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Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Rube will probably sign D. Young to a lucrative extension after this.

Howard wrapped his knee with turkey bacon overnite.

Trade everyone now. Sell high!

This was a win the battle, lose the war kind of game. Now all of the crap r00b spewed in that interview appears justified.

GTown -- I hee ya.

since we didnt sweep the AAAA marlins this win seems hollow

GTown, that's basically what I meant by my comment. Also, they're 22-24 and a game or two behind the Nats. In their minds, they have reasons to feel good about themselves.

Pretty much have to win tomorrow, no?

Yeah that's why I watch baseball.. to be mad after wins too. More important for RAJ to be wrong.

Last night I was suggesting Howard goes to the DL and D.Young be DFA'ed.
Glad to see them prove me wrong , at least for tonight.

.500 or bust.

bittel asked in the last thread why the Phils were -123 favorites tonight (and why I didn't touch this game)?

9-27 (.243) or a 39-win season pace

The Fish would likely be dogs more than 50% of the nights even in the International League (AAA). They're that bad especially without Stanton.

I think they brought Rosenberg up so someone would have a higher ERA than Halladay.

Howard wrapped his knee with turkey bacon overnite.

Posted by: Conway Twitty

Was it Godshall's turkey bacon?

Re: Rosenberg

You know too that if Stutes came up and pitch welled 2-3 outings he would automatically be a high-leverage guy pitching in the 7th/8th with De Fratus/Bastardo.

Mike Trout's night: 4 for 5, hit for the cycle, 1 SB, 5 RBIs.

A game that would impress both RAJ & sabermetrics guys.

A W is a W is a W. I'll take it.

Most impressive was the pitch down and away (basically in the dirt) that Trout hit to deep right center and easily hit out.

It was just sheer athletic ability and raw talent because it was a terrible pitch to chase.

Couple of interesting quotes from Lee.

“I definitely want to win. I want to be on a winning team,'' Lee said when asked about the possibility of being traded before the Phillies were to play the Marlins on Tuesday night. “That should be what it's all about.''

He only be traded to 9 teams and a Phils' "person" (whatever the hell that means) says gives basically states that the Phillies' theory seems to be: They need him if they're going to be competitive.

I don't think Lee is going anywhere and if the team was constructed so poorly right now with so many ill fitting secondary pieces a team that had a rotation of Hamels, Lee, KK, and 2 cheaper starters (Pettibone, Lannan?) is the basis for a team that could contend for a WC.

The issue to me is can Amaro ease the transition without the bottom falling out. Requires him to figure out whether to keep JRoll or Utley (think one will be back next year but not both), try to desperately free up some of the $31M they have tied in JRoll/Papelbon/Adams next year (not a guy I want moved more than Papelbon who is topping at 93 right now & has alot of money coming yet), hope that Sandberg is a better manager than Cholly at positioning what talent he has, and making a few smart secondary moves.

From MLBTR on the Red Sox: "Cafardo has heard baseball people speculate that the club could be interested in reacquiring Jonathan Papelbon, but they'll focus on what they already have first."

Interesting. Wonder what that trade would be like since Paps is so expensive. Andrew Bailey would be a great, inexpensive alternative to him, but he's terribly injury prone. Would we be able to net Bailey and a decent prospect or two?

Murrghh - Papelbon for Bailey (at least an $8M savings next year) and getting a good positional prospect back in return would be a win-win for the Phils.

ESPN article on in house options for contenders mentions Ruf:

If the current Phillies are going to slap together one last run at the playoffs, they're going to have to score more runs. That may seem like an obvious fix, but what they can actually do about it is the hard part given that the team doesn't have a lot of flexibility at the major league level.

At 26 years old, Ruf is not a young prospect, isn't likely to develop much further, and the Phils need to see what he can do now. Delmon Young is a disaster -- if you're using your team's best pitcher to pinch run for an outfielder, you need to seriously reevaluate the thought process that led to the latter's acquisition. Ruf generally never made prospect lists, but he hit .317/.408/.620 for Reading last year and when given a chance in the majors, hit .333/.351/.727 in a dozen games, doing everything the team asked of him. Ruf is still recovering from a slow start for Lehigh Valley, but unless Philadelphia is willing to shed its remaining minor league depth in a blockbuster, he's the most likely source of any kind of better offense in-house.

Funny to see them rip the Delmon Young signing as so many have done here.

I haven't commented before, but I've been coming here for many years. I'm a displaced Phils fan living in Istanbul, and this site has been a great way for me to feel a little less homesick. Last night's thread was absolutely a high water mark. Truly brilliant, entertaining stuff from all involved. I just wanted to say thanks for making me feel at home, and keep up the good work.

I know this will look like a "Bash Keith Law" thing but it isn't. One of his most recent columns was redrafting the 2003 MLB draft. Is there a worse piece of column writing than that? I've seen NBA columns recently popping up with this and NFL writers do it all the time.

In 2003- the MLB top 3 went: Delmon Young, Rickie Weeks, Kyle Sleeth. Law's redrafted top 3 went: Matt Kemp, Ian Kinsler, Aaron Hill. Yes with hindsight every person in the world (yes even Amaro) would've taken Matt Kemp over Delmon Young is that really news though?

***Yes with hindsight every person in the world (yes even Amaro) would've taken Matt Kemp over Delmon Young is that really news though?***

Smells like a "Crap I've got a deadline to meet and nothing to write about" article.

@TTI, Delmon Young was more productive than Kemp was last year. Based on Amaro's criterion that centers on RBI, he might select Young over Kemp.

Did anyone see Harper give the game away yesterday with 2 outs in the ninth?

I'm headed to Washington on Saturday for the game and glad to see Washington is doing terrible just like the Phillies. Won't have to hear any crap from their fans.

I think the Phils deserve some credit for pulling out the series in SF. Wash is looking at the short end of a four game sweep today.

Harper's been slumping for the last few weeks (even before he tilted full-speed at a wall).

He's batting something like .160 since late April.

Trout, on the other hand, is going absolutely nuts since the start of May.

Harper since 28 Apr: .137 AVG/.274 OBP/.549 OPS

Revere in May:


Iceman: As a few said on here- a better player than he was showing in the first few weeks. He has hitting into some crap luck in April and looked way out of sorts. He seems much more relaxed right now and is finding a groove with the team.

Iceman, I was thinking a 1 for 1 trade Revere for Harper.

Revere is actually hitting the ball hard too. His flyout to RF last night definitely would have been out at CBP.

NEPP - let's trade Revere for Trout instead. He's a lifelong Phillies fan AND works for Subway just like Howard.

(The fact that I feel the need to explain that this post is in jest speaks volumes.)

NEPP: That's never going to work. We'll have to throw in Chad Durbin, too.

Lets give them Mini Mart, too.

Mike Trout is a freak of nature. All of those hits showcased every skill that he has. What a player.

Speaking of Mike Trout and Draft Hindsight (see how I connected those two topics in the thread), I wonder how much the Nats regret passing on Mike Trout to take Drew Storen?

Would drafting Strasburg and Trout in the same draft (same round too) have been the greatest draft in baseball history by a team?

If they drafted Trout Rizzo would have probably shut him down in September last year claiming that he was doing too much running and didn't want to damage his legs.

Hoosier--hey man, glad you're enjoying BL, but remember you live in one of the world's greatest cities: Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Anadolu Kavagi, Rumeli Hisar, Istiklal Caddesi, the Bosphorus, kebabs, and then the Phillies on the internet at 4 a.m. every morning. I lived in Istanbul for a few years and miss it deeply, but not the prospect of early starts to games. Except when I lived there, I actually had to read box scores in the International Herald Tribune two days after the fact--that's how I learned about Joe Carter's blast in 1993. Talk about the compression of grief...

I've always wanted to visit Istanbul. I did a bunch of research on the final days of the Sultan and the Ataturk years as part of my degree so its high on the list of "Places to go"

And the architecture mentioned above has always fascinated me.

Anthony Bourdain had a great travel episode about Istanbul a couple years ago. He can be a giant windbag at times but his travel show (the one that was on Travel Network) was always fun to watch.

PhillyRhetoric, you're absolutely right about this place: it's truly magnificient and I feel lucky to be here. Because I work early, it's rare I'm up to catch games. Reading the threads here is probably more entertaining than most of the games. And NEPP, I couldn't recommend a city more highly. The architecture, the's pretty incomparable. And the people are extraordinarly welcoming and generous. I even spot a few Phils hats on the street, from time to time.

Howard vs no shift is like 2006 Howard. Most things inside he'll pull with authority, and once pitchers can't come inside, he sits back on outside stuff and crushes them opposite field.

I should say, Howard vs no shift plus a freshly drugged up knee.

My nightmare this year is the Phils wait to the deadline before acting, and Ruiz, Utley, Rollins, MYoung, Mike Adams, etc. will be nicked up and on the DL(again) around that time and barley get pennies on the dollar for all of their decent trade chips.

I lived in Bosnia for a while and I've always heard the food is pretty similar (heavy Turkish influence) so that and the history make me really want to go there.

I work at home and just mentioned it to my SO and she was like "Can we go to Jordan to see Petra too?" if we do that trip. I figure we'd need at least 10-14 days to do that as there is just so much in Istanbul alone.

I hear Istanbul is Constantinople

lorecore: So basically to you- as soon as guys are healthy just pack it in?

The Howard no shift thing, really makes a difference when people are on base in front of him then, opens up the infield for him.

People getting on base for him though is definitely not going to happen on this team lol.

However, Rollins is creeping over .310 OBP now, and YOung and Revere are getting on base. Little hope on their quest to a league average offense lol.

I was going to make a Constantinople reference, but I see Cyclic already has it covered. Carry on.

***Howard vs no shift is like 2006 Howard.***

I vaguely recall a statistical study that indicated that the shift likely costs him (and other heavy pull hitters) a good 60 points in batting average alone and in some cases (like the Tampa Bay shifts) it would be closer to 100 points.

I could totally buy that based on the number of very hard hit balls he lines into shallow LF that would be base hits if not doubles without the shift.

Imagine if Howard was batting .316 with okay power right now (adding 60 points to his current average)...go back and do the same for last year and 2011 and while his power is declining on a normal aging line, he's still a valuable hitter. He falls much closer to those Willie McCovey/Willie Stargell comps he used to get.

Neither of them were shifted at anywhere close to what happens now. Its also no coincidence that the use of defensive shifts is up something like 250% in the past 3-4 years and guys like Howard have seen a huge drop in their numbers.

It also explains the drop in BABIP league wide.

tti: Healthy enough to get a return on - yes. "Healthy" is a funny word when discussing players in their mid 30s though.

lorecore: The funny nature of healthy is as amusing to me as the idea of- pack it in somewhere in the middle of June.

If Howard ends 2013 with his current pace numbers sub .300 OBP, 20HR/85RBI - does Ryne Sandberg mandate he slap balls the other way to beat/prevent the shift next seasons?

You almost have to. The thought of not "giving into" the shift no longer has merit when you aren't hitting ~40 bombs a season.

Best way to beat the shift is more walks. Can't do the shift as effectively with people on base.

NEPP--I recommend a week in Istanbul alone. If you're doing a side trip to Jordan, there are direct flights to Amman that aren't too pricey. I would recommend taking a bus to Cappadocia instead, as that's pretty much my favorite place on earth, if you like history, geography, and natural beauty.

And if you're a sports fan, try to take in a Galatasaray or Fenerbahce game if you can. But maybe bring a Turkish escort so that you don't get swept up in a skirmish between rival fans. Most people in Turkey are really kind and welcoming to foreigners, but (young, male) soccer fans can be scary. Some used to bring doner kebab knives to the games to intimidate the other clubs' supporters. My students told me to just stay home and watch the games on TV, but I couldn't resist going to a few Besiktas matches. I never had any troubles and was a bit in awe of how loud the fans were, into the game, full of song and motion. Though I spoke Turkish, at the first whiff of trouble I would speak English and that usually helped change the atmosphere. Compared to a baseball game, Turkish soccer is absolutely electric.

tti: according to you, 7 GB is "out of it", remember? The Phils are 5.5 GB right now, they're approaching thin ice and worthy of pack-it-in talks.

Especially when Utley is having mysterious pain in his "right side".

Any word on when we can expect word on Utley?

Only a handful of teams are "truly out of it" by the end of summer let alone end of May. But I base my sadness of the Phillies off what they have and what we can expect out of the players based of their careers/recent seasons more than the "games out" because crazy runs happen every year in baseball.

60-100 points, NEPP? Wow. That's hard to believe. Howard his .276 in 2010 (152/550). 60 points on that is over .330. Howard hit .313 in 2006, which was mostly IIRC pre-shift days. But he also had 27 more hits that had nothing to do with the shift because he had 27 more HR in 2006 than 2010. A 60 point jump in 2010 is 30+ more hits. Does the shift cost Howard 30 hits over a season?

THe BL reverse curse worked last night. All day yesterday I read tons of BLer comments trashing both Delmon Young and Ryan Howard. If that be the case, lets start ripping tonight's entire starting line-up. I'll start it off.

Cliff Lee is a bum! We ought to trade him again, just like we did before to acquire great prospects!

How does that sound? I know, it was poor. My heart isn't in it as I like Cliff Lee.

If the Phillies are ahead of the Nationals after this weekend, the Nats should just pack it in.

I mean, Howard went from a .350+ BAbip in 2005-2006 to a ~.330 BAbip in 2010. Seems like a more modest decrease than 60-100 points.

Cliff Lee was just making comments about how he wouldn't care if he got traded 'cause he just wants to win.

This is totally unscientific and probably not accurate at all but I feel I probably saw about 10 or so balls a year from Howard pre-achilles that was fielded in shallow RF and thrown out at 1b lol.

So 10 more hits sounds more reasonable to me then 30 more. But like i said, this is based off terrible recollection.

"Best way to beat the shift is more walks. Can't do the shift as effectively with people on base."

More walks would help take the defense out of the shift, but at a huge cost since all those extra walks would mean less production from the top of the order. I have no idea how to do the TM header).

Even though a Nats loss and a Phillies win today would have the teams tied going into the weekend series, I think I'd rather see the Nats end their losing streak today. I know it's irrational, but I feel like that would make them more likely to start a new one over the weekend.

Games behind is less important halfway through the season than how many teams are in between.

I would rather be 5 games back with no one else between us and the team we're chasing, then 3 games back with 4 other teams in the same position.

bap-- Now you're on the trolley.

Looks like almost all of Howard's 2006 to 2010 BA drop is attributed to his HR/FB getting nearly cut in half. About 25-30 flyballs that turned into outs instead of HR.

2006: 139 AB resulting FB. 67 hits (.482), 11 2B, 51 HR.

2010: 141 AB resulting in FB. 50 hits (.355), 11 2B, 3 3B, 29 HR.

He probably lost less than 10 hits from groundball results.

***60-100 points, NEPP? Wow. That's hard to believe. Howard his .276 in 2010 (152/550). 60 points on that is over .330. Howard hit .313 in 2006, which was mostly IIRC pre-shift days. But he also had 27 more hits that had nothing to do with the shift because he had 27 more HR in 2006 than 2010. A 60 point jump in 2010 is 30+ more hits. Does the shift cost Howard 30 hits over a season?


You're right it is and there's a good reason for was a mistake on my part. It was 50 points when hitting into the shift, not overall. So you'd have to adjust for the ABs when the Shift isn't employed. It was a reading error on my part. The 100 number was bandied about as to what could happen if a team shifted 100% of the time.

I'm still hunting for the original article to link.

Sophist-- Non-elite power

mean, Howard went from a .350+ BAbip in 2005-2006 to a ~.330 BAbip in 2010. Seems like a more modest decrease than 60-100 points.

Posted by: Sophist | Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I makes a lot more sense.

NEPP - Yeah, that makes sense. His BAbip on GB dropped almost 40 points between 2006 and 2010.

I feel like I can visualize at least a dozen line drive/hard grounders that were flagged down by a 2B roaming the OF or a SS up the middle.

And as I alluded to in the prior posts, if all of Howard's smashes to the right side ended up as hits, that changes the entire approach to him at the plate.

But you're still talking about 160-170 of his 550-600 AB, so the overall impact is probably limited to 10-15 points max.

This is why people say the defense "wins" if Howard (or what he was) changed his approach to suit the shift. If he could still hit like he used to (20-25% HR/FB), you'd trade the little drop in BA for a power approach at the plate.

Maybe that calculus is different now.

****He probably lost less than 10 hits from groundball results.****

Anecdotally, doesnt that feel low?

I've never seen it written why Howard doesn't shorten his swing and go the other way when the shift is on. Has anyone ever asked him or Charlie that question?

***Official Memo from PPP Headquarters***

We would prefer the Phillies be out of the playoff race in general. And if they aren't we will find some way to complain that they are.

Cyclic: "If the Phillies are ahead of the Nationals after this weekend, the Nats should just pack it in."

I know you are joking, but realistically, how would the Nats "pack it in"? How many pending FA do they have on their team? Suzuki, Haren?

Maybe. I dunno. A couple a month. This is based on the differences between his batted ball data between 2006 and 2010. If you give him his 2006 BAbip on GB, he has 10 more hits or so in 2010 (assuming that BABip drop is entirely attributable to defensive positioning, etc.).

PPP PR Department is laser accurate with that one.

clout - my guess is that it's related to what I posted above. The defense wins if a guy with Howard's 2006-2010 power shortens his swing. The shift only costs him a few hits, but changes his approach would decrease his most valuable skill.

Now that Howard isn't as skilled, he probably should shorten it up. Or maybe the thought is more game-theoretic: hit a bunch of singles to make them quit the shift, then go back to the power approach. Challenge their positioning.

I don't think any modern players adjust their swings into the shift.

My sense is that not only do teams think the cost-benefit doesn't favor sacrificing power for some extra singles, but they're also worried that having Howard "change" his swing every other AB will throw off his normal swing when he doesn't have the shift on. I mean, Howard is not exactly Tony Gwynn with the bat--there's probably a reasonably concern that asking him, or any player, to be jumping back and forth between two different types of swings is just going to give you diminished results with both swings.

Whether that's empirically true, I don't really know. But I'm guessing that's a rationale.

lore-- Start focusing on 2014. Shut guys down, plan for the future. If you're not playing well in May and June, it's pretty much over no matter how many GB you are or how many games against division foes remain.

If you knew I was joking, why did you ask?

Speaking of Howard, Rich Hoffman now calls his contract the worst in baseball. Only 3 years too late

"Anecdotally, doesnt that feel low?"

NEPP, IIRC, there was an article in the Inquirer a few years ago that discussed the topic. I believe the Phillies charted internally how many hits Howard lost in a season due to the shift. IIRC it was something in the 10 - 20 range, or whatever approximately 30 points of BA calculates to.

I recall the same article discussing clout's questions as to why Howard doesn't shorten his swing, and the internal conclusion was that it would diminish his power, which was his biggest asset. In other words, they want Howard to be Howard.

If anyone else remembers the article and I got a detail or two wrong, please feel free to correct me.

Aren't teams shifting Utley now too?

Papelbon for Bailey (at least an $8M savings next year) and getting a good positional prospect back in return would be a win-win for the Phils.

Absolutely. I have no illusions about Bailey's durability, but the cost savings on Papelbon could be used to address other priorities.

As for Sox prospects, you wouldn't get a Jackie Bradley or Xander Bogaerts, but Boston has some promising outfielders (Bryce Brentz, Keury de la Cruz, Brandon Jacobs) and infielders (Gavin Cecchini, Brock Holt) that would be good fits in the Phils' farm system.

I remember there was a guy who showed up on Beerleaguer about a year or two ago and posited that guys like Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Joey Votto would have the same .260-ish batting average as Ryan Howard if only they had to hit into the shift in all their ABs.

CGSO for Lee tonight?

I'm not sure I would really want Andrew Bailey as a return for Papelbon, though he's a good pitcher. Bailey is a free agent after next season (2014).

If I'm trading Papelbon, it's not necessarily to save money. It's to get something for the future. I'd rather eat more of the money, and get a prospect back, then get back Bailey, who will be a $6 million closer for a 75-win Phillies team in 2014 and then walk to free agency. What's the point of that?

Any bets on now that Revere is actually hitting the ball with authority, they will DFA him and call up (wait for it) Mini Mart?

"If you knew I was joking, why did you ask?"

Wanted to make sure I exposed it as joke-worthy/unrelated now so guys like TTI or whoever else don't get the idea of suggesting it later as some kind of worthy counter argument

count me in with Jack - i'm not trading my top tier closer to save money on a worse reliever. I'm trading my to tier closer to fill my everyday lineup weakness for the future.

Here's Howard's hit chart at CBP this year so far....lots of outs into the Shift from the looks of it.

If you trade Papelbon, you do it for prospects and salary relief...not a faberge egg reliever who has never been able to stay healthy.

***Official Memo from PPP Headquarters***

It is our official position that the Phillies should have begun selling off assets in February. We don't care that the season hadn't started yet. We just want everyone gone so we can call up people from the minors and fill our roster with the Nate Schierholtz's of the world. Stupid Amaro shouldn't have non-tendered him.

We also position that the Phillies new GM should be The Amazing Kreskin so we have someone that can see into the future like we have the ability to.

Signed, the PPP (GTown Dave, BAP, Jack, NEPP, lorecore) and our trainees (Joe D., Sophist, 541, Andy).

So the Phillies are gonna win 75 in 2014?

Can you let me know which games they're gonna win so I can just watch those?

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