Philadelphia Phillies: Why Trading for Carlos Beltran Isn’t a Good Option

July 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Philadelphia has gone crazy, folks, and it’s all Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Vance Worley’s fault. Ruben Amaro’s, too.

Listening to the Philly masses lately you’d have thought the Phillies were struggling to keep above .500. Everywhere you go it’s, “Who should they go after at the trade deadline?” and “The Phils need a right-handed bat desperately to balance out their lefty-filled line-up.”

Call me crazy, but since when does the team with the best record in all of baseball desperately need anything?

Every year Philadelphians are used to having something to complain about this time of year. Now that the Fightin’s are sitting atop the National League East with the largest division lead in the majors, nobody knows what to do with themselves.

This lost feeling of “What do we do now?” has virtually created the idea that the Phillies have the worst offense in the history of baseball (at least that’s how it seems), when in actuality they’re seventh in the National League and 14th overall in runs per game.

While the seventh best offense in the NL isn’t something you’ll be telling to your grandchildren someday, you can win with that type of production, especially in 2011. We saw it last year when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, mostly off of stellar pitching with a few offensive heroics coming from players who stepped up when it mattered (Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, Pat Burrell, etc.)

Yet, everyday we continue to see the rumors swirling that involve the Phillies looking to pick up a right-handed outfielder or extra bullpen help. Carlos Beltran has been the name most frequently mentioned, with Hunter Pence and Michael Cuddyer popping up every so often, as well.

On top of that, the team has reportedly kicked the tires on relievers such as Heath Bell from San Diego and Leo Nunez from intra-division rival Florida.

While a trade to acquire a needed right-handed bat or an extra reliever would certainly help the team, it isn’t as necessary as it has been perceived.

Carlos Beltran, if acquired, could not make any less sense for the Phillies. While he is a switch hitter that can add some more power into the middle of the order and play in right field where they need the most help, Cuddyer and Pence are far better options.

To begin with, the 34-year-old Beltran is far worse from the right side of the plate than he is from the left. Hitting right-handed this season he is .227, compared to .315 hitting lefty.

Using him to “balance” out the line-up could prove to be a liability more than an improvement. Opposing teams could use special relievers to force him to the right side of the plate, where he simply doesn’t produce as much.

Add to that his age, long history of injuries and the fact that he would only be a rental player for the rest of this season, and it’s clear that Beltran shouldn’t even be in consideration for the Phillies.

Pence and Cuddyer would both be suitable options for the Phils’ line-up. Both hit right-handed, both play right field, and both have shown a consistent ability to produce this season. Cuddyer has hit for a .299 average with 14 home runs and 47 RBI, while Pence has a .312 average with 11 HR’s and 61 RBI.

Pence would be the ideal player to go after, considering he’s only 28 and has another year left on his contract, meaning he would be able to replace Raul Ibanez in left after his contract expires at the end of the season. The snag in the deal is the price just might be too far out of Ruben Amaro Jr.’s  reach.

Ed Wade, ex-Phillies general manager and current GM of the Astros, probably wouldn’t give Amaro any hometown discount considering Pence is by far the most talented and most popular player in Houston.

That’s where they could turn to Cuddyer, who even though is on the last year of his contract, wouldn’t demand so much that he couldn’t be re-signed after the season. He’s a slight drop-off from Pence in production, but his experience and reputation of being a great clubhouse guy and fan favorite is something the Astros outfielder lacks.

The main thing to remember is that the Phillies don’t need anything.

An extra arm in the bullpen wouldn’t hurt, but they’ve managed to roll along through the first half of the season as one of the best bullpens in the league. Up until last week, they had been in the top two in bullpen ERA with division foe the Atlanta Braves for most of the season.

Michael Stutes has hit a slight bump in the road, but he’s been consistent and reliable since day one. The fact that Antonia Bastardo didn’t make the NL All-Star team is a travesty, and it’s even worse that seemingly nobody noticed.

Ryan Madson continues to be the team’s most intimidating and dominating reliever, and Brad Lidge is just now coming off the disabled list. Once Jose Contreras returns to the team, the Phillies will be locked and loaded on arms.

And while they could use another right-handed bat in the middle of the line-up, it won’t make or break them. This team can survive with an average line-up because of the consistent support from their stellar pitching staff.

The perception is that their offense is dreadful, when truly if the season ended today, they’d have scored the most runs of any NL playoff team. They have the best run differential in the NL by far, and the third best overall. In July they’ve averaged 5.7 runs per game with the best average in the NL.

Philadelphians are so instinctively used to needing something more to put the team over the top that we find the smallest holes and make them seem bigger. We should just be thankful for having so few needs rather than magnifying every little one we find.

If the Phillies pull off a deal to bring in Hunter Pence or Michael Cuddyer, even Carlos Beltran, that’s great as long as they don’t sell the farm system they’ve managed to rebuild. In no way am I saying these players would hurt the team.

But keep in mind that often enough it’s the Cody Ross’s of the world that step up come October, not the big name mid-season acquisitions. Role players down the stretch and in the playoffs are just as important as your stars.

What’s going to decide this team’s fate is how well they decide to hit in the postseason. One right-handed bat isn’t going to greatly change anything. The other eight guys in the order still have to produce. The Phillies can win with the team they have assembled now, everything just needs to come together when it counts.

I know it may be a tad boring, Philly fans, but how about we sit out the trade deadline hoopla for just one year? We have the best team in baseball right now. Let’s just enjoy it for a while.

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Five Notes To Make of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Opening Day Victory

April 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

A tradition of Opening Day disappointment for the Philadelphia Phillies was nowhere to be found as perennial ace Roy Halladay took to the mound against the Washington Nationals Monday.

The former Cy Young Award winner dominated the lowly Nationals for most of the outing, with his only rough patch coming in the first inning. He allowed his only run in the first inning, then proceeded to throw six scoreless innings.

When it was all said and done for Doc Halladay, he had gone a strong seven innings, allowing one earned run while striking out nine. The newly acquired workhouse was only half of the show today, though, as the offense took no time in getting into mid-season form.

John Lannan kept the Phillies’ sluggers of the board for three innings, but the game changed with one powerful swing in the fourth when Ryan Howard took him deep. It was a two-run shot that put the Phils up for good. They went on to plate three more runs in the inning, putting up a five sport for the inning.

They struck again in the top of the sixth when Jimmy Rollins tripled, scoring Carlos Ruiz. Rollins then scored on Placido Polanco’s RBI single.

Polanco did the bulk of his damage, however, in the very next inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Polanco crushed the Jason Bergmann delivery into the Phillies’ bullpen just beyond the left field wall for a grand slam, giving his team the 11-1 lead.

The score stood still for the remainder of the game as the Phils halted their Opening Day losing streak at four.

Granted, this was the Washington Nationals whom they were facing, but the Philadelphia Phillies opened their 2010 in impressive fashion. Here’s five few things to take away from today’s game.

 

1. Roy Halladay is exactly what we were told he would be

One start is in the books for Halladay, and boy was it impressive. Pardon the first inning and the 32-year-old righty made the Nationals looked like a minor-league squad (well, more so than they already do).

No, it wasn’t exactly a lights-out, stellar performance; but it was as close as you can get. No Phillies’ fan can be disappointed with their new ace’s debut. Hopefully, Doc will be able to keep this up for the remainder of the season. There’s little reason to believe he won’t.

 

2. Placido Polanco fits in this lineup

Some analysts and fans alike questioned Charlie Manuel’s decision to move Polanco to the second spot in the order and place Shane Victorino in the seven hole. For at least today, the Skipper looks to have made the right call, yet again.

While grand slams and six RBIs shouldn’t be expected on a day-to-day basis, the team’s new third basemen showed he can hit second in this lineup. Even once Polanco plays down more to his role of getting on base and playing small ball, his contribution at that position shouldn’t drop off too much.

 

3. The Phillies’ offense is still much like last year’s

In 2009 with the Phils’ offense, when it rained it poured. This was the case again this afternoon as the team exploded for innings of five, two and four runs on the day.

With the lineup having primarily stayed the same, except for the upgrade from Feliz to Polanco, we shouldn’t be too surprised with today’s efforts. Granted, 11 runs can’t be expected every day. But at least we now know this team can still deliver those haymakers that knock opposing teams out of games.

 

4. The Nationals…yeah, they’re still the Nationals

The Nats are a young, semi-talented squad who has improved from a year ago. While it may not have seemed so from today, their pitching is better than it was in ’09. Yet, today showed us they are still the bottom-feeders of the National League East.

They have time to correct a few problems and make themselves better, but it’s hard to see them going anywhere in 2010.

 

5. The Phillies…yeah, they’re still the Philliesjust an ace better.

The offense is back from a year ago, the bullpen didn’t give up a run in two innings of work, and they finally have a powerful Opening Day ace. And may I add, the best ace in the business.

Halladay and the offense reassured fans on this day that they won’t disappoint in 2010. Fresh off their second straight World Series appearance, the team showed they’re still hungry for more. That’s what we love to see.

 

Let us not forget, this is just one game. Had we been in the dog days of summer, halfway through the season, very little analysis would be made on the game. Yet this is Opening Day, when first impressions for the season ahead are made. We have to analyze something now, don’t we?

For the Phillies on this day, they made a few positive first impressions. But let’s see how the next 20 games or so go before me start making some more serious conclusions for the year ahead.

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Roy Halladay To Philadelphia, Cliff Lee To Seattle

December 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Phillies are also said to have dealt Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, who are included as a third team.

The rest of the players in this blockbuster deal are yet to be confirmed.

Halladay, 32, is expected to sign a contract extension with the Phillies to complete the deal.

Lee, 31, was acquired by the Phillies at the trading deadline this past season. Much of the speculation was that it would be Halladay the team would trade for midseason, but negotiations with Toronto fell through and they looked elsewhere.

Until now.

Initially, I was torn on how I felt about the swap. It is difficult to evaluate a trade so shortly after it breaks, especially with only two of the players’ names being released.

Yet, after some thinking on what we know, there is a whole lot to be happy about from the viewpoint of the Phillies.

First of all, Halladay has been just as efficient as Lee was in ’09 for his entire career. With Lee, you have an ace who has only seen major success in two of his seven seasons.

Halladay, on the other hand, has finished in the top five in AL CY Young voting five times, including one year in which he won the award.

What Lee was able to do in the postseason was spectacular, but let’s not forget how shaky he was to finish off the season. Halladay is much more consistent and has quite a pedigree to back him up.

Second, Lee was, more likely than not, going to test the open waters of free agency after this season. Halladay, on the other hand, has reportedly signed an extension.

Rather than retaining Lee for just one more season, the Phillies were able to bring in a topoftheline ace who will be around for a few extra years.

Third, the Phillies are also bringing prospects in from Seattle. This may not be what made them pull the trigger, but it sure helped.

Kyle Drabek was considered untouchable, so either Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown were likely sent to Toronto. Receiving a few prospects in return to help strengthen the system is always a positive.

Lastly, nearly every decision Ruben Amaro Jr. has made as general manager has been golden. Until he makes a monumental mistake that puts the team in jeopardy of competing on the field, we need to have trust in him.

Before making your own personal judgment on the trade, take a step back and think: would you rather have an ace who has only performed at the level of an ace for two seasons for one more season or an ace who has been just that his entire career for a few more years?

Sure, Lee was tremendous in the postseason and for a better part of the regular season. But so was Halladay, and he has been doing it much longer.

You will not see much fluctuation from the performance of Lee in ’09 to the expected performance of Halladay in ’10. The difference is that it is assured that Halladay will be around past this season.

Give Roy Halladay the same amount of admiration and respect Cliff Lee was given, and I can almost assure you he will not disappoint.

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Philadelphia Phillies Sign Placido Polanco, Fill Hole at Third Base

December 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

From 2002 to 2005, Placido Polanco was a consistent, dependable second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. When Chase Utley burst onto the scene, Polanco was regulated to splitting time at third base.

Now the 34-year-old is returning to Philadelphia, this time as the starting third baseman. The Phillies and Polanco have agreed to a three-year, $18 million contract. A mutual option for a fourth year is also included as well as $450,000 available in award incentives.

After Pedro Feliz’s option was declined earlier in the offseason, the National League champions were rumored to be interested in Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa and Polanco. When the Detroit Tigers declined to offer Polanco arbitration, the Phillies zeroed in on their man.

The familiarity with the organization and the dependability were key in the decision to sign the two-time Gold Glove winner.

Just as in 2008, when Phillies’ fans were hoping to see the signing of a notorious left fielder to replace the departing Pat Burrell, many expected and preferred that Figgins, Beltre or DeRosa be signed. And just as he did last offseason, Ruben Amaro Jr. has taken the less popular route with Polanco.

That is not to say this is a poor decision.

Polanco has hit for a career .303 average and has yet to strike out more than 50 times in one season. He won a Silver Slugger in 2007 with the Tigers, was named the 2006 ALCS MVP and was named to the 2007 All-Star team.

He is likely the most affordable option at third base, leaving the team with more money available to bring in help to the rotation and the bullpen.

The bottom line is that Polanco is a step up from Feliz, is familiar with the organization, is consistent and dependable and came in for a cheap price.

This is merely the beginning of what is expected to be yet another interesting offseason in Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Phillies Fans: Don’t Worry About a Thing

October 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

It took 162 games, a full season, for the Philadelphia Phillies to steal the National League East from the New York Mets in 2007. The next year, it took 161 games to do the same.

So when the Phils won the division for the third consecutive year after only 158 games this season, the city was left with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs.

For a city that has witnessed as many excruciating defeats as it has, meaningless games are never good in keeping its fans calm.

When Andy Tracy, Miguel Cairo, Ben Francisco, and Paul Bako become the usual faces in your lineup, winning isn’t exactly expected of you. But nevertheless, Phillies’ fans don’t necessarily feel confident about their team’s chances heading into the postseason.

Granted, neither the rotation nor the bullpen has been stellar, and the offense has been far from what it should be. But none of that matters come Wednesday.

For a team that has known it would be participating in the postseason for weeks now, all they had to play for was to make it official. Once it was, the playoffs couldn’t come fast enough, for the players and the fans.

But now that it has, the results of this past week of Phillies baseball is meaningless. The rest of Philadelphia just needs to realize that.

Some fans have begun to question whether this team really wants to win, and others simply don’t think they have what it takes.

All of this is the result of too much thinking.

There’s no denying the fact that Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee have been inconsistent of late; neither has Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, and Pedro Martinez.

But it’s difficult to get up for games that mean almost nothing, which is what they have had to attempt to do in their last few starts.

Two weeks ago, things were different. Everything was clicking on all cylinders.

Yet, when the magic number began to creep under five, it was no longer a matter of if the Phillies would clinch, but when. Eventually, after a week of sluggish baseball, the Phils could call the division championship their’s.

One could also argue that the bullpen is riddled with uncertainty. But, when you look at it, it’s not as bad as it seems.

Ryan Madson has been strong in recent save opportunities; Brett Myers will be much closer to full strength come Wednesday; Scott Eyre will be available to pitch whenever needed; and Chad Durbin has been pitching very well of late (1.98 ERA in September).

J.C. Romero will not pitch in the NLDS, but he has only pitched in one game since July 19th. No Romero is nothing new for the Phillies. Instead, J.A. Happ will likely be the team’s left-handed reliever.

These same issues existed two weeks ago, only the Phillies were playing meaningful games so nobody payed any attention.

These recent struggles are not a sign of a bad team, they are merely signs of a bored one.

Without an intense September race this season, focusing on winning every game isn’t all that easy. When you know that October baseball is on the horizon, and you are certain you will be included, looking ahead is inevitable, especially for the Phillies.

After they basked in their glory in 2008, the Phillies obviously wanted to do it all over again, and they still do. You cannot question the will and determination of such high-caliber players, not to mention the reigning World Champions.

Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, Ryan Madson–do you honestly want to question whether these players want to win?

There’s no doubting the talent level each of them bring to the table, and there shouldn’t be any hesitation in calling them big-time players.

The playoffs are a whole new ballgame. The moment every living organism in Philadelphia has been waiting for has finally arrived.

There shouldn’t be any doubt in the minds of Phillies’ fans on whether or not their team can get the job done. The Phightin’ Phils are a whole different breed of baseball players. Very few teams can turn up their level of play as quickly as this team.

All I ask from my fellow Phillies’ fans is that you put an end to all this worrying. Stop worrying about yesterday, and focus on tomorrow.

This isn’t the 90’s anymore. This isn’t the Eagles, Flyers, or 76ers. This is the reigning World Champions we’re talking about.

This is a team that can, has, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

It takes a team of winners to win it all, and that’s just what these Philadelphia Phillies are–winners.

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Philadelphia Phillies Look To Clinch NL East Title With Win Tonight

September 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

On September 30, 2007, the Philadelphia Phillies began what has become one of their best three-year runs in franchise history. On that day, they defeated the Washington Nationals 6-1 to clinch the National League Eastern division crown.

Almost a year later, the Phils reclaimed their title as division champions by once again defeating the Nationals.

Moving to 2009, we see this same opportunity once again.

The thought-to-be insurmountable eight-game lead over the Atlanta Braves had taken a considerable hit, shrinking to as low as four. For days, the Phils’ magic number seemed to be at a standstill.

Tonight, exactly two years after their first division title in 14 years, the Phillies can clinch their third consecutive NL East championship with either a win or an Atlanta Braves loss.

Jamie Moyer started each of the clinchers¬† in ’07 and ’08, but it will be Pedro Martinez taking the ball tonight against Houston.

For the Astros, Brad Moehler will make the start. Moehler is 8-11 with a 5.21 ERA. His last outing lasted just 2.1 innings when he allowed seven runs and eight hits.

Martinez is 5-1 with a 3.32 ERA in a Phillies uniform and 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in September. Pedro missed he last start due to a neck injury, but is set to make his return tonight.

Cliff Lee was originally slated to be the starter, but was given an extra day of rest by manager Charlie Manuel. Instead, Lee is set to start tomorrow.

In the bullpen, Brett Myers appears to be ready for his return. Pitching coach Rich Dubee has stated that Myers is available to pitch in relief tonight if he is needed.

With the return of Myers comes the queston of who will finally become to team’s official closer.

Ryan Madson has been strong as of late in the role, but still has yet to prove he can consistently produce in the ninth inning. Myers converted 21-of-24 save opportunities  in his first stint as closer in 2007, and may be the most reliable option.

All we know for certain is that Brad Lidge will not be the one taking the mound in save situations, especially in the postseason.

For now, the Phillies will throw aside their closer woes and turn their focus into winning games. The division title is most important in the minds of the Phillies right now. If they happen to find their closer over the last week of the season, it will only be icing on the cake for what has been yet another special season.

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Philadelphia Phillies Battling Injuries as Season Nears End

September 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Injuries are taking their toll on the Philadelphia Phillies, and at the worst possible time.

After an examination on his left wrist by team doctors, Carlos Ruiz is the latest member of the team to miss time due to injury.

Ruiz joins the lengthy list of J.A. Happ, Scott Eyre, J.C. Romero, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Martinez, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park, and Brett Myers as Phillies who have been hit by the injury bug.

Happ, Martinez, Dobbs, and Myers appear as if they will be able to return within the next week of play. The fate of Eyre, Romero, Durbin, and Park for the rest of the season is still unknown.

Even with the barrage of injuries, the Phillies are finding a way to win. After splitting yesterday’s double-header with the Florida Marlins, they moved to 8-2 over their last ten games.

The most promising sign has come from the World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, who appears to have found his postseason touch once again. Despite a rough six-inning, four run outing against the Houston Astros on September 6th, Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA in September.

Over his last seven starts, he has recorded 46 strikeouts and walked just 11 batters while posting a 2.22 ERA.

Only time will tell whether he will be able to continue his resurgence for the remainder of the season and deep into the postseason. But we can be sure that if the Phillies are to make a run at a second consecutive World Series title, Cole Hamels will need to be the dominant pitcher he was last October.

The other ace of the rotation, Cliff Lee, seems to have returned to being the dominating pitcher he was in his first five starts as a Phillie.

After three straight outings in which he gave up three or more runs (the only time he has done so this season), the reigning AL Cy Young pitched a complete game shutout on September 15 over the Washington Nationals.

It was his first shutout and third complete game as a Phillie. He struck out nine and allowed just six hits.

Lee’s following start was cut short by rain after four innings in Atlanta, where he allowed one run through four solid innings.

Hamels is scheduled to take the mound tonight in Florida to wrap up the Phillies’ three-game series with the Marlins before heading to Milwaukee for a four-game set.

Happ is scheduled to return to make his next start on Thursday. Lee will follow on Friday, with Joe Blanton and Martinez set to pitch Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The Phils’ magic number for clinching their third straight NL East championship stands at five, and could be as low as three by night’s end.

All statistics as of 9/23/09.

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Brad Lidge Deserves Another Chance, But Not In 2009

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The air went out of the balloon Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, and it’s not because of the Pirates’ walk-off home run.

PNC Park, rarely even half full, consisted of just as many Phillies fans as there were for the Pirates. Being one of those numerous Philadelphians, it was a rough night.

Surprisingly, Pirate fans are some of the grumpiest people I’ve ever met (this coming from the grumpiest group of all). I won’t go into specifics, but the single row of Pittsburgh fans behind the Phillies’ dugout wasn’t the greatest bunch of fans.

But that’s beside the point.

Largely responsible for the disappointment laid upon Phillies fans was Brad Lidge. This is nothing new.

We’ve all gone over the difference between the Lidge of ’08 and the Lidge of ’09. The fact that he is an ineffective closer, to say the least, has been covered.

The argument against replacing him is that fans want to give him a chance, due to the success he had in 2008. The problem? This isn’t 2008.

I agreed with this philosophy in June. Not anymore.

There comes a time when a player becomes so terribly bad, that every fan cringes at the sight of him on the field. Right now, that’s Brad Lidge.

Last night, the Phillies were down 3-2 with one out in the top of the ninth inning. Carlos Ruiz was at the plate, with a pinch hitter expected to follow.

With Matt Capps on the mound for the Pirates, Ruiz slammed the ball down the left field line for a double. Ben Francisco was called on as the pinch hitter, and he also doubled, this time to deep left-center.

The game was tied at 3-3, but was far over.

After Jimmy Rollins struck out, Shane Victorino hit a line drive to center field that was misplayed by Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates. After taking a step in, he realized the ball was going over his head and Francisco was allowed to score.

With the lead, in came Brad Lidge.

He threw six pitches; three were hits, and one was a wild pitch. None of them were outs. His final line was a pathetic 0.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER.

When will Lidge lose his job? Are the Phillies simply waiting for Brett Myers to return?

He has been given the chance to fix himself for all this time, and yet he has only become worse. He shouldn’t be granted any more chances, because more likely than not he’ll just blow the game.

Next season, Lidge can return to the closer role. Hopefully, he may be able to fix the train-wreck he currently is during the offseason.

For now, he shouldn’t appear in any one or two run games. He cannot be trusted to keep a lead intact.

Believe me, I still love Lidge for what he accomplished last season. I hope he can fix himself and return to form next year.

But the time has come when Lidge is hurting the Phillies and their attempts to win more than he is helping.

Nine blown saves would lose any other closer their job. Lidge should be no different.

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Brad Lidge Is Holding the Philadelphia Phillies Back

August 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The lone clip from today’s Philadelphia Phillies game I witnessed was Jayson Werth’s go-ahead home run. I relied on text message alerts to fill me in on the rest.

All I had known was that the Phillies had taken their 3-2 lead into the ninth against the Atlanta Braves.

Last year, I would have completely ignored any more updates, knowing there was no possibly way the Phillies could blow the game. In fact, not once did they blow a game in which they had the lead entering the ninth.

This season is a completely different story.

Brad Lidge, the hero of yesteryear, has turned into a complete nightmare.

So, back to earlier this evening.

I never received a message alerting me of the Braves tying the game. I still have yet to receive that message.

But the message notifying me of the final score? Yes, that one I did, unfortunately, receive.

I hadn’t known whether Brad Lidge had entered the game. I had hope and prayed he hadn’t, but was still unsure. Then my eyes scanned the rest of the message, only to find the losing pitcher was who I had feared it to be.

Brad Lidge had blown his eighth save of the season. Do the math, and you’ll see that’s eight more than in 2008 (8 – 0 = 8).

Any other closer in the league would have lost their job weeks ago. Not Lidge.

Somehow, the Phillies and a number of their fans continue to support him. Not I.

A professional baseball team can’t win with a closer who blows a save every four opportunities. You can’t be successful with a closer with an ERA above 7.00. It simply isn’t possible.

A closer who has eight blown saves by mid-August shouldn’t continue to hold his job. If he does, the only affect he will have on the team is a negative one.

So when does enough become enough? When does Charlie Manuel cease to believe removing Lidge is the wrong decision?

A manager having faith in his players is always a positive. Yet, in some cases, it reaches too far. The Brad Lidge situation resembles just that.

There won’t be too many situations in the postseason where the Phillies won’t have to worry about blowing games. Almost every game will come down to the wire.

If Brad Lidge is going to be relied on to hold onto the lead come October, the Phillies are in trouble.

The naysayers argue that there isn’t a much more reliable replacement.

Pardon me, but is that a joke?

Whether it’s Chan Ho Park, Brett Myers, or some other reliever, it’s tough to imagine anyone could do worse than Lidge is right now.

Myers may not have been any more than an average closer in 2007, and his return from injury leaves questions to be answered. But it isn’t very likely that he can be much worse than Lidge.

All I ask from the Phillies is to never see Brad Lidge enter a save situation for the remainder of 2009. I can’t handle another blown save.

Maybe next year can play out a bit differently. It’s possible that in the offseason he may be able correct what has been hampering his ability to pitch this season.

But for now, someone else deserves a shot to close out games.

Just don’t make me sit through another agonizing outing from Brad Lidge.

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Philadelphia Phillies To Utilize Jamie Moyer As Long Reliever

August 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Monday that Jamie Moyer will make the transition to the bullpen due to the arrival of Pedro Martinez.

Speculation on whether the Phillies would load themselves with a six-man rotation, send Moyer to the DL, or move J.A. Happ to the bullpen has been put to rest.

The least popular choice amongst fans, as it turns out, is the actual outcome.

While moving the 46-year-old Moyer to the bullpen had been mentioned, the naysayers argued that he doesn’t belong there, especially because of his age.

A reliever is required to have the ability to pitch more often, which is something Moyer may have trouble with. Although he will primarily be used in the long relief role, entering games twice in five days rather than just once will be a more difficult task for him.

The left-handed Moyer, whose 10 wins and 5.47 ERA rank first and last in the rotation, respectively, is most effective in the first few innings of his starts. Now that he will be used for two to three innings at a time, his effectiveness may improve.

This may be the only positive I see from the entire situation.

I simply can’t envision Jamie Moyer as a long relief pitcher. The majority of his tosses top out around 79 mph, which can be costly in this particular role.

A better solution, in my point of view, would have involved moving Moyer to the 15-day DL.

Here’s why:

 

1. Pedro Martinez has the opportunity to showcase his talents, while Moyer’s role isn’t affected during that time.

As of now, Moyer’s role on the team completely changes. He is no longer a starting pitcher. Transitioning back to that role could be difficult.

If Pedro Martinez doesn’t work out, you would have the ability to move him to the bullpen when Moyer returns. Martinez makes more sense as a reliever, and he likely wouldn’t object (he has stated he just wants to contribute).

Even a six-man rotation would remain a possibility if he were sent to the DL. Now, there isn’t much of a chance that could occur due to the switching of his roles.

 

2. Moyer is able to rest and possibly work on straightening out his problems.

The oldest active player in the major leagues requires time off eventually. If he continued to start every fifth day, his velocity and control would slowly decrease.

With his DL-stint would come some down-time in which he could tweak the weaker points of his game. Now that he has been moved to the bullpen, he won’t have much time to tweak anything. He’ll be pitching more often.

 

3. Moyer wasn’t even pitching all that bad…sort of.

Let’s face it; Cole Hamels hasn’t been all that better than Moyer recently. Leaving the more likely possibility of a return to the rotation for Moyer wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. His ERA is a dismal 5.47, which ranks second to last amongst eligible starting pitchers, but he has been decent.

His inconsistency was concerning, but some rest may have been able to improve that.

I suppose that having a much needed arm in the bullpen is a logical decision. Charlie Manuel usually knows his players, and he knows when to push them.

There aren’t many players on the roster that could handle a switch as late in their career as well as Moyer has, which helps the transition feel smoother.

I’ll continue to disagree with the decision that was made, but I trust Manuel and the moves he makes. He has proved himself worthy of that.

At least J.A. Happ is staying in the rotation. Now that really would’ve been a total mess up.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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