Dan Giese had hoped that 2004 might be the season when he would get his shot at the Phillies' bullpen. Instead, when the September call-ups were announced, Giese wasn't among the names on the list. It makes you wonder what Giese has to do to make it to the majors. While many casual fans may not realize it, it was Giese who led all Phillies minor league pitchers in wins last season with 12. And he did that pitching out of the Scranton bullpen. He also saved three games and finished the year with a 2.81 ERA.
This May, Giese will celebrate his 28th birthday and is hoping that the celebration will come as a member of the Phillies major league club. However, the major league bullpen doesn't appear to have a lot of room for new faces. That means Giese will likely have to serve in an insurance role and stay at AAA Scranton for another season. Over the last two years, Giese has pitched in 91 AAA games and doesn't appear to need more minor league work. He's been in the professional ranks since signing with Boston in 1999 and has pitched 416 innings as a minor league reliever.
The Phillies will take a look at Giese, but unless he turns in an awesome spring performance, odds are that he'll be getting a ticket to Scranton. Again, you have to wonder why he hasn't gotten a shot at pitching in the majors, since some scout believe he was ready for a September call-up during the 2003 season and still hasn't gotten that phone call.
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Acquired: Contract was purchased from San Diego on May 2, 2003. Was originally drafted by Boston in the 34th round of the '99 Draft. Giese was then dealt to San Diego in June of 2002.
Repertoire: Giese has the usual good fastball and a hard slider that he can keep down in the zone. He mixes in a curve and change-up along the way.
Pitching: Generally, Giese keeps the ball down and throws strikes. If you look through his numbers, you'll see that he has generally been at least at a ratio of three strikeouts for every walk that he has issued and has often been better than that. He has plenty of AAA experience and seems as ready as he'll ever be for the majors.
Projection: Some people around Giese have reported a minor attitude, but certainly nothing that should be keeping him from getting a shot in the majors. The Phillies should give him a good, hard look this spring and perhaps with Charlie Manuel taking over the reins and the input of pitching coach Rich Dubee and coach Marc Bombard who both had Giese at Scranton, maybe good things will happen. Something doesn't fit though, because Giese was sitting there for teams to grab in the Rule 5 Draft last December, but nobody bit.
ETA: Like the old Ronnie Milsap song says "Any Day Now..." Giese should have been up last September but wasn't. If he doesn't make the club out of spring training - and there's a good chance that he won't - he will serve as insurance at AAA.
Comparison: Ryan Madson. The Phillies saw Madson burst onto the scene last season as a pleasant surprise out of their bullpen. Giese has the talent and the pure stuff to be this year's Ryan Madson.