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Thursday, September 26, 2013


Sorry, I can't get excited about Howard coming back in 2014.

Thanks for that clip, J.R. That was a highly entertaining win. I loved that team.

On another note, how about the sendoff for Mariano? Andy Pettite and Mo embracing. Makes me tear up. What a career Mo had!

I meant to type a "highly entertaining LOSS".

Time to give Tyler Cloyd a less-than-ceremonial sendoff.

The Phils currently hold the #9 pick and are guaranteed at least the #14 pick. The only teams left that could knock them out of the top 10 are Padres (3 GB), Giants (2 GB), Mets (1 GB), and Brewers (even). The Padres would have to lose out and the Phils win out for them to finish ahead -- highly unlikely. Same goes for the Giants since the Phils hold the tiebreaker with last year's record. That leaves the Mets and Brewers who, as luck would have it, play each other in their final series, guaranteeing some wins there. So, it's looking highly likely that the Phils will get a protected pick in next year's draft. Yay!?

If the Mets, Rockies and Jays win tomorrow and the Phils lose, the Phils would move up to the seventh pick.

Actually, the Mets do not have to win tomorrow for the Phils to move up to seven. The Mets' winning would put them two games ahead of the Phils with two to play. The Brewers would remain tied with the Phils, but the Phils have the tiebreaker edge.

Still tied for 8th last, are we?

Cheer up ya'll:
at the very worst, we're all just participating in a large scale Beckett-ian sort of absurdist, operatic satire. In the best case scenario... well, it's a lot like the previously mentioned worst case scenario, except that we win the "World" Series every now and then.

I'm not sure if I'm talking about the Phillies or Be(er)leguer itself.

Ryan Howard's talk is cheap. Unless you count the 85 million dollars left on that Rubian nightmare of a contract. Frankly, I think his achilles was terribly mishandled by the medical staff and that has led to a crescendo of problems. But the guy simply needs to shut the F up and get in shape to play.

This team used to excel at playing. Now they excel at talking. Also, I hate seeing them lose. But they truly need to lose out to keep Rube from doing something even more stupid than usual and costing them a first round pick again.

I would like to make 3 off season predictions. 1. Trade for Rays starter David Price. 2. Sign free agent power bat Brian McCann. 3. Add first base coach Larry Bowa. Your thoughts?

One more loss and the Phils lock up a protected pick. The Phils have the tiebreaker edge over the Giants and Brewers, and these two teams are wrapping up the season against the Padres and Mets, respectively. No matter how the rest of these two series play out, with one more loss, the Phils will beat out the Padres and Giants and either the Mets or Brewers to secure the tenth pick. The teams standing between the Phillies and the seventh pick are the Mets (one game ahead of the Phils), the Rockies and the Jays (both tied with the Phils).

The starting pitching was pretty good earlier in the season and the bullpen not so good. Now the starting pitching is weak and the bullpen is throwing collective goose eggs. Go figure. The one constant has been a weak, no, make that an anemic offense. The team has been unwatchable most of the year.

Kevin - Price is not a FA until 2016. The Rays might not be ready to trade him until either the next trade deadline or next offseason. Besides, I don't think the Phils can put together the package to get Price. If the Phils are to become relevant again in 2014, however, they need to add a couple of stars like Price. Don't think it will happen.

I'm on the fence about McCann.

I think that Bowa is an excellent third-base coach. If the Phils bring him back, it should be as the third-base coach.

Anyone who ever advocated for Tyler Cloyd in this rotation last year or earlier this year should be banned from Beerleaguer for life.

Also, I'm not a Yankees fan by any means whatsoever but the scene at Yankee Stadium last night where they had Jeter and Pettite come out and remove him from the game was great.

As a huge baseball fan too it is pretty awesome that I got to see the entire career of the best reliever of all time.

TTI, it was great and everything, but ESPN taking the first 7 minutes of the hour at 6:00 AM (I was in the gym and didn't control the set) just about makes me want to hate the guy.
I'm sure ESPN will do 7 minutes for Todd Helton's last game (Reasonably equivalent in overall in value to Rivera, I'd guess).
Ah heck, I just can't hate Rivera. Good for him -- a great way to exit the home stage.

Edmundo- The issue is ESPN. I have cut myself down to just watching PTI and Monday Night Football on the network. I also watch Fantasy Football Now on Sunday mornings.

It has completely freed my mind from the Worldwide Leader and their ridiculous nonsense. I realize at the gym it is hard to get away from it. When you can avoid it though I recommend Fox Sports Live on FS1. Much better show.

"some have written him"

Is there anyone who hasn't written him off? If the Phillies go into 2014 with no serious, we can still compete for a playoff spot backup plan for Howard at 1st and in the 4 hole, that's managerial malpractice.

While it was typical of the cable sports networks to make the most of their final opportunities to schlob Rivera's already highly polished knob, an equally poignant farewell took place a couple of nights ago in Denver. If you happened to be fortunate enough to catch even 10-15 seconds of Todd Helton's final Home game, you'll know it was quite a scene, as well.

The backup plan at 1B and in the lineup should be Daring Ruf. The problem we have is that he can't be a backup plan and a starting OF at the same time.

I try to watch/support FS1 just because I want them to jump into the Phillies TV deal negotiations and either outbid Comcast, or drive Comcast's winning bid up.

I'll believe Howard is "back" when I see it.

Achilles injuries can be career-killers.

Chris, I remember distinctly that people on this site, albeit they aren't doctors, saying it would take 2 years for him to recover from that injury. Let's hope he gets into seriously good shape and returns to form, despite the idiotic haters on this board. Is it his fault the Phillies signed him to a dumb-ass contract? I suggest everyone who really calls themselves a Phillies fan STFU and root for the guy.

No idea how Howard's left leg will be next spring and more importantly he will hold playing 1B regularly. Doubt the Phils have a good idea either.

Just too bad the Phils don't have a DH option. Howard isn't a $25M player but he still might be a good enough hitter to hit .260-.270 with 25-30 HRs (~2 WAR player)

Cloyd is similar to Savery. Hard-worker who has put up good/very good numbers in the minors but simply doesn't have the stuff to cut it at the MLB level for any kind of sustained period.

The success rate on Achilles surgery is actually fairly low as surgeries go...something around 85-90% recovery. And that assumes normal recovery, not recovery to a high level of physical ability as needed for an elite athlete.

Thus, many of us were quite guarded that Howard would ever recover.

A great example would be Dan Marino...he blew out his achilles in a similar fashion to Ryan Howard. He missed a full year and came back with a permanent limp and a very heavy brace on his leg. He was still a good NFL QB but he was never the same guy as he was before the surgery. That happened when he was 32.

Other guys have had better recoveries than that and other guys have simply never played again. Howard's weight doesnt help...that's simply a ton of stress on his legs.

The key with Marino being effective, of course, was never his mobility anyway so he was able to overcome it due to having once in a generation arm strength and ability.

MG: It is simpler, and more accurate, to just say "Cloyd stinks," and move on to the next arm.

Cloyd has joined my "Cut him, then shoot him in the arm/leg so they can't play again," list. He is with Mayberry.

Mini Mart is on my "Strap them on a boat headed straight for the Bermuda Triangle with a lit fuse burning slowly towards 2 metric tons of dynamite" list.

NEPP - I did sense some genuine anger from Howard though in his recent comments. A manager always risks criticizing his players in public but it seems like Howard is going to be motivated.

As you point out though, even if he is motivated there is a serious question about if he will physically be able to. Tend to doubt at this point he will be much better than this past season.

Howard is a guy who should be a full-time DH and sit occasionally against a tough LHP.

MG I know people will hate it but the NL should have the DH. It already puts NL teams at a distinct disadvantage when trying to sign players such as a Pujols, Hamilton etc as well as limits how certain guys can be utilized as they get older. I'm stating the obvious but it should be changed and probably will soon.

If the Phillies go into 2014 with no ...backup plan for Howard at 1st and in the 4 hole, that's managerial malpractice.<\i>

They went into 2012 with no backup plan for Howard OR Utley. I wouldn't hold my breath.

I expect the backup for Howard will be Mayberry.

TTI - That's a little extreme but yeah. It still annoys me how Mini-Mart struts up to the plate. Moxie that is completely unwarranted.

of course that's a forward slash...

Howard's defense is the one thing that really surprised this year. The numbers didn't exactly show it being much worse than previous years but Howard had almost zero range this year but even starting misplaying balls hit to him and having a real problem extending and scooping balls this season.

Out of curiosity, how many years does that 85-90% success rate encompass? I won't say the procedure has come lightyears from where it was in the '80s, but I'd imagine - from PT practices alone - that it's significant;y better.

Sign a good corner OF and Darin Ruf is your backup plan in 2014 for Ryan Howard.

Perfect solution. At best, Howard is healthy and productive and you have a good platoon/rest partner for him and you do a Cardinals type rotation with FA Corner OF, Ruf and Howard for the 2 spots.

At worst, Ruf has to step in and give you an OPS in the .830-.850 range (based on his MLB track record so far).

Everyone wins.

Did think it was interesting that Salisbury said the other day he thought Sandberg is going to use his bench more and will use Galvis and Ruf (if he is on the bench) to push JRoll and Howard more.

I was really glad to hear this. It was one of my biggest gripes with Cholly as the manager of this team the past few years. He wasn't the right guy from a strategy perspective given the roster and injuries. Didn't help that Amaro gave Cholly some crummy/weak options off the bench though.

MG: I can imagine things were still uncomfortable to him, leading to awkward positioning, which in turn affected the success on the more routine aspects of the game.

It's true, however, that the numbers didn't indicate that dramatic a difference, so it's possible that we're inflating the importance of some anecdotal memories we have on the subject.

Howard can't win. I think he is a darn good, motivated ballplayer and seemingly a great person off the field. I think he is overly-criticized and has been ever since he signed his contract.

Give the guy a break. For once.

Pblunts- I fervently hope Howard is able to come back and be the "Big Piece" again...I just don't have much hope that it will actually happen.

No idea, Phillibuster.

That based on memory...I just regoogled it and found the following "More than 80 out of 100 people who have surgery for an Achilles tendon rupture are able to return to all the activities they did before the injury, including returning to sports"

Another study says 93%.

It still annoys me how Mini-Mart struts up to the plate. Moxie that is completely unwarranted.

It's the pictures. He can pimp-walk to and from the batter's box before and after his strikeout knowing he's got job security as long as RAJ is GM. That poor donkey...

I'm as sad about Howard post injury as I have been about Doc the last 2 years. Its never enjoyable to see guys you love to cheer struggle to make it back from injury.

Same with Utley before this year where he finally figured out how to manage his injury issues.

I doubt any Phillies fan feels differently.

R.Billingsly: I largely agree w/ you RE: Howard. Probably one of the most under-appreciated players in franchise history. The Phillies sure didn't do Ryan any favors by rushing him through a half-assed rehab, & then basically throwing him under the bus when the inevitable period of ineffectiveness followed by another injury happened. My only recurring gripe w/ the guy is his refusal/inability to make necessary adjustments in his plate approach. Taking ABs from the on-deck circle & repeatedly swinging at crap is a recipe for failure no matter how healthy one might be.

>Sign a good corner OF and Darin Ruf is your backup plan in 2014 for Ryan Howard.

I've been advocating this for months, and I wouldn't be shocked if they did just that. However, I can't say I expect it.

Rube isn't big on depth, so I don't think he will go after a corner outfielder unless he sees him as a big upgrade over Ruf, which probably means a major free agent signing. I'm not sure there's the budget for that.

Hm. I'd like some better specifics before I'd think too hard on those stats, unfortunately. Also, one can likely posit that the care (both during and post-surgical) received by multimillionaire athletes might surpass the typical level received by a majority of Achilles-injury patients, further skewing things in Howard's favor.

Of course, that may depend on if you legitimately think the Phillies team doctors (and PT specialists) should be convicted of malpractice.

Corey Hart would be a great option...he'd need off days and so does Howard.

It's way too easy and it makes way too much sense.

Thus, it will NEVER happen.

I think it is clear the backup plan is, and should be, Ruf. Sign even Beltran for what he wants and then Move Ruf into the 4th OF/Back-up 1b role and jettison Mayberry and you have improved this team.

Throw Hernandez/Galvis/Ruf/and a left-handed thumper on the bench and the offense will be better- at least on paper.

Hopefully Martin and Diekman can help shore up the back end of the rotation. I do believe that if they can do that and Adams can get healthy a backend of the bullpen of Papelbon/Adams/Martin/Bastardo/Diekman can be good and- more importantly- you have guys that can miss bats in the bullpen.

"Mini Mart is on my "Strap them on a boat headed straight for the Bermuda Triangle with a lit fuse burning slowly towards 2 metric tons of dynamite" list."

The problem with that idea is that, with a slow-burning fuse, RAJ will have time to send a rescue team. A better idea would be to just throw him directly into the pile of dynamite & then throw in a lit blow torch. The "him," by the way, is a reference to Mini-Mart, not RAJ. Although, come to think of it . . .

I have advocated Hart from the start though and I will continue to do so.

***Also, one can likely posit that the care (both during and post-surgical) received by multimillionaire athletes might surpass the typical level received by a majority of Achilles-injury patients, further skewing things in Howard's favor.***

I agree. But Howard does have some things going against him. He'd probably have a better shot if he was 22 instead of 32 during his recovery period, his weight, his other leg issues, etc etc.

Personally, I don't hold the weight against him...its really freaking hard to keep weight off when you cant use your legs for cardio and Howard's genetically predisposed to be a big guy (ever seen his brother?). He's never shown himself to be lazy before that. If he can physically work out, he'll stay fit. Up till now, he simply hasn't been physically able to do that type of cardio.

Nothing to be done but:

(1) root for Howard; and
(2) be realistic about his chances

That means acquiring a legitimate middle-of-the-order RF and pushing Ruf into a fourth OF and platoonbackup 1B role.

Sign me up for Carlos Beltran on a 2-year deal, as long as he doesn't cost us a pick.

Ryne Sandberg is in the Hall of Fame, & worked his way back through the Minor Leagues in order to have a shot at becoming a big league manager ... & he's still not allowed autonomy in choosing his own freakin' coaching staff.

Given the amount of influence the FO exerts on matters which ought to be decided by the field manager, does anyone honestly believe Howard won't be starting every damn game at 1B, regardless of available platoon options? I predict Ruf will either rot on the bench, or become a throw-in when r00b trades for a SP or (less likely) OF.

Beltran on a 2 year deal would be dangerous. I'm not so much worried about his Age 37 season next year but at Age 38 in 2015, that might just be wasted money.

BAP: In my scenario- Amaro is suckered into being the captain of the boat. You just keep saying production and versatility to hypnotize him and walk him right onto the boat.

Howard vs Halladay

Still hold out some hope that Howard can be productive offensively next year. For all of the griping this year about Howard, offensively he showed some spurts especially after he had that cortisone shot in his knee.

Halladay is likely done. Maybe he does come back and really surprises next year but I don't want the Phils take a $5M+ flyer on that slim chance.


So you're saying it's more likely to be a three year deal?

On Howard vs. Halladay --

It is less common for a position player's career to be ended by an injury than a pitcher. More often it is declining skills and the body breaking down, rather than one major injury.

I expect that if Howard is terrible the next three years, it will be due to general decline, rather than his achilles.

Hart would be a nice fit, but if he's going to take a short-term deal, it will be in Milwaukee. I don't think he's going anywhere unless someone bowls him over with a long-term deal.

Getting FAs to sign in Philly at this point will likely require an overpay...its harder to get guys to go to crappy teams when they have other options.

Eh, Halladay gets "kid gloves" treatment, where Howard's treatment has become much more vitriolic, largely due to the contract he was given.

If Sandberg approaches 1b with a Ruf/Howard platoon even 80% of the time, that could be a huge move.

To be fair, I'd hate that contract even if he was 100% healthy.

And I ripped Halladay mercilessly back when he outright said he was hiding his injury from team doctors and then got destroyed here on BL.

TTI: Great idea. We could tell RAJ that there's an island in the Pacific where they're using cloning to produce players who can play 6 positions and never draw walks.

The Island of Dr. Amaro...

Ramsey: There's no way to do a controlled study & know for sure, but it would probably be some of both. Howard was already in significant decline before his Achilles injury. But he certainly wasn't this slow and defensively limited.

Who plays Amaro in this movie? I'd love to write it- along with my more serious book about the Phillies I would contemplate writing if I could interview people.

NEPP: Not by me, you didn't. I've found several aspects of Halladay's personality to be aggravating. Even so, when a player devolves to a point where even the average fan can tell something is physically wrong, supposed experts in sports medicine probably should have intervened sooner.

TTI: You can interview them until you're blue in the face (fingers?), but they probably won't give you yes-or-no answers.

The Island of Dr. Amaro...

More like "The Cabinet of Dr. Rube 'n' Monty", where Zombie Halladay is summoned forth every 5th day to kill his team's chances of winning.

If not for the oblique injury, Utley likely would have played in 150+ games this year. As it is, he's going to play in about 130 or so (he's currently at 128). He missed 30 full games due to the oblique but I tend to think it kept him fresher in the 2nd half anyway given his historical career splits where he almost always faded down the stretch.

This year:

1st half: .825 OPS
2nd half: .823 OPS

His defense has taken a hit both sabermetrically and to the naked eye but he's still one of the best 2B in the game.

Who saw that coming this year? I dont think even the most optimistic of us saw him being as good as he's been.

Looking at Cot's Contracts, I have a feeling this offseason will look a lot like last offseason, at least on the free-agent front. If they bring back Ruiz and Kendrick, my back-of-the-envelope calculation puts their payroll north of $140M. This year's payroll was around $160M and attendance is likely to continue its downward trend next season. I'd guess we won't spend more than $12-15M (annual salary) next offseason. If RAJ is going to add a big bat, it will have to be via trade.

In other words, what's it going to cost us to trade for Giancarlo Stanton?

I had a post go into the ether - hopefully it doesn't reanimate like Zombie Halladay.

Looking at Cot's Contracts and doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, if the Phils bring back Ruiz and Kendrick and let Doc and Lannan walk, we're looking at a payroll north of $140M before signing anyone new. This year's opening-day payroll was around $160M, and attendance declined. I'd be surprised if ownership lets RAJ spend more than $10-15M/year total this offseason.

In other words, Hart and Beltran are probably pipe dreams, given the number of holes we need to fill. If RAJ wants to make a splash, it will be via trade. I wonder what we'll have to give up for Giancarlo Stanton.

And there it is. :)

NEPP's Five Most Positive Surprises In 2013:

1. Utley being healthy and productive
2. Dom Brown's emergence as a legit corner OF
3. Clifton Phifer Lee...just a joy to watch
4. Darin Ruf's emergence
5. Cody Asche making the MLB roster



GOLDEN SOMBREROS by the truckload

Can't throw the ball to 2B or home plate




***This year's opening-day payroll was around $160M, and attendance declined. I'd be surprised if ownership lets RAJ spend more than $10-15M/year total this offseason.***

Every team gets an additonal $50 million in national tv revenue starting in 2014...thus, there might not be any decline whatsoever...even if attendance is closer to 2 million instead of 3 million this year.

What is a reasonable expectation for a "healthy" Howard in 2014? Does a line of 240/20/80/ - 320 OBP 440 SLG seem reasonable?

CTom: The numbers I worked on had their pre-Ruiz/Kendrick/Lannan AAV salary around $120MM. If arbitration goes really, really heavily against the team, then maybe up to $125-127?

I assumed KK's not getting arb-offered, so if he's retained it'll be something like a 2/$10 deal, for $5MM AAV, then toss in Chooch at another 5-6 maybe? That brings us up to 133-135 range (again, if you're being generous to the arb guys), and assuming JMJ might not be back as well (nor Lannan).

NEPP: Cliff Lee was a surprise?

That video is great. Crazy to see the Phillies had more fans in the stands in the 15th and 16th innings than the Braves are drawing now.

Not a surprise so much (other than his record) but just a pleasant experience every 5th day in a season of crappiness.

Lynsk: Had a friend at that one. In order to clean the upper levels, they sent everybody down to better seats once space below opened up.

Did it during the Wilson Valdez game-winner too.

NEPP: Now there I can agree without equivocation.

"I would like to make 3 off season predictions. 1. Trade for"




Phillies currently have the TENTH pick of the draft.

Why is Cliff Lee pitching again? He's already thrown 214 meaningless innings.

It would just be awesome if Lee grabbed his shoulder in the third inning, winced and left the mound, then refused to speak all winter.

I was figuring KK at about $7M (using Joe Saunders and Hisashi Iwakuma as comps) and Chooch around $8.5M (using Russell Martin as a comp). Did you include guaranteed raises to Howard (from $20M to $25M), Lee (from $20.5M to $23.5M) and Adams (from $5M to $7M)? Those will add another $10M to the actual payroll, though they won't change the luxury-tax number (which uses average AAV over the contract).

Phillibuster: Got it. That makes a lot of sense.

Still sad that the Braves can't draw flies.

Halladay vs Howard

Halladay has definitely gotten treated with kid gloves including when he threw Kratz under the bus (and yes he did) earlier this spring.

He isn't an 'All-Time' Great Philly either. 2 great seasons and 2 mediocre/crummy partial ones disqualify him even if he is a great overall starter.


I'm not surprised by Utley's production when healthy -- he has been very good on a per-game basis over the last several years. The pleasant surprise is that he has missed NO time with his knee condition, which I did NOT expect.

Brown's emergence hasn't been too surprising to me, since I've been pretty positive on him throughout.

Lee's done what I expected, which is be amazing. I'm a little bit wary of the next few years though.

Asche and Ruf have both pleasantly surprised me.

Proof I was (relatively) high on Brown heading into the season:


ZiPS projection for Brown is .335 / .461. I'll take the over.

Disclaimer: Koolaid does not apply to his defense.

Posted by: ramsey | Friday, March 01, 2013 at 10:13 AM

This blows my mind a little. Here are two people's OBP, slugging percentages, OPS for 2013:

Player A: .268/.289/.557

Player B: .338/.352/.680

Mo Rivera asked Joe Girardi if he could play CF before he retires...Girardi is looking to play him there this weekend against the Astros.

Rube is probably looking at putting all our RPs in CF to see if they could handle it.

Will Mo be ascending to Heaven directly from center field, or will He first grant another round or five of blubbery interviews to the assembled press whore ... er, corps?

Not a bad career for a failed SP.

Does a line of 240/20/80/ - 320 OBP 440 SLG seem reasonable?

The only way that Howard has a .200 ISO with 20 HRs is if he has around 400 ABs.

>The only way that Howard has a .200 ISO with 20 HRs is if he has around 400 ABs.

400 ABs seems a reasonable projection, yes? Sitting vs. LHPs and probably missing some time with injury...

> Mini Mart is on my "Strap them on a boat headed straight for the Bermuda
> Triangle with a lit fuse burning slowly towards 2 metric tons of dynamite" list.

He'll survive somehow, move to the northwest and become a lumberjack.

Finally someone got my reference to a middling show

If the Phillies end up with the tenth overall pick, it won't likely be a protected pick. Same as the Mutts in the most recent draft. They need to shoot for a top nine pick for it to remain protected. That means no run support for Clifton today and either poor pitching or run support for the last couple of games. Go on, guys. I have faith in you. You can do it. Save Rube from himself.

aksmith: We already know that it will be protected. The only reason it wasn't for the Mets was because the Pirates hadn't signed their ninth pick the previous year.

This year, it was the Jays who failed to sign their 10th pick, which means they get the 11th next year, but that's outside of protection range.

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