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Monday, June 27, 2011

Comments

Carlos Beltran.

Bat Utley 5th.

Getting Polly in the #2 hole is a good start.

I tried to use b-ref play index to find out the last time a leadoff batter got a hit in every single PA and his team failed to score more than 3 runs... but fukudome just did it like a few weeks ago so it wasn't that cool of search. But in general over the past 5-6 years it looked to be about like 85% of the time the team scores more than 3 runs when that happens.

It seems the new batting order thing has been tried already so scratch that.

I say make a trade. I do believe a major shake up is in order but I'm not sure if it's best to do that in the middle of the season or not unless the Phils are landing premium talent.

But if Beltran, Ludwick, Cuddyer, Willingham, etc...are on the block, I'm cool with that. See if you can get a reliever or two out of the deal too.

Hunter Pence-give up some talent-instant #5 hitter. Sign Jose Reyes during the off-season.

The Phils rank #7 in the NL in runs scored to date.

That being said, getting a LF who hits rightie is the single thing that will have the biggest impact on our offense.

I think a solution might be for this team to collectively find it within themselves to approach hitting more intelligently, to take its cues from Polanco and Utley rather than (for example) Howard and Victorino. It's not that the guys the Phils have just can't hit - it's that they don't get the most out of their ability because they get themselves out in half their at-bats and they never learn from it. But then, I've been waiting for some semblance of an intelligent approach to rear its head ever since Manuel took over. Things have gotten so bad, even he seems to have picked up on this being the root of the offensive problem.

I think the thing that baffles most people about Riggleman is that he acted on principle, and that is something one doesn't see everyday. And it turned out that he was right, so maybe he didn't feel like delaying the inevitable.

The lack of offense is not really a major problem since the Phils seem to score enough to win more often than not. I'm not convinced that tinkering with the lineup makes much of a difference anyway, so the one thing to hope for is that Rube looks for another bat. The question is, who do the Phils have to give up to get this other bat?

Excellent article about "aging" baseball players.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/for-derek-jeter-on-his-37th-birthday.html?_r=1&hpw

49-30

Now is the time to blow it up.

Riggleman is a loser and he'll never work in baseball again after his little tantrum.

Old Phan, the Phils minor league system is considered well above average, with a number of players who can be expected to contribute in the majors. Some of them are a ways off, but there's a lot of talent down there.

The question is will Rube trade away too much? I'd hate to see some of the promising young starting pitchers go for a rental.

What Yeager said.

Dan, that may be true, but who in the farm system is going to cure their "offensive woes"?

"to take its cues from Polanco and Utley rather than (for example) Howard and Victorino"

Vic has been the Phils most consistent hitter all season.

repost: Jack: If Mini-Mart feels the need to quit baseball should Amaro refuse to grant him an extension, I would whole-heartedly endorse the move. . . of course Amaro would probably give him a 3 year deal. . . d8mmit

DIP: Yeah, most of their minor league talent is of the 2-to-3-years-away variety, but there's still talent there. They definitely have enough to get a guy like Cuddyer or Willingham. Neither is great, but they would still be big upgrades.

Old Phan, there's no one we can call up on the farm ready to hit ML pitching, but trading projectable players to teams out of it should easily be doable, if the price is right.

I would suggest packaging some minor league talent with ibanez, and taking back a guy like an alex rios who also has a bad contract, obviously I don't mean Alex Rios, but you get the drift, a nice righty from the AL who would feast on NL pitching

Riggelman acted out of 'principal?' Haha. That's a good one. He made a foolish bluff for guaranteed cash and Rizzo called him on it.

Yes, Victorino has been one of the best guys in the lineup this year. And Howard has 60-some ribbies. The point isn't to belittle their performances, but to decry how as name players, they set a tone for the offense in their undisciplined approach. Victorino getting himself out in successive ABs with men on third/one out yesterday is particularly fresh in the mind.

"I would suggest packaging some minor league talent with ibanez"

Isn't that redundant?

Nothing new here. This team slumped horribly last year around this time, too. I expect a much better slugging team in the second half.

Beltran certainly wouldn't hurt. But I sure as hell wouldn't change too much on the team with baseball's best record.

since aumont/defratus called up to AAA, combined:

10 IP in 7 appearences, 8 ER, 16 hits, 8 walks. 15 K's tho.

I would suggest a minor move first. Lineup order will not make much difference if nobody can hit anyway.
Mayberry is the obvious cheap choice for a RH power hitting corner OF. He can still hit lefties but should not play everyday. I'd like to see Kratz bat against lefties as well but positionally he does not make sense.

Ibanez is going to stick around. He is untradeable (clause or not). Just depends on his playing time. Francisco still seems like a reasonable guy to keep and play part time. He is taking pitches, has power, can run, has even splits, but is not much of a defender. I like him better than Mayberry.

Brown is the real question mark. He can be sent down for any replacement player as the Phillies have already used an option this year. It would stop his arbitration clock and he would play everyday. However, the team is still winning and I think he needs to face major league pitchers as much as possible.

I still think a post July trade or claim may be the way to go. Also, the team may have other needs by the deadline and with (supposedly) little money to spend I suggest they wait to get that one player.

RSB, baseball is not played in a vacuum, and every hitter has to contend with a pitcher trying to get him out. It's a game of failure, where failing 7 times out of 10 is consider hall of fame caliber skill. Furthermore hitters don't generally ape each other even on the same team. There's no point of doing so, as the skills Howard brings to the table are totally different than Palanco (for example).

For these reasons, I think your basic point that the entire team is suffering from the same problem seems wrong to me. I think it's a result of lower offense in general, age hitting our LF as our RF is young, and injury. I seriously doubt these players are trying to get themselves out, and their approach is what they have learned over tens of thousands of ABs over their lives, and won't suddenly change for any reason.

De Fratus showed in Spring Training that he's not quite ready for advanced hitters yet. Hopefully this is just growing pains/a learning experience for him as his raw stuff is quite good. The same with Aumont. Both are relatively raw hard throwers that need more tweaking on their secondary pitch as well as pitch sequencing (dont fall in love with their fastballs).

Well, no one is *trying* to get themselves out. I don't see enough guys trying hard enough to prevent that, either. Approach to the game, or aspects of the game, can be almost cultural on a team, within an organization. The A's, for instance, at least for a long time, were known for just such a patient, high on-base approach, and it rubbed off on younger players because this was the norm, the expectation. Where the approach is generally sloppy and random, it just tends to manifest everywhere.

I think we need Joe Blanton back, that will cure everything.

If they're going to make a big move, Beltran would be the best option. If it's a smaller move I think Willingham could actually make a difference in the 5-hole.

But this is predicated on Madson being healthy, cause if he isn't the team desperately needs another BP piece as well.

I just don't believe that there is no flexibility pay-wise. Before this season, somebody asked me how much I was willing to pay for Cliff Lee, and I said $4 a ticket, and to my chagrin that was the price increase in the off-season. So, I ask you guys how much would you pay for the phillies to acquire a guy like a Carlos Lee or Soriano who may be had for the right package.

My question is, can we buy Matt Kemp on a discount in a bankrupcy auction. Is it like a foreclosure? Can there be an auctioneer standing on Kemp's front steps while a bunch of GM's stand around with numbered paddles?

The Mets would make us pay through the teeth for Beltran and he'd be a very expensive 3 month rental.

I don't necessarily see a 'different approach' is needed. I just see an offense that doesn't have the same ability to hit HRs and especially 2Bs as guys have aged especially Polanco, Utley, and JRoll. One of the real keys for the Phils' offense was the above average power they got from 2B and SS. Those days are gone and they ain't coming back.

Utley coming back has given this team though a real boost at 2B. Moved up to more league-average numbers already at 2B from the complete lack of production they were getting from Orr/Valdez.

Brown though has been a dud so far in RF. He hasn't given the kind of boost that you might have hoped for. Just have to stay with some of the growing pains though. It is either Francisco, Brown, or if they recalled Mayberry. Will may go on some rant about how Brown isn't ready but Mayberry didn't show much as a starter in his short audition & Francisco has been found 'wanting' offensively except his 'Buddhist' approach at the plate.

I would rather see Mayberry up though instead of the completely useless Mini Mart and strict platoons in LF/RF with Ibanez/Mayberry & Francisco/Brown. Isn't going to happen though. Hell, Orr brings more to the table but the Phils will continue to play with their interesting yet flawed bench.

RSB: You realize that both Victorino and Howard make outs *less often* than Polanco does, right?

I would love every player on the team to be Chase Utley at the plate. But this team is actually quite disciplined at the plate--they're 4th in the league in walks, which is impressive considering they're not really a juggernaut otherwise. They also have the least strikeouts in the league.

So they walk a lot, and don't strike out. What about that approach bothers you, exactly?

On Matt Kemp? NO, A big fat whopping NO. MLB has already commented that they will veto any major trades that hurt the long-term chances of the Dodgers. Trading Kemp for peanuts would fall under that. They dont want another Expos situation.

Polanoco has been weak at the plate since May 1st:

.230/.286/.283 with just 6 XBHs (4 2Bs, 2 HRs) in 191 ABs. Hit into 6 GIDP too.

If he isn't hitting .300 or close to it, he doesn't bring much to the table offensively at this point.

Jack: what bother me about the approach is playing directly into pitchers' game plans (Jason Vargas?) and never once adjusting. In steadfastly refusing to use the whole field, in not working counts, in going after crap pitches in favorable counts. I am happy about the lack of strikeouts, but I am seeing a massive amount of weakly hit balls for outs, at the same time. There are a lot of players who could really step up their games by just using their heads a little more, by simply waiting for good pitches to hit and not pulling off them ad infinitum when they do get them.

NEPP: I was at the Pigs game on Saturday night. Aumont came in and was throwing 94 and 95 consistently and they pounded him. You are exactly right. You can't fall in love with just the fastball. He has a really easy motion leading me to believe he can throw even harder. The point being he must not have a lot of movement or at least he didn't the other night. He wised up and started throwing breaking balls and it also looked to me like a pretty nice change up. He looks like he has some ability but isn't quite there yet.

Phils are 15-9 this month. They have hardly 'slumped' although this offense has been average/below average now for almost 2 months:

Phils avg/NL avg

April - 4.62 R/G (4.27 R/G)
May - 3.69 R/G (4.04 R/G)
June - 3.88 R/G (3.92 R/G)

The bigger takeaway though is that NL teams simply aren't scoring much in June. I would be willing to bet this is the lowest R/G for NL teams in a quite a while.

Interleague and punchless:

Phils have scored just 17 runs in 9 Interleague games vs. Texas, Seattle, and Oakland. Yet they are still 5-4.

Validation of Amaro's 'build our starting pitching advantage even further' strategy this offseason.

I know Willingham is a favorite player-to-be-traded-for name amongst some BL'ers, but how much more does he actually bring to the table, than a guy like Mayberry?

Willingham has played regularly at the big league level since 2006 but I don't think he gives you a whole lot more than what Mayberry gives you. Mayberry is a slightly younger and much less expensive option. I just don't understand their reluctance to keep him up at this point.

The A's team has one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.

Anyways ... I'd get Mayberry back up here and do something with BenFran. Add one more bat and we'll be okay.

Rube has to do something. This team is built to win the NL East, but they need to win the WFC

Great post on Schoenfield's blog on ESPN:

"Entering Sunday, the quality start percentage across the major leagues was 55 percent, up two percent from last season and seven percent from 2008 and 2009. It's the highest total since 1988's 56 percent. Complete games are up, on a pace of 207 for the season, which would be the most since 209 in 2003. Starters are averaging 6.1 innings per start, the most since 6.1 in 1998.

All this is a way of saying starters are pitching better and going deeper into games than a long time. OK, no surprise there. But few teams are adjusting to this -- most are still carrying 12, or even 13, pitchers. Managers are gaining slight tactical advantages out of the bullpen ... but giving up perhaps bigger tactical advantages with a smaller bench of position players. If starters are going 6-7 innings per start, it's very difficult to get seven or eight relievers regular work. Let's see teams cut down to six or seven relievers and carry an extra bat on the bench that you can use to pinch-hit against that LOOGY or ROOGY in the middle innings. Runs are scarce these days; having more pinch-hitters available could be a nice little edge. "

Phils compound this even further by playing with a guy who can't play in the field (Gload) and another guy that Cholly won't apparently use (Mini Mart) accept as a PR.

This is the Phils best June in quite a few years, so it's hard to see how they're slumping.

those numbers on polly since May are Ibanez'esque. I knew he was struggling but that is putrid.

Those numbers from our 3B/RF/LF positions on the field have just been such a handcuff on this offense. Such plentiful positions for power usually.

On Aumont, he can and has been clocked as high as 97 mph on his fastball but his sinker is/should be his out pitch. It usually has good movement and comes in around 92-93 but it sounds like he wasn't using it as much. He also has a change and a curveball that are both inconsistent but show flashes of potential when he can locate thtem.

He's still very raw.

DeFratus can hit 98 on the gun but usually sits 94/95 and he has a tendency to get fastball happy. He got hammered in ST as a result of that.

"it's hard to see how they're slumping"

You don't watch the games much, do you?

As bad as the Phils' offense is, the Giants are much worse, ranking dead last in all of baseball in runs scored, yet they still hold down first place! The Phils at least are at the middle of the pack in the NL in most offensive categories. San Fran was not so woeful in offense last year, ranking in the middle of the pack as the Phils do now when they were able to win the WS.

Actually, the Phillies aren't really "slumping" in June. This is just who they are--they average a little less than 4 runs a game, which is basically average for the National League these days.

MG raises an interesting point regarding bench management. I 100% agree that in this run-scoring environment, the marginal advantage of the 25th man is higher with a bench player that can contribute than a 7th reliever.

Yeah NEPP: It looked like he was working on the change and curve after he gave up some wicked line drives to the first 3 or 4 hitters all on fastballs. Those secondary pitches actually looked pretty good from where I was sitting. He threw what appeared to be a chang up to Dallas MacPherson on a 3-2 count that made him look silly. I was glad to get to see him pitch and came away from it cautiously optimistic I would say.

Any chance that Polly is injured? Those numbers are screaming injury by a guy who is not that prone to slumps, let alone an Ibanez-esque swoon.

It isn't far fetched that there may be something more going on and the Phillies aren't telling us, would it?

"it's hard to see how they're slumping"

You don't watch the games much, do you?

Posted by: Jack | Monday, June 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM


You don't look at the standings much, do you?

Believe

Good post by Bill Baer on how great the Phils' pitching staff has been this year. While I don't think they will keep up nearly the pace they have so far (especially with Oswalt out now for at least 1 month and probably longer & the suspect middle relief), their pitching has been historically good so far.

It is also funny to see how far OPS numbers have plummeted this season. Pop in my 'Power of Love' cassette, put on my acid-washed Levis, and get into my DeLorean because these numbers take you back to the mid-80s.

http://crashburnalley.com/2011/06/27/believe-the-hype/

Old Phan: They've been winning with pitching, clearly. You can win and still have poor offense, if your pitching is that good. The Phils' pitching is that good.

Doesn't change the fact that the offense isn't very good.

Mack: I'm not demanding a Willingham trade, but how could you look at his career since 2006 and wonder if he has the ability to give you more than Mayberry?!

He's a career .262/.362/.469 hitter. For comparison, Mayberry has NEVER had a season in the minors that he has ever had a obp of willingham's mlb career line.

I can understand many reason why willingham wouldn't be a great trade candidate - poor defense, cost, poor 2011 so far - but his career upside not being much more than Mayberry is not one.

MG - Nice find regarding teams still using a big bullpen. I had thought about this myself recently, where the Phillies have all these guys who go deep into games, and three guys in Baez, Herndon, and Perez who basically only pitch in low-pressure situations.

Of the three, Baez is the least useful. Herndon may become Clay Condrey or in a best case scenario, Chad Durbin, so he can stick around. Perez is a lefty, who if used properly, hopefully can do what Romero was supposed to do.

Why not dispose of Baez in favor of Mayberry? Why give up a potentially extremely useful bench piece in favor of an emergency arm whose only real value is soaking up innings in the once-a-season 15+ inning game?

Granted, I wouldn't do this until one or possibly two of the following conditions are met:
-Madson is 100%
-Contreras returns and proves to be healthy and effective
-Lidge returns and proves to be healthy and effective

Maybe Willingham simply doesn't like hitting in Oakland/American League?

He was a pretty good bat for several years leading up to 2011.

From 2006-2010, he posted an .845 OPS in 2545 PA. He has a pretty good track record.

Willingham is simply a much better hitter than Mayberry especially from a power perspective. The real issue with Willingham is does he stay healthy for whoever acquires him. Injury-riddled history with lots of various ailments over the years & trips to the DL.

mg: good link and I agree. even though i just posted why Mayberry isn't good, I would call him up to replace baez in a heartbeat.

Despite my reputation, I rarely criticize the Phillies front office for roster management. They've generally done a very good job the last few years of putting the right guys in the right position to succeed.

But this year, the idea that they're keeping a 7th man in the bullpen and Michael Martinez on the roster, but not John Mayberry, is absurd. Mayberry kind of sucks, no doubt. But he's simply a more valuable piece than the last reliever, and I don't think it even has to be stated anymore that he's a more useful piece than Mini-Mart, whose presence on this roster might turn out to be one of the more peculiar decisions ever made by a contending baseball team.

1. Strict platoons in both corner OF spots. This has still not been utilized this year. Platoon Ibanez and Francisco in LF and Brown and Mayberry in RF.

Ibanez only looked servicable when he was being spelled. When he was playing every single day in April and June, he fell apart. All 4 of these OF's look better, when they play less. Start playing every day and watch their numbers fall.

2. Dump Schneider and Martinez. This team doesn't need "versatility or veteran moxy". It needs somebody who can hit the ball and get on base. Get Kratz up here as the backup C. If he only hit .230 as the backup C, that would still be light years better then either Schneider or Sardinha have done. Give the guy a shot.

3. Dump a bullpen pitcher and go with an extra position player. Does this team really need both Baez and whoever the long man is? Baez is basically worthless. Dump him and eat whatever money is left. Use Mathieson or Carpenter or whoever as your long man/mop up guy. With that spot, recall Pete Orr. If your bullpen is getting a bit taxed, you can always send him back and bring up another arm for a while. He would be the guy going back-and-forth from the Philly to LV.

Try this for the next month. If the offense continues to slumber, that is when you look to do something at the trade deadline. The team will likely continue to win and stay in 1st place for the time being. So you aren't in panic mode. You can afford to try different people and different combos.

My batting order against RH starting pitching would be:

1. Rollins
2. Polanco
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. Victorino
6. Ibanez
7. Ruiz
8. Brown
9. Pitcher


Against a LH starting pitcher it would be:

1. Rollins
2. Utley
3. Polanco
4. Howard
5. Victorino
6. Francisco
7. Ruiz
8. Mayberry
9. Pitcher

fire Milt Thompson!

One thing we are forgetting here: the phils are in 1st place. Doesn't mean changes aren't needed. We all know Raul is done and Mini is a drain.Mayberry and Orr need to be called up but if the powers at be refuse..
Raj and Cholly aren't going anywhere so enjoy 1st place and hope for needed changes.

I agree lorecore, but I might try and go to a more upgraded OF option, if that is at all possible, rather than 'settle' for Willingham as a posssible solution. I have nothing against Willingham, but I feel like we might be getting a guy who's best years, albeit they are not that many, may be behind him.

That being said, I agree with your latter comment, bringing Mayberry up now can't be worse than watching Raul flail away. Heck, on the other hand I wanted Brown to get a shot at regular time, and that hasn't turned out as I hoped either. LOL.

My vote is: Minor Move

Go from 12 to 11 pitchers and bring up Mayberry. Platoon LF & RF. Squeeze production out of them. Do more pinch hitting and double switches in late game. Oh and...

Find a new leadoff hitter that can get on base better than the rest of the team! Jimmy is only ahead of Ibanez at this point.

Every time I hate our bench, I go and look at other team's bench players and realize that we're simply no different than them.

Most teams have terrible benches.

The Phils suffer from all the problems others here have already written about. Last winter I suggested we trade the lot of them for prospects. I was booed off the site (Clout responding to someone else opined: “'Not worth responding to”).
Well all that is water under the bridge.
The reality is that CM is a nice guy the players love him but as a strategist he is pretty bloody awful. He is certainly letting the starters decide when they are coming out a price the team will surely pay for down the road. But we can’t can him because he is much loved by all and the record is 49-30. Of course if we can’t flog the Mariners and easily dispatch the A’s we are not going to do anything against the Red Sox in October when it matters.
Howard is by far the most intriguing because when he meets the ball it sure can travel far. I have watched Howard long enough to firmly believe he is totally clueless about what is thrown at him. I think he needs lessons from our pitching staff about how to identify a pitch but even before that he needs a pair of glasses.
There is certain lack of imagination on the part of the FO so unlike the Braves who experiment by bringing in young up and coming talent the Phils opt to let them rot in AA or AAA. I don’t see why Mayberry for sure cannot be brought up—he will do no worse than Ibanez and Francisco combined and I would even experiment with Rizzotti.
Can we trade? Sure but with the exception of pitching the Phils have opted out for the Franciscos and Taguchis of this world.

My Batting Order:

1.) Victorino, CF
2.) Polanco ,2B
3.) Rollins, SS
4.) Howard, 1B
5.) Pujols, 3B
6.) Ibanez/Francisco, LF
7.) Ruiz, C
8.) Brown, RF
9.) Pitcher

Deadline moves:
Utley for Pujols, straight-up

BL is being pragmatic today. I like it. Not as much hysteria as usual though I suspect there may have been had we not won yesterday. This is a very flawed team though not as flawed as many others. I can't belive Rube is sitting there and thinking as long as we are cruising along with the best record in baseball everything is ok. I expect something to be done by the deadline but not necessarily something blockbusterish. I believe there is still some payroll flexibility, but not a lot.

I'd rather have Utley than Pujols.

NEPP: That is true, about most teams having bad benches--that's why they're bench players.

The point with our bench, though, is that it's not the best bench we could have. We have better bench players in AAA. Dump Mini-Mart and a 7th reliever for Orr and Mayberry. No one is arguing that we should pick up Barry Bonds out of retirement to be our LH pinch-hitter and trade for Alex Rodriguez to be our utility IF. We're simply saying that the team's job is to construct the best 25-man roster you can, within your organization. They're not even doing that.

dennyb: great post, sign me up for pretty much everything you said.

Only thing I wouldn't call a slam dunk is the Kratz for Schneider move. We have no idea what Kratz would do and his upside is barely anything. Risk/reward just isnt there, especially since your backup catcher never Ph's anyway.

Blow the dust off of the binoculars...let's do this!

RK - Where exactly is this huge quantity of talent at Reading and Lehigh?

I'd prefer Orr and Mayberry up on the bench too...I was just pointing out that most teams have terrible benches as its simply a reality of baseball, especially now. Offense is now across the league, not just in Philadelphia.

An .850 OPS is the new .900 OPS essentially and so on and so forth.

Shane has an .857 OPS which is good for a 134 OPS+ this year...in 2008, a 134 OPS+ was a .915 OPS. That's a pretty significant dropoff across the league in the last 3 years.

rk: "Last winter I suggested we trade the lot of them for prospects. I was booed off the site "

Trade who for prospects? Are you suggesting the Phils blow it up and try again next year? if so, prepared to be boo'd off the site again.

Weren't people calling for Kratz instead of Schneider and Sardinha in the beginning of the season? It would be interesting to see if he does better than S and S. Lorecore - why do you not like this idea? Not arguing with you; I just would like more info on the topic.

Jacks point is a good one. We can argue all day about what moves to make, no one will argue that the current 25 man roster is the best one we can field.

I think back now and then to the obvious flaws to this club's approach at the plate that Michael Jack Schmidt pointed out in ST. Then I remember the reaction from JRoll & Victorino at the time too.

I usually find myself reflecting on that constructive critcism MJS pointed out back in March, as I watch Shane waste imporatnt AB's like he did yesterday twice with RISP & one out (also pointed out by RSB). Or maybe when working a walk or a pitch count may be the prudent move at an imporatnt time in the game, as opposed to swinging for the short porch that is so tempting every AB, especially at CBP.

I hate to be negative, but these are the baseball philosophies that are ingrained during the season that don't suddenly materialize when the playoffs begin. The struggling offense reared it's ugly head last October, which is why the Giants won, and I'm afraid this team, the way it is going offensively, is even more inept than last year's squad by the looks of things so far.

I pray that we are not the new version of the Atlanta Braves, where all pitching, no offense = 14 NL East crowns but one WFC. Say it ain't so Rube.

Kutz, well to be honest, its more of the devil i know over the one i dont. I'm sure they both suck.

I wouldnt say i'm against it, just pretty indifferent and i've at least seen Schnieder handle the pitching staff in the past.

Is it worth having schnieder waived just so we can potentially(stress potentially) have a minimum upgrade at C once every week?

MG: I didn't say we have "huge" gobs of talent. All I am saying is that our guys are not hitting. Clearly the scouts know how topitch to our guys and we have not adjusted.
So why not send our guys back to school and bring in some kids to whet their and our appetite.

As for being booed off for suggesting that we trade our aging stars for a new crop. Well, I like our guys but our guys have shown a singular inability to adjust to the times. Also my point then was that with our new pitching staff we won't need all that much hitting. SO any new propsects will adjust. This did work for teh Marlins!

So, other than the outcome of the series, I had a fantastic visiting Philly and catching this series!

Really nice ballpark. A's deserve a similarly nice venue.

And with the exception of one DB in that HUGE party bar after Saturday nights game (McFadden's?) every encounter I had with Phillies fans -- both in town and at the ballpark -- was a good one.

What a fun weekend! Did my fair share to stimulate the economy...lots of baseball, sight-seeing, and of course plenty of eating & drinking -- cheesesteaks, crab fries, cannolis, and lots of different local (Philly) beers.

A little hot for my bay area sensibilities, but nothing a few cold beers couldn't help.

Off topic but was there ever any reason given for the infielders to be up with two out in the ninth on Friday night. If the thirdbaseman was properly positioned Bench's game winning hit was a routine out and they may still be playing. What'd they think, he was gonna bunt?

lorecore-

Not sure Kratz is any better then Schneider either, but at this point, why not try him and see?

Kratz has hit .273, .274 and .282 the past 3 years at AAA. Those are solid averages for a catcher.

He's got a little power and usually puts the ball in play.

The problem he had in Pittsburgh was that he was blocked. Of course now he leaves Pittsburgh's org, and they have been killed by injury at the catcher spot. He'd probably be their starting catcher right now.

Schneider is hitting in the mid 100's. He looks done. Sardinha is hitting under .100 at AAA for the year and didn't hit with the Phils.

The backup C spot isn't a huge deal in the grand scheme, but I think Kratz is the best option. On a team that struggles to hit, he has shown an ability to hit.

Plus he has played some 1B as well in the minors, so he could pass there as well in a pinch.

I was preparing to post something about how this team is winning too much for Amaro to make a major move. After all, in 2010, when Amaro dealt for Oswalt, this team was 3.5 GB Atlanta and third in the WC standings.

But in 2009, when Amaro dealt for Cliff Lee, this team was a whopping 7 games ahead of Florida.

Standings won't dictate whether Amaro makes a move. It will come down to 1) Money (can we afford it and stay under the luxury cap) and 2) Need (is the need great enough to justify dealing prospects).

It's hard to imagine Amaro not pursuing both bullpen and RH OF help by the deadline.

Trade Victorino and Worley for Hunter Pence and Mike Bourne. Solves the right field problem and gets us a true leadoff hitter. trading Victorino frees up the $$$ for Pence and Bourne.

RK - Again what 'kids' are there at Reading and Lehigh to bring up? The Phils already brought up Brown. Lehigh is almost exclusively staffed with positional journeyman. Reading is much the same. There simply wasn't any positional players that were ready to promote who could make a meaningful contribution this season at the MLB level.

Signing Lee this offseason that deal would have made no sense if the Phils dealt some of their veterans like JRoll this past offseason.

To be honest... I believe the bat to be the smallest of considerations when it comes to the backup catcher. They're rarely ever called upon to pinch hit. They need to be able to call a game and play solid defense for that start they get once a week. That's it. It'd be grat if Schneider started hitting better... but there's no way the Phils are bringing up some AAA catcher while Schneider is healthy. Nor do I think they should.

MG: Free Matt Rizzotti!!!! ;-)

CJ - But that is the kicker with Schneider. The Phils' may have confidence in his ability to call a game but his defense has eroded a fair amount.

Schneider though is a 'proven veteran' and Amaro/Cholly loves those guys especially at backup C. I will say though that Schneider isn't as washed up as Bako was defensively though. It was laughable how Amaro/Cholly praised Bako's defense when it was obvious that he had fossilized.

CJ: You're not enamored with this potential Philadelphia lineup?

C Erik Kratz
1b Jeff Larish
2b Pete Orr
3b Tagg Bozeid
SS Brian Bocock
RF Brandon Moss
CF John Mayberry
LF Rich Thompson

MG is right... there's not a positional prospect in the Phils minor league system right now who could come up and offer anything. The only one close is Mayberry Jr., and I'm not sure he's a prospect anymore given his age.

People clamor for a guy like Eric Kratz, but he's 31 and is nothing more than a AAAA catcher.

Only one player this season at Lehigh Valley under the age of 26 has more than 36 plate appearances there... and that's Domonic Brown.

MG: That's a fair caveat. Schneider is far from a defensive whiz. He's not going to throw out base-stealers and he's not the guy you want behind the plate for Brad Lidge's slider.

It seems that people forget that having the best record in baseball and underacheiving are not mutually exclusive.

This offense sucks. A move, minor or major, needs to occur. Lineup construction is an issue. But so is the personnel, unfortunately.

JBird: Top prospects... all of them!

If they have the money, I say "major move." The pitching staff deserves better.

R. Billingsly: Sure, there's underachieving happening, but I also believe that some are exaggerating as well. This team is currently just about league average for runs scored per game. The way some people talk, it's like the Phils are the Giants or the Padres.

The Phils offense should be better, and adding some help should make a difference, but this is a team built on pitching in a year when pitching means more than hitting.

MG: What's wrong with bringing up Mayberry? What's wrong with a littel rest for Howard and letting Rizotti spell him for a couple of games?

Signing Lee has nothing to do with trading anyone. I would have traded Rollins. Why not? No one player is holier than another. Howard is great but it seems to me that we do not have the coaching apparatus in place to work out the kinks that Howard has.

It is disconcerting to think of the Phillies hitting one of these dry spells at the wrong time. I shudder to think of an offensive performance like this weekend's in the post-season. Oh wait a minute...last year's NLCs...

The Phils are very old school they would rather sign high school players than college kids (who are statistically more likely to make it into the MLB. We like "toolsy" guys. The data just does not bare this out.

Whjen I mention Mayberry or Overbeck everyone says too old. Jack Sanford was almost 28 whenhe finally made it--you guys would have left him in AAA.

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