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January 15 2007

Here's a look at who got at-bats in the Phillies' infield and at catcher last season:

 

First base
Player AB % of AB OPS
Howard 579 97 1.079
Gonzalez 10 2 200
Utley 7 1 873
Coste 2 <1 1.500
Hernandez 1 <1 2 tms - 679

No NL player had more at-bats while playing first base than Ryan Howard in '06 -- hopefully things stay that way for a while.

 

Second base
Player AB % of AB OPS
Utley 646 95 900
Nunez 24 4 542
Sandoval 9 1 697
Thurston 3 <1 1.667

No NL player had more at-bats while playing second base than Chase Utley in '06 -- hopefully things stay that way for a while.

 

Third base
Player AB % of AB OPS
Bell 322 54 743
Nunez 251 42 612
Hernandez 15 3 2 tms - 679
Gonzalez 3 <1 250

Coming into the 2005 season, Nunez had appeared in 255 games and just eight times at third.  Between the Cards in '05 and the Phillies in '06 he has now played at third in 180 games.  It sure seems like Nunez could help the Phils as a backup middle infielder, and that as a third baseman he can only hurt them.  The Phillies are in trouble offensively at the position in 2007 if Nunez winds up with another 40% of the at-bats.

 

Shortstop
Player AB % of AB OPS
Rollins 687 96 814
Sandoval 11 2 490
Gonzalez 9 1 311
Nunez 8 1 583
Hernandez 2 <1 2 tms - 679

No NL player had more at-bats while playing short than Jimmy Rollins in '06 -- hopefully things stay that way for a long time.  The Phillies simply don't have much in terms of depth if either of their stud middle infielders went down.

 

Catcher
Player AB % of AB OPS
Lieberthal 202 34 801
Coste 187 31 879
Fasano 138 23 679
Ruiz 67 11 763

The Phillies sure look like they don't have the horses to replace the offense from Lieberthal and Coste in '07, even with Coste himself. 

Albert Pujols really loves Ryan Howard.  Unless he's been misquoted, misunderstood or there are multiple possible interpretations of the statement, "That's a kid I really love" in reference to Howard.

The Phillies have avoided arbitration with Ryan Madson.  Madson and the Phillies have agreed to a on one-year deal under which Ryan will be paid $1.1 million.

Charlie Manuel takes a trip down memory lane.

Antonio Alfonseca has agreed to a one-year deal with the Phillies worth up to $1.1 million.  The right-handed Alfonseca will turn 35 in April and has thrown just 43 1/3 innings over the past two seasons.  In 2004 he threw to a 2.57 ERA in 73 2/3 innings for the Braves.  He closed for the Marlins and Cubs between 1999 and 2002, leading the NL in saves in 2000 with 45 for the Fish.

In 2005 he pitched to a 4.94 ERA with the Marlins in 27 1/3 innings, allowing 29 hits and 14 walks.  With the Rangers last season he threw to a 5.62 ERA in 16 innings.

This article suggests that Alfonseca will make near the league minimum if he fails to make the team out of spring training.  However, at any price the prospect of adding him to an already questionable Phillies pen is a tough one to get excited about, simply because it's one less slot for someone solid without as many questions and recent health problems.  He's been miserable and hit hard with injuries over the past two seasons. 

If you were worried about the pen, it's not time to stop now.  If the Phillies are committed to giving him a spot on the roster, it might even be time to turn it up a notch.

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