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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Comments

Hard to differentiate between a bunch of teams with so many question marks, no order of 2-3-4th would surprise me.

clout: I saw you mentioned you think the Reds would reject a Hamels/Phillips trade.

Are you talking about what the Reds would do, or what you think should be done.

More clearly - who will be more valuable in 2012, Phillips or Hamels? Im going with Hamels.

Atlanta is off the radar this year as far as I'm concerned.

Washington has the potential to put up a fight, but almost everything would have to go right for them to compete for the division. If they got Prince Fielder, I'd be a lot more worried. The Wild Card certainly won't be out of the question for them, though.

With the annual "If Josh Johnson is healthy" caveat, the biggest threat to the Phils in the East is Florida.

Sorry, 'Miami.'

Nationals are my pick. That team has holes and question marks, to be sure, but they have a great 1-2-3 punch with Strasburg/Zimmerman/Gonzales, I believe Harper will make an impact this year (not huge, but he will be a better than average hitter), Werth figures to have a bounce back year, as does Zimmerman, and they have a great backend of the bullpen with Storen/Clippard. I like that team going forward to really make some noise in the East, and probably win the division as early as next year.

The Marlins will be a lot of fun this year.

Jack: "that out is usually a double play because [Polanco] hits the ball on the ground a lot."

What is your definition of the word "usually"?

What pct. of Polanco's outs were DPs?

Look, we get that no one can ever replace Pedro Feliz in your heart. It was Polly's sad misfortune to replace your beloved hero. But your constant negative drumbeat against him , which began the day he signed, is getting tiresome.

Fatti, the Nats have the same concerns with Zim that the Phils have with Polly: Cah he stay healthy?

If he can, they'll be good because IMO he's the best 3B in MLb when healthy.

If he can't stay healthy they're going nowhere.

lorecore: Yes, what the Reds would do. Now, if I'm the Reds GM and think I can sign Hamels long-term, I'd jump at that trade. But Hamels will get one of the biggest contracts in baseball history and the Reds will not be players. So that makes it a one-year deal.

Thus, the question is, Who helps you win most this season: A Gold Glove, power-hitting, speedy secondbaseman or a top of the rotation pitcher who can give you a 135 ERA+?

To me, it's an easy choice: The secondbaseman.

The biggest threat to the Phillies in the East are the Phillies.

Very true, awh. Unfortunately, the rewards of a healthy Zimmerman for the Nationals far outweigh the rewards of a healthy Polanco for the Phillies. If both players play 145 games this year, the Nationals win out, as you probably would agree. Also, I think the probability that Zimmerman stays healthy this year is greater than Polly staying healthy.

I love the homerism and bravado, I do, but to say this when a considerable portion of the year could could consist of a lineup comprised of Galvis, Wigginton/Nix, Polanco, and also, there's no really no way of knowing what we're going to get out of Worley and/or Blanton this year.

I don't know, I think the Phillies can win this division, even as they currently are constructed, but it's not quite the slam dunk it used to be.

I picked the Fish, only because I don't think the Braves improved much and the Fish, if their rotation stays healthy, have the second deepest rotation in the division.

Fatti is correct, Strasburg/Zimmerman/Gonzalez should be very good, but the games the #4 and 5 start count just as much, and I don't think they're as good there as the Phils, Fish or Braves, though Jurrjens looks to be a concern.

My last post was in reply to:

The biggest threat to the Phillies in the East are the Phillies.

Posted by: Bowlcut | Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 03:16 PM

Re-post: the solution

Mayberry to 3rd, Polly to 2nd,...Dom Brown at first. Come on guys. Easy stuff.
Mayberry is tall and athletic. He can handle it. Polly solidifies the up the middle defense. Brown sees very few fly balls at first. Galvis is the utility guy or Polly/jroll injury policy.
Late game moves include Polly to third. Galvis to second (or teach him third. Why not? He's the studliest of defenders. If mini-mart could be passable...). Mayberry to first. If this year is a test for Charlie, let's really test him.
Or maybe Dom takes to the position nicely and only converts back to lf when Howard returns/for next year.
These guys are all pro athletes. Roles and players are fungible. They can do anything and everything. Duh.
-------------------

I'd they do that, no threats are present.

awh, you think Worley/Blanton are clearly better than Jackson/Lannan?

I think that's debatable. In fact, I could be persuaded to lean toward Jackson/Lannan.

I always like to try and predict how the NL East will turn out and I really think it's close this season. All I can predict is that the Mets will finish last.

leaving the mets off the poll entirely... ouch

I'll believe Strasburg is a dominant NL pitcher once he actually earns that designation.

Clout: I love Polanco's defense (remember, you were the one claiming for years that defense at third base was irrelevant), and obviously he is a better offensive player than Feliz.

My whole point is that people cling to some myth of Polanco as a good hitter, when he simply hasn't been for years, whether due to health or performance or a combination of the two. Do you disagree with that?

Mets won't even win 70 games this year. They look that bad. Won't be the worst team in the NL (Astros are assured of that) but they will be one of the 2-3 worst teams and one of the 5 worst in MLB.

One of the teams the Phils will need to paste this season since they won't duplicate their 12-6 mark vs. Braves/Fish.

Really like the chances of all 4 team other teams though in the NL East to finish more than .500 and all within 10 games of each other in the standings.

Like the Fish/Nats more than I like the Braves though. Going to be the best season for NL East rivalries in a long, long time.

I will take this order:

Phils
Fish
Nats
Braves
Mets

Here's a question - anyone think that an NL East will wins 90+ games this year besides the Phils?

room for another choice?

"injuries"

Jack: For the position, Polanco is well below average. His bat plays way better at 2B.

But he's head and shoulders better than Feliz and you spent 2 years and hundreds of posts defending Feliz against even the most minor criticisms and yet you've been attacking Polanco since the day he signed.

Jack - He's not but it depends on his ability to drive the ball into the gaps & hit doubles. If he hits ~30 doubles, his ISO/SLG will be tolerable this year.

If he hits ~15, his offense production will lag and his ISO/SLG will be among the worst (if not the worst) in MLB at 3B.

I hate when you constantly hear Polanco is a 'professional hitter.' I could care less if he makes contact and rarely swings & misses.

With his speed, it just means he hits into his share of GDP and over the course of a season it is largely a wash with his 'productive outs.'

MG: And we all know that 36-year olds tend to have power resurgences despite years of trending in the opposite direction.

So we should be good.

Jack - It's possible Polanco could hit 25-30 doubles this year. He was a gimp last year on the basepaths due to his injuries & was station-to-station almost all year.

Not expecting him to be fleet of foot but I would imagine he is a tad faster on the basepaths this year.

Phils don't need him to hits HRs. He only going to hit 7-8 HRs max anyways. They just need the doubles.

Those getting upset about the Phils' setbacks are ignoring the very real problems all other teams are facing in the East. If everything goes perfectly for the Braves and/or Fish, either team might win 95 games. If everything goes badly for the Phils, we might win only 90. Sure, it's possible we might not win the East this year, but...

When I look at the other NL East teams, I realistically think they won't win more than 85 games, 90 at the topside. I think even with the injuries, the Phils will win 95 games. That's quite a spread IMHO and I just can't talk myself into thinking enough will go wrong for the Phils and right for our rivals for me to worry too much. I think of the 4 teams, Atlanta might be the biggest threat, but I just can't quite see them being in contention in September.

The biggest plus with the Braves is Fredi Gonzalez. He's worth a good -5 Wins all by himself as he will easily lose that many for them even if you dont count him destroying his bullpen arms by mid-August like he did last year.

Clout: As it happens, Baseball Prospectus keeps double play stats. And Polanco was 12th in the entire National League in net double plays (DPs compaed to average for number of situations).

Willard (or anyone) - What, exactly, does Strasburg have to do to earn the status of "dominant NL pitcher"?

What does he have to do to earn the status of "Ace"?

Fatti, we're gonna have to disagree.

Jackson can be very erratic. He has great stuff, but he has had command problems throughout his career which is why he's always been a back-of-the-rotation starter. If he were that great would the dodgers have given him up for Danys Baez and Lance Carter? He's been traded a few times, and you can generally tell how well a guy is regarded by who another team is willing to give up for him. He was involved in the three-way ARI/DET/NYY trade where some decent guys changed hands, so that's to his credit, but his ERA+ the last 4 years is 106. If he were that well thought of he would have gotten more than a one-year deal. IMHO he and Worley will be about equal, with Worley possibly improving and being better.

Lannan is, at best, a league average pitcher. Blanton is IMO better, but not by much.

Actually, if KK really has improved his ability to retire LHB in a sustainable way, I would not be surprised to see him outperform Lannan over the next several years, assuming both are healthy.

Also, remeber that Lannan is on the trade block - or was until the Wang injury - so the Nats aren't that 'high' on himeither.

Shane, I would say a single complete season of dominant pitching would be a good start. Staying healthy is a "skill" similar to throwing a 98 MPH fastball is a skill. Clearly SS can do the latter.

Yeah, Jackson's a real reliable pitcher. What's he on, his 7th team?

Ok, what's "dominant"?

What's "Ace"?

Shane, if you are asking my definitions, I would say 220+ innings would have to be a minimim threshhold for being considered a dominant starter, with an ERA+ of under 3 or so (depending on league/run environment) - preferably under 2.5.

SS has the great ERA for his career but hasn't yet pitched even 70 innings in one season, so it's very premature to call him an ace or dominant. If he can pitch anywhere near like that for 200 innings or so, yeah, he's a cy young candidate.

Let me clarify my post above. When I wrote "with Worley possibly improving and being better." I meant improving to be better than Jackson, not improving on his performance last season.

IMHO if Worley puts up another 3.01 ERA in 2012 with 150+ IP, he'll be head-and-shoulders better than Jackson.

If Worley somehow (magically?) improves on that and H/L/H stay healthy, the Phillies will win the division easily.

Dan, IIRC Stasburg will be shut down at about 160 IP this year because he's coming off of TJ surgery. That alone will hurt the Nats' chances of winning the division.

Very close between Washington and Miami. Both are upstarts that will be riding a wave of energy as the season starts. The same can't be said for Atlanta. Nor can it be said for the Phillies, but if their pitching holds according to plan, they should be able to overtake the 'upstarts' by the time it's said and done.

I don't think there's ever been a time like this in the team's history - where organization-wide, it's become almost one-dimensionally founded on pitching. I guess it's a sounder formula than trying to stave off the cycle of decline by emphasizing the speed of Jeff Stone.

awh, few have been as skeptical about Worley as me. Here's hoping he is able to duplicate his ERA from last year. I just can't help but think hitters are going to stop taking all those called strikes...

awh, thanks for the response. Obviously, in Jackson's case, a pitcher being traded constantly isn't the best evaluation of their talent. And certainly Jackson is no top of the rotation starter, but we're not comparing him to top of the rotation starters. I was just wondering how they stack up against Worley/Blanton. If you're really bullish on Worley, than I can see going with him, but I see Worley settling in a servicable 4 in this rotation, but not repeating what he did last year, and I don't really know what to expect of Blanton going forward.

You're right on the money that Lannan has been a consistently league average starter, and if you're 5th starter is a league average guy, you're in pretty good shape (don't know why the Nat'ls have been trying to trade him away, for that reason). He's posted a 101 ERA+ over his last 3 years, while Blanton has posted a 92 ERA+. Lannan has also made 91 starts, whereas Blanton has made only 67. I'd be more comfortable with Lannan as my 5 this year if those trends continue, than Blanton.

Also, so as not to undersell on Jackson, his last 3 seasons (per 162 games):

3.96 ERA, 220 IP, 108 ERA+, 7.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.363 WHIP

The WHIP is a bit high, but not bad for a #4, and I think most here would be very content to get those kinds of numbers from Worley this year, no?

The top of the Phils rotation is clearly better than the Nationals (though, a strong season from Zimmerman will close the gap), but I think they're 4/5 matchup with our 4/5 quite well.

IMHO if Worley puts up another 3.01 ERA in 2012 with 150+ IP, he'll be head-and-shoulders better than Jackson.

Posted by: awh | Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 04:28 PM

I like Worley, especially since he actually posted nice peripherals by year's end, but with his (so far) inability to gets swings and misses, I just don't see him posting a 3.01 ERA/129 ERA+ over 30+ starts this year. I see him more around ~3.85 ERA/~105 ERA+.

I do, however, hope he can repeat those numbers.

Jack, clout, MG: Interesting debate about Polly.

Here's the question: What constitutes a "good" hitter, and does Polly qualify?

clout defines it positionally, where Jack and MG don't seem to.

According to b-r.com, last season the NL averages were .253/.319/.391/.710 with an average OPS+ of 95.

For 3B the NL average was .257/.317/.387/.705 with a sOPS+ of 99.

It seems to me that for Polly to fit the definition of a "good" hitter - meaning "above average" - he'll have to be better than both the league and positional averages.

It will be interesting to see what he does.

JW: You forgot to add "The Grim Reaper" to your list of choices. Age is this team's greatest enemy. They're not a championship contender by any stretch of the imagination, & merely getting to the Postseason is not enough of an accomplishment for a club w/ the 2nd highest payroll in the game.

Fatti, I agree about Worley. IMO he'll be somewhere between a 3.50 and 4.00 ERA, depending on which way a couple of balls bounce. If he gets "lucky" with regards to BAbip, he''l be closer to 3.50.

I rate him equal to Jackson because I don't think Jackson will be any better - though pitching in Nats' Park his ERa may look better.

Dave - This team is good enough to win 87-88 games and get to the playoffs.

If they don't, it will be a disaster and I bet there season ticket renewal rate takes a notable hit next offseason as a result.

DanIP, I don't know what to think of Worley being able to continue striking out hitters looking.

We'll have to see.

All I can offer is anecdotal evidence: When I see hitters as good as Berkman standing in the box and taking strike three looking on Worley's 2-seamer, that tells me it's a really tough pitch to read.

I was listening to LA on the radio last season, and apparently Worley throws it right at the hip of the LHH and it tails back across the inside corner.

I'm no pitching expert, but it seems to me that Worley (and the catcher) is smart enough to mix other pitches in his repetoire in with the 2-seamer when he pitches inside. He throws a 4-seamer that doesn't tail, and if he uses that and an occasional slider or cutter in on the hands he may be able to keep LHH from sitting on the 2-seamer if he comes inside.

Imagine if a LHH guessed 2-seamer from Worley in a 2 strike count and swung - and Worley threw the cutter instead? Someone could be looking at some seriously bruised knuckles, or worse.

So, we'll se if Worley can continue to repeat that "skill". The hitters will certainly adjust to the 2-seamer, but he could make it awfully uncomfortable for them if he mixes in other pitches when he goes inside on them.

MG: If Halladay, Lee or Hamels gets injured, or has a notably off year, the latter case is a distinct possibility.

G'Town: "They're not a championship contender by any stretch of the imagination"

I usually laugh at your schtick but, the team throwing Halladay, Lee and Hamels at the NL is not a championship contender? I guess I have to ask what NL team is "championship contender" in your mind. I'm concerned about the offense but, I'm not seeing any perfect teams on the NL side of the bracket.

Dave - Making the playoffs would hit this team hard because until they can renegotiate their TV deal with Comcast at the end of 2015 they are heavily dependent upon their gate revenues (and to a lesser degree playoff revenue) to keep the payroll at the current level.

"They're not a championship contender by any stretch of the imagination"

This is crazy.

Just as a reminder, the Phillies at +500 are the Vegas favorite to win the World Series.

I voted for Atlanta. I guess their body of work history played into my decision. I know the Marlins have won two WS in their short franchise history, but I can't see it this year. The Washington gNats stuff is just a bunch of hype and fluff attached to dollar signs. They brainwashed Lidge to make the statement he did. Lake Nostradamus predicts the final Division order to be:

1. Phillies
2. Atlanta
3. Fish
4. gNats
5. Muts

I voted for the Nats because: (1) they have the makings of a dynamic 1-2-3 in the rotation; (2) their 5-man rotation is potentially among the top 3 or 4 in the NL; (3) their bullpen is deep; (4) they have some young, improving everyday players (Ramos, Espinosa); and (5) they've got 2 major bounce-back candidates in Werth & Zimmerman.

I do think people may be dismissing the Braves just a little too quickly. This is a team that made the playoffs in 2010 and would have made them again in 2011, but for major injuries down the stretch. Chipper's one year older now, their SS situation is unsettled, and Jurrjens will probably slip a bit from his terrific 2011. But, on the other side of the coin, last year's team had major down years from many key players, incuding Prado, Uggla and, most of all, Heyward. I would expect all 3 to bounce back in a big way this year, especially Heyward.

I'm wondering if the fear of the Braves this season will anywhere near approach the massive hysteria at BLer about the Braves last season.

As I recall, quite early in the season there were a couple of BLers predicting disaster for the Phils based on comparing run differential with the Braves.

G-Town is the founding president of that 'un-named' group that whines all the time.

I suspect that his definition of a championship contender is a team that looks like this:


C - McCann
1B - Pujols
2B - Cano
3B - Beltre
SS - Tulowitski
LF - Holliday
CF - Kemp
RF - Bautista

SP - Halladay
SP - Lee
SP - Verlander
SP - Sabbathia
SP - Lincecum

CL - Rivera


And even then GTown might have complaints about who filled out the bullpen and the bench.

As I recall, quite early in the season there were a couple of BLers predicting disaster for the Phils based on comparing run differential with the Braves.

Posted by: Phlipper (wondering if it's too late to start being a Mets fan) | Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM

Because it just isn't history unless it's revisionist history!

Mark me down for over 71 wins for the Mets. I don't think they're nearly as bad as everyone is assuming they'll be. Maybe it's just fun to dismiss the Mets, but I see a pretty potent offense if Wright and Davis stay healthy.

As for the poll, I picked Washington for the basically the same reasons BAP cited above.

Lannon is missing his most powerful pitch this season, inside on Chase's wrist.

The Phillies released former Rangers first-round pick Kasey Kiker, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.  The left-hander spent six seasons in the Texas farm system, posting a 4.53 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9. 


It appears they no longer have to hold on to this guy to appeal to Whitey (of Beerleaguer fame).

Jack: "As it happens, Baseball Prospectus keeps double play stats. And Polanco was 12th in the entire National League in net double plays (DPs compared to average for number of situations)."

That's nice, but doesn't answer my question. You said that when Polly makes an out "that out is usually a double play because he hits the ball on the ground a lot."

The word "usually" means more often than not. I asked what pct. of Polly's outs were DPs.

For the few days of the year when Polly is healthy, I consider him a good hitter.

As far as what Vegas thinks of us and the WS, I'm guessing that number preceded recent events.

If the Phillies make the World Series this season I'll tuck my tail between my legs & never post here again. Not win the World Series, mind you, just get there. I'm that certain it ain't gonna happen. Fool yourselves all you want, but this Phillies team is closer to not making the playoffs than it is winning the NL.

I'm also curious as to how Vegas felt about the Phillies in '11. I honestly don't remember.

Well not posting on BL'er isnt much of anything. Just about anyone well almost can just stop posting. Hows about if they make it you paint yourself red and march down Broad St in your birthday suit...

Dave - Vegas had the Phils even as bigger favorites last year than they are this year. Over/under last year was generally 97 or 97.5.

This year it opened at 95.5 and now it is down to 93.5 or 94 at most books after the Utley/Howard injury with the 'Under' at a pretty unfavorable money line at -135 or -130.

I took the Phils at 'under' at 95.5 and like my chances. Then again I got burnt on the under at 97.5 last year when I think I had the Phils winning 94 games.

Christ, and I thought I was rooting for them before...

Phils are still strongly favored to win the NL East. Every sports book I checked quickly has them with at least a negative money line starting at -150 and up.

Sucker bet. Why anyone would take them at a money line of say -200 to -250 to win the NL East at this point baffles me.

Over/under currently for rest of NL East:

Nats: 84/84.5 (moved up a bit)
Braves: 86/86.5 (no change)
Fish: 84.5/85 (no change)
Mets: 70.5/71 (a bit down)

Phlipper: Wait, are you saying the win projections based on run differential after 30 games aren't a slam dunk fact? Where's Heather?

St Louis has big Mac as hitting coach. He turned a bunch of punch and Judy hitters to a WS team. They all bought into his system. We are stuck with GG. No wonder y they ain't gonna change the approach.

MG: Barring the loss of one of the Big 3, I'd say 90-93 wins sounds about right. And then they'll crap out in the first round or two because it's a damn long season & everyone is friggin' OLD. Vegas giving the Phillies the best odds to win it all seems nuts.

Here I am and your obstinate refusal to believe than basing projections on 3 months of games is somehow obscene is constantly amusing to me.

Ever hear of confidence intervals?

"this Phillies team is closer to not making the playoffs than it is winning the NL"

This is probably true for every team in the National League. If you think the Phillies have a 75% chance of making the playoffs (after the WC play-in), and you think the playoffs are a total crapshoot, then you would give them a 25% chance of missing the playoffs and a 19% chance of winning the pennant.

I wouldn't go higher than 75% on any NL team to make the playoffs. I wouldn't go higher than that on any AL team either. If this is my criterion, then there are no World Series contenders in baseball this year.

Gtown is the sort who says every team has no shot at the title. Then at the end of October gloats that he was correct about 29 of them. Don't run around predicting what won't happen and act like you've got some kind of insight. Tell me what will happen.

gobaystars: The '12 Philadelphia Phillies season will end before the World Series begins.

Clout: Wow. Even by your high standards, that's a pretty disingenuous out of context quotation.

You conveniently left off th first part of the sentence, which said "IF A RUNNER IS ON FIRST BASE" and then said "and Polanco makes an out, it is usually a double play because he hits a lot of ground balls."

Leaving off the first part of that sentence is kind of a big deal. You know?

Heather, your 30 game confidence interval was a joke. Nobody who watches the games had any 'confidence' in it. I'm not putting money on the Phils to reach the Series this year. They have the highest expectations and the highest margin for error. Still, no serious observer can write them out of the hunt this March. No serious observer can even predict their second half roster. They're squarely "in the conversation" and "the team to beat" to cite two of our perennial leading cliches.

Polanco hit into 15 DPs last year in 95 possible situations. This was the 12th worst *net* DP rate in the National League, out of 744 players, and the highest on the Phillies (yes, including Valdez, who had a higher rate but far fewer opportunities).

Is there anyone who doesn't think that a guy who makes a ton of contact and is a singles/ground ball hitter at the top of the lineup isn't going to hit into a lot of double plays?

But Jack, he makes "productive outs."

I wanted to vote for the 60 day DL, frankly.

Andy: Once the season begins Phillies players aren't allowed to go on the DL. Polanco could become a quadruple amputee & r00b would leave him on the roster as "day-to-day".

"Polanco could become a quadruple amputee & r00b would leave him on the roster as "day-to-day".

On the other hand, if he becomes a quintuple amputee, Mrs. Polanco will put him on the DL.

Okay so Heather is clearly someone posting under a different name than the one they usually carry.

b_a_p:

Have we hit the nom de plume accusation period of the season already? How soon before clout backs up TTI and reminds the poster in question of the ramifications of such action here?
Somebody please get out the Beeeleaguers' Rules of Order...

Wow! What a shocker! GTown_Dave with a pessimistic prediction. Who would have thunk it?

From MLBTradeRumors:

If the Angels were to offer one of their backup infielders (Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis) to the Phillies, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez speculates that the Halos could look for Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton back in such a trade. In Blanton's case, the Phils would have to cover a big chunk of his $8.5MM salary for this season.

I'd move KK for either of them in a heartbeat. The salaries even match up.

NEPP -- No! No! Not Kyle Kendrick! He's finally learned how to "miss bats" and get out a few left-handers, too. If/when Vance Worley has a sophmore slump, KK's the man!!

In all seriousness, I do wonder what it will take for the Phils to put JRoll or Polanco on the DL this year.

Plenty of 'day-to-day' status updates coming for those 2 this season.

Why is "Ruben Amaro" not an option? He is the biggest threat to the success of this team in the future.

Appropos of nothing and, begging your pardon, but, Dick Groat's family needs to get him off the radio. Nobody listening to Pitt basketball is drunker.

kuvasz: Thank you for the explanation on Sinn Fein last night. I agree that having to explain a joke takes all the fun out of it. Actually, our family is of Irish heritage, but a few centuries in Berks Cowwwnty has turned us into "dumb Dutchmen".

Hugh: I remember him well. Had to look it up, Dick Groat is 81. Are you sure he's drunk, or just senile?

goody - I know drunk when I hear it. Groat's analysis is pure "next bar stool". Homer Hillgrove eggs him on. Pitt's in the finals of the CBI tournament. I"m pretty sure you have to pay a fee before they'll confirm you won this tournament.

"If the Phillies make the World Series this season I'll tuck my tail between my legs & never post here again. Not win the World Series, mind you, just get there. I'm that certain it ain't gonna happen. "

Gtown - just curious. Which NL teams do you think have a higher probability of winning the World Series this season?

After two decades attempting to cure my deterioratied knees by willing my body to grow cartilage, I have finally made some progress. I realized this morning that my ears and nose are continuing to grow unless, of course, my skull is shrinking.

phlipper, excellent question for Gtown, but I doubn't you get an answer.

His answer to gobaystars above was amusing, to say the least.

gbs asked him for a positive affirmation of something and he still couldn't bring himself to answer in that fashion.

Hilarious.

And he wonders why few here take him seriously?

Ka-ching!

Over at mlbtr there's a link to a Forbes article.

Forbes pegs that the value of the Phillies has now risen to $723MM.

I'll be the anti-G'town and say the Phillies win the series in 6 over the Halos with Callaspo scoring the winning run on a Victorino bloop over a drawn in outfield.

Is Mayberry's role on the rocks? Here's Luis Montanez' spring training line so far: .394/.417/.576. Clearly, it's only spring training, but this guy seem to be in the middle of things – when “things” are happening. Here’s JMJ so far (again, spring training): .213/.260/.298. Not exactly inspiring.

Has the "clock struck midnight" on Mayberry? MG's been reporting JMJ simply has not been driving the ball anytime this spring. Is Mayberry simply unable to cope with raised expectations? Most of his minor league stats seem to bear that out.

Another chink in the armor. I wonder if Vegas might back-peddle at some point and drop the over/under to 90 wins? 88? Has an "over/under" line ever moved that much?

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