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The Dip: Like It Or Not, We’re Still In it

Posted by The Dipsy, Sun, July 18, 2010 10:33 AM | Comments: 82
Posts, The Dip

What a bad place to be. In the thick of a wild card chase, waiting for injured players to return and healthy players to play better, deciding whether to trade one of our best players – while at the same time trying to figure out whether we are good enough (honestly) to make any noise in the post season (if in fact we actually get there). So many unknown variables to deal with. As it stands, the Phillies are not one of the best four teams in the National League. It’s also true that any team in the current wild card cluster is capable of going on a run, improbable or not, that puts them in the playoffs. So, Ruben Amaro has to watch his team for the next couple of weeks and decide whether the Phils are contenders or pretenders, and based on his decision, he will proceed accordingly. Some background:

Some fans are convinced that Cliff Lee’s departure took the heart right out of the team before the season ever began. The Halladay/Lee “thing” showed that the Phils wanted to stay very good yet stopped short of daring to be great. Last I checked, Cliff Lee does not hit home runs, steal bases, or field. He cannot pitch every day of the week and does not have a medical degree. Cliff Lee’s absence is not the problem. Injuries have compromised the Phils’ proficiency in every area: pitching, fielding, and hitting. Old timers say that injuries are not an excuse for losing. Actually, that’s not true. Injuries can be an excuse as to why you’re losing. You’re just not supposed to say it. Any sane person can understand that when you lose a zillion player games – all star player games at that – to injuries, that your team is probably not gonna play well, if not flat out suck. Mets fans learned that the hard way. So, what to do now? I think the Phillies’ fate revolves in large part around what the Phils decide to do with three key players: Jayson Werth, Joe Blanton, and Brad Lidge.

Jayson Werth is not playing well. He looks clueless at the plate. He is also, by his own admission, eagerly awaiting the end of the season so he can sign a big, fat contract…the one he has been “waiting his whole life for.” Is Jayson’s little slump a product of the Free Agent Blues – grinding his bat into sawdust and tightening up at the prospect of one less zero at the end of his next contract? Hey, I don’t know. But I do know that Ruben can replace Jayson’s current production by trading him for another righty bat and probably a lefty reliever. If you don’t believe me, compare Jayson’s stats with that of other outfielders and you’ll find that he’s not so special this year. But of course, he could get hot. Sitting around and waiting for someone to get “get hot” seems like a waste of time to me. If I find the right deal, I trade him.

The Phils have made it known they are looking for starting pitching. Joe Blanton is a good pitcher having a bad year. But Joe has a justified track record where he turns it on in the second half of seasons. Joe is a stone cold 14-10, 3.90, 200 IP guy – and those numbers don’t grow on trees. You gotta trust him to come around and lay off the temptation to trade for an Oswalt or Haren, mainly because the Phils have a bigger problem in…

Brad Lidge. He is not a major league closer anymore. While the in-the-dirt slider is still one of the best out pitches in the game, he cannot get ahead of hitters consistently enough to get in the position to throw it. His fastball is not fast and, unless perfectly placed, is a candidate to leave the park at any time. That little baby slider that he throws is fine but if he gets it up, it gets hit. In short, he does not have enough “stuff” on any of his his pitches not named “slider” to get away with a misplaced pitch. And he gets hit. A true closer must give you more than sporadic periods of effectiveness – and Lidge doesn’t offer that. The Phils will win nothing with him finishing games. If I am Ruben Amaro, I fill this hole before I look for another starter. Some more quick analysis shows why.

We know that Ibanez is an albatross and isn’t going anywhere. Domonic Brown is not getting called up before September. Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick will continue to provide little at the back of the rotation. J.A. Happ probably won’t contribute soon. Utley has to come back faster than forecast. These things, you just have to hope to be surprised and see some good things happen. Hope for a little luck, let’s say.

In conclusion, at some point in the not too distant future, RAJ is gonna have to take a hard look in the mirror and decide who this team really is. Whatever decision he makes he’ll get killed for it and that comes with the job. If he decides to push all in, then I think it’s OK to trade Werth for immediate help to address our need areas. If not (and that would take a mean losing streak), then try and clear the decks: Werth, Moyer, Madson, Lidge, Ibanez can all go, while paying some salary along the way. But before that decision has to be made there is some baseball left to play. Go Phils.

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About The Dipsy

The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I agree that the offense wasn’t there….until the 9th.

    But they didn’t play bad. They scored when it counted.

    Let’s win tonight for the split…..and to stay at 4.5 back of the Braves who already won. Hopefully, 3 of 4 in StL….although I will take a split (it’s real hard to win 4 game series on the road).

    If we just take a game off the standings each week or 10 days….we’re even by Sept 1.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Kendrick

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob

    How are Moyer and Kendrick continuing to be ineffective? They are your number 4 and 5 starters, respectfully. They are giving you exactly what you ask for. In most of their starts, the Phils have a chance to win the game-nothing more that I will personally ask of those 2 but to continue to give this team a chance.

    We are stuck with Lidge, seems as he is good one day and abysmal the next. No one is taking that contract, so they need to ride this storm out. Need a bullpen arm to stabilze the rest of the bullpen, that is more important to me then landing a starter.

    Cliff Lee is not or would not be the reason the Phils fall short of the playoffs. Seriously the issue needs to be put to rest. He will not be pitching against this team in World Series, Texas is not good enough. The starting pitching minus Blanton has done the job.

    The bench is much much improved from last season. Imagine if Eric Bruntlett had to play 60 games for Rollins/Utley/Polanco

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I didn’t ask for a 4.88 ERA out of my 4th starter. Or fourth starter last year was JA Happ. Now its Moyer. Thats quite a contrast.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Psujoe

    Chuck,

    I agree. Moyers been ok for a #5, but at that price no thanks. I don’t think he’ll be back. Very disappointed that Happ is struggling to return. If I’m RAJ I try for a 3b/inf with power at the right price. Otherwise it’s wait and see.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Reading this post.. I see, once again, that The Dipsy always phrases things in the most dramatic of ways

     
  • Posts: 0 TT

    I don’t see the Phillies selling. After all the poor pla, we are 4.5 games out in mid-July. We win tonight and we have won 6 of the last 8. Once we get Chase back, I see a run. Polanco was a huge piece to return to the lineup. The Braves are a beatable team, very beatable. Have some faith in the best Phillies team we have seen.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Moyer sucks.
    Laughable at best. Who says these things? I don’t like Hamels but hes been great so it is what it is. some of these people develop personal feelings and then the player can lead the team in wins and he “sucks”.
    I guess that’s what goes on at these blogs.

    Now since 2006 Hamels has made 135 starts for the phillies with 55 wins.
    Since 2006 Moyer has started 122 games for the phillies with 56 wins.

    That’s Coles entire career that makes you guys so excited. 13 less starts 1 more win for a 47 year old soft tosser.
    That’s 5 years it isn’t all just luck.
    Luckily the powers that be understand the sport more than the fans on a blog. You guys are dazzled by peripheral stats and stuff. I am dazzled when the Phillie’s win a game. By any means necessary.
    No I don’t think Moyer is better. I am just pointing out how out there some of the opinions on blogs are.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Really 5 years isnt all luck so if Moyer sucks Hamels must really suck I guess. I tend to think both have pulled thier weight this year and the last 5. The Moyer contract has been validated. If it hasnt then whats Hamels worth? Is he over paid?

     
  • Posts: 0 Dooseldorf

    How many playoff wins does Moyer have?

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I have been hearing Moyer sucks for so long I just get tired of it. Sorry he doesnt have the dazzling arm that you guys can identify with. He just leads the team in wins the last 5 years and is only 1 behnd Roy this year. Not bad for a suck is all I am saying.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Everyone will be surprised when Moyer is elected to the Hall of Fame, representing mediocrity for the longest period of time than anyone in the history of baseball. For spreading out average to below-average talent for longer than anyone else in baseball history. For earning the most money of any ballplayer with plain-jane skills. Moyer will be the first to represent a brand new category —– RUN OF THE MILL.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Mamas raise your babies to grow up to be lefties.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I didnt read all the comments read some however read the article. I agree with most of it. I say keep Madson and maybe look to trade JC. The guy just walks to many batters. I say start grooming Mathieson now and see what happens. I wouldnt put him in tie or 1 run lead situations. Thats if the Phils can ever get a 2 or 3 run lead team. Did the article mention Baez? Raj said he was going to improve the pen last year. He then brings in Baez and Contreras. While Contreras has been a surprise I dont see improving anything. We need a closer than can also perhaps double as a set up man. Even if we can just sign him to a one year deal while hopefully grooming Mathieson and see what he is capable off. Same time we have an insurance policy. Some people I have talk to have been saying this back in late May theres a problem at the Club house. More than one of course what that is its hard to say.

     
  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    I don’t think that Ruben should do anything. Other then signing Doc for 4 years, everything else was either a wash or a complete and udder failure. He can’t be trusted.

     
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Anyone who says Moyer sucks just does not know a good baseball player when they see him.

    We’re not talking talent here, which Moyer does have plenty of. We’re talking twenty years’ worth of experience that Moyer brings with him every time he takes the mound. Yes, he’s had his implosions this year, but every one of our starters have had some truly putrid (by each’s standards) starts this year.

    Moyer has been schooling left and right this season.

    As for Lidge, I’d like to see JC and Baez go before him. Now, in all fairness to JC, that’s one guy who’s been picking it up substantially more recently. But I spend more time biting my nails when he and Baez take the mound than I do with Contreras, Madson, or Lidge.

    Lidge’s problem is consistent confidence. Like Ricky Bo once said, this is a guy who should be saying to himself, “I’m Brad Lidge. I got this.” As much as I hate Phillies fans (or any fans) booing one of their own in their own ballpark, that might be what Lidge needs to really be Brad Lidge. It certainly worked against the Reds.

    Credibility is going way down when I see “Moyer sucks.” Because it’s just not true. Statistically, factually, actually, metaphorically, literally; any way you cut it, it’s not true.

     
  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    and for the record Jayson Werth is projected to get two draft supplemental draft picks if he leaves the phils via free agency

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    You tell em Kate.

    Moyer needs to pitch 3 more years and get about 30 more wins then he is a hall of famer ( thats possible). And you can make it because of longevity. You can also make it for playing on a winning team. Like Phil Rizzuto.

    To me Hamels is the most crucial part of the Phillies. If he is as good as he can be then this team is in the series again with him starting game 2. I am not worried about Roy. I am not worried about the bats. I worry about if Cole will be a legit front line starter and I worry about the Pen.

     
  • Posts: 0 BostonKate

    @ Kate

    spot on with everything you said.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    By legit front line starter I mean as good as he was playoffs 08. It would be tough for the Phillies lose a playoff series with a A+ Hamels and Halladay starting 5 games.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Kate. Moyer doesn’t suck. I should have selected my words more carefully. He (and Ibanez) was a poor investment by Ruben and he pitches well below the manner in which he is being paid. If he were making 2m a year to be our #5, you would not hear a peep out of me. I know Moyer is trying his best and it is actually Ruben who deserves the blame for signing a 47 year old guy for 8m to serve up an 4.88 ERA and just about 5.00 last year. I am serious when I say that I am probably projecting this hostility onto Moyer. If I were he I would have taken the money, too.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 ChuckS

    as far as Jamie Moyer is considered, he was supposed to be the phils number 5 starter, not the number 3. That would change a lot of people’s view, in perspective

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    But, he will never, ever, EVER, make the HOF. Thats a laugher. His election would discredit many of the players that are in there for dominating their eras at their positions. See Bart post @ 6:50.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Dipsy. Many times 50 years after we are all gone the old timers committee puts people in. Moyer is a prime candidate for this. Especially if he keeps pitching. If he gets to 300 which is probably 25-1 chance he gets in well before that. Odds are that he will make it. Maybe not till after we are all gone though.
    He is also worth his contract.
    For next year 1 year at 5 million is probably more in line. Id have no problem is the Phils did that.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Check out this guys numbers. He retired in 1926 and got elected to the HOF in 1971. Moyer compares very favorably.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/marquru01.shtml

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Hahaha. In what way?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Here’s one for you. If Jayson has a down year any chance he accepts arbitration? hmmm.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Moyer has 67 more wins and only 30 more loses. Winning percentage is a true gauge of a player. Marquand pitched in the dead ball era so his ERA compared to the league compares to Moyers vs the rest of the league. It took marquand 46 years to be elected. You can argue that if it takes that long are you a hall of famer?
    Youll notice marquand never led the league in anything only won 20 games 3 times in an era when 50 starts was the norm. He is very much an above average (not great) player who played a long time. Kinda like?
    Moyer will go to the hall. But we may not witness it.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    You saw a lot of guys go in the Hall by the Veteran’s Commitee early but not so much anymore. I figure that since you couldn’t have 37 guys go in each year during the first 15 years or so of the Hall’s existence, they created the VC to let in overlooked guys and umps and owners and stuff. Those players, for the most part, have been taken care of. In fact, they should start subtracting. The players nowadays have, I think, 15 years and then they are taken off the ballot. I don’t see guys retiring nowadays being candidates for the VC because the VC (not VietCong) have caught up on most of the guys that maybe got rooked early on. One day I think you’ll see the VC taking the position, “well, they had 15 years to get in when they were eligible, so why should we let him in?” Jaime is just not a Hall of Famer. Never won a Cy Young, or a WS game, how many times an all star…twice maybe? Just don’t see it.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Have you checked Nolan Ryan’s winning % lately?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Marquand got in in 71 the hall opened n 1939.
    Look at what Marquand did. Its less than Moyer. Just saying is all.
    I suspect Moyer goes and hes pitching next year at least. As the numbers grow it becomes more likely.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Ryan has 7 no hitters. and 5,714 Ks
    You make it in with those 2 stats even with a .523 wining pct.

     
 
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