This Bullpen *Could* Actually Provide Relief – Phillies Nation

This Bullpen *Could* Actually Provide Relief

We’re proud to introduce Phillies Nation’s newest writer, Eric Seidman, a published author, an alumnus of Baseball Prospectus and a current staff writer at He also happens to be Corey’s older brother.

Chad Qualls is one of several "problem-relievers" whose absence should improve the Phillies in the second half.

Phillies relievers have blown 12 saves and 16 ties this season, and we’re just passing the all-star break. Last season, the relief corps blew eight saves in total and was a major reason the Phillies won 102 games. This year is a very different story, as the confluence of performance inconsistency, problems both talent- and injury-related, and Charlie Manuel’s frustrating usage patterns has led to one of the most ineffective units in the league from a run-prevention standpoint.

While ERA isn’t a tremendous evaluative tool, it certainly has its merits when it comes to evaluating relievers, and the Phillies’ 4.76 bullpen mark ranks behind all non-Met squads in the senior circuit. The Phillies shouldn’t have allocated any more resources to 50-IP pitchers this off-season, but the struggles of this bullpen is a major reason why the team has a division-worst 37-50 record.

However, there are two main reasons to believe that the relievers could actually provide some relief over the de facto second-half of the season:

1) Even with the “contributions” of several ineffective relievers, this bullpen ranks among the best in a few key areas.
2) Many of those aforementioned ineffective relievers are no longer in the Phillies’ bullpen.

This isn’t to say that the bullpen has been secretly effective, because it hasn’t. Though several advanced stats — including one I co-created called SIERA — peg the Phillies’ bullpen as pitching fairly effectively, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that their rate of stranding runners isn’t atrocious. I’m not going to condescendingly spit on the opinions of those who swear that relief pitching has been the problem this season and that mostly everyone, Jonathan Papelbon included, has under-performed. But I will ask for open minds, as the two reasons cited above should offer legitimate hope that improvements could be on the horizon.

The bullpen has a 23.2% strikeout rate, which ranks fifth in the league. Its 9% walk rate ranks fifth as well. Strikeout rate and walk rate are two statistics that stabilize very quickly, which means that even with a small sample of innings pitched from the group as a whole, we can have more confidence that these fairly impressive rates are “for real.” Since these are two of the three outcomes deemed independent of defense, they speak more to the true talent level of the pitcher. That the Phillies bullpen fares well in these areas is important, as they are likely to persist over the long haul. Home runs — the third defense-independent outcome — have been a problem all season, but we’ll circle back to those in a bit.

With nobody on base, the Phillies’ bullpen leads the league with a 23.6% strikeout rate and is mere percentage points away from the league lead with a 5.8% walk rate. Their batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is right around the league average in this split, and the same is true of other stats like WHIP and batting average against. They have the third-highest home run rate with nobody on, but haven’t been victimized too much since nobody is on base.

Without men on base, the Phillies’ bullpen has performed well this season, which leads to the next logical conclusion: they’ve been baaaaaaaad once runners do reach base.

The numbers here are ugly. The Phillies have the second-worst strand rate at 28%, the second-worst ERA at 8.40, and the fourth-highest BABIP at .313. Pitchers typically perform worse with men on base, but the Phillies’ bullpen has had close to extreme results in this area. And again, the home run rate is high, which amplifies the problem.

With nobody on base, home runs aren’t desirable, but they don’t hurt as much. But when less talented pitchers are making mistakes with men on base that lead to even more runners, and then struggle to keep the ball in the park, it’s a vicious circle bound to repeat until either luck or the front office intervenes. Getting back to the two key points, though, there is reason to believe that these home run woes won’t continue, because some of the biggest problem-pitchers are no longer in the bullpen.

Chad Qualls had an unsightly home run per flyball rate of 25%, and he’s now pitching for the Yankees. David Herndon had the same 25% HR/FB, and while that was only over 7.2 innings, he had elbow surgery and will miss the entire season. Brian Sanches had a 23.1% rate over 6.1 innings and he won’t stick in the ‘pen either. Joe Savery threw 23 innings with a 16.7% HR/FB and he was recently seen taking grounders at first base in the minors.

The current members of the bullpen have the following HR/FB rates: Bastardo (13.5%), Valdes (12%), Papelbon (11.8%), Schwimer (8.3%), Diekman and Horst (0%).

Weighted by innings pitched, those rates average out to 9.5%, which ranks much closer to the league average. Bastardo won’t continue to serve up dingers at that pace, just like Diekman and Horst are bound to give up a few here and there. That being said, the point remains that the bullpen as it currently stands is more talented than the one that started the season, and is therefore more likely to improve as the season progresses.

The inability to prevent runs has been the major issue for the Phillies this season, and the bullpen is a large part of that. But “the bullpen” isn’t a static term. It evolves as personnel changes, and is dictated by the usage patterns of the manager. The six relievers likely to continue pitching in relief as the season wears on make for a more effective unit, and history favors their collective improvement over the odds that they finish with extremes in BABIP, HR/FB, strand rate and other common luck-related metrics with men on base.

Like so many other things that happened in the first half of the Phillies’ season, bad talent and bad execution mixed with awful luck. You saw the result. Don’t expect to see a unit that bad in the second half.

Click to comment


  1. Ryne Duren

    July 11, 2012 at 9:30 am

    good article eric!i kinda agree with you. but i still think a few growing pains are in order with some of these younger guys. with that said. my thoughts on the youbger ones horst looks like he has a pretty good idea of what he’s doing on the mound. some guys have the poise, he has it! looks like a decent pickup for the phils. diekman has the raw power that he has to harness, which i think he will, and schwimmer has good stuff if you look at most players who have talent in the minors even the good prospects go through a period of adjustment when they move up to the next level, and once they settle in and get comfortable their talent and stuff take over and they make the better pitches! we’re starting to see that with schwimmer. diekman has some nasty stuff from what i can see and it won’t be long that he’ll settle in also. if the phils can aquire a veteran righty not of the qualls ilk! but a good one the pen has the potential to be very good in fact. this year is a good time for these guys to get some experience for when we’re back next year. if the team continues to lose then my opinion would be to see what we have at AA or AAA that could get some experience also position wise that is. so i think your on track with how i was thinking. sometimes i think i’m writing the same crap over and over. but at least when i read something like this i just have to throw my 2 cents in. people just have to learn to be patient with the young ones in the pen! we are spoiled you know. oh and as far as bastardo goes he’s not considered as young prospect anymore! yea he’s young but he should be more consistant. he could end up as trade bait!

  2. Don M

    July 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Eric, welcome aboard . . . . great article with a nice blend of facts, stats, and optimism!

  3. Manny

    July 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

    This is the type of analysis I’ve come to expect from this site. Very informative and hopefully a sign that our pen isn’t as terrible as it’s been so far.

  4. Don M

    July 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

    we could’ve had Heath Bell instead of Papelbon…what was Amaro thinking!??… oh wait, Bell’s ERA is 6.75 and he’s blown 5 saves already for Miami

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      July 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Last I checked Donald M. Wheeler

      You are 14 out and in last.

      Does it matter if its Bell or Paplebomb?

      Ill trade for Bell and send send 100 Paplebombs.

      To get salary relief.
      Now Wheeler
      Lets dream about Howard and Rollins and Utley not being here.

      OH Wheeler they are here forever.

      Would Donald M. Wheeler trade Paplebomb and Howard and Utley and Hamels for Bell?

      Of course not. These are your guys.

      Ill take Heath Bell and Adam Dunn

      You will always take 14 games out.


      • R.C. Cowie

        July 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        Donald M. Wheeler = Comment of the Year

  5. Ken Bland

    July 11, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Geez, the Phillies should be so fortunate to come up with a mid season acquisition like Phillies Nation stumbled across.

    That said, frankly, although he’s not a direct part of the pen, bullpen improvement begins with the guy that’s supposed to pitch next Tuesday. And I’ll take the liberty of assuming, or hoping that Doc resembles the Doc we are familiar with, as opposed to a seemingly physically impaired pitcher that the first half presented.

    It drops Kendrick to the pen, giving it another semi capable arm (I know the numbers support him more as a starter for the most part, but in a season littered with miraculous hopes, I can offer a little hope thrown Kendrick’s way).

    It’s reasonable to assume (hope?) Doc offers 7-9 innings more often than not, and an extra arm joining Cole, and Cliff geared toward that don’t overtax the pen like it’s been. I understand Cole has to be here, and Cliff needs to get rolling for that to happen, but let’s assume they live up to that.

    Anyway, side factors like Doc returning seem worth more than a quick mention. I believe it will represent an important foundation to a pen improvement. Now, if the defense can improve, maybe they get a little roll going.

    • Lefty

      July 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      I love that picture Ken.

      • Ken Bland

        July 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

        Thank you, Lefty. If I were to caption that sucker, I’d call it “Pete Rose: A Photographic Legacy.” To those that look back on Pete’s career with appreciation, that pic says it all about his style.

  6. Dave P

    July 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    What confounds me is how the bullpen that (correct me if I’m wrong) threw the least innings in the majors last year could have so many injuries this year. Herndon. Stutes. Madson (obviously no longer with phillies), Contreras (not actually surprised here, though), all requiring major surgery. What gives?

    • chuck schreiber

      July 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Must be the trainer..Fire him. Same principle as those of you who advocate firing the hitting coach and Cholly. Think about it.

  7. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Well Heath Bell and youd be in last……

    Paplebomb ………..

    you re in last.

    Donald M. Wheeler wants all the old guys…..

    Just so you can be in last.

    It blew my mind when all the oldsters wanted to come back and be 14 back on july 11th…

    Mind blowing last place team…..

    Heath Bell
    Steve Carlton
    Babe Ruth
    The lord and savior (Cole Hamels)
    Mother Theresa of calcutta.
    Pope John Paul (Cole) the third.

    Or you could sign Rollins and Howard forever and be 68-94 and say how great it is.

    How great are they?

    • Ryne Duren

      July 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      are you ok AFW? is your medication wearing off or something?

  8. betasigmadeltashag

    July 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Man AFW you still are on a soap box about a guy who has played 2 games, you really need to get some help. This article was about the bull pen.
    This bull pen frustrates me to no end, but I also think that if you take Mariano out of the mix almost every releiver out there has bad streaches and good ones. Bull pen arms are from year to year a crap shot. I was surprised by the walk rate I would think it would be higher, but in reality it is not walks that a lot of these guys have. It is attacking the zone early, and not getting behind in the count where they feel that have to give in to the hitter and throw a ball down the middle of the plate. Also especially in Bastardo’s case, when he gets ahead he has had a hard time throwing a strike that is hard to hit.
    I really think Bastardo, Diekmen, and Schwimmer will have ups and downs but can be solid guys. The thing this year unlike years past it seems to me, is even though this offense was not great it seemed to score runs when the pen gave them up. Or when they did not score runs they would not give up many. I have said it before on here, sometimes good teams have off years as a group. Weather they make a come back and get into the wild card hunt this year or not. This team when healthy for a significant amount of time can win.
    Signing Cole is key, weather it is now or trading him and bringing him back in FA. He is the key to the rotation to me over both Doc and Cliff.

  9. Dylan

    July 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    ATTENTION PHILLIES NATION WRITERS!! I would love to read an article about where the phillies would be if they hadn’t traded for hunter pence. We lost whatever was left of our farmsystem for a good right fielder. nothing more. he cannot carry this team. He swings at every single pitch. Where would we be if we had traded for Carlos Beltron? who is having a career year? Michael Cuddyer? MELKEY CABRERA ALL STAR MVP. if we had traded for cabrera I’m willing to bet this team is not 13 games below .500 possibly 4 or 5 games below .500. We traded our best hitting prospects and said DOM BROWN NO HE IS NOT TRADE ABLE. now he sits in the minor leagues, hurt, doing nothing for this team we have nothing in our hitting farm system aging starters (jaun pierre, placido polanco anyone?) and hunter pence who is having an okay season slightly below average for his career numbers. He is not the player we needed to step up when howard wasn’t there. The hunger to repeat a championship made the phillies pull the trigger on pence, and that has crippled the phillies. it would be nice article to read if some one could incorperate correct statistics and what not. Food for Thought.

    • Ryne Duren

      July 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      get over it dylan. they’d probably all be on the DL anyway.

  10. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Soap box?
    For a team 14 games out on July 11th 2012
    176,000,000.00 pay roll

    A team that lost to the Cardinals last year? With the greatest pitching staff in history of baseball?
    The Cardinals had a disgreceful bullpen all year till they played the Phillies. Then it was golden.

    There comes a point when you the fans have to step up to reality.

    Next year with all these old guys you suck.

    Your team sucks
    Ryan Howard was behind 4 shortstops in slugging last year.
    Shortstops. Not first baseman.
    Slugging. Not some other stat slugging percentage.
    Slugging and now hes coming off an injury.

    you are 14 games out
    more than any other team but 3
    Because you SUCK

    you suck

    This disconnect where they are the best is only irritating because you think they are the best.

    YOU SUCK you are one of the worst teams.
    Record and everything wise.

    Beta Donny and everyone else
    What part of this dont you get???
    This is one of the worst 5 teams in baseball?

    And next year it is worse. They are all older.

    I am frustrated because you think this is the best team still.

    Does anyone outside of me understand that Ryan Howard cant carry Billy Butlers Jock?

    NO you think he is the best.
    I like morons. But when you GM like Beta and Donny its an issue.

    I like you. but
    There is no comprehension at all here.

    You have one of the worst teams in the MLB here.
    But you carry on like the best.
    Donny and Wheeler back thursday to tell you how great they all are.

    It is sleight of hand I guess. 98 wins next year. Count it.

    • Stuart

      July 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Wow, you are pathetic. You really have nothing better to do?

  11. Don M

    July 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    So on 7-11-12 . . . . you can get a free slurpee from 7-11 . . . .and enjoy it while you read AFW arguing with… himself… on Phillies Nation

    If you’d stop yapping about Ryan Howard, and lisitng the Payroll figure every other post – you’d realize that most of the people on this blog have been saying they’d trade pieces from this team right now … because …. as you stated 37 times, we’re 14 games back right now

    you believe for some reason that players will automatically be worse next year because they are a year older? I don’t know if Halladay and Lee could have worse years …. Bastardo, Stutes, Herndon… Victorino and Pence . . . . all guys that were counted on to have solid seasons for the Phillies – and all either injured or underperforming.

    you’d trade for Adam Dunn right now? . . . . despite the fact that he hit .159 last year, and is hitting .208 this year ….and has lower career Avg and Slg% than Ryan Howard ….

    What realistic moves would Andrew from Waldorf make at the trade deadline this year?? You complain a lot, but rarely say what you would have done differently ….simply complaining about a GM is nothing unique …. maybe offer a suggestion, and share your brilliance with all of us from time to time

  12. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Would you Donald M. Wheeler
    Trade Lee and Howard and Rollins and Utley today for Adam Dunn?

    Would you if offered?

  13. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Or will you instead sit here and day after day pump up valueless players?

    Just to cut through the smoke for the less fortunate ( morons).

    Lee, Howard, Utley and Rollins have no value.

    You will have to send money and prospects for any other team to have them on thier roster.

    To take on some of their salary. They are a burden.

    Your burden Donald M. Wheeler.
    You wanted them all.
    So eat them up and be 14 back.
    Just dont think I am going to buy into the ignorance of thinking next year this team is contending.
    Keep selling though.

    • Ryne Duren

      July 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      i thought i was losing it! oh well AFW on the brighter side you can’t lose it if you never had it! oh wait was was i talking about? crap! i must have had it cause i lost it! well that was good to know.

  14. Don M

    July 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    No, I would not trade Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley for Adam Dunn….

    That would be regarded as possibly the very worst trade in the history of baseball.

    Again though, what realistic moves would Andrew from Waldorf make at the trade deadline this year??

    • Andrew From Waldorf

      July 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      You do not understand about burdens and contracts.

      Youd trade the whole team to not have Howard.
      Rollins and Utley and Lee to boot?

      But you wouldnt do it
      It is laughable.

      Hamels leaves because of these bad contracts.
      Make that deal and you have about 75 million to play with.?
      Whats the Nationals total pay roll this year Donald?

      • Don M

        July 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm

        Why do you try to compare us to the Nationals all the time? They sucked for years and years… bad enough to get #1 picks that just so happened to the the best pitching prospect ever, Strasburg …. and a once-in-a-generation player in Harper …. (oh yea, there’s Drew Storen too).

        So it sounds like your strategy is for the Phillies to suck for 5 years, and try to get the #1 pick in the draft … since that’s how the Nationals did it

  15. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Donald M. Wheeler

    To make Howard and Utley and Rollins and Lee vanish off the roster?????

    Youd take me. Or my little dog or the UPS man.

    Youd take anything to make them not be on the roster.
    To get Dunn back would be something.

    These people dont understand. Its sad
    And either you dont understand or misguide them because you want to.

    Tell Phillies Nation that Ryan Howard has no value.
    His vlaue is to be traded somewhere. When the Phillies eat $20,000,000.00 of his $25,000,000.00 contract so that someone may take him.

    But they wont. Hes here.

    And you defend Ruben.
    Don its indefensible.

    And you and some of the others will call him the most feared hitter.
    Say it enough and I guess its true.

    • brooks

      July 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Get a room you 2

  16. Psujoe

    July 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Why I be off my rocker to suggest Pence for Upton? Would Arizona do it?

    • Eric Seidman

      July 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      No way Arizona does a Pence for Upton deal, or any deal with the Phillies based around Pence. Arizona is going to get a ton for Upton and a 3 WAR rightfielder who is set to make $12-$13 million in his last year of team control is not exactly the type of guy you look for when you decide to trade an asset like Upton.

      • Psujoe

        July 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

        This is were RAJ has to get creative even if it’s not for Upton, I’ll just use him as example. He should be able to get enough for Pence, Pierre and Victorino to flip to get Upton. I’m not saying I’d do that, but he’s gonna need multiple team deals, IMO. I’d love an outfield of Brown, Bourne and Upton though.

      • Eric Seidman

        July 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        I like the way you’re thinking but it’s very tough to do that. Pence is the only one under control next year, and he makes a lot of money. Very tough to get upper-tier prospects from those three. Realistically, the Phils would probably have to trade Dom Brown, Trevor May, those types of prospects.

      • Psujoe

        July 11, 2012 at 11:21 pm

        I think Pence has a lot of value to a playoff contender with deep
        pockets. Small list but he has value since the team would have him under control another year to use or regrade to recoup some assets. I think Pence is better than Upton, but the extra $6.5 could be used in CF or 3b, while Vic’s 7+ for cf or 3b as well. Blanton’s 8 and contreras’s $2.5 go to Cole and Defratus.

      • schmenkman

        July 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

        Joe, “team control” is not a great asset when it means you get to pay $15 million for a good-but-not great corner outfielder.

        Upton is at least as good as Pence now (even with his down year this year) and is 4 1/2 years younger, not turning 25 until Aug 25th.

  17. Dylan

    July 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Pence victorino polanco blanton for upton…thats still not enough

    • Eric Seidman

      July 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Dylan — Arizona doesn’t want that type of package for him to begin with. They want prospects, close to major league ready, not costly major leaguers. They want guys under team control that don’t cost much but will contribute a lot. Players of Upton’s caliber just aren’t dealt for established major leaguers with pricey salaries.

      • George

        July 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm

        From what I’ve read of the Upton situation, apparently Ariz. is hoping to get some major league talent. Some of their management people have soured on Justin, and might actually take less than what some people think. But they’d probably prefer a cheaper ML player and a really good prospect or two. He may be expendable, but not so expendable that management is going to be stupid about it.

        I don’t really know what the problem is with Uptons in general, but I’ve also read that brother B.J. has raised a few questions in the past with the Rays. Maybe making a run for either of the two isn’t such a hot idea.

  18. George

    July 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Wow! Bullpen optimism turns into ridiculous Howard diatribes by AFW, and useless rebuttals by Don M., who can’t seem to just ignore an idiot. I guess that’s nothing new, though.

    As for the bullpen, I am among those who regard it as having possibilities. Diekman, for instance, has nasty stuff, but showed his inexperience against the Braves by paying no attention whatsoever to Bourn on second base. That resulted in a steal of third and a few pitches later, a run scored. Horst so far has looked good, and Schwimer has done well in his last few appearances. Kendrick will be a reliever soon, and at least he has experience.

    Next season, there will be some returning arms, and all the rookies will know a little more what to do under pressure. (Some of these guys weren’t even supposed to be major leaguers yet.) This season has been a BP adjustment period, and pushing the budget to luxury tax levels for a relief pitcher this season would be panic of the worst possible kind.

  19. Brooks

    July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Nice article – appreciate it
    I think no matter what the BP does this year though, it remains a “building” plan for next year.
    Look, even if the Phils were on pace to win 97 games which would definitely take the division, that would put them at 81 wins for the season which is not going to make the playoffs and the Phils will not run a .600 winning percentage until the end of the year.

    Just make sure you are prepped for next year and don’t try to pull the sheets over our eyes for the remainder of this season – As soon as Galvis is back, he starts (I think at 3rd base) – I would insert D Brown but lets not count on much happening.

    I still contend the changes need to be made starting from the top with Cholly.

  20. bacardipr

    July 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    The problem with Galvis, Brooks is he cant hit. If he need PEDs to able to hit .225, imagine without it. I mean who really knows what he me able to do. A tandem of Popup Jimmy, and Galvis is a weak tandem. We dont know how Chase will hold up. If he will return to a resemblance of his former self or not. Lot of questions marks surrounding this team. It wouldnt surprise me if we become the Cubs of the NL. High payroll with a not so good team, next year as well. Im hoping not but i can see some resemblance there.

    • brooks

      July 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      It is a scary thought bacardipr but, I’d try it before next year anyway

    • schmenkman

      July 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      If Utley just returns to his 2011 self he’ll be one of the best 2b-men in baseball and almost impossible to improve upon.

  21. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    RE: everyone

    Have a sense of humor


    Earth to Donald M. Wheeler

    You do suck as bad as the Nationals did. You have a top 5 worst team.
    Only issue is they never had the baggage of a $176,000,000.00 payroll

    It makes it a little more embarrassing.

    At least Galvis is young and not a primma donna ( Donald) well past his prime.
    Bring up the entire AA or AAA team.
    They make nothing and guess what?

    The worst you could be is last.
    Which sorry to say Donald M. Wheeler
    You are with all your Primma Donalds.

    Game 5 vs the Cardinals last year.
    There was a play where Jimmy Rollins did not run to first on a fair ball.
    Would it have killed him?

    Well having all these guys like that here is killing this team.
    Take care PN

  22. Joey Spagna

    July 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Yeah the bullpen can provide relief. They can let me kiss Mirren’s ass in the bullpen. She got one nice hiney.

  23. Lefty

    July 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I think optimism is warranted for the bull pen. My father used to say when you hit “rock bottom” you have no where to go but up. Now I was never quite sure what “rock bottom” meant exactly, a mining term maybe? But whatever it is, I think we’ve seen it.

    • George

      July 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

      Please don’t say that, Lefty! My experience has always been this: When someone tells me “Things have to get better because they can’t get any worse,” they ALWAYS get worse. Same with “rock bottom.” I also don’t know the origins of the term, but I do know that when I’m at that point, someone will always produce a rock pick and start chiseling out a deeper hole for me.

      • Lefty

        July 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        Yikes! I take it back then.

  24. Andrew From Waldorf

    July 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Just watched the franchise: a season with the Miami Marlins.

    It is possible there is a more dysfunctional team with a bleaker future than the Phillies.
    Right here in our own division 🙂

    But it is close.

    So there is some good news.

  25. bacardipr

    July 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I think what AWF is trying to preach is a salary dump. I can understand his principal idea. However it will be hard to accomplish for different reasons. First of all no one is taking Howards contract. If we trade J-Roll we would have to eat a good portion of his salary. Then who will replace him? Lee has a limited no trade cause. To the extent of which well im not sure exact details of it. We would have to eat some of his salary as well. The same principal with Utley. With his issues and about 21 million left in contract. Who will take that contract? Utely we are stuck with, i dont see any possibility of us moving him. Rollins possibly so, again eating a part of his contract. On top of still having to find his replacement. Unfortunately this isnt the NFL.

  26. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    July 12, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Nice article, Eric.

  27. bob

    July 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Won’t miss Qualls …NOT ONE BIT! He should probably be banished to another galaxy…

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