General Discussion – Week of November 12. The “Stove Be Gettin’ Hot” Edition

Here is your weekly general discussion.  I propose the discussion be centered around free agency and trades, with a smatterring of post-season awards.  I am going to go out on a limb and say no one will be advocating any Phillies for MVP.  But “where to vote Cliff Lee for Cy Young” might be a fun argument.  Have at it!

308 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of November 12. The “Stove Be Gettin’ Hot” Edition

  1. I’d like to see RAJ…..
    Leave Hamilton/Bourn/Upton/Youklis/Pagan/Swisher alone
    Dear God NO on Cody Ross!!!!
    Take a flier on some mid/high upside guys like Melky Cabrera, Ian Stewart, Peter Bourgeios, Jonny Gomes
    As for BJ Upton in general….I believe he could be a great fit at CBP. He could be a guy that is a bridge to the next era of (winning, hopefully) Phillies baseball. BUT…Even with a weak-ish Draft….there is value at #16

    As for trades???? We have arms to trade that would bring a decent return. Leave Biddle/May/Martin alone and maybe dangle Valle.

    I don’t know….I can see this off season going a LOT of different ways. Personally, I’d like to see the Phils show some constraint and not use high priced FA’s as The Cure.

    1. I’m having a hard time seeing the logic of this. The goal is to maximize wins, not to maximize payroll efficiency, and spending (say) 20 million less than the luxury tax doesn’t help the team win more games. But let me make what I think is the best possible case for this approach:

      2013 is not a year when we are likely to contend anyway. Sure, we have the payroll to get a couple of high priced free agents, and sure we’ll win fewer games if we ignore the high priced free agents. But we need to be concerned about payroll flexibility down the road when the team is ready to contend again; that’s why we avoid the high priced free agents.

      But at the end of the day I don’t buy it. IF all of the free agents who would be worth big contracts (for the Phillies’ purposes, that’s roughly 6 to 8 players, depending upon how you define a “big” contract) end up getting excessively expensive contracts, this argument makes sense. But if they can snag one or even two of those guys without overpaying, I think they should do it for reasons well covered in these forums over the last couple of months. (Remaining competitive helps revenue, the team can afford to give good players longish contracts with AAV in the 10 to 15 million range, which is what most of these guys are looking at, the team could contend in 2013, etc.)

      1. Why are the Phils not likely to contend in ’13? Even if Halladay’s lost a few ticks, you’ve still got a rotation of Hamels/Lee/Halladay/Worley and a post-changeup Kendrick and a bullpen of young arms that made some strides in the second half last year. Sign B.J. and field the following lineup:

        Rollins
        Utley
        Ruiz
        Howard
        Upton
        Brown
        Ruf/Mayberry
        Frandsen/Galvis

        It’s not the ’27 Yankees, but I can’t see how this lineup, coupled with the Phils pitching staff, couldn’t qualify for the playoffs.

        1. I think that team is one more piece away, even if it is a really good platoon bat or a solid reliever, but that may be a deadline acquisition. Otherwise I agree that is a team that should be in playoff contention. It isn’t a juggernaut but no reason that they couldn’t at least grab a wild card. The truth is, to reclaim the division title there will need to be a serious move, to just reach the wild card play in game, not a ton needs to be done to this team besides getting everyone healthy (I know it is a crapshoot, but a one game playoff with Lee starting and Hamels out in the bullpen isn’t exactly a terrible season outcome)

        2. That was my attempt to make the best possible case for the “don’t sign a good free agent” argument. As I said, at the end of the day I don’t buy it.

          I do think that contending in 2013 is by no means a given, and that in order to maximize it, they do need to make at least one if not two significant acquisitions. Your hypothetical is that they make one move, signing Upton. I think the outfield defense in your scenario is a little scary in a bad way. If they sign Upton, I’d kind of like to see them also sign one of the cheaper corner OF options, Hunter or Melky Cabrera.

          1. Hunter looks like he’s leaning towards staying in the AL, which is probably smart for a 37 yr old guy, with the Tigers being the front runner right now. I don’t see him coming here. Originally I was interested in Melky but I’m off him now. The fact that the Braves vehemently don’t want him back is a warning sign to avoid him. Swisher is starting to interest me more for a corner spot because I don’t want to give Ross a 3 yr deal and that’s what he’s looking for. I’d give Swisher a 3 yr deal though if the numbers were reasonable. Adding BJ and Swisher would be nice. In terms of making a trade for a CF instead of signing BJ, I’d much rather sign BJ and keep my prospects (and its not my money). I have a hunch that the trades are going to cost much more in prospects than we think because the FAs are going to cost more than we think. There’s just so much money available all of a sudden that the agents will be patient and wait for big deals. While they wait, GMs will overvalue veterans in trades because the buyers will be desparate. RAJ has never shown much patience but he really needs to this year, unless the FA wants to get a deal done, which some do.

        3. I don’t think you can go into the season with JUST BJ Upton as you’re major offensive acquisition unless you plan to add at the deadline.

          For me, Third Base OR adding a Corner Outfield Bat is a must. The Phillies made a big mistake last year in putting too much faith in John Mayberry Jr. I think you can afford to experiment at one position, but not two or three. If they sign Nick Swisher or someone like that to play Right Field and BJ Upton or Michael Bourn to play Center, I have no problem with a Domonic Brown/Darin Ruf/John Mayberry Jr/whomever platoon in left and Galvis/Fransden at third.

          1. I’m still of the belief that the Phillies never intended for Mayberry to play everyday last year, and that, coupled with Nix, they could have a pretty solid platoon in LF.

            1. Probably true to an extent but they knew they’d be without Utley and Howard and chose to put faith in John Mayberry Jr that he could at least repeat his performance from a year ago instead of signing Josh Willingham or Carlos Beltran to really affordable deals.

        4. All good points. I agree that the idea of leaving the corners to Dom Brown, Darin Ruf and John Mayberry is a bit dicey. My fear, however, is over-hedging against that uncertainty by overpaying someone like Nick Swisher to occupy one of those spots when Brown could be on the precipice of a breakout season and Ruf could be the Phils next in a long line of lead-footed slugging left fielders. Adding Hunter on a two-year deal would be perfect, but half the teams in the league apparently have the same idea.

      2. I think the Phillies are very likely to contend. They’re in a league with five playoff spots, no juggernauts and a very strong rotation. All they have to do to get better is replace a bunch of non-producers with merely average players. I don’t expect a great team, but it doesn’t take a great team at this point.

    2. Peter Bourjous isn’t available anymore. I think the Angels have said they’re going to start him in Center Field and put Trout in a corner to maximize their defense.

  2. I don’t really understand the logic of wanting to protect the #16 overall pick that badly that people want to pass on any big name free agent.

    Certainly, I’d like to keep the pick if possible, but I’d rather sacrifice the pick and improve my team for 2013, 2014, etc than possibly in the future.

    1. I think Upton is the kind of guy where it wouldn’t hurt too much to lose that pick, as long as the contract is reasonable. We’d be getting a player who’s still in his prime years and has a bit more upside himself- probably more upside than anybody we would draft 16th. And much more of a sure thing to produce.

  3. Just to start the Cy Young talk:
    I personally would have Lee #5 and Hamels #6 on my ballot, behind Dickey, Kershaw, Cueto, Gio (in that order, I think Cueto got robbed not being top 3).

    It is definitely a reason to be positive going into next year, the only team in the national league with pitching even close is the Nationals with Gio (who looked like he overachieved some), Zimmerman (who really struggled down the stretch and doesn’t strike people out), and Strasburg (who is a beast and is just scary)

    1. I would not put Lee ahead of Hamels if I had a ballot.

      I know Lee finished the year with great numbers, but they’re still around the same as Hamels’, and I think consistency counts for something.

  4. As weird as this sounds, I think they need to approach this off season with 2014 in mind. Here is why. 1) do you lock up a veteran 3B if you believe Ashe can start in 2014. 2) Do you lock up a corner outfielder if you believe Ruf and Brown can start? 3) Do you sign a CF long term if you believe Gillies is your future starter 4) Do you trade young pitching assuming Halladays 2014 doesn’t kick in. 5) Is Utley resigned after this season? 6) Is Ruiz resigned after this season 7) what can you realistically expect from Rollins in 2014? 7) Kendrick is a free agent after this season. Are they willing to sign him to a multi year deal?

    The 2014 lineup could look like this

    CF-Gillies
    RF- Brown
    3B – Asche
    1B – Howard
    LF – Ruf
    C – Joseph
    SS – Rollins
    2B – Galvis

    Now, obviously this is too many young players at once. So I would approach this off season with 2014 in mind. Which of the above players do you not want to count on in 2014.

    1) Gillies. This is why they definitely need a centerfielder for 3 plus years. Pagan would be my choice. Not thrilled with Upton but I’d consider him. Want no parts of Bourne or Victorino. Maybe Amaro can get creative and trade for someone.

    2) In 2014 I want Ruf and Asche in the lineup so I wouldn’t sing anyone in 2013 to block their paths long term. A two (maybe three) year deal for a thirdbasemen would be fine but it needs to be a contract that can be unloaded after this year. So while I think Youklis helps them in 2013, I think Asche would be better for them in 2014.

    3) Both middle infielders won’t be here in 2014 so one of those spots will be for Galvis. So for 2013 I would want to sign a utlity infielder that can play third and second. Jeff Keppinger is a perfect fit for a 2 or 3 year deal. He will compete with Frandsen and Galvis at third but can also fill in a second if Utley gets banged up. Then next year can compete with Asche and Frandsen at third. Worst case, you got a great bench guy. He is versatile and can hit. This will be important in 2013 and 2014.

    4) While I like Ruf, I think banking on both him and Brown in 2014 (let alone 2013) is risky. So I would sign a corner outfielder (Ross) to play right and then let Brown and Ruf compete in left. Worst case is three corner outfielders that can hit. Then you can trade one later this year or next off season. (probably Brown)

    So the lineup would look like this for 2013
    SS-Rollins
    CF – Pagan
    2B – Utley
    1B – Howard
    C- Ruiz
    RF – Ross
    LF- Ruf/Brown
    3B – Keppinger / Galvis / Frandsen

    then in 2014

    CF – Pagan
    2B – Keppinger
    3B – Asche
    1B – Howard
    LF – Ruf
    RF – Ross
    C – Joseph
    SS- Galvis
    *Brown as trade chip

    1. I really good post. I like that this is a “worst case” scenario on Utley and Ruiz who likely have another good year or two and probably could be signed for a reasonable cost. The one huge flaw is that Rollins is under contract for 2014 and likely 2015 with the vesting option, I don’t know if that makes the team better or worse but you need to account for it.

      I am really pro-Keppinger for all the reasons you gave. He can also play an outfield corner spot, so he has added flexibility as a “super utility” player in 2014. (there is also no way that Asche is ever a #3 hitter, he is a good #2 or #6 hittter, he just won’t ever have the power even on a good estimates to hit there with the other guys in that line up)

      1. There is a great post by Olney on the ESPN insider where he shows you that Keppinger was indeed an extremely valuable player. 8th highest BA from All Star game on 320+; 402 BA vs lefties ; among top 3 in hardest to K ; one of 3 top players to put the ball in play ; plays multi positions too. He rates him as one FA whose stock is going up as we read.

    2. I like your frame of analysis and agree with some of your conclusions, but:

      Ross – ugh.

      Keppinger – I actually like him a bit more than Ross; he’s not as good, but likely will cost much less, and I like his versatility which works well with an aging infield. But the thought of him as a full time second baseman in 2014 is kind of frightening. He really can’t play the position very well even now, let alone a couple of years down the road.

      Brown as a trade chip – I wouldn’t rule it out, but at this point I think his value as a trade chip is low enough that the Phillies are better off sticking with him and hoping the light finally goes on.

      Ruf – still a skeptic; I hope I am wrong.

      That 2014 lineup looks pretty bad. They could have the best pitching staff in the league and still struggle to finish over .500. Stack up the 2012 Marlins against that lineup, and the Marlins look good. And they had probably the third worst lineup in the NL in 2012.

    3. I agree that the team must be leery of who gets signed for a long term contract. My thought is to avoid any free agent that has been tendered by his previous team with the exception of Josh Hamilton who will probably be one of the last free agents to get signed since he can shop all winter for an offer and then take it back to the Rangers to match. So the keys are to add an ‘anchor’ to the outfield and improve the team otherwise through short term moves that do not block the cost-controlled talent coming along through the system.

      When it comes to Utley, they are in a challenging situation that doesn’t get much attention. He may have a real bounce back year in 2013 which makes re-signing him a given. Or he may blow out his knees to the point of retiring or becoming strictly a
      designated hitter. But there is a good chance that he has a gray season, hits .265 with 12-15 HRS and 65 rbi — maybe over a partial season — with reduced range in the field which makes it impossible to continue to offer him an onward contract in eight figures. A wise move is to bring in a veteran now who could slide into the second base job as a bandaid or come off the bench if Utley proves he still has tread in the tires. Jeff Keppinger would be great although reports are that he would welcome an offer to remain in Tampa Bay. Ian Stewart and Brandon Inge are the kinds of guys I would look at if Keppinger is not available.

      The Phils should welcome a versatile pitcher who could slot at the back end of the rotation if need or be effective out of the pen. I’ve mentioned Brett Myers if he can be signed at a reasonable cost as I think he can. Another name is Kyle McClellan who has been non-tendered by the Cards and is coming off arm surgery last July. He was a good back end starter in 2011 and was border line or worse in an injury-plagued 2012. I saw a lot of Sean Burnett the last 2 years and I would love to see the Phils spring for him. The Nats have Mike Gonzalez to sign also so one or the other should be available since both fancy themselves as the ‘alpha’ lefty out of the pen in D.C. and presumably will want to be paid accordingly.To me Bastardo needs to compete for his role in 2013 as I’m not convinced that he is all that the Phils hope that he can be. Either way, he’s cost controlled and probably at his ‘fish or cut bait’ point in 2013.

      1. Good ideas IM, though Brett Myers and Ruben apparently are not a compatible relationship, unless Ruben has buried the hatchet.

        1. If I know Ruben, I am sure he wants to bury the hatchet with Myers . . . . in the left side of Brett’s skull. Myers is a jerk and he sucks as a pitcher right now. Aside from that he’s the perfect fit.

          1. Myers sucks as a pitcher right now? In 2012 which was not an outlier year for Myers, he had a better ERA and the same WHIP as Halladay. Some other Phils pitchers with a worse WHIP than Myers: Aumont, Kendrick, Worley, Diekman, Bastardo, Schwimer, Lindblom, Herndon, Rosenberg, and Stutes.

            1. Myer’s BB/9 is around 2 which is pretty good. His K/9 is right around 5 which is horrendous. Don’t compare him to a starter because he isn’t any more, there is no way that his stuff plays as anything more than a reliever at this point. Additionally Halladay pitched most of the season with a serious injury (if you want to argue that Myers is as good as an injured Halladay you might have a point). Myer’s periferals continued in their state of decline even with his move to the bullpen (we was last a full time reliever his K/9 was twice what it was this season). At best he is a #4 but more likely a #5 (he is a slightly worse version of the whole season of Kendrick and dramatically worse than the 2.87 ERA and 1.060 WHIP that Kendrick put up over the second half in 78.1 IP)

            2. Matt, I’ll start with a point of agreement. The White Sox were probably correct in declining his $10 M option for 2013 and buying Myers out for $3 M. In the second hand store that is free agency, I think Myers will get picked up on a one year contract for $6-7 M and he is good at that price for a number of teams including the Phils. He’s more affordable than the guys determined to close (Soria, Madson) whom I don’t think are good fits in Philly. He’s 32 which doesn’t make him old for free agency and he has a history of good health. For a Philly team seeking an experienced arm or two at the back end of the bullpen, he has sound experience and if Papelbon went down with an injury you’d be happy to have someone with closer experience. Even without that, 3 days in a row closing is what Papelbon can handle under Charlie leaving room for an occasional secondary closer . . Myers’ declining K-rate doesn’t trouble me on a one year contract. Like reduced velocity, it’s a telltale of possible future issues but Myers is still getting batters out and his 2012 season was better than anyone in our pen except Papelbon, Horst and De Fratus and for the latter 2 guys 2012 was a partial season,.

              Having said that you don’t see Myers as a starter, you go head and compare him with Kendrick. I see Myers as ready depth as a starter on a team which has some arm questions going into next season. He wants to start and if he were to earn a starting job in camp, that means that he outpitched someone or someone like Worley wasn’t ready. There isn’t a guy out there available for cash only who has that versatility. Kendrick has never put together more than a good half season and he offers no reason for why the Phils might not want Myers. As you know, Kendrick’s contract is up after 2013 so having options out there is not bad. The Phils were caught short on starter depth in 2012 which resulted in a couple of games pitched by bullpen committee and the final game which lost the team Tyson Brummett.

              Relying on the young arms to come through in 2013 sounds too much like what didn’t work in 2012. There will be injuries and this team needs bullpen depth. I’d sooner have a guy spend a little extra time at Lehigh Valley than have the Phils get caught short again and assign work some guys might not be ready to handle. This off season shows the price on relievers may have gone up but fortunately Myers has a Chisox buyout and maybe some unfinished business in Philly.

            3. Matt…you are an inteligent man, so when a pitcher’s WHIP and BB rate keeps declining, but his K/9 rate also declines, what does that tell you about a pitcher?

            4. He is pitching to contact because he can no longer miss bats out of the zone (declining BB rate), also his stuff is not good enough to miss bats in the zone (the lower K/9 rate). His WHIP was driven by a really low BABIP in Chicago. He has an equal number of ground balls to fly balls so he hasn’t reinvented himself as a ground ball pitcher. He had a really high infield fly rate but as we saw with Bastardo in 2012 that regresses fairly quickly. You are looking at a guy who is getting by on throwing strikes and having people catch the ball behind him. He is essentially a worse version of Joe Blanton. I might say yes as a middle reliever in the 1-2 million range but his upside is way behind everyone else in that bullpen.

            5. So basically that is what you would say about Greg Maddux I assume. His BB/9 rate got lower, his K/9 got lower and his WHIP was very good. Got it.

            6. Maddux’s BB/9 was elite (a full BB/9 lower than Myer’s best), the only player in MLB right now who can say their control is anywhere near Maddux’s is Cliff Lee. Actually that is exactly what happened to Maddux late in his career, he lost his pure raw stuff to miss bats so he became elite at painting the corners with incredible movement on his pitches, and again he didn’t walk anyone (he also did not allow any home runs something Myers as struggled with in the past). BTW the sure fire way to lose an argument is to comp anyone to Greg Maddux is one of a kind.

            7. Many times, but saying Brett Myers has become a Hall or Famer is a stretch for anyone, in almost any argument I am going to go with trends not with statistical outliers.

            8. Ah yes, the Greg Maddux comparison, which has proved countless AAAA wonders to be bona fide major league players (See also: Moyer, Jamie). Yeah, Brett Myers is exactly like Greg Maddux. It’s far more likely he’s turned into a control pitcher, after having mediocre control throughout his career, than that he just got lucky for a year.

              And are you seriously arguing that Maddux didn’t see a decline as his K rate dropped? As his K/9 rate decreased, he generally became a less effective pitcher, though still very good.During his best years (1992-1998), he had his 3 highest K/9 rates (earning 2 out of his 4 Cy Youngs) and managed to have a higher K/9 than his career average in every single year of that stretch.

              Numbers, how do they work?

          2. I am so glad I stopped commenting because this discussion went nowhere. To start, Brett Myers is a negative in the clubhouse – there is no reason to risk having him around a bunch of younger players who really would do best without his influence. Second, he was paid $11 million and registered 0.1 bWAR. In other words, the Astros and White Sox paid $11 million for what was essentially a AAA pitcher. His stuff is horrible. As a starter, he doesn’t even hit 90 MPH anymore – he simply does not have the stuff to start and, even in a relief role, his stuff if fringy at best. And, most of all, Myers seems to be headed straight downhill as a pitcher, taking valuable mound time away from younger players with upside. It makes no sense at all to sign Myers. It would be a waste of money.

      1. That is virtually impossible to lose 110 games with the staff we currently have and the arms coming up as starters and bullpeners by 2014, with Asche hitting third. A bit of the hyperbole I assume.

        1. and here lies the issue. I don’t think this current roster has a three hole or future three hole hitter on it. Brown….maybe but doubtful. So, is there a free agent to sign that has the potential to hit three. Can Upton be that guy? Sure. Will he? Who knows. Upton has more potential as a three hole hitter than Asche would. Doe anyone agree. (and I agree, as much as I love Asche’s swing, he is a 6 hole hitter)

          So with that said, who is available in 2013 that can hit 3rd in 2014. Or, maybe there isn’t anyone and you save your money to spend next year on a 3 hole hitter rather than spending it on a bunch of hitters that don’t fit. (that is what I think they did last year. Two many 2/7 hole hitters…Utley, Victorino, Rollins, Polanco…you had that and no one to hit first, fifth or sixth. That lineup was a mess)

          Does anyone take a chance on Melky on a multi year deal?

    4. Don’t forget Mitchell’s in the system and he’s your best all around outfielder in the minor’s right now. He has proven that by playing all 3 outfield positions and making great catch after great catch, great paths to the ball better then average arm and can steal bases, It’s funny that the Hall of Famer noticed his abilities. He’s your 4th outfielder.

  5. i like Pagan too over the many other choices but he is a very well known commodity now. The Giants went with big $$$ to keep Affeldt and I see them willing to commit more $$$ to keep Pagan.

  6. I wnat to see Ruf in Left and Brown in Right. Give these two kids a full year. We should jave done that for Brown in 2010 instead of watching a run down Ibanez. Amaro has to committ to the farm. We have enough young arms that I don’t see the need to put money in the Bullpen. Sign Pagen and live with a Third of Frandsden and Galvis.

    1. The biggest problem with this scenario is how bad the team would be defensively in the outfield. You can’t live with three negative defensive players (and yes, Pagan is a negative defensively in CF!)

  7. In my personal opinion, the starting pitching the Phillie have is sufficient to get into the playoffs. I think bullpen can be dealt with both with internal candidates and a few spare parts; but I think what is really different vs. WFC year is the offense and defense has taken a step back.

    If it were me, I would make a hard push for Josh Hamilton. I would also look to trade for a young SS / 3B, and be willing to give up our best prospects. I think a Brown/Ruf platoon is worth taking a chance on for the first half of next year.

    There is also another route, which I don’t see them taking, but I think is possible… and that is trading Lee. I realize this is where I am reaching, but if you could get a young cheap SS/3B prospect for Lee, I would then strongly think about Greinke.

    I guess the other half of it is a bit of luck with player development and/or rule 5 draft. Getting another Werth or Victorino was a key part of WFC success.

    1. They can’t trade Lee with Doc and Worley both “maybes”. Hoping for luck made me laugh, thanks for that.

      1. luck is a large part of baseball… giants won the world series with a few bounces off of 3b or the line and with strong playoffs from avg players. I laugh at you for your inability to see the big picture.

        1. Winning games in the playoffs involves some luck. making the playoffs over a 162 game season is dependant on having a good team, not getting lucky.

  8. Well, it looks like the Marlins won’t be a huge threat again this year. Maybe they’ll remake a big splash tho.

    For the Phil’s, I’m in favor of a few shrewd moves. There’s almost no one on the market that I wouldn’t take at a specific price, so I’m being patient as I hope Amaro does the same and let the market shake out. I’m okay paying Hamilton 25 mil if its only for 3 years. Any of the CF options I like for the right price. Based on market expectations, I do like Pagan, Melky, and Ross best. I do like making an Affeldt-type deal with a proven, true setup man. Would give Sean Marshall the eact same deal, and would offer guys like Madson or maybe Adams similar, maybe 2 years/$12. I like the idea of Keppinger, but I won’t lose sleep when he signs elsewhere. Youkilis is a route I like if they go with a cheap CF. I’m not too worried about Asche spending extra time in the minors, but length of the contract is certainly important.

    Basically, I was a big fan of how they operated with their policy of not signing pitchers to long term deals, and think they should get back to that ideology, and apply it to aging hitters also.

  9. IDK what to make of this trade

    Marlins get Gose or Masernick, Jp arencebia, bobby wilson or Jeff mathis, escobar, hechavarria
    Jays get Reyes, buehle, johnson, buck, bonifacio

    1. A blockbuster of a trade. Jays get now winning, Marlins get future winnings. I guess Jays are serious about not trading D’Arnaud.

    2. Looks like the Marlins took a stick of dynamite to their roster. They didn’t get a ton of value back but a Marisnick, Yelich, Stanton OF if it all gets together is pretty athletic and could really hit. Nicolino (LHP in A ball) is a really good prospect and Henderson Alvarez is a good young big leaguer.

      The Marlins have virtually no one but Stanton on their roster. It will be intriguing what they will do since their farm system wasn’t particularly deep or strong before the trade (was built around two studs in Yelich and Jose Fernandez).

      The Blue Jays on the other hand just solved their pitching and shortstop problems. That is a really good team right now, but it just got a lot older and their farm system took a huge hit.

  10. This trade is mind blogging to me. the marlins will now have the money to sign stanton.love to have johnson, toronto really is going all in. love the way toronto is going for it, very aggresive. now we get to see gose more.

    1. Looks like Marisnick not Gose is going to Miami.

      Unless they do something drastic soon to acquire talent Stanton will not resign because he is going to want out (Stanton is under control for 3-4 more years). He could be gone in a year or two.

      1. Amaro needs to see if Stanton is available. He’d hit 40+ home runs every year. Maybe stanton for brown, may, Valle and something else…maybe even biddle. I know people will freak out but hey, I can dream.

        1. That’s not even close to being worth Mike Stanton.

          Think whatever it would take to acquire Justin Upton and then multiply that a few times.

        2. Stanton trade would start at Biddle, Franco, Quinn, Morgan, Joseph, and go from there. To start that kind of trade you need an elite talent. The only minor leaguer with that talent who has even been rumored to be on the market is Trevor Bauer and that would just start the package (it is impossible to trade a guy with his upside and years of affordable control and get a good return).

      2. Want out? I think you’re underestimating the allure of being a multi-millionaire twenty-something living in Miami. Can’t speak to what Stanton’s priorities are but a situation like that tends to blunt the pain of losing seasons.

  11. Before everyone starts making dumb trade scenarios with involving anything left on the Marlins, the trade itself was a fair deal. The Marlins shed a lot of salary some of it reasonable (Reyes) and some of it about to get really bad (Buehrle) and they got back two very legitimate prospects in Marisnick and Nocolino, as well as a mid rotation starter with 5 years of control (Alvarez), a near elite defensive shortstop prospect who can’t hit, and a major league shortstop who had a pretty good year in 2011.

    The problem is that they gutted their entire team after their free agent spending and getting their stadium funded by the public. It was a good trade on pure player for player level, it was a horrible trade for what it has done to baseball as a whole and to the future of baseball in Miami.

    1. I disagree. Prospects should always be viewed with ‘lesser’ than their projection, because so many flame out. Rarely, has a trade of prospects matched the ‘impact’ of the veterans.
      I also dislike the accounting of accumulating WAR points for both halves of a trade since generally more prospects are traded who may just ‘hang around’ at slightly above replacement level.
      Joshson is an Ace. That is a huge value.
      Reyes is quality hitter at a premium position.
      Buelhe will cost to much but can still pitch a great game here and there.
      Buck is useful as is Bonifacio. I would not consider either a ‘salary dump’.
      Granted, I do not know much about the Jays guys, but none of them seem like a ‘superstar’ type player. Either Johnson or Reyes should have netted something close to a Top50 prospect and the pair even higher. Escobar helps a bit, and Arencibia will be cheaper but that does not offset the value of Reyes&Buck in my opinion.

      Great trade for Blue Jays.

      1. Josh Johnson is a pure rental coming off of his worse season of his career (he is not an ace anymore, a middle of the road #2 is generous, he is bordering on a good #3 pitcher right now). Marisnick is a definite Top 50 prospect and Nicolino is a Top 100 prospect. Buck is a pure salary dump and Bonifacio is a good get. I think the Jays win now, but the Buehrle and Reyes deals are both backloaded and are going to look really bad in a couple of years.

        1. Excellent point on Johnson in his walk year.
          I heard of Marisnick, thought he was Top100. No idea on Nicolino.
          I think Reyes could be worth it if injuries do not creep back up. Agree Buehrle could be bad.
          Thanks for info.

    2. Did you really think it was going to any other way. Gutting the team was the plan all the way. The clue was when middle management stayed after this season..
      Something else is going on there that has nothing to do with baseball

  12. Anthopolous just ran the table. In my opinion, long before all the hoopla over the free agents I thought to myself if I was Ruben I would go to Marlins and offer them Brown, any minor league pitcher and young relief pitcher, throw in Worley to get Stanton who is a major offensive threat. It is too late for that now. Imagine…the Phils, Wash, and Braves play the Marlins 57 times (19 x 3) unless they changed the schedule again….what does that mean ?

  13. This is the MArlins formula. Blow it up and load up on young talent. Suck for 2 or 3 years and then get some quality FA’s to go with the young talent. Did they determine the lottery picks that are tradable yet? 2 or 3 high picks + 2 or 3 tradable lottery picks+ the talent they just got. We shall see were this goes.

  14. Smitty be serious. there isnt any player on the phillies that would bring you stanton. not one, not hamels. not lee. not howard. and so on. and there isnt enough talent in the minors to get you stanton. you need a young stud to start with, that has stanton type ablility,but isnt major league ready, we have none. if hamels was not making 20 million ,maybe they would start with him. worley thats a joke. And i keep saying it, baseball is so greedy, there is no reason in hell, there should be a team in miami, or kansas city, or tampa bay. just not enough interest.your just watering down the talent.

  15. Hamilton’s first choice is to stay in Texas. But if he leaves, Philly would top his list. That’s what I’m hearing.

  16. Phillies have plenty to get Stanton, but it would require other teams. For example Phils could trade Hamels to the Ranger for Olt, Andrus +, then add in some minor leaguers for Stanton. No way I’d do it, but they most certainly do have enough. Now, could they do it and make the team better? No.

  17. As I keep reading comments I am really willing to take the risk on Youkilis. He has the possibility of being a true difference maker. He should fit the clubhouse well. And he will just cost money.

    Out of the CF options I suppose BJ Upton has the least possiblity of totally sucking but I hate taking on his baggage for lots of money and losing a draft pick.
    Hamilton I barely consider a CF anyway (is Torri Hunter better in CF? I still like him).
    Bourn will decline quickly.
    Pagan might be Roward.
    Victorino will be a star for Braves. (He does fit what Phillies need, Awesome against Lefties, good CF glove. Lower contract with upside, shorter term. I do want him back from an on field perspective.)
    Cabrera is even ‘dummer’ than Victorino.

  18. Okay i will admit it, I need larry or matt. to help explain to me. the quote Toronto just blew away the marlins in the deal. I looked up each player and to me the phillies could have gave the marlins better, and i dont think our systems is that good but looking at the stats of the guys. the marlins received,just doesnt add up to that much for josh johnson and reyes. and buelehe

    1. The short answer Roccom is that veteran players with expensive contracts just don’t have the trade value that casual fans imagine. A lesson for those who advocate blowing up the Phillies by trading veterans for prospects.

      The slightly longer answer is that Johnson isn’t nearly the pitcher he once was, Buehrle never was all that great, and the back loaded contracts for Reyes and Buehrle are pretty bad. Which isn’t to deny that Toronto just got a lot better in the short run, but the price they paid wasn’t just in prospects (though that price was substantial) but in payroll flexibility.

      As for “the phillies could have gave the marlins better,” maybe so, but why would they have wanted to? The players traded by the Marlins meet Toronto’s needs much better than they would have met the Phillies’ needs; moreover, taking all of that salary on would have been problematic in both the short and long term. In the short run especially, as it would have prevented the team from meeting other, more pressing needs.

      1. Also the AL East is in flux. Boston is in some kind of transition and are trying to rebuild. The Yanks are old and they are constantly breaking down. They have the talent and the payroll to win a W/S but a ding here and broken ankle there and they are knocked out. Baltimore might be a one hit wonder. Toronto sees a bit of sunshine coming through the cracks and they are taking their shot. It could just as easily backfire but on paper they got a lot better… right now.

          1. This trade takes them from borderline Top 5 to somewhere around 15 (losing two Top 100 guys and another Top 10 in their system guy will do that). But they didn’t have to give up D’Arnaud which keeps them as a very good system

            1. Probably why the included Buck in the deal. Gives them 2013 to make sure D’Arnaud is ready to take over full time in 2014.

            2. Jays did not have to give up either Sanchez or Syndergaard…two great RHP prospects And LHP Daniel Norris. A steal for them…right now.

            3. Norris is a mess (he had a 7+ ERA on the year), but yeah they didn’t really mortgage the farm, just future financial flexibility.

        1. Bellman, I think you are selling the Orioles short as they have some very good young players (Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis and others). This is not including Dylan Bundy could be a part of the starting rotation this year. The Orioles are on the right path especially if they sign a good FA left fielder like Hamilton or Swisher.

  19. So let me get this straight from purely Alex’s perspective. He wanted to move one knucklehead SS for another with a much larger contract and while more talented not bearly enough to live up to $96 Mil.

    Alex I give you credit for boldness now what do you want for Joey Bats?

  20. Attached is a good article. It says what I’ve been saying recently – the top two options for the Phillies in center are likely to be BJ Upton (FA) and Span (trade market). Upton has issues and warts and I’m seriously concerned about him dealing with the Philly fan base, but at around $12-13 million a year, with his power, fielding ability and still potenitally untapped offensive upside, he is a bargain at that price, even if he doesn’t improve at all. One of my lithmus tests of a “good” proposed FA contract is, first, whether the player projects to ably fill a need for the immediate and middle term future (Upton would), and, second, whether, if the other things develop for the team, the player’s contract is such that he could still be moved fairly easily in a trade (which means both that the player has inherent trade value and the contract is reasonable). I think an Upton signing would satisfy both of these criteria by a pretty healthy margin.

    Here’s the link: http://www.thegoodphight.com/2012/11/12/3636472/phillies-hot-stove-look-at-me-who-can-be-centerfield

    1. It looks like Upton is going to be in the $14 mil range from the article. I wouldn’t want him at that price. His defense is average at best, his walk rate tumbled last year, and he’s established himself as a sub .250 hitter.

      I’m also skeptical that he has much untapped potential at this point. He turns 29 during the season. He’s only 1.5 years younger than Bourn.

  21. My 2013 lineup.
    CF Pagan
    2B Utley
    C Ruiz
    1B Howard
    LF Ruf/Nix
    SS Rollins
    RF Mayberry/Brown
    3B Frandsen/Galvis

    Ruf would also get 15-20 starts at first and Brown would start against some left handers, I sign a veteran set up pitcher(Adams) and I make a strong run at Greinke with the thought that this is Haladay’s last season here.

    1. Keep seeing people putting Ruiz in the 3-hole of the line-up. Dispite his career season in 2012, Ruiz isn’t a 3-hole hitter on a playoff team. Think people are going to be unnecessarily disappointed when Chooch’s numbers slip back to something more normal for him.

      1. But still if Carlos comes down to earth I still expect something like a .285/.370/.395/.850 line from him, which is still pretty decent.

        1. Agreed. I think he has shown himself to be a solid hitter for 3 years now and he fits well in the 5th/6th spot. Just don’t see a very slow runner with limited power hitting 3rd in a good line-up.

          1. I think he would okay as #3 hitter for Phillies because of their lineup construction.

            I do not want Utley and Howard back to back. So someone RH needs to bat 3rd. That someone needs a high OBP since Howard is a much better hitter with runners on (less defensive shift). Ruiz is not fast but not Howard/Ruf slow. The trade off in power might be helped by few strikeouts to drive in runs.

            I could also see batting Rollins 5th if Phillies get an obvious lead off guy.

  22. There is no problem at 3rd for the Phillies only a selfish unwillingness of J. ROLLINS to play third base for one year.

    1. Nowheels, you have become a much better commenter, but you just have 2 or 3 weird obsessions which you won’t let go of, regardless of the evidence.

      Rollins to third makes no sense. None at all. If you really want to “solve” next year’s third base problem by inserting Galvis into the lineup, then simply have Galvis play third base himself. Of course putting that way makes it sound less appealing, because Galvis is not going to be much of a hitter relative to other third basemen. But moving Rollins to third and having Galvis play SS isn’t functionally any different. If anything, I think transitioning Rollins to third carries more defensive risk than transitioning Galvis to third.

      1. I’ll try again to get this across. Every team has a #8 hitter and it makes absolutely no difference if it is the third baseman, the second baseman, the shortstop or the first baseman for that matter. If you have a second baseman with some pop as Utley has had, you can compensate elsewhere. It’s not about measuring the OPS of your third basemen, it’s about winning with a winning lineup.

        1. IM, let me try to get this across – you’re an idiot. Every spot in the line up matters. Even the number 8 hitter. There’s a difference between a lousy number 8 hitter, a decent number 8 hitter, and a good number 8 hitter. Now, you can make a case for Galvis – heck, even I did a couple of weeks ago. But that case starts with “he might be a decent hitter after all,” not “oh, he’s an 8 hitter, it doesn’t matter how bad his hitting is.

          Even if you had a point about compensating elsewhere, the current state of the Phillies’ lineup doesn’t really support your argument. The last conclusion I would draw about the Phillies is “gee, their 2012 hitting was so good that they can afford to have a weak number 8 hitter to gain some defense.”

          None of which really relates to my main point, which is that, if you do put Gaivis in the lineup, it makes much more sense to plug him in at third than moving Rollins to third and plugging Galvis in at shortstop.

          1. I would have made my point without calling him an idiot. I agree with you as it relates to the Phillies but IM’s point has merit also. If I’m constructing a team I want to be solid defensively up the middle of the diamond first and foremost. This Phillies team we are looking at does not have enough OPS imo. Howard maybe bounces back a little bit but I wouldn’t count on it coming back for Utley certainly not the way it was.

            I’m looking at this team saying I need a new 3 and 4 hitter if I’m serious about my chances to contend for a WS title. Not far behind that would be Lead Off but probably to a lesser degree. You look at the FA market and there is only 1 Player that fits that bill and we know his story and why its not practical to bring him here (unless you moved Howard).

            I want as much OPS as I can get I really don’t care what position it comes from. Some teams are lucky enough to get that out of their middle fielders others get it from the corners and others get it from their catcher.

            If you are all in agreement that Howard Utley and Rollins are fixed why bother with BJ? he doesn’t fix any of your problems. He is not going to lead off, he’s not going to hit 3 or 4 and he won’t protect Howard (there is no protecting Howard because he swings at everything anyway) he strikes out just as much.

            1. It was the “I’ll try again to get this across” that I reacted too. I mean, people call ME condescending.

              I’m all for up the middle defense – and in fact I think some of the less informed commenters around here underestimate defense – but hitting matters also (and a little more, generally) up and down the lineup. A third baseman who is as weak a hitter as Galvis was last year would need to be a gold glove caliber defender just to be adequate over all. The fact that Utley (if healthy) is a well above average hitter for a second baseman doesn’t “make up” for that deficiency.

              As for Upton, the “problem” he fixes is a gaping hole in center field. There just are not ANY even adequate internal candidates. I love Mayberry, but he isn’t really a center fielder, and he can’t hit right handed pitchers. And he’s the BEST internal option. Sure there are other options out there, but (aside from filling the hole in center), how to they “fix any of [their] problems?” Most of them are worse hitters than Upton. Again, depending on price I would take some of them over Upton, but taking price out of the equation Upton seems to be the guy who helps the team most. Span is a guy on a lot of people’s radar these days, but:

              (1) He is older than Upton,
              (2) He’s probably going to cost at least either Worley or a top 5 prospect, maybe both, if he really is available;
              (3) His only edges over Upton as a player are defense and contact rate, Everything else is a push or an edge to Upton. Upton as a hitter and base runner has an edge – not a big one, but an edge. Given your correct observation that the team needs hitting, Span over Upton seems an odd choice.

              Against that Span’s contract situation is better, but from all reports it sounds like Upton is going to end up at a reasonable AAV (yes, 14 million is reasonable), so it isn’t a big edge to Span. On balance, if they can somehow snag span without giving up Worley or a top 5 prospect, maybe go that route.

              Of course Span isn’t the only other option and I’m not one of the people saying all attention should be focused on Upton. But none of the alternatives is likely to be better than Upton as a hitter. Well, except for Hamilton, but he isn’t REALLY a center fielder. An OF of Hamilton, Brown and Ruf could be the worst defensive outfield in baseball history.

            2. LarryM….sign Upton and we lose the highest pick we have had in an approx decade! This that not matter to you! I would still trade VWorley and a prospect for Span. And not forget the intangibles in attitude betwixt Upton vs Span. Its almost like Milton Bradley vs Juan Pierre Do you agree?

            3. I would say that Span has an injury history that Upton does not. It will cost more than Worley, and at that point you are looking at something close to the value of the pick (less upside but way more floor).

            4. ‘I would say that Span has an injury history that Upton does not’…seriously Span has over 2200 PAs in the last four years….please, thats a history of concern! Flimsy reasoning. Try another excuse..

            5. He’s missed 126 games over the past 2 seasons. I’m not sure it is the biggest concern in the world, but you can’t dismiss it as easily as that.

              One irony about this debate is that I LIKE Span, and if I were Amaro I’d target him. What I disagree with is the notion that somehow this mythical trade is some sort of no brainer compared to signing Upton. We don’t know for sure even that Span is available, we don’t know how much he would cost if he was, we don’t know what kind of contract it would take to sign Upton. The only thing that seems reasonably certain to me is that the cost in prospects is going to be greater than the value of the draft pick they would need to surrender to sign Upton. Other factors could, however, outweigh that. We just don’t know at this point.

            6. No I don’t agree about the intangibles.

              As for the pick … you’re willing to trade Worley and prospect (top prospect?), but not lose a mid first round pick? I think you are over estimating the value of a mid first round pick. The chance that that pick turns into a player as good as Vance Worley is well under 50%. Worley plus a prospect, depending upon who the prospect is, is probably worth somewhere between 3 and 5 times as much as the pick.

          2. Well, I think the argument for Galvis at SS and Rollins at 3rd is

            1) that Galvis is a better defender than Rollins is right now*
            2) that Rollins can transition to 3B easily, (a fair assumption)
            3) that since SS sees more difficult plays than 3B, the advantage is optimized by putting Galvis at SS (basically if X > Y and A >B, you want XA + YB, rather than XB +YA).

            *I think that’s not a terrible argument, (some metrics say Rollins was not the defender he was, though other says he’s as good as ever, so it depends on which metrics you like/agree with)

            The argument assumes though, that Galvis does have enough of a bat to play full-time this year, which I’m not sure about.

            1. I don’t think that’s a fair assumption. Just because A-Rod and others have done it doesn’t mean Jimmy can.

              Why not put him in Center? He’s fast enough and has exactly the same experience there that he has at 2nd.

      2. Only if Rollins would be a better SS than Galvis NEXT year. Then there is the message not even trying sends to team. This team needs L E A D E R S H I P.

        1. I honestly don’t have any idea what this even means.

          As for messages, I hear that Ruf is not even going to TRY to play center field. What a horrible message that sends to the team.

          /sarcasm

        1. I never heard Herzog say that but I’d be shocked to hear anyone else agree that 3B is more important than SS. Just compare the number of chances, its not even close. But the issue isn’t even that, its why move Jimmy. If you want to play Galvis, move him instead of the veteran. Galvis has great instincts and at this point has more range than Jimmy but his arm is not equal to Jimmy’s and Jimmy is a veteran who plays with his head.

        2. What are we talking about, jroll is the ss and not the reason the team did not win. You cannot move him to 3b it is simple and not worth too much time

        3. If 3b is the more important position, wouldn’t it make more sense to put the better defensive player (Galvis) in that spot. No doubt that’s what Herzog would do.

  23. Torii Hunter is going to the Tigers. It looks like he was never really considering leaving the American League

  24. The Hunter signing was the first shoe dropping. Ross will now be sought after by all the teams that couldn’t get Hunter. I wish we knew how much the Twins wanted for Willingham and/or Span. RAJ has kicked the tires on every option at this point. Now the “chicken” part of this starts. Everyone asks for more than they think they can get and every team offers less than they can afford. Posturing, negotiation and “chicken”. So many teams want CFs and corner OFs, it will be very tough to get what any of us thinks is a good deal. I’m sure every FA will go for more than he’s worth and every trade will require more prospects than they should. And there will be plenty of teams that get shut out from getting the kind of player they want. You have to have good players who are healthy to win. I’m confident that RAJ knows he has to sustain fan interest in the team to get the next tv deal done for the amounts being discussed and to do that, he has to keep winning and to do that he needs talent. Unfortunately, there’s lots of initial sticker shock….

    1. Yeah, we’re down to brass tacks right now – I get it. However, I don’t see why this year should be different than any other year. Some players will get overpaid, others will get paid what they are worth and others will get underpaid. It happens every year – and there’s nothing about this class of free agents or the position of the teams (with the possible exception of the Dodgers, who are spending like drunk sailors out on the town) that suggests it will be any different.

      1. Catch, I agree it isn’t time to panic and offer one of the available free agents the moon, but I think the argument that this year is different is increasingly appearing to be correct. You don’t need teams going crazy like the Dodgers to drive market prices up; you need only a bunch of mid market teams willing to spend a little bit more than they have in the past to drive up prices. The Hunter contract – combined with the sheer number of teams involved in the bidding for him and the other OF free agents – is early additional evidence that this year might indeed be a little different.

        1. What has happened is the new CBA cut off the draft and Latin America as places to spend your money. So now with their no way to pump money into player development all of these mid-small market teams must spend in free-agency to obtain high end talent. Additionally it looks like the next national TV deal will send at least 20 million to each club. That is Josh Hamilton just gifted to a team like Baltimore that previously would be way out of the bidding. This all balanced by the fact that teams are actually getting smarter, I think that teams are all bidding in the same kind of range for these players, the Dodgers (and the Tigers) are the only teams that have looked to just go overpay for their guy so far,

      2. All the teams have more money to spend this year and a team like the Phils actually has less room to go higher on new deals because their current spend is already so high. $26M for 2 yrs is more than what was expected for Hunter and the 2 relievers both signed for much more than anyone expected. The years aren’t growing, which is good, but the per year amount sure is.

        1. I don’t see how this Hunter contract is cause for alarm. He’s been worth $13 mil/year. He is a better player than Ibanez was when we signed him for 3/$30mil. And I’d rather pay a guy like Hunter 2/$26mil than 3/$30mil.

          1. Rather pay 2/26 than 3/30?
            So Hunter at 1yr $4M is a bad deal? Even as a bench player that is excellent and he might have some trade value at that price.
            I would definitely prefer $3/30, the $4M risk is quite small in my opinion. Yeah it will look much worse when it is acutally $10M for that 3rd year but so what.

  25. Interesting talk about marlins owner. They said he is making money,hands over fist. the new ballpark,the revenue sharing he gets, and lets all those salary go.now he can sell the stadium and the team because its worth more, or keep it and rake in money with low payroll,and he isnt responible for any of the stadiums maintenace he is free and clear of any ballpark expense.they are calling for the commissioner to stop him.heard it on espn 2

    1. The city paying for sports stadium is always a scam, but this guy has taken it to new levels with how blatant and unrepentant he is. He runs his team like a profit maximizing business which is fine, but the politicians down there all need to be investigated, they are either incredibly stupid or incredibly corrupt. Miami is going to waste BILLIONS of dollars by the time they pay off the bonds.

  26. The league can say what they want, but the Marlins have 2 rings using this philosophy. The city of Miami and it’s citizens should’ve built clauses into the contract to build the new stadium. There were duped!

    1. The Marlins have never won a division but thanks to the extra spots in the playoffs they got hot and ran the table. The city of Miami should look into suing and demand that Loria pay the taxpayer portion of the stadium back and bankrupt the immoral jerk.

      1. As a baseball fan, I don’t agree with what Loria did. But, the reality is, the team wasn’t going to win anything next year anyway. Why not get rid of the salaries and make some money in the deal?

        1. Have no problem with his dumping of players from a last place team. My issue is that he is not taking the $$$ saved and turning it around into trying to bring in players to make the team better.

          Normally, I still wouldn’t care but the fact that he is still getting revenue sharing money makes a mockery of the whole process. Teams should be required to maintain a minimum salary structure in order to be eligible to receive any revenue shares.

          Also, if I was a tax payer in Florida, I’d be a bit irate as well although I wouldn’t have supported the original subsidy anyway.

  27. The issue with losing the 16th pick is it subtracts the $$ value of that pick from the rest of your draft so a team is constantly trying to get the next group of picks for less than they should to compensate for that $$$ loss. This would have the effect of minimizing the ability to procure better talent later on during the draft process – which the Phillies have always done very well. Simply it puts you at a flexibiity disadvantage.

    1. Thank you for putting my argument from the CBA post here where it has a lot of relavancy. Something I forgot there was that even if they sign the #16 pick for slot it adds an extra $100k+ to that 5% they can go over without losing a pick. Doesn’t seem like a lot but it can mean an extra high school guy late (with the post 10th round rules you could offer a kid almost 250k)

      1. Given good choices.You are trading a (say) two year return on your money for a five year wait. Not stating it is good or bad just what is.

  28. Larger contracts for shorter periods of time just minimizes risk. See Howard, Arod, Crawford, Werth et. al. and concommitant problems.

  29. All what you say might be true ps joe. but the fact remains,this kind of owner isnt good for baseball. revenue sharing is suppose to make teams more competive. this type of owner, just wants to make his pockets fuller.

    1. I completely agree. It’s a disgrace. Pujols was wise to insist on a no trade clause. What’s crazy is why didn’t the Jays just try to sign reyes and Buehrle as FAs then they could’ve kept all their young talent?

      1. They tried, Reyes was drawn to the Miami market. Buehrle while a good player seems like he was just along for the trade. The Blue Jays lost two young pitchers in Hutchinson and Drabeck for most of next season so they need to fill those roles. Romero has been awful and Morrow just can’t stay healthy

  30. Marlins not interested in trading Stanton, though he is upset about the latest moves, but the Marlins will try to trade Logan Morrison. Maybe the Phillies can get him for a song and some cash.

  31. This team needs players. This team needs guys who are going to stretch a single into a double, steal a bag in a 1 run game and move runners over. I think Amaro needs to look at the 2008 team and realize that talent isn’t everything. Having a good core with players who play fundamentally sound baseball. We don’t need the most prized free-agent. We need to find ballplayers

        1. You believe in your own opinion? Astounding. How about having an opinion that actually means something instead of “this team needs ballplayers?”

          1. I did. I stated that they need ballplayers who will do the small things. This team does not have the intangibles like some other teams do. I do encourage you to enlighten me with more of your wisdom.

            1. So the difference between a team that won 102 games in 2011 and 81 games in 2012 was intangibles? Not doing the little things right? Or maybe it was due to injuries, age or a combination of both? Seriously, if you want a team full of David Ecksteins, you will lose more games than win.

            2. I know that injuries and the bullpen cost them several games from last year but there were many times when the phillies just tried to hit home runs in close game. This team last year was full of guys who wanted to pad the stats or tried to hard. The 4 years before last season, the phillies were known as an intangibles team. Somehow that got lost last season and I think bringing players who will do the small things will take pressure off of guys like howard and utley. I don’t want a team full of ecksteins, no one wants that but if I would like to have one players who resemble his small ball skills. I think the Phillies went off track last year and need to go back to the way they used to play baseball.

            3. Gimme a break. That is the biggest bunch of crap I’ve read in a while. The Phillies missed significant time from their #3 and #4 hitters in addition to their #1 starting pitcher. It had nothing to to with intangibles. Let me repeat that – it had nothing to do with intangibles. The talent level drop between a healthy Halladay, Howard and Utley and their replacements is laughable. How one could look at this past season and deduce that it was lack of intangibles is hilarious. Intangibles do not win baseball games. Talent does. The Phillies lacked that talent on the field last year and didn’t win as much as they did the prior year.
              And the Phillies adopted a small ball strategy last year and won 81 games. You want more of the same? Sounds to me like you like being a second division team.

            4. You beat me to it. There are some small ball techniques that work (looking to go the other way with the single rather than be pull happy, or taking the extra base on the single or high percentage steal), but things like laying down a bunt just give outs away and should be reserved for players that can turn it into a hit (like Pierre and a lesser extent Rollins) and players who can hit (mini-Mart and Pitchers).

            5. I think you are applying a narrative post facts. Howard and Utley were the same as always with new injury problems added, same for Rollins (outside of not running out some routine plays he hasn’t done anything wrong) without the injuries. You can argue that Brown, Mayberry, and Frandsen all were pressing when they were at the plate, but hard to fault players for trying to do well enough to make the team next year. The pitching struggled at times but that is because of injuries or flaws with the players themselves (command issues/homer proneness for the young guys, and overall suckage from Qualls). Ruiz was spectacular when healthy and Kratz proved that he can be an above average back up. Galvis is your prototypical “gamer”, but he got hurt (he didn’t actually miss any time due to the suspension as he was rehabbing the whole time plus the end of the season). Juan Pierre oozes intangibles and is ok in the field, but he isn’t going to carry a team. Victorino and Pence had steep declines/regression that could have been predicted to some effect. Mini-Mart just is terrible, Wigginton is a serviceable bench piece not anything resembling an everyday player.

              This team isn’t lacking “ball players” it is lacking talent and health. You aren’t going to win if you are missing your #3&#4 hitter, your catcher for a month, your #1 starter, and you have an erratic bullpen. The construction of the team had redundancies where it wasn’t needed (left handed corner outfielders), but not where it was needed (good back ups for injured and injury prone players).

            6. This team had a chance to prove something while they were gone. This team still had a lot of talent to win more than they did when Utley and Howard were gone. The injury excuse can only go so far . Did not having halladay, howard and utley around hurt them…. absolutely but watching the team in their absence was horrific. Having a crappy bullpen hurt too but their were moments where manuel misused his bullpen. The only one who gets a free pass is ruiz. Even with Halladay gone, you still have Lee and Hamels which is better than most teams rotation. This team just looked dead because they kept waiting for those guys to come back. They needed someone who was going to play their hardest no matter what. Imagine if Howard or Utley hadn’t come back last season.You need guys who are going to step up and show that there was fight. Rollins looked dead til they came back, same with victorino and pence. Too many of those players relied on someone else and they need players who are going to step up when things get down. The team allowed the injury excuse to become a distraction for the first three months.Look at 2008, every year since we have had what many would say is a more talented team. IN 2010, they should have beaten the cardinals and who knows…they might have won it all. I think players feed off one another and they had no one did that. You need someone who is going to be a spark plug.

            7. QED. Credit to Jack at one level though. It’s one thing to be a Boston Red Sox fan and construct a narrative of “intangible” failure around the team’s recent lack of success (heck, in that case I might even agree that he had a point). But constructing such a narrative around the 2012 Phillies is a VERY high degree of dificulty. That it isn’t successful isn’t so much a case of Jack’s failure as a debater as of the inherent dificulty of the task.

            8. This is really a case in point (see my comment below). Riggs and matt do a fine job of pointing out the absurdity of this comment, but really in sense this isn’t a “debate” between people holding different opinions, it’s a different world view. One in my opinion not connected very strongly to reality, but whether I’m right or wrong about that, obviously one not suceptable to reason as we understand the term in the post enlightenment west.

              But the key move here is “Somehow that got lost last season.” Set aside the fact that, as usual, what was “lost” is unclear and ill defined. We have “trying to hit home runs” in a close game, which doesn’t comport with any reality I saw. I could list about 10 different types of evidence proving that this was not the case. (The simplist being that the team scored on the season almost exactly the same number of runs that it allowed, and finished with a .500 record, just what you would expect from a team that perfoemed normally in close games.) But again, none of that evidence is even of the type that Jack would regard as legitimate.

              The deeper point is this: assume for the sake of argument that “something changed.” What changed? How could it affect so many players all at once? “Somehow? How how? How could such a quality come and go so easily? If this elusive quality of playing good intangible baseball is so mutable – so easily changable in the same players from season to season – what’s the point of adding good “intangible” players? Who’s to say that they, too, won’t all of the sudden lose this elusive quality, as (somehow) the 2012 Phillies seemed to all at once (if you beleive the narrrative)?

            9. Great response. It drives them crazy when you have good logic on this sight. They would rather state these long [yawn,fast forward,You didn't think anyone read them did you] winded replys. Come back any time.

            10. Pence. That name alone should end this debate. Pence was lauded, absolutely lauded, as a good intangible player when acquired. I remember the debate about the trade at the time. i was the guy most critical of the trade. I still recall making statistics based arguments about why Pence wasn’t as good as advertised and being assured by many, many sommenters that they stats just didn’t capture what a good player Pence was, what a good clubhouse guy he was, and so on. A year later he was regarded as practically a cancer on the team.

              Even if those opinions were moored in reality, they demonstrate the absurdity of trying to acquire good “intangible” players. The guy regarded as Mr. intangible year one is the guy regarded as Mr. stubbornely sticking to a bad approach & a lazy fielder in year two.

            11. Monday, Monday morning. Don’t we all wish we could have seen that too. Feel free to change the facts to make yourself feel more important.

            12. Maybe you weren’t around here then. I was in full rant mode after the Pence trade, far and away the most vocal critic on this board of the trade. I went on at length, which as people around here know I can tend to do. I caught a lot of grief for it as well.I was in a distinct minority.

              And I’m not sure what facts you think I’m changing. There were numerous people around here talking about all of the intangibles that Pence brough to the table. “Does the little things right,” good club house guy, etc.

            13. Oh, sorry, I missed your other recent comment, didn’t realize until then that you were either trolling or a moron. Either way, not someone worth engaging.

  32. “. We need to find ballplayers ” Exactly Exactly
    And to amplify ballplayer who want to play. The truth was seen when Galvis doing the little things outshone the rest of the team by a mile.(except plate discipline which I hope has improved)
    Gentlemen bring your heads in 2013.

      1. And we were losing while he was playing. Let’s not fool ourselves into think talent doesn’t matter, people…

        1. Yep, more “gamers” like Galvis are exactly what the team needs. Nothing says WS champion like a roster full of 600 OPS players.

          1. Would you rather guys who walk to a base or forget how many outs. Besides Galvis will be .800 plus this year and you know it.

            1. Galvis has ZERO chance of being an .800 OPS player. Will be lucky if he raises his OPS by 100 to get to .700

            2. Silly argument. Not a single major league baseball player walks to the base enough to justify sending him down to the minors. And people forget the count or the number of outs sometimes. It happens. It’s happened to me. And if you ever accused me of not caring about the game because I forgot one time out of hundreds of thousands, my coach would have jumped down your throat for even suggesting it.

        2. And who else was playing with their head at the time?????Vic,Rollins????? Pence???
          Talent without trying is deadly. I mean 100% trying.For all his faults Rose used his limited size ,speed and stature to win because he Never walked to a base and never went home with a clean uniform.

          1. You’re letting your emotions an bias get the best of you. Chase Utley is my favorite player because he both “plays the right way,” as people tend to put it, and has tons of talent. However, I will openly admit that he will not run down to 1st base at full speed 100% of the time. He will never just walk back to the dug out if he puts the ball in play, but he will sometimes jog if the out is almost 100% guaranteed. And you know what, as a baseball player AND a fan, I am 100% ok with that. If you weakly ground to the 1B, what are your realistic chances of getting on base? .01%? Less? Why risk injury by having the player run his hardest in that situation? For goodness sake, what happened to us when Howard did that in the playoffs last year? We lost an impact bat for half of our season just so he could be out anyways.

  33. Im all for signing BJ Upton to man CF. We have seen what he has done in the past, and by past I mean when he was 24-25 years old. Bottom line: the guy is in his prime, and I would take the chance that BJ Upton is the type of guy that really just needs a change of scenery. The “Upton to Phillies” thing was actually something that I thought was going to happen in 2011 prior to Hunter Pence coming to town, so Ive had this possibility in the back of my mind for some time now. His increasing strikeouts and aloof attitude rubs me the wrong way sometimes, but man I can’t get over how young he still is. His age tells us that his upside is potentially not even realized yet. There are the potential drawbacks, (like a massive contract) but overall I would be happy to see Upton in CF, and start DBrown and Ruf at the corners at the beginning of the season to what they can do.

    Unfortunately I think at least 6-8 teams will show a decent level of interest in BJ Upton, which will drive his price into the range that Amaro likes to spend. Not necessarily an ideal combination there, but I want this guy.

    1. Check BJ’s line/stats over the last three years….not ascending. Red Flagg. Ask yourself, why a contending team we give up on one brother, playing the OF, to trade for another…..more then just for the financial benefits?

  34. Ballplayers, huh? This talk of smallball and getting runners over misses the central problem. The Phillies’ failure to capitalize on baserunners was amplified because they didn’t have many baserunners, and many of the guys getting on base were singles hitters. Nobody walked. The team finished 8th in OPS, 8th in runs scored. And as an aside, that they struck out less than any other NL club should tell you all you need to know about just making contact.

    Honestly, the big problem from the offense is that the Phillies just can not continue to accept mediocrity from parts of the roster where improvements are easy. It is not difficult to find a third baseman capable of more than 17 extra base hits in a season. It is easy to find a more polished hitter than Ty Wigginton. Juan Pierre, love his effort but you have to get more power from your left fielder.

      1. Canadian Pete Orr played hockey in his younger days….you were correct. Phil Aumont, he may have been a goalie.

  35. What would it take to get Alex Gordon? Would Worley, May or Martin plus some lower 3rd piece get you close? I know the Royals need pitching but I don’t think Worley is enough. Was Gordon moved off of 3B because he was a terrible fielder or to take the pressure off of him to see if he’d hit better as a LF? He’d look awfully good in pinstripes (as unlikely as that is)…. I don’t think the Phils would trade for a CF and trade for a corner OF but if they could sign a FA at one of them, they’d consider a trade for the other. Lots of teams are in on Bourn and BJ, it will be very expensive to get one of them. I still think Swisher would be a real option for them in a corner but if BJ gets too expensive, they’ll have to look to make a deal for a CF (Span, Fowler, Borjos, etc) which will cost lots of prospects. My guess is that many of us will think they overpaid no matter what move they make because every move will require the acquiring team to overpay.
    My vote is to overpay cash and get BJ and Swisher and keep our prospects.

    1. He has the tools to play 3B but it was not working out there (so in other words both of your explanations). That deal might get you close if that third piece is another very good prospect. Gordon is probably the best defensive LF in the game right now and would look very good for this team I just don’t see the needs aligning too well (the Royals need major league ready young impact pitching, the only teams that could provide it are Tampa, Arizona, Seattle, and Oakland, the Phillies guys are just a year or so too far away)

  36. Thinking out loud I wonder if the Brewers would have any interest in Howard. Suppose they did you could move Ruf to 1B and sign Hamilton to play LF.

    Rollins
    Utley
    Hamilton
    Ruf
    Brown
    Ruiz
    Mayberry or New CF
    Frandsen/Galvis Platoon

    Or maybe the Angels would swap Howard for Wells straight up. I am reaching I know but I see the potential for a really good team if you can some how move Howard.

    1. You’re reaching like crazy. Forget about trading Howard in 2013. The Phillies would have to eat a serious amount of money.

    2. Moving Howard and then paying Hamilton what he wants essentially just kicks the horrendous contract to a lefty with contact issues down the road two more years. Hamilton won’t be worth the contract in a couple of years, he makes Howard look like a paragon of health, and you are locking in 1B to a rookie who is striking out like crazy in the VWL (there isn’t anyone with the 1B bat in the system until LGreene or Cozens). You are better off just keeping Howard and signing the big name CF. Not to mention any trade involving Howard has you paying half his salary or more, or you have to take on an equally useless contract (there is no money freed up here)

      1. LOL I put 0 weight in what Ruf is doing in VZL. I concede its probably improbable to move Howard but I’d bet anything in a full season Ruf would do no worse offensively than Howard.

        I have no worries about Ruf offensively in the MLB.

        1. “LOL I put 0 weight in what Ruf is doing in VZL.” when a guy is struggling to hit lower level pitching that is a concerning sign when you expect him to hit in the majors.

          Remind me again why you don’t work in a major league scouting department where you can obviously see what no one else can. Howard is Ruf’s CEILING especially if he is facing righties and lefties. Ruf will be exploited and the hope is that he adjusts enough to be serviceable. Howard has his problems but the biggest is that he is horribly overpaid. He will be a productive player when he is healthy, I don’t know when Ruf suddenly became a can’t miss impact first baseman.

        2. No worse than Howard? Come on now. I guarantee that Howard will knock in over 100 runs next year, excluding any new injury. I’m not saying he’s worth $25M a year but he’s a legit rbi machine and the team really felt it when he wasn’t there last year. I love Ruf but there’s no way I would ever predict that he’ll knock in 100 runs next year (especially since I think he’ll start at LHV but that’s a separate issue). And to have no worries is a bit naive I’m afraid, so many high profile rookies struggle initially.

          1. Agree with your ‘separate issue’. I think Ruf starts in AAA, and Phillies should plan on that option.
            I think Ruf will be a similiar hitter as Mayberry, but will Ruf be the GOOD (2nd half 2011) or the BAD Mayberry? Therefore, I would much rather have Mayberry as the RH platoon/PH due to his defense. Platoon him with one of Nix/Schierholtz and let Brown own RF. I’d almost prefer to have the other of Nix/Schierholtz on the bench unless Ruf actually wins the starting job in the Spring than Ruf on the bench.
            Getting a vet corner OF does allow for possibility that Brown is an average or below player. If both Ruf and Brown play lights out I suppose that is a good problem to have.
            .

        3. DMAR…I like Darin Ruf and hope he succeeds. He has hit at every level so far, though over-aged at each stop along the way. But I have some concerns about his adjustment to the top level.

        4. The deification of Ruf continues. I think everyone wants Ruf to succeed, but let’s be realistic in our assumptions. A tall order for many who believe Ruf is the next coming of Adam Dunn.

  37. The Gordon comment got me thinking about other 3rd base options to trade for…What about CLiff Lee for Adrian Beltre? The Rangers have Olt coming up and while they do have pitching depth, they could use a front line starter to compliment Darvish. Beltre fits perfectly between Utley and Howard in the lineup and is probably one of the best defensive 3rd basemen of the last 30 years. They’re roughly the same age and their contracts each have three more years guaranteed. Beltre is a bargain at his salary (we’d clear $10 mil/year for the next two years), but we’d be offering the Rangers a rare commodity on a relatively short deal.

    I don’t know, maybe the Rangers balk at that deal, but I thought it was interesting.

    1. The $10M “saved” would need to be immediately spent (along with another $5-$10M to find a replacement starter that would be comparible to Lee. Only comparible FA option would be Grienke who’s going to get a 5-6 year deal from someone with an AAV around $18M.

      Doesn’t make sense to try to solve one issue by creating another.

      1. That’s true, but I was thinking that we have more pitching depth in the minors than at 3rd base. Also, if we signed Greinke and traded for Beltre, we’d be spending the same amount as if we’d kept Lee and signed, say, Youkilis to play 3rd. I’d rather have Beltre and Greinke. I realize this is probably moot as I doubt it’d happen.

  38. Asche, Collier, and Joseph won yesterday to advance to the championship gme on Saturday. Collier is in the middle of his hottest streak ever. His obp over the last 10 games is way over 500 and he had two more hits yesterday. Lets hope he can carry some of his fine play into Reading. Spring training opens in three months….

    1. Collier’s final slash line was very impressive .371(6th overall)/.461(5th)/.532(7th), one of the best hitters in the AFL and definitely the best of the Phillies guys.

      1. Let’s keep our fingers crossed because this guy has lots of talent. He started well at Clearwater, after his late start due to suspension, before tailing off. He has a great swing and seems to be doing better in CF which is where he has to play if he’s to make it. I’m sure he’ll be the #3 hitter in CF at Reading to start the year, let’s hope he does well.
        I assume everyone read that the Braves are pushing hard for BJ and had him in for a tour and the sales pitch yesterday…

        1. Murray, I got the feeling watching Ruben answering Larry Bowa’s questions about BJ Upton and Michael Bourne that the Phillies were not really interested in either. I hope Ruben will pleasantly surprise us by signing a high quality CF and keep the 16th overall draft pick.

          1. Which of course means we are going to sign both, Trade Halladay for Adrian Beltre and then re-trade back for Halladay at the trade deadline. BANK IT.

          1. I have to agree here, Collier bats leadoff. I think it is a combination of wanting to get him as many ABs as possible and there are better guys for the middle of the order if they are there such as Murphy, Asche (if he is not in AAA), and Joseph/Valle. I don’t know if Collier profiles as a leadoff hitter long term but it can be more about getting him consistent ABs than about setting the table for later.

            The top of that lineup is going to be Collier and Duran, unless Jiwan James is still here and shows a distinct improvement.

            1. Once read, about four years back or so, when a former Phillies guy talked about Collier and what he saw in him and likened him to was a Garrett Anderson of the Halos.

            2. You might be right about Collier batting 1st to get at bats. I was thinking the Clearwater roster this past year will resemble Reading’s this coming year, except for Jiwan James, and I recall Collier batted 3rd alot with Lavin 1st, although I think he batted leadoff quite a bit also. I’m assuming Rupp will be catching at Reading but I’m not sure how they’ll handle Joseph. He sure looks like a guy who should start at AA, especially with Valle already at AAA, but Rupp does not need any more A+ time. Murphy will bat 4th either way and if James is back, he’ll again be moved out of CF into LF, even though he’s a better defensive CF, because Collier needs reps in CF, like Gillies last year, and because Hewitt will hold down RF. Its going to be a long three months….

            3. If all three catchers are still on the team I think you might see Valle and Joseph at AAA and they put Lerud at AA (as the team’s emergency 3rd catcher) with Rupp (over the years the Phils seem to really emphasize their pitchers building trust with a catcher and they tend to keep pairings together as long as possible). There is no 1st baseman at AAA (unlesss Ruf starts there, and even then he can play LF to make this work), I would expect to see Joseph play some 1B to keep his bat in the line up to develop so that Valle can do some catching. I don’t think that works as well at AA because it looks like the team likes Murphy as a presence in that line up as well as a good influence on the hitters around him (not to mention he needs to move up with Serritella possibly getting the college double jump to hi-A from WPT).

  39. The whole “does the little things right” belief is one most of us have strong feelings about one way or the other. It’s not an issue where minds can be changed on an internet message board, since … well, let’s be charitable, since the two sides have entirely different standards of what constitutes evidence to support their beliefs. It’s particularly mind boggling, though to see the current Phillies team held up as an example of a team that just needs “players who know how to play the game” to return to its winnigng ways. The same players (mostly) who won over 100 games in 2011 were a .500 team in 2012. What makes more sense:

    (a) The 2012 team suffered a ton of injuries and age related decline, as well as a little bad luck, or
    (b) A whole bunch of players just forgot how to “play the game right,” or forgot how to play “fundmental baseball,” or some such?

    But as I said, these arguments aren’t “winnable”.in the sense of persuading people. What interests me most is the extent to which opinions about which players have these intangible assets and which don’t seems entirtely unmoored from reality. A guy like Galvis is a case in point. What “little things” does he do well exactly? It sure isn’t apparent to me.

    If we look at the supposed characteristics of these intangibly good players, what do we see? We see outsiders who have never been in a locker room talk about good “clubhouse” players. One of the funniest examples of this is Youk – a player I liked a few years ago, and a guy who was regarded as a SABR type player. But someone a couple days ago talked about what a good clubhouse guy he is. Really? Ask a Sox fan his opinion about that.

    Or we see people who have never been to a practice and have no inside knowledge talk about how hard a player works. Based on what, excatly? Mostly nothing.

    When such opinions are based on anything at all – and usually they aren’t – they are based upon players who exhibit visible “hustle.” Now, no one really thinks – well, no intelligent person really thinks – that visible hustle DIRECTLY matter much in terms of outcome. The smart – well, less stupid – argument is that players who visibly hustle possess other characteristics which help win games. For example, equating visible hustle with good work habits. The problem is that the evidence that these characteristics coorolate with each other is precisely zero.

    But we all know what’s really going on here. If a player fails – or even fails to meet inflated expectations – for some people that’s evidence by itself that the player is misisng some elusive intangible quality. QED. That’s what makes evidence so useless in these debates. Victorino isn’t merely a case of a player following a good year with a bad year, he’s an example of a player who fell off because he … stubbornly stuck to an approach that wasn’t working. or something. Pence goes from a guy who was lauded around here as a player with a lot of intangible value to a bum in one year simply because of a statistical decline in his performance. Brown disappoints, and it can’t be explained by injuries, or sample size, or the simple dificulty some people have making the transition to the majors – it must be a result of a character flaw. Sigh.

    Look, “makeup” matters. But it is entirely invisible to the outsider (and imperecftly visible to the insider). Just because a player disappoints doesn’t mean he has a bad makeup; just because he excels doesn’t mean he has a good makeup.

    1. I would say that “playing the game the right way” does appear in ways that are very tangible. We normally chalk it up as just being a smart player. It is a skill that allows tools to play up in game action (I am not saying you are not accounting for it, you apply it to the players value already). In my mind here are the tangible aspects of “playing the right way”.
      - Galvis almost always makes the play to the correct base (this was something noted as he came up in the minors), also he appears to have no concept of balls he can’t get to and is always trying to get everything (I think this may just be a lack of experience thing)
      - Utley has only average speed but knows when to go first to third, and he knows pitchers well enough to be almost 100% on stolen bases (when it comes to steals Rollins our “bad makeup” player is almost as smart as Utley on steals)
      - Throwing to the right base from the outfield (our outfielders are average to poor at this)
      - Staying composed on the mound (the starters tend to be good at this with exception of Worley who looks less confident out of the stretch)

      I would mark all of these down as the “mental ability” tool, it just is having good baseball instincts (wouldn’t say we are lacking just that they do exist in some form).

      When it comes to clubhouse chemistry I think there can be some positive and then really negative. I personally believe that having Halladay and Lee has been a good influence on the team because it is hard to argue against putting the work in when the top two guys are going about their business and outworking everyone else. But otherwise I think good clubhouse guys arre neglible when it comes to day to day play. To be a negative influence you have to be really bad, the best examples are bad manager situations (Bobby V) or real destructive personalities (Milton Bradley, Manny). So to have any effect you have to be on opposite ends of the spectrum and even then it is small and mostly an applied narrative.

      1. I agree with just about all of. You anticipate correctly that I would argue that much if not most of this is captured fully by “tangible” statistics. And you implicitly agree with the rest on my response, which is that most of what isn’t captured statistically either:

        (a) doesn’t amount to much in terms of winning and losing, and/or
        (b) isn’t visible to the casual fan.

        In this debates, iI think the one point most often obscured is point “b” I strongly suspect, given the configuration of his career, that Rollins, for example, is a really good “intangible” player in most respects. His career progression points to a guy who, contrary to reputation, works hard at his game and is good at making adjustments. That’s true in bioth his hitting and most clearly in his fielding (where he went from sub par to multiple gold gloves). He seems, to the limited extent that this is visible, to be a really good clubhouse guy. His baserunning stats (not just his stolen base success rate which you mention but also his performance in other baserunning situations) point to a guy who is a very smart base runner (I’d say that subjective observation supports this). Yet just because he sometimes – sometimes – doesn’t visibly hustle, and never duplicated his career year as a hittter, he is regarded as a negative in terms of intangibles.

        But all of that is inference from the evidence. I am not an insider and thuse don’t have direct evidence as to how Rollins is as a club house guy, how hard he works, or how well he adjusts. But nor do his many detractors.

      2. I need to proof read better.

        Beyond that, I would add only one thing: in the few areas where “intangible” values aren’t either (a) accounted for in the statistics, (b) negligible in their impact, or (c) invisible, I think the Phillies in 2012 were quite strong. You point to the work habits of Lee and Halladay, and I think you are correct. Add Utley in that mix, and, heresy as this is to many people, probably Rollins as well. Ironically, to the extent that the “hustle” argument regarding Rollins has any weight at all, it probably has weight because he is otherwise such a good “intangible” kind of guy – likely looked up to by other players, and thus more influential that a typical player.

      3. I really think we are too hard on Rollins, sure he does things that are upsetting at times but when he is gone he will be missed. These type of players do not come around everyday

    2. “Now, no one really thinks – well, no intelligent person really thinks – that visible hustle DIRECTLY matter much in terms of outcome. ”

      If this were true — and it isn’t — you would never here about ballplayers calling out teammates for lack of hustle. Teammates meet the “in the locker room” criterion you put such weight on.

      1. Tell me concretely IM what you think of as the “direct” effect of hustle on winning games. Really. Really really. Spell it out.

        The difference between running out a routine grounder and not running out a routine grounder results in, over the course of a season, how many extra base runners. One? Two? Seriously, how many? And one or two base runners result in, over the course of a year, less than a single run. Over the course of a year. If every player on a team runs all out every play, versus no player running all out on any routine play, an extremely generous estimate would be a single win per season on a team basis. Now, no team fits either extreme, of course. My best guess is that, in the history of baseball, “hustling” or not “hustling,” on a team basis, probably has changed the outcomes of exactly zero pennant races.

        Now, you can argue the indirect effects as I said. I don’t buy THAT either. But some people believe, in my opinion against all evidence, that the same kind of players who visibly “hustle” are also good at other, less visible, intangibles, such as working hard to make themselves better players. If that were true (I don’t think it is), then the weird obsession on “hustle” would mean something. But that’s indirect, not direct.

        Oh, yeah, Pete Rose. A legitimately great player who was great not because he hustled, but because he was very good at the tangible aspects of the game (his most salient characteristic a good contact rate, perhaps the one baseball skill that is most innate as opposed to something that can be developed with hard work). And Mr. Hustle was also an immensely selfish player and person who, even apart from the gambling, played well past the point where he was an effective, contributing ball player in the selfish pursuit of the hits record. Yeah, I would agree that Rose is the epitome of a “hustle” player. I just wouldn’t take the same conclusion that some people do from that fact.

        1. Let me add that, if you can find a player who doesn’t “hustle” on the non-routine plays, you would have a point, even not as big a point as you believe. But those types of players as a rule don’t even make the majors, or last there long. Rollins, for example, in the plays that MATTER, “hustles” just fine. On the bases, on the field, he uses his speed and quickness VERY well. The reason for the controversies this year was that, on two occasions, what looked like routine plays turned out not to be. And yeah, I get it, that’s the argument for “hustling” on every play, sometimes what looks like a routine play isn’t. It’s just not a good argument. Even looking at the two plays in question, it’s not clear in either case “hustling” would have made a difference. Just “might have” made a difference. And that was 2 plays over the course of a season.

          1. I’m not buying any of it but despite that I urge you to publish an article that focuses on the exaggerated value of hustle in sports and I wold love to see the reaction. I think it would change the world of baseball scouts timing prospects going from home to first. Is this guy really a 4.3 or is he not busting it. A guy who doesn’t know when or doesn’t care about tagging up on a fly to deep right becomes no better than the guy who doesn’t have the speed to take the extra base. Maybe speed is an overrated quality in baseball as well, who knew?

            1. What? Where was the mental disconnect that shifted the conversation from “not hustling out routine plays” to “doesn’t care about tagging up?” Who are you accusing of not caring about tagging up and what proof do you have? I’ve seen every single Phillies player tag up multiple times, including the pitchers.

            2. Here is a text book case about not getting it. Timing players going home to first has nothing to do with “hustle” and everything to do with speed and quickness. They time a player’s best effort, they don’t time a player jogging from home to first. Of course speed matters, but last time I checked that was, to an even greater extent than contact ability which I referenced elsewhere, something innate rather than something that can be learned through “hard work.”

              As for the tagging up example, we can indeed measure how good a player is at base running, that included. Increasingly we have metrics for that. And it does matter, probably more so that early stat oriented writers like Bill James realized at the time. But here’s the thing – fans’ instincts about which players excel at these not-so intangible feats are quite poor. Rollins is a case in point. As Murray correctly pointed out elsewhere, Rollins excels at this type of “smart” baseball.

              Maybe more to the point, it has nothing to do with “hustle.” Or, to be more precise since hustle means different things to different people, it has nothing to do with running all out on routine grounders.

        2. The “hustle” plays that get the most flack (outside of Rollins and grounds/infield flies) are those in the field. This is legitimately a problem when a player does not play balls they should because they aren’t going after them, but that appears in their fielding numbers.

          The main reason hustle is such a big deal in the marketing and PR aspect. The casual fan who is spending money to see professionals play feels that the guy making millions to play a game should be giving every bit of effort they can. It is poor for your brand for the team to appear as a bunch of spoiled brats. But that is just fan perception and gets into notions of fairness and class/race (look up all the players accused of not hustling or being bad clubhouse guys and give me the racial profile, or not that should probably left to other forums).

  40. And on the topic of “evidence” – again, I know this won’t convince anyone – one of the areas where the Phillies supposedly did poorly last year was performance in the”clutch.” Except it just isn’t true. In most “clutch” situations, the team performed better than expected. I think that’s just statistical noise, but whether or not that’s true, it remains a fact. They hit better with RISP than overall, for example. Even better with RISP and 2 outs. They hit a bit better in close games than overall. Not a lot better, but better.

    It’s true, as often noted, that they were a little below average very specifically in the situation with a runner on third and first or second or both open. It’s statisctical noise, of course. But even if you are inclined to disbleive that, you need to credit the team for performance in other “clutch” situations. Including performance with the bases loaded, where they performed ridiulously well. Does it make sense that the team (not just one player. a bunch of players) was somehow pressing with a man on thrid, but not bases loaded, and all of the sudden stopped pressing with the bases loaded? Of course not.

    1. It’s like the argument that losing Davey Lopes hurt the Phillies in the sense that they didn’t steal bases anymore. When the reality of the situation is the Phillies were one of the best teams in the league at stealing bases last year. Perception does not equal reality.

    2. One thing I look at is whether a team can score a guy from 3rd with less than 2 outs. It seems that teams that score that run more consistently without a hit (SF, groundout, etc.) score many more runs. Smart players make a real effort to hit behind runners, take a pitch with a base stealer on, and always go 1st to 3rd and 2nd to home when they can because they read the play right. I’m not sure if you’re saying there’s no such thing as a smart player, which is false, or that the Phils have plenty of smart players despite what others say, and they do to an extent. Dom clearly is still learning how to play and how to be a better base runner. Jimmy is a very smart player. He obviously overswings at balls too many times and leads the league in pop ups which is crazy for a guy his size. However, his baserunning is about as good as it gets and he scores close to 100 runs every year in part because he’s so good on the bases. Defensively, he’s the best in the league in positioning and understanding the situation. Galvis fit right in with him defensively because he’s so smart in the field. I can’t claim to know yet his smarts running the bases or with the bat. He hit a bunch of balls to right but I can’t say whether that was planned.

      1. I agree and much of that is having a good approach, if you have a guy on third and less than two outs the correct thing is to look to make contact. I think the problem was there aren’t a lot of players on the team with the ability to “control” contact, which makes sense considering most of the line up this year was made up of players who were either inexperienced or are just not good players.

        1. This is where we differ Matt. I’m not saying that this stuff doesn’t matter at all, I’m saying it doesn’t matter much. (Though I agree to the extent that it is certainly true that a lot players don’t have the ability to “control” contact to that extent. I’d go further and say most players don’t, add that the players who do have that ability don’t acquire it through some sort of moral excellence, it’s just a partly learned, partly innate baseball ability, and conclude that, over the course of the season, it just doesn’t matter that much).

          The “problem” the Phillies had in this area in 2012 was a product of sample size, period. They were just fine in this regard in 2011 with largely the same players.

      2. “It seems that teams that score that run more consistently without a hit (SF, groundout, etc.) score many more runs”

        “Seems” being very much the operative word here. People have studied the issue that and found that it just isn’t true.

        Now as for “I’m not sure if you’re saying there’s no such thing as a smart player, which is false, or that the Phils have plenty of smart players despite what others say,” that’s an interesting question and a decent way to frame the issue. I’m saying the latter to a large extent, and no, I’m not saying the former. Of course baseball “smarts” exist and matters. But I’m also saying a couple more things:

        (1) We differ somewhat about what it means to be a “smart” player. Baseball “smarts’ matter a lot in terms of base running and defense. Absolutely agree with you there. But no, things like “mak[ing] a real effort to hit behind runners, tak[ing] a pitch with a base stealer on” don’t matter much in terms of scoring runs. I’d go further and say that most of hitting (as opposed to fielding and base running) is a matter of innate and learned skills, and not “smarts” per se. Sure, swinging at everything is not “smart.” But even there, a large part of the problem with players with poor plate discipline is poor pitch recognition, not lack of “smarts.” Overswinging is another thing which is very real but not an issue of “smarts.”

        (2) Your comments about Rollins are astute, so the following doesn’t apply to you, but it applies to others making the “intangible argument: Often, very often, people simply attribute “intangible” qualities like baseball “smarts,” or lack thereof, to players based upon no evidence at all, for reasons which make no sense. Rollins of course a big case in point, as the common view of him is the exact opposite of the truth. He is as you say a very smart player. Often is is just a case of recoiling at randomness; the “failure” of Victorino, Pence, and Rollins in the first half of the year (though ironically Rollins was the only person playing well during the June swoon) couldn’t be a matter of bad luck, it has to be explained by a moral failure of some type on the part of those players.

        1. To add to this, the choice to take a pitch when a base stealer is on most often comes from the manager, not the hitter.

        2. An interesting question IMO is why there is more scope in defense and base running for baseball smarts to come into play. IMO it’s because of timing. Hitting is a matter almost entirely of split second “decisions” which have to be almost a matter of pure instinct. Base running and fielding have aspects of that, but more scope for actual decision making. Defensive positioning, deciding whether to take the extra base, etc. are all real decisions, aspects of the game where baseball “smarts” have a large role to play.

      3. Let me add Murray that, despite many disagreements, a few of which were contentious, you are a guy who at least knows his stuff and is susceptible to reason. Where I think you and I differ – in this area, at least – is in terms of small ball strategies. I do think that some stat heads go a little overboard in opposing said strategies. But there’s a reason for this – the many different types of studies on this issue all point towards such strategies on the whole doing more harm than good. A far cry from leading to “many more runs.”

        Now, the kicker here is “on the whole.” It’s possible that if teams used such strategies more intelligently (they generally don’t), the results would be somewhat different. But there simply is no way that such strategies could, even at their best, result in “many” more runs. The problem is that giving up an out has a high cost, and you need a very high success rate in terms of batter advancement to outweigh that.

        Now, there are a couple little side issues which help your side of the argument. The first is that increase scoring is ultimately not the goal; increased wins are. The two are very highly correlated, but the very instances where the strategies are most prevalent are where there is a divergence between expected runs and wins. Bottom of the ninth, one out, runner on third, tie game. In that situation, it doesn’t matter that you are, by sacrificing, decreasing the chance of a multi-run inning. All that counts in terms of wins is that runner at third. Secondly, small ball strategies are relatively more effective in a low run environment, and scoring is down league wide.

        But these factors tend to be swamped by the fact that the managers most enamored of small ball strategies tend to over use them, rather than picking the best spots for such strategies. And even the most intelligent use of such strategies won’t – can’t – make a huge difference over the course of a season.

        1. A good manager knows his team’s strengths. I’d rather have a team that hits three run homers but when your team has little power, you can’t sit back and wait for homers, you have to adjust and find a way to score runs through other means. You need to score to win.

  41. What I observed for the 2012 phillies is that veteran players who were counted on like Victorino, Rollins and to some extent Pence actually performed below career averages when we needed them to “step up” and lead by example during Utley’s and Howard’s absence. Ruiz was the only one to do it and the phils were still in pretty good shape until Haladay went down. Then Lee went into a funk and the season was lost.

    1. That isn’t the players fault, that is poor management to expect players who are on the decline side of their career to outperform their previous levels (Ruiz has destroyed all aging curves). The idea that a player can suddenly “step up” their game in an individual sport is insane (if they could then why don’t they just do it anyway), in team games like football or basketball a player can take on more of role by dominating possession, but Hamels can’t magically take the ball every other day and Ruiz can’t bat 3rd and 7th in the same line up.
      If I remember correctly it was a one week window where both Halladay and Galvis went down, that forced Kendrick (who wasn’t good at the time) to stay in the starting rotation when Lee returned and Mike Fontenot/Martinez into the starting line up. That taxed the team depth to a point of no return. That stretch until Utley returned really doomed the season with the resulting 8-19 June record. If they just go .500 there they are in the playoffs (or were until they decided games didn’t matter at the very end)

      1. I’m worried that the Halladay we’ll see next year won’t be the one we want to remember. Its hard for me to believe that without surgery he’ll be able to put the pain that kept him from releasing the ball in the same spot he used to out of his mind. What’s the over/under on Halladay starts and wins next year? I have more confidence that Worley will come back healthy, and in shape hopefully, than I do about Doc. I certainly hope he proves me wrong but I expect Cloyd and maybe even Pettibone to make some starts next year.

        1. He flashed the old Halladay a couple of times at the end of the season. I don’t expect an ace back, but can he be a low end #2, I would put the starts at over/under 28, I am not going to guess the wins but I would say ERA at 3.15 or so. The big adjustment is that he is going to be a 7 inning pitcher and not a 8-9 inning guy, but I trust him to at least make the adjustments if the stuff isn’t there.

        2. I have a problem with this line of thinking. Other than his subpar performance last year, how do you know that surgery is the end all be all for whatever ails Doc?

          1. My opinion only: I think he did poorly last year because he had to move his release point and he never had good movement on the ball from his new release point. Then he started to change the release point depending on the pitch to get more movement, but that’s easy for the hitter to pick up on. There’s only one reason that a veteran guy moves his release point and that’s because it hurts. In his few good starts at the end of the year, he reverted to his old release point which didn’t hurt as much after he rested for a few months. I’m worried that he won’t be able to make the pain go away for an entire season with offseason exercises and weight training.

    2. Notice the shift here – really, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but it drives me crazy and proves my point. Three players “perform below career averages” .. true enough. And then – wait, what? That performance is equated to … not “lead[ing] by example.” Where’s the logic? Where’s the link? How does that even make any sense? Lee went into a “funk?” Well, he missed a little time from his own injury, of course, but really his “funk’ was mostly the team not scoring runs for him.

      And “pretty good shape until Halladay went down.” True enough, and testament to the team, initially coming up huge despite a ton of injuries. And then Halladay goes down. Darn him, what horrible leadership skills, going down just when the team needed him most. Way to go, that lazy bum. Going on the DL with his “injury” just when the team needed him most.

  42. I’m wondering if the Phils should kick the tires on Jacoby Ellsbury as their center field fix for 2013. He becomes a free agent after this year and will earn slightly north of $ 8 M this season, through arbitration following an injury-filled 2012. He looks much better as an option than Michael Bourn who is also a left handed bat. To me Ellsbury would also shut the door on Josh Hamilton in Philly and turn attention to a right handed bat (Ross, Swisher, Cabrera) for a corner outfield slot, none of whom costs the Phils their first round pick in the amateur draft..

    I think Boston will listen to offers on Ellsbury since, as a Boras client, they don’t seem optimistic that they can re-sign him. I don’t see Ellsbury as a rental but he could be a challenge to re-sign if he reverts to 2011 form. But if he did that, I would rather sign him than worry about Josh Hamilton through a 4-6 year contract.

    Having donned my flak jacket (that protects against anything short of mortar rounds) I’ll put out this proposal without first having looked seriously at Bosox needs (they only have a handful of guys signed for 2013 so it’s a hard team to sort out).

    to the Phils: Ellsbury

    to Boston: Domonic Brown, Adam Morgan and Sebastian Valle

    1. Firstly, I seriously doubt that a package headlining Morgan (and let’s be serious here, that’s who they’d be most interested of the three) gets a player even 1/4 as good as Ellsbury. Secondly, I thought Swisher DOES cost us our pick?

      1. Yeah Swisher costs the pick, from rumors it looks like the cost (in what teams are willing to give for him) for Ellsbury actually isn’t that high because he is a pure rental (and he is more fragile than Hamilton). That hurts his trade market because it makes Boston less likely to move him

    2. Not that bad a trade, actually more than I would feel comfortable giving up for an injury prone player on the last year of his contract (I am really high on Morgan and might have him ahead of the May/Martin pairing). I brought up Ellsbury back in September but back off quickly when it looked like Boston had no interest in moving him. It does make the team very left handed, by moving Brown you have put yourself in a corner where you must get a corner OF (Hunter and now Cabrera are off the market so that isn’t good).

      The Sox need OFs and pitching, plus a good hitting 1B (and no to anyone with ideas, they aren’t taking Howard unless the Phillies pay the whole contract)

      1. Boston has more money than the Phils. What does it say if they would consider trading him? To me, it would say he’s too brittle. I don’t want another guy who will spend half the year on the DL.

    3. One problem is that as a Boras guy he’ll almost definitely hit free agency next year, so that may be a little much to give up on a guy who’s essentially a one year rental even if the Phillies do decide to sign him at the market rate next offseason. Maybe I’m overvaluing Brown and Morgan but I’d like to stay younger and cheaper.

      1. Ellsbury is not a lock to remain healthy but then again the guys coming through free agency come with risk of their own. Ellsbury dislocated a shoulder on his non-throwing arm running into a wall. (Sounds like a hustle play to me but we know hustle is overrated). It’s not a chronic deteriorating condition like Utley’s knees.

        You get B.J. Upton continuing to see his OBA continue to decline or he takes a fan comment in the wrong way and you’re sitting on a 4 year contract you get to hate along with the Howard contract. Ellsbury is 28 so if he has the kind of year one would hope you’re paying for his 28-32 yo seasons and not his 32-36/7 seasons as with a guy like Hamilton.

        The Phils will be shopping for veteran outfielders. Going younger and cheaper is great but but it’s incompatible with shopping in the free agent market.

        1. The bottom line is that he is a one year rental. With some players you might assume that having him on the team would increase the chances of signing him long term, but the fact that he picked Boras means he almost certainly will hit the FA market.

          One thing in common that any move by the Phillies as things stand now should have is that it should be calculated to at least be a “break even” type move in the medium to long term (if not actually helping the team in the long term). A one year rental for a player for whom the team will need to trade real assets is simply not something that the team should even consider.

          As for the “hustle” comment, yeah, it sure does look like a hustle play. Yet another reasons why hustle is over rated.

  43. Okay, neglecting work big time, but …

    SSS caveats assumed. It was June when the team’s season went south. Looking at June splits, almost without exception the hitters who the team was counting on played well. My comment above about only Rollins playing well was a little unfair to other players. But, because of injuries, the following players all had between 39 and 87 PA: Fontenot, Martinez, Luna, Wiggington. And they were all terrible

    The pitching side of the equation was a little different, injuries still a big problem but some non-injured players not performing either. IMO it was a SS issue. But here’s the thing: none of this fits the narrative of the team not doing the “little things” right. Lee IMO pitched well but had horrible luck, both in terms of BIP luck and run support. But even if you don’t buy that explanation, it’s not at all a case of not doing the “little things” right. Kendrick pitched poorly before righting his season int he second half (and of course would not have been pitching but for the injuries). Cole Hamels had a couple bad starts. And so on.

    One month does not a season make, but the story of June is a story of injuries and a few SSS poor pitching performances. And but for that month, the team would have been in the playoff hunt till the end.

  44. Just saw Cabrera signed for 2 years in Toronto. Wish Phils had made that offer. Phils sign Cody Ross, Youkilis and trade for Ellsbury and we can be Red Sox South. Howard is ours to keep. I think Ellsbury can be had. Red Sox were not all in on Reyes and Johnson early in that trade negotiation. So B.J. Upton for 4 years or Ellsbury for a minimum of 1. I know which one I like.

    1. Would we be interested in Rajai Davis as a cheap alternative? He’s an extra man in Toronto now. Maybe they’ll trade Gose back…..

      1. Wouldn’t trade anything for Davis. There is speculation he will be non-tendered (he makes over $2 M) in which case he’d become a free agent and not a cheap one at that.

    2. Ah . . . . my first example of a team getting a really good deal – just as I predicted. Chances are that Cabrera will outperform his contract and will likely far outperform the deal. What this means to me is that the Phillies completely passed on him or really low balled him (probably the former). I would have signed him to this contract in a minute.

    3. I could see Phillies making a big push to get Gose back. Maybe something like Worley + a prospect (Valle?) gets it done?

      1. With the contact issues that he has shown on the major league level Worley may be enough. Gose has some major warts and may need a whole other in the minors to work it all out.

    4. Which Melky Cabrera do you get? The one with a career average around .270 with little power before the last two years or the PED enhanced version that hit over .300 with power? I am surprised he got that much from the Blue Jays who are taking a big gamble with him.

    1. Valle has little value right now, Worley has good value. he is an established major league #4 starter under control for the next four years. If he counted the same as a prospect right now he would be Top 5 based on the fact that he has actually proven he can do it.

  45. I’d like to weight in on the Span – Upton debate with some numbers (even if it is a bit late);

    Age
    Span 2/27/84 v. Upton 8/21/84 so Span is 6 months older.

    Hitting
    Span Career OBP = .357; Career OPS = .746
    Upton Career OBP = .336; Career OPS = .758

    Span RC / game: career = 5.2 and 2012 = 4.9 — wRC+ 1.05
    Upton RC / game: career = 4.9 and 2012 = 4.5 — wRC+ 1.07
    Is Upton a decisive winner (keeping in mind some of those numbers are not park adjusted, which penalizes Span)?

    Defense
    Span UZR (2010, 2011, 2012) = 17.6, 9.6, 6.1 — RF/G 2.89 v 2.58 league avg.
    Upton UZR (2010, 2011, 2012) = 1.9, 1.6, -3.2 — RF/G 2.11 v 2.58 league avg.

    Span dWar(2010, 2011, 2012) = -0.1, 1.1, 2.4
    Upton dWar(2010, 2011, 2012) = -1.6, -0.4, -0.2
    Span outclasses Upton

    Value
    Span WAR (2010, 2011, 2012) = 1.5, 2.3, 4.8
    Upton WAR (2010, 2011, 2012) = 1.0, 2.8, 2.6
    Span wins here as well (got to like the trend).

    Cost
    Span 3 / 20.25 plus ??? Worley and a top 10 prospect?
    Upton 5 / 70 likely (my guess is 5 / 80 with Phillies) plus forfeit of first round pick
    So a < $7MM AAV for Span v. $14+MM AAV for Upton

    It seems to me that overall, the numbers clearly favor Span.

    1. You’re cherry picking some of this, mainly by leaving out a couple of positives for Upton (his large edge in power, his slight edge as a base runner, and you throw out his first 3 seasons). Fangraph’s WAR is also a lot kinder to Upton and a little less kind to Span. I could go on; I think Upton overall is at least as good as Span, probably better. Of course that doesn’t end the discussion.

      That aside, I’ve said all along that there are circumstances where I’d prefer Span. I will say this much: just weighing Worley and a top 10 prospect (I think perhaps it might need to be top 5) against the draft pick, that’s a significant edge to Upton over Span. Does the better contract outweigh that? What if it takes Worley and Biddle?

      Do we know for sure that Span is even available?

      1. One but not the only way to look at this:

        Phillies have what, 4 more years of team control on Worley? In an injury marred 2012, he had 1.9 fWAR. Assume 2 WAR per year for 4 years = 8 WAR, conservative low range estimate of his value. 40 million (8×5 million) minus (say) 15 million contract value over the next 4 years (could be more but only if he produces more) = 25 million dollar excess value, which makes up for the difference between the Span and Upton contract (on an AAV basis; obviously the total Upton contract is larger, but – again using your hypo – you get 2 more years of team control.

        So very, very roughly, a conservative take on Worley makes up for the difference in contract value. I’d say a prospect in the 5-10 range probably is a wash compared to the draft pick, whereas a top 5 prospect is more valuable than the pick.

        Which is a long winded way of saying that, under your hypo, it’s a close call, maybe a slight edge to Upton. If Span is more expensive and Upton cheaper than your hypo, the edge goes clearly to Upton.

      2. Larry – I wasn’t trying to be misleading by choosing the previous 3 years, which I did with the defensive stats and WAR. I tend to believe that time frame might be more representative as to what to expect over the next couple of seasons. And with you in mind, I included wRC+, (which favors Upton).

        As for Span’s availability, there have been reports since last season’s trade deadline that the Twins would listen to trade talk involving Span. How motivated they are …. ?

        If it came down to giving up both Worley and Biddle – then no, I’d walk away from that trade. In fact, I’d probably walk away from a Worley – Martin deal, but would go with anyone else in the top 10 as listed on the phillies.mlb.com site.

        As for power, of course there is no contest there but I’d rather that they try to pick up pop at a corner spot. FWIW, Bowden at ESPN predicts a 3 / 33 contract for Swisher, which seems low to me in both years and $$$. I am not going to pretend that I know how to value player contracts but I thought maybe 4 / 55. However, if Bowden is in the ballpark, then my OF of choice would be Brown – Span – Swisher or Brown / Ruf platoon – Span – Swisher.

          1. I don’t agree. You either have to look at the package Upton – Swisher v. Span – Swisher or at least charge half the cost of the lost pick to Upton if you are going to compare Span v. Upton. I will admit to a personal bias (if interested see my comment below posted at 2:12 pm) that makes me favor Span – Swisher.

    2. Finally someone breaks it down by the numbers. Thank you. And to add further:
      Span……….284/.357/.389/.746
      BJ Upton….255/.336/.422/.758
      ………….BJ’s one distinct advantage…power and a righty.

  46. span is left handed right? and has no power? why keep harping on this guy,he isnt the answer unless you can get a power hitting left fielder or thirdbasemen.and worley isnt really someone teams would want, he was hurt, you are trying to get rid of our junk for better players, and we dont really have any top ten positon players, unless you want to count joseph who cant hit.

    1. I disagree regarding Worley – even coming off an injury, I believe that Worley plus a top pick gets the conversation started with Terry Ryan, who is looking for pitching. Although Span is LH, he does not have a meaningful platoon split. But I agree with you that they cannot bring in Span alone. If Swisher could be had for what ESPN’s Bowden predicts, I’d look to bring him in for RF. And while he has limited popularity here, I would consider Youkilis at 2 / 16 to be my third baseman.

      1. But if we sign Swisher anyways, why not just sign Upton? Span’s main advantage over Upton is that he won’t cost us the #16 pick, but if we sign Swisher too then we are giving up Worley+Prospect+cash+#16 pick, as opposed to just cash and the pick.

    2. He gives you another option at lead off for the fans who aren’t fans of Jimmy Rollins batting first.

  47. From Rumors
    “Also from Rosenthal, the Marlins made verbal promises to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle that neither would be traded when Miami was courting the two as free agents last winter. The promises were made in place of formal no-trade clauses, which the Marlins don’t hand out as a matter of club policy. Reyes and Buehrle, of course, were traded to the Blue Jays on Tuesday as part of the big 12-player deal that has yet to be officially confirmed by the league.”
    Marlins front office not just bad for baseball but dishonest people at best

  48. Angel Pagan could sign before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Pagan’s suitors include “many of the same clubs” who are interested in fellow free agent B.J. Upton, a market that includes the Phillies, Braves and Nationals. The Giants are also in the mix to bring Pagan back to San Francisco.

  49. After the Phillies disappointing post-season loss in 2011, there was an article posted on Oct. 11, 2011 titled, “Amaro says Phils have championship lineup,” in which RAJ, influenced by the performance of the Cardinal’s line-up, states the Phillies needs going forward to be “…better at-bats, being better with two strikes, being better situational hitters.” One year later, according to the Oct. 15, 2012 article, “Phils looking to add pop in Cardinals’ model,” the focus is OPS.

    Setting aside the unproductive (dangerous?) comparisons to another team, I have to exercise restraint to keep from accusing the FO of suffering from one or more of the many flavors of schizophrenia. However, in light of those articles, ask yourself which free agents or other potentially available players best embody the characteristics that the organization claims to value. Does Upton? Does Span? Does Youkilis? Does …

    My point is that the FO should reconsider making statements about the type of player that they value if they intend to bring in people that do not fit their mold.

    1. Good point. A high obp leadoff guy, who can play CF or 3B would be ideal. Or a RH with power and decent obp at 3B or any OF position. Let’s see whom they get.

  50. Lance Berkman in the outfield? Not great fielding I know, but its a low risk high reward deal here. Could sign him cheap and have him hit 30HRs, which is what this team needs. Also he isn’t a lefty. 1 or 2 year deal.

    1. Berkman is 36 with knee issues. There are doubts, seemingly in his mind and elsewhere whether he can play the field including !B with its fewer physical demands than the OF. The Astros seemingly stands at the front of the line with some thought of using him as a DH. Berkman has indicated that he wants to be paid what he’s worth so no hometrown discount for the ‘stros. As a switch hitter, he might be seen as a more useful bat off the bench than Thome was in 2012 but I would be surprised to see the Phils getting involved in negotiation. If Berkman has any thought of going for another ring, a team might consider picking him up at he trade deadline.

  51. according to mlbtraderumors Juan Pierre signs with the Marlins one year 1.6 million will be their leadoff hitter

    1. If the Phils did anything right last year it was to bat Juan second with stunning success (.339).Of cource the idiot Marlins want him to leadoff.
      INCREDIBLE. What would we without them.

  52. From Bob Brokkover: The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series after hitting 103 home runs, the lowest total in the majors during the regular season. The last team to make the World Series after hitting the fewest home runs in baseball was the 1987 St. Louis Cardinals. They hit 94. The last team to win it with the fewest home runs was the 1982 Cardinals, who hit 67, which was six fewer than Barry Bonds hit for the Giants in 2001, when his substance-aided achievement likely soiled the record books forever.

  53. per mlbtraderumors

    The Royals are listening to offers for Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and even Wil Myers.

    The Royals have been pretty inconsistent with the track of their franchise the last couple of years. Would LOVE to see them kick the tires on Moustakas or Gordon. Both guys have warts, but for the right price….they could really help the Phils get back on top of the division AND give some stability to the left side of the diamond. I’d absolutely use Ruf as a chip for either guy.

    1. This is a situation where the Phillies just don’t have the pieces to match up for a trade. The Royals want big league impact pitching, not prospect castoffs (the usual suspects Brown, Ruf, Valle, May, and the other names that come up in every fake trade here). It would take moving Biddle and Morgan and one of the RHP to even get them talking. The players they covet are Hellickson and Moore of the Ray, and Paxton of the Mariners, the Phillies don’t have anyone on that level. It would take the parting with Lee or Hamels and the Royals being ok with the salary to make any of these trades think about working (Worley or Kendrick is not the type of pitcher they are looking for).

    2. Everyone in their right mind would use Ruf as a trade chip for either guy. Agree with MattWinks we don’t have the pieces.

        1. There is slightly more flexibility but that doesn’t take him to a whole other level. If he is playing DH he has to absolutely mash to have value (it has to be plus plus power and plus contact or walk rate). The two best full time DHs are likely David Ortiz and Billy Butler and their seasons were identical 2.9 WAR, and that is elite production at the position. What I am saying is even if Ruf puts up his AA stat line in the majors next year he is at most a 3 WAR player. Sure there is somewhere else to play him but that doesn’t make him a better or more desirable player.

          1. ‘Sure there is somewhere else to play him but that doesn’t make him a better or more desirable player’, who said desirable! More flexibility.

      1. The elephant in the room is that, whether you think it fair or not, Ruf is not regarded generally as a prospect. If you believe the hype, the last thing you would want to do is include him in a package.

        More to the point, if the Royals were to trade one of those guys they would, as others have noted, need a ton in return, and specifically major league ready starting pitching. Ruf as a player who is thrown in in addition to Biddle, Worley, and a high upside player from lower in the system – well, that still won’t get it done, not even close, but at least that’s the configuration of the kind of trade that might at least be laughed at.

  54. Buehrle’s deal; Cant understand that contract. back loaded . the marlins like to back load contracts. they try a guy if he doesnt work out they trade him. smart .I would never pay buehrie that much money for next 3 years. nuts he isnt worth it/ imo,

  55. So much of what we all read on MLB Traderumors is floated by agents who are trying to build up demand for their clients. Example: Do I think the Phillies called and checked in on Berkman? Yes, I’m sure they called the agent for every single free agent as part of their due diligence. Do I think it went anywhere from there? No, I don’t. However, the Phillies, like the Red Sox and Yankees and now the Dodgers, are a team with money who have shown that they’ll spend it. Agents often include their names to try and show that their player is wanted by the big spenders in an effort to raise the price to keep said player away from the big spenders. Most of the teams don’t say a word to the press during this process unless they’re trying to show their fans that they’re trying, which usually doesn’t result in a signing. As for the Phils, all we know for sure is that they met with Upton last week and that Upton is still meeting with prospective teams. Any numbers floating around are guesses by reporters and posturing by agents, who don’t want their names attached to anything. Its an interestng business. They try to create a market and then they try to satisfy the market they just created.

    1. I agree 100% and based on that what I find interesting right now is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for Bourn and that the union is crying collusion again. It’s a funny dichotomy: The players agent leaks his demands and then the union gets upset when the residing team says we’re not in on said player at that amount.

      Classic case of them wanting to have their cake and eat it too!

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