Monday, May 01, 2006

Weekend Update

Would a third loss in a row to the bottom feeding Pittsburgh Pirates have meant the end of Charlie Manuel’s time running the show in Philadelphia? Luckily, for the Phillies and Manuel, we’ll never know the answer to that question. Manuel appears to be safe for the time being after the Phillies 5-1 win over the Pirates on Sunday. Gavin Floyd’s win in Pittsburgh may have bought Charlie some more time, but don’t expect the speculation about the Phillies skipper’s tenuous hold on his job to end any time soon. Jon Heyman of Newsday (as always, consider the source) gets the ball rolling:

Gillick-Piniella reunion?

The speculation hasn't yet started, but Lou Piniella could be the best choice to turn around the Phillies.

Jim Fregosi, Davey Johnson and Jimy Williams also might be in the mix once GM Pat Gillick does the inevitable and fires Charlie Manuel, a nice man who's not cut out for Philadelphia. As the popular manager of the '93 team, Fregosi might elicit even more reaction than Piniella in Philly.

Piniella has told friends he's waiting for the right situation, generally taken to mean the Yankees. But his old boss Gillick might have a chance to convince him the Phillies are better than they've played for Manuel, who finally got around to correcting his bizarre original lineup by moving Chase Utley up to second, where he belongs, and Ryan Howard up to fifth.

Piniella paired beautifully with Gillick in Seattle for 116 victories in 2001 before growing tired of what he saw as the tightfisted ways of ownership and going to Tampa Bay, which turned out to be even tighter. Piniella originally told folks he wanted to take a year to decompress; when we called Friday, his wife said he was out water skiing.

Where to begin? First off, I would argue with the point Heyman makes about Manuel being a nice man not cut out for Philadelphia – he might actually be right in saying that, but I think the more honest statement would be something like, “he’s a nice man who’s not cut out for managing at the big league level.” Beyond that minor quibble there are no real issues to argue with in the article. The specific names suggested for the possible opening are the same ones that have been hashed and rehashed and re-rehashed again and again. None of this unemployed sixty-plus year old types appeal to me. Jimy Williams is a less likable version of what the Phillies already have in Manuel; Lou Pinella’s last managerial stint (circumstances be damned) was not one to boast about all too proudly on the résumé; Jim Fregosi may elicit more of a reaction than Piniella in Philly, as Heyman writes, but what could possibly lead him to believe that the reaction would be all that positive? Davey Johnson may be the most appealing name of the bunch, but being the leader of this pack of old school, veteran managerial candidates is akin to being the toolsiest outfielder during a tryout with the Nats – sure you may get yourself the job, but only because the man running doing the picking has blinders on while making his choice. Or something like that anyway.

AAA Scranton-WB

  • Carlos Ruiz: 5-9, 2B, 2 R, BB, K, CS (came back Saturday)
  • Chris Roberson: 2-14, 2 2B, R
  • Josh Kroeger: 2-13, BB, 4 K, OF assist
  • Danny Sandoval: 3-6, 2 R, K
  • Brennan King: 4-11, RBI, R, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Angel Chavez: 2-8, 2 R, BB, 2 K, SB
  • Chris Coste: 2-12, 2 2B, 4 RBI, BB

  • Eude Brito: 7 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K
  • Chris Booker (BS, 1): 2 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 2 K
  • Brian Sanches: 2 IP 0 H 0 ER 0 BB 2 K
  • Ryan Cameron: 1.1 IP 0 H 0 ER 0 BB 0 K
  • Travis Minix (L, 0-1): 0.2 IP 1 H 1 ER 2 BB 0 K

  • Lastings Milledge (Mets): 0-3, BB, K, PO
  • Jeff Keppinger (Mets): 1-5, K, E
  • Chase Lambin (Mets): 2-5, K

  • David Kelton (Braves): 1-7, 3B, RBI, BB, K
  • Jamal Strong (Braves): 1-5, 3 K, OF assist

  • Jose Lima (Mets…L, 2-3): 7 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 7 K
  • Ricardo Rodriguez (Braves…L, 1-1): 6 IP 7 H 5 R 2 ER 2 BB 2 K (1.69 ERA in 16 IP)
Carlos Ruiz only missed one game after getting injured in Thursday's game. He came back in time for Saturday's game and picked up right where he left off - Sal Fasano and Ruiz need to swap places right now...not just because Ruiz could help the big league club in 2006 more so than Fasano, but also because the Phillies really need to see what kind of player Ruiz up close and personal in '06 before making any judgments on 2007. Imagine how beneficial it would be for Ruiz to come up and get 50 starts at the big league level. 50 games aren't a ton to go on, but they would give a much better indicator of another year's worth of minor league starts in determining Ruiz' big league readiness. This guy may be good enough to be the Phillies starter in 2007; why not give him a trial run as a backup who starts twice a week or so at the big league level NOW?

The more Alex Gonzalez struggles, the better Brennan King and Danny Sandoval seem to play...just saying.

Lambin, Kelton, and Strong get mentioned because of my obsession with scoping out undervalued, overaged prospects (in their mid to late 20's) who are stuck in AAA with nothing more to prove, but can't seem to quite get themselves over the hump and into the big leagues. I've got a giant list of guys like this (I know...I need help) that I would jump at as potential backup infielders, 5th outfielders, and low cost relievers for the bullpen. I'll post it someday, it'll be interesting to get it out there in public and then check up on some of the careers of the players included. Lambin could be a useful bench option somewhere and is capable of playing multiple infield positions; Kelton was a former top Cubs prospect at third that is now seen as a AAAA player even though he could probably hit enough in the bigs to fill that 1B/3B/LF/RF role so many teams go with these days; Strong is one of the guys I feel...strongest about (sorry), but I am absolutely convinced that he should be a fifth outfielder for some team, some where.

Good to see old friends Jose Lima and Ricardo Rodriguez again...even better that they are on just a couple of injuries away from joining the 25 man rosters of the Mets and Braves respectively...

AA Reading

  • Michael Bourn: 4-10, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K, SB (10)
  • Tim Moss: 3-11, HR, 3B, 3 RBI, R, 5 K
  • Jason Jaramillo: 1-7, 2B, RBI, K
  • Bryan Hansen: 2-8, R, K

  • Gio Gonzalez (W, 1-1): 6.1 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 6 K
  • Scott Mathieson (W, 2-1): 7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K

  • Kory Casto (Nats): 1-12, RBI, BB, 3 K
  • Alex Escobar (Nats): 3-10, 2 2B, 2 R, BB, 2 K, OF assist, CS
Great starts by both Gonzalez and Mathieson this weekend...Gonzalez is young enough that he ought to stick around in AA for the forseeable future, but Mathieson could be in the process of earning himself a promotion to join Cole Hamels in the Scranton/WB rotation at some point this year...

Casto gets a mention for two reasons: 1) he is a fairly decent third base prospect, and 2) he is very much blocked by Ryan Zimmerman in Washington. Casto has played multiple positions in his day (started the year at 2B), but seems to have settled back in at third as of late. I'm sure Jim Bowden would be willing to move him for an Alex Escobar-type toolsy OF if he gets the chance...speak of the devil, how about Escobar playing for the Nationals AA squad? You really just never know with prospects, that's what makes it fun...

High A Clearwater

  • Mike Costanzo: 2-12, RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 3 E
  • Brad Harman: 2-12, 2 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 E (12)
  • Tuffy Gosewisch: 1-5, R, 3 K

  • Zach Segovia: 8 IP 6 H 2 R 1 ER 1 BB 5 K
  • J.A. Happ (L, 1-2): 5 IP 4 H 5 R 0 ER 3 BB 5 K
  • Derek Griffith: 6.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 1 K

Costanzo made his first error of the season on Friday, his second on Saturday, and his third on Sunday - you really can't make that kind of stuff up. Brad Harman also had a 3 error weekend at shortstop - he now has 12 on the year. Check out J.A. Happ's line if you don't believe me when I talk about these errors...

Low A Lakewood

  • Greg Golson: 1-9, 4 K
  • Welinson Baez: 2-11, 2 R, 6 K, 2 E
  • Lou Marson: 3-9, 2B, RBI, BB, HBP, 2 K
  • Jeremy Slayden: 2-8, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, HBP, 3 K
  • Clay Harris: 4-12, 3 2B, RBI, 2 R, 3 K
  • Sean Gamble: 2-4, 2B, RBI, K
  • Maximino De La Cruz (W, 1-0): 6 IP 7 H 4 R 3 ER 2 BB 4 K
  • Kyle Kendrick (L, 2-1): 7 IP 7 H 4 R 2 ER 0 BB 10 K
  • Matt Maloney (W, 2-2): 6 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K
  • Andy Barb (S, 2): 3 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 0 K

  • Fernando Martinez (Mets): 2-5, R

Lou Marson had a very solid weekend both at the plate and behind it…he gunned down 3 of the 5 baserunners trying to swipe bags on his watch. The two error weekend brings Welinson Baez' season total up to six...I'm not really sure what I can add about the BlueClaw pitching this weekend - those lines really speak for themselves...


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