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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Ozzie will have no problem finding a new job in baseball and he'll save some money with the minimal moving expenses.

How I would handle the platoons at first and LF:

1. the best bat is Thome; so, you play him whenever you can; twice a week is pushing it, but try to play him twice a week against RHPs;
2. the best glove is Mayberry who is strong offensively against LHPs; play him against all LHPs; that would be twice a week; play him at first against LHPs; also play him twice a week against RHPs in LF;
3. the next best glove is Nix in LF; play him twice a week against RHPs;
4. play Wigginton against LHPs at 1B; that would be twice a week; and
5. play Pierre twice a week against LHPs in LF.

If Mayberry plays well, make him the full-time LF and bench Pierre. Play Thome, Nix and Wigginton at first.

Regardless of the foregoing, when Brown is ready, bring him up and make him the regular LF. Play Thome and Mayberry at first. Dump Pierre.

When Howard returns, ease him into the lineup. Play Mayberry at first against LHPs. Play Thome once a week. Dump Nix unless Thome is banged up, in which case DL Thome.

I don't expect this to happen in 2012, but, if Howard returns to form, play him at first five times a week and Thome once. Give Mayberry starts somewhere against LHPs and make him a late-inning defensive replacement in LF or at first.

Get this plan to Charlie's Gut whatever the means.

Dear John, This will be my second to last letter to you as my patience is carefully being rationed at home and will soon be depleted. I recently read on a blog that you are involved in yet another campaign on the Eastern Front and are the key man in the success of your unit. I have invested the little I could save on a wager that our team will win the war and starting with the upcoming battle I fully expect you to sh8t or get off the pot and start producing.


If you didn't see it, schmenkman has a nice wtiteup over at The Good Phight on Phillies players and milestones that can be reached in 2012:

Ozzie expresses fond feelings for a totalitarian leader who oppresses his people, the majority of whom are poor. He does so in the US where there is free speech and where he is considered very comfortable financially by most working people. The only thing he stands to lose here is his job and potentially some of his earning power.

In his homeland (where there is another dictator-ish leader) and in the land of said totalitarian leader, there is no free speech and if he were to coach there the most he could get out of it would be free housing and a much smaller stipend for coaching a state team. If he were to make a similar mistake there, he would be censored, drummed out of public life and possibly jailed.

Grandpa, when you put it that way Ozzie lookseven dumber than I previously thought.

Free speech aside, he's definitely joined the Moronocracy, and could certainly be an officer in the organization.

I love this thread.

I agree with Billingsly. Best thread in a long time.

Before my grandmother got dementia, she used to tell me stories of WWII in Germany. She lived in East Prussia and saw the Russian army march through killing pretty much everything in sight. She knew the SS and Gestapo were both brutal and didn't deny that, but hated the Russian Army for gunning down friends and neighbors of hers.

Hitler's Wehrmacht: Yet another organization w/ a far superior offense to that of the '12 Philadelphia Phillies.

Blood is thicker than water. O.O

The Doc vs Josh Johnson matchup should be one the year's highlights, but instead - Doc vs Anybody produces the same results so it kind of loses it appeal.

I saw a thread a few days ago about how MLB is starting to turn into a pitching dominant league, with yearly lows in tons of offensive categories.

If this is truly a sign of things to come, the Phillies strategy of stockpiling aces will royally screw them, as all of the resources they've invested in pitching will lose its degrees of advantage as your average pitcher is now closer to your high quality pitcher.

The teams that stockpile offense will see the exact opposite affect, as the premium for offense/power will skyrocket with your average position player plummeting into once-believed replacement player levels and your high quality offensive player begins to out-value their counterparts exponentially.

GTown, but even that offense petered out.

And they wound up being pretty bad a defense too.

I've always wondered what would have happened if von Stauffenberg had succeeded in killing Hitler in July 1944. Would the rest of the high command have surrendered or negotiated a peace, or would a douche like Himmler have taken over and continued down the path to total destruction.

What would have happened to the millions who died in concentration camps after July 1944?

The US and England fought WW2 to make 1/3 of the world safe for communism where millions of people lived and died in nations that locked them IN for decades.

lorecore: that does make the coming free agencies of Pence, Victorino, and Hamels more interesting. It's assumed 1 of the outfielders will probably go. But, is Hamels the best allocation of $20+m a year for this team as pitching will be a strong suite with or without Hamels. On the other hand, outfield is actually a "strength" of the farm as compared to infield, pitching being stronger than both. If you can retain Pence & Victorino for $32m combined (let's say). Isn't that a better bet for this team than $40m to retain Hamels & one of the outfielders? Does that $8m difference help the team replace Polonco at 3rd with more offense while not taking the chance that 2 outfield spots need to be manned by Mayberry/Brown/Gillies/Nix? For a team with Halladay & Lee, is an additional $25m allocated to pitching the most efficient use of that money? Lots of questions for Amaro to work through in the coming offseason.

Pence is not a free agent until 2014.

polly: yeah if you truly want to keep Pence, you better start talking extension now, or you end up paying even more when a random team signs a 'Pence comparable' for 5yr/$112M and now you've got to top that.

Iorecore: You mean a team like the Cardinals, who are 5-1 and have scored 40 runs already this season and have 20 extra-base hits, despite losing Pujols? Or the Tigers, who are undefeated and have scored 31 runs in 4 games?

Yes, it does appear that teams that can actually hit the ball well have an increasing comparative advantage.

Clearly beginning 1 - 3 means a season end record of 40 - 120. And I admit that will be impressive. But the really impressive part will be Halladay's 40 - 0 record.

Stalin only won the war because Chuck Norris decided to take a nap.

And NEPP? You don't know how lucky you are boy...

You should preface that with extremely small sample size alert, Jack.

Just an aside, but anyone ever look at ESPN's accuscore? Where they run several simulations of the game and predict the result.

Each game we've been heavy favorites by at least a 20% margin, yet we've lost all but one. The simulations consider Utley and Howard out of the lineup.

I think what this says is the team is just in a slump and we're still pretty good at least compared to the Pirates and Florida (the latter I feel is a pretty decent team all around).


Polly: I assume if the Phillies decide they want to keep Pence long term they won't re-sign Victorino. If they decide they will let Pence walk, then they will re-sign Victorino. Otherwise you're left with a Brown-Gillies-Mayberry outfield barring anymore trades or free agents. There's a certain probability that turns into a great (and cheap) outfield. There's also a certain probability that that turns into an awful outfield. I don't know what those percentages are, but a team with the 2nd highest payroll in baseball probably doesn't decide to roll the dice on all 3 outfield positions at the same time, especially when the infield is in turmoil as well.

- that Pence and Victorino are free agents in different years is understood, but I would think their signing or not-signing will be related.

Jack: Yes thats exactly what I was saying - but based on the assumption that baseball is heading to a new world of constant declining offense like we've seen in past few seasons AND that its not proportionate to pitchers. If elite pitchers improve at the same rate as everyone else, than aces like Doc will be equally as valuable in the future as they were before since they'd be approaching Bob Gibson-like performances.

This is a forecast-type view, but if the assumption that it continues at its current pace and that aces can't get THAT much better than they already are - then Yes, Amaro's strategy will backfire.

i.e if your beloved Cardinals' pitcher Kyle Lohse and his ilk become 1.35 ERA pitchers for the foreseeable future like they are so far, then the Phils(and anyone who spent major resources for pitching) are in trouble.

You mean a team like the Cardinals, who are 5-1 and have scored 40 runs already this season and have 20 extra-base hits, despite losing Pujols?

Thanks, Jack. More of the same. The St. Louis Cardinals are pretty good at putting their team in a position to win baseball games.

I'll never be convinced RAJ had absolutely no bleepin' idea about Utley's dire knee condition(s) prior to signing Papelbon. Maybe the front office get's their game on and takes a real hard look at exactly where this "juggernaut" has ended up. If I'm J. Middleton, I've already called RAJ on the carpet for an explanation how so many injuries occurred so fast, with so few practicable options to get better.

Don't give me "small sample size" as a reason to refute this post. Ty Wigginton, Nix, Polanco, Galvis, Pierre and even Mayberry strike fear into exactly no one.

Anyone with irrefutable proof that either Howard or Utley will be back this season at more than 50% of their career averages, step up and prove it. Achilles tendon injuries take a year to come back from. Regarding Chase Utley, short of knee replacement surgery, how will he ever walk pain free again, let alone play major league baseball at a competitive level?

It's not a stretch to see how Cole Hamels is already itching to get the heck out of Dodge.

Andy with the Beatles reference. Nice!

also, let us all take note of Jack's new love of XBH, or in other words, SLG%/ISO.

to be fair, the Phillies have a lot of money sunk into the offense as well. The problem being, a significant portion of that money is invested in Howard & Utley and they are contributing nothing in the present and their future appears murky at the moment.

"Iorecore: You mean a team like the Cardinals, who are 5-1 and have scored 40 runs already this season and have 20 extra-base hits, despite losing Pujols? Or the Tigers, who are undefeated and have scored 31 runs in 4 games?"

Jack, this is somewhat misleading.

Why? Answer this:

How many runs have the Cardinals given up in 6 games?

Good point re Pence. They will have a better idea after a full season of Mayberry. If he has a solid year, he will be the CF in 2013 with Brown taking over in left. I think Pence is in their long-term plans because, like you said, they need at least one sure thing in the outfield come 2014.

"Anyone with irrefutable proof that either Howard or Utley will be back this season at more than 50% of their career averages, step up and prove it."

cut, this is just a Guillen-like comment. Stupid, because of it's rhetorical nature.

The proof or disproof will come in the form of their performances - as you well know.

If you are going to challenge someone to "proove" something, said cannot be reliant on events in the future. Otherwise it's just an empty challenge.

I could just as easily write:

"Anyone with irrefutable proof that either Howard or Utley WON'T be back this season at more than 50% of their career averages, step up and prove it."

BTW, it's also stupid for this reason:

50% of Howard's career avgs: .138/.184/.280........ (.275/.368/.560)

50% of Utley's career avgs: .145/.189/.258........(.290/.377/.505)

In short, I'll bet you anything you like and give you 10/1 odds that if Utley and Howard play this season they'll perform at better than 50% of their career averages.

To be fair, the Cardinals were in prime position to replace Pujols as they had Berkman lumbering around their OF. Add in Beltran and a healthy David Freese (who can hit when healthy) and eventually Allen Craig as a 4th OF and they won't skip a beat.

Its their starting pitching that is a concern for them right now.

Mets magic number still at 86 after last night.

polly, if Mayberry performs to his average last season [.854 OPS] that will be a higher OPS than Pence's lifetime average.

Why not just re-sign Victorino and put Mayberry in RF?

Vic will probably be cheaper than Pence (he already is) and they could certainly get more for Pence than the draft pick(s) they'll get for Victorino.

Brown/Vic/Mayberry with some combo of Nix/Gillies/Pierre/James, etc. on the bench might work better than keeping Pence - especially if pence can be used to restock some position players on the farm.

I see we're already gearing up for Pierre to be back in 2013?

lorecore, in your argument about stockpiling aces and how it may backfire, you seem to be assuming that pitchers are getting better, while hitters are staying constant, and that over time (2 years? 5 years?) the difference between "aces" and average pitchers will diminish.

In the aftermath (or wane or whatever) of the PED era, isn't it more likely, or at least as likely, that it's the hitters who are getting worse?

It may be a combination of the two. I just don't see it as necessarily one or the other.

Also, as Jbird said, the Phillies have also stockpiled hitters, which is why they had the league's highest-scoring offense for the last two thirds of the season last year after Utley returned.

In the end, it's about maximizing the % difference between runs scored and runs allowed. There are lots of ways to skin that cat, and Jbird earlier listed the choices facing the Phils around Hamels, the outfield, and other positions, in finding the most cost-effective way to do that.

awh: if Vance Worley is better than Roy Halladay, then we can trade Doc too.

lore, 2012 ERAs:

Worley: 1.50

Halladay: 0.00

"...if Vance Worley is better than Roy Halladay..."?


awh: If Mayberry performs over a full season to his averages last year, I think everyone will be very happy and that will free up the Phillies to look at more options. No sure thing though.

"The US and England fought WW2 to make 1/3 of the world safe for communism where millions of people lived and died in nations that locked them IN for decades.

Posted by: polly | Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM"

Yes, then, the US and England should have definitely have teamed up with Hitler against Stalin.

"No sure thing though."

JBird, yes, I have posted statements to that effect on several occasions.

I just believe, that if someone is a Phillies' fan, that he/she ought to be rooting/praying that Mayberry can either repeat, or get close to repeating, what he did last season - and sustain it for a full year.

I referenced just one of the additional options it give the organization in the coming offseason.

Another option would be to trade Mayberry.

But why a team would trade a reasonably young, cost-controlled, 800+ OPS player - who can play ALL THREE OF positions well AND 1B...AND can run the bases well - is beyond me.

awh: yup. I think this year, as goes Mayberry, so goes the Phillies offense.

Mayberry's 2011 averages extrapolated to a full season (650 PAs):

.273/.341/.513, with 33 HR, 108 RBI, and 37 doubles

That certainly gets him MVP votes, and makes Pence or Vic expendable.

BTW, Mayberry's stats after his callup on July 5th, extrapolated to 650 PAs:

.301/.358/.607, with 48 HR, 148 RBI, and 48 doubles.

I'll be happy with an OPS in the .750-.800 range from Mayberry.

I don't know that Victorino will be cheaper than Pence. The FA pool is pretty shallow next year assuming Youk, Wright, & Granderson all have their affordable options picked up. Really the cream of the crop becomes Victorino, BJ Upton, and Swisher (bleh). While 2014 has Nelson Cruz, Shin Soo Choo, Corey Hart, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Jones, Mike Morse and some others competing with Pence for $. Some of those guys will sign before then, but then the option trio from 2013 will be FA's in 2014. It's a slightly deeper class right now. The smart play might be to re-sign Victorino and either trade Pence, especially if Mayberry succeeds this year with the knowledge that if he (or Brown) falls flat you can go out and get a guy in 2014 if you have to

That's all long term though. Interesting to see what they do.

Free Agency for infielders is a wasteland for years. If the Phils want an upgrade there, and they probably will need one, they will have to make a deal or hope one of their draft picks from last year really comes quick.

There is a serious talent shortage throughout baseball for 3B, SS and 2B...the Phillies could very well be screwed in those departments.

JBird, regarding Victorino, he's said he's looking for 5 years.

I posted a comparison a couple of weeks ago. Vic will be an FA at almost the same age as was Torii Hunter. I compared the previous 5 seasons for each player (2003-2007 for Hunter).

Hunter: .805 OPS, 109 OPS+, 5 GG

Vic: .795 OPS, 108 OPS+, 3 GG

If Victorino is asking for, or close to, the kind of money Hunter received (5yrs - $90MM) then I don't think the Phillies will be able to afford him.

Based on salary inflation and defensive positional importance, it's quite possible that is what Vic is looking for.

NEPP: and as we've seen this week, teams are locking their guys up (Phillips, Kinsler, Santana)

Erik Aybar could make some sense if he hits the market. Angels have a glut of middle infielders in the majors and the minors.

Taking the cut_fastball and nonamePHame approach to evaluating a season after only a few games - Tyler Greene looks to be a sure fire Hall of Famer after a week at Lakewood. I wouldn't worry about SS as Greene will be able to replace JRoll by the end of this season.

Also Jiwan James is a home run hitting machine for Reading, don't expect any slowing him down at all. He will replace Victorino in center.

***NEPP: and as we've seen this week, teams are locking their guys up (Phillips, Kinsler, Santana)***

Exactly. Teams dont wait to lock up promising young players anymore. Thus, the level of talent hitting FA is at an all-time low...especially at thin positions where teams will pay a premium to keep their guy over the risk of trying to replace him on the open market.

This also has the ripple effect of inflating the cost of those players that do reach FA so you're going to end up paying a surcharge for a guy who really isn't an elite player at that position in all likelihood.

This is why it was a near guarantee that Rollins was staying in Philly last winter...there simply wasn't another option and the FA market for SS is basically non-existent the next few years. Its the same with 3B next year. Replacing Polly will be very very difficult and we have zero internal options...same with Utley. There isnt a 2b or 3B in AA/AAA that will be stepping up in the next year or two.

Asdrubal Cabrera & Elvis Andrus are guys I could see coming available in future years, but with big price tags. Phillies decided to start drafting infielders in 2011. It was probably 2 years too late. Castellanos and Chisenhall were both players the Phillies had the opportunity to draft, and should have (and that's based on reports at the time, not just hindsight).


vs LHP: 2-4 (1 XBH), 1 Ks
vs RHP: 1-8, 3 Ks

Mayberry's going to hit LHP pitching at a decent clip. Maybe not at the .306/.358/.595 clip last year in 111 ABs (42% of his ABs) but at somewhere around an .800 clip or so. Possibly even .850

What I have serious doubt he does is that he is able to duplicate his .250/.330/.455 vs RHP in 156 ABs. I would imagine it is closer to .700-.725 this year. If he plays regularly and see the usual amount of RHP, his numbers will lag.

NEPP: The Phillies already have options on their '13 3B. Unfortunately it'll be either Polanco at $5.5 million, or Wigginton at $4 million, or both. With Galvis (2B) under team control & Rollins (SS) locked in through at least '14, r00b most likely assumes he's got the infield situation in the bag. Huzzah for great starting pitching!

I figure they'll buy out Polonco and move Jimmy and Freddy one spot to their right.

Howard-Utley-Galvis-Rollins. That's if Utley hasn't succumbed to gangrene in his knees, or whatever he has.

NEPP, add to your post I have a question:

What has been the average age of FA position players on a year-by-year basis?

Is it going up?

***What has been the average age of FA position players on a year-by-year basis?***

No idea...I would guess its creeping up (at least for 1st time FA) but I wouldn't even know where to start looking for that information. There definitely seems to be a lot less 28/29 year old free agents in the last few years.

JBird, the problem is that in 2009 Utley was still posting a .905 OPS and a 137 OPS+. Also, there was no sign of his knee problems.

Rollins was only 30, and only 2 years away from an MVP season.

So why would they have looked at middle IF as a "need" at the time?

For example, take Carlos Santana's recent extension. The Indians already controlled him through Age 30...they basically now have him under team control through Age 31 so he'll be a 32 year old catcher when he finally hits the market...that's pretty old for a catcher.

MG, as I have posted on numerous occasions, the "proof in the pudding" for Mayberry will be what he can manage to do against RHP.

And his 2011 numbers against LHP do not appear to be an abberation. Lifetime he's done this: .304/.345/.608.

The lifetime sample size is not much larger, but it is fairly consistent with his minor league splits.

He mashes LHP.

That is a pretty interesting subject.. the average age of free agents by year - and see if there have been any trends either way.

awh -- At least with Chase Utley, there's practically no excuse. He could not get on the field for how many games in 2011? If I'm Mr. Utley's employer, I have the results of a rigorous physical no later than the end of July 2011, including MRI's on both knees.

Again, how could rigorous due diligence on a player with that type of injury not have revealed at least a strong possibility of further deterioration? To me, with a hole in the lineup the size of Nebraska looming large, it's inexcusable to spend $50mm on a closer.

In re that extension by the Indians?
Oye como va.

Who could Hamels fetch in a trade? Just curious..

cut_fastball, he started all but 16 of the 116 games after returning, and 8 of those 16 were for a concussion.

And, while diminished, he was still one of the best at his position.

During the offseason, he felt fine.

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.

And, of course, we won't know for another few months whether he was wrong, or what it really cost the team this season.

***Who could Hamels fetch in a trade? Just curious..***

A couple of B prospects or maybe 1 A level prospect in the right scenario. Not enough to ever make it worthing tossing him away like that. He's a rental so you won't get much for him.

It's not like Paplebon's $50 million is $50 million every year he is on the Phillies.

Bad news for AL Central teams not in Detroit:

Victor Martinez might be back in August instead of missing the entire season.

"It's not like Paplebon's $50 million is $50 million every year he is on the Phillies."

True, but their hysterical complaints sound a little silly when they say "$12 million."

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.

Why dont we hold off a few months on whether or not Polly coming back in 2013 is a good idea or not.

veryone 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.

Posted by: DH Phils | Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM

I think most people assume he hits like Wilson Valdez for the year like he did the end of last year.

Well, so far, he looks like an 80 year old at the plate so maybe its not a good idea to bring him back.

If he repeats his 2011 performance, I think the Phillies should definitely pick up his option.

"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?

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 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.

BAP: He'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.

Yo, new thread

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