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Saturday, February 05, 2011


***That means he could become the first professional hitting instructor for ballyhooed prospect Bryce Harper.***

You know, I actually almost feel bad for Harper.

"Son, listen to me and you too can be a career .265 hitter with no power."

I was rather amazed they didn't just release Baez anyway. OK, it's worth looking at him in Spring Training but does anyone think he's going to set the world on fire? Not this man.

I'd be much happier seeing what the younger guys got.

If it were me, I'd keep both KK and Worley stretched out in AAA and let Herndon, De Fratus, Scwhimer, Mathieson battle for that last spot.

NEPP: Last spot? You're assuming then that the team is going with only 6 relievers, not 7. Many of us have advocated that because of the rotation we now have, but I see no evidence that Charlie and the Phils won't do what they always do--carry 7 relievers.

The other advantage of keeping KK at AAA is that he will earn only $66,200 in salary for the year rather than $2.45 Million he will earn if he is on the major league roster.

I wouldn't release Baez right away, but he'd have to earn his spot. Given that they haven't brought in an outside bat, it looks like they're still going with 7 relievers and 5 bench players. Thus, my roster would look like:

2 of Baez/Herndon/DeFratus/Mathieson/KK/Worley, etc.


I tend to agree with Jack, except I think if they can trade Blanton, they may use a small chunk of the money for a veteran bat who can play center to replace Mayberry. Jim Edmonds would have been ideal.

Sounds like there are some jobs to be won in spring training.

This is certainly a minority view among my Beerleaguer company, but I hope Baez does pitch well in spring training and make the roster. He's had an up & down career but, when he has been up, he has been pretty good. I have absolutely no idea if Mathieson, DeFratus, or Schwimmer can be productive major league relievers this year. On the other hand, I know for a fact that Baez CAN be if he keeps his walk rate under control & pitches as he has done before -- most recently, in 2009.

You can't tell your Julio Santana's without a scorecard.

... isn't there greater value in keeping Kendrick stretched out as a sixth starter down in the minor leagues? Nothing in Kendrick's repertoire suggests a solid future in the 'pen....

Thank you, Jayson! I probably look like I have some pretty creepy man-love for Kendrick at this point, but I really believe that 11 games over .500; a sub 5.0 ERA plus durability earns this guy a roll as starter. As the post notes, we're swimming in potential long men/swing men.

In a related topic, I got schooled last year about Scott Mathieson. Hard to believe how big-league hitters can mash a laser-straight 4-seamer, even at 95mph+. I just wonder if he's learned a splitter.

It's amazing to watch Jose Contreras take a measured amount of time in setting up that grip and then watching his good split finger go off like a grenade. It's my guess that Mathieson doesn't have mitts like Contreras, but who knows? Plenty of small of stature pitchers have featured vicious breaking balls.

From the previous thread:

clout, JDimaggio and Lefty O'Doul(who Ted Williams saw as a kid and patterned his swing after) were both PCL alumni, both before their MLB days(Dimaggio) and before and after(O'Doul).

There were really good players in that league.

"in games where the four aces can't make it past the seventh inning."

JW, I know you didn't mean it that way, but Joe Blanton could take that as a diss.

JB: "Yo, what about me, JW...what about me?"

We've discussed this previously, but the only option Brad Lidge is looking at in 2012 is free agency, not the one the Phillies have on his services.

IMHO, the FO would be lunatics to to exercise that option.

I predict that the Phillies will make every effort to bring Madson back. I would not be surprised to see him get an extension before the end of the season, with the caveat that his agent likes his players to test free agency.

MLB should be more like the NFL with these high priced contracts to dodo performers like Baez, and before him Adam Eaton. You should only be paid if you make the roster. Why should the Phillies pay this guy in one year, more than I'll make in 30 years, when he sucks?

Lake Fred: Because at the time the contract was made, that guy had an incredibly rare and valuable skillset that, frankly, you don't have. Though I'm sure you're good at whatever it is you do.

Anyway, this is basic economics. Whether it's a guaranteed contract or not doesn't matter--it's all taken into account during the bargaining. If there's risk that the player will be terrible and not earn the end of his contract, that risk is accounted for in the final price of the contract. The team assumes that risk when it makes the deal, and they understand that. There's no real issue here.

I think Baez will be better this year.

He's had some up and down years in the past... lets hope 2011 is an up year.

For the poster looking for the clout day pic (fair warning...) just do a search of old BL archives for March. Here's the 2009 link, but pic isn't populating on my iPad for some reason (probably a safety feature!)

Not a Baez fan, but....if we're going to pay him anyway, let's give him another shot. I'm not quite as sick of him as I was of Adam Eaton. If he proves as well as Eaton did, that he's not helping the team, then he can go.

Although yhey are mutually exclusive, I'd much rather roll the dice on Baez than on Sarge Jr, no matter who is paying his salary.

Baez has a history of up and down years.

Eaton's history in Philly was on of a few good starts, general suckiness and a serious attitude problem.

I come down on the side of giving him a shot, at least until June.

If Lidge can come back to a respectable season after '09, there's reason to believe that Baez isn't a lost cause.

Baez is bad. If he bounces back...great. But don't count on it.

Hey bap, what are the chances that DeFratus or Schwimer are at least mediocre? Now. What are the chances that Baez is at least medicore? Compare and contrast.

(My guess? I'm holding might right pointer finger and thumb very very close together.)

Or, since Chinese New Year just passed: Ma ma, hu hu.

Baez is generally more bu hao than ma ma hu hu.

"Baez is bad"

He still throws in the mid 90s and has an average curve - not quite a full 12-6, but pretty close.

He couldnt locate his fastball last season and overuses his secondary stuff when he didnt trust his fastball.

I don't think it's unreasonable to think that he can be effective again.

"The team assumes that risk when it makes the deal, and they understand that. There's no real issue here."

Jack, the whole issue here on BL about Baez is that he sucks and he's overpaid. We assume no risk on BL.

They broguht Baez in because he used to be the O's closer and they wanted an insurance policy for Lidge. The problem with bring him in is he was given 2 2-year deal. With their payroll the way it is, he'll be given every opportunity to pitch.

If he can't cut it he'll be shown the door. If that's the case, he be one of the last guys released. Now the younger guys do deserve a shot. All of them. KK complicates matters too. He won't pitch in the Minors malins 2.45 million.

I meant "making 2.45 million".

Jack, I would not be so sure that Lake Fred does not have skills comparable to those possesed by Baez. Plus, unlike Baez, he has never in my recollection made me leave the room to avoid witnessing further disappointment.

BAP: Wait, you think there's a chance that DeFratus, Schwimer, Herndon and Mathieson might not be successful major league pitchers this year?

Shame on you! Right, NEPP?

FWIW, it is not unusual at all for a major league reliever to stink up the joint one year and pitch lights out the next. It is far more likely that Baez will contribute to the Phils this year than anyone on NEPP's minor league All-Star wish list.

I'd rather have Joan Baez pitching.

Baez has not had a season with a sub 4 ERA since 2005. In 2 out of the past 3 seasons he's pitched, he's walked nearly as many batters as he's struck out. For being a hard thrower he's never really struck out that many batters, only 6.6 per 9 ip over his career along with 3.7 bb.

He's bad!!!

clout - It is unlikely that any of them will be successful major league pitchers this year because it's unlikely that they'll get called up. Moreover, the standard for what is successful has been kinda diluted on this board anyway. (Very often as long as you're credited with a win or a save you must be successful.)

I do think that, given the number of innings the 7th reliever will get to pitch, that several of those guys have as much chance of doing well or screwing up as Danys Baez. He didn't exactly light it up last year. And he hasn't been revelatory since, like, 5 years ago. At 32? His All-Star seasons are, I'd say, pretty much behind him.

(Oh, wait. YOU think he's an all-star, though. So I guess that's different.)

Phils Phan, who has a better chance of getting into the Phils' locker room, Michael Schwimer or David Schwimmer?

****It is far more likely that Baez will contribute to the Phils this year than anyone on NEPP's minor league All-Star wish list.****

I never said get rid of Baez. I hope he makes the team and does well. I was talking about the 7th spot where it'll be Herndon, and the minor league guys fighting it out.

Reading comprehension helps sometimes.

Just to clarify, Kendrick gets his mlb salary no matter where he pitches

I'd rather see a young kid suck (making the minimum) who at least has some potential then watching a old guy like Baez suck (not making the minimum) and has no future in major league baseball.

With the top 4 in this rotation, why would you keep a veteran guy or two in the back of the pen? Put a Worley or a Mathieson or a DeFratus out there and let them soak in the winning.

The Phils have good depth in the high minors at one spot....bullpen. You gotta let one or two of those guys crack the majors sometime.

****Just to clarify, Kendrick gets his mlb salary no matter where he pitches

Posted by: Les | Saturday, February 05, 2011 at 06:26 PM

Yup..unless of course he signed a split contract which he did not. Remember 2 years ago when Ruiz actually had a split contract (he would have gotten something like $40 K had he been demoted that year..our STARTING catcher)

"With the top 4 in this rotation, why would you keep a veteran guy or two in the back of the pen?"

Because: (a) he's got a good chance of being better than said young kids; and (b) you have to pay his salary whether he plays for you or not. So, if you have to pay him anyhow, and he's one of your 7 best relievers, he makes the team.

The equipment truck should be in Georgia by now.

Carson: ERA isn't really that telling for relivers, since a few bad outings can send it soaring. Stats like WHIP & BAA are more meaningful. Besides, the season before last, Baez's ERA was 4.02, which rated a 114 ERA+.

Here's what Baez's season-by-season numbers tell me: that he was a very solid reliever from 2001 to 2005 & passable in 2006; that he was absolutely terrible in 2007 & missed all of 2008, but bounced back with a pretty decent season in 2009; and that he was bad again in 2010. If he were 39, or even 36, I might tend to think that he's nearing the end of the line. But since he's only 33, I'm going to infer that last year was just a down year, as he has had on occasion, and that, in the coming year, he has a better than 50-50 chance of being the decent reliever that he has generally been over his career. Of course, given his 2010 season, the burden is on Baez to show that he can be decent again. If he gets rocked in spring training, I expect he'll be cut & that is as it should be.

bap: Other than his ERA, which you state is misleading, what about his 2009 season makes you think it was "pretty decent"? The only legitimate thing that he did in 2009 was keep his walk rate really low (a full walk less per 9 innings than his career average). Otherwise, that low ERA was almost entirely the result of a ridiculously lucky .232 BABIP.

The reason relievers' performance varies so much isn't because they change from year-to-year. It's because the sample size is so small that a few random hits here or there completely skew everything. Baez was pretty much the same pitcher in 2009 (with better control) as he was in 2007 and 2010. He doesn't strike guys out. He walks too many of them. And he doesn't have strong platoon splits which make him particularly useful against righties. Basically, if he has a great season with his control AND gets lucky on balls in play, he can be "pretty decent." That's his upside.

I wouldn't release him right now either. He could be passable, and may be a more "reliable" option than some of the kids. That said, he's got a very, very, very short leash.

I agree completely with Jack.

The other side of that is that De Fratus has, actually, never had a bad pro season. In fact, his peripherals have gotten better as he's developed. In his time at Reading last year he had 10 K/9. He will be getting a shot at some point.

De Fratus might not be completely ready for MLB. But I don't think Baez has even a 50% shot at a 100+ ERA+ in 2011.

Jack: Well, maybe 2009 was a BABIP fluke. I admit, I did not look at that possibility. I simply noted that he had a decent walk rate, a low BAA, & a solid WHIP. I'm not terribly concerned about his strikeouts because he's a groundball pitcher.

In any event, there's no debating that he was terrible last year & I agree that he has a short leash. I'm just a little more optimistic about his 2011 prospects than you are. Maybe it's my excessively positive nature getting the better of me.

bap: The walk rate is legitimate, though it was one of the lowest of his career and he's been worse than that in the seasons before and after. The BAA and the WHIP, however, are both strongly BABIP-influenced, which makes me think those were just a fluke in 2009.

The GB rate is weird. Before his surgery, he was not a GB pitcher. He had an average GB rate around 43% from the years 2001-2007. Then, suddenly, the last two years, he's thrown GB rates of 61% and 56%. One year, I would just chalk up to a fluke. Two years? Something is going on there. I don't know what it is, but it's obvious something in his pitching seriously changed after he got hurt, that's causing a lot more GBs.

That's good in theory, but a reliever who doesn't strike guys out and walks a lot of guys is still a bad idea no matter how many GBs he gets.

Denny b - that just isn't the Phils philosophy, unfortunately. The Brown call up last year was shocking, to me, at least.

Andy: I'm struggling to get your logic. You're smart enough to admit that it's not a slam dunk that the kids will be ready this season and yet you are absolutely certain that Baez will suck.

What's your solution?

Clout: I think he was saying that if both the kids and Baez are question marks, he'd prefer to go with one of the kids.

Personally, since you've already got $2.5 M sunk in Baez, I'd give him a chance in ST and early in the season. If he starts pitching like garbage again, like last year, though? I'd get rid of him real quickly. It's not just some kid like DeFratus. There's a guy like Herndon, or one of KK and Worley, who could also go to the pen, and who has MLB experience.

Agreed Jack - Baez gets my vote to start the year, but his leash is as short as it gets.

Jack: Agreed. And I'd dump either KK or Worley into middle relief if Baez flops. The notion that the 6th starter has to be waiting in Triple A instead of the bullpen is silly. See how the Dodgers have broken in their young starters over the past decade.

DeFratus is 23 years old, not exactly young, and if he doesn't kick azz in Triple A this season, he will go from prospect to suspect. Schwimer is even older and his stuff isn't as good.

Of the highly praised (on Beerleaguer) trio of Mathieson, DeFratus and Schwimmer, I predict only one will ever see much major league time, and that will be as a middle reliever.

For those who love sleepers, I suggest Julio Rodriguez.

Just a thought. With the mets $300 million problem, aquiring 3b David Wright for mostly cash and ? would allow polly to move back 2b a more natural position and chase to right. This would give the Phils the right hand power bat behind Ryan Howard and repace Werth. Just Dreaming. kevin

Clout - I think Julio Rodriguez is no longer a sleeper. The only questions about him have seemed to rest on his velocity, which reports vary widely on. But he looks like a starter rather than a reliever at this point, which I think we all agree is more valuable. If his velocity is really in the high 80s as is sometimes reported, then maybe you're right and a move to the pen could add a few miles per hour. But DeFratus already has the velocity and seems like a potential Durbin replacement in the next year or two at the very least.

aksmith: Yeah, he tends to sit in the high-80s, low 90s, but his curveball and his command of the fastball within the zone tend to make up for the lack of velocity.

On DeFratus, this year tells the story if he's for real or not.

I hoped they packed the oversized catchers mitt for Eddie Bonine's knuckler and KK's new dazzling darter.

Great post as always;)

Gut feeling (because that's how I roll): Baez is going to have a very good spring. Can't tell you why, but it's going to happen. Once the season starts, well...

I have to say, that the handle "Moosebreath" is the best new one I've seen on here in a while.

Good work on that one.

(Thinks to himself, hmmm, maybe I'll try 'Beerbreath' for a while.)

Stark’s pro-Durbin:

Offseason grades for the NL East

I’m still not. Durbin’s probably at the end of the line or in a holding pattern anyway; he never had that extra adrenaline-fueled heater to make a hitter go away.

cut, true on his FB, but he still managed a 7.5 K/9 for his Phils' career topped off by an 8.3 K/9 in 2010.

I know there are a lot of Spring Training veterans populating the BL faithful. I am going for the first time this year - not 'till March and I can't wait.
Any recommendations for bars and restaurants .Mrs Bubba is giving me the trip as a retirement present. We have been to Tampa- St. Pete- Clearwater on business , but it's been several years since then.
Thanks in advance and sorry JW , I'm off topic as I usually am.

cut: Durbin is an innings-eating, above- average middle reliever, but I really don't think that's an issue.

Here's the issue: Durbin wants 2 years for $5M.

Which is too much when the budget is already tapped out.

Anyone think Durbin will actually get that much from another team at this point? Its already early Feb and there are basically no rumors concerning him signing with any clubs.

This is great! We are spending valuable time worrying about the last bullpen spot when only a few short years ago Robert Person was our #1 starter. Go phils! clearwater in 3 weeks or bust

"Anyone think Durbin will actually get that much from another team at this point?"

NEPP, that depends. Because of his ability to pitch, as clout said, multiple "above-average" middle innings, if a team without a lot of rotation depth loses a key starter to injury during ST that could put more pressure on their bullpen and increase the likelyhood that Durbin could get a decent contract.

For instance, the Yankees have invested heavily in their bullpen because of the lack of SP depth. Suppose Phil Hughes goes down in ST? Sure, they might try to trade for Blanton or someone else at that point, but it would also make signing Durbin or someone like him pretty attractive.

I might be one of the few Baez supporters out there who think he will actually rebound a bit this year. Say an ERA around 4.25 ERA. Not great by any stretch but tolerable for a middle inning reliever. One of the few guys I actually care about how his fastball location generally is during spring training.

It continues to baffle me why people think somebody like Schwimer or especially Mathieson is a better option than Baez at this point. Rather have the Phils go with the known quantity the first few months of the year unless he truly is dreadful again in spring training.

Even if the Phils do release Baez, somebody else will pick him given how thin middle relief is around MLB.

There were two guys I did want to see the Phils sign this offseason - Choate and Qualls. Choate is just a superior lefty option to Romero & I really like Qualls chance to have a nice bounceback year at a very reasonable price (1 yr/$2.55M).

As for De Fratus, he needs more seasoning yet. You don't bring up a rookie

Anderson and Grilli aren't veteran reclamation project as much as $5 lottery scratch off tickets.

MG, if you NEVER bring up a rookie, its pretty much impossible to improve with youth. Every guy on our roster was a rookie at some point...rookies do get promoted occasionally.

clout -- I'm a proponent (a view not likely supported by Sabermetrics) that most relievers with live arms, albeit with a 95 mph fastball or those with less, have good years/ bad years in sequence. See: Brad Lidge. Regardless, J. Weitzel makes a heck of a case for the Phils’ "hands on deck" being quite adequate -- on the roster or in queue -- obviating the need for Chad.

I just bet he's picked up at or near the end of spring training by a pitching injury-wracked team. Kinda like the KY Joe theory.

"Just a thought. With the mets $300 million problem, aquiring 3b David Wright for mostly cash and ? would allow polly to move back 2b a more natural position and chase to right."

I was thinking the same thing about Michael Young. MLB Trade Rumors mentioned that he wants out of Texas. Not sure if they could use Blanton though...

NEPP - Meant that you don't take a leap with somebody like De Fratus on a club that is a certified contender out of spring training. If it were a team like the Pirates, sure because you have tons of questions in middle relief and little downside in letting a guy with little experience at AA start with the MLB team.

If he has a very solid year at Reading or Lehigh (my bet is the is the closer to at Reading to start the year), there is a shot he will get a good look at some point with the MLB roster.

I dont think DeFratus should or will make the club out of Spring Training. I think he'll be in AAA and be the 2nd or 3rd option for a RH reliever if and when we need one.

However, if DeFratus has a fantastic Spring and demonstrates great stuff (like his high 90s fastball with movement), then he'll likely open eyes. I put his chances at making the 25 man out of Spring at about 5%.

****"Just a thought. With the mets $300 million problem, aquiring 3b David Wright for mostly cash and ? would allow polly to move back 2b a more natural position and chase to right."****

What makes you think Chase would be a good RF? Personally, I think he'd be mediocre at best. His arm strength is borderline. He couldn't handle throws from 3B for example and a RF needs a very strong accurate arm. I doubt Chase would be a very good or even average defender in RF.

On a side note, I really really hope we keep Blanton all year...unless we get a great deal for him. We'll need him in 2012 as Oswalt could very well be gone (he has a mutual option and can opt out, take $2 million I think and seek a multi-year deal) Keeping Blanton is a smart move for both 2011 and 2012.

1. I agree on Blanton. After all the old refrain is you can never have too much starting pitching. That being said, if someone knocks us over, fine....but I'm not seeing that happening.

2. I think it's far likelier the Phils don't pick up Oswalt's option than Oswalt opts out. His option is probably worth more than his market value (at least on a yearly basis anyway)...and would he really pass up another year to pitch with one of the best pitching staffs ever assembled?

NEPP: it all depends on the Phils budget which we can really only speculate.

If they are maxed out because of the $8.5M owed to Blanton the next two years, then I dont think he's such a smart move.

If they still have flexiblity with Blanton - then yes i'd agree that he is smart to hold on to unless you're actually going to get something valuable in return.

Personally, I think the Phils made the Cliff Lee acquistion with the assumption that Blanton's salary would be moved.

I seriously doubt that the Phillies will actually lose money even if they push payroll up another $4-5 million on top of what we have now. Sure, their profit might be smaller than they'd like but I doubt they're actually in the red. Besides, a baseball team is more of a long-term investment than a short-term one. Maximizing the team's chances at winning in 2011 will build their value more than saving a couple of million in the short-term.

Well, if Joe Blanton's salary is gone, then they'd have "another $4-5M" plus another $8M this year and next.

With both Lidge and Madson free agents next year, you're gonna need some extra $ for the pen. i'd rather have that money go there then to our 5th starter when the rest of staff is so un-freaking-believably good.

Was at CBP yesterday for a JDRF awards ceremony. Madson was in the cages hanging with his kids. As a parent, it was cool to see someone spending time with his kids before he has to go to FLA.

locore, Madson and Lidge make a combined $15.5MM. I predict they will use some of that money on the bullpen. What do you think?

"Meant that you don't take a leap with somebody like De Fratus on a club that is a certified contender out of spring training. If it were a team like the Pirates, sure because you have tons of questions in middle relief and little downside in letting a guy with little experience at AA start with the MLB team. "

I tend to agree, but on the other hand, they took the same leap with Herndon, who's ceiling probably isn't all that high.

Bedbeard, good point.

MG, I disagree. I think they would take a leap with a young guy assuming he really showed well in ST, and by that I mean against MLB level competition, not minor leaguers invited to big league camp.

However, I think the only way it happens is if Blanton is moved during ST, and either KK/Worley is the #5. IN the case of Worley being the #5 then thy are taking a leap with a young guy.

If Blanton's traded, the pitching staff could look something like this:

Hamels (pick any order for the last 3)

Bastardo (unless he implodes. With ATL's LHH's they'll need 2 LOOGYs.

Now, if Baez completely sucks in ST and they release or trade him for a bag of balls, then one of the young guys might have shot of going North.

However, if Blanton is not traded, then in all likelyhood the bullpen looks like this:

KK/Worley - with the big edge going to KK because of MLB experience, and their reluctance to spend 2MM+ on a guy sitting in LV.

In secenario #2, Baez or Bastardo imploding gives a young guy a shot.

IMO, one of the most interesting ST bullpen stories will be David Herndon, and where he ends up.

"Now, if Baez completely sucks in ST and they release or trade him for a bag of balls, then one of the young guys might have shot of going North."

By bag of balls, i'm assuming you meant hazardous waste that would cost approx $2.5M to dispose of.

"...why people think somebody like Schwimer or especially Mathieson is a better option than Baez at this point. Rather have the Phils go with the known quantity..."

Not to prolong a silly argument with pitchers and catchers looming, but what makes Baez even close to a known quantity? It's only been a couple season since he was out a year for an injury and he hasn't been, exactly, consistent since then.

Do y'all mean "known to be inconsistent" perhaps?

lorecore, it would be an awfully expensive waste disposal. The boys at Barone Sanitation would, I'm sure, like to fulfill that contract.

Yeah, no on Michael Young. Putting aside the huge amount of money he is owed, he's basically Polanco with a little more power and a lot less defense. No thanks.

Oh, and then there's the huge amount of money he's owed.

Every year at the start of spring training we get these generally ridiculous arguments that 'let's go with the young guys at round out the last few spots in the pen' when the reality is that the young pitchers people are talking on here about aren't simply MLB-caliber pitchers.

Guess what would happen if you had a bullpen filled with 3-4 guys the caliber of Mathieson, Schwimer, and Stutes. It would stink unless you really had dominant seasons by your other 2-3 relievers. Anyone really think that outside of Madson there is a relief pitcher capable of having a 'dominant season' this year in the pen? I don't.

Stutes isn't a MLB-caliber pitcher. Ditto Mathieson (unless he miraclously mastered a splitter in 3-4 months this offseason) and Schwimer. De Fratus might be has barely even pitched at the AA level. Needs more seasoning.

Herndon is a marginal pitcher but ideally I would rather see him open the season at Lehigh. Almost certainly gets called up when their is the inevitable injuries in the bullpen. Bonine is another marginal guy who will also factor into the mix too this year. You always need at least a few of these 'AAAA' type pitchers.

Bastardo has MLB-caliber stuff out of the pen. Just a question of whether he can stay healthy for an entire year and to a lesser degree avoid serious control issues. He will get his chance & he should.
This isn't say '92 when there was a high chance the Phils weren't going to contend & it didn't make much sense to try to get a marginal season out of a veteran journyeman in the pen vs. seeing what a younger pitcher might offer out of the pen.

Baez is far from a world-beater. If he shows up to camp in marginal shape & looks pretty awful from a location standpoint, the Phils will likely eat his contract. No sense it just releasing him outright before seeing what he looks like though.

Jack, agree. Michael Young = no, thank you!

"Guess what would happen if you had a bullpen filled with 3-4 guys the caliber of Mathieson, Schwimer, and Stutes."

MG, WTF are you talking about?

Who said anything about multiple young guys?

Came up with this question perusing through while wistfully looking forward to the season...

For single-season IP record, the top 273 slots all occurred 1917 or earlier. Who has the 274th highgest single-season IP record (i.e., #1 single-season IP record since 1918)?
Hint: For most of us, he pitched during most of our lifetimes.

If Eddie Bonine can control that knuckler he should be able to throw plenty of innings.

awh - Just making a point. Your right this year it is generally Baez vs. the likes of say a Mathieson/Schwimer/etc.

Guess what I am saying is that there isn't this talented bevy of bullpen arms in the Phils' system right now at AA & above. If there was, you wouldn't see RAJ bringing in guys like Anderson/Grilli/Meyer, contemplating resigning Durbin as long as he did, or necessarily a retread like Romero.

There is no lefty reliever depth in the system and marginal depth at the Reading & above right now.

Stark said it best that supposedly RAJ's key goal this offseason was improving the bullpen. He didn't directly do that. Instead went the Lee route instead. We'll see how it plays out. As it has been the last few years, if Lidge is solid enough as the closer it will largely be decent enough.

What is fascinating is the really strong potential if they keep Blanton & their starters stay healthy, they might have a bullpen that might just throws ~385 IP if anything breaks right. Would be 35 IP less than last year. That is absurdly low for a bullpen total over the last 30 years in MLB.

Agree on Young, not sure he'd be a huge upgrade over Polanco from an overall perspective. No projections have him hitting over 20 HR this year, although playing at CBP would help and his overall WAR projections are close to Polanco's. I assume Polanco's defense make up the difference in power and their batting averages will likely end up being pretty similar.

However, if there were a significant injury at 2B or 3B he'd be a great trade target.

***Hint: For most of us, he pitched during most of our lifetimes.

Shot in the dark: Steve Carlton?

This pitcher is not a HOF'er, but did have 4 20-win seasons. And, never won Cy Young award, but 3 times was in the top 5 in CY voting.

Without looking it up, I have no idea. I am definitely curious to find out who it is though.

Just looked it up...interesting. Yeah, I never would have gotten that.

My starting point would be one of Phil Niekro, Wilbur Wood or Mickey Lolich.

Don't think Wood won 20 4 times. Don't think that Lolich did either so I'll go with Niekro.

MG: I have one small point of disagreement with your post: I think Schwimer does look like a future major leaguer. He's oldish (if you call 25 old), but he throws hard enough, has pretty good secondary pitches, has good command, & has succeeded at every level.

The thing people need to realize, though, is that, for relief pitchers, the path to the majors is often very choppy. They get called up; they fail; they go back down; get called up again; fail again; go back down again. Some of them eventually do find major league success, but it's often not until their late 20s, after they've shuttled back & forth between the majors & minors for 5 or 6 seasons & their original team has given up on them. That's precisely the path that Chad Durbin followed & it's the path that was followed by many other now-successful relievers (another example who springs right to mind: ex-Phillie flop, turned successful Marlins reliever, Brian Sanches).

So, while I think there's good reason to believe that both Schwimmer & DeFratus have decent major league futures, the idea that they will jump right into the majors and be effective is, most likely, folly. It could happen, as it did with Madson. But that's not the typical scenario.

Edmundo, yes, you named him.

Wood had 376.2 IP in 1972.
Lolich had 376 in 1971, which is #276 all-time.

Carlton's high was 346.1 in '72, #390 all-time.

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EST. 2005

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