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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Comments

I'm officially worried about Utley. I might have been in denial before, but with all of the rumors of looking for infield depth, and the cryptic comments from Amaro, AND the obvious fact that he's not taking grounders or playing in games....

I'm only worried about Utley because if he were to miss time, it would be a doomsday scenario for this offense with Howard already in a walking boot. I'm perfectly aware of the fact that the worrying is probably without a lot of merit.

Until I see him on the field, I will remain worried, as it seems oddly familiar to the deny-deny-deny situation with him in ST last year.

Who's this Utley fella everyone is talking about?

Mostly, I'm just disgusted that RAJ didn't tell us about these cuts last week. Like he didn't know about them then. Drives me insane.

Mostly, I'm just disgusted that RAJ didn't tell us about these cuts last week. Like he didn't know about them then. Drives me insane.

Posted by: Baron von Hayes | Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 01:32 PM

You and Pat Misch, man.

All Dom does is hit.

Good first-to-third baserunning that inning from Mayberry and Brown, leading to a couple of runs.

Amaro's biggest problem with certain posters is that he had the gall to be an intelligent individual and go to Stanford. Lots of posters on here want to be able to say they are smarter than someone who went to Stanford.

He is far from perfect as a GM but he isn't nearly as bad or inept as so many people make him out to be.

Also, this crying and complaining about Wilson Valdez is pretty ridiculous. He is what he was as a player. A guy who had a skill that was good for us as a team and a skill that was very bad. He was not a starter somewhere for a reason and he had reached his ceiling as a player.

Martinez is terrible granted but the Phillies can find someone who will shake loose that can give them what Valdez did.

Jack, haven't gotten into the numbers deeply. How is Dom doing offensively this ST, as in what's his line? How does he look up there?

Halladay looks awful today.

Fata: Going into today's game (in which he is now 1 for 1), Dom was hitting .316 with a 1.103 OPS.

More importantly than stats (which are meaningless now), he has looked comfortable at the plate, hitting the ball hard and seeing it well. He hasn't struck out once and has walked a couple of times. He's hit a couple triples and a home run. The kid can hit.

Please don't ask me how he's looked in the field.

"Please don't ask me how he's looked in the field."

He hasn't made any misplays today.

I cannot conceive of a single player in MLB for whom a spring training appearance is less relevant than Roy Halladay, save maybe Mo Rivera. Doc could give up 9 consecutive HRs and not record a single out and it would not affect me in even the slightest.

Hey, the day is young, though.

TTI - I could care less that Amaro went to Stanford. Big deal. That might be an issue with a handful of people but it is his attitude/standoffishness that is the issue with most.

Your right about the complaining about Valdez. At best, he was a .650 OPS guy who played adequate defense. Maybe Amaro thought he was only capable of doing that anymore.

I doubt someone will shake look though who can even do this though. In order to get a comparable player, the Phils will have to make a minor trade.

Crud! Another homer. Doc, you can do better.

So our best active second baseman is a 22 year old who has never played the position before?

My problem with Amaro is never the way he handles the media in terms of transparency.

It's two things. One is that I just don't think he's very good at his job, but thats not worth getting into now. The other is when he does things that simply reflect poorly on the franchise, like comments trashing departing players like Werth and Madson as they leave. Were I running a billion dollar business, I would prefer my public face be above things like that, and act with some class.

But that's a totally different issue than being transparent with regards to injuries and personnel moves. Don't care about that at all.

Halladay gave up only 10 homers in 2011? It's really hard to believe anyone out-Cy'ed Doc last year. On an unrelated note, I'm actually enjoying the Phillies commercials so far this year.

Doc out, Savery in. Gameday reported an "Injury Delay" a little earlier in the proceedings; can anyone tell us via radio or TV that it isn't Doc who's injured (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease)

"Amaro's biggest problem with certain posters is that he had the gall to be an intelligent individual and go to Stanford. Lots of posters on here want to be able to say they are smarter than someone who went to Stanford."

This is such a huge part of it. There is at least one Stanford comment thrown into most comments that are critical of Amaro. I don't know if it's jealousy or what, but it's pretty fascinating.

Most of the criticism Rube takes is because of his demeanor. He does come off as smug and aloof. Those that call him an idiot or a f*ing genius like G-town did in the last thread are just being childish. We get it. He's not likeable. He's not foolproof either. The only way to avoid mistakes in his job is to do nothing. And a lack of action is not something that Amaro can be accused of. Most of his mistakes have come by being overly aggressive. I will grant you that, but the dude's got a lot of cash at his disposal and he gets what he wants most of the time. Please think back to about 5 or 6 years ago. Anyone that tells me they want the team to be run the way it was for the previous 25 years is lying.

Injury delay was for Tsuyosi Nikiona(?), who fouled a ball hard off his knee. He missed almost all of 2011 after a broken leg ( I know this as he was on my fantasy team).

http://espn.go.com/mlb/spring2012/story/_/id/7683974/philadelphia-phillies-serious-infield-issues

Boy this is an ugly article. I'm still not worried. We could use an extra utility guy, however.

Momma always says everything happens for a reason, just need to see what that reason is.

"So our best active second baseman is a 22 year old who has never played the position before?"

Apparently so if Wigginton is going to be starting at 1B.

Why I replied to R that I thought it was pretty grossly incompetent for the Phils to be in this position now given what transpired last year & what Amaro did this offseason.

donc - You have to have a brain to be a child. That disqualifies G-town right there.

Jack- when did Amaro trash Madson?

RedBurb - I want to party with G-Town. I imagine at the end of the night wanting to drive my car off the Ben Franklin Bridge. Maybe I'll stop to see Phlipper before I take the plunge.

"There is at least one Stanford comment thrown into most comments that are critical of Amaro."

I don't necessarily disagree, but it's strange to see this point coming from the guy who throws an anti-lawyer comment into every fifth post that he directs at me.

Most of just assume we are smarter than plenty of people who went to Stanford. Not sure why that would ever need to be brought up, you know?

Jack - was it you who said that you think Amaro is a good GM for what the Phils currently are but would be terrible if they were rebuilding? If that was you, I agree with that sentiment.

Ruor has it Nats' pitcher John Lannan is converting to 2B.

Maybe the Phils should tade for him as a backup for Utley?

Surely RAJ realizes that "being coy" 100% of the time is a tired riff by now; who does he expect that he's fooling? The Phils need position players; specifically infielders.

Regardless of his lower percentile offense, it was lunacy to dump Wilson Valdez after signing him for reasonable money. The fascination with Martinez continues to baffle me. What did they think he brought to the table that Valdez did not? Props to a prior poster for citing Exxon’s skills with RISP and 2 outs.

Could be a long season.

"I don't necessarily disagree, but it's strange to see this point coming from the guy who throws an anti-lawyer comment into every fifth post that he directs at me."

This is an exaggeration, as I think you already know. I'm pretty sure the last argument we had about this was one in which you were specifically drawing on your experience as a lawyer to make your point. I don't see how it's not fair game in that respect, and it's definitely different than saying "BAP thinks he's right because he's so smart because he's a lawyer!" which is essentially the arguments made against Rube regarding Stanford.

If Rube said something like "In my experience going to Stanford," then the criticism makes more sense.

"One is that I just don't think he's very good at his job,..."


Gillick's last year, 2008: 92 wins.

Amaro's tenure:

2009: _93 wins
2010: _97 wins
2011: 102 wins


Yup, the trend is down.

Wow! Chooch is now hitting .600 in ST.

For those of you focused on ST stats: Doesn't this portend to a HOF career?

Tough outing for Doc. I wonder whether he was working on something, or he needs to talk with Vanimal about how to deal with a Sophmore Slump?

Awh: I don't disagree that Amaro has won games here.

I would make two points. One is that a lot of those wins were bought and paid for with prospects (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Pence) that were picked and developed under Gillick and prior regimes, as well as from guys like Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels and Madson who pre-dated Rube. The system is significantly more depleted now than it ever was under Gillick.

Second is that I think this team is barreling quickly towards a cliff. I'd be shocked if the 2013 and 2014 win numbers are close to what he has achieved the last couple of seasons.

Anyway, I said I didn't really want to get into that issue, and I still don't.

Iceman: You are being disingenuous. On plenty of occasions, you've characterized my argument as a "lawyer trick." Calling an argument a "lawyer trick" is 100% identical to saying, "BAP thinks he's right because he's so smart because he's a lawyer!"

Ruor has it Nats' pitcher John Lannan is converting to 2B.

May I presume there is some humorous context that I am missing?

6'4" LH 2B with lifetime OPS of .277?

awh - As long as Halladay doesn't say his arm 'feels' tired or he is hurt, I don't really care what he does in spring training. Especially earlier in camp.

Same with other established regulars. Only exception is with somebody like Blanton or Contreras who has serious injury concerns and is coming off an injury-plagued year.

awh - That's an interesting argument about Amaro. How would Amaro be at his job if he was the GM of say, the Royals?

following up on 3r0ck's post from above...

Rollins told Jayson Stark that he doesn't know if Howard is going to play this year because of the infection and that he's definitely out for two months.

Rube has benefited from an "open checkbook" policy as a direct result of the WFC. It's relatively easy to accomplish something with twice the cash.

Jack, respectfully, your comment about the 2013 and 2014 season is pure and abject speculation, and grossly premature.

There is too much that you don't know about this team to even make that judgement at this point. Just two of those items are 1) whether Hamels re-signs, and 2) whether Worley is 'for real' (and by 'for real', I mean a mid-rotation guy who is capable of pitching 200 innings at an ERA of 4.00 or less).

In short, if Hamels re-signs and Worley is capable of the above, then this team is going to still be competitive in 2013 and 2014 because of the pitching. Yes, there could be some deline from Halladay and Lee, but Hamels and Worley could get better and pick up the slack.

And that's not even addressing whether Kendrick's improvement last season is sustainable. If it is, and Kendrick is able to toss - as the #5 - 180+ innings of league average baseball, then, and I repeat, this team is going to be competitive, perhaps very much so.

You are correct in that the farm system was hurt by the trades - that's obvious.

But if the above scenario with the pitching plays out, the pitching wil remain strong enough to carry the team until the farm system recovers and new talent percolates upward.

Not this also: I did not even discuss the pitching prospets like Aumont, May, Hyatt and others that might help hold down the fort.

yes, I'm speculating - but so are you.

Should say: "Note" this also,...

RedBurb, how can I answer that question? Do you know what moves he would or wouldn't have made had he been the Royals GM?

To all you BL poster whining about the Phils' farm system:

I told you you'd miss me. Bitches.

I would say that Amaro is behaving as a GM should with a veteran team and fat pocketbook. The movement from a hitting to a pitching team is allowing the Phils to let their fading, but still valuable/useful, veteran players contribute as plus players, while not dependent on star performances from them.

That said, I'm not convinced that he is maximizing his advantages, i.e., that he is a good GM. If the team is truly competitive** in 2016 (that allows for a downward trend from now*** up through 2015), then I will be convinced.

** At least to current Brave level, let's say.
*** I'm pretty sure the Phils will lose more games this year than last. :)

TNA, do you have a link for Rollins' comment?

It is customary - or at least good manners -to provide one when referencing such an item.

TMac you are allowed to say players didn't do a good job. Marquis' performance today wasn't 'too shabby.' It stunk.

Marquis had control issues all day after the 1st, gave up 10 baserunners in 4 IP, and gave up a bunch of hard hit balls. Can't imagine this outing helped in his race to grab the 5th starter's spot for the Twins today.

"It's relatively easy to accomplish something with twice the cash."

It's a lot easier, that's for sure. It's also easier when you take over a World Series champion. So, no doubt, he begins with some built-in advantages. That said, there are plenty of high payroll teams that stink, and there are plenty of World Series champions who are non-contenders 2 years later.

RAJ has made his share of errors (the Howard contract topping the list). But I'd rather have a GM who errs by being too aggressive, as opposed to the many we've had who erred by being too passive. Good on ownership for upping the payroll but, for the most part, the money has been spent pretty well.

BAP- I'm not going around in circles on this. But if you're using a lawyer trick, I'm not out of bounds for pointing it out, and it's not at all analogous to the criticisms leveled at Amaro simply because he attended Stanford.

I didn't call your 'Brown's OPS+ was empty" comment a lawyer trick because it had nothing to do with rhetoric- it was just a dumb statement.

Awh: Of course I'm speculating. And what I'm saying is that I don't think Amaro is a very good GM because I think while he's done an adequate job of maximizing this particular team, he has done a terribe job of planning for the medium or long term, which is of course part of his job as well.

I don't think the team is going to be very good the next few years after this one. Obviously that could change. If Hamels re-signs and Dom, Worley, Mayberry and Aumont all turn out to be all-stars, yeah, I'm probably wrong. But I don't think that's going to happen, and frankly I don't think you do either.

Since Jack chose not to back up his statement on Amaro 'trashing' Madson on his way out the door, I decided to look it up myself by googling "Amaro Madson comments." The first hit: "Amaro: Madson a quality closer for some club." Wow. He sure trashed him good!

I guess Amaro 'trashed' Madson the way MG says Amaro was 'adamant' about Howard coming back in early May.

"I think while he's done an adequate job of maximizing this particular team"

Yeah, when I look at this pitching staff compared to 2008, I sure think, "Amaro did an adequate job."

awh - My point is that as the Phils GM, money can cover up his mistakes. Could he, as the Royals GM, cover up for giving Raul Ibanez $31 million over 3 years? He is not the GM you would bring in to build a farm system, like a Jed Hoyer in Chicago.

However, if any of the current prospects that were drafted under Amaro pan out like the current core has, well then I will be proven wrong.

Iceman: You're evoking memories of my first year of law school, when they made us take all the building block courses: contracts, torts, property, constitutional law, and lawyer tricks.

This is why I didn't want to get into the debate over Amaro as GM. My position cannot be proven right for a few more years, while the opposite positions evidence is available right now. So it's really not a worthwhile debate to get into.

Iceman: Is the starting rotation the entire team now? When I look at that rotation, I think, man Amaro did a great job with this. But when I look at the starting lineup, I tend to think, man, Amaro really punted the offense hoping that a bunch of guys in their mid-30s would magically stay healthy and productive. So yeah it kind of evens out, no?

Rube's been brilliant (first Lee trade), abysmal (2nd Lee trade, Howard deal), and a lot in between. Probably nets out to the job 95% of us would have done.

"If Hamels re-signs and Dom, Worley, Mayberry and Aumont all turn out to be all-stars, yeah, I'm probably wrong."


Jack, now you're just being silly.

You know as well as I that those guys don't need to be All-stars for the team to remain competitive.

Hyperbole has it's place, but please try to limit it when you're trying to make a serious point.

"Could he, as the Royals GM, cover up for giving Raul Ibanez $31 million over 3 years?"

RedBurb, as Royals GM, he never would have done that, no?

"This is why I didn't want to get into the debate over Amaro as GM. My position cannot be proven right for a few more years,..."


Jack, that's disingenuous. All teams go through 'ups' and 'downs'. No team makes the playoffs every year.

So, that leads to this question:

What is you definition of a "good" GM?

Does he have to have his team in the playoffs every year? Does he have to win the WS every year? Does he have to win the WS every X# of years? Etc., etc., etc.

What are the criteria?

Unles you define them, future criticism of any GM is hollow and pointless.

Glad to see Dom getting crucial reps at .... DH. I guess that improves his defense simply by lowering his error/game. Brilliant!

Baseball Philosophy 101 with Professor awh

Jack- I do agree that he's punted on the offense to a certain extent, especially this year, going into the season with all four of his IFs as pretty significant injury risks (and one already in a walking boot).

But I don't think you can weigh difference (since '08) of offense and starting pitching the same. The starting staff's quality has increased so much that three pitchers carried, I believe to your admission last year, pretty much the entire team for almost the entire season. They won 100+ games with an offense that you and others ripped for months almost solely because of the starting staff that Amaro assembled.

You're right that the jury is still out on how his moves will affect the team down the road, but as for how he's maximized the quality of the current team ('09-present), I'm not sure how, objectively, you can say that the job he's done is merely 'adequate.'

I think awh hits the nail on the head. It seems like everyone has a different idea of what the job description for a GM is, and most Amaro critics' descriptions change based on the moves he makes (or doesn't make) at the time.

Mick O - I think that if you take anything away from Dom getting reps at DH, is that he will be ticketed for LV. We know you can hit, go to LV and work on that LF defense.

Nice job by Diekman to work out of a jam. Allowed a run on a PB that Kratz easily should have handled. Struck out the side while facing all 3 RHP.

I can see why the Phils are interested in Diekman but he really needs to develop his offspeed stuff. Doesn't have good command/control of any of his offspeed pitches from what I have seen of him this spring so far.

Savery is definitely more MLB-ready than Diekman at this point. Diekman just has the higher upside because of the velocity on his fastball and his movement with it.

Meant all RH batters. It has got to be a b~tch to pick up the ball coming out of his hand given his release point.

Don't think there is another Phils' pitcher in camp who has as much movement on his 4-seamer as Diekman.

I see LV picked up a new starter. Tom Cochran, pitched against AAA Blue Jays yesterday.

They charged Erik Kratz with a passed ball on that? That's a horrible piece of scoring. That should have been a wild pitch. There isn't a catcher in the history of baseball who could have blocked that pitch. If anything, Kratz made a great play just to prevent the 2nd runner from scoring. RAJ, who has it out for Kratz, must have paid off the official scorer to mess up his spring training defensive stats.

(Actually, I'm watching on Gameday & didn't even see the play. But if I'm going to play davthom to Erik Kratz, I have a responsibility to summon some outrage.)

Can Savery beat out Willis?

Aaaaand...Dom Brown is no longer strikeout-free this season.

RedBurb - Too early yet. Willis has only pitched in 2 games. Today was Savery's 3rd. Willis threw yesterday in a bullpen session & is supposed to pitch tomorrow or Friday again.

Willis' job to lose at this point. If he pitches as poorly as he has in camp so far, he will though.

RedBurb, I agree that he's ticketed for LV. But I don't understand how the knowledge "Dom can hit." means that he should get fewer reps in the field. What purpose is served having Dom DH?

Probably it's not a big deal, and I know one extra game is not gonna make him as a fielder. But, I hear that Sprint Training reps are a precious commodity, and then I see this. Just a detail that bugs me.

My image of a GM is that of a submarine commander in those old WWII movies. He sits on the helm calling all the shots on speed, direction and depth. When he's working on a big free agent signing like Cliff Lee, he shuts off all the engines, tells everyone to be quiet and sinks to the bottom to hide. When it comes time to pull the trigger, he surfaces, loads the torpedo tubes and fires away.

Iceman, exactly.

It's easy to sit a a keyboard and criticise a GM for the moves he makes that don't work out. I do it too.

But no GM is perfect, and IMO it's incumbent upon those who take the position that a particular GM is a "bad" GM, to define exactly what that entails, as well as defining what a "good" GM looks like.

For instance, if having your team make the playoffs every year is the definition of a "good" GM, then I'm afraid that there have been no good GMs in MLB history.

When Jack states that his position "cannot be proven right for a few more years" he's basically takng the position that he ought to be allowed to lurk as long as it takes until something "proves" Amaro isn't a good GM. Then, he'll get to crow about how he was right all along.

Jack surely doesn't want to define what he thinks is a good GM, because if he does, Amaro may actually meet the standard(s) and blow his position out of the water.

OTOH, if Jack's criteria of what constitutes a good GM sets the bar so high that no GM could be expecte to live up to it, then he look unrealisitic and his opinion on the subject will be dismissed by most here.

Having a moving target is to Jack's advantage.

Personally, I think Amaro has done a decent job so far keeping the team competitive. He's maintained a competitive run differential by improving the pitching as his key players age and go into their decline phase.

That's not to say he's above criticism. He's made some moves with which I disagree.


Are you smarter than a Stanford grad?

If you think Ryan Theriot is the answer, you're not.

curt: But Gillick was perfect.

"curt: But Gillick was perfect."


***Abreu Trade Alert***


***Abreu Trade Alert***

***Abreu Trade Alert***

***Abreu Trade Alert***

***Abreu Trade Alert***

***Abreu Trade Alert***

Oh good...its mid-March and Howard can do light exercise on a stationary bike with a walking boot on.

Totally be back by mid-May, right?


Mid-July is more probable.

Dr. NEPP IN DA HOUSE!

@awh:

The Rollins quote was snipped from Jayson Stark's article which was linked to up thread.

Here is the link again...

http://espn.go.com/mlb/spring2012/story/_/id/7683974/philadelphia-phillies-serious-infield-issues

I bet Amaro really loves J-Roll giving his medical opinion on Howard.

On RAJ as a GM:
2009
* I Hated the Ibanez signing. Bad move at the expense of giving Mayberry a chance and for overpaying and for getting a lefty. (-2)
* I Loved the Lee & Francisco trade. Fantastic. (+2)
* Pedro signing was good, too bad he got the flu in the WS. (+1)

2010
* I liked the Halladay trade & extension. (+1)
* The Lee trade was idiotic. (-3)
* I liked the Polanco signing. (+1)
* I liked the Oswalt pickup. (+1)
* I was indifferent to the Contreras signing. (0)
* Howard contract...I like it. (+1)

2011
* I loved the Pense trade. (+2)

2012
* I liked the Papelbon signing (+1)

So, three or so years at +5 for me. He's doing pretty good in my book. Even if you hate the Howard contract, RAJ is still up +3.

Judging Amaro at this point is incredibly difficult. You need more time to see how some of his more recent moves have turned out & his tenure here which easily could be at least another 5+ years.

Wouldn't make much sense to judge the fact 2 acts of a say a 5-part play?

Amaro has benefited from a greatly expanded payroll & from a farm system that produced enough high-caliber prospects for him to make multiple trades. No GM in baseball has had the same amount of resources that Amaro has had the past few years in terms of expanded payroll & organizational willingness to trade prospects to bring in veteran stars. Maybe only Epstein while he was in Boston.

At the same time, Amaro has managed to improve the team on the field especially on the mound, make the playoffs every year by winning the NL East, and put the Phils in a strong position to contend this year again.

I don't fault Amaro for the team's lack of success the past 2 years in the playoffs. That's on the players and to a lesser degree the coaching staff.

The other point you could criticize Amaro on is that he is a GM so far that hasn't shown a mixed ability to get 'get value for the dollar' on his FA deals.

Given the Phils are going to run up against the payroll cap the next few years, I am curious to see he is able to handle that & if he is able to find enough cheaper talent to surround the higher-priced, aging talent to win.

I would give his tenure here as the GM so far a solid B/B+. He's been a good GM given the circumstances in a time of relative resource abundance with pretty strong results. Only thing lacking is a WS crown which really isn't due to Amaro's shortcomings as a manager.

Rollins sounds like he was talking about when Howard will be @ 100% in his quotes in that story. i.e. He may be playing with a lot less than his full strength for a full year . Not that he will be out for a full year.
Either way - I think Rollins is speaking his own mind, not relaying Howard's or Amaro's prognosis.

My take was that every quote from Rollins was strictly Rollins' opinion, and that he was not speaking for anyone else in the Phillies organization. That said, I also took the comment cited below as Rollins opining that he did not expect Howard to be back in 2012, period.

snipped from the article...

ON HOWARD: "I don't know what to think, honestly," Rollins says. "If you ask me, with this infection, I don't know if he's going to play this year, because after all the work that he's done, now he's got to hit the reset button."

Highlight of today's game by far for the Phils was Savery/Diekman. Both had decent outings and built on what have been solid starts for them in spring training.

Diekman more impressive to watch pitch but Savery is the much more polished product at this point because of his offspeed stuff. Have to admit that I am pulling pretty strong for Savery.

Savery's done everything possible to make the MLB. I do think he could be a serviceable MLB reliever right now if he was used primarily vs. LH bats.

Just doesn't have the potential strike out ability and overall dominance that Willis does but he also has better command/control & throws harder at this point in his career.

Pressure is on Willis this week when he pitches again to have a scoreless inning & show consistency with his control/command.

Savery and Willis would be fun to watch take batting practice too.

Those two have a lot of power, when they connect.

Willis is probably one more bad outing away from being in serious trouble of making the roster.

Galvis has had a really nice spring, hasn't he? He plays the game the right way.

This has been one of the best threads so far! On a smaller note. It a shame Brandon inge didn't suck so bad. He would be a great infield guy, and where oh where is mike young. He would be perfect at this time. He could have played 1st 2nd and 3rd like everyday. I know his contract is an albatross.

"Hated the Ibanez signing. Bad move at the expense of giving Mayberry a chance and for overpaying and for getting a lefty."

I didn't like the Ibanez signing either, but giving Mayberry a chance was not really among the options at the time. And, considering how he hit at AAA in both 2009 & 2010, I think it's fair to say he would have been an abysmal failure if we had given him the starting job at the time. The real alternatives at the time were: (1) sign Ibanez; (2) re-sign Burrell; or (3) sign some other guy like Juan Rivera (whose name was frequently linked to the Phillies that off-season).

Even in hindsight, it's sort of difficult to judge the Ibanez contract, in my opinion. He was brilliant in 2009, still pretty good in 2010, and decidedly below average (bordering on terrible) in 2011. Over the entire 3-year period, though, I'd say he was better than any FA we reasonably could have signed in that 2008-2009 off-season, including Burrell. Obviously, we would have been better off if we could have signed him to a 2-year deal instead of 3. What we can't know is whether that was actually possible.

To me, Amaro has done a good job on the whole, but he does have his short-comings. I've been preaching this entire off-season that offensively we'd struggle more than I'd like.

My biggest problem is that RAJ doesn't see this as so. The Phils are pitching powerful, and that could carry them a long way. But you've got to hit.

He always says "if I can't put a champiopnship-caliper team of the field for a $170 million then, I'm not doing my job well".

Well it's not what he's done, it's what he hasn't. There are still a lot of questions surrounding this team and it's time they were answered. He's smug and with reason. As long as the stands are packed, why should he change?

This has nothing to due with the current conversation , but I am watching the Braves/Nats game on MLB and they just made an announcement about a promotion the Braves are having. Buy a season ticket package of 20 games or more, and you get 33% of concessions. It just stuck he as interesting that the Phils season tickets are sold out this year and there is a waiting list for next year, and the Braves are having promotions to try to sell their tickets for this year.

Ibanez:

Ibanez is hitting a robust .083 (2-24, 1 2B, 0 BB, 5 Ks) after today in spring training and looked poor in the field.

Great guy but he's done. Yanks wasted a $1M on him & should have signed Damon instead.

And Matsui has no home. A shame, really, on both accounts of them both.

Saw Polly hit 3 balls hard today, pulled 2 of them. Good sign.

Tough call on bullpen:

A lot of guys having solid/strong starts to make the bullpen. About the only negative points so far are Willis and De Fratus (injury and hasn't had a chance to pitch yet).

Qualls hasn't looked great but the damage came against him in 1 outing really. Kind of what you can expect out of him in best-case scenario. He puts up his share of 0s with the occasional beating. As long as he doesn't leak oil too much giving up 1 and 2 runs frequently he will be tolerable in the 6th/7th.

Papelbon has looked especially good with his velocity already up. Bastardo looks healthy & has decent control this spring with no BBs/HBs.

Herndon's looked solid so far. Ditto Stutes. Aumont has shown some promising flashes even if he is slated to open the season at Lehigh. Savery/Diekman have been both built on a solid springs so far.

If Contreras comes back and is ready for Opening Day, the Phils are going to some tough calls to make.

Papelbon
Bastardo
Contreras
Qualls
KK

Only 'locks' for sure. Willis still his job to lose as the second LHP. Needs 1-2 solid outings.

Basically leaves one spot for Stutes/Herndon. Schwimmer going to start the year down in Lehigh at this point. Pretty clear given when he has been pitching in spring training.

With Contreras healthy, that gives the Phils a pretty nice bullpen to start the year with some decent options (De Fratus, Schwimmer, Diekman) stashed away at Lehigh.

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EST. 2005

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