Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Check Your Head: Jason Weitzel of BeerLeaguer

Corey and I are looking for some inventive and interesting ways to waste time this offseason in between speculation of trades, free agents, and the Rule V draft. Therefore, I brewed up the idea of doing some interviews this offseason. First on the docket is writer of Phillies super-blog BeerLeaguer, Jason Weitzel, as he was kind enough to do an interview with yours truly...

1. Statistics aside, who is your favorite Phillies non-superstar of the past?
Dave Hollins, without hesitation. My favorite Phil from the ’93 team. Named to the All-Star team and did a lot of things right besides brute force, like base-running and drawing walks. Great intensity. An understated, tough intimidator. Stone hands at third, but certainly one of the key components of the pennant winning team. Greg Gross was another childhood favorite.

2. Why in the hell are you a Phillies fan anyway?
Geography. Grew up on the mean streets of Reading for six years, then moved east to Kutztown through high school. Reading is a Phillies town second only to Philadelphia, but in eastern Berks, you're a stone's throw from Yankees territory. If I grew up just 15 minutes east, our antenna would have picked up channel 11 and I would have latched on to the Yankees during the 80's. Admittedly, I probably followed the Yanks as closely for one or two seasons at a time when the Phils gave fans Phil Bradley and such.

3. Since you are the BeerLeaguer administrator, what beers fit the occasions of a) horrific Phillies loss, b) losing streak, c) Blowout victory, and d) playoffs?
I'm more of a wine drinker, so I'll give you a few options. Jacob's Creek is a nice, full-bodied Shiraz to drown out the horrific losses quickly and it is always on special at State stores. For losing streaks, stock your fridge with a case of Lionshead pilsner, because it's a cheap, decent beer and made locally in Scranton. It's not good enough to truly enjoy, just like the dog days of a losing streak. It's the Jason Michaels of beer. Just OK and affordable. Let's do winning streaks - How about Straub? It's very flavorful, made with fresh ingredients, local and won't knock you on your can, so you can keep drinking during the win streak and pay attention/blog at the same time. Makes you pay attention. Taste is too good to ignore. For a blowout victory, it would need to be something cheap and plentiful - my favorite light beer is Bud Light (most people, in my experience, prefer Miller Light). Playoffs - I'd have to go with Dogfish Head, the best beer served at Citizens Bank Park.

4. Discuss the evolution of BeerLeaguer and your desire to conquer the Internet.
I don't know where the readers came from, but they found it and stayed. You have to put in the work, but longevity and a good clientele is a key. Another key is to write in a journalistic way. It gains trust. I'll let my personality shine through selectively. I'm playing straight man to the comedians in the comments thread, basically. Oh, and those comedians know their stuff. That doesn’t hurt, either.

5. What is your honest opinion of our Special Olympics manager, Uncle R-Tard?
A super nice R-Tard whose passion for baseball clearly rubs off on the team. Sometimes I get a feeling he has pretty good baseball instincts, but a gut reaction alone isn't good enough, as we saw in the NLDS. He's 2/3 of the way there. He keeps his players lose and keeps the focus on the field. That's one part. The other part is baseball street smarts – which he has when it comes to hitting. I watch him behind the cage in batting practice and I know he has the pulse of his hitters. The results would back it up. Offensively, the Phils are hard to beat. The downside is he lacks technical execution and understanding of his opponent, and he isn't the best handler of pitchers.

6. What is your favorite aspect of baseball- pitching, offense, or defense?
I'm becoming more and more drawn to relief pitching, how it works, where good relievers come from and who makes the ideal reliever. The Myers to the pen debate was a top attraction on Beerleaguer. We're seeing an evolution in middle relief. It's not good enough to hand the ball to the Clay Condreys of the world and expect success. Baseball's new middle relievers are often top prospects with pretty good stuff, or guys who could just as easily be starters.

7. Describe your overall impression/opinion of the Phillies fanbase.
The level of mistrust toward Phillies ownership is what stands out most. It's practically universal. Out at the park, you find a mixed bag: Drunk meat heads, families who treat games like a day at the beach, old codgers, etc. But all of them -- to a man -- has no love loss for this ownership. The greatest trend is a growing love for the players. They love this group. And they love the park.

8. Give Patty G a rating on a 1-10 scale (11 being the highest) of the job you think he's done thus far.
Probably a 4. His offseason was a worse mess than 2006, between Lieber, Eaton, Garcia and neglecting the bullpen the way he did. I'd give him points for Rowand, Moyer, Iguchi, Dobbs, Utley's contract, but how much praise should we really give him for someone like Iguchi? Kenny Williams threw him a bone there. Romero was a move born out of a desperation he created. He's been a below average GM for two seasons. Not useless, not failing, but in danger of it.

9. What are your other favorite Phillies related sites to frequent?
The standards - all linked on Beerleaguer. Philly.com is the first place I check for news, then go from there. *Of course WSBGM's is good for a laugh and an interesting perspective, plus Carson & Corey are comical baseball geniuses.

*=Not actually part of Weitzel's answer, but implied.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Mike Lowell Update

from Yahoo! sports:

About 15 minutes after the final out, a huge horde of red-clad Boston fans behind the third base dugout chanted "MVP! MVP!" for Lowell and "Re-sign Lowell! Re-sign Lowell!"

"Free agency to me is very new, so I'm going to take it step by step. But I've never hid the fact that I enjoy playing here in Boston," Lowell said. "I have great teammates, a great manager, great coaches, so we'll see what happens."
File this under "Obvious," but Mike Lowell is going to be verrrry hard to get this off-season.

It would have been hard enough to get him if the BoSox would have been knocked out in the first round or two, but now that they won the World Series, and he played so well, he might be untouchable.

I see three major candidates for Lowell's services next year, and here is how it breaks down.

1) Red Sox - He was a clutch performer for a World Series winner. They are going to want him back and they have the money to pay him above market value. And it's not like he's miserable in Boston (see above quote.) Like Toby in "Michael Scott's Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Pro-Am Race for the Cure," the BoSox are way out in front in the race for Mike Lowell.

2) Yankees - Now that A-Rod has opted out of his contract and at this moment it looks like the Yanks won't re-sign him, they could throw tons of cash at Mike Lowell. Lowell could be the next Johnny Damon, going from Red Sox playoff hero to overpaid, underproducing Yankee. However, given the state of the Yankees and the way they treated their last third baseman, I would be surprised if he makes a "money-grab" deal to play there.

3) Phillies - Lowell would have to (likely) take less money to come to a different team that ISN'T the World Series Champions and has a pitching staff that likely will keep it that way. I honestly can't find a single reason for Lowell to leave Boston for Philadelphia. And until something changes, I won't even consider Lowell a possibility.


Burning Money


Friday, October 26, 2007

Romero To Walk...

...WSBGM's To Not Care.

That's not to say I don't want Romero on the '08 Phils, I just don't want him signed to a large, long-term deal.

Here are some key quotes from the Philadelphia Inquirer article about Romero's impending free agency.

"We have had some discussions," said Dan Lozano, Romero's agent from the Beverly Hills Sports Council. "But I'm not too optimistic at this point. I'm waiting to hear back from the Phillies."

Last season, relief pitchers such as righthander Justin Speier (four years, $18 million) and lefthander Jamie Walker (three years, $12 million) received considerable contracts. Those could be good indicators when thinking about what Romero could be seeking.

$4 to 4.5 million per year. 3-4 year deals. I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about it.

Romero had a great season with the Phils last year. He posted a 1.24 ERA in 51 appearances for a bullpen desperate for a live arm. Not since Ryan Madson in '04 have the Phils had such a good bullpen surprise. And given the continued need for bullpen arms, most Phillies fans are biting their nails, pacing the floor and popping Tums, concerned Romero may walk, as if the fate of the bullpen depends on him.

I'm just saying, "simmer down now." Sure Romero had a great 2.5 months, but does his body of work justify a long deal?

He'll turn 32 next season and has 6 full seasons in the majors, and here is what we KNOW about Romero.
1. His year to year performance varies tremendously. ERA's of 1.89, 1.92, 3.50 are mixed in with 6.70, 5.00.
2. He walks a lot of batters. Even with the Phils, his K:BB ratio was 31:25. He walked more than he K'd while with Boston.

Other factors to consider.
1) His '07 performance with the Phils was sooooo out of character for Romero. His WHIP of 1.101 was unbelievable, especially compared to prior WHIPS: 1.40, 1.75. 1.56. I get extra nervous when teams sign relievers to big deals based on a single outlying statistical year. I think of '02 Chris Hammond, '01 Steve Karsay, '99 Rich Garces, '05 Kyle Farnsworth...
2) He changed leagues. Few NL batters had seen Romero before, to his advantage. Many pitchers have initial success when changing leagues for this reason, only to have the league "catch up" and the player returns to their expected level of success.

All this being said, it is very early in the negotiation process. Like bob d said in the comments last night, "Each team has exclusive negotiations with their own free agents for 2 weeks after the World Series. the negotiations with Romero are just starting, so his agent maybe just playing his hand with the media to get more $$$." We can't read too much into the talk and dollar figures thrown around at this time. Until the deal is done, we just have to think like siralden and have unsubstantiated, unrealistic, blind-faith optimism that Pat Gillick will do what is right for this bullpen.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Charlie Hayes

As the Red Sox and Rockies battle it out for the 2007 MLB Championship, I decided to go back and look at the first Rockies team in 1993. And who do I see logging 157 games at third base? None other than Charlie Hayes.

Although no relation to Von, Charlie Hayes was a fourth round pick by the Giants in 1983. He made it over to the Phils in 1989 with Dennis Cook and Terry Mulholland for Steve Beard-rosian.

He was here 3 years before being traded to the Bronx. He ended up in Colorado after the expansion draft. He had repeat stints with the Phils ('95) and Yanks ('96-'97) and also played for Houston, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh (Phucco!).

He finished 16th in MVP voting with the Phils in '95 (.276-11-85 got you top 20 in the MVP, my how times have changed...) but his best statistical year was in '93, hitting in the thin air of the Rockie Mountains. [Hayes wasn't alone in Colorado. There were at least 5 former Phillies on that original Rockies team. I'll look at that more in future Fridays.]

A career .262 hitter, Hayes provided a steady bat and steady glove. He wasn't spectacular and couldn't do much for a bad team, but the '08 Phils could use a guy like Hayes.


Thirsty Thursday: Little Dust on the Bottle

Yuengling- Jamie Moyer:
America's oldest brewery, MLB's oldest pitcher...natural fit. Yuengling hails from Pottsville, PA and Moyer grew up in Sellersville, PA. Yuengling is referred to by some as "Nectar of the Gods" and "Vitamin Y", as Jamie is lovingly called "Grand Pappy Moyer" or "Dude Old Enough to be my Dad". Yuengling can taste good some days if it's hot outside and it's served in an ice-cold bottle, but other times its flavor leaves much to be desired. Moyer pitches well some days when his old muscles are greased up with BenGay, but other outings his era eclipses his age...soon to be 45. Jamie is back again next season at $5.5 million, this is due to an escalating clause in his contract for innings pitched. I won't say that's a bargain, but it's not a ripoff either. He has won 19 games for the Phils in 41 starts, and last season he compiled an era of 5.01, which isn't very good, but not as bad as Gavin Eaton at least. My guess is 2008 will be Grand Pappy's curtain call after 21 seasons and 230 wins in the majors. Hopefully the Phils can send him out a champion and toast him with a bottle of Yuengling.

Celebratory Thirsty Thursday today, as both GM's are now proud dads.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Simply Awesome

Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were simply awesome for the Phils in '07. Our miserable 3 game sweep at the hands of the Rockies would have never had a chance to happen if it weren't for these two willing the team on to victory.

Jimmy Rollins- .296 batting average, 162 games played, record setting 716 at bats, 139 runs, 212 hits, 38 doubles, 20 triples, 30 homeruns, 94 rbi, 41 stolen bases, and a .875 OPS.

Chase Utley- .332 batting average, 104 runs, 48 doubles, 5 triples, 22 homeruns, 103 rbi, and a .976 OPS.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We Need Pitching...Well Duh!

Every Phillies blog I read says the Phils need pitching (including this blog)...well duh!!! There is much debate on what pitching we should go after- old hats like Curt Schilling and Mariano Rivera, reclamation projects like Kerry Wood or Mark Prior, guys looking to bounce back like Jason Jennings or Carlos Silva, or trading for John Garland or Dontrelle Willis. I'd take any of those guys over Adam Eaton or Jose Mesa for the right price, but the bottom line is pitching is expensive as a Grade A hooker in Vegas, plus you might get a communal disease so "enter" at your own risk. I say we throw the Steve Carlton bobblehead out on the mound and see if "Lefty" can still mow 'em down.


The real Jesus is not a Phillies Phan, because if he were the Phils would have more than 1 measly championship in 120+ years of existence and we'd be spared the pain of the 1st sports franchise to reach 10,000 losses. The son of God turned water into wine after all, I'm sure he could have made some lousy Phils teams of the past winners if he really wanted to. Maybe this t-shirt is referring to Ruben Amaro Jr.'s cousin Jesus, pronounced "Hey-Zeus", from Fish Town.


Looks like the Phanatic has gone "David Bell" on us after watching him man the hot corner for 4 seasons. How in the world is he going to explain this change of lifestyle to Mrs. Phanatic?


Third eye blind? I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend...


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ask The GM

Q: Will Bourn be one of the players traded this offseason? I think the Phillies could get something decent in return plus he doesn't seem to fit into the Phillies lineup, in my opinion. They already have Rollins and Victorino at the top of their lineup who have alot of speed. - Mike , Washington, NJ
A: I agree with you Mike. In this era of baseball, playing half of their games in Citizens Bank Park, it doesn't make sense for the Phils to sacrifice slugging for speed by putting Victorino and Bourn in the same outfield. Bourn is a great 4th outfielder, defensive replacement and pinch-runner, but to keep a player with decent trade value as a backup outfielder is a waste to resources. If the Phils can improve their pitching staff by trading Bourn, he should be the first player traded this offseason.


A: Your use of the Caps Lock button is both intimidating and perplexing. I'm also perplexed as to who "DUPREE" is. You, Me and Dupree, blues musicianChampion Jack Dupree, former Padres pitcher Mike Dupree? I just don't get it.

Q: can i drink a beer with you? - chris jones , howell, nj
A: Do we have to share a straw?

Q: Is there a chance the Phils might go after Johan Santana or give Greg Dobbs the 3rd basemen job for 2008? Kevin , Endicott
A: Given the lack of quality trading chips the Phillies possess, and the depth of certain organizations that also have big wallets to lock-up Santana with a huge multi-year deal, I don't think the Phils have a legit shot at him. It would be tough to get a struggling Dontrelle Willis, let alone the best pitcher in baseball. About the third base job: the Phils learned their lesson last year when they gave the starting to job to a guy who couldn't field and might hit, I doubt they do it again unless they have no other option. Dobbs had a decent year at the plate, .272-10-55, but it's the first time he's had more than 150 at-bats in a season. I would need a larger sample size for evaluation before I make somebody a starter on a playoff contending team.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sunday Quickie

Interesting post over at mlbtraderumors.com about the Yankees that has some Phillie implications.

First note their source is that they expect the Yanks to make "eye-popping" offers to Posada and possible Phillie target Mariano Rivera. This really shouldn't be a surprise. Last year NYY paid Roger Clemens about $17 million for a partial season, $11 million for Carl Pavano and about $6 million for Kyle Farnsworth. Basically, the entire Florida Marlins payroll for little to nothing. So why wouldn't they splash $15-16 million for one of the greatest closers in history. Not only do they need a decent closer, after the PR hit of the Joe Torre departure, they can't afford to have two other stalwarts from the good ol' days (i.e. the 90's) go. The Phils have no chance to match what the Yanks can offer.

Take the last part of the above argument and apply it to this rumor too: "the Yanks may make a big play for Aaron Rowand." After Torii Hunter, who isn't coming to New York, Rowand is probably the best OF option, so why wouldn't the Yanks want him? Well, maybe because that would give them 5 OF for 3 spots (Matsui, Damon, Cabrera, Rowand, Abreu.) Unless they decline the option on Abreu (who would you rather have right now, Abreu for $16 mil or Rowand for $12-14?) and trade Cabrera. It makes sense to me.
File Under: Steroid Conspiracy
If you're keeping track at home, it now makes two Philadelphia Phillies implicated in HGH use, as Paul Byrd follows in the mighty footsteps of David Bell. Apparently, neither player is fond of testicular shrinkage.

Byrd, notorious leader of Baseball Church who was on ESPN earlier this week talking about using baseball to spread the message of Christ, apparently found nothing in the Bible about illegal drugs and cheating. Hey, if he asked WWJD and answer is "keep dem nuts big," there's no arguing with the Big Guy.

I'm not surprised by any player being accused of using 'roids, I just wish the ones implicated from the Phils would have played better. At least the Yankees had MVP's Giambi and Sheffield. And the Giants had MVP Bonds and ROY Santiago (Phucco!). We have Byrd and Bell? Who's next, Sandoval, Sefcik, Doster, Marsh...?


Friday, October 19, 2007

Saturday Poll - Schilling

I broached the subject of Curt Schilling yesterday (foreshadowing...) and now today you have a vote on whether or not Curt Schilling would be a good fit for the Phillies for next year. Here are some key Schil points.

1. Cost - I looked around the 'net and found estimates on Schilling's asking price for next year at around $13-16 million. [He made $13 million in '07.] Combine that with other estimates that put the off-season spending budget at $20 million, and it doesn't leave much. Specifically, there wouldn't be enough to go after Mike Lowell unless 1)they went over budget (typical Phils fashion, right?) or 2)trade a high dollar player (Burrell) to make some room.

2. Age/Experience - Although he is younger than Jamie Moyer, Schil is still old. Of course, we would be looking at a one year deal, so even if he falls apart like a Chevy Corvair, they wouldn't be stuck for a long term deal. Also, his post-season experience could be very helpful if the Phils get there next season.

3. Ability - If he does stay healthy, even at 40+ years of age, he's still a good pitcher. In '07 he threw 150 innings, had an ERA less than 4, a 1.24 WHIP, and a 4:1 K:BB ratio.

4. Chemistry - This is probably the most talked about aspect of Schilling's return. However, it is also the aspect that is hardest to predict. Granted, Schilling is a jackass who talks way too much, way too often, about topics he should probably avoid. And if you have ever read Beard, Bellies and Biceps, you know Curt was not the most popular guy on the team. And since "team chemistry" was seemingly so important last year, there are some that would argue that bringing Schilling in to possibly mess with that would be a risk too severe to justify his fine pitching.
Curt Schilling?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Phillies Phlashback Phriday - Rolen & Schilling

With all the talk about possibly bringing back two phormer phan phavorites, Scott Rolen and Curt Schilling, I thought I would reminisce today on some of the highlights of each player's time in Philadelphia.

Scott Rolen:

Rolen was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1997, and averaged 26 homers and 95 RBI in his first five full seasons. And then...

Rolen considered signing a long-term contract with the Phillies before the 2001 season. But tired of losing, he wanted the team to make a commitment to winning. Rolen figured a higher payroll would be a step in that direction, and wanted a clause in his contract that guaranteed Philadelphia would be among the top teams in that department. The Phillies rightfully refused. Rolen then rejected a 10-year contract extension that could've been worth up to $140 million, or a 7 year deal worth 90 million, depending on which report you believe.

He feuded with manager Larry Bowa and became a main target for criticism by fans. Rolen heard boos increasingly as his average dipped. After hitting his second homer of the game in an 8-4 win over Montreal on June 1, Rolen wouldn't come out of the dugout to acknowledge a curtain call. "Maybe we're even,'' he said.

An anonymous teammate allegedly called Rolen a clubhouse "cancer.''

With his departure all but assured at the end of the season, Rolen was traded to St. Louis for Placido Polanco, Bud Smith and Mike Timlin.

How did Rolen feel after hearing the news of being traded to St. Louis? "I felt as if I'd died and gone to heaven. I'm so excited that I can't wait to get on the plane (Tuesday morning) and get to Florida to join the Cardinals."
Curt Schilling:
Schill was not the most popular of players when he was in the City of Love. But like with many other things, Mitch Williams can sum it all up in a few sentences.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thirsty Thursday

Steve Smith - Bad Wine

Specifically, a bottle of wine that was given to you by a friend and whether it is a type of wine you don't like or a bottle you've already drank and know is putred, you have absolutely no desire to drink it. You have a few options. One: pinch your nose and chug it. It may be bad, but at least you'll get drunk. Two: re-gift it, ideally to someone you don't like that much, thereby sticking them with the bad wine. The biggest problem with these options is that the person eventually will come over, see the bottle not in your collection, and may ask how it was. You'll end up lying and saying it was great and inevitably you'll receive a second bottle later on down the line, putting you right back at square one. So, you end up going with option three: sitting it in the wine rack and not touching it. Short of decoration, it is essentially useless, but you know that keeping it is much easier than getting rid of it.

The Phillies, after extending the contract of Charlie "MD 20/20" Manuel, brought back the entire coaching staff, including much malaigned third base coach Steve Smith. Last year, Smith was much like his predecessor Bill Dancy in consistently making the wrong decision concerning sending/holding runners from third base. There is no reason I can see that he should be back but somehow he is. My only guess is that it was just easier to keep him around than admit they made another mistake hire. It's just a shame that the Phils have followed a bottle of Dom (Vuk) with a couple of Two Buck Chucks.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Athletic Aesthetics

The Phils are adding an alternate uniform for next year. Here it is:

Frankly, I could do without the blue hat. I don't even like the little blue button on the interleague cap, now I have to deal with an entire blue lid...with a red bill to give it just enough of a ridiculous Cirque de Soliel-esque look. Like a 6 year old decorating Easter eggs, probably one color too many. It's a shame that the horrible blue hat distracts from what otherwise is a nice, simple red and white pinstripe-less design.
This Little Piggie...
The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs recently unveiled their logo and uniforms. Props to the FeHams, the logo is pretty sweet. And the 5 uniforms and 4 hats aren't bad either. Wait, what? Five jerseys and four hats? Imelda Marcos thinks that is wardrobe excessiveness. You can see all the different possible combos at the team store. Below is the cool logo.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Random Roundup

Here is phillyburbs.com writer Randy Miller's proposed use of the $23 million the Phillies have to spend this winter. To quickly summarize: In - Schilling, Romero, Riske, Cameron, Loretta; Out - Burrell, Geary.

Schilling, Romero and Riske sound great. He could just stop there. But Mike Cameron and Mark "Get Back" Loretta? And then giving Burrell away for nothing to afford those two jokers? Ridiculous. He then puts the cherry on top by ending the post with, "There you have it, a championship team in place."

Just think, he got paid to write that...
Links of the Day
Beerleaguer mentions Phillies first round pick Joe Savery's Arizona Fall League journal.

The Zo Zone links up a great spoof of those horrible Dane Cook playoff promos.
Pic of the Day


Lord Voldemort = Abe Nunez

After 2 seasons of pure hell, the demon has been exorcised- NO MORE NO-HIT NUNEZ!!! While donning a Phillies uniform the Hitless Wonder performed magical feats of futility with the stick- batting a horrendous .221, in 259 games, spanning 574 at bats, with less power than a dead 9-volt battery- 20 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 measly homeruns; and don't forget his 17 batting into double plays. The man sucked at the plate, and his glove was not spectacular enough to overcome is ineptitude of handling the bat. Out of fear of him coming back to the Phillies via a minor league contract or even a minor league managing assignment in the future, we will no longer speak his evil name (No-Hit Nunez), rather he will be referred to as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, because just like Harry Potter being terrified of Lord Voldemort, Abe Nunez scares the bejebus outta me. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and good bye!


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ask The GM

I’m rolling out a new segment, Ask The GM. I wanted to introduce this a while ago, but nobody cares what I think, so nobody asked me any questions. Luckily, they do ask them to The Inquirer’s Todd Zolecki. So, I’m just going to answer those questions, WSBGM’s style.

Q: I don't understand something about third base. It seemed to me that Nunez's awesome defensive play more than offset his lack of offensive power. Every time he played he would save multiple runs with his fielding. Meanwhile whatever extra batting potential Wes Helms gave you was offset by his horrible fielding. Teams play shortstops with batting averages like Nunez all the time. I realize third base is traditionally a power position, but if you're getting power out of the short stop couldn't we afford to have a third baseman who is such a defensive asset? - Mike, Bala Cynwyd
A: That first sentence pretty much sums it up, Mike. While you can accept sub-par offensive numbers from the most important of defensive positions, namely shortstop and catcher, third base is not one of them. It is not difficult to find an adequate defensive third sacker, it just so happens that Wes Helms is one of the worst. Combine that with pitiful numbers and Nunez does look like a viable option. However, at there current performance levels, neither are acceptable choices.

Q: Any chance the Phils will move Burrell back to 3rd base? - Drew , New York
A: Any chance an aide at an assisted living facility for the mentally handicapped helped you type this email?

Q: If the phillies are really commited to winning they should go after A-Rod and more pitching what do you think? - rob c. , glenolden
A: Despite that being a run on sentence, it's a good one. I think it is quite obvious they need to sign A-Rod. Now that they won the NL East, they have the increased revenue needed to raise the payroll. They should sign A-Rod, Mariano Rivera, Eric Gagne, Curt Schilling, Francisco Cordero, Tom Glavine, Kerry Wood, LaTroy Hawkins, and Aaron Rowand. They also should sign Mike Lowell just in case A-Rod needs a day off and Barry Bonds to be a left handed pinch hitter.

Q: Will Ron Howard ask for a huge salary increase in 2008, or a multi-year contract? I think he is going to ask for a big increase of over $20 million if he doesn't get it, bye bye. What do you think ? - chuck , Margate City
A: Howard has had a good run recently: Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code. However, regardless of what deal he gets (renew vs. long term) he can't go anywhere until he has 5 years of service, so get the "bye bye" scenario out of your head. More importantly for the short term is how to lock up Ralph Malph and Potsie. They both contribute a lot of intangibles to this club...

Keep sending those questions to Todd...


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Poll - 3B Speculation

A recent Yahoo! Sports article proposed letting Aaron Rowand walk and using the money to find a respectable third baseman. They listed 5 names: Lowell, Atkins, Blalock, Tejada, and Crede. I'm going to breakdown some of the options and you vote on 1)preferred and 2)most likely.

Mike Lowell - After a disgustingly bad 2005 season with Florida, Lowell has bounced back with 2 really good years in Boston. An above average glove and solid RH bat would be a perfect fit for the Phils. He made $9 million each of the last two years and probably will be looking for 10-11 per for 2-3 years. In a Jason Stark article back in September, he alluded that Lowell may want to come to Philadelphia. The quote: "But Lowell has sent signals to his friends on the Phillies that, in the words of one of them: 'He would love to play in Philadelphia.'" I respect Stark immensely, but that is at tough quote to rely on. Lowell didn't say he would love to play in Philly, a friend said that after interpreting his "signals." Why don't we just send a note to Lowell, "Will you play for us, check Yes or No."

Garrett Atkins - .301-25-111 from the third base spot. Nice. And looking closer at his numbers, his power has actually been a little better on the road. His average, on the other hand, hasn't. He hit about 100 points lower on the road in two of the last three years, which is something to worry about. Although, a .275-25-85 from third base for a player who isn't eligible for free agency until 2011 is a nice commodity to have. And because of that, it may be hard to pry him away from the Rockies, especially if they make a deeper playoff run and he plays an important part. Factor everything together, and Atkins is kind of a long shot.

Hank Blalock - Blalock is signed through '09 at about $6 million per. He has stuggled through injuries to his shoulder, cutting '07 short and making '06 a sub-par year. If healthy, I think you could pencil him in for .270-25-85 at The Cit. Also, he can't hit left handed pitching, making him perfect for a platoon with Helms next year. Due to his contract, injury risk, and the Rangers' need for young, cheap players, he could be had easier than some.

Miguel Tejada - Tejada makes serious cash, $13 million per year for the next two. Considering his declining skills (lower average, power dropping Abreu-style), it is tough for a developing Baltimore franchise to justify paying that money, even with their great young pitching staff. He also has said that he would move to third base if it meant competing for a championship. He would look good roaming the hot corner and he would be a vast updrade over the crapfest that occupied that spot last year, I'm just not convinced the production he would give the Phils would be worth the trading chips and his salary.

Joe Crede - Crede is coming off of a horrible, injury-plagued year with a horrible team. And with an arbitration value around $5 million dollars, he seems like someone the White Sox may want to get rid of. He would be a big risk though. He could get back to '06 form (anything close would be great for $5 mil) or he could go the way of Morgan Ensberg. I just hope the Phils don't read mlbtraderumors.com, see their Burrell for Crede idea, and run with it. That would not be good.
Preferred 3B

Likely 3B