Fall League Update

Steve Susdorf was the only Phillie prospect to see action in Tuesdays’ 7-3 Scottsdale win over Surprise, and Susdorf played a key role in the victory, going 2-3 with 2 runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.  Wednesdays’ game, a 5-4 Scottsdale loss, saw Mike Cisco take the loss, going 2 innings and getting hit around, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits.  He walked 1 and struck out 2, throwing 48 pitches, 32 for strikes.  Scott Mathieson pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a lone hit, while striking out one. AT the plate, Domonic Brown returned after a day off and went 0-4, while Steve Susdorf went 1-4 with an RBI. Brown had an outfield assist, which offset an earlier error.

Scottsdale turned on the bats Thursday with an 11-1 win over Mesa, with Domonic Brown continuing to swing a solid bat, going 2-4 with 2 runs, a double, and 2 RBI’s. Tuffy Gosewisch got the start behind the plate and went 1-5 with 2 RBI’s and threw out both runners who tried to steal on him. Edgar Garcia got the win and was effective, going 3 innings, giving up just a run on 4 hits. He didnt walk a batter and struck out two.  Another effective late inning performance by Michael Schwimer closed out the ninth without allowing a run (1IP, 1H, 0ER, 0BB 1K, 21 pitches, 13 for strikes)

Hitters:Tuffy Gosewisch, .357/.357/.357 in 14 AB’s. 0HR and 2 RBI.  Domonic Brown, .303/.368/.606 in 33 AB’s.  2 HR and 7 RBI. Steve Susdorf, .200/.273/.400 in 20 AB’s. 1 HR 3 RBI, 1 SB.  Troy Hanzawa remains 0-1 with a run scored.

Pitchers: Mike Cisco, 2 games, 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA; 4IP 7H 4 ER 3BB 5K; .368 opp. avg.; Edgar Garcia, 4 games, 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA; 8 IP 8H 4 ER 4BB 7K; .276 opp. avg.; Scott Mathieson, 3 games, 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA. 4IP 2H 0ER 2BB 3K; .167 opp. avg.; Michael Schwimer, 4 games, 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA. 5IP 5H 1 ER 2BB 5K; .263 opp. avg.

62 thoughts on “Fall League Update

  1. Wish Sabastian Valle was in the AFL to see better pitching. He just lauched a two run homer in the 4th to go with a sac. fly in the first to drive in 3 of the 4 runs for Los Mochis so far in tonight’s game. He sat on a belt high fastball and drove it high over the left field fence to give him 5 homers and 12 rbi’s in his first four games in the Mexican Pacific League.

  2. Valle Just missed another HR by a foot(hit off the top of the wall).

    I don’t understand a word they’re saying but it seems like he is Steve Nebraska down there right now.

    On his approach- Swung at the first pitch, extremely quick hands. Looks a little like Tulo. Short stance and leg kick. Seems to have a very good approach overall.

    Physically he is taller and more muscular then I thought he would be. Almost looked like Arod(before the Roids). He looks like a third baseman, so I would like to see if he could play there.

  3. I’m not sure the Mexican league is much worse than the Arizona league in terms of play quality. It has fewer prospects, but also many more experienced pitchers. Remember the best players from the regular Mexican league are here. It is not as if John Mayberry, a AAA prospect is dominating here.

    Valle is clearly on a huge hot streak. But I am wondering if the power is real and we are about to discuss Valle in the same conversation as Brown and Taylor.

  4. AndyB, who is pretty darn good at understanding the South Amercian leagues, mentioned that the Mexican Winter Leagues pitching falls somewhere between high A and AA level. Valle, at 19, is absolutely scorching the pitching right now. I’m sure the pitchers will adapt and adjust and I want to see how he handles that.

    They list Valle at 170 pounds and I was concerned about that weight RyanHoward06 mentioned he was bigger than he thought. I hope he’s added a little bulk or he may need a new position.

  5. The caliber of the Mexican League is probably better than the Arizona Fall League. The Fall League consists of good prospects, while the Mexican League is experienced players and the emphasis is on winning rather than development. The trick though is that Mexico is a hitters’ environment. When a guy hits seven extra base hits in 15 at bats though, hard to spin any kind of negative out of that.

    It makes me proud that I listed Valle 10th on my personal top 30 before this season.

  6. Mexico does have a little bit of a juiced ball if I recall correctly also. I think they switched balls about 10 years ago or maybe after 9/11 when we had the last major recession.

    I think Valle was listed at 168 pounds when he was signed at age 16. He is probably in the 180-190 range by now and could presumably add another 10 or 20 as he matures.

    BTW the reason he has played only 4 games is that the starting catcher for his team (Saul Soto) is perhaps the best catcher in the Mexican League. Soto hit .370 with 28 HR last year at catcher and is continuing that hitting .370 with 2 HR in the early going this winter. Soto is not a prospect at age 31, but probably a good mentor for a 19-year-old kid forcing his way into playing time.

  7. To piggyback on what andyb said above: the AFL is also not usually known for its pitching talent. So while Valle might be getting more notice with the same batting line in Arizona, the fact that he’s doing it in Mexico isn’t really any less impressive.

    And I think the power is definitely for real. A .224 ISO for a 19-year old catcher in the NYPL is damn impressive, and his Mexican League performance is only underscoring that. Kevin Goldstein thinks he could be poised for a big-time breakout next year, and I’m inclined to agree. He’s making me rethink my own Top 30, and I may bump Valle ahead of Santana and Gose at this point.

  8. with the plethora of outfield talent in the system and a crying need for a young 3rd baseman it seems a natural to go after a gamils, vitters, moutakis. what would a top 3rd base prospect cost? gose, collier, singleton, valle. d,arnaud? any combination. what would zimmerman cost?

  9. I can’t help but wonder if Valle can handle 3rd. Even if it only becomes a backup position to his catching. Its not like he is a giant size guy.

  10. Re Valle: Catchers who can hit are far more valuable than 3b’s. There is no sense trading an of prospect for a 3b prospect. That is too much of a gamble, teams just don’t do that.
    Also trading for Halliday… the team is not made of money… one more terrific year and then you have to sign Werth, Lee, Hamels, Howard, Victorino, Rollins, Ruiz, Blanton, Madson; Happ is arbitration eligible. Ruben has some work ahead of him.

  11. thought Hamels and Howard were locked down through 2011? Didn’t they sign 3 yr deals during the offseason? And Ruiz will still be in arbitration after 2010, no? Not sure when Vic passes his arbitration eligibility either.

    Your point is that they can’t afford Halladay due to increasing salaries of the core. That’s true. That’s what happens to really good teams.

  12. I didn’t say for Valle not to catch,just expand his abilities. It isnt uncommon for catchers to play two positions even the great Yogi Berra. At his age it is worth a try especially with another catcher running parallel

    Ruiz didn’t do very well the second half so options should be explored a sixty point drop is worrisome.

  13. i disagree with the belief this team cannot afford to re-up rollins, vic, utley, howard, werth, and sign lee and halliday. the increase would be app. 35-40 mil minus ibanez 2011, myers, and some role players. app. 15-20 mil. difference app. 20 mil. increase. for this teams income revenue thats no problem. app. 150. mil salary. halliday is definately doable.

  14. I doubt the Phillies could sustain a $150 million payroll. My guess is that the Lee trade was made on the bet that the Phillies would make the playoffs and realize additional revenue. Even with a 2nd WS appearance, the Phillies payroll is probably at its peak in the $130-140 range. I don’t expect them to add any major salary at this point. I would be surprised to say the least. That is why guys like Drabek, Brown and Taylor realizing their potential is so important. We won’t ever be the Yankees or Red Sox in payroll. We dont have outside revenue like YES or NESN and we never will.

  15. Nice write-up about the kids. It’s good to hear most are doing well.

    The big club will lose almost 30 million in expiring contracts with Myers, Jenkins, being the 2 biggest and I believe 2 or 3 other guys who are no longer on the team (Thome, Jenkins, Gordon?). This will mostly offset the projected raises Howard, Werth, Vic, Raul, Madson, Hamels, Lee, etc. will get. At least for one year.

    They could afford to bring Halliday on board but will not part with the prospects to do so AND pay the salary…Just won’t happen. Taylor, Brown, Drabek, etc. will be needed to play at a bargain rate when the WFC team gets too expensive in 2011.

    In the meantime, let’s enjoy the ride the big club is taking us on!!! It doesn’t get any better than this.

  16. Ruben came out on radio and said they were not like to continue a large budget for fear they would lose fan support.
    That sounded more like one of the brain dead owners.

  17. here is an idea .
    Get rid of Wheeler and even Sarge and bring in Tommy Hutton from Florida and make you radio/tv team more attractive to new markets WHILE you are on top. Media money has powered the Yankees and Boston. Lets get on the bandwagon

  18. Jumpin’ Says:
    October 24, 2009 at 6:31 PM
    Re Valle: Catchers who can hit are far more valuable than 3b’s. There is no sense trading an of prospect for a 3b prospect. That is too much of a gamble, teams just don’t do that.

    I don’t agree with this at all. Mauer is the best hitting catcher in baseball and there is already talk of moving him to another position to take advantage of his bat.
    If Valle can play 3B and has the bat, I wouldn’t waste the time or put him through the physical beating that he’ll get behind the plate.

  19. Are we really this desperate? Valle is 3-4 years away from the major leagues. You guys want to make him a third baseman because there’s no heir apparent for the big league job? That’s completely ludicrous.

  20. @ Alan

    Yes the Phillies are that desperate for depth at 3rd. Feliz is alright for one more year but what about 2 years from now? The Phillies need to address their infield.

  21. Also, Valle has been reportedly an average defensive catcher at best. Improving, but nothing special. If he is really behind D’Arnaud defensively it would not be the worst thing for the team to consider a move in a year or two. He should catch until he proves he is not a major league catcher. But if his offense turns out to be special, then the team should probably consider a move.

  22. I thought the word was that Valle would likely have to move anyway? Or am I thinking of Kennelly?

    D’Arnaud is the catcher of the future hopefully and with Ruiz’s emergence as a top catcher, Travis has plenty of time to develop in the minors.

  23. it would be stupid to move a catcher to third base just because of need. If all that valle ever does is play average defense and provide above average offense, catcher would maximize his value. IF D’Arnaud and Valle pan out and make ut to the majors, and if d’arnaud is really that much better defensivly, then you could think of maybe trading Valle straight up for a good number 2 pitcher, or moving him to third. There is a no position with less depth in baseball than catcher, and because of that catchers are incredibly valuable, and should be treated as such. third baseman are are in much less demand.

  24. 20 or 30 games at third shouldn’t hurt Valle. Enough to evaluate the idea. A catcher who can play some third is even more valuable. I am not saying “think outside the box” just make it a bigger box. Its better than DHing like he did last year.

  25. WHO isnt sleeker. The Panda reminds me of Rick Rushel a pitcher for the cubs . The big man turned into a big cat when fielding

  26. I’m curious about a move to third for Valle– It would at least be a reasonable means for keeping he and D’Arnaud on the same team as they basically are developing at the same rate. It would allow for Valle to move up as his skills develop rather than having his progression dictated by another player at his position. It definitely won’t help him to play in a less advanced league or to have limited catching opportunities while DHing.

    I don’t know how much clout the Phils have with Los Mochis, but I vote they try to have him moved to third in the Mexican League right now just to get a taste of it, considering he is fighting for playing time at catcher anyway. It couldn’t hurt.

  27. Valle was impressive catching last night in the 3-1 win for Los Mochis. Showed a strong arm throwing to second on a steal and a pick off attempt. He made the 2-3 throw to first on a dribbler in front of the plate look easy. Nothing got by him with baserunners on and the veteran pitchers for the Caneros seemed comfortable with him calling pitches. Nothing like Hamels and Chooch debating pitch selection on the mound in the NLCS. At bat the other side finally decided he can hit a fast and he struggled check swinging at off speed pitches out of the zone. But for 19 years old he is too valuable to move from behind the plate. The only question is will he be better than d’Arnaud.

  28. Ruben seems modern enough to know that his job includes
    developing money scoures as well as players. Multimedia expansion and we can keep Hamels and Lee.

    Mikemike I quess you question comes down to how you view
    age. Hamels will have a big year next year making the porridge sticky. The longer you can wait the better. All three lefties live on an edge(control and deception). Will any one fall off?????

  29. Repeat after me: you don’t move someone down the defensive spectrum until they prove they can’t handle a position. Especially when they’re only 19 years old, and multiple opposing managers noted the defensive progress he’s made as the season went on.

  30. I think Amaro keeps both Lee and Hamels, provided Hamels rights himself. I think the plan is already in place, which is why he would not trade Happ, Drabek, Brown, and Taylor. In 2011 this gives you two very cheap starting OF and very cheap #3, #4 starters. You are stuck with the last year of Ibanez, but we’ve done well enough of late financially to make that work for a season. The #5 starting pitcher will also be cheap — maybe Bastardo or Carpenter or Savery or a cheap pickup. That makes Blanton the guy who leaves. A starting rotation of Lee/Hamels/Drabek/Happ/Bastardo isn’t really all that expensive for a contender. Even Lee/Hamels/Drabek/Happ/Blanton isn’t super expensive, although you likely have to do a little saving elsewhere. A 2011-2 OF of Taylor/Gose/Brown is cheap enough to give you that savings, or you go cheap at 3B or SS.

  31. S. Southpaw – they are only thinking of moving Mauer after 5 years of catching, and even then, will probably not do it for a couple of more years.
    Mauer as a catcher is way, way more valuable than Mauer as a 1B. He will last longer at another position but his peak value is as a catcher.

  32. I know the guys who run the Phillies. One I’ve known for 40 years. In no way is he going to spend more money than he takes in. Not his style… not his style to lose either but 150 # of poo stuffed in a 135# sack causes stuff to spill out. Just not going to happen. If they sign Lee everything will work out. If they sign Blanton reasonably then Hamels is gone. I don’t think Charlie is a fan of the surfer boy unless he is winning. How about a trade for Billingsly (sic) from LA? Both had uncomfortable years, CB is from Reading, CH from SoCal, balances out our rotation, LA would probably have to throw someone in (How about DeJesus for the sky is falling in the infield crowd)?

  33. Hamels is one of my favorite phillies for many reasons, but he does seem to be a different type of player to the other core players. Obviously the clubhouse doesn’t need cloned personalities to be in harmony and win, but if there is one “star” on the big league squad that could be traded for upside or need (also fitting in personality wise) it would be Hamels.

    The Phils would need to get something VERY special for him though given he’s on contract for another 2 seasons at a pretty sensational deal given his potential worth in the open market…even with his down year.

  34. Something that people here forget is contract length. Even assuming that the Phillies could afford to pay the current core AND (say) Halladay (not at all likely IMO, but one can construct a scenario where it could happen), is that some of these players are going to sign for a lot more years than the Phillies usually are willing to agree to. Now, I happen to think the Philles are right to be so conservative – long term contracts for players over 30 are a fools game – but, right or wrong, I don’t see them giving Lee the contract length they would need to keep him. Nor do I think (and I know this is heresy on this board) that they are going to retain Howard.

    Look, I love Howard (if not quite so much as some of his more enthusiastic fans on this board), and would love to see him stay a Phillie. But if he is looking for a 5 plus year contract – that is, 5 years followinghis current contract – he won’t get it from the Phillies. And he shouldn’t. There is just too much risk giving that kind of contract to a 31 year old player (his age after the expiration of the current contract).

    That goes double for Lee, as pitchers are more injury prone. There are a few position players I’d give a 5 plus year contract to (though very very few if the contract started after age 30), but there isn’t a pitcher in either league that I’d give a 5 year contract too. Just too much downside risk.

  35. Many of the points are interesting on the future composition of the team. Hamels is going to right the ship at some point (it could be during the WS) and (unless he gets injured) is going to go on and have a HOF or close to HOF career and the Phillies know this. They will look to sign him long term. They will also sign Blanton to what will probably be a 3 year deal, perhaps with an option and buy-out. If you read carefully between the lines, the front office loves Blanton and why shouldn’t they. He is the innings-eating horse that every good team does and he does what they tell him without complaining. Amaro loves him and will try to sign him.

    The big question mark is Lee. My guess is that the team will try to restructure his deal this off-season – improving the money for this year and extending another 3 years, perhaps with a final option year. My guess is that Lee doesn’t bite, he goes on and has another great season next year and leaves after that year is over (team offers arbitration – he declines and team picks up draft picks).

    The team will face an equally stick situation with Werth. I told folks last year (not sure I said it on this site) that they should have tried to give him a 4 year deal. Werth is now a star and, while I think he’ll give a “Phillie Discount” it’s unclear if this can get done. There’s also the issue of Taylor, and Brown. It’s kind of an “interesting problem.” If the Phillies think that Taylor can hit .310 with 25-30 homers, they will probably offer Werth arbitration (of course, he’ll decline) and take the picks instead. The club could use a high average, good power, hitter in the middle of the line-up. Look how well things clicked when Ibanez was hitting for a high average.

  36. i,m glad i,m not my cfo. as far as howard , lee, they be phillies for life. i mean can you imagine giving schmidt, ripkin, 5 year contracts at 31. guys just fall apart by 35. gose will never see a philies uni and the 2011-12 of will be werth , vic, brown. amazing lets let the best phillies pitcher since schilling walk away, and let the hof 1st baseman do the same. if you guys love howard i,d hate to see what you do with your enemies

  37. john,

    Almost all players lose a lot once they pass 30 – not fall apart necessarily but decline significantly. The fact that you can find a few exceptions* changes nothing – since there is no way to know before hand who those exceptions might be. Sure, Howard could be the rare player who plays as well at 36 as he did at 27 – but the point is this: do you want to bet 100 million plus on it? Especially since there is also a chance that Howard will follow the Mo Vaughn career progression and be out of baseball by 37. No, I don’t think that that is likely. But I do know this: while I think he is worth 20 million a year now, the chance that he is worth that much at age 36 is less than 10%.

    I’d love to see him as a Phillie for life, and if he is willing to take a generous 3 year contract after his current contract expires, it will and should happen. But if not, not. The job of team management is to win ball games and championships. Signing a slow 31 year old first baseman – no matter how good** – to a 5 year contract doesn’t serve that goal well.

    As for Lee, it’s not even worth arguing about. The kind of contracts that star level pitchers get in their 30s are insane. Very few of them end up making sense viewed in retrospect. Pitchers are a crap shoot; much better to take a chance with a young guy rather than tie up a huge chunk of change on a crap shoot.

    *Neither of your examples really proves your point. Ripken suffered a normal decline & was nowhere near the player in his mid thirties as he was in his late 20s. He was still very, very good – but he wasn’t worth the salary at 36 as he was at 30, not even close. Schmidt is a better example of someone keeping his value in his 30s, but even HE declined.

    **And of course we differ a little on that point also. If Howard were, say, Pujols, I’d feel different. Pujols could lose 40% of his value and still be worth a 20 million dollar contract. Howard can’t. If Howard loses 40% of his value he would be a league average first baseman, maybe even less. That’s not a knock on him – there are very, very few players who can lose 40% of their value and still be a star. Howard is great, but not one of them.

  38. The halladay thing is not crazy. But we will need to shed dollars and talent to do so. Example: Trade werth to san fran for baumgargner then ship him to toronto for halladay. The giants get the 5 tool slugger they desperately need. We get halladay. Toronto gets a top prospect. Michael taylor and ben francisco split time in right. We shed werths salary and take on halladays, a modest increase in salary for an ace. Hopefully talyor provides 3/4 of werths production. Then you focus on resigning lee or halladay long term.

  39. Some people seem to live in la-la land. Money is indeed an issue and the likes of Halladay and Lee WILL look for CC money and length. The Phillies just can’t afford that. Even with the contracts going off the books in a year’s time. Roy and Cliff are going to be looking for their own long term well being. They have no allegiances to the Phillies where they would actually take a cut price or length in contract. Cliff has been waiting for FA for a long time and Cliff says it like it is. He has been honest and forthright with his looking forward to his FA year. That is going to be their last chance to get a FAT contract. Their last big contract. Because they won’t be in another situation where they can go out and ask for and get 5 or 6 years.

    LA, Boston, NY (both of them) will all have the money and need for either of them. Unless they have a horrible injury that sidelines them (knock on wood) the Phillies have little chance of getting either past 2010.

    Ruben has a lot of work ahead of him to keep the integral parts and supplement that with adequate complementary players. The Phillies have decent youth coming up. For us to continue with what we want these players need to come up and perform while replacing the expensive stars.

    That’s just the way it is. There is no use diluting ourselves to the contrary. Well, unless the Phillies all of a sudden strike a deal with Comcast, Flyers and Sixers for a Philadelphia branded network.

  40. My guess is that the Phils sign Lee or Hamels long-term (5 year contract), but not both. The prediction here is that it will be Hamels and that is probably the right choice.

    Howard will probably not be signed when his contract ends. Don’t be surprised if Werth is signed and he ultimately ends up taking over at first base. He will be a lot cheaper than Howard and his skills will likely decline more slowly, perhaps much more slowly (see Bill James analysis re: slow decline of players with speed and other “young player” skills versus lumbering sluggers who typically have a fast decline). In any event, Howard is here for another 2 years – that’s a long time these days. They have plenty of time to decide what will happen when his contract ends.

  41. Roy Halladay will never pitch for the Phillies (at least not while he is a “big ticket” acquisition). He doesn’t want to be here and the Phillies have already gone to “Plan B” by acquiring Cliff Lee. That horse has left the barn. Let’s move on.

  42. By trading for Halladay you cut off any avenue for young pitchers to climb the latter like Garcia and Eaton cut off Happ
    (only Halladay can pitch). We need to look at Drabek and others to see if there is a need. A lot will depend on the quality of the opposition at least until midseason.
    Third base to me is a much bigger problem. We need to match any improvement by the Marlins especially

    P.S. It is a good thing Joe G wasn’t good enough for them

  43. blues,
    No, it is not lala land to think Halladay and Hamels could sign contract extensions or even FA deals with Phillies. Yes, it costs $. But the Phillies of today have $. Attendance went up this season and the stadium was essentially sold out. Media revenue increase will follow. Hopefully owners recognize that the increased spending and success have greatly increased revenue and that just as automatically, going cheap and failure on the field will cut revenue.

    Yes, there are spending limits. I don’t expect Howard to be reupped. His output has been slowly going down, and he is not necessarily a good bet for a long contract. Also, it is clear he will not be giving a home town discount. Rollins also won’t be getting a new deal in Philly, his performance is also on the decline.

    A lot of payroll vanishing in next couple years. We stop paying for Thome. Moyer ends after next year, as does Feliz. Ibanez $ go after 2011.

  44. I didn’t say anything about Hamels. I said that it is la-la land to see us getting Lee or Halladay for market value. You know because, unlike Hamels, the club would most certainly not get a home town discount. I don’t even see it being very likely Hamels would.

    Allentown you aren’t looking at this logically. Yes we will be losing fat contracts, but arbitration for players and increasing pay roll for players whose contracts only get bigger with time is not going make for an easy go of it.

    There is an overlap. You are talking about signing Lee or Halladay to long term deals with the club losing pay roll in 2011. Well what about 2011? Are they going to take a MAJOR pay cut that year? The Phillies have money, but they need to be smart, that’s all I’m saying.

    Anything can happen, but it’s smart not to think we can do things we may not be able to. I’ll take Halladay in FA, I’m just not holding my breathe!

  45. Okay, we are WAY off topic, but after what I said about Howard, let me say that, contra allentown, I wouldn’t say that his “output has been slowly going down.” 2009 was, in context and taking defense into account, his second best season – better than 2007, much better than 2008.

    What one CAN say, aside from arguments about career patterns, is that his MVP year was pretty clearly an outlier and unlikely to be repeated.

  46. Now, folks, let’s look on the bright side. This offseason, the Phils will have come off of two consecutive years of World Series appearances, with a relatively young (certainly not old) team and they will have no emergency contract situations to handle. That’s remarkable. They’ve got time to figure this out and, more importantly, they’re loaded for bear for the 2010 season. No, they won’t re-sign everyone after 2010, but more players will stick around than you might expect. And don’t be surprised if Amaro pulls off some interesting trades for young talent. I think he really “gets it” at a very deep level. He has more than earned my respect and trust. He was the GM of the year, in my humble opinion.

  47. Howard’s OPS has followed the path:
    1.084, .976, .881, .931

    58, 47, 48, 45

    Not yet a precipitous decline, and he will be a very good player through the course of his current contract, but I don’t see him as a good bet for the 4 – 6 year contract at bigger $ he is going to want after this contract is over. Somebody will give it to him, but he won’t be a good bargain. He is my favorite Phillies player and I am enjoying him while he’s here, but I don’t see him as a guy who plays out his career in Philly. Yes, the D is better. He is not a gold glover, and the D is not going to be enough to compensate for the decline in offense.

  48. Allentown,

    Well, .931 was a bit higher than .881 last tiem I checked. 🙂 More importantly you are ignoring dfense and context. Defense, horrible in the first three years of his career, is adequate now. And league offense dropped a bit in ’08 and ’09. So at least some of the offensive decline is more apparent than real.

    Take that into account, and normal year to year variation, and what you really have is flat performance, aside from an outlier in ’06. But going forward, if he follows the path of almost all players in history, he will start to decline soon, even not taking into consideration the slow, big first baseman factor (which I discount to some extent given his off season weight loss and conditioning last offseason, and given the fact that it wouldn’t in any case guarentee a quick decline, but only increase the liklihood).

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