General Discussion – Week of October 29 – End of Season Moves Edition

Here is your weekly general discussion for all those things not covered by other content here.  With the World Series nearing an end the Hot Stove is starting to heat up, so let the rumors fly.  Plenty of Phillies are in Winter League (I believe the Darin Ruf 2012 HR count is at 48 as of Sunday night); in the Arizona Fall League, Tommy Joseph and Cody Asche were named to the Rising Stars Game which is a cross between the Futures Game and a minor league All-Star game.

For those in the Northeast stay safe from the storm and post away while the lights stay on.

Phillies Moves:

Exercised 2013 Option on Carlos Ruiz ($5 million)

Declined 2013 Option on Ty Wigginton ($500k buyout)

Declined 2013 Option on Jose Contreras ($500k buyout)

Declined 2013 Option on Placido Polanco ($1mil buyout)

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

413 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of October 29 – End of Season Moves Edition

    1. I believe he will start the season in the minors to work on left field and if he puts up the numbers he has this year he will be called up mid season

    2. I think it is too early to make a call of what will happen, free agency will really give a good indication of what the front office thinks of Ruf

  1. I dont understand why joseph was named when his batting avg is so low and why collier wasnt named he is lighting up the AFL

    1. The Rising Stars game is more of a prospect showcase then based on stats, you also have to fill the positions on both teams. There are a ton of prospect outfielders, Joseph is the second best catcher in the AFL behind his teammate Mike Zunino.

    2. I was thinking wow, his defense must be real good. Lets hope his hitting comes around with his new stance.

  2. I am very concerned about Josephs. He came to the Phil’s with great hope and promise. Then I read that Waltham grabed Joseph and is trying to change his hitting approach. I hope they don’t screw him up, before annilizing him in depth or to death.

    1. I’m not worried. First, he put up better numbers in Reading than he did in Richmond. Second he’s only had 22 ABs in the AFL and I’m pretty sure being 3-for-17 in the ABs in which he’s put the ball in play means his BABIP is a little low. And as a 21 year old catcher, time is very much on his side.

      1. He has apparently had the flu also for a week. 17 at bats is the definition of nothing. He is one of the youngest players in the AFL. No concerns here. He moved up to AA last year and held his own. That is a good sign in any young player.

  3. conder its simple. just like on this link. when people fall in love with a prospect. they think that the prospect is a sure thing, scouts have been on joseph,and that is what the league goes by, not performance

  4. So the Giants have won two in the last three years….we get one in 5. I guess that is how the pretzel crumbles in Philly!

    1. Of all the teams to win 2 championships in 3 years ??? The Giants !!! I am not saying they are not deserving but they did that on a “modest” payroll….. Keep in mind the perennial champion Yankees have only appeared in three WS, and won it only ONCE, in 12 years at the cost pf putting a ballpark on the moon ! ! Also note the Cardinals won 2 WS in a 5 year window…. Just like 2010, the Giants played with pixie dust on their bats and gloves…..the teams that win the WS are rarely the best team but most probably the hottest in a short stretch. It means less and less every year as a team has to leap hurdle after hurdle. To say the Phillies have had great teams and only one WS ring to show for it dismisses the extraordinarily difficulty of even getting close !
      !

    2. That is a lot better than the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay, Texas and many other teams. Stop your complaining as it extremely difficult to win a championship with all these extra teams.

  5. Torii Hunter…. according to Ed Creech, MLBTR, Angels are not going to sign Torii Hunter. However, as Raul did with the Phillies, if Hunter and the Angels do the ‘gentleman handshake’ and make the obligatory qualifying offer of $13.3M…do the Phillies still try to sign him and lose the 16th pick?

    1. If Amaro sacrifices the highest pick the team has had in awhile for the outfielder formerly known as Torri Hunter, he should lose his job.

    2. No way you give up pick. Also zero chance there is a gentlemen’s agreement because it destroys Hunter’s market, in Raul’s case the Phils got a pick but it didn’t cost the signing team anything

      1. Great point, I almost forgot that Raul didn’t cost the Yankees a pick. I think that was all Raul’s agent doing the Phills a favor because they signed his other client Papelbon.

        1. I doubt it, I think if there was money on the table, Raul would’ve taken it from the group of teams he was interested in playing. That was a solid calculated risk on Phillies part.

          1. The Phil’s offered Arb, which guarenteed 80% of his 12,000,000 2011 Salary or $9.6 million. Raul knew he would not get more than that as a FA. His agent has a general idea of a players worth. It was simply Raul giving a little something back to the Phillies because he is a class act. There was clearly an unofficial agreement between the Phils and Raul, even though such agreements are not supposed to exist.

        1. Not really, how many teams would bid on Hunter if they had to give up a pick, not many? It destroys the bidding on non-star players if teams have to give up a pick, especially when their not extra picks that they can get. So why would a player or agent agree to a deal.

        2. Work around what, exactly?

          This is the kind of wholly irrational post supported by any logic or evidence, posted by cowards who won’t reveal even a consistent alias, that reduce the value of these discussion.

          Go away.

        3. The ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ was merely an arbitration offer, not a $13million guarantee. No where near the same concept and there is no chance Hunter gets an offer from the Angels.

          That said, I am really warming up to the idea of Hunter in LF or RF. Maybe 2yrs / 15mil?

  6. Phils have announced that they will exercise their option on Carlos Ruiz for a $5 M salary for 2013 (MLBTR). Has there ever been a more team-friendly deal in recent memory? My off season moves:

    0. Sign no free agent (other than Josh Hamilton if they have the remote opportunity to do so) that costs their first round pick in the amateur draft.

    00. Stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2013.

    1. Sign Ryan Madson if they can do it for say $5.5 M on a one year deal as next year’s set-up reliever..
    2. If Lance Berkman is accepting offers (MLBTR), offer $2.5 M with incentives as a part time starter and pinch hitter/DH in interleague games.

    3. Angels have reportedly signaled interest in re-signing Torii Hunter for one year and balked at signing him for 2. Hunter has signaled that he would resign in Anaheim for less than his going rate. That those points into account, offer the Angels a deal that makes it possible for the Angels to keep Hunter and give him a defined role with fewer salary constraints. The deal:

    to the Angels: John Mayberry, Jr., Josh Lindblom and Sebastian Valle.

    to the Phils: $20 M applied toward the remaining contract (2013-14) of Vernon Wells, Peter Bourjos and 3B prospect Luis Jimenez.

    Angels retain Hunter as a starter whom they would risk losing for nothing and strengthen their depth in the BP and catching, both needs. Wells becomes an insurance policy in case Ruf is not ready to start in LF, Bourjos becomes the CF and Jimenez competes for a starting spot at 3B.

    1. I very much like your creativity, however I don’t think JMJ, Lindblom, and Valle is enough to get Bourjous alone, let alone Bourjos+. I believe the Angels will ask a lot for him, and probably deservedly so, and all we’d be giving them in this scenario is a 4th OFer, an ok reliever, and a C prospect that currently projects as nothing more than a backup.

      1. Keep this in mind. Wells, Bourjos and Jimenez are not starters in Anaheim. Mayberry and Valle are not starters in Philly. But Hunter is a starter in Anaheim coming off his best season in years. Anaheim is faced with losing him for nothing if they don’t tender him at $13.3 M. Hunter is said he would re-sign for less because ownership gave him time off in ’12 for family business so that’s a deal the Angels might want to capitalize on. Anaheim has an outfield log jam with Trumbo, Wells, Bourjos, Trout, Hunter and prospect Kole Calhoun. Fine, you might say, they have ways to deal with that. But the problem they’d love to solve is the contract of Vernon Wells and the team that can help them solve that problem can expect concessions in return. Wells is expensive and if the Angels can unload $22 million in his salary, that represents a lot more value than Bourjos, particularly if Bourjos remains behind Trout on their depth chart..

        1. IM, I have some problems with several of your assumptions, but here’s the biggest one: you ignore opportunity cost. The Angels have enough assets to get a signficant upgrade, not the very marginal upgrade (at best) that this trade might give them. The guys they would be trading us simply have more value traded elsewhere.

          That’s the problem with a lot of fan trade proposals. Not just wishful thinking and over valuing our prospects, but assuming that a deal that helps the Phillies a LOT, and the other team a tiny bit, is a realistic proposal. Start with the assumption that a trade has to benefit both sides equally.This unrealist proposal doesn’t come close to meeting that standard.

      2. Agree.

        A more general criticism is that any plan is going to be highly dependant upon unforeseeable events – something this specific really doesn’t make much sense at this stage. I’m not thrilled at the idea of giving up the #1, for example, but for the right deal I’d give one up for several of the available free agents. The “right deal” may not be there, and of course I wouldn’t want to over pay AND give up a pick for any of the guys out there. Similarly, we don’t know what trade options might exist. Certainly not a pie in the sky deal like this, but what realistic options might there be?

        I’m also reluctant to pay that kind of money for ANY non-clsoer reliever. If the Phillies are going to spend that much on a reliever, Madson would of course be a good risk, but for that same reason, I think someone might take a chance on him as a closer.

        IMO, the only kind of “plan” that makes sense is a vague plan like the following:

        (1) Get a centerfielder through trade or FA. Basically the best one available without paying too steep a price in prospects/pick/contract length and amount.
        (2) IF one of the good corner outfielders ends up being available at a bargain price, grab him, but don’t over pay and don’t sweat it too much if no one is available at the right price. If worse comes to worse, Brown & a Nix/Mayberry platoon (sorry Ruf) as the corner outfielders is not the end of the world, Note that I’d rather take a younger “disappointment” who has some upside over an older guy, but wouldn’t rule out an older guy on a short contract.
        (3) Look to pick up a very cheap third baseman, not as a first option, but to put “in the mix” along with Frandsen and Galvis, maybe a platoon type or someone with some upside.

        That’s it for me, though I understand they will probably also sign a reliever. Shierholtz gets non-tendered under this scenario. Ruf is, pending his spring training performance, on the 25 man as a bench guy.

    2. Mender yopu plagirized my ideas from yesterday.
      Anonymous says:
      October 28, 2012 at 7:26 PM
      Two Angels I would look into…Bourjos, CF, as we commented on last week, and one Luis Jimenez for 3rd base. He has a bat with some pop but plate discipline could be better, is blocked more or less and maybe both Bourjos and jimenez can be claimed for the right price.

      1. First off, I don’ know who you are or where you posted your idea. Second I’ve posted this basic proposal of using Wells as a loss leader for Bourjos and Jimenez over a week ago on philly.com and Bleacher Report. though I first included Herndon and Rodriguez (rather than Valle) in my original proposals but now Herndon is gone. So I accept your apology for accusing me of plagiarizing since I do my own thinking.

        Speaking of which, the Diamondbacks with their loaded outfield is looking for starting and relief pitching including a lefty for the pen, as well as an infielder.

        I think the Phils and no doubt other teams have an eye on Justin Upton. With that in mind:

        to Arizona – Brown, Frandsen, Worley and Bastardo plus 1 prospect in the 6-15 category
        to the Phils: Justin Upton and Willie Bloomquist

        Upton is the D’backs big salary and the only piece that helps them fill so many of their needs. They like young cost controlled players and that’s what this proposal offers in spades. This move would dig into the Phils’ pitching depth and might cause them to look to add a starting pitcher where they otherwise might not. With someone like Upton in right, it opens up the Phils’ CF addition, presumably through free agency, to a center fielder like Pagan who wouldn’t have to fill a middle of the order batting slot. Critics of this proposal will say you have to consider the other team’s needs ya di yah but Upton is signed at a hefty price tag which, coupled with the need for a big package returning, would cut down on the competing suitors for Upton. Some might think the Phils could then try and sign B.J. Upton and create a brother act. I’m not in favor of that in this case.

        1. 5 for 1….when is the last time the Phillies did that….Von Hayes maybe. Teams do not get enamoured with quantity but quality. Dom Brown yes, Vance Worley yes, Antonio Bastardo yes and then probably May or Biddle

          1. It’s 5 for 2, for what it’s worth (he has Arizona sending us Bloomquist as well). But either way, I don’t see it happening. That wouldn’t fill any of our holes and would create new ones, so what’s the point? We need the cost-control in the #5 spot in the rotation, we can’t afford to be spending big on all five of our SP. And if we filled it internally, then we cut out our very valuable insurance. We go from having Pettibone and Cloyd as #6 and #7 to having Cloyd as #6. That is a HUGE difference, despite what it may look like.

            In addition, we’d be giving up one of our few options at 3B in Frandsen who is cheap and could POSSIBLY be league average (especially if he ends up in a platoon) for a 34 year old in Bloomquist who is neither a positive asset on defense nor offense at 3B. He’s got positional flexibility like Wigginton had positional flexibility. You can physically put him there, but it’s not a good idea.

            1. First off, Dan, kudos to you for being one of the most objective and even-keeled posters here. I read your comments with interest.

              My thing right now is revamping through trades rather than free agency. The Diamondback trade I think is doable and the fact that you don[‘t like it for the Phils suggests that it could be done.

              The Angels are desperate to unload Dan Haren to any team that will pick up his $15.5 M one year contract. The Angels want to re-sign Greinke and perhaps even Torii Hunter. Any team that can accept the Vernon Wells contract goes to the head of the list for getting Haren whom to me is the 4th starter to replace Worley. So I do:

              to the Phils Wells plus $20 M, Haren with $2.5 M, Bourjos and Jimenez

              to the Angels:
              Mayberry, Lindblom, Valle, May and Nix

              With these 2 trades, the only free agent signing I do is Jeremy Affeldt to be the 8th inning guy and replacement for Bastardo. Jimenez more than replaces Frandsen and gets first shot at starting at 3d. Bloomquist and Galvis become:the infield backups.

              The resulting roster:

              SP: Hamels, Lee, Halladay, Haren, Kendrick
              BP: Papelbon, Affeldt, Horst, De Fratus, Stutes, Aumont and Diekman (Valdes)
              C: Ruiz, Kratz
              IF: Howard, Utley, Roilins, Jimenez, Galvis, Bloomquist
              OF: Ruf, Bourjos, J. Upton, Wells, Schierholtz

              Rollins
              Utley
              J. Upton
              Howard
              Ruiz
              Ruf
              Bourjos
              Jimenez
              P

              I’d go to war with that.

            2. Angels are not going to re-sign Torii Hunter, nor do they want to. Why with that cast of outfielders!

            3. IM, I don’t want to mean, and I was hoping somene else would respond to this, but you’re proposals are getting even less realistic. They have a club opton on Haren; sure they want to trade him, but they expect to get good value for him. If they were “desperate” to get rid of him, they would just decline the option. Wells I’m sure they would love to get rid of because of the contract price, but sending him to the Phillies along with 20 million dollars defeats that purpose. The other two guys have real value, redundant or not.

              So what do the Angels get for this valuable package? Two bench guys, a B prospect, and a C prospect. I don’t think that that package gets any one of these guys, let a lone all 4. I realize that at some level you seem to be assigning negative value to Wells and Haren, we’re “helping” the Angels by taking those players, but that does not reflect reality (it might with Wells IF we took the whole contract).

            4. Bottom line: the Angels do need to clear salary, but yopur proposal essentially has them doing so inefficiently (paying almost half of Wells remaining contract, giving Haren away instead of simply declininghis option), giving away 2 valuable pieces in the bargain, and getting approximately zero in return. Sure your proposed 25 man looks good; so would any 25 man roster that was the product of two very unequal trades. It would also, incidently, put the team well over the luxury tax.

            5. Here I’m going to read back to you what you do to others — you ignore opportunity cost. The Angels have signaled that Haren is a chip as they try and position themselves to re-sign Greinke. Wells is the challenge they have in trying to re-sign the owner and fan favorite Torii Hunter. Add to that the Angels concern that the Rangers will get into the Greinke bidding while the Angels sit with dead salary on the books.

              You introduce the notion that the Angels are in the driver’s seat but you’ll see no one anywhere else making that claim. They are a team with a fan base as frustrated with the team’s results in ’12 as the fan base here. They’re distressed with losing players through free agency for little or no return. The Angels are competing in a market with another team that has shown itself willing to shake up its roster and spend money. I think you miss a lot of points and among them that willing teams able this off-season to take on salary (Phils, Red Sox) will reap benefits.

              The Phils have already indicated that they are willing to incur some luxury tax this year in anticipation of not having to do so next year. My proposals are consistent with that. I imagine that if the Phils are unexpectedly out of contention at the trade deadline in ’13 and wish to shed salary, a guy like Haren figures to be easy to move with his contract expiring.

              Finally, and to repeat the point that you don’t address, Bourjos is a second string center fielder for the Angels and Jimenez is not their leading 3d base prospect even though he is the closest to being major league ready. On sites where Angels fans post I have proposed this and would have thought that if your objections had any merit, they would
              have been picked up by those protective of the Angels. No one has.

            6. Re the above, per MLBtraderumors.com, they will decline Haren’s option if they don’t trade him. They are in the driver’s seat – they don’t HAVE to trade him, they will so do only if they get value for him.

            7. Larry – agree with most of the above but Haren’s buyout at $3.5mm is considerable. While indeed in the driver’s seat, the Angels will be very motivated to trade Haren. Even a minimal return is better than a $3.5 expense and no return

            8. Well except that IM has the Angels paying 2.5 million of his salary as part of the deal, mostly cancelling out the buy out.

              Really this is a moot point. Haren will be traded soon, probably not as part of a package, and not to the Phillies, or he will have his option declined.

              Taking on Wells without the Angels paying any of his salary might, OTOH, realistically be a way for the Phillies to get one of the other guys from the Angles without giving up too much. But that would play havoc with the Phillies payroll.

            9. Agreed. Whether Bourjos or Haren, if Wells is part of a deal then I’d say “no thanks’ and suspect RAJ would do likewise. Moot point indeed

  7. You will get more from Angels for accepting burden of Wells contract Angels need to spend big to keep Greinke, maybe 120 Million. Taking Wells off their hands is really big

  8. Another thing to consider is that Jininez is not their top 3rd base prospect I believe Cowart is. If there is a Brown/Rup platoon in left and you can get Bourjos, I like Alex Gordon a lot. Could he be gotten for a Worley package? He would bat 3rd between Chase and Howard. A very close to 300 hitter and 50 doubles

    1. Not a package where Worley is head lining the package. A package with a top 5 prospect, a top ten prospect, and Worley, might get it done, say Biddle/Frabco/Worley. I might even do that, Gordan has 3 more years of relatively cheap team control.

      1. Actually, that probably wouldn’t get it done. Given talent/production/age/contract, Gordan is a hugely valuable property. The Phillies would probably need to throw Quinn in as well, and I wouldn’t do that.

        1. No i don’t think Quinn would be needed. The royals need to deal an OF because of Wil Myers, and there in need of P, i think they would take Biddle/Worley/Franco in a heartbeat.

  9. Valle has the edge on Joseph so far it’s gonna be a fun winter to watch. Ruf still killing the ball down there I wonder how he is fielding!?

    1. You keep saying that Valle has an edge on Joesph, but you haven’t really answered the many arguments to the contrary. This isn’t really close; Joseph has a HUGE edge as a prospect over Valle.

      1. No it’s not that huge Larry, where are you getting your info from? I have seen many reports that say Joseph has the slight edge ONLY because of plate discipline. and when I said he has the edge I meant for this winter, which he certainly because Joseph has literally done nothing.

        1. Well his edge in plate discipline is huge. His edge in contact skills is smaller but existent. He’s a year younger. Power is a wash, Valle’s slightly higher level of demonstrated power, versus the scouting perspective on Joseph’s power potential. Fielding is a somewhat open question that frankly neither of us can know for sure, but reports on both were similar – rough but improving.

          Ultimately I think you’re still underestimating the importance of the difference between a BB rate of 7.6% and 3.2%. I’ll say it again – absent significant improvement in BB rate, Valle is not a prospect. His combination of BB rate and K rate is incompatible with any real sort of major league success.

          As for the winter … even if that’s what you meant, to the extent you are predicting future performance this winter on performance this winter to date, you’re making a fundamental error in sample size.

        2. He has done nothing in 17ABs against superior competition. The sources that Larry is using is the three main scouting sources Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN (Keith Law). But I know the disdain that people have for the people paid to write about prospects.

        3. Didn’t we already go through this last week? Guys with Valle’s K/BB rate don’t become major league regulars. And the last 3 years it’s gone from 4:1 to 6.5:1 to 9:1. So every level he’s goes up, he’s getting more and more exposed.

  10. I really dont’t follow american league. so i looked up tori hunters stats, 313 average best career year in average and his obp is one point under his best year in that too.So to me is all about years and money. i would give him two years but not at 13 million per year, more like 2 years 15

  11. Here’s my trade proposal. I think this would help the Phillies a lot:

    C. Hernandez, Anthony Hewitt, and Kyle Kendrick to the Angels for Trout and Weaver.

    1. I think we could re-sign adam eaton too and add him to this deal if they’d sign and then flip grienke too.

    2. @LM seems like a bit of an overpay on the Phils part maybe if you take out KK and put in Cloyd then I could see it working from the Phils side.

  12. Phillies declined the options for Jose Contreres and Ty Wigginton (500k buyouts each).

    I will try and keep up with moves in the post itself since there will some significant moves in the next few days.

  13. Anyone find it interesting that the Phillies announced decisions on Wiggs and Contresres but not Polly. Could they be trying to negotiate a deal to bring him back?

  14. Remember Mike Olt? Id still like to have him. Right handed power hitting 3b. I’d still trade Lee (and 90% of his contract) and Asche for him

    1. I’ll believe Ruf can’t hit ML pitching when he stops hitting ML pitching and I’ll believe Brown can hit ML pitching when he starts hitting ML pitching. Is there anyone left who will argue that Brown is a better prospect, and is more likely to contribute to the ML team, than Ruf?

      1. I will, Ruf is a huge negative on defense and Brown is plus in LF. Brown adds value on the base paths and Ruf is a negative there. Darin Ruf’s major league sample size is tiny, and even though on the surface it looks good, he had a BABIP of .400 which is ridiculously unsustainable, and he struck out in 32.4 % of his PAs (if you want to play the proof game this 240 strikeouts over a full season). Brown strikes out in half as many at bats and walks twice as much. He doesn’t have Ruf’s power but his stats point to bad luck, and Ruf’s stats point to extreme luck including a giant home run to fly ball rate which will normalize as well. In other words Ruf hasn’t proven he can hit major league pitching and Brown is starting to prove that he can handle major league pitching and is improving against it.

  15. For Halloween we are passing out NoNix bars as well as the usual candy wagons with “you got it” nowheels..The ones with the best costumes will get Ruiz bobble heads with the heads at a odd angle looling up at Lee etc. The best of the night gets a Tyson Gillies first aid kit. The worse gets four tickets to a soccer game.

    1. Wheels, Tim Dierkes, MLBTR, believes Jayson Nix will not be tendered…how about a brother act in Philly next year?

  16. A comedy act. I was in Blocker Buster doing the thing I do best, waiting for my wife. They put Nix in to ph . I tried to get the counter to bet my Nix would stike out when they but a LHP but he went on three pitches too fast to arrange the bet.

  17. I find it interesting that scott boras is seeking 10 deal for cano. When are these teams going to stop these ten year deals,I wouldnt do it, except in a rare case, like i might do it with trout, but would have to see another year from him. too many times you get burnt and are stuck with a aging player, with a big contract, arod, griffey always hurt, crawford, and i am sure there are more.

    1. I agree, I would never give a pitcher that many years and the hitters would be Trout, Harper, Machado, Heyward, and maybe Posey. That would be it. You want someone with projection left, where you will really pay for peak and little to no decline.

        1. I purposefully left him off, having knee problems at his age is not something you want to lock up long term. He could stay healthy the whole time, if you are giving out a giant contract you don’t want health questions.

      1. My criteria is that I would not pay for 10 Free Agent years.
        Locking up someone before arbitration at a known cost makes sense. Even the Tulowitski contract may not turn out horrible but he needs to get on the field.

        Longoria’s contract is generally considered one of the best in baseball.
        Paying for 2 renew years plus 3 arb years plus 5 Free Agent years at 10yrs $130M, I could see for great hitters with an additional elite skill at non 1B/LF positions. Chances are the team gets all the value in the first 5 years and then is a gambling game for the next 5. Todd Helton’s contract seemed to work how I’d expect. He was overpaid at the end of it but was still a starter and still a fan favorite.

  18. The 2013 draft class is shaping up to be the weakest in years, thanks largely to the end of a long run of strong groups of high school arms. The strengths of this upcoming class right now are college pitching, especially the kind of second-tier arms who typically go in the middle to back of the first round, and high school catching, although several of those kids are committed to major Division I programs and might be tough signs.

    Having spent the summer scouting the top players for next year’s draft, I figured this would be a good time to give you a preliminary ranking. So here’s a very early look at the top 30 prospects in the class, starting with one you all probably know quite well.

    1. Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
    Drafted eighth overall by Pittsburgh in June, Appel chose not to sign with the Pirates, who offered $3.8 million, instead returning to Stanford to try to reach the College World Series for the first time in his career as a Cardinal. Even maintaining his level of performance would return him to consideration for the top pick, but if Appel can get more say in his pitch calling — avoiding bench-called nonsense like six consecutive changeups to guys who can’t hit his fastball — he can still improve his stock as a senior
    didnt know if you saw this our luck a weak draft

    1. Two things…1) Rocky, where did you plagiarize this from and 2) saying that the draft class is weak right now before the high school season even starts is a bit rough. Same thing happened prior to the 2012 draft and then Correa and Buxton and a bunch of other guys really popped and the draft became decent.

      1. The general consensus is that the 2013 draft will be weak, but it could be as good as the 2012 draft but it isn’t going to be better than that. What we know now is that the high end college players aren’t there, Mark Appel is back but this draft doesn’t have the talent to match Zunino, Gausman, or Zimmer (not mention guys like Wacha who went a little later). There are some interesting LHP but nothing elite. On the high school side you are right that there is plenty of time for some guys to pop up draft boards but there aren’t a ton of guys already at the top right now. Way too early to tell how weak, we also have been spoiled by the premium talent at the top of the 2009 and 2010 drafts (Strasburg and Harper) and how strong the 2011 draft was.

  19. I noticed Rollins along with that Cozart, Desmond, and Reyes are GG finalists at SS. I am a little surprised that Rollins is there – seems that his range has diminished over the last 2 or 3 years. Interesting that the SS with the best range factor, the most defensive runs saved and a dWAR of 2.0, which is well above anyone on that list except for Cozart, does not appear in the mix. Any thoughts on why Crawford was overlooked?

    1. Because Gold Gloves aren’t about fielding, they are about name recognition, which is based on hitting. If you want the best fielders look at the Fielding Bible awards.

  20. I was never impressed with desmond on the occasion that I saw him. matt is right if they gave it for fielding wine would have one some,but he hit 220, the guy was great.saved you about 4 games a year or more with that glove,but thats all he had,so he never to my knowledge won any awards,

  21. Matt & rocky — I suppose there is an element of truth in what you are claiming and your response is consistent with Rollins, Reyes and Desmond making the list but then how do you reconcile Cozart’s appearance on the list? Cozart hit 15 HRs but his slash line is not impressive (of course neither is Crawford’s).

    Cozart — ..246 / .288 / .399 vs Crawford — 248 / .304 / .349

    1. The point I was trying to make is that it does not seem to me that Cozart should have been a more recognizable name than Crawford. I just don;t get the how and the why of the GG award process.

      1. Cozart had good counting stats like HRs, was in the rookie of the year discussion, and has defense that is worthy of being discussed for a Gold Glove. Crawford doesn’t hit and isn’t all that flashy. The best defensive shortstops in the national league are Andrelton Simmons who did not play enough, Freddy Galvis who was banished to second and didn’t play enough, and Darwin Barney your 2B Gold Glove Winner.

        In case you were wondering Chooch had a case but the injury knocked him well out.

        1. I don’t think you can say Galvis is the top 3 SS in NL yet Matt. has played so few games at SS.

          1. Things like defense you can grade without the major league sample size if there is a large enough body of work. By all scouting reports Galvis is elite defensively and you can see it in his second base play. The question has always been can he hit enough to stay in a line up

            1. Asdrubel and Reyes are overrated, Tulo is solid not great. Castro isn’t even the best defensive SS on his own team. Simmons is ridiculous, easy 80 defender. In the AL you have Andrus, Escobar, Alexei, and Iglesias that are all really good defensively

            2. No Matt Starlin Castro is a great defensive SS no question about that and Barneys lacks the arm to play short. With all you have seen from Freddy you cant tell me he is a better fielder than any of those i named

            3. I’m willing to give you range, but not arm. Galvis has a gun and is accurate with it. In addition, whatever edge Castro might have from his speed is negated by the fact that Galvis is lightyears ahead of him when it comes to reactions and reads. Galvis is running to the ball before Castro even recognizes where the ball is going.

            4. Defensive stats disagree with you

              Castro: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4579&position=SS#fielding – pretty bad as SS goes.

              Reyes: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1736&position=SS#fielding – slightly above average thanks to a couple exceptional years, otherwise average or below.

              Tulowitzki: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=3531&position=SS#fielding – a couple great years, a couple average or below years.

              Desmond: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=6885&position=SS#fielding – pretty much a butcher in the field, I don’t know why you even brought up his name. I can see somewhat of a case for the other three, but Desmond?

              Barney: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=2430&position=2B#fielding – much smaller sample, but exceptional in his time spent there (and everywhere, really).

              Galvis: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=6609&position=2B#fielding – spectacular in his extremely small sample in the bigs, which coupled with what EVERYONE has said about him throughout the minors should tell you he is elite defensively.

            5. I have to laugh at you for that. According to FanGraphs, Castro’s UZR/150 is -0.9 (the leader is Brenden Ryan at 17.1, he is the best defensive SS in baseball right now). Galvis’s SS sample size is tiny but his UZR/150 is 77.1 (which is useless but fun). At 2B he has the third best range behind Barney and Mark Ellis (both SS as well). Castro does not have the range (in case you are wondering Castro and Galvis both have 50 speed). Galvis has way better range and arm, please ask anyone who scouts and get your answer there.

  22. Looks like Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow is looking for DH candidates who also can play decent defensively corner INF positions. Though he plays first base, maybe he may inquiry about Darin Ruf who could fare well in that park. What could you get from the Astros if Dari Ruf was moved to them?

    1. How about Singleton, Cosart and, hell, better throw Santana into it too? Wait… maybe Singleton will become their DH candidate. There goes my trade.

  23. 2013 Phillies
    C Ruiz
    1B Howard
    2B Utley
    SS Rollins
    3B Asche
    LF Ruf
    CF Upton
    RF Brown

    Halladay
    Lee
    Hamels
    Worley
    Cloyd
    Bold but this is what I would do, I know the phillies won’t rush Asche though.

        1. So saying the draft class of 2013 is weak seven months before the draft is a little pre-mature IMO. Need I remind you in 2006, Stephen Strasburg, was 250 lb senior HS pitching sloth, who piched fairly well in his senior year, but nevertheless did not get drafted at all. So you never can tell so far out.

          1. Yeah but a year before the draft everyone knew who he was. That is more of an argument for good scouting in later rounds. I think it is safe to say that it won’t be a great draft as a whole purely because we know the college depth isn’t there regardless of the high school talent.

          2. We’ve gone from a period where the cost of a first round pick was under valued to a period where it is somewhat over valued – at least among commenters on this site. The funny thing is, the stat oriented guys (particularly Bill James) led the way towards understanding the cost of losing draft picks, but now it tends to be the “traditional” stat guys who don’t want to lose a pick, at least around here.

            The new system decreases the number of players who will cause their teams to lose picks. Formerly, there really were a lot of guys who weren’t worth the lost pick. Given the new rules, there won’t be many. A player worth 13 million on a one year deal will, almost always, have substantially more expected value than a mid to late round draft pick, even in a strong draft year.

            Of course, that doesn’t mean you ignore the draft pick. All else being equal, I’m not going to want to over pay a FA AND lose a pick. But I think it’s safe to say that, given the right contract, every FA who will cost a pick is worth losing the pick.

            For Upton in particular, I’d be concerned first of all about not over paying, second of all about his declining BB rate and increasing K rate, thirdly about what appears to be a gradual decline in his defense. Losing the draft pick – is not nothing, but the least of my concerns. For the right deal, I’d certainly sign him.

  24. Thanks to everyone who kept asking Mark Anderson questions on Twitter last night, here are all of the Phillies ones (Mark Anderson is a prospect writer for BP and Baseball Prospect Nation):
    Mark Anderson ‏@ProspectMark
    Love Franco, slight prefence over Quinn for me RT @mcardin15: can Franco be real deal for Phils? Who’s got higher upside him or Quinn?

    Martin better chance for me RT @Matt_Winkelman: Either Trevor May or Ethan Martin starters long term, and how would you grade them
    Never been a big May fan RT @BradleyAnkrom: @ProspectMark Interesting answer re May/Martin.
    I think both do RT @BradleyAnkrom: @ProspectMark Nor am I (see him as a 3/4), but I think Martin winds up in the pen.

    Has some potential, modest intrigue RT @mwash1983: what’s your take on Mitch Walding, he had a smooth swing when I saw him play?

    Watson for both RT @mcardin15: @ProspectMark Gueller or Watson higher ceiling? Either have a shot to start at Lakewood?

    Middle reliever ceiling RT @TigersProspects: @ProspectMark thoughts on Zach Cooper (PHI)?

    Both mid-rotation RT @Matt_Winkelman: @ProspectMark What is Jesse Biddle’s upside, what about fellow left Adam Morgan?

    Didn’t see much while at instructs RT @Matt_Winkelman: Sorry for all the questions, any reports on Andrew Pullin’s 2B conversion?

    1. I’m sorr y Keith Law but is Jesse Biddle not a high end starter?? 6’4 lefty mid 90s fastball deadly curveball has K stuff and good control, I dont see why not?? He has also posting great numbers in his minor league career.

      1. First that isn’t Keith Law.
        Second here is your list of high end lefty starters: Kershaw, Price, Sale, Hamels, Lee, Gio
        Your “mid-rotation” lefties: Harrison, Miley, Sabathia, Detwiler, Niese, Maholm, CJ Wilson, Buehrle, Bumgarner
        Explain to me why Biddle isn’t in that second group, and why being in that second group is a bad thing at all (the going rate for this group is ~12-15mil a year)

        1. Bumgarner is ahead of Cliff and Gio. Okay I think Biddle could be in that group for sure but when I heard mid rotation i thought 3. I personally see Biddle as a 2, but i call that front end starter. Also sabathia is no mid rotation man, nor is CJ Wilson. Note that Wilson was 16-7 206K 2.94 ERA in 2010, had a down year in 2012 but i don’t consider him a mid rotation guy

          1. Both of them have been downgraded due to long term injury concerns (they go in the Roy Halladay group), Bumgarner was the closest call. I would put Lee #2 on that list behind only Kershaw, go back and look at Lee’s year it was really good. Biddle’s upside is #2/#3, he is likely closer to #3 because he only has a 55 fastball right now. That is really good, no one said he was destined for the pen.

          2. Not sure splitting hairs over exactly where you draw the line between a a high end starter and a mid rotation starter gets us anywhere. The larger point is that Biddle, as good as he is, is not quite in the first rank of starter prospects. And that’s okay. Really the big picture – and you see this with Asche as well, among other Phillies’ prospects – is a combination of (a) not understanding that it is not an insult or negativity to suggest that a player is likely to “only” be an average major league regular or starting pitcher, and (b) not understanding just how exceptional most “star” level players performed in the minors.

            Part of the the reason for this IMO is that the Phillies’ recent success was built on a number of players who out performed their expectations based upon minor league performance. The problem is assuming that that is the norm, which it is not. Of the home grown or semi – home grown (i.e., picked up off the scrap heap at the start of their major league career) Hamels and Rollins were the two guys who really were highly regarded as minor leaguers. The others:

            Howard – 5th round pick, better minor league career than some people remember, but no one really predicted he would be one of the fastest players to 300 HR in baseball history, not to mention the MVP in 2006.

            Utley – somewhat different story; he was a first round pick and a better minor leaguer than many remember. He ended up being top ten, probably top 5, all time among second basemen for peak value, and I think approximately no one saw that coming.

            Werth, Victorino – Victorino of course one of the most successful rule 5 picks in history. Werth is trickier, a highly regarded 1st rounder who had injury problems, but still accomplished a heck of a lot for a guy who was non-tendered.

            Ruiz – really the poster child for the guy who came out of basically nowhere to have a peak as an all star catcher.

            I don’t think we have anyone currently in the high minors who matches those guys even from the perspective of what we knew at the time. (Well, Joseph is probably a better prospect than Ruiz was.) But I can see how someone can look at those 5 guys and dream about some of our current guys in the high minors. The disconnect is moving from “outside chance of stardom if everything breaks right” to “this guy is going to be a star.”

            Depending upon how you define “star,” I think you can argue that, of the top ten minor leaguers in the past 10 years who most exceeded expectations to become stars, five of them were Phillies.

            This may also explain some of the hate for Rollins. He was a guy who met the higher end of the high expectations that we had for him, but, since he didn’t exceed those expectations as much as Utley, Howard, etc., did, he seems like a disappointment by comparison.

            1. Thank you for writing this. The thing to remember as well is that Howard before his junior year was considered a first round pick. Howard and Werth are the poster children (along with Hamels to an extent) of the Phillies strategy of buying low on previously highly regarded prospects that have had their stock drop due to injury.

              I am currently doing a lot of work on my Top 30 and I have some preliminary OFP’s on the top guys in the system (read James’ stuff at the top if you are confused). The highest rating I have is a 65 on three different players (Watson, Quinn, and Tocci), they have one thing in common, they are eons away and that number will drop as they get closer to the majors. An average major league player is an incredible outcome for a prospect, if you keep churning on 50 players, you are the St. Louis Cardinals, you then can spend your money on higher upside players and not have to pay to get decent production everywhere.

            2. This move can be risky if you overspend. Like when they spent a high draft pick on Joe Savery and he never recovers his pre-injury velocity.

  25. Sebastian Valle in his 31 ABs: 258.AVG 2 HR 2 2B 5/1 K/BB 10 K
    He hasn’t changed his approach at all, its a shame 10Ks in his last 10 games! I hate to see his talent go down the drain but he discipline is god awful.

  26. Brown + Valle + May for Olt. Worley + Defratus/Aumont/Diekman for Bourjos. Sign Cabrera or Hunter to play RF. Sign Pierre or Ichiro to platoon with Ruf if needed or just keep Nix. Best if said player can cover in CF in a pinch, though ideally RF could as well. Sign Madson, Soria, or other top setup man that won’t cost a fortune. Sign FA SP.

    1. You couldn’t get Olt for Brown, Valle and May and I’m not even sure if I would want to. Brown, Valle, and May profile as three failed prospects at this point, although they still have some real potential. I don’t see why Texas would want that. From the Phils’ perspective, how do they know that Olt is worth 3 prospects. He didn’t hit a lick in his small sample. As far as trading Worley, he’s coming off surgery and didn’t look that good before they shut him down plus many people question his ability to repeat his rookie year success. He’s not going to be more than the #2 player in any trade. The reality is that any of these potential trades for someone who will really help the Phils will cost something substantial like Biddle, Quinn, Joseph, Morgan, Pettibone, or Martin plus a lesser player but it could possibly require two of them. I’m ok with Hunter and Cabrera signings though because both would be short term and not that much money. I’m ok with Madson or Soria also although I had preferred League until he signed today.

    2. To extend upon what anon said, this trade proposal, and many of the trade proposals we have seen lately, consist of a bunch of players that the person making the proposal seems to have soured on, often but not always for good reason. Guys coming off injuries or down seasons. Sometimes a marginal prospect and/or a good relief prospects.

      Guys like Bourjos and Alt don’t get traded for those types of players, at least when they headline the deal. Moreover, as a general rule it’s best not to trade players when their value is down.

      Thoat said, at least the guys you listed are good players, or potentially so, for reasonable salaries, and the trade targets younger guys. I like your thinking in that sense at least. Though Madon/Soria likely won’t come cheap, and, given the SP options (too pricey or too mediocre), I’d rather try to fill Worley’s spot from the farm.

  27. The Rangers may be looking for a cheap lefty-hitting OF to balance out their lineup in the likely absence of Hamilton and Olt is redundant. They are both older prospects that take walks but have other deficiencies. Brown may actually have the higher offensive upside, but his position and defense at that position make him less valuable – hence the addition of May, a big power arm that fits the mold of what Nolan Ryan likes in pitchers, and Valle, who is maybe a year away from being a poor-man’s Mike Napoli in an off year with potentially better defense. Through in Asche as well, as there’d be no place for him with Olt in the system. Olt is far from a sure thing, but if he plays more than passable defense, walks some, and can project for some decent power at a minimum salary, he’s a great value.

    I know Dom Brown has been a dissapointment, but he’s had wrist and knee injuries that could have affected his performance. He could have great value to a righty-heavy AL lineup, and on the cheap too. Does Ethan Martin or Jesse Biddle really have more trade value than Brown?

    A healthy Worley is a 2.5 – 3.0 win player over the course of a full season, and his injury is not a major cause for concern. He’s otherwise proven himself durable and is built to last. Bourjos is a 2-4 win player, higher if he develops offensively – but he’s coming off a terrible year and has no value to a team with Mike Trout in CF. Like Olt, he’s redundant and his value is tied almost exclusively to the scarcity of available and controllable talent at his primary position.

    1. Well if you “throw in” Asche, I don’t do that from the Phillies side. Yet it might still not get it done (though it might) because Asche is IMO still probably not quite getting his due nationally.

      I think you are massively inflating Worley’s perceived value. That’s his upside, IF his rookie performance represented something sloe to his real value, and IF the injury does not have lingering effects. No one but no one will value him that highly.

  28. Worley had 1.9 WAR in 23 starts in an off year whereas Dan Haren had 1.8 WAR in 30 starts in an off year. Haren’s BABIP against was .304, high but not ridiculously so. Worley’s BABIP against was .340. Last year it was .283, which is still a point or two above the league average. Worley’s groundball rate rose significantly in a year where Ty Wigginton played 3B – that ain’t gonna do no one any favors. Worley’s HR rates are good and his LOB are fine. Plus, he doesn’t cost $15 million. He costs next to nothing. And he’s under team control for a while.

    So am I really MASSIVELY inflating his value, or are you simply prone to hyperbole? Let us not also forget that Bourjos has similar injury concerns. I do agree that Brown, May, Valle, Asche might be too much to give up for Olt as 4 prospects for 1 prospect, all unproven, seems like bad odds. That said, Asche and Valle have very limited upsides.

    By the way, both Vance Worley and Dom Brown are less than a year older than Mike Olt and have spent parts of 2 seasons in the majors each. How would Dom Brown have faired in AA this year? I don’t see a ton of daylight between Olt, Brown, and Ruf offensively, in terms of risk. Olt ain’t no spring chicken.

  29. While I believe some may underestimate Brown’s current trade value, I do believe that his value peaked the moment the Lee/Halladay trade went down and he was deemed untouchable. That, in retrospect, and with the magical powers of hindsight, would have been the ideal moment to cash in the Dom Brown chips.

    1. I notice you made the argument that prospects are “redundant” so teams would trade them for less than their true value. I feel this is completely false. The beautiful thing about prospects is that you can stash them in the minors if need be. Bourjos and Olt can play in AAA if their respective teams don’t need them on the roster at the moment. That way they are injury insurance, plus they have a chance to inflate their value even more by putting up gaudy numbers. They have no reason to settle for less than they want. We are the ones with a need, they are the ones with a surplus. They are dealing from a position of strength and they will take advantage of that. It’s Business 101.

      1. I never said their trade value is less because they are redundant. I said they have more value as trade pieces because said value is tied to their ability to fill positions they are unable to play with their current teams. Bourjos would only lose value in AAA and Olt is major-league ready. He’s 24 already.

    2. On the bright side, they did trade other guys at peak value instead: Taylor, Drabek, Knapp, Carrasco, Marson and Donald.

    3. We’re talking about two different things here, real value and perceived value. In terms of whether the trade is good from the Phillies’ perspective, the former is what counts. But in terms of asking whether the trade is realistic, the latter is what counts.

      Now, I could be wrong about my perceptions of the latter, but I think Olt is perceived as the best third base prospect in the high minors, Asche as an guy who is intriguing but not a first rank prospect, Worley a guy who came to earth after a rookie season that was out of line with his minor league performance, and possibly damaged goods, and Brown as a former top prospect who now has a LOT to prove. Just one data point: fangraphs’ ratings of third base prospects: Olt first, Walding 6th, Asche nowhere to be seen.

      Of the two deals, the Olt trade is IMO (without Asche) the more unrealistic, and, with Asche, still unrealistic and questionable for the Phillies to boot. You make a somewhat more compelling case for the Bourjos trade – but even there, I see rumors from earlier in the year about a trade for a front line starter with Bourjols as the center piece … I don’t know, maybe THAT was unrealistic, but I still think Worley isn’t highly regarded enough – fairly or not – even with a good reliever prospect thrown in – to get Bourjos

      1. Those fangraphs rankings are just rankings of prospects Mike Newman is familiar with – not a be-all-end-all list. Given Olt’s strike-out rate in an inferior league – I’d say he has near as much to prove offensively as Brown or Ruf. Asche is way overvalued on this site. His upside is what, Greg Dobbs with slightly better defense? Maybe?

        1. Again, difference between perception and reality – not sure I agree entirely with you on the reality as well, but regardless Olt’s perceived value is high from every source.

          But what interests me about your post is the Asche comment. Wow, people say I’m negative about Asche. The Dobbs comp is an interesting one because I do think that they are broadly similar players. But since we’re talking upside, I think really Ache could be a little better across the board – BB rate, power, line drive ability and hence BA, and maybe even contact rate. Not a lot better, but a little better across the board, plus better defensively (and there maybe more than a “little” better) … well, that’s the difference between a bench guy and an average regular. And a cost controlled average regular at third base has good value. I think his chance of reaching that peak is high as well.

          All else equal, of course I’d rather have Olt, but is the difference worth Brown plus Valle plus May? I say no. And the thing is, the Rangers STILL might not do it, because “A” prospects don’t get traded for a bunch of “B” prospects, which is what you are putting on the table. At least in terms of perception.

          1. Dom Brown had a .428 woba at AA at age 22, supported by a .284 iso which led to a .602 slugging percentage. He had a walk rate of almost 11% and a K rate just under 19%. At age 23 in AA, Mike Olt had a .426 woba, a .579 slugging percentage, a 14.5% walk rate and a 24% K rate. Brown performed better at the same level at a younger age. He’s had some injury issues which have clearly affected his performance, though his BB and K rates are very promising at the major league level. I don’t really see how Olt has significantly greater value than Brown, aside from defense and position scarcity. The Rangers would need to play Olt in the OF anyway, and who would you rather have in a corner OF spot, Brown or Olt? Just because Olt is a fine defensive 3B does not mean he’ll be a good defensive OF. The Rangers need a promising lefty bat.

            Asche’s defense is likely average to below average and his offensive value is strongly tied to his contact abilities – yet he struck out almost 20% of his at bats. He walks a bit, but not enough, and his stats were boosted by his power surge and high BABIP. It’s betting a lot to think that both of those metrics will remain at that level. He’s also likely another year or two away from being where Olt is now, and where Brown was two years ago and as Brown has shown us, it takes time to adjust to the majors – if he is to adjust at all.

            I don’t disagree that said proposal may be too steep for the phillies tastes and perhaps not enough for the Rangers, but if it takes Trevor May to turn Dom Brown into Mike Olt, I’d take that chance given the scarcity of options at 3B and the plethora of corner OF’s on the market. I couldn’t care less about throwing in Valle and/or Asche as sweetners.

            1. Your not engaging my argument Ben. Look, I’m not saying you are one of the guys making wildly unrealistic proposals; I’m just saying that the perceived values of the players in question is such to make the trade unrealistic. You aren’t really engaging that argument. I think Brown’s stock is down dramatically fairly or not. In a sense, by arguing that Brown is really good (I agree!) and Olt not all of that (maybe), you’re making arguments why we shouldn’t do the trade. It has nothing at all to do with whether the trade is feasible. And the fact that they might have to play Olt in the OF is entirely irrelevant. They can trade him elsewhere to a team who will play him at thrid and get value for him.

              As for Asche, first of all opinions on his current defensive value are all over the place, but more to the point he is young enough that further improvement is quite possible. As for the rest, I of course expect his BABIP to regress (albeit probably to a level somewhat above the major league average because of his line drive swing), but that still leaves him with an upside of a solid major league hitter, not a star but significantly better than your Dobbs comparision. Adding Brown into the conversation doesn’t tell us anything; why do you think that Asche will take Brown’s particular path? Some rookies do, some don’t. I really don’t get your point here.

            2. I’ve already agreed with you several times that the particular proposal is not likely to be engaged (read: understatement) – I’m certainly not avoiding that. If you wonder why I haven’t engaged the concept of “perceived” and “real” value, it’s because those are made up terms with loose meanings. Perception is reality. Exposing the flaws in one’s own argument is as important as countering said flaws with supporting facts. Just as you accuse me of overvaluing Brown, one must be equally conscious of overvaluing Olt. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Olt has greater value, as clearly I do, I’m just providing the counter-balance to my own argument.

              I never said Asche would take Brown’s particular path. I said that it takes time for prospects to develop at the major league level, if they develop at all. As you yourself said, “Some rookies do, some don’t.” I used Brown as an example of this, you know, to support a cohesive argument with a dash of empirical evidence.

              “And the fact that they might have to play Olt in the OF is entirely irrelevant. They can trade him elsewhere to a team who will play him at thrid and get value for him.” Your second sentence totally contradicts your first sentence. First, you need to mind your hyperbole (‘entirely irrelevant’ – really?). Second, you need to try and lay out a comprehensive arguable position instead of immediately resorting to the role of devil’s advocate. It’s much more likely that both of us are wrong than that either of us is right – but by allowing for the possibility of error and genuinely acknowledging the faults in one’s own logical premise (while still backing it up with available evidence) said person is much more likely to hit on some truth, whereas the person who is always right will always find truth in a stinky pile of his own bullshit.

            3. I’m losing the thread of your argument, and I think you are projecting some things on my argument that aren’t there. Three things:

              Of course there is a difference between perception and reality. I could be wrong about the perception of Brown’s current value, but the way to refute me would be to point to statements by people inside baseball (or even knowledgeable outsiders) that contradict what I said. Saying, “no, no, he’s really good, here’s why” doesn’t answer my argument.

              On Asche, I don’t think I’m the guy who is engaging in hyperbole. You’re the guy who said his upside is “Greg Dobbs with slightly better defense? Maybe?” I think that is a little .. hyperbolic. It would be one thing to say you think that’s his most likely path, but his upside? At this point, it might be fairer to call that his floor.

              On Olt, either you don’t get what I am saying or I don’t get what you are saying. I think it is the former. Stated simply: the Phillies are not the only possible trade partner. his trade value is dependent upon what a team would give up to get a young third baseman. The fact that the Rangers don’t have a spot for him there effects his availability but not his value in the trade market.

            4. On Olt, I totally agree that someone could come along and offer a greater package and that the possibility of 29 other teams doing so has a huge impact on his relative value. Again, and I can’t believe I need to repeating this, I AGREE that Olt’s trade value is not affected by his being blocked by Beltre – I’m saying his value to the Rangers is potentially greater as a trade piece given that he can’t play the position at which his value is greatest. In the absence of recent quotes or side-by-side analysis of Brown/Olt the best I can offer is to compare their numbers. I think I did that in a fairly straightforward manner that you completely ignored, instead implying that I simply stated that he’s good without supplying the requisite evidence. Anyway, numbers are less subjective than whatever quotes I could dig up from semi-relevant sources – though certainly the interpretation of said numbers, especially by the likes of me, is quite subjective.

              Is projecting Asche as a productive major league semi-regular really hyperbolic? Could he exceed that? Sure. But if you go back to the statistics I used to back up my argument I think you’ll find why banking on a contact-first player with a relatively low walk rate and a relatively high K rate is not without risk. I hardly think Gregg Dobbs is his floor. I’ve not seen one report calling his defense anything better than average, yet I’ve seen several that peg as below average. Could there be some groupthink involved here? Possibly. One can’t discount the possibility of him pulling an Utley on us and far exceeding all previous expectations. But is that likely?

              Also, please stop accusing me of doing the same things I’m accusing you of doing, i.e. hyperbole. There PLENTY of ways to pick apart everything I’ve wrote and you’re clearly intelligent enough to find and define them – though I wouldn’t proffer that it’s a valuable use of your time.

            5. Not really sure how we got down this rabbit hole. I can be biting in my comments but really wasn’t with you. We disagree. I’m not saying that I can’t be wrong about this stuff, I’m just saying that I don’t think anything you have said refutes my main points. I don’t think rehashing it for the nth time advances the argument much.

              Well, except for me to note that there’s a substantial distance IMO between your initial argument about Asche and where you are now. Sure he carries some risk, sure his BABIP will come down, sure he’s not going to become David Wright, and sure he’s not likely to win gold gloves. But his “ceiling” is IMO pretty clearly higher than Dobbs, and I’m not sure why you’re digging your heals in on that point. If you were to simply say something along the lines of “you may be right about his ceiling, but I just think he’s less likely to reach that ceiling than you do, because of (insert all of your substantive arguments)” (which seems to me to be more or less what you are REALLY saying), that would be perfectly defensible.

            6. Gentlemen, adjourn for today. We will resume this hot-stove discussion first thing in the morning. Be prepared to present your closing arguements.

            7. My mistake then was in referring to Dobbs as Asche’s upside. His upside is slightly higher than that. Dobbs is more like a likely outcome. I certainly hope he’s better, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Dobbs’ K/BB rates in the majors in his peak years are (slightly) better than Asche’s in AA, and his ISO nearly matched Asche’s unsustainable rate. I’d trade him without thinking twice in a package that netted us a better 3B.

              Yalla, it’s been a pleasure doing business with you. I retire from this thread.

            8. I can see this being a real heavyweight ‘pen’ encounter, LarryM vs Ben Zona. Cannot wait for the next round!

          2. I like this comment Larry M.
            I also like the Dobbs comp (he was and is a pretty good hitter) and the fact that if Asche were a little better across the board (and tad more defensively) then he’d be a starter which Dobbs just can not quite attain.
            And that from all reports (his dedication, improvement over short period, ability to adjust) make it likely he will actually reach his ‘ceiling’.

            Also, totally agree that a player such as this has significant value. Just look around at how bad 3B is around the league right now.
            Asche should not be thrown into the Majors this year. No reason to risk his development when he is unlikely to be that much better than a player like Frandsen/Polanco as he gains more experience.

  30. Valle… brown. may. imo have little trade value, you cant get front line players or top propects like ott for these guys ,unless the rangers gm. falls in love with brown, and he has shown nothing to warrant that imo.

  31. I think we are guilty at times of suggesting unrealistic trades because of a bias that may naturally cause us to overvalue our own home-team talent. But I would think (or at least hope) that a writer (blogger) might avoid that mistake. So, if you haven’t seen this already, you might get a laugh (?) out of an article published yesterday (10/31) by the Bleacher Report on a proposed Lee / A-Rod trade. (Yeah, I know – it’s the Bleacher Report, but still … ) It was written by someone named Rush. Here are the two keys lines taken directly from that article.

    The Yankees send A-Rod and the rest of his contract to Philadelphia and the Yankees get Cliff Lee and take the rest of his deal. It would make a ton of sense for the Yankees because they would be taking on three more guaranteed years of Lee’s contract as opposed to the five on A-Rod’s contract.

    1. Lee’s still at the top of this game, A-Rod is in the slow aging erosion. In this dream trade-world, would the Yanks be willing to throw in a prospect for good measure I wonder! Say a Tyler Austin.

    2. This is a horrible trade:
      – Lee is not overpaid, he is paid market rate for his skills (it is a lot but welcome to the market), if he was a free agent he would get a larger deal than he has now
      – Lee has less years remaining than ARod
      – Lee has less of an injury history than ARod
      – Lee has the skill set to age well, even as his fastball drops in velocity he has the command/control and the good change up to remain effective even when he has declined some
      – Rodriguez is not an everyday player in the field, his injury history and physical skills force him to DH on a semi-regular basis

    3. Here’s a question for you: assume A-Rod is put on waivers, and no one ahead of the Phillies picks him up. Do you take him?

      I say probably no.

      So yeah, Lee is too high a price.

  32. Here’s the real question.

    Some of the names being floated as trade targets are real options. Olt, Bourjos, Upton, for example, are all under 26, quality players, and team controlled for reasonable prices from 3 to 6 years. If you’re the Phillies, these are the kind of guys you want to target. And each looks at least possibly available.

    But for the same reason they are good targets, they won’t come cheap. Obviously each case is a little different, but I think each of them is going to cost at least one of Biddle, Morgan, Franco, Quinn or Joseph. You could include Asche on that list, except that I’m not sure his perceived value has caught up yet with his real value. In addition to the headline prospect, depending upon who the target is, you’re maybe also talking about possibly a major league piece – think Brown or Worley – and a couple of lower value prospects.

    If you’re the Phillies, do you do this kind of deal? Obviously it depends upon the details. Of the three, Upton is clearly by far the most attractive target, but OTOH the most expensive contract (though still a bargain) and only 3 years of team control. And the most expensive in terms of what you would have to give up. Think Brown, Biddle, and two prospects in the 6 to 20 range.

    1. Brown, Biddle, and two prospects in the 6 to 20 range.AT LEAST. That really might not get it done. You’re talking about a 25 year old with 3 years of relatively cheap team control one year removed from a 4th place MVP finish. Heck, re-thinking this, maybe Biddle, Quinn, Worley and prospect in the 6 to 15 range. Think of what we gave up for Pence, an older, inferior player with less team control.

      Do you do that? A case could be made for it. I don’t know.

      1. Maybe it’s not quite that bad, but I’m closer than some of the low ball proposals people are coming up with. Arizona probably will want a significant young major league player as part of the package, and in that sense the Phillies might not be the best match, with Worley and Brown the only two guys who sort of fit the bill, both of whom carry significant question marks.

        1. I would think that Worley is a must in the deal as he is a ML ready Pitcher who is cost controlled plus who ever the value the most of our young Pitchers. Don’t see Brown going as they have a full OF to begin with. I would think you are then talking about Quinn or Franco being included. Then a PTBNL for the fourth probably along the lines of our 15 -25 range. This gets it done for AZ hands down.

          Now RAJ would have to work them down and i would think he would “win” the trade if he was able to get him for.
          1 of the following:
          Biddle, Quinn, Franco, Joseph, May, Martin
          1 of the following:
          Morgan, Aschee, Galvis, Aumont, Worley, Brown
          1 of the following:
          DeFratus, Bonilla, Diekman, Cesar Hernandez, Wright

          thinking about this more names are less important as the following

          1 prospect from 1-5
          1 from 5-10 or a big league piece(Brown, Worley…etc)
          1 from 10-20

          1. I would never do: Biddle/Quinn/Franco/Joseph/May/Martin and the Phillies never would either. Thats awful.

    2. I like Justin Upton a lot and think he just had a down year (and it wasn’t even that bad) and would give up a lot to get him. Its nearly impossible to get a young, legit 3 hole hitter so I would support doing it. However, the reality is that the Phils don’t match up all that well with Arizona’s needs. They want a major league ready SS and Galvis’s bat doesn’t qualify him as such. If Quinn were 2 years closer, he could headline that deal but he’s not. Arizona already has several minor league pitchers, better than ours, so I’m not sure that would do it for them. I think they could trade with Texas for Andrus, unless Texas decides to move Profar to 2nd and Kinsler to LF.
      The big day for the Phils will be when they see if any of the FA CFs can be signed without losing the 16th pick. I think we’ll know that answer within a week or so. If Tampa offers arb for BJ Upton (and the Braves for Bourn and the Giants for Pagan), I think the Phils will pursue a deal for Borjos. If not, they’ll try to sign BJ.
      FYI – mlbtraderumors predicts the Phils will sign BJ, Youk, and Adams. That would be a pretty good result if it happened.

        1. I am for Youk and Adams – if the price is right both could help the team in a big way. However, I am extremely wary of their signing BJ Upton. Unless he has a breakout year, even if he is otherwise valuable, his statistics won’t look good to the average fan and if he hits, say, .247, he is going to become the target of the angry fans in Philadelphia. My sense is that it would not go or end well. They should just skip Upton altogether even though, in a perfect world, he could help the team.

          1. A few years ago, I had hoped they would acquire Maybin. They didn’t but I think you could still get him for a somewhat reasonable package of, say, May (now a little redundant in that Ethan Martin seems to have passed him), Gillies, DeFratus and perhaps another reliever not named Aumont or Bonilla. Maybin is an outstanding fielder, still has upside as a hitter and his hitting statistics have been suppressed by Petco Park. It would actually be a good trade for both teams and would allow the Phillies the financial flexibility to still sign Cabrera, Youkilis and Adams and keep Dom Brown. Ruf would get his chances here and there and could start the year in AAA to improve his fielding and Mayberry could be the extra outfielder. Problems solved. Next.

            1. I don’t know if that gets you Maybin, Catch. He hit a lot better in the second half after making an adjustment with his front foot (see link). It might be coincidence, but I bet the Padres feel like he’s turned the corner hitting-wise. Also, because of their park, they de-emphasize pitching prospects in trades, especially relievers. I’m guessing it would cost Quinn, Franco/Asche, and May.

              http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/7/3/3135356/cameron-maybin-swing-leg-kick-padres

        2. Signing BJ Upton means our first pick in June’s draft would be somewhere in the neighborhood of the mid-40s.

  33. larry and Matt always think they are right no matter what! And Matt agrees with anything Larry says so there no point in arguing lol

    1. I generally agree with Larry because we use the same kind of logic. For the most part I am trying to be more objective and just provide numbers and other facts. I can get carried away on certain topics (clutch is near the top of the list).

      Additionally, of course I enter each argument thinking I am right. Prove me wrong, it is not my duty to agree with you, it is yours to convince me.

  34. What do you guys think of possibly pulling a Trade for Willingham. Prospect price would be significantly smaller i know he is older but only 2 yrs on the deal and the 2nd is tied to 525 PAs in 2013.

    1. I like Willingham as a player, the problem is twofold, he will be cheaper than Upton but not a bargain, and the other is that I don’t think the Twins are willing to move him, his value was very high at the deadline and they didn’t move him then.

  35. The phillies are bringing ramon henderson back to coach somewhere in the minors. they also hired the Braves AAA manager to become The pigs manager.

  36. Reading Phillies changing name? From Phoulbalz.com: Wednesday, the Double-A Reading Phillies announced a partnership with Brandoise to rebrand the team for the upcoming 2013 season. From the sound of things, the R-Phils, one of a very small amount of minor league teams owned by its major league parent club, will likely see a full name change as part of the process.

  37. Mitchell Walding posted a picture on twitter of him at one of the World Series games wearing a Giants shirt. I understand he is from CA and may have grown up a Giants fan, but as a player and more importantly an employee of the Phillies, should he be wearing that? Should this bother me?

    1. Yes it is ok for it to bother you. Yes it is ok for him to do it, as long as he is in the minor leagues. As far as I am concerned the he is not a member of the Phillies yet. Minor leaguers are made so expendable that it is ok for them to celebrate their childhood teams.

    2. It’s wrong. When you work for coke you don’t wear pepsi products. Not a huge deal but still wrong.

    3. If he was at a Phillies/Giants NLCS game wearing Giants colors I could see people having a problem. I’m sure part of Jimmy Rollins wanted the Oakland A’s to win.

      I never really understood people getting upset though at who these guys root for. I mean, there’s people OUTRAGED that Jimmy Rollins is a 49ers fan.

      1. It’s understandable if it’s in another sport and there’s nothing wrong with having a personal rooting interest for your childhood team even if it’s the same sport. However, if it’s a rival of your employer, you should exercise some discretion in public. On the bright side, at least he has some passion for baseball and is a fan of the game. I guess that scores him some points.

        1. Agree with you on this ‘Catch’. Discretion should have been used, and if he still wanted to root on his hometwon boyhood team and wear their colors at the game, fine, but what is the motivation in also tweeting the pix! I guess yutes today have to have a pix for all their actions!

    4. Completely a non-issue. So what if he likes the Giants. Players aren’t allowed to be fans anymore? If it’s not getting in the way of their performance what does it matter? It’s not like him liking the Giants is going to affect how he does in the Minors. It’s completely irrelevant to Mitch Walding the player, who is way more likely to never step foot in the major leagues at all. Now if it was Utley going around wearing a Panda hat or something, you might have a point, but it’s not the equivalent.

  38. Asche was HBP during his first AB of yesterday’s AFL game. He was immediately replaced in the lineup though I’m unable to find any details. Hopefully his removal was only precautionary but I’m dreading the idea that he was hit in the hand or wrist. If anyone has any details I would be much obliged.

  39. 2013 bullpen:
    Locks: Papelbon, Bastardo, Lindblom

    Likely: Yet to be named free-agent (praying for Adams), De Fratus (of the likely candidates, I’d be very surprised if De Fratus doesn’t make the team out of ST. The skill-set is there an in spite of last season’s injury, he has little to prove in the minors.

    So that’s five and I’ll work under the assumption that the Phillies will break camp with 12 pitchers.

    With two spots remaining, and assuming only one FA signing as referenced above, we have Aumont, Diekman, Horst, Rosenberg, Stutes, Valdes, Bonilla and Schwimer.

    I think Stutes will need to reestablish himself again and Bonilla in my opinion has as good a chance of any to make the OD roster. I think Aumont makes the team as well.

    Papelbon (1), FA (2), Bastardo (3), Lindblom (4), De Fratus (5), Aumont (6), ? (7)

    I can’t recall a time when the Phils had so many power arm options for the bullpen. It would be nice to see a second lefty but I think Diekman needs more time in LV

    1. I hope Lindblum ends up in a trade and we get rid of him. Is it just me or does anyone else here think that, if we keep him, Lindblum is just going to bring us frustration and heartbreak? He reminds me of all the relievers from the Pirates that the Phillies always beat up on. On paper, he looks good, in reality, not so much.

      1. Agree with you on Lindblum. Have a feeling he will frustrate more then satisfy. If another team is enamored by him, and he can be added to a trade package to sweeten the pot I would not hesitate.

      2. I hear u, but as a 6th and 7th inning guy I’d be fine with Lindblom as ‘one’ of our options. No 8th inning appearances though

      3. I don’t think he’s bad, but unless his breaking ball is really good I don’t see him as an 8th inning guy. If he’s considered “power” arm, he’s the least powerful of the group we have.

    2. Aumont will start at LHV, Horst will make it as a 2nd lefty, and i think Rosenberg will make it as the long man. Having said that, I think one of the relievers and maybe two could be traded for a corner OF.

  40. Lindblum ? This isn’t the ’60s . If he doesn’t care enough to take care of himself and get in shape and STAY THERE, he isn’t on my team.(if I had a team)

    1. And yes, his body weight and waist-line could use a little tightening and definition. If he were 34/35-years old, thats one thing, but he still is fairly young at 25/26.

          1. Yeah, he was. Worley was fat this year and was definitely out of shape. The fact that he is strong and lifts weights does not mean he is in proper aerobic shape or is otherwise fit. He even admitted as much and made a vow to come into this year in better shape. The good news is he appears to be movitivated and seems committed to being better conditioned.

          2. I heard the comment “out of shape” used by Washington Naztionals. baseball announcer Rob Carpenter in reference to Worley this past spring. I think Carpenter is a lousy pay-by-play guy and a toolbag to boot so I don’t trust his analysis on what day of the week it is today but why would he be making it up on Worley?

            1. Vance needs to team up with Roy H. and Kyle K. during their off-season workouts. He will be ready for sure.

  41. STEVE i hope your wrong on lindblom being a lock, i really dont like him. he is imo nothing but a long inning guy in blowouts,I would never trust him with leads, in any innings.

    1. Lots of anti-Lindblom talk… The reality is that the guy throws a straight but hard fastball and is very effective when his location is working. He needs to hit his spots and keep the ball down but grooving it results in lots of homers. When his ball is down, he’s very good. He actually might bounce back and be pretty good next year, we’ll see.

  42. Reading mlb trade talk. phillies early favoite on bj upton at 5 years 60 million. nationals early favorite for bourn at 5 years 80 million. this by heyman

    1. I know that I have been critical of efforts to sign BJ Upton, – it was pretty harsh, actually. That said, 5 years at $60 million would probably be a steal – you’d basically be paying for a 2.2 WAR player. At his worst, Upon has always been better than that and he still could improve substantially given that he is going into his peak years (5 year contract would be for ages 28-32 – prime production years for a player of his skill set). Because he will only be 28 and can field well, if the team decides to go in another direction, he could easily be traded at almost any time. Also, if they had to pay him “only” $12 million a year it would give the team the flexibility to fill at least one of their other holes (corner outfield or third) and a strong set up man. The trick on all of this would be to tame public perception of Upton and his contract because he is unlikely to hit for a high average, which means his contract will likely be perceived negatively. If you could somehow temper this reaction, this type of contract would be a good investment, but the price has to be right.

      1. Agree on all counts. I do find the 5/60 prediction a bit odd (yeah, I know, not your prediction, I saw it on mlbtraderumors.com too). If he’s perceived to be good enough for a 5 year deal, I would think he would be perceived to be good enough for more than 12 million AAV.

      2. I really don’t understand all the BJ talk. Even less so on a 7-figure average annual salary. He’s still young but his upside development is extremely limited considering that he’s already had 6 full seasons under his belt the last four of which have been remarkably consistently statistically speaking. A 150+ Ks, .240 BA, .320 OBP —– at $12mm per annum? No Thanks.

        I’d gladly take Pagan at half the price

        1. Pagan will not go at half the price. Pagan might even go for more than that. (Higher AAV almost certainly higher; contract length may be shorter because of lack of a track record.)

          You cite only his negatives, exaggerate them a little, and ignore the positives. He’s a center fielder, and a good one. He’s a very good base runner. He has good power, and the trend line is positive. His lifetime BA is .255 and OBP .336; yes, the trend line there is the other way, but you can’t penalize him for that while ignoring the increased power.

          His worth over the past 5 years (yes, this is rough, but I think the underlying assumptions are sound) is about 95 million. He won’t be worth that much over the next 5, but, especially considering that you can expect to pay a premium for a FA, 60 million is, yes, a bargain.

          Though it’s pretty clear that your main error is that you underestimate how much a quality free agent costs. The Pagan comment is the evidence of that. The notion that ANY decent FA regular, espeically a player under 30 (apart from a player with serious risks attached or coming off a very poor season) is going to be signed for an AAV of 6 million (1/2 of the proposed Upton deal) is absurd. Guys like Cuddyer (and Ibanez 4 years ago) get contracts with an AAV of 10 million plus, and they are/were average players over 30. 10 million AAV is pretty much the low range of a FA contract for a decent regular without significant questions marks. For an above average regular under 30, 12 million AAV is ridiculously cheap.

        2. The only prediction I can find for Pagan’s contract is “in excess” of 10 million AAV. It’s widely assumed that the Giants will make a qualifying offer of over 13 million. To be clear, while I don’t think there is ANY chance Pagan will be had for an AAV in the 6 million range (or total contract of 30 million), if Upton goes for significantly more than 5/60, which he might, Pagan COULD be significantly cheaper.

          In terms of comparing the two players, obviously if Pagan really could be had for significantly less then Upton, then yes he should be preferred to Upton. Assuming roughly comparable contracts:

          (1) Pagan has a big edge in contact rate.
          (2) Everything else is pretty much a wash or an edge to Upton. Upton obviously has a big edge as a power hitter.
          (3) Pagan is 3 years older.

          The real question is the extent to which Pagan’s 2012 represented real progress as opposed to small sample size success in a contract year. In that sense, he carries more, not less, risk than Upton. That’s “good” risk if Pagan is substantially cheaper; not so good risk if they end up costing roughly the same.

          Bottom line for me: all else (i.e., contract price) being equal or near equal, I say Upton and it is an easy call. I’d even go the extra years on Upton assuming roughly equal AAV. Of course it is entirely possible that the 5/60 prediction for Upton is low; if you’re looking at 5/90 for Upton and 3/40 for Pagan, well then Pagan looks like a better choice.

          All that said, I think a big part of the reason you don’t see more emphasis on Pagan as a possible target is that he might still be resigned by SF, while Upton will clearly hit the market.

          1. Larry – was implying ‘half price’ in that there is no chance of Pagan getting the 5yr contract that Upton will get. If Pagan gets 3 and 10 and Upton gets 5 and 12, I’d say that amounts to half the price. Simple math

            And what’s exaggerated by saying Upton is good for 150+ Ks, .240 BA, and .320 OBP?

            If you look at his past four yrs statistically, which I remark above to be remarkably consistent, his averages come out to 161Ks, .242BA and a .315ish OBP. If ‘exaggerated’ is an accurate description, which is isn’t, then it’s clearly exaggerated in Upton’s favor. You choose to include his first two full seasons when it appeared that Upton was on his way to super-stardom, fair enough, but the new trend line is clear in that there has been a dramatic drop-off in his production the past four years at the same time that those four years are remarkably consistent. You think he has any chance of a .380 OBP next season as he achieved in his first two years even though the most recent four years have hovered in the .315 area? Go ahead, but it’s an argument you’ll lose every time.

            You have an uncanny ability to better your arguments by first implying what another poster meant to say. I didn’t ignore the positives, I focused on the negatives only to illustrate that Upton, in my own opinion, is not a 12-mil per year player. Your implications are all over the place which is your “main error”

            So let me be crystal here so there is no room for your interpretation. I would prefer Pagan at 3 yrs and 10mil per, for a total of 30mil as opposed to Upton at 5yrs and 12mil per for a total of 60mil. And 30, of course, is ‘half’ of 60.

            Trust this clarifies

            You know, in the corporate world, there is a word for individuals who write long-winded circular missives in every email they send. You went on an unnecessarily long rant, beginning with a bad assumption, and then using that assumption to strengthen your argument. You should be in politics

            In any event, now that I responded to your rant with one my own . . . . I’ll wait for what is certain to be yet another long winded retort from you

            1. Okay, my reputation for incivility to the contrary, you’re the guy who is slinging insults, not I. I’ll try to keep it civil.

              Semantics first: I understand now what you mean about half, but it is IMO not an accurate way to look at the situation. AAV and contract length both matter. And given the dynamics of the luxury tax, AAV matters MUCH more. In fact, for the kind of contracts we are talking about (i.e., contracts to under 30 players with reasonable AAV), I would argue that the AAV is virtually ALL that matters. Of course, on an AAV level, 10 million is very close to 12 million. Moreover, while I won’t repeat my arguments made in other parts of the thread, I think the extra 2 years for Upton is a GOOD thing, or at least neutral. Look at this way: even with 5 years to Upton and 3 years to Pagan. Upton will be one year younger at the end of the contract.

              As for your snide comment about my “rant,” I was simply making a charitable assumption about your argument. That is, I didn’t think you would make the obvious error of comparing the total value of a 3 year contract to the total value of a 5 year contract. No one would say that 5/60 is the “equal to” a 3/60 contract, and, by the same token, 3/30 is not “half” of 5/60 in any meaningful sense. I trust this clarifies.

              That aside:

              (1) I think Pagan gets at least 12 million AAV. It may still be less than Upton, because I think Upton will get more than that, but you were addressing the 5/60 hypothetical, and it is that hypothetical we are taking as a starting point.

              (2) You exaggerated by only looking at the past 3 years, and you shouldn’t simply throw out data. His career numbers are higher. But the more fundamental problem wasn’t that admittedly small exaggeration, but leaving out the positives. Over his career, Upton has simply been a well above average regular center fielder overall.

              It’s all a probably a moot point since I think Upton gets more than 5/60, but if the Phillies could make that happen I’d be thrilled. And yes, I’d take that over a 3/30 contract for the much older, not as good Pagan. Though 3/30 would be a bargain for him as well.

              Finally, if Upton is not a 12 million dollar a year player, then the salary structure of baseball is truly out of whack and salaries need to come down about 33% across the board.

            2. It was my opinion Larry, not yours. You don’t get to say that my opinion is inaccurate. You can counter with a differing opinion, but to say ‘not accurate’? You were assuming that I meant half as in half the AAS, when in fact, I meant half the total value of the contract which in my opinion is the more appropriate way to look at it. My fault for leaving an opening for interpretation.

              Let’s look at Josh Hamilton as an example. There is no way I could advocate a $150mm+ contract for Hamilton at let’s say, $25mil AAS over six years. Obvious reasons for this. On the other hand, a 2yr deal at an AAS of $30mil for a total of $60mil would be very, very attractive in my opinion in spite of the higher AAS.

              It’s just a different way of looking at it but our difference of opinion does not mean you’re right and I’m wrong. I feel the total commitment of $60mil for a player of Upton’s caliber is too much of a commitment and the extra years is a big part of the reason why I prefer, to a great extent, Pagan over Upton.

              I had absolutely no issues with your counter right up to the point where I read “Though it’s pretty clear that your main error is that you underestimate how much a quality free agent costs.”. That’s as condescending a statement as condescending can be, particularly when you base your argument on a wrong assumption. To then have the gall to accuse me of insult-slinging is laughable.

              Let me add that living in Tampa I’ve had the opportunity to watch more Rays baseball than most who visit this website. If Phans think that watching Victorino’s approach at the plate can be maddening, or Rollins not running out ground balls is lazy, wait until you see a full year of BJ on the team. There are intangibles that cannot be captured by a stat line or the most comprehensive of modern-day statistics, and I suspect this is a big reason why I feel the way I do about extending a 5-yr deal to BJ.

              Anyway, honestly, no harm, no foul. I was particularly bothered by your ‘main error’ comment and my response exemplified this. Hasty response on my part but no ill-will intended.

            3. Not much to add at this point; we disagree obviously. The only thing I’ll say is that Hamilton comparison is irrelevant for reasons which I already alluded to: he’s the exact opposite of Upton in that (a) he’s over 30, and (b) the AAV is more than twice as high. Even if you think Hamilton is worth 2 to 2 1/2 times as much as Upton on an AAV basis (and I don’t), that’s simply, from a luxury tax perspective, much much more burdensome. You can be pretty much certain that Hamilton won’t be worth anywhere near 25 million 4 to 5 years from now. OTOH, Upton IMO has a good chance to be worth 12 million 4 to 5 years from now.

              I’d go one step further with the comparison, though. Granted the following isn’t a realistic option, but would you rather pay Hamilton 2/60 or 4/60? Of course the latter. They are no “equal” contracts even though the total is equal. AAV matters a LOT, even if we perhaps disagree at the margin just how much it matters versus total value of the contract.

            4. Larry – it was an example for Pete’s sake. I pulled Hamilton out of thin air simply to compliment the Pagan vs Upton discussion. You did the same thing here; you take my random example, purposely random I might add, and then abuse this example as the basis for arguing that my purposefully random example is now wrong. We disagree on one thing; the preference of Upton over Pagan. No need to be argumentative over irrelevant minutia

            5. Why are you so touchy? You today and Zona yesterday. I expect that reaction when I’m being an ass, which I can be, but I really haven’t been in this exchange.

              My point was that I think it was a bad example and I said why. But I did so politely. Are we at the point on this site where people can’t even disagree politely?

            6. And re-reading your post, and maybe this is my fault for not being clear, but obviously you’re still not clear on where we disagree: it’s not just on the relative merits of Pagan and Upton.I really believe, respectfully, that 3/30 is not, in any meaningful sense, much better – certainly not ‘half as much” – as 5/60. You are entitled to disagree, but from my perspective that is not “irrelevant minutia,” it goes to the heart of our disagreement. Not trying to be argumentative, i really believe that. I really, really do believe that the AAV in this case (not all cases) is ALL that matters.

            7. Yesterday it was LarryM vs Ben Zona, today it is LarryM vs Steve (Tampa). I cannot wait for tomorrow’s opponent. Larry’s mettle is being tested on a daily basis.

            8. Larry, the ‘irrelevant minutia’ comment was with respect to your critique of my use of Hamilton as an example, It had nothing to with my dismissal of AAV as a relevant consideration. But I agree that we disagree that AAV is the only thing that matters in valuating Pagan versus Upton. I’d argue that length of contract, though somewhat lessened in comparing Pagan vs Upton, is equally important.

              I’m not sure who’s pulling who down the rabbit hole here. So let me say quite plainly. Given the anticipated length of contract that Pagan (3) and Upton (5-6) are expected to receive this off-season, and of course, estimated contract lengths subject to change, I would much prefer Pagan over Upton. This is my opinion, and since it is one which focuses on events yet to transpire, it cannot in any possible sense be an incorrect opinion.

              I’ll resist the urge to respond further to you on this matter, particularly since you are a last-word type of guy and I have a bit more respect for this website and its visitors than to think that my posts (or yours) are so worthy as to make-up 50% of the thread’s content. So explain my ‘main errors’, or how I am ‘not clear’, or how my opinion ‘is not accurate'; I promise I’ll allow you to have the last word so you could sleep comfortably tonight

      3. Well there goes the 16th pick if BJ is signed. And I was looking forward to some good pre-draft prospect talk.

  43. Catch looking at his numbers only. i will take a good fielding righthand bat, who will hit near 30 homeruns, but not his 298 obp. so i am on the fence with him. at five years, at three i take the chance.I would give him 3 years 39 million. dont think he would take it. but that would be my offer.with a chance for him to improve here playing in this park, and maybe get a monster year at 31 years old/ just a thought

    1. I’m on record as opposing really long contracts and preferring contracts of 3 years or less. But if a player who is only 28 years old is willing to agree to a contract with an AAV of only 12 million, likely less than his worth, why not lock him in for 2 more years? Put it another way, the difference between your proposal and the 5/60 proposal is 2 years@10.5 million per year. Sure there’s some downside risk, but Upton is highly likely to be worth that in his age 31 and 32 seasons.

    2. Someone will sign him for 5-6 years. No 28 yr old guy is signing a shorter deal unless he’s coming off a terrible year and wants a chance to show he’s worth more. I know we all like to improve the deals in our favor but its a very competitive situation. Guys complain if they give too many years (Polanco, Ibanez, etc) but you’d complain more if they didn’t sign anyone. Players chase guaranteed money which almost always means more years so we as fans can say they should only sign 3 year deals but unfortunately the only guys signing 3 year deals are older or declining.

        1. That’s true. The time to sign Werth was right after the WS. I think, at that time, 5 year/$60 million contract probably would have gotten it done at the time and think of all saved value that would have resulted in that Singleton, Cosart and Santana would have remained with the team and the pay day to Werth would have been reasonable. Oh well.

            1. The Phillies tried to do that but Werth switched to Scott Boras as his agent which insured he would go to Free Agency.

          1. The Phil’s told Werth they didn’t have the money to sign him and then they spent plenty on Lee. It’s the reason Werth dislikes the Phils today, he tried to talk Lee out of signing in Philly. The reality is the Phil’s thought Dom was ready to take that job and held it for him. Oh we’ll, that plan didn’t work out too well…

            1. The reality of the situation was that Werth was looking for money around 14 mil/yr. I agreed with the decision that he was not worth the amount of money he was looking for.. As has been stated here over and over corner outfielder who can hit are a dime a dozen and you can’t overpay for the skills that Werth provided over a year and a half as they were not that special around that time.

  44. Appears Drew Stubbs and Ian Stewart are going to bve non-tendered. Any interest ina look see? Just 3/4 years ago both Stubbs and Stewart were considered pretty decent youngsters in their systems.

    1. Stewart should at least be offered a minor league deal and an invite to spring training. A major league offer, even for a sub one million dollar price, probably not. I’ve warmed a little bit to Frandsen, at least to the extent of thinking he would be a better option than Stewart. And it probably is either/or; I mean, I guess you could in theory have Stewart as bench guy behind Frandsen or Galvis, but I don’t know if the positional flexibility is there. It’s been 3 years since he played anything other than third base, and even then, he was mostly a third baseman.

      Stubbs was under my radar, I guess because I assumed he would be tendered despite his off year, but is a MUCH better risk than Stewart. Not sure, though, if there is a spot for him. As a starting CF, the team probably expects to do better, either through FA or a trade. As a regular corner OF, not near enough hitting. As a bench guy he would be great, but the Phillies’ OF bench is already kind of crowded even if Shireholtz is non-tendered.

      1. Here’s my case for Frandsen:

        As a hitter, obviously his BA is going to come down and come down a lot. But if you look at his career numbers, and assume that his good contact numbers, and moderately poor BB and power numbers accurately reflect his ability, but also assume that his BABIP, ridiculously high in 2012 but ridiculously low prior to 2012, normalizes around the league average, he is, for a third baseman, a decent hitter. Not a great or even good hitter by ANY means, but a decent hitter. As for defense, sample size prior to 2012 was low, but he was about average in 2012, and the trend line is positive. As a base runner, he’s adequate.

        Put that together, and what do you have? Okay, a stop gap at best. But he put together a 1.6 WAR season in 2012. The air will come out of that BA, but, given a full season of AB, a WAR between 1 and 1.5 is entirely possible.

        That’s the optimistic take, but if he bombs, you always Galvis waiting in the wings. Is that the ideal situation? No. But given the alternatives, maybe the best option.

    2. I actually like Stubbs and I would love to sign Stewart to a non guaranteed deal. We don’t need Stewart to play at AAA but i would love to bring him into spring training on a make good contract. Stubbs might benefit from a new start with a new team. The bigger issue is that if the Reds drop Stubbs they’ll be another big player in the CF market. Interestingly, Hamilton played there to start his career and supposedly enjoyed it….

      1. I’d take Stubbs over over paying for one of the CF options, if it comes to that, though he may well be signed before the CF market plays out. I do think that that would (absent a big signing at corner OF) probably mean a year or two out of contention. Which might be the case anyway.

        He would be a better CF option than Mayberry, as much as I like Mayberry in a platoon/bench role.

  45. Its official, signing BJ will cost us the pick since Tampa tendered him.
    FYI – Asche, who was hit by a pitch yesterday and removed from the game, is 2-4 with 2 doubles today. Also, Collier has an rbi triple and Joseph has another 0-4. Simon was hit hard again.

    1. Great to hear about Asche Murray. I saw his removal from the boxscore yesterday and immediately thought the worst case scenario as it hit in the hand or wrist. Happy to now hear that his removal was only precautionary

  46. Haren now a FA, let’s go get him. Rather have him as a #3 than spend crazy money on a one inning reliever.

    1. I agree. Despite Larry claiming the Angels are in the driver’s seat, I think we’re seeing that the driver’s seat is in the backseat and the vehicle is careening.off the road. Losing Haren for nothing would be bad enough but they’re paying him $3.5 M to walk away. Get hjm checked out by the best back doctor in Philly and signed if $7.5 M gets it done with $1 M incentives for each 20 innings he pitches beyond 120.

      1. The Angels were in the driver’s seat. They had Haren locked up for a reasonable price on a one year deal. So you want to ignore that the Angels, who know more about his health than anyone, would rather buy him out? They couldn’t even work out a deal for Carlos Marmol, who’s an expensive reliever on a team that probably realizes he’s a luxury they don’t need.

        Haren’s velocity keeps dropping. It’s now in the Tyler Cloyd range. And he doesn’t have great off speed pitches to lean on. Not to mention we have more pressing needs than a #4 starter. I’d rather use the hypothetical 8mil for a bat.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=1757&position=P&pitch=FA

        1. Agree Pat….his velo has dropped and K/9 along with it. He could come a lot less expensive if there is no market for him. IMO, if I were him, I stay out for half a year, stay in shape, get the arm further rested and stronger and then sell himself to the highest bidding contender in July, sort of like Roger Clemens/Pedro did.

        2. Here’s my take from Fan Graphs Oct. 31 article from Mike Barr.

          “When he returned on July 22, Haren saw far better results. Over his final 13 starts, Haren posted a 3.58 ERA, giving up 68 hits over 73 innings pitched, holding opposing batters to a .243/.282/.432 line. This looked a heck of a lot more like the guy that held opponents to a .235/.265/.365 slash line in 2011.”

          Despite being hurt for part of 2012, Haren has averaged 216 innings pitched over the last 3 years which is more than any pitcher in the NL. Haren is the quintessential innings eater that the Phils paid Blanton generously to be. But he’s much better than Blanton and on a team like the Phils, provides some insurance as they figure out where they are with Halladay whose contract is up after ’13 in any case.

          Elsewhere I’ve suggested the Phils include Worley in a trade to Arizona in a multiplayer package for Justin Upton. I think Worley is replaceable by guys like Martin and Pettitbone who figure to be no more than a year away. Haren at worst seems to me to be an affordable stopgap on the one year deal he will seek to re-establish value. He’s already got $3.5 M in his pockets from the Angels and could match h is ’12 earnings if he approaches his recent body of work.

      2. Wait, what? You propsoed a trade which bascially had Haren coming to us, along with 2.5 million dollars, as part of a bigger deal, for basically less than nothing. You justified this by claiming that the Angels were “desperate” to trade him to save some payroll.

        I responded, pointing out, correctly, that they were not desperate to do anything – they would either trade him for value or decline his option. In fact, they were unable to get value for him in a trade, but, as I predicted, they declined his option rather than engaging in the kind of “desperate” (and unequal) trade that you propsoed.

        So who, exactly, was proven wrong by events?

        As to what happens now. Meh. I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about his value. He’s IMO not the kind of starter that I like in the FA market – give me either the top of the line guys, or cheap guys with upside risk. But YMMV. The more salient issue is that they only have a need for him if they trade Worley. Which could happen, I suppose, though if it does it will not be your “Worley and scraps for Upton” proposal.

        There is also the issue that, unless the team goes way over the luxury tax threshold, Upton plus Haren is goign to leave them tight on the payroll. They would still need a center fielder. Of course they may go over the tax threshold. Even if they do, there are probably better ways to spend the money than Haren.

  47. Where Will Hamilton Sign?

    I’m impressed with the pessimism of Rangers’ fans regarding the team’s prospects of resigning Hamilton. I still see the Rangers as the best fit for him but I think the Phils are as well positioned as any other team to sign him if he looks at opportunities beyond Dallas-Ft. Worth. The list of teams that could and would make a serious play beyond the Rangers and Phils I see to be limited to the Brewers, Bosox, Tigers, White Sox and Angels (if Greinke leaves Anaheim for Texas). It’s claimed that Hamilton is looking for a 7 year $175 M deal. I don’t see that kind of offer coming out of any of these teams and it’s hard to see 2 of these teams staying engaged long enough to see the bidding approach that level. I think some will be surprised at the final offer because I sense it will be lower than many would guess.

    1. I truly don’t think any team will offer more than 3 years with an option for a 4th, he just carries too much risk. If I’m right about the term, other teams will get involved also so I think the per year price will be high. The Braves will check as will the Reds. I don’t see the money working for the Phils.

      1. Murray – while I don’t necessarily disagree on the ‘why’ part, if 3 years plus an option is all the interest Hamilton is able to muster, then I suspect 10-15 teams will be bidding for his services. With this level of interest, 1 or 2 teams are bound to extend more years as a means of differentiating themselves from other bidders. This said, and while the 3 yr argument is valid on it face, I find it highly unlikely that Hamilton ends up with anything less than a 5 yr deal.

        And I doubt the Phils are part of the Hamilton discussions unless they somehow find a taker for Howard which is highly unlikely

          1. Certainly possible, but I just don’t see it. I’d be absolutely shocked if Hamilton didn’t get more than 3 yrs. They’ll be too many teams in on the bidding at 3 yrs which in itself will drive up the number of years.

            1. He just carries so much risk, no team will go more than a 3 yr deal with an option for a 4th. A team has to provide a full time babysitter for him too. Signing Hamilton, who appears to have declining skills although they’re still very good, is not something the big market teams with plenty of temptation for Hamilton, will likely do. I expect he’ll resign in Texas for a large 3 yr deal like $18M per year but I do think there will be plenty of interested teams in a 3 yr deal. The Reds, Cards, Seattle, Balt, Toronto are small market teams that will be “in”.

            2. If Hamilton can be had for 3yrs at $18mm per, then I’d like the Phils to pursue. A team like Milwaukee will certainly add a 4th guaranteed year if it acts as the difference-maker. I’ll call it here, 5yrs guaranteed to Hamilton

            3. Look, all it takes is one team to pull out the check book and sign Hamilton to a big fat contract. We’ve seen it happen again and again with Werth, Fielder, even Pujols (that contract is absurd) and even Howard. Odds are that someone will pay Hamilton big bucks over at least a 5 year period. I think his contract, in the end runs 5 years, close to $23 million per year, with a big buy out for the sixth year – it may look very similar to Howard’s extension in terms of overall dollars and years. At that price and length, the Phillies really can’t afford to be in the mix.

              For now, the Phillies are better off focusing on players like Upton, Hunter, Youkilis, Cabrera and, depending on the cost, Pagan. Certainly the Phillies could do worse than giving Pagan a 3 year, $30 million contract. He will almost certainly out-perform that deal, the dollars are reasonable, they won’t lose a draft pick, he will have residual trade value (this is now one of my biggest litmus tests for a free agent deal and yet another reason why the Rollins deal was good for the Phillies) and there will be remaining dollars left to pay other free agents. As I previously explained, I would be open to an Upton contract depending on the overall dollars – that deal, of course, would come with the downside of surrendering a pretty valuable pick.

            4. Trade-off…..would you trade for Justin or sign BJ? Sign BJ you lose a prospect in the 16th pick….trade for Justin you lose two more (min) additional prospects, but you get someone younger.

            5. There’s no way to answer that question without knowing the price and length of the BJ contract and the specific prospects/talent it would take to get Justin. Justin’s is the better player and has more future upside given his age. That being said, the D-Backs would likely seek a king’s ransom for him which probably won’t be worth it for the Phillies. So my instinct is that, even thought he’s clearly not as good as Justin, BJ would probably end up being the better deal for the team.

              If I’m trading prospects, the guy I go after is Tulowitzki. Yes, he has warts. If he didn’t have warts there is literally no way you could trade for him and his long, but far below market, contract. But he’s likely to bounce back and when he does you are looking at a star – a 5-8 WAR player. And if the Phillies get him, it solves a whole ton of their problems as he could stay at short or move to third. And, given his current issues, I think he could now be had for a relatively reasonable price (Quinn or Franco, Biddle, Worley, Valle and perhaps Bastardo or Bonilla). They would also retain their first round pick. Also, because his salary is reasonable, they could still fill a hole in the outfield.

  48. I think he gets at least a werth type deal 6 years 130 range. i am really on the fence with this guy,on because he is lefthanded, second he is changing leagues, three injury issues, four. drinking problems.out of the teams you mention i dont see the brewers, white soxs, doing it for money issues,bosox,texas, two teams i really believe would be front runners.but only my opinion,

  49. Here’s my take away from Fran Graphs, Mike Barr Oct. 31, 2012:

    “When he returned on July 22, Haren saw far better results. Over his final 13 starts, Haren posted a 3.58 ERA, giving up 68 hits over 73 innings pitched, holding opposing batters to a .243/.282/.432 line. This looked a heck of a lot more like the guy that held opponents to a .235/.265/.365 slash line in 2011.”

    Despite pitching hurt for a chunk of 2012, Haren has averaged 216 innings pitched over the last 3 seasons which is more than any pitcher in the NL. He is the quintessential innings eater than the Phils paid Blanton generously to be. But Haren is much better than Blanton and provides good insurance if Halladay does not return to pre-2012 form.

    I’ve suggested elsewhere that the Phils include Worley in a multiplayer package for Justin Upton. Haren slots in nicely in Worley’s place in the rotation and is, at worst, a good player to tide the team over until Ethan Martin or Jon Pettitbone is ready. Haren should be available on a one year deal to re-establish value. With that said, with Kendrick coming off contract after 2013, the Phils should have rooom for Haren beyond 2013 if he thrives in candystripes.

    1. IM, if Haren is healthy, like you claim, why wouldn’t arizona sign him and keep Upton instead of trading for Worley.

      1. Arizona would be well advised to look in on Haren as you suggest. Arizona also apparently needs left handed relief help and a third baseman which I address in my proposal. The Diamondbacks could fill those needs somewhat through free agency but don’t have a habit of being big players in the free agent market. A Jason Kubel type player seems to be the limit of their willingness to invest in free agents.

  50. On a three year deal, I’d sign Hamilton. and move Howard to either the 5th or 6th hole depending on what they’d do with Utley.

    1. I don’t think that’s realistic at all though. He’s WAY too risky. I’m sure Ruben’s going to do his due diligence on him though.

  51. I know he’s not a slam dunk 3rd baseman, and I know the SABR-dudes can (rightfully) thrash him….but Brandon Inge could be a useful 3B/bench guy.
    Not too expensive
    He has that “It” factor
    Plus he’s a VCU guy….and my alma mater has put out some decent ballplayers!!!!

    Go Phillies and Go Rams!!!!

    1. I don’t think he’s an upgrade over Fransden offensively. Fransden’s not going to hit the way he did last year but with a veteran platoon bat (Eric Chavez would be a great fit IMO) he could be more than serviceable as an 8th hole hitter.

    1. Ugh. Again with the trade Cliff Lee talk? It’s ridiculous. I hate to tell you this but he’s probably the best player on the team – depending on the source, his last two years he’s been an 8 WAR and 5 WAR pitcher and his stuff is as good as ever (in other words, there is no reason to believe he cannot go out never year and pitch lights out). There is no way in the world that you can count on a foreign rookie to produce what Cliff Lee is giving you. I’m not saying that the foreign player should not be a consideration, only that Cliff Lee should not be the odd man out as a result of that pursuit.

      1. Agree….but you just never know where Ruben will go. He has made some big news in the past during the off-season and IMO is not beyond doing it again.

        1. Yup, you can’t predict what Ruben is going to do. But if the goal is to put a World Series caliber team on the field, if you trade Cliff Lee, you had better get back some high-level near major-league ready prospects and then also use the money saved in the deal to take care of some other needs, including the hole created by Lee’s departure. This team is built primarily on pitching, however, so unless it’s a deal Ruben literally cannot refuse (possible, but unlikely), they are more likely to hurt themselves in the short and medium term by trading Lee, which, in turn, makes the team’s other expenditures wasteful and counterproductive. On top of that, the team needs to be competitive this year to restore faith in a now slightly eroding fan base – don’t discount the importance of rebuilding public interest in the team – a Lee trade shoots a big hole in that effort. In short, there are very few scenarios in which trading Cliff Lee prior to the 2013 season make any sense at all.

          1. Print talk coming from Ft Worth/Arlington has Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels very disappointed in the Rangers outcome and exploring a veteran impact arm. In the past Ryan wanted Lee, not sure what his interest is now in return value, since he wanted to sign him as a FA a few years ago.

          2. I’m with Catch on this. I do think the issue is a little more complex, but ends up in the same place. Trading Lee without getting major league ready talent is an option if and only if the front office is okay with a full-fledged rebuilding period (and even then, they would need at least an “A” level prospect and a couple of “B” level prospects). As unpredictable as Amaro can be, I am pretty certain he (and the owners) are not going to go into full fledged rebuilding mode.

            Since I don’t think that Lee is going to get us an equivalent return in terms of major league ready talent, I therefore don’t think he will be (or should be) traded.

            There’s one semi far out scenario where he gets traded:

            (1) Phillies sign Greinke,
            (2) Rangers overpay for Lee (think Olt ++).

            1. Fair enough, i just didn’t go down the rebuilding road beause: (a) with the team’s talent level and resources, I don’t think it is necessary right now; (b) it is inconceivable to me that ownership would head in this direction; and (c) it would be counterproductive to rebuild because it would impair current and future revenues (including posdible tv contracts and even a Phillies network) needed to keep a top tier team on the field – rebuilding could kill the golden goose.

  52. Regarding the comment up thread about the trade off between swapping prospects versus losing a #16 pick: given the current Phillies’ system, what would be the equivalent (in terms of a prospect) of the #16 pick?

    My take: I’d rather lose the pick than any one of the Phillies’ top 7 prospects certainly, and probably rather than the next 3 to 8. And since most trade scenarios would mean losing multiple prospects, judged only on loss of talent, losing the pick is better than losing prospects in any feasible trade that gets us a regular position player.

    Of course that’s not the only concern. As Catch implied, the devil is in the details. But focusing on Upton versus Upton, Justin is younger, has (probably) a better contract, and is a significantly better player. But I don’t think the Phillies are a good fit for Arizona’s needs, and, while avoiding this time specific predictions regarding the particulars of the trade, the cost would start with Worley and a top 5 prospect, and go up from there.

    1. Every draft is different, but this draft especially, the “can’t miss” players who rocket to the majors are long gone by 16. I don’t see #16 as significantly more valuable than #30.

    2. Vis a vis another thread from a couple days ago, I DO think that the fact that Pagan didn’t get a qualifying offer changes the dynamics of the Phillies’ decision a little. Even before that, my favoring Upton over Pagan was predicated upon the hypothetical bargain Upton contract in the 5/60 range. Now Pagan looks relatively even better. Of course, that being the case, his likely contract price also went up. He is looking more like a steal at 3/30, but then again I didn’t, and, even more so now, don’t think he goes that low. Certainly the Phillies should kick the tires on him, so to speak. He’s not someone that’s going to make an old team any younger, though. He’s only 8 months younger than Victorino.

      1. See Larry? Move forward a day, change the dynamic a bit, and now we are in near agreement. (I’m being facetious here)

        1. Baseball America has been pretty clear about the 2013 draft being extremely average after the first couple picks. If the Phils are gonna give up a draft pick to sign an impactful player, this would be the year to do it. Besides, they picked some really nice young players later in the draft after Watson/Gueller…..so I think we can afford to be optomistic about the draft (even without #16) AND hope for a player in CF that will help get the Phils back to the top.

        2. I know you’re being facetious, but our disagreement, while quite significant, was always narrow – disagreement about contract dynamics (i.e., the importance of length versus AAV), mainly, and secondarily about the value of Upton and the likely contract cost of Pagan. That part, as you obviously realize, hasn’t changed. But on the ultimate question we were always not THAT far apart. I liked Pagan as a possibility then, and I like him a little more now. Certainly the Phillies should, and probably are, going to speak to both player’s agents.

    1. BJ will go much higher than that Ahoy. In my perfect world, Youk for 2 and 18 as you stated, Pagan for 3 and 30-34, Mike Adams for 2 and 8-10. The rest is filler, though I wouldn’t mind Vic back on a very, very team-friendly 1-2 yr deal.

      I think Vic is going to find the market for his services somewhat suppressed

      1. Vic on a team friendly deal I agree with, though IMO not likely that he comes back here. I still think you are underestimating what Pagan will cost, but at that price he would be attractive. Adams – meh. Don’t like the idea of paying a non-closer reliever that much, wouldn’t do it, but Adams is a good one.

        Youk … very mixed feelings. I understand the argument in favor. I even used to like him somewhat as a player, you can construct an argument that he is due for a slight rebound season as a hitter. But … he’s 33, he is now a defensive liability, and there is a risk that he may be in steep decline. I probably wouldn’t do it.

        Speaking of third basemen, hindsight is 20-20, and the contract has 3 years to run for a guy also 33, but man, oh, man, it’s looking like the Rangers made out VERY well on the Beltre contract. Don’t really fault the organization for missing out on that one, but what a missed opportunity in retrospect. Here’s a question for you: Beltre for HOF? 2 more seasons like 2010-2012 and I say yes. Certainly anyone suggesting a possible HOF case for him after 2009 would have been laughed at.

        1. Just out of curiosity, what do you see as market value (not fair value) for Pagan’s services? 3 and 30 might be admittedly light, but it can’t be by much.

          My favoring of Youk is mostly due to the lack of viable options. But a right-handed bat with modest power and a vigor that is much, much needed in the clubhouse lead me to tag Youk as the most favorable option at 3b. I also think that he could, or should, sub for Howard at 1B for 10-15 games year when facing lefties (I almost said ‘tough lefties’, but isn’t every lefty tough on Howard? Rhetorical of course)

          Beltre as a HOF’er? Wow, good question. Three years ago? No chance. But factor in that we will play half his games in Arlington over the next four years (assuming the 4th year vests) and he just might build up the credentials to make it. I’d say that there can be little in terms of letup on his part over the balance of his contract with the Rangers; say, in the vicinity of 30hrs / 100 RBIs on average. Considering his stellar defense, 450 career HRs and other complimentary peripherals will get him in

          1. Okay, fair question. Before he wasn’t given a qualifying offer, I would have said 3/36. Which isnt THAT much more, but signficant in terms of my earlier point because that’s the same AAV of the hypothetical Upton contract that we were debating.

            Now? Hard to say. Strictly logically, not having to give up a pick should increase his value on the FA market. OTOH, if SF didn’t think he was worth 13 million for one year, is anyone going to pay him that AAV for THREE years? I don’t know.

            The truth is, of our three areas of disagreement, this is the one I am least confident about. He really grades out pretty well by analytic standards (though of course age is a concern). he didn’t REALLY come out of nowhere; his 2010 was comperable and even better if you give credence to year to year variation in fielding metrics. A case can be made that over the past three years he was worth about 55 million dollars. He likely won’t be worth that much over the next 3, given his age, but OTOH the typical FA signing is for more than a player is “worth” (because such “value” is skewed by all of the underpaid pre-FA players.). He’s also the type of player who sometimes gets underpaid. He’s a hard guy to figure. Finally, you have the possibility that, with the new TV money, the small/mediium market teams might be a lot more active in the market this year. As one of the the top FA for whom no compensation will be owed, he could surprise everyone with something WAY over 3/36.

            So … hold a metaphorical gun to my head and I’ll still say 3/36. But yeah, on this point you may be right.

            1. FYI: Fangraphs in their top 25 Free Agents had Pagan at a 3 yr 30 mil contract, and upton at 4 yr 52 mil

            2. That’s their crowd sourcing project, correct? As I recall, in past years those projections tended to be a little on the low side.

              I think the factor here that is going to surprise a lot of people is the TV money factor. No, it’s not as crazy as that loon AEC, or who whatever his alias is, claims, especially for teams already near the luxury tax threshold, but spending by mid market teams and basic supply and demand is going to drive salaries up to some extent. Thus, while uncertain about my 3/36 prediction, I think I’m more likely to be low than high.

            3. not sure if it was the crowd sourcing, but Heyman and his unamed expert had the following

              8. Angel Pagan, OF. His big year in San Francisco changed his image. No one benefited more from his walk year. Expert: $45 million, 4 years. Me: $30 million, 3 years.

              So you are both right around where a lot of people think he will be. And I like you Larry have a little more interest in Pagan now that there is no pick attached.

        2. Beltre in the the HOF? Four years ago I would have laughed at that notion, but his numbers have changed considerably for the better and would think three years sustainment at his current level at a minimum may get him serious consideration for sure.
          Certainly if the Rangers win a World Series and he is the integral offensive cog in it, he gets in.

        3. It’s funny you mentioned Beltre – I was looking at his numbers just last week and thought to myself – holy cow, this guy is going into the Hall of Fame. His career is proof of just how important coming up to the majors early is to a guy’s overall numbers and his projection as a player. On the Phillies Rollins has had a similar, albeit, slightly less stellar career – but when Jimmy Rollins ends his career, not only will he be without question, the greatest Phillies shortstop of all time, he might be on the outskirts of HOF territory. To do so, however, he’s going to need a couple more 4-5 WAR season and then several more years where pads the stats and is generally valuable.

          1. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rolliji01.shtml

            Rollins, just about to be 34 years old, is at the HOF Monitor at 88…100 is a likely HOFer, it’s not a guaranteed measure but it’s roughly accurate to see how likely a player will get in. Looking at his age, numbers, accomplishments, and the fact that he’s a durable and good defensive SS…overall he’s got a decent chance to get in, barring steep decline or injury.

            1. For sure Rollins will be knocking on the door. He is in the same company as Mike Schimdt, Robin Roberts, Lefty Carlton and Whitey Ashburn.

            2. Not quite. He’s in the next tier of players after Ashburn and he is nowhere close to Schmidt, Roberts or Carlton. But he coukd still become a borderline HOFamer. by comparison, if Utley has a few more 5 WAR seasons left and a couple of oay years after that I think he will be in te Hall. utley was probably the best player in baseball for the 5 year span of 2006-10 – that goes a long way to getting him in.

            3. eek. I think you missed an “except for Albert Pujols” reference in their.

              I all honesty, I certainly think you can make a great argument for 2nd best, but any discussion on best player in the last 10 years starts and ends with Pujols.

            4. Pujols is great – clearly the best player for the ten years begining in 2001. Did not mean to diss him or miss him.

            5. If Rollins can play beyond his current contract as a starter and end up playing into his early 40s and get 3000 hits, then I think he would deserve being mentioned in the same tier as Schmidt, Roberts, Carlton, Ashburn, Alexander, etc. If he ends up at like 2500-2750, I personally still think he should, but it would be understandably debatable among others.

            6. Mostly those guys you posted were on horrid teams or teams that would of been horrid without them. Alexander especially . Trading GCA started a decline that lasted over 30 years with one team over .500 and that by one game.

            7. I think with Rollins it’s not a complete coincidence that each season since he’s become a full time starter in 2001, the Phillies have never had a losing record (2002 it was 80-81, but close enough). Obviously there’s much than Rollins that goes into their last 12 years of competitiveness and postseason success. But you could reasonably assume that without Rollins, as their “leader,” not as much good things would’ve happened, especially 2007, which was fueled by Rollins, which then fueled our “dynasty.”

            8. C’mon ‘Wheels’…thirty years becasue Mack traded GCA! Cornelius was a business man and he did it to many stars who’s contracts would force the club to exceed their profit margin…thus the decline ensuring a quick ascent to 10K losses.

            9. Anon1….Mr. Mack was a shrewd business man who shed many a salary in his day. However, most baseball historians would tell you that he did so for the Philadelphia A’s and not so much for the Phillies.

            10. Wow, I just looked at Utley and he’s already at 53 WAR…I think most players who get at least 60 WAR, get into the HOF or are least guys who are on the Veterans Ballot…so either way, Utley could be a Veterans Committee guy someday…way into the future…barring huge comeback seasons.

  53. Damm anoni hope y are kidding rollins couldnt tie schmidlt shoes, and carlton was one of the greatest left hander in baseball if not the greatest.I think you post just to get people pissed, lmao rollins compared to schmidt.

  54. If you’re interested in a HOF comp for SS’s, take a look at Larkins numbers and Rollins (assuming he stays mostly healthy he will have him beat in most).

  55. Jimmy Rollins is probably my second favorite player ever, but HOF? He would need 4 more years playing at his 2008 level to even be a borderline guy. He’s been a below league average hitter for his career. The comp to Larkin isn’t close. Larkin’s career OBP is about 25 points better than Rollins’ best season and they basically have the same power and defensive numbers. He’s not even close to Alan Trammell yet, and Trammell hasn’t gotten serious HOF consideration.

    Utley actually has a shot if he has another 4-5 productive seasons, but that’s hard to predict if his knees are going to cooperate.

    1. I think finding a way to pull off a second mvp season will get him there. Not likely to happen but not impossible.

  56. BP released their Astros Top 10 today with 4 former Phillies making the the Top 10, with Singleton at #1, Cosart at #5, Villar at #6, and Santana at #7. All have starting upside, but Jason Parks noted that their is huge risk for the last three.

    1. Villar at 6 is interesting they must be pretty weak. Outside of him being 21 at AA he has over 1900 career PA’s and only a slash of 256/332/707 and it doesn’t appear he is all that as a defender.

      Cosart’s path is starting to look really familiar…Madsen-esque!

      1. I’ve heard huge, huge praise for Villar’s defensive abilities actually. A shortstop with a .700 OPS, plus plus defense and speed is a legit prospect.

    2. Four of the top 7 are former Phillies! The ‘Stros system prior to 2011 must have been pretty weak under Ed Wade, what was he doing down there!

  57. I am really amazed at how much money the nationals will spend. if you read mlb trade rumors and other sites, they will sign bourn for 80 million or more, and are linked to a couple of pitchers, seems they have endless money if you believe the sites,

    1. Wait until Strasburg and Harper need to be extended/renewed, and they are still carrying Werth’s contract, and Bourn if he is sigend by them, and the remaining of their high priced players, ie Zimmerman (s), LaRoche, Gonzo, Desmond. They will need to do their due diligence in strategic long-term planning.

  58. Amaro to CSN’s Jim Salisbury..Nov 5, 2012—-Amaro said Ryan Howard’s offseason conditioning program has already shown results. “I think he’s lost a significant amount of weight, which bodes well for him,” the GM said. Amaro said he has been impressed with the reports on Darin Ruf, who was hitting .264 with nine homers and 19 RBIs in 72 at-bats over 20 games in Venezuela. Amaro has gotten positive feedback on Ruf’s progress in left field from manager Jorge Velandia, a Phillies staffer. “Yeah, baby, I love it,” Amaro said of the reports on Ruf. “I hope that he’s challenging for a job in left field next year for the Fightins. Jorge likes him and says he can play left field. We’ll get others to see him. We’re not giving him anything, but he’s certainly in the conversation.”

  59. By the way, is it just me or has 2012 been one of the worst years ever for Philadelphia sports? Phillies were a huge disappointment, the Eagles are laying an egg, the hockey team isn’t playing, the basketball team is well the same old basketball team, and, heck, even the soccer team was bad. It’s ugly out there!

    1. I don’t know my history enough to call it one of the worst, but the disappointment on expectations is just remarkable. I thought the Phillies might move to the back burner but now it seems that their offseason moves are more under the microscope than before.

    2. It ain’t just you. In 55 days we start 2013…keeping my fingers-crossed for somewhat better sports days.

  60. Definitely a down cycle for Philly sports…wasn’t too long ago it was all about Phillies Dominance, Eagles building a champion with an awesome new secondary, Flyers being playoff relevant, Villanova basketball being relevant in general, and Philly’s super Lingerie Football squad…:)

    1. Philly has a Lingerie Football team? Why don’t they ever show highlights on the news! Way better than watching the Eagles get the crap kicked out of them.

      Also, in spite of everything that happened last season, I still think the Phillies have the best chance at a title in the next year or two.

  61. Most Likely to Win the Next Philly Sports Title:
    1. Phillies
    2. Flyers – would be first with a season this year
    3. Eagles – time to rebuild, would be 4th but rebuilding can happen quick in NFL
    4. Sixers

    1. Agreed that Phillies and Flyers are 1/2. The Eagles are so bad right now that they might even be 4th.

      Now, excuse me for me little Eagles rant, but here goes. They are, without question, last among these teams in public relations. I really don’t think Jeff Lurie is a bad person and I know that he desperately wants to win a championship but, damn, after 20 years in the city, he does not understand a blessed thing about Philadelphia or Philadelphians. First, the ownership group is perceive as aloof and elitiest – about the biggest turn offs you can imagine in this area. Second, the team they field is precisely the type of team that does not resonate with people from our area and it’s not just about losing. They are a soft finesse team when every one wants to see a tough, blue collar team that wears its heart on its sleeve. Third, as much as the Phillies got CBP right (aside from the location, it’s pretty close to perfect), the Linc is probably the most colorless, uinspiring football venue imaginable. I know it must make the Eagles a ton of cash, but nothing about that place is inviting or gives you a feeling for Philadelphia or the Eagles for that matter. When you go in there, you could be in Kansas City or Jacksonville and you’d never know the difference. It’s not a bad stadium per se, but it is a reflection of the man who conceived it. A money making venue for a guy who wishes he owned the Patriots.

      Catch out. No more football.

    2. The Flyers might be 2nd but only because the group of teams that can win a Championship is greater in the NHL than the NBA. I think the Sixers are on the right path here. The Flyers’ management is great at identifying talent but they’re a bunch of bozos when it comes to implementing a plan and showing a little patience.

      The Eagles are extremely close to needing a full rebuild. If they keep trending the same way for the rest of the season I think they’ll clean house, coaches and players alike.

      1. The Flyers also have a ton of young talent and a superstar in Giroux, that’s why I think they’re in a better position than the Sixers.

        1. The Flyers had a bunch of young talent in 2008 also, and gave up on it/ neglected key issues/ struggled to manage the cap. So my confidence in them is lower now than it was 4-5 years ago. The Sixers also have young talent and a young superstar in Bynum, although he’s not as safe a bet as Giroux to be an elite player for a long period.

  62. i will die before the eagles ever win superbowl, laurie the idiot,gave howie rosemen a new five year deal. gold standard is his bank account. phillies have a better shot then the others.flyers have a shot, sixer who i love have no shot.

  63. Ah, the Flyers and the Eagles on the minor league baseball site. Oh well, general discussion indeed.

  64. Billy Ripken hijacked my idea to trade for Tulo only he has the Cardinals as the best fit for him. I’m still hanging out hope we land either him or Joey Bats. I’m not going to get into the whole “who we give up to get which one debate” That’s for the Rockies and or Blue Jays to decide what it would take.

    I certainly wouldn’t do it at any cost but you have to kick the tires.

    1. Read my prior posts – I’m a huge advocate of a Tulo trade, depending of course on the price. You can kill a lot of birds with that stone.

      1. Here…Here! Sorry I missed it. I’ve been trumpeting that one for at least it a month but more than happy to give credit where its do should it happen.

        1. I don’t want credit – i just want it to happen assuming, of course, that the trade consideration is not ridiculous. I am hoping a trade package of prospects similar to the Halladay trade might get it done. The Rockies have a ton of needs, including at pitcher, and the Phillies have young pitchers to trade.

          1. If the Rockies are willing to trade Tulo (the face of their franchise and the guy they have been hanging all of their future sucess on), I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t consider a full rebuild and at that point is trading for Carlos Gonzalez at whatever that costs a better option to persue. Just a thought to put out there.

            1. I guess that is the $140 Million Dollar question which is the amount Tulo is owed through his age 35 Season. Cargo is a nice player I’d take him but OF is usually a little easier to come by and he is Left Handed. My goal would be to balance out the middle of our line-up with a solid RH bat.

              I also understand that I may be over looking that he would not welcome a move to 3B. I think you could sell him on the idea considering it could be easier on the groins.

            2. Cargo is interesting and cost-controlled. But Tulo is a true franchise player – a young, great hitter at a premium defensive position who happens to play lights out on defense as well. He’s been hurt so his value is not quite at it’s peak and his team is in free fall, so you might be able to get him. My view is that if you can get him, overpay if you need to but, get it done – you won’t regret it.

    2. Better yet, Ruben Amaro Jr should also trade for Justin Verlander, Matt Kemp, and Craig Kimbrel. I’m also not going to get into what it would take to acquire these players, I just think it would make our team better.

  65. Are these financial numbers correct?……David Murphy, CSN reports:
    They (Philies) entered the offseason with about $134 million committed to nine players: Ryan Howard ($20.0 million), Chase Utley ($15.0 million), Laynce Nix ($1.35 million), Papelbon ($13.0 million), Jimmy Rollins ($11.0 million), Cliff Lee ($25.0 million), Roy Halladay ($20.0 million), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Cole Hamels ($19.5 million). But they do have a number of cheap, viable options for the remaining spots: righthander Vance Worley (No. 5 starter), outfielder Darin Ruf (regular, bench or rotational), outfielder John Mayberry Jr. (bench) and infielder Freddy Galvis (starter or utility) will all make around $500,000. You can probably plan on four young relievers making the roster at about the same price (say, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Mike Stutes and Jeremy Horst). A backup catcher like Erik Kratz shouldn’t cost more than $800,000. Outfielder Nate Schierholtz, acquired from the world champion Giants in the Hunter Pence trade, should make around $2.75 million through arbitration. At that point, the Phillies would be looking at about $151.5 million for 20 players, including the usual $10 million contribution for player benefits, which counts against the luxury-tax threshold. Like most teams, they are reluctant to identify the payroll budget they have targeted for the upcoming season, but we can make an educated guess that they will be hesitant to eclipse $189 million, which is what the luxury-tax threshold will be in 2014. The feeling among people who have spoken with the Phillies about potential moves this offseason is that they are resigned to going over this year’s threshold of $178 million. If they are willing to push the 2014 threshold, that could leave them with around $37.5 million to spend on a centerfielder, third baseman, corner outfielder and a couple of setup men.

  66. The rumor is that the Diamondbacks are really looking to shop Justin Upton. I don’t know about anyone else but the more they look to move him the less I want him, because it means one of two things: they are looking for someone to horribly overpay (the Braves Teixeira deal plus) or they are convinced he is not a star. In either case I don’t want him.

    That being said, looking at how the qualifying offers went this what I would like to see them do. Sign Angel Pagan for 3yrs 30-33 million, I don’t think BJ is that much better to pay the money, give up the pick, and lock him into your outfield for five years. Each move the team makes has to have an eye on the future, there is no one out there (except Grienke) that I would argue is a corner piece of a team going forward. There are a lot of guys to fill holes in your club, but no one who is going to push you over the top long term (Hamilton might for 1-3 years but then that contract kills you). Due to money you can’t fill 3B and OF corner in free agency, if you are looking at a corner I think Hunter at 2yrs 16mil sounds good (maybe you go 18 realizing that you will underpay this year and overpay next), I would look at a Ross or Ludwick if they are the ones left without a chair late in the winter. At third base my preference is Jeff Keppinger on a 2-3 year deal because he has flexibility, he can legitimately play 3B and 2B (if Utley is hurt) and won’t hurt you at the plate. His flexibility doesn’t lock you into a guy there and if Asche impresses or there is a trade that is sitting there you can move him around. I don’t like Youkilis, he has the skills and he might have the bargain price, but this team can’t afford injury risks where they are weak (if an OF goes down you at least have competent replacements). In the bullpen I don’t think you need to overpay or an 8th inning guy, there are a ton of guys there right now, if you need to add a piece I would look for a guy who is consistent even if he isn’t dominating, with the volatility of the young guys I think you just need someone who can go give you an inning (probably won’t be perfect) but you don’t have to worry they will implode (I am thinking 2011 Contreres, though this role might actually be Horst even if he is young).

    Other moves I would consider is extending Ruiz and Utley for two years (maybe you give Utley a games played vesting option for a third) because there isn’t anything that exciting at second behind Utley and Chooch should age well and you can slowly transition in you catcher of the future.

    1. I don’t think there’s much chance of the Phils having the players to make an Upton deal but I would support it whole heartedly. Backing off because you think he must not be that good if they want to deal him is one way to go but lots of teams will be in on him so they wouldn’t agree with you. Who knows what Arizona is thinking, I’d take my chances with that ability. Unfortunately, I think he’ll go to Texas. I could see Ross coming here but I think Ludwick will stay in Cincy. Hunter is an option also. As far as extending Utley and Ruiz, I don’t think there’s any chance that either gets extended at this time. It might be something to look at in August but not now. Both contain serious risk potential. Ruiz just had his career year, don’t look for him to duplicate it. Catchers don’t normally improve in their 30s. We all want to see the old Utley but the odds of him being that guy again are pretty small unfortunately and I don’t want to move him to 3B or LF, he has value only at 2B for me. I’m sure he’s going to work hard all winter to be a better version of himself next year, in a contract year. Will he work that hard every off season?

      1. Murray says, ‘I’m sure he’s going to work hard all winter to be a better version of himself next year, in a contract year. Will he work that hard every off season?’….seriously Murray, have you not seen the super-fortified Myoplex commercials Utley was in…he trains ridicously tooooo hard. It wouldn’t surprise me if his headboard on his bed had a Nautilus pulley-system and during the middle of the night he does some cross-overs, to Jen’s dismay..

      2. Utley’s problem isn’t that he won’t work hard but rather that he has a cronic condition in his knees that will only get worse with time. If anything, it was his workout routine that was generally blamed for causing the problems last season.

        I would be extremely leery of extending Utley for any length of time unless the contract contains offsets for games played.

        1. I have to agree why extend a guy if you don’t have to. Take a page out of the Yankees book and let the contract play out. Sheesh Jeter of all players they didn’t extend. I love 26 don’t get me wrong but the team would be wise to take a wait and see approach.

          1. “why extend a guy if you don’t have to.”?

            Well, that’s a mixed bag. You extend a guy when you don’t have to if you think it will result in better long term value for the team. This strategy is optimized with younger players who are looking for financial security. Typically, the player gets paid less and the contract term is a bit longer (sometimes much longer), but the contract will still provide a lot of financail security and peace of mind for the player. Sure, the Nationals did not have to extend Gio Gonzalez, but don’t you think it was a brilliant idea that they did? They’ll make out like bandits on that contract. But when a player is finishing a long-term contract, is no longer young and has injury problems, the better practice is to wait. This is particularly true when the player hit his mid-30s – that’s when value tends to swing back to the team in being able to negotiate more reasonable contracts.

            They need to wait on Utley and they should probably wait on Ruiz unless he’s going to give them a big hometown discount right now and is not seeking more than another couple of years.

  67. If the reports of 80-20 odds of Justin Upton being moved or true, I really hope Ruben finds a way to get it done. I’m just concerned that we don’t have the pieces to get it done, and fear a potential deal will fall short just like it did when Ruben tried to trade for Gio Gonzalez last year.

    1. If Texas wants him, and I think they do, they’re going to get him. We don’t have the chip that the Diamondbacks want for next year which is an Everyday Short Stop or Ace Pitcher They have Elvis Andrus. In addition, they have guys like Martin Perez or Mike Olt they can throw in that would add to what the Diamondbacks need.

      I mean, I guess we could dangle Cliff Lee but I don’t see a Cliff Lee/Justin Upton trade happening even though it was thrown around at the trade deadline. Cliff Lee’s certainly a legit ace but I don’t think the Diamondbacks can afford him.

  68. Ruf has started in LF in 13 of 21 games so far in the Ven Winter League. Manager Jorge Valendia considers him a MLB LF.

  69. This news that Amaro has been spending lots of time talking about trades is very interesting. Its fun to speculate on who he might be talking about. Upton? Alex Gordon? Fowler? Cuddyer? Willingham? Borjos? Span/Revere? Carlos Gomez? 3rd basemen?

    1. I’d imagine all of them, probably even more names like Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Eithier, Chase Headley, David Wright, and maybe even prospects like Mike Olt.

      Ruben’s not a guy who leaves a stone un turned. I would love to see them acquire Josh Willingham and bat him clean up between Utley/Howard. I think the Twins match up as great trade partners as they need young pitching and we need offense..

  70. LETS GET REAL. the phillies have no one ready to help a major league team next year, two, they have no blue chip prospects, no outfield or infield prospects that are anything special,except a young kid quinn, so how do you trade, unless its one of the three starters.and that isnt happening.I really cant see anyone on there roster that would gets us upton. right now the minor league is bare of quality players, unless you want to reach into a ball for a player, who has potential, problem is every system has a quinn or biddle in there system.

      1. There’s a basis for a creative 3-team deal to bring Justin Upton to Philly. My assumptions are that the Astros are the epitome of the low budget team that values potential and cost control in its players and that no one on their roster is untouchable. My assumption with the Diamondbacks is that they have outfield depth, needs on the left side of the infield and could stand, as any team would, pitching depth, particularly if achieving these things can be done by reducing salary. I think the D’backs can safely assume that they won’t get back in trade an identical talent for Upton but can deal from strength to meet multiple needs. My assumption with the Phils is that adding salary through trade has to be compared with adding salary through free agency, particularly in a season when no one available through free agency meets their needs as well as Justin Upton. But the Phils and D’backs don’t match up well between the two of them. By dealing through the Astros, the pieces in the puzzle can be made to fit.

        So here goes:

        to the Astros :

        Domonic Brown (from the Phils)
        Freddy Galvis (Phils)
        Laynce Nix (Phils)
        Trevor Cahill (D’backs)

        to the Diamondbacks:

        Jed Lowrie (Astros)
        3B Scott Moore (Astros)
        Vance Worley (Phyils)
        Josh Lindblom (Phils)
        Trevor May (Phils)
        Sebastian Valle (Phils)

        to the Phils:

        Justin Upton (D’backs)
        Willie Bloomquist (D’backs)
        Wesley Wright (Astros)

        Following this, the Phils free agent needs could be meet inexpensively: Brett Myers, Jeremy Affeldt, Brandon Inge and Melky Cabrera. Phils keep their amateur draft first round pick and come in with a salary for ’13 just under $ 190M, and a luxury tax of $ 2
        M. They buy no bad or excessively long term contracts and sign no aging players. Cabrera is the most dubious of the new signs and that would be for 1 year. Prospects like Ruf and Asche are not blocked and no irreplaceable player is lost in trade.

        1. While none of the players included in that trade for the Phillies is a sure fire guy (with the possible excpetion of Worley, who is established at some level), I think it’s a bad 7-1 trade (Bloomquist is a AAA equilvalent and Wright is an okay relief pitcher – one thing they don’t need is relief pitchers – so, really, you are only getting one player you actually care about). And, by the way, the Diamonbacks don’t even make out well. In this trade the Astros trump everyone. Not going to happen.

        2. Not nearly as unequal as some trades you have proposed, but the notion that we can get Upton without including any of our top prospects is unreasonably optimistic. Two B prospects, two bench guys without much value, a once well regarded prospect who (fairly or not) has lost most of his trade value, a shortstop who has yet to demonstrate the ability to hit major league pitchign (and is coming off both a PEDs suspension and a broken back), and a pitcher who is coming off a disappointing, injury filled sophmore season. .Despite that, three of those guys have some value, but none of them enough to be the center piece of a trade for a guy like Upton.

          The one thing I’m honestly curious about IM – not trying to be a jerk here, I am honestly wondering. Why is it that the one common characteristic of almost all the players that you include in trade proposals are guys coming of either a down season, an injury season, or both? I mean, I can understand why you have soured on these guys, but (a) why would another team want our cast offs, and (b) as a general rule, coming off a down season is the worst time to trade a player.

          And why the facination with Brandon Inge? I’d probably bring Polanco back before I’d sign him.

          1. I agree that the D’Backs would probably not want this trade. But that doesn’t mean it’s not also bad for the Phillies. As much as I like Upton, and I like him a lot, I think this trade would be very bad for the Phillies. I don’t have time to explain my reasoning fully, but the players this fellow wants to trade are some of the prime players who figure to give the Phillies value well in excess of their salaries over the next 3-4 years and they also fill some critical gaps in talent. You would do better to keep most of these guys who have low salaries but provide value and acquire miscellaneous free agents to fill in the gaps, rather than getting rid of all of them just to have Upton.

            1. I’ll take a stab at addressing your points as well as those of Larry above. In regard to Larry’s point about selling low, let’s be clear that Justin Upton is coming off of a down year in 2012 compared to the year before when he would have been totally off the market. Now his name has come up because he’s not on a clear upward trajectory. That’s baseball, my friend. For those enamored of Josh Hamilton, he’s coming off a down year in 2012 compared to the year before. The trick of all of this is figuring out whose decline marks a trend and whose is an aberration Certainly Freddy Galvis stepped up this year and now is performing well in VWL. You’d have to be his most severe critic to see his value in decline.

              Now catch22’s point is pretty much the opposite and that is that I’m encouraging the Phils to give up too much for too little return. The general point is that a team with $ resources can replace talent — probably better than either Houston or Arizona can if you leave aside the long term corrections through the amateur draft.

              I like Domonic Brown probably more than 80% of the people on this board but taking blinders off, his upside projects lower offensively and defensively than what 25 year old Justin Upton can provide. I don’t favor unloading Brown except in that rare case where you’re getting a better player at the same position of approximately the same age. All the other pieces serve a purpose but are not irreplaceable and in some cases their inhouse replacements are not hard to project. Worley would be replaced by a one year free agent patch with guys in the farm system of better pedigree than Worley coming along by 2014. Doesn’t mean Worley has no value, just that he might provide more value as a trade chip.

              Where does Galvis fit in the Phillies scheme of things? He should be playing every day somewhere in 2013 but probably would be a part time player for the Phils and it’s hard to project when his value would increase because there is no obvious starting slot for him with Rollins signed through, in all likelihood, 2015. Wesley Wright is a promising bullpen arm and, to me, is an upgrade over Josh Lindblom who is too much of a fly ball pitcher to thrive in Philly.

              Brandon Inge is not the flashy option but this team is constrained by how many All Star calibre players it can sign. Inge played healthy in 2012 which Polanco did not. Polanco appears on no list I’ve seen of even top 100 free agents so it’s only in Larry’s mind that he represents a better option. We’ve seen what we have with Polanco and unfortunately he’s best referred to in the past tense.

              Teams realize and people here should as well that the off season represents a time for a better return on Upton than when the season begins. You can replant for what you dig up in the off season whereas during the season a team can’t spare as many parts
              .
              For catch22, you can put together a very good roster with the moves I’ve proposed

              SP – Hamels, Lee, Halladay, Myers, Kendrick

              RHBP – Papelbon, Wright, De Fratus, Stutes, Aumont
              LHBP- Affeldt, Bastardo, Horst, Valdes, Diekman

              C- Ruiz, Kratz

              IF – Howard, Utley, Rollins, Frandsen, Inge, Bloomquist

              OF – Ruf, Cabrera, J. Upton, Mayberry, Schierholtz

              Every bench player (except possibly Kratz) can handle more than one position.The minors aren’t depleted by these moves. The salary is under control. Affeldt will probably get re-signed by the Giants but Sean Burnett is out there for probably less money.

              The best argument against this trade is one neither of you raised. The Rangers match up best with the D’backs but for now they’re not offering Andrus or Profar Jurickson in a deal for Upton. Will they feel the same way if Hamilton walks? Who knows? That’s why this deal looks better now than down the road when the Ranger’s could be looking hard for a Hamilton replacement.

              I disagree with probably 98% of the concrete proposals I see other people make, I see how it is. But there is a rationale here and it goes much beyond just souring on players and dealing them off as fool’s gold for somebody else’s gold.

            2. Josh Hamilton’s ops in 2012 was .930
              His ops in 2011 was .882.

              He’s coming off a great season, albeit a very bad second half.

    1. I disagree with your entire post as the the Phillies have a much stronger farm system due to this past summers trades. There may no superstars coming up but there are several solid options available to the Phillies. Remember St. Louis and San Francisco won titles with mostly solid players and a few elite players. Lastly, not to be ctitical but take your time posting and use proper punctuation as it helps your arguments.

  71. Ray Burris will be the next pitching coach of the Pigs and Andy Tracy has been elevated to Minor league hitting Coordinator

  72. I’d be shocked at this point if BJ Upton isn’t our opening day Center Fielder at this point. When Jim Salisbury says Ruben’s trying to sign somebody, that guy’s usually signed.

  73. Hope it’s not B.J. Upton who they add. I’d be happy for Rube to lurk in the weeds or where ever he hangs out when not in the public eye. Yanks apparently are not up for offering a multiple year deal for Torii Hunter. I’d be happy with Hunter and Cabrera added to our outfield since the Phils don’t have the pieces for a Justin Upton deal. Then I'[d let the Dodgers overpay for Kevin Youkilis and take Brandon Inge as a low cost alternative. I don’t see a good alternative to ‘going cheap’ at 3B with the idea that Cody Asche might just be a year away.

    For pitching, I’d pick up the phone to Brett Myers’ agent. He’s a good depth acquisition who is always healthy and can fill many useful roles. The key there is cost because if Myers is looking for $10 M then I don’t think the conversation goes very far. I’d love to see the Phils steal Jeremy Affeldt from the Giants on a two year deal.

    For me no high cost free agents this time around unless somehow the market slips drastically on Josh Hamilton. If the Phils have already signed Hunter and Cabrera, I don’t know what they do but Hamilton is giving Texas a right of refusal which makes it easy for the bidding to go up.

    1. I’d be happy with Hunter OR Cabrera but to get both of them would be foolish since neither plays CF well. I don’t love Youk either and I won’t be upset if he signs elsewhere but Inge is not the answer. He’s terrible, he can’t hit a lick anymore, Galvis would be better. Brett Myers already said he wants to 1) start, 2) close or 3) set up in that order. My guess is that he won’t be happy as a set up guy. Affeldt would be a major find but its hard for me to see him leaving SF. As for Hamilton, no thanks, too much drama. I’m still trying to decide if I’d like BJ Upton. The pros are he’s only 28, runs like the wind, steals bases, hit home runs and plays a good CF. The cons are he is another swing and miss guy that probably can’t change at this point and he’s not a smart hitter. It is interesting to me however that Madden, who I think is one of the best, always batted BJ at the top of the order. There is something to be said for the fact that Upton might improve in Philly, in that park, and in front of a different climate of fandom. Also, I’m on record as someone who doesn’t think the Phils have the pieces to land Justin but I sure would try. Are we sure the Mets will extend Wright? Just a thought…

    2. If the Phillies go the cheap free agent route, those are decent names for the most part (though I agree with most of Murray’s reservations). And, depending upon how the FA market (and the trade market) develops, maybe that will end up being the Phillies’ best option.

      But we need to see how those markets develop. Cutting ourselves off from the major free agents seems to me to be a mistake. The various arguments I see for going that way, as I see them, along with my responses:

      (1) It’s a bad free agent year – I agree that most of the big free agents carry question marks. But with teams increasingly locking up their young stars, that’s the new normal. Should/can we therefore close ourselves off from the FA market? It seems to me that a big market team that does so is giving up a competative advantage. Ultimately if the money is there, it should be spent. There are guys out there who would be big upgrades for the Phillies, even with question marks, including Upton and Pagan.

      (2) We should develop our own players – of course we should. No reason not to do so and also dip into the high end of the FA market. They are not mutually exclusive strategies, and it not as if we have a slew of major league ready talent that will be blocked by FA acquisitions.

      (3) We’re no longer in win now mode – maybe so, but with the right moves we have a shot at the post season, and, if the move doesn’t have lond term negative consequences, why not remain competative while rebuilding. (Actually, given attendance and viewership concerns, the argument for remaining competitive is even stronger.

      On to specifics: there are IMO compelling reasons not to spend a ton for a corner outfielder or a thridbaseman. But in center field, unless the markets (free agent and trade) are just insane, the team needs to make a signfianct move – a high profile FA sign or a trade. In centerfield our closest real prospect is years away. (No, I don’t buy Gillies, as much as I like him. He would be borderline even without the injury issues, and I think the injury issues are likely to persist. Cosart I also like, but his chances of becoming a major league regular centerfielder are probably well under 20%, and he is at least a couple of years away at best).

      1. ‘ the team needs to make a signfianct move – a high profile FA sign or a trade.’…. concerning the trade avenue…since Dom Brown is the only Phillie represented by Scott Boras, and the Phillies FO seem to have an adversion to him (Scott Boras), I think Dom may be a chip in a trade, even though he is under club contriol for awhile.

        1. I just think Brown’s value is down, fairly or not. I wouldn’t be adverse to including him as the centerpeice in a package for a center fielder., though the population of centerfielders which are (a) relatively young, (b) under team control, (c) likely to to be at least an average regular, and (d) available, is small (if existant at all), and I’m not sure Brown plus gets you one of them, unless the plus is one of our better prospects.

      2. I assume you meant Collier and not Cosart (although Cosart did play OF in high school…).
        I think we need to have a CF that can really go get it. With Brown and maybe Ruf (and maybe someone like Cuddyer or Willingham), our CF has to be a stud defensively. Pagan is just not at that level range wise although he’s not bad. Giving up the 16th pick for BJ really sucks but I’m starting to think that its better to give that up than to give up multiple prospects. Signing a FA for just money and keeping all our prospects sounds better to me. Btw, RAJ has said that he’s surprised how stroing the trade market is for him which makes me wonder. Is he just b.s.ing which he’s very good at or is he telling the truth? If he’s telling the truth, who is he referring to that has more value that he expected? Dom? Galvis? Worley? Bastardo? Aumont? Asche? Ruf? All of the above? RAJ has to consider everything because we have no one that you can say is a can’t miss prospect. Bottom line for me is that its hard to see this team being a playoff team starting the year with Dom and Ruf in the corners, Frandsen and Galvis sharing 3B, and with a rotation including Doc, KK, and Worley. That’s way too many risky things that would have to go right. The 3B options aren’t great so they need to get a corner OF bat. They also need an 8th inning guy. I would like Adams but my guess is a guy like Lyon who will come much cheaper is more likely.

        1. Doh, my bad on Collier.

          Regarding the centerfielder, IF we go with players with a weak range in both corner outfield slots, then we would need a centerfielder with a lot of range. I think the answer is, don’t go with two corner outfielders with limited range. You know my feelings about Ruf as an outfielder.

          But the more fundemental problem is that your logic leads to basically NEEDING to sign Upton. And … while a bigger Upton fan than some on this board, If he goes for (say) 5/80, entirely possible, I want no part of him.

          1. There is still Bourn and there are several guys that could be available in a trade that play great defense (Revere, Span, Gomez, Borjos). Getting a big time defensive CF allows them more flexibility in case they do go with a go like Ruf so I think its a must have but, BJ is not the only guy that fills that role. For the record, I don’t think Victorino is that guy anymore either… and it sounds like Borjos is now going to stay on the Angels and start

            1. Also, BJ will definitely get a 5 year deal being 28 yrs old. Then it just comes down to how much per year. I could see a 5 yr/$70M with the money starting at 12 and going up to 16. That’s fair market value for him unfortunately. I’m still not sold on him either but you have to learn what the Bourn market is and what the trade market is for the guys I mentioned before you can decide what the best deal is. Bottom line is we have to get a top flight defensive CF.

            2. Dexter Fowler also may be avail. in a trade. ROX are in a transistional phase it appears. Walt Weiss’ philosophy could be different then predecessor.

            3. You’re right, I forgot to include him. On MLB tonight, Reynolds said he thinks Rox want young pitching badly and should trade Tulo to get it. He’d look awfully good at 3B for us. Texas said they won’t trade Andrus for Justin.

  74. Maybe its me. Summer trades who joseph a 154 hitter. martin has some promise. But you might think we have prospects,but it the other teams gm. who count. you can’t get a upton for what we have to offer, imo

  75. In my opinion they need to solve 2 Line-up issues. One being Lead Off the other being a quality RH power or even just a high OBP RBI guy to hit 4th and break-up Utley and Howard…

    With that you can start asking some questions like who are some of the top 10 OBP CF’s around? I wouldn’t worry about base stealing as much as getting on and being able to go 1st to 3b. I just believe those are the two things that keep this team from moving forward.

    1. As a general rule, the evidence on lineup construction is such that I would probably look at the overall hitting skill level of any acquisition AND the reasonability of the contract before I’d look at lineup role specifically. Not saying that you ignore those needs, which are real, but I wouldn’t rule players out entirely because they don’t fit those slots.

      Which kind of gets back to my theme of the off season – rather than focusing on specific players or even team needs (beyond obvious positional needs), what the team needs to do is look for value, either in the free agent market or the trade market. Of course this is always true, but IMO even more so this off season.

      1. I agree completely. There are several reasons for this.

        First, the team has multiple needs/weaknesses in various areas/positions, but, with the exception of the outfield (which implicates at least one and perhaps two positions), none of the weaknesses is at a crisis level. Therefore, the idea idea is to simply spend wisely and get as much bang for your buck as you can get in any of those areas under the theory that it will be a team upgrade.

        Second, although they do have a bit of crisis in the overall state of the outfield there is no shortage of options to address that need – one way or another they will be able to acquire players who would appear to provide an upgrade and it won’t be that hard to do when the current starter in center is Mayberry and Schierholz is the best established player in left.

        Third, they are finally at the point where younger players can begin to fill holes. Last year we got the first wave with the young bullpen arms, Galvis and with Brown being installed as a starter. This year, we should get the first wave of starting pitchers with Pettibone and someone else who likely will take a big step forward (May, Martin, Morgan? – your guess is as good as mine, but there’s some talent there).

        Fourth, the change in the free agent compensation rules should be a boon for teams looking for value. True it’s not a great free agent class, but the free agent tender amount is high and so many somewhat valuable players may be available without draft pick compensation.

        Fifth, while the Phllies do not have a lot of sure fire prospects, overall, the system is as deep as it has ever been in certain areas, including pitching. They could trade several decent prospects and you would barely know the difference. Where it will get dicey is with the players with the biggest upside (Biddle, Quinn, Franco, Cozens, Watson, Martin, Morgan) – hopefully, before he pulls the trigger on another deal flush with high level minor leaguers, visions of Jonathan Singleton dance in Ruben’s head.

    2. Why do you waste your time thinking about a new lead off hitter? Rollins will lead off, end of discussion. Whether you agree with it is irrelvant, he’ll be leading off. The last time I checked he had a decent year and practically scored 100 runs on a team that had no run producers, that’s hard to do. Also, Howard will bat 4th, book it. They might move Utley to 2 if they get a guy that could hit 3rd. I want another corner OF bat that can hit 5th behind Howard and there are lots of guys that could be considered for that including Ross, Hunter, Cuddyer and Willingham.

  76. I think you are looking at it from a limited dimension. I am not looking at only FA’s and other teams MLB CF’s. I’m also considering Minor Leaguers who an aggressive gm is ready to take a chance on. Case in point a few years ago Dombrowskit made a pretty bold move to give up Granderson for a kid to be his everyday CF who had no MLB experience (See Austin Jackson)

    Just saying if you are so (not you Larry just any GM) narrow minded to only look at the FA and Trade Market you are unlikely to improve. I’m a big believer in infusing young talent into an aging core. I think it makes veterans better I think it adds excitment to the fanbase.

    Now I understand these players do not grow on trees but isn’t that how scouts and GM’s earn their dough?

    I’ll ask the question this way. Do you believe they can get back to the WS if Jimmy is the Leadoff and Utley/Howard are your 3/4?

    If Charlie continues to cater to these two we’re not going to win or get to a WS IMO. Now I love Jimmy and I like Ryan no personal disdain for either player. Just believe the page needs to turn in order to improve.

    1. Of course they can get back to the WS with Jimmy leading off and Utley/Howard at 3/4 and, of course, Charlie is giong to cater to them. But they aren’t going back to a WS without upgrading other parts of the team. In other words, the team that ended last year so well, was okay, but a bit of a mirage. I don’t think that team has much of a chance to get to the postseason. If you put that team on the field this year healthy and without upgrades, you are probably looking at an 84-88 win team, assuming that Halladay can be a 3 and not a 5, which is how he ended last year. So Ruben needs to go out and find players to give him another 5-7 WAR and some of the young guys need to improve incrementally (and I think they will).

      If you put a gun to my head and asked me to predict what will happen, I would say that the Phillies will acquire some talent this off season and will win between 88 and 93 games next year and be a wild card team. If not, they will narrowly miss the second wild card spot, but it should be an entertaining year regardless. Of course, if they get the WC and win that play-in game, anything can happen because they are still going to have some really superb pitching.

      , but if they can acquire players who would give them another 5-6.

  77. Saw a not that we were in the mix for Nick Swisher. I really think he’s the type of hitter we need to add to really improve our line up next year. Him or Youkilis would really add the plate discipline we’ve been missing in our line up since Werth left (besides Utley and Chooch).

    3 years – $33-36 million
    or 4 years $50 million (no higher)

    for me would be a nice get.

    If we come out of this off season with Upton and Swisher plus a reliever, I’d really like our chances going into next year.

      1. and Jimmy Rollins was looking for 5 years last year. Just because they want something doesn’t mean they’re going to get it.

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