Coste DFA’d; Werth DTF

So the inevitable happened; when the Phillies brought Raul Ibanez off the DL, they DFA’d catcher and noted author Chris Coste. Coste, OPS-ing only .724 and playing sparingly since the arrival of Paul Bako, was suddenly expendable and the Phillies severed ties with the aging cather/right-handed pinch hitter.

More career home runs than Juan Pierre, and more career books as well.

More career home runs than Juan Pierre, and more career books as well.

While Coste was not nearly as important to the Phillies’ recent success as, say, Chase Utley, but he was a fan favorite, an everyman who, through perseverance, grit and all sorts of things Dusty Baker values over things like plate discipline and defensive range. Being old and not particularly athletic, he was a real public service, a Phillie beloved not for his prowess on the field, but for what he represented–the dream of playing in the major leagues.

Coste was (well, I guess he’s still is, but I always imagined Houston being like purgatory) a real class act. He continued to exude that class after he was waived:

“I wouldn’t say it was a huge shock; my playing time decreased a lot,” he said. “I’m disappointed. At the same time, at least I’m not going back to the minor leagues. That would have been much tougher. Getting sent back to the minors in 2006 and 2007, that was pretty tough. Obviously, with my situation for the past 4 or 5 years, leaving Philadelphia is tough. But in Houston, I’m going to a good situation.

“When I first got into the big leagues in 2006, I wanted to get 1 day in the big leagues. After 1 day, I wanted to get a full year. Once I got that full year, I wanted 10 years. That’s been my approach. I just want to stay in the big leagues as long as I can. I don’t know any other city that would take to me the way Philadelphia has. It’s almost the kind of stuff you can write a book about.”

Funny, gracious and eternally optimistic. It’s no surprise that the Phillie faithful embraced Chris Coste so, and I’m sure we’ll remember him fondly now that he’s gone. It may have been the right baseball decision to waive Coste, but that doesn’t make it any less bittersweet. Best of luck to you, Chris.

On a lighter note, Jayson Werth (the man who misspells both his first and last names) was added to the All-Star roster as a last-minute injury replacement for Carlos Beltran. While many opinionated individuals (including myself) think that Werth’s selection was a bit of homerism by Uncle Cholly, and that Matt Kemp or Pablo Sandoval might have been more deserving, it’s still a nice thing for Werth, who went from being a fourth outfielder who couldn’t hit righties or stay healthy in Toronto or L.A. to a legitimate power-speed guy and a very good defensive corner outfielder in Philly. I wouldn’t have picked Werth for the All-Star team, but bully for him.

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2 Comments

Filed under 2008-09 Season

2 responses to “Coste DFA’d; Werth DTF

  1. Badfinger

    Werth is 6th in the NL in WAR according to Fangraphs. He actually deserves to be an All-Star (over Victorino even, as much as I love the Flawaiian). It’s just that Matt Kemp is 1st in WAR. I would have no problem with Werth being picked except that Kemp is pointedly excluded. It’s as much of an insult as the this-time-it-matters-actually-meaningless All Star game can be.

    As for Coste, he’s “only” OPSing .724, but that’s good for an OPS+ of 90, a number that Paul Bako can barely reach by adding his last 2 seasons together. A 90 OPS+ and .342 OBP is pretty respectable for a backup catcher. He’s now the best offensive catcher on the Astros and it’s not even close. There’s no reason Paul Bako should be on a major league roster anywhere, especially on a should-be playoff team. Plus he was a naturalized Philly guy, and he had a key factor that is important in all backup catchers, rootability (see: Sal Fasano). Paul Bako is not only 150 OPS points worse than him, a downgrade defensively, can’t spot you at 1st if you need it, has more miles on his knees and wouldn’t give tree stumps a run for their money in charisma, the Phillies managed to pick up one of like 4 guys in organized baseball OLDER THAN CHRIS COSTE.

    There is nothing the Phillies front office is worse at than dealing with their catchers, and nothing that bothers me more.

  2. damnandblast

    Thanks for commenting–I’d agree that Bako is a less-than-ideal backup catcher (his game-winning RBI Saturday notwithstanding), but it seems like the Coste-as-backup-catcher experiment ended late last season. Personally, I’d as soon have Marson backing up Ruiz as anyone, but at any rate, Chris Coste deserved a salute as he went on his way.
    As far as Werth making the ASG, I totally agree that he deserved it more than Victorino. And, believe you me, there have been worse selections than Werth. I don’t necessarily think he’s an awful pick, but I don’t think he was the best player available.

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