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The Utley Era Wasn’t Supposed to Go Like This

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, March 20, 2012 07:00 AM | Comments: 93
Commentary, Injuries, Offseason, Opinion

So we’ve learned that Chase Utley probably won’t be ready for Opening Day, a reality many of us assumed but wanted badly not to hear this season.

In the last episode of Phillies Nation TV, Pat asked why Utley hadn’t yet seen an inning in the field or a plate appearance against live pitching. It was a valid question that offered more and more room for pessimism the longer you thought about it.

Sure, resting Utley was logical. But if he was going to be OK, why not give him an inning a week or a few at-bats just to catch him up to speed? Jimmy Rollins has dealt with plenty of injuries to his lower-half and he’s been out there regularly this Spring. It just didn’t bode well and on Monday, Phillies Nation (the collective, not the site), awoke to a nightmarish scenario that may turn out to be passable, but may usher in the end of the Chase Utley era in Philadelphia.

That’s the longer-term scenario we’re looking at here. Utley is 33 with a contract that expires after next season and knees that will never get better. The last part of that sentence has been stated both subtly and explicitly by Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro.

Utley is missing cartilage in his knee, and as Amaro put it Monday, “you just can’t grow back cartilage.” There is likely bone-on-bone friction in Utley’s knee(s), and all you have to do is imagine the feeling of moving laterally with bones rubbing each other to understand why such a cautious approach is necessary and why Utley is probably destined for DH-duty in his next deal.

This isn’t a curable condition, it’s one you attempt to manage, but the fact remains that nobody in the Phillies organization knows what is going to happen with Utley in 2012, much less 2013 and beyond. I can guarantee you that nobody in the front office is thinking about how to approach Utley’s next contract because no one knows what he’ll be 18 months from now.

It’s an incredibly sad situation. Utley was on a Hall-of-Fame pace through the end of 2009, when he was averaging a .301/.388/.535 slash-line with 32 homers and 43 doubles in full seasons while playing elite defense (top-1 or top-2 in the sport) at a premium position.

Utley was the player that separated the Phillies from other teams.

This was before Roy Halladay, and for half of 2009, before Cliff Lee. It was after Cole Hamels’ stellar postseason run but before he turned into a four-pitch demon. Utley was what was different about the Phillies. A patient hitter who could hit the ball anywhere, for power and average, reach balls to his left and right that 25 second basemen can’t glove and run the bases exceptionally.

Now, he’s a shell of that.

If Utley misses several weeks or several months, the Chase that returns won’t be the one who hit five homers against the Yankees in the 2009 World Series. It’ll be the Zombie Utley we’ve seen in 2010 and 2011 that hits .278 with a .800 OPS.

We’ll delve into the analysis of what Utley’s absence means in the coming weeks. Hopefully Freddy Galvis proves in early-April that his Spring success was just minimally fluky. Hopefully Galvis gets off to a hot enough start that we don’t have to hear about why the Phillies traded the eminently replaceable Wilson Valdez.

In the meantime though, the real story is how quickly and unfortunately a Hall-of-Fame career was derailed.

Chase Utley could have been one of the all-time greats. Instead, I fear he’ll be viewed outside of Philadelphia as one of many players who merely had a great five-year peak.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Quite sad for such a great player. Chase was unique gritty yet intelligent play. He was the difference maker for the past 5 years on this team. Now it looks like to be in Jeopardy.

     
  • Posts: 93 Ted Bell

    Avatar of Ted Bell

    It’s a sad turn of events, but we saw this coming. It reminds me of that way Dale Murphy’s career (another guy who looked HOF bound) ended.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.
     
    • Posts: 0 Caiomhe

      No matter how many times I see that, I fall out laughing every time.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Of course it wasn’t supposed to go like this. I wrote yesterday that Utley is the greatest example of a ballplayer that the Phils have ever produced. He will not get a contract with the Phils. Whether he opts for some type of hokey surgery (at 33) that has a 20% chance, or whatever, of being a success is up to him. I would rather he take a package from the Phils and retire. Life Without Utley is upon us.

    Question: Do you spend for an offensive player and plow right through the luxury tax NOW? I do.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 93 Ted Bell

      Avatar of Ted Bell

      I would, but who is available this late in spring training?

      I’m Ted Bell.

       
  • Posts: 804 schmenkman

    Avatar of schmenkman

    “It’ll be the Zombie Utley we’ve seen in 2010 and 2011 that hits .278 with a .800 OPS.”

    In the 2010, while he was on the field, he was still arguably the best second baseman in the game. And in 2011 he was still top 6 or so. Not bad for a zombie.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

      /\ this *

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Dipsy i would to go over the luxury tax if i where the Phils. Giving the current circumstances…

     
  • Posts: 0 BirmCori

    I understand Utley’s got injuries that don’t heal, but this is Utley and if there’s a way to play with it and around it, he will – and excel at it. I refuse to bury him like this piece is doing. He hasn’t played yet, we don’t know WHAT he’s going to play like or WHEN he’s going to be back. Naive, perhaps, but I don’t believe a player with his kind of stamina and grit just says ‘oh, never mind’ and I don’t think we should write him off so quickly either.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    There is a surgery to help what he has. Why was this not done after the
    Season?

     
  • Posts: 0 JMills

    Why hasn’t Utley gone to europe to visit the doctor that ARod and Koby visited?

     
  • Posts: 0 caiomhe

    Am I the only person who hasn’t totally given up on him?

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Not by a long shot.

       
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Put Wigginton at third, Polanco at second, bite the bullet with Dom Brown and play him in left and platoon Mayberry and whomever at first base. Utley is done. Face the facts and I am grateful for the time we had him.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Zombies don’t hit .278/.800. Just because Utley may not be the Utley of old doesn’t mean he won’t be a useful player until his contract expires.

    And to those who are questioning his decision to not have surgery, I ask, “how much time would he miss, what would be the risks, how successful would it be, and how might it affect his life after baseball?” Not all surgeries are good ones, and no one except the patient and his doctor really knows whether the problem can even be helped. The A-Rod and Kobe Bryant situations may not apply because their conditions may not have been the same. Utley could get treated, maybe. But maybe he’d wind up worse than he started, like others have.

    It’s sad that Utley has this problem. It’s also sad that Lou Gehrig’s life was shortened. But at least they both got to excel during their primes, and both will be remembered for it.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Brown can’t field and neither can Wiggington.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 5 Pedram

    Avatar of Pedram

    Could this be a blessing in disguise? What if Galvis comes in plays stellar defense and hits .275? The Phils with Galvis will get a little younger. Isn’t some youth what we need? And he comes cheap. He may be a spark plug for the team that’s lagging right now with injuries and apathy.

    You can’t replace the Utz we had through 2009, but it’s not hard to replace the production of the one we had after.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Yes. It is hard. (twss)

      In 2010, while on the field he was still the best second baseman in the game. Last year he was still one of the top 6 or so, and as good as Robinson Cano (got on base the same amount, and made up for less power with much better defense).

      More here: ­http://www.thegoodphight.com/2012/2/2/2­715299/chase-utley-and-50-years-of-seco­nd-basemen

      He’s declined the last couple of years, but from an extremely high level. He’s gone from being one of the top 2-5 players in baseball, to one of the top 5 or so second basemen.

      He is certainly not the player he used to be, and was never going to be, even before this setback, but he will still be very difficult to replace.

      Even with his recent decline, the past seven years (2005-11) has been the best stretch by a second baseman since Joe Morgan in the 70s.

       
  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    this piece (and most phils fans) are so damn overdramatic. calm down. take a deep breath. you’re acting like his career is completely over. relax. we all know he’ll never be 2007 Chase Utley ever again. But let’s face it 2007 is a long time ago folks. stop living in the past. he’s still a way above average second baseman in this game. and will be this year. he’ll play over 100 games easily this year.

    missing Ryan Howard is going to hurt a whole lot more than missing Chase.

     
    • Posts: 0 Don M

      He’s not a “way above average second baseman” if he can’t get on the field . . .

      two years in a row that he will not have taken a single Grapefruit League at bat… two years in a row that he will not have participated in drills, and two years in a row that he will not start the season with the Phillies …. while I don’t think his career is over …. How anyone can feel confident about the shadyness and delayed-procedures that surround Utley and the Phillies, I just can’t understand.

      Like Corey said above, Utley is one of the players that “seperated the Phillies from other teams” …. and he’s now a shell of his former self

       
  • Posts: 0 Dave Lerch

    His career is over! The unfortunate thing is we have no plan B? That’s unacceptable! He has been steadily declining since 2009, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you can’t rely on him going forward. I’m very disappointed that RA and the Phillies Management continue to ignore the fact that the entire infield is declining dramatically. I think we can win without Utley and Howard and need to reconcile the fact that both of them are just about done. Howard will make a nice DH for some AL team,but I think his productive days are over. In any event, we need to move beyond Utley, Howard, Rollins and Polanco. Their best days are way behind them. Time to get aggressive and bring in some talent. No more wishing and hoping for aging, declining players to magically regain their skills. It’s time to reconcile the core, entire infield can’t play at the level that we need them to.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      No, his career is not over.

       
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    1) Robinson Cano is/was/will be better.

    2) I would go over the luxury tax to find a suitable replacement. And I’m actually excited to see what Galvis can do. But the reality is that he’s probably not ready for full-time MLB duty.

    3) This piece is NOT “burying him” as someone above suggested. The author is only echoing what we all know….he’s either done or is going to be close to it.

    4) What about asking him to play left field?? It was talked about before on this blog and maybe it’s time to re-visit it. I would think he can catch a ball better than D. Brown.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      “1) Robinson Cano is/was/will be better.”

      I’ll concede two of the three — it’s certainly looking today like Cano will be better going forward, and of course he’s better at the moment.

      It’s also true that Cano was more valuable in 2011, and that’s because he was able to play and help his team for the full season, while Utley only played 2/3 of a season, causing the Phillies to give significant playing time to AAAA players.

      However there has never been a season so far during which Cano has actually played better overall than Utley — not even last year.

      You would think if Cano was ever better, it would at least have to be in 2011, right? Well let’s take a look. I’ll use WAR from fangraphs, normalized to 700 PAs, to adjust for playing time.

      Let’s start with their “marquee” stats:

      Cano: .302 BA, 28 HR, 118 RBI
      Utley: .259 BA, 11 HR, 44 RBI

      First, if we adjust their stats for playing time, they are somewhat less lopsided — .302 BA, 29 HR, 105 RBI for Cano, .259-17-68 for Utley — although still a significant difference in favor of Cano.

      But the reason they were actually about equally good last year lies in two areas:

      - Walks: getting on base is the most important thing a hitter can do, and because Cano hardly ever walks, they got on base about equally in 2011: .344 OBP for Utley, .349 for Cano. That factors into the comprehensive hitting stat wOBA, which (unlike the simpler but crude OPS) weighs OBP about twice heavily as Slugging — SLG is where Cano had a clear advantage. There is still a difference in their wOBA — because of his better power, Cano was clearly the better overall hitter last year, but the difference is shrinking: .375 wOBA for Cano, .344 for Utley.

      - Defense: Utley had his usual excellent year defensively in 2011 despite his ailing knees, while Cano was average to slightly below average, as he has been almost every year. That was enough of a difference to negate Cano’s hitting advantage, and in the end their WAR per plate appearance is about the same: 5.8 WAR/700 PA for Cano, 6.0 for Utley.

      Much of the above excerpted from here: http://www.thegoodphight.com/2012/2/2/2715299/chase-utley-and-50-years-of-second-basemen

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Cano’s stats adjusted for playing time should be .302-29-121 (instead of 105). Doesn’t change the argument or the conclusion.

         
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Ryan H….you need to stop it with the ostrich imitation.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    He’s done unless he has successful microfracture surgery on both knees. Good luck with that. I am NOT a doctor but isn’t this what it basically comes down to – putting cartilage, or a reasonable facsimile, back into his knees? To my knowledge thats the only way to do it. And if he does recover, by that time, he will probably no longer be a Phil.

    So we have a team, presumably built to win a World Series, without its top 2 hitters. One probably forever and one probably for this season. So do you go balls out to try to get the offensive piece, wherever you wanna put it, blow thru the salary cap OR cut and paste all season?

    I am presuming that Utley is gone and that Howard won’t be worth a damn until August. We still have A LOT of minor leaguers to trade, believe it or not. Just go get the big outfielder who makes too much money for some team and trade them prospects and Blanton. Then the O will be OK. Or you can wait a couple months to see how things pan out.

    My point: If you need to the offense, go get the high shelf guy and don’t worry about the cap for this year or the prospects. Its not like we can’t PAY the money or give the prospects. It sucks, I know. But you can’t waste the pitching that you’ve got. It makes no sense. Its pro sports: there is no future. The future is now.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Dipsy, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      It’s possible that he gets both knees back to workable condition without an invasive microfracture surgery. In fact, that’s an absolute last resort, and there are other things they can try in the meantime.

      For a more sanguine take on the injury, how about you look into what actual orthopedic surgeons have to say: http://www.philly.com/philly/health/Some-answers-from-an-expert-on-Chase-Utleys-knees.html?cmpid=138896554

       
      • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        Ok. Define “workable condition”

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Workable condition = “able to play baseball 4-5 days a week”

        Read the link I posted.

         
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Dipsy, normally I would say that they should be conservative and not go over the LT threshold because once you do it the precedent is set. And then all hell breaks loose and we become the Yankees. But in this case eff it…the Phillies need the offense. But who’s out there that they can trade for??

     
  • Posts: 0 sandy durso

    “He was the player that seperated the Phillies from other teams” ……that statement pretty much sums it up. You knew this day was coming but everyone thought the decline would be slower and that Phillies would have time to consider life without Chase. Even if he does make it on the field at some point this year ……the writing is on the wall…..The Utley we knew three or four years ago is not coming back. The Phillies are probably going to have to pickup a second baseman at some point this year because although you can hope for the best…I don’t think Galvis is ready to hit major league pitching…..if he was I don’t think Rollins would still be our shortstop

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Okay, Eric. “Sanguine”. Is that a smart ass word which means “more realistic and sensible” (to you). Don’t worry, I got it. Go ahead – lets doctors eff around with it – suggest wild procedures, do some blood spinning maybe, some voodoo, lets work some HGH in there….whatever. The odds are better than not that he will either not play again or play and be a shell of himself. I just choose not to wait for months and years to find out how this movie’s gonna end. If he recovers semi fully, we can find something to do with him. You can be one those fans that wants to “hold on”, though if you wanna. I have a WS to win. THIS YEAR.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Oh, you mean the doctor that has never examined him?

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Have you examined him? Because if you haven’t I’m not sure how you can say “he’s done.”

      Let’s say you have someone with a knee injury.

      Two people, neither of whom has physically examined this patient, offer a possible prognosis for his condition. One of those people is a random internet troll while the other is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and professor of medicine.

      Whose opinion should we put more stock in?

       
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Consider the Dipsy stirred up.

    Eric, we all hope for the best but truthfully, we cannot sit around and wait on what definitely will be a smaller portion. The Phils should have made some moves starting last year, this is not a surprise to anyone (maybe in the speed in which it came down). To leave the task of filling Chase’s cleats to an unproven rookie with Martinez to back him? Ugh…

    Not only offense though Dipsy, the defense will definitely suffer.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    David Wright anyone?

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 Chris

      Pretty expensive and is now going through his own chronic injuries. I wouldn’t advocate the move as a longterm fix.

       
    • Posts: 93 Ted Bell

      Avatar of Ted Bell

      If you’re prepared to give up Brown and two of the “baby aces” (and can look past the fact that Wright has had his share of injuries). I realize Brown’s star has really fallen, but trading him before he’s even had 300 big league PAs is a panic move. The Indians gave up on Brandon Phillips very early and that really backfired.

      Maybe it’s just time to take a step back and see what Brown, JMJ, and Galvis can do for three or four months. At least that gives RAJ a better idea of what he needs for 2013.

      It may be a foreign concept to some of the younger fans, but you can’t win every season – no matter how much money you spend.

      I’m Ted Bell.

       
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        Well said, Ted Bell – and is exactly the reason that I would be against trading for any big name . . . we need those Baby Aces, etc. . . to be the replacements for Halladay (or should Hamels leave) … I would be fine with the Blanton-for-help (Callaspo, etc) kind of trade, but otherwise, lets go with what we’ve got and see where we are come the trade deadline. .

        The fact that Cy Young candidates start 60% of our games – and one of the best closers in baseball tries to shut the door each night . . . I don’t think it’s time to panic and sell the farm for another player. If Utley is done for his career – I might sing a different tune, but if we can reasonably expect that Utley and Howard should be back for the 2nd half of the season – I see no reason to mortgage the future (May, Valle, Biddle, etc … to try for immediate help) … lets see what the platoons can do , or what Brown and Galvis can do at this level

         
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Luxury tax, bro.

      He won’t fit under it.

      Not that I’d want to part with any minor league talent to acquire him, either.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Further, I don’t know how or when this “other” knee started hurting. If the Phlls knew about the gravity of his knee(s!) problems and did nothing about it, then shame on them. If Chase, on the other hand, kept mum to the team about the other knee going bad (which I doubt could ever happen since his treatment must be supervised by the team, right?), then he has done this team a real disservice and basically effed them up. I find it alarming that no one mentioned his left knee until yesterday, and that its even worse than his right knee. However you wanna slice it, someone was sweeping the true nature of Chase’s condition under the carpet, whether it was just Chase or the whole organization. Be that as it may, here we are on March 20 with no second baseman and no three hole hitter.

    “Hope” is not a strategy.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 4542 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Hope is RA Jr’s. entire strategy.
      1-Ultey’s health
      2-Howard’s contract
      3-Papelbon- ridiculous lack of insight on the market and new CBA.
      4-Thome playing first, yeah right, his back goes out after he reaches for the first wild throw.
      5-Hamels extension (“we love Cole and we hope he loves us to”) I swear to god, he said that.
      6-Aging infield that he hopes can perform like it’s 2006
      7-Trade for Lee,then trade Lee, then get Lee back and give him a 5 year deal when he’s two years older.
      And on and on and on and on.

      It’s the only strategy he knows, and the only one he’s ever employed.

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Lefty, I have to disagree. A strategy of “hope” implies inaction. For all his faults (and they are many), I don’t think waiting and hoping is one of them.

        1- Utley: he played all but 16 of the 116 games after returning (8 of those for a concussion), then hit .438 in the NLDS; I certainly expected that he can manage through his condition (Amaro said today that Utley’s knees got worse through camp, for what it’s worth).
        2- Howard: I don’t see the hope here. He saw value and he paid for it. Gross miscalculation is not the same as hope.
        3- Papelbon: hope would have meant sticking with Madson, rather than going for the “proven closer” ™
        4- Thome was brought in as LH PH and occassional first baseman
        5- Hamels: I don’t get the hope angle on this one
        6- Infield: What makes you think he hopes they perform like 2006. They certainly don’t have to do for the team to success (e.g. they didn’t in 2011). They infield is not MVP-caliber at 3 of the spots, but in 2011 it was solid all around — I don’t see hope here.
        7- Lee: again, where’s the hope

         
      • Posts: 4542 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Schmenk- Fair enough. I don’t know why, but I wrote some very poorly thought out comments today. Just have to chalk it up as a bad day and move on. I should have said that I believe his strategy is “hope” because that is all that’s all he’s got left. He says he’s “tapped out” and I believe him. He looked like a nervous kid that just got yelled at by his father, in the dugout interview yesterday, very out of sorts and ill-composed.

        His hands are now so tied due to the L.T. and the new CBA, IMO both of which he has poorly planned for. The points I listed were indeed not proof of a “hope strategy” (except #5), but rather as an analysis of poor strategy and planning that lead to this situation.

        I don’t think he is capable of making a trade without shedding salary, whether that pressure comes from the L.T. or David Montgomery himself. I am reminded of 1977 when respected lawyer Edward Bennett Williams, then owner of the Washington Redskins (and soon after, the Baltimore Orioles) fired head coach/GM, George Allen. He stated the reason as “I gave him an unlimited budget, and he exceeded it” . Allen was also a riverboat gambler who coined the phrase “the future is now”, and Amaro reminds me of him. As I said below, I believe the casino always wins.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Lefty, no problem. I see what you mean.

        I think he might say he doesn’t see himself as a gambler, but bold, decisive, and opportunistic.

         
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      More unsubstantiated blather from you.

      Imagine this scenario:

      Utley does his stretching/rehab/therapy to alleviate the pain in his right knee over the offseason. Part of this regimen is to avoid strenuous lateral activities which tend to aggravate his condition.

      Upon arrival at training camp he feels pretty good. As his spring progresses, however, the pain in his knee, now predominantly his left, increases as he increases the stresses he puts on it. This may be due to a genetic predisposition to have degenerative knees, or it may be due to a shift in his weight-bearing activities as he tried to avoid putting extra pressure on his right knee (which itself may have been a result of altering his gait after his hip issues a few years ago) Whatever the catalyst, after giving it some time off and attempting rehabilitation of said knee, there is little improvement past a certain level, at which Utley and the team decide it’s necessary to seek out the advice of a specialist.

      Something like that is actually more likely than any of these tin-foil hat type conspiracies you think the whole organization is trying to pull over the fanbase. But, of course, feel free to continue to just make things up and spout them as if they’re gospel.

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Yep, that sounds about right.

         
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    The Mets would expect the entire farm for David Wright….at this point. Love to have him though. Move Polly to second, Galvis or Martinez your utility guy. But it’s not gonna happen so we might just as well not even talk about it.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Not a big fan of David Wright. Plus didnt he tear his abdominal muscles and other injuries.

     
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I think we need to give Amaro a LITTLE more credit than just employing “hope”. The Phillies have been pretty damn good under his watch.

     
    • Posts: 0 Chris

      It’s not like he’s overseen an improved record for the team over the last 3 years or anything. Get your torches and pitchforks, round up the mob!

       
    • Posts: 4542 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      He is a riverboat gambler hoping the cards fall his way, and they usually have. But he has no idea how many out-cards he has left. This type of strategy almost always ends up bad, in the end the casino always wins. If the payroll keeps going up, and the players keep going down, the casino wins.

      But, I concede he has done some good things. The Ruiz contract was great. Finding Werth and Vic in rule 5. There are more, but I have to run.

      Thanks for what you said earlier. Ya brick wall ya. :-)

       
      • Posts: 93 Ted Bell

        Avatar of Ted Bell

        I’m pretty sure Eddie Wade acquired Victorino and Pat Gillick acquired Werth. If it’s any consolation, RAJ did pick up Michael Martinez in the Rule 5 draft…

        I’m Ted Bell.

         
      • Posts: 0 Chris

        He’s made some bad moves but there are also some moves that he’s made that have kept the team in relevance at all. The switch to pitching with a declining core offense has been paying huge dividends record wise and maybe he deserves some more credit for that strategy. Obviously the cards are running out and we’ll see what he can do in the coming years to keep the team in relevance as it sees Utley and others moving on but overall I think he’s done a good job. I think RAJ knows that he can’t just make fancy moves anymore and needs to redevelop the system. Hopefully the guys in the system are up to the challenge of becoming good players.

         
      • Posts: 4542 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Ted Bell you are correct. In a hurry and named the wrong two. Martinez and Herndon, not Victorino and Werth. My bad.

         
      • Posts: 4542 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Chris, I “hope” you are right that he knows that he can’t just make fancy moves anymore and needs to redevelop the system. I really don’t see it in him, but maybe Ed Wade will help him.

         
  • Posts: 0 George

    Who’s to blame? seems to be what is irking everybody, when they should be praising Utley for his outstanding years and the fact that he’s still trying to come back.

    If people want to play the blame game, here’s the REAL answer: mother nature. You can’t blame Utley for trying his best to rehab or continue, you can’t blame the medical staff for inaction when they changed Utley’s workout routine and have sent him to see outside physicians, you can’t blame Amaro for inaction when he was relying on the doctors and has a budget to contend with and needs at other positions, and you can’t blame anybody for not going for a surgical solution that’s extremely iffy and would probably mean sitting out the final years of a baseball career.

    If fans are surprised that Utley’s career has been so suddenly “ruined”, how do you think the front office feels about it? Unfortunately, there isn’t a medical man alive who can predict just how long it will take a degenerative disease to take its ultimate toll. I suggest people just learn to live with the situation instead of whining about whether Utley lied, doctors were incompetent, or Amaro should have been able to predict what medical people can’t. Sure, it’s hard, but do you think Utley himself doesn’t find it even harder? It’s his career and his future life that are at issue. With fans, it’s only, “Oh God! Who’s gonna bat third?”

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      This. Well said.

       
    • Posts: 4542 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      That’s an excellent comment George. Both you and Chuck have kept me grounded today. I was just upset earlier, got all riled up and uncharacteristically over reacted. I do have issues with RA Jr. but it has nothing to do with Utley.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Yeah, well, unfortunately, “just think how the others guys feel” doesn’t really do it for me, George. If Amaro thinks he’s not gonna have Chase on the field than he’s gotta have a backup plan. This team is built to win now so Amaro’s JOB is to put the tools in place to take advantage of the greatest pitching staff the city has ever known and win a WS. Thats why the pitchers are here. He created the expectations (as is also his job) and he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do to follow through. Any year from 1900-2000, we could all just say “Oh well, what a bummer. I wish Chase well”. Not in the middle of a WS window.

    I hear you on the mother nature and compassion and perspective stuff but RAJ has to TRY and fix this now. Not panic. Not screw around with journeymen and hasbeens and neverwases and neverwillbe types. Take a deep breath, measure things out, and make a move to give this offense/defense a meaningful upgrade.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 93 Ted Bell

      Avatar of Ted Bell

      The questions remain what meaningful upgrade do you think is available and what are you willing to give up? We’re no longer looking at FAs…we’re looking at trades, and the Phillies have no bargaining leverage at all right now. David Wright has his share of issues, and would take an additional three prospects from a farm system that’s already been depleted. Wright played 100 games last year and is battling injuries again this spring. Do you really want to give up three more prospects for him?

      As far as this team being built to win now, as long as they’re spending $180 million a year they won’t be having many down years. Realistically, this may be one of those down years. They’re already starting off with $35 million on the DL – that’s tough to overcome.

      I’m Ted Bell.

       
    • Posts: 0 George

      You obviously missed some of my post, or chose to ignore it so you could continue berating everybody. You seem not to realize that all the advisers, medical people, Utley himself, trainers, etc. thought Utley WOULD be on the field, so how can Amaro be blamed for listening to people who have more experience in medical manners than he does? Besides, there’s this: Utley is under contract, which is part of the budget. Could he just tell Utley to go away while he attempted to trade everybody imaginable for a new second baseman? Oh, I forgot! Maybe he should move Polanco back to second and trade for one of those “available” third basemen.

      As I stated, there’s not a medical man alive who knows when a degenerative condition will finally take it’s final toll. Sure, Amaro needs to do something now, MAYBE. But perhaps market conditions are preventing it (you can’t just go out and grab whoever you want) or maybe he has more faith in those journeymen and neverwillbes than you do. He does have a scouting staff to check on possibilities which, sad to say, you do not.

      You usually make some sense and are generally reasonable, but today you’re just being an ass.

       
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Ruben Amaro, Jr. is in an unenviable position with all of this. I wouldn’t want his job right now…no way, no how. BUT…that’s why HE’S paid the big bucks. Let’s see if he pulls something out of his hat and comes through. If he does and the Phillies contend, then he deserves all the kudos in the world.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Hey Eric, you cite my “unsubstantiated blather” and then in the same breath ask me to “imagine a scenario” put forth by you??? hahaha. Thats funny. You would notice that nowhere in my post do I purport to know for sure the facts the would prove the premise that supports my admittedly harsh conclusion. Notice my constant use of the word “if”. Anyway, your “scenario”, of which you have NOT A shred of fact, is less plausible than mine. You can badmouth my conclusion all you want but in the end I believe the “truth”, or as much as we will ever know of it, will be a lot closer to my version that yours.

    The Dipsy

    P.S. The Sixers are gonna activate Jeff Ruland any day now.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Dipsy: “He’s done unless he has successful microfracture surgery on both knees”

      Dipsy: “However you wanna slice it, someone was sweeping the true nature of Chase’s condition under the carpet, whether it was just Chase or the whole organization.”

      Dipsy, a few posts later: “You would notice that nowhere in my post do I purport to know for sure the facts…”

      Stop while you’re behind.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I don’t think Ruben Amaro a bad G.M…….I thought Santino a bad Don. Hey, Ruben really roles the dice and goes outside the box. I like him. He’s done the team well. But this is a problem he didn’t control or manage well and now we have a really big problem. And yes, he DOES make the big bucks. Lets see him perform on the fly.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Not saying that this would happen…but… on the radio Mike Missanelli just threw this trade possibility out there…just for kicks, as a talking point: Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown for Robinson Cano. Anyone???

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      That’s funny. Did you happen to read my response to your note about Cano?

       
      • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        I did read your response. So would you do that deal??

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        I would not. It’s a fairly complicated question, and I’m more ambivalent than George, but the key for me is that I think Utley will continue to contribute for the next two years.

        So no. Cano is a very good (5-WAR) player, and it would nice to free up Lee’s $25M or whatever, but if you think Utley has something left, like I do, and that Brown will be cheap and valuable for many years (like I do), I wouldn’t do it.

        If I thought about it more I might even get to a point where Brown for Cano straight up isn’t worth it because of the $ difference, but I’m not there yet.

         
    • Posts: 0 George

      Yep, kill your team’s strong point, pitching, and ditch the guy who’s still pretty much your top prospect for a second baseman who plays marginal defense. Yep, those Yanks, who already added Andy Pettite and are trying to cut salary, would just love to have $20+ million added to their tax burden.

      I agree with Shmenkman. In fact I go beyond his “funny” to say that’s the most laughable trade proposal I’ve read since that one to send Kendrick and some other no-names to the Dodgers for Kemp.

       
  • Posts: 0 Joe a

    Does this story remind anyone of the Andrew Toney case. Very tragic.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Eric – is that a picture of you? It would go a long way towards explaining the cluelessness with which you are approaching this whole subject. Do you still believe in the Easter Bunny, too?

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Hahahahah, Dipsy. That’s funny as shit.

       
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      No, google ‘Tony Sinclair”

      BTW, ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of a losing argument.

       
    • Posts: 0 George

      Gee, Dipsy; if you’re going to criticize someone for their picture, at least be fair and post one of yourself. Or are you afraid you’ll look more idiotic than anybody else here?

      (Note: I don’t show my picture because at least I know I look stupid. And old, too!)

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    And if you’re gonna quote me (thank you, I’m flattered), lay out the whole quote instead of the part YOU like followed by the cowardly ” … ” so you can omit the part you don’t like.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2952 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Schmenkman, Brown for Cano?? Straight up?? Where do I sign up for that??

    Seriously though, I probably wouldn’t do it either and not because I think that Utley will come back and be all that productive (because I don’t think he will). I wouldn’t do it because…

    A) I want to see what this Galvis kid has – maybe he’s the real deal. I like him.

    B) As much as I hate to admit it, I want to give Brown a real shot. If Dom can hit then I can overlook his shitty defense.

    And C) Getting rid of Cliff Lee for the SECOND time would be suicidal from a public relations standpoint…..especially with the Chase thing looming so large. Plus he’s a damn good pitcher.

    Robinson Cano is something special though.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      To me Cano is special, in the 1980s sense, i.e. Before we paid much attention to OBP or tried to really measure defense.

      Today’s Cano is what you would get if you took 2006-2009 Utley, strapped 10-pound weiights to his ankles, and made him wear his grandmothers prescription glasses.

       
  • Posts: 0 Grismundo

    I would rather have Utley get surgery to fix his knees, rehab for a year, and come back pain-free, instead of having a limp, power-sapped Utley come in at mid season and be unproductive. His knees are shot, they aren’t going to heal, that is obvious. Get the surgery and try to prolong a good career. If the surgery doesn’t work, then at least he can say he tried.

     
  • Posts: 886 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I must be missing something because the link to a DOCTOR about Chase’s conditions says there really is not any surgical procedures for Chases’ Ailments. And the ones that may be out there do not always work. With this pitching staff I think you can stay above water until June, isn’t that when he came back last year sometime in June? Why not just play 2/3 of a season if the team can play slightly over .500 then you are fresher for the second half and go from a few games over .500 to 30 or 40 games over .500 and rest until the playoffs. Oh wait that is what happened last year. I am not sticking my head in the sand but if Chase basicly is going throught the same thing this year what makes you think he will not have the same impact as he did last year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Joey spagna

    Maybe they should trasde him like they did to Sandy Sandberg.

     
  • Posts: 886 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    So now that is two doctors whom actually went to medical school say surgery is really not an option to fix this condition. And rest and rehad is really the only way to go.
    But I am sorry I have to agree with the beer drinking phillies fans(which I am one so this is not a slam) that he should cut his knees open just to see what we can do then, take a year and half off and then play baseball again.
    Seriously, can we now stop asking why he did not have surgery after the end of last year, and complaining that no one told us that he had a problem. He was doing what he was suppose to be doing and it seemed to be working now there has been a set back so they are going to rest more and rehad more and h ope he will be on the field for May or June

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Yes. This.

       
    • Posts: 1189 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Exactly. He might those “joint lubricant” injections might help with the pain and get him on the field a little sooner than that.

       
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    The window has closed. Phil’s will be competitive based on their starters. I don’t see any significant trades until June/July. Too many unknowns. Utley, Howard, Glavis, Polanco. With 2 wildcards there will be fewer sellers at trade time. Blanton’s performance could raise his value. On the other hand Phil’s need to think about this being Polanco’s last year.

     
  • Posts: 0 whizkidfanatic

    Can’t help but notice the similarities between Utley’s career and whizkid Granny Hamner. Like Utley, Hamner from 1948 to 1954 was as good a middle infielder as there was. A rifle for an arm and pop in his bat, he was on the way to a possible HoF career when a severe shoulder injury followed a season later by a knee injury cut his career short at age 30.

    The baseball gods can be cruel.

     
  • Posts: 0 Gute Filme

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