Writer’s Roundtable: Phillies New Year’s Resolutions – Phillies Nation

Writer’s Roundtable: Phillies New Year’s Resolutions

Will Papelbon live up to the high standard of a $50 million deal?

In our latest Writer’s Roundtable, the Phillies Nation crew discuss our New Year’s Resolutions for the Phillies in 2012.

Nick “The Beerman” Staskin: For my New Year’s resolution, I’d like to see Charlie do a better job with his in game management.  Dontrelle Willis can be a weapon if used solely against lefties. However, theres a good chance Manuel wastes him like he did with JC Romero.  There’s no reason to let Halladay and Lee throw 120 pitches in blowouts. Save their arms for down the stretch.

I’d like to see the the team play the right players. Dom Brown got a raw deal last year, being sent down so that Raul Ibanez could decompose in left field. Brown showed some success getting on base last season and fans need to realize not all rookies start off like Ryan Braun did. Give the kid some time before we write him off.

And, extend Cole Hamels! If you are going to throw 5 years and $125 million at an older lefty in Cliff Lee then pay your home grown ace.

Jon Nisula: With 2012 comes a new year, a fresh start for our Phillies, who fell short of what I’m sure was everyone’s goal–a World Series appearance. But unlike what I’ve been reading and hearing by many Phillies fans, I did not see 2011 as a failure. They were good enough to win the most games in franchise history–surely they were good enough to win the World Series. The loss in the NLDS does not signal a reason for change for me, or at least any drastic changes.

My resolutions for the 2012 Phillies are this: I want to see Domonic Brown be the full time left fielder, or at the very least a platoon with John Mayberry Jr. Brown is a top prospect for a reason. Next, I would like to see someone on the offense finish in the top five in MVP voting. What I mean by this is, I want someone in the lineup to step it up and emerge as a feared weapon, something that the Phils did not have in 2011. Finally, I really want to see Kyle Kendrick elevate his game and become the unquestionable fifth starter for this team. I like Kendrick as a person, and I love his attitude. If he can just settle into his niche and become the fifth starter–and not pitch like the Kyle Kendrick we are used to seeing—I would be a happy man.

Kieran Carobine: It is my wish for this season that the Phillies win more 1 and 2 run ball games.  Too many times Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels ended up on the wrong side of cold hitting.  Something that ties into this is the team staying healthy.  Obviously the offense will be starting behind the eight ball with Ryan Howard recovering from his surgery.  The additions of Lance Nix, Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton should help out a little.

I would like to see the Phillies hit .260 as a team and somewhere around 170-175 home runs.  I realize this is a lot to ask with Chase Utley possibly past his prime and no Howard until May or June.  In the end, a title shot and playoff berth is the ultimate goal.  The trifecta of Halladay, Lee and Hamels should make it a reality.  But they can’t do it alone.

Don M.: How about a firm rule to only swing at strikes.  Make pitchers come to you, and make them pay for falling behind in the count.  Have pitchers unable to throw junk balls for timely strikeouts and forcing our hitters to rollover into double plays.
I’d love to see us use our speed again, Rollins can still run, as can Victorino, but I’d like to see Utley, Pence, and Mayberry taking any and every extra base they can.  Become a team that “battles,” a team that nobody wants to face because you will never give up an at-bat. Part of that mentality needs to come from Charlie, who needs to demand a championship from his players.
Most importantly, in 2012, I need to see Cole Hamels with a contract extension.  Backload the deal so that his contract gets a bump when Roy Halladay’s contract expires- whatever it takes, make it happen before other teams ever have a chance to bid on that golden left arm.

Jay Floyd: My resolution is for the fans. To the Philadelphia faithful that sell out the Phillies’ home park on a daily basis, stop acting a fool. Many members of the fan base despise the manner in which they are depicted by the national media and while pointing out how other city’s ticket holders don’t get generalized in the same fashion, however the Philadelphia region’s fans have continued to fail themselves in recent years.

We’re all familiar with the events when individuals who lacked good judgement, while in attendance at Citizens Bank Park, caused mischief, violated others or took violence to the ultimate level. There was even the incident when a senior citizen was hit by a motor vehicle as he left a game.

Can Hunter Pence lay off the high fastball? (AP)

I certainly accept the outlook of “don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch”, but when The City of Brotherly Love feeds that media hate that they disagree with so much, even on an infrequent basis, breaking down that bad reputation only lies in their own hands.

Corey Seidman: I’ll preface this by saying that these are what I’d want the Phillies to do moving forward, not what I realistically expect.

1) Lay off the high fastball: I’m looking directly at you, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. Both Pence and Victorino struggle to hold up against a fastball high in the zone despite not being proficient when they DO make contact with the pitch. You know how Ryan Howard has “holes in his swing?” Well I can’t think of any player having a bigger “hole” than Pence has on high fastballs. He and Victorino were probably the two best hitting Phillies last season, but both ended way too many plate appearances swinging at garbage upstairs.  It got to the point where you knew it was coming… you would call it in your head or out loud to your friends, and it would still happen. Laying off the high fastball is a discipline issue, a mental thing. Pence has made a living off being aggressive, but this is one area where his aggressiveness is so overwhelmingly negative that it’s confusing that he hasn’t trained his eye to let it pass.

2) Rest Placido Polanco once a week: This assumes he’s healthy enough to play the other five or six games in a week, obviously. If Polanco stays healthy, there is no need to give him 145-150 starts. I’d be fine with seeing Polly start 128-135 games, preventing his energy and limited pop from being sapped. Ty Wigginton isn’t good defensively, but getting him in the lineup rather than subbing Polanco for Michael Martinez or Wilson Valdez at least provides a somewhat capable bat.

3) Play Jim Thome once a week at 1B until Ryan Howard returns: Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro and Thome have all explicitly said the hope is that Thome is good to go one game per week at first base. I hope it actually happens. First base defense isn’t absolutely essential to success. Sure, you notice when a first baseman misses a scoop or boots a 3U into a single to right, but a first baseman can go largely unnoticed in a game. Thome gives the Phillies the added dimensions of power and patience, so you need to utilize that, not let it sit on the bench until you can pinch-hit him against a team that subsequently brings in a lefty reliever.

Pat Gallen: First, I’d like to see Charlie Manuel be more aware of pitch counts/innings. I’m not a huge fan of them because guys like Halladay and Lee can put themselves in proper shape to throw 120 pitches every time out. And 100 is just an arbitrary number, anyway. However, a lot of these guys have logged big innings over the last few years. Let’s tone it down a bit in the blowouts, like Nick said. Lee and Halladay aren’t getting any younger and while CG’s and SO’s are nice, they aren’t necessary.

Next up is that Hamels extension. It has to happen NOW. Third, I’m looking for a HUGE season from Jonathan Papelbon. The onus is on him to be near perfect this year to live up to that massive contract the Phillies gave him. I’m talking 40-45 saves and an ERA south of 2.00.

Lastly, I’d love to see a re-strengthened, rejuvenated Ryan Howard once he’s back. Howard needs to have a strong second half of the season for fear of a revolt from the fans who know the Phillies are paying him an exorbitant amount of money. He needs to work on that swing once he’s able, and even before he is, he needs to watch tons of film and get himself ready for the long haul.

Click to comment


  1. Jeff Dowder

    January 3, 2012 at 10:49 am

    It looks like the Nationals are quietly making a move on Fielder. That wouldn’t be good news for the Phillies or the rest of the division. That would be a scary team if they actually pulled it off.

    • David Lerch

      January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      New Year Resolutions;

      I agree with them all with the exception of Dom Brown! He can’t play and was given more than enough opportunity to prove he can. He is lacking in all the fundamentals of the game, which demonstrates the unwillingness to work on his game to get better. I’m tired of waiting for that to happen. I have zero confidence he will ever realize his potential, because quite frankly, he can’t play. If we can trade him for someone who can contribute right now or package him at the trading deadline, that’s the only value I see in keeping him around.He is physically talented,but can’t play baseball.

      • EricL

        January 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

        Lol, this is a joke, right? This post is so colossally Off base that I can only assume you’re trying out for a position as a staff writer for The Onion,

      • Colin

        January 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        Mike Schmidt was a 196 hitter after 1 year in the big leagues. Imagine if they gave up on him like you seem to want to write off Brown.

        You don’t like that comparison? Too much?

        Okay, think that the Padres are upset with giving up on Shane Victorino after hitting 232 his first year and exposing him to the rule 5 draft? Or Houston after giving up on Bobby Abreu and his 248 over 2 shots over 2 years? John Mayberry Jr was washed out of 1 organization, and then hit 211 his first year here, and now everybody thinks he could be the real deal after a nice 3rd season…all I know is I remember when Bobby Dernier was the real deal…how did that work out? I also remember when Marlon Byrd was a complete bust here (actually,he hit 303 his rookie year, struggled with injuries, and as a result, at the plate the following year before Bowa drove him out.)? He would have been better than both Ibanez or Mayberry the past 2 years (or any combo we had in RF before Pence this past season).

        The point is, you cannot write off a player after 91 games. Brown needs an extended look. Play Mayberry at 1b while Howard mends and put Brown in LF and see what he has.


    January 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I like all these resolutions.

  3. bacardipr05

    January 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

    It really doesnt like the Phils really improved much. Some of the teams have added some players. Are we still good enough to keep up with the rest at this point.

    • Don M

      January 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

      as with all sports … all you can do is try to put together a team with a solid chance to win before each season …

      Now obviously we fell short of the ultimate goal the past two seasons- but outside of winning the playoff-tournament …. I’d say “the rest needs to catch up to us” instead of of “are we still good enough to keep up with the rest” …

      The bat that the Phillies missed most in the playoffs last year, was already on their roster, Polanco ….. going with what Corey said above- they need to give him planned-rest and have him able to hit for contact in the playoffs next year

    • EricL

      January 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      You don’t need to improve much when you have more wins than any other team in the sport. The 72-win Marlins and 80-win Nationals will likely both improve next season, but the gap that they have to close in order to even be in the conversation as the best team in the east was gargantuan. They will likely be in the running for the wild card slot, but the 102-win Phillies bringing back the same roster with a slightly improved bullpen and vastly improved bench are still the team to beat, and it’s not particularly close.

  4. Chuck A.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    For me, the biggest statement made here is “extending Cole Hamels NOW!!” The Phillies cannot let him get anywhere close to free agency.

  5. EricL

    January 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    My resolution for the Phils would be for Charlie Manuel to do an Andy Reid impersonation; to put his players in a better position to succeed. This means, of course, no more using pitchers with LOOGY skills against lots of RH batters, no more letting the “closer” label dictate bullpen roles, sending MiniMart to the minors, etc.

    If we re to also consider the front office, I would suggest that the team is to make NO BLOCKBUSTER DEADLINE DEALS to acquire additional offensive talent if they’re already in first place by a wide margin. I would also ask that they stop paying relief pitchers a lot of money because they’re just not worth it.

    Finally, I would resolve to get lucky and win the world series so we can stop hearing the bleating from people who think a playoff series loss is indicative of inferior talent rather than the natural variance inherent in the game of baseball.

    • Don M

      January 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      too many people think that a 5/7 game series is a better evaluation of talent than the 162 games season …

      I go by what everyone’s darling Theo Epstein said … “all you can do is hope to make the playoffs … and hope to win it once for every 8 times you get there” ..

      coming straight from one of baseball’s “most brilliant minds” … telling just how hard it is – depends on matchups, health, good calls, bad calls, tight strikezones, weather, etc …

      in 2008 – despite the Rays being up 3-1 in the ALCS I wanted to play them instead of Boston …. because we matched-up better against them. Garza was spent from the ALCS- Price was in the pen still … etc .. we got lucky with that matchup and capatilized on it .. had we faced the Red Sox, who knows if we would have beaten them in the WS …

    • Drew

      January 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Agreed, with the one difference being that I really don’t care if it shuts the fanbase up — I want them to win because dammit, Doc (and Jim Thome and Cliff Lee) deserves a ring. Yes, I know a ton of fantastic players have gone their entire careers without winning the Series or even getting to it. But come on, it’s Doc — the man puts more physically and mentally into his preparation than anyone, and if he hasn’t earned a ring, no one has. I want to see him get it.

    • therookie300

      January 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

      no more letting the “closer” label dictate bullpen roles

      When you spend that kind of money on a closer, guess which inning he pitches in?

      • EricL

        January 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        The right answer is “the one with the highest leverage index.” Which could very well be the seventh or eighth inning.

      • therookie300

        January 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        Right or not, when you pay someone that kind of money, they pitch in the ninth and on a rare occasion an out or two in the eighth. When was the last time Mariano Rivera came in, when he was the official “closer”, and pitched just the seventh inning in a high leverage situation?

  6. Lefty

    January 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I think the “sign Hamels NOW” is most important if they really want to keep him.

    I am quite certain Ruben’s statement that “it takes two to tango” means that he has tried unsuccessfully to get this accomplished. It’s just not Amaro’s style to let things go this long, I think attempts at negotiations have been ongoing for at least a year.

    IMO- Despite what Cole has said publicly, If Ruben is unable to extend him prior to S.T., I think he will test the market.

  7. Chuck A.

    January 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    There’s really nothing else standing in the way of Ruben and Cole getting it done. All the urgent offseason moves….closer, SS, bench…have been addressed. There is really no good reason for this not to happen before S.T.

  8. Brooks

    January 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Wow – Nick was posting a funny, right?
    I started to nod my head in agreement until he mentioned Willis’ name. Forget Dontrelle. Then he said that DB did not get a fair look? You jest beerman! DB did not get a fair shake? Are you kidding? Especially during the time while Ryan is out, I would like to see Dom play LF while platooning with Mayberry.

    The only sensible statement I saw in this blog was about signing Cole now. Thome will be a bust my friends, please do not count on him for anything – then anything we get will be a bonus.

    My hope for a Phils resolution would be that Cholly would make adjustments when playing the tougher competition – AKA playoffs. Get the runners over, play small ball for God’s sake!

    My other resolution would be that Cholly (recurring theme here) would tell Ryan that its OK if he does not hit 45 hrs a year – that he can start opening his swing for the low and outside pitches that consistently get him out… his power will come, just make contact man.

  9. Chris

    January 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Anybody else here feel like half the people here are so bored with Phillies success that they keep seeing monsters under the bed?

  10. Bob in Bucks

    January 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Definitely Chris – You would think that according to all these wishes we had a losing team – swing only at stirkes, win more one and two run games, take our stellar pitchers out earlier…. As I recall this team, under Charlie Manuel won 102 games. Say it folks – the Phillies won 102 games but apparently we did not like HOW they won these games. Apparently we would have liked more of them to be closer. Apparently we would have preferred our relatively weaker bullpen to pitch more innings than our Cy Young winning starters. Really?

    This seems to be a continuing theme. Let’s find something to complain about. My wish – win 102 games again this year! Personally I don’t care if they are 1-0 or 12-3. I don’t care how many strkeouts, small ball vs three run homers, starters vs bullpen although if you think there was a better pticher in the bullpen then the starters you have to let me know.

    Manuel has been given a wonderful team and he seems to get the best out of each of them by trusting them and treating them as adults. If a guy swings at too many balls what is the good of Manuel pointing it out. You think the player doesn’t know. Charlie deals with the cards he has been dealt. If you want more small ball or whatever you have to get the players that do that, not try and change the adults you have been given.

    Go Phillies!

    • schmenkman

      January 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Yeah, I think they were 30-15 in low-scoring games (winner scores 3 or less). I’m sure it could be even better, but jeez, if that’s one of the key things we have to try to improve, that’s not bad.

  11. Don M

    January 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Bob .. I think the thing your missing is that while the Phillies are pretty damn good … there is always ways they could improve ….. things that might have helped them in the playoffs

    Like hitters being more selective … not helping the other teams pitchers..

    or Cliff Lee being more rested- would that have helped him perform better and hold down a lead in Game 2 ??

    Nobody is complaining…… just saying what we think could get us another ring next year, or the moves we’d like to see made


    January 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Cole Hamels signing —-GIT ‘ER DONE !!!!!

  13. Psujoe

    January 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    If the Phillies sign Cole to a 4 year deal with an average salary of 17.5 million it will be a big hit towards the luxury tax, right? If they wait until the season starts to sign an extension is it calculated differently?

  14. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    How about pinch hitting for a guy with a .314 slugging percentage vs lefties.
    Whats the point of having him hit vs Arthur Rhodes in the 8th inning?

    Oh he makes a lot of money.
    The Giants won a title sitting over priced talent. Just sat Zito and Rowand.
    So it can be done.

    I guess some fans/teams want to win and others are into fielding fantasy style rosters.
    Where you swing away 3-0 and the manager is OK with it.

    The problems run deep here. Game 5 vs the Cardinals. Game 6 vs the Giants in 2010 should have been engough. But apparently it wasnt.
    Some people/GMs have to learn the hard way.

    Heres my New Years Prediction. Charlie and RAJ will not have their jobs come Jan 1 2013.
    And that isnt a bad thing.

    Now Donny back to the cheerleading.

    Rah rah

    • betasigmadeltashag

      January 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      AFW the opitamy of what have you done for me latley you pick two games out of what 340 games and say this team obviously can not win. Man your Bull runs so deep eventually you can not really beleive it. Two games, big games sure, games you have to win if you want to be WS champions YES. But they should not define the team. The only team that had a winning record against the Phillies last year was the Cardnails (NL) Can you say bad match up. And if I am remembering correctly I think the Giants had a winning record against them in 2010, I may be wrong. All you can say is that you have to pinch hit for your clean up guy in game five of a playoff series, name one team who has done that. But we Should cause Howard has never come thru in the clutch in his entire life. Please move back to NY and cheer for you Mets, at least then you could complain about a bad team

      • Baseball Phan

        January 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm

        Why is it that because a fan is a bit negative about the Phils automatically means that he must be a Mets fan? This is a blog that invites individuals to comment as well as express their own opinions. That said, the Phils have a great team but they also have a small window of opportunity to win considering the older age of the core players, the contracts paid to said core players, the bloated team payroll and the fact that the farm system has been gutted of MLB ready prospects. Any finish short of a World Series win could be viewed as a failure by the fans and organization which could result in the dismissal of Manuel and/or RAJ. The bar has been set, lets hope the Phils meet or exceed our expectations!!

      • Don M

        January 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Baseball Phan…
        the fan that you’re talking about is much more than “a bit negative about the Phils” … to the point where many on here don’t believe he is actually a fan of the team … and if so, why he is so consistently negative and bashes the organization on a daily basis …

        Its one thing to demand a lot from your team, question decisions .. and its another to say they suck, you would trade them all, etc

      • betasigmadeltashag

        January 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm

        I do not have a problem with people being negative about a game or a move or a player, my problem with AFW is that he spews out the same garbage no matter what the original lpost is, just bash Howard and his contract and he never has anything new it is just the same old bashing, and I am sorry if I am the only one but not winning a world series does not mean a faliure of a season to me

      • schmenkman

        January 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

        Beta, you are far from the only one.

        In fact you may be among the silent majority.


    January 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Dom Brown deserves a shot — at least part-time in LF. How long can he stay a minor leaguer? Let’s get him on the field in 2012.

  16. Don M

    January 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Andrew- what moves would you have made this offseason if you were the GM instead of Ruben Amaro?

  17. bacardipr05

    January 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    There’s no monster under my bed, my Chihuahua sleeps there and guards it. Im pretty sure we will make the playoffs again, just once there how far will we get. If not for Ben Fran game winning HR, we would had only one game.

  18. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 4, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Id have moved 3 of the starting 8 from game 5 of the cardinals series.

    C Ruiz
    1B Howard
    2B Utley
    3B Polanco
    SS Rollins
    LF Ibanez
    CF Victorino
    RF Pence

    Any 3 of them. For anything in return or nothing in return.
    I understand that the 1B is unmovable.
    No one else will eat $25,000,000.00
    But Ibanez and Rollins were easily movable. Or gone on request.

    Donny what makes you think this lineup can beat Wainwright and Carpenter or Lincecum and Cain?
    Polanco Utley? Or anyone? Trade them.
    I dont care who it is. I dont care who comes back. But I do know that this lineup is impotent and cant beat good pitching.
    And anyone else might.
    But you and Beta will continue to preach.

    Rah Rah
    The best ever.
    An inferior team beat you 3 years in row.
    At some point your superior will take over.
    Because you are the best.

    • Chris

      January 4, 2012 at 2:21 am

      See this is where you err. You say trade any 3 and you don’t care what comes back you just want to get rid of 3 of them. If the current lineup wasn’t good enough to win in your eyes what makes you think trading any 3 of them and replacing them with nothing will make it any better.

      Oh that’s right you’re one of the guys who would have Valdez, Martinez and any other marginal bench player named MVP of the team.

  19. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 4, 2012 at 1:58 am

    @ Beta I picked the 2 games where you lost.

    And yes Id not play your man vs lefties and especialy not late innings when Arthur Rhodes comes in.

    You are invested. I am too. In the team.
    Just not indivdual players.

  20. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 4, 2012 at 2:04 am

    @ Beta
    You had a 5 game series
    3 of the 5 at home.
    Halladay started games 1 and 5
    Game 2 by Lee and game 3 by Hamels

    You scored 0 runs in game 5.
    If they play 1,000,000 innings they still score 0 runs.

    And I call foul and you call me a Mets fan.
    Really. I call foul.

    You and Donny suck. You did this. You support this crap.

    You want him to swing. This is your fault.
    But I turned in Phan card and am supporting the Mets.

    • betasigmadeltashag

      January 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Lets see they won game three when Cole started and they spotted Lee a four run lead. should Charlie have Pulled Cliff earlier and gone to the pen I say yes I said it as I was sitting in the stands, Charlie had no faith in the pen, you want to bitch about that go ahead. You go to the pen and hold that game two lead and this series is over in 3 games, but wait it was Ryan howards fault that they lost game 2. And I say good ridence to you turn your fan card in

  21. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 7:23 am

    This is why j said before that you’re so hard to read… You start to make points to support an argument and then always have to top your own comments with “lol, you guys suck, you support this team,” etc…

    I do support this team, and I do support these players… You tell me all the time that “it’s not 2008” anymore, which is true, but one of the main points you try to drive home is that these players can’t ever play that way again- why not? If timely hitting was what helped us in ’08, why won’t that ever happen again… And if our pitching is that much better, we shouldn’t need as much offensive support… Which is how we’ve won more regular season games the past few years.

    We fell short of the goal in the playoffs, but these are also some of the only Philadelphia athletes to ever win a championship in my lifetime- so yea, I’d like to see them stick around, I think they deserve that… It’s called loyalty. If you constantly need your team to be “Champions or Bust,” maybe you picked the wrong team to support, because the rest of us clearly aren’t Phillies fans just for the World Series titles..

    Your idea for improving the team is to blow it up, despite the fact that every GM would probably kill to be in Ruben Amaro’s spot right now.. I would think about 95% of GMs would swap rosters with the Phillies if given the opportunity

  22. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I think we would ALL appreciate more of a response than just “rah rah, lol, Donny loves them all. Swing 3-0, you never learn, sign them all”

    You know, maybe some legit baseball talk from you in 2012?

    • Chuck A.

      January 4, 2012 at 7:54 am

      “Legit baseball talk” from Andrew? Is that even a remote possibility?

      I would be willing to bet that if he posts every day for one week that he can’t go that entire week without insulting someone on here, constantly calling us out …..”Donny and the Chucks”, calling beta a “Dummie”, referring to all of us as “You guys”….as though WE are on different sides from him and somehow inferior.

  23. TheDipsy

    January 4, 2012 at 8:07 am

    If this were the conservative movement, Andrew would be Ron Paul. The fact of the matter is that for the last two seasons, with the same players (older players – this is not a youth movement), the offense has been poor. Its an offense that hasn’t gotten it done. Hoping for these players to hit better reminds me of a great line: “Hope is not a strategy”. Do I think that this offense can put it together if we get big years from players? Yes. It almost never happens, though. But how can you expect a buch of 31-32 year olds to have better offensive years? We’ve seen the best. They’re not Morgan, Rose, and Perez. They get hurt a lot. We need a trade.

    The Dipsy

    • schmenkman

      January 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

      TheDipsy, you’re overstating it.

      Offense is down across baseball in recent years. Whether it’s the restrictions on PEDs, or improved pitching, or a combination of both, scoring in the NL has declined 12% from 2007 (4.71 per game) to 2011 (4.13).

      When you look at the Phillies offense compared to the league average, there hasn’t been much of a decline:
      2007 +17% (Phils averaged 5.51 vs. league average of 4.71)
      2008 + 9% (4.93 vs. 4.54)
      2009 +14% (5.06 vs. 4.43)
      2010 +10% (4.77 vs. 4.33)
      2011 + 7% (4.40 vs. 4.13)
      2011 +12% (4.63 vs. 4.13) after Utley returned in May

      So relative to the league, this year’s offense averaged over the entire season was 7% better than the league, not much worse than in 2008 (9% over the league).

      And from the time Utley started in May, the Phillies averaged 4.63 per game, or 12% over the league average (and highest in the NL). No offense is perfect, but the Phillies have a very good one when Martinez and Valdez are kept out of the batter’s box.

      Now maybe you meant something more specific, like hitting vs. certain pitchers, or in certain situations, but then you would still have to compare the 2011 team to other years or the rest of the league for conttext.

  24. TheDipsy

    January 4, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for the post. I would really like to see how many games the Phils scored over 9 runs v. how many times they scored under three runs. My suspicion, while I may be wrong, is that they are either feast or famine and do not fair particularly in 3-2, 4-3 type games. I think the’ye might be a skew. I know what my eyes see and they see an offense that crumbles in crunch time. Do you have stats for the post season? Thank you.

    The Dipsy

    • schmenkman

      January 4, 2012 at 8:34 am

      First, in low-scoring games (winning team scores 3 or less), they were 30-15.

      From the time Utley returned, they scored 3 or less in 43% of their games. The range in the NL was from a low of 39% (StL) to a high of 60% (SF), so that could certainly be better, but still not terrible.

      They did struggle in the postseason (although they still outscored St Louis). I think they struggle against some better pitchers, i.e. more so than other teams, so some more offense wouldn’t hurt — it just depends what you have to give up to get that, and does it really make the team better overall as a result.

  25. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 8:39 am

    How can you expect 31-32 year olds to h e better offensive years?…. Total or in the postseason? In the postseason it timely hitting, making pitchers work… I dont think age has anything to do with that, and I think if Rollins, Utley, Vic, Howard, Ruiz have all had big postseasons before- why wouldn’t they be able to do that again? Did they all of a sudden forget how to play or did they just play bad at a bad time, on a big stage

    The problems do run deep… Which is why I said that Charlie needs to hold their feet to the fire a little, if Howard continues to chase balls in the dirt from lefties, sit him until he stops… If Victorino plays with his head up his ____, sit him until he stops.. The players aren going to change their approach if nobody demands it of them- hitting coaches fired and all.. They think they’re good, to a large degree they are correct, but there are ways to improve, and I don’t the mental approach has anything to do with age at all.. If anything, the maturity should help them grasp these concepts

  26. TheDipsy

    January 4, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Don – You are correct. Our players don’t work pitchers, don’t run deep counts, don’t move guys, etc. Schenkman points out that the Phils may struggle inordinately more against the better pitchers. I am sure they do. The reason for this is the good pitchers can take you out of the three run homer offense. To combat this successfully, you would need a team that has A) good pitching, too, and: B) the ability to scratch or manufacture runs, i.e. the dreaded “small ball”. Do I condone the Phils change their offensive style? No. Its unrealisitic and probably not even the best idea. But they do need to add a small ball component. That, they don’t have. And that’s Charlie’s fault. This they need to fix.

    The Dipsy

    • schmenkman

      January 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

      FYI, they led the league in scoring after Utley returned in spite of being 6th in HRs over those last 4+ months. It is much less of a HR-centered offense than it used to be.

  27. Chuck A.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I agree that 32 year old baseball players CAN repeat their offensive successes….or even do BETTER….if given the chance and with some smart coaching. Thing is….Charlie Manuel has a certain style of managing. Is he even able to change his approach enough to make a difference?

    • Brooks

      January 4, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Babe Ruth hit 60 hrs when he was 32. Hank Aaron hit the majority of his hrs after the age of 30 as a matter of fact, he hit 47 (his career high) at the age of 35 and hit 40 at the age of 37.

      Yes, these are definitely exclusive names. It can be done though.

      @ChuckA – I don’t think Cholly can change his approach, but I would love to see it happen.

      • Colin

        January 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

        Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron were Hall of Famers, arguably the greatest home run hitters of all time. How many of those do we have on this roster? Arguing that players can improve after 32/33 when they have already been in decline for multiple seasons and comparing them to those 2 is ridiculous. It’s like comparing Kyle Kendrick to Steve Carlton. The vast majority of players, once in decline, stay in decline. You may have 1 season where they “bounce back”, but its not a longterm thing and it is not something I want to count on. I would have traded Chase Utley after 2010 when there might have been trade value and I would have let Rollins walk, to allow for some changeover. Let Galvis take his lumps in the majors, go find another 2b (or better, move Polanco to 2b and get a 3b who is not breaking down and can hit for an entire season). Then after 2012 you could have looked for a 2b to replace Polanco.

      • schmenkman

        January 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        You’re right about comparing to the extreme cases, but while the decline curve is rarely a smooth one, and it’s not unusual for there to be improvement from one year to the next (fewer health issues for whatever reason, more hits fall in, etc.).

        You seem ready to turn over the infield, but are you aware that Utley was the 2nd best second baseman in the NL in 2011? Or that Rollins was the 3rd best shortstop?


      • Colin

        January 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

        schmenkman..so do you ignore the injuries then? They have been mounting for Rollins and Utley for years, and Polanco has been breaking down. So yes, I am ready to turn over the infield. It is January and all 4 of our infielders have injury concerns. To continue to hope that they have bounce back years, at the same time, is unbelievably naive. Just like it was time to replace Ibanez at the beginning of last season, it is time to replace Rollins, Utley and Polanco now. As usual, the Phillies will be behind schedule with their offensive side of the game. All Amaro seems to value is pitching. While it is important, it is only 1/3 of the game. The other 2/3 is hitting and offense. Rollins isn’t a great fielder while on the bench injured, and his hitting has been slipping for years, and Utley isn’t a good infielder, period, and his offense is suffering due to injuries, and that knee isn’t getting any better. Time to get younger. Rather do it now, and prepare for 2013 when Lee and Halladay are still young, and hopefully Hamels is re-signed. And maybe, with this pitching, we have enough to make noise in the post-season in 2012 despite the turnover. They aren’t going to do it, but I can hope.

  28. TheDipsy

    January 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Any given 31 or 32 year old can have his best season at that age. But counting on four of these guys to have years better than their averages is unrealistic. Thats all im saying.

    The Dipsy

  29. Chuck A.

    January 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Ryan Howard is 32. He has 286 homers so far. How many of you guys think he can get to 500??

    He starts his 5-yr extension this year but it will be late and he might not even be right for awhile once he comes back. Conservatively, let’s say he hits 20 this year. That leaves 194 HR to get over the next 4 years IF he wants to do it as a Phillie. I don’t see that happening.

  30. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 11:36 am

    and so are we all caught up on individual players having big years numbers-wise … does it matter if Howard has a lot of RBIs if the growing trend is that RBIs don’t matter …

    or do we just want them to win a lot of games, make the playoffs, and hopefully go on a run??

    I personally don’t care if ANY of them have their career year in 2012.. as long as we win the NL East, and secure homefield again

    • schmenkman

      January 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      “I personally don’t care if ANY of them have their career year in 2012”

      That’s good, because of course they won’t. And that’s ok. They didn’t in 2011, and yet led the league in scoring after Utley returned, with among the fewest games with 3 runs or less.

  31. Bob in Bucks

    January 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Dipsy – Do me a favor. Next time you see a Phillies game where Halladay is pitching make believe you are a fan of the opponent. You will see them swing at balls out of the zone, not be patient, etc. Meanwhile you will be very unhappy with your pitcher and manager as they fail to hold the Phillies from winning.

    My point is that we looking at the games as just fans tends to overstate the problems with your team or understate the weaknesses of the other team. If we make a “comeback” during the game the other team’s fans say they “blew the lead”. If we don’t hit in a game we have a “weak offense” while the other team says they had “superior pitching”.

    The statistics tell you things like we have the best ptiching and superior (maybe not best offense”. You can’t believe these things because you remember all the strikeouts and other failures. But remember 70% failure in offense in baseball is good.

    Yes the team can be better but that does not mean it is good. I agree that they need to get younger but for now they are too goode enter a rebuilding i.e. trading away good players for prospects.

    We can all be fans but let’s not highlight the negatives or the positives. The record speaks for itself. We had more W’s than anyone else last year. Something must be right?

  32. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Some people just like to believe that the sky is falling … and that the world is ending whatever days it was supposed to end last year, etc ..

  33. TheDipsy

    January 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    “Yes, the team can be better but that does not mean it is good (sic)” I know what you meant. The Halladay point is a good one because Halladay lost the final game. Why?????? Because the Cards could eke out a run. One freakin run. Thats how you gotta think against the really good pitchers. A run here…and a run there….and if you end up with four at then end of the game you’ll be in good shape if you’re pitching is good too. The Phils don’t think like this. Ryan Howard AND Charlie Manuel are always thinking long ball. The mere fact that Charlie didn’t hold Ryan up on that 3-0 pitch is criminal. CRIMINAL. There is not one legitimate argument you could make for swinging at that pitch. But that’s Manuel/Howard.

    I am ragging because the team can play better if they just play different sometimes.

    The Dipsy

    • Brooks

      January 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      I went to 35 games last year and will again this year. I love how this team can smash/bash and pitch with the best of them but in the playoffs the Dipster is spot on. As he so eloquently explained in another post, the competition gets tougher and the offense needs to adjust.

      I with ya Dip!

  34. Lefty

    January 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    PN commenters, A request for help please-
    I just attempted to look up team and individual “plate discipline” stats on Fangraphs. I don’t understand most of the terms they use for categories. “0-Swing%, Z Swing%, and on and on. I’d really like to know if the stats back up what I believe my eyes see. Does this page show amount of pitches taken, pitches fouled off, etc.?

    I’d appreciate if someone could help. Or at least link me to a glossary that shows what these things mean, the glossary in the upper right hand corner doesn’t show them- I don’t think. Or maybe there is a better source of information on this than fangraphs?
    Thanks in advance, Lefty


    • schmenkman

      January 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Lefty, I don’t know of any site that has pitches fouled off.

      Here is the glossary: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/offense/plate-discipline/

      Have you checked out Baseball-Reference? This shows pitches per PA, % swung at, etc:

      If you hover above the column headings the definition pops up.

      I would focus on the NL (or AL) rather than combine the two, due to the DH.

      • Lefty

        January 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

        Thanks, that’s just what I was looking for, complete with league averages!

      • schmenkman

        January 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        So the B-R site linked above did have fouls (F/Str), and the Phillies were last in the NL last year (although some of the best hitting teams were also near the bottom).

      • Lefty

        January 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm

        I see that too. thanks again.

  35. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I log on for shits and giggles

    And there they are saying Howard will hit 500 homers.
    And yes Donny I LOLOLOLOLOL

    True Believers.
    This is real?

    .341 vs lefties?

    Every GM would kill to lock up old players who have failed on higher level in 09,10,11??
    And then in 12 they will be reborn?

    You are hard to read and understand.
    Everyone wants Howard up vs a leftie in game 5 of a 5 game series?
    But you are serious?
    Then The Phillies play GM like you and Chuck.

    More wins than anyone.
    Rah rah

    Only 3 loses in 5 games when it mattered and if you played 100000000 innings you werent scoring.

    Rah rah

    • betasigmadeltashag

      January 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      YOu prove every ones point AFW failing on a high level in 09 10 11 yea losing in the WS in 6 games to the Yankees is failing, and losing to the eventually WS winner in 10 and 11 is failing at high levels. The WS or bust thing is just stupid. I understand it comes from the expectations, but following the Phillies since I was 5 in 1970, my expectations are to field a competitive team evrey year, get to the playoffs more often then in the past, and yea maybe win a WS or two or Three in my lifetime. The idea that a five or seven game series is failing at a high level is just idiotic. AFW I would like you to name what you think were the best teams in baseball over the last 10 years, and how many won the WS. I am sure you will probably say all 10 WS winners were the best. I look at it once a while ago, and in my opinion I think i came up with 4 in the last ten years and 2008 was not one of them.

  36. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @ baseball fan

    This is why I can hardly tolerate reading these mongotards.

    Im not a fan. I turned in my fan card. I am a mets fan.

    Donny has for years sandbagged called out grammar and reading and spelling.
    Donny has for years been wrong. As I have again and again nailed it.

    Donny has for years said how I ruin things for him.
    Donny Moron is for a reason.
    He has over and over again earned it.
    And now he thinks they are they are the best.
    Im out of line and not a fan for caring.

    He and the other Donny Moron disples are tough to read.

  37. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Classy… and a self-admitted Mets fan

    • brooks

      January 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Do you forget Andy’s writing prior to the Cards series? Huge fan… seriously. Although he had his doubts about their success he also did cheer them on and rooted for them. What I dont understand is that he calls the Cards the best team in baseball like he called the Giants the best team the year before. I too dont consider 2010 or 2011 a waste.

  38. Don M

    January 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I just dont understand why we can’t just talk baseball, and have to address certain people acting certain ways…

    Seriously tell one guy that his posts “read like a 3rd grade book report” and they never let you forget about it… And he’ll then tell people that you try to correct people for spelling… Anyway, I’ve tried to bury this hatchet multiple times with no success ..

    I just don’t understand how people are “phillies fans” yet seem to be completely unhappy with every single thing about the organization over the past few seasons. They’ve fallen short of the ultimate goal, but they are far from a bad team- they are consistently among the very best and should continue that trend this season.

    Rah rah

    • schmenkman

      January 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      I don’t know why you’re bothering to respond, but I do want to say that it’s no better than 1st grade, and in fact much more like K.

      Rah rah. LOL.

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