The Tuesday 10: Cheese Me

Over the weekend, I made pilgrimage to the great lands of Milwaukee and Chicago, the former of which being close to where current penman extraordinaire Michael Baumann resides. We, along with another friend from the east, had been planning this trip for some time, and considering the poor guy has already been in the cheese state for more than five months, probably due.

I’ve lived in eastern cities my whole life, if you pardon a month-long stint in Lansing, Michigan, so every time I head halfway west I’m always struck by how clean and pretty lots of places out there are. It’s kind of a strange, non-quantifiable statement, I guess, but it’s a good impression to leave an area with. I’d still like to see more of Chicago – especially the north side – but what the troupe of us managed to see was almost universally positive.

I even managed not to get thrown out of a Milwaukee bar when I ordered a brat without kraut.

This left me mostly unaware of the weekend’s baseball action, save for the extra-inning madness I somehow avoided being in the office for. Nevertheless, let’s take a look back together and see just what the week held, and what I missed as I stuffed my face with Polish sausage at U.S. Cellular Field.

10. Sharing the Wealth

I saw Domonic Brown’s home run at Miller Park on Saturday, a right-center field shot that landed in the Phillies’ bullpen. That puts him at 19 on the season and marks the second of his homers I’ve been present for, neither of which being at Citizens Bank Park.

But that’s beside the point. Did you know the Phillies entered Monday third in the National League in home runs? They have 66, trailing Atlanta’s 85 and Colorado’s 83. You might have heard that Brown has 19 of those homers, and he’s the only one on the club with at least nine. Seven other N.L. clubs have one or zero players with at least nine dingers on the season:

The Rockies, on the opposite end of that spectrum, have five already.

9. Ben Revere, Man…Yeah…Wow…

Trades are easier pills to swallow when what your team gives up to acquire someone ends up being about as bad as what was brought over. Vance Worley has a 7.21 ERA in 48.2 Major League innings for the Twins (although a 2.84 ERA in a handful of Triple-A starts since his optioning) and Trevor May has a pedestrian 3.92 ERA and 1.74 K/BB in his first taste of Double-A action.

So maybe that makes it easier to read this lovely list on Revere:

  • .562 OPS, second-worst among qualified outfielders only to B.J. Upton’s .534
  • 5 extra-base hits in 209 PA. That’d be 15 in more than 600 PA. There have been exactly four seasons of 600+ PA and 15- XBH since 1947, and they all happened from 1966-71
  • Revere’s 54 OPS+ would be the second-worst in team history among qualified outfielders since ’47
  • Revere’s 20 well-hit balls (a well-hit average of .096; “well-hit” determined by BIS classifications, not speed off the bat as I’d previously thought) are the fifth-lowest among qualified hitters
  • In spite of his speed, Revere has 8 GIDPs. If he keeps his current pace and steals 40 bases while grounding into 20 double plays, he would be the first Phillies hitter to do so in the integrated era and the third qualifying hitter ever to do so, joining Vladimir Guerrero in 2002, Lance Johnson in 1992 and Dave Concepcion in 1974.

I said MAYBE it would make it easier.

8. In Happier News

It seems appropriate to break the mood with a reminder that this .gif exists and, yes,baseball can be fun sometimes.

brown

7. The Run On Runs

Back to Brown again for a second.

Prior to his Sunday goose eggs, Brown had scored at least one run in 16 of 19 games, including nine straight, for a total of 18. Brown is the first Phillies hitter to have a streak like that since Shane Victorino did it in 10 straight games in 2009. Brown’s 1.088 SLG in those nine games is the fifth-highest among the 41 streaks in team history of at least nine straight games scoring a run.

6. The Cliff Conundrum

One of the scariest thoughts around right now is the possibility that the Phillies could - somehow – position themselves as buyers at this year’s trade deadline, with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. once more at the helm of acquisition.

That’d be enough to scare me on its own, but add in perceived value bumps for Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco – players who could fill needs on Philly’s roster sometime next season or in 2015 – and the looming sense of dread over the acquisition of (another) corner outfielder just feels like a non-zero-chance proposition, even with so many already on the current roster.

So, enter Lee. Cliff is pitching brilliantly once more, a 2.55 ERA and 5.19 K/BB to his name thus far, and certainly doesn’t seem long for the Phillies. Or does he? If Amaro sees the Phils as a legitimate playoff team (they entered Monday 8.5 games back in the division and 6.5 back of the second wild card spot), would he pass up the chance to trade Lee, and acquire talent plus salary relief, once more?

Frankly, I’m not of the opinion that the 2013 Phillies are a contending team, and little I’ve seen on the season to date makes me think otherwise. I don’t know what Carlos Zambrano can add to this team, even though I’m relatively certain it’d be more valuable than Tyler Cloyd’s efforts, but is that enough to make up the ground currently standing between the Phillies and their fellow postseason contenders? Will Chase Utley’s return spark a run? There’s little else to believe in, and I’m not sure that’s enough.

It’s safe to say that Lee’s presence will pose a quandary for weeks to come, and a resolution or scale-tipping moment seems far away.

5. Hamels and Playing Catch-Up

Cole Hamels got off to a terrible start, and his season numbers still don’t look great. But after his most recent start, a win over the Marlins, things seem to be looking up. Since April 13 (his third start of the season following two dreadful outings), Hamels has a 3.58 ERA, 70 K and 19 uIBB in 70.1 IP over 11 starts. Now that’s more like it!

What’s awful about that, though, is that despite Hamels’s return to above-average performance, the Phillies are 2-11 in his starts. Nine times he’s allowed three or fewer ER in a start; his record in those nine games is 2-5, and the club is 2-7. Those are figures that speak for themselves and need none of my hammering home.

4. Seeing the Sights

When I took that aforementioned trip to see Baumann, we made sure to check out popular tourist attractions and also act like 12-year-olds.

3. Catching Fire (And Also Pain)

Erik Kratz will require surgery for a torn meniscus in his knee, disabling him and requiring the Phillies to operate a catching platoon of, get this, Humberto Quintero and Steven Lerud for the forseeable future.

Here are the catchers the Phillies have used at some point in a season since 2010:

That’s seven catchers, but amazingly, 16 other teams have used as many or more catchers over that time period, led by Seattle and Texas with 11 apiece.

2. Guess the Slash

Player A: .229/.290/.436
Player B: .251/.294/.436

A is Erik Kratz, B is Ryan Howard.

1. Music Break

I don’t really have a 10th baseball point to make this week, so here’s a music plug for dance act Disclosure, who’ve made one of the more infectious tracks of the year to date.

That’s 10. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Leave a Reply

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21 comments

  1. Jonny5

    June 11, 2013 10:31 AM

    Boye you have a big butt. Flip flop guy? (Fist bump)

    It’s going to make me shed a tear to see “Big Z” start for my Phillies.

  2. Phillie697

    June 11, 2013 11:03 AM

    I predicted that the Phillies have little hope for this season, unless Dom Brown blows up and turn into Matt Kemp Jr. Now that we’re in June, two things are clear: 1) Dom Brown is not Matt Kemp Jr., because as it turns out, Matt Kemp is wishing he can be Dom Brown Jr.; 2) Phillies are at the edge of contention because, you guessed it, Dom Brown blew up.

  3. nahmean

    June 11, 2013 11:35 AM

    ayo you left a space in your music link so it doesn’t work. good song though.

  4. Rei de Bastoni

    June 11, 2013 12:12 PM

    Am I the only person for whom Cliff has surpassed Chase as their favorite player?

  5. JDM

    June 11, 2013 12:51 PM

    Cliff has replaced Carlos as my favorite player. Chase was never my favorite player. Jen Utley could have been my favorite.

  6. Jesse

    June 11, 2013 02:06 PM

    Jonny5, I think that’s MB. Not least because he’s a bow-man…

  7. hk

    June 11, 2013 02:33 PM

    FWIW, Seattle is calling up catching prospect Mike Zunino from AAA, so they will take the lead over Texas and employ their 12th catcher since 2010.

  8. Fish Fry

    June 12, 2013 05:23 AM

    Difference in the game, outfield Defense and lack of timely hitting. Revere blows a very catchable ball while MN makes two spectacular catches. Twins get men on, move them over and score on a single after great AB’s while the Phils get Mayberry on second and he just dies on the vine. Doesn’t it seem like Groundhog Day?

    DB has cooled off so now we’ll see who we have. You have to figure he is somewhere between the homer maniac and the .235 guy. .280/35HR/105RBI would be nice.

  9. Phillie697

    June 12, 2013 10:09 AM

    @Fish,

    No one in their right minds thought that Dom can keep that up, so that’s fine. The really BIG implication of his other-worldliness in May for us Dom Brown fans is that he’s never, ever, ever going to be put on the bench to rot or sent back down to the minors again, unless he goes the way of Ike Davis (oh baseball gods, please do not let that happen).

  10. Dennis

    June 12, 2013 10:46 AM

    I’d like to ask everyone’s opinion…. feel free to be blunt

    Would it make sense for the Phil’s to trade the likes of Lee and Howard to the Rangers (plus 40-50 million) for Kinsler and prospects Gallo and Perez.
    Then trade Papelbon and Revere to the Tigers for prospects Castellanos and Steven Moya.
    Finally, trade Hamels to the Giants for prospects Gary Brown, Kyle Krick and another outfield prospect.
    I am not saying I am qualified to run a baseball team but I do know when the time has come to rebuild.

  11. Phillie697

    June 12, 2013 03:29 PM

    @Dennis,

    The sentiment is nice, but none of those trades are realistic. None of those teams will make those trades.

    1. You’re asking the Rangers to essentially take on $100M worth of obligations beyond this year, even if we agree to pony up $50M (and the obligations due to Lee and Howard for the remainder of the year are non-trivial either), a 3-time All-Star 2B who has already produced 27.4 fWAR in his career, AND their #3 and #10 prospects according to BP, for a pitcher who will turn 35 in August? Those are the kinds of trades RAJ gives away, not one he comes out ahead on the other end.

    2. A closer (still owed another $39M probably if he’s going to be worth a darn) and a CF they don’t need (they have Austin Jackson, who’s only 26) for the numero UNO prospect and #9 prospect? They’re not that desperate for a closer.

    3. Hamels is owed another $132.5M after this season. As good as Hamels is, the right to own a pitcher being paid at about what he’s worth is not that great of a prize to be worth a team’s #1, #4, AND a third prospect.

    Maybe, maybe, MAYBE we get lucky and one of those lopsided trades happen (and we have to be really lucky, not to mention I will make fun of the GM on the other side for making any of these trades). No way all three happens.

  12. Dennis

    June 12, 2013 03:59 PM

    I understand everything you’ve written….
    The reasons I gave for each of those teams are as follows.
    Texas- they’ve been to the World Series 2 of the last 3 years. With their pitching being obliterated by injuries, adding Lee would without a doubt be a plus. They offered him a larger contract then the Phillies when he was a free agent 2 years ago. The caveat is adding Howard and is ridiculous contract. If we add the 50 million he would essentially be owed less than half his current contract. The Rangers wanted Lee last year but would not part with Prokfar.
    The Tigers want to win and they want to win BAD. They were embarrassed last year by the Giants. They have a closer issue so trading them a proven commodity in Papelbon for the next 2-3 years along with someone that can steal bases and provide relief in the outfield is not a bad. Especially for an unproven asset.
    The Giants pitching has been horrible. They need help. By getting a proven top of the rotation starter, they supplant themselves as contenders for the forsiable future. Could you imagine a rotation of Cain, Hamels, Lincecum, Bumgardner and Zito.
    Again we are asking for unproven commodities.

    I understand this would never happen, but on paper it makes sense. The three teams I am talking about have been in the world series the last couple years and have good teams now. THey want to win whereas the Phillies seem happy with what they’ve won in the past.

  13. Phillie697

    June 12, 2013 04:25 PM

    @Dennis,

    There is no denying the TALENT of the people you are advocating that we trade. I think you under-estimate the COST teams will have to assume to get them. Think about it, Cliff Lee is awesome sure, but is he worth $100M over the next two years (or $115M over the next three years), because that’s essentially what you’re talking about. If you were the Rangers, would you SIGN him for that much if he was on the open market RIGHT NOW, nevermind having to give up an All-Star 2B and two prospects?

    Player salaries MATTER.

  14. Chris S.

    June 12, 2013 04:54 PM

    I think the 1st and 3rd trades won’t happen, I don’t think the Rangers want Cliff that badly to pay more than 115 Million for him and Howard. The third trade won’t happen because Amaro won’t trade Hamels just one year after signing him to such a big contract. Also factor in that Hamels is just 29 he could help with the changing of the guard to the new core which would be a very valuable asset.

    Now trading Paps to Detroit I could see happening, just today they blew the lead in the 9th inning and it has been a recurring theme for them this year so I wouldn’t be surprised at them spending not only big bucks on an elite closer, but also giving up their top prospect to make it happen.

  15. hk

    June 12, 2013 05:52 PM

    Dennis,

    I agree with Chris S. that Papelbon to Detroit could (and should) happen. I don’t see Ben Revere being part of the deal and I doubt the Phils would get 2 top prospects, but I would love to see Papelbon one-for-one for Castellanos.

  16. Phillie697

    June 12, 2013 08:54 PM

    Papelbon for Castellanos is only doable if Phillies agree to take some of Pap’s salary, which may very well happen.

  17. hk

    June 13, 2013 05:19 AM

    Phillie697,

    The Tigers represent the perfect team to trade for Papelbon without requiring salary relief because the owner is rich and old and seems to be sparing no cost in trying to win another World Series, the manager seems to think he needs a veteran closer and they have a top prospect who is blocked at his most valuable position, which happens to be a position of need for the Phils. Having said that, if it requires paying part of his salary in return for securing a better prospect, the Phils should not hesitate to pay.

  18. Phillie697

    June 13, 2013 10:46 AM

    @hk,

    I would pay half of Pap’s salary to get Castellano. I don’t know how much more willing I would go higher than that. At $20M Castellano only needs to produce 4 WAR in his non-arbitration years to make it worthwhile, but he’s by no means guaranteed to do that.

  19. hk

    June 13, 2013 04:05 PM

    I heard Peter Gammons, who seems to have lost his fastball, on one of the sports talk shows this morning and he said that John Farrell loves Papelbon and that the Red Sox would be interested in him, too. Gammons, still living in the 00′s, thought the Phils could get two top prospects for Papelbon. While I disagree with his view, if RAJ can engage both Boston and Detroit in a bidding war for Papelbon, there’s a chance that the Phils could get a good prospect like Castellanos and not have to pay as much of his contract.

  20. Phillie697

    June 14, 2013 12:36 PM

    We’ll see, but the closer market have not been very good the last couple of years. But yes, who knows what these people will do in the heat of a playoff race. I would be fine with a Lee-for-Castellanos plus fodder, let alone Paps.

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