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Monday, February 24, 2014

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I would put Howard in charge of setting up the shift. He has the most experience looking at the setup.

I don't care how bad the Phillies are at grounders. Even a misplayed infield grounder turns into only a double.

Balls over the wall are always a 4-bagger.

The question "Are the Phillies the ideal team for Burnett" is not very relevant.
The more important question is " Given the Phillies team as it now exists , is Burnett a worthwhile addition?"

I think the answer to your question is no, the Phillies are not the ideal team for any pitcher.

The second question ,I hope , has a positive answer.

Jimmy Rollins declining defensive skills? what? did I miss something? the guy still picks it... what a lazy article

Lazy? Rollins has taken a noticeable step back defensively. Still a top-10 defensive shortstop, but doesn't get to everything the way he once did.

If you don't believe the eye test, the advanced metrics say that 2 of his last 3 years have been his worst defensive seasons since 2003.

We could always go with an infield of Asche, Galvis, Hernandez and Ruf on days when Burnett starts. Call it the Iron Pig Shift.

"give me a break" must have watched the 2013 games on Gameday.

Corey- would you agree that the phillies have two top 10 at their positions in the league (Rollins and Utley). Since they are up the middle, they are most important as well. I don't think the phillies infield defense is as bad as you make it sound. This is KLaw hating the phillies (again).

You may be looking at Franco at third anyway.

Anyone else see the 'Angels, Mike Trout discussing six-year, $150M extension' link on the right hand side and immediately think "Wow, they must be getting a home team discount?"

this article leaves out the x factor: ryne sanberg. while we never saw a shift from charlie, i have a feeling, based on what ryne has shown us so far, that it won't be business as usual when it comes to this team. he's a smart cookie and i would assume he would put the shift on if the situation called for it. then again, what do i know? i'm just a fan… unlike a lot of you regular posters who clearly know everything there is to know about managing a pro ball club.

i can't wait to hear the fantastic insults that will be hurled my way after that one. hurl away smart guys.

WP: At this point in his career, it's tough to say. He hasn't earned a ton yet, and if he gets in a car wreck tomorrow and loses a leg, that's the end of his story.

Financial security is a huge deal for the kids who haven't already banked millions.

At the same time, it can be argued that the year before last was Rollins second best year defensively. We all know that defensive metrics are fickle (a case of the measurements being made are quite a small sample size at the professional level) , and so it is best to hold out any judgement until this year plays out.

On the other hand, I'm curious about what effect Bowa will have on the defence (no idea if it will be positive or negative)

'buster, yeah I wasn't accounting for the car wreck/lost leg dynamic. Silly me...

Seriously, though. Trout isn't even arb eligible until next Winter, meaning Anaheim (or whatever they're calling themselves now) could actually go year-to-year with him until 2017. So, if he's going to agree to an extension now, I'm actually surprised that he'd take just a $25MM AAV.

I get the entire "bird in a hand" logic from Trout's perspective, but it feels like he should have more leverage. Though, in a way, you're right in that he could crap the bed for the next couple of years and play himself out of that kind of money. Just doesn't seem especially likely.

"while we never saw a shift from charlie, i have a feeling, based on what ryne has shown us so far, that it won't be business as usual when it comes to this team."

I'd love for that to be true, but I don't recall seeing a noted increase in defensive shifts after Sandberg took over.

I'm with Phillibuster. A ground ball is better than a fly ball in CBP where it can sail over the wall. Or for that matter, fall in for a double. It's not as though our OF defense was stellar last year. JRoll & Utley may have lost a step, but they're still pretty solid.

Rollins shows some wild swings in his UZR through his career so we have to take this stat, when examined in a single year, with a large mountain of salt.

That said, I think a reasonable observer would say that neither Utley nor Rollins is as good defensively today as they were in 2009.

And even with THAT said, each is within the upper third of NL players at his position defensively. In 2009, Rollins was the best defensive SS in the NL. Today he is behind Simmons, Gregorious and maybe Segura or Desmond (and maybe not) or even the kid in Miami. That still makes him top 5 or 6 out of 16.

"I'd love for that to be true, but I don't recall seeing a noted increase in defensive shifts after Sandberg took over."

True, but it's possible Ryne was trying not to rock the boat too much last year b/c he was only "interim" manager. Now that he's got the gig for real, might be more comfortable w/ making bigger changes from UC's method.

Phils worked all morning yesterday fielding balls from infield grass.I think we will see a changed defense.

Would prefer to see situational hitting drills.

To oversimplify things, Burnett is a righty. Presumably, most clubs will stack their starting lineup with lefties. Over-simplistically, this should reduce the exposure on an Asche (or Franco), and put the likes of Utley and Howard into the defensive spotlight. Maybe, just maybe, it will persuade Sandberg to rest Howard if the opposing pitcher is a lefty...

WP: So he can get the quality defensive stylings of Darin Ruf in there?

Ric Romero says....players lose a step defensively as they age.

Not lazy at all to point that out.

Still, overall, our defense should be better this year if for no other reason than we're replacing literally the two worst defenders in baseball at their positions in Michael and Delmon Young with an average defender in Asche and a plus defender in Byrd. Only Asche has any affect on our GB defense but its important to point out that its unlikely that our defense will be as bad as it was in 2013.

"Phils worked all morning yesterday fielding balls from infield grass. I think we will see a changed defense."

You could give every player in their infield 1,000 extra reps per day. It's not going to magically fix Ryan Howard's throwing arm, or transform Utley & Rollins's range to what it was 3 years ago.

WP: Injury is common among baseball players. Injury is not uncommon among the general populace.

Trout definitely has leverage, but I think we can safely state that netting him the longest, most expensive contract in pre-arb history probably counts as "leveraging" his performance.

Not only does it start him earning significantly more (there's no way he makes $25MM in his first or second arb years without a long-term contract) significantly earlier, but it also gives him total financial security for the rest of his life, such that he can choose to play wherever and for however much he wants when his contract runs out.

If you calculate out his projected arb amounts, he's likely clearing something like $45 Million per year in those 2 FA years he might give up here. Granted, that's 2 years of the best baseball player on earth in his prime so...its still market value overall probably.

NEPP: If anybody were going to get paid $37.5MM/year in his first two years of FA, it'd be Trout.

However, nobody's going to get paid $37.5MM/year in his first two years of FA.

If Kerahaw is getting $32 M right now I could easily see Trout getting $37 M in a few more years.

If Trout keeps up at his current level of production and becomes a FA at age 28, he might get 10 years, $350M in today's market. By 2020, which is when his 6-year deal would expire, that number might be more like $450M.

NEPP: Kershaw is getting $32MM in 2016. Unless the CBT increases significantly, and/or the TV market doesn't collapse (as some experts - though not all - seem to think), you will not see a first-year-FA make 20% of the CBT threshold all on his own. Especially since mega-contracts like that are almost universally back-loaded, so as to reduce the "real dollars" financial burden on the team.

Also, front-line starting pitching is generally going to cost you more than front-line position players. The difference in results is simply greater with a pitcher than with a hitter

I'm not saying that Trout won't make ridiculous money if he stays healthy, stays productive, and goes to FA on-time.

I'm saying that I don't think teams are going to give him a deal that starts in the "highest-annual salary ever" range and only goes up from there for his first-year FA deal.

Unless he's willing to go on 1-2-year deals. Then I could see it happening, I guess... But he gives up a ton of security (both from a possible trade perspective and a long-term income perspective) by doing that.

Also, you know he'll start getting QOs.

who needs their cock sucked?

I'm talking AAV, not the first year of the deal. AAV is all that matters.

I always love how Corey rushes in to defend his article if someone insults him or disagrees with him, yet the dozens of posts complaining about the trolls posting inappropriate, potentially offensive (and completely irrelevant) things or a lack of a "jump to newest comments" button are ignored. Sigh.

Anyone know if Trout was a Phils fan growing up in NJ? Obviously he won't be a FA on the open market for many years, if at all, but we can dream of him coming home one day, can't we?

"Obviously he won't be a FA on the open market for many years, if at all, but we can dream of him coming home one day, can't we?"

Actually, in the year 2031, I can easily see Phillies GM Ruben Amaro III signing 39-year old Mike Trout to a 3-year, $57M contract.

Trout was a massive Phillies fan prior to going to LA...I doubt it's a huge deal to him one way or the other now.

Don't want to say who, but Trout is on this board under a pseudonym, and he's constantly grousing about Rube.

I'm not sure where he heard this information, but my father mentioned to me that when Halladay was traded to the Phillies in 2010, Trout called his father as soon as he heard and said "We got Halladay."

Not that this in any way suggests that he has his sights set on Philadelphia when he hits free agency, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

We have not heard the last of Chris Wheeler. Among his other duties, he will be the PA announcer in Clearwater during ST.
Surprised to hear he and Sarge were told that they would not be back on sept. 21, with 9 games left.

"I always love how Corey rushes in to defend his article if someone insults him or disagrees with him, yet the dozens of posts complaining about the trolls posting inappropriate, potentially offensive (and completely irrelevant) things or a lack of a "jump to newest comments" button are ignored. Sigh."

This. Heck, he could be arguing against himself up there under the guise of being an active reader of the comments and it wouldn't surprise me.

Sit Howard and Utley down. Let Hernandez and Ruff play. For that matter sit Rollins and insert Galvis. Or shift Galvis to 3rd and Hernadez to 2nd.

I think the crux of the story is accurate. The Phils don't shift and their infield defense is below average. Still they're a better team with Burnett than without. I don't see how it can be seen differently.

I've only been reading this site for about 6 months and posting for a couple, so my opinions probably carry no weight here. In that short time I've noticed a decrease in intelligent baseball discussions, which is what first drew me to the site, and a large increase in moronic posts - many of which have nothing to do with baseball. That's sad, because when I read the people who've apparently posted here for years they all say how great this site once was. Too bad for me that I just caught the end.

Kashmir:

If you would've been here a six or seven years ago, you would notice a MASSIVE drop-off in intelligent baseball discussion. I still come to read the threads relatively often, and I still post occasionally here-and-there, but this site is a shell of its former self. It's a shame, really. This was the premier place to talk Phillies. Now...

Like Hamels he'd better get used to no run support.

And to be fair, there were always morons and trolls (They Call Me The King of Bop leaps to mind, though to compare his relatively benign inanity to the malevolent simpleton haunting the place now is deeply unfair to TCMtKoB), but they were far more easily drowned out by the many people with multiple functioning brain cells.

Not that I haven't been complaining about the threads (or lack there of), but if everyone who complained about the drop off in discussion and the people who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking up new ways to insult the other regular posters they don't like would instead try to post something interesting, the discussion might get better.

Let me try: I will readily admit that advanced fielding stats are not my forte. Just trying to google ground ball outs doesn't seem to get me any fielding metrics. But, according to the site below, Kyle Kendrick finished 11th in ground ball outs with 245 while AJ Burnett actually finished 22nd with 235. Cole was 32nd with 226 and Lee was 35th with 224. While I agree that our infield has aged and slowed, seems like they are still turning groundballs into outs if they have 3 pitchers in the top 35. Anyone have a good fielding metric on % of groundballs turned into outs by the team to compare the Phillies to the Pirates?

http://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/player-stat/ground-ball-outs

Interesting post jbird

Burnett lead the NL last year with 9.8K/9 as everyone knows. Lee got 9.0K/9 and Hamels (in a down year) was still getting 8.3K/9. Between the K rate and ground ball rate the pitching & defense should save more runs than last year - especially if Kendrick could put together a consistent season from April to September. I'd like to think with better management, inspired and healthy players (OK I'm asking for a lot), and a little luck the Phils can do much better than 73 wins. Staying relatively healthy would be pretty lucky with some of these guys histories, but you never know.

kashmir: i always enjoy your writings. i thought i read, in a discussion of fausto, that he lead the league, at least, in GB percentage. yet he isn't even on that list of GB out leaders.

I don't understand why some teams refuse to use shifts. They pretty obviously work. The Rays and Pirates were the most shift-friendly teams in baseball last year, and were both in the top 5 in defensive efficiency (turning balls in play into outs). The Phillies shifted the least, and were 28th.

Now, the Phillies, with Delmon and Michael Young and others, were never going to be top 5 defensively. But it seems a stretch to think it's just a giant coincidence that teams that shift the most also happen to be among the best at turning balls in play into outs.

Is there an empirical (i.e., not just "that's not how we do things") argument against using more shifts?

good point, jbird. this will be my 3rd season at BL. so i missed the golden age. as predicted, the site decline has mirrored the phillies' own. but i'm not giving up yet. even in it's weakened condition, it is still better than the competition.

i can't imagine any arguement against the shift. and to not employ it, when it is employed against you, is ridiculous.

"Is there an empirical (i.e., not just "that's not how we do things") argument against using more shifts?"

To use shifts intelligently, someone in the front office or scouting dept. would have to actually look up opposing players' batted ball data on Fangraphs. That sounds a little too much like sabermetrics for the Phillies to be interested.

bullit: especially when the shift is effective like 75% of time* against you...

*estimate

Jack shifts on his logic and arguments. Give him a day and he will argue the opposite than turn to some stupid strawman.

Jack shifted on me last night. He gave me a good reaming

It's odd that anyone would attack Jack as flip flopping. He's one of the posters on this board who gives and opinion and sticks to it.

"an" opinion. No edit function.

Hey aksmith- stick to being a d*ck to your grandkid and stay out of big people talk.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies_zone/Phillies-vs-Phillies-as-it-happens.html??dd3


Phillies split squad as it happens. Tough first inning for Biddle.

"Ben Revere singles up the middle.
Carlos Ruiz walks. Revere to second.
Ben Revere steals third. Carlos Ruiz steals second.
Domonic Brown singles to left. Revere scores. Ruiz to third.
Ryan Howard singles to right. Ruiz scores. Brown to third.
Marlon Byrd strikes out looking.
Cody Asche strikes out swinging.
Biddle reaches pitch limit."

"Jimmy Rollins pops out to third base in foul territory."

Mid-season form!

Love seeing the first lineup card post on Facebook today, even if it is for an intra-squad game!

Ruf batting cleanup today, hopefully the start of a "you can't ignore me" ST for him.

"Darin Ruf grounds out to third base."

Season = Over

"especially if Kendrick could put together a consistent season from April to September."

I would love to see this happen, but it's definitely asking a lot. Would've been great to see how his second half last year would have gone had the Phils' medical staff not rushed him back after his concussion.

Anyone notice this, from Salisbury, "Hamels will throw his first bullpen tomorrow (wed). He is doing well, pitching coach McClure said. Scheduling matter."

It was supposed to be today. "Scheduling matter"... uh huh. This is how it starts. Hamels' arm is gone.

"Jimmy Rollins pops out to third base in foul territory."

I can see the headlines now. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's New Pop Up Garden, Generously Sponsored by Jimmy Rollins.

Zolecki: "The Big Piece (aka Ryan Howard) crushed a solo homer to center against LHP Cesar Jimenez."

Season = saved

Unfortunately, that tells us a lot more about Cesar Jimenez than it tells us about Ryan Howard.

Is he the one who kind of looks like Bastardo?

"Is he the one who kind of looks like Bastardo?"

I don't actually remember what he looks like. I just know that, if he makes the opening day bullpen, we're in trouble.

If he doesn't make the opening day bullpen BAP will say we are in trouble.

If we signed last year's all star team to play for the Phillies BAP will say we are in trouble.

He basically likes to say the Phillies are in trouble

I think the Phillies are winning...

Grapefruit Opener lineup tomorrow:

Revere 8, Rollins 6, Utley 4, Howard 3, Byrd 9, Abreu 0, Brown 7, Ruiz 2, Asche 5.

So it's important to get Abreu ahead of Brown so we can see what he's got. But let's bat Asche behind Chooch. I guess they gotta split up the lefties somewhere. Revere Rollins Utley Howard still makes me cringe.

Abreu!

I guess it hadn't really hit me until now that we actually signed Bobby Abreu and are planning on playing him, in real life. It's one of those things that happened in the offseason that you just think may have been a dream or something.

But no, he's really in that lineup, along with 8 other guys who are clearly the starters. So it's not like some split-squad game where he's playing with Frandsen and Reid Brignac.

Seriously, complaining about the lineup in the first grapefruit league game. This place hasn't changed as much as I thought.

Well, if we were looking for lineup innovation from the get go, we are going to be disappointed. Just like if we are looking for shifting/innovation on defense, we are going to be disappointed.

The Phillies organization in general does not reward innovation. I think that is the one constant we can point to since the 1950s. Don't know about before that.

And what that said, Go Phils.

Seriously, I need new glasses. "with that said."

Hey Jack, let's meet up for some sweet meat cigar smoking....I'll meet you at the Holliday Inn near the stadium. I'll be the one wearing the red hat with no "P" on it.

Phillies 2014 win total o/u:

78 games.

Easy money.

Split square games are zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Someone running this site take some pride in your work and figure out how to get rid of the homophobic troll comments. You should really be embarrassed at this point. On what other platform would Comcast let this garbage stand?

(Can't wait til the homophobe-troll-loser uses my name next).

"I always love how Corey rushes in to defend his article if someone insults him or disagrees with him, yet the dozens of posts complaining about the trolls posting inappropriate, potentially offensive (and completely irrelevant) things or a lack of a "jump to newest comments" button are ignored. Sigh."

THIS.

But he says there's nothing he can do about it. Suggested emailing Weitzel.

I think this could be an interesting rule for this year, especially given the players are only now learning how to practice for it. Lots of possibilities for confusion at the plate, and a run here or there can be the ballgame. Short interview with Sandberg.

http://espn.go.com/blog/spring-training/post/_/id/1564/phillies-learning-new-collision-rules

"That right there is cut and dried,” he said. “But with different throws coming in, if the catcher shows the lane and then he [catches the ball and] takes the lane away and blocks the plate, now, for me, they need to be ready to take a hit there. And once again, that’s subjective, in the judgment of the home plate umpire.”

bullit, thx for the kind words. Regarding the shift I heard Howard asked several years ago about the decline in his BA. He said he still considered himself a .300 hitter because of all the hits he loses to the shift. That's some convoluted logic there.

fyi

Tomorrow 1:05 Phillies vs Blue Jays, CSN, MLBN, 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP

Play Ball!

bittel-- OVER!

If everything breaks at the right time, I see this team winning 79-81 games.

How about this fantasy...

Biddle is dominating in LHV, Lee is dominating in MLB, trade Lee at the deadline to an AL contender for top shelf prospects, bring up Biddle, who continues being great, meaning virtually no drop off from Lee. Phillies make the playoffs in 2014, have a young top of rotation starter, and top prospects ready to help in 2015-16. Dynasty.

You do realize that every time somebody make a post complaining about the homophobic troll, they are giving them exactly what they are looking. Just ignore them and they will go away eventually.

that should be "makes a post"

Cyclic, that scenario belongs in fantasy baseball.

I know, Mike. I tried holding out as long as I could.

bittel - I don't know and I took it at 76.5 at LVH sportsbook at worse odds.

I do think this team can go 77-85 or slighly better but not much.

Happ to start for Blue Jays.

Anyone know where to get Production Over Replacement Player (PORP) and RBI/Walk ratio for inter squad games?

Sorry, "Intra-squad"

At 76.5 I luvs me some over. By season's start, the number will be closer to 80-81.

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