Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Shortstop

Jimmy Rollins - I'm not a big fan of Jimmy Rollins batting lead-off. I think he is too streaky and doesn't get on base enough to bat there. That being said, I love Jimmy Rollins. His defense is ridiculously underrated by most people. We haven't seen a shorstop with range and hands like this since Ivan DeJesus (not really, just wanted to give a shout out to Ivan, who didn't make the list...) Offensively, Rollins is solid. .280-.290, with double digits homers, 100 runs, and 70-80 driven in. My only compaint with Rollins (his spot in the batting order is not his fault...) is when he had his corn-rows with the massive hangtime, he looked like a woman. Not a good look. I prefer the 'fro.

Larry Bowa - Never got to see Bowa play as a Phillie, but I saw enough of him as a manager to understand what kind of player he must have been. That, along with 2 Gold Gloves, 5 All-Star appearances and finishing 3rd in the MVP voting in 1978 with these numbers - .294-3-43. Minor deduction for playing 14 games with the Mets in '85, but we understand, a man needs to get paid.


Steve Jeltz - a favorite here at WSBGM's, among his career hilights he can list "first pic on pabaseball.blogspot.com" as one of them. A switch-batting shortstop (I refrain from calling him a switch-hitter because couldn't hit a beachball off a tee), Jeltz teamed up with other blog favorite Jaun Samuel for a sweet, jheri-curled middle infield. With a career .210 average, the man is proof that sometimes style does win out over substance.

Kevin Stocker – came up from the minors in ’93 because Jaun Bell couldn’t get the job done. All he did was hit .324 and play stellar D. He gave the Phils a couple decent years after ’93, but his biggest contribution was packing his suitcase and trading places with Bobby Abreu. Nice trade. Apparently, this is what it feels like to play with the Devil Rays…

Dickie Thon – If his name was Ron, he wouldn’t be on this list. But it’s not Ron, it’s Dickie. And Dickie made the list.


Favorite Shortstop
Jimmy Rollins
Larry Bowa
Steve Jeltz
Dickie Thon
Kevin Stocker

Corey

Random Conversation

Today I had my 1-month check-up for my broken wrist that I suffered back in November. It has healed nicely and doesn't need physical therapy or surgery...thank goodness. Usually when I go out I'm wearing a hat from my assortment of Phillies caps, or my Bucknell hat. However, today I decided to wear my old school Milwaukee Brewers hat. The x-ray technician, in her late 40's/early 50's, noticed it and said "Wow, an old school Brewers hat, that brings back memories." I explained to her that is the only reason I'm wearing it, because they were in the AL at this time, and I informed her I was a huge Phillies fan. She went on to tell me that her husband's favorite player was Paul Molitor, so he grew up liking the Brew Crew and has ever since, but she said she loves the Phillies. We then got into a conversation about what to expect from this season's Phils. We each came to the same conclusion- improved rotation, pieced together bullpen, and the need for Pat Burrell to produce better in "clutch" situations. Seems like no matter where I go or what I'm doing a conversation about the Phillies is always brewing. At the end of the chat I told her that I actually can't stand Paul Molitor because of the rampage he went on against the Phils in the '93 series while he was with Toronto (12-24/.500 average, with a 1.571 OPS...that's just ridiculous).

Then on the way home I passed a car with a license plate from Nova Scotia. What the hell is in Nova Scotia anyway? Possibly Manuel's brain, Nunez's bat, or David Bell's manhood.

~Carson

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bling-Bling

If you're thinking about getting all fancied up for a night out on the town, you might want to consider purchasing some of this exquisite jewelry. Not only would you be supporting your favorite team, you would also assure yourself of being noticed. Imagine telling your date the time with this fine wrist watch, or sporting these lovely earrings...you're guaranteed to get some nookie. I image J-Roll and company rock the bling-bling whenever they're out on the prowl during away trips. You know they have to step up their game with strange tang running amuck, it's like a smorgasbord. However, as nice as all of these trinkets may be, it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring!


~Carson

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Left Field

A while back I did "Least Favorite Phillie" and promised "Favorite Phillie" was on the way. However, it seemed picking between Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Danny Sandoval was kind of boring. So instead, I offer a series of polls to determine your favorite Phillie, position by position. First up: LF.

Pat Burrell - if you've lived in the Philadelphia area anytime in the last half dozen years, you probably at least know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that Pat Burrell has hit on. P.I.M.P. You can't deny it. He gets more tang than an astronaut. But it doesn't stop with the women. He also partakes in other redeeming activities, such as smoking Marlboro red cigarettes and drunk dancing (see pic). He has a powerful swing that occasionally results in a ball flying over the left field fence. It's a long, sometimes awkward swing that often results with his right knee resting on the ground. But that is what Burrell does, he goes long and makes knees dirty. Don't hate the player, literally. And sure, he strikes out a lot (a lot...) and can't run. But who cares. He is eveything that many of us dream to be; a young, good-looking, drunk, womanizing, homerun hitting professional baseball player. He could have gone "Paul Byrd," started a new chapter of Baseball Church, stayed in on Friday night playing Minesweeper and maybe he wouldn't be so inconsistent, but he decided to have some fun at any expense. Well, God bless you Pat the Bat, you're my favorite Phillie.

Greg Luzinski - We never saw Luzinski play for the Phils as he ended his career in South Philly at same time Carson and I were celebrated year of life one. But we've heard stories. Mainly, "Bull hit ball, ball go far." (Apparently retarded people told us stories...) And this quote from the baseball-reference.com's Luzinski page: "At 225 pounds he is a doorway and a half. They could hold the Winter Olympics on his shoulders, balance Rhode Island on his knees, and plug up leaky dams with his feet."--Phil Elderkin (1979). Good enough for me. Also, he grills meat. Mmmmmm.

Pete Incaviglia - a member of the last great team...and in typical '93 fashion, Pete sported the mustache, stubble, and mullet. Also in line with the '93 team, Pete put the team first, embracing the leftfield platoon with Milt "Nintendo White Boy" Thompson. Mullet, facial hair, mammoth homeruns, platoon - he deserves a spot on the all-time favorite Phillies leftfielder list. On a personal note, in '93 I found a newborn puppy in a ditch while mowing my grandma's lawn. I took the pup home and named him "Inky," after my favorite Phillie at the time. I gave the dog away to a friend and he turned out to be a big, mean, loud dog. Perfect.

Honorable Mention:
Ron Gant - Played only a season and a half with the Phils, but anybody that goes from being a skinny second base prospect to a bulked-up HR-hitting outfielder deserves honorable mention, because steroids prove dedication to a cause. Also, his trades to and from the Phils involved Ricky Blowttalico, Jeff Brantley, Garrett Stephenson and Kent Bottenfield. Good company.

Milt Thompson - The other half of the '93 LF platoon. Milt is best known on this blog as the white guy from the Nintendo game Major League Baseball and as the Phil's hitting coach. Milt never hit over 7 homers in one season and was a sub-.300 hitter with the Phils, but he was on the '93 team and that trumps any stat.
Favorite Leftfielder
Pat Burrell
Greg Luzinski
Pete Incaviglia

Corey

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Growing Fanbase

Come late August/early September we'll be adding another soldier to the army of Phillies fans. That's right, this psychotic wanna-be GM and rabid Phillies fan, is going to be a dad. Without getting all mushy and corny, I want to say that I'm am so very excited, ecstatic, and feel as though this is the biggest blessing I could ever receive, as this will be my wife's and I first baby. Therefore, I also believe this is going to be The Year Of The Phillies. You best believe that I'll be purchasing some Phillies baby clothing and accessories, as I want my child growing up rooting for the right team.

~Carson

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mailbag

The Hot Stove isn't very hot right now, and Spring Training is still a few weeks away. What can a Phillies fan do to pass the time? Crunch numbers from all of the "knowledgeable" experts and formulate your own projections...boring! I'd rather get to know the team on a personal level in an informal Q&A session. So, lets open the mailbag and hear what the team has to say in response.

I am a huge Brett Myers fan, and was wondering if he felt his status of staff ace was infringed upon with the acquisition of Freddy Garcia?
~Mike Tyson, Las Vegas

Brett- Freddy and I will battle it out for the privilege to become the #1 starter. I'm not going to beat myself up if I happen to be slotted into the 2 or 3 spot in the rotation. I plan on knocking the opposition out no matter what day I pitch. Also, look for improved swings from me at the plate this season, as I've been practicing the art of hitting.

I'm a fixture in the left field seats at Citizen's Bank Park, and was glad to see the Phillies keep Pat Burrell. What type of season can we expect from our resident hunk?
~Hauttie Whorinski, Twin Peaks


Pat- I can't wait until the warm weather rolls in and the ladies are screaming my name while jumping up and down in their itty-bitty tank tops. (Drag) I love baseball, I love women, I love partying, and I love booze (exhale). Wait, what the hell was the question again (hiccup, burp)?


As a paraplegic athlete, which consequently means I'm always an underdog, I was speculating how that no-talent ass-clown Danny Sandoval must feel.
~Eturnully Handecapt, Mount Olympus


Danny- First off, I do not appreciate the pseudonym that you have bestowed upon me. I am a top-notch prospect that will one day be an All-Star and batting champion. My future seems grim with the Phillies because I'm currently blocked by lesser ability players in the form of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. A far superior organization will see the "diamond in the rough" that I am and make a trade for me...then watch me blossom!

I'm glad to see Charlie Manuel back for the 2007 season. The man is a great in-game strategist and eloquent speaker. What does he see the team being able to do this season?
~Hugh Dumass, Podunk Falls


Charlie- Well, uh, I think we got a pretty durn good shot. We, uh, just gotta score more runs than the other teams. I will miss the clubhouse presence of David Bell and Arthur Rhodes, but we just need to keep on truckin'. We gonna put a hurtin' on the league, uh, we just need to do what we do and, uh, take it game by game, and, uh, relax, and, uh, trust ourselves, and, uh well you know, win.

What are the chances that our Model Dictator, Fabio Castro, makes the squad this year?
~Javier Juan Julio Rodriguez Santiago Ramirez, Cuba


Fabio- Apesadumbrado, no puedo hablar inglÃes.

~Carson

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hawaii Five-0

"Terry Adams is a quality right-hander." "There is a reason Chris Coste is a 33 year old rookie, he sucks." "If Ryan Madson stays healthy, his move to the rotation will look like a stroke of genius." "No way David Bell is gay, he's as straight as an arrow." All of these misguided quotes have been uttered by me over the past few years. I admit when I'm wrong, as I was obviously far off on my analysis of the above. One more quote to add to that list, "Shane Victorino will never be a starting outfielder in Major League Baseball." Like I said, I admit when I'm wrong. Fellow blogger, Corey, has always liked the Flyin' Hawaiian, and constantly clamored for him to be called up and given a shot in '05. Victorino didn't do much to impress me in his brief time with the Phils in '05, but he did make a reluctant believer out of me last season.

Like fellow Hawaiian players before him (Ron Darling and Benny Agbayani), Shane has a flare and zest for the game. Just like this image that I found with the appropriate "Flyin' Hawaiian" on it, Victorino goes balls-out in his effort at bat, on the bases, and in the field, which makes him a fun player to watch. As fans and therefore critics, we find faults with almost all players, and Shane's is his plate discipline, but hey we can't all be Bobby Abreu. I do not expect Victorino to jack 20 homeruns or bat .300, but I do expect him to play an amazing right field (of Gold Glove merit) and produce respectable numbers at the plate (.280, 12 homeruns, 90 runs, and 65 rbi) from the 2 hole. One facet of his game that he vows to improve is his stealing of bases. The dude is fast as a fat kid gobbling down cookies, and is capable of swiping 30-40 bases with the proper technique (thank you Davy Lopes). In conclusion, Shane Victorino is an every day outfielder, and will be a pleasure to watch for a full season in Philly.

This pic is for you Corey, as I know you dig this lovely Hawaiian...hello Tia Carrere.

~Carson

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Clubhouse Banter

Jimmy Rollins has a dynamite personality. ESPN always chooses to mic him up for their nationally televised games, he's always flashing a smile, and he's ready to say and do the right things on and off the field. He's not a prototypical leadoff hitter, but he is a damn fine shortstop at the plate and on the field. I'm not going to get into a debate whether J-Roll should be batting leadoff, 3rd, or behind Howard, because frankly I'm just glad to have him in the lineup. I'm also happy to have him in the clubhouse, as he's stoking the team's fire right now by pumping up their confidence with the statement, "We're the team to beat in the NL East in 2007." Preach on brotha, preach on!

In seasons past, it's always been the "we'll be competitive" or "I think we have a good shot". Rollins just threw that garbage to the curb and laid out exactly what he expects from the team, which is a postseason appearance this year. This is the type of thing team leaders do. Utley and Howard have stepped up and become more vocal and Jimmy is doing his share too. He backs up his mouth with production as well, because although he may not be a .400 on base guy, he scores plenty of runs and has a nice combo of speed and pop. In the interview, he also went on to say that the Phils infield with the addition of Helms is now the best in the league...no argument here. As I have said in the past, "Rollins may pop-up more than a teenager's woody during a wet dream", but he is exactly what the Phillies need to win.

~Carson

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Need Support?

Offseason checklist: 1) Upgrade 3rd base. Done- Wes Helms is better than No-Hit Nunez even if he's not A-Ram. 2) Find protection for Howard. Done- to much people's dismay, Burrell or Utley will bat behind the Blaster Master and not the likes of Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano. 3) Sure up the rotation. Done- Moyer stays, and Eaton and workhorse Freddy Garcia are welcomed in. 4) Sort out catching situation. Done- to my dismay Rod Barajas brought in to tutor Carlos Ruiz, while Chris Coste gets the shaft. 5) Land some relief. Incomplete- still in search for some semblance of a set-up man and a relief pitcher that can actually record outs rather than surrender countless hits, walks, and runs.

We need support, much like this over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder does for a set of boobies. Our rotation is deep, solid, experienced, or whatever you want to call it, but it cannot pitch a complete game all the time. The starters should be counted on to average 6-7 innings, meaning we need someone in the bullpen besides Mr. Fragile Flash Gordon. No offense to Ryan Madson, Matt Smith, Antonio Alfonseca, Eude Brito, Clay Condrey, Brian Sanches, and Jim Ed Warden, but they don't necessary inspire confidence. WSBGM's hero- Gas Can Geary is good, but he's far from lights out. Hopefully Gillick still can work some magic and bamboozle from a club a proven set-up for Jon Lieber. To paraphrase Skeeter from yesterday's discussion, "The rest of the organizations will be looking for that last minute prom date, and as ugly as she may be (Lieber) they're willing to give up their dignity (set-up man) in order to get some tail."

~Carson

Monday, January 22, 2007

Them Phightin' Words

The Phightin' Phils is a moniker that was given to the team decades ago for their resiliency and aptitude for clawing and scratching victories out while never giving up. Last year's Phils started to show this same character, but alas fell short of the ultimate goal once again (playoffs). I say if you can't beat 'em, BEAT 'EM! There are so many times over the course of a season that I would love nothing more than a Phils pitcher to drill a batter square between the shoulder blades or for a Phils batter to charge the mound and start a Royal Rumble. Kick his ass, Sea-Bass!




~Carson

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday Stammerings

Pour out a little liquor for a fallen homeboy. Former Phillies pitching coach, Vern Ruhle, passed away Saturday after a long battle with cancer. Vern was only 55 years old. He was the Phils pitching coach from 2001-02, and had a 13 year career of his own winning 67 games for a mixture of teams including Detroit and Houston.

_________________________________

My current favorite Phillie and best 2-sacker in MLB just got rewarded with a 7 year $85 million deal. Chase Utley is freaking awesome, and having him on the team for the foreseeable future is a good thing. Like I said yesterday, "The Phillies phuture is so bright, that they gotta wear shades". This may seem like a lot of years and a lot of money, but he's worth it and this will be considered chump's change by the time the contract is up in 2013. All the World Series titles that will come between now and then will more than make up for it.

~Carson

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Laroche & Stuff

27 year old left-hand hitting first basemen who go for .285-32-90 don't get traded around too often, especially not TO the Pirates. They also aren't very cheap, as the Pirates gave up lefty close Mike Gonzalez and infield prospect Brent Lillibridge to get Laroche. A closer look at what the Pirates gave away to get Laroche:

Gonzalez has pretty gaudy number, not going over 2.70 in the last 3 years, having over a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and being 24 for 24 in save opportunities last year. The key to me is that he didn't blow a save and still only got 24. The Pirates need to get leads before they worry about someone to protect them in the 9th inning.

Lillibridge, a 24 year old shortstop and former collegiate star at the University of Washington, hit .313-2-28 for high class A Lynchburg after being promoted from class A Hickory after going for .299-11-43. Didn't hit for much power in college when he was swinging aluminum, so I doubt he'll ever be much of a major league power threat, Lillibridge's biggest assest seems to be his speed, as he stole 54 bases last year. Mlbtraderumors.com said that "Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA system indicates that the college product would be baseball's ninth best shortstop in 2007." Huh? Yet he'll probably be in AA. Someone is missing the boat on this guy...I just don't know who. The biggest question I have is, what is the metal in his mouth? If it is braces, good trade. If it is a pimped out grill, bad, bad trade.
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I like the Laroche deal for the Pirates, but it could prove costly for the Phillies. The NL East has two lefty closers now, The Rat and Gonzalez. And with Utley and Howard forming the formidable part of the Phillies lineup, the matchups aren't exactly favorable.
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The Pirates resigned Shawn Chacon. He's an absolute train-wreck of a pitcher and the Buccos wouldn't have it any other way.
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It's bad enough that our first baseman is now an ex-Brave, but one of my favorite Bucco's will now be playing in Atlanta after Craig Wilson signed a 1 year $2 million deal.

Wilson was traded by the Blue Jays, along with Abraham Nunez, to the Pirates in a multi-player deal including notables Dan Plesac and Orlando Merced. Wilson and his mullet were solid in the 7 years he spent with the big club. Although he never hit higher than .267 (except for his rookie year) and was second in the league in K's in '04, he provided some power, some clutch hitting, and versatility. He also was the league leader in HBP twice. Unfortunately, the Bucco management never really liked him, and for the most part got screwed out of playing time, as the Pirates opted for the likes of Jer0-4my Burnitz, Matt Lawton, and Randall Simon...
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The Indians signed Trot Nixon for one year and $3 million. Pretty cheap, I think. I would not have minded seeing something like this go down: trade Rowand for bullpen depth, make Victorino the starting CF, sign Nixon and Wilson to platoon in RF, make Wison primary RH pinch-hitter when not in RF and the 3rd string catcher (making the signing of Barajas unnecessary.) This would have saved money and added pitching & power. This is why we should be GM's.....

Corey

Phuture So Bright...

The Phillies phuture is so bright, that they gotta wear shades.


~Carson

Friday, January 19, 2007

Phucco Phlashback Phriday: Jones & Robinson

Over the years there have been many players that have been blessed to be remembered as Phuccos (Phillies & Buccos). As most of you know, Corey and I like to take time to recall some of the lesser known players that graced the field of Three Rivers Stadium and the Vet. Today we take a moment to reflect on the glorious careers of two gentlemen- Barry Jones and Don Robinson.

Barry Jones began his career in Pittsburgh back in '86 with a promising 2.89 ERA and 3 saves. He experienced other success in Montreal and with the White Sox too sporting ERA's of 2.31, 2.37, 2.42, 3.04, and 3.35 which translates into a respectable reliever. His career ERA stands at 3.66 over his 8 seasons and 348 games. He had one season in Philly in '92, but little good can be said of his time there (he walked more men then he struck out). Barry Jones should be best remembered for his outstanding mustache, as WSBGM's always holds a special place in our hearts and minds for well groomed facial hair...thank you Rick Schu!

Don Robinson had a fairly solid MLB career spanning 15 years and 524 games pitched, both starting and relieving. Just like fellow Phucco Barry Jones, Robinson began his career with the Pirates. Don had a marvelous rookie campaign in which he went 14-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 228.1 innings pitched in '78. This would end up being his finest season, but he did go on to win 109 games with 57 saves. Robinson was a Bucco from 78-87, but only a Phillie for 1 season in '92, once again, just like Barry Jones. Robinson ended his career with 8 games started for the Phils in '92 to the tune of an awful 6.18 ERA. Robinson may have had the white man's version of the afro, but that's not why I remember him...I remember him for being a good hitting pitcher. He had 146 hits, 13 homers, 69 RBI, .231 average, and a Nunez-esque OPS of .582. He may have pitched like crap for the Phils, but he did bat 7-18 that season.

~Carson