17 October 2002

Philadelphia Phollies

I learned from Mike's Baseball Rants today that the Phillies signed Joe Kerrigan to replace Vern Ruhle as pitching coach. Ruhle, you probably won't recall, was canned by the Astros after the 2000 season when (who'd a thunk it?) the Houston pitching staff had trouble going from the Astrodome to Enron/Homerun/Minute Maid/PhoneBooth Field, especially when Billy Wagner started sucking and then got hurt. I thought Ruhle got a raw deal then, as now, but Kerrigan is purportedly a great pitching coach, and the BoSox were foolish to let him go.

Mike's article goes into very good details on the task at-hand for Kerrigan in the next few years, though I think the outlook is a bit more hopeful than his Rant would lead you to believe. That is to say, I don't think that there is necessarily "salvaging" to do in the cases of David Coggin and Brandon Duckworth: I think they can both be reasonably expected to develop into decent starters, given their relative youth, experience, and some statistical evidence of talent. I wrote a little about the Phillies' 2003 pitching staff in the latter half of this post myself, and I actually think that there's hope for improvement if they can find cheap help from the farm to compensate for expensive non-help like Turk Wendell and Rheal Cormier. But most of the dead wood will leave as free agents, so they have a real shot at improvement, as long as they don't go do something stupid, like signing Jesse Orosco to a five-year contract. Also, Cliff Politte, who seems like a pretty good reliever, evidently rubbed some people in Philly the wrong by throwing too hard and/or getting too many batters out(?), and so was traded to the Blow Jays for 40 year old Dan Plesac in May, which is a little like your ex-wife trading in your '63 corvette for an '83 Plymouth Omni, so he won't be part of the picture. I've seen Politte pitch, and he could very well have been the Phils' Francisco Rodriguez, if they'd let him.

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