Tire Kickers ….

Phillies Outside

Anyone
who has participated as an exhibitor at a trade show of some kind will be all to
familiar with Tire Kickers’, although not specific to
trade shows, since it’s origin is from used car lots, it is where we have seen the most concentration
at
any given event over the years. I am sure, some will disagree and claim they have seen
more together in one place somewhere else. In the grand scheme of things, the fact that ‘Tire Kickers’ exist
everywhere is enough.

This time of year baseball has it’s own brand of ‘Tire Kickers’,
the front office people for some clubs transform into these at this time of
year. All the ranting and raving as fans will change none of
that, yes we are all armchair GM’s at some time and we all know what
is best for the teams we help through the season by cheering for them relentlessly
regardless of how they actually perform.

Not every team’s front office can legitimately transform, the Phillies
front office has transformed and can on occasion be seen ‘Kicking Tires’ in
places like Houston, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Washington, and rumor has it even
Florida.

The Phillies of recent years have done relatively well by
‘Kicking Tires’ till the deadline makes them transform back to actual decision
makers, lets hope this year is Werth the wait. There are those Phillie fans who
think some players are Werth keeping, regardless of performance or contribution,
I think this year the Phillies should make a stab at a good starting pitcher to
assist the teams continued run at post season and if the offer a Werth-while
everyday player then so be it.

In an effort to curb some disdain by the fair weather booing fans, or just to
show they are action minded, they decided Milt Thompson should join the over
crowded list of unemployed in this country. In just the few days since this
occurred the ever drivelous incoherent commentator booth add on of Gary ‘Sarge’
Matthews has pointed out pertinent hitting features for players that apparently
weren’t there two or three days ago, after weeks of telling us what they were
doing wrong at the plate, yet insists he doesn’t want another hitting coaches
job. If you’ve been watching the Phillies for a number of years now you’ll all
remember similar style of added information from non other than Joe Kerrigan
when he was on the Comcast post game show, right before he weaseled his way into
the pitching coach job for Bowa.

Since I’ve missed a few days or more, the Phillies, after the
ASG break have….

….given 3 out of 4 to the sCrUBs and given 3 out of 4 to the
Cards, while on the road, back at home they currently have won the first 2 of a
4 game set against the Rockies with game 3 being played today at CBP. They actually
managed to knock Ubaldo Jimenez out of the game in 2 plus innings, but
today is another day and it all starts again, especially for JA Happ who is back
with the club, his last start was in April and has been on the DL, rehabbing and
just plain getting back into the swing of things.

Just a Thought:

If a player can have specific balls put into the game when
it’s his at bat, what stops teams from rotating balls in and out for home team
hitters and away hitters. I know a ball is a ball is a ball, but if the Rockies
can process their balls to reduce flight, why can’t teams do that for visiting
teams and process for increased flight for home hitters. I know many will
dismiss this as just another conspiracy with no substance, but isn’t anything
possible in this day and age, and won’t teams grab every advantage they can fair
or foul…. the big prize seems to cloud the judgment of people in and around
sports, no matter what the sport.


Visions Part Deux …..

The National League managed an upset of the American League by taking the All Star Game victory, because of recent history showing the dominance of the American League this is a good way to move forward into the second half of the 2010 season for National League teams.

At the beginning of the season I laid out how I thought the season would progress and how teams would position themselves for October baseball, with just over half the games played it’s a good time to reflect and update my season ending visions.

The American League has shown some surprises, out West the Mariners have not faired as I thought so this has left the Rangers and Angels duking it out for a post season place. In the Central the Indians are not performing in the manor they could have been and in the East the top 3 are as expected, but the Jays are doing better than I had thought, as a mid way summary I now have the following possible outcomes.

AL WEST

Angels…………..88-93 wins

Rangers………..86-91 wins

The A’s will hover around the .500 mark and the Mariners will finish below .500 with about 70 wins.

AL CENTRAL

ChiSox… ……..84-89 wins

Twins …………..81-86 wins

Tigers …………..81-86 wins

The Royals and the Tribe will fight, but fail to reach .500 this year.

AL EAST

Yankees ………..93-98 wins

Rays ……  ……..92-97 wins

BoSox…… ……..90-95 wins

As you can see this could be any of these, I had considered the Yankees breaking 100 wins again, but recent history shows last time they had 56 wins in the first half they had a dismal second half with only 33 wins, so the Yankees number is a crap shoot, the Jays should end around the .500 mark and the O’s will probably break 64 wins, but no more than 70 wins.

 

The National League has also given us a couple of surprises, the Padres are the biggest one for me, kudos to them, I thought they would struggle to be a .500 team this year, but they proved me very wrong. The Pirates are more disappointing than anything, I really thought they could be a above .500 team this year, but not going to happen, the Reds are better than expected or are the Cardinals not as good as expected. The East is as expected a 3 horse race and will continue through season end.

NL WEST

Padres …………..85-90 wins

Rockies … ……..84-89 wins

Dodgers … ……..83-88 wins

Giants …… ……..79-84 wins

Arizona will struggle to reach 70 wins this year.

NL CENTRAL

Cardinals …………..85-90 wins

Reds ………… ……..85-90 wins

The Brewers and Cubs will struggle stay around the .500 mark on the year, the Pirates and Astros will have chance to play spoiler or helper in September as the Cards and Reds are on target to give us a game 163 this year, but as the Astros and Pirates play out the year they’ll both struggle to get over 65 wins.

NL EAST

Phillies …………..90-95 wins

Mets ……………..88-93 wins

Braves …………..87-92 wins

Still a close 3 team race and could go to any of the 3, it’ll be up to the Nats and Marlins to play spoiler, since both those teams wont even be knocking on the .500 door.

 

So these are my mid-term visions as far as the divisions are set, as for Phillies players and that dreaded date of July 31st, where teams negotiate to the wire to get the best possible deal, or they think is the best possible deal. The past few seasons the Phillies have faired pretty good at the trading deadline, this year I would say look to see Jayson Werth end up with one of 3 teams, Astros, Pirates or even the Reds, also movers could include, Dobbs, Castro or Ransom and maybe even Kendrick or Happ, I do not think anything major will occur, it is possible we could get Oswalt, but no breath holding here, or even one of the Reds pitchers, it maybe that the Dodgers decide they can lose Broxton, so the Phillies can lose Lidge, but that’s as farfetched as a straight trade of Pujols and Howard, or Werth and Ethier, dream on people ESPN’s got no inside track and the second half is just beginning. So tighten that safety belt, keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times and enjoy the ride, don’t forget to scream and raise your arms at the appropriate times, but most of all have FUN.


Weekend from Hell ….

– PhilliesOutside –

Well maybe not from hell, but a weekend to move on from, one to let settle in the back of your mind till
one day you may need the knowledge to use as some stupid inconsequential pieces
of data. It wasn’t so much that the Phillies had a losing weekend against the
BoSox, obviously a losing weekend is never good, but inter-league play has not
been a National League strong point since it started. Also don’t forget, in
my
post of May 19th
I had gone into details of why ‘it is that time of the
month’
and for those doubters, let it be known that between now and the end of
the month, the Phillies, will lose at least 4 more,
there is 7 games left in May all against division rivals, which means if they
prove me right could put the division lead back into tight contention, which
makes for some excitement as the season goes on.

News broke that the Phillies were scouting for pitchers, because they had
scouts at the ChiSox and Marlins
over the weekend. I am not sure the White Sox have much to look at, it is
possible they were looking at the Marlins, since
we will be meeting them this week. The Phillies
front office did acknowledge the fact that looking is part of the game, and as
any normal person would do the media asked what of Martinez, just because
the Phillies picked him up last year and it
worked out, doesn’t mean they’ll do it again and again. Amaro did
indicate that since Martinez, just casts them money and no talent then
they keep checking in with him, but they haven’t seen him throw or had any face
to face time with him.

Forewarned is forearmed, so Amaro, here is your warning, “You
got lucky last year with Martinez, regardless of how desperate you think you may
be this year, DON’T do it again”
. I know I was not a big fan of
Martinez last year and I stand by that, I believe we would have had the same or
similar results had they not spent the time and money on Martinez. I
believe he had no influence on how things turned out and was at times more of a
distraction than an benefit.

Let’s face it the only real addition we may need is a solid closer, because
no matter what anybody says, if it’s Lidge out there then everyone is going to
be holding their breathe
for every pitch, knowing that this could be the pitch that blows the save. It’s possible
that Contreras could be converted to a closing role, he’s only had 1 save
in his career thus far, but I have to admit I was more comfortable watching him
close than I have been watching Lidge close.

We still need Happ to return from the DL healthy and give us a solid last two
thirds of the season, and then if we could convince Seattle to let us get Lee
back before July 31st, then we would be in good shape. Lets face it, we don’t
have many prospects to trade, but I don’t think Lee will stay in Seattle
after this year and there is a chance the Phillies
could unload 2 or 3 players, like Kendrick, Dobbs, Bastardo, or mix them
up and throw in a couple of minor leaguers, who knows what Seattle
would do, and Lee would probably sign with a 3 year deal where both Lee
and the Phillies would be happy. A dream
maybe, but after the weekend that’s all I have today, a dream.

 


Phils take series finale from Cards 9-2, Jays reject Phillies counter offer…

For me the important part of today was another win, which in reality is what gets you to another post season, and without getting to the post season you can’t win another World Series.

In a game that had a freaky 1st inning, yes for me it was freaky, it’s not often you see the top of the 1st score a run and move a runner from 1st to 2nd on a fly ball, well it happened, but that wasn’t the freaky part, the bottom of the 2nd, it all happened again, exactly the same, it was like one of those if you can do it so can wee things from the movies. it looked as though it would be a very nail bitting game, by the end of the top of the 5th inning. It was just 3-2 Phillies, but the bottom of the 5th inning produced the 2nd 2 run homer from the Phillies by way of a deep to centerfield shot that hit the top of the center blanton.jpgfield batters-eye wall from Ryan Howard, at that point I felt with Joe Blanton on the mound the Phils were on there way to a victory. The game had the Phillies hitting 4, 2 run homers from Utley, Howard, Rollins and Ibanez….coupled with the first inning run it gave the Phillies another hard hitting win.

Even with the long balls and the double plays, for me the guy that made today was Joe Blanton he came into todays game with an ERA of just 0.83 for the month of July, and today he showed us why, he continued to get his pitches in the right location, keeping hitters off the bases. He went a solid 8 innings, giving up just 7 hits and 2 runs, while walking 1 and striking out 6…. The last 3 batters he faced just put an exclamation point on his perfomance, striking out in order, Lugo, Pujols and Holliday to end the top of the 8th. This is the type of trade deadline acquisition that has helped the Phillies. He’s not a media man, he’s not a look at me type guy, he goes out there and gets the job done and he works hard between his starts. I am not saying he’s better or worse than anyone else, my point is as far as acquiring someone, this guy was one of the better mid-season acquisitions the Phillies have made over the past few years. Well Done Joe keep it going through August….

 

So the Blue Jays turned down the counter offer the Phillies made for Roy Halladay, that is understandable, you see there are other teams still making offers and they want to get the maximum they can for him, the fact is other teams now know what they won’t except, so they have a lead role to offer something better than the Phillies offered. There are also reports that the Angels recieved a list of demands from the Jays for Halladay to go to them, it is reported that they like the Phils believe the asking price is too high.

I have read a lot of comments on blogs lately regarding this subject, me personally I am at the point where I say if they don’t like what we are prepared to give then walk away from the deal. Lots of people think Halladay is going to bring us another World Series, well he won’t, it’s a team thing, yes he does have the stats that say he will help the Phillies in acheiving that goal, but for me any trade is risky, regardless, some say the risk is minimal for the Phillies, on paper that maybe, but in reality, no one knows for sure, because there are no guarantees.

It would be nice to add to our starting rotation, in a manner that will improve it, not just add to it with more #4 and #5 rotation pitchers. I would like to see a serious consideration given to Lee at Cleveland, no he’s not Halladay, but he’s more affordable and would still increase our chance of another World Series.

So for all those commenters on the Halladay stories that say the Phillies blew it by rejecting the Jays outlandish request, I say this —- now you’ve got more days to whine, complain, attack management and continuously comment as if it was your discision and that you believe you are the almanac and crystal ball of baseball, and when others dont agree with you, you still have time to turn your frustrations out on them and start bad mouthing each other in the comments of a news story that most people have read and moved on from, sometimes days, but definately hours before you’ve started insulting each other.

It’s off to Arizona for the Phillies, and then onto the west coast for a road trip that will take us into August and past the trade deadline, so who will join the Phillies on the road, anyone or no one???


Triple H can help the Phillies…..

Husband to Stephanie, son-in-law to Vince, world reknown WWE superstar Triple H, NOT the Triple H, I am refering too.

Halladay, Hamels, Happ and why not….

Halladay, since Ricciardi made it known he would trade his best pitcher the rumours have been filled with Philadelphia being the front runner, everybody and their halladay12.jpgdog has come out of the woodwork to make predictions on who should be traded to get Halladay in a Phillies uniform, most importantly the majority of them are throwing Happ into the mix of players to get this guy. Is he really that good, well he won yesterday for the first time in over a month, okay so he’s been injured. I’ll agree he can help win games, but at the moment so is Happ, so why trade one winning pitcher for another, doesn’t that just give you the same outcome, 1 win every 5 days.

I would love to see Halladay but for pitching prospects not one of our current starters that is winning, and at this point is an excellent candidate for ‘rookie of the year’. Halladay pitched well yesterday a complete game against the RedSox, which is some peoples minds this upped the value of this player, in other peoples minds it just showed that the groin injury is very possibly in the past now. Other reports say that Beeston, the Jays interim President stated that the Jays would need to be “overwhelmed” for them to trade Halladay, so what’s this the Jays front office are playing the, good guy, bad guy routine to get more for Halladay. I say don’t give away what we want just to get Halladay, afterall he only pitches every 5th day and we need more than 1 pitcher on the team.

If we do deal for Halladay it would definately put the Phillies in a strong position, but it depends who we deal to get him.

Hamels has obviously been in a bit of a pitchers slump, but I think he could very well be out of
hamels12.jpgthat and on the way to finishing strong. Before the rain delay in Forida, he was definately starting to look like Hamels should look on the mound, he is still the Phillies Ace, this years numbers may not say that, but he’s earned it.

Happ, anybody willing to give this guy up in a trade is not thinking clearly, they are being blinded by what they appear to be getting and not seeing what they have. I’ve heard it all, Happ is going to come down to earth, he’s in above his head, he’s been really lucky, he’s going to fall like Kendrick did, well I say this, if he was on another team and we had the chance to get him, you’d want him. He’s a rookie he has no past to go on other than the minors and we all know how that is so much diferent, back in 2002 people were saying the same things about Halladay, and again in 2004 and now, time speaks for itself and as they
happ12.jpgalways say “Hinde Sight is 20-20” those same people calling to give up Happ, in 5 years will be same ones saying what a terrible trade that was, we gave up a top pitcher for a guy that stuck with us for 1 year. Well you can’t have it both ways and noone has the magic crystal ball, so before anyone knocks Happ he deserves the benifit of the doubt, he deserves to be looked at as possibly a good long term Philly pitcher and not be judged on those that came before him. One more thing with Happ that seems to be overlooked he can swing the bat, no his batting average isn’t up there, but he makes contact, he puts the ball in play and that is a major plus with an NL pitcher.

Summary:

Get Halladay with prospects, keep Happ, Hamels is coming around you end up with a good rotation

Halladay, Hamels, Happ, Moyer, Blanton