Hey! CD...The Debut

Hey! CD is a spin-off of Connect the Dots by the same columnist California Dreamin', a Phillie die-hard from Southern California. CD, as he is known by baseball friends, receives responses curious of what he thinks on various Phillies baseball events and issues. This debut of Hey! CD highlights their most recent exchanges. Have fun and let us know what you think. Send your message to CD at connectthedots@earthlink.net, and he will respond on this column, or privately, if you so prefer.

Q: On Carlos Silva, from Brian
Hey CD, I'd like your opinion on Carlos Silva. Do you think his future lies as a starter or as a reliever? And if you see him as a reliever, do you think he could be future closer material? How soon do you think this decision should be made to keep him progressing?

Thanks, Brian

CD says...
I like Carlos Silva very much and think his future is as a starter. He was a very effective starter in the minors, winning as many as 15 games, but I do think he may have to go back to the minors to work on another pitch, his fastball and sinker may not be enough to be a solid starter. As good as he was last year I can't help but wonder if in the long run he would have been better off pitching last year at SWB.

Lets look at Taylor Buchholtz, who is currently our best AA pitcher. As good as he is, I think most would agree that it would not be in his best interest to jump to the majors next year. One level at a time has served Phillies pitchers well and that's what I think is the wisest course of action. By the way, if you are looking for a good candidate to be a solid closer at the major league level, look no further than SWB starter, Ryan Madson. He has the bulldog mentality that you look for in an ace reliever. Just a thought!

Q: On Philly Woes, from Alan Stager, Tampa, FL
- Are the Phils considering Wayne Gomes if Mesa fades
- and what opportunities do the Phils have to pick up some gamers before the trade deadline?
- Say whatever happened to Chris Short and Larry Christenson?

CD says...
Personally, I think Gomes IS a candidate to replace Mesa if Mesa falls into a deep slump. He is certainly being groomed this way with the Barons and has done a good job, with 12 saves at last look! However, keep two things in mind. First, Bowa is very committed to Mesa and not without some merit. Mesa has been a solid citizen and a good reliever for LB for almost 2 1/2 years and it was on LB's recommendation that Mesa was signed in the first place. Second, Gomes has had his struggles as a closer in Philadelphia and I never underestimate the mental side of baseball. Closers have to have what I call selective memory, remembering the successes and forgetting the failures.

I think we would see Gomes brought up as a setup guy first and slowly moved into the closer role if it ever happened at all.

As for gamers, I just do not see the Phils bringing in an everyday player from another team before the deadline unless Byrd falls flat on his face, something that I do not think will happen. However, I do think we can look for three possibilities, each more remote than the last. First, bringing up Chase Utley to play second base if the offense continues to struggle is a possibility. Second, the Schill to Phil drumbeats could get louder as the deadline approaches, especially if the Millwood negotiations prove fruitless. And finally, if Wade has shown any propensity at all in the past, its to go out and acquire a reliever.

Dan Plesac, Turk Wendell, Dennis Cook and Mike Timlin have all been brought in during the past two years during the season so never underestimate Wade's desire to add a reliever at the deadline.

As for Chris Short and LC, the news is mixed. LC is doing well and occasionally appears at Phils functions. Unfortunately, Short had a brain aneurysm and passed away several years ago. One of the most poignant scenes at the 1964 team reunion held at the Vet in 1989 was a picture of Chris Short on the screen as he lie in a hospital in a coma, from which he never recovered. There are not any lefties not named Lefty that were ever better than Short for the Phils.

Q: On Phillies Current Slump from Josh Tyler Brookreson
What are your opinions on the offensive slump the Phillies are in right now?

Some suggest that it might be time for a new hitting coach, but I think it might be something else. Look at Bell and Burrel when they are at the plate. They are thinking...too hard. These players seem to be analyzing while at the plate, and not doing what they instinctively know how to do...play baseball.

I was just curious about your feelings on the matter, or is the lack of hitting based on something else?

CD says...
This question is a multi faceted one so I will deal with it in that way. It has always been my contention that when the dust settles Bell and Burell will both be near their yearly production, Bell in the .260 range and Burrell with the appropriate power numbers. In fact, given the Phils current batting order, with Abreu hitting lead off, this line up should make most of the hitters more effective since a batting order often dictates the type of pitches you will see and the kinds of situations you will face when you bat. I will tell you this about Burell and Bell. I think Burrell needs to hit clean up, because if the Phils are going to get where they want to go, Burrell will have to carry a large part of the load. As for Bell, I would like to see him batting eighth, not because he is a bad hitter, but precisely because he would be an outstanding eighth hitter; a veteran with a good batting eye, decent power and an ability to move speedsters Rollins or Byrd around.

As for hitting coach Greg Gross, I think a coach with a specific job must be judged on how well that job is being done....and in the case of a hitting coach, the results should show in the hitting results of the team. No one disputes that this team is under-performing in the offensive department. How Gross goes about getting the Phils to hit more efficiently will determine the status of his job security in the future. For now, I do not see Bowa making a change. However, with hitting guru Charlie Manuel in the organization a future change is certainly not out of the question.

One more thing that needs to be mentioned when discussing the Phils hitting woes. This team is going to have trouble manufacturing runs because they are not constructed that way. They are built for power and thunder, not hunt and peck. They don't bunt particularly well, rarely steal bases, aren't very fast as a team, don't hit and run much, and strike out with alarming propensity. This does not mean that they cannot be an effective offensive force, one need look no further than that Sunday doubleheader against the Oakland A's when the Phils lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 15 runs in the double-header. However, they must maximize their strengths, while minimizing their deficiencies to become the offensive juggernaut that most baseball expects thought they would be. How it plays out over the next three months will be very interesting to see!

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