Archive for December, 2007

Braves by a Jair

This post tries to project the starting rotations for all MLB teams. If you’ve been unfazed by earlier warnings about the Braves, please reconsider your level of fazedness. Using both wins and run differential, Atlanta was the team in the division that improved the most between 2006 and 2007. Their projected rotation is clearly the best in the division. Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine, James and Hampton looks pretty bad even as it is, but I’d be surprised if new acquisition Jair Jurrjens doesn’t wind up getting more starts than Hampton.

In seven starts with the Tigers last season, Jurrjens, a righty who turns 22 next month, went 3-1 with a 1.14 ratio while throwing to a 4.70 ERA. Opponents hit .220 against him. Righties hit .167 with an 0.61 ratio.

The Braves still have some problems in the outfield and hopefully in their pen as well. But their offense is just good and their starting pitching is looking strong as well. Barring an injury to an Atlanta starter, it’s hard to imagine the Phillies adding another starter between now and April that would take them into the season with a stronger rotation than the Braves.

Other people could just let who the fifth outfielder and backup center fielder is just die. But this is a full-service operation. In that spirit, I’ve added So Taguchi’s career numbers as a center fielder to the chart that includes the career numbers in center for Werth, Victorino and Rowand:


Player

G

GS

Inn

FPCT

R
F

ZR
Werth 40 29 259.2 .967 3.10 .907
Victorino 90 72 691.2 1.000 2.51 .850
Rowand 724 657 5878.1 .989 2.67 .913
Taguchi 225 129 1268.0 .983 2.43 .877

Again, I’m sure Werth’s numbers would look a lot worse given more innings. But I still wouldn’t carry a fifth outfielder based primarily on his ability to play center field as Victorino insurance.


So you think you can outfield

The Phillies signed Geoff Jenkins to a two-year, $13 million contract. That’s really good news for the Phils.

If you’ve been wondering who will be pinch-running for Pat Burrell in the sixth inning, the answer is apparently So Taguchi. The Phillies signed Taguchi to a one-year, $1 million contract. The signing of Taguchi looks like it will push Chris Snelling off the roster.

Not a fan of this move. Taguchi’s .391 career slugging percentage means he doens’t belong in left or right. The Phils are weak at center field when Victorino goes down, but if Taguchi were to take over the every day job as a center fielder they would still be weak there and need to find another solution. He turns 38 in July. The problem will be compounded by the fact that Manuel has been so bad using defensive replacements over the past two seasons. One of the solutions for that would have been not to give him any and see what kind of damage he can do with Eric Bruntlett. I would have much preferred the Phillies kept Snelling as the fifth outfielder and let Werth handle the backup duties as center fielder. Werth isn’t ideally suited for that job, but I’d much rather have the team be weak defensively at backup center fielder than have them carry Taguchi all season. It doesn’t look like the Phils are going to do that.

The Phillies also signed righty Chad Durbin to a one-year, $900,000 contract. Durbin has a career 5.75 ERA over 465 innings and has made 75 career starts in which he’s thrown to a 5.83 ERA with a 1.57 ratio. Pitching for the Tigers in 2007 he allowed 21 home runs in 127 2/3 innings, so he doesn’t seem like an ideal fit for Citizens Bank Park. He turned 30 earlier this month.

The Phillies have a big problem at the back of their rotation and it isn’t getting any better. I’d be surprised if Durbin, Youman or Blackley proved to be the answer.

The Phillies pried catcher Josh Eachues away from the South Georgia Peanuts. He’s not coming soon to a theater near you. You may have to go to him.

The Phils sent Pete Laforest to Triple-A.

The Mets may be interested in Jon Lieber.


Guess who’s coming to Spring Training?

The Phillies have invited 19 non-roster players to Spring Training, including Joe Savery, Josh Outman, Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Greg Golson and Val Pascucci.

Barring an injury, I don’t think any of the position players among the non-roster invitees have much of a chance. The pitching is a different story and it seems possible that Outman or his fellow non-roster invitees, including Vic Darensbourg, Gary Knotts and Brian Mazone, would have an opportunity to pitch themselves into the mix.

The article linked above also says that the Phils have agreed on a 2008 contract with Pete LaForest.

The IronPigs will play their first game in their new stadium against the Phillies on March 30.

Some of the early reviews on Ed Wade’s job in Houston are kind of brutal.

Matt Wise signed with the Mets.

Ryan Howard and Jared are apparently a good combination for Subway.

This article suggests that Dallas McPhearson and the Giants are not close to a deal.

Philliesflow will be seldom-if-ever updated until the first week of January.


Gloom and Doumit

Things are looking just a little bit bleak for the Phils. With that in mind, I went on a search for hidden gems of right fielders. Hidden gems in this case meaning players who got at least 100 plate appearances against righties in ’07, posted an OPS higher than Jayson Werth’s .760 OPS against righties in those plate appearances, appeared in at least 25 games in right field and didn’t make me immediately say “there’s no way his team would trade that guy” or “he’s way too expensive for the Phillies.” Some of those criteria are somewhat subjective. Anyway, here’s what I came up with, along with Werth’s numbers against righties:

vs RHP


Player

AB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
Ryan Doumit 195 282 347 518 865
Skip Schumaker 153 327 340 471 810
Fred Lewis 128 289 385 422 807
Gabe Gross 172 244 328 459 788
Jayson Werth 167 257 371 389 760

Nobody real exciting there except for Doumit, and the Pirates are going to need him, especially if they trade Bay or Nady. I don’t think the Phillies would give a spot on their 25-man roster to any of the other three guys.

Jenkins, who got zero plate appearances as a right fielder last year, didn’t make the list. All of his plate appearances in ’07 came as a left fielder or a DH. He posted an .807 OPS against righties. In ’06 he was a full-time right fielder and put up an .871 OPS against righties.

Still holding out hope for Jenkins. But if the Phils don’t get him, one of the guys some people might be wishing they had shown more interest in is Cliff Floyd. Floyd signed a one-year contract with the Devil Rays under which he’ll earn between $2.75 million and $4.75 million in ’08. This article from last Wednesday suggested the Phillies had little interest in him. And yes, I agree he’s sure to get hurt. But so is Jenkins. And Snelling. And Victorino. So it’s a little late to start discriminating against the sure-to-be-injured.

This mailbag from the Phillies web site seems to suggest that the biggest chance to add a third baseman is Pedro Feliz, and that that’s unlikely.

This article says that the Phils watched Benson pitch yesterday and didn’t say much about what they thought about his performance. It also says that the Padres are unlikely to match the Phillies’ offer to Geoff Jenkins. Finally, it says that Benson would likely sign a one-year contract. A one-year contract would no doubt be highly attractive to the Phillies.

This says that Kyle Lohse is considering offers from the Mets and the Phillies and that the Phillies’ offer could be for as long as four years. A four-year contract would no doubt be highly repulsive to the Phillies. I would be a little surprised if the Phillies signed Lohse at all and a lot surprised if they signed him to a four-year deal.

Javy Lopez is back with the Braves.

The Orioles may be interested in Octavio Dotel.


Put me in coach, I’m ready to play, maybe around April 27 or so

This article from the Phillies’ web site suggests the Phils are interested in Mike Cameron. I find it hard to believe the Phillies would be looking to move Victorino out of center. Whether you believe the Phillies’ interest in Cameron is genuine or an effort to get Jenkins to make a decision, it seems likely that getting Jenkins would be the first choice for the Phils and getting Cameron a distant second at best.

This article from December 6 suggests the Phillies had told Cameron’s agent that they weren’t interested in Cameron. Rowand has left the Phillies since, but you have to believe that the Phillies were expecting that.

This quotes from a book excerpt that suggests Cameron, who will miss the first 25 games of the 2008 season after testing positive for a banned substance, told the author he has played drunk.

The article linked in the top paragraph above says the Phillies are expected to watch Kris Benson pitch today in Arizona.

This says the Phillies are considering Sidney Ponson. Hopefully not for long. It also suggests Ponson might sign a minor league contract.


West Coast bias

Geoff Jenkins’ agent says he has a multi-year offer on the table. Rotoworld suggests that 1) the offer is from the Phillies 2) Jenkins would prefer to play on the West Coast and 3) it’s doubtful the Padres are likely to be offering more than one year. Jenkins, who was born in Olympia, Washington and went to USC, would be a fantastic addition for the Phillies.

The Twins signed Mike Lamb.

The Giants appear to be interested in Dallas McPhearson.

Do you remember that Mitch Williams was part of a 1988 deal that sent The Wild Thing from Texas to Chicago for Rafael Palmeiro, Drew Hall and none other than Jamie Moyer? This post does. Warning: link will take you to a page that includes video of the Joe Carter home run. Don’t look directly at it.

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