Posted on: July 11, 2009 2:22 pm

Doc Could Cure the Phils' Pitching Ills

Rumors continue to swirl about the Phillies acquiring Roy Halladay from Toronto.  Blue Jays' GM JP Ricciardi said earlier this week that he would listen to offers for Halladay, whose contract expires at the end of the 2010 season.  The pitching-starved Phillies are reportedly one of the favorites to land Halladay.  Yes, the same pitching-starved Phillies who watched Pedro Martinez (37-years-old and last seen getting knocked around the majors) throw 2 simulated games this week.  Toronto would be looking for a bunch of prospects, and the Phillies have said that the only untouchables are pitchers Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp, and OF Dominic Brown.

The most consistent rumors seem to be along the lines of Halladay for P J.A. Happ, who as pitched well in the majors this season for the Phils; and minor-leaguers among Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, and Michael Taylor

While normally I'm opposed to giving up young talent for a veteran player, the Phillies as they are constituted at the major-league level are built to win NOW.  The core players on this team are around 30, which gives them another 3-4 year window as a contender.  Halladay is 32, and with the exception of a tired arm in 2004 (which he attributed to a heavy preseason program), he has been healthy throughout his career.  The only time he has missed in the past few years was due to freak occurrences (appendicitis, a broken leg from a line drive off his shin, and a liner off his head).  After pitching for a non-contender in Toronto his whole career, he'd probably welcome the chance to come to Philadelphia and compete for a World Series (now THERE'S a sentence I never thought I'd write).  Joe Blanton has been pitching much better of late, and even Jamie Moyer has been pitching better after his rough start.  Ace Cole Hamels has been uncharacteristically inconsistent, but a 1-2 punch of Halladay and Hamels, with this offense and a bullpen that looks like it's getting back into its 2008 form, would make the Phillies a strong contender to repeat as World Series champs.  Halladay has been one of the best--and arguably the best--pitcher in baseball this decade, and they could do no wrong to add him to their roster.

The one thing I'd want before I'd pull the trigger on this deal is a conract extension though.  I don't want to give up that much talent out of the farm system (which isn't as deep as other teams) in order to rent Halladay for a year-and-a-half.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 13, 2009 12:01 am

Matchup: Phils vs. Red Sox

I was thinking of things to write about, and I thought that every so often I'd do a post featuring a position-by-position breakdown between the Phillies and a team they're playing in a key series.  Since they're playing the Red Sox this weekend, I figured I'd start with them.

Catcher:  Carlos Ruiz vs.  Jason Varitek
They both have World Series rings, so no one gets an advantage there.  Varitek hits for more power (10 HR to Ruiz's 3), but Ruiz's BA is 50 points higher, and his OBP is 80 points higher.  Despite hitting 7 more HR than Ruiz, Varitek's slugging % is only 20 points higher.  The clincher is on defense.  While both are good defensive catchers, Varitek has allowed 47 SB this year to Ruiz's 17.  While a given pitcher's delivery time to the plate can have an effect on the number of SB a catcher allows, this difference is too big to blame on the Red Sox' pitchers.  Edge: Phillies

1B:  Ryan Howard vs.  Kevin Youkilis
Youkilis is hitting 100 points better than Howard, but Howard has the better power numbers (18 HR, 48 RBI to Youkilis' 10 and 37).  In the field, they've both each made one error, but Howard has had 200 more chances, and his defense is greatly improved this year over last.  Slight edge: Phillies

2B:  Chase Utley vs.  Dustin Pedroia
Even though Pedroia is coming off an MVP season, Utley is the best 2B in baseball.  Their BA are about the same, but Utley is a much better power hitter (15 HR to Pedroia's 2).  They both have similar fielding stats, but the Utley-Rollins DP combo is one of the best--if not THE best--in the game.  Edge: Phillies

3B:  Pedro Feliz vs.  Mike Lowell
Feliz is hitting 20 points better than Lowell, but Lowell has better power, which is key at a corner position (although Ruiz's lack of power isn't as much of a factor in this lineup).  Feliz is a better fielder, but not enough to say that he's the better player.  Slight edge: Red Sox

SS:  Jimmy Rollins vs.  Julio Lugo
Even though Rollins has been in a well-documented slump this season, Lugo isn't even starting full-time.  Offensively, their stats are similar right now, but Rollins' numbers will be up by the end of the season.  J-Roll is also a much better fielder.  Edge: Phillies

LF:  Raul Ibanez vs.  Jason Bay
Ibanez was the best free agent pickup of the offseason, and he's been everything the Phillies had hoped for, and more.  While Bay might win this battle against most LF, he doesn't win it here.  Edge: Phillies

CF:  Shane Victorino vs.  Jacoby Ellsbury
Victorino has developed into an excellent CF, and is the spark plug for the Phillies' offense.  Ellsbury hits for a better average; Victorino for more power, but Ellsbury's lead in SB (23-10) gives him the offensive edge.  Defensively, both players are pretty equal.  Edge: Red Sox

RF:  Jayson Werth vs.  J.D. Drew
Both players have similar offensive stats; the one area they differ is in SB, where Werth leads 10-1.  They've each only committed 1 error this season but Werth has had over 40 more chances.  Edge: Phillies

Rotation: After Cole Hamels, the Phillies starters, while pitching better over the past month, are inconsistent, being world-beaters one night, and seemingly getting knocked around the next.  Boston has five starters who range from solid to All-Star, future Hall of Famer John Smoltz working on a rehab assignment, and a pitcher in the minors (Clay Buchholz) who is dominating and would already be in the majors for most teams.  Edge: Red Sox

Bullpen:  Despite the struggles of Brad Lidge, the Phillies' bullpen has done pretty well this season, especially considering that they've been forced to throw a lot of innings due to the troubles of the rotation.  They lost Lidge for a few weeks right after getting J.C. Romero back from his drug suspension.  Setup man Ryan Madson moves into the closer's role.  The Red Sox have one of the best closers in the game in Jonathan Papelbon.  Slight edge: Red Sox

Category: MLB
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