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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Great thread header. It concisely expresses the diversity of opinions, the BLers' opinions and Cholly's. I wonder if Rube has any input in the final cut decisions?

Pods has the edge, but for reasons already explained, they'll go with Pierre. While either player wiil/should help, neither plays the infield.

Personally I don't see the appeal with Pierre...he's always been a one trick pony, getting on base and being a nuisance once there. But even that strength seems to have been lost by him referring to his SB% the past year or three.

I think Pods deserves to head north with the team.

On an unrelated note, Casey Blake was let go by the Rockies...anyone interested in taking a flier on him? I know he is a 1B/3B guy, which isn't necessarily the priority (2B/SS is the more pressing need).

I'm not 100% certain, but seen it mentioned before that Pierre will have to be DFA'd to go the minors while Podesednik can be optioned.

If thats the case, I share the fear that the Phils might scoff at the minor upgrade Pods gives you as the 5th OF and favor the depth of having depth instead.

Again, it is pretty minor, but I'll take any advantage I can get at this point - and plus, who the hell is going to pick up Pierre anyway? He'll likely come back to play in Lehigh so theres your depth.

AT knows of what he types. Charlie still thinks Martinez is a swift, young, defensive wizard. That Phils fans will be stuck watching Pierre do a whole lotta nuthin' is all but certain.

They'll 95% pick Pierre. Not a chance in hell otherwise.

Not to cut down on traffic or anything, but we really don't need to discuss Casey Blake. He's, like, a gazillion years old and was never quite a, um, superstar. I think the Phils would be better served to bring up Sandberg.

Prediction: they'll keep Pierre on the roster and he'll do just well enough to stay there until Pods is released and then Pierre will hit like Michael Martinez.

Great article on stolen base percentages and the break-even point. The threshold is set at 75%, and yet when we look at a guy like Pierre, who's big "weapon" was to get on base and become a nuisance, stealing bases, and the like, it turns out that his career has been one big disappointment in that regard:

In more than half of his years in the majors, Pierre has had under a 75% stolen base rate, he's led the league in caught stealing 6 times and has only ONCE eclipsed a stolen base rate of 80%. Given that he was nearly caught 40% of the time last year, and given that he has absolutely no power, no arm and is a general defensive liability, if he makes the team, I won't necessarily be mad that he beat out Podsednik, but moreso that he'll, as we are wont to say, actively be hurting the team with his inefficient base stealing abilities.

Andy - aqreed, I was surprised to see that Blake is 38 years old! Just thought I'd throw the idea out there while talking about two other past it players that are seemingly fighting over one spot.

DPat: That article says that their inability to hit aces is what dooms the Phils in the playoffs.

So the Phils lose 3 games in the 2011 NLDS.

Game 2: Phils chase Carpenter early, Lee blows lead and can't hit bullpen

Game 4: Phils score early off Jackson, then turn it off and Oswalt is weak.

Game 5: Carpenter shuts them down.

So that article's message comes true once and you want Ruben Amaro to rebuild his team based off that?

Did they actually outscore the Cardinals in the series?

I mean, "didn't" they?

Why would Cholly or Rube be so concerned about Podsednik having more options than Pierre?? Just release Pierre... who cares? Let him go TODAY. This is such a no-brainer, it's not even funny!

King Felix goes 8IP 1ER on 104 pitches to start season. Gets ND, Dustin Ackley and Ichiro knock in 11th inning runs for win, Brandon League first save of 2012.

Dpatrone: I'd argue that the offense has declined because the big money players on offense have declined, not because the Phillies have spent money on pitching instead of hitting. The team has $41.25m tied up in the rather brittle Polanco, Utley, & Howard. That's only $.25m less than they are paying Lee & Halladay combined this year. The pair of pitcher's WAR will come close to doubling up the trio of hitters this year. So, the team's problem isn't that they are devoting too many resources to the pitching staff, it's that the resources devoted to the every day players is not producing up to the same level. Really the only available hitting upgrade over the past few offseasons that the Phillies should have jumped on, but didn't (b/c of money?) was Adrian Beltre. And I argued at the time (both times) that they should have snatched him up. So, 1 guy who may have had other reasons besides money to make the deals he did. Aside from Beltre, who else who's been available would you rather have? Granderson & Mike Young turned out to have excellent seasons last year, but the year before Young looked cooked and Granderson a platoon player. And both would have taken more than money to acquire by trade.

I wonder if Charlie knows how to look up stats on the internet. Pods does indeed "have more juice in his bad" but to say Pierre "gets on base more" is flat out false.

In their past 3 full seasons, Pods' OB is .344. Pierre's is .342. In OPS+ Pods leads 94 to 85, so it's not even close.

Then there's defense, where Pods has a better arm and better range.

Maybe Rube could show Charlie some printouts.

Pierre vs. Podsednik is a good, old-fashioned baseball debate. But does the answer really have anything to do with whether the Phils win the World Series? I don't know. And who knows if, all things being equal, Charlie doesn't just pick the guy who has fit in the clubhouse better, whoever that may be.

re Cholly's Philosophy on 2012 Pods vs. Pierre & 2011 Mayberry vs. Ibanez, etc:

So when does Manuel get moved upstairs a la Dallas Green and Ryne Sandburg take over the day to day managerial responsibilities of this team?

Relating to why they would keep pods or pierre, read through this article. It proves that any stat will ALWAYS be overmatched by "old-fashioned" baseball evaluation:

Andy: Before we say goodbye to Casey Blake, I'd like to honor him by saying that he was a player who was more than the sum of his talents.

He was never a big prospect. He was a 7th rounder out of Wichita State who didn't have much speed or much glove and really just one tool: The ability to hit line drive gappers.

He was generally viewed as a Quad-A type and had a few cups of coffee with 3 different teams until he finally stuck with Cleveland at age 29.

He kept grinding away year after year, raising his defense from bad to average and his OB skills from bad to to average and kicking in 18-20 HRs a year and learning to play 1B and the corner OF in addition to 3B, which was his first position.

He was a blue collar player who got a chance late, made himself better and wound up having a 13-year career that ended with a 107 OPS+ and just enough glove to stay in the lineup.

That's lots better than super tools prospects like Greg Golson and Tyson Gillies are likely to ever do.

You don't need sabermetrics this spring to see that Podsednik is the better player especially on the basepaths this spring. 'Old-fashioned' skills of just watching the game work just fine.

Cholly is just being a stubborn mule (which he can be especially when it comes to a veteran player he likes) if he prefers Pierre based largely on what Pierre did several years ago.

MG, true, but "old-fashioned" evaluation is all perception--and Cholly's perception is likely distorted by his own notions of what kind of player Pierre is ("gets on base more" than Pods). Looking at the numbers would certainly be helpful to thwart that, but that article I posted shows that they would never do that.

ugh I hate that pop up thinger at the bottom

Jbird~ I'm not arguing why the offense has declined. My argument all this off-season IS that the offense HAS declined and that our GM has done nothing to fix it save upgrading the bench. They're offense looks to be terrible at the moment. And there doesn't seem to be any relief in sight.

Desi: Actually. I took that article to be a positive. They don't make player decisions based on WAR or VORP, although they do consider OB and OPS. That's a good thing.

Andy: Click on the arrows/carets to hide it.

clout - I fully agree and am not denigrating Mr. Blake and his career. Just saying that as he approaches 40, a guy who grinds it out may not have enough left to grind it out with.

Tyson Gillies is an interesting name to bring up, though. I'm not sure I'd put him in the same category as Greg Golson/Anthony Hewitt/D'Arby Myers et al. But he may be illustrative of the idea that beyond just tools, even good baseball talent does not take a guy all the way to the majors - there needs to be a strong and lasting work ethic as well.

Desi - Nah Cholly is just discounting what happened this spring. No baseball scout would tell you just by watching Pierre play this spring he has been better in any facet of the game than Podsednik.

You could mutate Pierre and Posednik into one super-mutant left hand hitting 35 year old outfielder that was never really any good and still isn't and Johnny Damon would still be the best option for the Phillies in that role. He want $1 million to tack on a few more hits in his push to 3000?

clout, I read it again, and that is a good point. I see undertones of condescension against using statistics to evaluate players, but if they use OB and OPS, wouldn't Pods be the run-away pick to keep as the 25th man over Pierre? I feel like Cholly leans more on his baseball instinct, which is obviously very good, but seems to be distorted based on a distorted perception of Pierre's talent level.

MG, that's what I think. He remembers Pierre from 2003, sees he had a bunch of SB last year with the White Sox, and believes Pierre to be the better player. Podsednik needs more GW HR!

Andy: Gillies has had bad luck with injuries but the bottom line on him is this: He has tremndous tools but has shown only one skill: The ability to put up great stats at the best hitter's park in Single A.

As he enters his age 23 season, I'd argue he needs to show us more than that.

Hexy - Damon would be a much better option than both Podsednik/Pierre. Phils are just tapped for cash though & both Podsednik and Pierre come real cheap.

If Pierre makes the MLB roster, his salary is $800k. He has an opt-out by the end of this month.

Podsednik if he makes the MLB roster, his salary is $750k. He also has an opt-out but not until 6/1.

Desi: I inferred some anti-stats condescension from the guy who wrote the article. I didn't really infer it from anyone associated with the Phillies.

Veteran league minimum this year is $414,500 this year if the info I looked up is correct.

Pods definitely, but he can only help at the margins. The Phillies need more pop. Without Howard and Utley, the opposition can pitch around Pence, a free swinger; Mayberry's weak spring is a concern; Thome can only give an occasional punch.

Time for a major deal. How about a package for David Wright -- Polanco, Blanton/Kendrick, Brown and another prospect?

I'm rooting for Pods not just because he's the better player, but because it will make the typical curmudgeons on BL look incredibly stupid for whining for 48 hours straight that Pierre is a lock.

Cholly is just being a stubborn mule (which he can be especially when it comes to a veteran player he likes) if he prefers Pierre based largely on what Pierre did several years ago.

I'm not entirely convinced that Charlie knows Pierre & Rollins are, in fact, two entirely different people.

More brilliance from Charlie at that link, with this quote standing out:

“Podsednik hits the ball a little bit harder. He gives you more juice; Pierre is on base more. He has a high on-base percentage,” Manuel said. “He showed he can steal a base. And he shows he gives good at-bats. I think they’re a little bit different players. Pierre is more of a guy that’s a table setter. He’s a guy that if you want him to help your team, he has to hit high in the order where he can get on base. Podsednik is a little bit stronger hitter.”

Excuse me, but Pierre is 2 for 5 in base-stealing attempts this year while Pods is 5 for 5. Pierre is still a great baserunner in Charlie's mind and evidence that contradicts it has to be ignored--just like, once Charlie had formed a mental image of Mini-Mart as a "versatile" and "speedy" player, no facts could shake him. I think Charlie likes stereotyping players this way, since it saves him the trouble of actually evaluating their day-to-day performance.

I still hold out hope that this decision is such a no-brainer, the Phillies can't possibly screw it up.

But, yeah, Cholly has this habit of viewing players in a time warp. If a guy was an .850 OPS player in 2003, he's an .850 OPS player for all time. We've seen this repeatedly in the way he has dealt with guys like Lidge, Ibanez, Rollins, and Polanco. So it's only natural he would think Juan Pierre is still the .300+ hitter who had four 200+ hit seasons between 2001 & 2006.

On top of that, the Phillies are always good for about one totally bizarre personnel move per year. Trading Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner in 2009. Giving Juan Castro a guaranteed contract in 2010. Mini-Mart in 2011. But I thought we had already covered this year's bizarre move when we re-signed Brian Schneider.

To block the Meebo bar, use the browser add-on adblock. I used it with Chrome and it's gone. After installing adblock, right click on the meebo bar. Find adblock and select block this ad. Took 1 minute. Just Google "Chrome(or whatever browser you use) and adblock"

Pods vs. Pierre feels like one of those competitions that's rigged and not a real competition at all. Not sure why Pierre seems to be getting the nod.

I'd be more concerned if Gillies didn't put up good stats in a great hitters park. Kinda amazing that he's still only 23.

AT: "“He showed he can steal a base..."

He left out the part "every once in awhile, 5 years ago."

And even if he DID offer these mythical 'table setting' skills, arguably we already have both Rollins and Vic doing the same. I'd actually argue that this team needs a guy who "hits the ball a little harder" on it (which is like saying Justin Bieber is strong because he can bench press more than Lady Gaga).

thanks clipper. so vic can get a waver to take stimulants for his ADD but a drug that would "cure" utley's knees can't be waved on an individual basis? but relatively ineffectual surgery is ok. dumb.

BAP: "But, yeah, Cholly has this habit of viewing players in a time warp"

The scariest part about that is that we also have a GM who seems to value guys who were also studs a few years ago, like he's putting together a 2004 Fantasy Baseball team (Willis, Thome, hell even the Baez flyer last year...).

It's like having Dennis Rodman as Charlie Sheen's AA sponsor.

Time for a major deal. How about a package for David Wright -- Polanco, Blanton/Kendrick, Brown and another prospect?

Posted by: Rob | Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM

I am so glad you are not in the front office. Yes, let's give up 5 years of team control of Domonic Brown, our 5th starter, our swingman out of the bullpen AND another prospect, for the rapidly decling, oft-injured, butcher at third base, who, mind you, will cost $15 M this year, and then due $16 M next year (or can be bought out for $1 M), after which he becomes a free agent. Sounds like a great idea.

Preacher: I want r00b to reenact scenes from "Platoon" w/ Charlie Sheen.

Yeah, it's ridiculous that sports leagues don't differentiate between treatments that only/primarily add strength (and usually carry other health risks) and treatments that only/primarily prolong athlete's careers or improve their quality of life (and usually have fewer added health risks).

Using HGH or stem-cell therapy on Utley's knees is no more a violation of the spirit of the game than Tommy John surgery is for Moyer.

Also, of course Podsednik deserves the roster spot on merit: better player, more of a fit for the team, weirder last name...

...BUT if you bring him north and his old body gets hurt, assuming Pierre is no longer in the organization, then you have to go with a likely below-replacement-level player. If you take Pierre and his old body gets hurt in the next six weeks, then you bring up Pods and we're good(ish).

Or, if you're concerned about depth but, convinced Posednik has more upside value on the 25 man roster, you can pay Pierre a one-time assignment payment of $100,000 and stash him at AAA, instead of Posednik.

That works.

MG: Damon can no longer play defense at the MLB level.

Pierre has an opt-out clause that would preclude stashing him in AAA. It only works if you convince him to go to Lehigh.

***Damon can no longer play defense at the MLB level.***

That hasn't stopped him from trying the last 3-4 seasons.

"How about a package for David Wright -- Polanco, Blanton/Kendrick, Brown and another prospect?"

Really, there are no words. Mindboggling.

If the Phils are going to make a big move (and they simply don't have the budget flexibility to do so), I would prefer it be Reynolds.

Likely had cheap (starting pitching prospect and another lesser prospect), is a free agent at the end of the year, and gives you 30-35 HR which this lineup is desperately lacking.

Other sites have crapped on that idea because of his defense at 3B but you simply move Reynolds to 1B and play him there at least the first half of the season. Deal with moving him to 3B when Howard comes back & he can still spell Howard. Not like Polanco should be playing everyday either at this point.

The Orioles have supposedly been looking for a starter with MLB experience; I've said before that the FO should try to get them to do a Blanton/Reynolds swap (the two have almost identical salaries) and throw in two mid-range prospects to get the Orange Birds to bite. The best one-year fix I can think of.

clout: So you think the Phils should throw in Halladay, too?

Under teh new CBA, Pierre must accept the assignment if the Phils pay the $100K - that's what I read at least. I'm not sure if he also collects his MLB salary but, I assume so.

Hugh: I would presume that, if his contract specifically allows him to opt out by a particular date, that would supersede the more general terms of the CBA.

Clout, I can think of a few words regarding that proposed trade: Stupidity. Ignorance. Need I go on?

Cholly has lost weight so his gut isn't as big an important as it was.Only problem is that his brain hasn't changed size any.LV may be better than the Phils except for the pitching.

I didn't understand the 'Blanton/Reynolds' rumors at all. O's loaded up on a ton of potential starters this offseason. They could use another starter but why would they trade for a guy who is making a decent dollar amount, is an injury concern, and is a free agent at the end of the year?

Not the type of move Duquette makes at all. If he moves Reynolds, it will be for pitching prospects. Not Blanton.

In any deal with the mets, they must also promise to not start Chris Young against the phillies, should he be available.

Sounds like the Phils picked up Joe Thurston (HOU released him), for minor league infield depth, what with Galvis unavailable for AAA duty. Joe Thurston!

It is worth noting that Montanez is still with the team & sweeing an awful lot of playing time. And the Phillies do need a RH outfielder more than they need a LH outfielder. While the odds of his sticking are probably no more than 20% at best, it is at least within the realm of possibility that he could beat out both Pierre AND Pods. Of course, he hasn't done squat since clout day, which doesn't help his cause.

Morneau crushes one off Vanimal.

The Return of Joe Thurston is a worth thread header

Joe Thurston Lives!

"The Phillies signed Joe Thurston, according to Todd Zolecki of (on Twitter). He'll open the season in the minors. The Astros released the utility player earlier today, according to the team’s senior director of social media, Alyson Footer (Twitter link). The 32-year-old has MLB experience at second and third and in both corner outfield positions. He owns a .226/.305/.323 line in parts of seven MLB seasons."

The Return of Joe Thurston does nothing to debunk the myth that this front office LOVES guys they're intimately familiar with. Personally, I'm waiting for the rumor that they're trying to woo Bruntlett or Nunez.

In other Zolecki tweet news, Big Truck pitched an inning in a minor league game today.

Joe Thurston? Ramiro Pena? Not even 'Value Village'

Pure dumpster diving for Amaro.

With Thurston back in the fold, I think we can start planning on where to stand for the 2012 WS parade.

Is there any chance the Dodgers don't pay "Cliff Lee" money if the Phillies dont? Not a chance in hell. You dont spend $2B to not go after the best free agent on the market.

Unless Hamels is signed during the season, he'll be gone next year. The Dodgers and likely a dozen other teams will happily hand over Cliff Lee type money to him.

Did anyone mention that Adrian Cardenas got sent to the minors from the Cubs? Does that mean he has to pass through waivers again?
It still appears he can hit and he is young. He is just a bad fielder. Why not give him a chance at 2nd base to start the season?

If Cole goes to the Dodgers, he'd go from one team where he wasn't the team ace, to another team where he's not the team ace, but he'd be making a cool $25 M a year, so it'd be well worth it. But he'd likely be one of the best pitchers in a long time to not have hold a team ace status for a considerable measure of time.

Of course, if they give Hamels $25 million per year, Kershaw will rightfully expect a bit more than that. Would the Dodgers want to commit over $50 million a year to two pitchers?

If I were a new owner of the Dodgers, and wanted to make a statement with the fans, the guy I would sign would not be Hamels, but Matt Cain. That would provide the double whammy of getting a top-notch pitcher while simultaneously sticking it to your fiercest rival.

NEPP, do the Phillies want to commit over $65 M into 3 pitchers?

I'd sign the best guy available...which would be Hamels. Of course, that would make them Lefty heavy but when the two leftys in question are Hamels and Kershaw, I dont see that mattering.

Besides, if Hamels jumps ship to LA, Cain would likely be Rube's #1 option to take his place so he still doesnt stay in SF.

***NEPP, do the Phillies want to commit over $65 M into 3 pitchers?***

I think Rube does to be honest...he loves SP above all else as all his moves as GM have shown.

All the caveats on ST aside,pretty excited to see:
Batting #2 , the catcher, Carlos Ruiz.

CM must have stayed in Clearwater.

Say Hamels and Cain are both on the market next year, with Hamels demanding $22 M/year, and Cain demanding $18 M/year (just throwing hypotheticals out there based on some numbers I've seen swirling around): Is Hamels worth the extra $4 M/year, or would the Phillies be better served going after Matt Cain in the first place?

While new Dodger ownership COULD have Hamels ramifications, I highly suspect that it won't. I think that RAJ has long been committed to locking Cole up, and Cole is probably anticipating the Phillies locking him up. With the payroll (and even some personnel) uncertainty, I think RAJ has just been waiting to get the payroll in order first. He'll have to assess, in order, Utley's status, what (if anything) he needs to do to accommodate an Utley absence this season (or longer), where that puts him versus the luxury tax THIS year, and then he can move on to shaping next year's payroll, where I think they'll be much more lenient on going over the tax and allowing next year to be the first year to pay (at the lower rate). Plus, he has a little more time and room to try to get under the tax threshold (whatever it will be) with some of the money coming off the books.

Basically, I think we'll see a Hamels extension during the season, then an offseason full of letting guys like Polly and Blanton walk, complete with the peanut gallery (i.e. us) full of opinions on how to replace them. At the end of the day, it will all be up to the FO as to how far over the tax they'd be willing to go, and how to structure to minimize long term exposure to the tax, when it gets especially costly at the higher rates.

***Is Hamels worth the extra $4 M/year, or would the Phillies be better served going after Matt Cain in the first place?***

I would say Hamels is worth it as he seems to be a level a bit above Cain in all respects.

2010-2011 ERA+
Hamels: 136
Cain: 124

Hamels also has a better WHIP, SO/9, SO/BB, etc etc.

I suspect that any fear of being "lefty heavy" will be FAR outweighed by the need to put "butts in seats" for the new Dodgers ownership group. They need to get interest in the team renewed in a big way (speaking as someone sitting 5 miles from a half empty Dodger stadium for the last few summers), and generate some revenue. I think Hamels would actually be a great story for the new ownership to put out there for L.A. fans. I just don't think RAJ will let it happen.

Cain has been the more durable pitcher, though it's not like Hamels has been beset with injury problems. Cole's recent numbers are slightly better and, to me, it seems like he might age better since he's more of a strike-thrower. Overall they're pretty close, though.

All else being equal, there's always a little more risk going with a new guy -- especially someone who has pitched his whole career in a very pitcher-friendly park. I think Hamels is probably worth the extra $4M.

Worley is pitching batting practice.

The lefty-heavy argument doesn't mean anything regarding Cole Hamels, as he's been far better against RHB in his career than LHB (if the argument has anything to do with platoon splits; if it doesn't, I'm not sure what the argument means).

That was just an ugly, ugly performance. Not sure what the benefit is in keeping your young starter in to allow 11 runs in a spring training game.

Joe Thurston and f8cking Juan Pierre?
Good thing we don't have to deal with state store rules in NJ.

Amaro either locks up Hamels this spring once the season starts or he is gone.

"That was just an ugly, ugly performance. Not sure what the benefit is in keeping your young starter in to allow 11 runs in a spring training game."

There was none. It was foolish. He should have been lifted once he ran into some trouble in the 4th. Its not like the Phils don't have some extra bodies around to pitch if absolutely necessary.

Thurston has a career OPS+ of 68. Mini-Mart was 48.

That was just an ugly, ugly performance. Not sure what the benefit is in keeping your young starter in to allow 11 runs in a spring training game.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM

Reminds me of how Scioscia kept Scott Kazmir in a game a couple years ago after Kazmir had given up 8 runs in the 3rd inning. Scioscia let him pitch the 4th, then let him pitdh the 5th. Kazmir proceeded to give up 5 more runs in the 5th inning. All earned.

That was just an ugly, ugly performance. Not sure what the benefit is in keeping your young starter in to allow 11 runs in a spring training game.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM

To build arm strength and "stretch out" as a starter, you need to throw pitches in game situations.

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