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Thursday, September 06, 2012


I voted for "A risky assumption" -- but only because "The dumbest idea in the history of baseball" wasn't an option.

Moving Utley to third has disaster written all over it. He's still a good defensive 2B by my eyes, and by most metrics. Nowhere near his heyday, but certainly good enough. His bat is still great-to-elite for a 2B in the majors.

And not to sound callous, but next year is his last year on the deal. I'm not sure that moving him to third base will add years to his career, even if it did prolong it in some sense. He has more value at 2B for the Phillies next year then anywhere on the diamond, and with only 1 year left on his deal, it's best to extract as much value out of him as humanly possible.

To use Ut's minor league success, or lack thereof, to determine how effective he'd be at 3B would be misleading. Yes, he committed more than double the errors in '02 at third than he did in '03 when back at 2B, but he's a far more mature player now, etc. etc. Plus he seems quite willing, and how could a full season of Utley at 3B be worse than half of season of balky-kneed production at 2B? Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.

1) Why is Utley doing this? Is it because teammates Wigginton, Frandsen and Fontenot gave it a shot? Is he trying to add to his value after this contract? Is he bored? Is it smoke and mirrors to shield us from diminishing plate production (though there are some good things if you read through the tea leaves--higher slugging and good obp, but is he a number 3?--no!).

2) Yes, it's risky. I don't think he can make the throws. If the Phillies buy into this and bring in his replacement at second, the move could backfire (and jeopardize his future in Philly).

How many other established players would initiate something like this? No matter what, let's recognize that.

If they were to trade Lee for Pedroia as some have rumored, it would make far more sense to move Pedroia to 3B as he is a former SS.

Moving Utley is moronic.

I do give Utley props for trying it at least.

Whoever thinks this is a good idea, please tell me who plays 2B next year.

The only possible advantage i can think of is that the position change really does help Utley's knees and he plays all year. I don't really see how thats possible, but if it does, then I'm sold.

Zudok, Chase Utley is, and has always been, the consummate professional, and a model baseball player. And if it's simply a question of putting in the work that would make him a good fit at 3B, you'd better believe he'd do the work. But one cannot change one's ability to suddenly have a strong arm at 34, nor can most baseball players pick up a new position and be good at it 10 years into their career.

I give him credit for being willing to do whatever it takes to help the team going forward, but let's hope the team doesn't make the mistake of attempting this.

"Whoever thinks this is a good idea, please tell me who plays 2B next year."

Well, it's fairly obvious that they're grooming MiniMart to be an everyday player.

***Well, it's fairly obvious that they're grooming MiniMart to be an everyday player. ***

Which is why Mini Mart is deliberately driving his batting average down to make other NL East teams underestimate us in 2013...pure rope-a-dope by Mini-Mart, UC and Rube there.

I'm in the middle on the idea. If the idea is to move Utley to third and sign a free agent second baseman (like a Kelly Johnson) and have Frandsen and Galvis on the bench I can warm to the idea.

If the idea is to move Utley to third and play Galvis at second I am much less high on it.

speaking of Rule 5, Lendy Castillo has pitched 20IP in the minors for the Cubs...did the Phillies just keep the $50k and let them keep him?

He got shelled in the bigs after never playing above low A ball for the phils...what a surprise...but he's back in the minors with a sub 1 ERA and WHIP, and 22K in 20 IP.

I figured the reason to move Utley to 3B would be to fill 2B with a free agent, assuming the market there is better than that for 3B. Either that, or the Phillies hope to have Galvis play 2B, which he fields wonderfully, but which doesn't help us score runs.

Here's the FA list of 2Bmen, per * means they have an option.

Second Basemen
Jeff Baker
Robinson Cano *
Mike Fontenot
Orlando Hudson *
Maicer Izturis
Kelly Johnson
Adam Kennedy
Jeff Keppinger
Jose Lopez
Freddy Sanchez
Ryan Theriot

If the idea is just to use Galvis at 2B, I think it's dumb to move Utley to 3B since Galvis could probably transition there better (although he'd be like Polanco in terms of productivity).

Unless, as others have suggested, playing 3B would preserve Utley's knees. Which is plausible.

Is the 3B market better for 2014?

my counter to a FA 2b would be... why not just move them to third, and keep the uncertainty isolated to one player/position instead of two.

Color me completely and utterly uninspired by the 2B FA market in 2013.

Even if Kelly Johnson isn't a complete waste of life, he still doesn't offer much in the way of confidence.

"Even if Kelly Johnson isn't a complete waste of life, he still doesn't offer much in the way of confidence."

He's worlds better than Galvis. He would be a useful player, and he's a candidate for a bounce-back year.

Unfortunately he's the only guy worth acquiring, and even then, I don't think the FO would look past Galvis. Which makes this move an incredibly dumb idea.

I'm not even against giving him a look just to know if it's a possibility. That wouldn't hurt anything. But if the idea isn't to upgrade at 2B, we might as well just teach Galvis third base.

I'm going to move Utley to 3rd and trade for Pedroia.

Ice, being worlds better than Galvis can be said of a large portion of 2B players. Galvis needs to prove he can hit ML pitching before he should even be an option to do anything on this team, even be a utility player. So, he's not the baseline against which I'll judge FA targets. I get your point, but just making mine.

Also, what does it mean that Johnson is a "candidate for a bounce-back year"?

As many others have suggested, the only plus here has to do with Utley's knees.

Can anyone with any shred of expertise explain how playing 3B is a dramatic different in the health of Chase's knees as compared to 2B? I guess you don't have to go left to right and right to left as much, but I don't know. Much obliged to anyone with insight on this being a credible reason to move Utley to third.

If the decision is that Galvis will be in the infield next year, then it makes sense to see if Utley can play third because Galvis' glove is world's better than Utley's and 2B is a much more important defensive position.

I'm not, however, convinced Utley can effectively play 3B.

Y are they going to sign a second basemen. When they have one of the top ten in all of minor baseball. The only way I trade lee would be for beltre. Or a player in that range. That isn't happening. This team needs SP to remain competitive. And with the way doc is this could be his last year (2013). I would focus On filling the CF and corner position. Tyson one more year in AAA. He could start like Vic did and move into a starting role later. We will get all the answers when rube gives his state of team conference later!!!

Re: The bullpen

I really wonder how much the Phils will address this area in the offseason. Amaro's never been good at it anyway, so maybe this is nothing new, but at least there are some young promising arms. Here's where we stand:


They look a lot like locks at this point unless they feel like Bastardo has lost it, although a 13.6 K/9 is nothing to sneeze at.

Herndon and Stutes?

They're coming off injuries and will have to prove their worth.

Aumont and De Fratus?

Two young guns. Will they earn their spots?

The long man?

Looks more and more like KK has earned his spot in the rotation next year.

I just don't see Amaro spending much money to go after a traditional set-up man (like Madson had been for years).

Phils won't go after a 3B on a multi-year deal. Amaro believes Asche will be up with the club in 2014.

Speaking of DeFratus, when I was at the game on Tuesday, we got in early to watch the Reds and Phillies hit BP. During the Phillies BP, Aumont, LeRud and DeFratus were the 3 players in LF shagging balls.

DeFratus kept coming over and talking to us. i think, initially, we yelled out his name and said something to him, just like we did with every Phillies player that walked near us. Most ignored us. No big deal.

But DeFratus was absolutely reveling in the fanfare. He was talking to anyone who would listen in that OF, and would constantly work his way back to the wall to strike up a conversation with us and others around us. It was a neat experience, because the smile on his face was huge. Could really tell that he was cherishing his experience.

The only 3B that could even ask for a multiyear deal with a straight face is Youkilis, and he's under an option anyway.

Rearranging the same cast of players who brought us this disasterous season won't fix anything, particularly if it means adding Freddy Galvis' inept bat to the lineup.

For the record, I think the idea of putting Freddy Galvis in the starting lineup is every bit as dumb as the idea of moving Utley to 3rd. But if that is indeed the plan, then moving Utley to 3rd, keeping Rollins at SS, and putting Galvis at 2nd would be the worst possible configuration of those 3 infielders, other than playing Utley at SS. The configuration should be Utley at 2b, Rollins at 3rd and Galvis at SS. That said, I can't emphasize enough that having Freddy Galvis in the starting lineup, on an offensively challenged team, is a horrendous idea.

lore: Keppinger can definitely get a 2-year deal.

Hitman: Not the craziest suggestion that the current cast with some minor additions can get it done next year. This team has been mostly healthy in the 2nd half and has a .580 win percentage (94 win pace).

Ah, father and son with back-to-back posts, both ripping apart an idea on the same grounds.

Warms your heart.

bap: well ill be damned, i had no idea keppinger's year was that good. Him and Chavez are picking great years to show up with such a down market.

bay_area_phan: Why wouldn't you put the worst defensive player of the three at 3B? I mean if the assumption is that all three players can play 3B (and I'm not saying that's true), then you put your worst glove at 3B, which is Utley.

If moving Utley to 3B is so that Galvis can play 2B, that doesn't work for me. Why have 2 guys out of position when you can keep it to 1? Move Galvis to 3B and keep Utley at 2B; Galvis probably has a better arm for 3B anyway.

I'd keep Utley at 2B and keep 3B under cheap, house control (Galvis/Frandsen platoon) for a season, because I don't like the 2B or 3B FA market. I DO NOT want Youk for a season - that's Wigginton 2.0 right there. Use the money saved and go for 2 big-time OFers and bullpen help.

Galvis starting at any infield position is a bad idea. He can't he and most likely will not hit. His on base skills are horrible and always have been. He plays terrific defense, but that's not enough to justify a starting gig with a bat as bad as his...unless you're on the Astros or Mariners.

Mayberry is playing himself into a big role with the club next year. He's hitting again and plays good defense.

Brown just doesn't seem to be that good. I don't see what everyone was so excited about a couple season ago, it doesn't seem to be there anymore.

Schierholz can go by the wayside for all I care. I'd rather have Pierre back.

KAS: Seems pretty intuitive to me that the guy with the best range (Galvis) goes to SS, the guy with the best arm (Rollins) goes to 3rd, and the guy with the weakest arm (Utley) goes to 2nd.

And, because this is Beerleaguer, where what you said 30 seconds ago doesn't count unless you say it again, again let me emphasize that I would be appalled with any lineup which has Freddy Galvis as a starter. I am simply making the observation that the idea of moving Utley to 3rd, and playing Galvis at 2nd, is idiotic even on its own terms. You'd not only be putting Galvis in the lineup but you'd be configuring your 3 infielders in a way that would be decidedly less than optimal from a defensive standpoint.

bay_area_phan: I agree that this team is better finding an option other than Galvis in their starting infield. I'm just saying that if it's determined that Utley can handle 3B, it makes the most sense to have your 2 best defenders up the middle.

Galvis did not look out of position when playing second this year.

Just chiming in to echo those that have said moving Utley to insert Galvis anywhere in the starting lineup is a poor idea. He doesn't hit well enough to justify his defense - unless Rube goes out and gets an outfield full of bashers to go with it.

My Negadelphia expectations are that Galvis gets next spring to "win" a starting job, and disappoints offensively - leaving the Phillies out of options to fill the spot.

It's a terrible idea, not the least of which because it guarantees Galvis starting at 2B in '13. I also do not trust Utley's arm, nor do I buy into the "easier on the knees" claim. The Phillies would be better off giving Frandsen the 3B job than continuing w/ this bad joke of an experiment.

Kelly Johnson may be a "bounce-back" candidate in that his OPS+ in the NL (~6 yrs) is 110 and his ~2 years in the AL, it was 88. He had a "monster" 2010 in Arizona (OPS+ of 127) and will be 31 next season.

This is not a guarantee he will actually bounce, but if I were looking to identify a buy-low candidate (coming off a dismal year) at 2B with a decent shot at getting into the OPS+ range of say, 105-110... Kelly Johnson would fit that profile.

Correction: Johnson's NL OPS+ was 106, not 110. Maybe I should predict him simply getting north of 100 in a return to the NL at age 31.

Then it's just a question of what's that worth. He may be looking for short term deal to reestablish his value. If you can pay him accordingly, he could be a good value.

Mick 0- yeah, I think I meant he's more of a buy-low guy. Used the wrong term.

But I think, looking at his peripherals this year, and given he'll only be 31, I think it's a good bet that he bounces back at least a little bit next year, and the line he gave this year is not the type of player he actually is going forward. And even if he was, he would still be much better than Galvis.

Isn't Chase too short to play 3rd?

(Someone had to post it.)

Surely a FO that thinks MM is an integral part of this club couldn't possibly believe that an Utley move to third would be beneficial.

Lee for Pedroia doesn't sound good. I'd go after Middlebrooks first, with maybe another OF. Fills a position of need and he's younger. I think the Laser Light Show's best years are behind him. Just like the majority of this Phils team. Also hate the idea of Utley at 3rd. Galvis should have no business in the starting lineup. I'd rather ship Mini Mart to Siberia and have Galvis take his role.

Thanks Mick and Ice for providing the info on Kelly Johnson. I'm a little more inspired, but not so much so.

Hitman, I gotta disagree.

The two biggest bats in "the same cast of players who brought us this disasterous season" were out for over half of the season.

Look at what the team has done since they've returned. I think we can all see why they're considered "core" as opposed to "complimetary" players.

And, they had injuries to Lee, Worley, Halladay and the bullpen.

Health will be the deciding factor for the 2013 Phillies, just as it has been in 2012.

Iceman: what do you mean by peripherals for Johnson? He strikes out a lot, has a normal BABIP, and has almost no platoon splits.

Overall, he's among the better choices out there as infielders go since he's shown ability in the past, but i dont really "see" anything that makes me think that he's due for improvement.

awh: "The two biggest bats in "the same cast of players who brought us this disasterous season" were out for over half of the season.

Look at what the team has done since they've returned. I think we can all see why they're considered "core" as opposed to "complimetary" players."

Not really, the offense has been constant, or even worse than before. The pitching however has been much better since Utley/Howard's return.

PHI Run/GM 1st half: 4.23 (368R in 87g)
PHI Run/GM 2nd half: 4.06 (203R in 50g)

Howard came back around 52 games ago.

lorecore: his LD%, Ks, BBs, K/BB, are all pretty much the same as his career norms. There's nothing there that really points at a guy that is declining player. So I'm willing to think this year was just a fluke.

And again, even if it's not, he will come cheap and would be a better option that Galvis.

Well, nevermind. Just looked at his BABIP over the years and it pretty much tells the story:

BABIP years he had over a 100 OPS+:

2007: .328
2008: .340
2010: .339
2011 (after being traded to TOR): .346

Years he had under 100 OPS+:

2009: .247
2011 (with Arizona): .257
2012: .294

Given that the league average is ~.300, while he might not be declining, this year is probably closer to the player he is. Oh well. Another lesson learned on BL.

Phillies must like moving GG caliber defenders out of position.
Polanco was at least a utility guy early in his career, but why he has not played 2B with Utley's issues still surprises me.

Keep Utley at 2B and try to limit his innings. I think Galvis still has options so I'd plan to start him in the minors coming off injury.
Chavez was my option for cheap 3B option. I am not sure if his defense is still very good.
I'd still like Phillies to go after the best utility INF possible, obviously due to their injury concerns. I guess I could live with Frandsen if he could play SS and Martinez never plays again.

To follow up on my claim that the pitching since Howard has returned:

1st Half Starter runs allowed per game: 3.09
2nd Half Starter runs allowed per game: 2.66

1st Half Bullpen runs allowed per game: 1.46
2nd Half Bullpen runs allowed per game: 1.18

1st Half Total runs allowed per game: 4.55
2snd Half Total runs allowed per game: 3.84

So unless you want to make the case that Howard's incredible 1B defense saves about .7 runs a game, the idea that Howard's return has sparked the team's improvement is false.

It's all about the pitching,which is what this team was supposed to be built for from the start.

Starter ERA in June: 4.99

2012 Phillies' death doesn't make much of murder mystery.

Someone should come out with a 2012 Phillies game of Clue, and replace Mr Mustard/etc with players and all of their awful games/stats as murder weapons.

"It was Cliff Lee, in Miami, with his shortest start of the year!"

"the offense has been constant, or even worse than before. The pitching however has been much better since Utley/Howard's return."

That's exactly right. The offense has gotten WORSE, not better, since Howard & Utley returned. Obviously, a big reason for that is that, only a few weeks after Howard returned, we turned around and traded away Pence & Vic. But that's neither here nor there. All it really tells us is that the first half offensive value of Pence & Vic was about equal to the 2nd half offensive value of Utley & Howard. Either way, the offense stinks.

When in doubt for anything that goes wrong with the Phillies - blame Cliff Lee.

Anyone read the Amaro interview with Salisbury?

This Utley thing is real. I bet they try it in a game before the end of the season. He talked about it extensively and really thinks he can do it. Something Salisbury didn't ask him was who would then play 2B, and I wish he would have, but I think we all know what that answer would be.

When asked about 3B options outside of Utley, first thing he mentioned was a platoon with Frandsen. Good god know. Who is the LH free agent bat they'll platoon him with? It better be Brooks Robinson. Seriously though, Dobbs will be available.

He also talks like he may stand pat on the bullpen. Ugh.

lorecore: I think it was Cholly, in Citizens Bank Park, by playing Mini-Mart in RF and leaving the starting pitcher in too long.

Iceman: Eric Chavez?

But if they're going to have a platoon at 3rd base, they can't have one in the OF. In a day and age of 5-man benches, with one spot reserved for the backup catcher, you can't be running 2 platoons out there.

BAP- losing Ruiz has also hurt. As great as Kratz has been, he has still been a downgrade from Ruiz.

Cliff Lee is averaging over 7IP per start.

since 1950, there have been 1563 pitchers to have averaged at least 7IP per start in a season.

Of the 1563 times its happened, only 11 of them have won 5 games or less. The last time it has been done was Willie Blair in 1998.

The last time a pitcher did it with a ERA+ of over 100 was the Phillies' Larry Christenson in 1981.

I like the Clue Game idea. Pabelbon in Atlanta gives up a three-run homer to a 40 year old Larry Jones with two outs in the ninth inning killing the winning streak and the sweep.

actually - the ONLY time since 1950 a pitcher has averaged 7IP a start with a ERA+ over 100 and won 5 or less was LC in '81.

Lee is currently 4-7 with a 115 ERA+.

Eric Chavez would fit the Rube mold pretty well.

But seriously, BAP is right about the platoon thing. This team has a dwindling amount of people that can and should be full time players- their SS and catcher. The 1B isn't platooned, but should be. The 2B can only play 90 games a year. They have a rookie OF that hasn't even really proven he is a major leaguer let alone one worthy of starting every day. And they have a bunch of platoon OFs that are seriously limited in what they can do (and a lot of those things are quite redundant).

Get some freaking players on the team that can play 150 games without having to sit them situationally. Another platoon will just add more limitations to a roster that has too many as it is.

Since when does moving a player to 3B help his knees unless it was a player who was a catcher?

Sounds more like the Phils don't think there is a viable 3B candidate they can obtain this offseason as a starter so they are looking to move Utley there.

OK bare with me, I realized that 1981 was a strike year and that I did +7IP/GS which included relievers who spot started with a high IP/GS. So last try:

The least amount of wins for a pitcher who averaged at least 7IP per appearance in a 162 game season(post 1962): 6, Jack Morris 1989

Cliff Lee currently has 4 wins and averages 7.03IP per appearance.

If the Red Sox were crazy enough to offer Pedroia for Lee basically straight up, the Phils should make without a second of consideration.

Even if the Phils had to throw in a prospect or so, it would be an absolute steal for the Phils.

Phils dump Lee's onerous back-weighted contract ($25M through '15 and $12.5 at least in '16), get a stud offensive & defensive player in his prime at 2B who instantly reinvigorates this lineup, and free up $15M next year which can be used to sign Bourn.

"Get some freaking players on the team that can play 150 games without having to sit them situationally."

I often disagree with you but that is about as succinct and accurate a diagnosis as I've seen from any Beerleaguer poster. We've got two middle-of-the-order hitters who are monumental liabilities from the 7th inning on, or against any LH starter. We've got a centerfielder who is a monumental liability against any RH pitcher. We've got 4 left-handed outfielders, not a one of whom can hit LHP. In short, every hitter in our lineup, except for Rollins & Chooch, should be platooning. This, by the way, is why I think Nick Swisher would be a terrific addition & Michael Bourn, not so much. It is also why I think it wasn't a great idea to trade Hunter Pence.

Although, speaking of Pence, I couldn't sleep last night so I found myself watching some local sports program around 3:00 in the morning. They had 4 local columnists on, and the question posed to all of them was whether Pence or Scutaro had been the better addition for the Giants. All 4 said Scutaro, and all 4 commented upon how utterly atrocious Pence's defense has been.

I'll say it again. I am glad Pence is gone. His overall approach to the game is appalling. In a town where Victorino was thought to have no baseball smarts, he was miles ahead of Pence in that regard. I will be very surprised if Pence is offered arb by the Giants.

BAP, Rollins splits against LHP for the last two seasons:

2011: .609 OPS
2012: .649 OPS

Even Rollins could be platooned.

As aggravating as the first C____ L__ situation was, and as albatrossish as the Ryan Howard contract looks to be, the Hunter Pence debacle is clearly the lowlight of RAJ's tenure here.

What SS in the org could give a better offensive performance against LHP?

The difference with Howard is that you could use Mayberry against LHP at 1B and it would make a huge difference. I'd be open to any suggestion if it meant bettering the team. I just don't see where the platoon upgrade over Rollins would be.

Iceman, not saying there's a better option in-house. Saying that we have a player who doesn't perform well against a particular handed pitcher, which is, obviously, less than ideal.

We don't exactly have platoon players for ALL of Nix, Howard, Utley AND Brown, but you would still agree that they are all platoon candidates so far, right?

If you trade Lee for Pedroia, you're trading a #1 starter for two years control of a career .303/.370/.461/.830/116 OPS+ 2B and $15 million in savings between the two contracts.

I don't know if it's the slam dunk that MG is making it out to be. You'd have to tell me who you would be replacing Lee with in the rotation for me to give a real opinion on it.

Iceman, you've also got Pedroia entering his age 29 season with Lee entering his age 34 season.

I agree that I'd need more information to fairly appraise the deal, but I think it's a good bet that Pedroia is a more valuable player than Lee over the next 2 years.

iceman: Tyler Cloyd is likley bumping Lee to the bullpen next year anyway.

Rotation without Lee:

Halladay, Hamels, Worley, Kendrick, Cloyd

I don't believe Pedroia provides enough to make up for what we'd lose in the rotation. And I don't believe the "money saved" is the difference between signing someone like Bourn or not.

I don't think the rotation next year without Lee is that big a deal, since KK already agreed to pitch on 3 days rest all season, thus mitigating the loss of Lee.

What ever happened with trying out Chooch at 3B?

"Not really, the offense has been constant, or even worse than before. The pitching however has been much better since Utley/Howard's return."

OK, lorecore, if that's your position, then answer this question:

How many RPG have teh Phillies scored when BOTH Howard and Utley are in the lineup?

Also, RPG doesn't tell the whole story. They scored 2 runs or less 27 times in the first 84 games where Howard and Utley were out (32%). Since July 6th, Howard's first game, they've scored 2 runs or less only 15 times in 53 games, and Howard AND Utley were not in every one of those lineups. In short, while they may be scoring less RPG overall, the offense has been more consistent when both Utley and Howard are in the lineup.

That shouldn't be a surprise, unless you think their replacements were the same type of threat in the 3 and 4 spots in the lineup.

Fata- in a vacuum, Pedroia will almost certainly be more valuable. In terms of the Phillies, based on the options they'd have to replace Lee and the upgrade from Utley to Pedroia, I'm not so sure.

Also, on Rollins- I guess I consider a 'platoonable' player as one whose production from one side of the plate could be easily replaced by someone on the FA market, or by someone is who is already available on the team. At SS, the options all over the majors are very limited. As pathetic as his OPS is from the right side of the plate, I'm not sure, taking defense into account, that a platoon would be so easy to find.

Howard, on the other hand...well, you know.

"Rotation without Lee:

Halladay, Hamels, Worley, Kendrick, Cloyd"

That's assuming they don't look at anyone else, which probably wouldn't be the case.

Phillies offense at first base:

Ryan Howard .771 OPS, 10 HR, 36 RBI in 207 PAs
Other 1B: .732 OPS, 13 HR, 45 RBI in 361 PAs

Phillies offense at second base:

Chase Utley .792 OPS, 10 HR, 29 RBI in 249 PAs
Other 2B: .674 OPS, 6 HR, 39 RBI in 315 PAs

Let's not suggest Utley and Howard haven't provided a boost to the offense. Both have been superior to the players who filled their positions. That the offense as a whole has declined is likely due to a number of factors including:

Hunter Pence: .781 OPS, 17 HR, 59 RBI in 439 PAs
Other RF: .613 OPS, 3 HR, 12 RBI in 150 PAs

There's also a 50 point drop in OPS from Chooch to Kratz. Shockingly, CF has seen better offensive numbers since Vic departed thanks to John Mayberry Jr.

"There's also a 50 point drop in OPS from Chooch to Kratz. Shockingly, CF has seen better offensive numbers since Vic departed thanks to John Mayberry Jr."

Another reason why the FO isn't going to take Vic back even if he offered to play for free.

I know Rollins has had a couple of really bad years in a row against LHP but here are his career splits against RHP & LHP:

Against RHP: OBP: .327 Slugging: .431
Against LHP: OBP: .327 Slugging: .431

Since he's also a natural right-hander, it's a little hard for me to see how he would decline from the right side of the plate significantly more than from the left. Even when you add both last year's and this year's totals together, he has still only had 311 total ABs against LHP over those 2 years. That's not an insignificant number, but it's low enough that the possibility of fluke is not out of the question. I'm going to write it off as precisely that.

Rollins is certainly not a great overall hitter but, when he faces a LHP, I don't find myself saying, "Oh sh*t. This matchup sucks." I can't say the same about Howard or Utley or Nix or Dom or Schierholtz against a LHP or Mayberry against a RHP.

It's quite obvious that Utley and Howard have been clear upgrades at their positions, offensively.

The point that (was it lorecore?) was trying to make is that this team is mostly playing much better ball in the 2nd half because the pitching has been markedly better.

From an Amaro interview with Jim Salisbury:

Is Charlie your opening day skipper next year?

Oh, I don’t think there’s any question about that. Those are sensitive questions and I know people have to ask them, but I don’t have any thought about doing anything differently.

When Charlie signed his extension in March 2011 he said he wanted to manage two more years, through 2013, then evaluate where everyone was as he approached his 70th birthday. Is that still the plan?

That’s what we’ve discussed in the past and I haven’t had any indication from Charlie that we’ll discuss anything differently.

Are you happy with his performance?

Yeah. I mean, listen, we’ve had a challenging year on a number of fronts and – do I agree with everything Charlie does? No. I don’t think any GM agrees with everything his manager does. But I think under the circumstances, he’s done a good job. We talk about the things that have happened over the year. I do know this, it would be very easy for our team to roll over after moving [Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton] and we’re playing better baseball right now and that says something.

Ryne Sandberg, your Triple A manager, is joining the club this weekend. What’s your take on him?

He’s been great. I’ve got no negatives on Ryne Sandberg. I had a great deal of respect from afar for what he’d done. This was a guy who was a Hall of Fame player who started off in Peoria riding around on buses. You have to have some kind of passion for the game to want to do that. You have to have desire and intestinal fortitude to want to do that and that’s how I viewed him as a player as well.

What have you learned about him as a manager in the two years he’s been your Triple A guy?

I know the players play for him, they play hard, they play the right way, they respect him. And the beauty of what Ryne brings to the table for our young guys is the fact that he’s a Hall of Famer and does not act like one. He commands respect by the way he carries himself and how he treats people, but not because of his Hall of Fame status.

Is he the heir apparent to Charlie?

Oh, I couldn’t say that.

Could he be on your big-league coaching staff next season?

I like our coaching staff. I think guys have done a pretty good job. But, you know, we’re still evaluating everybody. That’s part of the process.

He could be a managerial candidate with other clubs this winter. If you put him on the coaching staff, would it keep away teams that want to grab him?

Well, I’m hopeful he gets an opportunity to be a manager. He kind of deserves it. At least he deserves to be considered. I don’t want Ryne Sandberg to go anywhere. I’d love to keep him. We’ll try to figure out how to do that.

awh: "RPG doesn't tell the whole story. They scored 2 runs or less 27 times in the first 84 games where Howard and Utley were out (32%). Since July 6th, Howard's first game, they've scored 2 runs or less only 15 times in 53 games"

15 of 53 is 28%...I dont see it.

KAS: Yes Utley and Howard are plenty better than their replacements, but awh's original post was that having Utley/Howard back has now turned their team around...but in reality its all about the pitching.

FWIW, advanced defensive metrics hate John Mayberry Jr. in CF.

UZR/150 of -5.6 in 246.2 innings in 2011 and a whopping -21.2 in 287.1 innings in 2012.

He doesn't seem to have the problem in LF where he was 27.7 in 2011 (161.1 innings) and 6.3 in 2012 (330 innings) or in RF where in 123 career innings, he's 48.4.

FWIW, I don't like advanced defensive metrics because they tend to be unreliable.

Sure, the pitching is the big reason the Phillies have won more in the 2nd half (all the more reason to ignore calls to deal Cliff Lee), but had Utley and Howard not returned, the offense would be significantly worse and that 2nd half improvement would not have occurred.

My bros and I just can't get our heads into any scenario involving trading Cliff Lee again.....just can't imagine it ... and can't believe the Phillies will ultimately be a better team as a result.

At this point it is merely an idea, a sensible one. It is not an assumption. The real question -- can they obtain work for Utley at 3rd in the off season -- Winter Ball or Instructional League, or some other kind of proving ground -- where he can work through trial and error, learn/re-learn the position, get comfortable, AND, not create any winter problems for his knees (e.g. will working at third cause a new setback that again costs half a season or more?). Why not try to make it work? If it does, great, if not, we still have Utley at second.

Speaking of Pence trade:

Singleton started to tap into the power potential that scouts have been predicting. 21 HR as a 20yr old in AA, and still racking up the BB(88) that he always has, dangerous combo.

Cosart's stock is bottoming out a bit, obviously looks a million times better than Colvin though. Would have loved to switched the two in that package.

and then theres the god damn PTBNL, Domingo Santana - who broke out just as every phillie fan was waiting for. 6'5 230lb 19yr old RF putting up 23 bombs and a .921 OPS in A+ ball. He'll almost be a shoe-in for top100 prospect next year.

Thats 3 potential top100 prospects!

Yeah, but without Pence we dont lose the NLDS in 5 games last year. He was a integral part of that.

So who would play the first four months at third if Utley moves over?

"but had Utley and Howard not returned, the offense would be significantly worse and that 2nd half improvement would not have occurred."

As lorecore just pointed out, the offense was scoring more runs before they returned. There is more than one reason for this, but the main one is that adding Utley and Howard, and subtracting Vic & Pence, comes out pretty close to a net wash (especially when you factor in the total lack of lineup balance which was created by trading our 2 best RH hitters).

The point is, the argument that, "This offense is just fine now that Howard & Utley are back" is a bunch of bunk & has no support in the numbers. It MIGHT have been fine if we had Howard, Utley, Vic, and Pence -- though we will never know. But it isn't fine now. I mean, pardon the French but f***ing Nate Schierholtz and Michael Martinez have been making starts in RF. That alone refutes any argument that this offense is "just fine."

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