Tag Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

Is Playoff Baseball a Possibility for the Phillies?


On the way to being competitive, we all knew it would only be a matter of time before the Phillies opened up their wallets. But did they open it up on the right guy at the right time? Does Jake Arrieta make them an instant contender in the National League?

In a move to show they are ready to compete for a second title, the Eagles pulled off a stunner. With the addition of Michael Bennett, are they better than last year? Does bringing in another CB in Worley signal another move on the horizon?

Tiger Woods showed the poise of a Champion once again as he sunk a 44 foot putt on the way to a 2nd place finish. Is he back? Is there another athlete who is as powerful in society as Tiger? Is he the favorite to win the Masters?

With the recent trades of Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor, is Cleveland now a Fantasy safe haven? With the trio of Taylor, Gordon, and Landry teams will finally have to respect the offense. Will the Browns finally play meaningful football this year?

March Madness is here and the brackets are ready to be busted. How many pools do you play? With all the famous memoires of the NCAA Tourney, what do you remember best? What teams, players and coaches signify your upbringing?

The Heat Ratio (@theheatratio) brings a set of unique views and opinions each week to focus on all the top sports stories making it to the top of the headlines. Listen in as Tony (@TCutillo23) says teams and players should have no excuse for not playing well together in week 1 as John (@PGHJohn36) says they need some time to form a cohesive unit. From the Fantasy Firebox updates to the famous NCAA players of the 90’s, it’s all here just waiting for your take….

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As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23 & @theheatratio) for questions or some nice fantasy debates.

My show The Heat Ratio can be heard weekly at Wildfire Radio Sports Wednesdays 12 P.M. – 1 P.M. LIVE (also available for download on the site and via iTunes), Tuesdays 8 P.M. on Phillyinfluencer.com (PiLive) and via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00 P.M. EST for a weekend sports wrap.


Can the Phillies live up to their Power Potential?


The Phillies are in Spring Training and are filled with youth. What can we expect from them as far as wins? They have alot of players with big potential. Will their power be as advertised?

With the Eagles strapped against the cap, it is going to take a lot of maneuvering to get the team where it needs to be. The Linebacker position is a big need with the uncertainty of Jordan Hicks, which makes Nigel Bradham a priority. Do you resign him?

Tiger Woods at 42 still has the chance to be the best player in the world. After a weekend of flashes, will he be competing for a Top spot in Augusta? Is he back to true form?

The top QBs and their salaries are eye popping statistics. Kirk Cousins is looking at the biggest contract in NFL history. What do you do if you’re a team who needs an arm? Do you take the risk?

We have our 1st Fantasy Baseball mock draft and the results are puzzling. Mookie Betts goes at 3 while Paul Goldschmidt drops to 8. The Pitcher run starts at the top of second. Is that the right spot to target an arm? John also gives us some sleepers to keep an eye on as the draft gets deeper.

The Heat Ratio (@theheatratio) brings a set of unique views and opinions each week to focus on all the top sports stories from the news. Listen in as Tony (@TCutillo23) says the Eagles are the bread winners now in PA while John (@PGHJohn36) says to live it up for now as it will change. From Maikel Franco’s party problems to a Tiger Woods transformation, it’s all here just waiting for your take….

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***Don’t forget to subscribe to us and give us a rating……Thanks!

As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23 & @theheatratio) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. My show The Heat Ratio can be heard weekly at Wildfire Radio Sports Wednesdays 12 P.M. – 1 P.M. LIVE (also available for download on the site and via iTunes), Tuesdays 8 P.M. on Phillyinfluencer.com (PiLive) and via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00 P.M. EST for a weekend sports wrap.


Papelbon Quietly Delivers



In a year where the Philadelphia Phillies have been nothing short of exhausting to follow and watch, Jonathan Papelbon has been one of the bright spots for a Phillies bullpen that wasn’t give much hope when the players reported to Spring Training.

Papelbon earned his 30th save of the year last week with a scoreless ninth inning against the Mariners on Wednesday and helped combine on a no-hitter against Atlanta. He’s now reached the 30-save mark eight times in his last nine seasons. Papelbon has never been the most popular player, but he’s put together some very impressive numbers over his career with 315 saves to go with a 2.34 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.

One of the reasons behind the unacknowledged accolades could be his domineer and attitude. He has never been known as the best guy in the locker room and was always available to say whatever was on his mind, no matter what the consequences would be. Papelbon has a pretty impressive track record and came to the Phillies under a lot of scrutiny because of a big time contract with whispers of a dead arm closer. Unfortunately for him, he came to the Phillies in the first stages of a team decline, not a phase he was expecting.

There have been moments of praise, along with times of disgust over these last three seasons as we have watched the continual ups and downs of a bad baseball team. Whether or not you want to give Papelbon the credit he deserves, the fact that there’s even an argument to be made for him will hopefully get you to appreciate a little more what the guy has done and is doing for the Fightins. Papelbon’s numbers in his three seasons in the Red and White are really quite excellent.

In 187 appearances from 2012-2014, here are his overall stats:                    

188 IP, 12-9, 2.35 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 1.02 WHIP, 203 K, 42 BB (4.83 K/BB), 100 Saves

He’s certainly not the cuddliest closer we’ve ever had and he probably won’t end up being worth $26 million over the next two seasons. However, he only trails Jose Mesa by 14 saves to become the Phillies All-Time Leader and what he’s done thus far when taking the mound for us in the ninth inning has been pretty undeniable, and deserves to be acknowledged.

Reported By:

Tony Cutillo (@TCutillo23)

Time to Panic…..


It’s that time of year again when the weather breaks and the boys of summer are back. This is the first year of the Ryne Sandberg regime and it looks to be lacking one thing so far, OFFENSE! Yes it’s early, but after an offseason of the Marlon Byrd phenomenon, we really didn’t come into this year with the greatest of expectations.  However, some of us thought that a healthy Ryan Howard would bolster this team to competition, but as of now his stat line ( .182 BA, 0 HR and 9 K’s) in 22 AB’s is far from stellar. This is just one of the many storylines listed below for which I am concerned:

**Cole Hamels – another mysterious arm injury and throwing fatigue definitely does not sound promising.

**Jimmy Rollins—batting .133 so far with 2 hits in 15 AB’s…shocking

**Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez—the mysterious million dollar Cuban sensation that has been rocked so far, showing as much control as “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn before the glasses.

**Dominic Brown—outfield skills still in question, but after a diminished second half offensively, starting out the spring at .091 is not helping anyone’s confidence.

**John Mayberry Jr.—tell me why he is still on the team????

**Bobby Abreu—our signed Left handed hitting specialist is hitting a fantastic .150 so far and is moving around as well as John Kruk from 1st to 3rd.

phiilies4As you can see, there are a lot of issues with this, which have just culminated during the first week of spring training. Can they turn it around? Anything is possible. However, if past history is an indictment on how this season plays out, we are in for a long summer!

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

***As always, your comments and responses are welcomed and appreciated…you can also follow me @TCutillo23…

Phillies Fan Base Frustration Continues to Grow!

philly 2

This is usually the time we as Phillies fans tend to get excited thinking about the prospects of what the season holds. As we all brace through this brutally cold and active winter, the sound of excitement for this upcoming training camp is nonexistent and the hopes of this fan base are lower than the amount of salt still left in the dunes at Penn dot. Usually in the month of February, we are predominately talking about if we will be a division winner or a wild card team come October, but this year we are already looking at 2015. There has been talk of when we will be able to trade Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee, if we paid Cole Hamels too much, and if we will ever have a farm system again. These are all legitimate concerns and the organization has not done anything to ease our minds going into the future.

The city of Philadelphia is said to be a bandwagon fan base, but it is extremely hard to stand behind a team who shows they have no direction. For Example, the Phillies have been shopping all offseason in the Five Below store, hoping to cash in on a gem because we all know how often that happens, right? I’m still astonished that they are extremely enthusiastic about the signing of Bobby Abreu philly3and how he will be able to help this year. Bobby Abreu, really?..really?…Also, not to be forgotten we resigned John Mayberry Jr. and infielder Ronny Cedeno to fill out our bench….While I’m not a huge fan of signing Marlon Byrd, I do think it could be a decent move and add a little pop to our lineup from the right side. The problem is this was the prize of the offseason instead of a piece, which is why I say it is unacceptable and a slap in the face of this well paying fan base. Obviously, I understand we won a World Series in 2008 and got back there in 2009, but once you establish yourself as a high market team it is your responsibility to remain cognizant of that status, making every effort possible to remain there as well.

The Phillies remain a popular ticket in this town, but nothing like they have through the span of 2008-2012, including a sellout streak of 257 straight games. Organizationally they have increased ticket prices and are far from hurting for money or revenue. As seen on http://www.forbes.com/teams/philadelphia-phillies/, the Phillies have the pockets to empty, but they seem like they are stuck in a mirage of 2005, where they constantly settled for less. If you were to break down the new Television deal they just signed, signing any player they clamor for should never be an issue. However, the Phillies always work under their own, self induced salary cap, but sometimes you have to spend more to gain more in return. For example, The New York Yankees (I know not my favorite either, but trying to prove a point), are a team who shows they need to remain primetime players to keep their fan base happy.  After an Idle October, the Yankees came back in full force by signing seven players for $319 million dollars. While I understand we are not the Yankees, I am merely trying to show the point of a franchise trying to win at all costs. They are not using excuses about the players they have being injured or not playing up to their contracts, instead they just sign newimagesCAQFEH57 ones and hope things turn around. In my opinion, when you have a hardcore fan base that you need to be successful, you cannot afford to put an inferior product on the field, without making a bona fide effort to turn things around.

I, for one, do not blame Ruben Amaro entirely for this downward spiral, as I still think the decisions are not entirely in his hands. The problem I do have with Ruben is he seems to hold onto the past for too long and when he decides to try and make his move, it’s too late. For example, last season would have been the perfect opportunity to turn this thing around by trading Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and later in the season Chase Utley. Early into the season their values have never been higher and our farm system was in dire need for an overhaul. We all knew we weren’t going to contend, so why stay in this mired period any longer. It was possible, with the right moves, we could have contended again in 2 years. Instead we held onto them too long, as Papelbon imploded and we resigned Chase Utley to a contract to take him into the age of 40. Unfortunately, I feel like that was the chance to turn this thing around quickly, but instead it looks like we are in for a long 5 years of mediocrity and contending with the Marlins for 4th place. Boy have times changed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

****As always I appreciate all comments and feedback….you can follow me @TCutillo23.

Amaro’s Armageddon ….


The end is near! We see it on every movie about the end of the world, every super-hero movie, and well on any sports network anytime a GM makes a move that reeks of desperation and is unsuccessful. Well, in my opinion, we’ve officially hit that point with Ruben Amaro’s last two signings. The countdown clock to the end has officially begun.

Why do I come to this conclusion? Although I love Carlos Ruiz the baseball player, this contract at best is a reach. Rube was in competition with the Red Sox who were offering 2 years at 20 million, and had noruiz imagination on how to fulfill the catcher position going forward and in desperation offered 3 years to a 35 year old catcher. Who is coming off a suspension, averaged only 112 games a year his last 3 seasons, and is showing huge signs of regression as last year was one of his worst statistical seasons as a regular.

Ruiz is an underrated catcher and under the right circumstance, would have loved to see him stay in red pinstripes. I still believe in the old school philosophy that you win with defense up the middle, and if you get anything offensively it’s a bonus. Ruiz gave us exactly that until last season. Catchers just don’t hold up and be productive at 38, which is how old Ruiz will be when the Phillies can opt out of his contract. Also, with Ruiz only averaging 112 games a season you need to hope either;  A.) Joseph/Rupp can fill in as an understudy and be productive in those other 50 games (and if they can produce for 50 games then why can’t they for 120 and be your starter.) or B.) You’re going to have to sign a catcher who is more of a starter than more than back up (like a Navarro or Pierzynski) which will handcuff you in filling out the rest of the pitching staff.

There are those who say this is a good signing and that Ruiz was the best catcher on the market and this is just the cost of doing business. While I agree defensively Ruiz is the best on the market, I couldn’t disagree more that this is the cost of doing business.

First, if Ruiz was head and shoulders above everyone else, then why did the Red Sox not offer him a 3rd year and match the Phillies when their catcher situation is worse than ours? Second, A.J. Pierzynski put up apierzynski statistically better line of .272/.297/.425 while hitting 17 Home Runs and 70 RBI in 134 games and at a year older than Ruiz would have accepted a one year deal and same yearly salary as Ruiz (8.5 Million). Third and here’s where I see the cracks in Ruben Amaro’s armor, because he’s so afraid of losing his job that he’s now afraid to take a risk, he’s lost any thought on being creative to move this team forward. He’s mattwitersafraid of putting Rupp in to see what he has (by the way he’ll be 27 when Ruiz’s contract is up), or signing Dioner Navarro or pursing Matt Wieters and using the money saved to fix a bullpen that he’s destroyed. He no longer has the ability to think past these next 162 games. He’s hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. When you hit that point as a General Manager, it’s a scary place, dangerous for an organization. I hope for our sakes he’s right and I’m wrong and that in about 11 months from now we’ll be parading down Broad Street, but under this GM I just don’t see it.

BY: Brian Evans……….Follow me @Brian_Evans32

Misfires and Misjudgements…..


In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series and were the hottest sports franchise in the city.  They hold a dear place in our hearts and relate to the fans on numerous levels.  Citizens Bank Park was hitting record sellouts for years ahead, the pennant was taken for granted,  and management was willing to do whatever it took to keep the winning trend continue into the future.  However, in order to accomplish this goal, there needs to be the right person in position, for whom the Phillies thought and still think, is Ruben Amaro Jr.

Ruben was molded into the business for many years prior and seemed like a natural fit for the chair.  He stood by and seen the likes of Pat Gillik, Dallas Green, and even Ed Wade standout and have some sense of success while figuring out his own style and methods.  When promoted, he was one of the youngest General Managers in baseball and seemed primed to take the league by storm.  The Phillies, as inherited at the time, were a winning team whose core was at its prime and, in turn, was his job to determine what method of salary and experience would lead to success.

Along his road of visions and predetermined success, were the monumentous trades and unheralded contract extensions, that will ultimately leadPhillies-4-aces1 to the fate of himself and the organization.  It seemed as though he was hitching the wagon to the big splash in trading for the likes of Cliff Lee, Doc Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence, who hold insurmountable accolades and brought an excitement to the Philadelphia Phillies organization that had been missing for a long time.  The majority of the fan base was behind most of these moves at the time, as the hopes for more championships were at their peak, setting up for a story book conclusion.

Bordering those same lines, the decisions of extending players like Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and giving new, big money to aging veterans such as Jonathan Papelbon, came with skepticism that can easily be put to rest by winning.  Unfortunately, for Amaro, this isn’t a perfect world where all of these moves would work for the foreseeable future.  This, instead,  is the realm of reality, and in turn, has taken a turn for the worse that has left the Phillies with many overextended contracts and a depleted cosartfarm system.  He traded away 12 top prospects in 3 years, 2 of which may turn into superstars ( Jarred Cosart and Jonathon Singleton)and still owe in upwards of $140 million to a few players who are basically playing way past their prime.

As it looks right now, most of Amaro’s moves have not panned out and have handcuffed this team for the foreseeablehoward future.  In analyzing his performance, it seems as though Reuben got carried away with chasing the aspirations of being the elite, when in fact he was already contending as the elite.  Sometimes it isn’t always the biggest names that reward your organization the most, but instead the smaller ones that build championships.  However,  if Ryan Howard is still hitting 45 homeruns, Jimmy Rollins is still a 20/40 threat,  and we had some AAA all star prospects waiting as heir apparent at certain positions,  we might be all applauding how great of a job Ruben has done.  Instead, we continue to be critical of his decisions because most have not turned into success.  In Philadelphia, expectations are always high and continue to be lifted on an everyday basis.  There will always be a difference of opinion when it comes to the idea of Ruben making the right baseball decisions, but when the team looks as unraveled and weakened as it does today, the negatives far outweigh the positives.  Baseball is a business, but if seats on the screen continue to be empty, showing an indication that income flow seems to be diminishing, Ruben may find himself on the outskirts of a rebuilding regime!

BY: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )

Manuel’s Last Ride?

charlie_manuelThroughout the years in Philadelphia,  there have been many coaching era’s in all sports,  but few have had the success of Charlie Manuel.  Charlie is a baseball relic,  who has knowledge in his repertoire that hasn’t even begun to be tapped into.  Manuel was a world-class standout in Japan as a player and started to get noticed in the majors with his stint managing the Cleveland Indians.  He was always known as a players coach and developed a respect amongst his players that became a unbreakable bond that kept them motivated.  This became evident in Cleveland with Manny Ramirez,   and so far here in Philadelphia,   with Jimmy Rollins.   In the world of sports,  there are many types of players and personalities,  so having someone who knows how to handle them will always be a big advantage to any organization.

In 2005,  the Philadelphia Phillies decided to promote Charlie to become their 51st manager in team history,  taking over for the fiery Larry Bowa.  The feeling within the organization was that Bowa’s tactics had lost their luster and it was time to take a different approach to get their young players to respond.  Fortunately,  the move worked exactly the way they had planned,  leading the team to 2 National League Pennants and 1 World Series Championship.  Players seemed to be motivated again and were willing to lay it all out on the line for their new manager,  whom they considered a brilliant teacher.  This would prove to be evident during a game broadcast,  when you would constantly see players next to Charlie asking for advice or just following the game.  I do not think I’ve seen this replicated anywhere throughout the league,  showing the special bond that was existent among these players and their head coach.  Throughout the media,  there were whispers of the clubhouse being run like a country club,  but the laid back atmosphere seemed to be warranted,  as the players would always step their game up when necessary.  Winning is a cure for any skepticism that exists,  as it forces people to enjoy the product being displayed,  not necessarily picking it apart.

In the last few years,  as players have gotten older and injuries continue to be a concern,  Manuel seems to be the only stalwart who is able to keep this team together.  It was evident last year,   as a team without Chase Utley,  Ryan Howard, and Doc Halladay,  three integral parts of the team,  were sidelined most of the year and still fought their way to a .500 season.  I am not justifying their horrific season last year,  instead commending Charlie Manuel for getting players like Kevin Fransden and Eric Kratz to contribute,  salvaging what could have been a much more devastating year.  In this, the last year of his contract,  it will be interesting if the Phillies decide to keep him around as the leader or they decide to go in another direction like they did 8 years ago.  Either way,  the Phillies would not have found their success without Charlie Manuel, who could arguably go down as the best Manager in Philadelphia Phillies history!

BY: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )

Beginning of the Decline?

Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Philadelphia Phillies had enjoyed success by winning the World Series in 2008 and earning another trip back there in 2009 against the New York Yankees.  In disappointing fashion,  the Phillies lost in 6 games,  partly because Pedro Martinez just didn’t have it anymore.  This lead the organization to reevalute themselves,  trying to figure out what they could do to achieve another successful trip to the big dance.  Fortunately,  for Ruben Amaro Jr. (Phillies G.M.),  there was a future Hall of Famer,  named Roy Halladay,  just waiting in the wings to lend a helping hand.

In the 2010 offseason,  the Phillies pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Toronto Blue Jays,  sending their best pitching prospect Kyle Drabek for their best pitcher, Roy Halladay.  Roy was a player Ruben had coveted for a few years and was finally given the opportunity to make him a Phillie.  There were many skeptics along the way that were afraid the Phillies gave up too much talent to acquire a 32-year-old pitcher with alot of miles on his odometer.  In the defense of the move,  Ruben stated, “To get talent, you must give up talent, ”  and with a team built to succeed now,  that move made a whole lot of sense.  In hindsight,  the Phillies have definitely reaped the benefits of that acquisition,  even though they haven’t won another world series yet.  In his first season,  Doc left all those skeptics guessing by tossing a perfect game ( 5/29/10 ) during the regular season and continuing to be strong in the postseason,  pitching a perfect game ( 10/6/10 ) against the Reds.  Philadelphia was blown away by the Iron Man known as Doc Halladay,  a pitcher whom they haven’t seen the likes of since Steve Carlton ( Lefty ).

As people get older,  they tend to ease into things to give their bodies time to recover and react.  Roy Halladay is an animal who will never sit still in his cage.  He has maintained a level of conditioning that has been unheralded,  but a level that keeps him on top of his game.  Last season was the first time we have seen him labor a little late in games and not have the same velocity on the ball that we are accustomed to seeing.  All pitchers go through this transition period,  learning how to perfect their craft by working smarter,  not harder.  Pitchers like Nolan  Ryan and Greg Maddox always seemed to get better with age because they learned how to master the skills around their own limitations.  Greg went from a power pitcher to a finesse thrower,  who learned to be precise when hitting his target.  We, as Phillies fans,  are spoiled with the greatness we have seen the last couple years,  especially the robotic,  undefinable movements on the mound.  Therefore,  we are all on the edge of our seats,  wondering if Doc will be ready for the frontline battle or be delegated to the back,  where he is nothing but an average soldier.  We will just have to wait and see!

BY: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )

Taking a Back Seat?

English: 2008 World Series. The scoreboard at ...
English: 2008 World Series. The scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park declaring the Philadelphia Phillies world champions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It wasn’t that long ago when the Philadelphia Phillies were considered the upper echelon of the National League East and, for that matter, all of baseball.  They were the team with the unstoppable core of young players looking to win multiple championships.  In 2008,  they did just that, being crowned ” the world champions of baseball, ” ever so eloquently by the late,  great,  Harry Kalas.  However,  they have been on a steady decline ever since their moment of glory,  scratching and crawling to get their crown back in their sights.

After winning the World Series in 2008,  Ruben Amaro Jr. took over for Pat Gillick as General Manger and decided to shift focus into a win now philosophy because the average age of the roster and most of the core players was around 28 years old.  This is widely considered the prime age for most players and the Phillies decided to take a win at all costs approach to climb atop of the mountain at least one more time.  They did get back to the World Series the following year (2009),  but went down swinging to the New York Yankees. In the game of baseball,  it is extremely hard to win back to back championships,  which makes it unbelievably special that the Yankees won it three years in row in 1998, 1999,  and 2000.

The Phillies management,  led by Dave Montgomery (President) and Ruben Amaro Jr. (General Manager),  started to spoil us with the big and bold move every year,  making us come to expect it and be disappointed when it didn’t come to fruition.  Consequently,  this year has been a different course of events,  as the Phillies brass decided to make several small moves instead of their normal big splash.  It looks as though,  this is a transition year where the Phillies look to lean on production from some of their high profiled horses,  specifically Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  The team has alot of money invested in these two players,  and needs them to give back some return on their investment.  One of the problems is,   these guys are becoming injury prone and vulnerable,  two things that are common with aging veterans.  Unfortunately,  the Phillies do not have the youth to replace any of the aging either,  as they traded away most of their high prospects over the last few years for guys like Roy Halladay,  Cliff LeeRoy Oswalt,  and Hunter Pence respectively.  I am not saying any of these prospects would have turned into high-caliber players,  but it has definitely hurt the depth and foundation of the current roster.

In retrospect,  the Phillies have done everything in their power to win as many games as possible,  and for that they should be commended.  This team and organization has come along way with the way they handle their players and adore their fans.  The team has gone from trotting out players like Paul Abbott and Omar Daal donning their uniform,  to guys like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee,  who have publicly admitted they would rather play for the Phillies instead of the Yankees.  Looking into the future,  it seems like our chances of being dominant again maybe dropping harder than Manti Teo’s draft stock in April.  However,  no matter what happens,  I think we all have enjoyed the success and definitely loved the ride!

By: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )