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Sunday, May 12, 2013

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MAYBERRY WITH THE CATCH. GREAT WIN.

Outstanding. This was a team that looked lifeless and dead last weekend as they packed it in on Sunday against the Marlins.

They were 5 out in the division and heading out west where they had bad match-ups in San Francisco and were going to a house of horrors for them in Arizona.

It could've been a 5-2, or even 6-1 road trip, but 4-3 will work and they even gained some ground on the teams in front of them.

Hopefully, this gives them some momentum for a little here to rattle off a good stretch here.

And as horrible as they have been. Still only 4 games out. This team leaves you hanging then pulls you back in.

This was one of those victories the team would steal in years' past where they would get dominated by the opposing starter & look lifeless only tospring in the 8th/9th.

4-3/3-4 on the road trip was what I thought they would do but the bad new is the schedule really doesn't get much easier for the rest of the month.

Still like to see them make a few roster tweaks too especially in the bullpen but I am not holding my breath.

Phils moved to 10-5 when KK/Lee have started.

FREE RUF

Make that 10-6 (4-4 with Lee, 6-2 with KK).

the only power bat they have in the wings is ruf. and he's entering his prime years. free the babe.

Oh, rats. I mean, yay for the win! but rats that I missed the comeback. I was at Longwood Gardens, turned the game on for the ride home to hear Nix pinch hit into a DP & the JRoll pop-up to end the 8th inning. Grr. When I heard that Brandon McCarthy was shutting us out, I told my husband to go ahead and change the channel to music. Figured I'd heard this game before and didn't need to be frustrated after a lovely afternoon.

This kind of rally, these surprises, are why we tune in even when we think we know what will happen. Always hoping that the Phils will win. Glad to know they did. And thanks for the highlights here so that I could experience it a little. I'll have to head over for video highlights, too!

Also - props to KK for continuing to impress. And props to Papelbon, too - glad Charlie used him again even after the 5 outs last night.

Matt Gelb: "Mike Adams has a back injury, Charlie said. They will "monitor" him."

On the radio broadcast Franzke said that over the past 17 starts, KK's 11 wins led the majors...is that true? If so, I will use that to continue to claim that he is better than a "solid 3", as so many here do. Honestly think he's morphed into a solid 2 at this point... Not an ace, but a very good SP. if the team decides to sell off pieces this summer, they better get a pretty good haul for Kendrick.

The White Sox are wearing some truly heinous throwbacks tonight. All they need now are the ones w/ the shorts.

Chris -- You could make an enormously relevant argument about either Kendrick or Lee being the ace of the staff. What a glorious problem to have in this God-forsaken season.

Come to think of it, who cares about Adams? Howard? and all the other "issues" this team has? They are 5 back in the loss column, and it's only May 12.

If Kendrick keeps it up -- who thinks that he won't as he enters his next-to-last arb year -- and Mr. Utley somehow does not wear down, my "68 win" prediction might be wrong. This little soliloquy is solely dependent on the team figuring out how to score for Cole Hamels

No one should ever count out a team with great starting pitching.

The Braves were walloped in San Francisco this weekend in the course of a 1-3, 4 game series. They were outscored 26-10, out hit 43-25, they struck out 41 times, and their starting pitchers went 20.1 IP giving up 18 earned runs for a 8.06 ERA.

Horrendous trip for them.

Chris- was thinking the same thing about Kendrick. With his low price tag in dollars, he should be able to fetch a nice piece or two in July if they're out of it. He might get the biggest haul of any of these guys if he keeps this up.

And I don't think it's out of the question that he does keep this up, by the way. This is a very prolonged stretch of success and everyone agrees he's improved by leaps and bounds. He might be a guy that's able to keep his ERA around 3. He's making some money for himself when he hits FA, and has been a huge value at 2 years/7 million.

V wells hit 9th hr today. Wish he was in LF with Dom in right.

TTI- the juggerNats also lost 2 of 3 at home to the Cubs this weekend with Stras and Gio taking the losses.

Um, if what we're witnessing is the real Kendrick (I don't think he's a mid 2 ERA guy, more like a low 3 ERA guy, but the point stands), yes he'd be a great trade piece. But he's also be the kind of player you want to keep around with Hamels and Lee for the next few years.

The reason you want to trade players like Howard, Utley, Jimmy and the link, is because they are almost certainly going to continue declining next year and beyond, and you hope to get something of value for them while you still can.

But if you think KK, who's only 29, can be a 2/3 starter for your club for the next 3-4 years, why get rid of him? You're almost certainly not going to get something in a trade that will have the same type of impact to your team over the next half decade.

Sorry, KK is only 28. Will be 29 next year. Basically, right in his prime years.

KK's changeup today was the best changeup I have ever see him have over an entire start.

His K/BB ratio is at 3.5 right now too which is a dramatic improvement & basically double what it was in '10.

Last year, only 23 qualified starters (out of 88) in MLB were above 3.5 including Lee and Hamels.

In '11, it was only 16 starters out of 94 qualified starters.

KK is moving up in into ranks of a frontline starting pitcher quietly.

Not to say it's a perfect comp, but Cliff Lee kind of had a career not totally unlike KK before he hit his late 20s. He was rocky, demoted a couple times, removed from a playoff rotation, and then figured it out in his late 20s.

Not saying in the least that KK was every touted like Lee in his early 20s, or that KK will ever morph into what Lee became, but it's not unprecedented for a mediocre pitcher to figure it out in their late 20s and go on to have a very successful 5 year period in their late 20/early 30s.

In other words, why trade a player who might be an anchor in your rotation throughout the duration of Hamels' contract?

Fatalotti: Well, he's only under team control through next season, so to keep him here through Hamels' contract, you'd have to sign him to an extension that makes him forego FA. Which, amazing as it is for me to say, won't be cheap.

So the question is what you're willing to pay him to be here. Or, if you're not willing to pay him, whether you trade him or not.

Wait. Why do they f---ing have to play the Indians again?

Fatalotti: Well, he's only under team control through next season, so to keep him here through Hamels' contract, you'd have to sign him to an extension that makes him forego FA. Which, amazing as it is for me to say, won't be cheap.

So the question is what you're willing to pay him to be here. Or, if you're not willing to pay him, whether you trade him or not.

Well, of course they'd have to sign him, but it's like they're trying to clear up payroll for the sake of it. This team has money.

What it doesn't have is enough good players entering or in their primes. Why give away one that you have, unless you're sure that he wants to test the market?

A few random OPS's as of Mothers Day:
Freddy___.805
MY_______.785
NoD______.749
Howie____.735

4-3 on a road trip vs the teams tied for the division lead - that's good.

...So the question is what you're willing to pay him to be here. Or, if you're not willing to pay him, whether you trade him or not.

Posted by: Jack | Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 08:48 PM

Jack -- Amazing. That is, the prospect of having to do a 6/$90mm contract (or thereabouts) to lock up Kendrick through his FA. This very question dawned on me when KK "found it" late last summer.

Just 1 more reason this team must find a way to win. This year.

One of the nice things about KK's season is that he makes many posters here, Fatalotti chief among them, look like smacked asses for their years of bashing him. Of course, none of those posters will own up to it and Fata has already been rewriting history about his prior posts. Jack at least pretends this isn't happening.

2007-2009: 95 ERA+
2008-2010: 85 ERA+
2009-2011: 98 ERA+
2010-2012: 99 ERA+
2011-2013: 115 ERA+

To add to that, he had individual seasons of 2008 (30 GS, 79 ERA+) and 2010 (31 GS, 86 ERA+).

It's so strange that there are people in this world who thought he sucked when he actually did, but who acknowledge that he's gotten better, over the last couple years..

Strange, these people.

It's amazing that the Yankees keep picking up guys like Ibanez last year and Hafner and Wells this and get the production that they do from them. Believe me if we had traded for Vernon Wells he'd be hiring around 235 with 1 homer right about now

The problems w/ the whole "the Phillies have money" is (a) it assumes they'll be willing to spend it, & (b) even if they are, the one thing money cannot buy is prospects. I, for one, do not wish to watch the Phillies continue to throw money at this FA & that FA. The club needs to rebuild almost completely, & the way to begin is by trading their most tradable players, Kendrick among them.

GTown -- win with this crew in '13, and the next 10 years of pain won't matter.

Here's hoping.

I just don't see this team going "full" rebuild a year after locking up Hamels, and still having Lee on the books for 3 more years. And if Kendrick is a legit 2 going forward, you'd have a pretty strong front 3 of the rotation for the next 3-4 years (I see Lee aging gracefully, due to the fluidity and ease of his mechanics, and his pinpoint control).

With the 2nd wild card and strong front of the rotation, a full rebuild might not be in order. This is not to say you hold on to old guard and try to make another run at it. But you don't have to implode the whole thing, either.

And remember all of that, "At least I'm not a Yankees fan" talk from before the season began? It's still early, but the Yankees are 10 games above .500, & in first place in their division. Yeah, their fans suffer so. I wish Phillies fans we so cursed.

*were

Hard to believe, Harry.

Chris Sale is having himself a game through 6.

But my mommy says I'm special, Pop Corn! And she's the smartest woman in the whole wide world!

For years, fans complained about the quality of players, because ownership was cheap. Now that a player has become good, those same fans want to trade him before he gets too expensive.

I don't necessarily feel or think the Phillies need a full rebuild either. Hamels, Lee, and KK are going to be a nice front 3 to a rotation. Should he continue at the progress he is going this year I can see Biddle ready in 2015 as well at the back end of that front 3.

If the team continues to drift out of the Wild Card race and a selloff becomes inevitable you trade Rollins, Ruiz, M. Young and see if you can drop Papelbon, maybe Adams, and maybe Utley. You should get some prospect depth back and then you use the savings to make smart acquisitions and build around the mild offensive pieces you have- most of which are young and growing- outside of Howard.

I'm not saying you definitely trade KK, but like Jack said its going to be interesting figuring out what you pay him. He's pitched at close to #1 SP level for about a year now, and the question is are you willing to pay him like one? If not, he'd be crazy not to test the market, which means he's going into a walk year...which drops his trade value quite a bit. Basically, he's at peak trade value now, and if you can get a solid haul for him to jump start the rebuild, you might have to do it.

Sorry I'm behind here. Does KK have another ARB year after this year?

CS - yup

So he makes 13-15mil... He's pitching like he deserves it.

If I was Rube, I'd be talking to KK's agent right now trying to lay the groundwork for an extension. If I could sign him to a reasonable deal (like 5/60), I'd do it in a second. But with 50 mil+ a year already tied up in Hamels and Lee, I don't know if I'd want to go a whole lot higher and put the team in the same bind its in now, with too much money tied up in the rotation and a neglected lineup.

That's all I'm saying in the "trade KK" discussion.

I was thinking the same as you, Fata, that KK is just the kind of player we need to keep.

Clout, as far as changing one's mind about a player, I would think we'd sound a lot dumber if we refused to recognize the improvement in KK. He was not nearly so good a few years ago. I do think he got a bit of a bad rap last year, and I know that I wasn't yet confident in his abilities as a starter (I liked him better out of the 'pen). But I think I finally trust that he's a different pitcher - - as, by the way, he himself has said. It's been a pleasant surprise to see him pitch this well, and I'm grateful for it.

5/60 is a fair offer. Just under 13 million and taking him to his 32 year old year. But really? Take him to arbitration or sign another one year and see what happens in 2014. I still think Cole was a huge investment we could have traded away last year and changed our last off season.

Even if KK keeps his current pace, his arb number will likely be around $8M not $13-15M.

Arb heavily bases salary on % of increase from previous arb eligible years salary. He's making $4.5M this year.

So people are now wrong for saying KK sucked in 2008 when he absolutely sucked?

Interesting

Fata: As usual you are being disingenuous. Why lump seasons together or single out only his ERA+ as a starter when he was used both ways?

His ERA+
2007 118
2008 79
2009 125
2010 86
2011 119
2012 104

Not unreasonable for a rotation back-ender who came to the majors at age 22. Yet Fatalotti and several others here bashed him relentlessly for years. Jack was the worst offender with his famous "can't possibly make it" comment and literally thousands of vitriolic posts over the years.

Fatalotti was wrong on KK for 5 years, just as he is wrong on most things. Now he wants to pretend it never happened.

5/60=Just under 13MM/yr. I take it that math isn't your strong suit.

I use single years, you say I'm disingenuous, I use 3 year averages, you say I'm disingenuous, I use BOTH in the same post, you same I'm disingenuous. I use ERA+, you say I'm disingenuous (if I had used strikeouts, you'd say the same thing).

You're a weird one, clout.

Although I am keeping an open mind on the subject, I am pretty uneasy about the idea of giving a large long-term contract to Kyle Kendrick. For one thing, it's not necessary yet; he's under team control for one more year. For another, I just need to see a whole lot more evidence of his excellence before I'd make the leap of faith that the Kendrick we're seeing now is the Kendrick we can expect to see for the next few years. He has certainly improved substantially. But his 2011 and 2012 xFIPs were still very average (4.42 and 4.31). If I told you that we'd be getting a 4.31 ERA pitcher for the next 5 years, I don't think very many people would be in favor of forking out 5 years, $60M for that pitcher.

The risk of not locking him up this year is that, if what we're seeing is real and semi-permanent, then we could either lose a really good pitcher after 2014 or end up paying much more to keep him. I'm willing to accept those risks, as I think they out-weigh the risk of acting too soon, and possibly ending up with yet another large, long-term commitment to a player who isn't remotely worth his contract.

My bad.

NEPP: No, people like you have been saying he sucked from 2007 thru 2011. I'm just calling you out on it.

Kendrick's BB%, HR/FB%, GB%, and basically every rate based stat has remained unchanged throughout his career except for two things:

Kyle Kendrick 2007-2011: 10.6 K%, 4.41 ERA
Kyle Kendrick 2012-2013: 17.4 K%, 3.57 ERA

I've been waiting for this argument. What took you so long?

lorecore: A direct result of his improving changeup vs. LH hitters. Recall that posters (likely including you under your previous name) said he couldn't possibly succeed with that low K rate (despite the fact that a 4.41 ERA was pretty damn good for a young rotation backender).

lorecore cuts to the quick... KK will get his $$$.

IMHO, we should not sign him. However, let's hope he's gotta "CY" in the year of 2013 in him.

What a strange team.

7yr/$41M extension for Rizzo in Chicago. More and more early money flying around baseball.

At this pace, free agency is going to limited to 35 yr old stop gap players.

More important than any other stat ever, "the kendrick" now redirects to KK's b-ref page instead of Howie Kendrick.

A true sign of his breakthru.

KK's walk rate has also notably decreased. It was 3.3 BB/9 in '08-'09. Since the ASB last year, it is 2.0 BB/9. That's a notable drop too.

Disingenuous= Listing KK's 2009 ERA+ of 125 to make a point...while failing to mention he did it in all of 26.1 innings.


That's definitely a meaningful sample size there...again from the guy that always whines about sample sizes.


Using a 3 year average=BAD
Using 26 innings=GOOD

This is what clout would have you believe.

NEPP, clout's a troll. You expected something different?

KK's unexpected rise as a starter since the ASB last year (remember he was terrible when he was inserted for Halladay in late May to the ASB) is probably the most unexpected stretch of dominance by a Phils' starter since Myers came back from the minors in '08 to become one of the best starters in MLB.

clout is a curmudgeon. Not really a troll.

BAP, I think it's precisely because of KK's short span of dominance that you can probably get a reasonable 4 year extension for him right now at a very fair rate, and that would be a risk that wouldn't hamstring the organization.

Nope, he is the epitome of a troll. He repeats ad nauseum the same arguments over and over against, despite their complete lack of relation to reality.

Case in point, claiming that I am "rewriting" history regarding KK, even though I fully and openly admit that I blasted him for years.

I also fully admit that as he improved, I adjusted my opinion of him to reflect his improvement.

MG: Incorrect, KK's BB rate from 07-11 was 6.6%, it was 6.8% from 2012-2013 going into tonight.

clout is the Mencken of Beerleaguer. I also appreciate his use of the term "smacked ass(es)".

lorecore, KK's BB% is 5.2% this year, down from his career rate of 6.6%, and the lowest of his career since 2007.

That was one helluva performance by Sale tonight. 1H CGSO.

I guess I believe in this KK more than most, which makes sense since I was one of his biggest defenders back in the day (albeit as an acceptable 5th starter).

He has completely changed as a pitcher over the last couple years...his repertoire has changed, his control has improved, and his K rate has jumped. I believe he's a solid #2 going forward. I just don't know if the Phils will pay him as such.

Wow, my favorites Mencken, Clout and Kendrick.

I just saw the game highlights. Nice hit by Howard. Glad to see it. I hope it was a slump-buster.

Horst pitched a clean inning? And Bastardo did well, too. Good!

I hope Adams' feels better soon. We need him, and we need him healthy.

Since he junked his slider and started relying on his changeup as his 2nd pitch (and bumped his cutter down to 3rd), he has improved immensely. This makes me think there's more to the change than just luck.

Victorino taken to the hospital after crashing the RF wall in Boston.
A lot of ex Phils on the injury list recently.

Good ending to what looked like a bad day at AZ today. Winning road trip out west, with some winnable games lost and some "feel like losses" won.

You need to dig deep into the beleaguered past to find some great posts on KK from Clout. He inspired me to jump heartily onto the KK possibilities. I guessed right that the Halladay signing would be perfect for Kendrick at the time but Clout absolutely nailed it with the lefty problem and a new pitch. He figured out the changeup no doubt from Dubee, Hamels or Madson. Damn it, he did it. I knew he would. This guy will retire from the Phillies organization as a retiree probably in 2050. He's a company man.

Yeah, Ruf had another good stat day. He's climbing.

This amused me: Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 7h
“How far are we going to take it with all the pink stuff?” - Greg Dobbs. MT @joecapMARLINS: Marlins not tickled pink http://bit.ly/19g5yrX

I know it's only May 12 but when the AAA pitchers start walking a player to the tune of a .500 OBP for the month, it's only a matter of time before it becomes .600 with a guy with good plate discipline.

Darin Ruf hitting .294/.372/.500 now for the season.

If this team was actually trying to win this season, and was managed competently, Ruf would be on the major-league roster. He'd be playing first base against every left-handed pitcher and otherwise pinch-hitting, and very occasionally playing LF if need be. (For all those who think he can't possibly play a single inning in the OF, I'd like to remind you that today featured a defensive OF of Dom Brown, Laynce Nix, and Delmon Young, at one point.)

I wouldn't use Ruf regularly there, of course, as he's not any good. But he's not a waste of a roster spot. He can play 1B and LF, if needed, and he can hit. The Phils have used roster spots on far worse over the years. I mean, they currently start players in RF and 1B who can neither field nor hit, and I'm being nice to Dom Brown by not including him in that group as well.

The sad thing is that it is inevitable that at some point, maybe even soon, Howard will finally be platooned. But it will be too late, past the point where it could have helped the team contend.

Clout is ragging everyone about not loving KK early enough, and yet, I watched a guy who can never ever ever possibly hit well enough to be a major league shortstop get three hits today.

So, Clout was on the KK bandwagon when KK was somewhat average to below average. And yet, he swears that Freddie Galvis will never hit well enough to be a starting major league shortstop.

I'd say he's half right. He certainly looks a lot better from the left side of the plate. SSS, or course.

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. Kudos to KK, another good performance.

Btw, that Parra leadoff homer was completely Kratz' fault. Two strikes on the guy and he sets up down and in. Why? It was one hundred percent predictable that he was going to mash that pitch, which was right to Kratz' glove. Very poor pitch selection.

I have always like clout but I liked him more when he used to post information inside of just rebuking/chiding someone.

I have never liked Clout. He doesn't make me laugh. He doesn't make me think about the vagaries of pitched and batted balls. He rarely adds anything but sarcasm, pettiness and invective. Then he hunkers back down in his mother's basement and eats his peanut butter and banana sandwiches, while watching dvr'd episodes of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. What's to like?

Kratz is the textbook example of what happens to a minor league journeyman who has some initial success and teams adjust accordingly with a vengeance.

- Don't throw him a fastball if at all possible.
- Especially don't give him a high fastball that is around the belt or try to bust him inside with heat unless it is low.
- Give him a steady diet of offspeed stuff especially sliders away and changeups. He'll flail away or make weak contact on the ground/pop-up.

Whether Beerleager wants to admit it or not, the Phillies season starts and goes forth from Cliff Lee. He's the ace of the staff and one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Anyone who claims his salary is too high has a different agenda than wanting the best for the Fightins and borders on illogical!

clout definitely harps on certain things over and over again, but at least he's funny about it.

I'm not 100% in favor of trading Kendrick, but I think he should definitely be made available to teams and if Amaro is bowled over with an offer for him, he'd be crazy not to take it. I also wouldn't be upset if they decided to keep him, but I hope that would only be in the event that the return for him would not be worth what he'd produce for the team in the next 3-4 years.

I had no idea he was arb eligible next year. I would think that would make him even more attractive to a team looking for a pitcher at the deadline.

clout can get pretty annoying too with the way he comes in and snipes but it is funny to watch the way he winds people up.

It is even funnier when the same people he busts on get grumpy and accuse him of multiple things that they are notorious for as well.

The worst outcome for this team was a 4-3 road trip. Not good enough to really make a statement/make-up ground. Not bad enough to have the brass consider firing Charlie.

Weird schedule this week? Why two, two game series against CLE? How on Earth does that make any sense. Seems to have been more 2 and 4 game series this season than in seasons past. Or perhaps it's just me.

(I like clout for the most part)

I hate to wade into the KK debate (OK, not really), but when clout calls out those here who were critical of KK, to a certain extent he is correct.

As someone who was here during those years, I can state with relative certainty that some (not all, but some) of those who were critical of KK during his down years - especially 2008 - were not only stating that he sucked at the time (he did).

They were also taking the position, for various reasons which included his velocity and low K rate, that he would NEVER be a successful MLB pitcher.

In short, they made no mention of the possibility that he could improve.

clout, OTOH, has been consistent in his appraisal of KK, and has always stated that he thought KK could develop into a successful MLB pitcher.

"He has completely changed as a pitcher over the last couple years...his repertoire has changed, his control has improved, and his K rate has jumped."


Chris in Vermont, IMHO, KK always had the ability to THROW more strikes - that is his ability to "control" has not changed.

What has changed, is his ability to pound the strikezone with his sinker - and that is because of the development of his changeup.

I read somewhere once that the primary goal of a pitcher is to disrupt a hitter's timing. Thus, his changeup allows KK to do exactly that, and the threat of that changeup allows him to throw more sinkers over the plate.

He gets away with throwing the sinker over the plate more - that is, he doesn't have to be as "fine" with it - because it the hitter tries to sit on the sinker he could be way out in front of the pitch.

In short, he has become more like Hamels, who can throw a 90 - 93 MPH fastball past hitters because for threat of the changeup they cannot sit on the pitch.

While KK doesn't quite have Hamels' velocity, he does get swinging strikes on his sinker now for the same reasons: The difference in velocity between his sinker and changeup is such that if the hitter is looking for the changeup he'll be late on the sinker.

KK now has an "out" pitch, and has kept hitters off balance because of it.

That's my 2 ¢.

I remember how much hatred was spewed at Kendrick making 3m and 4.5m these past 2 years lol.

"They were also taking the position, for various reasons which included his velocity and low K rate, that he would NEVER be a successful MLB pitcher.

In short, they made no mention of the possibility that he could improve."

____________________________________________

awh is exactly right here. It is easy to say, "Well KK is a better pitcher so of course he gets less criticism," but that was never the crux of the debate. The debate always was a group of people (and they are outing themselves in this discussion) saying he would never be an effective major league pitcher against a second group of people (and they are outing themselves as well) saying he could be if he made some adjustments to his game.

And I know the ones that are trying to eradicate what they said from the BL history books are going to say, "Well he improved, blah blah blah..." but there is a difference between saying what has happened and saying he would never be an effective major league pitcher. It doesn't surprise me though because too many of that group are starfvckers when it comes to players.

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