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Saturday, March 30, 2013

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Repost from end of last thread:

Faint praise, to be sure, but I feel better about Inciarte as the 25th man than I did about Martinez. Doesn't mean either are MLB ready.

It must feel great to be a Phillies Rule V pick. You get a free ticket to the Show and an MLB salary, virtually guaranteed.

The lineup: To me it would make so much sense to bat utley second after revere. Utley takes pitches which would give revere a better chance to steal. Also, revere wouldn't have to rush back to first on all those shallow pop ups. I'm grateful for Rollins, a terrific shortstop and good hitter - I just think the team is better with him hitting 5, 6, or 7.

Inciarte is not a bad piece to have on the MLB roster, generally. A speed/defense guy that can't hit is fine to have as a pinch-runner/late-inning sub.

The problem is that Laynce Nix is third on the OF depth chart. It would be nice to have another guy that can hit. I was initially fine with Ruf being demoted, and I still see the rationale behind it. But I guess I was really holding out hope that these guys in the front office were never really seriously considering going in to the season with Laynce Nix in line for 70% of the starts at an important position. Especially after they acquired a CF- who I love, for the record- but will literally not hit single HR this year, and will only have a handful of XBHs. I really kept thinking it was a smokescreen and there's no way they'd actually do it.

Now, especially after reading that Gelb article, I have no idea what the hell they're thinking.

I want to be outraged about Inciarte making the team, but I feel like the window of opportunity for outrage expired about 2 or 3 days after Ruf and Jermaine Mitchell were demoted. From that point on, Inciarte was probably the least horrendous of the Phillies' remaining options.

I really don't see Nix and JMJ remaining on the MLB roster forever if Ruf shows growth and Delmon is a go.

Roster? Schmoster.

It will still come down to the pitching.

(the roster can be tweaked during the season.)

Sweeney would be an ok pickup. He's an excellent defensive player and is basically Ross Gload on offense. But no thanks on Rivera or Casper Wells.

Really surprised if Nix/Mayberry went anywhere even if they both got out to really lousy starts even though Memorial Day weekend.

The Phils farm system has zero depth right now in the OF at the upper levels. It is why Inciarte made the team.

Even if D. Young, comes back it only displaces Inciarte & Mayberry takes over as a bench player/backup CF is necessary.

Hmmm

Odd, first post didn't go through.

Anyway, I don't care what anyone says, Brown should be in RF hands down. The fact this front office is pushing him in LF in favor of Nix/Young is a crime.

Nix & Young have primary been LFs their entire careers. Young hasn't played RF since 2008 I believe & even so, he is a horrible OF to begin with ( weak arm, bad fielder ) which makes perfect sense to put in LF.

I strongly suspect that Inciarte will stay when D. Young comes back, and that either Mayberry or Nix will be traded (for a low-level toolsy position-player prospect or a fungible reliever at best). My money is on Mayberry for the odd man out, since (A) he and Delmon Young are both RHB, (B) if Inciarte stays he won't be needed as a backup CF, and (C) I get the impression that Rube has never really forgiven him for not living up to his second half of 2011 in 2012. Dumping Mayberry--who at least is a solid fourth outfielder--to accomodate Young and Inciarte would be stupid, but since when has that every bothered Rube?

"I get the impression that Rube has never really forgiven him for not living up to his second half of 2011 in 2012."

Instead of marveling at the stupidity of this statement, I'll just ask...what gives you that impression, Allen Thornberg?

@BAP Red Sox did end up letting go of Sweeney, not sure if that's where you were going with that post or just sort-of hoping would happen.

pb: Yeah, I mentioned him only because he has been mentioned a lot -- including in Corey's article. I have no strong feelings about Ryan Sweeney, but at least he's halfway useful as a pinch hitter & backup outfielder. That's more than I can say about Juan Rivera, Casper Wells, and Ender Inciarte.

What would the point of signing Ryan Sweeney if he won't accept a AAA assignment. What are the odd's we could DFA Mayberry and not lose him?

Don't know enough about Sweeney's defensive skill set, but if he's more useful than Inciarte, then the Phils should grab him. I'm not in favor of getting rid of Mayberry and I don't get the ongoing bashing of him on this site. He's a good fourth OF, has pop from the right side and plays solid defense. Every good team needs a guy like that on its roster.

Agree about Mayberry ^

Did the Rule 5 prices go up? I though players were bought for $50,000. and offered back for $25,000.

I love the national league way and always will. But now would be the perfect time for NL to have a DH. Line up today would be pretty good. Insert ruf for AAAberry. And a different RF.

I despise r00b so much, I don't even have the words.

Jimmy in mid season form in the field

BAP- you need to check the numbers. Casper Wells is not someone that can be lumped in with Inciarte and Rivera. He has consistently hit well against LHP and can play across the OF at an average to above average level.

I agree with you that Sweeney is better than Rivera, but I'm not sure why you're so in love with him. His OPS against RHP the last three years have been .754, .743 and .713. He doesn't run and he barely hits for any power. I don't know much about his defense, but the team doesn't need a defensive caddy. They need a guy who can hit. Sweeney can't hit.

Wells is no great shakes, but against LHP his career OPS is .838, which is better than Mayberry's in 2012. He also gets on base against them at a .350 clip. He has 25 HR in 656 career PA- Sweeney has 14 HR in 1900 PAs. He plays all three OF positions and from the metrics I'm looking at, he's average or above average at all of them.

What exactly makes Sweeney a better option than an asset the team doesn't have much of- a hitter with some pop against LHP?

I'll rephrase: they obviously do lack defensive help in the OF. But if you're going to bring in a guy like Sweeney, who has an OPS against RHP worse than Laynce Nix, you might as well keep the defensive specialist (Inciarte) already on the roster.

Sweeney has a -0.2 dWAR over 7 seasons. Wells' has a 1.1 dWAR over 224 career games. He actually seems like the better defender. And Wells can actually hit a little bit. What am I missing?

Inciarte would be a nice piece to have on the roster once he's developed at age 25.

I'm confused as to why you would want him on the roster at age 22 when he's never played above A ball.

@Jack this is the same team that kept Mini Mart and played him also. So who knows

Argh, bad Kyle.

Dubee must love when KK messes up just so he can belittle him.

Thank God Toronto A) Isn't in the NL, and B) Took Josh Johnson and Reyes out of the division (and to a lesser extent Buehrle, who baffled them last year).

They will be racking up some high scores this year against mediocre pitching.

Utley bad read?

Rasmus must really suck to get pwned like this by KK.

YAYBerry!

Ice~ I have question maybe you can answer. Let's say Sweeney becomes available & the Phils want him. Do they HAVE to keep Inciarte or can they offer him back? Or because he's a Rule V, does one of the other outfielders have to go?

I know the other possibility is a trade between the Phils and Inciate's former team, and then they can option him.
Thanks.

DPatrone- I think if they want to store him in AAA, they need to put him on waivers, then offer him back to the DBacks for $50K before doing that.

I don't get why they can't work out a small trade with Arizona now if they really want him so he doesn't have to stay on the roster. But maybe the DBacks really want him back.

Some nice hitting in this inning. Howard almost had a HR there. Good to see Young drive a ball like that.

Is it me, or is Sarge saying "to be quite frank" like, 400% more than ever before?

Iceman: I'm hardly in love with Sweeney, and could not care less if we sign him or not. But I'm not sure where you're getting that he can't hit. Before last year, he had 4 straight seasons of .340+ OBP. He doesn't hit for power, but he can certainly hit. He also plays plus (if not elite) defense. And, while I agree with you that we don't need a defensive caddy, the fact is, we DO have just that in Ender Inciarte. Sweeney is better than Inciarte in every phase of the game except speed.

I guess it comes down to preference. As far as I'm concerned, our bench already has some low OBP guys with homerun pop in Mayberry, Nix, and even Kratz. What we don't have is someone who can hit for decent average & a high OBP. Sweeney fits that mold.

I'll agree with most people who don't see that much of a problem with Inciarte making the roster - but there is 0% chance he is the best available player to add on the roster for 2013.

The Phillies likely know this, but seem to think that the prospect of keeping Inciarte's rights long term is more worthwhile than picking up an out of options DFA candidate.

I think that concept is a poor one, because Inciarte hasn't shown much at all as a minor leaguer. His best accomplishment was .797 OPS as a 21yr old in A+ ball.

However that was done at one of the most notorious hitter leagues AND parks in the entire minors - California League, Visalia. Last year specifically, CALL averaged 10.8 runs a game, the most of any minor league.

BAP- I mean, to each his own, but Wells has a .349 career OBP against LHP and had a .364 OBP against them just last year (.891 OPS). I don't know why the team needs another LHH, and I'm not sure why anyone would think the team doesn't need another guy with HR pop, but whatever.

I think both Sweeney and Wells would be better options than Inciarte, in terms of helping the team this year.

What are the chances that either Sweeney or Wells would sign with the Phil's knowing that when DYoung comes off the DL they are probably gone. I'd say highley unlikely.

Bastardo continuing to bleed runs.

If he could get his sh*t together, this would have the makings of a pretty good back end of the bullpen- four really good arms. Otherwise, it's more of the same from last year- praying that starters go 7+ innings.

If we see Zach Miner again before next February, it's the worst case scenario.

BAP: Do you know something about Ruf and Mitchell that no one else knows?

Didn't the bastard used to have a plus
fastball?

clout: That they can hit better than Ender Inciarte, perhaps?

Mike G: It depends on what their offers are. I don't see many teams banging down their door. Teams like the Marlins/Astros are saturated with pre-arb players that I doubt they'll be in interested.

Wheels is such an idiot. He claims that managers often don't sent two runners with no one out, because of the threat of a triple play. Sure, Wheels. Triple plays happen so often. Beware the triple play.

Again, who is Zach Miner and what has he done this spring to warrant being in Philadelphia? Yes, I know he didn't make the squad, but yikes, what a bad pitcher.

Send him and MM to Siberia.

Is that the test of who to keep? If so, then you should want Sweeney or Wells, and yet you don't. So what is it?

Good description of Bastardo, Iceman. That's exactly what he does. As you rightly put it, he "bleeds runs." From outing to outing, you never know what pitcher he is.

In his dominant year of 2011, his fastball was much livelier and his breaking ball had great late movement.

In sum, he is unreliable. I believe both Horst and Valdes have moved up the ladder ahead of him. I'm surprised that he seems to be entitled to #4 in the pecking order.

Kilbill: Yep, that's gotta be it. Bastardo's problem is his fastball. Couldn't possibly be anything else.

Finally, I know it's only spring training, but I worry not only about #3, but #'s 4 and 5 are no great shakes in the starting five.

The problem with both KK and Lannan is that they have to be pinpoint sharp to have any hope of pitching quality innings.

Dubee has two looks for KK:

Disappointed Little League dad: general disappointment but nothing overt
Disgusted High School dad: visually disappointed at times verging flabbergasted

Today was closer to the later. KK struggked with his commmand & control from the start. He would have been lucky to make it through 5.

Dubee obviously wasn't thrilled that a guy the Phils are kind of counting on to pitch well enough to win 12-13 games got lite up in the start that was his season tuneup.

Do the Phils get the KK in the 2nd half of last year who pitched quite well and showed son real improvement or the guy who got tattooed replacing Halladay before the ASB.

Prediction: The Diamondbacks will serve Goosewurst before this season is over.

MG- to be honest with you, I'm more confident in what they'll get from Lannan than what KK will do.

You could tell me he'll have anything from a 3ish ERA to a 5ish ERA and I'd believe either one. He can have some really awful stretches at times. Spring didn't really give much encouragement.

Iceman - Me too although I do think Lannan won't be a 4 ERA guy but closer to 4.50.

If Halladay does go on the DL, I can see why some of the national guys are so down on a the Phils. KK-Lannan-Cloyd at the 3-4-5 is as weak as the bad days of the late 90s when the Phils could send out 3 very mediocre/poor starters over the course of a 3-game series.

My of impresson of this team from what I've seen this Spring which was limited.

They still have a lot of talent. Their lineup is too LH and short of RH powewr. Their pitching will be average to slightly above as a whole. They'll get beat by better teams more often than not. .500 team (or slightly better. Not a playoff team.

"Is that the test of who to keep? If so, then you should want Sweeney or Wells, and yet you don't. So what is it?"

Who said I don't want Sweeney? I've spent half the thread saying that I think he would be an improvement.

MG- which is exactly the reason why I'd like them to work a deal for Capuano. Put him in the bullpen where he'll provide an upgrade as a long man/lefty specialist and he'd be a more than adequate fill-in if a pitcher hits the DL.

If they offer to pay his salary I can't imagine he'd cost that much in prospects.

BAP: "I'm hardly in love with Sweeney and could not care less whether we sign him or not."

My problem is I read your words the way a normal person would, which is radically different that what you claim they say.

But why wouldn't Wells be an improvement? He's as good defensively as Sweeney and certainly is an upgrade offensively over Inciarte (he had an .838 OPS last year).

Odds makers in LV have both Nats and Braves ahead of the Phils. And the Nats won't be peaking till next year or the year after. So what is the rationale for this team not rebuilding?

RK - Because of the committed payroll they have, the age of the team, and the lack of tradeable assets.

If they are a bad team again this year at the trading deadline (sub .500), there is a strong possibility that Amaro is a big-time seller at the dead line and looks to move a number of pieces.

No sense folding at this point until you see the flop and what the cards show the first half of the season.

Amaro didn't committ any huge dollars or long-term deals this offseason nor did he really trade away any younger assets that mattered to the team. Maybe you count Worley but he did get Revere who should be a starter in CF for at least the next 3-4 years for the Phils.

Must be a great comfort to Minor league OFers to know you can be in A ball one year and in the bigs the next.

It's like Make A Wish for A ball players...

clout: Funny, Iceman was interpreting the exact same posts as you and he came away with the impression that I was "in love with" Sweeney.

In point of fact, you're both wrong. I do not love him, and I am not opposed to signing him.

and the bottom half of the league in runs

_____________________________________

Jack I'll take that bet.

@MG I know the Phillies won't do it, but if Halladay goes on the DL, it would be nice to have someone else in the rotation (Martin, Morgan) that caould potentially miss bats, especially with this defense. Some combo of KK/Lannan followed by Cloyd or Pettibone is not inspiring, to say the least.

I took KK in the last round of my fantasy draft, hoping we would see the guy we saw in the second half last year. Either I'm going to look smart or I'm cutting bait in a couple weeks.

TTI - I wouldn't touch that either. I don't this offense will be top 3 in RS in the NL but I do think they will be a bit better than last year.

Phils HR:

Since Amaro has steady replaced guys who take BBs with those who don't, this lineup is going to need a bunch of high AVG and HRs to improve over last

2012/2011:
C: .295/24 HRs vs. .255/7 HRs
1B: .241/27 HRs vs. .263/35 HRs
2B: .255/17 HRs vs. .249/11 HRs
3B: .272/5 HRs vs. .266/8 HRs
SS: .244/23 HRs vs. .267/17 HRs
LF: .290/13 HRs vs. .247/23 HRs
CF: .268/16 HRs vs. .263/22 HRs
RF: .246/23 HRs vs. .269/24 HRs

2012/2011

RS: 684 (8th) vs. 713 (7th)
AVG: .255 (7th) vs. .253 (9th)
HRs: 158 (8th) vs. 153 (8th)

At first glance, it kind of surprised me how more in common the 2011 & 2012 offenses had in common than were different. The only glaring difference was due to the C spot because of Chooch/Kratz production.

Going to be a huge failoff this year at C but hopefully better than 2011. 1B should more closely resemble 2011 and 2B hopefully is better than 2012 with 120 GS from Utley. Nowhere to go but up from 3B because Polanco was largely a zero the last 2 years offensively. Even if M. Young is a kind of a bust, the Phils won't take any real offensive hit there.

In the OF, the Phils are really going to miss the power in CF they have gotten. Hopefully that Nixberry provides a bit more power and gladly take a bit of an AVG hit in LF from last year for 25-27 HRs out of LF this year.

In RF, I am hopeful that Brown can improve on that AVG and that total they get ~25 HRs out RF this year.

If I had to guess where the Phils would finish offensively in RS, I would say 6th-7th in the NL. Really depends on how many games Utley can start, if Howard can get back to near a ~35 HR pace, and if Brown really has the kind of breakout year the Phils desperately need.

Good analysis MG. If I remember correctly the Phils were like 27th in the league in production from 1B last year. Can't imagine it being that bad again this year.

Their OBP from CF last year between Vic and Mayberry must've been dreadful. If Revere could take another step forward and hit something like .300/.340-.345, assuming he's at the top of the order, that would be a nice trade-off.

The team is going to be missing HRs everywhere but 1B any way you slice it. In addition to CF, I can't imagine Rollins going off like he did in the 2nd half last year again, or Ruiz/Kratz combining for 24 HRs.

It really will be on Brown to make up some of the lost power from CF. If he can manage 15-20 HR, it would close the gap a bit (along with Howard hopefully hitting 30-35). Utley for a full season should add a handful also. Not looking for much from Young, but it's not like he's replacing much.

If Brown can't stay on the field and/or doesn't take a big leap forward, the power numbers in the OF will be laughable. Not expecting more than what LF gave us last year from Nixberry/Young. That's why I would've liked to see a Soriano trade happen.

Pitching staff

Yeah I know judging a staff on ERA solely is a ridiculous way to judge them:

Starters
2012/2011
3.82 (7th)/2.86 (1st)

Relievers
2012/2011
3.94 (10th)/3.45 (7th)

I would say the Phils are going to be pretty hard pressed to improve on that 3.82 mark and hopefully it doesn't slip much.

Where this team has a realistic shot to improve (and hopefully get some luck because they need it) is in the bullpen. Even if the Phils are 7th-8th in the NL in Starters' ERA and only a team that is slightly above average offensively, the bullpen is the one area who you hope that the Phils kind of catch lightning in a bottle this year & can finish 3rd-4th in the NL.

Basically what Baltimore did last year to find their way back to the playoffs. They finished 9th in the AL in RS, 9th in starters' ERA, and 3rd in bullpen ERA. The bad thing is that they had some of the most amazing luck in 1-run and close games I have ever seen. Phils are going to need that kind of luck.

It also helps that the O's have a manager who I think is above average strategically in Showalter. Phils don't have that luxury with Cholly.

My 3 key on whether the Phils can buck the odds and get back to the playoffs are:

1. A real improvement in the bullpen due to overall improved performances, improved health, and not blowing leads in the 8th inning.

2. Beating the crap out of the Fish/Mets this year. .500 against these teams (18-18) isn't remotely going to cut it. Phils need to take advantage of 2 bottom feeders and win at least at a .600 clip or better which is 22 wins. Probably even 23-24 wins to have a solid shot at a WC berth.

3. A strong start through the first 5 weeks. Phils do have some tough games in there including 3 vs Braves on the road, 3 vs Reds on the road, and 4 vs Cards at home. I would be fine if the Phils are 5-5 in those games. Even 4-6.

13 games though vs Fish/Mets, 3 games vs Royals at home, 4 vs Pirates at home, 2 vs Indians on the road.

That's 32 games including 18 at home through May 5th. If the Phils aren't north of .500 and say at least 18-14/17-15 after they wrap up a 4-game series vs. Fish at CBP on May 5th, they aren't playoffs contenders.


MG: Yeah I am baffled that Jack thinks the Phillies offense will be that terrible. Yeah they won't walk much but they will score runs.

Also, MG- Your posts at 6;46 and 7:16 are very good, well-written analysis of the team from the past two years with an eye looking forward. Those two posts are the prime example of why I give you grief over some of the things you say like "an irrational hatred of Aumont" or the like. You are a better poster than that and the latest two posts prove that.

If everything breaks right for Inciarte, he might be Ryan Sweeney in four years. No question they should offer back Ender and pick up Sweeney or Casper Wells if the opportunity presents itself.

TTI - The offense could be pretty bad if a few things don't break the Phils way (Utley is really limited; JRoll misses meaningful time)

Even then, I wouldn't bet on it after this ST and knowing that the Phils will begin the season with Utley/Howard in the lineup regularly at the start of the year for the first time since '10.

As many times as I've posted about the "scary" Braves, Will S. does make a good point when he states they will miss Prado, Chipper and Bourn. If Will did not add this I will -- if your rotation is anchored by Tim Hudson, well, it's no longer scary.

Factor in McCann coming off injury and the loss of Venters and I just bet the Phils and Braves are neck and neck all season. On a personal note I think BJ Upton is a self-centered whacko, and bro Justin is just not going to live up to his "potential” (why did AZ deal him, anyway??)", but take those observations with a grain of salt. And one more thing -- who is Kris Medlen anyway, and will he go 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA to start 2013?

As far as the Nationals go, all I can say is “who cares”? They are who they are. Harper is an arrogant creep with a big mouth – his “…that’s a clown question, bro…” - response to that sportswriter last year was totally classless and clueless. He better let his bat do the talking – a tall order for a 20-year-old that Fata’s already designed a shrine/ separate wing in Cooperstown for.

Harper’s brought a ton of pressure onto himself and his 20-year-old psyche. I hope his courage and patience are as big as his ego, because baseball is not an easy game, and does not suffer fools gladly. Finally, if the steroid-less Gonzales crashes back to earth, who ever rode a single ace pitcher to a WS title (besides the ’08 Phillies)?

On a more immediate note, Kendrick really cannot afford to pitch up in the zone like that shown today. If he continues with many more performances like today, he’s jettisoned the Phil’s season.

MG: "I do think Lannan won't be a 4 ERA guy but closer to 4.50."

You better hope he's over 4.50.

TTI: Ok.

So in addition to our bet that over whether the Phils will be closer to 4th than to 1st, we have a bet over whether they finish in the top half of the league in runs or the bottom half. Deal.

Re: cut fastball's analysis of Harper/the Nats.... Washington is more than just Harper. Yeah, he needs to produce, but they have so many other pieces that Harper doesn't have to do it alone.

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