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Friday, March 22, 2013



clout: No doubt Charlie has shown he prefers bench players who he thinks can play defense. So I'd be shocked if Ruf made the 25-man roster to start the season.

I'm saying this may be a mistake as NL bench players are used more often as pinch hitters.

The 'debate' on the 40-man roster is that the Phils are carrying 13 relievers on their roster and that 5 of them (Stutes, Savery, Rosenberg, Diekman, Robles) kind of suck.

That's basically 40%. I would have to look at the other 40-man rosters in the division but I would bet that most teams viewed as contenders aren't carry so many crappy relievers. That's all.

No rest for Nix! At least he gets to DH...he is certainly getting the reps to suggest that if he stays healthy and hits for some power he could end up getting the majority of PT in the corner opposite Brown, regardless of what happens with D Young.

I love this 'suck umbrella' that MG puts relievers under. He thinks they suck, and despite the fact that two of them (Stutes and Diekman) have had some success at the MLB level, without providing any stats, they are lumped in with guys like Rosenberg and Robles in the 'suck' category.

The Nats have 4 or 5 RPs on their 40-man that you could make an argument "kind of suck" (career/2012 SIERAs of 4.20+). Most teams do. It isn't really up for debate.

Diekman is a LHP specialist with a BB/9 that is at 6 or higher and Stutes has pitched in over a year & has struggled this spring.

Yeah I group them into the 'kind of suck' category.

I just don't see any other player being worth a roster spot more than Ruf.

* not counting the players already projected to make the team

Just for fun I decided to check out the Rangers bullpen. This is the depth chart from the Rangers' website.

Joe Nathan (CL)
Joakim Soria
Tanner Scheppers
Josh Lindblom
Michael Kirkman
Robbie Ross
Justin Grimm
Neftali Feliz
Derek Lowe
Nate Robertson
Joe Ortiz

Lindblom, Lowe and Robertson "kind of suck."

I do think the Phils are set to have a pretty solid pen since Adams has been great this spring. Only question now is how he holds up to a heavy workload.

An injury to Adams or Papelbon though puts the Phils back in the same position they were though after Contreras went down last year in late May.

Hoping the bullpen has a stellar year because it is the one area of the team right now where I can see them having a real improvement over last year.

I haven't seen Robertson since he went to that sidearm approach.

Lowe might be capable long-man. He pitched adequately as a reliever last year.

Lindblom is on the border of what I would classify as a 'crappy reliever.' He basically a bit better than Stutes with his man advantage being that he has been healthy the past year.

Ah, Robertson and Lowe are NRIs. They don't really qualify since they aren't on the 40 man. My bad.

Stutes has certainly had some success at the major league level. But Diekman? If you can't use the phrase "kind of sucks" for a guy like Diekman, I don't know who exactly you can use it for.

Re: J.C. Romero signing:

He isn't a great reliever, but remember that what the Nats have lacked is a serious LOOGY. Romero was great as a LOOGY here (yes, while he was on a PED, although didn't they since absolve him of knowledge of taking it? Or he won a lawsuit or somesuch?), and it was only when he started getting used as a "whole-inning" reliever that he started sinking like a stone.

Admittedly, in 2012, he was just as bad against lefties as he was against righties, but his 3-year split shows a roughly equivalent sample size (147 ABs vs. 143), and gives us the following results.

OPS Vs. LHB: .666
OPS Vs. RHB: .912
K/BB Vs. LHB: 2.235
K/BB Vs. RHB: 0.5(!)

In 2011, we probably didn't reach statistical significance with either group, but his .562 OPS Vs. lefties (38 ABs) wasn't too shabby, even though his .923 Vs. righties (60 ABs) definitely was.

Phillibuster: He was not absolved. He served a 50-game suspension. But he is now suing The Vitamin Shoppe (among others) because it was all their fault.

I guess I don't consider Diekman as "kind of sucks" because he's young and can still improve. But I do understand why there would be major reservations about him due to his utter lack of control.

Diekman is a frustrating player. I'd hoped he'd develop into a LOOGY type guy - maybe he still will.

I just don't see any other player being worth a roster spot more than Ruf.

Posted by: lorecore | Friday, March 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

I understand your point lorecore, I'm not thrilled with the other options either, but like I said, if Ruf's on the 25 man roster, you can't just sit him on the bench as a RH pinch hitter. He has to learn how to play the outfield. The only way he does that is to play the position. With all their other defensive question marks, can this team afford Ruf learning to play the outfield on the fly? I just don't think so.

Wonder if it was Romero's outing vs US where he shutdown them down that clinched the Nats decision to take a flyer on him.

BAP: Ahh, that's right. Although I could have sworn I saw somewhere that he either won that lawsuit, or the company he was pursuing settled out of court...

Aha! Yes, he did indeed settle, and GNC paid out... an undisclosed sum. Presumably his lost wages while suspended from MLB?

Mike G: It goes both ways. Inciarte can't hit the ball, so you can't just sit him on the bench as a def replacement. He has to learn/have the ability to hit.

And Orr can't field or not sure how he even comes up in conversation.

Mitchell would be next best candidate. If thats the case, then so be it I guess.

Ruf's defense is obviously terrible, but I do think people are overstating exactly how damaging it is to have a left fielder who (like a lot of other left fielders) stinks defensively. And it's sort of ironic to see clout joining in on that argument, since he was the same guy who authored the "3rd basemen get only 2.5 chances per game so it's ok if they stink defensively" line of logic. How many chances does a left fielder get per game?

Re Diekman, there used to be an adage that it takes lefties longer to develop their control than righties. I still subscribe to it.

I don't know whether it's the coffee or something else like the water that makes some BL'ers so impatient, but in typical BL modus, if a young player doesn't rise to the very top in his first stint or two, he is written off as garbage to be tossed into the landfill.

Give the guy time to mature, work on his control and develop (a foreign concept here) into an effective reliever. Or, just release him or throw him into a trade and see him turn into a solid bullpen piece for another team.

Lore, I guess maybe I'm looking more long term. I think Ruf can help this team in the long run, but not if he can't play at least passable defense.

Mike G: Won't argue there. I wish Galvis(offense) and Ruf(defense) could start in AAA for a solid couple months.

But unfortunately that means Yuniesky Betancourt and Ender Inciarte are on the Phillies...ouch

Release D Young today ...keep rule 5 guy or Mitchell

I can't see Inciarte making the big-league club, but I wonder if the Phils could get the rights to Inciarte for Yuni. The Angels are trolling through options like Bill Hall and Brendan Harris for their last infield bench spot. Believe it or not, Yuni's probably an upgrade for them.

Ruf will probably stick until Delmon Young returns, then head to AAA for an extended stay as their everyday LF.

gotta love when a player whose name doesn't require knowing is the better choice.

It's fair to say that Diekman kind of sucks, because that's generous based on his performance to date. It's also fair to say that he is a guy that has more than a lightning bolt from Zeus chance of serving some useful role in the majors.

Edmundo: I don't think we're casting aspersions when we say he has an even greater chance than a lightning bolt from Thor.

I remain thoroughly agnostic on whether said bolt would be more likely from Raijin, however.

Phili, apologies, I should have gone agnostic with {Insert deity of choice here}

The advantages of being a librarian: it's easy to find esoteric (or not-so-esoteric) mythological figures for would-be humorous posts on sports-oriented message boards.

The disadvantages of being a librarian: patrons.

BAP: Your error in judgment here is to assume that all bad defensive players are equal.

Neither you nor anyone else here knows whether Ruf can even play the position. To say, hey, Pat Burrell (or choose another bad LF) was bad so Ruf should be on the team, is idiotic.

Again, he might not even be able to play the position, just as Ryan Howard wasn't able to when they tried him out there.

I don't think anyone here would disagree that Ruf would be nice to have on the bench IF HE CAN ACTUALLY PLAY THE POSITION.

Get it?

Diekman certainly isn't a great pitcher, or even a good pitcher, but he did have an 11.5 K/9 and held LHB- the guys he's supposed to get out- to a .590 OPS. He's 26.

I'm not sure what we're even debating any more here. MG is wrong that most teams do not have 'relievers that suck' on their 40-man roster. Outside of that, when you're sticking up for Jake Diekman, it's time to slowly back away from the argument.

mainerob: I agree with your point about lack of patience and lack of ability to see anything that didn't happen 4 minutes ago is a chronic problem on BL.

And it is certainly possible that Diekman will evolve into a quality bullpen guy, so it's too early to give up on him.

That said, there are grades of prospects. Diekman is not among the higher grade.

Matt Stairs, Ross Gload, Mike Sweeney, Jim Thome.... all huge defensive assets off the bench in previous years.

Thome is typically placed up there with Keith Hernandez for defense at 1B.

After all, he came up as a 3B in Cleveland.

I think the takeaway from Cyclic's post is that if Ruf were turning 37 this year, instead of 27, he'd have a much better shot of sticking as a bat-only bench guy.

Phils went another full game yesterday without drawing a walk.

At the risk of making Spring Training stats appear meaningful, I think that I can confidently say this Phils team will not be among the league leaders in walks. In fact, I'd be willing to bet they're very close to the bottom.

Hey, at least they added a power bat in Delmon Young, right?

Iceman - For the seventh time, I didn't say that most teams don't have 2-3 relievers that are of pretty suspect quality on their 40-man roster. They do.

The Phils have 5 of those guys right now.

LF had an average of ~1.9 chances a game.

CFs had ~2.5 and RFs had had ~2.0 last year. I was surprised that there really wasn't that much of a difference between LF/RF the last few years.

Personally, I think Ruf would be better served playing everyday LF for LV. Getting reps in game situations is better than anything. Also can get comfortable enough that his bat can become somewhat of an asset.

Why does it matter whether we have 5 crappy, high-upside, whatever-you-want-to-call-them relievers on the 40-man? If we're not hurting for 40-man space, there's no reason to bump them, and there's certainly no reason to force a guy onto the 40-man early to make the shelves look less barren.

Everyone's favorite UT Wilson Valdez released by the Giants. Remember when he was traded to the Reds and there were posters who almost went postal? Good times.

Wilson Valdez could be added to the 40-man as another reliever. Remember, he's 1-0!

If Ruf is going to be a LF, he very obviously needs to be in Lehigh playing everyday. He's not ready to be an everyday LF in the bigs, and it's a complete waste of his time to sit on the bench and PH 2-3 times a week. If people actually think he can develop into a legit RH power bat at the ML level, it would be a disservice to him (and the team) to make him a very limited part-time player for the Phils.

We actually have an extra spot on the 40 man right now so its doubly stupid to whine about 40 man roster space.

Playing the braves with a young arm starting, oh and with one umpire and one telecaster short.

The reason people were kind of pissed that Valdez was traded is because the Phils had a ~.630 OPS and that Orr and the spectularly useless Mini Mart saw PT there before Utley came back.

I just didn't think Valdez would be so bad last year but Mini Mart put up an OPS below .500 last June in 12 GS.

Valdez was never that great. Prior to the last 2 years here, he'd never even sniffed full-time MLB status.

He's the Eric Kratz of utility infielders, but with more GiDPs and less power.

Nice work by Howard, taking Maholm the other way.

The only reason Valdez get traded was met with agast was it meant Mini Mart would get regular PT.

The only reason Mini Mart wasn't on the Opening Day roster was because of his injury in ST.

Even with that injury, he still managed to somehow get 122 PAs putting up a line of .174/.208/.252 (.461 OPS) or basically a really good hitting pitcher.

Mini Mart has arguably been the one and only thing that Beerleaguer has pretty much universally agreed upon the last 2 years.

We all agree on his versatility.

Nice hustle by Ruf. His speed reminds me of a young Ryan Howard.

Excellent hit by Kratz and run by Ruf to get around the bases.

For those not watching, catcher dropped the 1-hop relay throw. Ruf would have been dead to rights.

Speaking of versatility, Wheels is doing play by play today.

Cyclic: While true (about Ruf), if it weren't a Spring game and the catcher had caught it cleanly... I think Ruf goes ahead and separates the guy's shoulder on the collision.

Anyone recall Chipper vs Kratz? Yea, we won that one.

Chipper's a lot older than Ruf. Also: gimpier.

Good point, buster.

Hm... Chase looks like he's pressing a bit today. Not picking up the low balls as well as usual and swinging at stuff around ankle high.

Howard 2-for-2 against Maholm, adds double to center/right wall.

And Jesus his wrists must be strong - something I'm reminded of every time I see him check one of his ridiculous swings.

Wow, Morgan with the heater. Damn.

Great comment by Wheels, "If there's a ball near Freddy Galvis, let him catch it."

I've seen Morgan pitch 3 times now, this is the first time on TV. Everytime, he can't locate any of his offspeed pitches except for his seldomly thrown slow curve.

To his credit, all 3 times he's managed to remain effective enough with good fastball location and keeps hitters honest by still mixing his full arsenal.

All of his optimistic scouting reports say he has potential for a plus slider and change up, but he doesn't look to have it yet. Doesn't show ability to get on top of those pitches which leaves everything floating up high.

Maholm is throwing that big looping curve about 2-3 times an at bat. First time through the lineup it worked, but everyone's picked up on it now. Even Yuni sat back and lined one into LF for a RBI.

Really good eye/AB by Ruf.

He's looking much more comfortable and competent at the plate than he was earlier this spring.

Oh good god...

"The Phillies were very good at being very vague about when, exactly, outfielder Delmon Young would take part in game action after having offseason microfracture surgery on his ankle.

Friday morning, Young was quietly sent to Dunedin, where he took at-bats in a minor-league game against the Blue Jays. It so happened R.A. Dickey started for Toronto's minor-league team. And it just so happened Young hit an opposite-field homer off Dickey in his second plate appearance. "


Chad(Qualls)I mean Durbin!

Chad Durbomb?

I don't give a damn about seeing-eye singles and wind-aided home runs, I have always detested Durbin since his arm went ragged in August 2008. To see him assured of one of the bullpen slots gives me acid reflux. Sure, he's a "veteran," but so what?

Ruf looked less-than-awful on that, despite misreading the wall. Maybe he's learning the positioning a little better, if not how to read the ball off the bat.

Chad Durbin just Quall'ed the game

No offense, Mainerob, but Durbin didn't give us a heck of a lot to detest in 2008 - even with his deadarm. 2010? Sure. Even 2010 I could see, although he wasn't terrible then...

But the year he pitched 87+ innings with a sub-2.90 ERA? Averaging 1.1 IP/appearance? Tough to give him much hate for that kind of performance.

That should read 2009, not 2010.

It's a sad day for Durbin apologists everywhere.

I don't have the sound on... Is Murph asking Delmon what his favorite Clearwater snacks are?

No offense taken, Phil, but I contend that his arm came off its hinges in late August of that magical year and, except for last year's outlier stellar era, he is much more the unreliable pitcher as he appears this spring than otherwise.

I just don't like it that he's being inked in as one of the four back-end relievers.

Also, I hate to say it, but Yuni isn't looking like a ridiculously bad SS right now. Admittedly, I don't think that trend will last, but I suppose it's nice to see in the short term, at least - so long as...

And the Valdesbombs continue.

dyoung: "the ankle feels good. just need to build up strength."

Maine: I don't really think he's being penciled, much less inked as a back-end guy. I think they've got him for 6/7, or a "long" (read: 1.1-2.0 inning) relief role in the event of a starter getting roughed up early.

The only way he plays regularly in the 8th or later is if we're down, or we go to extras.

So, ...buster, it looks like two lefties in the pen, eh?

Got it, Phillibuster. What I mean is that it is ordained that Pap, Adams, Bastardo, and Durbin are in and the other spots are still up for grabs, although we know that the young'uns are in the mix.

Durbin is an upgrade over Stutes & Rosenberg which probably about as backhanded as a compliment as I could give him.

If De Fratus pitches well to start the year and Durbin had 'Quall-like' struggles, it isn't that hard to see Durbin getting released by June.

Ahhh, well then yes, that likely seems the case. But I really don't mind that setup, so long as he's slated for 7th at best. I don't doubt that - after a few months - if the younger arms are showing stuff in the 6th (or 11th) and Durbin is blowing up, they'll make the switch.

Chollie may have the 8th/9th as sacred, but he seems much less averse to playing musical chairs in the earlier innings.

And by "a few months" I mean more along the lines of "a few weeks." Realistically, I don't think we'll be using relievers in the 6th very often, so that leaves plenty of guys to mix-n-match in the 7th.

As long as we all agree that Durbin could Quallsify as the next hanging (slider) Chad, so to speak, and if he does, he needs to be shown the door, as in don't let it hit you on the way out. Maybe the Yanks could use him.

5th OF

Endy Chavez just got his walking papers from the Royals. Maybe the Phils can sweep in and scoop him for a happy homecoming.

So, on to another subject. What is it about Mr. Miner that has him still hurling (not vomiting) for the big club?

My bet is a late opt-out clause. Probably hoping he either puts it together, or at least appears useful enough to trade for a fungible utility infielder.

Unlike Dom Brown in the OF, not a single one of these relievers has nutted up and taken the 7th/situational 8th inning role that was very much up for grabs when camp started (and still is). Aumont has come the closest, but he's been 'effectively wild' and especially terrifying lately. I like Valdes, but the guy isn't close to a shut-down guy that you want pitching in late/close situations. Horst has gotten shelled. Even Bastardo has been mediocre.

I had bought into people who said at least one of these young arms was bound to step up this year and grab a spot- so far, that hasn't happened. It makes it even more probable that Durbin is going to be more than just the mop-up guy at the front-end of the bullpen, seeing a lot of 7th inning action because none of these guys can get people out consistently.

Thank the dear sweet lord that Amaro didn't have the same opinion of some that thought the team could stand to let these young relievers take over the late innings, and instead went out and got the best set-up guy in baseball over the past 4 seasons. It would have been another disaster and the height of incompetence to ignore the glaring problem.

... Well, obviously the opposition has to be factored in, but for loading the bases with 0 outs, 1 run is far from a terrible outcome.

Nice. Kratz needs to do that a bit if he's going to fool opposing pitchers into taking him seriously.

kratzik !!

Kratz schmashed that one.

... Wind blowing out, I presume?

Now Galvis unloads.

Papelbon's stuff looks good

Not baseball related, but local team Temple just knocked off NC State.

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