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December 6 2006

Ryan Howard did a lot of unusual things last season.  The most notable among them was hitting 58 home runs, but even when Howard made outs things were a bit odd.  Curiously, he made more outs on the ground than he did in the air, which is unusual for someone who hits as many home runs as he did in '06.

Here's a look at the ten players who hit the most home runs in all of baseball last year, and the number of outs they made in the air and on the ground:

 

Player HR GO AO AO-GO
Howard 58 124 94 -30
Ortiz 54 128 155 27
Pujols 49 129 177 48
Soriano 46 103 205 102
Berkman 45 120 143 23
Dye 44 118 131 13
Hafner 42 106 98 -8
Thome 42 96 111 15
Beltran 41 113 153 40
A Jones 41 139 156 17

Travis Hafner was the only one of the group other than Howard to make more outs on the ground than in the air, and he only did it just barely.  Howard has only had two years where he got significant at-bats in the major leagues, but in 2005 his ratio of outs made on the ground to outs made in the air was even more dramatic -- he made 72 outs on the ground and just 43 in the air.

Yesterday was filled with speculation about possible trades.  The big rumors of the day had Aaron Rowand shipped out of town to Texas or Chicago for pitching that would allow Jon Lieber to be sent to Milwaukee in a deal that brought outfielder Kevin Mench to the Phils.  Not yet. 

Given that center field is virtually the only position where the Phillies have much organizational depth, a trade of Rowand seems to make some sense as Victorino can play center and was even a little better than Rowand last season, both offensively and defensively.

This article speculates Gillick is willing to send Rowand and either Floyd or Madson to the White Sox for Freddy Garcia.  Without a corresponding Lieber deal, such a trade would give the Phillies six starters.

If the Phillies end the meetings having traded away Lieber, Rowand and Floyd or Madson, and having added Freddy Garcia, Mench or Geoff Jenkins, and fireballer Jose Capellan, it will have been a tremendous success.  The winter meetings are probably being covered by more writers than is necessary -- it's hard to know what's really going on and what is pure speculation.  This article from last night from the Phillies web site recaps day two.

The article above also says that Phillies have interest in Ryan Church and Octavio Dotel.

This article says a deal that sends Lieber to the Brewers for Mench and Derrick Turnbow "appears to be in place."  The Phils would likely need to trade away Rowand for a starter to replace Lieber before they made such a deal, and negotiations with the White Sox may be slow due to significant interest in the abundance of Chicago's pitchers like Garcia, Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez.

Milwaukee may be getting tired of waiting.

The article above also mentions Rondell White and Preston Wilson as guys the Phils might have interest in later in the winter.

David Dellucci signing with the Indians looks like a done deal.

The Braves may be working on a trade that would send Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh for closer Mike Gonzalez.  Rumors of another possible deal involving LaRoche and Tim Hudson going to Seattle here.

This article says that the Royals have made Miguel Batista an offer with numbers similar to what the Phils will be paying Adam Eaton, and that Batista is likely to go to the Royals or the Cardinals.  The Phillies appear to be out of the running.

This article says Piazza could sign with the A's today.

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