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-The Eastern League in Baseball: A Statistical History, 1923-2005

-Baseball in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching the National Pastime

-Jews And Baseball: A History, 1871-1948

-Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

-Pro Football Prospectus 2006

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November 18 2006

The Phillies catching situation has flown under the radar since the end of the season but got a little attention earlier this week when Pat Gillick said that it was something the Phils would be addressing in the weeks ahead.  The Phillies seem likely to add a backstop with experience, which raises a question about whether they will carry both Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz in '07 if they do.

Coste and Ruiz both crushed the ball last year in their own way.  Coste hit a 328/376/505 and it wasn't even a soft 328/376/505.  It was a rather marvelous 328/376/505.  He was in the thick of things for the Phillies and even started critical games for them down the stretch.  He had huge hits.  It's hard to imagine the Phillies won't give him a chance in '07.  Coste will be 34 when the season starts.

Ruiz did his hitting at Triple-A where he posted a 307/389/505 line with 16 homers in 368 at-bats.  With the Phillies he hit 261/316/435 in 69 at-bats.  He's clearly the better defensive player of the two but he's not young -- he'll be 28 next year.

Coste can play some other positions -- the question is whether he ever will.  The Phillies were absolutely miserable at third base last season.  If they were ever going to play him at third you have to think it would have been last year.  He appeared in two games at first base.  His defense behind the plate was not good.

There's a long way to go before we know who the '07 Phillies are going to be, but you still have to think the Phils are unlikely to carry three catchers.  The two guys they have combine to have 267 at-bats of experience between them, and the Phils sound like they might not think that's enough.  We'll have to wait and see along with Coste and Ruiz.

The Helms signing is official.  Two years, $5.45 million.  This article says, "The Phillies have a $3.75 million option for 2009 with a $750,000 buyout."

The Phillies acquired left-handed center fielder Evan Tartaglia from the Lincoln Saltdogs, an independent team based in Lincoln, Nebraska.  With the Saltdogs this season he hit 352/411/475 with one home run and 32 stolen bases in 244 at-bats.  His lack of pop will no doubt translate well.  He turned 24 in May and was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 34th round of the 2004 draft.  The Phillies sure do have a lot of center fielders. 

This here is one perplexing article.  It says Gillick and Astros' GM Tim Purpura 1) met for more than an hour, 2) that the Phillies are shopping Burrell, and 3) that the Astros don't have any interest in Burrell.  If they really bore down you would think they could have gotten through that in under an hour.

Ted Lilly's agent says he could get him four years and $35 million today (or yesterday, but you get the point). 

Any chance the NL East will be rid of Andruw Jones?  Not much, it looks like.  Jones' agent Scott Boras says he's likely to stay with the Braves, no matter how much the White Sox want him or Phillies fans want them to have him.

How 'bout a nice deal with the Red Sox for Wily Mo Pena to man right field for the Phils in '07?  It's not gonna happen but he's got to be on your short list of guys who have never hit 30 home runs in a year who might hit 40 sometime soon.  He also might strike out 200 times to do it, but I could live with it.  If he did he might not even lead the team.

And while we're making stuff up about guys who strike out a lot, how bout a trade for Phillies-killer and now blocked at third base by Aramis Ramirez Scott Moore?  Moore hit just 263/317/474 in 38 at-bats with Chicago this year but was 4-for-8 with a double and a homer against the Phils.

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