General Discussion – Week of December 17 – “The Future Is Now” Edition

Remember in 1994, Upper Deck came up with a “The Future is Now Twenty-X Years Old” collection.  It was like Mike Piazza Future is Now 24 Years Old or Ken Griffey Jr. Future is Now 23 Years Old or whatever.  And it was just extra filler cards of nice young MLBers that you waded through in the hopes of getting a Michael Jordan?  This is kind of like that, except The Future Is Now us talking about stuff we would have talked about anyway and the title of the post is December 17, which is in THE FUTURE!!!  And what you’re really hoping for is the BA Org Top Ten on Monday and a reasonable contract for Nick Swisher.

Enjoy!

600 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of December 17 – “The Future Is Now” Edition

  1. Organizational top 10: Uneducated guess

    01. Biddle
    02. Joseph
    03. Quinn
    04. Franco
    05. Asche
    06. Morgan
    07. Tocci
    08. Pettibone
    09. E Martin
    10. L Greene

    11. Valle, 12. S Watson

    The trading of Trevor May makes the top 10 order a little easier to rank.

    1. I have it as Biddle, Quinn, Morgan, Joseph, Asche, Pettibone, Franco, Martin, Ruf, Aumont. No way Tocci is top 10. Always an interesting discussion.

      1. Totally disagree that Tocci isn’t top 10 in the system. Im very convinced of the top 8. Thought about Aumont in the top 10. You may be right about him.

      2. I have it like this – for the moment, anyway, with a couple notes:
        1. Biddle
        2. Joseph (seems like he’ll stick at catcher, and he has power in there somewhere)
        3. Morgan
        4. Quinn
        5. Watson (He was seen as a steal in the draft)
        6. Franco (2nd half really pushed him up the list)
        7. Pettibone
        8. Martin
        9. Tocci (question mark if he can ever develop power)
        10. Aumont, (if we’re counting him, which I haven’t looked up yet)
        11. Asche

        I try to go with the “would you trade x for y right now” when evaluating prospects, and so Watson gets a pass. He’s not tradeable until June or July, so I don’t have to consider if I’d take Martin or Franco or Pettibone for Watson. Ask me again at the ASB.

        1. If we’re doing Top 10s this is a rough one from me.

          1. Biddle
          2. Franco (Bit of a stretch but I like him better than Joseph and think he ends up better than Asche)
          3. Morgan
          4. Joseph
          5. Asche
          6. Quinn (Perhaps the most potential but he’s still so far away)
          7. Martin
          8. Pettibone ( Less upside, concerning amount of walks in AAA)
          9. Wright ( He seems to be getting overlooked but he looks to be very solid to me so far)
          10. Aumont/Tocci/LGJ Take your pick, Aumont can be good relief piece other 2 are far away but promising

      3. I don’t know where they belong relative to everybody else but I thin Ruf has to be ahead of Asche based on upside (Ruf has a plus power tool), what they did last year in the minors, and proximity.

        1. it’s interesting that more people haven’t made this point. I don’t agree, because of my scepticism about Ruf’s defense, but IF you think that Ruf can be an adequate defender in left field, then this is a sensible perspective.

          That said, I’d push back just a little aside from the defense issue. I think the age factor comes in here (Ruf more of a finished product, whereas Asche has more room to grow), and third base is much tougher to fill than corner outfield (and has much lower requirements in terms of offiense). That said, if I were less sceptical about Ruf’s defense,he would be in my top ten.

          1. That is an interesting take, Larry, So you don’t have questions about Asche’s defense and ability to stay at third? I would say that those questions are at least as strong as those about Ruf”s in Left. The difference is that the bar is much lower for left, Asche’s bat doesn’t play in left if he doesn’t stick at third, and by most accounts Ruf was a good fielding firstbaseman.

            1. Okay … first of all, Ruf being a good defensive first baseman is not relevant. The question is how he will do in the outfield. Different skill set.

              I think the easiest way to break this down is to start with talking about tools. As I understand it, Asche simply has better defensive tools (as a third baseman) than Ruf (as a corner outfielder). Even if one thinks that Asche currently is as problematic at third as Ruf is in the outfield (and as best as I can figure, that isn’t quite true, Asche is better even now, but I could be wrong), if you combine tools and the age difference – Asche simply has more liklihood of growth, given his age and tools, than does Ruf.

              Another way to look at it – perhaps a different way of stating the same thing – is that Asche has at least another year to work on his defense – in 2014 he’ll be only 24; heck, as a rookie in 2015, he would STILL be almost 2 years younger than Ruf will be in 2013. For Ruf, OTOH, it’s pretty much now or never. And I just don’t buy this magical defensive transformation over the winter. He has 45 career games TOTAL in the outfield in the Phillies’ system.

            2. Looking at the scouting reports at the top of the page, as a left fielder Ruf is assigned a 30 now, 40 potential, in terms of left field defense. Asche is 40 now, 60 potential at third. That’s one man’s informed opinion, but IMO sounds about right from what I have been hearing (I admit for this issue this is all second hand, aside from some direct observation of Ruf).

              If you want a nutshell explanation of why Asche rates higher, that, plus position, plus age (4 years younger), is the answer. Though as I said, IF you disagree with the fielding assessment, I can at least see why someone might think that Ruf’s power potential and proximity trumps the age and positional differences.

            3. The reason why I brought up Ruf as a firstbaseman is to suggest that he still has value if he can hit major league pitching but can’t play acceptable defense in left. That value may not be with us as he is blocked but maybe it will be given the uncertainty of Howard’s health. Asche, on the other hand, is pretty much thirdbase or bust at this point. Additionally, what constitutes acceptable defense at left field is much lower than for thirdbase (though we may see a new low bar set for third this year). I have seen names like Willingham, Cuddyer and others thrown around on these boards as desirable even though they are a -1 to -2 dWAR.

              I agree with you that the more important part is that Asche is younger and has more room for growth. But in the post I responded to you said that you had reservations about Ruf’s defense but you made no reference to reservations about Asche’s defense.

            4. In the abstract you make a good point about Ruf and first base; as a practical matter, I think that that potential (absent an injury to Howard) is unlikely to be realized. For Ruf as well, fairly or not (I’ve said for a long time I like him as a first baseman), he is as much “left field or bust” as Asche is “thrid base or bust.”

            5. What the big league club has does not affect a prospect’s value in my opinion. Ruf could get traded and play 1B elsewhere. Howard could get traded or get hurt. I think that right now Ruf is a better 1B prospect than Asche is a 3B prospect. That Ruf might also be able to play LF is just 1 more plus in Ruf’s favor. Nobody in the history of professional baseball every hit more than 20 home runs in a month. Ruf is tied with Sammy Sosa in that. I’m impressed. That along with leading 2012 professional baseball with 52 homers tells me Ruf’s power tool is 80, and I love that.

    2. A very interesting list, Asche is way too high on that list as is Valle, I would personally have Martin higher, but otherwise it looks like it makes sense. Baseball America releases their Phillies Top 10 on Monday so you can see what they are thinking then

      1. Even the Phils think Asche will be the starting 3B next year and refused to block him. That’s not worth the 5th spot to you? We’ll have to disagree….

        1. +1 … He’s producing at every level and looks as if he could hold down 3B as an everyday player for a big league ballclub.

        2. I can give you a hint (I have seen most of the BA list), Asche is not a Top 10 prospect in the system (I personally have him 10 right now with Tocci 10 and I can argue that Gueller at 11 should be over him). Compare Asche to Pettibone, which is a more valuable piece, every talent evaluator will tell you Pettibone because he could be a middle rotation starter and has a floor of a back of a rotation guy. Compare that to Asche whose ceiling is second division regular and his floor is possible bench guy.

          1. Asche’s ceiling is as a 320 hitter with 15 homers plus he’s a real dirtball player (which is a compliment). That is hardly a 2nd division regular especially with the poor quality of 3B around baseball right now. BA loves high draft choices and guys that have performed well for 2 years or more and I get that. They’re big on superstar potential rather than solid star potential with higher liklihood. If Asche has another good year, as I certainly hope and expect he will, he’ll be on their list next year as he gets ready to start in Philly.

            1. That is a really optimistic view point on Asche, I would say .300 is really optimistic and 15 HRs is a little more reasonable but still optimistic, while there have been some good reports on the defense it would be a stretch to project anything above average there (that player btw is Chris Johnson who I have been comping Asche to for some time now and is a 2WAR player on a good year). Your logic with ripping BA breaks down when you compare Asche with fellow 2011 draftee Adam Morgan who has gotten praise from scouts and prospect websites alike.

          2. See, that “ceiling is a second division regular” is part of what I don’t get. I think Murray is way optimistic on his ceiling, but let’s take anon’s more reasonable ceiling below – that plus decent (even a hair below average) defense at third – that’s not a second division regular. You can’t win with a whole team of those guys, but every playoff team has guys like that (or worse) at 2 to 5 positions. You surround a bunch of guys like that with 3 to 5 stars and you’re a playoff team.

          3. “Compare that to Asche whose ceiling is second division regular” – His ceiling? A 2nd division regular? The confidence, or arrogance, of your predictions are becoming comical.

            His ‘ceiling’ is a MVP contender? Why you ask? Because no one knows for certain how he will develop. How many real life examples do you so called ‘know-it-alls’ need to see before realizing that prospecting is far from an absolute science even when predicting the optimistic side. It’s not the fact that you feel Asche is a second division regular that irks me so, it’s the conviction of your predictions. As if another poster’s prediction of the future performance of a minor leaguer can somehow be wrong due to their lack of your superior enlightenment. You and the other guy make me laugh but at least he’s just another poster. Need to get off your soapbox son

            1. Uncalled for Steve.

              Your tone aside, while I agree that Matt is slightly understating his ceiling*, the term, as commonly used in baseball when rating prospects – whether the person doing the rating is a traditionalist or a modern stats guy -does not mean absolutely the best possible result if lightning strikes. It means this: assuming that a player develops his tools to the max, and progresses from level to level in a consitent manner, what is he reasonably likely to achieve? Now, most players don’t reach that ceiling. Some do. A very few excede it. But if we used ceiling in the sense that you mean it – and we don’t – the term would lose all meaning, because yes, most players who have the ability to be solid regulars in the major leagues do have SOME chance to become MVPs. Not much chance in most cases, but a chance.

              But it is not arrogance to use ceiling the way Matt is using it. Or if it is, trying to project the performance of a major league prospect is an inherently arrogant activity. Now, maybe some of you think that we shouldn’t do that. Treat prospects the way they treat certain elementary school kids – every kid gets a trophy! Pretend that every one of our prospects is a pontential star. But if that’s your point of view, this likely isn’t the site for you.

              *Asche is a guy who, gven his current trajectory and assuming continued marginal development in skills set, has a ceiling IMO of a solid regular third baseman for ANY team, even a contender. Anything more than that will require an unusual development pattern – a dramatic increase (not just marginal) in his plate discipline, contact rate, power or some combination thereof. But even that ceiling has a lot of value, and IMO his chance of reaching that ceiling is high. So I value him a bit higher than does Matt and the vast majority of national level experts and scouts.

            2. Just to elaborate a little further; Asche really lacks an above average tool, except arguably the hit tool. As a guy with apparently a good line drive swing but only decent contact rate, it’s probably not a LOT above average. His other tools, though, look a tad below average, speed especially, Not WAY below average, but a tad. Putting all that together, and considering his position, that looks to me like a ceiling of a solid major league regular. People talk about his work ethic; I always take those reports with at least a grain of salt, but assuming that they are correct, most likely that means he is more likely to reach his ceiling – it doesn’t mean his ceiling is higher than his tools would indicate.

            3. And Larry by ceiling are you referring to his most likely outcome or an actual limit that he will reach. Because when I read both your and Matt’s descriptions of Asche I get the sense you are really talking about the most likely outcome of his career. Which inherently leaves the possibility of exceeding the most likely outcome. It just gets increasingly smaller as they move through the system.

            4. Ceiling is slightly above the most likely outcome. As Larry said it is the reasonable projection considering everything goes right developmentally. As a player progress both to the majors and during their first few years the ceiling and the floor close in around the outcome. Players can exceed their ceiling but it involves showing a skill that they previously did not show, for example Adam Morgan’s ceiling went for a #4 starter to a #3 with the possibility for more because his stuff all ticked up in velocity when he transitioned from amateur to pro-ball. For example, for Asche to exceed his ceiling he would need to improve dramatically on defense (and become a plus or better defender) or begin to show plus raw power, both skills you cannot reasonably project on him at this time without taking some large improbable leaps of faith. When I grade a player I give a future projection, which is their ceiling, and a risk of getting to it. The difference I see for example on Asche is high have as a 50 player with medium to low risk, his supporters see him more as a 55 type player but there has to be more risk there because they are projecting him to perform at a level that is less likely (I don’t actually think people are that far apart on many things)

            5. Larry are you getting paid by some idiot, by the word. Jesus I skip your responces and I still can’t stand them, because , they are so long.

            6. You’re missing my point Larry. It’s not the low-sided prediction that’s troubling, it’s the inference that someone else’s opinion is somehow incorrect. This is no longer a place of shared opinions or even counter-arguments, but instead has evolved to a place where one or two posters explain to others how they are somehow wrong in their assessments. I could point to a number of examples from recent ‘discussions’ on free-agent predictions where in spite of the certainty that other posters were wrong, the outcome actually proved otherwise.

              It’s ironic that you call out my ‘tone’ as being uncalled for, and perhaps in itself I would not disagree. But it is precisely the tone of a few posters that led to my post in the first place. I would think that being proven wrong on so many occasions would lead one to temper their future posts. But being wrong somehow has no effect on these posters who clearly suffer from an extreme case of illusory superiority.

              Now please enlighten me as to how I’m the one who’s missing my own point.

            7. No Steve, I’m not missing your point at all. I’m saying your point is wrong. And maybe nasty and right is bad, but nasty and wrong is worse. You’re absurdly wrong about Matt, who goes out of his way to be civil and is not remotely arrogant. You’re also IMO largely wrong about me, though that’s a fraught issue (because on some points I CAN be, IMO justifiably, arrogant), and besides, this isn’t about me, it’s about you and Matt.

              You want to know true arrogance? It isn’t guys like me, who have the weight of both the scouting wisdom and modern statistical analysis behind them. It’s the people on the site who dismiss the scouting reprorts, dismiss the expert consensus, dismiss advanced statistical analysis, ridicule those who rely upon those things, and instead rely 80% on crude, context free raw statastics and 20% on supperficial “hustle” and “productive outs” and all of that happy horse sh*t. Matt has the patience of Job with those people; I don’t. If that makes me arrogant, so be it. But the notion of MATT as arrogant is absurd.

              As for “being wrong somehow has no effect on these posters who clearly suffer from an extreme case of illusory superiority,” that is a fine point but not in the way you think. There is a core of about a dozen or so commenters – Matt and I included, but by no means do all of these posters have the same way of evaluating players, some are more traditionally oriented, I’d even put a guy like Murray in this group despite many disagreements, supra, catch, VOR, and so on, there are others – who tend to be right much more often than not. I’m being modest; our percentage is better than that. Heck, even the other, obnoxious Matt makes sense at times. And then there are a group of people who decide that Rizzotti or Mitchell or … I could go on, the prospect flavor of the month – is the next awesome Phillies prospect. And they are wrong, time after time. And never acknowledge it.

            8. “You want to know true arrogance? It isn’t guys like me, who have the weight of both the scouting wisdom . . . .”

              You’ve sealed my point Larry. What you fail to comprehend is the true purpose of this website. First and foremost, this is a public forum for discussion about Phillies minor leaguers. Secondly, it’s a resource, still one of the best around I might add, for on-goings down on the Pharm. Your posts dominate the content because you feel your words are more valuable or truthful than the words of others, and that you have been selected by some higher power to correct the wrong-doings of others. It must be nice to walk around with such a sense of accomplishment and entitlement. You would make Dunning and Krueger proud.

              And when I stop to make a point about the condescending tone of certain posters, or to point out that the opinion of another when foretelling the future can hardly be ‘wrong’,,,, what is your response?

              “I’m not missing your point at all. I’m saying your point is wrong”.

              Enough said. My advice? Start a blog

            9. I couldn’t agree more. The result of every move, every signing, the fate of every prospect is known in advance. And if you dare criticize the crystal ball…….

            10. LarryM…I have noticed over the years, when you post after midnight you seem more ‘aggressive’ in your responses ..perhaps one to many at that point in the wee of the night.

            11. Nothing I’d take back in that comment in the light of day. Two points:

              (1) The notion that Steve seems to be pushing – that the comments section of this site should be a forum for self expression, as opposed to a forum for discussion and debate, is a noxious one that almost no one really believes (of course, if he DOESN’T really mean what he says, he is saying something even worse – that informed opinions don’t have a place on a formum for discussion and debate).

              (2) We all know that there is a contingent on this site that is at the same time ignorant and every bit as arrogant as I am (more so than Matt). I agree that calling those people out by name & engaging them in fruitless debates is a mistake – lesson learned – but when having a more general discussion, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room.

              Putting points 1 and 2 together, what it seems people like Steve want is not the quality discussion board we have here, but a typical Phillies’ fan forum, where ill informed opinions collide. No thanks. And of course the irony is that usually those types of forums often end up being LESS civil than this forum.

            12. Well said steve. That has always been my gripe with this website. You are handed a site and you are an ewpert. No prediction is wrong at this point.

      2. Valle at #11 is just giving him the benefit of the doubt. I could easily see Watson, Aumont and Ruf ahead of him. I would not put Gueller ahead of him though. I barely have him in my top 20.

        1. I am the opposite Valle is barely in my Top 20 and Gueller is right outside the Top 10. How much do we attribute to his GCL innings, would he rate higher if he didn’t pitch? First off Gueller is really raw having not played good competition and being as much a hitter as a pitcher, second it seems the Phillies only let him use the fastball in his debut, when you take that into account he compares favorably with other cold weather pitchers. He has a slightly bigger fastball than Watson, has a better feel for a changeup (the breaking ball is behind Watson), and is an ultra athletic kid who should be able to handle the starters workload and be able to hold velocity/keep his mechanics together. If you take away some GCL innings that is a Top 10 prospect hands down.

          1. I know I shouldn’t put much weight in GCL performance, but since he did pitch, I have to consider it. ERA and hits are of no concern to me, but the fact that Gueller couldn’t Strike anyone out (even with just throwing his fastball) is a red flag for me.
            Another issue is pedigree. Watson was a top 40 player by all scources. Gueller was only top 50 by ESPN and KLaw, and I believe that rating was as a position player.

            1. Actually as a pitcher KLaw had Gueller higher than Watson and at the time would have slotted him behind only Biddle in the system (keep in mind after that the team traded for Joseph and Martin, Quinn and Morgan emerged, and Franco rebounded). I bumped Gueller down some but he still had a 6.3 K/9 it was not rock bottom and it was only 27 IP which is an extremely small sample size.

        2. Just going by their their minor league numbers, Valle and Joseph are very close. They both have exactly the same career minor league OPS of 735. Valle is a year older and a level ahead of Joseph, giving him closer proximity and requiring less projecting. Both have about the same OBP and SLG. Valle is a bit better than Joseph in AVG, counteracting Joseph’s slightly better ISO and walk rate. Their K/BB ratios are very close too at 3.5 and 3.6. Defensively Joseph seems to have a better arm, with an edge of 37% to 28%, while Valle has a better Fld% 993 to 991. Valle seems a bit faster with 11 career triples and 8 SB, versus just 3 and 1, respectively, for Joseph. It seems that the scouts see Joseph as being more projectable I guess mostly due to arm strength. Last off-season I rated Valle #3, matching the readers of this site, Baseball America, John Sickels. PhoulBallz had him #2, Baseball Prospectus had him #5, and this site had him #6 perhaps foreshadowing the drop to close to 20 you are talking about. Valle last year put up a career typical 716 OPS in AA and got promoted to AAA at 21, which is very young for a AAA prospect, especially for a catcher. Why does that drop him nearly to #20? I’ll have about the same in my personal top 10 figuring Valle’s proximity counterbalances Joseph’s projectability, but putting Joseph ahead because he received more accolades in the same Eastern League

          1. The concern is that the walk rate is so low that he will be exposed on the major league level. He is a hacker and his contact ability will continue to drop as the pitches he sees get better and if his pitch selection does not improve he is unlikely to have his power or contact skills play as major league tools. The drop is because it has been another year and Valle has not improved on his weaknesses and every year older he gets makes it less likely he will make the adjustments necessary to have major league career.

          2. I think also you need to weigh recent seasons more heavily – always true in player evaluation, more true IMO for minor prospects. In the past 2 years:

            BB rate K rate
            Joseph 7.9% 23.7%
            Valle 3.3% 25.5%

            This is crucial – if Valle had been able to maintain his pre-2011 BB rate, you would have an argument (I’d still favor Josoph for a number of reasons, but it would be a close). His severe 2 year dip in BB rate, while Joseph has improved his, makes this not even particularly close. Joseph is a far better prospect at this point.

            Saying Valle is a level ahead is also gilding the lily a bit – both were in AA for the first time in 2012, and both sepent most of the season there.

          3. Good points. I have a soft spot for Valle because I’ve liked him since I first heard Assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr pronounce his name (viyay) on the radio back when we still had d’Arnaud and Marson. I like Valle’s power and hope he learns patience at the plate.

      3. How could they be too high on his own list? It’s ‘his’ list. Might not be consistent with the consensus but . . .

        1. There. That’s exactly the point where we disagree. And I’d bet that most of the people who comment on this site, INCLUDING the people who hate my guts, would disagree with you on this. More specifically, I am quite sure that the person who made the list, anon VOR, would agree with me, and not with you. He has demonstrated that he is perfectly comfortable engaging in the back and forth debates that characterize this site. When someone posts a prospect rankings list, they expect (I would hope) that post to generate discussion and debate. Matt has an opinion to the contrary. He has a right to express it.

          The irony is that Matt’s response to VOR sparked a very interesting discussion, with people (myself included) disagreeing with Matt and supporting VOR’s ranking of Asche. If you had your way, those discussions would be a thing of the past.

    3. Asche is IMO a hard guy to place. On the one hand, as I’ve said before at length I’m baffled as to how anyone could see Asche as a possible .320 guy. Depending upon whether that is supposed to be a mark he meets once in his peak season, or a mark he averages over the course of multiple years at his peak, that is about 20 to 40 points higher than I would project.

      But even assuming that .280 to .290 is more accurate, mid range power, decent but not exceptional plate discipline, decent but not exceptional defense at third base … that IMO is still a valuable player and justifies at least a number 5 ranking, given proximity and low risk (relatively, compared to players less advanced). That’s a two WAR player, an average major league regular, and being able to plug a guy like that in for several cost controlled years would be fantastic.

      So I do wonder why the national consensus seems to be so much less optimistic?

      1. From what I’ve seen, most prospect guides rate on star potential. Another bonus is if a guy has a 70+ tool in any one category. Asche has none of these things. At his peak, he is most likely a solid regular who isn’t exceptional in any one category.

        1. But no one is saying he is a top 50 prospect in baseball or the Phillies’ top prospect. The Phillies’ system is regarded as having one top 100 prospect – Biddle. If Asche isn’t a top 10 prospect in the Phillies system, he isn’t a top 300 prospect in baseball. And that seems … odd. There aren’t even close to 300 prospects in baseball with star potential/70 plus tools.

          A guy like Asche – if he really is “most likely a solid regular who isn’t exceptional in any one category” – who is close to major league ready (2014 most likely) – that’s the kind of player that should be around 4-7 on the Phillies’ list, and at least sniffing the top 100 nationally (despite the fact that only Biddle will be top 100 on national lists, I think guys like Quinn, Joseph, Morgan, Watson, Franco and, yes, Asche, are all lurking around 100 to 150).

          So it seems to me that the national judgment is either (a) that Asche isn’t the prospect that even the less enthusiastic of us think he is, (b) are wrong in their rankings, or (c) both.

          1. The thing is you are both overrating Asche and underrating the rest of the system. We can all agree Biddle is #1. Quinn and Joseph have a ton of upside (Quinn more than anyone else in the system and I think might make some Top 100 lists) regardless of their location in the system. Then you have Martin, Morgan, and Pettibone who are all at the same level as Asche or higher who profile as mid-rotation starters which are above average regulars so they all need to be in front of Asche. So now he is at his highest 7, now debate him vs Franco, Franco has better tools offensively and defensively, is two levels behind but 2 years younger. The upside to me gives it to Franco. Now you have Watson and Gueller both #2 upside pitchers who are eons away but have star tools, you win with stars not ok guys I would but Watson in front and Gueller behind based on risk and how I like the tools. So now you have pushed Asche down to #9, where you can debate him vs Tocci, Tocci profiles as a plus plus defender at a premium position, has a very advanced approach and is only 17 years old, I take the upside and I would bet most organizations would trade Asche for a player of Tocci’s upside. Now you have Asche at #10, Asche is close to what many of you think of him, but remember that just isn’t special not when compared to the guys around him, and that isn’t as much a knock on Asche as it is acknowledgement that the system is not as bad as you think.

            Frankly I would also consider the next group of Greene and Aumont ahead of him as well.

            1. I don’t agree with some of your conclusions. There’s a big difference between a #3 and a #5 starter. I don’t agree that a starting 3B is worth less than a #4 or #5 starting pitcher. I like Pettibone but I see him as a #4, Martin could be a #2 but the chances of that are much less likely imo (he has to throw strikes), Franco is 2 levels behind and we’re all excited that he just hit 270 while Asche hit 300 in AA. Arguing that Franco hit much better in the 2nd half has to be countered with the fact that Asche hit 340 after his rough two week start in AA (and hit 340 in A+ also). Watson and Gueller both have potential but I don’t see Cole Hamels in either of them. Tocci is a 17 yr old who can run fast and get his bat on the ball. Maybe he’ll become something, and I have him around 15, but top 10 seems very optimistic to me. Next, you’ll want to include Pujuls, the 16 yr old who hasn’t even played yet. People question Asche because he doesn’t hit homers? The Phillies are telling you what they think of the guy and I trust their opinion too. I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t hit at least 300 in AAA and maybe higher than that. Time will tell obviously but looks at our previous lists include many players that never reached that ceiling we speak of. A guy who is penciled in to start in 2014 is pretty good.

            2. Gotta say I find myself agreeing more with Murray than Matt on this one – that’s a first!

              Without getting too much into specific players, except to say I have Asche clearly behind Quinn and Biddle, a little behind Franco, and in a group with, but probably ahead of, 3 of the pitchers and Joseph, I think there are two main issues dividing us – proximity and regular versus starting pitcher.Proximity speaks for itself. As for regulars versus starting pitchers, the risk factor on pitchers is SO much higher (mainly but not just because of injuries) that (for example) a potential 2 WAR regular, all else equal, gets the easy nod over a potential 2 WAR pitcher.

              As for a guy like Tocci … the following are obviously rough estimates, but which of the following would you take:

              10% chance major league star, 30% chance solid major league regular, 20% chance major league reserve or fringe regular, 50% washout, maybe able to contribute as soon as 2017, or

              2% chance major league star, 60% chance solid major league regular, 20% chance major league reserve or fringe regular, 18% washout, able to contribute as soon as 2014.

              The latter, right? I mean, I can see the logic of preferring the former, I just don’t buy it.

            3. I generally agree with LarryM and Murray on this over MattWinks and I know the percentages are rough but I think with the questions still about his defense and power 60% major league regular is very generous I’d have his percentages more like 2%, 28%, 40%, 30% washout. I just have a problem giving anyone who isn’t of the Trout type and hasn’t performed above AA a better chance at being a regular than a washout. The baseball world is riddled with AAAA players that looked great in AA and below.

              I have another question. If Asches defense at third is a question mark, his power is fringy for a thirdbaseman, Franco in his heels, and Utley aging infront of him why isn’t there more discussion of possibly moving him back to secondbase which was his original position 2011? I know we have been spoiled by having Utley for the past decade but .285 and 15 HR is a top 5 second baseman in each league.

            4. The reason for not moving Asche to second is that it did not work defensively (the bat would definitely work there), I have seen the theory floated that the position change affected the hitting which is why he was so bad in 2011. If Asche is going anywhere it is likely LF where he should be ok defensively, but that puts a ton of pressure on the bat to perform at a high level.

            5. I don’t quite understand this because as someone who played both positions (admittedly in highschool) third seems to be a much more difficult position to play than second. The skill sets are slightly different, I suppose, since second has to be able to turn the double play. In the end I would say second takes more range but third takes a better reaction time. It’s called the hot corner for a reason.

            6. Thats it, the range needed for second to turn the double play (especially at the major league level) is the biggest factor. There have been some questions about Asche’s footwork and hands at third and it would likely be a larger problem at second base. He could play it if necessary in the same way that Wigginton has played second at times but his bat would have to be much better to compensate for the defensive issues.

          2. I feel I should point out you made the assumption that being in an organization’s top 10 automatically makes you a top 300, and being out likewise makes you out of the top 300. Depending on how deep a system is, one team could theoretically have the 11 best prospects in baseball. That would mean that their number 11 prospect is not only in the top 300, but also better than any other organization’s number 1.

            This is not to say that I think Asche is better than any other team’s #1 or that I think our system is so incredible, but just because he doesn’t crack our top 10 doesn’t mean he wouldn’t crack others, and just because he’s not in our top 10 doesn’t mean he’s outside the top 300.

        2. Well, one thing I can guarantee you. There are not currently 10 guys on the Phillies farm who will be solid major league regulars. There are guys with higher ceilings than Asche, but they are at lower levels and we know less about them. There is a value to progressing through the farm to the upper levels without crapping out due to injury or being over-faced by good competition. Hewitt can be a top 10 on potential, but Asche and Ruf can be successful big leaguers. It is the latter that counts. I think people are too optimistic on Joseph. He hasn’t shown a ton yet, although he is young.

          1. Biddle
          A significant step down to
          2. Quinn
          3. Franco
          4. Martin
          5. Asche
          6. Pettibone
          7. Joseph
          8. Morgan
          9. Tocci
          10. Ruf

          As I’ve said before — nothing against Watson and Gueller. Neither have done enough to be rated this season. I’ll do them next year.

    4. Biancs’ makes a very good point regarding the comments made about Asche’s “ceiling”. Some of the comments are rubbing some the wrong way, because it is putting arbitrary limitations on a player’s ability. I agree that these predictions should be considered “likely outcomes” if he becomes a major leaguer, not ceiling.
      I have Asche in the 5-8 range in the system, but wouldn’t argue much if someone else had him 9-10.
      I do not agree with MattW that a guy like Pettibone is clearly ahead of Asche in value. I think Pettibone’s most likely outcome is somewhere between Kyle Kendrick and Jon Garland, if he can stick. Asche’s MLO seems to be Daniel Murphy with a slightly better glove. IMO, Daniel Murphy with an average glove, is more valuable than Kendrick, and probably even Garland.
      That is my current rationale for ranking him ahead of Pettibone.

      1. I think “likely outcome” is an even more misleading term. For most prospects the likely outcome is that they won’t even make it to the big leagues. What we are talking about would be more like “most likely ceiling” and we just use ceiling because it is the jargon in the baseball scouting business.

        1. Or to put it in terms of Asche. I think his most likely outcome is fringe starter/bench player but his most likely ceiling is average starter. His true ceiling is Aramas Ramirez but that is so unlikely to not be worth discussing.

      2. VOR, “ceiling” is a term generally used in prospect evaluation, it has a reasonably specific meaning, and I think it absolutely has a valuable place in prospect evaluation. The problem arises when people think that ceiling means “absolute best possible outcome,” which is not what it means.

        On the substance of the rankings, as I think I’ve made clear, I am more in agreement with you than with Matt. Except that Valle really is too high. :)

        1. Larry – interesting comment. You say that “ceiling” does not mean “absolute best possible outcome” which is what the word “ceiling” literally implies (the top beyond which something – in this case a baseball player – cannot rise). If it does not mean the best case scenario, what does it mean? I do not mean to be contentious – I am interested because I think it helpful if we all know what the terminology means so that we are not talking past one another on this blog.

          1. As i understand the term – I said this above – and Matt agreed – though it was likely lost among other comments in the thread:

            Assuming that a player develops his current tools to the maximum and continues to progress from level to level, what is the likely outcome? That’s his “ceiling.”

            We call that “ceiling” and not “most likely outcome” because most players don’t develop their tools to the max, and many (most?) players don’t progress smoothly through the system. Most players do not reach their ceiling.

            Now, sometimes our evaluation of a player’s tools is mistaken, or they manage (often through physical development, occassionally through a truly unusual ability to adapt and grow) to enhance their tools. We say that these types of players exceed their ceilings, even though that sounds like an oxymoron.

            I said at one point that Asche’s good “make-up,” if true, is more about an increased chance of reaching the ceiling than an increased chance of exceeding his ceiling. In retrospect I may have not been entirely fair – it’s possible that Asche’s work ethic (if as good as advertised) might make him somewhat more likely to exceed his “ceiling.” Call it the Utley factor. But not IMO something you want to rely upon. It PROBABLY explains why you evaluate him a little more highly than I do.

          2. Well, Larry, Matt, and myself have stated the common usage of the scouting jargon “ceiling” several times, but I will use the one that Larry gave in one of his recent posts because it was the first that I could find,

            “given reasonable development of his current skill set, that is the best likely outcome”

            1. Most who frequent this site know what “ceiling” means. That really wasn’t the point. The point was that the literal meaning of the term bothers some, because they don’t think the commenters here know enough to put limitations on the player’s ability. When the term is used so confidently for a player that some like a lot, it is bound to spark a negative response.
              Personally, I stay away from “ceiling”, especially when throwing around the very general description of 1st division starter and 2nd division starter. I try to look at comparable players at the same stage of developement, to make my point.

  2. Quick, serious questions for fans of the “go with the young guys/stay out of the FA market” approach: assume no significant additions from outside the organization, what are your predictions for 2013 and 2014, assuming good (not perfect) health? For each season:

    (a) Where does the team rank in the NL in runs allowed;
    (b) Where does the team rank in the NL in runs scored, and
    (c) How many games does the team win?

    1. Btw, the 3rd option is to trade propsects for veterans which could also happen. The one thing that is guaranteed is that the Phils’ payroll won’t suddenly drop down with lots of cheap kids. That’s a recipe for disaster.

      1. it could. The people to whom this is mostly directed aren’t in favor of that sort of move (not that I am either, except perhaps – perhaps – for a J. Upton type player who has a decent contract and isn’t over 30. (I’m assuming that a Stanton type is unrealistic)).

    2. 2013:
      a) 6 (finished 8th last year, improved Kendrick coupled with healthy Halladay and a better bullpen gives them the 20-30 run difference to move up)
      b) 7 (finished 8th last year, full year of Howard and Utley with slight improvements in the outfield)
      c) 88

      2014 (I am assuming resigning Halladay, Utley, and Ruiz for market contracts since we aren’t filling in from outside)
      a) 4 (the back end of the rotation should be improved with the graduation of internal solutions, coupled with the maturation of the bullpen guys,and a small decline by Lee, but consistency from Hamels gives them another jump up)
      b) 7 (continued decline by current position players offset by the growth of either Revere, Ruf, Brown, or Asche)
      c) 90

      I see a team in Wild Card contention both years, an 8 win improvement is not unreasonable considering that while the team did not make any free agent improvements it also did not lose any free agents of note from a team that performed relatively well in the second half. This may seem really optimistic to you but is the external solution going to get those few wins without sacrificing 2015-2017 (you can’t do that without free agents but the next wave will have arrived and brought at least a couple solid regulars and you should have the trade pieces to work with along with two pitchers who should still be close to elite, or at least very good in Hamels and Lee)

      1. Somewhere along the line, if the team is in contention, there are going to be one or two massive acquisitions. That’s Ruben’s history, so I don’t expect that to change. I also don’t expect his history of overpaying for such a player to change.

        1. Next year the free agent market profiles to be horrible (unless you want to give Robinson Cano everything), but in 2014 there will be some big names like Verlander, Price, Shields, Felix Hernandez, Andrus, and Jordan Zimmerman all set to hit the market (plus anyone who breaks out between then and now), not all of those guys will be signed to extensions.

          1. Matt…I think what catch22 is referring to is ‘contention’ in July at the trade deadline….a trade acquisition.

      2. Obviously I am hoping for answers from those who have a different outlook than myself. :) That said, I think you’re mostly on target for 2013 – I would tend to be a little more optimistic about the pitching and less optimistic about the hitting, but 88 wins sounds about right.

        2014 … well, first of all, I’m not so sure Halladay, Utley and Ruiz come back on team friendly FA contracts. Even assuming they do, I think you’re overly optimistic, not accounting sufficiently for age related decline. But my question was more directed at the youth movement crowd. I assume (correct me if I am wrong guys) would be more likely to favor replacing those guys with Galvis/Joseph and one of the current minor league starting pitching prospects. And IMO that could well mean my projected 90 loss team.

        I will say this … assuming that you’re not going to be seriously hitting the FA market until 2014, the argument against spending this year has decreased force. By the 2015 you’re going to have significant payroll flexibility EVEN IF they had signed one or even two of the big money free agents on the market this year.

        1. The COTs site was down earlier, but now it’s up:

          For 2015, the team has 86 million committed to 4 players. That’s a lot, and those commitments range from risky to horrible, BUT the fact remains that, taking those 4 players, assuming a bunch of “internal” options for the majority of the remaining roster, we’re still talking probably 70 million to play with. So assuming we mostly abstain from the FA market next year (Matt is right that it is horrible beyond the questionable move of paying Cano 200 million dollars). We could have signed players this year with 3 to 5 year contracts at a total AAV of 30 million, and STILL had about 40 million in AAV to play with in the 2014-2015 FA market.

          All of this is rough and somewhat speculative, but reinforces what I have been saying – that we are entering an era where the Phillies have some cash to spend, and don’t do themselves any favors by not spending it.

          1. Whether you’re placing the Hamels contract in the risky or horrible range, I disagree with you. It’s risky in the sense that EVERY contract is risky, but he’s as much of a guarantee as anyone. The Hamels extension is one of the best moves RAJ has made, in my opinion, and there have been (contrary to popular belief) been a good handful of good-to-great moves by him.

            1. It’s risky in the sense that EVERY six year contract for a starting pitcher is risky.

              See what I did there?

              Despite that I think it was a good (though risky) move. As was the Lee contract (though riskier) and yes even the Papelbon deal (riskier still). But that’s the distinction between risky and terrible.

              The team can afford some risky contracts. That was pretty much the point of my comment.

            2. I guess we disagree on our definition of “risky” in this context. You seem to define it in a vacuum (it’s riskier than signing him year-by-year), whereas I’m using the context of the market (we cannot acquire players of Hamels’ caliber without investing that kind of length in a deal, and he is less of a risk to be worth the contract that any free agent we could currently sign).

            3. But Dan, setting aside the semantics, doesn’t that same logic favor the team being more aggresive in this year’s FA market, which you have argued against elsewhere? I mean, if the Hamel’s deal doesn’t qualify as risky, then neither does the Upton deal. Granted, Upton is not nearly as good as Hamels, but he signed for not much more than half as much, and doesn’t carry the injury risk that a starting pitcher carries.

            4. I was pro-Upton. Revere is a very good alternative, though. I didn’t want Hamilton at more than three years with an option (because he was MUCH more of a risk than Hamels, Upton, etc.). Swisher I’m on the fence about; it’ll all depend on the contract for him. As for the rest, other than bullpen pieces (and now a 5th starter), they don’t really fit our needs.

            5. I don’t know that I’d consider the Papelbon the riskiest of those contracts. It might be the worst because it’s a lot of money to commit to a reliever, but the guy’s been consistently awesome for a long time.

              On the risky/horrible thing, I assume you were referring to the pitchers as risky and Howard as horrible, and on that I agree with you.

            6. I thought of breaking down the risky analysis on Papelbon in more detail, but I’m already rightly regarded as too wordy. Basicly he is riskier in the sense that he is IMO most likely to be worth signficantly less than his contract. OTOH, with a much lower AAV, the maximum downside risk if he implodes or is injured is obviously lower than the other pitchers.

          2. The good news in the short run is the Phils have a good bit of money available. Eric Seidman had them at $21.5 million under the LT for 2013 after the trades for Revere and Young. With the LT limit going up about $10 million and Young probably leaving they have $37 million available for 2014. Still need an 8th inning guy and a 5th starter though. Also they’ll have to resign(or not) Utley and Halladay.

  3. Adams might make his decision over the weekend. A healthy Adams is certainly a guy the Phils could use and someone I want them to sign. I think Texas needs to spend on their offense right about now…

    1. I dunno. Didn’t Adams just have surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and might not be ready to start the season? I don’t want to throw the money and years it’ll take for a guy who isn’t healthy and coming off a tricky injury.

      1. I can’t say that I’m familiar with this type of injury. My assumption is that he might be a little late to start but that there is a high liklihood that he’ll be fine. If I’m right, he’s one of the best set up guys in the game when he’s healthy. There’s no one else of that ilk out there. Brandon Lyon wishes he was as good as Adams and he might be next in line. I heard recently that they might not even sign an 8th inning guy and just go after a middle innings veteran. I’m not sure who they’re saving their money for at this point…

        1. Thoracic outlet syndrome involves the shoulder area. I am skeptical of recovery from shoulder issues. I don’t think this surgery is as routine or high success as TJ.

          1. Technically its the area between the neck and the shoulder. Essentially there needs to be an “outlet” for all the vital structures flowing to the shoulder, arm, forearm and hand. This area can get pretty tight. So two main things can happen:
            1. nerves that supply arm, forearm, hands both sensory and motor can be affected
            2. blood flow impingement
            However, the mechanics of the shoulder and elbow are not affected. What can be affected is sensation, impetus to motion i.e.. motor nerve, and blood flow. Hopefully, these will be ok.

          1. fair enough. I consider it a 3 year deal for all intents and purposes, that vesting option’s easy.

  4. The Phillies are, unfortunately, starting to remind me of the Eagles. The season before last, the Eagles, started poorly and made it back to .500. This season they spent well below the cap and have been considerably worse. Last season the Phillies started poorly, and made it back to .500. So far the upcoming season is looking like they are going cheap and have not improved much, if at all. If your competitors are improving a lot and you are barely improving, you are losing ground. I hope that I am wrong, but right now, I don’t see them as serious contenders and they could be under .500 unless they shore up quite a few things. (Originally posted similar comment in the old General Discussion thread).

    1. The 2012 Giants disagree with your notion that you need to spend and acquire just as much as your division rivals to be successful.

        1. I mean the World Champion SF Giants. Although either would work, I guess. Look at what each team in the West did in the offseason. The Giants picked up players for peanuts, not even spending $2m on a single free agent. Granted they traded for some people, but their biggest acquisition was who, Pence? Meanwhile the Dodgers were trading everyone in their system to get marquee players at every position.

          But the Giants still took home the trophy. There’s more than one way to win.

          1. I just think that that sort of misses the point. All else being equal, teams that spend more win more. That hasn’t changed and won’t. The exceptions to the rule have been more frequent lately, but (a) those teams tend to have either exceptional, or at least above average front offices, and (b) often more than a little luck.

            The Giants a little of both, PLUS let’s not forget:

            (a) An above average payroll, at least in 2012.
            (b) A very good core of young cost control players developed by the team.

            And yeah, I know, there’s a certain segment of the readership here are going to jump on that and say “play the kids.” But the kids have to be GOOD. The Phillies do not possess, at the major league level or in the high minors, anything approaching the Giant’s core of Posey/Sandoval/Cain/Bumgardner.

            And they also aren’t exactly known for avoiding bad FA contracts. Zito and Rowand are both worse than anything the Phillies have done (well, among Free agent contracts, I’m not counting a certain 5 year extension for a first baseman).

  5. Just do not sign Swisher! He is not worth giving up the 16th pick for. We need to get a major talent with that pick. I would package any 5 guys from our system that Florida wants and try to get Stanton. In no, I go to Arizona with 3 for Upton. We need a solid RH bat that can bat 4 to split Utley/Howard. While it is wishful thinking on Stanton, they know he is going to continue to complain about them and talk about leaving, so offer them a ridiculous package and hope for the best.

    1. You’re looking for a major talent at 16 and willing to give up 5 guys for 4 (?) years of Stanton, who’s going to get seriously paid in arbitration or an extention through his arbitration years, (not Swisher money, but good money)? You’ve essentially valued an unknown player at the 16th pick (plus the cost/benefit of Stanton over Swisher), more than any 5 of our prospects? I disagree with that logic completely. Not saying they should give Swisher 5 years $125M or anything, but 3 years at whatever the market is, I would prefer to giving up 5 prospects.

      1. I would prefer Stanton and the 16th pick. I would then sign the Cuban shortstop when he turns 23 next month to replenish the farm as well. The Phillies have money, so the SS signing should be an option. Stanton makes the lineup so dangerous. Rollins/Young/Utley/Stanton/Howard/Ruiz/LF Platoon of Brown/Ruf/Revere.

        1. Let’s bracket the Stanton verus Swisher part of this – obviously Stanton would be preferable, the question is would it be enough to make up for the rest of the deal(s).

          But if you are willing to trade 5 prospects – and make no mistake, even all of our top 5 prospects wouldn’t get it done – then why so reluctant to give up the 16th pick? A generic 16th pick would rank maybe 7th ot 8th in our system. So you’re willing to give up 5 guys better than that, but not the 16th pick?

          1. This is more interesting trivia than anything, but there is a certain irony in the name of the last 16th pick to go on to stardom.

            1. I don’t consider him a star but if you go a couple years back to 1997 you see Lance Berkman in the 16 spot

    2. I would love to have Stanton but if he is going anywhere it will be to a team with better minor league players than ours. Not to mention that Miami won’t want to face him 18 times a year.

      1. Actually, I would do that in a heart beat. You are talking fringe players (Brown, Galvis) and big if’s, not a single Blue Chip for one of the best RH power hitters in the league with years of cost control. Sadly, we do not have the QUALITYm (stress added because some people don’t seem to get this point.) of prospects to get this done and quantity of prospects does not get this done.

  6. Liked the aquisition of Revere, thinking the Phils were going to land a big bat via free agency. Now that Hamilton is off the market and the price on Swisher and Ross is going up, I am worried that we could have traded May and Worley to Anaheim for Trumbo and signed Bourn to roam CF. That would have been a pretty good option as opposed to what little is left on the board.

    1. If the Angels were trading Trumbo (which they aren’t) they wouldn’t trade him for Worley and May, and frankly he isn’t worth that (Revere is a more valuable player when you factor in defense). The Angels are going to use their spare outfielders as prospects to acquire more established players, not as chips to rebuild their farm system, they need to win now before Pujols, Wilson, and Hamilton decline too much

      1. I doubt that the Dodgers would cooperate, Harang would be a decent option in a 3 team deal for Trumbo(I agree, not being traded though).

        Lets say harrang(from Dodgers), Defratus and Ruf go to Aneheim
        Trumbo comes to Philly

        What do the Phils need to send to the Dodgers?

  7. Wow, I have not commented for a while, but I have been reading on here everyday, and I gotta say…MattWinks is getting alittle big for his britches on here. Give the guy a little power after James steps down and this MattWinks guy becomes arguably more insufferable than LarryM.

    MattWinks, we all appreciate you keeping the site going but cmon man the assuredness with which you voice your opinion on these UNFINISHED PRODUCTS is off-putting annd the way you don’t respect others opinions is downright disrepectful.
    Lets just remember that not one of these guys is a sure thing to turn out any which way that someone predicts on here. Its a crapshoot. We can all spout off numbers, scouts opinions, WAR, personal observations, etc, but none of us can see the future, including MattWinks, the new dictator, I mean administrator of this website…

    1. I hardly think Matt’s done anything to warrant this kind of comment. We get it a lot of people like Asche, heck I like him too. I have him 5th in my rankings right now but I value his proximity (he also has some upside imo). Matt likes upside a little more obviously and tries to look at results along with scouting reports. He’s just giving his viewpoint because as you say it’s all opinion and conjecture. From what I’ve seen Matt usually has pretty informed opinions and I respect what he has to say.

    2. Matt has contributed a lot to this site and I have had disagreements with him but we resolved in a civil way – the way it is supposed to be. To compare him to LarryM is not fair as Matt is very civil to all posters regardless of opinion. You should have calmed yourself down before you wrote this post that you will regret.

        1. All the more reason not to get your panties in a twist about either myself or (especially) Matt who sometimes goes almost ridiculously out of his way to be nice.

          1. Nobody likes your LarryM, just go away. Who is named Larry anymore? Are you 80 years old? This is a legitimate question.

            1. Matt,

              Nowhere near 80.

              The people who I respect on this site mostly like me. The people who can’t stand me can go pound sand.

              And really Matt, pot/kettle, huh? Though in your case it’s clearly intentional (truth is, sometimes it is for me too).

            2. Larry, your attitude of “I am smarter than all of you and pound sand if you disagree with me” is the reason people do not like you as a poster. Matt Winks is so much easier to deal with than your “my way or highway” attitude. Professionally I hope you don’t treat your business clients and co-workers the way you treat posters that do not agree with you. Lastly, remember it is not what you say but how you say it and losing your attitude will help as your act gets tired quickly.

        2. I really hate this- because it’s the internet and I am anonymous I can be a jackass stuff. Don’t write in on the internet if you wouldn’t say it in person without expecting to get a fist in the face. There is no reason not to be civil on the internet. No need for crying for attention.

    3. I have to agree with you on this. The only guy that I hate more than Mattwinks (What kind of name is that anyway?) is Michael Schwimer. And we all know my hatred for Schwimer is well documented.

      1. Give him a break…he has a lot on his plate and does a great job on this site. We should be thankful for someone to take their time and efforts to keep our phantasies alive.

        1. Let’s not overstate his importance here. If this turned into a message board format and we had a weekly discussion thread, we’d be just fine. His insights really aren’t very good.

          1. How could one compete with the ever insightful, “I hate Schwimmer?” It just doesn’t seem fair to hold someone to that kind of standard.

            1. Nah, I think I’ll continue to come here just to annoy everyone and keep it real with my insights. They’re normally right.

    4. Answerman, you should have stayed a way a little longer and give us more time to miss you. Why not talk baseball — most of us are out of middle school by now and whether you’re talking behind someone’s back or to their face, it still comes across as gossip.

    5. TheAnswer +1 – and I do respect and value the contributions of Matt not to mention the efforts of Brad and Gregg, the latter of whom have always been very respectful in spite of any countering opinions they may have. But for the site administrators to so frequent the posting narrative is a recipe for disaster and is something that PP kept to an absolute minimum. That’s why his formula worked. Write your essay and sit back and watch your visitors go at it.

  8. Lets stay on point. Will RAJ makes any moves before Jan? Will he trade away any more prospects? It already feels like none of us will be happy with this offseason (unless you’re a big Josh Fields fan – and there were plenty of you a few years back…). Is there any move left that would change our minds? I think not…..

    1. He will at least get another starting pitcher and probably a reliever. Will he get a decent OFer? I’m not so sure.

    2. I really don’t want another OF. We really need a SP. Other than that, I’d go with what we’ve got and add at the trade deadline if things are going well. How we do this year depends on how healthy the core is for its last hurrah. We ended last season okay. If the core is healthy, the offense will be fine. If it isn’t, I don’t see anyone RA can add who fixes the offense. Last season we had Pence, with an unhealthy Utley and Howard and offense stank. Anybody really think RA adds another bat that’s any better than Pence? We also had Vic, who is a better bat than Revere and an ungodly season from Ruiz. We are 50-50 to make post-season and it all hinges on the health of the core. Just like last season, there was never anything that RA could realistically do to get away from that problem. When you tie up that many $$$ in that many aging stars, you have no choice but to live or die with them. Just about everyone else is a bit player. There is a budget.

  9. Honestly, I think they’re fine as they are currently constructed. Nobody else on the market is really a difference maker.

    This obviously isn’t their year. If they get lucky and things fall right, they’ll win the WC, but that’s about it. The key is now not to view this period as a legitimate title contender period and reload for 2015 (maybe 2014)

    1. Despite the fact that this Matt is an intentional jerk and, in my opinion, mostly wrong about this, if you are going to argue in favor of the current off season, this is IMO the argument you have to make. What baffles me are the people who argue that the team is a legitimate contender in 2013-2014, AND at the same time are happy with the off season moves. That does not compute. If they are legitimate contenders, they should have bolstered their team more than they did. They could have done so without significantly hampering themselves in 2015 and future seasons.

      I on the other hand am a bit of a pessimist about next year, and STILL think they should have made some moves. Upton (for example) though not without risk could easily have helped the team for the next 5 years without significantly diminishing payroll flexibility; Youk for one or two years, without costing the team anything.

      1. BJ Upton STINKS! He honestly might be one of the most overrated players in the game. Mark my words, people will end up looking at the BJ Upton contract similar to Carl Crawford (I know – lazy comparison). He is not a difference maker and never will be.

        Now Larry, what contracts would you have picked up this offseason WITHOUT sacrificing 2014-2015? Have you looked at the FA market in those future offseasons?

        Let’s face it, the money at the bank isn’t stopping anytime soon (don’t worry, I’m not really that weird guy with the $ in his name) – they can be 75-80 win team the next two years and still achieve 90% attendance at worst. Save the cash, let Asche, Joseph, Ruf (to a smaller degree), maybe even Revere enter their primes, and then strike.

        That’s my vote anyway.

        1. See my post up thread. They could have signed Upton, another player with a 15 million AAV, and STILL had (roughly) 40 million in AAV to play with in the 2014-2015 off season.

          Which of course doesn’t mean you do do the deal if you think Upton stinks. He doesn’t. I think he is most likely to be worth roughly his contract price over the course of the deal. Sure, he could disappoint. But if the change of scenery can bring his offense back to where it was in 2007-2008 – he’s only 28, it isn’t as if he is on the downside of the aging curve yet – he could be a huge bargain.

          But as I said, your argument is the one to make if you want to defend the off season. Just don’t try to tell me (as some have) that they are serious contenders for the next couple of years with the team they have now.

          1. They absolutely are not contenders as constructed now (wild card, but that’s it); of course, teams can get hot, but they are not serious WS contenders as they are now.

            Do you think that BJ Upton and the 15M player would have put them ahead of the Nationals? That’s what we’re up against – minor moves aren’t going to do it. Anabal Sanchez isn’t going to make them better than the Nats.

            1. Nats are going to come back down to earth. Their Bull Pen(and they are cyclical) had a very good year. A healthy Howard and Utley changes the whole dynamic. Love IF 5 and 6 in Frandsen and Galvis over Minny Mart and Wiggy. Not close. Bull Pen in the second half was excellent. The young guns are ready to Roll.

            2. He wouldn’t put us ahead of the nationals. Adding Trout at this point might not put us ahead of the Nationals; they have the look of a 100 win team right now.

              But would he move us from maybe a 30% shot at a wild card slot to maybe a 60% chance, and give us a slightly better shot at the big prize if we get there? Yes. Could he move us ahead of the Nationals if they have an unusual amount of injuries? Maybe.

              Which wouldn’t be reason enough to get him, but at that contract price, he would IMO likely have helped the team throughout the contract – or at least the first 3 to 4 years., possibly more. Has the type of body and skill set that tends to age pretty well.

              And if not Upton, there were other guys out there. Revere, as someone else correctly stated, makes sense only if they use the money on a corner outfielder.

              And to his credit, Amaro seems to have plans in that direction. Depending upon who it is, I may change my tune somewhat. If it is Swisher, I will be thrilled. If it is Ross, not so much. If it Soirano,.I will be quite unhappy and probably even more down on the team (assuming that they need to give up Brown or a top 10 prospect for him).

            3. It might be difficult for any NL East team to reach 100 victories given the talent levels on the Phils, Nats and Braves. Unless the Mets and Marlins really, really suck …

            4. 100 wins ?…how about a bullpen that was consitently outstanding – which has now lost several key players. Expect to see some regression in Harper, LaRoche – if they sign him and I hope they do, will not even remotely repeat the nos. he had last year. If they do sign LaRoche, and then trade Morse for a starting pitcher, they will hurt their offense more than the add in pitching is worth. Will Span help – indeed – but I would expect to see some regression in key players. Werth and the 3B – now one year older – what do they look like ? Very effective but most likely more injuries to both – there is that history you know ? Storen ? will he recover from the beating he took by the Cardinals ? Truly a very strong team – but things happen over the course of a long season – see Phils 2012…..1979 etc. They are the favorites but not to win 100 games…..

      2. Meant to add.. chasing the “Utley/Howard/Halladay/Lee/Ruiz” era is foolish at this point. Let it pass, clear the contracts, and move on.

        1. Two things I know. You guys would be singing a different tune if somehow Rube’s offer was accepted by Hamilton. Second, if Hamilton accepted that offer, then having B.J. Upton would have looked like an awful plus expensive move.

          1. Possibly true, but does anyone think Hamilton gave half a second’s thought to that offer or that RA expected him to? Hamilton was clearly going to get his $100+ million and Philly isn’t that desirable a location after last season.

            1. It will be interesting to see when Josh Hamilton goes on the DL due to an on field injury or off field issue. Having Josh Hamilton in Los Angeles is like lighting matches around gasoline.

      3. Off season isn’t done yet so no way to make a judgement in totality. revere, IMO, is an upgrade over Mayberry. Young is an upgrade over a degraded Polly and Hapless Wiggy as well as insurance if Frandsen digresses. Worley is gone, but he was a liability last year and IMO another JA Happ type. Dumping Sheirholtz for nothing was just dumb IMO. Lindblom is easily replaced. Phils were an excellent second half team. Let’s see what else RAJ does, but I like his moves so far although both slight overpays.

  10. Damn guys, I may not agree with everyone on here, but I generally am not one to make it personal. MattWinks definitely values upside more then I do, and proximity less then I do, but I always respect his opinion. As to Larry, he’s sometimes aggressive but rarely ill-informed, and again, I respect his opinion. Come on, can’t we all just get along?

    I haven’t fully decided on my top 10, but it’s really not much different then anyone elses with the exception of 3 players…

    Joesph – I’m low on him, I’d probably rank him at 7 maybe 8. The fact is the scouts love him, but his actual performance, especially this past year, was subpar. And as James use to say, true prospects will excel at every level on their way up, and in AA, Joesph was over-matched.

    Asche – I’ve got him at 5 or so, I believe he’s a 2 to 3 WAR player, and the odds he succeeds are high. (proximity argument)

    Tocci – I’ve got him around 11, mostly because he’s just so far away. If he had just finished high A, with 5-8 HR’s, I’d feel quite a bit different.

  11. Read the site every day, but don’t ever post so hopefully people don’t assume this is a fake post or anything. The Phillies had a season ticket holder luncheon with Ruben, Charlie and co. today and Ruben talked about what they are doing right now:

    -He says they signed a player today, but for reasons he couldn’t discuss it was being kept private for now. Not sure if this was the waiver claim today, but my best friend’s father who was in attendance seems to think it was a more meaningful signing.
    -They are looking at 2 different options for RF at the moment: 1 via trade and 1 via free agency
    -He only likes and has considered 1 BP guy currently on the market
    -He plans to have Ruf and Brown battle it out for LF in Spring Training

    Just thought it would be some interesting insight.

    1. This jives with what Jim Duquette (spelling?… I don’t feel like looking it up) was tweeting earlier. He had Ruben on his show and Ruben said he had a couple of trades he was deciding on with regards to right field.

    2. Wonder if Ichiro’s name came up at all at the luncheon? The Phils interest in him surfaced before Hamilton announced his plans. Presumably the Phils knew before hand that their offer to Hamilton wasn’t going to cut it. The entire world thought the Phils were looking to sign Hamilton or a right handed bat so the (rejected) offer, especially for 2 yers, came out of the blue.

      Also wonder what Ruben’s take on Wilton Lopez is these days since the sense I get is that he was flagged for medical reasons before the trade to Philadelphia yet was subsequently traded by the Dbacks.

      I also wonder what value the Phls place on the #16 overall pick in the amateur draft. Knowing the answer to that tells what free agent moves are or aren’t likely during the remainder of the off-season.

      1. I would like to see some confirmation on this bc it hasn’t shown up on any major trade sites yet, but I do agree that it fits with what he was saying. I’m intrigued especially on the outfield options he is considering… Not too many options left beyond Ross or overpaying for Swisher. If he did sign Adams I would be very happy with that.

  12. Thanks for that. MattWinks, thank you for all that you do for this site. I read it every day. Does not matter whether I agree all the time or not. We have to remember this is a brand, not just a baseball team. Trying to sell a Billion dollar plus value to Comcast or decide to start a Phillies cable company. Trolling in dented can aisle is not good enough.

  13. Matt Winks has done an incredible and thankless job of keeping this awesome alive. Wish I had more time to get on here.

    Thanks Matt Winks!

    1. Fairly significant move. If starters can stay healthy and have reasonably good year….phillies will challenge for division.

    2. No one has picked up on this story. I’m not opposed to Adams but the price is a little steep for such an old guy. I’ll wait to hear confirmation from the real rumors reporters

      1. That 1.40 WHIP isn’t too attractive either but I guess the Phils were significantly desperate. I think they needed to add a bullpen arm but when free agency started I’d have thought there were enough options to avoid giving so much money to a guy like that.

        1. What? He’s the best, last yer he was hurt and needed surgery. Check out his numbers prior to last year. The Phils have been after Adams for five years.

          1. Yeah, I know, but I don’t think you can just throw out last year because he was injured. We don’t know if he’ll be fully recovered from the injury yet. It’s a risk, but at least 2 years and $13 million is easier to take than 3 years and $18 mil.

    3. Yup, excellent move. Way to get it one RAJ! IF healthy, he’s definitely the best set up guy in baseball.

    4. I really hope that the third year is a hard to reach vesting option or team option with minimal buyout, three year deals for relievers almost never work out. Overall the deal seems like an overpay on per year basis, but not enough there to be worried about, it is the length that could be the problem.

        1. I like to think of it as realistic and not overly optimistic. The deal as it has come out as 2/12 with a vesting option actually is a good deal for the Phillies if Adams is healthy, which I am going to assume the Phillies did their due diligence on

          1. Matt i would say the “Realist” way to state this would be

            “The Phillies signed an older relief pitcher with a history of good performance coming off of an injury plagued year that required off-season surgery to a, albeit high in money and years contract, deal representative of the current market.”

            There is a hint of pessimism in your statement. Personally i have no problem with your statement just giving an option for you.

      1. ‘three year deals for relievers almost never work out’….but hands are normally tied in a competetive market and you have to almost give it . unless you get a reclamation project for the one-year ‘see what he can do’.

      2. If he pitches like he did in the few years before this injury, I don’t see this as an overpay per year. The guy is a very good pitcher.

        The third year is definitely iffy, but looking at the insane amounts of money flying around baseball these days it’s hard to get worked up about a $6m commitment. The way things are going, that could be league minimum in 3 years.

  14. I’d like to address a couple of posts.

    First, I hate to read comments where people are bashing each other rather than talking (and debating) baseball, especially on this site. I have been reading comments posted here regularly for years (but I myself post infrequently). Comments posted here are generally light-years ahead of other boards. Try reading Philly.com or the Phillies mlb site. I believe that I usually learn something by coming here, which is why I do.

    Second, I would like to add my voice of appreciation for the work done by people like MattWinks.

    Third, to address LarryM’s request for projections from the “… go with the young guys/stay out of the FA market” crowd – here are mine. But let me say that I am not really in that crowd. Put me in the, “the team needs to inject new blood in a systematic way every year to balance FA acquisitions and their aging core” camp.

    Using Bill James’s 2013 projections and assuming: (1) starters play 140/150 G with the exceptions of Utley (122 G) and Ruiz (100 G); (2) Brown* and Mayberry are the starting corner OF’ers, and (3) the bench is Ruf, Nix, Frandsen, Galvis and Kratz, then the Phillies score between 685 and 720 runs. As for runs allowed, I am going with something a little worse than their 2012 second half pace, which would mean about 625 runs allowed (Adams should help make that happen). Under those assumptions their Pythagorean predicts they win 88 to 92 games. Charlie Manuel historically comes in right at the Pythagorean estimate (of course, the large majority of teams do).

    *Bill James’s projection for Brown is … well you judge:
    .274 / .347 / .445 / .792 with 17 HRs and an RC / 27 = 5.35
    So if Brown starts and we see more of the same from him, subtract 2 to 3 wins.

  15. Man. long time, you got me, totally dont understand your post.pythagorean?????.have to go get my dictionary

    1. Pythagorean win % was developed by Bill James. If RS = runs scored and RA = runs allowed then a team’s winning % can be predicted by the formula:

      win % = RS ^ 1.83 / (RS ^ 1.83 + RA ^ 1.83)

      Take a look on Baseball-Reference they publish the formula. It is uncanny how accurate it is.

        1. Look at the O’s record – it is a very interesting case! Their over-performance as measured against their Pythagoras win % is completely accounted for by their historic record in one-run games. They went 29 – 9 in those games in 2012. So, it seems they got a significant boost from luck this year.

  16. I think one of the big difference in the phillies and braves,and natl. right now is the bullpen, we have now spent 18 million on pap and adams. while the braves andnatl have home grown cheap talent, thats a lot to spend on end of game guys, when you need a big time bat, and dont have the money, according to ruben.if we have a cheap bullpen,then we could have used the money on a hamilton, or upton.instead we had to hold back cause of the inablity of the front office to get us inhouse closers and eight inning guys,only madson was a inhouse guy and they didnt want to pay him.

    1. When has RAJ not gone after a bat because of money? Never. Hamilton has major risk factors and is a real question mark at five years, Upton’s stats are really not indicative of a guy worth all that money and the same with Bourn. I still think they’re in on Ross and Swisher. You have to decide who to overspend on. Werth got crazy money a few years back. Yes they overspent on Pap but he is very good. Adams, if healthy, is very good also. If you can’t score a ton of runs, you have to pitch very well. Maybe they’ll surprise us and get a good 4th starter instead of a bat now. Probably not though, they don’t want to block the young arms.

  17. Like the Mike Adams signing – as we know it’s really important to have a bridge in the 8th inning.

    However, this still doesn’t put them anywhere close to the Nats. Nor does them getting Swisher.

    1. If the Nats stay injury free – then I think you’re right. But I think the Phillies are in a position right now to compete for one of the WC spots.

  18. Now with about 15 million to spend on a outfielder, they must get one. who that would be is a mystery to me. but a power bat right now, with the adams signing helps a lot. the fourth starter would have to be from our system, good luck there, and if its cloyd, i will quit posting, he stinks.

  19. How about Grady sizemore? Under the radar, inexpensive, loads of talent. For the phils to be good again they need to get lucky again see worth, victorino, etc.

    1. They have loved that guy so much in Cleveland. You would think that if there was a shred of anything left in him, Cleveland would be looking hard to find it and over pay for it. He played last year for $5 M I believe but if the Phils don’t sign Ross or Swisher, then $2.5 M on a one year placeholder deal for Sizemore wouldn’t bother me. After all, the Phils paid $4 M last year for Ty Wigginton which sets a pretty low bar on ROI.

  20. 1) Like the Adams singing IF he is healthy. That is a big IF

    2) when you look at the Phillies under contract for 2014, this team can look very different and with all the talent here this year, it is certainly a year to contend but come 2014 it may be a year to rebuild. The trick is to start rebuilding now while contending this year. I think Ruben has done a good job so far but still has work to do. (I would see if Alex Rios is available. Better fit than Ross and Swisher.)

    3) the future is

    CF-Revere
    3B-Asche
    RF-Brown
    1B-Howard
    LF-Ruf
    C-Joseph
    2B-??
    SS-Galvis

    P-Hamels
    P-Lee
    P-Biddle
    P-Morgan
    P-Pettibone

    Closer-Aumont
    Set Up-DeFratus
    Set Up-Martin

    4) can the future at 2B be Cano. He would look a lot better in the 3 hole than Brown looks

  21. Really like the signing. Phils still have $30 million to spend if they are willing to go over the LT for 1 year, but stay under it next year. I don’t see them spending it though.

  22. i think a lot are underestimating a few players. spidale can be a 22 hr. .434/.615/.419 player and don’t forget tug hulett at 19 hr. .405/.519/.399 player. now you’ll have to excuse me as a 50 year old pure baseball fan i’m not sure of these values or what they mean but i think i could be correct. also agree with anonymous in that doc, utley and ruiz won’t take the discount to sign. they see the writing on the wall that big rube has not left too much for the future. i still think the cheapness of the ’07, ’09 & ’10 drafts have set this team back. there were many (i’m sure a lot of you know better then i) good kids with signability issues that were there for the phils taking and they didn’t go after which would have been helpfull about now. i see them smelling the Nats fumes for years and maybe the braves too. as far as prospects. i think morgan can be good. saw him twice at reading at the end of the year and he looked real good. also, martin and franco have a decent chance. look for big things from quinn. that’s really about it until we see during and after this year’s season. could use a little more latin spent money this year yet, as i see some of the teams are still signing kids this past week.

    1. Not a lot of money left for Latin American signings, the total cap for the year was 2.9 million, the Phillies spend close to 1.2 million on a pair of players on July 2nd, judging on normal signings of a DSL and VSL team and I know there is a $200,000 player somewhere in there (I saw the report in the summer but forget the name) they likely have somewhere around 500,000-750,000 left which isn’t a lot of money for more than a fringe signing or two.

      1. I got Jose Pujols, OF, R-R 6’3 178
        Deivi Grullon, C, R-R, 6’1 183
        Willerker Isava, SS, B-R, 5’10
        Lewis Alezones, RHP

        Somebody might know the money.

        The recent Cubans will both be over 23 early in January and as pros of that age would not count against Latin American “spending guidelines” , if signed.

  23. The yankess just paid 18.9 million luxury tax. Who gets that monye,? the small market teams?? just wondering. and just saw wainwright is looking for a new contract from, cardinals. based on what sandez got from tigers, wainwright should get 30 million a year. still think sandez contracts was sick. glad in one way ruben didnt overpay for mediocre talent.

      1. Matt – I don’t believe that is quite right. Funds from the Competitive Balance Tax are not part of the revenue sharing arrangement. The first $2.5 million is set aside for refunds, then 75% for player benefits and 25% to the Industry Growth Fund. — See: http://bizofbaseball.com

  24. I’m a little different than everyone else, apparently. Nobody has TJ first? I think he’s as likely to get to the majors as Biddle, but think his ceiling is higher and he has a tougher position (C vs. LHP). My uneducated top 10:

    1 – Tommy Joseph
    2 – Jesse Biddle
    3 – Maikel Franco (by a hair)
    4 – Roman Quinn (best upside in the system, and looks like good chances to reach it too)
    5 – Ethan Martin
    6 – Cody Asche
    7 – Adam Morgan
    8 – Cesar Hernandez (such close proximity, and could easily stick as a ML regular)
    9 – Tyson Gillies (he’s close, and still has upside)
    10 – Larry Green Jr.

    1. Call me nuts, but I’m not so sure about Joseph as everyone else around here seems to be. I think he’s better than Valle, but I’m not sure if he ever projects to anything more than .260/15/65-70 in the majors.

      Don’t get me wrong, he seems to be a MLB caliber player, but I don’t think he’ll be an all star, or even close to one.

      1. The thing with Joseph is that the power will be above average for a catcher and if he can improve his footwork enough to be a good defender that is a borderline all-star. Looking at your projection I think it is in the right area, I think there is likely less batting average and more power, somewhere more in the .240-.250 20-25HR range

        1. How do you see his progression? Given the fact that he’ll only be 21 this year, I’d like to see him play 1.5 more years in Reading and 1 year at LHV. This brings him up around the all star break in 2015.

          1. He probably needs a year and a half in the minors (likely to be spent at AAA due to catcher depth) and some time as a major league back up. I would project him as a starter going into 2015. I could also see him being a back up next year getting some bench ABs all year (he will need to be added to the 40 man next offseason anyway)

    2. You have some interesting choices there. I agree Gillies still has the upside. I severely downgraded him because he just can’t seem to keep his legs healthy and his speed is a huge part of his game. If I had a crystal ball that told me that Gillies would play every day for the next three seasons, I’d suspect that two years of that would be as the Phillies starting CF and that he would have strong ROY consideration. His skills are that good.

      I really debated putting LGJ at the bottom of my list, as you did. That he is a power hitter who walks as much as he does is a big plus. But when the guy’s calling card is power, I want to see a little power before I put him in my top 10. Thus far I’m not even happy with the amount of doubles power he has shown, let alone HR. My cutoff for a prospect who is doing well is one extra-base hit per 10 AB. Not a ratio that makes me stand up and cheer if a player achieves it, but the bare minimum for somebody other than a defensive superstar at a primo defensive position. For a corner OF who is not fast and may have to move to 1B, I expect more that that 1:10 ratio. I accept that the scouts see the tool, but we’ve had so many prospects, including the infamous Hewitt, who were tagged with a great raw power tool. It developed in so very few of them.

      I’ve seen Hernandez is about a dozen games. He’s close to the majors, but just never struck me as all that special. He seems more utility IF than starting 2B to me. That may be overly harsh, I know.

      I confess that I don’t know quite what to make of Joseph. He is very young and the young-for-the-league guys can be the toughest to judge. When you watch him play, he really doesn’t jump out at you, either offensively or defensively. It may just be that he is very young compared to most AA players, but I expected to be a lot more impressed after I read about him after the trade.

      1. Everybody loved Hernandez this year while he was tearing it up in AA, but when he looked ordinary in AAA while adjusting to the league for the second half, they forgot about him. I think that should at least retain an average to below average 2B ceiling.

        Add in that he’s almost a sure thing, and I think he’s a valuable prospect.

        1. That really depends on whether Hernandez can play short or not. A good fielding/ok batting average with little power or ability to steal bases screams utility guy. If he is secondbase only, that would be pretty bleak. I do not see him as a regular everyday secondbaseman on a playoff quality team.

  25. Thank you for the support, I realize that I can be abrasive and condescending at times, and I apologize for that. However, I will continue to be sure of my opinions there is no need to make them if I am not going to believe in them. I am not a scout nor am I professional talent evaluator, my opinions come from reading everything I can on the Phillies system and minor league baseball in general, as well as poring through stats of past and present players.

    All of that being said, this is a place for a debate on the Phillies minor league system not on those who comment here. If you have an issue with something I have written or said you can contact me via my Twitter or by sending an email through the link at the top with a mention in the title so that it will be forwarded along to me. Just a reminder that everyone who contributes here does it on a pure volunteer basis out of their own time because they are passionate about the Phillies minor league system and keeping this site going as a great place to discuss it.

    1. Is there anyway we can just make this a message board type format? Honestly, I think that would be a lot easier to read and keep track of issues in a thread like format. The running blog format is a bit sloppy when we have such a high volume.

      1. When the General Discussion thread is updated every week, you have that continuity. Then you have the ‘featured’ and ‘breaking news’ threads that are more specific to the each subject.

      2. Phuturephillies started a message board a couple years ago and no one used it, so it went by the wayside.

    2. There is no need to apologize. You are doing fine. Some people just don’t understand that while they have a right to voice their opinion, others have an equal right to disagree. You are not at all intemperate in the way you state your views. Please don’t feel the need to censure yourself.

      1. I’m really shocked at the amount of criticism MattW has taken on this thread. I’ve never read anything that could be interpreted as being obnoxious. I disagree with his opinion at times, but agree more times than not.
        Very good contributer. Better than many of the past contributers (especially the ones that have covered the high minors affiliates).

  26. Let’s say hypothetically the Indians sign Swisher and the Mariners sign Bourne. Does that mean we move up 2 spots and pick 14 since Cleveland and Seattle pick ahead of us?

        1. I was hoping for someone with a little more upside but really it will be Kendrick who determines how good of an acquisition this is. If we get the new Changeup improved Kendrick as a solid number four, Lannan is a servicable 5 for not much money. If Kendrick regresses, however, we have two fifth starters and the team is DOA this season. Payroll efficiency is only useful for a big market team if they can use those savings elsewhere. I am really not excited by the Corner outfield choices at this point.

          1. I dont get the DOA pessimism. Let’s not pretend Worley was some sort of world beater last year. You can afford to have 2 fifths when you have two aces. TThe staff is still among the best in the n.l. and the bullpen with Adams is much improved.

            They are obviously still after an outfielder so give it a little time

            1. It actually has nothing to do with Worley. We were going to need someone to emerge as It actually has nothing to do with Worley. We were going to need someone to emerge as a solid four regardless of who is in camp. I would have given Worley even odds with Kendrick on that and better than Lannan, Pettione or Cloyd. In the end I have no problems with trading Worley as Centerfield was a serious whole with few options to fill it.

              Right now the Nationals, Braves, Reds, Giants, and Dodgers are better than the Phillies. Whether the Cardinals are better is debatable but they always seem to pull something out of their hat. There is a lot of things that need to go right for the Phillies to make the playoffs (The return of not just Utley and Howardss health but also bats AND the return of Halladay to at least to being the best third starter in baseball, AND neither Hamels nor Lee have an off year AND the immergence of Brown or Ruf as a quality mid of the order bat AND that who ever is manning third base doesn’t cost them games with either his glove or bat AND the bullpen lives up to its potential and is much improved on last year AND at least one of the Nationals, Braves, Giants or Dodgers stumbles AND no other team (like the Cardinals) emerges). Having a solid 4 and 5 or just another “AND” in that equation and I would handicap Kendrick of having the best chance of that. Now maybe we can get away with only eight of these 10 happening but not less. And assuredly completely unexpected things will happen, like Young has an MVP caliber season, but any individual unexpected thing has a less than 5% chance of happening and is as likely to be bad as good.

            2. A lot of “ands” you are right, but i would argue that taken individually, each is more likely than not to occur

            3. Maybe true but when you have 2 ANDs each with 50% chance of occurring there is only 25% chance both occur. Times that out by nine and account for the ORs in there and that we could probably get away with two of the ANDs not occurring it looks pretty bleak. Then again there are no teams when you look at all the variables that have a better than even chance to win it all. That is going to happen when you have 30 teams fighting for one prize.

      1. I can’t stand that guy. Just can’t root for him. I put even odds on someone already in the system beating him for the fifth starter job – and that’s even factoring in the “Cholly only plays Veterans” factor.

          1. Because he is a horrible baseball player maybe? Really Amaro couldn’t do a worse job if he was TRYING to fail.

            1. I agree with this – he’s not a bad 5th starter, but nothing more. The price was right on this one, I would have done the same. He’s good depth so we don’t have to rely on the Elarton/Bush types.

              Quite frankly, for a team with this sort of payroll, even if he spends the season at AAA as a 6th starter, that would be fine with me as well.

            2. His numbers against everybody but the Phillies are actually pretty decent too. Again, still a fifth starter.

              He’s just giving Pettibone more seasoning in triple a which can’t hurt. I’d rather have Lannan than Cloyd in the rotation.

            3. Here’s where’s the modern stat perspective is a little different – what is a better predictor of ERA, past era or past fundementals (moslty K%, BB5, HR%)? The latter. If you buy that (and statistically it is true, with a caveat below), he looks more like a 4.50 era starter than a 4.00 starter. That’s a signficant difference. 4.50 is horrible.

              The caveat – it IS true that a few pitchers maintain lower or higher ERAs over an extended sample. But not many – at least not a gap that big. Lannan IS a ground ball pitcher, so maybe a small amount of the gap between the ERA and the fundementals represents a repeatable skill, but if you asked myeto project his ERA, I’d ball park it at around 4.40, not 4.00.

              But it in less sabrmetric terms, a guy who has such a horrible K rate, coupled with a mediocre BB rate, is always operating on a knife’s edge. I just think he is a bad risk to really implode.

              Yes, the price is low, but I think there are starting pitchers at that price out there who are better risks.

              The truth is, I hate this move not so much for itself – it doesn’t help the team much IMO but probably doesn’t hurt either – for the same reason I hate almost all the moves this off season – showing poor talent judgment that does not bode well for the future.

            4. Don’t worry, Lannan will induce plenty of grounders to the hot corner where our gritty new 3B will take care of it.

          2. For plunking all of our guys, for sucking, for being a waste of money, etc. there will be be better players available for that kind of money.

      1. Except not as good. His WHIP is much worse And Kendrick actually still might have a bit of upside with his changeup.

  27. To recap: Mike Adams and John Lannan on board.

    It has been said , on here, that Adams had shoulder surgery. According to my readings on the subject, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome causes a numbing in the shoulder region which is caused by a nerve which begins in the rib area. So to solve a problem caused by a nerve you could just cut the nerve at some point before it gets to the shoulder. In Adams’ case they think they solved the problem by removing a rib. No cutting of shoulder area involved.

    John Lannan- not high on this move, as that makes 3 LHP in proposed rotation, Left-Handers, like salt, in the proper dose are seasoning but once it is too much it is poison.

    Money wise- for next season- Adams at 6 million and Lannan at 2.5 with incentives to go up to 5, which I will count as 5 as they might pay that. That , according to my unofficial count, takes the money left till the luxury tax tipping point, so goodbye to Nick, Ross, Hairston (all of whom are not interested in back-up money and at least want Victorino’s money or more)/ Time to go over the list of 6 year minor league free agents, those designated for assignment, and players released by other teams.

      1. Or more, looks like I might have counted Young as the full 16 million or double counted Young or something. And shouldn’t really add the 1/2 million for Revere because it is around the minimum and will replace another minimum. So, I figure it is around 11 million something like that. Still not enough for the big OF types, I reckon.

          1. As much as everyone here hates that deal I am guessing that the Cubs want more than just Brown to cover that much of Soriano’s salary. People here thought we’d give up no more than Lindbloom and a pulse for the right to pay Young 6 million for one year.

            1. Well I’m saying is we take an extra 10 million dollars of the salary and pay 20 mill over 2 years instead of 10 mill over two years. The latter was what required Dom Brown. The former should require much less.

            2. I figure , based on what somebody up above said, that they will “platoon” Ruf and Brown in LF (and I kind of believe the report on what Amaro said at a Caravan) so I don’t see Soriano as he is kind of cemented in LF. The report said they can either complete a trade or sign a free agent OF. I figure a RHHitting RF to a team that might require some bench players in lieu of a bigger salaried RF. It would be to my plans if they could move Mayberry and Laynce Nix to a team needing some bench depth like Cleveland, Houston (though I don’t think they have such a return to offer. My preliminary results say Jeff Francoeur of KC Royals. He may have had a down year, but the career stats are better and even last season he hit a somewhat OK number of Home Runs. And defense- last time I saw him he threw very well, and I doubt the computation of the range oriented stuff and even if I didn’t- it is speculative anyway.

              And I don’t like the upping it to $10 million a year for Soriano anyhow. Brown he can go for that much, if they want Soriano (kind of doubt they do).

              And though he might not meet the guidelines above in entirety, Scott Van Slyke to RHHItting RF, recently designated for assignment by LAD. I wonder if he is really 250 now in lieu of the 220 they recently had on the ESPN roster. Maybe they could eek out a year in RF and evaluate from then on.

              Reason I would like Mayberry and L. Nix traded I see next season’s bench as 2 OF, 2 INF, and a C. the 2 reserve OF’s – one will be the non-starter of the Ruf and Brown platoon, and the other will be the caddy for the Ruf/Brown combo and at the same the occasional speller of the Right Handed Hitting RF who plays regular. I believe that will be either El Izquierdo from the Rule 5 or Jermaine Mitchell.

            3. On Francoeur I think Larry would get a big kick out of that. Francoeur and Michael Young were arguably two of the worst players last year. He lost a lot of power last year and his BABIP decreased significantly. It seems like the loss in power could be seen in a reduced flyball rate which went from 40% to 33% while maintaining same HR/FB rate. He also played poor defense and ran the bases poorly.

              If our options are trade for guys like Francoeur or platoon Nix/Brown/Ruf/Mayberry I’d rather the latter. Especially if we have to give up any real prospects. Also we don’t need another “free swinger”

            4. Other than two and a half good years Francouer career has ranged from nothing special to bad. I’d much rather have Ross and keep what would have to be traded. I just don’t see an impact righthanded bat being available for what we have to offer.

            5. What makes you think that it was just Brown that was required to get Soriano. From the initial report of this story by Jon Heyman, “The Cubs are believed willing to pay all but $10 million of the $36 million remaining on Soriano’s deal if they can receive good prospects back.” I see prospects- plural.

              I believe this was the original article where this trade was reported. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/jon-heyman/21363934/phillies-talked-brownforsoriano-also-eye-ross-hamilton

              Now we can debate the quality of Heyman’s information and reporting, and general journalistic standards in such things where if someone conceives of a trade it gets reported as a rumor but that don’t get us anywhere.

              I agree that I Soriano seems unlikely because they are looking for a rightfielder. And Just because the Cubs asked for multiple prospects doesn’t mean that the Phillies’ seriously entertained the thought. It looks to me like Ross is the most likely if they think he is better than a Mayberry/Nix platoon or Brown if Ruf can win the LF job outright. Swisher is not out of the realm of possibilities but multiple places have reported the Phillies are pretty cool on him.

    1. TOS is a nerve impingement in the shoulder area, but the numbness and weakness can be in hand and whole arm. Office workers can get it from computer work and it effects the fingers most.

    1. Please, no Cody Ross. I’d allow R-L platoons in both corners with Brown, Mayberry, Nix and Ruf, before wasting that money on Cody Ross.

  28. My first thought on Lannan is “boo”. At best he’s mediocre, and the rotation was the one spot I felt like we could significantly upgrade as a way to be more competitive with Washington and Atlanta. I was hoping for Edwin Jackson on a fairly reasonable contract.

    But on the bright side, my second thought is that this must mean the Phils have some serious confidence in somebody- whether Pettibone or Morgan or Martin- to be major league ready very soon.

    1. Not flashy, but an innings eater which just might be what we need. By avoiding the Phillies 2-3 times a year Lannan might just post an ERA south of 4.00. Again, not flashy, but a low risk signing that can very well fill the void from the trading of Worley

      1. I agree low risk move. The phillies dont need 5th starter to be flashy just healthy and like you said – innings eater. What we do need is big 3 starters to be flashy in their production.

  29. Thought experiment for everyone: tell me (roughly) where our system ranks heading into the season. Then, give the most likely scenario for this season in terms of breakouts, setbacks, etc. that would raise our ranking significantly and the most likely scenario that would drop our ranking significantly. Include possible trades if you think they’re coming.

    1. I’d say probably around 15-20.

      If guys like Biddle, Morgan, Franco, Quinn, Martin, Joseph, etc sustain or improve their play at higher levels they could likely move up more. I’m pretty bullish on the first 4 guys and a little down on Joseph because his stats do not yet match his scouting reports. But if they start to that would make for a very good prospect.

      If half of those guys above take a step back then the system will also take a step back because that’s the best we have to offer and a mixture of our highest potential and some proximity.

      1. If we keep the 16th pick and the 46th, then after June the system could understandbly see a boost up, if the players selected are collegiate. I trust our scouting will get the best available at 16.

    2. Any trade for a significant player would hurt the farm a lot I think, because there are few high upside players in it to start with. I’m not very familiar with other team’s systems but I’d guess the farm would be ranked around 20th or slightly lower (probably much lower in the eyes of BA and such publications which weigh upside way way more than having a lot of depth in simply ‘good’ prospects).

      Most likely to happen good things that would raise our ranking- I think Franco, Quinn and Joseph having good years. Mostly likely bad things- None of the OF prospects (Dugan, Altherr, James, Gillies, etc) do anything to distinguish themselves while either moving up a level or repeating it.

    3. I would think it is somewhere in the 15-20 range. I am not going to think of trades since that could swing wildly.

      Best Case Scenario for Breakout is that because the system needs a star or two, some of the players like Franco, Quinn, Greene, Biddle, Cozens, Tocci, and Watson with loud tools puts together a monster season and make the leap from good to elite. They all have the talent to do so but it is more likely they all have good seasons and progress nicely and all are still in the nice but not great prospect category and the system improves some.

      The worst case is that the high minors pitchers flop, Biddle still has to face AA, Martin could fall apart, Morgan could appear more ordinary, and Pettibon’s lack of strikeout pitch could doom him. Then if Joseph and Asche look more like backups, there is no impact talent that is within a year of the majors. It is likely at least one of those scenarios happens (though they are all young enough that it shouldn’t be more than a temporary step back) but it is also likely that one of the pitchers puts it together enough that they end up in major league rotation by the end of the year.

      I likely missed a lot, with the exception of a few guys the system as plenty of boom/bust potential by the nature of who the Phillies acquire. Overall I expect the system to improve (without trades) since the majority of the impact talent is in the low minors and a year closer should greatly improve their stock

    4. I’m going to say we are about #18 if we don’t trade any more talent.

      What could boost us, apart from a good draft, in which we have one extra pick and our highest draft position in a while? Actual on-the-field success by the toolsy guys who have either not played much at all or whose performance hasn’t matched the tools. In the first category: Watson, Gueller, Tocci. In the second: Joseph, both Greenes, Altherr, Martinez, and Colvin. Thirdly a return to full-season health by Gillies, who can go back to being a primo prospect.

      What could lower our ranking next year, apart from the obvious additional trading away of talent? First is for the guys I mentioned above to not put up good numbers and have the view of their potential dim. Second is for the guys who took a big step forward last season like Martin, and Asche to backslide.

    1. I agree, the Phillies should not sign Cody Ross. Instead, they can give legitimate opportunities to Ruf and Brown to see if either belong in their outfield long-term, as well as wait until after the 2013 season to sign a corner outfield free agent. 2014 free agents include Corey Hart, Nelson Cruz, Shin-Soo Choo, Mike Morse, and Carlos Beltran. A few of those might get an extension or something before they become free agents, but still that is quite a good group for the Philles to explore. Signing Cody Ross would take these opportunities away.

      IMO, there is a good chance the Phillies, with their current roster, do not make the playoffs this year. Cody Ross is not a significant enough upgrade to change that fact, and signing him severely affects their ability to compete in 2014 and beyond.

        1. This has the distinct feel of a Pittsburgh Pirates offseason. Larry is right – Amaro has no clue about what produces runs on offense. This is getting really hard to watch. It is true that any move standing alone is not a diasaster, but viewed in their totality, it is unimpressive. The only move that is hard to second guess is Adams. Personally, I liked the Revere trade but others coud rightly view it as an overpay.

          1. I disagree with your post as this postseason should be called “rebuilding on the fly” with emphasis on improving every position even if it is marginally. I am pleasantly surprised that Amaro was able to fill this many positions without breaking the bank and keeping the farm system almost intact.

        2. I also agree, the Phils might give the 4 corner outfielders a shot and if they do not hit, and they are still in contention, maybe they could trade for one of those 2014 Free Agent Outfielders to be, at the trade deadline

    2. Since I adjusted my figurin’ to 11 million about left over, I’m on board with Ross as a full-time RF.. Don’t believe all that jive about L-R splits and all that. Just a hampering due to the expectations put upon players who seem to be trending in a direction, and then the front office types reduce opportunities to participate in the activity in question and exacerbate the situation. As long as Ross will come on board for an AAV of 10 million or less for 3 years or less, I’m on board. Either that or a trade of the excess OF on board for a RHHitting RF. Have not yet found a better possible fit for that but Jeff Francoeur. But, if they sign Ross they can peddle some of the reserve OF’s to teams needing depth. Then they can have the OF of a dream: Ruf and D. Brown starting off in a platoon in LF, B. Revere in CF, Ross in RF, and the 5th guy who can rarely sub in RF for Ross or be the caddy for Ruf And D. Brown in LF. I figure they can figure that in Spring Training between El Izquierdo or Jermaine Mitchell.

      1. The type of pitcher with a 2.95 ERA in his last 600 innings? I don’t think he’s smoke and mirrors. It’s tough to tell how much time he might have left at that level but I think he should have another couple real good years in him. With Bautista at 32 and Reyes at 29, there’s probably no better time for the Blue Jays to go all in than right now.

      2. Apparently Gose is staying in Toronto? —-Trivia…..in Canada players must pass ‘medicals’ before traded, in US players must pass ‘physicals’.

      3. I would never pay the premium of paying for a reigning Cy Young award winning pitcher unless I am trading with the Indians who seem to give away such pitchers for spare parts. This is especially true of a 38 year old one. I know as a knuckleballer his aging curve is less steep but he is unlikely to replicate last season. The knuckleball is fickle and the Blue Jays are probably going to get the guy with a 6 K/9 not 9 K/9 and that is going to reverberate around his whole effectiveness.

          1. Actually, I don’t know the statistics, but the lore says that pitchers hit knuckleballers better than other hitters.

            1. It might be true. Hitting against a knuckleballer is brutal for hitters because it’s pretty close to the exact opposite approach they usually use. So basically you’re fighting your instincts every at-bat. For pitchers, it’s less instinct when they’re batting because they don’t do it as often.

              On the other hand, it’s probably just a folk legend.

  30. Would Cody Ross be that bad of a move? Allows for a Ruf/Brown platoon in left and doesn’t cost a draft pick nor put them over the luxury tax threshold.

    Everything depends on the health and production of their star players any way, so I’m not sure how Ross hurts. I do think it would be a shame if the older players produced at a solid level and the Phils had a gaping hole in their OF.

    1. Waste of money – limits flexibility in making other moves and blocks other players. He is not very good.

      1. What other moves? I’m not sure who he is blocking since a) no one seems to believe in Ruf and b) Brown doesn’t appear to be very good.

        Its not an ideal move, but Swisher would cost a lot more, including a draft pick.

        1. If it’s a 3-year deal it will limit their payroll flexibility this year, next year and the year after, just as it did when we signed Raul – it limited our ability to take on salary for other players. By year 2 everyone couldn’t wait to unload that contract. With Ross I’m not sure it will take even that long.

          I disagree that Brown is not very good – he’s had very little chance to prove himself – he needs to play. People around here seem to lose sight of the fact that young players tend to develop over time, very few players come as fully formed stars like Mike Trout or Ryan Howard. That’s the extreme exception, not the rule.

          1. I agree with this. Brown needs to play every day. The other corner OF spot at this point can be a platoon between Nix and either Mayberry or Ruf, which isn’t so bad. If anything, I wouldn’t mind them signing another lefthanded OF to take Nix’s place in said platoon.

            1. It’s going to be Brown vs Ruf for the every day left fielder’s job according to Ruben/Charlie.

              or if they both fall on their face a platoon of some sort.

            2. Nix and Mayberry as a platoon would be about as good as Ross. I know Charlie doesn’t do platoons, but “manager too stubborn to platoon a corner OF position” is a lousy reason for a FA signing.

              As for Ruf and Brown competing for one spot, Brown should get his shot for a full season. And in the off chance that Ruf comes to spring training showing an ability to play an adequate LF, so should he. I would sign Swisher despite that, but not a guy like Ross, who is mediocrity personified.

            3. I’m a little confused by your statement. So by your statement Brown should get a shot at an everyday position (presumably RF).

              So if Ruf comes into camp and can play an adequate LF (Which I believe he already can – I guess adequate means different things to different people), that means you still spend the money on Swisher? Wouldn’t the strategy change at that point and you go low $ on a 5th OF type?

            4. There’s no guarantee that Ruf can hit major league pitching well either, and we won’t know if he can until well after this offseason, so I can see why some would want Swisher. He’s more proven than Ruf or Brown and he’s better than Ross.

            5. It’s all about risk/reward. If Swisher is a well above average corner outfielder for 3 to 4 years for the team, I’ll take the risk that one of Ruf or Brown maybe doesn’t get his fair shot. If I was more keen on Ruf, I might feel differently. But with Ross, there just isn’t a real upside. He’s not helping the team much if at all.

            6. I know I’m in the vast minority, but I’d actually give Ruf a shot over Brown at this point. It’s a 100% gut feel, and I know the “5 tool guys” won’t agree with me, but I see absolutely no reason why Ruf can’t be a .270/.340/25hr/85RBI guys when playing most of the time out in LF.

              Extremely small sample size, but I really liked what I saw of him in his limited time in his September callup.

              Meanwhile, Brown has gotten opportunity after opportunity – albeit short ones at that. He’s just so lost in the field, and has so many holes in his swing. He’s shown little to no power.

              I like Ruf better – conventional wisdom be dammed.

            7. I think the biggest reason that I disagree is defeRuf’s defense.

              The irony here is that if you go with the metrics he didn’t look horrible. But the sample size was tiny. What I go on:

              (1) He looked horrible to me. Not impressed by the fact that he is sure handed when he actually gets tot he ball.
              (2) It’s just hard to imagine a guy that size/speed/experience level playing the OF being anything other than horrible. Is there even a precedent for it? Not that he is absurdly slow, but other guys that size who are more athletic/faster/more experienced int he outfield have tended to be horrible. Who fits that profile and is adequate? I mean, obviously you can point to some big outfielders who are good defensively, but they have been playing the position for years and tend to be far faster and more athletic than Ruf.
              (3) Neutral reports of his defense are uniformly very negative. The only positive reports are from team sources, and you need to take those with a huge grain of salt.

              Now, beyong that, the facts that Brown’s minor l;eague resume, in context, is better, and that he is YOUNGER than Ruf even now, are other factors that make me favor Brown. That and the fact that inujuries almost certainly hurt his performance in the majors so far. But IF Ruf’s defense really is already “adequate,” then I think you can at least make a case for Ruf. I just don’t buy his defense as adequate.

            8. If you’re referencing what they apparently said at the season ticket holder’s meeting, I’ve heard the same thing. I just think it’s stupid. Might as well throw Mayberry in there too since there’s no guarantee that Ruf is the better player than JMJ.

  31. I dont like ross, but who is he blocking?. we have no outfielders who are near ready.. this is just the best of the rest, and its not good enough, but what other option do they have.

    1. We need to get ready for 2014 – 2015, that’s our next window. Ross is just delaying the inevitable. We need to find out what we have in Brown (very important) and a bit less important in Ruf.

      1. My suggestion for the future…Dayan Viciedo for LF from WSox…..in exchange, three players, Ruf/Brown–Morgan/Pettibone—-and Valle.

      2. Phillies are not building for 2014-2015. Their window is still now (most likely has passed). How many more years can we expect Halladay arm to stay on? Howard looks like he is running on two fake legs. Phillies are clearly in “put a patch on it” mode. When halladay/lee/howard/utley are gone…then you start to think about future years. Its an old team on their last leg…but they are champions so we need to support and accept current frame work. Phillies are still bumping up against salary cap almost every year and that sure beats being idle.

  32. My lineups would be…

    Vs RHP
    1 Revere CF
    2 Brown RF
    3 Utley 2B
    4 Ruiz C
    5 Howard 1B
    6 Rollins SS
    7 Nix LF
    8 Galvis 3B

    Vs LHP
    1 Revere CF
    2 Young 3B
    3 Utley 2B
    4 Ruiz C
    5 Howard 1B
    6 Ruf LF
    7 Rollins SS
    8 Mayberry RF

    1. A line up with Carlos Ruiz hitting clean up is an awful line up that won’t make the playoffs.

      Especially after last year, I think he needs to earn his way back into being a middle of the line up hitter.

    2. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk (and I actually agree that as constructed today, these lineups aren’t bad). But these lineups scream 78-83 wins.

      1. I agree. If you compare 08 to today’s lineup, third base is prob a push, and ruiz is better today, but at SS, 2b and 1b we have the same guys who have all regressed, revere isn’t Victorino, brown/Ruf/nix/Mayberry aren’t Werth and Burrell

  33. f&ck my last post looks really bad (when people start replying to messages, things get skinny).

    Can we please switch over to a vBulletin format already? Yeah, you have to register, but that will weed out the people who really don’t want to be a part of this. Please, the blog format doesn’t work!

    1. Was tried a few years ago…responses poor. Ilo of stringing along on the ‘reply’ trail…open a new post and reference the poster in the text you are replying to.

  34. The Phillies are in on Rick Porcello. Not sure if the Lannan signing takes them out of the running or not. More than likely does.

  35. I understand and believe that the Nats are young and good. But so many people just give them an overwhelming edge over the Phillies. I think if you go position by position it’s pretty close
    Chooch over Ramos
    Howard over Laroche or Morse
    Utley over Espinosa
    Rollins edges Desmond
    Zimmerman over Young
    Werth Span and Harper over Phillies OF
    SP Even
    RP Nats, but close

    1. The Nats have a 10 game edge, easily.

      They might have a starting pitching edge.

      As much as I like Rollins, SS is a push probably at this point with maybe even an edge to Desmond.

      The edges at 3rd and the OF are huge for the Nationals, far outweighing any advantages for the Phillies.

      Depending upon the extent to which Howard rebounds, the Nats could have the edge at first base as well. If the Phillies have an edge there, it is a small one.

    2. Honeslty?

      Chooch over Ramos
      Howard = Morse Laroche is better than Howard as an overall player
      Utley over Espinosa if he can play a full season
      Rollins < Desmond at this point in their careers although Rollins is the better defender IMO
      Zimmerman over Young by a landslide
      Werth/Span/Harper over Brown/Ross/Revere or whatever it ends up being
      Starting Pitching Nationals unless Halladay rebounds then it's a push. Top to bottom that rotation is better.
      The Bullpen – Nationals although the Phillies bullpen could end up being better if Bastardo rebounds and Aumont develops.

  36. Well said Steve. You are right on subject. Larry M Go to sleep go to sleep Please go to sleep. I bet you talk in long run on sentences even when sleeping.

  37. Since I’ve wanted the Phils to sign Adams, Lannan, and Ross all along, I’m feeling pretty good about things. I’m confident that if Adams passes his physical that he’ll be ok. He might start the season a little late but that’s not a big deal. I’ve wanted Lannan all along on a one yr deal. This kid has some talent for a 5th starter and he’s very motivated to show the Nats that they should have kept him. I think he’s still improving but he knows how to pitch and he’ll benefit from being around the Phils starters. As for all the negative Ross talk, I’m not suggesting he’s the be all to end all but I do think he can be a nice addition to the team wh can hit a little. I don’t think his presence will hurt in any way. If Brown and Ruf both hit, they’ll both play. Ross is badly needed insurance in case one or both or Brown and Ruf don’t hit. Ignore the money aspect because the FAs are all expensive. If they get Ross, this will be a decent off season in my opinion. I know many others have different opinions but you don’t bring any other realistic alternatives. The Phils obviously want no part of Swisher (he’s supposed to wear on a team in the clubhouse) or maybe it’s the pick. I really want that pick because as others have said, you need stars to win and they really need to come through the draft for money reasons. They need the 16th pick to be a future star. Lets Go Phils!

    1. Murray, we disagree obviously but you know my arguments I will not repeat them. But as for “They need the 16th pick to be a future star,” the chance that a 16 pick develops into a star is less than one in ten. Probably a lot less. That doesn’t necessarily invalidate your argument – I think overall you are wrong about Swisher, but I can see the counter arguments – but when weighing that 16th pick, you need to weigh it aaccordingly.

      1. I didn’t say the 16th pick “would” be a star, I said they need it to be a star. Keeping the pick actually shows me a plan even though it may not an out. Swisher is certainly better than Ross right now, but we don’t know the contract demand differences and I think some teams don’t want Swisher’s personality on their team. There’s still a chance they get an OF in a trade too. Bottom line, they can’t go into next season without another OF bat.

        1. Murray, I agree with you on the pick aspect. Not since 2011 will the Phillies have such a high pick, and I trust the scouting personnel to do their due diligence and come up with a player who could be at least ‘serviceable’ or a cog in their future. Not sure percentages can be ascertained at this point as to stardom or not.

        2. Murray, if they need him to be a star they are most likely screwed.

          The simple fact is, you make decisions based upon the reaonable likelihood of the outcomes. Again, doesn’t mean you are worng overall, but IF you beleive that Swisher is as good as I think he is, IF you don’t buy the clubhouse stuff, IF he doesn’t sign for something crazy, and IF you don’t think Ruf/Brown is likely to be a long term solution at the corner outfield spot, then it seems to me the pick would be a small price to pay.

          That’s a lot of ifs, and if you disagree with any of them, then you woon’t like the move. But that’s true even without considering the pick. Not that the pickis irrelevant, but just seems to me to be a small piece of the equation.

          Moot point; Amaro doesn’t like players who have good plate discipline. From Amaro’s perspective, Swisher’s greatest asset is a negative. In a competative market, he’ll never sign a guy like that.

    2. Ross will never be insurance in case Brown and Ruf do not hit. Neither FA nor Cholly work that way. Ross will never sign with the Phillies to be the insurance policy in case Ruf and Brown and Mayberry don’t hit. Why would he ever agree to do that? He will have other opportunity for almost as good $ as we offer. Before he signs with any team, he will receive verbal assurances that he goes into the season as the starting OF. That will make Ruf or Brown insurance in case Ross falls totally flat on his face. In the case of Ruf, that insurance policy will surely be housed in Allentown. If you want insurance in case a planned starter is injured or in the case of a promising rookie, simply cannot play well after a couple months of trying, then you have to get AAAA guys as your insurance policy. Guys who don’t have the option of being the starter for another team. That is why I always disagreed with the 2012 criticism of RA that he should have had adequate replacements ready in case Utley and Howard weren’t ready to start the season. Anybody good enough to reasonably replace the production offensively/defensively from a lost Utley or Howard is going to go somewhere where he can start. A guy willing to sign on as the fallback is going to be a pale shadow of Utley or Howard.

      1. I didn’t really make my point succinctly. The Phils can’t hope to contend with Ruf and Brown both starting. Of course, they would sign a guy like Ross promising a starting spot and that is the plan today. However, over the course of a long season, guys get hurt, guys play better or worse, they just change your thinking.

        1. Quite a change from what you said. So what you’re saying is that two of the kids are insurance for Ross not playing well, not the other way around. To rephrase, you are saying sign Ross and one of Brown/Ruf/Mayberry doesn’t start in the major leagues and the other two at best both get to platoon. Or to re-paraphrase, the kids will be shoved aside so that Ross plays.

    1. QED. Matt and I are not the guys characterizing other’s opinion’s about Asche as “asinine.” I even agree on the substance (i.e., I have him between 4 and 7). But Matt and I just happen to have a stong opinions expressed strongly – but politely, Matt always, me in THIS thread, not alwasy I admit – and WE’RE the arrogant ones?

  38. wow. such negative phillies vibes for a site that calls itself phuturephillies.com. should be letsgonats.com
    I cant wait till Ruf, Revere and Brown/Mayberry outplay Span(who many twin fans thought was weaker than Revere) Werth (who hasn’t been a factor in MLB since 2010) and Harper (very good, but not HOF just yet.)

    1. Well when Washington drafts in the top 5 for the last decade you should be able to contend eventually. It really helped when you get Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in back to back drafts..

      1. That is the part i never get. If my favorite team sucks, pretending like they don’t does not make one less of a fan. There is something to be said about being a realist. When discussing team futures, it is entirely ok for real Phillies fans to question the possible success and roster make up. I for one will hold out mild hopes for this team with its new ability to spend but the realist in me says lack of impact prospects (partially due to cheap spending w/out a draft cap, but also low picks and lost picks due to FA signings) and an aging core plus lack of impact FA’s on the market will lead to a serious downfall and i am deathly afraid of another decade of out right horrible baseball after tasting the sweet success as a fan.

    2. This sounds like those who gleefully wrote as if they were gleefully waiting in the expectation that Jason Michaels would be a better player than J.D. Drew. That is emotion talking, not logic. Werth had quite a nice 2012. Yes, he stank in 2011. I don’t even know what the Harper comment means, unless it’s just a convoluted way of saying you prefer vets to kids. Nobody is HOF until 5 years after they retire. All Harper can do is have a great sophomore season to follow his great freshman debut. He can’t conjure up a full career in less than a season and this certainly doesn’t reduce his current value. The odds of our OF bettering the Nats’ in 2013 is likely less than 1 in 1000, unless we add someone really, really good.

  39. Imo this phillies team, will be good if the three top starters, pitch like they are capable of,and howard and utley bounce back. they are the keys,the bullpen should be better, which will help in the late inning loses we had last year. lannan i hate, but if he gives us 5 or 6 innings, Then we turn it over to aumont or de fratus, then adams and pap. it will be better, i truely believe. Are they better than braves and nationals, dont thinks so on paper, but you win on the field, , this teams last chance to win , i really believe, if they are out of it in july, I really think lee, is gone, utley, might be traded, pap is possible most anyone but hamels will be dealt if someone wants them.,and if will be for prospect to rebuild.but the national are the same, they need harper to get better, zimmerman to stay healthy, strasburg to be healthy, bullpen which are nuts to pitch great again,haren not to be a bust, the braves need to have upton get better, to have a healthy mccann, heywood to continue to get better, who plays third?? no one in the east doesnt have questions.

  40. Without going into any great long post or anything (I’ll let Larry do that), I think people are really underestimating the effect of age decline on this time, and in a big way.

    I know, it’s so easy to just think of the names “Rollins, Utley, Howard, Halladay” and conjure up images in our head when the fact of the matter is more likely than not, these players are going to fall off, and they’re going to fall off fast.

    1. They have already fallen off. Even discounting the number of games they’ve been able to play, all three are noticeably off their peak seasons’ performance levels. You are right, this will continue. We may get a last hurrah trip to the playoffs from them in 2013, but the trend is going to be down and significantly so. The same applies to Lee and Halladay.

    2. Lets not confuse 33 with 37 years old. Lots of guys have good seasons at 33 and 34 nd even 35. I agree there is often some decline in skills but increased knowledge helps. Example is JRoll. He has far less range but positionally gets himself in the right place. Utley’s knee issues aren’t going away however and I’m not confident that Doc will ever be the same.

      1. Murray, there is SOME truth to that, but if we look at this specific group of players, Matt is more right than wrong – partly for reasons that you acknowledge.

        Howard, even before the injury, was in serious decline. Not surprising given his body type and skill set. Utley’s injury as you say is chronic; even if he can play a full season more of less, he is clearly not the player he was 4 yeares ago (it’s amazing that, even with that deceline, he is still, when healthy, one of the best second basemen in the game. But he no longer towers over other second basement). Rollins you have a point about, but, as much as I am a fan, middle infielders do tend to have a steeper decline phase. Then there is Halladay – no one really thinks he can go back to being the dominating pitcher he was, the question is can he rebound to the extent of being a solid #3. Again you seem to agree. Ruiz seems ageless, but catchers, like midddle infielders, tend to have early and abrupt decline phases, and he is going to regress from his career year in any event.

  41. 2013 Assignment Questions
    1. 3B for Reading: Franco? H-Mart? Alonso?
    2. CF for Reading: Collier or put him in left? James?
    3. C for WPT: Carman? Austidillo? Numata?
    4. CF for CLW: Eldemire? Our old friend Kyrell? Knight?
    5. CF for LWD: Pointer? Tocci?
    6. C for LWD. Moore? Numata? Lino? – if Lino to CLW then where does Ludy go with Rupp in REA?
    7. Carmona: what position and where?
    8. Dugan to REA?
    9. 2B for LWD: Greene? Pullin?
    10. Double jumpers: Serritella? Brady? Franco? Dugan? Tocci? Watson? Walter?

    1. 1. It depends on how Franco does in ST. If he does well enough that Phillies think he can handle Reading and it helps rather than hinders his development, then the job is his. H-Mart is the lesser prospect and must step aside so as not to hinder Franco. If Franco isn’t expected to prosper at Reading, then H-Mart may well get the chance.
      2. Same deal as #1. Collier is the more legit prospect, so he gets CF and James steps aside.
      3. I think Austudillio but think there’s a chance he starts at Lakewood with a good enough ST.
      4. First shot to Kyrell, although I doubt he makes it, in which case Eldemire is the guy I think likeliest, unless Hudson has a great ST. Really no more disappointing farmhand last season than Kyrell.
      5. I’d let Tocci sink or swim, with a fallback to Williamsport if the early going isn’t positive. In reality I think it is likeliest to be Kyrell Hudson.
      6. I’d guess Lino at Lakewood
      7. 1B at Lakewood
      8.Unless he bombs in ST. He’s hung around the system too long not to get a taste of sink or swim
      9. I’d put Pullin here, but the Phillies won’t. It will be Greene, with the excuse that Pullin can learn the position in extended ST. That’s a shame. His bat plays at Lakewood. I think the Phillies still like Greene and sending him back to short season would be a black mark. I don’t see him at SS or 3B, so he blocks Pullin.
      10. Serritella – yes, Franco and Dugan — probably, Tocci — I’d love to see it but probably not, Watson — barely played at GCL so what is a double jump? I think he starts at Williamsport, Walter — is he finally healthy? Don’t know what to make of this guy. He will be in short season or extended or cut. Brady — I think he moves to the pen, probably in CLW

    2. My Guess:

      1. Franco to Reading. HMart repeats A+.
      2. Collier CF in Reading. Helps his prospect value to keep him in CF
      3. College draftee will catch WPT. Numata has been in SS for 3 years
      4. Altherr CF in Clearwater. See Collier
      5. K Hudson in CF in Lakewood.
      6. Numata. Wouldn’t surprise if Lino was left back for 2 months though
      7. Carmona 1B/DH in Lakewood. Serritella 1b/DH in Clearwater
      8. Dugan to Reading due to need to protect him after ’13.
      9. Tyler Green at 2B for Lakewood (though I would prefer Pullin)
      10. Double jumpers: Yes to all of the names you mentioned except Tocci. He will still be 17 when the season starts. They won’t rush him.

  42. Steve – first of all, you’re shifting the discussion from Matt to myself. As I said, you can make a case of arrogance against me, as I AM arrogant on some points. But Matt isn’t. You owe him an apology.

    Beyond that, yes we clearly disagree about the point of the comments section of this site. If it is merely a forum for people to express opinions about Phillies prospects, then yes you would have a point. If it is, instead a forum to discuss and debate the prospects of Phillies prospects, then you have none. And the simple fact is that 99% of the people who comment here, including and perhaps espeically the people who disagree most strongly ith Matt and I, treat it as a forum for discussion and debate, not merely as a forum for self expression.

    Treating the commnet section of the site the way you want to treat it would destroy the site. It’s not arrogance to believe you are correct, say so, and back it up.

    And you knowe what, I bet YOU don’t even want a boring site where people engage only in self expression without discussion and debate. Your comments have never been interesting enough for me to have an impression of you one way or another, good or bad, but I’m sure you have your way of evaluating prospects also which you beleive to be accurate. Nothing wrogn with that..

    1. Re-reading Steve’s original post which sparked all of this, it occurs to me that a large part of this is Steve’s misunderstanding of the common meaning of the term “ceiling” in this context. If Matt REALLY DID mean that the absolute, positive best outcome for Asche was second division regular, then that might indeed be a bit arrogant. But he really means (as the term is commonly used, and as Matt clarified later) that he means that, given reasonable development of his current skill set, that is the best likely outcome. And that … is his opinion. Slightly wrong IMO, but not “arrogant” at all.

    1. phil, not a shred of contradiction. I copped to being sometimes arrogant. In THIS thread, that arrogance is not with regard to specific player evaluation, where any fair minded reading of my posts would conclude that I’ve been polite and modest. In THIS thread, not always.

      On more general issues, yes I’ve shown some arrogance even in this thread. I happen to think there is a contingent of posters – not a majority by any means – who manage to combine ignorance and their own type of arrogance, and contribute little to this site. I now try not to engage those people in discussions of specific players because it goes nowhere. In the past, I was guilty of futilely engaging those people. It’s pointless. In this thread, and generally lately, I’ve limited myself (when discussion specific players) to engage only those who I respect, even when I disagree with them. And I’ve done so respectfully and politely.

  43. One other thing Steve. You object to my point about the fact that Matt and I tend to usually be in agreement with both (a) the opinion of people who use advanced statistical analsysis, and (b) the expert consensus (which is based usually on contacts in the scouting community, as well as direct observation of players). Now, OF COURSE such agreement does not make us necessarily right, but:

    (1) Are you saying that, as a matter of fact, Matt and I (not that we always agree, and not as if we are alone, there are several people on the site with a similar perspective) AREN’T in tune with that consensus? Or are you saying that it doesn’t matter? If the former, you should back it up. If the latter,

    (2) If you are going to disagree with that consensus, you should be in a position to back it up. Simple as that. And many people do,. Heck, in this very thread I’m a bit at odds with the consensus on Asche – in a positive direction, despite my reputation – but I state reasons for that departure. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people to back up their opinions.

  44. A couple of points.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the Lannan contract. Nobody has any grand illusions about Lannan. As far as his role, I expect him to be in an ongoing competition for the 5th rotation slot and provide insurance in the rotation and the pen as Kendrick did in prior years. I say ongoing because, unless they sign an experienced pitcher (it’s not looking that way right now), I expect that Lannan, Cloyd, Pettibone, and Rosenberg will be in a competition that could easily go well into the season unless one pitcher really steps up early and blows the competition away. I have gone on the records saying that I would give Rosenberg every opportunity to be the 5th starter because he has the best stuff and can maintain his seriously good velocity (94-98 MPH fastball, acceptable slider) through at least 6 innings. If that happens, Lannan then becomes insurance for the rotation and the long man in the bullpen – that’s a good role and one that is needed on every club.

    Also, there’s more than an outside chance that, pissed off from the disrespect he was shown in Washington last year, Lannan comes into next year on a mission and really improves. He’s young enough where it’s not at all beyond the realm of possibility, especially as a left-hander. Much the same thing happened with Cliff Lee between 2007 and 2008, although Lee had admittedly had a better track record before he imploded in 2007.

    As for his contract, if he pitches like he has 1.3-1.5 WAR, Lannan would easily merit the type of contract they are giving him. You can argue that the team, with a deep reserve of arms should spend elsewhere and this argument has some merit. But, objectively, even the same old Lannan we’ve already seen before is worth the type of contract they are giving him.

    1. I don’t really object to Lannan per se, or the contract, really, and my initial comment on him was perhaps a tad too sharp. But it’s more the cumulative effect of all the moves (Revere partly excepted, but even there the move in context, given alternatives and the fact that they don’t seem to plan to use the money saved to sign anyone good) that makes me sad. Lannan just seems to represent the kind of talent evaluation we have come to expect from the Phillies. Poor K rate, mediocre command, success hinges almost entirely on generating ground balls . Granted that may be a good fit for the ballpark, maybe not so much for the team’s aging infield.

      If in fact he’s someone who is “in the mix,” as opposed to THE fifth starter, why not instead take a chance on someone with more upside, maybe coming off an injury?

      1. “If in fact he’s someone who is “in the mix,” as opposed to THE fifth starter, why not instead take a chance on someone with more upside, maybe coming off an injury?”

        Larry, I can’t argue with that point – he’s probably not the guy or guys I, personally, would have brought in for this role. I was just making the point that the Lannan signing is certainly defensible and he is likely to be roughly worth the money they will pay.

        I also agree with your comment regarding the cumulative effect of the moves. Just as making multiple moves where the Phillies gained a slight advantage could have really helped the team on an aggregate basis (Youkilis would be a good example), the cumulative effect of these moves is probably fairly neutral (hence my comment about the Phils having a “Pittsburgh Pirates” offseason – it is, overall, blah), although I do think that Adams has a chance to really help settle things down in the bullpen.

        1. The main criticism I’d make about the Adams signing is that the risk factor on him is much larger than the typical reliever because of the injury. The counter argument is that, with money to spend and an apparent fixed decision to avoid spending it on a difference maker, an over-pay to Adams is no big deal, he could be really good, and there weren’t many options out there. Overall, though, I would put it in the “blah” category because of the injury.

          (I would say that I view the third year less negatively than some. If he is healthy and pitching well, the thrid year will vest. if not, likely not. Though OTOH it wouldn’t shock me TOO much of Adams declined to (say) a 3.00 ERA reliever and the team still ran him out there enough times for the third year to vest.

          1. Actually, looking at it closer, the vesting third year is not going to be easy to reach at all. Not worried about the third year of the deal.

            1. I always worry about vesting deals or bonus-laden deals. I absolutely hate them, because Cholly will bend over backwards to give the guy every possible opportunity to make good on the full potential of his contract. While that is best approach for the player’s wallet potential, it often is not best for the team. If Adams is pitching poor to blah, and one of the kids its pitching well, does Adams take preference because of his contractual need to keep being sent out to the mound?

            2. Yep not many relievers in the Phils’ bullpen get to 60 in a year. Pap did and Bastardo did but some of Bastardo’s were LOOGY appearances.

    2. At 2.5 million, Lannan could be a 0.5 WAR middle reliver, and be worth the investment. If Lannan posts a 1.5 WAR, he will have been a bargain.

  45. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that, assuming the Phillies are not prepared to offer 4 or 5 years to Swisher and the money he wants, the best option would be to try to convince Lance Berkman to come back on a reasonable, incentive-laden one year contract to play left field and spell Howard at first from time to time. He wouldn’t play every day, and when he doesn’t start, he would be one of the scariest pinch hitters in baseball. I wouldn’t consider a contract like this for most guys his age, but Berkman is one of those guys who is just a born hitter – I think he could produce fine in a slightly more limited role and he would provide a huge safety net for Ruf and, really, many of our other outfielders. And, damn, he can hit for power, he gets on base and is a switch hitter. Sure, it’s not a perfect option, but it’s a lot better than giving Cody Ross a 3-year $30 million deal. Of course, Berkman has to be interested in Philly and I’m not sure that he is, but he’d look awful nice swinging for homers in CBP.

    1. I was shocked when Amaro made such an aggressive offer for Ichiro. Given his propensity to surprise, I wonder if he might be lying in the weeds on Bourn. I expect him to sign with somebody like Texas, but if not, and Bourn was willing to sign a one-year deal for $10-11 M so that he could go back in the market next year, or a three-year deal with opt-outs at a lower salary than originally thought (which gives him security and the ability to go back in the market) … Imagine the D in the outfield with him and Revere, Bourn leading off and Rollins moving down in the order. I just think Bourn is the type of player/person the Phillies love and covet, and if his offers don’t shake out, I think the love could be mutual.

      1. Funny you mention Bourn as I had a similar thought just yesterday. Myself not excluded, most likely feel that Bourn is a non-factor after the trade for Revere, but I can’t help but wonder if RAJ would become interested if Bourn’s price drops below the grossly overpaid Upton’s. This is most likely a moot point as I think Bourn will ultimately get a long term deal somewhere but the deafening silence on the rumor mill leads me to wonder.

        1. A young, cost-controlled starter who is just entering his prime. Even if we get Bourn, that’s a good trade to make. Bourn is none of those things.

    2. I would not be surprised to see the Phils sign Berkman and I would not be disappointed if they did. The Astros just inked Carlos Lee but even before that there were rumblings that Berkman was interested in signing with a contender which the Astros definitely are not. The other team reportedly interested in Berkman were the Rays. I think the Phils are at least the contender that the Rays are in ’13.

      The Phils seemingly don’t like the idea of Ross getting a 3-year deal so Berkman for 1 or Hairston for 2 years might be more appealing. The Phils could juggle Ruf, Berkman, Brown and Mayberry in a way that keeps Berkman out of RF is his balky knee is not up to it. Berkman could play some LF, DH when needed and spell Howard against an occasional tough lefty. The team would be paying for probably a maximum of 350 at bats. Maybe a $4 M deal with incentives that could bring him $5.5 M. Cheaper than Ross but likely sufficient to give the Phils what they need which is essentially a right handed bat against lefties and some insurance should Ruf struggle.

  46. I don’t see Bourn being in play even if his price does drop. No matter what RAJ says in interviews my take is that he is committed to seeing what he has in Ruf and Brown. That’s not to say he wouldn’t bring in a Ross type but he is not going to bring in a guy that A) will require more than a 2 Year deal B) require or make noise if he isn’t getting enough playing time.

    I think the only guy they identified as being worth that was B.J.

    I think they are commited to getting younger and I think they are commited to using 13 to evaluate what they have in house. Despite our opinions on Asche the Young move is a strong indication we may see him in late 13 and then if he does well he could be your starter at 3B in 2014.

    I could be wrong.

  47. I think the narrative on Ruben when all is said and done will be that he was to frenetic as a GM.

    The Lee to Seattle move was the first example for me.

    The Pence move as an example, was Wade really not going to do that deal if Santana wasn’t part of it?

    Was it really necessary to go 4/$50 for Papelbon? Was it really necessary to include May in the deal for Revere? Was it really necessary to include Bonilla in the deal for Young? I mean would Daniels have said no to Knigge, Friend or some other name. I can’t believe Daniels had other options and he had 0 leverage because of the no trade clause.

    I will never know the answers of course but the point for me in analyzing how we got to this point will be all these moves where it seems the other guy (player or GM) was always able to squeeze a little more out of RAJ.

    Now I understand some of these kids may never go on to become anything but that is not the defining methodology for his evaluation/grade. If I were the Phillies ownership I would have to be asking these same questions.

  48. How about Chris Denorfia instead of Cody Ross. Against lefthanders he had a .337/.390/.500 in 2012 and a .328/.391/.496 in 2011. He is owed 2 mil in 2013 and 2.25 in 2014. What would we have to give up to obtain him? Cody Ross is going to cost too much $$$ for what he offers.

  49. Just listened to former Phils pitching coach Joe Kerrigan interviewed by Anthony Gargano. Kerrigan is no Phillies homer as he sees the team “in the rear view mirror” of the Nats and Braves. The talk was mostly about the Phils pitching acquisitions and why Edwin Jackson might not be such a great pickup (hasn’t learned to master his fastball and reduce big innings against). For me the most interesting was his observation on Darin Ruf where Kerrigan maintained that Ruf was “way ahead” of both Brown and Mayberry in terms of hand and bat speed which he treated as 2 separate matters. He indicated that the Phils are really high on Ruf and that he could be a 140 game player with a Brown/Mayberry platoon in right. The Phils could save some money to use for an in-season pick-up.

    Gratifying to me to hear was Kerrigan’s response to the question of how it could be that Ruf could blossom as a 26 year old prospect. He essentially said “It happens. Particularly with college kids who adjust to the pros and swinging a wooden bat. He wouldn’t the first one to make it big at this age.” I’ve never bought into the orthodoxy from some on this site about age when evaluating prospects at the big league threshold. and have sparred with Larry M. a time or two. Still think I’m right and it’s nice to hear a pro guy address that subject.

    1. IM, I am actually, when it comes to his hitting, relatively high on Ruf & have been for some time. Regarding hitting, I differ from some of his more enthusiastic fans (not you so much on the first point, if I recall correctly) in that (1) I make what I believe is a more realistic adjustment for the difference between AA and the majors, and (2) I temper my enthusiasm a little because of some degree of worry that he might have some trouble with major league breaking balls. But neither of those things really separates me from Kerrigan, nor does it mean that I don’t see him as a good prospect as a hitter. I do & he is.

      My skepticism all along has been based mainly on outfield defense, and I would love to hear Kerrigan’s take on that. I remain unconvinced.

      And really he WOULD probably be “the first to make it really big at this age,” but – and maybe I have not been sufficiently clear on this – I never placed much weight on that particular fact as did some people around here do. He should be evaluated on his own merits; the age factor enters into that but is not dispositive. Which is why, my reputation aside, I am and have been more bullish on Ruf than the “expert consensus.”

      1. And now I think I remember the conversation about age. If I recall correctly, you took the extreme position of saying that age doesn’t matter (correct me if I am wrong), which is silly, and is not what Kerrigan is saying. It matters, mainly because Ruf is pretty much a finished product, as opposed to say a 23 year old who performed similarly, where you would expect continued development.

        1. Must have been some other discussion with someone else. What I would say is that age loses its value as a predictor as prospects arrive at the threshold of becoming big leaguers. Take Satchel Paige. But seriously, there are enough guys who for whatever reason arrive later to good careers. I share a concern regarding Ruf and his ability to field his new position. I am not concerned that he is an older than average rookie as I’ve seen guys arrive late and do well. Seen too many guys who arrived early and flamed out. For prospects in the low minors, I do feel that age matters since as 24 year old in A ball suffers in comparison with a 19 year old since the performance that gets the latter promoted may get the former released..

    2. I don’t know if I ever really bought this all of a sudden late bloomer tag the Ruf has gotten. He was a guy who advanced through four levels in his first 2 years of pro-ball He repeated the fourth level when he didn’t go gangbusters in what was the fourth level he saw in two years and he had a fine season. It wasn’t like he was a HS kid who spent 5 years hitting .750 OPS in A ball before suddenly having a breakout season.

      1. Yes it is, because as a college senior Ruf was old when drafted. He was old for every league he was in. He hit well but not well enough to jump out as a prospect, until 2012. Like Howard and Ruiz, he didn’t really jump until the second half of his AA season. It’s not that these three guys were terribly slighted in the rankings, they just didn’t jump out. Ruiz didn’t even start his AA season as the number one catcher on the team. Ruf and Howard were playing in the very tough neighborhood of 1B/DH-only. You have to hit a ton to succeed in that neighborhood, especially if you are old for your league. Ruf exploded on the scene with his 20-HR August. Prior to that he was just another of the not-quite-good-enough college hitters (esp. seniors) that fans get too excited about. He took his game to a new level and it was recognized.

    1. Do you know anything about what his stuff is like? What his projection is? Are the Tigers even shopping him? Young high strikeout arms with cost control don’t come cheap so I don’t see the need to be trading for one with Pettibone, Morgan, and Martin all knocking at the door.

  50. Since when was Delmon Young a free agent??? He fits the Phillies perfectly. Right handed batter who can play the outfield and is young.

      1. Let’s see, how to put it … as much as I hated the other Young deal, this would be far worse. If you discount the opportunity cost of M. Young’s salary, which I now do given the team’s settled intent to avoid signing anyone good, and the cost of the prospects, which I mostly discount, there is actually a small chance the M. Young acquisition could help the team a little bit. Whereas with D. Young, it is guarenteed that he will take playing time from better players and make the team worse.

        I wouldn’t give him a minor league deal. Someone probably will, but with Kansas City set in the OF (in their own mind), I’m not sure there is a major league front office who will give him a major league deal. (Ironicly, KC might be the one team for whom he would be an actual upgrade.)

        Add to that the fact that he is one of the few players in the game where even I worry that his tendency to be an @sshole has tangible negative value …

        1. And to be clear, I’m not meaning to jump on you so much as to express my extreme distaste for having anything to do with D. Young. For most of the guys I criticize, I hope to be wrong and will root for them to succeed. Even M. Young; I hope he surprises me and hits .320, with 20 HR and adequate defense at third, not that I consider that at all likely. If the Phillies sign D. Young, I will be rooting for a career ending injury on day 1. Failing that, I will be rooting for him to strike out on every AB until he is benched forever.

          1. Again its after midnight and you are getting carried away. Remember Michael Young was the ‘worse’ player last week, but now Delmon has topped him at worse…worsest!

            1. This is why you dont feed a larrym after midnight. Just kidding, i actually enjoy the 330 am report on DY and MY. found it refreshing and humorous

            2. M. Young was one of the five worst regulars in baseball last year. The only small change in my evaluation of him is that I no longer count the salary as a mark against him because I am convinced that the team would not have applied it to a meaningful upgrade. That makes his (unlikely) upside with the team potentially mildly positive IF everything breaks right. Still hate the move.

              D. Young is worse:

              (1) Not QUITE as bad as M. Young last year, but plenty bad, and he was never good, so there is nothing to “rebound” to. At least M. Young was good once and could recover some of that, even if it is unlikely he recovers much.
              (2) While I don’t buy M. Young’s so-called intangibles as a positive, D. Young seems to be one of those rare players with meaningful intangible negatives. He’s a jerk.
              (3) While I like Frandsen more than some do, I think it’s pretty clear that the team’s internal corner OF options, without D. Young, are better than the internal third base options without M. Young. You can make a case that with a rebound M. Young is better than Frandsen, whereas the team has at least 4 corner outfielders better than D. Young.
              (4) At least M. Young plays a premium position (albeit badly), whereas D. Young plays a not-so premium position, also badly.

            3. But do we really have 4 outfielders better than DYoung? That is a bit of a stretch. I can see RAJ getting him though, since he likes to surprise us.

          2. I completely understand, Ive heard he was a jackass as well and I wouldnt normally want him on my team. I just havent heard anyone even bring up the name.

    1. When i hear RAJ talk about there being no significant upgrades on the FA market immediately D. Young and C. Ross come to mind for me.

  51. I have followed porcello since he is from new jersey, he has gotting worse,each year, look at his hits per inning, and strikeout, he is 23 ,but dont think he is that great prospect anymore. more like a blanton type, lot of hits and give you some innings. nothing to get excited about

  52. Porcello is a nice player but I don’t see the point of brining him in. If your intention is to move Kendrick (Porcello is an upgrade certainly) then why not just improve the slot with a 3/36 for Jackson…all he costs you is money and then becomes a nice trade chip at the deadline.

    Smyly would be expensive in terms of prospects and I’m not so sure he is any better than Morgan. Morgan is already in your system so he doesn’t cost you anything.

    If you aren’t sure Ruf/Brown are future everyday players then go make a trade to acquire one. At this point I value that over a guy that goes out there once every 5th day.

  53. While they would never admit it I think they are going to take 2013 as an evaluation year. These are the notable 2014 FA’s and their ages when they become FA’s

    Prado 30
    Morse 32
    Cano 31
    Ellsbury 30
    Young Chris 30
    Choo 31
    Granderson 33
    Gomez Carlos 28
    Pence 31
    Hart 32
    Kubel* 32 AZ holds an Option

    Of course some of these guys could sign extensions and not be available. We may as well get the answers to our questions this season:

    Utley-Should we extend him as our 2B
    Ruf/Brown-Are they everyday corner OF’s
    Asche-Is he ready for a full time gig in 2014
    Howard-Does he mash in 2013 and become attractive to a team making a stretch run
    Morgan/Martin/Biddle-are any of these guys ready to step into the rotation

    And finally another season in the rear view to decide on ETA’s for the young guns and whether not they are progressing.

    1. What do you think is the upside of Howard mashing? 30HR? 40HR? What kind of return do you think that brings back knowing that he is owed at least $85 million through the following three years? If Howard is mashing and the Phillies are a few games out of the WC do you still trade him?

      I agree with you on the rest of your questions but I think we are stuck with Howard for the length of the deal unless we find another Los Angeles that wants to take on another Vernon Wells.

      1. It happens every season Aron. Some team always gets it in their head a guy can bounce back or they can fix a player…

        1. as it pertains to Howard I think about teams that were interested in Hamilton at 3/80. Seattle maybe. yes we may have to eat a chunk of that but you do what you have to do for the long term health of a team.

          1. You are comparing what someone was willing to do for a player who has a cumulative 23.3 lifetime WAR in 6 seasons and would have been 34 at the end of the contract they wanted to sign him through versus another player with a cumulative 16.8 lifetime WAR in 9 seasons that would be signed through at least his age 36 season.

            Absolutely we should explore every avenue but I wouldn’t be holding my breath eating lots of money or no. If Ruf proves that he can hit enough to replace Howard everyone is going to asking for Ruf not Howard.

            1. I think we all saw what was basically the same scenario unfold Thome/Howard. And look I am not saying it can or will happen.

              What I don’t want is people running my team with an attitude that nothing can be done to fix a problem.

            2. Well part of the problem is that I don’t know that the current brain trust sees it as a problem.

              That aside, it seems to me that the once scenario that allows the problem to be solved short of a cut your losses & just waive him approach (not likely to happen), is that he rebounds to his 2010-2011 level of play and an AL team takes him off our hands as a DH for basically nothing & we pay “only” about half of his remaining salary.

              The problem is that a rebound to even that level would likely mean that the FO would not want to trade him.

              I agree that a good FO would be more likely to find a creative solution to the problem. But if we had that kind of front office, we likely wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.

            3. Not really because Thome’s numbers had not dropped off nearly as badly as Howard’s have and Thome wasn’t owed nearly as much money.

    2. I like the premise and idea:
      I think Aron is right, there is little chance that anyone will take on Howard, so the question in my mind, is will he rebound enough to be a productive player who is still horribly overpaid but at least providing positive value.
      I would also add:
      DeFratus/Aumont/Diekman/Stutes/etc. – Is the bullpen stocked with young arms going forward.
      Halladay – is he done or is there another couple years of a good starter in there (at which point extend him and keep a good top of the rotation while you give the young guys time to establish themselves)

      Unless the team is devastated by injuries I see 2012 as the floor (unless they start trading pieces off) especially as you start to phase in new guys, as long as you have Hamels/Lee at the top of the rotation the team should be competitive while they fill in the holes. I think Brown/Ruf/Mayberry is a good enough group that if used right (platooned to start at least) there is some value to be had there and there is a chance that Ruf or Brown will establish themselves as an everyday player (or at least a 7 inning player in the case of Ruf who will likely always need a defensive caddy). Swisher might be better than a platoon (especially since it will only be one player), but I just don’t think the way this team is constructed that Swisher is the factor that will make or break a season, and the cost is quite high. Ross is an older slightly better version of Mayberry, that advantage is negated by the fact that Charlie will play him against RHP and his cost is much higher.

      1. I’m just trying to keep an open mind on Howard (dare I say I’m hoping the league as a whole would have an open mind)

        here is an example. Let’s say the Brewers some how creep into the race and want a LH power bat to couple with Braun. I could see some possibility there.

        And again this is where saving your available resources now comes into play. If you want to be a big boy in this game you eat contracts from time to time. That could be pie in the sky thinking but I never say never.

        If I were GM I would exhaust every avenue with every club until they all tell me no 3x. The thing is Howard has to do his part and start off like gang busters and the Phillies can’t be tempted to think he is back.

        I’m thinking/guessing Ruf is going to hit but struggle in LF night in night out so a move to 1B would be ideal. I think he is a natually better hitter than Howard and woud provide plenty of pop to hit in the 4 hole.

  54. I really want the Phillies to give Ruf and Brown a full shot this year just not excited that we have two question marks at the same time. Looking back the Pence deal was a mistake and they should have stuck with Brown at the time.
    I did not like the MYoung at the time but am softening on it and think it will work for a year maybe less if Asche tears it up at AAA. I talked to an ex phillies player who also played a year in the rangers org. and he loves the Young deal and thinks our club house really needs him.

    1. I went to his baseball reference page expecting to go, yeah I would take him for 2-3million a year and give up nothing. But no, I want nothing to do with him unless the Angels are giving us things to take on some of his salary, at which point we are buying prospects.
      .218/.248/.412 line in 2011 (he did hit 25 HRs)
      .230/.279/.403 line in 2012
      At this point he just blocks guys with more upside.

      1. Angels want pitching…looks like one or two of Aumont, Defratus, Diekman, Horst or maybe even Cloyd may go.

            1. Ryan Howard for Vernon Wells and Kendry Morales. If the Angels wanted a reliever thrown in, Rube could insist on a salary match of the 3 principals for 2013. Phils take $21 M for Wells and Morales is arbitration eligible, let’s say he makes $5.5 M in ’13. Howard gets $20 M so the Phils requests the difference of $6.5 M in salary relief for the reliever thrown in. Downside is that Morales is a free agent after 2013 and is a Boras client. I might condition the deal on an extension of Morales the way the Jays did with Dickey. To those who think this is a major windfall for the Phils, I encourage you to read fan sentiment on the Angels board regarding Wells. If Ryan improved to 80%, then a batting order with Trout, Trumbo, Pujols, Hamilton and Howard is one scary proposition for AL competitors.

      2. I would rather trade Brown for Soriano than have the Angels give me Wels and pay all his salary asking nothing in return.

  55. As of right now my line up would probably be:

    Rollins
    Revere
    Utley
    Howard
    Young
    Nix
    Brown
    Kratz
    Hamels

    on opening day against Kris Medlen or Tim Hudson. (with Ruf platooning with Nix in left field and Dom being the every day right fielder).

    I’m wondering if they shouldn’t just go into the season with that type of line up, get Ruiz back after May and have some sort of line up such as:

    Revere
    Young
    Utley
    Howard
    Rollins
    Ruiz
    Nix/Ruf
    Brown
    Pitcher

    or something similar to that and look for an outfielder at the trading deadline. I’d like Ross on a 2 year guaranteed deal with an Option, and I wouldn’t give up the draft pick (which could be as high as #14 overall) for Nick Swisher.

    Scott Hairston might be another guy I’d consider, if they don’t feel Brown can play everyday. He’d essentially make Mayberry irrelevant as he can play all three outfield spots (which wouldn’t bother me, I don’t like Mayberry at all) and offers more proven power.

    1. … just as a note I was just messing with Rollins/Revere as the lead off hitter just to play with the line up a little bit and give it a different look… I wasn’t suggesting Rollins should be replaced as the lead off hitter or whatever.

    2. I’d go with:

      Revere
      Rollins
      Utley
      Howard
      Ruiz
      Brown
      Ruf
      Young

      Of course there’s no way Charlie will put Young in the 8 hole. But he should, at least to start. If he’s still got something left in the tank he could always be moved up.

        1. Because Ruf and Brown are young guys who I think are very important (to different degrees) to the success of the team in the immediate and long term future, and I want them to get as many at bats as possible. Also, they both hit better than Young last year, although SSS applies, especially for Ruf.

        2. Because he was awful last year, that’s why. That’s like saying why should Raul be taken out of the lineup. So he’s a veteran, that doesn’t mean he gets to just have a job and not produce. Michael Young is not a middle of the order hitter at this point due to limited power. And I sure as heck would prefer some combo of Rollins and Revere at the top and not Young up there. I think having two good base running threats at the top will be nice and could swing certain games.

          1. I’d rather have Rollins/Revere at the top of the line up too but who knows what Charlie’ll do.

            Michael Young has a track record of being an above average hitter and during September he hit fairly well. Darin Ruf has no track record and Domonic Brown, at this point, hasn’t shown he can be an every day player. I think the in experienced players should earn their roles not have it handed to them because they “could” be good.

            1. That’s really not true. To give a more accurate summary of 2012: Michael Young stank for most of the year and then hit better in September, whereas Ruf tore up AA for most of the year and then hit extremely welll in the big leagues in September. But somehow Michael Young’s September, which differed drastically from the rest of his 2012, is significant, whereas Ruf’s September, which repeated his succes earlier in the season, is not statistically significant. I think we need a new general rule: when a very aged vet has had an abysmal season, the career numbers on the back of his baseball card become meaningless and you have no idea what you get the next year. You may see a partial dead cat bounce or you may see a continued age-related slide in performance. Either is possible, but talk of a track record under these circumstances is pretty much nonsense.

            2. There is a big difference between 33 AB in 12 games and 115 AB in 31 games. You can not just ignore his past performance completely when trying to project his future performance. And 13 years of ML statistics are way more relevant than 1 yr of AA experience. After saying that I really think that with all of the question surrounding the core group adding non difference making OF players servers less of a purpose than finding out before the trade deadline if Ruf and Brown are ML players. If all 5 of the veterans we have questions with bounce back to form I suspect that we will be in the race. If not anyone short of Hamilton would not have made a difference and have been a waste of $.

            3. Young’s September is more relevant because Ruf only had a week-two weeks of at bats.

              I don’t care about what Darin Ruf did in AA. That doesn’t earn him a MLB job. He needs to show he can put up numbers in the Major Leagues before I give him a job over a veteran player who’s had one bad offensive year. (Derek Jeter was “done” a few years ago too…)

      1. This is a decent line-up. I’d actually have the balls to bat Ruf 4 but I know Chuck won’t do that so let’s hit him 5th instead.

        I like Young in the 8 hole because its not an easy place to hit. With the pitcher behind you its a place where you don’t see a lot of good pitches to hit. You need a disciplined hitter there to take walks and turn the line-up over.

        Revere hitting 8 makes no sense at all because when he gets on you take away his ability to steal bases. Revere leading off is dynamic. With Jimmy behind him against a RH pitcher he leaves the hole open for Jimmy to pull a ball. he can go first to third on just about any hit and probably score from 1st on a double.

        All that before we even get into the bags he might swipe.

        1. I think Revere in the 8 hole makes sense in that you have a guy who can get on, steal 2nd base, and have the pitcher bunt him over to third. Ideally, he’d be my lead off guy but you know how loyal Charlie is with Jimmy (although he did leave the possibility open to Rollins/Revere or Revere/Rollins at the top).

          I’d bat Ruf fifth only if he tears it up in the spring and Michael Young doesn’t. Asking a rookie to protect Ryan Howard is a lot (regardless of how one feels about protection in a line up) of pressure to put on a kid who’s also trying to establish himself in the Major Leagues.

          For the record, I’d have no problem going Revere/Utley/Howard… Revere/Utley hit lefties fairly well… it’d really only be a problem for Howard who’s going to get a situational lefty regardless of who’s hitting in front or behind him.

  56. aI think the Phils will know by the end of spring training if Young is the hitter who found his stroke in Sept. or the guy who struggled through much of last season. If Young is mostly back, no question that Charlie will bat him above the young ones. Charlie loves the vets of which there can be little debate. I think Charlie could care less what Young did last year for someone else.

    1. Spring training means little, especially for a veteran. Clearly Kratz is the 8 hole hitter to start the season. Young will probably hit 6, depending on the LF and RF. He could also bat 2nd like Poly did and give the Phillies similar production to Poly circa 2010, and Rollins could bat 5 or 6, but Rollins seems to struggle with men on base batting in an RBI slot. Also Charlie likes 2 burners at the top of the order so I expect and like Rollins and Revere 1 and 2 in either order. After the first month of the season is over and Ruiz is back then we’ll have a slightly better idea of how much Young has in the tank, but one month is still too short a period to know how good Young can still be.

  57. The Phils look like a solid third-place team.

    Were they willing to go way over the 2013 threshold, the team could still be an elite team.

    Unless some more deception is going on, Halladay should be at least excellent in 2013. He did not suffer a career-threatening injury in 2012. Before the injury, Doc arguably was baseball’s best pitcher and had been for several years. I would not be surprised if he is once again the Phils’ best pitcher. After all, we’re talking about Roy Halladay, not some schmuck nor a mere front-line starter. The 2013 Halladay should be a big improvement over the 2012 version.

    I expect Howard to return to his offensive production level of 2010-2011, i.e., 30+ HRs and a .350 OBP. That’s a far cry from the guy who averaged 50 HRs in his first four full seasons and 47 HRs from 2007-2009, but Howard is still a key man in the Phils’ lineup.

    I’ve always admired Ryan Howard because he’s been a hard worker who tried to stay in tip-top shape and who worked at his defense, although with limited results. He was not content just to hit homers and collect a big paycheck. Unfortunately, I think that all Howard is now is a home-run hitter with acceptable on-base skills, but he still has valuable. Howard should be more productive in 2013 than he was last season.

    I think Chase Utley is still a very good ball player when he plays; he just doesn’t play enough. I expect no difference in 2013.

    In sum, I expect the Phils to get a lot more from Halladay in 2013, a little more from Howard and about the same from Utley. That could be a five-seven game improvement, which is nice, but not enough to contend for the division.

    My previous recommendations were that the Phils sign Greinke, Youk, an eighth-inning guy and a couple of inexpensive OFs like Vic and Pagan. I was off on the price of FA OFs, and I believe the Phils made a good choice in trading for Revere. I also like the Adams’ signing assuming he’s healthy.

    Had the Phils signed Greinke, Youk, and Adams and traded for Revere and somebody like Soriano (if he doesn’t cost Dom Brown or an equivalent), the Phils’ win total in 2013 could be as high as 95.

    Moreover, the team would be getting younger. Greinke would be a young addition to the team’s core which would then consist of the team’s Big Four starters and maybe Rollins (I no longer consider Howard and Utley part of the core group.). I also expect both Brown and Revere, two young players, to be regulars in the OF. Even if neither is a star, each can be a valuable contributor.

    Although the team’s window of opportunity seems to be closing, it did not have to be so. The Phils have a leadership deficiency. Amaro is a mediocre GM

    1. Derek, it is so easy to spend other peoples money is it not? Your strategy would put us way over the Luxury Tax threshold and greatly limit the prospects ability to move up to the MLB level. Under the circumstances I believe Amaro has done well this off season by not breaking the Luxury Tax level and keeping the farm system almost intact.

      1. Youk and Soriano are short-term fixes. They are not blocking anyone. Neither is Adams. The Greinkes of the world can block as many prospects as they want. Ben Revere may be blocking Gillies, and, for that, we should be thankful.

        My recommendations would add up to about $200 million for 2012 luxury tax purposes; and, “Yes. I do enjoy spending other people’s money.” All seriousness aside, the threshold goes up by $11 million in 2014; a lot of money is coming off the books that season; I would drop Utley, but probably not Halladay; the team should be able to fall below the threshold in 2014 and get a fresh start on the luxury tax, which is not so onerous as it once was; I expect the team to sign a big TV deal soon, thanks in part to efforts to remain an elite team at least until the new deal is signed; a $3.5 million luxury tax for 2013 pales in comparison to the multi-billion dollar TV deal the team can expect. If I were Phils’ ownership, I would want Amaro to focus more on the TV deal and less on the luxury tax. The economics of baseball are changing rapidly; we should all pay attention.

        1. Ownership/Management is dictating what get spent not Ruben Amaro. Ruben is just following orders and Greinke probably would not have come here as he seems to prefer the Left Coast.

  58. As yet further evidence that Ruben’s experimentation with peyote is on going, the new rumor in the mill is that the Phillies are kicking the tires on Vernon Wells. I don’t think I’d want him even if the Angels released him. The only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason, I would take Wells is if the Phillies took on a small part of his salary and got a decent prospect in return. Aside from that, this would not just be a bad moving – it’s a laughing stock move. I was incredulous when the Angels traded for him in the first place, knowing that he was way over paid and his bounce back season was likely a mirage. He’s now two years older and two years worse. If there’s truth to this rumor, then it’s as if Ruben stays up late into the night dreaming of ways to both weigh down the team’s payroll while simultaneously making the roster worse.

    1. +1 Let’s also remember when we are talking about “just sign Greinke” FA’s have it in their mind some times where they want to be. Greinke clearly did not want to be on the East Coast.

      Another tid bit of the 6 remaining notable FA’s unsigned four of them are Boras clients…

  59. In the begining i was thinking dont go over the luxury tax,but now why not? if hamilton put them 17 or 20 million over tax,big deal, they are making a ton of money, and its going to ge bigger, and who would hamilton be blocking??? there isnt a outfielder in the system who is near ready, unless you are on the gillies bandwagon, which i am not he is always hurt.

  60. i would pay vernon wells 42 million over next two years, if california gives us a prospect and takes howards contract.

    1. $42 million for the worst position player in baseball? What would you have him do for that $42 million – b/c it sure wouldn’t be play OF for the Phillies??

      1. That seems like a bad trade no matter how you slice it, Wells blocks guys with more upside (Brown and Ruf) and you surrender a player with good value (Bastardo). If you feel like you need to trade Bastardo you could likely get a decent prospect in return, he still strikes out a ton of guys (does everyone forget that he had 14Ks/9) and can get righties and lefties out.

      2. Just having Wells on your team is bad enough, paying his salary makes it horrendenous, trading away a player who has value to allow you to acquire this ineffective player (and Bastardo does), makes it a full-blown disaster. For me, this move would be grounds for Amaro’s immediate termination – truly, a laughingstock move. The type of thing only a moron would do.

        1. Have you thought that this could be a tactic to get Cody Ross down to two years? The Phillies usually don’t let this type of information out so it seems like a smokescreen to me.

  61. i have good vibes on John Lannan. Sporting new ‘do’ and ready to go. A career 39-39 pitcher vs all teams excluding Phillies, and pitching for a poor Nats team from ’07 thru ’11. I see him as a double-digit winner in the fifth spot. Keeping my fingers-crossed.

      1. yes DMAR…his WHIP is disturbing, especially his BB/9 which contribute to that 1.4. He did say yesterday, becaus of his ordinary stuff he has ro rely on location and pitching lefties inside, more or less nimbling at times.

  62. I think it’s 50-50 Lannan stays ahead of Pettibone on the depth chart for any length of time. The value of Lannan is to give the youngsters a little more time in AAA before a call up and then perhaps slot Lannan in the long man/6th starter role. I like Lannan more than Cloyd but then again I prefer a sprained ankle to a second degree burn.

    Amaro would be foolish to take on Wells unless he came in a package with someone who could help the Phils immediately. If the Angels thought Wells had and was perceived to have no value they would just release him — that is to say ‘Chone Figgins’ him. The Angels would not offer Wells and a prospect for no value in return. The only move I could see helping the Phils (and they would never do it) is taking Wells in connection with a trade of Ryan Howard for Kendry Morales. I’d throw in Bastardo to make that deal, collect the salary differential from the Angels for 2013 so the Phils don’t worsen their position against the luxury tax. Then I would turn around and sign J.R. Howell and the Phils remain at least as strong in the pen, better at IB though arguably no better in the OF.

    1. “The only move I could see helping the Phils (and they would never do it) is taking Wells in connection with a trade of Ryan Howard for Kendry Morales.I’d throw in Bastardo to make that deal, collect the salary differential from the Angels for 2013 so the Phils don’t worsen their position against the luxury tax.”

      Listen, I know ragging on Ryan Howard has become everyone’s favorite pasttime, but could you explain to me how that trade would help the Phillies?

      1. I think it is IM’s belief that Morales is better than Howard and also the trade would give the Phillies a lot more payroll flexibility once Well’s contract expires. Why if Morales is better than Howard would the Angels do this deal is beyond me. If the left handed reliever is the attractive part the Angels would be better off signing Howell.

      2. Not worth spending a lot of time on this, because it won’t happen, but the short answer is that, considering his contract & age related decline,. Howard is an assert with substantial negative value.

        The slightly longer version – unless you can invent a time machine, there’s a strong case to be made that a declining and expensive Howard who can’t be replaced or even (as a practical matter) sat against left handers for the next 4 years is a serious drag on the team going forward. That’s certainly true if 2012 represented real decline, as opposed to merely a post-injury dip, and possibly true if you ignore 2012, look at 2010-2011 and assume some normal age related decline from that.

        If one accepts that, trading Howard for Wells even straight up would be a good deal because the contract is a lot longer. Kendry Morales is a short term replacement for Howard, making the trade a wash in the short run, but it’s in 2015-2016 that this deal would really shine for the Phillies.

        I’ve taken a lot of grief for not being higher on Ruf, but as a first baseman, all else being equal (mainly playing time, and not even considering the salary differential), I think Ruf will likely have more value than Howard over the next 4 to 5 years.

        The simple truth is that many of us who comment on this site – most of us, probably – would happily give Howard away for nothing at this point if another team would take his ridiculous albatross of a contract off our hands.

        1. Suppose Ryan Howard has a year where he hits 32 HR with 110 RBI and 85 runs scored. These numbers are not close to his career best but about what he’s done in 2010 and 2011 (last year not counted). Do you feel that he still would have substantial negative value based on his age and contract? I hope you’re right about Ruf, but at this point of his career if he doesn’t break out in the majors this year he may not get another chance.

          1. I think that’s a fair question. Let me break it down. There’s two parts to this – 2013 and 2014-2015 (or 2016 with the option with the expensive buy out is exercised).

            2013 – Let’s start with RBIs and Runs. I place zero weight on those stats – zero – I realize some people disagree, but you asked my opinion and there it is. Which leaves HR, and, viewed in isolation, 32 is darn good these days. But what about the rest of the picture? It’s easy to say that his defense and base running have always been bad, but they have been headed in the wrong direction. What assumption am I supposed to make regarding those? What about batting average and BB? The fact is that yes, he could hit 32 HR and still be a marginal regular overall. Certainly not worth anywhere near his salary.

            But what about after that? The simple fact is, even making optimistic assumptions about his aging curve, he is highly likely to lose value over the course of the contract. What if he bats .240 with 25 HR and lousy defense and base running in 2014? That’s entirely plausible even if you don’t put any weight on 2012 at all, and that’s a replacement level player at best.

            Overlay this with the risk that he is even worse – that 2012 was in whole or part a reflection of real decline – and I think you can see where I’m coming from. Or, even if he does rebound a bit, he could simply fall off a (figurative) cliff at any time. I could list a half dozen players of similar skills and body type that did just that – let’s call them the Mo Vaughn club. This is far from a certainty, but still a serious risk.

            Maybe the simplest way of looking at it is this – even in the extremely unlikely event that he plays at his 2010-2011 level of play over the entirety of his contract, he is IMO going to be worth, over the course of the contract, about 30% of his contract amount.

          2. And with all that, I even made a significant error in Howard’s favor. The contract runs through 2016. The option year is 2017. Yikes.

            I would go so far as saying that, if they could somehow trade him for nothing to a team willing to eat the remainder of his contract, it would be the greatest trade in Phillies’ history.

            1. I just want to add I like Ryan and understand its not his fault. Anyone in his shoes would take the $. Unfortunately these guys are evaluated based on performance and cost of said performance.

              Fans are not dumb now a days.

            2. Absolutely, I like him too. What’s he supposed to say, “no, no, I can’t take your money?” More power to him. And despite his deficiencies, he absolutely contributed a lot to the Phillies’ success (and FWIW, I tend to think that WAR probably does somewhat underestimate his value during his peak years, for reasons I don’t want to get into at the moment).

            3. 2013- $20M
              2014- $25M
              2015- $25M
              2016- $25M
              2017- $23M or $10M buyout.

              No wonder Rube won’t go over 3 years for anyone over 30. At least he learned his lesson.

            4. Yeah, that’s awful and he made the deal earlier than he needed to. That contract is going to be a big anchor dragging the team down. That’s why we need to get some cheap, young kids established. However horrendously expensive Howard will be, it is a sunk cost and the best thing for the team is to look at him like he was earning $1 million and decide the best way to use him. That likely is a platoon with Ruf. It may even piss Howard off enough that he’ll start hitting the ball the other way again. Since the defensive shift began, Howard’s value has plummeted. Then there is the age decline and what will likely be a struggle back from his ankle injury.

            5. Be happpy he only made a 5 year deal, a lot of 8 and 10 year deals were being thrown around at that time.

            6. “the best thing for the team is to look at him like he was earning $1 million and decide the best way to use him.”

              I agree, but Charlie will never do it (and I like Charlie). I think that would only happen if Ruben was gone as well.

              We are only now getting a taste of how bad that contract is. Just wait until 2015…

  63. I was looking a

    mlb trade rumors and a name came up,which i know nothing about, and he hasnt played a ton, but has decent numbers and plays right field, how well i dont know, kendry morales do you know anything about how he plays, and if you would take him in a trade.

  64. First baseman and DH (not rightfielder) KendryMorales was traded to Seattle today.for Jason Vargas so I wasn’t the only one valuing him. Coming off an ankle injury in 2011, he had a good bounce back year in 2012 and projects as a 30 HR bat in some stadiums. Whether he can do that in Seattle is anybody’s guess..

    1. I would have liked to see what he could do in LF for the Phillies. Would have liked to see the Phillies get him.

    2. Good trade for Seattle. Morales will probably get less than $5M this year to be a middle order bat. I think he can play an 1B though.
      Only issue is that he will be a FA next year and is probably a risk to offer arbitration at ~$14M even if he has a great year. Could be a good guy to extend but Seattle does have Montero as a C/1B/DH along with Zunino? as a C/DH.

  65. I read one rumor that the Phillies were talking to the Rockies about Cuddyer. The Rockies probably want pitching, but the Phillies couldn’t afford Cuddyer’s contract without trading salary. So, could it be Howard for Cuddyer? I might like that trade since Cuddyer could play RF (opening 1B to Ruf), 1B (if Ruf flops), or even 2B or 3B in a pinch, so he would give the team flexibility. It would also free up more cap space for the Phillies. I think that Howard may still have more 45 HR seasons in his future, especially in Colorado, but also in Philly. Cuddyer is a minus fielder at every position and he like Howard, _mght be in decline offensively, so I might not like the trade.Does that make the trade pretty even? It’s probably unrealistic and not worth thinking about. A lot of Howard’s value is selling tickets here in Philadelphia.

    1. There’s no salary cap in baseball. The Phillies can afford it, it’s just a matter of deciding whether or not it’s worth going over the luxury tax or not.

    2. No one is going to even consider Howard unless and until he shows that he can rebound from last year’s disaster. And if he does, I don’t see this Phillies’ front office trading him.

      I don’t really want Cuddyer.

      1. I think “disaster” is a bit strong in reference to Howard’s 2012. He was less than 10 months removed from an Achilles tear and subsequent infections when he returned to the lineup. He admitted to having little mobility and I’d imagine it affected his ability to drive the ball. You can’t have expected much more, given the circumstances.

        I expect Howard to have a nice bounceback this year. If 2013′s numbers mirror 2012, I think then you’ll have a disaster.

        1. Here’s the thing – you may be right, I’m even inclined to think you are probably right, but given the fact that the contract is atrocious under the best of circumstances anyway, I don’t see any team in baseball taking a chance that you might be wrong. Especially given the increased K rate, which isn’t something directly attributable to the injury (it could be indirectly attributable, but again, no team is going to take a chance on that).

  66. The more I think about it and analyze the situation, the more I’m starting to think it might just be better to go into the season with Darin Ruf as the every day left fielder and Domonic Brown as the every day right fielder, which is a far cry from my original stance of needing a corner outfielder.

    I’m expecting Howard to come in and put up a 30 home run 100 RBI season and whatever slashline is normal for him. I think once he’s 90%+ recovered from that ankle injury we’re really going to see a better hitter and I think he could benefit from the new hitting coach system.

    He’s not an injury concern for me, I’d expect to get about 150 games out of him or so given the fact that his injuries have typically been freak injuries… same with Jimmy.

    I think Utley if he can play 120 games will give us a solid .800 ops season after an off season of conditioning his legs and a full spring training.

    Michael Young’s a proven hitter at the MLB level who’s at the very least an upgrade over Feliz, Polanco, and whomever else we’ve been throwing out there offensively at third base.

    If Darin and Domonic fall flat on their faces (which I don’t think they will) they can add at the deadline, if they succeed, suddenly, we have out outfield going forward. I think the line up can survive the two of them (especially if Charlie subs in Nix and Mayberry intelligiently against tough righties/lefties… not a full on platoon however) and Howard and Utley give us the production I expect out of them.

    I don’t really consider the division winnable anyway given Washington’s depth, but I think they can at least contend for a Wild Card.
    ______________________

    That’s not to say I’ve changed my opinion completely, I still think it’d be beneficial to add a corner outfield bat but at a fair price… essentially nothing beyond 2 years $14 million for a guy like Ross.

    1. You know my opinion about Swisher. If they don’t sign him, and the only option is signing Ross or trading for a washed up veteran, then I agree with you in the “best of a bad set of options” sense. Though if Ruf hasn’t made strides as a fielder, a Nix/Mayberry platoon may be more advisable, with Brown playing full time.

      All the more reason why settling for Revere – though I liked the deal in isolation – was IMO a mistake. I think people are going to be surprised at how anemic the offense is next year even if Howard rebounds somewhat and Utley is reasonably healthy. Ruiz is going to regress, I love Rollins but he is likely to regress, Revere will contribute in the field and on the base paths but as a hitter is a real downgrade from last year, I don’t expect much from Young… that’s putting a ton of pressure on Brown and Ruf. Even if they both come through AND the team is relatively healthy, I think the team’s offensive upside is about what they did last year. I think the pitching will be better, hence my prediction that, if healthy, they are an 88 win team, but the lineup is mediocre at best.

      1. I think they can be a 90-92 win team and a Wild Card winner if things break right.

        I really like the pitching staff as a whole going into next year. I think Ruben assembled a very good, young bullpen, full of power arms and strikeout potential. Much improved over last year going into the season. I think a full year of Aumont/DeFratus/Horst and possibly a healthy Michael Stutes will be really beneficial. Teams with a good, deep, bullpen usually have a lot of success.

        I think John Lannan is an upgrade over Joe Blanton (although slight) and a full season of a revamped Kyle Kendrick should be an upgrade over what Vance Worley did last year.

        If the offense stays relatively healthy, I think they’ll be slightly better than last year… more than likely even unless Ruf and Brown burst out on the scene. I’m more optimistic about Michael Young than you are though. I think he can rebound and post a solid offensive season. I think it’s more likely he reproduces his 2010 numbers than his 2011 or 2012 numbers but that in itself is an upgrade over Polanco/Wiggington/Fransden/Fontenot/Martinez last year and Polanco/Valdez/Martinez the year before.

        1. I meant to say I think the offense will be slightly better next year, especially if Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf produce, if they don’t it’ll be around what it was last year.

          sorry.

            1. Starts: JLannan-134, KK-123
              ERA: JL-4.01, KK-4.37
              WHIP: JL-1.42, KK-1.36
              K/9: JL-4.7, KK-4.6
              BB/9: JL-3.4, KK-2.5
              HR/9: JL-0.9, KK-1.3
              OppBA.: JL-.272, KK-.278
              IP/Start: JL-5.8, KK-5.6
              And if you factor out al the games vs the Phillies,
              John Lannan’s numbers are even better.

            2. I’m pretty confident that Kendrick will be better than Lannan next season. Unless Kyle forgets how he threw his changeup last year.

            3. I saw a report that Kendrick and Halladay have been working out together this offseason. I think this bodes well for Kendrick. Even if Halladay’s body is in decline he is still a great pitching mind. That should help Kendrick with things like pitch sequencing and setting up his new changeup.

            4. I believe they have done this in the past and KK has picked up on things needed to be a major league pitcher like his improved change-up and approach.

        2. One thing for sure…Michael Young rarely pops-up in the infield. Jimmy and Shane led the league together.

          1. Like a strikeout, an IF pop is just an out. Far better than a DP grounder. The key is how many times a hitter makes an out, not how he makes the out. And, of course, what he does when he is not making out. The conventional baseball media guys make way too much of Ks and popups. You can have a lot of them and be productive or have very few and be not productive at all.

        3. If they stay relatively healthy, they’ll be a lot better than last year — I think your 90-92 wins is quite realistic for this team, if healthy. That’s 10 wins worse than in 2012, so certainly possible. Of course, that is a big if.

    2. Think if you look at it position by position, the Phillies offense would appear to be slightly better than they were in 2012.

      1b – Expect Howard to be better than the 2012 version plus the guys they had replacing him for the first 1/2 of the year
      2b – Same for Utley who is an upgrade over Galvis, Orr, etc.
      ss – Expect Rollins will post similar numbers to 2012
      3b – Expect Young to be an OFFENSIVE improvement over Wigginton, Fransdon, Galvis
      LF – Probably less average/OBP than Pierre but more power/run production from combination of Nix/Ruf
      CF – Expect Revere to be at least as productive as Victorino was in 2012.
      RF – Probably a bit of a drop from Pence to platoon of Brown/Mayberry.
      C – Doubt Ruiz will duplicate 2012 season

      Bench – Think there 2013 bench will be better than the 2012 version with Kratz, Galvis, Fransden, and 2 platooning OF’ers not playing that day.

      Other reason I expect the team to be better is because their bullpen will be better with Adams/Papelbon at the end. Also young relievers were getting better as they gained experience.

      don’t think expecting 88-91 wins from this team is unreasonable.

      1. Aside from a possible corner outfield upgrade (doubtful at most), to me, by far, the biggest variable in the team’s ultimate performance is, without quesiton, the performance of Roy Halladay. If he’s a the old, 6-8 WAR Roy, they probably make one of the wild card slots (and even compete for the division if Washington falls flat, which does not seem likely) and could be pretty dangerous, if he’s the 1.5 WAR pitcher we saw last year, they are probably lucky to win 85 games absent some through the roof unexpected seasons from various players and prospects, if he’s around 3-5 WAR, it’s going to be a crapshoot.

        Personally, I literally have no idea how well he’s going to do, at least this year – most of it depends on velocity. His loss of, effectively, 2-3 MPH last year, changed his entire game – he and Lincecum went into free fall last year. In the longer run, I think he’s going to adjust and be at least good, although perhaps not dominant, because he’s more inventive and motivated than any other pitcher and his pitches have great movement. But if he’s throwing a lot slower that adjustment could take a year or so.

      2. I’m not sure that you can count on Ben Revere giving the same production as Shane Victorino, but I agree with the rest. The offense will be better than last year, even if no other moves are made, if Howard and Utley play. That’s the bottom line. The defense, outside of Revere and Rollins, looks atrocious, though.

      3. I think you are overly optimistic at three positions. From biggest disagreement to smallest:

        (1) CF – I like the deal. But Revere is nowhere near the hitter Vic was in even a down year. And let’s not forget that Mayberry actually hit pretty well when he took over for Vic. They weren’t GREAT in CF last year, but they were okay – .253/.311/.401 with above average base running. Revere’s career numbers are .278/.319/.323 with well above average base running. 78 points of SLG is a big difference. Even factoring in the extent to which Revere’s speed will help with scoring, I think they will be 10 runs worse in CF offensively (though better defensively).

        (2) Shortstop – I love Rollins. He’s a 34 year old shortstop. I don’t think he is going to fall off a cliff, and of course anything is possible, but he most likely will suffer some age related decline.

        (3) Third base – this is a tougher call than you might thimk. Setting aside my dislike of the move, it’s certainly possible that Young might be an upgrade over 2012, but less likely I think than some realize. Frandsen was really quite good in 2012. I agree he will likely regress, but your comparision is with 2012, not what we could have expected in 2013 from the same players. The team overall was a decent .289/.335/.370 last year at third base. Better than Young’s 2012. I’ve said myself I expect some sort of a rebound, but I don’t think it is at all obvious that he will be better than .289/.335/.370. Yes, he likely will be a better hitter than Frandsen would have been in 2013 (but worse defensively), but again that isn’t the comparison you are making.

        I do despite this think that a healthy team could manage 88 wins because I think the pitching will be better.

        1. yes, I probably gave Victorino less credit in 2012 than I should have but I don’t think Revere will be significantly worse. He will provide more average with less power with about the same base-running.

        2. Larry it seems disingenuous to use last years numbers for Vic/Mayberry versus Revere’s career numbers. Revere’s numbers have improved over his young career added to his age and minor league history lead me to believe that his numbers will continue to improve. Revere will never have Victorino’s power but in total I don’t think he is going to give us much less if not better offensive production than Vic did last year.

          1. If I used Vic’s and Mayberry’s career numbers the comparison would have been much better for me. And you want to use Revere’s numbers from last year? Not much different, .294/.333/.342. His BB rate and K rate were actually a little worse last year than they had been. Nor does anything about his minor league career, in context, suggest that he is much better than he has shown so far.

            The one saving grace here is that he is on the right side of the aging curve and, all else equal, should improve some. Will it be enough for him to even equal last year’s performance by VIc/Mayberry? Not at all likely.

            I’m not trying to knock Revere, I like him overall. Goodness knows we’ll need a plus plus defender in center if we really do go with Ruf and Brown at the corners. But he literally has the least power of any regular major league player. That means something.

            1. Will not equal last year’s hitting performance in center field, that is. Looking at the whole package, he is an upgrade (and an even bigger upgrade over the internal alternative of using Mayberry as the regular centerfielder).

      4. I’m not very optimistic about the offense. Here’s the potential lineup by last year’s OPS+

        Rollins – 98
        Revere – 89
        Utley – 113
        Howard – 91
        Young – 78 (!)
        Ruiz – 149
        Brown/Ruf – 91/181
        Mayberry/Nix – 86/94

        That’s pretty bad. To have a decent offense we need three guys in their mid-30s at demanding defensive positions (Utley, Ruiz, Rollins) to stay healthy and remain productive. We need Howard, a 33 year old 1B with a body type that doesn’t age well, to bounce back. Young also needs to bounce back at 36. Revere and Brown need to improve. We also need Manuel to platoon in LF and RF.

        I’m optimistic about the pitching and our up the middle defense, but the current offense needs a lot of things to go right just be above average.

        1. I think Howard’s 2010-11 figure of 126-127 is more likely, given his return from an injury last year. Still, not a lineup that will strike fear in the hearts of pitchers.

  67. The more i look at howard contract, the more i think ruben is nuts, he is 33 and with that body type, maybe two years if he rebounds, and then its, dh time, say right now your the gm of texas, and the phillies offer you howard for a couple of mediocre prospects and say 40 million of his contract, would you do it???

  68. Texas, the Orioles, Red Sox. Enough teams to make you wonder why you’d offer him in the first place.

    1. Howard has value to certain teams which is why the proposal of Howard for “a couple of mediocre prospects” is a bad one. Howard by reported accounts has lost a lot of weight and I think is gearing up for what figures to be a good year. Selling low is bad policy.

      1. I would preach a little patience with Howard. I think there’s a very good chance that Howard’s ankle was pretty bad throughout 2010 and 2011. It will be interesting to see what he might do fully healthy again for a year. I have no idea what he will do, but a nice bounce-back is certainly possible.

  69. Michael Young…forget the 2012 infield pop-ups. Infield flies mean something different to Phillies fans than they do to most. Maybe it’s because the Phils led the National League last year by popping up to an infielder on 10.6 percent of their balls in play. Maybe it’s because Jimmy Rollins led all of baseball with 42 of them last season, 10 more than any NL player. Maybe it’s because since 2008 Rollins and Victorino combined for a mind-blowing 254 infield flies — 127 each. That’s the most by any pair of teammates over that span. So it’s worth pointing out, then, that new addition Michael Young is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Young rarely jams himself into an infield fly. It’s actually quite impressive. Over the last six seasons, Young has popped up just 2.3 percent of his balls in play, according to Fangraphs. That is fifth-lowest in baseball, to Joey Votto, Ryan Howard, Howie Kendrick and Joe Mauer. While Rollins and Victorino have popped out 127 times apiece, Young has done it just 19 times. Also significant is Young’s line drive rate of 23.3 percent over that span. Only four players in either league — Votto, Todd Helton, Freddie Freeman and Jamey Carroll — hit the ball on a line at a better rate. Even last season, when Young was brutal offensively, he hit line drives more often than 77 percent of everyday players. Rollins led the Phillies last year with 101 line drives. Juan Pierre was second with 84. Young had 125. It’s important to note because line drives tend to fall for hits about 73 percent of the time. Young’s maintenance of solid contact rates as he’s aged is yet another signal that he could indeed be in line for a bounce-back season….Corey Seidman, CSNPhilly.com

    1. Could the Phillies have been looking at such advanced stats when making this trade?
      I for one, am on record predicted Young will be terrible overall, but mostly because of his defense. If he can actually perform as a middle of the order bat with only below average defense I will be incredibly impressed by the foresight of the Front Office.
      I still significantly preferred Youkilis, even for an overpay of 2yrs/$20M with even a 3rd year club option/buyout if needed to get him signed.

      1. Being in the top 25% of ‘everyday’ ball players hitting line-drives is impressive to say the least. Hopefully he continues it in 2013.

        1. A little context is needed here. Young’s strength as a hitter has always been that he is a line drive machine. It’s why, despite across the board mediocrity in other hitting metrics, he has, for his career, been a slightly above average hitter. His LD% in 2012 was actually below his career mark. An optimist might hope for a rebound to career norms; a realist would see an expected but unfavorable trend line.

          Despite my dislike of the move, I agree some rebound is likely. But given his age and career trajectory, what we can expect (compared to his career norms) is a declining though still good ability to hit line drives, coupled with declining BB rate and power numbers. Notibly regarding the latter point, his ground ball percentage has increased and his fly ball percentage has decreased. For a speedy guy who can leg out infield hits, that isn’t necessarily a bad trade off. For an older guy like Young, never a speed demon but pretty fast in his younger days, but now slow afoot, that is not a good trade off.

          1. For me the big question regarding Young is the extent to which he can reverse his decline in power. Really once one gets past mostly random fluctuations in BABIP (though with a likely real age related decline, much exagerated by good bibip luck in 2011 and poor babip luck in 2012), the biggest difference between 2011 and 2012 was a signficant decline in his ISO.

            The reason I am a skeptic I guess can be summarized by looking at the trend line – his ISO has declined for three years running, .196/.160/.136/.093.

            1. Sounds like we could be in for a lot of ground into double plays for Young. I agree with your overall assessment of the Young acquisition.

            2. He was tied for the second most double plays in baseball last year.

              That said, even I have to admit that it’s possible to over state some of this. I do think, as I’ve said, that he may have the kind of bounce back year that will make some of his supporters think that he was a good pick up. Say .285/.330/.400. Whether he will be – and again I am a skeptic, but who knows – is as dependant as much on his defense as on his hitting.

    2. The problem is that he also hit way too many ground balls and his walk rate was awful. His 2.22 GB/FB rate was 10th “worst” among regulars and his 5.1% walk rate was 13th worst.

    1. The upside is there, but the man has a point. Gigantic question mark in left, light-hitter with the responsibility of covering tons of ground in center, and an enigma in right. I’d love to see come out and prove himself to be an Adam Dunn clone, Revere to continue his progression along Michael Bourn’s career arc, and Brown to finally put it together and become the XBH machine everyone predicted, but a lot of things need to fall into place for that to happen.

      1. Exactly Mike Honcho, there is a lot of wishing on this particular OF, although if it all works out it can be really good, but as of right now with the current track records it is most certainly a “Yikes”

      2. I don’t see how you can describe Ruf as a light hitter. He crushes the ball. You say you’d like to see him hit well, but… I get frustrated by the number of posters who just don’t trust any rookie. To me, Michael Young is a bigger question mark with the bat. Every player is a question mark. Look at Utley and Howard. In fact, look at Vic from last season. At some point an organization has to just trust the kids to go out and perform, or it dwindles. Some of the kids will disappoint. If you don’t go through the crap first season, you never get to have Mike Schmidt play his career for your team. Ruf just killed AA. People said ‘how can we bring him up and trust that he’ll be okay in a year when we still have an unbelievably remote chance to reach the playoffs’. Then he was given a chance to pay again and he killed tha ball in the majors. From what I’ve seen of him in AA, worries about his D are quite well founded and that likely will be a work in progress. But, really, although Ruf can look really bad at times, the immobile Ibanez missed few he reached, but reached few, so all in all wasn’t good either. The chances that Ruf outhits a Ross or a Wells is likely in the 90% range.

        1. “An unbelievably remote chance” to make the playoffs? I can’t say I agree with that. With all the blown leads and saves, the injuries and the trades, this team finished .500 and was still alive for the second WC going into the final two weeks. Consider:

          The starting pitching remains largely the same — I see Lannan producing around the same that Blanton/Worley did. There is also potential for improvement if Halladay returns anywhere near his former form and Kendrick continues his changeup-fuled evolution.

          If reports are accurate, the Phils return Utley and Howard for a full season. Utley hit well after his return last year, and Howard was still recovering from the Achilles tear. (You can’t expect a hitter to drive the ball effectively on a still-healing wheel). Young should also be an offensive upgrade from 3B even if his struggles remain, although I expect him to perform better. The outfield is, well, the outfield.

          Bullpen is solidified by Adams in the eighth, plus all those young arms whose growing pains blew games last year are more seasoned and showing potential.

          The left side of the field is obviously weaker defensively with Ruf and Young on board, but Revere covers a ton of ground and Jimmy still has the range and the arm to minimize Young’s range issues.

          The Braves and the Nats are good, yes, but there are two Wild Card spots. The chances of the Phils making the playoffs are not unbelievably remote.

    2. For a team with championship aspirations, “Yikes” seems like a perfectly reasonable perspective. If that were the Astros’ outfield, it might make more sense. “Yikes” notwithstanding, it seems more and more likely that’s what we’re looking at (with a healthy dose of Mayberry and Nix I expect).

      Generally speaking, I’m ok with that, with the caveat that if the big 3, Utley and Howard stay healthy and perform, than come mid-summer, if the corner OF spots are not producing consistently, RAJ looks to upgrade from outside the organization.

  70. Cody Ross with a three year deal to Arizona. They currently have Eaton, Upton, Parra, Kubel, and Ross in their OF. If you felt that this team needed an upgrade on Nix as a Ruf platoon Kubel may be the trade target (but if the Diamondbacks are smart they would do the same with Ross and Kubel). The other move of course is them turning to a desperate Rangers team and seeing what they might do for Upton.

      1. 3 years 26 million (27 with the buyout) is pretty bad. And yes Kubel is really bad, but if you are going to punt defensively with Ruf no point in not punting the other half of the defense as well.

        1. I have no problem not paying what amounts to $9 million a year for three years for someone who should be a platoon player.

        2. Agreed and Kubel is a super dangerous platoon hitter. If the trade price is reasonable, they should get him and be done with it. Kubel is affordable and only has an option for ’14. Perfect low risk, low cost, low commitment, moderate upside move.

        3. Going by WAR, which alot of people do around here, Ross is the better player. Kubel’s defensive and baserunning metrics are horrid.

          I’m confused over the dislike of Ross but love for Kubel, who would cost more prospects.

          1. Ross is the better player. Some do not understand defensive value. Some do not want anyone to block Ruf, better player or not. Some would rather pay Kubel 8 million this year, to platoon with Ruf.
            I wouldn’t want either player, for the money, but yes, Ross is the better player.

          2. Ross is a better player, but he comes with two more years of commitment (not just money but you have locked him into an OF spot), and is just a better version of Mayberry. The Kubel idea comes if he doesn’t cost a ton in prospects (which he shouldn’t) he fits a need on the team (despite people think that the team is too lefthanded), he is a one year player who is easily moveable at the deadline if needed. It is purely a cost and need thing, but yes Ross is a better player than Kubel.

    1. I see Arizona as going with Parra/Ross in LF , A. Eaton/A. J. Pollock in CF, J. Upton in RF. J. Kubel hit very well last season with power and all, and , I believe there are still American League teams in need of a DH, so, I say, Kubel will not be given away. People think this is such an easy , no-brainer move to make, expect them to put up a howl when a couple of their prize prospects are shipped off for an older OF with one year left on contract. I look for Scott Hairston to be signed by Philly soon. Then they can go Hairston/platoon/backup by Domo Brownin LF , Revere in CF, Ruf in RF caddy/augment by John Mayberry Jr. Laynce Nix, I think they can trade. I figure when Boston finalizes the deal with Pittsburgh for Hanrahan, they get Garrett Jones , also, and then Pittsburgh might need a LHH 1B to team with Jerry Sands and/or Gabby Sanchez. Especially one that can fill all 3 OF positions in a pinch. Maybe not, but I think he fits somewhere.

      1. So Arizona just payed Cody Ross 9 million per, to be part of a platoon. This causes a chain of events that leads the Phillies to start Ruf, full-time, in RF. Interesting.

        1. Yeah , I \reversed the RF and LF in Philly thing, it should be Hairston and D. Brown in RF , and Ruf/Mayberry in LF.

          I say Arizona will definitely keep Justin Upton in RF, Ross would not be a CF, so that puts him in LF. They can put the veteran Parra in CF, and he could be good on Defense there, but he has usually played in the corners. They have two top of the line young CF/OF types in Adam Eaton and A.J.Pollock and I think they play them. Parra is too good of a player to be a strict bench guy, so, I say they use him to play LF at times and augment Ross against RHP’s.

  71. So happy, ross is off the market. i didnt want to commit three years to him. I think. this makes ,the upton trade more likey, than kubel. they will most likely renew talks with texas, and if texas talks one of profar or ott, plus garcia then its possible they might make a deal.maybe i am in the minority, but glad ruben didnt bite on ross at three years. i want short deals, because if these teams isnt in contention this year, at trade deadline, i really believe, lee, pap, utley, howard, rollins, doc. all are talked of in trades, only untocuchable to me is hamels. even chooch who is not making any real money might be moved, if joseph or valle is showing anything in the minors, think they will try to rebuild, but i could be dead wrong, it wont be the first time.

  72. And, oh, by the way, the Indians signed Nick Swisher, Good news that the Philly front office did not fall for some Internet based bullwash and overpay on this one. Now it looks like the 16th pick will be made come the draft, and that just might be the greatest player of all time.

    1. This really makes me question the competence of MLB front offices. The Indians are far from contending and they just put their best players on trade market. Now they spend a ton for a solid bat, but not a true impact player.

      1. I imagine the Shapiro and Antonetti combo, who are about as hardcore of stats guys as could be imagined, might see this , if all else fails to pan out , as a way to recoup some prospect type deficiencies. If Cleveland is not a contender come the trade deadline, they might be able to get some good players in return for Swisher from a contending team, once some of the contract is wore off, and the loss of a draft pick thing is out of the way. If not in the first year, maybe in later years.

      2. With their trades and signings the Indians are a fringe contender in the AL Central, the Tigers are good but very top heavy and can be beat. If the Royals think they can contend so can the Indians. Also it only cost them a second round pick so the overall cost is down. Additionally, due to their trade of Choo the Indians had no one in RF so this is a much bigger improvement than it would be for a team like the Phillies.

    2. Yeah it is essentially a 5yr/70million deal which is not high on the annual but that is two more years than I would feel comfortable with. I don’t know that the #16 will be a star, but it should be a very solid prospect. Just an early guess, the top of the 2013 draft is stacked with high upside high school lefties, if I had to bet it would be that they take the best one on the board when their pick comes up.

        1. Burrell (’98, #1), Utley (’00, #15), Golson (’04, #21), and Hewitt (’08, #24) were all first round picks that we made after Drew.

      1. Agree, it’s not a horrible overpay at $14M per season. Contract length be a concern, as Swisher just turned 32 in Nov 2012. However, Swisher’s skill set may project to extend longer than other guys. If the 5th year is at team option, it may be a pretty good deal for Cleveland.

        1. Sounds like it’s an easily-achieved vesting option. But if he gets hurt the year before, maybe they dodge a bullet. Or maybe he ages gracefully. It’s not a huge overpay any way you slice it, though. Pretty good signing.

    3. Phlog Horn…check your crystal ball and who do you like in the draft at this point? Pitcher or Positional?

      1. Not really grounded in who might be available where, but I would say, if I were to pick the pick, and all things being equal, I would take a SS every draft.

          1. Theoretically, if the Shortstop projects enough to be a high 1st round talent, I’d take the Shortstop every time. There is more injury risk with pitchers. Shortstops with 1st round bats, can be moved all over the field defensively. An everyday player with less risk? Take the SS, all other things being equal. But of course you should take the best player available.

        1. I agree if you are going position player (especially high school) you go up the middle talent (catcher, shortstop, center fielder) even if they have to move later, it is rare though that a shortstop falls to 16 that doesn’t have huge questions about the defense or bat.

          You can get high upside arms late in drafts but you can never have too many pitching prospects. If you want to start the way too early speculation here is milb’s Top 50 http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2013/

        1. Baseball draft if always BPA who you can sign. The first 5 Rounds should all be best you can sign players. After that you can start to lean toward organizational needs for developmental purposes. (It does not make sense to sign 5 high school catchers in the same draft unless you plan to move a couple of them to other positions.)

          BPA though means different things to different people, especially at #16. Given the choices do Phillies go with a toolshed, a professional lower upside college player, a huge power pitcher or hitter, a C or SS with a questionable bat or defense? There will likely be about 5-10 players that could profile to #16.
          Phillies also have the option (which I doubt they use) to select a player willing to take less than slot to allow them additional funds for later picks.

          1. Remember when it comes to the slot decision it does not always mean a completely inferior player. For example there are two high school pitchers that the Phillies like equally one will sign for slot and the other for 250k under slot you take the under slot guy. This happens because the scouts will see things differently than the kid and his parents do on their demands or even how the consensus sees them. This happened with the #1 pick in the last draft where the Astros took the guy they wanted and would sign for less than slot. So keep this in mind if it seems they have similar players on the board at that spot as money doesn’t always equal the best talent.

            The thing to remember throughout this process (this is aimed at no one), we here no very little about scouting minor league players, and we no almost nothing about scouting amatuer players, the Phillies certainly know what they like and what they think will develop best.

          2. Too early for an in-depth draft discussion, but saving 250K may be a big deal for a late round HS kid. Having such a high pick in #16 means that just saving 10% of that bonus might allow for signing a high upside HS pitcher. I really like that approach if Phillies can pull it off. If #16 guy changes his mind and wants slot, the Phillies entire ‘plan’ is not ruined, they just cannot afford one if the later round lottery tickets they chose. Low risk fallback.

  73. I believe we will be signing Bourn before long. Our lineup would likely be

    1 Bourn CF
    2 Rollins SS
    3 Utley 2B
    4 Ruiz C
    5 Howard 1B
    6 Young 3B
    7 Revere / Ruf LF
    8 Brown / Mayberry RF

    1. Having Revere and Bourn in front of Howard would lead to him seeing a lot more fastballs, I don’t think they are going that direction but it is interesting to think about.

    2. I will never understand Ruiz batting clean up… he’s nowhere near the hitter he was last year even if he didn’t cheat.

      1. and they’re not going to platoon Revere with Darin Ruf after they just traded the pieces they did to acquire him.

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