Archive for January, 2008

Give em an Inge and they’ll say he can play shortstop

This article suggests the Tigers aren’t having a lot of luck in finding a new home for Brandon Inge. It suggests that Inge may work out as a a super-sub and that he “can play any defensive position.” Inge hasn’t appeared in a major league game at first, second or short and has appeared at any position other than third in two games since 2004. The article does remind that he was once a full-time catcher, which might appeal to the Phillies were it not for the $19.1 million he’s owed through 2010.

Despite the fact that Inge is clearly not the answer, I would be surprised if the Phillies don’t see someone other than Ruiz and Coste get significant time behind in the plate in ’08.

John Sickels has posted a list of the top 20 Phillies prospects. Jason Donald, listed sixth, may be a surprise to some readers. Donald is a 23-year-old shortstop who hit 304/395/473 between Lakewood and Clearwater in ’07.

This article points out that Jenkins may take over left for the Phils in 2009.


Taguchi acquisition apparently willing to go the extra mile to make sure you hate it

The Phillies put Matt Smith on waivers to make room for So Taguchi on the 40-man roster. Smith was due to miss much of ’08 after Tommy John surgery, but the choice is still surprising to me. TJ Bohn is on the 40-man roster for one thing, but that was already kind of a surprise in its own special way. They just added Lincoln Holdzkom in the Rule 5 draft and the chances that they aren’t going to have to offer him back to the Red Sox seem very small. Travis Blackley’s chances look a little better, but not good.

Don’t get that one, unless the Phillies just think that Smith is done. He was miserable in ’07, but was on the mound in big spots of big games at the end of 2006 for the Phils. He made 12 September appearances for the Phils in ’06 in the thick of a push for the Wild Card and wasn’t charged with a run in 11 of them. He struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings in those appearances while throwing to a 2.70 and an 0.90 ratio. The Phils still have a lefty problem in the pen — Romero helps a lot but they need another guy. Fabio Castro is going to be real good someday, I’m not as sure about Zagurski, Youman, Blackley or Happ.

Recapping the Bobby Abreu trade, the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for shortstop CJ Henry, Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez and pitcher Carlos Monasterios. They’ve already released Henry (who resigned with the Yankees). If Sanchez or Monasterios are ever going to help the Phils it’s not going to be for a while.

Josh Towers signed a one-year deal with the Rockies for $400,000.


Geoff for kicks

Here’s what Brad Lidge and Geoff Geary have done over the past two seasons and their combined numbers for those two seasons:


Player

Year

IP

ER

H

BB

ERA

Ratio
Lidge 2006 75.0 44 69 36 5.28 1.40
Lidge 2007 67.0 25 54 30 3.36 1.25
               
Lidge ’06+’07 142.0 69 123 66 4.37 1.33
               

Player

Year

IP

ER

H

BB

ERA

Ratio
Geary 2006 91.1 30 103 20 2.96 1.35
Geary 2007 67.1 33 72 25 4.41 1.44
               
Geary ’06+’07 158.2 63 175 45 3.57 1.39

My point isn’t that Geoff Geary is a better pitcher than Brad Lidge or that he has been over the past two seasons. Among other things, over the last two seasons Lidge has struck out 192 in his 142 innings while Geary struck out 98 in his 158 2/3. In ’06 plus ’07 Lidge was charged with seven unearned runs, Geary 15. My point is just that the Phils didn’t just trade Michael Bourn for Brad Lidge, cause that really would have been a fantastic deal.

The Cardinals signed Matt Clement to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Former Phil Gio Gonzalez is now an Athletic. He was sent to Oakland as part of the deal that brought Nick Swisher to the White Sox. Gonzalez was sent to the White Sox along with Gavin Floyd in the deal that brought Freddy Garcia to the Phils. I’m starting to think the Freddy Garcia signing might turn out to be a mistake.

This post reminds that Jayson Werth was a first round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1997 and was traded to the Blue Jays straight up for John Bale, who is now trying to make the Royals rotation.

Carlos Delgado is disappointed that the Mets didn’t win the NL East last season because he thinks they had the best team.

Article about Braves’ reliever Peter Moylan here. In case you missed it, Moylan threw to a 1.80 ERA with a 1.07 ratio in 90 innings for Atlanta last season.


Would you like to buy an ‘O’?

The Phillies traded Chris Roberson to the Orioles for cash. Roberson hit 232/254/261 in 69 at-bats with the Phillies between 2006 and 2007. He turns 29 in August. I’d be kind of surprised if it turns out to be a lot of cash. Probably more than a nickel, though. Shhh.

This mailbag from the Phillies’ web site says that the Phillies’ interest in Kris Benson has cooled and suggests adding Chad Durbin was an alternative to Benson. If the Phillies’ search for a fifth starter is truly over, that’s bad news.

Pete Laforest will be invited to spring training. The Phils don’t have a lot of depth at catcher, but I’d be surprised if Jaramillo didn’t get the first shot behind Ruiz and Coste this year. Laforest may appeal as a left-handed bat off the bench, but the Phils don’t appear to have any space for him. I don’t think you’re likely to see a 25-man roster for the Phillies in which Laforest is the second-best defensive catcher.

This article lists the Lidge trade as one of the most lopsided of the off-season (in the Phillies favor). I don’t agree. The pen is still a problem for the Phils. Lidge is obviously an improvement over Geary, but trading away useful middle relievers creates new problems.


Who’s on first? Oh yeah

Here’s a look at how the Braves and the Phils ranked in offensive production by position in the infield and at catcher in the NL in ’07, using OPS as the measure:


POS

ATL

PHI
C 2 5
1B 14 3
2B 2 1
3B 3 16
SS 3 2

Both teams had a huge hole, the Phils at third and the Braves at first. The Braves look to have solved their problem at first base with the addition of Mark Teixeira. Scott Thorman got the most time at first for Atlanta in ’07 and hit 216/258/394 on the season. In Teixeira’s 208 at-bats with the Braves he hit 317/404/615. Between his time with the Rangers and the Braves, Teixeira’s line on the season was 306/400/563. A .963 OPS from their first baseman would have been second-best in the NL last season, behind only the Brewers.

Unless Eric Bruntlett slips into a Abraham Nunez-like role, the Phillies seem sure to get more offense out of third this season than they did last. The Nunez departure helps a lot, Helms was as bad as he could be in ’07 and Dobbs had curiously very weak offensive numbers while playing third base compared to the rest of his offensive output. Still, the Atlanta solution is a little meatier.

Atlanta does seem sure to drop off at short in ’08, where they have lost Renteria and his 332/390/470 line. Yunel Escobar probably isn’t going to repeat his 326/385/451 line in ’08. Let’s hope not at least.

Where the Braves can’t hang with the Phillies is in the outfield.


POS

ATL

PHI
LF 11 3
CF 12 1
RF 11 8

Andruw Jones had a miserable year in ’07, but the production the Braves get out of center field seems sure to go down if they go ahead with Josh Anderson as the every day guy. I really have a lot of trouble believing that will happen, but it’s good news for the Phils if it does.

Despite hitting 338/368/497 in ’07, Matt Diaz only got about as much time in left as Willie Harris (270/349/392) this season. Harris is gone and more time for Diaz in left and less for Harris and Ryan Langerhans may mean more offense out of left for the Braves in ’08.


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