85 thoughts on “Open Discussion, Week of 09 April 2012

  1. Well, now that we’ve plunged below .500, it seems like we should start asking whether it’s time to trade Hamels while he still might fetch us a package of prospects.

    Kidding! Sort of.

    1. Please, let’s NOT talk about bunting. Nothing kills a rally faster than having your best hitters lay down sacrifice bunts. All I can surmise is that Charlie is in full onset panic mode. Victorino laying down a sacrifice bunt, with no outs and the team already ahead was criminally bad.

      1. Yeah it’s been bad. There’s a time and a place for bunting and charlie has found a few more spots it shouldn’t be done in and bunted.

        My big club observations so far, including spring training….

        1. Nix is really bad.
        2. Tony Bastard is not the same Tony of 2011.
        3. I really don’t see Vance Worley’s sophomore season going the way JA Happ’s did, he looks real good.
        4. I don’t see an 8th inning reliever yet. Hopefully Contreras is the guy. If not, JDF or Big Phil might get the opportunity.

        1. Also, Cholly’s player management thus far has been awful, and even still Savery hasn’t seen time. Apparently he’s on the roster in name only.

          1. I don’t see Cholly’s player management as being terrible. Its the first three games of the season. He has to see what he has got. He put Nix out there as a starter and he was brutal, then he sent him up there in a early game, pinch hitting situation, and he was brutal. Stutes was brutal. Thome was brutal. What is the manager supposed to do about that?

            1. He used Wigginton as a defensive replacement (really… REALLY?) and Nix to bunt… Just to name two things that career numbers indicate is a TERRIBLE IDEA. I’m not saying it will be terrible going forward, but he absolutely mishandled multiple situations this first series, and it does him no good to make excuses for him. A person can’t fix a problem if they don’t know what it is.

              Also, people are under the impression these games mean less because they’re early. Ask the Red Sox if they might like a mulligan on the first month last year.

        2. The drop in Bastardo’s velocity is a concern, but we have to hope that he is just a bit behind after being shut down in spring training. Halladay and Hamels are both down a couple of ticks from where they pitched last year as well.

          I think Bastardo is miscast as a situational lefty, if you are willing to use him in that game yesterday, let him start the inning.

  2. Well Eric Pettis did a small Q&A at Crashburn promoting his book (about the life of a minor leaguer through his eyes). The only thing I can think of for a reason for him getting released is that maybe he said something about the Phillies that the front office didn’t like?

    I find that release really odd.

      1. Not yet, but he’s only 23 (24 in 2 months) with a 2.17 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 (5.3 K/BB), and 0.972 WHIP in 128.2 innings over 3 levels. Granted his highest level was Clearwater, but those numbers don’t exactly scream bust, and he’s certainly worth more of a look than, say, Dave Bush.

        Unless there’s something going on behind the scenes, I can’t imagine he doesn’t get picked up by somebody.

        1. We all need to quit looking so intently as player’s #’s in the minors, especially the low minors.

          Pettis was a 4-year college draftee drafted in the 35th round. He was always the longest of long shots. Players are evaluated based on the skills they have that translate to the majors leagues, their actually stats are generally secondary.

          Pettis was a college senior pitching against 18-19 year-olds, his numbers should have been good. Players get released all of the time. Not all of them are stinking up the joint at the time and they are not released due to some hidden issue with the guys personal conduct.

          And his is absolutely not worth more or a look than someone like Dave Bush, who’s thrown more than 1000 MAJOR LEAGUE innings.

          1. So your argument is that because Pettis succeeded when he should have he isn’t worth more of a look?

            And so what if Bush has major league innings? He’s a known commodity. He’s a pitcher with a career 4.70 ERA (93 ERA+) with a 6.0 K/9. He’s slightly below replacement level. He had a decent rookie campaign and has since been average at best. He’s organizational filler and an emergency starter, the likes of which can be found easily in baseball. How is someone who has even a small chance of being more successful than that not worth more?

            1. The problem with this argument is that neither player was competing with the other for the job. Pettis was not going to be a starting in Lehigh.

            2. Bush was just the first one to come to mind of players who have no real future value and are replaceable. Pettis, while unlikely to contribute, still showed enough that he had a chance to be more valuable than a easily replaceable player. That is my real point.

            3. No, my argument is that Pettis’s stats over 100+ innings is relatively meaningless when compared to his overall talents.

              I’m certainly not in a position to make that determination since I don’t get to see him pitch on a daily basis but his putting up decent numbers doesn’t mean anything.

              As for the comments regarding Bush, if you don’t see the difference between a 24-year old pitching well in A-ball vs. a guy who’s had a long major league career, even a mediocre career, then nothing else I say is going to make sense to you either.

        2. Do we have a shortage of mediocre 20-something pitchers?? If so then releasing him was clearly a bad idea.

    1. Most of us aren’t panicking. We are, however, highly ticked off at a lot of the moves Cholly made this series.

      1. It is on a par with sitting the hot Mayberry last season so that the cold Ibanez could play. If you want to win, you have to put the best possible team on the field, not the players who Cholly feels have adequately paid their dues. Part of it seems to be a fear that if they don’t let the vet FAs play through injuries and super slumps, that more FAs will decide not to come to Philly. That seems a misplaced concern. Any FA who is selecting the team he will go to based upon, when I’m old and stinky they’ll still let me play, is a FA I don’t want. I want the guy who expects to be good throughout his contract and fears the team that will cheat him out of a WS by playing other vets who stink.

      1. agree with you on that one. They seem to have jumped from never bunting to bunting in every possible bunting situation. I do think that Manual is struggling with the concept since it is clearly a departure from his preferred style of playing the game.

    2. Win or lose I don’t like to see the team make bad decisions, like having the walk averse seven time Caught Stealing leader Juan Pierre leading off, or sacrifice bunts.

      This is a good team but giving away outs is not going to help the offense.

  3. We know that Charlie is not a small ball manager but adding Nix, Wigginton amd Thome to the bench didn’t exactly help the small ball theory either. However, bunting with the #3 hitter with two on and no outs in the 1st inning?? That has to stop! Its very early obviously but Nix has to show more. His swing is very long and he appears to hit the ball only by accident. Let’s stop calling Wigginton a defensive replacement yesterday. Polanco was the defensive replacement, they just decided to keep Wig in the game over Thome or Nix (who had pinch hit and should have stayed in the game). Yes, Wigginton should have caught that ball yesterday but I can’t understand why Schneider didn’t catch more grief for making a bad play also. He went after the ball very casually and then made a throw that was not great and arrived at the same time as the runner. I know they like his game calling but I’m struggling with why he has a spot over Kratz. When he and Galvis are batting 7 and 8, you have such a dead lineup at the end that it will be tough to score much.
    As for the minors, I’m very encouraged by everything I’ve seen so far (except for Aumont walking two in a one run save situation and Bonilla’s ugly relief appearance).

    1. Polanco was a defensive replacement for Wigginton, Wigginton was a defensive replacement for Thome. Just because he didn’t come off the bench doesn’t make that true. I understand wanting a defensive sub for Thome later in the game, I really do. For that reason, we have Nix and Mayberry, both capable on defense with similar, if not better, offensive production to Wigginton. Wigginton does not offer an upgrade defensively over Thome at first. He should be used to occasionally spell Polly, and be used as a pinch hitter. He’s terrible on defense and always has been.

      As for Schneider, he’s Vanimal’s personal catcher. If he can be had at the right price, no reason not to keep him around if only for that reason. He’ll have to be replaced eventually, but letting him start once every five days is fine if it helps Worley for the time being. I’m all for making the young guys feel comfortable and giving them an environment to succeed in.

      1. Most people define “defensive replacement” as a play who replaces another player in the lineup for defensive reasons. Wigginton was already in the lineup and was thus not a replacement.

        1. He replaced him defensively at the position he otherwise would have continued playing. I don’t see how that doesn’t constitute a defensive replacement.

          Either way, Cholly SHOULD have had Nix or Mayberry play 1B instead of Wigginton. Would either of them have prevented that from happening? Maybe, maybe not. But the idea is to put yourself in the best possible position to win. I can deal with losing games to bad luck, but I really detest not trying to do what’s best for the team.

    2. I’d say that Schneider didn’t catch more grief b/c there’s absolutely no expectation of him to do anything other than catch a pitched ball. No to hit, run, field anything. His supposed “game calling” skill has earned him a spot on the team and us a catcher with a sub-.300 OBP.

  4. Last year I was a Schneider fan but sadly surprised when they resigned him. A little logic here.
    When a players offense falls as badly as his did last year, Is defense not probably to fall off sooner rather than later. Cleary Stutes was afraid to throw his best stuff after the error.

    Then later in the inning with Stutes stressing ,why would you not bring in Savery to face the leftie.
    There were many other things wrong but pitching to McCutchen was the single dumbest thing I have ever seen on a baseball field.

    1. Dumber than sending Polanco for 5 straight in the NLDS with a sports hernia when he wasn’t able to hit the ball into the OF? B/c that was pretty dumb.

  5. I have never seen him play but I would bet my facebook page that Savery is the second best defensive first baseman on the club . The rest are incredibly bad. It would be a novel thing but…

        1. The fact that either Wigginton or Nix is even on the roster is demoralizing. Replacement lever AT BEST.

          Have no problem using Savery as a defensive replacement on days he’s not going to pitch, he’s twice the athlete of the others.

  6. Maybe we can get the whole pitching staff to pinch hit as they hit better than position players.
    Lots of guys spoofed my when i knocked the bench in the winter.
    “Bad and locked in”

      1. Wrong I started in the winter. A speciality player has to be SPECIAL at something. And if he can field or run or hit lefties he was to be even more Special at something. Nix ain’t
        Ty is more acceptable but not at all special.

        1. Oh, I know you’ve been complaining since winter but 3 games is way to early to start up your I-told-you-sos.

          But since you seen to have unrealistic expectations from bench players in general, I doubt any of these guys will live up to them so you might as well get started now.

  7. The sad part is that Ruiz will have to pick up the lack of Schneider’s terrible performance opening the door to more injury or just plain wear

  8. Before anyone jumps off a bridge, recognize that the Phils have deep pockets and will spend if they need to. There’s no way they’ll go the entire year with a bench or bullpen that doesn’t produce. As for the pen, we know we have internal options in Valdes, Sanches, Schwimer, Diekman, Aumont and eventually DeFratus. As for the bench, we have Kratz, maybe Dom at some point, and maybe Podsednik, although he and Pierre would seem redundant. Who knows, maybe Overbeck or Mitchell will surprise and earn a call up later in the year. Its not likely but not impossible either. I think we’ll all be very happy when Howard makes it back (June?). I really don’t want to trade away anymore top prospects but I can see another trade at some point.

    1. But why would their decisions be any better in the future.

      You assuming Rube is going to find his mark. Never been a fan of Rube and hope ownership will judge the man on the merits.

  9. Ryan Howard
    Chase Utley
    Domonic Brown

    Hopefully when these guys rise from the dead the offense will do the same.

  10. I think they better find out soon if they are going to sign Cole. That situation cannot linger and if you can’t sign him what are we doing. Even if Howard comes back in June you stil don’t have enough in the line-up.

    You need signifcant upgrades at 3B and LF to have any chance at beating an AL team, correct that beating another NL playoff team.

  11. Let me add that Greg Gross needs to go. For all the off season talk about grinding out at bats and doing a better job of getting on base the at bats I saw yesterday against McDonald who was all but trying to Intentional Walk our line-up was a disgrace to our intelligence.

    yeah its up to the hitter to oblige I know but who’s digging into them…

  12. I generally don’t get involved in these types of discussions.

    But I think its ridiculous to make any kind of conclusions after 4 games. This is really the first year since Charlie took over as manager where he has to piece everything together. He’s not used to managing a roster constructed like this, and he’s going to need some time to find out what all of the new guys are capable of.

    And I think its equally foolish to say “this roster can’t beat an AL team”….look at the Cardinals team last year. They basically had 3 great regulars in Pujols, Holliday and Berkman, and then a mishmash full of weird retreads/untested rookies. And they won a World Series. Whether the Phillies win 105 regular season games or 93 regular season games is inconsequential to me. Get in the playoffs, hope you get hot, hope the ball bounces your way. Its how we won in 2008, its how just about every team wins a World Series.

    We’re 2.4% in to the season. Things will change a lot in the next 5 months. Everyone should probably relax and wait to see what happens. If the team is still dragging ass in June, then yes, we should be worried. But now? Nah.

    1. Last year’s Cardinals did lead the league in runs scored. That was a pretty good offense.

      There is legitimate cause for concern for the offense until Utley and Howard return. You could argue that we have the worst offensive situation in the NL at LF, 1B, and 2B right now. That’s probably going to be the case until June, 1/3 of the season.

      And Manual is not a great tactician. We’re going to be in a lot of 2-1 type games and it might cost us a game or two along the way.

      We’re going to be good because of the starters, but there are a lot of 85-90 win teams in the NL so it’s reasonable to be a little nervous.

      1. Last years Cardinals team was awful the first half of the season.

        All the Phillies really need to do is tread water until Utley and Howard return.

    2. the phils the way i see are like the titanic, thought to be unsinkable but we’re taking on water! hopefully they can right the ship, but if i was a betting man well……..

  13. I might agree about offense but there is no way these guys can compete defensively. As far as deep pockets : Why are these guys here instead of all around baseball players? Where in their history have they eaten the contracts of bench players. The Eric Bs of the world were bad
    enough when there was a solid everday core.
    If Cholly has to make choices there will be trouble e.g. pulling Worley.

  14. How much time does Cholly need to figure out not to pitch to the other team best hitter?

    1. Think of it this way…if the season tanks for the Phightins’….then we get a high ‘lottery’ pick in 2013…and we get more to talk about on PP.

  15. Gilles 3/4, just hit a two-run homer scoring James (who had doubled earlier in the inning). As much as I’m trying not to freak out about the bad start in South Philly, I can’t help but be excited for these kids with just as small a sample size. Great to see.

  16. Better question is how has Dom looked at the plate? I usually agree with the theory that good teams can’t afford to have players learn on the job, but when it became obvious that Utley was going to miss some time, sending Brown down was a head scratcher for me. I mean the decision was, with Utley and Howard out, to send down your most selective hitter left? A kid who would add some power to the line up? Because why, his defense is suspect at best? Coming from a team that has a history of sending out some of the worst defensive left fielders in the majors that’s amazing to me.

    Another question I have that I’m hoping someone can enlighten me on is how the team saw a lack of situational hitting, a lack of working counts and getting good balls to hit, and decided that the way to combat this was with this “small ball” nonsense. I get it, I’d like to see Jimmy and Shane bunt every now and then to keep teams honest and respecting their speed, but you manage to your players strengths. You don’t bunt and give away outs when you have a team of free swingers.

    That being said, it’s still early, but hoping to see some improvment in the weeks to come. And congrats Freddy on your first MLB hit!!

  17. I think it is perfectly ok to panic, this isn’t a panic over the line up all slumping and not hitting, there just isn’t anyone there to hit, sure Galvis won’t be this bad but there isn’t really anything that scares you. Charlie is not a good tactical manager, this is a well seen fact, he irrationally loves some player (Pierre, Ibanez) and irrationally dislikes others (Brown, Mayberry). The bullpen is solid but you never really feel comfortable with it.

    On the prospect side, I love overreacting to small positive signs, negative signs can be written off as it is just early. It would be nice to see a wave of young guys on the horizon (and hopefully not yanked around or exiled to LHV)

  18. Calling Derrick Mitchell , Doctor Mitchell to the roster please!
    Stats I didn’t want to know: Nix has had one season with an OBP over .300.

  19. Another sick thought defensively: There is almost no way to rest Vic and for that matter Pence,

    1. Mayberry can play any OF position. So to give Shane the day off: Mayberry CF, Pierre/Nix LF, Nix/Thome/Wigginton 1B. Just switch Mayberry to RF to give Pence a day of rest.

      Mayberry, oddly enough, maybe be our positional MVP for the first couple of months.

  20. I get what you are saying above PP but I don’t need someone to hit me over the head with a 2×4 to know its going to hurt.

    Good pitching or not these starters are human and a lack of run support will eventually wear down even the most seasoned pro. To boot the core is another year older and regression for Rollins, Utley, Howard and Polanco is in play.

    And finally the other teams you would see in the Playoffs have some really good pitchers as well

  21. I’ve seen 1 inning of Phillies baseball all season and it happened to be the 3rd last night. If you want to see more 5 run innings, please send donations to TheBellman@phillies-go-all-the-way.BB? I’ll need the donations so I can quit my job.

    What I will say about that inning is Galvis had a great AB. He worked the count and then pulled that inside pitch for a double. Nice piece of hitting. There was a lot of good hitting in that inning. Even Mayberry’s AB was a nice one, He worked the count and then Johnson made a great pitch jamming him. If Mayberry could have gotten a little more meat of the bat on the ball, he could have looped that ball over the 2nd baseman’s head. The entire inning was intended to wear Johnson out. Everyone laid off the pitches that the Phillies usually hackat with no chance of hitting. Sometimes you can beat a team by wearing down their best pitchers. The Phils did that last night.

  22. IMO, like to see Ruben try and get Michael Taylor back to patrol LF. Would even give up one of the younger toolsy OFs in Low A or High A, ie one of Hudson, Altherr, Collier, Alvarez or Hewitt to get him. With many of the aforementioned, may need to include a young arm also to entice Billy Bean to do that deal.

  23. A guy I would keep an eye on is Connor Jackson currently being stashed on the White Sox AAA club. Here is a guy that before srticken with Valley Fever had 3 straight seasons hitting almost 300 with an 800+ OPS

    He said in Spring training he finally feels his strength is back to what it was before they knew what was going on with him. My preference however is Brownie gets a call up and cements his status as an offensive MLB threat.

    However these FO seems reluctant to give young players a shot

    1. Yes…I like Connor Jackson also…however he will be 30 and Valley Fever is a scary fungal infecion that really attacks the lungs….and may linger in dormancy. And for a young healthy athletic guy like Jackson to get it first, then be laid up with it during recuperation, makes it chancy that he will return 100% to his former self as a baseball player. Everyday working people can, at times, get over without any treatments…not sure about professional athletes.

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