Finding Bruntlett's Replacement

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bruntlett 0823.jpgThe Phillies have bigger fish to fry than finding Eric Bruntlett‘s replacement as the team’s utility player – they’re looking hard for a third baseman and bullpen help – but it certainly has its importance. It’s especially important because they have nobody in the system that can play shortstop for a significant stretch should something happen to Jimmy Rollins.

The Phillies recently removed Bruntlett, right-hander Tyler Walker, catcher Paul Hoover, infielder Andy Tracy and right-hander John Ennis from their 40-man roster. They have become free agents. Bruntlett and Walker will not be back next season, although Philadelphia contacted the agents for Hoover, Tracy and Ennis about possible returns.

Names to watch to replace Bruntlett are John McDonald, Omar Vizquel, Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard and Juan Uribe. Miguel Cairo, who played for the Phillies in 2009, is a free agent and could be a possibility, but I think the Phillies probably would like to go elsewhere.

Bruntlett hit just .171 (18-for-105) with seven doubles, seven RBIs and two stolen bases in very limited action this season. Bruntlett hit a more respectable .217 in 2008, when he had 212 at-bats because of an ankle injury to Rollins in April and came in as a late defensive replacement for former left fielder Pat Burrell.

Bruntlett scored the winning runs in Games 3 and 5 of the 2008 World Series, and is a good guy. Best of luck to him.

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20 Comments

And thus ends the Phillies career of The Beard Of Beards. RIP

http://zozone.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/02/bruntletts_beard.html

I think it may be more difficult for the Phils to come up with a productive bench player than it would be to find a good starting player.

Bench players and pinch hitters are a different breed, and they have to be ready to play at any time, unlike everyday players who know they’re playing when they get to the ballpark.
Their contributions can often be crucial, and as we saw from Stairs this past season, going 0 for 38 hurts a team.

I think they have their work cut out for them in trying to find a decent backup catcher and a couple of good reserves. The names Todd listed are all decent players, but how they’ll handle the job is the unpredictable part.

Mule: the difficutly in inding a good bench player who can pinch hit and fill in is why I suggest going after a 3b who is versitle. We know Dobbs does better with somewhat regular at bats. By using the new 3b to fill in at 2b and ss, with Dobbs taking over at 3b for those games we get a win win situation where our top bench player is at his best, and our regular infielders can get much neded rest.

The names Todd mentions would be good as well. For the bench we have Dobbs (inf) Fransisco (of) un-named catcher and we’ll probably need two more (one in OF and one in inf) idealy we’d get one lefty and one righty. I wouldn’t be surprised if Taylor makes the team as bench player

Brunlett’s also has an Economics degree from Stanford. I like a couple of the names that Todd mentioned. I think finding a back-up catcher should also be a priority. Not sure if Bako is the solution although it might have to be.

Jamey Carroll would be a perfect fit. He can play all the positions and would understand his role here. He’s as good as Bruntlett at every aspect, including being a better hitter and a viable option to rest the middle infielders on occasion. No brainer, IMO.
I would like to see Taylor and Francisco fight it out for the 4th OF position this spring. They both shouldn’t be on the team because they both hit righthanded and they will need another lefty off the bench to replace Stairs. I’m not sold on Francisco if somebody gets hurt and he has to play a lot of innings. Complimentary player at best, and his defense doesn’t impress me even a little bit. He made some poor plays when we needed him to step up in the postseason.

World F-ing Champs

phan: I like Carroll too. I think he’d fit. As for the spare OF, I guess next spring is another shot for Mayberry. I like his swing, but he needs to hit the ball with it. I’m not sold on Francisco either. Funny that they used him as a late-inning defensive replacement for Ibanez, but I didn’t see the upgrade. You’re screwed if the game goes extra innings and you lose Ibanez’ bat.

f.i.j.: I’m a little soured on Dobbs right now. I don’t know if it was an injury situation, but he didn’t hit a lick last year. He’s never going to play a lot, so he’ll either have to learn to pinch hit or get an economics degree.

karen: I’m not sure what the backup catching situation is, but I think they could do worse than Bako.

I think a lot of these decisions will go right up to February, with the players salaries being the major sticking point.

Let’s not forget Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play against the Mets. That was a highlight of the season for me due to its statistical improbability.

Ed

Please tell me the Phils are not serious about 43-yr. old Vizquel.

I agree that Jamey Carroll would be a good choice. He’s reasonably good with the bat AND glove, and he can play 2nd, SS, 3rd and the corner OF spots.

kprender: Well, Charlie managed Vizquel in Cleveland, so maybe they are serious about him. It’s hard to break that old-school baseball network thing.
I think Walter Alston managed him too, and I’m pretty sure he was in a double play combo with Mazeroski.

I’m convinced Dobbs wasn’t as effective last year for 2 reasons. 1) his injury and 2) he didnt get the playing time as he did in 2008 when he played 3b alot. I feel that if we can start him in a game every 2 weeks or so it will help his pinch hitting as well as his overall performance. One of the lessons of 2008 for Charlie is that he needs to play the bench players not only to give the regulars rest, but to keep the bench sharp. Some time the bech guys just need to play

I just looked up Carroll’s numbers. The most important one is the $2.5 million he made last year. He’ll cost in the $3 mil range, and he’ll be 36 in February. What kind of a deal would you give to him at this point and what kind would he accept. He’s a career .273 hitter who doesn’t drive in a lot of runs (2515 PA and 173 RBI) but can play some defense.

As for Dobbs, his playing time actually dropped in 2008 but his batting average went up, so I’m not sure that less playing time in 2009 meant as much as any injury he might have had. He had 358 PA in 2007, 240 in 2008 and 169 in 2009; so his PAs have been declining since he’s been a Phillie, but hit for his highest BA (.301) in 2008. You could (and should) look it up.

Carroll splits also show him as a solid pinch hitter. He looks to be the best fit as a role player on a contending team.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=carroja01&year=Career&t=b

f_i_j this is what you’re looking for: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=dobbsgr01&year=2009&t=b#defp .

Dobbs in 2008: 67 PA .355/.388/.532
Dobbs in 2009: 60 PA .167/.250/.241

To be honest I never really bought the whole “he just needs more at bats” thing. That was just a media talking point that kind of came out of nowhere when Charlie said it and snowballed from there. The dude had only seven less plate appearances as a PH in 2009 and his hitting dropped off a cliff.

I don’t think we should be giving more at bats to weaker hitters just because they “need” them. All the other teams give a similar percentage of plate appearances to their bench and the ones that have good bench players don’t have problems.

Mule: while I’m sure your numbers are correct, i was thinking in terms of his average as a PH in 2008 and 2009 and not his overall ave. I think we’d agree that his main value to the Phillies is in that role. When he played more in 2008 (as apposed to 2009) he was a better PH since he was being used more. I have yet to find a site that gives splits for PH’s (if you have one please send post it)

phylan: That’s where I get my stuff. Just about every number you need is on that site somewhere. Usually, you can use numbers to refute arguments that are based on what we think we see – like a player “needing more at-bat’s.” I agree, that’s usually an excuse for a guy who can’t hit. Otherwise, he’d be a starter somewhere.

It really has to be a dull off-season when we’re discussing Greg Dobbs.

Whether Dobbs gets more at-bats this coming season is more contingent on who they sign as the replacement at 3B than anything else. If they sign someone like Figgins, Dobbs will get minimal chances. Someone like Beltre, a little more, and someone like DeRosa even more. I don’t know why Dobbs was so poor as a pinch hitter in 2009, but he is going to have to step it up in 2010 or he will have a hard time getting a job anywhere after that.

Obviously I’m not explaining myself well today. A player who is used as a PH needs to keep his swing by getting regular at bats. he can do so by being used tons as a PH or by starting games every now and then. The TOTAL number of AB he gets will directly determine his success as a PH. As your stats show, Phylan, in 2008, when he got more overall ABs his success as a PH was much better then in 2009 when he got less OVERALL ABs.
Think of it like a player in a slump. If he doesn’t get to the plate, he wont break out of the slump. Since Dobbs is projected as the #1 PH on the team, and since he can only play 3b and 1B (I wouldn’t want to see him in the OF) and since Howard can only play 1B (unless he’s Dhing in interleague games) the obvious way to get Dobbs more AB’s is by playing him at 3B every now and then. To do this you either sit your starting 3B, or have a starting 3B who can also play 2B and SS and thus move over to allow Utley and Rollins a days rest while Dobbs plays 3B that game. DeRosa fits this as does the Fish’s 3B. I don’t know if Figgens can play elsewhere and know that Beltre can’t. I hope that this time I’ve managed to explain my point.

We are very upset to see that Eric is not to be included with the 40 man team but we sort-of knew it was coming as he was not a constant player. Therefore, he could not get his batting average up to where it would be acceptable.
We talked to him last year in Spring Training and thank him so much for the performance he put in when Jimmy was out.
He was a very important part of the Phillies maintaining their wins during that time.
Don’t know how anyone can be “UP & UP” for batting when they aren’t getting numerous chances to bat.
We want to wish Eric the best and what ever team he plays for in 2010 we will try to keep in touch with this gentlemen.

I don’t like what you are saying.It really takes time.I have been putting on weight.Can you believe that I bought a TV for $25?My false teeth are stuck to it.I tried losing weightŁ¬ but nothing workedI tried losing weightŁ¬ but nothing workedThe teacher got a little angry.Who’s calling? I’d like to-repair our differences.

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