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Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Jeremy Horst. Nice find. Hasn't allowed more than a run in any of his 31 1-3 innings and has allowed only 3 of 13 IR to score.

Exxon never allowed an ER as a reliever.

My Phillies 2012 calendar features Cliff Lee as the October photo. Is that a good sign for today? When JW allowed us in midseason to revise our preseason predictions, Lake Nostradamus predicted 82 victories. Let's hope that Sad Sack Lee can get us that 82nd victory and clinch a winning record for the truly disappointing 2012 Phillies.

It's true - Horst will never be as statistically good as Valdez.

Props to Ruben on that one, I never thought of Horst as an option, this season or ever.

Michael Martinez OPS+: 28
Wilson Valdez OPS+: 22

Here's a positive: The team actually recognized that Qualls sucked and jettisoned him mid-season. Phillies teams of the past have let detritus such as that stick around the team too long (see: Eaton, Adam and Baez, Danys).

Finally the wagon comes full circle here. What a season. And remember nobody circles the wagon like the buffalo bills.

Least likely to be back:

Michael Martinez
either Nix or Schierholtz (I'd opt to keep Nix)
John Mayberry Jr.

Earlier on, I was thinking Cliff Lee would be gone this off-season, but not with Halliday having turned into a question mark.

Bastardo also a decent candidate to be jettisoned in a trade.

Am I missing anyone? (Brian Schneider is too obvious)

I made an appointment for 1PM before realizing that the game would be an afternoon one! I'm so disappointed - It means that my last game was Monday's. At least it was a W.

Pulling like mad for Lee today, and hoping to catch the end of the game - might even DVR to watch it later, just because it's the final game of 2012.

It was a disappointing season, but the disappointment came mid-summer, which makes the end of the season less bitter if somewhat anticlimactic (depending on your interest in seeing the Phillies finish above .500).

I agree that their are some positives to take away and some optimism for next year. RAJ has his work cut out for him - I wish him all the best.

I actually like Charlie's lineup for today.
It unfortunately took a number of current injuries to see who is left to play before he constructed such a lineup.

RSB, I agree with you on Lee and Halladay. I hope that you are wrong about Bastardo and Mayberry being gone. I think that they are part of the solution, not the problem.

Unfortunately, I see Mini-Mart coming back. He still has those photos of Rube and Charlie.

Very disappointing season for us no doubt, but I'm sure even more so for the team. I respect that they never did mail it in, they fought till the end.

Looking back, I did ok in predicting how individual seasons would play out. Nailed Chad Qualls. Hit on Pierre. Good reads on Wigginton and Nix, although what do we even know about Nix other than he broke down. Only miss was stirring the pot on letting Valdez go and depleting infield depth. Didn't hurt at all.

From Matt Gelb:

How a 33-year-old Carlos Ruiz is in rarefied company:
If Ruiz maintains his pace, he will be alone in history. Ruiz, 33, is hitting .326 with 16 home runs and a .937 OPS. Even with the threshold lowered to a .300 batting average, 15 home runs, and a .900 OPS, only two catchers age 33 or older have posted such seasons: Roy Campanella in 1955 and Jorge Posada in 2007.

Campanella was 33 when he did it. He never hit better than .242 again, and his career ended two years later because of a car accident.

Posada was 35 in 2007 and rewarded with a four-year, $52 million contract that winter. He never played more than 120 games in the following four seasons and hit .258 with a .803 OPS during the length of the deal.

* * *
Good for Chooch! A round of applause, please.

Wonder how he'll do going forward?

Why is Bastardo a candidate to be traded? I know he is an enigma but I don't see the value of trading away a young left handed arm.

RSB: Agreed on Schierholtz for sure. Mayberry is a tough call since he's still very cheap. But he's sort of a roster suck, too, since he needs to play everyday to get anything going and he looks like he's slowing down, too. .695 OPS doesn't really cut it and he's been given more than enough opportunities.

Forgot this part, which is pretty cool:

On the road to a bitter end, Carlos Ruiz was standing behind the batting cage Saturday in Miami when a 23-year-old, baby-faced catcher introduced himself. It was Florida Marlins rookie Rob Brantly.

"For me," Brantly told the Palm Beach Post, "he's what every catcher wants to be."

Chooch is great, I love him on this team. But considering his age, I wouldn't give him a contract extension. Hopefully Valle or Joseph will be ready after next season.

Well put JW. Rather than being dejected about this team and its long-term prospects, as we all were in July, we can feel pretty good about where things are headed. There are, of course, a ton of question marks, but I'm excited to see how or if this team can return to the postseason next year.

Sorry, that seemed unnecessarily negative. . . nix what I said. . . Great Season for Chooch.

Mayberry is cheap, but they are clearly going to be looking for a free agent CF. Even acknowedging that would still leave the corners questionable, I would say that Ruf has probably already merited significant consideration in the team's OF plans for next season. I just can't imagine they'd think of Mayberry as anything more than backup, and some team might think of him as a regular and may be willing to give them something a little more useful in return. He still gives you some depth if they were to hang on, but my sense is that they've given this guy as much rope as I think they're going to give him, and rightly so.

"And remember nobody circles the toilet like the buffalo bills."


Looking back, I did ok in predicting how individual seasons would play out ...

Pretty much the same. Qualls was a disaster. Wigginix sucks. Schneider was his usual, pointless self. On the other hand, Pierre performed notably better than I expected. Also, the Valdez trade ended up being an surprising plus because of Horst's success. Credit to r00b, even though I have a sneaking suspicion he stumbled rather bass-ackward into that minor triumph.

Guaranteed Mini Mart is back in the mix next year in spring training but it will likely take an injury or two for him to make the Opening Day roster.

As for Nix/Schierhotlz, if the Phils don't plan on starting Nix he should be traded. Schierholtz is the better option as a bench player because he is a better defender in LF/RF & a PH option.

I'll count Mayberry as my Disappointment of the Year. He's had all of the chances he deserves, & more. The Phillies should cut ties & move on.

Also wrote a great deal about Michael Cuddyer last winter. Cuddyer might be a trade candidate for Colorado. He's making a lot of coin. Rockies have a lot of money wrapped up in iffy players. Wonder if the Phils would still have interest. Seems like a Phillies-type player too. Would a Mayberry-prospect-Bastardo for Cuddyer swap make sense with the Rox absorbing some contract? The Phils need a sure-fire starting corner. Can't tell what you're getting with Brown and Ruf. If neither works out, you're kinda sunk.

MG - I agree with your Nix/Schierhotlz analysis. But, don't the Phil have to decide to make a $2-3 million arb commitment to Nate in order to keep him (or non-tender him and sign him cheaper)?

Rather than do that, I see the Phils cutting ties with Nate, and bringing Nix to Clearwater.

Cuddyer away from Coors is Dom Brown with a higher slugging % but lower on base %.

I was at that "rock bottom" game in Denver in July (and the next 2 which they won and started their second half mini-run). Let's get this one today...finish on a good note. I'm feelin' it.

Rube has to be creative with catcher going forward. I don't see Valle ever being a viable starter. Joseph? A big maybe. Chooch is getting too old and is prone to injury to expect him to be the ironman anymore.

I'd love to see Chooch play 90 games at catcher at most and spend another fifty or so games at third base, again, based on whether he can play there defensively. His bat has become very important to the offense and he won't make it through the season catching 120-130 games.

Kratz catches fifty or so games and have a third catcher, maybe someone lefthanded, not named Schneider, on the roster.

Frandsen gets to be the utility guy for anything but shortstop. Ruf gets some starts in left and some at first against tough lefties. Of course, that depends on who Rube picks up for the outfield. And Galvis should stay in AAA, but for economy's sake, he'll be the backup at short, and be the third option at second and third.

I think that the good play of Frandsen, Kratz and Ruf has given the Phillies some real versatility, as opposed to the fake versatility of Martinez. They will be very cheap, and they've shown at the very least that they can be good backups in this league.

Halladay was the killer. Even if Mayberry matches last season's production, how many more wins do they have? 1 maybe. Vintage Halladay is good for 7-8 innings. Erases a lot of early problems in the bullpen.

To me, Cuddyer has Ty Wigginton written all over him.

Totally agree on Doc. His injury was the biggest setback for this team. It's no coincidence that their terrible June is when he was on the DL.

Bastardo is a decent candidate to be traded because the Phillies have 3 other lefty bullpen arms going into next year - Diekmann, Valdez, and Horst. None of them has the overall ability of Bastardo, but his days as a dependable late-inning guy are history. I was very surprised that he was able to come through like he did for most of last season - to me, that was the fluke and not the norm. He can still be an excellent specialist (I'm not using that stupid acronym) but as with Mayberry, I'm thinking some team out there may focus on the potential and over-value him, get him to be a set-up/closer type when the Phils will almost certainly have lesser plans for him.

Pence is another guy who might be available.

RSB - So you think that due to his upside he should be dealt to a team that would hopefully overpay for him? I don't follow that line of thinking. If he has upside, the upside is higher than the three lefties you listed. Why would you just trade that type of commodity when you've seen what he can do (last season up until Sept and the second half of this year).

Of course this all comes back to the age old argument of bullpen volatility.

This team has declined defensively over the last few years, so they need all the help they can get. Pence is nice, not thrilling. Do we want the defensive liability in the outfield?

RSB: Bastardo didn't have a great year, but I don't agree that his days as a dependable late-inning reliever are over. He walked a few too many batters, but his peripherals were still elite. You really can't mention him in the same discussion as guys like Diekman, Horst & Valdes. Valdes is a journeyman soon-to-be 35-year old AAA lifer who, in limited duty, just happened to have the only good year he's ever had or, likely, ever will have. Diekman can't throw strikes and has never been able to throw strikes. Horst had a terrific year, but one which absolutely screams fluke. Bastardo, even in a down year, was still an average-ish bullpen arm.

A team with monumental bullpen problems should not be trading its second most reliable reliever, which is what Bastardo is.

It's amazing how quickly and how far Kberry's stock has fallen. A month ago he was hotter than a firecracker and he was receiving way too much love on here. Now he's a bumb. He may just be the streakiest SOB I've ever seen.

I haven't heard a thing about him since spring training, but when will Madson be healthy. Might be worth a look with an incentive laden contract.

Bastardo will only get traded if we can get value coming in the other direction. I am having trouble thinking of a scenario where kicking in Bastardo makes the talent coming to us significant enough to merit his inclusion. Maybe some sort of "troubled youth" package of Brown, Bastardo, Worley but why trade those guys in the ultimate sell low move?

Maybe I am one of the few Mayberry supporters left on here but I still like it back next year largely because he will be cheap (say $800k)

On a team that appears to be pinching nickels and dimes to round out the roster, he fits their mold of a bench player who is adequate, cheap, and not on the wrong side of 30 (mid-30s).

Schierholtz made $1.3M but with his crap year he will be lucky to get a raise to $1.7-$1.8M. Nix is making $1.35M so the price difference between the two should be minimal.

Soria is a guy I wonder if the Phils kick the tires. He has just started throwing again though and the track record on guys who have had 2 TJ surgeries isn't very kind.

I would be very surprised if Mayberry isn't back (like it or not). Outfield picture is muddled; it'll be interesting to see what Rube does. Mini Mart had better not be back. Frandsen/Galvis make him even more pointless than he already is. Stash him in AAA if they are that fond of his "versatility."

Also, for discussion: do you think that Brown is a lock to start in LF/RF in '13?

The one thing I will say about Mayberry is that he can catch the ball. Pence's defense was a major, costly problem. You're in really good shape with Mayberry in left.

I agree with MG on the Nix/Schierholtz issue. Neither will be starters (God help us if they are), so logic says you keep the better defender/pinch hitter, which is Schierholtz. I was surprised to see how bad Nix's career PH numbers were. 0.5M isn't too significant of a salary increase.

Anyone else waiting for the game while watching CSN top moments in recent Phillies tory? The show is a sad reminder that we won't be watching Phillies playoffs this year.

But even more poignant is the finality--playoffs or not--that there is no more Phillies baseball after today.

Mayberry can catch the ball unless Cliff Lee is pitching. I lost track of the amount of times he misplayed balls when Lee was on the mound, it cost him more than a couple of games.
I dont think you make the playoffs with Mabes hitting 245 again next season.
Not sure what he will do next year but Cuddyer would have helped this year. They passed on him because of salary as they did on some middle relief in the bullpen and it end up costing them (playoff) money.

Mayberry's defense is what might keep him around for 2013 as even if we sign a premier CF, it'd still be nice to have a bench guy that can back him up defensively.

Sure, Mayberry isnt a good defensive CF but he's miles above the other options.

Pence was fun for a while, but please, no more. Was watching Dodgers-Giants last night and with Pence at the plate Vin Scully remarks, "Despite the fact that he chokes up on the bat, Pence has struck out 144 times this year. (Pence whiffs at next pitch.) And now make that 145."

Add to that the clown dance he does whenever a ball is hit his way and I'd prefer to watch him play for someone else.

That he looks like Eddie Haskell and his name sounds like "underpants" doesn't help, either.

When you cut through the disgust factor, and actually take a look at the backup outfielders for other contending teams, it becomes quickly apparent that Mayberry is an absolutely typical 4th outfielder. The only thing that is atypical about him is that he played 149 games, and had 479 PAs, this year.

If he's a typical 4th outfielder, it follows: (1) that there's no particular reason to dump him, because you probably won't end up with anyone meaningfully better (just more expensive); and (2) that he has no value as "trade bait."

He will, and should, be back next year. But he should be playing in around 100 to 110 games, and getting 250 to 300 ABs.

BAP, you mean that we have very good "part time" players playing in more than a part time role?

That doesn't happen with the Phillies.

One thing I can't figure about Pence is why all of a sudden this year he became horrendous defensively. Never was a good defensive RF but he wasn't a liability out there either.

Played RF his entire career & not like playing RF at CBP is that challenging. Not RF in Fenway with a ton of ground & a lot of difficult quirks that take some getting used to.

Nat: Your name sounds like Nad. Should we dislike you for that.

Steal a base Babe.

I slam Bastardo as much as anybody except clout on here, but trading him when the bullpen is in its current state is about the worst idea ever. At the very least, his K rate is historic and he can get lefties out. You can't lump him in with guys like Horst, Diekman and Valdes because they pitch with the same sided arm. As far as lefties in the Phils system go, bullpen-wise, it's Bastardo, and then there's everybody else.

That said, relying on him as a set-up arm in 2013 is equally as foolish. If he's pitching in the 8th, it should be exclusively to LHB.

MM sucks. He almost always grounds out on the 3rd pitch.

I'd be real surprised if Mayberry wasn't back given his versatility. Is the suggestion that Ruf's emergence pushes Mayberry off the roster?

Ruf still has an awful lot to prove unless we think 33 plate appearances is enough to judge. He'll get a look in spring training but will need to earn his way onto the team.

aksmith thinks Rube needs to get creative at catcher going forward? Thats hilarious. They have two pretty good prospects, one of the best catchers in the league signed for 2013, and a good slugging backup C for cheap that just fell into their laps. Of all the positions on the field, catcher is the least of their worries.

Well, donc, your name sounds like "donkey" but I'll not hold that against you.

Bastardo is arb eligible in 2013. I wonder how much of a raise he gets and if that factors into the Phils keeping him or not.

Only thing that really jumps out is that Pence is swinging and missing at a much higher rate this year (12.9% vs career rate of 11.3%) and making a lot less contact (72.4% vs 76.9% in his career). Probably why his K rate jumped a bit this year.

When he is making contact though, his % LD, % FB, and % HR/FB have remained steady.

Only 30 though. Depending on his salary demands, he might be a nice value signing for a team that is willing to shift him over to LF. Good candidate to bounce back offensively next year too.

Real drawback with him was signing him to a long-term deal that paid him big dollars at age 32-33. Fundamentally a very awkward player who really seems to rely on raw athletic ability to compensate for it. Glad we he got traded that it wasn't going to be the Phils paying him big dollars as he approached his early 30s.

"Pence was fun for a while"...great call that says all you need to know about the carnival act that is Hunter Pence.

"Ruf still has an awful lot to prove unless we think 33 plate appearances is enough to judge. He'll get a look in spring training but will need to earn his way onto the team."

I don't argue the overall point (that he'll have to prove himself in ST), however, you can't discount a record setting year at AA, either. He's flat out hit the hell out of the ball for a solid year now.

That's what I think is funny about guys throwing out "small sample size" to comp him to someone like Wiggy. He can only hit the pitchers he's asked to face. It just so happens that he's only been asked to do so 33 times at the MLB level this year.

I would be SHOCKED if Bastardo and Horst weren't the two lefties (and only two) in the bullpen for the Phils in 2013.

Normally I like Pierce's column but I never understood these columns basically say "I am glad that the team is bad again" for some reason (nostalgia, get rid of bandwagon jumpers, etc).

Never understood that logic or those feelings. Like when you hear someone say 'whatever didn't kill you makes you stronger' or 'losing builds character.' Generally call BS on both of those statements.

The Ruf gloating in the last thread by BAP and the like is hilarious. He's had 30 PAs. Nope, can't think of any player that has come up from the minors without a book on him and tore it up for a month or so.

That said, he should absolutely get an extended look next year, because the team needs power, especially from the right side. Might as well see if you can get some of it dirt cheap.

Willard Preacher: I'm certainly not comparing him to Wiggy or anyone other individual. I'm generally comparing him to the long line of old-for-their-level non-prospects who have initial success at the ML level before pitchers get a book on them.

I'm hopeful that Ruf will be the real deal. That he'll be a legit power threat from the right side that can play adequate LF (so, like Pat Burrell). But a team like the Phillies that has designs on returning the World Series shouldn't be banking on Ruf.

It makes my brain hurt to try to reconcile the views that:

(1) Ruf has a lot to prove and should have to earn his way onto the roster in spring training; and

(2) Dom's place in next year's starting OF is a given.

bay_area_phan: No one should hold both those views.

What remains of my brain also hurts.

BAP, if it weren't for the prevailing mindset that both "need regular AB's," I'd have no problem, whatsoever, of beginning the season with a Ruf/Brown platoon, and see if one of them can play themselves into a regular starter.

However, with Charlie Manuel managing said proposed platoon, it would never come to fruition and likely both would suffer in the long run anyway.

As for the topic of the thread, I never root for them to lose, but finishing exactly at .500 for the season would be almost poetic and very fitting.

They were as bad as anyone in the first half (thanks to one horrible month) and as good as anyone in the NL in the second half. Sounds like .500 to me.

The real positives coming out of the second half of the season are the players that have emerged as solid players to round out the roster (Kratz, Frandsen, Horst- I'd throw Ruf in here as at least an option for next year to look at in ST), and the performances of Lee and Papelbon, proving they aren't 'washed up' as many were proclaiming in July. Oh, and the emergence of this weird, familiar looking pitcher that can look absolutely dominant for long periods of time- what's his name, Kendrick? Name sounds familiar, but he doesn't look like the pitcher I've watched for the better part of five seasons.

The negatives going into next year...well, one negative, really: Halladay. Only questions are what procedure he'll get done and how long he'll be shelved as a result. I'm giving Worley a pass on this year. And while the offense certainly needs work, I believe Rube will bring in at least one premiere bat into the lineup to help with it.

Going thru Gameday for the 2nd, I see that Ruf walked, Nate doubled...and then MM's turn came up. How are we supposed to win? Wish Jimmy could have played one last game.

Mayberry catches that.

Good, Ruf still has a chance to hit more HR's than Werth.

So much for "his strength is his defense".

Schierholz doing his best to make us move on from the "Pence's defense has gone to crap" argument.

GTown, so what exactly IS his strength now? It's sure not offense or facial hair.

Schierholtz has actually been helpful over these last few weeks. He's helped confirm for us that he'll not be on the roster next year. Makes it easier to look at our OF situation.

Brown, Mayberry Jr., Ruf? and then two others who would be starters?

CHOOCH. That is all.

Cliff Lee had some rough starts when he gave up the lead & I ceased feeling sorry for him, but he's been terrific again and deserving of run support. We need more offense.

Okay, Babe... come through here and you may make the roster next year. Fail and it's off to AAA!

Wow, another RBI.

Who would you rather be back next year, assuming it would be one year only: Pierre or Nix?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'd rather have Pierre, especially if they don't sign Bourn. I like his skillset in a reserve 4th OF role. I know they probably can't ditch Nix, but a guy can dream.

Schierholtz is almost definitely a goner.

Nice job by our young OF. Brown moved him over. Ruf got him in. Neither were pretty.

Of the last 8 runs scored against the Washington Nationals, Darin Ruf has knocked in 8 of them. Yep, every single one.

Inning Ending Martinez.

I know it's possible that Ruf will be like Kratz, hot for a while until pitchers figure him out, at which point he'll come down to earth, but i'd like to find a way to give him a chance next year. Which does not preclude the need for other OF/offense.

Here's the problem with all of these OF options, none are really starters. At best, you could imagine some kind of platoon or maybe a stretch that they hand the job to Brown and pray.

We need to sign two starters. Then we would likely only have three other OF on the roster from among:

Pierre, Nix, Mayberry Jr., Brown, Ruf, Schierholtz

Am I wrong?

BAP- Brown should not be guaranteed a spot, and I don't think he will be. The entire organization can't be blind to what he's done in his time up. He's been underwhelming.

I do think he has a place on the team, but in a platoon role. If Ruf comes back next year in ST and continues to tear it up, it should be a Brown/Ruf platoon. If Ruf flames out, use Mayberry instead. Either way, he should not be an everyday player.

None of those three should be, actually. Kind of goes back to the discussion a month or so ago of, hey, this team has too many players that come with warning labels (WARNING: DO NOT START VS. RHP), and Amaro needs to bring in at least two players in the offseason that can play 150 games without being a complete and utter liability in certain areas of the game.

Kratz has also been very helpful. He's secured the backup catcher spot. Good right-handed bat, good arm from the behind the plate and is apparently solid calling the game. He's no Chooch, but will likely be better than any backup catcher we've had in the Beerleaguer era (Coste?).

KAS: swear I did not read your post before writing that. But yeah, I agree 100%.

Cliff Lee is quickly pitching himself out of the 2013 plans for the Phillies.

well this is par for the course for Lee this year. Incredibly frustrating... get a small lead give that lead right back.

Our rotation gives up a lot of HRs.

Darin Ruf rant coming. Be forewarned.

I love how it keeps getting asserted, as if it's some sort of established, scientific fact, that there is a "long line of old-for-their-level prospects who have initial success at the ML level," and then flame out when pitchers get a book on them. I mean, if there is such a long line of them, let's name a few. I predict that, for every one you name, I can name a young, blue-chip prospect who followed the same exact pattern.

News flash: ALL players have ups and downs. Sometimes the ups happen at the beginning, and the downs happen a month or two later; sometimes it's the other way around. But, instead of just looking at the overall numbers, people invariably carve up the stats into sub-groupings, then interpret those sub-groupings in accordance with their preconceived beliefs and biases. So, when Erik Kratz "slumps" from a 1.000 OPS to an .800 OPS, it's the league catching up with him because he's an older non-prospect. On the other hand, when Dom goes on a mini hot streak and raises his OPS to an earth-shattering .726, it becomes sure-fire evidence that he's learning to hit before our eyes.

In short, I think people are just making this stuff up. There are MANY prospects, of all ages, who flop. A few of those prospects flop by hitting early and then fizzling out. I would like to see the actual evidence that older prospects fizzle out in this manner at a higher rate than younger prospects. In short, I don't believe that, because Darin Ruf is 26, instead of 22, he's any more likely to follow this pattern.

Crap. I was one day off in my prediction of Teddy winning the President's race. Damn it.

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