Making More Moves?

amaro 01.jpgThe national pundits have spoken: the Phillies were winners at the trade deadline.

But a few teams were. The Cardinals reshaped their offense with Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Julio Lugo. The Tigers got Jarrod Washburn. The Red Sox got Victor Martinez. The Pirates … ah, nevermind. But the Phillies bolstered their rotation with Cliff Lee, who won the 2008 American League Cy Young Award. They also added a much-needed right-handed bat to their bench with Ben Francisco.

“We’re pretty happy with how it went,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

But not completely satisfied, either. The Phillies still have room to improve, and Amaro said they were close to another trade before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. Amaro wouldn’t say what it was, but a good guess is another bench player like Francisco because the Phillies seem to have a plethora of arms in the rotation and bullpen.

The Phillies can continue to try to make trades through Aug. 31 and still have those players eligible for postseason play. But players traded from the 40-man roster through the end of the season must clear waivers first.

The Phillies have had success in recent seasons in making waiver trades. There was Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre in 2008, and Jamie Moyer, Jeff Conine and Jose Hernandez in 2006.

“It’s possible,” Amaro said of a waiver trade. “But you never know which guys will get through the waiver process. But we’ll certainly keep an eye on the waiver wire and see if there are ways to improve. Our needs might change as we go through the next month.”

Looking on the bench, Francisco and Stairs solidify the outfield, Greg Dobbs is one of the team’s most potent pinch-hitters and the Phillies like Paul Bako as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup, although Bako has been playing more lately.

Eric Bruntlett has struggled. He is hitting .123 (10-for-81) with six RBIs in 55 games this season.

“Unfortunately for Brunt and fortunately for us, everybody has stayed healthy in the infield,” Amaro said. “He’s not serving the same role as he was last year when he was being used in the outfield for Pat [Burrell]. Basically, he hasn’t had a chance to be on the field as much, so it’s been very difficult to get into any type of offensive rhythm. But he still has a lot of versatility, which is probably his strong suit. He hasn’t produced offensively, and I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit that. But right now there’s nobody who can do that job in our system.”

Triple-A Lehigh Valley infielder Miguel Cairo is hitting .296 (69-for-233) with four homers and 26 RBIs, but the Phillies don’t feel he can play shortstop as well as Bruntlett.


Joe Blanton is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA (six earned runs in 36 2/3 innings) in his previous five starts, and 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA (21 earned runs in 81 innings) in 12 starts since May 21. … The Phillies are hitting .103 (6-for-58) on this road trip with runners in scoring position.


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I’ve seen Miguel Cairo play shortstop every day in AAA while Jason Donald was on the DL. He handled the position very well but at age 35 he doesn’t have much range which is probably where Bruntlett has the edge. I also don’t know the reason but Cairo hasn’t played in the last 5 games for the Ironpigs. Cairo’s other stats in AAA are 4 HR, 26 RBI, 13 BB, 30 SO, 6 SB.

Would the 37 year old Bako be able to handle the catching duties on a daily basis if something should happen to Ruiz? There isn’t much catching help down on the farm now that Marson is gone.

IMO, it doesn’t matter if Bruntlett is a better SS than Cairo or anybody else. The only way he would get extensive play at SS or 2B is if there was an injury. And if that occurred you can bet that they would be working on a waiver wire deal instead of allowing Bruntlett any extensive play. They should work on a waiver wire deal regardless. He’s a waste of a roster spot, especially when they need his bat.

IMO, the bigger problem is catcher. The Phillies thought they were getting a catcher who could relieve Ruiz more often. While this may be the case, the drop off in both defensive and offensive skills is too steep. I don’t care if the backup catcher cannot lift his bat off of his shoulder as long as he can get or block the slider in the dirt.

So, if they’re saying Bruntlett is like this cause he’s not playing regular, why not send him down for a couple of weeks, give him playing time in the minors see if it gets better, give someone else a chance, J-Roll has had what his 3 day hiatus this year, so who cares if SS position isn’t covered as good for the amount it will get covered…the obvious choice is just to get someone from somewhere by way of trade…. would be nice…

It does not matter who they have if they cant score runs against top notch pitching. Rollins, Utley and Howard have to make adjustments. Rollins has to go the other way with the outside pitch instead of trying to pull the ball. Utley cant let hitable pitches go by working the count ,that plays into the hands of the top notch pitcher and Howard cant wait for the top notch pitcher to make a mistake, they are few and far between thats why they are top notch. Also Pherris has to get his *** to dinner on time!

Todd – Are you aware of a site that tracks which players make it through waivers?

Considering Cole Hamel’s state of mind these days, it’s a pretty good thing that we got Cliff Lee. Cole is letting little things get to him and having big inning meltdowns this season. Today, two outs and the pitcher up with a two run lead turns into a three run inning and a deficit. Cole really needs to work on his composure if he is going to get back where he was last October. Now he’s being pulled after giving up another run and loading the bases with no out. He really let this one get away from him.

phan52: I actually think Cole pitched great in the 5th, but you’re right that he did not come out focused for the 6th. In the 5th, Zito’s hit was a broken bat, Velez hit a texas-leaguer, Sanchez hit a great pitch to the perfect place, then Howard threw a ball away on a dribbler by Sandoval. I agree that he got hammered in the 6th, but losing the lead in the 5th was mostly bad luck.

If Victorino can’t play on Tuesday, put him on the DL and call-up Michael Taylor. As good as Ibanez has been, he’s beginning to show his age and Stairs in the OF is, to say the least, a defensive liability. Besides, Taylor is a 5 tool guy who is picking it up in Triple A after a slow start and rarely ” K’s. The phils are probably calling him up in September anyway, so what’s a month early?
And NO, I’ don’t buy the MLS time start argument. That’s just weak.

zach, I agree that he was unlucky in the 5th. But he obviously is getting flustered and showing his annoyance. I never saw that in his demeanor before this year. Maybe having Cliff Lee around will take some of the ‘ace’ pressure off him and he’s got to learn to keep his composure. He shouldn’t be getting so emotional in front of his teammates when things go against him. I think, as you say, that it carried over into the next inning.

Maybe it would be a good idea to send Hamel to Lehigh Valley to work on his composure issues. From now to August 31 he could get 4 or 5 starts. At the same time, it would give the Phillies some breathing room to decide what to do if, in fact, they do have a logjam at starting pitcher.

All in all Rube has done a great job this year. If they gave one, he’d be Rookie GM of the year, for sure. Since he was promoted he:
A) Picked Up Ibanez as a FA-perhaps he overpaid, but of all the OF who signed, Ibanez is by far having the best year, and kept us going for the first few months.
B) Traded 4 prospects, none of whom would be reasonably expected to be a starter on our team next year, for Cliff Lee. The steal of the season, if not the decade.
C) Traded Jason Jaramillo for Paulino. He was clearing space in AAA for marson and thought Paulino was more ready for the big leagues.
D) Traded Paulino for Trachner (SP). perhaps his one “bad” move. Paulino seems to be better then Bako and if carrying 3 catchers, or waiving Coste was in the cards, he probably should have been kept.
E) Waived Coste. While not adding to the Philies roster, this just showed what a “Mench” he is. Obviously the fact that Coste is playing almost every day in Houston is good for Chis. Sometimes being good to your players, including letting them go for a better opportunity is worth it long term.
F) Signing Pedo–Jury still out, but having too many arms doesn’t exist. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of the signing at the time, but WTF let him stay in LV worst comes to worst. It ain’t my million dollars being spent.

Left to do: Upgrade back up infield. Obviously Brunlett isn’t the answer. With Francisco, Stairs, and Dobbs, we’re set in the OF for back-ups. We need a inf who can play Defense and pinch hit. Even if not as versitile as Brunlett. This will be the wiaver move this year, I guess.

The Bullpen, while weak right now, will be much stronger when everyone comes back from the DL and, if needed, Pedro and Myers join towards end of month or beginning of Sept.

There is nothing wrong with Hamels’ composure, that’s ridiculous. He does not need a send down or a long talk or anything. Almost all of the games where he’s gotten roughed up this season, including yesterday, have been full of bloopfests and terrible defensive play. It’s the infield behind him that needs a composure check – they play like children when Hamels is on the mound.

Yeah, you know, you’re right. It is those bloopfests which give Hamel, our ace, his 4.68 ERA. My bad.

Yes, yes it is, for the most part at least. Check this out: Look at the second table, “THT Pitching,” and look at his xFIP. This is an ERA stat that adjusts for the effect of the defense behind him and the ballparks he plays in. It’s 3.50. He’s been pitching pretty well. Not as well as last year, but this is what happens when you add 30 IP or more onto a player’s career high in the previous year. Cole is fine. “Composure problems” are just a nebulous catch-all that people use when they’re too lazy to dig into the numbers and find the true issue. And suggesting he be sent down to AAA is about the dumbest thing I’ve heard this side of fan_in_jerusalem.

Phylan, what’s your beef? Can’t handle some insight? You and your fancy stats keep missing the point–to win ballgames. I dont’ care if a player’s era is 12.00 as long as he wins. Some players are lucky, get support etc and some aren’t, true. But when the same player has luck all the time (Moyers) and others don’t all the time (Hamels) it probebly means something that number crunching morons can’t understand

Again, phylan, you are right and no one elses opinion means squat. Why? Because you said so. Too lazy to dig into the numbers? What number is it which rates the hue on Hamel’s face when he gives up one of his gopher balls? I know, I know we are all required to believe your statistics rather than our lying eyes. But even if your “statistics” tell us that 4.68 is really the new 3.50, just like 60 years of age is the new 40 years of age, how about everyone else? Your new statistics are not worth squat without context. Run the entire Phillies pitching staff through whatever it is you use and tell us what the “real” team ERA is. Normal statistics used by those of us too ignorant to know better indicate that Hamel’s ERA is worse than the team average. Hamel drives up the team average. If you want to buy into this meme that the poor boy is over worked, that is on you. The rest of us will just keep believing our lying eyes.

     Moyer does not get “lucky” all the time. When he pitches well it’s because his location is on and the umpire is giving him the furthest reaches of the corner of the plate. When either of those aren’t happening, he gets shelled, because he’s old, he has no velocity, and he gives up home runs like he gets paid for it (he has the highest HR/9 of any active pitcher on the team besides Lidge). To even compare Moyer and Hamels in terms of talent is the dumbest thing I’ve heard since Pherrisphain said Cole should be sent down, and that was the dumbest thing I had heard since you said pitchers earn their run support by “encouraging” players in the dugout.
     Not that you have any hope of understanding this, based on the discussions I’ve had with you before, but a player who has a 12.00 ERA is likely not going to win many games at all. You focus on the stat which has the least to do with a pitcher’s ability, the win, and try to use it to compare pitchers’ abilities. Who is the moron again?

phylan, I never suggested sending Cole down, so calm down with that. What I have noticed is that the ‘bloopfests’ and the occasional poor defense is visibly getting to him. Staring into space, staring at players, throwing his hands in the air; that’s not the demeanor of an ‘ace’. I have seen him react like this at least three times this year, most significantly about a month ago against Atlanta. He’s acting like a baby out there and that hasn’t been his act in the past. Obviously he’s frustrated but he can’t let is show or carry over like he did yesterday.

     Pherrisphain, if you think you can predict a pitcher’s future performance based on the hue of his face, I know a lot of scouting departments that would love to have you. Meanwhile I’ll continue to pay attention to the indicators that have proven themselves the most reliable, season after season, in identifying the problems and the highlights of a pitcher’s performance. The number I cited for you doesn’t not show that “4.68 is the new 3.50,” it shows that Cole Hamels pitching, with a neutral defense and ballpark behind him, should’ve resulted in a 3.50 ERA.
     The page I linked you to can show you that number and many others for the other players, or the Phillies as a whole if you’d like, but somehow I doubt you’re actually interested.

While I agree that pitcher with a 12.00 ERA probably won’t win many games, i’d ratehr have a pitcher who went 20-10 with a 12.00 ERA then one who went 10-20 with a 2.50 ERA. I never said run suport is based on encouragement in the dugout, I said that it seems that the pitchers who get run support are also the ones who seem to encourage the position players.

As for your HR/9 stat, how many of the HRs Moyer gave up were solo? Better that then a 2 run double. I remember then teams would walk Bobby (I’m all steroids) Bonds with teh bases loaded conceding 1 run instead of risking a grandslam. Stats only tell you part of the story. In fact, they, and fans like you who believe in MoneyBall, are the reason we see 100 pitch counts and players afraid to crash into the wall and risk their careers. The object is to win, not post the best stats. I wish you’d understand this already. many teams had better pitching and hitting then the Phils last year, none of them got a parade or ring

phan52 I was talking to pherrisphain and f_i_j, not you. Nonetheless, this illustrates the problems with anecdotes like that. I’ve watched all of Cole’s starts, and haven’t noticed him getting particularly flustered, with the exception of the Blue Jays start where he was ejected after leaving the mound. And in that case, he had somewhat of a case – the umpire was definitely squeezing him. I could put this up against your anecdotes and we’re at a stalemate. What we need is a way to look at an indicator that incorporates every pitch he has made over a long time period for a reliable evaluation, and I’ve linked pherrisphain to several.

phylan……………Life experiences have informed me about the emotional state of one whose complexion goes from pale to beet red after a certain occurrence. You want to fall back on all of these indicators to CYA it. You are the one who brings up all of these exotics statistics. I simply ask if Hamel’s 4.68 ERA is, as you indicated, really 3.50, how does this fit into the scheme of things. Either give us an answer or confirm what most of us here have suspected, you are blowing smoke.

I totally agree with phan52, on Coles’ issues. I don’t care what he said to the press post-game. He became totally unraveled, after allowing that walk to Zito. You could see it in his facial expression and body language. And when he shows his frustration, that’s only a plus for the opposing hitters. He needs to take some lessons, from Happ, on staying calm, cool and collected.

     You’re taking your life experiences with your friends and families reactions to normal everyday occurrences and how that effects how they go about their business, and attempting to compare it to trained, professional athletes, ones that have been competing all of their lives, and are better than 99.9% of the world at what they do, having their face get red. I don’t think I need to explain the problem with that.
     And Cole’s ERA is not 3.50, it’s 4.68. What the stat says is that, based on all of the things that are actually in his control as a pitcher, he’s been pitching well enough to have a 3.50 ERA. I would be happy to answer your question if you explain just what the hell you mean by “how does this fit into the scheme of things.”

Phylan, agree with me on this: Baseball is a team sport. One man’s stats are irrelevent if the team looses.

phylan… eff the haters, you know what you’re talking about.

f_i_j… I’m with you a lot of the time, but to judge a pitcher’s value on wins over ERA is insane. Wins are one of the least meaningful pitching stats.

norma… Cole didn’t walk Zito, he gave up a shattered bat hit. And he didn’t become unraveled after that, he pitched a great 5th actually, giving up two bloop hits on good pitches, followed by a dribbler that Howard threw away. Whether he unraveled in the 6th is arguable, some balls got hit hard but Renteria’s ball was only fair by inches. I’m generally a tough critic, and Cole’s had his share of bad outings this year, but yesterday’s wasn’t even in the bottom 5.

pherris… you have finally revealed yourself to be nothing more than a troll on this board… send Hamels down to AAA? no one can take you seriously any more (if they ever did in the first place).

One man’s stats are never irrelevant. If you’re trying to look at why a team is succeeding or having problems, you can look at the team’s aggregate statistics, or look at those of the individual players for weak spots and strong spots in the lineup/rotation/bullpen. That’s a ridiculous suggestion to make, because when a team is losing games, the reasons are there in the stats, if you look hard enough.

I don’t know anything about ‘neutral indicators’ or such things. I know that Hamels ERA is 4.68 and he is getting visibly flustered on the mound. He’s not acting like an ‘ace’ (or performing as such) and I think he needs to look inward and figure it out. Somebody mentioned Happ here and he is a good example.

S**t happens. Deal with it.

zach58………….You too have finally revealed yourself as to whether the “58” in your screen name was your IQ or your sperm count.

My head is spinning btwn phan52, phylan, pherrisphain, and FIJ!? Yikes!

Cole is probably having “one of those years”. There are definite signs of the pitcher from last year. Yesterday’s game was not that bad. As others have said there were some blooper hits, an error, and some bad location. He just seems to be inconsistent this year. Probably do to innings pitched last year, maybe too much distraction at the start of the season, etc.

Here’ something humorous……each day on WIP’s mid-day show they announce at the time of day that it is Brunlett’s batting avg. (i.e. today’s time was 1:32pm when they gave a shout-out)🙂

First of all, the IQ and sperm count comments aren’t cool. let’s keep the insults somewhat reasonable and not kindergarden like.

I agree that Wins is not a true indicator of a pitcher’s skill. However, I still believe that pitchers who constantly win, even with high ERAs, or high HR/9 or other stas are more valuable then pitchers who loose and have great individual stats. Point being that since they hand out rings to the TEAM who wins the WS, regardless of the individual player’s stats, that is what we should strive to do. Barry Bonds, to the best of my knowledge never won a WS, though he did have great, if “roid enhanced, stats, same thing for many great players. ask any of them if they’d trade those stats for a ring.

More importantly, who is the back up catcher next year?

fan_in_jerusalem ……………..Do you really think kindergarteners know about sperm counts and IQs? Oh, you are so right, so my reply to Zach58 was inappropiate. But the question remains, does his probation officer know that he is using the internet?

I don’t know? Does your wife know he uses the Net?? (see, these r reasonable insults–LMFAO)

zach and phylan, IMO Cole unraveled in the 6th yesterday and I have seen if from him before during this year. If you watch all the games, as you say, I don’t know how you can’t remember his meltdown against Atlanta about a month ago. we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

j-i-j, if the Phillies pitching staff performed last season like they are now, we probably aren’t sitting here as World F’ing Champions. We are kind of lucky that the NL East has been down, but Florida and Atlanta are picking it up and we have to do the same. We need ‘great individual stats’ from Cole Hamels to keep pace. The wild card that has not needed to be played just yet is Lidge and the closer spot. Frightening.

karen, that thing about Bruntlett is sadly funny.

And pherrisphain can’t help but show his true colors. He belongs at the boards at ESPN where his act is the norm.

     f-i-j, the point is that pitchers with high ERAs or HR/9 or BB/9 or [whatever reliable pitching stat you want to use] that still manage to win 10 games (just using Moyer as an example) are not contributing to those wins. The team is winning because the offense managed to make up for the pitcher’s ineffectiveness. So how is that pitcher valuable to the team? The pitcher with great numbers but a losing record is a pitcher who pitched very well but was let down by his team, or by other elements out of his control. Which would you rather have on your staff the next year?

thanks for making my point pherris

f-i-j, we don’t need five starters in the post season. And you have to consider Park in the ‘pen. He has been great there so far. I’ll worry about Pedro and/or Myers when they are ready to throw a pitch in the show.

My last two posts are before the posts that I was responding to. Ridiculous.

zach58 ……And your point was, your sperm count? your IQ? No, buddy, thanks for making my point. They are both low.

Serriously, How about this pitching staff for the post season”
Starters: Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Happ Moyers
PEN Lidge, Romero, madson, Eyre, Pedro ,Myers

phylan……………..The point is you come here and blow smoke with your statistics. When you are called out on them you try to backtrack and change the subject. Earlier you wanted to sell us on the fact that Hamel really has an ERA of 3.50. We are still waiting as to how this compares to the rest of the team as adjusted in the same manner you adjusted Hamel’s 4.68 to 3.5o.

DId I forget Park? I obviously agree that he goes on teh roster in Post season in the Pen. Guess either pedro or Myers stay home. As for Moyer, I know you dont use 5 starters (it’s why he’s #5) but how can we not include him on our roster. he’s going to be a HoFer (probably) and is a great steadying influence on everyone. I relly hope he hangs them up after the season to become the BullPen coach or something with this team. If he wants to, I’d sign him as the pitching coach at LV or Reaing (where ever the guy who streightened out Myers last year isn’t)

zach58……..You’re right about Zito’s base hit. My bad! But my point about Cole *unraveling*, pertained to his demeaner on the mound. Whether he gives up more base hits/runs, or not, he has to keep his cool. It only works to the oppositions advantage, if they know he’s getting annoyed or losing patience. Whether at himself, or his team mates.

norma… I agree completely. I’m just think that he came unraveled more in the 6th than the 5th.

f_i_j… Moyer a HOF’er??? I want some of what you’re smoking. Absolutely zero chance of that. He’s only made one All-Star game and never finished higher than 4th in Cy Young voting!

Zach: he has 250+ wins. How many pitchers with that many wins are NOT in the hall? I don’t think he’ll be elected on the first ballet by any means, but the day will come when he’ll get in (especially as that many wins becomes more and more rare

     pherrisphain my point was never that his ERA is “really” 3.5. I have not backtracked. You just misunderstood the point of xFIP, which is to factor out elements that the pitcher cannot control. As for seeing the rest of the team’s xFIPs, you could have just asked. Here’s the whole National League sorted by xFIP: . Here’s just the Phillies: . (Note that you should ignore Cliff Lee’s entry there, as he’s only made one start for the Phillies so the sample size is only 9 innings).
      Anyhow stop talking as if I just made this number up. I don’t operate Hardball Times and I am in no way affiliated with it. xFIP is the end result of many years of research by some of the best baseball minds determining the things that most effect a pitcher’s performance. It’s also not the only defense-independent pitching metric out there. I encourage you to explore others, like FIP, DIPS, PERA, NERA, tRA. Read the glossaries of the various analysts if you want an explanation. They all arrive at similar conclusions, just with different formulations. The goal is always the same – to factor out things that can distort our understanding of how a pitcher is pitching, and to most accurately evaluate their ability.

     f_i_j, it’s the playoffs. We have to use our 4 best pitchers in the rotation, and Moyer isn’t one of them. Of course, Manuel and Dubee will probably just push Happ to the pen, which I think is silly. The bottom line is that Happ is the more valuable pitcher right now and belongs in the playoff rotation. Of course, we can worry about this come October.
     And Moyer won’t hang it up after this season, because Amaro signed him to a two year deal, and he’s owed $6.5 MM next year.

f_i_j: Again, too much emphasis on wins. 6 guys have more wins than Moyer and no chance of getting into the HOF. You think Jim McCormick, Gus Weyhing, Jim Kaat, Tommy John, Tony Mullane and Bobby Mathews (297 wins) should be HOF’ers? Moyer has never even been close to the best pitcher in his league. He only made 1 All-Star game forchristssake. (Sorry it was worth repeating.) I wish I knew you well so we could make a humongous bet about Moyer making the Hall.

I figured out what is wrong with Cole. He’s a vampire. That’s right. Contrary to folklore, vampires don’t die if they are exposed to sunlight. Nevertheless, they DO become weakened by it. That’s why Cole is now 0-4 in day games this year.

Todd, Zo-zone is getting better and better. It’s probably the best (or one of the best) at I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments here. The blogs are not as inviting as this one. And the comments always repeat and recycle and often don’t make a point. And Andy has done a good job of flushing your hard work at the Inquirer’s blog down the toilet! Keep up the great work.
P.S. Show this to your boss. Maybe he/she will pay you more. lol

phylan…………..Whether you have backtracked or not is not really material to the discussion. What is material is Hamel’s relation to the whole. To assert his ERA is 3.50 rather than 4.68 is meaningless unless the numbers of the rest of the Phillies are also available. If you want to postulate that Hamel’s numbers are not as bad as they appear to be it is incumbent on you to support your position. And when I say available I am not talking about reinventing the wheel by having everyone who is so inclined to do so to go back and crunch the numbers. The bottom line is that Hamel’s ERA is higher than the Phillies team average. If you want to claim that Hamel’s ERA is lower according to this or that metric a provide us with the numbers for the entire team.

I just did you idiot, click the links I posted. And unless you’re illiterate re-read where I said what xFIP means, because you keep misstating it.

I just did provide numbers for the whole team (and the whole league) you idiot, click the links I posted. And unless you’re illiterate re-read where I said what xFIP means, because you keep misstating it.

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