Hey CD... What's The Phillie Pulse On...?

Hey! CD is a regular Q&A column by California Dreamin, a Phillie die-hard from SoCal. His unique perspective on Phillie baseball issues & events draws grassroots interest from Phillie fans spread all over the country. Hop on the good ship PhilliePulse and send your questions to CD at <a href=mailto:connectthedots@earthlink.net>connectthedots@earthlink.net</a> and read his response to you on a future edition of this column.

Q: On Acquiring Pitchers Bartolo Colon or Javier Vasquez from Jon Schlosberg

Hey! CD
, what are the chances of the Phillies acquiring either starting pitchers Bartolo Colon or Javier Vasquez? I am a loyal Phillie fan and would like to see one of them with the Phils.

CD says...
Jon, welcome aboard the good ship PhilliePulse, a fast-growing group of Phillie phanatics who send questions on a daily basis.

Yours is a timely one, and much discussed. Please keep in mind that this is just my feeling on this subject. Personally, I just don't see the Phils getting either Colon or Vasquez, and for two totally different reasons.

Colon is a free agent, able to sign with anyone. As far as can be determined his list of suitors include the White Sox, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, and another mystery National League team, my guess being the Braves. Well, the Angels just signed Kelvim Escobar so that eliminates them from the list. So, theoretically, the Phils seem to be in the running for Colon, but frankly, I just think he is an American League pitcher.

Except for a few months with the Montreal Expos, Colon has been in the AL his entire career and that is where I think he will stay. I think he will either take the money of the Yankees or the comfort of the White Sox, his current team, when all is said and done.

As for Vasquez, there are three roadblocks to acquiring him. Number one, I just think that the Expos will be reluctant to trade him to a team in the same division, a team that the Expos will play 19 times. Number two, he is a free agent after the 2004 season and will demand a long-term contract, something the Phils may be reluctant to offer. Number three, the Expos will probably demand a package that includes Chase Utley, Ryan Madson and another player. I am not so sure that the Phils will be willing to part with those players for Vasquez.

Of course, I am fully aware that by the time you read this, the Phils may have either one. But I just don't see it happening. I still think when the dust settles, it will be Curt Schilling who is our number one starter.

Hope that helps, Jon, and write again!

Q: On the Possibility of an 11-Man Staff for the Phillies, from David in Vermont

Hey! CD…
I know the Phils used a 12 man staff last season. Any chance of them going to an 11-man staff next year so they have room on the club for a third catcher?

CD says...
Great question, David, and one I have advocated for quite some time!

Unfortunately, Manager Larry Bowa doesn't agree, and he has already announced that the Phils will go with 12 pitchers. As a long time fan, I still marvel at the 1977 Phillies who, in my opinion, were the greatest team in Phils' history. They won 101 games and an NL Eastern title with a nine man pitching staff. Even more ironic is the fact that Bowa was a key member of that club!

Sadly, times have changed and so we will see 48% of the entire roster on the pitching staff. By the way, although you didn't ask, let me take a guess as to how that staff might be composed.

We know that Myers, Wolf and Padilla are three starters and the bullpen will have Wagner, Plesac, Silva and Cormier. That's seven! For the sake of argument, lets add Schilling to the top of the rotation and Terry Adams to the bullpen. Then the Phils may add a free agent hurler like Paul Quantrill or Tom Gordon. Not necessarily either of those two, but someone of their ilk. Then the staff is completed from among present hurlers like Amaury Telemaco, Ryan Madson (unless he is traded), Geoff Geary, Josh Hancock, and now healthy hurlers Bud Smith, Dave Coggin or Eric Junge.

Take a note of this and see how close I get to the bull's eye. Thanks for the question!

Q: On Acquiring Pitcher Jeff Weaver of the Yankees, from John Boyle, Gainesville, FL

Hey! CD
, I really think Jeff Weaver would be a solid addition to our pitching staff. Any chance we could acquire him from the Yankees? Thanks for the answer from a rabid Phillies fan!

CD says…
John, welcome to you all the way down in Gator country! It's amazing to know of the many Phil's fans from all over the nation.

You are not alone in viewing the talents of Jeff Weaver in a positive fashion. He has been ineffective since joining the Yankees, but I just think he is having trouble adjusting to the pressures inherent in playing for King George and a New York press that never sleeps.

People with short memories may have forgotten that when the Yanks acquired Weaver from the Detroit Tigers a few years ago, it was hailed as a "steal" for the New Yorkers. Weaver was on the fast track to stardom, and still may be, if he ever allows his head catch up with his arm.

Now, about your question. Although I think Weaver would be a solid addition to the Phillies staff, I don't see the Phils doing anything to help the Yanks make room on their staff for Curt Schilling. As long as Weaver and his hefty contract are in New York, the Yanks have to pitch him, and he is a natural starter, not a reliever.

The Yanks are making serious noise about acquiring Schilling, someone the Phils would like to reunite with in Philadelphia. If Weaver stays put in New York that gives them a staff of Mussina, Contreras and Weaver as starting pitchers. Assuming they resign Andy Pettitte, and it says here that they will, they are only on the market for one more starter… probably Schilling or Colon.

If they sign Colon, they are suddenly off the market for Schilling, which makes the Phils' chances of reacquiring him at a low cost price that much easier. So, it's not in the Phils' interest at this time to make Weaver a priority. Check back with me in January and we will see if the situation has changed!

Oh, and good luck to your Florida Gators, John!

Q: On Your Ken Brett Article, from Phil Snyder

Hey! CD
, thank you for your nice article and history lesson on recently deceased former Phillie pitcher, Ken Brett. You indicated he pitched for the Kansas City Royals in 1980-81. Did he pitch against the Phillies in the 1980 World Series?

CD says…
Allow me to thank you, Phil for your kind words! As for your question, I wondered about that myself so I researched the season and found out that Brett pitched 8 games for the Royals in 1980. He pitched a total of 13 scoreless innings but was not on the Royals post-season roster, so he did not appear in the 1980 World Series.

He did return to the Royals in 1981 and pitched a total of 22 games with a record of 1-1. His career ended after the '81 season. Brett pitched as a 19-year-old rookie in the 1967 World Series for the Boston Red Sox, his one and only World Series experience. As mentioned in my article, Brett won the 1974 All-Star game while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and also pitched in the 1974-75 league playoff series for those same Pirates.

Thanks for the question, Phil; hope to hear from you again.

Q: On the Roles of Relief Pitchers, from Ed Siegler, Norristown PA

Hey! CD
…could you tell me the defined roles of relief pitchers in today's baseball?

CD says...
Nice to see you again, Ed, and as usual, you have a great question!

The role of the relief pitcher in today's game is vastly different than in the past. As recently as the late 1970's the Phils actually had three relief pitchers, Tug McGraw, Ron Reed and Gene Garber who pitched interchangeably and actually each saved over 10 games in the same season.

Today the game has changed and relief pitchers have more defined roles. I would separate the roles into five categories:

The 1st role is the closer, the guy who comes into the ninth inning to finish the game and keep the lead. The Phils recently acquired one of the best in Billy Wagner. This is generally considered the most important pitcher in the relief corp.

The 2nd role is the set up man, the pitcher who bridges the gap between the starter and the closer. Last year Terry Adams and Rheal Cormier performed this role very well. They generally come in no earlier than the 7th inning and attempt to keep the team ahead until turning the game over to the closer in the 9th inning.

The 3rd role is the long reliever, a pitcher who generally comes into a game when the starting pitcher has been ineffective and left the game early on. His role is to keep the game close and allow his team an opportunity to come back from an early deficit and win the game. Carlos Silva and Turk Wendell were probably the best examples of this. They are expected to pitch 2-3 innings, usually in the middle of a game.

The 4th role is the specialist, the pitcher who usually comes in to face only one hitter, and one hitter only. This pitcher is most often left-handed and will be used to face dangerous lefty hitters like Barry Bonds, Shawn Green, Todd Helton or Ken Griffey Jr. The Phils have one of the best in lefty Dan Plesac.

Finally, the 5th role is the one you hope you don't need too often, the mop up guy. He is the pitcher who comes into a hopelessly lost game, strictly to eat up innings and save your key relievers for another game. In September, this was a role used by rookie Geoff Geary. As mentioned, it is always hoped that this role is one that is used as little as possible…for obvious reasons!

Hope that helps, Ed! Take care, and stay in touch!

To My Co-Fans: Thank you for your continued patronage and the undying interest on our beloved Phillies. Keep the questions coming! CD from the Left Coast

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