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Friday, August 23, 2013

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We have entered Bizarro World tonight with the reincarnation of Adam Eaton Crap returning to CBP playing for Arizona. He's only 24 years old, so he can't be the same dirt bag that played for us. If I was him, I'd legally change my name to Adam Not Eaton.

An unfortunate side effect of winning is they now are down to the #12 pick.

clout - "Key to that win was Sandberg not bunting with a position player, letting Jimmy swing away. I'm pretty sure Charlie would've had him bunting."

Nice piece of analysis.

Fun night at the ballpark, with a walk-off walk, a Tuffy Gosewich sighting and a Ruf HR.

Charlie is at home thinking, "Darn, I knew the team was just about ready to turn the corner and they went and fired me just before."

So it turns out that the Phillies are a second half of the second half team ??

128 games in and Papelbon hs 4 wins, Hamels 5. That's just crazy.

Last year Cliff Lee got his first win on the 4th of July. This year, he hasn't won since July 4th. Also crazy.

Nice win. Enjoyable to watch. But let's not get crazy. This team was not as bad as the losing streak that got Charlie fired and is not as good as their current winning streak. Over time it all evens out. They are what they were from the beginning - a .500 team at best. They will need a serious influx of real talent to be better than that next year.

And why did the Phils send Ruf to LHV to start the season and start DYak in rf? I guess it was RAJ's evil plot to unload Cholly.

I think they sent Ruf to LHV to get practice in teh OF. Regardless, he had a .749 OPS and 7 HR in 350 PA at AAA in 2013.

2013 Gold Glove award will include a SABR defensive index as part of the voting.

Hugh, tru dat, but was Ruf's OPS at LV what it was because he was nervous about playing the OF, or was it low because he was still learning the new level?

Another thought: his monthly MiLB numbers do give an indication that he's a second half player.

Another thought: Two months worth of numbers, whether struggling at the AAA level or playing great at the major-league level, don't mean that much.

LorecorE: Will they include a "because Jake said so" element in the voting as well?

So there's less talent on the team the past few years, but there's enough talent for success, if only they'd perform and stay healthy.

GBrettfan: I'm amazed, & not in a good way, that a Stanford grad cannot seem to figure out why expecting a bunch of old-&-rapidly-getting-older players to performing & stay healthy is entirely illogical.

*perform

Isn't it interesting that Rosenberg used to have a very straight, high 90's fastball and a lousy slider. Now, he has a good slider and a moving fastball that's 3-4 mph slower, and which he still can't command at all.

So far, he's been getting good results. But he really needs to work on his fastball command. Maybe he's getting too much movement with the lower velocity?

I was pretty surprised, too, GTown. I was gullible about it myself last year, but this year has pretty much blown away my illusions. I'd think that RAJ would also have concerns.

I'm also trying to figure out how "less talent" than in the past translates into the same chance for success. Especially when the performances have been down across the board - power, average, baserunning, defense, SP, BP, bench.

Maybe RAJ is placing his faith in the kids. Dom, Ruf, Asche, Revere, and - I don't know, Diekman and Pettibone (who needs surgery, didn't I just read?)

In case anyone is wondering, this is what GTown and I are referring to (from the end of the last thread).

Ruben Amaro: "At the beginning of '12 and the beginning of '13, we've had the talent to have success. But when the talent's not on the field, it's not performing for one reason or another, whether it's by performance or because of injury, that becomes harder." Then he said "Yes, there's been a drop-off in talent. We haven't had 6-7 All-Stars on the field."


"This team was not as bad as the losing streak that got Charlie fired and is not as good as their current winning streak."

Dragon, I posted to that effect the other day.


It's nice to see a few wins, but this is still a team going into next season that has HUGE questions (in no particular order):

1) the GM's judgement of talent
2) Howard - they don't have any idea what he's going to be able to produce
3) 3B - Asche's OK defensively, but .214/.247/.371 ain't gonna cut it anywhere
4) Ruf - looks great so far, but...
5) Catcher - if he's re-signed, is this the real Chooch? If he's not re-signed...
6) CF - Revere had a nice run but can he really be a full-time guy?
7) SS - furtherus declinus from JRollus?
8) The Manager
9) Bullpen - IMHO the biggest issue after r00b
10) Halladay, or any other SP they might bring in

There are others, so feel free to add...

OT: NBC Sports Network is airing the entire slate of '13/'14 Premiere League matches. As such, I decided to pick a club for entirely arbitrary reasons -- Newcastle, primarily because I've been known to enjoy a pint or eight of the ale of the same name -- & follow them throughout the season.

Yeah.

Turns out I'm supporting a side who lack talented players, wear striped jerseys, cannot score & have an utter idiot for a GM. At least there won't be much of a learning curve.

"GBrettfan: I'm amazed, & not in a good way, that a Stanford grad cannot seem to figure out why expecting a bunch of old-&-rapidly-getting-older players to performing & stay healthy is entirely illogical."


GTown, you have to understand, if Amaro admits there's NOT enough talent, then it's an indictment of himself.

Also, it's not "entirely" illogical, it's just filling his basket with and relying on fragile eggs, and unfortunately, some of the eggs got cracked and some got broken.

He took a big risk and it backfired on him.

It seems that RAJ -- whether through perception or reality -- is locked into this same lineup for 2014 (with Asche & Ruf in place of the Youngs). And, while he's obviously right that the bullpen needs to improve dramatically, actually making that happen is a lot easier said than done.

One area, however, where the Phillies really could stand to improve (and where the randomness element is much lower than it is with bullpen pieces) is in their starting rotation. It's basically Lee & Hamels and that's it. KK is a back-ender who isn't worth the $8M he'll get in arbitration. Lannan sucks. Pettibone, as long as he's cheap, is ok as the worst guy in your rotation -- but let's not delude ourselves into thinking he's any better than that. It's a pretty weak group, which could really use one more front-line starter. Unfortunately, the FA pickings are slim. Garza's the best of the bunch & he's a No. 2 starter who's going to be paid like an elite one. After that, the 2 best guys are Kuroda & Colon, who will be 39 and 40, respectively, on opening day 2014.

Did Fidel get to Alfredo before the Phillies did? What the hell happened to that.

"Another thought: Two months worth of numbers, whether struggling at the AAA level or playing great at the major-league level, don't mean that much."


Jack, yes, there have been, many comments here about the sample sizes, that's why I referenced Ruf's minor league numbers (larger samples) which, as I posted, seem to indicate that his best months are later in the summer.

IMO the jury is still out on Ruf, and if I were to guess where his MLB slash line would be for the next 3 seasons - assuming he sticks - I would guess that he'll wind up somewhere areound .255 - .275/.340 - .365/.470 - .500, which would put his low end OPS somewhere around .810.

but that's just a guess, based on the fact that pitchers will adjust more and figure out how to retire him a little more frequently.

Actually, I forgot Ervin Santana. I guess he's the 2nd best pitcher on the FA market, if not the best. But he has been so up-and-down over his career that I'd be pretty leery about throwing big money at him.

bap, the Anibel Sanchez deal is going to be cited by every agent who has a #2 starter to peddle.

So, Garza's and Santana's agents are going to use that as a baseline: 5/80.

That's way more that the Phils are going to be able to pay given the state of the bullpen.

Also, the situation with the Cuban probably has to be resolved before they do anything.

This isn't a .500 team right now. Even after this winning streak, they are on pace to win 73 games. A few days ago it was 69-70 wins. They will have to go on a hell of a push the last 5 weeks to even sniff .500.

Their run differential is the third worst in MLB (-102) and only barely in front of the lowly Fish (-111).

Offense has scored (3.75 R/G). Only Fish and White Sox have been worse. Phils' lowest output since '88 when they scored 3.69 R/G. Even if the Phils had Howard and Revere, it is hard to see this offense even being average.

Bullpen has been a mess this week but they have a ton of guys who arne't MLB-caliber pitchers (Miner/Jimenez/Rosenberg) and a guy who I don't think will be able to ever have consistent enough command in Diekman. That leaves one reliever in De Fratus who might be a an okay middle reliever next year.

Even with Adams & Bastardo back and at least 2 FA signs, I don't think the Phils will have a good bullpen next year. They have exhausted all of the internal options and found almost nothing of MLB value.

Defensively, it is a below average/bad team depending upon what you look at and again it isn't set to really improve next year. Maybe getting rid of M. Young at 3B and D. Young in RF will help but it is hard to see this being an average defense team with the players who will be back next year.

Rotation is the one area next year where this team might be above average that depends on who fills out the last spots, Lee still remaining a frontline starter, and good health.

At best, they have a .500 team next year again that is competitive. At worst, it will be another team with a huge payroll that really underachieves again and wins somewhere in the high 60s/low 70s. Either way I think Amaro gets canned.

To me, Amaro is Omar Minaya and the Phils are going to be condemned to a level of mediocrity even after he is fired.

The one hope I do have is that the current cable/TV market dynamics stay in place so that the Phils really don't have to really shed payroll like the Mets did after the Wilpons/Madoff fiasco.

Speaking of Minaya, he is the Sr. VP of Baseball Operations for the Padres currently. With a track record as crummy as his during his tenure as the Expos and Mets' GM, I'm baffled how he keeps getting recycled. Lived off his great rep as a scout from the 80s/90s like some WSJ bum who currently predicted the '87 crash but has lost his clients money time and time again since then.

Completely off topic but I found this interesting considering that Chooch was suspended for this (and Tejada just got a big suspension for it)...

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9594466/miguel-tejada-adderall-league-leverage

Biggest surprise...roughly 1/10 (116 total players) of MLB players according to this article use Adderall (legally). I would never have thought the number would be so high...I don't want to suspect foul play or doubt someone's condition, but I find it hard to believe that so many players legitimately have ADD...

lefties are notoriously late bloomers. Diekman is a project and not worth giving up on. He revamped his delivery a couple of years ago and has not yet been able to consistently locate. But that is not an arm you give up on until you have to.

Rosenberg, as I said earlier, is fastball command away from being acceptable. His slider is much improved.

DeFratus looks like he has no clue how to get guys out. At one point, he was their best pen prospect, but either he needs better coaching or a brain transplant. I'd guess it's the first one and not so much the second. But he has a way of hanging breaking balls at just the worst time. Which makes him less of an option that he should be.

To me though the single biggest glaring example of Amaro's incompetence is his constant operational screwups and snafus.

He thought he had MAG signed only for that to fall apart. Everyone who follows this team knows how incompetently Amaro has managed this roster on a daily basis and how they have handled injuries & callups.

To me when you have a leader who fails in the most basic operational issues or refuses to bring in someone whose core strength that is, it signals to me you are simply an incompetent leader.

aksmith - Diekman is a sidearmer though so that doesn't necessarily apply. He does seems like his arm angle/release point have been more consistent and that he isn't dropping quite as low as he did. More 3/4 quarters delivery.

I haven't seen enough of Rosenberg to see what his slider looks like one way or the other.

De Fratus has pitched very well since the ASB and doens't have the same indecisive he did earlier this year. Agree that earlier this year when runners got on base he really lost his composure/focus out there. Hasn't been the case of late and he has easily been their best reliever the past month.

Offense and the bullpen are the 2 things I don't see how Amaro is able to fix this offseason.

Even if he trades/signs two relatively moderately/low priced relievers it means that the Phils need Adams and Bastardo to both be healthy & effective along with at least 2 holdover options pitching pretty well for most of next year. Relying upon too many things to break their way especially given the injury rate for pitchers.

MG: In terms of potential and ceiling, there is a yawning chasm between DeFratus and Diekman-Rosenberg. The latter are fringe prospects.

"the Anibel Sanchez deal is going to be cited by every agent who has a #2 starter to peddle."

Fortunately for Detroit, he turned into a legitimate ace this year. Because they're certainly paying him like a legitimate ace.

MG, decent post, and it made me go look up some stats and try to put next year's lineup together, and use the Baseball Musings lineup analyzer to try to "guesstimate" how many runs they might score next year.

To do so, I had to make some assumptions (which is always a point of debate) about "Production™" of the lineup. Also, is assumes that the lineup will be healthy all season - which we all agree is a dangerous assumption to begin with.

The assumptions and OBP/SLG for each player are as follows:

C - Ruiz is re-signed, and puts up his '10-'11 averages .344/.388
1B - Howard - puts up his '10-'13 averages .336/.480
2B - Utley - puts up his '10-'13 averages .362/.448
SS - Rollins puts up a league avg OBP and his '10-'13 SLG .316/.389
3B - Asche/Frandsen platoon using Frandsen's career #s vs RHP 25 percent of the time, .322/.422, and giving Asche a boost in OBP to .300 using his MLB SLG vs. RHP .397 (SSS); averages to .306/.404
OF - Ruf, assuming dropoff to .340/.490
OF - Revere, assuming 2013 numbers .338/.352
OF - Brown, assumes his 2013 numbers .321/.522
P - 2013 positional averages .183/.175

The lineup I put together was:

Revere
Ruiz
Utley
Howard (cuz they'll never hit him anyplace else)
Ruf - Sandberg has sense to split the LHH
Brown
Rollins
3B
P

Using the 1989 - 2002 model that lineup scores 4.433 RPG
Using the 1959 - 2004 model that lineup scores 4.459 RPG


The lineup optimizer organizes them optimally like this:

Ruiz
Ruf
Howard
Utley
Brown
Rollins
Revere
3B
P

That lineup optimally would score 4.512 RPG.

Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 4m
Ruben Amaro Jr. has spent $22.85 million on middle relievers since he became GM. They have yielded a 4.76 ERA. http://bit.ly/13ODMpP

GBrettfan: Man, r00b sure knows how to suck the "fun" out of "fungible".

I guess Sandberg is tired of winning. Bernadina leads off tonight.

GBrett, thanks for further boosting my confidence in r00b!

From that Bob Brookover piece linked by Gelb:

Amaro paid a premium for below-average pitching. The seven pitchers earned $22.85 million, and that is not including the $7 million owed to Mike Adams in 2014. That money could be a sunk cost, too.

Amaro signed Chan Ho Park, Danys Baez, J.C. Romero, Chad Qualls and Chad Durbin to serve as middle relievers. In some instances, they were asked to do more than that. But, for the most part, they failed in any situation.

Jose Contreras delivered consistency for one season, then was re-signed at age 39 for $5.5 million to pitch in 34 games from 2011-12.

* * * *

Question: My memory is telling me that Chan Ho was a miserable starter for us but a pretty reliable reliever. Is my memory faulty?

MG, to finish my thought process (another dangerous proposition), if next year's team CAN score 4.433 RPG, that would be equal to what Atlanta has scored this season (4.42) and would rank second in the NL. the league average so far in 2013 is 4.04 RPG.


The biggest problem with the 2013 bunch is that they've surrendered 4.55 RPG, the WORST in the NL.

If Howard and Utley can stay healthy next season they have the chance to be at least an average offensive team, but if r00b doesn't fix the pitching, it won't matter.

GBrettfan: Without looking up any numbers for Park, that's what I remember as well.

Also from that Brookover piece:

If multiyear contracts for unpredictable veteran relievers are cumbersome and the Phillies cannot develop some reliable late-inning arms, then what is the solution? Thinking outside the box, like moving Ethan Martin from the rotation to the bullpen, is one method. A total reevaluation of the team's scouting methods and developmental strategy is another.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee is known as a gruff mentor. A veteran is equipped to take criticism and implement it. Younger pitchers could benefit from a different approach. Dubee, whose contract expires at the end of this season, is likely headed elsewhere.

* * *
I vote: total reevaluation of scouting and development, and not just as far as the BP goes, but across the board. I wanted to kidnap Cardinals' scouting and development people while I was there, but alas, I did not.

I think Dubee has done a good job here, but if it's time for a change, what about offering the job to Dave Duncan? Thoughts?

If Howard and Utley can stay healthy next season ...

I wouldn't waste a plugged nickel on that bet. This is a sub-4.00 R/G offense, & barring a sudden & miraculous infusion of new talent it will remain so.

Park is the reason the ERA number for those relievers wasn't over 5.00.

I would call r--b's judgement of pitching talent his biggest fail...

...until I think of mini mart.

2009 CH Park as a starter: 7.23 ERA, 33.1 IP

As a reliever: 2.52 ERA, 50.0 IP

GBrett:

As a starter, Park put up a 7.29 ERA in 7 GS in 2009

As a reliever, 2.52 ERA in 38 GP.

But he really only had 2 GREAT months that skew those numbers (SSS and all)...July and August he had ERAs of 0.68 and 1.50. All the other months were over 4.

I think Dubee has done a good job here, but if it's time for a change, what about offering the job to Dave Duncan? Thoughts?

Posted by: GBrettfan | Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 03:14 PM

I'd love Dave Duncan here, but I think the Cards' effectiveness also has a lot to do with their minor league instructors and coaches. Can we have them too?

"A total reevaluation of the team's scouting methods and developmental strategy is another."

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHA! This is the Phillies we're discussing.

It was painful for them to go outside the organization and hire Gillick.

Re-evaluate THEIR blessed, sacrosanct ways?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.

They don't have what it takes.

Chris, good breakdown.

Park was signed and told he would be competing for a starter job but I do think Amaro had every intention of putting him in the bullpen.

awh - Those were some interesting numbers but I don't think a couple of guys will rebound that much including Howard & JRoll. It also assumes they stay healthy.

I guess the point is I don't see how Amaro 'fixes' everything this offseason because there are too many sunk costs and too many deficiencies to fix in one offseason. It is a bad team in all 3 phases of the game right now. Part of that is due to injuries but that is largely an excuse too.

Brookover is probably one of my least favorite columnists in the city.

Thanks for the Park numbers, guys.

Chris, absolutely, we should take the minor league instructors/coaches from the Cards.

P.S. Funny, GTown: "Man, r00b sure know how to suck the 'fun' out of 'fungible'".

Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 7m
Here is @TylerKepner on the Phillies, with Amaro hinting at "more statistical analysis" http://nyti.ms/16Gyc6T


Highlights:
* the headline: "Phillies Become Old And Out Of Date"

* "in a division loaded with young, emerging talent, their future is murky"

* Amaro said “You have to have (...) the understanding that the skill level may not be there all that long.”


* Hope? "We may be looking to fortify some of our information with some more statistical analysis,” Amaro said. “We have to look at the way we do things and try to improve. That’s our job, to try to get better every year. I’m not so stubborn that we can’t try to do things a little bit different, or think that we can’t make better decisions."

* Truth or illusion? "The backbone of the organization, Amaro said, would continue to be scouting and player development."

MG: While I do not have any great love for Brookover, no one is worse than Marcus Hayes.

And I agree w/ you RE: Amaro. He has painted himself into a corner, & rendered this team practically irreparable. I expect a thoroughly depressing offseason.

Not a Dubee fan. In his time here only Kendrick improved under Dubee's tutelage and it took 5 years for those lessons to stick.

Kyle Louse took a million dollars less to play for Duncan and the Cardinals rather than re-sign with the Phillies and Dubee. Any time a professional athlete turns down a million dolars bells and whistles ought to go off about it.

GBrett, this is the killer quote from that Brookover article:

"It masks reality: The Phillies have developed just two quality relievers - Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo - in the last decade."


There is nothing else more damning of the organization's ability to develop young relief pitchers.

Two (2) ... TWO in ten years. That has to be the lowest in MLB - by far.

HTF can they think what they're doing with young RP's is working?

kuvasz, that's misleading. Lohse took a pillow contract from the Cards. IIRC there's no evidence the Phillies offered Lohse a one-year deal.

awh: Oh, yeah, you're right, that IS a killer! Glad you highlighted that one.

But Amaro apparently just told the NY Times that our scouting and player development is the backbone of the organization.

Maybe he just left out the word "broken" to modify "backbone".

Only for the Phillies would turning Ethan Martin into a relief pitcher be an outside-the-box move. Isn't that the obvious move?

GBrett, funny!

New thread, yo!

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