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Monday, May 06, 2013

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This is just a bad team...got old in a hurry, and Amaro's been completely unable to compensate for it.

On to the rebuild!

SELLERS IN JULY!

Ben frigan Revere ..!

Shaken my head ..

Time to start putting the calls out on which teams want whom. M young jimmy, chooch, lee M Adams and paps to start. Not sure how FO feels about chase.

Good Utley. So long, Lee. Arrivaderci, Ruiz. It's been real.

It's not time to sell off yet.

Settle down reactionaries.

There is no excuse for this team being this bad. I've been a season ticket holder since the Vet., went to Clearwater this spring. I'm a big fan but I can't watch these guys!

Corey, they don't do anything above average? I guess if you want to count "Closing". :(
Heck, do they do anything average?

.266/.290/.392

.237/.296/.374

The former was Yuniesky Betancourt's career slash line before 2013. The latter is the Phils' overall batting line through yesterday's game.

TTI It's not time to sell off yet.

You're right,it's past time. Wonder if Cole wishes he'd gone the free agent route?

Paul Hagen on phillies.com:

"Their offense continues to take an unexcused absence."

"The Phillies have scored three or fewer runs in 18 of their 32 games this season and have been shut out five times in their last 19 games."

Our catchers so far: .193/.233/.294

Yet Doc's "hiding" his injury attracts much more venom than Chooch's getting himself suspended for the first month.

Of course it isn't time to sell-off yet. But I challenge anyone to legitimately claim that this team will be competing for a playoff spot come the all-star break.

Part of solving a problem is recognizing there is one.

Per Rueben Frank on Twitter: 2 of the Phillies last 6 games have been 14-2 losses. One of their previous 8,356 games was a 14-2 loss.

Sad times indeed.

Ctom: "Our catchers so far: .193/.233/.294

Yet Doc's "hiding" his injury attracts much more venom than Chooch's getting himself suspended for the first month."

The league average OPS for catchers is .722, compared to the Phils .526

The league average ERA is 3.89 and Doc's is 8.65 - so Doc deservedly so should be getting more attention.

TTI: While you hold out for the absolute last second to sell, I hope our real GM recognizes that 5 months of Chase Utley is worth a lot more than 2 months.

lorecore: not a question of performance gap but of volition.

Doc gets crucified here for trying his damndest to compete. Chooch chose to use a prohibited substance (after having tested positive once before, no less) and got himself suspended, leaving the Phillies with two quad-A guys trying to fill his role for 1/6 of the season.

More to the point, have you looked at what's behind Doc in the pipeline? Going into this season, he knew as well as any BL'er that for this team to compete in 2013, he needed to take the ball 30-35 times. Can you blame him for trying to spare us 30 Tyler Cloyd starts?

lorecore: I think TTI's hopes are a little more realistic than yours. There's no way our real GM figures that out

You are free to judge the morals of the players, I'll focus on the performance.

Ineffective/hurt Doc has ruined this season 10x worse than a 25 game suspension to Chooch.

lorecore: it's not that simple. It all depends on who has more leverage in a given situation. A team's need for a LH bat, the perception on how much the Phillies want to hold on to Utley, the strength of the market, etc. Those factors and more all can make Utley more or less valuable, and they don't necessarily relate to time.

lorecore: It would be counter productive to trade people now because more teams will be reluctant to enter the fray than would be in July.

Chris: two separate ideas. There is a time to sell and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with thinking the team is contending for a playoff spot.

I will say this though- for as bad it is has been this month+. The team sits 5 back of the Braves and 4 of the wild card. We are talking like they are dead and buried. They simply aren't. This West Coast trip could do it though. I won't just suddenly give up hope because in the end I want to believe this team can rise up and make one final push. If not, sell off the pieces- keep some guys to build around and regroup.

And for those thinking about trading Utley- I've got a hunch he is getting resigned next year and they will trade Rollins at the deadline.

Just as the phillies have been declining, the quality of the posters on beerleaguer have declined. Sad times indeed.

I should clarify: time as in duration that a team will have Utley on their roster. (as in, 5 months vs. 2 months)

and just because i'm blaming Doc as a reason this team sucks, please don't think i'm someone who "crucifies" him - I will forever respect him as a player in basically every aspect of the game possible. Its a travesty that his career is unraveling before our eyes.

Marlins type sales job...Do It..then go get Stanton

tti/danomyte: Agreed - but we should absolutely be shopping him/anyone now to see what is out there. If RAJ gets enough interest now, its undeniable that the sooner a team acquires a player, the more valuable he is.

Morals aren't the issue with Chooch - stupidity is. I don't really care if he uses ADHD pills from a moral standpoint. I do care that he knew a second positive test would result in a 25-game suspension, and he continued to use the pills. Do you think his looming free agency/extension had anything to do with his desire to boost his performance?

Doc knew he was probably hurting his chances at another big contract by taking the ball every fifth day rather than going under the knife early, but continued to do it because he's a competitor. Foolish, perhaps, but done for the right reasons.

Ineffective/hurt Doc has ruined this season 10x worse than a 25 game suspension to Chooch.

The Phils are 2-5 with Doc on the mound. In those five losses, the Phils scored 2, 2, 2, 3, and 2 runs. Do you think Cloyd wins more than, say, one of those games for us? Doc also won a 2-1 game, for that matter.

Not saying Doc has pitched well, but once you replace him in the rotation with a AAA guy, you're still left with an awful offense.

lorecore: You are right that his value in return is greater if you have 5 months vs 2 months. The problem is the number of suitors- and hence available packages- is probably going to be lower because there are teams that are not necessarily going to change what is working so far.

It's a definite risk and it is one reason I am glad I'm not a GM. How do you know when it is time to make a move? Also too, again- for as bad as they've played they are not completely gone themselves in the playoff race. And the Phillies have a hard road trip coming up as do the Braves. So the Phillies may not even lose much ground this week.

Phillies have the fourth worst run differential in all of baseball.

Yes, they're only 5 games back. But that's because it's hard to be more than 5 games back after you've only played 30. 16 teams not leading their division are within 5.5 games of the division leader.

If you're looking objectively, you can't honestly sit here and say you think the Phillies should considering themselves contenders, right?

I think the Phillies will get better in the summer/2nd half, like they always do, but I just don't think it will be enough to put them in the playoffs like previous years. I hope I am wrong though.

2 things on and related to yesterday:

1.) It is really kind of sad if that was the end of Roy Halladay as a Phillie and/or major league pitcher. The guy worked his butt off to get into shape in his career and was fairly dominant for a large portion of his career. He pitched 8 seasons of 30 or more starts and in those he had a sub 3 ERA in 5 seasons, and was sub 3.50 in 7 of them. Also, you have to respect a guy who had issues in his career- went to the minors to fix them and did so. In the end, his pride and "toughness" got the best of him probably.

2.) Who are the Phillies calling up? Will we now get the stock Cloyd move? Will they go with another young guy from the farm and roll the dice>

I think the Phillies will get better in the summer/2nd half, like they always do, but I just don't think it will be enough to put them in the playoffs like previous years.

________________________________________

That would kind of be my guess too.

I would like the Phils to give a young guy a shot and roll the dice, as this team really needs to do everything with an eye to the future now. But I'm fairly certain we get a Cloyd-type of move instead.

ctom: "The Phils are 2-5 with Doc on the mound. In those five losses, the Phils scored 2, 2, 2, 3, and 2 runs. Do you think Cloyd wins more than, say, one of those games for us? Doc also won a 2-1 game, for that matter."

Do I need to go back and find the games that we won/lost by +3 runs and point out that an extra hit in those games that Chooch "might" have added wouldn't have mattered? I hope not, but I can if you really think thats a valid argument.

"I would like the Phils to give a young guy a shot and roll the dice, as this team really needs to do everything with an eye to the future now."

Isn't it entirely possible that giving Adam Morgan more time at AAA instead of calling him up before he's ready the right thing to do with an eye to the future?

If it's someone besides Cloyd, I'll be surprised. Savery returns in the interim, right?

I'd rather see Morgan over Cloyd...at least Morgan might have a chance at winning games whereas Cloyd is just absolutely terrible and not an MLB pitcher.

TTI reason to starting selling ideas are this team has a 7 game West coast trip where when they come back could be 8 under .500. Time to do the team and city it's due dilligence. As rube always says.

Isn't it entirely possible that giving Adam Morgan more time at AAA instead of calling him up before he's ready the right thing to do with an eye to the future?
Posted by: Jack | Monday, May 06, 2013 at 09:55 AM

Of course it is...but plenty of teams, especially rebuilding ones, push their near-MLB ready talent a little in their development. I don't see how giving a guy like Morgan at least a shot to prove he's ready could really set him back all that much.

The only way to see if a guy can pitch in the Majors is to pitch him in the Majors and see what happens. Its not as if they'd be pulling a guy from A ball here...both are in AAA.

At this point, why not? The season is pretty much over anyway...time to figure out the future.

TTI reason to starting selling ideas are this team has a 7 game West coast trip where when they come back could be 8 under .500. Time to do the team and city it's due dilligence. As rube always says.

__________________________________________

hook: So selling from a weakened position is doing due diligence?

Also- the "could be 8 under .500" line of reasoning is sketchy at best.

Personally, I'd rather see Morgan, for selfish reasons that I'd always rather see a real prospect than a stiff.

But there's plenty of sense in not calling someone up until they are ready. You can't just say "pushing a guy in their development" is categorically a good thing or a bad thing. It all depends on individual circumstances. What I'm saying is that it's entirely possible that it could be a good thing to wait on Morgan. It's also possible it could be a good thing to push him. The point is we don't know.

I'm not exactly an apologist for the team, so it's not like I'm trying to defend any move they could make here (as opposed to other posters here). This just seems like one of those situations where it's really hard to make a judgment on what the "right" move is. None of us know anything about either player development or Adam Morgan personally.

Which move gets UC and Rube fired first?


Perhaps that is the route to go...

TTI: "Also- the "could be 8 under .500" line of reasoning is sketchy at best."

Right, but it's better reasoning to say: "And the Phillies have a hard road trip coming up as do the Braves. So the Phillies may not even lose much ground this week"?

Seems like the same reasoning to me.

The reality is that the team could get into the playoffs relatively easily. You'd have to say it's less likely than not, and on the merits you'd have to say this team isn't of the caliber that "should" merit a playoff spot, but when 10 teams are getting a shot there's just a ton of room for a fluke hot streak or limping in by default due to some other team's fluke meltdown. We all remember the Orioles' +7 run differential last year.

Now, does that mean being sellers is incorrect? Probably not. The talent is too fringe, and it's completely possible that the team never even breaks .500 this year. Even some minor coups in trading the core for legitimate prospects could really shore up the medium-term future of the team, which right now isn't looking great. That should probably be the goal of this season.

Meanwhile the Phillies are one Hamels/Lee/Kendrick injury away from a true black hole. SP depth was a mildly underdiscussed component of the offseason but it was a major reason why getting rid of Worley and May for Revere was a lateral move at best.

"Something I think we can all agree on: it's now plainly obvious why the team used to refuse to give out 4+ year contracts to pitchers. They can look like a HOF one year and become Joe Blanton the next."

Actually, it occurred to me last night that, if the Halladay trade had never happened, he would have hit free agency after 2010. And we know that: (a) RAJ was obsessed with getting Halladay; and (b) Halladay wanted to play with the Phillies more than any other team. Chances are pretty good we would have signed him (most likely instead of Lee). Only it wouldn't have been a 4-year deal, but probably a 5-year deal -- and for more money. And it would have started in 2011, not 2010, which would have meant that we only got one good year from him & he'd still be on the books for next year. Something to take into consideration when asking: was the trade worth it?

They aren't going to trade anyone this early, because teams don't generally trade this early (for a variety of reasons, most notably they're just not sure what they want yet).

But the Phils should absolutely be *planning* on selling veterans. Maybe you get lucky and you all of a sudden start winning games and get back into contention. But this team is bad, and can't count on that happening. They should presume to be sellers, as soon as the trade market heats up.

bap, I think the key problem in either scenario is Ruben Amaro Jr. Its almost as if all the options with him at the helm suck.

With Lannen coming back in the next couple of weeks, the Phils would be smart to give Adam Morgan the nod. He was impressive in ST and does have a future as a big league pitcher.

The funny thing is that Pettibone likely is now locked in as a member of the rotation for the forseeable future. Even when Lannen comes back, he's not going anywhere. And he shouldn't either.

Whoever comes up is most likely going to be here for 2-3 starts. So why not give young Mr. Morgan a shot to at least get his feet wet in the bigs? He's likely not ready yet, but so what?

I'd call up Savery and DeFratus today, send Horst down to LV and DFA Valdez. Make Durbin the mop-up/"I only pitch when the game is decided" guy. Savery and DeFratus literally cannot be worse then what we have seen so far. Reward the good work both have done and give them some time up here. This one is not that difficult. Morgan would then get Valdez's 40 man roster spot as well.

I think the key problem in either scenario is Ruben Amaro Jr. Its almost as if all the options with him at the helm suck.

Bingo.

r00b hasn't made a good trade involving players other than previously known quantities yet. He has already buried the ball club through his incompetence. Now he'll get a chance to throw more dirt on the grave.

I would be against messing with development any legitimate prospects like Morgan, and Cloyd would only make sense if we were just looking for a spot start or two to not get murdered.

I think the Phils should pull off a Kendrick type move - bring up an off the radar who has lot of milb IP and moderate success under their belts already, and see if you can kick start something with a pitcher who you really didn't expect much from in the first place. Here's some names who fit the bill:

Hector Neris(24) - Recently converted from reliever to starter in Reading, low-mid 90s fastball with plus slider. Over 200IP in the minors with lots of missed bats. Big con is that he likely couldn't be counted on to go more than ~5IP even on a good outing.

Seth Rosin(24) - Another bullpen convert, Rosin was acquired via Pence trade. Rosin has some starting experience in the past, and gets by solely on good command of a heavy mid 90s fastball. Misses bats and has 200IP under his belt as well - has very little offspeed pitches to compliment.

Brody Colvin(22) - At this point, why not? There's almost no downside to jerking Colvin around because its quite obvious that any normal "development" is out the window with Colvin. He's a thrower with a very live arm and potential, but continues to come up short when putting it together. Maybe a jolt to the majors while knock something loose. He's got the stuff to make it possible.

On a non-Phillies note, how ridiculous has Yu Darvish's start to the season been?

7 GS, 5-1, 45.2 IP, 72 SO, 15 BB, 0.920 WHIP, 176 ERA+, 14.2 SO/9, 3.0 BB/9, 4.8 SO/BB


I mean, I know that SO/9 doesn't matter but for a starter to be striking out over 14 per 9...that's just ridiculous.

Morgan's turn falls on Halladay's next start, but it involves a 40-man move, and Morgan's struggled in his last 3 starts.

Note also that the Phils have two off days next week and don't need a 5th starter after 5/10 until 5/22.

I think you DL Halladay before tonight's game and call up a reliever (probably Savery). Valdes gets the 5/10 start, since he's not likely to be available for a couple of days anyway after yesterday. Then you have an extra reliever until 5/22, when you're forced to make another move. If Morgan's had a couple of good starts in LV on 5/10 and 5/15, you can skip his 5/20 LV start and call him up for 5/22 in Philly.

TTI~ They may not be dead yet, but they're certainly playing with very little of a heartbeat.

Amaro finally admitted the offense isn't/hasn't been good enough. Yeah, no kidding.

As far as selling off, maybe it isn't time yet. But if Doc is done (likely), I'd certainly part with Lee and Papelbon, as there's no reason to keep their salaries. I'd move them for prospects and hope that any pieces we recieve could either help for our future, or help get someone in trade.

There is certainly little reason, other than for moving salary to trade position players. We'd have to get capable position players in return (there's not much in the system). And if we did that, I don't think many teams would be willing to help us get better. July will be interesting.

Amaro put us in this position, and he'll have to be the one to get us out. A managerial change is possible, but I don't see how that'll help for this year. It certainly looks like we're headed for another 50+ losses by the AS break.

Beeroverreactionleaguer™

lorecore: Add Cesar Jimenez to your list. Similar to Neris, he's a converted reliever who's not likely to give more than 5 IP, but he's been very solid for LV so far (1.50 ERA). His big problem in the past has been throwing strikes, but he's had that under control so far this year (17 K, 5 BB in 18 IP).

cyclic: yea, the team announces Doc will see a shoulder specialist and likely hit the DL, and us dopey overreactionist discuss why this team is in trouble and needs to call up a minor leaguer.

Everyone should be solely focused on Game #33 of 162 as the real important issue here instead, right?

Cyclic: please tell us what is the proper reaction to yesterday's events and the rest of the season so far?

I will go out on a limb and predict that Doc's season is over and he has pitched his last game in a Phillies uniform.

"Amaro finally admitted the offense isn't/hasn't been good enough. Yeah, no kidding."

He basically said what he always says. "We aren't hitting enough--they're good hitters, so they have to hit better than this."

What Amaro seems to fail to understand is that lot of those guys *were* good hitters, but anyone with a brain can tell you they aren't good hitters anymore. Ryan Howard used to be a good hitter. Michael Young used to be a good hitter. Delmon Young had one good season as a hitter. Jimmy Rollins used to be a better hitter than he is now. Same with Chase Utley (although he's at least still good).

I know he's not going to say "yeah, these guys aren't good anymore" to the media. But the problem is I think he actually believes these guys should all still be the same as they were 5 years ago. All his moves indicate that he doesn't understand that players get worse as they age.

denny b - Agreed although I wonder if they want to push Morgan too given his lack of experience above AA (12 career CS).

Replacing the productive Nixberry with D. Young's 71 OPS+ hasn't exactly helped the offense.

But that's part of Rube's master plan.

But if Doc is done (likely), I'd certainly part with Lee and Papelbon, as there's no reason to keep their salaries.

Lee has no-trade protection to 21 teams. Unless he wants to move, it's not happening. That limits your options and your potential return.

I'm 100% in favor of moving Papelbon, though you'll probably have to wait for someone to get desperate near the deadline if you want a good prospect in return. Otherwise I doubt anyone will take on his contract. Detroit looked like an option a week ago, but now Valverde's 3-for-3 on saves and hasn't given up a hit in four appearances.

Mayberry;s last 12 games: .114/.184/.286

NEPP: No, Rube never said Delmon would be the everyday RF.

We were just making it all up, remember?

I can't get a read on how legit a prospect he is, but Cesar Hernandez is hitting .358/.412/.514 at AAA with 8 SB in 8 attempts. And he only turns 23 this month.

He seems like he could get a call up later this year, if we trade Utley or Rollins (not that he can play SS, but Galvis would then become the starting SS, so Hernandez could take his spot as utility backup IF).

It's so hard to sit here on May 6th and face the reality that this season is over. It just is. It would take an absolute miracle to right this ship. Let's just get to the deadline so this thing can be blown up.

There are many problems here but guys you can blame RAJ now but when I in the winter suggested and made comments to the same affect you blew me off.
My point is not that I am smarter, probably true too, but that we have all known for years that RAJ is not a good fit for this job but we seem to forget that when the team (which he did not create) was winning. Same is true with CM. He is great when he has lots of lumber (most managers are) but strategy is absent, and has been absent from the beginning. He is a nice guy but this team needs a change.
But guess what none of the above is happening.

Papelbon will certainly be well rested when it comes time to possibly trade him. What an absolute terrible investment. It was dumb at the time given the other flaws that needed addressing and it is still incredibly dumb to this day.

RK, you're right. Nothing is going to change. Ownership will need to see a sharp decline in revenue streams to really better this team. But with a TV deal looming I fear that they are just going to become complacent and live off that $ while gate revenue takes a nose dive. I am hunkering down for a long downturn.

Joe D: We're paying $19 million to two guys to hold leads in the 8th inning and 9th inning. Which of course was predictably pointless for a team that can't get a lead to the 8th inning.

Ruben Amaro!

Pretty soon the ink in Amaro's pen is going to dry up and the purse strings of Monty and the boys will close tightly. Then what will Ruben do? His only strength was signing off on the biggest $ deals. He has zero creativity when it comes to constructing a ball club. Unless you think creativity is taking a guy who hasn't played the outfield since 2007 and paying him to not hit drive thrus. I am so down on the state of this team. It might be time to get mlb.tv so my love for the actual sport can live on while watching actual baseball teams play it.

I am lusting after SABR geeks. Though, could one even co-exist w/ Ruben? I think we are stuck with a one or the other situation. Either Ruber or someone who actually pays attention to more than 3 offensive metrics.

Also, I think they are considering Biddle just to generate some excitement in the fan base. A call to Cloyd or Rosenberg would be a disaster from a PR point of view.

It's amazing Jack. This fan base (the majority of which lacks intellect) has been all over many of these moves from day one and they have proven to be right in their apprehensions. That just can't be. Your fanbase can't be better than your front office.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if they called up Biddle. It would be pretty stupid so sure why not.

"All his moves indicate that he doesn't understand that players get worse as they age."

Some of it is ignorance, but I also think some of it is a way to deflect criticism: I inherited these solid veterans and am locked in, to some extent, to their skill and aging curves as a GM. It's not really my fault if they stink.

Of course, he extended Howard, decided to overload on SP and a closer, traded for M Young, signed D Young, traded away Vic and Pence.

I'm just glad the Phils have a opportunity to make some moves and rebuild. Like a Chapter 11: wipe some of these Papelbon debts from the board and move forward as something different.

Really no question that they should be dealing the Youngs, Adams, Papelbon, and Ruiz this summer.

Cesar has always been a fringe guy - really hitting the ball well so far though. Pegged as a contact singles hitter who doesn't walk - they can be good players when finding holes, but have some brutal downside when they aren't.

lorecore: "Pegged as a contact singles hitter who doesn't walk - they can be good players when finding holes, but have some brutal downside when they aren't."

Yeah, that is true. I think we are all painfully aware of what that looks like.

I am prepared for a rebuild but one with Amaro has never made me feel good. I don't think anyone on this site wants him leading the rebuild. Look at how poorly he has built this team with an increasing payroll. When resources are less he is going to have to think outside of the box and realize that his Production™ approach is flawed.

Realistically what can we expect the payroll to sit at in '14 and beyond?

Sophist why stop with Youngs, Adams, Pap and Ruiz? This team needs to be restructured.

I am sure it will recover from its current funk (this is the time of the year they generally suck). And everyone will become hopeful.

The reality is everyone on this club should be tradeable. The problem is if RAJ is there to make the decisions I am not sure the team will come out ahead.

Payroll is the least of the issues with this team. Getting talent (and young talent) into the organization is priority #1. If you have that, your payroll is largely irrelevant.

The idea that we have to spend $150 million in order to win is wrong. Now, I don't want to lower payroll for the sake of lowering payroll--on the whole, I'd rather have players making money than the owners pocketing it.

I would just rather have the team focused on developing talent than spending money on aging veterans. Focusing on a high payroll is detrimental to the extent it causes you to lose sight of what really builds long-terms sustainable success--developing talent.

"Morgan's turn falls on Halladay's next start, but it involves a 40-man move, and Morgan's struggled in his last 3 starts."

Morgan's recent struggles are a good reason not to call him up. His absence from the 40-man roster is not. That could be easily taken care of by the release of Durbin and the call-up of DeFratus (already on the 40-man). The fact that this hasn't happened already is all you need to know about RAJ's competence.

Cyclic: please tell us what is the proper reaction to yesterday's events and the rest of the season so far?

_________________________________________

I'm not directing this directly at you Steve because there are plenty of people on here guilty of it.

There is a huge gap between: being upset about yesterday and the team and declaring May 6th the day to sell off everything.

Doing the latter is overreacting- for many reasons including: the team is still in the playoff hunt, they still have talent, it is May, and they would be operating from a point where they are not giving themselves the full extent of their trade leverage.

People yelling "Sell!" right now are just overreacting and not thinking logistically about how the Phillies should operate right now.

When they day comes that you officially look dead in the water- then yeah call up all the teams and put feelers out and look to get the best prospect packages back in return. The Phillies have tradeable parts as well with Lee, Papelbon, Rollins, M Young, D Young, Ruiz, possibly Utley and Adams.

If Amaro does this right (and the jury is way out on that) the turnaround from valley to peak could be very short. Also, he might have the ability to parlay some prospects in deals into acquiring a Stanton type. There are plenty of possibilities.

Overall, you can't fault someone for trying to remain positive and see the glass half full. Much like anyone seeing the glass as half empty right now can't be faulted. However, there is a difference between "half empty glass" and what some are saying.

Jack, I agree that is not the #1 problem. I'm just saying that Ruben has a better chance of landing a good player by waving dollar bills than he does by actually studying a player.

The team is only in the playoff hunt because after a month, *every* team (except the Astros) is in the playoff hunt.

You can't honestly say you expect this team to be in the playoff hunt in a month and a half, can you?

Unfortunately, the Phillie organization has an abysmal record in developing talent. The recent magical interlude was made possible by the near-simultaneous arrival of Utley, Howard and Hamels. It usual takes this organization a decade or more to burp forth three such talents.

RK - Don't need to stop there, but those are the guys they should move without question. Other guys don't *need* to be moved because they have years left, and you may as well hold on to them (unless the price is right). Rollins is the perfect example here bc he's under contract thru next year. And there's no reason to trade Hamels.

dwos: i think tti made it clear that he's not responding to your posts, so you can stop repeatedly directing questions to him.

Developing talent to acquire talent is a skill too. The Phillies have been quite good at that since 2006.

This next stretch of games until May 23rd will be really interesting to pay attention to as it relates to the NL East race.

The Braves play 16 in that stretch:

3 @ Cincinnati
4 @ San Francisco
3 @ Arizona
3 vs LA Dodgers
3 vs Minnesota

The Nationals (2 GB) play 15 in that stretch:

2 vs Detroit
3 vs Chicago
3 @ LA Dodgers
4 @ San Diego
3 @ Arizona

The Mets (5 GB) play 16 in this stretch:

2 vs CWS
4 vs Pittsburgh
4 @ St. Louis
3 @ Chicago Cubs
3 vs Cincinnati

The Phillies then (5 GB- maybe their last stand) play 15 as well:

3 @ San Francisco
4 @ Arizona
2 vs Cleveland
3 vs Cincinnati
3 @ Miami

This is a big stretch for the Nationals to make up ground as they probably have a slight edge on paper schedule wise (although don't sleep on the Padres in Petco) among the three teams expected to compete for the division lead at the beginning of the season. The Mets however have the easiest stretch overall among the 4 teams.

I could very easily see the division laid out the same way come May 22nd

An extra note I have on Utley being shopped is that, who knows when he starts falling apart again? Can we actually make a move a little too early instead of being too late for once?

If recent history has told us anything, its that Utley's healthy should always be assumed as a risk.

If I'm Lee I wouldn't have even boarded the plane to make this start. This team has absolute no chance of hitting Bumgarner. None. Everyone should opt for sleep tonight. Don't ruin your tomorrow by watching this s**tshow tonight.

I'm not sure we know yet that Doc is really "done"--I do think that's an overreaction. We only know that pitching through an obvious injury can make even great pitchers look horrible. Wouldn't surprise me if its something that a month on the DL could really help. Which, of course, makes Doc's refusal to own up to the injury--and especially the coaches' inability to get him to own up to it or talk him out of trying to pitch through it--so maddening.

Yeah they should be doing their due diligence on Utley and what he can bring back right now. I'm sure they aren't though.

It simply amazes me that anyone could have watched this team stagger (figuratively and literally) through the first 1/5 of the season and imagine that there is enough talent on the field to win anything.

Joe needs some talking off the bridge. Come back down my friend.

Jsut having a little fun with ya Joe. Don't take it personal.

Why is it ok to pitch when you know you are hurt? That is three games now (two by Halladay and 1 Lannan) where the phils pitcher started the game knowing something was wrong and didn't say anything until they got the snot kicked out of them - giving the team NO chance to win. How about not being so selfish and letting somebody know?!?! When your 5 games out, 3 games matters!!

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