Thursday, February 28, 2008

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Foote & Legg

Barry Foote, I barely knew ye. In fact, I don't really remember you at all, I only know of you because of interesting last name. See Foote was before my time, but that won't stop me from giving him a shout out on a Phlashback. However, he's going to have to share the limelight with another appendage named Phillie, and in a strange way you could say he's connected to him...Greg Legg. Foote & Legg are members of an elite group of athletes who happen to be blessed with names of body parts, this prestigious cluster of baseball players includes Rollie Fingers, Dick Pole, Rich Hand, Ed Head, Rusty Kuntz, and Shin-Soo Choo.

Barry Foote was a catcher in the Phils organization during the seasons of 1977-78, hardly making a pimple on an elephant's rump while in Philly. He wasn't what one would call an offensive standout, only mustering up 10+ homeruns twice in his 10 seasons in MLB for a total of 57 lifetime. Besides the Phillies, he spent time with the Expos, Cubs, and Yankees. Foote was by far the more successful of the two, as Greg Legg only got to experience 14 games and 22 at bats in the Majors over the course of two seasons with the Phils (1986-87). He made those 22 at bats count though, ending with a Ted Williams like .409 career batting average.


The offense knocked out 10 hits and 6 runs, paced by a Ryan Howard 3-run bomb and 2 hits apiece from Chase Utley and hitting machine Pedro Feliz. Pitching was lackluster, Kendrick started it off well by tossing 3 innings of 1 run ball but 2007 1st round pick Joe Savery promptly entered the game and lost the lead surrendering 5 runs to the Pirates in the 4th; another prospect Joshua Outman wasn't so good in his outing either giving up 4 runs in 1.2 innings. Final outcome, 11-6 loss to the lowly Buccos.

The Phils continue to rub elbows with their state buddies the Pirates as they take them on in two games today with JD Durbin starting one and Brett Myers the other.

*I thought readers of this blog would be deeply moved by that inspirational poster. After all, we are like a brotherhood of kindhearted Phillies fans here.


Antiques Roadshow

Call up PBS and see if they can come appraise two antiques from our pitching staff. The oldest player in MLB Jamie Moyer is still alive and kicking at 45 years old and temporary closer/setup man Tom Gordon is now in his fourth decade of life at the age of 40. Grand Pappy Moyer started things off on a positive note yesterday tossing 3 shutout innings against the Reds while only giving up 1 hit and striking out 3. Moyer isn't flashy, fast, or fantastic on the mound, but he is reliable, resilient, and respectable. Most likely Moyer's era will float somewhere in the 4.50-5.00 range, but with an offense like the Phils that's "keeping them in the game". Jamie is still my favorite move that Gillick has made and I'm damn glad to have him on this team, not just for his pitching but for the passion and knowledge he brings to the ballpark everyday. Tom Gordon, who I refuse to call "Flash", is a huge piece of this team whether you like it or not. With the injury to Brad Lidge, Gordon is now the fill-in closer. Even when Lidge returns (hopefully sometime in April) Tom will still be a crucial member of the bullpen as Manuel will lean on him for big outs in the 8th inning. When Gordon's arm feels good and he's able to mix in his offspeed pitches with his fastball he's a very good pitcher, but when the arm aches and he can't snap that curve doom lies ahead. *Corey just got off the phone with Antiques Roadshow and they told him Moyer and Gordon aren't considered "antiques" quite yet only "semi-rusted".


Jamie Moyer and Travis Blackely threw 3 scoreless innings apiece and the offense punched Reds pitcher Gary Majewski in the face leading to an 8-1 spring training opener victory. Greg Dobbs blasted a 3-run shot while newcomers Pedro Feliz and Eric Bruntlett collected 2 hits each.

Rookie savior Kyle Kendrick gets the start against the minor league Pirates (they say it's their MLB squad, but seriously they're that bad). Prospects Joe Savery and Josh Outman are also scheduled to pitch.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

#1 or #1.5?

Charlie Manuel bestowed the honor of Opening Day starter on Brett Myers for the second year in a row. This is to the surprise of many, as Cole Hamels seemed to be the incumbent #1, but I pose the question- does it really matter? Brett Myers and Cole Hamels each have top of the rotation stuff, so I don't think of Myers as the go-to-guy or Hamels has the runner-up, rather view it as we have two #1.5 starters and it makes sense to have Myers go first (right) followed by Hamels (left) then Kendrick (right) then Moyer (left) then whatever trash we throw out their for the 5th spot. Prepare yourself- this is one of those rare occasions where I understand Manuel's reasoning and agree with it...mark this date.


I'm not sure the general public knows this, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are pretty bad. Despite the Buccos' propensity for sucking and housing underwhelming players, the Phils have decided to give shelter to yet another one of their castoffs. Earlier in the offseason the Phils took in Shane Youman, and now have blessed us with Ray Olmedo. A veteran of 5 seasons with the Reds and Blue Jays, Olmedo has appeared in 198 games playing 2B, SS, and 3B compiling a .228 average and .569 OPS. He won't make the 25-man roster, but he is only 26 years old and will serve as depth for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (*added bonus, this makes Ray a semi-Phucco). To make room on the 40-man roster, super prospect John Ennis has been designated for assignment...and to think he had so much promise.


The rain put the kybosh on a Florida State trouncing of the Phillies last night...thank goodness, that could have been very embarrassing for our Phightin's. Kidding aside, Joe Savery was pretty disappointed about not getting the opportunity to shine in front of the Phils supposed Opening Day lineup which was set to play behind him. Now we move on to the real Grapefruit League action against some Major League competition, or at least of bunch of guys wearing Reds' uniforms who could some day maybe make a brief appearances in the Bigs. Grand Pappy Moyer gets the thrill of throwing the Phils first official pitch of spring training (like he hasn't done that 289 times before) and will be followed by Travis Blackley, Clay Condrey, Carlos Carrasco and Ryan Madson.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Olerud Knows Best

This season in Major Leauge Baseball base coaches will be wearing the ear-flapless batting helmets as protection. Starting today down in Flordia, Phils 3rd base coach Steve Smith and 1st base coach Davey Lopes will be attempt to become accustmed to the new feel of plastic on their domes rather than the absorbent soft cotton blend of a baseball cap. This safety measure is being put in place because of the unfortunate accident that happened with Mike Coolbaugh, where he was struck and killed by a foul ball. Better to be safe than dead I suppose...that was always John Olerud's motto at least.

Who are the Phils taking on? None other than the Florida State Seminoles...I'm predicting a 22-3 win for the 'Noles. 2007 1st round pick of the Phils, Joe Savery, will be making his Grapefruit League debut this afternoon, as he gets the starting nod.


Surgery Success:
Brad Lidge's knee surgery was performed yesterday, and it is being reported that it was a successful procedure. This quote from Phils train Scott Sheridan made me feel all warm and tingly inside, "We went in and cleaned out 15 to 18 percent of it. That leaves him a good 80 percent of the meniscus, which is nice. For us, this was really the best-case scenario that this was the only thing [wrong]. The other side of the knee that he had repaired was fine." Wow, still has a "good 80%" of his knee left, well I'm sure that's all any athlete needs to perform (*insert eye roll).


Monday, February 25, 2008

Pain in the...

On his first pitch of the first bullpen session during spring training Brad Lidge re-injures his surgically repaired knee...silence. That silence was brought to you by the Philadelphia Phillies fanbase as they collectively held their breath in hopes that Lidge's injury was nothing serious. Exhale- surgery set for*t! Brad and the club are foolishly optimistic that he'll be ready to go by Opening Day (timetable of layoff 3-6 weeks). I'll be pleasantly surprised if he's back by mid-April. In the meantime Tom Gordon puts on his old hat yet again and becomes interim doesn't that just spell "relief"? With a pitching staff that is already Calista Flockhart thin, any injury sustained to a crucial member of it like Lidge hurts...pun intended. Let's not push the panic button quite yet though, and hurry off and sign Kyle Lohse while plugging Brett Myers back into the closer role...give that debate at least another 2-3 days.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Groundhog Foreshadowing

Groundhog Day was about 3 weeks ago and thanks to that varmint we've been cursed with 6 more weeks of winter. Punxsutawney Phil may be the official foreshadower of weather to come, but I found this furry friend in my email inbox that has a different future to predict. Say hello to Punxsutawney Phil's alter-ego Philadelphia Phil (seriously, sometimes it's too easy). Philadelphia Phil is donning a Phillies uniform to signify that the Phils will be repeating as the 2008 NL East champions, just like the comedy Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray where everyday repeats itself. Similar to the movie where everyday is a rerun of the prior until Murray gets everything right; the same is to be said for the Phillies who will not only duplicate their NL East crown, but go on to do everything right and win the World Series.

I need to thank frequent reader and irregular poster Scott for the image, strangely enough he's a Mets fan.


The Kyle Kendrick Prank


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Eric Bullock

Prepare yourself for a tale of a man who had so much promise yet so little success. This legend has intrigue, pitfalls, triumphs, drama, and defeat. The main character of this melancholy story is Eric Bullock, a lad who was drafted not once, not twice, but three times. You may be saying to yourself, "I don't recall Eric Bullock, he must be insignificant". Oh my friend, you couldn't be more wrong. See Bullock is a rare specimen, one of only a handful of players to ever be drafted three times (first by the Dodgers in the 18th round in 1978, then by the Padres in the 1st round in the January draft of 1981, finally settling with the Astros in the 1st round of the June draft of '81). Obviously highly regarded and sought after, but I have no freakin' clue why!

Breaking News- Eric Bullock sucked! When the position on your baseball card reads "Pinch Hitter" that's layman's terms for "Waste of Roster Space". He played 7 seasons with 4 different clubs (Astros, Twins, Phillies, and Expos), twice going hitless in a season, and totaling only 30 MLB hits...and dude wasn't even a pitcher. Nope, this big tout little clout poop popsicle was an outfielder, and before you even wonder- No, he sucked at that too (making an error every 10 chances). His lifetime line: .205 avg, 1 hr, 13 r, 12 rbi, 9 sb, and a face souring .536 remind me again why he was drafted 3 times please. He was talentless and he was a Phillie ('89, one of his fantastic zero hit seasons), which falls in line with many after him like Danny Sandoval, Chris Roberson, and Rob Ducey just to name a few. I haven't seen something so painful and gut wrenchingly sad at the same time that it's actually comical since Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Maybe if he would have focused his efforts solely on baseball he could have found his niche and made millions. Instead he dabbled in the rap game with some dude named Rakim...don't sweat the technique.


I was a bit shocked yesterday when I heard the news of Ryan Howard winning the arbitration hearing. After all, awarding $10 million to a 1st year eligible player is a record, but then again Ryan Howard seems to be always setting records so it seems fitting. I'm happy for Ryan, he deserves it. However, I'm sad for the Phillies because this almost certainly places Howard out of their self-imposed salary cap and means that he'll most likely be traded to an AL club in about 3 years that offers him an extension worth close to $20 million per season (aka- BoSox or Yanks). My message to Phillies fans in the aftermath of this arbitration case- Enjoy Ryan Howard while you can.


War of Words

Last winter/spring Jimmy Rollins called the Phillies "the team to beat". Unoriginal rip-off artist Carlos Beltran belted back last week with, "To Jimmy Rollins, we are the team to beat". Now J-Roll is a bit miffed because Carlos performed the illegal act of plagiarism and isn't even getting a 15 game suspension from everybody's buddy Bud Selig. Naturally Rollins has a response- "First I will rip out Beltran's heart and eat it for a midnight snack. Then my crew (Phils) will demolish the Mets during the season leaving them at home profusely weeping in October yet again. To put the sprinkles on the cupcake, we'll finish off by winning the World Series and dedicate it to Beltran's inspiring words." Damn Jimmy, didn't have to go all ninja on the poor guy. By the way, is that a roll or a "jimmy" on that poster?


Speaking of inspiration, I aspire to be this guy in 20-odd years. Seriously, he's got the cash flow to lay down on Phillies fantasy camp and look like a total stud in his uniform. Okay, I may have taken a bit of a liberty referring to him as a stud, but let's cut the guy some slack.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Arbitration...Oh No!

Today (February 20th) is the day that Ryan Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies meet for an arbitration hearing to decide Howard's 2008 salary. RyHo wants $10 million while the Phils are countering with $7 million. Not that Howard isn't worth $10+ million in today's world of Major League Baseball, but I'm guessing based on the current salary structures and past values of contracts of players with similar experiences as Howard that the board will rule in favor of the Phils. What do you think?

Who will win the arbitration hearing?
Phillies- $7 million
Howard- $10 million free polls

*Hopefully this offseason (08-09) the Phils will approach Howard about a 3-4 year contract buying out the rest of his arbitration years and possibly 1 year of free agency, that way this drama can be averted for the next few seasons.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated rated the top 10 GM's of Major League Baseball, and amazingly enough Corey and my names were omitted from the list...oh, well there's always next year. A peculiar name did appear on the list though- Patty G. Yep, in Heyman's eyes Pat Gillick is the sixth best general manager in MLB.

Top 10:
1. Theo Epstein
2. Billy Beane
3. Dave Dombrowski
4. Mark Shapiro
5. Brian Cashman
6. Pat Gillick
7. Josh Byrnes
8. Omar Minaya
9. Dan O'Dowd
10T. Kenny Williams
*10T. Kevin Towers

*By my rough estimate that's actually 11...poor schmuck can't count.

Gillick hasn't exactly rocked my socks off, but he has made some decent deals. Good deals- Brad Lidge & Eric Bruntlett, So Taguchi, Tadahito Iguchi, Jamie Moyer, JC Romero, Kyle Lohse, Jeff Conine, Rick White, Greg Dobbs, Jayson Werth, and David Delluci. Bad Deals- Adam Eaton, Ryan Franklin, Abraham Nunez, Jose Mesa, Wes Helms, Sal Fasano, Julio Santana, Vicente Padilla, Alex Gonzalez, Rod Barajas, Freddy Garcia, and Bobby Abreu & Cory Lidle. Time will tell- Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, Kris Benson, and Tom Gordon (leaning towards bad). Seems to me that there are far more negatives than positives, but I guess Heyman wasn't counting correctly again.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Movie Monday

I'd like to start today's post with a big shout out to my fallen homeboys George and Abraham. No, not George Bell and Abraham Nunez, rather Presidents Washington and Lincoln. Without their fearless leadership of this country back in the day, I wouldn't have this fine Monday off of work...thanks dudes!

What to do on an off day? Movie Monday!!! To get into the spirit of the 2008 baseball season, I'm going to kick back and watch the laugh-a-minute Major League followed by the serious and historically based 61*. There are plenty of other baseball flicks I could pop in the vcr/dvd player like the Sandlot, Benchwarmers, Fever Pitch, Bull Durham, For Love of the Game, Summer Catch, Bad News Bears, Angels in the Outfield, Field of Dreams, Little Big League, but those will wait for another day. To heighten my movie viewing experience and staying with the theme of baseball, I'll have a few brews, hot dogs, nachos, and sunflower seeds and call it a day...a great day!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pig Latin

Carlos Beltran decided to play the role of Nostradamus and predict a 2008 NL East Division crown for the New York Mets. In an interview he sent this personal message to reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins, "So this year, to Jimmy Rollins, we are the team to beat.”. Just to let you know Carlos, J-Roll wasn't the only one who received the message, as the reigning NL East champion Phils heard it and so did their unforgiving fans...can't wait until you roll into town.

My personal Pig Latin message for Carlos Beltran: Uckfay Ouyay, Olepay Mokersay!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Jumble

Jose Mesa Where Art Thou?:
Born Jose Ramon Nova Mesa, or more fondly referred to as Joe Table, has yet to latch on with a club and it's already spring training. The alleged 41 year old seems to have more lives than Contra (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, b, a, select, start), so it's in the realm of possibility that it's only a matter of time before he pops up in someone's camp...I just hope it's not the Phillies. Mesa has already had two tour of duties with the Phightins and neither was particularly that great, although I will acknowledge his 102 saves for us. If he's looking for a reunion, he should go suck up to one of his other ex-teams (Orioles, Indians, Giants, Mariners, Pirates, Rockies, or Tigers). Honestly though, it's probably the end of the road for Mr. Table, and it's been a long bumpy road with 1022 career games and 321 saves...guess he's really not as bad as I make him out to be.


Still Cold:
As teams report to Florida or Arizona for the warm sunshine of spring training, much of the nation is still in the thick of winter, aka- COLD! The Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are great destinations for a winter getaway if you're from one of the northern parts of the United States. In fact, when Corey and I retire (too far away to even calculate), we plan on becoming spring training junkies ourselves.


Private Matters:
1. What to do with Wes Helms? The man is a butcher at 3rd base, meaning his only real position is 1st base, but his bat failed miserably in Philly last season and caused the dynamic duo of Patty G and Rube to cast their line for the big catch of Pedro Feliz. This leaves good ol' Wesley without a spot on the 25-man roster and the Phils need to trade him...but nobody seems to want him.

2. Who fills out the bullpen? Five men are assured spots- Brad Lidge, Tom Gordon, JC Romero, Chad Durbin, and Ryan Madson. However, things get very dicey after them, and there's even the slight chance that Durbin snags the 5th spot in the rotation. The competition: wild fireballer with upside Francisco Rosario is out of options, Jars of Clay Condrey is good at times and abysmal at others, Fat Mike Zagurski is still recovering from injury, non-roster invitee and darkhorse candidate for second lefty Vic Darensbourg, Thee Model Dictator Fabio Castro, Rule 5 pick Lincoln Holdzkom, the enigma of JD Durbin, Pirates unwanted treasure Shane Youman, fallen prospect Joe Bisenius, recovering Scott Mathieson, and the improbable John Ennis. I say trade Chris Snelling and Wes Helms for some bullpen help!

3. Who is the 5th starter? We've got Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick, and Grand Pappy Moyer written in permanent ink for the rotation. Not sure who to pencil in for the last spot though. The competition: fan favorite and comeback player of the year candidate for '08 Adam Eaton (I just blew up the sarcasm meter), Rule 5 pick Travis Blackley (also an Aussie- yeah BloodStripes!), previously mentioned Chad and JD Durbin, and newly signed Kris Benson.


Friday, February 15, 2008

NL East Bullpens

This will by my final installment of polls for determining the best of what the NL East has to offer. The Mets have been crowned the NL East's best rotation, while the Phils have garnered top honors for outfield and infield. I'm not even going to bother debating coaching staffs, or get into farm systems. I'll stick with concrete tangibles that you can see on display at the MLB level, which leaves me with the bullpens.

*Career era and whip, and pitching arm in parentheses.

Atlanta Braves:
Closer- Rafael Soriano (2.93, 1.02, R). Key Cogs- Mike Gonzalez (2.29, 1.23, L), Peter Moylan (2.23, 1.13, R), Manny Acosta (2.28, 1.14, R), Will Ohman (4.33, 1.42, L), and Tyler Yates (5.15, 1.56, R). Filler- Royce Ring (3.12, 1.38, L), Jeff Bennett (4.59, 1.43, R), Blaine Boyer (3.71, 1.49, R), Buddy Carlyle (5.96, 1.43, R), and Chris Resop (5.48, 1.83, R). Overall this is a solid group of relievers. There are question marks about Soriano's ability to handle the closer's role (13 career saves), but when Gonzalez gets healthy he's a great fallback plan. Never underestimate the Braves knack for turning mediocre arms into quality pitchers.

Florida Marlins:
Closer- Kevin Gregg (4.12, 1.33, R). Key Cogs- Justin Miller (5.33, 1.59, R), Matt Lindstrom (3.09, 1.30, R), Lee Gardner (2.46, 1.31, R), Henry Owens (3.00, 1.37, R), and Taylor Tankersly (3.46, 1.47, L). Filler- Daniel Barone (5.71, 1.68, R), Logan Kensing (5.50, 1.55, R), and Renyel Pinto (3.46, 1.40, L). This is a rag-tag group the outperformed expectations last year, but I expect some growing pains this season. Gregg is not a great closer, and I think he'll end up being a 1 season wonder. Lindstrom and Owens have upside, but they're surrounded with a losing atmosphere that trades their young talent away when it gets too expensive...that'll play tricks with your psyche.

New York Mets:
Closer- Billy Wagner (2.40, 1.02, L). Key Cogs- Aaron Heilman (4.04, 1.27, R), Pedro Feliciano (3.20, 1.34, L), Matt Wise (4.18, 1.26, R), Jorge Sosa (4.59, 1.46, R), and Matt Schoeneweis (5.01, 1.46, L). Filler- Ruddy Lugo (4.39, 1.48, R), Joe Smith (3.45, 1.56, R), currently DL'ed Duaner Sanchez (3.81, 1.37, R), and Brian Stokes (6.46, 1.80, R). I hate that rat bastard Billy Wagner, but he's still a top closer. Heilman and Feliciano are nice setup men, and Wise was a decent cheap offseason pickup. This is a seasoned group that has proven they can pitch and mixed with the Mets outstanding rotation is a great pitching staff collectively.

Philadelphia Phillies:
Closer- Brad Lidge (3.30, 1.20, R). Key Cogs- Tom Gordon (3.93, 1.35, R), JC Romero (4.30, 1.50, L), Ryan Madson (4.14, 1.38, R), and Chad Durbin (5.75, 1.57, R). Filler- Mike Zagurski (5.91, 1.69, L), Clay Condrey (4.84, 1.53, R), Scott Mathieson (limited experience), Francisco Rosario (6.02, 1.76, R), and Fabio Castro (3.30, 1.21, L). I'm glad to have Lidge because it allows Bretty Myers to go back to the rotation, but I am leary of his ability to lock down leads with high frequency. To be honest, I dislike this bullpen, as Gordon is fragile, Romero has a flair for imploding, Madson is a crapshoot, and the rest are less than stellar to say the least.

Washington Nationals:
Closer- Chad Cordero (2.79, 1.19, R). Key Cogs- John Rauch (3.74, 1.22, R), Luis Ayala (2.82, 1.20, R), Ryan Wagner (4.79, 1.59, R), Jesus Colome (4.54, 1.50, R), and Saul Rivera (3.58, 1.44, R). Filler- Ray King (3.43, 1.34, L), and Chris Schroder (4.40, 1.21, R). They may not have a lot of depth, but this is a decent group. Chad Cordero is a very good young closer, if on a contending team (ie. BoSox or Yanks) would get much higher praiser. John Rauch is the biggest dude to ever chuck pitches in MLB, Wagner is a former 1st round pick of the Reds, Colome can bring heat, and King is like a Weeble- he wobbles but he doesn't fall down.

Who has the best bullpen?
Nationals free polls


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We Finally Got Our Woman

About damn time! The Phillies finally got Anna Benson, and as a consolation prize Kris Benson tags along. The courtship started way back in early November, and it took until one day before spring training to seal the deal. What does this mean for the Phillies? They now have a solid collection of hot trophy wives. Anna joins the ranks of Cole Hamels' seductive Survivor siren Heidi Strobel and Chase Utley's animal adoring angel Jennifer.

Oh wait, that has nothing to do with the 2008 team's chance at success...maybe I should focus on Kris' pitching. He's coming off an arm injury, and it's reported that he's still only 60-70% strength-wise and that he won't be fully ready until the beginning of June. He's a nice addition to the "depth" we have in the starting rotation. I use "depth" loosely because right now vying for the 5th spot in the rotation is Attack of the Durbins (Chad and JD) along with Rule 5 pick Travis Blackley and craptacular posterboy for horrific contracts Adam Eaton. Kris is a former 1st pick in the draft back in '96 by the Pirates. He's never lived up to the hype and potential, but he's made an alright career for himself thus far winning 68 games with a 4.34 era and 1.38 whip.