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Friday, March 18, 2011

Comments

Who's on first?

Get your Baez jersey ready!

Thanks. For a second I thought they were really testing Martinez' range.

Or mercenary.

How did spell check miss that?

I'd send Baez to Seattle (to help them with their relief problems) for, like, Pacheco Chavez.

Mercinary is a word, too, I think. I think it means, "guy who's wearing a Baez jersey all year because he spoke too damn soon." Or something like that.

Mets eat $6 million to cut a career .290 hitter...I think they have officially been relegated to the NL East Basement for 11'

I'd send them Baez AND Kendrick for Nick Franklin.

methinks JW needs to post pix of himself in that Baez jersey. :)

idk. Phils still might actually trade him. Or cut him. Or something.

We can only hope!

Stache - Beltran's continued knee issues are a much bigger issue. At best, they lose a guy who was going to hit ~.270 or so with zero power and likely average/below average defense.

Murphy will likely get his share of starts at 2B for them especially vs. RHP and just a question of what they do with Hernandez who is a slightly weaker offensive version of Castillo. Kind of like the message it sends.

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but we'll be facing Brett Myers on opening day. I would have thought it would be Wandy.

I guess it doesn't matter what order the Astros roll out their pitchers, though, since they'll be sweeping us like they always do.

MG - Beltran, Santana, OLIVER PEREZ, has Bay showed up yet. Reyes will be injured at some point...KRod? Not to mention...If you're following the Wilpon/Madoff scandal, it's been mentioned that there will be a Mets firesale this year, as the Wilpons will not be able to find a minority partner for a franchise in such a dire financial situation. They will be forced to sell the team outright, to an owner whom will in all likely-hood be looking to rebuild...

I guess I could see why Amaro might be interested in Castillo simply because this team has little/no depth in the middle INF and it allows Valdez to move back to his utility INF role.

I just don't think Castillo can even give the Phils any real lift except for the sample fact that he takes BBs and could possibly give the Phils an OBP boost they will likely need at the bottom of the lineup. Valdez and Martinez almost never take a BB.

Question is does Castillo's likely .20-.30 boost in OBP over Valdez outweigh his likely defensive downgrade at 2B? I say no but you could argue that either way.

how's polly - any update?

JW: "Even if Clout Day is still two days away (March 20 marks the unofficial date when spring training performance can be discussed intelligently)"

Unofficial? The man himself has given his blessing. clout day is about as official as it can be. Oh, and it's a lower case "c" in clout.

Dave Cameron advocates signing Luis Castillo - I agree with his analysis.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/should-the-phillies-sign-luis-castillo/

Stache - Perez and Castillo were sunk costs. Ditto KRod and they knew that Santana would be back by August best-case scenario.

The interesting rumor is that Mets' ticket sales have been really slow even with the 14% reduction in average ticket price and that if they really have another dramatic drop in attendance they might have real cash flow problem issues towards the middle part of the season.

Went from 51k in '08 to 38k in '09 and down to 32k in '10. Their attendance will certainly decline again this year but just a question of how much and how fast. If they get out to a terrible start in April which is very possible with their schedule:

April

14 road games, 13 homes games

@ Marlins
@ Phils
Nats
Rockies
@ Braves
Astros
DBacks
@ Nats
Phils

Lidge's 'pen session was yesterday, or today? If today, I don't care how he feels until he wakes up tomorrow.

As for Utley and the recent reports of no real progress (hence, seeing a specialist), I'm guessing that the specialist cleared him to take BP, vs. the original plan to just "rest."

With Polanco and Utley still nursing injuries, the 'bench INF' spot should still be a competition. I think Young makes it as pinch hitter and maybe 3B if necessary.
That leaves one spot for temporary Utley replacement. I think the order goes like this:
Martinez has first shot since his decision needs to be the start of the season.
Barfield likely has an 'out' clause sometime in May so he would get some more time to prove he is better than Martinez in the minors. (Young may have a similar clause.)
Orr is likely signed a full season minor league contract so it makes sense to give the other guys the first chances.
Castillo was once good but would have to be brought in as the starter with Valdez to the bench since Castillo can barely field at 2B anymore.
Larish, Bozied, Quinlan, etc had little chance and did little to change that. Still would like to see Bozied get a chance but Mayberry is much more valuable at this point.

And with all this debate, the last player on the bench normally plays little for Charlie. Certainly could matter if health issues continue though.

"cash flow problem issues towards the middle part of the season."

you mean like taking out loans to cover "operating costs". they won't even be able to make payroll soon

According to a couple places, the Phils signed Scott Franzke through 2016. If this is true this is some really great news, especially with the rumors about him leaving for a TV gig elsewhere. If there is any guy who should be picking up the torch after Harry left us it should be him, not T-Mac.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/sports/phillies/phils-ville/phillies-sign-scott-franzke-thru/article_8a29ed4a-5181-11e0-bf75-00127992bc8b.html

Other thing against signing Castillo besides the supposed crappy attitude are the health issues and the '09 numbers partly a mirage based on a very favorable BABIP and abnormally high % LD.

Valdez gave the Mets an OPS of .664 in '09 and the Phils an OPS of .667 in '10. Basically what he will do this year although probably closer to .650-.660.

Castillo posted a worse OPS than that in '08 (.604) and '10 (.660) with averages below .250 both years.

My bet is that Castillo is much closer to the '10 version who won't better than .270 and have an OPS under .700 this year too.

Do the Phils prefer to sign Castillo, hope he doesn't have issues with his legs which he has been plagued by the last few years, and get a likely .20-.30 boost in OPS (OBP) with a likely defensive downgrade at 2B?

On Utley: If the team loses him all year to surgery and does not trade for a replacement, of sorts, I fear that the offense will lack the punch to win the division. Couple that with bullpen struggles and we may be lucky to finish in 3rd after the 0-1 & 1-2 losses pile up.

Stache - They have already borrowed the max ($100M) the owners are willing to lend them through loans and guarantees and they had a hard time last summer serving $375M in debt.

If interest rates go up a bit and their attendance really drops because they get out to a really poor start and are say 10 games below .500 when they play the Yanks the 3rd week of May, yeah I do think you could start to see some real smoke from those rumors.

I saw Juan Perez and conflated Timo Perez (in LV last year, wasn't he?) and Juan Pierre and thought I should have remembered that signing.

"Castillo can barely field at 2B anymore."

is this based off of dropping the ball against the Yanks. i have him down for 2 errors last year and ranked 8th in fielding percentage in 09'. has he lost it to the point he can't get to balls in the hole anymore?

SS: Castillo is incapable of lateral movement - His range is downright terrible. UZR would seem to support this over the last few years.

"with averages below .250 both years"

he averaged .302 in 09' in 142 GP, 87 and 86 GP in 08' and 10' respectively

Stache - Look at his % LD and his BABIP. They are both abnormally high especially his % LD.

Castillo isn't a .290-.300 hitter anymore just as Ibanez isn't a .280-.290 hitter anymore.

I amend my previous statement regarding Lidge. I actually don't care to know how he's feeling tomorrow (day after 'pen). Based on his previous history of being forthcoming with pain/injury, I'm actually going to not care about any soundbites relating to how Lidge feels regardless of time or circumstance.

Bay - Thanks. I think alot of people just remember him dropping the ball and equate that as a terrible fielder for a career...The guy I remember was 1 half of the biggest pain in the arse leadoff tandems I've had to suffer through, with Juan Pierre

Castillo's experience will appeal to the Phillies. I say the odds of Castillo being on the opening day roster are 50/50

MG: The Mets situation at 2B is dire. Murphy is a hideously bad fielder at the position and Hernandez can't hit.

"I say the odds of Castillo being on the opening day roster are 50/50"

I just threw up in my mouth...

I may have to reconsider my stance on Eckstein.

JW - Your probably right and the biggest reason it makes sense is that Castillo/Valdez is a slight upgrade over Valdez/Martinez or Barfield? at a marginal cost ($414k minimum for Castillo).

glad to see the phillies are exhibiting patience at the plate (NOT!)

That Heyman article isn't fun to read, but that's because he voices the same concerns many fans have. I think he's on target with the potential impact of Utley's absence, coupled with Werth's.

Of course, everyone else could perform fabulously! And we won't need a whole lot of runs to win...not that we can't lose a lot of 0-1 or 1-2 games like we did last year. The Phils are hardly in terrible shape. But having Utley out for the foreseeable future certainly has an impact.

Other reason for signing Castillo:

- Even though Castillo is a switch-hitter, he is notably better vs. LHP in his career although that hasn't been the case the last 3 years.

Valdez for whatever odd reason has number better career splits vs. RHP even though he is a right-handed bat:

vs. RHP .257/.303/.340 in 467 ABs
vs. LHP .202/.259/.293 in 208 ABs

***Castillo's experience will appeal to the Phillies. I say the odds of Castillo being on the opening day roster are 50/50

***

He's worth a shot. As for the attitude issues, some guys just hate playing for crap teams and mail it in...these guys sometimes turn it on when they are on a good team. At worst, he doesnt work out and you cut him. Kinda a no-risk move.

"attitude issues"

see Pedro

Yeah, and I'd love the slight chance that he performs very well and it's another thing to rub in the Mets faces.

Pretty much every guy on the Mets in the last 2-3 years has been said to have "attitude problems". Maybe its not them and maybe its just a crappy Organization to play for?

clout: The Mets situation at 2B is dire. Murphy is a hideously bad fielder at the position and Hernandez can't hit.

This said, why do you think the Mets dumped Castillo? Why would the Phillies consider him if the Mets, whose 2B situation is worse than the Phils, dumped him?

On another note, say we did sign Castillo. When Utley comes back, do we dump Castillo or Young? Unless Young is hitting about .170, I'd still want to dump Castillo, but will the Phillies?

I listen to Sirius/XM MLB Channel alot, and the guys on there the other day were saying Luis Castillo's "attitude" issues were overblown, at least when it comes to his fellow players.

I forget exactly how they phrased it, but the gist was that his fellow players loved Castillo, but management didn't always love him because he spoke his mind.

I believe this was Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette saying this, FWIW.

NEPP: I hadn't heard that about Beltran, Wright or Bay. Or any of the young guys. Did I miss the stories about these guys or were you exaggerating a little bit?

FWIW, on the same program I believe both Kennedy and Duquette said, strictly performance wise, everything they saw indicated that the total package of Castillo (offense + defense) was still better than Hernandez, Emaus, and Murphy.

While they admitted Castillo was a shell of his former self, they were saying that all the other Mets options were CLEARLY worse (in their opinion) and that it didn't really make sense to dump Castillo.

(That's what they said, so don't arge with me about their opinions...I'm just providing it FYI in case anyone wants their perspectives.)

Castillo's pre-clout day meaningless Spring stats:

28 AB, 8 H, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3 RBI, 4 R, .286 AVG, .355 OBP, .641 OPS

Castillo is likely good for a completely empty .280 average with decent On-base skills at this point. And mediocre defense.

Is that better than Valdez? Honestly, it probably is a slight upgrade even factoring in defense.

Tuffy G with the walkoff

GBrett - for me on Heyman it was the tired old chestnuts, 'Blanton's bloated contract' & 'Young would be a good fit'. I don't think either are true.

SS - On Wednesday J. Stark made the point that Castillo's range has become limited. I think the scout's eyes back it up.

krukker: From everything I've read, Mets management can't stand Castillo. It's personal, not baseball. The fact he is now a below average fielder and his offense is an empty as can be just makes it easier.

Of course, that makes him no worse than Mini-Mart or Barf and he does have the advantage of actually being able to make a major league team.

Frankly, I want no parts of any of 'em.

NEPP: How is a completely empty .280 an upgrade over Valdez, who is a far superior defender and plays multiple positions?

You can make the case that Castillo will have a higher OB than Valdez, but his SLG will be lower and the gap between them defensively is wide.

According to BBRef, Mark Teahen has negative WAR each of the last four years, career WAR of -0.7 (compare Wilson Valdez at +1.7) and is owed $10.25 million over the next two years. Now THAT is a bad contract.

Hope:P Tuffy demands to be noticed! He will not be denied this season.

OTOH, it would be fun if Castillo can be productive, knowing the Mets are paying almost all of his salary for us.

***NEPP: How is a completely empty .280 an upgrade over Valdez, who is a far superior defender and plays multiple positions?

***

At this point, Valdez would be playing 3B, so its a moot point.

clout: Frankly, I want no parts of any of 'em.

We're in complete agreement then. Is there anyone out there who you think might be worthwhile to get if the trade price is reasonable? I'd mentioned Mark Ellis a few threads ago, but I'm not sure he's enough of an upgrade to warrant his salary. Others have mentioned Jeff Keppinger, who may be interesting. Anyone in particular on your list?

clout, if I didn't know any better (granted, we're still 2 days away from any real ability to assert anything), I'd say that Tuffy is getting tired of being a running joke on BL, and wants to see the Show!

I just want to see him make it, even if only for a day, just to see his name on the back of a Phils jersey.

NEPP - Yeah that maybe be another reason they are interested in Castillo for the simple fact they want another body because of the uncertainty about Polanco's elbow especially in the early going.

Supposedly Polanco will be ready to play again next week but it wouldn't shock me if has to miss some time in April due to his elbow.

With Polanco out, this is one of the worst lineups in the NL even if they would sign a Castillo:

SS Rollins
CF Vic
LF Ibanez
1B Howard
RF Francisco
C Ruiz
3B Valdez
2B Castillo or Martinez/Barfield

Hard to see this lineup averaging 4/runs a game over a course of a few weeks.

I know I fall into the trap of thinking Valdez is going to repeat his performance from last year. Which is, well, wishful thinking at best.

Due diligence on Castillo.

Put me in the "No part of Castillo" camp. The only incentive to sign him is the 1% chance he succeeds enough to rub it in the faces of the Mets. I can get behind that... but nothing else.

Unikruk - Valdez numbers (.258/.306/.360) simply weren't that good and I could see him duplicating the AVG numbers and maybe eve modestly improving his OBP a bit if he BBs a bit more with a slight decrease in his SLG because he wont hit 4 HRs again in ~300 ABs.

Marcel has him at .256/.313/.372 and James at .260/.312/.335 in 2011.

Some Jayson Stark tweets:

Charlie Manuel gave interesting answer today when asked how Utley injury complicates things, saying "I'm also concerned about RF"...#espnst

Manuel said later, "I'm concerned about our (RF) defense. Said Francisco, Mayberry, Gload "have to show they can handle that" ... #espnst

Manuel also worried about offense w/ Werth gone & Utley down. Said all his options have been "steady" players in minors but ... #espnst

Manuel said "I don't see any one guy who put up a big season in the minor leagues," so have to do more in big lgs than in minors ... #espnst

One last from Manuel: Strongly considering playing Ross Gload in RF a few times a week, likely in platoon w/ Ben Francisco #phillies #espnst

Not brimming with confidence.

Or lowering expectations?

But, yeah, doesn't sound overly confident.

Sounds like Manuel is throwing out the bat signal to the front office- "Make a trade"

The OF comments do mesh with the John Jay rumors-LH/RH true platoon, etc.

Iceman: Or maybe he's stating what most rational people (except the BL propaganda crew) have realized: the offense isn't all that good with Werth and Utley gone.

Jack- right. That's exactly how it's been. Only after Utley went down did you start going all Chicken Little about the offense. Impressive revisionist history.

Iceman: I didn't mention my take at all. What I said is that most people, plus apparently Charlie Manuel, don't think the offense is all that good without Utley and Werth.

My ego thanks you for making it about me, though.

Jack- your general smug attitude led me to believe that you were including yourself in the group of 'rational' people concerned about the offense. You obviously think a lot of yourself.

If you don't consider yourself rational, and contrary to every single one of your posts for the past 6 months or so, you're not wetting your pants about the offense, I apologize for the assumption.

Why is everyone now certain that Polly will open the season on the DL? Did I miss some news today?

clout - No. He is supposed to play something next week.

Iceman: Oh, I do consider myself rational, and yes, I do worry about the offense.

I find it interesting that instead of debating the merits (or telling Charlie that he's wrong), you decided to make it about my timeline of when I started worrying about the offense, which is really irrelevant to the whole thing.

Do you agree with Charlie that the offense is a real worry if Utley is out? Or are you saying that Charlie is wrong?

Iceman: The only thing Jack has said definitively is that the Phils will NOT bring in anyone else to play RF.

MG: That's what I read too. Which means NEPP is wrong about Valdez being the starter at 3B.

The Phils will finish Top 5 in offense even if Utley misses the entire season. If one or two others go down for significant time, however, all bets are off.

If you want to worry about something that could really screw things up, worry about the bullpen.

I swear to God that a piece of the sky just landed on my front lawn.

Clout: Will the Phillies finish above the Braves, though, if Utley misses the entire season?

clout -- Madson, Romero, Báez, Mathieson and Contreras have all had nice springs. Hell, Zagurski even gets people out. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise; we make a clean break with Brad Lidge.

Jack: Yes, but it will be a close, exciting race.

cut: You lost me when you said, "all had nice springs."

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

Yo, new thread

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