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Monday, May 23, 2011


I'm CJ, and I approve this game thread image.

The halo is a little too indistinct. We're talking first tier sainthood, here.

If the return of Utley returns the Phillies lineup to 4.3 runs a game or so, that will be the first miracle needed for official sainthood.

"The prevailing excuse for last year, when (Domonic Brown) failed to impress in his MLB debut (yet got a standing ovation for simply appearing at the plate!) was that Cholly wasn't giving him enough at-bats. Then the explanation for his horrendous performance in the Winter Leagues was that he had the flu. Then his terrible hitting in Spring Training 2011 was all caused by his altered swing (never mind his old swing didn't work either). I will be curious to see what the new excuse is."


AT - You can't discount the primary argument on BL for promoting Brown, which is to say that the Phillies outfield is so pitiful that a rookie whose stance allows him to be struck out on three high fastballs can be no worse than what we've got. Suddenly, they forget their "career norm" mantra and expect that Ibanez and Francisco are washed up and without hope. But we're the ones who supposedly root for failure.

If Brown produces at a respectable level in 2011, I'll be the first to offer a personal apology to each of you (well, to the internet nickname you use to disguise your identity and talk all that smack anyway), but I have very little faith in a guy who still wasn't sure how to stand at the plate as of spring. If I had to place a bet on someone on the farm actually contributing, my money goes on Tyson before Brown.

Will S.: Why does Brown have to perform at any level at all in 2011? Lots of rookies struggle in their first season... including St. Utley. Would you have given up on him?

Welp, thanks to everyone for making a day where my boss was out much more exciting! Oh, and it should DEFINITELY be Gload when Contreras comes back.

Very well, I guess I need to post a revision:

In less than two hours, Saint Utley verily will actively hurteth thy team.

Weizel, your lead graphic is just hilarious! Well done.

I'll need this in t-shirt form. With the epigraph, 'I was there'...

That is a pretty beatific expression on his face. Only suggestion I could make is the addition of a halo or a cleric's collar as part of the uniform.

Oh snap, Blanton is going to Dr. Andrews. Welp there goes the rest of his time in Philadelphia. TJ!

His eyes are so dreamy.

Will, agreed--which is why I think the Phillies' best bet is to trade on Brown's (ludicrously overhyped) reputation for a good right fielder before he's exposed. Unfortunately I suspect that by now he couldn't be usedto get another team to take Donut Joe Blanton--but I'd still like to see the FO try. "No, no, kiddies, you don't get your Brown unless you take your Blanton first."

CJ: It's funny you should say that, because if you remember, we traded Polanco to make room for Utley at second.

Would I have given up on Chase? No. However, an argument could certainly be made for going with the veteran over the rookie in this example.

After all this, if a downpour hits South Philly (looks possible), rendering the infield a mess, and they don't make Saint Utley placeth his ass upon thy bench, folks are gonna go ballistic.

Will: Why wouldn't you have given up on Chase, but you want to give up on Brown?

CJ, it's racism....obviously.

Will S.: And, yes, an argument could have been made to keep Polanco and deal Utley. The kind of argument that gets people fired. Utley became one of the top 5 players in the game providing gold glove caliber defense at a premium defensive position along with 6 straight seasons of an OPS+ of 124 or higher. And he's still just 32.

Instead, we could have kept Polanco who is now 35 years old and has never had a full season OPS+ above 121.

If there's a chance of rain, I believe Chase will part the clouds so only sun will shine on CBP. That will be the second miracle on his way to sainthood (see CJ above for first miracle)

St Utley the patron saint of the slumping offenses.

CJ: I'm not suggesting they give up on Brown. I'm suggesting he's not ready to play for a playoff caliber ballclub in 2011.

Why would you give up on Ibanez and Francisco?

Utley spent two full seasons in the International League as opposed to Brown, who made a name for himself feasting off sub-AAA pitching with comparatively fewer AB at AAA and above. Granted, he has performed well in the limited time he's spent in AAA, but why the rush? What's this kid going to offer considering how absolutely lost he looks against anyone with major league experience? What's the harm in a full season in Lehigh Valley and a September callup?

"And, yes, an argument could have been made to keep Polanco and deal Utley."

I never said that Utley should have been traded instead of Polanco. I don't think either man should have been dealt.

...nor do I necessarily believe in trading Brown, but the fact remains that his trade value is significantly less today than it was a year ago.

Will: I'm not giving up on Ibanez. Never said I was. I expect Domonic Brown to be a better player then Ben Francisco and I'm not sure we'll see much of a decline in performance in RF with Brown in there even if Brown struggles. There is NO reason for Brown to stay at AAA against pitchers he mashes. Like Utley, Brown needs to see regular ABs at the major league level.

Will S: Domonic Brown's trade value is IRRELEVANT. The Phils weren't willing to trade him for Doc Halladay... the best player in the game. What makes you think they care at all about his trade value?

It's ridiculous to make judgments one way or another about Brown right now.

As I said before, we need to see his swing. If he has lowered his hands and can get the bathead around on an inside fastball, he'll be fine, even if he's hitting .200 after his first 75 ABs.

If he can't do that, then we have a serious problem and Charlie will need to tinker with his swing again. Then, the issue will become how many games does he cost the team while he tries to learn in the big leagues? This ain't the 1973 Phillies, this is a contender that may be in a very close race right down to the wire.

Brown will be given time to show he's ready, but he will NOT be given the rest of the season. A 6-8 week window looks about right.

"Will S: Domonic Brown's trade value is IRRELEVANT"

No ones trade value is irrelevant.

What makes me think they care about his trade value? The fact that the once untouchable Kyle Drabek has turned into Roy Halladay.

"Then, the issue will become how many games does he cost the team while he tries to learn in the big leagues? This ain't the 1973 Phillies, this is a contender that may be in a very close race right down to the wire."


"There is NO reason for Brown to stay at AAA against pitchers he mashes"

There is PLENTY of reason for him to stay at AAA. Yes, he mashes AAA pitching, and in the majors, but his swing is not major league ready.

I'll bet Ibanez and Francisco would do pretty damn well off of kids in AAA too.

Give the guy a season to stay in one place and figure out how to hold the damn bat before you go throwing him into the OF of a 4 time division champion ballclub.

Will S: Fine, I get it. You think Brown should stay in AAA until he proves he can hit at the big league level or until the Phillies are no longer contenders. Which means he should stay in minors forever.

You also don't think he should be traded, but are concerned that his trade value has been hurt.

Finally, you would not have given up on Utley when he struggled mightily in his first season but are ready to give up on Brown.

I'm just glad someone out there can make sense of this position. I can't. And I'm giving up.

"You think Brown should stay in AAA until he proves he can hit at the big league level"

You're the one who cited Utley. He was given two full seasons in AAA. That seemed to work out pretty well.

"You also don't think he should be traded, but are concerned that his trade value has been hurt."

If the price was right, I'd advocate trading ANYBODY. I would have also said that I was against moving Drabek, but for Roy Halladay...that's a different story.

So yeah, I am certainly concerned with the trade value of the #4 ranked prospect in Major League Baseball... particularly with a GM who isn't afraid to move highly regarded prospects to build a championship ballclub.

Why do you seem so dismissive of the idea? Would you have preferred we stick with Marson and Donald and passed on Lee? Would you rather have kept Drabek and Taylor and passed on Halladay?

"you would not have given up on Utley when he struggled mightily in his first season but are ready to give up on Brown."

What season are you referring to? The 43 games he played in 2003? I think you'll find that he had 400 plate appearances in AAA that year. Brown has had 51.

And I hardly classify advocating a single full season in AAA to a guy with 169 total plate appearances in the International League as "giving up". You're in a rush. I am not.

Is that St. Utley image from Florence or Venice? Possibly a Tintoretto?

Worse deal for the value?

Lidge or Blanton (impending TJ surgery)

My money is on Lidge but likely will both stand out as pennies on the dollar in terms of value.

Will: Said I was done... but couldn't pass up how you cited Donald and Marson when discussing Domonic Brown. Your irrational dislike for Dom couldn't be more apparent.

Anyone else notice that the Phils' starting rotation currently has 9.1 WAR, more than 2 wins better than the next team--the As, and is on pace for 32 WAR. The best Braves rotation of their 15-year run was 1997 with 26.4 WAR. The amazing thing is the starters have a collective BABIP of .306, which means they have actually been slightly unlucky.

"Your irrational dislike for Dom couldn't be more apparent."

And your irrational desire to promote a man who is not ready for the big leagues is equally apparent.

"Will: Said I was done"

Apparently you were wrong.

Actually, how can Dom Brown prove whether or not he can hit big league pitching if he's not in he big leagues?

clout: Well, a spring training where he doesn't look like a boy amongst men would be a good start.

A full season in Lehigh Valley to work on a swing that looks like garbage against major league pitchers would be another.

Garbage? He's had 4 at bats.

MG: "Worse deal for the value? Lidge or Blanton (impending TJ surgery). My money is on Lidge but likely will both stand out as pennies on the dollar in terms of value."

Easy answer - Ryan Howard.

Are there examples in which we know that Manuel "tinkered" with a guy's swing with positive results? I'm not saying that he hasn't...

clout, I agreed with you dead-on when you first posted about looking at Brown's swing, first and foremost. He truly does need a few "LG's" before we should worry about his relative worth to the whole team.

Not even joking here, but what were your first impressions in what is the very SSS that was his first 4 AB's?

Marv: Charlie Manuel is generally reknowned for his ability as a hitting coach. I'm not sure what he's done for specific swings, but he's very respected when it comes to coaching hitters.

I only ask because I caught the game on radio and didn't have a chance to see how he was getting around on FB's, or the position of his hands.

JW, as Chase's original canonizer, I approve of the graphic.

Well done.

While we're talking about Hitting Coaches, can we agree that Greg Gross (or even Milt, for that matter) can't possibly add to much with that title?

Considering the upside to the TV Broadcast, and the relative downside which I view to be negligible, I'm all for naming Sarge the next Hitting Coach (a position he held in Toronto).

If I trust anybody to tinker with a guys swing, it's Ryne Sandberg.

Incidentally, if there is a guy in Lehigh Valley who has demonstrated that he is major league ready, it's Worley.

Why we're discussing the promotion of a guy who was completely lost in Philly last season, in winter ball and in Florida this spring who's coming off of an injury and a handful of games at Lehigh Valley and comparatively ignoring Worley is beyond me.

BTW, the Phillies are 0-0 this season with Utley's pic in the Game Thread header.

CJ: I appreciate that, and have heard the same thing. I just right now can't think of anyone on this team who became a better hitter during his reign, that's all.

Worley starts on Tuesday. Not sure there's much question about that. Prior to that, he was blocked by 5 starters. Doesn't seem to be much to discuss.

CJ - Don't feed the's a useless exercise in frustration.

Marv: During Charlie's reign, the Phils have had the most potent offense in the National League (this season notwithstanding). Obviously he's had talent to work with, but Hard to give him no credit for that and then blame him now (I'm not saying you're doing that). Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Chooch Ruiz are just three players off the top of my head who far exceeded expectations offensively under Charlie.

Chris in VT: You're right... and I'm usually the one to preach that. I've moved on from that discussion.

"Don't feed the's a useless exercise in frustration."

Your additions are valuable, as always.

Thanks, and no, I wasn't blaming him with the lineup he's had. And he can only make suggestions to guys like Howard and Rollins; it's up to them to either change and grow--or not.

"that last thread was hilarious, btw. will, no name, and TA need their own nickname.

Posted by: conshy matt"

c-matt, I'll try to come up with one, but you're correct nonetheless. They are easily worthy of their own moniker.

Suggestions are welcome.

WOW-that is truly awesome !!!!!

Willard, good call on the two-birds-with-one-stone Sarge reassignment.

My "prediction" for Utley:

1-4, 2B, BB, RBI.

"Prior to that, he was blocked by 5 starters."

Last time I checked, Brown was blocked by a few, and keeping him as the 4th OF last season doesn't seem to have helped.

Just curious: what do you have against a prospect spending a full season in AAA? What is your argument for why this would be a bad idea?

"I'll try to come up with one, but you're correct nonetheless. They are easily worthy of their own moniker."

The day any of you have the integrity to post under your actual name, I'll take your cute "Sir Alden" "Pissy Pants" nicknames seriously.

conshy matt, how about

*Schweitzer's 'Brown' Shirts*.

Well played, Will.

Ahh...a Nazi reference about a Jewish man. You're all class, my anonymous friend.

I know Cholly would never do this, but if Utley is going to hit in the 2 hole, he should really have Hamels hit 8 and Mayberry hit 9. Give you slugger some more RBI opportunities.

Ouch, getting a bit thin?

Naah...Nazi references on internet message boards are nothing new. Next you'll be RickRolling me. :)

Spitz: Come on... let's not get ahead of ourselves. We got a lineup that sort of makes sense... no need to jump all the way to totally makes sense!

CJ and others,

How can you continue with your futile arguments is beyond me. Give it up. Brown is a bust. Pure and simple. I want him in the minor leagues until he can prove to me that he can hit major league pitching. Now because they called him up, his trade value is in the crapper. He was totally over-hyped anyway, which is exactly why I DON'T want to trade him. And I really want him to succeed, which is why when he fails (he has already!) I will gleefully rub your nose in it, like a dog in sh8t.

Also, too, Gload sucks. Deal with it.

Why we are discussing any of this instead of the biggest news of the day - Vance F. Worley - is so totally beyond me, I can't freaking take it.

Schweitzer? I thought it was Pennsy Dutch.

I'm sorry, someone just sent me a link to a picture of Podsednik's wife....

WHO did you say is back in the lineup tonight?


Spitz, are you really Tony LaRussa posting anonymously on BL?

Holy H8ll. I just googled Scott Podsednik's wife. Well played, Scott. Well played.

And, if I may add, I am actually a Baron from the Hayes region in Germany, so don't try that angle with me, you commoners.

WP: I missed that game, which is why I asked posters to fill me in later. MG gave a pretty good report on all four of his ABs. As I recall he said Dom fanned on an inside fastball and was also out on some breaking stuff out of the zone. I will be able to see tonight's game, however, and look forward to it.

Baron: No, you're right. Drawing on the massive number of at bats he's accumulated in the International League, Domonic Brown NEEDS to start for the four time division champions, not today, but YESTERDAY.

His trade value means nothing at all because the Phillies NEVER move their 'untouchable' prospects.

He was a monster in Winter Ball, a freak of nature during Spring Training, and he MASHED the ball against major league pitchers.

And he's absolutely comfortable in his stance and the way he holds the bat. Christ, he's been doing it for three whole months since his last 'adjustment'. He's ROCK SOLID!

Who needs time in the International League? Get Aumont and Gillies up here with Brown, PRONTO!

AWH - If I was LaRussa, I would advocate Howard playing third so I could get Gload's bat into the lineup.

How about the 'Ankle Biters' for those three? Just sayin'...

Anyone else kinda missing 'mvp' at the moment?

Utley Prediction: 1-3, BB, 0 R, 0 RBI, airmails an easy toss to 1B. Also suffers a subtle knee tweak on the slippery infield, which dogs him for the rest of the year ... despite constant, irritated proclamations from both Chase & the FO that he is NOT injured.

How can we miss Tommy when we have the witty styling of the illustrious muchacho peligro?

GTown, I'm surprised Chase hasn't been "day-to-day" all season so far.

Carlos Ruiz just made the top 10 on Sportscenter.

From the Philadelphia Union, that is.

muchacho, NO. I do not miss mvp. OTOH, it's for sure that on a blog like this...sooner or later someone will step up and fill that role.

Appreciate the compliment, Will?

"Carlos Ruiz just made the top 10 on Sportscenter.

From the Philadelphia Union, that is."

It was a rather nice goal.

Comparison of prospects:

# of plate appearances in AAA

Chase Utley: 1168
Jayson Werth: 903
Shane Victorino: 834
Carlos Ruiz: 830
Jimmy Rollins: 548
Ryan Howard: 384


Domonic Brown (age 23): 169

Rube, I've seen enough. Nevermind those other bums who spent time in AAA, this kid needs to play in the bigs TODAY. Baron Von Hayes and Muchacho Peligro DEMAND it. Sample size be damned, this kid is READY!

muchacho, let me explain our friend Will to you:

He is vastly superior to you and me:

Morally, intellectually and in any other way that you can imagine.

It's true, just ask him.

awh: What a sweet thing to say. I agree.

clout, if you can get a comment in amidst the name-calling and "I told ya so's," I'd actually be curious to hear your thoughts on Brown's AB's.

I'm with you, the inside FB over the next few weeks may single-handedly tell us what to expect from him, and how to handle his development.

He dislikes Dom Brown because he's African-American and he dislikes me because I'm chicano. Why does he dislike you, awh?

Lots of players succeed at the ML with a hole in their swings. Honest question: is the inability to handle an inside fastball a great enough hole in one's swing that it could inhibit a player's ability to have a successful major league career?

I'm inclined to say yes, but, just as an example, Howard has some holes in his swing, and yet he's had a very successful career so far.

Matt Gelb (via Twitter): "Minutes from first pitch, one tidbit: Ryan Madson told me he doesn't think he can go tonight. Bruise on hand still bothersome. We'll see."

"SEE! Charlie mismanage the Phillies Bullpen in a Close Game! AMAZE! As a Winnable Contest becomes a Lopsided Route! DESPAIR! when Madson eventually hits the DL, & all hopes of getting rid of Herndon Vanish Forever!"

I'm guessing muchacho peligro missed the ribbing I took for defending the idea that Mayberry has proven that he can hit major league pitching and that Francisco and Ibanez deserve to start.

How can I defend such a lily white trio. What a racist!

Frankly, high and inside is the single best hole to have in your swing if you're going to have a hole. Why? It's a very hard spot to hit with any consistency for pitchers.

Cole working high in the zone so far.

One hell of a gamechat graphic!!!

Just as I type that, he gets a pitch down, and induces a ground ball, haha.

"Honest question: is the inability to handle an inside fastball a great enough hole in one's swing that it could inhibit a player's ability to have a successful major league career?

I'm inclined to say yes"

I agree.

But be careful, Fatalotti. We're not allowed to question the readiness of King Domonic. Just repeat after me - he's ready, he's ready, he's ready...

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