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Friday, September 13, 2013

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Getting old sucks.

It could be worse, NEPP. At least there're some bright spots with the call-ups. While Ruf, Asche, Hernandez, and Galvis are not exactly the cornerstones of a future dynasty, they're fun to watch. Which, when you're out of competition, is what really matters.

Speaking of which, regardless of how the Hernandez-in-CF experiment turns out, haven't Hernandez and Galvis done their darnedest to guarantee a non-tender for Frandsen? As between them, you've got a back-up SS and utility IF who are honest-to-god plus defenders at their natural positions, and seem to have the skills necessary to be at least average defenders at 3B. (Their arms, respectively, are what I suspect is the great unknown as to whether they can be plus there.) With Ruf seemingly guaranteed to be on the roster next year, you don't need a utility IF who's capable of playing 1B. And keeping both of them around is probably going to cost you about what it would to tender Frandsen.

Though as I write all of that, I suppose it's really Hernandez doing his darnedest, but I really want to see what Hernandez and Galvis can do as a double-play combo. And on that note: Why, exactly, can't it be Rollins for a change who's made to play LF? Is it just because he's the veteran member of the core, so he gets to play his natural position despite being defensively inferior to Galvis?

It's really a shame how it all fell apart, because in innings 2-4 there was a real glimmer of hope. I thought his curve was as good as I've seen it since the last time he was Roy Halladay.

But that command is going to keep him from getting hitters out consistently and being a competent starter. I'd like to go back and see how many swings the Padres even took in the 5th. It wasn't many. They just waited him out. Painful to watch. Roy Halladay would strike out 27 guys if they just stood there waiting him out. Whoever this new guy is is lucky to have his command more than one time through the lineup.

A final thought. Is there anyone out there that is still not convinced that Doc suffered some sort of heat stroke in Chicago in 2011?

Iceman:
I remain unconvinced re: Halladay's heat stroke, but that's because I only returned to Phillie phandom after the 2011 incident and am thus not familiar with the particulars.

You're right, though, that Halladay flashed more than a little promise yesterday. Aside from the Venable HR, through innings 1-4 he demonstrated that he still had the stuff to miss bats or get batters to chase. I'm actually bullish at the moment that Halladay can thrive as a junkballer. The big limiter there is command, and given that he's still doing what amount to rehab starts, that it's not there yet is no means to write him off.

What Doc needs is time, to strengthen his arm and iron out his mechanics following a major surgery. Which is why the Phillies should not re-sign him, as the way this ball club is currently constituted, the only deal that'd make sense would a MiLB one that had him down in AAA starting every five days to fix his out-standing issues. Because the secondary stuff is still there, somebody's going to see him as a worthy scrapheap project and give him an MLB deal. Philadelphia should let him go and wish him well in his future endeavors. (But only so long as those endeavors don't involve making a fool out of Phils' hitter.)

"You keep getting knocked down, you keep standing back up."

/cue clubhouse music

I GET KNOCKED DOWN
BUT I GET UP AGAIN
YOURE NEVER GONNA KEEP ME DOWN

I take a whiskey drink,
I take a chocolate drink,
and when I have to pee,
I use the kitchen sink!

I sing the song that reminds me I'm a urinating guy!

I'd forgotten how incredibly annoying F.P. Santangelo is as an announcer. He manages to make Sarge & Wheeler seem tolerable.

One of the biggest and most important decisions this offseason is what role Darin Ruf will play for 2014.

He got the call-up and immediately started raking, with the usual knee-jerkers assuming that his first few weeks of starts was who he was, penciling him in as the next Matt Holliday:

First 105 PAs: .303/.410/.960 with 5 HRs

Unsurprisingly, pitchers have started to approach him differently, and his last month has been a struggle:

Last 126 PAs: .209/.299/.745, 8 HRs

The one constant: he continues to punish mistakes. When he connects, he's hitting it out of the park at an enormous clip. For that reason alone, his spot on this roster is secure. But if Ruf continues to tread water with his line from the last month, that is simply not going to be good enough to justify starting him everyday.

I think if the team wants to pretend to compete, they need to make another signing in the OF- someone that is above replacement level and can start (I'm not looking at you, Roger Bernadina)- and move Ruf to the Mayberry role, where he is likely to get 400-450 PAs anyway when Howard gets hurt. Obviously Mayberry gets DFAed in this scenario, which would be personally devastating.

It's a joy watching Kendrick pitch.

No, wait ... the opposite of that.

Iceman:
I'd be curious to see the BABIP splits for the two time periods you highlight, as by the eye test at least, Ruf's OBP would be a fair bit higher if he'd not lost a half-dozen hits over the past month due to the vagaries of the BABIP Gods.

But if they do opt to pursue another corner OF bat, there're no slam dunks. Oh, Choo would certainly be an excellent addition, but you're going to pay him a pretty penny as his power starts declining and there's a question as to whether his 2012 defense (the last as a full-time corner OF) was an aberration or the harbinger of a below-average future. There're rehab projects like Corey Hart or Grady Sizemore, and are those with question marks like Nelson Cruz, but they're both fraught with risk. You might be able avoid massive FA contracts or the risks of a rehab project if something shakes loose from the international market, like Yoshio Itoi posting or something unforeseen coming in from the Caribbean, but there's no guarantee that anything will even be available.

It'll be a fun off-season, if nothing else.

Normally I'd be upset that was scored a Hit & not an Error, thereby negatively impacting the starting pitcher's ERA.

Not tonight, though, 'cause f*ck Kendrick anyway.

BABIP splits:
First 105 PAs: .400
Last 126 PAs: .250

That's what I figured, Dickie Thong. Ruf's certainly not fairing as well as he was when he was first called up, but unless you think he's a .250 BABIP guy, he's a better hitter than his recent line belies.

Kendrick is terrible

As I was saying.

Frandsen isn't a 1st baseman either

Frandsen is irreplaceable.

We have vBulletin reached the end times with the Nats broadcast talking about "attendance" "buzz, background noise" and fans in the stands, unlike NY, Miami and Philly. Yep DC is one place to talk

Matt Gelb: ‏The Big G lives. RT Andy McCullough: Mike Zagurski is up in the bullpen. Let's get weird, Boston.

How does this sack o' crap still have a job that doesn't involve picking up boxes & putting them down somewhere else?

I remain amazed that the Nats' broadcasting crew are even more vapid and obnoxious than the Phils'. Seriously, is being a navel-gazing twit required to be in the broadcast booth of an NL East squad?

OK, even my extreme disdain for Kendrick can't overcome that call. What the hell does a fielder have to do to be charged w/ an Error anymore? Is it even possible?

Can fielding a ball deflected by the pitcher be considered a routine play, GTown_Dave? As I suspect that's why Utley didn't get the error.

It's not possible anymore to make an error fielding a groundball. However, if a guy picks a ball up and throws it away, he might get an error.

I admire Kendrick's ingenuity: That ball was going foul, damnit, even if he had to force it into foul grounds himself.

Now if he could convert that into pitching, he might end getting tendered.

Poor KK, the least appreciated member of the Core.

Juums- when Bill Baer pointed out that Ruf's insane BABIP was unlikely to continue, people here ripped him. He has been proven right, and now the counterargument is his BABIP is too low?

He has been a bad everyday player for the last month- using both the eye test and any statistic you want to use. I think we might agree on the overall conclusion (bring in another OF) but the idea behind that is that you can't simply look at a moderately low BABIP during what is traditionally the most important period in a hitter's development (the second time through the league) and use that as the reasoning behind rolling him out as a starter next year. It's very flimsy reasoning. He's looked awful at the plate for the most part. I just don't think you can rely on his first 100 PAs to be more illustrative than his last 125 when planning for next year. That's why the next few weeks are very important for him. If he doesn't show any signs of improving, it would be pretty careless to not bring in someone to at least compete with him.

Plus, just viewing it from a GM's perspective, moving Ruf to Mayberry's role is an instant upgrade for your 4th OF. Bringing in a high-upside guy like Corey Hart for the OF potentially gives you nice upgrades at two positions. Keeping Mayberry and Ruf in their current roles basically puts the team back in a holding pattern.

He was safe.

Dammit, Freddy.

Juums: I blame my father, who always insisted, "If you could touch the ball, you should've caught it."

But our young guys make some mistakes on the basepaths, sliding past.

Of course, Hart could flop, and Ruf would be right back to starting. That's a risk you run as a GM. But money has to be spent to improve the team somewhere, and I'd much rather spend it on a guy with potential 30 HR power than another Mike Adams or Jonathan Papelbon. The FA market just isn't that great this year, so you're better off going with a high-risk/high-reward type (an actual one, not a John Lannan type).

Wow. We have a .300 hitter.

juums, the Mets TV announcers are baseball's best.

Ohlendorf wanted to walk Jimmy, but he wasn't willing.

Can't someone just go ahead & tell J-Roll he has set both the team & MLB mark for career Pop Outs so he can retire in peace?

Utley had two fat baseballs there the old Utley would have crushed.

The Cesar Hernandez Fever is running white hot the last few days.

This is a guy that came into tonight with 60ish MLB PA, a .378 BABIP and about a month in CF.

There aren't many tv announcers who manage to annoy simply by the cadence of their voice. But F.P. Santangelo manages to annoy simply by the cadence of his voice.

I like that KK isn't trying o show up Doc tonight.

Iceman:
Baer got ripped because of his obnoxiousness: Had he simply noted that Ruf was doing well but that his BABIP was unsustainable, it wouldn't have produced the maelstrom it did. (Or maybe it would have: I know what agitated me about Baer's article was its obnoxiousness.)

At any rate, I think we're in agreement on Ruf: If he's a .750 OPS guy, his bat doesn't justify his defense and that his value as a starter is directly correlated to how "real" the guy who mashed at the call-up was, when BABIP normalizes. My point on BABIP was only that it does swing the other way, and that you can argue he's been unlucky given the sample sizes involved in his previous 126 PA. As I'm of the opinion that the neighborhood he currently inhabits -- .250/.350/.500 -- is sustainable for him. But as you said, there are ~75 PA left this season, so we shall see if he can do what's necessary to keep producing at that level.

And you're absolutely right that an off-season priority should be another OF bat. My point was only that you're picking your poison with regard to the choices available: All of them present the possibility for real improvement (as opposed to last year, but the trade-offs are also quite real. My heart still holds out hope that Itoi posts, but that would require not only an about-face from the Orix Buffalos, but for the Philadelphia Phillies to be willing to make a run at a Japanese baseball player whose skill-set is not the most appreciated by the front office.

I can't wait for the game wrap thread: "Kendrick Blows Goat, But Let's Talk About Roy Halladay Again"

Garcia can't locate to save his life. How in the living &%$#! did this guy make a living cutting hair? Was it a salon catering to the blind?

What was that???

I know it's a lost season but any true connoisseur of Phillies baseball must surely be appreciating this spirited battle between Luis Garcia and J.C. Ramirez for the title of Worst Reliever in the History of Baseball.

Does that title have some manner of minimum IP requirement, BAP? As Casper the Friendly Out should be the frontrunner if there's not.

This is a game where everything is going wrong.

This game makes me want to drop kick a baby otter.

Regrettably, Garcia could make one miss guys like Toby Borland and Joe Boever.

The Nats announcers are acting like Bryce Harper is putting on an unprecedented display of OF throwing in tonight's game. But Kendrick was safe, Galvis was safe until he overslid the bag, and that call on Ruiz was utter horsesh*t.

Clearly Bryce Harper is a top secret DARPA project, as he's had his throwing arm removed and replaced with a for-reals cannon.

GTown: Presumably (hopefully), he didn't have to throw the scissors at his clients' hair.

GBrettfan: Garcia is so terrible he probably can't even use a Flowbee.

Juums: I'd say the minimum is 4.2 innings. And I don't come by that number randomly. I come by it because that's the number of innings that R.J. Swindle pitched for the Phillies in 2008 and, by my memory, he's the single worst relief pitcher who has ever come through these parts. But Garcia & Ramirez are making a good run at his record.

The second Howardesque swing from Ruf in as many days. Most inauspicious.

BAP:
An IP threshold is probably a good idea, lest it descend into a contest between position players forced to pitch for whatever reason. Of Garcia and Ramirez, I'm rooting for Ramirez to win this most coveted of awards, because you have to admire Garcia's bizarre career trajectory for its Horatio Alger quality.

And as Ramirez was part of the Lee trade, if he wins this most coveted title, RAJ's name will forever live in infamy.

Makes me long for the days of Schwimmer...

The second Howardesque swing from Ruf in as many days. Most inauspicious.

Ruf's no dummy. He sees the kind of contract Howard got, & Howard has the ultimate Howardesque swing.

KK is quickly becoming the 'jobber' (well known variety) on the Phils' starting staff.

Comes in, manages to battle for a couple of innings, and in the end is knocked by the 6th if not a bit sooner.

The best reason not to pay KK ($8-$9M this year) is that he still hasn't put together a complete season as a starting pitcher.

"It would be a good race to see Jimmy walkin' back to the dugout or Papelbon walkin' off the mound, who could go slower." -L.A.

"Just throw Freddy a glove" - JPU (Rollins)

The second Howardesque swing from Ruf in as many days. Most inauspicious.

Ruf's no dummy. He sees the kind of contract Howard got, & Howard has the ultimate Howardesque swing.

Posted by: GTown_Dave
**********
Right, like Ruf flailing is something new. He's been a complete whiff machine since the moment he arrived here. His ABs with RISP have been routinely horrific, and we have Juums and others trying to claim only he looks like Howard when he's flailing.

As for the ridiculous comparison made to Howard, try one that fits better: Ruf is striking out at a rate that matches Howard's all-time worst rate, while failing to be on the same OPS planet as Howard was at Ruf's age. Howard had an OPS over 1.000 for about 1,700 PA between the ages of 25-27; Ruf's .875 over 270 PAs pales (ahem) in comparison.

Go8damit, can't we give Darin Ruf 600 PA's in 2014 before writing (what should be) 6 paragraph tomes about how he's a 4th outfielder? (second) 1st baseman? Whatever?

Here's a guy who "tore the cover off the ball" in 2012 and yet in '13 has be set up like a bowling pin: RF? sure. 1st base? sure. LF? sure.

WE HAVE NO MONEY LEFT FOR GOOD FA SIGNINGS. Whew, now I feel better.

How about a 2014 lineup featuring Ruf in LF - day-in, day-out; Revere in CF; and Domonic Brown in RF? Run that out all season and pray. It's really not a bad outfield in terms of potential.

Again, go8dammit, let players play! We have so much dead money on this team that "who cares" qualifies as an educated fan's outlook.

Iceman: "when Bill Baer pointed out that Ruf's insane BABIP was unlikely to continue, people here ripped him. He has been proven right"

Bill Baer was ripped for stating the obvious, not being wrong.

Those who follow the Phillies on radio are already aware that the broadcast booth at Nationals Park is located somewhere near the top of the Washington Monument. Tonight the Nationals upped the ante by turning out the lights in the Phils broadcast booth in the middle of Franzke's post game wrap.

Franzke: "I guess we're being encouraged to leave. Trust me, the pleasure is all ours."

L.A.: "This place is the worst."

Give Ruf a chance. If the Cardinals had him, he'd become a playoff MVP.

That Galvis play, Lombardozzi pulled Galvis' hand off the bag. I didn't see it until watching postgame, but it's clear by one camera angle that he took his glove hand and moved Galvis' hand off the bag for the out call.

Bittel:
Yes, Darin Ruf strikes out a lot. Entirely too much. But he's 27 and is what he is: A guy with a truckload of power and a 30% K-rate who is probably going to be a three true outcome guy if everything pans out. With him already in his prime, there's just no time to try and fix the swing mechanics to improve coverage of the outer-half of the plate, unless you want to do that while also giving him semi-regular playing time with the MLB club. Has anyone ever denied that he strikes out a lot, or that the strikeouts are aberrant and will go down in time? As I don't believe I have, and if I've given that implication, I apologize. As such was not my intent.

But most of the strikeouts haven't been flailing after the slider low-and-away that make for hilarious (and depressing) highlight reel footage. Which is heartening, as one of the real concerns upon his call-up would be that his pitch recognition skills wouldn't be there and that there'd be at least one of such flailing strikeouts a night. Would you prefer "Frandsenesque" instead of "Howardesque"? As Frandsen takes a lot of the same kinds of hacks, but has the contact skills to make just enough contact to foul it off.

I split time twixt the Nats announcers and LA & SF. Interesting contrast.

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