Friday, August 14, 2009

15 comments Mike Celizic Thinks the Phillies Are Dumb For Buying Petey But I Think His Analysis Is Dumber

If you have to explain your jokes then the joke was never funny in the first place. So I am not going to explain my title, just say that I think "Dumb and Dumber" was the funniest movie of the 90's so I wanted to reference it. Yes, I realize I sound a little bit like Bill Simmons but it is the perfect comedy because it has Jim Carrey when he wasn't in his "I have to be overly outrageous in every scene I am in" mode, the surprising ability of Jeff Daniels to be funny, the Farrelly Brothers before they decided the best way to do comedy was through controversial jokes that felt slightly forced, it is insanely quoteable, and it had an actual plot that moved along with very few slow points.

It has every funny situation in one movie. Road trip movie? Yes. Outsiders trying to fit in? Yes. Stupid guy chasing a girl he will never have? Yes. Two idiots involved in a misunderstanding that lead to comedic consequences? Yes. That's all the Simmonizing I am going to do today. I would just like to think when asked how the Phillies were going to get Jamie Moyer out of the rotation, Ruben Amaro Jr. looked at his questioner with a mouthful of food and in a proud moment said, "Uh, I took care of it."

What's the opposite of someone having a good point? Whatever it is, that's what Mike Celizic has. He is comfortable talking about the Yankees and the Red Sox and that's about it. Even though he really sucks at it, he at least says some stupid things that can be defended by other people with their brains turned off. Then there are other times he is just critical to be critical (I don't know anyone else like that) and he loses his point or never even has a point. He doesn't like the Pedro signing for the Phillies. In fact he thinks it is a desperate signing...mostly because John Smoltz didn't work out for the Red Sox. So I guess everything does come back to the Red Sox or Yankees for Hat Guy in the end.

By Mike Celizic

What it should be called:

By Mike Celizic

The NL East should be wrapped up by now.

No, it should not be wrapped up by now. It is mid-August and simply because the Mets are struggling this year due to injuries, it doesn't mean there are no other good teams in the NL East.

And it would be except for the fact that the Phillies, like all Philadelphia sports teams, have a congenital need to make everything harder than it has to be.

False. The NL East is not wrapped up by now because the Braves and Marlins are 7-3 and 6-4 over their last 10 games, while the Phillies are 5-5 over their last 10 games. The teams are also 5 and 4.5 games out respectively, and this is with a massive Phillies win streak back in July. This race should actually be just as close as it is, if not closer.

The front office, too, is feeling the heat generated by a team that has everything a team needs to defend a championship except the most vital ingredient of all — pitching.

That is why they traded for Cliff Lee.

And so, after their deadline trade for Cliff Lee, the Phillies have rolled out their latest hope — some might call it more of a prayer — to solve their pitching problems.

I am on record as not being in mad love with Pedro Martinez at this stage of his career. I am also on record as saying he is a great fit for the Phillies because they can score runs and just need a guy to give them 5-6 innings and only give up 3 runs. The Phillies have enough offense to carry a pitcher.

Removing a guy who has a 5.00+ ERA from the rotation is a smart move and signing someone who can beat that ERA is nowhere near a prayer.

It is a gamble of the sort that rarely works.

What sort of gamble is this and when has it rarely worked? I still don't see how signing a guy for $1 million dollars to get 7 starts before the end of the season and replace the worst starter in the National League is a gamble.

There is really no precedent for this, unless you want to count Clemens signing with the Yankees mid-season.

The Red Sox, another team undergoing a late-season meltdown, ran a similar experiment with John Smoltz that blew up in their faces.

I don't see the similarity between these two situations. The Red Sox signed Smoltz way back in February or March and knew he wasn't going to pitch until June at the earliest. In retrospect it didn't work out too well, especially for the money they paid him, but they didn't sign Smoltz because they were having a late season meltdown and wanted to see if he could help stop it, they signed him before the season even started.

Hat Guy needs to get his facts and timeline straight. I have come to the conclusion most sports columnists can pretty much write whatever it is they want and no one will correct or question them. Accuracy be damned, that column is going out.

But when you have gaping holes in your starting rotation and a team ERA that’s among the worst in the league, these are the sorts of things you do. You grasp at straws — or aging pitchers — and hope for the best.

They signed Smoltz way before they had these rotation problems. In all honesty, the Red Sox rotation looked great going into the season and Smoltz was just a cherry on top.

See how quickly Celizic gets back on the topic of the Red Sox and Yankees?

When the Phillies get everything together, they look like the defending world champions. They last did that from July 3-28, when they went 19-3, including 10 straight wins and a streak of 14 out of 15. At the end of that streak, they had a seven-game lead in the division.

I am still wondering how Celizic expects the NL East division race to be over by now. The Phillies went on a streak of winning 14 out of 15 games when there was no other team in the division playing exceptionally well and still only had a 7 game lead at the end of that streak.

And so we end up with Pedro, determined to prove that last year’s 5-6 record and career-high 5.61 ERA with the Mets were a mirage and that he can still get people out in the big leagues.

He is no longer the Pedro that everyone has been in awe of in the past but he can still get batters out for 5-6 innings and that is all the Phillies need.

He pitched decently in his debut, allowing three runs in five innings and benefiting from a 12-run output from Philly's offense.

That is exactly what they need from Pedro. Granted, the Phillies aren't going to get 12 runs every game, but how is signing Pedro a desperate move if he gave them the exact thing that he was signed to give them?

He struck out 11 Class AA minor leaguers in his last rehab start and managed to crank his fastball up to 93 mph.

Of course he did. I sort of disparaged him a few days earlier for not being a great pitcher anymore. When I publicly knock a player, he will immediately start playing well. I am personally responsible (along with PED's) for Javy Lopez's 2003 season and his big contract with the Orioles. He owes me at least 1% of the contract amount. I was at a Braves game in 2003 and said the Braves may as well put a pile of shit on the plate and let it hit in place of Javy...and then he hit a home run while all the Braves fans around me looked at me like I was an idiot.

So it doesn't shock me Pedro pitched well after I said he was done...which he is done. His "done" is just better than another player's "done."

It’s asking a lot, but if you’re going to ask anybody to take on that job, Pedro’s your man.

Remember the premise of this column is that signing Pedro was a desperation move for the Phillies. Now you will find Celizic saying that Pedro can still be a good pitcher. He can't even stick to the premise of his own column.

Unlike Smoltz, a power pitcher who lost his power, Pedro is a thinking man’s pitcher.

No, no, no, no. This is blatantly incorrect. In nearly every single Smoltz start when doing their 25 minute analysis of John Smoltz and the Red Sox baseball game that was played that day, SportsCenter highlighted two things for nearly every single John Smoltz pitch they showed...the location and the pitch speed. The location was down the middle of the plate and the pitch speed was 93 MPH. Smoltz is 42 years old and he is a power pitcher but he did not lose his power, he lost his ability to control the location of his pitches. I don't even know how this guy has a column at this point. I just assume whatever he writes is going to be wrong, and generally I am right.

When he was young, he blew people away. As he got older, he learned to trick them into submission, serving up a baffling variety of pitches thrown on the edges of the zone at widely varying speeds. If you watch him long enough, you’ll be convinced that he could get people out if he had to lob the ball underhand.

Celizic has Amelia Bedelia'd his way through half of his column already and we still don't know why signing Pedro was a desperation move for the Phillies. So far the only conclusions I can draw is that Mike Celizic doesn't pay good enough attention to what is happening in a baseball because he doesn't understand why the Phillies signed Pedro. He also needs to stop talking about all the ways Pedro Martinez can get hitters out because he is completely undermining his column's premise.

That’s not true, of course, and his experience with the Mets last year is proof enough of that. And his minor-league starts show that he’s not going to go deep into games anymore.

I am repeating myself now. He doesn't have to go far into the games with the Phillies. His job is to give 5-6 innings and give up 3 runs and then hope the bullpen can hold the lead or the offense can win a close game. This is not a desperate strategy in hoping to get this from a 5th starter, this is a calculated risk. This option easily surpasses the other option which was to hope Jamie Moyer doesn't get hit too hard in the first couple of innings so the Phillies offense can come back and win the game.

And the Phillies are in such a dither that they were willing to banish their winningest pitcher, Jamie Moyer, to the bullpen to make room for him in the rotation.

Dammit! Wins are a horrible way of deciding whether a pitcher is any good or not. A freaking horrible way. I wish wins and saves would just go the hell away. They are misleading statistics designed to get players new, larger and better contracts. The mere fact a guy with a horrible ERA like Jamie Moyer has also has 10 wins should really get more people on board the "anti-win" train with me.

Despite his 10 wins, the 46-year-old junk-ball artist has a 5.47 ERA and gives up a frightening number of hits.

This sentence should read, "Despite the fact the 46-year-old junk-ball artist has a 5.47 ERA and gives up a frightening number of hits, he still has 10 wins. This is a testament to how potent the Phillies offense can be and shows why the Phillies believe having a guy like Pedro is good for the team."

What the Phillies are saying is that they believe that’s a bar that Pedro won’t have a great deal of trouble clearing.

This sentence should read: "He would be like a quarterback in the NFL whose job is to manage the game. He won't make huge mistakes to get the Phillies behind, but he is also capable enough to make make great pitches when he needs to. Mostly his job is to make sure the Phillies stay in the game."

That is a much better group of sentences. Considering Moyer was the worst starter in the National League, Pedro should not have to struggle to clear the 5.47 ERA bar.

And there’s the problem. Even if Pedro pitches well, he’s going to be gone after six and then it’s going to be in the hands of a shaky bullpen with a Styrofoam anchor — Lidge.

The fact the bullpen is shaky right now really has very little to do with the signing of Pedro Martinez. The bullpen is going to have to perform at some point during the season regardless of who is pitching for the Phillies.

This doesn't make the Pedro signing a massive risk or a desperation move because this is going to be a problem the Phillies have with Jamie Moyer on the mound as well. The Phillies signed Cliff Lee to be the ace of the staff, they don't need Martinez to be that guy anymore...mostly because they know he can't be.

Jamie Moyer last threw a complete game in 2007. He was averaging about 5 2/3 innings per start for 2009, 6 innings per start in 2008, and 6 innings per start in 2007. The odds are that if they had kept Jamie Moyer in the rotation he would also be gone after 6 innings, except he would have given up more runs than Pedro Martinez would. It would have been desperate to keep Moyer in the rotation.

There doesn’t seem to be a solution, unless it’s moving starter Brett Myers back to the bullpen, where he was last the closer in 2007, picking up 21 saves in 24 opportunities.

Celizic is confusing the issues here. The issue is whether signing Pedro Martinez was a desperation move for the Philadelphia Phillies, not whether the bullpen is any good for the Phillies. No matter who starts for the Phillies if the bullpen really stinks then the team is not going to succeed. Unless Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels plan on throwing 15 complete games before the end of the season.

If the bullpen stinks, then the bullpen stinks, but this should not be a reason to forgo improving the starting rotation. There aren't too many starters available that will be able to pitch 9 innings every start and take the shaky bullpen out of the equation.

Right now, it’s all about a team trying desperately not to fall into old Philadelphia habits and gag on what once looked like an insurmountable lead.

What the hell is he talking about? The Phillies have come back from behind the past two seasons to take the division from the New York Mets AND they won the World Series last year. Maybe other Philadelphia teams have choked in the past but the past couple of seasons the Phillies have not done so. Has Celizic even paid attention to baseball over the past couple of seasons?

Right now, it’s all about the newest savior on Broad Street, Pedro Martinez.

He's not a savior. He is a 5th starter and he is a better option than Jamie Moyer.

-I am sure everyone heard that Mike Vick signed with the Eagles.

This surprised me a little bit. My initial thought was, "crap the Panthers play the Eagles first game of the season. I bet they are going to have all kinds of tricks up their sleeve for the game." Then I realized Vick will be suspended for the first games of the season. I guess I still have bad memories of Vick when he played for the Falcons. If I never saw him play football again, it would be too soon.

My second thought was that I was completely right and Michael Smith was completely speculating on ESPN the other night when he said the Panthers would sign Vick and I am glad I don't have to shave words into my head.

Donovan McNabb also "signed off" on this acquisition and I can't help but think that is bullshit. McNabb has sort of been on the chopping block in Philly at times over the past couple of seasons. I just can't imagine he would want the guy who used to be the poster child for the NFL coming on the Eagles roster. If McNabb struggles aren't the fans going to clamor for Mike Vick to be playing? Especially if Vick comes out and plays well over his first couple of games and McNabb struggled a bit while Vick was suspended. I don't personally care if there is a quarterback controversy but since McNabb got all bent out of shape when the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb, I just don't see how he would sign off on the Vick acquisition.

The Falcons tried so hard to draft good, young receivers early in the NFL Draft to put around Vick and the Eagles do have guys like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin around Vick when he is activated. I found the parallel of Vick having high draft pick receivers to throw to in Atlanta and now in Philadelphia to be interesting. The Eagles have a lot of playermakers on that roster this year and they could be interesting to watch but there is only one football and I wonder how creative they are going to be to get the ball to everyone.

I thought the Eagles were an odd team to sign Vick...especially to a 2 year contract. The second year is an option, so I guess that makes some sense. I guess the Eagles wanted someone who could make an impact as a backup QB.

My favorite part about all of this is many analysts are going to try and predict how the Eagles are going to do this year based on this acquisition and will analyze how this affects the NFC East. How the hell do they know for sure? Vick hasn't played in two years, so any predictions on how this will affect the Eagles are not even educated guesses, but just pure guesses. Things are going to be interesting in Philadelphia this fall, I know that much.


Martin said...

For some reason a lot of writers want to give the Phillies shit for signing Pedro, and I don't understand why. As you said, he's been signed as a 5th starter, for cheap money. He should be better then just about every 5th starter out there, and if he keeps them in enough games that they can go 5-2, I'm sure the Phillies will be happy. If he keeps them in enough games and they go 2-5, they'll be less happy, but it wouldn't be Pedro's fault. As long as he pitches better then Moyer did, they will be happy I bet. Heck, I wish the Dodgers had signed him, he's got to be better then trotting out Jeff Weaver or Eric Stoltz every 5th day.

The Casey said...

There's no guarantee that Vick will play at all this regular season. He can't come back before Week 6, but he's not certain to come back then.

I think that from Vick's perspective, this is a good deal. There's a clear-cut #1 ahead of him, and Philly has plenty of other playmakers. He can't be nearly in football shape at this point in time, and I'm not sure he could play 10 games at his former pace.

From Philly's perspective, it's a curious signing. McNabb's been pretty fragile mentally the past few years. I keep thinking about that hissy-fit he threw when they dared draft a 2nd-round QB in Kevin Kolb. I can't think that bringing in someone as high-profile as Vick will help McNabb's confidence. Also, Vick hasn't really done anything to make me think he can run a West-Coast style offense.

Oh well, at least the always-forgiving Philly fans will surely welcome Vick with open arms.

KentAllard said...

Vick's signing is a true kick in the nuts to Kevin Kolb.

According to Peter King's column, Vick will be working with someone who coached Brett Favre, or who knew Favre, or maybe someone who knew Favre's cousin. So he'll do great.

Bengoodfella said...

As I stated previously, Pedro Martinez isn't the greatest pitcher anymore, but he is an upgrade over Jamie Moyer and he fits the Phillies very well in that he can go out and give up a couple of runs and have a good chance to win the game because he has a good offense behind him. He is going to keep them in the game and I think the Dodgers should have looked at him a little more closely, especially given the asking price. I also was a little surprised the Marlins weren't more interested.

That is true. Vick may not even be back. It's a great deal for Vick because he gets to be on a team that could make the playoffs and he doesn't have to be the man. Plus there are weapons around him to where he won't necessarily be the defensive focal point once he gets on the field.

His being in shape is what I am interested in and why I think most commentators who are dumb enough to try and guess what this does for the Eagles are stupid. I personally don't see how/why McNabb signed off on this because he can be kind of a baby. Of course, I think he believes he is out of Philly soon either way. Vick is going to have rough time of it if he struggles. McNabb can't exactly love this move either, unless he has become a great team player and not as much of a whiner over the past year.

This doesn't say a whole hell of a lot about Kevin Kolb does it? Injured or not injured it is clear he hasn't been good enough to beat out McNabb and I am not sure if they like him enough to have him be the backup with Vick as the 3rd QB simply because if the 3rd QB comes in the game, I don't believe the starter can come back if Vick is labeled as a QB then Kolb will be 3rd on the depth chart.

If he trained with anyone related to Brett Favre or anyone who knows Brett Favre there should be no problems.

ivn said...

I don't know how much McNabb should be worried...Vick is the only guy in the league who can throw bullet passes to his recievers' feet harder than McNabb can.

RuleBook said...

One slight clarification with regards to the 3rd QB issue.

Each team is allowed 45 active players, and one emergency quarterback. Teams typically only activate 2 QBs in a game (and designate a 3rd emergency QB). However, there is nothing magical about the 3rd QB. If a team wanted to put all 3 QBs on the active roster for a game, then any of them could come in legally at any time.

If the emergency QB comes in before the 4th quarter, than no other active QBs may play the remainder of the game. However, the emergency QB can come in during the 4th quarter.

Thus, if the Eagles really wanted to, they could activate McNabb, Kolb, and Vick for the game if they wanted Kolb to be McNabb's backup but wanted to use Vick for a utility purpose.

Just wanted to clarify the technical difference between 3rd QB and emergency QB, though they are nearly always the same player.

AwesomeSean said...

Here's a weird one: I be a NYG fan and I wish all the best to Mike Vick. Always liked him and I am certain he caught a raw deal. Keep those electric games to the 14 you don't play the NYG and I be cool. Plus, I swear, I loathe the Iggles.

Anyway, HatGuy needs someone to keep him on track. As a self admitted Philly hater, I was torn. Ultimately, since the Phils were ahead by a kajillion I just rooted for Petey.

Another great post BGF. You can let Fred out of the basement now.

Bengoodfella said...

As always, Rulebook comes through with the actual rule that I am too stupid to know. So I guess the Eagles can pretty much have it any way they want now huh? That is good for them, not so good for the rest of the NFC East.

Sean, I for some reason have never liked Vick. Not at VT, not in Atlanta and now I don't like him in Philly. It is a great pick up for them, if he works out of course.

Hat Guy doesn't even really know what he is talking about anymore. Pedro was a great pickup for the Phils and any one who doubts that can just take Jamie Moyer and see how that turns out.

Thanks, I don't know if I will let Fred out quite yet. I tend to like to hog the spotlight.

Fred Trigger said...

I am on a semi vacation on long island right now, so I remain trapped in the basement. That and I cant find anything worthwhile posting on. i'm lazy like that.

Bengoodfella said...

I made Fred type that. Ever since his posts have become more popular than mine he is "taking a little time off."

AwesomeSean said...

Fred...since my wife is from LI I take semi vacas there too. Are you at least somewhere cool like Long Beach or the Hamptons? Beware of guidos, though, the are still well repped out there. Also, watch out with your Sawx cap too if you wind up anywhere that shaven chest roid guys are knocking back vodka red bulls.

Fred Trigger said...

nope, I'm representing Amityville. I dont worry too much about people picking fights with me since my cousin and our friends are guys you dont mess around with so everyone leaves me alone. Its funny you mention roid guys, because I'm pretty sure every male under 30 is on the juice around these parts. Everyone wears the golf shirt with khaki shorts, has slicked back short hair, and is cut like Arnold in his prime....its weird.

Bengoodfella said...

Fred, I told you there was to be no discussion or comments while you are on probation! This is your punishment for writing posts that are more popular than mine.

Fred Trigger said...

(retreating back to basement that my parents house does not have) Guess I could dig a hole, crawl in and pretend its a basement. Close enough, am I right?

Bengoodfella said...

That is close enough. I personally live in my mom's attic and don't get to see day light for days on end, so I do what I can.