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Friday, June 17, 2011

Comments

The Phils ain't hurting for middle relief arms, should anyone get hurt. Not that it seems to matter when your starters are going 8 and 9 every night...

Dan, great point. The 2011 Phillies bullpen's greatest strength is the starting rotation.

Chew on this for a second. Before Tuesday's game, the Phillies had this scenario in front of them:

Game tonight, game tomorrow afternoon with a spot starter, game the following night, game the following day. That's 4 games that start all start within a 42 hour window. This is what we got out of those 4 starting pitchers:

7 IP
7 IP
7 IP
9 IP

The bullpen threw a grand total of 7 innings pitched, and it would have been 6 if not for extra innings on Wednesday night. And Cliff Lee, just for the trouble the bullpen went through having to pitch that extra inning on Wednesday was nice enough to throw a CGSO on Thursday.

This rotation is so much more than just what they produce on the field.

Yeah Fat, excellent point. Contrast that with the Fish, whose bullpen was already spent coming in here. They got here at 4:30 Tuesday morning and the starters in the first two games had to take one for the team. In retrospect betting on a Phillies sweep would have been a great value if you can get lines on that sort of thing. You would have really had to sweat game 3 though.

If you voted in the poll between 10 a.m. and 10:15, vote again. Had to repost it.

@Dan in Philly- the Phanatic is smooth. I wish I had his moves.

Voted for DeFratus. If the Phillies needed to dip into Triple A for a reliever, they would go with DeFratus over Aumont.

I'm kinda surprised Matt Rizzotti got left behind in AA. Is preserving Tagg Bozied and Jeff Larish at bats really an organizational priority.

I think the move with the most meaning for the player is Mathieson. Time to go about your life's work young man.

I count three first basemen -- Overbeck, Larish, Bozied -- at Lehigh Valley now, with more good ones, including Rizzotti, backing up behind them at Reading and Clearwater. Some of these guys are going to have to start regularly playing other positions.
As for Mathieson, he still has only one good pitch, but somebody has to start for the IronPigs.

Betcha Tim Redding could find a way to give the Phils 5-6 innings if needed. Always seemed like a tough competitor in D.C. when the Phillies seemed to be keeping him in the league. I'd enjoy rooting for the guy, having cursed him back then!

I voted De Fratus.

I voted for DeFratus, but could just as easily have voted for Aumont, as they're the 2 guys on jw's list who are most likely to be on the major league team in the near-term future (next year at the latest).

Mathieson's move to the rotation sort of memorializes his transition from legitimate prospect to organizational filler. At this point, he might well be the first guy on the chopping block the next time the Phillies need to add someone to their 40-man roster.

Bozied and Larish play other positions besides 1B.

Mathieson as starter strikes me as odd. When did he develop a 3rd and 4th pitch? Has he been working on them in the bullpen?

NEPP says Aumont is the better prospect than DeFratus. I disagree.

The gap between what BL posters think of Rizzotti and what the Phillies FO thinks of him is Grand Canyon wide.

If mathieson can't be a good closer,How in the hell is he going to be a starting pitcher?

Did anyone else notice in the last thread the laughable double standard Jack applied to Reyes as compared to Howard when it comes to a down year?

Speaking of 1B/LF's in the system, Singleton is still having a rotten season. His OBP (.366) is good, but his Avg. (.247) and Slg (.332) are very disappointing. He's hitting .147 over his last 10 games

Why do the same posters who spew vile hatred of Kendrick and Moyer say nice things about Redding, the exact same kind of pitcher, only worse?

Overbeck used to play another position, too.

Frankly if they see him as a prospect (which I doubt they do) or want to squeeze a little trade value (very little, probably) they should give him some third base time. If he can approximate even Wes Helms on the left side he might have some value on a bench.

But as strictly a first baseman, I'm not sure his ISO trumps Rizzotti's BA by all that much.

Tim Redding is a lousy pitcher. (There, clout.) The main reasons why this is not a bad signing:

1) A shortage of arms at AAA
B) Keep him out of NL east rotations

Mathiesson as a starter strikes me as odd, too. He's tried to make a living off a speedy fastball with no movement. Putting him in the rotation kinda means he can't gun it at full speed or he'll wear out. So now he'll be throwing a not quite as fast fastball with no movement? Hmmmmmm....

I love the RH RP battle playing out at LV now. DeFratus, Aumont and Schwimer can duke it out there and in ST to fill up the bullpen with Stutes and Bastardo next year. So much cheaper than signing used up (and never really been that good anyway) middle relievers for too much money.

I voted for the Overbeck call up, because it might mean the end of Mini-Mart. They could be thinking Larish up, Mr. Martinez offered back.

That's silly and unlikely, I know. But ya gotta dream big sometimes.

Clout, you'd be surprised, but most people don't vet every single thing they say in light of everything they've said in their life. And all people have LOTS of double standards and don't have the faintest clue about them. Cognitive dissonance is very powerful.

jimminy christmas, there was maybe one or two posts about Redding - and no one said that he was some kind of savior. give this one a rest, Clout.

I think this signals the end of the line for Mathieson. They need a warm body in the rotation and don't care about what it does to the kid's career because they no longer feel as if he has a future. That's the only conclusion I can draw anyway. As for Redding, the guy has been like Greg Maddux against the Phillies in his career. I would think that's why some may over-value him. He's no good though. If he ever makes it up with this team, something dreadful has taken place.

OVerbeck viewed over Rizzotti? I view team prospects #50 and #51 as equals.

@ awh (from the last thread):

thank you for the making me laugh with the irony of your post. first you called me out for lacking reading comprehension, then posted LHP v. LHB numbers this year in an attempt to prove me wrong. but i never brought that up. what i said is that i bet that the numbers for LH RELIEF PITCHERS against LHB was probably pretty good across the board, and as such, devalued romero's numbers.

i also said multiple times i wasn't interested in romero's career numbers since he is not the same pitcher now that he has been for his career, but you felt the need to post those numbers, as well.

so do me a favor. since i'm a "lazy POS", maybe you could look up the LHP relief pitchers number against lefty batters.

if not, stay out of a discussion which for which you added nothing.


fata, i simply don't think that romero has any special value even as a LOOGY because of his staggering lack of control and now-pedestrian stuff. you disagree. we can leave it at that.

I voted for Aumont but, could just as easily have voted for DeFratus. These two moves have the most import for the major league roster in 2012. I think DeFratus is a higher ceiling guy but, Aumont gets the nod due to his ties to the Lee trade. Nice bounceback.

Voted Tim Redding. I'm a registered Libertarian so I'm used to voting for folks who get 1-2% of the vote. Why stop now?

Scotch Man: Classic!

Clout: I voted for De Fratus, but I still think Aumont is a slightly better prospect. I base this on the two having similar numbers out of the bullpen throughout their minor league careers. De Fratus is probably more polished and major league ready, but Aumont is younger and probably has a slightly higher ceiling.

Andy--not expecting to get much from Contreras next year, eh? I wouldn't assume he's washed just yet and he's on the hook for 2.5 mil. I think they'll run him out there until his arm falls off or he fesses up to being older than moyer.

I also would give my nods to Aumont over De Fratus in term of ceiling, but De Fratus should beat him to the MLB.

If he doesnt then Aumont really turned into a stud, or De Fratus had struggles.

I also would give my nods to Aumont over De Fratus in term of ceiling, but De Fratus should beat him to the MLB.

If he doesnt then Aumont really turned into a stud, or De Fratus had struggles.

I'm a little surprised by the Aumont move. He's been good this season, but also seems to be inconsistent and somewhat raw. He may be future closer material, but I thought they'd move him cautiously.

Aumont/DeFratus

Phils are obviously positioning themselves to be the 2 prime candidates to fill out some of the middle relief roles next year with the departure of Lidge and Baez.

Makes the Contreras signing that much more questionable. Bringing him back was fine but giving a 2-yr guaranteed year contract to a guy who is 39? and had an injury issues every year since '08 was puzzling.

Why I didn't like that deal when it was made. Didn't resign Park in part because of the concerns about his durability. Amaro said he wanted to upgrade the bullpen this offseason after the NLCS. Romero just got demoted and real question marks about how much Contreras will contribute due to health-related questions.

I imagine they will try to do everything to bring back Madson and then just fill in around him with mostly younger guys including Bastardo, Stutes, Herndon, and some of the younger guys who are pitching well this year in the minors with Contreras in the mix.

Redding actually has less in his bag of tricks than Kendrick. I remember thinking the guy had a fastball and slider and that's it. I think he used to keep the ball on the ground, too, but now that's over.

Aumont/De Fratus

More interesting impact is that this move may indicate that the Phils are even positioning these guys to contribute at some point in the 2nd half of this season. They need another RHP bullpen arm especially with the health-related questions marks around Lidge & Contreras.

MG- Racist! j/k

The younger guys are better and cheaper, but I have a hard time believing they won't bring in a veteran (esp. a lefty). Replacing Lidge and Baez with rookies leaves the team with a very inexperience bullpen. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it might seem like a bad thing the team decision makers.

DeFratus has a better fastball than Aumont.

If Redding pitches a game for the phillies, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

JBird - Yeah Amaro/Cholly both have a clear preference for veterans but they might not just have the bucks especially with $2.5M ($500k buyout) already tied up in Contreras. Bench/middle relief is where they will have to go cheap next year and probably won't be able to afford the likes of a Gload, Schneider, etc.

"Makes the Contreras signing that much more questionable. Bringing him back was fine but giving a 2-yr guaranteed year contract to a guy who is 39? and had an injury issues every year since '08 was puzzling."

the extra year for aging, middling players continues to be a very puzzling issue with amaro. i wonder if he as some kind of psychological need for security at the expense of his better judgement in these matters.

i'd honestly like to hear him address it because it doesn't seem to be something he's learning from year to year.

There is an elephant in the room.

What would make sense if you are trying to showcase some young pitching talent but can't get the guys you are shopping around into the majors because you're trying to win the pennant? If the guys you are shopping are in AA? What's the logical move if you're thinking about trading for a RH Outfielder?

Dan: DeFratus & Aumont for Pence!

DiP - there's some color to that speculation.

dan in philly: do you think they are going to get more exposure in AAA than AA? or is your point that other teams will say "hmm, guess the phillies are fast tracking those guys, they must really like them"?

Aumont for Beltran.

Tim Redding's 2007-2009 numbers against the Phillies: 11 starts, 64.2 IP, 2.92 ERA.

Tim Redding's 2007-2009 numbers against everyone else: 54 starts, 321.1 IP, 5.07 ERA.

Both Kendrick and Worley are far better pitchers than Tim Redding -- unless Redding is facing the Phillies, in which case he's an All Star.

Last time I remember seeing Tim Redding was in '09 when he locked horns with Pedro. Classic.

Mathieson got moved to the rotation? He is officially just 'organizational filler' now. Tough break. Never got a shot last year when he was actually pitching really well.

"Did anyone else notice in the last thread the laughable double standard Jack applied to Reyes as compared to Howard when it comes to a down year?"

It seems the only standards Jack knows are double. I loved the double-standard he applied to comparing the production of Ibanez and Brown as well.

And let's see if he writes a post that the run differential advantage that the Phils now have over the Braves (nearly 2x higher) is evidence that the Phils will cruise to the division championship.

Oh. Wait. Run differential is only a great predictor when, after 1/5th of the season, and the Braves are ahead. My bad.


Mathieson and Zagurski are a lot alike. Good numbers in AAA but get bombed in the show.

MG: Not signing Big Truck because the presence of Aumont/De Fratus would have been an awful decision. No one knew what those kids would pitch like this year and Contreras has pitched great before his injury.

Once he's healthy again, he will be mowing them down as he was before.

Jbird - Can't get Pence with just middle relievers. Need to throw some tools on the bus too.

DeFratus, Aumont, Hewitt and Jiwan might get it done. (Eddie does love him some tools.)

(And yes, indeed, I surely was being facetious.)

You'd think with the flack that Jack gets on here, he must be the biggest troll that ever lived, and an obvious non-Phillies fan.

f4f:

I think Rube's propensity for giving extra years (and cash) to aging players is more so a sign of a weak negotiating approach and/or a roster strategy dependent on known quantities, than strictly a psychological flaw.

Whether that approach and strategy is tied to a psychological flaw I dare not speculate, but I don't think his record is catastrophic.

"Mathieson and Zagurski are a lot alike. Good numbers in AAA but get bombed in the show."

and for the same reason. good, not great, heat and no MLB secondary pitch.

Eddie is a tool.

F4F: The Phillies signed Contreras because he was our second best reliever last year, and the total unpredictability that is bullpen evaluation outside of the very best guys makes the two year del par for the course. I can't find a reason to be upset over at.

Overall, I view this as a positive indication that the Phillies are willing to give young power arms a chance for middle relief roles rather than veterans who have little left in the tank and equal or less command if major league quality pitches. I've been calling for more innings from Bastardo for two years on these pages and others and he has obviously proven his worth this season. The progress from Stutes boosts this case similarly.

Credit to the Phillies from recognizing an organization weakness (pitching depth) and addressing it successfully over the last several seasons. It is too early to know if Amaro will be proven right or wrong on the original Lee deal, but in this case one of the key players is showing signs of progress despite being written off by many last season.

And just to defend contreras some more, the plan wasn't for Contreras to be used a closer and pitch multiple days in a row if needed - he was thrust into that position because of other injuries in the pen and performed exceptionally well in that role before it took a toll on his arm.

f4f:absolutely.

Dan, I actually take a much more pessimistic and contrarian point of view on the moves. Playing Devil's Advocate, what if the call ups speak more to the Front Office preparing for the inevitable departure of Madson (to coincide with Lidge and Baez, as well)? If that's the case, might as well start getting these kids ready for the big time.

These moves coincide with a retirement, Gordon opting out of his contract and Worley's call-up. SOMEONE had to get called up, so I don't think it's about "showcasing" these guys.

@clout: "Mathieson as starter strikes me as odd. When did he develop a 3rd and 4th pitch?"

Ummm, when did he develop a SECOND pitch????

Will, I would be shocked if they let Madson go. Teams with pretentions of competing for world series do not go into the season with no good option for closer, they just don't.

One of these guys getting a promotion might be just a co-incidence, but both is a bridge too far. They let JC and Gordon go for a reason, and part of the reason was to make room for these 2 AAA guys who could just as easily have spent the rest of the year in AA from a developmental point of view, they both are likely a year or two away from joining the Phills staff.

The hitters at AAA are better than AA, so the natural conclusion from all of this is they want to prove to someone that in a lesser organization, they can contribute this year or next.

Willard: if the Phillies let Madson walk it'll be because they signed one of the other closers on the market. This coming offseason is loaded with established closers. After 1B, it's probably the "position" with the most star power coming available.

All of those closers being on the market will devalue all of them, as well. Madson might be easier to retain because of that.

" F4F: The Phillies signed Contreras because he was our second best reliever last year, and the total unpredictability that is bullpen evaluation outside of the very best guys makes the two year del par for the course. I can't find a reason to be upset over at. "

no, i agree with bringing him back, i'm just wondering if it was necessary to give him (or any) aging middle relief pitcher more than a one year deal for the very reasons you've sited.

on a case by case basis, there may be necessary reasons for giving an extra year. it just seems that with RAJ there is a theme with "locking guys up" instead of having a bit more patience.

Really like DeFratus with a 4-0, 8 saves, no error record. Better stuff and makeup than Aumont. This season Aumont has struggled to field his position and lacked composure in pressure situations close and late. That's why he had a 1-5 record, 4 saves, and 3 errors.

Aumont throws a 98 MPH 4 seam fastball.

lorecore - "MG: Not signing Big Truck because the presence of Aumont/De Fratus would have been an awful decision. No one knew what those kids would pitch like this year and Contreras has pitched great before his injury.

Once he's healthy again, he will be mowing them down as he was before"

Maybe but as long as he has a tender elbow he isn't going to be using that splitter much at all and will likely have the control issues that have plagued him most of the year.

With the FA market last year, Contreras likely would have gotten 2 yrs guaranteed elsewhere.

Takahaski - 2 yr/$8M (Angels)
Putz - 2 yr/$10M (DBacks)
Ohman - 2 yr/$4M (White Sox)
Jenks - 2 yr/$12M (Red Sox)
Gregg - 2 yr/$10M (O's)
Fuentes - 2 yr/$10.5M (A's)
Feliciano - 2 yr/$8M (Yanks)
Belfour - 2 yr/$8.1M (A's)
Chaote - 2 yr/$2.5M (Fish)
Carrasco - 2 yr/$2.5M (Mets)

As usual, a real crap shoot. Putz has been unhittable at times and a key reason why the DBacks are in the NL West race. Choate and Belfour both have been solid but more underachieving/terrible performances so far.

Makes the Contreras signing a lot less glaring except for the health concerns.

MG: ah, appreciate the breakdown. i guess 2 years is the norm. makes the baez gamble a little more palatable.

Will Ohman pulled a 2 year deal? Wasn't he DFA'd during the season last year?

That list really puts middle reliever salaries into context. Baez's deal doesn't seem so horrible after seeing that list.

MG - those numbers make the case that we're shopping these two guys stronger. A strong middle reliever = $4MM per year. Trade 2 guys, both of whome have a 75% chance of being a strong MR, and that's worth about $6MM per year, while you only pay them the league minimum.

Throw in the fact we can pick up some of the salary for a cash strapped/LF rich team, and the numbers make sense. Heck, they might even find it to their advantage to pay most of the guy's 2011 salary, considering the bargan they will receive in return...

For what it's worth, Contreras says that his recent problems have been purely mechanical & that he has detected, and corrected, the flaw. Of course, pitchers always say that kind of stuff. Personally, I would have liked to see Cholly put Contreras's statements to the test in that 8-1 game the other day. Instead, they'll undoubtedly be put to the test in a close game this weekend.

RedBurb - It was a case where the White Sox waited too long in the FA market place and the market passed them by after the likes of Choate, Romero, and Sherrill were signed. Overpaid to have an established LHP reliever and it turned out to be a terrible deal.

If a GM hasn't signed his FA guys by late Dec/early Jan, he will have to pick you the 'Value Village' rack of middling journeyman and health-related question marks.

Didn't Contreras come in during that Cubs game last Friday? The Phils had a pretty big lead and he faltered. Don't know if his comments were before or after that game though.

Redburb, they were after that Cubs game. That was the game where Polly hit the GS, and we went into the 8th with a 7-0 lead. Decided to give Halladay the rest of the night off, and Contreras and Romero combined to give up a billion walks and hits and gave up 5 runs before Stutes came in a slammed the door.

MG - yeah. I guess that's why it is important to develop your own bullpen arms than to rely on the free agent market scrap heap.

Got to think the Phillies are looking to save money next year too. And I am NOT calling them cheap. It would be extremely beneficial if you have 4 or 5 guys on the team making the minimum when you have all of those gigantic contracts. It would be risky with all of those unknow quantities but Bastardo and Stutes (and maybe Dom and Worley) could embolden the Phils to go that route. I'm not exactly sure if that's a good thing, but if it allows for a nice free agent signing or two that would be nice.

Fata - Got it. Wasn't sure when Big Truck said that.

RedBurb: Yeah, that was his last game and it was exactly a week ago. His comments came after that. I would bet we'll see him in tonight's game.

Clout - How do you know that DeFratus has a better football than Aumont?

Dan: Aumont may have touched 98 a time or two. DeFratus touches it regularly. Both throw mid-90s, but DeFratus throws harder more often. You'll see way more 95-96 pitches from him while Aumont is throwing 94-95. DeFratus also has better command of his heater.

Mathieson to the rotation seems most puzzling of these moves. Could it be that he is being moved to the rotation to give him an opportunity (or force him) to work more on his other pitches?

Mathieson is renowned for lighting up the gun, too.

I think that the secondary pitches, coupled with movement and command of those blazing fastballs is the single key to success.

I voted De Fratus but could have as easily voted Aumont. I think they are comparable prospects who could both be with the big club by September and will certainly be candidates for the big league bullpen next season.

Madson, Contreras, Bastardo, Stutes, Herndon, Kendrick, (De Fratus or Aumont)

Looking at that bullpen, I think the average age is still 34 thanks to Contreras (isn't he 60?).

jfar86, Sadly for all of the Mathieson-love out there, I think it's more a sign of getting him out of the way to groom the younger guys for legit big league bullpen roles. Mathieson ship has about sailed at this point.

The phillies are saying Mathieson is filler. It's up to him to prove them wrong now.

The Mathieson thing really does seem to be an acknowledgment that he has no plausible route into the Phils pen at this point. I suspect they will probably release him after the season to clear space on the 40 man and let him try his luck elsewhere--I think he could certainly be a bullpen piece for a second division club.

Meanwhile, guess who's been putting up some really nice numbers this year: Greg Dobbs! Wonder what it would take to pry him loose from the cratering Marlins? Not much, I imagine. He'd be a definite upgrade at this point over Gload, who doesn't have an XBH all season and can't run when he does get to first.

WP: Agree about Mathieson. I think the move is being over-analyzed. The Phillies didn't move Mathieson to the rotation because they think he can develop into a major league caliber starting pitcher. They moved him to the rotation because they needed a starter, he happens to be there already, & they've given up on any possibility that he can ever develop into a major league reliever.

"I think he could certainly be a bullpen piece for a second division club."

I doubt that VERY seriously. If he could be a bullpen piece for a second division club: (1) he could surely have beaten out David Herndon on our depth chart; and (2) he would not have passed through waivers unclaimed, as he managed to do last year.

Second division teams are still major league teams, and a pitcher who throws nothing but a straight fast ball is not a major league pitcher.

BAP, "temporary suspension of disbelief," I believe is the phrase utilized in these types of discussions surrounding Mathieson.

For some reason, there is an overwhelming contingent of folks who believe that based on the single premise that Mathieson can hit 99 on the gun, he's a sure fire MLB pitcher.

You'll have to battle through that prevailing mindset, as it tends to run a bit rampant here. BLer's sure aren't ones to allow the facts the couple the "shots" that Scott has been given to cloud their interpretation of his potential and his worth.

If Aumont would have stayed in the pen in 2010 and had a good year, then i think he would really be turning heads right now - but at this point, he's only had two good months as a Phillies prospect so its hard to really start pegging his MLB arrival date and ceiling at this point.

for the most part, this promotion is just a nice opportunity for him to make up for lost time and i'm sure we're all hoping he takes advantage of it (except Will S. maybe, who thinks its BS that we even discuss such a unproven bum and would gain more pleasure out of him failing to make beerleaguers look stupid).

Everybody is intrigued by a pitcher that can light up the radar gun, but that's just a tool. Like speed for a centerfielder or middle infielder. It's what you do with that tool (think Mini-Mart)and what other tools you have that matter. A flat fastball just won't cut it if that's all you've got, no matter how fast it is.

Full disclosure: I am as guilty as anyone in falling for the flamethrowers...until I see them.

Also, I think the Phillies have had fewer flamethrowing farmhands than most teams in the past. As a result I think Phillies fans get more excited over these guys. We finally have our share of +arms it seems and it is a cool position to be in. I know that is purely anecdotal but it sure seems like it. A couple years ago the Red Sox had like 5 guys in their pen that routinely threw 95. It doesn't mean they had a great pen, but when you really needed a K they had a lot of guys who could get it for you.

lorecore: I'm not sure it's all lost time. Pitchers who can start are better prospects and when a pitcher is just 21 years old, I think it'd be negligent to ignore that possibility.

Now he's 22 and still 15 months younger than De Fratus and 28 months younger than Stutes.

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