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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Comments

Over/Under on Phillies runs scored tonight: 0.

from previous thread:

awh: sorry, I went to lunch. Couple reasons the Phillies should have been looking at infielders.

1. You are drafting for 3-5 years down the line, not to fill immediate needs.

2. Infield was already a weakness in the system.

3. Infielders who can hit and field are rare and thus they have more value as trade pieces. I mean look what we gave up to Cleveland for Lee. A couple of B- infielders and a faraway lottery ticket pitcher.

4. It's easier to move an infielder who can hit but is either a sub-par defender or who is blocked to a different position than it is with an outfielder. And, an infielder who can field, but has a weak bat can still be a useful utility fielder much more so than a good glove no hit outfielder.

5. Even though Rollins & Utley were coming off good seasons, 3rd base was still an obvious short-medium term need. And, both were scheduled to be free agents in that 3-5 year time frame for draft picks.

6. A team should draft best player available, but the Phillies were either taking financial considerations into account (esp. w/ Castellanos)or undervaluing infielders vis a vis toolsy outfielders. A lot of the team's late draft over-slot selections were pitchers, which is fine, but they didn't seem to do that with infielders until 2011.

Like I said, a team shouldn't draft for need, but if you go through several cycles where the good infield prospects are going much sooner than your draft board says they should, then maybe you need to adjust your draft board and internal valuation process to account for industry standards.

I left a comment sitting while I went to lunch and missed the new thread being put up. Hate when that happens. From the last thread:

schenkman: "I don't blame Amaro for thinking that replacing Utley, who will be paid $15 M per year through next year no matter what, was not a high priority."

As someone often labeled a 'front-office apologist,' I realize I might be costing myself a job in the front-office in saying this, but I completely disagree with this statement. I blame him for this, and I think is incompetence of the first-degree that there was no Plan B in place.

Last year, Amaro had an excuse- the Utley thing kind of took everyone by surprise. This season, there is no excuse. I don't care how many games he played after he came back last season. The guy has a condition that will never go away, and will eventually result in knee replacement surgery. Don't you think that might warrant having a Plan B in case that condition flares up in spring training again? In Amaro's case, his plan B was apparently trading away Wilson Valdez and teaching Galvis to play 2nd base. The only thing worse would've just been to leave 2nd base out there unoccupied. Like I said, incompetence of the first-degree.

In the off-season, many (including myself) thought the offense would at least tread water barring Utley coming back at around 75-80% of career norms. I can't speak for everyone else, but the only reason I thought this was even a possibility is that every signal the front-office was sending- from trading away their best utility infielder, to ignoring utility IF on the free agent market, to basically saying that it was a fact Utley would be fine and ready to go for Opening Day- pointed to them having a handle on the situation, and being confident in what they had with Utley. I thought they knew what they were dealing with.

Never in a million years did I think what Amaro was actually doing was turning his head the other way and just hoping & praying things turned out OK with such an important part of the team. I am happy with most of the things Amaro has done here as GM, but the Utley situation wipes away pretty much all faith I have in him going forward. It was that irresponsible.

Dikie: I say the bats break out of their slumber and the Phillies coast to a comfortable 3-2 victory.

I'll take the over.
Phillies break out with 5 runs.
Win 5-4 with Pap doing a Brad Lidge impersonation to make it a nail biter in the 9th. Charlie spends hours explaining his decision to lift Doc after 8 innings and 94 pitches.

awh: sorry, that was an unorganized post: there are 2 different types of arguments mixed together. One is that the organization should be taking the best player available and if they are, then they need to re-evaluate how they value infielders. because they are more valuable than their prior drafts suggest. And two, even if you want to draft for need, you can argue there was a need in the medium term.

"Everyone takes it as a given that Polanco is gone next year. I'm not sure why the Phillies wouldn't pick him up for an extra $4.5M, and I'm not sure why that would be a bad move."

Because he sucks, maybe?


Posted by: bay_area_phan
---
If the advanced defensive stats are even close to right, his great defense makes up for a below average bat.

fWAR among all MLB 3rd basemen...

2011: 11th
http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&players=0

2010: 9th
http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=8&season=2010&month=0&season1=2010&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&players=0

2010-11: 8th
http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=2010&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&players=0

Great defense makes up for a below average bat.

I'd say it's less tat Polonco sucks and more that he can't stay healthy. Even when he plays, his 2nd halves seem to be marred by various nagging injuries.

I'm feeling the Phils get shut out tonight. Possibly no hit.

Valdez is not a "Plan B", nor is Freddy Galvis.

Johnson's turn for a perfect game.

13 year MLB career@.301 avg= below average bat.

Really?

Old, often injured sure. But sucks , below average bat,come on guys -please think of some of the truly bad 3B we have had .

"[Polanco's] something like a 30th percentile offensive starting 3B, and a 90th percentile defensive starting 3B. I don't think such a player is readily available for $4.5M, and I don't think the Phillies have anyone in the system who can approach that."

First, I'm not so sure he's a 30th percentile offensive 3rd baseman anymore. Let's wait & see on that.

Second, even if he is still a 30th percentile offensive 3rd baseman, I wouldn't necessarily bet $4.5M that he'll still be next year.

Third, with good scouting, I think they can absolutely find a 30th percentile 3rd baseman for less than $4.5M. It won't be a sexy name, but there are certainly good or improving players out there who fly under the radar. Once upon a time, the Phillies were: (a) pretty good at finding those guys; and (b) willing to try. RAJ has been neither.

Fourth, I do not stipulate that $4.5M is our budget for a 3rd baseman. I don't know what ownership's budget will be for 2013, and I don't know what's going to happen with other areas of our team like, for instance, Hamels & Vic.

Fifth, we're 4 games into the season. It's silly to even discuss whether we should exercise Polanco's option after the season. It's not like we're talking about Roy Halladay's option. We're talking about a 36-year old player who has been on a very linear downward path for the last 3 seasons. If he can reverse that linear path, then we'll see. But I don't know how anyone can possibly say, before the 2012 results are in, that we should exercise Polanco's 2013 option.

Anyone advocating Polly coming back next season, at age 37 forfeits their right to b8tch about Ibanez, and his slower-than-molasses bat, patrolling LF last season.

With the Phillies' offense in the shape it's in, it is literally impossible to know whether the opposing pitcher is throwing well, or the offense simply sucks.

Tonight, I'd put Thome at first and Mayberry in left and Orr at second and hope for the best.

Iceman, how can you not care how many games Utley played last year? That's kind of an important fact, and showed that he was able to manage it. You have a player who you will pay $15 M in 2012, who played essentially every day, and who has a program to strengthen the knee.

Now, given that you have other needs on the team, what resources (players, prospects, $$$) are you really going to devote to this one position to ensure that you not only have one of the best players of his generation, who appears to be managing his condition well, but also a starter-quality backup, just in case something goes wrong?

That seems to be asking a lot, IMO, without the benefit of hindsight.

bap - It is not only the offense too with Polanco. The other real issue is how many games even if he is healthy can be realistically expected to start even this season.

125? 130?

Team batting .498 OPS - dead last in the NL - so far this season.

Team pitching 2.48 ERA - second place in the NL - so far this season.

As an aside, offense is again down this year compared to last (small sample size, I know). NL ERA by year:
2006: 4.49
2007: 4.43
2008: 4.29
2009: 4.19
2010: 4.02
2011: 3.81
2012 (so far): 3.56

Dead-as-a-dornail-ball era

Schmenk, I think Iceman got this one right. If your starter is on his last knee, your first baseman is sporting only one working Achilles tendon, and your third baseman is giving eggshells a bad name, you do your best to fortify your backup position.

Rube was perfectly willing to leave the main backup position to Martinez and possibly Willingham, and Orr. That is dereliction of duty. Who could he have signed? Free agency was weak overall, but we will never know what trades were possible. Chase Headley would have looked nice at third with Polly manning second base. And there were a couple of declining but decent first basemen who could have filled in better than Wiggy at a reasonable price. Or Johnny Damon at first base at an unreasonable price.

The point is there were options. Maybe not great options, but certainly better than Wiggy, Nix, Schneider, Galvis, Orr, Martinez, etc.

JP, Polly, Rollins, Pence, Vic, Mayberry, Ruiz, Galvis, Doc

I've already scheduled a root canal for the first time through Galvis, Doc, JP and Polly portion of the lineup.

13 year MLB career@.301 avg= below average bat.

Really?

---
@Bubba -- batting average is a very flawed stat. So yes, really.

First, let's get a little more recent: .287 average since 2009.

A .287 average with few walks means he gets on base at a slightly below average rate. .287 with few walks and little power makes him a below average hitter.

Fortunately, and this makes him a very solid third baseman overall, his defense is among the best in the game.

Dan: scoring is always down at the beginning compared to the middle of the season due in part to the cooler weather.

It wasn't only Utley though. It was the strong likelihood that Polanco had a ceiling of 130 GS. JRoll also is a huge risk injury.

Amaro did get Wigginton who supposedly can play 2B (along with 3B) but he's brutal defensively at both positions. Given Cholly's strong inclination the last few seasons to sacrifice defense for offense at 3B, I can't imagine Cholly is going to start Wigginton much there.

Means those ABs would have fallen to Mini-Mart who at best gives you average defense at 3B with somewhere north of 'woeful' production.

"somewhere north of 'woeful' production"

I'll take the under. Something along the lines of "egregiously woeful."

using a career average for a guy in his late 70's like Polanco is a tad misleading.

jbird, I know that, however scoring has dropped by an average of 0.12 ERA every single year since 2006. I find that astounding. I can't recall the last time offense dropped so much and so quickly. Frankly, I wonder why it's not being discussed more.

Considering that Utley has chronic injuries, missed large chunks of previous seasons, specialized in flares to LF when he was around last year (swing bat, make weak contact, drop chin to chest, run), yes it was gross mismanagement not to (a) know his condition before Spring training began, (b) not to have a backup plan, and (c) dump Wilson Valdez.

"Anyone advocating Polly coming back next season, at age 37 forfeits their right to b8tch about Ibanez, and his slower-than-molasses bat, patrolling LF last season."

I don't see the parallel between a guy who was the best defensive player at his position in 2011 and a guy who was the worst defensive player at his position in 2011.

Dan, I suspect it will come up soon (the media will run with it once ratings start to fall off during the "dog days"). I also suspect that it will be the last you hear about anyone wanting to raise the mound (hell, they might argue that they should pitch from a ditch...), and it will be the precursor to "DH in the NL" discussions.

Willard - um Polly will be making $4.5 and Ibanez made $13 million. No comparison there.

schmenkman- my point was that the fact that he played in almost every game down the stretch does not signify that he was healthy in those games. It never has. Manuel has run him out there down the stretch no matter what the past 3 seasons when he was clearly not 100%. You can agree with the decision to let him play hurt, or you can disagree, but the facts are the facts. His numbers last year again declined in August and September. He lost more than 30 points on his batting average from August 1st to the end of the season.

The fact that the exact same scenario that played out in spring of 2011 happened again this year, with the team even less prepared to handle it this season (which was almost impossible to do- Plan B last year was Valdez, Mini-Mart and Orr), is absolutely inexcusable. It is fine for the average fan, who is not privy to much of the information that the FO is, to simply assume Utley is OK based on amount of games played. It is not fine for the FO to use that as an excuse for not knowing more.

Either they knew and did nothing, or they turned their heads the other way and prayed it would be OK. Whichever you believe, both lines of thought are extremely negligent.

curt - Prior to the knee issue please name one chronic injury Utley had.


Also people need to stop making Valdez out to be a savior.

redburb - hip

Willard, I'm a bit old school - I was teethed on baseball in the last dead ball era (1970s) and to me it's quite fun to watch these low run games. I generally post here and elsewhere about it since many raised in the high-octaine 90s and early 2000s might think that's the way things should be, and if you don't have a 30HR guy in your lineup that means you have a poor offense.

We need to recalibrate our expectations. The fact is the offense the Phillies had in 2006 lead the league with 865 runs. In 2011 it only took 762 runs to lead the league! the average NL team in 2006 scored 771 runs! Yes, an average offense in 2006 would have lead the league by 2011.

I don't know why we expect offense to increase this year since we are seeing a continuing trend down, down, down.

curt - A torn labrum is not a chronic injury. That was repaired after 2008 and has not been a problem since.

BAP: Fair points, and yes, if Polanco's 2012 is awful, I'll change my view. However, if you think Polanco "sucks", you have a very broad definition of "sucks." If Polanco has a year like he had in 2012, I would argue he is definitely worth keeping around for $4.5M.

Tonight's game, while most likely awesome, will the first time that I will probably make the Flyers game my "A Game" and the Phillies my "B Game" for the purpose of flipping between the two.

As much as I love the Flyers, this is more a commentary on how frustrating it's going to be watching this game.

"Team batting .498 OPS - dead last in the NL - so far this season."
---
@Dan in Philly, that's right.

Here are some 4-game stretches from last year:

4/15-19 .496 OPS
5/16-19 .418 OPS
9/20-23 .457 OPS

Also: 7 games, 5/14-20 .450 OPS

Wake me up when they've gone 8+ games with a .450 OPS.

RedBurb- good point on Valdez, and I want to clarify that I don't think trading him was the reason Amaro was negligent here. I think it contributes to it, but it's not the main issue. I think trading him hurts more in the larger scheme of things, when you take into account the injury history of our entire infield. Having someone like Valdez who is an above average defender at 2B, 3B and SS, along with at least a halfway competent bat, might not be extremely valuable, but it's at least useful, especially with three injury-prone IFs.

Trading Valdez would've been off-set by replacing him, or at least attempting to replace him, with an upgrade. Certainly wouldn't have been impossible to do. Amaro did not do that, and that's the problem.

Number of players with more innings at 3rd than Polanco, 2010-11:

9

When I checked espn.com this morning it said blimp tits was starting

redburb - That's your opinion. Mine is that he has not been able to turn on a ball since, and the power numbers reflect it.

"However, if you think Polanco "sucks", you have a very broad definition of "sucks.""

BAP is on record as saying only three players on the Phillies don't 'disgust' him, so I'm guessing that his definition is very broad.

Polanco obviously does not suck. His defense is extremely valuable, and his bat would work in this lineup if he weren't being counted on to be such a huge contributor.

Ice - Agree 100%. I don't agree with the posters that have made Valdez into some sort of awesome baseball player. He was anything but that. He is/was replaceable and then the issue becomes how the FO replaced him, which is your argument.

Although an argument can be made that Galvis is Valdez's replacement even though Galvis would be better served playing SS for the Ironpigs this year.

the downturn in offense has to be related to more than steroids and greenies, unless everyone in the game was on them. Makes one wonder if mlb de-juiced the ball a little in response to the steroid/juiced ball era. makes it harder to accuse players of juicing with only circumstancial evidence if no one is topping 50 homers a year, much less 60 and 70. Personally I hate the steroid era. I hate how it devalued the old records. I still tell my boy that Maris & Aaron are the record holders.

"Either they knew and did nothing, or they turned their heads the other way and prayed it would be OK. Whichever you believe, both lines of thought are extremely negligent.

Posted by: Iceman"
---
There is, of course, at least one more possibility: they looked, they asked, they prodded, and every indication they got was that Utley was managing it and it was fine.

I think that until he came to camp and ramped up baseball activities, he felt fine and was prepared to go.

curt - Oh so your definition of chronic is different than the actual definition of chronic. Cool.

Quite simply, it's grossly premature to even dicuss the subject of Polanco's 2013 option. It's like discussing whether Tyson Gillies should be on our opening day 25-man roster in 2014. We don't remotely have enough information to make that decison on April 11, 2012, so why on earth is it even brought up? Not to mention that, when a player has declined 3 straight years, and is off to a .154/.214/.154 start, it's kind of odd timing to be beating the drum for keeping him around next year.

In other news, in the wake of the Phillips & Kinsler deals, Rube has extended Polanco on a 5 year, $65 million deal which will keep him in Philly through his Age 41 season.

jbird, steriod testing began in 2003, was toughened in 2005, so it's possible that might have something to do with it. However I have contended here and elsewhere the real change over the past 5 years has been more to do with technology than roids.

pitching and pitching coaches have been able to apply Pitch FX combined with cheap database management (IPads) to chart every single hitters hot and cold spots to a degree unthinkable 10 years ago and impractical for most staffs 5 years ago. Now everyone can do it, and everyone does. The result has put all hitters at a tremendous disadvantage since they really haven't been able to use these technological advances to help them hit nearly as much as the pitchers have in helping them pitch. Of course I have seen arguments that the increase in the use of the cut fastball has a lot to do with it, too, but I think technology is the main culprit.

I do think offense will continue to deline a bit more before bottoming out for the forseeable future. Who knows what will lead offense back up again, maybe rule changes, mound changes, who knows? The wheel turns, and it's currently clearly turning down.

I'll gladly add my support to the list of "things that dont matter":

- Tonight's lineup configuration

they all add up to 0.

***Now everyone can do it, and everyone does.***

The average fan has 10X the amount of data to look at/analyze than entire FOs had 20 years ago.

Phils -140, o/u 6.

Kinda scream UNDER right?

@bap, if you're going to trot out 4-game samples, I'll add that he is pounding line drives (25% LD%), and has only a .167 BABIP.

Speaking of raw data...I'd KILL to have access to the Fielding F/X data that they've been collecting. That would be awesome to see in some sort of tool similar to the Pitch f/x tool.

curt, you mischaraterize Utley's 2011 season.

.290/.380/.498


That's where he stood on August 1st.

To that point, he'd been about as good as he's ever been.

After that his production went into a free fall.

Given that a team needs to score runs as well as prevent them, I'd like to see some research into how a balance between offense and defense can affect wins-losses. To that end, I predict a branching of WAR and its offshoots into WAR-Defense and WAR-Offense. Running out nine guys with a positive WAR-D, may not be as good as a mix of WAR-D and WAR-O.

As such, Polanco's fabulous fWAR as noted by schmenkman might be more valuable to a team lacking in WAR-D and relatively useless on a team like the Phillies who need WAR-O.

Yes, a run saved is theoretically exactly as valuable as a run created to long term run differential, but that idea does break down when the team's total runs created per game is either very low or very high. -- e.g. saving a run when you're getting shut out 0-1 is worth less than creating a run in the same situation.

DH: The word "sucks" was a bit of rhetorical excess.

He is a very good defensive player. He hasn't been a good offensive player for the last 3 years. Since he's 36, and the season is but 4 days old, I can't even wrap my mind around contemplating what to do with his option next year. So much depends not only on his own performance, but the performance of the team as a whole.

The issue is you will never know what really happened with Utley and when he showed up to camp.

BTY - The Phils line for tonight opened at -145 and has really moved down to -135. Apparently lots of money likes Johnson tonight and the Fish. So do I especially when I took the Fish at +135 yesterday afternoon.

***To that end, I predict a branching of WAR and its offshoots into WAR-Defense and WAR-Offense. ***

Go look at B-R.com...they've been doing that breakdown for years. Pretty sure Fangraphs does it too.

Mick O, while a run saved may be = to a run earned, it's way easier to prevent a run than to score one. Not just through pitch Fx, but defensive alignments, pitching changes to take advantage of matchups, better sychronization between the defense and the pitch selection (that is, if you know the hitter likes to pull a curve ball and go the other way with a fastball, you can position the defense on a pitch by pitch basis).

Hitters are at more of a disadvantage than they ever have been, and all managements' energies have been to run prevention, since that's where management can make the most difference. You really can only let hitters go try to hit, there's not much else to do.

In regards to the lineup, just based off what these guys should be doing, Rollins through Ruiz should be able to score runs in this lineup. It shouldn't be as bad as it has been for these first four games. Positive?

MG- that is not the issue. The FO should have been more prepared, period. For the exact same scenario to play out this spring is inexcusable. It's a "fool me once, shame on you..." scenario.

Johnson at CBP: 6 G 5 GS, 33 1/3 IP, 4-0, 1.87 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 3.1 K/BB

Johnson struggled early vs. Cards in his first start with his command. Same thing happend this spring where he would struggle at times with his command early in his appearances.

Hopefully the Phils can at least scratch out a run or two early tonight. If not, I have a strong feeling he blanks them over 6 or 7 IP.

Dan, I'm right there with you, buddy. I love a pitcher's game (salivating about tonight, actually) and the drop off in offense does not dissuade me. However, you and I are not the ones that MLB is worried about, as they'll have our $$$ for the foreseeable future. They need to cater to "Joe Blow Average Dude" and that guy wants to see offense, not a 2 hour 1-0 dual pitching gem. As always, the $ will direct any and all decisions. Hence, I fully expect that in the next few years, there's going to be a game of baseball that you and I do not necessarily lean towards, and I have a hunch that it will entail an NL DH (which frankly, makes me sick to even think about). There's a perfect storm brewing and this offensive drop-off, coupled with an increase in Interleague games next year (due to the Astros move) are just the first raindrops.

***Same thing happend this spring where he would struggle at times with his command early in his appearances. ***

I bet he gets through the 1st in less than 7 pitches as our "gameplan" will be to swing first pitch for some reason.

Iceman - I would have liked to see a better alternative than just planning to potentially give Mini-Mart 250-300 ABs.

Galvis is the starter at 2B simply because the Phils didn't have a contingency plan and he became it.

"curt, you mischaraterize Utley's 2011 season.

.290/.380/.498


That's where he stood on August 1st."

Awh - First of all I said nothing about the 2011 season. In any event, 2 months a season does not make, even for Utley. I simply said that it was my opinion that the hip injury is at least partially responsible for his declining power numbers. This is hardly a controversial opinion. http://crashburnalley.com/2011/09/23/the-decline-of-chase-utley/ Obviously we can't know for sure, because Utley won't talk about it.

Williard, let's hope the DH stays in the AL - or better yet dies a miserable death. Why not just allow all defensive players to not have to hit and field 2 teams the way football does? Oh, better not say that, MLB might like that idea!

Anyway, I think baseball is a big enough game to have some periods where defense rules and some where offense rules. It makes the game a bit more archaic, but to me that's a big part of the charm. It's not a track meet, it a passtime.

schenkman: I said -- in no uncertain terms -- we don't have enough information to decide what to do about Polanco after the season.

I trotted out the 4-game sample size merely to be ironic: if we're going to decide Polanco's 2013 fate way prematurely, can we at least wait until the way premature stats actually support our argument?

"I bet he gets through the 1st in less than 7 pitches as our "gameplan" will be to swing first pitch for some reason."

Does that include a bunt attempt down the 3B line?

Between the drop in offense and the adoption of year round interleague play, the DH is coming to the NL in short order.


Which is sad.

NEPP, the Phillies swung at the first pitch by far the least in the NL last year, but against a good pitcher with strong command it makes sense to swing early.

I agree they ought to see how his command is tonight, though.

schmenkman - Agreed. Normally I wouldn't mind if were swinging in the 1st inning if they thought they were likely to get some fastballs on the 1st or 2nd pitch.

It does make sense...unless the guy has major control issues. As stated, you're far more likely to get a hittable FB on the first pitch.

schmenkman, I 100% agree with you. I remember a great article last year where Chipper Jones said something to the effect that there are some pitchers you cannot afford to get behind on, and fangraphs showed conclusively that the higher the FIP of the pitcher, the more likely he was to swing at the first pitch. I was a great article.

I still have nightmares about AJ Burnett pounding the zone on 1st pitches as the Phillies took and took and took.

***still have nightmares about AJ Burnett pounding the zone on 1st pitches as the Phillies took and took and took. ***

It figures, he literally had like 1 dominant game in the last 3 seasons and it was against us in a pivotal WS game. God forbid he just be typical AJ Burnett and completely fall apart and let us get back to back WS wins.

If Polanco has a year like he had in 2012, I would argue he is definitely worth keeping around for $4.5M.

If someone already knows what kind of 2012 Polanco is going to have then I'd like to borrow your copy of Marty McFly's Sports Almanac next, please.


Prediction: Marlins 2, Phillies 1.

Remember, were it not for the timely assistance of Cameron Maybin, Doc's Perfect Game might have had a very sorry ending, indeed. I'd also expect at least a couple of members of this most moribund offense to begin getting booed in earnest.

The following needs to happen with JMJ:
1) He needs to change his first name (ala Stanton) to Salvatore or Pasquale, this will guarantee a 50 point bump in average and 100 in slugging.
2) we need to offer him a date with some sort of female mythological or cryptozoologic figure. It worked for him last year. It can work again.I suggest a Gelfling or a girl Golum (whatever that thing is).

Raul's G-pa. You can probably find a girl gollum at one of the seedier spots around the airport.

Only G_town can spin something as special and cool as Doc's Perfect Game into negative post.

And for what it's worth, I refuse to begin referring to Mike Stanton as "Giancarlo", much as I refused to refer to Dwight Gooden as "Doc" or Tim Raines as "Rock". Your name is what my baseball cards say it is, Stanton. Deal w/ it.

RedBurb: Thank you. Sometimes I even impress myself.

"BL breaking news: This just in. These guys are good."

Didn't realize Chris Berman wrote for Beerleaguer. Great hire!

Well, Giancarlo is his actual name, not Mike.

Its not a nickname or anything...or even something he legally changed. Mike is his middle name and now he wants to go by his actual first name.

Well finally the discussion about the infield needs of this team. As I recall I was attacked mercilessly in the winter when I pointed out these potential problems.

1. Polanco is great I would pick up the option but not as a full time player and certainly not at third. He does not strike out which means if you send him up he is likely to make contact and usually deliver on the assignment given.
2. As for Galvis he does not have to be Utley but he is already better then Bowa and Taylor were when they came up. Utley is never going to be able to play a full season again and Galvis is a both a defensive and offensive upgrade over Martinez and Valdez. Galvis is a keeper.
3. Recall Brown from Lehigh and stick him in left now. There is no way he is going to cost more games than he will deliver.

Yes RAJ should have realized these things at the end of last year (although the handwriting was on the wall the prior year as well when Utley's value was even higher.)

RK, as I've mentioned a time or two before, when uts was 22 he was sweating away at A ball. He might not be ready now but there's every reason to think he'll be fine offensively in the majors - though at this reduced offense era he will almost certainly never match Utley at his peak.

NEPP: I know, & I don't care. Life is too short for me to need to remember what name a frickin' pro athlete wishes to be called at any given moment. You start out as Mike, you're gonna damn well stay Mike.

RK, I refer to Galvis when I say "He" of course.

Looks as if the world might just end, and soon -- Iceman wrote multiple paragraphs eloquently setting forth my views on Utley.

Thanks, Iceman! If only I had the time, I'd contribute more to the discussion, but your initial Utley post was in a word, excellent.

Werth just got drilled with a pitch by Miguel Batista. Looked painful, but how hard can a 41 year old middling journeyman throw?

And listening to the Mets broadcasters (who are actually decent once you get past the fact that they're associated with the Mets - I actually like the polarizing Darling) rag on Lastings Milledge is some good entertainment.

"You start out as Mike, you're gonna damn well stay Mike."

I complete agree. I vividly remember that, when I was in about 5th grade, we had this little pr*ck in our school named Eric, whom everyone hated. Then one day, Eric suddenly disappeared; I guess his family moved out of town or something. A couple years later, he suddenly showed up again -- only now his name was no longer Eric, but John. When I asked him why he had a new name, he said it was because his parents wanted him to have a fresh start. But guess what? He was still a little pr*ck.

Whether Mike or Giancarlo, the guy is still a Marlin and, hence, someone to be treated with disdain.

RK: problem being there aren't a lot of infielders to go out and get now and there weren't really in the offseason either. Unless you consider Cuddyer a viable 2nd or 3rd baseman, a sentiment which most statistics seem to refute.

At 4.5 Mill i would consider picking up Polly. But not as a starter more like a super sub, pitch hitter, which i just dont see RAJ going for. There would be times when it's 1 or no outs man on 3rd and Polly is one of the better candidates to at least make some type of contact on the ball. This all depends on how much more fragile he becomes at the end of the season.

Apparently Lastings Milledge signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan's Central League this past offseason.

He wasn't a bad player. Just was a complete jack@ss with a reported lack of work ethic. It is hard to wear wore out your welcome with 3 MLB clubs in 3 years but Milledge managed to.

Tonight's lineup again. Try it 1 more time.

1.Juan Pierre LF
2.Placido Polanco 3B
3.Jimmy Rollins SS
4.Hunter Pence RF
5.Shane Victorino CF
6.John Mayberry Jr. 1B
7.Carlos Ruiz C
8.Freddy Galvis 2B
9.Roy Halladay RHP


Well now we do not have trade bait.
But if RAJ intends to let Brown sit in the minors for another year (a really bad idea) than I would look to trade him for an equivalently promising infielder preferbly 3rd or 2nd base.

Keep in mind I would only do that if he is not going to make use of Brown.

MG, that's pretty much what they were saying (re: Milledge). Also, they said that the whole "5-tool" thing was probably blown out of proportion.

Small detail, but he actually wore out his welcome with FOUR teams (NYM, WAS, PIT and most recently the White Sox). I know, I totally missed the Milledge era in Chicago, too (because it was only 2 games...).

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