Ryan's Hope

Posted by The Dipsy, Sun, November 28, 2010 06:59 AM | Comments: 87
Posts, The Dip

The Phillies lineup has some problems that we are all aware of – and most pronounced is that its too left-handed. At present, Placido Polanco and Carloz Ruiz are the team’s best right-handed hitters and this just shouldn’t be. The lack of a good right-handed bat particularly hurts Ryan Howard, and in some very concrete ways.

I would suspect that Ryan may be a bit confused sometimes about what hitting approach to take. One would think that a part of him might like to go to the plate, when a man is on base, with the luxury of knowing that someone behind him can knock in the run if he doesn’t. He doesn’t have that and that leads to wild swinging and an unwillingness to take walks. This “I do it or it doesn’t get done” attitude, and the hitting approach that goes with it, leads to pitchers giving him slop to hit because they know he’ll swing…because he feels he has to. And he does. Taking a walk means nothing to Ryan nor should it.

Now let’s put a premiere hitter in back of him. An RBI man and a run producer. At that point, perhaps Ryan becomes a more selective hitter because he’s got the security behind him. A guy that could make a pitcher pay for walking him. Unafraid to take a walk, Ryan would see better pitches, which then makes him a better hitter. Add a little Bonds to his Fielder (Cecil), so to speak. This type of thinking is by no means novel and I think the Phils would get the hitter to fill that spot for Ryan if at any point it becomes feasible. Now it is.

The day before Thanksgiving, The White Sox declined to offer arbitration to Manny Ramirez, thus removing his Type-A free agent tag. This means any team can sign him without giving up draft picks. Now, if you don’t think Manny can hit anymore, I guess you can stop reading here. I believe that, if motivated, Ramirez can still produce a 35/120/.320 season. Yup. Notwithstanding his last two seasons comprised of suspensions, in season vacations, injuries, and attempts to grow mammary glands, I believe that if Manny wants to play, that he will hit. “Good” Manny would the best offensive option available to the Phils…by far.

He’s a head job. A drama queen. A poor fielder. He also owns two World Series rings. He is dedicated to the art of hitting and has become one of the greatest offensive players of his generation. He’s right handed. And he’s played for Charlie Manuel. If Manny wants to play, and we don’t know that he does, then Ruben oughta seriously explore what it would take to put him in red pinstripes. Financially, and I have not been consulted on this, it would no doubt have to be a heavily incentive-laden contract. If the guaranteed base salary the Phils give him is low enough, it would make his acquisition a low risk ,high reward venture. I was thinking about 3 mill.

Let’s find Manny, wherever he might be, and kick the tires a little. Find out what’s going on in that coconut of his. In the event he thinks the sun hasn’t set on his career and that he would like to play for a potential World Series winner, if he’d be willing to do what it takes to be a good teammate (or a reasonable facsimile), if he is in baseball playing shape, then put ink to paper and MapQwest him some directions to Clearwater. Make no mistake, Manny is a lunatic. But he is THAT good.

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About The Dipsy

The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Dear Jim – When a man is hitting fifth and another man is in scoring position, especially with 2 outs, and there is no one behind him that can reasonably be counted on to bring the run home, he is to knock it in. This is baseball. You don’t “look for a walk and hope the weaker guy can come through”. If you have a strong six hitter you can play like that. We didnt and don’t. Your statements are quite correct though when made “in a vaccuum” or “in a static world”, but not with the 2010 Phillies. The way this team was assembled, Werth’s JOB should have been to take advantage of RBI situations. If that meant a slow ground out or a sac fly, so be it. Do you see where Werths OPS got him when he was not batting in the correct spot in the order? I do not criticize Werth. He is a good player. He just doesn’t have the skill set to be a 5 hole hitter. He was there by default because he was a righty. As for the numbers and slashes…whatever. Thats just how it used to be done. I’m not saying its the best way. Be on guard though Jim because in 5 years YOUR way will be obsolete.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 jim

    Drawing a walk in the situation you describe increases your team’s chance of scoring runs. This is a FACT. It is not up for debate. We have the long great history of baseball to show us this. Yes, there is likely a point where the hitter behind you is so poor that a walk decreases your run expectancy, but this is extremely rare in a non-pitcher situation. Its not about “hoping somebody else gets the job done.” By avoiding an out and putting another man on, you make it EASIER for your team to get the job done. The effect is positive, not null as you seem to suggest.

    Yes clearly the way the trend is moving is for this thinking to become obsolete. Maybe within the bubble of Philly sports.. Does it make you feel good to see Amaro say Ibanez was as productive as Werth this season? A nightmarish statement for a GM to make. Only thing that will be obsolete in 5 years is Ryan Howard.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew R.

    Dipsy, Werth should have absolutely had 100+ rbi the last two years. This year he was just atrocious with RISP. We all know it. But I would like to talk about your last comment about Werth and the weak 6 hitter behind him.

    Yes, Werth should be looking for a pitch to drive with an rbi situation. Everyone knew he would take pitches. It drove me nuts when he’d let a first-pitch fastball go down the middle just as much as Howard would be guessing first-pitch fastball and totally not get it. Mike Piazza was a notorious first-pitch taker. But when he decided to jump on a first-pitch fastball, he drove the hell out of it. Werth never seemed to do that. He would usually take a wild swing and fall down and the end result would be a foul ball.

    On the other hand, Victorino, Ibanez and Ruiz were all capable of driving in a run. Would we like to see Werth more aggressive? Absolutely. But if everybody had the mentality of fighting to get on for the next guy, it’s only a matter of time the pitcher makes a mistake.

    Werth should not feel obligated to swing at something because of the guys behind him. The guys behind him are well-compensated, MAJOR LEAGUERS. There should be no reason why Werth can’t draw a walk to load the bases with 2 outs. But like Werth and Howard, the whole offense was inconsistent all year. Every at-bat should’ve been a grind, and it appeared there were a lot of times when guys went up there with no plan of attack.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    And the “point where the hitter behind you is so poor” was represented by Rollins, Victorino, or Ibanez, comprising the 6-7 holes. Our six hole hitter sucked last year Jim.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 jim

    … and yet Werth ended up 4th in the league in runs scored.

    Werth will be missed because he was a far more productive player than most think.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Thats great Jim. When you put a guy in the five hole that walks a lot and steals bases and is fast, he will score runs and not hit them in. I agree with you that Jayson is good a will be missed. I just think he was not batting in the spot where he could maximize his strengths.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Wow.. active site for a Sunday after a major holiday in the offseason with the Eagles playing…

    Dipsy, love all your options. Thay all have merit.

    Phylan….not sure how old you are …but I grew up with AVG/HR/RBI…. I also use OPB, SLG and OPS when researching a player. It’s all good.

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    This is fascinating. This team with the best record in Major League Baseball in 2010 seems to have an awful lineup. The 5 hole hitter is all wrong, not protecting the 4 hole hitter that is stupid and can’t hit properly, the 6 and 7 hole guys can’t drive in runs………

    How many games should we have won? 140? 150?

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Lefty, its called Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Dipsy, I’m intrigued by Ordonez- worried he’s lost a little, only 109 RBI the last two years combined. Age/staying healthy is an issue, but for the right price, a very, very interesting option.

    Any scenario is better than “Manny being Manny”, and there is no question that is just what he will do. There were some that thought T.O. would toe the line here, how’d that work out?

  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    H20- gave us what- 44 some wins? Where did the rest come from?

    Oh wait, Well what do you know? Our horrible lineup was 2nd in the National League in runs scored.


  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    T.O. did tow the line. For a season. He’s a good example of the point I am trying to make here. I think that once a player who still has something to contribute but has blown so many chances because of his conduct, and he realizes that if he doesn’t shape up he’ll be outta the league because the enormity of his talent no longer matches his assache, that he can shape up. T.O. with the Bengals? He’s gonna be All-Pro.

    Actually, I like the Ordonez option best. His injury is supposed to be healed and he’s done rehabbing. I guess it would be how much cash he wants. I think he would fit in well here and could play LF and RF.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Andrew R.

    I really believe Magglio is the best choice, but I believe Boras is seeking a 1-year offer worth a lot more than we’re willing to pay.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I’m sorry, Lefty. You’re right. Our lineup is fine.

    The Dipsy.

  • Posts: 0 Bob D.

    Manny’s bat speed is down and hasn’t hit for any significant power recently – PASS, look elsewhere

  • Posts: 0 Kate



    Seven out of nine Opening Day starters, plus some of their back-ups, spending time on the DL this year.

    Yeah, this team just SUCKED this year.

    I’ll take my chances with the guys who got the best record in baseball.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy


    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 George

    When the NL goes to a designated hitter, then Manny might make sense on an NL team. He’s looking for an incentive laden contract, but that means he’ll need/want significant playing time to increase his numbers. Given his non-existent defense, no National League team could risk signing him. He’s strictly American League material, because there at least he might get a chance to hit without the chance of ruining someone’s outfield.

    Manny probably knows his defensive limitations, and likely won’t sign with an NL team anyway, because he wants a chance to play.

  • Posts: 0 jim

    can’t just ignore the fact that the team is getting a year older. yes, alot of guys spent time on the DL, but its a pretty safe bet that at least one or two do this year as well. you need to look at the team in terms of “where will they be better” and “where will they be worse.”

    i think this season represented a ceiling for ruiz, and its unlikely that brown gives them what werth did in RF. on the other hand, utley should have a power bounceback, and a full season is better than a half season of roy oswalt. hamels also could continue to get better. but itd be crazy to count on halladay being BETTER than he was last year, and there’s really no reason (other than homerism) to expect rollins or ibanez to improve offensively. we’ll see how the bullpen takes shape. but this team should not stand still with its aging roster, that’s for sure.

  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Jim, totally disagree. Rollins, Howard, Utley, Vic, Ruiz even Poly are still within age to produce some hot numbers. With the arms the Phils have, if these core guys have average years your looking at another NL East Division champion, at least. Nobody has to have an outstanding year, just average and they will be golden.

  • Posts: 0 jim

    average by what standard though? average to those guys’ careers? because asking for average years from them as a whole at their collective ages IS unreasonable in my opinion. that’s the whole point about aging. not that they are all going to stink, but as a GROUP their production is likely to decline on the whole. ruiz had a great great year. probably as good as he can be. victorino should absolutely bounce back. rollins and polly though, don’t see any reason why we’d expect them to.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew R.

    Damn Jim. Way off. A guy is 30 and he’s old. There’s no reason to believe these guys can’t remain really productive until they’re 34-35. The way you’re talking, it sounds like these guys are done. Imagine if they played in a more neutral park. Utley would be a .270 hitter with 12 homers, Howard would be at .260 with 28 homers, according to you, jim.

    Yes the Phils window for being truly great is just about to start closing. I say this year and next, unless we can get very creative, which I don’t put past our front office. But to say our guys can’t be ‘average’ to their own careers, is insane.

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    I think Polanco had a good 2010, especially if he was playing hurt half the season.

    Rollins is the type of guy who’s going to have a good next year because he didn’t like what happened to him in 2010. Utley and Howard, the same thing. You’d better believe Howard is going back to work on his swing and Utley’s spending some time before spring training reacquainting himself with defensive fundamentals, whether he actually needs it or not. Can’t imagine either of them like how their years ended and they’ll do something about it.

    Utley was forced into an “average” year (by his own standards) with his extended trip to the DL.

    I think Victorino should be fine.

    If we get Werth back, I think Charlie and the boys in the front office will find a way to get Dom Brown back up and seeing more playing time, even if they put in left field to platoon with the on-his-way-out Ibanez.

    We’ll be right back in the playoffs next year. Mark it.

  • Posts: 0 jim

    not saying anybody is done. not even close. just trying to figure out how they will perform as a whole group. to expect them ALL to equal or surpass their career averages after 30 is not realistic. some will be better, some will be worse. howard, rollins, utley, polanco, ibanez. give me the under on their career averages next year and i bet i win 3/5.

    expecting guys to maintain their career averages through ages 34-35 is just out of line with history. especially when the signs from rollins, ibanez, howard, and utley (power at least) point to some decline.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew R.

    Ok, Jim, where to begin here? Howard is the only one you can have a legit beef with. It’s hard to hit 45 a year with 140 driven in. I’ll give you that one. Polanco is a pretty consistent slap hitter in the .290+ range. Rollins is a career .272 hitter. I’m sure if he’s healthy he can steal his 35+ bags, score 100 runs and hit .272. Ibanez doesn’t belong in this conversation because he’s going to be 39 next year, but we’ll talk about him later. I really can’t see a healthy Utley not hitting his 29 homers and 103 rbi.

    As you said, “expecting guys to maintain their career averages through ages 34-35 is just out of line with history.”

    Way to just throw out some total crap. I did a little research and tried to shy away from the steroid era…..

    1. Mike Schmidt: age 34– 36 homers. age 35– 33 homers. age 36– 37 homers. Career average: 37 homers. Pretty consistent.

    2. Willie Mays: age 34– 52 homers. age 35– 37 homers. Career average: 36 homers.

    3. Frank Thomas: age 34– 28 homers. age 35– 42 homers. Career average: 36 homers.

    4. Andre Dawson: age 34– 21 homers. age 35– 27 homers. Career average: 27 homers.


    5. Raul Ibanez: age 34– 33 homers. age 35– 21 homers. Age 37– 34 Homers. Career average: 22 homers.

    So I guess all of these are just out of line with history then. Maybe for the 3-time all-star, decent career, average guy, they are. But we’re talking about guys who big-time players (Utley, Howard, Rollins).

    Jim, please don’t just throw out BS because of your unfounded “hunch.” If these boys remain healthy, they can keep doing their thing for another 3-5 years.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    Andrew best bit of stats I have seen on this site in a long time.

    Lets all calm down, yes we need to improve our lineup but we do not need to be drastic

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    @Kate – This is kind of just a side thing, but why do you think Chase seems to NEED to work on his defense in half of your posts? A few misplays in a big series notwithstanding, Chase is by far, the best second baseman in baseball, and he has been, within the past three years. Go check out CrashburnAlley on Chase’s numbers. He’s been even better than I thought.

  • Posts: 0 jim

    Great research. “Cherry picked data shows some HOF players remain valuable through mid 30s when measured solely by home runs.” Stop the presses. C’monnnnnnn

    Check out any real study that looks at a large sample of players and how they age. Players at this point of the aging curve are in a slight (repeat SLIGHT) decline. But when you realize that we are talking about a collection of 5 or 6 30+ year old players, it becomes less likely that they will maintain production as a group.

    Yeah Rollins is a pretty safe bet to hit .270 again. He’s only been hitting .250 for two seasons now.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Maybe some more stats would be more accurate. Schmidt, Mays, Dawson are Hall-of-Famers, and are partly such because they did post high numbers later in their careers. What about the rest of the baseball world? While it’s conceivable that some of the Phils mentioned could make the hall, it’s also conceivable that they will go the way of the more ordinary guys and fairly soon fall apart. Rollins, though excellent for years, has shown a definite decline offensively and has been injured frequently. Utley’s numbers, though still well above average, have also declined in the past few years. And nobody expected Ruiz to put together a .300 season after hitting in the low .200s for his career, so it’d be silly to expect more of the same.

    I’m not saying that the team will fall off the stat charts or that they will all land on the DL. What I am saying is that it is definitely time to be concerned. It is definitely time to develop some younger players rather than hope the same aging gang will keep producing like 28 year olds.

  • Posts: 0 George

    I, for oneCAN “see a healthy Utley not hitting his 29 homers and 103 rbi.” He was healthy before his injury this year and his numbers didn’t come close to those 29/103 projections. He also didn’t have 103 RBIs in 2009, and his batting average has fallen for four straight years.

    It could be the results of all his injuries, but in watching him, it doesn’t appear to me that his hands are consistently as quick as his first few seasons. Injuries like broken bones and ligament surgery can, unfortunately, have damaging effects for the rest of a person’s life.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew R.

    Please Jim, you’re telling me that Rollins, Utley and Howard are not hall-worthy? It’s not like I picked Gary DiSarcinna and Alvaro Espinoza, because our guys are not comparable to those guys. Should I have picked the Steve Finleys and Mark Grace’s and Matt Williams’s instead? All very similar numbers into their mid 30s. And again, it’s not just measured by homers, but that’s what everybody seems to be talking about on here, so that’s what I went with. And the reason we don’t look at a large sample of players because guys like, Utley, Howard, A-rod, Pujols, etc. is because they don’t deserve to be lumped in with a large group. These are the elite and that’s what I used to compare them with.

    At least I made an attempt to quickly put something together as opposed to all this “common research” you keep referring to but refuse show.

    George- Rollins is somewhat of an enigma. If you look at his career, he always seems to have an aberration every 3 years or so. Yes the injuries have limited him and his career appears to be on the decline, but he addressed his off-season conditioning and he’s enterring a contract year so look for a biggie from him.
    Utley is a jerk because even if the hip is still bothering him, he won’t say it. But I think there’s a good chance for the homers and rbi to bounce back.
    As for Ruiz, his whole career, including every level at the minors, he’s needed time to get settled before having success. I think we have a couple more years of .280+ average from Chooch. He’s not an easy strike-out and for the last 3 years has put together better at-bats. It’s not easy with the pitcher as your ‘protection’ down there.

    I put my money on the Phils collectively having one of their typical years.

  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    First off Dipsy, I thought that you were making more sense, then you come out with his, really Manny is that good, this team needs to get younger, not older, and Raul is a by far a better defensive outfielder then Manny, that is how bad Manny is. Also he was playing for contract last year and just sucked. I really do not want to see a staroid using pain in the ass playing anywhere near philly.
    In your posts you say the #5 hitter can now work a walk, but the #4 guy can. how does that make sense. Raul, and Vic are not terrible hitters, You going to tell me after the All Star game you would want to pitch to Raul with an extra runner on base. And at some points wasn’t Vic leading the team with avg with risp.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    I reject the idea that having Werth behind Howard affects Howard. There was no one behind Bonds when he walked and HRed the entire league. This is about pitch recognition and plate discipline, not about who bats behind you. BECAUSE you still need to recognize where the ball is going in order to walk.

    That said, Manny Ramirez is not right for this team. He has lost his power, he can’t run, can’t field and hitting is questionable. He and Howard on base is a guaranteed triple play in the making.


  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Beta. At the right price its a low risk/high reward endeavor. If he is a pain in the rear or not performing you can cut. Think of the terms under which the Sixers signed Iverson last year and that basically mirrors the terms in which I would sign Manny.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Bob – Bonds had Jeff Kent and Moises Alou.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    If anything, the week-long return of AI to the Sixers is another reason to hope Ruben doesn’t even consider Manny.

    Go younger, you say, and then bring up Manny Ramirez? That’s oxymoronic to the extreme.

    Let him become someone else’s problem.

    To whichever of you asked me about Chase Utley, I’m not saying that I truly believe his defense needs work. I do think he might want to take a look at the way he was rushing to get balls to first in mid-September, but not the defense that takes place before that.

    Like Howard watching strike three, those two errors are probably the freshest memories in Utley’s mind and he’ll want to do something to banish those memories. And even if he’s not dwelling on them, the fans are. If one of those errors aren’t made and everything else remains equal, Ryan Howard strikes out to send Game 6 into extra innings, even after Madson gives up that homer.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Kate…I didn’t say go younger. Manny is a rental if he were to ever play here.

    The Dipsy

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