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The Dip: An Eye to the Future

Posted by The Dipsy, Fri, August 21, 2009 10:05 AM | Comments: 71
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This is The Dip, a weekly column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy. Agree or disagree with what he says? Tell us by visiting our contact page.

It’s almost September and with the division reasonably in hand, Phillies fans may be tempted to allow their minds to wander towards the postseason and the Phils chances. OK. I know some of you think that is bad luck with so much baseball yet to be played. But I’m a chance-taker so lets do it anyway. These are one man’s thoughts about the Phillies and the playoffs (Note: when I was growing up, we didn’t have catchy acronyms like “LCS” and such, they were just called “the playoffs”).

The Rotation
I think the playoff rotation should be as follows: Lee, Blanton, Hamels, Happ. For those of you who didn’t know that Lee was an ace when he got here, you know now. Blanton getting the #2 spot over Hamels is counter-intuitive until you realize that Blanton has been a rock for months. A 3.88 ERA in this day and age is nothing to sneeze at; plus starting Blanton after Lee sets up a righty-lefty combo at the top of the rotation. This is important because the Pujolses and the Ramirezes of the world, and the lineups surrounding them, are primarily righties. Yes, Cole was great in the postseason last year but he’s got issues this year. It goes without saying though that if Cole gets it together, he slides to #2.

The Lidge Problem
If Brad Lidge doesn’t straighten out soon and Ruben can’t find a replacement, Charlie is eventually gonna have to stop sticking with “his guy”. The Phils might be forced to go with a “bullpen by committee” based on late-inning match-ups. Romero and Erye, and possibly Moyer, would give the pen three lefties which would make a committee set up a lot easier to do. Don’t get me wrong, Lidge will probably still be the primary guy to shut it down, but if he comes into the 9th with one out to go, and the opposing team goes to a lefty, and Romero or Eyre haven’t been used yet…

The Bench
In the postseason, eventually every wart on your team becomes exposed sooner or later. That said, Francisco, Dobbs, and Stairs, despite his poor showing of late, should be fine. But you just can’t have two guys hitting below .200 on your bench – period. Bako will stay because he’s the backup catcher. That leaves Bruntlett. The only reason one would actually REALLY need this guy is if Rollins or Utley go down. So If I’m Amaro, I DL him on about August 25 and replace him with a player of any position that can hit better than a 7-year old child. This move would make that hitter eligible for the postseason roster while Bruntlett remains eligible as an injury replacement if the above nightmare scenario occurs. Whew. That’s done.

Questions loom, but there is time. Every team has to tinker between now and September 1. That righty middle-infielder type that can hit .250 would nice. As would another sold lefty arm for the pen. I trust Ruben. But one last thing: Watch out for those Redbirds.

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About The Dipsy

The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Well said Dipsy…..I echo EACH of your points.

    And yes….it’s “the playoffs”.

     
  • Posts: 0 ed 2

    I gush with my friends about the phillies daily, as I’m sure most of you do. But, everytime, the lovefest breaks down because of one man. We all know this team has the talent, determination, and grit to win through 24 players. A second world series hinges on Brad Lidge and Brad Lidge alone.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff of nova

    Well said was thinking cairo or taylor comes up as replacement

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Would you like Eric Bruntlett coming up in an extra inning game in a clutch situation because he is the only guy that Charlie has leftwhile knowing that he has 1 chance in 8 of getting a hit? I’d rather send Cole Hamels up to hit.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    I’m surprised Jamey Carroll hasn’t been traded by the Indians yet. He’s 35 and his contract expires. They could get a prospect or two and save some money. He’s still the guy I want in Philly.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Can you just DL a guy for no reason?

    The problem with releasing or DFA’ing Bruntlett is that you don’t have anyone else that can play the middle infield positions. You almost have to keep him… what if Chase gets ejected or rolls an ankle? He’s listed as the backup at 2B and SS. Bruntlett’s versatility in the field as a backup (and that’s what he is… a backup) is valuable to a team that doesn’t need many bench hitters. Realistically, the only guys that you’re pinch hitting for are the pitchers… there’s no need to do the crazy things that we have had to do in the past (double switching Burrell and/or pinch hitting for Ruiz with Coste). That means that we don’t need many bench bats. The odd man out, in my opinion, is either Dobbs or Stairs and I’m probably sticking with Stairs. I like Dobbs but I think that he’s probably the second best left handed pinch hitter on this team… in a lineup loaded with lefties, how much value does he really have? He’s listed as the backup 3B but Bruntlett could easily fill in there…

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Id take Jamey Carroll. They should try and land him from the Indians. Hes light years better than Bruntlett. Lidge isnt going anywhere, get over it. The best they can do at this point is add a good late inning reliever if there are any who have cleared waivers.

    I think one of Taylor or Brown WILL be traded in the offseason. First, because they have an immense logjam in the OF in their system. Second, they have NO proejctable major league caliber 3B at all. AND they wont have one in a year’s time if they exercise Feliz’s option. I think a priority in the offseason should be to find a good hitting major league 3B not just for now (sorry, Pedro), but for the next several years.

    Thats not going to come cheap. Even for a guy liek Ryan Zimmermann its still going to be expensive. But I think its a glaring hole in their system. Behind Feliz they have NOTHING. They need a yuong, major league quality 3B.

     
  • Posts: 0 Julian

    I know I’m thinking way too far ahead but Fransisco as a DH in the WS is a nice upgrade.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    The season to DL Bruntlett is because he is not playing well. Teams do that all the time, esp with big money starting pitchers.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think the Phillies have had a total of like 4 pinch-hit at-bats in the past 10 games ..

    Eric Bruntlett is a non-issue … but I like that people keep trying to make it one

    I’m all for improving the team.. but its not worth trading for a guy that won’t see any playing time anyway

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    You know what… it might be closer than I initially thought. I think that many of us (myself included) probably feel warm and fuzzy about Stairs and I’m trying to look at this without any bias. Fact: he’s not really helping this team if he’s not hitting. He’s more of a threat to pop one out than Dobbs is but he’s slumping so the margin of “who is better” is very slim right now… Dobbs has far more versatility as a fielder (1B, 3B, OF). I guess that Stairs could play first but I would feel more comfortable with Dobbs…

     
  • Max here, and let me just speak for the entire Fire Eric Bruntlett team, we love the idea of DL’ing Beardo. If we can’t get rid of him, make it impossible for him to make us lose. I think each and every one of us reading this post, could hit better than Bruntlett in his role.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Matt Stairs has 7 at-bats in the entire month of August ..

    Greg Dobbs has 11 at-bats.

    Eric Bruntlett has 5 at-bats.


    They aren’t getting at-bats or “HELPING THIS TEAM” .. because the regulars are smashing the ball lately.. and our bench guys are there JUST IN CASE

    If we have an important game that comes down to Eric Bruntlett needing a hit … then we’re in trouble anyway.. with the nest Phillies lineup in years, and years, and years .. your bench becomes much less crucial

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Orig Ch P. If you DL Bruntlett on the 25th and Chase or Jimmy get hurt in the playoffs, you’re allowed to bring a guy off your 40 man to replace him as long as he was on your roster before Sep. 1. Thats aid, Brutlett could be added in the playoffs if this happened. Eric will just have to come down with a “quad strain” in the mean time. Very nasty injury. He will probably be off the team before Sep 1. anyway.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    best* Phillies lineup in years..

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Don…..when you are changing pitchers a lot late in the game, like in the post season, you need pinch hitters. This means these guys are gonna get at bats.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    But DL’ing a pitcher is essentially giving him a start off and giving that pitcher the opportunity to work things out in the minors (when the team is out of options)… hey Cole, we want to give you a few starts off and get a rehab with Lehigh… I guess that they can do it with Bruntlett but he doesn’t get many at bats so it doesn’t really make much sense for them to want to send him to AAA to work the kinks out so he can come back and ride the pine. If you don’t like him, release him… that way he doesn’t eat up a roster spot (players on the DL take up a spot on the 40 man roster).

    Myers, Condrey and Romero could possibly rejoin the team by mid-September so the Phillies could be forced to make a decision… Walker is the first to go. I would think the other two would be Durbin and Stairs OR Dobbs OR Bruntlett.

    4 pinch hit at bats in 10 games for pitchers… it’s a non issue.

    Here’s a dumb non-issue question for ya: if the WS started tomorrow, who would play DH for us? Francisco or Stairs or Cliff Lee?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Dobbs is staying without question. I think the other guy to go should be Bruntlett. Hey, I think Bruntlett is still allowed to sit on the bench.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    And Bruntlett is either the last, or 2nd to last option anyway … before or after the backup catcher ..

    AND.. after Sept 1st … we add other guys to the roster, so Bruntlett is there for Defense Only, even more than he is right now

    Chuck P..
    Release Durbin, Stairs, or Dobbs ?? Which corner do you get your crack from?

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I’m pretty sure that John Mayberry Jr. or Michael Taylor will pinch-hit instead of Bruntlett..

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    I said, IF Myers, Romero and Condrey are ready to go by mid September you would have to do something. If they look good, you can’t add them to the 25 man roster without dropping someone, right? Well, look at the roster and tell me what you would do.

    Durbin’s ERA is in the 4.6 range…

    Stairs is the 3rd OF on the depth chart right now. He’s hitting .216, is a below-average fielder and he’s a lefty (we are already a lefty heavy lineup)…

    Like I said, I think that Bruntlett has to stay because if Jimmy or Chase goes down you don’t have anyone that can play a middle infield position. YOU CAN’T HAVE A POSITION WITHOUT A BACK UP…

     
  • Posts: 0 Philly Texan

    Well, I guess Phils fans have to find SOMETHING to complain about. And since the team is white hot, Howard and Rollins are hitting well and Lidge can’t get in a game, then we have to gripe about Eric Bruntlett.

    Let me say this as clearly as possible: If you have to worry about your backup utility infielder, who’s the last pitch hitter off the bench, then things are going really well for your team.

    Bruntlett is a defensive replacement who’s valuable because he backs up the middle infielders AND can play outfield.

    True, he’s not much of a hitter. But we’ve got three good pitch-hitters ahead of him — two lefties, one righty. If we end up in a 13th inning and Bruntlett has to pitch-hit, I’ll worry about it then. The guy did hit a home run off Price i the WS last year.

    But he’s valuable because he can play SEVEN positions in the field, he’s a smart hard-nosed player who can pitch run — smart baserunner with decent speed. Didn’t he score the winning runs in both Games 3 and 5 of the WS.

    And he’s a team guy who knows his role, knows he’s last off the bench and won’t make trouble about lack of at-bats. (Who’s glad we didn’t get Sheffield?)

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Philly Texan. Bruntlett can play a lot of positions. Thats true. But none particularly well. He does not have good speed. He cannot hit. It doesn’t matter during the season. But when you get to the playoffs the last man on the bench can, and has plenty of times, play a key role. So, when you get to the 13th inning you’ll worry about it then? Thats funny. Wouldn’t you feel better if you could just tweek that bench a little and get a guy that can honestly run well, perhaps a threat to steal a base, can field, and has better than remote chance to get a hit when called upon? And how much aggravation would this cause Ruben and the Phillies? Little to none probably.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Septem-BEARD

    I assume Bruntlett would have to clear waivers to play AAA ball? I think he really just needs to get ABs. If we could get someone in here in the mean time (cairo) while he gets a rhythm in lehigh valley he could be a useful tool in these “playoffs” you speak of.

    I agree you can’t not carry a back up SS or 2b.

     
  • Posts: 0 Philly Texan

    Dipsy,
    I disagree about the fielding. Is he a great defensive player? No. He ‘s not going to make a spectacular play like Rollins or Feliz or Victorino. But he’s a perfectly adequate defensive replacement if we ever need one — he can fill anyone of seven positions and won’t be a defensive liability.

    As for baserunning, he’s a not a threat to steal, but he won’t run you into an out either. He won’t get picked off or doubled up. He will go first to third. He will slide to the outside of the bag to avoid a tag. These are little things that come with experience and why Charlie trusts Bruntlett.

    I’d rather have Bruntlett out there than Michael Taylor, who will be a fine player some day, but I don’t want a 22 year old with no experience running the bases late in a postseason game.

    And no, he’s not a good hitter. But he’s still a major league player and is liable to pop one when you least expect it — as in Game 2 off Price. He can also lay down a bunt.

    You haven’t mentioned who the alternative is. Is it Taylor? Brown? Mayberry? I wouldn’t trust those guys in a playoff situation. I’ve got no great loyalty to Bruntlett. If Rub can find a better veteran utility guy on waivers, I’m all for it. But let’s recognize that he does a lot of important little things.

    And if it comes down to Bruntlett or a young prospect, I’ll take Bruntlett.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I know he’s not great in the regular season, but Bruntlett is a NASTY hitter in the playoffs …

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Ya know what…..fine. Keep him. But for god’s sake get him some AB’s. I will say in his defense that you can’t expect a guy that has bed sores from sitting on the bench to just get up and hit a pinch single. If you’re gonna keep him give him some freakin air.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Septem-BEARD

    If it comes down to bruntlett or a prospect youre taking Bruntlett?! what happened to that win now attitude that was resonating through these boards during the halloday talks? I wouldnt give up taylor or drabek but if we could upgrade our bench for someone like kendrick, mathieson or a mid level prospect, we should definitly do it. David Eckstein comes to mind.

     
  • Posts: 0 Philly Texan

    I like debating with you, Dipsy. You make good points. (except for the time you wanted to bump Howard out of the No. 4 hole :)

    I’ll defintiely agree with you about the ABs. Same thing for Dobbs. Wouldn’t mind getting him a spot start soon.

    One down side about the starters going so deep into games is that the bench gets no work…..of course, that’s a good problem to have.

     
  • Posts: 0 Richie Allen

    Dipsy,
    I like the idea of a bullpen by commitee.I guess if Lidge isnt ON,there is no choice.Provided we dont sign someone.
    Bruntlett hasnt had the At Bats this year to get comfortable,last year he got them when JROLL went down.I dont think its fair to say his hitting is bad when he doesnt get a chance to hit.
    But then again ,what do I know?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Duuuuuuude. That was a great idea. Werth in the 4 hole against lefties? My God. He’d have 7000 rbis right now.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Megary

    “Pujolses”? “Ramirezes”? Heh, heh…

    Only one of each, thankfully.

    Otherwise, nice piece. I still think Hamels goes #2 however. And Bruntlett stays, barring a late move. But neither of those decisions are the major issue facing Charlie. The makeup of the bullpen will be the biggest question.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob

    In honor of playing the Mets, I’d like to post this quote from Mets blog. LOL at bashing Santana, like he is the problem on that team.

    Enjoy, lets beat those bastards. Always enjoyable no matter how injuried they are.

    “13-9 is NOT worth 140 million bucks!!! In 2006 Maine and Ollie went 15-10, and. look at them. A good pitcher to me, has wins that are double his losses, like 13-6 perhaps. He gives up to many HR’s and is NOT the stopper he was built up to be. Once again OWAR does enough to tease us, but not enough to put the team over the top Lets lok back at 2006, we where one game away from the WS, then we collapsed in 2007 and 2008 and now we have crashed to fourth place. Look at the Phillies, they got sweept away in 2007, won the WS in 2008 and will make th eplayoffs fo the third time in 2009, face it, they are a better team. I hate them, but, they are better.OMAR cant be happy with what he has, he MUST go out and be greedy and get as much as he can and fill as many holes as he can and upgrade evrywhere, not just is the pen..”

     
  • Posts: 0 Joey

    I dont know this rivalry is no fun when its one sided. Thats why it really wasnt a rivalry until a few years ago. This isnt like football where it ALWAYS feels good to spank the Cowgirls and Ginas. Im sure they feel the same way.
    I think we need to stand by Lidge because good or bad hes the best we got.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    No Joey…he’s not.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Az Mike

    Looks like the hitters have found a way to keep Brad Lidge and Cholly from blowin saves!

     
  • Posts: 0 ryan

    blanton over hamels in the rotation? that’s the funniest joke i’ve ever heard

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    I would be all for releasing/DFA’ing Bruntlett (aka the punt) but they can’t do it unless they have someone that can fill in… that’s the only thing that I’m saying.

    Right now, it’s pretty clear that Blanton and Happ are more reliable than Hamels but Cole will be our #2 by the playoffs… we have to hope that it shakes out like that.

    Same goes with Lidge… hopefully, some easy saves and extra days off will get him on the right track. He needs to look in the mirror and forget about what has happened… he needs to stop trying to be perfect. His ERA sucks… he’s not gonna change that so he needs to start a new season TODAY. No one will care about how many saves he blew in April-August as long as we make it into the playoffs and he does well.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Bob… thank you so much for sharing that.

     
  • Posts: 0 Joey

    We cant win it without him. hiding him isnt going to solve any problems.

     
  • Posts: 0 phils_ftw

    Speaking of Redbirds wouldn’t it be a serious dose of irony if the Baseball Cardinals knocked us out of the playoffs, seeing as the Football Cardinals knocked the Eagles out of the playoffs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob

    Its always fun for me whenever a Philly team beats a New York team, especially seen we were on the losing side for so many years.

    And I agree with Joey, right now we have no better option than Lidge. If there is I want to see them take the hill in the 9th and get it done because I have not seen that person this season.

    -Do you reallly want to force Madson into the closer role with his confidence back up? Especially after blowing half of Lidges blown save total in about 6 opportunities? I don’t

    -Park has been stellar in his shifting role (Long relief/7th, maybe 8th inning). I dont want to take him away from that.

    -I may use Eyre or Romero against Lefties at times but that’s about how far I’d go.

    Talk to me if we bring in an actual closer to take Lidge’s spot.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Dipsy… you said that Lidge isn’t the best that we’ve got… just curious… who is?

    You say that Bruntlett needs to go and Bako will stay because he’s the backup catcher but then you fail to suggest a replacement for Bruntlett as the backup middle infielder. Just curious… who might that be?

     
  • Posts: 0 JoeFan

    Dipsy, I agree that if we’re going to keep Bruntlett then we need to get him some at bats. As soon as we go up 12-3 we should be taking out Chase for Bruntlett and also get Dobbs and Stairs in the game to get some swings.

    I think the Phillies could go w/out Bruntlett in the regular season and if there was an injury to Chase or Jimmy then you designate an emergency backup for that game (such as Dobbs). Then after the game you call up another player if need be.

    However, to do that in the playoffs would be very risky and even foolhardy I’d say. One other point, I think Eric is on the squad for defense and baserunning only, not for his offense. You could argue that you don’t want Bruntlett to be the last one on the bench and be forced to bring him in in the 9th inning in game 7 in the NLCS or WS. However, with the quality of pitcher we’re probably facing at that point, who in our organization is going to do much better.

     
  • Posts: 0 JeffR

    The point is that once the playoffs start you don’t really need a backup infielder as much as a pure pinch-hitter. Bruntlett woud still be here all of September as a backup infielder, just not active for the playoffs. I agree with Dipsy’s scenario completely.
    Why would you have Condrey automatically replacing someone from the current roster? He can be active in September if he’s ready but he’s not taking anyone’s spot from the current roster for the playoffs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    BREAKING NEWS:Live coverage of the “Mutts Hostage Crisis” today at 3:30pm est. Only on SNY1. Pedro Martinez will be your host.

    -The Phillies will get a personal look at Billy Wagner at some point this weekend. With Romero hurt and Lidge’s garbage; he’s worth at least a good luck. Whoever gets him if any will have too pay the remianing $2.75 million contract for this yr and he’s a club option for 2010. I really don’t care about the money here, and the Phils should’ve either. If Wagner continues to pitch well, go get him or at least try like hell. Did you see Wagner’s post game press conf. He’s face was pratically begging for a 2nd chance w/Phils.”BP” buy commt. never works. Lokk at the Rays in the WS. Lidge is headed towards a diaster. So I won’t get over it. Smoltz would have been a very smart and sneeky move. Hopefully, Lidge gets himself together. But it’s insane to just set back cross our fingers and hope for the best. This isn’t the bleeping Wizard of OZ. Maybe Pedro, Park or Myers will get a shot. But when? And they’re both RHPs anyway. I think Pedro should replace Durbin come playoffs? Park or Brett seem like the most logical choices. But we don’t know if Brett is really ready and Park has no exp in this role. I really don’t care if Wagner has a history of being a big mouth. It seems the man can still get lefties out with ease. He’ll get a good test this wkend. Heading into the PS with Lidge as is spells “short yellow bus.”

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    For those of u that don’t know. Pedro really does have a 3:30pm press conf on syn1.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    We don’t really know if anyone is going to be ready… personally, I feel more comfortable with Condrey than Durbin. I have a feeling that Romero might not be coming back… and Myers is a long-shot to begin with. We’re probably making this fanhood thing harder than it should be, eh?

     
  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    I am not saying I agree with this but if Cole has a couple of good outings in Sept/Oct. Charlie is a guy that would start Cole in the first game, because he is like that. He would send him out there because he is Cole. And you would have to send Lee out next, with JB in the third game, then JA Happ.

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Pedro’s got a big mouth too.

     
 
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