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Monday, May 27, 2013

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Is Nix on vacation?

I think the entire offense is on vacation.

Yet another brutal beating. Getting close to joining the "Let's have a fire sale" crowd. They look old and injury-prone as well as erratic, sloppy and very limited talent-wise. They simply don't look like they have what it takes to turn this around.

Matt Gelb (@magelb)
"Alfredo Aceves allowed one run in six innings to the Phillies. Afterward, Boston removed him from its roster."

TCN currently has "Sports Scrapple" on, featuring the video yearbook from the 2009 team, which had 5 offensive all-stars. One measure of the steep decline in offensive explosiveness since then:

Number of 10-run games by season
2009 18
2010 18
2011 12
2012 6

This year, the Phillies haven't scored more than 9 runs in a game. This certainly looks like the type of offense that could go all year without putting up double digits.

On the bright side, even a Phillies team from "the good years" would a.) lose to almost any AL team and b.) turn any minor league pitcher they've never seen into Cy Young.

Yes, that's what passes for "the bright side" these days for me.

I wonder if there is any other team in baseball that has a record of 0-2, with 1 earned run in 11 innings, against starting pitchers who were immediately optioned to AAA after the game.

I watched a couple minutes of the game. As luck would have it, I saw JRoll walk, then Howard ground through a scrum on the right side of the infield. First and third with none out. Then I went out to cook some chicken on the grill. Imagine my surprise when . . . well, you all know the rest of the story.

This is not a team. It's a slow moving, multi-vehicle trainwreck.

I think the entire offense is on vacation.

Posted by: SLO Phan | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 12:12 AM

In their defense, Boston is beautiful this time of year.

The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America, the Spirit of the Red, White and Blue!

Plenty of room on the fire sale wagon. What's the diff if team wins 65 or 80 wins? Draft spots? Candle done burnt out. Time for a new blood, youth and excitement.

After being dominated by Alfredo Aceves, it's official: This offense is horrendous.

Charlie MUST GO!

And the reason Adams pitches last is...?

Anyone?

Wow, that last post was as bad as the Phils' offense. It should read:

And the reason Adams pitched last night is...?

Anyone?

@The Hook you are correct, but the most horrifying psrtbof this mess is that Amaro will be allowed to oversee tnext steps of this mess. He constructed this crap and should not be allowed to oversee the next phase.

And btw, I think Phil Sheridan is a hack, but he had a good piece this morning about how Sox and Phils are going in different directions and how the elite franchises aren't happy with one trophy. He questions whether the Phillies belong among the elite or the last 5-6 years will be looked at as a Golden ERA. It's a great question and if the Phillies are serious about being among the elite, Amaro won't be around much longer. But we all know how this is going to play out...

And fwiw, this team won't reach .500 again this season.

Switching to Sandberg or any other manager won't make a lick of difference. Charlie will and should finish the year and then ride off into the sunset.

Ipad early-morning typos, ugh.

And the reason Adams pitched last night is...?

Uh, he hadn't pitched against major leaguers for 17 days? It's pretty simple, IMO.

This is what happens when we go against a team that can mash the ball. We don't have the firepower. Tonight should at least be competitive considering Lee is pitching.

Positives:

-Brown has been looking good. I'm starting to see the upside. He's on pace for 30+hrs.

- I was shocked seeing Revere up to bat right after he slammed in that wall. I could see him winning over fans if he gets that average up and straightens his game out.

Pbluntz yes that is the scary part, but we can only hope rube has learned his lesson and the talent eval guys learned too. Lee deal waste, pence gave up wayyyy to much to get him. Nothing in return has justified it yet. I understand that cholly has tried to throw $hit to the wall and see if it sticks, but since he isn't goin to manage here next year. Start the process early. And a lot of the AAA guys have played with Ryan. Get em in here and let ryno start it. This next month is going to determine what happens for the next 3 years at least.

After last night, it's pretty much official: until further notice, it is not simply going out of your way to be negative to just assume they're going to get shut down by every type of pitcher. Especially without Utley and Ruiz, and with whoever the guy is wearing the #6 jersey.

The Jose Fernandez's of the world will shut them down. The Bronson Arroyo's of the world will shut them down. The Kevin Slowey's of the world will shut them down. And the Alfredo Aceves/Alex Sanabia's of the world will shut them down (spitter or no spitter) until further notice.

If they avoid a sweep against this team, I'll be pretty surprised. Lee will have to throw another CGSO tonight to keep that from happening.

Of course I mean a sweep over the whole ridiculous home-and-home series. I expect the games in CBP to go similarly to last night's.

Switching to Sandberg or any other manager won't make a lick of difference. Charlie will and should finish the year and then ride off into the sunset.
Posted by: The Truth Injection | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 08:02 AM

Disagree...Charlie should be removed from his post not because a different manager would help this train-wreck of a team compete, but because the Phils need to know what they have in Sandberg before turning the keys over to him with a multi-year deal.

6.5 games out after 51 games, 3rd worst run differential in all of baseball (behind only the Astros and Marlins, two of the worst teams in history).

Can we stop pretending there's a realistic chance for the team now? We're all there, right?

Chris: Your statement implies that the Phillies FO evaluate their coaches in-game decisions/performance outside of Wins and Losses. I don't believe that actually happens.

I do believe they evaluate a coach's personality/mindset/theories/etc. - but I believe they have already done that with Sandberg.

I just can't fathom RAJ watching from the owners box and shaking his head while writing down a negative remark when Sandberg doesn't pull his starter early or whatever other scenario you can think up.

Ideal situation last night for Adams to pitch for the first time after being on the DL. Hopefully, it 'knocked the rust off.'

Almost a 1/3 of the way through the season and the Phillies have shown no signs of being a competent baseball team, much less one that will challenge for a playoff spot. Is there a chance they turn it around? Of course there is, but it is extremely unlikely. This team historically plays lights out baseball after the ASB. However, that team had it's positional players in the prime of their career. Now the same players not only aren't close to what they were, but they can't stay healthy either. Other than Rollins of course.

I know that a fire sale is knee-jerk, but really what other option is there? On top of that, is anyone comfortable with RAJ leading the rebuild? Many GM's make mistakes, multiple ones at that, but RAJ has shown no signs of being open to the modern ways of building a ballclub.

5.5 out 40 games in and it is impossible to be any further out than that after 40 games.

6.5 out after 51 and that is the death knell.

It's almost as if people just want to be right and reaffirm their positions they have held onto for almost 3 years now.

So, you're saying there's a chance?

Edmundo/limoguy: I understand your point and I'm willing to admit you're right. I don't know if that would have been the situation that I personally would have used him, but it makes complete sense.

We've been riding steady with the 9th best record in the NL for quite a while now.

If we were in the Central, we'd be 9.5 games back. If we were in the West, we'd be 5.5 games back.

Looking at Baseball Prospectus the Phillies have a 7% chance of making the playoffs.

According to SI, since the Wild Card came into play 10% of teams with the Phillies win total after 50 games have made the playoffs

Chris in VT: Your 9:09 is dead on. I hate Charlie. I think he is in the bottom tier of managers in MLB -- and has been since his hire. But, the purpose of a potential firing is two-fold: (1) to stir things up and see if anything can be salvaged before it's too late (which it almost is); and (2) your 9:09 post: it's a good time to see what you've got in Sandberg.

And as far as "riding off into the sunset," that ship has sailed. It would be an embarrassment to finish the season under .500. The best thing, in my opinion, would be to fire him, but let him "resign."

So of course there is a chance we make the playoffs but the possibility is growing more and more remote by the day.

Amaro should be fired before the season is let go. How about shaking things up by dumping the guy who put the team together?

Ed Wade got eight full seasons as GM without ever making the playoffs.

If you think they're getting rid of Amaro anytmie soon, you're crazy. He made the playoffs his first three seasons as GM. It sucks, but he's here for a while.

Clout is happy because he thinks Amaro is a good GM, but he's the only one.

You guys are so depressing to read. If your so angry why are you Following this team?

This team also brought Ed Wade back. They brought Ed Wade back!

They value loyalty over anything else. Amaro is a career Phillie. He will be here as long as he wants to be, basically.

Yeah but they only brought him back after the awesome job he did in Houston. I mean, talk about redemption there.

I favor letting Cholly go, mostly because it hastens the date that Rube will be fired. After the next manager fails to do anything with this dreck, Rube will go.

I seem to be the only one who feels that Rube put together a decent team. I've mentioned it several times throughout the course of the season and I seem to be in the minority (if not alone). They're not a 100-win team, but to me, they are certainly capable of grabbing a Wild Card.

Rube, in my opinion, is not the the problem. I see Charlie as a much, much bigger problem than Rube.

Cholly should be replaced for the same reason that Chad Durbin & Mini-Mart should be replaced. It's not that changes to your manager/25th man/7th reliever are likely to make a meaningful difference. It's that every baseball team should try to fill every position with the person who would do the best job. Cholly, like Chad Durbin and Michael Martinez, clearly isn't that person. Of course, it goes without saying that RAJ should be replaced too. But the two shouldn't be mutually exclusive. RAJ has given Cholly a sh*tty roster & Cholly makes that sh*tty roster even worse by mismanaging it on a daily basis.

You're looking at tonight's starting CF and cleanup hitter, bitches!

"You guys are so depressing to read. If your so angry why are you Following this team?"

We're only depressing to read because we're actively looking for reasons to be hopeful about the Phillies and not finding many. If we were encouraged about the team from what we've seen so far this year, what we write wouldn't be as depressing. It also wouldn't be truthful. So, do you want us to lie?

FREE RUF

Cliff Lee with another audition tonight. There is no doubt that he wants to throw well and write his ticket out of this trainwreck of a ballclub. This team can't be blown up soon enough. I still think Manuel should be canned now. If Sandberg was kept around to be the successor than why not start the process now? This would be good hands on experience for him in dealing with a dreadful roster because he will always have a bad one with Amaro around.

If it helps you cope, realize that Mini Mart made just over $3K last night and will do the same tonight.


Its good work if you can find it.

Is Ruf hurt? Just noticed he hasn't appeared in the last few LHV games.

Sore hand maybe?

Jack: All you can do on GMs is evaluate their records in both player personnel and winning pct. Wade was hated, Gillick adored and Amaro hated by you and other BL posters, but that has nothing to do with objective analysis.

Clout: You think Amaro is doing a good job on player personnel?

Every Phillies win seems like a struggle. Every Phillies loss seems like it was inevitable.

Once in a while I'd like the Phillies to take a commanding lead early in a game and keep piling on, just like Boston did to the Phillies last night. But I guess it's the nature of the beast.

Of course, even with some boneheaded moves (Abreu trade, Freddy Garcia trade, Eaton extension) Gillick had a track record of success in Toronto, Seattle and Baltimore so that is part of why he was considered a better GM than Wade or Amaro. And he got lucky with some smaller moves like Werth, Dobbs, Moyer trade, etc...a skill that Amaro most definitely did not pick up.

Granted, the post-Gillick clubs in SEA and BAL collapsed pretty quickly because he gutted their farm systems but he left Philly in great shape.

I just will never understand how you can watch a ballclub like the 2008 version win the world series with the rotation they had and think that it couldn't be done again. Instead Amaro came in and splooged all over the rotation. You cannot win games 0 to -1. You never will. This roster lacks balance or any talent in general.

Thankfully Revere's x-ray was negative. This team would really be in trouble if they lost his power stroke.

Joe D- what the hell are you talking about? Teams should just stand pat with a middling rotation and hope they catch fire? That's the only recipe for success?

This has nothing to do with some philosophical idea that teams can't win by beating teams 2-1 or 3-2 consistently. It's the dumbest thing that is consistently spouted on this site outside of the few buffoons that still think the playoffs aren't a crapshoot. The problem is the talent evaluation. The players that have been brought in simply aren't good enough, and many of the players they've stuck with are long past their expiration date. It's as simple as that.

There's no problem adding better pitching. You win games by scoring more runs than the opposition, however that happens. Better players are always better, no matter what position they play.

What you can't do is completely ignore everything outside of the rotation and hitch your wagon to old, mediocre players and expect them to stay the same because you don't understand what actually creates runs or how aging curves work.

Jack: Not lately. On the other hand, he made a conscious decision a few years ago to throw away the future for the present. That bill has now come due.

I wonder if Revere's run-in with the wall will create sort of an offensive Rookie of the Year situation and he'll start mashing HRs.

"... realize that Mini Mart made just over $3K last night ..."

followed by

"Sore hand maybe?"

Mini Mart probably got the sore hand while looking at his MLB paystub!

Iceman, I never let the talent evaluation off the hook. What I'm saying though is that if you tie a majority of your funds up in the rotation then you are left with less to try to fill out the rest of the roster. That's made even worse when the man constructing the roster doesn't even understand what constitutes a good baseball player. So couple lack of knowledge with lack of funds and you have a team devoid of talent.

Joe D: If you're worried about tying up funds somewhere when they could have been allocated more efficiently elsewhere, exhibit A would be Papelbon.

Does anyone want Utley back? If so, why? I want to know how signing him is going to help with the healing process and rebuild of this team?

I don't really agree that Amaro completely threw the future away. He extended Howard. He traded Lee for three busted prospects. He traded for Pence, traded him away, and replaced him with "platoons" and Delmon Young. He traded Worley for a confusing young CF. He signed Rollins to three-four years, has Galvis all over the diamond, and Ruf in AAA. The Phil's still have one of the highest payrolls in baseball.

It doesn't have to be the 2007-2009 glory days with the heart of this lineup, but there was nothing inevitable about the decline. With better management it wouldn't be this bad. That's why you see so much frustration around here. I think people can accept cycles, but we're seeing a lot of compounding boneheaded was from this organization on all fronts.

Jack, I hated the Papelbon signing from day one. You don't lock up that amount of $ and years in a guy who throws 65 innings a year. Especially when you saw how patchwork got you to the 2009 World Series when your closer (Lidge) was wretched for 95% of the year.

What about this Phils suggests they are one of those 10% of teams to be this many out but find a way into the playoffs.

What percent of their games have they lost by 5+ runs now? Is it more than 33% yet?

"And he got lucky with some smaller moves like Werth, Dobbs, Moyer trade, etc...a skill that Amaro most definitely did not pick up."

I'm convinced that much of what passes as brilliance in personnel evaluation is actually just a matter of good luck. And much of what passes as incompetence is really just a matter of bad luck. Of course, like pinochle or backgammon, there is a mix of skill & luck and, over the long-term, the more skilled talent evaluator will usually do better. And, when our GM and his underlings say things like, "I don't care about walks; I care about production" -- and then proceed to put together a team which is 100% consistent with this philosophy -- it's difficult to have much confidence that the "skill" component of talent evaluation is in good hands. So now we're down to hoping that we get lucky & accidentally hit on some players whom a better GM probably wouldn't have targeted in the first place.

"What I'm saying though is that if you tie a majority of your funds up in the rotation then you are left with less to try to fill out the rest of the roster."

I dunno. The Phillies have $57M tied up in their 2013 infield alone. That's more than Oakland's entire payroll and, if the season ended today, Oakland would make the playoffs for their 2nd straight season.

I agree with Sophist's post at 11:21 entirely.

The choice between the present and the future is a false one. Good teams contend now and continue to develop players for the future all the time. Look at the St. Louis Cardinals, if you want a good example (that's not the Red Sox or Yankees).

If you're in a position where you have to throw away the future for the present, it means you're already not on the best track.

BAP - exactly. And the rotation didn't have three $20M players in it until this year, and Doc's off the books next year. The Phils have 8 guys making $10M+ and their payroll is still $10M+ less than last year.

Very true bap which is why I pose the question of whether or not anyone wants Utley back. I couldn't care less about him finishing his career here. I need to see steps made to being competitive again.

"If you're in a position where you have to throw away the future for the present, it means you're already not on the best track."

Couldn't agree more. The Dodgers too. They seem to have at least had good pitching since I was a kid.

Do we get a compensatory draft pick if Utley signs as a free agent by another club?

I wonder if Revere's run-in with the wall will create sort of an offensive Rookie of the Year situation and he'll start mashing HRs.

Posted by: Cyclic | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I proposed the same idea in the game thread after he laced that ball down the RF line immediately after the run-in with the wall. Hopefully it is true.

Do we get a compensatory draft pick if Utley signs as a free agent by another club?

Posted by: limoguy | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:50 AM

As long as we make him a qualifying offer and he declines it.

Production™ or not, I'm gonna be worried about DOM if he doesn't start walking soon.

unless Utley is hurt for most of the rest of the year, I think you make the qualifying offer. If he takes it, great, if he doesn't, that's fine too. I'd love for Utley and Rollins to finish their careers here, but this is a team in need of either a heavy-duty rebuild or they have to go out and spend another $30-40m on the free agent market to bring in 2 middle of the order rh hitters. I don't see them doing that.

Jack: So you would argue that what Amaro did in terms of long-term contracts and veteran acquisitions was NOT geared to the present at the expense of the future?

Yeah, for all the talk about the "walks will come" if he keeps hitting with power, I'm not convinced of that.

I'm very happy to see Dom hitting the ball with authority. But no one is a particularly productive offensive player with a .295 OBP. No one.

Dom's game in the minors always indicated a high AVG/high OBP/average power skillset. Going to a low/low OBP/high power skillset is a wash at best (and likely worse).

Of course, power is better than no power, and given that he hasn't shown that AVG/OBP in the majors yet anyway, it's better than nothing. But he does need to start walking more, yes.

Cyclic, I think this is a weird, freaky thing going on. DOM is more aggressive, but he's not really chasing too many bad pitches. He just seems to be making good contact; well making contact, sometimes very good, sometimes not so good. A few more dingers and they will start pitching more carefully to him.

I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't go back to the DOM of "old" but the walkless DOM is just fluky.

Clout: Oh, it surely was. But my point is that characterizing it as a necessary trade between the present and the future is a mistake.

The point Sophist and I are making is that he could've done different things to mazimize the present and the future (or at least balanced them much better, not chosen exclusively between the two). If fans view it as an either/or choice between the present and future, they're letting him off the hook. If Amaro viewed at as an either/or choice between the present and future, then he's a dreadfully unimaginative GM, and failing at his job (since his job should be to do both).

Jack: Who characterized it as "necessary"? My post certainly didn't. I simply stated a fact.

In regards to Brown I'm just happy to see that he hasn't completely sunk at the big league level. I pretty much wrote him off and didn't view him as a piece moving forward. He has (so far anyway) stayed healthy and shown some pop. Maybe a new manager with an actual approach to hitting can team him the value of being balanced with regards to power and getting on base.

Dom is raising his batting average along with hitting for power, at least lately. So is there any analytics to look at if he is just walking so little because pitchers are just giving him pitches to hit so often, or most likely a combo of being less selective and just more pitches over the plate? Would be nice to break it down a bit to see if its more selection or more seeing the ball better and realizing pitchers are serving it up to him to hit.

Also not striking out a ton, which would signify him chasing a lot(swinging for fences)

I think I'm just clinging to the only young slight hope the phillies have going for them right now with Brown haha.(hoping he keeps hitting power and walks come back)

Walks will come, Ray. Walks will most definitely come. They'll come to Dom Brown for reasons they can't possibly fathom.

Add this to the list of missed opportunities on reclamation projects: Local boy Ryan Vogelsong, who was with LV in 2010.

Amaro did exactly what people are calling for now in 2010. He balanced out the rotation payroll and traded some present power for the future in dealing Lee. He didn't go all in for the present. The trade was an utter failure only made partly good bc, unrelatedly, he resigned Lee.

Same thing with Pence. He was young and under team control for years. He should be the 2013 RH starting RF. The beauty of that trade was that it wasn't for 2011.

The Phils have failed to be as competitive they should be for over a year now and that's despite our GM's efforts.

***The Phils have failed to be as competitive they should be for over a year now and that's despite our GM's efforts.***

Perhaps that same GM shouldn't have traded Pence and Vic just to get under the luxury tax then, eh?

This might seem like an odd thing to bring up, but I am wondering just how much the team itself discusses performance, standings, etc. when they travel/stay together. Has anyone on BL ever traveled with a club?

In the air, hotels and restaurants, do the guys talk game strategy? Discuss the state of the team? Review plays from previous games?Do they mix socially with everyone, or are there small groups of players? Is the entire energy different when they are losing as opposed to winning? Do they carry the on-field performance to meals? Or do they compartmentalize the game and carry on as usual until batting practice the next day?

I am asking because on some level, the off-the-field interaction may have some influence on game play. Or maybe not. Just wondering....

Who knows how these guys interact. I don't care if they hate each other everywhere else except between the lines. I want to see competent play on the field and that's all I care about. This team does EVERYTHING poorly.

So I've learned that the problem with Amaro is that he probably jumps to quick and makes too many moves but the one move he clearly made that he didn't have to is a good one.

Also- if you are advocating the future and present as not being exclusive that is fine and I actually agree with that. However, the trade for Pence was a bad one because the potential upside was minimal. Also, you paid a premium price on a guy who was not that big a talent to begin with.

Singleton returns today huh?

Joe D, I guess I'm wondering if they get on each other about what happens in the game, or if they take the time to discuss what they will do in the next game.

Whether or not they love each other is irrelevant, but whether they care enough about the game/each other to talk about it among themselves may be.

Things I hate:
1 - The Phillies
2 - Those who do not fall into my troll honey trap.

Well I was always told by the media that the mere presence of Utley inspired everyone.

Should I be flattered when one of the BL elite takes to making fake posts in my name? Or should I feel sad for them?

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