I’m a bit flummoxed by the trade for Jack Taschner. I thought the clear play for the Phils was to hold onto Paulino and let him play a lot against left-handed pitching, which he has hammered over his career. That didn’t happen, though, and the Phils shipped Paulino away for Taschner, a guy who turns 31 this month and has a 5.68 ERA with a miserable 1.64 ratio over the past three seasons and has been bombed this spring (6.23 ERA and a 2.54 ratio and three unearned runs before last night’s appearance).

This article points out that Taschner is going to make $835,000 this season whether he plays in the minors or the majors. That seems to suggest there’s a good chance he’s going to be playing in the majors. Since he’s on the Phillies it probably means he’ll be playing for them. So I thought I’d go looking for the silver lining.

You have to look pretty hard for the silver lining. To the degree it’s there I think it has two main parts: 1) he strikes people out and 2) he was very solid till the end of the season in 2008 when his numbers fell apart.

First the strikeouts. For his career, he’s struck out 124 in 140 innings. That’s 7.97 per nine innings. He also has struck out lefties and righties at about the same rate over his career. He’s fanned 67 of the 350 righties he’s faced (19.1%) and 57 of the 295 lefties (19.3%).

He also threw to a 3.03 ERA with a 1.35 ratio in 32 2/3 innings for the Giants in the first half of last year. He blew up in the second half, though, throwing just 15 1/3 miserable innings with an 8.80 ERA and a 2.41 ratio. Opponents hit 380/440/634 against him in the second half.

His overall numbers last year were actually solid through his appearance on August 24 against the Padres. Through his first 58 games he had thrown to a 3.89 ERA with a 1.44 ratio. In his last nine appearances of the season he allowed eight earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, an 11.37 ERA with a hideous 3.32 ratio (13 hits and eight walks).

Here’s how his career rates for runs, hits, walks and strikeouts compares to some other Phillies’ lefties (remembering that Happ has thrown just 35 2/3 innings while Romero and Eyre have each thrown more than 500):

taschner.jpg

Taschner isn’t especially good against lefties. He does have some nice numbers against righties compared to the rest of that group:

 
Vs Right

Vs Left
  AVG OBP SLG AVG OBP SLG
Taschner 247 353 412 288 349 409
Happ 269 355 419 217 280 413
Romero 271 379 435 212 306 285
Eyre 280 368 447 242 324 399

Yesterday the Phils released Geoff Jenkins. That one came as a surprise to me, but I also think it’s a mistake. Werth has had 400 plate appearances once in his career and has a history of having problems hitting right-handed pitching. I think Jenkins would have been a good guy to have around. Not sure why you would want to pay to not have him around and I especially think it’s a bad idea if the reason is so you can put Miguel Cairo on your team.

The article linked above also suggests the Phils may be interested in Gary Sheffield. Sheffield and Stairs would be one DH too many if the Phils played in a league with the DH.

Chan Ho Park will be the Phillies fifth starter. That article also suggests that Happ, Majewski, Mosebach and Taschner are competing for two jobs. I’d guess Taschner is likely on the team and Mosebach is likely not.

Brett Myers will start opening day.

The Phillies beat the Blue Jays last night, winning 9-1 to improve to 12-16 in spring training.

Myers got the start for the Phils and allowed a run on three hits. Travis Snider hit a solo home run off of him in the second and the other two hits were singles. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. His spring ERA is 3.52. Taschner and Majewski both pitched scoreless innings.

Ibanez was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his first of the spring. Rollins was 2-for-3 with a double to raise his average to .321. Werth 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. He’s hitting .317.

The Phillies play the Yankees today.

Update: This says the Phillies are interested in Andruw Jones. That would make a lot more sense than Gary Sheffield.