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Tuesday, March 15, 2011


How quickly we forget So Taguchi and Eric Bruntlett when arguing the Phillies can't possibly hold roster space for M. Martinez.

Didn't realize they were in first place.

I wish we could all forget So Taguchi and Gnome.

We have all seen enough of those type of extra guys. Guys that are hitting .120 on June 1st and always seem to come up with 2 runners on in the 9th inning of a tie game.

We can and should do much better then that.

Hamels is probably in the top 10 or 15 of all starting pitchers. I think he is capable of more. I think he is capable of winning a CY or two.

There are three areas of improvement that would enable Hamels to reach this goal:

1. Reducing his BB/9 to 2.0 while maintaining a K/9 of 9+: Since Cole had BB/9s of 2.1, 2.1, and 2.0 in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively, this is eminently doable;
2. Reducing the number of HRs per season to under 20: Cole has averaged 26 HRs per season in his four full seasons, but, in the second half of the 2010 season, he gave up only 8 HRs; I also am slightly influenced by the fact that Cole gave up only 3 HRs in his entire minor-league career of 200 innings +; and
3. Increasing his IP/Start to 7: Cole has averaged about 6 1/3 innings per start in his career; by cutting down on his walks and HRs, he should be able to last longer in games.

I think that if Hamels makes these improvements he will become a top-five pitcher and vie for the CY for several seasons.

The other day, I was for bidding farewell to Michael Martinez. Another injury scare later, and you realize maybe it's a good idea to hang onto as many utlity players as we can get our hands on.

The Phillies lineup minus Utley and Werth is not a good lineup.

You never want a Mini-Mart in your neighborhood until you really need coffee and everywhere else is closed. Mini-Mart is not desirable. But we'll probably end up with one.

Hey JW, did you photoshop a head onto that body in the picture? It looks too big...

Phils considering Coutlangus for the five-hole?

"Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez each drove in three runs for the Phils..."

JW, you're not implying that these guys are potential 5-hole hitters, are you?

Say it ain't so, JW. Say it ain't so!

Here's Sabean whining about the game being "East Coast-centric":

Here's a possible revenue neutral trade:

Brad Lidge for Michael Young and $36MM


Ron Washington wants experienced closer to replace Neftali Feliz, who had zero experience before 40 saves

I didn't click on the link, but is Washington thinking there?

awh--sounds like some sour grapes on Sabean's part. what they fail to mention in any of this discussion are the cultural differences between east coast and west coast life. spectator sports don't fly as steadily when the weather's nice. does that dictate the market?

personally though, i am on the east coast, root for the phils, but wish there'd be a way to see fewer yanks-boston series on espn and more of the top teams from other regions.

BedBeard, Feliz apparently wants to start.

Washington wants an experienced replacement.

I was kidding about trading Lidge for Young. IMHO that would be a net loser for the Phillies, especially if Lidge is healthy and effective. Young just hasn't done that much away from his home ballapark the last few years (2009 being an exception).

The Rangers wouldn't do it because they'd want to move some of Young's money, and RAJ has said he's not taking on any more salary. I believe that's true for a guy like Young, but somehow, if he had a chance to land a RH OF bat that's a decent upgrade from Ben Fran (I know...who?), then I think they 'might' add a little payroll. "Might".

Oh, and as for trading for Michael Young, the guys over at The Good Fight had this thread, with which I tend to agree, up a few days ago:

Michael Young Isn't That Good at Baseball

Does it seem inevitable that the Astros-Phils will make a trade at some point this season given that the Astros are headed nowhere and are pretty stocked with utility infield types including Keppinger, Barmes, and Hall?

If the Phils could trade Lidge this spring for a decent infielder who could play 2B or 3B, I wish they would do that in a heartbeat.

Young has his limitations but I wouldn't mind seeing him here given the issues this infield is going to have again this year. Problem is the '12 and '13 salaries. Last thing they need another guy in his mid-30s north of $15M each year.

MG: Barmes and Hall are starting players for the Astros. The team has no adequate replacements for those two.

"Young is 34 years old"

...and end scene

if the Phils do decide to move any current players it would have to be for youth, at any position. with every position player in their 30s, we will need to start replacing players in a 3-5 year window anyway

MG, I agree, that's why in my trade proposal I said "Brad Lidge for Michael Young and $36MM", the $36MM being the approximate difference between what the two players' contracts guarantee.

Young is vastly overpaid at this point in his career. AAMOF, based on his production away from Arlington (and I know this is heresy to some here on BL) he might actually have a worse contract than Ryan Howard.

He's be a good fill in, and could possibly take over 3B when Polly's contract expires, but not at $16MM/yr.

"Astros-Phils will make a trade "

Chris Johnson showed some promise in his rookie 10' season. RH bat at 3B...

SStache, I think the FO is also hoping that some of the position players in the minors take some steps forward as well (and some learn new positions), players like Singleton, Altherr, Gillies, James and maybe Harold Garcia.

The Phils system (I don't know it that well) seems pretty devoid of MLB-ready middle infield prospects who can hit.

Oh, and just to keep you updated on age-related injuries, Joe Mauer is reportedly ready to make his ST debut. His knee is apparently not 100%.

"MLB-ready middle infield prospects who can hit."

I don't disagree, but it should be mentioned that these types of players are what every system covets.

At the close of last year and after the Lee transaction I suggested we trade our aged stars for young up and coming players on the theory we really won't need such a big offense given the pitching.
I was of course dismissed I ecall someone much respected on this site wrote and not to me that my suggstion was "unworthy of a response".
We are now looking at Utley having another injury prone season and Polanco is already in trobule with the long throw from third.

OK so we will use minor leaguers to spell one more season before we finally trade for or sign some fresh blood. Why wait?

Bill Baer has a nice post up this morning on ST injuries over at Crashburn Alley.

My favorite paragraph:

"That’s not to say that Utley’s patellar tendinitis isn’t worrisome, or that Lidge’s biceps tendinitis isn’t a harbinger of things to come. Those injuries are by no means good news. However, we have these scares multiple times every year and most of them turn out to be rather meaningless. The real problem here is that the Phillies have an image problem: they are viewed as old and fragile, and any spring training nicks and scratches will reinforce that belief – confirmation bias."

awh - Agreed to a point but Utley's injury looks pretty significant and Lidge is a guy who numerous injuries & surgeries the since '07. It isn't age but just the simple fact that Lidge has had multiple surgeries on his left knee and a significant surgery on his elbow since '08.

RK, you are correct in that it would be good to gradually get younger.

The problem, however, in your analysis is that many other teams have taken to locking up their young stars (i.e. Mauer, Lester, Upton, Pedroia...and remember, the Phillies also did this with Rollins, Utley and Howard) so that they don't hit FA until they're older. They are also reluctant to trade those young players as well, unless a team gave up a king's ransom for that player, because they recognize the value.

For instance, what would it cost in prospects for a team to trade for someone like Buster Posey, Justin Upton, Robinson Cano or Billy Butler? Unless you're a contending team, think THAT player can get you over the hump, and have the prospects, it would hardly seem worth it.

awh: I'm not buying Baer's argument. When a guy misses all of spring training with a mysterious knee condition that doesn't respond to treatment, that's not your garden variety injury scare. Nor do I buy that the Phillies have been unfairly labeled "old and fragile." They ARE old; they did have tons of injuries last year; and they already have a slew of new injuries this year, mostly to older players. Perception, in this case, is also reality.

MG, agree. That is why I posted yesterday that the most reliable predictor of a future injury is a previous injury to the same area. As someone who had multiple ankle sprains playing college football, I can testify that eventually the ankle weakens no matter how hard you work to rehab it, and taping everyday as a precautionary measure becomes necessary.

Lidge, with multiple injuries and surgeries is always a risk. Utley, it seems, is becoming one. I also worry about Rollins and Vic, but not because of age - I worry because they have a previous history of straininng/pulling calf muscles. I worry about Raul's abdomen and Chooch's legs. I worry about Polly's elbow and Mad Dog's toe. :) I worry about Blanton's oblique and Lee's tummy, and I worry about Doc's groin.

Age has nothing to do with it. They've all been injured in those areas before, and that's what causes me concern.

bap, then go over to Crashburn Alley and take it up with Baer.

awh: Unfortunately, I don't have time for more than one Phillies blog in my life. But, next time you see him, let him know that BAP doesn't buy his argument.

I'm with Baer. I think there is some merit to the other side, but a lot of the "WE NEED TO GET YOUNGER NOW!!!" stuff is just feer mongering by the usual suspects.

BAP- last week you told me that one of the reasons the Phils lucked into 97 wins last year is that they really didn't have that many more injuries than any other normal team. Now they had 'tons' of injuries because you want to boost you're 'They're old and fragile' argument? Which one is it?

i'd love to see a poll of

a) optimistic
b) pessimistic

regarding the phils season. based on what i read on BL, i'd say it's about 70% pessimistic.

me, i think we'll be fine. utley will be back, polly will be back, another regular or two will spend time on the DL, we'll have some slumps, the pitching will be mostly great, the bullpen will be mostly adequate, the bench will have their moments, and the phils will win 95+ games.

should be a fun season. mark me down for A!

"Barmes and Hall are starting players for the Astros. The team has no adequate replacements for those two."

Clout, teams that are rebuilding trade starting players all the time for prospects or just to dump salary. The idea that they can't replace them with similar players makes no sense for a team that's only going to win 70 games anyway. What's the difference between 70 and 67?

Barmes and Hall aren't that good anyway. 1-2 Win players at their max.

It seems as though the Phillies have a gradual plan for getting younger, especially in the outfield and pitching staff. I really hope the Phillies can add some honest to goodness infield prospects from the draft this year instead of adding some more wideouts for the Treshers' flag football team.

JACK: it would have required too much foresight for the 'stros to have signed players this offseason with the intention of flipping them at the deadline.

Is it optimistic or pessimistic to predict 93-95 wins, and an NL East title by 2-4 games over the Braves?

Iceman: They definitely had more injuries than the norm. My point last week was simply that all teams have injuries, and that injuries will happen again. They might even happen to the same degree as last year since, after all, the Phillies are the oldest team in baseball. For this reason, and many others, it's woefully bad logic to reason (in the mold of you, Old Phan, & awh): They won 97 games last year with tons of injuries, no Cliff Lee & only a half year of Oswalt; therefore, it follows that they will win way more than 97 games this year.

Jack, considering the issues other NL central teams are having, and the Astros record in 2010 after the first two months, they probably feel like they can compete. (Hmm sounds like many Phillies seasons under Ed Wade...)

I think they'll win closer to 80 games than 70. I do agree with you about Barmes and Hall being 1-2 win players at best anyway.

bap: So we're clear... this is illogical:

Phils: 97 wins with tons of injuries and no Cliff Lee and a 1/2 season of Oswalt, but with Werth.

Phils: 97 wins with tons of injuries plus Cliff Lee and a full season of Oswalt, but without Werth

Um... okay...

I'm sure Hall would be thrilled to play alongside Hamels, as opposed to getting buzzed by him.

CJ: It's illogical when it's stated as some sort of syllogistic certainty, along the lines of: all men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal. There are some posters here who have stated it as such -- Iceman being the worst offender.

OTOH, if that's the reasoning for your prediction, I think that's fine. A tad on the blind optimistic side, I'd say, since it ignores numerous other factors, including the sheer improbability of any team winning 97 games. But I understand you have a reputation to uphold.

"Is it optimistic or pessimistic to predict 93-95 wins, and an NL East title by 2-4 games over the Braves?"

Easy. Optimistic.

Pessimistic would be say:

high 80s win total and slightly missing the playoffs.

bap: Ah... so it's rose-colored glasses to think this team will be as successful in the regular season this year as they were last year.

But it's realistic to predict they'll lose the division... or maybe that was just last year that you were on that bandwagon.

I understand.

The only way you are pessimistic about this season is if you think the Phils won't make the playoffs. Given this starting staff and how much a crapshoot the playoffs generally are, you need need an admission ticket to play. That's it.

My bet is that you would still get an overwhelming percentage of people (80-90%) on here who think the Phils will make the playoffs yet even with all of the developments the past 2 weeks. Yet somehow you are a pessimistic if you suggest that the Braves have a good chance to win the NL East now.

Conshymatt: There are plenty of people here who predict what you do(95 wins and a NL East crown) who are called pessimist instead of optimistic because they havent agreed/liked every event that has taken place this spring.

I'm very optimistic of the Phils this year and predict an NL East crown - but that doesnt mean i think benfran and valdez are any good.

MG: Wrong. It's pessimistic to think this team won't win the division.

With an off day for the Phillies, I can already see where today's Beerleaguer discussion is headed: a day-long debate about the cutoff point between an optimistic prediction and a pessimistic one.

Conshy Matt: You're right. Beerleaguer is overwhelmingly full of pessimists. They are the sky is falling crowd. They like to pretend they are overwhelmed by rainbows and sunshine here, but any neutral observer knows otherwise. It's okay, though... they're welcome to their opinions.

We've only won 4 straight division crowns, 1 WS ring, another WS appearance and now boast what could be a historically great pitching staff.

I mean, I'd be pessimistic, too!

If this is going to be another thread where everyone fights to prove how patriotic (optimistic a Phillies fan) they are, I'm out.

Are you guys all wearing Phillies lapel pins, too?

Jack: You're welcome to spend the day away from Beerleaguer, no one is making you stay. There are plenty of pessimists to pick up the slack for you!

I didn't start this discussion...

From awh's age-related injury file:

Jason Heyward saw a back specialist today who told him he has less cartilage between discs than the average person

CJ: In case it wasn't clear, I just threw in the "blind optimist" comment to rib you.

BTW, I believe I did pick the Phillies to make the playoffs via the Wild Card last year. In most circles, predicting that your team will make the playoffs would be seen as an optimistic prediction.

Braves' 3B coach had to have his eyes removed today, resulting from being hit with a foul ball. Apparently will still coach this year.

Lorecore - never let the facts get in the way of a good story. It was just one eye - he was hit by a McCann line-drive.

bap: Perhaps for most teams a wild card prediction would be optimistic. The Phils are not most teams. For this team, it's pessimistic. This team has 4 straight division titles, has increased its win total each year and now has 4 aces.

"Braves' 3B coach had to have his eyes removed today, resulting from being hit with a foul ball. Apparently will still coach this year."

Is this a joke? I can't tell.

It was Luis Salazar who had that accident. Sounds like it was very scary in Braves camp.

BAP: you predict the phils will make the playoffs, but then you predict once every 162 games that they're going to lose.

so either your full of crap on our original prediction or just every single game from the point forward - or most likely both.

Sorry, was a typo, i actually meant "eye" not plural "eyes"

I think we'll win 100 games. Our pitching is that good and the offense will be healthier in the long run.

Polly's injury is nothing, Lidge is okay too probably. Utley is a question mark but they'll figure it out.

lorecore: My prediction at the beginning of the year is my official prediction. My pre-game or in-game comments are just venting.

Buster Olney tweets:
"Jason Heyward saw a doctor today, who explained that he has less cartilage between back discs than average person."

Cue awh...

" For this reason, and many others, it's woefully bad logic to reason (in the mold of you, Old Phan, & awh): They won 97 games last year with tons of injuries, no Cliff Lee & only a half year of Oswalt; therefore, it follows that they will win way more than 97 games this year."

bap, you are full of sh*t. That is a gross and malicious misrepresentation of my posting on this matter. In fact it's slanderous, contumelious and downright defamatory.

I have never made that argument, and challenge you to find one example where I did.

Every team is "different" from year to year because the personnel change, a fact you clearly seem to not grasp.

I will be making my complete (and probably wrong) prognostications on Prediction Day.

Until then, I would ask, that you restrain yourself from your dishonorable beahvior, and if you want to know my viewpoint on a particualr issue, I suggest you query me.

What exactly does "less cartilege" mean long-term? Is it a Bo Jackson type issue or will he just need to do some more core strengthening exercises but otherwise be fine?

awh: I never claimed to be quoting you. I was merely summarizing the general theme I had detected from your prior posts on the subject. If my detections were wrong, I apologize for being contumelious.

"the sheer improbability of any team winning 97 games."

bap, you don't even realize the sheer idiocy of that statement, do you?

BAP: "Perception, in this case, is also reality."

Don't we have to wait until the season plays out to know what the "reality" is, keeping in mind that you live in an alternate reality?

Just read a column that pointed out Jason Bay has only 1 XBH this spring.

Will the Mets finish last in the NL East? No Johan Santana until at least July... and maybe not at all. Carlos Beltran had 3 spring at bats before sitting because of his knee issues. They don't have a second baseman at all.

Could be another ugly season at Citi Field.

Scott Boras told me that Beltran can still play a great CF and not just RF so I'm not concerned. He also showed me how Beltran is a historic CF along the lines of Ken Griffey Jr, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.

Jack: All true. But in this case, you're wrong.

The Astros, a rebuilding team, acquired both Barmes and Hall in the off season to fill those positions. If they didn't need 'em, given that they're rebuilding, they wouldn't have gotten them.

Reality is that the Phils were a 97 win team last year.

Reality is that the Phils add Cliff Lee while subtracting Jayson Werth in the offseason, with the rest of the team largely left intact.

It's funny to hear what sheer improbability something is when this team did it just last season.

Reality: At least one team has won 97 games each of the last three seasons... with as many as THREE teams doing it (2008).

Reality: 24 teams have won at least 97 games this decade. Including a whopping SIX TEAMS in 2002. There has been just one season in the last 10 years that a team hasn't won 97 games.

clout - So it means they wouldn't move either one of those guys or Keppinger at the trading deadline this summer?

CJ - Phils aren't winning 97 games. Easy a prediction as Ibanez not hitting 26 HRs last year.

"CJ - Phils aren't winning 97 games. Easy a prediction as Ibanez not hitting 26 HRs last year."

And the pessimists wonder how they earn their reputation...

"Cue awh..."

CJ, Chris in VT yook care of it for me. :)

Fine. I'm a pessimist because I don't think the Phils will win a minimum of 97 games. This becoming a ridiculous conservation.

BAP, it may be logic, but it is neither woeful or bad. Obviously, no one knows what's going to happen during the regular season, but for all the whining and griping that took place last season, the Phils still ended up with the best record and no one can deny the adversity they faced while doing so (I would contend that only the Red Sox suffered the same plight as the Phils last year, and things didn't go too well for them). I never said they would win "way more" than 97 games. I said if they did it last year under the circumstances, they could do it again this year. We'll know how it played out come October.

I wonder if Heyward's cartiledge shortage will lead to more severe back problems as he ages? To wit, if he has less cartiledge now than the average person, will the wear and tear over the years in MLB furtehr reduce said cartiledge to the point where it becomes an issue that cannot be compensated for by more stretching?

Any prior medical knowledge on this?

CJ: I don't think he was saying that a 97 win season is unlikely to happen at all during any given season; just that the odds are against it for any individual team.

Statistically speaking, it's an outlier which makes it improbable in comparison to, say, an 85 win season.

MG - It is ridiculous. That a team that won 97 games last year, upgrades their pitching staff, but is projected to win less than the 97 last year...RIDICULOUS

Even more ridiculous that this would come from FANS

No, you're a pessimist because you think there is zero chance of the Phillies winning 97 games. Ridiculous, indefensible statement.

It is reasonable to predict something lower than 97. It is not reasonable to say there is no chance of winning 97.

Schmitty: I wonder if this upgraded rotation can all bat from the right in the #5 hole and drive in 80+ runs.

While they're at it, I wonder if Oswalt can fill in at second base on night's he's not pitching.

I'd be thrilled with 97 wins, but I am absolutely not treating it as a foregone conclusion.

Will: That MLB averages between 2 and 3 teams a season that win 97 games... and the Phils are generally regarded as one of the best 2 or 3 teams in baseball... and it's a "sheer improbability?"

Yeah... um... whatever...

I never said that it was a "sheer improbability" for the Phillies. I said that the milestone, in and of itself, is a statistical improbability. This is not the same as saying that the Phillies have no chance at a 97 win season.

That beings said, this team has yet to prove that it's an upgrade from 2010, and I'm not about to declare that it is. I'm still reeling from the guaranteed division win that King Felix and Cliff Lee were bringing to Seattle, and how Putz and K-Rod were going to turn every Mets game into a 7 inning affair. Things happen...

The funny thing about the pessimists...

For years they told us it was all about the pitching and that no matter how good our offense was, our weak pitching staff would be our downfall.

Now that our staff features 4 aces, the pessimists tell us we're doomed because we lost Jayson Werth and Chase Utley is currently injured.

That's the mark of a true pessimist...

DH Phils - Did I say that? No. Anything is always possible although defining a minimum threshold of wins at 97 is more unrealistic/ridiculous than I have seen any 'pessimist' assert.

That basically means that you expect this team to win at least 99-100 games.

I would say this team is around 91-92 wins right now but will wait to see how a few important things pan out.

"Now that our staff features 4 aces, the pessimists tell us we're doomed because we lost Jayson Werth and Chase Utley is currently injured.

That's the mark of a true pessimist"

Ugh. Last post on this tired topic but if you think a team winning in the low 90s and making the playoffs is being a 'pessimist' you have pretty lofty expectations.

Why is it "pessimism" to suggest that we're not entitled to an automatic 97 win season.

Seriously man...the world doesn't come in two flavors of optimism and pessimism. Some of us enjoy a dose of realism now and again, and expecting a team to win 97 games as an automatic fact based on offseason acquisitions is just plain silly.

But hey, far be it from me to crap all over your hopes because I hope for the same. Just don't characterize my lack of certainty as "pessimism" or the belief that we're "doomed."

No one (as far as I know) said that the Phils were "entitled" to a 97 win season, or that it's automatic. Nothing in baseball is automatic. All I'm saying is that it is far from improbable that they could win 97 or more games.

Who will win more games? The Phillies starting rotation or the Pittsburgh Pirates.

MG - Fair enough - I guess I took you too literally. I disagree with your clarified prediction but I think it is reasonable.

To be clear, I'm not saying predicting below 97 makes one a pessimist, nor am I saying that not expecting 97 makes one a pessimist. I'm taking exception to absolute statements like "CJ - Phils aren't winning 97 games".

I don't understand where a prediction of 91 games comes from, given last year's win total and offseason moves, but nobody knows until the season plays out and maybe you'll be right. I know I tend to err on the optimistic side, so when I say 100 wins I understand that reasonable people will disagree.

Great pitching tends to win games even with just average offensive production. Those late 90s Braves teams didn't exactly have an offensive juggernaut and they still posted some pretty good win totals. I really think people forget that Howard, Rollins and Vic all had tough 2010 seasons and all 3 are healthy this time around.

My bet is that the Clout Day predictions end up with a median value here of about 94 wins or so and I can't imagine anyone in the front office would be upset as long as this team wins 90+ games & take the NL East. Really all that matters is making the playoffs especially with this rotation.

There have to be 100 strawmen on this board so far.

Let me be clear:

I call people pessimists because they are pessimistic about almost everything. They have a "sky is falling" attitude that permeates almost every post.

I do NOT call people pessimists because of one statement or one prediction.

NEPP: Is Rollins healthy? A lot players who have had similar injuries say it takes a long time to heal. A good sign has been Rollins is playing everyday and has swiped a bag or two - something he wasn't willing to do last year.

Are you comfortable predicting Rollins will play in at least 100 games? I'm not.

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