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Saturday, March 24, 2012


yikes. horrible luck. i hope he can bounce back from this.

Hamels starting the home opener is such a non-issue, I'm surprised anyone can even muster the energy to object to it.

Posted by: Bowlcut | Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I'm surprised that anyone would object to it at all. i think it's a great honor for the Phillies to bestow upon Hamels that they would actively change the pitching rotation so that he could pitch the home opener. I think it speaks volumes about how much they appreciate what he's done for the organization.

Giants just announced that Ryan Theriot is available. Ruben had got to make a deal for him. A perfect fit for the situation.

Posted by: Rich | Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 01:52 PM

So, are we actually going to see posts like this once a day until Theriot is no longer available. UPDATE: Ryan Theriot is GARBARGE! If that wasn't clear enough, I'll make it clearer. Theriot is COMPLETE GARBAGE! Waste of resources and time to bring him on the squad. In fact, I'd bet a good deal that Galvis outperforms Theriot this season.

Posted by: Fatalotti | Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 02:42 PM

Also, that sucks about Madson. The Reds really had an amazing back end of the bullpen set up with Marshall and Madson. Sad for Madson and sucks for the Reds.

To view this from a greedy Phillies perspective, I wonder if this opens the door for Madson to return next year on a cheap, incentive laden deal, since he won't have much leverage after having TJ surgery, and, since most pitchers recover well from TJ these days, he'd probably still be a pretty good pitcher, and, if he regains even close to his original form afterwards, would be a great guy to have setup for Papelbon.

Too bad for Madson.

To all those who say the Phillies probably knew there was an issue and that's why they got Papelbon--why would they have offered Madson the $44 million deal that was supposedly on the table?

So unless that offer never existed, then the argument that the Phillies knew about this is obviously false.

***repost, on topic***
RAJ's a genius -- sure shoots to hell all my whining about Papelbon. Damn glad to have the former Bosox closer on board. Come to think of it, isn't it true that Madson rarely hit 95 late last season?

Regardless, Mad Dog was a hell of a battler. He overcame his anger/anxiety issues to become a pretty terrific closer. Scary to think how good he could become if Tommy John gives him another 2 mph or so on his fastball and he keeps his cutter and signature changeup.

BAP~ From the last thread,you're right, the opt-out clause is a stupid reason for keeping Pierre. But that's what I read from earlier in the week. Pods has had the better Spring as I said, but he can be optioned. This allows the Phils to keep both players. Not saying that I agree with their potnetial decision, just pointing out the reason for it.

Giants just announced that Ryan Theriot is available. Ruben had got to make a deal for him. A perfect fit for the situation.>>

have a source on that, Rich?

I feel bad for the guy. I always thought it would be his shoulder that blew up first due to his delivery.

It's very sad for Madson and the Reds.

Phillies got lucky in this one respect. We may not have Chase all season (we'll find out tomorrow), but we have a healthy, effective (knock wood) closer.


To all those who would say this shows that Amaro was smart not to give Madson that four-year deal, I say it shows he was taking a huge risk by signing anyone in this closer-glutted market to a four-year deal. The Reds lost $8.5 million on Madson, an unlucky break for them, but will anyone who follows baseball be surprised if the Phillies end up regretting $25 million worth of Papelbon's $50 million contract?

So the Amaro/Boras cockfight might end up costing Madson $30 million. Ouch.

Bastardo to Reds for Brandon Philips. Do it while they still grieving.

Always liked Madson as a player and as a person. Sorry to hear of his bad break. Wish him luck in his recovery.

Hamels, if he is paying attention, might want to sign up for 4 more years one of these days.

Jack: "So unless that offer never existed, then the argument that the Phillies knew about this is obviously false."

Amaro has said repeatedly that such an offer never existed.

That still doesn't mean the Phillies knew anything, however.

cut_fastball: Hat's off to you for manning up on Papelbon.

The usual procedure here is to pretend like a negative post on Papelbon never appeared.

"Bastardo to Reds for Brandon Philips. Do it while they still grieving."

Phils probably would do that in a heartbeat, but why would the Reds? Philips is worth much more than Bastardo.

Fatalotti: "In fact, I'd bet a good deal that Galvis outperforms Theriot this season."

You and I are in agreement on Theriot. He's awful and the Phils don't need him. I'd rather start Galvis. However, if I could interpret your post above as a bet that Galvis is better than Theriot on offense this season, I'd be all over that bet on the Theriot side.

Sheesh, Madson certainly has some terrible luck. I feel really bad for the guy--he's likely never going to be in line for the kind of pay day that fell through with the Phils this offseason.

I mean, he'll still make more money than I ever will, but it's a shame given what a great pitcher he's been at times in his career.

One of the stories I read said Utley would have an "annoucement" tomorrow.

Somehow that feels different than "Utley will speak to the press" tomorrow.

Clout: I don't know whether that particular offer was made or not, but I am very confident that negotiating on a long-term deal took place between Madson's camp and the Phillies. And I am about 99.99% confident that the Phillies had no idea about the state of Madson's elbow. Certainly there was no reason to believe anything wrong at the end of the season.

Basically, they got lucky. It doesn't justify the Papelbon contract, necessarily, but as they say, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

Clout, cut's MO is vacillate between opinions on pretty much everything from FO acquisitions to the performance of the 7th man in our bullpen. He rips a decision one day, and then praises it the next. That's what make him such a fun read.

Also, this news about Madson is really irrelevant to the Phillies decision to sign Papelbon at the cost they did.

If the Phillies didn't pursue Madson because they feared he was an injury risk, hats off to them. And going after Papelbon was a great idea, as he may be the best relief pitcher in the game (I just think this is the year that Rivera finally hits a wall), but giving $50 M to ANY reliever over 4 years is just simply a bad idea, especially since closer's are rarely used as effectively as they could be (i.e. we'll see Qualls, or some pitcher of his ability, in a lot more 1 run/tie games than we will Papelbon, simply because of their "roles").

Jack: I agree.

Clout: As to Theriot/Galvis, I'm with you. I'd rather have Galvis due to defense. But yeah, I would think Theriot will put up better offensive numbers (if you can even call it offense), because I tend to think almost every player in baseball will put up better offensive numbers than Galvis.

The truth will eventually come out: Madson sustained his elbow injury while slamming his fist down in disgust upon reading about the Papelbon contract.

Jack: Again, we agree.

Clout: Also, as to the third base situation, I think Pedro Feliz is preferrable to a Dobbs/Helms platoon.

Ryans Theriot's last three seasons:

.275/.329/.341 (.670) 80 OPS+

Jack, if that's the "offense" we're giving up, consider me not worried in the least. Given Galvis's age, defensive ability, and the fact that he'll cost significantly less than Theriot, it'd be close to foolish for the Phillies to bring on Theriot, who will likely not provide more value than Galvis, overall.

Amaro repeatedly says things that aren't necessarily true, so I take his Madson comments with a grain of salt.

I retiring to spend more time taking care of Roy Oswalt's plantation.That is all.

I am, I mean. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Re Theriot: lest we forget the six hits he got against us in the playoffs. Now, that's no reason to sign the guy, but, something to be said for that.

That really sucks for Madson. Terrible timing for his career.

As for Theriot, I would pass unless they are basically giving him away. For those last two spots on the bench you can either go Orr-Montanez or Luna-Podsednik to keep some balance on the bench until Utley gets back. A RH pinch-hitter is not a huge concern for this team. If the other team starts a righty, you will have either Mayberry or Wigginton on the bench, and if there is a lefty starter and those guys are already in the lineup and only the pitcher would need to be PH for.

Part of me feels bad for Madson, but another part of me is always happy when a Boras scheme fails so miserably.

Regardless, signing Papelbon was ignorant. As has been shown over & over again in recent years, the very last thing keeping the Phillies from returning to WFC form was lack of a supposed "Closer".

r00b needs to get over his pitching fetish & find a few competent position players. This team can't hit for crap, & their fielding is worse w/ each passing season. I'll bet no franchise is more thrilled w/ MLB's complete evisceration of Offcial Scoring than the Fightins.

clout/Fata: As a corollary to "Only a crazy person does the same thing day in and day out and expects different results." there’s also: "Only a nutcase holds on to a former opinion when the facts change." BTW, former Presidential candidate and Democratic Committee Chair Howard Dean takes credit for that, not I.

Just one more thing about Papelbon. I'm not crazy about multi-year, mega-bucks contracts to closers, but it's my guess that if you had to sign Papelbon, not a penny less than what RAJ ponied up got the job done.

I feel bad for Mad Dog. If his elbow heals, he should get his payday, just delayed a year or two.

How would we all feel right now if Madson had accepted the 3/30 that the Phillies offered?

That means no Madson, and no Papelbon.

GTown, we agree on the Boras' schemes meme.

However, you're at it again.

Please, PLEASE, for once, NAME the "few competent position players" that Amaro could have signed that would have fit into the budget and ARE BETTER than the ones the Phillies already have.

3B? (ARam?)

C'mon, name some guys. If you can't name guys that definitely WOULD and could have come here you pi88ing up a rope and wasting everyone's time.

Joba is still available right?

Best of luck to Madsen. Whatever went down between Boras and Ruben, Maddog was a warrior who gave it his all. I hope he can return in a year or so and be as goos as ever.

Theriot is a pro who can play everyday. Galvis is a 150 pounds soaking wet. He'll be invisible come July.

Wow! I'm so sad for Madson. I really liked him. Whew! Rube looks like a genius in his dealing with Madson, but I think that is just coincidence.

I bet Madson gets more guaranteed money in free agency next year than he did this year.

It doesn't make sense, but i'm almost positive of it.

Boras royally f'd his client in this case. the 2nd best reliever on the entire market gets a 1 year deal and then his tommyjohn.

Regardless of luck or whatever, ruben made the right decision - i will never talk bad on his decision to sign Papelbon again. Everyone else should do the same.

What a shame. I had favored him to remain w/ the Phils. Hopefully he'll bounce back, but his big payday may have disappeared.

I feel bad for Madson really liked him as a Phil. I feel good that he wasnt a Phillie at the the time. Then that would be 3 High Paid players out this year. Either way since this is baseball he gets paid to do NADA....So in a way i dont feel all that bad for him...HA!

"...but it's my guess that if you had to sign Papelbon, not a penny less than what RAJ ponied up got the job done."

This is the point that a lot of people seem to miss.

It's easy to say "You should never give a reliever a long term contract for 40 million." but the point is that you have to give something up to get one of the best closers.

Would I rather have a lesser reliever, making less money on a short-term contract, getting the ball from Chuckles in a division series-deciding 9th inning? Nope.

Angels may have to dump Bobby per NYC Spanish talk radio. He has been blabbing to the major Spanish language sports bureaus about them dissing him. He could be waived by Tues. Somebody has a leaky spokesman.

This is just an awful story. I really liked Madson and wanted him back here.

It more than likely was dumb luck, but this is the first time I've been happy Rube went with Papelbon.

Btw, MG's choice for closer, Joe Nathan, has a 18.00 ERA so far this spring.

Iceman - Yeah Nathan has struggled this spring as his transition from a power reliever to more of a finesse guy has had its lumps so far. Nathan from the reports I looked at has struggled with his location most of the spring leaving his slider and curve up.

Nathan's going to have his chance to keep the job with the Rangers keeping Feliz as a starter. Imagine he loses it to Adams only if he is incredibly awful before Memorial Day.

Phils dodged a bullet by luck this year with Madson but they still have 4 years to go on Papelbon. If Papelbon blows out his arm this year or next, that deal is going to end up worse for the Phils.

Fata: You seem to have completely overlooked the part of the post where I said I preferred Galvis to Theriot, due to the reasons you mentioned. "I'd rather have Galvis, due to defense." That's a direct quote from above. Not only that, I even made the same joke about "calling it 'offense'" that you did, a few posts before.

Theriot will hit better than Galvis. I'd rather have Galvis. You know?

So I'm not exactly sure why you seemed to take offense at my post.

Phlipper: Your points on Papelbon are all valid, but realize that you could have made the EXACT same post regarding Lidge when he signed his deal for 2009-2011.

And then, when he was given the ball in big games in the regular season and the playoffs in 2009, he was terrible. He was then basically a $12 million middle reliever for two seasons.

So, you know. Generally multi-year, big dollar contracts for relievers are terrible deals. Other than Mo Rivera, I would challenge you to find me one that led to the sort of success you envision for Papelbon and the Phils.

Abreu's had a really bad spring. His bat though is still MLB-caliber and he will get picked up real quick by some team looking for a quality LH bat off the bench.

Issue is does he still want to play if he is a bench player? I bet Abreu just retires if the Angels release.

Still the best pure-hitter the Phils have had in my lifetime including Utley. He was a great clutch hitter too which is funny because it was always one big knock on him. Imagine the same idiots who railed on Abreu's 'last of clutchiness' would do the same with Howard despite their very impressive career numbers with RISP.

It's hard to feel bad for a guy who is going to make $8.5 million for sitting at home, but still sucks. Madson always came off as a good guy and was good with the fans. Gotta feel bad for the Reds, who were my picks in the Central, in part cause of the killer righty/lefty combo Madson and Marshall would have been. That's $8.5 million right down the toilet.

MG: No comparison between Abreu and Howard in terms of "clutch."

Bobby Abreu 7th-9th Inn: .283/.404/.462

Ryan Howard 7th-9th Inn: .238/.352/.464

Agreed 100% MG

Phils have their share of injury issues & have been fairly uninspiring this spring but man the rest of the NL East looks just as middling or even less impressive too:

- Nats have been horrible defensively this spring and have the making of another bad defensive club. Storen's hurt and likely to miss Opening Day. Ditto Morse & LaRoche.

For all of the talk about over hauling their pitching, what really they really need is more offense. Haven't gotten much of it this spring.

- Braves' hit really hit this spring either. Hudson's out for April. Larry's out until at least mid-April after his knee surgery. Vizcaino had TJ surgery & now Venters is having elbow issues.

- Fish have probably had the best news because Johnson has been healthy and Reyes' chronic hamstring issues haven't crept up.

As long as Stanton/Morrison don't have knees issues that force them to the DL, they probably are going to hit Opening Day with the best health in the NL East.

7th-9th inning doesn't equal clutch

Other news:

- Bastardo is throwing tomorrow for the first time in a week. It's a big deal. If his velocity isn't up above 90 MPH, there is a good chance he begins the season on the DL.

- As Galvis has faced progressively better pitching, his spring average and numbers have dropped like a rock. He homered today but he's hit only .235 now this spring. Only has 2 BBs too in 51 ABs.

He's going to be bad offensively. Just a question of how bad. Good chance he battles the Mendoza Line with an OPS below .550. If he hits that badly, you can't start him regardless of how good defensively he is. Not in an NL lineup with a pitcher in the 9-hole.

Theriot has his limitations especially defensively at SS but he would put up much better offensive numbers than Galvis would.

If Theriot is available, I hope Amaro makes the move to get him because he would come real cheap and is a better option than the likes of Orr, Abreu, and whatever is likely to shake loose in the next week.

MG: No comparison between Abreu and Howard in terms of "clutch."

Bobby Abreu 7th-9th Inn: .283/.404/.462

Ryan Howard 7th-9th Inn: .238/.352/.464

Posted by: Jack | Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM

Not really the best stats to show clutch in my opinion. How about this from BR:

Howard career late and close: .267/.387/.523

Abreu: .282/.410/.443

Abreu OPS is .942 in blowouts (margin >4), Howard .839. It looks to me like Howard's preformance improves in the clutch, while Abreu's dips slightly (though still pretty good).

I have no faith that Galvis is ready for the majors. I would much rather him get some time to learn in the minors and then be an option when inevitably Polanco or Rollins hit the DL. He has options so why not use them.

Theriot is nothing special but has been a proven starter the last few years. He has no power but has good speed and can play SS. Even the great LaRussa had nobody better to play at 2nd last year? So I would generally agree that if he is not being replaced that he is better than a replacement player.

I'd almost prefer Theriot to Pierre as a 'contact' hitter and pinch runner. At least Theriot plays some useful positions. Also, Theriot like almost anyone, is better at everything than Martinez.

There is a lot of things I would knock Howard on. Hitting with RISP isn't one of them. Neither Abreu.

Helps that teams can't play the shift in those Abs. I would bet money he sees slightly more fastballs in those ABs too.

Only caveat I have is if there is a lefty reliever on the mound. Especially with a good slider. A guy like Feliciano is Howard's kryponite.

Jack -

"...but realize that you could have made the EXACT same post regarding Lidge when he signed his deal for 2009-2011."

Sure. You roll the dice and you can't always get a good outcome.

"So, you know. Generally multi-year, big dollar contracts for relievers are terrible deals. Other than Mo Rivera, I would challenge you to find me one that led to the sort of success you envision for Papelbon and the Phils. "

But that's too simplistic a reduction. Say Pap is among the top handful of relievers for only two years on this contract. What other reliever of the same quality could you have gotten without agreeing to a long-term contract? How many other relievers out there will give you an equivalent chance of getting over the top to go deep into the playoffs or to win the WFC? Again - let's say the Phils go down to the wire with the Fish and it's the 9th inning of the game that decides the division. Would you want Chuckles to be handing the ball to a lesser reliever getting less money? If Pap closes the door and he's the basic difference in going deep into the playoffs for two years - would you be saying that's all fine and good but you'd have rather had them crap out with a lesser reliever getting less money on a short contract?

If you want to be able to put in a top reliever, you can't just say "Let's go out and find one of the best in the game and sign him to a short term contract."

I think that Rivera was the main reason for the success of the Yankees during their sustained run of going deep in the playoffs. Of course, Pap is no Rivera, but as far as I'm concerned, the one single move that makes the biggest difference to a team's changes is signing a top notch reliever. It's worth a lot, and I'd say two years of a top reliever is worth overpaying for a couple of years on the back end of the contract.

"It's worth a lot, and I'd say two years of a top reliever is worth overpaying for a couple of years on the back end of the contract."

At $12.5M per? No way. Rivera is a baseball oddity and outlier. Never really anything like him before and probably won't see anything like him again especially with his postseason dominance & year-in/year-out consistency.

Rivera is the only reliever I would vote for as a first-ballot HOF too.

He's dominated this year in spring training. Listening to a little of the Yanks' product on radio while I was driving around yesterday and said he hasn't given up a run in spring training since '08.

Phlipper: I'm sorry, but I just strongly disagree. Very strongly. If you want a top reliever, you just have to develop some young pitchers with good stuff, or pick one up for cheap. Of the top 10 relief pitchers by WAR last year, only two were guys you would have to sign to a big contract: Papelbon and Rivera.

The 8 others were Kimbrel, Marshall, Robertson, Holland, Hanrahan, Axford, Bard and Adams.

Their combined salary last year? $8 million. So, the answer is no. To have a top reliever, you do not need to pay a lot of money.

"At $12.5M per? No way."

Lidge was absolutely the difference for the WFC in '08.

What is it worth to have the chance of even only one or two years of a reliever who makes that kind of a difference? Even from a team financial standpoint - one player who can make the difference between two regular season crap outs and two legit shots at WFCs is worth an awful amount of money.

Jack -

"Their combined salary last year? $8 million. So, the answer is no. To have a top reliever, you do not need to pay a lot of money. "

Which one of those relievers was available for a short-term contract for less money?

You can fantasize about what could be, or what might happen if you got lucky, but RAJ has to play the game for real.

Closers for playoff teams last year:

Cardinals: Motte (435K)
Rangers: Feliz (457K)
Brewers: Axford (443K)
Tigers: Valverde (8M)
Phillies: Madson (4M)
Yankees: Rivera (12M)
Rays: Farnsworth (3M)
DBacks: Putz (5M)

But yes, by all means, you need to sign a closer to a huge contract to compete.

Phlipper: You can fantasize about a world in which costs don't matter, but Amaro has to play in the real world, where signing guys to bad contracts has real consequences.

See how that worked?

Jack -

"But yes, by all means, you need to sign a closer to a huge contract to compete. "

Straw man.

And btw, which one of those relievers was on the Phillies roster?

Which one was a free agent they could have signed for less on a shorter term contract?

Which one could they have traded for and who should they have traded to get him?

"You can fantasize about a world in which costs don't matter, but Amaro has to play in the real world, where signing guys to bad contracts has real consequences. "

First of all, last I checked, Amaro has put a pretty good team on the field a numbers of seasons running. Maybe you can predict the future, but from where I sit, the "consequences" so far have been pretty spot on.

Secondly, even if the consequence is that we have a top reliever who can be a difference maker for two years along with overpaying on the back end, I'll take it. Even if the PHils are overpaying on one contract for a couple of years - what will make the difference is the other moves they make. All teams have some dogs of contracts. In the end, you have to judge a GM on the basis of the team he puts on the field, not your fantasies about how you would have acquired top relievers for a coupla hundred thou.

Phlipper: There's a whole infite world of counter-factuals. We have no idea what would work and what wouldn't, but we do know there's a lot of teams who needed closers who made other moves. Look, I think Papelbon is a very good pitcher, and I think he should be a good performer for our team. I'm actually happy he is our closer right now.

That said, if there's two things that I think have been proven true in baseball the last few years, it's that long-term contracts for relievers don't really work out well, and that you don't need a high-priced closer to compete. Amaro apparently disagrees, despite the Phillies' last experiment with a big deal for a closer being terrible. Ok.

Also, you realize, don't you, that Lidge was part of the 2008 team no matter what. The contract he signed was for 2009-2011. So he would have been the reason for the WFC whether or not he was given the contract. So the team didn't pay $36 million for a player who was the difference in a WFC and then a couple bad years. They paid him for basically three bad seasons.

Is Rivera "juicing" on the sly? Does he have it "figured out" how to beat the testers? Damn, he's 42 years old. You need arm speed and durability for his cutter ("out pitch", no?). How the he88 does he do it?

I know Nolan Ryan threw serious heat in his early 40’s, but that was a fastball. To continue to baffle hitters at Mariano’s age with hard breaking stuff is astonishing.

Alert: I've not seen Rivera pitch except on the tube. During interleague, or the playoffs.

Let's take these one at a time:

"it's that long-term contracts for relievers don't really work out well,"

I think that depends. Again, as a hypothetical, if the Phils had "overpaid" Lidge prior to the '08 season, what would that one season have been worth? Pap may make the difference between a crap out and a run deep into the playoffs. That potential is worth a lot of ducats, IMO.

"and that you don't need a high-priced closer to compete."

Sure. But IMO, a good reliever is the most likely single player to make the difference between a crap out and a deep run. It isn't a requirement to compete, but it's the single element that, IMO, is mostly likely to bump up your chances significantly.

And yes, of course I understand all of that about Lidge. Read what I wrote again - the point I'm making is that the potential to have a player that can make the kind of difference that Lidge made in '08 is worth a lot of money. That's why they gave Lidge the big contract. It didn't work out. That's the nature of the game. It doesn't mean that you don't roll the dice to make that kind of a difference again. If signing Pap would destroy the team in future years, then I'd agree with you - but there are way too many unpredictable variables in play to make that kind of an assessment. The Phils will be in a position to make all kinds of moves in future years. Similar criticisms have been leveled at RAJ since he first started - but he fielded the team with the best record in baseball two years running and is fielding a WFC favorite going into this season. Not all of his moves have worked out - but that in itself does not mean that they were "mistakes" from some objective standpoint. Which GM has not made moves that didn't work out? It's just the nature of the game.

Make that two former Phillies heading for elbow surgery:

The Houston Astros say left-hander Sergio Escalona will have ligament-replacement surgery on his left elbow.

The Astros made the announcement Saturday, a day after an MRI diagnosed a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

The 27-year-old allowed four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in two spring training appearances.

On Feb. 24, Escalona said he felt a twinge in the elbow after a stint in a batting cage.

Jack -

I will say this: if it could somehow be established that RAJ could have: (1) signed Pap for less or for a shorter contract or, (2) signed an equivalent reliever for less or for a shorter term contract, then I will certainly agree that it was a bad move.

However, given that it seems that the realistic option was to go into the season without a top reliever of similar quality, I'll take Pap and the contract over no Pap and some fill-in for less money on a shorter deal.

Madson for less would probably have been a better move - but it really isn't clear what was going on behind the scenes there, and ironically, and sadly for Madson, as it turns out there's no doubt that it would have turned out worse in the end.

Acquiring Theriot:

If the Phils did need to move Valdez and his $950k salary in order to sign Qualls for $1.1M, their payroll is pretty much tapped at this point.

They can't even go shopping at the 'Value Village' for Theriot and instead have to rely upon whatever they can find out in the dumpster outside. Unless they are willing to pawn KK or somebody to free up some cash.

Given their track records at the time of signing their huge contracts, how can you possibly compare Papelbon and Lidge? Lidge was all over the place on his career and apparently Papelbon is the closest to a sure thing outside of Rivera. His track record is pretty impressive.

The weakest part of Phlipper's argument is the idea that closers are the automatic biggest difference-makers in the playoffs. You can find playoff series where it's sensible to conclude that the team won or lost on the back of the closer, but you can also find plenty where that's not at all the case.

A big part of this is, of course, the "9th inning fallacy," where it's assumed that stuff is just more important when it happens in the 9th inning even though it isn't. If Roy Halladay pitches 8 perfect innings in NLDS game 1 this year, and Papelbon pitches a perfect 9th, I know who I'm crediting for the lion's share of the victory. Similarly, if Cliff Lee gives up 6 runs in a disastrous 5-inning start, and the Phillies tie it up only to have Papelbon cough up a run in the 9th, you'd be silly to blame Paps.

This also ties into the data-free "closer mentality" argument, whereby a player is asserted to either lack or possess the mystical mental ability to pitch the 9th; if his performance begins to defy the pre-set narrative, he is said to have suddenly lost or gained this ability, which is usually chalked up to a half-baked psychological explanation that, again, is unburdened by evidence or logical rigor. We saw this with Madson last year.

More broadly, you just can't look at single players or plays as *the* determining factor when you're putting together a team. The overall level of play offensively, defensively, and on the mound (as affected, of course, by the high degree of randomness associated with 5- and 7-game series, and as set against the play of the other team) is what makes up the outcome.

It should of course be added that Lidge cost the Phillies a game in the 2009 WS.

MG: "Good chance [Galvis] battles the Mendoza Line with an OPS below .550."

I totally agree with this.

You gotta feel for Madson on one level but then this is the danger of going with Boras for an agent. Another agent would have gotten him a 3-4 year deal at lower dollars but Boras played hardball and now he gets a 1 year deal and will have to fight for a job next year at all as he'll now be a "prove you're healthy" signing.

Good luck for Amaro not getting him signed...and I doubt it was anything other than that as we did offer him a deal at one point. If Rube knew he was damaged goods, he never would have offered a 4 year deal.

Simple explanation

Escalona and Madson = twins, seperated at birth.

Lidge had recently said he too felt a twinge in his elbow but that can directly be attributed to the 2008 celebration.

Anybody else who breaks or tears something this week can be blamed on: washing Jeff Kent's truck, hauling deer meat up stairs or trying to cut open a CD case.

"The weakest part of Phlipper's argument is the idea that closers are the automatic biggest difference-makers in the playoffs."

Whoa! That's not what I said. There's nothing "automatic" about it.

I think that for some, this essentially boils down to objection to the practice of using closers. But regardless of whether someone thinks it's a good idea, the fact of the matter is that it's what the vast the majority of managers do.

As such - when you're likely to have the same guy coming into the 9th inning of close games, day after day, the importance of having a good closer elevates the importance of that role. Consider how many games in last year's playoffs would have ended differently depending on whether closers had shut down opposing teams.

Jumping on a trampoline also!

The box score I saw for today had the HP ump as "Nonindividual". It listed the other 3 umps. Does this mean they used a committee, a computer, a TV camera, or lasers?

Anyone know if Utley will speak before or after the game tomorrow?

I'm not aware of any time being announced re: Utley. Knowing him, he'll probably mime the whole thing or do charades, instead of actually speaking to the media.

Thought i read somewhere he was going to make some sort of announcement. Even if he does it probably leave more questions than answers when Mr. U the mysterious is involved.

It will be a pre-recorded message saying he has flown to an undisclosed country for a revolutionary treatment that will have him back (in the best shape of his life) by Tuesday. The price of the procedure is a human sacrifice, so he has taken a certain diminutive utility man along.

Here's a good theoretical question for us to ponder:
If Madson comes back to the Phils as a free agent next year, does he still maintain his status as a total career Phillie?
He has not played a MLB game for anybody but the fightins, even though he has signed a contract with another team.
Meaningless I admit.
But most good BL discussions also meet that criteria.

All right, I know I'm nitpicking here, but again, Lidge did not "cost us a game" in the 2009 World Series. He entered a tie game. The amount of sh*t he gets for getting the loss in this game is so incredibly disproportional to the amount of September and October games he actually saved for the team (which was pretty much every other Sep. and Oct. appearance he had with the team), you'd have thought he entered with a huge lead and took a dump on the mound. Not to mention it ignores the rest of the team's failures in that series, including that very game.

Every closer has a bad game at a big time now and then- every single closer, Rivera included. But Lidge takes more crap for this one game than any of them. You'd think he blew a lead in Game 7 or something.

Phlipper: Yes, had the Cardinals and Rangers not had such high-priced and pedigreed closers as Jason Motte and Neftali Feliz, they most certainly would not have reached the World Series.

By the way, Motte wasn't even really the Cardinals "closer." TLR basically managed without a closer for most of the season and a lot of the postseason, simply mixing and matching his way through late innings (as we all know, often over-mixing and matching).

But yes, obviously a closer is the biggest difference between losing early in the playoffs and winning a WS. That's where Motte and his 12(!) career saves before the playoffs came in. The Cards were lost without such a difference-maker.

"Galvis is 150 pounds soaking wet." Yes, we need more guys who LOOK like baseball players. I imagine Greg Golson is readily available.

He said he put on 8 pounds of muscles and he estimated his weight at 188. I guess the all cant look Kruk and Fielder...

goody - Aloysius Nonindividual is a top line umpire. Almost as good as Joe West.

As we speak, interns at CSN are pulling miles of video on Chase doing extraordinary stuff, trying to prep 4+ hours of retirement worthy footage. They will show this in place of all regular season games until Howard returns. This is at the request of WB Mason, IBX and McDonalds.

We will know when RAJ and Gillick select a new permanent 2nd baseman when white smoke appears above CBP.

When does st chase give his sermon this am?

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