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Saturday, February 18, 2012


Best vacation destination ever for a phils fan, everyone should go at least once.

Went last year for the Phils-Yanks opener. Great time. I even meet nice Yankee fans which I didn't know existed.

OK, now we need to keep track of which pitchers have the best velocity, because as we all know, no pitcher can succeed at the MLB level without being able to blow it past a hitter.

YEAH BUDDY! Can't wait for opening day. Can't wait for CBP. Can't wait for the doctor and cliffy-poo. Can't wait to win the NL East. And can't wait for some chooch-tober-fest. YEAH BUDDY.

That's a beautiful sight.

For All you pap haters 11 am csn news conference.

Just saw that the phils were the other team in on AJ
Anyone else see this?

Just read that too, hook. Really perplexed, if it's true.

Our long cold winter is over.

They were probably trying to flip Blanton for Burnett...which makes sense to be honest.

Haven't the Phils been on the "road to redemption" since 2010?

Based on today's Inquirer picture, if you need a restaurant in Clearwater, Howard's been to them all.

NEPP - just curious on why they would consider Burnett over Blanton, I'm not looking at numbers but I'm perplexed with Brett.

Burnett has better stuff and his FIP numbers suggest he wasnt as bad as he's looked in NY. He's also far more likely to give them 200 innings than Big Joe.

NEPP offers one possible explanation. A second possible explanation is that, with the Yankees throwing in all that extra cash, Burnett comes out cheaper than Blanton (though for one extra year). A third possible explanation -- and the one I would guess to be the closest to the truth -- is: don't believe everything you read.

Marv- Any chance that picture is on the internet?

@Marv: In all fairness to Howard, he hasn't been able to really workout due to the achilles. He's a big guy. Big guy's need to watch what they eat AND be able to do to cardio to be able to stay slim. He's shown he's willing to work hard in the past, he'll drop the weight.

Greater BMI: Chris Christie or 6

Oh, totally agree. Comment was how he looks, not that he's not dedicated to getting back into shape.

Prince Fielder says that Howard appears to be in the best shape of his career.

Just glad to see the big man is running. The achilles tendon injury is a tough one to come back from.

In my expert opinion, that man is still a specimen.

All's right with the world.

Per MLBTR: The Yankees still prefer Raul Ibanez to Johnny Damon because he's better against right-handed pitchers and on defense,

Is Johnny Damon really that bad defensively?

Mike, yes.

Wow, just wow!

Zoiks!! Number 6 is definitely going to have to drop a few pounds, but it is good to see him running.

Howard has a monster frame, he can handle plenty of extra pounds. Maximize that power and F anything else.

Thanks for the link to the Howard pic, Marv.

Agree w/lorecore about just hoping he gets his power back. Of course, he takes a lot of grief from us when he's not agile with the defense. But we could use the Big Piece to be that HR hitter who can carry the team again.

Very cool graphic, JW! So exciting that the boys of summer are getting ready!

And I still can't believe we have Cole, Cliff AND Doc!

Wait, BL posters have been saying for months that Fielder signing was way better than Howard signing, that we should ignore his bloated body, but now because Howard looks like Fielder it's a disaster?

OK, I apologize, I'm slow. When Fielder looks slobby fat, it's not a problem, he's good for an 8-year $214M contract. But when Howard does, it is a total fiasco. OK, got it.

NEPP: "Burnett has better stuff and his FIP numbers suggest he wasnt as bad as he's looked in NY. He's also far more likely to give them 200 innings than Big Joe."

I agree with this. Who will have a better record over the next 2 years, Blanton or Burnett?

I'll take Burnett in a heartbeat.

I found David Hale's blog, with suggestions for Pap's entrance music, amusing. On the chance it might amuse others, too, here's the link:

Clout - Did anyone really say Fielder was a good signing? It's in no way a "good" signing. He is highly likely to break down at some point well before the deal is up. The Tigers are taking a major risk.

Fielder is about 5 years younger than Howard, and he's an overall better hitter than Howard. But he is a big fat body that is likely to break down at some point. The question is whether the Tigers will get maybe 5 or 6 great years out of him before it does.

Of course, signing Fielder on the open market when he's already hit free agency is a bit different than signing Ryan Howard while you already have him locked up for two years before he would have hit free agency. In both cases, I think a prudent GM would have passed. And the only reason the Tigers signed him is because the owner is like 107 years old and wants a winner before he takes his billions to the grave.

But I thought you were tired of people bringing up Ryan Howard's contract. Why do you bring it up?

Someone outside of Detroit said Fielder was a good signing?

Hell, even most Detroit fans think it'll hurt them longterm but that they understand that their 87 year old owner wants a WS before he dies.

Howard did get chunky. Hopefully he can work off that extra 15-20 pounds he put on by the time he returns in May/June. There's time but going to take some real effort.

He got chunky because he couldn't run or even really walk for a few months. He'll lose the wait and he'll be fine.

The big news is that he's running and looks to be pain free.

The trainer is in the best shape of his life.

Heavy or skinny, I just hope he can get back by late May or early June.

What are you guys all sweating? clout said Howard is going to still have a great career and make a big difference for the team. He'll probably be smacking taters and making Subway commercials full steam by May.

Boy - Howard is quite the Heal Striker if I ever saw one.

3r0ck -
The achilles tendon when it's torn will not allow you to bear your weight on the ball of your foot.
Tore mine a lot of years ago & still wince at the memory, lot of pain in the injury and in the recovery process.

akasmith - the Fielder and Pujols signings were great for the only team that matters, the Phillies - I'll enjoy not having to deal with ether of them until possibly the World Series and a consistent string of Ryan Howard All Star Game starting appearances that will now follow....

After an exhaustive overnight study of that Howard picture, I'm convinced that was not the real Ryan but his double.

Ryan Howard is in the roundest shape of his life.

No more weight training needed for Ryan. If he can heel run now, he'll be sprinting balls out by mid-May.

The official start to the baseball season today, and the bickering on BL over Howard is rumbling away. Real baseball is back.

Was in a bookstore yesterday with a Mike Schmidt St.Patrick's Day jersey displayed. Like a harbinger of Spring.

Can't wait for the nightly news clips (even of the slow games of catch) and the ST games. Good times are waiting.

Per Matt gelb, pap got bastardo a Rolex for #58

Is that a Rolex/yr. for 4 years?

Piniero will make 1.5m if he makes MLB roster

Don't we want a tubby Howard? Weren't many of us up in arms that his weight loss coincided with his decline? Like Samson? Subway might not like it, be he might be in for a 150-lbs season, best injury ever.

KK gets 2/$7.5 for catering Joe Blanton's meals.!/ToddZolecki/status/171253698536808448

Unikruk - His decline hasn't been due to his weight loss.

It is the fact that teams have really adjusted how they approach him giving him as few 4-seam fastballs as possible (heard from Stark last offseason when Howard got hurt that nobody in MLB last year saw less 4-seam fastballs last year) and his foot-related issues.

Only damage he did last year in the NLDS was when Howard had that great AB vs Lohse who finally challenged Howard with a fastball that wasn't really up in the zone that Howard crushed on a 3-2 count.

When you get down to it, Howard has increasingly seen ever less fastballs, more offspeed stuff out of the zone, and increasingly chased it & made contact at a higher clip which results in more outs/diminished production. Been the case every year since '06.

Basically, as a pitcher if you win the first pitch with him and get an 0-1 count on him you have generally won the fight. Get 2 strikes on him & it's over. He K's at nearly at a 50% clip. Howard simply is going to flail in a lot of cases at whatever offspeed pitch you throw low or can't lay out the 2-strike fastball up & out of the zone.

There are hitters in the game who even if your pitcher execute his pitch have the potential to hurt you. Guerrero in his prime was probably the best example I can think of hitting bad pitches out. Cano is probably the best 'bad ball hitter' right now in MLB.

Or you have hitters who simply will not hit a pitch they generally don't like. Pujols falls into that category. Frank Thomas in his prime was probably the best example of the past 25-30 years.

Thomas simply didn't swing at pitches he didn't like. Hell, Thomas had more BBs than Ks from 91-00 and finished his career with almost 300 more BBs than Ks.

Howard isn't that type of hitter. Doesn't have the plate coverage unless he is standing on top of it and doesn't have the pitch recognition skills. All opposing teams realize this now and now how to approach him.

Look at the pitches he struggles with - changeup, splitter, and sliders (to a lesser unless vs. LHP which he simply can't hit).

Watching Feliciano just chew up Howard for years on the Mets was the ultimate proof of that (7-36, 2 XHBs, 1 HR, 14 Ks, .542 OPS). If he got Utley, the inning was over because he was going to get Howard too.

Remember that he had foot issues in 2010 too that caused him to go on the DL with his left foot.

So basically you have a guy who has tried to make adjustments to what he sees, has had modest success in adjusting to them, and has had injury problems the last 2 years to boot.

Howard isn't a great hitter. What is great about him is his power ability and especially to crush fastballs. One of the best in the history of MLB to do that so far. Why Amaro gave him the contract. Power has increasingly become a scarcer commodity in the post-steroid era.

The real question this year is whether or not he has the power in his back foot (left foot) to really drive the ball this season less than 12 months after blowing it out. I pretty doubtful he does this year at least.

Sadly, if he struggles the fans are going to turn on him. I have no doubt about that including booing him at home. That's Philly. I just hope that it doesn't come to that.

He should have just waited him out. Bastardo won't need a number in a season.

I will say this too - the fans didn't boo Utley at all during the final 2 months of the season when he stunk up the place hitting weak flyout/pop-up and ground outs to the middle of the INF by the truckload. Basically was Wilson Valdez with slightly more BBs.

If Howard struggles like that for 2 months, he is going to get booed. It will be a clear double standard too.

A 15 paragraph from MG to something that was I believe tongue in cheek by Unikruk.

Welcome to the 2012 season everyone.

Kendrick signs two year deal. Phillies love him.

Thank you, TTI.

Is KK's extension a prelude to a trade, so that the team that takes him has cost certainty?

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