he has for...the last two years).

I take it as people being worried about a lineup for a lot of the season where Ryan Howard is the only real offensive threat.

rollins spring training numbers mean zero. as long as he's healthy, that's the key

also, if rollins is bad this spring, what is chooch? that guy is hitting like .125 or something. it doesn't matter

A comparison:

Valdez: .252 AVG/.303 OBP/.646 OPS, 72 OPS+
Castillo: .270 AVG/.366 OBP/.681 OPS, 85 OPS+

Seems like to me that 60+ points of OBP is kinda a big deal, especially in our offense where on-base skills can sometimes be missing.

Looks like we need Michael Young. He could solve a couple of problems, yes?

Valdez is a better short term solution than Castillo, who cannot hit his way out of a wet paper bag. According to the Mayo Clinic site, conservative treatment of patellar tendinitis can take weeks to months. Worse yet, surgery may have a recovery time of 12-18 months. If progress is not being made within a month, the Phils need to be looking for an infielder who can play 2B or 3B. They need Francisco and Mayberry to make up for a huge loss of firepower.

Marcos Coca and Daniel DelaCruz suspended 50 games for PED's.


You're saying that Valdez is a better hitter than Castillo?

That's bold.

Castillo is a better hitter than Valdez. Valdez might have a little more pop, but Castillo actually knows how to draw a walk. The OBP difference more than outweighs the other differences.

NEPP - The real difference is between Castillo and Martinez/Barfield. I don't think either Martinez or Barfield is a even a ~.660 OPS guy that Valdez has been the past 2 years.

I just wonder what the point of inviting guys like Barfield to spring training is, if he lights it up and still is sent down to the minors.

I mean, I'm not arguing they SHOULD be on the major league club for any length of time. They probably shouldn't.

But what you see is what you get, and if that's not good enough and he's just organizational filler...why the invite to ostensibly compete?

Also, while I will buy that Castillo is a better hitter than Valdez, I don't buy that he's a better defender.

Is Valdez (offense + defense) better than Castillo (offense + defense)? I would say yes.

yes, castillo is horrible defensively. only fields balls hit right to him. he has zero range

Castillo is mediocre at best in the field...and that's being generous.

Now, maybe Castillo would be better if he weren't playing every day but more like 2-3 times a week?

I've heard his problem is his legs, and maybe that situation would be a bit better if he got a regular chance to rest?

Maybe? (I doubt it...) But I haven't heard that argument yet.

As a bench option, I'd much rather have Castillo than Josh Barfield or probably even Delwyn Young (despite his versatility to suck defensively in the outfield, 2b, or 1b.)

Though I think Young makes the roster as it stands regardless of getting Castillo.

If Utley is out longterm as its beginning to look, I expect Rube will make a big trade to resolve the issue. Its pointless to have the best starting staff on earth if we have zero offense.

NEPP~ It may come to that. But if what we're reading and hearing is true, about them being maxed out etc. (I don't think that's true at all), what is Rube going to pull off?

After he lost Werth, he knew he had a gap to fill. He didn't. Now with Utley down, that another hole. Doesn't look like he's gonna fill that one from the outside with anyone of note either. He's probably posturing, but it doesn't look good.

While the Lee signing was great beyond belief, RAJ has put all of his eggs in the starter's basket (a la the Giants). You can't assume that the lineup will produce to expectations. You can't assume that everyone's gonna stay healthy. Obviously, that's a real concern.

The starters? Phantastic. No doubt. But you can't forget about the other facets of the team. That's a dangerous game to play.

I agree with NEPP. If we're without Utley for an extended period, we need someone better than Castillo (and Barfield/Martinez/Orr/etc). We'd need to make a major trade.

Maybe it forces us to part with a top prospect so that we can give up Blanton's salary in order to take on someone else's contract. Perhaps Aramis Ramirez from the Cubs with Polly shifting to 2B? Figgins? I'm spitballing here...

If Utley won't be gone that long, then it becomes a question of Young or Castillo. In this case, I could really go either way. I like Young's versatility, but I could see Castillo being a late inning PH option when we need to get someone on base. With Utley around, neither guy would see much action so it's less of an issue.

Jack- I was also assuming you were including me in the 'Beerleaguer Propaganda Crew' you referred to in your original comment. If that's not the case, again, I apologize. But if it is the case, you're building another in your long line of straw man arguments, so the timeline does matter.

I never gave an opinion on the Phils without both Utley and Werth. I said they could get by without Werth, and without Utley if he's out for a relatively short amount of time. You, on the other hand, have been saying the same thing about how you're 'worried' about the offense for months now, way before the Utley injury was even known. Your original comment intimated your concerns started after the Utley injury.

As for your direct questions, I'll try to speak your language and completely hedge my bets (until prediction day). I agree with Manuel to the extent that Utley's injury definitely puts a cloud of uncertainty over the offense that hasn't been there in the past. The way this offense has been stacked for the past 5 or so years, it's generally held true that they can lose one guy without taking on water. Maybe two, depending on who those two are. Werth was gone to start the season, one of our best offensive players- so they were already one down. If they lose Utley for a majority of the season, that's two of the biggest run producers on the team gone. So it's tenuous at best, and if they bring no one in from the outside and plan on riding with Valdez and Francisco for a majority of the season, then yes, they will take a step back and it will cost the team wins.

But like JW, I draw the line at the words 'worry' or 'concern' on March 18th. Let this team play for a few weeks in meaningful games with this rotation before you start wetting the bed about whether or not their run production will be adequate. There have been times in the past when players have gone down and everyone gathered their canned goods and ran for the bomb shelter, but someone unexpected stepped in and filled in until they returned. And Rube has definitely shown he's willing to make a big trade if he thinks the club needs it.

Also, let the injury thing play out before you start definitively saying a certain player will be out for the year or starting the year on the DL. I've read on BL in the past week that Lidge is finished, Polanco will miss the beginning of the regular season because of his elbow, and Utley will be out until at least the AS Break and probably for the season. Uh, ok. Some posters have been watching too many Nostradamus documentaries on the History Channel and assuming the worst case scenario for everything. It's too soon to start heading for the bomb shelter. Let's see how they look to start the season.

If Utley's injury turns into a long-term thing, you have to make a major trade even if it kills the farm system.

Otherwise, you're completley wasting this pitching staff.

"(a la the Giants)."

how'd that work out

schmitty - Go back and look at great starting rotations and how they did:

1997 Braves - Nope lost in the WS
1988 Mets - Nope to in the NLCS
1971 O's - Nope lost in the WS

Just some that come to mind. I did a post about that earlier this offseason and basically great rotations almost always make the playoffs but rarely have won the WS.

"I've read on BL in the past week that Lidge is finished, Polanco will miss the beginning of the regular season because of his elbow, and Utley will be out until at least the AS Break and probably for the season."

- It was brought up about Polanco possibility missing time and another reason to possibility sign Castillo. He's supposed to play next week again and no one disputed that.

- It was st who mentioned that he heard an interview with Conlin on 610 earlier this week where he though Lidge was 'cooked.'

- There has been on progress with Utley and it increasingly looks like he will have surgery at some point. If he does, he will be out that long.

Great week for Tuffy

MG- when has anyone claimed that this starting rotation guarantees a World Series Championship? I haven't read that. I don't know what point you're trying to make- that the playoffs are a crapshoot? I think everyone here knows that by now.

What could any team possibly do to guarantee a World Series before a game is even played? The only way you can even come close to guaranteeing success is to maximize the probability of winning multiple playoff series. The Phils have done that by stocking their rotation with four aces, guaranteeing that the weakest starter a team will face in any playoff series is Roy Oswalt.

If your argument is that starting pitching is irrelevant to a team's success in the playoffs, I think you're 100% wrong. If your argument is just that there's no guarantee the Phils are winning a title, I don't know a single person that would disagree with that, so it's not really an argument to begin with.

"1997 Braves"

and earlier this week we said that team was a dynasty

how different was that team from the 95' team

"1988 Mets"

how different was that team from the 86' team

can't speak on the 71' O's, but 1 out of 3 gets you a spot in our lineup (do you bat RH? play INF?)

Iceman - Just the Giants comment. I don't know if the Phils did that either by acquiring Lee since they already had 3 very good starters. They did enhance their chances of making it back the playoffs though and that is what really matters.

MG- I agree that you eventually get to the point where you can't possibly improve your starting pitching anymore. But starting Blanton in Game 4 of a playoff series has been problematic the last two years. He put them in a hole in about 2 seconds against the Yankees, and he laid an egg against the Giants. He is far from reliable, and you can absolutely find someone better.

Slotting Lee at #2 puts either Hamels or Oswalt as the potential Game 4 starter, either of which is far more likely to give you a dominant start (or even just a QS) than donut boy.

You can't guarantee they all will make it through the season healthy, or even pitch well if they get to the playoffs (Lee struggled in the WS last year). But Amaro has built a starting rotation that would, in the playoffs, have the advantage over any and every team they play. That's all you can really do to help your chances at winning in the playoffs.

Jack: "Clout: If you had to bet right now, life on the line, would you take the over or under for 97 wins?"

Under. But if you ask, will the Phils be top 5 in the NL in runs scored I say yes.

You and many others here are assuming that Howard, Rollins, Vic and Ibanez will be worse than last season or, at best, equal to last year.

That's a dumb mistake on your part.

Heather: "I just wonder what the point of inviting guys like Barfield to spring training is, if he lights it up and still is sent down to the minors."

The point is to see what you got. Get some sense of the guy's strengths and weaknesses. You don't aim to put him on the 25-man roster. He got cut by other teams for a reason.

On the Offense: It's in trouble. We need better than average seasons from Ibanez, Francisco, & Valdez and no slips in production from everyone else to get what we got from our semi-struggling "O" last year. Possible, but not likely. All the eggs are in the rotation basket this season.

On Spring Training Stats: The vets that have secured positions are just going though the motions. They're not trying hard, why risk injury in a game that means nothing? Yeah, they may "turn it on" here and there, but not like in the season. Split squads, loads of AAA hopefuls, journeymen. Batters are facing watered-down pitching. This _IS_ AAAA. A weird world where you are just as likely to face Roy Halliday or some AA player another club wants to take a look at who may never be heard from again.

I wouldn't touch Luis Castillo with a 10 foot pole.

The guy is a clubhouse cancer who couldn't even play for possibly the worst team in the National League.

He can't hit. He has no range. He has little speed. And he doesn't want to play off the bench.

He is done.

"(a la the Giants)." how'd that work out

SS~ Just 'cause it worked out for the Giants doesn't mean it'll work here. The Giants play more small-ball than we do and have a better 'pen.

We have to hit to win, as I've 100 times before and we have major holes in our offense which the GM has not plugged.

Always plenty of talk about the Phils scoring potential or lack thereof. With the killer rotation maybe lots of runs won't be needed. Anyway, over at 'through the fence baseball' they did a power rankings piece a few weeks back based on fantasy projections.

Power Rankings

Who ranked number 1. The Fightin' Phils ranked number 1. The future can never be told of course but it was nice to see the Phils ranked on top.

It seems most baseball fans rank the Phils very highly except many hardcore Phils fans themselves and this is where the hardest gather right? I think part of being a hardcore fan makes us worry somedays and others not. Being an obsessive can sometimes make one irrational. Ha! Who us? Never.

Today, I feel confident. Can't wait to watch a game played in anger.

The Scott Franzke signing is the best news I've gotten this spring. Kudos to whoever is responsible for this.

The most important thing is that the Phils not panic and deviate from their plans prematurely. Even without Utley for an extended period, the Phils' rotation and what remains of their lineup may still be strong enough to win the division or at least make the playoffs.

The Phils can start the season with the players they have and see what happens over the first half. Any moves they make now should be small, e.g., Jay for Kendrick or a AAA reliever.

The Phils should not trade Blanton, Brown or any of their top prospects, at least not right now. Especially not Blanton. He is worth at least two more wins than Kendrick or Worley.

What the Phils could use is a guy who plays 3B, 2B or OF and gives the team at least a couple more wins net. None of the players mentioned so far provides that kind of net improvement.

It would take somebody like Jayson Werth to provide that kind of improvement in the OF. Ordonez is no longer available. Dye is no more than a blast from the past and doesn't get it done.

In the infield, Young may not be better all-around than Polanco and is exorbitantly expensive in terms of both salary and what the Rangers may demand in trade. Castillo is another one of the has-beens.

Who is out there who can play either 3B or 2B and will give the Phils a net improvement of two wins? And what happens if and when Utley returns?

Yo, new thread

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