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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Comments

Pudge Rodriguez.

Chris Coste could have walked down straight from the Post-game Live Studio and hit better than Schneider this year.

It's going to be a long winter. Hell, it's already been a long one.

Who is going to be Worley's personal catcher now that Schneider is leaving?

Kratz's year-by-year OPS the last 4 seasons (all at AAA): .819, .807, .875, .838. I'd rather gamble on that than gamble on some over-the-hill, defense-only backstop from the free agent list.

@Scotch Man: Pudge is older than Ibanez. Pass.

Kratz was pretty much the only non-Mayberry backup who got hits (two doubles, as I recall) during the horrid end-of-season slump phase. I think he should be awarded Schneider's spot next season; signing a catcher should be near the bottom of the Phils' free agent priorities.

I agree that they would be smart to get a better backup catcher. Ruiz, like the rest of the team, isn't getting any younger and if he misses significant time, they will need a catcher who wouldn't be as big a drop-off as Schneider.

A good hitting backup catcher sounds like an unimportant detail but when you pair it with 2 poor hitting back IFs and an injured back up 1B/OF it adds up to a thin to useless bench. Look at 08. They had hitters on the bench. Coste, Stairs, Dobbs and Jenkins. Wow! Guys who have started (not Coste) and been productive on the bench! What a concept. You could even say that Taguchi was a decent idea that didn't pan out. Who on the 2011 bench has any kind of track record of MLB success?

Kratz und Goosewurst.

Sehr gut!

I'd like to see Kratz get a shot, as well. I don't have much faith at in all r00b's ability to make an intelligent FA signing.

Uh-oh. clout's gonna bust out into a chorus of "Die Gedanken sind frei" any minute now ...

I've always been a fan of the Goosewurst.

As far as a "good hitting backup catcher" goes, they're kind of like the Loch Ness Monster. They're rumored to exist, but no one has ever really seen one. Typically, if a catcher is above average offensively, he's a starter.

Great job last season Wilson, here's your raise and new job description.

Preacher: I thought I saw the Loch Ness Monster once, but it turns out I was just passing by Phillies Ball Girl tryouts.

I thought i saw the loch ness monster once, but as it turned out, it was just todd pratt.

I'll bet if Kratz was LH he would have been up much sooner this year. If this were only the Phils only problem. How many of those backup c want to come to philly and take a pay cut?

3 months and 26 days 'till pitchers and catchers report.

Random question that I'd love to get the BL communities assistance with.

I have the chance to meet Bill Giles in a relatively private setting (~20 people). I love baseball, but having grown up in Portland, OR I didn't really follow it closely until moving to Philly 10 or so years ago.

I don't really know any questions that would have interesting answers for me (or the group or BL haha) to hear.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

3r0ck, if you can get him after a couple of drinks and things are feeling loose, I'd opt for the doozy - "What exactly changed the Front Office's approach in going after, and paying, top talent via Free Agency and Trades after years and years of opting for a more homegrown, value-based approach?"

Basically, I'd love to hear from the horse's mouth how much of this change in approach is attributable to CBP, fan attendance, etc., and see if any indication is given that it's a sustainable approach that they'll continue to foster going forward.

Though, I suspect you'll get no real admission that the past was a doomed game-plan, and the ultimate answer will probably be some elaborate song and dance.

So, you might go with "How's the golf game?"

"Where did you and Wheels stash the body and does he still have photos of you offing her?"

"What exactly changed the Front Office's approach in going after, and paying, top talent via Free Agency and Trades after years and years of opting for a more homegrown, value-based approach?"

Posted by: Willard Preacher

I think there are a few different ways to ask this question that would be acceptable, but I too expect a non-response response.

"What was your immediate reaction to watching ryan howard strike out to end your world series hopes, and simulataneously blow out his achilles right before you have to pay him 125 million dollars?".

Ask Bill if it was difficult to hand the Warren C. Giles Trophy to the NLCS winners Cardinals and Giants the last two years knowing that the Phillies were the better team. Then ask Mr.Giles if the Howard contract is insured. Then ask Bill if he noticed a pattern in the Phillies post season results since Ruben Amaro Jr. was signed on as GM.

Truth be told, if you have him in an intimate setting, you might as well nail him down on the question that's been haunting BL for years now - "Is Kyle Kendrick a successful major league pitcher?"

*sigh*

In a better world than this, I'd be sitting outside, getting soggy, in South Philly right now.

Scott: Same here. This blows.

You know you're depressed when you can't even get up enough energy to argue Kratz versus Snyder. Yikes. When is pitchers and catchers?

This world series is for sh!t. Can't root for the Cards but, Pujols is worth watching. BOOOOOOOOO Wilson. I blame Mike Maddux (for not being Greg).

Random question prompted by the Bill Giles aside - What big time free agent did the Phillies pursue between Greg Maddux and Jim Thome? No one, I think. I'd love to know what effort they made / how close they got to landing Maddux after the '92 season.

They signed Greg Jefferies who was sort of a big name at the time. It was an awful move.

Carpenter is leaving some balls up.

I think it will be a good WS, although it still does make me sad to see it being played without us. I wonder if Halladay is watching his friend Carpenter pitch, or if he's too disappointed to watch. Feel bad for him.

Re: Schneider

Good riddance. Supposedly a well-liked guy but his 'swing for the fences' approach and poor defense won't be missed. Got ridiculous how the Phils would have to bring in Chooch late in games as a 'defensive replacement' for Schneider at times this year. First time I really can ever remember seeing a manager do that.

I would like to see Kratz get the job too & the Phils invest the money elsewhere instead but guaranteed Amaro signs a veteran catcher.

Shoppach probably get a starting job next year (that's how thin the talent at C is right now at the MLB level) but I easy could see Laird here next year as a backup at around $1.25M or so. Waste of money generally but Amaro loves those veteran defensive catchers who really aren't that great behind the plate anymore.

I wouldn't mind seeing Brayan Pena get brought in for a year if he is non-tendered by the Royals either.

3rock - In all seriousness, I would ask him who is/has been his favorite Phils' player off-the-field due to their personality or what is his most memorable spring training experience with the Phils.

Gregg Jefferies. One of my least Phils' players all-time. Easily top 5.

Yeah it probably wasn't smart to sign a singles/doubles hitter to such a big contract but the Phils didn't do many smart things in the 90s with Lee Thomas at the helm.

Do remember the crowd at the Vet turning on Jefferies in '96 late in the year during his injury-plagued, mediocre year. He got booed at home routinely if he struggled a bit from that point on until he was traded in Aug '98.

Didn't help that fact that he was a guy who was perceived (and I think accurately) as a veteran on a team that desperately needed some leadership & didn't provide any. Just was kind of a zero from a charismatic standpoint.

Also didn't do much of a favor as being perceived as a guy who didn't play hard either through some of his injuries even though I thought that was unfair because he really had problems with his right thumb and hamstring pulls.

If I remember right, Gregg Jefferies and Larry Walker were the two big free agent outfielders that year, and that the Phillies chose to pursue Jefferies over Walker. Is that right?

People realize that Mike Napoli was traded twice this offseason? Once for Vernon Wells and the second-worst contract in baseball (behind the obvious), and once for Frank Francisco.

Talk about upgrading your offense at the catcher spot.

Gregg Jefferies was a second tier, questionable, ex-Met move. mistake ab initio

This example proves the point. Phils were not in on any elite players for the better part of a decade. They were like the damn Pirates are today, only with more revenue potential.

DH Phils - Yeah Walker got courted by several teams and the Rockies signed him to a 5 yr/~$27M deal. Jefferies got a 4 yr/$20M deal from the Phils.

Wow, umps just totally screwed the Rangers with that Beltre AB. It's the damn WS, they have to be better than that. They just ruined a great game.

Jack: Yup. It was obvious from the way Beltre initially reacted that the ball had hit him. MLB umpiring has long passed the point of "human beings make errors from time-to-time" & entered the realm of "a certain degree of mental retardation is not only expected, but encouraged!"

Well with Beltre's arse in the way it was a bit difficult to see. Anyway does anybody really believe the Texas Rangers will best this Cardinals pitching and defense?

3r0ck -

Ask him what handle he uses when posting at BLer.

I think freddy galvis is gonna be the opening day starting at SS.

The phils use the saved money at SS to lock down Madson and Hamels...

Also they upgrade at 3B and bring in a swing guy for the OF.

Need speed and OBP. Not the home run hitting team anymore. Bye bye pop-up on the in field rollins!

3r0ck, ask Giles if he wants to bring back Kiteman for a 40th anniversary "flight" next year.

signing a Molina brother gives a team a 33% chance of making the WS. I would wholly endorse picking up Jose.

But Jefferies practiced swinging his bat in a pool...so we had to pay up

Back-up catchers can be as big a crapshoot as bullpen arms. There is a huge gap between great catchers and the bottom of the pile. Back-ups in the majors are usually back-ups because they have some glaring deficiency that makes them worthless at a given point of time.

I do think it is time to upgrade on Schneider but you may have to sacrifice either defense or offense for the other. I know Schneider is ridiculed defensively but a guy like Chris Snyder is way worse. If he doesn't hit he would be just as big a black hole in the lineup.

So the accidental playoff team is going to win the WS? Makes you wonder what the point of the regular season -- or the playoffs -- is.

Thanks for the comments guys. I think my favorites and most likely to be answered by Gilles are:

"What effort they made / how close they got to landing Maddux after the '92 season."

Posted by: Hugh Mulcahy

"Who is/has been his favorite Phils' player off-the-field due to their personality or what is his most memorable spring training experience with the Phils."

Posted by: MG

Ask Mr.Giles if he can trade Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs for a SS.

I'm going to wager a guess that Eli Whiteside won't be considered.

I think someone like a Jason Jaramillo is a possibility. Pittsburgh seems to have a glut of catchers, especially if they sign Snyder back. He seems to not be in their plans anymore.

Whoever it is, likely needs to be more of a offensive catcher. Schneider was neither a offensive or defensive catcher though.

Ask Giles if he feels the Phillies Golden Age was kicked off with the trade of Bobby Abreu.

TTI: Well said about the backup C role. I already feel bad for whoever is brought in, b/c he will be the target of ridicule from the get go. For some reason, every other team finds a way to bring a HOF backup catcher in, while the Phils seem content to bring in journeymen.

curt: "So the accidental playoff team is going to win the WS? Makes you wonder what the point of the regular season -- or the playoffs -- is."

The purpose of the regular season is to determine who is the best team.

The purpose of the post-season is to determine who is the hottest team for two weeks in October.

"Back-up catchers can be as big a crapshoot as bullpen arms."

Yup. You need look no further than Brian Schneider to see that. In 2010, he posted a .729 OPS, which is more than acceptable (if not above average) for a backup catcher. This year, he was one of the worst offensive players in baseball. Another example is Jose Molina, cited in jw's article as a guy who put up a pretty decent stat line this year. But this year was a SSS anomaly; his career slash line is an abysmal .241/.286/.344.

That's why I'd put my money on a guy like Kratz. The bar for backup catchers is very low &, given his consistently strong offensive numbers at AAA, he seems a good bet to out-perform the random backup we'd find on the FA market. But RAJ likes "proven veterans," even if the only thing they've proven is that they can't hit. I expect Kratz to start the year at AAA.

"The purpose of the regular season is to determine who is the best team.

The purpose of the post-season is to determine who is the hottest team for two weeks in October."

That's all nice and rational, but players want to win the WS, and the teams that do get all the glory. The regular season is basically a revenue generation machine.

curt: There is some truth to that, but baseball's regular season still has value, unlike hockey and basketball, whose regular seasons have no value at all since nearly everyone makes the playoffs.

Of course, Commissioner Selig is trying his best to make baseball's regular season just as worthless.

I think we should add 3 more WC teams and 2 more rounds...lets make the regular season completely meaningless. I'm sure that would really help attendance.

I don't think adding a team from each league to the playoffs (or even 2) is going to be that big of a deal.

Considering we are watching a team win on the last day of the season to make the WS this year alone, further diluting the meaning of said regular season by having yet another slot for some "hot team" to make is just stupid.

If the Postseason is already as much of a random event as many claim, adding 2 teams or 20 won't really matter.

NEPP, I agree. G-Town, adding more dork teams just assures greater chances for dork teams to play in the WS.

If the postseason IS a random event, then adding teams definitely matters because there is a significant (if declining) marginal decrease for each team added.

If the postseason IS NOT a random event, then adding teams would matter less on the margin.

Yeah. It's a damn shame when the "best team" can't manage to outplay the St. Louis Accidents in the first round. I don't like Bud Selig & I vehemently oppose further Postseason expansion, but I don't see how anyone can get bent out of shape about the latter if they also believe October baseball is one big coin flip. The Phillies played like crap, & lost. Period. People here are starting to sound like Mets fans in '07 & '08, which is almost as sickening as the loss itself.

Somehow, this is all Cole Hamels' fault.

Which is more of a random event, the postseason or a good year from your backup catcher?

To the poster yesterday who said Hank Aaron was never "truly dominant":

8 seasons of 8.1+ WAR (fangraphs), 7 more seasons of 7.0-7.9 WAR

Really?

In the last decade I think there have been only around 30 individual 8.3+ WAR seasons

"Schneider was neither an offensive nor defensive catcher though."

There were some on this site who dearly wanted but couldn't quite bring themselves to say that Schneider's 23-5 (or something like that) record was something other than random -- a consequence of Schneider's presence quite apart from his uncontroversially terrible offense and sub-mediocre defense. And yet no one is clamoring to re-sign him.

I like going young for the backup C role, if for no other reason than to see if we have something to succeed Chooch. Not shoveling dirt on my favorite Panamanian yet, but since the backup C role gets so little playing time (day game after night, day off for the starter, Worley's personal caddy for some reason), I don't mind giving that time to someone younger to see if we can develop our next starter. It's more of a plan than bring in journeyman who might be alright enough, and we'll figure the rest out down the line.

Kratz, though a minor leaguer, is just one year younger than Chooch.

-Sign Maddog and another one or two of the decent reliever class.
-Make J Roll the "take it or leave it 3yr 27 mil offer" then sign Ramon Santiago (right handed)
-Get Cuddyer or one of those frequently brought up dudes who is versatile for 1st
-Get Edwin Encarnacion for 3rd (right handed and only 28)
-Get Brown on a hot-streak before the season begins and trade him as soon as somebody is dumb enough to believe he can keep it up.
-Get Ramon Castro to back up Chooch (he's old, dumb looking and right handed, better contact than Brian Schneider or Dane)
-Get Omar Infante if the SS or 2nd option is not working out (Chase may need some lawnchair time). He can play either and outfield and his is also right-handed.

-Misc.- Offer Kazmir, and some of the other down and out starters on the list a minor league with opt out offer.
-Get Goya and Bimbo (new Latin American Tastykake owners) to sponsor two or three Latino nights to pay for the infield options.

JW: "perhaps opposite brother Yadier in a 2012 postseason rematch."

What makes you think this garbage St. Louis team could actually make another postseason? They suck as is and will be Pujols'less.

RG, so basically, you're looking at a defense that looks like:

1B - Cuddyer
2B - Infante/Santiago
SS - Santiago/Infante
3B - Encarnacion
C - Chooch, with Castro backing up
LF - Brown, until good enough to trade
CF - Vic
RF - Pence

With Kazmir as a potential swingman/AAA starter?

Perfectly plausible.

I'm all for the Latino nights, though, especially if it means empanadas!!

Man, it would really suck to be Pujols'less.

I did the math a few nights back with the sports marketing guy I know and without the Maddog signing, it spends the potential walkaway money from our departing FA and then around another 12-14 mil and our bench should be killer once Utley and Howard return and we trade Brown with a mediocre middle relief arm.

"What makes you think this garbage St. Louis team could actually make another postseason?"

Well, this garbage team led the league in runs scored (by far), batting average (by far), OBP, and slugging, will very likely resign Pujols in the off-season, and will be getting back one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, who missed the entire 2011 season. Other than that, they look pretty weak going forward.

RG, as we all know, it's all about the strength of the bench. Sounds like you really have this all figured out. Should we just assume that RAJ will catch this plan on one of his daily visits to BL, or should we send him a separate email? I'd really hate for him to mess this up.

"Somehow, this is all Cole Hamels' fault.

Posted by: NEPP'


No, no, no, NEPP!

Not Hamels, he WON the game he pitched.

Rather, it was Cliff Lee's failure to hold a 4 run lead in game 2 that cost the Phils.

Speaking of which, I haven't heard or read much from the Merry Cliffmas Sycophant Club lateley.

Well get JMJ a copy of the list and he can pass it to Rube at the Stanford Alum Christmas Party and we'll just promise him a mermaid to date.

bap: yea your right... maybe the Cardinals can be as good as the 2011 Giants the next year!

RG:

1. Infante is not a FA; Florida resigned him.

2. Encarnacion is one of the worst defensive 3rd basemen in baseball. He was such a disaster this year that Toronto ended up moving him to DH.

3. Cuddyer will cost a good 3 years, $30M, minimum. That's a rather stiff price to pay for a 1st baseman/outfielder who isn't as good as our current 1st baseman and may not be as good as any of our 3 outfielders.

i keep checking the obits, but i have yet to see any mention of a Fatalotti passing away since the Phils went down. still, i'm getting worried.

lore: Yes, since the Giants won it all last year & finished as also-rans (while enduring numerous injuries) this year, it follows that the same thing will happen to the Cardinals next year. Unassailable logic.

I was comparing moreso to your thoughts that the Giants were a great team last year just like you seem to be thinking the Cards are.

They suck and won't make the 2012 playoffs.

I'd have to think that with Prince's inevitable departure in Milwaukee, if Pujol's resigns in STL, they'd be the prohibitive favorite to win that crappy division.

lorecore: When the 2010 post-season was going on, I wasn't even around on Beerleaguer. Hence, I most certainly did not say that the Giants were a great team. Nor did I think it. My view was that they were a very flawed team that was nonetheless dangerous in a short series because of their pitching & bullpen.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, have a young and very well-rounded team. They were lucky to make the playoffs but they are not a fluke and, assuming Pujols is back, I would expect them to be better next year. They will have Wainwright back, a full year of guys like Freese and Craig (big-time hitters, both), and, in all likelihood, a more stable bullpen situation.

Offensively it is a crapshoot with backup catchers especially because they likely will only get somewhere in the range of ~150 ABs or so.

Ironic things about the Phils though is that even though they clamor for defense in their backup catcher, they have brought in a bunch of guys over the last few years who were well past their prime defensively (Schneider was terrible last year any way you slice it & staff thought as much in that they lifted him late in games several times late even on Chooch's off-days) or guys who weren't good defensively.

Offensively you aren't going to get much out of your backup catcher. I just hope the Phils go out and waste $1.25-1.5M/annually on a 2-year deal to a guy like Laird simply because he is an 'established veteran.'

Shouldn't we be hoping Brown does well and can stick at LF for a long time? He's cheap, you know.

Oh -- and as WP points out -- they'll have the added advantage of playing in what figures to be a very weak division.

One has to assume the Cubs will make a big play for Pujols or Fielder. Either one's a double bang move to alter the balance of power in the division.

Guys like Craig and Freese are platoon stars and won't translate their numbers as full time players. LaRussa gets the most out of them as is.

MLBTR estimates them with ~$20M free to match last year's payroll after covering their option and arb players. I dont see that being enough to get Pujols, even if they include the playoff revenue. And Furcal is a FA as well. Their BP is a group of untalented misfits with Motte getting by on a pure fastball his first time around the league.

Cards will miss playoffs next year, even with about 25 wins gifted from the Pirates/Astros.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, have a young and very well-rounded team.

They are not as young as you think, although compared to the Phils...

Freese and Craig are late bloomers, for instance

Quality of these podcasts is entirely up to the interviewee but the later half with Thad Levine (Asst GM to the Rangers) is well worth a listen.

Some great insights to how Daniels and the Rangers senior leadership views on building a team, research findings on what makes teams especially those outside the Top 8 in payroll to make the playoffs & possibly succeed in the playoffs, and a few other general nuggets.

Well worth a listen. Stunned if Levine isn't a GM somewhere himself in another 2-3 years.

http://www.grantland.com/podcasts#

STS: You're ignoring the context of that comment. A poster posited the theory that a player shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame unless he was truly dominant at his position. He said that Rolen didn't deserve to get in, based on that perception.

I countered that, by that reasoning, Aaron shouldn't be in either. He may have been dominant compared to 98% of all MLB outfielders but he was not the dominant outfielder of his era.

STS: Or, to put it another way, Mays had 12 seasons of 8+ WAR, Mantle had 8 seasons of 7.1-12.2 WAR, Frank Robinson had 6 seasons of 7.5 to 9.1 WAR and all were Aaron contemporaries. It was a dominant group, but not a dominant player.

Freese's career OPS against RHP is .765 and his minor league numbers were terrific. Craig's career OPS against RHP is .831 & his minor league numbers were terrific. One will turn 29 next year; the other 28.

They are both excellent all-around hitters. They may be "late bloomers" in prospect terms but, for 2012, they look like pretty safe bets.

Even if Kratz is giving a shot they still need to bring another catcher in. If Chooch goes down then that would leave just Kratz. If Kratz goes down their Fracked. Tuffy will probably take the role of Sardine man occasional call up possibly and even thats a stretch. The Phils are and have been thin on the catching prospects for years. You can scratch Rod off the list i dont think he'll come back and i dont think the Phils want him. His departure here wasnt a pleasant one to begin with. Kratz did hit ok in the minors but as most of us know doesnt always translate to the Majors.

Ryan Doumit. He also plays some first base (and right field) which puts Mayberry back in left field. Then Kratz can still join the team until Howard makes it back, at least.

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