Tuesday, August 10, 2004

 

Old Conlin Stuff

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/columnists/bill_conlin/9299702.htm?ERIGHTS=2938516636113202703philly::briankovacs@yahoo.com&KRD_RM=0njgihgmmkngggggggggnogpkgBrianY

And just a couple of month's ago Conlin was telling everyone to stop clamoring to fire Bowa wasn't he? And now he's finally on board.

The only negative to this piece, I scanned it quickly, was him using Scott Kazmir as an example for moving top prospects. Just look at the Mets now, pretty much out of the race and out of thier top pitching prospect.

Without going into it, I think you can always count on the Mets to make a huge blunder a year in the personell area. And I love it.


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Lidle and Collier

Getting Lidle probably is an improvement over Abbott in the five spot, but he has let up alot of HR's (24) and now he enters the Cit which tends to see them leave at a higher rate. They gave up Movan who I kinda like, hits decent and is fast, but the guy doesn't take alot of walks and with a decent core of young outfielders he is expendable. Wilson has been a mixed bag, and the PTBNL probably will be a nothing. So it was a "fair" trade on my aspect of things.

Collier is up and apparently the new LF for the time being. And he has done well his last two starts, and since he is versatile and can play 3B as well he probably will be around for the remainder of the season. Collier has played a good amount of ball in the bigs, and it isn't so hot: .239/.314/.338 in 600 AB's prior to his current stint. He was doing pretty damn good in Scranton, so maybe he finally found his stroke. Or maybe he just a AAA lifer, we will find out.

Removing two months from this year and he compares with Burrell pretty favorably, although Burrell still has an edge on him. Collier is the better player per price at this point, and that point is pretty mute, but still LF is going to be an issue for a few years I think. Hopefully, Collier can have a solid two months.

Todd Jones finally faultered tonight, although I don't think F-Rod was really available although he's had two days off and Worrell has been getting alot of work lately. So if F-Rod wasn't available all that was left really was Roberto Horrendous, and although you have to live with him before getting to Geary, I'd take my chances with Jones and it didn't work out. Hopefully, Jones, like Collier, can piece together two months of ball. This is where we miss Madson alot.

Altough it was only Lidle, I am glad to see Wade hasn't just shut down since the passing of trade deadline. If he can become aggresive, and land a LF it would be nice. Hopefully send Polanco somwhere, but I have no idea who is available at all.


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Monday, August 09, 2004

 

Apology

Ive been off for awhile, with good reason. It happens. I'll be back tomorrow with my usual uplifiting commentary.

This is all I have to say for now: If your play the way you've been playing, and you don't make the playoffs....then the Braves and the (Cubs) need to be congratulated

The Phils are playing on a personal level better than they have in a long time....and detractors?

I will defend this injury shortened team to the death.


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Friday, August 06, 2004

 

Synopsis

Sorry about the week off, just alot of unexpected busy work to do came my way. Anyhow...

Sweeping the Padres wasn't only good, it was an almost must. The Braves continue on thier tear, and the Cubs are still 4 games up on the Wild Card. Ya know, if there is one thing this team could learn from Bowa, it's his sense of desperation and all-or-nothing attitude that he used to play with, they'll need it to finish out the stretch run.

If Kevin Millwood goes down, what next? Are there any answers to that question? Would Gavin Floyd come up, and at this point I think it would be alot to ask for Floyd. Pitching for Abbott is one thing, filling in for Millwood is another. Although there is hope, Padilla made another rehab start, and it was larely a bag of mixed results..5 K's, 4 BB's, and a grand slam.

Last night's game was just a good good good game to watch. Alot of gutsy play from both sides. Glanville had a good game, Burrough's had a great running play in advancing to third, Byrd recovered after badly misplaying a bad fly, and Powell worked hard through three innings in which runners were on base in each.

Todd Jones and F-Rod have gotten the job, simple as that. Although Jones should be an expected collapse, if Bowa continues to use him every night, these two have come in an given the bullpen good solid arms in which they needed so desperately. With Burrell down, and no Ledee, I'm sure alot of people have been saying "I told you so", but it wouldn't make much difference. He would have moved to left and Michaels or Glanville would have taken CF. So far, the trade has worked out for us. Especially since Ricky is 0 for 9 in SF.

LA will be tough, but if we can take two into Colorado the Phils will be looking pretty good.

Gavin Floyd learned the difference between AA and AAA last night, by having probably one of his worst outings since joining the minors.


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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

 

Next Post

will be on Friday morning or tomorrow night and Friday. Been unusually busy. Hope we can all enjoy this Padres series, hopefully we can start riding some kind of winning streak, for fan confidence sake.

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Saturday, July 31, 2004

 

Trading Places

The Phillies made two moves, well trades tonight, and I will say that I am "pleased". First Ledee and Simon for Felix Rodriguez. Ok let's try and digest this.

This move obviously bolsters the bullpen, no doubt about it, because any reliable are would have done so. Ledee had been a very valuable bat off the bench the last couple of years, and had recently been placed in center. His numbers overall are .271/.386/.492, pretty damn good for being mostly a part timer. His numbers are the result of filling in for Burrell .333/.371/.636 more so than playing center .189/.362/.243, at aproximately equal at-bats. And his role has been playing center, and he hasn't been able to hold up to the task obviously offensively, nor being a defensive assest.

I don't think anyone foresaw Ledee being moved, so in regards to his performance since taking over at center and some creativity by Wade, I like the idea of moving Ledee. Simon has been on a tear as of late, and has good prephial numbers, he really is the key to this deal. I don't see Ledee providing much for the Giants, so Simon really was the kicker.

In all fairness, Byrd (who was called up) has been playing really well the last week. He can at least duplicate what Ledee was hitting, and provides a slightly better defensive edge.

Felix Rodriguez's numbers are inflated by Pac Bell, but then again he will be pitching in hitter friendly CBP, so I don't see much of a change in his numbers coming to the team. On a quick check, forgive me it's real late, I couldn't find his grounball/flyball ratio, but he has let up some home runs. His big disadvantage is his salary, but I don't care about that for this season, but he's locked into next year for $3 mil and some change. His market would probably be around the $2 mil mark, so we aren't exactly picking up an overpriced player here.

My verdict on this one is that it is good for the Phils. Simon is a few years away, and probably will be a reliever, or at least figured to be in the Phils scheme of things with Hamels and Floyd coming up. The future can only tell there really. Ledee isn't an answer in center, and neither is Byrd really, so moving him for relief actually makes sense. It does leave a big hold on the bench for a lefty. The Phils needed Rodriguez more than they needed Ledee at this point, so it works out, if marginally

The other move, concerning Todd Jones really rounds out a hurting bullpen. His K/BB ratio has alot to be desired, but he has managed nonetheless. Jones is pretty cheap, and done after his year. A pretty sturdy pick-up in that regard. IF we get Wagner and Madson back, this signifies the end for Hernandez in Philly if niether of these two collapse.

Hancock was sent over for him and he was regarded as a decent prospect, but his numbers really haven't been good at all in the minors and add that to the shalacking he received up in the majors and you can bet alot of confidence has been lost in him. Then there is Machado, who was widely regarded as Rollins' heir apparent, but he hasn't improved his defense or his hitting this year. Couple that with a born-again Rollins and he was deemed expendable. I like this move honestly, I don't see Machado or Hancock really amounting to anything in the majors, and Jones helps now.

So far, I'll credit Wade with really attacking a need on the team and filling it nicely. The pen is now Worrell, Cormier, Rodriguez, Jones, Telemaco, Hernandez, and Powell (hoepfully enough of Geary). This is a drastic improvement over what he had just tonight. Hernandez and Powell are bumped out with Madson and Wagner, and if Wagner can't come back it's still a solid pen with Hernandez being the last man.

So far he traded a center fielder who wasn't hacking it and replaced him with the hack he replaced. So we are down to two areas of concern, center and a possible fifth starter. Polanco for Lofton is probably going to happen at the last minute, if the Johnson deal falls through. If so, then we have Lofton in center, and maybe the release of Glanville. I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but Ricardo Rincon is probably well out of the picture at this point.

Floyd was moved up to Scranton, and it's very possible it might be a short stay. If has a good start, he just may be moved up to replace Abbott.

If we acuire Lofton via Polanco (and I think this is a mortal lock if the Johnson deal doesn't happen), and Floyd is called up within a week or so, I will issue the omnious words of "Mission Accomplished". Floyd is the question mark of course, is it a strategic move or just filling in the roster at Scranton? We'll soon find out. Wade may actually get a thumbs up from me if we land Lofton...we have 12 hours to find out.

There is a drawback to everything, the Phils would have 4 lefties in the lineup, and it would be impossible to break them up. But improvement should be held above all else at this point.

Fun fact: Todd Jones, other than being a loudmouth at times, is a switch hitter. A pretty bad one, but a switch hitter nonetheless.


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Friday, July 30, 2004

 

Pick your head up

Ok, yesterday I said my words on Bowa and Wade, and now I'm done with it.  It's time to move on, too much of this blog, as well as others have focused too much on Bowa.  The issue is really out of our hands, and by now we have all made our positions on the issue, extremely clear.  Any further bickering about those two on this site for the time being is, in my opinoin, wasted space.

We got trashed by the Marlins, again.  And all I have to say is..Oh well.  Really, the Marlins will not make or break this team, in fact we only play them seven more times this year.  It's the rest of the schedule that should be the center of our focus.  And we can do it.  So what if we never beat the Marlins again, those seven  games should not be the difference.  I know that's pretty bold to say, but it's a fact. We have, if my math is right, and it hardly ever is, 60 games remaining.

This is the reality of our situation:

Only Montreal and Pittsburgh are the only laughers left on the schedule, whoops let's throw in Colorado too.  So the schedule is tough, but thus the cards are dealt.  We can only help ourselves out the rest of the way, almost everyone is in the running for a playoff spot, every win not only improves us, but slows down another contender.  If the Phils pull through in the next two months, I would have to say they would be second to St. Louis coming into the playoffs.

At our disposal we have a leadoff hitter who has been playing above anything he has ever done in the last two months.  We have two starting second baseman, one who can hit for power and the other who virtually puts the ball in play everytime.  Our leftfielder is an on-base machine, with excellent power and speed numbers.  First base? Do we even need to go there.  At third base we have David Bell, who has been playing as he always had when he isn't racked by injuries.  Our catcher, is still being plagued in the stat column by a horrendous first month, right now he is of no offensive concern. In center we have Ledee and Michaels, they aren't what you want in a CF, but serviceable nonetheless, and an improvement over the first couple of months.  LF contains an enigma, you don't know what your going to get night in or night out.  A hot streak can send him in the right direction however, and he still carries alot of power in that bat of his.

Our starting rotation is Millwood, Wolf, Myers, Milton, and Abbott.  They are who they are, and what they have been doing is pitching better since the All-Star break.  We have four guys who can be considered number 2's on almost every team, Abbott is bad, but he's not the solution just a patch until/if Padilla comes back.  I know we want a better option than Abbott, but he's a number 5, he's not supposed to be that good anyway.

The bullpen is in trouble, admittadely.  But Cormier and Worrell do more than to hold thier own on most occasions, and as we saw last year, Cormier can take on an almost insurmountable amount of usage if called upon.  Telemaco is back, which helps out by knocking Hernandez back towards his role of low cost situations.  But as much as I have spoken out about Roberto, he isn't the biggest issue right now.  Getting Madson and Wagner back healthy are.  Put those guys altoghter, and it's a very solid pen, with or without Hernandez.  And Wade will get a reliever, as he always does, so there will be some help on the way.

This can be a playoff team, there's no doubt about it.  I expect them to play hard the next two months, there shouldn't be the raising of the white flag the entire way.

If everything plays itself out, and we are at the very cusp of the playoffs come that final series against the Marlins, we'll pull it out.  I guarantee it.

Go Phils


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Thursday, July 29, 2004

 

On Bowa

Did somebody let the cat out of the bag that Bowa isn't a good manager?  My God, the Bowa bashing is at an all-time high.  And I don't know if it is all justified.

First, let me begin that I don't want Bowa as the manager, never have, never will.  I don't like his brash style nor his in-game tatics, or the threat of small ball hanging over my head every Spring Training.  Lucky for us, it seems Bowa has largely avoided the small ball.

The fever pitched anti-Bowa should, and has by the blog community, have always been this high for his mismanagement and the way he degrades his players with off the cuff comments, like his bullpen being a AAA bullpen.  Which, by the way it is, but you don't say it because these guys are as much ballplayers as the next, and it is publicly embarrassing them in their career choice.

So far I established that I have nothing wrong with the Bowa bashing, and although I don't put it on this site, my feeling is that is has always been understood.

But why now? Why has the anti-Bowa finally reached the casual Philadelphia sports fan?  They usually have sided with him on his style, completely on the basis that Philly is blue collar (as is Bowa's style), he played for a Philly championship team (far and few between), and that he attacks players (rolen) who seem to primadonna in this blue collar area.

What Bowa is being criticised for now, may be a little out of his league however.  I concur with the bullpen comment, but not the "embarassing" comment.  Everything going on with the Phils is embarrassing as of now.  And I think that comment has been taken out of context, and here's why.  They are playing the Marlins, and they have been the largest source of frustration for this team for two years, it is an emotionally charged issue. As well as the fact that it once again is in the midst of a multi team race for a playoff position.  It's has to be frustrating that they can't turn the corner, personally I think it's all in their heads that they can't get one over on the Marlins.

But I don't know if the "embarrassing" has just to do with the players.  He has been hinting at a lot of disconcernment with upper management, which has failed to land any of the players who would actually help this team.  His "AAA" bullpen is receiving no outside help, for instance, and he has been forced to use Hernandez as much as he has.  Hernandez, really is the number four guy in pen.  Telemaco was doing ok, then he got hurt.  Geary, Powell, Hancock, Ramierez, and Crowell are the only other pen guys used this year.  Geary and Hancock have been horrible in their small showings, Ramirez is probably a little over his head at his inexperience, Powell had bad starts (which in this organization makes him hard to seperate as a decent reliever), and Crowell has only 3 IP.  None of these guys are clear cut choices above what Hernandez is, or isn't doing, out there (although I did favor Powell, he was awful the other night).  This is just an example of what he is being yelled at for, but he really has his hands tied behind his back on this one.

His starting pitching, which has made a post All-Star break recovery, has largely been underachieving except for the lone Wolf, who had been mostly injured.  Paul Abbott, isn't Bowa's fault.  Doug Glanville, for that matter can't be his either, I doubt he has much influence on who Wade decideds to keep or not.  And I actually see a point to not having Byrd on the team and in AAA, he is young and has a chance to turn himself around.  Being a backup probably wouldn't help in that area.  But I don't see a point to having Glanville as the backup, there has to be more viable options out there.

The offense can't pull it together all at one time, Burrell was hitting when no one else was, now Rollins and Lieberthal are, Thome has cooled off, and while Abreu is being Abreu his power has fallen off the last couple of weeks.

All these issues, ARE compounded by Bowa however, and always have been.  He can't decide when to pull the trigger on Polanco, or if he should.  He didn't know how to use Wooten, albiet Wooten ended up being a big non-factor. He didn't know when to use Madson for a long time, and he probably gave up on him too soon in the starter role.  That decision is a tricky one though, he probably knows Madson is alot better than his one start, but that moves Hernandez into a more prominent bullpen role.

He also doesn't know when to pull the trigger on slumping players (Byrd) or he sits those who aren't (Lieberthal, was it retribution for slumping two months earlier?).

Bowa is a bad manager, and always has been.  But the reason who hear for his head now, is not because of him, but beause of Wade.  Bowa with a full-strength team is bad, with a team that has more questions marks popping up than Jeopardy he is disastorous.  But you won't see Wade running to his defense any time soon, he's shitting the bed too.  And as we all know the first one to get axed is the little guy, so if he can hold off on firing Bowa, it saves him.

So do I think Bowa should be fired right now?  And I guess there's a couple of things to consider when deciding that, because the answer seems too easy...yes.

The most important thing is: Will the team do better?  I don't know if replacing Bowa with the situation at hand would change things all that drastically.  The bullpen is pretty much wrecked, CF has to be resoved still (Ledee: .205/ .367/. 333 in his first full month), and I doubt Burrell will just start hitting again.  Of course, the moved worked for Florida last year, 2B probably would be resolved, and maybe a burden would be lifted off the players (although I'm sure they take Bowa with a grain of salt by now).  At least, theoretically, in game moves would be more consistently made with some type of reason.  Unless, of course it's Trader Jack who moves are often more stiffling than Bowa's but always seem to work out.  So marginally the team probably would become better.

Who will replace him?  If it's another in house Phillie, I think I will shoot myself.  So I would lean towards Charlie Manuel on this one for the best.  Charlie isn't anything great, but what he does have going for him is that he isn't Bowa.  And I don't know enough about him to say "I want Manuel", I just know I can say "I don't want Milt or Kerrigan".

So indeed firing Bowa now, or ever, would make sense.  But that won't be enough, upper management needs to make a move.  So much so, that they may have to give up more in a trade for what they will get.  I'm obsessed with prospects, but what good do they do for this year? If team X wants Howard and three marginal guys for a player who WILL help the team, and the guy is worth Howard and one marginal...then send the other two.  I don't like it, but we are in trouble.  Of course, they're isn't anyone out there worth that, unless you pull a rabbit out of the hat, it's just a player worth example.

Another move would to send Floyd to the club, something management probably won't do.  Even if he is only in the pen, he is worth something...although he needs to replace Abbott.  Floyd, in any form, would help this club now.  I am going on record, against my best wishes, to saying that the club needs Gavin Floyd to be called up, now.

This is longer than expected, but this sums it up: Bowa shouldn't be here, but the fact that he is getting the criticism now is mostly Wade's fault.  You should replace him with a quality guy, but he will need help to do anything with what he has now.


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