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Monday, June 13, 2011


I'd choose Willingham, even though he's a bad fielder. They won't pay the price for Pence.

Yeah, if they're going to pay ludricously for a RH OF, they should go after Kemp (if he's even a possibility to be available). While I like Pence, and would love to see him on the team, I don't think the PHils shoudl pay through the teeth for him.

Does Olney consider the discount that Wade gives the Phils?

At any rate, I'd just as soon take a flyer on a cheaper option in Willingham, and hope that his challenges have been in adjusting to the AL and some new pitchers.

I get that a RH bat would be nice, but I'm not certain it's something the Phils *have* to have. It would be a certain luxury, though, to have some better options on the bench for interleague an any postseason games.

I wonder if ESPN ever has any sources for their rumors or if they feel free to just throw names out there.
Is there a "Mendosa line" of sorts for % correct on trade speculations?

Well, call me crazy, but I'd call Billy Beane and see what he wants for Michael Taylor.

Willingham would be a decent stopgap, but that's all.

Mentioned in the MLBTradeRumors was Juan Rivera. He would be a nice fit because he has hit LHP well again this year (as he has for the past few years), has a price tag in the Phils' range, and wouldn't require much in return since his PT is getting squeezed with Lind at 1B.

Tells you how far the Phils' opinion of Francisco has fallen.

Oh, and if anyone thinks I'm implying the Michael Taylor is a "can't miss, answer to the Phillies offensive problems" you are sorrily mistaken.

I just think sometimes you need to say "WTF".

Would Willingham really make a difference? Doesn't sound much better than Francisco, but I honestly don't remember watching him in the past.

It's hard to find anyone good when you don't want to spend (in terms of trading players, in this case).

"Olney’s comment comes at a strange time. It was based on information from sources within other organizations, and there is no guarantee that these “inquiries” made by the Phillies are recent."

I strongly doubt the relevance of these so-called rumors.

Bring Mayberry back--he runs well, fields well and has improved his patience at the dish. He also has enormous power when he connects. The talent is there--coach him up!

People, it's June. Expect the next 6-7 weeks to be filled with rumors of what teams are scouting what players. This happens every year.

The discussion two threads ago was absolutely hilarious.

Someone mentioned that Ugggla would not hit well the rest of the year because he isn't on June 13th. Of course that is silly to project because in most cases those numbers even out. Not that he'll reach career norms but there is a good chance he gets incredibly hot at some point this season.

Some of the ones that shout that poster down though are the same ones who use that same rationale to proclaim Phillies players washed up.

I've said it before. We need a Beerleaguer ombudsman to keep track of the blatant contradictions in how people present their arguments.

On this particular topic at hand. I'd be more inclined to try to get Cuddyer but Willingham is a serviceable back-up option. I think Kemp would cost more than Pence.

"The notion that everyone here thought the Giants were a pushover is false."

clout: I never said "everyone." I was referring to the usual suspects, who believe it is manifest destiny that the Phillies will win the NL East every year, then steamroll through all post-season opposition.

You will not see a major move this year, I don’t think we need it. Right now, I’m happy with the guys we’ve got and I’m hoping they get us to the dance. This is a good team that is not playing as good as it is.

"He also has enormous power when he connects."

Too bad it doesn't happen very often.

Kemp would (and should) cost more than Pence. Pence is a good player. Kemp is an MVP candidate.

If you look at the Braves, position by position, we're the better team:

C: McCann vs. Ruiz, edge McCann by OPS874 to 701 for Chooch

1B: Freeman vs. Howard, edge Howard (809OPS with Howard slumping vs. Freeman at 757OPS)

2B: Uggla vs. Utley; Utley by a country
mile (OPS is 200 points above Uggla's and Utley is still not quite 100% yet)

3B: Jones vs. Polanco: Jones, but it's not as big a difference as you'd think, Jones OPS is 797 to Polanco's 748

SS: Gonzalez vs Rollins: Both have similar OPS but Rollins OPB is 331 to Gonzalez's putrid 295. OPB always, always, always matters more in judging a hitter's quality. A hitter with OPB/SLG of 350/350 is better than one with an OPB/SLG of 300/400.

LF: Wash. Prado was the better hitter in April but Ibanez was much better in May. Need to see how the next few months continue. Defensively Prado is much better though.

CF: McClouth vs. Victorino: Again, Victorino over the Braves' player by a wide margin.

RF: Jason Heyward vs. Dom Brown/Ben Francisco. Wash again. The OPS combined between the Phillies' platoon and Heyward is very similar, 710OPS to 724 for Heyward.

That's 4 in our favor, 2 for the Braves, 2 draws. This is based on performance to date, not past year performance on the 2011 season. Or 3 in our favor, 2 for the Braves, and 3 draws if you don't agree with my opinion of Rollins vs. Gonzalez.

This is an interesting comment from HarballTalk's Power Rankings:

"6. Braves (11): Six straight wins but, like Philly, it wasn’t against the toughest competition (the Marlins are reeling, the Astros merely bad). And the biggest concern about this team remains the feeling that all of these close, low-scoring games they’re playing are going to catch up to those arms in the pen which, while really damn effective, aren’t indestructible."

I'd be more pleased to see the Phils get a legit LOOGY rather than RH OF help. There are lots of really good left handed hitters they could face in the playoffs: Fielder, Bruce, Votto, CarGo, Helton, AGone, Papi, Cano.

Can you imagine how we would feel if Romero or Zags was warming up with any of those guys on deck? Yikes!

If you look at the Braves, position by position, we're the better team ...

And yet, the Phillies have somehow managed to lose 5 of 9 to Atlanta thus far.

Also, Buster Olney is a stooge.

Spitz, call me crazy, but I'm cool with Antonio "playing better than Santana" Bastardo warming up in that spot.

Like, really cool with it, even.

Do we need another LOOGY?

I like this team. We don't need the RH corner outfield bat.

I like the team, as constructed, so long as Ibanez isn't in one of his prolonged "is he washed up?" slumps.

That said, like I stated, it really would be nice to have a better bench bat (preferably RH) to serve as DH in interleague games and for key postseason AB's.

However, I would not be willing to mortgage the farm for Pence, just for that luxury (and he'd change the dynamic of the bench by pushing Brown or Ibanez there; both LH).

Bring me a RH bat.


John Mayberry Jr. is your RH bat.

No he is not.

Any chance Pete Incaviglia is still available as a RH bat? He'd hit a few out at CBP.

He's not dead, so he is available.

right, the phils are 4-5 against the braves this year, so that means the braves are better. but if the phillies were, say, 5-4 against the braves, then they'd be better.

that's some analysis, gtown!

Gtown's analysis is about as rigorous and meritorious as Godfather's.

Which is to say, not at all.

Juan Rivera would not be the worst pickup in the world if he came cheap. Some on BL advocated signing him as opposed to Ibanez a few years back when they were both FAs.

That said, we're talking about Toronto. They'll ask for Singleton, May and Cosart as a 'fair value' return.

Losing 5 of 9 looks much worse than going 4-5.

f4f: A more literate person might have correctly inferred that merely citing which team has "better" players doesn't necessarily correlate to winning. Better luck next time.

All I know is, Cholly has no RH bullets off the bench. He needed one last Thurs. and Marshall and the Cubs.

And yes Mayberry should be here in favor of Martinez, but they still need an additional option. What does it say when Francisco is PH for by Polanco?

And condering that Cannot run at the present time, they might need a LH bat also.

Jack: really, you're equating Howard and Uggla's contact skills? I'm not a huge fan of Howard's extension either, but Howard's got 60 points of batting avg. and 80 points of obp over Uggla. You're protesting a tad too much. The Phillies have the best record in baseball for a reason. Does that mean they don't have flaws, no. But they are good.

inky's softball league instituted a strict drug policy a few years ago.he's dropped 70 lbs. and is playing tennis 3 days a week.

I'm not above a no-field/bat-only option, as long as he's cheap (and right handed).

After all, if you think about it, how is Ibanez much different from a left-handed version of Matt Stairs or Inky, already? Just because he's asked to play LF everyday doesn't mean he's good at it.

Something tells me Inky has put on a few pounds, not necessarily muscle though.

WP, I'm assuming Bastardo is our setup man. I assume Contreras will have decayed by September / October.

They definitely need to add a power bat for the bench for the stretch run.

hmm, yes. i'll remember your sage words, gtown: better players aren't a good way to judge one team as better than another when looking towards the final 3 1/2 months of the season. rather, look to a 9 game sample size, see that one team has beaten the other an extra time, and use that.

Some interesting facts about Inky, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Incaviglia's rookie season came in 1986. Drafted by the Montreal Expos, he refused to play a day in the minor leagues. He was traded to the Texas Rangers who would grant the request and make him the 15th player in Major League history to debut in the majors without ever playing minor league ball since the amateur draft began in 1965.

As a result of the Expos trading Incaviglia immediately after signing him, Major League Baseball instituted a rule whereby a team cannot trade a drafted player until he has been under contract to the club for at least one year. This is now known as the Pete Incaviglia Rule.

If the team brings in a guy like Willingham do they just straightup bench Ibanez who hits lefties better than righties? Send Brown down? For an all-star level RH bat, I'm not entirely opposed to either, but for Josh Willingham. . . . maybe not.

f4f: When have I claimed the Braves are the better team overall? All I pointed out was that Atlanta has beaten the Phillies more often than not over the past 9 games. Or, if you'd prefer a larger sample size, over the past 47 Games.

Spitz actually makes a good point, and one worthy of discussion:

Do the Phillies need a better option than Romero as a LOOGY more than a RH bat?

This mlbtr article:

discusses who might be available if the A's become sellers. As far as I can tell they have a couple of LH RP options who would be far to Romero.

The one issue is even if the Phils acquired a RH OF bat? What do they do with the roster? Gimpy Gload stays. Apparently want Mini Mart around because of the health questions regarding their INF. Option Francisco? I find it hard to believe he would clear waivers since is making little and is better than some of the schlock out there on some MLB rosters.

I am interested to see if Gload can even be a possible DH this weekend in Seattle vs. either Pineda/Hernandez. If he can't even do that, I still hate having a guy on the roster all year who is basically a designated PH who can't play the field/run.

"We need a Beerleaguer ombudsman to keep track of the blatant contradictions in how people present their arguments."

isn't that Clout's sole reason for coming on Beerleaguer?

gtown: i guess i don't understand why you pointed out that the phillies' are 4-5 against the braves this year as a response to a discussion of which team had better players, and thus, were a better team.

it means almost nothing.

f4f - rounding up we are an even .500 vs. the Braves.

It is too early to assess needs too. Still need to see several things including what Utley will give the club, will Brown hit enough to help the offense, etc.

My bet is they end up needing bullpen help more than a bat because there just aren't any places they would put one except in a corner OF spot. Contreras is still hurt and the Phils have been awfully quiet about it. Can Bastardo actually hold up? Will Lidge actually contribute anything this year?

Supposedly Contreras' struggles are due to a 'mechanical flaw' in today's Wilmington's New Journal.

"My shoulder's been flying out, and my pitches are staying up," Contreras said. "I'm working on it. I was in the bullpen [Friday] with [pitching coach Rich] Dubee. I was a lot better."

f4f: Exactly.

Mayberry Jr. eats up lefthanded pitching at least at the AAA level. He ate up the Bats Dontrelle Willis yesterday in Allentown with a couple of doubles. He walked off another lefty from the Durham Bulls with a home run Thursday night. Lets see what Jr. can do against yet another lefty starting for the Bats tonight. But he seems to be the best answer to the right handed bat problem and he is staring Ruben right in his face. Charlie must really be sentimental to keep Francisco around?

mg- francisco has options left. no need for waivers.

Dull - That's the thing though. Mayberry had a chance (granted a limited one) and didn't do much vs. RHP:

.220/.313/.339 with only 2 HRs in 59 ABs.

I thought he might be the answer this year off the bench as a RH bat with good glove/speed. He had the good glove & speed but just didn't hit. He will get called up again in Sept (or if they have an injury to Brown/Ibanez/Francisco) but he isn't the answer. Phils have likely moved on.

Meant to put the LHP pitching part:

.244/.320/.400 with 1 HR in 45 ABs.

Mayberry just didn't hit enough vs LHP in limited duration. If he had hit say .250-.260 with more pop, he likely would still be here.

Still don't understand the loathing that the Phils apparently have for Francisco. His OPS is .710. Ibanez is .719 and arguably one of the worst defenders in LF with below average speed. Yet he starts every day. It's kind of puzzling.

Francisco vs. LHP - .172 BA/.304 OBP/.310 SLG/.615 OPS w/ 2 HR in 58 AB.

So Mayberry is somewhat worse than Francisco vs. RHP, somewhat better than Francisco vs. LHP & clearly a better Fielder & Base Runner.

While it doesn't preclude the need for a better corner bench option, I'd rather have Mayberry on my roster.

Ibanez is Charlie's starting LF. Francisco is not Charlie's starting RF. It's as simple as that. Once Charlie has his guy, he sticks with him, through thick and thin. He did it with Lidge in 2009. He's doing it with Ibanez this year. Francisco never earned that trust with Charlie, so he'll not get a chance to prove himself further this year unless someone gets injured.

MG & Fatalotti: I'd guess the fact that Ibañez is due $11.5 Million this season (as compared to $1.175 Million for Francisco) has a lot to do w/ it as well.

MG: Ibanez obviously gets more leash because he has a track record. Francisco does not have a track record of 7 straight seasons of 110 or higher OPS+ while playing everyday.

Query whether that track record should mean as much when a guy is 39 and showing signs of decline, but that is what it is.

John Mayberry Jr, for God's sake. We've got enough veteran experience, let's get some energy of youth from our own camp. Why is this not obvious?

Youth's not the issue. Doubles and homers are the target of any outfield acquisition. Mayberry doesn't seem able to deliver those in sufficient quantity to boost this offense.

Youthful energy without talent doesn't do all that much.

Same with veteran experience, incidentally, but that's a lesson for another day.

Energy and youth! Just like the Miami Heat!

I've wanted Willingham on the Phils since they became lefty heavy. Is he a FA after the season because I wouldn't mind replacing Ibanez with him.

Willingham is the target. He's hitting .100 less than his typical OPS on a team slumping from injuries and unlikely to resign him. The Phils absolutely need a more reliable RH #5 hitter with power than Ibanez, Francisco, or Mayberry can provide.

Quentin would be great, but may be significantly more expensive to acquire. Pence would require more than is necessary to upgrade the corner outfield.

To provide roster and salary space, Ibanez should be salary dumped. His trade status is often debated here, but he apparently has limited, but not full trade protection. He would be difficult to dump anyway, but you hope some AL team would want his bat and character for a stretch run.

If you can pull off Ibanez, the next move is to move Francisco (ideally for a minimal prospect) and then promote Mayberry to be our 4th OF and spot starter against LHP.

By all accounts, Amaro is under significant salary constraints to add any additional payroll. If not Ibanez, then it's moving Blanton or Lidge for relief. Counting on Lidge to build any value to move for full salary is unlikely before the trade deadline. Who knows if Blanton, who would still have the best value of the three can get healthy and effective in time.

Adam Wainwright:

"I can tell you that honestly, I'm not being biased here — I'm out for the season. We're better than the Reds. We're better than the Cubs. We're better than the Brewers. We're better than the Phillies. I mean, there's nobody that can play with us."

From TrueHoop on ESPN:

"The Mavs, as flawed as they looked on paper, had a unique way of optimizing the resources they had while camouflaging their weaknesses.

It’s a victory for the data-driven approach that Dallas' coaching staff has taken, starting with Carlisle -- unquestionably the most cerebral and stat-friendly of the league’s 30 head coaches -- and down to director of basketball analytics Roland Beech, the founder who joined the Mavs on the bench last season and earned the unofficial title of “first stat geek with a championship ring” with such access to the coaching staff.

Carlisle was reluctant to toot his own horn, deflecting praise to the players and calling out two assistant coaches in his opening remarks of the postgame interview. So let me do it for him. Going up against four fairly accomplished coaches in this postseason, he and the Dallas staff consistently stayed a half-step ahead of all four of them.

To say “every button he pushed worked” is technically true, but also misses the point. He wasn’t throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what would stick, he was making calculated adjustments that he knew had a great chance of success. That’s why they all worked.

Tactically, he did the one thing that coaching, at its bottom line, is all about: He gave his team the best chance to win, often with some courageously out-of-the-box thinking."

I would argue that Cholly doesn't put his position in a team often enough to win because of his strong fixation on 'winning today' possibly due to the detriment of winning the next day or over the long haul.

Contrary to the popular opinion that Cholly manages by his 'gut' I would argue that Cholly is very much a character of baseball managing orthodoxy and does things in a very traditional way. Just haven't watched him manage enough over the past few years but Cholly often goes with the splits matchup when PH or when choosing a reliever even if the stats/odds don't suggest it is quite the best matchup.

"but you hope some AL team would want his bat and character for a stretch run."

No team would pick up Ibanez without the Phillies paying close to 100% of the salary. Sorry, but shockingly enough, there just isn't a long line for a 39-year old terrible defensive OF making $11 million and with a sub-.300 OBP.


Maybe we can hire Rick Carlisle to be the coach then.

MG: You vary back and forth on the winning today vs winning tomorrow shtick depending on how it fits your argument that day. You also doublespeak your way into doom on the topic everytime.

Unless Romero solves his control issues, the Phils need a LOOGY.

Bastardo is your 8th inning set up guy. I'm VERY happy with the way he's pitched this year and he's been equally effective against LHB and RHB.

And if you need Bastardo for the 8th, someone else should be available as your 7th inning LOOGY. I worry that Romero won't demonstrate the control needed for that job.

Too bad they didn't get Quentin in the offseason.

Who cares what Wainright says.

The Cardinals have never impressed me very favorably.

TTI - No I generally don't. Using your best relievers when you are up 4+ runs to close out games is foolish if you have other options available. Same with not using your bench guys from time-to-time or letting your starters go deep into games running needlessly high points when the Phils have a game well in hand.

Ditto letting guys continually stay in roles when they are getting the job done and it is time to consider an alternative.

"Mayberry just didn't hit enough vs LHP in limited duration. If he had hit say .250-.260 with more pop, he likely would still be here."

The problem, MG, with Mayberry and all players of his ilk, is that 45 ABs is hardly enough of a sample size to really give the guy a chance. Now, part of their evaluation IS, I'm sure, based on what they see in AAA and ST.

Still, 45 AB?

2 more hits and his BA goes to .289. If those hits were one 2B and one HR, his line would have been .289/.360/.533. And he missed a couple of HRs in his tenure where he hit them to the warning track, one into the wind IIRC.

Frankly, because of their irrational infatuation with mini-mart, I'm not sure they would have kept Mayberry around anyway.

Oh, and MG, if Mayberry had had just ONE (1) more hit in his 45 AB, and it was a 2B, his line would have been .267/.340/.444.

Would they have kept him instead of mini-mart?

Personally, I don't think so.

Is everyone else sold on Michael Stutes?

He did a nice job yesterday but I was shocked around me to hear people anoint him as a guy they wanted to see in the 8th inning going ahead forward instead of Contreras.

He can help this club but I am not sold on him being this good. He gives up a ton of flyballs (50%) and still heavily relies upon that fastball. Slider is still a 'work-in-progress' and his changeup isn't a MLB-caliber pitch. Wonder when teams start making an adjustment to him including learning to sit on slider because he can't consistency throw it for a strike early in the count (0-0 or 1-0).

"Mayberry doesn't seem able to deliver those in sufficient quantity to boost this offense.

Posted by: Hugh Mulcahy"

Hugh, again, is 45 AB against LHP really enough of a sample size to make that determination?

I'm not Mayberry lover, but I am arguing SSS problem.

I'm with MG on Stutes. I like what he's shown so far, and he obviously has a place in this bullpen, but the combo of walking guys (10 BBs in 18 IP) and his flyball tendencies scare me in CBP. That's a recipe for giving up a few devstating 2-run HRs.

Of the guys mentioned, I like Cuddyer better than Willingham though I can't say C's streakiness or fielding is much better than Willingham. I guess the rap on Willingham is his weak fielding and I am always suspect of a guy who so quickly gets moved on to the next team. I also suspect Oakland want be as easily conned in the trade game.
I wonder if Ed Wade has an advisor job readily available with the Phils when the 'stros finally kick him to the curb or if he can work one in for himself if he trades Pence cheap.

MG: There's no way Stutes is the primary setup guy. His stuff IS working right now, though, so I don't blame them for using him over the likes of Contreras (who's scuffling) or anyone else not named Madson or Bastardo.

Bastardo had pitched the previous 3 days and was likely unavailable except in an emergency.

Anon-II - I'm not necessarily relying on those 45ABs. He has never shown an ability to hit right handed pitching, especially off-speed, and last I checked that's the majority of the guys out there. I don't particularly like his swing, either. He has long arms but, he has a crouched stance and makes a deliberate effort to shorten those long arms to get the bat through the zone. I'm no professional, obviously, but he looks like a guy who good pitchers will continue to eat up regardless of the number of opportunities he gets. I'd love to be proven wrong but, I don't see it.

Jack: But do you really think, as MG suggests some are, that Stutes is being considered as the primary setup guy? Not a chance... and I don't believe anyone with the Phils believes that.

I'm sure you know that bullpen arms are highly volatile. It's hard to know what you're going to get. When you can find lightning in a bottle (as Stutes has been), you have to ride that as long as you can.

The Phils are limited in the pen right now and with Bastardo seemingly unavailable, Stutes was the right choice.

I just don't think people are really suggesting Stutes is anything more than he is.

Anon - 'Should've, would've, could've'

Mayberry was trying to establish himself, got a brief audition with Vic out, and didn't hit. No 45 ABs isn't enough ABs to judge whether he is productive vs. LHP nor is the 100+ overall ABS but he the bottom line is he got a shot and didn't make it.

Some guys who have been mired at AAA for years would love to have had a shot at even a 100+ ABs to prove they could stick.

As for the Phils' infutation with Mini Mart, it is downright buzzling. There is a single thing he brings to the table besides raw speed. Isn't even a good base stealer. Can't bunt. Isn't a plus defender at any position. Has a crappy arm in the OF. He's 28 and not likely to improve.

He's the worst player the Phils have had on there roster for an extended stretch since Desi Relaford who I would nominate as a one of the Phils' All-Time Worst Players. Understand why they kept around Relaford though for several reasons (e.g., he was cheap, club stunk, and he was young player the Phils hoped would show some improvement).

Even a bum like Nunez had some positive attributes (decent defensive player at 3B, too his share of BBs, and could drop a bunt).

In deriding my idea, Jack excluded the part of my sentence emphasizing the difficulty of moving Ibanez's salary even without anything in return -- all too typical for him.

However, despite Jack's grand indignation. It's not impossible to find salary parity for adding Willingham's remaining 2011 6m salary and only asking for a little back of Ibanez's 11m. Ibanez had a .793 OPS last year and were he to raise this year's performance a little higher could make a useful DH/bench/occasional LH bat for a stretch run with no commitment for next year.

Again, I don't argue that it will be difficult to move Ibanez. But if Amaro only needs a little salary back to give the psychological space for ownership to take on a new corner OF salary, then it could work.

Of course, Jack, if that does not work, I'm sure we could get your buddy Pedro Feliz from the River Dogs to pop some Homeruns in the post season. Seriously.

MG: So to ask you the facetious question I asked the other night- you've said before that if someone can't hold a 4 run lead out of the pen they shouldn't be on the team. So are we getting rid of Contreras?

And when Charlie does use his bench guys people go apoplectic on here.

Charlie clearly makes mistakes but you portray him as a bumbling oaf who doesn't get things right ever. Then you paste an article about a guy who just won an NBA championship to offer that Charlie doesn't put his guys in the best position to win. It was a silly argument to make in this case.

I like Stutes - live arm and challenges hitters. But, I'm not ready to see him regularly in the 8th inning. I think he'll come back to earth some before teh season's over. He came in the other night to clean up the mess left by Romero and Contreras and, he faced that lefty (Snyder?) with two men on. Ruiz called for a fastball low and away and Stutes threw it over the fat part of the plate. Snyder just stared at it but, it was a mistake. Sometimes you're just lucky but, a reliever who doesn't command his fastball in that situation should get lit up. I'm not saying it's a problem for him but, I hold my breath with him on the mound.

CJ: Oh, I have no doubt Bastardo is still ahead of Stutes in the pecking order (as he should be).

But when Contreras was hurt (and he seems like he still might be), Stutes saw a lot of time in the 8th inning of close games.

I think all we're saying is that we're not totally sold that he's going to be good in those situations going forward. I'm scared he walks too many guys and gives up too many flyballs that can easily turn into HRs on warm nights in CBP. You know? So basically, I like the kid, I just hope Big Truck gets healthy and effective real soon.

Beerleaguer: Every sliver lining has a gray cloud.

Ride Stutes while he is hot and don't worry about the rest of the league catching up. They say that about every reliever that starts out hot. Some get caught up to and some don't. You can't manage like that. Put the guy out there until he shows you he doesn't belong in that spot.

And I highly doubt anyone was saying Stutes should be the guy over Contreras.

While I prioritize a corner OF bat as the number #1, I'm also not fully comfortable with Stutes, Bastardo, and Contreras as setting up Madson in the postseason.

But if I were forced with salary limitations to choose upgrade for the offense or bullpen, then I'd rather roll the dice on some combination of Contreras, Bastardo, Stutes, Worley and Lidge providing sufficient setup following our starters who go deep into games than Ibanez, Francisco, and Mayberry providing sufficient offense to replace Werth's departure from #5 in the lineup.

All we need in the pen are Stutes, Schwimmer and Gordon (Brian), and we'd be set. That would allow the Phils to call up Mayberry, Orr, Kratz, and a few others.

Is there anybody that doesn't think Stutes is exactly the 3rd best pitcher in the bullpen, if Contreras is hurt? I can't see a reasonable argument otherwise.

TTI - If Cholly feels that he has a bullpen pitcher who can't get 3 outs to close out a game up 4+ runs (especially against a weak offense), then yeah I don't know why that pitcher on this roster.

As for the bench, it is hilarious to see Cholly state like he did in spring training and early this year decoratively that he needed to get his bench guys some ABs so they could keep their timing. So what does he do? He buries his bench in April accept to PH including giving almost no PT to Mayberry and Gload.

Didn't ever say that Cholly 'is a bumbling oaf' or that he 'doesn't get things right.' Not a Bill Baer level critic of him.

I do think he is dogmatic and stubborn as a mule on making tweaks/changes. JRoll could have a ~.300 OBP all year out of the leadoff yet Cholly won't change it. Ditto resting Ibanez last year. Let Francisco got on the bench while Ibanez slumped away until he finally started resting him a bit in July.

Nor do I think he has a good sense on when his starter is done or a guy doesn't have it. Cholly works because his player's like him and that matters more than his strategical acumen. Nor do I think Cholly is the worst strategy manager in the NL. Fredi is worse. Ditto Hurdle.

I don't think Raul will get traded, but let's be clear - he doesn't make anything close to $11MM anymore. The Phils have already payed somewhere between a third to a half of his 2011 salary.

Jack: Prior to last night's setup role, and his rescue of Contreras two night's before, Stutes had never been called upon to protect a close lead in the 8th inning (the only lead he had to protect was 6 runs). He also pitched in the 8th inning of a tie game once. Other than that, every game he pitched in the 8th the Phils were down 2 or more runs (except May 1st, down 1 run).

He's never been used as a true setup man until last night.

And because Bastardo will be the true setup man moving forward, I'm not sure what the point is. Is it that Stutes should never be used as a setup guy because he won't succeed one of these days?

DH Phils - agreed - Stutes is the 3rd best pitcher in the BP if Contreras is hurt. And that's exactly why every Phillies fan should be rooting for Brad Lidge to get healthy as soon as possible. You can never have enough healthy, experienced arms in the pen.

Hugh, I have a couple of problems with your post:

One) "He has never shown an ability to hit right handed pitching". True. But so what? He's supposed to be a RHB off the bench, which means he'd start against LHP or pinch-hit against them.

Two) "...he looks like a guy who good pitchers will continue to eat up...". Ummm, don't 'good' pitchers eat up most batters? That's what makes them good, no?

TTI - So you go with Stutes now in the 8th if you get 7 innings out of your starter instead of Contreras?

It is an interesting question because of how Contreras has struggled since he came back off the DL. My bet is that he might be ahead of Contreras right now on Cholly/Dubee's depth chart until Contreras starts to show more positive results on the mound.

Contreras hasn't been throwing his splitter since he has been back. My money is that he still isn't 100%. He pitched though a dead arm last year in June & still was pretty effective the rest of the year. Just not as good as he was in April.

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EST. 2005

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