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Monday, November 27, 2006


great post jason - i'm an optimst with you. not only is the contract good when compaired to baez but with lieber also. a few years later and only one more mil a year.

i keep finding myself thinking that floyd and burrell will be a package if pat gets traded.

Thanks for the positive take. Too many negatives on the end of the last post about this. He's a power pitcher and we saw that win in the postseason. Let the Dodgers have Wolf's 50-mile-an-hour curve.

ken rosenthal says the phil's think he has 20 win potential. wouldn't it be nice if today is the day philly got our chris carpenter.


For the record, I was in the middle of constructing a post on Fabio Castro starting tonight's game for Cibao when this story broke. So Fabio had to get pushed below the fold. Here's part of it:

As the seasons change, one thing stays the same: Hitters can't touch Fabio Castro. In 19 1-3 innings, he's allowed one run (0.47 ERA) in Dominican winter ball. That's not a puff league, either. Regular-season games take on a playoff atmosphere. He's pitching against a mix of good prospects, hanger-ons and island legends he probably idolizes.

He's shaping up to be a real feather in the cap for talent evaluators. This is now many months of sustained dominance, including his 1.54 ERA in 16 appearances with the Phils.

I like the signing, it gives the rotation a good balance. He does have a little to prove but I think he is a better option than 5 inning at best Randy Wolf. Now lets get a right-handed power hitting and some bullpen help.

A good pickup, he has good potential, if healthy as you pointed out. The team does need another starter someone who could be stashed in the pen or at AAA incase he is needed. Most every team does need an extra starter at some point.
A few bullpen arms are now needed.
I also could see some trading being done to improve the staff at some point. Moving Leiber and an OF (Rowand and/or Burrell) in a couple of trades is possible.

HOT STOVE UPDATE: David Dellucci has agreed to a three-year, $11.5 million deal with the Indians. Phillies will receive a draft pick.

Wow, this is the first move in a little bit that I think works out well for the phillies in terms of BOTH price and potential. It may not pan out, but I like it.

I agree with the person who said that Gavin Floyd may be packaged in a deal... maybe not with Burrell (I wouldn't be shocked if Victorino goes somewhere)... but definitely I think he's gone. Maybe for Crawford! (ha, right)

THAT'S GREAT!!!! Love getting the draft pick for Delucci.

ed - that was me about floyd. it does seem to make sense. quietly there has been a nice cleansing of the team that just wasn't good enough. it's bitter sweet to loss the quality guys like wolf and even bobby and maybe pat, but it's so nice to get some new life in here.

i like the draft pick for dellucci also. he really didn't wanted out of here it seems.

fabio castro is the man. i don't love a left handed set up man, but he is quality. now they need to use him it situations other than mop up and basesloaded game on the line.

*did want out of here or didn't want to be here. not both. lol

Man, there were some dumb comments on the Wolf thread about the Eaton signing. "He's a younger Cory LIdle," for example. Huh? Lidle never threw as hard as Eaton once did. Utterly different pitching styles. I'm sorry to lose Wolf -- you know how I feel about having only 5 ML-ready starters -- but I'd rather the rotation be 3/5ths righthanded than 3/5ths left-handed. I'm with you, Jason -- plenty of potential upside here, and if it doesn't work out, well, that's why I like having 6 starters. But it's hardly a bad move. A lot of the Gillick-bashing seems to be the frustrations of Hot Stovers who'd like to see more action. Don't get me wrong, I haven't forgiven the giveaways of Padilla (somewhat understandable, given the head problems) and Abreu (sorry, still unforgiveable -- what do you think the market would be like today after some of these FA signings?) But I think it's a little soon to pull the trigger, especially considering that whenever he leaves, his replacement will be the untested and no-reason-to-think-he's-up-to-it Ruben Amaro Jr.

i wish i knew why detroit didn't offer the phil's the sheffield package for abreu during the world series run instead of after they lost. the people there were begging for a lefty. bobby probably wouldn't have gone there anyway but it'd be nice to know they offered.

i agree about the lidle thing. weird bringing his name up in comparison to a first rounder who, as you said, throws pretty hard. does eaton even have a sinker, i don't think he does.

Cleveland is a great place for Dellucci. J-Mike was good as a platoon guy. Hopefully we can do something with that pick. There was talk of westbrook and Lee being available but I don't see any real holes in the CLE team. I wouldn't be surprised if they are the Tigers this year.

I really don't like Eaton but I guess you either pay 6-7 million for a 5th starter or you get a Floyd. Besides Zito, Schmidt, Padilla and Meche and maybe Suppan all the FA SP seemed just about the same to me. For whatever upside there is the injury concerns with all of them.

20-game winner? Not a chance.

Not looking for this guy to be an All-Star but improve the horrible pitching the Phils got out of the end of the starting rotation last year.

I would be happy if Eaton gives them 12 wins, 4.00 ERA, and 180-200 innings. That would go a long way to helping this team make the playoffs.

Agreed, MG: Eaton is as much a 20-game winner as Helms is a 30-HR guy. But (if healthy, of course) he is eminently capable of winning 10 games, and that gives the Phillies five starters who easily can be projected to win 10-15 games. As I've said many times, I'll take my chances with that. If anyone can tell me of a rotation in the NL that has this kind of depth one through five, please do so. Again, these are not all-stars, but I think having a balance throughout is at least as good as having two aces and three question marks.

i'd say eaton could win 20 before helms could hit 30. wins are such a lame stat, an offense and some innings and he could do it by accident.

does anyone know what pick we'll get for dellucci. i remember reading they changed the system some in the new cba.

RSB: Florida has an emerging young staff that looks promising. Arizona has a Cy Young winner at the top and is a FA signing away from having a very good staff. The same could be said of San Diego. Dodgers have a strong staff now with Wolf. And the Mets could add Zito and Igawa after it is over. The Phillies have improved, but I hesitate to say they will be the deepest rotation in the NL come opening day.

I am ok with the Eaton signing, I think he will be about as good as wolf would've been and I would prefer a Righty than a Lefty since you cannot have 3 lefties in a rotation.

Also, put me in the camp that we might as well keep The Midnight Mayor of Center City, unless there is a blockbuster where we get a Right handed power hitter and more than likely that is not the case.

Righthander Adam Eaton was 7-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 10 games. In 51 innings, Eaton (6-1, 180) struck out 73 batters and walked 14. ''A good package of body, makeup and has four quality pitches," scouting director Mike Arbuckle says. ''Can be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter on a major league staff."

that's from sporting news on june 17, 1996. lol - i always forget arbuckle was here back then.

ok i'm done posting with this. i can't wait for february 15. i just think it's interesting to read about this kid who is now pitching here as a veteran.




There's no place like Snohomish.

At least that was was the sentiments of the Phillies yesterday as they used their first-round draft pick in the amateur draft, No. 11 overall, to select high school pitcher Adam Eaton of Snohomish, Wash.

Snohomish, located 25 miles north of Seattle, has already sent Earl Averill to the Hall of Fame and Earl Torgeson to the majors. Ironically, Averill's son, Earl Jr., caught for the Phillies in 1963 and Torgeson played first base for the club from 1953-55.

Eaton yearns to be the next player to put Snohomish on the map.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander used his 94 m.p.h. fastball to put up some spectacular numbers this spring -- 10-1,0.83 ERA, 105 strikeouts, just 23 walks and only 29 hits allowed in 68 innings.

"Mark has four quality pitches and can be a No. 1 or 2 starter on a major league staff," Phillies scouting director Mike Arbuckle said. "He can be a power pitcher at the big league level."

Eaton has been compared to a vintage Rich "Goose" Gossage.

"The one thing that we love about this kid is that he competes!" Arbuckle said. "He's got a real mound presence . And, he's a real solid kid off the field. We think he's a great package."

Eaton channels the fury and anger he gets from adversity into positive vibes.

"You can't get down on yourself," Eaton said. "You've got to want to compete.

"I'm stubborn out there on the mound," he said. "I don't like guys getting hits off of me. I don't like that. I give the next guy a little more attention."

It doesn't hurt to own a fastball with a vapor trail, either.

"I've always been able to blow the ball by people," Eaton said. "Hopefully, that will continue. But, I've also got a pretty good curve and I'm working on a cutter and a changeup. I know I've got to work on the aspects of learning how to pitch instead of just being a power guy."

That's one reason he admires Greg Maddux so much.

"I admire guys that can pitch, not just throw," Eaton said.

Eaton played hooky to see how the draft would turn out.

"It's not really hooky. All of my teachers knew," Eaton laughed.

"I'm not surprised the Phillies picked me," Eaton said via conference call. "They've shown a lot of interest all along. My high school coach thought the Phillies and I would be a good match."

Eaton showed he'd done a little homework. Mostly in geography.

"I heard Martinsville (Va., Philadelphia's rookie outlet) has some real good fishing," Eaton said. "I'll have to bring my pole along."

Eaton has a scholarship offer to Washington State, but prefers to go pro. He's hired agents Tom Reich, Adam Katz and Craig Landis to represent him in negotiations.

"I've always dreamed of being a baseball player," he said. "My parents say I was always out in the back yard throwing a ball or hitting."

His progress accelerated by going against his older brothers and their friends.

"I've always been able to hold me own," he said.

He's a gifted all-around athlete. Eaton was a three-year starter on the Panthers basketball team and averaged 15 points per game this winter. He also played shortstop and hit .350 with power when not hurling.

Both Arbuckle and Eaton anticipate a four-year apprenticeship in the minors before Eaton is facing batters at Veterans Stadium.

"There are no quick fix kids coming out of high school," Arbuckle stressed. "We'll take out time developing him."

Arbuckle envisions Eaton blossoming into a dominant force some day.

"He's one of those guys that has a tremendous ceiling," Arbuckle said. "His coach didn't over use him. We've got a relatively fresh arm, because they don't play that much baseball in the Pacific Northwest."

Eaton drew minimal interest a year ago when he flirted with the high 80s on the radar gun. He became a blue chipper when headed 7-to-10 mph on to his heater.

"I got a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger and I worked on my mechanics," Eaton said.

"I was shocked by all of the attention I received early in the season," Eaton admitted. "After a while, I though I'd get drafted. But maybe not this high."

He's anxious to begin his pro career.

"Hopefully we'll get him signed without taking all summer," Arbuckle said. "We anticipate it will take some time,though. The signing process will be slower for everybody because it is an Olympic year. Agents like to sit back and let the market establish itself. The Olympics is a another reason for them to delay. Nobody wants to be the first guy to sign and then have a player selected later get more dollars," Arbuckle explained.

Pre-draft speculation had Philadelphia taking sweet-swinging infielder Eric Chavez of San Diego or Waynesboro (Pa.) phenom Matt White if his $ 2.5 million bonus demands scared teams off.

White did drop, but only to San Francisco in the seventh slot while Oakland scooped up Chavez with the 10 choice, one ahead of the Phillies.

"We gave both strong consideration, but we had our suspicions they'd both be gone when we picked. Would we have taken either? It's a moot point now," Arbuckle said. "We got someone we really wanted. I feel good about this pick."

Historically, the Phillies are .200 hitters with their first-round picks.

For every home run that is Greg Luzinski, there are five swing and misses named Lebo Powell, Trey McCall or Jeff Jackson. For every Larry Christenson, there are colossal flops like Brad Brink, Rip Rollins, Mike Biko.

The draft will continue today and tomorrow and the Phillies will select at least 50 players.

LOAD-DATE: June 6, 1996

I believe the Type A compensation is still a 1st RD pick. Unless the pick is in the top 15 then it would be a 2nd RD pick.

Can't really compare anyone's staff yet with the Zito's and Schmidt's still unsigned. Milwaukee was not named. Sheets and Capuano compare favorably to Myers-Hamels 1-2. After Bush they are a tad weak. Astros if they charm Andy and Rocket back, have Jason Hirsh or Woody Williams as a 5th. Braves still have Smoltz Hudson James at the top and have us trumped in depth especially if Glavine was acquired. Colorado's staff was also looked good. SF with Cain Lowry Morris at the top.

It seems like lots of teams have 3 good SPs but then giant ? at the back end.
So I would say we have a great young 1-2 and guys at the back who should be fairly steady. In the playoffs I'd rather have that better then AVG 3rd SP but over the full season 3 average guys are probably better.

I do not see anything with Eaton that makes me believe that he can be a twenty game winner - more Phillies PR bull. I am not blown away by the signing. Eaton is a middle of the road starter with OK stuff. Good for #5 in the rotation and better than what we had there last season. If he can win ten and keep his ERA below 4.50 I will be happy. He has only come close to 200 innings once – 199 1/3 in 2004. He has twice as many strikeouts to walks in his career, but his WHIP is 1.36 with a G/F ratio near 1.00. That could mean lots of crooked numbers for the opposition.

Just to clarify: I am *not* saying the Phillies have the best pitching rotation in the league. (No one has said I am trying to say that; my clarification is strictly pre-emptive). I am not necessarily even saying it's the deepest - although it *could* turn out to be. I do think it's above-average on the whole, though, and if the offense is also above-average, that leaves concerns like bullpen and the bench to be focused on.

The Phils will be a strong candidate to win 85-90 games - again. Where that gets them is anyone's guess, but I am all but certain that we'll all be hunkered down watching six games a night at the end of September to find out.

There's an element of risk here, given that Eaton has never won more than 11 games, posted an ERA below 4.08 or thrown 200 innings in a season. But there's also a sense that he hasn't yet shown the full range of his talents and the best might be yet to come. On balance, I think I would have slightly preferred to bring Wolfie back--but this is a damn sight better than some of the other names bouncing around. I'm a lot happier paying for Eaton's potential than I would be for, say, Jeff Suppan's fluky October glory.

Otherwise, Jason, I encourage you to keep that Castro post handy for a slow day soon. Given that Eaton and Hamels have had injury troubles and that Lieber and Moyer aren't spring chickens, it's very likely we're going to need more starters; Castro, Justin Germano, Happ, Segovia and Gio G all could see time in the Phils rotation next year.

I would agree with dajafi. I do like the stable of young arms the Phillies have. Hopefully, a few of them will work out. Imagine Myers and Hamels anchoring a rotation of Castro, Segovia, and Gonzalez.

I think you guys tend to overlook that the two times Fabio came in to a gam that mattered he got drilled.

If the Phils see alot of starts next year by Castro, Germano, Happ, Segovia, and Gonzalez, this team won't even be .500.

I'm with you RSB. I do think this rotation all together, is above average. I think Cole Hamels will really blossom this year to make up for the loss of Wolf. I also feel like Eaton will have a much better year this year now that he is injury free. Lieber was one of our best if not the best starter near the end of our season last year so hopefully he can continue with that. And Myers has always been our best pitcher. Our top run producing offense hasn't really changed at all. Actually it got upgraded with acquisition of Wes Helms. The biggest problem this year is the bullpen and if we can make a few FA acquisitions our team will be a legitimate contender. However, maybe I'm just being too optimistic and I'll just be let down again. But right now I'm hoping I'm right.

The over / under for wins is set at 11.5

Which side do you take?

I am going OVER

I love the signing - its the right price

Considering the inflated FA market, its a good signing at a good price. Hopefully he's a late bloomer, and the pitching market is really pretty barren, beyond guys like Schmidt, Padilla, or Lily, none of whom the Phillies were going to sign. It helps solidify the rotation... but he needs to hold up for a whole year, which based on past history is rather unlikely. If the Phillies can keep their starting 5 intact for most of the season, they have a good WC shot. I don't think thats going to happen, and looking at the current roster, I'm not sure how anyone can really expect it to happen. Better hope Matthieson puts it together quick.

For Dellucci, We get the Indians’ 2nd round pick because Cleveland has one of the top 15 picks in the 1st round.

RSB: Do you make yourself look foolish on purpose?
Go back and look at the Phils pitching stats last season compared to the rest of the NL. Then look at the depth charts of the NL teams, understanding that a lot of FAs haven't landed yet.
Your ridiculous statement "If anyone can tell me of a rotation in the NL that has this kind of depth one through five, please do so" clearly implies you think the Phils have the best pitching in the NL, as Jason said.
Your statement is, like your fantasies about Abreu and Burrell and the Phils biggest need being a #5 hitter, preposterous. Get a dose of reality and stop looking like a fool.

On another topic, Dellucci didn't want to play here and is most suited to DH, so this is no surprise at all.

I think this is the best signing of the Gillick era, despite the risk. Even though Eaton is getting a contract completely out of line with his success, it's clear the Phillies had cash to spend with the new CBA and I'm glad they have put it into the pitching staff. Eaton is basically still a project at this point, but it is only a three year deal and it won't handicap the team.

Considering that the big guns (Zito, Schmidt) were not comming here, this was a neccesary move.

RSB: Ooops, I just saw your clarification. Glad you haven't taken total loss of your senses.

The Phillies got some pitching. Let's enjoy a little fun and fellowship for a change.

If injury/incarceration isn't an issue, the Phillies have three of five rotation spots cemented until Myers becomes a free agent in 2009. If you count Moyer, who's inked through 2008, it's four of five.

We should expect a slight shift in how young pitchers are being handled, because now, the holes are clearly in the 'pen.

I'm all for this, and I'm all for what Gillick did with Hamels and Mathieson by bringing them up when the prior regime would have held them back. For example, I don’t see anything wrong with testing a control pitcher like Segovia as a reliever at some point in 2007, or stretching Castro into a starter, only to turn him back into a reliever if the need occurs. Or heaven forbid, this crazy notion of inserting Castro (16 G, 1.54 ERA) in the 2007 bullpen.

Not every pitcher is a faberge egg like Gavin Floyd. They can handle it. "Do what's best for the team" is a creed the Phillies have followed less than any organization in baseball. When Mathieson comes back, stretch him out and get him work, and if there are no openings, stick him in the bullpen. It’s probably where he belongs anyway.

With Hamels, Myers and Eaton, they're blessed with just a little more license to do what's best for the Phillies now. There’s no use wasting pitchers with talent just to serve as No. 7 starters in Ottawa, when there could be potential to have them contribute in other ways. "Potential No. 4-5 starter" has to be the most meaningless scouting report of all, and it's attatched to many of the arms in the Phillies' system.

Are there any actual comments of Schmidt or Zito saying that they had no desire to pitch here? Or is it a Philly based spin so they don't have to pay? I'd like to see some actual quotes if anyone has them. I find it hard to believe that if the price was right, that the team would have no shot at signing at least one of them (preferably Schmidt). I know it is moot now, but I am curious nonetheless.

Some people here seem to have an underlying theme of "I'd rather have Wolf." Let's not forget that Wolf wasn't an option. I think he was the best pitcher out there considering Zito, Schmidt, and Wolf didn't want to be in Philadelphia. Gillick did the best he could with his options.

I agree Jason but you have to factor in injury with this pitching staff. Eaton & Hamels both have a history of injury problems. Plus,
Gordon, Lieber, and Moyer all have alot of miles on the tank.

I see the biggest issue as getting someone that can close games if Gordon goes down for an extended time. I do not have faith that Gordon will stay healthy and be effective for the entire year.

The two marquee free-agent names -- Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt -- have made it known that they have no interest in pitching in Philadelphia, specifically Citizens Bank Park. Both are from the West Coast and prefer to stay there.

i put in another post - zito wants to get in to the hall of fame. he would have no chance of that here. schmidt is a rich older baseball player. another couple mill a year won't get it done.

Thanks, Tim.

this is an ok signing at best, all things considered. a lot of risk involved. on one hand, they paid what is probably going to be the league average salary to a serviceable starting pitcher. on the other hand, "if he stays healthy" is going to be a phrase i'm sure to be sick of by the time april rolls around. i wouldn't even be surprised if eaton has to sit out part of spring training -- not only has he never thrown 200 innings, he's only had two seasons out 10 of more than 135 IP at the major league level. if he's healthy, good solid signing. if not, its 3 years of 2005 padilla all over again.

more stats: his rookie year was the only ERA+ he's posted above 100 and that was 103. 2003, his first year back from TJ, was the last time he had more IP than hits. his GB:FB ratio the past 3 years is about 1, which is neither here nor there. finally, his baseball reference comparables seem generous: brett myers, john lackey, josh beckett.

IF HEALTHY, by some miracle, a decent #5 with a chance to replace lieber as a #3.

"Smith, 54, was Seattle's third base coach from 1996 to 1999."

So this one was also Manuel's choice all the way, right?

Jason, like you, I'm hoping this move has a ripple effect. My first thought was its a rotation none-too-imposing with leiber in it, but there's still trading to go so I guess that might change. Nice to not lose draft picks as well.

If they couldn't gamble on wolf's improvement, not bad to gamble on Eaton's arm. But its still not the definitive improvement in pitching I was hoping for. I hope Gillick recognises this and starts looking at trade options.

And who's going to play right now? Nice to have got draft picks for Delluci, though.

Starting 5 for 2007 is clearly better than last year: Myers, Hamels, Lieber, Moyer, & Eaton VS Lieber, Myers, Lidle, Floyd, & Madson.

Relief pitching should be better w/Madson, Castro, Gordon, Geary, M.Smith and whoever else they pick up.

Barring any major injury this is our best chance in a long time with much improved pitching staff and solid hitting.

Bix - I guess what I was saying that the SP now is not definitively better then it was at the end of the season. As pitchers Eaton and wolf still have room for improvement, and both represent a gamble.

But I take your point that provided Eaton and Hamels stay healthy, we may be better over a whole season. I fret about leiber tho', and really wish that gillick had looked at seeing if he could trade lieber for relief and rowand for a garcia or somesuch.

My own theory is that if we would have had the SP at the end of '06 to begin '06, we would have had at least 5 more wins and made the playoffs.

This is a good signing for the Gillick era. Now he needs to make a deal for some BP help, which if they use Castro may be slightly less dire. He does this, and it will have been a good offseason, not great, but good.

As much as I like Abreu it was the move that put us in a position to get the necessary make-over.

Howard became the face of the organization, SP staff with Hamels, Lieber (mechanics fixed) and later Moyer much improved, and the catching situation became stablized. The BP was the cause for most of the problems (GOODBYE ARTHUR) but I love Matt Smith along with Castro in the mix with Geary and Gordon. We are finally almost 10 strong (maybe Madson with come around again with a pick up or minor leaguer sticking as well).

Gillick has a few more things up his sleeve as he has been coy about what is going on but it appears some trade talk is happening behind the scenes.

We are lucky to him as he is not afraid to make moves and some have fizzled but I like where we are at and where we are going.

I like Eaton so much better than Wolf. I couldn't take another year of 65 mph curveballs and throwing 95 pitches through 4 innings.

Looking at Eaton's stats doesn't do anything to make me feel like he can win 12 games let alone 20! When he pitches, the 2006 strategy of outslugging the other team will be what is needed to give Eaton a victory. He will not be involved in any 2-1 games.

On the positive side, I'm glad Gillick did sign a legitimate starter, as Eaton is said to have four good pitches.

In the Eaton article it said that the Texas Rangers have lost five players, Eaton plus infielder Mark DeRosa, center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., left fielder Carlos Lee and catcher Rod Barajas. They've only signed one player, outfielder Frank Catalanotto. I'm glad I'm not a Rangers fan.

compard to the giants the rangers are having a great offseason. right now the giants only have 2 starting position players on their roster. lol

gthe big surprise to me this offseason is san diego. they let boochy (sp?) go and don't even get in negotiations with any of the hitters on the market. odd.

clout, I'm curious to get your take on this move. I know that you have continuously claimed that this is not a playoff caliber staff, and I have agreed. Where do you think this move puts the Phillies (incremental wins, etc.)? I'm somewhere "in between" on this. Certainly, Eaton doesn't have a chance at 20 wins, especially in CBP, and his groundball throwing is purely speculative at this point. It seems that the majority of the optimism is based on speculation and potential (for a 29 yr old), rather than previous performance in pitcher's parks. I'm all for the positive scouting comments, however, I also remain skeptical considering the very little interest to this point in Eaton (all the other teams have scouts, too).

Jason (or anyone else for that matter), Is there any way that we can get some sort of information into the off-season rest/recuperation/rehab efforts of guys like Burrell and Gordon? I know I've asked in the past and it's probably not exactly "news worthy," but I think this is perhaps some of the info that could determine the Phils' fate next year. I'd almost prefer that these sandbag Spring Training and come back healthy next year than limp through the season again.

Good question, Willard. These injuries are almost a classified secret. What exactly is wrong with Burrell's foot? What is the rehabilitation schedule? Does he require more surgery? Therapy? Foot massage at an oriental massage parlor? The Gordon stuff is X-Files Top Secret.

Burrell is rehabbing in the bars and nightclubs of South Florida. He's never been better!

Is that the "Soak the injury in alcohol, preferably internally, method" of rehabilitation?

Maybe we can get insider Ken Mandel to catch up with PB on South Beach one night.

I would like to ask a question, and hope for some illuminating answers from the 'regulars' here:

I see many references to "he's a #4 or a #5" starter. Could someone define that for me in terms other than the obvious fact that they would be the 4th or 5th starter in the rotation? How is this defined in terms of expected performance, wins, ERA or IP? Is it below league average, or at league average? I've seen Eaton described as a good #5, or not good enough to be a #2. Huh?

Also, Adam Eaton will not win 20 games in 2007. Not one pitcher in all of baseball won 20 games in 2006. 20 wins is now almost impossible because starters don't pitch enough games and innings any more. Sad but true.

WP - eaton's groundball throwing isn't speculative - Well, slightly unfair, he's only managed two season's where he's thrown more gb's than fb's and even then he's not shown himself to be heavily reliant on them (never over 50%).

I think the only time the labels #1, #2, #3, etc matters is the beginning of the year. If Eaton is outpitching Moyer and Lieber down the stretch they would skip Moyer or Liebers turn in the rotation.

That post came out all wrong. Meant to say that 'eaton's groundball throwing wasn't speculative, it's non-existent.' The link still holds all the data tho'.

I condur with this discussion of numbering the pitchers in the rotation. Clearly, you want your best starter starting first. To me that is Hamels, with Myers, number 2. Lieber and Moyer probably have more of a claim for numbers 3 and 4 with Eaton being the new guy getting 5. However, to get the best of the lefty-righty switch, if Hamels is one, then Moyer will be third. Likewwise if Myers is one, then Lieber would be third. The numbers are meaningless after the season starts, it is merely a rotation.

Condur should have been "concur".

My plan would be to trade Lieber for bullpen and/or outfield help. He is cheap at $7.5 mil for one season. Then overpay for Schmidt.

Agreed Oisin, Eaton is NOT a GB pitcher at all...I don't know where that rumor began, but his % of FB is almost exactly that of Wolf's.

"In the Eaton article it said that the Texas Rangers have lost five players, Eaton plus infielder Mark DeRosa, center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., left fielder Carlos Lee and catcher Rod Barajas. They've only signed one player, outfielder Frank Catalanotto. I'm glad I'm not a Rangers fan."

LF, considering that the DeRossa, Mathews, and Lee signings were all ridiculous (and that the former two players are the definition of average) and that Catalanotto isn't that far away from Lee (and for $85M less), I'd be happy about these moves. If they lose Padilla, however, that would be bad.

What the Rangers seem to realize is that there home park inflates offensive numbers and that they shouldn't overpay average guys who put up good numbers in a hitter's park. Expect Mathews and DeRosa to return to their historical mediocrity and Lee to be dead weight (pun intended) by 2009.

Oh, and some quick evidence for the previous claim:

Career OPS+
Lee - 113
Cat - 109

Lee - 6y/100M
Cat - 3y/13M

kdon, I know the Rangers' players went for ridiculous salaries, but it still leaves holes in the Rangers' roster. At least the Phillies have a complete roster.

We may argue about the ability of some of these roster players to perform, but they are here. We talk about holes in the bullpen, but essentially, the bullpen consists of incomplete pitchers, guys that don't have enough pitches or stamina to go through a lineup more than once. I think we should be able to find guys like that.

george s, a #5 starter in my book is 180 IP of league average ball. define that anyway you like. to me, what makes a guy a true #5 is that his upside years are gone and you are looking for something stable and of major league quality. its essentially the late cory lidle territory, maybe a shade below his phils years. its the opposite of gavin floyd at this point. he is a project. adam eaton is a little bit of a hyrid in that he has some upside, is a bit of a project, but IF HEALTHY should provide about what a #4 or #5 grade starter should be on a competitive ballclub.

Speaking of the Rangers, Pat Gillick's connection to them has been even more pronounced than his connection to the Mariners. Since he took over the Phils' GM job, he has:

*traded Padilla to TEXAS for Ricardo Rodriguez (cringe)
*traded Rob Tejada to TEXAS for Dellucci
*traded Daniel Haigwood to TEXAS for Fabio Castro
*signed Adam Eaton from TEXAS
*hired Charlie Kerfeld as special assistant, directly from TEXAS
*hired Steve Smith, former TEXAS coach

Kind of bizarre.

Meanwhile, Bill1Chair has a typically meandering column this morning, mocking both bloggers (for being dumbkopfs) and the Phillies (for being cheap). I'm more likely to agree with him on the first count, actually (I mean, hell, none of *us* knew where Pitcairn Island was). But Conlin could just as easily have broken out his alternate column about how stupid the Phillies would have been to sign any one of those coveted players he now laments, if they had elected to fork over the loot to any one of them. I seem to recall a "just say Soria-NO" column just a couple of weeks back. Yet now he scoffs that the Phillies would stoop to actually signing a pitcher instead. C'mon Bill - you're entertaining, but your only consistency seems to be glib criticism no matter what the turnout.

good assessment GR. if you're #5 comes with some room for development, great. If on the other hand he's jamie moyer, that's okay.

although I think it was a sensible -if underwhelming - deal, I'm going to fuss about the innings he can log. in 08 it may not be much of an issue, but in 07 we may be stretched a bit thin - forced to throw in gonzalez or happ ahead of schedule. Tho I guess it wouldn't be the worse thing in the world.

For the poster who thought it was a good idea to push pitchers as hard as possible since they may sign elsewhere in the future

ESPN's Keith Law has this to say about the Eaton signing:

The first starting pitcher to change teams was a bit of a surprise, as Adam Eaton was expected to trail the market, signing after the Ted Lilly-Gil Meche-Vicente Padilla class signed and set the market. Instead, we now have a reference point on the floor end for those pitchers, whose agents will almost certainly all be seeking $9-10 million per year on four-year deals, pointing to Eaton as their justification.

Eaton steps in as the nominal fourth starter, likely pushing Jamie Moyer to the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation. Eaton has been a slightly below league-average starter for much of his career, and he's only topped 140 innings pitched in two major league seasons. Moreover, Citizens Bank Park isn't a very good fit for Eaton, who is a slight flyball pitcher with a chronic home run problem. Citizens Bank Park was plus-20 percent for home runs last season and plus-29 percent in '05; Eaton gave up 11 bombs in just 65 innings in '06, and has been homer-prone for his entire career despite spending 2004 and 2005 in one of the best pitchers' parks in baseball (San Diego's Petco Park).

When Chase Utley and Ryan Howard start earning stratospheric salaries through arbitration in 2008, Eaton's contract is just going to put the Phillies back in the financial bind they tried to escape when they gave Bobby Abreu to the Yankees. Eaton will need to put up the best performances of his career to make this a good investment for Philadelphia.

willard: As I said on an earlier thread, I think the Eaton signing is a good one as he was the best of the second tier pitchers except for Padilla (and I hope that irony isn't lost on anyone.)
But all this does is get them back to 5 starters after losing Wolf. They have no one in the minors ready to step in, so they need at least one more vet who can start when Lieber or Moyer show their age or Hamels gets hurt again. A swingman like Bautista would fit the bill. But now they must turn their attention to the bullpen and sign at least 2 pitchers, ideally one who can close when Gordon breaks down and one who can set him up.
P.S. One positive about Eaton that hasn't been mentioned: His home/away splits the past 3 years have been pretty even. So the extreme pitchers park in SD and extreme hitters park last year didn't impact him much. He will give up HRs, however.

So what were the Phillies supposed to do, Tray, not get a fifth pitcher? If you want to pursue *any* free agent of any value, you're going to have to pay. And since the Phillies have so little leeway in their ability to make trades, it's hard to figure what else you would have had them do. Considering the options and the market right now, this doesn't seem like a bad investment. I think it's kind of far-fetched (if I may diplomatically understate) to suggest that Eaton's contract is going to debilitate the Phillies the way Burrell's or Abreu's, unless you happen to psychically know that he is going to blow out his elbow signing autographs at the Phillies Caravan and never throw a pitch with his new team.

Perhaps I should be directing that rhetoric at Vance Law and not you, Tray. Sorry.

..."Vance" Law? Oof. Showing my age.

RSB: Burrell's contract has debilitated the Phillies? Have you been paying attention?

I hope Eaton's tendency to give up home runs does not make him Ryan Franklin II. That's all we need! Clout is right on, however, the ESPN - Keth Law take on Eaton is scary. Let's hope that Eaton realizes that he has the chance to start on a winning team and decides to be a winner himself.

Yeah, I think I'm paying attention, Clout. The Phillies have been trying to trade Burrell for an entire year and have gotten nowhere. Did I miss something there? Oh, right - now he's a bargain because Soriano and Lee signed for over $100 million. Yes, now suddenly the Phillies are downright blessed and charmed to have his fat long-term contract and limited no-trade clause on the books. I gotcha.

A couple of things about Eaton.
Injury history- Lest see he had TJ surgery back in 01-02. He got hit in the finger by a hit ball. Freak accident. Don't see history of pitching injury to worry about.

HR-One season he gave up 28 HR. Has anybody bothered to check on who and what pitchers that haven't given up that much.

SO/W- His strikeout to walk ratio is awesome. This guy must have great control on his pitches.

IMO, he is the #3 pitcher on this staff. Having Lieber as the 4th and Moyer as the 5th this is a pretty decent pitching staff. Much much better then last year.

RSB: Like it or not, that's the new reality. I know reality is not something you recognize, but it exists nonetheless.

PhillyRocks: That's where I'd slot him. I like his chances of having a decent year far better than Moyer's or Lieber's.

Observers feel Eaton has the tools to keep balls down. There's nothing wrong with a scouting report like that. Obviously, the previous stats are beneficial in predicting where he's going, and also reveal he has given up a high percentage of fly balls. This revelation doesn't make or break him, however. Who doesn't give up homers in CBP? They all do. Jamie Moyer gave up a boatload in his brief time here, and I thought he did a fantastic job.

The general idea is the Phillies are banking on continued improvement and like his talent. Moving from the park in San Diego to a hitters park in Philadelphia will obviously change his approach, so the early career numbers in SD, mixed in with all those injuries, need to be taken with a grain of salt.

RSB, not to nitpick (because I'm sure clout will take care of that), but long term contract? Burrell is signed through 2008. if there's one thing Burrell haters and non-haters can agree on, it's that we won't have to put up with/appreciate him for much longer.

I do agree with your criticism of Law's column though. apparently he's suggesting that the Phillies not sign a fifth starter, which I have to concede would certainly save money.

Jason - its interesting to hear that scouting report on him. It's a classic illustration of how both numbers and assessment can compliment each other. The numbers to date say he hasn't been successful at pitching with groundballs, but combined with his injury history and the scouts assesment, it doesn't preclude him changing his game - merely suggests its not likely to happen on the basis of past performance

I didn't mean to suggest that as fly ball pitcher, he'd be useless. And I can see how a history of injury and mechanics could affect a player's ability to throw certain kinds of pitches. My main concern about him as a number 4/5 pitcher is durability. Anything he does after that is okay. How his price tag projects is another question, but we're better off to have sorted a solution now and see how the market pans out.

Law must be kidding, right. $8M for a stater is going to handicap a team that will proabably have a payroll around $100M by '08. Don't think so, Lieber will be gone next year and Moyer the year after. Cole will be cheap, Myers will still be under arb., and Eaton will be signed to a league average deal.

Also, there is simply no argument that either Abreu or Burrell have been overpaid so far. It's possible that Burrell may slow down significantly because of injuries, but so far, so good.

RSB, is this line:

"The Phillies have been trying to trade Burrell for an entire year and have gotten nowhere. Did I miss something there? Oh, right - now he's a bargain because Soriano and Lee signed for over $100 million. Yes, now suddenly the Phillies are downright blessed and charmed to have his fat long-term contract and limited no-trade clause on the books. I gotcha."

meant to be sarcastic? Snark aside, it actually reads like a fairly coherent argument in favor of reavaluating Burrell's contract in light of the new market.

Also, what "fat long-term contract" are you talking about? Burrell has completely earned his money the last 4 years (he was paid 1M, 4M, 7M, and 9M) and is signed for only two more years. You may not think he will earn it, but right now it is only a two year, $27M deal, which is a steal in this market.

I don't know. I think it's just grossly obvious that Charlie probably costs us a few games a season, and since we always seem to be in the wild card race only to lose it by a game or two, it might be a good idea to get a better manager. Other than that, the area that really needs improvement is the bullpen. I'm not looking forward to another season of Gordon as closer and Geary or someone of that ilk as the 8th-inning guy.

"I'm not looking forward to another season of Gordon as closer and Geary or someone of that ilk as the 8th-inning guy."

I don't mean this as an insult, but if you really feel that way then you're probably best off following a different team...

Chad Bradford, a guy the Phillies really could've used, has signed with the Orioles apparently. Borowski is still available.

The other interesting bullpen guy the O's snapped up (in addition to Baez, Bradford and Jaime Walker) is Scott Williamson. Someone look at his numbers and tell me what to reasonably expect from this guy in 2007, because I have absolutely no idea.

Which is, of course, what makes him exactly the type of guy you sign for $900,000 and feel out in Spring Training / early season.

Borowski would be a huge get. I'm not holding my breath, though. Man, it took more than 80+ posts for the first shot across the bow at Charlie? What's wrong guys?

Seriously, though, CM will be under some serious scrutiny and hopefully will be on a short leash. The Phils, as constructed (and as will likely take the field in a few months) can NOT afford another start to a season like they had last year. Especially if Pat Burrell, a big part of the offensive plan as it now stands, is going to continue to be playing partially injured (still waiting on that injury report) for the latter half of the year. With so many "medical question marks" and "advanced age" players, a hot start is going to be paramount to the season. A trade deadline streak is great and all, but I'd rather have a cushion (a la our favorite team in blue and orange). I'd like to see Rollins catch fire early, for a nice change of pace.

Tray, The Phils hit very well with Manuel behind the bench. For as much as his poor judgement costs us games, it is way too risky to replace him with an unknown manager, who may end up spoiling the consistently above average run scoring the Phils have enjoyed for 2 years now. Why mess with that? PG is not stupid. Manuel is a very good hitter's manager, period.

I would *lurve* to have the GasCan setting up... He's the most solid, reliable, rubber armish guy we have in the pen.

you know ... reading that last post, it makes it sound like Geoff Geary may be in the Bullpen in a Rubber Gimp Suit, wearing the Quaker Oats Guy's hat...

(Rubber Amish Guy)

Book this, the rotation will be Myers, Moyers, Lieber, Hamels and Eaton. Not saying they SHOULD do it this way, but they will want to go R-L-R-L-R and they will not want to put too much pressure on King Cole. Personally I would go with...

Moyer, Myers, Hamels, Eaton, Lieber..then you still get the L-R switch and you can really play with hitters minds by having Moyer, Myers, Hamels back2back2back in terms of changing pitching speeds.

If they are more than 5 games under .500 at any point in April Charlie must go.

"4th or 5th starter in the rotation? How is this defined in terms of expected performance, wins, ERA or IP? Is it below league average, or at league average? I've seen Eaton described as a good #5, or not good enough to be a #2. Huh?"

I don't know if this is old news yet (seeing as this is my first comment on this posting), but a 4th or 5th starter are generally supposed to be the "veteran prescence". They are innings-eating, keep-your-team-in-the-game kinda guys. Generally, they're not expected to pitch more than 6-7 innings a game. They're probably the most economical pitchers (like the number three), and aren't very overpowering. You won't see a lot (and I'd venture to say none of)the 4th and 5th starters having a 95-mph fastball. You can expect these pitchers to win (hopefully) 10 games and keep his ERA under 4.00-4.50.

Hope that was helpful for you!

And to be honest, I'm rather excited at the possibilities for Castro. I don't think he'll be groomed as a starter -- The Phils need good bullpen arms, and see him as a reliever. I expect that Castro, along with Scott Mathieson, will be groomed as the set-up man and closer of the future, respectively. Mathieson is a lights-out type pitcher who doesn't have much command (can you say Billy Wagner?), and Castro is a mixture of power and command. The prevailing thinking in the organization is to test Mathieson as a big-league starter (which was a messy proposition in 2006), and if he "fails", they will put him in the 'pen. His elbow injury, although unfortunate, comes at a good time. He'll rehab this year and be ready for big-league service by the middle of the '08 season, just before Tom Gordon's contract runs out.

However, the Phils also are looking at Segovia as a closer. He had Tommy John surgery and recovered nicely last season. He used to have an incredible fastball, but has lost a few mph of velocity on it due to his surgery. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out. Good job on digging some info up on Castro, Jason!

Gillick seems to be a day late and dollar short this offseason. What is Gillick doing about shoring up the pen?

I would have loved to see Bradford here. Is he a flamethrowing, set-up man? - No. But Bradford has a ridiculous G/F ratio and would have been an ideal pitcher at CBP.

The Phils only have two solid options in the pen right now - Geary and Gordon. Sadly, I am willing to bet that both guys see an least one extended trip to the 15-day DL next year.

Time for Gillick to get in gear.

You know, for all our griping about Gillick not throwing money at a "name" reliever, there is still value out there, value beyond - dare I say it - Borowski and Weathers:

J.C. Romero (30) - Last year he was bad. Three of the four previous years he was quite good, including a 2002 that was spectacular. Classic value pickup.

Alan Embree (35) – 53 Ks in 52 IP last year, and only 15 walks. What’s not to like?

LaTroy Hawkins (33) – Headcase or Talent? I’d pay 1 million to find out. Terrific in 2002-2004, his walks really only spiked in 2005, and he’s been quite good, despite his reputation. Pay no attention to last year’s plummeting K rate.

Eric Gagne (30) – Boras still thinks he can get him a one-year, 10-million dollar deal. Once reality moves in, so should the Phillies. Even during his injury-plagued 2005, he was spectacular – 22 K’s in 13 IP.

Darren Oliver (35) –He threw 81 good innings for the Mutts last year. Won’t kill us, and as a setup option he makes as much sense as Arthur Rhodes did.

Rudy Seanez (36) – Even in his much-maligned 2006 he had 54 Ks in 53 IP. His 2005 was brilliant, with 80 Ks in 60-some IP. Not a bad gamble.

All of these guys have warts; most of them are old; and none are going to put the fear of God into the opposition, at least on paper. But this, to me, seems to be the key to bullpen construction, the basics of which are largely lost on our team: shell out for your dominant guys, and fill the rest with internal options and scrap-heap signings (Bobby Jenks, anyone?). Gillick is right to stay out of a market that tells you to pay through the nose for the middle-tier, just because of their name-recognition, because, as Clout will tell you, no one’s performance varies more year-to-year than relievers. So if we’re going to gamble, we might as well be smart about it.

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