The Dip: Stench On The Bench – Phillies Nation

The Dip: Stench On The Bench

This is The Dip, a weekly column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy. Agree or disagree with what he says? Tell us by visiting our contact page.

BakoNow that he hysteria over the rotation has settled to a dull roar, be it temporary or otherwise, the main concern for the Phillies as they head into the shank of the season should be the wretched state of their bench play. Quite simply, the bench stinks and particularly from the right side of the plate. Don’t get me wrong, I know that bench guys are on the bench for a reason, and that is that they’re not good enough to start. With this in mind let’s take a look at the guys currently riding the pine:

Greg Dobbs (LHB): After a slow start, he’s hot. He’s a pro hitter and can play corner outfield and third. I would like to see Charlie work him in twice a week (once for Feliz, once for Werth) when Ibanez gets back. A credit to any bench.

Matt Stairs (LHB): Yes, he’s earned a place in Phils lore for his homer last year, and we love him. But damn, he can’t field a position or run, and he admittedly tries to homer on every swing. A nice luxury on a team with a well-rounded bench.

Chris Coste (RHB): One of three catchers on the roster (at the moment). The lead right-handed pinch hitter off the bench (how scary is that?) sometimes gets burned up too early in a game when a righty hitter is needed in a clutch RBI situation. This leads to the need for …

Paul Bako (LHB): Just let that name roll off your tongue and savor that rich flavor. He can’t hit. I have no idea whether he’s supposed to be a good fielder. But hey, 22 other major league teams couldn’t have been wrong, so maybe its me.

John Mayberry (RHB): The best thing you can say about Mayberry now is that he’s right-handed. I really don’t think its fair to take a kid who needs to play and stick him on the bench and ask him to do one of baseball’s hardest jobs, which is to pinch hit. And he’s not doing it well. One might ask if I can think of anyone better to use and I would say “you mean someone that can play outfield and hit over .205?” Its not his fault, and Ruben Amaro shouldn’t have him here.

Eric Bruntlett (RHB): He’s hitting an almost inconceivable .141 this season, down from .217 last season. Any attempt to reach the “Mendoza Line” would result in a case of the bends. To say he has no place on this team is belaboring the obvious. I don’t care how many positions he plays.

The bench is ill conceived and poorly managed by Amaro. The bench righties are hitting .248, .205 and .141. These are not “better” hitters that are just slumping. Mayberry and Bruntlett are not major league hitters but Amaro keeps them here. I can find a utility infielder that bats over .230. Just give me a phone and an ATM card. And for God’s sake, let Mayberry go back to triple-A so he can learn to hit on Lehigh Valley’s dime, not ours. If Amaro can add a couple of good righty bats then the dominoes will fall, and in a good way. Coste frees up to be the backup catcher and Bako and Bruntlett can leave. And please, no hollering about how hard these guys are to find. Amaro is probably going to get these guys near the trade deadline, as throw-ins or otherwise, but for right now there is definitely “a stench on the bench.”

Halladay In?

I have no idea what it would take to get Roy Halladay, but I know if Ruben Amaro wanted to put something together, he should offer one package for Roy Halladay and another one for Roy Halladay who signs a contract extension, and Drabek does not get included in the former. Beware the unknown variable: The New York Mets. If they got somehow got Halladay they’d become the favorites to win not only the East but the whole National League.

Click to comment


  1. Temple

    July 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Even if the Mets got Halladay I still don’t think they would be the favorites. They can’t hit at all right now with that minor league lineup. They won’t be getting their “stars” back until atleast August.

  2. Temple

    July 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Even if the Mets got Halladay I still don’t think they would be the favorites. They can’t hit at all right now with that minor league lineup. They won’t be getting their “stars” back until atleast August.

  3. Temple

    July 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Even if the Mets got Halladay I still don’t think they would be the favorites. They can’t hit at all right now with that minor league lineup. They won’t be getting their “stars” back until atleast August.

  4. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    WTF are the Mets going to give up to get Halladay. They have NO ONE in their farm system. F-Mart and….Bueller? Bueller?

    Mets will sell what they can at the deadline.

  5. Temple

    July 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Sorry that posted so many times…no idea why it did that.

  6. NJ

    July 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    On the 3 catcher element it’s really being overplayed, it’s two right now. It’s Ruiz who’s hitting has slumped and Bako hitting from the left side against right handed pitching. It’s not great at the plate but it’s a defensively strong combination and Coste’s the ‘big righty’ off the bench. Amaro needs to upgrade the bench sure but the ‘3 catcher’ is being made out to be more of a problem than it is.

    Mark Grudzielanek’s still a free agent…

  7. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Hey, I’m not saying that the Mets would have an easy time putting a package together for Halladay. But Omar Minaya is their GM (not the brightest bulb in the circuit) and he might want to keep Halladay away from us at all costs.

    The Dipsy

  8. Manny

    July 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Plus, the Mets need to rebuild sometime soon unless they want to stink even more in a couple of years.

  9. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Agreed that Minaya is a fool, I just don’t see under what circumstances the Mets could put anything together that would even make Toronto skip a beat before saying “no thanks.” Besides, I don’t see how they can afford him given their already-bloated payroll and the financial problems of the Wilpons.

    We should offer the Mets Carpenter for Sheffield.

  10. Havoc

    July 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Even if the mets got Halladay they’d still need all their hitters from the DL to comeback to give them a shot. Otherwise they’d be able to look forward to a lot of 1-0 losses.

    I do agree that we need to improve the bench but it’s such a distant secondary concern to landing Halliday. As we get closer to the deadline we might have a chance to find a right handed DH on a lousy team we can pick up.

    As far as Bruntlett goes, he is not here for his bat. He’s here to give Charlie the flexibility to pinch hit at any time and for anybody, regardless of who’s already been scratched from the lineup card. When you know that the match up favors your pinch hitter Matt Stairs, it seems like a no brainer to put him in. Unless your pinch hitting for say Pedro Feliz late in a game, with Dobber unavailable. Not to mention in cases of injury it’s good to know that we have someone who can step in and cover for us anywhere in a pinch. Bottom line GO BEARD!

  11. Jim

    July 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Reports are the mets have a 0 chance at getting halladay. In fact theres a 60% chance he will be traded and the only possible suitors are the phils, giants and angels.

    I forget where i saw this but I will link it when i find it again

  12. Andrew

    July 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    The mets couldnt even buy Manny or Pedro. Give me a break. A ploy to get people to comment?
    Bruntlett and Bako are not major league players.

  13. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Firstly. Bruntlett sucks. Big time. RE: Halladay. Look at it from this perspective. Almost any team in baseball could put together a package to get Halladay but don’t because is doing so they would totally screw their team up forever. GMs know this. But, because he’s in New York and under such intense pressure to produce NOW but in tandem with the fact he’s just not a good GM, I just won’t give Minaya enough credit for being able to hold fast and not bankrupt his teams future to win now and in the face of the Phils getting him.

    The Dipsy

  14. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Dipsy – out of curiosity, what package do you see Minaya offering (in the real world, but accounting for his crappiness as a GM) to get Halladay?

  15. Temple

    July 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Jim, it was on the source was Jon heyman.

  16. rivlez

    July 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    The Mets easily have what it takes to get Halladay. They have Brad Holt, Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia, Ike David & Jon Niese. I highly doubt the Mets would do such a thing but you never know. The Mets didn’t look like the favorites for Santana and look at how that turned out. The Phillies don’t have a great farm system themselves.

  17. rivlez

    July 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    “In the end, Heyman still believes there is no chance the Mets acquire Halladay, because they do not want to part with top prospects Brad Holt, Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia or Ike Davis.”

  18. Woodman

    July 10, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Eric “The Grunt” Bruntlett is overmatched at the major league level. He has NO PLACE on this club. Total waste!

  19. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Martinez, Holt, Jennry Mejia. Don’t forget that with Halladay they could spare Maine (who some people like) or Pelfrey (who some people like). Do I want the Mets to get Halladay? Hell, no. But they ARE capable. They’d just have no farm system left. Just playing devil’s advocate.

    The Dipsy

  20. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Doesn’t Brad Holt have an ERA near 9 in AA this year?

  21. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    The Mets always seem to have a ton of can’t miss prospects in the low minors. Somehow a surprising number of these same guys never make an impact at the MLB level. I know the Twins are thrilled with the return they got for Johan.

    F-Mart is one thing. The rest of those guys are iffy at best. I can’t see Ricciardi doing it. It seems, though, that even Minaya is smart enough to figure out he can’t trade every decent prospect in his system.

  22. Smokey

    July 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    “The Phillies don’t have a great farm system themselves.” – rivlez

    Sir, you are an idiot. What about our farm system isn’t great? It may not be the best in the league but it certainly is one of the better ones. Much better than the Mets at this point in time at least. Is it our 3 prospects in BA’s Top 25 that aren’t good enough for you? 4 in the top 50? Our excellent depth at positions like outfield, catcher and pitcher? Guys like Jason Donald who have been overlooked for most of this year but still have loads of potential? How about all of our younger guys in rookie and A ball who have very high ceilings and could very well be the next crop in 2-3 years time.

    Take a peak at that list for me, check the stats for some of our minor leaguers, then reconsider your statement.

  23. rivlez

    July 10, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    First off, go f*ck yourself. I never said the Mets have a better farm system because they seriously have one of the worst in the majors. It’s retarded though when people say the Mets don’t have anything to give. When did Phillies fans all of a sudden become experts on the Mets minor league system? The Phillies are middle of the pack as far as farm systems go. And remember they are called “PROSPECTS” not “GUARANTEES”.

  24. Walter

    July 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Time to revamp the bench. First things are first. As Ibanez gets to join the Phillies tonight, John Mayberry Jr. will return to Triple A. Then time to trade for Bruntlett or atleast release him. Sure he can play many positions, but he hits under freakin .200. Cmon, here are some players who are currently free agents to replace beard man. 2B Mark Grudzielanek is 39 years old but he has a career average of .290 with 90HRS and 629RBI. Not the best but still leadership and productive and plays 2B and bats right-handed. His numbers will only rise at CBP. Sign him. You’ll get him cheap. Now I don’t what you guys think of Richie Sexson, but I think he is ok but better than Bruntlett. Sure he strikes out alot but he is 34 years old, 2x all star with a career average of .261, 306HRS and 943RBI. His numbers will only rise at CBP.

  25. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    rivlez – the problem is that if the Mets were to trade for Halladay they would be left with literally the worst system in MLB, and by a long way. Which, given all the injuries you guys have, really wouldn’t make any sense at all. And personally, I’m not sold on Holt or Davis, though Martinez and Mejia look like the real deal. But, as you point out, I certainly don’t follow the Mets’ prospects as closely as you do.

  26. Nick

    July 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Todd zolecki says that if the right time came alone and right deal, the phils would have no probably dealin drabek, brown or knapp to get halladay

  27. Kennedy

    July 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Ahh, Dipsy. Where do I start. First off, our bench does not stink. Dobbs is a quality hitter, and Stairs is really, really good. He isn’t just a luxury, and although he’s swinging for the fences, his OBP is an incredible .427, tied with Chase Utley for 7th in baseball among players with at least 50 at bats. He is an RBI threat every time he comes up. Chris Coste isn’t a great hitter, but he isn’t half-bad, OPS of .724, plenty good for a pinch hitter/backup catcher. Bako is indeed a joke, and should not be on the roster.

    Mayberry is the guy you are completely wrong about. First of all, he’s not an elite prospect, so getting him playing time is not the biggest concern in the world. Second of all, if you know anything about AAA pitchers, you know a lot of them are junkballers of the type who would never make it to MLB. There is a reason so many teams keep their elite hitting prospects in AA for as long as possible, AAA pitchers mess up a players swing. Getting one AB per game in MLB provides experience that a player just can’t get facing AAA pitchers. Third, Mayberry is an outfielder. His defensive skills are not going to significantly degrade without playing time. Fourth, the only stat you cite is his avg. Most people who know baseball know avg is a poor measure of a player, especially when he’s only had 45 abs. That is way too small a sample size to draw conclusions about a player based on average. What is a better stat? OPS. Mayberry’s is a very decent .761. What’s another good stat: SLG. Mayberry slugs a very good .511, and has shown serious MLB power.

    As for Bruntlett, yes he can’t hit. He can play middle infield. Guess who our only other potentially MLB ready middle infielder is (other than Donald, who does need to play every day to develop his glove). None other than Miguel Cairo, who in my mind is a poor man’s Eric Bruntlett. Look around and tell me if you see any good Utility players available with a better track record than Cairo or Bruntlett. And not Grudzielanak, who’s glove has decayed past the point I’d feel comfortable subbing him in at SS in an emergency.

    If there were any good players who could play SS available at a semi-reasonable price, don’t you think a ton of teams would have already jumped on them. There is a little team based out of Boston who couldn’t find a good hitting SS when their guy got hurt, and would have spent some green. We need somone who can backup Rollins and Utley, and Bruntlett fills that role.

    I would guess that when Ibanez returns, Bako gets sent down to AAA. After that, its hard to make any real improvements. 13 Position players. 8 starters, + Stairs, Dobbs, Bruntlett, Coste who are all irreplaceable, either because they can hit or because of their defensive position. That leaves one spot. Right now it is Mayberry. Can you think of anyone else available who can definitely hit better than Mayberry?

    Yea, there are a bunch of old dudes who could come and PH. Richie Sexson, Frank Thomas, Jose Vidro, Morgan Ensberg, Ray Durham, Moises Alou, Juan Encarnacion, Jay Payton, Shannon Stewart, Gary Bennett, Johnny Estrada, Paul Lo Duca, Doug Mirabelli. Unlucky 13. 13 guys who are free agents, and supposedly could hit leftys. Most of those guys are either worse than Mayberry at this point, or cancer, or worse and cancer. Almost none of them would be even remotely O.K. defensively. For now, give Mayberry a chance. If he can’t get it done in 50 more at bats, sign Frank Thomas or Richie Sexson or whoever you want. But the big thing these guys have in common is that they aren’t going anywhere.

    Oh, and the Mets ownership has secretly thrown in the towel already. The Cards are the team that worries me in the Halladay race, and I’d expect the Rangers to make an offer to.

  28. rivlez

    July 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Really any team in MLB can get Halladay but the thing is, is it worth taking a huge risk of losing some great talent for an ace? That’s what it comes down to. The Mets pretty much nothing in AAA and very little in AA. Most of their good prospects are in A+ or less. Like they have Wilmer Flores(just turned 17 this year) that tore up A ball that can be extremely well or that can just be crap. Thank god i’m not a GM. It’s one of the toughest jobs to have in MLB.

  29. Walter

    July 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Another thing is we should release paul bako who is 36 years old and sign rob bowen. He is 28 years old, much faster, known primarily for his defensive skills with career averages of .209, 9hrs, 43rbi. Not great but better and younger than bako.

    Other notable FA players: Frank Thomas, Jose Vidro(switch hitter, 34 years old, .298, 128HRS, 654RBI), Morgan Ensberg, Shannon Stewart, Jim Edmonds, Scott Hatteberg, Paul Lo Duca, former phillie gary bennett, Ray Durham, abraham nunez, damion easley, raul cassonova, brady clark, geoff jenkins, robert fick, marshall mcdougal, shawn wooten, Willy Mo Pena, Luis Gonzalez, russ adams, jay payton, toby hall, Javier Valentin, Johnny Estrada.

  30. bull

    July 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    The Orioles are looking to trade Salazaar…he would be a major upgrade over Bruntlett and he plays all Inf positions and i believe has played the corner OF. He probably would cost a middle reliever

  31. Petey Pablo

    July 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    rivlez – Agree 100%. I think the Phils should make any reasonable trade because we need pitching and you don’t get any better pitching than Doc. Drabek/Taylor/Knapp/Donald and don’t look back.

  32. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    RE: Kennedy. I am not a ballplayer, a coach, a scout, an executive, or hot dog vendor. When a guy is hitting .200 (Mayberry) that really tells me all I need to know. Skew the numbers whichever way you want. His OPS is this, his SLG is that, his EPT is another thing. I know that he gets one hit every five times he bats. He’s fine defensively. And perhaps if ANY other righty on the bench could hit it wouldn’t be so bad. He has also striked out 18 times in 45 ABs. I can’t defend him as you can.

    The Dipsy

  33. Kennedy

    July 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I doubt Salazar would be a significant improvement, especially one worth all but the most marginal of prospects. I wonder how good his glove is at this point?

  34. The Big Dipper

    July 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    According to ScottLauber via twitter Coste was sent down to make room for Ibanez and was claimed by the Astros. I guess so much for him being a staple on the bench. Dipsy you suck. The only reason I waste my time reading your nonsense is so I can laugh at how stupid it is.

    The Big Dipper

  35. Manny

    July 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Does that mean “see ya Coste” for good???

  36. The Big Dipper

    July 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Yes he is now an Astro. His Phillies career is over at least for now, until we convince Wade to trade him back to us for a bag of used balls and broken bats.

    The Big Dipper

  37. Havoc

    July 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    This is a strange Phillies move… If we’re simply making room for Ibanez why wouldn’t we send down Mayberry, we’re obviously not keeping him as a right handed pinch hitter. Unless we had just decided that carrying 3 catchers is pointless…

    My concern is that we’re keeping Mayberry up because the phils are working a trade involving Werth… the only thing that doesn’t fit there would be the Jays don’t have room for our outfield, unless the Phils are offering to take on Vernon Wells contract. I can’t see that since it makes Oliver Perez 36 million deal look awesome.

  38. Big Daddy

    July 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm


    As a fan and college baseball coach I have followed Mayberry’s career closely; he is not ready yet. Too many holes in his uppercut swing, alot of trouble with curves and cutters. He has improved on pitch selection and hitting the slider in the strike zone. Good fielder, enthusiastic and great genes. He should be in Triple A and not in the majors at this time

  39. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    There are many things I don’t understand right now. For tonite’s game our right handed pinch hitters are Mayberry and Bruntlett. Something must be in the wind. I guess Coste wasn’t even worth a suspect let alone a borderline prospect.

    The Dipsy

  40. Chuck

    July 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Havoc,I can’t see Werth being traded…wouldn’t make sense. I think while Mayberry is young and not yet seasoned, his potential is a lot greater than carrying 3 catchers. And Coste isn’t really that much of an upgrade in the PH role. Bako is an ok back-up catcher but can’t hit a lick. It’s kind of a weird move, but I can definitely see the upside to it.

  41. Chuck

    July 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Also, I think if Charlie can work Mayberry into the lineup twice a week or so then he will be a lot more effective. The kid needs ABs.

  42. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Just for shits and giggles, would the Phillies EVER entertain giving up Werth and taking on Vernon Wells in a Halladay deal that does NOT require us giving up Brown/Taylor/Happ/Drabek? For example, and I’m not suggesting this, something like Halladay/Wells for Werth/Marson/Donald/Carrasco?

    The Dipsy

  43. Havoc

    July 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I hope you’re right Chuck…

    I’m worried that the dipsy might be correct… god I’d hate to have that Wells contract…

  44. Kevin

    July 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Bruntlett for MVB. Most Valuable Beard.

    The Jays wouldn’t even pick up the phone if the Mets called.

  45. Kevin

    July 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    It’ll take more than that (pitching) to get Doc and Wells

  46. The Dipsy

    July 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Kevin – I hear the Jays wanna dumps Wells. I think it might take less pitching from us if Wells gets involved.

    The Dipsy

  47. Tom G

    July 10, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Need a RH bat who can play mulitple positions in Outfield…damn…had the chance to sign Andrew Jones before season…

    Amaro has not do a good job of building a team

  48. Jason Bintliff

    July 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Hey Dipsy…
    good stuff dude!

  49. maxhole

    July 11, 2009 at 12:12 am

    hate to say it, but agreed. stop writing better articles than your message board posts so i can hate on you again…

  50. Smokey

    July 11, 2009 at 12:21 am

    “First off, go f*ck yourself.” – rivlez

    Real mature asshole. Let’s see, I never said the Mets don’t have anything to give, just said the Phils have a far better Minor League system. Truth. When did Phillies fans become experts on the Mets minor league system? Hmm…I don’t know. Good question. Maybe it happened when a little thing called technology came along and enabled those Phillies fans to use the “Internet” to check websites like or Google for stats and analysis in a whopping total of 3 minutes, if that. Middle of the pack? I would still say understatement but we can call it that if you’d like. I like that a little better than when you implied that the Phillies “don’t have a great farm system themselves” like the Mets. And remember, no one ever said they are called “GUARANTEES” jackass, but those prospects make up minor league systems for MLB teams, and the way those “PROSPECTS” perform during the season effects how they are valued as potential future Major League players, and determines the ranking of said minor league systems.

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