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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Comments

I'm not in love with the double platoon idea either. However, I'd rather take my chances with our own younger players who may or may not be good over Wells, Soriano or Hairston...all of whom we know are NOT very good and a lot more expensive.

It all boils down to this: If the big boys play well, we'll be in the hunt come the end of July. If that's the case, and we need another corner outfielder bat, Rube can shake a tree and one will fall out. However, if Chase, Ryan, Jimmy, and Roy show their age, a 4 million dollar corner OF'er who hits 20 HR's won't make any difference anyway.

Right now, I'm in the let's see how it all shakes out phase. If they play decent ball in the first half, Amaro and Co. better do what it takes to make a serious run at a WS.

I’m just as scared as everybody else

These are not words you want to hear from your GM, unless he's being interviewed during a zombie apocalypse.

Soriano is not in the same class as Wells/Hairston. Hairston is a bum with only one discernible skill. Wells is a complete washout at this point in his career that has no discernible skills left.

Soriano has 82 HR over the last three years with a .489 SLG, .801 OPS and a 113 OPS+ in that time period.

If you think Ruf can do better than those power numbers and hit ~27 HR playing full-time, that's a pretty big leap of faith. Nixberry sure can't match those numbers. If they can get him for 2/10 from the Cubs, that is a trade worth making (assuming the ridiculous Brown rumor isn't true).

Iceman: My concern on Soriano is the possible price tag. I am not down on Brown like so many are. I think giving him up for maybe a year or two of Soriano production is not a great idea.

The Phillies were mugged by payroll inflexibility last year--remember when Ruben pushed for AJ Burnett but had to bow out because the Phillies couldn't spare a few mil. The Pence trade (perhaps one deal too many) was a sign of things to come. Rube's new philosophy is seems to be to keep the powder dry and tweak the roster. It's a marathon. The Giants were probably the fourth best team in the NL last year but not in October.

Corner outfielders are so underwhelming these days. Are there any truly *great* ones? Ryan Braun I guess. Hamilton. I like Jay Bruce. It' just seems like there are so, so many Nick Swishers and Hunter Pences.

At this point, it's going to pay to wait and see what an ancient like Soriano has left. ST is right around the corner. Nobody is going to trade for him and the Cubs will eventually come down in price. To me, the opportunity to upgrade with a FA ended when Ross signed. He was the dividing line.

Cole: I agree. I think the Phillies are in a spot coming into this off-season where tinkering is probably what you were going to get for this year and next as well probably.

And it won't be the sexy move but it is the right one. The Phillies are going to have foundation blocks in 2014 and forward but it is best to avoid giving out big deals until you truly come upon someone that deserves it.

So let's see if I get this. We're shopping around for outfielders because we don't want to use a double platoon, and the guys we're looking at (Soriano excepted) are the kinds of players whom you'd acquire and use in a platoon?

I don't know when it was decided that our only two options are to trade for someone or use a double platoon. Seems to me there's a third option, which is to give Ruf and Dom every chance to win full-time starting jobs in spring training. After all, one guy posted a 1.028 OPS at AA last year and the other guy, only a year or two ago, was the top ranked prospect in baseball. If one of them fails to impress in ST, then you can run ONE platoon, which might well give you the same kind of production as a guy like Soriano. If they both fail to impress, then you can try to make a trade at that time. But maybe, just maybe, they'll both impress -- in which case we'll be considerably better off than if we brought in yet another aging, expensive player who will stealing playing time from our younger guys & who is certain to decline over the next year or two.

The exchange in the prior thread between MG and TTI/Iceman was thoroughly enjoyable. Good points on both sides.

I agree that Rizzo has done well this offseason, but I want to wait to see what he does with Morse before making any ringing proclamations about his offseason. And I don't want to give him a gold star for not going after Bourn, as, apparently, that's the policy of every team in the league. I think the issues with the first rounder and bonus money has more to do with him staying away from Bourn than just simple good sense.

TTI: yeah, I would not be in favor of letting Brown go for someone like Soriano.

In the end, JW is probably right. Wait til the deadline when prices will come down.

bap and A-Train are exactly right. At this point, you've got to wait and see how it shakes out with the young guys, and see if the old guys are healthy and returning to form as well. There won't be a real difference-making corner outfielder available via anything other than a mid-season trade anyway: I'd hate to see them panic now and sign someone like Hairston, then not have the flexibility to make the right moves at mid season.

I will take the leap of faith that Ruf can match those numbers. But I'll go one step further. I think Nixberry would probably come pretty close to matching Soriano's numbers. Mayberry has an .807 career OPS against LH starting pitchers. Nix's OPS against RH starting pitchers in the 3 years before last were .785, .795, and .772 (I'm omitting last year's numbers because he hardly played).

Together, I'd figure them for maybe a .760 OPS; at age 37, I don't figure Soriano for much more than that.

Corner outfielders are so underwhelming these days. Are there any truly *great* ones? Ryan Braun I guess. Hamilton. I like Jay Bruce. It' just seems like there are so, so many Nick Swishers and Hunter Pences.

Posted by: J. Weitzel | Tuesday, January 08, 2013 at 09:37 PM

Well Mike Trout is a de facto corner OF now. Jason Heyward and Bryce Harper are both in our division. I think you underrate Swisher, and Choo and J Upton are good players. Alex Gordon and Matt Holliday are nice players, and I'd love Willingham for the next 2 years. And I'd take CarGo or Yoenis Cespedes.

There are some good corner OFs out there, and of course, in any time and any place, there will only be a handful of "great" ones by virtue of the fact that their greatness is judged against the players in their era.

JW: you may be on to something. In 2012, CFs were right there with the corner spots. They were all right around .750 while in years past one or both of the corners were significantly higher while CF have been in the .720-30 range.
New era of guys like Kemp, McCutchen, Adam Jones are closing the gaps. Oh yea and that Trout guy.

Agree with the posters who favor Brown and Ruf , with Nix and Mayberry waiting in the wings if they can't hack it. Better option than spending more on somebody else's mediocre corner OF.

In an unrelated note, did anyone else notice the uncanny resemblance between the Ruben photo in the header and our pal Josh Butushansky in the Drexel LeBow ad?

Amaro is scared? Hard to reconcile smug and scared in the same person. And it's disturbing to think he's making decisions out of fear. Apparently that fear paralyzed him when there were actual outfield options, and now he's going to ?panic? when there are basically none.

Can we just fire him now and insert Ed Wade back in his old job? At least we always knew he was afraid, but rarely smug.

Well you put us in this situation there Rube

Weitzel is spot about the lack of corner OFs who have a real impact offensively.

Look at these numbers:

LF OPS:
2000: .843
2003: .822
2006: .818
2009: .780
2012: .756

RF OPS:
2000: .836
2003: .816
2006: .806
2009: .791
2012: .761

Part of the reason why MLB offensive production has dipped so much is in part due to the real decline in production from the corner OF spots (along with 1B).

On the leader boards for smug, cocky, a-hole GMs, RAJ is trailing Rizzo badly. ... At any rate, I liked the aggressive moves from July 2009 through July 2011. The FO tried to make the playoff "crapshoot" as much of a sure-thing as possible. It didn't work, but nice try, though.

This is as close to unanimity as BL will likely ever get on a proposed move. Put the checkbook down and walk away, Ruben.

Those were the MLB averages.

An honest question here: it's fairly common here to discount at least a portion of Dom's poor performance on account of his hand injury, but no one seems to mention recovery times for a hamate bone (on this topic, I'm more ignorant than usual). Is it possible that he was playing at 80% last year, a little slower to turn on inside pitches, a little power-sapped (to the tune of 3-4 HRs)?

I ask because, while one Philly Achilles victim has been awarded a halfway reprieve (Ryno), there's already a little controversy surrounding another (Meszároš) which is apt to explode if he gets turned and beaten on the rush in his first week back.

MG, excellent 11:16 post! Excellent!

"On the leader boards for smug, cocky, a-hole GMs, RAJ is trailing Rizzo badly."


Yes! Rizzo gets way more credit than he deserves.

A deaf, dumb and blind monkey could have drafted Harper and Strasburg, so he's supposed to get "credit" for that?

If you look at their "core", how many of those guys are Rizzo's doing and how many were drafted under the previous regime.

Rizzo is the baseball equivalent of Barry Switzer.

None of the posts in this thread actually sound like bay_area_phan. Need more snark. And, by the way, I agree with your take on our current OF situation.

Jim Call is of Baseball America ranks Phillies farm system at 24.

BTW, if Amaro is "scared", he needs to hang out with Kool Earl!

KAS, did he "call" Ruf's breakout season last year?

These guys know a lot but they ain't perfect which is why I really don't give a sh8t where they rank the farm.

Has anyone ever done an analysis as to the percentage of players drafted in each round actually make it to The Show? I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

My point in asking that is that IMHO, just as players drafted in higher rounds get more of an opportunity in their career than the "dreck" from the lower rounds (because if the high picks don't make it the org looks incompetent), I think that the independent draft and talent evaluators are influenced by where the players are drafted as well.

its going to be Soriano on opening day, batting fifth and playing LF... Brown in right, Mayberry and Nix on the bench. Amaro is waiting for the Cubs' price to drop, and Morse may need to be traded before it does.

As far as the Phils OF is concerned, IMO the FO is at the point where they need to fish or cut bait.

They need to find out if Brown can be the everyday part of a future core as he was projected.

They need to find out if Ruf can be a complimentary player at the corner OF spot.

They need to find out whether the younger relievers are good enough.

They finally need to find out whether KK can stick as a SP.

In short, they need to find out whether they have enough young pieces to build around going forward.

They won't learn a thing if those potential young pieces are rotting on the bench or in the minors.

glanville, I'm not opposed to Soriano as long as the price isn't too high.

Brown is too much.

"If you look at their "core", how many of those guys are Rizzo's doing and how many were drafted under the previous regime.

Rizzo is the baseball equivalent of Barry Switzer."

It's the Pat Gillick/Phil Jackson model of managing. Find a team which has failed to meet expectations despite a championship caliber roster, take over the helm, and claim credit when the team finally gets over the hump. It's good work if you can get it.

Brown is definitely too much. Hopefully a combo of A/AA level prospects can get it done, but I wouldn't flinch at giving up Valle or Pettibone if it meant Soriano's AAV was around $6 mil.

Saw on MLBTR that Hairston is down to the Yanks or Mets. We dodged a bullet there.

Soriano should be a real consideration, hopefully adding Mike Morse to the trade market drives his value down. Morse would be a great addition, though I doubt it happens. Would a Bastardo for Morse deal, straight up suit anyone? Hypothetically speaking of course.

A-Train agree with you. If Chase, Ryan Jimmy and Roy can't get it done it ain't gonna get done and adding one more OF isn't going to help.

Well, if it's Soriano, because he's a known quantity, and waiting to see what Ruf can do is too scary, at least in January, I still hope that in the end Ruf gets a real shot during ST. Soriano's going to pull a calf muscle somewhere down the line. He might have mustered enough mental and physical toughness to escape CHC, but mustering such reserves two years in a row? I'll be surprised.

Here's a question:

Did the Phillies reverse course and say they weren't finished just for PR purposes?

Another question:

There are a number of players on other teams' rosters who, like RFD, are out of options.

Are there any RHH OF who might shake loose? Would any of those guys be an upgrade from the FA who are still available?

When I see Cholly using a double platoon,I'll believe it.

When has a team ever not said "we always keep our options open for moves that would make the team better".... I think the "we're most likely done" comment was pure smoke and mirrors.

Regarding MG's post from 11:16 last night, I was intrigued, so looked at the numbers for all positions over the past 4 years, and at first glance, it didn't appear to me that the corner OF spots had been in decline by more than any other position.

I want to run the numbers a little more completely when I get home tonight, and see if LF/RF has been in 1) more decline than other positions and 2) has a decreasing tOPS+ over the past decade.

If someone beats me to this, I won't be the least bit upset (I'm looking at you, awh). Still, just looking at those two positions in isolation could be misleading, as offense as a whole has declined over the past decade.

"I’m just as scared as everybody else"


Great negotiating position, Rube

Here are the other MLB averages by position (OPS)

2012
C: .715
1B: .777
2B: .699
3B: .753
SS: .685
CF: .748

2009
C: .715
1B: .845
2B: .750
3B: .756
SS: .718
CF: .748

2006
C: .743
1B: .850
2B: .742
3B: .804
SS: .737
CF: .760

2003
C: .720
1B: .828
2B: .736
3B: .744
SS: .716
CF: .760

2000
C: .757
1B: .881
2B: .753
3B: .781
SS: .734
CF: .789

Click the link on the upper right to the CSN video regarding the Phillies' most important arm in 2013.

Salisbury gave some interesting data:

- The Phillies BP blew thirteen (13) 8th inning leads in 2012.

- 7 of those blown leads were when they were within one out of handing the ball to Papelbon.

Some people here have a really bad perception of the 2012 Phillies - who were a .500 team despite a perfect storm of injuries. Some of those same people focus on the offense (because they've been spoiled in recent years) and lament that offensive woes kept the Phillies out of the playoffs.

Chew on this: If the 2012 Phillies had held 7 of those 13 leads (54%) they would have had 88 wins and been in the playoffs. Argue all you want, but that's how close they were. (AAMOF, in hidsight the injuries to Stutes and Contreras may have been the most devastating to the team.)

There's no question that - with all the injuries - they weren't going to best the Braves and Nats last season, but despite the huge disappointment of 2012, this team was not as far away from 2012 contention as some here seem to think.

Uh, Rizzo became GM in spring 2009. Since then, the team has added Strasburg, Harper, Werth, Storen, Gio Gonzalez, Morse, Laroche, Wilson Ramos, and Span, among regular players.

So basically he came to a team that had Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmeran, and Ross Detwiler. He added all of the guys in the paragraph above. He was also, by the way, the assistant GM from 2006 on, when they got all of the above guys (except Desmond, who holds the honor of being the last guy drafted and developed under the Expos name).

I'd say he did a little more than come to a team with a championship-level core and take credit for winning.

Did it help to have the #1 pick in two straight drafts with once-in-a-generation talents? Obviously. But I still would characterize Rizzo as doing more to build this current team than, say, Gillick did for the 2007-onward Phillies. And I give Gillick as much credit as anyone.

awh: that's fine, and I'd feel a lot better about the offense going into the 2013 season if we had pretty much the same guys coming back (subbing Young the elder for Polly the cooked). But, we sold off Vic and Pence and replaced them with a plethora of question marks. The offense is currently a problem because who knows what we will get out of the outfield or if the infield will stay healthy. This team has a huge range of possible outcomes. With the addition of Adams, I feel pretty good about the pitching staff, though I'd like one more veteran.

Are you ready to discuss Phillies prospects? For the best indepth analysis on the web on the phuture of the phillies check us out at www.phuturephillies.com

Take part in the voting today and have your voice heard! http://phuturephillies.com/2013/01/08/reader-top-30-3-4/

I know JW probably won't do it but is it possible to ban MattWinks?

MG, thanks for looking those numbers up. Looks like 2B has dipped, too, as well as 1B in 2012.

i agree with Jack/MG. You can dislike Rizzo and dislike people who credit him, but you can't sit there and tell me that he walked into a powehouse. The Nats have been a cellar dwellar for their entir existance.

Rizzo is more responsible for the 2012 NL East division crown than anyone else on the planet. Thats the truth. What your opinion of that is up to you.

I know JW probably won't do it but is it possible to ban MattWinks?

Posted by: The Truth Injection | Wednesday, January 09, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Probably not. He'll just post under fake NEPP or fake BAP.

It happens about 3-4 times a calendar year:

a solid 7-10 day stretch will come around where I completely disagree with about every single idea/concept/keystroke that awh posts.

I'm stuck in the middle of a long one right now.

Jack: There's no doubt that Rizzo has done a good job, and he seems to have done another nice job this off-season. But he has also had some good luck drop in his lap. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's not all that unusual. It's just an observation. Frankly, I think a whole lot of what passes for brilliance in sports management is often just a matter of good luck.

Frankly, I think a whole lot of what passes for brilliance in sports management is often just a matter of good luck.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Wednesday, January 09, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Wholeheartedly agree.

MattWinks actually does a pretty good job over at PP. But instead of spamming BL with an advert to vote for prospects, maybe he should get involved in the discussion here. I think there was another guy like that a while back.

"I'd say he did a little more than come to a team with a championship-level core and take credit for winning."


Jack, I'm still going to disagree. You list all the players he acquired, and that's fine.

I'll give him credit for Morse, because he only gave up Langerhans, but do you really think he predicted THAT kind of production from MM?

But he had a lot of talent to trade that was in the system BEFORE he became GM.

Also, take Werth off that list, because to quote myself..."A deaf, dumb and blind monkey could have" signed Werth to a contract that was $40MM MORE than anyone else offered.

I think the Phils kind of had the attitude for a while there that good outfielders are a dime a dozen and what we see now is the fruit of that kind of thinking.

" But, we sold off Vic and Pence and replaced them with a plethora of question marks."

Jbird, the 2012 offense scored

4.23 RPG before the trade deadline

4.20 RPG after the trade deadline (no Vic and Pence)


Just sayin'...

PP has sucked since James passed off the site.

Sorry but its true.

"a solid 7-10 day stretch will come around where I completely disagree with about every single idea/concept/keystroke that awh posts."


lore, post your email address and from now on I'll make sure I send you all of my proposed posts for your pre-approval.

That's a whole 4.86 more runs per 162 game season.

"PP has sucked since James passed off the site."


This.

Why is Werth on the list of good things Rizzo has done?

Agree 100% with BAP's comment that Fata excerpted, also. You can look no further than Pat Gillick as an example of that.

Jack giving Rizzo credit for Harper and Strasburg falling into his lap is more than a little disingenuous. This is what I was talking about in that he has simply done a really good job not screwing up what he had laid out in front of him.

Don't get me wrong- baseball history (especially recently) is littered with GMs that couldn't help but overthink themselves and screw up a perfectly good situation. But not drafting either of those two would have been the GM equivalent of soiling himself.

And add those two players to the list Jack made of pieces they had in place when he took over, and you've pretty much got a juggernaut in waiting.

i'm not clout, just because we don't agree doesn't mean i'm calling you wrong.

"A juggernaut in waiting." Love that.

lore, relax, I was just having fun.

PP is doing just fine since James left (in fact, the daily content has greatly improved). Even in January, it isn't the cesspool of backbiting that has become BL.

I swear to god, given the circular nature of discussion here, 95% of the comments must be left by the same institutionalized schizophrenic.

(I do think, however, MattWinks shouldn't spam.)

awh: right, and our team finished at .500. I'd feel better about our team's hitting if it had a healthy Utley, Howard, Starting 3B, as well as Pence and Vic caliber hitters. Take either side out of the equation and I'm less enamored.

I agree with you that finishing 7th in Runs Allowed needed to be fixed, and bringing in Adams, banking on a Halladay recovery, and replacing the pedestrian (while injured) Worely with the pedestrian (and healthy) Lannan is a pretty good offseason strategy. Using your assertion that the 2nd half club was as good offensively as the 1st half club, and thus we shouldn't freak out abou the offense, do you think finishing 8th in runs scored will be sufficient given that a repeat of the historic 2011 pitching performance is unrealistic? Do you think the Phillies have improved their hitting so that they will finish higher than 8th?

dlhunter, I'm not insane.

My mother had me checked.

@awh 9:58 am

Great post. As many people have not realized, and seem to continually ignore. The 2012 Phils were right there. The return of a 80% Utley and 50% Howard still was enough for this team to make a fantastic run. Before the ASB this team blew 8th inning lead after 8th inning lead.

A lot "fans" that I've talked to see the current roster as a 3rd place roster still. This team IMHO is better this year, and if we have Utley and Howard at 100% you can't tell me this team won't be competing for the division crown again this year. Plus not to mention that with Atlanta's acquisition of Upton, they have added another 170-180 K's to their lineup this year, with a an underwhelming .230 or less BA. Washington is indeed better, but we will compete.

I don't spend much time on PP anymore, but it can be worthwhile if you're patient enough to skip over many comments to get to the important info on some prospects. There are still some knowledgeable posters there. I wouldn't totally write it off.

Listening to "Larry M" go on and on in every thread ever posted over there was enough to make me tune out the occasional good bits of info provided.

Its useful as a place to get links to prospect rankings/scouting reports but otherwise, 99% of the comments are about some no-name Low A OF who will definitely be the next Ken Griffey Jr despite no professional Scout agreeing with them.

Not worth the time. James kept that type of ridiculousness in check when he ran the site.

Ax, I don't think anyone doubts that if Utley and Howard are 100%, this is a better team than the team that took the field much of last year, and especially with a 100% Halladay.

But here's the rub: Why ought we assume that all, or any, of those three are 100%? Utley hasn't been 100% for 2 years now, Howard is a big guy coming off an injury that is known to slay big guys' careers, and Halladay is a 35 year old pitcher who dealt with a shoulder injury last year (and shoulder injuries are usually kryptonite to pitchers).

Maybe there are some folks who are saying that the offense was at fault for them missing the playoffs last year, and they'd be right to an extent. Sure we blew lots of leads, and had subpar starting pitching at times, but all facets of the game contribute to wins and losses. The degree to which each is a contributor is a matter of semantics.

In any event, I would have liked to see them add a Swisher, for example, not because I believe that the offense was the biggest culprit to the team's woes last year, or because I think that offense is the best, or only, way for this team to compete this year. I think that improving any part of the team in a reasonable manner is always a good idea, and also, better offensive pieces and bullpen pieces around the Utley/Howard/Halladays of this team is a way to HEDGE against the likely prospect that one, two or all of three of these players are, in fact, NOT 100% this year.

"...do you think finishing 8th in runs scored will be sufficient given that a repeat of the historic 2011 pitching performance is unrealistic?"


You know the answer, jbird. It depends on how well they pitch.

I've pointed out before that the Reds won 97 games and their division scoring LESS runs than the Phillies. It helped that they outperformed their Pythagorean W/L by 6 games. A lot of that had to do with their bullpen posting a 2.65 ERA and their 31 - 21 record in one run games.

So, while no one expects a repeat of the 2011 pitching and defensive performance, it is more important for them to improve some than for the offense to score 150 more runs. It's also IMO a much more realistic expectation.

While I don't expect them to surrender only 523 runs (2011), it may be more realistic for them to try to get their runs allowed down to 600 as opposed to trying to score 764 runs (80 run difference from 2012).


"Do you think the Phillies have improved their hitting so that they will finish higher than 8th?"

I'd have to look at them relative to the other teams in the league before I answer that. But do I think they'll score more runs than they did last season? Yes.


I'd be quite happy if they can knock about 60 runs off of what they surrendered in 2012, and scored 20 - 40 more on offense. That should lead to 90 - 92 wins, and a possible WC spot.

At this point in time this team has a better opportunity to increase it's run differential by suppressing runs than they do by trying to score more by adding a marginal player.

"Sure we blew lots of leads, and had subpar starting pitching at times, but all facets of the game contribute to wins and losses. The degree to which each is a contributor is a matter of semantics."

I agree with this to a point, but I think it's a lot easier to target what exactly to improve on a team by looking at what aspect of the team repeatedly contributed most directly to losses that could have been wins- as I've said in the past, the 'razor's edge' factors.

I think you could make a pretty convincing argument that adding a bat like Swisher would cure a lot of what ailed the Phils last season, and if you had his bat on last year's team, that they would have had several more wins.

But when you boil down what factor kept the Phils from a ~90 win team last year, it's the bullpen, specifically the eight inning. The 2012 Phils offense was good enough, through all the injuries, to take quite a few leads into the 8th inning that were not converted into victories. It is close to indisputable that if they had a lock-down 8th inning arm, their record would have been considerably better, and maybe even gotten them into the playoffs- despite all the things that went wrong, from Halladay to Utley to Howard.

I think the fix was simple enough to get one pitcher (Adams) to patch that leak up in the 8th inning and make this a considerably better team than they were in 2012. Sometimes all it takes is a quick fix.

Ax: Not to nit-pick, but Upton has never batted .230 or lower in his entire career, nor has he ever struck out between 170 & 180 times. And Atlanta won't be "adding" all his strikeouts. They'll only be adding the 15 to 30 strikeouts above & beyond Bourn's.

Besides, I'm not really sure why strikeouts are all that big a deal, as compared to other kinds of outs. The bigger issue, on Upton, is that his OBP was only .298 last year.

Ice, I agree on the pitching, especially with the bullpen. Hopefully a healthy Adams and Papelbon, and a more consistent Bastardo/Aumont/DeFratus can completely allay our fears in that regard this year.

But I just take issue with the notion that getting a bat to improve the offense was a fruitless endeavor just because last year the bullpen was possibly the leading culprit in contributing to losses.

I mean, that was last year. Improving any facet of the game is always a good thing, and given that we didn't have the money to target a Grienke or Sanchez, a Swisher would have really been the best bet for this team, in my opinion.

But, I don't think they can't compete without Swisher. I just think we would have been better with him. In the end, I hope we end up not having needed Swisher, and Ruf and Brown go crazy this year, and solidify those positions.

dlhunter: "PP is doing just fine since James left (in fact, the daily content has greatly improved)."

Do you remember the spredsheets and anaylsis that James used to publish, along with a never ending attempt to formulate new ratings/measures for every prospect? They were incredible and blow away anything that has been on that site.

And yes i still like their website and have visited plenty of times, not knocking the site - just praising it moreso in the past.

"But I just take issue with the notion that getting a bat to improve the offense was a fruitless endeavor..."


Fatti, nice straw man. Who ever took that position?

Fata- I agree about another corner OF bat. It's unfortunate they didn't add one. An addition like Revere begged for a complementary signing of a run-producing bat, and Young unfortunately doesn't count.

At this point, I hope that Amaro's plan is to skate by in the first half, staying in the thick of things until the deadline, and making a move for a bat at that time when the prices won't be as high. I'd like to believe that both Brown and Ruf will tear it up and make that move unnecessary, but personally, I just hope that one of them breaks out.

Has anyone else pondered the notion that the biggest problem with the team in 2013 might be something that isn't even on the radar right now?

"But I just take issue with the notion that getting a bat to improve the offense was a fruitless endeavor just because last year the bullpen was possibly the leading culprit in contributing to losses."

Yeah, I mean. If you have a 6-3 lead, as opposed to a 4-3 lead, chances are you're going to blow less leads.

The whole point is just to get better. There's been a whole line of argument this entire offseason about whether they should have targeted offense, or bullpen, or outfield, or starting pitching, or defense.

All that matters is getting better. No segment of this team is good enough where you can say "oh, no work to be done there." They could've gotten better by adding Zack Grienke or Anibal Sanchez. Or by adding Mike Adams and other relievers. Or by adding Nick Swisher or Josh Hamilton. Or by adding Ben Revere. On and on and on. It really doesn't matter how they were going to do it, you just needed to add more talent. Score more runs, or give up less. It doesn't matter (or ideally, both).

On that front, I think they got a little bit better. I would've liked to see them do more. We'll see if they're good enough. I have my doubts, but there is certainly enough that could go right for the team to consider itself a contender entering the season.

I still have Rick Ankiel as the guy Amaro adds in his 'low-risk, high-reward' label.

I'm looking at the list of remaining OFs and I'm just not seeing who else makes sense. I still don't understand why they were ever interested in Hairston- they have Ruf and Mayberry. I'm not sure why the target wouldn't be LH. Assuming Brown is the full-time RF, Nix is the only known commodity, as in, we know his best case scenario is a mediocre OF with few skills. Mayberry is useful in a limited role and should stay on the team. And Ruf has, at the very least, earned a shot to prove himself with an extended try-out.

With Ankiel you can throw out a ST invite to him and hope that he re-captures the very small window of magic he had against RHP. If he doesn't, cut him. Pretty simple.

A guy like Podsednik, maybe...but I mean, with Revere, why the hell would you want another pop-gun hitter?

Cyclic: "Has anyone else pondered the notion that the biggest problem with the team in 2013 might be something that isn't even on the radar right now?"

Of course! This is why saying "well, Utley and Howard are back, so add 8 wins there" is so silly. That assumes everything else stays the same! Which never happens.

It's entirely possible, in fact probable, that something we're not even talking about will be the issue. Maybe Lee goes down with a key injury. Maybe it's Rollins. Maybe Chooch is suspended again. Maybe Cole Hamels throws up a 2009 stink-bomb (and I know he was unlucky that year, just saying results-wise). If I were going to bet on anything, it would be that the bullpen is the "pleasant surprise" of the year (which shouldn't be a surprise), and that it's an injury to someone other than Utley or Howard or Doc that makes the most different. Seriously.

Iceman, Ankiel would only be nice because he can actually defend a bit, plus he coud take over Wilson Valdez's 19th inning role.

"If I were going to bet on anything, it would be that the bullpen is the "pleasant surprise" of the year (which shouldn't be a surprise), and that it's an injury to someone other than Utley or Howard or Doc that makes the most different. Seriously."

I think I agree with this, with one caveat: I don't think Doc needs to go down with an 'injury' for him to have the biggest influence on what the team does this season.

I do not think there is a lot of middle ground on what Doc is going to give them this year: he's either going to bounce-back almost completely, or he's going to be basically what we saw last year. I don't think there's a lot of room for improvement if he does, in fact, have a serious shoulder condition.

The difference between the two possible Halladay's is almost certainly more significant than any other disaster that could occur, other than Lee or Hamels going down and missing months of time. That's always possible, of course, but I wouldn't bet on it.

awh, didn't mean to erect a strawman, but you have been clamoring on and on, browbeating people with the notion that they should only be concerned with the pitching, and you've said, on a number of occasions, that no bat added would mean anything if the three headed monster of Halladay/Utley/Howard doesn't produce.

I take some issue with that. I think they could've acquired talent to hedge against one, two or three of them not coming back and producing where they ought to be.

Maybe I've just misread your position.

awh- hadn't thought about his cannon of an arm and his defensive skills. He would be an asset there, too.

I would be completely in favor of giving him a shot, because if he can hit for power against RHP, he's basically the LH equivalent of Mayberry. And that's someone who would be useful to have on this team.

Lore-
I do of course think that the absence of James' talent is something of a tragedy. It's sad that he just couldn't keep doing the site. High strung, I guess.

Where is he now? I assume in the woods, writing the Matt Rizzoti manifesto.

Also, to get more specific with what Jack said- if I had to lay a bet on something going wrong that no one is talking about, it's Rollins.

Have a sick feeling that his good fortune with injuries the last few years is due to run out soon- and it will either affect his production, or his time on the field. Or both.

I'm the biggest Rollins booster on here, but it's just a hunch. Just like I have a hunch that Lee bounces back big time (as far as luck goes, because he was still very good last year), and Hamels seriously contends for the Cy Young this year.

Final post before I have to bail- I haven't climbed on a soapbox about the HOF voting yet, and I won't turn this into a huge philosophical debate over juicing. But I just have to say that Mike Piazza not getting in as a first-ballot hall-of-famer is a freaking travesty, and is now the standard-bearer case-in-point as to why this whole process is officially a complete sham.

I'm okay with nobody being voted in...its been a long time since that happened.

Schilling got 38% of the vote...a decent first time showing.

At least Biggio should have gotten in, probably Raines too. Piazza's suffering from PED rumors, but I would have voted for him. I would also vote for Trammel, McGriff, & Loften, but they are less popular choices. Would not vote for Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, or Palmeiro.

I'd vote for Bagwell too, I guess.

Biggio will get in, 68% on 1st ballot is very promising. Bonds and Clemens would be sittnig ok at 40% but their case is obviously different, where people might not be changing their minds over next 10 years.

I wouldnt be surprised if Bagwell and Biggio get in next year.

Glavine and Maddux are both up for election next year too so it will be a big class of new HOFs as both are almost certain 1st ballot guys.

Iceman, he had bacne! Murray Chass has been reporting that for years as a true sign of steroid usage.

Too many sportswriters also determine the overall defensive quality of a catcher by his throwing alone.

Aaron Sele got 1 vote...that guy should probably lose his voting privileges.

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