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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


If Jimmy & Ryan have good years we'll be fine. It really won't matter who's on the bench and who plays 2nd until Utz get back.

For a team with excellent starting pitching, that's not a bad lineup. We're only concerned because we know how much better it was with Utley and Werth rather than Valdez and Francisco.

The key -- and this hasn't been talked about enough -- is Rollins.

J.R.: I'd argue that the key is Ibanez. They need him to have 20+ HR power this season regardless of what Rollins does. They lose a lot of HR power without Werth & Utley and they won't be getting it from Francisco or Valdez, although maybe aksmith is right and Mini-Mart will save the day.

clout: You're probably right. 20+ HR from Ibanez would go a long way.

But I have more faith in BenFran than most people (including hitting guru Charlie Manual, which makes me wonder whether my confidence should be described as "wishful thinking").

A bit of 07 MVP magic from Rollins wouldn't go astray.

Let the griping about the bench begin...oh, wait.

jeez it's a good thing they assembled the phour aces or we'd be looking at a 70 win team

The question I have is the ballclub going to exploit its pitching edge by trying to score early so the pitching can add, essentially another six inches to the mound considering the starting pitching, once the team gets a lead. I suspect that if the team attempts to patch up its old, Big Red Machine-type line-up instead of tayloring the offense to exploit its pitching strength by playing opportunitic small-ball in the first few innings the team will be less successful.

Get this team the lead early and watch the starting pitching staff squeeze the other team's line-up like an anaconda squeezes a goat.

Clout: I think you're underselling Francisco's power. He's a potential 20 HR guy. In fact, I would bet that he will hit more HRs than Ibanez this year, except I'm worried that if he struggles in terms of BA and/or defense, he could be replaced by Dom mid-season.

Actually, I'll still make that bet. Francisco will hit more HRs than Raul this year. Bet?

That said, the offense is going to be lighter on power than in past year, and it's going to be lighter on OBP as well.

Frankly, because of the OBP issue, I probably would've kept Castillo and gone with him at 2nd. I think he'd get on base enough to offset the defensive drop from Valdez.

Well, the Phillies are not alone.

Both Bay Area closers are on the 15-day DL with age related injuries, the Brewers presumptive ace is on the 15-day, and if the tweet on the right is to be believed he won't make it back until at least May (so much for offseason basketball).

The Brewers have even more problems than that as Corey Hart is on the DL as well, so they've lost their ace and their starting RF who did this last season: .283/.340/.525 with 31 HR and 100+ RBI.

The Brew Crew's situation is somewhat equivalent to the Phillies losing Halladay and Utley to start the season.

In Houston JA Happ strained something, Jurrjens status in STL is uncertain (and Medlen's DL'd), etc. etc. etc.

It's 162 games. Time for Utley to get back, Lidge to heal, and Polly's elbow to calm down.

Let's just hope they can perform at close to what we're used to seeing once they return.

Ahould say "Jurrjens status in ATL"

The poor Brew Crew investing so much of their resources in this season....Heard that Shaun Marcum and Ryan Braun are also battling muscle strains.

Valdez, Orr and Martinez are all similar players, but Valdez is the best. Keeping 2 seems smart, given the injuries. Keeping 3 seems masochistic.

The offense is good enough considering the quality of the starting rotation. I think Manuel did a good job mixing and matching through the injuries last year, and I (mostly) trust in him to find the right lineup balance.

I voted "very concerned," since "disgusted beyond words" was not an option.

I'll be honest. I have no idea why Pete Orr is on the roster. Delwyn Young is a significantly better hitter.

Actually I do know why Orr is on the roster: he can play 3rd and Young can't. That fact is a bad sign, because it means the team feels it needs roster insurance on Polanco. It's entirely possible you could be looking at this lineup for games at a time:


That's 3 virtually automatic outs in Valdez, Orr and the pitcher, and a #3 hitter with an 87 OPS+ the last two years. Yay.

Pete Orr is scrappy and very "Bruntlett-like".

Just for the bat, I would have kept Young until the Utley situation is settled.

Will Young still be in the organization? Maybe he gets a recall at some point if the bench sucks wind as much as it looks like it could.

I'd look for Mayberry to get quite a few starts in the first month in LF. I think they learned their lesson last year with Raul. And with Polly's issues, I'd expect Orr to get some time at 3B too early.

We still don't need a 12th pitcher. Over/under on how many innings Herndon and or Kendrick throw in the first month?

We may not need a 12th pitcher, but judging by position players 12 and 13, we sure as hell don't need a 14th hitter.

Trivia Answer:

Last Opening Day leadoff hitter other than J-Roll?

Marlon Byrd in 2004. (Courtesy Matt Gelb on Twitter)

I can't comment on their defensive abilities, but Pete Orr has had an exactly .761 OPS at AAA in 2 of the last 3 seasons. Martinez has never had a single season OPS higher than .720. So, despite all the nay-saying on Orr, he still looks like a considerably better hitter than Martinez.

bap: Neither Martinez nor Orr would be on my final roster.

If the team keeps Dom Brown in AAA (when healthy) but gives roster spots to these two, it's a misuse of resources. I know they want Brown to play every day. But the window for this team is now. Bring him up and semi-platoon him with Francisco, and give him ABs off the bench. The team needs offense. A bench of Gload, Mayberry and Brown/Francisco is actually pretty damn good in terms of offense.

Just wondering, Dom broke his right hand correct? Does anyone know if he taking fly balls while he's out with this injury? I mean he doesn't have to be throwing at all just tracking them and catching them because he still needs a lot getting the proper jumps on balls.

BAP, I think the general consensus was that we'd rather have someone else than Martinez, but Cholly fell in love with him so his making the roster was an assumption.

Jack: If we're not keeping Castillo, I guess you need one of these guys as a backup. That, in itself, was reason enough to keep Castillo in my mind.

Even without Castillo, I still have trouble seeing how we need both.


Brown hasn't hit anything since last August.

He's going to have to go down to AAA and show he can do something before he sniffs a big league dugout again.

Martinez is either going to be much more useful then everyone thinks or he will be awful. Probably no in between.

I see this team playing a lot of 2-1 games early on. I think the offense is a major issue.

I was in school yesterday during the Lidge thread but I did enjoy clout using not only 1 but every conceivable logical fallacy I can look up (while I think making up some new ones) all in one thread.

He is right though if we had kept Michael Bourn we Obviously would have traded for a closer who would have been just as good if not better than lidge. Doing that would have given us the confidence to not only win the world series for the next 16 seasons it also would have prevented all injuries to any phillies, De-aged Charlie manuel 20 years, brought his dead mother back to life, cured lepers and fixed the economy.

As you can see there are a lot of possibilities to having not traded Bourn for lidge. I mean all of them are stupid, but the possibilities are endless.

I don't let logic get in the way of a good argument though.

Just a couple of thoughts on the last day before the 2011 baseball season begins - the 128th for the National League Philadelphia Phillies. - I'm amped up with hopes but I'm not a guy who will say it's "World Series or bust" for the Phils. I dream of Broad Street parades but I also just wanna take in and enjoy the season, wishing for many fun (not too many painful) memorable games and plays. I was beyond thrilled that the Phillies got Cliff Lee back but not just so they had a better chance to win the World Series. I wanna watch Lee run to the mound again, pull off an unbelievable fielding play, get a base hit - inotherwords play baseball. And I hope I get to see Jimmy get a key late-inning double in the alley, and Ryan shoot a ball over the fence in an extra-inning game. It will be cool to hear Chooch interviewed again and try to translate what he was exactly saying. And how cool will it be if and when Chase Utley runs out to second base. If we make the World Series - awesome....but I wanna have fun getting there.

Anyway, look forward to lots of great discussions and arguments on this site - hope they're basically in good spirit since no one is fortunate to be always right or esp gifted all the time.

For anyone interested in reliving the highlight of one of the most magical off-seasons in Phillies history, here's a beautifully written essay from the night of December 14, 2010 that expands on baseball and Philadelphia beyond that historic event called A Night To Remember:

And a final link to what my Dad asserts is the best baseball song ever written - Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cub's Fan Last Request". Mr. Goodman died from leukemia not long after recording this ode to the game of baseball:

Cheers...and let's go get 'em Phils!!

pb: Dom did break his right hand, but he throws left-handed, so I assume he's not catching fly balls.

So can Polanco play 2B with less impact on his elbow? I would assume not but I think the Phillies need to seriously investigate a better backup 3B than Pete Orr. And really is Orr better than Castillo batting 8th?

I was trying to spin the Orr over Young decision but there is no way for me to do so. If Martinez is such a great fielder than why is he not the backup 3B? Or at least the backup 2B with Valdez at 3B. Young is a poor fielder but a likely better pinch hitter. PH's are likely while defensive replacements are unlikely. Neither player has any risk of being picked up by another team.

I see Bastardo and Rollins as the wildcards. I think both have the talent to be key contributors.

So how much did Castillo end up costing us?

Add the cost of Martinez for a year to Castillo's hotel bill. Watching Luis at 2nd added several feet of range to MM.

JW, isn't today "Prediction Day"?

I'm going with concerned. I expect Howard and Ibanez to have better years than last year. I know Ibanez is ancient but, I think he had some carryover injury problems out of the chute last year and that he should be better, physically. Francisco has to be the best he's been and Rollins needs to hit line drives with regularity if we're going to get production we need in the 3 hole. Polanco's elbow scares me. Nothing here to be ambivalent about, much less confident.

I swear to God that a piece of the sky just hit me in the head.

With apologies to others who have already cited this article:

'Dancing' to find the 2011 Series winner

To Jayson Stark: Et tu, Brutus? The flippen’ Rex Sox??? Stark sez:

They're better than the Phillies. They're better than the Yankees. They're better than the Rangers. They're better than everyone who has pirouetted across this stage. In the last week of March, anyhow, they're better. And that's all I have to go on.

I think there’s probably a half dozen teams that are better than the Red Sox (Giants, Braves, Texas (money and talent available at the deadline), A’s (starting pitching), the Yankees (unlimited cash at the deadline) and of course the Phils (a flawed but battle-tested team on a mission with 4 aces in the rotation).

Until they totally crash and burn – and I don’t think that’s really possible – how can you bet against the Phils?

"They're better than the Phillies. They're better than the Yankees. They're better than the Rangers. They're better than everyone who has pirouetted across this stage. In the last week of March, anyhow, they're better. And that's all I have to go on."

A bunch of absolutist statements followed by 1 sentence of weak disclaimer.

Yes, I know I'm taking that prediction seriously.

(FWIW, the Boston lineup is extremely good. But what about their rotation? Unless Beckett and Lackey rebound, their #3-5 in the rotation are kinda shaky.)


Great post. I second it.

bap writes "disgusted beyond words"

i don't know how you can be disgusted when they haven't played a single freakin game yet. i mean, that's just a joke quite frankly.

st, that's not a joke. That's bap.

Orr is on the roster because Polly isn't close to 100% and neither Valdez/Mini Mart are adequate defensive options at 3B.

Orr, Martinez, and Valdez seems like middling utility infielder overkill. smells of throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks.

I'm looking at 93-95 wins this year. The offense is not what it was and probably will not get back to that point. I could maybe see Rube pulling off a trade for a bat, especially if Utley is still not healthy by the ASB. But then bench is suspect, the lineup is average at best. Just more questions than I thought there would be coming out Spring Training but the starting rotation alone should get this team to the playoffs. I'm still skeptical if they can win the division because the Braves offense is better and probably the BP as well but it should be fun and a rollercoaster ride of a season as usual. I wouldn't want it any other way. Look forward to reading everyones incite into things. I'll be lurking...

From Asked what more he could have done this spring, Young replied, "Hit .400?"

Yo, new thread

If the Giants can win a WS with the slop they put on the field in the playoffs and the 17th ranked offense last year, it makes me feel better about the Phils offense.

New poll scale:

How do you feel about the Phillies offense?

Very concerned
Extremely Concerned
Lucky to win 70 games
Disgusted beyond words
New York Mets

BP (PECOTA) projected D. Young to have a .740 OPS this year.

Just sayin'. He may be terrible defensively but he can hit a hell of a lot better than every other bench option not named Ross Gload.

Yo new prediction thread.

Two guys' takes on the NL East and the Post-Season picks, with the Phils winning it all!

Two guys' takes on the NL East and the Post-Season picks, with the Phils winning it all!

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