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Thursday, June 28, 2012

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This pointless discussion is pointless. Weitzel summarizes it well.

Injuries have devestated this bullpen, which was already thin. The 7th and 8th innings are cause for abject terror in the Phillies dugout, I;m sure. Yesterday was horrifying and, if Kendrick isn;t on his game today, it could get worse.

Have the Phillies said which of Hamels or Lee is starting Friday and which is getting that extra day of rest because Cliff Lee *couldnt* pitch on Saturday>>?

Stutes was on fumes at the end of last year and that was obvious to me at least.

Per Zolecki:
LHP Jeremy Horst is in the clubhouse. No word on any potential move.

Debate: Which Bullpen is worse?

2007 Phillies
2012 Phillies

I respectfully submit the bullpen argument is very far from pointless. It is a the heart of this club's abject failure. $50mm in salary -- what, $12mm this year? -- is tied up with a pitcher who does not get sufficient opportunities to display his stuff.

The argument has been made that 2? 3? x a "shot in the dark" reliever at $4mm - $6mm annual salary would have returned a very much higher utility and many fewer blown leads. Instead we're trapped in last place, and our stud spits sunflower seed. Geesh.

"seed" = "seed shells"

Lots to be frustrated about, but as mentioned - it's pointless to argue over. You could say that no major league pitcher should give in 3-2 with the pitcher on deck, but then it's Valdes, so it figures. You could complain about Gas Can Qualls, but again - he's been as inconsistent or more than any of the rookies. In the end, we're left pining for David Herndon and a 40 year old Contreras. In short, we're ufcked.

Iceman: I am the complete opposite on Pence. Something about him always bothered me and I didn't like the trade from the start. I mean I was happy for him but I felt the price we were paying was very high.

To flipper's point- yes Pence is a complimentary piece and they didn't know he would have to be a star piece this season. However, they did a trade that compensated the Astros like he was a star piece. The best hitting and pitching prospect in your system is not what you give for a complimentary guy.

On the bullpen- I think there are two things working against the bullpen this year. Yes, Amaro gave Papelbon a ton of money but as JW mentions- he is a sure thing year to year. Those types of guys get that kind of money. I think they were counting on Bastardo, and a healthy Contreras, Stutes, and Herndon to help fill out that bullpen with Kendrick in the long role. Say what you want about Stutes and Herndon but them trying to buy you a few outs before Bastardo in the 8th and Pap in the 9th would be worlds better than turning to Savery or hoping Diekman can find the strikezone that night. Qualls isn't a bad signing either and there is a huge difference between him coming in to induce a groundball in the 7th than trying to go a full inning. People can harp about roles or why they are a myth but there is something to be said about having guys who can do one thing well for you and that makes the bullpen look much better.

The key will be how do they approach the bullpen at the deadline and next season. This year it is clear they need to do something. Next year though, do they pin their hopes on guys like Diekman and Schwimer or do they go out and sign a few veteran arms to stash away and hope one or two of them decides that will be their "on" year.

Who were these sure-bet free agent relievers of whom everyone keeps referring to? Todd "Big Pot of" Coffey? Francisco Cordero? Just not convinced. Not saying the Phils nailed it, but I don't buy the argument that the bullpen stinks because they overpaid Pap.

The larger problem could be that these guys aren't being finetuned in the farm system better.

At least if they had Coffey he and T-Mac could share bras.

2 re-posts from the end of the last thread
Posts are combined.

Hopefully today will make Rube realize he needs to refurbish the bullpen."
I don't know if bringing up Sanches and demoting Savery helps at all. What we learned though is Savery can't pitch. The 'pen needs lots of help. I doubt RAJ can pull it off though. I would not trade any of the everyday players who are impending FA's for 'pen help, because we don't have anyone to replace those players either.


"I think it's more of a ringing indictment on those who think that adding one bat to the lineup will cure the team's woes in the postseason (DPatrone and others). It's quite obvious now that that's not the case."
You wouldn't make that statement if Pence were hitting. Maybe he was the wrong player to add, I don't know. But I will tell you this, if the guys in your lineup are not performing up to their potential, In the playoffs or not, and the team loses, then in my opinion different players need to be brought in.
One could say we would have been better off right now if say Beltran were here. One could also say we'd be better off right now if we had a better 'pen. Both scenarios would be true. It all depends how the FO wants the GM to approach things. But neither scenario was approached so it's moot.
And while I agree that Pence may not be the player we all thought he is, what other options are there? Yes you could move him, but who takes his place. Certainly not Brown.
If he were good enough, he'd already be here.
I don't mind your signaling me out. But many times, I make a lot of sense. I 4 things, you don't hit, you don't win. You don't pitch and play defense well, you don't win. You have injuries to star players, you can't replace all of them, but you can't use bench players in that role either. And you can't make up losses. At some point (and maybe soon), time will run out.
I realize the problem is payroll, I get that. And I realize RAJ's hands may be tied. But I am of the opinion that you fight to fix what is broken & get what's needed. Sort everything else out later.

First let me say I love Charlie, But. This loss belongs to Charlie. I have been following baseball for 40 years. In that time I don't think I have ever seen a game won pitched by a bullpen commitee. They should have called a starter up from the minors. At least it would have given us a chance to win. We won a couple of these last year when other teams got stuck. They have complained all year that our bullpen isn't strong so why would you put them in a position to fail.

@mp...the Rays won a game just this past Sunday night against these Phillies using their bullpen.

At least Brad Lidge only gave up two runs and inning instead of 3 or 5 runs per inning. Come home Brad you are the lesser of three evils.

"But many times, I make a lot of sense."

______________________________________

When does that start?

Thank you, JW. Good post. Great point that the BP would have been in the game even if a AAA starter had come up. Also that injuries have hurt the BP and made the job of Ruben, Charlie & Dubee that much harder.

"Amaro gave Papelbon a ton of money but as JW mentions- he is a sure thing year to year."


Papelbon's contract in a year or two will be what Howard's contract looks like now. Papelbon is fading. He has lost 3 MPH off his fastball. His stuff is not nearly as good as it was 3 years ago. And its not going to likely get any better next year or the year after that.

He may work out fine this year. But what good is a 8 figures closer, if your team is fighting just to get to .500? Those type of guys for that insane money, better be pitching deep in the playoffs or in a WS. If they don't, its a colossal waste of cash.

One of the injuries that very few have talked about that is coming home to roost now, is the one to DeFratus. Of the young relievers in the system, he was thought most highly at the end of next year. Who knows what would have happened if he had gotten a extended shot this year with the team. But its a shame he got hurt when he did.

I respectfully submit the bullpen argument is very far from pointless. It is a the heart of this club's abject failure. $50mm in salary -- what, $12mm this year? -- is tied up with a pitcher who does not get sufficient opportunities to display his stuff.

The argument has been made that 2? 3? x a "shot in the dark" reliever at $4mm - $6mm annual salary would have returned a very much higher utility and many fewer blown leads. Instead we're trapped in last place, and our stud spits sunflower seed. Geesh.

Posted by: cut_fastball | Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Who are these 3 mysterious $4 million per year pitchers who would be willing to take a middle relief or set-up role with the pen?

***He has lost 3 MPH off his fastball***

More like 1-1.5 mph but yeah...

mpqaf - The Rays did it in game 2 on Sunday.

Joe D: I laughed out loud when mpqaf made that statement. Also, Toronto basically won a game in that series with a bullpen committee.

denny b. - I heard Profrock (or is it Proefrock?) say before the game yesterday that DeFratus should be back in action soon.

The right move was to hold back Cloyd if necessary for Wed as soon as they knew they had the rain out on Friday night, start Lee on Sat., and that would have enabled them to skip a start with KK before the ASB while keeping everyone else on regular rest.

Even if the team is limited in several ways right now, it is about putting the pieces you have in optimal positions to enable success. Too often this year both the manager and the FO haven't done that.

There was a certain gentleman blowing 95 mph heat by our guys last night who was wasting away in LHV this time last year. Not sure if there was a place to stash him in the pen last year, but he would certainly help.

Lee didn't want to throw on Saturday...his panties were in a bunch about how much he warmed up on Friday night.

Papelbon's contract in a year or two will be what Howard's contract looks like now. Papelbon is fading. He has lost 3 MPH off his fastball. His stuff is not nearly as good as it was 3 years ago. And its not going to likely get any better next year or the year after that.

___________________________________________

denny: That is all conjecture and that does not make it true or make it a good argument.

Besides the stats don't necessarily bare you out. Papelbon's H/9 and HR/9 went down from 2009-2011. His K/9 went up- significantly so. His walks went way down and his strikeouts went way up. It is entirely possible that he learns to be a different type of pitcher as his velocity diminishes. Worked for a guy like Trevor Hoffman.

Rays did it Sunday. Jays shut Phils out 3-0 with 8+ innings from their bullpen a week before. Jays didnt do it intentionally, whihc is usually how this happens.

I can't remember the last time Phils intentionally threw a bullpen game in hte regular season. Did a bit of digging over the last 6-7 seasons and didn;t find one. I did find this gem:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI200609022.shtml

Mathiesson started game 2 of a DH with Atlanta, struck out Pete Orr leading off, then left the game due to injury. Orr reached ona wild pitch and scored on a Larry Jones homer. Phils bullpen recorded 27 outs, led by winning pitcher Eude Brito, who was ably relieved by GC Geary, Fabio Castro and Rick White.

A FIEFDOM OF EGGHEADS!!

Another key point is we never expected to need the bullpen as much as we have.

It was fully expected that most of the time, Hamels, a healthy Halladay, and Lee could take us at least 8 innings, and then it would be Pap Time.

In that scenario, a deep and solid bullpen wouldn’t be a strategy for winning each game, but a contingency plan. So maybe the primary disappointment shouldn’t be the inability of the bullpen, but that the financial strategy of building a team around flawless starting pitching didn’t materialize as planned.

Let's hope Kendrick is feeling strong and locating pitches today.

To have your sixth starter needing to go deep into a day game on a 90 degree afternoon, because your bullpen is both lousy and worn out(except Paplebon of course) is not a good plan.

Show us we're wrong, Kyle.

Posted the other day on here. The amount of quality veteran RHP relievers this offseason was on one hand. Phils did take a run at Woods but he wasn't leaving Chicago.

Really Dotel is the only guy that fits the bill & Amaro might have gone after he had the cash flexibility. He was one guy I wouldn't have minded seeing the Phils go after.

Rodney is a guy I don't see the Phils straightening out like the Rays did this spring.

I was hoping the Phils would take a run at Cruz & had been linked to him in the past. Wound up signing Sanches instead as their veteran RHP reliever who got a minor league deal & a chance to make the club.

"This was the list of veteran FA relievers (non-closers) this offseason:

Ayala (1 yr/$925k with O's)
M. Batista (minor league deal with Mets)
Camp (1 yr/$750k with Mariners)
Coffey (1 yr/$1.3M with Dodgers)
J. Cruz (Minor league deal with Pirates)
Dotel (1 yr/$3.5M with Tigers)
Durbin (minor league deal with Nats)
Hawkins (1 yr/$3M with Angels)
Hensley (1 yr/$750k with Giants)
Hill (minor league deal with Red Sox)
Kuo (1 yr/$500k with Mariners)
MacDougal (1 yr/$1M with Dodgers)
Lidge (Minor league deal with Nats)
Mijares (1 yr/$725k with Royals)
Mota (1 yr/$1M with Giants)
Oliver (1 yr/$4M with Blue Jays)
Padilla (Minor league deal with Red Sox)
Owings (1 yr/$1M with Padres)
Rauch (1 yr/$3.5M with Mets)
Rodney (1 yr/$2M with Rays)
Saito (1 yr/$1.75M with DBacks)
Wood (1 yr/$3M with Cubs)
Zumaya (1 yr/$850k with Twins)

Not exactly a lot of help there with lots of injury bust and mediocrity. Amaro did do a nice job of picking up Valdes who has a positive contributor. Sanches was a 'miss' though in limited duty.

Oliver has been good but he was pricey too. Rodney has been very good for the Rays but they tweaked his delivery in the spring & helped him with his mechanics. Dotel might have been a solid signing as the power RHP setup guy but again he didn't come cheap and he been quite erratic the past few years.

Hawkins has a very good ERA but his peripheals stink. He wasn't isn't a guy I would have wanted the Phils to pick up under any circumstances either."

Wow. That rant was the blogging equivalent of taking your car down to Girard & setting it on fire for the insurance money. Nothing like running off a list of topics those few people who still bother to come here during an otherwise miserable season find interesting & declaring them all pointless. Might as well have signed it "clout" & told everyone to go screw. No sense in only being half-honest.

Eude Brito, Fabio Castro and Rick White. Wow. My day has been made.

Why the hell didn't Charlie just leave Qualls out there last night. Bastardo was burned last night needlessly. The only good thing I can see in all of this is that Turdle laid waste to his bullpen last night too.

Lineup: Rollins (SS), Pierre (LF), Victorino (CF), Pence (RF), Polanco (3B), Wigginton (1B), Fontenot (2B), Kratz (C), Kendrick (P).

Kratz finally has a shot at getting more ABs than call-ups.

I know, hindsight is wonderful,but when most can see a pitcher is gassed and should be removed,why can't the people in charge see it?

I wouldn't call it the 'fiefdom of eggheads.' It is just the ridiculous assertion that quality numbers at AA/AAA will translate over to success at the MLB level at a high frequency.

It assumes the players are robots who aren't influenced by pressure/emotion and that there stuff that is good enough to get AA/AAA hitters is good enough to fool MLB hitters especially guys who can jut throw fastballs by minor league hitters or get less disciplined hitters to chase their mediocre offspeed stuff.

Every MLB hitter can drive even a 93-94 MPH fastball if the pitcher leaves it out over the plate. Not the case in the minors especially at AA with players who are smaller/less physically gifted.

Where the hell is Ed Vosberg?! At least when he put men on he'd pick them off.

Some good pinch hitters on the bench today. I guess that's something.

Has anyone ever tried to organize a Beerleaguer day at the park? Or maybe a picnic? I'd pay money to attend.

Yeah they'll need those pinch hitters often as they keep burning through this steaming heap of a bullpen.

He left Qualls out there simply because he needed him to finish the inning. The head-scratcher was leaving Savery out there much longer than he had at any point this year & giving up a ton of runs in the process.

Jeff Skversky ‏@JeffSkversky
Phillies RHP Chad Qualls was designated for assignment today. LHP Jeremy Horst had his contract selected from Lehigh Valley (AAA)

via Zolecki on Twitter:

"Qualls designated for assignment."

Zolecki: "Qualls designated for assignment."

:-D

This day is looking up!

"The larger problem could be that these guys aren't being finetuned in the farm system better.

Posted by: Joe D | Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM"

YES.
All of these bullpen youngsters have big, MLB-caliber arms. They are old enough to have developed secondary pitches, developed better command, developed mindset/mound presence/situational acumen. But it hasn't happened. Sure, I realize that the road to the majors is littered with big arms who couldn't develop these skills; but, not a one of these guys looked prepared for the jump to the big club.

Rube has pulled off the 'big splash' GM moves. But on the more difficult, finer points of the job - player development, finding hidden gems, etc. - he is failing. He also doesn't seem good at executing a longer term plan to sustain success.

Rube inherited this job with championship core on the big club, top third talent on the farm, and top 5 payroll. And now........

The Phillies really scooped up 2 absolute gems from the 2007 first round. Aumont and Savery.

Muuurgh: It'll never work. Eggheads don't leave their mother's basements.

Nice post, JW.

I believe it was yesterday that I called Qualls their 3d most reliable reliever. I simultaneously affirm that statement and celebrate the decision to DFA him.

Biggest news (in terms of my personal enjoyment for the week)

1. Martinez being sent down
2. Qualls being DFA'd
3. Utley returning

Seriously.

Qualls is out!

DFA!!

I also like how much of last yesterday was consumed by arguments about how much better off the team would have been if they had brought up yet another minor leaguer to pitch.

Then to top it off, the arguments where that the reason it would have been better was so that the AAA relievers that stank it up last night would have been more rested so they could stink it up today.

Joe D: Agreed. Utley was gonna return eventually. Those first two are like Christmas come early.

I was at the last game played in Phillies red by Qualls, Abreu and Mesa. Fascinating, I know.

Qualls/Savery Gone
Sanches/Horst In?


So, basically its "the king is dead....long live the king!"

I dont really see a net improvement on those moves.

And now the Horst for Valdez trade can finally be evaluated.

While I fully support the spirit of sending 2 utterly deserving players packing after last night's debacle, I find it difficult to believe that Jeremy Horst is the answer to our problems. Nonetheless, there is a certain symmetry to calling him up as Qualls' replacement. Horst, after all, was the guy we got for Wilson Valdez and the Qualls and Valdez moves somehow always felt joined at the hip -- kind of like the Halladay trade & the first Cliff Lee trade.

Will Qualls actually accept his assignment to Lehigh or will he just say screw it and retire/test free agency?

For me I don't even care who it is anymore as long as it is different face trying to get outs. With this line of thinking in mind I think I change my stance on Lidge. I'm willing to bite the bullet and watch him float fastballs up there.

New, Pointless Discussion ==>

Kind od like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic but it does feel a bit like frontier justice too.

"For me I don't even care who it is anymore as long as it is different face trying to get outs. With this line of thinking in mind I think I change my stance on Lidge. I'm willing to bite the bullet and watch him float fastballs up there."

I actually agree with Joe D there. Even if it's irrational, somehow it's better watching someone else fail than watching the same people fail over and over.

The failing of the young arms in the bullpen reminds me of last year with Mathieson and Zagurski who were dominant in AAA, just getting hammered in the majors. I expected Bastardo to be good since his problems were injuries. Stutes was the big surprise. Herndon looked good at the end of last year.

With the starting pitching, Bastardo and Paplebon I thought the bullpen could close out wins. One of Qualls/Contreras/Herndon/Stutes might be the 7th inning guy as relievers are fickle. Kendrick was the long man. With Schwimer, Savery, and DeFratus as the mid season replacements.

The big miss was expecting something from Contreras. If he was not under contract maybe the Phillies do go after a better guy than Qualls. Maybe Diekman is the surprise guy this year.

Sanches for Savery makes sense. I do not understand the Qualls/Horst decision. Qualls is paid for and is really the only experienced guy in the pen. If they needed a 40-man roster spot just DFA Martinez.

I suspect that they want Qualls to work on something specific in a lower leverage situation.

Still dead.

Phlipper -- His resume?

When PPP saw the breadth of his roster he wept for there were no more pants to pee in.

Please send Qualls, MiniMart and Schwimer to me immediately.

-GM of Yakault Swallows (he was drunk faxing Rube)

The bigger issue is that the Phils don't develop their minor leaguers fast enough, and when they do they leave them in the farm system to rot or trade them. Charlie obviously doen't like having younger players on the roster.
Look at the guys who could help this year but aren't being given a chance: Ruf, Overbeck, Brown, Cloyd, Friend, Hernandez, even Rich Thompson. They clearly view their minors as trade assets only.
Now maybe new farm guy Joe Jordan will change that. They have been aggresively promoting guys recently (Myers, Cloyd, Martinez) so maybe that will change.

i cannot understand the fact the phillies have greg gross as hitting instructor, manuel as manager a prior hitting instructor and the philly players have absolutely no discipline at the plate. they swing at pitches outside the strike zone and take pitches right over the plate. instead of hitting their pitch they try to hit the pitchers pitch. always ends in failure.

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