Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

happ 0720.jpgSeven pitchers, five jobs.

The Phillies still have tough decisions to make, even though they are finished making moves before Friday’s trade deadline. They currently have seven starting pitchers for a five-man rotation: Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer, Rodrigo Lopez and Pedro Martinez. Two of those pitchers are out of the rotation.

But who? Lopez is the most likely candidate, despite the fact he is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA. He has pitched well, but he is the first casualty in the numbers game because the Phillies signed Martinez to take the fifth spot in the rotation.

The second casualty is a little more difficult.

We know it won’t be Lee, Hamels of  Blanton.

Happ?

“Happ? He’s a proven starter right now,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Right now we’ve very pleased with how he’s pitched.”

Martinez?

“We signed him to be a starter,” Amaro said. “We did have some discussions about the possibility of doing some relief and pitching in a relief role. But again, this stuff will play itself out. Pedro isn’t pitching in the big leagues yet.”

Rich Dubee echoed Amaro’s sentiments that the Phillies signed Martinez to be a starter. Martinez is 37, and despite the fact he said he could pitch out of the bullpen and despite the fact he has bonuses in his contract based on relief appearances, I just don’t see an older pitcher with previous health issues getting up in the bullpen and pitching three out of five days.

Moyer?

“How would we use him? How would he respond?” Dubee said. “He’s 46 years old with 20-some years in the big leagues as a starter. I don’t think you can ask that of him.”

My guess is that Happ gets moved to the pen, which is crazy to say because he has pitched so well as a starter (5-2, 3.09 ERA in 13 starts). But Happ also pitched well as a reliever (2-0, 2.49 ERA in 12 appearances) and the Phillies could use another effective arm in the bullpen for the stretch drive. (Remember they looked for relief help in case they didn’t get Lee or Roy Halladay.) 

Happ has faced a lot of uncertainty recently as trade rumors swirled around him. It hasn’t added with Lee’s acquisition.

“Things happen for a reason,” Happ said. “I’ve been hearing that from a lot of people since stuff has been going down. I’m here and I’m trying to do what I can do. Hopefully that means something. It’s all right to go through stuff like that. It’s a character builder. I’m not the only one that this has ever happened to. This stuff happens all the time.”

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Shane Victorino‘s left knee was sore and swollen last night. He injured it making a diving catch in the first inning. He isn’t sure if he’ll be able to play tonight.

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49 Comments

They obviously overdid the pitching thing because the starters were so bad for so long and Myers went down. It’s a good problem to have but unfortunately somebody has to go and it looks like Lopez. Somebody will pick him up pretty quickly, he’s a real pro.

Signing Moyer to a two year contract looks to be the worst thing Ruben has done so far. He should be the odd man out, but they won’t do that to him.

This is a great problem to have. I’d hate to see Happ back in the pen only because I’d worry a bit about his psyche being bounced back and forth btwn starter and reliever. Martinez is also a possibility as a long innings reliever. Which would be along the lines of the fact that he’ll probably be only a 5 or 6 inning pitcher anyway.

Once again Lee is a great acquisition for our Fightin Phils!!

I can see Lopez filling Durbin’s role, he can come in with heat for an inning or two or three. I don’t think he has options, so if he’s odd man out, we probably lose him on the waiver wire. Regarding Happ, I think he is the obvious choice for the pen, at least for now. If Martinez or Moyer falter, he goes back to the rotation. August is audition month for a lot of these guys (e.g. Durbin, Myers, Martinez) before we set rosters for playoffs. Whoda thunk we would be having rotation problems because we have too many GOOD pitchers? And if this means we have to sacrifice Brunlett to keep pitchers, works for me.

I understand the problem, I dont’ understand why the Phillies don’t see the obvious solution.
Rotation of Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Happ and Moyer.
Pedro to the pen as mid inning guy and innings eater. He can pitch 2-3 times a week I’m sure.
Lopez dealt for low level prospect (preferably a catcher or 3B)

This sets our rotation for next year as well (no changes unless Moyer retires (as I hope he does-he’s had a great carreer and should go out on top, unlike so many). It also doesn’t drive Happ insane with the Pen-rotation-pen-rotation stuff that hurt Myers so much early last year.

My question is: if Moyers isnt back next year, is Drabek ready to take his place? Also, dont forget tht Myers is back in a few weeks to add an arm to the pen. He can close if Lidge is still haing 2007 flashbacks, or set up if madson can’t relocate the plate.

Phan, can’t sacrifice Brunlett. we don’t have anyone else to play infield if someone goes down. What we all should remember is he’s supposed to be the defensicve guru/Pinch runner. Not his fault that the other RHB’s this year failed tohit so he was forced into teh role. PH is what we had Cairo/Mayberry/Coste for. Think of last year. He helped the team and couldn’t hit then either. I figure we see him in 7th or 8th more and more to give Raul a rest. Keep (San) Fransico as the RHB off the bench

Bruntlett isn’t a “defensive guru,” he fields some positions with competence but is below average in most of them. His offense is abysmal and his defense isn’t valuable enough to keep around. If he was on any other team where the manager didn’t have such a bizarre affinity for him, he’d have been rightfully cut by now. Cairo or Ozuna would both be better options for middle infield defensive ability, and that’s saying a lot.

Since Brunlett has options left and can be sent down, I’m sure that if Charlie or Rube felt this they would have made teh move. So far they’ve done pretty well getting the right players on the field. Lt’s give them the benifit of the doubt (especially less then 24 hours after the Lee trade)

Why would I give them the benefit of the doubt for keeping a guy that’s batting .125/.198/.188? This has nothing to do with anything else either Manuel or Rube has done. He weighs more than his slugging percentage. It’s completely mystifying that he even still has a job.

I know the manager and the GM would’ve both done something if they felt as I do, but the fact that they don’t is precisely the point, because they should! He’s terrible! Check out Fangraphs’ valuations for him: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1753&position=SS#value

With his hitting and his defense (both in the negative), he’s cost us 10.3 runs, or about 1 win, as compared to a replacement level player (like Ozuna or Cairo). And that’s with only 54 appearances.

Bruntlett is the most replaceable player in MLB. I don’t want to hear pinch runner. It’s not like he is a premier baserunner, he just had more speed than Burrell. Cairo could take his place in a minute as an infielder and baserunner (AND pinch hitter) and now we have an outfielder who can play every position out there. He is simply not a MLB quality player. He wasn’t last year either, but he covered up for Burrell’s major flaws as a runner and fielder. There are plenty of guys who can do that and maybe even hit over .126.

Phan, I seem to recall him filling in very well for Rollins last year in th weeks he was out with the ankle injury. I’m no huge fan of his, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see teh need to castrate the FO at this time over a guy who is the 25th man off the bench. He’s this year’s So (What) whatever his name was

Zo, what’s up with Victorino? Lefty going tonight so will Francisco get his first start?

I’d guess that Mayberry is going back to the minors or in a trade, and probably one of the bullpen pitchers. Bruntlett is here unless they trade him or find someone to replace him. Get used to it.
phan52: Almost every player in MLB has more speed than Burrell. :)
f.i.j.: You’re thinking of So Taguchi, and there seems to be one on every team, every year. The curse of expansion.

muleman, I am well aware that nearly every player in MLB has more speed than Burrell. That was my point.
And they can find somebody to replace Bruntlett right now. He’s playing almost every day and batting .296 at LV, wondering WTF is going on.

You must be happy to have Lee. Take care of him & Bennie.
http://tribechick.mlblogs.com/
-TC

Thanks TC! We appreciate the Indians’ generosity in giving us Lee and Francisco. Hopefully our prospects will become star players with the Tribe.

Thanks Mule. All I remembered was I used to call him SO-what as he was totally useless

Just had a brian storm (no comments please) Since we agree tha the 25th man is useless every year. Why don’t the Philies either auction off the posisiton on a game by game basis for charity, or allow some handicapped kid to fill it every night. They’d get to suit up, sit on the bench, take batting practice etc. Great way to raise some money for charity and give kids an experience they’d never forget.–and yes, I’m more then half serrious

I wonder how Kyle Kendrick is feeling these days? All of a sudden he’s #9 or #10 on the Phillies starting pitching depth chart. I think another trade has to be in the works, especially since Kendrick, and Mayberry still haven’t been sent back down to AAA and all of a sudden the Ironpigs are minus 3 players. As far as I know the only player added to the Ironpigs roster since the trade has been Reading Phillies catcher Kevin Nelson.

Put Pedro in the ‘pen, as a long reliever. Then let him start in the post-season.

Makes a change to see a heated debate about something other than Halladay… phew!!! as for Bruntlett, it seems everyone is of similar opinion about him and his destiny, I also belive that they will make a move soon on him, I belive its been more of, letting someone like Cairo get daily work in the minors instead of going stale on the bench, but the stretch time is getting closer and something should be done soon I think, another one of those you’ll know when it happens events I’m sure

even if Pedro has a couple of good outings in AAA, it’s not going to be the same as pitching to the Atlanta line up or the Rockies, or Cubs etc… so maybe some days in the pen coming on in relief for a couple of innings would give a better indication of his current big league presence

I would like Pedro to prove himself in AAA before the Phillies put him anywhere.

devilabrit: I still don’t think they will move Brunlett and dont think they should. He will now be able to provide the late inning replacement for Raul, or give Rollins/Utley a day off as he should be doing. Hitting isn’t why he’s here. However, Cairo is a former major leaguer and not a prospect. The Phillies don’t care about the effects sitting on the bench may have on him if he can do the job they need. He’s not Mayberry, who, if you noticed, they ended up allowing to sit on the bench and not play every day in the end. Cairo’s not up because when he was he stank even more the Brunlett does

to change the subject a little, well a lot, does anyone else find it strange the 6 years on were finding out who tested pos for steriods… I would have thought the testing was so they could do something at the time… and how funny, Manny and BigP, and following that the RedSox are contenders every year and win twice…hmmmm questions or asterix…or as I heard him called today BigPoppyseed… who else will be on the list, not who do we think is on the list, but who else will be on the list… and no I am not asking anyone to speculate, we don’t want anyone accused, we want fact…show the friggin list and get it over with

fij- Mayberry was there cause everyone else stank, and he popped a couple of homers, so there was always a chance with him that he would make a difference, Bruntlett on the other hand, you know what you will get, I understand Cairo isn’t a prospect, but getting him regular playing time is better than sitting him because he has the potential to be more benefit than Bruntlett in September baseball and if he wasn’t expected to hit, why would he be used to PH with RISP when Dobbs was still on the bench the other night, the point being either Bruntlett has something no one sees or there is other reasons why someone else isn’t on the bench, cause his defense isn’t better than anyone else’s….sorry but the not here to hit crap, he’s replacement player in times of need, infield/outfield/hit hence the use of the term utility player and this year he’s not doing any of his roles successfully

Devil: Dobbs is a LHB and brunlett a RHB for one thing. Also he had to put someone into CF. If you use Dobbs, you have to use Brunlett anyway as the OF. They wanted to keep Dobbs in case they needed him in 9th (we may of scored a run or two you know). The question is, why didn’t they use Mayberry??

What brunlett brings is the ability to play all the OF posistions, 1B, 2B, SS, C and perhaps even pitch if needed. Not many can do that.

fij- I understand all that and the point being the is arguments for both sides and I dont see to much of a solution, the only reason I said Dobbs was the only people that had hit that inning off that pitcher was left handed bats…Bruntletts capabitlies are with out question good, but we are in trouble if we need him to do more than fill in here and there, Werth is a much better catcher than Bruntlett and I think we needed him to pitch then hmmmmmm… yes I know there is always one of those blow out games or long extra innings, I just dont think Charlie would do that… the last player we had that really could do it all with relatively good numbers was Tomas Perez and Bruntlett is no Tomas… all that said I see your point…

I agree that if brunlett ever pitches it would be funny at best, though I seem to recall some posistion player pitching against us this year. Werth was the emergency catcher up until this year, but better to have a plyaer off the bench and not move your starting RF and therefore replace 2 players with backups. (Werth actually was drafted as a catcher by Seatle)

I still wouldn’t mind them replacing him with a fan who donated a few grand to a charity each game. We could have a different 25th man each game and drive the MLB crazy with roster moves lol

Ruben Amaro figured out how to obtain a TOP flight pitcher and an apparently well qualified Bench player, without giving up any REALLY significant pieces, so I think he’ll be perfectly capable of resolving the 7 starter issue. Since the Phillies now have Francisco and a STUD in OF Michael Taylor. in waiting (possibly for 2o10), I’d be trying to peddle Mayberry ( great tools and still relatively young) in a package with a Kendrick ( still young and ML saavy) or Lopez for a better reliever option.

Mayberry and Steven Register were optioned back down to AAA.

fij- they could hold a lottery, $25 a ticket, that way even players on other teams could get in to play for a winning club at least once…then you’d get the famous people who’d get on the bench instead of the seats behind home plate… hmmm too many issues better just leave Bruntlett till a real alternative is found

Don’t forget the Phillies have two double headers in September. Extra starters will be needed. Cliff Lee is a professional and will flourish in the Illadelph.

What Ruben realy needs to do is work some magic and solve his Jamie Moyer problem.

I can’t believe so many of you guys are commenting about Bruntlett’s value to the team. Come on! He’s the 25th guy on the roster. What percent of ABs do you think the 25th guy on any roster is supposed to produce? 30% ? 20% ? , or lower? Bruntlett is our “last resort” pinch hitter. He has only been used in do-or die situations because there was no other right-handed bat on the bench. Sure his average is lower than the pitcher he is pinch hitting for, but Charlie goes by career stats and the fact that Bruntlett works very hard during batting practice to try to improve, while pitchers don’t even practice hitting, except for bunting maybe. Now that Francisco (a RHB) is on the team, Bruntlett will simply fade back into the role he is on the team for- our utility guy. Those of you who said he stunk at defense must have a better knowledge of baseball than Charlie. If Jimmy goes on the DL, Bruntlett could do 95% of what Jimmy does at short and you’ll see his BA shoot up with more playing time. So cut the guy some slack!

f_i_j, I think your idea would be good if MLB were ever to allow one non-MLB player to sit on the bench as one of the MLB roster players. I’m sure they don’t allow it. Otherwise, wewould see kids from “Make-a-Wish” Foundation sitting on beches during games all across the country. Managers would never want anyone or any thing in the dugout that would distract the players- even if it’s for charity.

Erich, glad to see we agree. That’s what I’ve been arguing all day. Still think we should cut him and auction his place on the roster for charity, though. $1,000 gets you 1 game as the 25th player on bench. Money to go to charity of Phillie’s choice. that’s $162,000 for charity. Bet we won’t even notice that Brunlettt’s gone. Then again, perhaps he’d buy his roster place back for the entire season just to save face lol

Who else thinks that Ruben signed Pedro to be a starter fully expecting to trade Happ for Halladay and Pedro’s agent forced him to accept incentives to pitch out of the bullpen? That’s why we have such a problem deciding who will start. If Ruben had never signed Pedro, would we have been better off now? Comments please….

erichh1- it’s just something to talk about, for me anyway, since it does seem to be the current weak end of the team, regardless of how small a role it is, and I am not sure he could do 95% of what J-Roll does, maybe 80-85%.
pherrisphain- I didn’t realize Ruben had Moyer problem, I am sure that should invoke some Moyer needs to be ousted comments, of which I dissagree, I think Moyer should be in the rotation, regardless of what has happened, right now I would take Moyer over Lopez or Martinez, if things change over the comming weeks then fine, but at this time, I don’t see Ruben having a Moyer problem

Last time I looked, Jamie was leading the team in victories. Again. Just like last year. Not sure what the fascination is with dropping him from rotation. Until we know if Happ is the second coming of Bob Walk /Kyle Kendrick/Marty Bystom, I wouldn’t be in any rush to put him in bullpen. Besides, he’s 106 years old, I doubt his arm can recover that much on a day to day basis to be very effective in the pen.

Jamie is leading the team in victories. Cliff Lee has a losing record. Therefore, Jamie is a better pitcher than Lee.Your way too generous for my tastes. I would go one step beyond the bullpen.

pherrisphain- wasn’t it you calling for Moyer to be axed when we signed Martinez…I just think you hate Moyer, did he do something to you that your not sharing, or do you have issues with his age maybe, the Lee/Moyer win comparison is like apples and oranges since they didn’t have the same team around them, but he has sufficient numbers to show he’s a MLB starter not only in his career but during 2008 and 2009 seasons, I know you’ll quote his ERA, but like all things they get better if the player is better, and if you go by that for this year, then maybe you want J-Roll to be replaced as well, caus ehis numbers dont show his ability thats for sure…okay thats it for me, no more debate on Moyer, I made my point…

I’m overwhelmed by your logical and well stated comparison of Moyer and Lee. I join devilabrit in surrender. (insert sarcasm emoticom here).

Pedro will have to start pitching out in the pen anyway. He will take at least a month to stretch out his arm so that he can throw 100 pitches every 5 days. Some of that time must be while he is on the roster, as the Phils won’t be able to keep him on the DL once he’s eligible to return. In that time, we will find out if Pedro has a knack for pitching out of the pen. At any rate, I think an even bigger questuion about who will pitch for the Phils will occur when Brett returns at the end of August or the beginning of September. How does that saying go? Too many cooks…..

jimmymack13…………Obviously it doesn’t take much to overwhelm you, does it? How does my comparison differ from yours? Your the one who asserted that the number of Moyer’s victories was determinative. I only asked if Lee’s were as well.

I love Moyer and he has earned a spot on the rotation. His W-L record is so good because he happens to get very good run support most of the time.

Also until we see Martinez pitch in a major league game, we don’t know what he has left in the tank. I really think he might be best as a long reliever. Happ has certainly earned a spot in the rotation. I’m sure he’ll be a good “soldier” and go to the pen if asked, but it could mess with his psyche.

Happ is a front runner for Rookie of the Year. Put him in the pen and you can kiss that award good-bye. JA has earned the right to try to get that award. It would suck if they put him in the pen just because he’s reliable there. What other team in MLB would put a pitcher of Happ’s caliber in pen? By giving Pedro a chance to prove himself as a starter, the Phils will risk messing up a proven starter. Happ is our future, but if he feels alienated and isolated, he may not sign a contract extention down the road.

I know hinsight is 20/20 but I don’t see the problem of who is in the rotation as being a good problem. If Happ, who has been our best SP the last 2 months is banished to the pen, I wouldn’t blame him him if he demanded a trade. Especially after the fiasco with CHP at the beginning of the year. I consider Pedro as a “Hail Mary” at best. Believing he would be a better SP than Happ is WAY beyond stupid. Either put in in the pen or release him and eat his salary, but for chrissake, don’t mess with the current rotation.

I know hinsight is 20/20 but I don’t see the problem of who is in the rotation as being a good problem. If Happ, who has been our best SP the last 2 months is banished to the pen, I wouldn’t blame him him if he demanded a trade. Especially after the fiasco with CHP at the beginning of the year. I consider Pedro as a “Hail Mary” at best. Believing he would be a better SP than Happ is WAY beyond stupid. Either put in in the pen or release him and eat his salary, but for chrissake, don’t mess with the current rotation.

Phillies Must Keep J A Happ pitching…
This is what Champions are made of…making the right decisions! J Happ has been around the league enough that other club’s scouts know what he tries to do, yet he still impresses. He just shut down a hot team with playoff asperations. Does anyone remember a guy by the name of Nelson Figueroa?? His second time around, he was ineffective and was a huge dissapointment.

The more Happ pitches, the more you can see that he has the gift of keeping major league hitters off balance. This consistency is rare. At this point, this guy looks like a BETTER version of Randy Wolf, You’ve GOT to keep this guy pitching and he will get even better, with maturity and good coaching. The Phillies should maybe consider Jamie Moyer as a coach or mentor to this promising young talent. I guess that a relief role is not in the cards for the 46 year old, assuming that Pedro continues his rise into the rotation, but he (Moyer) would remain a great influence in the clubhouse.

Dan Toyota

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