Monday, June 05, 2006

Some Things On The Ball

I’ll admit I know precious little about the Arizona Diamondbacks once I get past headliners Shawn Green, Luis Gonzalez, Johnny Estrada and Brandon Webb.

But I do know this:  they won the World Series in 2001 with a pitching staff led by Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and then gradually slipped into mediocrity as fiscal irresponsibility forced ownership to unload those two plus salary.  Now, five years later they are leading the NL West.  Someone out there in the desert is using his noodle.

Webb is scheduled to face the Phillies tonight and if you think that 8-0 record came out of nowhere, look again.  The 27-year old has a career 3.18 ERA and his won-loss record over the last four seasons mirrors his team’s overall fortunes.

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Everyone including Swing and A Miss has anointed Brett Myers the staff ace.  Yesterday’s performance was fairly typical of Myers in 2006, another quality start as baseball now understands and computes that statistic in which he had just enough to keep his mates in the game.  Myers never really impresses me as a dominant sort of pitcher, but that’s not what matters for this club any longer.  What does matter is that his teammates believe he can keep them in the game, something they no longer believe when Charlie Manuel trots any other starter out there.

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Rumors persist that a few clubs are still looking at the Phillies’ corner outfielders and that the Phils are trying to find some starting pitching help.  Any such moves would be predicated on the notion that the Phillies have a chance to make the playoffs and, frankly, they do not.  First, the quality of pitching they need is not available.  Second, they need too much of it for one mediocre guy to make a difference.  Third,  Burrell’s stock is significantly diminished by his lingering foot problem.  And finally, if they trade Abreu they give up what little consistent offense, on base percentage division, they have after Chase Utley.  

As for the  rumor the Phillies were considering trading Aaron Rowand for pitching, that notion offers a textbook definition of fantasy baseball.   What do you take the Phillies’ front office for?  Wait, let me rephrase that.  Forget the rebellion such a move would produce in the local population that has justifiably embraced Rowand as a Philly-kind-of-guy.  Is the Phillies fan base so stable that the front office can afford to trade such a popular player?  Furthermore, apart from Utley, who among the Phillies regulars beside Rowand never takes off a single at bat or play in the field?  You want more?  Who would play centerfield?  Shane Victorino?  His two week stint as Rowand’s fill-in went very well, but it’s a little premature to hand him the starting job.  The bet here is he will either be starting at a corner position in a year or so or will himself be part of a trade package.

C’mon, rumor-mongers, get real.


J. Weitzel said...

"Is the Phillies fan base so stable that the front office can afford to trade such a popular player?"

They've got to win. That's the most important thing. My sense is the "fan base" wants pitching, Pat Gillick wants pitching, and that desire is even greater than their love of Aaron Rowand. Should they trade Rowand for a bag of peanuts? No, but if pitching became available, good pitching, nice knowing you, Aaron.

Four games out of first, but you are right, they are not a playoff team. And it's because of pitching. Not even Aaron Rowand's magic touch can help pitching.

Tom Goodman said...

They finally fill the centerfield hole they've had for years with a 27-year old guy who can field, hit and play the game the way it's supposed to be played and you want to trade him?

I have never disagreed more.

rhzthc said...

I don't want to trade Rowand.

J. Weitzel said...

I don't want to trade Rowand. I realize he plays the game the right way, and he's a good right-handed bat, and he's a good leader, but he shouldn't be untouchable, considering their needs in other areas.

MRL said...

I wouldn't trade A-Row, he's too well loved and has been embraced by the Phillies faithful. I know we are desprite for good pitching, but getting rid of one of the best players on the team is not the way to go.

Our farm system is shot, so our best bet is to find a free agent who'll be paid well enough to pitch for the Phils. That really is our best option.

I say keep shopping, since we have to July 30th to close the book on trades. I hope Gillick and Co. are still searching and looking for possible trades.

I really like Victorino, and I hope he remains with the team. Maybe we can train him as a third basemen if Bell doesn't return next season? Of course I'm not even sure if that will happen either.