Ryan's Hope

The Phillies lineup has some problems that we are all aware of – and most pronounced is that its too left-handed. At present, Placido Polanco and Carloz Ruiz are the team’s best right-handed hitters and this just shouldn’t be. The lack of a good right-handed bat particularly hurts Ryan Howard, and in some very concrete ways.

I would suspect that Ryan may be a bit confused sometimes about what hitting approach to take. One would think that a part of him might like to go to the plate, when a man is on base, with the luxury of knowing that someone behind him can knock in the run if he doesn’t. He doesn’t have that and that leads to wild swinging and an unwillingness to take walks. This “I do it or it doesn’t get done” attitude, and the hitting approach that goes with it, leads to pitchers giving him slop to hit because they know he’ll swing…because he feels he has to. And he does. Taking a walk means nothing to Ryan nor should it.

Now let’s put a premiere hitter in back of him. An RBI man and a run producer. At that point, perhaps Ryan becomes a more selective hitter because he’s got the security behind him. A guy that could make a pitcher pay for walking him. Unafraid to take a walk, Ryan would see better pitches, which then makes him a better hitter. Add a little Bonds to his Fielder (Cecil), so to speak. This type of thinking is by no means novel and I think the Phils would get the hitter to fill that spot for Ryan if at any point it becomes feasible. Now it is.

The day before Thanksgiving, The White Sox declined to offer arbitration to Manny Ramirez, thus removing his Type-A free agent tag. This means any team can sign him without giving up draft picks. Now, if you don’t think Manny can hit anymore, I guess you can stop reading here. I believe that, if motivated, Ramirez can still produce a 35/120/.320 season. Yup. Notwithstanding his last two seasons comprised of suspensions, in season vacations, injuries, and attempts to grow mammary glands, I believe that if Manny wants to play, that he will hit. “Good” Manny would the best offensive option available to the Phils…by far.

He’s a head job. A drama queen. A poor fielder. He also owns two World Series rings. He is dedicated to the art of hitting and has become one of the greatest offensive players of his generation. He’s right handed. And he’s played for Charlie Manuel. If Manny wants to play, and we don’t know that he does, then Ruben oughta seriously explore what it would take to put him in red pinstripes. Financially, and I have not been consulted on this, it would no doubt have to be a heavily incentive-laden contract. If the guaranteed base salary the Phils give him is low enough, it would make his acquisition a low risk ,high reward venture. I was thinking about 3 mill.

Let’s find Manny, wherever he might be, and kick the tires a little. Find out what’s going on in that coconut of his. In the event he thinks the sun hasn’t set on his career and that he would like to play for a potential World Series winner, if he’d be willing to do what it takes to be a good teammate (or a reasonable facsimile), if he is in baseball playing shape, then put ink to paper and MapQwest him some directions to Clearwater. Make no mistake, Manny is a lunatic. But he is THAT good.



  1. Ted Bell

    November 28, 2010 at 7:47 am

    He’s THAT good? Really?? He had 19 HR in 2009 and 9 last season. In a contract year he had one RBI and two extra base hits in his 24 games with the White Sox. Oh yeah, he got caught doing PEDs also. He’s suddenly going to hit 35 HR at age 39?? If he lands anywhere, it will be as a DH with an incentive laden contract because he had the defensive range of a houseplant five years ago, and he’s even worse now. No thanks…

    I’m Ted Bell.

  2. Bill Baer

    November 28, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Manny Ramirez, when he’s been in the lineup, has been a great hitter. This is using wOBA, in my opinion the best way to evaluate a hitter’s overall skill.

    An average wOBA is equal to the league-average on-base percentage. Those averages the last two years have been .324 and .331. Manny Ramirez’s wOBA were .396 and .382. By comparison, Chase Utley’s wOBA the last two years have been .402 and .373. Would you like to add another Chase Utley to the lineup — a right-handed one at that? I sure would.

    I balk at a number of things, however: his drop in power last year, his price tag, his defense, his injury history, his age, and his penchant for being a disruption.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s a fit for any National League team because of his defense. I think at his age, playing the outfield — even in a platoon — isn’t a great idea and his poor defense eats at the value he provides offensively.

    It’s so tempting to add Ramirez because he’s still an elite hitter, but even at a cheap price, he’s too risky.

  3. Scotch Man

    November 28, 2010 at 8:43 am


  4. Scotch Man

    November 28, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I hardly ever agree with Dipsy, but on this one we are allies! Manny would be reunited with his mentor and I think he’d produce well with the Phils!

  5. Kate

    November 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

    No no no no no no NO!

    No Manny!

    He’s far too risky.

  6. Lefty

    November 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Great idea! We could also bring back Pedro, Big Poppy, and Johnny Damon. Hell, maybe even Nomar,Wakefield, and Millar would come back! They’d be cheap.

    We could also get the old Indians gang back together too! Omar Vizquel, Whiten, the Alomar brothers and Kenny Lofton all in their 40’s would play for almost nothing!

    Then all we need is to bring in Clint Eastwood to manage, and change the name of the team to the Space Cowboys.

  7. brooks

    November 28, 2010 at 9:08 am

    As always, you are compelling in your arguements Manny – and, I have to admit I was totally against the Pedro signing in 09, even after he could not start right away due to ‘injuries’ – Pedro proved me so wrong and was a key piece in the drive toward the pennant in 09. That being said or better yet – However… its pretty clear that the most important thing to Manny is of course, Manny. Accepting hitting 5th? Perhaps a limited role (a true testament to his meatloaf fielding)? And more importantly you mentioned how much money???

    Does Manny have anything left? Just ask Manny and if he says “Of Course!” you know he will be asking for Manny money, regardless if a 1 or 2 year deal.

    Hey, nothing more exciting in 08 than watching Manny come to the plate. He knows how to play the crowd but does he play with his teamates? Ask Boston or LA for that matter. In Cleveland there were too many stars for his light to shine that much brighter than anyone elses.

    Good arguement Dip but, he is too old and too contankerous for me.

  8. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 9:26 am

    The ONLY reason ….and I mean O * N * L * Y……..that I would even remotely consider this… his prior relationship with the Phillies’ guru of hitting, Uncle Charlie himself. That’s it.



  9. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I have read that Manny knows that he is not going to command the kind of dollar that he used to. He was legitimately hurt last year. I think that if you put Manny in a room with Charlie and Ruben that you can find out if the desire is there. If the desire is there, and the money is right, you can have yourself a real steal. I would think that, even though Manny is a sociopath, there is a point in every players career when he realizes he’s gotta cut the crap if he wants to stay in the league and that Manny may have reached that point. The great part is that if you sign him to a low base and when he turns into a smacked ass, you can just cut him. L.A. got “Good” Manny and he carried, CARRIED, them to the playoffs in 08. He has proven to be a clutch player and I think the Phils locker room can keep him in tow.

    And isn’t this the G.M.s dream? The down and out superstar who you can sign on the cheap and milk a terrific season out of them? Its happened so many times.

    Low Risk/High Reward

    The Dipsy

  10. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I don’t care who is hitting behind him. If Ryan’s approach is the way you say it is, he needs to address that. If the pitcher is going to walk him, he should take that every time. Failure to do so should not be interpreted as a noble desire to contribute.

    And are you suggesting that Werth was not a good hitter behind him? Or simply that there won’t be a good hitter behind him this season?

  11. Wis

    November 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I said ” Bring Manny” about 2 months ago on some other blog and most folk said Noooooooooo, glad to see I wasn’t totally out of line here. It seems to be Rubes M.O. to take an oldie but goodie and wash him in holy Red Pinstripes. I think bringing Manny would change his attitude. He would have no choice playing in this park for these fans to “bring the noise!”

  12. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Allright…I think the term “sociopath” is a bit dramatic.

    Question, Dipsy: Where do you play him? Do you really want Raul AND Manny in the outfield at the same time…with Shane left to pick up the pieces?

  13. brooks

    November 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Too – we are looking at perhaps 1 year at best. Which of course still does not answer the gaping whole in the lineup but, it COULD give us the rock, movitation and push to take 2011.

    Oh man, if they start making wigs I’ll barf…

  14. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 10:08 am

    @Jim – Yes, I am suggesting that Werth was not a good hitter behind him. He did not knock in runs. His RISP was abominable. One year blip? Maybe. But its all academic now.

    Manny would play LF. You can either sit Raul or trade him. I’m not terribly concerned. They both suck defensively so thats basically a wash. Raul is a bit better but not to the point where it matters.

    Friends – Its a one year deal. We don’t have to marry Manny. Next year, Ibanez will be gone and we can sign a RH’d LFer.

    The Dipsy

  15. Ted Bell

    November 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Manny “carried” the Dodgers when he was 36 years old and on steriods. He’ll be 39 next season and (presumably) off of the juice. His power numbers since his 50 game suspension are very ordinary.

    For reading material, check out Buster Olney’s ESPN column. Coincidentally, it’s about Manny. Olney surveyed eight scouts/front office types and not one of them thinks he’s a fit for an NL team. They all agree that Manny will probably still get on base, but that his power days are behind him. One scout compared him to Nick Johnson.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  16. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Ted – I’ll roll with you for a bit. Do you think Manny can go 20/100/.305 with a .400 OBP? I’ll take it. If Manny can hit .300 in this lineup out of the 5 spot then he will have 100 RBIs. For his career, he hits .327 with RISP. What do 8 gm’s know about how Manny can play?

    The Dipsy

  17. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Well if you’re looking for them to get a better RH bat than Werth this year, I would recommend not holding your breath. I’m more likely to pin Howard’s struggles on pitch recognition than the guy batting behind him. He’s not going to get pitches to hit no matter who’s behind him if he can’t lay off them. Again, if he’s not laying off them because he feels like he needs to do it all himself, that’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Because that’s not how scoring runs works.


    November 28, 2010 at 11:04 am


  19. Lefty

    November 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Dipsy, ManRam is always a high risk. Not because you can get him cheap and cut him if/whenver you need to. The risk with Manny is will he destroy your locker room and team chemistry.

    He’s like a bad trojan virus, yes you can clean-up/cut him, but how much damge will he leave behind before you do?

  20. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

    The simple answer to this is that the Phillies do not need to be getting any older. They were the oldest team in the league last year and the injury trouble was not a “freak accident.” Players under 35 only please.

  21. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

    The Phillies have a strong locker room filled with vets. If he is is disruptive while there, ok cut him. But what kind of “damage” can he leave behind. If he comes into the locker room and screws it up, if I’m a player, I’m thinking, “well, they tried to make the team better and it didn’t work out so lets move on”. The Manny distraction ends when Manny exits. Its always been that way. AND, he’s never been a “bad teammate”. Former teammates don’t trash him. He just pisses of fan’s and ownership. Personally, and I’m not gonna lie, I got a kick out of the wigs and going to the bathroom in the green monster and stuff.

    The Dipsy

  22. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 11:16 am


    The ONLY factor that can neutralize that “trojan virus” effect is Charlie.

    And Manny may even be a bit much for the old man to handle.

    This makes sense on one level….in that it MAY help Ryan’s pitch selection. I agree though, that he needs to be more selective regardless of who’s hitting behind him.

    But Manny flat-out sucks in the field…(he’s a LOT worse than Raul, IMO) …and he’s a head case (with or without Charlie)


  23. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Yeah, the “distraction ends when Manny exits”….

    …except that the distraction will be so great that what mess will have to be cleaned up??

    I agree, though…Manny is pretty funny. He’s really just a buffoon, a cartoon character….one that the Phillies don’t need.

  24. Dr. Dave

    November 28, 2010 at 11:36 am

    What about the following platoons:

    LF Ibanez/Mayberry

    RF Brown/Francisco

    Save the money for pitching!

  25. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I don’t like those platoons. Mayberry can’t hit in the majors.

    The Dipsy

  26. Dr. Dave

    November 28, 2010 at 11:48 am

    .232 in 69 ABs

    BUT: .810 OPS with 3 doubles and 6 (count them 6) HRs

  27. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Mayberry can only hit straight down-the-pike fastballs.


  28. Lefty

    November 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Manny has never been a bad teammate?? Former teammates don’t trash him? Which Manny Ramirez are we talking about here?

    Is there anything more egregious (besides having relations with LeBron’s mother) than a team mate that quits on his team?

    Manny Ramirez jogged his way right out of Boston after his teammates grew weary of his me-first antics. Manny had a nasty habit of saying he was hurt when he really wasn’t. How about a few examples-

    Big Papi stated that “he stuffed uncashed 179,000 paychecks into the top of his locker and didn’t even care or know how many were there”?

    You think that didn’t have a negative effect on his less wealthy teammates?

    Papelbon said “You have somebody like him, you know at any point in the ball game, he can dictate the outcome of the game. And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man!”

    Don’t tell me these things don’t leave scars, I don’t care how veteran your team is, they’re people, and can only take so much. And I didn’t even tell any of the Indians or Dodgers stories!

  29. jonnyboy

    November 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    listen guys, if we can get manny for 5-6 mil a yr we better jump at that contract! heck and if these rumors i hear of a 3 yr – 55 million contract to werth is true then sign both and just eat rauls contract to sit on the bench! then it could be utley-werth-howard-manny-ruiz in the 3 hole down the line. whoa!! that righty left combo would make bullpen coaches sick!

  30. George

    November 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Manny used to be amusing, and he used to hit with power. Now he’s an average hitter with not much power, a terrible fielder, and what was once amusing is now annoying. Philadelphia doesn’t need any over aged dreadlocked narcisists like Ramirez. They might as well go out and get Milton Bradley, because at least he can field a little.

  31. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    3 year 55m contract? Huh? Who said? Source?

    The Dipsy

  32. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    OK. Get me a better alternative. Magglio Ordonez? Maybe. Guerrero? He wants to get paid and at multiple years. You wanna make a trade? I’m up for that but you have to give to get. This guy can be signed for one and you give up absolutely nothing. If he’s a dick then cut him. Boston and LA couldn’t cut him because they had too much ching wrapped up in him. I we sign him and he’s not a good boy and/or doesn’t perform, he doesn’t get paid. Think TO. He knew he was outta chances so he took Buffalo’s (really?) money, shut his mouth (for the most part) and is playing ball.

    The Dipsy

  33. Kate

    November 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    We don’t need a team-killer like Manny Ramirez. I wouldn’t turn in my fan card over it, but whatever good he could in the short term isn’t worth the cartoon antics that will likely follow him here.

    I’d rather have another bench player along the lines of a Mike Sweeney (and that’s only if they don’t get Mike Sweeney himself) than that human cartoon.

    Hopefully, we all wake up on Tuesday to the news that we’ve locked Werth back up for three years and the Manny talk can die a quick and painless death.

  34. The Beerman

    November 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I’m putting this one up there with when you suggested Jermaine Dye last year man.

  35. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Wow. Worst. Article. Ever.

    Apparently, we know what Ryan Howard is thinking now??? He is an undisciplined, dumb hitter. He isn’t going to magically become a 100+ walk guy because he knows there’s somebody behind him to drive in the runs. He isn’t going to lay off the sliders in the dirt or the high and tight fastballs because of who’s behind him.

    And now Manny’s a 35/120 guy??? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I’d be willing to go 20/85 with some quality ab’s but even that’s a stretch. And then of course there’s the attitude and defense. I actually think the attitude wouldn’t be a problem on a 1-year deal. Philly fans would love him and Uncle Charlie could keep him under control. Defense can get hidden out in LF and I don’t know why we don’t make late-game substitutions like we did with Burrell.

    Even though I 100% disagree with Ryan Howard’s approach and Manny’s predictions, I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on him for the RIGHT PRICE…… but then again, I’d do the same with Magglio, Prado, Dye.

  36. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    So if it’s the “worst article ever”….

    ….why are you willing to “take a chance for the right price”??

    Cause that’s basically what is being suggested in the article.

  37. Bart Shart

    November 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Without PEDs, Manny is an ordinary hitter with the brain of a fifteen-year-old spoiled brat. No place for him in Philly. I liked the article –thinking outside the box and offering creative solutions, but I think Manny would spend too much time on the DL and the Doghouse.

  38. Dan

    November 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    The title of this piece- Ryan’s Hope- sounds like a charity or a movie.

  39. Phylan

    November 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Could you stop using whatever weird triple slash line you’re using and just do AVG/OBP/SLG like the rest of the free world? Funnily enough, OPS is probably your best case for Manny’s continued production, and you’re completely allergic to it.

    Also, Howard did not have a down year because of the hitters around him. You’re acting like he was ever particularly good at getting walks in the first place, and that’s not the case. I’m not going to address your continued devaluation of Werth but if Howard was at the plate “worried” about the guy behind him OPS’ing .920 or so, he needs to have his head examined.

  40. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Dan. That’s because this post basically IS charity toward Ryan Howard.

    Excuses, excuses for why he was less effective at the plate last season. The league has adjusted and he is aging. The simplest explanation is often the best, and armchair psychology tends to be wishful thinking.

    The Philllies should add a good hitter because their offense is going to get worse with the replacement of Werth and another year of aging on their core. If Ryan Howard is not interested in getting walks, I suggest he becomes interested, because its a great tool for sluggers to contribute through their mid-30s (see Jim Thome).

    No excuses though Phils fans. His best seasons were had when he was backed up by crappy hitters. Looks like he’s less effective when pitchers actually try to, you know, get him out. OOPS.

  41. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Chuck, I was blown away at the beginning of the article redring about how the guys behind Howard affect Howard’s thought process at the plate. That was a total joke. And to think Manny is still a 35 homer, 120 rbi guy at his age was even more ridiculous. Look at Arod off the juice and about 5 years younger. The last 2 years he’s stumbled into 30 homers. But after airing out my anger, I realized that taking on Manny for the right price would be worth the risk. That’s the only part of the article I agree with. I’m a big fan of thinking outside the box and that’s not a bad one. But everything else is a joke.

    But that bit about Ryan Howard…. still gets me going. Good hitters are good hitters. Ryan is not a good hitter. Good sluggers are good sluggers. Adam Dunn is a good slugger. Ryan Howard is not. It has nothing to do with his protection or what people claim he’s thinking.

  42. Phylan

    November 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Howard is a good hitter, he’s just not a great one.

  43. brooks

    November 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I think the Dip’s post has set the mark for responses this off season… way to go Dipsy!

    Andrew, you write like Andrew from the Waldorff – your anger and disgust with Ryan Howard a dead giveaway (at least you left out the 0 rbi crap). Like you posted before, lets give it one more year. How can you say averaging 140 rbi and 45 hrs for 4 straight seasons after winning the ROY award warrants “Ryan is not a good hitter.”

    I’m going to go with the thought and hope that 10 was an off year because Ryan really did look lost at the plate. And look forward to a nasty 2011.

  44. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    @Andrew – When Ryan came into the league, he could hit for average, take walks, and hit lefties. Then he stopped. When I suggest that Ryan should be a more disciplined hitter and stop swinging at everything, I am often greeted with a chorus of “he hits homers and drives in runs. Thats his job! We’ll take the strikeouts and bad plate discipline” Really? I’m not declaring to know Ryan’s state of mind and it is stated as much in the piece. Its based on what I think is common sense. Ryan has no one behind him to drive in a run and thats a fact. @Phylan – On the Earth, between 1900 and 2005, numbers divided by two slash marks to describe a players offensive performance represented by HR/RBI/AVG. If thats’s too old school for you or is not what you feel to be an accurate gauge of a player’s season, than I apologize.

    No one signs Manny site unseen. No one pays him a lot. And you give yourself an escape hatch if it goes bad. Its worth the gamble because he is STILL that good, IMO.

    Here out the other Phillies options as I see it:

    1. Sign Guerrero. Too much money for multiple seasons.
    2. Sign Werth. See Guerrero.
    3. Trade for a platoon type. Matt Diaz, etc. OK. Well…uh….I guess thats one way to go. Still not gonna give you the much needed bat.
    4. Trade for a good player. Upton, etc. Have to give up too much farm.
    5. Sign Ordonez. Love to see it.

    Am I missing any?

    The Dipsy

  45. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Brooks, I assure you, I’m not that other Andrew. I’m from central Jersey stuck between all the Mets and Yanks fans over here. I love all my Phils, but I try to keep it real. When I see Rollins get a first-pitch fastball, he takes it. Polanco, same thing. Utley, same thing. Howard comes up and assumes first pitch fastball and then takes a half-hearted swing at a changeup or something off-speed. 4-hole hitters, especially aggressive ones who strike out 180 times a year, DO NOT get first-pitch cookies to swing at.

    I love the production that he’s given us. And I’d like to think this year was an “off” year as well. Every year I pull for the guy and hope that something clicks. I really believe he could be a good hitter and not just a slugger. So yes, my fingers are crossed for next year. But every year the guys numbers seem to go down while the number off-speed pitches he sees go up. I just don’t see the adjustments being made. And it amazes me that he carries the numbers he does.

    Howard is definately an enigma. I don’t hate him, but he certainly does frustrate me. He’s just not a smart player. I don’t bring up post-season numbers because if you’re hot for those 2 weeks, you’re a God, and if you’re cold, you’re a bum. There are other ways to contribute.

    And believe me Brooks, I would love and EXPECT a nasty 2011 from not just Howard, but Rollins and Utley as well.

  46. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Dipsy, I’ve always been a fan of having more complete hitters than the all-or-nothings. But looking at our team, I wouldn’t mind having one guy who drives in 45 homers and 140 rbi with 180 k’s and less discipline. The problem is, that guy had a year with no discipline and a mediocre 30 homer, 100 rbi’s. That’s unacceptable.

    And I believe Ryan had 2 guys behind him who drove in 80+ rbi. I’m sure a lot of teams would take a pair of 5 and 6 hitters who do that. Perhaps if Ryan got on base a little more they’d be 100 rbi guys.

  47. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Further – @Dan – “Ryan’s Hope” was the name of a popular soap opera back in the day. Funny me. Phylan – Werth could have OPS’ed his ass off, but his RISP should have been changed to RASP, because he choking and gagging in RBI spots all seasons. OPS….from a 5 hitter. Just goes to show you…we can make numbers say anything we want. Jayson Werth staring at pitches all day long and walking does NOTHING to drive in a run. He’s hitting 5. His job is to knock it in – not leave it for..get this, Ibanez or Victorino? If he wanted to hit like that than he should had Charlie hit him leadoff.

    The Dipsy

  48. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Andrew – Werth should had 100+ the last two years. Two guys with 80+ RBI doesn’t really overwhelm me.

    The Dipsy

  49. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm


    All I can say is that you have a warped sense of what actually generates runs on the team level. AVG/HR/RBI is an incomplete measure of a player’s offensive performance. And your statement about how walks do nothing to create runs is just ignorant and demonstrably false. There also isn’t much to the idea of a guy having a particular “job” other than to generate runs whatever way he can. Its important for you to realize that this is not a difference of opinion. You are underinformed.

  50. Kate

    November 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Howard’s RBI-less postseason was a GROUP/TEAM EFFORT. He can’t get RBIs if the guys in front of him (Rollins, Polanco, and Utley) don’t get on base. And he would have been able to cross the plate a few more times than anyone else would have been able to if the guys behind him put something together.

    Howard did his job better than anyone else did in the postseason, except maybe H2O. Even Blanton would have had a fighting chance if the offense had materialized for more than an inning or two at a time.

  51. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Dear Jim – When a man is hitting fifth and another man is in scoring position, especially with 2 outs, and there is no one behind him that can reasonably be counted on to bring the run home, he is to knock it in. This is baseball. You don’t “look for a walk and hope the weaker guy can come through”. If you have a strong six hitter you can play like that. We didnt and don’t. Your statements are quite correct though when made “in a vaccuum” or “in a static world”, but not with the 2010 Phillies. The way this team was assembled, Werth’s JOB should have been to take advantage of RBI situations. If that meant a slow ground out or a sac fly, so be it. Do you see where Werths OPS got him when he was not batting in the correct spot in the order? I do not criticize Werth. He is a good player. He just doesn’t have the skill set to be a 5 hole hitter. He was there by default because he was a righty. As for the numbers and slashes…whatever. Thats just how it used to be done. I’m not saying its the best way. Be on guard though Jim because in 5 years YOUR way will be obsolete.

    The Dipsy

  52. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Drawing a walk in the situation you describe increases your team’s chance of scoring runs. This is a FACT. It is not up for debate. We have the long great history of baseball to show us this. Yes, there is likely a point where the hitter behind you is so poor that a walk decreases your run expectancy, but this is extremely rare in a non-pitcher situation. Its not about “hoping somebody else gets the job done.” By avoiding an out and putting another man on, you make it EASIER for your team to get the job done. The effect is positive, not null as you seem to suggest.

    Yes clearly the way the trend is moving is for this thinking to become obsolete. Maybe within the bubble of Philly sports.. Does it make you feel good to see Amaro say Ibanez was as productive as Werth this season? A nightmarish statement for a GM to make. Only thing that will be obsolete in 5 years is Ryan Howard.

  53. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Dipsy, Werth should have absolutely had 100+ rbi the last two years. This year he was just atrocious with RISP. We all know it. But I would like to talk about your last comment about Werth and the weak 6 hitter behind him.

    Yes, Werth should be looking for a pitch to drive with an rbi situation. Everyone knew he would take pitches. It drove me nuts when he’d let a first-pitch fastball go down the middle just as much as Howard would be guessing first-pitch fastball and totally not get it. Mike Piazza was a notorious first-pitch taker. But when he decided to jump on a first-pitch fastball, he drove the hell out of it. Werth never seemed to do that. He would usually take a wild swing and fall down and the end result would be a foul ball.

    On the other hand, Victorino, Ibanez and Ruiz were all capable of driving in a run. Would we like to see Werth more aggressive? Absolutely. But if everybody had the mentality of fighting to get on for the next guy, it’s only a matter of time the pitcher makes a mistake.

    Werth should not feel obligated to swing at something because of the guys behind him. The guys behind him are well-compensated, MAJOR LEAGUERS. There should be no reason why Werth can’t draw a walk to load the bases with 2 outs. But like Werth and Howard, the whole offense was inconsistent all year. Every at-bat should’ve been a grind, and it appeared there were a lot of times when guys went up there with no plan of attack.

  54. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    And the “point where the hitter behind you is so poor” was represented by Rollins, Victorino, or Ibanez, comprising the 6-7 holes. Our six hole hitter sucked last year Jim.

    The Dipsy

  55. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    … and yet Werth ended up 4th in the league in runs scored.

    Werth will be missed because he was a far more productive player than most think.

  56. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Thats great Jim. When you put a guy in the five hole that walks a lot and steals bases and is fast, he will score runs and not hit them in. I agree with you that Jayson is good a will be missed. I just think he was not batting in the spot where he could maximize his strengths.

    The Dipsy

  57. Chuck

    November 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Wow.. active site for a Sunday after a major holiday in the offseason with the Eagles playing…

    Dipsy, love all your options. Thay all have merit.

    Phylan….not sure how old you are …but I grew up with AVG/HR/RBI…. I also use OPB, SLG and OPS when researching a player. It’s all good.

  58. Lefty

    November 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    This is fascinating. This team with the best record in Major League Baseball in 2010 seems to have an awful lineup. The 5 hole hitter is all wrong, not protecting the 4 hole hitter that is stupid and can’t hit properly, the 6 and 7 hole guys can’t drive in runs………

    How many games should we have won? 140? 150?

  59. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Lefty, its called Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt.

    The Dipsy

  60. Lefty

    November 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Dipsy, I’m intrigued by Ordonez- worried he’s lost a little, only 109 RBI the last two years combined. Age/staying healthy is an issue, but for the right price, a very, very interesting option.

    Any scenario is better than “Manny being Manny”, and there is no question that is just what he will do. There were some that thought T.O. would toe the line here, how’d that work out?

  61. Lefty

    November 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    H20- gave us what- 44 some wins? Where did the rest come from?

    Oh wait, Well what do you know? Our horrible lineup was 2nd in the National League in runs scored.

  62. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    T.O. did tow the line. For a season. He’s a good example of the point I am trying to make here. I think that once a player who still has something to contribute but has blown so many chances because of his conduct, and he realizes that if he doesn’t shape up he’ll be outta the league because the enormity of his talent no longer matches his assache, that he can shape up. T.O. with the Bengals? He’s gonna be All-Pro.

    Actually, I like the Ordonez option best. His injury is supposed to be healed and he’s done rehabbing. I guess it would be how much cash he wants. I think he would fit in well here and could play LF and RF.

    The Dipsy

  63. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I really believe Magglio is the best choice, but I believe Boras is seeking a 1-year offer worth a lot more than we’re willing to pay.

  64. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I’m sorry, Lefty. You’re right. Our lineup is fine.

    The Dipsy.

  65. Bob D.

    November 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Manny’s bat speed is down and hasn’t hit for any significant power recently – PASS, look elsewhere

  66. Kate

    November 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm



    Seven out of nine Opening Day starters, plus some of their back-ups, spending time on the DL this year.

    Yeah, this team just SUCKED this year.

    I’ll take my chances with the guys who got the best record in baseball.

  67. The Dipsy

    November 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm


    The Dipsy

  68. George

    November 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    When the NL goes to a designated hitter, then Manny might make sense on an NL team. He’s looking for an incentive laden contract, but that means he’ll need/want significant playing time to increase his numbers. Given his non-existent defense, no National League team could risk signing him. He’s strictly American League material, because there at least he might get a chance to hit without the chance of ruining someone’s outfield.

    Manny probably knows his defensive limitations, and likely won’t sign with an NL team anyway, because he wants a chance to play.

  69. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    can’t just ignore the fact that the team is getting a year older. yes, alot of guys spent time on the DL, but its a pretty safe bet that at least one or two do this year as well. you need to look at the team in terms of “where will they be better” and “where will they be worse.”

    i think this season represented a ceiling for ruiz, and its unlikely that brown gives them what werth did in RF. on the other hand, utley should have a power bounceback, and a full season is better than a half season of roy oswalt. hamels also could continue to get better. but itd be crazy to count on halladay being BETTER than he was last year, and there’s really no reason (other than homerism) to expect rollins or ibanez to improve offensively. we’ll see how the bullpen takes shape. but this team should not stand still with its aging roster, that’s for sure.

  70. brooks

    November 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Jim, totally disagree. Rollins, Howard, Utley, Vic, Ruiz even Poly are still within age to produce some hot numbers. With the arms the Phils have, if these core guys have average years your looking at another NL East Division champion, at least. Nobody has to have an outstanding year, just average and they will be golden.

  71. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    average by what standard though? average to those guys’ careers? because asking for average years from them as a whole at their collective ages IS unreasonable in my opinion. that’s the whole point about aging. not that they are all going to stink, but as a GROUP their production is likely to decline on the whole. ruiz had a great great year. probably as good as he can be. victorino should absolutely bounce back. rollins and polly though, don’t see any reason why we’d expect them to.

  72. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Damn Jim. Way off. A guy is 30 and he’s old. There’s no reason to believe these guys can’t remain really productive until they’re 34-35. The way you’re talking, it sounds like these guys are done. Imagine if they played in a more neutral park. Utley would be a .270 hitter with 12 homers, Howard would be at .260 with 28 homers, according to you, jim.

    Yes the Phils window for being truly great is just about to start closing. I say this year and next, unless we can get very creative, which I don’t put past our front office. But to say our guys can’t be ‘average’ to their own careers, is insane.

  73. Kate

    November 28, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I think Polanco had a good 2010, especially if he was playing hurt half the season.

    Rollins is the type of guy who’s going to have a good next year because he didn’t like what happened to him in 2010. Utley and Howard, the same thing. You’d better believe Howard is going back to work on his swing and Utley’s spending some time before spring training reacquainting himself with defensive fundamentals, whether he actually needs it or not. Can’t imagine either of them like how their years ended and they’ll do something about it.

    Utley was forced into an “average” year (by his own standards) with his extended trip to the DL.

    I think Victorino should be fine.

    If we get Werth back, I think Charlie and the boys in the front office will find a way to get Dom Brown back up and seeing more playing time, even if they put in left field to platoon with the on-his-way-out Ibanez.

    We’ll be right back in the playoffs next year. Mark it.

  74. jim

    November 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    not saying anybody is done. not even close. just trying to figure out how they will perform as a whole group. to expect them ALL to equal or surpass their career averages after 30 is not realistic. some will be better, some will be worse. howard, rollins, utley, polanco, ibanez. give me the under on their career averages next year and i bet i win 3/5.

    expecting guys to maintain their career averages through ages 34-35 is just out of line with history. especially when the signs from rollins, ibanez, howard, and utley (power at least) point to some decline.

  75. Andrew R.

    November 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Ok, Jim, where to begin here? Howard is the only one you can have a legit beef with. It’s hard to hit 45 a year with 140 driven in. I’ll give you that one. Polanco is a pretty consistent slap hitter in the .290+ range. Rollins is a career .272 hitter. I’m sure if he’s healthy he can steal his 35+ bags, score 100 runs and hit .272. Ibanez doesn’t belong in this conversation because he’s going to be 39 next year, but we’ll talk about him later. I really can’t see a healthy Utley not hitting his 29 homers and 103 rbi.

    As you said, “expecting guys to maintain their career averages through ages 34-35 is just out of line with history.”

    Way to just throw out some total crap. I did a little research and tried to shy away from the steroid era…..

    1. Mike Schmidt: age 34– 36 homers. age 35– 33 homers. age 36– 37 homers. Career average: 37 homers. Pretty consistent.

    2. Willie Mays: age 34– 52 homers. age 35– 37 homers. Career average: 36 homers.

    3. Frank Thomas: age 34– 28 homers. age 35– 42 homers. Career average: 36 homers.

    4. Andre Dawson: age 34– 21 homers. age 35– 27 homers. Career average: 27 homers.


    5. Raul Ibanez: age 34– 33 homers. age 35– 21 homers. Age 37– 34 Homers. Career average: 22 homers.

    So I guess all of these are just out of line with history then. Maybe for the 3-time all-star, decent career, average guy, they are. But we’re talking about guys who big-time players (Utley, Howard, Rollins).

    Jim, please don’t just throw out BS because of your unfounded “hunch.” If these boys remain healthy, they can keep doing their thing for another 3-5 years.

  76. Jeff of Nova

    November 28, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Andrew best bit of stats I have seen on this site in a long time.

    Lets all calm down, yes we need to improve our lineup but we do not need to be drastic

  77. Greg

    November 28, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    @Kate – This is kind of just a side thing, but why do you think Chase seems to NEED to work on his defense in half of your posts? A few misplays in a big series notwithstanding, Chase is by far, the best second baseman in baseball, and he has been, within the past three years. Go check out CrashburnAlley on Chase’s numbers. He’s been even better than I thought.

  78. jim

    November 29, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Great research. “Cherry picked data shows some HOF players remain valuable through mid 30s when measured solely by home runs.” Stop the presses. C’monnnnnnn

    Check out any real study that looks at a large sample of players and how they age. Players at this point of the aging curve are in a slight (repeat SLIGHT) decline. But when you realize that we are talking about a collection of 5 or 6 30+ year old players, it becomes less likely that they will maintain production as a group.

    Yeah Rollins is a pretty safe bet to hit .270 again. He’s only been hitting .250 for two seasons now.

  79. George

    November 29, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Maybe some more stats would be more accurate. Schmidt, Mays, Dawson are Hall-of-Famers, and are partly such because they did post high numbers later in their careers. What about the rest of the baseball world? While it’s conceivable that some of the Phils mentioned could make the hall, it’s also conceivable that they will go the way of the more ordinary guys and fairly soon fall apart. Rollins, though excellent for years, has shown a definite decline offensively and has been injured frequently. Utley’s numbers, though still well above average, have also declined in the past few years. And nobody expected Ruiz to put together a .300 season after hitting in the low .200s for his career, so it’d be silly to expect more of the same.

    I’m not saying that the team will fall off the stat charts or that they will all land on the DL. What I am saying is that it is definitely time to be concerned. It is definitely time to develop some younger players rather than hope the same aging gang will keep producing like 28 year olds.

  80. George

    November 29, 2010 at 12:59 am

    I, for oneCAN “see a healthy Utley not hitting his 29 homers and 103 rbi.” He was healthy before his injury this year and his numbers didn’t come close to those 29/103 projections. He also didn’t have 103 RBIs in 2009, and his batting average has fallen for four straight years.

    It could be the results of all his injuries, but in watching him, it doesn’t appear to me that his hands are consistently as quick as his first few seasons. Injuries like broken bones and ligament surgery can, unfortunately, have damaging effects for the rest of a person’s life.

  81. Andrew R.

    November 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Please Jim, you’re telling me that Rollins, Utley and Howard are not hall-worthy? It’s not like I picked Gary DiSarcinna and Alvaro Espinoza, because our guys are not comparable to those guys. Should I have picked the Steve Finleys and Mark Grace’s and Matt Williams’s instead? All very similar numbers into their mid 30s. And again, it’s not just measured by homers, but that’s what everybody seems to be talking about on here, so that’s what I went with. And the reason we don’t look at a large sample of players because guys like, Utley, Howard, A-rod, Pujols, etc. is because they don’t deserve to be lumped in with a large group. These are the elite and that’s what I used to compare them with.

    At least I made an attempt to quickly put something together as opposed to all this “common research” you keep referring to but refuse show.

    George- Rollins is somewhat of an enigma. If you look at his career, he always seems to have an aberration every 3 years or so. Yes the injuries have limited him and his career appears to be on the decline, but he addressed his off-season conditioning and he’s enterring a contract year so look for a biggie from him.
    Utley is a jerk because even if the hip is still bothering him, he won’t say it. But I think there’s a good chance for the homers and rbi to bounce back.
    As for Ruiz, his whole career, including every level at the minors, he’s needed time to get settled before having success. I think we have a couple more years of .280+ average from Chooch. He’s not an easy strike-out and for the last 3 years has put together better at-bats. It’s not easy with the pitcher as your ‘protection’ down there.

    I put my money on the Phils collectively having one of their typical years.

  82. betasigmashag

    November 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    First off Dipsy, I thought that you were making more sense, then you come out with his, really Manny is that good, this team needs to get younger, not older, and Raul is a by far a better defensive outfielder then Manny, that is how bad Manny is. Also he was playing for contract last year and just sucked. I really do not want to see a staroid using pain in the ass playing anywhere near philly.
    In your posts you say the #5 hitter can now work a walk, but the #4 guy can. how does that make sense. Raul, and Vic are not terrible hitters, You going to tell me after the All Star game you would want to pitch to Raul with an extra runner on base. And at some points wasn’t Vic leading the team with avg with risp.

  83. Bob in Bucks

    November 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I reject the idea that having Werth behind Howard affects Howard. There was no one behind Bonds when he walked and HRed the entire league. This is about pitch recognition and plate discipline, not about who bats behind you. BECAUSE you still need to recognize where the ball is going in order to walk.

    That said, Manny Ramirez is not right for this team. He has lost his power, he can’t run, can’t field and hitting is questionable. He and Howard on base is a guaranteed triple play in the making.


  84. The Dipsy

    November 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Beta. At the right price its a low risk/high reward endeavor. If he is a pain in the rear or not performing you can cut. Think of the terms under which the Sixers signed Iverson last year and that basically mirrors the terms in which I would sign Manny.

    The Dipsy

  85. The Dipsy

    November 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Bob – Bonds had Jeff Kent and Moises Alou.

    The Dipsy

  86. Kate

    November 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    If anything, the week-long return of AI to the Sixers is another reason to hope Ruben doesn’t even consider Manny.

    Go younger, you say, and then bring up Manny Ramirez? That’s oxymoronic to the extreme.

    Let him become someone else’s problem.

    To whichever of you asked me about Chase Utley, I’m not saying that I truly believe his defense needs work. I do think he might want to take a look at the way he was rushing to get balls to first in mid-September, but not the defense that takes place before that.

    Like Howard watching strike three, those two errors are probably the freshest memories in Utley’s mind and he’ll want to do something to banish those memories. And even if he’s not dwelling on them, the fans are. If one of those errors aren’t made and everything else remains equal, Ryan Howard strikes out to send Game 6 into extra innings, even after Madson gives up that homer.

  87. The Dipsy

    November 29, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Kate…I didn’t say go younger. Manny is a rental if he were to ever play here.

    The Dipsy

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