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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Comments

As much as I was for Contreras to close I wondered how long he'd hold up.

I'm anxious to see how Stutes holds up in the bigs. I'm also anxious to see how he's used. It seems like Charlie has a hard time handing the ball to young bullpen arms unless their name is David Herndon. I would hope he doesn't sit around to collect rust.

Now all the morons who have wished for Lidge to be injured and stay injured can be outed as the morons they are. ANY injury to the back end of the bullpen is bad because everyone else in the bullpen is shifted up in the pecking order. Now that there's another injury, everyone else shifts up again. Madson closes now... ok, fine... but who is the setup guy? Who is the new 7th inning guy? Where do Baez and Herndon fall? Their ineptitude has done little for the team, but now the injury means their roles become more important. The fact is we need Lidge (and Contreras obviously) back asap, even if he's not the closer.

Good news:

Amaro did report today that Romero will likely need the minimum on the disabled list. He went on April 19th and is eligible to return on May 3rd.

Likely will have a rehab appearance and should be back by Mother's Day weekend/2nd week in May.

The argument regarding strength of schedule is perfect for certain types of fans, because the Phils can never win under the parameters of the argument.

If they beat 'bad' teams, it is irrelevant because the team is bad. If they lose to bad teams, it's proof they're not any good because they can't even beat bad teams. Whatever fits the narrative. It's a trick opposing fans use all the time to undermine their rivals in a debate, only in this case, Phils fans are using it against their own team.

For example: before this series MG rightly pointed out that all these games would probably be low-scoring, and GTown said "I've got no problem w/ that, so long as the Phillies are scoring 2 & 1, respectively, to the Padres' 1 & 0." That is exactly what happened, four times in a row, and he's still here complaining after a 4-game series sweep.

I also like that the series against the Braves in which the Phils took 2 out of 3 on the road is now cast aside (specifically by the smug David Murphy) because the Braves don't currently have a winning record. I don't think the Braves are as great as some people here thought before the season started, but they're certainly a playoff contender at the very least.

It's as if people don't understand that you win 90+ games by abusing bad teams and treading water against the good ones. That's what the Phils have done and they're currently 9 games over .500.

You can only beat the teams on your schedule, and the Phils have done that so far. They can't control who they play. If you want to complain about things because "it makes things more interesting," then at least complain about things that can be debated. Pretending that they could have made you happy at this point is pretty disingenuous.

MG once again proves that when he decides to put a guy on his hit list there is no chance of them getting off.

Kendrick isn't pitching fine? He's appeared in 6 games and given up runs in 2. He has not allowed inherited runners to score. His only bad outing was the game with Milwaukee this week. On the season he has 8 IP with 2 ER for a 2.25 ERA.

Baez isn't pitching well? He's appeared in 9 games and given up 2 runs. He did allow his only inherited runner to score. His stuff has been better this season by every conceivable measure compared to last year. On the season he has 9 1/3 IP with a 1.93 ERA.


So yeah I think pitching fine or good is apt with them. I'm not saying they are world beaters or anything but they have not been slop this season so far. Perhaps if you actually tried to be objective instead of hammering home whatever agenda you have for that particular player you'd see that. Baez stank last year, he has not so far this year. Kendrick has stank at times, but so far- not this year. They could absolutely fall off and revert to being garbage but to say they are slop right now is categorically false.

Good points there Iceman on the idiotic "bad teams" argument. Its also worth noting that this early in the season, the Phillies are largely contributing to the fact that these teams are cellar dwellars by beating them into the ground. For instance, the Nationals are sitting at 10-10, but 10-7 against teams not from Philadelphia. If the Phillies had gone 2-1 in that series, then the Nats all of a sudden qualify as a winning team....but we swept them so they fall into the slop category with their 10-10 record. That David Murphy statement is just bogus use of stats.

We didn't sweep the Nats.

Some of the teams the Phillies have beaten are coming last because the Phils helped put 'em there.

Iceman: You must have missed the exchange that followed --

b_a_p: So, that means you won't be heard to utter a negative word about the offense if we score 6 total runs in the series but win all 4 games? I'm afraid I find that a little hard to believe.

Myself: You never know. I might be so overjoyed w/ a Phillies sweep that I lavish praise on our moribund offense.

Clearly, I was not overjoyed.

In all seriousness, I should understand by now that an extremely dry sense of humor rarely translates w/in the environs of an online forum.

squads- I hadn't thought of that. Good point. In fact, if the Phils had won that extra innings game against Milwaukee, the Brewers would be under .500 right now and thus it would not have meant anything.

5 wins a row. 700+ winning %.

And BLers are going at each other like a pack of rabid hyenas.

Only happy when they're miserable.

NOOOOOOOOOO BIG TRUCK

8 IP or the equivalent proves absolutely nothing about a given pitcher. Granted that both KK and Baez have good ERAs so far. That's great. But it really proves nothing. Wilson Valdez could conceivably pitch 8 innings of approx. 2 ER ball. That wouldn't make him a good bullpen arm.

Ice - Good thing the Phils lost then. Otherwise two of their wins would have been tainted. Instead, one of them must mean something because Milwaukee is not as bad as they would have been if the Phils beat them.

Iceman it's easier on the ego to be a glass is half empty kind of person. If you're right you get to say "I told you so." If you're wrong? Well if you're wrong then the Phils make a deep run in the playoffs, maybe even win the WFC and you're happy. It's a win/win.

SDP series composite score: 12 - 3

And it's San Diego for gosh sakes. Dry, dense air. And cooler right now than later in the season. This is the worst environmental stadium for offense. Only place worse might be Death Valley at night in winter.

With the DL'ing of Contreras, this most certainly means that Oswalt is going to have to go past the 6th inning in one of his starts this year. Otherwise, things could get very dicey in his starts, assuming we keep producing offensively like we have.

Heather: But does it prove they are slop? You mention nothing about that. Also, you leave out the part where I acknowledge that they could revert to their normal numbers after a decent start. but you do work in a silly analogy about Wilson Valdez.

I also mentioned slightly more than just their ERA's. They've not really given up runs this season which is good. Isn't that the point of the bullpen? Keep your team ahead, or keep the game within reach when the starter can't get it done.

re: Phils playing easy schedule


The NL sucks, period. They will play a crappy schedule all year long.

Thank goodness for Bastardo!

"Heather: But does it prove they are slop? You mention nothing about that."

It depends on what your definition of slop is, but their numbers last year indicate "non-greatness".

"They've not really given up runs this season which is good. Isn't that the point of the bullpen?"

Yes, they've been good in an extremely SSS. Great! I said that.

It means very little as far as drawing any kind of conclusion as to their performance going forward.

Mike: You're on the right track, but I'm not big on pulling the "I told you so". I am genuinely happy to have been wrong when the Phillies prove me so. Likewise, I am genuinely miserable to have been correct when the Phillies prove me so.

Simple solution: Fire Milt Thompson.

It depends on what your definition of slop is, but their numbers last year indicate "non-greatness".

This is precisely where I think the argument of them being slop goes flying off the rails. What do their numbers last year have to do with them this year? Relievers are notorious for being hard to predict from year to year. They can be garbage one year, and very good the next.

My point from the beginning is that simply RIGHT NOW, they have been fine. They could drop off but they might not. I just think that people sometimes pigeonhole guys into what fits their argument and never allow for the current situation to have its voice.

The thing with middle relief in particular (but all relief in general) is that you are always dealing with a SSS. What's the most innings a second level middle reliever gets on a team these days, 65 IP? How can such a guy not differ greatly from year to year.

So, yeah, Baez stank last year. Kendrick can, on any given night, smash like a deer on the front hood (DOTFH). But that doesn't mean they cannot pitch a few decent innings at a time. Herndon is a different story, however. He needs more time in AAA. Now that we've freed Mike Stutes it's time to think about a legitimate replacement for last year's rule 5.

I have no idea how Mike Stutes will fare in his first go around in the bigs. All I know and I've said it before, the Phils management seem to like him (maybe they just like him as a person, IDK). They flew him to Philadelphia before spring training to meet with reporters about being a hopeful in the Phillies minor league system, Charlie mentioned him a few times in spring training and said at the end that he would be pitching at some point in this season in Philadelphia. RAJ said when he was sent down that we haven't seen the last of him this year. If you don't count Dominic Brown as a pure minor leaguer due to his status at the end of last year and expectations this year, Mike Stutes was the main other prospect they put vids up about on their website.

Here's an interview from the Phillies web site in early March that I think the link still works for. Meet Michael Stutes:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=13228685
or maybe this link - 11Duration- 00-57

So, Mitchell Boggs, he of the career ERA+ of 92, just shut down the middle of the Reds order (the best offensive team in the NL) for the save.

We are not the only contending team trusting middling pitchers in big spots.

I find this funny: ESPN just did an entire 5 minute segment on the how the Miami Heat are 1-18 in shots in the last 10 seconds of a game when they are down by 3 points or less.

They would get crushed on here by the sheer weight of the SSS posts, and how drawing any conclusions on such a small sample size is just mind numbingly stupid.

ESPN mind-numbingly stupid? You don't say!

I find the two-faced double standards on this board amazing.

To the naysayers: The Phillies are not a perfect team.

I challenge the Pissy-Pants Diaper Boys to name one that IS perfect.

Murphy (who I normally respect) whines that the Phillies haven't been that good against winning teams? WTF? He's gonna try to make a case with THAT sample size? And the rest of the Pissy-Pants Daiper Boys agree with him?

Hey, I wish Lidge wasn't on the DL. I wish Contreras wasn't on the DL. I wish Utley wasn't on the DL. I wish Romero wasn't on the DL? I wish Ryan Howard was hitting .400 with 10 HR. I wish, I wish, I wish...

BFD. It is what is is, and they'll pitch and play with who they have.

What is it? First F*ck8ng Place with the best record in baseball despite all the injuries and an anemic offense.

The Pissy-Pants Daiper Boys (PPDB), despite the first place showing, are going to find something wrong with this team...or for that matter ANY team. They're peeing for joy in their pull-ups right now because SOMETHING about this team fits their narrative.

And guess what? In a 162 game season SOMETHING is bound to go wrong with every team, so they get to be right about something during every season. All they have to do is keep whining, and sooner or later they'll be right.

And even when things are going great they still complain - just to have the ability to say "See, I told you so" when the inevitable down spell occurs.

Well, MG, G-Town, bap, Jack and whoever....push yourselves away from your keyboards, come up out of your basements and get you Mommies to give you a wipe down and a good change.

It's a long season and you're gonna need it.

awh: I agree... been saying it all along...

The wet blankets get to have it both way. They get to enjoy the unprecedented success the Phillies have had since 2007... and they get to say "I told you so" every time something goes wrong. It's a lot easier to be a Doom and Gloomer than an optimist.

Speaking objectively about the schedule, the next three series are pretty favorable before it gets very tough. From May 6 to May 26 they go on a brutal 20-game stretch in 21 days.. One good thing is that they have Halladay-Lee-Oswalt lined up for that Braves series (although with the way Hamels is pitching, arguably you'd rather have him at #3) starting May 6th.

If they could go 6-3 in these next 9 games (very doable), they'd go into that tough stretch 21-9. Even 20-10 in their first 30 games you'd figure would give them a little bit of a cushion going into the May gauntlet.

Even the best teams still have periods where certain aspects of the team go into slumps. At the beginning of the season, it was the starters, with 3 duds in the first week or so. In the past couple weeks it has been the offense.

We knew the starters were better than they showed in the first week, and we know the offense is better then they have been in the past 2 weeks. These things will revert to norms in cycles.

But here's the thing... we've been winning anyway, despite these slumps. That's what the best teams do: they win even when they're not at their best.

We had all the injuries last year and still had the best record in baseball. So far this year, we've had injuries to Utley and 3 important pieces of the bullpen, and the aforementioned slumps. We have faced adversity and we will assuredly face more throughout the season.

I expect the team will go into several losing streaks at some point, and they'll look awful. We just have to remember that this team, which is loaded with starters and an offense that will likely end up around league average, will still win a lot of games.

I know it's easy to point out the things that are going wrong, but it also helps to step back and admire what we're watching: a team that even when it isn't firing on all cylinders is still doing what it takes to win.

CJ, I consider myself a realist, not an optimist.

And what's reality?

First F8ck8ng Place with the thing that matters the most in baseball: the best starting pitching.

I think I'm going to Christen a new B*L group similar to the Sir Alden Trio:

MG, Jack, G-Town and b_a_p:

Charter members of... The Pissy-Pants Quartet.

Last thread, Jack told us the Phils have been very impressive so far.

At least he said that the Phils can't possibly keep up this winning percentage against bad teams, which must mean that he believes the Phils right now are OVER-achieving. It's nice to hear a doom and gloomer talk that way!

krukker, for the Pissy-Pants Quartet and their ilk on this board, the logic that you just demonstrated just doesn't compute.

I think their Mommies gave them mental blocks for Christmas.

Two runs surrendered in 4+ games; Cliff Lee didn't pitch. Incredible.
Contreras goes down. Horrible.
21ish games played. We're the class of the senior circuit, albeit with significant flaws. It's a long season.

krukker- agree 100%. I think everyone agrees the offense couldn't possibly get any worse, and will eventually get better. And yet they are still winning games at an impressive clip. It's like people don't remember that this team was built on starting pitching- when they are getting pitching like this, they can be average (or even awful like the past week) and still be very successful.

Also, lorecore mentioned it earlier but it bears repeating- the NL is filled with more bad teams than good ones. This rotation is going to feast on a majority of the teams in this league and the Phils will beat them and beat them often.

Honestly, as much as I enjoy the competitive division races of recent years, I'd love for them to run out and hide in the first few months before one of the starting pitchers goes on the DL (which will eventually happen).

awh: The Pissy Pants Quartet? My, but that is clever.

TTI: You are seriously going to argue that Baez and KK have pitched well to this point with these numbers:

Baez numbers:

xFIP 5.28, 1.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, .257 BABIP

KK numbers:

xFIP 7.17, 1.1 K/9, 6.8 BB/9, .185 BABIP

These guys have real trouble throwing strikes, aren't missing any bats, and have had all kinds of fortunate smile upon them with balls hit in play.

Neither on of them has remotely pitched 'well' although they will have ample opportunity over the next few weeks to right the ship.

Hugh: "We're the class of the senior circuit, albeit with significant flaws. It's a long season."

That is a true statement.

And, CJ, no I do not think that the Phillies will finish with an .846 winning percentage against the teams that you described as "bad."

Care to make a wager on that?

I thought the Phils would win 8-9 games on this 12-game stretch vs. Padres/DBacks/Mets/Nats before this road trip and they would would win 6 more games including today. Decent chance to maybe even win 10 games.

I do think this is a weak offensive team because they don't take BBs, have much power, or have much speed. They aren't as bad as they have been the past 2 weeks though because a bunch of guys were just really slumping at the same time & they hardly got any hits with RISP over that same stretch.

If you think though this team continues to hit 20-30 pts higher with RISP above their overall team average over the longer term, then yeah I think you are being an unrealistic homer.

While the pitching was very impressive this weekend, this is a potentially a historically bad lineup they faced that is slumping in the best pitcher's park in MLB. Played a key part on the 0.71 ERA for the Phils' staff in a series.

Why coming out here was a panacea to some of their struggles last week. Played a team with decent starting pitching/great bullpen but simply one that can't score & was slumping.

If that makes me a 'negative nancy' or a member of some incontinence quartet so be it.

Doubt if Cliff Lee cares but it's a shame the Phillies couldn't have had the exremely rare 5 game series so he could have had a crack at that Padres line-up in Petco Park too.

Phils won't get pitching like this again in a series. Not better than a 0.71 ERA in a 3/4 games series especially at CBP once it warms up a bit and humidity kicks in.

That's the kind of performance that is a historical anomaly. I would bet that in the last 40-50 years, the Phils have had maybe 2-3 series where they played 3/4 games and had a longer team ERA.

MG- do you think the Phils offense is actually as bad as its performance has shown over the past week?

Iceman - No. "They aren't as bad as they have been the past 2 weeks though because a bunch of guys were just really slumping at the same time & they hardly got any hits with RISP over that same stretch."

MG- my bad. Somehow missed that part of your post.

This is exactly why Halladay should not be throwing 130 pitches into the ninth against a Pacific doormat. In April. In the fourth game of a 3-0 road series.

"This" is what, spike?
Did Halladay go on the DL?

"It cracks me up, when guys continue to complain that Mathieson 'DESERVED' to make the team last year."


He did. Look at the the work he did from May to August of last year in AAA. He EARNED a shot in the majors in 2010 with his performance. He DOMINATED in AAA for most of last year. Dominated as a closer (which he had never been before the end of 2009). Besides the smallest cup of coffee ever, he never got a shot. That says more about the level of team the Phils had then about his ability. He would have been up with many teams last year, the way he pitched at LV.

Get over the "straight fastball" bullcrap. When you can hit 98 and 99 MPH on the gun (which I have only seen him do about 100 times in the past year) it don't have to move much if its spotted well. The reason he isn't up now has more to do with his inability to hold runners and with the club's insistance that he become a multi-inning reliever. Its a work in progress with that and the fact that he is learning a brand new pitch, that the club is demanding he master before he comes up.

He's not sharp right now. Hopefully its something mechanical and not something physical. He's still got a major league arm and a major league work ethic. One day he'll get his shot to show that with somebody.


We really need utley back this line up is weak I mean rollins hittting 3rd is a joke I would even give ibanez or francisco a chance and see if they can't benifit from hitting in front of howard but rollins clearly isn't hitting there.

MG: Your argument is insipid and you are refusing to give guys credit because they are in your doghouse. Try to be objective for one minute of your life about things.

Yes I would call them pitching fine so far this year. They may not be missing bats but again- the point of a reliever is to not give up runs. They've done well in that aspect. It may turn yet but that's not what was said. You called them slop but that is again- categorically false.

Here's some advice. It's okay to say a guy is pitching fine. Take your blinders off.

February and March = shouldn't make conclusions because nothing counts

April and May = shouldn't make conclusions because its too early

June and July = shouldn't make conclusions because historically they are second half team

August = shouldn't make conclusions because its the dog days of the season

So basically it seems nobody should discuss the team in any critical way except for "Great win" or "sucks they lost" until labor day?

Crazy thought: Sign Pedro as a reliever.

Pros:

Great press conferences
Yet another HoF pitcher on our staff
Great mound presence

Cons:

He's 107 years old
Fragile
Issues in the first inning in every start in 09

***Doubt if Cliff Lee cares but it's a shame the Phillies couldn't have had the exremely rare 5 game series so he could have had a crack at that Padres line-up in Petco Park too.***

I believe that would have violated the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the 8th Amendment.

Pedro is the perfect candidate to fill in for our Aged Ace Relief Pitcher. He will just need 3 innings to warm up.

Even with all the negatives in mind, Pedro is still a better option than Herndon.

Worst case scenario: he sucks as bad as Herndon, but gives better sound bites to the press. Still a win.

Time for Madson to grow up and step up. His contract's at stake.

basil, very true. Madson is now engaged in a multi-million dollar audition. His peformance will determine whether he gets closer money for the next 3 - 4 years, or setup man money for the same 3 - 4 years. The difference could be as much as his last contract.

I'm not worried about the 9th inning, I'm worried about the 7th.

My guess is that it will be Baez at first with Herndon and Stutes getting some action here and there. One thing I do know is that UC will not throw Stutes into the fire in a key spot early on...its just not in his nature to use a rookie that way.

Stutes has okay stuff. He has an okay low 90s fastball and an average slider. If he can locate them, he'll be a decent middle reliever, if he struggles with his location (something he's had issues with in the past), he's gonna get hammered by MLB hitters. Replacing Contreras with him is a huge downgrade for the bullpen.

NEPP, agree. IMHO Madson will pass the audition and get closer money somewhere next season. I just hope it's here in Philadelphia.

Anyone ever go to Turner Field before? What is the 'Lexus Level'? Is it their version of the Phils' 'hall fo fame club'? Like Semi-Suites? Couldnt get much info on it by searching around braves websites.

"NEPP, agree. IMHO Madson will pass the audition and get closer money somewhere next season. I just hope it's here in Philadelphia."

Should we really be hoping for that? Isn't the budget pretty bloated as it is? Also, next year aren't we going to be minus a SS, and a corner outfielder? Aren't we going to have to pay Hamels his final year of arb?

If after we do all that, will the Phils still have money to blow on a multi year, multi million dollar contract for a closer?

Worry about winning now and paying Madson later. With Boras as his agent and him already having given us a home town discount the last time around, Madson was always gonna cost a TON to keep around.

if pissing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

Plus, his wife hates Phillies fans.

Also, on payroll, we have about $108 million committed to 9 players next year. Add in $16 million if Oswalt sticks around bringing us up to $124 million to 10 guys. Hamels will eligible for his final year of arbitration so we either have to pay him a ton for 1 year or extend him for several (expecting it to be that option). Figure a minimum of $15 million for Hamels bringing us to around $139 million to 11 players If payroll stays the same as this year, that leaves us with around $30 million for the other 14 guys. KK, BenFran, Orr and Valdez are all arbitration eligible as well. Herndon, Bastardo, Dom Brown, Worley & Zagurski are all under team control and would earn the minimum. We'll still need at least 1 OF, a reliever or two and a SS and we'll only have maybe $25 million to spend.

Do the math...it really feels like the last year for Oswalt unless they can move Blanton's contract. Young guys like Brown and Worley will really need to step up. Giving a guy like Madson $10 million to close just isn't gonna happen.

I'm so misunderstood...

Also, 2013 is the real kicker in payroll. That year, we'll have $80 million committed to 4 players (Halladay, Lee, Howard, Utley). Rube will really be earning his paycheck at that point.

Other options for Rube in 2012 would be to extend Oswalt and Hamels with very low base years in the first year of the contract to keep the overall payroll down. Both might be willing to go that route.

***I'm so misunderstood...***

Why do you hate us? We just wanted to annoyingly interrupt your dinner for your husband's autograph while other women hit on him in front of you. Why??

"Why do you hate us? We just wanted to annoyingly interrupt your dinner for your husband's autograph while other women hit on him in front of you. Why??"

*I* never did that. The problem with the comments, as reported, is that it is nearly as offensive as saying, "All Mexicans..." "All women..." "All liberals..."

It's never cool to tar a large, diverse group of people with the same brush.

"Do the math...it really feels like the last year for Oswalt unless they can move Blanton's contract."

If Oswalt pitches well this year (4+ WAR) and is relatively healthy, I don't see any way you can NOT pick up his option if he still wants to pitch (unless he agrees to a longer deal with a lower base salary).

I could see Oswalt taking the backloaded contract since he will be coming off a 80million contract. Hamels will be coming off a 20million contract so he'll probably be looking for upfront money.

And really, I can't blame Hamels... thats what I would do in his shoes.

Also, I get the feeling (and I don't really know where it comes from) that Hamels wants to be "the guy" somewhere and its not going to happen in Philly.

"They may not be missing bats but again- the point of a reliever is to not give up runs. They've done well in that aspect."

True, and I'll take it. But there are ways of preventing runs, some more sustainable than others. Baez is fairly wild, and on top of that, pitches to contact. His WHIP is nearly 1.4 -- he's a below average out-inducer, and over the long term that fact will likely be reflected in his ERA. Future runs can be expected to be as injurious as past runs -- more so, maybe, if in the wake of injuries, Baez is pitching high leverage innings that normally go to pitchers of a higher caliber (i.e., pitchers who prevent runs in a dependable way).

Mrs. Madson and Mrs. Lee need to do lunch and spa treatments often.

"What is the 'Lexus Level'?"

Sounds pretty bourgie lorecore. Can you hang?

"Plus, his wife hates Phillies fans."

Good thing that that is, if true, hopelessly irrelevant.

"Good thing that that is, if true, hopelessly irrelevant."

Really? If we take it as true (an assumption, but for the sake of the argument) you think a spouse's preference would have NO bearing on an athlete's decision?

I couldn't imagine how that would be true. I could imagine it not being a major factor, but completely irrelevant? I would like to imagine any spouse would at least take their partner's feelings into consideration when making decisions on where to live.

Heather, please read your reply to AWH, take it in, and then try again. Sarah Madson's distaste for Phillies fans is irrelevant to the question of the wisdom of signing Ryan Madson (a question which assumes his willingness to sign). Isn't that the thrust of this?:

"NEPP, agree. IMHO Madson will pass the audition and get closer money somewhere next season. I just hope it's here in Philadelphia."

Should we really be hoping for that? Isn't the budget pretty bloated as it is? Also, next year aren't we going to be minus a SS, and a corner outfielder? Aren't we going to have to pay Hamels his final year of arb?

If after we do all that, will the Phils still have money to blow on a multi year, multi million dollar contract for a closer?'

[followed by]

'Plus, his wife hates Phillies fans."

*** I would like to imagine any spouse would at least take their partner's feelings into consideration when making decisions on where to live.***

Cliff Lee and his wife have stated on several occasions that his wife's comfort factor with Philadelphia and their overall love of the area was the biggest part of them choosing us over NY or Texas. They really really wanted to live here and held out until the Phillies offered a contract. Maybe the Yankees fans shouldn't have spit on her during the playoffs, eh?

Heather and NEPP, Oswalt holds all the cards. The Phillies have an *option*, but not really. Even if they exercise it, he can turn it down, STILL collect the $2MM buyout - and then negotiate a long-term deal....anywhere. It was the concession they made in order to get him to waive hit FNTC. Previously, the team had the ability to exercise the buyout or the option, and he only got the $2MM if they bought him out. Now he gets it even if HE declines the option. He wouldn't have gotten it were his still with Houston.

If Oswalt wants to pitch next year, it would make sense for him to seek a 2 - 4 year deal, and there are a LOT of teams that would be willing to give him one.

I don't know RAJ's thinking, but it could be that they'll try to move Blanton again in the offseason and go with one of the young guys.

If they think Worley is ready they may non-tender KK just for the salary relief.

Trade Blanton (8.5), non-tender KK (2.4), let Lidge walk (11.25), let Raul walk (11.5) adds up to $ 33.65MM in potential savings from the 2011 payroll.

The question becomes on who they'll look to spend it next season, or whether they'll cut back to the $160MM range?

Yeah...I would guess a 3 year extension would probably be what Oswalt requires.

Say, 3 years, $45 million?

KK is done...unless he suddenly turns into a legitimate pitcher with upside, they're not gonna give him a raise on $2.45 million with Worley sitting in Lehigh. Financially, its just stupid.

The inept offense and injuries piling up give me a bad feeling about this season, especially when you look at the schedule and realize it has been soft so far. Further scrutiny reveals they are 2-3 against the only two good teams they've played so far (Brewers and Fish) and May will be telling with the Rangers, Rox, Marlins, Reds, Cards and Braves on the schedule.

Klaus, I guess I took the argument about the wisdom of signing of Madson and expanded it to the economics/feasibility of signing Madson.

I am sorry if that was unclear.

Hypothetically speaking . . . if the Phillies offense continues to be bad, but they nonetheless go on to win 95+ games because of their starting pitching, then they will have proven that this collection of starting pitchers is dominant enough to overcome a bad offense. If they've just gotten done proving that, why would you let Roy Oswalt go so you can sign a shortstop and a corner outfielder?

Has a player ever gotten his salary cut through arbitration? I know it's really, really rare & it may have never happened. But it seems to me that if a player's role has changed from someone who is expected to pitch 180 innings per year, to someone who is expected to pitch 65, the team would have a pretty righteous case that the guy should be paid in accordance with his new role.

I'm pretty sure that a relief pitcher of Kyle Kendrick's ilk would make substantially less than $2.4M on the open market.

Because if the offense gets appreciably worse it probably won't matter how good the rotation is?

Hypothethically, they might not want or be able to commit that much money to the rotation...especially if they can't move Blanton's $8.5 million.

Klaus, I 'hear' you, and agree that there will be decisions that need to be made regarding who they choose to TRY to bring back next season.

That's the case nearly EVERY year.

If you look at the payroll, in addition to the $ 33.65MM I listed above, the following players also have deals that come off the books:

Hamels 9.5
Rollins 6.5 (subtracting the 2.0 buyout)
Oswalt 14.0 (subtracting the 2.0 buyout)
Lidge .25 (I made a mistake above. It's 11.5)
KK .05 (I dropped that above)
Madson 4.5
Baez 2.75
Schneider 1.5
Gload 1.6
Romero 1.35
BenFran 1.175
Orr 0.6

That's an additional 43.775 in addition to the 33.65 above.

That's a total of 77.425 coming off the books.

Who do they keep?

IMHO the only guys you can say for sure are the "goners" are Raul, Lidge, Baez, Orr (unless MiL), and Romero...and maybe Gload and Schneider.

That's $29.45 MM off the books.

The definite "keepers" is a very short list: Hamels.

Everyone else is up in the air, as they may not be wanted back at the salary/years they ask for, IMHO.

awh, are you factoring in raises?

Remember that Lee's salary doubles to $21.5 million (a $10.5 million raise), Victorino gets a $2 million raise, Ruiz gets a $1 million raise as does Polanco. So that's $14.5 million added without any additional players.

"KK is done...unless he suddenly turns into a legitimate pitcher with upside, they're not gonna give him a raise on $2.45 million with Worley sitting in Lehigh. Financially, its just stupid."

NEPP, I agree. And I'm not sure he's even tradeable because most teams probably wouldn't want to give him a raise either. Why not just wait for the Phils to release him and sign him for 1/1.5 or 2/3, or something in that range?

NEPP - Don't know if you realized above that saying Pedro is 107 years old is a racist comment. The politically correct thing to say is he's "a gazillion" years old.

AWH, much to BAPs chagrin, I'd add Rollins to the list of certain to be kept. Will probably get a bit of a raise.

Why trade for a guy like KK when you can always scavenge through the beat up veteran bin for comparable production at the same price? For every KK, there's a Rodrigo Lopez that will sign a league minimum deal with a ST invite. Sure, the odds are against any one bargain bin guy but for $2.45 million, you can sign several and let them fight it out in AAA or ST.

"Further scrutiny reveals they are 2-3 against the only two good teams they've played so far (Brewers and Fish)"

Ron Jones, the Braves aren't a good team? what qualifies as a good team?

You do realize that both the Braves and Nats would have winning records had they beaten the Phillies, no?

Also, do you think 5 games is a legitimate sample size?

Are you really David Murphy?

Chris in Syrup Country:

You must not be following BL closely enough. The offense cannot get appreciatively worse since it is, historically, the worst offense in the history of baseball. They cannot score without home runs and they cannot hit home runs. The only time they score is when the other team makes bad mistakes, and even then they usually run the wrong direction on the basepaths. The official scorer often takes runs away because of their ineptitude and groundskeepers frequently move the fences in just to taunt them.

BAP- that's a pretty interesting question. If Oswalt puts up numbers consistent with his career norms and he again dominates down the stretch in August and September, how can you possibly get rid of him?

Similarly, if Rollins continues to look like he has at the beginning of the year, are you really gonna bring him back with a bloated contract?

I think Oswalt ends up being a casualty of war either way, more because they'll want room to sign Hamels long term and I don't think they find a way to get Blanton off the books (assuming they can't trade him this summer). Then they'll sign a starter out of the bargain bin and go after some offense. But I hope he puts them in the position to at least think about it.

Pete Happy: that is funny.

NEPP, sure the raises count too. That's the point....on whom are they going to spend next season.

IMHO the only "lock" to be back on that entire list is Hamels. Don't be surprised if a more than a few of those other guys aren't back.

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