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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Hector "Big Tuna" Luna isn't the answer?

Just a few years ago the Phils had one of the best infields, in fact an all star infield. Today they are below average all around with the exception of catcher. Not looking good.

We sometimes refer to Polly like he was dead last year. Even with probably his worst offensive season ever, he still had that scorching hot April, still won a Gold Glove, and posted an fWAR of 2.8.

Surely, I hope he can play around 140 games this year, and if he does that I fully expect some offensive regression, as last year was a complete aberration for him (due to his injuries). If he can post a wRC+ around 95-100, and keep up his stellar defense, he won't be that big of an issue this year, especially if Utley regains some semblance of his prowess at the plate, and Howard has a typical season once he returns.

Fatalotti: I agree, but "especially if Utley regains some semblance of his prowess at the plate, and Howard has a typical season once he returns" are a lot of what ifs. I don't know what the history of recovery is from what Polly had, but I'm sure there's always a chance that "not good" is a good assessment.

I do know that recovery from an achilles rupture does NOT have a good reputation. Utley seem to play fine last year, but certainly I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes our Chipper Jones. I hope not, but it is certainly a possibility. Lots of questions in regard to health this year.

Hector "Big Tuna" Luna isn't the answer?

Early spring training quirks/irrelevancies aside, I still find it fairly disturbing that a 32 year-old dustbag with 13 career dingers is leading the squad in HRs.

Today they are below average all around with the exception of catcher.

Care to expand, position by position?

RedBurb: "BAP has avoided repeated inquires on why he thinks a 97 OPS+ at age 23 in the MLB is well below average. I don't think he will start answering them now."

Now you're just being a jackass. Too bad. I had high hopes for you as someone who could engage in honest debate. Those hopes have been dashed.

Not only have I NOT "avoided repeated inquires (sic)," but I have addressed them at length. You just don't agree with my answers. Or, more accurately, you don't agree with the answers that you have falsely characterized me as giving.

I certainly never said that a 97 OPS+ was below average for a 23-year old. I said it is below average period, and even more so for a corner outfielder. I also said that it was an especially empty 97 OPS+ because it was heavy on the walks and light on everything else. I also said, repeatedly, that, because of his excellent plate discipline and good minor league numbers (if you throw out last year), I think he has a bright future, at least as far as hitting goes.

He wasn't "supposed to offer utility". In fact, they were fairly explicit that Polanco was NOT going to fill in at 2nd for Utley.

Meanwhile, even if he is only as good as he was last year, he's still easily worth the deal, and probably bringing back on next year's option. So, no, he's not just another aging player who got one year too many.

It's funny how people expect there to be great players just lying around, waiting to be tapped by the Phillies for infield depth.

So, Michael Martinez getting 300-400 PA isn't a good idea?

Who would thought that...

I thought when he first signed that Polanco was likely to be in a super-sub role in '12. It doesn't look like the Phillies had the same plan despite some barren stretches last year and health issues. Still, I'd like to see how he performs this year before I write the obituary on the last year of his deal.

Ouch, you sic'd me. I have to watch how I spell around here or else I'll get ridiculed like other posters.

I guess I missed your posts where you said that he has a bright future. My problem was a post you had a few threads back where you went off on everyone for discussing what Brown could become if he gets his defensive head on right. I never saw your responses when questioned on what your definition of an average offensive player was. Now that I've seen what you said, I don't necessarily disagree but I can't agree to a point. Less than 300 PAs and 67 games in the field are too small of a sample to make judgments one way or the other.

Why not let the kid play a full season (getting regular ABs, regular reps in a new position) before we proclaim him an all star or a bust.

BAP, I think what gets me about your "empty" notion, is that, if we judge using his wRC+ of 101, which weights appropriately for walks, singles, doubles, triples, homeruns, and all other manner of getting on base (HBP, errors, inducing the opposing team and umpiring crew into a trance and simply walking to any base of his liking), it removes any necessity for the "empty" qualifier, and shows that he was basically an average MLB hitter last year.

If you subscribe to the theory that his wrist injury was a prime culprit in sapping his power, than we have hope to believe that not only will his overall numbers improve in general, but his power numbers should improve more agressively than even his on-base and batting average numbers.

First round of cuts: Dave Bush, Austin Hyatt, BJ Rosenberg, Pat Misch reassigned. Cesar Hernandez, Tyson Gilles, Sebastian Valle, JC Ramirez optioned. Harold Garcia outrighted. Nothing too surprising here, I guess, although Misch looked pretty good the one game in which I saw him pitch.

I am scared about Sir Utley's absense from Grapefruit League action and more importantly, fielding drills. Totally feels like Amaro is lying straight into the camera/microphone in regards to Howard and Utley and that disgusts me.

Michael Martinez is out utility infielder...enough said.

Please people stop with this Wilson Valdez nonsense. A .220 hitter who hits into 100 dps a year is no great loss. No one will even remember him in a couple of months.

"Still, I'd like to see how he performs this year before I write the obituary on the last year of his deal."

As much as I agree with this statement, it seems eerily similar to the sentiment some had (including myself) for Ibañez last year.

"It's funny how people expect there to be great players just lying around, waiting to be tapped by the Phillies for infield depth."

Completely bogus argument. No would is arguing that the Phils should have signed A. Ramirez and turned Polanco necessary into a 'super utility' guy.

The issue is that the Phils didn't have any organizational depth here, actually made the situation worse in the offseason, and now are left completely in the bag if Utley isn't healthy at the start of the year.

There were several players available this offseason that wouldn't have been acceptable PT players. Jerry Hairston immediately comes to mind. He got 2 yr/$6M from the Dodgers. If the Phils had to pinch pennies elsewhere, I would have rather not seen Qualls signed nor have them spend $800k on resigning Schneider.

Other cheaper options included Keppinger, Punto, and Theriot. It was an area that Amaro should have made a priority via trade if he wasn't able to get it done via FA or wasn't satisfied with any of those answers.

Now he is left scrambling. It's pretty glaring incompetence.

"Totally feels like Amaro is lying straight into the camera/microphone in regards to Howard and Utley and that disgusts me."

You're right, it'd be much better for him to willingly lose all leverage by making it clear to everyone that the Phillies NEED to find players to sub for Howard & Utley.

epicurean - No surprises there. Misch looked terrible vs. Astros.

I really hope the Phils realize that JC Ramirez has no chance of ever making MLB as a starter, convert him to a reliever, and let Rod Nichols see if he can work his magic on him at Lehigh this year.

Please people stop with this Wilson Valdez nonsense.

It will as soon as MiniMart is not the replacement.

Valdez was a .250 hitter, not a .220 hitter, and led the team for much of 2011 in BA with two out and RISP. He's better than all of the other options in camp, with the possible exception of Galvis, who remains an unknown. No one's saying he is irreplaceable, but the problem is he simply was not replaced.

GM, is RAJ your congressional representative or something?

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people get mad at our front office for being disingenuous about injuries. I'm the opposite - I get mad when they tell me the truth. (Luckily, I don't seem to get mad at the Phils front office for that.)

Everyone in the friggin league knows we have an issue in our infield with Howard out. RAJ is apparently trying to secure some additional help - by all means, let's have him be completely transparent with the rest of the league's GMs on our injury situation. RAJ has an big payroll to work from, he doesn't need to concern himself with leverage.

At any rate, when I know that RAJ is trying to balance injuries, feel around the league for available players, and work the GM network a bit, the absolute last person I'm worried about in that situation is myself. Well, maybe JD Drew, and then myself.

Yeah, Ramirez is one of those "prospects" of which I simply do not see the appeal. Of course, I thought the same thing about Bastardo for years.

Like I said before, no one needs to pimp Valdez, just simply realize that Valdez has skills that translate to value in MLB. He can play multiple positions, and actually play at least one of those position at an above average clip (always thought he was a pretty good SS), he has a rocket arm that is very accurate (helps to turn DPs and make difficult plays in the hole), and his offense, while below average, isn't "worst offense ever" worthy, whereas Mini-Mart's has a chance to be.

Valdez was no great shakes, but for a utility infielder, he was acceptable. Mini-Mart is below acceptable, even for the diminished standards of the utility infielder role.

I'm pretty sure the Phils announced recently that Ramirez was moving to the bullpen full time.

Oh, and while Valdez certainly isn't fast, he's always gotten good baserunning marks, as he seems to run well situationally. In fact, he may have been the third or fourth best Phillie on the basepaths last year.

It's not that Wilson Valdez is that good; it's that Mini-Mart is that bad.

"It's pretty glaring incompetence."

Seriously, get over yourself, for once.

I don't mind Amaro providing little information about Utley. Not his job to provide exact and detailed information regarding a player's health. Almost every GM does the exact same thing.

It is just the manner in which he does it which I think turns off a lot of people.

Punto- a punchless hitter given 2 years, 3 million and offered a chance to compete for a starting SS job.

Theriot- Cheaper, but also given the chance to compete for a starting spot.

Keppinger- I can buy that he may have been an option, although it looks like the Rays will throw him into some sort of rotation of middle IF that will guarantee him a decent amount of starting time also. In addition to that he had an 87 OPS+ last year and has absolutely no pop in his bat.

The problem is not who Amaro failed to get. It was trading Wilson Valdez and then not making a move to offset the loss. I do think Valdez is overvalued on BL, but when the alternative is Michael Martinez, trading him away for nothing seems pretty foolhardy, especially with the possibility of an Utley injury looming.

Interesting lineup announced for today: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Victorino CF, Pence RF, Wigginton 1B, Mayberry LF, Brown DH, Ruiz C, Galvis 2B; Halladay P. With the exception of Utley question (and the DH, obviously), this could very well be the Opening Day lineup.

"It's pretty glaring incompetence."

Seriously, get over yourself, for once.

You are the GM/VP of a business segment, you know that you need to address an issue, and in the process you actually make it worse if possible.

Yeah that pretty much managerial incompetence in my book in that regards. Means you didn't even address the problem and possibly made it worse.

How do you see it then?

Fat: In short, I am agnostic on Dom. I believe he will be a good major league hitter. I believe he showed some promise last season toward one day being a good major league hitter. I part company with the peanut gallery, however, in that I do not think a .245/.333/.391 slash line represents good offensive production from a corner outfielder -- even if it is accompanied by a very high 7.36 AB to walk ratio.

Until I see some reasonable basis for believing that Dom can be a good major league hitter right now, I am not prepared to give him a starting job, over someone like Mayberry (or Mayberry/Nix), on faith alone. If he hits .285/.360/.485 over a substantial number of ST PAs, and stops averaging 1+ misplays per game in the OF, I'm totally prepared to reconsider. I would love to see him break out. The Phillies badly need it, both for this year & future ones.

Before the start of spring training, the team said it would go slow with Utley. It has. No surprise.

I think Polanco still gives the team good value if he can play 130 games. We know 3B is a weak position around baseball. Polanco is good defensively and passable offensively. He's a better value than Wright, for example.

The Phils need someone better than Wigginton and Martinez to play the 80 games at 3B, SS and 2B when the starters are not able to play. I'm still hoping the Phils trade for someone like Maicer Izturis, who is versatile offensively and defensively.

RAJ would be an idiot to declare Utley hurt, especially if he is tapping the trade market for help. Way to leverage yourself out of a trade. People will be looking to put him over a barrel.

He's smug. Get over it.

Theriot would've gotten plenty of PT here. They didn't want to pay him. They want somebody cheap. Instead they wasted money on Chad Qualls.

R - I didn't mind that Amaro didn't have a better option for Utley last year to start the year because he didn't know about the injury until spring training, it wasn't definite that Utley was going to miss a lengthy period of time, and its tough to make a move to upgrade a position in spring training.

This offseason was completely different. Amaro knew that Utley now has a chronic ailing condition which impact his availability to some degree for the rest of his career & Polanco is a guy coming off 2 major surgeries and an injury-plagued year.

MG, that's fine. But honestly, not this week, right? There's (potentially) a perfectly legitimate reason why RAJ isn't playing Utley. So if he comes clean that Utley is way worse off than he has previously stated, then his conversation with other GMs goes from (1) I need "infield help" b/c I don't love my utility guys at the moment; to (2) I'm so totally f'ed it isn't funny. If I'm the opposing GM, and I am now 100% that (2) is true, then I am going to hold out from RAJ for a much bigger haul. Under (1), the only issue is that my personal anxiety level as a fan remains high until I know the truth.

I just don't understand why people take it so personally with RAJ. Do you really think him being super-transparent and/or penitent for past mistakes helps him do his job better? Was Gillick much different? And *do* other GMs do the same thing? I would bet that there are a lot of markets - NY, Boston, Chicago, and Philly not being among them - where the GMs don't have to be such a prominent public face of the franchise.I can't honestly say I know what the GMs of Arizona, Seattle, or KC have to do on these fronts...

We have awesome fans - and GM Carson is even noteworthy in that crowd. We just shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes with this transparency stuff. We aren't shareholders.

DPat - Is that true? Is there evidence that the Phils offered him less than the Giants?

The Giants offered him a chance to start. In 90% of cases, the player will take the chance to start over the chance to sit on the bench. Why do posters continue to believe that is not the case?

I'm with BvH. I get pi88ed when GM's tell the truth. That's why I hate Brian Cashman and the whole Yankees system. They can sit there and calmly tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth and don't seem to care. Royal Smug Pricks.

Baron - Cholly has said now a couple of times he just wants Utley to get 30-40 ABs before the start of the season. That means he only needs about 9-10 spring training games and maybe one of the One-Deck series.

So yeah if Utley isn't starting games this time next week then it is time to start getting concerned a bit. That's all.

i don't understand what carson is talking about with howard. they've been extremely forthcoming about him. we know exactly what is wrong. it has to heal. that's the situation. he got an infection, it was taken care of and now has to heal. that part of the body takes a long time to heal. the blood supply is poor there. the utley situation is less clear but he took full BP with the regulars today so at least that is something. you must remember that utley himself said he would not be playing much in spring training and not at all early on. it's only been 2 weeks. there are still 3 weeks left

How about we play Galvis at 1st and 2nd (I think he has the range to cover both positions) and we use 4 outfielders with Brown and Mayberry sharing left field with Brown mostly standing with his nose in the outfield corner. Lineup:

Rollins
Victorino
Pence
Mayberry
Brown
Polonco
Ruiz
Galvis

So yeah if Utley isn't starting games this time next week then it is time to start getting concerned a bit. That's all.

Posted by: MG | Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM

i think they are going to start him in minor league games so he can get as many ab's as he wants

It is just the manner in which he does it which I think turns off a lot of people.

Posted by: MG | Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Well, his job is to assemble a team to win as many games as possible, not coddle the fans. So far, he's done a pretty damn good job. I disagree with some of his moves, but calling him out for putting out information to the fans that would be detrimental to the team's success; that's just myopic.

DPat is talking out of his you-know-what.

If you're a major leaguer and at the end of your career, do you take a job with a team that offers you a legitimate chance to get starting time, or do you choose the team that has three established starters at the positions you play and tells you "Hey we'll pay you as much, but you gotta sit on the bench and wait til someone gets hurt."

"Just a few years ago the Phils had one of the best infields, in fact an all star infield. Today they are below average all around with the exception of catcher. Not looking good."
---
FanGraphs recently ranked every team at each position for 2012, based on known injuries and bench options. They assumed (last week) 550 PAs for Utley and 300 for Howard.

Adding up the projections for the infield (excluding catcher), the Phillies were 5th in the NL.

By position:
1B: 10th
2B: 1st, tied with Cincy
SS: 4th
3B: 10th

(C: 6th)

Call up President Epstein and trade for Blake DeWitt

Fat - No one is saying he has to 'coddle the fans.' Amaro just doesn't have to be as standoffish as he is. I don't have an issue at all with Amaro not putting out information regarding a player like Utley right now.

I will give you one example though of where he did backpedal considerably though recently. He was adamant at the start of spring training that Howard was going to return in 'early May.' After the infection though and the realization that Howard would be out considerably longer, Amaro stated that he had never put out a timetable originally for Howard.

Amaro could also be a bit more forthcoming on answering legit questions from reporters on his thinking into why he made a move/trade. Typical that if he doesn't like the question even if a frank and earnest one, he simply doesn't answer it or talks around it. That's all.

Amaro's general managerial style/attitude work really well when things are riding high. If things hit a hitch though, people (including the fans) will turn on him quickly in part because of his attitude/demeanor.

Best example I think of in sports related to Philly was Billy King. He was a horrendous GM for the Sixers. Made terrible signing after terrible signing. Made some awful trades. Fielded some terrible teams. Yet he lasted as long as he did in part because he was a friendly guy who had a very good relationship with the media guys in town.

Is today's game on the radio?

it's on TCN tv.


The Phillies are reportedly seeking versatile infield help ...

... & will somehow wind up acquiring another washed up relief pitcher instead. r00b's a f*ckin' GENIUS.

Here's Amaro being 'adament' about Howard returning in early May:

"“I don’t know how realistic it is. We all like to try to be optimistic. But as far as I’m concerned, if he comes back sometime in May, I’m happy. Ryan’s rehab is going well. He’s going to have good days. He’s going to have some not-so-good days. But he’s doing well, and that’s all we can ask. It’s a process we’ll let play out. We’re not in any rush to get him back.”"

Yes, that sounds downright adament MG.

Ice~ The Phils have a very good chance of getting deep into the playoffs. I would think, based on all we've heard about players not waiting to leave and/or really wnating to play here, that if all things were equal, they would have had a good chance to sign Theriot.

Given the fact that they traded Wilson, which was strictly about saving $$, one could sumise that they they would eventually come to realize given their age, that they might need infield help. So why not Theriot? because they thought they could get away with Martinez that's why. They may finally be realizing that can't. So before you criticize, maybe you should stop and think.

Infield help would not be necessary if 1. they'd kept Valdez or 2. they would've signed Theriot. Or anyone else for that matter. Cuople all of this with the fact that Utley may be hurt, now they're in a spot.

Maybe Theriot did choose SF over Philly. It's very possible. But I lean towards the Phils not really try to get him given their cap issues.

It's easier to call the organization cheap than to realize facts. Seems to be a staple of certain posters around here.

I wonder where Tomas Perez is these days...

"Infield help would not be necessary if 1. they'd kept Valdez or 2. they would've signed Theriot."

I concur that trading Valdez, and leaving the backup infield job to Mini-Mart or Galvis, was idiotic. But let's be real. The Phillies' biggest need heading into the season is infield help. And, if Wilson Valdez were still here, the Phillies' biggest need heading into the season would be infield help.

GTown Dave has reached new heights:

He's become a caricature of the caricature of himself that he has become.

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.

the delivery man smokes a 2 out double to score hacker.

I must be the only person who saw Valdez hit into all the dps. Valdez was MiniMart 3 years ago and couldn't make the Mets.

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