Press Release out of Philadelphia:
As promised, Phillies Phans, today we’ll take a look at some of the good and bad performers on the (now one game over .500) Phils offense:
Dave Woolsey- Dave will likely be a Philly for most of this season and then move on to free agency, where it is reported he’s looking for a payday between 17 and 22 million dollars a year. As such, this is likely not to matter, but this man needs a nickname, and I’ve thought of a great one. Since joining the Phillies, “The Shepherd” has hit cleanup against righties and been sat against lefties, but has hit only .178/.290/.356 (AVG/OBP/SLG). He’s too good a hitter for that to last long, especially in his walk year (yep, I’m sort of a believer in the “walk-year boost”). A hot streak is imminent.
Mat Abernethy-A rule 5 selection from the Padres, Abernethy has hit well enough against lefties (.320/.452/.400, all of which are more than 100 points higher than against RHPs) to stay on the roster all year. Do I think Abernethy might be useful his whole career? Yes. Do I think he’s the Phillies “catcher of the future?” No. This might be what he is; a short-end of the platoon catcher. Nothing wrong with that.
Jeff Leonard-He’s also due for a hot streak, as he has hit only .244/.302/.382 in his 30 games since coming over from the Braves. Like lots of young lefties, Leonard needs to work on his platoon splits, and while there’s a chance that never happens, Leonard is certainly too good to not hit against RHPs. It’s coming, friends. Have faith.
Danny Neese-Neese has played all over the diamond, currently manning RF in the absence of both Greg Kaverman and Ed Harrell, but we’ll list him here. He’s slumped a little since his hot streak immediately after joining the Phillies, but has been serviceable in his role as 4th OF/1B/lefty off the bench. He’s also a free agent after the season, and is looking for a $6.5 million deal, which he’s probably worth but is more than most teams will pay for a 4th OF/1B/lefty of the bench.
Josh Craft-Quick, what are these numbers: 2.3, 2.7, -0.3? That is the WAR earned by Josh Craft in his first three full years in the Skyline league. Guess which one is the one with the Phillies this year? Yeah. I know. Craft has been awful. Now, what are these numbers: .348, .338, .234? Those are Craft’s BABIPs for those same three years. One could argue the first two are high and were due to drop, even for a guy like Craft, who’s fast and runs the bases well. But .234? He’s due for a breakout, either this year or (since Phillies Manager Mike Bryant has quite appropriately benched him) next year (more likely). Poor Josh Craft.
Johnny Carosella-Another guy who seems to have regressed, Carosella looked like a star in the making after a 3 win rookie year in Philly. Let’s not lose hope completely, even though he’s on a pace to finish closer to zero wins than one this year. Maybe he’s neither and is a 1-2 win player. Time will tell, as Carosella, who makes the minimum for one more year before hitting arbitration, is staying put.
How long you got? The Phillies struggles at the hot corner have been incredible, multi-faceted, and continue to this day. The trade for the Braves’ Andy Frailey proved frustrating, as all Frailey did was hit .417/.481/.875 (!) for seven days in the Phils uniform before his season ended when his elbow was broken after being hit by a pitch. I still think he’s the long-term answer, but Phillies GM Trent Snider wasted no time finding not one, but two, replacements:
PHI sends OF Alfredo Benavides and OF Sam Renz to Anaheim for 3B Jorge Figueroa
Benavides is 26, has ‘earned’ all of -0.5 WAR in his major league career, and has sucked in AAA Salt Lake for the (I refuse to call them Los Angeles) Angels since this trade, so he’s not a huge loss. And a VERY young, middling OF prospect in Sam Renz is nothing to get upset about losing. But I think this was an overreaction by Snider. Figueroa was kicking ass in AA at the time of this trade, but seems unlikely to be really good at age 30 when one could argue he wasn’t really good at age 25, 26, or 27. At best, he’s a platoon bat, and he’s getting the short end. He’s signed through the end of next year for a pittance, but if you’re “excited” about Jorge Figueroa as your 3B, it’s time for a complete organizational analysis.
Overall Phillies Beat Trade Grade: B-
PHI sends 2003 2nd round pick to Pittsburg for 3B Rob Reems and $325,00 in cash considerations
Rob Reems is young, good, and has a chance to be very good. He hits for both contact and power at an average to above average level, walks at an average rate, and plays above average defense at 3B. He’s in his first year of team control. So why on earth was he available for a song? Because he’s already, in his short career, gained a rep as a bit of a clubhouse cancer. Reports out of Philly were that on the day this trade was announced, GM Trent Snider received an email from some team leaders saying they were against his disruptive presence being a part of the Phillies clubhouse. Snider, when reached for comment, was quoted as saying “Winning is the best thing for a clubhouse.” It’s difficult to argue with that. It’s easier to argue with this trade. I won’t quibble much now, because if Reems is as advertised and the everyday 3B for the next competitive Phillies team, Snider will be vindicated. If, however, Reems is not the player he’s rumored to have a chance to be and is sort of jerk in the locker room, this will have been a bad use of a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft.
Overall Phillies Beat Trade Grade: B
The only other player worthy of discussion here at 3B, folks, is:
Luis Morales-Another disappointment this year, Morales was expected to hit lefties and play a solid 3B defensively, and he has done neither. He did last year. This, and the other disappointments on this list, are why the Phillies are only 13th in runs scored in the East.
Brad Cooper-Cooper, who stayed healthy last year and was worth 5 WAR, has not stayed healthy this year and is on a 3 WAR pace. This is what he is. He’s due roughly $8.5 MM next year in his last year of arbitration, and is worth roughly triple that if he’s healthy. No one should pay him anywhere near that the year afterward when he’s a free agent, but while he’s a Phillie, let’s enjoy him for what he is. OK?
Jorge Ybarra-The other rule 5 get by the Phillies, Ybarra is from the Pirates organization and is another guy who is lucky lefthanded pitchers exist, as his .281/.425/.406 triple-slash rates could be HALVED and not be far from his rates against righties. He’s going to stick all year because of this, and hopefully will learn how to hit righties well enough to be the full time SS when Cooper’s gone in a few years.
Joel Coombs-What’s the prize for predicting Joel Coombs would lead the Phillies in HR at the start of July? It needs to be significant, as Coombs started the year up the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in AAA Lehigh Valley. But he’s been awesome. He’s played everywhere, from LF to 2B to CF, played them at an average or better level, and has hit at a wRC+ of 129. He’s about to be a 3 win player this year for the Phillies, which is wonderful. Want to know the better part? I don’t think it’s completely a mirage. Even if this is Coombs’ career year, he’s at worst a 4th OF or UTIL guy moving forward. With one more year at the minimum and two arbitration years remaining, Coombs is an easy guy to root for. I’ll be one of those rooting for him.
DJ Ferrarini-If. If only. If only Ferrarini could hit for average. Oh my gracious. The man has power. Plus power. The man walks. Oh my gosh, does he walk. DJ Ferrarini is batting .195. He has an OBP of .357. Do you know how difficult this is to do? In more than 18% of his plate appearances, DJ Ferrarini has walked. If this is coupled, with...say, a mere .230 batting average, Ferrarini would be a MONSTER. If he can hit .250…well, you can imagine. As it is, with the injury that cost him a month, his contact struggles, and the fact that he a wRC+ of 0 (zero!) against lefthanders, Ferrarini will be lucky to get to a 2 WAR season in 2002. If that’s the best he can be…that’ll be too bad.
Greg Kaverman-Mr. Kaverman is on pace for a 3 WAR season. If he stayed healthy, he might be closer to 4 WAR. But he doesn’t. It’s been four days here, four days there, here-a-two weeks, there-a-two weeks, everywhere a missed time. He’s a borderline fantastic player who can’t stay on the field. He won’t be the first, and he won’t be the last. Please don’t get me wrong; I don’t like Greg Kaverman. I LOVE Greg Kaverman. He makes all the plays defensively, walks, hits, runs, and hustles like Pete Rose. I wish, quite frankly, that he wouldn’t. He gets hurt all the time running the bases.
Juan Villarreal-It’s sad. Really, it is. The former All-Star, two-time Great Glover, and Platinum Stick Winner in LF is a shell of his former self. No longer playable, the Phillies are in trouble here, as Villarreal is signed for three years beyond this one for $21.6 MM each. Note to all of those of you emailing me and saying “they should play him only against righties:” the past two years (2001-2002) against RHP, Villarreal has TOTALLED 0.6 WAR. The results are in. He’s no good. He’s untradable, undroppable, un-send-down-to-AAA-able. Terrible. Awful-able. In the offseason before his last good season (2000), Phillies brass inexplicably signed Juan Villarreal to a SIX year extension. Now, they have to pay the piper. Or, rather, they have to pay Villarreal. For this year and THREE MORE years. To sit on the bench. Imagine if this had been an only three year extension, folks. Just imagine life without him. Now, back to reality. Important to remember, it is, young Jedi, that current GM Trent Snider had nothing to do with this, so it’s time to move on.
Ken Harrell-This kid, my lovelies, is a tough cat to get. He’s got reverse platoon splits, for one. He’s better defensively in CF than in LF or RF, both by reputation and advanced metrics. He ought to be worth nearly 1.5 WAR just from his defense alone, yet he’ll be lucky to get to 2.0 WAR this year. Pretty nuts. I don’t know what to think of him, which probably means he’s an average 32 year old OF. Which is what he is, of course, he’s just one in a strange package. He’s an enigma wrapped in a paradox clothed in an oxymoron. Or whatever. He needs a better marketing campaign than that. Maybe a nickname. Hmmm. Hey! I’ve got one. He’s those three things wrapped together? Where have we seen that before? In any event, “The Turducken” will also be in Philly for at most one more year, as he’s signed for $9 mil in 2003. He’s likely to be worth it and yet somewhat unsatisfying. In sharp contrast, of course, to a turducken. That’s three proteins served in one course, folks. Always completely satisfying. Come to think of it, Harrell is likely not worthy of his new nickname, but I can’t “unring the bell.” I’m a machine, folks. Can’t stop me when I’m on a roll. Just call me butter. There’s a nickname for me. As a matter of fact, there’s two of them. Let’s put em together. Wow. Wouldn’t one of those be nice to have?
Next time, Phils Phans, we’ll tackle the pitching staff. Until we (Phillies) Beat again, folks, I humbly remain…
--Phillip “The Butter Machine” Williams for (the aforementioned) Phillies Beat--