Odds and Ends: Ruiz, Rollins, Lidge, G-20 – Phillies Nation

Odds and Ends: Ruiz, Rollins, Lidge, G-20

-As Carlos Ruiz pulled up lame yesterday in Denver, a few things stuck out in my mind.  One, he’s one guy the Phillies can ill-afford to lose at this juncture, especially with an entire triage unit set up in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park.  There is no “real” backup, as Brian Schneider is disabled, and I’m pretty sure the Phils don’t want Paul Hoover back there for the long haul.

Also, it pained me to see him limp because of what he has accomplished this season.  Ruiz is well on his way to a spot on the NL All-Star roster, which might not mean much to the average fan, but is still a big deal to those playing.  Chooch is absolutely deserved of the honor (as of now, anyway) and he’s the only one on the team who’s holding them back.  And by holding them back, I mean being the only one who hasn’t been to the Midsummer Classic.  Let’s hope he’s back in a few days.

-Jimmy Rollins is reportedly doing well in his first action down in extended Spring Training.  He hit a couple of doubles yesterday shifting between different games in Clearwater.  Obviously the real test will come when he has to run at full speed in the field; his lateral movement was what pained him.

Consider this: Once Jimmy comes back to the lineup (some are saying he’s a week or two away) could Carlos Ruiz actually suffer?  Since April 11 when Rollins played his last game before hitting the DL, Chooch has raised his average 59 points and his OPS over 200 points.  Over the past six games since being moved up in the order to the #7 spot, Ruiz has raised that average over 30 points, a huge jump in that short amount of time.  He’s thriving there, but once J-Roll comes back and Victorino is shifted to seventh in the order, will Ruiz see as many pitches to hit?

-The fall of Brad Lidge continues. Yesterday, he was sent home by the team to have that balky elbow examined – certainly not a good sign. It’s a shame too, because shades of old BL were reaching the surface recently.  Yes, he was aided by the wind in his first save of the season, but his pitches seemed to be there.  His slider looked nearly as devastating and his fastball still had good pop.

What’s next?  Well Jose Contreras has to be your closer. He has the best stuff out there, and the coaches trust him more at this point than Danys Baez. For those pining for them to trade for a closer; easier said than done.  They owe Brad Lidge mucho dinero over the next two seasons, so they’ll look for any return on investment they can.  Once he’s healthy, or IF he’s healthy, he will get ever opportunity to get back the closers role.

It may not be what you want to hear, but the Phillies won’t purge their farm system, or take Victorino or Jayson Werth and trade them for a closer.  They are a fragile creature, those closers. One minutes their dominating, the next they’re on their ass on the street.  Just too much uncertainty.  Looks like the Phils will be going with what they have, at least for the time being.

-For fans of other teams complaining about the Phillies getting 84 games: save it.  Blame the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball.  Actually, you CAN blame our fans for selling out CBP every game; that’s why Toronto wanted to play here.  They’ll make gate money in the process.  Paul Beeston, the Blue Jays President, said they will break-even revenue-wise.  However, if they were to play at a neutral site, it’s likely Toronto would lose money, a definite no-no for a team paying Vernon Wells $86 million from 2011 to 2015.  Show them the money.



  1. The Original Chuck P

    May 13, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Is our lineup not completely ridiculous? We are talking about putting all-star caliber players in the 8 hole…

    None of this matters if Chooch goes on the DL… but if he’s not injured and if Rollins comes back, I might consider batting Vic 8th… get his speed on base in front of Rollins. Think about it… maybe it gives Vic a few more chances to steal a base (with the pitcher batting, you’re willing to take a little more risk). If he can get on second with a steal, a decent sac bunt is going to get him to third. Further, Ruiz has been an OBP machine this year and Vic has been an RBI machine. It makes sense to bat Vic behind Ruiz, doesn’t it?

    Ruiz’ injury is a travesty… someone needs to explain to me why, with 2 outs and Halladay on deck, Perlozzo threw up his token last second stop sign at third. I blame Perlozzo for Chooch’s injury… Ruiz was completely surprised by that decision and I think that’s what caused him to pull up lame and unfortunately bad decisions by Sam Perlozzo have become the norm.

    The OCP
    Chairman of the Fire Perlozzo Today Campaign

  2. carrots

    May 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

    If you want to put Victorino on base in front of Rollins, then why not consider putting him in the 9 spot and have the pitcher bat 8th? The pitcher is more likely to cause a double play or end the inning with Vic on base.

  3. Ed R.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Chuck, it seemed petty clear to me that Ruiz was hurting just standing at first. I am sure Perlozzo’s awful coaching at 3rd didn’t help but I don’t think it was the cause of the issue.

    I am not sure how I feel about Vic going into the 8 hole. Certainly having Ruiz at 7 allows for RBI chances and what not but Chooch is so good at extending the inning and turning over the line up, something Vic is not good at. I feel like there is more benefit to Chooch not allowing a pitcher to lead off the next inning than him hitting in the 7 hole. But thats just my opinion.

  4. The Original Chuck P

    May 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I thought of that, Carrots… I don’t know. I’m not a fan of the Tony LaRussa school of management but maybe this is the perfect situation to try it.

  5. The Original Chuck P

    May 13, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I know that the Daily News said that the injury happened in the first but I was watching the game and it looked to me like Ruiz was running fine towards third. I didn’t notice anything peculiar prior to the WTF stop sign.

  6. The Dipsy

    May 13, 2010 at 11:05 am

    If they Phils have not resolved their closer issue by the trade deadline, or sooner if it becomes a real mess, than they will trade for a closer. They will have no choice because they are built to win now. End of story. You could trade Shane. You could trade Blanton. If it is clear that Jayson is not gonna sign than you could get a boatload for him, including a closer. The Phils will not go into the post season without reliability in the closer’s role and, by hook or by crook, they’re gonna get one.

    The Dipsy

  7. The Original Chuck P

    May 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thinking about batting Vic 9th… I don’t like it. True, the pitcher is more likely to ground into a double play to end the inning with Vic on base but he’s even MORE likely to ground into a double play to end the inning with the slower Chooch on base. What I like about having Vic in that spot is that he’ll run a little more… he’s only attempted to steal 5 bases this year.

  8. Andrew R.

    May 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

    If anything this year, Chooch has shown the ability to take a walk. With a better eye at the plate, he can become more selective at what pitch he wants to hit…. Think about Barry Bonds circa 2003. The best thing Chooch can do is go back to the 8-hole, and hit mistakes or otherwise take the walk. Even if he hits .275 with a .360 obp with his 10-15 homers, that is great production.

    Moving the pitcher to the 8-hole accomplishes nothing. Chooch gets no protection and gets the team one-spot closer to an automatic out. I don’t buy that LaRussa reasoning.

    Yes, we are kinda screwed without a closer, but let’s not forget that we’ve been without our #3 and #4 starter for quite a while, our closer, and now our setup guy and where are we in the standings????? 1st place. Let’s not get too antsy and give away one of our main pieces for a guy who’s not even going to garauntee 3 outs every other day.

  9. Jeff of Nova

    May 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I say put Vic in the 6 hole and move Ibanez in the 8 hole. Ibanez has been a liability with men on base.

  10. Jeff of Nova

    May 13, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Dipsy I think you are assuming they are willing to go over budget for a closer, They are already committed to Lidge. The best answer would be Contreras, or bring up Mathieson who has been pitching lights out darts in LHV. This is the time try that, when we are in first place no one really threatening.

    I mean we will never know what we have till we put it together and see.

  11. Jeff of Nova

    May 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Also I don’t see them making any trades at the deadline. Werth is going nowhere. I think they may still sign him.

    I would love for them to dump Ibanez, good guy, hard worker, good clubhouse guy, but he has lost several steps. Put Francisco out there or bring up Mayberry or Brown

  12. Jeff of Nova

    May 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Even better, package Ibanez and Francisco together and bring up both Mayberry and Brown and have them platoon. R/L combo unless one dominates

  13. SDO

    May 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah, but who in their right mind would want to take on that $12m/year contract?

  14. SDO

    May 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Trade Werth before the deadline? And give up their only righty deep threat? I don’t think so.

  15. bfo_33

    May 13, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I like Chooch right where he is, in the 8 hole. It works, turns the line-up over. I hope he comes back quickly. Who’s the back-up to Hoover? I can’t imagine they’d put Werth in, risk breaking a finger,… Maybe Dobbs? Keep Vic in the 7 hole. You can almost tell after his first at-bat in each game whether he has it or not. He’s like Tony Clark – can look so bad at the plate for a long stretch (not talking about results, but his whole approach), then so good for 1 or 2 games. I swear some days, he decides which pitch he is going to swing at while he’s in the on-deck circle. While up and down, Ibanez seems to be building confidence, and it looks like his bat speed is increasing.

    What closer is available that has better stuff than Contreras? Not saying he is the greatest ever, but definitely servicable, won’t cost any talent. If the Phils go after bullpen help, it will be someone off the scrap heap for middle innings.

  16. Bob in Bucks

    May 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Losing Chooch is going to hurt. A knee injury is a disaster for a catcher. Let’s hope it is not too bad but at the least he will have to play fewer games. Hoover is solid defensively and once JRoll is back we can afford to have one soft spot in the lineup but right now we have too many soft spots.

    Chooch should stay at the 8 hole. He has learned the priorities there which is to turnover the lineup. His OB% reflects that and of course, being more selective has raised his BA.

    I vote NO for Victorino in the 8 spot. This guy can’t adapt to any hitting position, essentially he approaches each at bat the same way, whether he is leading off a game (witness yesterday when he swung at the first pitch of the game and grounded out), whether or not there are runners on base ( could never adapt to the role of “move the runner” when he batted 2nd), etc. Seventh is the least destructive position to put him in. Possibly fifth if we did not have so much other power.

    I don’t think we have a closer problem. Contreras is looking very good. Haven’t we learned that there are few reliable closers year in and year out. We have enough talent in the bullpen. Remember, we won the pennant last year with a bad closer.

  17. psujoe

    May 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I think Perlozzo held CHooch up at the last second because he noticed he was hurting, but who knows.

    Ibanez isn’t going any where. He won’t wave his no trade mid season and nobody will take his contract. We have to hope he finishes strong so he’s tradable ifthe Phils eat some salary.

    What’s the rule on salary and injuries. At what point does insurance kick in? 15 day, 50 day…?

  18. Chuck

    May 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    According to Jayson Stark, he’s pretty sure that Raul’s no trade clause is limited to maybe just 4 teams or so. And the Phils will have to eat some contract…no two ways about it.

    Contreras for closer. Who else right now would any of you boys and girls like to put into that position? Ask yourself that and I think the answer is pretty obvious. (And PLEASE don’t say Scott Mathieson….while impressing at LV….he’s not anywhere close to being ready for that role.)

  19. Don M

    May 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Who the hell is going to “give up a boatload…including a Closer” for 1/2 a season of Jayson Werth, when he then becomes a Free Agent ??

    Jose Contreras is going to be FILTHY in the Closer spot for now … he’s a strikeout pitcher, with the ability to pitch almost every single day!!!

  20. The Dipsy

    May 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Let me answer your questions. If the Phillies don’t have their closer situation in hand by mid July, then they will trade for one. There will be closers available. I don’t see the Phillies necessarily having to go over budget if one of the guys they trade is Victorino, Werth, Madson, or Blanton, or a combination thereof. Would such a big trade “upset the applecart”? If its a “good” big trade, then no. You could get a boatload for Werth if the team you trade him to can come to terms with Werth on an extension. This team is not committed to Lidge as closer. Must go into the postseason with a reliable closer and, to me, reasonable minds cannot disagree. Lidge is hurt. We got screwed. Now we may have to scramble and give up something that hurts. In the meantime, I hope a miracle happens and the pen straightens out?

    The Dipsy

  21. Chuck

    May 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Contreras for closer. Try it out. If by the deadline it’s working…which I have a feeling it will be….then just leave it alone.

  22. Ed R.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    The Closer situation was a mess last year and they did nothing to address it at the deadline or over the off season. Which does not exactly make me confident that they will address it this time around either. I would not trade Werth under any circumstances. Regardless of whether he is going to resign or not(the likely of the two) You said they are built to win now, well trading him does not help them now. Nor does trading Blanton. Vic is the only option in my opinion. Especially when you consider we were previously talking about him batting 7th or 8th. If you can get a closer for your 7th/8th hitter then I say you do it. Slot Frisco into Center and call it a day. Not ideal but it is totally workable.

  23. bfo_33

    May 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Completely disasgree that you will get anything for Werth at the deadline. Cliff Lee has been given away for promising, but not yet majors ready prospects while he still had 1-1/2, then 1 yr left on his contract. 3 mos of Werth will get you next to nothing, certainly not anything ready to play a major role in a playoff minded team (if in the hunt, you are not goign to get rid of your closer for a bat). You won’t get anything better than Contreras, Durbin,…

    Lidge being out is no reason to panic. Ruiz and Schneider, more concerning, but no reason to get rid of your only rh power threat, or your only reliable right handed starter. If Ruiz is going to be out a while, and you could get a solid defensive catcher for Vic and/or Madson, I’m all for it.

  24. The Dipsy

    May 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I said “Werth with an extension”.

    The Dipsy

  25. Carlos Ruiz

    May 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Trade Werth and it won’t matter who the closer is… we won’t go deep in the playoffs.. and how many innings does a closer pitch? Let me answer that, close to nothing. Werth is an everyday player… essential for our WFC hopes, at least in 2010.

  26. Manny

    May 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    That post was supposed to be written by me, not Chooch!

  27. Phan in the outfield

    May 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    No Werth — and the Phils don’t make the playoffs; I can’t imagine who they could trade for who could make up for his specific absence. On the off chance that they do make the playoffs, they won’t get to the WS. Seriously they need to figure out a way to keep Werth and his talents. No – he is not God, nor is he the entire team. Neither is Ryan Howard (he’s only PAID as though he is). But has it escaped everyone’s attention that Werth is the only one on the team currently that they can plug into the catcher spot as well as LF, CF, RF, and move up or down the line up? He’s also, aside from Utley, the only player I consistently hear the announcers in other cities fear and covet at the same time. I personally don’t enjoy the nightmares I have of him playing against us either. He’s not infallible, he has faults. But he has a lot of tools, he has innate talent, he’s a terrific athlete, he works hard, and he’s ours. Possession is 9/10ths of the law. We need to keep him.

  28. Bob in Bucks

    May 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Only way I can come up with keeping Werth is to trade Rollins and get a respectable defensive SS who you can pay $3 million. That opens up $6.5 million for Werth which brings him to $14.0. I think the Phils could get him for 14, 15, 16, 17 for a four year agreement.
    Why Rollins? – He is signed for a reasonable $9.5 million and has the pedigree that someone else will want him. I have no specific replacement in mind but I am sure the Phils can find the guy.
    We can’t touch pitching and essentially everyone else is locked and/or untradeable.

    Personally I don’t know if this is a good move. The alternative is a decent RH RF (Francisco or alternate) and you keep Rollins. 2012 offers a lot more opportunities because of all the contracts that open but for 2011 this is what I view as the realistic alternatives.

    I can’t see anyone taking Ibanez and Vic does not open up enough cash.

  29. Chuck

    May 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    There is NO WAY that Jayson Werth agrees to a contract that’s 4 years/62 M.

    I would imagine that the bidding will START at something like 5 years/80 M.

    He has made it pretty clear that he’s played his whole career for THIS season.

  30. George

    May 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Lidge’s MRI showed no structural damage and no loose bodies. He’s listed now as “day-to-day.” Ruiz is also “day-to-day,” so maybe his injury doesn’t mean a lot, either.

    Both he and Lidge will miss some time, but probably not significant time. Let’s just hope there are no more of these injuries, because I don’t want to be making excuses like a Mets fan.

  31. Phan in the outfield

    May 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Of course he’s played his whole career for this season. That’s a statement of the obvious. They all play their whole careers for one season, for that big payday. Bay played his big payday, he just didn’t say it b/c he wasn’t pressed to say it. And for whatever reason nobody was acting as though he shouldn’t get the big bucks. But in Philadelphia almost every tiny thing in sports is scrutinized to the point of irrationality, let alone a big payday. God forbid the guy actually deserves some of it. Honestly as much as I love this team, and enjoy and actually like this player — I’m beginning to think he should just GO. My problem with that is, and I know this will sound stupid: I think he’s made it obvious that he’s happier here. And big bucks or not there are some things you can’t buy. Yeah, I’m serious. That doesn’t mean you leave the big bucks you’ve worked all you’re life for, but you sure as hell feel bad when you go. Real bad. And so will we. Especially when it’s difficult as hell to make the playoffs, let alone a WS w/o him — and he’s on a team that doesn’t go at all. Then I’ll think ‘who won’? I’ll tell you who won: the Phillies owners.

  32. Phan in the outfield

    May 13, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    *Apologies for grammatical issues. I’m rushing through things b/c I’m working. I hate when work interferes w/important stuff.*

  33. Chuck

    May 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Werth will be courted by teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Angels ….teams that are perennial playoff contenders. I seriously doubt that Jayson Werth will sign to a team that has ZERO shot at the postseason.

    If someone offers him like $90 M guaranteed….and the Phillies low-ball it at $60M….what do you think he would do?….What would YOU do?

  34. Phan in the outfield

    May 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I didn’t say he’d be on a team w/zero shot. But the truth is the Yankees don’t need him. They got there w/o him and they’ll be there again and again and again with or w/o Jayson Werth b/c they’ll pay for whoever they need or want whenever they need or want him. If you want to play for a team like that – fine. Do it. The Red Sox, whatever. Up one min, down the next. I don’t know. Some of the other teams really need him and don’t have the means, some can’t use him and have the money, some are more likely and less likely to actually make the WS. Life happens and who knows who’ll actually make it. But my sense is he’ll wind up on a team that needs him that won’t make it b/c that’s life.

    I couldn’t begin to tell you what Jayson Werth would do and I’ve never pretended to know.

    Of course I can tell you what I’d do. To me the difference between 15mil & 18mil /yr (besides the obvious 3mil) is negligible. At that point I’d choose based on which team would use me best in a position I like, where I think I’m most respected, and where I think I’d be happy (in that order). That’s it, bottomline. And that IS the truth. At a certain point nobody needs MORE money. It’s to the point of absurdity.

  35. Chuck

    May 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Again..my example….$60M or $90M. What do YOU choose? If you say $60, you’re a fool…and lying.

    SOMEONE….SOME team will make a SERIOUS play for Werth…..What the Phillies do is the big question.

    And, actually, the Yankees WILL have a need for an outfielder next season. Look at their roster right now and tell me that any one of those guys really scares you. Nick Swisher is really the only legitimate power threat right now.

    Look for the Yanks to be in the running.

    I DID hear….can’t remember where I read it….that Werth….in fact the whole Werth family….HATES the New York Yankees. Not sure how accurate that is….or if it would hold up if the dollars started flowing…

  36. MikeB.

    May 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Francisco has almost become like a forgotten man on this team. With Ibanez struggling at the plate, why not platoon him with Francisco and let Francisco go against lefties and Ibanez against righties? Try it for awhile to see how it works out offensively. Could not be any worse then Ibanez struggling full time against both righties and southpaws. The extra rest Ibanez would get might benefit him at the plate. Brown is not ready to be brought up yet because they said they want him to start off the season in the minors and get more experience playing at that lower level. Mayberry Jr. still has the strikeout problems.

  37. George

    May 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    To get back to the actual post by Pat Gallen:

    No, Ruiz will not suffer being moved back to number eight. I doubt seriously he’s seeing any better pitches with Valdez behind him rather than a pitcher, and Vic batting in front of him would be better (at least right now) than Ibanez in front of him.

  38. Blaise

    May 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Stinks that Ruiz has like a 138 OPS+ and is still hitting 8th. Actually… I guess it’s a good thing that we can have a 138 OPS+ and OBP leader chillin in the 8th slot.

  39. Philly Texan

    May 14, 2010 at 10:43 am

    normally, I like your thinking, but this time you’re off the rails.

    Trading Werth during the season is a terrible idea and they’ll never do it. Without a right-handed power bat that hits left-handed pitching in this lineup, they’re going nowhere this year.

    Vic is also too valuable to trade for a closer. We don’t have a replacement for him.

    You don’t trade all-star caliber position players for closers. We’d be giving up way too much.

  40. Don M

    May 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    There are a WHOLE LOT of things that i wouldn’t hate anymore for $100 Million…

    I would get over my hatred REALLY, REALLY fast..

    Rumors for a while now have the Yankees more interested in Carl Crawford

    and the RedSox more interested in Jayson Werth

    and to me, that makes sense

  41. Phan in the outfield

    May 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Don M – I live in NYC. I’ve heard since before the season that the Yankees are not going to spend the most $$ in the outfield. However, the outfielder will likely be Crawford (who I hear is also playing well, tho I’ve not been watching him). I’ve consistently heard they’ll spend the big bucks to get Cliff Lee. He’ll surely go to them. Werth going to the Red Sox pisses me off, but I can see it happening. I can also see that he’d think it would be good. Ppl always equate the cities, but Boston is very diff from Phila. Only their level of sports passion is alike.

    Chuck – If Werth wants to stay in Phila & the FO lowballs him, then Borris NEGOTIATES. It’s his job. If it becomes cumbersome or ridiculous then shrug, get out, go to freakin Boston, Pittsburgh, LA, or Outter Mongolia; but call a press conf & tell the truth so the FO can’t make you look bad on your way out of town.

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself. Not sure why you or anyone else would care or why you think I’d be “lying” about my resp – but at the point at which a person is offered $60 or $90 mil/4 yr I can’t see making the decision based on the money. Maybe 7mil / yr makes a giant diff to Jayson Werth. It doesn’t to me b/c I live payck to payck. But as I said if you read my post: my decision would be based on what position & if I was used well; if I thought I was respected; and THEN if I was happy. Only then would I take less $.

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