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Monday, August 27, 2012



All the Phillies had to do was tread water in the first half, like many said. But instead they went on to play one of the worst months the franchise has had in decades.

As much as I'd love a nice miracle run, I just think the hurdle is way too big. They're playing very good baseball lately but I urge fans not to do this to themselves. Accept where the team is at this season which is out of the race but inspired for the future.

What's up with Michael Schwimmer? This is one of the oddest stories of the season. Guy always seems so high-strung on nthe mound, and then there's the Twitter stuff, and now this. Rarely if ever have I seen a player so marginal conduct himself with less trepidation. The Phillies traditionally don't give much of a leash to guys like this; I'd be surprised if he pitches for them again.

Why can't us!!

RSB - Agreed. Looks like Schwimer deleted some of his tweets the past week too.

Anything less than 10-3 over the next 13 of this soft portion of the schedule and you can forget about it... But go at least 10-3 to get over .500 with 22 to play and it could get interesting. Hell, the pychology of a veteran Phillies team firing on all cylinders this late in the season might be a a bit detrimental to the teams we are chasing. And I agree, this is a long shot at best, but if you've spent your life watching a team since you were five, and still followed closely during the meaningless summers of the mid 80's to early 2000's, (sans '93) why give up now?

Don't miss any of the guys they traded:

Pence: (109 PAs) - .214/.266/.316 with 1 HR and a 67 OPS+

Vic: (103 PAs) - .255/.307/.351 with 1 HR and a 82 OPS+

Blanton: 4 GS, 21 IP, 0-3, 7.71 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 1.7 HR/9, 3.3 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

Agreed on Schwimer. Marginal talent at best who's burning all his bridges. They'll probably dump him.

Is Blanton in the bullpen now?

MG, wow. Barring a September or post season surge, Vic returning here on the cheap (relatively speaking) seems more plausible by the day. The questions is, do you even want him? If he ends the year like this, I offer him a one year deal on the cheap, allowing him the chance to again play for a big contract.

Remember the Phillies would have to overtake at least one of these teams: the Braves, the Cards, the Dodgers, the Giants, or even the Pirates. It is highly unlikely that all of them will roll over.

Considering he's playing for a contract right now and struggling, I wouldn't be optimistic about Vic next year. Pass.

Wish I'd been around yesterday to join the prospect discussion. Read and agree mostly with BAP's analysis.

Among other things he posted that i agree with is that Valle doesn't deserve to be ahead of Joseph and Dugan should be on the list.

Regarding Cloyd, he's a Kendrick clone, which is one reason he's not ranked particularly high. A bigger reason is his age. KK was pitching in the big leagues at age 22 and ranked 15th in BA's Top 30 Phillies prospect list (at a time when the team had a better farm system). Cloyd is 25 and was unranked by BA.

JW - Don't think so since Billingsley is out now.


Iceman, the teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings which they have the best 'chance' of catching are the Cards, Dodgers and Pirates (though the latter two are technically 'out of it' at the moment).

The Cards are on an 89 win pace
The Dodgers are on an 87 win pace
The Pirates are on an 87 win pace.

Ass-u-ming they all play out at their current pace, to best the Cards and get the 5th WC the Phillies would need to go 29 - 5 [.853], and go 28 - 6 [.824] to tie.

How many times in MLB history has a team finished the season like that?

Posted by: awh | Monday, August 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM

lorecore's spot on. The team just needed to tread water before the ASB, instead the team drowned.

@magelb: Good news, Phillies fans: updated wild card probabilities. Phillies went from less than 0.1 percent to 0.1 percent.

P.S. What happened to 2nd half Blanton? He's supposed to be good right now.

They went from 3 over .500 to 14 under in 6 weeks.

They did more than drown, they dragged the lifeguard under the water too.

I also like, and I think BAP did too, JW's gutsy inclusion of Roman Quinn in his Top 10. Nine triples and 27 SBs in 56 games get my attention. He's also slightly younger than most in the league.

(That URL is for

Awh, if memory serves, when we beat the Rockies in 2009, didn't they finish the season winning 19 in a row, 21 of 22 or somethig absurd?

Vic's has had a down year. There's no doubt about that. His numbers are closer to 2010:

2010 - .259/.327/.429 with 18 HRs (101 OPS+)
2011 - .279/.355/.491 with 17 HRs (129 OPS+)
2012 - .260/.321/.391 with 10 HRs (92 OPS+)

For what it is worth, he is having his worst year defensively too using various stats since he moved to CF. Strikes me as a guy that should be moved to RF sooner than later.

Likely that Vic is a player on the decline. Just a question of how the market pans out for him. Imagine he will be seeking a 3 or 4 yr deal at double digit figures. With Cabrera being a huge question mark, he might get it.

Imagine that Upton might get a longer deal (another year or so) but the dollar value of the two will be similiar.

If Ellsbury hits the market, it puts another player out there who hurts Vic's value.

I would imagine that Vic gets a 3-yr/$27-30M deal with an option.

They actually did tread water for the first two months. At the end of May, they had a winning record and were only 3 games out of the division lead. Not the Wild Card. The division lead. Then they proceeded to go 10-26 over their next 36 games -- losing 12 games in the standings along the way. The good news is that they have 34 games left -- just two fewer than it took them to lose those 12 games in the standings. If they can gain all 12 games back, they'll only lose the division by 5 games.

MG, Ellsbury hit waivers Friday, we should know today if a claim was put on for him. Health issues, but yes, please.

Ellsbury? The Dodgers should put in a claim and use him as a 4th OF next year.

clout: Yep, Quinn has been very impressive. His speed is a huge asset and he has hit for good average & shown a good batting eye. Hopefully, he can learn to field in the next year or two so they can keep him at SS. He has definitely been the brightest light in a 2011 draft class that, as a whole, has looked pretty good in the early going.

Awh, if memory serves, when we beat the Rockies in 2009, didn't they finish the season winning 19 in a row, 21 of 22 or somethig absurd?

Posted by: pblunts | Monday, August 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

This isn't true they won like 17 of 18 or something in July, but had a winning record at the break and finished real strong overall in the second half. I think you might be thinking of 2007 when they went 14-1 (including a game 163 win).

If Rube doesn't put a claim on Ellsbury, I am going to be pissed.

pblunts: That was 2007, when the Rockies wont 22 of their last 23 i believe, and beat the Phillies after their similiar hot streak towards the end.

KK pitched in and out of trouble all season long, got into trouble in Game2, and Manuel panicked by going to Lohse on short rest to relieve him. He then served up a Kaz Matsui salami and then series was basically over.

The 2nd WC will likely need 89 wins (based on past years records and this year's contenders). Sure, it could be 88 or 90. But let's assume 89.

That means the Phils need to go 28-6 from here out.

Aything can happen, but I'll be impressed if they can go 20-14 and finish at 0.500.

Its a shame that Rube basically sat back and watched the season die rather than make any moves at all in June/early July.

@Pblunts' comment in the story: what about all of the times that he has been used in tie games and non-save situations where he has not thrown well at all? Perhaps he is better off only throwing in the save situations?

I am unfamiliar with Ellsbury, outside his complete onslaught last season sandwiched around injuries before and after.

He has hardly accrued service time since 2011 breakout, so his arbitration number shouldn't be much higher than the $8M he already got. How is his defense and are the injuries the same problem, or separate incidents? Do they pose a hindrance on his speed going forward?

What were Schwimmer's outlandish tweets about?

I think Rube has to put a claim in on Ellsbury at this point. Granted he's only played 48 games this year, but he would be a nice addition for the stretch run. He could make a difference on this team that features a a prospect figuring out MBL and collection of 4th and 5th outfielders.

It'll be interesting to see which direction the Phils are moving. If they think they have a chance at that second WC spot (and I believe they do feel that way), Ellsbury would be a nice piece to add. Especially since he's been playing pretty well of late.

*MLB, obviously.

Ellsbury is only 28...that's a little young for a guy that wants to be a starter for Amaro.

There's 2011 Ellsbury, which any team would pay any amount of money to have, and then there's everything else Ellsbury, who's just another guy.

Which Ellsbury are you getting?

That we're even having a discussion involving playoffs is a least a small testament to the team and to Charlie. Not so much to Amaro who has done nothing to help this team to the playoffs. He made no incremental moves when this team began its struggles in the early summer and then dumped players at the trade deadline.

Can really blame him for the latter, but the latter only happened because he was responsible for the former.

Fatalotti: I think "everything else Ellsbury" would serve our purposes just fine. 2010 was his only "bad year," where he played 18 games and had 48 PAs due to injury.

I'd take the '08, '09 and '12 versions in a heartbeat.

Ellsbury is only 28...that's a little young for a guy that wants to be a starter for Amaro.

Very funny. And, unfortunately, seemingly true.

Everything else Ellsbury was still a damn good player, though obviously not as good as the testosterone-enhanced, er, I mean 2011 Ellsbury.

The Phils need someone with good drugs. Obviously Freddy Galvis' sucked.

I think everything else Ellsbury is about a league average player.

2008: fWAR: 4.3 - bWAR: 2.7
2009: fWAR: 2.5 - bWAR: 2.5
2010: He only played in 18 games due to an injury

The reason the 2008 fWAR is so high is because they have his defense as off the charts good (better than anything he's ever done), so it may be a bit higher than actually reflecting reality.

Love Ellsbury but the guy makes Michael Vick look like Lou Gehrig.

Apparently testosterone is the new drug of choice. It works and it can be administered in small quantities that are enough to enhance performance, but not enough to exceed the 4:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio that is the cutoff for the test to be deemed positive. Hopefully some of our players will catch on.

Ellsbury kills dogs and has a terminal illness?

ha - i was thinking the same thing. Vick and Gehrig bring to mind much different things at first than injury prone and reliable.

Fatalotti: Isn't a league average CF what this team needs right now? That's my point, I think he'd be a good fit for this team right now.

donc: What?

Ironically, Pride of the Yankees was on tv yesterday.

I don't much believe in WAR, but what's a league average WAR for a centerfielder? Seems to me that, in the 3 full seasons in which he has managed to stay healthy all year, Ellsbury was fantastic in one, decidedly above average in another, and about average in the third. That adds up to a player who is considerably above average, especially since his numbers have been getting better each year -- when he's healthy, that is.

Very Good Nepp.

Went to the Pigs game on Saturday night. Was very interested to see Valle. He had a very disappointing night. Gave away two abs by swinging at crap and looked very disinterested. Let a ball get by him for either a WP or PB. Not sure how they scored it but he should have had it form where I was sitting. All in all a very dreary night for him. I know it was just one night but that bumbed me out even more than Jason Pridie getting tossed. Hell, when you pay $15 for a seat, you want to see the stars play. That had me feeling like the King of the Bop.

RBill: My way of saying that Ellsbury is a tad dainty.

RBill, I'm not saying I'm against Ellsbury, I'm just wonder who we think we'd get. An excellent defensive CF (which is what he's perceived to be) who can swipe lots of bag at a high clip, and has the potential to be a damn good hitter is a great player.

I'm just wonder if we think he's a superstar, an All Star, a good player, or overrated.

My tickets on wednesday vs Mets in sec 430 are currently going for $1.99 on stubhub...and they can't sell.

Ellsbury would need to get through the whole American League and 7 National League teams to be avaliable for the Phil's to claim. Does anybody think that's happening?

Yeah Ellsbury's numbers from last year look just a shall I say it...askew?

Agreed, that Ellsbury should be claimed, especially if what the Sox are asking isn't too out there. The platoon thing out there can get old really fast, and it would be nice to have another player under 30 in the lineup....

My tickets on wednesday vs Mets in sec 430 are currently going for $1.99 on stubhub...and they can't sell.

Posted by: lorecore | Monday, August 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Just for fun(?), you should buy them yourself; then you can pay both the 10% buyer's fee and the 15% seller's fee that stubhub pockets......I haven't had much luck selling since the June Swoon; would rather give them away, but even that has been a challenge. Best support of the Economics 101 theiry going.


Fat: I can't speak for "we," but I think we'd get an excellent defensive CF who can get on base and swipe a bag or two. I don't think he's an All Star caliber player, but that's necessarily what I think the Phils need. I think that would be an improvement over what we have there now. I also, like that Mayberry can once again be used strictly against LHP (starting or off the bench).

I think there's value in picking up Ellsbury, if possible.

There were a lot of no-shows yesterday in the 400 level around the ball park. What was odd was how many people showed up late. CBP really didn't fill up until the end of the 2nd inning/start of the 3rd. It was like going to a Dodgers' game.

Is Ellsbury injury problem with his legs?

In 2009/9, he played in 298 games and had 120 SB with 23 CS - 84% success. He'd fit right in with the Phillies.

In the last 3 seasons in which he's played a mere 228 games, he's had 55 SB and 17 CS - 76% success. Still good, but a decline in success in both volume and percentage.

donc - I had the same experience with Valle every time I've seen him play. He must have better games do be getting the attention he's getting. But what I saw was not impressive.

Ironically, Pride of the Yankees was on tv yesterday.

Posted by: NEPP | Monday, August 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM

NEPP must be the ghost of Andy Musser. Ahem, coincidentally, Andy, coincidentally.

lorecore: are they aisle seats?

sil: no, those are going for like a whole $3.

RBill, true we don't need a superstar, but the Red Sox may want a superstar type package for him. It's all moot, since there is very little chance he falls all the way to us to even make a claim on him.

Valle has 17 homeruns, and I assume that all 17 of them were impressive. His other 373 PAs have not been so impressive.

If anyone has a CF that is on contract for 2013 that they're not in love with, it'd be a good idea to float them on waivers. Deep CF class, even without Melky as an attractive option as before.

I am very surprised that Vic is doing so poorly still. I was one of the group who thought he would have a good 2nd half, whether it be here or elsewhere. Its starting to make me think twice about my feelings that he'll bounce back in 2013 as well.

I saw MG estimated a 3yr/$27-30M deal for him...I think lower. 2yr/~$16M sounds more realistic to me with his numbers as is.

"I'm just wonder if we think he's a superstar, an All Star, a good player, or overrated."

Fatti, that depends on one thing..........his health.

BTW, fellow BLrs, I know that Ellsbury is an intriguing option, but unless I'm wholly convinced his health problems are behind him, I'm not sure that a team with...

Halladay, Howard, Utley, Lee, Worley, and Chooch - all players who are IMHO significant injury risks in 2013 -

ought to add another guy who's a greater injury risk than normal to a bunch of guys who are, collectively, likely to miss some time next season.

Based on Valle's K% history and BB% as he's moved through the minors, I'd expect his numbers to be around a 40% K% in the majors and a 1.5% BB%.

In other words, he'd better be the best defensive catcher in history to survive.

lorecore, Vic is making $9.5MM this season.

He plays a premium defensive position at GG level, and will probably be able to get at least 3 - 4 years.

The question is at what AAV?

awh, even in 2008 and 2009, when he played nearly 150 games in each season, there's evidence to show that the was merely a slightly above average player, if not just an average player.

So, if healthy, is he a superstar, All-Star or merely an average player?

Also, will he stay healthy?

Lots of ?s

awh, does he still play CF at a gold glove level? There's reason to believe that his defense has slipped this year.

awh: Rank the CF FA in terms of defense. Vic isn't in the top 3 I don't believe. He surely isn't in the top 3 in offense either. And he's also outside the top 3 in age.

You have to compare him to the options available, i don't see a raise in AAV or a non-option year deal longer than 2 years.

Make a case that Vic isn't a GG-caliber CF (means to me one of the best 4-5 defensive CFs in MLB) anymore and that he certainly won't be moving ahead forward

So now, we have the 2012 version of the old Abreu debate.

Are the Phillies winning in spite of the loss of Victorino/Pence/Blanton, or does their departure contribute to our improvement?

Yeah. The word I would use to describe Valle the other night was "disinterested". He looked like he was just going through the motions. I find it difficult to believe that a 22 year old one step from the show would be look so unmotivated, but that sure is what it looked like. He can't look like that all the time or we would never have heard of him.

Odds are still incredibly slim but I am just so relieved to watch some competent baseball.

lorecore, all I said is the number of years he gets will depend on the AAV.

For instance (and this is not a prediction but merely an extreme example) IMO Vic could get 5 years if he's willing to work for less money, i.e. 5 yrs/30 MM.

Granted, it probably will not work out that way, but the tradeoff has always been along those lines.

Will Schweitzer: Not sure that will be the discussion. Abreu had a reputation (warranted or not) of being a poor clubhouse influence and someone who may have hindered the emergence of the younger players. I think it's ludicrous. Had the Phillies kept Abreu they may have made the playoffs that year.

It's possible a similar scenario plays out this year. If we come up just short (which would be a miracle unto itself), we may wish we had Pence and Vic in our lineup.

Fatti, my point about Ellsbury is that at this juncture his health will determine almost everthing.

An unhealthy Ellsbury isn't even a slightly above average player, much less a candidate to repeat his 2011 season.

That's all.

KAS, a great deal of teh Phillies 2006 late season surge was due to Ryan Howard's utter domination after the trade deadline.

This is waht Howie did from August 1st onward:

.365/.513/.750, 23 HR, 62 (meaningless) RBI's

Had Abreu been in the lineup as well it's possible they would have made the playoffs.

I'm not saying that Victorino and Pence are a poor clubhouse influence, but an argument could be made that they aren't the most disciplined or intelligent players on the field.

donc- I saw Valle play 2 games this summer for Reading in Portland, and couldn't put a word to how he looked until you hit on "disinterested" Perfect. He hit two balls hard for doubles and that was it. Portland stole 5 bases the first game, which wasn't entirely his fault as Rodriguez was all over the place, but when he did get a throw off, it didn't look like much. SSS aside, what's the buzz about at this point?

Issue for Vic is I imagine is going to want a raise over the $9.5M he is making his year over the life of his next contract.

He might take a slightly lower salary next year if AAV value of his next deal is say 10/10.5M.

A lot of the slip in his numbers have been his crummy numbers as LHB vs RHP. Hard to believe that he couldn't have better numbers vs RHP as a RHP than this the past 3 years:

2012: .244/.303/.353 or .656 OPS (384 PAs)
2011: .270/.333/.455 or .787 OPS (438 PAs)
2010: .233/.305/.376 or .681 OPS (456 PAs)

Had a huge split that is over 200 pts since '10. Any team that signs him should try to convince him to give up batting LHB entirely. Find it hard to believe that he wouldn't improve a bit batting RH vs RHP. At least an OPS at say .700 or so.

Doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize that the overwhelmingly majority of his ABs are LH. Even with a 10-15 OPS bump this year, Vic goes to being at least league average in CF.

Will Schweitzer: That's fair... although there are plenty of criticisms of Dom's baseball acumen in the field.

Of course, I'm not sure lack of discipline or intelligence was our downfall this year... unless we're talking about the questionable moves of our GM.

Yes! Disinterested is the perfect word to describe Valle when I saw him.


I think a big turning point in the Phils' offseason plans will be Kevin Youkilis's option being picked up or not. He's the only 3B worth a damn that may be available. He obviously comes with his own set of flaws, but he's literally in a class of himself when compared to other available 3B.

Wow. That's startling. Three of us all saw the same thing. I was looking at my girlfriend and saying I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I just chalked it up to a bad night. No wonder we got Tommy Joseph.

I would caution folks to draw too much from the reading of body language at a couple of minor league games.

Valle went from an 18 year old low A-ball to a 21 year old in AAA. You don't exactly do that by being "disinterested." He's shown growth at the plate and has a reputation of handling pitchers well.

I can't find a single write-up anywhere questioning his commitment or attitude.

Just trying to temper the "eye test" opinions.

I believe I recently read a blurb where a Phils scout said that very same thing about Valle. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like "concerned about him being lackadaisical". Apparently, they really really like Joseph.

I'd love for the team to take a shot on Ellsbury if the price is reasonable. At the same time, with the FA CF market saturated with players, I certainly wouldn't pay out the nose with talent when you can get someone else for straight cash in the offseason. Is Ellsbury a better producer than, say, BJ Upton. . . yeah. But Upton is a better bet to stay healthy for a whole season.

Thanks for the advice KAS. Not sure what you see in his numbers that represent growth at the plate. The only numbers trending upward for him are HR's. Everything else seems to be deteriorating except for K's that is.

If anyone says that the Phillies should have held onto Victorino or Pence in order to try for a .01 % chance at the playoffs, they are an idiot.

Mike Schmidt was "disinterested" all the way to being the best 3B of all time.

And by the way, the odds of a playoff spot are still less than 1%. So, you know.

Would have been nice to see Valle be able to repeat AA next year and see if his numbers were going to show the improvement you'd look for in a player repeating a level at the right age, but Joseph is forcing him into AAA, and Ruiz is a free agent after 2013. Valle's got a big test in AAA as a 22yr old to see if he's going to get a shot.

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