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Monday, September 16, 2013

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Tip your caps for a first career start

I like all the 2014 lineup posts. It will be interesting to see what the opening day roster looks like.

Call me an optimist, but I don't think it will include anyone worse than Ender Inciarte.

I see the Phillies have put another man intimately familiar with the organization in Heimuller's place. Let's hope that "insider mindset" will help him do the job better than someone from any some other organization.

Cyclic: Just wait. Somehow Bernadina will make the team. Or Martinez. Or both. When the Phillies hit bottom their stock response is to grab a shovel & dig deeper.

Chris Branch ‏@ChrisBranchTNJ 21m
Ryne Sandberg believes a healthy Ryan Howard will be productive. Whether it's realistic or not and why it's crucial http://delonline.us/1ejqntB

* * Here's an excerpt * *

Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg has faith in a successful return for Howard. Asked if he thinks a healthy Howard could still contribute 30 homers in 2014, Sandberg didn’t hesitate.

“Yes I would,” Sandberg said. “I’m very optimistic about where he could be with having injuries behind him and being healthy and having a normal workout in the winter and having a normal spring training. Even this year I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had driven in 90 runs this year with the pace that he was on even though he was banged up a little bit just because he has a knack for doing that, and that was without being healthy.”

"Cliff Lee (13-6, 2.97) is on the hill Monday night. With one out, he'll reach the 200-inning mark for the sixth straight season"

It's hard to articulate just how smart it is for the Phillies to continue to pitch Lee and Hamels. You definitely want to put as much wear and tear on their arms as possible At the bargain rate they are signed for you just can't use them enough.

Who cares if their arm is shot next year? Probably provides the SCAMMIES an excuse as to why they finished so far under .500.

I mean if they had the great Ryan Howard for the full season they would have led the game in runs scored and won 110 games.

That's what they want us to believe and gosh darn those commentators on the Phillies post game shows are going to drum that into our heads.

Ben Reverte is bound for Cooperstown too. Never has there been such a great mix of hitting and fielding talent. Bryce Harper might look like he has a great arm but that's only because poor Big Ben is on the D.L.


ATTENDANCE MLB

Cleveland Indians

2000 3,456,278 1st

2013 1,438,205 29th

#PHILLIES

2012 3,565,718 1st

Future?

"If the season ended today they'd have the 13th pick in the draft...
8) Roger Bernadina, RF"


Working on a better position, though.

Why are the Phils so freaking fixated on RBIs as a criterion of a player's offensive value?

WHO ELSE IS GONNA KNOCK IN 100 RUNS??

I'm not sure Bernadina making the Opening Day 2014 roster would be the end of the world. While the bat is pathetic, he provides plus value on the basepaths and is capable of playing all three outfield positions. (While a below-average CF, he's an above-average to plus corner defender.) Not someone you want to start, but a fine bench piece as a pinch runner or late-inning defensive caddy for guys like Ruf, Brown, or your choice of all-bat/no-glove OFs.

The problem is that we've already got a light-hitting outfielder whose game is built around providing value through defense and baserunning. Whose bat and play in CF have much greater upside than Bernadina. And given that Bernadina's in line Arb2 money, it'd be silly to bring him back. (Actually, I think that's the end of the world: Tendering Bernadina to be a 5th OF/pinch runner.)

I get the distinct impression r00b's vision of the perfect NL player is a guy who can drive in 80-90 runs, & play really bad defense at multiple positions.

Sadly, he has only mastered finding players who meet the second of those criteria.

The Phillies are first in the league in having "versatile" players.

The phrase "Marlin-killer Kyle Kendrick" was just used by the Fish's broadcast crew. Clearly the booth crew has succumb to cabin fever from being trapped on the ship-of-the-damned that is the Marlins' franchise this year.

Hernandez is a total bum. He'll never make it with this club if he keeps being so darn Unproductive™!

"I'm not sure Bernadina making the Opening Day 2014 roster would be the end of the world."

I know the Phillies have a bizarre infatuation with versatility solely for versatility's sake. But, to me, the whole point of trying a halfway decent hitter like Cesar Hernandez in CF is to prevent us from having to carry stiffs like Bernadina & Mayberry, whose sole purpose is that they can play "all 3 OF positions" -- even though neither can hit a lick.

Finally, a Productive™ popup for Jimmy.

When you have a name like "Dyson", & don't play well, obvious nickname possibilities present themselves.

Free AEC is more annoying to read than Jake was at his worst. At least Jake's posts made sense, even if they were (overly) optimistic or without support.

BAP:
Oh, absolutely. But someone made the point a few weeks ago that there're gradations of stiffs in the league: Bernadina, while a stiff, does have recognizable MLB-quality baseball skills that could make him a useful bench piece to an MLB club. (Other than the Phils, of course.)

This is in contrast to, say, stiffs like Michael Martinez or Laynce Nix at the end of his tenure with the club, who did nothing at all of MLB-quality.

Dyson really sucks. (ba-dum-bum)

Listening to Franzke talk about Sandberg's assertion that Bernadina needs to shorten his stride at the exact moment I watched the latter take a giant step forward, swing & miss was a sublime moment.

Exceptional play by Rollins. That throw was perfect.

Such Unproductive™ behavior from Hernandez and Rollins! Don't they know walking doesn't help the team?

No loss of sucktion from Dyson.

Cliff Lee getting run support? Oh yes, a way will yet be found to blow this.

I love the new conventional wisdom forming that Cesar Hernandez should be the starting CF. It's stuff like this that will always keep BL going strong.

Iceman:
There's a conventional wisdom forming re: Hernandez as the starting CF? I know there're some folks who are attracted to his possessing an iota of gap power, but is that really enough to constitute a "conventional wisdom"? I know I've mused about it, but it's always been under the corollary of "if he can be a competent defender", which there's not nearly enough data to support.

I take BAP's comments to be about Hernandez's potential as the backup CF. Which is a much different issue, isn't it? And the allure of not having to carry a traditional 4th OF -- which opens up a bench spot for Ruf, as you've advocated -- has a certain allure to it.

...and it only now occurs to me that I just stated the allure of something has a certain allure to it.

Obvious statements are obvious. Carry on.

The man can flat out hit.

Respect to Dom. He leveled that guy w/ no hesitation.

Cliff Lee? Also driving in runs. … Production™

I think Dom lived out his fantasies of going to Eagles' training camp when he came home, as he never even attempted to touch the plate. He just lowered his shoulder and plowed into Mathis, with actually making contact with the bag only occurring to him after he bowled through the catch.

Lucky for Ruf and Rollins that Utley & Lee drove them home, thereby bailing them out for their blunderous, unproductive walks.

Giancarlo Stanton's a really considerate guy, what with his coming into Philly and striking out a lot to discourage the front office from doing anything too terribly stupid.

Utley has 4 RBI tonight. Last time that happened was 361 days ago.

That ball looked like it was going to be a heck of a lot more off of Dom's bat than it ended up being. At least he squared one up, which was an improvement over the previous two PAs.

I find it amusing that the Marlins' TV crew just spent a couple of minutes talking about the necessity of plowing TV deal money back into player development, not just in pursuit of international FAs, but also into quality minor league instructors and coaches. The commentary itself is fairly obvious stuff if you're plugged into baseball, but I'm shocked that a TV crew actually brought it up matter-of-factly.

I thank MLB.tv for giving me not only the ability to watch the Phils while living in southwestern Kansas, but be able to do it without having to suffer through the Phils' TV broadcast crew.

Seriously, why the hell are Ruf/Asche batting 6th/7th?

Shouldn't we be trying to get them more PAs?

Wow KS. Spent some time there in SE. Do they say it's time to "get out of Dodge" like they did back east.

For a guy with a hole in his swing on the outer-half of the plate, that was a rather nice piece of batwork by Darin Ruf. I suspect he couldn't do it again if he tried, but if he can...well, that's one more step towards his sticking as everyday MLBer.

Meyer:
Dodge City's official advertising has an old cowboy pointing at the viewer, with "GET OUT OF INTO DODGE!". The town's a kitschy tourist trap, though, so it's advisable to get out of it rather than into it.

Lee isn't taking any chances this time around...he's gonna make sure he has the run support he needs.

Lee ought to lay right field when he's not pitching. It worked for Ruth.

PLAY

Lee is probably one of the best all around athletes on the team.

If not the best.

Of course, Kuvasz! And with Lee in RF, we can finally slide Ruf over to SS, where he'll somehow manage to be better the worst SS in the league despite having never played the position.

Its so weird to have a leadoff hitter who can actually hit and get on base and stuff.

Pizza pizza!

Li'l Cesar is certainly doing his darnedest to make tendering Kevin Frandsen a tough decision for the front office. Which is great, because it's always invigorating when farmhands play well enough to upset what were assumed to be autopilot decisions.

I'd rather have a 24 year old Cesar on the roster next year than a 32 year old Frandsen.

Is there not room on the bench for both though?

I mean, this is a team that has wasted bench spots on Laynce Nix, Michael Martinez, etc in recent years.

Dom really has to anticipate those kick outs going forward...

NEPP:
The problem -- to the extent that it is one -- with Hernandez as the utility IF is that he can only play 2B at the present. If you intend to make him the non-backup-SS utility IF, you have to make teaching him 3B a priority this off-season. Can't quite be a "utility" IF if you only play one IF position.

To me, Cesar is playing for Mayberry's spot, not Frandsen's. Frandsen needs to stay because you need a backup 3rd baseman. But, between Frandsen & Cesar, you've covered your backup centerfielder and your RH bench bat who kills LHP. Hence, Mayberry gets non-tendered -- to the great chagrin of awh and cut_fastball.

Imagine the future when Rollins, Utley, Howard and Ruiz anchor the strongest bench of the 2015 WS.

Clifton Phifer is in the midst of another one of his runs of absolute dominance lately. Here's his last 6 starts including tonight:

42 IP, 47 SO, 5 BB, 2.14 ERA, 0.976 WHIP, 10.1 SO/9, 1.1 BB/9, 9.4 SO/BB

***The problem -- to the extent that it is one -- with Hernandez as the utility IF is that he can only play 2B at the present. If you intend to make him the non-backup-SS utility IF, you have to make teaching him 3B a priority this off-season. Can't quite be a "utility" IF if you only play one IF position.***

He doesn't have the arm for SS or 3B.

CF is a possibility and probably why they've been trying him there. They could justify a bench spot for a guy that could spot start at 2B and CF and be the speedy option off the bench.

The problem with discussions about the 2014 bench is that there're so many confounding variables that, without making a couple of stipulations, it's impossible to discuss it.

The key question is whether the Phils acquire a frontline, everyday corner OF this off-season. If they do, both Frandsen and Mayberry are likely gone, because the RHB bench bat/4th OF becomes Ruf while Frandsen's displaced as the utility IF by Hernandez (and/or Galvis, if they teach him to play 3B as well). If they don't get a starting corner OF and intend to run an outfield of Brown/Revere/Ruf, Frandsen or Mayberry will likely be tendered as the RHB bench bat. I further suspect it'll be Mayberry over Frandsen, as the team is likely going to want a traditional 4th OF to be Ruf's defensive caddy.

Ruf is a scatter gun hitter.

Figures Ruf would homer on the day I forgot to move him into my fantasy league starting lineup.

bap, no chagrin here, except that a guy like Mayberry might be able to get you a fringe prospect in return, so why not at least trade his rights (or whatever the CBA allows) to get at least something for him.

NEPP:
I know Hernandez's arm is the weak point for him being a 3B, but Frandsen's not exactly setting the world on fire with his career -9.1 UZR/150 there. If Hernandez has the range to cut-off balls and keep them in the infield, even if the arm won't play there as an everyday option, I suspect he could improve upon Frandsen's benchmark.

Assuming, of course, that everything else is there to play 3B other than the arm. But if's it not -- or we're talking about the rag-arm equivalent of Ben Revere in CF -- that would change things.

"Imagine the future when Rollins, Utley, Howard and Ruiz anchor the MOST EXPENSIVE bench of the 2015 WS."
.
.
There, fixed it.

Jjuums Ruf is too tall for shortstop; he goes to third base.

If I'm reading things right, Cesar basically has to make the team next year as he's out of minor league options. He was added to the 40 man roster in Nov 2010 to protect him for that year's Rule 5 draft. He spent 2011, 2012 and 2013 in the minors burning all 3 of his options years (20 days in the minors equals an option year once you're on the 40 man regardless of being called up or not)...thus, he either makes the roster or they lose him next Spring when they try to send him down.

That said, I bet he makes the 25 man in 2014.

Juums, the good news is that there will be little needs for a 3B backup next year, because Asche is young and not injury-prone. After all, it's conventional wisdom among many here that it's only the aging stars that are the injury risk, so they really only need to plan for guys like Howard, Utley, Rollins and Chooch spending time on the DL. Young guys like Asche, Ruf, Brown and Revere are not injury risks and never get hurt...

oh, wait...

"Mayberry might be able to get you a fringe prospect in return"

100% disagree.

Lee is sitting at 199 SOs on the season now. 1 more to go for his 3rd straight 200 SO season.

Mayberry might be able to get an MLB contract from someone if he's non-tendered this winter.

Most likely, he'd be offered a split contract or an ST invite.

I could easily see this being one of those games where Sandberg brings in the dregs of our bullpen (i.e., Minor, Garcia, Savery, Ramirez) in the 8th inning, and they proceed to implode so badly that Papelbon needs to be summoned in the 9th.

NEPP, I can see a 2014 bench of

OF, Hernandez, Galvis, Frandsen, OF

Two switch hitters ass Versatility™ so those guys are a lock. Also, if Cesar can play CF that give the manager more flexibility, along with Galvis being able to play the corners.

The question in my mind is who are the OF backups going to be?

Delmon Young will be a FA...he can play either corner OF spot.

awh: Speaking in general terms, who do you think is a greater injury risk: a 35-year old player or a 25-year old player?

OOps, meant to type

"OF, Hernandez, Galvis, Frandsen, C"

Lorecore, Mayberry was, at one time, BEFORE he had any MLB experience, traded for a fringe prospect, no?

BAP:
More than likely. I mean, the team's come out and done most things right, from working counts to getting hits with men on base to avoiding defensive mistakes. So it's the bullpen's job to come out and do something terrible, just so we don't get too used to this whole "success" thing.

I wouldn't be shocked if they went with Kratz or Rupp as the backup C...assuming they bring Ruiz back.

Clifton Lee should be the starting RF on his off days.

Cliff must be having fun tonight!

Lee providing his won run support tonight.

won = own

bernie limped backed to the dugout after scoring.

Awh:
For the OF spot, I expect it would go to the best LHB pure hitter they could find on the open market. I always envision it'll be Jason Kubel, as he's probably going to be the most likely bounceback candidate who's still going to be cheap.

As for the backup C...I think it all depends upon what they intend to do with Chooch. If they intend to run him out there 120-30 games, then it'll probably be as NEPP guesses, with Kratz or Rupp as the backup. If they go more of a battery, with Ruiz limited to 100 games and the backup getting the rest, I suspect it'd make more sense to go looking for a second-division starter-sort. (From a cursory look at FA catchers, someone in the statistical and salary ballpark of Geovany Soto.)

Saltalamacchia is the guy I'd like to see them grab.

Other than having to spell his damn name that is.

Switch hitter, solid defensively and only 29 next year.

Prediction: They will not keep all 3 of Galvis, Hernandez, Frandsen. Don't need to. Ruf can play 1B and Galvis can play 3B, so your backup corners are covered. They DO need a couple of backup OF, however, because one of the backup INF could wind up playing quite a lot considering the age of the INF.

Frandsen, like Mayberry, cannot hit RHP. Mayberry has more power and can run. Frandsen's advantage is he can play more positions. I'm not convinced they keep Frandsen.

Frandsen seems like the obvious guy gone...especially given his age.

Problem with Saltalamacchia...he's gonna have options including staying in Boston. It's unlikely he'd want to come to Philly unless they massively overpay.

NEPP: Salty won't settle for being less than a starting catcher, so I assume you see the Phils moving on from Ruiz?

Galvis and Cesar complete the utility INF. The perk of Cesar is that he can play CF so you can target bench OFs who are heavily valued on their bat instead of "versatility". And its extremely easy to find bat first corner OF that can also play 1B

I'd rather go with a 29 year old Salty over a 35 year old Chooch if I have to give either of them a multi-year deal.

Right. I forgot that we have Galvis, who can also play 3rd.

Totally move on from chooch if we could get salty.

BTW, that was 200 SO on the year for Lee.

Juums: You think Kubel will sign with a team that plans to make him a backup?

clout, good analysis. The funny thing is we're all assuming Galvis, Hernandez and Frandsen are on the team in ST.

who knows what moves will be made in the offseason? Galvis might be part of a package they move for a mid-tier SP, to a team that either needs a SS or a backup (young and inexpensive, too) who can play SS?

Kubel will be 32 next year and coming off a year where he was atrociously bad.

Of course he'll sign in Philly...especially when Rube offers him a 2 year deal.

Didn't Galvis play 3B last year? A bench of Galvis, Hernandez, Frandsen, RFD, Kratz gives you 3 guys who can play OF, and 3 guys who can play IF, plus RFD at 1B. Not the worst bench in the world, no Mini, no Roger, no Nix, no Casper, no Mac.

NEPP:
Yeah, as the second-best catching FA behind somebody who's going to get a massive contract, Salty's in a pretty good position to punch his own ticket. I expect you're looking at at least 3/$24MM to get him, which will probably be blown through if Boston and another club want to retain his services.

A second problem is the one that came up in the discussion of Cody Ross last year: How much of his offense is an artifact of the weird dimensions of Fenway? As he's got an .835 OPS at home versus a .732 OPS on the road. And at home, his platoon split is frightening: .938 OPS versus RHP and .560 versus LHP. Given the totally screwy nature of Fenway's RF, I daresay that a big chunk of his offensive production owes to the quirkiness of his home ballpark.

Lee's previous season high for SOs was 11...the last time he had 14 SO in one game was May 6, 2011 when he struck out 16 against Atlanta.

"gimpy" brown is looking pretty good.

I suspect Salty will stay in Boston...they like him, he likes playing there and they easily have the money to sign him.

They do have Lavarnway internally though so they dont NEED to resign him.

NEPP: Kubel had back and quad injuries this season. Could be a factor. He had more than 500 PAs in 4 of the previous 5 years. He'll get a major league deal, although likely for just one year, and he'll sign with a team that plans to start him. He hit 30 HRs in 2012.

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