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Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I think the team would have more use for another arm in the bullpen more than another bat in the lineup. I don't think this team "needs" anything, technically, but bullpen depth would be nice.

my vocab was only 22,300. consider myself dissappointed, and obviously, bored.

Someone on the last thread said winning world series titles didn't seem to matter to anyone but Yankees in terms of HOF consideration. I wonder if that's so for teams that win more than one with the same group. Aside from the Yankees, it doesn't really happen often, especially in the last 40-50 years (A's early 70's, Reds mid 70's).

I postulate that a World Series win for the Phillies this year would vault the perception of the Rollins/Utley/Howard/Hamels core into a different historical strata. Of course had they just won in '09 and claimed their rightful title as the New Red Machine it would be easier.

Les Walrond can be the 2nd lefty in the pen. I dont know where he played last year but I'm sure he did a hell of a job.

The biggest bullpen additions for the postseason are certainly KK and Worley. In all honesty, if we wanted, we could even go with 3 starters and have Oswalt available should circumstances dictate, though they'll certainly plan on him being the 4th starter. If Contreras comes back in time, he's "in" too. I actually don't even see room for another bullpen arm. And when you factor in the innings that these starters will more than likely log, it's enough to get to Bastardo/Lidge/Madson without problem.

Hexy, how similar were the cores of the '04 and '07 Red Sox?

Oswalt isn't headed to the pen. Don't understand that conjecture when the Phils haven't hinted at the slightest possibility they will use him out of the pen.

If Lidge is effective again, they can probably get away without adding an arm. If not, they have issues especially if their starter only goes 6.

While it looks good at first glance, the bullpen is exposed when a starter fails to go 7. While yesterday was an anomoly, situations where a start goes 4 leads to using Carpenter/Herndon/Perez and inevitably more runs. Of course, on the flip side, the 4th and 5th starters may be in the bullpen in the playoffs. I can see both sides of the argument, but a BP pitcher like Adams couldn't hurt this teams postseason chances.

Oswalt will be the 4th starter for this team in the playoffs for the reason that the Phillies gain their greatest tactical advantage in the playoffs if Oswalt is going up against another team's 4th starter.

I don't think we need another arm in the pen. I want Cuddyer and that is all. Hopefully the twins make him available. With our starters going deep and stutes, bastardo, madson and possible lidge + contreras we have enough options. And trading prospects for relievers is risky business.

I'm not ready to assume that Lidge is a viable back-end option just yet. Hopefully in a couple weeks, we'll be more confident, but he threw primarily all sliders yesterday. Let's see what his fastball is like consistently.

Also, who knows if Contreras even comes back this year.

A bullpen generally seems unstable. So adding more 'good' players always seems helpful. And since acceptable bullpen performance is generally allowing ZERO runs in a close game, most playoff teams want 3+ great RPs.

I would suggest getting a bullpen piece as much for next season as this one. Madson is still the only proven consistent reliever. Bastardo is injury prone. Stutes could fall apart at any moment, as he is exceeding his projection. Nobody seems to trust Lidge. I doubt anyone wants to see the rest of the guys in a close game either.

Having Lidge and Bastardo for R/L matchups in the 7th and 8th and Madson to close could be pretty effective. Stutes has the 'Durbin' role and if Perez can get one lefty out that might be enough. Then its one of the other starters (Kendrick, Worley, in playoffs Blanton and Oswalt).

My assumption is that Stutes will not continue to be this good so that his high leverage innings should be given to the 'proven' traded player.

If nobody else gets hurt they could make do with what they have. But still seems a tad thin to me. No faith at all at this point that Contreras or Blanton will be back to contribute in a meaningful manner, and the concept of Oswalt to the pen seems pretty speculative.

The cries for a bullpen arm will be heard immediately after the first bombasted baked poodle comment following a Lidge failed outing.

@CY: Cuddyer can fulfill both the Phils right-handed bat and bullpen needs!

I'm not worried about the pen. We're making the playoffs regardless, most likely with home field tied up as long as we're playing. Only in the playoffs will the pen matter, and we have a (so far) great leftie (Bastardo), a great rightie (Madson), a potential great rightie (Lidge), a potential very good rightie (Contrares), long men out the waz (Worley, Kendrick, Blanton), and starters who go very deep.

I can't see any justification for giving up anything for any reliever.

Anyone have a list handy of relievers besides Adams who are under contract/controlled through next year?

Fata: When comparing 2 players by adding their runs and rbi's together, you have to subtract their HR. A solo shot gives you an rbi and a run scored, but only accounts for 1 run. That makes Utley and Howard's numbers closer.

Hexy: I just think it's rarely ever considered for HOF credentials. The NFL and NBA? It's huge.

But for baseball? Never. Think of some of the most recent "borderline" candidates who made it in: Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven. The first two never won a title, and Blyleven won two, but that was never part of his resume--it was always about the 280+ wins, the 5th all-time in Ks, etc.

To the extent that deep playoff runs make certain players more visible, I think that can play a small role. But I see no evidence whatsoever that voters look to WS Titles as a metric when making HOF decisions. I just don't perceive that to be happening.

Fata - re: RedSox. i think only Veritek/Ortiz/Wakefield overlap for the 04/07 years. Could be wrong, not a big follower of the AL.

Manny and Youk were on both Red Sox teams as well.

I'm sorry ramirez too on those red sox teams. He and Ortiz have their own HOF issues.

Either way, it's a rare feat for the non-Yankee teams. Hopefully this core wins another one or more and we'll have that to bolster the HOF chances for our hometown favorites.

As was Curt Schilling. And reliever Mike Timlin. And of course, legendary backup catcher Doug Mirabelli.

I think that's it, though.

Just to prove how irrelevant the American League is to me! Those guys aren't HOF eligible yet in any event, thought I'd say Schilling's case is ceratinly helped by those two wins.

I wonder how many players in the HoF were never on a championship team?

"I can't see any justification for giving up anything for any reliever."

Agreed. Actually, same with a bat. I'm all for adding either one of those provided they give up too much to get them.

I'm hoping the Phils go into the playlets with 11 pitchers and a proven bat to use as a DH. They most likely won't need more than 11 arms. Without the latter, we'll be at a disadvantage at American League park in the WS.

I don't feel confortable with Perez as the 2nd lefty in the pen, especially if Bastardo is viewed as a primary set-up man. It would mean that if you have a situation where you need to get a left-handed hitter out in the 6th, you either burn Bastardo then, or you can't play match-ups.

I say get Choate.

Oops... Playoffs

I'm in favor of adding a bullpen arm like Adams. A lot can happen between now and October. Injury prone arms, how rookies will hold up, and you can't use the same 3 guys everyday in the playoffs.

MM is Mr. Boombastic?

I'm in no way suggesting that Oswalt be anointed to a 'pen role, especially in the LCS or Series. In the LDS, however, when it's a best of five series, I could see him getting called into a game via the 'pen, depending on the series/game situation.

What I'm saying is essentially what DIP stated much more eloquently. I don't see a pressing "need" to add a bullpen arm at this time. Especially if it means losing cost control in needed positions down the line. The return on investment is just not there.

"A longtime friend of Drayton McLane believes McLane's last act as Astros owner will be to convince GM Ed Wade to retain favorite Hunter Pence."

He doesn't want to be caught with his Pence down.

A more pressing need, IMHO, is a legitimate bat off the bench in a late game/high leverage situation, that could double as a 'real' DH assuming we need one, and not just "pick one of our usual bench guys and call him DH."

The last thing I want to see is a tight spot late in a playoff game, with the pitcher's spot due up and have Gload/Ben Fran being the primary options to PH. Having one DH would pretty much make me sick to my stomach.

Michael Cuddyer is the perfect deadline pickup. The Twins are 7 games back in the division (8 games under .500). They have no shot at the wild card.

Cuddyer is in the final year of his contract. He bats righthanded and can play RF or 3B if Polanco is injured. He has a 131 OPS+ (career 111) compared to Pence (132 in 2011; 117 career) and Beltran (151 in 2011; 120 career).

His price tag is probably less than Beltran's or Pence's. He's owed a pro-rated share of 10.5M.

Get Cuddyer and Brown/Mayberry can platoon at DH. Problem=solved.

Does Burrell play regularly these days, or just against leftys?
MM needs to take Blackbeard deep tonite.

Apparently, the Twins want to re-sign Cuddyer.

burrell is hurt

I think that what the Phillies need and what the Phillies should want if they want something better than a one in three chance of winning the World Series are often confused here. Of course we don't need anything, but it would be nice to nudge the team from merely being the best in baseball, something which never guarantees that you win anything, to being by far the best team in baseball.

The carrying seven relievers thing is a joke. Charlie hardly uses three of them and never uses one of them. He would have more bench options if he gave up one of those slots. Charlie can't manage a bullpen to save his life. He's gone from grossly overemphasizing left-righty matchups to having no rhyme or reason whatsoever who comes in when.

Goody, very good point.

Updated figures

Howard and Utley career 162 game averages:

Utley: 28 HR, 104 RBI, 108 R (184 R + RBI - HR) .293/.380/.512 (129 OPS+)

Howard: 45 HR, 137 RBI, 100 R (192 R + RBI - HR) .276/.369/.560 (138 OPS+)

Howard and Utley since they became full time (non-platooned) players:

Ultey: 30 HR, 105 RBI, 116 R (191 R + RBI - HT) .296/.387/.518 (132 OPS+)

Howard: 47 HR, 142 RBI, 103 R (198 R + RBI - HR) .275/.371/.561 (139 OPS+)

The divide between Utley and Howard, offensively, is not that large.

Comparing Howard's offense to another player, but first take away his home runs?
The creative ways people come up with to bash Howard is hysterical.

I'd love to be able to have a better version of what Matt Stairs was a few years ago, as a pure PH/DH. A thumper with some power, to use in key spots.

Not sure who would fit that bill nowadays, though. I doubt Vlad would be content in such a secondary role, but he'd be great. Too bad Manny would be subject to suspension, or I'd be all for signing him and juicing him up for the WS run.

Old Phan, no one is bashing Howard. I didn't take away his home runs AT ALL. What are you talking about??

Goody brought up the very good point that when you add together ANY PLAYER'S Run and RBI totals, you need to discount HRs (which I did for BOTH Utley and Howard). Where do you disagree with that point?

What would it take to get BL savior Rizotti eligible for the postseason roster?

Much as I have kvetched about the offense, I feel like a shutdown reliever could make a bigger impact in a short series. Hunter Pence & Carlos Beltran are no doubt better than Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry, and Domonic Brown. But over the 50 to 70 PAs that they'd probably get in the post-season, I tend to think the probability is very low that a .300-hitting, .820 OPS player is going to be the difference between winning & losing even a single game that we wouldn't have won with a .250-hitting, .730 OPS player. And, given the inherently random nature of hitting, it's distinctly possible that Pence could have a bad series, and that we would actually have been better off starting Ibanez, Brown, or Mayberry.

The same is, of course, true of pitchers but to a far lesser degree. I'm quite confident that a guy like Leo Nunez or Mike Adams would have a significantly better chance of pitching a scoreless inning at a key time than, say, David Herndon or Juan Perez or even the total wild card that is Brad Lidge. So it seems to me that, if the goal is to maximize our chances of winning 3 short series, the bullpen is really the area where an upgrade would be of the greatest value.

I was just thinking either Rizzotti or Gigantor for postseason DH.

OP: I was in no way bashing Howard. I like Howard, and unlike others, I value RBI's. I was just pointing out that the RC stat(runs created)subtracts HR from Runs and RBI, so you do not get double credit for 1 run.

The runs created stay, as traditionally designed, is stupid. There is no reason to subtract home runs.

Normally, when a player gets a run scored, he's gotten himself on base but relied on someone else to knock him in. He's essentially done half the job.

Similarly, when he gets an RBI, he's done half the job--someone else has to get on base for him.

But if he hits a home run, he's done both jobs, by himself. So, it should be worth twice as much.

Is it my imagination, or has Cholly been consistently sticking Schneider with VW or KK, never the big 3?

Phatti, a player should get credit for both (and every player does), but when it comes down ot it, a solo home run only gives the team he plays for 1 run. So when we're talking about actual runs created, we have to substract HRs, because a homerun does not create two runs by itself.

Getting a 8th inning guy would be great, becasue then you can use Bastardo with more flexiblity to pitch in the 7th.

Also, with a 3rd back end reliever, pinch hitting in the sixth in a big chance to score runs isn't such a hard move to make.

And again, I think they NEED a move for 2012 reliever very badly. Big Truck is the only one under contract, along with Stutes and Bastardo under team control. There are some good FA this year, but I dont think the Phils payroll allows them to spend big on the pen like they have in years past.

I have to say as a cynical bastard my favorite Red Sox moment was rolling into Boston on the night after they lost in 2003 and they still "Cowboy Up!" on the Mass Pike automated signs and everybody looked like some killed their puppy. The only vibe I can compare it to considering I was not around for 1964 was the day after the Eagles lost to the Bucs at home.

It sounds out of place to focus on 2012, but the reality is, this team is going to be favorites to win the World Series that year - even if they lose all of their FA.

Ruben knows this and needs to take advatnage of when players are made available(i.e. the deadline) to help this team in every year they have a shot to win and not just this season by itself.

I would love to see them go get Heath Bell. They could try to resign Bell or Madson, and go with whichever one is less expensive. If they lose both, it's 4 compensation picks, which softens the blow if they have to go out and sign a type A. Given how flooded the closer market is in the impending offseason, I'm not too worried about being able to afford a good closer, supply and demand dictates a surplus. But, the real reason to get Bell (or someone similar) is to have those big shutdown innings earlier in the playoffs, and to have the flexibility to PH earlier if needed, like lorecore says above.

Dont know if this was posted already but its interesting, I guess they really want to hang onto our top prospects

I don't trust Bell beyond this year. His strikeout rate is way down this year, and his groundball rates have been falling for years now, going from an elite groundball pitcher to below average this year.

one more thing about Cuddeyer - he would make Wilson Valdez redundant, in more than one way:

"Michael Cuddyer pitched a shutout inning in Texas tonight..."

Talking about bullpens

Bill Baer makes a good point here but I still only see two really good relievers - Madson & Bastardo.

Odds are better that Contreras doesn't come back this year and Stutes isn't a guy you want to ideally see in a tight spot.

Giants' bullpen continued dominance really has surprised me. I thought for sure they would falloff a bit this year with the exception of Romo (who is flat out dominant).

sorry... Cuddyer's inning was in a MUCH lower leverage situation. He allowed 3 baserunners. Valdez just one and that was a HBP which left his WHIP at a clean 0.00. Cuddyer got out of a jam of his own making for sure....but his team was down 15 runs or so at the time.

I'll take Valdez. :)

magelb-Blanton has nerve issues. Unlikely to return this year. Polanco will begin rehab Thursday at Lehigh Valley.

Not a huge surprise.

Blanton is up there with Tartabull for great contract signings.

MG: Yeah, not looking forward to seeing a battle of bullpens with the Giants this week - or in October.

Altho aside from that NLCS, the Phillies usually handled Wilson.

Before NLCS vs PHI: 0-1 in 8 games, 7 IP, 6.43 ERA 1.747 WHIP
During NLCS vs PHI: 1-0 in 4 games, 5 IP, 0.00 ERA .800 WHIP

Great article on Lidge and whether his dip in fastball velocity might of great concern.

Fata-- my point is that a "run scored" doesn't account for a run all by itself either, it's at best half a run. Most runs have a run scored and an RBI, so they only count as half.

If you're really interested in accounting for all the runs a team produces, which of these is closer to actual runs scored?

(r+RBI)/2 or (r+RBI-hr)/2

It's the one that doesn't subtract home runs

lorecore - Yup. Braves & Giants both have deeper and better bullpens right now. No sure which bullpen matches up better though against the Phils. Braves have more lefties but I like the Giants' bullpen more.

Only good thing is how power-starved the Giants' lineup is. Don't see them hitting 4 HRs in a potential NLCS series against this pitching staff like they did last year.

Giants only have 65 HRs (13th in NL) but it is not exactly like the Phils have a ton of boppers this year either with 87 HRs (10th in the NL)

Giants have actually out-homered the Phils on the road this year.

Giants have 43 HRs in 52 road games
Phils have 38 HRs in 48 raod games

Why oh why didn't they trade Blanton in the spring?

***Why oh why didn't they trade Blanton in the spring?***

Nobody wanted him?

I know it's dangerous to be optimistic about the bullpen, but I feel like we have 4 relievers we can trust (Bastardo, Madson, Stutes & Lidge).
That's more than past years, and with Bastardo and Stutes , we are getting some youth for the future.

Probably a little early to put Lidge on the trusted list, but they took their time getting him back and may be very cautious to re-name him "closer for life".

hamm - good point. cuddyer is probably better suited for middle relief.

Because if they traded Blanton, he'd be 14-3 with a 2.69 ERA

Being that the slider is Lidge's best pitch, I'm not all that worried about a slight drop in velocity on his fastball. It's all about location, location, location.

Phatti, the point is this:

When you are wondering how many runs is Player X part of, you have to ask the question, how many times did he cross the plate (score a run), and how many times did he cause someone else to score a run (produce an RBI) If anyone event only caused 1 run to actually be scored, than that event should only be counted once.

To figure that out, you add runs + RBI - HR. If a player knocks in 100 runs, scores 100 runs, and hits 30 homeruns, he was only involved in his team scoring 170 runs, not 200.

If Lidge can throw his slider for strikes, he'll be effective.

The Braves bullpen is stronger right now, but they have been 100% healthy all year long and are throwing a heavy load of innings.

The dbacks are 3.5gm back of Atlanta and the Central teams are roughly 4-4.5gm back. Hopefully they can keep pressure on ATL and keep them throwing OFlaherty(46IP), Venters(61IP), and Kimbrel(50IP) all the way until the end and blow out those bastards arms.

***Why oh why didn't they trade Blanton in the spring?***

Nobody wanted him?

Cash. I had this argument with some of the WAR-nitwits over at Good Phight. In there world, Blanton SIERA/xFIP indicated that Blanton was a very good starter who the Phils would be absolutely foolish to trade even if it didn't require any cash.

In non-saber land, he was a guy who was coming off an injury-plagued season with some weak traditional numbers making a decent buck for 2 years. Also a guy not known for his work ethic who is entering his 30s. Not exactly a guy I would clamor for either if i was another GM.

Also Phatti, the idea of how much one "causes" a run to be scored (other than a homerun) is hard to answer. For example, if Victorino hits a triple with 1 out, and than Ibanez comes up and hits a dribbler to second base or, if there's a wild pitch, and Victorino scores, was Victorino really only "half" responsible for that run?

That's a tough question to answer. I'd rather just stick to teh question of how many runs were they involved in (whether crossing the plate or by knocking them in).

re: Blanton likely out for year

God what a waste, I understand why they signed him at the time before Oswalt/Lee were Phillies, but damn I wish they could dealt him.

I know no one wanted him, but I feel like just getting half his salary paid would have had someone bite in the offseason.

Setting up his fastball:

How many relievers have ever used a slider to set up their fastball like Lidge did last year and is going to apparently try to replicate again this year?

WAR-argument for Blanton

"But Blanton was a 1.9 WAR pitcher last year and a 2.0 WAR pitcher in 2009 and at a present market rate of $4.5 million/WAR the Phils are definitely getting their money for Blanton and absolutely shouldn't just give him away."

One of the reasons I generally loathe arguments based solely on WAR especially for pitchers.

"Cash. I had this argument with some of the WAR-nitwits over at Good Phight."

I can't stand some of the folks on that site. They're worse than the worst on this website. The arguments on here I get the sense the arguments are friendly and more for entertainment than anything else, even when they do get "heated". Try saying there's more to a player than WAR over there (and I'm pretty saber/stat friendly!) and whoa. Buncha close-minded jerks, some of them.

I've always considered Lidge to have more than 1 slider. Hes got a get-me-over that seems to be more like a loopy offspeed pitch, then another one that he can break more sharply into the strikezone or near it, adn then he's got the one that just disappears into the dirt.

Also, does anybody know what exactly Blanton's problem is? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm hearing his elbow's hurting. Nerve issues.

Very scientific...

Fata-- I hear where you're coming from. But I'm not sure if that stat is valueable. It equates an RBI single, a walk that turns into a run because someone behind him triples, and a solo HR.

As to your original point, I agree that the gap between utley and Howard isn't that large

Phatti, agreed. That's why I think it's still valuable to list RBI, runs and HRs together, along with rate stats.

It's good to look at the whole picture.

Did you read this piece?

Summary: If you look at just one statistic in one short, arbitrarily selected period of time, Blanton is better than Oswalt!!!

I like and sabermetrics and it made me want to gouge my eyes out.

David S - Me too. I am very inclined to saber-oriented analysis and numbers but you have to realize that it is just one piece of the puzzle.

Phatti and Fata: To clarify, I was only pointing out how the stat was calculated, I don't know if it is valuable or not.
To me, there are 2 types of hitters: Those who get on base alot and score lots of runs, and those who drive them in. A team needs both. A good player scores 100 or drives in 100. A player that does both is great.


ps: I'm glad to have started a healthy debate.

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