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Friday, July 22, 2011


For all his flaws, I'll choose to remember Baez for his 5 extra inning shut out frames on 5/25/11.

I think we're burying the lede here. The real story is the Brad Lidge is about to be getting meaningful innings again for the Phils...not sure how I feel about that.

Steve: Are you sure Lidge is about to be getting meaningful innings?

Madson hasn't really been given any meaningful innings yet. I highly doubt they're going to throw Lidge back in the fire. You'll only see him in blowouts for his first few appearances, I'm guessing.

Here's to hoping for a (Phillies) blowout tonight, because I want to see that mofo on the mound so I can figure out if I hate him or not.

Well hopefully Lidge can contribute. And hopefully the fans give him more than a game or two to get into a groove. Because it's pretty likely he'll struggle initially.

In related news, Lidge will probably keep his standing appt with Dr. Cicotti next Monday. They also have Dr. Jobe and Dr. Andrews on call for the weekend. The training staff has prepared the regular sized spa for him, Blanton had not left the jumbo-spa since May.

Steve: Not necessarily. Lidge is replacing Baez, who long ago ceased pitching meaningful innings unless it was absolutely necessary. If Charlie is as shrewd as some like to believe he is, Brad will have a chance to get his feet wet in lower leverage situations first.

Steve makes a good point. What if the FO has been making us all suffer through Baez much longer than any fanbase should have to, only to create a smoke screen for the inconsistent and frustrating former closer to make his return?

Reminds me of that old joke about hitting your thumb with a hammer so you forget about your headache.

The Braves are sure to catch us now that Lidge will be joining the club.

We're much better off if Lidge is injured and can't pitch.

That explains why they released Grilli then. Did the right thing by him & allowed him a shot to catch on with another MLB team.

What I find interesting is that people have wanted Danys Baez gone since the middle of 2010, yet people are more worried about Lidge getting meaningful innings. How come there hasn't been one Woo-hoo?

One thing is patently obvious - if/when Lidge begins to struggle, he'll be sure to play it off saying he feels fine and he just needs to make a simple adjustment to his mechanics. You can set your watch by it.

Adam Eaton used to give the same spiel.

At any rate, I'm on the edge of my seat wondering what's to become of JW's Baez jersey. Charity auction, or just used as wadding for a Molotov cocktail?

I don't mean it will necessarily be this series or anything. But we all know Cholly and he's gonna start throwing Lidge into high pressure situations at some point.

Baez is down as a MLB pitcher. He will likely get a spring invite to a MLB team next year but can't imagine he will pitch well enough to make an Opening Day roster.

Weitzel can now appear on StraigthCashHomey when he wears his Baez jersey to a Phils' event in 2 years.

MG, I thought I read that Grilli had something in his contract that required a call-up or his release by the end of July.

I'm glad to see he is getting another chance in the bigs though. Seems like a great dude.

I love Lidge for what he did in 2008. And I'm thrilled he's apparently back and healthy again. That being said...

Lidge simply can't pitch worse than Baez did since May.

The real issue with Lidge is he going to be anywhere near the guy who was are largely 'Lights Out' in Aug/Sept. Have no clue & bet the Phils' FO doesn't either.

I gotta say, with the Heilman signing, I was extremely concerned that the FO just throws caution to the wind when it comes to the 'pen. They've gone a long way in turning me around with the Baez DFA.

I see a work-out at the Nats AAA affiliate in Danys future.

"Lidge simply can't pitch worse than Baez did since May."

MG, were you in a coma last year when Lidge was, statistically, the WORST RELIEVER IN ALL OF BASEBALL?

Let's hope he more closely resembles even 1/8th of 2008 Lidge instead.

I'll hold all judgement until the first lidge spot save.

Steve: you can remember 2008, why cant you remember 2010?

Lidge returned in the 2nd half to record 21 saves with a 2.10 ERA and hold opposing batters to a .532 OPS against.

Guy went lights out down the stretch - giving up 2 ER in his final 24.2IP across August and September.

Willia Preacher - That was 2009. Lidge was really solid in Aug/Sept. It wasn't almost on far and as unexpected as Myers' 2nd half transformation into a 'Cy Young' type pitcher after his minor league demotion in '08.

What will be kind of funny is how Lidge will express that he 'feels fine' regardless of what happens out on the mound. Kind of like the Black Knight in Monty Python.

Lidge only throwing his slider effectively is already an above average pitcher. Will that happen? IDK. But just saying.

Real question of whether Lidge actually stays healthy over the next 2+ months too. I would give it a 50-60% chance at best

MG: I see no reason for lidge to pithc more than 25 innings the rest of the year honestly with a healthy bastardo, madson, and stutes. Keeping him healthy and getting him worked up for the playoffs should be the game plan.

Still better than Baez, so long as he isn't taking too many innings from Madson and Bastardo.


Lidge's only blown save in Aug/Sept?

When he balked in the tynig run vs the Padres.

5 scoreless innings in a 19-inning game aside, the only way to associate GOOD with Danys Baez is do a Bermanism, "Danys Good-Bye-ez."

Best of luck to him. Sounds like a good guy but his arm wore out before his desire to play did.

What will be kind of funny is how Lidge will express that he 'feels fine' regardless of what happens out on the mound. Kind of like the Black Knight in Monty Python.

Agreed. And when he inevitably breaks down yet again, Lidge will come off as truly baffled as to how that could possibly be the case. I've never seen a perpetually injured ballplayer so perpetually surprised by his injured status.

Whatever. I'll take whatever Lidge can give this season, but if the Phillies don't buy him out for '12 (at $1.5 Million) I'll be livid. There's nothing he can possibly contribute that would justify another year & $12.5 Million.

It's obvious now the plan all along was to trade Baez for Pence...

I don't seriously see them keeping lidge for 12.5 million next year, even if lidge took over the closer role, saved 40 games including the playoffs and was the world series mvp. I think they saw that trick once and that was enough.

And Carpenter lives another day. Wonder if he's spot starter insurance in the event of trade. As such, he's got more value than Baez. I know, I know, not saying much. Cripes, what a disappointment he was. I remember someone writing at the time he was signed that reports of his plus stuff were true, but he had the habit of melting under pressure. Who knows, he could end up earning another million bucks pitching the 6th and 7th innings in KC or Seattle over the next couple years if he shakes the jitters and rediscovers the strike zone.

I'm going to convince myself to give Lidge at least three weeks worth of shaky appearances before cursing the baseball gods at his return. Something tells me that even with an 88-mph fastball and marginal control, there are enough mediocre hitters in the NL to make him a useful 7th-inning eater for the rest of the way. Not exactly great return on 12 million bucks, but if he pitches well enough to keep Stutes' arm from falling off over the next two months I'll be happy.

Ruben: "Ok Danny, put on this mask and suck it in while i try and squeeze you in to this dom brown jersey".

Lidge hasn't thrown a pitch for the Phils this season, but has helped them tremendously. Activated today and Baez Sucks DFA'd.

Yeah, one big benefit is that Lidge will be pitching for a contract (from someone else).

Let's hope that means that he figures it out and goes on a tear, and not that he does whatever he can to simply log innings, even if hurt, to show that he's worth someone taking a flier on him.

Baez gone is a.... whoo hoo
Lidge back is a.... meh

It plays more interesting in print than it is in reality.

GTown, this may be Lidge's biggest save in a a few years.

So, when Oswalt comes back, KK to the 'pen, then Carp sent down?

Gtown: Not even Lidge's accountant would have the balls to exercise his option.

However, if Lidge duplicates his late 2010, I'd love to see them rework his buyout into a 1yr deal since our pen is pretty empty aside from a hurt Big Truck and youngin's.

You have to figure Baez only last this long due to the injury-bug which has hit the Phils' bullpen pretty hard with Lidge, Contreras, and Madson all missing time. Basically kept him on the roster another 3-4 weeks.

Yeah, one big benefit is that Lidge will be pitching for a contract (from someone else).

I hate this meme. I have never seen any proof that players perform better in contract years. I saw a study a few years ago that compared contract year performance variance vs. non-contract year variance and to no surprise, there was none.

Preacher: I most certainly hope so. Kendrick has no business starting, & Carpenter has no business leaving the Minors.

Speaking of which, Salisbury Tweeted the following a few min. ago: "Roy Oswalt is picking up rehab pace. He is pitching to hitters Mayberry, Brown, Francisco and Valdez right now at CBP."

It did surprise me yesterday that Baez was credited with him Bastardo's composure on the mound. Has to be an element of irony to that.

Baez was like the fighter that as soon as you hit him hard on his chin with an uppercut/cross, he notably lost part of his compsoure. Get squeezed on a call or BB a runner and he would visibly display his frustration on the mound.

edmundo: link?

Thats a pretty hard study to pull off, wouldn't mind reading.

Edmundo: "I have never seen any proof that players perform better in contract years."

Let's revisit this phenomenon when Beltran turns in another postseason like he did with HOU (after he's traded, obviously) and parlays it into another mega contract. He's the poster child of playing for a contract.

"Roy Oswalt is picking up rehab pace. He is pitching to hitters Mayberry, Brown, Francisco and Valdez right now at CBP."

Can't wait til he starts pitching to major leaguers. Then we'll know he's getting close.

(too obvious. sorry, had to)

Gtown: Good news. If he does well today, he'll up the ante a bit tommorrow and throw against Mini-Mart. LOL

Real slow day at work today...

Can't wait for the inevitable speculation about the impact of losing Baez during/after Bastardo's impending regression to the mean.

I clapped with joy when I read the news about Baez being DFA'd. Love what he did in the 19-inning game...but that was the first & last time I loved him.

Lidge does get injured & downplay it unrealistically, as GTown points out, but a healthy Lidge has been an effective Lidge in the past. Here's hoping he is healthy & finds his rhythm soon.

Don't understand the Heilman signing.

Feel for these guys playing in this heat!

Look at how Manuel handled Madson coming back. He wasn't even out for a long time and he is still nursing him back into meaningful innings. I don't know if he's learned from his mistakes or what, but there is just no way he's going to run Lidge out in a tight game before he pitches in a few low-leverage situations and proves he can be effective.

Of course I guess I can understand why people can still be whining about this, considering the fact that many buffoons on this site simply assume the team is better off with Lidge hurt.

And Baez is gone. Wow.

Next up- bench/platoon Ibanez.

From Jayson Stark:

Wheeler also make the ridiculously obvious point that you 'need to win series' to play in October but this is a pretty cool fact:

"But the Phillies are up to 39 games in a row since their last two-game losing streak, back on June 3-4. They're three away from the franchise record, according to Elias, set by the 1976 Phillies (42 games, between April 14 and June 3"

Oswalt is pitching to Exxon? Probably induced him to hit into a game ending DP.

given that it is over 100 degrees out the I sure don't Oswald pitching to anyone today.

Iceman, a hell of a lot easier for Cholly to take his time working Madson in while Bastardo is virtually untouchable. As long as Bastardo and Madson do what they're supposed to, there's no need to worry about "rushing Lidge back" or throwing him into high leverage situations too early.

why didn't baez ever regress to the mean?

Half of Lidge is better then Baez, but not by much. Lidge has a history of being VERY unhitable when he's on or VERY hitable when he's not. And he's not fully healthy until he can get his fastball up over 90.

Even if Lidge does nothing for the Phillies and is hurt his first time out, he rid of as Baez and for that he deserves serious team MVP consideration.

I'll choose to remember Baez for several things. Of course, his gutsy performance in handing it over to Exxon to get the W. His never complaining and still finding a way to be a positive influence on the team. He helped Jose C last year and helped Antonio this year. I wish him the best. Now what do we do with Carpenter? Does he go down when we get Adams or Nunez?

Did I miss any conversation about the Gillick/Cubs possibility?

It's mind-boggling to think about just how terrible a reliever has to be in order for a team to not only keep Andrew Carpenter over him, but to eat $2.7M in salary while doing so.

I wouldn't be surprised if some team signs Baez and he pitches respectably in a more frequent sixth/seventh inning type role. (Before you scoff, remember what happened to Jose Mesa, Arthur Rhodes, and Ryan Franklin after they left to a stream of catcalls.) Baez clearly pitched himself out of viability for anything other than mop-up with the Phils, and lord knows he isn't any too good, but I don't think he's 6.25 bad. There was virtually no chance of him regaining effectiveness while being used so irregularly. The team should have admitted Baez wasn't working out a long time ago. If Gillick was still running things, he probably would have been shown the door at this time last year.

lorecore, do a search on "baseball contract year study". I didn't find the one I had seen and saw discussed but I looked at the first 4. Some variance, as you can see. The study by Perez of hitters showed about .015 OPS improvement in contract year over preceding and "postceding". However the others seem to point to no effect. Granted the stats stuff is above my head but I can read charts and graphs. :) Phil Birnbaum's powerpoint is very informative. Williard that powerpoint has great examples and counter examples of "contract years". (Albeit, a few years old). In one presentation, Damon is an example of a bad contract year (early 2000s), in another Damon had an "intuitive", i.e., better than expected contract year a few years ago.

Dayn Perry was referenced in that he found that CY players play more games.

The lesh on Baez was much too long. He spent about a year longer with the team than he should have ? ? I honestly can't remember ever seeing anything positive during his tenure. As far as the 5-inning stint being mentioned in previous posts, as a "major league pitcher", there should have been more pluses than that. Soooo loooonnng Danys ! ! !

Our long national nightmare is over...

Shawn, I think in Baez's case, it would be more accurate to say PROgress to the mean....

I thought JC took credit for Bastardo? I remember he commented about training a protege who takes over one's job...

for edmundo:

Lots of word, but read page 16 for the conclusion and page 18 for the graph with this data:

Free Agent Means from 1978-2003:

2year Prior FA: .270/.339/.416
1year prior FA: .270/.338/.417
Year eligible: .274/.342/.427
1year after FA: .267/.338/.415
2year after FA: .262/.332.408

So a pretty obvious jump in AVG/OBP/SLG in those player's contract year.

My first question is, the FA year is usually a player's "peak" year in terms of age, but it sounds like that paper goes through a hell of a lot to factor all that in.

What's Adam Eaton up to?

Rollins SS, Martinez 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Victorino CF, Ruiz C, Francisco RF, Mayberry LF, Hamels ..

Should Phils offer Houston Dom Brown for Pence?

GRAB: I'm envisioning days filled with weed and video games and nights spent as a bouncer. just feels right.

The playing for a contract thing doesn't make sense on its own terms. Even if the players in question are indeed 1) so extravagantly talented that succeeding at baseball is merely a matter of concentrating (or focusing, or caring, or whatever the proper emotional state is), and 2) so venal as to care only about maximizing their future contracts (and not at all about the team, their reputations, or the game itself), doesn't it imply that said players would focus/care/concentrate 100 percent of the time, so as to truly maximize the amount they can make. Albert Pujols is due for a bigger pay day than such notorious slackers as Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran (who as we all know has never put up all-star numbers in consecutive years or post-contract).

lorecore, look at Birnbaum's ppt. Hitters were slightly ahead, pitchers behind.

Also, I don't see where age actually gets factored into the equation (which granted, I might be missing).

And is there a bias towards including the players who weren't so good year1 and 2 before? If someone has a great year 2 or 1 year before the walk year, do they tend to get signed? I don't see that in there either.

Granted this is COMPLICATED stuff. But the lazy sportswriter perception of a guy hitting 10 more HRs and batting 30 points higher** is clearly unsupportable.

** Yeah, I know that I just created a strawman.

Haha really a bouncer? Probably sucks at that too...And I'm sure I could whoop him in COD

Should Phils offer Houston Dom Brown for Pence?

Posted by: atn | Friday, July 22, 2011 at 03:42 PM"

I got this one, guys.


lore, from "Also" down in my previous post is about your linked study, not Birnbaum's presentation.

'Untouchable' is to front office; as 'no trade list' is to player.

Bonehead: Absolutely right.

Remember when Drabek was "untouchable"?

I don't know that I'd expect Lidge to "try harder" or to better concentrate because he's playing for a contract. I don't doubt that he gives his all each and every outing.

My concern is more along the lines of whether or not he'd push it, play hurt, etc. just to get out there to "prove" that he's worth someone's investment. It's not so much the outcome I'd anticipate changing because of the contract status, as much as it's the blind desire to be on the mound and it's potential ramifications if he is still injured.

Let's clear up the eating salary thing once and for all. A few people mentioned their belief that Amara's aversion to eating Baez's contract was a reason he was still on the team, and today BAP (who should know better) applauded the Phil's decision to eat Baez's 2.7m contract.

The cost of Baez was "eaten" the moment he signed. Cutting him doesn't cost the Phils the 2.7 they were set to pay him; they're paying that no matter what. The cost of cutting Baez is the cost of bringing in someone to replace him. In this case, Carpenter is probably at a few hundred grand for the year.

That's why I always thought it patently absurd for others to argue Baez's contract price as a reason he wasn't DFA'd sooner. The true price to DFA him is peanuts. Nobody north of the Royals and Pirates would weight significantly that price in their calculations.

I've posted this before but here's another stab:
The more I reflect the more convinced I am that Rube is not going to make a major deal. Trading away Dom and Vanimal would be detrimental to the next few years' salary (esp. Dom). The only thing which makes sense would be to trade Van for a cost controlled outfielder, and he probably won't turn the trick himself.

Another thing is we really don't need a huge player, we need a right handed outfielder to platoon with Dom/Raul, that's pretty much it. Such players are not difficult to find and can be gotten even after the trade deadline. Considering the rather large crop of impending OF FAs, we might get one of those rentals for minor prospects.

Those impending FAs also make the job of filling LF next year easier and less expensive than we might have thought. If Vance is still here, we have $$ freed up to get a slightly above average guy, and still hold on to who we might want to of Jimmy/Madson or both. We have a few guys in low minors who may deveop in a few years, and we wouldn't want to sign a long term deal with anyone anyway.

At the end of the day this isn't a team which needs a huge signing to win in October. We need to address a RH bat, but we can get a platoon guy/bench guy to go with Mayberry and we should be ok with that. There's no need to trade away our cost controlled talent, and Rube is smart enough to know it.

Welcome back Brad, hope you're healthy.

I agree with the posters that said CM will ease him back . With Madson and Bastardo both doing the closers job well for stretches this year, I see Brad joining Stutes in the set-up role, after he gets a couple of good low pressure outings under his belt.

Dannys- Best of luck.


I just read your link (the econometric analysis of player performance during their free agent year). It doesn't conclude, even remotely, what you claim.

The conclusion of the paper is that it finds modest evidence that players increase their performance during their free agent year.

Modest evidence. Not none.

There are some problems with the econometric specification, namely the standard errors, but I lack an intuition about what correction would do to the results.

If I recall correctly, Lidge was pretty decent when he lost his closer job in HOU and was asked to set up Dan Wheeler. Revisionist history?


Since I'm guessing you're a student and perhaps have access to the data:

You could rerun the analysis using fixed effects regression (also known as the within estimator). An observation would be treated as a deviation from the player's mean levels. This would wipe out the problematic portions of the unobserved term, including things such as ability. You would need to think more clearly about the regressors to include (the X variables) since those in the paper are not exactly amenable to being normalized like this. You may want to consider clustering at the player level, but this is an advanced topic.

Well the great thing about getting Oswalt back soon, is we get RH hitting outfielder too. He is a bit better than BenFran at the plate but plays a helluva defense - 1.000 fielding %

Lidge "trying harder" = the facial expression in the finals years when Jose Mesa gripped the ball tight and tried to will the 80 mph fast ball past hungry batters

2nd straight game against a LH starter, that Cholly has gone with both Francisco and Mayberry in the lineup.

Looks like we have at least, a small-sample size platoon going in the corners.

When Carpenter was up in back of Perez a week ago against the Mets I think, that told me he had past Baez in Cholly's line of thinking.

Carpenter and Herndon should go too. At least they can be outrighted, when they are sent back. Oswalt will probably get one of those spots.

Buddy, the one paper linked by lorecore shows a modest increase, the rest of them in the search that I highlighted conclude no real increase.

And I'm as far away from being a student as almost anyone who posts here.

Any of us can get to the data if we are so inclined. It might cost though. :)

There are some problems with the econometric specification, namely the standard errors, but I lack an intuition about what correction would do to the results.

Posted by: Buddy Ryan in 2008 | Friday, July 22, 2011 at 04:26 PM

Using terms like "econometric specification" and "intuition", I assume you are not "that" Buddy Ryan, the one who couldn't figure out how to consume pork chops correctly..

No, I'm an economist. But I do share a few similarities with the big guy: a desire to slather everything potentially edible in BBQ saw and an unnatural hatred of all things Zendehas.

Buddy Ryan: You're exactly right on sunk costs and Baez, and of course any rational, outside observer knows that, and I'm sure the Phillies know tha too.

But, given your profession, you must be aware of the behavioral economics literature on the optimism bias and its relationship to the sunk cost fallacy: namely, that people irrationally overestimate their chance of success once they've invested in something, despite the recognition that their sunk costs are now irrelevant. Or something like that.


Yes, I know plenty about behavioral economics and the sunk cost fallacy. I admit to being susceptible to it as well, despite intimate knowledge of the foolishness therein.

But here's the thing. Business don't seem to display the same limitations. That is, fairly robustly, the profit motive seems to make costly biases disappear over time. As well it should.

So, even if every one of us on here is prone to the sunk cost fallacy, that's little indication that the Phillies organization will also display the bias.

They probably kept him around this long not because of the sunk cost fallacy, but because he has a track record of being mediocre, while Herndon, Carpenter, Mathieson, and Zagurski have never been anything but terrible at the major league level.

Before the multi-syllabic dialog gets a little too in depth and serious for me, I just want to reiterate my disdain for one Aaron Heilman.

Thank you, and good day, chaps.


Buddy Ryan: True, but there's a robust debate in the literature about whether you can really differentiate between firms and individuals. Firms are just a collection of individuals. Especially in something like a baseball front office, where almost all of the decision-making authority is vested in one person, the General Manager, I would certainly not be surprised to find that traits ascribed to individuals could also be ascribed to the organization.

My guess is that yes, over time, businesses will show *less* irrationality than individuals. But I see no reason to believe they don't show some irrationality, and when dealing with personnel decisions, I could particularly see an opening for irrationality.

We should also note, for our fellow Beerleaguers, that such enriching topics as the "sunk cost fallacy" and much, much more can be explored, in depth, as part of the Drexel Lebow MBA Program. Hurry up and register for the upcoming semester!

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