Thursday, December 31, 2009

Worst Team Of The Decade - Pitchers

Gavin Floyd – The Phils made a huge mistake when they traded Gavin Floyd to Chicago for Freddy Garcia. Garcia was a flop and Floyd has been great since joining the White Sox. Floyd was only in his early twenties when he was starting for the Phils and it was obviously way too early to give up on Floyd. But the fact remains, he was freaking awful. In his last two years in Philly, he posted an 8.18 ERA over 15 starts.

Paul Abbot - Remember the old Phillies management that wouldn't spend any money? Paul Abbot was one of the last mistakes of that era. The 2004 Phillies weren't bad. Bowa had turned the lovable losers into winners. But when the Phils came upon some hard times due to injuries, the club decided the best option was to give Paul Abbott ten starts. It was bad. 1-6. 6.24 ERA. Ten brutal, brutal starts.

Adam Eaton – Eaton wasn’t a bad pitcher with the Padres. He wasn’t great but in the steroid era, a 5th starter that can throw 200 innings and keep his ERA in the low to mid 4’s is worth something. Not $24 million though, which is what the Phils gave Eaton, even though the only managed 65 innings and a 5.12 ERA the previous season. He was never going to live up to that salary. Unfortunately for all of us, he didn’t even come close. His Phillies ERA ended up at 6.10. He may have been the Phillies’ biggest waste of money this decade.

Freddy Garcia - The Phils gave up Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez. They paid him millions. He gave us eleven starts, a 1-5 record and a 5.90 ERA.

Ryan Madson - Forget his recent work as a reliever. Do you remember his time as a starter? I do. Specifically, I remember driving down to Philadelphia on a weeknight from Hershey only to see Madson give up nine runs in one inning of work against the Nationals. My buddy and I sat for four or five innings just so I could sober up to drive home. He makes the list on that start alone.

Turk Wendell - The Phillies didn't give up much to get Wendell (Adam Walker, Bruce Chen), it's more that when Turk got to the Phils, he ruined the team's chances of making the playoffs. Somehow, everyone in the organization was oblivious to the fact that his elbow was practically falling off and he got in 21 games to the tune of a 7.47 ERA. He would brush his teeth between innings. No one thought of replacing the tooth paste with cyanide or dog shit?

Jeff Brantley – Brantley was just another in the long line of quality pitchers who came to Philadelphia at the end of their careers only to pitch so badly they are forced to retire. Nobody remembers these players with the Phillies. Most baseball fans would remember Brantley as a Giants All Star or as a dominant closer with the Reds. Not me. I remember Brantley for being one of the worst “closers” in Phillies history. Brantley locked down 23 saves in 2000, but did so with a 5.86 ERA. Everyone knew Brantley was going to suck that season, too. He sucked the season before so much that he had to take a $2.3 million dollar pay cut from the previous season. He wasn’t going to get better. Classic Phillies.

Mike Williams – He was bad in the early 90’s, but he’s on this list because of 2003. After a stay with the Pirates where he saved over one hundred games the Phillies were sure they weren’t acquiring the batting practice pitcher that they released years earlier. Sure, he had an ERA over six with the Buccos, but no way would he be that bad with the Phillies. Right? Wrong. Williams was horrible. He posted a 5.96 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in only 28 games.

Tim Worrell - Worrell pitched for a few teams (SD, Det, Oak, Cle, Bal, Chi) before stringing together a few good years with SF. He parlayed that into a 2 year, $6 mil deal with the Phils. He had an "okay" 2004 setting up for The Rat, but he is most remembered for his meltdown the following year. After limping to a ERA over 7, he went on the DL for "personal psychological issues." The Phils eventually released Worrell, only to have him post a 2.27 ERA over 32 relief appearances with Arizona later in the season

Arthur Rhodes – The season before Arthur pitched for the Phillies he posted a 2.08 ERA. The season after pitching for the Phillies he posted a 2.04 ERA. With the Phillies? 5.32. It sucks to watch something like that happen as a fan, but just imagine how it must feel to the GM who signed him. I should be a GM, but it’s situations like this that make me thankful I’m not. If I gave $3.75 million to a great reliever only to watch him completely fail, then return to dominance after he leaves , I would jump off a bridge…with said reliever attached to me in some fashion.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Worst Team Of The Decade - Batters

Alternate title: “My Least Favorite Phillies of the Decade.”

Carson posted the Phillies team of the decade during the World Series. It was fun but being the buzzkill masochist (see: lifelong Philadelphia sport fan) that I am, I would much rather complain about the horrible players that have suited up this decade than celebrate the accomplishments of the good ones. That’s just how I roll. So if you are like me and enjoy reliving the mistakes of the past you’ll like this “All Decade Team.” The position players are up first with the Pitchers tomorrow.

Rod Barajas – He hit .230-4-10 in 2007. That’s bad but he may not have made this list if he hadn’t broken Brett Myers’ arm. You may remember that in May of 2007, with two outs and closer Brett Myers on the mound, Barajas received an outfield throw that beat the runner by about 10 steps. But instead of blocking the plate, Barajas stood over the dish and let Hanley Ramirez slide between his legs. The inning continued and Myers hurt his arm a few pitches later. He should never have been allowed back in the ballpark after that game.

First Base
Travis Lee – To be fair to Lee, he wasn’t that bad. He just wasn’t that good. He also played the game with a stoicism that appeared to me as apathy. Defenders of Lee might point out that Chase Utley rarely shows emotion and we don’t make that a negative for him. I say, Chase Utley doesn’t hit .260. And c’mon, in the middle of the steroid era, he hit 13 homeruns as a starting first baseman. A little Winstrol would have gone a long way in keeping you off of this list, Travis.

Second Base
Abraham Nunez – It’s bad enough that this guy got 656 plate appearances over two years despite hitting .221 but that fact that the Phillies paid him three million dollars to do so is maddeningly frustrating.

Eric Bruntlett – Utility player Bruntlett was just that the last two seasons, playing seven different positions at least adequately. He scored the winning run of the 2008 World Series. He had a killer beard. But he also hit .202 in over 300 at-bats. We had to watch Eric Bruntlett come to the plate 356 excruciating times over the last two seasons. In 1986, no one would care about his futility. He would have been just another dud on a team full of duds. Unfortunately for Bruntlett, he was on the back-to-back NL champions and every Phillies fan needs something to complain about. Bruntlett was always there to fill that position.

Third Base
David Bell – If you look back at David Bell’s stats, it may not be evident why he is on this list. His second season with the Phils he hit .291 with 18 homers. Of course, the year before he hit .195. And the year after hitting .291 he was second in the league in grounding into double plays. But it wasn’t just that David Bell sucked, it was how David Bell sucked. There was just something about him that many of us didn’t like. The way he swung a bat. The way he fielded a ball. The way he threw the ball to first. It was all very unappealing. And we had to listen to company man Chris Wheeler verbally copulate Bell every time he did anything remotely adequate. When someone spends so much time trying to convince the listening audience that a player doesn’t suck, there is a good chance he actually does.

Left Field
Rob Ducey - I kind of feel bad for Rob Ducey. There isn’t a “Worst Of” list on this site that he isn’t a part of but it isn’t his entire fault. Some of the blame falls on the GM at the time. There have been lots of poor hitting outfielders in the last ten years. It’s just that none of them have been traded away…then traded for in the same season. For those of you who need a memory refresher, here’s how it went down. In the 2000 season he was traded to Toronto after hitting .189 for the Phils. After hitting .154 with the Blue Jays the Phils got him back in a trade for Mickey Morandini. He finished strong (.217) but it wasn’t enough to wash away the negative taste of trading for a player hitting under .200 after they successfully jettisoned him once. Somehow, he lasted part of another season with the Phils. This transaction was one of the inspiration for the phrase “we should be GMs.”

Center Field
Endy Chavez – In 2005, Chavez was the utility outfielder for the Phillies. He played in 90 games and got over 100 plate appearances but hit only .215. He was fast but his .243 OBP resulted in only two stolen bases. But the numbers are only part of the story. It was brutally painful to watch him attempt to hit a ball. I would describe his batting approach as “aimlessly flailing.” To make matters more infuriating, the following year he signed with the Mets and hit .306. Bastard.

Right Field
Chris Roberson - Roberson hit a paulty .232 and slugged a whopping .261 during two unspectacular years. While that is impressively bad, what gets Roberson on this list is he defense. He made frequent late-inning appearances as a defensive replacement, only to make frequent late-inning defensive blunders. Of course, then the game would get tied up and Roberson would come to the plate in the 11th inning instead of Pat Burrell, which angered me severly. It’s no wonder Roberson has never reemerged in the majors after leaving the Phils.

Jose Offerman – He only played part of one season with the Phillies but I have such bad memories of his time. He was signed primarily to be a pinch hitter. He rarely saw the field, logging only 16 innings at first base. Problem was, he couldn’t hit at all! It’s bad enough when a utility player can’t hit, but the designated pinch hitters should be able to hit a little. He was 6-33 (.182), many times batting in key late inning situations, before the Phillies realized what we all had know and released him. Like Chavez, Offerman signed with the Mets and batted significantly better. Bastard. At lease he didn't attack anyone with a bat while he was with the Phillies.

Danny Sandoval – Short stint was still dubious enough for Carson to dub him the “Ass Clown.” Not sure what an “ass clown” is, but it’s not a name a good player gets.

Alex Gonzalez – 4 for 36. Ughh. Luckily for all of us he retired mid-season.

Shawn Wooten - He was an abominable 9 for 53 during the 2004 season. Wooten did teach me one thing about baseball, though - never trust a chubby guy that can't hit for power.

So Taguchi - Here was my summary of Taguchi's 2008 season - "Taguchi started the last game of the season and went 3-5. But if you forget that game, he was hitless in September. He was also hitless in August. He was also hitless in the playoffs, too. For the majority of the season, So Taguchi was hitless." That pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Name That Player #12

Andrew - 3
Preserve Jon - 2
Joseph - 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
Jstocksazag12 - 1
ROY - 1
SJPhilsFan - 1

Name That Player #11

Sorry about the last one. Here's one I can't mess up.

Name this former Phillie.

Name That Player #Error

Andrew - 3
Preserve Jon - 2
Joseph - 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
Jstocksazag12 - 1
ROY - 1
Removed due to blogger incompetence.

Name That Player!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Pirates Off Season Recap

We haven't been talking much about the Buccos this offseason. This recap will tell you why.

- Infielder Bobby Crosby was signed. In six season, Crosby has hit above .239 once and that was five years ago. He also does't play much shortstop any more. Therefore, he's a .230 hitting corner infielder. How does a player like that get signed?
- Infielder Ronny Cedano was signed and thus avoided arbitration. Who cares.
- Left-handed reliefver Javier Lopez was signed. Lopez stuggled with Boston last year but has has major league success. The obvious goal is for Lopez to pitch effectively so the Buccos can flip him to a contender in July for a minor league player that will never be successful.
- Left-handed reliever Jack Taschner was signed. Taschner is quite bad. He will fit right in to the Buccos bullpen. Phucco.
- The Pirates have shown interest in relievers Octavio Dotel and Kevin Gregg. Neither will be signed.
- The Pirates sent a scout to watch Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman throw. No one knows why the Pirate scout was there. He may have thought he was attending another Indian game show.
- The Pirates let Matt Capps go for nothing. They could have offered him arbitration and then traded him. But instead, they just let him walk. Neal Huntington made some bullshit excuse that didn't make any sense.

There you go Pirate fans. Hope all of you are as excited about 2010 Pirates baseball as I am.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Name That Player #10

Andrew - 3
Preserve Jon - 2
Joseph - 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
Jstocksazag12 - 1
Only hint- this player is a former Phillie and obviously Tiger.

Name that player!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Create the Caption

"Wonder if the salsa will also hang a pitch out over the plate to Joe Carter."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Get Halladay, They Get Dickey

For Christmas the Phillies got arguably the best pitcher in baseball in the form of Roy Halladay. The Mets...R.A. Dickey. 148-76 with a 3.43 ERA versus 22-28 with a 5.43 ERA. Just doesn't seem fair does it? Wonder if Mets Dickey jerseys will be on backorder like my Phils Halladay jersey is. Sucks to be them. Suck it New York!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Name That Player #9

Andrew - 3
Preserve Jon - 2
Joseph - 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
This former Phillie has more career homeruns than Tony Longmire, a higher postseason batting average than Carlos Ruiz, and higher postseason OPS than Jayson Werth. Has a worse lifetime fielding percentage than Desi Relaford. He played for 3 teams, all in the National League. He was born in North Carolina and is now in his 40's.

Go ahead, name that player!

Best Fielding Secondbaseman of the Past Decade...

Chase Utley, at least according to Rob Neyer.
"Utley still hasn't won a Gold Glove, but that's the voters' fault because he's deserved three or four of them already. And what a strange trip it's been. He began his college career as a shortstop, then spent some time at DH before finally shifting to second base. In the minors, the Phillies turned him into a third baseman, but that shift was reversed when third baseman David Bell joined the franchise. Finally, Utley was back at second base, where he belonged. Frankly, Utley doesn't have the arm to play third base, and his relatively weak arm does hurt him when trying to turn double plays. But he still has the range of a shortstop, and makes an immense number of plays to both his left and his right that most second basemen simply don't make."

Utley took over 2nd base for the Phillies full-time in 2005 and has made himself into an asset at the position. It's not secret that I'm biased towards him, because he's my favorite player of all-time, but Neyer is right in that Utley has been overlooked for some odd reason when it comes to Gold Gloves.

NL Gold Glove Secondbasemen:
(since 2005)
2009- Orlando Hudson
2008- Brandon Phillips
2007- Orlando Hudson
2006- Orlando Hudson
2005- Luis Castillo

Castillo deserved his Gold Glove about as much as Bobby Abreu deserved his. The O-Dawg, Orlando Hudson, is an excellent fielder, but Utley is better. Brandon Phillips...whatever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

12 Days of Christmas- Phillies Style Volume IV

On the 12th day of Christmas, the Phillies gave to me...
12- wins soft-tossed by Grand Pappy Moyer
11- blown saves suffered by Brad Lidge
10- tears shed for Harry Kalas (Miss ya HK!)
9- starts by Pedro Martinez
8- stolen bases by a lumbering Ryan Howard
7- postseason homeruns by Jayson Werth
6- errors and another Gold Glove for J-Roll
5- straight winning seasons from Charles Fuqua Manuel
4- years of Doc Halladay
3- All-Star outfielders
2- consecutive World Series appearances
1- relief outing by Steven Register (Who the hell is that?)
and NO more years with Adam Eaton and Eric Bruntlett!

Previous Year's Installments:
*2006- Volume I (by Scrooge McCorey)
*2007- Volume II (by Santa Carson)
*2008- Volume III (by Santa Carson)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Phillies

In Good Phaith:
The Phillies gave Jimmy Rollins and his family an early Christmas present by picking up his 2011 option for $8.5M. The slick fielding bat wielding leadoff hitter is worth far greater than that amount in today's baseball economics, so it seems like a no-brainer to assure his presence in a Phillies uniform for 2 more years. However, this is obviously a "good faith" move, because no matter how stellar the player is, it's rare to see a team pick up a club option over a season in advance. Even Albert Pujols is still in limbo in regards to his 2011 option with the Cardinals. This is because you never know when a serious injury may occur negating the value of the player. Whatever though, J-Roll deserves the money, he's our boy.

From The Zo Zone:
The Phillies have 11 players to a committed $108.5M already for 2011.
* Roy Halladay, $20 million
* Ryan Howard, $20 million
* Chase Utley, $15 million
* Raul Ibanez, $11.5 million
* Brad Lidge, $11.5 million
* Cole Hamels, $9.5 million
* Jimmy Rollins, $8.5 million
* Placido Polanco, $5.25 million
* Ryan Madson, $4.5 million
* Ross Gload, $1.6 million
* Brian Schneider, $1.5 million
(The Phillies also have a 2011 option on J.C. Romero, which is worth $4.5 million.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Name That Player #8

Preserve Jon - 2
Joseph- 2
Andrew- 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
This former 1st round pick was an all-star in a season in which he struck out only 22 batters. Also, has more career RBIs than John Mayberry Jr.

Lets get it on, name that player!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Phantastic Phour

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels compose the Philadelphia Phillies Phantastic Phour. Over the past 4 season these 4 players have dominated the competition in their respective paths. Howard & Utley are prolific producers while Halladay & Hamels are pitching perfection. The following is a list where each player has ranked in Major League Baseball over the past 4 years.

1st- Ryan Howard 198
18th- Chase Utley 118


1st- Ryan Howard 572
17th- Chase Utley 402

2nd- Chase Utley 460
14th- Ryan Howard 408

5th- Ryan Howard .967
15th- Chase Utley .924

1st- Roy Halladay 69
27th- Cole Hamels 48

1st- Roy Halladay 930.1
32nd- Cole Hamels 736.2


4th- Roy Halladay 2.90
17th- Cole Hamels 3.67


2nd- Roy Halladay 1.13
7th- Cole Hamels 1.18

12th- Cole Hamels 686
13th- Roy Halladay 685

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halladay Deal...We Think.

Roy Halladay
Phillippe Aumont
Juan Ramirez
Tyson Gillies
$6 million

Cliff Lee

Blue Jays:
Kyle Drabek
Michael Taylor
Travis D’Arnaud

What the Phils gave up:
#1 pitcher who they weren’t likely to sign long term.
Three of their top 4 prospects.

What the Phils get:
#1 pitcher for the next four years.
Three top 10 Mariners prospects that are substantially less “prospectical” than those heading the other direction.

My feeling as of 9:42:
I understand that signing Lee was unlikely and locking up a true number one starter is great. But I think they could have done better. I’m not sold on the Mariners prospects. I would rather have seen the Phils get one high value prospect from the Mariners (ie Michael Saunders) instead of three relatively lower value minor leaguers.

Also, I agree with the many people who have wondered why the Phils just didn’t keep Lee, take the $9 million dollar hit this season, be the overwhelming favorite to win the World Series, and then take the draft picks when he leaves in free agency after the season. Those picks might be as valuable as the prospects from Seattle and could you imagine a Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Happ rotation? Blanton could have been unloaded to offset Lee’s salary, too. Oh, that would have been great.

More on this as it unfolds.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What the Halladay is going on?

In July of 2009 Ruben Amaro Jr. landed the reigning American League Cy Young- Cliff Lee. Clifton Phifer Lee pitched brilliantly during his tenure as a Phillie, especially in the postseason, and I look(ed) forward to watching him dominate for a full season in Phillies pinstripes in '10. That may not be happening though, as my favorite non-Phillie, Roy Halladay, is in town with agent and set to take a physical as means of becoming a Phillie. Amaro wants to negotiate a contract extension with Doc prior to the deal, to ensure he's getting optimal value for the package he is sending in the other direction. Who is in the package, and what direction is the package going is yet to be determined. Reports have the Phils and Blue Jays hooked up with a mystery third team. It's believed Lee would be sent to said third team for a package of prospects the would then be used to lure Halladay away from Toronto. Confused? Me too. Skeptical? Me too. Right now we're in the wait-and-see mode, but it sure does seem that Rube is cooking up something big.

I love me some Cliff Lee, but he's young and wants to test the free agent market next offseason and will command top dollar. Halladay will command big money too, but I think he desires to be on a team that is a near lock for the playoffs, as are the Phils, and will sign an extension to do so. So, if the trade is essentially 1 year of Lee's services for multiple year's of Halladays, then I'm all for it. Rube is a crafty S.O.B., so I'm excited to see how this pans out. I've got my credit card ready to purchase the jersey.

Cliff Lee to the Mariners, Seattle prospects to Blue Jays, Roy Halladay to us. To quote Andrew from the previous comment thread, "Apparently a done deal. Wow. I'm kind of speechless."

On The Curtis Granderson Trade

In blog post a few days ago, Carson had this to say about a rumor that the Phils may move Joe Blanton to gain payroll flexibility:
Why in the hell are the Phillies clearing payroll? They are one of the most lucrative franchises in the MLB.
Moving Blanton and clearing payroll, for whatever reason, is merely conjecture. The who, the what, the when, Roy Hallady – typical Hot Stove fodder. What peaks my interest is the question of why the Phillies would clear payroll. After thinking about it for about thirty seconds, I said to myself, “So they don’t end up like the Detroit Tigers.”

The Tigers lost 119 games in 2003. At that time they had a payroll of a relatively mere $49 million. Three years later, the Tigers had almost doubled payroll and had a very successful year, losing four games to one in the World Series.

The Tigers won 88 games the following season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The organization hadn’t seen the team finish that high in the standings back to back years since the 80’s. I’m sure the success was a breath of fresh air at Comerica, but like the breath you take from a balloon full of nitrous, it’s an inhalation that can cause you to do stupid things.

In 2008, the Tigers sold more season tickets than they ever had before. They wanted to build on that success so they kept all of their contributors from the previous seasons and even brought in more (expensive) talent. Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen, Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Brandon Inge, Gary Sheffield, Ivan Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson were all given big contracts. Their payroll was second only to the mighty New York Yankees.

It seemed that the Tigers were spending beyond their means. I’m sure all the spending was justified by looking at the increased revenue that was gained by making the playoffs, with the increased ticket sales and with all the other peripheral revenue that comes with winning. But things didn’t go according to plan.

The Tigers finished dead last. The world’s economic troubles hit Michigan very hard and despite the record season ticket sales, not many people showed up to watch the struggling Tigers. The following year, they returned to respectable form but a second place finish was not good enough to generate substantial attendance increases or make the playoffs. There was no playoff payoff. The Tigers were in trouble. Forget adding players to make the team better, they could no longer afford their current roster. And they had millions committed in long term contracts for players who had already reached their peak so there was no immediate resolution to their money problems.

In response to the money crunch the Tigers have begun lowering payroll. Curtis Granderson, whose contract is heavily backloaded, was unloaded. Edwin Jackson, while a bargain now will be due for a substantial pay raise very shortly, so he was shipped off. In return they got some quality young talent (Max Sherzer, Austin Jackson) that will be under team control for modest amounts of money for the next few years. It’s nice to have young, affordable talent, but the team is not as good as it was one week ago, is less likely to make the playoff and they still have a ton of money to pay this year. The Tigers overplayed their hand. They extended themselves too much and have quickly gone from contender to rebuilder.

Joe Blanton and a few million dollars are not even in the same ballpark as the salary and spending explosion of the Detroit Tigers but there are enough similarities between the teams and the organizations that the Phils (and us fans) should take warning. There is a ceiling to the spending and when teams hit that ceiling and lose their payroll “flexibility” the teams suffer.

As Phillies fans, we’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dog to yell “cheap” as soon as we hear any sign of reluctance to spend money from management. But the Phils haven’t been so frugal lately. The payroll has risen significantly in the last five years, starting even before any postseason appearances. So the next time you hear the Phillies brass talk about payroll flexibility or the like, think about the Detroit Tigers and be thankful that there is some restraint in the front office.

Now, when the Pirates talk about payroll flexibility, feel free to scream and throw something.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Retention, Subtraction, and Additions

As expected arbitration eligible players Joe Blanton, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin, and Shane Victorino were tendered contracts. All will receive raises from the previous season. It was a no-brainer to keep Blanton, Chooch, and Vic, but the decision to retain Durbin probably stemmed from Ruben's inability to land any relief help yet. Chad is a good guy, and I welcome him back.

Clay Condrey was not tendered a contract, and therefore becomes a free agent. He's been with the club for 4 years, and did a decent job in the mop-up role he was given. 16 wins, 161 games, 189.2 innings, and a 3.65 ERA during his time here. I'll miss him.

A couple weeks ago I reported on the minor league additions of DeWayne Wise and Wilson Valdez, and today I add some to that list. Former Pirate outfielder Chris Duffy has been invited to spring training. The man looks like a mini-Dykstra, so keep your fingers crossed and hope for Phucco status. Utility infielder Cody Ransom is also a non-roster spring invitee that brings some depth to the organization. He was the Yankees Opening Day starter at 3rd base last year in A-Rod's absence.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Create the Caption

"The Mayan calendar never lies, just ask Dutch Daulton."

*Image borrowed from Jim Horwat, who also produced a fine piece of artwork of the 2008 Phillies.

WSBGMs Bowl Challenge:
Reminder to register for the NCAA college bowl challenge through Yahoo. Winner gets their name and virtual trophy in a future post on the site. League ID#- 14712, Password- wsbgms. The more the least that's what they say in European orgies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hot Stove Unicorns

These are exciting times around Philly land with all of this Roy Halladay talk. Very fun. But something about these rumors isn't sitting well with me and since I have this forum to vent, I shall.

Recent posts from various blogs (including this one) have included teasers that mention the inclusion of Cole Hamels in a possible trade. That bit of info comes from an article in the NY Daily News by Mark Feinsand. He wrote this in his column:
According to one source: “Don't rule out them including Cole Hamels.”
That's it. Basically, some guy who obviously isn’t in any way connected with the Phillies because he calls them “them,” tells some other guy about a trade possibility that he completely fabricated. The other guy happens to be a sportswriter so he writes about this imaginary trade scenario in his column. He calls the guy a “source,” thereby successfully making one random person’s random opinion appears to be “insider information.”

I’ve finally learned the difference between a blogger and a “legitimate” sports writer. The blogger creates or propagates baseless rumors so people will read. The “legitimate” sports writer creates or propagates baseless rumors so people will read, but attributes the opinions to “sources” so they appear to be, well, legitimate. Brilliant!

In other hot stove news:
According to a source, “the Yankees could trade Sabathia to the Phils.” One source tells me that Cliff Lee “is interested in being the next football coach at Notre Dame.” Another source indicates that “Carlos Ruiz may have visa issues and could be stuck in Panama for the start of the season.”

If anyone has any "sources" please let us know because we would love to report some breaking Hot Stove news on this site. Thanks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Say Hello to a Future Roster Casualty

Today on the final day of the MLB Winter Meetings the Phillies selected some dude from the Angels organization in the Rule 5 Draft. Some dude is named Ken Herndon, who also goes by David Herndon in some circles. He's a tall (6'5") righthanded pitcher that has experienced some success in relief after faltering in A-ball while starting. The 24 year old hasn't pitched above Double-A and has a minor league line of: 26-23, 3.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 28 sv, and 224 k's in 387.2 ip. He was drafted 3 times (Royals in '04, Twins in '05, and Angels in '06), so there might be some upside to him. Snippet scouting report from Baseball America says, "Good control in Double-A for sinker-slider righthander, who also throws a splitter." Realistically, this guy stands no chance of cracking the 25-man roster in the spring, and for now is merely a warm body on the 40-man roster.

Past Rule 5 Draft flunkies- Robert Mosebach, Travis Blackley, Lincoln Holdzkom, Adam Donachie, Jim Ed Warden, and Ryan Budde...bunch of all-stars there right? In fact, the last successful Rule 5 draftee the Phils had was Shane Victorino in 2004, and even he didn't make the Opening Day roster.

Other News:
*Roy Halladay remains a possibility for the Phils, with trade pieces including some combination of JA Happ, Dominic Brown, Michael Taylor, and even Cole Hamels. Joe Blanton would also presumably need to be moved in order to clear salary. I'll believe all this when it happens, and it probably won't.

*John Smoltz is being targeted as a back of the bullpen arm for the Phightins and has said he doesn't have a problem with the Brick Cit House (contrary to previous quotes).

*Phils are kicking the tires of veteran lefty reliever Ron Mahay and groundball inducing starting pitcher Jason Marquis.

Name That Player #7

Preserve Jon - 2
Joseph- 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
Andrew- 1
This former player had some decent seasons with the Phils. He played 2 years in independent ball before retiring from baseball in the late 90's.

Ding, ding, ding...round 7. Name that player!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Ross Gload a Phillie

Ruben Amaro Jr. wasted no time this offseason bolstering the bench with 3 players that fit the exact mold of what the Phillies needed. Juan Castro was first aboard as the utility infielder, then followed Brian Schneider at backup catcher, and now rounding out the final open reserve role will be 1st baseman/corner outfielder Ross Gload. The bench now consists of the three players named above with Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco.

Gload, who will turn 34 close to Opening Day, is a veteran of 8 MLB seasons playing for the Cubs, Rockies, White Sox, Royals, and most recently the Marlins. The left-handed batter has a career line of- .283/.736 with 176 r, 77 2b, 28 hr, and 192 rbi in 608 games. I know this once again makes the Phils bench lean to the left (Schneider and Dobbs also LH), but Gloads has a better career average against lefties (.298) than righties (.279). His addition to the squad makes sense because he's a proven role player and has done a decent job of it during his career. The Phils would have likely gone with strikeout happy John Mayberry Jr. for the final bench spot had they not signed Gload, and Gload's .300 lifetime batting average as a pinch hitter gives me more comfort than Mayberry's 40% strikeout rate.

Winter Meeting Rumors:

*The Phillies have extended offers to Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre, but they seem to be less that thrilled by the proposal and signing does not seem imminent.

*Brandon Lyon fits the mold of set-up man with closing experience, but may be out of the Phils self-imposed price range.

*Joe Blanton is supposedly on the trade market. This makes no sense to me unless the Phils plan on bringing in someone better. Currently, Blanton is the only righty in the rotation and has been consistent pitcher over his career. The stories have him being traded to clear room (salary wise) for an established bullpen arm. Why in the hell are the Phillies clearing payroll? They are one of the most lucrative franchises in the MLB. I'm not saying they should spend like the Yankees, but if they don't put a quality rotation on the field that helps garner a 4th straight playoff appearance, then they'll lose more money by fans not showing up to the ballpark, buying merchandise, and tv revenue then they would by giving Blanton a couple extra million for one last season.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Offseason Rant #2

My first rant addressed the lunacy and hypocrisy of the “sacrifice fly.” After I was done I thought of a few more rules that I don’t like...again, besides the stupid DH.

Why doesn’t a batter get an RBI if he hits into a double play? The run still scores as a direct result of the batter hitting the ball and I’m pretty sure that is the definition of a “run batted in.” I understand not getting an RBI due to an error because you can theorize that the run resulted more from the error than the hit. But that logic can’t be transferred to the double play. The run isn’t a result of the double play. It isn’t because the defense chose the double play over getting the runner out at home? That makes no sense and a batter can get an RBI for other plays officially scored “fielder’s choice.” Is it because two outs are made? That makes no sense. I can’t think of any reason for this. It’s bad enough for a player to GIDP, at least they can give him the RBI he deserves.

It's beyond stupid that the team from winning league in the All Star game gets home field advantage in the World Series. This is possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Winning is secondary to making sure as many players get in the game and home team players play as many innings as possible. Starters are going two innings. Some players don’t even go to the game. The teams aren’t the best possible collection of players because every team needs a representative. The starters are picked on popularity and not performance. Even if the best players are chosen to start, when the game is being decided in the late innings, they are already out of the game. And most importantly, it’s a damn exhibition game!!!! Coin flip, best record, interleague records, alternating advantage…anything would be better than this stupid rule.

There are too many rules limiting the use of approved equipment. Here are two examples that should be abolished:
  • A fielder cannot throw his glove at a batted ball in an attempt to change the path of ball. Why the hell not? If you are so good that you can throw your glove at a ball travelling at speeds of over 100 MPH with such precision that you can hit the ball and redirect in a direction that makes fielding it easier, not only should it be allowed it should be rewarded with some sort of trophy at the end of the year for the player that is most successful.
  • A catcher may not use his facemask to field the ball. This rule is not enforced much anymore since the catchers are using the hockey style mask more and more, but on numerous occasions in the past, the most recent being this last season, I’ve seen a baserunner awarded advancement of one base after a catcher used his facemask to drag a ball on the ground back into his area after receiving a pitch in the dirt. Most of the time the runner is not attempting to advance and the use of the mask isn’t giving the catcher any sort of advantage. Usually the catcher is just being lazy. I don’t understand this rule and I can’t think of any reason why it should be enforced any longer.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Phillies Beer


WSBGMs Bowl Challenge:
Last year we branched out from our typical fantasy baseball league for We Should Be GMs and added the NCAA Tournament challenge. This year we also welcomed "phantasy phootball" into the mix. Now we're offering the opportunity to pick the winners of the college football bowl games. The winner...gets nothing. If interested, it is run through Yahoo Fantasy Sports and the league ID # and password will be in the comments section. Charlie Weis' Whizzes is waiting for you!

Name That Player #6

Preserve Jon - 2
Mike The Mac Guy - 1
Andrew- 1
harbesjb (aka Joseph) - 1

These two baseball card buddies appeared in a total of 12 major league games, all for the Phils. You need both to get the credit. Name These Players!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Create the Caption

"He couldn't bear to see the Phils lose."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Et Tu Costé

I know it was a few days ago but I didn't want to miss out on the Photoshop opportunity.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Offseason Rant

Usually we stick to Phillies and Pirates baseball on this site but the offseason can be a bit slow, so to spice things up a bit I’ll be occasionally writing about baseball items not necessarily Pennsylvania based. There are some things I’ve been chewing on and I’ll be presenting them randomly as “Offseason Rants.” Enjoy. Or Don’t, I don’t really care, as long as you click on some of our sponsors so I can afford diapers…

Up first, the stupidest rule in baseball, next to the DH of course, the sacrifice fly.

I love the sacrifice bunt, both strategically and in spirit. You need to advance that baserunner so instead of swinging away, you drop one down, conceding the out and your chance of a base hit, literally sacrificing your glory and your stats for the good of the team. But wait, you didn’t sacrifice your stats because baseball rules celebrate your unselfishness by not only pretending you never came to the plate, but by giving you positive check in the “sacrifice bunt” category. It makes perfect sense. It’s a rule that is good for the player, good for the game and good for young children who can learn the value of team over individual.
The sacrifice fly, on the other hand, is a freaking joke. There is a runner on third that needs to get home so you swing as hard as you can and jack one to deep center, but not quite far enough and the outfielder tracks it down at the wall. The runner trots home and you, like the noble bunter, is rewarded with forgotten at-bat and a place in the box score next to “Sac Fly.” Problem is, rarely is there ever any sacrificing involved in a “sacrifice fly.” It’s a bullshit stat that has been plaguing the game for years. Consider this:

  • The “sacrifice fly” is only given when a runner advances from third to home. Apparently, you can’t “give yourself up” through the air to get a runner to third. No, that would be silly.
  • If a bunter is determined to have been attempting to get a base hit with his bunt and the advancement of the runner was merely coincidental, or a side effect of the bunt, the batter is not given a “sacrifice bunt.” Have you ever seen a “sac fly” not given because the official scorer deems that the batter was actually trying for a hit? That would be preposterous because the fact is, almost every “sac fly” is the result of a batter trying for a hit. Sure, batters will attempt to “get the ball in the air” or “hit one hard somewhere” but hardly ever does a batter say, “I’m just going to lift one to center about 375 feet, not too far so that it goes over the fence, but far enough that the runner can score.”
And what about the good old fashioned ground ball? It gets no respect, despite the fact that many times a player will actually sacrifice an at-bat by slapping a pitch to the second baseman to get a man to third or home. And I know I’m not alone in thinking that the “sacrifice grounder” is a necessary stat. Coaches, teammates, and announcers go out of their way to comment on a player who advances runners in this matter, even saying things like, “That won’t show up in the box score.” Well, why the hell not? Hell, the Phillies gave David Bell millions of dollars for this skill alone.

So, in summary, the” sacrifice fly” is crap. It is merely a convenient result of an otherwise typical approach and should be A)banished from the record book or 2)expanded to include advancement to other bases along with the addition of the “sacrifice grounder” to make it consistent with established “sacrifice” rules. At least, that is what I think.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Polly Want A Cracker?

Numerous sources have the Phillies close to signing Placido "Polly" Polanco to a 2 year $10-12M deal to play 3rd base. Baseball gurus such as ESPN's Jayson Stark, FOX's Ken Rosenthal, as well as Phillies' own Todd Zolecki have confirmed this. In my opinion Polanco seems to be the best cost effective alternative at 3rd base. Chone Figgins is ideal, but is out of the Phillies price range. Adrian Beltre is represented by Scott Boras who is said to be seeking a 4 year deal. Mark DeRosa is decent, but his glove at 3rd is not an asset, only his bat is. Miguel Tejada would be worth a look, but he's never played 3rd base before. That brings me back to Polly, who is a lifetime .303/.761 hitter and plays Gold Glove worthy defense (albeit at 2nd base). He was successful for 4 seasons with the Phillies (2002-2005) playing 3rd and 2nd base, and was later shipped out to make room for Chase Utley, netting the Phillies a utility infielder in the form of Ramon Martinez and a machete murderer in the form of Ugueth Urbina. He has not played 3rd base since 2005, but his range is still good, his arm is still strong, and he's only made 15 errors at the position in 322 games (.982 fielding %).

The Detroit Tigers did not offer arbitration to Polanco, making him even more attractive to the Phillies. Placido is also a contact hitter (only 391 k's in 12 seasons), ideal for batting 2nd, which would allow Shane Victorino to drop to 7th in the lineup serving as a table-setter down there. He's 34 years old, bats right, and is considered to be one of the more savvy ball players in terms of baseball smarts. The addition of Polanco would all but seal up the offensive side of the game for the Phils, leaving only the pitching staff to be addressed this offseason.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Name That Player #5

"Preserve Jon" leads with two correct with "Mike The Mac Guy" and "Andrew" just one behind. Time for Round 5.
This pitcher was drafted 4 times in the early 80's and walked more batters than he struck out in his MLB career.

Name that player!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Brian Schneider a Phillie

Brian Schneider has signed on to be Carlos Ruiz's backup next season. The Cherryville, PA product grew up a Phillies fan and quickly jumped on the opportunity to play for them instead of waiting out free agency for more playing time and possibly a bigger contract. Schneider is a lifetime .251/.697 hitter in 10 MLB seasons with the Expos/Nationals and most recently the Mets. He endured a horrible 2009 (.218/.627), but injuries contributed to his tailspin. Schneider is a reliable defensive minded catcher, gunning down a superb 38% of base stealers in his career. One nice thing about signing him is that we no longer have to worry about him being a "Phillie killer" as he's hit 6 homeruns and 54 rbi against the Phils in his career (highest against any opposing team).

Now with backup catcher and utility infielder figured out, Rube turns his attention to 3rd base and the bullpen.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Bullpen Talk

The greatest need for the 2010 Phillies is the bullpen. The rotation, while not spectacular, is solid. The lineup is close to spectacular regardless of who plays third base. The can get anyone to backup Ruiz. The bullpen, however, needs a touch-up.

Brad Lidge is facing surgery after an absolutely horrid season. He has a ability to bounce back to 2008 form but he could also repeat the (injury plagued?) disaster of 2009. No one knows how Lidge will perform in the coming year so I l think a reasonable back-up plan needs to be in order. Is Ryan Madson an exceptable Plan B? No. He proved last season he cannot be counted on to close more than a handful of games. So, the Phils need to sign a relief arm that could close if Lidge isn't capable of getting the job done.

I want to see the Phils do what the Mets did last offseason when they signed K-Rod and JJ Putz. I want the back end of the bullpen to go from a liability, or at least a concern, to a strength. Granted, it didn’t work out well for the Mets but that doesn’t mean the strategy is flawed. A strong bullpen is a necessity, not a luxury.

There is a plethora of free agent closer arms. Many will not be good fits for the Phils because of salary, role demand, etc. Also, many of the arms are Type A free agents but that shouldn’t necessarily scare the Phils. They can only lose one first round draft pick and if they are considering a Type A third baseman (Beltre, DeRosa), they might as well grab a Type A pitcher too.

Here are some bullpen arms broken down into categories based on compensation.

Type A Free Agents I Don’t Think Can Be Signed:
Billy Wagner – Can you imagine the Rat back in Philadelphia? I can’t either.
Jose Valverde – Probably the best closer on the market, which means he’ll command a ton of money. He’d be great but unlikely the Phils have the cash or the save opportunities to satisfy Valverde.
Mike Gonzalez – Probably back with Atlanta next year.
Rafael Soriano – Similar situation to Valverde. He’s looking at a big pay day and should want to close.

Type A Free Agents That Could Be Signed:
Latroy Hawkins – I would love to have Valverde or Soriano or Gonalez but that isn’t happening, so my next choice would be Latroy Hawkins. Hawkins has been an on/off closer for year with many teams, so I don’t think he will be looking to be given the ninth inning like some of the established closers will be. He’s coming off of a great year (2.13 ERA), has post season experience, and hasn’t made over $4 million since 2006 so they may not have to break the bank.
Kevin Gregg – Don’t be fooled by the Type A status, Gregg was pretty brutal last year. 4.72 ERA and multiple blown saves. I don’t think many teams will be lining up to make him their closer, but that is the good news. He “only” made $4 million last season and given that his performance and Type A status, the Phils may be able to sneak in and grab him on the cheap.

Type B Free Agent:
Fernando Rodney – He may have converted 37 saves last season, but his other numbers don’t support Rodney being a dominant closer. He’s never had more than 13 saves in any other season. His ERA hasn’t been under 4 in the last three years. He averages a walk every other inning. He’s only pitched more than 50 innings in a season twice. That means he won’t (or shouldn’t) get paid like a closer. It’s unknown whether he would accept a non-closers job, however. If he would, he could be a great addition to the Phils staff.
Kiko Calero - This guy made $500k with the Marlins last year and posted a 1.93 ERA over 60 innings. He doesn't have much save experience but he may be a great bargain for the 7th inning.

No Compensation Required:
JJ Putz - The Mets paid Putz Eaton-like money and got an Eaton-like season. Injuries played a large part and I don't know if he could bounce back, but it would be nice to see a NY failure succeed in Philly. It would be a big gamble but depending on the price tag, one that could be worth it.
Brandon Lyon, Octavio Dotel, Rafael Betancourt, Takashi Saito - Closer pasts...are in the past for these guys. Like Calero, nice additions to the pen but certainly not closer insurance.
Chad Cordero - Teams have tried taking fomer closers off the injury pile before with limited success (see: Eric Gagne, Danys Baez, etc.). Cordero has had two years off so he should be well rested. And he could be signed real cheap, possibly even on a minor league deal. He's worth that.
Brett Myers - I know. I know.

Name That Player #4

"Preserve Jon" leads "mikethemacguy" 2-1 but there is a loooooong way to go until the regular season starts so it's not too late throw your hat in the ring. The next few "NTP" posts will be picture oriented because we don't want to discriminate against the illiterate. They also will be a little more difficult than the first but don't get discouraged, we will give hints if no one gets it in a few hours.

This Phillie had a mustache and played in the 80's. Name That Mustache Player!